Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2019): Wide Receiver Edition: Week 5: Adam Thielen, Josh Gordon, Calvin Ridley & More

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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:

Start – Adam Thielen (Minnesota Vikings at NYG)

There has been a lot of talk about the Vikings’ passing game, with both Thielen and Stefon Diggs voicing their displeasure as they continue to fail to put up big numbers. Often these types of outbursts lead to teams feeding the greasy wheel, and while there are two wheels to take care of the matchup with the Giants should help them get right.

The Giants have allowed the fourth most points per week to opposing wide receivers, with the 835 yards being the fifth most. It’s easy to envision Minnesota altering the game plan, at least a little bit, to use their star wide receivers to further expose the Giants’ young secondary. With Thielen being the preferred option thus far (13 receptions for 179 yards and 2 TD) he is the better play, though Diggs also shouldn’t be ignored.

Sit – Tyrell Williams (Oakland Raiders vs. CHI)

There are questions about Williams’ health, as he’s now battling a foot injury ahead of their trip to London. As it is he’s been a TD dependent option, having scored a TD in all four of Oakland’s games, but struggling to generate much yardage since Week 1:

  • Week 1 – 105 yards
  • Week 2 – 46 yards
  • Week 3 – 29 yards
  • Week 4 – 36 yards

Against a difficult Chicago defense it’s easy to envision him finally being held out of the end zone, especially if he’s limited in any way, and that’s going to mean WR4-type production.

Start – Calvin Ridley (Atlanta Falcons at HOU)

The Texans are generally thought of as a strong defense, though that hasn’t been the case. Maybe it was the preseason trade of Jadeveon Clowney, but whatever the reason they’ve allowed the seventh most points per week to opposing wide receivers, including 62 receptions (behind only the Seahawks, who have already played five games, and the Buccaneers). While Julio Jones gets all of the attention, Ridley has a similar upside.

The question is going to be if the opportunity will be there, with just 4 receptions and 38 yards over the past two games combined. In a favorable matchup would it be surprising to see the team focus on getting Ridley the ball more? He’s not a WR1, but as a WR2 he’s well worth using (and a no-brainer as a WR3).

Sit – Josh Gordon (New England Patriots at WAS)

He’s going to be a popular start this week, and maybe he does provide a “boom” performance against a Redskins’ defense that’s allowed the second most points per week to opposing wide receivers. At the same time the 680 yards they’ve allowed are actually middle of the pack, their problem has been consistently allowing TD (8 TD allowed).

Are we willing to bank on Gordon finding the end zone? He hasn’t scored a TD since Week 1 and has had 3 receptions or fewer in three of four games this season. He’s a high risk, high reward option and in shallower formats is that a risk you want to take? He’s a better fit as a WR3 as opposed to a must use WR2.

Other Wide Receivers to Start:

  • Larry Fitzgerald (ARI at CIN) – While he hasn’t been quite as good the past two weeks, Fitzgerald has reeled in at least 5 receptions each week in ’19. With Christian Kirk potentially sitting out Week 5 it’s easy to envision his role increasing even more. While the Bengals haven’t given up many points to opposing wide receivers thus far, they also haven’t had many hard matchups. Don’t shy away from Fitzgerald as a WR2.
  • Allen Robinson (CHI at OAK) – Robinson has yet to score a TD, so it would be easy to be down on him. However he should continue to be the go to option, regardless of if Mitchell Trubisky plays (he actually converted all 7 of his targets in Week 4), and Oakland has been prone to the big play (14.6 yards/reception).

Other Wide Receivers to Sit:

  • John Brown (BUF at TEN) – After a big Week 1 Brown has failed to top 75 yards or find the end zone in the three subsequent weeks. Tennessee has been among the better defenses against opposing wide receivers this season, and there’s a chance that Josh Allen is forced to miss the game due to a concussion. If Matt Barkley starts, a questionable outlook gets even worse.
  • Corey Davis (TEN vs. BUF) – He’s coming off his best game of the season (5 receptions, 91 yards, 1 TD), but Buffalo has allowed the fifth fewest points per week to opposing wide receivers (including holding Patriots’ receivers to 86 yards and 0 TD). It’s just a gamble in a tough matchup that isn’t worth taking.

Sources – ESPN, NFL.com

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Make sure to check out all of our Week 5 rankings:

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defenses

3 COMMENTS

  1. Good evening, Professor! 14 Teams, 1/2 PPR. RB 1&2 Chubb & Fournette, WR 1&2 Mike Evans& Calvin Ridley. Who would you flex of Golden Tate, Ronald Jones, Corey Davis and Marquise Goodwin?

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