by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Just hours before the start of Week 6 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:
Marshawn Lynch – Running Back – Seattle Seahawks
According to Danny O’Neil (via Twitter):
“Pete Carroll on Marshawn Lynch’s status, ‘He looked really good, back to full health.’”
While Thomas Rawls is going to continue to have a role, Lynch should return to lead back duties against Carolina. It’s a tough matchup, as the Panthers’ 324 rushing yards allowed are the second fewest in the league, though they have been susceptible to pass catchers out of the backfield (245 yards).
Lynch could contribute a little bit in that role and is definitely worth using, but consider him more of a RB2 in his first game back. The only reason he’s “downgraded” to that level is the matchup and usage question (we will have to wait and see how many touches Rawls, who is not a trustworthy option, has actually earned himself).
Sammy Watkins – Wide Receiver – Buffalo Bills
We all know about the injury and the potential loss of Tyrod Taylor, but just how much does the latter really hurt Watkins? Look at this little tidbit courtesy of ESPN’s Matthew Berry:
“If Tyrod Taylor doesn’t start, it’s good to know that Watkins had 31 yards or fewer in three of the four games he played with EJ Manuel last season.”
Watkins would’ve been a risky play in his first game back regardless, but without Taylor he is simply unusable and shouldn’t be trusted.
Lesean McCoy – Running Back – Buffalo Bills
Vic Carucci (via Twitter) is reporting that:
“#Bills’ McCoy says he isn’t 100 percent, but understands the offense needs all the help it can get & sees chances to make plays vs #Bengals.”
At this point McCoy is expected to play, but how effective he’ll be remains to be seen and we’ll have to cross our fingers that he doesn’t fall victim to a setback during the game. Consider him a risky RB2, especially given the other questions surrounding the offense. He does benefit from the lack of competition for carries, but it’s not enough to overlook the risk involved.
If you were planning on gambling on Boobie Dixon or Dan Herron, though, look for another desperation play.
Justin Forsett – Running Back – Baltimore Ravens
He practiced on Friday, which puts him in position to potentially play, but it’s hardly a guarantee and he’s going to be a game time decision. If he’s playing he’s going to be a must use option, especially with the way he’s been performing of late:
- Week 4 – 150 rushing yards
- Week 5 – 121 rushing yards, 49 receiving yards, 1 TD
If he’s forced to miss the game, with Lorenzo Taliaferro also out it will be the Javorius Allen show. While he’s not a sure thing he’d be a viable RB2/FLEX option.
Dion Lewis – Running Back – New England Patriots
This is going to be a tricky situation, as he’s been practicing on a limited basis and is listed as questionable. The Sunday night start makes it tough to depend on him, because we likely won’t know his status. The fact that LeGarrette Blount has been getting rolling lately, as well as having torched Indianapolis in the playoffs last year (30 carries for 148 yards and 3 TD) only adds to the risk involved.
It all comes down to the alternatives, but depending on Lewis is going to be difficult at this point.
Charcandrick West – Running Back – Kansas City Chiefs
According to Terez A. Paylor of The Kansas City Star (click here for the article):
“Between the two, Davis — who is listed at 5 feet 10 and 227 pounds and has a size advantage over West (5-9, 203) — looks more like a traditional featured back. Davis even fared well during a three-game stretch last year when Charles was banged up, recording 70 carries for 318 yards for a solid average of 4.5 yards per carry.”
In other words, while we want to assume that West is going to assume the role left by Jamaal Charles it is hardly a given considering the success Kniles Davis had as a fill-in last season. Of course the article also goes on to say:
“But Davis has not logged a carry since week two, largely because West usurped his workload. West has far more consistent hands than Davis, which allows West to consistently be a factor in the passing game, and his jitterbug style is similar to Charles’.”
This could become a week-to-week situation. While West looks to be the better play, right now, it doesn’t make him a must use option as the team could easily take a “hot hand” approach. View him more as a FLEX play against the Vikings as we wait for this situation to truly play itself out.
Sam Bradford – Quarterback – Philadelphia Eagles
Looking for a quarterback to play this week thanks to a bye or an injury? Look no further! Just look at these little tidbits, courtesy of ESPN’s Matthew Berry:
“OK, one guess who the other team to allow at least 250 passing yards and at least one passing touchdown in every game this season? Yeah, the Giants are bottom five in sacks this season, and when not under pressure, Bradford is completing 70 percent of his passes. He’s finally starting to look like the guy we saw in the preseason, and he’s an easy top-10 play for me against a team that gives up more passing yards per game than any team in the NFL.”
To further help Bradford’s cause is the fact that the Giants will be without one of their top cornerbacks, as Prince Amakumora will be sidelined due to injury. Bradford is coming off a 333 yard performance against the Saints and has 5 TD over his past two games. While he’s not a top level option, he’s well worth utilizing as a low-end QB1.
Alshon Jeffery – Wide Receiver – Chicago Bears
Jeffrey is listed as questionable, but all indications are that he’s going to see his first action since Week 1. The Lions have allowed the sixth most yards to opposing wide receivers this season (957) as well 5 TD, while Martellus Bennett missed practice on Friday and is in danger of missing today’s game. Obviously the offense should run through Matt Forte, but if Jeffery is on the field the upside is going to be there. Last season he posted 153 yards and 3 TD in two matchups against Detroit and, even with the risk of a setback, should be penciled in as a WR2 with WR1 potential.
T.J. Yeldon – Running Back – Jacksonville Jaguars
Hays Carlyon (via Twitter) is reporting:
“Yeldon says he’s a game-time decision but believes there’s a strong possibility he will play.”
Yeldon is looking like a risky start at this point, though the matchup with Houston is alluring and there is hardly a given replacement waiting in the wings (Denard Robinson is returning from his own injury and we all know the Toby Gerhart story). Monitor the news, but with the risk don’t consider him more than a low-end RB2/FLEX play if he’s out there.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 6 rankings: