Thursday Night Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Week 6 (2018): Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement & More

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:


Philadelphia Eagles

Wendell Smallwood – Running Back
Smallwood has caught 3 passes in each of his past three games and in his limited carries (25 carries) he’s been explosive, averaging 6.0 yards/carry.  At 5’10” and 208 lbs. he may not get the opportunity for goal line carries and that could ultimately hurt his appeal (in 26 career games he has 3 rushing TD).  That said there are obvious opportunities with Jay Ajayi out for the season and the third year “veteran” should get an opportunity to show his stuff and at least share the role.

Smallwood has six career games with at least 10 carries, averaging 60 yards/game (4.77 yards/carry).  While there is the risk that he doesn’t get the bulk of the touches, or is in a 50/50 timeshare with Corey Clement, the upside is still obvious.  Consider him a low-end RB2/FLEX option, but one with significant upside.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (low-end RB2/FLEX option)


Corey Clement – Running Back
A quadriceps injury has kept Clement out the past few weeks, but the sophomore has been practicing in full this week and appears primed to return for Thursday night.  The timing is impeccable, given the circumstances, and with a 4.3 yards/carry average on 101 career carries the potential is there as well.  He also has shown a nose for the end zone (5 rushing TD) and should step in as the short yardage/goal line back.  Could he get the bulk of the early down work?  Possibly, but it’s more likely that the Eagles split the opportunities unless one of their running backs gets an extremely hot hand and is routinely breaking runs.

The TD upside, however, could give Clement a slight edge though there also is the risk of an injury setback.  Until we get a better read on the situation he’s a risky play, but virtually on par with Smallwood.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (low-end RB2/FLEX option)


Alshon Jeffrey – Wide Receiver
We would love to call Jeffrey a must use option, though after a big return he struggled mightily in his second game turning 8 targets into just 2 catches and 39 yards.  Obviously the silver lining is that he has 17 targets in two games and there’s little reason to think that’s going to change.  Of course he’ll also draw Janorius Jenkins and a Giants’ defense that is currently allowing the third fewest points per week to opposing wide receivers.  Opportunity and upside keeps Jeffrey on the WR3 spectrum, but don’t consider him a must start given the circumstances.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (potential WR3, but not a must play)


Nelson Agholor – Wide Receiver
If Jeffrey is a borderline play, what does that make Agholor?  The Eagles will utilize Zack Ertz and their running backs, with Agholor picking up the scraps (he’s topped 45 yards just once this season).

Verdict – Sit ‘Em


Must Start Options

  • Carson Wentz – Quarterback
  • Zack Ertz – Tight End


New York Giants

Eli Manning – Quarterback
The New York Giants should have a dynamic offense, with Saquan Barkley, Odell Beckham and company holding the potential to break a big play each and every time they touch the football.  That should make Manning a productive option, however he has just 6 TD over his first five games.  That hardly screams of being a “good” option…

Obviously in two-quarterback formats there’s going to be value, but without the ability to save his day with his legs and with Barkley potentially carrying the offense there’s too much risk to trust him otherwise.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em (unless you are desperate for a QB2)


Sterling Shepard – Wide Receiver
He’s the third option, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t hold appeal.  Shepard has racked up at least 75 yards in three straight games, scoring 2 TD in the process, and has been targeted at least 7 times in four of the Giants’ five games.  It may seem odd to consider a team’s second wide receiver a viable option, when his quarterback isn’t, but the Eagles have struggled against wide receivers this season (third most points/game allowed) and Shepard has continually gotten opportunities to produce.  While there’s a bit too much risk as a WR2, he’s an easy must start as a WR3.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (must start WR3)


Rhett Ellison – Tight End
Evan Engram has already been ruled out, but does it really matter?

Verdict – Sit ‘Em


Must Start Options

  • Saquan Barkley – Running Back
  • Odell Beckham – Wide Receiver

Make sure to check out all of our Week 6 rankings:

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2018): Week 6: Running Back Edition: Tarik Cohen, Aaron Jones, LeSean McCoy & More
Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Joe Mixon, Alfred Blue, Marvin Jones & More


  1. ernie altman says:

    would you accept this trade

    saquan barkley
    emmanuel sanders
    james white

    melvin gordon
    odell beckham

    full ppr wr
    half ppr rb

  2. Roc says:

    Who’s the better fantasy QB option for the playoffs Big Ben or Matt Ryan non ppr.

  3. Jon says:

    Should I start Adrian Peterson or Wendell Smallwood this week in the RB2 spot? Thank you.

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