by Will Overton
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:
Drew Stanton – Quarterback
You’ve got a career backup quarterback taking on one of the better defenses in the league, this is a pretty cut and dry one here I think. There’s a chance that the Cardinals get down big and Stanton is forced to throw more than they would like, but even then the results probably won’t be very good. Let’s just keep moving…
Verdict – Not usable in any format
Adrian Peterson – Running Back
The goal for the Cardinals will be to pound the ball on the ground and wear the Seahawks down a few yards at a time. This is what they did to the 49ers last week where Peterson ended up with 37 carries and 159 yards. This was the second time in three games since joining the Cardinals that AP was able to go over 100 yards, and if the Cardinals are going to stay competitive in this game they’ll need him to at least come close to it again. Seattle has actually been pretty “middle of the road” against the run game this year and have allowed 7 TD’s on the ground too.
The fear here is that Seattle gets up by a couple scores early and nullifies the Cardinals gameplan. If it weren’t for that concern, he’d be a must start, and even still he’s pretty close to one for me this week.
Verdict – Usable RB2, or strong flex play
Larry Fitzgerald – Wide Receiver
There hasn’t been a whole lot of flash to Larry Fitzgerald this season, but he’s still averaging 70 yards per game and is still on pace for 100 catches, though that might be harder to do with Stanton under center. With Stanton leading the team last week he still managed six catches for 74 yards. Fitzgerald will be Stanton’s safety blanket this week when things get tough and I expect double digit targets, even if the quality of those isn’t great.
Fitzgerald is a better play in PPR because I can see him racking up the catches, even if the yardage leaves a little to be desired. The combination of Stanton and the Seahawks has me off every other WR on the Cardinals, but despite the tough matchup I think Fitz should be in your lineup unless you’re pretty stacked at WR.
Verdict – Usable as a WR2
Jermaine Gresham – Tight End
It’s a pretty well established fact that bad quarterbacks love to rely on their tight ends for short routes and safe passes. The Seahawks, despite being limiting to the passing game, are still giving up the 19th most points to TE’s which is kind of surprising. So there are a couple of things going for Gresham this week, but at the same time, he has yet to find the end zone this season, and I think his ceiling is probably five catches for 40 yards, which only in PPR is even kind of useful.
Verdict – Only if you’re desperate in a deep league
Must Start Options
Thomas Rawls – Running Back
All indications right now are that Rawls will be the workhorse in the backfield with no Eddie Lacy to share carries with. The fact still remains though that Rawls is averaging just 2.5 YPC so far this season and has done nothing to inspire trust in fantasy owners. The Seahawks almost seem like they have just given up on the run game in general unless it involves Russell Wilson running the ball. C.J. Prosise is also set to make his return from injury this week too and we don’t know what kind of impact he’ll have either. Rawls could fall his way into a TD this week, but it’s hard to bet on that and he just hasn’t been usable at all this season.
Verdict – Must Sit
Paul Richardson – Wide Receiver
I think there is a very good chance that Paul Richardson doesn’t play this week, but just in case he does, you probably still don’t want to use him. Richardson is the most likely candidate to draw Patrick Peterson’s coverage this week with Doug Baldwin lining up in the slot. Richardson could be in for a long night if he does play and I think he’s a definite stay away.
Verdict – Stay away, even if he does play
Tyler Lockett – Wide Receiver
This is a bit more of a tricky one. If Richardson does play it actually could help Lockett by keeping Peterson from shutting him down. If Richardson is out though, there is a very good chance it is Lockett getting the shadow job by Peterson which will be tough to work with. The Seahawks are throwing a whole lot right now and I expect that to continue this week too. Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham are the primary targets, but Lockett could see a significant amount of targets as well. I just don’t want to use him if Peterson is going to be on him.
Verdict – Potential upside play in deeper leagues, high risk/high reward
Must Start Options
- Russell Wilson – QB
- Doug Baldwin – WR
- Jimmy Graham – TE