Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2016): Week 5: Start Amari Cooper, Sit Matt Forte & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Trying to decide who you should start or sit this week? Let’s take a look at a few potential decisions owners have and try to sort through them:


Start – Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles – at Detroit

Detroit is allowing the second most points per week to opposing quarterbacks, thanks to a staggering 12 TD vs. 1 INT.  Over his first three games Wentz has thrown 5 TD, without an interception, while also eclipsing 275 yards in two of the contests.  Is there anything else you really need to know to convince you to give him a shot?  Maybe he’s not an “elite” option, but the Eagles’ running game is questionable and Wentz should get ample opportunities to exploit what has been a relatively weak defense.

Sit – Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons – at Denver
You could argue that he’s a borderline play, considering how good he’s been, but this is a matchup that you really don’t want to be a part of.  The Broncos have allowed just 776 passing yards and 2 TD on the season, and it’s not like they’ve faced weak quarterbacks with matchups against Cam Newton, Andrew Luck and Andy Dalton under their belt.  If you don’t have an alternative it’s not unthinkable to roll Ryan out there, but even with the bye weeks it shouldn’t be too hard to scrounge up a viable alternative.


Running Backs
Start – Terrance West – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Washington
People can talk about Kenneth Dixon as much as they want, and he should get some touches, but it’ll be his first NFL game and you know he’s going to be eased into action.  West is coming off a monster game (21 carries for 113 yards and 1 TD) and the Redskins actually pose an easier matchup having allowed the most rushing yards in the league (532, as well as 7 TD).

Start – LeGarrette Blount – New England Patriots – at Cleveland
Tom Brady will make his first start of the season, so it’s easy to imagine New England taking a pass happy approach.  At the same time, would it be far-fetched to think that they will build up a big lead and put their foot on the brakes a bit (aka go a little bit more run heavy)?  Of course the fact that the Browns have been susceptible to the run, having allowed 453 yards to opposing running backs, just adds to the potential appeal.

Sit – Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – at Dallas
Only once has he had more than 5 carries in a game, and he took his 10 carries for a mere 18 yards (on the season he has 25 carries for 68 yards). It also isn’t like he has been a receiving monster, outside of one big game (9 receptions for 100 yards and 1 TD).  You take that out and he’s combined for 10 catches on 13 targets for 65 yards and 0 TD.  Considering the production, the risk of a bust far outweighs the potential reward.

Sit – Matt Forte – New York Jets – at Pittsburgh
He’s banged up, so there’s a chance he doesn’t even dress.  Even if he does, you have to think that Bilal Powell is going to take on a bigger role.  Throw in the matchup, as the Steelers have not been susceptible on the ground but instead have been exposed by running backs catching the football (318 receiving yards).  Granted a healthy Forte has potential there, but look at his receiving numbers over the past three weeks:

  • Week 2 – 2 receptions for 9 yards
  • Week 3 – 2 receptions for -1 yards
  • Week 4 – 2 receptions for 16 yards


Wide Receivers (Two-Receiver Formats)
Start – Amari Cooper – Oakland Raiders – vs. San Diego

He’s been trending in the wrong direction, managing just 48 yards in Week 4.  The Raiders’ running game is a significant question at the moment, though, and there’s a good chance that this game deteriorates into a shootout (or the Raiders go down big early and have to consistently throw the football to keep up).

Sit – Tajae Sharpe – Tennessee Titans – at Miami
He was all the rage early, but he hasn’t cracked 50 yards in each of his past three games and managed just 15 in Week 4.  Miami’s defense has been prone to the passing game (800 yards allowed to opposing wide receivers, one of four teams to yield that many) but in shallower formats there’s far too much risk involved.


Wide Receivers (Three-Receiver Formats)
Start – Robert Woods – Buffalo Bills – Los Angeles Rams

Sammy Watkins is out, and that should give Woods an opportunity to exploit a Rams defense that has already allowed 847 yards to opposing wide receivers.  Woods has totaled 140 yards over the past two weeks (89 in Week 4) off of 13 receptions and 18 targets.  The opportunities should continue to be there.

Sit – Victor Cruz – New York Giants – at Green Bay
It’s not a good matchup and the Giants could easily try to force feed Odell Beckham.  Considering Sterling Shepard is also in the mix, it’s going to be hard to trust Cruz under any circumstance.


Tight Ends
Start – Cameron Brate – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Carolina
Would you be surprised to learn that Brate is actually tied for the eighth most targets among tight ends (25)?  He’s turned those into 159 yards and 2 TD, and the Panthers have surprisingly struggled against opposing tight ends (fourth most points per week).

Sit – Dwayne Allen – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Chicago
The departure of Coby Fleener was supposed to leave Allen to dominate the tight end looks, but instead he’s now sharing the opportunities with Jack Doyle.  The uncertainty of his chances leaves him impossible to trust.

Sources –, ESPN

Make sure to check out all of our Week 5 rankings:

Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Rob Gronkowski, Theo Riddick, DeAndre Washington & More
Thursday Night Start 'Em or Sit 'Em: John Brown, Michael Floyd & More


  1. dodge10 says:

    fozzy whitaker or james white standard

  2. Patriots says:

    Hello Professor,
    12 team standard, remainder of season, would you rather have Cameron brate or hunter Henry, thank you

  3. dodge10 – White doesn’t have much value in standard leagues, so Whittaker

    Patriots – Brate for me

  4. Gern says:

    Morning Prof!
    So there’s a lot of chatter about picking up Cooper before this weekend given his poor performance thus far. What do you think is reasonable to give up? The hitch I see is so many folks have Cooper as their WR1 and I think they still overvalue his production based on where he is on their roster. John Brown is a little low (or G. Tate), but Edelman/Matthews seems a little high. I could see parting with a mid-tier RB (e.g., Foster, Martin, Bernard), but I’m starting to think that might be too high as well. What are your thoughts?

  5. Greg says:

    Eli Manning or kirk cousins for the rest of the season?

  6. LK says:

    With Cam being highly questionable and on Monday night, if Semian were out would you consider cutting Cousins for Paxton Lynch? I’m in a 2 QB league (4pt passing/6pt rushing TD) and would have to cut Cousins eventually anyway since he and Brady have the same bye week. Not a fan of Cousins matchup.

  7. Kyle k says:

    Looking to make a trade offer for a qb for week 8 and 9 bye week fill in. Who do you like better out of Winston, Alex Smith, and Fitzpatrick? Thanks for the help!

  8. Andy says:

    Hi RP,
    My Line up for 10 teams PPR
    QB: C Wentz
    WR: M Jones Jr, S Shepard
    RB: T Gurley, M Gordon
    TE: Julios Thomas (bye)
    Flex: J Howard
    Flex:T Riddick
    DEf: Arizona +16
    BK: R.Jennings , Brandin Cooks(bye), Allen Robinson(bye), Russel Willson(bye), Doug Martin (out)

    Other team:
    QB: J Winston
    WR: J Jones, J Mathews
    RB: T Coleman, M Jones
    TE: Z Ertz
    Flex: Mike Evan
    Flex: B Marshall
    DEF: Denver

    Look like I will lose this week so I do not need to pick C Brate as my TE ?
    1. Should I drop Julious Thomas to pick up C Brate ?
    2. Should I drop R Jenning to pick up C Brate
    3. Should I leave no TE and wish i can win ?

  9. J says:

    Enunwa, Tate, Cobb or pick up Sharpe. Need a WR3. Enunwa is who I lean just trying to fgure out who I need to play in case he can’t go.

  10. Gern – It’s tough on the WR, but someone like Bernard or Foster I’d be more than willing to give up for him

    Greg – Eli for sure

    LK – It’s tough to just drop Cousins in a 2-QB league. I’d think he’d at least have some trade value. There’s no one else you can drop?

    Kyle k – I’d say Winston has the highest upside

    1) I guess so, especially if there are viable alternatives on waiver wire (though I don’t like it)
    2) Eh
    3) I wouldn’t do that

    J – Enunwa is suddenly questionable. Guess Cobb

  11. Wolverine says:

    Professor – at FLEX S Coates, Q Enunwa, B Powell or Tyrell Williams? standard scoring (Enunwa looks like he will play)

  12. Too Tall says:

    Hi Professor. 10 team standard league. I have T Coleman, S Ware, D Williams, R Jennings, D Sproles, Dwayne Washington, Chris Ivory. For the long haul would you drop one for DeAndre Washngton? If so, who? I was thinking dropping Ivory. Thanks for your advice.

  13. Zach says:

    RotoProfessor – Sage advice needed…PPR league – WR1 is ODBJr and now.need to choose a WR2 and Flex. Please help!

    K Benjamin vs T Benjamin vs D Thomas. I’m leaning team Benjamin. I know D Thomas has been hot lately, but have to decide who would get more looks with a backup QB, Kelvin or D Thomas? T Benjamin has been trending down lately too so there’s that.

  14. Wolverine – It’s Enunwa if he plays, otherwise Coates is on the rise

    Too Tall – Williams is probably my 1st drop, since there’s no chance he gets lead back duties outside of an injury. The others at least have a chance to claim the role for themselves

    Zach – I want to say start TravisBenjamin, but the upside of theo ther two is just way too high. There’s also no guarantee Benjamin sees the bulk of the targets, especially after Inman emerged this past week. I’d go with the “safe”/high upside options.

  15. Gern says:

    Morning again Prof,
    Thanks for the advice on Cooper. I’ll see if someone takes the bait.

    On a second team I was offered J. Landry for R. Cobb. The numbers overwhelming say pull the trigger ASAP, but QB play (Rogers v Tennehill) is my only hesitation. I known it’s trading a WR 3 for a WR 2/1. What do you think? My other receivers are A Brown, OBJ (from a trade for Luck this week after his meltdown), Sanders, and Floyd.

    • I’d rather Cobb’s upside, I think. It’s close though, so I wouldn’t have an issue taking Landry

      • Gern says:

        Thanks Prof!

        On an unrelated note about process. Do you recommend pulling trade offers once games begin or keep them on the table in case someone says yes during a game because of a struggling player. I tried to pry Hopkins (WR) from someone last week during the game to no avail. Just curious what your thoughts are about the situation.

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