Make Your Fantasy Football Start-Sit Decisions For Kadarius Toney, Adrian Peterson, Boston Scott, More Players
Getty Images. Pictured: Giants WR Kadarius Toney, Packers WR Davante Adams
Fantasy football start-sit decisions carry more weight with each passing week — especially for players who straddle the line between an RB2 and RB3 or a WR3 and Flex.
With that in mind, our expert ranker walks you through key start-sit decisions for players like Giants rookie wide receiver Kadarius Toney and new Titans running back Adrian Peterson.
If you're in need of advice for any players not covered below, you can consult our expert's real-time rankings for Week 9, which will be refined until each game kicks off.
Click the arrow to preview a list of players covered below
Fantasy Start/Sit Decisions
- Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa
- Titans RB Adrian Peterson
- Titans RB Jeremy McNichols
- Bills RB Zack Moss
- Bears RB Khalil Herbert
- Chiefs RB Darrel Williams
- Chiefs RB Derrick Gore
- Eagles RB Boston Scott
- Broncos RB Melvin Gordon
- Browns RB D'Ernest Johnson
- Ravens RB Devonta Freeman
- Packers WR Davante Adams
- Giants WR Kadarius Toney
- Rams WR Van Jefferson
- Falcons WR Russell Gage
- Broncos TE Albert Okwuegbunam
Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa
Editor's note: Tua Tagovailoa will not start the Dolphins' game against the Texans in Week 9, as reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter on Sunday morning.
Click to expand Koerner's analysis pre-news
Tua Tagovailoa is a low-end QB1, but risky play for Week 9.
I had the Dolphins quarterback ranked as high as QB7 earlier this week, considering he has a dream matchup against the Texans. However, he has dropped to QB10 after suffering a finger injury and losing wide receiver DeVante Parker to Injured Reserve.
Tagovailoa is expected to play through the finger injury on Sunday, but it makes him a very risky play in fantasy football.
If you had Colts running back Jonathan Taylor go off on Thursday Night Football like I did, or you're a big favorite in your head-to-head matchup, you just need a decent game from your quarterback slot. If that's the case for you, I would recommend a safer option like Raiders' Derek Carr or Vikings' Kirk Cousins over Tagovailoa this week.
That said, Tagovailoa does offer a ton of upside in this matchup, so roll the dice on him if you want.
Verdict: Tua Tagovailoa is a risky low-end QB1
Titans RBs Adrian Peterson and Jeremy McNichols
You likely didn't acquire Adrian Peterson for Week 9 — you acquired him for Week 10 and beyond.
I realize you likely just spent a lot of FAAB or your No. 1 waiver slot to roster AP, but he's a risky RB3 option this week. The Titans are likely going to ease AP in with 10-12 carries in his Titans debut.
It doesn't help that the Titans are 7.5-point road dogs against the Rams (check real-time NFL odds here), so this will likely be a pass-heavy game script that favors pass-catching back Jeremy McNichols.
Peterson should provide low-end RB2 value starting in Week 11.
McNichols is the better play this week, as a result. He's likely going to see a much more significant role in the run game, with Derrick Henry out and AP needing a week or two to see a full workload. As a result, I'm treating McNichols as a RB3/Flex option with added value in PPR formats.
Verdict: Adrian Peterson is a risky RB3; Jeremy McNichols is a RB3/Flex option
Bills RB Zack Moss
Zack Moss is typically a RB3/Flex option considering he’s in a near-even timeshare with Devin Singletary on a pass-heavy team. However, this is a blowup spot for Moss against the Jaguars.
The Bills have the highest implied team total this week (31.5), which means Moss has elevated odds to score a touchdown (or two) against the Jaguars. Look for the Bills to lean heavily on Moss in the second half once they have a comfortable lead.
I’m treating Moss as a solid RB2 option this week, making him a must-start in all formats.
Verdict: Zack Moss is a RB2 in all formats
Bears RB Khalil Herbert
Khalil Herbert is a RB2 option this week, but you'll want to monitor David Montgomery's news.
Montgomery returned to practice this week, and there are reports he could see "at least some work" on Monday Night Football. I am projecting that to mean somewhere between 5-8 touches.
If that's the case, Herbert should still see enough touches to post low-end RB2 value. However, there is a chance Montgomery could end up splitting carries with Herbert, making both unplayable this week.
Verdict: Khalil Herbert has low-end RB2 value, but monitor reports
Chiefs RBs Darrel Williams and Derrick Gore
Derrick Gore is more of a nuisance to Darrel Williams than a standalone fantasy play.
Gore broke out with 11 carries for 48 yards and a touchdown on Monday Night Football last week. However, most of that production came on a single drive in the second quarter. He rushed twice for zero yards in the second half, making it clear that Darrel Williams is still the lead back in Kansas City.
That said, Williams is now a risky low-end RB2 option considering the Chiefs could go with the "hot hand" approach until Clyde Edwards-Helaire can return from Injured Reserve.
Verdict: Darrel Williams is a low-end RB2; bench Derrick Gore
Eagles RB Boston Scott
Boston Scott is a RB3/Flex play with RB2+ upside against the Chargers.
It's challenging to take away too much from the Eagles' 44-6 blowout win over the Lions last week — Scott operated as the Eagles' lead back, but was put on ice in the second half once the game was out of hand. While his role in that game is an excellent sign for his fantasy football value until Miles Sanders returns from Injured Reserve, the Eagles' backfield could be a very volatile three-way committee that rotates between Scott, Kenneth Gainwell and Jordan Howard with the "hot hand" approach.
That said, Scott should be treated as an RB3/Flex option with RB2+ upside this week. If he dominates the Eagles' backfield in touches again, he'll be in the RB2 discussion for their Week 10 road date with the Broncos.
Verdict: Boston Scott is an RB3/Flex
Broncos RB Melvin Gordon
If you have a sit/start decision involving Melvin Gordon this week, I would lean toward sitting him.
Not only is Gordon locked into a near 50/50 timeshare with talented rookie running back Javonte Williams, but MG3 is at risk for a floor game given the Broncos' tendency to abandon the run in negative game scripts.
The Broncos have averaged 29 rush attempts in their four wins compared to only 18 in their four losses. Considering the Broncos are 9.5-point underdogs against the Cowboys (check real-time NFL odds here), it's about a coin flip Gordon will get 10+ carries this week.
Left tackle Garett Bolles is also out, which is a big loss for the offensive line and hurts Gordon's outlook even more.
Verdict: Bench Melvin Gordon
Browns RB D'Ernest Johnson
Kareem Hunt is still at least a couple weeks away from returning, so Johnson has a chance to grow into the "Kareem Hunt role" before Hunt's return, complementing Nick Chubb as the Browns' workhorse running back.
Johnson netted 17% of the rush attempts and ran a route on 33% of dropbacks in Week 8. In order to move into the RB3/Flex discussion, however, I will first need to see him net a 30%+ rush attempts share and a 40%+ routes run rate.
Until he achieves both, he's too touchdown-dependent to trust in our lineups.
Verdict:Bench D'Ernest Johnson
Assuming Ravens running back Latavius Murray ends up missing his second straight game, I'm expecting Devonta Freeman, Le'Veon Bell and Ty'Son Williams to operate as a frustrating three-way running back committee (RBBC) again this week.
There are two main reasons the Ravens offense can't support a three-way RBBC:
- There aren't many targets to go around: Lamar Jackson has targeted his running backs only 20 times this season, the second-lowest rate in the league.
- Lamar Jackson is the Ravens' lead runner: Therefore, their running backs are fighting for scraps behind Jackson.
This backfield already makes it difficult for Ravens backs to offer RB2 value with one to two of them splitting work, but with three sharing the workload? I'm out.
Devonta Freeman is the favorite to lead the trio in fantasy points, but he's a RB3/Flex option with a very low floor.
Verdict: Devonta Freeman is RB3/Flex with low floor
Packers WR Davante Adams
Davante Adams is still a mid-range WR1 with Jordan Love under center.
Adams had already proven himself to be "QB proof" in 2019 when he posted the WR5 overall score in Weeks 9-14 when Brett Hundley filled in for the injured Aaron Rodgers.
Love is still a fairly raw prospect, but he's an upgrade over 2019 Brett Hundley.
Fire up Adams in all formats.
Verdict:Davante Adams is a WR1 in all formats
Giants WR Kadarius Toney
Kadarius Toney can only be held back for so much longer.
Ever since his Week 4-5 eruption, Toney has dealt with various injuries that have kept him off the field. He's on the Giants' injury report with a lacerated thumb but is expected to play on Sunday. I'm projecting him to top 70% routes run this week, which vaults him into the low-end of my WR2 tiers for Week 9.
My only concern with Toney heading into this season was that Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett wouldn't be innovative enough to tap into Toney's massive upside. I'm glad Garrett is proving me wrong because the Giants are manufacturing Toney touches in the passing game, giving him the green light to attempt passes out of the wildcat formation.
Toney is set up for a monster second half of the 2021 NFL season and is a low-end WR2 this week.
Rams WR Van Jefferson
Van Jefferson is now a WR3.
Jefferson has seen his value shoot up over the past week. The Rams cut DeSean Jackson and placed Tutu Atwell on IR, which means Jefferson is now locked in as a 95%+ routes run wideout in one of the top passing offenses in the league.
Jefferson is set for a huge second half of the season, and you can confidently start him as a mid-range WR3 option this week. He is also a Cooper Kupp or Robert Woods injury away from offering WR2+ value.
Verdict: Van Jefferson is a mid-range WR3
Falcons WR Russell Gage
You can't trust any Falcons wide receiver this week — they don't have a single one ranked inside my top 60.
Don't be tempted to start even Russell Gage, as tight end Kyle Pitts and running back Cordarrelle Patterson are essentially the "receivers" in this offense's scheme and thus dominate the target share.
Verdict: Bench Russell Gage and all Falcons WRs
Broncos TE Albert Okwuegbunam
Albert O could be a low-end TE1 option this week if he's able to suit up.
Okwuegbunam is one of the better backup TEs in the league and would thrive as the featured TE with Noah Fant out this week. However, Okwuegbunam is dealing with a knee injury that has him listed as questionable.
If he can suit up this week, he will be a sneaky low-end TE1 option.
Verdict:Albert O is a low-end TE1 option if active
Need More Start vs. Sit Advice?
Consult our expert's real-time fantasy football rankings for standard, PPR and half-PPR scoring here.