Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (Week 8): Dalvin Cook, Chris Carson, Melvin Gordon & More


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:

Dalvin Cook (RB) – Minnesota Vikings

While Cook is going to play, will he get his normal workload? Could he suffer a setback? In this matchup with the Packers, does it matter if he does share the load? Green Bay has allowed the most points per week to opposing running backs, allowing TD both on the ground (7 TD) and through the air (3 TD). That means, even if he’s sharing touches with Alexander Mattison, the potential upside is far too high.

Let’s not forget the production of both backs the first time the teams met this year:

  • Dalvin Cook – 12 carries for 50 yards and 2 TD (1 catch for -2 yards)
  • Alexander Mattison – 6 carries for 50 yards (4 catches for 30 yards)

Mattison isn’t a crazy FLEX option, but Cook is a must start.

Verdict – Start ‘Em

Melvin Gordon (RB) – Denver Broncos

The expectation had been that Lindsay would miss Week 8, leaving Gordon to operate as the clear lead back. With that no longer the case, the outlook for Gordon has to change. Last week Gordon may have had more carries, but Lindsay was the far more productive back:

  • Melvin Gordon – 17 carries for 68 yards (4.0 YPC) and 1 TD
  • Philip Lindsay – 9 carries for 79 yards (8.8 YPC)

That said it’s still a revenge game for Gordon, who gets to square off with his former team. The Chargers have been more susceptible to running backs who catch the football, having allowed 269 yards and 3 TD. That’s been Gordon’s game, with 13 catches vs. 1 for Lindsay. That keeps Gordon the better play, though he’s got to be knocked down a few pegs.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (as a lower-end RB2)

Chris Carson (RB) – Seattle Seahawks

This has become one of the trickiest situations for fantasy owners, with Carlos Hyde and Travis Homer also not guarantees to dress. Just further adding to the confusion is a 4:15 EST kickoff and a matchup with a San Francisco defense that’s allowed the second fewest points per week to opposing running backs (only the Pittsburgh Steelers have allowed fewer).

With so many questions and since we won’t get answers until later in the afternoon, it may be best to avoid the situation completed.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em

Damien Harris (RB) – New England Patriots

Generally the narrative has been to avoid New England running backs, but as we’ve said it appears that Harris has emerged as “the man” for the Patriots. He was productive against the 49ers (10 carries for 58 yards), to the matchup with the Bills shouldn’t scare you off. You can argue he’s a better fit as a FLEX, but regardless he’s worth using.

Verdict – Start ‘Em

J.K. Dobbins (RB) – Baltimore Ravens

With Mark Ingram doubtful, the Ravens are going to turn the backfield over to Dobbins and Gus Edwards this week against the Steelers. It’s extremely possible that the Ravens hand their rookie running back a bigger role, though as we all know Baltimore is going to continue to utilize a committee approach. That’s going to make either of them difficult to trust, especially against a Pittsburgh defense that’s allowed the fewest points per week to opposing running backs (351 rushing yards, 4 TD).

We can’t ignore his potential upside, but it’s a high risk gamble. If you are desperate for a RB3/FLEX you can roll the dice, but for most it’s better to take a wait and see approach.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em (outside of a desperation RB3/FLEX)

Tyler Higbee (TE) – Los Angeles Rams

We all know that tight end is an unpredictable position in general, and even if Higbee dresses could his opportunities be limited with the bye week looming? There are far too many risks involved in order to trust him.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em

Sources – ESPN,

Make sure to check out all of our Week 8 rankings:

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends


  1. PPR Tee Higgins or Brandon Aiyuk
    PPR Harrison Bryant, Eric Ebron or Dallas Goedert
    PPR flex Ezekiel Elliott, Mike Evans or Diontae Johnson
    PPR flex Elliott, CEH, Mike Evans, Thielen or James Conner
    PPR Allen Robinson,Tyreek Hill or Fulgham
    PPR flex Boston Scott, Josh Jacobs,Fulgham or Kupp


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