It’s time to give thanks. And no I won’t do the cop out by saying “I am thankful for my family” or anything like that. Too easy. We are all thankful for those things in life, or at least we should be. It will come as no shock to anyone here that I am thankful for many things, but this year I would have to say that without question (and as a tie in- from a football perspective) I am thankful for the joy that my team- the Fighting Irish have brought me. My wife has never been able to understand why sports have always been integral to my life. Obviously playing it made a huge impact on me and helped to shape how I deal with setbacks, and achievements. But it is more than just that. Growing up in an Irish Catholic/ ultra competitive/ sports loving family, weekends began with Notre Dame football. Suffice to say it hasn’t always been easy being an Irish fan, but that is expected. What really drove it home to my wife- I believe- was watching the bond build over ND with my 10 year old son throughout the season. He has a good enough grasp on the game now and the joy of watching and cheering for our team throughout the year has been priceless. When my grandfather (who has been battling cancer for a number of years) came up to visit we watched the ND/ Cardinals game on my phone while we were out at a restaurant. It’s the moments like these that I am most grateful for and ones that I will never forget. Of course it will be great if my favorite team wins the championship for the first time since I was 14, but more than that, the experiences above added with going out to South Bend for the triple-overtime Pitt game have already made this season a success for me and I think it may have even gotten my wife to be a fan! So amongst all the normal thankful sentiments, THAT is what I have been thankful for this year. So enough of the lovey dovey… This is a critical week with only 2 more games left in the regular season we have 5 teams vying for 4 spots in the playoffs. Congrats to the Topes for joining the Warriors as playoff clinchers. This should be very interesting through the end! On to the picks!

Topes vs SPV– One of the 2 games this week with limited playoff implications as the Topes are only trying to solidify a bye week. I would say that the Topes are thankful for his WR’s which were looked at as much less than his RB’s, greatly exceeding preseason expectations and out point-producing them for the season so far. SPV? Well Jimmy, it’s your first go at fantasy football so you should be thankful that you are in this league and not one that would have destroyed your 1-10 season and maybe have lessened your desire to want to do it again. Hopefully we haven’t done that. For the Topes, Schaub is coming off of a career day last week when he tallied 40.08 points by himself which was half of what the entire SPV squad did last week. WOW. LeShoure gets the Texans D this week on Turkey Day which could be tough. Incidentally this time of year you always hear about how the Lions always play well on Thanksgiving. Here’s a stat for you- since 2000, the Lions are 2-10. Hmmm… Still like the Fountain of Youth Gonzalez this week. For the SPV I like the vengeance play of Keller against Bob. And Broyles with Young out could be good. Ummm yeah, let’s not overthink this- pick Topes.

Dillos vs Cowboys– The Dillos are thankful for stud rookie RB Doug Martin. I have a strange feeling he will be the Dillos keeper going forward! A lock to break the 200 point plateau this week too. The Cowboys, well I think he is thankful that this season is almost over! Not only for fantasy but for his 3-7 Eagles as well. Julio Jones may still be hobbled by his ankle, but have to love DeMaryius Thomas against the Chiefs. For the Cowboys, he is in a tough spot. Technically since Nick is already out, he needs the Dillos to win to try and force the Atoms out. Therefore bettering his draft position next year. But we all know that Nick would never resort to throwing the game right?! Haha! For Nick, maybe his boy Foles will be able to connect with Jackson enough against the Panthers D on Monday night. Like Welker, and Witten here. Pick- Cowboys Upset Special (desperation need pick here!)

Warriors vs Blitzers– The other matchup where only a bye can be played for. Dave is still thankful for Ray Rice. It will be very interesting to see what happens after this year with the Warriors. Blitzers are thankful that he is back in the league and having the time of his life. Seriously I am picturing Chalk and Garwood reenacting the Dirty Dancing scene with this song. And now so are you. You are welcome. Five weeks ago the Blitzers were at .500. Now they are on a 5 game skid. On the Warriors side, AJ Green is still in beast mode, like Matty Ice at home, and the aforementioned Ray Rice against SD. Harvin is a GTD so keep an eye there. For the Blitzers Fred Jackson is back- how much will that impact Spiller? I like Austin a bit here against the Skins. Gore should exceed 14.7 points vs the Saints unless he gets spelled. Pick- Warriors LOTW

LOD vs Pornos– Huge game here for both teams. The LOD are thankful that there hasn’t been much drama (yet) in this league since he is commissioner. The Pornos must still be thankful that AP fell to him at the draft. On the LOD side, Brandon Lloyd has been a non factor recently, can’t see how that would change. With 6 of the 9 roster spots going on Thursday, will Gar be happy or stressing come Friday? For the Pornos, is this the week that Steve Smith bounces back against the Eagles secondary? We’ll have to see how long Ryan Matthews can stay in the game, but if he does, he can find success against the Ravens. Can’t see any way that Vernon Davis DOESN’T get more than 10 points against the Saints. Pick- LOD!

Atoms vs Phinest– The Atoms are thankful that Chris Johnson turned around his awful start and infused a running game to my WR heavy team. The Phinest are the hottest team in the league right now winning 3 straight weeks. And for that… He is thankful since it put him squarely into the playoff hunt. For the Atoms, Some good matchups on board for Cam, Roddy, Megatron and CJ1K. The keys will be with Myers at TE, Hillman, and the Flex spot. Still not sure if it will be Bradshaw, Sproles, Decker, Amendoula. Lots of choices. For the Phinest, of course Andre Johnson my one time keeper will do great against the Lions. And I expect Marshawn and Parmele do get at least 12 each. Pick, as always… Phinest!

Good luck guys, and GO IRISH!!! BEAT SC!!!!


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