Good morning, everyone. Welcome to some Week 5 fantasy football chat. Let's get right to your questions, but remember that you can find answers to single-position questions here: http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/football/ffl/story?page=11ranksWeek5QB
Big Ben was just dropped to the wire. I have Freeman and Campbell. Drop one to get Big Ben?
Hi, LJ. Yeah, I think you should add Big Ben. He's got the most upside of those three QBs...I'd drop Campbell and add Roethlisberger. He's got a foot injury now and obviously that offensive line isn't doing him any favors. But we've seen him weather storms like this in the past; I won't be shocked to see him back on track in a couple weeks.
What do you think about Jacoby Ford? Worth starting this week or give it a week?
Hi, Woody. I rated Ford 41st among wideouts this week -- clearly I was premature on recommending him as a sneaky play against the bad Pats pass D last week. (Darrius Heyward-Bey got the looks, of all people.) Definitely hold onto Ford, but even he admits his top gear isn't back yet because of his hammy, so I guess I'm saying if I had other options, I'd rather wait.
Sproles is available on the wire; drop Felix to get him?
Hi, Doug. That's a really tough question. I'd have a tendency to take the long view and not drop Felix Jones for Darren Sproles. There's absolutely no question that Sproles has been the better fantasy entity to date, and there's also no question that I've been underselling him in my analysis so far this year. But the fact remains that he's a 10 (maybe 15) touch-per-game guy, and the instant he stops hitting home runs, he's not going to be attractive in fantasy leagues. But I'm wavering, my man. I'm wavering.
And since we're talking about guys named Jacoby, what do you think about Mr. Jones this week. I have AJ and am desperate for WRs.
Hi, Chad. Yeah, I think Jacoby Jones is the most attractive replacement available for Andre Johnson right now. I'd take him over Kevin Walter for sure, and remember at the end of last season he got two spot starts when AJ was out with a bad ankle, and he caught 10 passes for 180-plus yards in those two contests combined. Owen Daniels is my candidate to benefit most from AJ's absence, but Jones is startable.
What do I take from this Cruz Manningham thing in NY? I picked up Cruz so I have both, but who I start?
Hi, Robert. What I read this morning in the New York papers is that Manningham did run with the first team in practice yesterday, so his doghouse appears only to have lasted for the second half of the Arizona game. You'd have to imagine that his leash is short, however, so if he has problems with his route running or hands, he could ride pine again. For the moment, though, because he's getting a second chance, he seems like the more attractive (if still risky) option to start.
Jimmy Graham finished as the # __ Te.
Hi, James. I'll say #5. Well worth starting every week, and last week showed his enormous upside when defenses don't account for him, or put sub-par man-on-man defenders on him when he lines up on the outside. It was a clinic. Of course, he's still a young player and still has bouts of SHS (Shaky Hands Syndrome), so I'm guessing there will be a few weeks where he fizzles, keeping him from the top spot. But I like him as a top-five option.
Which side of this trade would you rather be on or is it just exchanging poor perfomers? Wayne and Mendy for Gore?
Hi, Tyson. Hm. Intriguing...and I guess I'd rather be on the side that gets Wayne and Mendenhall. I don't believe in Wayne without Peyton, but as a spot-starter you could do worse, and if I'm wrong, obviously he has No. 1 WR potential. Gore and Mendy seem like a vague wash right now...Mendenhall's hamstring is an issue at the moment but the hope is that it won't be a long-term thing, and his TDs almost have to pick up (don't they?). Gore seems just as big an injury risk anyway...I don't hate the idea of selling Gore high after his big performance vs. the Eagles.
can u ignore blount"s matchup vs. San Fran, or go ppr safe with tolbert/brandon lloyd?
Hi, Dennis. Yeah, the 49ers have been really stout against the run, and despite his big final numbers against the Colts, I was concerned by the fact that Blount was bottled up Monday night for three-plus quarters. Then again, that's the advantage of being young and huge...you wear defenses down. I'd be OK with sitting him if you had another very strong option, but Tolbert seems more and more marginalized with the Chargers, and I wonder whether Lloyd really grabs enough receptions to add up to significant PPR numbers. I think I'd just start Blount and hope.
Do you see Stevie Johnson, and by extension the entire Bills O, keeping up their ridiculous pace throughout the season? How long can Fitz keep it up?
Hi, Sam. I do think the Bills will slow down. Then again, things in the NFL *do* sometimes change, and we have to remember that in his final year in KC, Chan Gailey's offense (with Tyler Thigpen at the helm) hummed for a few weeks going spread. For the most part Buffalo *isn't* doing that this year, but their big catch-up against the Pats *was* four-wide much of the time. You saw the Bengals adjust effectively last week, playing back a bit more (allowing Fred Jackson to continue his fine season) and bottle up Fitzpatrick some. Expect those adjustments to continue. I'm skeptical the Bills finish above, say, 8-8.
You a beanie believer?
Hi, Joe. Insofar as I can believe in a guy whose health always seems to be in jeopardy, I believe in Beanie. I never had qualms about his ability...I was really high on him last year, and got burned badly because of that troublesome knee. When the hamstring unexpectedly bit him and kept him out of Week 3, it was like: Here we go again. But he played great in Week 4, really tough, hard running. My answer is: For as long as he's in Arizona's lineup, he should be in yours. If you have good RB depth, though, and think you could get a top-five receiver for him? It would be a deal I'd have to consider, because like I say, he's an injury waiting to happen.
What are your projections for hasselbeck the rest of the season? Will he continue to be a viable option?
Hi, Luke. I don't have specific stat projections at this point, but I can give you a sense of where I think he'll trend. I think he'll trend down. He's worth owning. He's a good spot start for bye weeks. But let's face it: he doesn't have great weapons without Kenny Britt, and last week's good results cover up the fact that the guy went 10-for-20 and had some ridiculously long runs to account for yards and TDs. Plus Hass has missed 13 games the past three years due to injury. So...I'm wary.
Will Matt Ryan continue to be just mediocre or will he improve as Julio blossoms and Roddy gets healthier ?
Hi, Joel. It's a really good question. I'm actually kind of bullish in Ryan at the moment -- I think he's undervalued. He's 10th in the league in passing yards, and he's third in attempts. That's a pretty good formula for future success. The reason we think he's been a disappointment in fantasy is simply that he's only got 6 TD passes, which I agree is unacceptable. There are hints, I think, that the Falcons are figuring out some of the offensive line problems that have been bugging them, and you're right: Julio Jones is playing great. I think better things are ahead for Ryan.
When will McCluster start getting more carries?
Hi, Aaron. Well, I guess I'm skeptical it will happen. He's just so little. He's listed at 5-8 and 170 pounds, and neither of those numbers is truthful. I think the Chiefs are wary of giving him more than four or five between-the-tackles handoffs per game, though when he's gotten such carries since Charles' injury, he's looked really good (and much better than Thomas Jones). I think you're going to get between 10 and 15 touches from scrimmage per week from McCluster, and you just have to hope he makes plays like Darren Sproles has with *his* similar touches. It will probably happen a few times this season....
Is Denarius Moore's value taken a major hit now that DHB & Ford are healthy, or do you feel he'll still be relevant?
Hi, Hank. It's a good question, and I hesitate to answer anything definitively when it comes to Oakland's receivers. I'll tell you this: DHB's performance last week was no doubt sweet music to the Raiders front office, which has been begging for a return on their No.7-overall-pick investment. As I said earlier, Ford doesn't sound *completely* healthy, and Moore has made plays consistently from Week 2 forward. I think he's still relevant, as in, still worth owning. Do I think he's a lock to get double-digit targets every week right now. No way. It's a mishmash there by the Bay.
ever been told you look like a poor man's Andy Dalton? if not, let me be the first.
Hi, Eric. I've got more than a decade on Dalton. So I'd say he looks like a rich man's me. But that's just me. (He's richer, anyway.)
I have Kendall Hunter. Would you trade Chris Johnson and Brandon Marshall for Frank Gore and Hakeem Nicks? Thanks!!
I probably wouldn't. I think you're selling low on CJ2K, something I'm loath to do. I do think Nicks is better than Marshall, but not by an insane amount, and I'm betting Johnson outdoes Gore by a goodly amount. Of course, that's based on faith and little else. He still needs to start breaking long runs. But I'm hopeful.
What are your thoughts and expectations of Ridley and Redmon this week and ROS?
Hi, Jay. Obviously, Isaac Redman's workload depends entirely on what the Steelers decide to do with Rashard Mendendhall and his injured hammy...as of this moment, I ranked Redman as a top-20 back under the assumption Mendy wouldn't go, but that absolutely could be wrong. You just have to read the news to see. Ridley is in the mess in New England, and while I'm completely fine using a bench spot on him, it's awfully tough to start him this week or *any* week with the way the Patriots use their RBs. The reason to own him is to hope BJGE gets hurt, or to ride a couple more hot weeks and then trade him for something good. I'd give Ridley the better chance at value for the rest of the season (over Redman), but they're still both lottery tickets.
Thoughts on BALT D? Think they finish top 3 or are they a sell high? D's score a lot in our league and I could probably net a decent amount in a trade.
Hi, Matt. Well, they've been opportunistic, to be sure. They've scored TDs, which is something that's very very difficult to predict, or to see repeating. I'm reminded of the Saints D two seasons ago, when they scored all those TDs in the first half of the season, then they disappeared in the second. Provided you have a decent every-week alternative, I'm never averse to trading a defense if someone wants to give you a great player for it.
Potential big game for Floyd with Gates out and Jackson possibly limited?
Hi, Peter. I don't hate the logic. I don't know how limited Jackson will really be, so I'd hate to put all my eggs in the Floyd basket (benching someone ostensibly better), only to have V-Jax be healthy, y'know? Especially since Floyd hasn't done a dang thing all year. He's healthy, so that's good. And there's no Champ Bailey for the Broncos, so there's possible work to be done. I rated Jackson 4th and Floyd 35th this week, so obviously you can see where my belief is at the moment, but I'm willing to have my mind changed if we see more negative health reports about Jackson.
Who do you like better ROS Maclin or Marshall?
Hi, Jacob. I'm stubbornly sticking by Marshall. Maclin seems healthy again, and I'm willing to forgive, in part, the fact that he's only had one decent week out of four (and what a week it was). Marshall also has a potential mess looming at QB if Matt Moore is the starter. But I think Marshall is the better player, and Maclin is somewhat limited by the weirdness going on in Philly. They're close. I give Marshall the slight nod just based on skills.
Do you think I will be really involved this week? Or would I be better taking my chances with either Wayne or Shonn Greene?
It seemed likely that Colston would get eased back into action, because that's how the Saints worked with Lance Moore earlier in the year. I think he'll be a bigger part of the game plan this week, so I do think he's worth considering as a starter. I ranked him highest among Saints receivers (and a few spots higher than poor Reggie Wayne). As for Greene vs. Colston? Augh. It's getting old waiting for Shonn Greene, I know. When in doubt I tend to play the RB, though.
I have D. Thomas, S. Ridley, and B. Tate on my bench. Which one will be helping me into the playoffs by the end of the year?
Hi, Ryan. Um, none of them? I already gave my schpiel on Ridley, and Tate looks merely like a handcuff to Arian Foster again (though he'll probably be worth flex consideration himself some weeks, provided he can get/stay healthy). I guess I'll say Daniel Thomas. He looks like the starter in Miami, and was strong in Week 3, flashing the skills that made him the most coveted rookie fantasy draftee this summer. Obviously, the Dolphins don't look very good right now. But I give Thomas the best chance to have the most opportunities.
Chris, the Steelers D is killing me. Actually scoring me negative points in some of my leagues. Can/Should I bail for a D like Houston, Tennessee, or the 49ers (I can't believe I am saying it) for the rest of the season?
Hi, Mark. I hear you. Who would've guessed? James Harrison being out for a while isn't going to help, either. What we always say about fantasy defenses is that you *have* to be ready to bail, because they're so unpredictable. But you're right...this doesn't feel like your run-of-the-mill bail. This is the Steelers! They're supposed to be a lock. This week I have the Titans highest of that group of three, but that's largely because Pittsburgh's offensive line is so ravaged. I like the Texans right now best of that group. Should you pull the trigger? I think it's defensible. I just worry it could come back to bite you, if those guys figure it out.
Norv said he wants to get R. Matthews 24/25 carries this week.. So again, I'll ask you is he heating up or a sell-high candidate. I've got an offer to give up Matthews/D. Jackson for Foster. Do I follow through? Thoughts?
Hi, Mike. Yeah, I read those comments. I tend to take 'em with a grain of salt, especially from Norv, who famously called LaDainian Tomlinson a great candidate to win a rushing title before his final season in SD. That said, it's hard to ignore how good Mathews has looked on tape. But yes, I would make that trade. Mike Tolbert *is* going to score TDs in that offense. He just is. So by getting Foster, you get the full fantasy-stud package, with few questions asked. (Ben-Tate-related questions, I suppose.) I assume you have other good WRs, or you wouldn't be considering this. And of course, if you do it, you have to hope and believe Foster's hammy is a thing of the past. I believe last week's workload indicates it is.
Hi Chris, I am trying to decide who I should include in a trade for Foster. Who do you like better ROS: Wallace or Vjax?
Hi, Zac. I guess at this very moment I have to say I like Jackson a smidge more. He's battle injuries, it's true, but there's a non-zero chance Big Ben has physical problems that might eventually *he* can't play through, and I wouldn't like Wallace as much if he can't go. But they're awfully close, and I'm cool rolling with either guy as my No. 1 most weeks.
ROS: Roddy White or Larry Fitz (PPR league)? Is it even close at this point?
Hi, Matt. Well, I think it's relatively close. I would've answered Fitzgerald before the season started, and I'm definitely going to answer Fitzgerald now. I'm not in love with how Kevin Kolb is playing...he still looks shaky in the pocket. But Fitz is just otherworldly skills-wise. White? He's great, but he's not a freak. And Julio Jones limits his weekly upside. I go Fitz.
Is Mark Clayton worth a pick up? I dont need him but I also dont need E. Sanders. Should I drop Sanders for Clayton?
Hi, Demetrios. Yeah, man, let me take this moment to say I was wrong wrong wrong so far on Emmanuel Sanders. Apparently Antonio Brown really *is* good enough to be the guy I thought Sanders would be. I don't think Clayton is very interesting right now -- he's on the PUP list, so he isn't eligible to return until Week 8, and there's no telling what the state of his leg might be. I'll tell you: I'd drop Sanders and add Brown, if he's available.
Is Knowshon worth keeping at this point?
Hi, James. Well, I guess it completely depends on what you're picking up for him. I tend to think Moreno's usefulness isn't completely done for the year. Willis McGahee has racked up a couple good games, but he doesn't look anything like a starting NFL RB. His burst is gone. I'm also skeptical he could hold up under every-week pounding the whole year. I think Moreno will eventually get another crack. Will he take advantage? Not sure. But he's got more upside than most of the folks you'd find on your waiver wire, probably.
Will the Jets really go run first?
Hi, Tyler. Great question. I'm guessing they try and balance it out a *little* at first, at least until and if they start losing this week against the Patriots. Making grandiose statements to the media about your game strategy is all well and good, but it's not like the Jets haven't tried to run early in games. They've just had no success. The line isn't getting push, and Shonn Greene just doesn't look like the special player he did in the playoffs a couple years back. In other words: they might try and run, but I'm skeptical they'll be *able* to do as much as they need to keep up with BradyCo.
I like the praise you gave fitz earlier but it just doesnt seem like Kolb gets him the ball often enough. Would you stick with him or Package him with Tolbert and try to get another elite WR? Who could I get for them? thank you C
Hi, Lief. I hear you. Fitz is currently 15th among WRs in targets, which is frustrating for a player this good. His targets are 7-8-8-11 for the first four weeks...and there's no excuse for not giving him double digits every week. I think they're coming. I guess I'm saying that while I hear you, I still *do* consider Fitz an elite, top-end WR who'll be among the top five by season's end. Hopefully that doesn't wind up just being blind faith.
Someone has offered me Andre Johnson for Julio Jones straight up in non-PPR, considering injury would you do this deal. I have Jennings, MacLin, Manningham, and M. Williams(TB) as other recievers.
Hi, Daniel. Phew, someone in your league really knows how to find a pressure point, don't they? Man. The bottom line of whether or not to do this deal comes down to how much faith you have that AJ will be back in three or so weeks. If you think he'll make it back that quickly based on what the Houston papers are saying, yes, I think you do this deal. But obviously, you'd be assuming major risk. Remember when Owen Daniels was supposed to be fine week after week last year, and he just kept *not* being fine? If you don't have tolerance for that kind of roller-coaster ride, maybe it would be best to just stay away.
Am I still a must-start this week?
Yeah, I think it's very tough to get away from Welker, even with Revis on him. While the other rankers still put him 1 or 2 among WRs this week, I did put him at No. 9 for exactly the reason you mention...I can absolutely envision the Jets sticking Revis on Welker and telling New England to beat them some other way. But man, with how good that cat has been, you'd hate yourself if he exploded again and you had him riding pine.
Is Javhid Best ever going to bring it this season? He couldn't catch a cold on Sunday in Dallas!
Best just hasn't been what I expected as a runner. 47.5 rush yards per game just isn't going to cut it. But he is still averaging nearly 100 total yards from scrimmage per week, and that's nothing to sneeze at. The issue with him with be TDs. If Calvin Johnson keeps scoring two every week, well, he's gonna set some kind of record or something, and Best will be left out in the cold. My feeling is that we'll see a counter-balance to this later in the year. I'm still a believer.
Thoughts on Ryan Grant ROS?
Hi, Jason. James Starks did a good job recovering from a bad Week 3 in Grant's absence last week, so I still believe Starks is the first option in that backfield with Grant as a good second option. But that might flip-flop a few more times during the season, especially if Starks puts the ball on the ground or just looks lost, like he did against the Bears. Grant was awfully good in that game.
OK, gang, I've got to go write the Hard Count. I know it can be frustrating not to get your question answered -- there were well over 3,500 in this hour, and I promise I did my best, but there's only so fast my little fingers can type. I'm not trying to big-time you, I promise...I really appreciate all the interest, and am frankly overwhelmed by it. I know I wouldn't get to do this great job without all of you, so thank you. You can friend me at Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/writerboy and follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/writerboyESPN. Thank you again. Have a great day.