Hi, everyone. Forgive me if I'm a little distracted as workers literally rip up the roof over my head (lots of banging). But it's training camp time -- best time to test my focus. Let's get right to the questions....
hey chris, love the chats and your insight. i play in a full keeper league and we draft rookies only. please rank the incoming rookie rb class in order that you think they will have keep fantasy value. thanks.
Hi, Michael. For this year only, my rookie RB rankings look like this: McFadden, Stewart, Kevin Smith, Forte, Felix Jones, Chris Johnson, Mendenhall, Torain, Ray Rice, Parmele, Hester, Jamaal Charles, Slaton, Alridge, Hightower. Something like that.
I have a draft tonight and I still have not decided on a draft strategy. I pick 10th in a 12 team snake league with no PPR and 6 points for all touchdowns. I am not sure if I should go RB-RB-QB, hoping for Lynch, McGahee, Roethlisberger (or some similar combination) or get a Romo/Breees with one of my first two picks, while then picking up a lesser RB or an upper tier WR in the third round. Please, I could use any thoughts/ideas to help me keep my sanity. Thanks.
Hi, Will. First of all: good luck tonight. Clearly, it's tough to absolutely say what you should do without knowing who the guys are who'll be taken with the first 9 picks, though we can certainly make some educated guesses. One thing I'll say is that rather than thinking of it as three picks, let's think of it as two at a time -- you get those first two in rapid succession, then have to wait a good long time, and get two more. So let's think of it as four picks, and you've got to get two RBs in those four, and at least one RB in the first two. First big question: can you justify *not* going RB-RB. If Tom Brady or Randy Moss is there for your second pick, I think you can. There are just so many uncertain backfield situations, so many tandems. It will take some luck to get a very good RB in the 3rd and or 4th, but if you wind up getting an elite WR or QB in the 2nd, it won't matter as much (since, as we all know, fantasy football is a game of stars). Would I take Romo or Brees with the 15th overall pick? I probably wouldn't. I'm unsure enough about them being the true elite (that kind of thing does vary from year to year) that if that were my choice, I'd probably go the safer route and take the second RB. I hope this helps.
Hey Chris. Can you rank the rookie WR's as you did for the RB's? Please rank for career potential, not just 1 year.
Hi, John. First off, let me admit that most of the ranking thinking I've done so far has been focused on this year -- it's just really hard for me to look at Jerome Simpson, for example, and say, "Oh, in three years, that guy's going to be a *god*." What I really know is that Simpson is going to struggle big time this year. So I'm going to give you my one-year rookie WR rankings, and you'll have to extrapolate from there. (Sorry.) I have them something like this: Hardy, Kelly, Sweed, Franklin, Doucet, Devin Thomas, DeSean Jackson, Earl Bennett, Royal, Caldwell, Manningham, Avery, Simpson, Jordy Nelson...something like that...
I'm picking 9th out of 10 in a snake draft. Will I be crazy to grab Larry Johnson 9th overall then come back around and take one of the top 2-3 WR's in the draft at #12?
Hi, Jeff. Crazy? No. But I'm off the Larry Johnson bandwagon hard this year. I gave the Chiefs too much credit for potentially putting together a decent O-line for LJ last year, and got burned, and the line looks even worse this year. First-round pick, Brendan Alberts (a guard who's converting to *left* tackle) has already gotten hurt in training camp and will miss a lot of the preseason. I just think Johnson is too fraught right now, despite all his prodigious talents. I have him rated 14th among RBs at the moment.
Does anyone on the Bears have any value whatsoever?
Heh. Hi, Todd. Good question. I think probably the defense is the most valuable unit here -- I expect a bounceback after an injury-filled year. It's very hard to project what a fantasy defense will do from year to year, but I admire their personnel greatly. On the offense, Matt Forte is probably the guy with the most fantasy value in drafts -- maybe that's only because we've never seen him run in the NFL, and we've seen all the rest of these doofuses. He's not a breakaway guy, he's a between-the-tackles guy, and that offensive line doesn't figure to be great. Of the receivers, Devin Hester has the most upside, but with the cast of clowns throwing it to him, he's not going to be a fantasy starter week-to-week, I don't think.
Hey Chris. I have the 4th pick in a 12 team PPR leage. Am I cray to pick Steven Jackson at 4? (Addai already taken due to dynasty league. Top 3 picks are LT, Westbrook, and AP). Thanks.
Hi, Scott. Not crazy at all. Jackson's valuable in a standard league, and he's all the more valuable in PPR. I actually have him ahead of Peterson in a PPR league, simply because of the presence of Chester Taylor in Minny. Now, should you consider Randy Moss ahead of Jackson? It's tempting -- I think there's a chance Moss actually out-points Jackson. But because of positional scarcity, and because you'll be able to find receptions (even if not quite at a Moss-like level) elsewhere, I'd probably go the "safer" route and take Jackson.
In a 12 team keeper league no PPR would you keep Turner or Bush and Calvin Johnson or Greg Jennings?
Hi, Matt. I think I'd probably go Bush over Turner (I literally have Bush one spot higher, so it's a very apt comparison) and Jennings over Johnson, especially if Mr. Favre really is going to be suiting up for the Green 'N Gold.
Grant or McGahee?
Awfully good comparison -- I have McGahee 11th and Grant 12th. Slip a piece of paper between 'em? I guess I'm going McGahee, but keep an eye on his injury status. He got nicked up early in camp.
Is Ahmad Bradshaw worth a late round flyer given his off the field problems?
Hi, Tom. I think he is; the NFL reportedly won't suspend him for his legal troubles, though he's going to have to spend another 30 days in jail after this season is up. Bradshaw was impressive in the Giants' Super Bowl run, and Brandon Jacobs is anything but durable. Realize that Derrick Ward will also be in the mix, and there will probably be weeks where everyone's healthy and Bradshaw does nothing. But I like him.
Is DeAngelo Williams worth a 6th rounder in a PPR league? I traded my future for LT last season, and I can't keep him. How about Javon Walker as a 9th?
Hi, Sean. I'm sorry to say that I really can't endorse either guy. Williams figures to be a complementary back to Jonathan Stewart, and while the fact that it's PPR does enhance him a bit, I think the sixth is still too early for him. And as for Walker -- honestly, there's no round in which I'd take him. He tried to retire this weekend and give back his $11m signing bonus; Al Davis had to talk him out of it. He's reportedly had a devil of a time separating from rookie corners in training camp. He's *not* going to be fantasy-relevant this year. Stay far away.
T Jones has a career season behind that new o-line. T or F?
Hi, Kurt. I like Thomas Jones more than some folks do this year. We do need to temper our enthusiasm, considering he scored once last year, but his career-best season with Chicago was 1,335 yards and 9 scores, and if he ever duplicated that for the Jets, he'd be a folk hero. I agree with you, though: if the Browns and Jamal Lewis taught us anything last year it's that revamped O-lines (if they're revamped in the right way) can make stars out of mediocre players. Now, the real question for you is: is Alan Faneca on the downswing, the way several Steelers thought last year? If so, this could all be moot.
I've considered taking Reggie Wayne with the 14th pick in my draft. Do I need to be worried about Marvin Harrison returning and Wayne not getting similar numbers to last year? Would I be better off with Owens, Andre Johnson or Edwards?
Hi, Eric. I have to admit, it's a little early for my taste, for exactly the reason you state: Marvin (and Anthony Gonzalez and Dallas Clark) can be a drain on Wayne. I have Wayne rated third among receivers, with Owens ahead of him; if I had to pick a wideout at No. 14, I'm probably going T.O. Though if Peyton Manning was there, I'd think long and hard about that, too. As I wrote in my QB positional preview, the era of the dominant fantasy quarterback may be re-emerging...
Chris, Will new coaches in Detroit, San Francisco and Baltimore help or hurt their RBs & WRs production?
Hi, Tom. Excellent question, and I have to admit: I'm not a guy who's traveling around to training camps, so what I'm about to say is definitely second-hand: the result of reading local newspapers, etc. My feeling is that no matter where Mike Martz has gone, his QBs and WRs have seen their fantasy values spike. Whether or not we can surmise who those guys will *be* at this point is another question entirely. (I have to say that Shaun Hill is looking like a very interesting late-round sleeper to me at this point.) Frank Gore? In theory he can be Marshall Faulk, and I like him as a first-rounder. As for Baltimore -- that offensive line might struggle some, especially with the way offensive tackles are getting hurt in camp. I don't expect a ton from that passing game, though McGahee should be fine. And Detroit -- expect to see the receivers come back down to earth, but expect to see Kevin Smith be a very nice fantasy factor.
Thoughts on Gore and Jackson for this year? Many seem to bring up Gore as "injury plagued" while Jackson is still a no-show in camp. Can both be Top-5 RB's this year?
Hi, Jarrett. I like how you word this question, because it gives me an easy out. "Can" they be top-five? Sure. They're talented enough. But I get your meaning -- do I think they will be? I give Jackson a somewhat better chance. Gore was injury-plagued in college, but he's been a pretty tough dude in the NFL, and he should catch an awful lot of passes in Martz's offense this year. I like him very much, and I've got him 6th among RBs, and 7th overall. (Brady is my No. 6 player.) Jackson is holding out, but this smells like one of those Emmitt Smith "don't-get-hurt-in-camp" holdouts; the Rams are already offering him a top-five-RB salary, and he's holding out for more, but a compromise smells imminent. And I think he'll be healthier this year. I have him as my No. 5 player.
Any chance McAllister has something left in the fantasy tank this year? Bush showed he can't be a 25-carry guy and NO should score a lot this season.
Hi, Brent. Well, yeah, they should score a lot, but I'd expect most of it will be via the air, as it's been the past couple seasons. You're right: the Saints can't possibly view Reggie Bush as a 25-carry guy, so someone else needs to get involved, but I've been dubious that Deuce McAllister would be the guy since April, and I'm still dubious. He's already had swollen knees in camp that have needed to be drained by trainers...it just doesn't sound good to me. As a late-round flyer, I don't mind him at all, but as a fifth-round pick or something like that? I'd let someone else take that chance. Take Pierre Thomas late instead; he'd be the likely inheritor of the non-Bush carries if Deuce is in fact still hurt.
Can you compare the relative merits of Selvin Young, Julius Jones and Lendale White? Also, do you think Roddy White has similar value to these 3?
Hi, Gary. White, Young and Jones are literally my 27th, 28th and 29th rated backs, so you've picked a tightly-packed group, for sure. Frankly, I like Young as a player better than the other two, but I just don't trust Mike Shanahan to really commit to one guy. There's just so much risk owning a Broncos back, and Young fits no one's idea of a goal-line back, the way White does in Tennessee. Even if Chris Johnson (and/or Chris Henry) steals touches, when the Titans get it close, White figures to be the guy, which is why he gets the nod from me. And Julius Jones has a lot of skill, but I've never really seen him put it together, and the Seahawks keep swearing they've got a committee between Jones and Maurice Morris. If that really winds up being the case (and I have to admit I'm skeptical), Jones deserves to be lower than the 29th I just said he is in my book. Roddy White has reportedly looked awesome in camp, but I worry the Falcons O-line is going to struggle; I probably have him a little behind at least the top two of these backs.
To follow-up about Jackson, if he is healthy doesn't that help Bulger and Holt's fantasy value? Both were disappointing last year.
Hi, Hank. Sure, but the thing that would help most would be to not get five offensive lineman hurt. I think that was most behind Bulger's struggles - he got gun shy, and who wouldn't, with an avalanche falling on you like that. Things should be better with the Rams offense if Orlando Pace and company can stay upright.
Chris, can you give some sleeper WR's (not rookies) that might emerge as solid late round pickups
Hi, Kevin. Obviously a very hard thing to project, especially because I dont know what league size you're in. (In other words: a sleeper in a 10-team league is often a must-draft guy in a 16-teamer...). But here are some names I like who at least probably won't be in anyone's top 30: Anthony Gonzalez, Bryant Johnson, Chad Jackson, Ben Obomanu, James Hardy (he is a rookie), Sidney Rice (assuming Bernard Berrian wouldn't be eligible for this list), and a couple very deep sleepers: Jason Hill of the 49ers and Mike Walker of the Jags.
Who's going to be the WR2 on Dallas this year?
Hey, Monk. I think it's almost certainly Patrick Crayton.
Is McNabb going to surprise people this year or is he on a fast decline to fantasy irrelevance? Also, thoughts on Calvin Johnson this season?
Hi, Jorge. Hey, when McNabb's healthy, he can still play. I love rooting for him, personally. One of my favorite guys. But relying on him to stay healthy is a scary game, and this could be his last year in Philly. I don't think anyone could legitimately claim he's on his way to irrelevance; I have him No. 9 among fantasy QBs, which puts him as a starter in my book. As for Megatron -- I did that fantasy draft with some NFL players last month, including Roy Williams, and when I took Calvin Johnson in that draft, Roy was effusive in his praise. Thinks Johnson will break big. Two reasons I don't have Johnson inside my top 20 among receivers: Roy Williams is still there (for another year, at least), and Mike Martz is gone, in favor of a more balanced attack.
Will Jeremy Shockey reemerge as a top 5 TE with Drew Brees throwing him the ball?
(Man, one of my dogs is freaking out with all this banging on the roof.) Good question, Andrew. Shockey's health still might be a little bit of an issue (his leg, that is), but out from under the cloud of uncertainty in New York (part of which centered around how much the team wanted to use Kevin Boss), yeah, his value goes up. I don't think he's quite a top-five guy in my book, because that would mean putting him over guys like Gates, Witten, Winslow, Gonzalez or Cooley, but I do think he deserves to be right after those guys....
Help a fellow Chris out, Keeper question...Can only keep 1 in a 12 Team PPR League...Engram 5th, Vince Young 8th, Kevin Curtis 10th, Kevin Jones 11th or Dallas Clark in the 12th.
Hi, Chris. I have to admit -- none of these guys sticks out as an absolute no-brainer, and you probably would be better-suited to know the scoring possibilities of these guys in the intracacies of your rules. I like Engram a lot this year, and think he's being undervalued considering he's the Seahawks No. 1, but the 5th seems about right for him. I guess maybe Curtis is the best value here?
I keep hearing reports that Chris Johnson is going to take 1st and 2nd down snaps away from LenDale White. Do you think that moves White down the list of starting RB's? He's not a pass catcher and is slow, so if he loses 1st and 2nd down snaps he is useless unless your league just awards huge pts for TD's.
Hi, Fred. Yeah, I mean, I hear the stuff on Chris Johnson, too, but I have to admit that I tend to be skeptical when it comes to training camp puff pieces, especially about rookie running backs. They *say* he's got blitz-pickup all figured out, and then the regular season will start and *wham*. You're right -- if Johnson winds up an every-down back, it'll really hurt White's value. I'm just skeptical that'll be the case. He's a straight-ahead runner who isn't actually all that elusive or big. He seems like a third-down guy to me.
Do you think Marion Barber is a good fit for the 9th pick in a 12 team non ppr league? I noticed people have taken him later than that in mock drafts I have looked over.
Hi, Kyle. Yeah, Barber inspires really differing opinions, doesn't he? He's my 9th running back, and my 11th overall player, but last year he was a serious touchdown-maker, and if he scores like that again this year, that ranking will look a little silly on my part. I just don't think the Cowboys view him as a 25-carry-a-game guy -- he's a violent runner who invites contact and is a relatively little guy. In a 12-teamer, yeah, I think he's a first-rounder. But I might be more tempted by Clinton Portis or Marshawn Lynch....
Just a heads-up, I'm going to need to leave pretty much right at noon. I hate that -- but my dogs are really losing it with all this hammering on the roof.... a couple more questions....
I'm in a keeper league and considering taking a chance on McFadden early instead or relying on someone boring like W. Parker or R. Brown. Will he give me enough this year to make the long term investment?
Hi, Frankie. Boy, the Raiders are absolutely loving what they're seeing out of Run DMC so far in camp. But as I said with Johnson, you do have to be careful with what you read about rookie rushers, because they almost all have problems with blitz pickup, route-running, etc. I think McFadden will have some *massive* games this year, but I think he also might toss in some stinkers. I have to admit that I do have Parker and Brown both rated ahead of him in a one-year league. But while I haven't formally done keeper-league rankings, I can definitely see the logic of taking McFadden over those two guys, because the sky should be the limit for him in the next few years. Plus you're right: it's more fun.
Thoughts on Chad Johnson this year. Will his story be his play or distractions?
Quit the banging up there, Roofer! I actually think Johnson will be fine. I didn't rate him inside my top 10 WRs in April just because of all the uncertainty about where he'd be playing, and you're right: things can definitely go south with this guy mentally at any time. But if I had it to do over, I'd probably put 7-11 right around No. 10, which makes him a really good player, indeed.
Who do you value more this season, Ray Rice, or Jacob Hester? Please advise
Hi, Don. At this point, I think Rice. He's a clearer handcuff to McGahee than Hester is to Tomlinson -- Darren Sproles is still in the mix, and if Tomlinson got hurt, I think Sproles and Hester would probably split carries.
All right, everyone. I'm sorry I need to go right at the stroke of noon -- but it's crazily loud in here, and my poor puppies are trembling. I'm nothing if not a sucker for sad and scared dogs. Thank you very much for coming, and we'll keep up the football talk on Monday mornings all the way through August. Have a great week.