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:
Joe Mixon (RB) – Cincinnati Bengals
Bengals’ RB Joe Mixon, who is listed as questionable with a shin injury, is expected to play Sunday against the Ravens, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 11, 2020
Mixon was battling a chest injury prior to Week 4, and he ultimately went off for 25 carries, 151 yards and 2 TD. Reports are that the shin injury didn’t limit him in any way at Friday’s practice, so this shouldn’t be viewed as concerning.
The bigger issue is the matchup against the Ravens, though Mixon’s upside both running and catching the football can’t be ignored. While he’s not necessarily a RB1, he’s still worth using in all formats.
Verdict – Start ‘Em
Calvin Ridley (WR) – Atlanta Falcons
Ridley is coming off a disappointing Week 4, where he failed to convert on any of his 5 targets. That said Julio Jones was expected to sit this week against the Panthers (there now appears to be a chance he plays, though he could be used as a decoy), opening up even more opportunities for Ridley. Let’s not forget how dominant Ridley was over the first three weeks of the season:
- Week 1 – 9 catches (12 targets) for 130 yards and 2 TD
- Week 2 – 7 catches (10 targets) for 109 yards and 2 TD
- Week 3 – 5 catches (13 targets) for 110 yards
While Ridley was limited in practice on Friday, he’s expected to play and should be the focal point of the passing attack. He should be locked into all lineups for this week.
Verdict – Start ‘Em
Julio Jones (WR) – Atlanta Falcons
Falcons’ WR Julio Jones, who did not practice this week due to an aggravated hamstring injury, is considered a pre-game decision for Sunday’s game against the Panthers, per source. Falcons don’t want to make a final decision on him until they see how he’s feeling pre-game.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 11, 2020
Earlier reports had Jones likely to sit out this week, so he does appear to be headed in the right direction. That said, even if Jones plays it’s easy to envision a limited role. Could he even be used more as a decoy, giving Calvin Ridley more room to operate?
The Falcons play at 1:00 PM EST, so we’ll now early in the day his status. Monitor the news, just in case, but regardless there appears to be a lot of risk in utilizing him. Still, if he’s on the field are you going to risk having him on your bench?
Verdict – Start ‘Em (depending on the news heading into kickoff)
Marquise Brown (WR) – Baltimore Ravens
Ravens’ QB Lamar Jackson (knee, illness), TE Mark Andrews (thigh) and WR Marquise Brown (knee) – all of whom are listed as questionable for Sunday’s game vs. the Bengals – all are expected to play, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 11, 2020
Both Jackson and Andrews are must start options, even at less than 100%. Brown is a different story, who has been more boom than bust in 2020. While he does have two games of at least 86 yards, he has 0 TD and has struggled to 42 yards in Week 2 and 13 yards in Week 3.
The Bengals have been middle of the pack against opposing wide receivers, having allowed 673 yards and 4 TD. A big play threat, the Bengals have allowed the second least receptions of 20+ yards in ’20 (8) and just one passing play of at least 40 yards.
A boom or bust receiver at less than 100% with a matchup we’d put on the more difficult side? He can’t be ignored, but he also is hardly a must start and nothing more than a risky WR3.
Verdict – Sit ‘Em (viable as WR3)
Le’Veon Bell (RB) – New York Jets
Bell was activated from the injured reserve and is set to return from his hamstring injury. The question is whether or not he’ll step back into a workhorse role, or if he’ll share carries with Frank Gore and others in the matchup against the Cardinals.
Maybe he’s not a true workhorse, but it’s fair to assume that Bell would get more of the work. It’s not like Gore has been thriving in Bell’s absence, as he’s averaged 3.2 YPC overall this season and hasn’t been better than 3.8 YPC in the past three weeks.
While the Cardinals aren’t the best matchup, they aren’t going to make you avoid a RB either. Consider Bell a viable RB2.
Verdict – Start ‘Em
Raheem Mostert (RB) – San Francisco 49ers
49ers’ RB Raheem Mostert (knee) and WR Deebo Samuel (illness), both listed as questionable for today’s game against the Dolphins, both “should be good (to play)”, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 11, 2020
A returning Mostert joins Jerick McKinnon and Jeff Wilson in a crowded San Francisco backfield. While Miami has been favorable to opposing running backs overall, there are two key places where they’ve struggled:
- Pass catching RB – The Dolphins have allowed 211 receiving yards to opposing RB, 10th most in the league
- Rushing TD – Miami has allowed 5 rushing TD, tied for 4th most in the league
Mostert is not going to be the primary pass catcher, with a healthy McKinnon in the lineup (as well as Wilson). However he should operate as the short yardage/goal line back, and in this matchup that’s what we need. Consider him a strong RB2 in all formats.
Verdict – Start ‘Em
Cam Akers (RB) – Los Angeles Rams
#Rams RB Cam Akers (ribs) practiced fully again on Friday and is set to play.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) October 9, 2020
The question now is how will the running back touches get divided up? Heading into Week 4 everyone was certain that Darrell Henderson would again work as the lead back, especially with Akers sidelined, but instead it was Malcolm Brown who carried the load. Who will get the bulk of the carries remains to be seen, though looking back to Week 1 when all three were healthy could give some insight:
- Malcolm Brown – 18 carries for 79 yards (4.4 YPC) and 2 TD
- Cam Akers – 14 carries for 39 yards (2.8 YPC)
- Darrell Henderson – 3 carries for 6 yards (2.0 YPC)
Henderson has likely gained a few more touches, and with Brown emerging and Akers potentially being eased into action this is a situation to avoid.
Verdict – Sit ‘Em
Jimmy Garoppolo (QB) – San Francisco 49ers
#49ers injury report vs. #Dolphins— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoNBCS) October 9, 2020
QB Garoppolo will start.
Garoppolo hasn’t played since Week 2, but when healthy he’s looked good going 33-49 for 390 yards, 4 TD and 0 INT. He draws a favorable matchup with the Dolphins, who have allowed the sixth most points per week to opposing quarterbacks, and he should have his full complement of pass catchers at his disposal. While he’s not quite a QB1, he also isn’t a crazy play if you are desperate. Regardless he’s a solid QB2 in all formats in his return.
Verdict – Start ‘Em (strong QB2)
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 5 rankings: