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:
Devin Funchess – Carolina Panthers
While Funchess hasn’t been putting up gaudy yardage totals, he’s been getting consistent opportunities. Since getting just 5 targets in Week 1 he has at least 7 targets in each of the past five games averaging 8.4 targets per game. That type of opportunity floor alone is going to put him on radars, and things get even more promising when you see TD in back-to-back games (and three of his past four).
That said, he has an extremely difficult matchup against a Ravens’ defense that’s allowed the fifth fewest receiving yards to opposing WR (928) and just 7 TD. Over the past four weeks they’ve been even better, yielding the third fewest points per week to opposing wide receivers. That’s going to make Funchess a tough sell leaving him as a WR3, at best, and hardly a must play.
Verdict – Start ‘Em (as a high risk WR3)
Christian Kirk – Arizona Cardinals
vs. San Francisco
While Larry Fitzgerald was the one who found the end zone in Week 7, it’s Kirk who continues to be the team’s best receiver showing the ability to break off a big play. The San Francisco 49ers have allowed 1,254 yards on 84 receptions this season, which equates to 14.9 yards/reception. Which receiver do you think that kind of number benefits most?
Kirk has just 1 TD on the season and has been behind Fitzgerald in terms of targets over each of the past two weeks (13 for Kirk vs. 16 for Fitzgerald). Those two things works against him, but Kirk’s upside to break a big play is too large and the matchup too favorable to ignore. He’s the receiver to start for the Cardinals and a worthy play as a WR3.
Verdict – Start ‘Em (as a WR3)
Allen Robinson – Chicago Bears
vs. New York Jets
There were questions as to whether or not Robinson would play in Week 7, so you can give him a little bit of a pass for his disastrous performance (1 reception for 4 yards). The big question as we head into Week 8 is whether or not he is fully healthy, because if he were he’d be an obvious must play against a Jets’ defense that’s allowed the seventh most points to opposing wide receivers (and second most over the past four weeks). In fact they’ve allowed the most receptions, at 117, and as far as wide receivers go only Taylor Gabriel is a threat for targets.
If reports have Robinson as healthy consider him a must start in all formats. If not he’ll be too risky to trust, though Gabriel would emerge as a viable option in all formats.
Verdict – Start ‘Em (if healthy)
Geronimo Allison – Green Bay Packers
at Los Angeles Rams
Allison missed Weeks 5 and 6, though a Week 7 bye week appears to have given him the needed time to get over both his hamstring injury and concussion. Over the first four weeks he had racked up at least 64 yards per game, while also scoring 2 TD. Even at full health, the bigger question is going to be if he is immediately thrust back into a primary role or if Marquez Valdes-Scantling has done enough in his absence. While he did see a reduction in targets in Week 6, he still was highly productive:
- Week 5 – 7 receptions (11 targets) for 68 yards and 1 TD
- Week 6 – 3 receptions (6 targets) for 103 yards
You would think that’s going to keep him in the mix, and with Davante Adams being the lead receiver there are only so many targets for the trickle down receivers. Allison has the upside, but without the guarantee of targets he’s going to be a high risk, high reward WR3 but an option we’d lean against until we got more clarity on his usage.
Verdict – Sit ‘Em (can be considered high risk/high reward WR3 if necessary)
Doug Baldwin – Seattle Seahawks
After managing 1 reception for 1 yard in Week 5, Baldwin rebounded against the Raiders to pick up 6 receptions for 91 yards in Week 6. After a Week 7 bye he gets a more difficult matchup against a Lions’ defense that’s allowed just 870 receiving yards to opposing WR on the season. Of course they also have had to defend the fewest targets at 91 (in comparison, the Jets have defended the most at 190), so we have to take their numbers with a little bit of a grain of salt.
The Seahawks have taken a run heavy approach this season, with Wilson attempting just 27.5 passes per game. Hopefully they take the bye week to address their game plan, and Baldwin’s performance in Week 6 should help to get more opportunities. While there is a little bit of risk, Baldwin should be considered a viable WR2 in all formats.
Verdict – Start ‘Em (viable WR2, must start WR3)
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 8 rankings: