Thanksgiving Day Observations

Thanksgiving Day Observations

This article is part of our NFL Observations series.

As you might have heard, Dalton Del Don and I split a $1K entry into the $6M Circa Survivor contest this year. One quirk of the contest is Thanksgiving Day (and Christmas Day, plus the Thursday game that week, as Christmas falls on a Saturday) count as standalone weeks. In other words, you have to pick from among the three games on those slates. 

Accordingly, everyone saved at least a couple teams for Thanksgiving, but we felt the play was (1) Use the Cowboys (biggest projected favorite) early when most people would be saving them; and (2) Necessarily fade the Cowboys on Thanksgiving to reap the massive gain in equity in the unlikely event they lost. (The Bills weren't a major consideration in New Orleans because at that point the Saints were good, so we used Buffalo early on.)

In other words, we had planned all along to be on the Bears, meager road favorite though they were, and let the chips fall. Turns out it wasn't just chips – more like a giant iceberg broke off into the sea with 80 of the remaining 120 teams going down with the Cowboys. And what can we say about that Lions-Bears game? One of the most epic displays of courage and perseverance in human history. A veritable triumph of the human spirit. 

The Team Of Destiny – as we've dubbed it ever since Lamar Jackson completed a 4th-and-19 pass with 26 seconds left to Sammy Watkins and Justin Tucker broke the NFL record with a kick off the crossbar in Week 3 – seems to have captured the imagination of those paying attention too. I retweeted only about 10 percent of the responses, but apparently Dalton and I are not the only ones invested in it. 

Here's a small sampling:

Okay, you get the idea. Now back to the usual programming:

  • There's not much to say otherwise about the Lions-Bears. Andy Dalton played well enough under the circumstances, and Darnell Mooney (8-5-123-0) and Cole Kmet (11-8-65-0) were the only significant factors. It's hard for Kmet to have value when Jimmy Graham (3-2-34-1) is the designed red zone tight end, though.
  • D'Andre Swift hurt his shoulder early, and that was a big deal. Swift is the only dangerous player on the Lions.
  • Derek Carr had a great game – throwing for 373 yards (9.6 YPA) with picks, despite losing Darren Waller early. Carr, who ran a 4.68 40 at his Combine, faster than Josh Allen or Dak Prescott, also sprinted up the sideline for a key first down.
  • The Raiders receivers played great too – Hunter Renfrow (9-8-134-0, and good punt returns), DeSean Jackson (4-3-102-1) and Zay Jones (7-5-59-0) stepped up big in Waller's absence. Bryan Edwards (1-1-12-0) was a non-factor yet again.
  • Dak Prescott made some beautiful downfield throws and wound up with 375 yards (8.0 YPA) despite missing CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper.
  • Tony Pollard (10-36-0, 4-4-36-0, plus a kick return TD) outplayed Ezekiel Elliott (9-25-1, 8-6-24-0), but Elliott got the goal line carry and saw more targets.
  • Josh Allen threw two picks, but otherwise had his way with the Saints – 9.3 YPA, 43 rushing yards and four TD passes.
  • Devin Singletary ran hard, but there wasn't much available against a stout Saints front. He had 15 carries, Matt Breida nine, and Zack Moss was a healthy scratch.
  • Stefon Diggs (9-7-74-1) was the only receiver of note, but Dawson Knox (3-3-32-2) caught two touchdowns.
  • Trevor Siemian had another bad game and would have been benched by now had Taysom Hill (foot) been healthy.
  • Tony Jones (16-27-0) had nowhere to go against the Bills, and the receivers were similarly stifled.
  • Had the Bills lost, we would have been down to 19 people left, but this contest was never in doubt.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Liss
Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.
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