Hi, everyone. Welcome to your Monday afternoon fantasy football chat -- our first fantasy chat post-draft. Lay your questions on me...I've been buried waist-deep in producing our fantasy football mag, so I'm ready.....
You still believe in Randy Moss? He is bound to have one of those "just last year you were a stud" years right?
Hi, Kelly. I still do believe in him. I think the "he's getting older" mojo will be offset by the "he's in a contract year" mojo. I don't see him falling off a cliff just yet. And he'd better not, because it's nothing but question marks after him on the Pats' depth chart. I like Taylor Price just fine, and I think he was really nice value, but he's not a guaranteed starter by any means like, say, Dez Bryant might've been.
Can you please make some sense out of the Houston backfield? My guess is Slaton and Tate get first dibs...
Hi, Jeremy. Truthfully, I think Tate gets first dibs, and everyone else is fighting for second place. Now, that's kind of a big pronouncement considering the kid was a bit of a college disappointment until last year, but Slaton is coming off cervical fusion surgery, and I don't think he's at all guaranteed to be healthy. Even if he is, he's pretty much put the notion that he's a full-time back to bed. Arian Foster was good at the end of last year, and is in the mix as a sleeper. But I think Tate's better.
Did Kansas city get any WRs in the draft? You think Bowe will ever reach ELITE WR status? Im talking "pencil me in for 10+ a week" fantasy reputation?
Hi, Tesch. Well, the Chiefs announced Dexter McCluster as a WR in their introductory press conference; we haven't yet decided (so far as I know) which position designation to give him, but for the moment, he's a slot receiver who could be a candidate to catch 50 balls. That's not elite, though. Dwayne Bowe? I'm done betting on him to be a No. 1 for the time being. At the moment, I have him rated No. 27 among WRs right now. I know that's harsh, but he needs to stop being a knucklehead.
Does Best, Burleson and Scheffler HURT or HELP Megatron this year Fantasy wise? I just dont see the Lions putting up enough points to keep Calvin owners happy...
Hi, Jimmy. I think the presence of Burleson helps. Bryant Johnson just wasn't any kind of legit threat opposite Megatron last year, and as a result he was double- and sometimes triple-teamed. Burleson has to stay healthy, which has always been his problem, but if he can, he's a true deep threat, and Stafford has the wing to get it to him. That said, *Megatron* needs to stay healthy, too. I have him No. 8 on my receiver list at the moment.
Chris have you ever been to WY? Anyway my question is which Packer WR should you want? They seem to cancel each other out every other week...
Hi, Bradford. I briefly crossed through Wyoming once; I actually lived in Missoula, Montana, for six months or so after college. Fun times. I think Greg Jennings is a very nice sleeper this year; I think he'll border on the top 10 again, as he did in '08. The Packers know they have to protect Aaron Rodgers better, which hopefully will mean more time to find Jennings deep. He's my pick.
How far down the RB rankings does CJ Spiller push Fred Jackson?
Hi, Goose. Yeah, I mean, it stinks for Jackson's owners, no question. I had him No. 26 among running backs before the draft, and moved him down to No. 32 based on Spiller (whom I have listed at No. 36). And those two rankings subliminally rely, I think, on Marshawn Lynch being somewhere else. If he's not...boy, what a mess.
How high do you move up frank gore due to the 2 OL drafted?
Hi, Rich. I didn't bump him up at all, but that's because I already had him at No. 7 on my list. I like the fact that the Niners addressed their o-line, but let's not present either of the guys they drafted as elite right away. Davis is a knucklehead and isn't a good run-blocker, and Iupati didn't look very good to me once he started playing against elite talent late in the year, especially against the pass rush. I'm not dissing the picks; I just think they're not enough to suddenly make Frank Gore MVP.
Guess how warm it is is Jamaica right now Chris! Anyhoo my question is should Brandon Marshall be the second reciever picked after Andre Johnson?
Hi, Lance. Warm, I'm betting. Grr. No, I don't have Marshall rated No. 2 at the moment; I have him No. 5...but truthfully, we're splitting hairs. It probably comes down to personal preference. My top five goes A. Johnson / Moss / Wayne / Fitzgerald / Marshall. I do think AJ probably deserves the top spot, but I'd be willing to listen to arguments for any of those four other guys at No. 2.
Is Alex Smith a fantasy starter or just a good backup?
Hi, Doug. Is there a third option? I'm not sold on Alex Smith. I know he looked "better" at the end of last year, but for him, "better" consisted of a 60 percent completion rate and an average of 213 passing yards per game. Feh. I definitely don't view him as a fantasy starter. Would I be OK with him as my backup? Um. Maybe? I have him rated No. 21 among fantasy QBs right now, personally.
With the addition of Campbell and the rookie O-linemen, do you see any sleepers coming out of Oakland?
Hi, Kim. Well, for me it's way more about Campbell than it is about any rookie o-linemen, but yes: Campbell's presence instantly makes that Oakland passing game respectable, in my opinion. Don't get me wrong: I'm not trying to sell him as a great QB. But he's at least competent, and maybe a bit better than that, and you know the Raiders like to go vertical. I think Chaz Schilens is a very nice sleeper, and I think Louis Murphy could make some more big plays, too...
Josh McDaniels mentioned a pass-catching tight end on his show today, but I have never heard of him. Have you, and is worth using as a second TE?
Hi, Zack. I didn't hear the clip you're talking about. Maybe Richard Quinn? Anyway, no, I wouldn't want to own any Broncos tight end in a fantasy league. McDaniels's offense just doesn't utilize the position as a receiver. Daniel Graham and Quinn are glorified offensive linemen.
Are there any Broncos' wide receivers worth taking, or is it way too early to tell?
Hi, Dennis. Obviously, an answer to a question like that will start with "it depends on your league format" (or "DOLF"). At the moment, I don't have any Broncos receivers in my top 50; I have Demaryius Thomas at No. 54 and Eddie Royal at No. 56. Royal is probably going to play more in the slot this year, which is what he did in his big rookie year. Thomas is very talented, but he's raw coming out of run-first Georgia Tech....
Kevin Kolb and Jeremy Maclin are fantasy starters in 2010? Is Drew Brees still a fantasy superhuman?
Hi, Frank. I do have Brees as my top QB to draft, even though obviously I can't guarantee he'll finish No. 1. He throws it in the red zone more than any other QB, he just had a season where he completed 70 percent of his throws, and he's been near the top of fantasy for a few straight years, while other QBs have come and gone. Kolb is borderline...right now I've got him No. 12 on my QB list, and I want to see how he looks before I commit. I think Maclin is a starter in leagues that start three receivers.
I noticed the Jets traded Leon W. How far up does that move S Greene?
Hi, Gary. Honestly, the move of Washington to the Seahawks doesn't really change Greene's value, because Leon wasn't going to be a big part of the Jets' running game anyway, with LaDainian Tomlinson around. I have Greene 13th on my running back list, and didn't change that based on this trade.
Can you please convince Al to trade Micheal Bush. I have him in like every league as a deep keeper. Any chance they move him or will he be stuck in the 3 starting RB mess forever?
Well, it's not a 3 running back mess any longer, because Justin Fargas is no longer a Raider. I think McFadden will get the first shot again this year, but if I'm honest, the guy I'd rather draft (because I could get him significantly later) is Bush. I think he might just be a better player. I don't think he's going anywhere.
How crazy am I for keeping Megatron over Brandon Marshall in a TD ONLY league?
Hi, Rick. I don't know that I'd do it, but I don't think it's crazy. Each guy is a top-10 fantasy receiver in just about any format you play, and frankly, when the air is that rarefied, it probably just comes down to personal preference....
In which round would you draft Ryan Matthews, and what kind of numbers do you expect? Standard league.
Hi, Jimmy. I can't say that I've got the clearest sense of what round I'd take players in at this point -- I have Mathews rated as my top rookie runner, and No. 21 overall, so what would that make him? Fourth rounder? Fifth? Something like that seems right. I also haven't done projections yet (have to do it this week!), but I would say 1,200 yards and, mm, maybe eight touchdowns is a fair beginning point.
How high do you have the Cowboys' receivers now that they drafted Bryant?
Hi, Farid. That's a really good question, and I struggled with it. I actually wound up lowering Miles Austin out of my top 10, down to No. 11, based on the Cowboys taking Bryant. I just like Bryant that much. I have him No. 33. I don't think any of the rest of them should be anywhere near your team in a 10-team league. Someone will grab Roy Williams, I'm sure. But it won't be me.
How much did Ben Rothlesburger's suspension HURT Mendonhall's draft status? I think team will load up on him and keep his number very low the first few games...
Hi, Jerry. I didn't change Mendenhall's rank based on Big Ben's suspension, mainly because there just aren't that many "settled" RB situations in the NFL right now, and Mendenhall has one of them. That's valuable, even if defenses are loading the box against Dennis Dixon. After the first seven RBs, it's all a mishmash anyway. I have Mendenhall No. 9, right behind Cedric Benson. And the fact that I have Benson that high makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit.
Where do you have Pierre Thomas ranked? non-ppr if it matters.
I have Frenchy at No. 19 among running backs. Wish the Saints would give him a full-time job, because he's talented enough to be a super-stud. But they just don't want to burn him out.
Is Jahvid Best worth taking as a #2 back?
Hi, Cam. Whoa. I don't think so, no. I mean, at *some* point this year, it would seem logical that Kevin Smith will be back, even if he begins the year on the PUP list. And Best himself is an extremely injury-prone player. He's explosive, it's true, but I don't think he could handle an every-down job. I like his upside, but his downside is frightening.
Who is the #1 running back for the Browns next year, and how high do you have him rated?
Hi, Adam. I think Harrison and Hardesty will split that job right down the middle to start the year, and then whoever winds up dominating will get more looks. Because Hardesty has had three knee surgeries in his career, I rated him lower than Harrison, but not that much lower (38th compared to 31st). If he stays healthy, Hardesty has the higher ceiling, because he's the kind of between-the-tackles bruiser that suits the Browns offensive line. Looks like a split job, though.
Will Matt Forte have any chance to return to his rookie year form or can we stick a fork in the Bears offense? Not sure if he regressed or the Bears Cutler is god game plan ruined his year.
The presence of Chester Taylor ruins any thoughts of Forte being a 300-carry back; that's a split job, too, though I prefer Forte to Taylor. Mike Martz likes to throw to his backs, so that'll play to Forte's (and Taylor's) strengths. But yeah, it'll be a week-to-week frustrating situation for the owners of those players.
WIll the Jets D be worth paying a couple extra bucks for in an auction draft? They should have a fantasy impact like those old ravens squads right?
Hi, Leon. I do have the Jets D ranked No. 1. But you know who the consensus No. 1 and 2 defenses were for fantasy before last season started? Steelers and Giants. Doh. I tend to advise people not to reach for defenses. There are always others that are just about as good. I'd rather take lottery-ticket RBs and WRs.
Hey Chris, would you rank the rookie RBs as Matthews, Tate, Hardesty, Best, Spiller Gerhart?
Hi, Jeff. Of that group, I'd put 'em (for the moment) in this order: Mathews, Tate, Spiller, Hardesty, Best, Gerhart.
You think it will be a bounce back year for Matty Ice?
Hi, Kameron. Sure. I didn't think he was *that* bad up until he got hurt last year, but yeah, you're right, he didn't live up to those growth expectations. The thing is: can Ryan improve without actually making it into the fantasy top 10? I kind of think he can. The Falcons could use another reliable wideout (Michael Jenkins just doesn't cut it for me -- I prefer Harry Douglas). I would say Ryan is good this year, not great. I have him No. 11 on my list. There are a lot of pretty good QBs in the league right now.
There are so many teams that use a two running back system now. Which teams use it the least?
Hi, Liam. You can almost look at the top RBs in fantasy, and figure it out that way. The Titans, Vikings, Jaguars, Ravens, Rams, Falcons, 49ers, Bengals, Steelers and Packers look to me like the 10 teams least likely to platoon. There may be others to start the year. But at this point, that's the list.
Whats up Chris? What's my year looking like? Top 10 WR? More yards than, say, Greg Jennings?
Well, I suppose it's possible, but I don't think so. I think Jennings has a big bounce-back season, and I don't trust Alex Smith to rack up enough yards to make both Vernon Davis and Crabtree elite. I have Jennings at No. 12 on my receiving list, and Crabtree No. 23.
What do you think of the New York Giants selecting Matt Dodge P East Carolina with their last pick of the 2010 NFL Draft?
I think it's swell.
Which defenses improved the most, from a fantasy standpoint, in this draft?
Hi, Tyler. I guess the Lions and Bucs, because those two defensive tackles have the potential to be game-changers. But I also don't think I'd want to use either of those defenses in fantasy leagues, because they have too many holes elsewhere. I don't think any defense can be said to have made some massive step forward because of the draft. Two D's that I'm surprised I like as much as I do right now are the Broncos and Browns. I have them 1th and 14th on my personal list of fantasy defenses at the moment.
(that should've read "11th" for the Broncos)
Which Quarterbacks that were Selected in the 2010 NFL Draft do you think will play in the first week of the Regular Season?
Hi, Chris. I think there's only one, and his name is Sam Bradford. Jimmy Clausen will probably get a chance to win the Panthers' job in camp, but I expect John Fox to be in "save-my-job" mode, which will probably lead him to start Matt Moore at first. Colt McCoy won't play much at all this year, and Tim Tebow, well, give him two redshirt years. Bradford for the Rams, that's it.
Where do you rank Aaron Rodgers for next year? Any chance Ronnie Brown will be somewhat underrated? I mean how long can Ricky keep going?
I have Rodgers at No. 2 among quarterbacks -- he should continue to be wonderful. I guess maybe Ronnie Brown is a bit underrated, only because I have a sense people think he tore his ACL, and it was actually a Lisfranc injury. But Brown has been overrated for his *career*, so I hesitate to say he's someone you run out and draft. I think he and Ricky will split that job again....
Are you surprised that there were no kickers drafted this year?
where would you rate ben tate if he is the #1 guy on the depth chart
Hi, Jaxon. I have Tate at No. 33 on my running back list (with Slaton at No. 49 and Arian Foster at No. 67). Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying Tate is an unquestioned starter and 300-carry guy. No way. But when all's said and done, I think he makes the most draftable fantasy back on that roster. If Slaton's neck injury doesn't let him play, Tate would deserve to go higher.
Is Gronkowski worth taking as a backup TE?
Hi, Steve. I tend to think not. I like the skill set, but he has a few things working against him. He didn't play at college last year, because of a back injury. The Pats threw it to their tight ends something like 28th in the NFL last year. And they also drafted Aaron Hernandez. I'm interested to see how things shake out, because both Gronk and Hernandez are gifted pass catchers. But there are too many good, established tight ends without timeshares in the league right now....
Trying to decide between Marshall and Cedric as a keeper. What do you think of his situation in Miami?
Hi, Michael. I'm swallowing hard as I type this, but I probably do have Benson higher in my overall ranks than Marshall, though they're probably both second-rounders. I like Marshall's situation in Miami just fine: I think Chad Henne is a good young quarterback with a big arm, and I think he can improve his accuracy going forward. Of course, the Fins want to run, but Marshall is such a weapon, he'll get his.
what to you think the odds are that rookie wr dez bryant will be successful in dallas?
Hi, John. I think they're high. I don't know the kid personally, and neither do very many of the reporters who are calling him such a "bad seed." Maybe he is. All I know is that compared to several other players who've had run-ins with the law, Bryant hasn't. I think he's unbelievably talented, and if he's not a starter in Week 1, he will be soon thereafter. I'm buying the hype on him.
Better keeper in a ppr league, SJax, Gore or B. Marshall?
Hi, Josh. Good one. I'm still going to go Jackson over Gore, with Marshall a close third. Jackson and Gore basically are good for 50 catches apiece, and Marshall gets you 100 -- but there are a lot of other WRs who can put you in the 70 to 80 neighborhood, which isn't necessarily true of other options at RB.
if you cant get AP or chris johnson should you just go and pick a top tier guy at qb or wr. running backs are gonna be pretty even in the 2nd tier with every team using a 2 back system.
Hi, Lawrence. I my opinion, no. I think there are *enough* teams still using one primary back (I just rattled off 10 of them in a previous question) that it makes sense to make sure you try and get at least one of them. Guys like MJD, Ray Rice, Michael Turner, Steven Jackson, Frank Gore -- they're still more "traditional" backs who'll give you 250 carries. I want one of those.
CH, hopefully LeFevour starts for the Bears soon, I can't take Jay "INT" Cutler much more...how do you see his season playing out?
Hi, Eric. I don't think you're going to see LeFevour any time soon, except in exhibition games. Real questions about his arm. As for Cutler, yeah, rough year, but I haven't totally given up on him. Don't get too high, don't get too low, evaluate the skills. He's got a big arm, good athleticism, and a swashbuckler's mentality. Put that with Mike Martz? You're probably looking at a pretty decent, if sometimes frustrating, season.
Which teams did the best job, in terms of the draft and free agency, to solidify their offensive line; specifically, to help their running games?
Hi, Aaron. Well, we talked about the Niners. I certainly like Okung, Trent Williams, etc. But I also think it's oversimplifying and overstating (something TV talking heads love to do) to say that just because a rookie left tackle is coming in, all woes are solved in a given running game. I don't think any o-line draft pick suddenly made anyone's running game better Week 1.
Can you rank the KC backfield???
I think it's pretty clear that Jamaal Charles is the guy likelier to lead the team in carries. Thomas Jones is a very good player, but he signed for backup money, and as long as Charles is healthy, he'll probably have a 2-to-1 advantage in touches. Jones won't play on many third downs, though he could be a goal-line guy.
Where do you have LeSean McCoy, Brent Celek, Eagles Defense and David Akers, respective to their positions right now. (Obviously I'm a huge Eagles fan...)
Hi, Frank. McCoy is my No. 17 back -- I'm a bit worried about his pass blocking, but I'm heartened by the fact that the Eagles didn't really go out and get a serious short-yardage threat...Mike Bell, Charles Scott and Leonard Weaver could steal TDs, but they probably won't be a significant fantasy drain otherwise. Celek is No. 5 on my list, the Eagles D is No. 2 on my list (love that blitzing) and Akers is No. 5 on my list (but I wouldn't do a kicker list if I didn't have to).
Is Beanie Wells going to get the majority of the carries this year?
Hi, Dain. I think so. Tim Hightower was very good as a pass catcher last year, and LeRod Stephens-Howling should also be involved on third downs, but Beanie was really quite powerful and impressive in the season's final month. I have him as a sleeper to wind up among fantasy's top 10 backs this year.
All right, gang. I have to get back to work on the fantasy football preview magazine, which will be on your newsstand in June, so let's do one more question before I get going....
Are any of the Redskins RB worth drafting higher then a #3 RB?
I don't think so, Gary. I have Portis ranked No. 40 on my list, and Larry Johnson and Willie Parker are lower than that. Only one between LJ and FWP are likely to make the roster, but even still, I'm just not impressed with any member of that veteran crew, and I don't think Trent Williams solves all problems with the offensive line. Long year ahead for that running game, in my opinion.
OK, everyone. Thanks very much for coming. It was a blast. I'll be on vacation next week -- but I'll be back chatting about football in two weeks. See you then.