Hi, everyone. Welcome to your Week 11 chat. Follow me @CHarrisESPN. Spend six bucks to get the Kindle version of my football novel: www.slotbackrhapsody.com. (And get to answer fun mid-chat trivia for a chance to get your question answered.) And listen to this week's Fantasy Underground podcast: http://espn.go.com/espnradio/play?id=8632624. Let's rock.
Chris! Love the underground. Hoping to make the playoffs this year and have a spot on my bench to pick up a guy to stash. Is Benson worth it? Green Bay's ground game has been nothing with him gone, can he produce come weeks 15 and 16?
Hi, Mac. Can he? Yes. But if anyone tells you know they know what to expect, they're lying. He's eligible to return in Week 14, but considering he's not really working out yet on the injured foot, nobody knows how he'll progress. It's definitely possible. In a deeper league, I don't mind him as a stash. But there aren't guarantees. Beanie Wells is likelier to contribute, but then again, he has a murderous late schedule and, well, he's Beanie.
Sproles gonna go this week?
Hi, CJ. It sounds like yes. I didn't initially rank him, but in tomorrow's ranks updates on ESPN.com, I'll have him right around RB14. But there's significant risk. Have the Saints seen their power-running game work so effectively that they're not going to go back to a Sproles-heavy attack? I'm honestly not sure. If you have other good options, I don't mind waiting a week to see how it shakes out. But yeah, I think he plays.
Hi Chris, are you concerned about RG3 rest of year?
Hi, Tim. A little concerned, I guess. I've been writing and talking about TV all year about how RG3's excellent fantasy value hasn't been geared around his arm at all -- it's been his running, and in his two games before the bye, his opponents did a good disciplined job of keeping him from killing them with his legs. There will be weeks where he gets the running going again and will be dominant. But there will be weeks where he doesn't. He's still in my top 10.
You're the only one not buying Denarius Moore this week ... why?
Hi, Kyle. Funny you should ask -- I'm about to write extensively on this topic for tomorrow's Hard Count column. In short: I was the earliest adapter I know on Moore (he was in my Super-Deep Sleeper column in the summer of '11), and I really like the guy. Plus it's a good matchup against the Saints (who, to be fair, have started doing a better job in their secondary of late). But it's a matter of volume. Look at his catch totals: 3,5,4,5,4,5,4,4. Ahem. That's not good. To rate him well inside one's top 10 with that volume is to essentially guarantee a touchdown. I cannot in good conscious guarantee touchdowns. I ranked Moore 16th. That's really good. Really high, a definite fantasy starter. But I don't buy him among the elite fantasy WRs of the game. You know me: I stick to my evaluation. I was higher than everyone before the year. Now everyone's higher than me. But I haven't changed.
Can you elaborate on Mendenhall's situation for Sunday? I've read he is going to play, but cannot find extensive news on his availability.
Unfortunately, I don't believe anyone really knows anything about how PIT will work out their backfield. It seems likely that all 3 RBs will play, and Mendy will at least nominally be the starter. But if he struggles for a few snaps? Or if, say, Dwyer comes in and is awesome on his first carry? It's tough to say. The Ravens are not a scary opponent stopping the run (though they may be scarier with Leftwich under center), nevertheless I didn't put any of the Steelers backs in my top 20 RBs. Mendy is highest on the list, but at best a risky flex.
Now that I am cleared from concussion and practicing full, Where would you rank me...say compared to Keller and Olsen ?
Yeah, I didn't put Myers in my initial TE list, but I'll be adding him for tomorrow's update. I'm pretty sure, however, that he'll be a bit lower than both Keller and Olsen. Probably around 16. No question he's been pretty steady, but he doesn't quite fit the mold of a "dynamic" athlete. In other words, pretty safe, not necessarily a regular breakout threat.
You're a lot higher on McCoy even with the mess on offense. You got some 'splain to do..
Hi, Sean. Everyone has Shady in their top 8 RBs. I just happen to have him at 3. If that's a huge gap, well, my apologies. My explanation: I watch McCoy play. He's excellent. I hesitate to imagine that suddenly he's *less* involved with a rookie QB under center, nor do I consider Washington to be a daunting foe. I'm aboard with Shady as a top-3 RB most weeks, and have been all year. True, he's in the second tier of fantasy RB performers so far this season, so I understand the question and appreciate the risk. But he's just a better player than his stats have indicated, and I think he'll seek his level.
Do you think Reggie Bush will rebound tonight after his slum as of late?
Hi, Jacob. I do. I wanted to downgrade him significantly based on getting benched for fumbling last week, and for losing many snaps to Daniel Thomas. But this matchup looks too tasty. The Bills D just can't stop the run. I'll say two things: First, if Bush doesn't take advantage of this matchup, we have big trouble in River City. Second, nobody really knows a coach's plans, and he's not going to tell us. So it's certainly *possible* that Miami comes out tonight essentially saying, "Bush has not proved he's a RB1 for us, and we're going platoon no matter what." And if that happens, we're not getting a good fantasy out of Bush, and I'm sorry. It's definitely possible, and it makes him risky. But it's a risk I'm probably willing to take.
Who will be a better flex play ROS Fitzgerald or CJ1k, thanks
Hi, Tony. I'll say Johnson, partly because when it's close I usually pick the RB for steadiness, and partly because Fitz's December schedule (fantasy playoff time) looks murderous from the perspective of four weeks out.
I know my fraudulent 7-3 team isn't good enough to win it all unless I make a deal. In a PPR vacuum, are you ok with rolling with Palmer ROS and trading Brady and Rudolph for Jimmy Graham to a team with a concussed Jay Cutler?
Hi, Sean. First off, I like the willingness to make this kind of move, knowing that you're not going to win a title as presently comprised. In a 10-team league, using Palmer from here on out is frightening to me, and I'm not sure Graham-over-Rudolph is enough for me to take that risk. It's a fair deal, but I would rather deal Tom Terrific for a RB if I had my druthers.
You have Leshoure higher than anyone this week - buying the matchup against a depleted GB defense?
Hi, John. I'm not actually higher on Leshoure. I have him 18th, Karabell 16th, Cockcroft 19th and Berry 24th. A fairly tight scatter diagram, but Berry seems to be lower than the rest of us, so maybe ask him. I can say my opinion about Leshoure is that he's a bull, straight-ahead runner with no wiggle, and his fantasy value is dependent on field position, because he needs a TD. He's about the best they have, and he's acceptable as a low-level RB2, though clearly, I'm not in love with the dude.
I worried about Steve Smith getting "benched" last week, should I start Amendola or Reece at flex?
Hi, Steve. Man, I don't think I'd worry about it. I think Smith is ready to do work against a bad TB secondary. I don't even really buy it as a benching -- the Panthers were getting killed late and Smith rested. I'm picking him.
Hating Mathews holding a starting spot hostage over my 4-game losing streak. Dare I start mendy over Mathews this week?
It's tough. I just watched the Mathews film from last week, and I think he's playing pretty well. Also, he stayed on the field more than he did earlier in the season, keeping Ronnie Brown and Jackie Battle more at bay (though Battle did have one big run). That said, you're right, hostage is the feeling. He just doesn't make the big play, even though he gives you ever indication in terms of his ability that he's *this close*. I would understand the switch out of frustration, but I would pick Mathews.
Why are you high on Turner this week after a terrible performance against the Saints?
Hi, Chase. Ha! I'm high on Michael Turner? Well, you're right, of course, looking at the ranks, the other guys have him two or three spots lower, but I think the larger point is: Look at the people below him, and find me the players you like better. Turner is a slug. I've been writing it since this summer. He wasn't in my top 15 RBs to start the year (only guy you can say that about). But the Falcons don't seem likely to make any kind of dramatic switch with an 8-1 record, and the fact is: for all his sluggy-ness, the dude is on pace for 9 to 10 TDs.
OK, gang...this week's Slotback Rhapsody quiz -- just answer *once* please, because I promise I'll see it, and it makes it easier for me. Answer correctly, I'll pick your question (www.slotbackrhapsody.com), and then I'll get back to everyone's Q's: Who is the long-snapper who's memorized all the times a nuclear bomb almost accidentally went off in the U.S.?
Thoughts on the GB WRs this week? Should Jones be benched w/ Nelson back and Cobb becoming a favorite target of Rodgers?
Hi, Brian. My WR ranks are here: http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/football/ffl/story?page=12ranksWeek11WR I do put Nelson ahead of Jones, but only one slot, because I'm trying to see how this is going to play out. Is Jordy fully healthy? Is the workload going to tilt back his way or is Jones going to stay super-involved? Remember, the Pack defaults to at least 3-wide sets, so they'll all be on the field. But Cobb is the one I trust the most this week.
Can you also answer that GB WR question in regards to fantasy playoffs?
Hi, Kevin. Well, alas, I really can't, at least not with any terrific insight. I mean, Jennings will presumably at least be on the field by then, but whether or not he can be himself at all this year is such an open question that it really can't be answered with any intelligence right now. Because he's a slot player who also lines up in the backfield, and because the Pack seems so committed to getting the ball in his hands, I think Cobb is the best bet of the group. After that, I mean, at the moment you'd have to put Jennings 4th with the others in the middle. But it's really hard to say.
In a vacuum, would you trade AJ Green to get Mccoy? I feel like I would be selling slightly high on Green and buying slightly low on Mccoy.
Hi, Brian. I agree with your assessment, and as a result I might not. I don't think there's a WR I'd rather own for the season's second half than Green (not even Megatron), and while I did just spend a minute defending Shady, the truth is that he *is* more an object of faith and film than statistical evidence at this point. I think I'd like to get a better back for Green. But listen, if you've got WR covered and McCoy is the absolute best your leaguemates are willing to offer, I think I'd do it.
Big Ben went down need to trade for a QB who do you like the ROS Cam Newton or Andy Dalton
Hi, Donny, Mr. One-Town-Over-From-Me. I'll still say Newton. It hasn't been pretty. He's a freak of a risk. But if you're trying to win your league, I think he's got a better chance of doing it for you than Dalton. Dalton's fantasy numbers have, in my opinion, been a lot better than his tape. It always helps when every game (it seems) you can count on a TD pass to Green. But too many turnovers, and you don't get Newton's rushing upside.
Is it time to unload Cruz? I like his schedule the remainder of the year, but I'm concerned with Eli and the "dead arm" talk.
Hi, Rob. Unfortunately I wonder if that time might be passed. If someone wanted to pay you as if he's a top-3 WR, I think I would do that, because he's not right now. But I'm not buying the dead-arm talk. It's just media people being media people, looking for ghosts. This is what Eli does. He has bouts of wildness and poor decision-making every year, and then seemingly every year he gets locked in and superhuman (or, as I like to say, Robo-Eli) again. I wouldn't find Cruz to be a must-sell, because he'll benefit from the bounceback.
Thoughts on the direction of Heath Miller's value in a Leftwich/Batch regime? He was used almost exclusively in a blocking role after Ben went down last week...
It's a good point, Prince. Zero catches for Miller once Roethlisberger went out. Logically, though, I have a hard time believing that he'll exclusively be an O-lineman in this upcoming game. I'd *think* that the Steelers need viable targets closer to the line of scrimmage for Leftwich. But you may be right, and I think I need to watch this tape closer before I get definitive with you.
Any news on Percy Harvin's injury and his availability for week 12 and beyond?
Hi, Greg. Yeah, all signs point to improvement in his ankle, and that he'll play in Week 12. But we'll keep an eye on it....
Would you even consider this trade at all? I would get Ray Rice (RB's would be...DMC Matthews Matthews and Rice) for Tom Brady straight up? I do have Carson Palmer...Your thoughts going forward on ROS for Palmer, Brady and Rice....im in a pickle here!
Hi, Nick. To some extent it comes down to picking your poison, or, I guess, your ambrosia. Having to play Palmer ROS is spooky to me. But if you're starting 3 RBs and you're down McFadden with no idea about when he'll return, I understand why you'd consider it, and if I did a re-draft this very moment, I'd take Rice ahead of Brady. So it comes down to your stomach for Palmer starting, and whether or not you think DMC will return soon. As to that second point, unfortunately based off of last year, we really just don't know.
Who would you rather have from this point on, R. Jennings or A. Bradshaw?
Hi, Randy. Bradshaw, clearly. Not least because it sounds like MJD should be back in a matter of a few weeks.
post your question or commentHow Do u feel about LSH this week goin up against a terrible Run D?
Hi, Drew. Do the Falcons have a terrible run D? I don't think they do...they've been slightly favorable over the past 5 games, but not terrible. My worry is that LSH just isn't a traditional back...he's a little dude who has a rough time between the tackles. Tough guy for me to endorse.
What is the chance that Hunter gets more use near the end of the season here?
Hi, Saiid. I'm not feeling like they're all that high. I still think Hunter is a nice handcuff to Gore, but it doesn't look like the Niners will run away and hide from the NFC West again, so they simply may not have the luxury of resting the starter so extensively.
With Ben and Antonio hurting, is now the time to pick up Amendola and drop Antonio Brown?
Yes, the Armageddon-worried long-snapper is Calcaterra. I'm not sure if I'd drop Brown...I think he'll be at full strength later in the year. But yes, I want to add Amendola badly. I would look for someone else to drop.....
what are your thoughts on Marcel Reece this week? Over 100 otal yds againg this week? Trying to decide between him Medny, llyod and hartline at flex this week in a .5 ppr league. Thanks.
I think Reece is a viable starter in all formats, though more attractive if PPR leagues. I think yes, I'd probably use him ahead of all the guys you list.
Would trading harvin for Mathews be a good trade seeing as I would still have Marshall and Calvin at wide reciever and have Alf and T-Rich at RB
I'd aim higher than Mathews to be honest. Harvin is a top-tier WR and will be healthy after his bye.
I'm 6-4 traded McCoy to 4-6 team for AP (he needs a RB this week). Worried about his playoff schedule though. Good move? Should I be concerned with AP's schedule?? Thanks!!
I think it's a good move. I admit his schedule doesn't look *great*, but if the past two stellar efforts against supposedly stout run D's taught us anything, it's that AP just might be matchup-proof right now.
OK to trade away seahawks d/st if you have broncos d/st as well?
It depends on who you trading then for, obviously, but yes, in theory I'm okay with it.
LOVE the Underground podcast! ... Flex spot in a 12 team Std - Leaning toward Marcel Reese over Titus ... right call?
Yes, I think I'd probably do that. OK...thanks for playing, and now back to the regular chat.....
Gamble and hope sproles plays, or play it safe with DThomas tonight?
It's a gamble, yes, but I think I'd probably take it. I'm feeling pretty safe on Sproles right now.
What are your thoughts on Steven Jackson after last week's performance?
Hi, Frank. Well, it was impressive, really the first time all year that he was consistently impressive and that he didn't lose significant work to Richardson. I'm still unable to endorse him full-throatedly, to be honest. I think he's a top-20 back, but toward the back end of the top 20. He just doesn't feel likely to go on a TD streak to me, not in that offense.
Foster owner here. Is it a fair trade to give up Beanie for Tate? Beanie is supposed to come back next week to a starting role and I am concerned the Texans rest Foster during the Fantasy Playoffs.
Sure, I think that's probably fair. Obviously Beanie should be higher-ranked in a vacuum than the injured Tate. But protecting yourself isn't a bad idea, and you're not likely to have to use Wells along the way. (Plus Arizona's December schedule looks tough.)
I already picked up Bengals D in advance of their tasty KC game this wk, but they really impressed me against NYG. Is CIN D for real?
Hi, Ryan. Could be. They've improved since September. I'm dubious about the secondary personnel, but you're right, they were pretty strong versus NYG. The defensive line is playing great. Geno Atkins is a superstar-level talent nobody knows about. In a neutral matchup, maybe I'm a bit more tempted by them than I've been. But I'll be easily scared off of them when they play elite offenses.
Morris for Lynch would you do it?
Hi, Michael. It's awfully close. I like Morris' December schedule more, but the "rookie wall" is always a consideration. Lynch seems like a safer bet to me. So yeah, I think I would probably do it. Not a no-brainer, tho.
Is Baltimore's Defense trustworthy yet - they face a depleted Steelers Offense - role with them?
Hi, Mark, obviously depends on who else you've got. I ranked BAL No. 6 among D/ST's this week specifically because of the Leftwich Factor, though you always want to be careful about getting too hyperbolic over who is and who isn't a "lock" to have a bad week. But yeah, I'm feeling better about Ravens D this week.....
Someone in my league dropped Maclin, would you pick him up over Danario Alexander?
Hi, Michael. Yes, I think I would. Maclin has had a mostly disappointing year because of injuries, but Alexander is also an injury waiting to happen. I would rate Maclin higher.
Is Ray Rice's toe issue enough to sit him for Ridley this week against Indy?
Hi, Tom. For me it would be less about the toe and more about a Steelers D that has improved against the run lately -- and also Cam Cameron's sometimes bizarre play calling. I don't think the toe is anything...he practiced in full yesterday. I do have him higher than Ridley.
Felix for Gates? Deep league, I need a TE desperately, but Felix would be a nice fill in this week.
Hi, Eric. It's a deal I would make, unless you thought you needed a win this week above all else. Murray should return in a couple games, and Felix will go back to backup status. Gates has been frustrating, but does seem to be pointing in the right direction, at least.
Film study!!! What sort of matchup do you think Dez will see vs the Browns? Will Haden be tasked as a Bryant eraser? Thanks, Writerboy
Hi, James. Well, Haden doesn't *typically* track one guy to the exclusion of all others. I'd wager he'll be on Bryant more than he'll be on anyone else, but I'll also wager Dez will see some Sheldon Brown. Overall, Cleveland has actually been tough for fantasy WRs to score against over the past five weeks, which is what led me to rate no Cowboys WRs above 17th. But that's where I do have Dez. So likely a starter in most leagues.....
Luck over Cam? C'mon Man!!
Hi, Mikey. Ha, you know if I had the ranks the other way around, I'd get a "Cam over Luck? C'mon Man!!" post. :-)
Flex help! Witten or Reece in a ppr league? Witten has been money, but the matchups favor Reece. Thanks!
Hi, Josh. I think I probably go Witten. There's still *some* uncertainty over Reece's role, though in a PPR he does seem likely to give you something. But man, when Witten breaks out, he breaks *out*, and his PPR numbers have been terrific lately. Seems safer, but with maybe more upside. 60-40 Witten for me.
Chris, Do you think a trade of Steven Ridley and DEmarco Murray for Arian Foster is fair to an owner that his other RBs are Redmen and Woodhead.
Hi, Mike. Well, listen. I think it's a lot to give up and clearly the new Foster owner is going to have bad RB2 troubles. But it's a strategy. Kind of a studs-and-duds approach. Murray *could* get hurt again. He definitely has the track record. It's not a veto-able offense, if that's what you're thinking.
Is Foster for Rodgers straight up a fair deal if both teams have a need ?
Hi, Pablo. Yes definitely. I prefer Foster, but listen, if I have no QB and good RBs, I get it.
Will Jermichael Finley get his mojo back this year or should I drop him and look for other option on the wire?
It's kind of impossible to say about the mojo, but in most leagues, I find it hard to believe there are really good options sitting on the wire. If there are (and you can check out TE ranks to get a sense of who would be a much better option), then go for it. Otherwise, I think in most deeper leagues folks are probably married to the doof.
If forced to choose, which non-Sproles Saints RB are you playing?
Forced, I would say Ingram.
Would I be crazy to start Reece over Trent in a full PPR league?
Hi, Greg. Not crazy. I don't think I'd do it, because Trent catches it some, too. But not crazy, and if your gut tells you so...it's your team.
OK, gang, one more and I've got to get back to the Hard Count.....
Cobb or Leshore for flex this week? Never had a question answered thanks!
Hi, Lucy. Cobb. I'm a huge believer in him.
OK, thanks for coming everyone. I saw a *whole* bunch of single-position questions, and you can find my answers in our ranks: http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/football/ffl/story?page=12ranksWeek11QB Also, a ton of repeat questions, to which I say: scroll up. Thanks very much for coming, and if you didn't get your question answered (there were well over 1,500 in an hour), follow me @CHarrisESPN, and I'll do my best to answer. I really appreciate you all (even the troll-posters), and I know without you I wouldn't get to do this great job. I hope you have a great day.