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Dan's Sack (Fantasy Football Mailbag): Special Thanksgiving Edition!

Dan Ciarrocchi of Hogs Haven and Pro Football Focus answers all of your Week 12 Fantasy Football questions.

Scott Cunningham

You would think that in a Thanksgiving edition of Dan's Sack, the fantasy questions I would receive would be more-- well-- thankful, I guess. Instead, there were no proclamations of gratitude for sleepers that have propelled owners into the upper echelon of fantasy dominance, or the usual high volume of questions about which stud to start this week.

Instead, for whatever reason, the topic that dominated the comments section was Beanie Wells. Wells is returning from injury this week, and instead of fantasy owners being happy over the return of a feature back, they instead used the comments section as a group therapy venue to vent about how much Beanie Wells, a player who has barely even had the chance to screw his owners this year, has royally screwed them.

The fact that even in a festive time where we get to talk turkey and watch a meaningful Redskins/Cowboys game on a national stage during a holiday, my readers are talking about how much Beanie Wells sucks in fantasy. They will not have their judgment clouded by festivities and food, and will instead focus on what really matters this week. And that matter is discussing how Beanie Wells will bend them over and give new definition to Thanksgiving stuffing this weekend.

It for this reason-- and I say this with no sarcasm whatsoever-- that I love Hogs Haven and everything that has to do with it. I couldn't be more thankful to have a place where I can discuss sleepers, start/sit dilemmas and how much Beanie Wells sucks. Let's get to some questions before I get more teary-eyed.

@oldstylebeerman asks via Twitter: One guy for the rest of the year, Danario Alexander or Cecil shorts? Thx.

Chad Henne is now the man at the helm with Blaine Gabbert is out for the season, and I prefer Henne's arm over Gabbert's the same way I prefer walking through hot coals over walking through nuclear waste. Burns can at least be treated; nuclear waste could give you some exotic disease that can't be cured. I guess this is my roundabout way of saying there is no cure for Blaine Gabbert, or any fantasy team that relies on his production.

Anyway, it's really refreshing to see Cecil Shorts and Danario Alexander step up this season. I've always admired their talent from a distance, and I think they are both here to stay in terms of fantasy relevance. With Alexander's 6-foot-5-inch frame and penchant for making downfield grabs, it looks like A.J. Smith has found himself a viable Vincent Jackson clone-- and one he gets to pay with just pennies! What a dream come true for him...

Alexander's biggest hurdle the rest of the season will be his health. He's always had knee issues, and whether he can keep his productivity up down the stretch will be interesting to see. But as long as he has a clean bill of health, he's a must-start the rest of the way, especially this week at home versus a Ravens secondary that historically struggles against big receivers like Alexander. Just know that you'd be taking a risk if your team relies on him the rest of the way, but sometimes those risks pay off big time. Keep both on your team, and if you can use Shorts as insurance you are in tremendous shape.

Heaternet from the Hogs Haven community writes: Who should I start for my Qb1 and OP? I have Joe Flacco, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and I picked up Colin Kaepernick this week.

Well, let's see. Joe Flacco is playing on the road again, and that essentially means he will complete somewhere in the vicinity of 30 percent of his passes and throw at least one interception deep in his own territory. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been a mixed bag all season, but even with a favorable matchup versus the Colts on the docket, the possibility of him laying a fantasy egg remains too high for me to want to gamble with.

I think you have to take a chance with the unknown here and start Kaepernick. There's typically a great deal of variance with young quarterbacks not only in terms of fantasy points, but overall on-field performance as well. But the reason I'm OK with this in Kaepernick's case is because he is a threat to make plays with his legs, and that can be the great equalizer for fantasy quarterbacks. Remember when Tim Tebow was an awesome fantasy option? Michael Vick was too. Even Robert Griffin III would barely be fantasy relevant if he couldn't run the ball. Great running ability can be enough to compensate for a poor passing performance in fantasy leagues, and if things aren't going well through the air this week, I expect Kaepernick to defer to his running instincts more often and give you a handful of points to save face at the very least.

@Jknice writes via Twitter: Start AP against bears???

I would start Adrian Peterson against actual bears. Yes, dude.

@westernsubs writes via Twitter: Aaron Hernandez or B. Myers?

The amount of snaps Aaron Hernandez is likely to receive this week is up in the air, but would you expect that information to be clear from a Bill Belichick-coached team? Of course not. He may not have a choice but to put Hernandez in for more snaps and give Brady a viable option now that Gronkowski's due to miss time. Even with limited snaps, Hernandez can put up numbers. In his first game back from his ankle injury against the Seahawks, Hernandez played in 43 percent of the Patriots snaps on offense and still got 67 yards and a score. Even in the event Hernandez is limited, I have to go with his upside.

@hartclaremont writes via Twitter: Marcel Reece or Stephen Jackson?

My rule of thumb for Stephen Jackson owners is that as long as the Rams are in the game, he has a chance to get his touches and be fantasy relevant. The Rams, however, don't really stay in games much these days, and we saw last year that Jackson petered out as the season came to a close. Marcel Reese will get his touches even if the Raiders lose by 60, which even against the Bengals seems like a decent possibility because Raiders. The point is, the Raiders love to pass a ton, but Reece is a vital aspect in that area. Start him, and worry about whether Jackson can survive the stretch of the season another week.

Ampate7 from the Hogs Haven community writes: Beanie Wells or Mikel Leshoure?

Even with Leshoure's awful matchup this week, the Lions have proved that they will at least give him the necessary touches to create fantasy points. That can be enough to supplant even Beanie Wells, the revered fantasy god of the week, who may not even prove effective enough to tilt the scale in his favor after LaRod Stephens-Howling had a monster week.

You know what Beanie Wells is? Beanie Wells is Shonn Greene with injury concerns. Why on earth would anyone want him on their team? Did you draft Beanie Wells or did you pick him up as a no-risk waiver wire addition? God I hope you didn't draft him before the 97th round. Do you know who has more points than Beanie Wells this year? I'll even make it somewhat fairer and compare average points instead of total points. Shaun Draughn. Chris Ogbonnaya. Cedric Peerman. Me. Yes, me. I somehow have more fantasy points than Beanie Wells this year. I don't even care how inaccurate that is, I'm rolling with it.

You know what this means, right? Because of all the Beanie Wells lamentations, he is a lock for 150 yards and four touchdowns this week because of course that would happen. So just start him with confidence and kill a turkey while you're at it. I know I will.

That's all this week, folks. If you have any more questions, put them in the comments section or reach me on Twitter via @PFF_Dan. Happy Thanksgiving.