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.
Send your questions now and join Cockcroft Monday at 11 a.m. ET!
Need an in-depth answer to your question? Want your roster or trade offers reviewed? Get a personalized response from an ESPN expert with The Answer Guys. All questions answered within 24 hours, guaranteed. Ask your question
More Fantasy: Fantasy Home Page
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:02 AM)
Good morning everyone! Busy week, as the fantasy football trade deadline arrives in 49 hours, we're three weeks from the playoffs and baseball's hot stove season is well underway. Anything goes today, as usual, but I continue to note, please say "BASEBALL" in caps if you're sneaking in a baseball question. Heavy football day, so they might be missed otherwise.Let's get started!
Clark W. Griswald (Chicago)
What is your FAVORITE HOLIDAY MOVIE OF ALL TIME? Better waiver wire pickup, James Starks or Jalen Parmele?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
Frankly, I've always loved Christmas Story. Always. As in, before it became a mainstream thing played 24 consecutive hours, quoted by everyone. Which is the problem: It's now an easy answer. So are the classics; I watch "It's a Wonderful Life" every year. But, Clark, you got me. These days, the one that I always want to watch -- granted, only once -- and have the hardest time finding on TV is yours.And since we're so, so early in the "holiday season," in my opinion, I'm certain I'm forgetting another beloved flick. Would love to hear some suggestions?Back to football: Starks. I'm a believer that this is an opportunity for Parmelee, but the extent to which he'll receive it is under question. Maurice Jones-Drew should return in time, and it's his gig, period, once he's healthy. Meanwhile, while I have my doubts about Starks -- his ceiling is probably in the bottom half of the RB2 class -- he's got a wide-open backfield, what with the news that Cedric Benson might not return before Week 15. Just a greater shot, plain and simple.
Replacements for Gronk off the WW?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
One cannot replace Rob Gronkowski off waivers. Sorry, Jim. If I'm making a list, his injury is probably the most devastating of 2012, based upon cost to acquire (via draft or trade), and impossibility to replace. Brandon Myers is the potential waiver guy whose praises I would most sing, and that's top-of-my-head name tossing.
Is Edelmann a must pick n start now due to Gronk's injury?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
Julian Edelman's Week 11 performance bears closer consideration following Gronkowski's injury, so I'm glad you posed the question, George. I'm not saying that Edelman effectively slides into Gronkowski's role, but as the Patriots will need to shift things around in their passing game, I could see him getting some more looks, especially in the red zone. Nice speculative add if you ask me, especially if you recall 2012's early weeks, when Edelman appeared to be groomed as Wes Welker's eventual replacement.
Houston's DST-should I worry with the Lions this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
Well, let's talk Chad Henne, shall we? Of all the unexpected things to happen in 2012, Henne's Week 11 is easily going to be in the top five come season's end. Unquestioned fact.Consider: He A) thrived on the deep pass, despite a career in which he had miserable stats previously on those throws, and B) he was facing a defense that is as good as they come against the deep pass. To explain it, you must guess. Were the Texans simply unprepared for Henne because he was a relief QB, and that explains it? I suppose it's possible.But what I know for sure: The Texans will learn from it, adjust during practice and be plenty prepared for Stafford and the Lions. It's bothersome, not devastating. They'll be among my highest-rated for the week, Stafford or not.
What's Marcel Reece's value once DMC and/or Goodson return?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
Well, I think he fits smack dab in the middle of the two, as in, he starts ahead of Mike Goodson. But once McFadden comes back, some sort of partnership is near certain, being that Reece is so good on those passing downs. Lower his fantasy appeal to PPR leagues in the matchups/flex-play category, pretty much, but he won't disappear completely.
Pablo (Santa Fe)
Scrooged! ROS, Dalton or Fitzpatrick? Lost Ben and not sure if he'll return the same. Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
Nice call, Pablo. Not my favorite, but I liked "Scrooged," at least when it initially came out. I do admit that subsequent watching isn't as enjoyable; maybe it's that I was much younger when I saw it. Who knows.I'd take Dalton, but so, so much of that is A.J. Green, and the development Jermaine Gresham is showing (not to mention decent talents in Andrew Hawkins and Mohamed Sanu). Remaining sked: OAK, @SD, DAL, @PHI, @PIT, BAL. Some challenges in there, yes, but you can mix and match if need be.
Dan (Albany, NY)
So whats the with up Morris? He has had a string of meh games. Is this the performance we should expect from him ROS?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
Carry total hasn't waned, and there's a report in the D.C. papers today that Morris has taken over as the team's third-down back -- giving him a full-timer's role -- which alleviates any concern about his dwindling target total. Clearly Mike Shanahan regards Morris as a "complete" back, so I'm not terribly worried, though I've never had him slotted as much more than a high-end RB2 (not weekly, that's talking year-to-end). Stay faithful.
Ryan (Hanover, PA)
Ball looked like the better RB over Hillman yesterday. Which one should I add?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
Unfortunately it's going to be some sort of time share if Willis McGahee misses time, so both are effectively must-adds, for McGahee owners or those thin at the position. The Broncos' schedule is favorable enough (@KC, TB, @OAK, @BAL, CLE, KC), so I'm going more home-run hitter, and that's Hillman. That he's probably more of the team's future also tilts things in his favor; Broncos could be well served giving him a larger share as a "let's see."
will Aaron Hernedez play on thanksgiving?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
Preliminary word is yes, and I think Rob Gronkowski's injury will increase the chances that he'd play at a little less than 100 percent, if need be. Let's say if I did my rankings set right now, he'd be ranked, and in the top 10 at that.
Frosty the Snowman (Nashville)
Gotta go with the classic feel-good cartoon for my favorite Christmas movie. Although I'll watch A Christmas Story, It's A Wonderful Life and Christmas Vacation at least once every season (along with Home Alone 1 & 2 of course!). Better pick-up to take into the playoffs, Greg Jennings or Danario Alexander?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
Frosty wasn't a movie, though, it was a cartoon special on TV. Doesn't count. Also preferred so many other of the TV specials to it.I'd grab Alexander, and I have said that now for a couple chats. The Chargers are being forced into passing situations more by virtue of their playing poorly and falling behind, and Alexander's a home-run talent when healthy ... and he's healthy today. Could be the sneakiest WR3 value out there right now, though one of the riskiest in the health department of any current top-100 player.
Foles looked awful, does Vick start when he comes back?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
I think so, but that's my opinion. Foles does not look like an NFL starting quarterback right now.
Rashad Jennings, time to drop?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
I don't cast formal "drop" announcements on players, because it's entirely about the incumbent versus the waiver add's value. But I would endorse cutting Jennings, since there should be a ton out there that's more valuable than him. Again, Jalen Parmelee appears to have overtaken him -- shocking since Jennings had been averaging sub-3 yards per carry as a starter -- and MJD is on the mend.
Fostered out (Goal Line Stands)
Elf, since it starred cute-as-heck Zooey before she became too mainstream annoying.Titus and Lloyd 2 giant disappointments and facing demotions. Do their second bananas pick up a ton of value? (Broyles and Edelmann respectively) and how much would you bid in a FAAB league at this point assuming $100 budget?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
I've never seen "Elf," but I'm not a fan of Will Ferrell movies in general -- though I'd admit I watched "The Campaign" this weekend. Ridiculous, totally farfetched, but had its funny moments (and you'd expect it to be the former besides).I endorsed Edelman in an earlier question, though I'm not much of a Ryan Broyles guy. That's Calvin Johnson's team; Broyles only serves as a maddening Titus Young target thief. And give me my choice between the two on the skills basis, I'm taking Young.I'd say $11 or so on Edelman. Not higher, no guarantees of anything yet. Though I'll say that at this stage, if you're hoarding FAAB cash, it's time to open up your wallet on anything remotely interesting.
Joe Pesci (hat on fire)
Home Alone has to be the winner! Crazy to consider starting Romo over Stafford most of the ROS? The only matchup I don't like is week 15 against the Steelers, but with Dez stepping up, seems that offense has more upside even without a run game.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
My "throw-myself-under-the-bus" comment of the chat: I think Home Alone was tremendously overrated. It's a funny and good movie, but was never of the quality that I thought it should be an annual Thanksgiving night tradition. That's high praise, you know. Watching it once, for me, was enough. OK, maybe twice.Yes, I'd actually give Romo the slight edge at this point, but there are two things that really support that cause for me: One is the Week 12 home game against Washington, the other the Week 16 against New Orleans. (OK, toss in the Week 17 Redskins game, too, since we count those.) Matchups give slight edge to Romo, actually.
Is Gronkowski worth hanging on to for the last few weeks of the season? Owen Daniels is available in my league.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
When it comes to keeping Gronkowski around, I would until you absolutely need that roster spot. I don't expect much of anything, but in our game, where Weeks 16 and 17 decide the championship, he could be integral, even if he's only in a playoff-tuneup role. Let your league's rule set dictate; I have leagues that are redraft and the championship is Week 16, and believe me I won't be stashing him at the cost of letting a good pickup go in those.Here: I say take Daniels. Good move.
Mike (10K lakes)
Tell me why I keep playing Mathews, clearly San Diego is a mess and he is not being used correctly?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
Numbers say the Chargers' O-line deserves a lot of the blame. I've found this entire Ryan Mathews season inexplicable, to be honest, other than the early-season injury, but I am firm in that he's in the RB2 class now and going forward in 2012.
Hi, okay so Matt Ryan only scored 2 points in my last game. Is there a reason to be worried. Should I sit or start him. My back up is Eli Manning.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
Few players are rocks all 16 games, sorry, best support I have in Ryan's favor. I can't condemn a guy who has been this good for this long, though that he was so terrible on even the short throws on Sunday has be concerned. For you: Mix-and-match situation, but Ryan at Tampa, against their weaker pass D, is still getting my nod in Week 12.
My wife can't stand Will Ferrell and absolutely loves Elf. You need to see it at least once.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
I'll take your advice, Kevin, I'm open minded about movies. And in Ferrell's defense, he does some brilliant impressions.
Should trades be allowed if one team is out of playoff contention?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
Absolutely. The only time I say you should be locking moves is when a team's season has been formally ended; as in a non-playoff team once the playoffs arrive.To defend non-contenders' ability to make moves, remember that even the mathematically eliminated have a bearing on the playoffs. They're opponents for other contenders, and you want those teams to be as strong as possible. I say to those teams, have some pride. Do the best you can, all the way to the end.
Santa (getting an early start)
BASEBALL - Longoria or Castro as a better keeper?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
Starlin Castro, position value thing. Close.
What is your take on the possibility of Demarco Murray playing this Thursday? Is it just talk or does it a real possibility?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
I think it's a real possibility; has begun practicing and was a "doubtful" listing, which was a step up. The short week has me thinking questionable/game-time decision, but as of right this second, I bet the Cowboys gear him up with the hopes he plays. If I ranked now, I'd have him in the 20 range or so.
Putting a package together for AJ Green whose owner is depleted at running back. . Which 2 do you keep (I will trade the other) Jordy Nelson, Percy Harvin, Reggie Wayne? Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
I'd keep Nelson and Harvin. Here's what bothers me about Wayne: The numbers show that Andrew Luck has been incredibly ineffective getting the football into his hands, from the targets-into-receptions angle. The reason Wayne has been this good has been volume; Luck throws, throws, throws to him. But if the Colts latch onto those numbers, that so many picks have come from attempts to Wayne, might they lighten up a little? It's just a hunch of mine, supported by the fact that Donnie Avery and T.Y. Hilton are no slouches in their own right.
Mike (San Diego)
I'll give you guys a pass this week because I thought it was pretty obvious Henne was going to be better than Rodgers this week. On a serious note, did Sunday change your perception on any of the Jags receivers moving forward?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:47 AM)
Ha! Thanks, Mike, we appreciate that. Can't believe I blew that call.It didn't change my mind other than this: A) Henne deserves a chance to start. B) Blackmon really does have exceptional big-play skills, and I'd love to see them utilized more.Unfortunately, those things do not go hand in hand. Henne really lacks the deep ball he flashed on Sunday, so again, I'm not ready to buy in to any great extent on either.
Jack skellington ( )
The nightmare before christmas was a great movie. In a ppr league would you trade Martin or Richardson for dez and Bradshaw? The rest of my rbs are foster Reece and beanie. My wrs are Julio bowe d. Moore Alexander and mal Floyd.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
Great, great movie, but bad music.I wouldn't deal either of those two for that kind of return. I get you feel you've got a WR need, but I've got role/injury questions about Bradshaw, and think you can mix and match the wideouts you've got.
Another pats question (my badddddd)
How do you see the Pats backfield shaking out the rest of the way? Ridley didn't seem to be too involved and Bill seems to be fine with giving the rock to vereen, woodhead, anybody....Can I really trust ridley the rest of the way?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
What we've seen the past month is what you should expect; the nature of a Belichick backfield is a split of the rushing pie.That said, I'm a believer in Ridley maintaining mid-range RB2 value. I've maintained for week that he's a sell-high -- deal him at top-10 RB value and I say "done deal" -- but his basement isn't as poor as people fear. Consider: 2+ goal-line carries in each of his past three games, has scored on one in each contest. The Patriots amass goal-line rushing chances as well as anyone; Lawfirm had 20-plus last year. So Ridley's going to be a fairly decent 50/1 player every year, and that's double digits in fantasy.
JR (kansas city)
Deal Wayne for CJ1K in a PPR league? Other WR's are Harvin, Cobb, Dez, Amendola. McCoy/Sproles/Reece at RB, I'm feeling vulnerable there.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
Leif (Los Angeles)
Hi THC, is JStew & Amendola too much to pay for Witten or Hernandez? It would leave me playing matchups with Shorts, Sproles
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
I don't think that's an unreasonable request, though I'd be pushing for Jason Witten.
TRADE HELP - give: spiller/hartline for morris/decker? .5ppr
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
Fair, balanced trade, but being that it's half-PPR, I'm going with the C.J. Spiller side. A lot of that is a gut call, under the belief that Spiller is going to lock down that backfield the rest of the way.
I'm probably the first person to ever utter these words: I need Kolb to come back and save my season. Is Larry Fitzgerald ever going to be a WR1 or even WR2 again?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
Oh my.I love Larry Fitzgerald the player. Look at what the guy did the past couple seasons, working with some pretty poor quarterbacks then, too. He was great! And this year, poor quarterbacking has ruined him. It's time to let it go, he's a WR2 if he's lucky.Consider the schedule: STL, @NYJ, @SEA, DET, CHI, @SF. Those playoff matchups are dreadful. I'd sell, sell, sell, if I could.
Why is Dez Bryant so maddening to own? I can't sit him, yet I can't ever feel really great about starting him, right?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
He's a wide receiver, it's a common condition for the position. You deal with it, and what I say in a player like Bryant's defense is that when he's "on," he's as good as they come at the position. By the way: WSH, NO, @WSH matchups remain as half his rest-of-year schedule. Also, the @CIN matchup could be a plus, as the Bengals lack enough corner depth to keep up with both him and Austin.So, yes, I think you should feel pretty good about starting him.
The bills like to use both of their running backs. They are both good football players. Last game with Jackson out Choice got 7 touches. Spiller wouldn't hold up for a full season with 25 plus touches a game. Spiller also wore down in that game. Looked much better in the first half. It will continue to be a time share.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
It might, I do not deny that. But I'm sorry, C.J. Spiller is the better player, and he's the much, much more important future piece of the team. It's why I'm making a gut call there, because I need to do that when skills show a breakout opportunity.
Celek or Rudolph ROS?? Both are maddening!!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:02 PM)
We're talking about effectively TE2s, and when I get to that class, I'm going with the one who has the considerably higher ceiling: Rudolph. He's going to burn you with those 0-3 point games, yes, but unlike Celek, who might be a flat 5-6 per week, I see Rudolph having a few more 12-15s.
Jim C. (Boise, Idaho)
How is Cruz going to look ROS? Is he going to be the fantasy monster from the first half, or the dud that resulted from Eli's poor performance his last three games?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
I say buy Giants -- at least the members of their passing game. GB, @Wsh, NO, @Atl, @Bal, Phi, so some nice matchups sprinkled in there, plus Eli fresh off the bye facing three of the best matchups, and that Eagles game might come against a team that has already shut down for 2012. Put Cruz in the back end of WR1 with confidence.
Picking up Campbell or Kaepernick off the waiver wire so my opponent only has one option for tonight a shady thing to do?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
Completely legitimate strategy.
Tristan what's for LUNCH? DAlexander, TYHilton, or MWilliams-TB ROS?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:05 PM)
Chicken caesar wrap.I'd go Mike Williams.
Chris Ivory. On the chopping block with Sproles looking like a lock to come back next week and Ingram looking like a viable NFL RB now?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:06 PM)
"Chopping block" referring to your roster I hope, because he's shown the Saints enough to remain involved, albeit on a lesser scale once Sproles returns. Yes, Ivory is a candidate to go, but I wouldn't freely shed him. Boom/bust running backs aren't the first things I'm shedding, unless I've just got a ridiculously deep roster.
Playing someone like Hakeem Nicks or Danny Amendola over McFadden if he plays this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:07 PM)
Nicks plays for me this week, period.
James (A Giant Peach)
Follow-up on Rudolph - do you think he's just going to be another Chandler-type guy or do you have some faith that he'll be more involved from here on out? Thanks for your thoughtful answers
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:09 PM)
I think he's a better player than Scott Chandler. Let's face it, when Christian Ponder was going good, he was making excellent use of Rudolph and Percy Harvin. He seemed to go away from that around mid-year, and predictably, Ponder's stats suffered. So I'd have to think that, with the bye week to step back and reevaluate, they'd get back to the type of connection they displayed in Weeks 1-6. He's got that kind of upside.
Stephen (Long Island)
Alright Tristan... I give up... Jennings when he comes back for my playoff run will he be effective?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:11 PM)
I think I field a Greg Jennings question every chat, but I guess I haven't become known for my anti-Jennings stance. I think he's all gear-up-for-playoffs, not anything meaningful in fantasy. Randall Cobb has stepped up as a major weapon in Jennings' absence, so it's not like Jennings will instantly slide back into his old spot. I'm thinking a possible Week 14 return, at best he's someone you want in Week 16 against the Titans. But that's not saying much.
Streaming D? Ariz, st louis, miami, carolina?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:12 PM)
Given those choices, I'm going Cardinals, if only because I think it's a plus that they're the home team in that game against the Rams. Just a better D than these other ones, too.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:13 PM)
OK, time to wrap things up for today. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours. Take care everyone, best of luck to those of you still in Week 11 matchups tonight, and I'd also like to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy.