Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

December 11, 12:21 PM ET
Fantasy Football with A.J. Mass

AJ Mass
  (10:57 AM)

Good morning all. It's getting down to the last few weeks in fantasy football, and the fantasy playoffs are heating up. We can also discuss any nefarious commissioner issues you may be having. So, let's get down to business, shall we?

Shelli (Louisville) KY

THURSDAY GAMES ARE A KILLER!!!! Good morning! Here is my dilemma, I have Reggie AND Pierre in a ppr league. Do I go ahead and start both of them instead of waiting to see whats up with The Dallas Drama, I also have MBIII and Choice

AJ Mass
  (10:58 AM)

I would absolutely start both Saints. Bush is not the traditional RB, he's really a WR who happens to line up in the backfield, so the two aren't really competing for touches, and in a PPR league, it's an easy call.

Lee Albuquerque

I need to know who to start Randy Moss or Lance Moore?

AJ Mass
  (11:00 AM)

I think I'd go with Moss. Even though he's likely to get Nnamdi, Bush's return seems to have cut into Moore's receptions enough that I'd risk the matchup.

Mike (NJ)

When is Schaub going to get his praise? Ranked low by all experts and all are bringing last TN game into play but not realizing that TN is only a 3 point favorite and the total is 45 which means that not only is Houston becoming a high-potent team but also that they will probably BEAT TN on Sunday. Go Schaub.

AJ Mass
  (11:01 AM)

Point spreads have no impact on player evaluation. Schaub's not getting 400 yards against the Titans. Can they win? Of course, but Vegas lines don't factor into the fantasy stats.

Moses Woodstock GA

Who to start? Devin Hester or Davone Bess?

AJ Mass
  (11:02 AM)

I'm leaning towards Hester. Bess had done well of late, so it stands to reason that he'll get a bit more defensive attention than usual.


Drew Brees or Aron Rodgers? Brees seems to be a no brainer with the terrible Chicago pass D, but the weather really scares me. Rodgers is going against a Jags team that has packed it in, don't you think? I am scared to bench Brees though after he has carried me so far!

AJ Mass
  (11:04 AM)

I still don't get why folks are so concerned about bad weather. Even in a monsoon, the WR's have such an advantage since defenders have to react, and can easily lose footing. Only hurricane force winds scare me away.

mike (tx)

gore's status? I have hightower or w. parker to backup who should I play?

AJ Mass
  (11:05 AM)

I think Gore is extremely limited this week, if he plays at all. I'm not going near Tim, so Parker would be the call.

Mike: (Naples, FL)

Who's your favorite Broncos RB from here on out?

AJ Mass
  (11:06 AM)

This is a trick question, isn't it? Bell's going to get the carries, at least until the inevitable concussion.

Tommy (ATL)

PPR League. Pick two. Reggie Bush, Maurice Morris, and Sammy Morris.

AJ Mass
  (11:08 AM)

I'd sit Mo Mo. Seattle's RB situation is to be avoided at all costs, even against St. Louis.

Matt (NY)

Commish question. Playing the commish this week in first round. I've got Barber. All of a sudden he's changing the rules and locking the rosters with tonight's game. He wants me to make a decision on Barber without all the information available. Says that things are different now because it's the playoffs. Really unfair???!!!

AJ Mass
  (11:10 AM)

Of course it's unfair. You can't change the rules at this point of the season. Now, certainly rules can change: ties HAVE to be broken in the post-season, whereas in the regular season they do not. But clearly, he's trying to get an unfair edge on you. Personally, I think Barber plays, but I'm not sure he has a big day.

GK (WMass)

AJ is the Hammer! Please pick two... Calvin Johnson, Marvin, Hester, Bess Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (11:11 AM)

I'd roll with Marvin and Calvin. Even if the Lions decide to start Drew Carey, he'll find a way to get 60-70 yards.

Rich G (NH)

AJ you da man. Do I wait on Jacobs (i have Bradshaw) or start Bush tonight? Already have Shockey going tonight

AJ Mass
  (11:12 AM)

Don't wait on Brandon. I find it doubtful that the Giants play him more than 10 carries, if that much.

Andrew (Milwaukee)

Commish question: The original trade deadline in my league was before Week 12. After the deadline passed, the commish wanted to extend the deadline because he and a couple others were working on deals. The league voted unanimously to extend the deadline, but what are the ethics of a situation where a rule is changed to benefit the commish, regardless of if the change was universally accepted?

AJ Mass
  (11:14 AM)

You had a vote, and it was unanimous, which is the only way as a Commish I would allow a rules change like that. If even one person had a problem with it, I'd back off, since as Commish I need to be held to a higher standard than others. But with no nay-sayers, there's no issue.

BJ (Cincy, OH)

Really big league so no starter is available on the waiver wire, who you like... Hixon or Harry Douglas?

AJ Mass
  (11:14 AM)

Hixon. As long as he doesn't drop a big one, he'll have a better day. Douglas will be good in 09, but Finneran still steals enough red zone catches to cut his value.

Matt (Philly)

Help!!! Pick three: Slaton, Jacobs, Addai, White, Lynch, Pierre Thomas

AJ Mass
  (11:15 AM)

Slaton, Thomas and Lunchdale.

Mike, FL

A.J.- I know everyone says defense/kickers don't count, but this is the playoffs- every point counts. Choose one defense to start (Philly, AZ, Washington) and one kicker (Crosby, Longwell, K. Brown, Reed, Feely).

AJ Mass
  (11:17 AM)

I'd go with the Eagles in a must win against Ken Dorsey. As for the kickers, they do count... but are impossible to predict. If a team scores 42 points, the kicker gets 6. If a team scores 6 points, the kicker gets 6 (or more, if distances count). Draw names from I hat, I say.

Derek (Littleton, CO)

Good morning AJ! I need a flex out of Bush, Holt, M. Morris, Bess, or K.Walter. Who would you start? My gut says go with Bush, but with the bad matchup I don't know. Thanks!!

AJ Mass
  (11:19 AM)

I don't think it's a bad matchup at all for Bush. I'd consider going with Walter, but THAT'S a far worse matchup. Go with your gut.

Carlos (Texas)

Scheffler or Z. Miller? Thanks

AJ Mass
  (11:20 AM)

I'd go Miller. He's pretty much the best receiving option on the team.

Chris (Ky)

Rivers vs. Thigpen seems like a virtual cointoss, except my opponent has Gonzalez and Bowe. Who do you roll with AJ?

AJ Mass
  (11:22 AM)

I'm rolling with Rivers. Starting a QB b/c your opponent has two targets puts a ceiling on your score. Especially since every TD he throws to them costs you 2 points (assuming 4 for QB/6 for rec.) it's not a good idea to try and "matchup".

Jeff, Huntington WV

In reference to the Vegas lines stats, why wouldn't they relate to fantasy stats? They are both calculated based on team attributes and it would seem to me that over/under should have a direct correlation with fantasy points.

AJ Mass
  (11:25 AM)

Vegas lines are set to get to try and get 50 percent of the gamblers to play one side, and 50 percent to play the other, guaranteeing maximum profit for the casino. And a over/under of 41 could mean a 24-17 game or a 41-0 game. It doesn't speak to how well a fantasy player on Team X will fare.

evan (philly)

Need a big week to take down number one. Who would you go with: Hill @ Miami or Favre v. Bills? Does your opinion change if Gore doesn't play?

AJ Mass
  (11:26 AM)

I go with Hill. Favre is generally a 200 yard-passer at best. Hill actually throws more if Gore can't play, and should be able to approach 300.

Rob (Memphis)

Should I play people who are on Sunday and Mon. night when the team I'm playing against will be done by Sun. afternoon. Psychological Advantage, right? Pick 1 QB: Eli, Thigpen, Cassel. Pick 2 RB: Ward, Pierre, Addai. Pick 2 WR: Colston, S. Moss, Hines. Thanks.

AJ Mass
  (11:28 AM)

Since you can't actually affect the outcomes of your players games, there is no advantage to waiting. Start your best players - period. I go Thigpen, sit Addai and Moss.

Steve, CA

A.J., how would you play this: I rode Barber to the playoffs, but he doesn't play this week until Sunday night. Start McClain who is playing Sunday afternoon over Barber, or count on Barber and pick up Bradshaw as a last minute back-up in case Barber doesn't play?

AJ Mass
  (11:31 AM)

This is a tough call. McClain's matchup isn't great, but I think he'll do better than Bradshaw, who I am not loving to do much. So it comes down to MB3's status. If he's still a ? by the time your lineup needs to go in, I play Le'Ron.

c dub philly

AJ got an ethics question for you. I play against Cassel this week so I picked up all available qbs to essentially qb block my oppenent if Cassel can't go. Dirty play or smart move, what say you?

AJ Mass
  (11:33 AM)

First of all, shame on your opponent for not having a viable backup ready just in case. Look, it's a shady move what you're doing, and it would not be allowed in any league I ran. Certainly if your league rules allow, you're welcome to do it, but I'd rather not win that way.


Tough flex spot question in an important game- Randy Moss, Marion Barber, Pierre Thomas or Warrick Dunn at a flex spot?

AJ Mass
  (11:34 AM)

I'd go with Thomas.

Andy, MA

Which Saints WR to start beside Boldin: Moore or Colston?

AJ Mass
  (11:34 AM)

I'd go with Colston.

Adam (MN)

C dub philly might have the Karma police after him for pulling that move! AJ, how do YOU feel about Romo's matchup this weekend? I know the rankings are out, but I'm torn between Romo and Thigpen. The matchup should be fairly even. No big underdog.

AJ Mass
  (11:36 AM)

I don't love Romo. Yes, he's done well against the Giants in the past, but there's the shellshock factor of how his last game ended, along with the Giants coming off an embarrassing performance. I still give Romo a slight edge, but it's not clear cut.

Commish Joe

Commish ?. Is it legit for the commish to pay less entry than everyone else in the league?

AJ Mass
  (11:38 AM)

If the website you use charges a fee which he covers, then yes. Or if the league's transactions require him to put in a lot of hours of work, then yes. However, this should be discussed before the season starts and signed off on by all. If he's just coming up with the idea, then absolutely not.

pat (snowy rocky mountains)

Commish Q: AJ--I am thinking of writing into our league by-laws a penalty for not fielding a competitive team (sitting players/playing only a TE-K-D-and 1 or 2 other positions with the intention of altering playoff matchups) as well as docking teams points if they play a player on IR or on a bye week when they have a viable option. Is expulsion from the league too harsh, what about forfeiting draft picks. I was considering a 5 point deduction for each inactive player in the starting lineup...thanks.

AJ Mass
  (11:41 AM)

Kicking someone out is a bit harsh. However, assigning a 5-point penalty is a fine idea. This way, if they do decide to go that route, they at least are choosing to accept the designated penalty. However, I also believe that a team not fielding a complete lineup (intentionally leaving a Defense blank, for example) should result in zero points. Tanking is a different matter, and that could result in an owner not being asked back.


Commish question. What should the penalty be if someone keeps a player on their IR that is playing to have an extra roster spot. It's been a problem this season, and I'd like a solution for it next season. Also, should I play Bowe and Cotchery or is Davone Bess, Holt, or Breaston worth playing? Thanks.

AJ Mass
  (11:44 AM)

You should either have rules in place that once a player is placed on the IR, he is done for the season, but can be kept for next season - or that when a player returns to action they MUST be activated or cut within a specified amount of time. Just set the rule to what you want it to be. I much rather would roll with Bess and Bowe.


Hey AJ, I need some help, this is Superbowl week for me; I have Westy, who is a must start, but I am not sold on Reggie. I play in a PPR league and could pick up P Thomas, Sammy Morris, J Stew or D Ward. If there was no game tonight, the call would be easy, but I have to decide whether or not to play Reggie tonight. Are any of the aforementioned options better than him? THX!

AJ Mass
  (11:45 AM)

In a PPR league? I don't think so. Possibly Ward, since he catches his share of passes, but you do run the risk of Jacobs actually playing.

Steve (Boston, MA)

I kinda like Breaston this week since the Cardinals should be throwing even more than usual against a strong Minn run D, but would you start him over either Driver or Housh (Non PPR league)? Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (11:46 AM)

He's a bit banged up, so I am a touch concerned, but I would start him over Driver. I might give Housh the slight nod, though.

James (Baltimore)

3rd receiver this week - Cotchery or Bruce?

AJ Mass
  (11:46 AM)

Bruce. I go nowhere near the Jets WR.

Marc (Toronto, Canada)

QB this week? Orton or Ryan?

AJ Mass
  (11:47 AM)

I'd go with Orton. Not entirely confident with Ryan against a not-so-happy Bucs D.

Ron (Kalamazoo, MI)

You like D. Hester tonight vs NO. Do you like him over A. Gonzalez vs Det and A. Toomer over Dal?

AJ Mass
  (11:49 AM)

Gonzalez can't seem to get through a game healthy. That concerns me. Toomer is on the level of Hester, but I'd go with Devin's big play capability, which Amani does not have.

Frank (KC)

Cassell or S. Hill @ QB?

AJ Mass
  (11:50 AM)

Given the outside circumstances, you have to prepare to play Hill.

Adam (IND)

Commish question: I played a less than competitive roster in my last week of the reg season to try and get a first round matchup with a GM that beat me earlier in the year. I wanted some payback, or at least a shot at it! Why would that be considered a *bad* move if the guy I was playing was already eliminated from the playoffs and no one else was going to be affected? Is the commish warranted in taking action against me?

AJ Mass
  (11:52 AM)

There's a huge difference between playing "bench guys" and submitting an empty roster spot or two. If you want to try and throw a game when you're already in the playoffs, that's your prerogative. You've earned the right by winning early. As long as you actually submit a complete and legal lineup, there's no problem.


Welker, Colston or Pierre Thomas in a PPR league?

AJ Mass
  (11:53 AM)

Welker. He's a solid 6 catches, even with a backup in there.


Touchdown heavy league Lee Evans or Lance Moore

AJ Mass
  (11:54 AM)

Moore. I go nowhere near Evans with Losman under center.

brian (de)

Tight end question: Cooley, Schaffler, or Carlson. I just added Carlson and his matchup looks good while Cooley never ever scores a TD.

AJ Mass
  (11:55 AM)

I go Carlson. Cooley will have to block more with injuries to O-line and Scheffler is a roll of the dice.

Bryan (Houston)

Who is most likely to get me 5+ points this week: Arrington, Choice or Sproles?

AJ Mass
  (11:56 AM)

Choice. Barber is bound to be spelled a bit more than usual, and there's still the chance he does not play.

Tiffany (Seattle)

The staff projections have Maurice Maurice way ahead of LJ yet the composite rankings have the reverse? Now I am really confused..LJ or Maurice Morris? Please!!!!!!

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

Take the TDs out of the mix and see what the projections say. It's impossible to project TDs, but in general, I've found the carries/yards totals are usually pretty close.

Mike (MN)

L. Moore or Calvin (with the hand injury and not practicing) Need to know for tonight

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

You have to make the call now, so I'd go with the bird in the hand, so to speak.

Spencer (SLC)

I've got Roethlisberger and Garrard at QB. Should I drop Hixon (currently my 4th WR) to pick up Hill or Orton?

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

I'd go with Garrard. After watching Schaub light up GB's defense, he should be worth a play this week.

Derek, Manhattan

Hey AJ, do i go safe with McClain or risk Jacobs in the night game?

AJ Mass
  (11:59 AM)


stan (CHI)

Megatron a Megabust this week? Looking at playing Hester and Holt and leaving him on the pine

AJ Mass
  (12:00 PM)

I'd start Hester, and then see what news comes out in the next few days.

AJ Mass
  (12:01 PM)

That's all the time we've got folks. I appreciate all the Q's as usual. TMR up at 3pm to answer more of your missives. Until then, we'll see you the next time, on Villa Allegre.