Fantasy Football with Tristan Cockcroft
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday morning, ESPN.com fantasy expert Tristan Cockcroft will drop by to take your questions and analyze all the latest football news from a fantasy perspective.
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Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:00 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
Adam (Washington D.C.)
I'm a Tony Gonzalez owner, is there any reason for me to keep a player on my bench such as Jermichael Finley or Fred Davis?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:02 AM)
You'd be doing more as a preventative measure from your opponents grabbing them and beating you, or perhaps to exploit the rare better matchup, but owning Tony Gonzalez means those guys have a little less appeal to you because you'll almost never use them (and I'd argue you should never). In other words, they're trade chips and I wouldn't be afraid to undersell a little if I needed to for something I wanted on the other end. I'd also shed them if I really needed the roster spot for something at least as talented. But I stress how owners shouldn't ever waste roster spots on useless players; if they're eating up spots that would be useless otherwise, by all means, hoard, hoard, hoard!
I'm playing a monster opponent this week and I need to know if I should bench Steve Smith (CAR) vs NO this week? Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:03 AM)
Well I would if I had anything better, as the Saints might make quick work of Jake Delhomme if the Panthers don't take the opportunity to make the excuse his chest injury should hold him out (they should). I just don't see a lot to like about that matchup, but that said, he'll probably have No. 3 receiver value in my estimation this week. Some teams won't have anything better.
would you trade romo tomlinson and boldin for r. white hasslebeck and marshawn lynch in a 10 team ppr league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
Absolutely not, but I think Tony Romo has a heck of a lot more upside than Matt Hasselbeck alone, and that right there carries the deal.
Issac (tampa FL)
Tristan, during Brendan Roberts' chat yesterday, someone asked him about kellen winslow and being droppable. He stated he still considers kellen a top TE and almost a must start every week??? Do you agree with this? I think Brendan's absolutely wrong.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
I'll defend Brendan here being that I own Kellen Winslow in a league in which a minimum of 18 tight ends must be owned at every given time, and that speaks volumes about his value. Remember, different leagues, different needs. Winslow is going to be a maddening player to own. One game of 22 points, and what were the other four around it, five points total? (Check our projections, I saw the stat there.) Yes, I find it tough to cut him, but I did. It's the bye weeks. You might need a fill-in and have no one less useful to cut. Heck, I cut him for Vernon Davis because Davis' owner lost faith the week before his three-touchdown day. Should I be crucified for that? Because I thought it was a no-brainer.
What's up Tristan? Wanna pick your brain on Anthony Gonzo...am I wasting my time holding him or should I still have faith? Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
Anthony Gonzalez is another guy I have cut in a league this season, but I needed the roster spot. Simple as that. For every borderline call there's going to be a spot where "yes" is the right answer. To me, it's how badly you need the roster spot, because Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon have done a pretty decent job standing in, so there's no need to rush Gonzo. I still see late-season value -- maybe 3-4 very useful games -- but is that a help to you? I leave it up to you, but I'd say he's probably going to let people down the rest of the way comparative to what I think people are expecting.
Mike (San Francisco)
Think Driver will do much this week? GB seems to be focusing on getting Jennings the ball A LOT!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
I think both Packers receivers are fantastic plays this week. The Bucs won't pressure Aaron Rodgers much at all, so both of them might wind up with top-10 wide receiver numbers.
Do you think my proposed trade of Andre Johnson and Brandon Jacobs for Michael Turner and Sidney Rice is fair? I need another RB to go with SJax and i "think" i am sitting good at WR with Welker, Sims-Walker, and S. Smith (car). Any thoughts on that one would be great, Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
Seems fair enough to me, though I've got loads of respect for Andre Johnson. I probably would stand pat faced with that choice, but that's just me. It's a fair offer, I'll say that.
Whats the deal with Justin Forsett, is he worth starting over the likes of Bell or Beanie in a tasty matchup with the Lions?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
I really think Forsett is a sleeper and a worthwhile pickup in most leagues (all but the most shallow standard scoring), as he's going to see an increase in work now that Edgerrin James is gone. But I wouldn't start him this week if I could possibly help it. I just can't see him getting more than half the touches (if that many), so don't be fooled by the numbers on paper.
Alex Rodriguez (New York)
I just dropped John Carlson for Fred Davis. Is this a good idea until Cooley returns? Well if Cooley returns
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
Big game needed from you tonight, A-Rod, though I'll be fair and say you've already built up enough credit in my book from your postseason heroics so far. But it'd still be nice if you're the leading man tonight. As for the tight ends, I still prefer Carlson. The case can be made both of these tight ends don't maximize their value because their teams' shoddy O-lines mean they'll need to stay close to block more often than a typical pass-catching tight end, but I think Carlson is in a tad better shape in terms of targets and overall matchups.
R. Moats - What was caused his explosion.....his talent or his opponent? Can he really take over Slaton's job?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
His opponent. Period. It was a one-week punishment of Steve Slaton for his fumble-itis, I believe, though I've questioned Gary Kubiak's handling of him in the past this season and been wrong. He's pretty rough on Slaton, which is why I think Moats warrants adding, because maybe he gets some of those goal-line touches. Seems like Kubiak won't trust Slaton in those spots, and he should't trust Moats. Overall? Still a believer in Slaton. Too talented all around. Even Tiki Barber had fumbling issues at one time and got over them.
I know nobody truly knows how this Houston situation is going to pan out -- but it seems like it'll be a Moats & Slaton timeshare. People are panicking and throwing Slaton in the trash. Is a Moats/Slaton share so much different than the Chris Brown/Slaton share that had been in place most of the season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
Whats up Tristan? Trade offered to me. Team is offering me Eli Manning, Mario Manningham, and Steve Slaton for C. Benson and Matt Leinhart. Ijust picked up Moats on waivers and the only QB I have is Garrard. Should I take it? The owner also has Romo and Flacoo, should I counter offer for a better QB?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
If Joe Flacco was in that deal, I'd feel a heck of a lot better about it. There's a downside to Slaton right now, period. And Cedric Benson (I can't believe I'm saying this) is far and away the best player in that deal. Giving him up means I want the speculative acquisition of Slaton (speculating that he's back in as "the guy" this week), not to mention a quarterback I actually trust that I can start most every week the rest of the way.
Alex Rodriguez (New York)
I will make sure I come thru tonight and end this series. I have 3 QB's: Schaub, Favre, Cutler. Which should I put up for trade to make more room on my roster?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
A-Rod's apparently a popular guy today. Go figure. Something tells me neither of those posts are really him. Anyway, of those quarterbacks, I'm selling Brett Favre. His value has to be sky high right now, best it'll be, and I see no reason you can't get by admirably with a Matt Schaub/Jay Cutler tandem. They just won't fetch you as much -- though Schaub might if you can find a fan of him (as I am).
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
Jeez, lots of Ryan Moats questions rolling in. Tackled that plenty already -- I still say my speculation is he's the new Chris Brown. Yes, pick him up, but I just don't see that Week 8 ever happening again for him.
AP's bye week -- BOO!!! Pick two for me to start: Portis, Beanie, Bradshaw and Moreno!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
Well, Clinton Portis needs to be active for you, not that I'm wild about the matchup. Best chance at topping this group in terms of touches, and opportunity matters. For the second, I'll go Ahmad Bradshaw. The Chargers are terrible against the run, Bradshaw gets touchdowns and he's a virtual lock for double-digit carries. Foot injury? Schmoot injury...
Best guess: 8 of 12 teams make playoffs starting week 14. How many wins will it take to make the playoffs?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
Impossible to answer because it differs by league. I have one team at 4-4 and it's a game out of second place. I tend to think a "safe" win total in a 13-week season is about nine. But I provide you no guarantees.
Chris (Bowmanville, ON)
What's your opinion on Westbrook / McCoy. Do you think Westbrook plays this week? The folks who do the projections gave McCoy another big week coming up versus Dallas. Your opinion?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
Wish I could tell you for sure, Chris, but I'm not a doctor nor do I work for the Eagles, and the best I can tell you is Brian Westbroook is scheduled to practice today and his performance will tell us a lot. My gut feel? He'll be a game-time decision and very iffy, and as of 11:28 a.m. ET I'm thinking I should plan on being without him in fantasy. That's a lot of what's behind that projection, I'd think. Barring a miraculous set of late-week practices by Westbrook, I do very much think McCoy's the better play.
Is Ray Lewis still a starting LB in IDP? or did i just claim a "name only" player?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
I think he is. He's the No. 12 linebacker in one of my long-term IDP keeper leagues, and that's a fairly standard scoring system as IDPs go.
Chase Utley (NY....for 2 more days)
Maurice Morris or Willie Parker....which is the better handcuff (with more potential) for the rest of the year? Also, LT2 or K.Smith as an RB2 this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
You terrify me, Chase. (Though thank you for your contributions to my baseball playoff fantasy team.) Better handcuff, hmmm. I actually feel like it's Morris, if only because there's a greater chance that given the job he might offer you something. I'm not convinced Parker can hold up to being an every-day back anymore. As for an RB2, I'd go LT2 if only because Kevin Smith has some shoulder questions right now.
Yo T- Bone...I have a conundrum, I am have both H. Ward and Brandon Marshall, I could see a defensive battle do I start both or go with one and play MSW in the other WR slot.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
I could see one too. Forced to choose, I'd go Hines Ward tops of this group ... and then yes, I'd take Mike Sims-Walker in the one-time pick over Brandon Marshall. Just a better matchup.
Tom Brady (Boston)
im going out on a limb and saying that my 2 top wide outs, wes and randy, will be top10 in fantasy points at the end of the year, agree or disagree?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
Way to go out on a limb, Tom...
Tyger (Davenport, IA)
Whos the better stash for impact later on - Donald Brown, Devery Henderson, or Donnie Avery?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
Donald Brown. Still oodles of talent in those legs that can potentially help you in the fantasy playoffs.
Pedro M. (In the corner shaking)
Will Rivers torch the Gmen like the Yankees are going to do to me tonight?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
He'll torch them a heck of a lot more than the Yankees will torch you. Much more confident in Philip Rivers versus the reeling Giants than in the Yankees versus Pedro, though I see high ceilings in both cases, I admit.
Carl (Danville (CA))
Eli or Hasselbeck?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
Hasselbeck. It's not even close this week.
Kate Hudson (New York)
Hey Tristan! I'm writing on behalf of Alex Rodriguez. We have Drew Brees as our only QB. 1st place, yeah!!! Should we be concerned about him in Week 16? That's our league championship week. Saints could have a huge NFC lead.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
That's about as ridiculous a concern in my mind as the thought that this is really Kate Hudson asking a question on behalf of A-Rod. Week 17 is the only week I think people should ever fret. Ever.
Any new word on Mario Manningham's injury? Will he play this week? Is Jeremy Maclin a better WR to have at this point?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
Another guy who is expected to practice on Wednesday. Still, I'd be picking Maclin faced with this choice regardless. Maclin battles the Cowboys, which is a solid matchup, while Manningham faces a Chargers team with a better secondary.
Josh (across the room)
Fantasy Mvp in your opinion??
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
If it's not Matt Schaub, who has been my choice for a couple weeks now, it's probably Aaron Rodgers (O-line worries? Ha!) or *gasp* Cedric Benson!
Warner or Ryan to start this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
Kurt Warner. I see very limited upside in Matt Ryan's matchup this week, much as I did in Week 8. Maybe less of a downside (interceptions), but I think the Falcons focus on the run this week.
Tristan I thought Id let you know that Mendenhall is about to go insane, he's going to be this years Pierre Thomas in the second half. Believe IT!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
Hey, there are some incredibly friendly matchups in his future. It really wouldn't shock me. Besides, if you've been frequenting my chats this season, you know I'm a Mendenhall fan. The only matchups that really scare me for him the rest of the way are the two Ravens games (Weeks 12 and 16), and even with those I can build you the case he might be fine.
Nate (State College)
Who do you like more... Matt Schaub or Tony Romo this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
Neither one? Seriously though, I'd go with Tony Romo's hot streak. The Colts positively have the Texans' number (have since the Texans' inception), and that's a miserable matchup for the Texans' passing game besides.
My kicker, L. Tynes, has a bye next week. If there's a kicker with a better match up this week, like Matt Stover of the Colts, should I go ahead and pick them up for the next 2 weeks?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
Mike (Madison, WI)
What do you think of Malcom Floyd now that chambers is gone? More upside than Wallace or Aiken this year? Which one is a better spot start this week? Also, I think Pettite will struggle more than Pedro tonight; he's on 3 days rest and doesn't have the stamina he used to. At least Pedro is on full rest.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
Not enough time or space here to get into the whole pitching-rest debate, but I'd have similar concerns about the Phillies' pitching the rest of the way, let's say that. As for Floyd, I really like him. A solid deep threat and I've got a league where you can roster a guy before his game's kickoff and I added him (despite a $5 FAAB penalty for doing so) the moment I heard the news he was the new starter. With Chris Chambers gone my opinion only increases of Floyd. Not that he's an elite option, but I think he absolutely should be added in all formats. Yes, over both of those alternatives. No. 2 receiver in a pass-friendly offense.
You answer a kicker question....but bot mine....trade R. Moss for SJAX is this a fair trade?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
I did, but with a one-word answer, which frankly is all kickers deserve. I'd rather have Randy Moss. I believe in Steven Jackson, but Moss has a greater impact at his position, period.
michael (austin, texas)
do i keep heath miller or celek? want to trade one of them to owen's owner.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:47 AM)
I'd trade Heath Miller. Now, I can build you the case that he's very much the same Heath Miller from his breakout 2007, because he's that kind of red-zone option. That said, it's still not making him a certain top-10 tight end. I think he gets there, yes, but not with the upside of a Brent Celek.
David Garrard (San Diego)
I have Schaub on my fantasy team and I'm thinking I might be able to outperform him this week. Your thoughts?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
Maybe you can, David, maybe you can. It's a home game. You play great at home. But I still see Maurice Jones-Drew with the best matchup out of that offense, and Matt Schaub, frankly, is a much higher-profile passer than you are. I won't laugh at someone this creative, taking a chance, but it's not a decision I would make. Schaub for me please.
Whats your take on Palmer the rest of the way, solid #1 or inconsistent?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
Inconsistent. But the good weeks will be very good. It's just who he is.
Injured RBs with potential: McFadden or Sammy Morris?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
Yuck. OK, Darren McFadden, just a more talented back. Morris is even more brittle of these two, and I can't stand speculating on the Patriots backfield. It's more "lesser of two evils."
Mendenhall's MNF matchup at Denver doesn't scare you?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
Not all that much. Though the earlier question was based upon the long haul, not simply Week 9. I assume you're referring to the comment about which matchups scare me all that much, and I do still see Rashard Mendenhall as a solid No. 2 option, like 15th or so at his position. To me that hardly means a scary matchup.
Garrard should be benched for hanging out in San Diego while his team's preparing for KC in Jacksonville. Tristan, I assume Shonn Greene's pretty much droppable after one week? I had high hopes after that beastly 19-carry (over 3 quarters basically) performance.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
I wouldn't drop Shonn Greene. People can't be that reactionary.
Mike Sims Walker almost killed me last week! Do you trust him at home against KC or were the first couple weeks a fluke? Donald Driver is my other option at WR2.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
I like Mike Sims-Walker quite a bit, and he'll start on most teams of mine. But he will not start over Donald Driver, who faces the Bucs. Surely you must have another receiver who warrants benching for MSW?
pat (new mexico)
Jamaal Charles for Jamal Lewis.........your thoughts T???
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
I can't stand Jamal Lewis. If he's truly retiring at year's end, the Browns need to start formulating a plan for the future. Yeah, he probably has a little more short-term value, but you know, I just rarely would ever use him. I'd rather at least take a shot on Charles' upside. At least there's a prayer he'll develop into a weekly No. 2.
would you start mike bell vs carolina even though he splits time.Or take a starter in mendenhall vs denver?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
The Saints are quickly turning into a maddening timeshare, and if you watched that game, you'd realize that Mike Bell is hardly any lock to be in every goal-line situation. So no, I can't use him in any league if I can possibly help it, and certainly not over Mendenhall.
Joe (Minneapolis, MN)
Austin and Lynch for Ronnie Brown a good deal? I'm deep at RB and would like get an upgrade over LT2.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
You get Ronnie Brown or trade him? Because he's the better side, period. And I like Miles Austin, but I'm only giving up Ronnie Brown for a clear weekly starter at wide receiver. Even then...
I lost Daniels and have depth at WR, should I trade Megatron for Witten or can I get more?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
I like that trade. Enough worries (for me) about Calvin Johnson's knee and his developing (Stafford)/old-and-overrated (Culpepper) quarterbacks that I think he's a fine player to sell if you get a solid weekly starter back, which Jason Witten is.
Beanie Wells... will that guy EVER take Hightower's job? They keep projecting it but Tim can block, catch, and find the endzone... why mess with a good thing?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
Well said. I only think it happens when/if the Cardinals determine it's time to think 2010.
pick two for this week pls: Crabtree, Hester, or Barber
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
I'd love to use Michael Crabtree this week, but I just can't do it here. It's a good matchup but the other two offer you more.
Should i fret in week 16 if that my league championship?? Don't see much need fretting over a week that doesn't matter...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
People need to stop worrying about the rest factor in Week 16. I believe it was the Eagles who demonstrated how foolish it is to take two weeks' rest off at the end of the regular season, because teams in that position are always on bye the first week of the playoffs. It means effectively three weeks off, then potential rust in the Divisional Round. I doubt any NFL team does it this season, barring hooking players at halftime in a game they lead 45-0 in Week 16.
Who sits from these WRs: S. Breaston, A. Collie, or H. Nicks? Or I could pickup M. Floyd?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
That's tough in that Steve Breaston's value is tied to Anquan Boldin's status. I'd play that like this: Sit Breaston if Boldin plays, play Breaston and sit Hakeem Nicks if Boldin is out. And while I like Floyd and think it's a decent matchup, I'd still prefer Breaston and Collie to him in that latter scenario.
Tristan, I need a week 10 QB and after his disastrous performance in Tennessee, my backup David Garrard is not starting a road game against the Jets. However, the pickings in my 12 team league are slim. Is Alex Smith at home against the Bears a good pickup? Other options are Fitzy/Edwards @ Tennessee, Stafford @ Minnesota, Derek Anderson home against Baltimore and JaMarcus home against KC. Ugghh.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
I like what I've seen from Alex Smith. Far and away he's the best pickup of that bunch, but unless Garrard has a miserable Week 9 I have a feeling he's going to be easily your best bet. It's a smart move to speculate here by adding Smith for depth, though. Shame his Week 9 matchup wasn't saved for Week 10!
Portis or Forte? Who leads me to the promise land??
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:05 PM)
I've been telling people I'm skeptical that Matt Forte is really much better than, say, 10th at his position the rest of the season, but that means I still have noticeably more faith in him than I do Clinton Portis.
Pizza or P&J for lunch?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:06 PM)
Not a PB&J fan (if that's what you mean), love pizza. No-brainer to me.
Start JStew or J Charles for my flex this weeK?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:07 PM)
Hey, I'll take a chance on Jonathan Stewart. Good chance he can notch another touchdown, though the matchup isn't elite.
Malcom Floyd (CA)
So i get the starting job and don't have to compete for snaps, buthte question is would you put me in your lineup as a WR3 over guys like Antonio Bryant, Mike Wallace, Donnie Avery, and Lance Moore?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:08 PM)
OK, let's talk a little Malcom Floyd before the chat wraps up. I'd say he's a decent No. 3 this week, or a flex play. So that means yes over all four of those guys, though Bryant actually gives him a run for his money.
Nathan (Bye week blues, CA)
Tristan, I need a really deep sleeper at WR this week: Garcon, Wallace, A. Bryant or another suggestion...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:08 PM)
Hint hint previous question!
Dan (Ann Arbor)
I need a backup QB in week 10 as well. You think Sanchez (vs JAC) is better than Alex Smith that week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:09 PM)
Barely, but that's speaking as of noonish ET on Wednesday heading into Week 9. Stock in low-level No. 2 quarterbacks can change incredibly rapidly during the week's games, so we can check back ... but yes, gut instinct is that's a better matchup.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:10 PM)
OK, time to wrap things up for the day. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I didn't get to yours. Good luck everyone in Week 9!