by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Thursday games are often tricky, because there isn’t necessarily a reason to take any undue risks with questionable options (which could set you back and spoil your week). Who are the borderline players that should be in lineups? Who should be sat down? Let’s take a look at the skill players taking the field tonight and try to answer those questions:
Brian Hoyer – Quarterback
At this point there shouldn’t be a question regarding who the Bears’ quarterback is, as Hoyer has now thrown for 300+ yards in four straight games (to go along with 6 TD and 0 INT). That said the Packers’ defense is not an easy matchup, despite allowing 10 passing TD, as their 1,437 yards puts them among the bottom half of the league. In two-quarterback formats there’s potential value, but this early in the week it seems like too big of a risk to take otherwise (despite his strong play thus far). We all know Hoyer has a history of strong starts, only to stumble.
Verdict – Viable QB2
Jordan Howard – Running Back
He should be a must play option, but the split from Week 6 is a little bit eye opening:
It was Carey’s first real usage of the season, but Chicago has always talked about a potential committee so they may finally get their wish. It’ not enough to eliminate Howard’s value, but the Packers are actually giving up the fewest points per week to opposing RB, so it adds a little bit more doubt.
Verdict – Despite risk, utilize as RB2
Cameron Meredith – Wide Receiver
He’s clearly been the go to receiver over the past two weeks, turning 27 targets into 20 catches, 243 yards and 1 TD. While it’s impossible to expect that type of workload every week, he also is going to remain one of the most utilized players on this team. At 6’3” he could even see his red zone role grow, making him all the more appealing. He’s not quite at must use status (though he’s extremely close with Eddie Royal out), but he also could get there before long.
Verdict – Borderline WR2/Must use WR3
Must Play Options:
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers – Quarterback
Who would’ve thought we’d get to the point where Rodgers isn’t a clear “must play” option? He did set a season high in yards this past week (294), but he only had 1 TD while throwing 1 INT and losing a fumble in the process (3 TD and 3 INT over the past two games) . The significant questions about the team’s running game will also allow defenses to focus on Rodgers and company, which could make it even harder to operate. Maybe this is the week he breaks out of his slump, with the potential upside putting him on the QB1 radar, but given the performance and situation it’s hard to consider him a must start this early in the week (depending on your alternatives).
Verdict – Borderline QB1, depending on your alternatives
Kniles Davis – Running Back
The injuries to Eddie Lacy and James Starks necessitated the Packers looking outside the organization for help. However, having been acquired on Tuesday is there any chance that Davis can get up to speed quick enough to handle a heavy workload? It seems unrealistic and he’d be a better play in Week 8 because of it.
Verdict – Unlikely to carry heavy workload
Randall Cobb – Wide Receiver
He saw some snaps out of the backfield in Week 6 and likely will again. While he wasn’t the biggest beneficiary and didn’t get a carry, Cobb was targeted 11 times and managed 7 receptions for 53 yards and 1 TD. We’d expect him to receive carries this time around and he’s now received 11 targets in each of the past two games (16 catches for 161 yards). Obviously the struggles of Rodgers plays a role in the decision making, but with the potential to get carries as well he’s worth considering as a WR3.
Verdict – Viable WR3
Ty Montgomery – Wide Receiver
Talk about making an impact, Montgomery paced the Packers last week with 12 targets (10 receptions for 98 yards) while also taking 3 carries for 6 yards. Given the state of the backfield and the likelihood that he sees more time at RB than Cobb, there’s a good chance that Montgomery is the biggest beneficiary from the running back situation. He should once again see at least a handful of carries, and also should be utilized as a safety net out of the backfield. Does that mean he’ll touch the ball 13 times again? It’s not a given, but it also wouldn’t be shocking. That type of usage makes him a viable WR3, though he’s slightly more risky than Cobb at this point.
Verdict – Viable WR3
Davante Adams – Wide Receiver
After turning 8 targets into 5 receptions, 85 yards and 1 TD (his third TD in four games), he was targeted just 3 times last week. His play is far too inconsistent to consider.
Verdict – Unusable
Must Play Options:
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com