Week 12 Thanksgiving Fantasy Sleepers: Tony Pollard, Marquise Goodwin, and Cole Beasley are compelling bargains

We pushed the mostly unrostered Marquise Goodwin in Week 11 -- can he and other Week 12 fantasy sleepers boost your team on Thanksgiving?

It’s time for fantasy football sleepers — Thanksgiving edition. Because we all know the joy of taking an early fantasy lead on Turkey Day. While Uncle Burt is digging into that fourth serving of stuffing, you’re up 43 points with your best players still on top for Sunday. So, who’s the best fantasy sleepers (and I mean “sleepers”) on each team playing Thursday in Week 12?

Fantasy Football Week 12 Thanksgiving Sleepers | Lions vs. Bears

Thanksgiving football kicks off with the NFC’s two worst offenses. Chicago averages 16.3 points per game, while Detroit is at the bottom at 16.0. But it takes only 50 yards and a touchdown for a virtually unstartable sleeper to become a fantasy hero. Here’s my favorite under-the-radar, solid-upside option for each team.

Jamaal Williams, RB, Detroit Lions

With Tim Boyle likely to get another start at QB, there is only one semi-safe receiver, and that’s the almost universally startable T.J. Hockenson (i.e., not a “sleeper”). Boyle simply cannot be relied on to feed any of his wideouts. That leaves the backfield — D’Andre Swift is clearly a must-start (although he’s deceptively risky in this mostly one-dimensional offense).

Who’s left? Jamaal Williams. He’s not reliable playing second fiddle to Swift, and he only has 3 catches in his last five games (despite catching 13 in his first three). Still, Williams offers goal-line appeal. 3 of his last 4 rushing touchdowns have come from the 1-yard line. If — and this is a big “if” — the Lions get close to the Bears’ end zone, I doubt Boyle will be throwing it. Williams would have a decent shot at a cheap score, which is what you’re looking for in a desperation sleeper.

Marquise Goodwin, WR, Chicago Bears

In a preview of the Week 11 Bears-Ravens game on Friday’s PFN fantasy podcast, I recommended Marquise Goodwin as a deep sleeper. Why? Because with Allen Robinson doubtful to play, Goodwin likely would serve as Chicago’s No. 2 wideout. Against a Baltimore defense susceptible to big plays (top three in 20-yard gains and 40-yard gains), it was all about playing the percentages. If you started him, you landed a seemingly out-of-nowhere WR1 with 20.4 fantasy points.

If Robinson sits again, the forgotten Goodwin has a golden opportunity to be no worse than a streamer in Week 12. Although his poor catch rate (50%) is troubling, his big-play ability could mean the difference between a WR7 and a WR3+. Again, with sleepers, it’s all about betting on a big play. On Thanksgiving, Goodwin has a great shot at another big play.

Fantasy Football Week 12 Thanksgiving Sleepers | Cowboys vs. Raiders

We saw what Dallas did the last time they were embarrassed. Can they rebound against the reeling Raiders, who have lost three straight games? Here’s my favorite under-the-radar, solid-upside player for each team.

Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys

With Amari Cooper (COVID) already out and CeeDee Lamb (concussion) likely sitting, managers should start Michael Gallup. And in all likelihood, Cedrick Wilson will be a streaming WR3/4 as a likely top-three target.

You don’t need me to tell you this. But … what about Tony Pollard? He’s usually on the fringes of startability. On Thursday, I believe he’ll be an RB3+ against a Las Vegas defense yielding 4.5 yards per carry. Pollard’s 5.5 yards per carry and Ezekiel Elliott’s recent injury scares make Pollard a solid bet to outproduce expectations.

Bryan Edwards, WR, Las Vegas Raiders

Game script is the key. What will happen in Dallas on Thanksgiving? I believe the Cowboys will snap back from Sunday’s poor offensive showing. Derek Carr will be forced to throw more in the second half. We know Darren Waller is a must-start, while Hunter Renfrow is a must-stream. But what about Bryan Edwards, who wasn’t even targeted in their embarrassing loss to the Bengals at home on Sunday? This was an oversight that likely will be corrected. Expect a bounce-back performance from Edwards.

Fantasy Football Week 12 Thanksgiving Sleepers | Saints vs. Bills

Two teams that looked like conference title contenders a few weeks ago are now fighting for postseason berths. New Orleans has few reliable fantasy options, while Buffalo has too many. Here’s my favorite under-the-radar, solid-upside player for each team.

Adam Trautman, TE, New Orleans Saints

When I advised PFN readers to sit Michael Pittman Jr. last weekend, it sounded ridiculous. But the process was sound — the opposing Bills had the NFL’s best pass defense (based on opposing QB rating) in 12 years. They lock down on top receivers, even seemingly must-start wideouts like Pittman. On Thanksgiving, steer clear of any Saints wideout. Instead, Adam Trautman offers the best hope for a cheap score and fantasy joy.

Cole Beasley, WR, Buffalo Bills

If you’re wondering whether to start someone, we’re speaking the same language. The obvious guys are boring. I jumped on the Beasley train right after his back-to-back clunkers in Weeks 4 and 5. There was no evidence that his struggles would continue. He’s been solid (even terrific) in most of his five games since. Beasley has great chemistry with Josh Allen, and he should earn a healthy dose of targets in Buffalo’s must-win game against New Orleans.

BJ Rudell is the Fantasy Football Director for Pro Football Network. You can read all of BJ’s work here, listen to him on PFN’s Fantasy Football podcast, and check out his contributions in PFN’s free fantasy newsletter. Give him a follow on Twitter: @BJRudell.

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