Good morning, everyone. Welcome your fantasy football chat. 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 14?" because (a) Week 13 isn't over; (b) I haven't done Week 14 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 13 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 (and for those of you who get annoyed, I'm sorry), let's get to it....
HELP!!!! Who remains on my team for the playoffs push, Snelling, Forsett or Housh? I need to make some waiver claims and need room. Jacobs and Smith sat on my bench yesterday...grrrr!
Hi, Jeff. First of all, sorry about the 'Huskers. They probably deserved to beat the Longhorns, but I'm very, very happy they didn't. Next -- if I had to predict which guy winds up with the most fantasy points from now 'til the end of the year, I'm going to guess Forsett...though Julius Jones got the lion's share of carries yesterday. Mostly, I just don't like Snelling (with Turner likely to return soon) or Housh all that much.
Is Chris Jennings droppable now that I guessed wrong on the Browns starting RB situation? Jerome Harrison was picked up by another owner so he's no longer an option...
Hi, Garrett. Well, it's hard to say that unilaterally, because I don't know what else you'd be picking up. Listen, Harrison was the guy yesterday, but he's not a great player, and he's also awfully small; I think a lot of why the Browns have always been hesitant to give him a full starter's carries has been worries about his size. Tough matchup Thursday against the Steelers, and who knows. I wouldn't be shocked if Jennings still winds up producing a touchdown or two the rest of the way. But yeah, you're not starting him.
What is the official scoring on that crazy Saints play? Brees gets INT, WASH D/ST gets INT, Meachem gets TD, Saints D/ST get TD + FR?
Hi, Ragan. No, Meachem doesn't get a touchdown. It's a quirk of the fantasy rules, but when an offensive player scores a touchdown like that, he doesn't get a score, and the Saints defense doesn't get it either, because they weren't on the field for it. I'm not pretending I *understand* it, but that's how we have it scored, I believe. But by all means, if you guys/gals know otherwise, let me know.
Going forward, who is the more reliable wideout: Jennings or Sims-Walker?
Hi, Franky. Let's see what Jennings looks like tonight...when you see MSW fluctuate like he has, you're not apt to exactly call him "reliable," but Jennings has been pretty feast or famine, too. My tendency would still be to say MSW, but there are some who still think it's a matter of time before Jennings starts regularly breaking bigger plays, now that the Pack's o-line seems to have settled down a little....
Is Alex Smith now a top 5 QB going down the stretch ?
Hi, Jarett. Whoa, I think that's a little extreme. I can see an argument for him as a top-10, maybe top-15 QB, through sheer volume. The Niners are a passing offense now for better or worse. (And for you Frank Gore owners, that's "worse".) But Smith is still Smith, and his 300-yard passing effort yesterday was the first of his career. Let's calm down a little.
I own Slaton and C. Brown, and I need someone to tell me what the heck is going on in that backfield right now.
Ha, Andrew. Yeah, I mean, Slaton was hurt, which is why he didn't play in yesterday's game -- it's a neck injury, and right now the Texans don't seem to know if they'll get him back, or when. He has numbness in his arms, which doesn't sound all that good, but it wouldn't be shocking to see him back in there soon, I guess. In his absence, Ryan Moats was pretty much used as Slaton sometimes is, with Brown as the closer and the guy who scored the touchdown. So I'd say Brown is going to be the short-yardage guy either way, and Moats will be Slaton for as long as Slaton's not Slaton.
Have I ridden the Maroney horse to the ground?
Hi, Matt. It was bound to happen. Sammy Morris returning to health once again made the Patriots' backfield a messy, messy committee; I counted at least three series, where one guy was in there on first down, one guy was in there on second down, and the third guy was in there on third down. Maroney's value has been so touchdown-dependent, that this, as I say, was bound to happen.
Do you think Matt Schaub will miss any time? If so, should I pick up Chad Henne, Brady Quinn, Josh Freeman, or Ryan Fitzpatrick (inspiring group, I know)?
Hi, Daniel. It's a dislocated non-throwing shoulder (of the same type that Stafford suffered in that crazy Cleveland game). I'm assuming Schaub will play -- it'll be a matter of pain tolerance, and certainly he could hurt it again, but the Texans have zero room for error now, and Rex Grossman just doesn't give them a chance to win. Of the group you mention, I think Henne is by far the best player right now. I'd say he's probably your best bet at insurance, though yeah, none of them are very happy-making.
Does yesterdays game change your opinion on Santonio Holmes through the rest of the season?
Hi, RS. Not at all, because I was really high on him. That was one that made me feel (momentarily) smart. I said on the Fantasy Focus studio show Friday that I though both Ward and Holmes would score and be very good, and that was borne out -- the Steelers are just a passing team, and I wasn't afraid of Big Ben's injury, because I figured if he was in there, he was OK. I still view Holmes as a WR2 right now...
I'm getting a lot of posts from you all saying that questions are being repeated again and again -- I'm not doing it...something's apparently wrong with the technical system. I'm only posting questions/answers once, I promise. But I've alerted the authorities and hopefully they'll help. Apologies. In the meantime, I'll try and continue.
Did you watch Titans-Colts? Can I trust VY as a low-level starter for the next 3 weeks at home (STL, MIA, SD)??
Hi, Cory. Me, I'm not likely to trust VY fantasy-wise in a 10-team league right now. I mean, if you have no other options, I guess go for it. The Rams matchup this week should be decent. Still, I'm not going to have Young in my top 10 any of those weeks, I'll wager. I did watch the TEN/IND game last night, and my impressions of VY were the same as my usual impressions -- he plays well, but he has lapses. If Nate Washington catches that long one and takes it to the house, maybe I'm whistling a different tune, but there were a few crucial dumb plays and bad throws that doomed the Titans' comeback, and I think they limit VY's statistical upside.
Is Percy Harvin a must start for the remainder of the season?
Hi, Casey. Let's face it: one man's must-start is another man's luxury. I don't have Harvin in my top 20. And his touchdown last night was an utter garbage-time special. But he also ran a reverse down to the 1, so he might've scored there earlier, and he's just so involved in that offense. On a team with so many weapons, and with Sidney Rice a better red-zone threat, I think Harvin is probably in that 20-30 range among WRs. That doesn't make him a must-start, but it makes him good.
Chris, I think you need to look into the scoring from that crazy Meachem fumble return. I awoke this morning and saw that my opponents New Orleans defense was credited with the defensive touchdown. It cost me my matchup, and league title!! Amazing!
Hi, Paul. Yeah, I mean, I'm talking without really knowing what I'm talking about. You may be right -- I may be mistaken...the Saints D/ST *might* actually have gotten credited with the score. I didn't play against 'em in an ESPN league this week, so I don't have first-hand knowledge....
What happened to McCoy yesterday?! I thought he was the full-time RB there? Can I trust starting him the rest of the way with a tough schedule on top of that?
Hi, Dan. Well, McCoy basically didn't play the entire fourth quarter because it was such a blowout, so that didn't help. And mostly the Eagles just didn't run all that much. He caught three passes and remains the guy they like to screen to, but the bottom line was he put up a statistical stinker in a Michael-Vick-centric game. Donovan McNabb owners have to be peeved, too.
I'd love to get a question posted today: I can see my name come up over and over. Anyway, I've got Gore and I'm nervous. Will I be OK with him in the fantasy playoffs? I've also got SJax, Addai, Grant and Beanie.
Hi, Bob. Yeah, there's reason to be nervous about Gore, no question. He apparently had a meeting with Mike Singletary last week, where he professed not to like running out of the shotgun spread, and it showed yesterday, as he was pretty consistently bottled up. It didn't help that he fumbled in a big spot, which led to a Seahawks field goal. I think you're pretty set with Jackson and Addai -- until the Niners work out what the heck they're going to do with Gore, that might be a safer combo.
The Meachem TD comes down to the rules each league plays by. I know a guy that played Meachem as a WR and didnt get credit for that TD since he was technically an IDP and his league doesnt use IDPs. Another league gave credit to Meachem as an IDP and a TD for the Saint's DEF. Just check your league rules.
Thanks, Corey. Of course, most leagues on ESPN.com are of the "standard" variety, which should mean most leagues scored it the same. The truth is I'm not positive how the standard game scored it...I probably shouldn't have sounded so definitive in my first response.
Hey CH...I am getting a little concerned about the man-love that seems to be blossoming between Peyton and Pierre in Indy. I have Reggie Wayne and playoffs are starting next week. Is this the result of RW being double teamed or has Pierre just become the new favorite target?
Hi, Dave. Good question. Well, there's no question that Garcon is in the enviable spot of seeing singled-up looks on most plays, except when the defense goes Cover-2. I have to say that I thought Courtland Finnegan, who hasn't played very well this year, was excellent on Wayne yesterday, and he followed him all over the field. I'm sure he had a ton of safety help (you can't always tell from the TV broadcast), but he did a very nice job. I would say Garcon is inching up the rolls, but Wayne still has to be higher -- at least until the Colts start sitting their starters.
By the way, I continue to express apologies that the chat software is messing up so badly. I guess you guys are seeing the same questions and answers over and over again and the questions don't always match with the answers. That really stinks. The chat engineers are apparently working on it. I'm sorry.
Where do you think you'll rank Vincent Jackson this week? He's had a couple straight weeks of pretty mediocore games but is consistently ranked top 5 .Seems like Gates is getting all the looks on that offense.
Hi, Bob. I think Jackson's going to be out of my top 5. Is he going to be out of my top 20? I doubt it. Unfortunately, it now appears Jackson is going to belong to that Miles Austin, Mike Sims-Walker, feast-or-famine group. And that means he can't be a no-brainer start every week if you've got other super options....
Any word on DeAngelo Williams? I'm definitely gonna need him next week for the playoffs!!!
Hi, CJ. No word yet. The Panthers really thought he was going to be able to play as of late last week, so the truth is I don't know what the heck happened. It was a good thing it was an early game, so Williams owners could get him out of there ahead of time, but it doesn't make his absence easier to swallow. I'm in the same boat -- I'll need him next week, too. All we'll be able to do is see if he practices this week, I guess.
I've been told that if you refresh your page every once in a while, it gets rid of the jumbled mess. So if you can see this post, refresh, and things might get (perhaps only temporarily) a little better. Again: sorry. They're working on it.
I'm still shocked that NOR won. How do you miss a 23yd FG? That being said, how high does Meachem move up in your rankings? 7 TD's in 5 games and he's finally pulling all that talent together with solid routes.
Hi, Paul. Yeah, that was ridiculous. The Redskins did everything right for about 58 minutes in that game, then remembered who they were. As for Meachem -- it's so tough to say, "Oh, he's definitely a top 20 receiver." Looking at the box score reinforces the impression I had watching the game -- the Saints are spreading it around so much. Meachem had 10 targets, Henderson had eight and Colston had seven. More than anything, I think what this does is debunk the notion of Marques Colston as a top-15 receiver. He can't be, because he just isn't a featured player every week. I think the three Saints receivers are going to be pretty tightly bunch in my ranks this week.
Picked up Arizona D for the sole reason of preventing others playing them in juicy playoff matchups. But now Im pondering do I play their nice matchups or ride the Minny D. Thoughts?
Hi, K. Well, I haven't done my ranks yet for the rest of the season (but there *will* be a Big Rotowski tomorrow), but let's just say this: E.J. Henderson's grisly injury last night hurts that defense quite a bit. They need Antoine Winfield back, they need Cedric Griffin not to be hurt too badly. I would tend to think I'm going to have the Vikings defense higher than the Cardinals, but I also don't know that I can guarantee that'll be the case every week, depending on opponents.
As a reward for putting up with going back to Indy for the Holidays, I always catch a Colts home game. When Indy's sitting 14-0 on 12/27, any chance I catch Peyton/Reggie/Dallas for more than a quarter (I also own them on different teams, so will be championships on the line).
Hi, Paul. Well, I wish I knew -- the only thing I can say is that every time he's been asked, Jim Caldwell has said he's going to stick to the same script the Colts have been using for years. To me, that sounds like next week may be the last one where you see the offensive stars for a full game. If we're lucky, maybe we'll get 'em for most of two weeks from now. But in Weeks 16 and 17? I think there's next to no chance.
The Williams/Stewart handcuff finally worked! Do you trust Jamaal Charles enough to keep him in your playoff lineup? I have him and Forsett open at flex and Forsett's value is gone so I'm stuck. Maybe Stewart AND Williams against NE?
Hi, Pete. Yay, handcuff! Charles scored a garbage-time touchdown yesterday, and also lost a fumble that the Broncos returned for a touchdown. My concern about him continues to be those hands -- he's a fumbler, always was in college, and that has started to rear its head again as he's become more used these past few weeks. That said, the Chiefs don't really have an alternative. I would say Charles is going to be at least a flex most weeks, if not better.
If you hit refresh every five questions or so, I'm being told this isn't so bad. So hit refresh, folks.
Hey CH - Assuming Williams comes back, how much value do you think JStew has going forward with a tough playoff schedule?
Hi, Ron. Well, if Williams is back, he's going to have a 2-to-1 carries advantage, probably. And that obviously limits Stewart's upside. There have been individual games this season where Williams was in there but Stewart was the better fantasy player...it's almost always going to come down to who happens to be in there when the Panthers are close to the end zone. But usually it winds up being D-Willy, it seems, and he's also the likelier guy to break a big one. I think Stewart will usually be a flex at best if Williams is right.
This is scored as a defensive fumble recovery and a defensive touchdown for the Saints DST. Meachem will not be awarded any Fantasy points for this play. By rule, when there is a change of possession via turnover, the offensive team becomes the defense and the defense becomes the offense."
OK, then. I believe you.
Now I'm getting lots of posts that the refreshing isn't working for a lot of you. Ga. So frustrating on my end, and I'm sure way more frustrating on your end. I'm not even in the same state as the developers who are feverishly at work trying to fix it, so I can't go yell at them for you. :-) But I'm going to keep going for another 15 minutes, so at least there'll be a chat transcript for you to look at after the fact (I hope).
As a guy that got both ends of late scratches this week, what is the latest we'll hear of an inactive prior to gametime, and where is the best place to track them? I had Carney activated, opponent had DeAngelo and I had Daily Show on my bench.
Hi, Paul. Well, I'm being a company man here, but our show on ESPN2 has all the inactives, and our chat on Sundays (when the dang software is working) should have 'em, too.
Is Kenny Britt the real deal?
Hi, Ryan. I think his career upside is real. He was pretty invisible for long stretches of yesterday's games, as Vince Young didn't really look for his wideouts all that much, and I though VY's pick on the sidelines was Britt's fault, because he stopped when VY evidently though he'd keep going. He was great as a return guy yesterday, though. I think he's not going to be startable in ESPN standard leagues most weeks, unless you're a bit desperate, but as a physical specimen and athlete, he's got a huge upside.
Do you think Witten is back as a top 5 TE, or was yesterday just a fluke?
Hi, Joe. Well, it's been two in a row, really, because he was very good on Thanksgiving, too. I would say he's inching back up well into the top 10, at least, and yes, maybe higher.
How do you think Benson's return went?
Hi, Andrew. Well, so much for the Bengals babying him back into action. Benson had an unbelievable 36 carries as the Bengals once again decided to just run out the clock all day on a clearly inferior opponent. Cincy's time of possession advantages the past two weeks have been impressive, and they're really establishing themselves as a team with a strong run-blocking o-line. Much to the chagrin of Carson Palmer owners (though 85 had a good game and a great TD catch).
Does yesterday's game make you feel any better about Jacobs? I mean, without that huge catch, it's only a mediocre day at best...
Hi, Travis. Great question. Yeah, I think I feel a *little* better about him. I mean, his whole deal last season was that he could have a crummy overall game, but at least you knew he had a better-than-even chance of falling into the end zone on a short score, and he did that. But you're right: it was one game, and there's no reason to go crazy over him. He probably belongs in that mid-tier of RB2s.
Standard scoring in my league. No points for NO D/ST and 6 pts for Meachem.
Thanks, Steve. At this point, folks, I'm just relaying info. It's clear that I didn't have a handle on this one as I tried to answer, but it's also clear that it was a pivotal play in a lot of leagues.
I have G.Jennings, MSW, P.Thomas... for 2 spots. Matchups don't seem to matter with these guys... is it just gonna be a total crapshoot for the fantasy playoffs?
You said it, Shane. I think you're right. I tend to err on the side of RBs, but in Thomas's case, when he's getting six carries to Mike Bell's 16, I don't think we can classify him as a must-start. (It was good to see Thomas get 8 catches, though.)
If you're an Addai owner who wants to prep for week 15-16, do you think there's any chance C. Simpson or M. Hart will be startable in those weeks? If so, which one?
Hi, Sam. And let's not forget to put Donald Brown in the mix; he was hurt this week, but if he heals in the next couple, it would seem a perfect time to give the rookie an extended look during the Jim Sorgi Experience. My guess, and it really is only a guess, is that the order of preference here is Brown, Simpson, Hart, though Hart got carries yesterday and the others didn't. But obviously Brown needs to get healthy.
Who do I start in the flex 2night? Grant or Jennings?
Hi, Jeremy. Good question. I had Grant as my No. 16 rusher this week and Jennings as my No. 18 receiver. Not that there's a one-to-one correlation in ranks, but my point is, it's pretty close. It seems to me that Grant is likelier to give you a steady amount, but Jennings has the higher fantasy-point upside.
Devin Thomas, is he a solid pickup?
Hi, Mike. I'm not sold just yet. He made a couple super, athletic plays yesterday, and Jason Campbell mostly played very well, until the end of the game. But he's Jason Campbell, and the Redskins haven't shown they use any one receiver enough to make that guy a true fantasy starter....
All right -- I'm going to do one more question here, and then give everyone a break and put this chat out of its miserable existence. Again, I'm really sorry...
Avant didn't really do much. If D Jax is still out next week, how much do you trust Avant to do better?
Hi, Travis. I trust Avant to be a fair possession receiver, and that's all. He doesn't have the speed to beat very many people deep (though he's a smart player and can take advantage of blown coverages). The truth is that the Eagles were winning by so much, *no* wideout got a ton of looks, but to my eyes Maclin was the valuable target there. I wouldn't count on much from Avant, though an 8-catch, 73-yard day is always a possibility if he's back in the starting lineup.
OK, that's it. I'm sorry again. I hope they're going to fix this chat madness soon, and at the very least, I hope that they're able to piece together and post a workable transcript. I know it's frustrating enough not being able to get your questions answered, and to have the questions and answers posted a million times out of order and such is even worse. Listen, if you want your questions answered, friend me at Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/writerboy. I've been able to get to just about every question that's been asked of me there this year, as a way of saying thanks to all of you for your interest and support. Have a great week....