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December 1, 10:42 AM ET
Fantasy Football Christopher Harris

Christopher Harris
  (11:00 AM)

Hey, everyone. The fantasy playoffs are presumably set in most leagues -- let's get down to analyzing what we saw yesterday, and what we think going forward....

Jason (Omaha)

Good morning Chris! Is the Giants run Defense that good, or is Portis really that banged up?

Christopher Harris
  (11:02 AM)

Hi, Jason. Well, I think it's maybe a little bit of both. Portis was with the training staff on the sidelines an awful lot yesterday, but the Giants were just dominant at the line (on both sides of the ball), which we should be pretty used to at this point. It didn't help that Jason Campbell just couldn't do anything. Unfortunately, Portis gets the Ravens next week, which is not a nice way to start the fantasy playoffs.

Brad (Miami)

Is Peyton hillis for real? and anything about his injury?

Christopher Harris
  (11:04 AM)

Hi, Brad. Freaky to see Hillis light up the Jets like that; New York had been the hottest run defense in the NFL leading into Week 13. Is Hillis for real? I'm hesitant to go crazy on him, because as soon as you think you've got a Denver RB locked in, Shanny messes with you. But at this point it'd be mighty hard to envision Selvin Young taking the starting job back, even if and when he gets healthy. Hillis is a sure fantasy starter against KC next week, that's for sure.

Playoff Help, NYC

Oh boy, I was going to start Portis, Barber, and Forte as my three-headed running attack, but now think i should bench Portis, and start Cassel and Orton instead? Yeesh, how did i even make the playoffs??? HELP!

Christopher Harris
  (11:06 AM)

Well, I haven't done Week 14 ranks yet, so I can't weigh in for absolute certain, but I have to say that Cassel and Orton played *very* badly yesterday. They each have nice matchups next week (Cassel vs. SEA, Ortion vs. JAC), and Portis (as I mentioned) has a brutal BAL matchup. Would I use Cassel over Portis? I guess maybe I would, if you're fed up with Portis's injuries. I wouldn't do Orton, though.

Jim (Chicago)

Do you think future FF Hall of Famer Lance Moore has less value now with Bush back? I really need him to maintain his mojo (I'm trying to avoid starting Braylon at all costs).

Christopher Harris
  (11:09 AM)

Hi, Jim. Well, just when I thought I understood the Saints' passing game, Marques Colston re-inserted himself as the top receiving threat, with Moore only grabbing two catches -- fortunately one was for a score. Do the receiver have less value with Bush back? Probably a little. After all, he's a great receiver. That wouldn't cause me to not start a guy, though. Moore is riding a five-game touchdown streak, and while it's nuts, you probably can't take the chance of benching him. It'll end eventually, but hopefully not next week.

Billy (NYC)

Stick with Romo against Pitt next week or hit the waiver wire?

Christopher Harris
  (11:11 AM)

Hi, Billy. If it's Romo or someone off the waiver wire, I think you just grit your teeth and hope Romo has a decent day. He doesn't much care who he faces, at least we know that, and the Cowboys obviously have weapons. Romo will get the crap kicked out of him on some plays, but I have to believe he's still better than, like, J.P. Losman or whatever. I'm a big believer in riding the guys who brung you. There's nothing worse than out-clevering yourself and leaving a would-be stud on the bench because of a bad matchup, then losing when your replacement posts Negative-12 points.

Lily (SD)

Better waiver wire pickup, Hixon or Toomer?

Christopher Harris
  (11:12 AM)

Great question, Lily. They each got nine targets yesterday, and they each made some big plays. There isn't a clear answer here, but if I have to pick one, I think I go with Hixon. He's faster and a better downfield threat, in general, than an advanced-age Toomer is going to be. Of course, Toomer is likelier to be steady. If you're looking to a hit a homerun, I'm guessing Hixon, though.

Joe (Phili)

From here on out do you see Brian Westbrook as an every week start again? Those giants are scaring me a little!

Christopher Harris
  (11:14 AM)

Hi, Joe. Man, it's so hard to say. Now he's got a bad toe to go with his knee and ankle, and as you say, the Giants get to stop him next week. When he's been healthy in the past, he's done fine work against the Jints, but clearly he's not healthy. I'm guessing that this week I'll have him ranked in RB2 territory (as I did last week). The four-TD game was undoubtedly a little lucky (see also: Williams, DeAngelo), but hey, if you started him, you deserve the fruits of your labor.

Dave (Frisco, Texas)

Is it time to cut Plax? Do you see him contributing in the next four weeks? Since I have no Big Roto to work with, who do you like if Plax is a cut? My options are: Avery, Bess, A. Bryant, Bradley, Bruce, Curtis, Ginn, Jenkins, Douglas, or any other Giants WR. I'm thinking A. Bryant...your thoughts? Thanks!

Christopher Harris
  (11:16 AM)

Hi, Dave. The good news is that you *will* have a Big Rotowski to work with tomorrow morning. They gave me the week off last week because of The Breakdown being on an accelerated schedule, but I'm right back to doing the year-end rankings today (to be published tomorrow). So I don't have a clear answer for your replacement yet, but tomorrow, I will. As for the Plax question -- I have to believe he's done for the season. I have no evidence, but he's got a gunshot wound, which isn't good, plus he's in the legal system and I have to believe that the Giants don't want him playing for them right now. If you need the roster spot (and this is a Monday morning guess that is definitely subject to change), I think you can cut Burress.

Steve, Worcester, MA

Christopher, On your "ride the guy that got you there" comment - Who'e YOUR gut saying to start this week D.Williams vs.Tampa Bay or Slaton vs. Green Bay? Williams has been incredile as of late, Slaton was earlier in the season - I am leaning towards Slaton with the better match up

Christopher Harris
  (11:18 AM)

Hi, Steve. Well, again, I reserve the right to change my mind, because I haven't done the spreadsheet crunching for my weekly ranks (which will come out Wednesday). But I hear you -- Slaton has the *far* better matchup here. I want to see how he looks tonight, and also how he holds up with presumably more use now that Ahman Green is done, but this wouldn't be a case where I'd feel like I was obliged to use Williams, since he's huge production has really only come in the past month or so. My gut tells me Slaton over Williams knowing what I know at this moment (Williams had four one-yard TDs yesterday, which is lucky)...

Dominic (Brighton, MI)

Do you got any advice for early wire pick ups for this week? Any help with Wr's and Rb's would be great. Thanks

Christopher Harris
  (11:21 AM)

Hi, Dominic. Well, Hixon isn't a bad idea at WR, nor is Toomer. I also could convince myself to take a look at Mark Clayton, who's suddenly producing like we expected a couple seasons ago. Derrick Mason is still my fave Ravens receiver, but in a deeper league, Clayton could be worth a look. Pierre Thomas is probably owned in most leagues, but just in case, it doesn't seem as though Reggie Bush's return is going to completely void Thomas' value. Gary Russell seems basically set as the Steelers' short-yardage guy, though it'd take stones to start him. Cadillac Williams scored a touchdown and could be worth adding at this point. Hope that helps.

Jeff (Iowa)

What is up with Rhodes playing more in the fourth quarter than Addai?

Christopher Harris
  (11:23 AM)

Hi, Jeff. I know! I was watching that game late yesterday, and I couldn't figure out why Addai wasn't in when the Colts were in the red zone late. All those plans we had about Addai being one of the most valuable players in fantasy down the stretch because of an easy schedule have to be amended. It would be mighty hard to sit him against the awful Bengals next week, but I think I'm pretty well done viewing him as a top-10 option. Rhodes is just consistently stealing too much of his time.

Rocco (Phoenix)

Is Cadillac Williams going to start getting more carries in the Buc backfield?

Christopher Harris
  (11:25 AM)

Hi, Rocco. I think the short answer to your question is: yes. I think Williams' role is growing. But I also think the Bucs are pretty happy with Warrick Dunn, and they gave him a season-high 22 carries yesterday. Both guys will have some value, and Dunn can't be viewed as a no-matter-what starter every week, but he's also going to catch more than zero passes most weeks, and I think you can still see him as a source of 20 touches most weeks. Williams is probably worth a just-in-case add, but it'd be tough to start him until you see him exceed four carries.

Rob (Wrigleyville)

Is LJ legit again? They seemed to use him alot yesterday. How about Bush? He was being used then seemed to disapear....was that due to the weather? Thanks!

Christopher Harris
  (11:28 AM)

Hi, Rob. LJ had a nice second half against an easy matchup, which is a good sign; he gets the Broncos next week, so I'm almost positive I'll have him ranked as a nice RB2 again next week (as I did this week). As for Bush -- Pierre Thomas seems to be the main handoff guy still for New Orleans, and Bush seems to be the pass-catcher. Honestly, I don't know what to make of that situation. It just seemed like they were going to give the first crack to Thomas, and if he succeeded, they were going to keep giving it to him. Since he was pretty good, they did. Bush's value will eke upward each week, I think, but it might be hard to justify starting him in a fantasy playoff game next week.


What happened to Bowe on sunday, he is almost always good for 8?

Christopher Harris
  (11:30 AM)

Hi, Ray. Well, I only checked in on that game occasionally, so I'll watch it in the next day and be able to speak more intelligently about it, but from what I saw, Bowe and pretty much everyone except Tony Gonzalez fell prey to Tyler Thigpen playing like...Tyler Thigpen. Thigpen can run, that's for sure, and he can definitely throw it short, but his deeper passes were back to being hilariously inaccurate. The Broncos aren't good on D, so I think Bowe is a must-start again next week. But it would be nice to see that spread offense go back to, y'know, *spreading* it around.

Jem (Westchester)

What's wrong with Gore? And an angry Jets rush D ain't gonna solve the problem...Would you play Chris Johnson and MJD over him next week? Or even Hightower vs. the Rams?

Christopher Harris
  (11:33 AM)

Hi, Jem. As I've said, I haven't done all my work for Week 14 rankings yet, so I can't be positive my answer will stay the same. But at the moment, I can't believe I'd sit Gore. I mean, yeah, he didn't do a ton against the Bills, but he *got* the ball a ton, and he's healthy. Meanwhile, MJD has a short week and the Bears next week. I think in a fantasy playoff game, I'd probably be all about Gore and Johnson and hope for the best. Gore got 27 touches this week; if he does that most weeks, at least one of 'em's usually going to lead to a score, y'know? But you're right, I tend to be conservative, and to want to play the guys who have the track record. It's a philosophy, but if you don't agree with it, I couldn't begrudge you.

Jon (Dallas, TX)

What's up with Ryan Grant? I own him and Brandon Jackson, going into the playoffs which do I start? THANKS

Christopher Harris
  (11:34 AM)

Hi, Jon. My understanding is that Grant hurt a ligament in his thumb, which is why Brandon Jackson played so much late in that game. (I was wondering the same thing as the close finish was unfolding.) I don't think you'll want to go near starting Jackson unless you know for sure that Grant is out (which I certainly haven't heard anything definite yet). Stay tuned.

Riaz, OH

Chris, Fantasy playoffs are next week and up until yesterday it looked like Lendale White was a no brainer against Cleveland with L.J having a good game against the Raiders, does he warrant strong consideration vs Denver over Lendale or am I overthinking?

Christopher Harris
  (11:36 AM)

Hi, Riaz. Per my earlier answers, I haven't finalized anything for Week 14 yet, but I have to say that *my* instinct would probably be LJ over White. I guess my foundations of analysis are about touches, and I can be pretty sure that Johnson is going to "out-touch" White. White is a great candidate to get short-yardage TDs, obviously, but as we've seen over the last month, that's so game-dependant. If he doesn't get a short-yardage bunny, he's almost worthless. But stay tuned to the ranks on Wednesday.

Joe (NJ)

What happens to Braylon's value with Dorsey at QB? Is a second-string WR more startable?

Christopher Harris
  (11:37 AM)

Hi, Joe. I think Edwards' value is *crushed*. I'm almost positive I won't have him in my top-20 receivers. Obviously, it depends on *which* second-string WR you're talking about, but yeah, would I rather have someone like Eddie Royal? Abso-freakin'-lutely.

William (Texas)

Hello Christopher, can i count on Colston from here on out?

Christopher Harris
  (11:39 AM)

Hi, William. Short answer: no. Longer answer: I don't really know what the heck is going on in New Orleans. I guess what we can say most definitively is that they're taking it game-by-game. Against the Packers, they clearly saw something matchup-wise that told them Lance Moore was their best bet. Against Tampa's zone, it was Colston. Atlanta (next week's foe) is more of a man-under team, so maybe that means Moore is the guy again, but it's just hard to say for sure. And because it's so hard to say, that's why I'm saying Colston is a hard guy to definitively count on. Now, you may not have a choice, and he's certainly capable of blowing up. But clearly this ain't '07's Colston.

Tom (SoCal)

1st round of playoffs this week. Cassel vs Sea or Brees vs Atl?

Christopher Harris
  (11:39 AM)

Hi, Tom. I'm going to be the more conservative guy in a comparison like this. I don't see how you can go away from Brees, even if Cassel does appear to have a good matchup.

Kevin, Dallas, TX

Whats going on with Jonathan Stewart. Technically he was supposed to be the short yardage back which meant he should have gotten all 4 tds. Is he just useless now?

Christopher Harris
  (11:41 AM)

Hi, Kevin. That technicality went out the window a few weeks ago. DeAngelo Williams now has 9 TDs in the past five games. Stewart did break a nice long run against the Packers yesterday, but he felt a hammy after that run, and didn't do much thereafter. I've always thought Williams was a good short-yardage guy, and the knock against him was really more that he made too many negative plays. But that's not been the case as much this year. Stewart is still a nagging doubt at the back of Williams owners' minds, but yeah, for the moment you probably don't want to be starting Stewart.

Spyder (CA)

Chris, What a hit on Welker yesterday, Yikers. Any idea if he'll be playing on Sunday?

Christopher Harris
  (11:42 AM)

Hi, Spyder. Yeah, that was really brutal, a definitely fine-provoking hit, and maybe even a suspension. Really dirty play, well after the ball had been deflected. You know the Pats: they're going to play it close to the vest on their players for most of this week. Considering Welker only has one score all year anyway, he might not be worth waiting for in a late game next Sunday. But we'll know more later in the week.

Al, NY

Kurt Warner against the Rams sounds like a dream matchup. Just confirm I am crazy for thinking of starting Romo over him next week?

Christopher Harris
  (11:43 AM)

Hi, Al. Crazy? No. You've got two really great options. But yeah, Warner's going to continue to be my No. 1 guy this week. I'd use him over anyone else.

Joe (St. Louis, MO)

Do I stick with McNabb after his great week against Arizona, or do I go with Cassel and the nice match up in Seattle?

Christopher Harris
  (11:44 AM)

Tough one, Joe. Haven't done my ranks yet, but my gut tells me Cassel. McNabb has the Giants, and they're just not giving up fantasy points over the past month or so. To anyone, really, any position. This would be a case of me worrying about McNabb more than me fully endorsing Cassel, though.

Steve (Cypress, TX)

Sorry to be a pest, but I trust your advice......Am I crazy to not play LT against the Raiders based on his history? I also own SJAX, LJ and B Jacobs. Thanks.

Christopher Harris
  (11:46 AM)

Hi, Steve. Not a pest, man, it's just that I don't have my rankings for next week done until Monday night's game is over. But I hear you about Tomlinson. That, combined with the Raiders struggling to stop the run, does make me think LT is a startable guy. He's not our same old famous Top Player In Fantasy, but he's likely to get short scores, and the Chargers have to get him going to have a chance. Jackson is arguing with his coaches about whether he was gassed last week, and well, I guess Jacobs is a must-start. LJ or LT? Eesh. I think probably LT. But check back with me Wednesday.

Frank (Wheaton, IL)

Hi Christopher, have you heard any news on Barber's injury? Would dropping Sammy Morris for Tashard Choice be a good speculative move or is it a waste?

Christopher Harris
  (11:48 AM)

Hi, Frank. John Clayton (ESPN's own) reported this weekend that there was a "good chance" that Barber wouldn't miss any more time because of his dislocated toe, though a lot can happen between now and next Sunday. Barber also has a brutal matchup against the Steelers. I think owning Choice makes a lot of sense, though I would probably say that Morris is a more valuable commodity at the moment. Is Morris like your 5th or 6th RB? In that case (if there's no way you'd ever use Morris), then I don't hate picking up Barber's pure handcuff. The issue, of course, is that the Cowboys have a ridiculously bad schedule the rest of the way.

Matt (DC)

What is wrong with Brandon Marshall? He has not had a 100 yd game since week 3! Would you drop him and look to the wire?

Christopher Harris
  (11:50 AM)

Hi, Matt. Well, what's wrong is that he's getting every defense's attention, which is why guys like Eddie Royal are open in man-to-man coverage against weaker corners. I don't think you should drop Marshall. He gets the Chiefs next week, and he's a very talented dude. In my mind, you're best off playing your best players, and if you lose, well, you lost with your best. If you cut a clear No. 1 guy like Marshall (who, I grant you, hasn't performed like a No. 1 lately) and pick up a waiver-wire guy, the strongest probability is that you're pretty much dooming yourself. I know it's a crummy situation to be in, but I think that's probably the way to go.

Stuart (Syosset, NY)

Chris, what do you think of Chester Taylor next Sunday against those mighty Lions? Will AD share the ball?

Christopher Harris
  (11:52 AM)

Hi, Stuart. I can almost guarantee you I'm going to have Taylor as a very strong flex play in my weekly rankings, but I doubt I'll be able to justify putting him in the top 20 among RBs. When I'm formulating ranks, for me it's all about touch-potential, and while Taylor absolutely is in there a lot of third downs and even got a could goal-line looks last night, the Vikes are very invested in having Peterson be a stallion. So I guess if you're in a deeper league and/or have flex needs, Taylor's a great option. Otherwise......

Roddy ( Los Angeles)

Yo Chris, Ravens D has been money for me, but I'm thinking of dropping them for Indy for the playoffs. Home vs Cincy and Det, then @Jax - Can't beat that right?

Christopher Harris
  (11:53 AM)

Hi, Roddy. It's a great schedule for the Colts D, for sure. Boy, though, I don't think I could do it. I think I'd rather have the defense that I know, regardless of matchups, is the vastly superior one. The Colts scored a defensive touchdown yesterday, and did a good job shutting down the Ken Dorseys (er, Cleveland Browns), but they're still shaky against the run. I can't help it. I think I'm going to be on Baltimore. They just make so many plays.

Brendan (Boston)

Is S Jax going to be back to his old dominant self now? I saw you say something about him arguing with his coaches?

Christopher Harris
  (11:55 AM)

Hi, Brendan. Yeah, I should elaborate. They didn't argue on the field. It was just that Jim Haslett pulled Jackson in the fourth quarter with the game on the line yesterday, and told reporters afterwards that Jackson was gassed. Jackson denied that he was tired, and basically said he wished his coach would stop throwing him under the bus. What a mess. Guess Jim Haslett ain't coming back. I wouldn't say that Jackson is entirely back, but it's encouraging that he made it through more than 20 carries and apparently didn't wind up hurt. Arizona isn't an easy matchup for him next week, but I'll almost certainly have him rated as a RB2.


John Carlson, Zach Miller, or Heath Miller? Who ya rollin with from here on out?

Christopher Harris
  (11:57 AM)

Hi, DGA. I think proabably Zach Miller. Heath has made a decent comeback from his ankle issue, and Carlson certainly doesn't lack for chances, but Zach Miller is so clearly where JaMarcus Russell looks nearly every play that I'd have a hard time getting away from him. None of those guys are elite, which means any of them can put up a big bagel at a moment's notice. But I like Zach Miller best, I think.

MikeD, Chevy Chase, MD

Whats the dilio with McGahee? Should he be dropped?

Christopher Harris
  (11:58 AM)

Hi, Mike. I don't think you drop him, but I also don't think you start him. Clearly, things can change in a single week, and if McClain gets hurt next week, McGahee could go right back to being The Man. McGahee has 16 carries his past three games. Argh. Yet John Harbaugh claims that not giving McGahee any carries yesterday was "strategic," and that he's saving him for December. OK, whatever that means. I don't think you drop him, but I do think you bench him.

Kev (NYC)

Chris, Eli or Thigpen for the playoffs next week? Thanks!

Christopher Harris
  (11:59 AM)

Hi, Kev. As I've said, I don't have definitive rankings for Week 14 yet, so this is absolutely preliminary. But I think I'm probably going Eli. I didn't like what I saw out of Thigpen yesterday, except for how he ran. He just isn't accurate down the field. I know the Broncos aren't very good on defense, and the Eagles are probably better, but I just trust Eli now to be a little more consistent....

Aaron (Little Rock, AR)

Its the first round of our playoffs this week and I need a tie breaker on a RB start decision for this week!!! Gore v. Jets or Hillis v. KC?? THanks!

Christopher Harris
  (12:00 PM)

Hi, Aaron. Ga. Again, a provisional answer. I think I'm going Gore. I can't help it. I just can't bring myself to bench one of the best players in football if he's not hurt, and coming off a 27-touch game. I know the Jets are scary against the run, and the Chiefs most certainly aren't. I dunno. My first reaction is Gore. Let me look at it over the next day, and figure out my "official" ranks, out Wednesday.

Christopher Harris
  (12:01 PM)

All right, gang. The noon hour approaches, and I have to get writing on my many fantasy football projects for the week. So let's tackle one more.....

Jas (Canada)

Do you think Jamal Lewis become useless with a 3rd string QB?

Christopher Harris
  (12:02 PM)

Hi, Jas. Useless? No. But against the Titans this week, I don't think I'd go near him. He doesn't look like the same player as last year, the O-line isn't getting the same kind of push, and you're right: nobody's going to respect Ken Dorsey. I think Lewis needs to ride fantasy pine next week.

Christopher Harris
  (12:04 PM)

All right, everyone. Thanks for coming, and here's a look at my schedule for this week. Today and tonight, I'll be writing the Big Rotowski, which comes out tomorrow morning: it's my season-end ranks for all positions. Wednesday, our Week 14 rankings will be out, and I'll also have a Breakdown for the Thursday game between Oakland and San Diego. Then Friday, the full Breakdown will be out, with my fantasy spin on every single game in Week 14. Until then, thanks very much for coming, and I'll be hard at work trying to figure things out for the fantasy playoffs. Good luck.