Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (Week 4): Chris Carson, Joe Mixon, COVID-19 Postponements & 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:

Patriots/Chiefs and Saints/Lions

The Patriots and Chiefs won’t play until Monday or Tuesday (barring additional positive tests). As of 9:30 AM EST the Saints and Lions appear set to play, with a followup test bringing back a “negative”. That situation still needs to be monitored closely, but for now it appears safe to roll with all New Orleans and Detroit players.

With the unknown of it the games will even be a part of Week 4, owners will want to have a safety net in place if they are forced to rely on any players from the four teams (though ideally you have the depth to utilize others). That means picking up players who are schedule for Sunday night and Monday, pushing any decisions down the line as late as possible.

Some potential options owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues include:

  • Jeff Wilson (RB) – San Francisco 49ers
  • Brian Hill (RB) – Atlanta Falcons
  • Jamal Williams (RB) – Green Bay Packers
  • Brandon Aiyuck (WR) – San Francisco 49ers
  • Marquez Valdes-Scantling (WR) – Green Bay Packers
  • Greg Ward (WR) – Philadelphia Eagles

Chris Carson (RB) – Seattle Seahawks

With Hyde expected to sit, Carson will be backed up by Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas. In other words Carson should see his normal workload, and over the past two games he’s averaged 15.5 carries per game (as well as 3 receptions). Against a Miami defense that’s allowed 434 total yards to opposing RB, consider him a must start.

Verdict – Start ‘Em

Joe Mixon (RB) – Cincinnati Bengals

Mixon suffered a chest injury and was added to the injury report on Saturday, but it would appear the issue is minor. Jacksonville has been rather pedestrian against opposing running backs this season, giving up yardage on the ground and through the air:

  • Rushing – 238 yards, 2 TD
  • Receiving – 171 yards, 1 TD

Perhaps Mixon loses a handful of touches, but he should remain a good start this week.

Verdict – Start ‘Em

Terry McLaurin (WR) – Washington Football

McLaurin has been targeted at least 7 times in all three games, with at least 83 yards in each of the past two (125 yards and 1 TD against the Cardinals in Week 2). He’s clearly been the top receiver in Washington, and they may be forced to go pass heavy in an effort to keep up with the Ravens.

While Baltimore has given up too much thus far (505 yards, 2 TD to opposing WR), McLaurin’s upside is far too high. As long as he’s playing he needs to be viewed as a WR2, at worst, with the potential for WR1 numbers.

Verdict – Start ‘Em

DeAndre Hopkins (WR) – Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals/Panthers game goes at 1:00 PM EST, so we’ll get clarity early in the day. While the Panthers aren’t a particularly easy matchup, they aren’t a lights out one either. Even at less than 100% the combination of Hopkins and Kyler Murray should be able to produce. Hopkins has averaged over 10 catches per game this season, with a pair of games with at least 137 yards. As long as we don’t learn anything different, fie him up in all formats.

Verdict – Start ‘Em

Kareem Hunt (RB) – Cleveland Browns

Hunt is not your typical second running back, averaging 13 carries and nearly 3 catches per game. Of course the Cowboys have been far more susceptible to wide receivers than they have running backs, allowing the 9th fewest points per week to opposing RB. Considering that production will be shared with Nick Cubb, who has 41 carries and 4 rushing TD over the past two games and should continue to be the lead back, only further limits the upside.

While Hunt is still a RB2, given the upside, there are limitations to his value.

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

Deebo Samuel (WR) – San Francisco 49ers

Samuel returns ahead of schedule, so fantasy owners will want to be cautious this week. He’s best left on your bench, as he’ll likely be on a pitch count in his return, but it shouldn’t be long before he’s ready to thrive.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em

Ronald Jones (RB) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

With Leonard Fournette out for the game against the Chargers, Jones will share the workload with LeSean McCoy (though his role will be limited). Jones is coming off a solid day against the Broncos, taking 13 carries for 53 yards (4.1 YPC) while adding 2 catches for 20 yards.

The Buccaneers have been more susceptible to pass catching running backs this season:

  • Rushing – 150 yards, 3 TD
  • Receiving – 211 yards, 1 TD

There’s some risk, but Jones has 37 catches over his past 19 games and should be able to produce on the ground. View him as a RB2 in all formats.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (as RB2)

Jeff Wilson (RB) – San Francisco 49ers

Raheem Mostert is set to miss his second straight game, leaving Jeff Wilson and Jerrick McKinnon to share the carries. In Week 3 it was nearly a 50/50 split:

  • Jerrick McKinnon – 14 carries for 38 yards and 1 TD
  • Jeff Wilson – 12 carries for 15 yards and 1 TD

It was interesting to see Wilson catch 3 passes for 54 yards and 1 TD, as McKinnon should play the bigger role in the passing game. Clearly his value came from scoring 2 TD, something we can’t depend on again this week against an Eagles’ defense that’s allowed the 10th fewest points to opposing RB including 3 TD.

Wilson has value, but the floor is far too low to consider him anything more than a long-shot FLEX play.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em (outside of a potential FLEX)

David Johnson (RB) – Houston Texans

David Johnson has taken advantage of the absence of Duke Johnson, at least somewhat. While he’s had 24 carries over the past two weeks, the production has been relatively poor:

  • vs. Baltimore – 11 carries for 34 yards
  • at Pittsburgh – 13 carries for 23 yards and 1 TD

Granted they weren’t easy matchups, so things should be better this week against the Vikings. The question is how many opportunities will he lose to the returning Duke Johnson? It’s enough of a risk to suppress his value, somewhat, but his value should be viewed as that of a RB2.

Verdict – Start ‘Em

Sources – NFL.com, ESPN

Make sure to check out all of our Week 4 rankings:

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defenses

8 COMMENTS

  1. Good morning!

    I need 2 for a flex (1/2 PPR): Kelley, Cobb, Shenault & Brian Hill?

    Plus I’ve got Edelman as my WR1. Do I monitor the situation and hope the Pats play Monday or Tuesday with Hoyer? Or scratch him if there’s no decision by 1? I can use Shenault or Isabella….

    Thank you!

    • If there’s no decision by one, I’m scrapping Edelman honestly. The situation is so unstable it’s impossible to trust any of the players in the questionable games

      Shenault/Cobb

  2. Good morning professor! Please your advice real quick, need a WR and Flex in PPR: mclaurin, gage, justin jefferson and latavius murray?? Thank you and good luck this week!

  3. I have Ridley. Stick with him and hope he goes, or put Singletary in and get some kind of decent floor so I don’t have to put Olamide or Williams in?

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