Hi, everyone. Welcome to your 3 p.m. ET fantasy football chat. Some fun Hall of Fame Game action last night, and many drafts to come. Also: you can friend me on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/writerboy) and follow me on Twitter (http://www.facebook.com/writerboyESPN). In addition, the second Geico fantasy football draft podcast is online, where Jon Anik and I talk about running backs: http://tinyurl.com/35m5tqx. Let's get right to your questions.....
Do you like McNabb as a backup QB? He has one of the most favorable schedules. Does his presence and the schedule boost Santana Moss or Cooley?
Hi, Troy. Sure - I think McNabb is a *good* fantasy backup, and I'm guessing in some leagues he'll be drafted to be a fantasy starter. I don't know how "boosted" Cooley is, because Fred Davis stands to drain some of his touchdown value, but yes, I would say Santana Moss's fantasy value is much higher for as long as Donnie Football stays under center.
Chris...love your work. Is there anywhere we can see your personal projections?
Hi, Bill. Thanks for the kind words. To be honest: no. But I had a big hand in creating ESPN.com's fantasy projections -- I took our group ranks, and molded projections to fit them. Since those group ranks are *not* my personal ranks, they aren't really "my" projections (more "our). But I definitely had a hand in them.
Would you keep Steven Jackson w/ a 1st round pick or Jamal Charles w/ a 15th round pick? Worried about the timeshare in KC.
Hi, Adam. I understand your concern, but can't you pretty much get Jackson or someone of his quality if throw him back, and keep your first-round pick? I would keep Charles, no questions asked. As you may have read (if only because it seems I write it just about every week, both in columns and in these chats), I'm very high on Charles.
I know you wrote the "whos number 1" piece but don't you think we are ALL over anaylzing the CJ vs. AP debate. Both guys as long as they stay healthy will have monster years right?
Hi, John. Sure, they should both be very good if they stay healthy. And I think you can look at Peterson's college career and have some doubts about his being bulletproof to injury. That said, Johnson is more of an injury risk to me. In that column you referenced, I talked about the Curse of 400 - 400 touches from scrimmage. There aren't many people who haven't declined dramatically in seasons after they got 400 touches from scrimmage.
Think Clinton Portis has I good year left? He's the best blocking back Wa has and might be a 3 down back.
Hi, Bob. I don't see it. The Portis I saw pre-concussion last year just didn't look like the same guy. Of course, the offensive line last year was terrible, but I think it'll be nearly as bad this year, too. I think this is a redshirt year for Mike Shanahan, where he figures stuff out offensively, especially in the running game. I don't think Willie Parker makes the team, but I think you're going to see some doses of Ryan Torain and Keiland Williams in addition to Portis and Larry Johnson.
Your boy Matt did a cool "Just Facts article". In it he seems to be VERY VERY VERY VERY High on Shonne Greene. You agree?
Hi, Craig. I'm not *down* on him. But if you're selling me Greene as a first-round fantasy pick, I'm not buying. I'm not going to say he's guaranteed to get hurt, because that's hubris. But I remember his injuries at Iowa, and his injuries last year in relatively limited action, and I have concerns. It's a great situation: the o-line should still be very good. But I have concerns about Greene's downside.
Chris you're a hard working man, and I very much appreciate it. I felt like TO really looked good in the short time he was on the the field last night(off the line well, good rapport with Carson it seemed). With the targets last night, are you moving TO up in your rankings?
Hi, Zack. Thanks. No, for the moment, Owens is staying where he is. I agree that if we see that kind of target proportion once the seasons starts, it's going to turn out I had Ochocinco way too high, and Owens way too low. But I don't think that happens. It's become fashionable to say that T.O. is still a very good receiver, and that he was effective in Buffalo last year. (K.C. Joyner, who is *awesome*, is one such proponent.) I'm not buying. My eyes showed me that Owens made a few plays in singled-up coverage on the sidelines, and otherwise he didn't seem to have the want-to any longer. I think that Cincy situation is a chemistry nightmare waiting to happen, and I think Carson Palmer's arm is a shadow of its former self. I'm still not biting. (Stubbornly, you could argue.)
Chris let me ask you a riddle! If RB X recieves the majority of the carries in the preseason that means he will be the main focus of the ground came this season?
Hi, Laron. Um, um, um. Wait, I know this one. Is it.....Eric Dickerson? Honestly, I don't know that I can think of anyone who fits this description. Arian Foster, maybe? The truth is that No. 1 backs don't get ridden a lot in the preseason, and rarely lead their teams in rushes. I think we have to be more concerned with how guys *look* when they run, and less on the stats.
Are you capable of answering questions without using quotation marks or *stars*? Or are you addicted? I bet you love to use emoticons as well.
Hi, J Treehorn. Too bad there isn't an emoticon for: there's the door, use it.
Hiya- - Can you confirm that it's bush league to wait until Draft night to determine your draft order? My buddy is nuts.
Hi, Greg. Yeah, I think it's pretty bush league. It helps to be able to figure out your strategy (obviously) when you know where you're picking....
Chris, would you take Frank Gore over Andre Johnson in a non ppr format?
Hi, Riaz. It's a really good question. I think they're pretty close. I think I take Johnson, and it's because I think his downside is less scary than Gore's. Gore doesn't make it through entire seasons healthy these days, and last year I have to admit: I didn't love him. He had a few really long runs, and otherwise was very pedestrian, especially when the 49ers went shotgun later in the season. I was asked on the RB draft podcast which back in my top 10 I'm most worried about, and I said Gore.
Deep league: who do you predict will have a better year at WR Schilens or Golden Tate?
Hi, Matty. I'm reserving the right to change my mind, but at the moment I have Schilens higher. I don't trust that Seahawks passing game at all, and there are enough veterans there who could muck things up for Tate, that I'd prefer to take a chance on Schilens, who looks like the No. 1 guy in Oakland. That said, he's still having foot problems. If those persist, I may change my tune.
With Jason Campbell in Oakland, is Zach Miller a decent starter?
Hi, Devin. My guess is: he's decent, but I think there are at least 10 tight ends who are *more* decent. Miller is a really good player, maybe the second- or third-best downfield tight end in the league. But his production definitely was up and down last year, and Campbell isn't always a model of stability, either. But he's a nice sleeper.
Hey Chris something tells me Marion Barber still has some left especially decent value in PPR leagues plus it seemed he had that burst he was missing last year back.Thoughts?
Hi, Todd. Too soon to tell. Barber had a leg injury that limited him last year, yes, so you'd expect him to be better off in that regard this year. But I don't expect him to be a pass-catcher in that Dallas offense, so it would seem to me that in a PPR his value would actually be *lower* than it is in a standard league. But yes, I've come around to the notion that Felix Jones is being overrated. I think that's a pretty split-down-the-middle job again.
Are you in agreement with Mark Schlereth that Mendenhall is going to have a bad season? Do I take Ryant Grant over him?
Hi, Kevin. I hadn't heard Schlereth say that, but no, I think Mendenhall will be fine if he stays healthy. I think the quarterback could be on the run a lot again this year, because I don't like either tackle from a pass-blocking perspective. But as run-blockers, they're quite good, and Mendenhall should get the rock a lot.
Call me pessamistic but I think the Chargers are a train wreck waiting to happen. They have a rookie rb, shaky defense, no deep threat and are without a great lineman. Why are Rivers and Matthews so highly regarded?
Hi, Hank. I think you make some good points about the Chargers' overall chances as a football team: without Jackson and McNeill, that offense has some real question marks, and I don't see how the defense is light years better than it was last season. I, like you, think that Mathews is a bit overrated (listen to the podcast for more on that). Rivers, though, is going to get a chance to throw; I don't think Vincent Jackson's absence is suddenly going to stop that. I think he'll air it out, and I like him as a pretty safe fantasy option.
I see a lot of people predicting a bounce back year for Forte but I'm a little hesitant to jump on that, especially in a PPR format. Chester Tayler will most certainly lessen Forte's reception numbers in my opinion, any thoughts?
Hi, Phil. I've come around a little bit on Forte, and moved him to (if my memory serves) 20th on my RB list. But obviously that's *way* lower than last year, so I would say that the Chester Taylor / Mike Martz / shaky o-line risk is baked into that rating. I agree that Taylor will probably do most of his damage to Forte's value in the passing game, but I don't see this as an even split. Forte will dominate in carries, if he's healthy.
James Jones or Jordy Nelson in Green Bay?
Hi, John. I think I'm sticking by Jones. The Packers giving Donald Driver an extension doesn't make me any less nervous about his knees, and I think the Pack will work other guys into their offense to a larger degree this year. For the moment, I'm assuming it's Jones, but there *have* been conflicting reports out of Green Bay about which of these two guys has actually looked better since camp started.
what do you think about starting Crabtree and Vernon Davis at the same time? Is this a bad idea?
Hi, Sean. I don't love it, but I wouldn't tell you absolutely don't do it. When you have two receivers from the same team, you're obviously shoring up some of your downside, but limiting some of your upside. I don't like to do that, especially where you'd have to select these two players to get them. And let's not leave out the fact that you'd be *heavily* relying on Alex Smith to be very good. That's scary, too (though as I wrote last week, he doesn't need to be a star to produce star seasons for some of his supporting cast).
What do you think about Beanie Wells? I hear he is not working the first unit at camp.
Hi, David. I read that, too, but I'm not worried yet. He's so much more talented than Tim Hightower, it's only a matter of time. Talk to me in a month. If they're still messing with Wells at that point, I'll get worried.
What your take on Pierre Thomas? Karabell is down, Berry is up...is he solid #2 RB in standard leagues?
Hi, Chris. I have Frenchy at No. 19 on my running back list, so I guess that's a little shy of "solid." The reason to like him is that he's a really good player, one of the best the Saints have. But the reason to be skeptical is his usage and his injury history: he's not going to give you 20 carries a game, and 15 is sometimes unrealistic, too. I think he has more upside than Eric is giving him credit for, because I'm not entirely convinced that Saints won't lean on him more heavily closer to the goal line this year. But Reggie Bush, Lynell Hamilton -- they make Thomas barely a RB2, in my opinion...
Christopher - Big fan! Where would you be comfortable drafting Welker in a PPR? 3rd round as your WR2? Or grab someone who's healthy and get Welker as your WR3 in round 4 or 5? Keep in mind that he finished last year 2nd among WR in this league...even after missing 3 games.
Hi, Tim. Is Welker a top 30 player in a PPR right now? I'm going to say yes. I may wind up eating those words, but I guess I'm buying the hype: I know people who've been to Pats camp and have seen Welker run in 11-on-11 contact drills...he's got a brace on, but he's making plays and cuts, and so I think he's worth the risk. At the moment. But again, camp is long. Let's see how he looks in the preseason.
Chris, with a $300 auction budget, how high should a bid be for a "first" round talent? Thanks!
Hi, Carter Well, with a standard $200, you typically pay $60-ish for the very best players. My math skills tell me that means $90-ish with a $300 budget.
Do you think Austin Collie has then potential to remain a starter in the Colts WR corps even with Anthony Gonzalez healthy? It seems he is going too low - not even been drafted in some leagues...
Hi, Chris. Does he have the potential? Of course. In fact, I think he's probably favored to start out of the slot. But the fact that he's held in lower regard right now is indicative of the uncertainty. I absolutely think he should be owned in all leagues. But lots of other players I like sometimes fall, too, and you only have so many late-round picks. But I have him inside my top 120.
Forsett rushed for over 700 yards in the final 8 games last year. Do you see him producing at that level again this year? I think I am higher on him than most.
Hi, Joe. At that level? No. I think Leon Washington is going to cut into Forsett's usefulness, though I still do have Forsett as my highest Seattle RB. I don't like that Seahawks offense. I don't see anyone being a fantasy starter there. I have Forsett at No. 31 among RBs at the moment -- draftable, but not crazy-exciting. And while I know he was pretty darned good statistically last year, I worry that some of that came when the team was way behind. (Not that they won't be behind this year, too.)
What are your thoughts on taking Andre Johnson with pick #6 in a PPR league? Thought being there are more rb's to be found in later rounds than wr's.
Hi, Jon. Yeah, I'm in. I think the elite WRs need to be first-round draft picks in PPR leagues. And it doesn't get much more elite than AJ.
Turner or Gore in the first round?
Hi, Bryan. I have Turner higher.
draft thursday night...which houston RB should I target?
Hi, CJ. This is why drafts shouldn't be held this early -- there's no right answer yet. For the moment, I'm saying Arian Foster, but Ben Tate is a better athlete, and if/when he gets healthy, he'll get a chance to catch up. For the moment, though, I'm biting on Foster.
Chris, will Aaron Rodgers improve or regress this year? Is early second round too high to take him? What if Manning is still on the table? (I'm assuming Brees is gone--although last year in our league Brees and Rodgers finished with the exact same final score for the year).
Hi, Nate. I see a pretty dang good year for Rodgers, and I'd have no hesitation grabbing him in the second round. The Packers learned a lot as last year went on: they couldn't let Rodgers get killed like that and be successful, and he took fewer hits later in the year. I've got him above Peyton.
What are your thoughts on LeSean McCoy this year and beyond?
Hi, Kris. My thoughts are: he's a good player. He's not Brian Westbrook yet, but he's good in blitz pickup, he's a fine pass catcher, and he can be a real fantasy weapon in the West Coast offense. He's an RB2 in my book. I have real doubts about whether the Eagles will pound him close to the goal line; with Mike Bell and Charles Scott in the picture, it seems like Philly is trying to finally get over those goal-line woes that seem to eternally plague them. He's very good.
Is Percy Harvin a starter in a standard ten team league? (Note: I'm absolutely loaded at RB on the team I have Harvin starting on)
Hi, Josh. First you have to tell me whether Brett Favre is playing. If he is (and I'm assuming he is), then it's borderline. I certainly think Harvin makes for a great flex; as a WR2, he's in the mix. The good news with him is that you're going to get some rush yards out of Harvin, which helps. But you also aren't getting his team's No. 1 receiver.
In a league where all TDs are 6 pts, does that mean you must get one of the Top Tier QBs in the first 2 rounds?
Hi, Dan. In my opinion, no. Scoring systems don't matter that much with quarterbacks: a rising tide lifts all boats. If QBs are all scoring right around 200 points, or 100 points, or 10 points, they're very similar, and thus you can afford to wait and get, say, Tony Romo instead of Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers will probably be better. But I'm guessing this year (unlike last year) he won't be *that much* better. 12 QBs had 25 TD passes or more last year. I don't think you need to overpay for just one or two TDs extra.
How big is the difference between MJD and ray rice?
Hi, Andrew. That's a very good question. Honestly, I think the difference between them might be Willis McGahee. It's not as though I expect McGahee to be the same kind of goal-line vulture he was last year -- I think the Ravens need to see Rice succeed, as McGahee enters his walk year. But he's a drain, and MJD doesn't seem to have one of those (though Deji Karim is very interesting). I prefer MJD on that bssis. But honestly, I think you can make an argument for either guy. They're both great.
Thoughts on Flacco?
Hi, Andrew. My thoughts are: I really like him. He's in my top 10. I'm buying last year's first half, and the fact that he was hurt pretty badly thereafter. I like the weapons, I like Ray Rice catching a million balls, I like the team, and I like Flacco.
Is there going to be a timeshare in Oak or is someone going to step up and get the majority of the carries?
Hi, Mike. I think it's a timeshare. For the first time in my most recent ranks, I put Bush ahead of McFadden, but I have Bush 33rd and McFadden 35th, so it's not like I see a huge difference between them, or a super-valuable slot there regardless. There'll be some days where it's fun to own one or both. But there'll be other bad, bad days. I don't trust the Oakland o-line yet. I like Bush as the pile-driver, and McFadden as the outside rusher and pass catcher.
Obviously a lot of RBBC now. Which lesser half RB do you like the most?
Hi, Kevin. I guess...Jonathan Stewart? Does he count?
Should Rice go #2 in a ppr?
Hi, Michael. Heck. You could make an argument for him at No. 1.
I'm drafting a rookie RB. Mathews is gone. Do I go for Best or Spiller? The mess in Buffalo makes me lean towards Best. Thoughts?
Hi, Mike. If you're looking at this year only, I say Best. The Buffalo situation *is* a mess, and not only because of Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch -- the o-line is dreadful. Over the courses of their careers, I still prefer Spiller. They have similar skill sets, but I have bigger worries about Best's health.
Who do you see being the number 2 WR in Houston?
Hi, Zach. It's a good question. I think to start the year, Kevin Walter will probably still have that job, but I expect Jacoby Jones to get into the mix soon thereafter. I have them rated very similarly...but there's no question who has more upside: it's Jones by a mile.
who's going to post the best wr numbers in chicago? and what would you project
Hi, AL. I like Johnny Knox best of that group, and I'm not a "Knoxy-Come-Lately" on this one...I've been saying this since April. It's tough to pick numbers...but if someone's going to break 1,000, I like Knox the best.
So, can I conclude from your crutch arguments article that Boldin's numbers will go up this year, since he is no longer competing with Fitzgerald for catches?
Hi, Mike. I think Boldin's biggest variable really doesn't have that much to do with who's opposite him, and more about his health. He just can't stay healthy...he's not really fast enough to get out of anyone's way and he's so big and physical, he dishes out and takes so much punishment. I think he's a very nice WR2 who will probably miss a few weeks.
Rumors out of Giants camp say that Bradshaw has been getting more 1st team reps then Jacobs. Think Bradshaw takes the old Tiki Barber role and Jacobs goes back to TD vulture?
Hi, Shaun. I don't. I think Bradshaw is coming off two surgeries on his feet/ankles and has as much to prove, health-wise, as Jacobs does. For as long as Jacobs is healthy, I give him a bigger fantasy bump. But that won't last all year, probably, and then Bradshaw will probably have some nice games, too. (Before, *sigh*, he gets hurt, too.)
Does Brandon Marshall having to face Revis twice this season diminish his value in your eyes?
Hi, Boddy. This a good question, but it's tough to answer. No question, Revis sucked the life out of some very good fantasy receivers last year. I remember when we were saying the same thing a few years ago about Nnamdi Asomugha. Offenses adjust. I get that those couple weeks, Marshall may be lower on our receiver lists, at least at first. But I'm not ready to across-the-board say, "AFC East receivers stink!" I think things change faster than we want them to from year to year in the NFL.
All right, guys. I've got a bunch of stuff to work on, write and prep, so I'm going to tackle one more and then get to it.
Thoughts on Dwayne Bowe
Hi, Spencer. The Chiefs are saying all the right things a year after being disgusted with Bowe, and he probably won't get suspended for using illegal substances because apparently he's not ridiculously overweight again this year. But I'm not convinced his knucklehead days are behind him, and I'm not convinced Matt Cassel is going to be able to make him the true fantasy star his raw talent says he eventually should be. I was burned pretty big by him last year, I guess I'm saying. I have him at No. 22 in my receiver ranks, which makes him very flexworthy, and there's room for growth. But I bet I'm not going to own him in a lot of leagues this year, because last year was pretty bitter.
OK, everyone. We got over 1,000 questions in this chat, which is how you can tell that fantasy football season is truly upon us. I'm sorry not to be able to get to all of them -- I know it can be frustrating, but it's the nature of the beast. I do try and answer *some* questions on Facebook and Twitter, though unfortunately the days of being able to answer all of them (which I really tried to do last year) are over, because there are just too many of 'em now. But follow me on Twitter anyway -- I'll post a lot of football stuff there: http://www.twitter.com/writerboyESPN. And friend me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/writerboy. Finally, a reminder to listen to the Geico fantasy football draft podcasts: a six-part series, covering all positions and more. Right now, the running back podcast is up, and it's pretty fun: http://tinyurl.com/35m5tqx. Thanks again for coming, and see you soon.