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Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2016): Week 9: Christine Michael (Start), Terrance West (Start) & More

Friday, November 4, 2016 2:42
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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 – Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys – at Cleveland

He’s coming off a poor game (19-for-39, 287 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT), with multiple factors potentially playing a role:

  1. Rapport problems with Dez Bryant
  2. Hearing the footsteps of Tony Romo
  3. Tough in-division game

They are all legitimate concerns, but he’s had another week to get things sorted out with his star receiver, has gotten a bit of a vote of confidence and has a significantly easier matchup in Week 9 (Cleveland is allowing the fourth most points per week to opposing QB).   Now isn’t the time to lose faith.

Sit – Joe Flacco – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Pittsburgh
He hasn’t thrown a touchdown in back-to-back games, has 2 TD over his past five games and has thrown more than 1 TD in a game just once all season.  Throw in back-to-back games of poor completion percentages (54.2% and 56.8%) and a relatively tough matchup and things are certainly skewed in the wrong direction.

Running Backs
Start – Christine Michael – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Buffalo

Michael hasn’t quite been the same player over the past few weeks, averaging 4.0 YPC or less in four straight games.  The impressive debut of C.J. Prosise (103 total yards) could also have an impact, but we’d expect the rookie to play a bigger role in the passing game as opposed to the running game (though it’s not impossible he cuts into Michael’s carries a bit).  Still, Michael should operate as the goal line back and faces a Bills defense that has allowed 9 rushing TD this season.  Given the other questions littering the league, that makes him a good “gamble” to take (though his hold on a RB2 spot on your lineup could soon disappear).

Start – Terrance West – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Pittsburgh
It would be easy to be down on West, after he struggled last week against the Jets (8 carries for 10 yards).  Of course he was still the “lead” back, as he was the only one who had more than 1 carry in the game.  He also had been highly productive the previous three weeks:

  • vs. Oakland – 21 carries for 113 yards and 1 TD
  • vs. Washington – 11 carries for 95 yards
  • at New York Giants – 23 carries for 87 yards and 2 TD

Pittsburgh has been more prone to running backs who can catch the football, but with the passing game struggling (as we noted above), now isn’t the time to write off West.

Sit – Ryan Mathews – Philadelphia Eagles – at New York Giants
It’s hard to recommend any “sit” options this week, given the landscape we are trying to maneuver through.  That said, if there’s an alternative that you can use over Mathews we’d highly consider it.  There was talk that he could be bumped down the depth chart, in favor of Darren Sproles, and while that didn’t happen (yet) it may not take much for a change to be made.  As it is Mathews hasn’t been getting many touches (he hasn’t had more than 14 carries in a game since Week 1) and has had fumble issues.  There’s too much risk, if you can afford to avoid him.

Sit – Don Jackson – Green Bay Packers – vs. Indianapolis
Sure the Packers are short on running backs, but what has Jackson shown us when given the opportunity to produce?  He has 6 carries for 16 yards in his two games, with his longest run being a mere 7 yards.  The team is going to find a way to get something going, but it will be relying on Aaron Rodgers and company as opposed to trying to milk any type of value out of Jackson.  He’s an afterthought and nothing more.

Wide Receivers (Two-Receiver Formats)
Start – Allen Robinson – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Kansas City

Yes the Jaguars offense has been a disaster this season, but Robinson continues to see a slew of opportunities and sooner or later that’s going to lead to results.  The Chiefs have actually allowed the seventh most points per week to opposing wide receivers, so this could be the week that Robinson “breaks out”.  He has too high of a ceiling to give up on him now.

Sit – Marvin Jones – Detroit Lions – at Minnesota
He’s hardly a must sit option, but there’s reason to be skeptical depending on your alternatives.  The returns of Eric Ebron and Theo Riddick are going to cut into all of the opportunities for the receiving corps and Minnesota’s defense has allowed the second fewest points per week to opposing wide receivers.

Wide Receivers (Three-Receiver Formats)
Start – Michael Thomas – New Orleans Saints – at San Francisco

You could make the case that he’s a must start in two-receiver formats, but we all know the Saints are deep at wide receiver.  That said he has an extremely favorable matchup and has been extremely efficient with his opportunities (21 receptions on 24 targets over the past three weeks).  He has 3 TD on the season and could easily find the end zone once again (the 49ers have allowed 13 TD to opposing WR).

Sit – Tyreek Hill – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Jacksonville
It is easy to get excited by Hill, who clearly has tremendous upside.  That said it’s easy to label him as TD dependent, with just 19 receptions and 23 targets on the season (he has scored 4 TD).  In time he should develop into a viable WR3, but until his role grows more consistent there’s simply too much risk.

Tight Ends
Start – Antonio Gates – San Diego Chargers – vs. Tennessee

It would appear that Gates has leapfrogged Hunter Henry once again on the depth chart (19 targets over the past two weeks).  Even if that’s not “official” there are two things that work in Gates’ favor:

  1. A favorable matchup
  2. A questionable/banged up receiving corps

Continue to ride the wave and feel comfortable using Gates.

Sit – Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles – at New York Giants
We keep waiting for his breakout, but it continues to elude him.  He hasn’t had more than 4 targets in his four games since returning from injury, with no more than 37 yards over that span.  Exactly what are we buying here?

Sources –, ESPN

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