by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Trying to decide who you should start or sit this week? Let’s take a look at a few potential decisions owners have and try to sort through them:
Josh Gordon – New England Patriots – at Chicago
While the production wasn’t necessarily there in Week 6 (5 receptions, 42 yards, 0 TD), the important development was that Gordon’s role in the New England offense was clearly expanding (9 targets, after being targeted 6 times over his first two games). We all know the type of potential he has, and it’s just a matter of when, not if, he finally has his breakout performance.
While the Bears are seen as an emerging defense, they have struggled against opposing wide receivers this season (sixth most points per game allowed). Just look at the performance from Albert Wilson a week ago, who torched them for 6 catches, 155 yards and 2 TD as guidance as to what is possible.
Gordon is going to continue to get more and more opportunities, even in an offense that has ample alternatives, and the matchup shouldn’t dissuade us. Maybe he’s not a must start WR2, but he’s certainly a viable one.
Verdict – Start ‘Em (viable WR2/solid FLEX)
Chris Godwin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Cleveland
It’s easy to argue that Godwin is the fourth option, at best, for Tampa Bay with Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard all ahead of him in the pecking order. Throw in the presence of Adam Humphries and Cameron Brate and there’s no guarantee that many balls head Godwin’s way. The fact that he was targeted 9 times in Jameis Winston’s first start of 2018 is a good sign, but can we really consider it a given that it continues? It’s a tough sell, with the team likely prepared to force feed Mike Evans after a down performance (4 catches on 5 targets).
Godwin hasn’t surpassed 74 yards in any game this season, making him a TD dependent option. He’s found the end zone in four of five games, but with the alternatives in place it’s tough to depend on that continuing. It keeps him on the WR3 map, but don’t consider him a must use option.
Verdict – Sit ‘Em (borderline WR3 option)
Jermaine Kearse – New York Jets – vs. Minnesota
Kearse wasn’t on radars a few weeks ago, but a big Week 6 performance (9 receptions for 94 yards) and injuries to Quincy Enunwa and Terrelle Pryor have turned Kearse into a potentially viable option. Obviously it’s easy to envision ample opportunities once again, as the targets have to go somewhere, though it’s also easy to think the team will go run heavy as a way to continue protecting their rookie quarterback.
The matchup with the Vikings isn’t an easy one, as they have generated 18 sacks (tied for seventh most in the league). They also aren’t easy to run against, but New York should have more faith in Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell. Considering that Sam Darnold has fallen short of 200 yards in four of six games this season and only once has attempted more than 34 passes further supports that notion. When it all comes together, Kearse is a desperation WR3 and little more as the risk outweighs the potential reward.
Verdict – Sit ‘Em (nothing more than a desperation WR3)
John Brown – Baltimore Ravens – vs. New Orleans
Brown has been getting opportunities, at least most weeks, the problem is whether or not he’s going to be able to take advantage of them. While he’s been targeted 47 times, he’s only turned them into 21 receptions (44.7% completion rate) and needs to deliver a big play in order to have value.
Brown is averaging 20.2 yards/reception and the Saints have allowed 6 passing plays of 40+ yards already (one behind the league leaders). They also are allowing the most points per game to opposing wide receivers, further helping to support the case of using Brown. Just know that there is a boom or bust eliminate to his game, and while we’d expect him to be able to “boom” this week there is a little bit of risk that shouldn’t be ignored.
Verdict – Start ‘Em
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 7 rankings: