Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Demaryius Thomas, Chris Hogan (Must Start?!), T.J. Yeldon & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Just hours before the start of Week 2 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:


Demaryius Thomas – Denver Broncos – Wide Receiver
Thomas is looking like a game time decision, and with a 4:25 EST start time that’s not a good thing for fantasy owners.  The matchup complicates things further, as the Colts would appear to be a favorable situation to try and exploit.  If you have a late game alternative it makes sense to wait as long as possible, but at this point he’s looking like an incredibly risky option.  It’s not like Denver is void of alternatives, and it’s possible that even if he plays Thomas is utilized more as a decoy as opposed to a real weapon.

An obvious must start when healthy, there could be too much risk involved in this one and your decision has to come down to your potential alternative.  If you don’t have someone playing at 4 or later that you are comfortable plugging in, you are going to be forced to sit him down and use your alternative earlier in the day.

Verdict – Risky play, especially if you don’t have a late game alternative


Chris Hogan – New England Patriots – Wide Receiver
Adam Schefter of ESPN tweeted this morning:

The Dolphins were hurt by wide receivers in Week 1, with Doug Baldwin (9 receptions, 92 yards, 1 TD) and Jermaine Kearse (5 receptions for 57 yards) leading the way.  While Danny Amendola is going to be the obvious top target, Hogan was strong in the first game (3 receptions for 60 yards and 1 TD) and should see more opportunities come his way (4 targets).  He’s not a must start, but as a WR3 he’s worth it.

Verdict – Viable WR3


T.J. Yeldon – Jacksonville Jaguars – Running Back
Chris Ivory has already been ruled out, leaving Yeldon to once again operate as the team’s lead running back.  He failed to capitalize on his opportunity in Week 1 against the Packers, but there are two important takeaways:

  1. Opportunity – He had 21 carries
  2. Receptions – He was a factor in the passing game, catching 4 passes for 30 yards

The Chargers were touched for 13 catches and 153 yards by opposing running backs in Week 1 (as well as 69 rushing yards and 1 TD).  It all comes together to make Yeldon an appealing RB2 in all formats.

Verdict – Good start as RB2


Spencer Ware – Kansas City Chiefs – Running Back
Jamaal Charles is listed as doubtful and will not play today, leaving Ware as the leader of the backfield.  He took advantage of the opportunity in Week 1, totaling 199 yards (70 rushing yards, 129 receiving yards) and scoring 1 TD.  He does draw a tough matchup against the Texans and the Chiefs’ offensive line is a bit banged up, which will suppress his upside.  That said, it’s impossible to consider anything but a must use option.

Verdict – Must start


Isaiah Crowell – Cleveland Browns – Running Back
Zac Jackson of NBC Sports recently published the following quote from Browns’ head coach Hue Jackson:

“We just have to hand it to him enough times,” Jackson said, per the team’s official transcript. “If you have a runner you believe in, you have to give him the ball. He has to get a feel for the game and be able to play within the structure of what you are trying to accomplish with the offensive line. That’s why I said I take responsibility for that. I think he is off to a good start. We just have to give him opportunities to go show his ability.”

Crowell had 12 carries for 62 yards and 1 TD in Week 1, though the team was playing from behind for much of the day.  It seems like they are going to be committed to getting him more involved early, in an effort to set the pace, though it’s not necessarily an easy matchup against the Ravens (54 rushing yards to RB in Week 1, keeping LeSean McCoy in check).  This quote brings some appeal, but don’t go crazy until Crowell proves he can produce.

Verdict – Low-End RB2/FLEX option


Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions – Quarterback
ESPN’s Matthew Berry gave this interesting tidbit regarding Stafford, since Jim Bob Cooter became the team’s offensive coordinator during the 2015 season:

“From Week 10 last year through last week, here’s the entire list of QBs with more fantasy points than Stafford during the past nine regular-season games: Cam Newton and Russell Wilson.  That’s it. That’s the whole list. Only Wilson has more passing touchdowns, Stafford is sixth in passing yards since then, and no qualified QB has fewer interceptions. (He has only two since Week 10 last year.)”

It’s highly impressive, especially for a quarterback who often gets little love.  Considering the Titans allowed 236 yards to Shaun Hill and the Vikings in Week 1, there’s a good chance that Stafford posts another strong performance.  He should be considered a viable QB1 in all formats.

Verdict – Start


Melvin Gordon – San Diego Chargers – Running Back
It’s easy to get excited about Gordon after he found the end zone twice in Week 1, but pump the brakes a bit.  Just look at these number, as per Matthew Berry of ESPN:

“Lost in the two-touchdown game for Melvin is the fact that Danny Woodhead played twice as many snaps, had 21 touches compared to Gordon’s 14 and, in fact, had more rushing attempts as well (16 to 14).“

Now you also have to consider that the matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars is a difficult one, and Gordon is hardly a must use option.

Verdict – More of a FLEX play

Thursday Night Start 'Em or Sit 'Em: LeGarrette Blount (Start), Will Fuller (Maybe?!) & More
Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2016): Week 2: Start Larry Fitzgerald, Sit Gionvani Bernard & More


  1. Gern says:

    Good morning RP!
    A couple things. First, do you see Ware’s ROS value improving due to his projected role on the team after Charles return? I ask because he’s still available in a league where I have Gurley and Williams starting and Hyde, Matthews, and Woodhead sitting on my RB looking for a solid RB2 to replace Williams when Bell returns, but am thinking that Bell and Charles return will happen about the same time and Ware’s value will begin to drop. Just curious what you think.

    Also curious whether there are some very good ROS players who are down now due to injuries or poor QB play that you think might be good value trade targets to strengthen a roster for the second half of the season.

    As always, much appreciate your insight and good luck today!

  2. Tiffany says:

    Who should I start in my Flex spot today? Maclin or J. Hill? Standard league. Thanks Prof!!

  3. K says:

    Morning Prof,

    Last minutes roster checks: standard w/ 3 WR, Ryan Mathews over Langford and Maclin over Sanders?

    As you said with DT shaping up to be a game time decision and could be a decoy, could it boost Sanders’ value enough to start him over Maclin?

    As always, thanks!!

  4. Paul says:

    start Dez or hurns, moncrief, desean jackson, sterling shepard? ppr

  5. Gern – ROS Ware’s value will dip. He’s more of a short-term play than anything

    Tiffany – Maclin for me!

    K – I’d stick with it the way you have it. Sanders is very alluring, but not over Maclin

    Paul – Hard to sit Bryant, though he’s a risky option. My next choice is Moncrief, but they are all risky

  6. Randy says:

    In a 12-team standard, I’m trying to maximize the upside of the end of my bench. Have Rivers/Flacco; McCoy/Ingram/Ware/Coleman/Melvin Gordon/T-West; Antonio/Cobb/Josh Gordon/Tyrell Williams/Dorsett/Marvin Jones; Dwayne Allen. Top upside FAs are Jordan Howard, Dixon at RB; Parker, Funchess, Cruz, Perriman, Steve Smith at WR; several TEs available (Pitta, Jesse J, Virgil, Walford, Cook). Would you make any changes? We start 2RB/2WR + Flex.

  7. Randy says:

    Who would you flex in a standard league between Ingram, Melvin Gordon, Tevin Coleman, Randall Cobb, Tyrell Williams, Dorsett? Thank you!

  8. Gern says:

    Hey prof, week 2 almost in the books and some basic patterns are starting to show themselves. Quick question. I currently have only four receivers and #4 is Michael Thomas (NO). Tyrell Williams is available as a FA. Do you think it’s better to stick with Thomas who’s in a pass-heavy offense and getting consistent targets (and points) or drop him for Williams who’ also in a pass-heavy team and at least a WR2 on his team with Allen gone, been more up and down, but seems to come away with big plays?

  9. Haggy says:

    After Week 2 which TE would you pick up. V.McDonald or Pitta.

  10. Gern – If you aren’t going to use either, I’d prefer the upside of Williams but it could go either way.

    Haggy- I’m going Pitta at this point, as he’s a much bigger part of the offense

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