Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Davis, JuJu Smith-Schuster & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Just hours before the start of Week 15’s Sunday action I know many people have questions running through their heads. Who should I start? Who should I sit?  Let’s take a look at how some of the recent news changes things:


DeAndre Hopkins – Houston Texans – Wide Receiver
Adam Schefter (via Twitter) is reporting:

“Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins, questionable for Sunday’s game vs Jaguars due to a toe injury, will play, per source.”

It’s hard to justify sitting Hopkins, though everything appears to be stacking up against him:

  1. He’s clearly not 100%
  2. T.J. Yates taking over at quarterback
  3. Jacksonville has allowed the fewest points per week to opposing wide receivers on the season

For most others we’d say he’s a must sit, but Hopkins has proven capable of producing with the deck stacked against him before.  Consider him a high risk, high reward WR2 depending on your alternatives.

Verdict – Alternative dependent WR2


Mike Davis – Seattle Seahawks – Running Back
After being limited earlier in the week due to a rib injury, there is no injury concern as we head into today.  The latest “lead” back for Seattle, Davis has had 31 carries over the past two weeks for 130 yards (4.2 yards per carry) while adding 5 receptions.  The Rams are allowing the second most points per week to opposing running backs on the season, with players making an impact both running (1,442 yards and 11 TD) and catching (571 yards, 3 TD) the football.  If there’s a “knock” on Davis it’s the lack of TD, but given the matchup and the opportunity he’s a must play FLEX and a solid RB2 option.

Verdict – Solid RB2


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Michael Crabtree – Oakland Raiders – Wide Receiver
Amari Cooper has been ruled out, leaving Crabtree to lead the Raiders’ receiving corps.  In a similar situation last week, against the Chiefs, Crabtree turned 13 targets into 7 receptions and 60 yards.  The simple number of opportunities alone has got to put Crabtree on the WR2 spectrum (with WR1 potential), even with Derek Carr continuing to struggle.  The matchup with Dallas should offer similar upside as the one with Kansas City a week ago, as they’ve struggled against the pass all season including allowing 6 TD over their past four games (17 TD on the season).

Verdict – Must Start


Sterling Shepard – New York Giants – Wide Receiver
The last time the Giants faced the Eagles Shepard turned 10 targets into 7 receptions, 133 yards and 1 TD.  Of course there are a few other notes that are important:

  1. The TD is his only one on the season
  2. Over the past two weeks he’s totaled 5 receptions (9 targets) for 72 yards
  3. The Giants’ passing “attack” has been abysmal (including 228 passing yards a week ago)

Sure Shepard is the best receiver they have, but Evan Engram has emerged as the leader in the passing game and the team should continue checking down to tight ends and running backs as the offensive line struggles.  Philadelphia has also allowed just 9 TD to opposing WR on the season, tied for sixth fewest, making Shepard that much less attractive.

Verdict – Borderline WR3, but not must play


Robert Woods – Los Angeles Rams – Wide Receiver
He hasn’t played in nearly a month, but Woods is set to return against the Seattle Seahawks.  Prior to getting hurt he had emerged as a must use option, including 21 targets over his last two games.  The banged up Seahawks have struggled against opposing wide receivers of late, including allowing the most points per week over their past two games (486 yards and 3 TD) and the fourth most over their past four games (including 5 TD).

Cooper Kupp has stepped up in Woods’ absence, but it’s easy to envision Woods returning to a prominent role.  While he may not be a must play in shallower formats, in leauges that require three wide receivers he’s a worthy play given the matchup.

Verdict – High ceiling WR3


Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – Running Back
Joe Mixon has been ruled out, leaving Bernard to dominate the backfield touches once again.  He’s certainly made the most of these chances over the past two weeks:

  • vs. Pittsburgh – 15 touches for 96 yards
  • vs. Chicago – 17 touches for 130 yards

The matchup with the Vikings is tough, but so was the one with the Bears and that didn’t deter him (plus Minnesota has allowed 3 TD to opposing RB over their past two games).

Verdict – Solid RB2


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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.


Kelvin Benjamin – Buffalo Bills – Wide Receiver
He’s listed as questionable but appears primed to return to the field against Miami.  Of course the matchup is difficult, with Miami allowing the fifth fewest points per week to opposing wide receivers over their past four games (including shutting down Brandin Cooks and company in Week 14).  Benjamin also carries the risk of reinjuring himself during the game, as he did last week, and hasn’t had more than 3 receptions in a game since October 12 (prior to his trade from Carolina).

When you couple his injuries with that of Tyrod Taylor (who is set to return this week) and the QB rotation, things look that much worse.  It’s hard to imagine the two forming a rapport at this point, giving him an extremely risky floor.

Verdict – Potential reward doesn’t match the risk


JuJu Smith-Schuster – Pittsburgh Steelers – Wide Receiver
Adam Schefter (via Twitter) is reporting:

“Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, questionable with hamstring injury, is expected to play Sunday vs. Patriots, per source.”

Obviously, in a matchup that could be a shootout, we want to strongly recommend utilizing Smith-Schuster.  That said he has missed a few games recently (one due to suspension), having played in just one game since November 16 and struggling in that one (4 receptions for 17 yards).  In the three subsequent games Martavis Bryant has 22 targets, and while he hasn’t put up monster numbers he’s going to eat into the opportunities Smith-Schuster gets (and the chances overall will be dominated by Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown).

There’s some “boom” upside, but the floor is also significantly low.

Verdict – Extremely high risk WR3


T.J. Yeldon/Chris Ivory – Jacksonville Jaguars – Running Back
According to ESPN’s Michael DiRocco:

“Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette will not play against Houston on Sunday, a league source told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. Fournette did not practice all week because of a quad injury. He also is still dealing with an ankle injury.”

This will leave Yeldon and Ivory to share the workload in a matchup against a Houston team that’s allowed the third fewest points per week to opposing RB.  According to Ian Rapport (via twitter):

“The #Jaguars are planning for RB Chris Ivory to start, sources say. Leonard Fournette (quad contusion) is out. He’ll be back in a week.”

That would put Ivory as the better gamble, but he’s not guaranteed the lion’s share of the work.  Couple the matchup with the uncertain workload and neither are worth the risk.

Verdict – Must sit


** PRE-SALE **
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 15 rankings:

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2017): Week 16: Martavis Bryant, Demarco Murray, Blake Bortles & More
Start 'Em or Sit 'Em (2017): Week 15: Derek Carr, Alshon Jeffery, Greg Olsen & More


  1. Jason says:

    Professor, I play to get into the finals today and Fournette has just been ruled out. Right now I have kamara and L.Murray as my RBS (murray was my flex). So now my flex options are ..
    Corey coleman
    Or I also have Ivory AND Yeldon but I don’t know who would be the guy. Ivory is starting but no guarantee he carries most of the work. Please help.

  2. Darrick says:

    Hey professor who would you start bortles, arr, or. mariota

  3. trevor says:

    ppr jordy nelson, landry or josh gordon
    ppr drake, jamaal williams, mckinnon or lativus murray
    newton or rodgers
    brees or rodgers
    ppr ingram or drake
    ppr landry or funchess

  4. Jay says:

    Standard Need one one RB, Murray, Henry or Martin?

  5. Haggy says:

    Goodwin or Woods..Need a lot of points today..

  6. Joel Goerdt says:

    Do you start Kerwynn Williams or Gio Bernard

  7. Haggy says:

    You still go Bortles over Keenum. Also pick 2 RB…Freeman,Morris.Perine,Henry,Kerwinn Williams.

  8. C says:

    Hey prof,

    Semifinals. Starting Hunt, Drake, Baldwin and M. Goodwin. Need a flex but I’m really worried about AJ Green. Would you start Green or Alf? D. Henry another option, but feels too risky?
    Much appreciated!

  9. Jason says:

    Professor – Huge week! Please pick 1 – Gio Bernard, Mike Davis, Jerrick McKinnon? 1/2 pt ppr. Also, Big Ben or Cam? Thanks!!!

  10. LP says:

    Hey Prof!

    Alf Morris or Ivory in a standard league?

  11. Too Tall says:

    Hi professor,

    Standard league.

    I have M. Goodwin, M. Lee, DeDe Westbrook for WR. L. McCoy, Jamaal Williams, Alfred Morris Rb. Would you grab Mike Davis RB and play over Morris in flex? Or choose one of my wr for flex?

  12. dirt dog says:


    Lat. Murray or Mike Davis?

  13. Derrin says:

    I’m in a tough spot with fournette out… should I go with Ivory or Williams from Arizona? Both make me nervous

  14. logan c says:


    Dez, Mike Davis, McKinnon or Dede Westbrook for flex?

  15. dp says:

    Adams, JuJu, Hopkins… Pick 2

    Standard league

  16. JD says:

    Which DST Ravens or Saints?

  17. Joseph Warkentin says:

    Gorropolo foles bortles?? Mccaffrey, what I, Morris, ivory, Bernard, williams?? Flex, min ppr.

  18. Derv23 says:

    Would you start mike davis, corey coleman, or rishard matthews at slot standard league?
    Also would you bench dion lewis for mike davis and kerwynn williams?

  19. Jason says:

    Gio or Mike Davis?

  20. Haggy says:


  21. Vanessa says:

    Hi Professor! Bortles or Rivers? K. Cole or Agholor? PPR league.

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