Good morning, everyone. OK, before we get started for this fun-filled hour, here are the same ground rules as last week. Some of you were angry that I offered them up at the start last week, but others were angry in previous weeks when I *didn't*. Anyway: I'm not going to answer "Should I start XX over XX in Week 9?" because (a) Week 8 isn't over; (b) I haven't done Week 9 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 8 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....
Am I the only one who thinks some pranks were pulled yesterday, and Jake Delhomme was dressed up as Kurt Warner and vice versa? UGH!
Hi, Kelly. You're definitely not the only one. I watched that game this morning, and that was one of the first notes I made. Delhomme didn't play *great*, but he had nice chemistry on that one play where he faked the short screen to Steve Smith then threw a long TD. And Warner wasn't done favors by his receivers, who kept tipping the ball up in the air. But yeah, Warner's day was ugly. And me writing that I thought the Carolina RBs would have good days even against the "top-rated" (not anymore) Cardinals run defense was one of my better calls of the week. But I had some utter stinkos, too.... David Garrard, anyone?
Hey Chris, I had Owen Daniels and am now out a stud TE. Someone offered me Kellen Winslow for Jamaal Charles. Do I take it?
Hi, Nathan. (Let's Go Red!) Well, I wouldn't mistake Winslow for a stud TE, but if you're not planning on using Charles at all, I don't mind doing that. Realize that the Bucs are likely going to have a rookie (Josh Freeman) throwing it to Winslow the rest of the year, though.
hi chris, will 2009 desean jackson = 2010 percy harvin? thanks
Hi, Paul. Good question. I'm not ready to automatically say yes, because let's face it, a lot of the aerial goodness in Minnesota goes away if Brett Favre retires. If Favre sticks around, I suppose it's possible -- Harvin doesn't really even know how to run routes yet, and he's still torching people. He's got enough quickness and speed. But the Vikings also have better "other" weapons, whereas the Eagles don't. I probably won't have Harvin rated as high in next summer's magazine as I did Jackson in this summer's....
Let's just get this one out of the way. What do you expect from the Steve Slaton situation?
Hi, JoJo. Yeah, thanks for bringing it up. Ugh. It's really ironic (to me) that this happened, because I do a Houston radio segment every week on ESPN Radio down there, and they asked me if I was worried about Slaton's fumbles. And I said, well, not really, because who the heck else are they going to give carries to? Gulp. Good one, me. Yeah, I mean given how good Moats looked, how can I with a straight face say that Slaton easily re-gains his gig? I think Slaton owners are looking at a split, at least in the short term. It's a shocking turn of events....
Hey Chris! It looked like yesterday that Carolina's Jonathan Stewart has taken over some carries at the goal line. He had a monster of game. What is take on Stewart going foward and he is someone that should be owned in all league's? If not would it just be best to own someone like Laurence Maroney or Beanie Wells?
Hi, Jarod. I'm not overly panicked about Stewart being "the" goal line back in Carolina. Rather, what I've been writing every week finally came true: the Panthers just don't show a lot of bias one way or the other when it comes to red-zone carries, and Stewart just happened to convert on a couple. His second one came after a huge long DeAngelo Williams run where Williams was gassed. I think Stewart will be a consistent drain on Williams and an occasional bye-week or flex play. Take a look at tomorrow's Big Rotowski for where I rank him relative to other backs.
Hey Chris,Most of you guys had Garrard & Sims-Walker ranked very high this week, What the heck happened? Yikers!!!!!!
Hi, Tom. Yeah, Garrard was pretty awful in that game, from what I understand. At this point, all I've seen are the highlights and a few in-game cut-ins, so I'll reserve judgment until I watch the game all the way through, but this was a plum matchup and Garrard absolutely spit the bit and fooled me. I don't think I'll have him rated as a starter the rest of the year...
My boy Housh burned me this weekend... can he be trusted as a WR2 going forward?
Hi, Ryan. Yeah, I'm sure all the talk this morning in Seattle is about Housh's on-field and sideline tirade about getting open and not getting the ball, and once again Burleson out-gained Housh (though neither had much of an impact when the game was in question). The real problem, of course, rests with the offensive line -- it's just awful. Nobody in that passing game looks like they can be counted on in most matchups right now, to be honest.
LDT had a good weekend, but still can't find the big run. Is he getting old, or is the Chargers' O-line having trouble opening up the inside? Nice to see him hit the end zone a couple of times, though.
Hi, David. Well said. I wrote in last week's Breakdown that the surest thing I was in all of fantasy football entering Week 8 was that LDT would get in the end zone after that embarrassing display in KC when he couldn't get in. And it happened twice. But overall, he looked terrible. It's just obvious that Darren Sproles is a better and more dangerous player right now. But the way the Chargers sprinkle him in, it's just tough to see him as anything more than a high-upside flex. I don't like Tomlinson at all as a consistent performer the rest of the year. If I could sell high, I would.
With the cowboys offense seemingly getting hotter, why hasn't Witten seen a bigger role in the offense esp. in the red zone? Time to panick?
Hi, Ryan. Well, panic isn't really ever advisable. But yeah, I mean the guy isn't getting the targets we're used to. I haven't check the numbers yet for this week, but entering Week 8 he was tied for 11th in targets among TEs which isn't acceptable, and everyone *but* Witten seems to be getting red-zone looks. I don't know what you can do about it, but yeah, worrying is probably justified.
Pierre Thomas or Mike Bell tonight!? Im down 20, so is it better to go with the goal line guy and pray for some TD's?
Hi, Tom. Yeah, that's an interesting quandary, because you're looking for someone to give you the *big* game, not the consistent game. Hm. I would say maybe Bell makes some sense. With Thomas, he *can* break long runs, but I don't typically think of him as a fast dude who's *likely* to do so. So maybe a few close-in pops for Bell?
What are Ryan Grant's chances to get more than 10 carries against TB in Week 9?
Hi, Jason. I'd say they're pretty good. It's a game where the Packers should exercise some frustrations, and get a nice lead. You'd think that would mean the running game will get looks after that. I'm imagining Grant could have a game that looks similar to what he did against the Browns two weeks ago.
You touched on Warner but is it time to panic with him? Does he have a shot at losing his job to Leinart?
Hi, Billy. No, I don't think so. It was an awful performance, but would the Cardinals have won even if Warner had played better, or his receivers hadn't bounced the ball up in the air repeatedly? Probably not. The Panthers just mauled them with both lines. I think Warner's job is safe until/if he gets hurt.
Forte + ____ (WR) = ADP? Trying to sell high here....
Hi, Travis. Well, if you have WR depth, I'd honestly go pretty darn high. I mean, *are* there completely bulletproof wide receivers this year? Ironic. I was just going back and looking at the ESPN Fantasy Football magazine that I wrote all the player previews for, and the cover story (not written by me) was about how this was the year of the WR, and you should go draft two of them in the first round. Doh. That didn't work very well. If I can get Peterson, I'm willing to give up maybe all but say the top 5 or maybe top 10 receivers in addition to Forte. (If you can stand the blow to your depth chart.)
Greg Jennings sighting yesterday! That TD catch was nasty. Sign of things to come, or lightning in a bottle?
Hi, Joey. Well, the Pack does seem committed to giving him targets (he got 12, mostly related to the frantic comeback efforts). I think he could be a buy-low. Considering his hands have been part of the problem in previous weeks, seeing him make that one-handed grab was pretty cool.
Off the top of your head: who gets more TDs from here on out, Megatron or Kevin Smith?
Hi, Joel. Top of my head, I say Calvin Johnson. It would be nice to see him on the dang field. But Smith looks like he's dinged up, and could lose some more time to the immortal MoMo (Maurice Morris).
I have slaton, do I pick up moats this week as a just in case
Hi, Michelle. Definitely.
Why doesn't MJD see the ball a little more often in Jacksonville this weekend. 8 carries? He is obviously the best player on that team
Hi, Bryan. Yeah, how insane is *that* stat line: 8 carries for 177 yards. The nuts thing is that the Jags just didn't run that many *plays* in that game: 49 plays to 67 for the Titans. Again, I haven't watched the game yet, but from what I've seen, VY was decent, and the Jags' awfulness on D overcame the potential for their offense to keep the score close. Yes, I agree, MJD needs more than 8 carries.
Chris,Assuming most leagues' playoffs start in week 15, at what point do you make the move to consolidate depth for studs? (Also: Where do babies come from?)
Hi, Bryce. It's a good strategy question, and to be honest, I think you have to start thinking about doing it in the next couple weeks. The issue, of course, is that if you do it *too* early, you can get Steve Slaton'd or Kevin Smith'd, and be left with a platooner who was supposed to have a full-time job. But I find in general that as the playoffs get *really* close, it gets tough to pull off the 2-for-1s and 3-for-1s that you're talking about.
Can't a legitimate argument now be made that Aaron Rodgers is the best QB in fantasy?
Hi, Eric. Finally, an Aaron Rodgers question, so I can issue my mea culpa. Well, kind of. I think Rodgers is having a freaky fantasy season. Somehow, despite not playing all that well (hold onto the ball much, Aaron?) and getting knocked on his a$$ against good defenses, and despite one of the worst first halves a quarterback has played all year, he comes back and posts a frantic comeback and really almost wins the game in the second half. Crazy. This is the equivalent of a pitcher with a super-low BABIP who just keeps firing gems against all statistical evidence. I can't explain it. I don't think Rodgers should be the No. 1 QB in fantasy because his line is borderline awful, which makes him a big injury risk and also a risk of putting up a terrible, terrible game at the worst time (against a good defense). But hey, I have to eat a little crow, and yes, I would think it's safe to say that I'm going to bumping Rodgers up on my quarterback list tomorrow.
please tell me what happen to brandon marshall last nite????
Hi, Gage. Watched that DEN/BAL game late last night, and was really surprised at how the Broncos refused to take shots down the field with Marshall. They threw it to him a lot, but it was almost always the Kyle Orton Special: short little dinks that help Orton's TD/INT ratio, but don't help when you're losing. It was one of the weekend's most disappointing performances. He's not hurt, though.
Chris, a follow up to Eric's question about Aaron Rodgers, does his o-line cause his demise towards the end of the season? They can not keep his jersey clean, should I try to move him for McNabb or Eli or stand put
Hi, James. I don't think you have to trade him. I mean, in games where he's facing crummy defenses, he's awesome, and in games where he's facing good defenses, he's getting the snot pounded out of him but still mostly putting up really good numbers. My strategy advice for Rodgers owners at this point would be to keep starting him, but try and trade for a backup you can live with in case he does wind up getting crushed.
Time to sell high on me now that I've had a good game?
Y'know, I don't think so. I really think Jackson's had a great *season*, but of course, he hadn't gotten into the end zone until yesterday's game-winner. It's tough to predict TDs, except to say that because the Rams aren't all that good, Jackson won't have as many TD chances as the average back. But I believe in his ability so much, I'm willing to hang on and hope for the best, TD-wise. The yards should be there.
We can't really attribute too much Moat's day to him, can we? The holes opened by that offensive line, and the poor play by the Buffalo front, deserve the most credit. I gotta think this is more of a motivational thing for Slaton. They really can't reduce his touches with Daniels now out. Right?
Hi, Jon. Well, you're right: it was a perfect storm for a running back to have a good game. But it was also a perfect storm for *Slaton* to have a good game, and he didn't. Is it "just" a motivational ploy for Slaton? It might have started out that way. But it took a horrible, horrible turn for Slaton owners as soon as Moats starting banging in touchdowns. I guess anyone who's not in the coaches' room in Houston is going to simply be speculating. My speculation is that for a couple weeks, anyway, Moats is going to be in the mix.
Chris, what happneed to Ronnie Brown? Should I be worried?
Hi, Tom. Yeah, I mean, the second time around, the Wildcat is probably a bit easier to defend, but Jets fans know the big difference in the defensive effort from last time vs. the Dolphins to this time was simply that the Jets tackled better. I don't think you have to be that worried -- Brown is still a great bet to get an awful lot of touches every week, and when a guy of his quality gets touches, he'll usually be pretty good. But he's not a super home run threat, so when he has a bad day, it's usually going to be pretty bad.
You say you watch all the games, so it's baffling to me that you actually said Rodgers is having a good fantasy season "despite not playing all that well"...HUH? 100+ QB rating in FIVE STRAIGHT GAMES, and currently sitting at 110.4 for the SEASON. The O-line isn't playing "all that well", and the WRs need to get more separation.....Rodgers is playing GREAT and has been all season. You must just have something against the guy.
Hi, Aaron. I really, really don't have anything against him. I don't know him, have never talked to him, don't have any stake in the blood feuds in the NFC North. I just write what I see. Rodgers played a *putrid* first half of football. Now, part of that was T.J. Lang getting schooled by Jared Allen. But part of it was Rodgers being stupid with the football -- holding onto it too long, rolling directly into blitzes, and making inaccurate throws even when the Vikings handed the Packers excellent field position. Did he come out and play much better in the second half? He did. But his play was a big part of why the Pack was losing by three touchdowns (around that, anyway) in the first place. I don't agree that in all he played a great game yesterday. But hey, that's a difference of opinion, and I respect yours.
Is Favre a must start each week or matchup play?
Hi, James. That's a great question, and I'm not sure I have a definite answer. What it looks like to me is that when the Vikes play a good team, they throw, and Favre plays well. And when they play an inferior opponent, they run, and Favre just "caretakes." That's kind of counterproductive logic, and I guess maybe it was disrupted a *bit* by the Steelers game last week. But then again, without a phantom tripping call and a Chester Taylor drop, Favre might've had a much better fantasy day then, too. I guess I'm saying he's a matchup play, but I'm not sure which kind of matchup. It's weird.
So Week 9 should give us a decent indication of the KC backfield situation. Good idea to make a pre-emptive strike on Jamal Charles?
Hi, Zach. Yeah, I think I'd probably take a shot. I don't have high hopes -- Charles hasn't held up well to a lot of carries, and tends to be a fumbler. Plus Kolby Smith is off IR and practicing. But I really wonder whether LJ will ever play again for the Chiefs. I don't mind the speculative add.
How much does Daniels going down effect Schaub? He's been a big part of the offense so far and I feel crucial to Schaub's performance. Your thoughts?
Hi, Patrick. Yeah, that's a great question. I don't think anyone could disagree with your statement -- Daniels has been Schaub's security blanket in the middle of the field, and they don't really have anyone else on the roster to be that guy (Joel Dreesen isn't a bad red-zone player, but he's not going to get targeted all that much otherwise, I don't think). Maybe this benefits Kevin Walter, finally? I haven't fully processed this, but I do admit I feel a temptation to lower my expectations for Schaub a little bit.
Who is Mike Thomas and should he be on the fantasy radar of owners in deep leagues?
Hi, Vinny. Thomas is a rookie out of the University of Arizona (I think that's the Mike Thomas you're talking about?). He was one of my favorite college players last year -- smart, tough, great hands. Not very speedy or big, though, and so right now much more likely to be a slot guy than anything else. I honestly think it would have to be an *awfully* deep league. The Jags' passing game is too inconsistent to rely on its third receiver.
Have you ever seen a receiver used so exclusively in the red zone as Shiancoe? The guy is maddening
Hi, Hampton. Just to illustrate your point, Shiancoe is 20th in targets among tight ends, but right around 7th in fantasy scoring. TD-dependent players are frustrating. You love 'em when they score, you can't live with 'em when they don't.
Was the Steve Smith (Car) this week a fluke?
Hi, Ben. No, no fluke. I liked him in this matchup, and felt vindicated when he scored. You know the Panthers are really humming when they don't feel the need to force it to him -- and the running game was the story of that contest. Of course, if Smith *doesn't* score a touchdown on that pretty pass, we're right back where we started with him. I can't view him as a top 10 guy, but I'm pretty comfortable with where I had him last week.
What do you think will happen to Fargas when McFadden makes his way back onto the field after their bye?
Hi, Garrett. First off, I'm not so sure McFadden will *be* back right after the bye. He's not even running yet, which means he can't be close to football shape. I would say Fargas will still be the man for a couple more weeks, if I'm guessing. After that? Man, it's tough to say, and it'll depend on how everyone looks. Right now, though, you'd have to say that Fargas is playing well and hard enough to have earned that starting gig for a while.
Your thoughts on selling high on Forte? Benson's playoff schedule looks nice...would that work?
Hi, BW. I'll have the Big Rotowski out tomorrow with my year-end RB ranks, but I can assure you that Benson will still be higher than Forte, so yes, I would do a deal like that straight up.
Thanks Chris! You continiue to rank Harvin very low. Why? Farve loves/looks for him & he gets us bonus points in the return game...
Hi, Bob. Well, first off, my ranks don't include return yards, so I agree that in leagues that count them, Harvin is a more valuable commodity. I love the flashes Harvin has shown this year -- he's obviously a raw playmaker athlete. I just don't see him running a lot of routes or being exactly where he's supposed to be all the time. I think when he's really used to a pro-style offense, he's going to be much better, and right now he's an inconsistent producer. Tough to say when that week is where he'll get 3 catches for 11 yards. Because I'd say such weeks *are* coming.
Hey Chris, how do you think Steve Smith (NYG) will fair the rest of the season. Eli's poor play is killing his value. Any chance he turns it around against SD next weekend and then a BYE to get things back on track?
Hi, Dan. Smith's early-season production seems like a loooooong time ago, doesn't it? Eli turned in a third straight stinker yesterday, but honestly, it was pretty predictable that he would. Road game, house of horrors, very good playmaking defense. I don't think Eli is cooked, and I don't think the Giants passing game is cooked. They'll probably be better next week against the Chargers, yes, though I'd imagine the emphasis will be on pounding the running game against a suspect Chargers front seven.
Berry says to shop Forte, but in a keeper, near top of the standings... is that really a good idea? I feel like a keeper league changes everything when talking about a young stud RB. Who would be a good enough RB haul keeper wise?
Hi, Tony. Yeah, and frankly, if you're in a league where one good game against the Cleveland Browns is enough to make a fellow owner flip out and trade you Larry Fitzgerald, I think you need a new league. It's all well and good to say "sell high"! But is Forte really high? I doubt too many folks are going to believe that. And you're right: in a keeper league, selling high doesn't always make sense on a very good young player.
You often talk about J Stew as a drain on DeAngelo but isn't it possible he helps DeAngelo by helping to soften the Def while DeAngelo stays fresh to break long runs against the softened Deg?
Hi, Alex. Good point. I guess what I'm saying is that he's an overall drain on Williams' fantasy production, at least in that day's game. I mean, it's tough to make the argument that Williams wouldn't have had a better fantasy day *yesterday* without Stewart on the roster, because he probably gets 2 TDs. But your larger point, that Williams is fresher in a given game *and* for the whole season, is a good one. From a Panthers perspective, I'm sure they wouldn't change a thing, nor should they.
Why no love for Brent Celek? He has been ranked around 10 for TE for most of the season, yet he has been producing top 5 numbers.
Hi, Ozzie. Well, he was good yesterday. And he was good in Weeks 2 and 3. But he had a three-week lull there where the Eagles passing game wasn't impressive, and he just wasn't all that involved (including the immortal 3 catches for 8 yards against the Redskins last Monday). Listen, I've continued to maintain that the second tier of tight ends this year is incredible deep, and No. 12 can usually be counted on just about as much as No. 6. But do I think Celek is an Antonio Gates / Tony Gonzalez type? Not yet, I don't.
A 3rd place team in our league dropped Gore this week to waivers. Is this just stupidity or is it tough to ignore he is throwing it? is this grounds to not ask him back next year?
Hi, Cindy. I couldn't unequivocally say this is a tank move, not unless there was a pattern of this person acting like a jerk (rather than a moron). But yeah, I mean, Gore just ran a 60-something-yard touchdown, and he's getting dropped? At the very least, it's grounds for not asking the person back.
Love the love ESPN is giving the military this week. can't wait for West Point coverage. Maybe a fool's task, but trying to trade to get AP. Got SJax, Benson, Addai as RBs and HWard, Holmes, Welker, Manningham, Collie and Nicks. Anyway I can cook up these ingredients to make the AP owner salivate?
I mean, obviously it depends on what the Peterson owner wants and needs -- some folks just don't want to trade away the best player in football. But you've got a lot of quality there. If you gave up one of the RBs and one of the WRs (and good ones), I'd think you'd have a chance....
How bad will Collie's production be hurt when Gonzalez returns?
Hi, Jeff. It's a good question, and any answer from someone not on the Colts staff is going to be speculation, obviously. My sense is that the Colts will *try* to get Gonzo back into an outside-receiving role, which would put him more in conflict with Pierre Garcon than Collie. But we all know Gonzo is *probably* better-suited as a slot guy, and if that winds up happening, Collie suffers, because that's his role right now. It'll be interesting to see how it shakes out.
How doyou see the RB situation in Arizona playing out the rest of the year? I thought after last's week game vs the Giants that Wells would get more than 8 carries.
Hi, Chad. Agreed, that was a little bit disappointing for Wells, but realize also that the Cardinals got down big and couldn't run as much as they wanted, and they still don't love Wells in the passing game, especially when it comes to blitz pickup. It's a long season. I'm still hanging tight with Wells.
Should we try to shop Romo..hard to look past that tough schedule and past year end performance but he has looked good lately.
Hi, Stucky. I don't think there's a unilateral answer to that -- it probably depends on your team circumstances. If you've got a definite top-five QB (say, P. Manning), sure, I don't mind shopping Romo. The secondaries the Cowboys play won't all be like the Seahawks (i.e., terrible). But Romo's a good player, and I've seen him put up nice numbers against better defenses than that. I think he's a borderline top 10 QB right now. He can kill you with the bad game, but he's got big upside, obviously, too.
I'll ask one more time. Should Jay Cutler be owned if he can't even score on Cleveland at home???
Hi, Pete. Well, I'm not sure it's a matter of "can't score." I mean, he and Devin Hester looked pretty nice on some intermediate routes. I think one man's feast is another man's famine, and this day it was Matt Forte's time to get some TDs, while Cutler was more circumspect in the red zone (rather than forcing in passes). That led to three early field goals instead of TDs, and by the time Cutler had more chances to fling it, the Bears didn't need to anymore. I'm not overly panicked.
Piggy back off the Romo question, what about shopping Miles Austin? extremely deep at WR, but need RB help.
Hi, Steve. I mean, it obviously depends on what the market will bear. It was shocking to see my ESPN colleagues all rate Austin as a top-five receiver for this weekend. I think that's too high. He didn't really do a lot in yesterday's game up until the late touchdown (nice catch, though). I'm not saying he's a bad player, and I've been starting him every week in my 16-teamer. But yeah, I mean, if you could get value for Austin as though he's a top-five wideout like the others claimed last week? I'd certainly have to think about doing that.
All right, gang, time for one more, then it's off to watch some more games and write the Big Rotowski.
What do you think about a Colston for T Jones trade and who gets the better end of it?
Hi, Philbin. Well, let's see what Colston looks like tonight before I get too definitive, but overall I think that's probably roughly fair. Presumably one team is loaded at RB but needs a WR, and vice versa for the other team. In a total vacuum, I probably value the RB higher, because that's usually my default position. But I don't hate the trade.....
OK, everyone. Thanks very much for coming. I know it can be frustrating not to get your question answered (we got 1,200 this morning), but I promise I do my best. Also, if you'd like to ask me a question on Facebook, feel free to friend me there: http://www.facebook.com/writerboy. I do my best to get to every question during the week, though I can't promise, obviously. There are a *lot* of them. Anyway, so again, thank you for coming. I hope you understand how lucky I feel I am to get to do this for a living, and it's because of your support and interest. Hopefully, by answering questions on Facebook, I give you some indication of how grateful I am to all of you. Have a great week.