Thursday Night Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Week 1: Mike Gillislee, Kareem Hunt & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

After weeks of preparation opening night is finally here!  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:


New England Patriots
You would think that the Patriots are a pretty cut and dry offense, with several obvious starting options.  That said, they also have questions after the elite, and with a Thursday start it could make for some interesting lineup decisions:

Mike Gillislee – Running Back
Do we ever really want to trust a Patriots’ running back?  While expectations are that he operates as the early down running back, assuming the LeGarrette Blount role, we all know that the Patriots generally zig when we expect them to zag.  Maybe they go pass heavy.  Maybe they give a bigger role to James White or Dion Lewis or Rex Burkhead.  Maybe they do something completely out of the ordinary. 

As a RB2 it makes him a tough sell, and that could be a consistent trend throughout the season.  As a FLEX he’s likely worth the gamble, however, so it all depends on the role you need him for.

Verdict – Start as FLEX only


The Rest of the Running Backs
There are going to be opportunities for James White, Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead, but exactly how many?  Are you really willing to roll the dice on Thursday night, in hopes of a monster performance?  There’s simply too much unpredictability and risk to take the gamble.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em


Philip Dorsett – Wide Receiver
Dorsett, a bitter disappointment in Indianapolis, was recently acquired and could emerge as the second receiver in New England.  That said he’s going to need time to be incorporated into the offense and there are far too many other weapons to expect a significant number of opportunities.  Maybe he emerges later in the season, but given his history we wouldn’t count on it.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em


Chris Hogan/Danny Amendola – Wide Receiver
Chances are they share the Julian Edelman slot role, though they also will battle a bevy of running backs and tight ends for opportunities.  Unless one truly emerges their upside is going to be limited, and that’s hard to expect.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em


Dwayne Allen – Tight End
He’s going to fill the Martellus Bennett role from last season, and while that proved to be usable at times it’s not one that can be counted on each and every week.  He’s a viable TE2, but in most instances he’s impossible to put faith in (despite the potential for big days).

Verdict – Sit ‘Em


Obvious Starts

  • Tom Brady – Quarterback
  • Rob Gronkowski – Tight End
  • Brandin Cooks – Wide Receiver


Kansas City Chiefs
Believe it or not the Chiefs offense is pretty cut and dry.  While we have concerns about Tyreek Hill you obviously selected him as one of your top wide receivers and have to consider him a must play (and the team doesn’t have another receiver that you’d even consider using).  Injuries at the running back spot have made that an easy call and Travis Kelce is among the elite tight ends in the game. That leaves just the quarterback, and even that is an easy call:


Alex Smith – Quarterback
More of a game manager then a playmaker, Smith draws a tough matchup and is hardly a trustworthy option.  Maybe if you are in need in two-quarterback formats, but there are better streaming options to try and gamble on.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em (Outside of low-end QB2)


Obvious Starts:

  • Kareem Hunt – Running Back (don’t buy into the committee rumors, he’s well worth the “risk”)
  • Tyreek Hill – Wide Receiver
  • Travis Kelce – Tight End


Sources – ESPN,

Make sure to check out all of our Week 1 Rankings:

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2017): Week 1: Dak Prescott, Mark Ingram, Kelvin Benjamin & More
Saturday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: A.J. Green, Sammy Watkins, Kenneth Farrow & More


  1. K says:

    Morning Prof!

    Standard, WR3 (behind Dez & Nuk): Allen Robinson @ Houston or Hill tonight @ NE?

    PPR, Need 1 WR 1 Flex from: Moncrief, Wallace, Coleman, Marvin Jones, Duke Johnson, Riddick. Currently rostered: Wallace & Moncrief


  2. Andy says:

    These are my set up for this week:
    8 teams PPR
    QB: Drew Brees
    Wr: Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate
    RB: David Johnson, DeMarco Murray
    TE: Zach Ertz
    Flex: Terrelle Pryor
    BN: Keenan Allen, Christian McCaffrey, Davante Adams
    12 teams PPR
    QB: Kir Cousin
    WR: Michael Thomas, Amari Cooper
    RB: Melvin Gordon, Lamar Miller
    TE: Jason Witten
    Flex: Golden Tate
    BN: Jameis Winston, Devante Parker, Doug Martin
    Will you change my set up line ? Thanks .

  3. Andy says:

    I have Odell Beckham, but worry that he cannot play this week. Should I replace him with Tyrek Hill or Allen Robinson ? or do nothing. 

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