Hi, everyone. Thanks for coming to my later-than-usual Thursday chat...hopefully you found it OK. Remember, you can find my weekly single-position ranks here: http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/football/ffl/story?page=11ranksWeek16QB. You can find me at http://www.twitter.com/writerboyESPN and www.facebook.com/writerboy. And you can find out more about my novel, Slotback Rhapsody (pro football! HGH! Behind the scenes mayhem! Buddhism!) here: http://www.slotbackrhapsody.com. Let's get to your Fantasy Finals questions......
I have never had a question on here answered....until now!! Thanks Chris!! Which one starts in a .5ppr league? Gore,Nicks, or Felix?
Hi, Nick. Glad I could be the first. I'm probably picking Gore. If it was a full PPR, I might test the Revis gods and go Nicks, but Gore was awfully tough vs. the Steelers Monday, and the Seahawks have been giving up fantasy points to RBs lately....
Hey Chris! Need some championship-level advice... I need 1 flex and 1 Wr out of the following: Mendy, Kahlil Bell, Manningham, L. Robinson, L. Moore. Thanks!
Hi, J. I'd go Robinson for the WR, and probably Mendenhall in a pretty OK matchup vs. the Rams for the flex.
Superbowl for me this weekend. My TE's are dropping like flys...Ballard out and Owen questionable. If Owen is inactive tonight could you name a few others with decent upside this weekend...Maybe Dickson or Evan Moore? Great job this year and Thanks
Hi, Adam. I was just on ESPN Radio in Houston suggesting Joel Dreessen as a potential replacement if Daniels winds up inactive, and they told me they thought Dreessen might also miss the game with injury. Back to the drawing board. I'd say Dickson over Moore, in my opinion -- Jared Cook could also be worth a look after a big Week 15.
Full PPR and I have WR issues. Issue being I have too many. I need at least two out of S. Smith, M. Wallace, H. Nicks, M. Austin, S. Moss, & J. Gaffney. A third could be for a flex. Thanks!
Hi, Patrick. It's funny, despite the fact that your league is a PPR, I don't see any guy there who I feel like is such a lock for a ton of catches that he immediately vaults to the fore. Santana Moss might've been that guy *last* season, but he had only 2 grabs last week. Ga. I think I'm probably rolling with Smith and Wallace if Big Ben plays, and Smith and Nicks if he doesn't.
Good Afternoon and Happy Holidays. Panic Alert!!!! Anquan Boldin just went down for my Championship matchup. Who's going to be best in the free agent pool? Lee Evans, Greg Little, or James Jones?
Hi, Tim. Yeah, Boldin is out for the rest of the regular season with a knee issue. Torrey Smith could get a bit of rankings love when we re-rank tomorrow...he'll probably be in my top 30. Of the three you mention, I probably pick James Jones and cross my fingers.
Am I overthinking the Revis situation? Sit Nicks for D. Thomas or K. Bell (Bears), or Kevin Smith?
Hi, Brad. It's an interesting question. Despite the reports coming out of NYC that they think it's Revis v. Nicks all day Saturday, I'm a little skeptical. The Jets don't due that *that* often. I'm sure Nicks will see some Revis, maybe the most of any Giants receiver. But boy, if he goes off in that game and he's on my bench because I felt like I had to play Kahlil Bell? I'd be pretty upset. I understand the impulse, and if you're simply Revis-averse, make the switch to Thomas. But I'm pretty sure if it's my team, I'm going to go down swinging with Nicks.
Hey Chris. Need some help in a big time PPR finals matchup. I have Helu, Maclin, Moss, Crabtree, and Julio for 2 spots. Which 2 do I roll out?
Hi, Chris. You need to make sure he's active, but yeah, I think Helu stands out there as a pretty nice option. He won't get the sick workload we saw earlier this month, but he should get enough. My other guy would be Julio in a slight nod over Maclin. Nobody here is enough of a high-volume pass catcher that the PPR automatically makes them a no-brainer WR.
Do I trust Eli? My other options are Ben (who is hurt) and Rex (who is Rex).
Hi, Marc. I'm actually writing about Eli for tomorrow's Hard Count (coming to a computer near you on ESPN.com)...I know there's risk because the Jets have the capacity to shut down anyone. I get it. But this is another case where I'm playing with the guy that brung me, and if it blows up in my face, it blows up. I like Eli this week.
How would you rank these 4 for the flex spot this week,non-ppr: Steve Smith(CAR), Larry Fitz, Ryan Mathews, and Reggie Bush
Hi, Dan. Nice problems to have! I think I'd go: Mathews, Bush, Smith, Fitz. I have to say, though, that when it's non-PPR, I tend to err on the side of the RB when it's close.
Hey Christopher, I noticed that you and Berry were somewhat down on Ben Tate with your rankings this week compared to the others. Would Manningham or Driver be a better option at flex this week in a .5 PPR league? Thanks and Happy Holidays
Hi, Will. I mean, I guess you know it kind of comes down to recommending the guy with full throat in a great matchup vs. the Panthers last week, and having it not work out very well. We're probably both just a little shy about going back to that well. Out of that group, I think I'd probably go with Tate tonight, still, though.
Hi Chris- I'm a former Fred Davis owner in the Championship and have a dilemma since the rankings are so close: Fasano or Olsen? I'm leading towards Fasano with his recent involvement- help! Thank you!
Hi, Chaske. The reason I'd play Olsen is simply because I'm not sure Fasano plays this week. He has a "mild" concussion, which is what's making him questionable. If it's close, and one guy is battling a head injury, I think I'd play the other guy. But yeah, I mean, *could* it work out that Fasano comes back and goes nuts? Of course. That's fantasy.
If Felix doesn't go, would you like Sammy Morris or Khalil Bell?
Hi, PJ. Bell, definitely. My sense is that Felix will play, but won't get his high workload that he's gotten the past few weeks. I'd almost say play Bell anyway. Almost, but not quite. Jones if he's active, Bell if he's not.
The DEF rankings are always so widespread, but you seem to hit more than you miss...like ATL last week. Well played, sir....Chiefs shut down GB, picked off Plamer thrice, and have a good return game...better play than Bengals???
Thanks, Scott. I definitely put a lot of work into figuring out the better offensive matchups for fantasy defenses. The Raiders have graded out only as a "slightly plus" matchup for opposing defenses over their past five...they did better-than-expected jobs against the Bears and Lions, but got ripped apart by the Packers and, to a lesser extent, the Vikings. And while the Chiefs played terrific in Week 14, they still only produced 5 fantasy points. I have the Bengals higher....
Hey Chris! What do you see as Marshawn Lynch's ceiling, and if it's a low number, would I better off going with a lesser ranked guy with a higher ceiling like Deangelo Williams or Kahlil Bell?
Hi, Jake. What can I say...I've been a Lynch doubter all year; even last week, I was the only ranker to put him outside my top 10 RBs because it was just as awful a matchup vs. the Bears as it will be vs. the Niners...Lynch goes out and stinks it up with 42 yards on 20 carries, and the dude *still* gets in the end zone twice (once after the Bears committed a penalty on what would've been fourth down). His ceiling is the chance of TDs, and I'm gun shy about doubting him, despite the 49ers' refusal to give up a rushing score. I'm giving in. I'd probably just cross my fingers and ride the Lynch wave.
Flex Dilemma: Antonio Brown, Khalil Bell, or Percy Harvin?
Hi, Matt. I'd play Brown if Big Ben plays, and Bell if he doesn't. Harvin was such a great story for about a month, but watching Christian Ponder the past couple games has been gruesome.
Can you explain your pretty high ranking of Gore? Also should i start bradshaw or maclin at the flex? Thanks!!
Hi, Bill. Sure -- Gore has been really reliable, he played more snaps than I expected he would Monday night, and the Seahawks have given up fantasy points to RBs in droves the past four weeks: Roy Helu, LeSean McCoy, Steven Jackson and Kahlil Bell have all done good things against them. That's my reasoning, anyway. And you know, I might play Maclin. I just feel weird about relying on Bradshaw right now. I think most people would tell you to play A.B., though.
if ben is out sat. do i sit wallace for dhb or gresham at flex? i can also play jacobs
Hi, Dave. Great question. I'm thinking about what it would look like if I had to sit down in front of my spreadsheet and work out where I'd put those PIT receivers with no Big Ben. Ga. I mean, Wallace is a top-6 fantasy WR, with 1,110 yards receiving. Does he go to *worthless* with Charlie Batch? I don't know. Would I rank him, like, 40th or so? Boy. I just think he's bound to make a play or two, especially versus the Rams. You know, I think I might play Wallace. I don't feel safe doing it, obviously.....
Thanks Jake from DC for getting that ? addressed! I have same issue. Will likely need 15+pts from each of my RBs to stand a chance. Does Lynch realistically have that much upside against 49ers? Or is it Bell? Maybe Harper if CJ is out? I need an high upside play in a deep league.
Hi, Jeff. Honestly, I tend to think Lynch *is* the upside play. His downside is 15 carries for 27 yards. But his upside is, against all odds, three TDs. I mean, the dude has a score in 10 straight games in which he's played. I don't love it, and I totally understand your point. Good chance Lynch flatlines against the Niners. But I do think he's your boom play here.
Can you rank these RB's by number of touches you predict (it's a ppr league) to help me make my choice for the championship?1) Kahlil Bell2) Peyton Hillis3) Donald Brown4) Lance ball5) Kevin Smith
Hi, Pete. Purely on the basis of touches, and *not* on the basis of what I think they'll *do* with those touches, I think I'd go: Hillis, Bell, Brown, Smith, Ball. But I should emphasize: Willis McGahee owners should be adding Ball *now*...if Willis is hurt worse than we think and is a surprise inactive, Ball would be a top-20 RB vs. BUF.
Not sure why so high on Deangelo: Last time he played TB...He put up a stinker, and is totally dependent on a big run. Would Bell be a better option the D. Will this week?
Well, I hear you. But look at the couple of games *since* that one. Also check out tomorrow's Hard Count, because I dove into the CAR RB situation a bit. I went back and rewatched the tape of the last CAR/TB game (a CAR blowout), and honestly I couldn't find any *reason* that Stewart was more effective that day. It just happens, is my supposition. And D-Willy has busted a couple long ones since. I don't think he's *totally* dependent on the big run, or, rather, let's say that I think he gets enough carries that the big run often finds him. It's not like he's getting 5 carries and breaking one of them...
I noticed that Kyle Orton didn't make it into anybody's rankings. He has a decent matchup; I would have expected him in the 12-15 range. What's the justification?
Hi, Dave. Check again...I ranked Orton 17th, and he's listed 21st in the average ranks....
Hey Chris Which two would you recommend I start:Greene, Santana Moss, Cedric Benson, Kahili Bell or Burleson
Hi, Sharon. I would probably play Benson and Greene.
If Big Ben doesn't go, is Dwayne Bowe or Demaryius Thomas safer to start over Antonio Brown?
Hi, Michael. Well, you and I both know there's nothing safe about the level of WR we're talking about here, but I get your point. Yeah, I think if Roethlisberger is out, I probably do sit Brown for one of these guys, because they're quality options. I'll cross my fingers with Bowe.
whats your stance on spiller this week? do you like greene more?
Hi, John. Well, I feel like I messed up in last week's Hard Count on Spiller, where I really questioned his value against a stingy Miami D, and he produced a couple big runs right away that set the tone for a nice day. I bumped him up to 22 in my RB ranks...I think he's a good flex in an easier matchup than he had last week....
Hey Chris, two QB league. I shouldn't even think about starting Grossman over Eli as my second Qb should I?
Hi, Tarek. Anything can happen, obviously, but I wouldn't.
Do you like Sam Bradford or Jake Locker better in a dynasty league?
Hi, Steve. Hm. I would still say Bradford for the moment. Disappointing, frustrating year, and that entire Rams coaching staff may be on its way out the door. But I know Bradford has the accuracy to be successful if and when he gets the pieces around him; while the initial returns on Locker have been favorable, he does still seem to have those accuracy issues. I'm not saying I don't like him, just that I'd probably keep Bradford first.
i need a flex player. mike wallace, shonn greene, or CJ spiller?
Hi, Paul. I'd play Wallace if Big Ben plays, and I'd play Greene if Big Ben is out.
OK "Writer Boy"...I looked at the Rankings, listen to the Podcasts, I need Gut call for the Championship...Pick 1 RB & 1 Flex from Beanie, Steven Jackson, Percy Harvin, A. Brown or Demarius Thomas. Thank You!
Hi, Mark. Thanks for reading and listening. I think I'd play Beanie either way. And then if Big Ben plays, I think I'd go with Antonio Brown for a nice baseline of catches and yards...if he doesn't, I'd go ahead and take my chances with Steven Jackson, and hope the two RBs can make some magic.
Does .5 PPR scoring change how you'd rank Harvin and Laurent? How about Asante Samuel being out?
Hi, Scott. Hm. You know, before the past two weeks, I'd have said Harvin no matter what the format, and felt great doing it. But as I said earlier, Christian Ponder really seems to have regressed, and the Redskins aren't an easy team to pass against of late. I think I'd go ahead and play Robinson, and just hope that the even distribution to the Cowboys receivers from last week keeps up. You're right...the Samuel injury sure doesn't hurt.
Do you really, honestly think Big Ben plays after Monday Night? personally, I don't and i'm no expert.
Hi, Nate. It's a good question -- I was locked in as absolutely positive that he'd play Monday, but now I'm wavering. I think he'll tell his coaches he can go, and it'll just come down to whether the coaches want to sit him. Having only Charlie Batch as a backup can't be a good feeling. My gut tells me no, he doesn't play. But you don't put anything past the diva QB.
Please CH... asked every week for two years. Can I please get one answered? Explain to me why Mendenhall is the better start over helu this week?
Hi, Dave. It's nothing personal, my non-answering. There are a *lot* of questions. Helu was battling some kind of foot or leg problem through much of last week's game, and Mike Shanahan came out this week and said he was wary of giving Helu the kind of workload we saw from him over the past month. That's a red flag, knowing Shanny's RB history. Also, Mendy might not be much of a bet for 100 yards, but the Rams rush D is at least a slight positive matchup. That's my logic, anyway.
You think the Texas D will rest starters or "call it in" vs colts. Titans better bet?
Hi, Floyd. It's an interesting question -- If *I* were the coach of a young team that had never been in the playoffs, the last thing I'd want to do would be take my foot off the gas pedal...I'd worry they don't know how to turn it back on again. I think for one more week, at least, you'll see Houston go for the jugular, and then they'll see where they sit at the end of Week 16.
Just a side note, folks, to say that I see many indignant questioners who simply cannot understand why I won't take their single-position question. If you're asking me about 3 QBs or 4 RBs or 2 WRs, please check out our ranks...my answers are there, I promise: http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/football/ffl/story?page=11ranksWeek16QB
Have a WR/TE position; need to choose between Dez Bryant or Aaron Hernandez
Hi, Kahuna. I think I'd play Dez. Listen, Hernandez was immense last week. But we all know that's been few and far between, as Gronk has been The Man. Do I want my fantasy title resting on that repeatability? Eesh. I think I'd go with Dez and hope for another score.
PLEASE PLEASE ANSWER : Maclin, Julio Jones , Demaryius Thomas, which two do i start?
Bouba...what I'm trying to say is...the answers to this kind of question are right here: http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/football/ffl/story?page=11ranksWeek16QB
Pick 2 out of 4 for flex this week- Tate/Bell/Gaffney/Robinson
Hi, Style. I guess I'd go Laurent Robinson and Kahlil Bell.
0.5 ppr and yardage heavy....LoRo or Gaffney? Am I over thinking even considering Gaffney?
Hi, Matt. I don't think it's a terrible over-think...Gaffney is solid, y'know? If he happens to luck out and get in the end zone, he makes your week, and he pretty much always gets you a nice steady 5 fantasy points no matter what. I think I'd probably play Robinson, because he's been such a consistent TD scorer. But no question, his playing time has been dwindling with Austin back....
Mr Harris... i wish Espn did a ppr ranking.. i have lynch, turner, helu and k bell who you think will go off this week.. i just need one. thanks
Hi, Brian. Yeah, just not enough manpower to produce PPR ranks every week, I guess. Turner certainly doesn't catch passes, so he's not a fun PPR guy...but neither does Lynch, and I have enough questions about Helu and Bell that I don't think their receiving upsides elevate them to the other guys' levels. So I'm going to cross my fingers and say Turner. Hope he gets in the end zone for you on Monday night.
Are you low on Felix this week because of injury or am i missing something? thanks
Hi, Eric. Yeah, Felix is battling a hamstring problem that hasn't allowed him to practice yet this week. There's a chance he actually doesn't play at all, and either way, it's hard to see him getting that huge workload he saw right after Murray's injury. Sammy Morris will be involved.
Chose one at flex: Helu, Bradshaw Brown. Thanks a lot (and i know there r two rbs, but you seem concerned about Helu)
Hi, Brady. Yeah, I'm concerned about Bradshaw, too. I have those two guys side-by-side in my ranks. Hate the late-season injury risks. If Big Ben plays, maybe I just roll with Brown. If not, though, I probably take Helu. Or flip a coin. It's that close.
With Brown's QB issues and Robinson's dwindling targets, I basically have to go with Deymarius Thomas this weekend, right? Who has the most downside?
Hi, Matt. Brown would seem to have the most downside, and his name is Charlie Batch. If Roethlisberger is in there, I still like Brown just fine. Thomas has Tim Tebow accuracy downside, but probably more upside than anyone else in this trio. Robinson is probably in the middle....
Why are you so much higher on your rankings on jeremey maclin then everyone else? How do you decide where you rank guys/ waht process do you take? I've always been curious!!
Hi, Pete. Obviously space and time constraints limit the length of my answer...suffice it to say, it's not willy-nilly, and it's a combination of art and science. I do a lot of work on the strength of opponents, but I tend not to plug average scores *for* players into any kind of formula, because I find that's the kind of stuff that makes you wind up putting Jabar Gaffney in your top 10, and that's nonsensical. So I rely on a lot of game-film watching to fill in the blanks, and stats to evaluate defenses. As for Maclin, check out tomorrow's Hard Count. I'll delve into him.
Why are you so low on Matt Ryan?
Hi, John. Another Hard Count topic for tomorrow. (You folks are so prescient!) His throws that have traveled over 20 yards in the air this year have been almost comically awful. He has 13 TDs in 4 games against the Colts, Vikings, Panthers and Jags, and 13 in his other 10 games. The Saints aren't a scary D, and I'm not saying Ryan will get single-digit fantasy points. But I don't trust him in my title game if I have an elite option.
ham for x-mas a must?
I'm a vegetarian, so not for me. Lasagna, please.
Hey Chris hope your day is going well. Why are you lower on Tebow than your fellow colleagues?
Hi, Joey. I am? (Checks the ranks.) Yeah, I guess by a couple spots. Well, listen, I think he's a fine play. I put Romo, Rivers and Tebow in the same neighborhood this week, and came up with them in that order. Romo and Rivers are just on fire as passers, and I don't dislike either matchup that they've got this week. (In fact, Rivers could light up the Lions.) I see the Broncos being able to run hog wild vs. the Bills, though of course, Tebow will be part of that. Don't mistake my 10 ranking as saying he's not worth starting. He's fine.
OK, folks...time for one more, and then I've got to get back to crafting the Hard Count.....
Im afraid of Bryant's targets lately...why is it a bad move to start Maclin over him?
Hi, Shawn. I didn't say it was, did I? I actually have Maclin rated 16th and Austin 17th this week, which means...y'know, they're just about the same in my book. I think most folks (see a couple questions ago) would say that I'm too high on Maclin, considering he's been MIA for weeks and didn't excel versus the Jets, but I watched the tape and liked what I saw. I think you can put 'em in a hat...if you feel strongly about Maclin, don't let anyone talk you out of it.
All righty...thank you very much for coming to this Thursday afternoon chat. I'm truly humbled by how many questions I get in an hour...amazing. I'm sorry I can't get to all of them. Find me at: www.facebook.com/writerboy and www.twitter.com/writerboyESPN. Also, please check out my novel...you read fiction sometimes, right? And you like football? This book is an easy read, it's fun, it's a behind-the-scenes look at a little guy (think Danny Woodhead) trying to make the NFL with aid of HGH and Buddhism. You'll laugh. Trust me. www.slotbackrhapsody.com. Happy holidays!