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December 10, 12:19 PM ET
Fantasy Football w/Tristan H. Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:00 AM)

Good morning everyone! Hope you're all hanging in there in your playoff races; I'm still in the hunt in four of mine. So let's get the ball rolling, in this critical week!


Hey THC, where'd you get that cozy looking grey sweater in your picture? Thoughts on GB vs. TB for DEF this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:03 AM)

Off the record? It's from my mom. (And if anyone gets that reference, wow, I'll be a bit surprised.) Not overly enamored with the Green Bay defense. Ninth in fantasy points, sure, but disappointing of late and Tampa Bay isn't exactly a turnover-machine offense.

Tha Burner (Atlanta)

How do you like me this week? What about using D. Ward instead of me if B. Jacobs is out?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:04 AM)

I'm not sitting Michael Turner during the fantasy playoffs. Period. Don't care about his thumb injury -- reportedly minor -- and don't care about the matchup.

If I submit a question before 11am, do you get it?

I can only pick up one waiver per week. Should I pick up Mo Morris and play him over Sammy Morris, Lendale or MJD this week? Or I could pick up the Indy D? Any thoughts?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:06 AM)

Re: the headline, yes, I do get questions posted before 11 a.m. But remember, there are <i>tons</i> of questions that come in before and during the chat, and pages and pages to sift through in 60 minutes. So there's a chance I miss yours, sorry to say, and as I always say, nothing personal, I do my best to catch a good share of 'em. Anyway, with those moves, Colts defense strikes me as the smartest pickup. Love the matchup, that D is red hot and I don't see Maurice Morris being that much stronger a choice for you than what you've got. Like all your starters' matchups.

Nick (NY)

Would you categorize starting MJD over LT this week as "too cute"?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:07 AM)

No, <i>but</i>, I probably would put LaDainian Tomlinson just a hair ahead of Maurice Jones-Drew for Week 15. Of course, if Fred Taylor does hit IR as rumored, I'd feel a heck of a lot better about Mr. MJD. If you have a strong gut instinct, I would say run with it.

Adam (Chicago)

How do you like Kevin Smith this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:08 AM)

I think he'll probably serve a decent flex play. Problem is, I see the Lions getting pounded by the Colts, so the prospect of a limited number of touches does keep him from a higher rank.

Beth (NYC)

In a frustrating quirk, my league values return yards the same as rushing and receiving. Does that make Bess the better WR between him and Ginn?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:09 AM)

No, because they both return kicks. Well, Ted Ginn mostly kickoffs, Davone Bess mostly punts. But they both benefit, and surely over other receivers who don't work on special teams. I actually break the "tie" between Bess and Ginn by whether the league is PPR. Ginn is the risk/reward guy, Bess the guy who will win the receptions race. But I like the matchup for both this week.

Kevin (Pennsylvania)

What do u think of Ward this week against the Cowboys seeing that Jacobs is banged up?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:11 AM)

When I look at the Giants' backfield, I can't help but think Brandon Jacobs is a risky play for this week. The team can't afford to gamble on him suffering a long-term ailment; we're way too close to the playoffs. I bet Derrick Ward gets at least as many touches as Jacobs, and I'd probably lean more towards him as things stand today. Both are flex plays, though, if they're active. If Jacobs sits, bump Ward up to low-second tier.

Joe (Mahwah, NJ)

Coughlin sits Tynes, Carney misses. Screw Plax....we don't need him anyway. Put Tynes in!!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:12 AM)

OK, well, sticking with the Giants, weird how they seemed to say Lawrence Tynes was their kicker in poor-weather games and he sits that game! Odd, I can say that. Anyway, interesting note here, sticking with the Giants thing: It's that Week 16 game against Carolina that is so critical. I just said I have Jacobs concerns for this week, but I think it's all hands on deck for next week. So much for the idea this team is going to take it easy the final month of the season; they can't.

JT (Tampa Florida)

What are the chances Gore plays and is effective?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:14 AM)

As of right now I'd say 50/50, and the matchup is unfavorable. Miami is stronger against the run than the pass, and it's a cross-country trip. I know it's tough to sit a stud in these playoff weeks, but when the risk factors begin piling up, you have to at least consider it. Gore might be to this week what Clinton Portis was to last. It's starting to feel that way.

Carl from South River N,ew Jersey

Tristian--I have 4 great running backs and can only start 2. Please help. Westbrook, Slaton, Turner or Forte this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:16 AM)

Brian Westbrook is playing for me no matter what. Adrian Peterson is probably the only guy I'd take over him for Week 15. As for your No. 2, tough to sit Matt Forte. Nice stat: He's tops among running backs in receptions (53, I believe it is, top of my head).

Mike (Boston)

Hey THC. I don't know if you remember me, but I'm your future intern. I aced that final I was studying so hard for! Pick 3: Mo Morris, Slaton, Addai, Rhodes, Larry Johnson.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:18 AM)

I remember you Mike, and congrats on the A! Steve Slaton starts for me, since he's going to find a way to get 20 touches and didn't struggle against Tennessee last time. And I'll take Joseph Addai. That's a plum matchup, and he needs to get his act together in time for the playoffs.

brian (de)

Who is the safer play Addai or Rhodes or should I just stay clear of that situation all together. It is a nice matchup.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:19 AM)

To go into more detail on Joseph Addai, I'll call him a solid No. 2, and Dominic Rhodes a useful flex. Yes, the matchup is that favorable. I know a timeshare is frustrating, but there's enough in this matchup to use both in the right spots.

my christmas wish is for THC to answer my question

tristan im going up against the number one seed and thinking to start schaub over ryan being that he has tenn. defense good move? also at wr pick one colston, ginn, royal or harrison (good matchip at detroit)?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:21 AM)

Uh, I don't like either quarterback. At all. Matt Schaub got picked three times earlier in the year against Tennessee. If I have to pick I'll take him, but I'm not making that a hefty endorsement, not by any means. Chad Pennington available, maybe? Or Jeff Garcia? At receiver, it's still Marques Colston for me. Chicago's secondary is overrated.

David (405 and the 101)

Good Morning Tristian,Remember me? I am the guy who posts every week and doesn't get picked!(not ur fault I know) I always seem to have the best team on paper then get bounced in the first round, usually because I got studs that let me down, this years candidates are Addai and SJAX, I have McClain,HTower and Choice on the bench, PPR and 1 point per carry league(weird I know). Also Z Miller,Keller or Carlson this week and rest of way...Branch over Megatron this week being to cute?? Thanks

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:24 AM)

I remember you, David! (Kidding, of course.) As for bad luck in the playoffs, you know, that's fantasy football. Sorry to say it, but if you get worked up over hard-luck losses, well, you're taking it too seriously. Everyone has a story; mine is I had my playoff matchup in my most important league in the bag, until the <i>final</i> drive of the Monday night game when DeAngelo Williams went off for my opponent. Seriously, his final run was the nail in the coffin. Such things happen, I'll live. So I wouldn't worry about your backs, good matchups those are. Or good enough for No. 2 status. John Carlson for me, great matchup. And yes, while I like Deion Branch's matchup and dislike Calvin Johnson's, that is, indeed, too cute.


I am worried about the effect the injury to Jerry Porter and Matt Jones' suspension will have on Jags run game, so I wonder if I should Play MoJo or R. Brown? Also, non-ppr league: H. Ward or Moore? And Daniels or Shockey?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:27 AM)

No worries here. Jerry Porter has been non-existent all year; he won't be missed. (Nothing personal, Jerry, I mean you're not irreplaceable.) As for Jones, it's not like he was an overwhelmingly elite talent or anything. The Jags will get by. Mike Walker should be active this week, and he's not trash. He's no fantasy option, either, mind you. No worries on Maurice Jones-Drew, not at all. It's a fabulous matchup and he's doing great as both a runner <i>and</i> receiver. Other calls: Yes, Lance Moore over Hines Ward. And there's just no way Jeremy Shockey is in my fantasy playoff lineup.

Help me when I am in need... you will...

Thiggy or Orton.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:28 AM)

OK Yoda. It's Tyler Thigpen for me. That's a fantastic matchup, and I like what he did to correct his mistakes in Week 14.

Michael (Atlanta)

Anotnio Gates has been COMPLETELY WORTHLESS, bench him for Carlson? Obvious fear that he has an old school 120 yard, 2 TD games as soon as I bench him.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:30 AM)

John Carlson has the better matchup. That's a fact. But you make an excellent point regarding the fantasy playoffs, and I think such decisions come down to your own personal comfort level. Is it going to drive you nuts if you bench Gates for a stronger matchup and he <i>does</i> positively go off? I understand that basis for using a guy in the fantasy playoffs. But Carlson has the better matchup. That's what I can tell you.

Too cute should not be in FF language

Seriously, can we stop using "too cute?" Anyhow, thoughts on Barbers effectiveness this week? Also, is Wayne ever going to get a throw in the redzone again?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:33 AM)

Point taken. I will substitute "taking chances that aren't entirely warranted when compared to the proven performer you want to bench." Marion Barber, eh? I really think that's the Tony Romo-Eli Manning show. Just my gut feel. Romo needs to prove he can succeed when it counts, when the playoffs are on the line, it's a national game, he has beaten up on these Giants before. So I see Barber in a less-prominent role, and the matchup is shaky besides. Fringe flex at best. As for Reggie Wayne, yup, it's maddening. Still, with this great matchup this week, I can't sit him. Too talented to keep slumping.

Natalie Portman

Can I use the term too cute? I think it applies. Oh yeah, pick 2 of these WR's: Moore, Cotchery, Hixon, Bess, and Branch.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:34 AM)

Ha! Well played. Lance Moore, Deion Branch for me. Branch is coming off a great game and the matchup is stacked nicely in his favor.

Justin (St Paul)

Does the potential for a shootout make Orton a better play than McNabb this week who may not need to pass as much?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:35 AM)

The case can be made, but no, I can't go that far. Last I checked the Cleveland secondary has struggled quite a bit of late, and that's a game Donovan McNabb must win. I can't sit him now.

Jessica Alba - Am I too cute?

Rivers, Cutler, or Schaub. Titans D or Cards D. Thoughts on starting a D against a QB you start?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:38 AM)

Cute isn't the first word to positively describe that I'd pick with Miss Alba (or Mrs. whatever-that-dude's-last-name-is, I guess it is now?). But anyway, I digress. I'll take Philip Rivers. I think that might yet be a high-scoring affair in K.C., and I'm not wild about the others' matchups. Titans defense, can't sit them in such a critical week. And as for the final question, understand that in a couple of my leagues, points allowed by the defense are minus-points in fantasy, so I'd never, <i>ever</i> want my quarterback and defense battling each other. It's just a good rule of thumb to avoid such things.

Jem (Westchester)

You don't like Branch over Megatron, but how about A. Bryant?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:39 AM)

Nope. Still Antonio Bryant.

Kevin (Chicago)

Greetings from of now, the most corrupt state in the Union! Is S.Jax a safe play now? Would you chose him, Addai, Kevin Smith, or Pierre Thomas to start opposite Forte?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:40 AM)

Pretty messy stuff, Kevin, you're right. Yeesh. Yes, I'd call Steven Jackson a pretty safe play. At worst he slots in as a No. 2. But I want to say this: Pierre Thomas, very underrated fantasy back right now. Probably my next option after Jackson.

Mike (Austin, TX)

Thigpen over Brees? I'm real concerned about the weather in Chicago affecting the passing game (more than Chicago's secondary).

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:44 AM)

Well, I just drifted over to check the weather for tomorrow's game, and seems a tad below freezing, not tons of wind (like 12-13 mph), snow might start around 9ish. So you're right, a little concern there, but I can't sit Drew Brees. I still like the matchup and the weather doesn't strike me as dreadful ... yet. I'd need to see pretty much blizzard conditions to advise sitting Brees.

Happy MJD Owner

Wait wait wait...Fred Taylor might be headed to IR? When did THIS happen?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:46 AM)

Note the specific words here, Florida Times-Union reports that Jack Del Rio said on his Tuesday radio show that Taylor <i>might</I> be placed on IR due to a thumb injury. So it's no guarantee, but absolutely something to monitor the next few days.

Bryan (NY)

Baltimore or Philly D? Good problems to have, I know, but problems nonetheless.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:46 AM)

Baltimore, but you're right, that's a good problem to have. I can see that game being a 17-14 affair, something like that.

Elizabeth Hurley (UK)

Dare I throw my whole team into one game? I have Rivers, Thigpen, Bowe, and V Jack. (Start 2qb's and 2 WR). My others are S. Hill, Jason Campbell, and Antonio Bryant.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:48 AM)

I usually don't advise loading up from one game, because unless it's like that crazy Browns game from a year ago, with almost 100 points, there just won't be quite enough to go around. That said, the one change I'd advise for you is Bryant over Vincent Jackson. I'm surprised a lot of people think Bryant isn't a great play this week.

SNeaKy SneAKy

Indy or Tennessee D? Major coup in the works if this thing develops properly.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:48 AM)

Colts, if only because Houston can come out to play, at least offensively.

Will (STL)

THC, if you're in a half PPR, would you prefer Welker's consistency or Bowe's potential upside in a soft matchup during my fantasy playoffs? Thanks man.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:49 AM)

Well, Wes Welker plays Oakland, and Dwayne Bowe plays San Diego, so it's Bowe for me.

Steve (NJ)

Bush, Dunn or Jacobs this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:50 AM)

I'm actually really tempted to take Warrick Dunn, with the motivation of battling his old team, but no, Reggie Bush is a smarter play.


Thiggy over Romo? Weeks 15-17? Romo - NYG, BAL, @PHI. Thiggy - SD, MIA, @CIN Thanks.............

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:52 AM)

I love Tyler Thigpen's matchups, but it's Tony Romo, and he needs to drive his team into the postseason. So for this week, that motivating factor makes him a stronger choice. I will say this: Such a debate needs be revisited each and every remaining week. I have a sneaking suspicion I'll pick Thigpen in Weeks 16 and 17. Gut instinct talking there.

Tickle Me Elmo - Definitely Not Cute!

Pick 3- MJD, LT, Marshawn Lynch,Pierre Thomas, or Portis? Pick 3 - Bernard Berrian, Isaac Bruce, Dwayne Bowe,Antonio Bryant, Chad Johnson, or Santonio Holmes? Bo Scaife or Jeremy Shockey?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:54 AM)

Elmo is beginning -- OK, continuing -- to irk me now that my kid has been watching him more lately. So much Elmo on "Sesame Street" these days. I'm going to go MJD for sure, LaDainian Tomlinson matches up too nicely not to use, and then, hmmm, toughie between the other three. I will go Pierre Thomas. Healthier than Portis, and not as bad a matchup as Lynch. Then I'd go Berrian, Bowe and Bryant. And Scaife at tight end.

Rob (CHI)

I dont like putting all my eggs in one basket but when analyzing my other options (some ok) i'd still play P thomas, R Bush and L Moore over each individually. what are your thoughts on strategy here?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:54 AM)

Some people won't have a choice. When I say try to avoid this I don't mean do so at the expense of picking inferior players.

Dan (DC)

Tristan, can you help a guy out. I'm playing a pretty good team, and I have Dallas D, who plays the Giants. My other options are GB (vs Jags), Sea (vs Rams), Buffalo (vs Jets)or SD (vs KC). So, which D do you like out of them? Thanks.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:56 AM)

Bleagh. I don't like <i>any</i> of those defenses, not one bit. Forced to choose, I'll take Green Bay. Hey, Jacksonville is quickly turning into a one-man team (MJD). I can say that in the Packers' defense.


I never get them answered. Pick 3 of the 4. MJD, S. Jax, LT, Westbrook.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:57 AM)

I'd probably sit Steven Jackson out of that deep bunch.

CC Sabathia (NYC en route to 25 wins)

Hey Tristan, I have a plethora of struggling WR?s?which 2 do I go down in flames with; Driver, Cotchery, RoyWillams, Berrian or Bess/Branch(FA's)? Thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:58 AM)

CC won't win 25, but I can see 20 easy. Let's not go nuts here. Everyone said 25 for Randy Johnson, too. You can read my take on the CC signing shortly on our pages. Bernard Berrian and Deion Branch for me.

I Too, Have A Cherry Lips Phone From My Mom...

Romo or Thigpen? Witten Or Carleson?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:59 AM)

Ha! Well done. Answered question one earlier, and Jason Witten for me.

Danny (Tulsa)

One last time! I need advice I can't get from the ESPN rankings. Better flex play this week Big Ben or J Stewart. Thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:00 PM)

Never been a fan of the flex-spot leagues that allow a quarterback in there. To me, it'd be the QB most of the time, because in most scoring systems they generate the most points. But in this case, Stewart's matchup is so much stronger than Roethlisberger's, I'll make the exception and go with the running back.

CHRIS (trenton, nj)

HAIL MARY ... which Defense this week ... Arizona, Carolina, or Miami?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:01 PM)

Feelin' good about Miami. Home game, playoff implications, road opponent making a long trip from out west...


YES!!, Moe's Burritto's for sure!!!!!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:02 PM)

Boy, Theo, now you've got me hungry. Wish I had time to stroll down the road for Moe's today.


Who would you start Cassel or Mcnabb? Also T. Holt or Chad Johnson? I know not much points.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:02 PM)

I want no part of Matt Cassel this week. Road game against Oakland's talented corners. Just a bad idea to me. At receiver, I'll go Torry Holt. That's a favorable enough matchup.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:03 PM)

OK folks, time to bring things to a close for today, sorry to say. Thanks for all your questions, and best of luck to each of you in your playoff matchups this week! Take care...