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:
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Jones – Running Back
Jones has emerged as the early down leader over the past three weeks, with three straight games of at least 12 carries, and he’s produced along the way:
- Week 8 – 12 carries for 86 yards and 1 TD
- Week 9 – 14 carries for 75 yards
- Week 10 – 15 carries for 145 yards and 2 TD
Since returning from his suspension he’s averaged 6.9 yards/carry and draws a Seattle defense that’s allowed 254 yards and 2 TD on the ground over the past two weeks. Considering the usage and the matchup, Jones needs to be locked in as a RB2.
Verdict – Start ‘Em (Must use RB2)
Jamaal Williams – Running Back
While Jones has thrived over the past three weeks, Williams has disappeared. He’s totaled 16 touches, racking up just 66 yards and 1 TD. He’s clearly been surpassed and is a complete non-factor for fantasy owners.
Verdict – Sit ‘Em
Marquez Valdes-Scantling – Wide Receiver
Over the past five weeks Valdes-Scantling has averaged 7 targets per week and with Geronimo Allison sidelined there’s little reason to think those opportunities will suddenly stop. The Seattle defense isn’t nearly what it once was, including allowing the fourth most points per week to opposing wide receivers over the past four weeks (584 yards and 4 TD). That makes you think that Valdes-Scantling has the potential to produce viable numbers, but he’s clearly behind Devante Adams on the depth chart and Jones is going to play a role. As a WR3 he’s worth it, but beyond that he’s still a bit of a gamble.
Verdict – Start ‘Em (as a WR3)
Randall Cobb – Wide Receiver
In two games since returning to the lineup Cobb has totaled 9 catches for 64 yards as he’s clearly going to operate as the fourth or fifth option in the offense. This early in the week, that’s all you need to know.
Verdict – Sit ‘Em
Jimmy Graham – Tight End
The risk for Graham has been his recent struggles, including receiving just 1 target in Week 10. We’d expect more than that, but over the past three games he’s totaled 11 targets (and gone for 6 receptions, 90 yards and 1 TD). If it weren’t for his name would that even put him on your radar? The state of the position does mean that he’s a viable option, but he’s more of a desperation play depending on your alternatives.
Verdict – Sit ‘Em (desperation TE1 if you have no other alternative)
- Aaron Rodgers – Quarterback
- Devante Adams – Wide Receiver
Chris Carson – Running Back
Mike Davis – Running Back
Rashaad Penny – Running Back
The running back group has been a bit of a mess, and there are two factors that complicate things even further for Thursday night:
- According to Bob Condotta (via Twitter), “Pete Carroll says in afternoon press conference that Chris Carson will be ready for Green Bay Thursday”
- Rashaad Penny is coming off a breakout performance, taking 12 carries for 108 yards and 1 TD, and figures to play a role in the running game moving forward
So who should we trust heading into this matchup? If it’s a favorable one or not, this is going to be a three-headed monster and it’s impossible to predict who (if anyone) is going to get the lion’s share of the carries. Until there’s a bit of clarity this is a situation that’s better to avoid, especially early in the week.
Verdict – Sit ‘Em (Davis would be the “best” bet, but not as anything more than a FLEX)
Russell Wilson – Quarterback
Wilson has been playing well of late, throwing for at least 2 TD in five straight games (and 3 TD in four of those). That said the attempts are still down, only once throwing more than 26 passes in a game since Week 2. Part of that is going to be due to the running game, and with three options and a favorable matchup they could continue to take a run heavy approach. That’s going to limit the upside of Wilson, though there are two things to consider:
- It’s possible that the Seahawks fall behind early and are forced to go pass heavy
- Wilson has the ability to save his day with his legs, with 133 rushing yards over the past two weeks
While he isn’t a must use given the potential limitations, there’s enough upside to consider him as a low-end option.
Verdict – Start ‘Em (as a low-end QB1/QB2)
Tyler Lockett – Wide Receiver
The key for Lockett has been his consistent ability to find the end zone, as he’s scored a TD in seven of the nine games he’s played. The problem is what happens if he doesn’t find the end zone? It’s not like he’s getting extensive opportunities, never being targeted more than 7 times in a game, and he’s averaging just 3.67 catches and 53.67 yards per game. The Packers have struggled to defend opposing wide receivers, allowing the fifth most points per week (mostly due to 13 TD allowed). That upside makes Lockett a viable WR3, and maybe even a borderline WR2 depending on your alternative, but there is obvious bust potential.
Verdict – Viable WR3 (but with the risk of a disastrous start to your week)
Doug Baldwin – Wide Receiver
Injuries have helped to play a role, but it’s been a disappointing season for Baldwin who has managed 23 receptions for 275 yards and 0 TD. Over the past three weeks he’s averaged just 4 targets per game en route to a total of 142 yards. The matchup puts him on the WR3 spectrum, but it’s hardly enough to make you think that he’s a “good” play. He’s more of a desperation dart throw given the risks involved.
Verdict – Sit ‘Em (desperation WR3)
David Moore – Wide Receiver
He was a hot add at one point, but over the past two weeks he has 3 catches for 32 yards. Clearly behind both Lockett and Baldwin on the depth chart, Moore is easily ignored.
Verdict – Sit ‘Em
Nick Vannett – Tight End
Vannett has scored in back-to-back games, including a surprising breakout Week 9 (6 receptions, 52 yards and 1 TD). Obviously he disappeared a bit in Week 10 (only 2 targets) and he also draws a Packers’ defense that’s allowed the second fewest points per week to opposing tight ends. There’s the potential if you are desperate, but for most just move on.
Verdict – Sit ‘Em
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 11 rankings: