Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (Week 16): Gurley, Hopkins & More

17
1924

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Just hours before the start of Week 15’s Sunday action 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:

Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams – Running Back
Adam Schefter is reporting (via Twitter) that:

Rams RB Todd Gurley, listed as questionable for Sunday’s game vs. Cardinals due to knee inflammation, wants to play but Rams want to be smart about it, per source. They plan to test Gurley pre-game to make final determination. But Rams would like to get him rest if any concerns.

The big problem for fantasy owners in that Gurley and the Rams aren’t scheduled to play until 4:05 PM EST, meaning we likely won’t have clarity on the situation prior to the early kickoffs.  It does make sense for the Rams to play it conservatively, especially since they should be able to beat the Cardinals without him, so fantasy owners are going to want to prepare to play their finals without him.

If you have a viable alternative playing at 4 PM or later (though uninspiring, potential options are Matt Breida and Jordan Howard, or if you are truly desperate C.J. Anderson) you will want to take a wait and see approach.  If you aren’t that lucky you are going to want to go with your early game options, especially since even if he does play, if the Rams get out to a big lead they could easily shutdown Gurley early in the day (or limit his touches regardless).

Verdict – Sit ‘Em

Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons – Wide Receiver
According to Adam Schefter (via Twitter):

Falcons’ WR Julio Jones, listed as questionable for Sunday’s game vs. the Panthers due to a rib injury, is trending up, but Falcons still want to test him pregame to determine whether he can play, per source.

Ian Rapoport (via Twitter) added that “the belief is that he’ll play today through hip and rib injuries, source said.”  With a 1:00 PM EST start time we will know early in the day, but even at less than 100% Jones will be a strong option against a Carolina defense that’s allowed the eighth most points per week to opposing wide receivers (fifth most over the past four weeks, including 739 yards ad 5 TD).  Barring a last minute change in news, fire him up in all formats.

Verdict – Start ‘Em

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DeAndre Hopkins – Houston Texans – Wide Receiver
Ian Rapoport (via Twitter) is reporting this morning that:

WR DeAndre Hopkins, working through an ankle injury, is adamant about playing today, but the trainers want to see him work out pre-game to be sure, source said. They will need to be convinced.

The Texans play early today, so we will get clarity early in the day.  That said if he’s on the field he should be considered a must start against the decimated Eagles secondary.  While Philadelphia managed to keep the Rams out of the end zone in Week 15, just looking at the yardage totals tells you all you need to know:

  • Week 14 (at Dallas) – 268 yards, 3 TD
  • Week 15 (at Los Angeles Rams) – 203 yards

Barring news that he’s going to sit, make sure to fire Hopkins up in all formats as a must start receiver.

Verdict – Start ‘Em

Jaylen Samuels – Pittsburgh Steelers – Running Back
James Connor has been ruled out again, leaving Samuels to dominate the touches in the Pittsburgh backfield.  While he hasn’t found the end zone, he’s produced each of the past two weeks:

  • at Oakland – 18 touches, 72 yards
  • vs. New England – 21 touches, 172 yards

Even if today’s game with the Saints, in New Orleans, deteriorates into a shootout Samuels should remain a productive option (he has 9 receptions over these two games).  As it is he’s a must start running back, but if you play in a format where he also has tight end eligibility consider him a Top 5 option at the position.

Verdict – Start ‘Em

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Damien Williams – Kansas City Chiefs – Running Back
With Spencer Ware out (as well as Sammy Watkins) it should again be Damien Williams who gets the bulk of the touches out of the backfield.  He showed the potential to produce both rushing and catching the football last week against the Chargers:

  • Rushing – 10 carries for 49 yards and 2 TD
  • Receiving – 6 receptions (6 targets) for 74 yards

The only other player to have more than 2 carries was Tyreek Hill (he had 3 carries).  While the matchup against the Chargers isn’t necessarily a “good” one to try and exploit, the opportunity in a high-powered offense should yield RB2 type results.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (viable RB2)

Kenny Golladay – Detroit Lions – Wide Receiver
Ian Rapoport is reporting via Twitter that:

#Lions WR Kenny Golladay, listed as questionable with a chest injury, is expected to play today, source said.

Golladay is coming off a big day, turning in 7 receptions for 146 yards, a week after fantasy owners wanted to write him off (2 catches for 5 yards against the Cardinals).  He does draw a tough Minnesota defense, who have allowed the third fewest points per week to opposing wide receivers this season (and the fewest over the past two weeks, with just 101 yards against the Dolphins and Seahawks).  They shut down Golladay himself back on November 4, limiting him to 3 receptions for 46 yards.

Couple the matchup, the injury and Golladay’s inconsistent performance and this would have us leaning towards an alternative.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em (viable WR3 if needed, but not an “endorsed” option)

Sources – ESPN, NFL.com

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17 COMMENTS

    • I wouldn’t trust Anderson, and the Gurley decision is highly unlikely before the 1 PM games because they won’t work out before then

  1. Hey rotoprofessor— thanks for a great year. If you had to pick 2 of the 4 for a non-ppr who would you take: McGuire, Blue, Ballage, or Hamilton.
    Thanks

  2. Hey Prof, need some championship advice please. I need to start 2 of the 3 options in a PPR league:
    J Samuels
    J Edelman
    Damien Williams

    Who would you start/sit?

  3. good morning Professor

    standard scoring

    please pick 3 RBs from:

    David Johnson
    Marlon Mack
    Damien Williams
    Jaylen Samuels

    thanks you sir!

  4. Flex Edelman in the early game, or roll with Gurley if available or Williams (Sunday night) if Gurley’s out?

    Thanks for all the advice this year!!

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