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December 15, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Eric Karabell

Eric Karabell
  (3:06 PM)

Hello all and welcome to the latest fantasy chat! I am Eric! Lots to discuss today, so thanks for showing up and whether it's football or baseball, let's go!

Justin (PA)

I have a question on hedging. I have both Matt Ryan and Andy Dalton. This week I am playing AJ Greene and Jermaine Gresham, what are your thoughts on starting Dalton over Ryan to hedge against any gains by the two Cincy recievers. Also my league is 6 points per TD.

Eric Karabell
  (3:06 PM)

I'm playing the best guy, every time. I know in the playoffs it's different, and it would matter if I thought the two choices were equal, as a tiebreaker, but I think Ryan is the guy this week.

Scott (Southington, CT)

Thoughts on a big game out of Mercedes Lewis. Atlanta is tough against the run, and Jags will probably be down early. May have to look to pass early and often. Other option is Fasano against Bills Sunday.

Eric Karabell
  (3:07 PM)

I'd go Fasano. He seems to be getting enough targets to matter lately, and the fact Matt Moore isn't likely to play shouldn't hurt. I just cannot trust the Jaguars passing offense. They hadn't topped 20 points all year until last week!

Justin (Ontario)

Eric, any way you'd sit Mike Wallace and start both Miles Austin and Laurent Robinson? I'm really worried about Wallace if Batch starts, and will need to decide on the Dallas WRs by Saturday night

Eric Karabell
  (3:08 PM)

Absolutely! In fact, even with Ben Roethlisberger we weren't seeing much outta Wallace for the past month. I'd go both Cowboys. They could put up 40 points on Tampa Saturday.

Mark (NYC)

Hey Eric: In a PPR league would you start Blount or S. Moss

Eric Karabell
  (3:08 PM)

Still Blount. It's not like I expect Moss to catch 10 passes... but man, Blount is so unpredictable!

Will (San Diego)

My opponent has rodgers this week. I'm a little worried so would tebow be a better play than manning, or am I trying to get too cute?Much obliged....

Eric Karabell
  (3:10 PM)

Yeah, it's best to not even pay attention to his team then! Frankly, Eli and Timmy are kinda even to me, but the fact it's Rodgers has no bearing here. Go with best choice. I think I ranked Eli a few spots better. Plus, you might be OK here... Rodgers gets a few touchdowns early in a blowout and it's Matt Flynn by the end of the third quarter!

Matt (IL)

Too risky running Tebow out vs a Ryan or Stafford?

Eric Karabell
  (3:11 PM)

Let's get the Tebow stuff out of the way early this chat: EVERY week he puts up numbers. The risk that people cite just is not there. He's safe. And this week he faces one of the worst passing defenses we've seen in a decade in what should be a 35-30 type game. Tebow will be fine.

BJ (Indiana)

Two QB league, Big Ben owner, limited bench room...pick up Charlie Batch and pray you don't need him or?

Eric Karabell
  (3:12 PM)

I think Ben is gonna play. It's Monday, not Sunday, and they want to win the division, not simply get in as a wildcard and play a first round road game in Denver against Timmy!

Tom (NFL Week 15)

EK!! NON FANTASY Question!! Due to limited choices Can you help with a Survivor Pool pick? Bengals over Rams or Gmen over Redskins?!?! Thanks!!!

Eric Karabell
  (3:12 PM)

I don't trust the Giants one bit, home or road, good opponent or bad. Definitely the Bengals.

Greg (NYC)

Ben Tate a RB2 this week?

Eric Karabell
  (3:13 PM)

I think that's a bit generous but he's a better pick this week than most considering Foster is the one getting 25 carries. Tate could get 15 and get double digit fantasy points without a touchdown.

Bill (Tampa)

Wallace has been cold, he's going against a good defense in the 49ers, Big Bens banged up, and I have Laurent Robinson just begging me to be started against the Bucs. I hate to take Wallace out but I think its time.....Help!

Eric Karabell
  (3:13 PM)

I have no issue with going Laurent over Wallace... makes sense. And it is not overthinking.

Dave (Boise)

Eric, you're my most trusted fantasy guru! Flex position, should I play S. Moss, B. Jacobs or A. Bradshaw?

Eric Karabell
  (3:15 PM)

Thank you! Flex rankings should be up, and I'm certain I went with Bradshaw there.

D. Clark (IND)

Would either of B. Celek or J. Gresham be a better play than myself this week, and if so which one? (Lost F. Davis). Thanks EK.

Eric Karabell
  (3:16 PM)

Both would be better choices. The Colts are a first rate mess, and frankly should be embarrassed. I mean, the Rams stink. They've won a few games. It couldn't have been ALL Peyton Manning... awful. I'd go Gresham and just drop Clark.

Stephen (San Diego)

Is the Texans D good enough to have to bench the struggling Steve Smith?

Eric Karabell
  (3:16 PM)

I think Smith is matchup proof, though he hasn't done much the past month. Texans are good, but I couldn't see sitting Smith or Cam Newton.

Ray (NJ)

Am I crazy to start Cedric Benson over LeSean MCCoy?

Eric Karabell
  (3:18 PM)

Well, crazy is as crazy does, but that seems like overthinking things.

Grant (OH)

Pretty high ranking for the Lions D this week. Why do you like them better over a Titans team that's playing the winless Colts?

Eric Karabell
  (3:19 PM)

I just think it's a better defense. But I see your point. Titans could hold the Colts to 10 points in a 24-10 win but not get turnovers or sacks. It's not always about preventing points in fantasy.

Mike (13 years old) (parents basement)

hi eric. Im playing my father in our family league and i want nothing more than to beat him. Its a.5 ppr league. Need three outta these 4 wr's. V Jackson, S Moss, D thomas, B lloyd.Please help me beat my father and make him proud or upset....

Eric Karabell
  (3:20 PM)

How nice. My rankings said Thomas is odd man out there, and I'd buy it. He plays the Pats, but he's still not totally safe.

Diego (Chicago)

Did you rank PIT WRs assuming Ben is IN or OUT?

Eric Karabell
  (3:20 PM)

I did it assuming Ben will play. Perhaps I will need to remove Ben Friday, but I doubt it. I think he plays. If he does not, surely I would move down Wallace and Brown some.

david (peru)

what do you think of kevin smith? sounds like he'll be healthy. gore has been my starter but it sounds like he's hobbled and is up a against the steelers...

Eric Karabell
  (3:21 PM)

Kevin Smith is definitely not healthy. He might play in the game and be active for however long we do not know, but he is not healthy. I have to go Gore. What if Smith plays three series and leaves? Gore should get 70 yards or so and can always score. Just safer.

Dave (Boston)

How many Carries will Ryan Grant get this week?

Eric Karabell
  (3:22 PM)

Probably 13-15 or so. People have been critical of my Grant rank this week, assuming Starks and Saine are out, but here's the thing: Grant isn't that good. He's not young, not fast. I see about 6 fantasy points. Woo hoo!

Josh ((Tebowville, Co.))

Helu has been awesome lately, but do you trust him to get 20+ touches again this week? Always wary of those Shanahanigans.......

Eric Karabell
  (3:23 PM)

Seems pretty safe at this point to trust Helu. I hope I don't regret that statement.

John (This Chat)

Afternoon EK, your fellow expert Chris Harris wasnt as high on Laurent as you, claiming he was a hot hand and not specifically safe. At the WR2 or flex would you take LoRo or a safer pick like Boldin or Moss in a ppr?

Eric Karabell
  (3:25 PM)

I understand his trepidation, and am aware Christopher is very good at this. Laurent is a hot hand, but for about 2 months now. To me he's a poor man's Victor Cruz. Both can be effective, even if they aren't as good as Hakeem Nicks and Dez Bryant. I have LoRo over Boldin and Moss, and would do so in a PPR as well.

Nick (NJ)

Eric been going crazy trying to decide between Julio or Marshall in a 1 PPR? who do you play?

Eric Karabell
  (3:25 PM)

I have Marshall and wouldn't look back.

JESS (PA)

What is your take on Felix Jones do you start him over guys like Frank Gore and Beanie Wells?

Eric Karabell
  (3:26 PM)

Because Felix is playing the awful Buccaneers, the team allowing the most fantasy points to RBs, I like him. Normally I will not make him anywhere near the top 10.

matt (DC)

Baseball keeper question!!! Already keeping Votto, Longoria, Halladay, Lester, Reyes... need three more out of Beltre, Ichiro, Cruz, Weeks, Heyward, Wieters, Chris Young. who do you like?

Eric Karabell
  (3:28 PM)

Baseball! I thought we'd have more baseball today! I'd say Beltre and Wieters jump out to me, since it's a deep keeper league. And I think Heyward will be very good.

Jim Mora (confused)

baseball? BASEBALL? you wanna talk about BASEBALL? dont talk to me about BASEBALL!! its the football playoffs!

Eric Karabell
  (3:28 PM)

Even Jim Mora is thinking about baseball at this point, since he missed the playoffs.

Joe (Albany)

What's your take on starting a QB against your own defense? I've got Rivers and the Ravens D, and my only other option is to grab a WW player like Grossman or the Falcons D to avoid the conflict. Do I just roll with what I've got?

Eric Karabell
  (3:33 PM)

I know some people that would say find a new D, but not me. Those are the best you've got, and they're good choices this week, go for it and hope Rivers gets his 20 without torching the D. He could get 20 with a few picks...

Dan (Ottawa)

Yayyyy! Baseball is coming soon. Head to head five players to keep. from these who would you keep assuming I am already keeping Pujols, Wright, Holliday... Hanson, Bourn, Romero, Asdrubal Cabrera, Buster Posey

Eric Karabell
  (3:34 PM)

Probably Posey and Bourn. Get your catcher outta the way and lots of speed. I do not think Hansen is safe considering his shoulder injury and I could see Cabrera going down to 12 homers and not running. Risky.

K (philly)

No qualms about Cam Newton finding a way to put up points on the Texans D?

Eric Karabell
  (3:35 PM)

He's fantasy's No. 2 player. No qualms. I know, there's always a first time... but he's putting up Brees and Brady numbers every week.

Casey (TX)

What impact does AP's return have on Percy's value? I have had him on the bench but am thinking of playing him over L. Robinson this week....whats your take?

Eric Karabell
  (3:36 PM)

I don't think Harvin was better the past few weeks solely because Peterson was out. You know, Gerhart was pretty good. They still ran the ball. I think Harvin is a future star when Ponder gets consistent.

chris (preoperation rooml)

Baseball keeper question only can keep 3 Albert, pence, Cruz, toltowski, Cano and cliff Lee

Eric Karabell
  (3:36 PM)

Albert and Tulo are arguably two of the top 5 overall picks, and Cano is either late-first or early second.

Dan (NYC)

You have mentioned in your columns about the fact that Gronk has outscored EVERY wide receiver in fantasy this year. Has a tight end ever done that before?

Eric Karabell
  (3:37 PM)

Nope. This is the best season ever for a tight end. If I write a blog about fantasy MVPs soon I would make Gronk the MVP. Only three RBs have outscored him! That is outrageous.

Joe (Sacramento)

What's your feelings on Dwayne Bowe with Orton likely to start? Would you play Bowe over Wallace if Ben can't go?

Eric Karabell
  (3:38 PM)

Yeah, I have to admit I like Bowe more now because Orton is starting. If I knew that Tuesday night when I did my rankings Bowe would be around 20 at WR.

Mark (SF)

You "could see Tate with double digit points." What is his downside though? Could you see him only getting a few? Is he safer than Julio Jones and Austin?

Eric Karabell
  (3:39 PM)

I don't think he's safer than Miles Austin, no. But I don't worry too much about downside in Week 15... think positive!

Steve (Kansas)

Baseball dynasty league question - McCutchen and Gallardo or D. Wright and Strasburg?

Eric Karabell
  (3:40 PM)

Wow. Have to go Wright and Strasburg there... but tough call. Gallardo is gonna emerge as a real ace at some point, but Strasburg's upside is crazy.

Rob (Exams)

Do I keep Braun at $22 if he misses the 50 games? What impact might the suspension have on him other than the missed games?

Eric Karabell
  (3:41 PM)

I would still keep him. You know, he can still hit 25 homers in 110 games, and he runs, and he's durable. And that's a nice price. Plus, I'd rather have him get 25-90 in 110 games than get 25-90 in 160...now you can replace him for a month plus and there are always outfielders available.

Tim (Indy)

EK, you were the lowest of the rankers on Antonio Brown. If you think Big Ben is going to play why so low this week?

Eric Karabell
  (3:41 PM)

The matchup. That's a darn good team the Steelers have to play.

Football (Back to Football)

I understand the start your studs mentality...but do we consider Vick a stud anymore? let alone against the Jets D? Would you start Grossman or Palmer over him?

Eric Karabell
  (3:42 PM)

I do not consider Vick a stud at all. But I cannot sit him for Rex or Carson. No way.

Sean (Auburn)

I think I've seen everyone of you guys answer the "projections" question with, I have nothing to do with projections. Which, while valid doesn't explain whether or not you know who does do the projections... Does anyone keep track of how those projections stack up versus actual?

Eric Karabell
  (3:43 PM)

To me it's irrelevant. They are good projections. I don't have to agree with everything, but they are done by very competent, smart people. I look at them the way I advise readers and listeners to check out all the work we do, rankings or otherwise, and make their decisions. Sometimes I see a projection and say, Wow, I hadn't considered that. And it can affect my decision making.

Tim (Seattle)

EK, do you and the other fantasy experts ever get in arguments about ranking disparities?

Eric Karabell
  (3:44 PM)

Never. At least never involving me. I think we all really do respect each other's opinions. Plus, it would be kinda silly to yell at another human with "how could you rank Rex Grossman that well!" I mean, we are reasonable people.

Dave (Kentucky)

I am a little nervous about Bradford Starting...so do i pick up a Nate Washington or Demaryius Thomas instead of playing LLoyd?

Eric Karabell
  (3:45 PM)

I think those receivers are relatively close in value to start with, so go for it. Thomas is one of those guys this week that could go absolutely nuts, or do nothing. Huge risk/reward against the Patriots.

Chris (Orlando)

Good afternoon Eric, Michael Turner has started for me all year but these past 3 weeks have had me a little edgy, is he a safe start tonight?

Eric Karabell
  (3:46 PM)

I think knowing he gets touchdowns makes him someone to start at all times, even in matchups that are tougher than they appear, like Thursday.

kyle (dallas)

Why did the Jets DST drop so much in the rankings this week?

Eric Karabell
  (3:46 PM)

Well, I don't think it's an awesome fantasy defense. It gives up points against reasonable offenses, and while Vick probably has a few turnovers in him, the Eagles should score points.

Karl Welzein (Grand Blanc, MI)

I nominate LeSean McCoy as fantasy MVP over Gronk.

Eric Karabell
  (3:47 PM)

I'm sure you do, but one was a top-5 overall pick and the other went in round 10 or something. And they're separated by so few fantasy points. I could make a better argument for Aaron Rodgers...just a lot more points than anyone else. Or Cam.

Reggie Bush (Miami)

Eric, big fan. Should my owners be starting me or Reggie Bush this week? Thanks buddy

Eric Karabell
  (3:48 PM)

Wait, I thought you WERE Reggie Bush?

shawn (STL)

Eric, I really respect your advice and really need it this week to advance to the Championship. 1 pt PPR league who would you couple with AP from Felix, Helu and Greene? Thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (3:49 PM)

Thank you! I don't think you can wrong at all, but I think I had Greene tops there. Philly doesn't stop the run so well.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Where do you rank Orton (if he starts)?

Eric Karabell
  (3:49 PM)

Not as a starter. Probably 20 or so at best.

Josh (NJ)

Can you help me w. a question Eric? Do I start both Austin and Robinson this weekend? My other options are Lloyd,James Jones or D.Williams. On a side note, I am starting Felix Jones. HELP..

Eric Karabell
  (3:50 PM)

Wow. Yeah, I think you have to go with 3 Cowboys there. But they should score at will on weak Tampa.

Steve (Newton)

If any one player deserves MVP over Gronk its MJD! Look at what he has done with the surrounding cast. Gronk has Brady throwing to him, not even close. P.S. - not trying to take anything away with Gronks accomplishments, they are impressive!

Eric Karabell
  (3:51 PM)

Yeah, but what Jones-Drew has done despite his teammates is irrelevant. Fantasy owners care about the numbers, and the value of the player. You used a first-rounder on MJD, which is fine, but the argument for Gronk is you could have drafted your entire lineup before getting to him...

Rob (Orlando, FL)

I know Michael Bush is ranked higher than F. Jones, but that matchup is hard to ignore. Am I being too cute?

Eric Karabell
  (3:51 PM)

Not at all... they're about even.

Brian (Indy)

You really trust Spiller and Mendenhall this week more than LoRo, Austin and Santana? Is it just the RB before the WR thing? Who's the safest play with the playoffs on the line? Thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (3:53 PM)

That is part of it. Look, a running back gets more touches. If a run is called for Spiller, it's his. If Romo is throwing a pass, he has like 4 options, sometimes more. The defense affects what he does. Spiller and Mendy will get at least 15 touches. Will any of those receivers? Nope.

Eric (Ri)

term that should go away immediately ..."BEING TOO CUTE" - nothing about FF is cute.

Eric Karabell
  (3:54 PM)

Excellent point. And to me it just comes down to you making a decision on a player versus another player. It's not a cute decision. It's just one or the other! And I know it sucks if you play the wrong one and lose by a point, but sometimes all the research will not make a difference. How do you explain Chris Johnson... 190 yards to 23? You can't. Go with research and your gut and hope for the best. It's not like we can motivate the players!

Chad (Semi-Finals)

Why do you have Adrain Peterson ranked so high this week after coming back from injury?

Eric Karabell
  (3:55 PM)

Trust. Huge upside. Safe. You name it.

Dave (NOT BEING CUTE Land)

If Newton is MVP-worthy does that mean starting Matt Ryan over him is probably the wrong call? Admittedly, the match-ups are making this a tough decision.

Eric Karabell
  (3:55 PM)

No. A season designation means nothing for Week 15 separately. But I still wouldn't sit Newton this week for Ryan.

Brian (Indy)

Safer? Mendy or Spiller?

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

Neither really is safe. Is that relevant? I think Mendy is No. 23 and Spiller 24, so flip the proverbial coin! I know it's simplistic, but I have a lot of teams, I make a lot of choices and if I don't win because of a decision I made, I always can live with it.

kyle (dallas)

Thanks for all your help this year. And, I hope to playing another week.

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

I am rooting for you!

Jamie (ATL)

Eric, lets say I want to lose this weekend. In that case, I should start VJax over Julio, right?

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

Ah, reverse psychology! I think Jackson will score more points.

Eric Karabell
  (4:00 PM)

I wish everyone the best of luck in Week 15 this week, which starts in a few hours. Play your best choices, hope for some luck and may you all be winners! Enjoy and thanks for showing up today!