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September 30, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with Tristan H. Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:02 AM)

Good morning everyone! Still a couple days left in that fantasy baseball season, so if you've got a question in your title push, feel free; just make sure you get "BASEBALL" in caps in there or I might not see it! It's the heart of the fantasy football season, though, so lots of questions about that, so let's get to 'em...

Chad (Pittsburgh)

What are your thoughts on Louis Murphy for the rest of the year? Breakout type season?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:04 AM)

I included a stat about Murphy working with new Raiders quarterback Bruce Gradkowski in I believe my re-ranks column on Tuesday (might have been "Instant Replay," can't remember), and it's worth checking out. But it said Gradkowski is developing a good rapport with Murphy, Murphy's performance overall (with or without Gradkowski) has seen an uptick this year and so has Darrius Heyward-Bey's, meaning the Raiders can stretch the field and defenses can't key on Murphy. I'm optimistic. A top-25 season cannot be ruled out.

Chris (Boston)

Is it worth starting Shonn Greene?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:06 AM)

For a general answer, I'll say "no." LaDainian Tomlinson is the Jets back to get for this week's matchup, though let's say Greene could get a third of the carries. If you're in a bye-week pinch, certainly I'd take Greene over, say, Mike Tolbert, who at best will be a goal-line play with Ryan Mathews expected back. But that's not saying a lot.

Demaryius Thomas (Denver, CO)

Was my week 2 performance a quick flash of rookie brilliance, or a sign of things to come?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:07 AM)

I think it was a sign of things to come, and Thomas' forgettable Week 3 follow-up was more a product of his arm injury and the Broncos' wide receiver depth affording them the luxury of diminishing his role for the game. Broncos wide receivers WILL be frustrating to own because of that depth; there's no denying that. But I admire Thomas' talent, and if he's the leading guy in fantasy points at year's end, I won't be at all surprised.

Dan (Providence, RI)

Hey Tristan, what kind of workload do you think Forsett gets against the Rams this week? Can he emerge as the lead back?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:10 AM)

Good, not great, probably something within the range of his Week 3 workload. That said, I'd like to say that I'm not at all hopping on the Seahawks bandwagon for this week's game like I hear a lot of people doing. There have been a lot of questions about the defense as a plug-in; sure, in deeper leagues it's worth a look because Sam Bradford makes mistakes. But Seattle's secondary is poor; Bradford could still throw for 250 yards and two scores against that D. I don't call this any slam dunk for the Seahawks, so Forsett shouldn't dominate. He's a flex play, nothing more.

Brian (Cleveland, Oh)

What are your thoughts on Brandon Jackson against the last rated Detroit rushing defense?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:11 AM)

I think he's terribly overrated and John Kuhn has at least an equal chance to be the one who explodes facing this matchup. To an extent, they're going to cancel each other out. If it's a PPR league, I'm going Jackson. Standard ESPN? I actually prefer Kuhn.

Marshawn Lynch (??? You tell me!)

Do I get dealt? Where do I go and what will my value be??

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:13 AM)

Good idea to follow a question about Packers backs with a question about Lynch, whose most-rumored destination is indeed Green Bay. Feed those rumors, eh? Seriously, I could see the Bills dealing Lynch. I'd say better-than-50/50, and remember, I'm not a believer that many in-season deals get done. Could be Green Bay, could be another team if an injury strikes. But I don't see much of a change in his value. He's a flex play (if even that), and one with whom you need be mindful of his matchups.

Jahvid Best (Detroit)

With my injury, am I still a top RB?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:14 AM)

Not this week.

Andre (Lexington)

BASEBALL!!! Is David Price actually going to play Sunday; or will he get some rest? What about Volquez?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:16 AM)

I'd be shocked if Price starts on Sunday, because it makes all the sense in the world for him to start Game 1 of the playoffs. WAY more important to set up that matchup than guarantee the AL East title by using Price in the regular-season finale. As for Edinson Volquez, tough call. I read a report the Reds might consider him for Game 1, in which case, obviously he's being skipped. But if he's not the Game 1 starter, he might make that outing. Let's say, don't get your hopes up. Certainly not with Price.

Joel (Kansas)

Thoughts about Maurice Jones-Drew? Is he still a top 5 RB?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:17 AM)

I think he is on talent, and it's reflected in my rankings, but that's partly a distaste for the alternatives in the top five. Let's say this: Any further so-so outings and I'm going to be dropping him, because I've got my concerns about his health.

David (School)

Seriously, will Charles ever get the starting job or are all of you experts just wishing?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:20 AM)

I'm starting to wonder whether he will. When a team gets off to the start like the Chiefs have, oftentimes it doesn't want to shake things up. I'll make my feelings clear: Jamaal Charles is completely worthy and deserving of a starting job. But Thomas Jones is off to a solid enough start in his own right. When I say "Charles has breakout potential for later in the year," I'm not referring to Week 5; I'm thinking those December playoff weeks.

Jacob (MI)

Hey Stat Sultan, should I pick up Carlson, Olsen, or Hernandez to back up Celek? Or should I just stay put?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:21 AM)

Aaron Hernandez has enough upside, and is playing enough snaps at this point that I think he's well worth adding as a backup tight end. Smart move there.

Steve (Newark)

What do you think of Ryan Mathews this week? Is this the week we finally see why he was rated so highly as a rookie?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:22 AM)

I typically shy from the player fresh off injury, especially when his fill-in performed well and shapes up as a goal-line vulture. That said, the Cardinals' run defense is in shambles, and Mathews shouldn't have much trouble capitalizing, barring any late-week practice setbacks. I'll call him a solid No. 2, and yes, I do think this is the week we see that.

Jeff (Seattle)

S. Greene on waivers...Drop Portis or BGE for him?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:23 AM)

I'm just not a fan of the "Lawfirm." Actually, not a fan of the Patriots' backfield; haven't been for a very long time. He goes, Greene comes aboard.

Chad (Wheeling)

MUST WIN: Jacoby (Oak) or Mike Wallace (Bal) in a PPR. Thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:24 AM)

My, how that is close. The answer is injury-related. If Andre Johnson sits, I'm going Jacoby Jones. I cannot possibly make the case for Jones over Wallace otherwise.

Dustin Keller (No Love Basement)

When will you guys finally realize I'm legit? Like top 5 legit! How can you all still prefer Vernon over me? He's done nothing and his team is TERRIBLE! Give me some love already?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:27 AM)

A couple things to remember:-- People shouldn't be so reactionary to small sample sizes. I know the football season is a "small sample size" in itself, but people can't just assume paces stick right to where they are, it simply doesn't happen.-- Good players can come from bad teams.-- I do think Dustin Keller is a beneath-the-radar tight end. If memory serves, in my re-ranks I commented that if Brent Celek drops from the top 10 next week, Keller is the most likely to replace him. If you want to get ahead of the curve on that, I'd endorse it.

Peyton Hillis (THE REAL DEAL)

I love that people are still doubting me ... please tell me you are on board Tristan. How can you deny my production, whenever I get the chance, I showcase my talents. Mel Kiper had me as a 3rd round pick, I slipped to the 7th and I am here to prove myself for GOOD! I will be a top 15 RB this year, Harrison should get used to the bench!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:27 AM)

I'm not going to say "top 15," but I think I've made it pretty clear I'm a believer that Hillis is for real.

tom (hackensack)

If Best doesnt play, should i get one of his backups? (smith or morris) or start marshawn lynch...i know...its ugly...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:29 AM)

No, I don't think of Maurice Morris as a great option as an NFL starter, and Kevin Smith's recovery from major reconstructive surgery has been slow. I'd go Lynch, or if he's available, John Kuhn who I mentioned before.

Stephen (Los Angeles, CA)

BASEBALL! going for broke this weekend looking for wins/avoiding losses ... any really good starters jump out at you (ones who might be available on the wire, that is)?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:32 AM)

Just to pick one from each day (Friday-Saturday-Sunday), how about Bud Norris, Homer Bailey and Jeff Francis?

Reggie (Denver)

Do you think Andre Johnson plays? Thoughts on being injured and facing Nnamdi? Since he is one of the later games I need to stick him in flex position and then start BGE if AJ doesn't play.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:33 AM)

I don't think so; not encouraged by some of his post-practice quotes. You mentioned the Nnamdi factor, too, and that's a worry. An Andre Johnson given the go-ahead (coupled with promising practice reports, that is) is still starter-worthy, but let's just say I have my doubts.

Chris (NC)

What are the chances that Blount completely takes over for Cadilac starting week 5? This week - Adaai or Forsett

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:34 AM)

Slim, but LeGarrette Blount is a useful pickup if you're in a deep enough league that you can afford the bench spot; not many can in the bye weeks, needing those spots for plug-ins. Joseph Addai this week; Donald Brown sounds limited or out.

Jenny (LA)

What's the news on Manningham? 'Concussion issue' doesn't sound promising...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:36 AM)

Agreed, and if I had to guess, he won't play. The instant the word "concussion" comes up, the player has to pass league-mandated tests in order to be able to play. Victor Cruz might step up as the No. 3 for the Giants this week, and his progress bears watching, but he's no pickup quite yet. More likely, Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks simply see an uptick in targets, so bump them up in your ranks accordingly.

Rich (Weymouth,MA)

Nnamdi doesnt typically play man to man on the other teams #1, Oak tends to stick him to one side of the field so if the offense wants to involve their #1 they move him around to the other side of the field.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:37 AM)

A comment I have made many times in the chat, but still as valuable today as at any time in the past. But having to shift Andre Johnson around doesn't seem like a smart thing to do if he's not 100 percent, and I think the Texans will play it conservatively with his injury. They can just lean on Arian Foster.

Curtis (NJ)

What are the odds Ryan Torain becomes fantasy relevant this season?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:38 AM)

Hmmm, 25 percent? Which is still pretty good for a guy on a lot of waiver wires. Much of that, incidentally, is Clinton Portis' injury risk. I think Torain is a smart handcuff, and if there's anything that has me hesitant to buy in more, it's Keiland Williams' presence. If Portis gets hurt, Torain and Williams might be pitted head-to-head.

Ray Rice (Baltimore)

Will I play this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:39 AM)

Sounds like it. Sounds like a bruise. And he has surprisingly respectable numbers against the Steelers, so I wouldn't be so quick to bench him if he's cleared to play. I'd simply call him a No. 2 option instead of clear top-10.

John (Mizzou)

Give us a few buy-low candidates you like...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:42 AM)

Ben Roethlisberger (can't wait for his return to the field), Ray Rice, Ryan Mathews, Calvin Johnson, Michael Crabtree...

colin (new orleans)

Who are some sell highs? Is Brandon Marshall one after last week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:44 AM)

I don't think so. Marshall still has the skills to be a top-10 wide receiver, and I think you'd have been attempting to sell him as one anyway. I'd put Philip Rivers, Michael Turner, Jeremy Maclin, Thomas Jones, Kyle Orton, among my sell-high list.

Trevor (Berkely)

You like the Crab? That gives me an ounce of faith in my 5th rounder.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:46 AM)

No, but he has looked TERRIBLE so far. To the point where no one would conceivably touch him in terms of trade value. But the change in coordinators at least offers some hope of valuation shift, and it'd make no sense for the 49ers not to get one of their most valuable weapons more involved. It's a call from the gut; I still see top-20 receiver potential there, but you might be able to get him for bench-player value right now.

Matt (Tampa)

Lightning round. Trading Addai for Deangelo, thoughts?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:48 AM)

I'm typically wary of Joseph Addai because I think he's an injury risk; that said I think these guys are pretty comparable in terms of value. I had Williams ranked three spots higher this week, but if you're looking for a "safe" play, I'm starting to think I'm wrong about Addai. He's a good fit for the offense and Donald Brown isn't much of a threat to his carries, so he might very well be a solid No. 2.

Shahab (Cockcroft Island)

Can we PLEASE talk about Moss and Fitzgerald? I know Moss has 3 TDs but his receptions are low. Fitz gets the targets but nothing much is coming of them. Where do you seem them finishing by season end?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:50 AM)

Randy Moss is going to get his targets. I'm not at all worried and I still think he's an unquestioned top-three wide receiver. As for Larry Fitzgerald, I have my worries. There isn't a lot there to detract defensive attention, and while his knee is apparently getting close to 100 percent, I still think he's more of a "name value" than "true value" player. He's top-10 capable; I'll say he's as likely to finish eighth as 12th at the position.

Bill (OH)

Too early to give up on Favre in a 10 team league?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

"Give up" is a pretty vague phrase. Drop him? No, but I'd be making some serious alternate plans. My advice: Start trying to trade for someone better, but don't just cut Brett Favre outright and scrounge from the waiver wire. You might get even worse doing that.

Thomas (Holden Beach NC)

I ve got the chance to pick up B. Jackson but have to drop Tobert in a 12 team league. Should I do it? Thanks BTW I will have to use him for flex this week.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

Nope.

Michael (Charleston)

Can't a loyal THC fan get an opinion on Donovan McNabb traveling to Philadelphia?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:53 AM)

Not a huge fan. There's motivation, yes, but the numbers show that McNabb is struggling in the red zone and the Eagles' pass rush is still pretty darned good. I'd call him borderline top-10 material, more likely just outside; pretty much what I regard him overall for the season.

Matt (MD)

Baseball! Start Greinke tonight vs. Tampa Bay?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:54 AM)

I'm a half-point out in one of my most competitive leagues and am starting him, so that should speak volumes.

J. Baker (NYC)

BASEBALL! Does Phil Hughes get another start this regular season or will the innings cap keep him off the mound?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:55 AM)

I haven't heard the Yankees' specific plans beyond Andy Pettitte on Friday, but I've got a hunch he's going to get a start, maybe a short one (5 IP) as the Yankees make a half-hearted effort to take the division. They're a half-game back of the Rays (one in the loss column), it's a game against the rival Red Sox and they sure looked like a team that still cared with the lineup they strolled out last night.

Greg Jennings (Frozen Tundra)

When will I make my fantasy owners proud they drafted me? Or is this year a copy of last years inconsistent production?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:56 AM)

Bears' Tampa 2 defense was almost entirely responsible for Jennings' quiet Week 3. If that's making him a consensus buy-low, which it seems judging by the volume of questions doubting him today, so be it. He's on my list!

MikeD (ChevyChase, MD)

What do u think about Maroney this week and going forward?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:58 AM)

I think he's going to start, because Knowshon Moreno sounds like a player likely to sit again, I think he has better talent than people gave him credit during his Patriots days, and I think he's going to warm to that Denver offense with time. That said, it's still Moreno's gig. I can't see Maroney reaching top-25 status at the position, though he's a valuable handcuff and one of the more attractive options outside my top 30.

Kyle Orton (Denver)

Quick....Which of the four Denver receivers do you start?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:59 AM)

I'd be going Brandon Lloyd and then Jabar Gaffney for this week. But that's just my gut feel. Demaryius Thomas not necessarily 100 percent and Eddie Royal might get some return work; I'm curious how that impacts his workload at receiver (though my gut says not by much).

Kim Deal (Bakersfield, California)

Matt Ryan and Mark Sanchez may have turned that proverbial corner. Who do you trust more this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:00 PM)

Matt Ryan.

Jahvid Best (Hurt Locker)

Last Call! My owner doesn't trust me. If he trades me away for D. Williams, who wins?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:00 PM)

Even with the injury, I still prefer Javhid Best over the long haul.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:01 PM)

OK, time to wrap things up for the day. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours. Best of luck to all of you in Week 4, as well as in those final days in your baseball title chases! Take care everyone...