What We Saw: Week 12 Thanksgiving Edition

If you missed either of these games because of a nap, well, you didn't miss too much

Texans @ Lions


I hope you found a better way to spend your Thanksgiving instead of watching this game. Neither of these teams looked good, highlighted by one stretch where four-of-five possessions ended in a turnover and a few too many questionable running play-calls when neither team could really get anything going on the ground. The Texans gained momentum off that turnover sequence, as J.J. Watt returned an interception for a touchdown and then C.J. Prosise cashed in a short touchdown after the Lions fumbled the ensuing kickoff. The Lions would retake the lead after Prosise fumbled, but the Texans were able to pull away in the second half thanks to some trick plays and deep bombs to Will Fuller. The trick plays in this game were the highlight, as both teams broke out flea-flickers and the Lions attempted a downfield pass to quarterback Matthew Stafford. In the end, the Texans had more offensive firepower and were able to win 41-25.


Houston Texans




Deshaun Watson: 17/25, 318 yards, 4 TDs, 2 sacks | 8 carries, 24 yards


Deshaun Watson carried the Texans’ offense today despite pretty poor offensive line play. Two of his touchdowns came on deep passes to Will Fuller, one came on a flat route at the goal line to C.J. Prosise, and one on a beautiful throw in stride to Duke Johnson.



When Watson had time to throw he looked sharp, and when he didn’t he was able to use his mobility to extend plays and pick up yards. He missed Jordan Akins twice on what should have been touchdowns, and he took a sack he probably shouldn’t have when he held the ball too long, but otherwise, Watson played really well.


Running Backs


Duke Johnson: 9 carries, 37 yards | 4 targets, 3 receptions, 43 yards, 1 TD

C.J. Prosise: 5 carries, 12 yards | 1 target, 2 receptions, 1 TD


Duke Johnson was largely ineffective as a runner but caught a long touchdown to save his fantasy day. He also participated in one of the cooler plays of the game, taking the handoff for what appeared to be a stretch run before tossing it back to Watson who then completed a pass to a wide-open Will Fuller.



Usually, running backs aren’t asked to make that long of a toss back as part of a flea-flicker, and that was probably key in selling the play. Aside from that toss, and the touchdown reception, Johnson didn’t do much. There weren’t many running lanes, but even when he got into space Johnson did not really make anyone miss. C.J. Prosise caught a short touchdown, but he also lost a fumble and just like Johnson he did not really show anything as a runner to get anyone excited.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Will Fuller: 7 targets, 6 receptions, 171 yards, 2 TDs

Brandin Cooks: 5 targets, 5 receptions, 85 yards

Keke Coutee: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 17 yards

Jordan Akins: 2 targets | 1 carry, 4 yards


Will Fuller caught two long touchdowns and came close to two more. On one play he was just barely tripped up by the last defender between him and the endzone, and on another, he had a touchdown called back on an offensive holding penalty. His speed was just too much for the Detroit secondary to keep up with. Brandin Cooks converted a long first down after another offensive holding had set the Texans back on offense and was generally solid if unspectacular. Keke Coutee, playing due to Randall Cobb and Kenny Stills being injured, was mostly uninvolved but did catch a two-point conversion. Jordan Akins was targeted twice in the endzone, but on both plays Watson simply missed him. Akins handled a carry as a fullback to avoid putting up a complete zero, but it was frustrating to see how close to a big day he came without any fantasy payoff.


Detroit Lions




Matthew Stafford: 28/42, 295 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 4 sacks | 1 carry, 3 yards | 1 target


Matthew Stafford didn’t get a lot of help today, as his offensive line struggled to protect him and his receivers struggled to create much separation. He got a late touchdown to partially salvage his day, but aside from T.J. Hockenson he just didn’t have much help in the passing game. Stafford’s interception was a great individual effort by J.J. Watt on a throw to the flat.



Stafford almost came down with a catch of his own on a trick play, but on review, it was ruled he didn’t complete the catch. He also probably should have drawn a flag on the defender for a helmet-to-helmet to hit, but it wasn’t called. He was also a little unlucky in that two endzone targets to Marvin Jones resulted in defensive penalties, and then led to short Adrian Peterson touchdowns. If Stafford gets either of those touchdown passes then his day looks a lot better.


Running Backs


Adrian Peterson: 15 carries, 55 yards, 2 TDs

Kerryon Johnson: 11 carries, 46 yards, 1 fumble | 4 targets, 4 receptions, 52 yards


With D’Andre Swift unable to suit up today due to a concussion Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson split the backfield work, with both players getting 15 touches. Peterson got the goal-line work, punching in two short touchdowns. Johnson got the passing work and looked good as a receiver out of the backfield. He looked a little more explosive than Peterson, but Johnson also lost a fumble. It was encouraging to see the team go right back to him on the first play after they got the ball back, but fumbling isn’t going to get Johnson more high-value touches going forward. If you could have combined both players into one, which is what most fantasy managers were hoping Swift would have been today, you would have had a really productive day. Split up, they were both fine but unspectacular.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Marvin Jones: 12 targets, 6 receptions, 48 yards

Mohamed Sanu: 4 targets, 4 receptions, 32 yards, 1 TD

Quintez Cephus: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 27 yards

Marvin Hall: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 16 yards

T.J. Hockenson: 8 targets, 5 receptions, 89 yards


Marvin Jones was a target monster with Kenny Golladay sitting out, he just couldn’t turn them into anything. Jones drew two defensive flags in the end zone, and at least one other flag for defensive holding, but unfortunately we don’t get fantasy points for that. He was the clear best receiver and go-to option for Stafford, and if Golladay continues to miss time I would continue to start Jones. T.J Hockenson had a few nice catch-and-runs, including one off of this really cool trick play:



The rest of the Lions passing game was quiet, with Quintez CephusMohamed Sanu, and Marvin Hall all seeing extra run with both Golladay and Danny Amendola out. Other than a late Sanu touchdown reception all three were basically non-factors.


— Dan Adams (@dadams0323 on Twitter)

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