Turkey Day started chilly with Devin Singletary cruising and Gabe Davis conking out. Things warmed up by the afternoon, though, and stayed hot through the evening thanks to Zeke, Captain Kirk, Hock and Jakobi.
Four of my six picks hit, making for a very thankful holiday. Let's push for perfection this go-around. Using ESPN's metrics database and some assistance from stats ace Kyle Soppe, I'm here to help you win in fantasy and at the books.
Pick: Christian Kirk OVER 60.5 receiving yards
After a pair or white-hot showings, Kirk's production went cold in Week 12. The Jaguars' leading receiver managed a snap share above 90%, ran 36 routes, and drew nine looks, but struggled to convert versus Marlon Humphrey's ace coverage. Despite the 4-46-0 stat line, Kirk was heavily involved and figures to bounce-back this Sunday.
Trevor Lawrence immediately locked in on Kirk, who has emerged as his QB's favorite target over the course of 2022. The former Cardinal has recorded at least nine looks in four of his past five games, while additionally finding the end zone three times over the past three weeks. Jacksonville's usage tree remains deliciously narrow, which should continue to work in Kirk's favor, particularly if Travis Etienne is at less than 100 percent.
The steady volume figures to yield top-14 fantasy numbers in a matchup against the Lions' rotating cast of cornerbacks. Detroit's carousel-like secondary has allowed the third most fantasy points to opposing wideouts and the third most receiving yards to the slot (where Kirk aligns 80% of the time).
In a game with shootout appeal (1-point spread), Kirk's opportunities should be plentiful. Given that he has averaged 65.9 yards per contest when drawing more than five looks the over figures to hit harder than the wind chill (don't worry, the Lions play in a dome).
Pick: Jamaal Williams OVER 57.5 rushing yards
Regression as a rule is easy to predict. Pinpointing when, however, is frustratingly difficult. Williams is a regression candidate... which is why I avoided his anytime TD prop. His rushing output, however, has been consistent over the past month, providing fantasy managers with something much more concrete to bet on.
Only four RBs have carried the rock 15+ times in each of their past four outings. They are: Derrick Henry, Jonathan Taylor, Josh Jacobs... and Jamaal Williams. (That's some high-level company.) There's a chance De'Andre Swift -- who did not appear on the Lions injury report this week -- regains some of the rushing opportunities. However, given that the Lions have won three of their past four games there's little impetus for Ben Johson to tweak the current formula. Even if Swift picks a few outside runs, Williams remains the team's between the tackles grinder.
That still works in Williams favor, as the Jaguars have been more successful at limiting outside runs than rushes up the middle. In fact, Jacksonville has allowed an average of 90.7 rushing yards to backs when they have recorded at least 15 totes... which is right in Williams' sweet spot.
Pick: Drake London Anytime TD (+280)
London's early-season spark has fizzled over the course of his rookie effort. Yet, his red zone appeal -- the exact trait that made him such an appealing college prospect -- continues to show up at the next level. He has converted 7 of 11 red zone looks (WR12) while no other Falcon has drawn more than four opportunities in the red area. Kyle Pitts was the team's only other high-value target (who accounted for those red zone looks, by the way), and he's out for the year.
Normally, I don't advise chasing TDs. London's role paired with the matchup, however, is too prime to overlook. The Steelers have given up the most scores to outside receivers (12). From Weeks 7-12 Pittsburgh has become a bottom-two red zone defense, allowing a TD on 72.7% of trips to the danger zone.
T.J. Watt's return helps the run defense, which should force Atlanta to put the ball in the air. Admittedly, Marcus Mariota's arm is never something to trust, but London's ability in contested situations can be (and has been) counted on.
The odds might be against me here. But stats and talent don't lie. If you're up for it, consider this the long shot of the week.
Pick: Keenan Allen OVER 64.5 receiving yards
It has been a long season for Allen investors. Since returning from a hamstring strain that had him sidelined for seven weeks, however, the Chargers' slotman has posted double-digit fantasy points in back-to-back efforts.
Allen recorded his most productive fantasy outing last Sunday, managing a season-high snap share of over 87% and running a route on 88.7% of his dropbacks. He also found the end zone for the first time in 2022, closing out the week as fantasy's WR22. I expect the ascent to continue and have him aggressively ranked inside my top 10 this weekend.
Allen's presence has helped to improve his QB's efficiency. Justin Herbert has completed 75.3% of his passes over the past two weeks. The only other game in which he hit a similar high (76.5%) was in Week 1... with Allen on the field for almost a half -- and versus the Raiders.
Las Vegas has allowed an 81.3% completion rate to the slot. Consequently, Allen has been stellar on the inside, converting 10 of 13 opportunities when targeted in the slot. With Mike Williams still nursing an ankle issue, Allen figures to be peppered by a rejuvenated Herbert. The volume and the matchup in what projects to be a high-scoring game (50.5) should lead to some decidedly overdue fantasy fireworks.
Pick: Kenneth Walker III anytime TD (-115)
Walker's recent lack of efficiency has sent fantasy managers into a justified panic. The rookie has posted just 43 total rushing yards over his past two games. But he scored twice last Sunday, and those touchdowns don't figure to stop in Week 13.
Walker has recorded 35 red zone carries (RB3) and nine rushing scores (RB5). Most recently, he has crossed the goal line five times over his past four efforts. His role in the offense is clear and uncontested. That is massive, especially considering the proliferation of muddy backfields.
The Seahawks are seven-point favorites at Los Angeles. Gamescript, therefore, sets him up for a 15-20 touch day. And his odds of finding the end zone skyrocket, assuming he gets those 15 totes. That's because the Rams have given up a score in each of the five contests wherein a lead back has notched 15+ carries when facing them. Factor in Aaron Donald's absence and Walker is in for a top-15 outing.
(BONUS) Mike White OVER 242.5 passing yards
Tis' the season to be generous and joyful. Mike White's dominant performance erased any Scrooge vibes, leaving even the most jaded managers buzzing with holiday cheer. I'm leaning into the magic and choosing to believe. Reportedly, per Jeff Ulbrich, White has impressed in practice throughout the season. He'll show off his arm when he travels to Minnesota to take on a Vikings squad that has allowed the second-most passing yards to QBs over the past four weeks. As three-point underdogs playing catch-up against one of the league's fastest-paced offenses, White offers stream appeal on Sunday.
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