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Thursday Night Football Pickups: Week 5, 2014


Thursday Night Football is a beast of its own. Because of its separation from the rest of the football week, it can have some interesting implications on your fantasy leagues. Given the differences in waiver wire and free agency rules in leagues, you can often use this to your advantage. It’s critical that you know all of the rules for your league. I try to make all these suggestions conditional, so that you can get an idea of whether or not they’re applicable to your situation. One conditional I often use is that you should only pick a guy up if you can immediately cut them and pick them up for another player after the game if their value does not rise. In that situation you can even put these guys on your roster in place of a kicker or defense, which you can easily replace after the fact.

I’ve only got three recommendations for Week 5, but all three are criminally under-owned and have league-winning upside:

Davante Adams

It’s only a matter of time until Adams gets a stranglehold on the number three WR job in Green Bay. On most teams the number three WR isn’t even worth owning, but there are exceptions and Green Bay is definitely one of them. While working as their WR3 in 2012 James Jones led the league in touchdowns. There’s also the fact that Jarrett Boykin isn’t going to be playing tonight. If Adams puts up a strong showing the job is probably his. There’s also the possibility that either Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb gets injured, which would bump up Adams’ value even further. If that were to happen I think Adams would likely be a top 20 WR over the remainder of the season.

Pick up Adams if: You can find a way to squeeze a high-upside WR onto your bench. If you’re truly desperate for a WR to start this week, you could definitely do worse than Adams. He’s currently available in 99.2 percent of ESPN leagues and 95 percent of Yahoo leagues. I expect both of those numbers to rise dramatically sooner rather than later.

James Starks

Starks had zero carries last week, but that’s not stopping me from recommending him. Mike McCarthy actually said he needs to get Starks involved more. Still, he’s not a guy you’re going to feel comfortable starting. I do believe he’s one of the premier RB handcuffs in the NFL right, for three reasons. The first is simply that he’s a talented runner. The second is that Green Bay has one of those offenses that’s so productive you’ll take any piece you can get. The third is simply that Eddie Lacy has an extensive history of injuries.

Pick up Starks if: If you have a room on your bench for a high upside handcuff. If you play in a league where you can drop him and replace him after Thursday Night Football if Lacy doesn’t get injured, I would strongly recommend you do so. He’s currently available in 43.1 percent of ESPN leagues and 89 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Pickup of the Week: Jerick McKinnon

Look, we have long loved Jerick McKinnon. We just didn’t think he’d get his chance this soon. So far, Matt Asiata has managed the impressive feat of being quite productive while also being terribly inefficient. That can’t last. McKinnon is already closing the gap in snaps. Eventually, his talent will win out. Green Bay has been atrocious against RBs this year, allowing 29.9 PPR points per game. Obviously, that’s good for McKinnon because it improves his prospects this week. But it also might be the case that the low quality of their defense will only highlight how much more talented McKinnon is than Asiata. Is it hard to imagine a scenario where Asiata looks exactly like he does every week and McKinnon looks completely unstoppable? Even if this column wasn’t specific to Thursday Night Football, I’d be calling McKinnon the pickup of the week. It is worth mentioning however that he seems to be experiencing a slight ankle issue which could damper his production this week.

Pickup McKinnon if: You have any room on your bench at all. If you can drop and replace him after Thursday Night Football then you really have no excuse not to pick him up. If you’re not set at RB then I think he’s actually a solid play this week. This is all a really long-winded way of saying McKinnon needs to be owned in every league, and his owner needs to be you if you can make it happen. He’s currently available in a whopping 94.9 percent of ESPN leagues and 56 percent of Yahoo leagues. Those numbers should be higher, do your part to raise them.

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