Thursday Night Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Week 5: Chris Hogan, Doug Martin, James White & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

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:


New England Patriots

Mike Gillislee – Running Back
Gillislee continues to get the early down work for New England, with at least 12 carries in every game.  That said after scoring 3 TD in Week 1 and another in Week 2, the production has disappeared over the past two weeks (24 carries for 80 yards and 0 TD).  Part of that may be matchup based, though it’s not like he was posting gaudy numbers while finding the end zone (114 yards on 33 carries over the first two games).  Tampa Bay isn’t an easy defense to run against, as they are allowing 2.7 yards/carry to opposing running backs, and there will be more opportunities for running backs who can catch the football.  That’s not Gillislee, whose value will be tied directly to his ability to find the end zone.

Verdict – TD dependent FLEX option


James White – Running Back
He’s coming off a 10 reception day and has now caught 8+ passes in two of the past three weeks.  In PPR leagues that’s going to put him squarely as a FLEX option, especially with Tampa Bay allowing 20 receptions for 163 yards and 1 TD to opposing RB in just three games:

  • Tarik Cohen – 8 receptions for 55 yards
  • Dalvin Cook – 5 receptions for 72 yards

Use those two as the baseline for what White could do this week, but as always things are never predictable with New England.

Verdict – High upside FLEX play in PPR formats


Chris Hogan – Wide Receiver
Hogan has scored in three straight games, with 14 receptions, 206 yards and 4 TD.  The opportunities have been there, with at least 6 targets each week, and Tampa Bay is allowing the most points per week to opposing wide receivers.  While it’s hard to lock him in, given the fact that there are alternatives, he’s a solid play even early in the week given the matchup and recent performance.

Verdict – Potential WR2, but locked in WR3


Danny Amendola – Wide Receiver
He had a big day in Week 1, but he’s totaled 90 yards over the past two weeks and is clearly behind Hogan/Cooks/Gronkowski on the depth chart.  He could have a “boom” day, but this early in the week there’s too much risk.

Verdict – Too much risk to trust


Rex Burkhead – Running Back
He missed Week 4 and while he could syphon some opportunities from the backs ahead of him on the depth chart, he’d be third at best.  In other words, even if he plays don’t bother.

Verdict – Must sit


Must Use Options:

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


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jacquizz Rodgers – Running Back
He has a favorable matchup, but how many opportunities is he going to get with Doug Martin likely making his return?  As it is Rodgers hasn’t made the most of his chance to emerge as the starter with Martin suspended, totaling 40 carries for 165 yards and 1 TD.  Sure he’s coming off a nice game (averaging 5.2 yards/carry against the Giants), but it likely came a little too late.  He’s going to remain in the mix, and the matchup does work in his favor (New England is allowing the second most points per week to opposing RB, plus Tampa Bay could look to try and control the clock).  That said, a lot of the damage has been done by those who can catch the football (320 receiving yards and 3 TD) and that’s not something Rodgers has done this season.

Verdict – Uncertainty means it’s safer to sit, but desperation FLEX play


Doug Martin – Running Back
He’s back, but how many touches is he going to get in his first game action?  If we had to guess we’d say 8-10, though it could be game flow/production dependent.  There’s far too much risk to trust him in his first game, especially on Thursday night, though he’s a must stash to see how things play out.

Verdict – Too much risk to trust


DeSean Jackson – Wide Receiver
Sure Tampa Bay may have to throw the ball a lot to keep up with New England, but Jackson has totaled 9 receptions, 143 yards and 1 TD in three games (with under 40 yards in two of them).  He’s basically a boom or bust option, and there are going to be better options available to you.

Verdict – Must sit


Cameron Brate – Tight End
He’s scored in each of the past two games and continues to be the lead tight end for Tampa Bay.  New England has allowed the fifth most points to opposing tight ends, including 3 TD (fourth most in the league).  Considering how up and down the position has been, and how few trustworthy options there are, that makes Brate a viable TE1 if you don’t have one of the elite.

Verdict – Low-end TE1 in all formats


Must Use Options:

  • Mike Evans – Wide Receiver
  • Jameis Winston – Quarterback

Sources – ESPN, CBS Sports,

This weekend only, Pre-order Rotoprofessor’s 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for just $6.25!!  Click here for the details, but don’t miss out on the best bargain in fantasy baseball preparation.

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

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2017): Week 5: Carson Wentz, Marshawn Lynch, Latavius Murray & More
Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Carlos Hyde, Jay Ajayi, Kelvin Benjamin & More


  1. Atrain says:

    Just picked up jaron Brown…is he a better option than james white….5 ppr rb vs 1.0 ppr wr

  2. C says:

    Hey Professor,

    Considering a trade and would love your input. Sorry for the long post.

    Give up D. Martin and D. Baldwin for Jordy Nelson and Sammy Watkins (don’t really want Watkins but more of a bonus).

    Rest of my roster: Brees, Zeke, K. Hunt, Montgomery, Powell, Foreman, AJ Green, Martavis, Devante Parker, Ertz

    Would love to get Jordy, but do you think it’s too risky to weaken my RBs with the uncertainty surrounding Zekes suspension and Montgomery’s injury, as well as the overall scarcity of workhorse RBs?

    If Martin goes off going forward I could of course get more for him, but I risk missing out on his current value if he doesn’t..

  3. Sam says:

    Hi Professor,
    Here is my line-up for this week, any suggestions to starting line-up would be appreciated
    Team 1 :
    Starting Line-up

    QB Jared Goff
    RB Jordan Howard
    RB Andre Ellington
    WR Odell Beckham Jr.
    WR Brandin Cooks
    TE Zach Ertz
    FLEX Tyrell Williams
    D/ST Jets
    K Greg Zuerlein,
    C.J. Anderson
    Delanie Walker
    Derrick Henry
    DeSean Jackson
    Eagles D/ST
    Thomas Rawls
    Wayne Gallman

    Team 2:
    Starting Lineup
    QB Marcus Mariota
    RB Ezekiel Elliott
    RB Andre Ellington
    WR Pierre Garcon,
    WR Tyrell Williams
    TE Rob Gronkowski
    FLEX Travis Kelce
    D/ST Chargers
    K Greg Zuerlein,
    Mark Ingram — BYE
    Sammy Watkins
    Ben Roethlisberger
    Rishard Matthews
    Alfred Morris
    Wayne Gallman

    Please suggest any changes

  4. Josh says:

    pats, jets or bills defense for the start??

  5. tiffany says:

    I’ve got Delanie Walker as my current tight end. But Brate is on the waivers. Should I drop Moncrief and grab him? If so, would you start Brate over Walker? 10 team PPR league. Thanks Prof!

  6. Sam says:

    Whom to start?
    tyreek hill vs @Houston
    hogan vs @Tampa
    keenan allen vs @Gaints
    Marshon lynch vs Baltimore
    Garçon vs @Colts

    I have 3 slots to play but very confused with the above 5

  7. Rang says:

    Would you start White over Funchess PPR?

  8. Conner McAuliffe says:

    In a pickle on who to start.

    I managed to grab both williams and jones in case ty Montgomery isn’t able to suit up or is limited on Sunday. I also have james white as a possible flex option. Would you risk james white tonight or wait to see how things shape up in Green Bay?

  9. Joe says:

    Would your start white, cohen, or Crowell? Rb2v ppr

    And sit one in same ppr… hogan, diggs, Parker, fitz

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