Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

October 7, 3:00 PM ET
Fantasy Sports with Tristan Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:05 PM)

Good afternoon everyone! What a day it is, with four baseball playoff games as well as Monday Night Football. Can't ask for much better than this. So, who has a fantasy question? Let's get started...

John (KC)

I can't wait on MJD any longer, especially with that schedule coming up. I put him out on market and was already offered Moreno for him straight up. Have to do that deal right?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:07 PM)

As crazy as this sounds, yes, it's on the table. The Jags' O-line has performed horribly all year and just absorbed a major injury, and Jones-Drew' quarterbacking support is sub-par at best.

Glen (Miami)

Team needs a shot in the arm - crazy to move J Cameron and Lamar for Spiller and Clay?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:08 PM)

Needs a shot in the arm or needs to shuffle deck chairs? There's an important difference.

Brian (VA)

Hi Tristan. Would you give Ray Rice & Bowe to get Rodgers

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:08 PM)

If I had the running back depth, sure, that's about proper valuation for Aaron Rodgers, but I don't believe this is the correct time to sell Rice if you're not in that situation. Still a first-round talent.

Scott (Chicago)

Who would your rather have a keeper next season, Gyorko, Yellich or Belt?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:09 PM)

Jedd Gyorko, but a lot of that is the position eligibility talking. Christian Yelich is an underrated power/speed type; thinking 15/15 baseline with a hint of additional potential in either category.

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

Is Moreno an auto-start now? I used Bernard over him this wk and paid the price.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:11 PM)

Not an "auto-start" (or "must-start," whichever you prefer), but it's pretty clear at this point that the Broncos' gig is Knowshon Moreno's for the long haul. I've said it many times: His blocking ability locks him into the majority of snaps, and that's an important distinction in this type of offense. The team's passing leaning, however, keeps Moreno in the low-end RB2 class, though, and I see Gio Bernard potentially vaulting that by the second half.

Brad (Delaware)

Where do you think you'll rank Foles this week against the Bucs with Vick out?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:13 PM)

Without doing the nitty-gritty process of matchups evaluation/bye-week impact on the player pool, I'd say Nick Foles facing that D feels like a 17. Kind of in the "Jay Cutler against a so-so-to-below pass D" ranking.

Matt (Chicago)

How worried are you about AJ Green? Since week 1 he's been pedestrian at best.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:15 PM)

I'd be more concerned about his quarterback, but that has a bearing on Green's value. I sung Green's praises during the preseason using his track record of consistency, and that's going to keep me faithful that he improves, but he's no longer an automatic weekly No. 2 wide receiver.Still adds up to my not selling him.

jy (ny)

thoughts on Ellington? guy seems legit

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:17 PM)

I'd agree that he's legit. Lapping Rashard Mendenhall in yards per carry and his Cardinals have already begun dropping hints of a changing of the guard. Available in more than 95 percent of ESPN leagues, Ellington would surely be on my list of pickups this week, even with the tough next two matchups upcoming (@SF, Sea).

jason (New England)

Too risky to play David Wilson vs. Bears D this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:18 PM)

The short week causes more concern here than the matchup itself, as I can't invest in a guy with an injury-ravaged O-line who is dealing with bumps and bruises of his own coming back on four days' rest. I'll have an analysis column discussing impact in Thursday games; one of the points I made in it was that it's only the running backs with health concerns who warrant hesitation.

Doug (MT)

You seem to be the only ESPN writer who's been consistently pessimistic on Gronk returning. That being said, do you think he plays this week? Safe to drop Owen Daniels for WR help?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:21 PM)

I've made one misstep that I openly admitted in this space a couple weeks back: I was sold by beat reporters' practice notes and added Rob Gronkowski to my Friday rankings update a couple weeks back (Week 4, I believe), despite my firm belief that he wasn't playing before October.Well, it's October.There have been many reports that Gronkowski was always targeting Week 6, so I'll probably be increasingly optimistic with each passing week now, but I still will force him to prove it to me with a complete, healthy game before he goes back into my lineup. It's my promise: Without some outrageously glowing report between now and then, Gronkowski's ranking <i>will</i> be beneath Owen Daniels' this week, because it's the smart thing to do.

Jeremy (Nashville)

Cam will get things straighten away right?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:23 PM)

The decline in rushing numbers is troubling, and that has me adjusting my rest-of-year expectations -- think more like back end of the top 10 rather than in the first half -- but I continue to remind that Cam Newton started last year slowly, too.

Preston (NY)

TY lit up the best DBs in the league! How high is his potential? top 20 WR ROS?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:24 PM)

If the Colts would hand him more snaps, sure, he could get there easily. He's got the skills -- hands and speed -- to be a top-20 fantasy wideout. Here's hoping Week 5 set the stage for the expanded role he deserves.

David (KY)

Stephen Hill or Roddy tonight? Three of you didn't even rank Hill and Im guessing that was because of his injury

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:26 PM)

That is correct, I did not rank Hill because of the concussion. Given the chance to re-rank today, I'd probably slot Hill around 37th and drop Jeremy Kerley to about 32nd, but 37th still puts Hill ahead of seemingly-a-decoy Roddy White (38th).I think you're effectively throwing darts here, but you've got a higher ceiling with Hill of the two, at least for this week.

Aaron (NY, NY)

Hey Tristan, I was offered Andre Ellington for Kenbrell Thompkins, 12 team non ppr. Fair trade?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:26 PM)

No.

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

Thoughts on RG3 coming off the bye? His upcoming schedule looks amazing.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:27 PM)

I agree. Though, for the record, I think those seeking a buy-low opportunity have an extended window that extends at least through the Week 7 Bears game, as RGIII is more of a "get him for the playoffs" acquisition than one who rides you all the way there and through.

Jake (Philly)

Thoughts on Zac Stacy? Rather stash him or Ellington?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:28 PM)

I'd rather stash Stacy, but that's personal preference. I think there's a larger window of opportunity, and he's in the offense with a greater lean on rushing.

mike (work)

up by 18 I'm done he has Julio. Non ppr. Am I in good shape?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:30 PM)

Probably. In-game projections aren't really worth my time investment, and I trust our game to give you an accurate sense of a final projection much more than I could calculate for you here quickly.

Dave (NYC)

Will Greg Jennings' value increase with the Vikings acquisition of Josh Freeman?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:31 PM)

A little, but the greatest complaint I have about Freeman is how terribly inconsistent he has been historically on his deeper throws. I'd expect a greater volume of them -- that'll highlight Jennings' skills -- but he's not a guy who'll make me significantly bump Jennings' stock. I'd say it puts him more on the map in the WR4 class than anything.

Jim (Scranton)

What do we do with T-Rich? What happened from last year? He looked decisive and explosive. Now he looks like Jacobs with the receiving skills to match. Brown vultured a td, for crying out loud!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:33 PM)

Well, let's not forget that the guy has had 19 days to get fully acclimated to his offense, whereas most every other starting NFL running back has had more than 60. I said it on the day of the trade: Richardson will frustrate you for almost the entire first half of the season, but it's the <i>second</i> half during which he's got a shot to carry to you a championship.For the record, I also said that this statistical explosion could wait for 2014 ... you shouldn't go <i>all</i>-in on the buy-low, if his owner is asking far too much, but I'd at least make an inquiry.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:34 PM)

And yes, the Ahmad Bradshaw injury has improved my opinion of Richardson in recent weeks.

Mike (Maryland)

I'm 1-3 and just traded for R.Rice and D. Martin-do I still have a chance this year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:34 PM)

Absolutely.

DJ (MKE)

Time to stash Percy Harvin?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:35 PM)

I'd say he's worth a stash if you think you have the requisite bench space to navigate safely through the byes. That said, I'm still not expecting a thing from him before Week 10.

Tom (Cincinnati)

I'm getting worried about Brandon Marshall. Is it time to move him for another WR? Or should I stay put?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:36 PM)

Actually, as Marshall's owner you should be thrilled that Alshon Jeffery is doing as well as he has. It'll keep Marshall out of future double-coverage, which has really been the problem of late. I'd say he's well worth targeting in trade, in fact.

Alex (Chicago)

Can we officially declare The Great Dwayne Bowe Resurgence of 2013 (TM) over, since it never even started?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:36 PM)

The what?

Preston (NY)

Should owners in 2-QB leagues assume that Josh Freeman will be the starting QB for a majority of the Vikings remaining games?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:38 PM)

Three million paid over a 10-game span, which is almost double what either of the other two quarterbacks on the roster will earn this year, almost guarantees that the Vikings will give Freeman his first start at their earliest opportunity. This week? Hmmmmmm maybe too soon, but I wouldn't rule it out.

Henry (Virginia)

Would you get as so clever as to offer Jeffery in a trade for Marshall?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:38 PM)

Certainly.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Time to stash Crabtree? Safe to say Jonathan Franklin was a one-week wonder?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:40 PM)

I'm more on board with Percy Harvin than I am with Michael Crabtree, but it's a consideration depending upon what you'd cut.If what you're asking is, "Cut Franklin," then I'd say no. Now, Franklin's two fumbles in (if I'm recalling the numbers right here) his past four carries might cause him to plummet in the team's plans, especially with James Starks on the mend. So it's not an outrageous move. But I'd keep the faith, at least until we get a read on where Franklin stands for Week 6.

Jake (pa)

Is D. Martin too much to trade for TRich?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:40 PM)

Yes.

Nate (NJ)

Is Blount now in the doghouse because of the drop?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:41 PM)

It's difficult to say because I can't read a coach's mind, but these types of things tend to do that more often than not, yes. (See: Franklin question from earlier.) Wasn't that just a vintage LeGarrette Blount game? It's precisely why I've been so lukewarm on him all year.

Matt (Islamorada)

Any news on Calvin Johnson's knee?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:44 PM)

The last report I read said that he was thisclose to playing in Week 5, so I'd have to imagine that he's going to play in Week 6. We'll see during the practice week, though I'll remind that he typically sits out the Wednesday practice as a sort of "maintenance" thing, so I'd be checking the Thursday and Friday sessions for your hint.

Stephen (Atlanta)

Hey Tristan, you'd be happy getting a top __ WR for DeAngelo Williams?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:46 PM)

Let's say 20. The tiers are a little hazier at wide receiver, so the point here is that you get a guy who is going to be in your lineup the vast majority of the time, though not one of the elite.

KLM (Miami)

The waiver wire tends to be a wasteland in my 12 person league (non-PPR). What are your feelings on Terrance Williams or Keenan Allen in terms of long-term WR value?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:47 PM)

I'm warming to Williams, though I've maintained all along that he's raw as a prospect. That said, the Cowboys throw, throw a lot, and throw with success (Tony Romo's untimely mistakes aside). There's opportunity there, but I'm also pretty anti-Miles Austin and I see Williams as a natural handcuff.

cw (nj)

seems as if Saints game plans involving Colston less and less. Thoughts ros?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:48 PM)

Frankly, I feel like that's something that could've been said at several stages of Marques Colston's career. It kind of goes in cycles, but at year's end, he has impressive, even if not necessarily extraordinary, stats year after year. To me, that's your classic WR2: Never to be trusted as more, but too valuable to doubt.

Steve (Work)

0-5 in non PPR keeper league...Any "buy-low" guys I should sell my entire team for to prepare for next year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:49 PM)

Well, 0-5 doesn't necessarily mean "done," unless you've judged your roster as too poor to possibly rally. And even if you have, I'd have to wonder whether you're going to even possess the chips necessary to make this type of deal?I'd make strong pushes for Gio Bernard, Tavon Austin, Reuben Randle...

Jimmy (Oregon)

What gives you such confidence in D. Martin?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:52 PM)

I'm still amazed so many people are giving up on Doug Martin ... and I haven't forgotten that I'm one of the people who was a little more conservative in my preseason valuation of him.Martin is 3-of-4 in double-digit fantasy games thus far, and his value is at a seasonal low because he's coming off his worst game, then the bye week, and he has a developing rookie quarterback beside him. But let's face it: There are few running backs with his ideal combination of speed, pass-catching ability <i>and</i> power in short-yardage situations. He's as natural a yards-TDs-catches combo as they come, so I'm merely playing the buy-low card.

Joe (DC)

Need fill-in for Matt Ryan. Better pickup this week - A. Smith vs Oak, T. Pryor at KC, or Foles at TB? Thank you!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:53 PM)

It'll be a close call between Smith and Pryor when I do my matchups analysis (that's Tuesdays), but right now I'm thinking Alex Smith if only because of the "safer" angle, as well as a little fear of the Kansas City matchup with Pryor.

Jolly Roger (PITTSBURGH)

No question. Just one statement.LET'S GO BUCS!!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:53 PM)

I'm continually impressed by that team.

Will (The OC)

Vincent Jackson in trouble? Sell Bowe for 50 cents on the dollar?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:55 PM)

Some of the same things I just said about Martin apply to Jackson. It's not a good time to sell, because of the quarterback development process. That said, Mike Glennon is a more natural fit, skills-wise, to Jackson than Josh Freeman was, so I think the good games will eventually come. The issue is that there's a chance that could be 2014.As for Dwayne Bowe, I'd need to know your valuation of said dollar in the preseason. I'd have probably given you 75 cents for it then ... so I suppose I might be saying 35 cents is now fine?

Adam (NYC)

Any particular reason you have kerley above hill if you were to rerank??Kerley or Douglas PPR? (or either over hill?)

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:57 PM)

One of the reasons is that I hesitate to trust the player fresh off the concussion who had serious question about his status for the given game in the first place. It's really a matter of target/receptions projections; I see Kerley being on the field more and having a greater chance at the higher number. Nothing more than that.

John (NY)

Battle of Busts!! trade MJD for Bowe? standard. have depth at rb

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:57 PM)

Seems pointless to me. I'd rather just keep the RB.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:58 PM)

I'm kind of amazed how many Dwayne Bowe questions I get each week.

Fredbird (2011)

No question. Just one statement. Let's Go Cardinals!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:58 PM)

I suppose it's only fair.

Bob (NY)

Newton and Cameron for Brees too much? (Own Graham)

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:59 PM)

It's a little much for my tastes, but considering your circumstances, it's not a terrible deal. I might simply try to squeeze a neat little throw-in on the Brees side.

Mike (Saratoga Springs)

drop Sanders and pick up Randle?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:00 PM)

I'd consider that, yes. For one thing, the Giants are going to be throwing a <i>lot</i> this year. (Volume thing, is what I'm saying.)

Jack (Houston)

Was offered Newton, Olson, and Damarious Thomas, for Cobb Kaepernick, and Gronk, which side do you like more?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:03 PM)

Well, you're upgrading at two of the three positions: Quarterback and wide receiver in this case. (That said, I do like Randall Cobb more than most.) And considering Gronkowski's injury concerns -- and that's also the risk of re-injury -- I'd say it's about right. I'd make that deal.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:03 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 in Week 6! Don't forget, you can still ask me all your questions on Twitter (@SultanofStat), or in my Tuesday Spreecast video chat with Eric Karabell. See you then!