Fantasy NFL with Chris Harris
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Christopher Harris (11:00 AM)
Good morning, everyone. It's my final chat of the 2011 season, and probably my final chat overall for a while. Let's discuss the crazy Week 17 situations around the league, and your fantasy finals. And please check out my novel Slotback Rhapsody (www.slotbackrhapsody.com -- pro football! hotel room shenanigans! plane rides! Buddhism!). You can also friend me at www.facebook.com/writerboy and follow me at www.twitter.com/writerboyESPN. Let's get to your questions....
Any concern about how much work Sproles will get? Also, flex in a PPR - Denarius Moore or Ben Tate?
Christopher Harris (11:03 AM)
Hi, Dave. Yeah, I have some concern...but Sean Payton has said he plans on playing his guys most of the game. I'm actually writing tomorrow's Hard Count about playoff situations, and which teams might rest which guys...I think there's a *chance* if/when the Saints look at the scoreboard and see the 49ers killing the Rams, Brees & Co. sits down. That's where the extra risk comes from. But Payton's words yesterday convinced me that you probably should keep riding Sproles if you're doing so....
Christopher Harris (11:04 AM)
And as for Moore v. Tate -- I think because the Texans are locked into the #3, I don't know *what* to expect from Tate. Derrick Ward could wind up getting all the action. I think I'd go safe and play Moore.
Shane (Wichita, KS)
Could be without Foster and McCoy in my lineup this week. Got Beanie, who would you pickup and start if need be: T. Jones, McCluster(Battle out), Royster (Helu playing?), M. Morris (Smith sit), Ridley, Saine?
Christopher Harris (11:06 AM)
Hi, Shane. Yeah, I have big worries about Foster playing more than a series or so, for sure. McCoy -- Andy Reid *seems* to be saying (at least so far) that Shady's ankle isn't that bad, and he expects to have him out there. Stay tuned for more news, and yes, there's a bunch more risk, but I'm somewhat more optimistic on him. Helu should play, but not a full set of snaps. I do think Kevin Smith sits, but Joique Bell might get work for the Lions. I think of that group, my bet for the most touches is Brandon Saine. Gulp.
Do you trust that Mike Smith will play the Falcons starters all day considering they are going to be playing for nothing in the 4:15 game after the Lions beat the Packers B-Team? Would it be safer to start Carson Palmer over Matty Ice?
Christopher Harris (11:07 AM)
Hi, Phil. Yeah, this is a big issue. Whereas Payton's Saints are playing at the same time as the 49ers, so you can easily see Brees getting at least a half, the Falcons will know exactly what the Lions have done. I have a *very* hard time imagining that Ryan & Co. stay in for very long if the Lions beat the resting Packers, as expected. I think if that happens, yes, I would probably play Palmer, and swallow hard.
What can you expect from Matthew Stafford/Calvin Johnson this week? If Detroit wins, and locks up the 5th seed, what can you expect from Roddy White? I have Phillip Rivers. Should I pick Vincent Brown and start him over Roddy White in case Atlanta has nothing to play for in the afternoon game? Thank you.
Christopher Harris (11:09 AM)
Hi, Michael. I think the Lions probably play pretty hard to win, in effort to avoid the Saints in the first round. I think Megatron could sit late, if the Lions are tearing up the Packers' reserves, but I think you probably go ahead and start him and Stafford per usual. As for Roddy, yup, you're right, having an alternative at the ready makes some sense, no matter what Mike Smith has said to date. I do think Vincent Jackson will sit and Vincent Brown will play a bunch...but is there really no better option available in your league? If I'm faced with Brown vs. meaningless-game Roddy? I guess I play Brown. But I feel a little sick about it.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
Did you win any of your leagues? And know anyone that won despite startign Romo and Nicks, like me?
Christopher Harris (11:11 AM)
Hi, Scott. I did not. I'm in three that I play out every year, had very good regular seasons and was the top seed in two of the three. Had a crushing loss (thanks, Lions D) a few weeks back, and then the final TD that Sproles caught Monday night beat me in the finals of the internal ESPN experts league. Congrats on your win, man. That's awesome....
Do you think Brady will try to break Brees' passing yardage record?
Christopher Harris (11:12 AM)
Hi, Dan. Well, it's possible Brees plays more than we initially thought, especially if the Rams can stay close to the Niners, so I tend to think not. And I don't think the Pats would specifically set out to have Brady break the record anyway -- but the Pats are such a cutthroat group in terms of resting players, heck, he might just throw that much against the Bills anyway. Remember, that first game was such a shootout. Anyway, my guess is Brees hangs onto the record, but Brady certainly passes Marino with ease.
Anonymous Falcons' player (ATL)
So you were as upset about Brees passing late as we were?...At least WE could have done something about it...
Christopher Harris (11:13 AM)
Well, I was upset because it led to me losing the fantasy title, but I completely understood why the Saints would want to get the record in Week 16, to get it out of the way, so it didn't figure into the Week 17 rest calculations. Was it a *little* cheap and tainted? Yeah, probably. Kind of piling on. But it's professional football. I'm of the mind that if you don't like it, you stop the guy. In general, I didn't have a problem with it. Just wish the last TD hadn't gone to Sproles.
Why so low on Gerhart? Seems like he is a good play in a week where most guys youd normally start won't necessarily play a full game, or at all
Christopher Harris (11:16 AM)
Hi, Chris. First, I should say that the Wednesday version of my ranks were *so* preliminary because I was flying so blind...trying to guess at playing time, etc. I'm going to have big changes for Friday, I promise. But as far as Gerhart goes, it was a matter of measuring touches against opponent. The touches will be there, I agree. But the Bears D is playing so well (at least when they're not facing the Packers)...especially against the run. It's a very hard matchup, and I don't view Gerhart as any kind of transcendent talent. It's possible he boosts up into my top 20 tomorrow, but it won't be much higher than that.
I Defeat (Real Champion)
Love pre-rankings chat. Don't feel guilty about this or that questions. Tate or Greene and Bowe or Floyd?
Christopher Harris (11:18 AM)
The Texans have nothing to play for, so I'd be mighty leery of Tate. I know there's a scenario where *he* is the guy who benefits if and when they sit Foster, but I kind of think it's likelier that Derrick Ward is that guy. And the Broncos have been pretty good against the pass, while the Raiders haven't. Presuming we get confirmation that Vincent Jackson isn't playing, I think I'll take a flyer on Floyd. Fingers crossed.
Who gets more touches and has the best chance to cross the goal line, Chris Ivory or the PT cruiser?(TD league only)
Christopher Harris (11:19 AM)
Hi, Scott. It kind of comes down to whether you believe Sean Payton. In '09, he rested his guys in Week 17. In '10, he didn't (at least not until midway through the fourth quarter). My gut tells me that if the 49ers are up huge against the Rams, Ivory is going to be the guy. But Payton has a pretty cozy relationship with the media, and doesn't tend to flat-out lie to them, so I wouldn't think he's planning on yanking his starters in the first quarter. I'll take Ivory in a TD-only. Barely.
Buddy (Peoria, IL)
So start as many Cowboys and Giants as possible, right?
Christopher Harris (11:20 AM)
Hi, Buddy. I want to know more about Nicks' hammy injury, because he didn't look like himself in the second half against the Jets last week. And Mario Manningham would also be tough for me to use, knowing that his knee is a mess. But I like the way you're thinking. In theory, I completely agree. The people with the meaningful games are the ones who you'll at least get a full accompaniment of snaps out of.
Re: Gerhart info (CA)
Vikings reporting that they plan to give all goal-line duty to FB/TE Jim Kleinsasser, who will retire after the season. Just an FYI (still like gerhart though)
Christopher Harris (11:21 AM)
Yup, thank you. I forgot to mention that as another reason to be just slightly gun shy of Gerhart. Kleinsasser will get the emeritus short TDs, if any exist.
aaron (saint lucia)
i hate my week 17 championship game- i have aaron rodgers, he wont play, so i pick chirstian ponder or whoever the backup in green bay is. who should i go with?
Christopher Harris (11:23 AM)
Hi, Aaron. Yeah, Week 17 presents a challenge, no question. Here's hoping you built a big lead in the Week 16 portion of your championship game. Ponder has played so poorly, and is coming off a concussion (we believe), so even if he plays, I'm not excited about using him. It will be nerve-wracking to do so, not least because the Pack will be sitting their best weapons. But James Jones will have to play, at least, because Green Bay is running out of able-bodied receivers whom they don't want to rest. So I think I'd grit my teeth and try Matt Flynn.
Thoughts on CJ0K this week? Maybe texans pull their starters...might open door for a decent day.
Christopher Harris (11:24 AM)
Hi, Alex. Yeah, that was my logic in putting the woefully disappointing Johnson 8th on my RB list this week despite the on-paper terrible matchup. I don't trust this version of CJ0K as far as I can throw him, but your logic is sound...we simply *have* to see a bunch of reserve Texans defenders here, and this is such a meaningful game for the Titans. Heck, my prediction is that the Titans *do* make the playoffs, and the Texans and Titans have a repeat engagement next week.
P Mike (Finals)
How is Spiller not ranked higher as a receiver. Shouldn't he be top 5? How many receivers are guaranteed 20 touches. Plus he's facing the Pats.
Christopher Harris (11:27 AM)
Hi, Mike. The whole WR-eligibility thing for Spiller is kind of a little bit of a fiasco...we probably shouldn't have made him eligible there, and where to rank him is just a difficult prospect. You're right, he's got a bunch of touches coming. I put him 13th. But the Pats aren't nearly as easy to run against as they are to throw against, and Spiller *is* a RB. If this is a shootout, I'm not sure Spiller is the unbelievable bonus baby that, say, Steve Johnson is. But of course, you're right, Spiller's "floor" is negligible. I guess I confess to just not knowing how to really rank him....
BEST SUPER BOWL OUTCOME EVER:Won my fantasy super bowl TODAY on a stat correction. My opponent's Brandon Marshall bubble screen changed to handoff. -1 pt in PPR. Win 166-165 on a game that was tied on MNF in the final minutes by Kasay's last extra point on Brees' record breaker. FANTASY IS AWESOME!!!!!
Christopher Harris (11:27 AM)
I'm guessing your opponent does not share this opinion, Chad. :-)
Mike (Nashville (with hot girlfriend))
In a quandry about Jordy at flex. Risk using him, Stephen Jackson, Washington, Gaffney, Moss or Burleson?
Christopher Harris (11:29 AM)
Hi, Mike and hot girlfriend. Yeah, I'm pretty worried about Jordy, too. My guess is that Jermichael Finley and James Starks don't play at all, and that Rodgers and Nelson play maybe a series or two. I have no way of knowing that for sure, because the Pack hasn't gotten specific yet. But I think I'd sit Nelson. Despite the *horrendous* matchup, I think out of this group I'd just play Steven Jackson and pray.
Will It be safe to play Roethlisberger this week or go with Fitzpatrick again?
Christopher Harris (11:30 AM)
Hi, Ryan. Well, no, not safe. Big Ben is going to play, but it sounds like he'll be on a snap count. I think he'll probably play the first half and come out no matter what, and that's when the likes of Wallace and Antonio Brown will probably come out, too. Perhaps the Steelers will make an exception if the Bengals are throttling the Ravens. But I wouldn't think this is a "safe" situation, no....
For what its worth, I'm honoring our Sunday night agreement to split the championship gummy worms.:)
Christopher Harris (11:30 AM)
You are a good man, Chad.
Lost SunDevil (ann arbor)
My Rodgers riding pine vs his Sir Cam Newton... Championship comes down to my wire pick at QB... Orton/Freeman/Flynn/Has??? PLEASE HELP!
Christopher Harris (11:31 AM)
I would probably say Flynn. I hate it, but there it is.
No questions, just a thank you for the great chats this season. Happy New Year to you!
Christopher Harris (11:31 AM)
You, too, Sherri. Thanks.
Have a somewhat tough decision at the flex spot: D.Brown, E.Royster, D.Thomas. Thanks for any insight!
Christopher Harris (11:33 AM)
Hi, Alex. Yeah, yuck. Royster would've been a pretty easy call, but now it sounds like Helu is going to play some, splitting that backfield job. If you could get confirmation that Reggie Bush can't play Sunday, Daniel Thomas would be your guy -- he *is* going to play. But I kind of tend to think Bush is going to go as well. In which case...argh. I think I guess I'd just go with Brown. But I don't like it one bit.
Do I start Brees (even though he may sit the 4th) or Cam, who will likely play a full game?
Christopher Harris (11:33 AM)
Hi, Ron. I think I'd go with Cam. We *know* he ain't sitting. (Or, um, at least we *think* we do.)
Happy Holidays Chris!! Possibly without McCoy this week, and my backup is Blount. Which of Blount, Donald Brown, or Ronnie Brown would you suggest starting, if he's out? Thank you!
Christopher Harris (11:35 AM)
Hi, Rich. I'm hopeful that you will have Shady, though how *much* of him you'll get is an open question. I think if McCoy winds up being totally out, I'd probably play R. Brown, and hope he gets the close-in work while Dion Lewis handles the other stuff. Otherwise, you probably have to just roll with Blount. Maybe the Falcons will call off the dogs.
it makes it tough, but I like week 17 championship, requires more research. Is a full game of DHB, J. Cook, T. Young, D Nelson or B Lefell better than a half or so of Roddy?
Christopher Harris (11:36 AM)
Hi, Jax. Yeah, it's its own skill set, Week 17 is. Wish I knew for sure whether Jacoby Ford was playing this week -- that would let me weigh in smarter on DHB. Assuming Ford will go, I guess I like Jared Cook...it's a roll of the dice, obviously, but he's been red hot and the Titans shouldn't mess with what's working.... Cross your fingers.
RB HELP! My only ? of the year! (Houston)
Lost FJax, JCharles, and dropped F.Jones and was not able to pick him back up. Now down to D. Williams, B. Jacobs, K. Hunter, and Ronnie Brown. D. Williams and who else? Saine, NE back-ups, and Blount(Fri waiver) are available. PLEASE HELP TAKE THE DECISION OUT OF MY HANDS!
Christopher Harris (11:38 AM)
Heh. Well, you *know* I can't take the decision entirely out of your hands. Especially because then I have to shoulder all the blame. :-) I have Blount one spot higher than Saine in my RB ranks right now, and that's probably not going to change. So I guess Blount? Maybe he makes up for the shameful season with some heart this week....
Commish Ethics Question: We decided before this year to allow keepers for the first time. The only rule we agreed to was the cost of the keeper would be "1 round higher than last year's cost." Unfortunately, we didn't go further than that, but now I have to rule and would like your help with these 3 questions: 1) Should FA pickups (i.e. Cam) be allowed to be kept. 2) If so, at what cost? 3) What about players who were drafted but cut then acquired by another owner, can they be kept? Thanks and Happy New Year!
Christopher Harris (11:39 AM)
Hi, Chip. Well, the thing is that it's tough to enforce rules retroactively. For this year, you might just have to let everyone keep everyone they want to, including FA pickups. However, if you can get everyone to agree retroactively, my recommendation is to allow FA pickups to be kept, but assign them a middle round. Like perhaps a 7th-rounder? (That's what LARGE does.)
Buddy (Peoria, IL)
So which playoff teams will be sitting starters, in your opinion of course?
Christopher Harris (11:41 AM)
Hi, Buddy. Well, the Packers are a near-definite. The Texans, too. They can't mess with their playoff seeds at all. After that, you can make an argument that the Saints, Falcons, Lions and Steelers are very good candidates, and there are other teams who could rest. Tomorrow's Hard Count column will delve into all this at length.
Do you think Mathews will play the whole game with his calf issue? Tolbert is also hurt. How will Jacobs do with Bradshaw starting?
Christopher Harris (11:43 AM)
Hi, Frank. I have to admit that when yesterday's news came out about Mathews' calf, I made a note to downgrade him in my RB ranks. There's really no way for me to know how much of the game he'll be able to play -- it's a meaningless contest for SD, so the team likely won't put him at major risk, but maybe the injury isn't all that severe. And you're right, Tolbert has a hamstring problem, and seems to be in the same boat. The only thing we can do at this point is check in on news about Chargers practice today and tomorrow. And while Jacobs was good last time out against DAL, I vastly prefer Bradshaw.
Please tell me you are going to come back to covering Fantasy Baseball next year. It just wasn't the same without you this year.
Christopher Harris (11:44 AM)
Hi, Mike. Thanks, that's very flattering. Alas, no, I'm on football 365 days a year -- but Messrs. Karabell, Cockcroft, et al are more than capable without me. Thanks, though.
john (pendleton ind)
does tolbert and mathews sit this week because of their coach being possibly fired.both ended up on the questionable report yesterday.
Christopher Harris (11:44 AM)
Hi, John. I don't think Norv Turner's status affects things one way or the other. It'll come down to health, IMO.
Amanda (Philly, PA)
Hi Chris. I have a trio of Chargers (Rivers, Gates, and Floyd). SHould I play them all? Happy New Year!
Christopher Harris (11:45 AM)
Hi, Amanda. Obviously, it depends who else you have, but yes, I have all those guys as definite fantasy starters this week, unless Vincent Jackson pulls a surprise and plays, in which case Floyd becomes more of a flex type of guy.
Why isn't Joe Webb a starter in the NFL? He always looks good when he plays and more importantly, always seems to have big fantasy numbers!
Christopher Harris (11:47 AM)
Hi, Matt. Well, he's still really raw as a passer and a reader of defenses. As an athlete and a runner, he's spectacular, no question. And you can bet there are some people around the Vikings who are asking the same questions. Webb is "only" 17-for-31 on passes this year, and people will point to 3 TDs and 0 INTs, but remember last year he had 0 TDs and 3 INTs. I don't think there's any doubt that he's the backup next year, and we'll just have to see if he develops into more than that.
FINALS VIRGIN (MEMPHIS)
Hi Chris, and early Happy New Year! Who do you trust more at WR this week...PPR...Wallace, Crabtree, D. Moore, D. Thomas?? Please help...trying to win first ever title!
Christopher Harris (11:48 AM)
I guess I'd say I trust Crabtree the most in a PPR, slightly over Demaryius Thomas, who's more of a few-catches, big-yards kind of guy on occasion. Wish I could roll with Wallace, but I have a sneaking suspicion that when Big Ben sits, so does Wallace. Hines Ward has 995 career catches, and you *know* the Steelers will get him at least 5 more on Sunday.
Thoughts on Peyton Hillis this week? Looked pretty sharp last week against a solid Ravens D.
Christopher Harris (11:49 AM)
Hi, Shane. Yeah, he did. A little late, but there you have it. He's got another tough matchup against the Steelers, unfortunately, so he's probably a borderline RB2 or flex. I'm surprised the Browns are playing him and not someone else, given his contract status. Maybe this means they're still considering paying him big money next year? Personally, I wouldn't do it.....
Any thoughts on what happens to the Redskins' RB situation for next year? Does Shanahan stick around and continue to drive us all nuts?
Christopher Harris (11:51 AM)
Hi, Brian. Oh, Shanny's coming back, no question. He's getting $7 mil per year. If you think about it, he's probably the NFC East coach with the *most* job security. (Crazy, right?) And yeah, wherever Shanny is, RB torture will follow. That team needs so much help at WR and on the back end of the defense, I can't imagine they draft a RB high, but they'll have Hightower back and Helu and Royster. Probably a mess again.
Can you give more details about the internal ESPN experts league? Like setup, playoff teams, etc.
Christopher Harris (11:52 AM)
Hi, Scott. It's a 12-team keeper league with Berry, Karabell, Cockcroft, et al, plus several savvy behind-the-scenes guys. I believe it was a half-point per reception, and otherwise pretty standard, though the finals were only in Week 16, and didn't stretch to Week 17. I think I went something like 11-2 in the regular season? Alas, the Sproles thing did me in in the finals.
So Webb is more athletic and a more accurate passer than Tebow.. sounds like he should be a starter!
Christopher Harris (11:52 AM)
Ha, Matt. Not a bad point by you. But is he *magical*????
I too am sorry you are not doing baseball. So, who do you like better out of Greene, F. Jones or Bradshaw. At least they should all be playing the whole game, and I might have to be playing 2 of them if R. Bush is iffy. Thanks
Christopher Harris (11:53 AM)
Thanks, Charlie. But believe me, there's *plenty* to do for offseason football. I'll be around. I think I'll go Felix first, and Bradshaw second. You're right...nice not to have to worry too much about playing time.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
Haha, no one ever misses an opportunity to bash Tebow...
Christopher Harris (11:54 AM)
True, Scott. One place where no one can bash him, though, is fantasy. That can be his refuge. His owners can't have very many bad things to say about him. (Well, except for last week....)
Christopher Harris (11:55 AM)
All right, gang, this is way more fun than what I'm supposed to do next (finish my final Hard Count), but I should probably get back to it. Let's do one more, and call it a wrap.
We never got to really see what the Dallas backfield looks like with a 100% healthy Murray AND Felix. What do you see the Cowboys doing with their RBs next year?
Christopher Harris (11:57 AM)
Hi, Brian. True, but in Jones and Murray, you're talking about two guys with, shall we say, *proclivities* toward injury. I would think that Murray will be viewed as more of a lead back, with Jones in a supplemental role, sort of a 65/35 arrangement, to begin the year. Annoying for fantasy, to be sure. But one or both will likely get hurt, 'cuz that's who these guys are.........
Christopher Harris (11:59 AM)
OK, all. The Hard Count beckons. It'll deal with a lot of the stuff we're talking about here, in greater detail...I'm going team by team through the likely suspects to be resting guys, and posing my theories. Take a look tomorrow. Also, if I've helped you at all this year, you can repay me by purchasing a copy of Slotback Rhapsody, which if you're a football fan, I think you'll like pretty well anyway. More info at www.slotbackrhapsody.com. Thanks you all for such a great season. I continue to be overwhelmed by your support and generosity, and I wish I could shake every single one of your hands. I wouldn't get to do this great job without you, and believe me, I'm aware of that. Thank you very much. Happy New Year!