Thursday Night Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Week 9 (2018): Jalen Richard, Matt Breida, Jordy Nelson & 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:


Oakland Raiders

Derek Carr – Quarterback
It hasn’t been a particularly strong season for Carr, though he’s averaging roughly 290 passing yards per game.  They’ve been relatively “empty” though, with just 10 TD to go against 8 INT (and 2 fumbles).  Even the touchdown total is skewed, as 7 of the 10 TD came in two games (he has 3 TD over his other five games), and he also has thrown for 268 yards or fewer in each of his past three games.

That said the matchup with San Francisco is promising, as they have allowed 18 TD (second most in the league) vs. 2 INT.  That helps to alleviate some of the concerns and while he’s hardly a must use option given the risk and questionable supporting cast, he is a viable option as a bye week fill in.

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


Jalen Richard – Running Back
With Marshawn Lynch’s injury all eyes fell on Richard, and while he was only given 2 carries he was a significant factor in the passing game.  With 8 receptions and 50 yards in Week 8, he now has 6+ receptions in four of his past five games (and in five of seven games total).  With Amari Cooper traded there’s little reason to think Richard’s opportunities are going to diminish and the 49ers have allowed 50 receptions to opposing running backs (8th most in the league).  In PPR formats he’s an easy play, but consider him viable in all formats given the expected workload.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (Must use in PPR, potential FLEX in all formats)


Doug Martin – Running Back
Martin, as expected, got the early down work in the wake of Lynch’s injury.  The surprise was that he delivered value, taking 13 carries for 72 yards.  San Francisco has allowed the 12th most points per week to opposing running backs, though a lot of that stems from the TD allowed (10 total TD).  They are allowing 3.98 yards/carry overall, though that’s been up to 4.26 over the past two weeks (196 yards on 46 carries).  Martin should operate as the short yardage/goal line back and also see 12-15 carries once again.  Given the matchup that’s a good combination, though he’s still hard to fully buy into.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (FLEX option)


Jordy Nelson – Wide Receiver
With Amari Cooper sent to Oakland everyone wanted to believe Nelson would play a big role in the offense.  Instead he was targeted just 4 times (the third straight game he was targeted 4 times or fewer), catching just 1 pass for 14 yards.  He’s managed 23 total receptions this season and trails both Richard (45) and Jared Cook (48) in terms of targets.  Coming off a week where no wide receiver was targeted more than 4 times, are you willing to bet on Nelson getting a significant workload?  The matchup is going to make him seem intriguing, but it’s a tough sell.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em (viable WR3 if you are desperate)


Martavis Bryant/Seth Roberts/Brandon LaFell – Wide Receivers
We are going to lump these three together, because the truth is would anyone be willing to bet on which one could get the bulk of the remaining targets?  Here’s the production from last week:

  • Martavis Bryant – 0 receptions for 0 yards
  • Seth Roberts – 2 receptions for 42 yards and 1 TD
  • Brandon LaFell – 3 receptions for 39 yards and 1 TD

Roberts had totaled 13 targets over the previous two weeks so you could argue that he’s the “best” bet.  Still LaFell’s first opportunities came in Week 8 and he was targeted just as much plus Bryant has been talked up in the absence of Cooper.  All three offer far too much risk to trust.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em (but if you are desperate, roll the dice on Roberts in the deepest of formats)


Must Start:

  • Jared Cook – Tight End

Pre-order Rotoprofessor’s 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for just $6.75!!  Click here for the details, but don’t miss out on the best bargain in fantasy baseball preparation.


San Francisco 49ers

C.J. Beathard – Quarterback
While Beathard produced relatively well after initially stepping in for Jimmy Garoppolo, things have gone south in recent weeks.  Over his past two games he’s totaled 360 yards, 2 TD and 2 INT, completing just 52.7% of his passes.  He also has attempted fewer than 30 passes in three straight games, so he’s struggled with both opportunity and efficiency.  Regardless of the matchup, does that sound like an investment you want to make?  News of a wrist injury keeping him out of practice on Monday and Tuesday, putting his ability to play in significant question (undrafted free agent Nick Mullens or Tom Savage would draw the start), just further limits his potential value.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em


Matt Breida – Running Back
He was supposed to be limited in Week 8, yet he dominated the carries with 16.  While he wasn’t particularly productive with those opportunities, rushing for 42 yards, if there was any question as to who the backfield leader was it’s clearly been answered.

Assuming he didn’t suffer any setbacks and is healthy enough to suit up, we’d have to expect him to receive 12-15 touches once again (it’s possible the team dials back the carries slightly, given the health concerns and quick turnaround).  Overall Breida is averaging 5.8 yards per carry while the Raiders are allowing the third most points per week to opposing running backs.  That comes together to form an ideal package for fantasy owners.

Verdict – Start ‘Em


Alfred Morris – Running Back
While he got 6 carries in Week 8 and could see a similar number of chances in Week 9, it’s impossible to expect anything more than that.  Even that isn’t a given, after it had appeared that the team had been moving away from him completely.  A generally unproductive runner (3.6 yards/carry) and a virtual non-factor in the passing game, he’s easily ignored this early in the week.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em


Raheem Mostert – Running Back
Mostert may have been one of the biggest disappointments a week ago, getting just 2 carries for 18 yards.  He had received 19 carries over the previous two weeks and with the quick turnaround it’s possible he returns to a similar workload…  Of course we would’ve expected that in Week 8, though instead San Francisco leaned on a banged up Breida and now comes the news that Mostert is battling an ankle injury.  At this point there’s far too much risk to trust him.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em


Marquise Goodwin – Wide Receiver
He’s shown an ability to make big plays and find the end zone, averaging 21.6 yards/reception and scoring 4 TD on the season.  Of course that puts a lot of boom or bust to his game, especially having received limited opportunities on a weekly basis (he hasn’t had more than 5 targets in any game this season).  Throw in the potential that Beathard misses the game and while there is a significant reward potentially there, the risk of a goose egg early in the week outweighs it.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em


Kendrick Bourne – Wide Receiver
Would anyone have predicted that he’d be the most targeted San Francisco receiver in Week 8?  Bourne turned 10 targets into 7 receptions and 71 yards, though keep in mind that he had 19 targets in the previous seven games combined.  His opportunity came with Pierre Garcon sidelined, and with the chance that Garcon plays limiting his targets as well as the potential for the 49ers having to turn to their third option at quarterback there’s little reason to think Bourne will be a productive option.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em


Pierre Garcon – Wide Receiver
There had been trade rumors, but Garcon ultimately stayed in San Francisco and there’s a good chance he returns to the field on Thursday night.  While his name is going to draw attention, when on the field he’s averaged 3 receptions and 32.9 yards/game.  He also hasn’t found the end zone since December 11, 2016, and that came while he was still a member of the Washington Redskins.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em


Must Start:

  • George Kittle – Tight End

Sources – ESPN,

Pre-order Rotoprofessor’s 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for just $6.75!!  Click here for the details, but don’t miss out on the best bargain in fantasy baseball preparation.

Make sure to check out all of our Week 9 rankings:

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2018): Running Back Edition: Week 9: Aaron Jones, LeSean McCoy & More
Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Matt Breida, Adrian Peterson, Randall Cobb & More


  1. George says:

    Hello Professor! Please a few questions to be answered at your leisure:

    PPR, pick 1WR and 1Flex: A. Jones, J. Brown, A. Robinson, C. Davis, DJ Moore and Duke Johnson??

    PPR as well, pick 2WRs and 1Flex: C. Thompson, Hyde, Godwin, Goodwin, C. Davis , T. Sharpe, callaway and Kearse??

    Niners, redskins, broncos, jets, Chiefs or Vikings D for week 9??

    In PPR, OJ Howard or Olsen??

    Thank you Prof, best of luck in week 9!!

  2. Nicole Alert says:

    Should I start Breida or Richard tonight? ????

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