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November 18, 3:00 PM ET
Fantasy Sports with Tristan Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:00 PM)

Good afternoon everyone! Week 11 is in the books and we've got 45 hours until the trade deadline in ESPN standard leagues. Who's got a question?

Josh (Clemson, SC)

Vereen or Steve Smith tonight as my flex play in PPR?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:02 PM)

I'm still iffy on Shane Vereen tonight, not matter what anyone has to say about his probable workload. It's his first game of the year, so a snap count is a distinct possibility, and the matchup on the road against the Panthers is about as poor as could be asked. If the goal for you is to shoot for upside, then sure, go for it. But any rankings I produce are going to have Smith higher, if only because at least we know he'll be out there at full speed.

mike (philly)

Kaepernick has decent playoff matchups. Is he worth a risk to stash him?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:04 PM)

Well, I've got him as middling in terms of the entirety of remaining schedule, but it's those Weeks 15-16 matchups I'm assuming you're looking at. It's a fair point.Here's something else that supports Colin Kaepernick's prospects of top-10 value from today forward (though I'd likely rank him more top-12 or so): He should get Michael Crabtree back soon, which would be a big boost to his passing prospects. Put in a buy-low trade offer.

Joe (Indy)

Any concerns for Reggie Bush going forward? Seems like a one week struggle?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:05 PM)

Not really. I'll take the Lions at their word that they don't want Reggie absorbing a hefty workload on a muddy field, and they're back home next week with more home (4) than road (2) games remaining. Call it an aberration.

Bill (Vermont)

Hey Tristan, I was wondering what your opinion of Rainey is. I was lucky enough to pick both him and Leonard up and I'm wondering if he's going to be a solid flex play ROS. I also have DMC, Ryan Mathews and Terrence Williams.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:07 PM)

Solid, maybe, if you're willing to accept that he belongs in the flex-play class. The thing is, Bobby Rainey is more risk/reward than anything, and right now the only positives I'm willing to point out are that he should gash softer defensive fronts. Mix and match the guy, but that's a surefire roster stash.

Greg (RI)

Vereen's second game of the year Tristan

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:08 PM)

Ok, first game fresh off the injury. Point being lengthy absence, I'm not yet willing to evaluate him using Week 1 performance; too far removed.

Nick (Ohio)

Any concerns with Moreno not getting touchdowns with ball receiving goal line work? Would you look to trade before deadline?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:11 PM)

I'd have some concerns, yes, being that the crux of my Montee Ball argument during the preseason was that he had a good physical build for goal-line work, and I envisioned the Broncos using him mostly as that (plus short-yardage work) and building him into the regular role. And sure enough, he now has four carries inside the five to Moreno's two the past five weeks combined. Moreno hasn't really done much to deserve a steep decline in fantasy perception, but I'm fine with dropping him back a couple spots (think top-12ish, not top-10).

Rick (Ca)

What do you project for Gronk tonight?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:11 PM)

I don't project, I rank, and I'd have Rob Gronkowski active if I waited for this long. And I've said a few times this week -- worth repeating here -- that if there's a "soft" spot in the Panthers' defense, it's containing the tight end. You'll be fine.

Peter (DC)

Would you trade Manning now for Rodgers/Gronkowski? Have Luck as backup QB .

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:12 PM)

Yes, though I'd hesitate slightly if only because Andrew Luck doesn't have the best schedule upcoming. You do put yourself in a <i>little</i> riskier spot at quarterback, but I'm willing to take that chance.

Steve (Illinois)

Down 30 in a non-PPR. Can start two of these 3, which gives me the chance of at least a slight glimmer of hope: DeAngelo, Dobson or Ridley?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:13 PM)

If it's standard, running backs will carry the day.

BB (Cali)

D/ST question: drop SEA for TEN, or go with both for a week so I can use SEA ROS?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:14 PM)

I'm not cutting the Seahawks. One of the very few defenses I refuse to cut, and yes, it's because of what they have ahead.

Chad (Macon)

Dare to rank Rashad Jennings as a top 15 RB ROS?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:15 PM)

No, because of a lack -- and yes, this my rest-of-year opinion, not a Week 11 reaction talking here -- of quarterback support, not to mention the possibility Darren McFadden returns from injury into some sort of division of the rushing chores.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:16 PM)

For the record, the Raiders do have a fairly favorable schedule, so I'm OK with Jennings for the most part. Just not top 15.

Jonathan (West Virginia)

To start. My 1st year participating in FF. I love it, but the emotions have been up and down. I'm 4-6 in my league but have scored the third most points. Three games I've played the other team has had several career performances on their team. That has been disheartening and discouraging. I feel (and others also) that there have been some shady dealings in our league. What do we do when it involves the commissioner who is also our boss?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:18 PM)

Sorry to break this to you, Jonathan, but that's the nature of the game. Luck of the draw on the schedule -- I'm sure everyone here could tell you <i>at least</i> one of their own comparable tales -- barring the unpleasantness of a commish either altering schedules or lineups midstream. (And if that's true, finish the year, then leave the league and find a better one.)

MC Serch (Brooklyn)

Zac Stacy is a top __ RB ROS.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:18 PM)

Let's say 15.

Brian (va)

Harvin seems to have a tough schedule the rest of the way. trade him and mathews for a better RB or WR?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:20 PM)

Percy Harvin is a difficult case, because I think he and Russell Wilson have the ability to overcome that schedule; first time we'll see them have a chance to develop any chemistry. At the same time, there's probably a greater perception of Harvin's value than what's his true appeal, so I'm fine with shopping him if it gets you a surer thing. Really a matter of "upgrade the risk for something stable," or don't make the deal at all.

Roy (IL)

Decent game from Andre Brown, but what's up with giving the goal-line carry to Jacobs? If that is going to be the pattern from here on out, Brown's stock drops way down.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:21 PM)

Yes, yes it does. But it needs be asked: Does anyone here genuinely believe Jacobs can stay healthy enough to take the pounding of a short-yardage role the remainder of the year? He's been a questionable listing for weeks now. And in Brown's defense, the schedule is great. Don't panic.

Mike (CT)

What do you think about benching your monday night defense to solidify a win?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:22 PM)

I loathe it. I'm not saying that you <i>cannot</i> do it if your league's rules allow it, but I've always been of the belief that you should play a full lineup every week.

Jon (IN)

Feelings on McCown this week @ Stl with Cutler out again?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:24 PM)

I'm thinking he'll rank in the ballpark of 18-20 for me. It's frustrating to see Jay Cutler sidelined considering what the Bears have upcoming.

Mike (PA)

Decimated by injuries. Barely hanging onto a spot and not a realistic shot to win my league. Do I sell Dez and Stacy for a 1st and 4th round pick next year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:24 PM)

No. They're both solid keepers!

Cincinnati Defense (Our House)

Am I one of your "no-cut" defenses coming into our bye week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:26 PM)

No.

John (North Carolina)

What do you see as Crabtree's value ROS? Would you trust him enough to start in the playoffs after only playing in week 13 (if he even does that)?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:28 PM)

WR3 at best, and that's really taking a wild stab at a high ceiling. In my opinion, he is an always was riskier than Percy Harvin; but you just never know with injuries. I just think he boosts Kaepernick's stock as one more big-play target.As for using him, I'd really want to see him play more than just a Harvin-esque Week 13 before trusting him in the fantasy playoffs. I mean, those are some tough defenses the 49ers play.

Chris (LA)

Would you hold on to Haushka through the bye week if you had the roster flexibility to do it?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:29 PM)

I don't waste roster spots on bye-week kickers.

Matthew (London)

Frustrated owner of Roddy, Spiller and James Jones. Playing the flex game with the 3 of them each week. Will any of them become must starts at any point this year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:30 PM)

<i>Must</i>-starts? Doubtful. Roddy White probably has the best odds of the bunch, partly because I envision his Falcons throwing a lot and pointing out how much of a target hog he was during his prime, and <i>maybe</i> James Jones has a shot at it after Aaron Rodgers gets back ... but I think you're reaching to bank on either.

Jack (Colorado)

Hey Tristan, do you believe a 5-6 team (my Fantasy Team) has a realistic shot of making the Playoffs with 3 Weeks left to go...I'm on the fringe with a couple 7-4 &#x26; 6-5 teams for 4 spots...Thoughts? Thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:31 PM)

Absolutely! I've got a team in this position and can easily see a path to the playoffs.

Will (NYC)

Trade Kap, Gore, and Spiller for Calvin and Arod? Have Lacy, Tate, Andre Brown at RB

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:32 PM)

I don't know who your other quarterback is, but I like that deal if you've got a solid short-term option.

Kavika (Honolulu)

When you are looking to make big trades, what kinds of things are you looking for in guys you're buying?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:33 PM)

Talent (obvious), schedule, role/specifically trends that hint at larger shares of the pie (or better scoring opportunities)...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:34 PM)

To that end, in addition to the "Buy/Sell" piece I currently have up on the site, tomorrow's "Consistency Ratings" will also take a trade advice angle.

Ben Tate (Houston)

Am I worth trading straight up for Mr. Bobby Rainey?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:35 PM)

No. Tate faces a lot more soft defenses, and I feel a little more confident in his touch total.

Ben (AZ)

For playoffs would you rather have handcuffs or just other players at that position on your bench?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:37 PM)

In a season like this, so rough on injuries, I'd rather have <i>the</i> most skilled players on my roster, ahead of handcuffs. And that's speaking from experience, as I have too many teams with rough spots due to injury, and cannot afford the luxury of stashing handcuffs who really won't do anything except in the case of injury to an NFL starter.

Alex (Chicago)

Any concerns with the KC defense? A mulligan against facing DEN on the road, but they've looked much more vulnerable over the past few games.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:38 PM)

No greater concerns than any of the ones I've laid out over the past several weeks. Still one of the best out there, still have another Broncos matchup ahead to beware.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

I'm multi-tasking! No not work and your chat, reading your article and this chat! So would you trade Moreno for Lacy, particulaly in a keeper league?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:39 PM)

In an absolute instant.

Drew (Houston)

PPR: Andre Johnson or Dez Bryant ROS?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:39 PM)

Bryant. If you want a specific defense of that, he faces some pretty rough secondaries the rest of the way.

Nervous Wreck (PICK ME) (ATL)

I need your wisdom. should i trade gore and colston for gio and torrey smith? I have lacy murray and rainey also and am short on wr with kennan allen douglas james jones and stills

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:41 PM)

Seems fair enough. You've got enough running back depth to speculate on Gio -- though I maintain that he won't get the full cut of the rushing chores in Cincinnati until at least next year.

josh (atlanta)

AJ Green or Brandon Marshall ROS?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:42 PM)

Wow is that a good one. Even with Cutler's injury, I think Marshall is the correct call here.

JD (Texas)

I've secured a playoff spot and have Peyton as my qb. I'm looking to pick up another qb incase the broncos decide to sit peyton for the last two games to give him rest for the playoffs (same thing happened to me last year with matt ryan. the bears have some pretty favorable matchups for the last few weeks do i pick up mccown or do you think cutler will take over before the end of the season.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:44 PM)

Well, that Chiefs rematch in Week 13 is the key. If the Chiefs win it, then I think that vastly improves the chances that Peyton Manning is playing all 60 minutes straight through Week 16 (at least).If you'd feel better speculating on a backup for those weeks -- and this is <i>only</i> if you have ridiculous bench space to do it -- I'm fine with Cutler as a stash. Said it a month ago, still on board with it today. His gig once he's healthy.

Erick (NY)

Would you ever not start AP? He said he isn't 100% due to a hamstring and doesn't look it. I have Tate and A. Brown on my bench. PPR league by the way.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:46 PM)

I just ran rough consistency numbers today using only the most difficult matchups -- part of the research for tomorrow's column -- and Adrian Peterson graded as easily one of the best players in the NFL facing tough matchups. (No shock there, but I'm confirming it to increase your confidence in him.)

Please (Help)

Please, I never get a question answered. Who wins in a cam newton and SF def for flacco, p harvin, and j cameron?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:46 PM)

The side that gets Newton.

JoJo (cube land)

PLEASE! Trade away AJ Green and Ry.Mathews for McCoy? (McCoy would take Green's lineup spot after their week 12 byes)

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:47 PM)

I wouldn't. Eagles don't have it all that great for a running back the rest of the way.

Dale (Atlanta)

Hi TC, I'm looking to next year at this point. Do you think Spiller will get the majority of the carries, or will it be more of the same.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:47 PM)

This is mostly guesswork on my part, but I find it difficult to believe that Fred Jackson can take on this volume of the rushing work for that much longer. Already well past his 30th birthday, so I'd be pretty bullish on Spiller for 2014.

Mike (PA)

To the trading Stacy and Dez question: Its not a keeper league

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:48 PM)

The one for picks? Then I don't understand the question... how are you trading picks in a non-keeper league? Unless it's specifically allowed by the rules, no, no, no way.

Josh (Iowa)

Own Rodgers and Wilson. Can play 2 QB's, but don't have to. Look to move Wilson for an upgrade at another position or play them both?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:49 PM)

Shop, if you don't get an offer that <i>overwhelms</i> you, I'd play both. And I can't stress "overwhelms" enough; I feel pretty good about having both in the fantasy playoffs.

Dan (Phx)

AJ Green for Reggie Bush...which side you want?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:50 PM)

Needs call. You're almost always going to get me picking the running back, so Reggie Bush if I must.

JJ (MPLS)

BASEBALL QUESTION! - assuming both make the opening day roster, which top prospect would you rather own, O Taveras or M Sano?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:51 PM)

I'd rather have Oscar Taveras whether it's a keeper or a redraft league, but I admit that part of that is my confidence in the Cardinals' development system. If anyone is to doubt the guy, it should be entirely about the injuries. He's got incredible plate coverage and could hit for a high average right away.That said, I'm pretty pro-Sano, but I think his learning curve will be a little steeper...

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

On the lineup ethics, would you consider starting a player on BYE as fielding a complete lineup, as opposed to straight benching a player before the MNF game?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:52 PM)

I don't care for any instances of a team starting a bye-week, <i>clearly</i> injured or open-spot player, any week, any year. That is merely my opinion, and I'm not telling you that you cannot do it if your rules say you can. Rules are rules.

Dan (Phx)

give Antonio Brown for Zac Stacy (would fill the same flex spot)

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:53 PM)

Go for it.

Ryan (Cedar Rapids)

Been offered Brees and Charles for Matt Ryan, Alf and Josh Gordon. Alf is a 15th round keeper, however. Do it?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:53 PM)

Can you win? Unless the answer is "no" or "hmmm, maybe," yes, I'd be all over that.

Mike (Beantown)

Ethics! Im in a 12 team 2 keeper for baseball where you can only keep for 2 years (so you'll have em 3 if you draft them). It wasn't discussed in the rules at all but how do you feel about off season trades of keepers since you will be losing one if you don't make the trade?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:54 PM)

My take on keeper leagues is that unless the rules specifically prohibit trading players during the offseason, trades are fair game.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:55 PM)

After all, that's kind of the point of a dynasty/keeper league -- to play the game year round over many seasons -- isn't it?

Marc (NY)

Is A Morris for Matthew Stafford fair?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:55 PM)

Sure it is. Some might argue the Morris owner is giving up too much!

Unluckiest person alive (not Las Vegas, thankfully)

Can you believe that this starting lineup is in 11th place in a 12 team league: Newton, Marshall, Gordon, Antonio Brown, McCoy, Lacy, Stacy, Gronk ???

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:56 PM)

Certainly I can! Many up-and-down (or absent) performances across the board from those players. Hey, you're in fine shape today, and that is all that matters.

TC (UT)

THC, is Rainey worth a waiver pick or his matchup not worth it?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:57 PM)

There's really no question that Rainey is worth the waiver claim. A guy with a good shot at the majority of a running back job? Absolutely add him.

Sam (detroit)

I own Foles (bye week) and Rodgers (injured). Can't afford to drop anyone to pick up another QB. What should I do?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:58 PM)

I bid adieu to Mr. Foles. That's not an open endorsement to all here to cut the guy, but he's got a tougher road ahead than the one entering the bye, and I'm not about to go with a zero at quarterback just so I can keep him.

John (MO)

I'm down 26 and have Brady going tonight. 5 point bonus for 300+ yards, standard scoring. Do you smell a miracle?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:59 PM)

Every football game has the scent of a miracle.If Tom Brady's owners who are currently trailing -- as I am in one league -- are seeking some positive thoughts, remember: I'm the guy who wrote the column analyzing historical performance fresh off the bye, and yes, the rest did help.

Mike (NY)

How do you feel on Delanie Walker ROS? Targets will surely go down... right??

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:00 PM)

Read my <a href="http://espn.go.com/fantasy/football/story/_/id/9996623/buy-matthew-stafford-torrey-smith-sell-frank-gore" target="_new">trade column</a>.

Gavin (SLC)

Best bye week QB for week 12? A. Smith (vs SD), Keenum/Schaub (Jags), Flacco (Jets), Fitzpatrick (vs Oak).

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:01 PM)

I want Case Keenum if he gets named the starter, and if he's not, then I probably want Alex Smith next.

Chris (NY)

Do you have any statistical evidence to support eh squeaky wheel theory? Shorts killed me this week but whined about targets. Dez whined about targets. Bounceback coming?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:02 PM)

I don't, mainly because that's difficult to quantify (as in, how does one measure how squeaky said wheel). But when it comes to Cecil Shorts, I'll point out that yes, the thought had dawned upon me. And the Jags will keep on throwin'. Who else is going to catch the ball for them? I say buy.

Mark (Miami)

How do you see Clay performing the ROS? Had a great TD yesterday - he's an animal. Better than Delanie Walker?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:04 PM)

He's close in value to Walker, perhaps even a spot or two ahead. I feel like these are guys with the potential to be top-12 every week going forward, but who aren't quite proven commodities. I might've put Clay on the "buy" list; thing is that the schedule really didn't prop up the argument and that was a majority of the angle I was taking in the column.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:05 PM)

Ok, time to wrap things up for today. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours. Remember, you can still ask me your questions via Twitter (@SultanofStat), or during my Tuesday Spreecast with Eric Karabell. Hope to see you then!