Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to your Monday fantasy football chat -- a reminder that you can friend me at http://www.facebook.com/writerboy and follow me at @writerboyESPN. Let's get right to your questions.
Knox looked pretty good in that game. You think he might out grow his "sleeper" status before many people began drafting?
Hi, Calvin. It's a great point. That's one of the hazards of so much fantasy football coverage so early -- really tough for potential breakout players to hide. Make no mistake: I didn't consider Knox on my list of 10 players to draft because I think he's a sleeper, but because I think he'll perform like a borderline No. 1 NFL receiver.
When is a good rd. to draft Welker?
Hi, TC. Right now I have Welker going in the 7th round, but I feel queasy about it. Listen, we're not going to get a straight answer on Welker until the games start. We'll just have to see. But the fact that he's running and cutting out there makes me start giving him the benefit of the doubt. Clearly, my opinion has changed on this in the past few weeks.
I think your Arian Foster argument just took a giant step forward correct? He has to be the man there right?
Hi, Philip. Yeah, I at least think it's safe to say that Foster gets first crack. Steve Slaton is still there, though I'm dubious that his neck is 100%; yes, you'd think that Foster is the RB1 there. I bumped him up to No. 25 on my running back list on this news.
Hey Harris. This is the first season I have read you religiously, but I love your work. I expect to be able to ride your measured and thought out columns to the playoffs in my league.How much stock do you put into preseason stregnth or schedule? For example, I like Flacco a lot, but would take Kolb if Flacco wasn't there. Kolb has a better schedule though from a fantasy points allowed to QB's standpoint. Is this a valuable stat, considering the changes from year to year, or is preseason SOS a throwaway number?
Thanks for the kind words, Stan. To be honest, you probably won't find someone who puts *less* faith into strength of schedule before the season starts than I do. I just don't look at it. I think it's hubris to claim we know who the good defenses are -- last year, you'd have been freaked that your player was going against the Steelers or Giants, and how'd that work out? Yes, there are Revis question, if and when he reports. That does seem to be a bit of a constant for AFC East receivers. But in general, I don't let schedule be a reason not to draft someone I like.
I read your article and I agree with u 100% on Laurent Robinson, just how good do you think he'll be assuming he plays all 16? I think Robinson will be a fantasy stud this year and needs to be drafted.
Hi, Nick. I think "stud" might be a bit strong. I don't trust Sam Bradford to be week-to-week consistent, and it's probably not fair to completely discount Avery, among others. But yes, I think Robinson is the WR1 there. I agree he's a nice high-upside selection in all leagues, but will he be a fantasy starter? I give him, oh, maybe a 20% chance of that happening. He's got upside. But his "expected" season probably isn't all that statistically scintillating.
What is the A. Foster news? Do I drop Tate for him in a PPR?
Hi, Joe. Yes, drop Tate. He's not going to play this year.
Chris it seems recievers are going and higher these days with the rbbc issue, that said...is a solid true #1 work horse back still as valuable as he used to be two or three seasons ago?
Hi, Matt. I've written about this at length in our Draft Kit, in the positional overview pieces. Suffice it to say: yes, if and when you can get an actual #1 back who gets 250-plus carries, that's about the most valuable thing around. The problem, as you intimate, is that there are fewer of these guys than ever. I'm taking five running backs in standard leagues before the first receiver, and that's a pretty low number.
Flacco is getting hyped all over the place... what round is your ceiling for him?
Hi, Matt. He is? Doh. Didn't mean to jump on the bandwagon. I have Flacco as my No. 9 quarterback, but Favre is No. 8 and obviously if you were to do a draft today, you probably wouldn't take Favre there, not until we get confirmation he's playing. So I'm not saying Flacco is someone you have to take above, say, Philip Rivers or Tony Romo. He's a guy you wait for. If someone else reaches to take him, well, take one of those other guys later, and snicker. I have a 7th or 8th round grade (in a 10-team league) on Flacco right now.
First of all I would like to say thanks for providing me with at least one new random vocabulary word every couple of months. Hubris is my current favorite. I think we both believe Brett Favre plays this year, but if he doesn't, how far down does Sidney Rice fall on your receiver list?
Hi, FS. Ha! It does seem like I'm using "hubris" a lot these days -- because it's in abundance in preseason football previews, maybe. Why, it's positively ubiquitous. Anyway, yeah, if Favre doesn't play, I think Rice might still be a fantasy starter, but a low-level WR2 at best. Maybe put him in the #20 range? Probably a bit higher? Don't love Tarvaris....
Hey Chris. Does Justin Forsett's value suffer becaue people figure the Seahawks will be behind in games a lot, and will therefore be forced to throw? I think Forsett's a genuine #1 RB.
Hi, John. I wrote a column about this kind of "Crutch Argument" (the kind you're describing that *other* people make, not the kind you're making here), and you can sometimes take advantage of such arguments. In this case, though, I don't agree -- I don't think the Seahawks *have* a true No. 1 rusher, and I'm predicting that nobody in that backfield reaches 200 carries. Given that I don't love the O-line in addition, I'm not buying Forsett right now.
Any chance Brandon Jacobs performs like a starter again this year?
Hi, Michael. Definitely there's a chance. I think the Giants are a better offense when Jacobs is pounding it 15 times a game minimum, and it's not fair to revile him for being injury-prone, and then endorse Ahmad Bradshaw, who had multiple surgeries this winter. I have Jacobs pretty well ahead of Bradshaw, based on the assumption that both will be healthy. But it all does come down to health.
Carson Palmer looked great last night...does he have the ability to become a top 10 fantasy QB again or at the very least a solid #2 QB?
Hi, Chris. I didn't think Palmer looked great, I have to admit. He didn't have to make a lot of deep throws; he was fine throwing it to the slot and Jordan Shipley, but the couple of times he had to air it out on deep outs, I felt the ball floated. I don't like him even as a QB2 this year, and definitely not a top 10 guy. But obviously Palmer has the history to prove me wrong.
Who would you rather have: Felix Jones or Reggie Bush?
Hi, JJ. I have Felix Jones No. 26 on my RB list right now and Reggie Bush No. 28, so obviously it's close. Felix has more upside, but he's also probably a bigger injury risk (well, maybe just by a little). I started the spring ready to buy Felix as the Cowboys' No. 1 back, but I no longer view him as that kind of sleeper. I think he and Barber are going to cannibalize one another.
Jahvid Best or Ronnie Brown?
Hi, John. I have Brown No. 21 and Best No. 22. Completely different kinds of players, both injury prone. Best seems to have a clearer path to more work if he stays healthy, Brown has a better track record and was on his way to a very good fantasy season before he got hurt last season. Their respective concerns make both of them flexes for me in a 10-team league.
can you please explain to me why if most people are down on Leinart (as opposed to Warner) plus expect a more balanced offense why most people expect ARI to have 3 productive wrs? I see Doucet ranked very well in a lot of places and I just don't get it with some of the wrs he is ranked ahead of.
Hi, Nick. Leinart has tons of upside if he becomes a different kind of player than he's been so far in his NFL career, but it's just tough to see him becoming substantially more accurate all of a sudden. Maybe it happens. As to whether it's possible for skill players on teams with shaky fantasy quarterbacks can excel, see my piece about Alex Smith (it's the "32 Questions" series about the 49ers). It really is. And while Fitz should get his, it's not like I've got Breaston or Doucet ranked as fantasy starters. (They're 31st and 51st on my WR list.)
if the rams sign westbrook. how much does that hurt s.jax value
Hi, Brian. I don't think much. I wouldn't refuse to draft him toward the end of the first round if that winds up being the case. First, I have real questions about Westy's knees on artificial turf. And the Rams know where their bread is buttered. Shorter TDs (if there are any!) will still go Jackson's way. Westbrook would be a, oh, 10-snaps-a-game kind of guy. There's potential for slight damage, but it wouldn't be my biggest worry about Jackson. (see also: back surgery.)
Assuming Favre comes back do you like Sidney Rice over Ochocinco?
Hi, CJ. I do. I have Rice as a No. 1 fantasy receiver in such circumstances, and 85 as a No. 2 receiver. I haven't convinced myself T.O. is going to be a *huge* drain on The Ocho, but that's a factor. I want to see Rice's hip looking good before I feel completely certain of that, though.
Chris, my keepers are due in an hour! Ten team PPR league, pick two out of S-Jax, Austin, and Megatron. They are all pretty close on the projections for points, but since this will be the first year we use PPR, I need your help badly sir!
Hi, Malik. It's tough for me to be definitive because it's tough for me to know what other positions are going to be kept in your league. If you can convince yourself that one of the top, say, six or seven RBs will be available to you when you pick, I might be tempted to go with the two receivers here. Not that I don't like Jackson. But elite WRs sure are nice in PPR leagues.
Chris your thoughts on Mike sims walker?
Hi, C.F. My thoughts are that I expect him to be a fantasy starter, but a low-level one, which means he'll probably produce on an up-and-down basis. He needs to keep his legs healthy, which always seems to be his trouble, but there's no doubt he's the No. 1 guy the Jags have, and they're going to be invested in getting him 10 targets per week if he's healthy.
Hearing good things about Eddie Royal in camp. Given his disastrous 2009, he went undrafted in my league. Would you drop the likes of Collie to pick him up and hope his 2008 numbers return?
Hi, Rick. I'm skeptical that any Broncos receivers are going to emerge as top fantasy players. I actually have Jabar Gaffney higher than Royal on my list right now, though he's only at No. 59 on my WR list, and Royal is No. 63. Can you tell I don't love the Denver passing offense? If Royal gets close to 1,000 yards like he did during his rookie year, well, I'll be surprised, and this will have been a bad call.
With Thomas Jones at number 1 on the depth chart, for now, is Jamaal Charles an every week fantasy starter or more of a guy to start based on matchups??
Hi, Matt. Suffice it to say that I'm not buying that Thomas Jones is the starter. I think when things shake out, Charles is going to be the guy. Yes, I'm viewing him as an ever-week starter.
Am I a fool to draft McFadden again this year?
Hi, Michael. Well, it depends on where. If you take him near where he went *last* year? Yup, you're a fool. But if you take him as a high-upside bench guy? I don't mind that. He showed some explosiveness on catches and a few end-around runs, but not much ability between the tackles, and I actually have Michael Bush higher than him. But if I got Run-DMC in the, oh, 9th round? That's just fine.
Beanie Wells with a receiving touchdown? Twilight Zone or preview of things to come?
Hi, Greg. I'm going to say Twilight Zone. Not that Beanie can't catch, but Hightower caught (I believe, don't have it right in front of me) the second-most passes of any running back last year, behind only Ray Rice. It strikes me likely that he'll continue to be the main target out of the backfield. Of course, that doesn't mean I don't like Wells, because I do.
Hi Chris, I just saw the man2man on Gore and Turner. In a ppr league would you change your pick to Gore or stay with Turner?
Hi, Wes. No, in a PPR league I'd switch to Gore. I do have lingering worries about his durability (as I said during that video, he hasn't made it through a complete season since 2006), but Turner just isn't going to catch a lot of passes.
What's your thoughts on the Browns RB situation?
Hi, Josh. My thoughts are that Jerome Harrison caught a break when Montario Hardesty got hurt. Hardesty is still being held out of practices and games, meaning he's probably not a threat to play much at the beginning of the year; as such, my ranking of Harrison, which was lower than most, has come back in line: I have him 29th among RBs. Later in the year, though, I think Hardesty *is* going to get a shot.
Brandon Marshall top 10 WR in Miami?
Hi, Spyde. Yeah, I think so. The hip injury is a bit worrisome, and the more I thought about it this summer, the less likely it seemed to me that that Miami offense was going to get Marshall 100 catches. But he doesn't really need a c-note to be a fantasy star. I have him at No. 8 on my WR list. I *had* him at No. 4, but pulled him down just a bit. Still like him fine.
Which type combo would you prefer? Kolb/Boldin or Schaub/MSW? Lesser QB with better WR or vice versa?
Hi, Eric. I wouldn't say that I could definitively tell you which *type* I like better, I can really only weigh in on specific players. In the case of these combos, I actually probably like Schaub and MSW, because I have MSW and Boldin ranked side-by-side.
What are your thoughts on CJ Spiller? What are your projections for him now that Jackson and Lynch are injured?
Hi, Jake. Until Fred Jackson broke his hand, I still had him rated above Spiller in my RB list. But now that it's a question mark that Jackson will be ready for Week 1 (I expect Lynch *will* be ready), I've flip-flopped them. I have Spiller at No. 33 and Jackson at No. 37 on my list. This is still probably a split job (though Jackson becomes more of an injury risk), and a split job that takes place behind what could be a pretty poor O-line.
can Rogers get 40 combined tds this season? He looked great the other night..thnx
Hi, John. He had, what, 35 combined last year? Sure, it's possible. I wouldn't expect it -- it's just *really* hard to throw significantly more than 30 touchdowns in a given season. But he's got a puncher's chance, certainly.
With Glen Coffee abruptly moving onto priesthood, do you think Frank Gore's value is significantly elevated? Do you think the 49ers make a move for another RB? Thanks!!
Hi, John. I've heard people making this argument, but I'm not sure I'm buying. My arguments "against" Gore (if it can be said that I've really been making arguments "against" a player I have ranked 8th overall) haven't had to do with losing carries to Coffee, Anthony Dixon or anyone else -- it's had to do with his lack of durability and the fact that he wasn't a particularly explosive player last year (except for three long runs, two of which happened in the same game). I think Dixon may do a fine job as his reserve, and I wouldn't change my mind even if the Niners do go get someone else.
After watching San Diegos first pre-season game, do you have Ryan Matthews moving up on your draft board?
Hi, David. No, probably not. I mean, he ran well. (I have to admit, I didn't see the game -- only saw the highlights...because it wasn't available where I live.) But the concerns are still there: not historically a pass catcher, Marcus McNeill still not there, Darren Sproles part of the offense, etc. I think I'm probably sticking with him about where I have him. Those taking him in the first round are a little rich for my blood.
you say only 5 rbs are above andre johnson for you - if you were keeping mendenhall and stewart, how tempted would you be to draft johnson over MJD in the 1st round if receptions are worth 1/2 point?thanks.
Hi, Tim. I guess I'd be tempted. You've got a couple solid fantasy starting running backs. But you don't have that No. 1 guy, unless Mendenhall *really* works out, or DeAngelo Williams gets hurt. If you can only start two backs, I can see that you feel you're boxed in by this, and AJ would be sweet. Maybe take MJD, though, and try and trade one of the other RBs?
Dexter McCluster looked pretty good the other night, do you see him becoming the next D-jax, Harvin, or Cribbs of the league?
Hi, Wes. Short answer: not yet. Well, I take it back: if the Chiefs go with McCluster over Javier Arenas on returns (and Arenas was great, so I don't think that's gonna happen), he could maybe be Cribbs. Jackson or Harvin...that's some elite company for a team without an elite quarterback. I know some folks are getting bent about the fact that McCluster ran several out of the backfield, so is he now a RB and should he be eligible there and a threat to Charles/Jones. I think he's going to make some plays this year, but not frequently enough for him to be a fantasy guy.
Best was very involved in the preseason opener and looked pretty good against a stingy Steelers D. Am I safe drafting him as an RB3 that will stick all year or will Kevin Smith ruin that?
Hi, Dan. I think you're safe. I don't think Kevin Smith can possibly be the same guy he was just 8 or 9 months removed from a torn ACL (if Welker's doing it, at least it's not with the behemoths crashing around him on every play), and frankly Smith wasn't *all* that great even when he was healthy last year.
Would you draft any Patriots running back this season?
Hi, Thornton. It depends on where you take 'em. I have Maroney ranked highest of the group, but have no confidence whatsoever that he'll really get anything close to a starter's carries. If you take him in the 12th/13th/14th round, as a sleeper (in a 10-team draft)? Sure. He's probably the only one I'm messing with in a 10-teamer. That's going to be a job that gets split a bunch of ways, at least until the inevitable injuries pile up.
How far would Harvin fall if Favre doesn't play?
Hi, Joe. I think he's probably not a fantasy starter any longer, and more of a flex/matchup guy (and he needs to get over his migraine issues, too). He might be just inside or just outside my top 30 among wideouts.
How high of a draft pick should Malcom Floyd be this season with Vincent Jackson possibly missing the entire season??
Hi, Kevin. I have him just outside my top 30 among WRs, probably in the 8th or 9th round of a 10-team draft. There's upside there, for sure, but the worry is that Rivers doesn't really use any one guy to replace the connection he had with Jackson. Floyd made some long plays last year, but also was inconsistent....
Would you draft any Tampa running backs this season?
Hi, Bill. Again, it comes down to *where* you're drafting 'em. Cadillac Williams would be the only guy you'd need to mess with in a 10-teamer, and I'd say you shouldn't grab him any earlier than the, um, maybe 10th round? Derrick Ward is probably not worth drafting in any but the deepest leagues -- he didn't look good at all in the first preseason game (though the rain in Miami didn't help).
Why don't people see Gates as the clear #1 TE with VJax out? He should be a monster those weeks Jackson's out.
Hi, Luke. I understand that argument. But isn't Dallas Clark just as much of a monster on a pretty weekly basis? I think they're clearly 1 and 2, and I guess I don't have a huge problem saying Gates is 1, but I don't think the distance between them is great.
Which low reception RB would you prefer in PPR between Shonn Greene, Cedric Benson, and Beanie Wells?
Hi, Josh. Since they're all kind of in that same boat of not being much use in terms of receptions (Beanie's receiving TD notwithstanding, per an earlier question), I'd probably just default to my standard-league ranks: Benson, Greene and then Wells.
Which Jets WR do trust the most and what do you think bout LT behind that great Oline?
Hi, Todd. My highest-ranked Jets receiver is Santonio Holmes, despite the suspension. Listen, obviously, his value has to be depressed on most draft boards because he misses a month, but when he's back, he's their best and most reliable playmaker. I just am not a Braylon Edwards fan anymore. LDT has a chance to steal a few TDs, but I think Greene is relatively safe.
I'm drafting third overall in a 10-team league. Out of ESPN's top five running backs (Johnson, Peterson, Jones-Drew, Rice, Jackson) who do you think has the best chance of not living up to the hype?
Hi, Tristan. Jackson. I have the other four as my top four, but I've got Jackson at No. 7 on my RB list, with Turner and Gore between them and him. And I'm as big a Jackson defender as there is. There's just a concern that the TD issues from last year persist, and then there's also the back surgery worries.
Your are really High on Charles and Berry is really high on Greene. If you were doing a Man2Man on those two, give me your pitch. Thanks
Hi, Lance. That would be a pretty good one. The arguments *against* Charles aren't really against him at all: they're worries about Thomas Jones. And I have worries, too. But Greene owners should have *some* worries about Tomlinson, right? And in terms of explosiveness, there's just no question at all who's more dangerous. You're probably going to get more TDs out of Greene. But he's not catching the ball, and he's not taking anything to the house. Charles is Chris Johnson in a red uniform.
Still AD as you first overall pick? That CJ with the goal line run the other night seems really good...
Hi, Tore. Yes, I'm sticking with Peterson. It's not really against CJ's abilities. I worry about the (self-coined) "Curse of 400 Touches." There isn't a good history of people maintaining a performance level the year after getting 400 touches. All right, gang. I have to get going (I'll tell you why in a moment), so let's do one more:
People seem to be fairly high on Ryan Grant, I dont see it. What gives?
"Fairly" is probably about right. Grant doesn't have a threat to his touches, so he'll be up over 300 again. He's good near the goal line. But he doesn't catch it, and he's not a breakaway threat. He's *OK*. I've got him as a solid RB2 in fantasy. If you can team him with a more explosive RB1? That's pretty good. (And he took a pretty big shot to the jaw in his first exhibition game, though he seems to've come out of it all right...)
OK. The reason I need to get rolling right here on the stroke of 4 p.m. ET is that I have to go prep for the 3rd and 4th Fantasy Football Draft Podcasts, which will be about wide receivers, and which Jon Anik and I will be recording this evening. The QB and RB versions have been really well-received, and I hope you guys will like these. (We had to spread receivers across two podcasts, because there's so much to say about 'em.) The first one, at least, should be online tomorrow, both at ESPNRadio.com and on iTunes.
Remember, you can friend me at http://www.facebook.com/writerboy and follow me on Twitter at @writerboyESPN. (I've been tweeting quite a bit during preseason games.) Thanks very much for coming to this chat, and I look forward to "seeing" you all again next week.....