Hi, all. It's time for the fantasy playoffs, so let's get chatting. Remember also to check out my novel, Slotback Rhapsody. Pro football! Locker-room hijinx! HGH abuse! Wild hotel parties! Vegetarianism! It's all there. http://www.slotbackrhapsody.com. Let's get to your questions.
who would you rather own as your WR3 for the playoffs? johnny knox, damian williams or greg little. which one to drop?
Hi, John. Well, obviously you'd rather have to play *none* of these guys. But I'd say Little is the drop in standard leagues, and Knox in PPR.
(By the way, gang, I already see tons of single-position, standard-league questions. Get my answers to all those types of Q's here: http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/football/ffl/story?page=11ranksWeek14QB)
First round of the playoffs and I am desperate for a solid flex play in a 14 team ppr league. Who is my best option: Brad Smith, Peyton Hillis, Brandon Jacobs or Brandon Saine (if Starks is out).
Hi, Tom. PPR, if Hillis is active tonight, I might have to roll with him, despite the yucky matchup vs. Pittsburgh. If he's not...I think it's probably Jacobs. Heartening to see Saine getting targets with Starks out, but I'm not sure I've seen enough to trust that's gonna happen, and of course, Hillis will have already played (if he's active) by the time you know whether or not Starks goes.
I can play a QB in Flex... Tebow or Helu ? 10 team PPR
Hi, Tim. Tebow would be my choice.
HANDCUFF QUESTION!!! Who is MJD's handcuff now, Karim or Owens? Better off grabbing one of them or handcuffing Brown to McCoy? THANKS!!
Hi, AJ. Sheesh, I have to admit I'm not exactly sure. On Monday night, Karim was inactive and Owens got a few looks, but certainly didn't excite with his performance. The problem you have in Philly is the same...is it Brown or Dion Lewis if McCoy goes down? I'm honestly not sure. I think the one guy I'd add here would be Brown, because I trust that he'd get a few short looks with no McCoy, but really, neither MJD nor McCoy have strong handcuffs right now.
Looking for flex help in an ESPN standard Sproles,Bradshaw or Colston?
Hi, John. I have Sproles above Bradshaw, so it comes down to a battle of Saints. I trust Sproles to give you a baseline of receptions that will give you *something*, but Colston, IMO, has more upside. Depending on the rest of your lineup, you can decide which of those you need more.
I know it's a single position question, but this one requires a bit more thought! Antonio Brown vs no.1 pass D, or Santana Moss vs no.32 pass D??
Heh. I appreciate you doing the reading (there *will* be a quiz), but that's a computation that went *into* the ranks when I slaved over 'em Tuesday night. I have Brown higher. Had Moss shown *anything* since his return, I'm sure I'd have felt differently, and I understand that the matchup is *way* better.....
Why is there not more love for Santana Moss this week? He's healthy and talented, has regained his No. 1 wide receiver role, and is facing the horrendous Patriot's pass defense this week. Rex Grossman is awful, but can get the ball down the field well. Taking all of this into account, why is he not top 15?!
Same kind of question, same answer from me. Grossman can certainly have his moments, and he might have the most favorable schedule left of any QB the rest of the season (see the Hard Count tomorrow for more on that). But between his erratic play and Moss showing not-much the first two weeks back from his broken hand, well, I'd be scared to roll with him in a must-win. Figuring out ranks is *partly* evaluating matchup, but *partly* evaluating how well a player is playing. I couldn't justify ranking him higher.
Big playoff matchup. Who would you rather start in a PPR? Santonio Holmes or Chaz Shilens in a game that the Raiders should throw a lot?
Hi, Rob. If it's me, I'm avoiding out-thinking myself. Holmes is a crucial part of the Jets offense, and Schilens is a marginal player forced into action by injury. *Could* Schilens blow up? Certainly. But if you play this weekend's games 10 times, how many times is Holmes going to out-point him? 8? 9? I think you have to go Holmes.
What are your thoughts on a playoff structure that allows 8 out of 12 teams in?
Well, I mean, to each his own. I'm in a 16-teamer where 12 teams get "in," though the first four teams (division champs) get byes, so there's a wild-card round where seeds 5 through 12 play, plus we give 10 points for playoff home field advantage, to make it more valuable to have a better record. (I'm a big proponent of points for home field.) But I'm also in a 12-teamer where 6 get in, and it does feel like more would render the regular season a bit irrelevant.
IF, DMC comes back Week 15 (his target date) for the first round of my Fantasy Playoffs, what would you consider him in his first week back after a 6-7week layoff in Non PPR? Low-End RB2 OR High-End FLEX Option? Thoughts?
It's a good question. I'm going to want to read what the Raiders say leading up to Week 15, in that case. Are they talking about splitting the load with Bush? Are they talking about giving him his full-time job back? That first week, my guess is that he'd be eased into action...but of course, all he'd need to do would be start the game off hot, and such plans would be thrown out the window. Let's check in again next week.
I have to ask...IS IT FLACCO TIME? He scares the bejesus out of me but that match up is so tempting.
Hi, Mark. The Colts actually *haven't* been a plus matchup for opposing QBs over the past five weeks. They've been a slight negative, according to my calculations (which I'll describe in tomorrow's Hard Count). Given how erratic Flacco has been, I just didn't feel comfortable ranking him highly, especially because the Colts *are* a strongly positive matchup for opposing RBs over the past five weeks (et tu, Ray Rice?).
I clearly have a lot left in the tank even after 10,000 career yards. Will the Ravens use me this week as much as they did against the browns?
Wish I knew for sure. I don't think you can feel great about starting Williams in a playoff game, y'know? Heck, the Ravens have let some crummy teams stay in games, removing the possibility of garbage time that we all expected.
In a PPR, would you take Spiller or McGahee?? I luckily have Ray Rice and MJD in great Matchups!!
Hi, Christian, in a PPR, I think I might lean toward Spiller. McGahee's matchup against the Bears is a tough one, and we *know* he's not catching any passes. Spiller is good for 3 or so, and possibly more, and the Chargers' front 7 doesn't scare me. Standard leagues, it's McGahee for me, PPR, I think I go Spiller.
I know the rankings say go for Boldin. But does Decker have more of an upside than him considering BAL will pound the ball with Rice against IND?
Hi, TJ. I understand the theory, and before last week, I might've said Decker clearly had more upside. But watching Demaryius Thomas as the guy who went off last week, it makes me think Decker's upside is variable at best, so if it's me, I think I'm still going Boldin.
What are your thoughts on Golden Tate and Johnny Knox for the playoffs and the future (2-3 yrs) in a dynasty format? I need some healthy options, since my WR corps include AJ, Manningham and S Moss!
Hi, Chip. I have Tate a few notches higher this week -- obviously, I don't like either QB situation, but I trust Tarvaris Jackson (gulp) more than Caleb Hanie. I'm *hopeful* that Tate is finally following through on his collegiate promise, and Pete Carroll is certainly *saying* the right things. Then again, if Mike Martz leaves Chicago (please!), Knox's future gets brighter, too. I think heading into next year, I'd still have Knox a bit higher. But they're trending pretty close.
what drives you crazier - people who ask positional rank questions, or people who post the same question 30 times over to get your attention, like you didnt see it the first time?
Hi, Eric. It's a tie.
Given the QB and OL situation is it best to stay away from Rams like Lloyd and SJax?
Hi, Chris. Oy, it's gonna be ugly, right? Monday night, Tom Brandstater possibly under center for the Rams? I was impressed that Lloyd was able to register some positive fantasy points when A.J. Feeley was the QB, so never say never. And Jackson has labored with crummy QBs for years, and occasionally produces a worthwhile game. But the Seahawks have gotten much better lately on D. I guess the bottom line: Yes, if I have quasi-strong options, I would love to avoid all Rams. But they're not automatic must-benches.
But Mr. Harris, regarding D. Thomas, the Broncos won't be playing the Vikings again this season.
Hi. J.B., yeah, well, sure, but Thomas has produced fine games in the past, as well, and might be a better player than Decker in terms of raw ability. I'm just saying it's tough to know which Broncos WR would break out in a given week, especially since Eddie Royal is battling a concussion.
Never like putting too much emphasis on one team, but with Nicks and Cruz both healthy, I'm having a hard time choosing one to sit. Fitzgerald and Bryant are my other options.
Ha. Yeah, I get you. Myself, I think I'd probably have to make myself pick one and sit the other, and just hope for the best. That is, unless the rest of my team was *so* laden with studs, that I didn't fear the limited upside of having both Giants WRs in there. I mean, if you do play Nicks and Cruz, you're probably capping yourself, though you're also limiting downside, too. It's definitely not an indefensible position. I think I'd play Nicks and Fitz, but I think it's close enough that if your gut is telling you NYGx2, do it.
Am I crazy to consider sitting Fitz for Harvin in a PPR?
Hi, Paul. Not after last week, you're not. Harvin pulled a nutty, and the Cardinals just don't have their QB stuff figured out, even with Kolb back. I would probably still have Fitz rated higher, even in a PPR league. Harvin has come and gone a little bit on occasion, Christian Ponder isn't bulletproof, and *if* Adrian Peterson comes back, the offense is likely to flow through him again. But if your gut is telling you Harvin, again, it's close enough that I couldn't argue.
what's your assessment on the value of Nate Washington and Damian Williams in Tennessee? Do either of them have reliable value? and which is the WR to own? Thanks Chris!
Poor, Albert, gone away to the Coast. I'm not a big Washington guy...and now he's got an injured ankle which he battled through last week. I feel like the offense already prefers Williams, and that he's often Hasselbeck's first read...and there's no doubt which player's career is on the upswing, and who's on the back nine. I prefer Williams. But no, I wouldn't feel great about either guy as a playoff fantasy starter right now, especially not with CJ1K cracking out of his slump.
So to your Vikings point, if AP does play is sitting Harvin for Stevie Johnson or AJ Green a good play?
Hi, Xander. Well, my ranks already assumed AP would be in there (which is by no means certain), and I had Harvin highest of that threesome. So no, I think I'd stick with Harvin. I like him tons. Just not quite as much as Fitz.
Am I droppable? I know I may be back in 2 weeks, but would you have the, er, gall to plug me in championship week?
You know, I think I'd hang on, even though I feel about 80% certain we won't be seeing Forte again during this regular season. You know what would be the *worst*? You drop him, your leading competitor adds him, and he goes off against you in your fantasy championship game. I can't imagine you need a bench spot *that* bad, and can't find anyone else to cut.
Is it a good idea to handcuff *two* RB's? I have Turner (and Jacquizz), but I also have Ahmad Bradshaw. Jacobs recently got put on waivers in my league. I have good RB bench depth (Spiller, Mo Mo, Ben Tate, Saine) and I'm thinking of dumping Saine to get Jacobs. Thoughts?
Hi, Scott. I'd do that. Brandon Saine is interesting, but only because James Starks is hurt, and we haven't seen *any* GB RB be worth an every-week start. But Jacobs? I think he's a total dog, but I'd be lying if I didn't agree that he out-played Bradshaw last week. And Bradshaw has a cracked foot. I think owning Jacobs "just in case" makes more sense.
You ranked Mike Williams (TB) highest amongst your fellow rankers at 22. Could you elaborate on why you feel strongly about him...and would you start him @ flex over S-Jax?
Hi, Adam. Well, I'll say that that rank is tied to Josh Freeman playing...if we go back to Josh Johnson (or Rudy Bleeping Carpenter), I'd have to drop Williams lower. But yeah, I mean, he's shown signs of life. At least 83 yards in three straight with some nice runs after the catch that were reminiscent of last year. I think he's a pretty solid WR3 right now. Whether or not you play him over Jackson comes down to risk tolerance. There's a chance each guy just completely gags and gives you nothing. In general, when it's close, I tend to go RB and just hope. Fingers crossed.
I have both Pittsburgh's Def and Seattle's Def. I see Pittsburgh above Seattle in the ranks, but would that change if Brandstater is the Rams starter? I need every point I can get!
Hi, Ryan. I actually did my ranks assuming Brandsater is the QB, so I do have PIT higher. But listen, we're talking about #3 vs.
Please ell Scott that Snelling is Turner's handcuff, not Jaquizz!
Yeah, I mean, I think if I had to choose one guy to be Turner's 'cuff, it would be Snelling, simply because I don't believe Quizz is big enough or experienced enough to run consistently between the tackles yet. Still, if Turner goes down, I think we'd see a 2-to-1 kind of split, so Rodgers would have some deeper-league value.
Thanks for your time this year, it's a huge help! I have Tebow and Vick and am REALLY struggling choosing a starter this week. Could you discuss why you have Vick higher? Both are pretty risky...
Hi, Ben. You're welcome, and thanks for the kind words. I actually would say that Vick is riskier than Tebow, to be honest. After all, he plays a tougher defense (the Dolphins have played quite well on D lately), and he's coming off a multi-week absence. Still, in a battle of QBs where either guy can simply go *off* with his legs, I'll take the one who also has the potential to go off with his arm. I know Tebow threw for 200-plus yards last week, but the fact that we're excited about 200-plus yards should tell us all we need to know. I think I'd probably play Vick and hope for the best, but if your gut says Tebow, I can't argue.
How come no love for Julio from any of the rankers? I have to imagine he has more upside than any other of the WRs ranked in the 20's. When healthy, he's produced, and he was THIS close to a monster game last week...
Hi, Jake. You're right about that last part...heck, he had a real chance to catch that final pass that would've tied the game, but just couldn't bring it down. Plus the matchup against Carolina is a favorable one, as the Panthers D has struggled vs. fantasy WRs the past month or so. Still, Jones has produced one good fantasy game since Week 4, and that bottom line is surely why we're calling him a WR3 right now. You're right, though. Lots and lots of upside, especially if Matt Ryan can get right again.
Thanks for the high ranking! How confident can you be in me? My week was saved by a wide open TD....
I know Chris Gamble has had a pretty decent bounce-back season, and he'll see White a goodly amount, but overall the Panthers just stink on D, both vs. RBs and WRs. They've given up above-average fantasy points in each of their past four games (Titans, Lions, Colts, Bucs). And almost every WR out there has *some* warts. I trust Ryan will get his shwerve back on, and White will benefit. I'm playing him.
It's easy to argue higher ceilings, but who has the lower floor: Crabtree or Miles Austin?
Hi, Steve. Go Griz, indeed...I lived in Missoula for six months a long time ago. I guess I'd say Austin probably has both the higher ceiling and the lower floor. If Laurent Robinson's shoulder winds up being a bigger deal than I think it is, maybe I'd change my answer.
STRATEGY QUESTION: Best way to prepare for potential Aaron Rodgers resting? Matt Flynn or Ponder type?
Hi, Brian. Good question that I'll admit I haven't put much thought into. At first blush, I'd say Flynn...he's considered a legit starting candidate once he's a free agent at the end of this year, and he'll have good weapons almost no matter who the Packers rest (if they rest). But I think we're looking at a 16-0 team that wants to be 16-0. I'm going to be surprised if they rest guys.
I noticed you have Mike Wallace ranked relatively high this week compared to your counterparts. Do you think Cleveland's pass defense is a little overrated? I don't see that they have played a team with a combination of an elite QB with an elite WR. I think AJ Green got 110 yards on them.
Hi, Erik. Another good one, and I guess I don't have a definitive answer. I know that I struggled ranking the top 15 WRs more than usual this week...as I said earlier, each guy seems to have warts. No question Wallace had been a bit quiet until last week, and it was still only 3 catches...it was just that 2 of them went for TDs. Also, I *don't* happen to think that the CLE secondary is incredible...I know numerically they look good, but I believe this is a case where they're so easy to run against, people tend not to throw as much. (Joe Haden is pretty good, though.) All I can really say is...if I've been winning all year with Wallace, I'd feel pretty dumb sitting him tonight and having him go off.....
Was my performance last week for real, or should I hit the bench this week ?
Bench bench bench bench bench bench bench.
As a Browns fan, I can tell you that it has just as much to do with Cleveland's run D being ATROCIOUS as it does their pass defense being good. Teams just don't need to throw against them.
I tried asking Cockcroft yesterday but he ignored my question, so I am asking you to read his mind. Why does he think Dez is the 5th best WR this week and why don't you?
Hi, Dan. Give Tristan a break...there are like 2,000 questions in an hour, and we really do the best we can. The thing that confounds me about how others have ranked the DAL WRs of late is that last week, they all had Robinson ahead of Bryant. I'm not sure how one's opinion can change so much because of one game. I guess maybe because Robinson's shoulder is banged up, and we're not sure about Austin's hammy? In my mind, Austin's return is a sinking tide that will lower all boats. Bryant is still on average the likeliest DAL WR to produce, but I think his odds go down a bit with another very good target in the mix. That's why I have him 14, Austin 20 and Robinson 22. Health updates later in the week might change my mind.
Am I the #1 RB ROS? And I can't wait for CLE again....
You can certainly make an argument. I've ranked him #1 the past two weeks, and as I'll argue in tomorrow's Hard Count, the Ravens have one of the easiest schedules remaining against defenses stopping fantasy RBs. Rice does have an annoying tendency to come and go, but I think you'll by and large be pretty happy with him in December.
Which is a safe play? Blount or Daniel Thomas?
Hi, Eric. Considering Reggie Bush is the starter in Miami, Blount is safer.
Santana Moss or Marion Barber this wee?
Hi, James. Eek. I think...hm...I think it would depend on what else I have in my lineup. If you need upside from this flex spot, I'd use Moss. Against NE, he has upside. But if you need to get something, I'd play Barber.
Would you really downgrade TB Mike Williams all that much if Josh Johnson is playing? That was Mike's highest yardage output of the year last week with JJ at the helm.
Hi, Alex. It's a good point. Williams produced a pretty good day with Johnson throwing it last week. I guess in my rush to answer the question, I glossed over that. I think I would let Williams take a hit, but probably not outside the top 30.
Would you rank Chris Ivory if Ingram is out this weekend?
Hi, Keith. I would. I'd probably put him third after Sproles and Frenchy, but he'd be in the top 40 RBs.
Can I be trusted going forward?
I'm definitely getting there. Two weeks in a row is a good sign, and in my ranks this week, I put Helu #16, so I feel like I'm ready to take a chance on him. I mean *nobody* else in that WAS backfield is touching the ball. But it's Shanny. Beware Shanny.
In before the buzzer!! Am I over thinking it starting Spiller over Dez at WR? Lower floor from a RB? This would bring my total number of starting rb's to 4...
Hi, Addison. I actually did put Spiller into my WR ranks, and have him literally one spot ahead of Dez. So I guess it's kind of a tossup. I don't mind it when a starting RB is available to start at WR, I'll tell you that. But this is one of those 51-49 type situations.
Why wouldnt you play a guy like Burleson against a dreaded Vikings D or Floyd over Colston who hasn't done a thing in a Month? Just curious.
Hi, Riaz. Check again. Floyd had 100-plus yards last week (after missing 5 with a hip injury), and Colston has scored at least 5 fantasy points (and as many as 21) in 8 straight games. But you're right, Burleson is playing pretty well, himself. It's your team...I don't hate it. I probably would play the other guys, though.
Morris projected around 14 ranked around 30, big discrepancy no? Smith still not practcing
Well, the thing to realize is that the folks who do the projections and the folks who do the ranks are entirely different groups of people. So clearly, the people who did the projections like Morris more than I do. You're right, it's a big discrepancy. All I know is that even if Kevin Smith is out (and I expect him to be), I'd have a mighty hard time relying on Maurice Morris in my fantasy playoffs. Maurice Bleeing Morris, that is.
OK, gang, one more, and then I have to get back to writing......
Hey Chris, any news on the Raiders WR's this week (Ford, Moore)?
Hi, Tarek...at this point, neither Denarius Moore nor Jacoby Ford has practiced...and considering they've missed multiple weeks, that can't be considered a very good sign. I ranked Moore and not Ford on Tuesday night, but I'm strongly considering taking Moore completely off for Friday. But let's see if they're able to practice today....as it is, pretty hard to rely on either guy in a fantasy playoff game.
OK, all, thank you very much for coming. I'm sorry if you didn't get your question answered and you feel snubbed...there were upwards of 2000 questions in an hour (for which I thank you), and I promise I do the best I can. You can follow me on Twitter and ask Q's there (www.twitter.com/writerboyESPN) and friend me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/writerboy). I'm very appreciative that I get to do this great job, and it's entirely because of *your* support. So thank you very much. I wish you all great luck in the fantasy playoffs. And I also hope you'll check out my novel, Slotback Rhapsody. If you like football (and you're here, so I think you must), you really will like it. It's fun, funny, "inside," plus has some philosophical bits in there. www.slotbackrhapsody.com (available in paperback, for Kindle, Nook and iTunes).....