Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Jimmy Graham, Joique Bell, Sammy Watkins & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Just hours before the start of Week 8 I know many people have questions running through their heads. Who should I start? Who should I sit? Let’s take a look at how some of the recent news changes things:


Denard Robinson – Running Back – Jacksonville Jaguars
According to Mark Long (via Twitter):

“No surprise, Jaguars coach Gus Bradley says @DenardX will start at RB vs Dolphins. Toby Gerhart (foot) will get some reps though”

It shouldn’t be surprising, as Gerhart was abysmal as the lead back early in the season and Robinson is coming off a 22 carry, 127 yard, 1 TD performance. Of course the sledding is going to be a lot tougher this week as Miami has allowed 494 rushing yards to opposing running backs (sixth fewest in the league). Where they have been burned is 3 receiving TD to RB, and Robinson has just 11 receptions for 37 yards.

Matthew Berry of ESPN adds this interesting tidbit, further throwing some cold water on any Robinson hype:

“Robinson averaged just 1.4 yards after contact prior to last week, which would rank 44th among 52 qualified running backs this year. Also not a good stat, for those of you keeping track. Kudos for beating up on Cleveland, but Miami is a different story, allowing the fourth-fewest yards after contact per rush this season and is top 10 in fewest rush yards per game allowed.”

Lineup Recommendation – Consider Robinson a TD dependent, risky FLEX play for this week


Jimmy Graham – Tight End – New Orleans Saints
Obviously his production in limited time last week led to abysmal results, as he failed to catch a pass. Don’t let that scare you off from using him this week, however, even if he remains on a snap count.

While the Green Bay Packers have yet to allow a TD to an opposing tight end, they are tied for the sixth most receptions (35) and have allowed the ninth most yards (426). In other words, it’s not like tight ends can’t make plays they just haven’t managed to cross the goal line. Don’t be surprised if that trend is stopped this week.

Lineup Recommendation – Unless you have an elite alternative, the upside is too high to bench Graham


Joique Bell – Running Back – Detroit Lions
With Reggie Bush listed as doubtful, things are shaping up for a heavy workload for Joique Bell.  He’s scored in each of the past two weeks, something that could easily continue this week as Bell draws the worst defense against running backs this season (Atlanta has allowed 886 yards and 12 TD).  Throw in the questionable status of Calvin Johnson, who could be limited even if he suits up, and things are definitely lined up for a big performance.

Lineup Recommendation – Consider Bell a borderline RB1


Percy Harvin – Wide Receiver – New York Jets
Obviously people are going to be excited with Harvin making his Jets debut. However don’t go crazy here. As per Rich Cimini (via Twitter):

“Percy Harvin will return kickoffs, maybe punts, will have small role on offense, per Ryan. Unrealistic to expect him to play 50 snaps.”

As it is Harvin is a boom or bust receiver who had been mostly bust despite having Russell Wilson at QB. Now with Geno Smith and limited opportunities? The risk certainly outweighs the reward.

Lineup Recommendation – It could take a few weeks for Harvin to get up to speed, and there’s too much risk to trust in his first game


Matt Ryan – Quarterback – Atlanta Falcons
Sure the game is listed as a home game, but remember it’s actually being played in London early this morning (there’s a chance the game is being played while you read this, so hopefully he’s not in your starting lineup). Just look at Ryan’s home/road split:

  • Home – 9.66 yards/attempt, 7 TD, 1 INT
  • Road – 6.17 yards/attempt, 6 TD, 6 INT

Not to mention the Lions are allowing the fewest points per game to opposing quarterbacks while also registering 21 sacks (tied for third in the league).

Lineup Recommendation: Sit him if at all possible


Mark Ingram – Running Back – New Orleans Saints
With both Khiry Robinson & Pierre Thomas out, Ingram should be the leader in the backfield (with Travaris Cadet being an under-the-radar option in PPR formats).  Ingram looked like he was ready to put up a big year early on, as he was extremely productive over the first two weeks:

  • Week 1 – 13 carries for 60 yards and 2 TD
  • Week 2 – 11 carries for 83 yards and 1 TD

He struggled in his return from injury last week, but the Lions were a tough test.  Green Bay is tied for the ninth most rushing yards allowed (752), making it easier sledding.

Lineup Recommendation – Consider Ingram a viable RB2 in all formats


Sammy Watkins – Wide Receiver – Buffalo Bills
Not sure if you really need an excuse to use Watkins against the Jets, but just in case you did here’s a nice little note from ESPN’s Matthew Berry:

“Watkins is second only to Julio Jones in deep pass targets (15-plus yards). As luck would have it, only one other team has allowed more deep passes to go for touchdowns than the Jets.”

The Jets have allowed 7 passing plays of at least 40 yards this season, third in the league. Throw in a questionable running game and this has all the makings of a potentially big performance.

Lineup Recommendation – Must start in all formats


Hakeem Nicks – Wide Receiver – Indinapolis Colts
With Reggie Wayne ruled out it would be easy to think that Nicks will be the significant beneficiary. However, it’s not quite that simple. According to Stephen Holder (via Twitter):

“Pagano non committal on who will start for Wayne. Nicks or Moncrief”

Keep in mind that Nicks went without a target last week, while Moncrief had two. Also Wayne’s opportunities likely all won’t go to one person, with Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener potentially getting a boost and T.Y. Hilton continuing to lead the way.

Lineup Recommendation – Don’t even consider starting Nicks, though Allen becomes a bit more intriguing at TE


Trent Richardson – Running Back – Indianapolis Colts
Listed as questionable after missing practice all week, Richardson is considered a game-time decision. The truth is, does it really matter?

While he’s coming off his best game of the season (118 total yards), it also came against a Cincinnati defense that has allowed the 11th most points to opposing RB this season. Pittsburgh has been better and Richardson has averaged just 3.5 yards per carry on the season.

Lineup Recommendation – With a 4:25 PM EST start, there’s way too much downside to consider. Move on to your next alternative


Make sure to check out all of our Week 8 rankings:

Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2014): Week 9: Giovani Bernard, Colin Kaepernick, DeAndre Hopkins & More
Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2014): Week 8: Carson Palmer, Ronnie Hillman, Andre Johnson & More


  1. denz says:

    Who should I start? Palmer or Stafford? I would start Stafford but I’m not sure since Megatron is out. What do you think?


    • denz says:

      Also, should I start Jimmy Graham or gamble and throw in Gavin Escobar?

    • I’d lean Palmer over Stafford (though it is close)

      As for the TE, I’d expect much more production from Graham this week and would definitely use him over a gamble like Escobar

      • denz says:

        Thank you so much!

        I also picked up Travaris Cadet a few minutes ago. Who should I flex? I need to start one of the following:
        Travaris Cadet, Andre Roberts, Gavin Escobar or Bishop Sankey? Right now I have Sankey starting but I need to gamble to win, so I’m thinking to start Cadet. What do you think?

        Thanks again!

  2. Randy says:

    At TE, would you go Jimmy Graham or Jordan Reed?

    Also, for RB2 in the same league (standard), do you like Tre Mason, Bryce Brown, Cadet, or Theo Riddick? The Theo Riddick may sound crazy, but as a Lions fan who watched him tear up the Vikings defense (75 yards and a TD on one drive), I know he has a lot more upside today than most people are considering.

    Lastly, in a different standard league, I have a decision at flex between Ben Tate, Ingram, Andre Johnson (assuming I play Wallace over him at WR2), and Hunter. I originally thought Tate but read that the Browns aren’t fully sold on him yet and I worry a hot-hand approach could end up happening. Thanks!

    • TE – I would say Graham has the higher upside, but Reed is safer. I’d lean Graham, but it’s a matter of preference.

      RB2 – I’d go Mason, with Cadet as the second choice. Riddick isn’t that crazy, but I’d prefer the other two.

      FLEX – At this point I’m going Ingram, as he should handle an extremely heavy workload

  3. Seth says:

    McKinnon or Joique Bell, non ppr?

  4. russ says:

    Need help at wr2…need one of these 3…Steve Smith, Kelvin Benjamin or Julian Edelman? Thanks

  5. Keegan says:

    Should I start Bradshaw or Morris this week? I already have both McCoy and Joique Bell in my line up.

  6. russ – Really can’t go wrong with any of them, but I’d lean Edelman based on the matchup

    Keegan – I’d go with Bradshaw

  7. Kermit says:

    G’morning Prof – Assuming G. Bernard plays today, plug him in with Lamar Miller. If he doesn’t play, do I plug in M. Ingram or D. Martin? Also, I have one of those FF “feelings” – play D. Baldwin or J. Edelman? Got a hunch about Baldwin. Thanks.

  8. Randy says:

    In my 12-team standard league, my RBs are Forte, Foster, Tate, Ingram, Mason, Jennings, and T-Rich. WRs are Dez, Andre J, Wallace, Rueben, and Hunter. TE is Kelce. First, I’m starting Forte, Foster, Dez for sure…who makes the best WR2 and flex? Second, would you drop T-Rich for Charles Sims a potential bench stash? Lastly, would you drop anyone for Kyle Rudolph in a week or so if Kelce doesn’t get more consistent? Thanks!

  9. Kermit – For the RB, it’s Ingram for me. As for the WR, I’d go Edelman personally. I get the thoughts on Baldwin, but he’s definitely a lot riskier.

    Randy – WR2 is Wallace for me. As for the FLEX, I’d go Tate (with Ingram as a second choice if you aren’t comfortable with him). As for the moves, I could see stashing Sims if you really like him, but that’s probably the spot I’d use for Rudolph ultimately

  10. Will Ray says:

    PPR Flex McKinnon, Baldwin or Cadet

  11. sahel kazemi says:

    Mister Professor,

    As always bye weeks prove to be an arduous obstacle. 14 team .5 ppr leage, at the flex, whom would you place your money on; Garcon, Crowell, J.Hill. I know Garcon seems like the obvious choice, but Crowell has me slightly indecisive. Thanks homie.

  12. sahel kazemi says:

    Call me crazy, which is certainly possible, but I am clairvoyantly expecting a score & decent outing from daniel herron today for the colts. In my one 14 team league, waiver pick-ups are on rolling, & you can dabble on the wire at will. The question out of left field is; would you go out on a limb & drop either Sproles or Charles Sims in favour of the guy nicknamed “boom”?

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