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September 16, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy Sports with Tristan Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:02 AM)

Good morning everyone! Busy morning, what with fantasy football well underway with a Week 2 to dissect, not to mention the final two weeks -- and championship matchups in our standard head-to-head game beginning today -- of the fantasy baseball season upon us. Who's got a question? Either's fair game.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:03 AM)

I'll toss in a quick note, for those fantasy baseball owners seeking help: If I don't catch your question this morning, be aware that I'm putting together another Forecaster update, which should be up during the lunch hour. So you'll be covered, don't worry...

Robert (NY)

Is it time to sell high on Moreno or do you see him being the Bronco's primary back for most of the season?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:05 AM)

I'd sell high, being that I still think Montee Ball is the future of the Broncos' backfield, not to mention a more suited short-yardage back, but that said, this isn't a "give-him-away-quick" sale suggestion. Moreno has shown us enough that there's every reason to believe he'll be at least in a committee through, say, October, and in that offense it could mean borderline RB2 weekly value. So make sure that's your valuation when you're shopping.

Dave (charlotte, nc)

60 yards rushing for Frank Gore after 2 games! Should I be concerned to stick with him?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:07 AM)

Well, he had a dreadful matchup in Week 2, and he has a far better one in Week 3. So I'd be patient and expect RB2 numbers this week, but I said in the preseason that Gore was the age-30 running back about whom I was most concerned this season. Any defense of him should be centered on his strong O-line; without that I'd have been worried he might struggle to consistently be a flex play (and that's about what I think he might be).

Bo (NY)

Concerned about Cam's fantasy prospects this year now after two poor games?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:07 AM)

I'll defend Cam Newton by reminding that he started last season somewhat poorly, too, but yes, after the preseason he has some worry is warranted. Still a top-10 QB for me, but patience is beginning to wear thin.

Giants Fan (NYC)

What the heck is going on with our RB situation?!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:09 AM)

Brandon Jacobs has clearly become the goal-line back, Da'Rel Scott the passing down back, and that puts David Wilson in the between-the-20s, all-over-the-map-as-game-situation-dictates, role. The Giants need recognize that Wilson is too important to them to keep in a minimal role -- they need him to win -- but for the foreseeable future I'd have low expectations for all.

Baliki (Mypos)

Cousin Larry is beating me by 10pts. I have both bengals Rbs and can only play one, which one would you take?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:09 AM)

Gio Bernard.

Horton (Whoville)

Start Cobb today vs. TX? What about Porcello vs. SEA? Both, neither?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:10 AM)

Both are fine with me. Alex Cobb's advantage is home cooking; Rick Porcello's is the matchup itself. I'd have them ranked close -- both rated "6" in my Forecaster -- but I'll take Cobb if I must pick, because he's the better pitcher.

Sarah (Nashville)

Morning Tristan! I have injury concerns with my RBs.... R Bush and Charles. Charles seemed to have come out healthy from his game.... but how worried should I be having R Bush?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:11 AM)

Worried enough. It's why you need remain active on the waiver wire. James Starks being a worthy add; I'm always afraid of concussions.

Miles (Dallas )

10 Rec in week 1... only 3 on 4 targets in week 2. Why did they go away from me after such a strong performance?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:12 AM)

Well, you're a receiver with somewhat diminished skills, for one. That said, Dez Bryant is the clear go-to guy in the Cowboys' offense, so for so long as he's healthy, Austin's weekly ceiling isn't that high, and it's more attractive in PPR formats than standard.

Ian (Boston)

What's going on with Doug Martin? TB's offense looks terrible and he's not part of the passing game anymore. Can he turn it around?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:14 AM)

What? He had the 42nd-best overall fantasy point total in Week 2, and the catches were an aberration.

Eric (Tx)

Top waiver adds for this week???

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:16 AM)

I haven't examined the ownership percentages enough to be sure on this yet, but by memory of where they were entering the week, I'd say James Starks, Eddie Royal and maybe Cordarrelle Patterson, in that order.

JJ (MPLS)

No innings cap - starting Cashner today @PIT?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:16 AM)

Yes. I am in a league of mine where I'm streaming starters, in fact, so you won't be alone in trying it.

Mike (Wash DC)

MJD; Maurice Jones Done? Who can I trade for, especially if I package a WR 2/3?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:19 AM)

I continue to caution that Jones-Drew was coming off serious injury, and that September was not the time to expect his best. That said, his Week 2 in-game setback (ankle) is disconcerting. It bears monitoring this week during the practice run.If I'm looking for a trade value point, I'm probably seeking at least a Wayne or Colston type for Jones-Drew. Anyone ranked that far beneath either is selling far too low (pending injury status).

brian (michigan)

is mike vick gonna finish among top 5 fantasy qbs? if healthy

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:19 AM)

"If healthy" is a bold and unfair assumption with Michael Vick.

Franklin (Nashville)

What would you do with Jared Cook? Should I hold on to him or go after another TE who stepped up this week? Who would you recommend.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:20 AM)

I'd be patient, he's going to be largely this type of a hit-or-miss fantasy option. Could very well be this year's Kyle Rudolph, but that's plenty valuable and worth having owned every week.

Chuck (Seattle)

Good morning, Tristan! Is it safe to drop Allen Craig, if worried about this week only? I've heard little news since he put his walking boot back on last Thursday. Thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:21 AM)

I've heard almost nothing as well, but every single note I read talks about "getting ready for the postseason" rather than an interest by the team in racing him back. If I'm in a league with weekly transactions, he's not starting for me. I'm making him actually return with a game played before he's going back in.

Jim (Hartford)

Start Cueto today? It's the first week of the playoffs for me.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:22 AM)

Expect a limited pitch count, but the per-batter potential should be quite good. If you're spending a start in a cap league, I'd hesitate.

Paul (NY)

what's the outlook on Ray Rice with a Hip issue. Play through or will he need to rest?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:25 AM)

Well, he'll dodge an MRI, so that's good, as that'd have taken longer to diagnose the severity of his injury and would signify that the Ravens worry that he has a more serious injury. Still, we'll have to see how he does during the practice week.Incidentally, I didn't list Bernard Pierce as a pickup for this week because last I checked, he's almost totally owned in ESPN leagues. But he'd be an obvious pickup considering the news.

Jeff (NY, NY)

Is this the week that Gronk comes back?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:25 AM)

I say it's pushing it. Said October, stand by October.

Desperate (NY)

AROD or David Wright this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:26 AM)

Both are injury risks -- A-Rod left Sunday's game early and Wright is due back during the week-opening Giants series -- but I'd go with the one with more team motivation: A-Rod. Yanks <i>must</i> win in Toronto, so I'd take my chances with him.

Scott (NY)

In the preseason, it was unclear which Rams wr/te would be the best fantasy player between Cook, Givens and Austin? Two weeks in, which of these 3 would you want on your team the most?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:27 AM)

Was Chris Givens in the preseason, remains Chris Givens today.

Buddy (Richmond)

Who are some buy low rb's to target this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:28 AM)

Maurice Jones-Drew, Trent Richardson and Darren Sproles seem like three I'd go get right now. With the exception of MJD's injury status -- and the point here is that his owners might be in an all-out panic because of it -- I'd pay full price for the other two.

Jake (FL)

BASEBALL!! I'm in the championship for H2H category baseball. If the guy I'm playing is overloaded with pitching and has three hitting spots empty from pitchers, should I try to win all of the hitting categories and get very low in ERA and WHIP and bench all of my pitchers for the rest of the 2 weeks? That way I could have 7 categories. Is that too risky or a good strategy?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:29 AM)

It's a risky, but smart, strategy. But only you are going to know whether you had an offense that could pull off the sweep in the first place; if you didn't have a base that averaged better stats than this opponent up to this point, it's not as easy as you claim to do it now.

DJ (MKE)

Its not buying low if you pay full price

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:30 AM)

Uh, the point is that my <i>valuation</i> of those players has not changed, and do you think I'd list them if I believed you had to pay that?

DJ (MKE)

I reserve one roster spot for a lottery ticket type RB. Is J. Bell or L. Bell more likely to be this year's ALF?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:31 AM)

There's no guarantee there's going to <i>be</i> a "this year's ALF," but I'll take Joique Bell over Le'Veon Bell, thank you.

Nuke LaLoosh (Durham)

Baseball FINALS! WooHOO!= Quick ? Would you start either Garza @ TB OR Lynn @ Colorado tonight in H2H? Thoughts? Thanks THC!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:31 AM)

I want no part of Lance Lynn at Coors.

Roger Murdock (Airplane)

On a ESPN league, is there a scenario where you would use a TE in your flex?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:32 AM)

Bye weeks, abundance of riches at the position (in which case I advise you shop your No. 2 tight end)... beyond that no, you can do better.

MW (NJ)

Cespedes? Any word on if he's out for a while.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:33 AM)

He's day to day and actually played with the shoulder issue for a couple days, so I'm not convinced it's more than a day or two's absence, if that. I'd stick with him, but then the A's <i>are</i> extending that lead, which increases the chances of rest...

Michael Vick (Philly)

All you ESPN fantasy guys just keep asnwering every question about me with injury this and injury that. I'll just keep going out and being the best fantasy QB in football, thanks in large part to my team's awful defense.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:34 AM)

You'll be a fantastic fantasy quarterback in that offense for as long as you stay healthy. But if there's a single person in here who believes Vick will play a full 16 games, I've got a bridge for sale. Projecting 10 played is the smart valuation.

Baseball Fan (Illinois)

RA dickey and Burnett each have 2 games this week and Travis Wood only has one...which 2 pitchers should I start?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:35 AM)

Check my Forecaster for rankings, I rank 75 pitchers in terms of best fantasy options every week: <a href="http://espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/story/_/id/9669577/start-sit-advice-two-start-pitchers-rankings-week-24-2013-fantasy-baseball-season" target="_new">Week 24 Forecaster</a>.

Jarrod Parker (Oakland)

Hey Tristan, Have you heard whether or not Jarrod Parker is tonight's starter for Oakland?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:37 AM)

A's press notes aren't out for today yet -- they're usually up 2-3 hours beforehand so I'll try to check for them then -- but we've got him projected on the site as pitching and the A's beat reporters said that Parker is "tentatively" scheduled to pitch, the question being whether he's feeling better today I'd imagine. I'd say it's better than 50/50.

Edwin (Pgh)

Who do you hang on to and who do you deal between Myers and Gates?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:38 AM)

I'd deal Antonio Gates while I could; hope that the name brand drives the deal.

Ryan F. (Tulsa, OK) [via mobile]

Both Charles and T. Richardson seemed fairly involved in the passing game yesterday. That continue ROS, this helping their overall consistency?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:39 AM)

I'd say yes, but much, much more so with Jamaal Charles; he's an ideal fit to the offense. It's the primary reason he's a top-10 overall value.

John (NJ)

With RGIII as my starter, who do you like better as a backup ROS - Cutler or Rivers? Thanks.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:40 AM)

Jay Cutler, I just think he's the more skilled passer of the two. Projecting forward I think he's the more reliable one to have as a backup to a mild injury risk.

Goerge (NY)

Which of these three WRs would you rather have for the rest of the year, Josh Gordon, Chris Givens or Kenbrell Thompkins?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:41 AM)

I'm sorely tempted on Gordon -- I'd be more on board if he was on a better team -- but it's Givens for me.

Frustrated Lacy owners (Everywhere)

You agree Lacy would have had as huge a day as Starks did if he didn't get hurt? Do you think Lacy will be out awhile and when he does return, do you think it will be a timeshare with Starks?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:42 AM)

It's entirely unfair to judge Eddie Lacy for Week 2 based upon the nature of his injury. That's just my take; I'm fine with the belief that he <i>could</i> have been as good as Starks in relief if you want, but it's not like that matters now.

Miles (Indy)

Was Offered to receive CJ Spiller in a trade for Alfred Morris. It is a Standard Keeper league. and Morris was my keeper for $1. But Spiller was a Keeper for $8. Should i Accept the Trade?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:43 AM)

I'm not sure if those keeper prices are relevant for 2014 and beyond; if so then I'd probably stay where I was. But it's a pretty good trade for this year, and I'd make it in redraft/final year of deals.

Todd (Indy)

What WR can I get out of Bowe and Hopkins. Who is a good buy low stud WR?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:44 AM)

I wouldn't sell DeAndre Hopkins, but let's use colleague Eric Karabell's rest-of-year rankings entering this week to price Dwayne Bowe: I'd deal him, straight up, for (almost) every single wide receiver ranked at 28th or better.

Felix (Pa)

What do you see in your crystal ball for Julius Thomas once Denver's other TE's are healthy? I have a trade giving up Gonzo and Ryan Matthews to get Spiller and wondering if Thomas can maintain his status quo so far. Thanks!!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:45 AM)

I think he'll be largely up-and-down, as many tight ends are, as the Broncos have a multitude of weapons and that means weekly statistical fluctuations. That said, I think you're getting good value here and it's not too risky a strategy that I'd say stand pat. Make the deal. It's a big RB upgrade.

Jim C. (Boise, Idaho)

What makes you think Gronk will be out until October? All the reports I'm hearing out of Patriotville seem to be that he's making great progress and is targeting week 3 for his return. Heaven knows that offense could use him back. I think Brady is one dropped pass away from being the first QB in league history to actually execute one of his wide receivers on national television.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:48 AM)

Hey, I'm not saying it <i>can't</i> happen, just that A) I don't believe a word of what the Patriots say when it comes to injuries, and B) of course there's going to be glowing reports about Gronk considering the state of the passing game. It's all too convenient for me, and the point is that I'd <i>value</i> Gronk as if he helps you beginning in October through year's end, at full value at that point. We could debate Sept. 29; I'm OK with that as a "first week he helps" argument.

chicken (parm)

baseball home stretch, please help: my league is going to come down to whip. any suggestions on how to lower my whip even 0.01 points in the next 2 weeks? add a few RP and hope they don't pick this week to give up a big inning? any SP owned in under 20% of leagues who are secret whip helpers? thanks

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:49 AM)

I just finagled a win out of my head-to-head league in a similar circumstance, and did it like this: Monitor recent performance of top setup men, check which ones were most rested for Sunday's games and then add them all and load my lineup.

Marc (California)

Does Jacquizz Rodgers have any value if Steven Jackson is out for any length of time? If so, what can I get in return if I deal him to the S-Jax owner?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:50 AM)

I don't think they're the same kind of player, but yes, Rodgers would be a valuable option, maybe high-end Week 3 flex, if he's "the guy." But if you're trying to make a handcuff sale, I think you're talking about a WR3 type at best.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Are you sold on Lamar Miller?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

Sure. It's lower-end RB2 value, period (maybe 20th at his position?), but most people didn't consider him that in the preseason.

Alex (philly)

Vincent Jackson for Sproles OR Moreno, fair deal?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

Fair, but ill-advised if it's Knowshon Moreno you're getting.

Ray (NYC)

Baseball question Tristan: I'm in my semifinals so every start needs to be a good one! Has Scott Feldman's last month (1.78 ERA, 0.91 WHIP) earned your trust for a start tomorrow in Fenway?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:52 AM)

Never trust a non-ace in Fenway; I don't care how well he has pitched of late.

James (OHIO)

SAM BRADFORD - ZER0 sacks....Worth dropping R.Wilson for him in a 6pt/TD, 1pt/30yd. TD heavy league? Would C.Shorts, M.Brown or D.Hopkins be better to give-up (6pt/TD, 1pt/20yd)?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:53 AM)

Rams did upgrade their O-line this offseason. I'd consider dropping Brown for Bradford, but absolutely not on Wilson.

Anna (Tx)

Started 0-2 this year. What's your best turn around story for a team you've owned?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:54 AM)

I've made the playoffs on plenty of 0-2 teams. Can't recall otherwise. I <i>think</i> I had a 1-4 team make it, but I also don't really sweat the record early or give up by any means.

Tom (San Diego)

Is any QB playing the Eagles a top 10 QB for the week a this point?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:55 AM)

Alex Smith, Josh Freeman, Terrelle Pryor and Christian Ponder seem highly unlikely to ever be in my top 10 regardless of their matchups, but everyone else the Eagles face is a candidate, yes. I remind: It's an awful pass defense. Even Philip Rivers threw with success against them late.

Mike (NJ)

Ivory or Moreno as my next weeks flex? Assuming that MJD does not play bc of injury. Is ivory even worth holding on to? What trade value does he have??

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:57 AM)

I'd use Knowshon Moreno, but I'm just not nor have been all year a Chris Ivory fan. It's a bad offense and he's not going to find a lot of running room. Opportunity makes him worth the roster spot; I think you'd be selling him for bench fodder, so not a lot of point.

Rick (Sacramento)

Saw your Jacquizz Rodger Q&#x26;A. What about RB options in a deal for him if he is th starter? Would Gio Benard be fair value for Rodgers if he starts?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:57 AM)

No. Too pricey.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:58 AM)

Jackson would have to be out for a long, long time before Rodgers would warrant more than, hmmm, 25th-30th running back value?

Scott (Prussia)

whats the latest on amendola?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:58 AM)

Wide range of possibilities and could be 2-4 weeks or as long as 4-6 depending upon surgery.

Jason (Boston)

Bradshaw looked good. Weekly RB2?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:59 AM)

No, but he's got that kind of weekly upside. He's going to teeter between, let's say, 18th through 27th or so at the position as the matchups dictate. The Colts needed to keep him in there regularly as is because of his blocking skills, so there's every reason to believe he'll be fine for so long as he can stay healthy.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:00 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 those of you in fantasy baseball championship matchups especially!