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Play At Your Own Risk

Consider sitting Tannehill, Gaskin & Lenny Cold Turkey

by Jennifer Eakins
Updated On: November 24, 2021, 10:03 am ET

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Buckle those seatbelts because it’s victory lap time for me in the Play at Your Own Risk Column. I hit on four of five players in Week 11, as Russell Wilson was QB24 with 8.5 fantasy points, Michael Pittman’s brutal 3.3 half-PPR points came in as WR70, Zack Moss was RB71 with just a half of a point, and Kyle Pitts checked in as the TE26 with a mere 4.4 half-PPR points. Only Terry McLaurin proved me wrong with an 18.8 performance as the WR7 last week. 

As we careen closer to the fantasy postseason, tempering expectations on players in unsavory situations is imperative, as every single point counts. Here is this week’s crop of players who could serve us a bad dish this Thanksgiving week. 

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans @ New England Patriots 
The Titans signal caller is the QB8 over the past four weeks with 63.1 fantasy points, and we’re missing both Patrick Mahomes and Kyler Murray this week, but it’s still not advisable to roll with Tannehill in Week 12. 

His best weapon, A.J. Brown, is dealing with multiple injuries, and he’s facing a white-hot New England defense that is allowing just 14.0 fantasy points to enemy QBs in 2021. It may be tough to sit Tannehill in 2QB and superflex formats, but in leagues with just one starter, it may benefit your bottom line to play another QB. 

T.J. Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears 
The cupboards are ridiculously bare in the TE pantry this season, so benching  Hockenson is probably not an option for most of you, but it’s at least something to think about. As the strongest pass-catching weapon in the Detroit offense, teams are focusing on taking the TE out every week, which has resulted in a TE8 performance on the season, TE18 over the last four weeks.

He gets a Thanksgiving day tilt against the Bears, who are actually stout against TEs this season. As a defensive unit, Chicago is only allowing 7.2 half-PPR points per game in 2021 to the position, which is the seventh-fewest in the NFL. If sitting Hockenson is not in the cards, consider him a lower end TE1/2 this week. 

DeVonta Smith, WR, Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants 
The rookie is experiencing a productive introduction to the NFL, with 243 yards and three scores in his last three contests. Smith and QB Jalen Hurts seem to have developed a fruitful connection, as the 23-year old has been the most targeted WR in the Philly offense over the last four games by almost double the next guy. 

Their matchup this week is not unfavorable by any means, but if they get up big on the Giants, Smith could be game-scripted out of WR1 or even WR2 territory. The Eagles have been extremely run-heavy in recent weeks with an average of 42.7 rushing plays in their last three contests, which is the most in the league. I’m not saying to bench Smith, but expect a lower WR3 outing in Week 12. 

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Myles Gaskin, RB, Miami Dolphins vs. Carolina Panthers
Gaskin’s only real consistency this season is that he alternates between fantasy relevancy and not every other week. He’s coming off a 17.1 half-PPR performance and has a difficult matchup on tap for Sunday.  

The Panthers are allowing the third-fewest half-PPR points to opposing backfields this season (16.8), holding Antonio Gibson to just 95 yards on 19 carries with a fumble last week, and only letting James Conner rush for 62 yards with another 37 air yards in Week 10. It could be tough sledding for an RB who’s averaging a mere 3.5 yards per attempt in 2021. 

Leonard Fournette, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Indianapolis Colts 
It was not a very high-output fantasy week for Fournette on Monday night, as the Bucs got a comfortable lead and let Ronald Jones play rusher in order to keep their RB1 fresh. Sadly, it may be another dud in the scoring column for the 26-year old on Sunday.   

Tampa Bay heads to Indianapolis to face a defense that is yielding the fewest half-PPR points to enemy backfields this season with just 16.1 per week. The volume has been there for Lenny this season and he’s always capable of an RB1 performance, but consider him more of an RB2 with touchdown upside in Week 12. 

Jennifer Eakins

In addition to contributing for NBC Sports EDGE, Jennifer Eakins is an analyst and podcast co-host for 4for4 Fantasy Football. When not writing or talking about the NFL, you can find her in the mountains outside Denver or on Twitter @themondaymommy