Good morning, everyone. Before we get going, I know this annoys some of you, but I think in general it's working, so I'm going to offer my usual disclaimer about questions for this chat: I'm not going to answer "Should I start XX over XX in Week 13?" because (a) Week 12 isn't over; (b) I haven't done Week 13 ranks yet; (c) We have a column devoted to that, which comes out Wednesdays. And 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 (and for those of you who get annoyed, I'm sorry), let's get to it....
How screwed are the eagles with DeSean Jackson possibly out with the concussion? Do you think theres a chance he plays against the falcons?
Hi, Brad. Yeah, I think Jackson's going to be mighty questionable in a super-enticing matchup against the Falcons next week. Obviously, the Eagles won't know anything for certain for a few days, but they're already being accused of rushing back Brian Westbrook -- so you'd have to think they're going to err on the side of caution....
Smooth move coach, any idea how long I'm going to be out for this time?
Yeah, what a disastrous decision. There's no word yet, but it's hard to imagine that Turner will be available to play this week against the Eagles. I was against using Turner Sunday because this looked like such an easy game versus Tampa, but then Ryan gets hurt and suddenly it's not so easy.
what happened to Vincent Jackson?
Hi, Kris. Man, this is becoming a weekly thing, isn't it? It's frustrating -- but again, he's not hurt. Rivers had Jackson open on a bomb I think on the Chargers' first series, if I recall correctly, and missed him, and after that it was the Antonio Gates show. I guess you just have to keep running him out there, though. He'll break out of it eventually.
Can we just give up on Brandon Jacobs at this point?
Hi, Steve. Depends what you mean by "give up." I'm probably not dropping him, and he was drafted so high on a bunch of teams that they probably don't have viable options. But yeah, I have to admit that this was the first week where I saw Jacobs play under what should've been ideal circumstances and been just floored with how bad the Giants look running the ball. Against the Cowboys next week, it's hard to look at Jacobs as a top-20 option.
Please accept me for the WR1 that I am. Thank you.
No, I shall not. Austin is, in my mind, the dictionary definition of a WR who should be rated in the 11-20 range every week -- incredible upside, but terrible downside. The Raiders stubbornly stuck with one-on-one coverage against him Thursday, and you saw what happened. Other teams won't be so, shall we say, intellectually challenged.
I picked up Forsett last week but didn't play him...oops! What is his value going forward?
Hi, Kyle. His value is, in my mind, still very much tied to Julius Jones' status. (Facebook followers of mine knew that Jones was going to be out, and I implored 'em to use Forsett as a result.) The matchups won't always be so enticing, and the Seahawks offensive line can't be relied upon against good defenses. But for as long as Jones as out, there shouldn't be much question that Forsett is at least with consideration as a RB2 every week.
Where does my value stand for the rest of the season?
Charles is probably a borderline RB2, and better than that in plus matchups. The KC offensive line continued to have terrible problems against San Diego yesterday -- Matt Cassel was just under siege. And Charles fumbled -- doing nothing to diminish his rep as a shaky-handed back. But Todd Haley was relatively effusive in his praise for Charles, and there doesn't seem to be any question that Charles is a clear starter on that team for the rest of this year, at least.
Who has a better chance to claim the starting tailback role: Freddy Jackson or Justin Forsett?
Hi, Jeff. Well, for as long as Jones is out (and really, we don't have any idea -- all of Jim Mora's baloney last week was so much smoke and mirrors, and it sounds like Jones is still in pretty severe pain), Forsett's clearly the man. Louis Rankin fumbled yesterday, pretty much ending that particular impossible dream. But the Bills did use Jackson nearly to the exclusion of Lynch (finally!) yesterday, and Perry Fewell talked about Jackson carrying more of the load going forward. So for the longer term (i.e., the rest of the season), I'm actually betting it's Jackson.
Do you like Bell or Maroney tonight if Morris is active?
Hi, Jim. I still think you'd probably have to go Maroney -- he figures to be the "feature" back (i.e., the guy who gets the most carries) even if Morris is back, though if this is a shootout, you're going to see a lot of Kevin Faulk in the backfield, too. Bell will also have to fight a three-headed monster provided Bush is active...and I think he comes out third in that particular battle.
Who's a bigger toolbot? Kurt Warner for waking up on the wrong side of the bed, Matt Leinart for auditioning for either the Bachelor or Dancing with the Stars in his performance vs. Tenn, Matt Hasselbeck for finding a way not to score points against the hapless Rams, or Me for relying on these toolbots?
Hi, Larry. Yeah, Matt Leinart is *so* uninspiring. Cardinals fans had to be punching their pillows last night. Hasselbeck wasn't terrible, he just didn't do much either way, and his pass protection just stinks. I like Hass, I really do. But with that line, it's impossible to trust him, fantasy-wise. And to make matters worse, there's no guarantee Warner plays next week.
I don't think I'm repeating my performance against the Giants anytime soon with Jerious swipin' my carries yesterday!
Yeah, Roddy White apparently came out last night and said he thinks Jerious Norwood should be the starter. Thanks for volunteering, that, Rod. I'd say you're likely to see a mix -- no question that the lost fumble set Snelling back, and pretty much sent him to the bench, while Norwood got to play in the hurry-up version of the Chris Redman Express. I'd say I'm not that interested in either Norwood *or* Snelling next week versus Philly, but you're probably right: Snelling might be a goal-line option here, but Norwood is going to get a lot of work, too.
And the number one pick in your fantasy football draft 2010 is...
Hi, Bryan. Great question. The easy answer right now would be Chris Johnson, and if there hasn't been any bigger Sonic the Hedgehog booster than me this year -- I constantly got called out for liking him "too much" because his solid numbers "were the result of just one good game." It's a three-horse race for me: AP, MJD and Johnson. I think you can make an argument that as a football player, MJD has had the best year of the three of them -- he does everything spectacularly well, including blitz pickup. But fantasy-wise? I need to see how Peterson finishes up the year, and see if the fumbling problems continue. I'm still tempted to put a man his size with his speed at the top.
Need 13 points to win and secure a playoff spot. Do I play Maroney or Thomas tonight?
Hi, John. It's a good question. I have Thomas rated higher, so I guess he's my answer. The Saints run it a lot, and I think can be relied on to run in more than the Patriots tonight. But Thomas has issues, and you know them well: Reggie Bush and Mike Bell. There are no guarantees here. But I'm 60/40 in favor of Frenchy.
Is Devin Hester droppable or swappable for a waiver pick??.. say for like a Kenny Britt??
Hi, Danno. Hester got lost in the shuffle as Jay Cutler seemed kind of transfixed by Greg Olsen yesterday, and that's so frustrating, because I continue to maintain that Hester is top five in the league this year among receivers who've made big gains in their game. I still have Hester rated above Britt. But Britt is hot, and is also going to be claimed in a lot of leagues this week. The truth is, though, that VY isn't going to throw for 350-plus many weeks, y'know? Heck, he's likelier to throw for *half* that total. I still like Hester more.
Chris, I think it's time to dump Housh, agree? Think I should go for Chambers or Garcon? Thanks
Hi, Pete. I don't know -- we probably wouldn't have been having this conversation after that Arizona game a couple weeks ago, when Housh went crazy, right? I still think he's higher on my list than those other two. But if you're just fed up with him, I guess I like Garcon more. His target totals are crazy -- he's top 10 in the league over the past five weeks.
If Celek has to miss time with the torn ligaments in the hand, is Alex Smith a viable option to play?
Well, it doesn't sound like Celek intends to miss any games, so I think the only thing that might happen here is a split workload. McNabb threw it to Smith twice in the end zone yesterday (converted neither), so there's some potential there. But if Celek is suiting up (which I expect), I don't think Smith is a fantasy option.
Is the offensive line for the Panters starting to break down on run blocking with the loss of Jordan Gross, or was it just a bad game for that whole team yesterday? I was expecting better production from DAW (he's been fairly consistent, so I'm not too spooked)
Hi, Diego. No, I think it's too soon to say that the o-line in Carolina has lost its mojo. I haven't watched that game yet, but it didn't look like a very strong performance, and it was a little scary to see D-Willy writhing around in pain after getting his ankle landed on (and I let out a big sigh of relief when I saw he was back in the game thereafter). Williams' bigger problems are (a) Jake Delhomme being very little threat to opposing defenses; (b) Jonathan Stewart choosing the wrong week to be the end-zone guy.
Should cedric benson owners be worried about larry johnson stealing carries going forward?
Hi, Jason. Well, *Benson* seems to be a little worried about it. Check out his quotes after yesterday's game. Bernard Scott apparently suffered a turf toe injury in the second half yesterday, which opened the floodgates for LJ to be the workhorse closing out the game, but even in the first half, Johnson was getting a carry for every two carries by Scott. Is this a committee now? I tend to think not a full-blown one. If Benson's back this week, he's still a pretty good bet for 15 carries. But 20-plus carries, which he'd been topping *easily* most weeks? Good question. I don't think we'll know until we know, if you know what I mean.
Is Ochocinco a victim of a balanced offense not forcing him the ball? His numbers were starting to look good before the bye but then collapsed. I am starting to sweat starting him as my #2wr. Thanks!
Yeah, 85 is mostly hurting because Carson Palmer just isn't playing very well, and the Bengals aren't taking deep shots as much as they used to. Plus who else in that receiving corps are you afraid of? Laveranues Coles continues to just look lost.
Another Desean related question. If he doesn't play, is Avant a WR2?
Hi, Steve. Good question. I don't think a WR2, not in a 10-team league. Maclin seems like the better bet. But could he be a WR3 against a pretty bad Atlanta secondary? Could be.....
Went with Cotchery this week due to limited options. Figured he's be a sure thing for 7-8 points. What happened?
Hi, JJ. I haven't watched that tape yet, so I don't know for sure, but from what I did see, it seemed like the Jets basically decided, "All right, Sanchize, you ain't beating us today." Sanchez only had 17 attempts the whole game, while Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene wound up with 35 combined carries.
What do you think the score of tonights game will be? Seems like everyone is expecting a high scoring shootout, will we see the coaches try to run more to keep the other teams offense off the field? Both defenses have some holes
Hi, Dave. I like to play the contrarian sometimes -- it's kind of my thing. But I'm having a hard time looking at tonight's game and seeing anything but a shootout. The Patriots are going to throw early and often, and try and test that weakened Saints secondary (especially the nickel and dime men). The Saints just don't slow down for anyone. I think we're looking at a lot of points.
OVER/UNDER: 2000 yds rushing for Chris Johnson.
Hi, Kyle. Great question. I'm going over. He needs just over 120 per game over the next five to do it. The Cardinals pretty much had him bottled up yesterday, but all it takes is one -- and boom, he goes for 85 yards on yet another highlight-reel, sick run. I think he gets it.
Chris, please oh please tell me Warner and Roethlisberger will be back next week...I only ask because Leinart does not like throwing to Fitz and anybody else on the Steelers simply cannot find Ward...I have both receivers and the other QBs are killing me...I won but I need to have more than a combined 7 points from yesterday. Thanks.
Hi, Eric. Wish I could say something definitive for you, but the Cardinals already seem to be prepping the world for another week of Matt Leinart (not that they've made a decision, but they're saying Warner sitting out again is a possibility...), and Big Ben apparently was having concussion symptoms all week and the Steelers didn't tell anyone. I think Ben has a better chance of playing. But I guarantee nothing.
J Avant, A Bryant, K Britt... how do I rank them (remainder of season) for waiver priority for pickup this week? Thanks!
Hi, Jamie. I think I go Britt then Bryant then Avant. Britt is the No. 1 receiver in Tennessee right now, and Bryant is a bigger-play man than Avant -- that's my logic.
Is VY a good backup QB or still a wait and see?
Hi, Ryan. I think he's OK. I don't think he's throwing for nearly 400 yards again this season. But he can make more plays with his legs, maybe including a couple touchdowns over the last five games. I think he's an OK QB2.
Am I gonna tear it up the last five weeks with an easy schedule or am I looking at a time share and lackluster fantasy production?
I think it's a time-share. I didn't see anything so wonderful from Slaton yesterday that made me think he really wrested that job away from the rest of the Houston backs -- in fact, Chris Brown had more carries and got the short score. I think it's a split.
What is your take on Megatron? He got 12 targets and only 2 catches! Was this just a case of Charles Woodson playing on him? Is he a top 10 WR going forward?
Hi, Patrick. I'm not panicked about Megatron based on that game -- he was clearly hobbled and couldn't get off the line with any real force...he was out there gutting it out (as was Stafford), but probably shouldn't even have been playing. And yes, the fact that Woodson was on him didn't help (Woodson is playing terrific). Is Megatron a top 10? He's borderline. It's close. There are some other strugglers in that top group, too, remember (hello Vincent Jackson -- greetings, Roddy White). At the very least, I think he's a high-upside WR2, though let's see what the injury reports say this week.
Chris - morning to you!! Hope you had a great Thansgiving!! Looked like Andre3000 had an off day - I wasn't able to watch the game, but is there anything to worry about there with him going forward?
Hi, Chris. No, AJ was fine -- it was Matt Schaub who had an off second half. What an absolute garbage second half Schaub played...very frustrating for his owners after the Texans moved it so well in the first. Johnson got his usual doubled-up looks, nothing new, and he got a lot of targets and made a few very nice catches (including one sick grab on a too-high pass on the sidelines for a first down). I'm not worried at all about him.
Why do the eagles consistently display an ineptitude for short yardage conversions and red zone woes? I'm sick of watching 3rd and 10 pass play attempts in the end zone that are well short of the first down. They're so predictable, either go to Celek in the redzone or short dump off. Andy needs to seriously look himself in the mirror. Also, don't you think that holding call on Celek when D-Jack got the TD was total phantom call?
Boy, this isn't the first year we've been talking about the Eagles in the red zone, is it? This seems to be the West Coast offense's Achilles' heel (has been for years), and the Eagles just don't have a bruising enough offensive line or running back to will themselves into the end zone when they're close. (Eldra Buckley? Really?) I'm with you -- I don't understand the play calling when the Eagles get close. As for the holding call -- I have to go back and look at it again...I thought I remembered it as more of a "pick" on Celek, but it definitely was a crusher that Jackson didn't get in for a second time...
I have a 1 point lead going into tonight's game. My opponenet has no one playing tonight and I have the Pats' D. Should I bench them and ensure myself the win? I am concerned about them giving up too many points and causing me to lose.
Hi, Kevin. We debated this in this chat last week -- there's really no right answer. The worry is that a one-point lead *can* be toppled by a scoring change that the NFL makes after reviewing the tapes today and tonight. So you have to counterbalance the worry of the Pats defense going negative against an awesome Saints offense versus the stat correction nightmare. Fantasy defenses have gone negative against the Saints in 3 of 11 games this year -- I actually *do* think there's a better chance of that happening then a stat correction screwing you out of fantasy points tomorrow morning. Maybe the best thing to do is review the scoring plays your guys gave you yesterday to see if there are any questionable calls (a lateral that should've been called a forward pass, etc.), and then based on that, sit the Pats D.
I know it seems like everybody says bench MNF players if you are up and they have nobody left, but I'm trying to creep from a 6-5 record into a good seed for the playoffs. I am up by a considerable amount this week and have Moss and Maroney tonight. Shouldn't I play these two to increase my total pts, which determine ranking after winning record?
Hi, Philip. If the tiebreakers are going to wind up being close (and it sounds like you're saying they are), then yeah, I'd play those guys. I don't think you're going to get negative net points from Maroney-plus-Moss -- it's just not likely.
Would you trade LT for Jamaal Charles for the rest of the year?
Hi, Alex. I wouldn't. I know Tomlinson doesn't have much explosiveness left, but he's still a bull on the goal line.
Have the Jets defense finally figured out how to play like the defense they've been hyped to be? Or was yesterdays huge outing just a result of a good matchup with the panthers?
Hi, Israel. Well, again, I haven't watched that tape yet, so tune into the Breakdown this Friday for more extensive thoughts on what I saw. I'm not sure I'm ready to reward *any* defense too strongly for shutting down and picking off Jake Delhomme, though. Doesn't seem that hard to do lately....
Who do you think gets more fantasy points tonight, Meachem or Mike Bell?
Hi, Scott. I hope you don't plan on holding me to this, because this is the kind of thing that's mighty tough to say. I'm going to guess Meachem, simply based on his touchdown streak and the fact that the Saints really like to go to him in the red zone. But clearly Bell can vulture rushing TDs, too......
Regarding Kevin from Indy's situation, how is that fair for his opponent? You get the rules at the beginning of the year and if you are supposed to start a defense every week, he should start who he has. Anything else is cheap.
Hi, Rob. No, I don't agree -- unless your league rules specifically say that you are *required* to start someone at each position, then I think sitting a defense or a player is strategically sound and acceptable.
It's a good thing I'm not here any longer... How can you recommend benching and leaving an open slot... So bush league...
Wow. A few folks don't like that strategy. I think it's not bush league at all. Completely acceptable and people have been doing it for decades....
What was up last night with McGahee vulturing Ray Rice's touchdown? I thought we were done with that.
Hi, Mark. Yeah, the past two weeks, we *haven't* been done with it, and as I was watching last night, I was trying to explain it to myself. What I came up with was: the Ravens know they're not re-signing McGahee next year, and so they're letting him take the beating close to the goal line so Rice can stay healthy and fresh. I think Rice would be just fine as a goal-line back, I really do. So that's my only explanation.
Is Lex Hilliard worth rostering as a handcuff to Ricky heading into the playoffs?
Hi, Ari. I guess I don't hate that, but it wasn't as if Hilliard was any great shakes when the Dolphins needed something yesterday. Listen, that Dolphins o-line is *really* good -- maybe the best in the league this year. But if Williams is out, do they just give the job to Hilliard? Maybe. Would you be able to justify starting him? I guess that depends on what else you have on your roster. I wouldn't bend over backwards to get Hilliard, but I guess I don't mind it if you've got the roster space.
Its bush league because the game in question happens on Monday night AFTER he knows the results of all the other games. If his defense was playing sunday this wouldn't even be an option, he is abusing the fact that he's players play late.
You say "abusing," James, I say "taking advantage of." By your logic, people should have to set their lineups Thursday (when there's a Thursday game) and leave them that way, because it's not fair that I should get knowledge about whether my players are going to play Sunday when you didn't get knowledge about your players when they played Thursday. Heck, by that logic, owners shouldn't have been allowed to switch out Kurt Warner at the last minute yesterday, because Matt Stafford owners didn't have that luxury....
Is Pierre Garcon any every week start at this point?
Hi, Andy. In a vacuum, I'm going to say "no." I don't quite view him as a top-20 receiver, so in a two-WR, 10-team league, I don't think he's an automatic start no matter what. But he's close.
You play to win the game. You PLAY to WIN the game!!!!
With DJax quesitonable, would you rely on Britt or Hester down this important stretch???
Hi, Ryan. I think it would be a week-to-week thing. Britt sure looked more legit yesterday, but I still think Hester overall is rated higher. Cutler just needs to find him.....
Any advice for an owner who has the highest overall point total in the league and cant get a win?
Hi, Scott. Stick with it, is all I can say. It's so frustrating. I've been there.
Charles or Forsett for the rest of the year? I dropped Charles to pick up Forsett to play him yesterday, and now I may try to drop Forsett to get Charles back since he has a good remaining schedule, and is the lone guy in KC (no JJ to worry about).
Hi, Darren. It's close, and I have to say that I haven't completely made up my mind, but I think I'm going to say: if you're looking for the better fantasy point total over the entire rest of the season, I think it's Charles, but if Jones sits out for another week or two, I think Forsett might be the better play in those couple weeks....
Better QB going forward... VY, Fitzpatrick, Cassel, Hasselback?
Hi, Mike. Well, obviously *none* of 'em is a great option. I still think Hasselbeck. By a whisker.
Who makes for the better keeper for next year,, Portis, F. Jones, or M. Barber? Thanks
Hi, Chad. Not Portis, because I'm worried about all that usage these past several years. I guess I'm going to say Barber, still, but Jones is tempting -- he's obviously the far more explosive player. Neither has exactly been durable this season, but I worry more about Jones' health -- he's 2-for-2 in terms of injuries limiting seasons in his NFL career....
Better option till the end of the year: Chambers, Britt, or A. Bryant?
Hi, Jacob. Oh boy. Unknowns abound with Chambers -- all related to Dwayne Bowe. If I could be assured that Bowe wasn't going to be a factor, I'd say Chambers. But I think he will be. So I'm going to say Bryant.
Is Flacco worth hanging on to even as a backup Q? He slid down the scale of fantasy relevance quite some time ago, but nobody better on the wire.
Hi, Kurt. Well, you kind of answered your own question, because if there's nobody better, then yeah, hang onto Flacco. He's been pretty brutal, but you can't get on him too much for last night. The Steelers defense is tight.
Am I better than Cutler the rest of the way?
Hm -- I still think I prefer Cutler because of his (eventual) upside. I'd rather start neither, obviously.
How can you tell Mike (TX) that Hasselbeck is better? I'd rather have Tim Hasselbeck, or even Elizabeth Hasselbeck before I'd put in Matt again! Roll the dice with VY! It will be more exciting.
Hi, Larry. Yeah, Young is exciting, and nobody wants to love him more than I do (I went to the University of Texas for grad school), but I don't think we'll see yardage numbers like that from him again....
after a questionable showing on t-day against the pack, do i have any value moving forward? I have a brutal schedule and never hit a hole with any authority
*Any* value? Sure. But I agree, Smith has been really disappointing. I just don't see what the alternatives are in Detroit. I think Smith is a flex right now....
Will Manning play week 16? Or will my championship rest on the shoulders of Josh Freeman?
Hi, Dan. It'd be foolish for me to definitive with you about it, because I'm not inside the Colts locker room, but yeah, I mean, history tells us that the Colts sit their guys once they've clinched home field. If I'm a betting man, I say the main Indy weapons play a half in Week 16 and a series in Week 17.
Better RB for the rest of the season: Beanie Wells or Justin Forsett?
Hi, Colin. I think I go Forsett, because my gut tells me Jones will be out a little while longer, giving Forsett some more "starter" type looks, while Wells clearly has a timeshare the rest of the year....
All right, gang, one more, and then I've got to get to watching some more tape....
you said "I think I go Britt then Bryant then Avant." earilier and then said "So I'm going to say Bryant" when asked chambers, britt, bryant... so who is it?? BRITT OR BRYANT?
OK, one more *after* this. You're absolutely right, Anthony. Sorry about that. The second time around, when I was asked Britt or Bryant, I should've said Britt. I meant to say Britt. My fingers got messed up....
While B.Scott become irrelevant soon?
Hi, Bruce. I think it mostly depends on how bad his toe is. I expect Benson back this week, but I do think *someone* else will play more than they'd been playing. Whether or not it's LJ or Scott may depend on how badly Scott is hurt....
OK, everyone. Thanks very much for coming. I know it can be frustrating not to get your question answered, and I want to express my gratitude for all your interest and loyal readership, so per usual I'm making the offer: friend me on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/writerboy), and ask me there, and I'll do my level best to answer. It's my way of trying to give back to all of you, in thanks for the fact that you all make it possible for me to have this great job. And I've been doing pretty well getting back to all questioners these past few weeks. So thanks again, and have a great week.