Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

August 24, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Stephania Bell

LeAnne (Washington)

What is the current status of Crabtree? I heard he hasnt even suited up yet. Would you start him week 1 this year?

Stephania Bell
  (3:04 PM)

LeAnne: He hasn't practiced yet - not clear exactly when he will. Niners are saying they expect him for Week 1 but he wouldn't be on my roster that week. Need to see how he looks first - and there are better options.

Forrest (Indianapolis)

Will Chris Johnson be a safe pick at RB even in the midst of his holdout? (I'm not planning on taking him 1st over all, but I don't plan on having the 1st over all pick, either.)

Stephania Bell
  (3:07 PM)

Forrest: Don't know about "safe." It looks like the team is trying to get something done before the start of the season but it's not a lock until it's actually done. Then there's the issue of not being in camp. He keeps in great shape but we've already seen some guys in great shape go down once they started the true football activities (have to presume they're always going to turn it up a notch once they get into real football)...So I'd be nervous about Week 1, but he's likely going to be a key fantasy player within short order.

BudVito (Chicago)

What do I do with Hanley Ramirez and Tommy Hanson ? Playoffs next week. Should I cut them ?

Stephania Bell
  (3:08 PM)

It's very unclear whether Ramirez will return this season. Would probably drop him. The news on Hanson having a setback not good either, but not sure I'd be willing to drop just yet as it could just be brief...unless you really, really need the spot.

Dan (Jersey)

A.Foster's hammy a concern? Or good to go?

Stephania Bell
  (3:09 PM)

Dan: Did you see him run this past weekend? I did - and that was enough to convince me he's past it.

David (Montreal)

Hey Stephania, what are your thoughts on Antonio Gates? Should we still be worried about his injuries he sustained last year? I get the feeling this might continue to hamper him this year as well...

Stephania Bell
  (3:11 PM)

David: That's precisely my concern going into the season. Was hoping he'd be feeling better than he did coming into camp. He did practice four days in a row last week (although one was a walkthrough) but the key, they know already, is managing his pain during the season. The guy is always productive when he's on the field, even when not 100%, but this was bad enough to keep him off the field a lot last year. I think he's worth the gamble, but be prepared for the fact that you may well have to hit the waiver wire during the season if it gets bad again.

Ben (Cary, NC)

I'm have Chris Cooley but don't want to deal with the injury risk all season. Is he going to heal or should i pick up Dustin Keller as my tight end this year?

Stephania Bell
  (3:15 PM)

Ben: I'd be concerned. He's doing no-impact training right now which tells you they're concerned about the health of the joint. And he's been having trouble with swelling. He said he expects to be ready by the season opener (Shanahan did not sound equally convinced) but he also expects to be dealing with pain all season long. There are a lot of good tight end options out there - so get another one.

Rich (Corona)

Are you concerned about P Manning's neck? They just signed old timer K Collins... A sign things are worse than they are?

Stephania Bell
  (3:18 PM)

Rich: This doesn't come as a surprise to me. I wtalked about this after going to Colts camp (where Manning was successfully sequestered from all media). I know everyone likes to talk about how hard he works, etc and that's excellent, but if he had nerve compromise from the disc injury (and by the descriptions of his and sources close to him it sounds like he did), that's something you can't rush back. Happens on its own schedule. You can do all the right things - but the nerve has to fire properly in order to allow the muscles of the shoulder and arm (kind of important for him) to work properly. Overload it with too much work and it will lead to other problems. So no amount of work he does will definitively alter the course. They are recognizing that time is limited and getting insurance. It's not that he's "worse" than expected necessarily, it's just not moving as fast as everyone would like. So now they have insurance.

Philip (Little Rock)

What are your thoughts on Jahvid Best this year? Is his injury history enough to keep you from drafting him over someone like Shonn Green? Or does his upside exceed this?

Stephania Bell
  (3:20 PM)

Philip: I am risk averse in general. And there are too many risk issues with Best so I stay away. He has great upside but his injury history at Cal - not just the concussions - is of concern. I'm not a huge SG fan - although many are high on him, but I would certainly not "pay" what you will need to for Best. And btw, I think Leshoure's absence hurts Best in the sense of the workload issue.

Kizzy (NYC)

What are your thoughts on Maclin? How long until he is back in playing shape?

Stephania Bell
  (3:22 PM)

Kizzy: My thoughts are that he won't be ready for Week 1. Think about what he was going through - weight loss, night sweats, low energy and appetite - and the fear of being really ill. He says his weight is back, but that takes a lot out of your stamina, endurance, etc and Andy Reid said as much Monday. I think it will take some time to build that back and so I would not expect him to really be back in that kind fo shape for another 4-6 weeks. Doesn't mean he doesn't play sooner, but may be still building towards his form.

Mike (San Diego)

Do you have your fantasy rosters listed somewhere that is accessible to the public? I want to know who has fallen to the curse so far...

Stephania Bell
  (3:23 PM)

Mike: Hahaha...only mock drafts so far. Most of my leagues are drafting late (which I love b/c then preseason is out of the way) - so won't be able to fill you in in advance...

Todd (GO NINERS!)

Can you tell me that Gore will be fine all year? Should I keep him over Brees or Chris Johnson in a PPR league if CJ2K's talks don't go so well today? Who should I keep of those 3? Need 1.

Stephania Bell
  (3:26 PM)

Todd: Of course I can't tell you he'll be fine all year. Most RBs aren't and we know that a) he's the workhorse of the team and b) he's had an injury or several and c) he's not exactly youthful. that said, he's in great shape, the hip has recovered and I LOVE him in PPR b/c he will catch balls out of the backfield a ton in addition to running and - to some degree - scoring. But as a keeper - if that's what you're looking for - probably go with CJohnson. More future upside.

Stuart (Brooklyn, NY)

Hi Stephania. Great work! What's your feel about Beltre? I know he's doing some light running. After the last setback, it looks like he won't be back after Labor Day. Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (3:29 PM)

Stuart: Thank you! Even though he's been cleared to gradually begin baserunning, that hadn't happened as of yesterday. Still light running in outfield. Understand their concern given the setback the first time around. It probably won't be until Labor Day or after given that they need to perform several baserunning tests and see how he recovers each time and prob a short rehab assignment. At least a week, maybe a bit longer. They don't want to get snakebit again.

Lou (Fantasy Land)

Good Afternoon Madam Bell! How concerned should I be having Ryan Grant as my RB2? Can you give him a clean bill of health?

Stephania Bell
  (3:32 PM)

Hi Lou: As far as I'm concerned, every running back is at risk, nature of the position. But as far as Grant's surgical ankle, it looks to be behind him. He had to have screws put in, was non-weight bearing for a long time, very slow rehab, but typically with that type of injury, if it heals well, then it heals well and they can move on. He has reportedly loked great in camp and my colleague Kevin Seifert told me he saw him get the ankle rolled up on several times in practice and he bounced right back, no issue. Looks to be the back they will be going to routinely, so I like him.

John (Los Angeles)

Knees and Risk -- Is J.Finley at increased risk for re-injury? If the surgery worked, should he have the same speed/strength/etc as before?

Stephania Bell
  (3:34 PM)

John: He is another Packer who looks to be fully recovered. And the surgery he had - a repair - actually goes a long way towards protecting the health of his knee in the long run. He had a staph infection which was a concern - but that's all cleared up and he is reportedly in great shape, very strong. They've limited his activity but I take that as a good sign, after all, he's been away from the game for a long time. But I expect him to look like he did last year - he's been working out exceptionally hard.

Ray (SoCal)

Tell me I wasn't crazy for using my last round pick for a flier on TO. Given his history there is a good chance he comes back healthy in time for a team to use him right?

Stephania Bell
  (3:36 PM)

Ray: well, I won't call you crazy b/c it's not nice...but I'm not sure I'd use the pick. Think you can get him off waivers. If a team had him, I'd think differently. No matter what kind of phenomenal shape he's in, it's very early post-ACL. And then it's getting back to football. If anyone can come back quickly it's him, but I don't see him playing before halfway through the season.

Troy (Toronto)

thoughts on Ingram's knee... he has missed practice this week should be concerned it is acting up again?

Stephania Bell
  (3:38 PM)

Troy: I have not seen yet that it is same knee he had surgery on but assuming it is, while there's a little concern, it's not overwhelming...yet. He has been putting in a ton of practice, getting a lot of reps and is probably overdoing it to a degree. If he rests a few days (the plan) and it subsides, don't think it's a huge issue, but it does stay in the back of my mind as a bit of a caution.

Jason (Happy Valley)

I am 1st pick and we get to choose 1QB, 2RB and 2WR's etc...Our draft is a snake draft. Do I pick Brady or Rodgers or do I pick a RB and go Peterson or Foster? Thanks Steph!

Stephania Bell
  (3:39 PM)

Jason: I pick Foster and it's not close. Had him last year in the league I won - and he's a big reason why that happened.

Loghan (NYC)

Hi Starphania, my keeper draft is coming soon and i have the 6th overall pick. if MJD is staring at me, would you select him? i can add him to make a potentially sick trio with foster and charles...take that risk?

Stephania Bell
  (3:41 PM)

Loghan: I'm not sure I take him at 6, especially in keeper. I'm one of the few who is really high on him this year after surgery, b/c I think it is THIS year where he does really well. But the mileage, and perhaps even some effect of having played on injured knee all of last year, will likely catch up at some point - not sure whether it's in 1 year or 5. At 6 though, probably better options.

Jeff (WV)

Stephania, loyal podcast listener..Ding!!! Was wondering your thoughts on the health of Marques Colston this year? thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (3:44 PM)

Jeff: Thanks for the loyalty. If Colston can have an uneventful rest of the preseason, then I think he's in pretty good shape for the year. He's had a similar procedure on both knees now (and he was fine last year after the first one) and it will buy him some time with the health of his knees. And the area operated on doesn't take a smuch impact so it should help. Biggest issue is working him back into football shape without overdoing it (which is what gave him a little trouble a couple weeks ago). Seems to be on track now.

WooHoo (Chicago)

I'm in first place getting ready for the playoffs. I have both R Weeks and T Hanson on the DL and am wondering if I should drop and replace or hold out. Sounds like Weeks might be ready but not sure what kind of production to expect for a speed guy and a bum ankle. T Hanson is my #3 and I'm very worried about him. Please help so I can go end to end #1!!! Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (3:49 PM)

WooHoo: Congrats for being in contention! These are both tough calls b/c there's uncertainty - and then even if they get back, you don't know what you'll get. Hanson is having soreness and will now proceed on a day-to-day basis making it hard to appreciate any kind of timetable. Weeks is doing, frankly, better than I thought he would be at this point. Apparently he ran the bases even (not sure how fast). But he still needs to really test lateral movement - and have to believe they get him into a game situation if they can soon enough. Not likely he's back before 10 days earliest and not sure what you get. If you have the space to keep on DL and still manage a competitive team, I'd keep both for another week.

Jeff (Chicago, IL)

You answered a question from Jeff, you answered a question from Chicago, now how bout answering a question from Jeff from Chicago!!!??? Where can I find previous fantasy chats or does a 'chat archive' exist? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (3:50 PM)

Jeff, from Chicago: You can go to the fantasy page and click on the weekly schedule and see which chats from the week you're interested in. Will take you to the chat wrap for that day.

Kevin (Boston)

Justin Upton update? How long will he be out?

Stephania Bell
  (3:51 PM)

Kevin: They're calling it a contusion and making it sound as if it wasn't too serious, so perhaps just a few days...but sometimes these things have a way of lingering so it's not definite.

Geoff (DC)

Stephania, What about McFadden? Will he be able to see 100% and be able to take a big hit? Thanks

Stephania Bell
  (3:53 PM)

Geoff: Once healed, the orbital fracture should be fine. So they keep him out of contact for a while to make sure it does heal properly. My concern with him is all the soft tissue injuries - not uncommon to running backs. He's had hamstring issues, turf toe, etc. Not a lock to play week in and week out.

Jeremy (NJ)

Is there a chance the Phils would just rest Rollins for the rest of the regular season given they're a lock to make the playoffs? How bad exactly is a grade 2 injury? My fantasy playoffs are right around the corner and I need to know if I can count on him

Stephania Bell
  (3:54 PM)

Jeremy: Remember the Grade 2 calf? It was weeks. They're saying mild grade 2 so perhaps not as severe, but a groin issue is pretty tough for a shortstop, esp defensively. So I'm not sure you can count on him for your playoffs.

Loghan (NYC)

is Romo good to go? i am thinking of using a 3rd rd pick on him since QBs go fast in our league

Stephania Bell
  (3:55 PM)

Yes - he looks great. All healed up.

Griz (Montana)

I draft Friday. And if you are injury shy, how high should Vick be ranked?

Stephania Bell
  (3:57 PM)

Griz: I can certainly see taking him in the 1st round b/c of the scoring upside. he does it all. My brother got him with the 6th pick in his draft this past weekend. I wouldn't take him first (I just like Foster better) - but maybe I'd take him there, even with the risk. Because last year he certainly didn't play every game and he still helped plenty of people to a fantasy championship.

AJ (Work)

Any chance we see A-rod today? How about tomorrow?

Stephania Bell
  (3:58 PM)

AJ: Not today. He's day-to-day with the thumb, so no definite date but imagine they keep him out a few days, not let it get worse.

Lou (Boston)

Should I be concerned about Beanie Wells injury history, or excited that he will be the everydown back???

Stephania Bell
  (4:00 PM)

Lou: Both. He gets more work as a result of the Williams injury, but we know he's struggled with injury and more work may contribute to that. Not a lot of confidence in my book until he can get through the majority of a season without issue.

Stephania Bell
  (4:00 PM)

OK - time for me to go. Thanks so much for joining the chat! Great questions and comments and there will be much, much more to come as baseball wraps up and football gets underway. See you next week!