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September 13, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy NFL with Chris Harris

Christopher Harris
  (11:00 AM)

Good morning everyone. Welcome to your Thursday morning chat. Happy to take your questions, but if you have single-position Q's, please check out my ranks: http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/football/ffl/story?page=12ranksWeek2RB. Also, I hope you'll check out my new podcast with Field Yates, called the Fantasy Underground, where we dig into the film and tell you what fantasy implications we see. You can check out the first episode here: http://espn.go.com/espnradio/play?id=8371430 Finally, if you like football, Buddhism and HGH, please check out my novel: www.slotbackrhapsody.com. Let's get to your questions.......

Jay (Boston)

Going forward would you rather have LaFell or James Jones for WR3?

Christopher Harris
  (11:01 AM)

Hi, Jay. This week I'd probably rather use Jones provided Greg Jennings doesn't play tonight. For the season, however, I'd likely choose LaFell.

Kevin (London (Canada))

hey Chris, thanks for the chat! more upside this year, Alshon Jeffery or Dexter McCluster? Thanks!

Christopher Harris
  (11:02 AM)

Hi, Kevin. You're welcome. I'd say Jeffery has more upside. Rookie wideouts obviously usually don't work out week-to-week, but if he does, he could see a lot of singled-up looks. McCluster figures to perhaps be steadier catching stuff out of the slot, but he's not making as many big plays as Jeffery in Jeffery's ideal scenario.

Matt (CC)

Alfred Morris, VJax, Antonio Brown. Start 2.

Christopher Harris
  (11:03 AM)

Hi, Matt. I hate sitting the RB, but I think in this case I do.

David (Columbus)

What makes you rank you rank Romo over P. Manning when your peers have it the other way around? Thanks

Christopher Harris
  (11:05 AM)

Hi, David. I have Romo 8 and Peyton 10, so it's not like I'm adamant, but if I'm judging how they looked in their respective openers, I think Romo looked a little better. Of course, it could be argued that he also has a more difficult matchup this week (I'm not positive that's true, but am receptive to the possibility), but basically: I feel like I know what Romo can do, and after 26 attempts, I'm not positive what Peyton can do. He certainly didn't take deep shots Sunday night. (Which of course doesn't mean he *can't*.)

griffin (CLE)

matt ryan will have a better fantasy year than cam newton: fact or fiction?

Christopher Harris
  (11:06 AM)

Hi, Griffin. I'm sticking with fiction, though obviously after Week 1 that's a less popular answer. The reason is because I assume Newton will start producing with his feet. Certainly would've have guessed that Ryan would lead Cam in rushing TDs at any point this year.

Bill (SF)

Plucked Collie off waivers. Would you have him or the hot headed, playing time challenged Titus Young for PPR ROS? Young might have skills, but he's got depth chart climbing to do, while Collie is an every down player.

Christopher Harris
  (11:07 AM)

Yeah, Bill, what a disappointment for Young. It's not like this was his first incident. I'm bummed. I think I'd still rather own him. The problem with Collie, of course, is that nobody can have much faith that he's not going to get concussed again....

Lance (Chicago)

Hey Chris! Love the new podcast! Great in-depth info. Would you rather NYJ Hill or GB Cobb in a ten team keeper? Dont need him to blossom soon but who has better odds down the road?

Christopher Harris
  (11:08 AM)

Thanks, Lance. Yup, the Fantasy Underground exists to fight the tyranny of the box score -- we're not going to just look at stats to tell you what we think. So thank you. I would probably own Hill in this case. Doubt Cobb has it in him to ever be a true outside receiver, though he's definitely a matchup challenge. Hill has No. 1 upside in his future.

Ryan (Ontario)

Hi Chris! Do you feel that it's safe to start Adrian Peterson on a weekly basis now?

Christopher Harris
  (11:09 AM)

Hi, Ryan. I do. We talk about AP's Week 1 at great length right off the bat on the first edition of the podcast; suffice it to say he doesn't look "all the way back" to me, but he's got that straight-ahead burst and power, and that's all he needs to be effective. I'm not 100% convinced he won't wind up with hammy or calf strains this year, but for as long as he's healthy, use him. I was wrong on him this summer.

Lou (NH)

Hey Chris do you think now would be a good time to sell high on Garcon? What type of numbers do you expect from him this year?

Christopher Harris
  (11:11 AM)

Hi, Lou. The problem at this exact moment in time is that he's not 100% healthy. He hurt his foot in Week 1 and is questionable this week. His TD was a great catch on a questionable throw that he took to the house, but even before than RG3 was hitting him on a bunch of small stuff. I think a 1,000-yard season is possible if he gets healthy; as such, I don't think you sell quite yet.

John (Syracuse)

Hey Chris - i saw u ranked lynch highest among ur peers (7th) are ur concerns about his back gone?

Christopher Harris
  (11:12 AM)

Hi, John. Well, never gone, obviously, because as anyone who's ever had a bad back knows, you can do anything to it and have the problems reappear. But yeah, he came out of Week 1 feel none the worse for wear and got a pretty big workload. I don't love the matchup against the Cowboys run defense, but in a world of platoon backs, Lynch at least looks like a guy who carries the mail.

Ryan (Ontario)

Love these chats Chris! Do you think Steven Ridley is good enough to start each week?

Christopher Harris
  (11:13 AM)

Definitely, Ryan. Clearly Belichick can mess with his RBs in any give week, but with Vereen hurt, there just doesn't appear to be a likely candidate to steal the lion's share of touches. Arizona's run defense might be a bit better than Tennessee's, but I still view Ridley as a definitely top-15 back for the foreseeable future.

Brian (Mechanicsburg, PA)

Chris, if Mathews misses another game, can we trust Ronnie Brown after last week's performance?

Christopher Harris
  (11:14 AM)

Hi, Brian. I think not. It was painful to watch him Monday night. He's as done as done can be. I ranked him 35th on my RB list this week, and felt dirty even doing that. Heck, he made Curtis Brinkley look dynamic. I'd stay away if I possibly could. The caveat as always with any starting RB is that they can fall into the end zone by accident and make your week.

Shawn (NJ)

Chris: Any reason to think Ogletree and Cobb will be in for more than just ~50% of their team's snaps (like in Week 1) based on last week's performances?

Christopher Harris
  (11:16 AM)

Hi, Shawn. Honestly, probably not. Cobb in particular seems like a bit of a peripheral player in games where the Pack isn't behind (though if Jennings is out, that might change). I think he's ownable in all leagues (they both are), and in a deeper PPR perhaps Cobb is worth considering as a starter. But my guess is they each remain secondary players. Until we see multi-week breakouts, I doubt either should be in too many lineups.

Shivu (Orange County, CA)

What up Chris? Fantasy Underground was a great success. Good job on that. For matchup purposes, I was wondering how many weeks of data you think you need before you can make a definitive judgment on how good or bad a team's pass & run D is?

Christopher Harris
  (11:17 AM)

Hi, Shivu, thank you very much. I have a pretty explicit system I've developed via Excel spreadsheets, and I don't even look at the results for considering what a "good" or "bad" matchup constitutes until five weeks have gone by. Now, I do cheat in my head when I rank in the first five weeks, but it's anecdotal cheating (and if I were more rigorous, I wouldn't do it...but dangit, I'm human). In terms of codified analysis, for me it's five games.

Matt (Baltimore)

Howdy Chris! What do you think of Kenny Britt? Would you trade Ridley for him?

Christopher Harris
  (11:18 AM)

Hi, Matt. Since it looks like Britt will play this week (in other words, his knee is rounding into shape), I think those who drafted him late could feel pretty smart here in a few games. This week, though, he doesn't figure to play a full compliment of snaps. And would I trade Ridley for him? I don't think I would. Ridley was a "Flag Player" of mine this summer. Not that I think he's an amazing player (he's not exactly fast), but I like his situation very much. So no, this is one I probably don't do.

Chris (Baltimore)

Hey Chris - can Schaub and Freeman sustain my team all year?

Christopher Harris
  (11:19 AM)

Hi, Chris. Obviously it depends on what else you have. Presumably if these guys are your QBs, you loaded up on RBs and WRs in the early rounds. If those guys hit, then yes, I would say you'll get good enough performances from these QBs to keep you in the running. If those guys don't hit, well, you'll probably wish you had Aaron Rodgers. Then again, don't we all!

oscar (nj)

I need a rb. Do you think its worth it to trade maclin or colston for Trent Richardson?

Christopher Harris
  (11:21 AM)

Hi, Oscar. You're essentially asking about buying low on T-Rich. We talk about his Week 1 at length on the podcast, so look there for more detail. But at the top level, I'll say no, that there are other RBs who are more enticing buy-low candidates for me. I wasn't that impressed with Richardson's Week 1 vision (his oomph and shiftiness were pretty darned good), and I *really* worry about the interior of that offensive line.

Brandon Weeden (Underneath the American flag)

I would have ranked Cincinatti's defense in the top 3 this week despite their awful performance against the Ravens. They get to play against ME and my 5.1 QB rating this week! Do you wish to amend your rankings?

Christopher Harris
  (11:23 AM)

Yes, yes. Now that a rookie QB has petitioned me, I hearby wish to amend my rankings........ No! Hey, I thought it was pretty gutsy to rank them 9th among defenses a week after they go for a cool minus-3 versus the Ravens. Agreed it's a good matchup. But that Cincy secondary is a WRECK. I'm okay with streaming them this week, but as a regular play, I'm not biting.

Ryan (Kentucky)

Chris, love the Fantasy Underground. Looking forward to more of it. Thoughts on Donald Brown or Amendola at Flex this week? Standard league.

Christopher Harris
  (11:24 AM)

Hi, Ryan, thank you. I wish I could just knee-jerk say, "Go Donald Brown! He's a starting RB!" but I just don't think he's good. I'm still going to pick him, because this isn't a PPR (Amendola has more value in such a league), but I don't feel good about it. The stat I saw is that Brown played 28 snaps, Mewelde Moore got 19 and Vick Ballard got 11. So he's in a platoon, too, in addition to being a glorified third-down back? Awesome.

John (NYC)

Hey Chris, caught the new Podcast last night, good stuff!! I'm contemplating Kenny Britt tonight, they're projecting 15-25 plays for him. Can you give us a frame of reference on how many it takes for a wide receiver like that to be effective? Having trouble finding data.

Christopher Harris
  (11:26 AM)

Hi, John. Unfortunately, I'm not sure such data really exists, because fantasy is *so* TD-dependent. Take Randy Moss last week. He's on the field for 21 snaps against the Packers, but he scores a TD (mostly as a result of being absolutely uncovered) and all is sweetness and light. I ranked Britt 35th among WRs this week because I'm buying what the beat writers are selling, that as you say, Britt will be a part-timer this week. But he's such a burner, such an immense deep threat, that all he really needs is one target to potentially help.

Jason (Boston)

Would you drop someone like R. Jennings or Turbin for LeShoure?

Christopher Harris
  (11:28 AM)

Hi, Jason. Those two players *are* droppable. And I do think that in a deeper league, Leshoure is addable. Kevin Smith is probably going to be the back to own for as long as he stays healthy, but let's face it: nobody knows how long that is. And against the Niners this week, the sledding should be pretty tough. Add Leshoure's torn Achilles' last year, and it's a lot of uncertainty. But if you're not an MJD owner, I kind of think owning Jennings is just unnecessary... I don't mind a speculative add like that.

Alex (DC)

Hey Chris, lots of questions in the Steeler's backfield this week. Dwyer worth a start in the flex over Titus Young or McCluster?

Christopher Harris
  (11:29 AM)

Hi, Alex. First off, until I see Mendenhall actually suit up, I'm not considering him much of a threat. I don't believe the Steelers when they say he's "practicing fully." I mean, we'll see. Keep an eye on the inactives. As for Redman, he was awful in Week 1, and if Dwyer turns out to be healthy (he has a foot problem) for practice today and tomorrow, I think I roll with him.

jim (seattle)

Fred Davis and just doesn't look very involved in the WAS offense. Too early to drop him for a TE with some upside? Tamme, Rudolph, Cook, Olsen, Bennett all available

Christopher Harris
  (11:31 AM)

Hi, Jim. I admit there's a little bit of concern given Davis' slow preseason, too, but he did make one long catch against the Saints. As for upside, I think it's fairly clear he has more upside than any of the guys you mention, simply because of his ability. I'm not ready to bail (and I'm a Davis owner, too...).

Steve (Syracuse)

Hi Chris, piggybacking off your earlier Randy Moss comment, do you think the role we saw for him in week 1 extends for the whole season, or does he eventually see more snaps? Thanks.

Christopher Harris
  (11:32 AM)

Hi, Steve. I think that's his role. But that doesn't mean he can't have a touch of fantasy value, because a lot of his snaps came when the Niners were in the red zone. It reminded me of the Plaxico Burress role with the Jets last year. That resulted in an eight-TD season.....

Chris (Erlanger, KY)

If Vick threw 4 INT's vs the Browns, he will throw ______ vs. Baltimore.

Christopher Harris
  (11:33 AM)

Hi, Chris. Um.... 16? Naw, I think Vick bounces back a *little* bit, at least in the decision-making department. His game Sunday was just awful. He threw late across the field, he threw across his body, he locked onto his primary target and threw into multi-coverage. The Eagles have to get him back into the mode he's been relatively successful with the past two seasons. I'm guessing he throws 1 pick.

Chris (Houston)

Any update on how long Fred Jackson will be out? He was dropped in my league, and I am debating picking him up and stashing. My other rb's are Charles, Doug Martin, BJGE, Hillis and Donald Brown.

Christopher Harris
  (11:34 AM)

Hi, Chris. Yes, he's absolutely worth stashing. There isn't a clear picture on how long he'll be out -- it'll at least be a month, and perhaps longer, but the second half of the season he should be back. You probably aren't using Brown much...I would be absolutely fine dropping him to pick up F-Jax.

Chad (Houston)

What is your preferred waiver wire method? Worst team gets first pick, waiver budget, combo, other?

Christopher Harris
  (11:35 AM)

Hi, Chad. I like FAAB. Give everyone $200 and let them bid. If that's too much work (and it's really not -- our site does it for you), next up would be reverse order of standings. Last and least option is a free-for-all where earliest person to check the site wins.

JT (Fairfield, CT)

I listened to your draft previews and remember you being high enough on Daniel Thomas to get him late and stash. Is it too soon to bail on him in a 12 or 14-team league?

Christopher Harris
  (11:37 AM)

Hi, JT. You're absolutely right, I was giving Thomas a bit of love for a later-round pick, and given that he already has a concussion and won't play this week, that's not looking like a very happy decision. Of course, it's not like he's played *badly*. He just hasn't played. In a deeper league, I guess I'm having a hard time imagining that there's a *ton* of awesome stuff on the waiver wire, but let's be fair: Thomas isn't looking like a very good Flag Player at the moment, and if you see something you really need on the wire, I couldn't begrudge cutting bait.

Nathan (Dallas, TX)

What are your thoughts on DeAngelo Williams? Is he still worth owning (albeit already in a confusing time share) or would you drop him for one of the flavor of the week WRs?

Christopher Harris
  (11:38 AM)

Hi, Nathan. What a miserable performance by the entire Panthers offense, and pretty shocking coming against what was the worst rushing D for stopping fantasy RBs in the NFL last year. I don't think I'm dropping D-Willy for a scrubino WR. It's just not in my nature, because I know how talented a player he is. But I don't think he should be in too many lineups right now, either, so I'm kind of a hypocrite. Which is not news, alas.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

With D. Thomas out, Lamar Miller worth picking up and droppping Vick Ballard? Miller had some Portis-like qualities...

Christopher Harris
  (11:40 AM)

Hi, Scott. Portis wouldn't be my initial comparison, because I don't think of Miller as being particularly physical. He's a burner, and his real upside is someone like Jamaal Charles or maybe to be more realistic, C.J. Spiller. But yes, I certainly think a potential home-run hitter like that has more upside than Ballard behind a crummy o-line.

Bobby (KC)

When is it "too early" to trade Megatron? I lost Fred Jackson and my next best RB is Alfred Morris and I'm considering dealing him for Andre Johnson and Spiller.

Christopher Harris
  (11:42 AM)

Hi, Bobby. Truthfully it sounds like your potential trading of Calvin isn't so much about being "too early" as just being necessary (in your mind) to stay competitive, which I get. Because you own F-Jax, so you can keep your continuity with the BUF run game, I might actually do this. I get the logic.

Alon (Brooklyn, NY)

Any thoughts on picking up J Best and stashing him?

Christopher Harris
  (11:43 AM)

Hi, Alon. In a 10-team league, I kind of think there's no need. I have absolutely no insight about whether he can play at all this year, but I find it difficult to imagine he suddenly becomes reliable enough to start in a shallow league. Deeper league, however? Especially PPR? I would say it's not a terrible stash idea. (He's owned in my 16-teamer, for example.)

Bob (NYC)

Alfred Morris comments???

Christopher Harris
  (11:44 AM)

Hi, Bob. As I mentioned earlier in the chat, I wasn't blown away by Morris' performance...it was largely the result of volume, and getting a couple close-in carries. I counted one play where he really put his foot in the ground Shanahan style and made someone miss with one cut...otherwise it was a lot of barreling into people. I believe 22 of his 28 carries when for 3 yards or fewer. That said, I can see Shanny riding him again this week. He's in my top 30 RBs.

Devin Brooks (Detroit)

Hey Chris, I traded Alfred Morris for Michael Turner was that a smart move by me or should I have kept Morris? I am thinking Morris could be the A.Foster of 2010 when no one knew of him like that...

Christopher Harris
  (11:46 AM)

Hi, Devin. I think that would be the stretch of stretches, from what I saw on the Week 1 tape. Morris is significantly smaller than Foster, and doesn't have nearly the acceleration, speed or wiggle that Foster does. I'd be really, really surprised if he winds up being the guy who wins fantasy leagues this year. I'm going to say you made a really good deal.

Kyle (Cincinnati)

Why do you think McFadden struggled to run the ball against San Diego. Will this improve?

Christopher Harris
  (11:49 AM)

Hi, Kyle. I have to admit that while I watched the game live, SD/OAK isn't one of the games I was able to go back and re-watch in full on tape. (In a way I miss the days when I had time to watch every single game -- now I probably watch three-quarters of them -- and in a way, I don't.) What I saw live was basically a pretty stout SD effort and not much commitment to sticking with the run on Oakland's part...they seemed to decide pretty early that Run-DMC should get out into pass patterns and catch it. I think for as long as he's healthy, you'll see better work on the ground from McFadden most weeks.

Jamie (Pittsburgh)

Hey, Chris. What are you thoughts on Wes Welker? I am in a PPR league.

Christopher Harris
  (11:50 AM)

Hi, Jamie. I live in Massachusetts, and I'm not sure if people in other parts of the country understand the kvetching that's going on about Welker's poor Week 1 showing and his relative lack of playing time (he was out there about 2/3rds of the time). There's a school of thought that since Welker didn't play much in the preseason either, maybe he's nursing an injury. There are people who completely ignore the Week 1 results and say it was a result of being way ahead. And there are conspiracy theorists who say this is all about his contract problems. Me? I think Welker will be *just fine*, especially in a PPR.

Colin (Ithaca)

I'm sitting here with both Ogletree and Stephen Hill available as free agents in a 10 team, 1/2pt ppr league. I could drop Hillis, Decker, or Donald Brown to pick one of them up. I don't really need anything yet this season, but I can't help but feel like I'm passing an opportunity by here.

Christopher Harris
  (11:52 AM)

Hi, Colin. How is it high above Cayuga's waters? (I went to Cornell.) Yeah, I know what you mean -- the feeling especially in shallow leagues is regularly that you could tweak, but anyone you drop is also potentially a legit starter. I've probably made it known in this chat that I'm not a big Donald Brown fan, but the fact is that he's still likely to lead the Colts in rush TDs. Is he *ever* going to be in your lineup, though. If he's not, then I don't mind trying a high-upside guy. I prefer Hill to Ogletree at the moment, but understand the logic for either.

mike (Boston)

hi. is your podcast available on itunes? i dont see it in the search area. thanks

Christopher Harris
  (11:53 AM)

Hi, Mike. They tell me it's coming today. Follow me on Twitter (@writerboyESPN), and I'll post when it's available.

Dougie (Fresh Mart)

Will Cobb get the McCluster treatment of being eligible as a RB and a WR? I think that would up his value to the Sproles level in PPR leagues!

Christopher Harris
  (11:54 AM)

No, I think that's not likely to happen. McCluster really *is* a WR with an RB's uniform number...the Chiefs list him at WR on their own site, and don't really line him up in the backfield at all. If anything, maybe he should've been listed *only* as a WR in our game before the season started. Cobb did line up 19 times in the Pack's backfield, but he didn't carry it at all, and lineup all over the formation. Strongly doubt he'll get RB status.

James (A Giant Peach)

Top 3 sleeper D/STs for you this week?

Christopher Harris
  (11:55 AM)

Hi, James. I'll say Bengals, Raiders, Redskins. All owned in 26.8 percent of ESPN leagues or fewer.

Jeff (KC)

Would you try to buy low on CJ1k or Trent Richardson? Preference of the two going forward?

Christopher Harris
  (11:56 AM)

Hi, Jeff. Honestly, I don't think I'm buying low on either one at the moment. Of course, it depends *how* low. If someone wants to give me either for, like, Danny Amendola, I'll probably bite the bullet and do it. I know that Field Yates, my podcast co-host, is much more willing to buy low on Richardson than CJ, and he's a smart dude.

Corey (NJ)

LET'S GO RED!

Christopher Harris
  (11:57 AM)

KILL SCHAFER KILL!

Marco (Eugene)

Hey Chris, I'm in a two Kickers league and wanted to know.....just kidding no such thing....i hope.

Christopher Harris
  (11:57 AM)

Har.

Crabtree (SF)

Is this the year I breakout? Alex Smith a year more comfortable in the system will better WR on he other side. All the pieces are there?

Christopher Harris
  (11:59 AM)

I certainly think Crabtree is the WR to own in SF. He and Vernon Davis are viable fantasy starters. Breadout, though? As in, like, we'll look back and say, "Ah, Crabtree is finally a top 10 fantasy WR"? I'm not there yet. And the problem is still Alex Smith and the offensive philosophy. He's playing a very solid, very valuable game for his team. Not throwing INTs is a huge part of winning, and he's doing that wonderfully well. But for all the praise that's been heaped on him, about how he outplayed Aaron Rodgers (which is just patently false to anyone watching that game with a clear head), the dude had 211 passing yards. When Tom Brady does that, it's a calamity. So I guess I'm going to say no on Crabtree-as-potentially-elite.

Kevin Smith (NY)

Do i start in two weeks if I'm healthy? Sell high?

Christopher Harris
  (12:00 PM)

Yeah, I would think Smith continues to start for as long as he's healthy.

Riz (Baton Rouge)

Why do you answer dumb questions and not just ones that help people?

Christopher Harris
  (12:00 PM)

The problem may be my own dumb-ness in not being able to tell the difference.

Readerboy (Library)

Trade R. White for CJ Spiller. I am hurting at rb with Fjax and R. Mathews. If I do the trade I will be left with Harvin, Britt and B. Lloyd at Wr.

Christopher Harris
  (12:01 PM)

I have to be honest that I'd hope to get something else in addition to Spiller. Anyone getting White from you knows that Spiller has a limited shelf life as a fantasy starter. If you could get another, slightly lesser WR back as well, I'd feel more inclined to do it.

Christopher Harris
  (12:01 PM)

All right, gang, one more and then I have to get writing the Hard Count.

Ryan (Lexington, KY)

For sleeper defenses, better strategy to go with one of them or go with a defense ranked "higher", like Seattle?

Christopher Harris
  (12:04 PM)

Hi, Ryan. Listen, we know less about fantasy defenses than almost anything else when the season starts, so our ranks are certainly an inexact science early on. They get better, I think. But so anyway, I totally understand why someone would look at SEA/DAL and think, "Do I really want to have to worry about my D facing a hot Romo?" And in that case, I don't mind using those sleeper D's. But in my gut, I feel like the Seahawks D is just far more talented. It's really quite good. I think if it's me, I trust that gut and go with the higher-ranked D.

Christopher Harris
  (12:06 PM)

Okay, gang, more than 2,400 questions came in an hour, which is basically unbelievable. I thank you very much for your interest and support, and I'm sorry I can't get to more of them. You can follow me @writerboyESPN and friend me (www.facebook.com/writerboy), and I'll do my best to answer some Q's. Also, remember to check out the Fantasy Underground podcast, and if I've ever answered a question of yours, find a place in your heart to purchase a copy of Slotback Rhapsody (www.slotbackrhapsody.com), which as a football fan you'll enjoy, and which would really help me out. Thanks. Have a great day.