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 – Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Miami
This should be an obvious call, but Ryan threw 5 INT over two games before the bye week and simply hasn’t played like one of the elite (1,109 yards, 5 TD, 5 INT). Then again the Falcons had the bye week to get healthy, something that can’t be undervalued. The Dolphins also have yet to register an INT, and they have 10 sacks in their four games (tied for fifth fewest in the league). Considering Ryan is the same QB who had 38 TD vs. 7 INT a year ago, look for him to have a huge rebound game.
Sit – Derek Carr – Oakland Raiders – vs. Los Angeles Rams
It’s looking like he’s going to play this week, which is a bit of a surprise considering he was expected to miss 2-6 weeks due to his injury (if he plays, he’ll have missed just one game). With that in mind, even if he plays how much can we expect from him? He had been struggling prior to the injury, throwing for 118 yards, 1 TD and 2 INT in Week 3 and then throwing for just 143 yards in Week 4 (before getting hurt). The receiving corps has also been lackluster, at best, led by the seemingly inept Amari Cooper (13 receptions on 33 targets). Between health and struggles, the risk simply outweighs any potential reward.
Start – Ameer Abdullah – Detroit Lions – vs. New Orleans
It’s been an up and down season for Abdullah, as he’s traded days below 50 rushing yards with games over 85 (he has posted games with 86 and 94 rushing yards). Generally a player averaging under 60 yards per game wouldn’t seem like a great play, but he does have a few things working in his favor:
- Carries – He’s coming off a season low, 10, but he’s gotten a consistent workload
- Receptions – He has 10 receptions overall, but they are spread across four games (he’s had 3 catches three different times)
- Matchup – The Saints have allowed 680 total yards and 4 TD against opposing RB
Theo Riddick is going to make an impact, as the Saints have been bad against pass catching running backs (303 yards are the second most in the league). That said Abdullah can also contribute there and should get back to his normal 12-15 carries. He’s not a RB1, but he’s a solid RB2 option.
Start – Elijah McGuire – New York Jets – vs. New England
Both Matt Forte and Bilal Powell are banged up, and that could lead to McGuire taking the lead of New York’s backfield. That would be a good spot, especially given the matchup, as the Patriots are allowing the second most points per week to opposing running backs:
- Rushing – 498 yards, 3 TD
- Receiving – 372 yards, 3 TD
Even if Forte is back and leads the backfield, remember McGuire was touted as a good pass catcher coming into the draft as NFL.com noted, “Excellent hand-eye coordination as pass catcher. Effective from the slot and into routes.” Consider him worth using in all formats as a RB2 (and a must use FLEX), regardless of who else is healthy.
Sit – Adrian Peterson – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Tampa Bay
Peterson is going to assume the role left behind by Chris Johnson, and that does mean some opportunity will be there. How much Peterson has in the tank and how quickly he will acclimate himself to a new offense remains to be seen. It also is a tough matchup, with the Buccaneers allowing the fifth fewest rushing yards to opposing running backs (304) and an impressive 3.3 yards/carry. Opportunity is only half the battle, and while Peterson does offer long-term appeal we would take a wait and see approach to see how he fits.
Sit – Any New York Giant Running Back – at Denver
Considering the state of the receiving corps the knee jerk reaction might be that the Giants could go run heavy with their offense. Of course the Broncos have been the elite running defense in the league thus far, allowing 167 rushing yards and 0 TD. Plus, with Orleans Darkwa not on the injury report it’s going to remain a cloudy situation and exactly where the carries come from could be a bit of a mystery.
Wide Receivers (Two-Receiver Formats)
Start – Adam Thielen – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Green Bay
Stefon Diggs is banged up with a groin injury, and while he may play on Sunday he easily could be limited in what he can do. Thielen actually has a similar line to Diggs on the season (29 receptions, 392 yards), the difference is that Diggs has scored TD (4) while Thielen has not (0). If Diggs has any limitations this could be the week Thielen finally finds the end zone, and he has a favorable matchup to do so (the Packers have allowed 760 yards and 5 TD to opposing WR).
Sit – Sammy Watkins – Los Angeles Rams – at Jacksonville
Despite the emergence of Jared Goff, Watkins has been a bitter disappointment with just 14 receptions on the season. He also draws a difficult matchup, as the Jaguars have allowed the third fewest points per week to opposing wide receivers this season. With Watkins actually trailing both Robert Woods (30) and Cooper Kupp (30) in targets, the risk outweighs the reward.
Wide Receivers (Three-Receiver Formats)
Start – Demaryius Thomas – Denver Broncos – vs. New York Giants
The Giants are in shambles, and while the focus is more on the receiving corps they simply haven’t been good defensively. Eli Apple was benched for a portion of Sunday’s game and now comes news that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been suspended. That’s obviously going to hurt the secondary, and while Janoris Jenkins is still there this could pose an opportunity for Thomas to have his breakout performance (18 receptions, 247 yards, 0 TD). All he’ll need to do is find the end zone once, and that could easily come.
Sit – Kendall Wright – Chicago Bears – at Baltimore
Sure Mitch Trubisky showed signs in his NFL debut, and long-term there is upside, but he showed how much of a roller coaster ride it will be early on. With the uncertainty of his performance coupled with a difficult matchup, Wright is simply too big of a risk to trust, even in deeper formats.
Start – George Kittle – San Francisco 49ers – at Washington
Kittle is coming off a big game, turning 9 targets into 7 receptions, 83 yards and 1 TD. That came in a favorable matchup against the Colts, and this week is a similarly favorable one (361 receiving yards to opposing TE is fourth most in the league). Tight end is one of the tougher positions to project, so if you don’t have one of the top options he’s as good of a bet as any to step up and have a big week.
Sit – Hunter Henry – Los Angeles Chargers – at Oakland
There was a lot expected from Henry entering the season, but he’s managed just 12 catches and 138 yards on the season. The bulk of that action came in one game, and if you take that out he has 5 catches for 58 yards across four games. Upside or not, is that a player you are willing to trust (especially with Antonio Gates also playing a role)?
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
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Make sure to check out all of our Week 6 rankings: