Just hours before the start of Week 6 (for most teams anyway), 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:
Jordy Nelson, Wide Receiver, Green Bay Packers
The Packers play at 1 p.m. ET, so at least we’ll have an answer early as to if Nelson is going to play or not. If he plays, he’s a must start option (arguably a top-five option), but at this point he’s a game-time decision and listed as questionable with a hamstring injury. Monitor the news this morning, but be prepared with an alternative.
Both James Jones and Randall Cobb were WR2 considerations if Nelson was full go. If he is out, both become must-play options against a Jacksonville defense that is allowing 264.5 passing yards per game (ninth most in the league).
Maybe Nelson’s absence could also mean a return to prominence for JerMichael Finley, though I wouldn’t be quite as willing to take that gamble unless you are desperate for a tight end.
Brandon Lloyd, Wide Receiver, New England Patriots
He has had plenty of down moments this season, including one reception for six yards against the Jets in Week 7. However, with Aaron Hernandez officially out for today’s game against the Rams, you have to think that Lloyd will get an opportunity to play a bigger role in the offense, right?
Before we get too excited, keep in mind that he has had his opportunities in recent weeks, and he simply hasn’t produced. Over the past four weeks he has converted 40.6 percent of his targets into receptions (13 receptions on 32 targets).
He has too much talent to give up on, but even without Hernandez, I wouldn’t trust him in shallower formats until he proves he is going to make plays. I would still view him more as a WR3 for this week, though with the absence of Hernandez, I could see pushing him to a low-end WR2 depending on your other options.
Trent Richardson, Running Back, Cleveland Browns
Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal has the following quotes from coach Pat Shurmur:
(On how Trent Richardson is doing)- “I think today was his third good day of practice. He’s better this Friday than he was last. I can’t tell you exactly what’s going to happen Sunday, but he had a good practice.”
(On if it is unknown how Richardson will deal with contact)- “I think we’ve just got to make our decisions based on where he is health wise. The good news is you always play more than one running back. We’ll just see how he’s doing and then put the roster together with those things in mind.”
He’s going to be a risky play, and fantasy owners are going to have to monitor the news, but at least we will get an early decision with a 1 p.m. ET game start.
The Chargers have been among the best teams against the run this season (71.2 yards/game, two touchdowns), but if Richardson is playing, it is going to be hard to have him on your bench. Unless you are absolutely loaded at the position, his upside is just too high to not start him.
Danny Amendola, Wide Receiver, St. Louis Rams
Amazingly he’s listed as questionable, though with the Rams' bye week on the horizon, it is hard to imagine the Rams forcing him into today’s game with the Patriots. That said, if he does play, he will at least have to be a consideration against a Patriots team that is allowing 290.0 passing yards per game and 16 TD.
It really depends on your other options at this point, as well as this morning’s news. Even if he dresses, there is no guarantee that he can make it through an entire game or is used as anything more than a decoy. There’s too much risk involved if you have another viable option.
Jonathan Stewart, Running Back, Carolina Panthers
One of the major problems in Carolina was that we never knew which running back was going to get the bulk of the carries. That finally appears to be changing, though. According to Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer, head coach Ron Rivera recently was quoted as saying:
I want to see one guy pound and get a rhythm, then see the other guy pound and get a rhythm. To me it’s hard for a back to get a rhythm when you’re coming out every other play. So just looking back at some of those things philosophically and saying, look, this is what we have to do. Now what happens is when you get caught up in the moment of the game, things change.
While Stewart has not yet had more than 11 carries in a game this season, that could obviously change this week. He gets a tough draw against arguably the best defense in the league, so you have to proceed with caution in Week 8.
He does have upside, so he should be viewed as a potential FLEX option (or RB2 for the desperate). However, with the job being his to lose at this pointm Stewart has become a must-own option in all formats with the potential to be a solid RB2, at the least, the rest of the way.
Frank Gore, Running Back, San Francisco 49ers
According to Eric Brach (via Twitter):
Frank Gore on the pain from his bruised ribs: "It’s lessened a lot. A lot. I’m sleeping good."
That’s definitely good news for fantasy owners, especially with the 49ers not playing until Monday night against the Arizona Cardinals (120.9 rushing yards per game). If you are a Gore owner and you can grab Kendall Hunter for insurance, it would be the wise move. However, there appears to be no reason to shy away from trusting Gore.
Felix Jones, Running Back, Dallas Cowboys
Jones is listed as questionable with a knee injury, but even if he dresses are you willing to trust him? You have to think that Phillip Tanner is going to play a major role in the rushing attack, considering the long injury history of Jones and his current status. He’s an untrustworthy option at this point.
Isaac Redman, Running Back, Pittsburgh Steelers
He’s listed as questionable, but even if he plays, he likely will be a third-down back behind Jonathan Dwyer (who erupted for 122 yards on 17 carries against the Bengals in Week 7). Throw in a matchup with the worst passing defense in the league, and there is no reason to trust Redman this week.
Titus Young, Wide Receiver, Detroit Lions
He is listed as questionable, but all indications are that Young is going to play this week. However, that doesn’t necessarily make him an enticing option.
As we discussed earlier in the week, Young is set for a tough test against a strong Seahawks’ secondary. Rookie Ryan Broyles, who figures to line up in the slot, could prove to be a better option for this week. Long-term, however, Young figures to have potential as a WR3 in all deeper formats.
Donald Brown, Running Back, Indianapolis Colts
He’s listed as questionable and will likely be a game-time decision after being a full participant in practice on Friday. Even if he plays, however, can we really expect him to immediately return to being the lead back? Unless you are desperate at the position, I would give him at least one week before trusting him.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 8 rankings: