Thursday Night Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Week 1 (2019): Can You Trust Chicago’s Running Backs (Montgomery/Cohen) & More


Thursday games are always tricky, especially in Week 1 when we are going more based on assumptions than actual facts (that’s even more true this season, when most teams hardly used their regulars in the preseason).  Let’s take a quick look at some of the more questionable decisions for tonight’s game and try to decide who we should trust and who should be avoided:

Green Bay Packers

Marquez Valdes-Scantling – Wide Receiver
The Bears represent a tough matchup for the Packers offense, making the “secondary” players difficult to trust this early in the week.  Not only is there a question as to how many big play opportunities there will be in general, but how many of those chances are going to go to someone other than Devante Adams?  In their matchup in December of ’18 Adams was the only Packer with more than 4 receptions or 42 yards, showing just how limited someone like Valdes-Scantling could be.  He’s far too risky, even in three-receiver formats.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em

Geronimo Allison – Wide Receiver
All you have to do is look at what we said regarding Valdes-Scantling, as it holds true for Allison as well.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em

Jimmy Graham – Tight End
Graham is going to get attention due to his name and past success, but he managed just 55 receptions for 636 yards and 2 TD last season.  Against the Bears he totaled 5 catches (on 8 targets) for 40 yards and 0 TD.  Could he go off for a big day?  It’s not impossible, but do you want to trust him this early in the week?  The downside is far more than the upside, meaning he should only considered if you are desperate at the spot.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em

Must Start Options:

  • Aaron Rodgers – Quarterback
  • Devante Adams – Wide Receiver
  • Aaron Jones – Running Back

Chicago Bears

Mitchell Trubisky – Quarterback
The Bears started to open up the offense late last season, and Trubisky stepped up and delivered.  In his December matchup with the Packers he threw for 235 yards, 2 TD and 0 INT, which gives at least a little promise, and there also is hope that he can continue to develop and take another massive step forward.  That said he surpassed 250 yards just four times all of 2018 and generally isn’t going to make much of an impact with his legs.

For an offense that could easily funnel through the running backs is he someone you want to trust in single-quarterback formats?  The narrative is different in a two-quarterback league, where he profiles as a Top 20 option, but other than that the risk outweighs the reward given the depth at the position.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em (one-quarterback format); Start ‘Em (two-quarterback format)

David Montgomery – Running Back
The running back situation for the Bears remains a little bit murky.  Obviously they traded up for Montgomery with an eye towards him making a significant impact.  That said will he steal targets from Tarik Cohen?  Will he get a significant number of carries?  That’s the million dollar questions, because his usage will obviously have a trickle down effect on the rest of the roster.

There is risk, especially in his first NFL game, until we get a better feel for his actual gameday usage.  Right now it’s pure speculation, and that makes him more of a FLEX play.  That’s even more true considering much of his value is expected to stem from his ability to catch the football, and those opportunities could easily go to Cohen early in the season, while the Packers allowed the second fewest receptions to opposing running backs in 2018 (66). 

Verdict – Start ‘Em (as a FLEX) 

Tarik Cohen – Running Back
As we noted for Montgomery, the bulk of Cohen’s opportunities come from catching the football.  Considering he could lose some of those opportunities to Montgomery and faces a difficult matchup, is he a player you want to trust this early in the week?  As a desperation FLEX play we could buy it, but for most he’ll be better left on the bench.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em

Allen Robinson – Wide Receiver
The offense is going to funnel through the running backs, most likely, and Robinson faces questionable play from his quarterback in what should be a difficult matchup.  As it is the team’s “top” receiver only had 55 receptions a year ago, totaling 7 catches for 115 yards and 0 TD between two games against the Packers.  While there’s enough upside to consider him as a potential WR3, in shallower formats there’s more risk than reward.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em (two-receiver formats; risky WR3 in three-receiver formats)

Trey Burton – Tight End
Burton is listed as questionable and could easily sit out tonight’s game.  Even if he plays, do you trust that he’s going to get a full workload?

Verdict – Sit ‘Em

Sources – ESPN,

Make sure to check out all of our Week 1 rankings:

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends



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