The great fantasy football debate over top-tier players who are dealing with injuries is never fun. And in Week 12 of the NFL season, one decision that’s big and may have fantasy playoff implications features a top player. This is Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon, who’s dealing with both knee and hamstring injuries.
While ESPN’s Adam Schefter revealed late Saturday night that it’s expected Gordon will play on Sunday, the reasoning isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement.
Reading that a player who is almost certainly your top running back “convinced coaches” to let him play when they wanted to rest him is less than ideal. And from a fantasy perspective in a game where the Chargers (7-3) face the Arizona Cardinals, there’s a whole lot of risk that comes along with playing Gordon.
With that said, let’s take a look at whether the Chargers star back is a start or sit this week, and it has very little to do with statistics or the matchup, which is never fun.
Should You Start or Sit Melvin Gordon?
If Gordon had a tough matchup then this call would be much easier to make. Instead, he faces a Cardinals team that’s dealt with all types of struggles against opposing running backs this season. On the year, they’ve allowed 1,286 rushing yards on 287 carries (4.5 yards per carry) to the position. Even beyond that, Arizona has given up 419 receiving yards on 43 receptions to running backs, along with 13 combined touchdowns.
With the great matchup, you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. The Chargers really don’t have a reason to risk Gordon right now if he’s not at least somewhat close to 100 percent. So from that side of the argument, he makes for a fine play as I don’t believe they’d put his long-term health at risk for this game.
But this also means that if Gordon suffers even the slightest setback, he’ll likely be pulled off the field. You should base this decision off your roster, and if you have a strong enough player to start over Gordon. If so, then it’s at least worth considering, especially if you don’t need a win to make your fantasy playoffs. But in most cases, at least in 12-team leagues and above, that won’t be the case, so you’ll be pressed into starting the Chargers back.
It’s an unfortunate situation, but your fantasy roster would need a legitimately talented player in order to not use one of the NFL’s most talented running backs this week.