Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger

Joe Robbins - Getty Images

Even though Thanksgiving is going to look different around the country this year, at least we still have the NFL to give us a small semblance of normalcy.

The first two games of the day might leave a little to be desired since they feature four teams with losing records, but at least the nightcap should give us a hotly contested rivalry that always finds ways to deliver.


Houston Texans (-3) v. Detroit Lions - 12:30 PM EST - CBS

Houston enters Thursday's game having won two of their last three games. Last week the Texans beat the New England Patriots 27-20, giving Houston their first win this year against a team other than the Jacksonville Jaguars. Deshaun Watson passed for 344 yards and two touchdowns against the Patriots, giving Watson his fifth 300-yard passing game of the season. What Watson has been doing well lately for Houston is taking care of the football, as he hasn't thrown an interception in five straight games.

Since staging a fourth quarter comeback against the Atlanta Falcons, Detroit hasn't seen much go right. The Lions have lost three of four games, and they are dealing with injuries to many of their key players on the offensive side of the football. D'Andre Swift, Kenny Golladay, and Danny Amendola all missed last week's 20-0 loss to the Carolina Panthers. If that wasn't tough enough to swallow, Matthew Stafford is playing with an injured thumb, while T.J. Hockenson was a limited participant in practice earlier this week because of a shoulder injury.

These two teams are trending in opposite directions. Houston looks to have found some rhythm after firing head coach Bill O'Brien, while Detroit is limping towards the finish line in what could be Matt Patricia's final season with the Lions. Normally I'd have a little more faith in Detroit to show up on Thanksgiving, but the Lions are just too banged up right now. After seeing what Carolina was able to do without Teddy Bridgewater and Christian McCaffrey, Watson and the Houston offense shouldn't have trouble moving the football on Detroit.

Houston 28, Detroit 17

Washington Football Team v. Dallas Cowboys (-3) - 4:30 PM EST - FOX

Both Washington and Dallas have seen their quarterbacks suffer brutal injuries this year. Dak Prescott was lost for the season when he was injured in the first half of a 37-34 Dallas win over the New York Giants. The Cowboys had lost four straight games prior to Sunday's 31-28 win over the Minnesota Vikings. The offense of the Cowboys looked much improved with Andy Dalton back at quarterback after Dalton missed the previous two games for the Cowboys. Ezekiel Elliott had his best game of the season against the Vikings, notching his first 100-yard rushing game of the year.

One of the best stories of the NFL season has been the return of Alex Smith to the field. After Dwayne Haskins was benched, Washington named Kyle Allen their starting quarterback, but the Allen experiment didn't last two long, as the Texas A&M product suffered a gruesome leg injury against the Giants. Smith at least can give Washington some veteran stability at quarterback as the team tries to figure out what the future of the position will hold for the team.

Even though Washington did win on Sunday, they did so against a Cincinnati team that was dealing with the loss of Joe Burrow in the third quarter. Not only is Dallas getting healthier and improving on defense, the offense of the Cowboys is starting to find a little rhythm. Dalton and Dallas are able to get a little revenge on a Washington team that knocked Dalton out of the game in last month's 25-3 win by the Football Team.

Dallas 31, Washington 21

Baltimore Ravens v. Pittsburgh Steelers (-4.5) - Sunday 11/29

On Wednesday afternoon the NFL decided to move Thursday night's Baltimore-Pittsburgh game to Sunday because of a number of positive COVID-19 tests within the Baltimore organization.

How quickly the Ravens have fallen. After looking like one of the favorites in the AFC, Baltimore has lost three of four games, falling to third place in the AFC North. As if that wasn't enough to deal with, it looks like the Ravens are dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. Overall Baltimore has had four players and five staffers test positive, with the biggest names of the group being running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins.

Compared to the Ravens, Pittsburgh has to feel like they are on easy street. After narrowly defeating Dallas a few weeks ago, the Steelers took care of business against Cincinnati and Jacksonville the last two weeks. Pittsburgh is still struggling to find a running game, but that hasn't been much of a problem with Ben Roethlisberger finding Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool through the air.

How shorthanded is Baltimore going to be for this game? We might not know until close to kickoff. Even if the list of players held out for the game doesn't grow, the Ravens are going to have a really tough time running the football, which will put even more pressure on Lamar Jackson, who has been less than impressive recently. Pittsburgh is just playing too well right now to consider back a Baltimore team on the road that is dealing with a lot on and off the field.

Pittsburgh 34, Baltimore 23


DMX on the Madison Square Garden marquee

Madison Square Garden

For many managers, their playoff prospects are dark and hot as hell heading into the final week of the fantasy basketball regular season.

But before you can compete to be grand champ, you need to stop, drop, shut your duds down and open up the waiver wire for your last gasp this regular season. Here are some names you should be looking for to give you that push you need.

Rest in peace, DMX.

Booms

Kyle Anderson Forward Memphis Grizzlies

The former UCLA star might have taken the tale of the tortoise and the hare a little too seriously, but the "slow and steady" mantra has given him a successful NBA career and impressive fantasy numbers. For the past week, Slow Mo has averaged 16.3 points on 48.9 percent shooting, seven rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.3 made threes, two steals and one turnover a game.

Anderson has been a consistent contributor throughout the season and it's tough to see his numbers take a hit even when Jaren Jackson Jr. returns at the end of the month. If you haven't rostered him yet, it would be a huge mistake.

Jalen McDaniels Forward/Center Charlotte Hornets

Staying on the court has been a problem for McDaniels this season, but the absence of Gordon Hayward has forced the Hornets to look for other options on the court and the second-year player has been one of the beneficiaries. In the last three games, the San Diego State product averaged 16.3 points on 62.5 percent shooting, two made threes, five rebounds and 3.3 assists. He even threw in 1.3 steals and one block per game.

Hayward is expected to be out for at least three more weeks. Until he's back, expect McDaniels to continue his more proactive approach on this team.

Miles Bridges Forward Charlotte Hornets

McDaniels isn't the only one who has taken advantage of Hayward's injury. Bridges has cranked his game up a notch, averaging 21.7 points on 60.5 percent shooting, three made threes, six rebounds and one steal in the last three games. He may have even had the dunk of the year, posterizing Clint Capela on Sunday.

Until Hayward is back, Bridges will get a lot more freedom to operate and that means more fantasy contribution in the coming weeks.

Reggie Jackson Guard Los Angeles Clippers

Depth has not been a problem for the Clippers the last few seasons, but it has been trouble for fantasy managers looking for consistent contributors on that team. Rest and injuries haven't slowed the Clippers' winning ways this week because Reggie Jackson stepped up for them and gives fantasy participants a short-term high performer to lean on for the week.

In a week where Patrick Beverley, Rajon Rondo and Paul George missed time, Jackson thrived, averaging 17.3 points on 61 percent shooting, three made threes, 4.8 assists, and 1.3 turnovers in four games.

With Beverley out with a fractured hand and Rondo/George/Kawhi undoubtedly taking games off to save themselves for the playoffs, Jackson may not be a bad desperation option in standard fantasy and worth tracking in daily fantasy formats.

Busts

Tim Hardwaway Jr Guard/Forward Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks' recent success has not translated into numbers for all players. Tim Hardaway Jr. is one of them.

The Michigan product averaged 12 points on 37.5 percent shooting, 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists in four games last week. He did make two three-pointers per game in that span, but that is like threading a silver lining on a used rag.

Hardaway is still the third scoring option on the team, so he will get more chances to increase his production, but this week was a tough pill to swallow for a lot of fantasy managers.

Derrick Rose Guard New York Knicks

Rose has found a home with the New York Knicks, but his role has not been kind to fantasy managers. We all know the former MVP can still score, but head coach Tom Thibodeau hasn't asked him to do much else.

In the last four games, Rose has averaged 14.3 points on 43.1 percent shooting, 0.8 made threes, 1.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists. That kind of one-dimensional play is a killer of many fantasy teams looking for a more diverse portfolio of contributions.

If you need a boost in scoring, Rose isn't a terrible option to consider, but if you need anything else, you should leave him on the waiver.

Lou Williams Guard Atlanta Hawks

Like Rose, Williams isn't asked to do anything other than score at this point in his career. But even in the past week, he can't even do that at an elite fantasy level. Only averaging 11.8 points per game, 1.8 made threes, 2.8 assists and basically non-existent in every other category in fantasy sports.

It's safe to say that Lemon Pepper Lou's effectiveness as a fantasy star is gone.

Jusuf Nurkic Center Portland Trail Blazers

Okay, I know Trail Blazers have been trying to ease Nurkic back into the lineup and giving him restricted minutes. However, with the fantasy managers looking for that final push to the postseason, there might have to be an executive decision on whether Nurkic needs to be played or pitched.

Teams firmly in playoff position can hold out for him to be used properly again, but other managers won't be able to stomach another week of missed games and low-end production.

Bogdan Bogdanovic

USA Today

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Shane Bieber faced off against the Dodgers in Spring Training. He bested Trevor Bauer, allowing only two runs, and striking out nine

Getty Images

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This is where we are running experiments, crunching the numbers, and proving hypotheses, so you can reap the rewards of our hard work. The rules for this exercise were simple: Take the best pitcher in each round without reaching more than 10 spots away in either direction. (This kept us honest and realistic as to who would be available and prevented any major overpays for talent.)

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