Good morning, everyone. OK, before we get started for this fun-filled hour, some ground rules: I'm not going to answer "Should I start XX over XX in Week 8?" because (a) Week 7 isn't over; (b) I haven't done Week 8 ranks yet; (c) We have a column devoted to that, which comes out Wednesdays. Next, I'm not going to answer "Who's better until the end of the year, XX or XX?" because (a) Week 7 isn't over; (b) We have a column devoted to *that*, too -- it comes out tomorrow, and I write it, and I haven't done the work (i.e., watch all the games) yet. Finally, make sure you refresh your chat page regularly, because very often people keep asking questions over and over about players I've just typed about. With all that out of the way, let's get to it....
What is your take on the QB situation in San Francisco? Is Alex Smith worth picking up??
Hi, Lane. In a very deep league, or a two-quarterback league, I guess so. Otherwise? I tend to think not. I mean, if you've been relying on Hill every week, it's possible...but mostly I think the Niners are pretty much a run-first team that won't put up many gaudy stats at the QB position, no matter who's back there.
Morning! I wanted to say you were right about Lance Moore, he needs to do more before being considered to start, you were right and I was wrong. So let me ask you about RB's, are any of these guys drop-able (keep in mind LT2 is my only other RB) R.Bush, Wells, F.Jackson and McFadden. I will NOT be able to get Greene on waivers.....
Hi, Chris. Yeah, Moore is a third receiver; Devery Henderson was more involved in that game yesterday than Moore was. I think it's going to be pretty up and done for him. As for dropping RBs, again, I have to refer you to tomorrow's Big Rotowski column -- it'll have the RBs in the order I like them from now until the end of the year.
Is it time to jump ship on Forte?
Hi, James. Frankly, I don't know what you can do. I don't even really know what you mean by "jump ship." Can you cut him? No, of course not. Can you trade him? I wouldn't think so -- not unless you're willing to take Greg Jennings in return. I think you unfortunately have to stick it out. If you have other options to start, though, that might be worth exploring.
Good morning, Chris......After LJ's comments about Todd Haley and the Chiefs, is it Jamaal Charles time FINALLY?!?!
Hi, Dale. I dunno, I mean, LJ makes a regular habit of acting like an entitled jerk at least a couple times a year, and it hasn't gotten him benched yet. (Well, that's not true -- it did get him suspended by the previous Chiefs administration, now didn't it.) I didn't think Charles looked great yesterday either, though I haven't watched that entire game all the way through yet. If I were a betting man, I'd say LJ is still the starter, and obviously, you don't want any part of him.
How serious do you think my chest injury is?!
Well, the Texans are *saying* it's not serious, that he'll be able to play next week. I'm guessing he'll be week-to-week.....
What happened to me? Am I dead? Is this heaven?
Ha. I mean, it's pretty clear Parker is an afterthought right now. After Mendenhall fumbled and the Steelers looked peeved with him, it was Mewelde Moore they went to. Parker isn't a fantasy asset at all right now.
what happened to me?
Yeah, I mean, Smith's value isn't as great as I believed it was a few weeks ago. He isn't much of a red-zone threat, and lines up in the slot an awful lot, so he really requires volume to be "dominant." And the past few weeks, he just hasn't gotten that volume. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Giants have looked kind of bad each of the past two weeks. I think they should throw it to him more, but I'm not totally convinced they will.
Bennie Wells took on a larger role last night. Do you think thats more related to hightowers early fumble, riding the hot hand, or a depth chart shift
Hi, Adam. Yeah, that was really noticeable. I don't think it's the fumble so much as it is a realization that Wells is a far superior runner. (After all, Wells fumbled, too...) It's heartening for Wells owners to see him get a couple more receptions, and for him to get so many more carries. Hightower is probably still the starter, and he's going to get goal-line looks a lot this year. But going forward, I think it's likely that soon we're going to be talking about how Hightower is a problem for Wells' value, rather than the other way around.
Do you think whoever replaces me will fare better than I did?
I wonder if the Panthers will switch to A.J. Feeley. I have no idea how Feeley has looked in practice, but you'd think they *have* to try something. Delhomme is shaken. He's so inaccurate. Feeley would probably be worth a deep-league speculation if he does get the nod.
Is Carson Palmer finally starting to heat up?
Hi, Patrick. Well, based on yesterday's game, you'd have to say yes. I'm not sold completely, because y'know, it's best not to be *too* swayed by one game. But yeah, what a great game if you stuck by Palmer....
I'm I a top 10 Rec.
Well, it's spelled "Austin" -- and no, I'm not ready to go to the top 10 with him just yet. But he's verging on every-week start material at the moment. I'm kind of proud of the fact that I did rate Austin ahead of Roy Williams this week (that's pretty uncommon for me, to buy the "one-week wonder" guy so thoroughly), and I also did start him in a couple leagues. Hooray. But top 10? That's awfully high.
Greene - worth a roster spot?
Hi, Raymond. Definitely. Leon Washington is out for the year with a broken leg, and you'd have to believe that Green will get some play going forward. The person this benefits most, though, is surely Thomas Jones. The platoon is dead; Green doesn't have the receiving skills Washington does, and isn't a shifty-in-space runner...Jones now seems likely to stay in the field in passing situations. Green could take over goal-line duties in order to lighten the overall load on Jones, which could be a pain, but otherwise, it's hard not to call Jones a top-10 back right now.
Is Miles Austin for real? Would you rather have him or Mark Clayton?
Hi, Sean. Oh, Austin, *clearly*. I said he's not top 10, but he's surely top 30 and maybe (I have to think about it more closely for tomorrow's Big Rotowski column) top 20. Much better value than Clayton.
Hi Chris! Thanks to your "your end value" weekly column, you convinced me to hang on to Darren Sproles. Little guy still has life! Do you foresee more of a role for Sproles after yesterdays game?
Hi, Joe. Well, I'm glad -- yeah, Sproles is such a great little player, and the Chargers are really giving him short shrift right now. I know it was a blowout, so it's tough to get on Norv Turner *too* much, but seeing him be such a slave to Tomlinson's moods yesterday was a little bit embarrassing. LDT pouted because he got pulled in a goal-line situation last Monday, so in yesterday's game, Tomlinson got *eight* carries inside the Chiefs' 5. And he converted? NONE of them. At some point, the Chargers are going to realize that using Sproles more gives them a better chance to beat good teams.
Should my owners be worried?
Well, I don't think yesterday was anything new -- it was the Giants game that got me worried about Frenchy. It's a split job. Bell looks like the goal-line guy, and he's going to get some carries otherwise; he injected some real life into the Saints running game in the second half yesterday. Now, that's not always going to happen. The Saints kind of just rode the hot hand after Bell had a couple nice carries. Thomas is probably worth more. But he's an RB2 at best.....
what's the status of Calvin Johnson?
Hi, Steve. Unfortunately, the newly secretive Lions just don't comment about injuries, so we don't know. The speculation is that it was a knee strain. But how bad? Unsure. I'm expecting that we'll learn something about this situation based on whether or not he can practice coming out of the bye.
As a Vernon Davis owner, should I definitely be rooting for Alex Smith to be QB?
Hi, Kevin. Well, honestly, Hill was looking for Vernon, too. The dude has just suddenly become reliable. He did have a bad drop early in yesterday's game, and I admit I wrote a note that said something like, "Same ol' Vernon Davis????" but then he kept running that skinny post route, and the Texans kept refusing to cover it. Right now, if you've got him in a fantasy league, you've got your TE spot locked up, almost no matter who the QB is.
Hey Chris, I was very unhappy with Pierre Thomas' workload last night, and this morning I woke up to a trade offer - Matt Forte for Pierre Thomas - what are your thoughts?
Hi, Martin. I haven't done my Big Rotowski ranks for tomorrow's column yet, but I'm going to guess I've still got Forte higher, based on upside. I mean, it's stupid to keep making excuses for Forte, but the Bears *were* behind by approximately 1,000,000 points yesterday, so staying committed to the run wasn't high on their list of priorities. I don't mind the deal. It's risky, obviously.
You say Bell gets carries and is the goalline back, but p Thomas has more value? That's just BRILLIANT dude...lol
I said he gets carries, I didn't say he gets *more* carries. I think going forward, Bell is a change-of-pace back who gets maybe 4 or 5 carries per game that aren't in the red zone, and then potentially also steals touchdown carries. But it's not that simple in the red zone for the Saints, because Reggie Bush has gotten a red-zone score each of the past two games. So yes, I would say Thomas should clearly be ranked ahead of Bell still. If someone wanted to trade me Thomas for Bell, I would still do that. Does that make more sense?
Will Derrick Ward come back to be a solid fantasy scorer?
Hi, Stephen. I fear not. I think the ship has sailed on pretty much all Bucs players, and the best Ward has right now is a platoon situation.
Would you play Benson every week...regardless of matchup, at this point?
Yeah, definitely. I said it two weeks ago against the Ravens (got "Called Out" for it, in fact), said it last week against the Texans, said it this week against the Bears. Every week.
What's your take on Ricky Williams?
Hi, Alex. Well, it was a huge, huge game. The wrinkle the Dolphins added to the Wildcat this week was that a few times it was Ricky taking the direct snap instead of Ronnie Brown. I think Ricky is absolutely ownable. Is he startable every week? Whoosh. Tough to say that. I think Ronnie Brown is still the guy. But with Wildcat, it is sort of a zero-sum game: as Ricky goes up, Ronnie necessarily goes down. I don't think I've got Williams as a must-start, but let's see if they keep running him as the QB a few times a game, and how that turns out....
I just now got thru reading all of your rules. I'm not sure if my question would violate paragraph (a) or subset (f). I believe it is not a violation of (b) or (c) but it could touch on the fringe of part (e).Don't you think that's a bit much for laying ground rules for a simple chat....c'mon!You're doing nothing to dispel the rumors that all Fantasy players are nerds!!!
Hi, Carl. Man, I can't win. Last week, I got gripes because I wouldn't answer lineup questions, and wrote why not later in the chat, then a bunch of people wrote, "You could've told us that up front, it would've saved us some wasted time." Now I tell you up front, and you whine about lawyer speak. *Sigh*
Tonight's game: How do you see it playing out? Do I get atleast 31 points from Westy and Portis to beat the last unbeaten team in our league? We get 6 pts per td, 1 point per reception, 1 point ever 10 yards?
Hi, Chad. I can't really make a prediction about stats, but if you want my take on how the game will play out, take a look at the Breakdown from this past Friday....
Chris,I need a little advice. I have both Rashard Mendenhall and Willie Parker. With Leon Washington's season ending injury does dropping Parker to the waiver wire for Shonne Green make sense?
Hi, Nate. Yes, I think that's a transaction I would do.
How do you feel about Donald Brown right now?
Well, I think he got hurt yesterday. I don't think we know how bad his shoulder is, and maybe he could've come back in if the game wasn't out of control. But that Chad Simpson TD would've been Brown's if he hadn't gotten hurt.
Good Morning. If you were a Michael Turner owner, would be nervous? I know he is scoring TD's, but he is getting no yardage. Thanks.
Hi, Dave. If you expected Turner to be the No. 1 player in fantasy (as someone on this web site did), then yeah, I think you should be nervous. He's not that kind of player. He comes off the field too much. (Yesterday it was for the immortal Jason Snelling.) But if you didn't approach Turner with such unrealistic expectations, then I think you probably just have to be happy with what he's given you. There are *so* many unclear RB situations in the league right now...at least Turner is scoring fantasy points....
Hey Chris, How much would the Andre Johnson injury affect Schaub's value? If he's gonna be out for a while should I try and sell high?
Hi, Andrew. If AJ was going to be out, it *would* really hurt Schaub's value. There are other decent receivers on that team, obviously, but nobody close to Johnson. Tough for me to say definitively that you should sell high, not knowing what else you have on your roster or how "high" you'd be able to sell him. But it would affect his value.
Do you ever hold a defense over a bye or just drop them and start over with a new one? I have the Jets...your thought?
I don't think there's a definite hard-and-fast rule. In deeper leagues, my tendency is to keep your "number one" defense and drop a marginal position player, only because scarcity is an issue. If it's a 10-team standard ESPN league? And especially because the Jets look like you can run on 'em a bit? I don't mind dropping them.
MNF help- Which TE tonight? Cooley or Celek? I'm down 19 points with McNabb, Akers and Cooley/Celek. What should I do?
Hi, Matt. My ranks haven't really changed...I had Cooley 9th and Celek 10th among TEs on Wednesday and again on Friday, which means it's like a 51-49 split in favor of Cooley. If your gut screams Celek, I don't mind that, though.
Not getting too excited about back to back games with a TD but is Reggie Bush back into fantasyland?
Hi, Jas. Well, I think he's in the conversation, but awfully hard to start. He got five touches yesterday. Five. Ick. It's just very difficult to imagine him doing much of anything consistently without seeing the ball more. It's funny -- I mean, he scores, and yet I think my opinion of him may have gotten solidified even more as a marginal fantasy guy.
What is going on with Kevin Walter? Did Owen Daniels tie him up in his basement and replace him with an imposter?
Hi, Daryl. I admit I haven't watched the SF/HOU game cover-to-cover yet, so I don't know exactly how Walter was used -- but the box score says he got three targets, which isn't impressive (especially compared to Daniels' nine). I think it's pretty tough to use Walter in a starting lineup right now.
What's your take on Hakeem Nicks?
Hi, Eric. Well, my take last night was that touchdown was obscenely lucky, but hey, they all count the same. He's got a TD in four straight, and Mario Manningham is flashing some awful hands at times. My gut tells me that there's a chance that Nicks takes over the starting split end job at some point this year. I'm not saying I think there's more than a 50% chance, and I'm still likely to have Manningham ranked higher tomorrow. But it's getting closer.
Is Sidney Rice officially the No. 1 WR in Minn?
Hi, Tim. Well, let's see what happened with Berrian's hammy. Rice got a whopping 14 targets yesterday, but he was barely looked for until after the half (which, not so coincidentally, is when Berrian wasn't playing because of his injury). So I'm not ready to make anything official just yet.
Do you see Forsett taking over soon in Seattle or is he just a third down back?
Hi, Drew. Well, I think he's just a third-down back. But I also think that Julius Jones and Edgerrin James are awful, and if the Seahawks continue to struggle, I wouldn't be shocked to see Forsett get a chance. I just don't think he'd do a ton with it.
Is it time to stop believing the "Fantasy" points projections from the "Experts" and drop Larry Johnson?
Hi, Dave. I don't have anything to do with the projections, only the Big Rotowski ranks on Tuesdays and the weekly ranks on Wednesdays. I haven't been recommending you start LJ once all year. Take a look at my ranks tomorrow, and you can judge whether you see other guys higher on my RB list for whom you might drop Johnson.
What do you make of the Cowboys RB situation? I own Choice & Barber and never seem to start the right one.
Hi, Charles. Well, here's one I got right -- I was "Called Out" for not rating Marion Barber highly enough, but from what I saw yesterday, his leg still isn't right. He just doesn't have that explosiveness. Of course, anyone can score a touchdown, but you want your guy to be healthy, and I don't think Barber is. Of course, I was dead wrong believing that Tashard Choice would be the inheritor of Barber's problems; Felix Jones was. I still think Barber is the most valuable guy here, but I don't think he's an RB1...
Is steven jackson going to get a touchdown this year?
Hi, Kris. Ha. I hope so. I'm invested heavily. The Rams really stagnate in the red zone, so it's almost like it'll have to be a long run that finally breaks the ice. But Jackson is just playing so well in that sea of mediocrity. I don't think you have any choice but to keep playing him, and hoping the end zone is in his future.
will slaton's fumbling problems lead to a cut in his workload going foreward?
Hi, Nick. It's a good question. Slaton did apparently play pretty well *except* for his lost fumble (which for a time looked like it would be very, very bad for the Texans). I was heartened to see that Slaton was left in on one red-zone series, and he was able to score on a short run (instead of being replaced by Chris Brown) so I'm not too worried. I just don't think the Texans have anyone else who's a viable 20-touches-per-game kind of guy.
Is this year going to get any better for us Jacobs owners? Coughlin is such an idiot for playing Bradshaw more, especially late in the game!
Hi, Eric. Well, I guess when the Giants were down by 10, they felt they needed a better receiving threat in there, but I'm with you: I thought Jacobs looked like the superior player Sunday night. And it was about time. I think Jacobs will be OK. Nice to see the TD magic come back....
Its nice that you will not address who to start for someone that asks in the chat. That's only 95% of the concerns. I understand you have your rankings, but a chat provides you a chance to further explain the reasoning behind the rankings. You can not get that from the rankings. Just my two cents.
Jason. Dude. I don't know yet. That's what I'm saying. You're asking me to answer a question that I don't know the answer to. If you think I spend 10 minutes putting my finger into the wind and deciding on my weekly ranks, you're wrong. I watch all the games. Every. Single. Game. Then I do spreadsheet work. Then I have ranks, late Tuesday night. That's the truth. I don't have an answer for you.
Was Frank Gore still injured, or has the Texans run defense really improved that much?
Hi, Roger. Gore says he was healthy, so I think this was a matter of the Texans being much better on run defense (I wrote more about that in the Breakdown this past week, for more insight), and also about the Niners getting down big and having to throw to catch up. Disheartening, but if you're a Gore owner, I don't think you have much choice but to keep running him out there.
Isn't it time you guys start ranking Owen Daniels ahead of TGonz, Witten, Gates, etc?
Hi, Brad. Well, I've had him in my top tier of tight ends for a few weeks now -- the guys who are going to *be* at the top no matter the opponent or circumstance. As to whether he gets that "1" next to his name, or lives with a "3" or "4," I guess it doesn't matter all that much...I mean, either way you're starting him (and if you own both him and Gonzalez -- trade one...).
Funny thing Chris, I've been reading a lot of articles about how TO is washed up and a shell of his former self...how about the atrocious QB play in Buffalo, that has to have something to do with it. Yep, it does!
Hi, Eric. Yeah, I don't even know how folks could discern whether Owens is washed up, because he doesn't get the ball thrown to him very accurately very often. Now, yesterday was a problem. T.O. had a bad drop and one ball where he seemed to be dogging it instead of really going after it. And it's disheartening (for Owens owners) to see Lee Evans arise from his slumber while T.O. sleeps away. But I agree: I don't know we've seen enough to say definitively that Owens is cooked physically. (The way, say, it looks like Larry Johnson is...)
Packers play better than you thought yesterday? You seemed a bit down on them for the Cleveland game in your Breakdown.
Hi, Ed. Did I? I think you're right that the intro to that game was a little bit negative -- but I was trying to explain why I might be down on them *next* week, or against more viable NFL opponents. I did rank all those guys really high in the weekly ranks. And let's say this: I haven't watched that whole game, but the rookie left tackle? Apparently looked really good. Maybe that'll be something to reconsider going forward. (Still, seeing him go against Jared Allen next week should be a far more accurate test...)
Would you keep 3 QBs if another owner had no back up QB and yours were better than what was available, even if it meant not making your team better?
I mean, I don't think it's bad sportsmanship. I think it's a viable strategy. If there are free agents out there that you think could start for you and really make you better, and you're holding onto some mediocre QB? It might not make a lot of sense. But if your starting lineup is set and you're a behemoth? It's fine....
Tough to say if Ricky Williams is a starter? Have you seen his stats this year? He's a top ten back. I guess if your in a 4 man league then he's not a starter.
Hi, Ken. What I'm concerned with are carries and targets, and Williams isn't close to the top 10 in those. He's got 70 carries. That's 10 per game. That doesn't put him in anybody's top 10, I would hope. The production has been terrific, and he's made big plays. But I would have a very tough time saying he's an every-week play, because of the relatively limited touches.
Is Anthony Gonzalez going to be back for week 8?
Don't know yet, Joey. The Colts are being pretty tight-lipped about his knee. The way Pierre Garcon played yesterday (i.e., not well), there does seem to be an outside receiver's role waiting for Gonzo....
Chris, what advice can you offer to frustrated fantasy owners who put up huge points, but always get paired with teams that score just a few points more each week??? I'm 3-4 but #2 overall in points scored?
Hi, Chris. Unfortunately, that happens a lot, and is the nature of the head-to-head thing. The only advice you can really use is stay the course, and hope that the luck evens out....
Did yesterday swing the old Steve Smith back over the new Steve Smith??
Hi, Andrew. Good question. I've watched both of those games -- and I honestly don't know yet. I have to mull. I think it's close again. I'm less concerned about upgrading the Carolina S.S., and more thinking about downgrading the Giants S.S. He's still their best weapon receiving, but he's not getting the targets that make him a must-start every week right now....
Speaking of carries and targets, will Chris Johnson's workload increase fresh off their BYE. The Titans have nothing else, so one would assume they would...especially in the passing game. Your Thoughts?
Yeah, LTF, I think Johnson continues his high-carry, high-touch ways. The Titans haven't said much about LenDale White's injury, so let's see if he practices this week. But I continue to buy low on Johnson, if low he be.
If Russell is benched going forward, is Miller a better option at TE than Winslow?
Hi, Chris. I think it's close, and honestly, I don't think you're going to get consistent production from either. I expect Josh Freeman to be the starter in Tampa after their bye, and let's face it, even if Russell is benched, it's Bruce Gradkowski we're talking about here. I probably still have Winslow a notch or two higher.
All right, gang -- I have to get watching some tape and writing...so let's do one more....
Who's a better pick up - Beanie Wells or Shone Greene?
Hi, Niki. Right now, I think Wells, if only because the guy ahead of him isn't playing all that well, whereas the guy ahead of Green is. They're each talented, though I think Wells has better overall skill; it'll probably come down to opportunity, and I'm guessing that Wells' opportunities will be better faster. That could change soon, though. By the way, I'm about to be on the radio in Honolulu at the top of the hour, if you'd like to listen. I'm pretty sure it's the ESPN Radio affiliate, though I don't know the radio frequency off the top of my head.
OK, everyone, thanks for coming. I'm sorry I'm not able to get to more questions -- we got upwards of 1,500 in this hour, which makes it tough. But fear not -- if you want to ask questions, you can friend me on Facebook. Just remember what I said earlier...please don't ask Week 8 lineup questions or "is RB A better than RB B" questions, because I don't know yet, and by the time I do, there are columns on ESPN.com devoted to those questions. But for all other issues, feel free to friend me at http://www.facebook.com/writerboy and ask away. I'll do my best to answer. Have a great day.