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:
Tyrod Taylor – Quarterback
Taylor has had his issues throwing the football this season (52.9% completion percentage), but he’s proven he can offset any deficiencies with his legs. He’s already run for 103 yards and 1 TD and that’s somewhere that you can beat the Jets (Ryan Tannehill took 8 carries for 55 yards in Week 2). That keeps him on radars for those in two-quarterback formats, but without Josh Gordon does anyone feel comfortable trusting him in shallower formats?
Verdict – Only worth considering in two-quarterback formats
Carlos Hyde – Running Back
Hyde has been “the man” in the backfield over the first two weeks, but despite getting 38 carries he’s rushed for just 105 yards (2.8 yards/carry). He has found the end zone in each of the first two weeks, but it’s not like he’s faced impressive defenses (Pittsburgh and New Orleans) so the numbers are highly concerning. You have to wonder if the opportunity is going to start to decline (and we’ll touch on that more when we talk about Duke Johnson below) unless he shows that he can actually make something happen. Considering that risk and taking on a Jets defense that has allowed the fourth fewest rushing yards on the year (112), consider Hyde a desperation RB2 but more of a FLEX option.
Verdict – Viable FLEX play (risky RB2)
Duke Johnson – Running Back
He clearly hasn’t gotten a lot of opportunities yet, with 8 carries and 8 targets (3 receptions) over the first two weeks. Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal (click here for the article) recently published this quote from head coach Hugh Jackson indicating that things should change:
“Obviously, he’s one of our better playmakers, and he’s got to touch the ball. He will,” Jackson said. “Duke’s a tremendous player. We’re glad he’s here. We’ve got to put him in position so he can make an impact because he can, and we’ll continue to look at different ways of getting him involved. But we will. We’ll get Duke going.”
That’s not enough of a reason to trust him in Week 3, but it’s enough to keep him stashed and see if things change.
Verdict – Keep him stashed, but can’t be trusted
Antonio Callaway – Wide Receiver
After not being targeted in Week 1 Callaway helped to fill the gap left by Josh Gordon as he turned 4 targets into 3 catches, 81 yards and 1 TD. Can we count on him making a big play once again? It’s hard to bank on, especially with the questionable passing game in general, and he has boom or bust written all over him. He could put up WR3 numbers, but don’t bank on it early in the week.
Verdict – Sit
Rashad Higgins – Wide Receiver
Along with Callaway he’s going to help fill the void left behind by Josh Gordon, but he’s been targeted just 10 times over the first two weeks (7 targets in Week 2) and turned them into 6 catches and 85 yards. What about those numbers indicate there’s any reason to trust him this early in the week? Maybe he explodes, but the risk far outweighs the reward.
Verdict – Sit
David Njoku – Tight End
The Jets have allowed just 31 yards to opposing tight ends and while Njoku has been targeted fairly regularly (7 targets in each of the first two games) he’s managed just 7 catches for 33 yards (4.7 yards per reception). The opportunity makes him a desperation TE1, but the production says he’s not worth trusting.
Verdict – Desperation dart throw
Must Start Option:
- Jarvis Landry – Wide Receiver (if healthy)
New York Jets
Sam Darnold – Quarterback
It’s been a tale of two games for the rookie, who looked great in Week 1 but was forced to throw a lot in Week 2 (41 attempts) and despite a lot of yards (334) struggled as he threw 2 INT and was sacked 3 times. The Cleveland defense is better than you’d think, already racking up 7 sacks (tied for fifth in the league) and picking up 3 INT. In other words it’s not an ideal matchup, especially with the quick turnaround. Outside of those in deep two-quarterback formats, the risk far outweighs the reward.
Verdict – Sit
Bilal Powell – Running Back
You would think Powell would be the running back with a little bit more upside, but he hasn’t been a favored target thus far (8) and hasn’t been very productive on the ground (3.9 yards/carry). Considering that he’s not going to be the goal line favorite, he’s going to have his value capped. At the same time Cleveland has allowed 114 receiving yards to opposing running backs (12 receptions on 13 targets), and while the numbers aren’t gaudy that’s going to be where he can make an impact. He’s not a high level option, but he’s a usable FLEX.
Verdict – Viable FLEX
Isaiah Crowell – Running Back
Crowell has been productive, at least on the surface, with a 6.2 yards/carry average over the first two games. At the same time you take out his 62 yard run he’s averaged just 3.6 yards/carry on his other 21 carries and he’s not a factor in the passing game. While he could be a touchdown vulture, that’s not enough of a reason to consider using him.
Verdict – Deep league FLEX and nothing more
Robby Anderson – Wide Receiver
He was supposed to be the team’s top wide receiver, but he’s been targeted just 8 times over the first two weeks (4 receptions, 68 yards and 1 TD). With the emergence of Quincy Enunwa and the presence of Terrelle Pryor and Jermaine Kearse, is there any guarantee that the targets start going in Anderson’s direction?
Verdict – Sit ‘Em
Quincy Enunwa – Wide Receiver
As mentioned for Anderson the Jets have a glut of wide receivers, though over the first two weeks Enunwa has obviously been the favored target of Darnold. He’s drawn 21 targets, turning them into 13 receptions, 155 yards and 1 TD. It’s been consistent as well:
- Week 1 – 10 targets
- Week 2 – 11 targets
There’s little reason to think that it will suddenly change, and while there’s risk (especially with Darnold under center) he’s worth considering as your WR3 given the opportunity.
Verdict – Viable WR3
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 3 rankings: