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Best Fantasy Pickups For Week 12: Zach Charbonnet vs. AJ Dillon

Alisha takes a look at three players who should have expanded roles in Thanksgiving week’s NFL action.

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - DECEMBER 19: A.J. Dillon #28 of the Green Bay Packers reacts scoring on a rushing touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens in the second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on December 19, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

With the holiday week upon us, we have three Thursday games and one Friday game in Week 12. Unfortunately, we had another Sunday riddled with injuries, so we will need to start looking at some other options and pick them up as fast as we can. I will be focusing primarily on the four games we get Thursday and Friday in today’s article, looking at some players who may be on the waiver wire but should have extra opportunities this week.

AJ Dillon, Green Bay Packers

Dillon took over as the lead back as starting back Aaron Jones left the game with a knee injury. The Pack also lost backup running back Emanuel Wilson shortly after Jones with a shoulder injury. Dillon averaged 2.1 yards per carry, which leaves a lot to be desired, but he may be the only back ready to face the Lions in this short holiday week.

Dillon finished the game with 29 yards on 14 carries but also caught four passes for 32 yards. Dillon was unable to get much going against the Chargers’ run defense, which ranks 24th in DVOA and 16th in yards allowed per carry. With that said, he has been the best back in Green Bay this season and has been much more involved in the passing game than last season, and we fantasy players love pass-catching backs in PPR.

Dillon doesn’t get the best matchup on Thursday, as he faces the Detroit Lions, whose run defense ranks 11th DVOA and fourth in yards allowed per carry. If we look at Week 11 rushers against the Lions, Justin Fields was able to go 104 yards on 18 attempts, for a stellar average of 5.78 yards per attempt. However, D’Onta Foreman and Khalil Herbert were able to rush for just a combined 49 yards on 22 attempts and one touchdown, so nothing great from the running back position. If we look at Week 10 against the Chargers, Austin Ekeler rushed for 67 yards on 19 attempts and one touchdown, averaging a solid 3.53 yards per attempt.

The Lions’ run defense shows good on paper, but in just the last two weeks, rushing quarterbacks and running backs have done respectably against them. If the Packers keep Dillon involved in the passing game, he is definitely someone to target against the Lions on Thursday.

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Zach Charbonnet, Seattle Seahawks

Charbonnet was another backup rusher who moved into the lead role Sunday due to injury. Kenneth Walker the III left the game with an oblique strain. Even before Walker’s injury, Charbonnet was a guy recommended by many fantasy experts as a “guy to stash,” as he was turning in productive outings on limited work in an expanding role.

The Seahawks will be at home to face the San Fransisco 49ers on Thursday after a short week. The 49ers’ run defense ranks 21st in DVOA and 13th in yards allowed per carry. Rashaad White was able to put up 17.80 fantasy points against the 49ers on Sunday by rushing for 30 yards on nine attempts and a touchdown, along with 28 receiving yards on six receptions. In Week 10 against the Jaguars, the 49ers held Travis Etienne to 35 yards on nine attempts and D’Ernest Johnson to 12 yards on three attempts.

However, Charbonnet has posted 60+ scrimmage yards in three of the last four games, even with Walker healthy, so if he is the lead back, he may have some appeal even against a defense that can be tough against the run. If Charbonnet can add his first touchdown of the season to the mix, he will be a gem for fantasy managers and DFS players alike.

Tim Boyle, New York Jets

I know you are probably thinking, “What the heck are you doing writing this clown up?” My answer to you is that anyone is better than Zach Wilson’s performance on Sunday. Tim Boyle may not be someone you run to and pick up off the waiver wire, but he may spark this team up and actually be able to throw a ball that a pass catcher can catch. Look at some of the guys who have been put into starting roles and exceeded expectations, like Joshua Dobbs and Tommy DeVito this past week. They both had better fantasy outings than Jared Goff, Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson, and Matthew Stafford, to name a few.

Boyle is a career backup quarterback who is on his fourth team in five seasons. He signed with the Green Bay Packers as a free agent in 2014 and has only played in 18 total games since then. He has only three career starts, all of which came in 2021 when he was Jared Goff’s backup with the Detroit Lions. Over those three games, he completed 61 of 94 passes for 526 yards with three touchdowns and six interceptions.

In his college career, Boyle played for the Connecticut Huskies, starting in 10 games, and then transferred to Eastern Kentucky, where he started all 11 games as a redshirt senior. Boyle finished that year first in passing yards in the Ohio Valley Conference. His best rating came in his 2017 season at 75.2, and he averaged a college career rating of 60.3.

Again, this is a complete dart throw, and most fantasy managers are not going to want to pick this guy up. But for DFS players, he may be a way to get different with the smaller holiday slate this week, or at least someone that we can try and have faith in for this team.