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:
Jaylen Samuels – Pittsburgh Steelers
After the initial thought was that James Conner’s ankle injury was minor word broke on Tuesday that he had actually suffered a sprained ankle and was already ruled out for Sunday. That leaves everyone to wonder, who will be “the man”? Popular belief is that Samuels will be the best option, and that’s likely, but does that mean he’s going to be a must start?
Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweeted on Tuesday:
Mike Tomlin, running back by committee “is our intention” as we sit there.
That would mean Samuels, Stevan Ridley and Trey Edmunds (who was signed off the practice squad earlier in the week) all playing a role. Considering that group would it be a surprise if they also took a pass heavy approach, entrusting Ben Roethlisberger and company more than a questionable running attack? The matchup with Oakland is going to dictate Samuels being considered, but value him more as a FLEX.
Verdict – Sit ‘Em (FLEX play/desperation RB2)
Tarik Cohen – Chicago Bears
vs. Los Angeles Rams
Cohen is coming off a monster game against the New York Giants, though looking at the split of his production is extremely important:
- Rushing – 8 carries for 30 yards
- Receiving – 12 receptions for 156 yards
Over the past two weeks, with Mitchell Trubisky sidelined, Cohen has 19 receptions and 1 TD. Obviously he’s always been a threat there, but over the first 10 games he averaged 4 receptions and 45.8 receiving yards per game. Then you have the matchup, with Rams having allowed the fifth fewest receiving yards to opposing running backs (378).
With Trubisky expected to return and a difficult matchup is he a must start? He’s usable, but he’s hardly a must use.
Verdict – Start ‘Em (Low-End RB2/FLEX)
Jeff Wilson – San Francisco 49ers
Matt Breida has already been ruled out, leaving Wilson to carry the load. While you may want to point towards Alfred Morris, who should be active this week, Wilson showed what he’s capable of with Breida banged up in Week 13 in Seattle:
- Rushing – 15 carries for 61 yards
- Receiving – 8 receptions for 73 yards
He did lose a fumble, but it appears that the undrafted rookie is headed towards making a significant splash. Overall the Broncos have been middle of the pack against opposing running backs, and considering the questionable passing attack there should be ample opportunities for Wilson both to run and catch the football.
Verdict – Start ‘Em
LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills
vs. New York Jets
It’s easy to be down on McCoy, who has clearly been a disappointment this season. That said he’s just a few weeks removed from torching the Jets for 113 yards and 2 TD and now gets to face that same defense at home. Over the past four weeks the Jets have allowed the eighth most rushing yards to opposing running backs, despite a bye in Week 11:
- Week 10 – 182 yards, 2 TD
- Week 12 – 206 yards, 1 TD
- Week 13 – 76 yards, 1 TD
While it’s easy to ignore McCoy given his overall performance, if you’ve stayed patient this is the time you want to try and capitalize.
Verdict – Start ‘Em (viable RB2)
Marlon Mack – Indianapolis Colts
Just when we thought Mack had emerged as a weekly must start option things have nosedived over the past few weeks. Of course two of the games came against the Jaguars, including taking 8 carries for 27 yards in Week 13, but Houston has been even more difficult for opposing running backs (third fewest rushing yards). If he were a pass catcher the upside would look better, but with Nyheim Hines filling that role Mack is going to be impossible to trust.
Verdict – Sit ‘Em (only a FLEX play)
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Make sure to check out all of our Week 14 rankings: