Koerner: Fantasy Start/Sit Strategy for Rams-Seahawks

Koerner: Fantasy Start/Sit Strategy for Rams-Seahawks article feature image

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp

  • Sean Koerner is here to help you make your Thursday Night Football fantasy start/sit decisions.
  • See which Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks players are must-plays (or stay aways).

There’s more strategy to Thursday Night Football fantasy sit/start decisions than people realize.

The No. 1 rule? Don’t use your Flex spot (if you can). It offers you flexibility come Sunday, so blocking the utility of this lineup spot on TNF only hurts you.

Now let’s run through whether to start or sit key fantasy players tonight. For more specific sit/start decisions, you can use my updated rankings.


Russell Wilson, Seahawks

No decision here. If you own him, play him.

He faces a Rams defense on a short week after they were torched by Jameis Winston. Root for Wilson to have a ceiling game in order to get a big jump on your opponent — there’s no better feeling than having a player (or two) go off on TNF to open your matchup, is there?

Jared Goff, Rams

OK now we have a decision to make.

I’ve seen a variety of opinions on Goff’s Week 4 performance. Yes, he was a turnover machine. And yes, the Rams were in constant comeback mode, which resulted in Goff attempting 68 passes and throwing for more than 500 yards and two touchdowns. But it’s a mistake to overreact in any direction, and in this case, I would recommend pretending last week never happened.

Our general opinion of Goff should not have changed. He’ll still be a borderline QB1 most weeks, and this one is no different.

rams-seahawks-picks-predictions-bets-thursday night football-2019
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jared Goff

Let’s also remember that Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton are all out. With byes about to ramp up, be ready to see Goff ranked as a top 10 QB by most experts over the next few weeks with that context in mind.

The main sit/start decision involving Goff this week would be him vs. Kyler Murray. I know some people have paired a “safer” QB like Goff with more of a “gamble” like Murray, but I’d lean toward starting Murray in a great matchup against the Bengals. This is a critical week to evaluate Murray — if he doesn’t have a ceiling game against the Bengals, we might need to start lowering our expectations.

Running Backs

Todd Gurley, Rams
Chris Carson, Seahawks

I’m lumping Gurley and Carson together as they’re both low-end RB1 plays this week, leaving their owners a bit concerned over their long term value.

Carson owners are worried about his fumbling issues potentially forcing him to lose his workhorse role. Gurley owners are worried about his chronic knee injury flaring up and forcing him to see a reduced workload or outright missed games. For tonight, though, you should start both with confidence.

If you’re hesitant about either and debating whether to sit them, I guarantee you another manager in your league values them more and you should be attempting to trade them away.

Malcolm Brown, Rams
Rashaad Penny, Seahawks

These are the direct handcuffs to Gurley and Carson. Both should be owned in all leagues as they would become RB1/2 type backs if/when Carson or Gurley were to ever miss a game. Neither are recommended plays tonight unless you’re incredibly thin at RB.

Once we see more than two teams and more fantasy-relevant RBs bye, these backs could have Flex value even with Carson/Gurley fully healthy.

Wide Receivers

Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods; Rams
Tyler Lockett, Seahawks

The Rams are the rare team that can support three top-20 wide outs every week. There’s no reason to have any of these WRs on your bench tonight.

Lockett is the only true must-play WR for the Seahawks tonight.

D.K. Metcalf, Seahawks

There’s obviously some concern that Metcalf could have a ceiling game while on your bench, but you need to take that risk this week.

nfl week 4 betting odds-seahawks vs. cardinals-dk metcalf
Photo credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: D.K. Metcalf

The Seahawks have been easing David Moore into the offense the past two games after missing the first two due to a shoulder injury. His return has been cutting into Metcalf’s snaps. This situation is in flux and we may want to see how it shapes out over another game or two.

Bengals WR Auden Tate shot past Metcalf in my rankings up to WR36. If Tate is available in your league, I would start him over Metcalf.

Tight Ends

Gerald Everett, Rams
Tyler Higbee, Rams

You should always resist the temptation to start either Rams TE unless you’re in an extremely deep league. Last week’s spike in production was purely a result of the game script. Expect both to go back to their 1-3 catch range.

Will Dissly, Seahawks

Another potential sit/start decision tonight could involve Dissly.

It’s likely he was added last week as a streamer against the Cardinals, and he didn’t disappoint, putting up a solid 7/57/1 line. And it wasn’t simply due to the easy matchup. The most encouraging sign was his snap rate jumping from the 50-55% range up to 80%. This was a direct result of the Seahawks trading TE Nick Vannett away to the Steelers.

If you streamed Dissly last week, congrats — I believe you landed a TE1 you can hang onto long term.

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