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November 26, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy Sports with Tristan Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:00 AM)

Good morning everyone! I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving, but it's back to gearing up those fantasy teams -- football for the upcoming playoffs, baseball for the rapidly approaching 2013 season. Who's got a question?

Matt (Mountain View, CA)

So of course I drop Rashad Jennings...Luckily it was for T.Y. Hilton. Who do you like ROS more between the two?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:01 AM)

Hilton. I've been sold on him for a long while -- the seeds of this were planted during the preseason -- and think he has elevated himself to at least weekly WR3 consideration. Matchups will raise and lower that, but I'd call it a higher value point than Jennings, who looked awful as a starter the past month or so.

Mike (Michigan)

Question of the day - Is Moreno a safe start going forward or will John Fox pull a Shannahanigan on us?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:04 AM)

I'd like to see the snap counts before declaring Knowshon Moreno officially "the guy," but my mere game reaction was that he looked pretty quick for a guy who had been a healthy scratch for weeks, and he did get some snaps in blocking situations. I think Fox looks at him as a "complete" kind of back, so he's, sigh, the one to get right now. Guess I was wrong; I firmly believed Hillman would and should get the first crack.Call Moreno low-end RB2/high-end flex material.

Chan Gailey (Buffalo)

C.J. Spiller a top 10 RB?!?! Not on my watch, sir.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:05 AM)

Preliminary snap counts had Spiller playing the majority of the "rushing" snaps ahead of Fred Jackson, with Jackson in mostly as a blocker, in what seemed to me a 2:1 ratio. So I beg to differ, sir.

mustwinfantasy (Miami Gardens)

Cecil Shorts, man... are his numbers going to go down anytime soon or is he putting up 3-5 rec for 80-120 yards every week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:07 AM)

I think the best thing that could've happened to Cecil Shorts this season was Chad Henne. Henne's strength is the shorter/intermediate throws, which skews the targets more in Shorts than Justin Blackmon's favor. Week 12 returns: Shorts 14 targets (1 red zone), Blackmon 6 (1).Projecting 120 is generous. I'm on board with an average of 80-90, maybe 4-6 catches, going forward.

Matt (Spokane, WA)

I've had QB issues all year-- I played Kapepernick with good results. What does your crystal ball say ROS?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:09 AM)

I think it's his job, period. Matthew and I are riding the Colin Kaepernick train; I hope you heard our podcast discussing him last Tuesday. Good info there if you want to flip back to it.Incidentally, Ed Werder tweeted this morning, "Kaepernick is Jim Harbaugh pick as QB of future and after beating Bears and Saints in 6 days, how can he be taken out now?" Well said, Ed, well said.Think borderline weekly top 10. Will be some weeks he's slotted higher, some lower. Think Tim Tebow with slightly less run potential, and quite a bit more pass potential, from the fantasy angle that is. (In no way do I put them in the same class in the real game.)

Mark (MI)

Are you a believer in Beanie Wells? Is he a solid RB2 against the Jets?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:10 AM)

Nope. Horrible schedule. In his defense, hey, he looks capable of shouldering a starter's load, and volume alone might drive him barely into the weekly top 20 running backs. But if you allow yourself to get even remotely excited about Beanie in any upcoming week, I say you're setting yourself up for disappointment.

Bobs (Oregon)

Can I trust either dolphins running back for rest of the year

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:11 AM)

Straight split, through and through. If I had to make a pick who emerges -- if one possibly does -- it'd be Daniel Thomas, but that's mostly because he's the one guaranteed back in 2013 of the two.

Todd (CA)

Will Andre Brown's injury help Bradshaw in terms of more carries, especially goal line carries?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:14 AM)

Yes, I would say the primary takeaway from the Brown injury -- which is particularly damaging to the Giants because of his role -- is that the goal line carries that were so aptly handled by Brown will now go to Ahmad Bradshaw. He's simply more suited to that work than David Wilson, but I'd expect a healthy increase in overall touches for the rookie, being that Bradshaw's questionable health makes him someone in need of occasional rest. Bradshaw is 3-for-10 scoring this season inside the opponent's five-yard line; Brown was 8-for-12.Feel free to expect more of the offense -- especially in scoring position -- to be put on Eli's shoulders, too.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:14 AM)

Value range on Bradshaw: I say boosts back to the high end of the RB2 class. Stabilizes his value more than makes it skyrocket.

Dave (Chicago)

whats your outlook on the Steelers backfield??

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:16 AM)

Um, I wouldn't ask them to carry any particularly fragile items if they were helping me move?I think it's a committee of sorts and one that's going to cap any individual's value to the flex class, <i>maybe</i> low-end RB2 if Ben Roethlisberger soon returns and there's a favorable matchup to be had. If I'm playing for upside, I'm still going Jonathan Dwyer.

Frank (SanFran)

Please say something about M. Bush...anything! Prefer him or Moreno?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:20 AM)

Ok, well, if I ranked today, I'd be ranking Michael Bush as if Matt Forte was out and Bush was getting all the carries. So Bush would get a healthy ranking -- low-end RB1/high-end RB2 -- and he'd likely be in that range for every start because he finishes what he starts (i.e. gets the TDs).Bush or Moreno? Personal preference: Bush. I think he's the better back, period. I'll take my chances adding depth in a future week even if Forte returns.

Jay Y (East Longmeadow, MA)

Hey Tristan, how come Matt Forte is being charged with a fumble from yesterday's game? I looked through the game recap and the play that he fumbled was overturned. Did I miss another time that he fumbled?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:21 AM)

Yes, he fumbled on the very first Bears possession of the game.

Ed (NY)

If DMC comes back Sunday, do you start him over the Reece train?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:24 AM)

No, because at this point, I can't see how Darren McFadden is going to return to any semblance of a starter's role. Reece is too good a pass-catcher to completely sit -- he's better than McFadden, frankly -- so they'd divide things up. About the only case that can be made for McFadden is that in a home game against the bad Browns, with him getting first- and second-down work, the run might remain in the equation for all 60 minutes, which actually favors him. But I'm not ranking McFadden higher, no.

Wes (Williamsport, PA)

Heath Miller (ravens) or Vernon Davis (Stl) who is the better start?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:24 AM)

I think it's Davis, but I'm also skeptical of Miller until Ben Roethlisberger returns.

Roy Marble (The ski lodge)

Would you drop Hillman or hang on to him?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:25 AM)

Hang onto him. He's only 1-2 steps from the cut class, but one week of Moreno doesn't convince me that Hillman's future remains in the distant future.

Alex (CLE)

Where does Nicks rank for you ROS?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:27 AM)

Not far outside the top 10 wide receivers. I hope some of you bought low on him during his bye, because I see a strong finish coming.

Matt (Mountain View, CA)

What do you think about Miles Austin ROS?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:29 AM)

I haven't heard an update yet on his hip injury, but assuming he's OK, I'd say low-end WR2. Second fiddle to Dez Bryant in my opinion, but there's a favorable enough schedule there for him to make an impact as well.

Jay (Attleboro MA)

What are your expectations for B.Brown tonight?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:30 AM)

There was no running back this week about whom I was more uncertain, and it's understandable -- the Eagles are a mess right now and often play like a team that has given up. It's an opportunity for Brown, however, and facing a matchup that suits him, so I choose to be hopeful. Thinking maybe 60-70 yards and a better-than-even shot at a score.

Mr. Ethics (NM)

OK this upcoming week is the last week of the regular season for us I and another owner are tied for first and his opponent has not updated his lineup in 2 weeks. Is it wrong of me to update his roster or should i ask for a league vote on updating his roster what do you think?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:32 AM)

You need rules set up in advance of the season to handle situations like this, because if you're the commissioner of your league facing this scenario, bias potentially comes into play. I think you have to let it be, especially since whoever that team played last week faced that team in the same situation. Have to be consistent.Offseason rule change suggestion: One of my longest-running league forces a team with inactive/hurt/bye players to activate the highest-scoring (active) player from the week before into that spot. Fair solution if you want it.

Matt (San Diego)

ETHICS question... a team pretty much has the 1 seed locked up. He has Gronk. Rather than replacing him, he loaded up on a few flex guys for the future, and lost this week. Rudolph would've likely been his TE replacement, and would've gotten him the win. His opponent now is in the last playoff spot and a couple others are likely out because of this. Do we have a right to think he screwed us, or is that a luxury he's earned?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:33 AM)

Luxury he has earned, and how exactly can you determine that Kyle Rudolph would've been his replacement? Again, you have to let it be. He's entitled to set his team up for the playoffs if he's already clinched.

Mike (San Diego)

Is Titus Young even worth owning? Ryan Broyles did just fine with him out and with Young's latest antics, it seems like he may be the odd man out.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:34 AM)

Not an unfair assessment. Young was pretty much in the WR4 class most weeks anyway, so calling him a cut candidate is fair considering his circumstances with the team.

John (Nashville)

Would like to here your opinion on Ryan Mathews ROS.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:36 AM)

Another guy in a horrible situation, though a player with so much better skills than what he's shown us all year. Frustrating mid-range RB2, with CIN, @PIT, CAR, @NYJ, OAK remaining schedule, so the fantasy playoffs are favorable enough he should start for you. I just wouldn't get my hopes up he realizes his top-shelf potential even in those best matchups.

kenny (dc)

How much of a factor can Harvin be for ROS?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:39 AM)

Difficult to say, ankle injuries can be a real problem. However: He didn't travel with the team this week, his coach's postgame comments made it sound like his absence remains "indefinite" and we're reaching the waning weeks of the season. Let's put a value point on him: I think a healthy Harvin plays Weeks 15-17 (@STL, @HOU, GB) and gets the touches necessary to be a high-end WR2, though that Houston matchup is bothersome. That's how I'd plan at least -- and understand I own Harvin on one of my most important teams and his injury alone has been a major hit to my squad's chances.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

Your answer to every ethics questions is basically to let each person do whatever they want with their own team. The problem you have is that you don't want fantasy football to be challenging in any way and you don't care if the actions of your team and how you manage your team effects the other teams in the league. Yes, you should have to start your best players every week. Yes, it is wrong to sit a player that plays on Monday night just to have less points to get a more favorable seed in the playoffs. You probably endorse pro teams tanking in order to get better draft picks. Your attitude of let any team do what they want is what ruins fantasy football and to a larger extent our society as well. Thanks for being as dumb as your are.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:42 AM)

First chat of mine you've attended, Bryan? I've stated on numerous occasions that I <i>loathe</i> the bench-on-Monday strategy, and I find few things more detestable than tanking. Tanking is out-and-out unacceptable. All points I have made crystal clear in the chat for years.Anyone, however, who believes that you should be able to make your own creative interpretations of rules, is just being foolish. If you don't like this stuff, make firmer rules. I have, and I <i>only</i> play in leagues with them. If you don't have a rule to stop something, don't complain -- simple as that!

Jamie (ATL)

Is it unethical to include a 2013 draft pick in a recent 2012 season trade package in a redraft league? Unfortunately, we did not already have specific rules in place against it.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:44 AM)

If it is a redraft league without rules specifically discussing the following year's draft picks, trades of said draft picks are strictly forbidden. I've never heard of a redraft league that allows the trading of next year's picks, and I think it is a more than fair assumption that they should <i>never</I> be allowed.Either you're keeper or you're not.

mike (boston)

Thoughts on jacquizz ros? Flex guy?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:45 AM)

Only in that he's going to see increased carries as the Falcons keep Michael Turner fresh, but Turner still gets the goal-line work. Maybe that Week 14 game at Carolina could be a time Rodgers is worth it, but I think Rodgers is mostly handcuff material now that the byes have passed and the pool is deeper.

John (Chicago)

I have Seattle Defense/ST and I am worried about the suspensions. Would you pick up Jets and Arizona and play matchups? I am locked into a bye and was looking at match ups for week 15 &#x26; 16

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:47 AM)

If those suspensions are upheld, absolutely the Seahawks' D/ST drops into the matchups class (which is more than 80 percent of the position). Week 14 (ARI) and Week 17 (STL) look like fairly safe bets for the 'Hawks, but I might consider, say, that Jets Week 15 (@TEN).

Craig (Minneapolis)

It sounds like Greg Jennings is back this week. What is your opinion on him the ROS? Also, I am not hearing good things about Demarco Murray's return. Have you heard anything about it? thanks.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:50 AM)

Well, I'm going to be wrong about Jennings, in that I expected more like a Week 16 return, and mostly a playoff-tuneup role. Now I'd say his Weeks 12-13 are more "tuneup" -- WR3/flex consideration but not an instant start -- and I think the final four games are possible WR2. I'd sit Jennings this week. Bench-and-evaluate. But James Jones' owners should be concerned. His value takes a hit.

Zeke (Cali)

What do you think about A.Foster sitting out upcoming games?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:52 AM)

I don't think there's any question that he <i>will</i> sit out some games, being that the Texans are up three in the division and have a one-game lead for the No. 1 seed. Week 17 might be a total sit, and I think Week 16 could be a lightened load that drops him to more like a top-15 back than his usual top spot. Beyond that? I wouldn't panic. And I'm only this bothered because of that massive division lead.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:52 AM)

Other teams of concern from the "sit" angle -- and remember that most of the time only Week 17 is the one in question: Giants (2 game lead), Falcons (4 games), 49ers (2), Patriots (3), Ravens (3), Broncos (4).

Pablo (Santa Fe)

Is Doug Martin hitting the rookie wall? 21 carries for 50yds is pretty poor. Do you think the early bye might be hurting him for the playoff run? 2 TDs was great though.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:54 AM)

Really, the 2 TDs wasn't enough? He had 138 yards the week before. I think we're jumping the gun here.

Randy (Tha Dimas)

Whats for lunch today THC? Out of all ur fantasy teams who is ur top QB, WR, RB on ur best team u own?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:55 AM)

Soup, probably. Feeling a tad under the weather.My top team currently has Peyton Manning, Doug Martin and, hmmm, Percy <i>was</i> my top WR. Trying to recall who the new leading man would be ... ah yes, Roddy White.

Foster Owner (Playoffs)

So who is best Foster handcuff? Tate or Fawcett?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:56 AM)

Tate <i>if healthy</i>. One thing to consider: Injury absences could've actually kept his legs fresher, and the Texans might take the Weeks 16-17 opportunity to give him a little momentum heading into the postseason.

Craig (Minneapolis)

I am not hearing good things about Demarco Murray's return. Have you heard anything about it? thanks.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:57 AM)

Whoops, think I missed the Murray part of the earlier question. He's another player for whom the postgame comments were vague; kept him in the "uncertain" category for Week 13. "Slow progress" has been used with him. I'd probably prepare for about the same as with Harvin, though in Murray's defense, the Cowboys really don't have anybody else they should be featuring ahead of him once he's fully healthy.

Josh (Keller, TX)

I'm a Dallas Cowboys fan and therefore have not Eagles, Giants, or Redskins on my fantasy team. My friend in the league started Robert Griffin III and another guy in the league started Alfred Morris, and both claim to be Cowboys fans. Since it impossible to cheer for the Redskin's players and say that you are a Cowboys fan unequivocally in your heart, what should the league do with these two guys for their hypocrisy? Also, why has the ESPN fantasy team not come out with a good Ten Ethical Commandments of Fantasy Football?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:59 AM)

That's just ridiculous. Play fantasy football to win.I will root for my real-live teams 100 times out of 100 ahead of my fantasy teams, but I have no limitations on my fantasy teams because of my rooting interest. I have long, long, <i>long</i> said: I'd happily have drafted Pedro Martinez in 2000, and when the Yankees faced him, I hoped he'd get hammered like a junkballing lefty at Coors Field.

Greg (NY)

playoff starting this week and playoff rosters need to be set. what D/ST is a good replacement for SF in week 15 when they play NE?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:00 PM)

How about the Bengals (@PHI)?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:00 PM)

Ok, time to wrap things up for today. Thank you for all your questions, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours. Take care everyone, and best of luck to those of you still in fantasy football matchups tonight!