Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Melvin Gordon, Allen Robinson, Adrian Peterson & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Just hours before the start of Week y’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:

 

Melvin Gordon – San Diego Chargers – Running Back
Austin Ekeler – San Diego Chargers – Running Back

Gordon is one of the more frustrating situations for fantasy owners in Week 7, as he was suddenly put on the injury report on Saturday with a hamstring injury.  That’s never a good sign, and unfortunately things appear headed in the wrong direction.  According to Ian Rapoport (via Twitter):

#Chargers RB Melvin Gordon was added to the injury report Saturday after his hamstring grew tight following the long flight. He’s going to give it a try pre-game, but if there is any doubt, LAC will protect him. There isn’t a lot of optimism, but the team will see how he feels.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 21, 2018

Tennessee has allowed 607 rushing yards to opposing running backs, ninth most in the league.  Gordon has been a touchdown machine this season, with 9 TD (6 rushing, 3 receiving), and if he does play those two factors combine to keep him as a viable RB2 (he was a locked in RB1).  He likely won’t get a full workload and will carry the risk of being shut down, but should Chargers will pick their spots and that should mean short yardage/goal line touches (it’s hard to imagine the team putting him at risk as a decoy).

Obviously Austin Ekeler gets a boost, and while he was already on radars as a FLEX play the news should lock him in as a RB2 regardless of if Gordon plays or not.  We’ll at least have clarity early in the day, with the Chargers and Titans set to square off at 9:30 AM EST in London, so Gordon owners need to monitor the news just in case.

Verdict:

  • Gordon – Start ‘Em (remains viable RB2, if he plays)
  • Ekeler – Start ‘Em (must start RB2)

 

Allen Robinson – Chicago Bears – Wide Receiver
According to Ian Rapoport (via Twitter):

#Bears WR Allen Robinson, listed as questionable with a groin injury, is considered a game-time decision, and there is some optimism that he’ll play. The team wants to see how he works out, though.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 21, 2018

The Bears/Patriots game is expected to be a bit of a shootout, with Chicago having to go pass heavy in order to try and keep up.  Robinson has found the end zone in each of the past two weeks and should have a good chance to do so again (the Patriots have allowed 9 receiving TD on the season).  There is some risk of a re-injury, which is going to suppress Allen’s usability a little bit, but with Mitchell Trubisky emerging he still should be considered a borderline WR2 and a solid WR3 play if he is one the field (monitor the news just in case).

Verdict – Start ‘Em (viable WR2/solid WR3)

 

Latavius Murray – Minnesota Vikings – Running Back
With Dalvin Cook already ruled out Murray is again in line to carry the load.  He’s coming off a big day, torching the Arizona Cardinals for 155 yards and 1 TD, and draws a Jets’ defense that has been middle of the pack against opposing running backs (517 rushing yards, 288 receiving yards and 5 total TD).  Of course they also just allowed Marlon Mack to rush for 89 yards on 12 carries and it’s easy to envision Murray have that type of day, with a high likelihood that he surpasses it with 15+ carries on the horison.  Consider him a must play option at this point.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (solid RB2)

 

Chris Thompson – Washington Redskins – Running Back
Adrian Peterson – Washington Redskins – Running Back

According to Adam Schefter, via Twitter:

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

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 21, 2018

It’s a frustrating development, as Thompson has been practicing on a limited basis for the past two weeks.  Of course even a healthy Thompson may not have held much value in a difficult matchup with the Cowboys (who have allowed the sixth fewest points per week to opposing running backs and have yet to allow a receiving touchdown to a running back).

There also was a question about Adrian Peterson, who is battling a few injuries.  Ian Rapoport (via Twitter) added the following:

#Redskins RB Adrian Peterson (shoulder, ankle) is expected to play, source said, but it sounds like RB Chris Thompson (rib, knee) will not be able to.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 21, 2018

It’s a difficult matchup for Peterson, but he should get a heavy workload (he’s had at least 17 carries in three of give games, including Week 6).  That keeps Peterson as a viable RB2 in all formats.  While Kapri Bibbs should step into a little bit of a bigger role, fantasy owners looking for a replacement need to turn elsewhere.  Even if Thompson does somehow play, the matchup and the injury would make him an unusable option.

Verdict:

  • Thompson – Sit ‘Em
  • Peterson – Start ‘Em (viable RB2)

 

Chris Hogan – New England Patriots – Wide Receiver
After reports surfaced last night that tight end Rob Gronkowski had not traveled with the team to Chicago it was obvious that he wasn’t going to be playing.  We were already expecting big roles for Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon and James White in the passing game, and all remain solid plays (the wide receiver duo are WR2 with White as a potential RB1).  So the question now is if Hogan can join them as viable options in Gronkowski’s absence?

Hogan hasn’t had more than 5 targets in a game, surpassing 45 yards just once (78 yards on 4 receptions in Week 6).  You also have to wonder how many more opportunities he’ll get, as it’s not like Gronkowski has been a target monster (he’s had 8 targets or fewer in each week) and some of those will be absorbed by the aforementioned trio and another tight end will also be thrust into the mix.  In other words, don’t force Hogan into your lineup based on the news as he remains more of a desperation WR3/WR4.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em

 

Isaiah Crowell – New York Jets – Running Back
After missing practice both Wednesday and Thursday, Crowell returned on Friday and was listed as questionable.  This is similar to last week’s schedule, when he suited up and got 15 touches.  Of course he managed just 40 yards on the ground (13 carries) and turned 2 catches into 12 yards against the Colts.  It appears that he’s once again going to play, as Adam Schefter reported (via Twitter):

Jets’ RB Isaiah Crowell, listed as questionable for Sunday due to a foot injury, is expected to play vs. Vikings, per source.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 21, 2018

That’s promising, but Crowell faces a difficult Minnesota defense that has allowed just 1 rushing TD on the season.  As it is he has been dependent on the big play in order to have value (something we discussed last week, which you can view by clicking here), and it’s tough to anticipate that coming.  While Bilal Powell is also a risk, especially with Crowell on the field, he’s a better FLEX gamble.  In terms of Crowell, he’s impossible to trust.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em (desperation FLEX play)

 

Evan Engram – New York Giants – Tight End
He’s been removed from the injury report and is going to return against the Falcons, after going down in Week 3.  We have to remember that Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquan Barkley are going to be the main parts of the offense, with a healthy Engram having averaged just 6 targets over the first two weeks.  With it possible that he’s eased back into the mix, meaning the targets could be even further limited, we have to be conservative with our expectations.  There are few “must use” options at tight end, meaning Engram should be on radars, but if you have a viable alternative you’d be best served to utilize them until we see how much usage Engram is going to get.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (only borderline option, though, depending on alternatives)

Sources – ESPN, NFL.com

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Make sure to check out all of our Week 7 rankings:

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defenses
Thursday Night Start 'Em or Sit 'Em: Week 8 (2018): Deshaun Watson, Kenyan Drake, Lamar Miller & More
Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2018): Wide Receiver Edition: Week 7: Josh Gordon, John Brown & More

14 comments

  1. Brian Cagle says:

    Standard: If Gordon cant go, who take his spot Breida or Landry?
    And would you sit a limited Gordon if he does play on
    that hamstring?

    1 pt. PPR TE: Engram or OJ Howard?

    Flex Need 1 Standard: RB Howard CHI, WR Sanu ATL,or WR Wadkins KC

  2. Trevor says:

    Good morning Professor. With Gronk not playing today for standard flex do I chance it with Josh Gordon or go with Clement. I am torn between the two choices.

  3. Matt says:

    In a half point PPR:
    Wentz or Winston?
    Fuller or Ridley?
    Drake, Kearse or Agholor at flex?
    Many thanks ????????

  4. Romo says:

    Hey roto! Non ppr. Need one for flex. Marvin Jones, a Peterson, iso Smith, j Howard. Thanks!

  5. NK says:

    Standard- starting RBs are Kamara, Mix on, and Michel/Ingram. I have Shady and Chubb on the bench. 2 WR league and I have Brown and Landry. I could move Michel or Ingram for Diggs. It’s hard having to bench one over and over. Should I jump on Diggs for either of them or wait it out?

  6. mike says:

    Sammy Watkins or Jordan Howard at my flex? PPR

    Thanks

  7. Trevor says:

    Mack or Miller, 1 ppr?

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