Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Dalvin Cook, Adrian Peterson, Greg Olsen & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Just hours before the start of Week 6’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:


Dalvin Cook – Running Back – Minnesota Vikings
According to Ian Rapoport (via Twitter):

The #Vikings are optimistic that RB Dalvin Cook (hamstring) is going to play vs the #AZCardinals, but it’s not expected to be a full workload as he fights to get back to ????

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 14, 2018

You can argue that Cook doesn’t need a full workload to have a big day against Arizona, who are allowing the most points per week to opposing running backs (999 total yards, 9 TD).  That said, there are a few questions that we are unable to answer:

  1. How limited will Cook be? (According to Adam Schefter, via Twitter, “it will be for only about half the offensive snaps, if that”
  2. Will he be able to avoid re-injuring his hamstring?

We know this type of injury is tricky, and team’s could be better off giving up one game instead of losing a player for an additional 3-4 (look at what’s happened with Leonard Fournette).  Cook has the upside of being a RB1, but the risk of being a complete non-factor.  Depending on your alternative we’d be comfortable using him as a FLEX, but keep in mind that it’s an extremely high risk, high reward proposition.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (only if you have no alternative as he’s the epitome of High Risk/High Reward)


Greg Olsen – Tight End – Carolina Panthers
NFL Network’s Tiffany Blackmon tweeted yesterday that:

#Panthers team source tells me as of now, Greg Olsen is playing and they are planning to start him tomorrow. They said Olsen has had no setbacks so far, that he’s had a good week.

It’s good news for fantasy owners, considering how decimated the position has been in 2018.  That said a matchup with Washington isn’t particularly favorable (they rank 18th in the league as far as points allowed per game to opposing tight ends) and you have to wonder if Olsen will be limited in any way.  He hasn’t played since Week 1 due to a foot injury and talk has been that there is a real risk of him re-injuring himself.  It’s not to say that he can’t be used, especially given the lack of trustworthy options, but he’s more of a low-end TE1.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (but only as a low-end TE1)


Adrian Peterson – Running Back – Washington Redskins
Adam Schefter (via Twitter) is reporting that:

Redskins’ RB Chris Thompson, listed as questionable for Sunday due to rib and knee injuries, is not expected to play vs. Panthers, per source.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 14, 2018

Thompson has accumulated 300 yards so far this season (100 rushing, 200 receiving), and the only other running back who has caught a pass this season is Peterson.  Before we assume Peterson is a can’t miss option, let’s not ignore these points:

  1. Peterson himself has been banged up
  2. While Peterson is the only other running back to catch a pass this season, Kapri Bibbs caught 14 passes in three games in 2017 and should assume at least part of the workload
  3. The matchup with the Panthers isn’t particularly easy (though it’s not horrendous either), as they are ranked 18th in terms of points allowed to opposing running backs per week

Peterson is a viable option, especially with Thompson out, but he’s still more of a RB2.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (viable RB2)


Matt Breida – Running Back – San Francisco 49ers
Reports have Breida as being a game time decision for Monday night against the Packers, and that makes him impossible to trust.  If you have no alternative it’s worth grabbing Kyle Juszczyk as a safety net, but for most you’d be far better off looking elsewhere.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em


Brandin Cooks – Wide Receiver – Los Angeles Rams
Cooper Kupp – Wide Receiver – Los Angeles Rams

We will lump these two together, as they were in the same spot entering Week 6.  After leaving last week’s game due to concussions, both players have cleared protocol and will be active against the Broncos.  While that does cloud the issue, at least a little bit, Los Angeles has proven that there are enough touches for all three of their receivers (Cooks, Kupp and Robert Woods) and Todd Gurley to be productive options on a weekly basis.  Consider all three to be potential WR2 options for the coming week, though there’s always a bit of risk that the opportunities go elsewhere.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (viable WR2)


Marlon Mack – Running Back – Indianapolis Colts
Zak Keefer of The Indianapolis Star (via Twitter) reported on Friday that:

Barring a stunning turn of events, Anthony Castonzo will make his first start of the season and Marlon Mack will make his second.

Does that make Mack a viable fantasy option against the New York Jets?  That’s a tough sell, as it’s impossible to predict exactly how many touches he’s going to get.  While no one has particularly separated themselves from the crowd running the football, both Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines will remain in the mix (with Hines being an intriguing option for those in PPR formats).  Mack may get the lion’s share of the early down work, but is anyone ready to guarantee it?  For now take a wait and see approach.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em


Chester Rogers – Wide Receiver – Indianapolis Colts
With T.Y. Hilton out today Rogers will once again assume the role of lead receiver (along with tight end Eric Ebron) for Andrew Luck.  Adding to the upside is the potential for the Jets to be without two of their starting cornerbacks, Trumaine Johnson and Buster Skrine.  As it is New York has allowed the eighth most points per week to opposing wide receivers, including being one of four teams (including the Philadelphia Eagles, who have already played in Week 6) to have allowed over 1,000 receiving yards.  As it is Rogers has been targeted 22 times over the past two games (16 catches for 151 yards), and while Ryan Grant will play a role it’s Rogers who appears to be the better investment.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (as a viable WR3)


O.J. Howard – Tight End – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ian Rapoport tweeted this morning that:

The #Bucs are optimistic that TE O.J. Howard (knee) plays today, which means he won’t have missed any games with the MCL sprain thanks to the bye week.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 14, 2018

You have to think that Howard will be limited and share duties with Cameron Brate.  While that’s bad news for his upside production, given the lack of depth and with Howard’s upside there’s still at least a little bit of potential.  That said Atlanta has been tough against opposing tight ends this season, so any limitation is going to suppress Howard’s upside.  Consider him a desperation TE1.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em (unless you are truly desperate)


Marquez Valdes-Scantling – Wide Receiver – Green Bay Packers
The Packers don’t play until Monday night, so we won’t know until then if both Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison (both of which are battling hamstring injuries) will play.  Their status is key to the potential upside of Valdes-Scantling, who could either be a viable WR3 or a complete non-factor (if either one of them are playing).  It makes sense to own him as an insurance policy for one of the others, but despite catching 7 passes for 68 yards and 1 TD a week ago he’s impossible to trust.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em (unless you own him as an insurance policy)

Sources –, ESPN

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

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Thursday Night Start 'Em or Sit 'Em: Week 7 (2018): Philip Lindsay, David Johnson, Demaryius Thomas & More
Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2018): Week 6: Wide Receiver Edition: Josh Gordon, Doug Baldwin, Corey Davis & More


  1. d says:

    Hey professor, I’m in a 1/2 pr league with Thompson more than likely out who should I start at flex keke,Jordan Reed or fitz

  2. Dave says:

    Hey professor, with Dalvin Cook being on a pitch count, would you use Cook or go T Cohen?

  3. Trevor says:

    Std Crowell or peterson

  4. David Kim says:

    cook or Alex Collins in a standard league?

  5. Andy says:

    Is it crazy to start both Howard and Cohen this week vs. MIA? I have Crowell and Aaron jones as well, however I’m nervous about crowell’s Ankle and jones’ usage on Green Bay.

  6. Romo says:

    Hey roto!! Non PPR. Wilson, or Goff?

  7. Tyler cain says:

    Jordan Howard or Adrian Peterson? PPR. Thanks

  8. Sheldon says:

    Prof, I have the following receivers starting (0.5 PPR): 2 WR Sanders and Ridley, 1 FLEX John Brown; I have Ekeler and Howard as my starting RBs. But I want to insert Latavius Murray, since Cook is out. Should I sit one if the receivers or should I sit Ekeler? Thanks.

  9. Too Tall says:

    Hi Professor,

    Standard league. Alfred Morris or Aaron Jones for MNF.


  10. Luigi Iannuccilli says:

    Breida supposed to be action tonight. Who is the better play, Alfred Morris or Aaron Jones?

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