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November 5, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (11:00 AM)

Good morning one and all. Back for another hour of fantasy chattage - and now with the baseball season behind us... it should be NFL-riffic. Who's ready to call it in the air? V for Vendetta y'all!

Leif Mullican (los angeles)

do you ever set your line-up based on the times of your opponents games? for example, my opponents has two players in the sunday night game and i have marshall going monday night. i wan't to play bradshaw against SD in my flex spot but would really like to have marshall going monday just incase i'm down.

AJ Mass
  (11:02 AM)

Start your best players. A zero is a zero regardless of when it happens. I never look at my opponents lineup or when the games take place, unless it has something to do with a player's chances of recovery from an injury due to more/less time between games.

Tom (Miami)

Commish question. Week 9 always seems to be the week in our league where those teams that are 0-8, 1-7, or 2-6, give up and roll over. There's always very questionable trades where they just give up their studs to their respective buddies near the top of the league. We have no veto rule. How do I prevent this from happening again in the future? Do we need to have a higher league fee or give out more money for high score of the week? These teams argue they have nothing else to play for....

AJ Mass
  (11:04 AM)

1) Set your trade deadline for Week 8. If this is when these problems always rear their heads - cut them off a the pass. 2) Make it a keeper league. Teams won't trade studs away if they can use them next season. 3) Have some sort of in-season tournament or prize money for the top three scores of ANY week.

Brian (Cincinnati)

Please help settle a veto fight between my sister and I: Fred Davis for Collie trade. the team getting Davis has Winslow as TE and Collie is their 4th WR at best. Sis feels the side getting Collie is winning an unfair trade. Is this fair or should it be vetoed?

AJ Mass
  (11:06 AM)

Davis get more value with Cooley out. Will Collie keep his play if Gonzalez ever returns? These are the decisions owners need to make for themselves. Tell sis to mind her beeswax.

Dave (Detroit)

SYTYCD- I think the judges are too gaga over the contemporary dancers. The lady tapper rocked her solo and should have gotten another week, imo.

AJ Mass
  (11:07 AM)

I agree Bianca should have stayed... but the show is about partnering, and not solos. She can blame the Yankees for her ouster - had they won in 5, the home audience would have voted.

Chris (Detroit)

I have a serious dilemma in a tight league. Should I start the unpredictable Clinton Portis or go with the untested Jamaal Charles?

AJ Mass
  (11:08 AM)

I'd go with untested Charles. Sure there's a chance he stinks up the joint - but it's his one chance to lock up the starting job for the rest of the season. I think he makes the most of it.

K (philly)

Pick 2: Welker, Desean, Roddy

AJ Mass
  (11:08 AM)

Sorry, Roddy. Not this week.

Kris (Dallas)

Ya'lls rankings cover standard leagues but not PPR so I need to know who I should start as my RB2 McCoy, with Westbrook returning or Beanie Wells

AJ Mass
  (11:09 AM)

Check the projections - they give each player's reception totals, so you can adjust the points accordingly to your own league's settings. I would go with McCoy as I don't think Westbrook necessarily plays, and certainly not a full workload.

Jon (Chicago)

What is your take on the Moats/Slaton debate?

AJ Mass
  (11:11 AM)

I think it's not a debate. Yes Moats did well, but if he had rushed for 30 yards, we'd not be even considering a switch. Slaton gets the start, and although Moats may get a few series, I don't bench Slaton for Moats.

Steve (Newark)

Is Brandon Marshall an every week starter? he's always ranked pretty high in the Big Rotowski, but he's only had 3 double digit games and some real stinkers.

AJ Mass
  (11:12 AM)

Remember it is all about opportunity. Marshall is clearly the big man on campus again and getting tons of looks. That's the reason for the high ranking, and it's why I continue to play him.

Mark (Chicago)

I have Tony Gonzalez and Vernon Davis. Which one should I trade for an upgrade at RB?

AJ Mass
  (11:13 AM)

Davis. He's hotter right now, so his perceived value is at a high.

Larry (USA)

What's the deal with Kevin Smith?

AJ Mass
  (11:14 AM)

Well, his work has really suffered since Dogma, if you ask me...

Matt (NYC)

What's up with Lance Moore? Is he worth holding on to (and using this week due to byes) or should I drop him?

AJ Mass
  (11:15 AM)

Probably not. Colston is the man in NO, and the rest of the receivers are all capable of 10 points or zero. I'd rather have a guy who constantly gets me 5.

Alex Rodriguez (New York)

I needed a TE and after Favre's 4 TD game I offered another player Farve for Antonio Gates and he accepted. I have Schaub and Cutler as my other two QB's. Do you think this was a good trade?

AJ Mass
  (11:16 AM)

Let's see, we traded away a position of "glut" for a position of "need" - why so nervous A-Rod?

Chris (NJ)

As commissioner I vetoed a trade of McNabb for Stafford last week because I didnt think it was fair to trade a QB in a passing offense for an injured QB. Now that Stafford has played, the team that would have got McNabb thinks I abused my discretion. Was it a trade that should have been vetoed? BTW McNabb for his owner.

AJ Mass
  (11:17 AM)

Of course it shouldn't have been vetoed. You allow trades, let teams make trades. When will people get this through their heads?

James (Louisiana)

Just lost Daniels and was wondering if you would rather Keller or Miller?

AJ Mass
  (11:17 AM)

Miller if Heath. Keller if Zack.

Michael (Atlanta)

Ray Rice FINALLY got some goal line carries last week. Has he claimed this role away from McGahee?

AJ Mass
  (11:18 AM)

McGahee has even lost carries now to McClain... he's definitely on his way out.

Pat (Boston)

Not looking at your opponent's lineup is pretty dumb. Obviously, you shouldn't set your entire lineup based on your opponent's, but if it's a really close decision, you should definitely take it into consideration. It's also fantasy football and should be fun, rooting against the players of your opponent is fun

AJ Mass
  (11:20 AM)

Last time I checked, you weren't actually able to play defense against your opponents' lineup. You start your best players. Now, certainly, once you've done that you see who they're starting to root against them, Pat. But to make your decisions, seeing what they are doing is silly.

Patrick (Toronto)

You start YOUR BEST TEAM. The opponent's roster doesn't matter. How is this so hard to figure out?

AJ Mass
  (11:20 AM)

Even the Argonaut fan gets it.

Matt Schaub (Houston, TX)

How much will my stats suffer without Owen Daniels?

AJ Mass
  (11:21 AM)

Not sure they take a huge hit if Kevin Walter starts running the same routes. Jacoby Jones or David Anderson has to step up at WR to make that happen, but I can defintiely see it. Dreessen though, is not the solution.

Chris Chambers (Kansas City)

Due to my recent claim to the chiefs, I was wondering if it would be worth it to add myself to my team in my league. I currently have Austin, Bowe, Walter, Wallace, Cotchery, Henderson, and Knox as my receivers. Who should I drop if I want to add myself?

AJ Mass
  (11:23 AM)

You want to see if you catch lightning in a bottle, be my guest. The thing in KC is that Cassel looks for Bowe downfield and either throws it to him or finds himself flattened by defenders. There's no time for a second option.

Jerry Jones (Dallas)

If wade phillips werent my coach, would you guys be ranking marion barber higher?? whats the deal with my guy?

AJ Mass
  (11:24 AM)

We all know YOU are calling the shots, JJ. And yes, if those shots gave Barber more carries and Felix/Tashard less - we'd be higher on MB3. But it's not the reality.

Matthew (dc)

What do you mean "of course it should not have been vetoed"? McNabb-Stafford is ridiculous. That trade is the reason why vetoes exist.

AJ Mass
  (11:26 AM)

No, the reason vetoes exist is so that collusive trades can be shot down. Not ones you assume are going to be unfair. How many people would have allowed a T.O. - Miles Austin deal before Week 1? Not too many. "Unfair! Veto! Who is Miles Austin?"

Randy (Ann Arbor)

The ONLY situation where you care about your opponents lineup is the one I'm in. My team blows, my opponents is great. I have Jason Campbell, but if Campbell goes off, it'll be to santana moss who he has. So i'm starting Alex Smith, because I need a maximum difference. If Campbell outscores Smith, but it's all to moss, I lose. The only way I can win is if Smith outscores Campbell, and if that happens Smith better be starting.

AJ Mass
  (11:28 AM)

Because Jason Campbell can't throw the ball to Fred Davis? Clinton Portis? Antwaan Randle-El? Moss can't blow out his knee two minutes in? Campbell can't scramble for a score? Sorry, I don't agree with your fatalistic premise.

bobby (illinois)

Would I be crazy for starting Matt Cassel over Eli Manning this week?

AJ Mass
  (11:29 AM)

Wouldn't do it myself, but the difference between the two is not so great that I would call you crazy for deciding to go that way.

kevin (charlotte)

Would you rather your team score 100 points using player A or 95 points using player B? I don't care who my opponent is starting, I want 100 points.

AJ Mass
  (11:30 AM)

Ding ding ding! We have a winner.

roman (TX)

Who you start has no bearing on the outcome of your opponents' team. This is FANTASY Football. Get it through your heads people. Start your best players.

AJ Mass
  (11:30 AM)

Getting the point, folks?

T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Fantasy Nowhere-ville)

Is it time to give up on me as a viable fantasy option? Am I even worth a start against the LIONS? I dont think so...

AJ Mass
  (11:31 AM)

I think, sadly, TJ, you are correct.

Ben (DC)

Start Hasselbeck over Schaub this weekend?

AJ Mass
  (11:32 AM)

Detroit's secondary is pretty sad. I'd go with Matt H.

Peter (WI)

Should I trade Kevin Smith for Westbrook? PPR league

AJ Mass
  (11:33 AM)

I'd roll with that, but not if Westbrook *has* to start for you to field a full team. His concussion gives me pause.

Joel (WA)

AJ, you just contradicted yourself. You said don't start Houshmandzadeh, but Hasselbeck is a good start? Do you think all his passes will go to Burleson?

AJ Mass
  (11:33 AM)

See previous answer on Campbell to Moss, Joel.

Lauren (Pittsburgh)

Hi AJ -- I'm stacked at WR in my PPR league. Looking to upgrade at RB2. I Give LT and Boldin....I get Benson. (I also have SJax and Megatron, Welker as my "ones")

AJ Mass
  (11:35 AM)

Boldin hasn't performed well and I think several of the tines are sticking out of LT's leg- plus his schedule gets real tough after this week. I'd probably pull the trigger... assuming my league doesn't veto the deal, he said rolling his eyes.

Nick (Norfolk, Va)

My opponent has Peyton Manning, I guess I should sit Reggie Wayne....some people are idiots

AJ Mass
  (11:35 AM)


Steve (Chicago) make it sound like people are idiots for looking at an opponent's lineup. And you're wrong. It's not always a case of 'play the best players'. Some players are boom or bust. If you're in a situation where you believe (based on your opponent's lineup) that you need a really big day from a player, you'll choose a boom or bust guy over a steady guy.

AJ Mass
  (11:37 AM)

So you're going to start Louis Murphy over Devery Henderson because your opponent starts Jamarcus Russell? No. And here's a thought... maybe your opponent is an idiot and has started people you wouldn't have... now you're changing your lineup based on someone else's idiocy? Are you insane?

Justin (Chicago, IL)

Think Cutback Suarez picks it up this week?

AJ Mass
  (11:39 AM)

I do, but Mo Mo is lurking. He had better do it early.

Mark (Chicago)

There he goes. A.J. getting negative again. He can't make it through a whole chat without attacking the posters. He won't post this message by the way.

AJ Mass
  (11:39 AM)


JoJo (Richmond)

Would you ever carry two defenses on your roster? Packers AND Steelers for example ... and just play matchups?

AJ Mass
  (11:40 AM)

If you can afford it, then perhaps. Personally, I'd rather use the roster flexibility for backup RBs and WRs - especially through the bye weeks.

AJ = arrogant (Portsmouth, NH)

Could you answer some real questions instead of wasting most of this chat time to confirm an opinion (which is wrong I might add)? What are your thoughts Steve Smith (Car) against the Saints...would you start Breaston over him?

AJ Mass
  (11:42 AM)

Hey, NH dude. An opinion is not wrong, hence the term "opinion" instead of "fact" - but what should I expect from a state whose motto is "Live Free or Die" but doesn't have the death penalty. For what you think it is worth, my "opinion" is to start Breaston.

SK (Chicago)

Who do you like as a flex play this week? Portis, J. Stewart, Burleson, or Nicks?

AJ Mass
  (11:43 AM)

I'm going Burleson, as you might have guessed from previous answers. Nicks would be a close second.

Scott (FL)

Rest of season: D. Brown, Charles, Bell?

AJ Mass
  (11:44 AM)

Brown if healthy should be the best. Especially with the Colts playing so well and likely sitting Addai more come fantasy playoff time.

Brian G (Chicago)

I can't believe there are so many people out there who base their line-ups on their opponents......Why would you bench Manning if your opponent is starting Wayne. Manning scores 22, Cutler scores 16, Wayne scores 14. Do you see why it wasn't a good idea to bench Manning?

Sean (Chicago)

Portis or Forte? Who you got?

AJ Mass
  (11:46 AM)


Jay (Brooklyn)

Hahah AJ you take a lot of crap. I think your opinion is sound. Gimme a defense question here - is Denver trending down right now or has it just been a tough schedule? Take out Royal's two returns and it was a modest day vs. the Chargers and this past game at -2 nearly killed me.

AJ Mass
  (11:48 AM)

Obviously, the DST isn't getting multiple scores every week, no matter the team. I think a better judge is that Orton's numbers have been fairly consistent, save for last week... that leads me to believe last week was an anomaly. Are they trending down? Obviously. Do I think it continues... no.

Chris (FL)

Would you rather have disappointing Jacobs or uncertain Slaton for the rest of the year?

AJ Mass
  (11:50 AM)

Jacobs. The Giants have a better chance of fixing their defense - which is what is throwing the offensive gameplan out of whack.

Angry Elmo (The street)


AJ Mass
  (11:52 AM)

BECAUSE THEY DO!!!! And it is clearly stated in the rules that they will. We don't separate out punt returns or extra points because the "defense" isn't on the field, but rather the "special teams" and we do count both the pick six and the resulting extra point. All points count.

Rick (Charlottesville)

Ok, AJ, let me test you with one. Example of a time to look at your opponents lineup. You have a team of steady but average-to-good guys (you score 85 to 90 points every week). Your opponent has a phenomenal lineup for the week. Don't you want to take the boom-bust guys to give you at least a chance of winning (giving you a chance of getting into that 100 range) rather than risk the most likely outcome?

AJ Mass
  (11:54 AM)

I don't need to see who my opponent is starting to decide that, though. I can see I'm playing the guy who is 8-0 when I'm 2-6 to assume he's better than me. But I'm still not changing my lineup based on *who* he's starting.

Lauren (Pittsburgh)

Let me reply to Rick please -- Sure, thats a plausible strategy, but even then, you're not looking at WHO your opponent is starting. You're just making a decision based on the fact that he has a better team than you. So that's an entirely different discussion.

AJ Mass
  (11:55 AM)

GMTA, Lauren!

Bryan (Kalamazoo)

Pick 3 Calvin Johnson, Driver, Jennings?

AJ Mass
  (11:55 AM)

Jennings for me. I need to see Megatron play a full sixty at this point.

Bryce (Charleston, SC)

Though I realize this is a dangerous statement, I kind of agree with Angry Elmo. If the offense throws an INT that goes back for 6 why should the defense get penalized?

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

The point isn't whether or not they *should* be charged. You can make that decision for your own league, and there are legit arguments to go either way on that. However, if you're using ESPN Standard, we're quite up front on telling you that they count. No use getting upset over it after the fact.

Bill (Gainesville)

Sorry to stray away from opponent line up questions, but what do you think about starting J. Charles over K. Smith, who's not practicing, working multiple injuries, and facing seattle?

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

Sounds like sound logic to me, Bill.

Tony (in my cube)

James Casey or Fred Davis rest of the way

AJ Mass
  (11:59 AM)

Casey also underwent arthroscopic surgery this week. Not someone I would endorse right now.

Jay (Hartford, CT)

Sorry to bombard you with commish questions AJ. I agree with you that trades should not be vetoed normally, but I don't think the standard is simply collusion - b/c collusion is hard to prove (especially in a keeper league). You can't veto the trade b/c you think you know what two owners were thinking when they made this trade. Instead I like the "unconscionable" rule I use in my league. If the trade is "unconscionable" (not looking for "fair" at all since most trades aren't really "fair" but rather "too unfair") then I veto it. What do you think of that?

AJ Mass
  (12:01 PM)

Sorry Jay. I don't agree. Let's face it - as bad as a deal of Owen Daniels for Ryan Moats two weeks ago would have looked, who has the better of the deal now? Let the chips fall where they may, I say.

AJ Mass
  (12:02 PM)

Thanks, gang. That's all the time we have for today. I appreciate the feisty debate, even from my good friends in Nashua. If I didn't get to your Q's you can find me on Twitter, and don't forget to check out my non-fantasy blog "Mass Confusion" on Blogger. We'll see you all the next time on Villa Alegre!