by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Just hours before the start of Week 4 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:
Willie Snead – Wide Receiver – New Orleans Saints
ESPN’s Stephania Bell recently described Snead’s outlook by saying:
“There has been some encouraging progress for Snead, including his participation in three consecutive practices, albeit on a limited basis. Although his designation remains the same, there is more optimism that Snead will be available for the Saints this week. Unfortunately, there is just no way to know how well his toe will respond to the workload of a full-speed game as opposed to a controlled practice environment with limited reps.”
With a 4:25 PM EST start, as well the fact that the Saints are playing on the road (where their offense is notoriously worse), he’s going to be a tough player to trust. If you have a viable alternative in a later game it’ll be worth waiting, but for most owners you may be better off going to conservative route.
Spencer Ware – Running Back – Kansas City Chiefs
This will mark the first game back for Jamaal Charles and he’s going to be limited, though he also is going to at least eat into the snaps for Ware (before potentially taking over lead back duties in short order). Ware has looked good this season, including racking up 199 total yards in Week 1 and 105 in Week 2, and he also has a favorable matchup against a Pittsburgh defense that has been torched by running backs who can catch the football (290 receiving yards leads the league by a good margin).
Ware caught 7 passes in Week 1 and should out-touch Charles this week. That gives Ware the edge as a viable option, and he is a solid play as a RB2. That said there’s reason to keep him suppressed a little bit, thanks to the presence of Charles and the risk of lost opportunities.
Christine Michael – Running Back – Seattle Seahawks
With Thomas Rawls out Michael will once again be set to carry the load for the Seahawks. Of course he draws a difficult matchup against the strong front seven of the New York Jets, who are currently yielding the fourth fewest points per game to opposing running backs, including the fourth fewest rushing yards (193) and just 1 TD. It’s not to say that we should shy away from Michael, but there’s reason to downgrade him a little bit. Consider him a viable RB2, depending on your alternatives.
Robert Woods/Marqise Goodwin – Wide Receiver – Buffalo Bills
With the injury to Sammy Watkins it would be easy to buy into one of their “top two” wide receivers, though we have to use that term loosely. Watkins has just 6 receptions for 63 yards this season and it’s not like either of these two have stepped up and produced:
Goodwin clearly has big play potential, though he’s going to be far too boom or bust to trust. As for Woods, he’s averaged 11.8 YPC over his career while scoring a TD every 4.3 games. In other words, there’s very little reason to get excited.
Demaryius Thomas – Wide Receiver – Denver Broncos
There’s little reason to even consider sitting him, yet there have been quite a few questions including him as a possible sit. If that thought has even come across your mind, just look at this little blurb from ESPN’s Matthew Berry:
“The “No. 1 wide receiver” facing the Buccaneers has scored every week: Julio Jones, Larry Fitzgerald and Tavon Austin. This is a secondary that has not stopped anyone, allowing seven scores to wideouts in three games. Per my friend Mike Clay’s invaluable WR/CB matchup chart, Thomas, who is 6-foot-3, should spend a lot of time facing off with the struggling Alterraun Verner, who is 5-10. DT has increased his reception total each week thus far, and that should continue this week in Tampa.”
Fire him up in all formats.
Cole Beasley – Wide Receiver – Dallas Cowboys
Dez Bryant is going to miss this week’s game, which should mean an increased workload for the Cowboys’ slot receiver. At 5’8” and 180 lbs. Beasley isn’t going to be much of a TD maker, but in PPR formats he should be viewed as a must start option. As it is he’s been targeted 25 times over the first three games, racking up 20 catches for 213 yards. With the 49ers also without their slot cornerback, Jimmie Ward, the opportunities should be there for Beasley and Dak Prescott to make something happen. While the lack of TD upside does limit Beasley, as a WR3 he’s going to be a viable option.
Rashad Jennings – Running Back – New York Giants
He’s listed as questionable and there’s a chance that he suits up and plays. That said, how much of an impact can he really make? Jordan Raanan recently tweeted:
“Giants decision Monday night may be whether to dress Rashad Jennings (thumb) in case of emergency or a 3rd QB. 6 others may be unavailable.”
That certainly makes it seem that an active Jennings wouldn’t be a very highly utilized one (if at all). While that would seemingly make Orleans Darkwa an intriguing option, the matchup tells a different story as the Vikings have allowed just 172 rushing yards and 0 TD to opposing runners this season. This is a situation to avoid.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 4 rankings: