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December 22, 1:16 PM ET
Fantasy Football w/Christopher Harris

Christopher Harris
  (11:00 AM)

Hi, everyone. Welcome to the first chat of the final week of Fantasy Football for 2008. Let's get right to it....

jess (ny)

Hey Chris, Happy Holidays! My season depends on Forte... Is he good to play tonight?

Christopher Harris
  (11:01 AM)

Hi, Jess. Well, I don't mind grabbing the *other* Adrian Peterson as insurance, just in case the Bears have been misleading us all weekend. But for the moment, Forte is absolutely expected to play tonight, and if he does, he's got a great matchup. As I say, be prepared with Peterson just in case Forte is inactive, but I think he won't be.

Mac (Medford, NJ)

Good-day Chris! I'm down by ten points and need to choose between Devin Hester and Donald Driver. My opponent has no one playing tonight. Which player will get the 11 points I need to become Champ?

Christopher Harris
  (11:04 AM)

Hi, Mac. Well, I wish I could *guarantee* that I knew, because that's a pretty close title game you've got going on there. I have Driver rated a bit higher than Hester, though it's been clear the past couple games that Chicago is really trying to get Hester more involved, by giving him tons of targets. I think I stand by Driver, not least because I trust Aaron Rodgers. But if your gut is telling you something else, I'd listen to it -- this isn't the time of year to run counter to your gut.

Steiny (NYC)

Should we all sit any Giants next week because of fear that Tom Coughlin will rest his players?

Christopher Harris
  (11:05 AM)

Hi, Steiny. Too soon to say. On the one hand, the Giants have nothing to play for in Minnesota. On the other hand, they didn't have anything to play for last year, either, and they "went for it" against New England, then made a big deal about how staying sharp was the reason they won the Super Bowl. If it were *me*, I'd be resting guys. But we'll have to see what they say during the week.

Dan (Denver)

Hey Chris, looks like I'm going to win my league for the 3rd straight year. I'm currently up 3 points and have Grant available. What is the likelyhood that our scores maybe updated? Do I sit or start Grant?

Christopher Harris
  (11:07 AM)

Hi, Dan. Honestly, I'm not on the operations side of things (and I'm not in Bristol today), so I can't give you a solid answer on that -- I don't think stat updates are all that common, but honestly, I don't have any hard facts to back that up. If you can do the calculations by hand and feel good that there were no controversial plays in your scoring (or your opponents') that look like they could end up in reversals, it seems like sitting a player with a lead is the right thing to do. Having a negative-points day would really stink.

DGA

200 yards and 5 TD's is reasonable for Forte tonight right? Okay, okay, its time to move on to next year for me...what are your thoughts on Thomas Jones for next year? Are the Jets going to start moving towards Leon Washington, or can we expect Jones to get the majority of the carries again?

Christopher Harris
  (11:08 AM)

Hi, DGA. Yeah, I think you may be cooked, Forte-wise. Honestly, after this season, you'd have to think the Jets will head into '09 thinking Jones is their lead dog. But he'll be 30 next year, which more and more is looking like a seroius downfall year. The New York O-line is obviously far better this year when it was last, and anyone running behind it is going to have value. I don't think I'm going to have Jones as a first-rounder (despite his awesome season), but he'll probably be the starter. Washington is stuck as a 5 to 10 touches per game guy, I fear.

Steiny (NYC)

Do you think Pierre Thomas is going to be just a one-year wonder?

Christopher Harris
  (11:12 AM)

Hi, again, Steiny. No, I really don't. I think the Saints were looking for someone to step forward and be their main back, and Thomas has done that. It's looking more and more to me like Reggie Bush is the peripheral player: really valuable in a PPR, but not a fantasy starter (at least not yet) in standard leagues....

Jeff, Huntington WV

Championship game....down 13...1/2 ppr...Greg Jennings...Will I be raising the virtual hardware??? Bonus...Im leaning towards spending a top 5 pick on MJD next year am I crazy, I think he really breaks out!

Christopher Harris
  (11:13 AM)

Hi, Jeff. I can't tell the future with statistical precision, so I wish I could tell you whether I thought Jennings would score enough. He'll score *some*. Anyway, as far as MJD goes -- you're not crazy. He merits consideration for a top-five pick. There'll probably be no Fred Taylor, the Jags O-line will be healthy, and presumably Jack Del Rio will still be the coach. That will be a very good recipe for MJD. His main problems down the road as an every-down back, of course, are all about his size. He hasn't worn down yet, though.

Ryan: Miami, FL

Hey Chris, I've been really upset with Warner the last three weeks and will probably be down this week because of him. We have a two week playoff for the championship and I'm down by 28 with forte to go. Should I bench him next week as Arizona seems to be just mailing it in? We're in a 2 qb league and I have sean hill also. My options are to either pick up jamarcus russel (my oponent picked up tavarus last week to block me, jerk) or start all 4 of my stud rb's (one at op position) with westbrook, forte, CJ, and Grant. Thoughts? Thanks!

Christopher Harris
  (11:16 AM)

Hi, Ryan. Yeah, yesterday's Arizona/New England game was such a farce, the league should really step in. The Cardinals essentially didn't play to win at *all*, running eight times on their first nine plays despite the fact that everyone and their dog knew that they wouldn't be able to run. Ken Whisenhunt said he "wanted to work on the run game." Whatever. It was a big-time fantasy screw-job. The sad fact is that the elements weren't the cause -- it was the Cardinals' gutlessness and stupidity. I honestly don't know *what* to expect from them next wee against the Seahawks. I can say that I don't think I'd want to use JaMarcuss Russell, though. If you really have the option of using your RBs instead, I'd think seriously about doing that.

becker (flemington, nj)

Can Coughlin get some consideration for coach of the year? The Giants were not expected to win the NFC East let alone the #1 seed. And thats with pro-bowler Umenyiora and Plaxico.

Christopher Harris
  (11:17 AM)

Hi, Becker. Well, he's done a fine job. (I did pick the Giants to make the Super Bowl against the Steelers back in August, so I guess I'm not as surprised as some.) You and I both know that the C.O.Y. will almost always go to a "great story" guy who made something out of nothing, which is why Mike Smith will probably win -- either him or Tony Sparano...

Kyle (Carterville, IL)

DeAngelo Williams carried one of my teams to the league championship and one to the consolation championship. Where do you see him being drafted next year, and how many running backs have more upside?

Christopher Harris
  (11:19 AM)

Hi, Kyle. I was on ESPN Radio last night and I joked that we are officially changing the name of our game from "Fantasy Football" to "DeAngelo Williams." (Yeah, I guess it was funnier on the air.) Williams will be a really difficult guy to gauge next year, and we all know why: the presence of Jonathan Stewart, who'll have another year and training camp under his belt. Williams obviously has *extreme* upside, considering he's got 20 TDs this year and looks like the Fantasy MVP from where I'm sitting. But can you take him in the first round next year with Stewart looming? We've got eight months to ponder that question, and it's a darn good one.

Steiny (NYC)

Should Manning owners think of sitting him next week in fear of Jim Sorgi?

Christopher Harris
  (11:20 AM)

Yeah, I think so. If recent history is any indication, you're going to see Manning for a quarter, tops. I don't think you're going to want to use him....

Joey Hoboken

Just out of curiosity who would be the #1 seed in the NFC if last night ended in a tie?

Christopher Harris
  (11:21 AM)

Hi, Joey. If last night's game had ended in a tie and then both teams had *stayed* tied next week, I believe the Giants would've won the tiebreaker by dint of a better conference record.

Andre Johnson and Roddy White owners (everywhere)

Seriously? I mean ... seriously?

Christopher Harris
  (11:23 AM)

I know. Murder. Bloody murder. The Texans were just lifeless. It was shocking. Nnamdi Asomugha did an amazing job on Andre Johnson, and the Falcons threw eight passes total to their wideouts, after White was Mr. Double-Digit-Targets all year. Argh. That's why fantasy football is the fast food of fantasy sports: fun as hell but it'll give you indigestion.

Michael (DC)

Chris, I clinched the Super Bowl win yesterday with Ryan Grant left to play. Is it ok to pull him and take a knee (I'm up by about 50)? Thanks.

Christopher Harris
  (11:23 AM)

Hi, Michael. Absolutely. I get asked similar questions a lot, and I don't think this is a breach of protocol. You play to win the games. That's a winning strategy.

Charlie (AZ)

Hi Chris...I'm in the championship next week. Week 17 championships are the worst...I can start either Warner or Edwards. Am I sunk or what?

Christopher Harris
  (11:25 AM)

Hi, Charlie. I know. Hopefully you just saw my Cardinals rant above. I mean, fine, Andre Johnson, Roddy White -- they do nothing, but at least they're out there trying. The Cardinals *did not try* yesterday. It was an embarrassment to the NFL. I think we'll have to see what the plans are for next week for the Cards -- maybe they'll just come right out and tell us that they're not playing their regulars, which would make your decision easy. I honestly don't know what to expect from them at this point. Edwards has a good matchup against the New England secondary, at least.

Michael (NY)

Chris, thank you for all your help this year. I'm down 4 pts with Aaron Rodgers left to play. I think I'm in pretty good shape. What are your thoughts?

Christopher Harris
  (11:25 AM)

You're welcome, Michael. I think you're in good shape, too. Here's hoping those howling Chicago winds aren't *too* bad tonight.

Billy (NYC)

Does "Steiny" really want these questions answered or just his name posted? Where does Chris Johnson rank on your keeper list for next year?

Christopher Harris
  (11:27 AM)

Hi, Billy. I think Steiny asks pretty good questions, actually. Anyway, Johnson is a great talent, faster even than advertised, and will deservedly have first-round consideration next year. But as is the case with DeAngelo Williams, Johnson's got the meddlesome backfield mate, LenDale White. Now, White is a lot less dynamic player than Jonathan Stewart, which in my mind makes him less of a drag on Johnson's value. But he's a TD thief. Right now, I actually might have CJ over Williams for next year at the moment. And clearly in a keeper league, Johnson's value is only higher.

Jessica - Alba and Biel - we make a nice sandwich!!!

Thanks!!! Likely SB champ with a 104 - 56 lead. Unless Jennings has 24 catches, 220 yards and 4 TDS, I win. Appreciate all your help!!!

Christopher Harris
  (11:28 AM)

I should say from the outset that I have my doubts that Jessica Alba and Jessical Biel are co-typing fantasy football questions before noon on a Monday. But you're welcome. Yes, I think you're pretty well set for your title.

Heather, PA Merry Xmas!

Thanks to DeAngelo Williams, I am up by 7 in my championship game. My opponent has Matt Forte left, and will need 8 points to beat me. What are my odds that Forte will be limited?

Christopher Harris
  (11:29 AM)

Hi, Heather. As I wrote earlier, if you believe the Bears, it sounds like Forte won't be limited at all, and he's got a sweet matchup, which means you might be in trouble. Williams was such a boon (to me, too!) that you and I probably wouldn't even be *in* our games. The best you can hope for at this point is the Packers to remember their run-stopping ways from a year ago. After all, the Pack thumped the Bears just a couple months back, and turned them away from the run. Maybe it happens again. (I'm dubious.)

ZO (Dallas,TX)

What do you think about LT and P Rivers next week.

Christopher Harris
  (11:30 AM)

I think if you've been using them all along, you keep using them. A home game for all the marbles against a lame Broncos defense that's proven to be gutless? Sounds good to me. I think they're both easily top 10 plays at their positions, if only because several games won't mean anything next week.

Bobbo (NY)

Now that fantasy football is over for most, got any ideas on what to do for the next 9 months?

Christopher Harris
  (11:31 AM)

Heh. Well, Bobbo, fantasy baseball starts very, very soon for yours truly; we have our baseball ranking summit meeting in mid-January, and I have to do a lot of homework before then. Plus there's NASCAR, which I write about for ESPN, too. But mostly baseball for me until next fall. You should try it out -- it's slightly (only slightly) less maddening than fantasy football.

Steiny (NYC)

I need these questions Billy. I am in more than one league.

Christopher Harris
  (11:32 AM)

There you go.

Mary (NYC)

i have a week 17 championship...with peyton probably sitting do i start Matt Ryan or Tyler Thigpen...both with good matchups?

Christopher Harris
  (11:33 AM)

I haven't done my ranks for next week, Mary, and in particular this is going to be a brutal week to rank because it's going to involve a lot of guesswork about who's playing and who's not. I'd worry more about Ryan sitting than Thigpen, especially after that teeth-rattling hit Ryan got trying to run for a touchdown yesterday. The Falcons are in, the Chiefs are looking at next year. But that's not a ringing endorsement just yet. Check back on Wednesday.

Bob (Jax)

Short and sweet. Favre in the cold against the dolphins in a huge game, or my hometown qb in Garrard against a possible resting Baltimore Defense

Christopher Harris
  (11:34 AM)

Hi, Bob. Similar answer for you -- I honestly haven't done the math I need to do for Week 17 ranks yet -- have to wait for the Monday night game. But my gut tells me that I'd probably rather go with the guy *not* playing the Ravens. I don't think they're resting...they need to win to get in the playoffs.

Bob (Blue Point, NY)

Hey Chris, thanks for all your good work this season. I finished third, after a disappoiinting week 15 knocked me into consolation round. But, next year KEEPER, please help....Deangelo or Slaton?

Christopher Harris
  (11:35 AM)

Hi, Bob. You're welcome, and thanks for the kind words. Boy, that's a tough conundrum. It would be mighty hard to throw back a guy who scored 20-plus touchdowns, no matter how good Slaton's year was, and even though Jonathan Stewart scares the bejeezus out of me. I think I'd probably say Williams. But it's really close.

Paul (Denver)

A keeper question please! While being failures in the playoff, do I keep all three of my stud RBs next year? AP, Forte, and Slaton? Or do I drop Slaton and keep Rodgers?

Christopher Harris
  (11:37 AM)

Hi, Paul. I'm going to be a RB-first guy, and you've got three really good ones, three that I think might be first-round picks in a lot of re-draft leagues next year. Rodgers is good, but I still don't think he's ever going to be the best fantasy quarterback in the league, at least not in the West Coast offense. I'd keep the three horses. Peterson is the No. 1 choice next year, Forte is very close to the top five, and Slaton might be a first-rounder, and at least is an early second in my book.

me (my house)

A tough conundrum, huh? As opposed to an easy conundrum?

Christopher Harris
  (11:37 AM)

I like easy conundrums. Like what am I going to have for breakfast. (When I know I always eat Raisin Nut Bran.)

Ben (NY)

Do any of your leagues have any rules to keep the final couple weeks interesting for all? Its hard to keep interest when 8 people have been eliminated and only 2 have something to play for. Any side bets or games you know of?

Christopher Harris
  (11:39 AM)

Hi, Ben. Yeah, you're right -- as people beging to get eliminated or lose playoff games, they do lose interest. Honestly, there's not much that can re-grab *my* interest when I'm out, because I'm pissed and disappointed. But having a "toilet bowl" tournament is fun -- and one twist I like is having a round-robin where the *lowest* scoring team in a game moves on, until in championship week, the two "losing" teams in the toilet bowl tournament play, and the loser of that game has to buy beer for the draft the next year. You get incentivized to win, just so you don't have to fork over the cash.

The Highlander (Timeless)

There Can Be Only One (Keeper): Brees or Forte?

Christopher Harris
  (11:40 AM)

You *are* timeless. And fortunately I am not, so you don't have to cut off my head. I guess I'm a RB guy through and through, because despite Brees' record-breaking year, I'm going to go Forte. Having your RB1 in the bank is very nice, and I have to believe you'd have a shot at drafting Brees again if you had to have him.

Minja (DC)

Quick question here. I'm down by 2 points tonight, and I have one RB slot left. Should I start Forte or Grant? The main reason I'd start Grant is the marginally greater chance that Forte is a last second scratch (or 1st quarter scratch). On the other hand, 30 yards plus a fumble from Grant loses the game for me. Thoughts?

Christopher Harris
  (11:42 AM)

Hi, Minja. I hear you about the risk. It *is* risky to have to go with Forte and see him limp off in the first quarter. I still have him rated higher than Grant, but I see your logic in your extreme circumstances: you don't need the huge explosion, you just need a guaranteed few points. I guess Grant makes more sense in that context, though honestly, you should go with your gut.

Andy (Phoenix)

What happened to your boy Jonathan Stewart? 4 fantasy points, man. I guess that's not a question. Um, so, can I drop Dallas Clark now?

Christopher Harris
  (11:43 AM)

Hi, Andy. My boy? Hm. Well, I've been riding DeAngelo Williams like a rented mule for two months, so I've actually been all about Stewart, like, stubbing his toe or something. But yeah, Stewart didn't do a lot last night, mostly because he got dinged up in the second quarter and the Panthers didn't use him except for one series (I think) thereafter. As for Clark -- he'll probably play a quarter next week. He'll probably be pretty good for that quarter, but if you've got a decent full-game option.......

Joe(NY)

What does your baseball homework entail?

Christopher Harris
  (11:45 AM)

Hi, Joe. Um, remember the rules? Figuring out who this "CC Sabathia" guy is? Seriously, it's about figuring out my personal positional ranks for the year. I like to have my ranks set in advance of our rankings summit, so I know which guys I want to go to bat for (so to speak) and which guys I'm down on relative to everyone else. I also tend to prepare statistical arguments for the guys I'm most in favor of (or guys for whom I think there'll be the most resistance). I'm not saying it's not *fun* homework, but it's homework.

Brendan Clev OH

hey Chris, this is my first fantasy league and we have our championships next week what teams would you see sitting their studs i heard indy does but i am in the championship and need to know what to do with this?

Christopher Harris
  (11:46 AM)

Hi, Brendan. Yeah, it's a bummer, and part of the hazard of having your league play in Week 17. Standard ESPN.com leagues use both Weeks 16 and 17 for the title game to mediate some of the nuttiness of having fantasy studs sit, but still, it's annoying. Me, I'd wait to get confirmation from Tony Dungy later in the week, but my guess is that the Colts guys don't play but a quarter against the Titans next week, which would make them pretty unusable, fantasy-wise.

Will (STL)

Hey while we're "throwing shoes" at WRs I just wanted to make sure Dwayne Bowe was mentioned along with Roddy and AJ. I was intrigued enough by his nearly double digit targets a game to bench him for TO. Seemed like a good idea at the time. What was I thinking? Please reprimand him for me.

Christopher Harris
  (11:47 AM)

Hi, Will. I hear you. The Chiefs score 31 points, and Bowe has 3 catches for 28 yards and no scores? Ga. Another knee to the groin. Bowe *was* targeted in the red zone a couple times, but couldn't connect, and Tyler Thigpen (who really didn't play very well) kept running them in for scores. Argh.

Joe(NY)

Bounceback year for your boy Robby Cano?

Christopher Harris
  (11:48 AM)

Hi, Joe. So *not* my boy, Cano. Can't stand his contact rates. I'm sure he'll be better, but I'm the guy who got on the radio in April and said I'd rather own Pedroia than Cano -- and that *wasn't* because I knew in advance that Pedroia would be the AL MVP....

Kevin , Boston

Should I play Brees or Cassel? Brees is going for record but no tds last time. Cassel has a lot to play for. Thank you in advance.

Christopher Harris
  (11:50 AM)

Hi, Kevin. As always, I issue the caveat that I haven't done the math to figure out my Week 17 ranks yet, and won't be able to until after tonight's game. Off the top of my head, though, I think I still have to go with Brees. I know it's frustrating not to get a TD from him sometimes, but you're right, the Saints are going to be flinging it, and he's going after Dan Marino's record. I think he's my guy. But check back Wednesday.

Nick (Hoboken)

Hi Chris- I'm home with my sick daughter today. Is ESPN going to post their rankings based upon a combination of who they think will play and how they'll perform in week 17?

Christopher Harris
  (11:52 AM)

Hi, Nick. Sorry about your daughter; I hope she feels better soon. Yes, our rankings will be based on how we think guys will perform in Week 17, and that'll be partly based on what we think of playing time issues. It's probably going to lead to some wildly varying ranks, because some of us will think certain teams are going to sit guys, while others won't. We'll do rankings updates on Friday (after Xmas) at which point presumably we'll have *some* better info. But yeah, don't expect to see Peyton Manning in my top 10 quarterbacks next week.

TS (NYC)

Hey Chris, in a league that starts two QB's, should I drop Hasselback for Leinart in anticipation that Warner will not play week 17? I've been riding Brees and Warner all year, but Warner has no reason to play on Sunday. I also have S. Wallace.

Christopher Harris
  (11:54 AM)

Hi, TS. I have no insider knowledge about Warner not playing -- my guess is that he'll start and try to get some positive momentum going, then sit at halftime. But you may be right -- Leinart could get the nod. Either way, I think you can make the transaction, because Hasselbeck isn't going to play again for you this year. That way, you can wait and take a look at the news over the course of the week. If the Cards are going to lie down on defense the way they did yesterday, though, Wallace actually could be a sneaky 2-QB-league starter next week....

Jay (NYC)

Any chance Mason Crosby scores 30 tonight or is my season done?

Christopher Harris
  (11:55 AM)

Hi, Jay. There are a lot of questions here about whether I think one team can score X points to win their title, and I'm going to burn really quickly through them. I don't usually answer that kind of question because, well, I don't have any more insight than you do, really. In the case of Crosby, yeah, unless you get *mega* bonuses for long kicks, I'd say you're in trouble.

Andy (Phoenix)

I only say "your boy" because you ranked Stewart at 19 this week, while his average rank amongst your colleagues was 32. I'm really just bitter because your advice was the primary reason I held on the Jamal Lewis for so long this season. I needed to vent.

Christopher Harris
  (11:55 AM)

Cool, Andy. Yeah, I admit it -- I was wrong. I think the in-game injury was a big part of why. Sorry about that, though.

Marsh (StL)

What do you see from Rodgers tonight? I need 23 points to be crowned the champ.

Christopher Harris
  (11:56 AM)

Hi, Marsh. Don't know your scoring system, but it's going to be a really cold night tonight. My guess is that Rodgers has a good, not great game.....

Jake (Montclair, NJ)

DeAngelo Williams got me back into my semi-final matchup. Down one with Donald Driver and Mason Crosby to go vs. the Bears D. Pick 'em?

Christopher Harris
  (11:57 AM)

Hi, Jake. I think you're maybe a slight favorite? Kickers are obviously complete wild cards, but you're probably going to get *something* from Crosby. Then again, he'll get something from the defense. It'll be tight, I'd say. Good luck.

Biting (Nailsville, NJ)

Championship game. Down 25. I have Forte and Jennings tonight. This is why we play fantasy football! Prediction on my fate?

Christopher Harris
  (11:57 AM)

Hey, Nail-Biter. Forte needs to stay in the game all night long, which if you believe the Bears, he has a good chance of doing. It helps that Chicago really needs this game. I think you win.

michigan

hi chris,heard tonights game gonna be a realy cold one.near zero.what do you think rodgers will do?thanks

Christopher Harris
  (11:59 AM)

I think he'll probably shiver a little bit. He's a good player, and he was excellent first time out against the Bears. (Though Ryan Grant broke big in that game and stole a bit of Rodgers' thunder.) It's a meaningless game for the Pack and Chicago will be motivated...I see Rodgers having a couple touchdowns, a pick and maybe 210 yards. (But specific predictions like that really aren't my forte -- and I don't mean Matt Forte.)

Brendan Clev Oh

How good do you think colston will do next week with all the "winging" goin on in new orleans? you think AJ sits?

Christopher Harris
  (12:00 PM)

Hi, Brendan. Good question. Let's see how the Bears do tonight. They've struggled big time against big-play receivers this season, and AJ certainly is one of those. If I had my choice, I'd like to start *both* those guys......

Steiny (NYC)

Thank you Chris for everything this year. Happy Holiday to you and your family. Be well.

Christopher Harris
  (12:01 PM)

Thanks, Steiny. That's my cue, folks. I have to get going. Last-minute X-mas shopping, and all that. Thanks to all of *you* for coming today and all season. I really appreciate all your interest, and I wish I could answer every single question (but they pay me to write columns, too). All year, I've been amazed and happy at how fun you've all made this job, and I continue to be eternally grateful. Without you, I wouldn't get to do this for a living. You guys and gals are the best. Check in on Wednesday for Week 17 ranks, I *will* be writing the Breakdown this week, and then we'll also have ranking updates on Friday. Best to you and all your families.