Hey, everyone. Welcome to your Monday morning fantasy football chat. Before we get to the questions, remember, you can always "friend" me at http://www.facebook.com/writerboy. Here we go....
CH, what are your thoughts on D. ward. Got him in the 8th yesterday and Karabell seems really high on him. Is he a reliable RB3 for the season?
Hi, Ryan. Eric and I actually debated Ward on the radio on Friday -- I think using an 8th rounder on him is probably just fine, but I wouldn't go much higher. There's real concern about Cadillac Williams stealing goal-line touches (and 20% of the overall touches) in Tampa, which will put a damper on Ward and Earnest Graham. Is Ward an RB3? Yeah, probably. Will he be reliable? I'm not so sure.
Thanks for not cancelling on us like all of the other chatters and no, I will not friend request you on facebook no matter how many times you advertise it.
Hey, Jason. Your smiling sunshine attitude sure does brighten everyone's day on this Monday morning.
I have pierre thomas as a keeper... Should i begin to worry
Hi, Craig. I mean, yeah, I guess you should *begin* to worry. Injured knees are a little scary, though a sprained MCL isn't something that should linger well into the season. I won't be surprised to see Mike Bell take some short-yardage carries the first couple weeks of the season. I also should note that despite the fact that I was the first ESPN writer on board with Thomas a couple years back, I now think he's probably being a bit overvalued. I'm as worried as the next guy about Reggie Bush's knee, but let's face it: if Bush stays healthy, he's probably the top point getting on that team. The Saints are invested in making him a star. I think those who scream about Pierre Thomas as a top-20 pick are going a little overboard.
CH, can you give me your thoughts on 2 Broncos? I drafted Moreno and Marshall in my PPR league with hopes one of them can fill my flex spot. Will Moreno eventually start and what do you think will happen with this Marshall mess?
Hi, Ryan. I think both guys are worth drafting right now, provided you get them at an appropriately discounted price. Moreno was seen doing drills on the field before last night's game and he's reportedly going to be able to play in Week 1, though I don't think he's an unquestioned fantasy start right now. Marshall's is a murkier situation. I don't think they're going to trade him, but I also won't be surprised if he isn't a big part of the game plan right away. That said, you don't win your fantasy championship in Week 1 -- and I think by season's end, each guy will wind up being an asset.
Will Ray Rice establish himself as the bell-cow in a crowded Baltimore backfield?
Hi, Josh. There are a lot of folks out there who seem to think so, and some of 'em are beat reporters for the Ravens. I'm still not convinced that Rice is the TD maker -- I think when all's said and done, McClain is going to wind up leading that team in rushing touchdowns. Nor do I think the Ravens are invested in giving 300 carries to Rice. I *would* draft him before either of the other guys. But I think NFL teams believe committees are the way to keep everyone healthy. Willis McGahee might actually make a smart (very) late draftee...
Chris - would you trade for B Marshall if you did not have to give up a starter?
Hi, Jim. Yeah, I mean, it depends on the guy I'm dealing away. But yes, I think Marshall will be a fantasy starter by the end of the year (if not a lot sooner).
TMR is really high on Peyton Hillis for some reason. What are your thoughts on him?
Hi, Andy. My thoughts are that Hillis could be worth a late-round gamble in a PPR league, because Josh McDaniels will throw to his fullback. Otherwise, I think you can leave Hillis alone. The Broncos have other options (Buckhalter chief among them), so even if Moreno's injury lingers longer than we think and Hillis gets tossed a goal-line carry here or there, it'll be mighty tough to actually use him in fantasy leagues. The reason Hillis got so many carries (before he tore his hammy) last year is everyone on the depth chart in front of him was on IR.
With rookie WR production typically low and with his holdout - is Crabtree basically worthless at this point?
Hi, Jason. In a re-draft league, I really do think Crabtree is about worthless. I can't imagine he just suddenly jumps into the rotation and starts catching a million passes, no matter how talented he is. Plus there's really no guarantee he signs. I'm not drafting him in re-draft leagues.
Brees with the 3rd pick in a 2QB league. Too early?
Hi, Levi. In a Two-QB league, I say no. Obviously, that style of league puts quarterbacks into the "scarce" column, and Brees seems like such a safe pick. I like it just fine.
Can you please give me your rankings of the top-4 WRs. Fitzgerald, Moss, Andre Johnson, and Calvin Johnson. My league gives .5 ppr. Thanks!
Hi, Ryan. I go Fitzgerald, A. Johnson, C. Johnson and then Moss. Not that I don't like Moss -- he and Brady absolutely looked like they just picked up right where they left off in '07 during the preseason. But there's a lot of risk with Brady, plus there are many other options for him to throw to, and Moss should get double-teamed by opposing defenses walking out of the tunnel. I love 'em all, but that's my order right now.
Should I take Willie Parker for Jonathan Stewart or reject it?
Hi, Trevor. Really depends on a lot of things, which makes it very hard to answer in a vaccuum. Would you be relying on this roster spot to be a starter? What else do you have at the position? What's your league scoring? I would say in a total vaccuum, if I had to start this player, I'd want Parker. But I think Stewart's injury *may* be a slight bit overstated at this point, and I think he might be undervalued. So I give him a crack at a higher upside, if you can wait.
The propaganda has been out that Fitzgerald may not be the #1 WR since most of his stats were boosted during Boldin's injury. Do you agree? I think Moss should be the top guy.
Hi, Jason. Um, I think by my answer you can interpret that I don't agree. Does Fitz come with risk, too? Yup -- Kurt Warner could get crushed. Then again, Matt Leinart looked pretty darn good this weekend, too...
How about a few very deep WR sleepers since my guy Mark Bradley does not seem to be doing much
Hi, Jon -- yeah, Bradley probably isn't going to be much use...he reportedly could get cut this week. Let's see -- I like Kenny Britt, Hakeem Nicks, Laurent Robinson as possible (very) late-rounders in shallow leagues. In my 16-team keeper league this weekend, I took Darrius Heyward-Bey in the final round...
Who is Jamal Lewis' backup? I have been reading that Jerome Harrison is still the #2.
Hi, Brian. I'm pretty sure at this point it'd be James Davis. I know Harrison is also in the mix, but Davis has the eye of the Browns' coaching staff, and he's been amazing in the preseason. I think Harrison will play some on third downs, but if Jamal Lewis were to get hurt, I think Davis would be the starter in Cleveland (of course, that's subject to change...).
Who would you rather have on your bench between Bess and Williamson?
Hi, Brian. Well, Bess doesn't look like a starter in Miami right now...Brian Hartline is going to be the flanker for the Dolphins to start the year. And I think Williamson *will* be the deep threat in Jacksonville. So although I don't think Williamson will produce consistently enough to be used in fantasy leagues, he'd be my choice.
Why is Colston so far down in the WR rankings? With Brees being the #1 QB won't that be his main target?
Hi, Mike. In Colston's case, it's all about his knees. He's been hurt each of the past two years, and he's coming off yet another knee surgery. I think if Colston stays healthy, he's undervalued where he's ranked, but he's one of those guys who could also give you *nothing* a lot easier than most. That explains it, I think.
Would you value Slaton higher over guys like D. Williams and C. Johnson since he is pretty much the featured back in that offense? Is he then worth a top 6 selection? Thanks..
Hi, Dan. I like Slaton fine, but I'm not taking him in the top six. Yes, he's featured, but so is Williams, and, really, so is Chris Johnson. Each of those guys (including Slaton) can lose touches on the goal line...Slaton has Chris Brown to deal with. I think they're all legit first rounders. But I have Johnson and Williams a couple notches higher. Let's be clear -- when we're dealing with three really talented dudes, it really *is* a matter of opinion, and there's no right answer. If you feel strongly about Slaton, I don't think he's a *bad* top six pick, not at all.
You are in the 4th round and already went RB, RB, WR and one of your higher ranked RBs slides to you. What do you do?
Hi, Levi. So tough to answer because it really depends on the names themselves. I really try not to draft based on positional need -- which means I'm much more apt to take a RB again if I think he's the best guy available. The truth is, though, that in the scenario you paint, there are going to be some very good WRs available, too. I guess if it's a tie in my mind, I go WR....
How do you see Clinton Portis panning out this season? I know he's always an injury risk, but seems to play through most and still put up respectable numbers. Is he a decent RB2?
Hi, Nick. I'm concerned about Portis, I really am. He's one of my favorite players, but he hasn't looked good in the preseason, he reportedly has a little bit of an injured rib, and most importantly he lost touches on third down to Ladell Betts and on the goal-line to the immortal Marcus Mason in their last preseason game. I'm kind of shaky on using Portis this year. In a 10-teamer, is he an RB2? Probably, but a late one.
Hey Chris! I'm in a 2QB league and starters are at a premium. Who gets the starting nod in Detroit??
Hi, CJ. I guess "insiders" are now saying that they expect Matt Stafford to get the nod. I kind of think it's a mistake, but I guess if you're going to be terrible, you might as well let the kid learn. It's such a bad offensive line, though, you worry he gets shellshocked a la David Carr. We should know something more definitively this week.
Chris, am I crazy to classify Addai as a worthwhile risk? Seems to me that Colts may run a bit more and, while they have D. Brown, I think Addai has lots to prove and if he stays healthy could be a top 15 back.
Hi, Toddy. Well, I wrote a sort-of defense of Addai a couple weeks ago -- if you search the archives, you'll find it. I was arguing for Addai over Larry Johnson, which I still believe. It's a "big if" to say *if* he stays healthy...and Brown should be a bit of a burden regardless. But yes, I think Addai has RB2 upside if both guys stay healthy.
CH - Rodgers has looked very good so far this preseason, is he your # 4 behind Brees, Brady and Manning?
Hi, Jeff. He's actually my No. 5 -- I have Philip Rivers ahead of him on my personal list. But yeah, I mean, I think he'll be really good.
Ugh, Larry Johnson!! I got him as my RB2 in the 7th round, but obviously Cassel getting hurt puts a damper on that! Thoughts??
Hi, Joe. Honestly, I don't think Cassel getting hurt has anything to do with why LJ isn't going to be very good this year. I don't think Todd Haley's system will use what Johnson does best any longer, and I think Jamaal Charles will be on the field a lot as a result. Plus I think Johnson, in NFL terms, is getting old. He's not worthless, but I think the odds are that he winds up disappointing. (But the 7th round? That's not such a bad pick at all, really...)
Hey Chris, Is Maroney worth a LATE round flier? I can always drop Bess for him.
Hi, Brian. I mean, I think Maroney should probably be owned, just for the possibility that he winds up fulfilling those long-ago expectations. But honestly, I think I'd rather let someone else take that chance. Every time I watch him play, I'm left with the notion that he's just not a decisive upfield runner...he dances and dances and doesn't hit the hole hard. I don't see a breakout for him. But the Pats don't have a whole lot else that blows you away at RB, and I include Fred Taylor in that assessment.
How do you handle Brett Favre? What is his worth come draft day?
Hi, Steve. I think Favre is a low-upside QB2 in fantasy leagues. He's fine as a backup, and a fill-in if you need one. And that's all.
Will i regret passing up Michael Turner for Steven Jackson (4th overall)? Targeted and drafted Roddy White in the 2nd rd, didnt want to put all my eggs in one basket either.
Hi, JC. Well, if I could answer questions like that definitively, I'd live in Vegas. I have Jackson ranked 3rd and Turner 5th right now, so I think I'd have done the same. I think Turner had the best possible season he could ever have last year, and when that happens, usually guys take a step back the next year. But others will tell you differently, and again, when you're up among the cream of the crop, it all becomes a matter of opinion. You and I are banking on Jackson finally staying healthy again. We shall see.
Jermichael Finley!!! You previously said he was more of a reason not to draft Lee. I'm thinking he could be a top-20, maybe even top-15 TE. Your thoughts? Have they changed?
Hi, Ryan. Yeah, I listed Finley on my "10 Names To Know" list from Friday's column, and then he went out and scored two touchdowns in this weekend's preseason game for the Pack. I still don't think Finley is a top-15 TE, because Lee is still there. Finley's not much of a blocker, and as such he can't stay on the field every down. I think he's a year away from fantasy stardom.
Edge has gotta start in Seattle over Jones right?? I got him in the 11th rd in a 10 team league. Tell me I got a steal
Hi, Anthony. The truth is that I don't think either guy will be worth much consistently in fantasy leagues. They'll probably split carries a lot for a month or so, and then someone'll get hurt and it'll all just be a sticky morass. I really hate the Seattle offense this year. That line without Walter Jones looks terrible, and Matt Hasselbeck is still brittle, no matter what folks up there say. I'm staying away from that team entirely.
Am I right in thinking that TE's this year are deep enough that you can pick any name out of a hat and be okay with them?
Hi, Cory. That's my theory. I'm never taking Gonzalez / Witten / Clark -- they're a *little* safer than the rest of the pack, but in a 10-team league, you can get someone with lots of upside and not have to spend a 4th rounder on him. Then if he doesn't work out, you just try someone else. I wouldn't use a high pick on a tight end *or* a quarterback this year, I really wouldn't.
Hey Chris. Quick keeper, can you please rank the following RB's? Beanie, Knowshon, Donald Brown and Ray Rice. Thanks.
Hi, Jimmy. I'd say in a keeper league, I probably like this: Moreno, Wells, Rice, Brown. I like them all. I just think Moreno is an every-down player who can pick up a blitz, catch a pass and is very shifty downfield. Wells showed this weekend that he's going to be a really good player (I had a huge debate with the fantasy editors over him last week -- score one for the redhead, at least so far), too...
What do you see from Darren Sproles this year? I am in league that has a flex position and I thought he would be a good option.
Hi, Ed. It's a tough call whether Sproles is a true flex or kind of a half-flex, half-handcuff. I think there'll be weeks where he'll be RB2-worthy, let along flex-worthy, but I also think, especially early in the year, the Chargers are going to try and prove how awesome Tomlinson still is, which could put a crimp in the idea of starting Sproles every week. I like owning him, but I'd feel better if I wasn't forced to start him right away.
Schaub a top 5 qb this year? Grabbed Orton in the last round in case of injury.
He could be, JC. I don't have him quite that high, but I was probably highest on him among anyone at ESPN. Clearly, if he gets hurt, well, that wouldn't be a surprise. But if he doesn't, he's got big-time upside.
Better Brady Backup - Orton or Hasselbeck?
Hi, John. I honestly think Orton, especially in Josh McDaniels' offense.
Would you pick harvin over Cotchery?
Hi, Jim. Hm. I don't think so, though it would depend on the role I needed them for. Cotchery is a far safer starter -- he's a WR1, and should lead his team in targets. But Harvin makes for an explosive option, and if someone gets hurt, who knows. But I like Cotchery more right now.
How does your draft strategy change if you have a RB/WR flex spot with 2 RB and 2 WR?
Hi, Marcus. Well, I mean, I think it just means you accentuate RB/WR even more. I'm *very* heavy drafting RBs and WRs anyway, so this really just means I don't *think* about QB or TE for a good long while...
14 team draft last night, and I ended up not taking a QB until very late, and ended up with Eli Manning? Is he serviceable or should I be playing the matchups every week with guys like Flacco, Shaun Hill, and the rest of the waiver wire?
Hi, Chris. I think Eli is probably a starter in a 14-team league -- there'll be some weeks where that works out, and some where you're sad. I think you do need to own another QB just in case, and I think Flacco isn't a bad option. His limitation isn't talent, it's his offensive system and lack of elite weapons at WR. But Flacco has a gun, and I don't put it past the Ravens to switch things up and get a little more pass-heavy this year.
With Crabtree M.I.A., what kind of stats do you see from Josh Morgan? I grabbed him in the 11th round, might have to start him with all of Marshall's issues.
Hi, Eric. You may know that I've been a major Josh Morgan supporter for a couple years now, and I think he's the 49ers No. 1. But he doesn't have a proven QB throwing to him, and Morgan isn't really an elite deep threat. I think he could catch, say, 60 passes, maybe get 800 or 900 yards and score, say, 6 touchdowns? He's a very athletic guy with good ball skills, though he needs to *fumble* less....
Will marvin harrison get signed this week by any team?
Hi, Hoppy. I don't think so. I think Marvin's done.
Are there any players you absolutely, positively, would not draft regardless of how far they drop in the draft? I guess what I'm asking for is a 'can't miss bust'.
Hi, Cory. Hm. Really, I don't think so. There a lot of players I don't like *for where I'd have to take them*, but heck, I'm not religiously opposed to anyone enough not to grab them if they were available 10 rounds later than I thought they should be drafted. I guess, um, Plaxico Burress? Only because he'll be, like, in jail.
Had my 16 team draft last night. Ended up with Forte, Roddy, VJax, Kevin Smith, and Eli. Eli is my weakness out of those starting 5 right?
Hi, Sean. Yeah, probably, so hopefully you have a backup who'll at least start. But otherwise, for a 16-teamer, that should be pretty solid.
In a league with 6 pt passing touchdowns, how far up do you put the top qbs?
Hi, Tom. To be honest, I tend not to move them that much. The truth is that if you could tell me without question which QB would lead the league in TDs, I'd probably put him inside my top 10, and maybe higher. But the truth is that we've had a mighty hard time predicting that over the past several years, and there'll be at least 10 QBs who wind up with between 20 and 30 scores. That still makes the position relatively commodified, which is why I'm probably still waiting, taking RBs and WRs, and just being happy with whatever QB is left.
doesnt it seem that Felix Jones is going to have a better year than Marion Barber? The offense runs better with Felix and when Barber did get a good drive going, they put in Felix at the goaline to get the TD.
Hi, Joey. I'm not getting too panicky over preseason -- I think when the rubber meets the road, Barber will be the guy getting touchdowns from close in. Now, I'm with you that Jones is a scary talent, a great receiving threat out of the backfield, and a threat to Barber's overall touches. But again, I think Barber will reassume the role he had when Julius Jones was around, as the team's "closer," so to speak, and as such I think he winds up being the more valuable back on that team.
Who are guys you are high on in a PPR scoring league??
Hi, Sean. Check out our Draft Kit's PPR rankings -- those are pretty much my ranks.
How concerned are you by the injuries on the Saints offense? Seems all their playmakers save for Brees have knee or shoulder issues. Thomas, Bush, Colston, Moore...perils of playing on turf?
Yeah, that might be part of the issue. I don't think Thomas or Moore really had much to do with turf -- they were each hurt in minicamp (Moore) and training camp (Thomas), away from the Superdome. But I think it's valid to worry about that rock-hard turf as a mitigating factor when it comes to Saints players. Of course, Sean Payton's offense is a mitigating factor in the *other* direction.
Who is the player that you own the most in your leagues and why?
Good question, King, and I don't know that I have an answer. I don't tend to get married to individual players -- it's all about value where you can get it. That said, I think I've drafted Kenny Britt very late a few times. I've wound up with Reggie Bush in a few PPR leagues (but not standard ones). I've gotten the Titans defense in a few leagues. Larry Fitzgerald in a couple PPR leagues, too. Those are the guys that stand out in my mind right now.
Any league format where you can see Brees/Brady going early 1st?
Hi, KC. Yeah, as I said before, I think in a two-QB format (where you have to start two QBs every week), thinking about those guys in the first half of the first round makes a lot of sense. And right now, I think Brees a little moreso than Brady, who needs to get over these niggling injuries....
I can keep C.Johnson $9, M.Turner $9 and M.Barber $15. Would you protect all three?
Hi, Mike. Johnson and Turner would appear to be absolute no-brainers. Whether or not to keep Barber probably depends on what *else* will be kept by other teams, and thus what'll be available in the second round of your draft....I'd say that one's closer to a "no" for me, but only you really know your league format...
How much value do you see in Run DMC this year? Got an auction value?
Well, auction values are *really* in the eye of the beholder. In a 10-teamer redraft league? I think he should go in the mid-to-high-20s. I think he's not a top-20 back right now, but that could really change within a week. He's clearly the most talented person on that team...but his offensive line could be a real hindrance.
You see Percy Harvin making any significant contributions this year?
Hi, Andrew. I do -- I think there'll be games where Harvin is a superstar and winds up being "all the rage" among waiver-wire warriors. But I also think Harvin'll have weeks where he catches 1 pass for 2 yards. He's a wild card option, a big-play guy who might only see 10 or 15 snaps per game. As such, he's going to be tough to rely on as an every-week guy.
Where is the shamless facebook plug? Time is running low!
I take it in good fun, Jason, but honestly, the reason I've been offering up Facebook links is strictly because I know how frustrating it can be when you ask a question over and over and the chatter never gets to it. It stinks, and it makes you feel like your question wasn't valued, when in fact, it's strictly a matter of me trying to get to as many questions as I can, except like 800 of them come in in an hour. That's my remedy. Believe me when I tell you, in and off itself, I really don't particularly "need" more Facebook friends.
Would you consider Harvin the equivalent to what DeSean Jackson was with Philly last year?
Hi, Jeff -- probably not. I think Harvin is less polished as a route-runner than Jackson was (and Jackson wasn't all that polished), plus I think the Vikings believe in their receiving depth more than the Eagles did last year. So if I had to guess, I would say that Harvin winds up with significantly fewer targets than Jackson did last year.
Are the 2-QB rankings based on passing TDs of 4 or 6 points?
Hi, Ben. Honestly, from my perspective, it doesn't much matter. When I'm thinking about positional rankings, I'm less worried about scoring *among* the positions, and more worried about whether a given league's rules wind up creating *scarcity* at that position. Two-QB leagues introduce scarcity at that position, as opposed to standard leagues, where you can almost always find a decent option later in drafts...
If (or when) Westbrook goes down does McCoy step in and perform like a RB1/RB2?
Hi, Frank. Yeah, I think given a full accompaniment of snaps, McCoy would be a viable RB2. He's not a burner, but he's really quick, and has a decent Westbrook-esque skill set.
I don't have to draft a kicker, I was thinking of taking an extra RB/WR with upside in the last round and then dropping someone for a K right before the first game. Crazy?
Hi, Gerard -- not crazy at *all*. Sane as the day is long. Kickers are random. I like the strategy.
Is Coffee the breakout rookie RB this year?
Hi, Brian. I tend to think not. I have to admit, though, that I severely underrated Coffee, both before the draft and this summer, so I may simply be waiting for him to fail where he's not going to. But I think Gore carries the lion's share of the work in San Francisco, with Coffee really only there to spell him. But he's a very, very good handcuff.
How do you like Leron McClain's chances of having the same role as last year? In preseason, he hasn't been the goalline guy at all. Does he need a Rice or Mcgahee (more likely) injury to get those carries again?
Hi, Chris. I wrote some stuff earlier in the chat about the Baltimore rushers, but I'll expand upon McClain. Yeah, I don't think he's going to be a between-the-20s rusher until the Ravens have injuries at the position -- he seems to be concentrating at fullback right now. That said, if nobody drafts him in the middle rounds of your draft, I don't hate him as a final-few-rounds selection...
Peyton Hillis or Leron McClain? Who is the better real life player and fantasy player?
I think the answer is Hillis for both.
Chris should I go with leon Washington or Felix Jones for my week 1 flex starter(barring injury of course.)
Hi, Mike. Good question, and very comparable players. I'm not looking at the schedule right now, so I'm more talking about overall potential -- I think I'm going to say Washington. I love Felix Jones. But I really think the Jets may be souring a little on Thomas Jones, which could mean a lot of work for the team's most explosive player. All right, everyone -- one more question, and then I've got to get writing my stuff for today....
Chris who do you think the Giants wide receiver number one will be? Steve Smith, Domenik Hixon or Nicks?
Hi, Ryan. It's a great question that I don't think there's really a definitive answer to. I think Smith will be on the field the most. But I also think he's the possession guy, the Amani Toomer, if you will. Right now, I think Hixon and Nicks are in a dogfight, and may wind up in a rotation to start the season, whereupon the team will start riding the hotter hand. I think Hixon is going to high in drafts right now, though, because Nicks *is* a legit threat (as he showed with a huge game this weekend....).
All right, everyone -- I'm sorry not to be able to get to every single question, but that's why I'm offering up my Facebook link, if you'd like to check in, say hi, and ask a question. I can't promise that I'll get to every single question every week, especially once the season starts, but at least I'll give it my best shot. You can reach me at http://www.facebook.com/writerboy. Thanks very much for coming to the chat -- I really appreciate the overwhelming interest, and I would get to do this great job without all of you. So thank you again.