Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (Week 9): Ezekiel Elliott, Keenan Allen, Chris Godwin & 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:

Ezekiel Elliott (RB) – Dallas Cowboys

This has become a very tricky situation, with a slew of negatives needing to be factored in:

  • The Cowboys don’t play until 4:25 PM EST
  • The Cowboys did promote another RB, given them a safety net in case there are any pregame issues
  • The Steelers have allowed the fewest points per week to opposing RB
  • Elliott himself has struggled, with 63 yards or fewer in five of his past six games and 2 TD in his past five games (both came in one game against the Giants)

Obviously if Elliott is playing fantasy owners will want to have him in their lineup, despite all of the negatives. The prudent move is to secure a safety net, just in case he is a late scratch. A couple of names who could be available are Tony Pollard (DAL), La’Mical Perine (NYJ) or Jordan Howard (MIA).

Verdict – Start ‘Em (but monitor the news and grab a safety net)

Josh Jacobs (RB) – Las Vegas Raiders

Jacobs is coming off a 129 yard breakout against the Browns and has 70+ rushing yards in five of the seven games this season. He’s also been a consistent factor in the passing game, so why wouldn’t we have him in our lineup? We obviously need to monitor the news, just in case things change, but barring a change he’s going to be a must use option.

Protect yourself, just in case (names like Howard and Perine, as mentioned for Ezekiel Elliot, should be considered).

Verdict – Start ‘Em

Phillip Lindsay (RB) – Denver Broncos

Over his last two games Lindsay has taken 17 carries for 162 yards and 1 TD. Of course the Falcons have been hurt in the passing game (361 yards and 4 TD), with the 532 rushing yards allowed being the fourth fewest in the league. Lindsay will also share the load with Melvin Gordon, who is the bigger threat in the passing game and will also get his carries.

Lindsay is usable, but consider him more of a FLEX/low-end RB2.

Verdict – Startable (better suited as FLEX)

Keenan Allen (WR) – Los Angeles Chargers

This is going to be a tricky situation for fantasy owners, with the Chargers not playing until 4:05 PM EST. Allen has been a target machine turning 75 targets (including 25 in the past two games) into 53 catches, 548 yards and 3 TD. How are you going to sit him, unless he fails to get clearance?

This is purely a situation where we need to monitor the news and be prepared with an alternative playing in a later game.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (but monitor the news)

Chris Godwin (WR) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Godwin has been sidelined with a broken finger, last playing on October 25 when he delivered 9 catches, 88 yards and 1 TD. He’s only played in four games this season and has averaged over 6 catches per game (25 catches), but what type of target share will he see upon his return? Just consider:

  • Antonio Brown will make his Tampa Bay debut
  • Rob Gronkowski has become a bigger part of the offense, with TD in three straight games
  • Mike Evans isn’t disappearing any time soon

Of course a matchup with the Saints helps and we have to expect Brown to need time to get up-to-speed. There is a little bit of risk, suppressing Godwin more into WR2 status, but he’s well worth using in all formats.

Verdict – Start ‘Em

Calvin Ridley (WR) – Atlanta Falcons

This was the expectation all along, so fantasy owners should’ve already been planning to be without Ridley. Even if he does play, having not practiced all week chances are he’d be limited in his playing time/opportunities. The safe play is to utilize the Plan B alternative you were already expecting.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em

Jordan Howard (RB) – Miami Dolphins

Miami is going to be without three running backs this week, with Myles Gaskin (knee), Matt Breida (hamstring) and Lynn Bowden (COVID-19) all sidelined. That leaves Howard and Patrick Laird to lead the backfield, though the matchup with the Cardinals should be a favorable one.

That said, does anyone really believe Howard can post big numbers? He has 14 yards on 18 carries this season, with a long run of 4 yards. Maybe he’s a desperation FLEX play, but otherwise there’s just no way to trust him.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em

DeeJay Dallas (RB) – Seattle Seahawks

Both Chris Carson and Brandon Hyde have been ruled out, leaving Dallas to lead the backfield (with Alex Collins promoted from the practice squad to compliment him). Last week against the 49ers Dallas struggled to get going, with 41 yards on 18 carries. However his value was saved by 1 TD on the ground as well as 5 catches for 17 yards and another TD.

This week the matchup is easier, taking on a Buffalo defense that’s middle of the pack against opposing running backs. It is the same defense that saw Damien Harris torch them for 102 yards and 1 TD in Week 8, a week after Frank Gore racked up 60 yards on 11 carries.

Given the matchup and the opportunity, Dallas is a good play as a RB2 and should be a Top 20 option.

Verdict – Start ‘Em

Sources – ESPN,

Make sure to check out all of our Week 9 rankings:

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends


  1. Hi, Prof. 0.5 PPR league.

    D’Andre Swift @MIN or Sterling Sheprard @WAS?

    Golden Tate is OUT for this one. So should I start Shepard or stick with Swift at FLEX? Thanks.


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