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2015 Thanksgiving Day Rankings: Copper or Wool?

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).

This is Year 7 of the Thanksgiving Day Value Meter cheat sheet. Whether your family will be glued to the TV for all three games Thursday, or you will be stuck playing Pictionary in the basement, having a one-day league for Thanksgiving will almost certainly make the games more enjoyable.

Plus, nothing brings a family together like heartfelt disdain for Dom Capers.

Here is a quick run-down of how it works.

1. Find a few of your favorite friends or relatives that you will be spending the holiday with.

2. Before the start of the Philadelphia-Detroit game, figure out a draft order and set up a three-to-six-team fantasy league just for the three games Thursday.

3. Keep it simple and map out roster requirements (1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB/WR/TE flex, 1 K, 1 D/ST ) along with a scoring system. (**Hint: Add a second flex that allows the use of another quarterback if you have a three- or four-team league.)

Reasonable scoring system***:

20 pass yards = 1 pt
Pass TD = 4 pts
10 rush/rec yards = 1 pt
Reception = 1 pt
Rush/Rec TD = 6 pts
FG = 3 pts
PAT = 1 pt
2 pt Conv = 2 pts
Sacks = 1 pt
INT (for defense) = 2 pts
Safeties = 2 pts
All D/ST TD = 6 pts

***Pro Tip: Establish scoring settings that match one of your season-long leagues or DFS entries, and compile player scores from your league page. These leagues can be easily scored within a Google doc, or on paper.

The entry fee can be small to get everyone involved (i.e. $10/entry, winner take all; last place drives your craziest relative home, all entry fees go toward an Uber to avoid driving that same relative home, winner gets the final word in the inevitable Thanksgiving Day political argument), and the 10-15 minutes it takes to run the draft will be well worth the time.

Below, I have compiled the initial set of rankings for the Thanksgiving Day games. An update will be made to the rankings Wednesday to account for the final injury report.

In addition to the positional rankings, there is a table below that displays fantasy points allowed by position for each of the six teams playing Thursday.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Rankings and game details updated Wednesday evening. No flex rankings this year, but will consider for 2016!

Game Schedule

Eagles at Lions (-2.5, o/u 46), 12:30 ET (FOX)
Panthers at Cowboys (-1, o/u 45.5), 4:30 ET (CBS)
Bears at Packers (-8.5, o/u 45), 8:30 ET (NBC)

*Weather conditions are expected to be cold (high-30s, low-40s) and rainy throughout the Bears-Packers game in Green Bay on Thursday night.*

“Expected” Scoring Output

Packers – 27 pts
Lions – 24 pts
Cowboys – 23 pts
Panthers – 22 pts
Eagles – 22 pts
Bears – 18 pts

The Rankings


1. Aaron Rodgers, GB (v. CHI) *Can you imagine the dialogue on the broadcast when Rodgers throws four TD passes on the night that No. 4 is honored?
2. Cam Newton, CAR (@ DAL) *If anyone in your family is offended when Cam dabs, you owe it to yourself to go find a new family.
3. Matthew Stafford, DET (v. PHI)
4. Tony Romo, DAL (v. CAR)
5. Jay Cutler, CHI (@ GB) *Moved passed Sanchez given slim chance that Sam Bradford plays.
6. Mark Sanchez, PHI (@ DET)

Running Backs

1. DeMarco Murray, PHI (@ DET)
2. Darren McFadden, DAL (v. CAR)
3. Jonathan Stewart, CAR (@ DAL)
4. Matt Forte, CHI (@ GB) *Dropped from No. 2 spot due to concern about limited workload. Forte is officially listed as questionable to play.
5. Eddie Lacy, GB (v. CHI)
6. Darren Sproles, PHI (@ DET) *Moved up a few spots with confirmation that Ryan Mathews is out Thursday.
7. Theo Riddick, DET (v. PHI)
8. Ameer Abdullah, DET (v. PHI)
9. Jeremy Langford, CHI (@ GB) *Gets bump up if Matt Forte sits, but Forte is officially questionable.
10. James Starks, GB (v. CHI)
11. Robert Turbin, DAL (v. CAR)
12. Mike Tolbert, CAR (@ DAL) *The “Book Shelf” is a great sleeper to come away with some hardware from Phil Simms in the mid-afternoon game.
13. Joique Bell, DET (v. PHI)
14. John Kuhn, GB (v. CHI)
15. Rod Smith, DAL (v. CAR)
16. Kenjon Barner, PHI (@ DET)
17. Fozzy Whittaker, CAR (@ DAL)
18. Antone Smith, CHI (@GB)

Wide Receivers

1. Dez Bryant, DAL (v. CAR)
2. Calvin Johnson, DET (v. PHI)
3. Randall Cobb, GB (v. CHI)
4. Alshon Jeffery, CHI (@ GB) *Seems to be a legitimate game-time decision after being a limited participant in practice throughout the week.
5. Jordan Matthews, PHI (@ DET)
6. Golden Tate, DET (v. PHI)
7. Terrance Williams, DAL (v. CAR)
8. Davante Adams, GB (v. CHI) *Probable with an ankle injury; limited in practice all week
9. James Jones, GB (v. CHI)
10. Devin Funchess, CAR (@ DAL)
11. Jerricho Cotchery, CAR (@ DAL) *Philly Brown is officially questionable to play.
12. Marquess Wilson, CHI (@ GB) *Officially, Eddie Royal will sit.
13. Ted Ginn, CAR (@ DAL)
14. Cole Beasley, DAL (v. CAR)
15. Nelson Agholor, PHI (@ DET)
16. Lance Moore, DET (v. PHI)
17. Riley Cooper, PHI (@ DET)
18. Josh Huff, PHI (@ DET)
19. Jeff Janis, GB (v. CHI) *Replaces Ty Montgomery (ankle, out) in this spot.
20. Josh Bellamy, CHI (@ GB)
21. Brice Butler, DAL (v. CAR)
22. Miles Austin, PHI (@ DET)
23. Corey Fuller, DET (v. PHI)
24. Marc Mariani, CHI (@ GB)

Tight Ends

1. Greg Olsen, CAR (@ DAL)
2. Brent Celek, PHI (@ DET) *Significant increase in value with Zach Ertz (concussion) out.
3. Martellus Bennett, CHI (@ GB)
4. Eric Ebron, DET (v. PHI)
5. Jason Witten, DAL (v. CAR)
6. Richard Rodgers, GB (v. CHI)
7. Zach Miller, CHI (@ GB) *Place between Witten and Rodgers if Bennett is forced to sit.
8. Gavin Escobar, DAL (v. CAR)
9. Brandon Pettigrew, DET (v. PHI)
10. Justin Perillo, GB (v. CHI)
11. Ed Dickson, CAR (@ DAL)
12. Trey Burton, PHI (@DET)


1. Mason Crosby, GB (v. CHI)
2. Dan Bailey, DAL (v. CAR)
3. Caleb Sturgis, PHI (@ DET)
4. Graham Gano, CAR (@ DAL)
5. Matt Prater, DET (v. PHI)
6. Robbie Gould, CHI (@ GB)

Defense/Special Teams

1. Green Bay (v. CHI)
2. Carolina (@ DAL)
3. Detroit (v. PHI)
4. Dallas (v. CAR)
5. Philadelphia (@ DET)
6. Chicago (v. GB)

Fantasy Points Allowed by Position during 2015 season (full PPR scoring)

Philadelphia23.2 (6th)21.2 (24th)43.8 (1st)10.1 (28th)4.7 (t-18th)
Detroit22.5 (9th)25.3 (t-13th)36.7 (15th)14.9 (9th)4.7 (t-18th)
Carolina19.6 (26th)24.0 (17th)30.1 (26th)12.5 (19th)4.6 (20th)
Dallas18.7 (30th) 27.8 (6th)28.6 (28th)10.5 (25th)6.2 (6th)
Chicago20.6 (24th)22.4 (21st)33.7 (19th)10.7 (24th)6.8 (3rd)
Green Bay22.3 (14th)21.6 (23rd) 31.8 (25th)15.9 (7th)3.2 (32nd)

Current Pie Rankings

1. Apple
2. French Silk
3. Mixed Berry
4. Cherry
5. Pecan (please send a good one my way)
6. Pumpkin

Top 5 Beers to Target this Thanksgiving

1. St. Bernardus Abt 12, Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV (Belgium)
2. Three Philosophers, Brewery Ommegang (NY)
3. Lost Highway Black India Pale Ale, Mother Road Brewery (AZ)
4. Grapefruit Sculpin, Ballast Point Brewing Company (CA)
5. Bender, Surly Brewing Company (MN)