Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Jimmy Graham, Danny Amendola, CJ Spiller & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Just hours before the start of Week 8 (for most teams anyways) 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:


Jimmy Graham – Tght End – New Orleans Saints
According to Mike Triplett (via Twitter):

“#Saints Jimmy Graham returned to practice on a limited basis Friday and is officially listed as questionable. Expect a game-day decision.”

The Saints play at 1:00 PM EST, so at least we will have an answer early enough to make our decisions. The problem is expectations all week have been that even if Graham does play he will be limited. The decision on if to use him or not, assuming he’s playing, will strictly come down to your potential alternative.


Danny Amendola – Wide Receiver – New England Patriots
Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston (click here for the article) has the following from Amendola:

“I’ve done pretty much everything they’ve asked me to do. I’m healthy and I’m ready to play,” Amendola said, adding that the tests are both “physical and mental.”

While we won’t get confirmation on his status until today, the best guess is that he’s out there playing.  The Patriots showed last week with Rob Gronkowski that they are more than willing to throw their players right into the fire and, with the Patriots’ passing game struggling in recent weeks, it’s fair to assume that Amendola will be targeted early and often.

The Dolphins are near the bottom of the league in passing yards allowed per game (269.3), so if Amendola is playing he would be considered a solid WR2 in all formats and is well worth playing.


CJ Spiller – Running Back – Buffalo Bills
There is no questioning that Spiller has been banged up, yet fantasy owners have generally felt obligated to use him due to the upside. This week it appears like we are finally off the hook.

Listed as doubtful, it appears the Bills have finally realized that he needs a break to get healthy or he just isn’t going to produce. That said, even if he does buck the odds and plays, he’s clearly a huge risk. At this point, given his performance and the injury designation, Spiller can safely be placed on your bench for the week.


Reggie Bush – Running Back – Detroit Lions
According to Marc Sessler of (click here for the article):

“Bush told reporters Friday that he missed practice for “precautionary” reasons, per the Detroit Free Press. The running back said his absence was not related to his previous knee injury.”

In other words, there is no reason to fear him missing this week’s contest. Keep him active in all formats.


Peyton Hillis – Running Back – New York Giants
It’s looking unlikely that Brandon Jacobs plays, leaving Peyton Hillis likely handling lead back duties. The advantage Hillis has is that he should have a good chance to find the end zone as the short yardage back, and you have to think he’ll have his legs under him a bit more than in Week 7. The matchup isn’t a terrible one, so fantasy owners in need can consider him a risky RB2. That’s not to say that I would want to use him, but there are worse desperation plays.


Steven Jackson – Running Back – Atlanta Falcons
Jason Snelling & Roddy White have been ruled out, making Jackson’s return that much more important. That said, we don’t know if Jackson is facing any type of snap count, will likely sit on passing downs (to Jacquizz Rodgers) and draws an Arizona defense allowing 97.0 rushing yards per game and just 3 TD. The byes make him a more attractive option, but he’s still more of a low-end RB2.


Dwayne Bowe – Wide Receiver – Kansas City Chiefs
According to Jason La Canfora (via Twtter):

“Chiefs top WR Dwayne Bowe, who missed practice with a groin injury and listed as questionable, will play Sunday vs. Browns”

The question is, does anyone care?  Bowe has barely made an impact this season, with 25 receptions for 295 yards and 2 TD and draws a matchup with Joe Haden.  In other words, he’s hardly a usable option and not one to use unless you are absolutely desperate.


Andre Ellington – Running Back – Arizona Cardinals
Rashard Mendenhall is listed as doubtful and unlikely to play, but don’t send Ellington shooting up the rankings quite so quickly. The Cardinals appear committed to limiting Ellington’s snaps and will likely use a mix of Stepfan Taylor, Ryan Williams & Alfonso Smith behind him. In other words, don’t expect Ellington to suddenly play 75% of the snaps. He’s slightly more attractive, but not much and shouldn’t be considered a must start option.


Make sure to check out all of our Week 8 rankings:

Buy 'Em or Deny 'Em: Does The Return Of Rashard Mendenall Drain Andre Ellington's Potential?
Sell Low Running Backs: Maurice Jones-Drew & Ryan Mathews


  1. Randy says:

    In one of my leagues, I was forced to pick up and start Pierre Thomas as my RB2 due byes and injuries. However, if Graham and/or Ingram play, what does that do to his ranking? Would someone like Brandon Bolden, Stephan Taylor, or Daniel Thomas be better? It’s a standard league.

  2. mike says:

    I’m starting J. Reed over J. Graham in two of my leagues. J. Graham burned me last year when he played with a wrist injury last year as a blocking decoy. Cant risk that nonsense(watch him go off for 110 and a score)1

  3. Corey says:

    I have Jordan Cameron as my other option. Would you still start him over Graham given the match-up with Kansas City?

  4. Romo says:

    A morris, f-jax, j randle. Pick 2. Murray is out and so is spiller. Morris hasn’t been up to par… Suggestions?

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