by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Week 1 is in the books and for many of us it was disappointing, as there was a slew of disappointing performances and injuries. Thursday games are often tricky as it is, 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:
Deshaun Watson – Quarterback
He’s expected to take over as the starter and presented himself well after relieving Tom Savage in Week 1 (12-23, 102 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT). At the same time he’s a rookie starting on short rest and that itself brings an inherent risk that fantasy owners should not be looking to take. Two quarterback formats are a different story, but if you only need one he’s not worth the risk until he proves otherwise. This simply isn’t the week to trust him given the alternatives around the league.
Verdict – Too much risk
DeAndre Hopkins – Wide Receiver
Houston’s quarterback play is questionable, at best, though Watson does bring some hope. While Hopkins has proven that he can produce despite poor quarterback play before, it took him 16 targets to get 7 receptions and 55 yards in Week 1. Taking on a Cincinnati defense that looked well against a stagnant Baltimore offense and it’s fair to be cautious with Hopkins (especially early in the week). It’s hard to sit him, but if you have other options there’s too much risk to take.
Verdict – Risky play in two-receiver formats
Any of the Tight Ends
The value is questionable regardless, but all of the Texans’ top tight ends came out of Week 1 banged up and aren’t going to play.
- Lamar Miller – Running Back
Andy Dalton – Quarterback
It was a miserable Week 1 for Dalton, who barely completed 50% of his passes (16-for-31) while throwing 0 TD and 4 INT. It’s also a matchup that will make it tough to right the ship against, as the Texans are one of the better defenses in the league and should bring extreme pressure from the opening whistle. The last time he faced them at the end of ’16 he needed 41 attempts to get to 268 yards, managing 1 TD and 1 INT. In other words it wasn’t an impressive outing and it’s hard to expect things changing this week.
Verdict – He’s a QB2, at best
Tyler Eifert – Tight End
While it’s tough to invest in a tight end when you have doubts about his quarterback, Week 1 did little to make us feel comfortable about any TE really. Eifert was among those bitter disappointments, getting just 1 target and converting it into a 4 yard reception. We all know he’s better than that, but will Dalton be able to get him the ball enough to make an impact? Health is always a concern and his value has always been tied to his ability to find the end zone. After allowing 1 reception to TE in Week 1 and being the third best defense at stopping opposing tight ends in ’16, Eifert is a borderline option at best.
Verdict – More TE2 than TE1
Jeremy Hill/Giovani Bernard/Joe Mixon – Running Back
We took a look at this situation on Monday (click here for the article), and unfortunately we aren’t going to have much clarity for at least another week. On a short week it’s hard to imagine a dramatic change, and instead we’d anticipate all three running backs playing a role and their number of touches being game flow dependent. If we had to start one of the three it would be Mixon, who still carries the most upside and is the most likely to see an expanded role. That said, it’s also a risk that could put you in a significant hole early in the week.
Verdict – Mixon is a risky FLEX play, avoid the other two
- A.J. Green – Wide Receiver
Make sure to check out all of our Week 2 rankings: