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December 30, 10:10 AM ET
Fantasy Football w/Brendan Roberts

Brendan Roberts
  (3:02 PM)

Good afternoon, everyone! Great to be back after a week out of the fold. Here's hoping your football seasons ended well. But I have to admit, the ol' baseball has been on my mind a lot the last few days. It's like my body clock has turned. Anyway, let's get to some questions!

JD: Chi-town

What's the latest on Sheets? Does Texas have a good chance to get him to play at home?

Brendan Roberts
  (3:03 PM)

Haven't heard much about Sheets, only that the Rangers are making a bid. But it sounds like they're not getting far too quickly, which means Sheets is holding out for more and/or has reservations about pitching for Texas. My hunch is he ends up somewhere, although it'd be interesting to see what he does there.

Matt NYC

Keeper question- in a ppr league would you rather keep VJax-6th round, Boldin 2nd round, Steve Smith 2nd round, or Antonio Bryant 16th round?

Brendan Roberts
  (3:04 PM)

Hmm, looking for the best bargain among them, I'd definitely say Bryant. You can always get Smith and Boldin back with similar picks, and V-Jax right around that spot. Bryant, on the other hand, is safe for playing time next year, and that's kicker-round material there.

Brendan Roberts
  (3:06 PM)

Not getting many good questions (which was expected considering the timing of this chat), so I might as well lay out how I think the NFL Playoffs will go, for postseason leagues.

Brendan Roberts
  (3:07 PM)

Speaking of which, y'all have to sign up for our Gridiron Playoff Challenge. It's really fun and very easy. You think the regular season FB can be a crapshoot, the NFL Playoffs is really like rolling a 10-sided dice. Here's the link: http://games.espn.go.com/nflpc/frontpage

Brendan Roberts
  (3:08 PM)

All right, this week I think Atlanta beats Arizona, putting those ARI weapons to rest. I think San Diego beats Indy (yeah, you heard me), assuming LT is OK. And ...

Brendan Roberts
  (3:09 PM)

Baltimore beats Miami, with Minnesota beating Philly (game's at MIN, and the Vikes might have Pat Williams back).

Brendan Roberts
  (3:09 PM)

I'll be along next week for the next round, but I think Pittsburgh beats the Giants in the Super Bowl.

JD (Omaha)

hey BR in the house. in your opinion, is pierre thomas a top-15 rb next year?

Brendan Roberts
  (3:10 PM)

Depends on the situation he ends up in. Were I to guess right now, I'd say no. Even if he was, not sure he can handle the beating of a primary back.

Alejandro )NYC)

I have a keeper question - K-rod or Damon

Brendan Roberts
  (3:11 PM)

Assuming this is a 5x5 league, I'd say K-Rod. People are "down" on him, but only to the point that he's a good but not great closer. He's still top-8 closer material (or better) for me, and Damon is no longer in that class.

Vick Boston

Have any tips for winning the Playoff Gridiron Challenge?

Brendan Roberts
  (3:12 PM)

I started listing a few, then realized I might as well have you read Tristan Cockcroft's excellent advice and tips: http://games.espn.go.com/nflpc/story?pageName=gpc2008\tips

Kyle (OH)

Pick two of three for a non-PPR keeper league: Portis, Chris Johnson, Lynch.

Brendan Roberts
  (3:14 PM)

Hmm, it'd be interesting to see if Portis ends up somewhere. Definitely Johnson is the first option (you'd hate to get rid of him, considering he's this good and this round. For the second guy, I'd probably lean toward Lynch. I think the Bills continue their maturation, and he's still healthy and durable. In my mind, he can only get better. I think he makes for a better long-term option than Portis.

Rob(columbus Ohio)

Hey I am in a 5 year keeper leauge. Where you get 5 keeper contracts to use any time during the 5 years. We are entering our second year and the big money comes year 5. Should I keep Brady or Ryan? Is Boldin or Welker going to be good for the next 4 years and should I keep Mcfadden? I can use as many or as few contracts as I want.

Brendan Roberts
  (3:17 PM)

Some good questions there. Tough call on that first question, but I'd probably say Ryan. That Brady knee thing bothers me, and I worry he won't be the same option. Meanwhile, if Ryan is this good in his first year ... I think Boldin will remain productive his next four years, but not necessarily Welker. Love the guy, but it seems miniature possession WRs who catch a ton of balls and often get clobbered in the middle have a shorter shelf life. I can foresee injury or a drop in production toward the end of that four years. All that said, I still like McFadden more.

Jeff (Philly)

Is Matt Schaub a top 10 qb next year? Or should I go after a Rivers/Rodgers type in a trade?

Brendan Roberts
  (3:18 PM)

I'm not a Matt Schaub fan. He has his good games, but I can't see him ever playing a full season (averaging around 11 games), and he's still far too inconsistent. I think you're much better off going after Rivers, who I think will remain consistent and productive for years to come.

Ogre (Adams College)

Fantasy football is for NERDS!

Brendan Roberts
  (3:18 PM)

Going on fantasy chats and saying comments like the above are for NERDS! Ha, ha.

Sarah (GA)

Keeper question in a PPR league: Bush, DeAngelo, A. Johnson, or Brees? Which 2 do I keep for '09 & beyond?

Brendan Roberts
  (3:20 PM)

Oy. DeAngelo would be one, for sure. After that, not sure how many you keep or what the QB situation might be for you on draft day. If it seems QBs will be available, then I'd say Johnson. If you keep more than 2 per team and the top QBs are gone, I'd say Brees. Not knowing that, I'd say Johnson provides the best early-round value.

JD: Chi-town

Reports that Boston trying to get Hanley back with a mega-package fronted by Bucholtz but were rebuffed by Florida...does that reopen the Bucholtz for Salty of Texas rumors?

Brendan Roberts
  (3:21 PM)

Yup, rebuffed quickly, from what I hear. Oh, I don't think the Buchholz to anywhere rumors were ever closed, but seems their interest in Salty is now lukewarm, at best.

Vick Boston

Ryan Grant closed out the season strong despite a slow start form the hold-out. Do you think he is worthy of a 2nd round pick next year?

Brendan Roberts
  (3:22 PM)

Hmm, maybe early-third. He closed out strong only because he had fresh legs after a "lighter" first half. I kinda saw that coming. But at least you know you can now count on him as a No. 2 fantasy back again.

Dirty Bird (Atlanta)

Keeper Quandry in a 0.5 PPR 12 team league. We start 2 QB's, 2 WR's, 2 RB's & 2 Flex's. Which 2 do I keep (must be at different positions)? DeAngelo, Bush, Andre J, Fitz, Marshall, Roddy, or Brees??

Brendan Roberts
  (3:25 PM)

Wow, look at those stud receivers. Judging strictly by where I think they'll be drafted next season, DeAngelo and probably Andre.

Andre (San Diego)

Any word on the severity of LT's injury?

Brendan Roberts
  (3:26 PM)

Ah, Chargers fan, huh? Stephania Bell had some good stuff on LT the past few days, but sounds like it's just a routine groin strain and that he'll play. Might be limited somewhat, but I think there's no way he misses. I expect big things from him.

Greg (Holmdel, NJ)

Just to follow up on my season, and everyone else's, can you think of the best trade you ever made? Here's mine: Preseason Week 3: Trade Jon Kitna for Jay Cutler. Thoughts?

Brendan Roberts
  (3:27 PM)

Ha, good idea, Greg. Yeah, not bad. Of course, I'd bet a lot of people reading would love to have that owner in their league. Sheesh, that's a GTR, if I've ever seen one.

Ben (NY)

As a Giants fan I hope youre right about the Vikings, I'm not sure why but Philly scares me the most in the NFC.

Brendan Roberts
  (3:29 PM)

Yeah, a lot of people are scared of 'em, for good reason. Such an explosive team. But seems like if Westbrook is taken away and the team becomes one-dimensional, they can be beaten. And I think Adrian Peterson can run on 'em. Not many teams match up well with Philly, but I think Minnesota does.

Bobbo (NY)

Fantasy playoffs, redraft every week so winning teams don't matter, how would you rank the RB's for this weekend?

Brendan Roberts
  (3:32 PM)

Just for this weekend? Probably A-Pete, Turner, LT, Westbrook, McClain, Addai, Sproles, Ronnie Brown, Edge, Dom Rhodes, Hightower, Jerious Norwood, Chester Taylor, Rice, Ricky Williams, Corell Buckhalter ...

t205gold Maryland

Will you guys still rank players through Playofs?

Brendan Roberts
  (3:34 PM)

Nope, not the official weekly rankings like you're used to. But do have Tristan's pre-playoff piece, and he'll file a weekly column previewing the games and talking about the best and worst matchups. That should be all you need. In fact ... looks like he just filed that as I typed this. It'll run tomorrow.

Dave(Dallas)

In a keeper league keep slaton or try and trade him for MJD or MB III or are there some backs you think are a can't miss that I should try and trade him for?

Brendan Roberts
  (3:35 PM)

I think you keep him. He has proven the ability to a) be effective as an NFL starter; b) handle a fairly heavy workload; and c) catch the ball, meaning he's tougher to shut down altogether.

ML (NC)

Eddie Royal a top-20 WR in 09' (PPR)?

Brendan Roberts
  (3:36 PM)

Unfortunately, no. Not with Brandon Marshall still there, and he will be. I realize you can still have two Top-20 WRs on the same team, but I think the Broncos re-commit to running the ball more next season, limiting the looks Royal will get (and deserves).

Deangelo Williams

Would you keep me over Portis and Peyton Manning?

Brendan Roberts
  (3:36 PM)

Yup, I probably would.

JV (Aurora, CO)

Edge over Hightower & JJ, really? Has he been named the starter for this weekend?

Brendan Roberts
  (3:39 PM)

Well, Edge started Week 17, in a game the Cards said they were going all out. He finished with 14 carries and ran for 100 yards, and Hightower finished with three carries for three yards. Just think Edge will be the guy here; he has playoff experience and fresh legs, and he still can catch the ball well. Hightower might score a TD, but Edge I think is the better bet to get points.

Deangelo Williams

Follow up part! If i get to take Portis or Peyton with me. Which one would you choose?

Brendan Roberts
  (3:40 PM)

Pretty close one there, but the option of keeping two stud RBs before the draft, I think, is too good to pass up. It's Portis for me.

Ogre (Adams College)

Sorry Brendan, what I really wanted to ask but was afraid is which NERD! to keep on my NERD! fantasy team: Lamar or Booger?

Brendan Roberts
  (3:41 PM)

Oh, in that case, definitely Booger. Better belcher.

Scott (ny)

Please pick only 3 keepers from Braun, Berkman, Reyes, Hamilton, Hamels, Webb and Liriano.

Brendan Roberts
  (3:42 PM)

Hmm, good selections there, but I say Reyes, Braun and Hamilton stand out to me.

Brendan Roberts
  (3:43 PM)

Hmm, good selections there, but I say Reyes, Braun and Hamilton stand out to me.

Cody Philly

quick hoops question, what is the deal with Boozer, does he not want to play and looking to be dealt? Thanks

Brendan Roberts
  (3:44 PM)

He simply isn't healthy yet. Whether it's mental or not, he just can't get over this quad thing. But to jump in line with you, this is vintage Carlos Boozer.

Vick Boston

Tristan recommends forcasting ahead in week 2. But,you can recycle your roster until week 3. Wouldn't you be better off just picking who will score the most points on the given week until week 3, rather than picking players on winning teams with lower scores?

Brendan Roberts
  (3:47 PM)

Yeah, I'm kinda with you on that. I tend to think more short-term, for two reasons: a) The NFL Playoffs has been so unpredictable of late that you can't assume a good player's team will lose; and b) A good performance by one player in a losing cause could equad 2-3 games worth of a backup's effort. You think long-term when it comes to your picks, but don't put as much credence in your "who will win the games" picks as you do the talent of the player themselves. Hope that makes sense.

Chris (Philly)

Pick 2 keepers from Chris Johnson, Run DMC, and Portis...thanks!

Brendan Roberts
  (3:47 PM)

Johnson and Portis. Much safer, and pointed toward next season.

JD: Chi-town

I saw Ogre about 10 years ago, he's a Chicago guy.....looks like Manny burned Dodger bridge, what is Boras plan B -- do the Yanks run out the top 5 paid guys in baseball?

Brendan Roberts
  (3:48 PM)

That could well be the case (him ending up in NYC). I'm sure the Yanks could drum up, um, several million to pay him.

Henry (Columbus)

Baseball Keeper Question. I have a quandry, do I go for the title this year, or try to also build for the future? I keep six (no limit on years), and four are definites - Pujols, Wright, Utley, Rollins, and then I need two more out of Ichiro, J. Upton, D. Price, Wainwright and Sheets. Do I go Ichiro and Wainwright or Sheets? Or keep the youngsters? HELP!!!

Brendan Roberts
  (3:51 PM)

I'd throw Sheets out of the picture. I think the only reason he did much this season was b/c of his salary drive, and he still got hurt. Which 2 to keep? Yeah, I'd say Ichiro, who I think still has some good years in him, and maybe even Price. So yeah, you go for the future -- but only because, in your case, I think you have the core to contend now. I'm one of those who thinks you save a "future" spot on a guy who can help you now if you can contend still with him.

Sean (Chicago)

Will need to pick 3 keepers from the following (with the pick I'd sacrifice): DeAngelo (4th rd) Boldin (4th rd or 5th if I also keep Williams) Braylon Edwards (5th) Warner (6th) Ryan Grant (7th) Palmer (7th) Thoughts?

Brendan Roberts
  (3:52 PM)

DeAngelo, Boldin and Grant. Pretty good start to a team!

shawn (Seatle)

I get to keep one WR and one RB in my league. my WR options are Jennings,Moss,and Wayne. My RB options are Portis,Williams, and Slaton.

Brendan Roberts
  (3:53 PM)

Very close one there, but I'd say Jennings and DeAngelo, just going by draft stock.

Jonathan (Chicago)

Can you rank these play-off RB's: J Addai, D Rhodes, McGahee, Edge, and J Norwood.

Brendan Roberts
  (3:54 PM)

Addai, Edge, Rhodes, Norwood, McGahee.

Graham (columbia, mo)

Which of these 3 closers would hold onto in a 10 team keeper league: Soria, Wood, or Ryan?

Brendan Roberts
  (3:56 PM)

I'd have to say Soria. Not your conventional answer, but the other two still scare me a bit.

PJ (des moines, iowa)

When does the mock drafting begin at ESPN for fantasy baseball?

Brendan Roberts
  (3:57 PM)

Good question ... maybe we need to get on that! Ha, ha. Probably not till late January or early February. But I can tell you we're working furiously on projections and rankings right now. We're ramping up, for sure.

Greg (Arizona)

Why Andre Johnson over Fitzgerald in a keeper? Fitz had 4 more TDs this year, only 100 less yards and is 4 years younger than Andre.

Brendan Roberts
  (3:58 PM)

Yeah, that's a valid argument, Greg, but I just see a) Johnson's low TD count being a fluke; and b) I think he's more of a focus in his offense than Fitzy. Simply put, I don't think the Cards' passing offense is quite as explosive next season.

Mike (New York)

Hi Brendan - Auction league 165 salary cap have Turner 13, Chris Johnson 14, R. White 11, S. Smith 27 and Gore 19...can only keep 4, thoughts?

Brendan Roberts
  (3:59 PM)

Turner, Johnson Roddy and Gore. You should be able to get Smith for a similar price.

Mike (Montana)

Keeper league, PPR question-Jacobs or LT? Reggie Wayne or Roddy White?

Brendan Roberts
  (4:01 PM)

I'd still say LT there. At WR, Roddy. He's got a good thing going there with Matty Ryan, which could make them the "future" Wayne-Peyton combo. Plus, I think Anthony Gonzalez becomes a greater focus in Indy.

Brendan Roberts
  (4:01 PM)

Wow, that actually pretty quick, but I have to get back to my "baseball studies." Yup, about that time!

Brendan Roberts
  (4:02 PM)

Happy New Year (early), everyone, and we'll, uh, see ya next year! (Sorry.)