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September 10, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy Sports with Tristan Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:04 AM)

Good morning everyone! Week 1 of fantasy football is (mostly) in the books, and I hope the first Sunday treated you all well. Even if not, worry not, I'm here to help with advice for the next hour or so. Ask away!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:05 AM)

In addition, fantasy baseball championships are up for grabs these next few weeks, and I know it does say above that it's a "fantasy baseball" chat ... I haven't forgotten you! Just do me a favor today, please, begin your question with a capital BASEBALL if you've got a baseball-related inquiry.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:05 AM)

Let's get started!

AK (Milwaukee)

Chris Johnson had 4 yards rushing on 11 carries....should we be worried?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:06 AM)

Somewhat, sure, especially since he had times where he looked comparably sluggish during the preseason. That said, I still think Johnson is in a better situation than he was in 2011, and fresh off a performance like that is not the time to peddle him on the trade market. Patience is necessary, and I still see him with the potential to land in the top 10 in scoring at his position. I do worry a bit what might happen should Jake Locker miss further time, though. Keep tabs.

Jason (FL)

Is Kevin Smith a viable RB2/flex going forward? He did well with the carries/catches he was given.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:07 AM)

So long as he's healthy, absolutely. I'm not remotely convinced he'll stay so for 16 games. But until the first absence, yes, though leaning more on "flex" than "RB2". Remember, passing offense (though Smith's pass-catching ability is a plus).

Anthony (Cleveland)

Does Shanny start a different RB next week although Morris was effective?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:08 AM)

If he does, shame on him. Alfred Morris is in the flex-play class going forward -- he's that low because it's Shanahan -- but that's a pickup for sure if he's available in your league. Problem is that one bad performance could lead to a doghouse situation, so don't ever get cozy.

Matt (SF)

Every year I draft Dwayne Bowe and every year I'm kicking myself. Am I resigned to another year of frustration? Cassell is awful.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:09 AM)

Matchups guy. I'll say it until I'm blue in the face. I get that the seasonal totals make Bowe look like more, and when I say "matchups" I mean an excellent such candidate, but the guy is so predictable, routs the bad D's and struggles against the good. Prepare accordingly.

Sgt. Hulka (Hoorah)

Poor Wes Welker. Can the Patriots be THIS cruel to a guy who has been so solid for them?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:12 AM)

I say no, because the Patriots are going to need more of a contribution from Welker to be consistently successful. Perhaps a one-week, unpredictable-Belichick thing, though what has me curious is Julian Edelman's increased snap count, as the Patriots might be finding ways to take a look at him as a possible future Welker replacement.Sum: Don't make any radical Welker adjustments, beyond just the fact that the Patriots often shift their focus unpredictably on offense from year to year. Which we've said all preseason.

Stevan Ridley (New England)

I looked like the man in the Pats backfield yesterday--Do you see me being an effective high-end RB2 in standard leagues going forward in such a high potent offense? Thoughts?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:14 AM)

Well, let's not overlook that Shane Vereen, Ridley's primary competition for carries, was inactive. I've been on the Ridley bandwagon all preseason, though I'll say that I expect repeats coming in terms of his touchdown, not his yardage, totals. Buy the guy for the scores; temper expectations for yards. But the sum is still likely a weekly RB2.

Dan (MO)

BASEBALL - Do you think Braun will miss any time this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:17 AM)

Yes, for two reasons: 1) Aggravation of past wrist injury, 2) Brewers have nothing to play for anyway. Why risk further issue by pushing Ryan Braun if he's not completely healthy? I expect at least one missed day. Maybe more. Here's hoping he's back soon.

Dave (Aptos)

Why is LeRon McClain getting no love in fantasy? Could he not inherit Tolbert's old role?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:20 AM)

It's possible, but I just don't think he's as good a player as Mike Tolbert, outside of his blocking ability, and that doesn't count for anything in fantasy. (At least not in terms of his own statistics.) Here's another reason: With Ryan Mathews out, I don't think there's much of a focus on the Chargers' backfield. Ronnie Brown is just a temporary fill-in; I think of him as beneath league-average. So maybe there's an opportunity here for McClain, but I see it also being short-term.

Anthony (Philly)

Thoughts on Stephen Hill? Nice flex play? Or one hit wonder?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:22 AM)

Matchups consideration for sure, keeper-league prospect, definitely belongs on anyone's pickup list. That said, I don't expect Mark Sanchez to thrive every week, certainly not to Week 1 levels, and I think that's going to cap Hill's fantasy potential on a week-to-week basis. If you treat him a WR3/4 who needs be slotted in against the bad defenses, you'll be fine.

Brad (Indy)

Name your top waiver claims this week.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:23 AM)

Probably going Alfred Morris, Kevin Ogletree, Stephen Hill, in that order as my top 3.

Adrian Peterson (Minnesota)

Should all my owners collective minds be at ease after yesterday's performance? Is it time for the doubters to put me back into their weekly lineups since I'm part cyborg/part bionic man?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:24 AM)

Yes, because clearly <i>must</i> be part-bionic man. (No sarcasm intended, entirely serious.)

Pierre Garcon (Washington, DC)

I will be a top 10 fantasy WR is ______!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:24 AM)

Um, "bold but indeed possible -- maybe 25 percent chance of happening"?

Joe (Buffalo)

Nothing official has come out about Fred Jackson, but IF you had to guess, how do you see the Bills RB situation going?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:26 AM)

Perhaps this will disappoint, but we simply have to wait for Jackson's diagnosis to get any sort of read on his immediate future. Patience is all I can advise, but considering C.J. Spiller's relief performance, I think prospects of a time share -- perhaps up to an even split of the work -- have increased. I think it's going to be a maddening backfield to own. A couple good games here or there for each, but will be difficult to read when and I think you'll be disappointed more often than pleased.

Andrew (Eugene, OR)

RGIII is a top ___ QB

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:26 AM)

13. Tempted to say 12.

Frank (Austin, TX)

Thoughts on Ced. Benson....is the SF defense that good?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:27 AM)

Yes, yes it is <i>that</i> good.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:28 AM)

That said, I respect Benson's value as a flex-play type -- rank him somewhere in the mid-to-high 20s at the position over the long haul -- but the guy's 30 with a lot of carries on his legs. I'm not that optimistic outside of the matchup potential.

Rob (Bronx, NY)

BASEBALL - Would you recommend starting Eric Stults in the first night of my H-2-H playoff series? Or is he too risky to stream in the first day? Thanks.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:29 AM)

First day doesn't really have much to do with it; play the best matchups every day and make adjustments in the <i>final</i> days of your matchup as categories dictate.Stults has been lights-out for a month now, and it's a home game at Petco, which suits him. I'd be OK with him if you're not in a really, really shallow league.

Mike (San Diego)

Jamaal Charles had ZERO targets yesterday. Does that concern you at all?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:31 AM)

We can't focus on the fact that he had 16 of the Chiefs' 33 carries, to Peyton Hillis' 7, and he did it in a game in which they trailed all day? I've said my piece about Charles but the advice is as valid today as on Aug. 10: Patience is warranted. He'll work back to full form but not be his usual self until at least October. And after that, we might see a heck of a player.

Mo (Chicago)

Demaryius Thomas is a top ___ WR by end of season.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:34 AM)

I had him just outside the top 20 in the preseason and I'm OK with saying top 20 now. One week shouldn't be radically altering preseason projections, except in the case of significant news, like injuries, shifting opportunities.

Eric (Tx)

Regarding your top waiver pickups....where do R. Cobb, J. Dwyer fit in your list?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:36 AM)

I considered Cobb. He'd probably be fourth on the list. Dwyer warrants some consideration in deeper leagues, but I'm frankly not a fan of that backfield, nor was I in the preseason. I think the Steelers are making every effort to get Rashard Mendenhall ready to play sometime this season, so Dwyer's opportunity might be short-lived, and that's assuming he's even "the guy" in Week 2.

Charlie (NY)

BASEBALL - Is Marco Estrada a two start pitcher this week or next week? I guess it depends on if they skip Peralta in the rotation but haven't heard anything on that.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:37 AM)

Rotations are a <i>lot</i> of guesswork this time of year, sorry to say. I wouldn't plan on having Estrada start twice, though. In addition to the team wanting to take a look at Wily Peralta, the Brewers also want to examine Tyler Thornburg in a starting role. So I can't see how they wouldn't push Estrada back, or at least, that's the way I'd plan my roster.

Chile (CA)

For MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL on ESPN (company plug for you) Michael Floyd or Law Firm?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:39 AM)

Why are people so scared of BenJarvus Green-Ellis this week? Oh, of course, Ravens D. I get it, but Lawfirm's fantasy potential is rooted in touchdowns, more so than yardage, so the matchup bothers me less than it would for a yardage-over-scores back. If the Bengals put the ball at the goal line, he's getting it, and I think he's got a good chance at scoring considering his prowess in those up-close opportunities the past two seasons. You're banking on a TD; I think he might well get it and should be in your lineup.

Devin Brooks (Detroit)

Tristan, trent Richardson I top 10 back after week 8.. you think! I say YES because he will get about 25-35 carries a game, and everyone is not going to be able to stop him all the time.. and he can run behind Joe Thomas all pro..

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:40 AM)

Top 10 after Week <i>8</i>?! Wow, geez, yes. Talk about a conservative prediction...

Jim (Portland, ME)

Should owners be concerned with Cam Newton? Not a bad day Sunday, but hardly Newton-esque.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:41 AM)

Only in that -- and I said this in the preseason as well -- if he struggles as a passer and his backfield underperforms as it just did, he's not going to get close to the goal-line opportunities he did as a rookie, and that fueled a lot of his fantasy value. Certainly that is what drove him into the first two rounds in drafts. I said beware; rushing TD regression was inevitable. Don't panic but that game was a lesson about his downside.

Sammy (NY)

Didn't see Cobb on you FA list in the top 3.....is he top 5?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:42 AM)

I think he'd be four. I haven't been tasked an official list so this is top-of-my-head stuff, but Cobb likely four, with no one else standing out right now.

Big MIKE (Jackson, TN)

BASEBALL!! With playoffs going on, does Matt Kemp's injury scare you? I have only 5 moves left of the season, but do I pick up Delmon Young or ride it out with Kemp??

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:46 AM)

Los Angeles Times reports today that Kemp is aiming for a Tuesday return, and based on the amount of time he'd need to recover from injections in his shoulder on Saturday, that timetable makes sense. I'd stick with him.

Jake (Denver)

BASEBALL---keeper question 10tm h2h points lg, gotta keep 5 and already have trout and braun as done deals...pick 3 from King Felix, Starlin Castro, Jay Bruce, Mike Bourn, Yadi Molina, Elvis Andrus, Matt Moore, Yu Darvish...Thanks for all you do

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:46 AM)

King Felix, Castro and Bruce.

Scooter (Cube)

BASEBALL: 16 team 5x5. Thoughts on rolling with Wandy today @ Cincy? He's been solid recently, but being at Cincy, I am a bit uncomfortable, as while I need W's, I really can't afford an implosion! Your thoughts?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:48 AM)

I wouldn't chance it. It's a road start, so no advantage provided by pitching-friendly PNC Park, and let's not overlook that Wandy Rodriguez's best outings of late came facing pretty much favorable matchups. This one isn't, so I'd tread carefully, particularly if what you're seeking is a win. NL-only status, that's it. It's the Sunday outing at Chicago that I love, and fueled his No. 31 ranking in Forecaster.

Nando (Boston)

I hate to look ahead but I probably won't get a chance to ask YOU this question. Which defense would you start next week: Chicago (@GB) or NYJ (@Pitt)?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:49 AM)

Ouch. I'd do everything in my power to find a waiver-wire pickup. I wasn't impressed by either defense accounting the matchups, and don't like either of their Week 2s.

PunkyQB (Chicago)

Which QB do you like more for Fantasy purposes going forward ROS--RG3 OR ELI Manning?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:50 AM)

Eli.

Greg (Chicago)

Does Brandon Gibson warrant a look in a 14 team PPR league?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

A look, but he's a matchups play and really nothing more. I regard Danny Amendola the target/catch beast in St. Louis -- if any one receiver there can be termed that -- and I expect Gibson will have fewer than Amendola in each department the vast majority of weeks.

John (MN)

Is there a more valid explanation for Mark Reynolds' power surge than luck (so many strikeouts)? I have Lawrie coming off the DL but I can't drop Reynolds now right?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:53 AM)

I'm known as the "ride the streak" guy, and players like Reynolds fit that description as aptly as anyone. Strike out a ton and you're going to be prone to streaks; only a very small number of players truly warrant the description. And yes, right now you cannot drop him.

Daniel (NY)

BASEBALL: Concerned about the injuries to Price and Kershaw?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:54 AM)

Primarily in how easy their teams decide to take it with them. Beyond preparing myself with backups to slot in as necessary, I'm still using them in their next turns.

John (Syracuse)

BASEBALL: Dont forget about the injury to weaver

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:55 AM)

Correct, and I'm more worried about Jered Weaver's injury of those three. By the way, he's tentatively scheduled to start on Wednesday this week.

Mike Rizzo (DC)

Did I make the right move?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:56 AM)

Shutting down Strasburg? Yes, that was the right decision considering the circumstances.The mistake? Talking about it so openly. I'd have simply said "no comment" about the situation. Everyone knew it was happening at 160 innings anyway.

Brandon (Iowa)

Where's the top 3 FA pick-ups people keep referencing?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:57 AM)

I don't have a formal list. We will have a published waiver-wire adds column up this week, however. Mine was informal just in this chat, because it was asked.

un-owned (Ann Arbor)

thoughts on unowned players (WR) that produced in week 1 and have a good chance to continue to produce.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:59 AM)

Among Week 1 "standouts" -- can I say did-fine's? -- that I think warrant a look: Ogletree, Hill, Alshon Jeffery, Brandon LaFell, Cobb, Donnie Avery. Listed merely in the order of fantasy scoring.

Rob (Philly)

BASEBALL - Shelby Miller getting and keeping a spot in the Cards rotation this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:00 PM)

It sounds like Chris Carpenter might get that open Wednesday start, depending upon how many pitches he throws during a scheduled Monday session, though Miller and Lance Lynn are fall-backs. I get the impression the Cardinals don't <i>want</i> Miller to start anytime soon, so while I think he warrants a bench stash in deep-mixed/NL-only, I wouldn't let my expectations get out of control. For this week: Bench. Except in like a 13-team NL-only.

Jason (Chicago)

Good start for Matt Ryan, where do you see him for the rest of the year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:01 PM)

I am pro-Ryan, have been all 2012 calendar year.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:01 PM)

What that means: Had him in my top 10, not changing now.

Reggie Wayne (INDY)

That's for calling me old. I'm clearly a top ___ WR ROS.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:03 PM)

Being a catch hound is "revenge" for my comments? Sorry, Reggie, your team was playing from behind and I don't see you with that TD that'd have been so important in fantasy. Week-high 18 targets nets 13 fantasy points? Enjoy that. I'm game in the WR3 class. Not moving you higher, because in the weeks you get nine targets, yikes...

Dan (NY)

Still High on Ttitus Young as a sleeper? He can't stop his personal fouls and wondering if I'd be better off dropping him for Lafell?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:03 PM)

I prefer LaFell to Young, so that move's fine.

Daniel (NY)

RE: The Strass Shutdown.... When a team wants to go with a IP Limit on a precious young arm, why don't they start them late rather than shut them down early?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:04 PM)

Fair question. Kris Medlen example. I can't say I disagree with you, especially if the Nationals fancied themselves contenders all spring.

Mike (Cleveland)

At what point do the Falcons realize that cement-foot Michael Turner is slowing them down and give the rock to Jacquizz?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:05 PM)

I'm not sure that if they shift the focus from Turner -- and arguably they already have -- that they just wouldn't lean more on Matt Ryan and their receivers to do the dirty work. I see Turner as a poor yards-per-carry (read: weak yardage potential), but strong goal-line candidate. Could very well be an 800-8 kind of season coming, which is fine ... but in the flex-play class, not the spot at which you probably picked him.

Tom Brady (Boston Rhinoplasty)

Do you believe me when I say we only want to throw the ball 30 times a game?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:06 PM)

Wants and needs are different things. Can't see it.

Anthony (El Paso)

I have Harvin, Torrey Smith as starters and Randy Moss, Lafell (both looked promising) and Baldwin on bench, should I drop Baldwin for Ogletree?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:06 PM)

Sure.

AJ (my cube)

OR.. why not have Stras pitch every seven or so starts instead of 5 throughout the season?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:07 PM)

Past results of pitchers treated that way were hardly extraordinary. Granted, differing levels of talent (Britton, Hughes come to mind), but I did get the distinct impression that the extra time off adversely affected these pitchers. My opinion is that's not a good plan.

Will (Boston)

What are your thoughts on Gore going forward?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:08 PM)

Diminishing weekly returns in the TD department as the weeks progress and Brandon Jacobs gets healthier, meaning that while I'd rank him in the RB2 class, there could be some sell-high potential in September. I don't regard him top-10.

Rob (Philly)

BASEBALL - will Dunn's oblique settle by next week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:11 PM)

He's questionable for the entire Tigers series, which speaks volumes about his health considering the importance of that series. I'd take the conservative route, especially since a less-than-full-health Dunn could be a batting average killer.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:12 PM)

Ok, time to wrap things up for today. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours. Take care everyone, and best of luck to you in the Monday night games in fantasy football leagues, as well as in your playoff matchups in fantasy baseball!