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October 21, 3:00 PM ET
Fantasy Sports with Tristan Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:01 PM)

Good afternoon everyone! Coming off a rough Week 7, let's give your fantasy teams some hope for the weeks ahead. Who's got a question?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:02 PM)

As always, baseball is fair game here, even if football is the bulk of the chat; just make sure you say "BASEBALL" to kick off your question.

Eric (Boston)

Which WR (besides Hilton) will benefit the most from Wayne's injury this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:04 PM)

Well, the Colts are on bye this week, so let's spin this one to rest-of-year impact, since Reggie Wayne is out for the year.T.Y. Hilton is the obvious call here, because of greater volume of snaps played -- he goes from the third man in three-wide sets to a presumed clear every-down starter -- but I actually think Coby Fleener gets the most noticeable bump in value. There's every reason to think that he could garner 2-3 additional targets per week, especially with Pep Hamilton's reliance upon the tight end in the passing game historically.

Jeremy (Reno)

Whats your opinion in hanging on to multiple "fluid injury guys"? I've got both S-Jax (2 week 12 RB byes) and Amendola on my bench in hopes they get in later in the season. Do I drop them for guys that can help now or keep holding out?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:06 PM)

There's no hard-and-fast answer to that, and roster need dictates it every time. For example, I've long endorsed stashing Percy Harvin, and I have been vehemently against stashing Michael Crabtree, even if they <i>appear</i> to be in similar circumstances.Regarding these specific two: Jackson's age, and the wear and tear that comes with it, makes him a rest-of-year risk. I think you need cling tightly if you can, but I no longer expect him to be more than a low-end RB2 even after his return.Amendola, meanwhile, is too important to the Patriots' offense to cut, though his injury history dictates that you have no right expecting him to ever play more than half the games remaining on any year's schedule.

Martin McFly (Future)

Jags get their first win next week. You heard it here first.......

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:08 PM)

You would know, what with your being the owner of Gray's Sports Almanac...I could see it. London trip, further flight for the 49ers than Jaguars. You never know in this league.

Joe (Dallas)

What are you doing with Trent Richardson..?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:08 PM)

Handcuffing him to Donald Brown and that's about it. I'm happy today that I provided the cautionary words at the time of Richardson's trade, and I did hint that his bust-out might wait until 2014. Every passing week makes it more likely that's when it'll come; feel free to lock him in as an RB2 rather than RB1.

Paul (Denver)

Is Reed now a top ten TE w/ major upside?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:09 PM)

I suppose that's up for discussion, yes.

Kid (Seattle)

Don't you think that the hype train on Harvin is out of control? He's yet to play a game as a Seahawk, and the Seattle offensive is so incredibly conservative. Part of the reason he was so valuable in MN was because the Vikings used him as 1B to Peterson's 1A - how can we be sure Seattle does the same thing?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:10 PM)

Yes. It's not a bandwagon I've begun hopping in Week 8, bear in mind. And the point is, look at what else is out there on free agency. How many of those players seem likely to get 6-8 targets a week the remainder of the year? There's every reason Harvin could be at worst a WR2, even losing the carries.

Shane (Oregon)

If Terrance Williams is available, do you still take Heyward-Bey?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:10 PM)


Jack (PA)

Boykin top 25 receiver now?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:11 PM)

No. He's still a low-end WR3 for me, and a story that so much parallels where the aforementioned Terrance Williams was at the point he ascended to the starting lineup. James Jones should heal, after all.

Peyton Paranoia (DC)

To the untrained eye, Peyton didn't look close to being the same after the hit in the end zone last night. Who knows for sure, but given the risk and cold weather looming - would you offer Peyton and maybe a little sweetener for Brees?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:12 PM)

Drew Brees' owner has absolutely no right to demand anything else added to the deal to acquire Peyton Manning, and I'd argue the reverse, too.

John (Portland)

With Jacobs out tonight would you go with Hillis?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:13 PM)

No. I know the Vikings represent a good matchup -- they've allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs -- but Peyton Hillis is fresh off the street and fairly likely to share the load with Michael Cox. I know this is a crazy game, so if you have Brandon Jacobs in your preliminary lineup, Hillis is now apparently the fall-back. But I'm not expecting much.

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

Giants go all pass tonight with their RB issues?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:15 PM)

I don't see why they wouldn't. It remains my opinion that the Vikings' pass defense is the soft spot to attack.

Paul (Boston)

Do you think there is any value in stashing Andre Brown?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:16 PM)

Anyone with a realistic possibility of a starting -- or at least the greater part of a split -- job in the upcoming weeks is worth a stash. So, yes. Right now, it's difficult to say that anyone the Giants have on the roster is a better bet after Thanksgiving than Brown.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:16 PM)

<i>Running backs</i>, to be clear.

Ben (Wisconsin)

Do you think Eddie Lacy is an RB1 going forward? He looked pretty solid yesterday

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:18 PM)

He's close. I'd be more apt to argue top-12, just off the top of my head, but that's still an every-week starter. Plus, he has @Min, Phi, @NYG, Min, @Det, @Dal matchups upcoming that sure look good.

Keith (Montana)

Rest of season RB needed. Free agent options are Mike James, Donald Brown, Roy Helu or Daniel Thomas. Slim pickings...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:19 PM)

Well, I'd rather have James, the Bucs' clear starter, first of this group. Then Helu, then Brown, then Thomas.

Chicken parm lover (Planet Earth)

Following up on Boykin - if Finley is out for multiple weeks, can he fill the Randall Cobb-like role ROS?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:21 PM)

I don't think Jarrett Boykin is a comparable talent to Randall Cobb; Cobb is more the speed demon of the two. Boykin, to me, seems to fit more of the James Jones mold, tallying a steady number of catches so long as he keeps a regular role. I bet he's more PPR than standard player and he struggles to ever reach the top 20 wide receivers even if he starts the rest of the year.

Jay (Boston)

Harry Douglas going forward is....

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:23 PM)

Well, a little similar, in that he's more of a "catches" than "yardage/scores" guy in my book, as a step down in skills from the man he's replacing (Julio Jones). I couldn't possibly have expected a game like that one; I still say he hovers around 20-25 each week, but maybe gets into the top 20 in PPR.

Drew (Houston)

17 targets for Gronk! Is that the norm going forward?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:25 PM)

The NFL history books prove that, no, absolutely not, but if we put "week's leading target getter among tight ends" instead, I'm fine with that.I'll point out that Gronkowski, as I expected, played about 60 percent of the Patriots' snaps from the rough estimates I've read, and I anticipate that will increase to nearly all of them -- as was his pre-injury norm -- quickly. He'll be highly ranked by me this week.

danny (ronkonkoma, ny)

matt stafford is going to be 3rd in ppg after this week. Pretty favorable schedule down the stretch - buy or sell top 5 qb rest of season?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:27 PM)

Well, no, actually he's going to be sixth, behind Peyton Manning, Brees, Rodgers, Matt Ryan and Vick, and I think slotting him in the back end of that top 10 -- let's say top eight -- is correct valuation. Big bounce back by Calvin Johnson and you're right that he has a lot of good matchups left. He's in my "buy" column.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

With Cut-let out at least 4 weeks, what comporable WR would you take for B-Marsh?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:29 PM)

I'd only trade him for Dez, A.J. Green, Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, Welker, Cruz or Nelson, and to be very clear here, I'm not saying that I'd necessarily put those seven wide receivers in that exact order, just that these are my "elite eight."

Waiting on Wilson (Miami)

am I wasting my time and, more importantly, bench space?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:30 PM)

Yes. There are no guarantees in the Giants' backfield considering the volume of ping-pong balls at their disposal for the season's second half, and you simply never know which one will pop out in any of those given weeks.

Sully (NYC)

You think Vick is a top 5 QB? I am shocked by that. He started great then cooled then obviously got hurt...he might play next w/e even 80% but is that ranking mroeso based on his schedule going forward??

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:30 PM)

Read the question again, it was "fantasy points per game so far."There's no conceivable way I could ever craft rankings that have Michael Vick in my top 10 quarterbacks.

Chris (Memphis)

Do you want Allen or Boykin ROS? Thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:31 PM)

I prefer Keenan Allen.

Matt (Austin)

With my receiver position in good shape and needing a TE, would you trade TY Hilton for Vernon Davis in a PPR league?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:31 PM)

Sure, that's solid value.

David (Maryland)

Would you trade Gio Bernad for Steven Jackson

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:32 PM)

Absolutely not.

Mike (Redondo Beach)

Keeper league. Would you trade Harvin for Hopkins+1st round pick?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:32 PM)

You <i>get</i> the pick? Scoop that one up fast.

Will (TN)

Where would you rank Cam and RG3 ROS? Need to trade one of them

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:33 PM)

I'd probably have Cam Newton fourth among quarterbacks, behind Brees, Manning and Rodgers, and RGIII maybe seventh, with Brady in between them.

Dbone (bohemia, NY)

is le'veon bell the best rookie rb rest of season?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:34 PM)

No, Eddie Lacy is. By a noticeable amount at that.

Nick (Houston)

Marshall for Nelson and Bell, who gets the better end?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:34 PM)

Latter duo.

phil (ny)

Zac Stacy more value now with Bradford out?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:36 PM)

That's extremely difficult to say, though I would surmise that Stacy will average more attempts per game the rest of the year than he did even in his starts the past couple weeks; I think the Rams <i>will</i> put it a little more on him to carry the load. That said, I'm skeptical that Kellen Clemens at quarterback makes Stacy any more likely to keep up his per-carry production. The result is spins-his-wheels; still more a weekly flex than a clear starter.

Jordan (The U)

Mike James a mid-level RB2 going forward?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:37 PM)

No. The Bucs will play from behind a great deal, and while he can catch a few passes, James just isn't going to get enough weekly touches to be in that group consistently.

shawn (va)

how close is vincent jackson to the "elite 8"? Glennon loves VJ!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:38 PM)

Very close. Good call, I might have slighted him; I'd rank Jackson behind Marshall but I'm completely OK with swapping the two if that's your gut feeling.

Vic ((Atlanta))

Is picking Vick up just to stash him worth a bench spot? Idea would be to use him as trade bait in case he can stay healthy and starts putting up points.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:38 PM)

Well sure, but don't you think everyone who plays fantasy football recognizes exactly who Michael Vick is at this point? Not like you have an opportunity to pull a fast one on anyone.

Deep (Indiana)

Do you think I should start Peyton Hillis or Michael Cox over Brandon Jacobs since he might be questionable for tonights game?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:40 PM)

If I'm formulating plans right now, I'm starting Hillis. As things stand at 3:39 p.m. ET, Hillis has the greatest likelihood of leading the team's running backs in carries. But that's why we always check the inactives lists; should be in around 7-7:15 p.m. ET.

Jon (KC)

What place will I finish in my fantasy league? its 12 team, 0.5 ppr.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:40 PM)

I'm thinking third, with a semifinals playoff loss.

Scott (NJ)

Eli or Freeman tonight? I need 10 pts to win.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:41 PM)

I say it's Eli, but you're rarely going to get me picking the quarterback making his debut start for a new team he joined in-season.

Pete Carroll (Seattle)

What incentive do I have to play Harvin before Week 12 against NO? We're 6-1!!! Pushover teams until then, so aren't I just doing what Belly did with Gronk--putting Percy in the back of opponents' minds?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:42 PM)

I suppose that's possible, but haven't I been providing people the requisite amount of caution regarding Percy Harvin anyway?

Rob (DC)

I'm up 35 points. Opponent has AP and Vikings D. Who wins?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:43 PM)

The guacamole dip.

Steve (NC)

Josh Gordon for Brandon Marshall? Marshall better side even with cutler out?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:44 PM)

I'd do that. I'll admit that I'm more bothered today by Gordon's production with Brandon Weeden under center, and I see it being difficult for him to crack the top 15 wide receivers from today forward as a result.

Matt (Maryland)

Is Fred Jackson worth trading away with his injury concern even though he is leading the bills backfield?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:45 PM)

Anyone has a price, and if you can get a surefire top-20 running back's value for Fred Jackson and have the parts to replace him, by all means do it. Though I'll counter this with the fact that the Bills have a bye coming up which might do wonders to help him heal. He has performed awfully well at less than full strength, too.

Matt (PHL)

Higher priority pick up this week; James, Ivory, Boykin, Vareen or Andre Brown?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:46 PM)

I'd rank them Mike James, Jarrett Boykin, Shane Vereen, Chris Ivory, Andre Brown.

Michael (Denver)

I just traded for Doug Martin Friday, can I start weeping now?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:48 PM)

Sure. Funny story: About a year ago at this time, I traded <i>for</i> Doug Martin, with Greg Jennings the primary haul spent. This was <i>right</i> before Jennings got hurt and Martin broke out.Come to think of it, I suppose that story wasn't so funny for the other guy...

Ben (Boston)

Locker top ___ QB for ROS? Thanks

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:48 PM)

Hmmm, 20, maybe. I'll admit that Jake Locker looks a lot better this year than I thought he would, but even accounting for that he lacks the weaponry to really make the jump to even top-12 status.

Brad (Delaware)

Why are you fantasy pundits ranking Brady so high every week? I started Foles over him and only lost 4 pts doing so. Next week I might start Locker over him. Brady obviously has lost his elite status and his WR's are killing his mojo.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:49 PM)

Sooooo... Rob Gronkowski's return doesn't offer Brady any hope of a strong second half? Funny, considering how much everyone was in love with Gronkowski the past 48 hours or so. I've said many times that I think his return is <i>huge</i> for Brady; deepens his arsenal.

Frank (Boston)

BASEBALL!!! Who do you like in the world series?Also, Schiano says he doesn't believe Martin's injury to be season ending, any truth to that or is he definitely out all season?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:52 PM)

I'd pick the Red Sox. Haven't decided whether it'll be six or seven games, though, but I genuinely believe that the homefield advantage is <i>huge</i> this year, perhaps more important to the two contenders than with any other World Series team I've seen in more than a half-decade.I've read Greg Schiano's comments and while I'd admit that I'm no doctor, I'm not expecting Martin to return until at least December. Remember, the Bucs will have no reason to rush Martin back if their team is out of contention by then, which they almost certainly will be.

Ben (Tate)

Worth picking me up? Foster been hurt b4..

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:53 PM)

Uh, except that you're hurt, too.I'd say Tate is well worth the add if he's out there in your league, but that's a fluid backfield situation this week. Interestingly, the Texans just cut the No. 3 man on the depth chart, Cierre Wood.

Brad (Delaware)

I am very bitter because I am 2-5 and lost by 6 pts this week.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:54 PM)

You're entitled to be bitter. Try the guacamole, it'll cheer you up.

Steve (NC)

Was yesterdays game a start of a new beginning for Kaep?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:55 PM)

I'd counter: What was your preseason expectation? Remember, I wasn't pro-Kaepernick in the first place, so the Kaep we saw in Week 7 was very much about what I'd have expected ... good, not great. Impressive work with his legs and I do believe he can keep that up.

Ted (ABQ)

New Orleans, Buffalo, Cleveland, Oakland, Carolina for DST on week 8? Who/what would you recommend to pluck from the wavier wire?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:57 PM)

Of that bunch, the ones I'd consider would be the Saints and Panthers. As the Saints are the ones with the home game, I'd give them the edge.

Jake (FL)

Really quick! Can you rank Morris, lacy, and t-rich ROS? Thanks

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:58 PM)

Lacy, T-Rich, Morris, though I admit that I'm playing a hunch with the latter two. I'm awfully curious to see how the bye week's rest to reboot will impact Richardson down the stretch.

Mike (Louisville)

You sure like the guacamole today. Can you elaborate on why you prefer Vareen over Andre Brown as a stash for later?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:00 PM)

It must be the avocado commercials during the baseball playoffs. The main reasons I prefer Vereen are that he's highly likely to get a good number of looks in the passing game, while Brown's value is tied to his goal-line work.

Eric (TO)

you go saints over panthers when panthers play the bucs on a short week, newish qb and no martin?why?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:01 PM)

My gosh, you're right about that Eric, I missed the part about it being the Thursday game. Toss in the Doug Martin injury and <i>wow</i> is that an opportunity.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:01 PM)

I'll openly admit that I do my in-depth rankings analysis on Tuesdays once I get my full stats spreadsheet together; I often won't look at how the days shake out until then.

Jason (Foxboro)


Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:02 PM)

No, I was serious (about the Panthers).

Andy (Miami)

BASEBALL KEEPER: Trade Bryce for Jose Fernandez if you HAVE to keep a pitcher and best I have is kimbrel. Other keeper hitters would be puig, hanley, cargo

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:03 PM)

I'd try to trade Puig, and if I can't for a good pitcher, then I'd be perfectly OK keeping Craig Kimbrel.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:04 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 don't forget, you can always ask me your questions on Twitter (@SultanofStat), and during my Spreecast with colleague Eric Karabell on Tuesday! Hope to hear from you then.