Thursday Night Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Week 2 (2019): Is There A Must Start In Tampa Bay’s Backfield, Is D.J. Moore A Must Start & 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:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jameis Winston – Quarterback
It was an ugly performance in Week 1, completing 55.6% of his passes for 194 yards, 1 TD and 3 INT. Part of his struggles could be tied to his top wide receiver being limited, but that’s simply not enough of an excuse. Winston has been a bit of an enigma since entering the league, with there being a lot of hype but injuries have helped keep him from getting close to fully realizing it.

Taking on a Carolina defense that allowed just 186 yards in Week 1, why would we expect things to suddenly change? In two-quarterback formats he is going to be worth using due to his upside, but in single-quarterback leagues the risk far outweighs the potential reward.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em (outside of two-quarterback formats)

Ronald Jones – Running Back
This was supposed to be a committee, but Jones took a step to entrench himself into the early down work with a strong Week 1:

  • Ronald Jones – 13 carries for 75 yards (5.8 YPC)
  • Peyton Barber – 8 carries for 33 yards (4.1 YPC)

Barber should continue to play a role, and it’s likely that the team takes a bit of a “hot hand” approach. That risk alone will devalue Jones, though after watching Carolina get beaten up by the run in Week 1 it doesn’t eliminate it. Consider Jones a low-end RB2 depending on your alternatives, though a much better fit as a FLEX.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (preferably as a FLEX, but there’s enough upside to consider him as a RB2)

Peyton Barber – Running Back
Given the Week 1 performances Barber appears to be the second back in the committee, and in this offense is that really something you want to invest in? With Mike Evans healthy, meaning a few more pass attempts, the answer should be an easy no.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em

Dare Ogunbowale – Running Back
He didn’t receive a single carry in Week 1, and that’s a trend that could continue. He did get 4 receptions for 33 yards which will put him on the radar for those in PPR formats, but it’s more as a bench stash as opposed to a usable option.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em

Chris Godwin – Wide Receiver
With Mike Evans limited Godwin turned 6 targets into 3 receptions, 53 yards and 1 TD. Those are hardly blow away numbers, and a healthy Evans coupled with the presence of TE O.J. Howard is going to further limit his upside. With the Carolina defense looking less than dominant in Week 1 the obvious risk doesn’t eliminate the appeal, it just limits it more into the WR3 range (or desperation WR2). He’s not going to be a great option, but a usable one depending on your alternatives.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (as potential WR3)

Must Start Options:

  • Mike Evans – Wide Receiver (he was limited due to illness in Week 1, but if he’s healthy you can’t consider sitting him)
  • O.J. Howard – Tight End

Carolina Panthers

D.J. Moore – Wide Receiver
The Buccaneers only allowed 7 receptions to wide receivers in Week 1, but that’s because George Kittle was torching them instead. Meanwhile Moore looked good as the top receiver for Carolina, turning 10 targets into 7 receptions and 76 yards.

Obviously Moore isn’t going to be the top performer in this offense, which revolves around Christian McCaffrey, but he’s a key cog (though we don’t like seeing the lost fumble). Let’s not forget that he finished ’18 with 8+ targets in six of the final seven contests, so his opportunities should be there. Couple those two things and he’s an easy play as a WR2.

Verdict – Start ‘Em

Curtis Samuel – Wide Receiver
Samuel received a lot of hype as we headed towards the start of the season, but he was a distant third in targets in Week 1 as McCaffrey, Moore and Greg Olsen combined for 30 while Samuel got just 4. That’s not a positive sign, and while we’d expect a little bit more diversification in the offense Samuel could prove to be nothing more than a boom or bust option. With that risk he’s not worth the gamble this early in the week.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em

Greg Olsen – Tight End
Olsen was a huge part of the offense in Week 1, though he didn’t make the most of his opportunities as he turned 9 targets into just 4 catches and 36 yards. That’s a disappointing mark, though after watching Kittle in Week 1 there is at least a little bit of reason for optimism. Of course missing early practices due to a back injury also clouds the issue, and with enough talent at the position it’s not worth taking the risk this early in the week.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em

Must Start Options:

  • Cam Newton – Quarterback
  • Christian McCaffrey – Running Back

Sources – ESPN,

Make sure to check out all of our Week 2 rankings:

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends


  1. Hello Professor,

    Need some help this week. Half ppr
    I got Evans, Josh Gordon, AB, C.Ridley.
    Rb on bench: Singletary, Cohen

    Need 2 wrs and flex

    Thank you

    • I can’t recommend AB given everything that’s going on so:

      WR – Evans / Ridley
      FLEX – Singletary

      (depending on Brown’s availability, I could see switching Gordon in for Ridley, but it’s too early to make that decision)

  2. Hi professor! Please your help if possible for PPR leagues:

    Pick 2: fitzgerald, jeffery or djax?

    Pick 2: ross, mclaurin, c. Davis or fuller?

    Pick 1: breida, drake or C. Thompson?

    Pick 1: A. Jones, montgomery, Malcolm Brown or M. Sanders?

    Thank you in advance for your assistance!

    • Here ya go!

      Pick 2: fitzgerald, jeffery or djax?
      Fitzgerald & Jeffery

      Pick 2: ross, mclaurin, c. Davis or fuller?
      Davis & Fuller (but they are all close)

      Pick 1: breida, drake or C. Thompson?

      Pick 1: A. Jones, montgomery, Malcolm Brown or M. Sanders?
      Unfortunately Jones, but don’t love any of them

  3. Hey professor,

    A couple of questions:
    Picked up AP after the news of Guice, but now someone dropped Hyde, and with Bell’s MRI Montgomery could be an option. Who would you pick out of the three in PPR?

    Also, I prefer to have one of the better DSTs during the season to avoid fighting for the best streamers every week. Drafted the Jags DST, and they didn’t impress week one (granted it was against KC). Minnesota is available, but is it too early to give up on the Jags? Streaming options available are the Titans and 49ers.

    Appreciate it!

    • I’d stick with AP, he should be a bit of a workhorse in that offense.

      Yea, one week against KC is far too early to push the panic button

  4. Good afternoon, professor! 14 Team, 1/2 PPR.

    1. WR1/2 are Mike Evans and Calvin Ridley. RB1/2 Leonard Fournette and Nick Chubb. Flex Malcolm Brown, Ronald Jones, Corey Davis or Dion Lewis? I assume Marquise Goodman isn’t even an option.

    2. Currently have KC defense. Available free agents are Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, NY Giants, San Fran, Tennessee, Indy and Seattle. Keep KC or one of these?

    • 1) Don’t particularly love any of them, but I’d lean Davis (with Jones a risky option)

      2) If you are going to take it week to week, I’d go Tennessee (Seattle has most long-term upside)


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