Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to your Monday afternoon fantasy football chat. We're just two days away from launching our Fantasy Football Draft Kit, which is going to be awesome and amazing and I'm not just saying that because I've written something like 30,000 words for it. I should also mention that ESPN the Magazine's Fantasy Football preview issue is also on newsstands now, and I wrote a bunch for that, too. Anyway, let's get right to your questions.....
You think CJ2K's contract situation drowngrades him much?
Hi, Tony. Not yet. Because he's under contract (and not a RFA who's technically not under contract like, say, Vincent Jackson), CJ2K has to show up for training camp in order to get credit for a season of service time (which in turn gets him closer to free agency and a huge payday). So in the end, if the Titans don't do anything, they'll still have Johnson (IMO). I've written a pretty thorough dissection of the Peterson/Johnson question (who should go No. 1?) for the Draft Kit, which again will be out Wednesday.
Think Fast! Jamal Charles or Beanie Wells?
Hi, Gary. Two "sleepers" (of course, the term "sleeper" is relative when you're talking about players of such quality) that I like very much. I have Charles higher. I have him No. 16 overall, with Wells at No. 22 overall -- Charles is 10th on my RB list, and Wells is 14th.
Anquan Boldin vs Larry Fitzgerald
Hi, Kyle. Oh, for me it's still Fitzgerald. I understand the worry about Fitz -- its name is Matt Leinart. But Fitzgerald is just a much more talented player than Boldin. He's a deep threat (Boldin isn't) as well as a red-zone threat, and he doesn't miss time every year, the way Boldin does. For me, that one's easy.
If you draft Jamal Charles this year don't you HAVE to draft Thomas Jones too?
Hi, Jalan. Yeah, if you can do it, do it. I mean, I'm not taking Jones in the 3rd round just to make sure I get him, y'know? If someone wants to crazy-reach for him (the way someone did after I took Charles in the mock draft we did for the Draft Kit), well, you tip your cap and take Ronnie Brown instead (or whatever). But agreed, best of all worlds is you get Jones, too.
Chris, I am in a 1/2PPR keeper where you keep the player in the round you drafted him in. Given that, which 3 would you keep here? Megatron (5th), Steve Smith nyg (10th), D Williams (12th), Jamaal Charles (16th). Leaning towards letting Smith go.
Hi, PB. Yeah, I think you have to keep the two RBs at that kind of value. As for Calvin Johnson vs. Steve Smith...I mean Smith is probably better value in the 10th. But he doesn't have the kind of upside Megatron does. I'd probably drop Smith, too.
Im in a pretty competitive 12 team league where QBs really arent your big point getters, im thinking about forgoing a QB in the early rounds of the draft for Chad Henne in the late rounds, i mean the guy has a TON of upside and one of the best weapons now at WR, good idea?
Hi, Luke. I just finished a "Sleepers and Busts" piece for the Draft Kit, and Henne made my "Tier 2" sleeper at the QB position. I don't know that I'd put him in my top 12 (in fact, I know I *wouldn't* -- I have him at No. 15), but I wouldn't be blown away if he wound up in the top 10 by season's end. He does have that shiny new Marshall weapon to play with. In the end, though, I'm concerned that the Dolphins are very conservative offensively....
I am in a keeper league with basically a rookie draft. I expect Dez Bryant to go first and then Ryan Matthews. Would you then take Jahvid Best? I think he has the potential to best offensive player maker long term out of this class if he can stay healthy? Kevin Kolb will also be available, but I currently have Brees and Flacco. For rbs I have Gore, S. Jackson and McFadden.... Thanks for any advice.
Hi, Walter. I did dynasty ranks for the magazine back in April (that's when I submitted the piece), and I had Spiller ahead of both Bryant and Best at the time. I don't love Spiller's prospects this year, but if he's as talented as I think, I can see that situation working its way out in the next couple years. For this season, absolutely, Best is my No. 2 rookie overall. But I do worry about injury stuff with him longer term.
How much difference is there between Miles Austin and Deshawn Jackson?
Hi, Jamal. Well, they're totally different players -- Austin is big and more of a bowl-you-over run-after-catch guy, while Jackson is a pure burner who wants to catch it downfield. The reason I have Austin higher is that Jackson needs to duplicate his crazy long-TD season from last year to maintain fantasy value, because he just doesn't make that many total catches. Not saying he can't do it, but I think Austin is more week-to-week reliable right now.
If you are going to target Roethlisberger on your fantasy team, what caliber of QB are you looking to pair with him?
Hi, Kevin. Well, a top-10 one. I don't have Big Ben in my top 10 for the entire season for obvious reasons: you're missing at least four games with him, and possibly as many as six. But I probably don't feel as though I need to pair him with a Brees or Rodgers, because once Roethlisberger comes back, if he picks up where he left off last year, he's a fantasy starter for sure.
With Welker rumored to be out till week 6, how far does that drop Brady? If at all?
Hi, Larry. Naw, I've pretty much figured Welker would be unavailable for a good chunk of the season when looking at Brady. It hurts him, but I don't think it destroys him. I still have him as my No. 4 fantasy signal caller -- there are a lot of candidates to man the other two spots in that starting lineup (beside Randy Moss).
ETHICS! What do you do when Team A makes a trade to Team B, the trade sits, then Team B's player gets hurt and he accepts the trade? Do I allow this trade as commish?
Hi, Jason. I don't think there's an absolute answer. To some extent, it's really dumb to let a trade just sit there, you know? And this is the way you get people not to do that -- to have them learn by experience. But if both teams are, y'know, human beings, I would think that they would be OK undoing the trade. If not, you've got an executive decision to make, and that's why you make the big bucks.
Buying Hasselbeck this year?
Hi, Deric. Most decidedly not. I think Charlie Whitehurst plays at some point this season. I have Hasselbeck as my No. 27 quarterback right now.
Who has a better fantasy year, Rodgers or Peyton? Those are the top two QBs, right? Brady is close, but last year wasn't the best for him.
Hi, Stuart. I actually have Brees ranked ahead of those two guys, in my No. 1 spot. The reason? Rodgers's offensive line freaks me the heck out. 50 sacks last year, and the group really won't be any different this season (though, to be fair, the tackles might stay healthier). Brees is coming off the most accurate season in NFL history, and is big-time downfield thrower. He's my choice.
What are the chances M.Ryan can climb in to the Top 10 for fantasy QBs this year?
Hi, Matt. I think the chances are there. But I think you can say that about at least 15 guys this year. I have Ryan at my No. 13 QB spot, but that might be a bit unfair -- our last impression of him last year was hobbling around on a bad toe. Still, I'd love to see the Falcons develop a real threat opposite Roddy White....
I am one of those who likes to wait on drafting a QB. How many sure-fire QB's are there this year? Just the big 4-Brees, Brady, Manning, Rodgers?
Hi, Cam. Phew. Well, "sure-fire" is tough to guarantee, you know what I mean? Tom Brady was the consensus No. 1 QB by far in '08, and we remember what happened to his knee. That said, you did just name my "top tier" of fantasy quarterbacks for this season. After that, I go Schaub, Rivers and Romo, with a possibility that Favre squeezes onto that tier depending on if/when he comes back.
Why is Brandon Jacobs so low on your rankings? Yes he had a bad year but he STILL is the lead back in that offense right?
Hi, Kameron. If Jacobs stays healthy, he's great. I just don't believe he'll do it. Since the departure of Tiki Barber, Jacobs has maxed out at 224 carries and in two of those three seasons as a "starter," he's got 5 and 4 rushing touchdowns. He's coming off surgery, so is Ahmad Bradshaw, and Danny Ware is still there, too. I just think it'll be muddled in Gotham, plus I feel like that offensive line may have gotten old in spots very quickly.
For the Giants fantasy situation, is Steve Smith the only must-start fantasy guy? How do you analyze their RB situation this season?
Hi, Greg. Well, I just took a stab at their backfield situation on my last answer -- as for the receivers, I actually like Hakeem Nicks quite a bit this year. It sounds like Mario Manningham is potentially going to get involved in the punt return game now that Domenik Hixon is out for the year -- and that doesn't make it sound like Manningham is in line to start over Nicks. I really think Smith may get drafted too high this year. He's not a downfield guy or a red-zone guy. He's great, I love him, but I don't see him being able to repeat that kind of fantasy season in '10.
Chris! You thought we didn't play fantasy football up here did you? Well we do! Anyway my question is what are you thoughts on Megatron? Is he worth a 2nd round pick?
Hi, Shannon. Folks play FF everywhere, I well know. Johnson is getting a *lot* of love in some quarters -- I know some people who think he's automatically a top-three fantasy receiver despite last year's horrible season. Me, I have him going in the third round (at No. 23 overall), so I guess the second round might be a bit high for me. Listen, if he stays healthy and Matt Stafford stays healthy, it could be a massive season. But those are big ifs.
Who should I want on my team? An injury prone ronnie brown or a 33 year old rb in ricky williams?
Hi, Terry. Um, pass? I have Brown rated 22nd among RBs and 44th overall on my current list, and Williams 24th among RBs and 57th overall. That reflects what I think will happen: a split job, probably with some injuries thrown in there...
Is there actually more value to be had drafting J.Stewart in a later round vs. what you get/expect from Deangelo earlier?
Hi, Ryan. Sure, I think you'll be able to draft Stewart after you draft Williams, and that's going to be some manner of a split job, so I can see your logic. That said, Stewart isn't going *that* late. At Mock Draft Central, they have Williams going 12th overall and Stewart 30th on average (and 9th and 17th at RB, respectively). So if you wait on Stewart, you won't be able to wait long.
You ever had our cheese before Chris? It's great! What the HECK is up with the New England RB situation?
Hi, Hank. Laurence Maroney is nominally the starter again, but the same cast of characters is on hand, and this is a contract year for Maroney, so I'm not sold that he'll be given as much rope this year. His '09 season was, well, *lucky* (he had 7 TDs of 2 yards or fewer), and if he fumbles like that again, they might cut him. I wouldn't want anyone in that backfield.
Reports are saying Bowe practiced with the 1st team and is poised for a good year. You buying him as a mid round sleeper?
Hi, Darius. I'm not. I feel like I've been burned enough by the guy. He's a knucklehead. I mean, is it possible he gets his act together and Charlie Weis makes him a star? Sure. But for where I have to take him (on average, middle of the 6th round), I think I won't take the chance, because I think it's less likely rather than more likely.
hi chris, is steven jack really the top 5 over all player...he seems to be falling to like 8, 9, or 10th pick in mock drafts and he doesn't really have a great supporting cast...How great can and be...do you think he's a value at the number 8 draft position?
Hi, James. Before the news of Jackson's back surgery came out this spring, I had Jackson at No. 5 overall, so I do believe in him. I think he's a ridiculous talent who's obviously the best player on his team, and as such gets a whole bunch of opportunities. Plus, while the surrounding cast of characters still isn't great, it's getting *better*. That said, I'm just very worried about him holding up. When that news came out, I lowered him to No. 9 in my first round.
Going to be starting an auction draft this year for the 1st time. Best advice on how to prepare? Should I be doing mock drafts?
Hi, Ben. Yeah, absolutely. Do a bunch of 'em, if you have the time. Also, you'll see in the Draft Kit that in addition to standard snake-draft advice, I wrote up auction advice for each position (QB, RB, WR, etc.). So take a look at those position previews for some starting thoughts about how to think about dollar values for auctions...
Hey Chris, with LenDale White being sent packing, who do you figure will pick up the slack in Seattle? Justin Forsett had a couple above average games last year, but Leon Washington is now in the mix, and is a solid change of pace back(when healthy) and has good hands. In your mind, how will everything pan out by the time the regular season hits? Do you think the Hawks will target another back in the near future? I've been hearing rumors of Marshawn Lynch, but who knows. A Brian Westbrook type might fit nicely. Any insight? Thanks.
Hi, Zach. Yeah, I have a feeling the best back on that team isn't actually on the roster yet. Adam Schefter seems to be shooting down the Lynch-to-Seattle rumors (though they make so much sense) because Lynch is cheap for another two years. Right now, Forsett is the best back they have; Julius Jones stinks, and Leon Washington's health is a complete unknown. Forsett's the sleeper to draft, but I don't love anyone on Seattle's offense, to be honest.
Like my name right? Carolina's RB are so even in skill set and carries don't you have to draft BOTH of them to really get any value. I'm mean how can somebody draft Johnathan Stewart WITHOUT having Deangelo already?
Hi, Ivan. It's a good question. Myself, I tend to think you take one and *not* the other, given how highly Stewart is being drafted. I mean, it would be very difficult to start each of them for your fantasy team every week, yet that's almost what you'd have to do if you took Williams in the 2nd and Stewart in the third. This is a year where these guys are both going to go so high, you might have to just pick one and hope the other gets hurt.
In a deep 12 team league, will any rookie QB be relevant this year? Perhaps as a bye-week replacement?
Hi, Quinn. I don't think so. Sam Bradford is probably the best of the lot, and even he's not guaranteed the Week 1 starting job. And it's going to be an uphill slog for him. He's gonna take some lumps behind an offensive line that somehow is already super-injured and hanging together with bailing wire.
What's the word on Donald Brown? Talk about Major Sleeper right?
Hi, Lance. Well, he's asleep. There's just a question about whether Indy will wake him up before the season starts. If you get him late enough in your draft, sure, he's worth taking a chance on as a post-hype prospect. This is Joseph Addai's final year on his contract, and the Colts need to know if Brown can be their bell cow next year. I think he'll be healthier (he'd almost have to be), and if he improves his pass blocking, he'll get a chance to show what he can do, and maybe earn closer to an even split.
14 team league, so RBs are valuable...that said would you keep Matt Forte at end of 4th round or Pierre Garcon at end of 10th?
Hi, Jack. Tough for me to be definitive, because I don't know what RBs you're likely to be able to get in your first round. If Forte is the best of the group you'd get with that first-round pick, unfortunately you may be right and you may have to keep him. But yuck. I think Chester Taylor is going to leech some value, but mostly I don't think that Bears o-line is very good. If I could justify it position wise, I'd rather keep Garcon.
Would you say there is a decent size drop after the first 7-8 OB's? Seems to me that first group is pretty solid and after that point it gets alot more hit and miss.
Hi, Mike. I guess maybe you're right, but there's a lot of upside in that group, too. Cutler? Sure, he might toss a bunch of picks again, but if he stays healthy, how does he *not* throw it for 4,000 yards with Martz? Joe Flacco? He's got a huge arm and a very good offense. Eli Manning tossed for 4K last year. We talked about Ryan, Big Ben, Henne. I know they won't all work out, because that never happens. But there are some nice names in there, too....
You agree that Sims-Walker is a major bust candidate. Considering where you have to draft him to get him? The Jags are a mess...
Hi, Paulis. I don't -- I know the Jags don't feature an elite offense, but I think they're improving, mostly because I think those two tackles aren't rookies anymore, and they could be pretty darned good. I don't love Garrard, but I don't hate him, and MJD certainly keeps defenses' focus. If you could tell me that MSW will stay healthy all year and not keep suffering leg injuries, I'd love him. As it is, I think he's probably fairly valued....
I know everyone is stoked about Dez, but he is still a Rookie! It will take time for him to take Roy's spot maybe week 6 or so right?
Hi, Earl. Not necessarily. Could work out that way, but I think the Cowboys are going to run a lot of 3WR regardless (apparently Austin has been working a lot out of the slot), and I also think if Bryant shows he's ready during training camp, Jerry Jones will swallow a little pride. I think we just have to see how camp plays out -- I don't think we can assign absolutes to this one.
Steve Smith broke his arm at his Kid's Football Camp. Can I blame the kids for the Panters season if it is bad?
Hi, Marc. No, please don't blame the kids. I thought the Panthers were going to be *dreadful* even before this happened. I still do. I don't like Matt Moore nearly as much as other folks I read and watch on TV, and I don't know who lines up opposite Smith to distract defenses. I'm really skeptical of that team.
We seems to always talk about who we SHOULDN'T reach for how about giving us some players we SHOULD reach for? Thanks Chris!
Hi, Victor. Well, I can't give everything away, can I? The Draft Kit drops in two days, and it's got my exhaustive list of sleepers in it. But let's see what I can remember off the top of my head. We already mentioned Jamaal Charles. I like Beanie Wells. I like Joe Flacco. Felix Jones. Mike Wallace. That's what I got. There are some deeper ones in there, too. Make sure to check it out Wednesday.
S.Smith didn't break his arm at a kids camp it was during an Adult League Flag Football game!
You're right, Matt. I didn't read that question closely enough.
with Cambell at QB does that make McFadden a better pick up this year? what about Michael Bush?
Hi, Hayden. It's not going out on a limb to say that Campbell's presence makes the Raiders offense much better. Does it mean the RBs are worth more? I'm unsure. Maybe. I think, though, that the likelihood of some kind of platoon between Run-DMC and Bush gets in the way of whatever upgrade Campbell would give either guy. I think McFadden probably does still deserve to be drafted ahead of Bush because I think the Raiders are really going to try and make it work with him this year. But if I had to pick the guy I trust more, especially between the tackles, it'd be Bush.
Last year I drafted Gates early, maintaining the best player on the board strategy. It didn't work out so well. All things considered, is Dallas Clark the only TE worth drafting high?
Hi, Jason. To be honest, I never have been in love with taking the elite TEs as highly as you need to get them -- but I have Clark as my No. 1 TE and Gates at No. 2, and I think it's very close. So if I was at a spot where I really wanted to take Clark but he wasn't there, I wouldn't feel badly about taking Gates. But see my Tight End Positional Preview on Wednesday for more elaborated-upon thoughts about tight end strategy.
My mistake on Steve Smith. What arm is he going to use to punch teammates now though?
It would almost *have* to be the other one. He's broken this one twice in like nine months.
Is S.Smith going to miss any part of the season with his broken arm?
I don't think we know yet, Matt. Smith will have to forgive me if I'm not ready to take his agent's word for it that he'll be ready to start the regular season. Smith only just had surgery last night, is what we're hearing, so probably the Panthers are going to withhold judgment until they see how he progresses here in the next week or so.
ok steve smith(NYG) or Steve Smith(CAR) which one would you take
Hi, Kyle. It's a question that just got more interesting after the broken arm scenario. For the moment, until I hear that Smith will miss part of the season, I think I'll go with the Carolina flavor; as I said in an earlier answer, I'm concerned that the Giants' flavor is getting a bit overdrafted -- the Jints have a bevy of interesting receivers for Eli to throw to, including Hakeem Nicks, who's really got breakout potential himself, and the fact that Smith isn't really a red-zone guy or a deep threat gives him less week-to-week margin for error. But let's check out the broken arm before we make a final call.
Has the decline of Matt Forte been overstated?
Hi, Jack. I guess it depends on who's doing the stating. At Mock Draft Central, on average, Forte is still going in the 5th round, at No. 43 overall, while Chester Taylor is going 117th overall. I honestly don't know that I believe the gap should be so great. Yes, Forte is a better player, and yes, eventually it may work out that Taylor becomes more of a third-down guy. But as I said earlier, I don't like that Chicago o-line, and I also don't know that I trust Mike Martz to accentuate his RBs' running fantasy stats. So while, yes, Forte isn't the top-five pick he was last year, I don't think he's fallen so far that he's a must-draft.
All right, gang. This was fun -- I have to get going to finish off some stuff for the Draft Kit. Be sure to check it out beginning on Wednesday; I'll also be writing a series of more analytical football pieces over the next month or so, beginning with Wednesday's Chris Johnson vs. Adrian Peterson thing. Hope you enjoy it. Remember, you can always friend me on Facebook if you like: http://www.facebook.com/writerboy. Thanks again for coming, and I'll see you soon.