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Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2016): Week 5: Start Amari Cooper, Sit Matt Forte & More

Friday, October 7, 2016 1:18
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by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

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:

Start – Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles – at Detroit

Detroit is allowing the second most points per week to opposing quarterbacks, thanks to a staggering 12 TD vs. 1 INT.  Over his first three games Wentz has thrown 5 TD, without an interception, while also eclipsing 275 yards in two of the contests.  Is there anything else you really need to know to convince you to give him a shot?  Maybe he’s not an “elite” option, but the Eagles’ running game is questionable and Wentz should get ample opportunities to exploit what has been a relatively weak defense.

Sit – Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons – at Denver
You could argue that he’s a borderline play, considering how good he’s been, but this is a matchup that you really don’t want to be a part of.  The Broncos have allowed just 776 passing yards and 2 TD on the season, and it’s not like they’ve faced weak quarterbacks with matchups against Cam Newton, Andrew Luck and Andy Dalton under their belt.  If you don’t have an alternative it’s not unthinkable to roll Ryan out there, but even with the bye weeks it shouldn’t be too hard to scrounge up a viable alternative.

Running Backs
Start – Terrance West – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Washington
People can talk about Kenneth Dixon as much as they want, and he should get some touches, but it’ll be his first NFL game and you know he’s going to be eased into action.  West is coming off a monster game (21 carries for 113 yards and 1 TD) and the Redskins actually pose an easier matchup having allowed the most rushing yards in the league (532, as well as 7 TD).

Start – LeGarrette Blount – New England Patriots – at Cleveland
Tom Brady will make his first start of the season, so it’s easy to imagine New England taking a pass happy approach.  At the same time, would it be far-fetched to think that they will build up a big lead and put their foot on the brakes a bit (aka go a little bit more run heavy)?  Of course the fact that the Browns have been susceptible to the run, having allowed 453 yards to opposing running backs, just adds to the potential appeal.

Sit – Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – at Dallas
Only once has he had more than 5 carries in a game, and he took his 10 carries for a mere 18 yards (on the season he has 25 carries for 68 yards). It also isn’t like he has been a receiving monster, outside of one big game (9 receptions for 100 yards and 1 TD).  You take that out and he’s combined for 10 catches on 13 targets for 65 yards and 0 TD.  Considering the production, the risk of a bust far outweighs the potential reward.

Sit – Matt Forte – New York Jets – at Pittsburgh
He’s banged up, so there’s a chance he doesn’t even dress.  Even if he does, you have to think that Bilal Powell is going to take on a bigger role.  Throw in the matchup, as the Steelers have not been susceptible on the ground but instead have been exposed by running backs catching the football (318 receiving yards).  Granted a healthy Forte has potential there, but look at his receiving numbers over the past three weeks:

  • Week 2 – 2 receptions for 9 yards
  • Week 3 – 2 receptions for -1 yards
  • Week 4 – 2 receptions for 16 yards

Wide Receivers (Two-Receiver Formats)
Start – Amari Cooper – Oakland Raiders – vs. San Diego

He’s been trending in the wrong direction, managing just 48 yards in Week 4.  The Raiders’ running game is a significant question at the moment, though, and there’s a good chance that this game deteriorates into a shootout (or the Raiders go down big early and have to consistently throw the football to keep up).

Sit – Tajae Sharpe – Tennessee Titans – at Miami
He was all the rage early, but he hasn’t cracked 50 yards in each of his past three games and managed just 15 in Week 4.  Miami’s defense has been prone to the passing game (800 yards allowed to opposing wide receivers, one of four teams to yield that many) but in shallower formats there’s far too much risk involved.

Wide Receivers (Three-Receiver Formats)
Start – Robert Woods – Buffalo Bills – Los Angeles Rams

Sammy Watkins is out, and that should give Woods an opportunity to exploit a Rams defense that has already allowed 847 yards to opposing wide receivers.  Woods has totaled 140 yards over the past two weeks (89 in Week 4) off of 13 receptions and 18 targets.  The opportunities should continue to be there.

Sit – Victor Cruz – New York Giants – at Green Bay
It’s not a good matchup and the Giants could easily try to force feed Odell Beckham.  Considering Sterling Shepard is also in the mix, it’s going to be hard to trust Cruz under any circumstance.

Tight Ends
Start – Cameron Brate – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Carolina
Would you be surprised to learn that Brate is actually tied for the eighth most targets among tight ends (25)?  He’s turned those into 159 yards and 2 TD, and the Panthers have surprisingly struggled against opposing tight ends (fourth most points per week).

Sit – Dwayne Allen – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Chicago
The departure of Coby Fleener was supposed to leave Allen to dominate the tight end looks, but instead he’s now sharing the opportunities with Jack Doyle.  The uncertainty of his chances leaves him impossible to trust.

Sources –, ESPN

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