Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

November 25, 3:00 PM ET
Fantasy Sports with Tristan Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:02 PM)

Good afternoon everyone! Let's get right to your questions. As always, both football and baseball are fair game.

Glen (Miami)

Two weeks in a row playing Keenum over A Smith has resulted in 2 losses. Make me feel better, please.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:04 PM)

Well, the simple way to do that is to say that you're beyond the most recommended Case Keenum matchups, and cutting him is certainly fair game now. And, in Alex Smith's defense, he does have a couple good matchups in his own future: Redskins in Week 14, Raiders in Week 15, Colts in Week 16. I'd prefer a more talented quarterback leading my team into the fantasy playoffs, but that's your strongest defense if you own those two.

Ryan (Atlanta)

Is Ben Tate a legit option with just 17 pts in the past 3 weeks?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:05 PM)

Legit low-end RB2, as opposed to my earlier assessment of a mid-to-high-range-RB2, but maybe that's splitting hairs. I can't offer much more than that was a heck of an unexpected output, but I think he'll bounce back in coming weeks. That said, he's just <i>not</i> a RB1 ... nor did he really look like he was close to it before Sunday.

Wes (Work :-()

Tristan - You are a stat guru, maybe you can shed some light on this: Should I try to trade Decker for someone ranked a little lower ROS if I own J Thomas? Does owning both limit upside, or conversely are there are any benefits regarding consistency? PPR if it matters.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:08 PM)

In a PPR league, yes, I'd give it some consideration. Entering the week, Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker both had 70 percent Consistency Ratings (7 top-25 WR point totals in 10 games apiece), and Eric Decker had 30 percent. And that's in standard; Welker's upped to 80 percent in PPR, Decker to 40 percent. Fact is, varying between a team's third/fourth target in the offense does hurt a guy's consistency ... though at the same time, I'm not just racing to give the guy away beneath value.

Jay (The Bay)

What happened with Donald Brown yesterday?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:10 PM)

Um, his team flat-out stunk and was inescapably behind 23 minutes into the game? I'd chalk it up mostly to that, though I've cautioned Brown's owners that even with the recent uptick in usage/value, he's still not <i>the</i> guy in that backfield. There'll be a cap on his fantasy potential all year. Think beneath Ben Tate.

Karen S. (Aptos)

Happy Monday Tristan!! In your leagues, do you usually stream kickers? I have been playing Vinatieri but have lost 2 of the past 3 weeks due to his 0 in week 10 &#x26; 3 points yesterday. Love the Chat!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:11 PM)

I do not, I usually roster the best one that I can by the $1-early-bid method in auction or with whatever's left at my draft spot, then I ride with that guy until his bye week, cut him during the bye, then claim the best option I can exiting.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:11 PM)

That said, if the kicker I end up selecting flat-out stinks, I replace him. But I usually rest with the same guy where I can.

Billy (Va Beach VA)

Will Cobb help my team this season?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:12 PM)

If he does, it'd be the final two games, or at least that's my advice for a reasonable expectation. With the emergence of Jarrett Boykin, there's no reason for the Packers to rush Randall Cobb back. It's a little similar to the Terrance Williams/Miles Austin situation; the Cowboys took a lot longer than most people expected to activate Austin.

dylan (denver)

What do you expect out of Anthony Rizzon this year? I still have hope but not sure what to expect after a dissapointing year

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:15 PM)

I've already done the extensive winter research on Rizzo, and everything I found pointed to a power-based, lower-average long-term slugger who is in the midst of the adjustment period of his career. In my notes I've specifically written "spring watch list"; walked more as last year progressed, has some major issues at swinging at pitches outside the zone, sure looks like a guy whose value hinges on whether he shows any improvement once camps open.For now, estimate a small bump from last year's numbers based upon his age, and understand that the ceiling could be a bit higher than that.

pj (midlo)

is terrance williams no longer going to get more than 2-4 targets a game

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:16 PM)

I guess so. There'll be better games for both Williams and Miles Austin when the Cowboys face softer secondaries, but those two are locked once again in a sort of rotation where snaps/targets won't be plentiful. Not saying it's right -- I'm not an Austin fan -- just saying that it is.

Jordan (Nevada)

I'm calling it again, KC Chiefs lose at least half of their remaining games! Agree or disagree?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:18 PM)

The Raiders and Colts games can be won, but it's three road games remaining ... it's going to be a close call. I'm going to disagree and say 3-2, but remember, I was the guy who said back in October that I had dire concerns about the Chiefs defense down the stretch. They're teetering dangerously close to the streamer's bin, and if I can at all afford it I'm not using them against the Broncos this time.

Erick (NY)

Thoughts on McCann to the Yanks? See an increase in production with that short porch in right?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:18 PM)

Wrote a <a href="" target="_new">whole column about it</a> this weekend.

Ervin (KC)

Do you see Sal Perez improving and becoming a Top 5 catcher over the next few seasons? When healthy he has been really good and he is really young still.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:20 PM)

Yes I do. Frankly, I think health is the primary obstacle standing in his path. Stay healthy for 130-plus consistently and I wouldn't hesitate to lock Salvador Perez into my top five catchers for perhaps as long as a decade. He's as sound a hitter for average as there is at the position -- understand that I now say that knowing Joe Mauer has been moved off the position -- and he's got more power upside than people are willing to give credit.

Matt (NY)

Time to cut Hakeem Nicks?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:21 PM)

I'd consider it, yes, if what's out there on the free-agent list warrants. Here's a worry I have with Nicks: That Giants loss has them edging ever closer to their season being over, and once they decide that it is, it makes all the sense in the world to begin testing Reuben Randle in his spot.

Rob (Philly)

Does the acquisition of Peter Bourjos impact Oscar Taveras' chances of starting the year in the Opening Day line-up?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:23 PM)

I absolutely think that is does; there was a St. Louis Post-Dispatch column published a few weeks ago that specifically nominated Taveras as the team's leading candidate to start in center field (at the time). And what position does Bourjos play? Yup, center field. I think the team is looking at defense for that spot, might give Taveras a shot at the right-field gig in the spring, but will more likely have him spend a half-season in Triple-A getting ready.

Adam (NY)

Anderson or Ball as a Moreno Handcuff?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:24 PM)

Telling that Montee Ball wasn't the one taking those overtime snaps after Moreno limped off, but I still see Ball as the more suited fill-in if one's needed this week. Anderson didn't exactly impress me with his speed or elusiveness, though to be fair, it was only a small handful of carries. Smart money is on some sort of split of the chores if Moreno can't go.

Jon (Dallas)

Can we count on Romo lighting it up for fantasy playoffs? The schedule is great.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:26 PM)

You know what? Yes. I love that schedule. Tony Romo takes a lot of heat for very high-profile, single-game failures, but last I checked, the dude has 20-something comebacks in his career and doesn't warrant nearly the hate that he gets.And I know I've been as responsible as anyone for anti-Romo sentiment <i>in fantasy</i> over the years; I have been quite clear when I've said it that it boiled down to his inconsistent weekly play. My Consistency Ratings supported it; 33 percent Consistency Rating (or so) last year, and 50 percent in 2013. That's a nice improvement.

jay (st louis)

BASEBALL: keeper philosophy question. would you rather keep player A for $45 when he might go for $48 at auction? or player B for $6 when he might go for $14? Basically, do you focus more on the quality of a player or their price relative to their potential auction value?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:28 PM)

It sounds to me like you have some specific player examples you didn't share and have carefully estimated worth; and if you're that confident in your numbers I'm taking the discount, period. <i>Always</i> maximize your budget.But if you're just throwing numbers and unsure how much of a discount either might be, I'm taking the better player every single time if it's close.

Tyler (Baltimore)

It seems WRs have been more reliable than RBs this season, do you see that changing as we get to fantasy playoffs?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:30 PM)

That's actually inaccurate if you've been following my Consistency Ratings, as running backs dominate the board, and recall that running backs are judged by the same cutoff (top 25) as wide receivers.I think yours is the perception because so many high-profile running backs from the 2013 fantasy draft season have disappointed, but truth be told, Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, Alfred Morris, Eddie Lacy, Frank Gore, even ADP and Marshawn Lynch, have been quite reliable on a weekly basis.

Pablo (Santa Fe)

If Stacy is out, what do you think Cunningham can do against SF?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:32 PM)

Honestly, Pablo, I haven't personally seen enough of Benny Cunningham to properly judge his long-term talent; I have pretty much this game, which was a ridiculously favorable matchup (for him and Zac Stacy), then a small handful of carries I saw here and there in past weeks.What I see is a much tougher matchup ahead for him, and it's sure to lock him into a flex-play ranking (think mid-20s) even if he's named the starter. That said, surely worth a speculative add, as when I was in St. Louis in August, the ESPN Radio guys there did say some good things about him.

Justin (Boston)

Machado or Hosmer for 4 year keeper?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:32 PM)

I'll take Manny Machado, thanks. Greater position premium, younger player so more age-related growth possible, simple as that.

Nuke LaLoosh (Durham)

BASEBALL = How do you see the Cardinals using Shelby Miller in 2014? He was invisible down the stretch &#x26; I'm debating whether or not to use an 18th Rd pick to keep him? Thx

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:33 PM)

I firmly believe that the Cardinals were doing nothing more than taking a conservative approach to Miller's workload late in the year; it was effectively their "Stephen Strasburg" strategy albeit in a much less public fashion. Miller has tremendous stuff, even for an effective two-pitch pitcher. I'd lock him in at your price.

Sonia (Melbourne,Fla.)

Tristan best defense for rest of season: Ariz,KC,NO or Balt.?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:36 PM)

I'm the wrong guy to ask a rest-of-year defense question, because I'd say stream, stream, stream. Foolish to take only one when you can maximize using 2-3 as the matchups dictate. (Examples: Cardinals get Rams or Ravens get Vikings in Week 14, Chiefs get Raiders and Colts in Weeks 15-16). From an overall angle, I guess I'd take the Cardinals at this point. But I'd <i>never</i> lock them in for all five today.

Trevor Rosenthal (St. Louis)

BASEBALL ? = Do you see the Cardinals sticking with Trevor Rosenthal as their Closer once Motte returns from injury?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:37 PM)

Yes. I don't think you announce such an important decision as "Rosenthal remains in the bullpen" -- forgoing his future as a starter -- if you're looking at him as merely a placeholder. That's not to completely knock Jason Motte, but let's remember the lesson of Ryan Madson, who simply couldn't make it back from the same surgery in 2013. Not enough guarantees with Motte; I'd evaluate Rosenthal as if he's got that gig.

Jay (GA)

I need some points tonight! Kaepernick or RG3?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:38 PM)

Colin Kaepernick.

devin (Detroit)

Do you think A.Rodgers play Thursday afternoon? and would you play Glennon or Matt Flynn if Rodgers doesn't go...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:40 PM)

Adam Schefter just tweeted that Mike McCarthy stated Rodgers' chances of playing on Thanksgiving are "slim to none," so I'm betting no.And if I had to make that choice of fill-ins, I'd go Flynn, if only because Glennon has a horrendous matchup at Carolina, while Flynn faces the Lions (that's the team he tore up for that big Week 17 a few years back, and their D hasn't been all that much better this year, either).

Jordan (NJ)

Whats with Kendall Wright? A poor man's Antonio Brown? What's his ceiling?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:41 PM)

I don't think that's the right comparison; Brown is more of a big-play guy while Wright seems more possession/volume based. I'd say Wright's ceiling -- and this is in the long term -- is somewhere between 90-100 catches, 1,100-ish yards, maybe has a year where he approaches 10 scores. This is a good PPR dude to have.

Ryan (Canada)

Is Antonio Brown a WR1?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:42 PM)

I think that his raw ability places him there, yes, but his remaining matchups plus the strength of his supporting cast, unfortunately, dictates that he does not quite belong.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:42 PM)

<i>This</i> year, that is. I'm a big Antonio Brown fan from a career angle.

Kevin (Concerned)

With the backfield issues in New England, what is Vereen's PPR Floor?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:44 PM)

I'd be somewhat surprised if he's not scoring you at least 13 points in every one of his remaining games in a PPR league. I know, I know, this is a crazy game where truly anything can happen, but it'd be really difficult to envision him falling beneath 13 (barring in-game injury).

Roy (IL)

Ridley's fumbles have made him unstartable for how long? Next week at least?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:44 PM)

At the minimum.

Kevin (Ma)

Tristan, love your analysis! What is your take on the New England backfield? Pick your poison or has Bolden taken over the non-Vereen running role thanks to Ridley and Blount's constant fumbles?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:47 PM)

Any Bolden "takeover" seems like a fleeting thing to me. He seems like a secondary option to Shane Vereen; more of a passing-down/pass-protect guy than a shoulder-the-load runner. Maybe he'll get a shot this week, but I do think Ridley is going to get another look before year's end. Being that it's the Patriots, I'd say the key takeaway after the fumbles last night is that Blount's stock has fallen the furthest, and we're now sure to see mix-and-match until year's end.

Steve (Chicago)

Baseball, NL-Only. . .Do you see a great difference next year between Gyorko and Rendon? How about long-term?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:49 PM)

I haven't gotten to the deepest analysis of Anthony Rendon -- sometimes I find some hidden trait that swings this -- but I have on Jedd Gyorko, and a lot of what I found was troubling. He's got adjustments to make, has a lot of trouble against breaking balls, tends to chase too many bad pitches, had an unsustainable home run/fly ball rate in the final two months of 2013. I think this is closer than people think, but at the same time, Gyorko just has better raw power potential. He'd be my guy, but it's close.

Bill (Franklin)

Do you put any stock into Pete Carroll saying the snap count will be lifted from Harvin? Do you expect him to perform as a solid WR2 going forward?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:51 PM)

I do, but from a "wait and see" angle more than an instant plug-and-play. I'll likely have him in the WR3 class this week, but he's got a rough schedule to finish the year off. WR2 ceiling (think top-15-ish), but I want some in-game evidence before I'm totally buying.

Alex (Chicago)

Speaking of disappearing acts, Aaron Dobson was MIA last night. What gives?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:52 PM)

So was Danny Amendola, really. It's the Patriots, it happens. A healthy Rob Gronkowski is really the only trusted target week in and week out.

Ben (DC)

Can keep 1 rookie in a league that values pitching. Should I keep Myers or Cole?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:53 PM)

How long can you keep this player? If you are <i>only</i> talking about 2014, then I'm going Garrett Cole. But if this is a lock-the-guy-in-forever league, it's Wil Myers, with a side of Wil Myers. The more I examine him, the more his long-term upside appears positively massive. Seriously, already MVP-caliber skill hints showed even in 2013.

Dave (Dallas)

Do you still consider trading Antonio Brown?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:55 PM)

Yes. I was quite clear on the specs in that column, schedule is more challenging than it is for your typical top-eight wide receiver (and I firmly believe that his raw ability rates him in or near that). If what you're getting is a clear WR1, I'm making the deal. Still. Every time.


Auction happening tonight!! Lotta starting RBs didn't finish this week. Best pickup for the playoffs wks 14-16 from among DJohnson (Hou), Cunningham (StL), Anderson (Den), Starks (GB), Gerhart (Minn), Boldin (NE), etc

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:57 PM)

Concussions, as Zac Stacy reportedly has, scare me the most, so in terms of opportunity I think Benny Cunningham is the add. Though I've been intrigued by what I've seen in Dennis Johnson at times. Much quicker than I anticipated. Raw ability/upside would have me taking a serious look there, if the price is lower in FAAB.

Joey Votto (Cincinnati)

Would you still take Votto as a 1st Rd pick in standard leagues? Thoughts?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:58 PM)

Ranked him 19th, so no, but if you want to take him as a back-end first-rounder arguing that he's "safer" than a Prince Fielder or Troy Tulowitzki or David Wright, I wouldn't fight you that hard over it.

John (NYC)

Would you trade Keenan Allen and Ivory/Woodhead/Vereen for Andre Johnson?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:59 PM)

If it's Ivory then yes.

Vin (NY)

Baseball Question! Thinking about my keepers for next year. H2H points league, weekly lock. Able to have 5 keepers. I was thinking McCutchen, David Wright, Encarnacion...For the last two I was debating between Anibal Sanchez, J.Zimmermann, or Kimbrel. Your opinion on who to keep as the last two arms?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:00 PM)

I need specs to properly judge points-based leagues -- these tend to vary, I've seen many that vastly overvalue wins -- but I'd say it's highly likely your smartest two keepers are Anibal Sanchez and Craig Kimbrel. But I tend to build my points-based squads around K's, and those two are simply better at getting them.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:01 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 always ask me questions via Twitter (@SultanofStat) or Facebook (/SultanofStat), or stop by my Tuesday Spreecast with Eric Karabell. Also want to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving! Take care.