Hi, everyone. Welcome to the fantasy playoffs. Let's get right to it....
Chris, Im in a bad spot. I just lost Hillis AND Gore this weekend. Can I drop either? Tashard Choice, McClain, Selvin Young, and Chester Taylor are the best options out there at the moment. Thanks
Hi, Ryan. It sounds like Hillis is droppable: Mike Shanahan says he's most likely out for the rest of the regular season with a badly pulled hammy. Obviously this is terrible news. The news isn't as bad for Gore: x-rays were reportedly negative, so it doesn't sound like he's done for the season. Too early to know if he'll be able to play in Week 15, though. Choice and McClain would be the better options of that bunch, I think.
Hi Chris whats your take on L.McClain this weekend if he gets the full workload against a pittsburgh defense on the road
Hi, Hector. Well, first off, that might be a big if, because it's hard to tell what the Ravens will do with their rushers in a given week. But given that Ray Rice and Willis McGahee both left last night's game apparently a little banged up, McClain does seem like the fave for carries. *If* we could be assured he was the guy? He'd probably rate as a flex against the Steelers' tough D. To be fair, though, the Pats and Cowboys have run well on Pittsburgh the past two weeks.
I?m obviously concerned that for the first week of our playoffs next week, not only is my WR 1 Megatron facing the league?s best end zone pass D in Indy BUT a former Yankees minor-league 3B prospect might be throwing to (I mean at) him. Still, you don?t sit him period, right? Pick one more (or two if you think even he can?t overcome the whole Det mess this time) from Lance Moore who ended his TD streak and plays in blustery Chicago, A. Bryant at Atl or Branch at StL.
Hi, Jem. Since Week 14 isn't over yet, I haven't done Week 15's ranks yet, so I can't tell you for sure which other guys I'd choose, but yeah, I'm going to be facing the same issue with Calvin Johnson next week (the fact that Drew Henson might be the Lions' starting quarterback -- yikes), and I think I'm going the lean the same way you are: Megatron plays. I have a tendency to think I'm going to go Lance Moore, too, but check back with me Wednesday.
Not necessarily a FF question, but how in the world did D. Hixon drop that touchdown strike yesterday? ARRRRRRRRRRGH.
Hi, Mark. I know. I was playing Hixon in my biggest league yesterday, and was watching that game live when it happened. I purred.
Is it okay to drop Favre in order to pick up Shaub? Thigpen is my other QB. Thanks!
Hi, Tim. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Remember a couple months ago, when every reader seemed to be ripping me a new one in "ESPN Conversation" for not loving Favre enough? I'm not ready to anoint Schaub a must-start just yet -- he has the Titans and Raiders the next two weeks, two pretty good secondaries. Favre has the better schedule, but clearly is scuffling. But I honestly don't think I'd make that trade right now.
Is Tashard Choice worth scooping up? He looked pretty darn good yesterday..
Yeah, Mike, no doubt. That was one I did not see coming, especially not against Pittsburgh. Choice is a must-own for all Marion Barber owners, to be sure, and if you're *not* the Barber owner in your league, go ahead and grab Choice just to torture the poor sod.
what a moron i am...benched walter for cothery yesterday. so dumb. anyway, up 22 and my opponent has steve smith and TB D. do i have any chance whatsoever?
Hi, Chuck. I don't think you're a moron -- I'd have done the same thing, to be completely honest. I thought the Jets would do a lot via the air. Whoops. Do you have a chance? Of course you do. It's fantasy, man. Anything can happen.
What's up with Jacobs?
Hi, James. Well, he told reporters after yesterday's game that his knee injury wasn't a big deal, but of course, he's said that before. He's not a lock to play next week. Derrick Ward should be owned in all leagues, still.
You seem to know the most about match-ups ... how many corners are there in the NFL that would make you think twice about playing a good WR against them? Obviously Nnamdi Asoszoxvknzah in Oakland, who else?
Thanks for the kind words, Ryan. Yeah, Nnamdi Asomugha can sometimes be beaten for bigger gains, but generally I think he's got the best instincts and moves of any corner going right now. The Raiders don't necessarily always lock him on one guy, though, so that doesn't automatically mean you need to bench the No. 1 receiver playing him. I think Antoine Winfield and Darrelle Revis are the other two guys going right now who are awfully scary to have going against your big receiver.
Is there any chance Hillis makes it back this season? If not, will I be okay playing match-ups with Sammy Morris and Desean Jackson in the flex spot, or should I try to grab Tatum Bell?
Hi, Pete. I'm not in Denver, but reading the papers this morning, it didn't sound good for Hillis. Shanny pretty much seemed to rule him out for the regular season. I don't hate the idea of grabbing Bell, but I'd imagine Selvin Young is the best of the bets among the remaining Denver rushers. Expect a rotation.
Is it time to drop JLew?
Hi, Steve. Well, I mean, bench, drop, six of one, half-dozen of the other. He's clearly unusable without a real quarterback in front of him. I don't know if he must immediately be jettisoned from all fantasy teams, but yeah, he's not usable.
Is Kyle Orton reliable for the rest of the season, or would Schaub or Pennington be a better choice?
Hi, Wilson. "Kyle Orton" and "reliable" are not typically words used in the same sentence, eh? I guess yeah, I've got both Schaub and Pennington rated higher than Orton for the rest of the year. I probably like Schaub best of those three, though again, I don't like his schedule the next two weeks very much.
Need a fill in for Hillis. With Addai banged up, and Colts facing Det, would you consider Rhodes over McClain next week?
Hi, Mike. Well, the thing about Addai is that his shoulder evidently wasn't really bad, and he could've come back in if the Colts hadn't been waxing the Bengals. As I've said, without the Week 14 games done, I don't have my Week 15 ranks done yet, but I'd say that Rhodes and McClain (who faces Pittsburgh) will be pretty close. Check back Wednesday.
McClain, Pierre Thomas or Kevin Faulk the rest of the year?
Hi, Steve. I would say Thomas would be my guy. I don't like McClain having to play PIT and DAL the next two weeks.
Deion Branch's big game...fluke or legit? He has the Rams next week and every fiber of my being wants to start him over Kevin Walter...
Hi, DGA. I actually mentioned Branch on a couple radio broadcasts yesterday morning as a deep sleeper, so let's just say even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while. I liked the revenge angle, and the Pats stink in the secondary. And hey, so do the Rams. Am I going to have Branch higher than Walter (going against TEN) in next week ranks? I tend to think not, but again, check back Wednesday.
Was Nnamdi covering Chambers this past Thursday? That's the only way I could justify his miserable performance.
Hi, Will. Not exclusively, no. Hey, listen, it's not like Chambers has been good this year, and suddenly laid an egg. He's clearly the fourth (or even fifth) receiving target on the Chargers now. On the year, he's got 26 catches. Can't blame Asomugha for all that. I wouldn't be using him, period.
You mentioned earlier in the chat that Vikings cb Antoine Winfield is one of the best in the league. Next week the Vikings play the Cardinals - will he cover Boldin or Fitz?
Hi, Kevin. Winfield is another guy who often plays sides as much as he plays specific receivers, so you'll see him on multiple guys in a game. For instance, he had Calvin Johnson a fair amount yesterday, but Megatron beat Cedric Griffin for his long TD. So I'd say you'll see Winfield on both guys at various times.
I should still be starting Chris Cooley over Zach Miller, right?
Hi, Tim. Well, you have two good options. Yeah, last night's disappointing effort notwithstanding, Cooley has been every bit as consistent as Miller has, and for longer. I don't like Jason Campbell much these days, but he's better than JaMarcus Russell, right?
What is the status of Selvin Young for the next two weeks?
Hi, Karyn. I don't think anyone knows for sure, not even Young. He was questionable for this week's game but didn't play, and he's no lock for next week, either. One would assume that if he could be in there, he might be in line for a lot of carries, and if he's active, he's probably my preferred play if you have to go with a Denver back. But right now, it's question marks for his groin.
Strategy Question: Once you get outside, say, the top 20 in WRs, do you generally go for upside (think Berrian, Holmes) or safe production (pre-injury Camarillo, Mason)?
Hi, Dan. Well, I think the answer to that question really depends on the fantasy team. If your regular starters are a bunch of consistent guys who never really post huge numbers, then it makes sense to go with the high-upside WR you mention. But if you've got a bunch of high-risk guys already, a little bit of "guaranteed" production is never a bad thing. (And don't forget: Camarillo is out for the year.)
Did Portis aggravate an injury or was Zorn just trying to preserve him last night late in the game? I really need to be able to rely on Portis against Cincy this week with the playoffs on the line.
The D.C. papers were pretty equivocal on Portis, but the announcers last night (Al and John) kept going on and on about how Portis would be in there if he could. I dunno. I have to think when Washington got within a touchdown and had the ball, if Portis could've played, he'd have been in there. But I guess we'll know more later in the week. Suffice it to say that Portis is likely to be a game-time decision yet again next week.
Do you like Maurice Morris as a pickup this week against the woeful Rams? They've given up a rushing TD in EVERY game this year.
Hi, Kyle. They have, indeed. Yeah, I think Morris should be owned in all leagues right now: he's a starter, and Julius Jones didn't get a carry yesterday. Would I definitely start him against the Rams? Mm, depends on what else I had. Check back Wednesday for ranks....
Who's the #1 WR taken in the 2009 FFL draft?
Hi, Brian. We were having this discussion in Bristol last week. I don't think there's a clear answer. If Anquan Boldin gets out of Arizona because of his contract issues, I could make a pretty strong case for Larry Fitzgerald, I guess. Honestly, the guy I think is the biggest physical freak of all is Calvin Johnson, but who the heck knows who'll be passing him the ball. Tom Brady will be back, so Randy Moss will probably look good again. Andre Johnson just catches so many passes. I think I lean Fitz at the moment, but there are probably about 7 or 8 good candidates.
What 1st- or 2nd-year wide receiver could you see making "The Jump" next season? Possible candidates - Ted Ginn, Donnie Avery, Domenik Hixon, Devin Hester, Jason Hill?
Hi, AJ. Good question, and I have to admit, one I haven't given the consideration it fully deserves. At first blush, Hixon in a Plax-free Giants offense might be very interesting (yesterday's drop notwithstanding). I won't be big on Hester, I don't think, and Jason Hill has good skills but is injury-prone, and has a lot of competition (including Josh Morgan). Ginn stands out as a possibility, but the Dolphins need to get Pennington out from under center. Defenses definitely respect Ginn most in that offense, but Pennington just can't throw the deep ball Ginn needs.....
Hi Chris, love your work. If Gore is OUT this week, is DeShaun Foster worth a start at flex? Do you think you'd play him over Fargas or Cadillac?
Hi, Pat. Again, I haven't done rankings for next week yet, but I can say that DeShaun Foster would be a mighty hard sell to me in a fantasy playoff game. I've just been burned by his "potential" too many times, and he'll have a tough matchup on the road in Miami. I would be more likely to go with Fargas, I think, especially with New England struggling to keep any linebackers healthy.
I know it's early, but I can see the writing on the wall, and I'm going to end up having to choose between a game-time decision Frank Gore at Miami or a healthy Mo Morris vs. the Rams. How do you lean?
Hi, Kyle. Hm. Well, in a playoff game, I'm probably going to lean toward the stud. I know, I know, it's boring and it's also frustrating when it doesn't work out. But the opposite (sitting Gore and having him go off) hurts worse, I think. The good news is that the SF/MIA game is early, so you'll know in plenty of time whether Gore's active.
Christopher- I usually follow the "stick w/ your studs" doctrine, but all my WR's have tough matchups coming up (white vs. bucs,owens vs. gmen & marshall vs. panthers). Do I hope for the best or pick up a sleeper with a nice matchup?
Hi, Zach. Never say never, of course, and it obviously depends on what you could find out there on the waiver wire by way of sleeper. But especially in the case of White and Marshall, those guys are just so good. I would have a very hard time starting them. Generally, speaking, though (and this goes for all the advise-seekers this morning), you shouldn't let an "expert" take a decision completely out of your hands. Your gut should figure into the equation, too. At this point, going against your gut and having it backfire on you is probably the worst feeling of *all*.
Is it time to drop me yet for Tashard Choice, Tatum Bell, or Selvin Young? My team has AP, Chris Johnson, McLain, Pierre Thomas, and Chester Taylor? Please tell me so I can decide my future in the fantasy playoffs! THANKS!
Well, I think you're pretty well set, to be honest. You won't need to use McGahee, Choice, Bell *or* Young. If I had to suggest one guy, I'd probably say keep McGahee, as if he suddenly becomes the BAL guy (say, if McClain gets hurt), you're still covered.
I thought I was one and done in the playoffs this week when I had to bench Barber for Matt Jones and start Portis thinking he would be ineffective. I survived thanks to Chris Johnson, Brandon Marshall and Kevin Walter. Do think Barber will be able to play next week? And will Tatum Bell now be a decent option if Barber cannot go? Thanks
Hi, Dan. Congrats on the win. Honestly, the Barber thing is strange: Jerry Jones has given all kinds of cryptic interviews this week about how he thought Barber would play, and seemed to be questioning his star runner's toughness. I don't know if we're going to know anything for sure about Barber until game time next week, which unfortunately is a Sunday night game. As for Bell -- I don't like him much, but if Selvin Young is still out, he might have to be your guy.
Is it time to drop Coles? He has favorable matchups for the rest of the year but has given me nothing but indigestion this year!
Hi, Charles. Yeah, Coles let me down this week, too. I predicted big things for him. Ga. And now he comes out with his comments about how a Juggs gun throws harder than Brett Favre? I dunno how to take that: either Coles now officially is in the doghouse for saying something dumb, or Favre goes out of his way to get Coles involved next week? I'm flummoxed by the Jets passing game right now.
Sorry I'm late and I hope this hasn't already been asked but if you are in need of some WR help for the playoffs, is Devon Bess worth a look?
No worries, J.B. and no, it hasn't been asked. I think Bess is a very nice Greg Camarillo substitute, which means he's solid gold in a PPR league, and not a terrible option in all league. He's Pennington's kind of guy: nice route-runner, decent hands, doesn't need C-Pen to throw it way downfield.
sjax got a case of the fumbles yesterday does that limit his touches next week.
Hi, Greg. I doubt it. He'll be home against a worse run defense (Seattle's) next week, and if you survived this week with his poor production, you'll probably have to go right back to the well with him again in Week 15.
Christopher - Who would be the better pick up, they both have favorable match ups remaining - a "healthy" M.Bradley or D.Bess? Thanks for all YOUR help this season!
Hi, Steve. Thank *you*. Well, to some extent, that's an academic question, because Mark Bradley (as is Mark Bradley's wont) *ain't* healthy, and I don't think it's going to happen again this season. So I'd rather have Bess. But *if* Bradley were healthy? I actually like him better, because he's a bigger-play threat. But yeah, the way things look right now, Bess.
Lamont Jordan seemed stronger and faster than Sammy Morris. I?m guessing he?ll be looking forward to next week?s game against his old team. What are the chances Billy boy gives him the ball againts his former team?
Hi, Tom. Hm, I didn't necessariliy think Jordan looked all *that* much better than Morris. I think each guy had his moments, but I think it's telling that when push came to shove on that *huge* fourth down play on the goal line, Morris was the man. I think Jordan will get carries in Oakland, but I'm not ready to use him on a fantasy team.
I think J.B. from Dunmore, PA has had about 1000 questions answered over many ESPN chats... I've had three!!! I thought you didn't play FF, JB??? My real question, is Schaub a viable QB2 at home against TEN next weekend? I just watched him light up my Pack again yesterday.. Granted the first TD shouldn't have really happened, but he looked good.
Hi, Jon. I have to be honest: I don't look at the names or locations until after I pick a question, so if I pick the same person a bunch, it's because they have good questions, not because of nepotism. (OK, that's not *entirely* true; once I answered a question I knew was from my dad.) Anyway, yeah, I mean Schaub is a good player who can't stay healthy. I think he's a viable QB2 every week he's in there, no matter the opponent. The real question is: with a matchup like this, is he a QB1? I'm not so sure about that.
Who is my Hillis replacement? Choice, Mo Morris, S Young, or Tatum Bellhop?
Hi, Bob. I think the Broncos eventually cancel one another out, and I like Morris as a starter. No one is going to duplicate what Hillis was doing, but MauMo is my guy.
Do you think the Titans will rest Chris Johnson now that they have clinched the division?
Hi, Mark. Great question. I don't know. Jeff Fisher doesn't want to talk about it yet. But the Colts made a habit of resting their stars for years, and it rarely seemed to help, whereas now everyone and their grandma waxes rhapsodic over the fact that the Giants played hard against the Pats in a meaningless regular-season finale last season, and then used that momentum to go on to win a title. I suspect the Titans will rest guys a bit. But probably not in Week 15.
How far in fantasy has Addai fallen? Do you think he's still top 10 draft worthy next season?
Hi, Eric. Talk about a topic I've given *no* thought to. Off the top of my head, yeah, I can definitely see the argument against Addai as a top 10 guy. But the Colts do figure to be healthier again next year, and it's not like we need to worry about Addai's age or his quarterback. My gut reaction (with no thought beyond what I've just typed) is that Addai will be on the borderline of the top 10, but will make a lot of sleeper lists.....
Rodgers or Warner?
Hi, Jeff. I'm staying on the Warner wagon.
quick hit: pick 1 rb- jacobs (if healthy), d ward, or p thomas?
Hi, Scott. If he's healthy, there's no question in my mind, it's Jacobs. But he's not healthy. Heck, he might not even play next week....
I don't care about Addai next year. What about this year? Is Rhodes a safer play?
Hi, Larry. Safer? No, I don't think so. Yeah, they each got 10 carries yesterday, but Addai could've come back into the game. I think Addai is still the better play. He's just not a very *good* play.
What is the deal with Antonio Gates?? Anything???
Hi, Emily. Gates wasn't hurt on Thursday, and he did get two targets, but caught neither. But no, he's not hurt. All right, gang. Gotta get going, so let's take one more....
I somehow eeked into the playoffs and am waiting to see if i win the antonio bryant vs steve smith matchup (plus a 5 pt lead so far). so i am hoping for next week, if i make it there, can i count on cotchery or do i try to track down something deep waiverish?
Hi, Gregg. Can you count on him? Well, I almost think that answer is self-evident, based on his putrid results the past two weeks. But should you start him over deep-league waiver-wire chum? Yeah, unfortunately, you probably should. All right, everyone, sorry I have to roll on the chime of noon, but there's stuff to be done. Thanks very much for coming, and stay tuned for rankings on Wednesday and The Breakdown on Friday. Thanks again.