Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Latavius Murray, Corey Clement, Josh Gordon & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Just hours before the start of Week 2′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:

 

Josh Gordon – New England Patriots – Wide Receiver
Listed as questionable, there are a lot of factors working against using Gordon this week:

  1. In his first week as a Patriot he’s only gotten in limited practices, making you wonder what kind of rapport he’s built or knowledge of the offense he has
  2. Battling a hamstring injury, you have to wonder if he’ll be on a “pitch count” if he does play
  3. The Patriots play on Sunday night, meaning we won’t have clarity until most of the games have already ended

In terms of the third point this appears to be a situation where he’s truly a 50/50 proposition, as Ian Rapoport tweeted:

You put those things together and is there any way you can trust him?

Verdict – Sit

 

Latavius Murray – Minnesota Vikings – Running Back
Dalvin Cook has been ruled out leaving Murray to carry the load in an extremely favorable matchup against the Bills.  Opposing running backs have already scored 6 TD against Buffalo (4 rushing, 2 receiving) and while he hasn’t been used in the role in ’18 Murray has caught as many as 41 passes in a season.  At 6’3” and 230 lbs. he also has a nose for the end zone (20 rushing touchdowns over the past two years) and would it be surprising if Minnesota raced out to big lead and utilized the ground game to control the clock?  Everything points towards a big day for Murray, and while he may have RB1 upside given the matchup he should be considered a locked in RB2.

Verdict – Must Start

 

LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills – Running Back
While nothing is definitive, all signs point towards him not playing.  As Adam Schefter tweeted this morning:

Bills’ RB LeSean McCoy, listed as questionable with cracked rib cartilage, is unlikely to play Sunday vs. Vikings, but he wants to see how it feels pregame before making a final decision, per source.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 23, 2018

We should have clarity early in the day, with the Bills set to face the Vikings at 1:00 PM EST.  Of course it’s a tough matchup and even if he plays McCoy is going to be limited, so is he really worth the gamble?  He’s going to be tough to trust, and if he’s out Chris Ivory (who would likely get a lot of the opportunities) isn’t a highly recommended option either.

Verdict – Sit

 

Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals – Wide Receiver
Listed as questionable it appears that Fitzgerald will be ready to roll against the Bears today.  As per Adam Schefter (via Twitter):

Cardinals’ WR Larry Fitzgerald, questionable with a hamstring injury, will play Sunday against the Bears, per source.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 23, 2018

With a 4:25 PM EST we won’t know for sure until after the early games start, but his availability doesn’t appear to be the reason to avoid him.  Production is a different story, as the Arizona offense continues to look inept with Fitzgerald generating just 104 yards and 0 TD over the first two weeks.  The Bears defense should also continue to improve, as they adjust and gel after the late acquisition of Khalil Mack.

It’s not to say that Fitzgerald is unusable, but he’s a better fit for those in three wide receiver formats.

Verdict – Usable, but better play as WR3

 

Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers – Quarterback
He appears to be on a similar track to last week, where Rodgers didn’t practice but should be ready to roll on Sunday.  He showed, even against a tough Minnesota defense, that he can produce at less than 100% (71.4% completion rate, 281 yards, 1 TD).  The Redskins have been a good defense thus far, though they’ve played two relatively inept offenses (Arizona and Indianapolis).  While he may fall a peg due to the injury concern, consider Rodgers a must use option.

Verdict – Start ‘Em

 

Will Fuller – Houston Texans – Wide Receiver
Giants’ cornerback Eli Apple is out and you would expect DeAndre Hopkins to consistently draw a matchup with Jonaris Jenkins.  That would leave Fuller to battle B.W. Webb, a matchup you’d think Houston would be looking to exploit.  As it is Fuller is coming off a game where he turned 9 targets into 8 receptions, 113 yards and 1 TD and there is little reason to think that he won’t see ample opportunities once again.  The only other viable receiver is Bruce Ellington, but with Fuller in the mix in Week 2 Ellington was targeted just 3 times. Expect a floor of 6-8 targets, with 10+ being a realistic expectation.  With that type of usage and given the matchup, Fuller could push for Top 15 numbers this week.

Verdict – Must Start

 

Corey Clement – Philadelphia Eagles – Running Back
Both Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles have been ruled out and while Clement also drew a questionable tag the indications are that he’ll be good to go. As per Ian Rapoport this morning:

While Wendall Smallwood should play a role, Clement should get the lion’s share of the early down work.  The Colts have been burned more by running backs who can catch the football (187) as opposed to on the ground (115 and 1 TD), but Clement is coming off a 5 reception, 55 yard game so that’s a weakness he should help exploit.  You also aren’t sure what to expect from Carson Wentz in his first game back, meaning he could look towards Clement as a consistent safety valve.  While he may not necessarily be a must use option, he’s a viable RB2.

Verdict – Viable RB2  

 

Jordan Wilkins – Indianapolis Colts – Running Back
When Marlon Mack missed Week 1 it was Wilkins who led the backfield, taking 14 carries for an uninspiring 40 yards.  He performed much better in Week 2 (10 carries for 61 yards) giving hope, but the matchup in Week 3 has to give you pause.  The Eagles have allowed a league low 99 rushing yards (2.7 yards/carry) and they also haven’t been burned by pass catching running backs (12 receptions for 70 yards).  Throw in that the Colts are going to mix in Nyheim Hines and Christine Michael and this one becomes a much tougher sell.

Verdict – Possible FLEX, but hardly an attractive option

 

Eric Ebron – Indianapolis Colts – Tight End
Ebron and Jack Doyle have been sharing the opportunities over the first two weeks of the season:

  • Jack Doyle – 9 reception, 80 yards, 0 TD
  • Eric Ebron – 7 receptions, 77 yards, 2 TD

Doyle has averaged 7.5 targets per game and while those won’t all go Ebron’s way with him out of action, would 8 or 9 targets be far-fetched?  With that type of workload he’s a TE1, so if you need help at the position take advantage.

Verdict – Start ‘Em

Sources – ESPN, NFL.com

Make sure to check out all of our Week 3 rankings:

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defenses

 

Thursday Night Start 'Em or Sit 'Em: Week 4 (2018): Dalvin Cook, Brandin Cooks, Kirk Cousins & More
Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2018): Week 3: Carson Wentz, Matt Breida, Keelan Cole & More

21 comments

  1. Brian says:

    Choose 2 of 3….1 point PPR…Lynch, Stills, Godwin

  2. Pavan says:

    Hello Professor,

    Half ppr choose one rb Corey clement or Lamar miller.

    Thank You

  3. Greg says:

    Evan Engram or Eric Ebron? PPR.

  4. reggie says:

    Hi Professor

    standard scoring – need a flex:

    Marshawn Lynch or Chris Thompson?

    pick one receiver (have Hilton):

    Keelan Cole, Desean Jackson, or Marquis Goodwin?

    (of you like a second receiver over Lynch or Thompson at flex that’s an option too)

    yeah I know my team stinks

    big thanks as always for your great work!

  5. dnz says:

    10 team standard, need to start one more FLEX:
    - Matt Breida
    - TJ Yeldon
    - TY Hilton

    Leaning Hilton, what do you think? Thanks!

  6. Eric says:

    STD league….. flex—- J. Williams (packers), Fitzgerald, D. Thomas or C. Davis (Titans)

  7. Westly says:

    Desperate for a win this week….Luck or Alex Smith and who would you start out of Cobb, Watkins, John Brown? Thanks!

  8. Pwyll says:

    Right now I have L. Murray and G. Bernard playing, would you start Breida ahead of either of them (PPR league)? Thanks.

  9. JJ says:

    PPR. Need 1 flex one WR

    Clement
    Cohen

    Dorsett
    Boyd
    Gordon

  10. Dave says:

    Would you start Jared Cook or Ebron?

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