Thursday Night Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Week 8 (2019): The Impact Of Injuries (Peterson), Is McLaurin A Must Start & More


Thursday games are always tricky, though that’s not groundbreaking news.  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:

Should We Trust The Questionable Injured Players (And Who Could Replace Them)

Each team has a key player banged up, and while they are trying to present the illusion that they may play, is that really something we should believe?  Let’s take a look at each player individually:

Adrian Peterson (RB, WAS)

Even if he does play, and with the Redskins failing to add depth early in the week the likelihood can’t be discounted, can he really be trusted?  We just saw Saquan Barkley miss three weeks with a high ankle sprain, with original projections having him out for 4-8 weeks.  To think that Peterson will make an impact in such a short turnaround, especially against the defense that’s allowed the fifth fewest points to opposing running backs overall (who haven’t allowed a rushing TD since Week 2), would be misguided. 

There’s little on the depth chart behind Peterson, with Chris Thompson likely to miss another week.  Wendell Smallwood could step in as the lead back, though he has a total of 17 touches over the first seven weeks and hasn’t been overly impressive at any point during his career (career YPC of 4.1).  He’s more of a dart throw, desperation FLEX play as opposed to someone you want to trust.

Adam Thielen (WR, MIN)

After suffering a hamstring injury in Week 8 there had been rumblings that Thielen would be able to suit up despite the Thursday start.  Those rumors turned into nothing but hopes and dreams, as he has since been ruled out for tonight’s game.

That bolsters the case for Stefon Diggs, who has been thriving in recent weeks already.  Over the past four games Diggs has posted three 100+ yard days, including 14 catches for 309 yards over the past two (including a 3 TD game in Week 6).  Considering Washington has allowed the tenth most points to opposing wide receivers, and that ranking is somewhat suppressed due to facing the Giants, Dolphins and 49ers in three of the past four weeks.  Diggs would’ve been a WR2 even if Thielen played, but given his current status he’s a WR1.

Is Terry McLaurin A Must Start Fantasy Option?

The third round rookie has had some big weeks, but also some bitter disappointments.  Just look at the lines over the past two weeks as evidence:

  • at Miami – 4 receptions, 100 yards, 2 TD
  • vs. San Francisco – 1 reception, 11 yards, 0 TD

Obviously they are two drastically different defenses, and Minnesota has actually struggled against opposing wide receivers this season.  Overall they’ve allowed the sixth most points per week to wide receivers, and that includes 5 TD over the past two weeks (4 of which came against the Detroit Lions in Week 7).  Obviously there is going to be some risk, given the state of the quarterback situation in Washington, but he’s a solid WR2 for this week.

Minnesota Vikings Start/Sit Decisions:

  • Kirk Cousins (QB) – Must Start
  • Dalvin Cook (RB) – Must Start
  • Alexander Mattison (RB) – Sit ‘Em (though could be used as desperation FLEX in a favorable matchup)
  • Adam Thielen (WR) – Sit ‘Em
  • Stefon Diggs (WR) – Must Start
  • Kyle Rudolph (TE) – Sit ‘Em

Washington Redskins Start/Sit Decisions:

  • Case Keenum (QB) – Sit ‘Em
  • Adrian Peterson (RB) – Sit ‘Em
  • Wendell Smallwood (RB) – Dart Throw FLEX If Desperate
  • Terry McLaurin (WR) – Start ‘Em As WR2
  • Paul Richardson (WR) – Sit ‘Em
  • Trey Quinn (WR) – Sit ‘Em
  • Vernon Davis (TE) – Sit ‘Em

Sources – ESPN,

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

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends


  1. Prof, I need to start two of the following three (full point PPR): McLaurin, Ekeler, Tevin Coleman. I am leaning Ekeler and Coleman. Thoughts?

  2. Need a TE streamer this week with Andrews our. Cook/Hill, Jonnu Smith, Kyle Rudolph, Ebron, Herndon, Vance McDonald?

    Thank you Prof!


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