Fantasy News & Analysis

NFL Week 12 Recap: Immediate fantasy football takeaways from Thanksgiving games

2T98WF3 Green Bay Packers wide receiver Christian Watson (9) makes a reception for a td against the Detroit Lions in the second half of an NFL football game at Ford Field in Detroit, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

Christian Watson leads the Green Bay Packers: Watson caught a 53-yard pass on the first play of the game to set the tone for Green Bay, and he caught a late third-quarter touchdown.

• Packers survive despite several injuries: The Packers were down two running backs, one wide receiver and two tight ends who were all on the active gameday roster in Week 11.

• Lions’ backup wide receivers make big plays: Both Kalif Raymond and Jameson Williams gained more than 50 receiving yards amid Josh Reynolds’ disappearance over the past month.

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PFF's fantasy football recap focuses on player usage and stats, breaking down all the vital information you need to achieve fantasy success in 2023.

WR:CB Matchup Chart

Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions

A.J. Dillon leads the Packers’ backfield: Green Bay lost two of its top three running backs, leaving Dillon as the last man standing.

  • Aaron Jones suffered a knee injury last week and did not practice this week. He was ultimately inactive. Third-string running back Emanuel Wilson suffered a shoulder injury shortly after, which landed him on injured reserve.
  • The Packers signed Patrick Taylor off the New England Patriots’ practice squad. Taylor from 2020 to 2023 spent time on the Packers' active roster, playing 27 games, or on their practice squad. He was also with the Patriots.
  • Green Bay signed James Robinson, who spent a few weeks earlier in the season on the team’s practice squad.
  • The Packers split playing time between Dillon and Taylor, with a general tendency of Dillon playing in running situations and Taylor playing in passing situations.
  • Dillon had an OK day in the run game with 14 carries for 43 yards and also made plays in the passing game, with three receptions for 38 yards.
  • He has been much more involved as a receiver in recent weeks. He caught three passes for 25 yards over the first five games and hauled in 13 passes for 121 yards in the next five.
  • Dillon will remain a borderline fantasy starter for as long as Jones is out, thanks to his recent increase in receiving work.

Christian Watson bounces back: Watson was heavily involved early in the game, setting a season high in receptions by the end of the Packers' second drive.

  • Watson caught a 53-yard pass on the first play of the game, making this outing his second best in terms of receiving yards on the season. He caught four passes on the first two drives.
  • He didn’t record another reception until late in the third quarter, but it went for a touchdown, making this Watson’s best statistical game of the season.
  • Both he and Romeo Doubs played more than usual.
  • Dontayvion Wicks had been rotating in significantly with both wide receivers in recent weeks. Wicks led the team in receiving yards last week (91), but he was inactive for this game with both a concussion and a knee injury.
  • Undrafted rookie Malik Heath served as the fourth wide receiver. He also took a few snaps from both Watson and Doubs, but he wasn’t substituted in as much as Wicks had been.
  • Chances are both Watson and Doubs will see their playing time dip back down once Wicks is back, but it’s clear Watson is still a major part of the Packers' offense.

Tucker Kraft takes over at tight end: Luke Musgrave landed on injured reserve with a lacerated kidney, moving Kraft to the top of the depth chart.

  • The Packers were also without third-string tight end Josiah Deguara, who is nursing a hip injury.
  • This left Kraft as the every-down starter, and he played nearly every offensive snap while Ben Sims was the backup.
  • Kraft wasn’t a priority in the passing game for Green Bay, but he did catch a nine-yard touchdown pass.
  • He will likely see a slight decrease in playing time once Deguara is healthy, but he should still be a starter.
  • Kraft is a fine waiver wire option for fantasy managers who are desperate at tight end, but Kraft is unlikely to rank among the top 12 fantasy tight ends anytime soon.

Josh Reynolds plays a reduced role: Reynolds has spent most of the season as a clear starter for Detroit, but that no longer seems to be the case.

  • Reynolds played at least 70% of offensive snaps in every game this season outside of Week 5, when he was limited with a groin injury, and this game.
  • He started the season strong with at least 65 receiving yards in four of his first five games.
  • That was reduced to 50 receiving yards in Week 6 and 43 in Week 7. In each of the past four games, he was held to 15 yards or fewer.
  • Reynolds somewhat redeemed himself during the last minute when he caught a touchdown pass.
  • In the same vein, Jameson Williams has earned more playing time. William's playing time remained similar to last week and he caught .
  • This week, some of Reynolds’ snaps went to Kalif Raymond, who finished with five catches for 90 yards.
  • It wouldn’t be surprising if we continue to see something close to an even split for routes run between Williams, Reynolds and Raymond for the second, third and fourth wide receiver spot.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Rookie slot receiver Jayden Reed has been more involved in the Packers’ run game recently. He ran the ball twice over the first 10 weeks, three times last week and two times for 16 yards in this game.
  • Jahmyr Gibbs played more snaps than usual because he is the Lions’ primary receiving back and they were playing from behind all game. Gibbs received some goal-line work last week, but it was David Montgomery who played near the goal line this week.
  • Sam LaPorta found the end zone again this week. He has surpassed Mark Andrews in fantasy points on the season, now placing among the top four tight ends.

Washington Commanders @ Dallas Cowboys

Jake Ferguson sees a slight decrease in snaps: Ferguson caught only one pass for 35 yards while playing in a slightly reduced role.

  • Ferguson was playing 80%-90% of offensive snaps at his peak from Weeks 6-9.
  • His playing time was lower the past two weeks, but that was entirely because the Cowboys were blowing out opponents. He played 86% of snaps over the first three quarters in the past two games and 21% of snaps in the fourth quarter of those games.
  • From Weeks 6-11, he played 94% of snaps in 11 personnel over the first three quarters, 78% in 12 personnel and 60% in 21 personnel.
  • This week, he was down to 88% in 11, 56% in 12 and 0% in 21 through three quarters before again rotating starters out a little more in the fourth quarter.
  • It was mostly Sean McKeon taking more playing time than usual in 11 and 12 personnel, with Luke Schoonmaker taking all of the snaps in 21 personnel.
  • This could be more of a problem next week. The Cowboys opened up Peyton Hendershot’s 21-day practice window a week ago for him to return from injured reserve.
  • They didn’t activate him for this game, but he was a full participant in practice all week and could return for Week 13.
  • Ferguson was playing only 67% of snaps in 11 personnel over the first five weeks when Hendershot was healthy.
  • He will likely move from a must-start fantasy tight end to more of a borderline starter, depending on the matchup and the health of other teams' tight ends.

Antonio Gibson returns for Washington: Gibson missed last week with a toe injury.

  • He was limited in practice this week, and it was unclear if he would be active until game time.
  • Gibson largely returned to his usual role of playing in clear passing situations and when Brian Robinson needed a break.
  • Robinson has found plenty of success in the passing game recently, notching 13 receptions for 178 yards and a touchdown over the past two weeks.
  • The Commanders still found ways to get Robinson involved in the passing game with two receptions for 11 yards, which is still better than five of his games from earlier in the season.
  • While Gibson received plenty of playing time, he received only one carry and one target over the first three quarters. He got involved in the run and pass games in garbage time.
  • Gibson remains a handcuff to Robinson, but outside of that, he has little standalone value.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Brian Robinson Jr. exited the game for a few plays in the second quarter with a leg injury, but he was able to return on the same drive.
  • In recent weeks, Jalen Tolbert was cutting into Michael Gallup’s playing time. Their playing time remained stagnant compared to recent weeks, but Tolbert caught two passes for 49 yards while Gallup caught one for 13. That could lead to more time for Tolbert next week.

San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks

  • Christian McCaffrey: 19 carries, 114 yards, 2 touchdowns; 5 receptions, 25 receiving yards
  • Deebo Samuel: 7 receptions, 79 yards; 4 carries, 15 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown

Zach Charbonnet starts for Seattle: Kenneth Walker III was inactive with an oblique injury, allowing Charbonnet to lead the backfield.

  • Charbonnet’s snap share was not a problem in this game —  he consistently stayed on the field unless it was third-and-10-plus. When he needed a breather after back-to-back plays, DeeJay Dallas took over.
  • The time of possession was a big problem for the Seahawks, as they had the ball for only seven and a half minutes in the first half, with no drive lasting more than five plays. This left Charbonnet with three carries for 7 yards and no targets in the first half.
  • Seattle’s offense was better in the second half, so Charbonnet got more involved. He ended the game with 14 carries for 47 yards and a team-leading four receptions for 11 yards.
  • Hopefully, Charbonnet will get an opportunity to show what he can do in either a more neutral game script or in a game the Seahawks are winning.
  • Unfortunately, their next three games are at the Dallas Cowboys, at the San Francisco 49ers and at home against the Philadelphia Eagles. Even if Walker misses a few more games, Charbonnet might be in more games like this one, where his opportunities are minimal despite an ideal snap share.

49ers take advantage of the Seahawks' zone defense: Deebo Samuel was the only 49ers receiver to put up big numbers against the Seahawks defense, which shouldn’t be surprising.

  • The Seahawks are one of three teams that have run zone defense on over 82% of pass plays this season.
  • Samuel made his career defeating zone defenses. Over the last three seasons before tonight, Samuel has a 25.3% target rate against zone compared to 16.8% against man, one of the biggest extremes for a wide receiver on a sample that large.
  • Similarly, Samuel has averaged 2.79 yards per route run against zone compared to 1.44 against man.
  • Brandon Aiyuk has generally played better against man coverage, averaging 2.60 yards per route run against man and 2.07 against zone.
  • Samuel accounted for 50% of the 49ers' receiving yards over the first 52 minutes of the game, and he faces the Seahawks again in two weeks.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Seahawks' seventh-round rookie running back Kenny McIntosh was active for the first time but didn’t play an offensive snap. He spent the first nine weeks on injured reserve and last two weeks inactive.
  • D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett were both limited in practice at times this past week, but their playing time was not impacted.
  • 49ers backup tight end Charlie Woerner has typically played twice as many snaps as third-string tight end Ross Dwelley over the last two seasons, with the two getting used interchangeably. Over the last two games, Woerner has taken nearly all of the snaps in 12 personnel. 
  • The 49ers are one of the teams that use 12 personnel the least, and George Kittle is rarely rotated out, so the 49ers' No. 2 tight end gets a lot fewer opportunities than most teams' second option.
  • The 49ers took most of their starters out on offense for the last five minutes of the game.


Table Notes
  • Snaps include plays called back due to penalties, including offensive holding or defensive pass interference. The other three stats have these plays removed.
  • Targets may differ from official NFL sources. The most likely discrepancy would be from a clear thrown-away pass, where the NFL may give the target to the nearest receiver, while this data will not.
  • Carries are only on designed plays. Quarterback scrambles won’t count for the total number of carries in the game.

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