Chat with Tristan Cockcroft
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Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:01 AM)
Good morning everyone! We'll be going heavily with football today -- I'll make sure to help those of you with championship baseball matchups in my Monday chat -- as Week 1 is upon us.Before we begin: Keep in mind that many of the traditional, "Who do I start, Player A or Player B," questions can be answered in our rankings, which you can read right here. I'm likely to shy from those questions unless there is any news impacting my ranks since those were published around lunchtime yesterday. But for the most part, it's all fair game!Let's get started...
PJ (Mason, OH)
How can the ESPN fantasy experts have the Steelers D ranked number 1 or 2 this week but only project them to score 4 fantasy points. Are the experts not contradicting themselves?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:04 AM)
The rankings versus the projections is a fair question, and when it comes to defenses, I strongly suggest you approach the projected point totals with a grain of salt. Our projections always add up; that means that if we project three touchdowns for a team, the opposing defense is going to have allowed a minimum of 21 points, and that has an impact upon the scoring. We also weight yards allowed; I'd look more closely at the opponents' individual projections and the sacks and interceptions numbers when evaluating a defense.But ultimately, the "experts," myself included, are going to always suggest you stick with your top talents, and the Steelers, as always, are a "top talent" on D. These games are usually not high-scoring and there's enough here that, while not a week-topper, the Steelers D should be in your lineup.
You didnt rate either of these players (that bad huh): Hasselbeck or Collins for a Peyton-less 2QB league with Brees?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
For the record, I ranked Matt Hasselbeck 25th. I don't want to lean too heavily upon 2010 defensive numbers, but the Jags in my estimation remain horrible. If you're in a two-quarterback league, I'd be with you on Hasselbeck.But not Kerry Collins. He has had only two weeks to get acclimated in that offense, and at his age I've got some serious questions about how much he can still do given that little time.
Do you expect Daniel Thomas to have any value whatsoever this season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:08 AM)
I think Thomas' value is greater in keeper than redraft leagues, as he had an underwhelming preseason and looks firmly behind Reggie Bush in the pecking order for now. Don't completely discard him; Bush hasn't shown in the NFL that he can be a workhorse, so opportunities might come with time. But it could be Halloween before they do.
You are the only one giving Bowe any top 10 love, why is that?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
I think the Bills have a mediocre defense (and I'm probably being generous saying that), Dwayne Bowe was such a matchups type in 2010 and I see a matchup in a home game against a defense like that being a start-'em-all proposition. To me, Bowe and Jamaal Charles are automatics, and it's as simple as that.
Johnny (SPringfield, Ma)
Lance Kendricks looks like the real deal. Worth starting this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
I have serious consideration to having Kendricks in my top 10 this week, and if you're sleeper-seeking, I'll endorse the move. But I ranked him conservatively because I'd like to see some in-season results, rather than preseason buzz. He was a draft target of mine but I did so hoping for some Weeks 1-2 evaluation.
Any value in holding on to me?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
Two-quarterback league if the waiver-wire alternatives are lackluster. David Garrard will land somewhere, and probably get a start at some point in 2011, but I wouldn't lock up a bench spot on him if there's an attractive alternative out there.
Mike P (Stamford CT)
Is Britt a full go? If he is, do you think its a must start with him against the Jags secondary?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
I think that he is and I ranked him accordingly. The positive note on Matt Hasselbeck in the earlier question was a hearty endorsement of Kenny Britt, and to a lesser extent Jared Cook. I like their matchups and think strong performances by each will mean a meaningful, albeit lower-level line, from Hasselbeck.
Peyton Manning (Surgery)
My neck hurts and with all the reports I don't even know when, if or where I'm getting surgery...How worried should I be about my season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
I'm worried but I remain firm that a healthy Peyton Manning is a difference-maker during the fantasy playoffs. I typically don't like this much risk so he's not on any of my teams -- though almost took him in one league because he slipped noticeably -- but without word on his exact time missed I can't run screaming.
Lets be serious Shonn Green couldn't do it last year and won't do it this year, I am the man in NY still.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
I do not agree with you. But I am also the man who will talk "age, age, age" until I'm blue in the face, and remind you that with each passing year, the odds of a season like his 2010 become longer.
Tristan - need to make a call for tonight. Ingram or McGahee for W1?Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
Mark Ingram, take a roll of the dice on the goal-line opps, and when I'm speculating upon those I want the player who has the makeup better suited to the role.(And yes, Player A vs. Player B is fair game especially in flex circumstances, because I don't publish rankings for those.)
Chris (Fort Worth, TX)
If my current defense is only average is it worth using a bench spot to stash another one and use a defense by committee approach each week playing favorable matchups?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
I don't know who these defenses are you're referring to, but I scored the Bears out of my two-quarterback league draft, and I just picked up the Chiefs to exploit as a one-week plug-in. (Love that Chiefs D matchup.) So you'll always get an OK from me on matching up your D's -- if you lack one of the truly elite -- and I'll merely say don't let a meaningful piece go to do it.
Just like Rodney D, I never go any respect despite finishing as fantasy's top kicker last season. My strong, accurate leg coupled with my team's confidence in letting me try from 50+ is a perfect storm for a kicker. Not to mention my team's propensity to move the ball and stall. What gives?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
Sebastian Janikowski is a fine fantasy kicker. But I don't agree with you in predicting him at No. 1. Sure, it could happen, but look at my consistency rankings; they demonstrate that kicker performance fluctuates wildly from year to year.
Super Nintendo Chalmers (Springfield)
THC, what do you think is the meaning of life? And if Foster sits should I start Tate or Reggie Bush
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
The meaning of life is Mariano Rivera.I'd start Reggie Bush. Part of it is that there's more certainty of touches; the Texans would almost assuredly do some sort of rotation between Ben Tate and Derrick Ward if Arian Foster sat.
Greg Olsen (Carolina)
Your colleagues aren't showing me love and I think I am a sleeping GIANT this year don't you?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
You're with the Panthers, dude. And Cam Newton is your quarterback. I think it's a dangerous thing for people to assume that the learning-curve quarterback equals great numbers for the tight end; it's one of those crutch arguments fantasy owners love to use. That said, I do like Olsen as a high-end No. 2, and I ranked him well this week because I like the matchup. But I think he's about 12th-15th at his position. He'll help, but he's not the guy I'd want as my A-number-1 with no alternative.
When ESPN argues that kickers and defenses fluctuate wildly, that is true. But it's not like you can't pick out some useful tidbits. Can't we agree PIT has an awfully easy schedule? I think lots of dome kickers crack the top 10... Just sayin'.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
I'm with the argument that kickers fluctuate wildly, and the limited studies I've done support it. I do think defenses warrant a larger investment, though hardly to the levels of the skill positions. But I'll point this out with kickers, because if you know me, you know I loathe them even being in the game: I'll do a study on kickers in domes if you really want it. If I get 200 e-mails/tweets/whatever stressing how important they are, I'll make time for it. But I'm not sure there's that many people who think it's that critical to success.
Steve Smith (Philly)
Will I have any value this year in a PPR league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
Late-year, think second half, sure, there's sleeper potential. Deep-bench PPR league owners need to consider him. Think a 12/8 (12-team, 8-bench) kind of format, that's the ideal spot.
Kicker hater (Anytown USA)
Please, no more kicker questions
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
Exactly. I bet I'd get 200 messages saying "who cares about kickers" before 200 saying they love them.
Greg Little (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)
Does anyone over at ESPN think I can be the best rookie fantasy wideout this year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
Best, no, not here at least, as I'm on the Julio Jones bandwagon. But I'm on board with Little as a low-end sleeper. I'm a tad surprised he's not a Week 1 starter, but think he has the skills to quickly move into the spot.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
Is tonight the start of a monstrous campaign for Jimmy Graham?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:31 AM)
I think Graham is going to be a solid touchdown type -- an 8-TD candidate who is a red-zone factor -- but I'm expecting some week-to-week inconsistency, especially in PPR. There are worse weaknesses for a tight end, however.
Who is your first overall pick in the "Bad Quarterback Fantasy League"? I'm going Panthers. Rookie QB and lets be honest we all expect some drama out of there this year...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
That's a fine full-season pick, being that Newton can and should start all year, whereas bad fantasy quarterbacks tend not to keep their jobs for long. I'm going Andy Dalton in Week 1 alone.
What backup RBs are you most rostering in deep leagues?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
I was big on Delone Carter and Kendall Hunter in the late rounds in my drafts. I'm being slowly convinced on Deji Karim, not that it's hard to do considering my hesitance with Maurice Jones-Drew. Uber-deep: Watch Jamie Harper.
I noticed you're quite a bit higher on McFadden then everyone else, do you think he significantly improves upon last year's campaign?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
Yes, I think he can: "32 Questions," for your reference.
Joel (Michigan )
Any love for Harry Douglas this week ? Need to replace Lance Moore.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
Douglas was one of my favorite late-round sleepers, more so in standard than PPR formats, though I'm iffy about how involved he'll be in Week 1. The best case that can be made for him is that Julio Jones, being a rookie, might be worked in more slowly, but I'm not buying that argument. Douglas would probably have ranked about 65th for me.
America's pasttime playoff question: Any solid pitching fliers this weekend? Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
We'll sneak in this baseball one: Going Saturday and Sunday alone, I'll endorse Tom Milone vs. HOU (deeeeeeep leagues only), Bruce Chen @SEA, Zach Stewart vs. CLE, Josh Collmenter vs. SD. Oh, that Strasburg kid should be pretty good too! (Kidding, kidding, of course, he's long gone.)
Not a Player A or B question But overall value. F.Jackson or Spiller for the Year? Jackson is my "insurance" for Arian Foster.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
I'm souring on C.J. Spiller. He was seemingly handed an opportunity and has done nothing to retain it. On skills I'm a Fred Jackson fan; he has what it takes to be a weekly standard-league flex, and a No. 2 in PPR. So I think that's good "insurance," but as the Bills are so eager to get Spiller in there, if the kid shows something early you're going to need to make some alternate plans. You merely can't get cozy.
Your thoughts on Antonio Brown this season...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
Emmanuel Sanders is a better receiver, that's as simple as I can state my opinion. Brown did enough to warrant a noticeable role in the offense initially, but he has to impress out of the gate, and it's not going to be with him in my starting lineup in Week 1. I do think Sanders will overtake him as the No. 3 with time, probably by October.
Evan Moore on your radar for sleeper TE this year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
Yes, but as a waiver-wire consideration, because Benjamin Watson's presence really cuts down on his potential targets.
Tristan, at what point during your draft to you start paying attention to conflicting bye weeks with respect to the players that are available at that time?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
I used to pay a lot more attention to it, and these days I draft the better player without regard for it. I buy the stack-your-byes strategy.
Shower me with Nate Burleson love and affection
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
No. Just being honest, I don't get why Nate Burleson garners as much interest as he does every draft day.
Vinny Chase (CA)
Based on your answer above, would you keep Spiller, Helu, or Torain on your bench in ppr league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
I'd rank them in that order.
What's your gut tell you about Carson Palmer playing with any team this year? Worth stashing in a 2-QB league where there are no starters left on the WW
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
I sincerely doubt he plays this season, and if he does, think a Vincent Jackson-2010 arrangement, where he's back around Thanksgiving for a couple games. In a two-quarterback league with 12 teams and deep benches, I understand your interest, but I think that's a player who belongs on the waiver wire, his situation merely closely watched.
THC give me your favorite "sleeper" WR for ROS?!! thx!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
Not sure "favorite" and "first to come to mind" should be interpreted as one and the same, but I like throwing out the names I'm thinking of: Denarius Moore.
James (Arlington, VA)
In your rankings you have Addai higher than Ryan Matthews. More love for Tolbert or lack of trust in Matthews??? Williams Monsters are out for Minn????
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
Mike Tolbert isn't going away. I could completely see it being a straight split of the rushing chores, and until Ryan Mathews shows me otherwise, particularly with 100 percent health and solid early-season production, he'll be consistently ranked in the "ho-hum-flex" category. By me he will, at least.
Is Miles a smart start with the hammy issue and threat of revis island? Or should i look to my bench? (Driver, Hines, Floyd)
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
I ranked Miles Austin highest of these despite the Revis Island threat, but that very threat explains why I -- and the group -- didn't go all-in with him.
TRADE, which side?Megatron and Shonn Greene for MJD and Brandon LLoyd
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
Megatron's side. The receiver differential being greater than that of the running backs, but this is also coming from a guy who is pro-Shonn Greene and anti-MJD.
FLEX QUESTION! Need 2 here-Greene, Addai, Harvin
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
I'd go Shonn Greene and Joseph Addai, but I've got Addai and Percy Harvin close, and when it's close, I'm going the running back (more touches).
Donald Brown (Indi)
Not worth a roster spot as a hand-cuff for Addai?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
Brown hasn't shown me anything. Frankly, I'm more interested in Delone Carter at this point, or else a higher-upside handcuff from another team, like Kendall Hunter.
Chris (Waco, TX)
Why is NO ONE even considering Addai as having top-15 RB potential this season? For the first time since he had a great year a few years ago, he is the guy there completely and the Colts invested in O-line help this past draft
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
I had him ranked near that. He's probably about 20th for me if you're drafting today, but I've got nothing against Joseph Addai.
What are your thoughts on Todd Heap this year? If he stays healthy, he could have a good year as the #2 option in Arizona...right?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
The problem with the Cardinals is that they're historically inclined to ignore the tight end in the receiving game, and Heap does have a history of being heavily used as a blocker at the expense of his fantasy numbers. Right now, I'm preparing as if he's the latter.
Is Mike Williams (TB) a better flex start than Ryan Matthews? Always hate to bench a back for a WR.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
Survivor Pool questions: Can I trust Cleveland, KC or Arizona in week one? I's like to "save" some of the more obvious teams...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
I'm more fond of Kansas City and Arizona this week than Cleveland, but I'll be honest with you, I haven't seriously considered my Survivor pick yet. I'll make it later today, someone asked mine on Twitter, but right now I'm still on board with that K.C. bandwagon if you want a "sleeper."
Trent (Wilmington, DE)
Better RB5 with potential to emerge: Ben Tate or Demarco Murray?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
Your demand from the players should be different. The word "emerge" has me thinking the player more likely to burst into a starting role and be a fantasy asset; in that case I'm going Murray because the player ahead of him, Felix Jones, has more questions of the two. Right now Ben Tate will be the answer for almost everyone; I still declare Tate handcuff material for Arian Foster owners and picking him is clearly this: You're rooting for a Foster injury.
Are you LEAST worried about Clark in the Indy offense? Would you start him or Graham tonight?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
I am, and I have ranked these two accordingly. But I still think Dallas Clark is too integral to the Colts' offense to significantly downgrade him; it's like a 90-percent-of-self proposition and only in the games that Peyton Manning misses.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:02 PM)
OK, time to wrap things up for the day; actually have a draft beginning that I must attend to! Take care everyone, best of luck to you in Week 1 and I'll keep an eye out for your Twitter questions as well heading into the weekend. Take care!