Thanksgiving Thursday, Running Back Performances and Week 12 Fantasty Action

Thanksgiving Thursday rang in another week of remarkable running back performances as some new receiving faces appear on the waiver wire in the year’s final fantasy football analysis.


Bourne broke loose for two scores as the Patriots steamrolled the Titans. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Ryan Weitman, Contributing Writer

Was anyone else’s family shouting at the television this Thursday, or was it just mine? The Cowboys v. Raiders game was probably the most infuriating football game I have ever watched. There were a total of 28 penalties by the end, many of which had completely destroyed massive fantasy plays and drives. 

The Cowboys undoubtedly got the worse end of the stick, as it seemed that they could not go one drive without having a penalty thrown on them that either kept the Raiders moving forward or stopped the Cowboys in their tracks. The Cowboys would have easily beaten the Raiders even with their best receiver sidelined if not for the massive number of penalties that ruined the game for many viewers. I would not be surprised if referees begin throwing fewer flags after Thursday’s game, as almost all of the penalties against the Cowboys were pointless and only stalled the game flow.

Leonard Fournette kept the streak of insane running back performances going strong this Sunday, following up Jonathan Taylor’s record-breaking performance with one of his own. Fournette dominated the Buccaneers’ offense with 100 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown, leaving almost nothing behind for Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to take advantage. If you had them in your lineup this week — just my luck to have Evans of course — I would be very surprised if you managed to pull away with a win.

Alongside another week of incredible running back performances, several wide receivers managed to come away from Week 12 with above average performances. Jaylen Waddle, Adam Thielen and Kendrick Bourne — I do not know how he did so well, but I started him and did not regret it — put up some of the best wide receiver stats of the week, and I would not be surprised if Bourne is one of the week’s biggest waiver wire pickup. Hopefully his performances will continue to be stellar going forward, as my team is definitely depending on it. 

Since this is my last article of the year, I am going to go through a ton of potential waiver wire adds this week. Hopefully these players will get your teams through the playoffs unscathed.

Alexander Mattison (Minnesota Vikings, RB)

My opinion here is fairly simple. Dalvin Cook’s injury against the 49ers almost guarantees that Mattison will have a breakout performance this Sunday. If Mattison is available in any of your leagues and you are in need of an above average performance, he definitely merits some consideration.

Dontrell Hilliard (Tennessee Titans, RB)

I can’t believe I haven’t seen more hype around Hilliard, as he has put up two of the best running back performances for the Titans since Derrick Henry’s departure with an injury. He is far from being a touchdown-dependent type player, and he has gotten a solid number of snaps over the past two weeks in the muddled Titans backfield. He is more reliable than Mattison going forward, as his production is almost guaranteed to improve if the Titans offense gets back on track.

Matt Brieda (Buffalo Bills, RB)

Much like the Titans, the Bills backfield is incredibly strained, with Brieda being thrown into the mix with Zach Moss and Devin Singletary in Week 10 seemingly out of nowhere. While his performances are by no means a guarantee, his increasing usage as the weeks go by makes him worthy of consideration as we head into the playoffs. He is certainly touchdown-dependent, but the Bills have been trying to find a consistent running back to integrate into their parabolic offense all season, and hopefully Brieda will be used enough to be the solution.

Evan McPherson (Cincinnati Bengals, K)

I do not usually suggest kickers or defenses, as they vary in production and effectiveness, but McPherson definitely needs to be added off waiver wires this week. The Bengals have had a surprisingly robust offense this year, and McPherson’s back-to-back double digit performances merit consideration if your kicker’s performance has been underwhelming.

DeSean Jackson (Las Vegas Raiders, WR)

Jackson is going to get way too much hype this week after his 56-yard bomb touchdown against the Cowboys on Thursday. Stay away from him, I can almost guarantee that his performances will not hold up in the coming weeks.

Russell Gage Jr. (Atlanta Falcons, WR)

I am a bit more optimistic about Gage than Jackson, as he got targeted much more than normal in Sunday’s win over the Jaguars. However, if your name is not Cordarrelle Patterson, your performance in the terrible Falcons offense cannot be trusted. I would avoid Gage Jr. as well. 

Kendrick Bourne (New England Patriots, WR)

I have had Bourne on my team the past couple of weeks, and I was as surprised as the rest of you when he came away from Sunday’s game with two receiving touchdowns. It was not necessarily a touchdown dependent performance, but his targets were less than ideal, making him a boom-bust in the coming weeks. I am probably going to end up starting him regardless, as I desperately need a solid receiver core if I have any chance at making the playoffs. 

That is my week 12 fantasy football analysis, last of the year! I had a lot of fun writing these articles, as it gave me an outlet to write about my insane usage of the waiver wire throughout the entire season. My teams are usually unrecognizable from the ones I initially drafted, which sometimes pays off and others backfires. I still have a blast every year though, as football is by far one of the most entertaining sports to write and talk about with friends and family. Hopefully I will see you next year as I will be back with dozens and dozens of waiver wire pickups who will make their names known in the 2022–2023 season.