By Logan Garrett, Editor-in-Chief—
In the first installment of the monthly column, “Start, Sit, Stash, or Sell,” it is necessary to explain the parameters of how the column is structured. I will be providing my personal predictions on which players at each skill position that you should start (keep in your starting lineup), sit (place on your bench), stash (don’t give up on these players despite bad streaks), or sell (trade them). The opinions expressed are based on both PPR (points per reception) and non-PPR criteria, but scores will be expressed as non-PPR
Start Sony Michel, New England Patriots: Typically, I would advise anyone to stay away from the Patriots’ backfield due to their level of inconsistency, both in terms of quality of play and usage. However, Sony Michel is literally the only healthy every-down back in this offense with Rex Burkhead and Jeremy Hill on injured reserve. James White will handle the passing downs of course, but Michel is touching the ball on 77 percent of his snaps, the highest percentage in the NFL. This level of usage in a potent Patriots’ offense is dangerously good. Hang onto Sony Michel this year.
Sit Kenyan Drake, Miami Dolphins: Don’t get overzealous with Drake this week even after an impressive 17.5 point performance. Although Drake is a solid flex play in PPR, as he has more targets and receptions than Frank Gore, but he is still getting out-snapped and out-carried by the increasingly geriatric Gore, limiting his opportunities for fantasy points. Drake could take over as Miami’s bellcow, three-down back fantasy owners hoped he’d be when they drafted him, but that won’t happen this week against a Chicago defense allowing the second least yards per game in the league.
Stash Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers: It has to be frustrating for fantasy owners who drafted Bell with a top 3 pick only for him to have a seven-week contract hold-out, but if you’ve made it this far, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Bell is slated to return in Week 8 against Cleveland, and don’t believe for a second that James Conner has somehow won this job. Bell will be the starter you need him to be, just give it 3 more weeks.
Sell Isaiah Crowell, New York Jets: Crowell’s astounding 29.1 fantasy points last week might be enough to trick someone into trading for him, but unfortunately due to the timeshare situation in New York, Crowell’s high level of efficiency is simply unsustainable. Even last week in which he ran for 219 yards and a touchdown, Bilal Powell still out-carried (20-15) and out-snapped (33-25) Crowell. Pull the trigger on Crowell if you can get a solid RB or WR2 out of him.
Start Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers: Allen has had a moderately disappointing start to the season, but don’t give up on him just yet. Allen is averaging over nine targets and six receptions per game this season in a dynamic Chargers offense, and this week he’s going up against a Cleveland pass defense allowing the sixth most passing yards per game.
Sit Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders: Despite some inspiring comments from Coach Jon Gruden this summer, Cooper has been a boom-or-bust player. The Raiders wideout has logged seven games of less than five points since the start of last season, three of those coming this season alone. He’s splitting targets and routes with Jordy Nelson, and he isn’t as involved in the red zone as Jared Cook or Marshawn Lynch. There’s a possibility that Cooper emerges as the standout wideout in this offense that many expected him to be, but until then he should remain on your bench and possibly the trading block.
Stash Josh Gordon, New England Patriots: Gordon’s snap count and routes run have increased every week he has been on the Patriots, and while he is playing a Kansas City secondary allowing the 2nd most passing yards per game, there is no assurance that he will be involved. Gordon makes for an incredibly enticing start after his solid 11 point performance against Indianapolis last week, but he should remain stashed on your bench until there is some semblance of proof that he will be heavily involved in this electric passing offense.
Sell Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos: Thomas’ only touchdown came in garbage time when the Broncos were down 21 points, so use his one solid game to your advantage and deal Thomas. Emmanuel Sanders had 14 targets last week to Thomas’ six and has run 35 more routes than him this year alone. The emergence of Phillip Lindsay in the passing game has also limited Thomas’ opportunities. With his reduced workload in a mediocre Denver offense, Thomas should be traded on on your bench.