by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Just hours before the start of Week 8 I know many people have questions running through their heads. Who should I start? Who should I sit? Let’s take a look at how some of the recent news changes things:
Lamar Miller – Running Back – Houston Texans
Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle recently published the following quote from Miller (click here for the article):
“Hopefully, Sunday I’ll be full-go,” Miller said Friday. “That’s the plan. I’m not really sure how much I will play right now, but hopefully I will be in there. .. I feel way better than the beginning of the week. Every morning, I’ve been feeling better.”
Adam Schefter (via Twitter) added fuel to the fire this morning by tweeting:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 30, 2016
While this isn’t quite the same situation as LeSean McCoy a week ago, it does feel somewhat similar. Even if Miller is able to play, how many snaps he goes and how effective he’ll be is a bit of a mystery (and a huge concern). That’s going to make him tough to trust, in most cases, though the limited alternatives thanks to injuries/bye weeks keep him as a potential RB2 option. Look at your alternatives and be ready to active on Plan B, because this is shaping up as far too risky of a situation.
Randall Cobb – Wide Receiver – Green Bay Packers
He has been battling a hamstring injury and according to Adam Schefter (via Twitter):
Packers’ WR Randall Cobb is not expected to play Sunday vs. Falcons due to a hamstring injury, per source. Packers being careful with Cobb.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 30, 2016
If he’s at full strength he’d be an easy play, thanks to the matchup and his recent usage. However the Packers have multiple alternatives and could look to limit his snaps if he were to be a surprising dress. If he plays he’s a risky WR3, but you should be planning to be without him.
Matt Asiata – Running Back – Minnesota Vikings
With Jerrick McKinnon already ruled out, Asiata is set for a big workload tomorrow night against the Bears. As it is Asiata is coming off back-to-back strong performances:
With the potential for even more touches (McKinnon had 33 touches in those two games) and a good chance to find the end zone, Asiata should be viewed as a Top 20 RB option. Fire him up in all formats.
Terrelle Pryor – Wide Receiver – Cleveland Browns
While he was limited earlier in the week, Pryor practiced fully on Friday and there’s no threat of him missing this week’s game against the Jets. He is coming off his worst game of the season (2 receptions for 18 yards), but the quarterback situation was a mess and likely played a role in his struggles. The Jets have had issues in their secondary for most of the season and with Josh McCown back under center there should be a steadier QB performance. Fire Pryor up as a WR2 in most formats.
Jordan Reed – Tight End – Washington Redskins
With the game coming in London the fact that he traveled with the team was a good indication that he’d be playing today. Adam Shefter (via Twitter) gave extra confirmation:
Washington TE Jordan Reed, who missed past two games due to a concussion, is expected to play Sunday vs Bengals, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 30, 2016
Cincinnati represents a favorable matchup, though Vernon Davis produced in his absence and the team could look to limit his workload. Consider Reed a riskier TE1, but one with huge upside. In most cases he’ll be worth the gamble.
Rob Kelley – Running Back – Washington Redskins
Matt Jones has been ruled out, so Kelley and Chris Thompson are going to get an opportunity to fill his role. Thompson is more of a passing down back, and his role isn’t likely to change much, making Kelley the more intriguing option… Or does it?
The Bengals have been susceptible to backs who can catch the football (335 yards and 3 TD) and if you remove one big run (45 yards) Kelley has mustered just 58 yards on 16 carries (3.6 YPC). It’s not to say that Kelley isn’t a viable FLEX option, but if we had our choice it would be Thompson who got the call.
Devonta Freeman – Running Back – Atlanta Falcons
While he was “limited” mid-week, Freeman was removed from the injury report on Friday and enters the day as the clear lead back (thanks to the absence of Tevin Coleman). The Packers are allowing the fewest points per week to opposing running backs, including a league low 399 yards and just 1 TD. Obviously the expected usage is going to keep Freeman as a must start option, especially with the bye weeks and injuries, but he’s not going to be ranked as highly as we would’ve hoped. Consider him more of a worthy RB2.
Theo Riddick – Running Back – Detroit Lions
He’ll be back today, after missing the past two games. The question is going to be how much of an impact will he make? He could easily step right back into a “lead” role, but the Lions have been winning of late by using a bevy of backs (Zach Zenner & Justin Forsett) and chances are that no one player is going to see the bulk of the work. As it is Riddick’s calling card has always been his receiving ability, something the Texans have done a tremendous job at defending (19 receptions, 178 yards, 0 TD). Until we get a better feel for how the backfield will play out, consider Riddick more of a risky FLEX option.
Donte Moncreif – Wide Receiver – Indianapolis Colts
He’s been sidelined since Week 2, but Moncrief is going to return today and help to bolster a banged up receiving corps. He should immediately step into a starting role and the matchup with the Chiefs is an extremely favorable one (they are actually allowing the most points per week to opposing wide receivers). It is possible that Indianapolis puts him on some type of a snap count, but there’s also too much upside for him to simply be ignored.
While we’d like to be a little bit conservative, he’s well worth utilizing in all three-receiver formats (and also is a borderline WR2 depending on your alternatives).
Mike Gillislee – Running Back – Buffalo Bills
It looks like the Bills will learn from their mistake in Week 7, with Gillislee set to supplant the injured LeSean McCoy this week. It’s possible he gets a fairly hefty workload, with the team attempting to keep the ball out of the hands of Tom Brady and company. It’s not an easy matchup, but he has produced when given the opportunity and has shown an ability to find the end zone. He may ultimately be TD dependent, but his chances coupled with all of the other questions clouding the position make him a viable RB2 in all formats.
Sources – NFL.com, ESPN
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Make sure to check out all of our Week 8 rankings: