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 (11:03 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
Danny Tanner (The set of "Wake Up San Francisco")
Is the spread offense safe to stay in San Francisco? It seems to have driven up Alex Smith's stock and destroyed Frank Gore's. Frank sounds a little unhappy, so I was wondering if anything could be changing or if this is the status quo going forward.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
I'd say it is, yes, but I don't think of it as a huge hit to Gore's fantasy value. Was it realistic to expect the guy to carry the ball 20-plus times a game every week? He's a skilled pass catcher. Give him 15 carries and five catches a week -- which is perfectly reasonable -- and you'll never sit him anyway. As for Alex Smith, I do believe in him the rest of the year.
Pick 2 please: Meachem, Colston, and MSW?!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
Well, Marques Colston faces the Falcons, who have nothing but problems in their secondary, and Mike Sims-Walker faces the Dolphins, who have nothing but ... you get the idea. Has to be those two, but you're in pretty good shape with these three, I'd say.
Bench depth for the playoffs - Forsett or Jerome Harrison? Forsett is the better player, but Harrison has the PT.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
At this stage of season, I think you've got to go with the playing time over the potential. There are four weeks left! Fan of Justin Forsett, I am, but Harrison has two favorable matchups (I believe it's Weeks 15-16) coming up.
Just heard Slaton headed to IR. Who do you think is the best fill in for him? Moats or Brown?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
Can I pick neither? I'd probably take Chris Brown -- just a better chance at touchdowns. Looking at the schedule, though, only the Rams matchup really strikes me as an exciting one anyway.
Eric (California, PA (Anatomy Class))
Start or sit Brett Farve or Vince Young??
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
For as much as I like Young this week as a fill-in/two-quarterback type, there's no way I'm sitting Favre in a home game. Look at his record there.
Snow tomorrow in cleveland? does that bump medenhall's value up even more this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
I'd have to see a weather report that scared me enough to radically adjust any game projections first. We're talking either an in-game blizzard or some heavy winds -- and I'm talking upwards of 20 mph. Then? Sure, I'd be a bit more pro-Mendenhall.
Mark (negative degrees in Denver)
STEELERS D? What gives? They have been a colossal disappointment. I have a playoff bye this week when they play Cleveland, but they have Green Bay and Baltimore in weeks 15 and 16 and I am thinking of looking elsewhere. Are they utterly droppable at this point?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
"Utterly droppable"? I doubt I'd go that far, but yes, be concerned, and mindful of your matchups looking forward. The bottom line is this is a much weaker defense when Troy Polamalu sits, and there's a very real chance his season is done. No way I'm using the Steelers against Packers without Polamalu. No way. Ravens? Hmmm, iffy there, but it really depends on your alternatives. This week I feel OK with the Steelers, though.
Playoff strategy: Do you opt for players that produce avg. results consistantly or go with the upside play?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
Not a cut-and-dry answer; the right answer is a mix of both, but ultimately you just roll your best matchups. I'd say more often than not, I am the kind of guy who takes shots, so I probably side with upside over consistency. Slightly, that is. After all, consistency might mean you just enough to win a typical week, but are a risk to lose if your opponent gets fluky results. Go for the jugular!
A kicker question for the playoffs: Drop Crosby for Garrett Hartley? Crosby has to kick in Chicago, Pittsburgh and Seattle, but Hartley has his own dome, ATL, and Tampa Bay
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
I'd consider that, yes. But I'm confident that's Garrett Hartley's job now, after his performance in Week 13.
Which one should I sit? J. Charles, R. Grant, or R. Mendenhall.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
Jamaal Charles gets the Bills and Rashard Mendenhall the Browns. No way I could sit either one.
Seriously? a Kicker question?? (Chicago)
Please Tristan help me out with my RBs for playoffs!!I have 3 spots.. who are the lucky winners for week 14?D.Williams, J.Stewart, J.Charles, R.Grant, L.McCoy, and R.Cartwright.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
Let's just say we've hit today's quota of one kicker question, how's that? Again, Charles has to play. But this is a case where I'd go Ryan Grant, and for the third guy, it's Jonathan Stewart if DeAngelo Williams is out or limited, and if he's declared full healthy, it's Williams.
Is Donald Brown a solid play if the Colts sit players in week 16??
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
Doubt it. We might see a lot of Chad Simpson, actually.
Romo looked pretty good last week do I roll with him over Schaub this week in the playoffs?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
Tony Romo's matchup (against the Chargers) is a little tougher than Matt Schaub's (against the Seahawks), so I'd take the Texans and have faith he can turn his season around. Seahawks matchups are simply too favorable.
Is Big Ben safe for tomorrow or do i need to visit the wire...please help!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
Health wise, I think yes, matchup-wise, I think yes. So overall, I think yes, and I really think weather isn't something to fret too much about -- unless it gets really bad by kickoff. Let's not overrate the weather effects.
I'm worried about Vikings D this week vs. Bengals (no Henderson, Winfield still out?). Would you drop Avant to pickup and play Titans D vs. Rams?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
I would, yes. Carson Palmer can pick apart the Vikings in the state they're in, so I'd steer clear of that matchup if possible. Could be a shoot-out. Titans is a good play, a good fill-in.
Is Fred Jackson startable now? Over Moreno and Lynch?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:31 AM)
Over Marshawn Lynch, yes. Over Knowshon Moreno, no. By the way, both Moreno and Jackson have worthy matchups this week.
Jon Roy (Iowa)
Is Revis a better starter for the rest of the season than Rolle?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
Antrel Rolle, but one thing I should point out for IDP players is that the top talents aren't always the top IDP-league picks. For instance, with Darrelle Revis, he can't get you interceptions or tackles as easily if opponents are scared to throw his way. Look at Nnamdi -- he's not a viable IDP in most leagues, but he's a great cornerback.
T-Cock! Always appreciate the advice...I have to bench any WR playing Revis, right, assuming the downgrade isn't HUGE? Also, what's for lunch? Did you know they say Tulsa is the Paris of the Midwest? Yeah, me neither...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
I think for the most part, yes. Especially Antonio Bryant this week, and isn't Reggie Wayne a future opponent, too? Boy, Wayne might just get a rest for part of that week knowing how rough a matchup that is.
Beginners Luck (Washington State (Go Cougs))
Any profound advice for a first time FF'er in his first playoffs and going in as #1 seed?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
Don't let your guard down, because No. 1 seeds really have no better chance at winning in the fantasy playoffs than any other. Well, except in six-team playoff brackets where the top two seeds get a bye, but even then, you've still got a 25-percent chance. Handcuff your studs (if you can), never waste a bench spot, exploit every matchup and keep your roster deep. Then keep your fingers crossed. (That last one is most important!)
Too many good WRs, not enough starting slots (3)! I know... a good problem to have, but makes it tough: Harvin (pts for ret yds too), Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson, R. Meachum, V. Jackson or M. Sims-Walker? Help please!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
Andre Johnson is a must-start (against Seattle), and I think Mike Sims-Walker (against Miami) is too. I'll go Robert Meachem against Atlanta for the No. 3. Too hot a streak to sit, too talented an offense.
Dallas Clark (Ind)
Will I be rested weeks 15 and/or 16? If so who are a few good plays in those weeks?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
Maybe for part of the game once they're decided late, but I wouldn't sweat much more than Week 17 for the most part. First thing that pops to mind is that Tom Santi could get some more work (if healthy), to ease the burden on Clark.
Tom (Buffalo, NY)
Housh or Crabtree the rest of the way?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
Michael Crabtree. Look at his matchups: ARI, @PHI, DET, @STL. I think you've got to use him as at least a No. 3, outside of the Eagles matchup of course.
Al (Chandler, AZ)
Tristan, can Britt and Meacham lead me to my leagues championship?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
I don't see why not. Robert Meachem's hot streak is very real, and as for Kenny Britt, other than the risk Justin Gage gets healthy and steals his job back, look at those remaining matchups: STL, MIA, SD, @SEA. Other than the Chargers game those are great matchups.
Jerome Harrison (>)
Any reason that I shouldn't start over other RB3's this week? I know my matchup is tough, but I think I will see enough touches and catches to get some decent points, don't you?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
I'd say a flex play at best, and only because Chris Jennings is still enough of a factor to steal maybe 5-8 touches from him. It's just not a great matchup, so I'd grab Harrison for future weeks more than this one.
Earlier you picked Colston over Meachem, now your plugging Meachem - What gives?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
Can't they both be fine? Marques Colston first, as a top-tier. I think of Robert Meachem as a second-tier. Still worthwhile. There's enough to go around.
tristan,do you see vincent jackson turning it around anytime soon?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
I kind of wonder about that. His remaining schedule: @DAL, CIN, @TEN, WAS. Assuming the personnel is healthy for those teams, those defenses have the cover corners to keep Vincent Jackson in check, if they want to play things like a lot of teams are against the Chargers lately. Let's say Jackson is too talented to outright give up on, but he's a No. 2 in my mind, at best.
Finley (East Islip)
Do you have any faith in the Giants D this week. My other options are dismal. MIA, TB, KC.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
Nope. That said, ugh, about the only matchup there that's close in terms of upside is Miami's, and I don't like that it's in Jacksonville, where the Jaguars tend to play better. I think you have to just use the Giants -- much as they scare me -- and hope for the best.
Fantasy playoffs start this week need your advice. Would you start Big Ben Thursday or roll the dice with Alex Smith Monday thanks for the help.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
I'd use Alex Smith, but then I'm a firm believer in him this week, in Week 16 and 17. Think a low-level No. 1 -- somewhere in the 10-12 range at his position.
Tristan Jr. (Over there)
Tristan, who do you like this week to go for 2 scores: T. Jones, Mendenhall or Rice?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
Two scores? Jeez. Demanding! Rashard Mendenhall. Best combination of matchup and guarantee of the goal-line carries (if present for the team).
Benson a good play at MInn?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
I don't think so. He'll have enough touches to have low-No. 2/high-flex appeal, somewhere in the back end of the top 20 at his position most likely, but the yardage won't be good. You'll have to hope he sneaks in a goal-line carry or two to make it worth your while.
At what level of bad weather do you consider sitting Santonio Holmes for a Devone Bess? Winds over 30? At the moment, Cleveland's Thursday evening forecast calls for Snow with winds 25-30 mph. Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
Probably, yeah. To the point where the goal posts shake. I'm no weatherman, but I think you can generally tell by watching the pregame how bad the prognosis. For the most part, though, I stress that weather factors are overrated. We've got a great piece up now by Ken Daube about the impact of weather in December -- and I addressed it this week as well in our newsletter. Take a look!
Would you roll with CIN defense this week despite the tough matchup on the road against the Favre, AP and the Vikes?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
I can't. I just can't recommend the Bengals defense. A trip to Minnesota is not a good one for fantasy; opposing defenses have the fourth-worst fantasy points for the season against that team.
PPR: T.O or Maclin this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
Depends whether DeSean Jackson sits, but since I don't think he will, it has to be Terrell Owens. Good matchup for him!
Play Jermichael Finley or Fred davis this weekend?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
Jermichael Finley. It's great to see him getting targeted a healthy number of times per week. Plus, Fred Davis faces a Raiders team that typically holds tight ends in check.
Tom (San Diego)
Is Ricky Williams a good flex play this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
I think Ricky Williams is a top-10 fantasy play right now.
As a witness to the NE-Buffalo game, I can tell you you really need to consider the weather in extreme conditions like such. 82 runs vs. 33 pass attempts, many of those because Buffalo was down by 10 in the 4th Q.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
But you said the key words: "Extreme." That game had 60-mph wind gusts.
Wallace a good flex option this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
Only if Hines Ward is out, which is possible. I'd call Mike Wallace a smart pickup for the possibility he's No. 3/flex worthy. But you'll have to check the news right up until game time.
Eric (California, PA (PTA 101 Class))
Hey THC, Whats for lunch??? Start or sit Carlson or David Thomas??
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
I really hope it's a chicken parm day, but I guess I'll see when I stroll over and see what's on the menu! As for those tight ends, I don't think either one is an especially attractive No. 2 option, let alone a clear starter. Pressed to pick, has to be Thomas; Carlson has been needed to help block way too often to make an impact as a pass catcher.
what do you think about PF + PA as the tiebreaker for playoff seeding?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
Interesting idea, though the one thing I'd be concerned about is that you have positively no control over points allowed, because you could play an opponent the final week who sits his entire lineup, just to be unkind. I think points for is appropriate and strong enough a tiebreaker system.
DOWN TO THE BUZZER! Palmer or Garrard?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
I'm going Carson Palmer, but I also have little respect for the Vikings' secondary. Again, I see a shoot-out coming.
Jeremy (Spokane, WA)
Wacko for Flacco at Det, Alex Smith at Arizona, or Vince Young at StL?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:02 PM)
I'd rank those guys Vince Young, Alex Smith, Joe Flacco, based upon recent performance as well as matchup. It's close.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
OK folks, time to wrap things up for the day. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I didn't get to yours. Take care everyone, and best of luck to you in your Week 14/playoff matchups!