Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (Week 15): Ezekiel Elloitt, J.D. McKissic, Sony Michel & More


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:

Ezekiel Elliott (RB) – Dallas Cowboys

Elliott missed practice all week, so even though the expectation is for him to play it’s likely he shares the workload with Tony Pollard. That simply adds to the concerns, as there are numerous reasons to consider sitting Elliott this week:

  1. He’s been an overall disappointment, averaging 3.9 YPC and scoring just 5 TD
  2. The 49ers are a difficult matchup, allowing the 5th fewest points per week to opposing running backs
  3. As mentioned, the potential for Elliott to lose touches or suffer a setback during the game

It’s impossible to dub him a flat out sit, but Elliott owners will want to explore their alternatives. He’s more RB2 than FLEX, and with fantasy titles on the line placing him on your bench isn’t a crazy thought.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (but if you have alternatives, Sit ‘Em)

J.D. McKissic (RB) – Washington Football

Listed as doubtful, it would appear that Antonio Gibson is going to miss his second straight game (after getting only 2 carries on December 7). Last week McKissic was clearly the more productive runner:

  • J.D. McKissic – 11 carries for 68 yards (6.2 YPC)
  • Peyton Barber – 12 carries for 37 yards (3.1 YPC)

McKissic is also a factor in the passing game, which makes him the favored option of the two (though they will continue to work as a committee). This week he draws a Seattle defense that has allowed 4 TD to opposing running backs over the past four weeks (2 rushing and 2 receiving). That said, with Dwayne Haskins expected to start at QB the Seahawks could give an even greater focus on stopping the run.

McKissic is usable, though there’s risk. He’s better suited as a low-end RB2/FLEX option, especially given the potential to lose touches to Barber.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (low-end RB2/FLEX)

Sony Michel (RB) – New England Patriots

Damien Harris has been ruled out for today’s game, leaving Michel to likely lead the backfield in carries for New England. Of course he hasn’t been overly impressive in the three games he’s played since he returned from injury:

  • November 29 (vs. ARI) – 0 carries for 0 yards
  • December 6 (at LAC) – 10 carries for 35 yards
  • December 10 (at LAR) – 7 carries for 22 yards

James White will definitely play a role, and could prove to be the best bet in the offense , though he hasn’t made much of an impact catching the football either. Michel could be considered a viable FLEX against Miami, but for most the risk far outweighs the reward.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em

Matthew Stafford (QB) – Detroit Lions

The Titans have allowed the fifth most points per week to opposing quarterbacks, so this is important. Of course he will be without Kenny Golladay and Detroit could take a run-first approach, as Tennessee has also struggled against opposing running backs (seventh most points per week). Over his past four games Stafford has thrown for 1 TD or fewer in three of them (and in six of his past nine games), and he’s repeatedly thrown for 250 yards or fewer this season (three of his past six games).

You put that all together, and while he’s startable in two-quarterback formats for most he’s better left on the bench given the injury.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em

DeVante Parker (WR) – Miami Dolphins

Obviously with any hamstring injury there’s the risk of an in-game setback, then you have the struggles he’s had with six games of 50 yards or less in his past nine (and only 1 TD in his past six games). Sure he’s gotten ample targets, but he and Tua Tagovailoa have not been able to gain a strong rapport as of yet. Taking on a New England defense that’s allowed the seventh fewest points per week to opposing wide receivers, he’s a boom or bust option and nothing more.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em

Darrius Slayton (WR) – New York Giants

Slayton has struggled the past three weeks, regardless of who’s been under center for the Giants:

  • at Cincinnati – 0 catches on 2 targets
  • at Seattle – 1 catch for 14 yards on 1 target
  • vs. Arizona – 3 catches for 31 yards on 8 targets

Colt McCoy is back under center for the Giants, and he completed just 13 passes against the Seahawks. While the matchup seems favorable, Slayton is impossible to trust.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em

Mike Gesicki (TE) – Miami Dolphins

The Patriots have allowed the third fewest points per week to opposing tight ends overall, though Gesicki has scored 4 TD over his past three games. Does the latter overcome the matchup, especially since we don’t know what type of usage Gesicki will get given the injury? He’s a low-end TE1, but not one that you should feel incredibly comfortable to use.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em

Sources –, ESPN

Make sure to check out all of our Week 15 rankings:

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends


  1. Good morning Professor

    I’m in WR purgatory . . . rankings tell me to start Antonio Brown, T Boyd, T Higgins (very uninspiring semifinal group). Any insights about the following that might tempt you into some substitutions (.5PPR) ~ L. Bowden, K. Bourne, D. Mooney


    • Unfortunately Will was unable to do them and by the time I knew we ran out of time. If you have a question I can answer it though!!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here