Chat with Tristan Cockcroft
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Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:03 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
Woud you trade CJ for Forte/Bount at this point?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
Both? Sure. It's an RB1 and an RB2 and that's building depth. For one? No, but I've been preaching patience with Johnson all along.
Can Welker keep up this level of production?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
Well, no, but that's due to A) his pace being absurd, and B) the Patriots having a history of spreading it around. Weekly WR1 value? Sure, he's got a shot. Certainly I'm not selling.
Would you rather have VJax or Welker in a PPR the rest of year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
Welker. Hey, you said PPR.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
Sorry for the early-chat sluggishness, think my connection was bad. I've fixed it; let's get this really rolling! (And of course, I'll make it up to you. I small OT, and none of that silly shoot-out, don't worry.)
How do the targets for TEs in New England shake out once Hernandez returns?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
Excellent question Mike, picking up from the Welker question above. Again, the spread-it-around Patriots approach helps both tight ends, but I've felt since Rob Gronkowski had that multi-TD outburst last year that he had the slight edge of the two, and I'm not straying from that. To me, there's enough volume here, and the wideouts aren't overwhelming to the point where I'd drop Gronkowski from top-8 tight end status upon Hernandez's return. But I'd be picky. I see them being largely, say, a weekly No. 7 (Gronkowski) and 11 (Hernandez). And that's still very, very good.
Would you pick up Knowshon over Lance Moore or Bernard Scott? Dropping Hardesty. I would then own both Denver backs
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
I'm not remotely a Knowshon Moreno fan, that dates back to my "32 Questions" piece about the Broncos and, since then, I've soured even further on him. Sure, if you want depth, swapping out forgettable backups -- and I'm not even sure I'd call Montario Hardesty "forgettable" -- is fine. But frankly, right now I'd stick with what you've got.
Tristan... Projections vs. Rankings? Many times, there's a huge disparity in numbers between the two... (ie a RB projected to get 7 points but is ranked 5th by ya'll.) Are you, Berry, Harris, and Karabell putting projections together as well? Please explain...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
Projections are based upon a mathematical formula with little personal bias, and account for positively zero upside or downside. To explain the "upside/downside": Consider that we have to pick who gets the touchdown, we don't project fractional touchdowns. Therefore, a 20-and-TD receiver outing is eight points, but a guy with 7 catches, 70 yards projects at seven. Which do you want? Matthew, Christopher, Eric and I have to account for the possibility of the touchdown with the former, plus we have our individual opinions that vary from the historical stats.My take is that people tend to give us too hard a time over projections, comparative to the ranks. The truth is, they're two separate tools designed to help you set your lineup, and when the two align, it highlights a player for whom the decision is automatic. If they vary? Well, that's when you can investigate.
Does that mean you aren't buying Lance Moore? (See above question re Moreno)
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
Clarifying: Moore definitely over Moreno. I was saying I'd have stuck with Moore and Scott.
so I got this text..."CJ2K and ? for your McCoy?" Whats the gap in my PPR?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
Not large. I'd probably make the other team give up a player I know I'd have in my lineup 80-plus percent of the time. Like a WR2. Otherwise, it makes all the sense in the world to stick with LeSean McCoy.
What do you make of Dwayne Bowe? This week smells like a "bust" week to me.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
It sure smells like a ... hmmm ... an "OK" week to me. (Note that I didn't say "boom," because I don't at all believe Bowe is that kind of player anymore in this offense. I am consistently anti-Bowe.) It's smarter for foes to throw than run against the Vikings, the Chiefs' running game has questions in the wake of the Jamaal Charles injury and I think they might also be playing from behind. Bowe's getting my OK, at least in the WR2 class.
How come the Titans D gets no love? They are Top 10 in rush and pass yards per game.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
Probably because they're so wildly unpredictable. Go back a few years and look at the game logs and you'll find that the Titans, on a 4-5 game basis, string together such hot streaks as this, and are embarrassingly bad for similar-length time spans. I don't think "streaks" are quite as big in football as baseball, where games are more frequent, but if you want a streaky example, the Titans D is it. And I'd ride it ... for now.
Gore a bust?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
Sure he is. So far. And if I'm a Frank Gore owner, I'd either be making the mandatory Kendall Hunter handcuff, or looking for trade depth from another NFL team. I remain pro-Hunter.
Keller for Decker straight up?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
Seems somewhat bland to me, but I'm of the belief Dustin Keller is a sell-high, so if he's your No. 2 and you need wide receiver depth, consider it. Keller has had other stretches like this; he has rarely been able to sustain them over lengthy periods. Much of it has to do with his quarterback.
Joe (San Jose)
Mendenhall to turn it around anytime soon?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
I have to think he'll get better, but that's a bad O-line that never opens lanes for him. There's a very real chance Rashard Mendenhall won't crack the top 10 in fantasy scoring at his position. I'd value him accordingly, like 12th.
After Megatron, who is receiver to own in DET (PPR)?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
Nate Burleson, and I refuse to buy any of their other wide receivers in any game not started by Matthew Stafford.
dan (charleston, SC)
what is going to happen to my hero ben tate?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
He's going to return to the bench with word that Arian Foster is projected to start in Week 4, and be one of the more integral handcuffs in all of fantasy for the foreseeable future.
Tristan, please explain this handcuff strategy to me. Aren't you essentially "wasting" a roster spot? The handcuffs aren't good, otherwise they'd be starting. What makes Kendall Hunter a mandatory handcuff? In case Gore goes down, you force yourself to start a mediocre flex option at best? All this when you can have someone of value on your bench instead? I just don't understand why it's mandatory.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
Jordan, absolutely you are right that, during draft season, handcuffs are typically overrated. I've always stressed that at the draft table, depth is smartest built by getting the players most likely to get carries, regardless of team, instead of loading up on individual backfields. From that angle, you're right.But in-season? Think of it like this: If you're a Gore owner and he goes down, what do you do? There is nothing out there on the waiver wire. Ask Jamaal Charles' owner. In my most important league, for example, the best available running back is Stevan Ridley ... and the second-best is probably Keiland Williams. Yuck (more to the latter). So if you've got the chance to protect the investment you now already have, doesn't it make more sense to do so today? On draft day, remember, you had a lot more options with that available spot.
If you have an RB ranked higher than, say Eric Karabell, who should I trust? Who, out of all of you rankers, has won more fantasy football championships?? Give me something...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
Championships are irrelevant. Playoff appearances are the key; remember the historical unpredictability of playoff matchups in a head-to-head fantasy league. I won't speak for our other rankers, nor them for me, but I make the playoffs far more often than not. Won my most important league last year as a four-seed; have done that back-to-back years. If that matters to you. Didn't to me; all that mattered is I was in the playoff mix.What I'd suggest about picking your individual ranker: Read our stuff, and you be the judge. Maybe you find that you agree with one of us more frequently than another. Maybe you like the group's consensus. See what works for you.
How wary should I be of starting Foster this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
Very. At best he's a No. 2 back, and the last time I said that I was right. Bad matchup, fresh off injury and he has a recent history of setbacks with this ailment. Be cautious.
With the rankers...why doesn't espn go back from the previous rankings and indicate the actual scores to do a +/- analysis. That would give additional substance to stand behind the ranking of Person A over Person B.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
I've seen people do this and am personally intrigued by the idea, but I ask in response, exactly how do you outline a "successful" pick? I know of one source that rewards for top-five picks per position. That's ridiculous. The real reason you want us to rank is because you want to know my No. 21 RB for the week is a better play than my No. 34 RB, when both are on your team. That, to me, is the purpose of rankings.
Trade advice: wallace and lynch for gore and marshall... which side do you want?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
Well, that's situational, depends upon your needs. Mike Wallace is the best player in the deal, and without details that's the side I almost always pick. But you do set yourself up here for a RB downgrade.
Rob (State College)
BASEBALL FINAL!! Last day and I'm in a tight race for the championship. Jon Lester - very strong history against Baltimore vs. unclear/bad track record on 3 days rest. I have tenuous lead in WHIP and am behind a hair in ERA. Don't need the win or the K's. Would you start him? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
I think Jon Lester is going to have another typically successful -- albeit not necessarily dominant -- outing against the Orioles, both the Red Sox and Rays will win, and we'll have Thursday baseball. So that means yes, I'd roll the dice with Lester.
I drafted P Manning, so i just traded Orton, MJD and R. Wayne for Stafford, T. Jones, and S. Greene. Mendenhall is my other RB. Good trade?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
You kind of had to do it, but you're in such a tenuous spot as far as running backs are concerned. I hate post-trade analysis because I don't see its purpose, but in this case it's a valuable point that I'd be closely watching the running back waiver wire if I were you.
what is your feeling about the breakout guys from week 3 (torrey smith, cruz) or antonio brown to replace britt? Nate is already owned.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
Consider future opportunity. Looking forward, I'd rank them Smith, Brown, Cruz. Smith has a place in the Ravens' offense, regardless of Lee Evans' presence, while with the Giants, I cannot see Cruz starting over Mario Manningham based upon one week's production.
What are your thoughts on James Casey as a TE? My other options are Gresham, Watson, or Clark. Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
I'd rank all three well above Casey, who isn't going to be close to that involved most weeks. Heads up: Jermaine Gresham, sneaky fantasy play this week. Bills bad against TEs.
Johnny Knox or Percy Harvin (flex starter)?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
The Vikings' matchup is a favorable one, what with Brandon Flowers ailing, and it'd be inexplicable to me if Donovan McNabb didn't target Harvin early and often in that game. I ranked Harvin 20th this week because I love the matchup.
PPR League: Lance moore, Steve smith (panthers), santana moss, and Nate Washington. Which two are you starting?!??!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
Moss' matchup is an excellent one, so to me, he's automatic, standard or PPR. This, therefore, boils down to Smith vs. Moore for me, and being that the Saints have other weapons while the Panthers should he playing mostly from behind, it's Smith.
Nate (Lansing, MI)
Ugh, these questions that can be answered by weekly rankings drive me crazy....I'm a little more forward thinking: I need to cut bait on some WRs to free up some roster spots. How would you rank these WRs going forward from today? E. Sanders, A. Brown, Gaffney, and Doucet?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
I try to only answer rankings questions when either the player involved has an interesting matchup to discuss, or the scoring system is different from ESPN standard. Ranking those four today, I'd go Brown, Gaffney, Doucet, Sanders, and remember, I'm a guy who admires Sanders' skills. The problem is that it might take him two months before he's meaningful again, and in the meantime, it's safe to let him go because he should hang out there awhile.
Please tell me a qb change improves Dallas Clark's chances.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
Sure it does! But what quarterback change do you see on the horizon? I don't see any of the current Colts quarterbacks elevating Clark's appeal beyond, say, 10th-best at his position most weeks.
Looking at the rest of the season, are the likes of Malcolm Floyd and Jacoby Ford worth occupying a bench spot when Brandon Gibson, Torrey Smith, and Hartline (don't laugh) remain unclaimed?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
Ford would be awfully foolish to let go. Be patient.
What do you think of mark ingram for the rest of the year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
I still think he's the Saints back to own, I still think his greatest asset is his touchdown potential and I think he's going to consistently rank anywhere from 15th to 25th in my weekly rankings.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
Is DMC a sell high? He's gonna get hurt right?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
Scott, I'm being completely honest, and anyone who disagrees with this is lying: I have absolutely no idea whether Darren McFadden is going to get hurt. No NFL player is perfectly "100 percent" healthy any week. All I've ever said is that you account for a player's health history, and insure your riskiest ones accordingly.What I can say for right now: I'm all in on two of the most notable injury risks, McFadden and Matthew Stafford. So that means the "sell high" level is probably anything in the NFL that you desire (McFadden), and probably a top-10 RB (Stafford). Otherwise, you are so much better off grinning and bearing it with both, because their healthy-games production is going to be immense.
Do you buy the news coming out of GB that Ryan Grant will be seeing an increased workload? Concerned about Starks?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
Yes, I buy it, but my personal projections split the Packers' rushing chores down the middle, saw Starks being the slightly safer yardage bet and Grant the slightly smarter touchdown option, and planned accordingly. It keeps both out of weekly-start status.
ROS: Is Steven Ridley worth a roster spot over the likes of Hardesty, Grant, or Helu? Seems like being tied to the NE offense isn't the worst idea.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
Thinking no, not over those three, but I'm watching Ridley closely. I'll say one thing about the Patriots: "Lawfirm's" breakout 2010 did us fantasy owners a disservice; it made us forget how maddeningly unpredictable -- and more importantly, disappointing -- the Patriots backfield can be. If Ridley gets involved, it might be more damning of any of those backs' values than it is a plus for him. I'm just saying...
Any word on Hernandez? Will he play soon?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
I haven't checked the latest news since about 11 a.m. -- very hard to mid-chat -- but at that time I had no new information on Hernandez, unfortunately. The info I had before that had me very iffy on him for this week, so that's how I'm planning.
hi tristan! last day of baseball in h2h and i have a slight lead in era & whip which i need to maintain for championship. my opponent is starting lester and hudson. who from my list of starters should i sit/start? strasberg, carpenter, grienke, harrison, lilly. thanks!!!!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:06 PM)
It's a key baseball day, so since we're in OT already, I'm sneaking a few in. Stephen Strasburg and Chris Carpenter are absolute automatics. I'm awfully puzzled Zack Greinke is pitching today. If I've done my math right, even though he's not starting NLDS Game 1, he'd be on three days' rest for Sunday's Game 2. Why the heck is he pitching today?! I'd imagine a low pitch count, but the ERA/WHIP seems safe. Give him a go. Leave Matt Harrison and Ted Lilly to the sidelines; ratio risk is greater for those two.
Hey Tristan..been pondering this question for 2 days..I can trade Michael Vick and would receive Stafford. Would you make this move?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:07 PM)
When it comes to the injury risks -- and anyone who disagrees that Michael Vick is one of the most significant health risks in football is nuts -- play the current trends, period. It's Stafford, by all means.
Will Jonathan Baldwin be fantasy relevant at all this season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:08 PM)
A lot of injury questions currently, but that the Chiefs are out of the race means that maybe he'll get a longer look during the season's second half. I've got a hunch he's not going to matter as more than a garbage-time fill-in -- and we're talking Thanksgiving time frame, not pre-Halloween -- but maybe we'll talk in six weeks.
Mike (San Diego)
No question, just wanted to say thanks for your advice on baseball this year. I'm about to repeat as champ in my 14 team league and your Cameron Maybin "road splits" love was one of the main reasons I'm winning. He's been a monster down the stretch.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:09 PM)
You are very welcome, Mike. I'll see if I can convince the Rockies to trade for Cameron this winter. Man, if he didn't have to play half those games in Petco...
Move Hightower and Felix to acquire Hillis?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:10 PM)
No. I do have Peyton Hillis most highly-ranked of these three, so that's a "best player in deal" angle, but I genuinely believe the Browns when they say they're going to lighten his workload looking forward. Plus, all his metrics say that he cannot possibly come close to his first-half-of-2010 fantasy production.
Can you please rank these starters for today. Need wins for 1stplace, but not a whip/era beating. Thanks for the baseball overtime!Volstad, Volquez, Pommeranz, LeBlanc, Porcello
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:13 PM)
Every single one of those pitchers scares me to a degree in the ERA/WHIP departments, but I'd rank them (and will show my breaking point): Rick Porcello, Edinson Volquez, Drew Pomeranz (Volquez and Pomeranz pretty interchangeable) ... breaking point ... Chris Volstad, Wade LeBlanc. Good luck!
Baseball championship question - will any stats from one-game MLB playoffs on Thursday count in fantasy baseball title matches? Or is that something that's league-specific? Thanks for all the advice this year, TC.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:17 PM)
That is league-specific, so check your rulebook, but my opinion is that if MLB counts these as regular season games, then they should count in fantasy leagues as well. My understanding in ESPN's standard game is, yes, they count.
Steve (San Diego)
What to do about Anotnio Gates? Should I pick up McMichael or Pettigrew as his temporary replacement?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:19 PM)
A couple people have asked this, and while I'm of the mind that you should begin to panic, it's difficult to trade him now, because you don't want to be pushy when it comes to shopping an injured player. (Could lead to a bad reputation with your league mates.) Of those choices, I prefer Brandon Pettigrew by far, but he's still in the No. 2 class in my ranks.
Trade Beanie for Foster?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:20 PM)
That's a chance that I would take, yes.
Back to Hillis, in a PPR, do I trade him for Best and Gronkowski?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:20 PM)
I sure would! Heck, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Best scores more points of the two backs the rest of the year...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:21 PM)
OK, two more, then time to wrap up...
ROS Ranking: Amendola, Ford, Moore?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:22 PM)
Lance Moore, Danny Amendola, Jacoby Ford. All three deserve to be owned. And for the record, I have historically sided on the "volume" side when it comes to wide receivers. You can't score a touchdown on a pass you don't catch, and I project the three to catch the largest number of passes in that order.
Should Reggie Bush be dropped from a 12 team non PPR league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:24 PM)
Yes. Jeez, you could make the case in PPR, too. The Dolphins just don't know how to use the guy. One week, he's their primary back, which is an awful role for him. The next, they're practically never spreading him out wide, which is his strength. I bet they get it right given time, so for now, be patient in PPR, but any reason for optimism is fading quickly.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:25 PM)
OK, time to wrap things up for the day. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours. Take care everyone, best of luck to you, whether it's your Week 4 matchups or that final day(-plus?) of fantasy baseball!