by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Thursday games are often tricky, because there isn’t necessarily a reason to take any undue risks with questionable options (which could set you back and spoil your week). Who are the borderline players that should be in lineups? Who should be sat down? Let’s take a look at the skill players taking the field tonight and try to answer those questions:
Derek Carr – Quarterback
He’s certainly a viable QB1, as he continues to fill the box score (7 TD vs. 1 INT in his past three games). That said he posted one of his worst games of the season against the Chiefs (225 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), and that’s not something we can ignore. The Chiefs have been struggling, allowing the fifth most points per week to opposing quarterbacks over the past four weeks, so be prepared to dial him up. He’s just a small step below the truly elite options (he ranked #8 for us for Week 14).
Latavius Murray – Running Back
There’s obviously reason to be concerned with Murray, considering his relatively pedestrian line for the season (553 yards on 140 carries). That said he has 19+ carries in three of his past four games, where he has proven to be a TD magnet (6 TD in those three games). He’s scored 11 TD on the year, being held out of the end zone three times in 11 games (including 2+ TD in three of his past six). That type of production is what we need to look for, especially given the questions surrounding the position around the league. His ceiling may not be the highest, but as a RB2 there’s a lot to like. Dial him up as a solid RB2/FLEX in all formats.
Clive Walford – Tight End
He has 27 catches for 288 yards and 2 TD on the season. With Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree dominating the opportunities, there’s little reason to think that anything is going to change. He’s a non-factor.
- Amari Cooper – Wide Receiver
- Michael Crabtree – Wide Receiver
Kansas City Chiefs
Alex Smith – Quarterback
Smith is an extremely steady quarterback for the Chiefs, though his forte is simply guiding the offense and not making many mistakes (as evidenced by his 4 INT). On the season he has 11 TD throws, however, with more than 1 TD in a game three times (and never more than 2 TD). He hasn’t topped 290 yards since Week 1 and also isn’t a threat to run the football. In the deepest of two quarterback formats you could roll the dice, but there has to be a better option available to you in most formats.
Tyreek Hill – Wide Receiver
The rookie is explosive and can fill the box score in any given game. Of course he could also be a bit mediocre, like he was in Week 13 (72 total yards) and Week 11 (61 total yards). He does get carries, and that’s going to help his upside potential, and he also could see 10+ targets if the situation calls for it. There’s definitely some boom or bust to his game, especially with Jeremy Maclin expected to return, but the upside also can’t be ignored. He’s a high risk/high reward WR3 for tonight’s game.
Jeremy Maclin – Wide Receiver
After missing the past four games indications are that Maclin will return for the Chiefs tonight. The question is, what kind of role will he be returning to? In his absence Travis Kelce has erupted, including three straight 100+ yard performances (23 catches on 32 targets), and it’s hard to imagine him not remaining the go to target. This early in the week, that type of uncertainty (and who knows if Maclin will also be on some type of snap count) makes him more of a desperation play.
- Spencer Ware – Running Back
- Travis Kelce – Tight End
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
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