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November 5, 12:48 PM ET
Fantasy Football w/Tristan H. Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:00 AM)

Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your fantasy football questions...

Jimmy (Syracuse, NY)

Tristan, Use Buffalo D this week or pick up Miami? Thank you

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:01 AM)

I'd pick up Miami. The Dolphins have played some pretty darned good football on their home field -- they rank 11th in total yards and 13 in points allowed -- and the Seahawks are a mess, having to travel across the country for this game.

Phil (Baltimore, MD)

Tristan how was your Halloween? Is Slaton against the Ravens D start worthy or should he ride the pine? My other options are Marshawn, Ronnie Brown, and Fast Willie.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:03 AM)

It was good, Phil, my son, despite being all of 1 1/2, apparently knows all about candy already. Such grabby-hands, he has. As for your question, I don't like Steve Slaton's matchup, but he's a tough cookie to sit even against a defense like Baltimore's, especially at home. In your shoes? Eh, I think you can sit him. Ronnie Brown is a no-brainer, and I call Marshawn Lynch a solid start any week because of his touchdown potential. Then I'd go Willie Parker because the matchup suits him and he looked healthy this past Monday. Then Slaton.

Dave (Detroit)

Buy low on Steven Jackson or is he going to have injury problems the rest of the year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:04 AM)

I dug up the schedule for this one, and I like it. I see @SF, @ARI, SEA, SF and @ATL in his future, so yes, I'd call him a buy-low. Should crack the top 10 from today forward.


another defensive question panthers or titans their stats are very similar?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:05 AM)

There isn't a chance in you-know-where I'm sitting the Tennessee Titans defense when Rex Grossman is their opposing quarterback.

Andrew (PA)

How worried should I be about Brandon Marshall's recent play? Is he getting soft like popcorn?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:06 AM)

One game should never, ever condemn a player. (Note: Condemn is a strong word.) And it especially should not condemn an elite talent, particularly a wide receiver, because that position tends to be the most inconsistent of the "big three." See what I'm getting at? I bet Marshall hears those criticisms and goes off this week. Just you watch.


Tristan PLEASE help! Thomas Jones and Leon Washingtong for Ronnie Brown, should I do it? Also, Addai or Lynch the rest of the way?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:07 AM)

Sold! Seriously, I like Brown a lot. Much safer. And I'd go Marshawn Lynch of the other two.

Obama (chi il)

Is tyler thigpen for real? over delhomme this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:08 AM)

Congrats, dude. Much more lopsided victory than I was expecting (though not nearly so much as in that Atlanta-Oakland game in Week 9!). As for Thigpen, I'll say no. He's matchups-capable, certainly, but no, I wouldn't start him over Jake Delhomme. Think of him as a two-quarterback league matchups play, and remember, after this week there are no more byes, so desperation-type plays like that aren't nearly as necessary.


Steven Jackson's schedule is great, but what about his health? Also, what do I do with MJD? Our trade deadline is Friday, do I see what I can get for him?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:10 AM)

I think the reason I'm such a believer in Jackson is, if memory serves, he had some health questions a year ago around this time and came back with a real strong finish. Hard to bet against that repeating itself. As for Jones-Drew? I'd probably stand pat, actually. I have to think the Jags realize he's their key to victory, and run him more down the stretch. If you deal him, I doubt you'd get much more than, say, a No. 2-type receiver, and I don't think that's worth it.

Chris (Raleigh, NC)

Are you taking the over or under on ESPN's projection of 14 points for Ryan Torain this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:11 AM)

The under, but only in that it's a road game, and therefore I put something in the 10-13 point range a more realistic expectation. I can say this: I don't like the reports on Selvin Young's health, and in a short week, I doubt he's much of a factor. So that might mean Torain is a lock for 15-20 carries. He's a definite flex play, maybe up to No. 2 status.

Ben (Boston)

I have Schaub now injured, and Bulger is my backup. Bulger has some decent matchups but I don't like him this week @NYJ... for a one week pickup do you like Frerotte, Flacco, or Hill this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:13 AM)

For some reason Joe Flacco's name keeps popping into my head, because the matchup suits him. Still, I have to think Gus Frerotte is the safer choice, and I think safety is the right call here. I'd probably go Frerotte, Flacco, Shaun Hill. And I agree, I don't like Marc Bulger's matchup, either. But then I don't like the Rams at all in road games, especially on the east coast.

Jenn VA

Do you think Mark Bradley is worth a look this week? He's scored in double figures the past 2 week.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:14 AM)

Maybe as a desperation flex choice in a deeper league. In standard ESPN, two RBs, two WRs, a flex? No thanks. I'm not fooled.

Floyd Turbo, Podunk Ca.

Whats up with Darren McFadden? He's wasting space on my roster. I may be able to pick up Ray Rice or Jaamal Charles. Dump MaFadden? Any thoughts?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:15 AM)

I would. But I continue to stress that the "right now" is more important than the "maybe later." I'd prefer Rice; stronger offense to run in.

Nelson (Elizabeth, New Jersey)

Did you have your son dressed up for Halloween? If so, as what? With Matt Jones facing a suspension, how do you feel about reggie williams while Jones is suspended(in both PPR and regular)?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:18 AM)

I did not, actually, though that was mainly because my attempts to locate a fedora in his size fell short; he could've had the Indiana Jones look down with the jacket he has if I had found one! Tough to find tiny hats like that, though. Anyway, re: Jones, for the record, I'm of the mind that when a guy is going to get suspended, we -- or the player's team -- tends to know for sure by now, because practice time is vital to a team's preparation. Maybe the Jags already know if Jones is out for Week 10, but like last week, I call him less than 50/50 to actually begin his suspension this week. Seriously, I think we'd have known by now. So I'm saying Jones is a definite start, barring last-minute word he's suspended. If Williams plays? Eh, he's OK if you're desperate, but I'd make a serious effort to find a better option. I think the Jags might just run all day if Jones is out.

Ryan (VA)

Will Quinn be the Anderson of last year? Start him over Ferrotte or Thigpen?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:20 AM)

The Anderson of 2007? Interesting. Could happen, and I did scoop up Brady Quinn everywhere I could once that decision was made (and a spot or two before it came down, actually). I'm optimistic, tough schedule or not, and say he'll be a matchups type down the stretch, though not quite Anderson-like. Think like a No. 10-12 type quarterback, you sub 'em in and out of your lineup as the matchups dictate. This week? Well, the on-paper matchup looks fantastic, but it's a short week. I'd probably still go the safer route with Gus Frerotte. But it's closer than you think!

Phillip Rivers (A Whales (#*$@(#!@))

Rapid Fire! Pick 2! Peyton, Romo, or Me rest of the way? Thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:21 AM)

I'd stick with Peyton Manning.

Tom (Yorba Linda, Cal)

Addai against Pit or Mr. Hype (Torain) against Cleve? Thx Tristan.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:22 AM)

Good call on the "Mr. Hype," though again, if Ryan Torain is all that the Broncos have got, and you're realistic about what he can do, as I am trying to be, I think he's a fine fantasy play for this week. Certainly with higher upside than Joseph Addai.


Strategy question here! I am a lock for the playoffs. How much do you believe in trading your depth to strengthen your starting lineup for the playoff run? It exposes you to injury, but could really pay off in the long run.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:24 AM)

<i>Always</i> get the best player in the deal, especially if you're confident in your ability to scout players off the waiver wire, as I am. Good example to back your strategy: Every week when setting my waiver pickups, I have a hard time finding enough guys to cut to get the players I want. That usually tells you your depth is fine, and that you probably should be consolidating two lesser players for one better one. One thing, though: A lot of people don't tend to understand that two "C" players don't equal an "A" player in trade. You tend to have to give up a lot -- say two "B" or "B+" types to get that "A" guy.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Should I start Quinn over Big Ben?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:26 AM)

I'll go on record saying that I could see Ben Roethlisberger sitting this week. And even if he does play, I'd be surprised if he offers much in the way of great fantasy numbers. Bold as it might seem, yes, I would take Brady Quinn and not take the risk of waiting, because bottom line, even if you could get Byron Leftwich as a just-in-case sub, I'd take Quinn over him every time.

Joe (Mahwah, NJ)

The overall success of my team hinges on Tynes reinsertion into the Giants lineup. When should I start him?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:27 AM)

Don't jinx my Giants, Joe! The high blood pressure that guy created. For the record, John Carney has done a fabulous job stepping in for Mr. Tynes this year. I see no need for him to lose the gig now.


Matt Ryan over Peyton this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:28 AM)

That's getting a little <i>too</i> cute, though MJ, I do like your thinking. Bringing up Ryan allows me the opportunity to proclaim him one of my sleepers of the week!

Tommie Boy---AZ

Who do you see has more value rest of year----Hightower or Lendale----standard league

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:29 AM)

Tim Hightower, if only because I seriously think that's his gig now, and he's the goal-line guy regardless. So that means we're talking about two goal-line bets, in which case I take the one with the better chance at a full slate of carries. Chris Johnson's presence in Tennessee says to me no way LenDale White matches Hightower in touches from today forward.

J - Boston

Tristan, A KICKER QUESTION????? Need some help, brutha! I have Orton, Schaub and Favre in a league where 1 QB starts. Should I drop Orton, Schaub, or both for Garcia or Pennington? Who to start?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:31 AM)

Well, since both of those guys are out for awhile, I'd say yes, you can feel free to let them go. I'd probably want Chad Pennington first, though I'd admit that I'd probably stick with Matt Schaub instead of dropping him as well to get Jeff Garcia.

Bohle, Guangzhou, China

How do you choose a kicker? I tend to pick a kicker when the matchup is more even. Longwell against Houston kicked 4 EPs and had no field goal attempts. So he did good football wise but not fantasy wise. Wanted to get opinion of an "expert". Thanks, Bill

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:32 AM)

Kickers are apparently a big deal today, for some odd reason. Anyway, my quick answer would be "dart board," but to take this seriously, I look for these factors: Environment (i.e. dome, bad weather, etc., what are the field factors?); high-scoring game (go with the games with high over/unders); performance (kickers who stink in the accuracy department are no-gos); and close, hard-fought battles (yes, the spreads do matter). I typically pick from guys in the shoot-outs, or when I'm confident his team will breeze past 30 points.


Who do i start at RB this week? pick 3...Forte, MJD, S.Jax, Torrain, or Ray Rice? THANKS

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:34 AM)

Yeah, seriously. Though I'll say this: Giving my kicker strategy closes the door on kicker questions for the day. Sorry folks, you'll just have to save the rest for my next chat, or just e-mail me them! As for your picks, Matt Forte and Maurice Jones-Drew are must-starts. Health determines the rest. Steven Jackson is tough to sit, but health is a worry for this week, I admit. I have a feeling Ryan Torain will be your pick, but as I said earlier, his status closely hinges on whether Selvin Young plays. If he doesn't, it's Torain all the way, I wouldn't wait.

James, Ca

Tristan, do you think J Charles will keep the gig for the rest of the season, or is LJ coming back?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:36 AM)

Well, I traded Larry Johnson with worries that he might not see the field much the rest of the year, but my gut instinct here is that Kolby Smith's season-ending injury greatly increases the chances Johnson reclaims the starting role after his suspension ... barring further discipline from the league. Jamaal Charles' performance this week might have a lot to say about it, so this is a key week to track the situation, but I'd say right now, I think Johnson is coming back, even if it doesn't excite me all that much.

Joe Cleveland

Dynasty League. Who has more value over a careeer? Schaub or Orton? My gut says Schaub.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:36 AM)

So does mine.

Roger (NM)

How do you feel about eliminating kickers from a fantasy league completely?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:37 AM)

You know, Roger, I wouldn't have any problem with that. Kickers, seriously, are a total crapshoot and I think everyone now understands that it's stupid not to just wait until the final round to pick them.

Marsh (StL)

What does the signing of Culpepper do to Calvin Johnson's value?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:40 AM)

OK, so a lot of people are asking about Daunte Culpepper today, so let's address it. My take? Yuck. I am not a believer, and think it's desperation for a team that for so long seemed like it'd be Drew Stanton's team in the long haul. Now Stanton gets passed on the depth chart by Culpepper? Really? That's not a good sign for Stanton's future in Detroit. As for the impact, Culpepper has to adapt to the offense, and he has been nothing short of awful in every season since he left Minnesota. It's going to hurt Johnson's value, though as the best receiving target in that offense, I still see him being a solid weekly No. 2. He's just going to be a rather inconsistent one, I'd think. Frustrating to own.


Tough question here Tristan, I won't hold you accountable, but I need advice!! Addai's playoff schedule is great, but will he be able to capitilize on that considering his injuries, the Colts play, and Rhodes potentially stealing carries? Should I try to trade him for Brown, Lynch, or S-Jax? Or will I gte burned when he tears up that weak schedule?!??!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:42 AM)

Ken, not like I'd be offended if you held me accountable. I feel pretty strongly that I'd deal Joseph Addai for <i>any</i> of those three! It's that definitive an opinion. Given the choice, I'd go for Ronnie Brown. Best combination of year-to-date performance, second-half upside and remaining matchups.

Rees (UT)

I need a bye-week fill-in at TE (Cooley), any recommendations?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:43 AM)

How about Dustin Keller, Marcedes Lewis or Billy Miller?

Taylor (CA)

How do you think Roy Williams does on his new team when Romo comes back? Should he be dropped for someone like Avery or Bryant (TB)?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:45 AM)

I'm optimistic that Williams, at the very least, can be matchups-capable once the bye passes, though I wasn't all that enamored by the move to Dallas in the first place and my opinion of him has continued to decrease since. Let's say he's your No. 3 receiver only once he shows chemistry with Romo <i>and</i> the matchup suits him. And that's asking a lot. I'd let him go for Donnie Avery for sure. Rams will throw a lot, and he has bona fide home-run potential.

Do you like those Sonic commercials? (dallas)

I own Witten and TO, do you see them picking it up during FF playoffs or should I try dealing them and seeing what I can get?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:48 AM)

Not really, re: the commercials, though it doesn't help that there isn't a Sonic within two hours of my house, which means it makes no sense I'm seeing the commercials since I'm hardly going to drive that far for fast food. As for the Cowboys, I'd stand pat, because their value couldn't be lower. Problem is, their playoff schedules are ugly -- @PIT, NYG, BAL. I'd stick with 'em, but also keep my fingers crossed. Too much talent in that passing offense (once Tony Romo returns) for them not to straighten things out at least a bit.

Dan (CA)

Top 5 TE's the rest of the way?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:49 AM)

Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten are the easy top three, and I'd call Gonzalez and Witten almost interchangeable, with Witten certainly No. 2 if we knew for sure he'd be 100 percent right out of the bye. (I'm hopeful, but even the slim sign of doubt has me saying they're like Nos. 2 and 2A.) Final two? I'd go Dallas Clark and then Owen Daniels.

Ron, OH

Tristan, How can you tell someone to start Billy Miller with Shockey starting? Also, K.Faulk, J.Stewart, or Lendale White ON Sunday?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

Bye-week plug-in question. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and while I haven't said it this week, I do remind people that the many different leagues, league types and of course individual team situations could require different things. I don't advise Miller for anyone else but the desperate. As for your question, I'm going Jonathan Stewart. I absolutely love that matchup.

Jake (VA Beach)

Pick 2 of 4 (subliminal 24 reference in there). S Holmes, Slaton, Torian and Charles in 1/2 PPR

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:53 AM)

Nice subliminal reference, Jake! Counting down the days, but that special better be good, and I'm concerned it will not be. (You?) I'd go Steve Slaton. Poor matchup or not, he catches passes, and that keeps him a respectable enough starter given the alternatives.

Jerry (NYC)

You always say "get the best player" so if i lose slaton and r. moss and get r. brown and v. jackson am I doing the right thing?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:54 AM)

Depends on your wide receiver depth, but I'd call that a pretty fair trade. And Brown is the best player in the deal, so you know the side I'd want.

Do you like Thursday night games (NFL Network)

Which side do you like better? Hightower or Randy Moss.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:56 AM)

Re: Thursday night games, no, if only because I have an office pool that locks <i>all</i> picks with that kickoff, and I think that's completely ridiculous, not to mention that my cable provider doesn't carry the NFL Network, so I have to go out to see the games. Otherwise, doesn't bother me much, and those are small gripes I admit, when considering the big picture. Re: the trade, tough call there, and needs would come into play. "In a vacuum," as people so often ask? I'd probably want Tim Hightower.

Riaz, OH

A legit defense question. Miami or SD this weekend?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:57 AM)

I'm calling the Chargers a "trap" play of sorts for fantasy. They don't perform up to expectations, and the Chiefs are playing better football than expected. Good time to pick my sleeper defense, Miami!

tony: (chicago, il)

i met tony almeda over the summer. holmes, torain or j. stewart at flex??????

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:58 AM)

Did you ask him why exactly he went bad? Jonathan Stewart again here.


Tristan..reeses peanutbutter cups or kit kats?? Kevin smith or lance moore?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:59 AM)

Yes please. Though the first thing I think here is these answers can swing either way, depending on my mood for the candy, and depending on PPR for the latter. An overall answer, what the gut says right this very second, I'm going Reese's, and Lance Moore.

Randy (ct)

Word on the street is that this years 24 is the best yet...last year got way too outa control. Tristan, youre always good to me...I struck a deal for Gore. Gave up Rivers(who was sitting on my bench cause I have Brees) and Slaton. Good deal? please say yes. Also, CJ over Lynch this week right?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:02 PM)

I hope you're right, Randy, and yes, Season 6 was nuts. Hated the family angle. Hated it. As for your trade, I think you gave up a bit much, but then I have a lot of overall respect for Steve Slaton. There are teams out there for which it makes sense, though. Most of them have quality starting quarterbacks, as you do. Good example like when I said about the two "B" players for an "A" ... though I call Rivers and Slaton both B+ at least. Play Chris Johnson, yes. Love that guy.

Al, NY

Wait, you work for ESPN yet dont have the NFL network? Your kidding me. Celek or Carlson at TE?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:03 PM)

At my house, Al. If I'm at the office, of course I can see the game. Brent Celek's value is entirely tied to L.J. Smith's health, and early word is Smith will play. So, sorry, Celek will go back into obscurity in Week 10.


Buzzer beater.... Quinn or T Edwards this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:04 PM)

You know, I am going to take that chance on Brady Quinn. Trent Edwards is in a funk and an assignment at New England is no easy task.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:05 PM)

Thanks for all your questions this week, and as always, sorry if I couldn't get to yours. Seems like more and more rolling in every week, and wish there was more time to tackle them all! Best of luck to all of you in Week 10, and take care...