Fantasy Sports w/Brendan Roberts
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday afternoon, we open our fantasy chat to one of our ESPN.com fantasy sports editors. Brendan Roberts will hop in to take all of your sports related questions and analyze them from a fantasy perspective.
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Brendan Roberts (2:59 PM)
Good afternoon, everyone! Back this week to talk a little fantasy playoff football (and whatever baseball questions I come across). Big week! Let's get to the questions ...
Do you see Peyton playing long on Sun, if not should start Alex Smith since he is playing the Lions this week.
Brendan Roberts (3:01 PM)
Yeah, Peyton vs. the league's No. 1 Pass D or Smith versus the league's No. 32 pass D. But I still say Peyton. I think the Jets will give the Colts all they can handle, and will keep the game close. Plus, though I understand the concern, I just couldn't see sitting Peyton for such an important fantasy game. He could put up numbers in a half what all but a handful of QBs put up in a whole game. I'd stick with him.
Can Mangini be trusted? Is Harrison a decent play? I got burned earlier in the season, and this is the Championship. Does the switch to Anderson have any impact. Only other oprtions are Forte (ugh!) Snelling, or Forsett? Morris and Bush are also out there.
Brendan Roberts (3:03 PM)
By all accounts, Mangini can be trusted. Harrison very much appears to be the guy, and the buzz words is the team was just waiting for him to develop in "other areas" of the game, such as blocking, before fully unleashing him. They have, and I think he's a sure top-20 option this week versus the Raiders' 28th-ranked run D. If anything, the move to Anderson helps Harrison. Who knows, maybe it'll be sloppy in Cleveland, and turn into a grind-it-out game. That'd be great, honestly, because you're not starting many WRs or either QB from this game.
Romo had one of his worst outings of the season vs. Wash. Roll the dice with him or play Big Ben?
Brendan Roberts (3:05 PM)
Very true, and amidst some fine performances for him. But sure seems like the Skins have "bagged it" huh? I think things will be different this week, and I wouldn't fear that matchup. I'd start the hot Romo over Big Ben (against the Ravens).
Ben (Greensboro, NC)
Brady's funk has almost knocked me out of the playoffs in back to back weeks. Do I play Young or Campbell in his place for the championship?
Brendan Roberts (3:07 PM)
I can understand your frustration, but you gotta take it matchup by matchup. The bottom line is Brady is healthier this week than the past two weeks, and he faces the Jaguars (and their 27th-ranked pass D) at home. That's a matchup you have to exploit.
TRYING TO WIN THE $500 FIRST PRIZE (Bakersfield, Ca)
PEYTON MANNING!!!!!!! Championship game in my PPR league, does he play a full game or go with back up BIG BEN, or pick up VY? Also What are the chances of Addai playing a full game?
Brendan Roberts (3:08 PM)
I kinda addressed this earlier, but I think the chances are good BOTH Colts will play the full game. I still say Manning over those other two QBs, and I'd start Addai, too, unless you are loaded at the position.
Last Place Finisher (Everywhere)
What a horrible year, so I have to look to next for some fun. Is Beanie Wells a keeper in the 4th round and does Mendenhall keep the starting position for the Steelers?
Brendan Roberts (3:09 PM)
Sure seems that starting RB job is Mendenhall's to lose, and right when the Steelers need it. He's safe as a keeper, and I think Wells is going to be a MONSTER next season. I even say the same thing about Jonathan Stewart, even if DeAngelo Williams is still there. J-Stew is a special player, in my eyes, truly elite talent.
Is it fair to ask the commissioner to lock the add/drops for the teams that are not in the championship game this week?
Brendan Roberts (3:11 PM)
Depends on if there are any consolation games. If there are, or there's an end-of-season points payout or something like that, then you can't. Most leagues maintain the incentive to keep trying hard to the bitter end. If your league doesn't, then yeah, I think it's only fair to keep add/drops to the championship teams.
Follow up to your earlier answer, you talked about Peyton, but what about Wayne? Other options are Housh, Britt, A.Bryant..I know, ugly, but I'm in the Championship Game!! Please help! Thanks!
Brendan Roberts (3:13 PM)
Glad you brought that up, 'cause his story is a bit different. He'll play, and he'll get looks, but the Colts will be loaded at WR this week, especially since it appears Anthony Gonzalez (remember him?) will be back. Wayne is a tough call, for sure, because he could catch a touchdown and make it all worth it. But the fact that the Colts are loaded with WR options, Wayne will be covered by Darrelle Revis on most plays, and that Wayne's targets have been coming down, yes, I'd actually sit him in most two-starting-WR leagues. Tough to even type that. Flex or 3-WR leagues, would be much tougher to justify. In your case, I think I like Housh the best, but would need to break it down further.
Adrian (Chicago, IL)
Do you see the Cardinals playing their starters the entire game or resting them???
Brendan Roberts (3:15 PM)
The Cardinals are safe to start, if you normally do so.
Brendan Roberts (3:15 PM)
The Cardinals are safe to start, if you normally do so.
Not sure if this constitutes "loaded" but I have to decide between Addai, LT and Bradshaw as my RB2 and FLEX. Leaning toward benching Addai. What are your thoughts?
Brendan Roberts (3:17 PM)
Hmm, yes, that's a tough call. LT stays, in my mind, but Bradshaw and Addai are pretty close. I'd probably lean toward Addai still because even with his touches dropped some, he'll still probably get more than Bradshaw. Very close, though.
Thanks for taking questions! Championship game - need my 3rd WR to shine - Britt or Josh Morgan?Thanks!
Brendan Roberts (3:19 PM)
A number of you have asked about Britt. I like him this week against San Diego. Seemed to me he had a down week last week because the Titans try to "out-Dolphin" the Dolphins by running a conservative ball-control plan to rack up time of possession. Though it worked, I think they'll have to air it out more this week versus the Chargers, and Britt is a big part of that. I'd choose him here.
In the championship game playing for $100,000,000 (insert Dr. Evil music here). I have been riding Brees all year but fear they will rest him now. Vince Young is on my bench, do I dare start him over Brees??
Brendan Roberts (3:20 PM)
No, you don't. Start Brees and laugh in an evil way.
I never get a question answered. Is there something u look for? Should I keep posting the same question over and over?
Brendan Roberts (3:21 PM)
Real quick, I look for questions that I can expound on and help more than just that owner. Then again, with so many questions, I see only so many at a time. A lot of 'em I don't even have the chance to read.
Mike (NY NY)
Javy Vasquez as a #4 guy? I like that. Do you think Damon signs as the Yanks LF, or they go after a super-utility guy like DeRosa?
Brendan Roberts (3:22 PM)
OK, I'll throw in a baseball one ... the buzz word is the Yanks want Damon back, and with Melky and Matsui gone, it's a possibility, but I'd still put my money on him leaving. Super utility guy is more of a team need.
Joe (Princeton, NJ)
Hi Brendan. Always look forward to your chats. What do you think....Jamaal Charles or Ryan Grant? I am starting Rice and Peterson. And do you think Colston is a safe bet to play the full time?Thanks!
Brendan Roberts (3:24 PM)
I think Colston, and really all the Saints you'd normally start, are safe again this week. In fact, Sean Payton came out today and said nothing changes this week ... the team is still going all-out, and I believe him. As for Charles, I don't like his matchup at Cincy. The Bengals are fighting for playoff positioning and will bring it at home. I like Grant versus the Seahawks a little more here.
B. Wells (likely to have more carries) or Snelling (TD potential vs awful BUF D)? Thanks!
Brendan Roberts (3:25 PM)
Yup, with Turner out, Snelling suddenly has value again, but I still say this time of year, you look for "most upside" in a No. 2 RB, and Wells has that, in my eyes. Of course, a matchup at home versus the Rams doesn't hurt.
Other analysts have chimed in on this topic...but do YOU ever consider who your opponent is starting? For example, championship game and my opponent has Aaron Rodgers. I have Celek, but Jermichael Finley is available. Both players are solid...so do I roll with Celek and hope Rodgers has a bad game, or go with Finley in hopes of "canceling out" some points?
Brendan Roberts (3:27 PM)
I don't care at all who the opponent starts, because Rodgers could go to Driver and Jennings. My objective is simply to score as many points as possible, and let the chips fall where they may. If I worried about my opponents' starters, I'd probably have died of an ulcer long ago.
Rick (New Jersey)
Does Jamal Charles' streak end this week?
Brendan Roberts (3:27 PM)
I think it does. Honestly, I think he has a rough week, as will the Chiefs. Plus, you gotta figure the Bengals will get an early lead and pound the ball, taking it out of the Chiefs' hands.
Rob (State College)
Any chance AP sits a little this week and gives Chester any value?
Brendan Roberts (3:28 PM)
I wouldn't say so. The Vikings are a "package team," in that they have set packages for certain players, and aren't likely to change that significantly at this point.
Brendan, you said you don't like Jamaal Charles' matchup, so would you start Pierre Thomas instead? I'm not afraid about resting Saints, but PT has never been a lock for carries. Not sure if it matters, but they would play in the flex spot.
Brendan Roberts (3:30 PM)
Honestly, I think I would. I know Pierre didn't do much last week, but the best way to beat the Bucs is by controlling the ball on the ground, and I think they'll run a lot more on first down than they did last week. Pound for pound, matchup for matchup, yes, I like Thomas more than Charles this week.
Santa (North Pole)
Ho Ho Ho!! Help a jolly old man out, Brendan, so I can get back to work! Do you like the Atlanta DST this week vs. a weak Buffalo, or would you consider the Jets against a potentially 2nd string Colts lineup? Also, I have Charles, Mendenhall, LT2, and Grant? Who sits? Happy Holidays!!
Brendan Roberts (3:33 PM)
Yes, glad you brought up the Falcons D. Yes, I like them this week versus the Brian Brohm-led Bills. That said, I still wouldn't start it over, say, a top-8 unit (like the Jets). It's no given that Brohm will make mistakes like many think. First of all, he's no rookie; he's been in the league a few years, even if he hasn't played much. So it's not like he doesn't know the way things work and the system. Plus, any changeover that happens early in the week allows teams to game-plan for an opponent, and the game plan is normally ultra-conservative, meaning fewer chances/turnovers. And finally, the Bills can run the ball, and will just make that their focus. I like the Falcons more, but if you have a top unit, don't even consider the ATL D.
Brendan - do you like a red hot Fred Davis in a divisional rivalry over an also hot Winslow in a meaningless game for the Bucs?
Brendan Roberts (3:35 PM)
Winslow looked pretty good last week for being hurt, and the way to beat the Saints is through the air (whether it's passing from behind or not). The Saints have the league's 25th ranked pass D. It might be in garbage work, but I still like Winslow to catch 5-6 passes, and maybe a score, in New Orleans. Love me the Fred Davis, but I think Winslow has the most upside.
Do I start Harrison since he is playing Oakland over Charles this week, or do I concern myself that Mangini may go back to Jennings or Cribbs?
Brendan Roberts (3:37 PM)
Hmm, now that's a good one: Charles or Harrison. Ya know, I say Harrison. Yeah, the Raiders' 28th-ranked run D, Anderson back in at QB, the game he just had ... I just think the setting is much better for Harrison to play well versus Charles at Cincy.
With only 2 weeks left, should I dump Deangelo because of his ankle injury? I have Charles and Moreno starting, just picked up Harrison, and have Jacobs benched!
Brendan Roberts (3:38 PM)
I wouldn't bench him ... who knows what could happen heading into Week 17.
Now what about Jermicheal Finley vs. Kellen Winslow? Jermicheal Finley has the better matchup vs. the Seahawks, hes getting a ton of targets and the Saints are better at stopping TE than WR.
Brendan Roberts (3:40 PM)
I'm calling it now: Finley will be a top-5 tight end next year. Why? Because I think he's right there this year. The guy is supremely talented, a receiver in a tight end's body. Not sure how good a blocker he is, but who cares for us, right? Yes, Finley it is. When I saw the Pack do that lob to him in the end zone over the smaller CB, he looked so vintage Antonio Gates. Finley it is, even over Winslow.
What is your favorite Christmas movie? Also who is the better flex play this week: MSW (vs. NE) or crabtree (vs. Det)
Brendan Roberts (3:40 PM)
Christmas Story. I'd say Crabtree. Don't like that MSW is at NE.
Is Welker a safe play this week over Meachum and Harvin? I don't really trust Brady!
Brendan Roberts (3:42 PM)
Don't trust Brady? Ah, you have a short memory. I like Welker this week versus Jax at home. In fact, I think I like him even more than Randy Moss (not that that would surprise a lot of people).
Let me apologize for a lame kicker question, but this is my championship game and it's a general strategic question! I have my homeboy Longwell, but he's gonna be kicking at Chicago in late December. Do I just dump him for someone kicking in a cozy dome or warm climate (like Feely in Indy, Bryant at home v. Buffalo, or whoever is kicking for Arizona)?
Brendan Roberts (3:45 PM)
I suppose I could spend a few minutes on kickers ... Ha, ha. Ya know, that's a good point. In the case of kickers, their settings are really about as important as the teams they kick for and their own talent, and Chicago is not a good setting. I was researching bad-weather games a few weeks ago for our fantasy newsletter, and about 4 of the 10 worst weather games (from the past five seasons) were in Chicago. (Cleveland probably had another 3 or 4). That wind can be awful for kickers. Yes, I'd probably pick someone else ... not necessarily a dome guy, just pick a matchup you like.
Jason (St. Louis)
Back to the ATL D...do you still consider Minny D to be an elite unit? They looked awful on Sunday night and weren't playing well before that. Is ATL worth a play?
Brendan Roberts (3:46 PM)
Yes, definitely consider Minnesota an elite unit, especially against the Bears and Jay Cutler.
You stated earlier that you wouldn't start Atlanta D over the Jets. Even with the Jets facing Indy?
Brendan Roberts (3:47 PM)
That's right. Peyton Manning has thrown 15 picks this year, and though the Colts likely will still score, I think there'll be enough by way of sacks, turnovers and maybe even a touchdown to make them worthwhile.
Nick (Wasting time at work)
Do I roll with Ganther as my RB2 (behind CJ) or do I pick up M. Morris or A. Bradshaw in my PPR league's championship game?
Brendan Roberts (3:49 PM)
Hmm, the Cowboys are awful tough to run, and with this being a PPR league, I'd probably go with Bradshaw in this one.
j. finley is getting a lot of props, they are well deserved, do i start him over d. clark this week? i also have Rodgers if that means anything
Brendan Roberts (3:51 PM)
Wow, the Jets DO shut down tight ends, and with you having Rodgers, it's definitely tempting. But Dallas is the No. 1 scoring tight end in fantasy, and I just don't think you can mess with that. Good thought, though.
Is McCoy still a good #3 option in a PPR league? Bradshaw, Ganther, and Michael Bush are also available.
Brendan Roberts (3:52 PM)
With Westbrook back, I don't like McCoy this week. He'll play, but remember, they also have Leonard Weaver in the mix (unless he's in the doghouse or something). I'd roll with probably Bradshaw, Joe.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
I have a happy dilemma on my hands for this week. Which defense is the better play: Cardinals v Rams or Saints v Bucs?
Brendan Roberts (3:54 PM)
I'd probably say the Saints. They're among the league lead in picks, and are facing a first-year starter. Tempting to start ANYONE against the Rams, but I think Saints are the safer choice here.
HELP...give a brother some love...never have had a question answered 3 yrs running...RB/Flex help (pick 3): PT (will he get the touches), Addai (will he play a whole game), Harrison (great matchup vs. Oak), Snelling (weak Buffalo D), and A. Bradshaw...pick 3
Brendan Roberts (3:55 PM)
Definitely the first three, in my mind. Just not sold on Snelling, and though I like Bradshaw, those guys are likely in for more touches.
Billy (Los Angeles)
Just read that Polamalu is getting an MRI to see if he can play this weekend. If he plays do I use the Steelers instead of the Falcons or Cowboys?
Brendan Roberts (3:56 PM)
I still have faith in the Steelers, honestly, especially with Polamalu back, but I think the Cowboys figure to offer more bang for the buck.
I am sitting Wayne this week do I use Meachem or Crabtree to fill his slot?
Brendan Roberts (3:58 PM)
You go, boy! Neither fill-in has done much the past two weeks, but I'll take Crabtree and his matchup a little more (vs. DET at home). He's my pick.
Eagles do not get sat, even for the Cards vs. STL, right?
Brendan Roberts (3:58 PM)
Agreed. They should be able to keep the Broncos in check. Two more questions, folks.
Is Mo Morris (vs SF) a descent flex play this week? Not feeling good about Weaver with Westbrook back.
Brendan Roberts (4:00 PM)
Yes, Morris is a decent flex play, for sure, but the Niners do stop the run well, and, well, he's still Maurice Morris. I like him over Weaver, but don't overrate him just because he's the Lions' top back and got a decent number of touches last week.
I have been in a tough spot for several weeks but have made it the semi's. I had M Turner and R Brown and now am down to Snelling, J Harrison and M Morris. Which two should I go with? Also who should I start at my 3rd wr? D Bowe or Roy Williams
Brendan Roberts (4:01 PM)
Harrison and Snelling. I just commented on Morris; not expecting much from him this week. Third WR? Hmm, neither look sterling, but I think Williams is the safer play.
Brendan Roberts (4:03 PM)
And that'll do it. Lotta lineup questions this week, understandably, and I tried to pick the most relevant/helpful ones. Either way, I know it's a big week for a lot of you, and I hope I helped at least a little. Good luck, folks. May the force be with you!