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Thursday Night Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Week 8: Blake Bortles, Chris Ivory, Marcus Mariota & More

Thursday, October 27, 2016 6:58
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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:

Jacksonville Jaguars
Blake Bortles – Quarterback

We want to believe in his upside, but it’s been a rough season for Bortles.  Just look at the numbers:

  • Yards – 1,567 (247.3 per game)
  • Touchdowns – 9
  • Interceptions – 9

You would’ve thought that the past two weeks, against the Bears and Raiders, would’ve been his opportunity to break out.  Instead he has 2 TD vs. 3 INT and hasn’t thrown for more than 271 yards.  There is still upside, so we wouldn’t want to write him off, but in single-quarterback formats there should be better options available.

T.J. Yeldon – Running Back
After getting opportunities early, he’s been given just 6 carries in each of the past two weeks (45 total yards).  He also has seen his opportunities to catch passes diminish (2 total receptions over this span), which makes him a tough sell as an option (even as a FLEX) this early in the week.  Bye weeks could force your hand, but trying to find an alternative would make sense

Chris Ivory – Running Back
He and Yeldon each had 7 total touches this past week, though Ivory had 13 the week before against the Bears that he turned into 1 TD.  Of course he also fumbled in Week 7, though the Jaguars were able to retain the ball.  So where does that leave us?  Consider Ivory as a similar value to Yeldon, since it’s a virtual even playing field.  That makes him more of a desperation FLEX play, but a tough player to trust overall.

Allen Hurns – Wide Receiver
While he hasn’t necessarily been productive, Hurns does have 18 targets over the past two weeks and four games of 7+ on the season.  That’s promising, though the matchup is a more difficult one (the Titans have allowed the 23rd most points per week to opposing wide receivers).  With the bye weeks keep him on the WR3 radar, but there’s enough risk that he’s a tough sell for most.

Marqise Lee – Wide Receiver
Sure he’s coming off a big game (7 receptions for 107 yards), but he’s failed to find the end zone this season and has 230 yards in the other five games (46 yards per game).  In other words, he shouldn’t even be considered.

Julius Thomas – Tight End
He’s a borderline option, thanks to the bye weeks, but he’s posted three straight games of 28 yards or fewer (and also missed a game due to injury).  We’d rather take the flier on someone like Jack Doyle or Cameron Brate, who could be available on waivers, as opposed to trusting Thomas.

Must Use Options:

  • Allen Robinson – Wide Receiver

Tennessee Titans
Marcus Mariota – Quarterback

Mariota has had some big days and has been throwing TD as of late (8 TD over the past three games).  At the same time he isn’t generally making plays with his legs (only two games with 25+ rushing yards) and has thrown for fewer than 250 yards in five of seven games.  There’s upside, but Jacksonville isn’t a particularly easy matchup (9 TD, 1,369 passing yards allowed) and the Titans are going to continue leaning on Demarco Murray.  Consider Mariota a worthy QB2, but not someone to trust in single-quarterback formats.

Rishard Matthews – Wide Receiver
He’s coming off a game where he saw a season high in targets (7), though he managed just 4 receptions for 37 yards.  The team has too many receivers on similar levels, that the go to receiver can be anyone in a given week.  For a Thursday night game, that means far too much risk to trust any of them.

Tajae Sharpe – Wide Receiver
Sharpe had 7+ targets in each of the first four games, but he has just 13 total in the past three (managing 6 receptions for 76 yards).  Throw in the fact that he hasn’t scored a TD all season and the bloom is clearly off the rose here.  Maybe he gets back to viable status at some point, but for now he’s nothing more than an inconsistent rookie and is impossible to trust.

Kendall Wright – Wide Receiver
His big game against the Browns recently (8 receptions, 133 yards, 1 TD) raised some eyebrows, but he followed it up by mustering 2 receptions for 12 yards.  In other words, forget him.

Must Start Options:

  • DeMarco Murray – Running Back
  • Delanie Walker – Tight End

Sources – ESPN,

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