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 (11:02 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
Marsh (St. Louis)
Christopher Harris doesn't think the Pats will rest their players, yet oddmakers have the Pats as 8 point underdogs meaning they think the Pats starters rest. What say you?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:04 AM)
Everyone has his or her opinion about which teams will rest players, and to what degree. Mine: I think the Pats will play this one out, because the No. 3 seed is at stake, it's a 1 p.m. ET game (so before the Bengals play) and the opponent (Texans) is in the hunt for the playoffs. That said, I do think that if the game gets out of hand early, we'll see players rested late. I could completely see about as much action for Patriots regulars as we just saw with the Colts game.
hey tristan,do you know the status on tony g and will he play sunday?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
I have not heard official word, but I bet he's listed as questionable and it comes down to how much practice time he sees this week. There's little reason to push him, so I'd advise fantasy owners to at least be a little cautious about using him. He might not play a full game even if he starts it.
Timothy (New York)
I need your help picking 2 of these 5 players to start this week in a TD league championship: Donald Brown, Shonn Greene, Carnell Williams, Ryan Moats, Jason Witten... Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
I would pick Jason Witten and Shonn Greene, but then I'm going to immediately gravitate to players who have all the motivation in the world this week. Witten's a clear play to me, and the other one really boils down to Williams or Greene, and I'm just not much of a believer in Caddy.
how much playing time do you think the chargers starters will play?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
Not very much. They're locked in as the No. 2 seed, so I could completely see guys like Philip Rivers and LaDainian Tomlinson taking a seat after a series or two.
my wr's are rice holmes boldin austin and smith (giants)...who should i start?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
How many do you need? Santonio Holmes, Sidney Rice (still has motivation for the No. 2 seed), Miles Austin, Steve Smith, Anquan Boldin, would be the way I'd rank those.
how about arizona starters i have fitz,you think he plays at least a half? we play week 17 winner get 100 bucks for most pts
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
The Arizona game is the one that's most immensely difficult for me to judge. The problem is that it's a 4:15 p.m. ET game, and by that point the Cardinals might already be locked out of the No. 2 seed (and with it a first-week bye). That'd mean any rest they'd get would have to come in the Week 17 game. Plus, they play the Packers, who might very well be their first-week playoff opponent. I see a lot of reason to believe the starters don't play all that much, so if I have Larry Fitzgerald, I game plan on him getting 30 minutes, not 60.
Eugene Corvallis (Portland)
With the Colts once again thinking about resting their stars in the final weeks and during the fantasy playoffs, would you have to consider this situation when drafting their top players next year? Can you discount Peyton Manning slightly because there's a chance he's not playing in the fantasy playoffs again?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
Valid point, and unfortunately yes. I'm one of the staunchest advocates of not drafting players based upon "fantasy playoff" schedules (Weeks 14-17), because so much can change between an August/early September draft date and December, but we've got enough historical data now to realize that Peyton Manning is almost never even a factor come Week 17. It's one of the reasons I don't race to rank him No. 1 at his position every season.
also, should i start vernon davis over antonio gates because gates wont play as much?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
I would. Davis faces the Rams, he's the top target in the 49ers' passing game, and that's a good matchup. And yes, he's simply safer because he doesn't have the threat of resting up for the playoffs.
tristan,do you agree playing a defense on sunday/monday night is a bad thing?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
I suppose I might be tempted to say "yes" to that if only because my most recent personal memory of this was using the Vikings' defense and losing my championship game (though I admit it was a long shot in the first place -- I'd have needed 40 points combined from them and Sidney Rice), but no, I don't generally think it's bad. To me, you play your best defense, period. I don't sweat when it's scheduled to play with the possible exception of a key defender being a game-time decision, or you being in the difficult scenario of having a two-point lead heading into the Monday night game with only your defense to play between you and your opponent. I know some league rules force you to play a defense, but I would absolutely bench the defense and take the win if the rules allowed it.
pick 1 out of the 3...mendenhall charles or beanie wells
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
There's no way I'm sitting Jamaal Charles at this point. He's on quite a roll and the matchup with the Broncos still makes him a top-10 play in my mind.
steelers d or colts d
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
No chance I'd use the Colts this week. They've made it pretty clear they're comfortable with the "B" team taking the field.
Deangelo or Johnathon this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
DeAngelo Williams hasn't been formally ruled out for Week 17, but all sensible thinking has him either playing a minimal role or being scratched. Jonathan Stewart performed admirably as both a backup and a fill-in all season, and he probably deserves another chance to tote the rock 20 times. I'd definitely play him.
Any word on Ricky W. injury
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:31 AM)
All indications are that his status is uncertain, and while the Dolphins haven't been officially eliminated from the playoffs, it's a long shot at best. I'd probably find myself a viable plug-in just in case -- and not necessarily Lex Hilliard, who would likely start if Williams can't go.
Who should I start Brady or Schuab?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
Matt Schaub, and then Matt Schaub again. He's a surefire top-five fantasy play for me this week, as it's a must-win game and the matchup doesn't scare me in the least. Not to mention he has been a heck of a fantasy play the vast majority of the year.
Witten v. Celek
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
Excellent, excellent question, because I love them both. So I'll break this "tie" by pointing out that only the Giants are worse defending tight ends this season than the Eagles. I think that's relevant here.
Farve or Alex Smith?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
The Vikings really could stand to get their momentum back, it's a home game, the No. 2 seed in the NFC is at stake and the opponent is the Giants, who stink defending the pass. For as much as I like Alex Smith in general this week, you have to go Brett Favre, barring any late word he's going to sit (which would make little sense to me).
Tristan,Thanks for all the play today, one more for you. Garrard v. Brady
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
No problem Tony, it's Week 17, so I'm doing my best to get to everyone today. No way David Garrard is starting for me in a road game. His splits on the road are terrible, and Tom Brady does have that motivation of at least taking the No. 3 seed. I can give him that.
Big problem need 2 WRs: Holmes, Austin, DeSean Jackson or Colston?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
DeSean Jackson is about as automatic a play this week as they come. And I'd still go Santonio Holmes over Miles Austin, per the earlier question.
What do you foresee Jerome Harrison's value at next year? round 3-4 pick? Would you rather keep him or brent celek? thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
I still believe the Browns will address the running back position during the offseason, though Harrison's recent hot spell might earn him an opportunity to compete for the starting job. In other words, another candidate, not a clear starter, might be brought in. But I can't keep him as a pick that high. The Browns might be a team enduring some significant change (again) this winter, so I'd be cautious. It's Brent Celek for me -- I think he's very much legit.
Josh (Lincoln, NE)
Know what time the rankings will come out? I have some big decisions this week with guys possibly playing half games (Rodgers, Grant).
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
Very soon -- as always around now or shortly thereafter on Wednesdays. As for the Packers, I don't blame you. They have practically nothing to play for and would be showing the Cardinals their "A" game if they didn't rest starters.
pick 2 please...ward, TO, braylon edwards...or should i put bradshaw in the rb/wr slot
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
Watch out for Hines Ward's hamstring injuries -- they might make this decision for you. Same thing for Ahmad Bradshaw, who is also nicked up. I have a feeling Terrell Owens will be in your lineup no matter what, and it's Ward if he's healthy, but Braylon Edwards if not.
Robert (League Championship)
HELP!!! I have a ton of RB options this week please pick the best three of this group. Thanks. AP, J. Stewart, J. Harrison, K. Moreno, M. Forte, D. Brown, J. Forsett
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
Jonathan Stewart is an automatic. I can't see how he's not the focal point of the Panthers' offense this week, against the Saints' "B" defense (probably). Knowshon Moreno also seems like an obvious play versus the Chiefs, and for the third, I'd go Matt Forte, one of the rare times I'm glowing about him because he draws the Lions.
i also forgot to add mason and meachem in that group of wr's
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
Derrick Mason starts for sure. Him, then it's Hines Ward with Terrell Owens ready as his stand-in.
Robert (League Championship)
So you would sit Adrian Peterson then???
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
Sorry Robert, missed the "AP." Keeps making me think "Associated Press," while ADP has it registering more for me. Adrian Peterson is starting for me, period. I suppose in this case he needs to be used over Matt Forte. Rank 'em ADP, Stewart, Moreno, Forte, Harrison, Forsett, Brown.
winslow or miller
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
Toughie. I'll go Kellen Winslow, but that's more because I think guys like Santonio Holmes match up better against the Dolphins.
pack d or bronco d
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
Packers D can't be trusted this week. It might be the "B" team, and it's a road game at Arizona besides. Might be an effective preseason game on both sides.
hasselbeck or romo
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
Tony Romo. Better quarterback, tons of motivation.
should i risk plaring r williams or play bradshaw
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
Another question related to the decision being made for you, as both of these guys have health questions (assuming that's Ricky Williams). Williams for sure if healthy, Bradshaw if not.
since cutler is coming off a good week against minesota...should i start palmer or cutler
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
I wouldn't be happy with either quarterback, as Carson Palmer is a candidate to sit the entire game and Jay Cutler is about as erratic as any quarterback can get (well, except perhaps for Keith Null). Though, Cutler faces the Lions, so at least there's some potential for a strong finish. Go with him.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
OK, time to wrap things up for the day. Thank you for all of your questions, and best of luck to you in your Week 17 (championship) matchups! Hope you take home a title. Also, a very Happy New Year to you and yours! See you for the next chat in 2010! Take care everyone...