Fantasy Sports with Tristan Cockcroft
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Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:04 AM)
Good morning everyone! What a wacky NFL Sunday that was, as we have a new leader in 2012-full-season fantasy points, Tom Brady, some notable names were almost entirely invisible, and a couple teams -- Giants, Buccaneers -- were out-and-out busts.It's championship week in most leagues, so let's get your teams in order for a title run, and please feel free to share some of your playoff stories even if you're no longer in the race due to the Week 15 returns (I'm raising my hand).We'll also talk baseball if you're interested, so please, send those questions in as well.Let's get started, shall we?
Any reason to think R. Matthews is even a starter next year in the NFL at this point?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
Yes. First off, we need to at least partly forgive the guy for the horrendous O-line in front of him, one ravaged by injuries especially lately, as well as the poor team surrounding him. Some of that can explain his 3.8 yards-per-carry average, his worst in three NFL seasons to date.That said, Mathews will begin the 2013 season aged only 25 years old, smack dab in his prime, and the Chargers should address many of their weaknesses during the offseason. I think he'll remain their starter, but his injury history does have me saying he belongs in the RB2 class.If I'm ranking today, I think Mathews resides between 12-15 at his position for next season.
Is AP human?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
He can't be, can he?I genuinely believe he'll break the all-time, single-season rushing record, health willing, and there aren't many players about whom I was more incorrect in the preseason. I advised fourth round valuation for Adrian Peterson, only because of the difficulty recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, but he has met every single question and answered it with aplomb. The guy's going to win a ton of fantasy championships for people, will put some huge numbers into the record books despite challenges, and will be the unquestioned No. 1 pick in the 2013 fantasy draft.
What does a move to the Jays and the AL East do for Dickey?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
League switches usually mean 0.10-0.25 increase in ERA going the direction that R.A. Dickey is supposedly going -- we'll hear official word in the next 27 hours -- but in his case he's not your traditional test subject. Dickey's hard knuckler gave AL East competition fits so I'd say he's not much less the pitcher than the one with the Mets. I'm keeping him right where I had him in my rankings.
WOOOO Seattle D/ST!!! What are the odds they can make the 49ers look human with the 12th man?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
Odds: Excellent. I would have no reservations starting them, and I was stunned by how many people did in Week 15.
I got screwed over by Charles and Alexander (and playing versus A.P.) yesterday in the semi-finals, but I still have a chance at victory. I need CJ2K to go off tonight. Are 140 yrds + 2 TD's even possible against the Jets D? Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
Certainly possible, but I'd think more likely for a team with a stronger offensive line than what Chris Johnson has in front of him. Hey, anything can happen, but there's a reason that I picked the Jets D/ST for a big fantasy week. It's that I see this being a week closer in statistical potential to the Chris Johnson of September than the one in, say, November. Cross your fingers hard.
I honestly don't get the point of asking "do I have a chance?" questions.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
They are supremely popular. The smaller the sample -- a single game in a weekly matchup in this instance -- the more difficult to project, which is why you're rarely going to lock me down to specific stats. Why set you up for disappointment? We projected things six days ago and my mind hasn't changed in the past 24 hours on those.
to be fair to you, though - nice job adding some real analysis on Chris Johnson in your answer
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
Thanks, DF, and that's exactly the point: When there is an argument to be made, I am going to make it. Beyond that, I say set your lineups and let it ride.
Are you buying Brandon Lloyd after the past two weeks?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
I'll use my "hmmmmyes" -- I call that "hesitant yes" -- because I was one of the hugest Lloyd fans in the preseason and some of what we're now seeing are those seeds blossoming. It signals a larger role in the offense, and I think since he didn't completely drop off the radar during his midseason funk, yes, I'd ride this.
Top defensive adds?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
Not the best "streamer" week, Week 16 I mean, and I've hinted at that for the past couple weeks. Quick glance at the schedule and ownership percentages says that the Jets (vs. SD) and Packers (vs. TEN) are out there, and I'd also say stick with the Bengals (@PIT) on the hot streak.I'm also a bit tempted to go Falcons (@DET).
Got an uber-early 2013 World Series prediction for us Tristan?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
Reds-Rays. I'm confident I'll be changing my American League pick at least three times, however.
Tom (San Diego)
I advanced to the SuperBowl even with Eli's goose egg, Stick with Eli or go with Dalton this week? Standard scoring
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
Eli at Baltimore or Andy Dalton at Pittsburgh? Such choices would have me taking a few more "home run" shots at other positions to bolster what I consider so-so quarterback options. I'm going Eli; Ravens D is underperforming of late due to injuries and the Giants do have a history of stepping up in must-win situations in recent years.
Just wondered how no one on ESPN staff even mentioned D'Angelo Williams the last two weeks (other than TMR who had him on "hate" list). RB getting all the work/has significant upside history and has the best QB in fantasy on his team. Dude has carried me to the Championship.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
Until the past two weeks, DeAngelo Williams had been in the midst of a terrible season, and let's not gloss over the fact that he'd have had so-so fantasy totals in Weeks 14 and 15 if not for almost entirely unexpected receiving touchdowns. Before that, Williams hadn't scored a receiving TD since 2008, and he hasn't caught as many as 30 passes in a season since 2006. Receiving is not his game, so I wouldn't overreact here, though if you've been closely following my work this season, I have made comments that the Panthers do have a favorable schedule for RBs.
What happened to Alexander and Charles? I still made it to the championship game, but I need them to step up next week.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
Danario Alexander: One problem was that Philip Rivers scarcely had time to exploit one of his best deep-play threats, so Alexander really didn't stand much of a chance from the start. Beyond that, I shrug my shoulders, which unfortunately is what you must do at times. At least a Jets matchup provides a hint more hope for him in Week 16, though he'll surely be in my WR3 class in the rankings.Jamaal Charles: Couldn't find any running room and I can't help but think the team's overall offensive woes have had a lot to do with it; easier for opponents to defend when they know a guy like Charles is most likely to do damage. At least in his case, a Colts matchup is equally strong as this Raiders one. I expect a rebound.
How about Carolina's D? Nice matchup, but they're risky.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
Good call, home game against the Raiders, who are now experimenting with Terrelle Pryor. I'm a little bothered by the team's pass defense, which isn't as good as it was in the season's early weeks, but any injury-report considerations on Oakland's side could mitigate that. If they're out there, sure, scoop up the Panthers.
I need to hear some other "bad beat" stories to help me waddle in my misery. Started Det D over Seattle D and lost by 3 points. Made the change 5 minutes before deadline.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
I'm sorry to hear that, Murphy, especially as I advised specifically before the kickoff not to make that swap (in general, I mean, not specifically to you). I've already seen two stories of tenth-of-a-point losses this morning, one of them in my longtime keeper league. In that one, the one-seed is set to lose by 0.12 points. Ouch. If he had picked a different opponent -- highest seeds get their choice of opponent -- he is in the championship today.
Which teams, if any, do you see resting their starters next week? And by resting I mean getting taken out of games early or not playing at all. Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
None. There is no team in such an advantageous spot that I think rest is a Week 16 concern.I'll say that I think we're going to have a pretty good idea of almost all but 1-2 of the playoff spots before Week 17, and as many as 8-10 teams might be resting players.
Baseball Question: Who gets the coveted 2 hole in the Angels lineup? Also, who do you think would hold the best value at that spot?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
If I were the Angels, I'd give Erick Aybar a shot. Though he trails Alberto Callaspo in terms of on-base percentage -- career and 2012, that is -- it's not far off and I think Aybar's potential is greater than the numbers he has accrued to date.
made it to our Super Bowl yesterday even with AP going off against my team! For next week, is it crazy to start Amendola over Roddy White with Tampa's bad D?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
Not crazy, though the insanity hinges almost entirely on White's practice reports this week. If he enters Week 16 in the questionable category to the degree that he was this week, I'd give it serious thought. Otherwise? No way. Thankfully, it's a Saturday game so we're going to know nice-'n'-early.
Jack (Richmond Hill)
TC, make any Super Bowl's? Stafford really killed me, with his decimated WR corp, should I be looking elsewhere next week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
Nope. I didn't catch any breaks in any of my playoff matchups, including a No. 2 seed that scored by far its worst single-week point total of 2012 in Week 15, thanks to Bryce Brown, Doug Martin, Roddy White, Danario Alexander... final total was approximately 30 fewer points than my team's per-week average from Weeks 1-13. Ugh. But it happens, not like I'm shocked by it.In Stafford's case, yes, I'd have enough concerns, especially in a Falcons matchup, that I'd give some thought to alternatives. Check our rankings, but off the top of my head, I'll likely have guys like Romo, Schaub and Luck ahead of him.
I need to put in a wire claim on a QB for this week... not wanting to start Rivers, Wilson or Kap - any under the radar flyers?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
Ryan Tannehill is the only "deep" pickup I can think of, with a home game against the Bills, but I'm sure to have Colin Kaepernick ranked ahead of him for Week 16.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
Wow. It seems like there's a lot of Colin Kaepernick fear in Week 16, because of the Seattle matchup. While I understand that -- toughest matchups cap the upside of players like him -- I point out that Kaepernick has had 14-plus fantasy points in each of his past six games, including an 18-pointer against the Bears. I like quarterbacks like this because of the low floor; I'm not going to sit him this week unless I have an obviously better player -- not matchup.
father to be!! (Boston)
Best news ever, I'm going to be a father! And am going to be in the finals next week: Would you start Moreno and D. Murray in place of Lynch (vs. SF) and CJ (vs GB) this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
Congratulations! Few experiences in life can be greater. For me, it's top of the list.Wow how I cannot sit Marshawn Lynch, matchup or not. I remind: Week 7, 11 points at San Francisco. If that won't cut it, OK, take some chances, but for me, that's a clear "start."DeMarco Murray gets my second nod ahead of Chris Johnson and Knowshon Moreno. I think I'd have Moreno ahead of Johnson if I ranked right now, but I don't run my updated matchup stats until Tuesday a.m. That's a gut call for now.
For waiver QB's how about Sam Bradford against TB this week? Coming off a big game and against a horrible pass def.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
I'm OK with him, but again, not over a guy like Kaepernick. No "cutesy" at this time of year.
All this worry about Kap, what about Russell Wilson? He's been incredible in recent weeks. Would you hesitate starting him again next week against SF?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
See, that is a fair, fair question, because Wilson, in the past four weeks, has shown us that he has the kind of rushing skills that can put him on the Kaepernick low-floor tier. I said on multiple shows this past week that I buy Wilson as a surprise fantasy playoff star, and I'm standing behind it. He won't be in my top 10 -- horrendous 3-pointer in Week 7 at San Francisco -- but I bet I have him 15-17 or so, with the ability to pull off the surprise.Primary difference between Wilson and Kaepernick: Wilson has shown us his floor, and it's been ugly. Using him is chancing that, thanks to his legs, he has since raised it.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
In other words, I don't think there's a greater "wild card" quarterback for Week 16.
Just as a cautionary tale, start the guys that got you there. Studs are studs, even with matchup issues. If you can't win with the players you got, then you shouldn't win. I tried to get cute and sat Blair Walsh for Connor Barth. I lost out on the championship game by just a few points.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
I agree wholeheartedly with the first part of your statement, Jeff. But no kicker is a "stud," plain and simple. None. Zero. Ever.
Sat Dez this week b/c I was scared of a "decoy" game - he starts for me next week, right?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
Yes, against the Saints, definitely.
Is there a TE that you feel might make for a good pickup for the Finals among: Bennett, Keller, Sheffler or D Clark
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
It's Martellus Bennett or Dallas Clark, and I'm a little more optimistic the Giants get back to looking for Bennett in the red zone than that the Bucs do.
Any reason to keep Bryce Brown?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
Yes, as another flex-play consideration. Highly likely to range around 20-25 in each of my final two weeks' rankings.
Is Shorts a must start right now? If Jordy Nelson comes back, I'll have to decide between the 2.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
With games against the Patriots and Titans due up to complete his season and his having tallied double digit points in seven of the past nine weeks (one of them he sat)? Yes, I'd say he's about automatic.
Rob (Worst score ever)
Who I started: Stafford, Rice, Austin, Garcon, Nicks, Tynes and a few others Who I benched: Lloyd, James Jones, KaepernickSticking with my studs did not pay off and now I get to play for 3rd place...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
If benching Kaepernick for Stafford was solely responsible for your loss, then you can have regret. Otherwise, nope, not a shred worth complaining about.
Superbowl! Who to start as my 2nd RB? Montell Owens, D Will, or McCoy (assuming he returns?)
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
DeAngelo Williams in a home game against the Raiders. I couldn't possibly trust LeSean McCoy even if cleared unless the practice reports are beyond glowing.
I hate K (Golf Course)
Lost by 7 due to starting Barth and Det D/ST. I've long been a propoent to eliminate these silly positions.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:02 PM)
I'm strongly in favor of doing away with the kicker position in fantasy, but every year my calls for that fall upon deaf ears.I disagree with you about eliminating defense from fantasy, but these days I am a far more interested IDP owner than in team defense. I highly recommend everyone sign up for at least one IDP league per year, at the bare minimum. Heck, sign up for five! They're fun.
richie rich (cali)
Whats your thoughts on RGIII. Will he be a viable Championship Week start. I have Kappy on too...as well as AP, Skittles, Ray Rice, DMC, and Moreno...btw which ofthose 3 RB would you start?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:05 PM)
He wanted to play this week and I think he'll want to play next week, too, and the Redskins could sure use him with the playoffs in their sights. I'll be ranking Wednesday under the assumption RGIII plays, barring news to the contrary before then, though it's good that you have excellent insurance on your squad. I couldn't recommend that more to RGIII owners still in the playoff mix.As for your RBs, I'd go Peterson, Lynch and Moreno.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:06 PM)
OK, time to wrap things up for the week. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours. Take care everyone, and best of luck to you in your fantasy championship quests!