Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (Week 5): Damien Williams, JuJu Smith-Schuster, T.Y. Hilton & More

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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:

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:

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

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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:

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:

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

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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:

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:

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:

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

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

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defenses

21 COMMENTS

  1. Would you still start Andy Dalton over Philip Rivers today? Would you drop one for Goff, Mayfield, Garoppolo or Cousins for a better long term play?

  2. Hi, Prof. I’m hoping Damien Williams starts today! It’s a night game. That’s worrying me. Should I wait for Sunday night or should I start Jaylen Samuels as my RB2? I get 0.5 PPR in my league. Thanks.

  3. Also, I’m guessing if JuJu doesn’t suit up, then RB Jaylen Samuels becomes an even stronger play. What do you think? Right now, I have WR Sterling Shepard at Flex. I could sit Shepard and play Samuels at Flex, if JuJu is a no go. That way, I can start both Damien Williams and Jaylen Samuels. Let me know your views. Thanks.

  4. Sorry Prof, one more question: I am already far behind this week thanks to Cooper Kupp and Todd Gurley from Thursday, so I need to swing for the fences. Given that, full point PPR, should I start Michel in the flex ahead of Philip Lindsay and hope for a couple of TDs? Lindsay may have the higher floor but that is not going to cut it this week. Thoughts?

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