Fantasy Sports with Tristan Cockcroft
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday morning, ESPN.com fantasy expert Tristan Cockcroft will drop by to take your questions and analyze all the latest baseball news from a fantasy perspective.
Cockcroft is a two-time LABR member and was the 2012 Tout Wars champion. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame.
Send your questions now and join Cockcroft Monday at 3 p.m. ET!
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Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:00 PM)
Good afternoon everyone! Week 10's (almost) in the books and we're into Hot Stove season in baseball, so plenty to talk about today. Who's got a question?
With M.Ingram's big game, did things just get muddier in the New Orlean's backfield? Can Sproles still be relied on as a flex (ppr)? All three backs finished strong on Sunday.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:04 PM)
Uh, they started strong, too. So let's get to the two takeaways (for me): First, that's the best I've seen Mark Ingram run in his NFL career, and surely this should him get back into at least the backfield rotation. That's somewhat bad news for Pierre Thomas, though in Thomas' defense, he did nothing wrong on Sunday night, and I'd still pick him ahead of Ingram for Week 11.Second, that was a vintage Darren Sproles game. Seven targets, caught 'em all, and even got the goal-line carry to prop his value up even further. Now, the Saints aren't going to dominate any other defense to the extent that they did the Cowboys, but this at least offers hope that Sproles can get back into top-15 status in PPR. I'd say yes, can still be relied upon.
Is Casey Keenum a good enough QB for a playoff bound team to drop the likes of Jay cutler or Terrel Pryor?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:06 PM)
I wouldn't cut Cutler, that's for sure, not with the schedule the Bears have upcoming. (That's pending more details on Cutler's injury, and I'm watching Marc Trestman's presser now to try to get a sense.)Keenum's strength is good decision-making, at least what I knew of him when he was appointed started and have witnessed since. I think he'll play mostly into the hands of the matchups, meaning mixing and matching him is fine. I doubt he'll win you any titles on his own.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:07 PM)
Ok, so Jay Cutler's out for this week at least, in addition to the "week to week" we've already heard earlier today re: his status...
AJ (San diego)
With percy harvin set to come back this week what are your views on the value of Russell Wilson for rest of the season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:09 PM)
Easily a top-eight potential fantasy quarterback, considering he has been trending that way of late without Harvin lately and he has a couple soft matchups left on his schedule (MIN in Week 11, NYG in Week 15, STL in Week 17). That he has yet to play his bye might statistically prevent him from getting much higher than seventh or eighth at his position going forward, but I think it's a plus. It deepens his arsenal and he's already one of the smartest runners at his position.
DaMarcus (ATL, GA)
In a 2 QB league that gives 6 pts for passing TDs and .25 pts per completion, should Foles be starting over Cam ROS?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:13 PM)
I wouldn't. A couple things here: Even the slightest slump by Foles could open up Michael Vick questions once again, and besides, he has been fattening up on what are effectively league-average or worse pass defenses these past two weeks.Cam Newton, meanwhile, just went up against a hot-performing 49ers defense, a difficult matchup anyone should've been able to see beforehand. Yes, it was a worse performance than I imagined, but I also forgive him for it and expect better next week.
Ben Tate or Andre Brown ROS?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:15 PM)
Brown. I know that seems obvious if you're only looking at Week 10 returns, but Brown has two advantages that Tate doesn't ignoring the weekly stats: He has the more favorable running back schedule of the two, and he's the one with less immediate injury questions (Tate is the one playing through his rib issue).
Sonia V. (Melbourne,Fla.)
Need the best defense for week 11: Arizona,Carolina,Cincy ? Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:17 PM)
I'd go Arizona. The Cardinals D/ST has actually performed quite well this year, with 91 fantasy points in ESPN standard in nine games, and a Jaguars matchup is about as good as they come. I'm OK with the Bengals, too, but this is a Cardinals call for sure.
Is MIA's secondary good? I need 8pts from VJax tonight.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:18 PM)
It has afforded wide receivers the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game thus far, though examining the individuals, I'm not overwhelmed and don't think talent-wise it quite plays to that rank. Dimitri Patterson is going to sit, so that's a help. You've got a good shot, though I don't actually project specific point totals for Monday games.
ROS how do u have Ellington, Tolbert, MJD non-ppr?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:19 PM)
I'd be sorely tempted to swap Tolbert and MJD in that order and go with it. Yup, let's lock that in.
Dave (Alexandria, Egypt)
Picked up Arizona's defense, already have the Chiefs. Who should I keep and would I be able to trade for someone with the other?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:22 PM)
Wow, Chiefs-versus-Cardinals D/STs is a popular question today. I've been on record for weeks as saying that I don't like these Broncos matchups one bit, and that the Chiefs' chances in the final eight aren't nearly as good as they were pre-bye.That said, I did the bye-week research that said a road game like this, fresh off a week's rest, shouldn't be damning. The Chiefs, on talent alone, will be in my top 10 D/STs this week. I'd use the Cardinals over them, though (pending Peyton Manning's status).Trade-wise, I'd shop the Chiefs, just to see what offers I get. But I've always endorsed the streaming-defenses strategy and think everyone else has a far greater opinion of their weekly value than I do.
How do you deal with losses when some of your better or more reliable players don't perform as expected? In a heated playoff race, Allen, Graham, and Forte combined for less than 15 points...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:22 PM)
Shrug and say "mean regression" over and over?
* Commissioner Question*Our League rules say trades are evaluated by the commissioner for collusion only. There is no rule prohibiting trading draft picks but also no rule specifically authorizing them The CPU allows a trade of a player for nothing in return to go through and there is a comment box underneath, presumably to list draft picks. Our League has been around since 2006 and nobody has traded picks before. Should a trade of Megatron for a 1st and 6th be allowed?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:24 PM)
I think that draft-pick trades are one of the few rules wrinkles that need to be specifically detailed in the rules. Otherwise, they should be strictly forbidden. That's just my opinion, though.Value-wise I'm fine with it, if such moves are allowed in the rules.
Nick (College Park)
Who are a few QBs you'd be targeting in trade given friendly playoff schedules?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:25 PM)
Watch last week's Spreecast, Eric and I talked a lot about that. Jay Cutler and Matthew Stafford were two names I mentioned, and I'm still on board with Stafford even though Cutler's hurt.
Willie B (ATL)
Is Ray "fried" Rice?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:26 PM)
No, because fried rice is delicious and (almost) always satisfying, and Ray Rice has done nothing satisfying for his fantasy owners thus far.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:27 PM)
In all seriousness, it's been bugging me for a couple weeks now that I didn't lean more on the touch tallies Rice put up last year, counting his postseason work. He doesn't look nearly as quick to me as he did 1-2 years ago, which makes me wonder going forward...
Worried about Dez's last few "meh" games? Consider trading him for a return of Gordon and Bush?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:30 PM)
Well, Dez Bryant has been playing hurt, let's not overlook that when evaluating his future potential. There's a chance it could limit him for upcoming games, too. Beyond that, I'll point out that he got double-covered a lot by the Saints; a point that Tony Romo himself made afterward. In other words, don't read too much into Week 10, but if he looks "meh" in the first game after the bye, then I'd say other Dez owners -- ones with weaker offers than this -- can reconsider.Your offer: Solid one if that's Josh Gordon and Reggie Bush. I'd take it, because I think it'd have been fair even for a full-strength Dez.
With Vereen coming back, does that cut into Ridley's value? And would you sit him next week for BJGE or Pierre?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:32 PM)
I don't think it does, if only because the Patriots showed a tendency to line him up as a receiver a fair share before he got hurt. It's going to lock Stevan Ridley into the RB2 class, for sure, with touchdowns his primary asset. But I think the two can thrive together in that backfield; Vereen is quite intriguing in PPR formats.Bear in mind this is a bad matchup upcoming, though, so I might spread my risk and go Ridley and Pierre Thomas if it's a standard league.
Week 11: Foles vs Wash or Glennon vs ATL?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:34 PM)
Oh, it's Nick Foles, for Week 11 at least. Enjoy this meaty part of his schedule -- the three-week brilliant matchups of @OAK, @GB, WSH -- but then the questions begin. Do you roster a QB2 through his Week 12 bye? How do you like that Arizona matchup in Week 13? If Foles struggles there, does Vick get looped into a quarterback controversy? I'm merely cautioning that this is where the "guarantee" ends...
Capt. Caveman (Arrrrgh)
Were Tavon's and Ingram's performances fluky? Or a sign of things to come?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:36 PM)
Definition of fluky, if you put them up in comparison to their season-through-Week 9 outputs. Ingram was addressed earlier; I will say that it's about time that the Rams began looking to Tavon Austin on some big plays. That's what he's there for. Problem is, it wasn't a lot of touches. He could be invisible again a week from now, for all we know.
Jack (White Plains)
Once upon a time, a team started out 8-0. Since then, that team has lost Bradford at QB and Martin at RB! The doom clouds have gathered and that perfect 8-0 has become 8-2! Help stop this fairy tale turned nightmare! 16 team, PPR 4 point QB TD - I have Pryor (who was obviously hurt yesterday) and just picked up Geno Smith. I also have Welker, cruz, gordon and Harvin at WR and Gore, Forte and Vereen at RB, can deal Welker for Stafford, do I do this or try to live through playoffs with Pryor and Geno?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:38 PM)
If Sam Bradford and Doug Martin are players you're significantly crediting for an 8-0 start, you're putting too much stock in your record. Bradford started the year fine, but he wasn't overwhelmingly good. In your position I'd probably make that trade, perhaps trying to squeeze a WR chip coming back my way, because I think you could scour the waiver wire for WR help more easily than QB.
David (Potato Idaho)
I need some major help tonight from one of these players, Tristan! Help me out. Who will have the better game??? Mike James or Lamar Miller?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:38 PM)
I'd start Mike James.
Frustrated (Even more frustrated)
I traded Rice to an owner who had more faith in him than I for Spiller who I thought was on his way to a big push for top 10 RB status... Man, how bad are both these guys?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:40 PM)
C.J. Spiller's Week 10 ranks as one of the most disappointing performances of any player at any position, in my opinion. The Steelers' run D hasn't been much this year, and with EJ Manuel back, I was sure the Bills would give Spiller 20 touches to try to wear that defense down.Maybe the bye will get Spiller closer to his 2012 form, a point I've made for weeks, but I've also in recent weeks eased off that. He looks that bad, and it makes me wonder how far off 100 percent he is.
Can you win a fantasy title with Romo given his propensity to lay complete stinkers even if you have a solid team around him? Or do you think its a must to try to upgrade if you have the depth to do so?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:41 PM)
You can, though I'd stop short of saying you will. I discussed Tony Romo's prospects in detail in the last Consistency Ratings, if you check my archive. He'd be back-end top 10 for me going forward, which means he's fine to have, but I'd want to be strong at other positions too.
Down by 3, need 4 to win cause he has the breaker (bench points), Miami or TB d/St tonight? Lose and my season is over!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:43 PM)
I had Dolphins D/ST ranked higher. Though that's leaning more on things like turnovers and sacks rather than trying to avoid the points/yardage (so check your league scoring). I've played in leagues where just winning the game was the bigger deal for a D/ST, and I do think the Bucs have a good shot at affording the fewer points here.
Please stop answering so many D/ST questions, its a crap shoot and most of us know it
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:44 PM)
The Chiefs D/ST would beg to differ.But if it's a crapshoot, wouldn't that then mean that analyzing the individual matchups becomes all the more important? You can't preach a streamer strategy and then say, "Oh, start whomever."
Is Riley Cooper for real? Can he be a top 15 WR ROS?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:46 PM)
He has shown serious chemistry with Nick Foles, and that's not just talking about the past two weeks; it was also true last year. This ties to the point about Foles not being absolutely assured of every remaining start, so I wouldn't rank Cooper that high, but he could be a sneaky-good top 30 WR. There's upside for sure.
Scoop (Deep South)
When can a player on your bench win you a game? It could happen in our league tonight: Two teams tied 90-90 with no active players left. Tiebreaker is most bench points and one team has Hartline going tonight. His bench is down 2 points to the other guys', so 3 points from Hartline on his bench gets him a W!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:47 PM)
I'm not a fan of the "bench points" tiebreaker, not for the reason you detail, but because it creates an imbalance in injury luck.
Going in to next week, do I start Brady or Foles? Both are hot and I just get the feeling that Foles is going to have a clunker eventually, but Brady is playing the Panthers. Help!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:49 PM)
That's going to be an awfully close call when I get to my Week 11 ranks. You're correct in that the Panthers represent a tough matchup, but with Brady's Week 9 and the bye week's rest, I'm feeling like I'd go with him at 10 and Foles at 11. Can't fault either pick you prefer.
Not to mention Benches could be filled with BYE playes. Possibly the dumbest thing I've heard. In the rare event you tie....you tie.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:50 PM)
Yes, the byes too. I'm fine with ties, except in the postseason, where a tie means higher seed takes the matchup.
Kalvin (East Lansing, MI)
Please help me Tristan! I need to decide tonight which of these two trades to make. Morris/D Williams for B Marshall/Starks or Morris/Tate for Welker/Gio Bernard. My current RBs/WRs are Forte, Morris, L Bell, Tate, D Williams, Steve Johnson, Nicks, R White, Harvin, and Dobson.I'm leaning towards the Marshall trade because Peyton spreads the ball around so much, plus Tate is now the #1 in Houston, but Welker is having a great season and Gio is starting to explode. Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:52 PM)
I'd take the Welker/Bernard trade. I think Bernard is just as appealing a running back the rest of the year as Tate, and Welker for Morris is fine value if you need the receiver. As for Peyton "spreading it around," he has done that all year with tremendous success, and Welker's stats haven't suffered for it yet. Why expect it now?
Danny (Erie, PA)
I realize no one believes in Foles, but I would have won this week had I started him over Kaepernick. Any chance you'd make this switch going forward?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:52 PM)
Thoughts on Andre Brown? Was thinking about trading him for Welker, my other RBs are Charles, McCoy, L Bell, Vereen, WRs are DJax, Hilton, and C Short
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:54 PM)
Wow, that's a trade I'd take in a second. Let's not go overboard with Brown expectations here. He's still an injury risk, he's in a role that increases his chances of that, though at the same time he looked the part of the Giants' workhorse, and one who won't cede short-yardage work by any means. I think this is a low-end RB2, and easily at that, but I'd be hard-pressed to rank him higher than maybe 18th at the position going forward.
What's going on with Arizona not utilizing Ellington?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:55 PM)
They don't entirely trust him in pass protection. I won't say it's the right call, but it just is. It makes me think it's going to be a split, maybe some weeks favoring either back, the rest of the year.
Do you have any consistency rankings regarding LIES THE COACHES TELL US!!!??? ("we're gonna feed CJ Spiller until he pukes")
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:56 PM)
I'm certain their Consistency Rating would be high in that category, I'll tell you that, but how would one quantify it?
Kalvin (East Lansing, MI)
Follow up question: So you think Welker's ROS outlook is brighter than Marshall's? I was leaning towards the Welker trade at first, but as you said, Gio and Tate look fairly even moving forward, so I figure getting rid of D Williams and getting Marshall in return is a better deal.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:57 PM)
Gio > Starks, and I mean by a substantially larger margin than Marshall > Welker. I'm not even sure I could say I'm confident Marshall will score more points the rest of the way than Welker.
Boneless wings or Bone-in wings? Mike Wallace won't score 28 points tonight in PPR tonight and I win? I mean it's Mike"where are you" Wallace? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:59 PM)
Bone-in wings. For some reason I just don't trust boneless. Not as tasty. (Probably just perception.)I think you're pretty safe. After all, in a PPR, 28 points is a 9-130-1 line. I find it hard to believe that Wallace can get into that territory.
Will I be waiting for the Braves new hitter friendly park in 2018 to finally have Justin Upton and Jason Heyward meet their potential?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (4:00 PM)
Touche.I'll make this prediction: Heyward reaches his projected ceiling sooner than Upton.
Our trade deadline is coming quickly please help! Sproles and Gio for AP is a no brainer, right? Am i overthinking this? Hit accept before he cancels?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (4:00 PM)
I'd take that deal, yes.
Any faith in NYG DEF/ST with some favorable matchups ROS?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (4:02 PM)
They've played better football the past three games, for sure, but I'm not sure where you're seeing these "favorable matchups." They've got GB, DAL, @WSH, @SD, SEA, @DET, WSH, and all of those teams, to varying degrees, can put up points. I'd tread carefully. This week against Green Bay and Tolzien, sure, perhaps I'd stream them.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (4:03 PM)
Ok, time to wrap things up for today. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours. Remember, you can always send me questions on Twitter (@SultanofStat) or Facebook (/SultanofStat), or in my Tuesday Spreecast with Eric Karabell. Take care everyone, and best of luck in Week 11!
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