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December 7, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with Eric Karabell

Eric Karabell
  (11:01 AM)

Hello all and welcome to the latest ESPN Fantasy chat session. I am Eric. If you're looking for Tristan H. Cockcroft, he will be chatting later today at 3 p.m. ET. Minor scheduling change. Anyway, if you're getting ready for the football playoffs this week or perhaps wanna talk baseball, that's all good with me! Thanks for showing up and here we go.....

Flex (Start?)

Dez or Mendy?

Eric Karabell
  (11:02 AM)

Flex rankings will be posted on Thursday, but I'd think based on where I ranked Bryant and Mendenhall that Mendy will win. Hey, he's not awesome, but 60 yards and a score? Will Dez do that for sure?

PJ (Omaha)

Better player to have on your roster the ROS.... Felix Jones or Monterio Hardesty?

Eric Karabell
  (11:03 AM)

I have no interest in relying on a Browns player the rest of the season, and I don't mean that jokingly. Hardesty has been more infuriating than Peyton Hillis to some degree. Felix doesn't do much, but I'd still go with him in case something happens to DeMarco Murray. In Cleveland, it really doesn't matter who is healthy or hurt.

Eric (Chicago)

Can Miles Austin be trusted if he starts this week?

Eric Karabell
  (11:05 AM)

I ranked Miles third among the Dallas WRs, and I believe my ranking partners did the same. Robinson was going to have a good Week 13 had he not gotten hurt. Austin could start this week but we don't know how many snaps he'll get, whether there's rust, nothing. And it's the playoffs!

Dave (Playoffs Baby!)

What do you think about DMC returning this week? I've been getting by with Reggie Bush and Mathews, and am between picking Benson and Stevie for my Flex if DMC is out of limited.

Eric Karabell
  (11:06 AM)

There are two top-10 RBs people are desperate to return (that could return, so not including Forte). I do not think we will see Adrian Peterson or Darren McFadden this week. Interestingly, two of the four rankers think Peterson plays. If he does, I'd rank him top 5. I just don't think he will. And McFadden...I'm skeptical. But nothing wrong with Bush and Mathews, they've played well. I'd go Benson over Stevie Johnson.

Danny (Detroit)

Should I be worried about maclins health if starts this weekend

Eric Karabell
  (11:07 AM)

Apparently Vick and Maclin are going to play this weekend, but it's hardly an easy matchup in Miami against a team winning and playing strong defense. I'd be careful here. Maclin didn't make my top 20, but he's better than an indifferent DeSean Jackson.

BEANIE (WELLS)

Don't play me in favor of better rbs: Helu, Mendenhall, R. Bush?

Eric Karabell
  (11:08 AM)

I ranked Wells fourth out of this group of players. Sorry, Bean.

Johnny B (Lexington, KY)

Erik, thanks in part to you and your fellow prognosticators, I'm 1st and 3rd overall in my 2 leagues, heading to the playoffs. No question, just a word of thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (11:08 AM)

Well thank you for reading/watching this season! We couldn't do this without you! Good luck in the playoffs!

Chandler (Tulsa)

I lost Fred Davis at TE and own Celek. Is he a better option in weeks 15 and 16 (I've got a bye) than the soldier in TB or my namesake in Buffalo?

Eric Karabell
  (11:09 AM)

I think you could literally flip a coin between Winslow and Celek. I've got them 10 and 11 respectively, but Winslow did better with the group. I don't think Chandler is supposed to play this week, so I didn't rank him.

Greg (Chicago)

Any suggestion for a sleeper TE since I just lost Davis?

Eric Karabell
  (11:11 AM)

Well yeah, I think the guy replacing Fred in D.C. should get some looks. It's Logan Paulsen, and he's got the size and apparently the ability and we know the Redskins don't have a ton of WR options. For bigger names take a look at Celek and Jake Ballard. They get targets.

HELLO (Helu)

Am i finally a safe start?

Eric Karabell
  (11:11 AM)

Yes, I think despite Mike Shanahan's recklessness, Roy Helu is finally a clear-cut RB2.

Phil (MA)

Is Marion Barber going to be leaned on this week?

Eric Karabell
  (11:12 AM)

I see like 20 carries for Barber for 70 yards, and perhaps a score. I wouldn't go overboard here, though. Kahlil Bell could get 10-plus carries as well. The Bears know they can't throw 30 times and win.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

EK, I know you agree...it's not just playing the guy with the highest ceiling, but also the highest floor...would you feel better playing Helu or JStew in a .5 PPR? Helu has Shanny to contend with, Stewart has Cam and D-Willy...

Eric Karabell
  (11:13 AM)

Well, I would go with Helu here. Shanny hasn't been using other RBs lately... I'll say this: I have no desire to use DeAngelo Williams in any leagues. His QB runs for a TD every week. Newton might lead the NFL in rushing TDs, and he's a QB!

Nathan J. (Macomb, IL)

EK, it's that time of year where some of us have to look forward to next year - I'm in a standard 10-team league but we keep five. I have Eli, Turner, SJax, Welker and Nicks. Are all of those guys worth keeping or should I give one up for the subsequent pick? My main question really lies with Eli.

Eric Karabell
  (11:14 AM)

Yes, I realize many of you are looking ahead. I have teams that didn't make it as well. It happens, especially if you had some bad luck with early RB picks. I try to avoid keeping QBs, to be honest. Eli is a top 10 guy, but he's not Brady or Brees, either. I'd keep your 4 RB/WR guys first, see if you could upgrade the fifth slot to another RB. Eli is fine, but I feel like you can re-draft someone like him.

Demaryius Thomas (Denver)

You appeared down on me on espn yesterday why don't you think I will be more of a factor especially in weeks 15 and 16 vs pats and bills?

Eric Karabell
  (11:16 AM)

Kind of an all or nothing type at this point, and I don't overrate players when they have a big week out of the blue. Plus, I saw most of that game... Decker was getting a lot of attention, and 2 of the Thomas catches - he only had 4 - were broken plays. I could see 2 catches for 24 yards just as likely this week. It's not like this is a passing offense, after all.

JT (playofftown USA)

please pick one: blount, jacobs, ingram, or barber. thank you kindly!

Eric Karabell
  (11:16 AM)

Despite his awful Week 13 and some off-field issues, I'd still go Blount. Man, how could he blow it last week? Terrible.

N-Stompakung Suh (Detroit)

Even without me, are the Lions D a good play or would you rather roll with Miami's HOT defense?

Eric Karabell
  (11:17 AM)

I still have the Lions D in my top this week, though I see others on staff do not agree! Dolphins should get 3 or 4 turnovers out of Philly, too. Each are worthy.

Drew ((NY))

If Hillis does not play this week which one are u starting in his place, Ogby or Hardesty?

Eric Karabell
  (11:17 AM)

Avoid the Browns. Not trying to be mean, but nothing is going well for that offense. I'd go Ogby. At least he plays.

Frank (NJ)

Is Gronkowski on pace for the best fantasy season ever by a tight end?

Eric Karabell
  (11:18 AM)

He sure is. Dominant player and I'd call him and Jimmy Graham good keepers as well. Normally I don't keep tight ends.

Tim (Charlotte)

Big fan. Thanks for your hard work! Can/Will Lynch keep up his torrid pace in the playoffs with the likes of Bears and 49ers on tap after the Rams?

Eric Karabell
  (11:19 AM)

Certainly things are getting tougher for Seattle, but the way Lynch is blocking and more importantly the holes his o-line are giving him are big, too. I'd say Lynch isn't a sure-fire top 10 guy those 2 weeks, but it's tough to sit a guy scoring literally every week. He's getting 20 points per over 5 weeks!

Phil ( MA)

Gerhart looked pretty good to me last week so I'm thinking of benching Antonio Brown at my flex for him in my non ppr league?

Eric Karabell
  (11:20 AM)

Seems reasonable. They'll be in around the same area for me in the flex ranks. I doubt Peterson plays, and Toby seems safe for at least 70 yards due to the sheer touches.

Richard (Charlotte)

Ethics question: One week remaining in the regular season. I've already locked up the #1 seed and am looking forward to the playoffs. A loss for me this week and a loss for another guy gets me a much more favorable round one matchup. Is it kosher to "rest my starters" this week if I have legitimate options to replace them (Tolbert for McCoy, for example)?

Eric Karabell
  (11:21 AM)

I wouldn't do it. I would try to win every week, even if the game doesn't matter. Plus, I don't believe in "favorable" matchups; playoff teams are playoff teams, and crazy things happen. I'd never sit McCoy. Ever.

Xander (Philly)

You riding with AP if he starts? I already have two must start RBs (Lynch and Matthews), so if I were to sit AP it would be in lieu of Stevie Johnson or AJ Green at the flex. Thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (11:22 AM)

Yes, I would play AP if he starts. I understand Johnson and Green come off decent weeks, but you sit them for AP.

Dave (TX)

Was last week for Murray a bump in the road? Does he get back to relevance this week?

Eric Karabell
  (11:22 AM)

Just some strange playcalling, really. Murray is still the guy. We all ranked him well.

Qb quandary (north Dakota )

big Ben this week vs CLE or tebow vs CHI

Eric Karabell
  (11:23 AM)

Tebow gets 15 points every week, without fail. I'd go with him. Steelers go up two touchdowns in the first quarter and Ben might not throw in the second half. Plus, Browns do nicely against the pass. I know people still don't like Tebow...but the numbers don't lie. The numbers are there EVERY week.

Matt Forte (Chicago)

Hearing my most recent comments. any reason to hold onto me? Can I reasonably be expected to have a chance to play week 16?

Eric Karabell
  (11:23 AM)

Yeah, I actually do think Forte is coming back in December. I'd keep him around.

Robert (FL)

Thoughts on Spiller ROS?

Eric Karabell
  (11:24 AM)

Starting to look legit actually. Not that I'm too surprised, but I think he's a guy emerging. I ranked him pretty well at RB and WR.

Chris (Colorado)

"Favorable Matchup"? No such thing!!! Just lost in consecutive weeks I lost to the 2 worst teams in the league. Both were high scorers of the week. No such thing as a favorable matchup.

Eric Karabell
  (11:26 AM)

Exactly. I don't know about the karma stuff, but always try to win. It's the right thing to do. I mean, I see it all the time, tank a week to play a rival and you get blown out. I have a team that lost I think 4 of 5 weeks to start, and won 4 straight after that. Surprised people. Try.

Scott (South Dakota)

Am I over thinking if I consider picking up a QB with a stellar matchup (Hasselbeck or Grossman) and playing them over Big Ben this week?

Eric Karabell
  (11:26 AM)

Yeah, that I wouldn't do. It's still just a week and you play your best options. Only difference is if you lose, it's over. But overthinking rarely works out.

Rex (Washington)

Home vs. the worst passing defense in the league and you have me 19th?

Eric Karabell
  (11:27 AM)

Factoring in a few interceptions, so yeah.

Andrew (Springfield)

Desperate for running back help going into the playoffs. Bell or Saine?

Eric Karabell
  (11:27 AM)

I think because the Packers just don't rely on the run much that Bell is worth the shot. I could see him getting double digit touches for Chicago.

Ryan (Montana)

Should I hold on to Manningham in case he comes back or pick up Santana Moss or Malcom Floyd instead?

Eric Karabell
  (11:28 AM)

Even if Manningham can play, Victor Cruz has been so productive, I don't see how MM can do much. I kinda like Moss this week.

Dave (TX)

Bowe is useless unless Orton gets snaps correct?

Eric Karabell
  (11:29 AM)

No, I don't believe that. Palko isn't very good, but Bowe can still get 7 fantasy points and perhaps score. Don't look too closely at the Chiefs-Bears game. Ugly game.

Rufus (Richmond)

Is starting Percy over Mike Wallace overthinking the matchups?

Eric Karabell
  (11:29 AM)

Yeah, a little. Though I do have these guys within a few spots of each other.

Danny (Chicago)

Not loving Bowe being on Revis Island with Palko throwing to him. Am I getting too cute throwing in someone like Doug Balwdin?

Eric Karabell
  (11:30 AM)

Revis hasn't really been Revis this season; still good, but receivers are catching passes on him. Plus, Bowe will get the other corner as well...and that's nice!

J.B. (PA)

I know that generally you don't like going with the QB and WR from the same team but would Eli and Cruz be an exception to that rule? They've lit it up for me in the past two weeks.

Eric Karabell
  (11:31 AM)

I have no problem going with the QB-WR combo if they are playing well. It's the RB-WR combo that worries me more, or two WRs from the same team. Cruz is the No. 3 WR for the SEASON in fantasy... and still doesn't seem to be getting the love. Yes, Nicks had a big Week 13...so did Cruz.

Willy (Montreal)

What do you expect from Maurice Morris? Assuming Smith is out.

Eric Karabell
  (11:32 AM)

I expect at least 60 total yards and the chance he'll snag another receiving touchdown. I wouldn't call him a good player, but I think at this point we know Kevin Smith isn't playing all 4 quarters.

Raul (SD)

How do you see the RB combo for Houston this week? I'm leaning Tate over Cedric.

Eric Karabell
  (11:33 AM)

Well, Foster is clearly the No. 1 guy. I think it's risky to go Tate over an established 20-carry guy like Benson.

Sherri (Baltimore)

Thanks for all your advice this year. In a very deep league and lots of injuries have left me scrounging for a flex option. B. Tate, J. Simpson, G. Tate, or Schilens?

Eric Karabell
  (11:34 AM)

Thank you for reading it! I'd say Tate stands out there. I think he'll get enough carries to do something,and there's still the chance he gets double digit fantasy points. I can't say I would rely on those WRs.

Julio Jones (ATL)

Of all the guys ranked in the 25-30 range, I have by far the most upside, right?

Eric Karabell
  (11:35 AM)

Well, Jones has serious upside, but he's not alone. He should be healthy by now.

Rich (NY)

If Jeremy Maclin has a good week at practice (no setbacks), how much does he move up in your projections?

Eric Karabell
  (11:36 AM)

He doesn't. I'm already assuming he is healthy, but it's a dysfunctional team and it's playing a decent defense. My expectations for Philly are not high.

Karl Welzein (Grand Blanc, MI)

How big of a drop do you anticipate for Harvin when AP comes back?

Eric Karabell
  (11:36 AM)

None. Toby Gerhart is getting the same carries Peterson was getting. Ponder had a big Week 13 but don't expect that to continue. Harvin should have been playing well all year.

Frank (NJ)

What's going on with Turner? If he wasn't playing Carolina this week, I would be tempted to start Spiller over him.

Eric Karabell
  (11:38 AM)

Turner is a little hurt, but I think you play him over Spiller every week. And it's Carolina... though they stopped Blount last week. The threat of Ryan at QB over Josh Johnson changes things.

Ryan (NY)

What do you think of LLoyd ROS with the QB situation in St. Louis?

Eric Karabell
  (11:38 AM)

Still a top 20 guy to me. It's not like Sam Bradford was playing well. He was terrible.

CT (Playoff bound!!!)

What can we expect out of Bradshaw ROS?

Eric Karabell
  (11:39 AM)

Well, I think Jacobs will continue to get carries, so don't assume Bradshaw is a top 20 guy yet. Hard to tell.

Tolbert (SD)

I know I give hope to everyone with a beer gut, but am I pretty useless now, barring a Mathews injury?

Eric Karabell
  (11:40 AM)

Well, didn't you score on Monday night? I wouldn't say useless.

Flip (The Factory)

Just read Andre Johnson is probably going to be a game time decision... if he goes do you plug him in front of Laurent Robinson or Boldin?

Eric Karabell
  (11:40 AM)

Yeah, but it's not an obvious situation, either. Plus, who knows how many snaps AJ gets?

SRD (AZ)

Yes, I know the rankings are available for all to see, but please convince me to keep Shonn Greene on the bench in favor of Willis McGahee this week.

Eric Karabell
  (11:41 AM)

McGahee gets numbers every week when healthy. It's a running offense that does a good job of blocking. Greene had a monster game against a bad team... McGehee is getting 100 yards. Will Greene?

jerry (iowa)

K question. Any worries rookie Bailey goes in the tank after last weeks debacle?

Eric Karabell
  (11:42 AM)

No kicker questions! And if the coach doesn't call a timeout Bailey is fine. No worries here at all.

Jacob (Washington)

What's Carson Palmers floor and ceiling this week? Better than Tebow?

Eric Karabell
  (11:42 AM)

Honestly, just play Tebow and enjoy the 15 points. How often is Palmer topping 15 points?

jim (wash)

I know your flex rankings aren't out yet, but S. Moss or C. Benson?

Eric Karabell
  (11:43 AM)

In general, if the RB is at 20 in his rankings, and the WR is at 30 in his, the RB will rank better in the flex rankings. And it probably won't be close.

Mark (Chicago)

Riley Cooper, Laurent Robinson, Toby Gerhart all back on the shelf if their Starters play?

Eric Karabell
  (11:43 AM)

Not Robinson. He will continue to be relevant.

Greg (Washington, DC)

I know TDs are hard to predict, but with how Gronk has played this year and last (he would be a top-five WR), where do you think he should he get drafted next year? I would take him at the back end of Rd. 2.

Eric Karabell
  (11:44 AM)

Seems a bit generous, but I'd say top 30 isn't outrageous. Just remember, Gates had a season like this... did he go top 30?

Robert (Orlando)

Is SJAX only really ranked that high out of respect? It seems like he's just not viable ROS.

Eric Karabell
  (11:45 AM)

I don't really rank players out of respect. That's how you make poor decisions. The Jackson that went off in Week 10 could do it again... the SF and Seattle matchups were not easy at all.

CAM (Chicago)

Thoughts on why Marshall is ranked above AJ Green? It happens almost every week. And almost every week Green outscores him.

Eric Karabell
  (11:46 AM)

I rank Green better every week, so I can't really explain it. I do think Marshall will feast on Philly, but Green is a top 10 guy now.

Matthew Stafford (Detroit)

Will my teammates continue to kill drives with stupid penalties?

Eric Karabell
  (11:47 AM)

Stafford is having a terrific season...and really, if you think about it, if linemen jump offside or Burleson keeps getting holding calls, that's more yards potentially for Stafford to get. See the bright side!

Flip (FL)

Is your ranking of Gerhart this week a product of the possibility that AP play? If AP is declared out would you put Gerhart ahead or Spiller or BJGE

Eric Karabell
  (11:48 AM)

Gerhart ranking is presuming Peterson is out. If Peterson plays then Gerhart drops probably 15 spots.

Brett Lawrie (Toronto)

Baseball! When is the earliest you would draft me this year? You've said i'm Ryan Braun in 2 years.

Eric Karabell
  (11:49 AM)

Baseball! C'mon people! I think Lawrie in round 4 makes sense. Probably way too early for some, but I believe.

Luke (Tx)

If you own Tebow and Chicago D, Would you play both this week?

Eric Karabell
  (11:49 AM)

If they were my best options, yes. Just because fantasy owners root for stuff doesn't mean both options here can't produce.

Jake (Cleveland)

I feel that we need to take a second and appreciate what Calvin Johnson is doing this season despite the complete lack of a viable #2 WR threat and running game on that team. It's incredible what this guy continues to do with consistent double and triple teams.

Eric Karabell
  (11:50 AM)

He's awesome. But Burleson has been ok the past few weeks, and Stafford is elite. If you wanna appreciate a WR, check out Larry Fitz. Now that is a mess in Arizona, and it was last year.

Eric Karabell
  (11:50 AM)

He's awesome. But Burleson has been ok the past few weeks, and Stafford is elite. If you wanna appreciate a WR, check out Larry Fitz. Now that is a mess in Arizona, and it was last year.

Toby Gerhart (Minnesota)

My buddy says he's going to start Antonio Brown over me is he a moron?

Eric Karabell
  (11:51 AM)

Well, I can't answer the question accurately. He might be, but not because of that decision.

Julius (Atlanta)

Help me out, which defense this week, San Fran or Baltimore because I have the pleasure of having them both.

Eric Karabell
  (11:52 AM)

I think I have ranked the Balt defense first every week for months. The Niners might be second, but I'd still go Ravens.

Brian (VA)

Good Morning Eric. Go Pirates? This season, it seems like there's no such thing as too many handcuff running backs. But is Kendall Hunter worth the stash (I do not own Frank Gore) over say Toby Gerhart, Ricky Williams, or even Jason Snelling or Joe McKnight?

Eric Karabell
  (11:53 AM)

I think Gerhart has to be owned, because it's still possible Peterson doesn't return at all. That team is, after all, going nowhere. I'd rank Hunter next though; Gore hasn't been great of late, and the Niners already have won the division. I expect Hunter will be one of the players we all tout for Week 17.

Erik S. (Des Moines)

Watching Fantasy Football Now on Sundays, it really irks me when they say simply play the players that are ranked higher. Aren't the rankings completely subjective and a composite of 3 or 4 different analysis?

Eric Karabell
  (11:54 AM)

I'd just play the players YOU want to play, regardless of rankings. That's what I do. I also wouldn't let a TV show bother you. Watch it, enjoy it, be informed and entertained and make your lineups the way you want.

Charlie (Louisiana)

I see Spiller listed as RB/WR. Is he elegible for both in ESPN Standard leagues?

Eric Karabell
  (11:54 AM)

Yes, that is what that means. McCluster has the same thing.

Steve (SF)

Baseball! Where do you think Pujols ends up? Where would his fantasy value be the greatest? Thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (11:55 AM)

I could still see him heading to Miami, but I also think if he wanted to do it, it would have happened already. And it doesn't matter statistically where he goes. We don't know about the new Miami park, but he'll hit anywhere. His value would be best in Coors or Texas... but he's still my top guy.

Alan (Columbus, OH)

Hi Eric. Seems as if you are down on Bowe and D. Jackson. Who do you start between the two? Are you better off going to the waivers for Demaryius Thomas. Burleson, or Santana Moss?

Eric Karabell
  (11:56 AM)

Well, Bowe is limited by his QB. And Jackson just doesn't seem to care. I think both are better than the other choices, though. Maybe this is the week Jackson does something. He's certainly capable.

Steve (IL)

Dexter McCluster omitted from your WR rankings because you don't consider him a WR or because he doesn't rate in your Top 40?

Eric Karabell
  (11:57 AM)

I ranked him 47, so he's there, but I don't expect much until the Chiefs really give him touches.

Shawn (DC)

Feelings on Vick coming back this week?

Eric Karabell
  (11:59 AM)

If I was Philly, I wouldn't risk him getting hurt at this point. Doesn't seem worth it in a lost season. But I expect a borderline top 10 performance.

Andrew (Springfield)

Bobby Parnell - no longer a resign for $7 in NL-only?

Eric Karabell
  (11:59 AM)

Um no, time to move on. Mets did.

Eric Karabell
  (12:00 PM)

OK, that is all the time I have been allotted today, so I thank you for the many questions and wish you well in Week 14 and for the rest of the season!