Fantasy Football Thursday Start 'Em or Sit 'Em: Rivers, Jackson, Bush & More

Eric StashinSenior Writer INovember 10, 2011

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 23: Running back Michael Bush #29 of the Oakland Raiders runs to an opening against linebacker Javon Belcher #59 of the Kansas City Chiefs on October 23, 2011 at Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Chiefs won 28-0. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Tonight starts regular Thursday night NFL games, causing fantasy owners to make some of their decisions a few days earlier.  Let’s take a look at some of the decisions you may be weighing and try to draw some conclusions:

Oakland Raiders
Michael Bush – Running Back
The official injury report has Darren McFadden listed as out, meaning Bush will once again be carrying the load.  Thus far he certainly has proven that he can handle the job:

  • Week 7 (vs. KC) – 17 carries for 99 yards (2 receptions for 12 yards)
  • Week 9 (vs. Den) – 19 carries for 96 yards (2 receptions for 33 yards and 1 TD)

That’s an impressive average of 5.4 yards per carry.  The San Diego Chargers are right in the middle of the pack against the run, allowing 120.0 yards per game.  While that’s a positive, they haven’t allowed many rushing touchdowns at just four.

However, with his performance in recent weeks there is no reason to shy away from him as a RB2.  Get him in your lineup in all formats.

The Wide Receiving Corps (Jacoby Ford, Denarius Moore & Darrius Heyward-Bey)
I touched on this earlier in the week (click here to view), but what I took away from Week 9 is that it is impossible to predict what comes next.  Would anyone have anticipated Moore receiving 12 targets while Heyward-Bey got just one? 

Carson Palmer is still adjusting to the offense meaning this situation could change on a weekly basis.  Until we get some stability all of the receivers are too risky to trust, even in three receiver formats.  Keep them stashed until further notice.

Carson Palmer – Quarterback
Before we just write him off due to his six interceptions in his first 56 pass attempts, there were some positives from his first start.  He did throw three touchdowns.  He did throw for 332 yards. 

The matchup is not ideal (despite allowing 15 passing TD the Chargers are allowing just 191.6 passing yards per game, fourth best in the league) and there is still a lot of uncertainty.  He should be considered nothing more than a low-end QB2, but he’s worth monitoring for the time being in all formats.

San Diego Chargers
Ryan Mathews/Mike Tolbert – Running Backs
 After missing Week 9 Mathews is listed as probable for tonight’s game.  The talk all week has been that Mathews would play, though it’s easy to imagine Tolbert getting the bulk of the touches as Mathews is eased back into things (and they attempt to keep him healthy).  Tolbert is coming off a week where he had 142 total yards and 1 TD and at this point he is the back to use and considered a solid RB2.

As for Mathews I wouldn’t consider him an unusable option, though he’s more of a FLEX option depending on who else is on your roster.

Vincent Jackson – Wide Receiver
I mentioned this in the Wide Receiver rankings (click here to view), but check out this breakdown:

  • Three “Big” Games – 20 receptions for 421 yards and 6 TD
  • Five “Other” Games – 14 receptions for 192 yards and 0 TD

That makes him incredibly unpredictable.  Can you be certain which Vincent Jackson you are going to get?  If you get one of the poor performances, you could be looking at less than 40 yards.  Obviously the skill makes him viable, but he’s more of a WR2.

Philip Rivers – Quarterback
There’s no arguing that Rivers has been a major disappointment in 2011.  All you have to do is see that he has thrown two interceptions or more in six of his eight games.  However, he also has five games of at least 300 yards and takes on an Oakland pass defense that has allowed 14 TD vs. just 7 INT.  Struggles or not, he’s still worth using in all formats.

Make sure to check out all the rest of our Week 10 articles: