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December 31, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (10:58 AM)

Happy New Year! The last chat of 2009 is here, and we'll try and get through as many Q's as we can before turning it over to Ryan Seacrest in Times Square. We'll also open the floor to more general Q's as well, if that's the direction you want to take this chat... Who's up first?

Dean (Portland)

Which QB's that have nothing to play for (Brees, Rivers, Peyton) should we bench?

AJ Mass
  (10:59 AM)

It all depends on who else you have. Peyton and Rivers will get very little time, but could still outscore the Fryes and Fitzpatricks of the world in one or two drives. Brees usually takes every snap of the season, and with a bye week, I think he plays very deep into the game.

Eric (Cincy)

Hey AJ, what's up with Donald Brown? ESPN says he missed practice due to illness, will he play?

AJ Mass
  (11:01 AM)

We know Addai won't do more than token carries. I think Brown will be fine, and since he missed so much time earlier this season, he'll get back into game shape with a lot of action.

Olivia (Chicago)

hey aj, Should I pick up the bears Devin A.?

AJ Mass
  (11:02 AM)

Yup. Knox is going to be out. Hester may not get back in there either.

jcwaveslider (CA)

thanks for all of the Twitter responses (tweets). TE Q in a PPR. Heap, Z Miller, F Davis, Keller, Schef. & I just can't convince myself to start Brady over Romo. 3 rec 30yds and a TD from Moss won't cut it for me either, going on record that I am starting E Bennett over Moss (return yrds count)

AJ Mass
  (11:05 AM)

Thanks for the Q's JC. Always happy to help those who follow on Twitter when I can. With the Cowboys *needing* to win to get home field for next week, I think Romo is a good play, and I'm not 100 percent sure Belichick is being honest when he says Brady goes a full game. For TE, I roll with Fred Davis - he's about the only Skins player worth a look.

Steve (ND)

I have to decide between Ryan's tasty matchup with the Bucs, and Flacco's must win against the Raiders. They are ranked together. In a TD only league, who do you choose?

AJ Mass
  (11:06 AM)

TD only? Bleah. Got to go with Ryan. He's more likely to find Roddy White, than Flacco to find anyone, must win or not.

dog (STL)

cutler or big ben this week........i also start Mendenhall

AJ Mass
  (11:08 AM)

Cutler this week... avoid the double dip and get a tasty opponent (Lions) in the process.

Jake (West Palm)

Have a happy and safe New Year. Do you see Philly having enough to play for to warrent starting McNabb over Schaub?

AJ Mass
  (11:09 AM)

Not about "enough to play for" but Schaub will throw out all the stops, whereas if Cowboys get up big early, McNabb will be likely be shut down for the "rematch". I go with Schaub.

Jacob (Austin)

The Week 17 predictions show J.Forsett getting 17 points. Is this realistic or just wishful thinking from people wishing they had Jim Mora's job?

AJ Mass
  (11:10 AM)

Julius Jones will likely not play, and the way Hasselbeck has been throwing picks lately, running the ball (and getting that clock wound down as quickly as possible) is probably the course of action Seattle will take.

barb (AZ)

Miles Austin or DeSean Jackson and why. Having a tough time with this one.

AJ Mass
  (11:11 AM)

Jackson... multiple ways to score. Austin may get the occasional end around, but it's hardwired into PHI offense to use D-Jax that way. Plus, there's those returns.

Bill (NY)

Hey AJ, every year we try to improve our league to make it more fair and fun. In the past we've added a lottery for nonplayoff teams, penalty for coming in last, etc. Any ideas youve heard of that will improve a league?

AJ Mass
  (11:13 AM)

The best way to keep a league going year after year is to do get owner input. What does "the league" as a whole want? If you satisfy that first and foremost, the owners will buy in more than any "It's my league, and what I say goes." attitude.

CRTexas (Houston)

Can the longhorns go undefeated and how far can they go in the tournament?

AJ Mass
  (11:15 AM)

Doubt it... no "big conference team" should be expected to run the table. Especially not with trips to Kansas and Tech... and they'll probably lose at Baylor as well. As for the tourney... it's all about health and matchups when we get there - but they are a clear Elite 8 candidate.

Steve (MI)

Moss, Meachem or Nicks for the Championship!

AJ Mass
  (11:16 AM)

Nicks. I think Eli and company air it out against the Vikings. Too late for Giants fans... not too late for Week 17 fantasy.

Dug (Paradise Falls)


AJ Mass
  (11:16 AM)

S to the I to the M to the P!

Silly (Boston )

What is the ideal # of keepers?

AJ Mass
  (11:18 AM)

I think you either go big or go home. 1 keeper is just silly to me. It's basically the same as a reset league, only with AP gone. I'd rather you HAVE to keep a full starting lineup... and if your team has "gotten old" then you'll actually feel it.

John J (Seattle)

Welker, Boldin, Austin, I need two. Thanks for all your help this year.

AJ Mass
  (11:19 AM)

I sit Anquan, based on the likelihood AZ is locked in and rematching with GB next week.

Ben D (NYC)

For a league that ends its playoffs in week 16, how do we keep week 17 interesting?

AJ Mass
  (11:20 AM)

We used to do what I called the "Harrison Bergeron Tourney" (Look up Vonnegut plots for the reference) where each team started a lineup and a small prize was given to the two teams who scored in the "middle" -- harder to do than you think.

Michael (Milwaukee)

Do you prefer to keep the best players each year in a keeper league, or do you prefer restrictions on keepers, such as only after the 4th? Trying to find the best setup

AJ Mass
  (11:22 AM)

To me, the point of a keeper league is to force the owners to build and shape a team over several years... that's why I endorse MORE keepers than fewer. And as for "round restrictions" to me you're only rewarding guys who get lucky in drafting a late-round sleeper rather than owners who were smart enough to draft good players early.

tom (madison,wi)

Non-PPR league, do I stick with Welker, or roll the dice with Berrian, who has a lot more to play for and seems to be receiving more targets from #4 recently?

AJ Mass
  (11:23 AM)

Don't like Berrian at all. Harvin and Rice still better options in Minny and Welker will play long enough to get at least 65 yards or so.

Crex (TEX)

Assuming Tony G is out, would you rather go with Kevin Boss or Zach Miller?

AJ Mass
  (11:24 AM)

Miller. Best receiver on that team right now, and actually I'd even think about starting Jags' Miller as well with Lewis hurt.

Don (Tn.)

Good Morning AJ and thanks for all the help this season. Would you play Orton over Rogers this week. The Broncos must win and who knows what's going to happen with Green Bay. I'm 9 pts. down, I need upside , right?

AJ Mass
  (11:26 AM)

Denver playing KC is the best argument for Orton. But, GB is playing for zero. They're on the road regardless next week, and with the chance they face AZ again, even if Rodgers were to play the whole game, they'd likely stick to basic and boring to not tip their hand.

Kantad (Yonkers, NY)

AJ - I'm heading over to the public library (in the snow, no less). Any good book suggestions?

AJ Mass
  (11:27 AM)

Reading is fundamental, sir! I like Sarah Vowell for non-fiction and there's a new Terry Pratchett Discworld novel out for fantasy lovers...

Issac (Lodi (CA))

AJHappy New Year.B. Edwards or T.O. ( I know, bleh, right?)Brees or McNabb?Bengald D or Titans D?Thanks

AJ Mass
  (11:28 AM)

I would have said Edwards... but then he opened his yap and started making guarantees. Braylon's not good enough to back that up, and besides, the Jets will run run and then run. I go with Brees and Cincy D.

Mike (Indy)

You thoughts on the whole Colts not going for the perfect season debacle?

AJ Mass
  (11:31 AM)

Plentiful... I think by not "going for it" they put a lot MORE pressure on themselves to win Super Bowl... and the fact that Peyton took the passive-aggressive protest stance by hovering at Coach's side with his helmet still on could eventually turn into something more... BUT if the idea is to get Painter SOME playing time under "real conditions" just in case, then Week 16 against a Jets team playing for something is a better time to do it than in Week 17 against Buffalo.

Philip (Houston)

How do you think the possibility of gaining a bye will motivate teams to play their starters? Of course Philly and Dallas will play hard anyway, but would Minnesota or even Arizona (if the Vikes lose) try to gain a week of rest?

AJ Mass
  (11:34 AM)

It's the rematch factor rather than the bye that matters more... after all, if you "take this week off" by benching all your starters, you've got your bye anyway and if you put all your cards on the table this week and end up losing, you've got no tricks left int he bag for next week against the same opponent - which actually could be the case with all 4 seeds.

Matt (Athens, OH)

Player profile says Sproles will take an early seat. Do you agree, and is he a better play than Forsett or D. Brown? Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (11:35 AM)

I do. There's absolutely nothing for SD to play for, and they may give Sproles an extra series or two past LDT's punchout, but we're going to see a whole lot of Jacob Hester in this one.

Bill (NY)

AJ, do you think Sammy Morris or Arian Foster are worth starting this week? I'm tempted to put one or both of them in over the Norwood/Snelling combination. Thanks! Happy New Year!

AJ Mass
  (11:37 AM)

I have little confidence in any one Patriots back, as any of the four guys there could get all the carries... heck, even Lawfirm might suit up and touch the ball 20 times. Too risky. Foster has less risk, but I'd stick with the Turner-less Falcons.

Greg (WA)

Any concern of Vince Young merely handing the ball off to Chris Johnson play after play? I would like to use him as a fill-in at QB but I'm worried he may only have 8-10 pass attempts all game and be a dud...despite the strong matchup. Should he be safe for at least 200 yards and a TD?

AJ Mass
  (11:39 AM)

No question the Titans give the ball to CJ until he breaks the record, and the receivers in Ten leave plenty to be desired. But, VY has the legs and could easily score a few TDs inside the five with ten in the box keying on CJ. Not safe for 200 and a score, but may still be a top-5 QB thanks to the legs.

Philip (Houston)

Seriously? I hate the rematch angle. Teams have so much scouting and tape that they would see many of the other teams games anyway. Why not play hard, then go into the next week KNOWING whether your best stuff works or whether you need to tinker?

AJ Mass
  (11:41 AM)

If watching tape was all that you needed to do to stop an offense, nobody would ever score. Part of it is experience on the field and seeing it "live" - and regardless of your take on it (or mine) historically, coaches in this situation have nearly always opted for simple boring gameplans when the teams are locked for a rematch in the next week's playoffs.

CJ (Tenn)

AJ, Do I break the record this week?

AJ Mass
  (11:42 AM)

Over 2000, yes. The record? No.

J (Ottawa)

AJ - I'm in a championship dilemma! For two spots: who should I play from Larry Fitz, Mike Wallace, Beanie Wells, Arian Foster, Justin Forsett, and Kenny Britt? Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (11:43 AM)

Wallace and Fitz/Forsett (depending on early results).

Al Langsyne (KC)

Do you think D Clark will play a full half?( that will probably be what I need to win)Thanks and Happy New Year

AJ Mass
  (11:44 AM)

If the weather is "good" (relative term) then yes. If not, then it's one series and done.

Leah (Toronto)

Who's going to get the bulk of carries for Greenbay-Grant or Jackson?

AJ Mass
  (11:45 AM)

Based on the "doesn't matter" factor for GB, I say it's a fairly even split, leaning to Brandon.

Joe (NYC)

Please pick one out of these horrible two: Culpepper or Garrad?

AJ Mass
  (11:46 AM)

Garrard by a mile. He's not that horrible, and there's still a small flicker of hope for Jags.

Travis (Iowa)

Is Kenny Britt back to 3rd string status? VY seems to like Washington and Gage more now that both are healthy.

AJ Mass
  (11:48 AM)

I don't think it's a "like better" thing... it's more of Britt is a long pass kind of guy, and Gage is more of an over-the-middle guy. Tennessee's style right now is better suited to Gage than Britt.

Brett F (Minn)

Does coach let me throw the ball like in the second half against the Bears or will I be handing off to AP with 9 in the box?

AJ Mass
  (11:49 AM)

It will be Tarvaris handing off to Taylor in the second half.

Johnny Hotpants (Pleasuretown, PA)

Better keeper: Charles or Moreno?

AJ Mass
  (11:49 AM)

If pressed today, I like Charles.

Ochocinco (Revis Island)

Braylon Edwards, Kenny Britt, Austin Collie, or Mike Wallace. Who should start in place of me?

AJ Mass
  (11:50 AM)

Collie... he gets Peyton for a while, and plays the whole game - or close to it. Wallace would be a close second.

Julia (NY)

Roethlesberger or Shaub?

AJ Mass
  (11:51 AM)

I like Schaub to do more. Dolphins, if they come to play, take up a lot of clock with their drives leaving Ben less time to work with - and if they don't, it's a Mendenhall party.

Philip (Houston)

Coaches may sometimes opt for a simpler gameplan, but I'm not sure if it works. Just like we are now questioning the sitting of starters like the Colts did last week.

AJ Mass
  (11:52 AM)

I don't care if it works, in terms of victory... but it does make me less likely to start those players for fantasy - that's the point.

frankie (san francisco)

in the championship and need your help!!!!! choose 2 wrs in a PPR league: nyg steve smith, randy moss, desean, or bowe?? also, mike tolbert or ganther???

AJ Mass
  (11:53 AM)

PPR - Bowe for sure and DeSean. I go Ganther over Tolbert.

Beth (South Dakota)

If SJAX doesnt play, who would you choose in flex: Maurice Morris, B. Jackson, D. Aromasadu, or C., Benson

AJ Mass
  (11:54 AM)

Benson likely to be rested, so I take the flier on Aromashadu.

Joe (NYC)

Wells or Forsett?

AJ Mass
  (11:55 AM)


keeya (al)

pick 2: deangelo, donald brown, welker, britt, and pierre thomas in a ppr/return yardage league

AJ Mass
  (11:56 AM)

I'd steer clear of DeAngelo who *shouldn't* be playing. PPR, I have to go with Wes, and assume he gets 6 grabs at least. Donald Brown would be my second.

Matt (DC)

Pick 3 of these 4 to keep for next year: River, Peterson, DeAngelo, Fitz

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

Throw Rivers back. You can always redraft him first round if you want.

Oliver North (Washington DC)

Thanks for all the help this year. Have a safe and happy 2010!

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

Thanks, Colonel. And to all of my chatters as well. Be safe, be well and we'll see you next year on Villa Alegre!