Hi, everyone. I'm just back from visiting hot-hot-hot Kansas City, taking in a Royals game, and seeing my friends Nate and Sarah get married. Makes me appreciate that Massachusetts isn't quite *as* hot, anyway. So with some training camps set to begin this week, let's have some fantasy football talk.
do you think javid best will get 25 touches per game? I think if he does he could be a top 10-15 RB just dont know if he will get the touches or not so i was seeing if you know
Hi, Joey. Best is maybe the most asked-about player during summer chats this year...of course, the truth is, nobody knows for sure. Lately the Lions have made noises like now they suddenly view their RB situations as a timeshare, but I think that's smoke -- I think Best is the guy for as long as he stays healthy. That said, 25 touches per game would be *huge*. Very few backs got that last year. And this is an injury-prone player. I would say he doesn't reach that level of production, no.
Okay so I'm putting this in three days early so it might be recognized. Who do you like better for a standard league, McCoy or Charles?
Hi, Kyle. I have Charles rated higher. Obviously, there's going to be some Thomas Jones drama, at least early on and potentially throughout the season. But I'm a believer.
Hey football will be here before you know it, it's very exciting! I've been in an auction for over 25 years, and I prefer that format because I like targetting the players I feel will do well. That being said, which two of these RBs do you prefer and why -- Charles, Wells and Mathews? I'm not going for the popular RBs, because I want to land Rodgers or Peyton as my QB. Thoughts? Thanks for your input year round. Great work!
Hi, Stuart. I'm still with Charles on this one -- I have him higher than the other two, who are close in my book. At the moment, I have Wells a notch or two ahead of Mathews, but I know I'm in the minority in that opinion. I think Beanie is as much of a breakout candidate as Mathews is...
For where Slaton is going in most drafts isn't it worth a flier on the guy? He's not too far removed from having a GREAT season.
Hi, Phil. Well, of course it depends what you mean by "flier," right? Sure, if you take him in the, whatever, 14th round? Absolutely, why not. But much higher than that, I think is chasing fools' gold. I'm on record saying I think Slaton is the third-down back in Houston; the Texans really seem to want Foster or Tate to take the early downs.
PPR 3 keepers...Having a tough time figuring out my keepers...Chris Johnson ($21) is an easy choice and the other 2 are between Randy Moss ($25), Brandon Marshall ($2) and Jamaal Charles ($1)...
Hi, Rob. I take it back -- now it appears Jamaal Charles is the most asked-about player this summer. :-) I would keep him for a buck, no question. And then I'd keep Marshall, because if you want Moss, you can go buy him again. Marshall is a steal (obviously) for just a couple bucks.
Hey Chris, Could you rank SJax, Marshall and Charles in a PPR Keeper for me? Thanks
Hi, Will. I don't have PPR Dynasty ranks of my own creation, so I'm flying a bit blind answering this...I would say I probably rank Jackson the highest -- he's not that many seasons away from a 90-catch outing. There are injury risks, but there really are for *all* RBs. Next for me is probably Charles, and then Marshall. All three are terrific, obviously.
Hi Christopher, I'm in a league with two keepers; I have R. Rice, D. Williams and Calvin Johnson. Please help!
Hi, Jacob. You know your league better than I do, so you know whether RBs or WRs are likely to be scarcer as a result of who'll be kept by all the other teams. In a vacuum, I'd keep the two running backs. If you're concerned about too many elite WRs being kept and feel you *have* to keep Megatron, hang into Rice.
do you think Randy Moss is worth a first round pick in a 12 team PPR?
Hi, Anthony. I do. In fact, I probably think he's a first-round pick in a standard-scoring 12-team league, too. Right now, he's my No. 10 overall player.
If in a league you pick the individual defensive players. Do you pick the TE and Kicker before you start picking the D-line.
Hi, Andrew. A tight end, probably yes. A kicker, absolutely not. There's no advantage to taking a kicker before the final round, unless you're in a league that assigns salaries based on where a player is drafted, in which case you might want to draft good keepers in the final round.
What are your thoughts on Hakeem Nicks? Can he become the Giants new Plax? Also, any 2-QB rankings coming out soon?
Hi, Stewart. I don't know about the 2-QB ranks...I know I haven't been tasked with creating such a list. As for Nicks, yeah, I think he's due for a good year. If you check out my Stats That Matter column from last Friday, though, you'll see that Nicks produced a higher percentage of his impressive yardage after the catch last year, which doesn't exactly endorse him as an automatic downfield threat. (The article is here: http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/football/ffl/story?page=nfldk2k10advancedstats)
At the end of the year, which Eagle WR ends up with better fantasy numbers? Jackson or Maclin? Kolb and the west-coast resurgence has me scared about Jackson...
Hi, Rob. I think you have a right to be scared about Jackson -- he's going to be overrated in drafts because he made so many big plays last year. That said, I do have him rated ahead of Maclin.
With Turner and Jackson's Injury and with some much having to go right for a WR to be succesful. Can you fault me for taking either Brees or Rodgers in the first round? I pick 7th just so you know...
Hi, Kalin. I can't fault you, not at all. You can hope for the people picking in front of you to go "out on limbs" and miss the RBs you'd prefer to have, but yeah, I absolutely can see taking a QB where you're selecting in the first round.
I am not a big fan of spending heavy dollars on DST in an auction draft. That said, do you have any suggestions on middle tier DST to target?
Hi, Joel. Good strategy, in my book. I like the Bengals defense a lot...and you can usually sneak 'em for a buck or two. I'm not sure if the Niners will be "sneakable" because their net total fantasy points last year was so high, but they're high on my list, too. And Denver is inside my top 12 right now...though I reserve the right to change my mind on that one.
Christopher, who will have the best fantasy season-Ronnie Brown, Michael Bush, Leon Washington??
Hi, Josh. Wow, Ronnie Brown gets no love, huh? That's pretty poor company for him to be compared to. I think he's got some definite warning flags, but he's in a class far above the other two guys here. I'd go Brown, then Bush, then Washington.
Hi, Chris- Why is everyone so down on Tom Brady and Randy Moss this year? They are both in contract years and while I don't think they will match their 2007 numbers, I think Brady will get 4500 yards and around 35TDs and Moss will get 1400 yards and 12-15 TDs. What do you think?
Hi, Jake. Are people "down" on Brady/Moss? I don't really believe that. Brady is a consensus top 5 quarterback, and Moss is a top-three receiver on most lists. But I do think the stats you suggest for Brady represent a best case. I mean, take away '07, and his career best TD pass total for a season is 28, so I think (and I wrote this last year, too) that 30 TDs is ambitious for him. And Moss is likelier to be around 1,200 and 12 TDs, IMO.
Megatron! Is he a second rounder? He is a Stafford Injury away from repeating last years poor performance. And with that Line it's likely to happen...
Hi, Derrick. I have Johnson as a third-rounder, but if one were to argue that Stafford is a great talent and will perform much better with a year under his belt, and use that as an argument to take Megatron in the second, I wouldn't quibble too hard. But of course, you're right: we saw Johnson's downside last year. He's hugely risky.
In a dynasty PPR league which end of this deal would you take? Deangelo and Hardesty for R.Matthews
Hi, Matt. It's tough to answer trade questions in a total vacuum, but all things being equal, I'd take D-Willy and Hardesty. Not down on Mathews, but I've never seen him in an NFL uniform. Williams is a special player, and it's possible the Panthers' RB situation sorts itself out as soon as next season.
End of round 1 in a 12 team league, you looking at someone like R Moss, or a semi proven RB like Mendenhall?
Hi, Jennifer. Especially with Willie Colon out for the year on the Pittsburgh o-line, I have Moss rated higher than Mendenhall right now.
Hey Chris! I'm wondering who do you like more out of these WRs and why... Crabtree, M. Wallace, or Harvin?
Hi, Nate. They're 20th (Wallace), 22nd (Crabtree) and 23rd (Harvin) on my WR list, so it's tough to feel super-strongly about picking any one. I know Wallace has some potentially shaky times ahead with Leftwich slinging it to him for a month, but I believe in his speed and talent, and I like the opportunities he's likely to get.
Why is Brady still considered a TOP 5 QB? He has NO RB, only 1 healthy WR and NO Defense. If his name wasn't Brady we be talking about him being a 4th rounder at best...
Hi, Gary. Ha, I guess Jake from Eden Prairie was right -- there *are* some people who are Brady-haters. Then again, this is writer from Indiana, where Brady-hating is a sport. I think a lot of folks would debate you, Gary about the notion that Brady has no defense, and Wes Welker may be ready to start the year (plus even if he's not, I'm pretty sure the Pats *will* actually line someone up opposite Moss). Given a similar cast of characters last year, Brady threw for 4,400 yards and 28 scores coming off a major knee injury. I think he's very safe.
I don't know why but MJD scares me! I pick 3rd in my league and I am having nightmares or MJD getting very frustrated running for a losing team come december. An angry player is a bad player in the nfl.
Hi, Jerry. The thing about this game is that nothing's certain, and it's not fair for me to sit here in July and call you crazy for making a reasonable argument. I'll give you the counter-argument -- MJD is one of the best goal-line backs in football, has no real threat to his touches, and has a young o-line with two early draft picks from last year who should be a whole lot better in '10. But listen, if your gut is telling you to take Ray Rice instead, well, he's a heck of a player, too.
I really enjoyed your vbd article, i was just wondering if there are full vbd rankings for a standard 10 team league available. Please help me!!!
Hi, Donald. Alas, I don't think that they're forthcoming, but if you've got just a small amount of Excel skills, they're very easy to create on your own. Take our projected fantasy points, and then compare each player at a given position to the "baseline" player at that position (as outlined in that article). Then sort by those differences...that'll get you there.
In a PPR, would you slide AP down the rankings at all or still grab him number 1?
Hi, John. Great question. I don't really think there's a big receptions difference this year between Johnson and Peterson, so really the question is: does Ray Rice leapfrog them all? After all, he led the NFL in RB receptions last year. I think I'd feel safer just sticking with AP. But I can see an argument for Rice.
Keeper League: Beanie Wells or Roddy White (Chris Johnson is my other keeper). Thanks!
Hi, Kyle. I have Wells a couple spots ahead of White in my overall ranks right now, though that can definitely change once we start seeing folks in training camp. But of course, as I've said earlier, you know your league better than I do, and if WR scarcity might be an issue, I wouldn't argue too strongly against White.
A Healthy Benard Berrian or Healthy Nate Burleson?
Hi, Ronnie. Well, I have Berrian ranked higher than Burleson by a few spots right now, but that's partly weighing the notion that I expect Burleson to get hurt eventually, because he always does (it seems). So if you could promise me total health throughout for Burleson, I'd take him. Unfortunately, nobody can make that promise.
If you draft Felix, dont you almost HAVE to draft Barber? No one really knows how this thing will play out...
Hi, Kyel. Well, I don't feel like you *have* to, no. Because this isn't like a baseball team's closer situation. It's not like one guy is going to get the job, and the other guy is going to be worthless. It's most likely that one guy will take the lead here, but the other will be an annoying fantasy leach throughout. I'm on record saying I like Jones a lot this year -- but of course, *he* needs to stay healthy, too. If I'm picking one, it's Felix. But I won't be shocked if Barber approaches 8 or 9 TDs, too.
Chester Taylor is 30 and averaged 3.6 YPC last season in behind Minnesota's O-Line, so why is everyone so down on Matt Forte again?
Hi, Jack. I think you just answered your own question. Chester Taylor wasn't all that good last year, and the Bears decided it would be best *not* to watch Matt Forte flounder around again this year, and bring in a not-all-that-great competitor for backfield touches. I agree that Forte has a chance to make the doubters go away and approach first-round value again. But based on how he played last year (granted, behind an awful o-line and with a leg injury), you know what his downside is....
Hey Chris, how high would you draft any of the Jets WR's? It seems both have huge liabilities not to mention Jets are a running team.
Hi, Mike. No question, you're right. I've seen a lot of folks be higher on Braylon Edwards than I am -- to me, he's a head case who's always going to break his team's heart with terrible drops when it matters. I actually probably like Santana Holmes best, but of course, he's coming off a suspension. So yeah, I think it's best not to have any of the Jets wideouts as permanent starters on your team to begin the year.
Kon-nichiwa, yes fantasy football is world known. If I only start 1 QB when should I draft my bench QB, what round? 10 team, 12 team league. Arigato
Hi, Yoshi. I don't think there's a rule you should follow, ever, when it comes to positions. I'm all for taking the best player when it's your turn to pick, and not reaching for need. So if you've got, say, the 8th overall pick, and nobody who's left on your list is higher than Drew Brees, take him there. I don't mind taking a QB in the first or second, and I don't mind waiting for one until the 6th or 7th.
Who's a better flex guy in a standard league, Charles or Stewart?
Hi, Kyle. Clearly, again, I'm biting hard on Charles, but I have him quite a bit higher than Stewart on my list right now.
Chris, what are your thoughts on Frank Gore? The 49ers addressed their offensive line in the draft/free agency, but the way their offense went pass happy over the last few games last years concerns me (especially since I lost a title by 1 point when I needed 3 yards from him).
Hi, Tom. Yeah, I have concerns about Gore, too. He's not really a breakaway runner in general anymore, yet broke a few huge runs last year; without them, his season would look very pedestrian. That's not fair, of course, but I worry that he won't break long ones this year, and look kind of ordinary. Also, I think all these changes to the Niners o-line are overstated: Iupati is a guard (and has problems in pass protection) and Anthony Davis isn't really a run blocker and was enigmatic in college. There are so few lead backs in the NFL right now, that I do think Gore probably has to be a top-10, first-round pick. But I don't put him in the elite category.
True/False-Chaz Schillens will be the most valuable Raider (fantasy purposes)
Hi, Josh. I guess false. Schilens is a nice sleeper (though he's getting talked about a lot, so maybe he'll wind up going earlier than everyone thinks...), but Louis Murphy and (yes) Darrius Heyward-Bey are basically Schilens clones, so there could be some spreading around by Jason Campbell. No, I think the two RBs are probably more valuable, though they, too, figure to cannibalize from each other.
Hey Chris, always been helpful on Facebook. End of 1st round, based upon average draft positions, would you feel comfortable coming out of the first two rounds with either Shonn Greene or De. Williams as your 1 RB. Thanks.
Hi, Chris. I don't *love* either guy as first-rounders if we're talking about a 10-team league, and you know the reasons: Williams has Stewart to deal with, and Greene hasn't really ever shown he can stay healthy. But yeah, if you're talking about taking one of those guys in the second round? Sure. I'm good with that.
Do you see Gerhart doing anything in the Vikings offense this year?
Hi, Joe. I imagine he'll have a few moments. He's a big guy with a few moves. But he's also very upright, and likely to take some huge hits. I think he scores a few short ones and makes AP owners nervous occasionally, but mostly he's Peterson handcuff material, and that's it.
Lets keep the Jamaal Charles questions comming. Get to keep 1 guy Charles or Matt Shaub?
Hi, Jon. I say Charles, and it's not close.
Would it be smart to draft wide receivers back to back if I am picking 10th in a 10 team league? If I did, should I draft a "safe" guy like Reggie Wayne and pair him with a high upside guy like Megatron aka Calvin Johnson?
Hi, Josh. I don't mind the strategy, but again, I don't want to go into a draft planning for it. I want to take the best players available in my opinion, and if that happens to be WRs, so be it. I think in a 10-teamer, you might actually be able to shoot higher than those guys, if WRs wind up being the best players on your board. As in, you might get Randy Moss and Wayne.
Chris, do you think Sidney Rice is safe for 1200 yds and 8 TD's this season, with or without Favre?
Hi, Matt. I don't. If Favre isn't back, Tarvaris Jackson is the man in Minny. And I've seen that movie before. Rice and everyone else on that team would take a big hit.
Whats your take on Flacco this year...Can't decide whether I really am wacko for Flacco.
Hi, James. My take is that I like him. I have him in my top 10 QBs. I think the weaponry upgrade is real, Rice is a known threat that defenses are going to plan for, and Flacco can make every throw in the book. He got tentative in the second half of last season, and that can't keep up. But I think that might've been because he was hurt. I expect big things from him this year.
Chris if you were to draft Jahvid Best should you immediately folow that up by drafting Kevin Smith? And also does the same go for McFadden & Bush?
Hi, Anthony. No and no. In the case of Best, I really don't think we have any indication that Kevin Smith is really going to be ready to start the year (I know the Lions are talking tough, but it's July). And as for the Raiders...I'll say what I said for the Cowboys question earlier: this isn't a zero-sum game. It's not a closer situation. You're likely to see those two guys split touches and split fantasy value, and therefore make each other fairly unusable in fantasy leagues, until someone gets hurt. Handcuffs are for pure backups and stars, not two middling players. (Which isn't to say you *shouldn't* have both. It just means you don't *have* to get them, and reach in doing so.)
Don't you think people go OVERBOARD with Handcuffs? I think you ONLY handcuff your 1st or 2nd Rd RB. After that your just take the best player available...
Yes, Joe. Exactly.
Top player that you've never heard of being a big name by season's end? In other words, who is the next Steve Smith (NYG) for this year?
Hi, Adam. It's hard for me to judge who people have and haven't heard of...I mean, I think *most* people had heard of Smith, just not as a fantasy star. Does Justin Forsett qualify? I'm starting to like him quite a bit. How about Johnny Knox. I think you take Knox in the, oh, 10th round or so, and wind up being very, very happy about it long around November.
I have the 1.7 pick in a rookie only dynasty draft. Assuming Matthews, Spiller, Best, B.Tate, & Dez Bryant are gone who should I target?
Hi, Matt. Tough to say he has tons of down-the-road value, because he's the kind of guy who's either going to hit or miss completely, but I might consider Montario Hardesty. I give him good chance for, say, 9th-round value this year, and if that happens, he might earn a full-time touchdown-making gig.
Hi Chris, lets test your skills. We play a 2 QB (8 team league).. Passing TD's are worth 4 and 20 yards per point, so they're pretty valuable. When is too early to consider Rodgers? For instance, is the 5th pick too early, after the main four RB's are off the board? Wondered your preference in shallow leagues, etc. Is there a position you like to load up at early on?
Hi, Jon. Cool concept, and obviously I really *am* shooting from the hip on a question like this, since this is a customized scoring format. In this format, isn't Brees actually a better pick than Rodgers? I mean, Rodgers's advantage in standard leagues is his running, and the rushing TDs that ensue...but here, passing TDs are being so highly valued, it strikes me Brees jumps ahead. But anyway, if 16 QBs are starting every week, scarcity is definitely an issue. I don't think No. 5 is too high, if you get the guy you want....
How Overrated am I right now? People who take me in the 4th round are going to be very sad come december...
I completely agree. Longtime readers know how much I love Donnie Football as a guy...just think he's one of the most fun players in the league to watch. But that's a bad offensive line in D.C. that got worse when Mike Williams went out for the year. McNabb couldn't stay healthy in Philly. How does he stay healthy in Washington?
Do you take Thomas Jones or Justin Forsett as your 3rd option at RB? I already have Charles so is the handcuff the right move?
Hi, Parker. Again, I think we're over-handcuffing a little. I'm not saying people shouldn't have the Charles/Jones combo. I'm just saying don't reach for Jones once you take Charles. Think about it: now you have both of 'em...can you legitimately *start* both of 'em every week? Yuck. No way. I would *clearly* take Frenchy over Jones. He's a great player trapped in a frustrating situation...but that situation *could* get better this year.
Which side of the Fantasy Trade debate are you on? The "let the chips fall" where they may side where you don't care even if AP is traded for Maurice Morris or The Trade Veto side where your League Manger can stop stupid trades like that one...
Hi, Gilbert. I tend to be laissez-faire when it comes to trades...I really don't like commishes to have to intervene. That said, I don't think it's a bad thing to set up your league to give the commish that power, so long as he or she knows that it shouldn't be used except in the absolute direst of circumstances, when it's clear that collusion is going on. Otherwise, I think you let the chips fall, and don't invite back the dunderhead who gave up Peterson for Morris.
Interesting you say that you wouldnt even have Shaub close to Charles for your keeper. Personally I feel Shaub is the "Safer" pick since we have seen exactly what he can do for 16 games as he was a top 3 or 4 qb i believe last yr and has maybe the best wr in the game. Do Injury possibilities with him concern you? Or are you just that high on Charles that even if Shaub is a top 5 qb hes worth it over him
Yeah, Jon, sorry, that wasn't a very good answer, was it? My logic is much more your second point than your first. I like Schaub a lot. I have him rated No. 5 among QBs. But that puts him at No. 27 on my list overall, and Charles is at No. 15 on my list. It comes down to the fact that QBs just aren't scarce, and top RBs are...it strikes me that while I agree Schaub is safe, there are four or five other guys at his same level who are just as safe, who I figure I can get at some point later....
HEy Chris, how many Browns players should get drafted this year? I count 4 (Harrison or Hardesty, Cribbs, Massaquoi, and D/ST). Is that about it?
Hi, Mike. I'm glad you mentioned the D/ST, because I think the Browns D/ST has the potential to surprise. I didn't love reading the doubts the Plain-Dealer had this morning about Joe Haden, because I think they need to count on him this year, but otherwise, that's an intriguing unit. Certainly Harrison and Hardesty should both be drafted. Cribbs in a league that counts special teams yards, of course. But I don't think he *has* to be drafted in a 10-team standard league. And really, the same for Massaquoi, though I do have him that high. And yes, that seems to be about it.
Wow I love the chiefs but you really think Shaub is not even close to Charles as far as a guy for a keeper? I Know You and Berry arent attatched at the brain or anything but he had mentioned that getting one of the top 5 qbs(Brees, Rodgers, Brady, peyton, Shaub) this year was very important because the drop off is huge. Also depth seams great at RB sinse the rb by committe approach.
Hi, Jason. (I was just in KC this weekend -- hooray!) No, I argue almost exactly the opposite...I don't think it's at *all* important to get a top-five quarterback. Schaub, Romo, Rivers, Favre...any of these guys will be just fine if the early rounds don't fall such that you wind up with one of the top few QBs. Meanwhile, if you stay away from RBs early on, you're going to find yourself with Brandon Jacobs as your RB1. Might work out fine. Might be a disaster.
All right, gang...one more question, then I've gotta get back to writing....
Do you expect Eli Manning to duplicate last year's numbers, or are you more inclined to believe that the Giants running game and defense will return to form this season and prevent Eli from reaching 4000 yards again?
Hi, B. I think Eli is in for another good year. Can I promise he passes for 4,000 again this season? I cannot. That's a lotta yards. But I think the Giants' o-line took a pretty big step back last year, and I'm not ready to say that any of the rushers will definitely stay healthy this season. I think Eli belongs in the conversation in the 9, 10, 11, 12 range of fantasy quarterbacks, for sure. I think it's defensible to draft him to be your starter, as long as you get another QB pretty soon thereafter in case it doesn't work out.
OK, everyone. Thanks for coming. A few final details. You can still friend me at Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/writerboy. I've finally given in to the Twitter phenomenon...you can follow me at http://twitter.com/thewriterboy. And finally, you can enter to win a pre-draft consultation with me at http://espn.go.com/helpmeharris. Thanks everyone!