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Moving the Chains: Tradition 2.0

Derek VanRiper

Derek is the Director of Media for, where he's been a two-time finalist for the FSWA's Baseball Writer of the Year award, and winner of the Best Football Article on the Web (2009) and Best Baseball Article on the Web (2010) awards. Derek also co-hosts RotoWire's shows on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (XM 87, Sirius 210).

A few years back, RotoWire staffers hanging around town for the holiday assembled for a Thanksgiving Day dinner and decided to make things interesting. Rather than watching the Lions get blown out, Dallas disappoint, and cursing the local cable company for refusing to pick up the NFL Network with limited collective rooting interest, we decided to make things interesting by having a one-day fantasy league to cover the three games on the slate.

Now, it's an annual tradition and I've created the second-ever RotoWire Thanksgiving Day Value Meter.

Find your five favorite friends or relatives that you'll be spending the holiday with. Before the start of the New England-Detroit game, figure out a draft order and set up a six-team fantasy league just for the three games on Thursday. Keep it simple: 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 RB/WR, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 D and use a very basic scoring system as well (20 pass yards = 1 pt, Pass TD = 4 pts, 10 rush/rec yards = 1 pt, Rush/Rec TD = 6 pts, FG = 3 pts, PAT = 1 pt, 2 pt Conv = 2 pts. For your team D, go with 1 pt for sacks, 2 pts for INT, 2 for safeties and 6 pts for a TD including kickoff/punt returns).

Even if you're just playing for a small prize (i.e. $5/entry, winner take all; sixth place once again drives the crazy aunt home), there's something to be said for having that extra little investment in games that you may otherwise find meaningless.

Below, I've compiled the initial set of rankings for the Thanksgiving Day games. An update will be made to the rankings on Wednesday when the six teams release their final injury information for the week.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. - DVR


1. Drew Brees @ DAL
2. Tom Brady @ DET **Oddly listed as questionable with foot injury**
3. Mark Sanchez v. CIN
4. Shaun Hill v. NE
5. Jon Kitna v. NO **Waiting on a QB could pay off**
6. Carson Palmer @ NYJ

Running Backs

1. BenJarvus Green-Ellis @ DET
2. LaDainian Tomlinson v. CIN
3. Chris Ivory @ DAL
4. Cedric Benson @ NYJ **Previously ranked behind Felix Jones**
5. Felix Jones v. NO **Limited Wednesday, Questionable**
6. Jahvid Best v. NE **Limited Wednesday, but probable for Thursday**
7. Danny Woodhead @ DET
8. Shonn Greene v. CIN
9. Marion Barber v. NO
10. Reggie Bush @ DAL **Officially listed as Questionable**
11. Bernard Scott @ NYJ
12. Maurice Morris v. NE
13. Tashard Choice v. NO
14. Brian Leonard @ NYJ
15. Aaron Brown v. NE
16. Julius Jones @ DAL **Added with Ladell Betts ruled out**
17. Chris Gronkowski v. NO

Wide Receivers

1. Calvin Johnson v. NE
2. Marques Colston @ DAL
3. Dez Bryant v. NO
4. Santonio Holmes v. CIN
5. Terrell Owens @ NYJ
6. Wes Welker @ DET
7. Miles Austin v. NO
8. Robert Meachem @ DAL
9. Chad Ochocinco @ NYJ
10. Braylon Edwards v. CIN
11. Nate Burleson v. NE
12. Deion Branch @ DET
13. Roy Williams v. NO
14. Lance Moore @ DAL
15. Jordan Shipley @ NYJ
16. Brandon Tate @ DET
17. Devery Henderson @ DAL
18. Jerricho Cotchery v. CIN **Ruled Out of Thursday's game**

Tight Ends

1. Jason Witten v. NO
2. Brandon Pettigrew v. NE
3. Dustin Keller v. CIN
4. Aaron Hernandez @ DET
5. Jermaine Gresham @ NYJ
6. Rob Gronkowski @ DET
7. Jimmy Graham @ DAL Upside moves him ahead of Gresham if Shockey sits**
8. Tony Scheffler v. NE
9. David Thomas @ DAL
10. Jeremy Shockey @ DAL **Questionable for Thursday**


1. Shayne Graham @ DET
2. Nick Folk v. CIN
3. David Buehler v. NO
4. Dave Rayner v. NE
5. Garrett Hartley @ DAL
6. Aaron Pettrey @ NYJ

Team Defense + Special Teams

1. Jets v. CIN
2. Patriots @ DET
3. Saints @ DAL
4. Cowboys v. NO
5. Lions v. NE
6. Bengals @ NYJ **Dropped from No. 4 due to injuries in the secondary**