Hi, everyone. Let's get started -- since it's Monday morning, I'm not going to have done much work on rankings for Week 13 yet (just so you know), but we can definitely discuss what happened yesterday, what might happen tonight, and overall impressions for the fantasy playoffs. Let's get right to it....
Big Rotowski, Thanks for the advice all season, it has helped a great deal. Keeper league questions (I am on the border of making the playoffs) - Matt Ryan is my backup to Favre. For the rest of the season (and as a potential starter next year) should I replace Ryan with Orton or Hasselback? Also, I'm looking to drop Julius Jones. Do any of the following have sleeper potential for next year (if I have to start this guy this year I'd be in trouble anyway) - Fred Jackson (UFA), JJ Arrington (UFA), Leon Washington, Maurice Morris (UFA), Mike Hart, Antonio Pittman or Bobby Engram?
Hi, Jason. Thanks for the kind words. Hey, in a keeper league, I'd be looking to hang onto Ryan. His learning curve in Year 1 has been incredibly favorable, and it would seem he'll only get better in Year 2. The Falcons will have a tougher schedule next season, but this kid looks like the real thing to me. I'd hang onto him. Of the guys you list as potential sleepers next year, Fred Jackson and Leon Washington strike me as possible candidates. Jackson could land at least a bigger part of a platoon elsewhere, and Washington is already making the occasional huge impact even in his limited role. Will Thomas Jones be back for the Jets? Probably, though he'll be 31 next year. That tends to be a pretty big dropoff point for running backs.
I dropped McNabb for Cassel yesterday after the game, good or bad move. Will McNabb play Thurday? Cassel has Pitt this week.
Hi, Steve. Well, based on the past month, it's pretty hard to argue. The Eagles are expected to announce their plans for their starting quarterback gig at noon (ET) today, so we'll know shortly. I watched that game, and I have to say that as bad as McNabb was, Kevin Kolb was far worse. I would be pretty surprised if McNabb isn't the starter against Arizona Thursday night. But that doesn't mean I'd feel very good about using him. As for Cassel, my biggest surprised of the weekend, bar none, was that the Pats came out with no running backs and the spread formation, like they used to do with Tom Brady. Now, Cassel didn't throw downfield as frequently as Brady does, but nevertheless, I admit I have to do a pretty major reassessment of Cassel's fantasy value. He's going to be a borderline fantasy starter most weeks, though the Steelers are going to be tough in Week 13.
Chris, Is Rhodes going to vulture away Addai's goaline carries?
Hi, Tom. Well, Addai definitely carried the mail for most of the game last night, but the one thing we all forgot as we pumped his fantasy value after Week 11 was that the Colts run so much darned shotgun. It's very tough for Addai to have a lot of value out of that formation, especially because Rhodes will play a fair amount on passing downs. It was flat-out bizarre to see Rhodes get five straight looks in the red zone in the second half last night, and completely predictable that he'd get stuffed on three of them. He wound up catching a fourth-down play on the goal line for a touchdown, but if the Colts are thinking about him as a goal-line guy, they're crazy. It would be foolish for me to say he has no impact on Addai's value, though....
Hi Christopher- What's wrong with Jamal Lewis? I know he fumbled yesterday, but it seems that all year long, Cleveland has not committed enough to the run to get him going. Is it O line injuries or Jamal's happy feet? Is he falling into flex-worthy only type territory?
I know, Chip. Lewis has been a big-time disappointment, and at this point, I'd be surprised if he's back for the Browns next year. The fumble notwithstanding, he just doesn't look like the same guy as he did last year. That may simply be because the Browns don't have a downfield passing game the way they did last season, but the most disappointing part of it all is the fact that the O-line just isn't the same. I was all *over* that unit as one of the best in the league to start the season. Doh. I think the happy feet are attributable mostly to the line, but either way, Lewis is starting not to look like a very good fantasy bet for the rest of the year.
Time to admit you were wrong on TJONES?
Hi, TJ. Well, it depends on the time of year you mean. Early this season, of ESPN.com's rankers, I consistently had Jones the highest -- and in fact was "Called Out!" for liking him *too* much in the second month of the season, if I recall correctly. However, I decided to zig just as everyone else was catching up to where I had Jones consistently ranked. I saw his schedule over the past few weeks, and I balked, and *that* turned out to have been wrong. So yeah, in that regard, definitely. Of course, Leon Washington stole *two* scores from TJ yesterday; it'd have been nice to have him get all those TDs, and Washington seems like he'll continue to be a drain going forward. But hey, give me a *little* credit. I had Jones ranked as a starter against the tough TEN defense this week....
Thanks to McNabb I lost my playoff spot. Should I even bother keeping for next year or should I just drop him.
Hi, Carl. Well, we'll have a better answer to that in a little while, because if the Eagles announce that Kevin Kolb is starting on Thanksgiving, you can take it to the bank that McNabb is done in Philly. In that case, we wouldn't know where he'd land, and it would be tough to keep him. I'm not going to be shocked if the team and the player kiss and make up, but yeah, I mean, really, either way at this point, he's not looking like much of a keeper, depending on what else you have available to keep on your team.
Should I start LenDale White or Jamal Lewis. Both aren't doing very well.
Hi, Dave. See above for Lewis thoughts. As for White, he called out his coaches after yesterday's game, which tends not to be a very good career move. He only got one carry overall, which is ugly -- some of that has to do with Kris Jenkins and the idea that if you're going to run on the Jets, it's probably not going to be straight up the gut like White tends to do. I wouldn't be shocked to see him have a bigger role going forward. But Chris Johnson is the workhorse there, with White as the specialty back. When the Titans get close to the goal line, that tends to work out. When they don't.......
What are your toughts on Chris Johnson? He is killing me right now.
Hi, Jas. That's a nice segue into Johnson himself. Yeah, I mean, he hasn't been playing that well, but yesterday seemed to me to be a case where he was just going up against the hottest run defense in the NFL. The cure to what ails him is coming Thursday with a start against the Lions. Overall, though, the strategy teams are employing against the Titans is clear: make Kerry Collins beat you via the air. Johnson is a must-start Thursday, though.
What is Reggie Bush's status? I have him and picked up Pierre Thomas yesterday just in case. Who should I play?
Hi, Gail. Good on you for picking up Thomas, because every indication is now that Bush won't play tonight. Multiple N.O. newspapers are reporting it. Bush owners need to look elsewhere, and I'd be looking at Thomas over McAllister right now, though McAllister *has* had his knee drained a couple times this year already, and has played passably well thereafter. Still, if that's a committee, I think I like the looks of Thomas a little better....
Chris, please help with this flex question for tonight- Driver, Moore or Thomas?
Hi, Aaron. Brutal. They're all close. I literally had Lance Moore No. 25 among wideouts this week with Driver No. 26. I guess that means .0001% of me thinks Moore is a better play. As for Moore v. Thomas? Eesh. There's obviously no way to know for sure, because we can't know how the Thomas/McAllister platoon will go. I'll say this: the Packers are much easier to beat on the ground than via the air. But the Saints want to throw no matter what. My gut tells me when in doubt, go with the Saints receiver. But you really have three equal options there, IMO.
What's up with Reggie Wayne? He did nothing vs one of the worst pass def in the NFL!
Hi, Murray. I know! I had Wayne as my No. 1 fantasy receiver this week, and Manning really didn't even look his way all that often. Quentin Jammer followed Wayne all over the field, and I guess Peyton just decided he didn't want to mess with him, and instead picked on everyone else. Anthony Gonzalez and Marvin Harrison were way more involved. The Chargers put a ton of pressure on Peyton, and maybe he just felt he didn't have time to hit Wayne on deep routes. Regardless, he's not hurt, so far as I know, so this is just one of those fantasy things, I guess.
Think McFadden is a good flex play for the rest of the season?
Hey, Spyder. McFadden scored twice yesterday, but remember that Justin Fargas had a big game, too, as the Broncos' defense regressed big time at the worst time. The thing that alarms me about Run-DMC is his carries: he still only got 10. You need more to be a viable fantasy starter. McFadden needs to be owned in all leagues, and he would appear to be a high-upside flex. Could I justify starting him next week if I had a lot of other options? It'd be scary. I'd like to see those touches go up.
What is Trent Edwards value the rest of the season? Better than Orton's?
Hi, Will. Well, as I said on ESPN Radio last night, the biggest lesson I learned about Edwards on Sunday was that every time he plays the Chiefs, you should start him. I'm not ready to say that Edwards is fully back to where he was at the beginning of the season, but I'm also not ready to say that Orton is the same guy he was before his injury, either. Each guy played an awful defense Sunday. I have Edwards ranked higher than Orton (did last week, too), but neither is a must-start in fantasy leagues right now.
Chris, I (wisely) benched Westbrook yesterday and started D.Ward as my flex. Do I do the same thing this week or do you expect Westbrook to step it up Thurs and Jacobs to be back? I would guess if NYG clinches HF Ward would be a fantasy beast for the playoffs potentially.
Good question, Kevin. Obviously, as is the case a lot of the time, we have to read the tea leaves (i.e., "guess") about what teams' plans will be down the stretch. The Giants really owe fantasy owners an apology after yanking us around all weekend, as it now appears obvious he was never going to play. Will he play next week? Can we believe anything they tell us? I'm with you: Ward is a must-own right now, just in case. As for Westbrook -- he's a mess right now, and the Arizona run defense is very good. I wish I could answer for sure on a Monday morning about a Westbrook v. Ward start, but obviously, we're dealing with seriously imperfect information. I think at the moment, I'd lean Westbrook, especially because Correll Buckhalter will miss the game.
What happen to Greg Olsen yesterday? Did he get hurt? He had 0 receptions, which caused me to lose my matchup by only 3 points.
Hi, Chaz. No injury, just a blowout. Kyle Orton threw only 18 passes all game, and a whole bunch of those went to Matt Forte and his backfield mates. The Bears just didn't have any reason to throw. It's frustrating, but that's what we get in this Anti-Year-Of-The-Tight-End. There just aren't many consistent options out there.
Moore or Colston tonight?
Hi, Ray. Well, the Packers are tough to throw on, and one assumes they'd be most concerned about Colston. But they also play a lot of man, and if they don't give the corner covering Colston help, no matter who he is, Colston can beat him. I'm going with Colston, but of course, you never can account for where a ball will get thrown. Moore benefited from a fallen-down Chiefs DB last week and took a little screen to the house. I'm going Colston, I think it's the smart move, but I guarantee nothing.
Assuming I make it to the playoffs (it's questionable), I'm looking to drop Julius Jones and Donnie Avery and pick up Leon Washington and Camarillo. Your thoughts?
Hi, Elizabeth, Washington for Jones I can see, but of course, you're not getting two touchdowns (and one exceptionally long one) from Washington every week. Supplementary backs aren't very good every-week bets. As for Camarillo, it didn't look good for him late Sunday, as he had to be helped off the field with a knee injury, but apparently he didn't hurt it that badly (at least that's what he told reporters). If Marc Bulger was healthy (he was concussed yesterday), I'd probably prefer Avery. Since he's not, I can see an argument for Camarillo. Plus the Dolphins and Rams play next week, and I'd sure rather be on the Miami side of that one.
Do you think Hillis is the guy now in Denver? Same question for the 2 Morris' in Seattle and New England?
Hi, Dan. Hillis will lose playing time when Selvin Young comes back from his groin injury, but I still think he'll be the guy to own in that backfield, as the potential touchdown maker. Sammy Morris loses a lot of value if the Pats are going to go spread as often as they did yesterday, in which case Kevin Faulk would appear to be the more valuable player, but you'd probably rather avoid the NE rushing situation altogther. And as for Seattle, I can't see why the Seahawks *wouldn't* give Maurice Morris another start, considering how well he played yesterday. Julius Jones evidently has a bit of a calf injury, but he's also just not a very good player. Of the three, I think Hillis has the most fantasy value, but Maurice Morris might get the most carries.
What do you think of S. Hill as a replacement for McNabb? His schedule looks pretty good with some soft pass Defs
Hi, Bryan. Well, I just watched the DAL/SF game tape, and I have to say that after seeing Hill play yesterday, I wouldn't nominate him for dog catcher, let alone fantasy starter. He was terrible. I know he threw a couple garbage-time scores, but he just can't throw an accurate deep ball and stinks in the red zone. I actually don't love the 49ers schedule anyway (BUF, NYJ, MIA, STL, WAS), so I wouldn't be considering him as a QB1 right now.
CH: Strategy question for you. When looking for a kicker at this time of year, should weather conditions be considered at all? I've been scouring the FA wire every week for the best options both matchup and weather wise and they've worked out pretty well for me.
Hi, J.B. Kicker strategies in general tend to bite me in the behind, but I understand what you're saying. For sure, playing in Pittsburgh, New England or the Meadowlands this time of year should probably count against a guy, and playing in a dome should probably count for him. If it's working for you, keep doing it. All I know is as soon as I think I've got a kicker system figured out, some schmeldron I start goes 0-for-5.
Was Winslow in the whole game yesterday? It looks like he didn't even have a reception until the final two minutes of the game.
Hi, Jay. I haven't watched the tape yet, so I'll be honest and say I don't know what Quinn-to-Winslow looked like, but my understanding is that Winslow did play the whole game, and that his shoulder held up. I'll write at greater length about it in the Breakdown this week after I see the footage.
Christopher, I'm still not sold on Colston over Driver. GB gives up 12.9 points to opposing receivers and NO gives up 21.1. Is there something I'm not seeing here? Please help.
Hi, Tony. I guess the main reason I'd go Colston over Driver is the presence of Greg Jennings. Jennings is the No. 1 guy, Driver is No. 2. Jennings has 77 targets to Driver's 68, and touchdowns are 5-to-3 Jennings. Could you make the argument that Lance Moore sucks aways every bit as much value from Colston? I guess. Maybe I'm just too stuck on *last* year's version of Colston. If you have a feeling in your gut, you should go with that. I'm not sitting here telling you I'm absolutely positive what's going to happen -- and I can't argue with you: the Saints are way easier to pass against than the Packers.
Would you pick up Pierre Thomas or Maurice Morris? THANKS!
Hi, Dave. I think Morris right now, actually, only because even though Reggie Bush isn't going to play tonight, I presume that he *will* get in there soon, whereas it seems like Morris has a decent chance to start some games going forward, considering how well he played yesterday.
Is Ronnie Brown still a viable option as a #2? Watching that game, Ricky looks like the featured back IMO.
Hi, John. Finally, a question where I get to brag! I was super down on Brown this week, and got bashed for it, but I'm with you: Ricky Williams is stilling too many touches right now. I'm not going to go so far as to say Williams is the featured back, because Brown plays every down and even runs the single-wing (a.k.a. Wildcat) some. But Williams is a drain on Brown's value. I do still think Brown is a RB2 in fantasy, but a shakier one that we presumed a month ago. This week against the Rams, I expect all will be right with the world for Brown, though.
Kevin Walter continues to put up big numbers as the #2 guy in Houston. Is he now a viable WR2?
Hi, DGA. I actually switched Walter in for Plaxico Burress at the last minute late yesterday morning, and definitely felt good about it. Walter is going to sit in that 20-to-30 range each week, depending on his matchup. It was a very good matchup against the Browns this week, and it's pretty good against Jacksonville next week, too. Not as good against Green Bay the week after that.
Brandon Marshall hung in there...but, is there any reason to be concerned about him, or, about Reggie Wayne? Wayne seems to be about the 4th target on the team now.
Hi, Ace. Yeah, I mean, Marshall's relatively struggly day was foreseeable, because of the presence of Nnamdi Asomugha, though Asomugha didn't have Marshall on *every* play. The Raiders can cover the pass (they just can't stop the run, though they were better yesterday). As for Wayne, c'mon, let's not be dramatic: it was one game. Wayne will be fine, and Marshall will, too. It's frustrating, though, I know.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING CHRIS to you and yours. I made the playoffs which are weeks 15 and 16. We start 2 Wr's..1/2 ppr..You think Randy Moss and Bowe are fin going foward or should I be looking on the wire for matchups. I also have Plax (ughh)..Thanks
Hi, Steve. Happy Thanksgiving to you and everyone else. I think you're probably set. Moss isn't going to scored three times each week, but if New England is really going to commit to running its "Brady-esque" spread every week, as it did in the second half against the Jets and all day yesterday, Randy Moss's value just went through the roof. And Bowe just produces. y'know? He gets that tough Raiders pass defense next week, but I think you have to keep starting him. Certainly over Burress, you do.
I'm thinking of sticking D Hixon on my bench in a keeper league. What's your thought on that. Maybe not for this year, but for next year?
Hi, Joe. If it's a deep (very deep) keeper league, I might consider it. At this point, the Giants have to know that they'd be a better team without any of the malcontents from the Tiki Barber era (Shockey and Burress come to mind), and if Plax were to go, Hixon would be quite a value. I guess a lot of things would have to happen, but Hixon *could* wind up a nice sleeper next year.
Is Desean Jackson no longer startable now that McNabb looks so awful?
Good question, Steve. Yeah, I mean, I think I'm going to devalue those Eagles receivers quite a bit for this week's Arizona game, despite the fact that Eric Green couldn't cover my grandmother. (And Rod Hood is hurt.) Let's wait until we hear for sure who's playing quarterback, but nobody on that Eagles offense is looking very usable just now.
Why won't you answer a question about me? Do you hate me as much as my fantsy owners or something? When am I going to produce again?
First off, remember, I'm up over 1,000 questions asked with 10 minutes left in the chat, so I'm sorry, I know it's frustrating not to get questions answered, but I promise I'm going as fast as I can. As for Jackson: well, there's just not much news. He was ruled out *so* early for Week 12, it doesn't sound to me like he's going to be ready all of a sudden for Week 13, but we certainly won't know anything for sure until the Rams decide to comment. Right now, deep dark hole for Jackson's fantasy value is about right.
Why does everybody's kicker but mine go off for 17 points? Seems like there were a lot of high scoring games there!
I know, David. I played Nick Folk yesterday. Ga.
As a Steve Smith owner should I be concerned about Dehlomme. Sure Smith went off yesterday, but the fact that Jake has been so bad can't bode well long-term can it?
Hi, Matt. Long-term, well, I think Smith is fine, because he's an amazing player. However, one wonders if the Panthers are starting to think about Life After Jake. Delhomme apparently hurt his elbow again yesterday, though it's unknown to what extent. We all remember that Smith's value hit the tank when Delhomme went out last year, so the last thing we should hope for is for him to miss time. I honestly think that if Delhomme keeps playing, Smith will produce enough to justify using him every week.
Should I drop Buckhalter for M Morris? I dont own Westy. Thanks
I would, Ryan. Buckhalter is out for a couple weeks, it sounds like.
Am I a better play than Cutler going forward?
Boy, I don't think so. Thigpen didn't look good yesterday. He just dropped the ball without being touched at one point, and threw one horrible pick (and one less horrible one) to Leodis McKelvin. I know Cutler stunk yesterday, too, and I'm not meaning to say that Thigpen is worthless. But Cutler is going to bounce back. He'd be my guy.
I can only keep 2 for next year. MB3, lynch, m.ryan, megatron. Help?
Hi, C.K. I think Barber and Johnson, though it's nice to have two other very strong options.
Willie Parker or Warrick Dunn for playoffs?
Hi, Amanda. I guess I don't know, because I don't know the state of Parker's knee. Certainly, if he were healthy, he'd be my choice. If I had to decide this moment with imperfect medical info, I'd go Dunn.
is brees a better play than cutler going forward?
Hi, Dave. Brees, yes. Brees over Cutler in general is a statement I have no problem agreeing with.
Portis had a great game yesterday. Is he a MUST START this week?
Definitely, Chris. Every week, provided he's healthy and active.
Assuming McNabb starts on Thursday, should I start him or Roethlisberger? Or try to pick up Jeff Garcia (available in my league)?
Hi, James. I haven't done my weekly rankings yet, so this is entirely from the hip. But I think Big Ben against a beatable New England secondary sounds pretty sweet, as does Garcia against the Saints. But let's see how that Saints secondary holds up tonight before we make any definitive pronouncements.
Should I be really concerned for Slaton from this point on?
Hi, Robert. Well, I think he's wearing down. But I also think that Ahman Green is going to miss at least a couple weeks, meaning Slaton will still get a whole bunch of carries going forward. Unless we hear dire medical news in the next day or two, I think you keep using him.
All right -- I have to drive a friend to the airport, so one more.
Can Cassell keep it rolling against that awesome Pitt secondary?
Hi, Jack. Well, let's clear one thing up: I don't think the Steelers secondary is by any stretch "awesome." However, the linebackers and the pass rush *are*. And there's a decent chance that Pats tackle Matt Light will be suspended for next week's game for his hair-pulling incident of Channing Crowder. I have to admit, I'm not sure, because the spread really seems to suit Cassel well. He's going to get hit, but yeah, I think he can keep it going. I'm talking myself into thinking of him as an every-week starter.....
All right, everyone. Sorry I have to bail right at the dot of noon, but like I said, I have to make an airport run. Please have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, enjoy the games on Thursday, and I'll see you right back here next week. Peace.