Just hours before the start of Week 5’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:
Melvin Gordon – Running Back – Los Angeles Chargers
After not getting a touch in Week 4, things are going to be dramatically different in Week 5:
Chargers to split carries between Gordon, Ekeler https://t.co/DZj6VxkBKD— Eric Williams (@eric_d_williams) October 4, 2019
Obviously Gordon owners would rather see him stepping back into a lead role, but against the Broncos even a 50/50 split would be enough. Denver is tied for the fifth most points per week allowed to opposing running backs, as they’ve allowed 522 rushing yards and 6 total TD. Both Gordon and Ekeler can be fired up as RB2, especially since they could consistently be on the field simultaneously given the injuries to the receiving corps.
Verdict – Start both Gordon & Ekeler as RB2
Damien Williams/Lesean McCoy – Running Back – Kansas City Chiefs
After missing the past two games, it appears that Williams is set to return for Week 4:
The plan right now is that #Chiefs RB Damien Williams will play on Sunday, per Reid.— BJ Kissel (@ChiefsReporter) October 4, 2019
His return shouldn’t have a significant impact on LeSean McCoy, who should continue to operate as the early down back. It’s a role he’s fared well enough in, routinely getting 10-12 carries and having scored in back-to-back games. Damien Williams’ return should eliminate the value of Darrell Williams, as Damien should be the lead pass-catching option (though a little bit more than that). The Colts haven’t been stellar in either regard, leaving both Chiefs’ backs as viable RB2/FLEX options.
Verdict – Both Williams & McCoy should be considered viable RB2/FLEX options
JuJu Smith-Schuster – Wide Receiver – Pittsburgh Steelers
After practicing fully on Friday it would seem like Smith-Schuster was locked in to play today against the Ravens, but that may not be the case:
#Steelers WR Juju Smith-Schuster (toe) did practice fully on Friday, which is often a sign that a player will play Sunday. However, sources describe this as a true game-time decision, so how he feels pre-game will determine his status.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 6, 2019
With a 1 PM start we will get clarity early in the day, but even if he plays just how worth it is he? Could he be used as more of a decoy? With Mason Rudolph at quarterback, is there enough potential value? Smith-Schuster hasn’t been targeted more than 8 times in any game and is coming off a day where he managed just 3 receptions for 15 yards. Baltimore has allowed yardage (826), but only 3 TD just further clouding the issue.
Is Smith-Schuster a usable option if he dresses? Sure, though the risk makes him more of a low-end WR2/WR3 as opposed to the borderline WR1 he was thought to be prior to the season.
Verdict – Startable, depending on alternatives, if he dresses
T.Y. Hilton – Wide Receiver – Indianapolis Colts
Sunday night (and Monday night games for that matter) are always a little bit trickier, with limited alternatives if a player ultimately sits. That said, those who own Hilton welcome this report:
Colts’ WR T.Y. Hilton, listed as questionable for Sunday night’s game vs. Chiefs due to a quad injury, is expected to play, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 6, 2019
Chiefs’ WR Sammy Watkins, listed as questionable for Sunday night’s game vs. Colts due to a shoulder injury, is expected to play, per source.
In a potential shootout with the Chiefs, the Colts will likely have to throw early and often in an effort to keep up. The Chiefs have allowed just under 16.0 yards/reception to opposing wide receivers this season, including 17 passes of 20+ yards overall (tied for seventh most in the league). With Hilton offering that big play threat, as well as scoring 4 TD in his three games, it’s impossible to sit him down.
Verdict – Must start (borderline WR1)
Sammy Watkins – Wide Receiver – Kansas City Chiefs
Stemming from the same tweet as above, Watkins is also expected to play. The difference is the depth Watkins will have to combat for opportunity, whether it’s other wide receivers (Mecole Hardman & Demarcus Robinson), a suddenly stronger running game (with Damien Williams returning, as mentioned earlier) and an elite tight end (Travis Kelce).
The question is going to be if Watkins will be limited in any way, given that depth and the injury (which forced him to have a limited practice on Friday). The risk downgrades him, especially since his targets have been down over the past two weeks (averaging 7 per game) and he has yet to find the end zone in ’19. He’s still usable as a WR2, but we would feel more comfortable as a WR3.
Verdict – Better fit as a WR3, but usable in all formats
Devin Singletary – Running Back – Buffalo Bills
After looking like he was primed to take on a bigger role for the Bills, with 127 yards and 1 TD on 10 carries over the first two weeks, Singletary was forced to miss time with a hamstring injury. In his absence Frank Gore has proven that he still has something left in the tank, with 185 yards and 1 TD on 31 carries. That alone is going to make Singletary difficult to trust even if he dresses, though that’s still not a guarantee:
#Bills promising rookie RB Devin Singletary (hamstring) is listed as questionable, and he’ll workout pre-game to determine if he can play, I’m told. He’s missed the last two games, and he’s very close to being back.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 6, 2019
While he could be used as a desperation FLEX play against a Titans defense that has allowed 186 receiving yards to opposing RB, there’s generally far too much risk to trust him.
Verdict – Sit ‘Em (unless truly desperate)
Chris Godwin – Wide Receiver – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Godwin battled a hip injury earlier in the week, but he was removed from the injury report and should be all systems go today against the Saints. New Orleans has allowed the fourth most yards to opposing wide receivers overall this season (836 along with 5 TD), and Godwin has had a few massive performances recently:
- Week 2 – 8 receptions for 121 yards and 1 TD
- Week 4 – 12 receptions for 172 yards and 2 TD
While the presence of Mike Evans does pose a little risk for Godwin and his upside, he’s still a high-end WR2 at worst (and potential WR1).
Verdict – Must start in all formats
Terry McLaurin – Wide Receiver – Washington Redskins
After missing last week’s game with a hamstring injury, there’s a chance McLaurin returns to the Washington lineup today:
#Redskins rookie WR Terry McLaurin (hamstring) missed last week but has a much better chance at playing today, source said. There is optimism that he plays, but he’ll work out pre-game to make sure.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 6, 2019
That could make him intriguing, since Washington may need to go pass heavy, but the quarterback play is not very good and the Patriots have allowed the second fewest points per week to opposing WR (507 yards and 0 TD). He’s an easy sit.
Verdict – Sit ‘Em
Michael Gallup – Wide Receiver – Dallas Cowboys
Does it matter if he does or doesn’t play? At least this tweet puts him on radars:
Cowboys’ WR Michael Gallup, listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Packers due to a knee injury, is expected to play, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 6, 2019
That said he could be limited while drawing a Green Bay defense that’s allowed the fewest points per week to opposing wide receivers. Does that sound like a combination you want to trust?
Verdict – Sit ‘Em
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 5 rankings: