Fantasy Football with Chris Harris
Send your questions now and join Harris in The Show on Monday at 11 a.m. ET!
Christopher Harris (11:01 AM)
Hi, everyone. I know the front page schedule says it's Brendan Roberts doing this chat, but that was a techincal error -- you're stuck with li'l ol' me at 11 this morning (ET), and Brendan will be by at 3 to talk baseball. This morning, it's all about fantasy football...so let's get right to your questions in this, the most wonderful time of the year.
Jeff (St. Louis)
Jackson or Addai at 4 in a non-ppr league?
Christopher Harris (11:03 AM)
Hi, Jeff. I've got Addai just a smidge higher. I don't worry about Jackson's holdout at all, but I do worry that most of the Rams' o-line depth is already gone, and one more injury could start them headed down last year's path. Addai is a durability question mark in the second half, but that offense is going to prolific no matter what, which I think will continue to lead to more goal-line looks for Addai. I'm picking him...barely.
Which tandem will put up better numbers, Dwayne Bowe and Donald Driver or Roy Williams and DeShaun Jackson. I heard Jackson was targeted 14 times last game, and his value has to take a bump with the injury to K-Curt right?
Christopher Harris (11:06 AM)
Hi, Frank. There's no question DeSean Jackson's value increases with Curtis's injury, not to mention Reggie Brown's hammy. I wouldn't read much into how many targets he got in a preseason game, but it would appear he's got a relatively clear path to some targets early in the year. The question then becomes whether he can take advantage. If he has solid games in the first couple contests, he could be a starter for the entire time Curtis is out; if he doesn't, look for someone like Hank Baskett to get in the mix. If I had to pick one of the pairs you mention, though, I'd go Bowe/Driver. I think Bowe, Driver and Williams are all on roughly the same tier, while Jackson has a lot to prove.
Does Osi's injury dip the Giants D out of top 10?
Christopher Harris (11:08 AM)
It's a really good question, Tim. I'm on record as saying we have *no clue* when it comes to preseason ranks of defenses -- they just rarely work out being close to accurate. The best you can do is try and minimize risk, and there's no question: the Giants D just got way riskier. The team is deep, and Justin Tuck was really coming into his own at the end of last year, so in theory you could see Kiwanuka slide into Umenyiora's slot and have the team not miss a beat. I don't think the Giants leave my top 10 rankings, but I'm far less confident about them today.
KEEPER question. Lose the round of your keeper. League is 3 Rb's and 2 Wr's. 1/2 ppr, 1pp 10 yds rushing and 1pp 15 yds receiving. Keep Wayne 3rd round,Jacobs 4th rnd, A. Johnson 5th, Burner Turner 8th, or Selvin 8th? Thanks
Christopher Harris (11:10 AM)
Hi, Steve. Clearly, I'm shooting from the hip here, and haven't run the numbers as to how exactly your scoring system would affect my default ranks, but in terms of value, I think Wayne in the third looks best. I have him as the No. 3 receiver on the board, and I think he'd go in the second in most drafts; getting him in the third means you can focus on two RBs (or one RB and Brady) in the first two rounds. Jacobs just scares me with his health, and while normally I'd say Andre Johnson is insane value in the fifth, he's been nicked up all camp. I like Wayne.
Ryan (Celebration, FL)
Hey Chris...I am drafting 7th in my league...and based on who I think will be available..who would you pick? Moss/Gore/Lynch/Barber? Thanks!!!
Christopher Harris (11:13 AM)
Hi, Ryan. Let's preface any and all "definitive" "expert" answers with this caveat: we kind of don't know anything. And by "we," I mean *all* of us -- even NFL teams. It'll all come down to injuries, as it always does; heck, the fourth round in fantasy leagues last year on average outperformed the first round. How messed up is *that*? But pick we must, and so I think the ideal in the first round should be to get the safest stud you can. For me, out of the group you mention, that's Gore. Moss should be fantastic, but 20 TDs isn't going to happen again, which is the only way he'd deserve to be in this group. Barber is terrific, but I still have lingering doubts about his ability to handle 25 carries a game -- he's such a physical runner, and takes such a pounding. And Lynch is looking shakier this morning, with Jason Peters' holdout with no end in sight and Langston Walker potentially seriously hurt in the Bills last preseason game. All these guys could be spectacular; I think Gore is the safest of the group.
Hey Chris, in a 2nd year of PPR keeper league, would you take Calvin Johnson in the 2nd rd of a 10 team league?
Christopher Harris (11:14 AM)
Hi, Lee. Well, I *love* Calvin Johnson this year. I'm not sure *how many* players you're keeping in this league...if it's just two or three per team, then I'd have to say that's maybe a *little* early for Megatron; the third or fourth would make me feel a little better in a 10-team league. But if a whole mess of receivers are kept? I don't mind it at all. Johnson has moved to the No. 9 spot in my WR rankings. I think he's going to be huge this year.
Hey Chris. What is your take on Josh Morgan? Where do you see him among 49er receivers and potential for a breakout as a rookie?
Christopher Harris (11:17 AM)
Hi, Scott. It's funny you should mention Morgan; we have an article coming out tomorrow (I think) where we were asked to give 25 words on our favorite deep sleeper of fantasy drafts -- and I picked Morgan. Bryant Johnson has pretty much lost the split end job to Morgan, and you need look no further than Mike Furrey and Shaun McDonald to find "unknown" receivers who excelled in a Martz offense. As I mentioned with DeSean Jackson in an earlier question, rookie receivers don't get as much rope as others do -- if Morgan fizzles in the first couple games, drops passes, runs bad routes, etc., he'll probably be worthless fantasy-wise. But if I were re-writing my "10 Players You Don't Know" column from a few weeks ago, I'd replace Jason Hill with Josh Morgan. He's a starter, it looks like, and could be a great sleeper.
Hi Chris. What do you think of Darren McFadden? People seem to be scared to make the obvious comparisons to AP last year, but why not? Both teams run the ball effectively (although Minnesota is admittedly better at it), both will certainly end up with 200+ touches despite splitting carries, both are in a system that suits them perfectly (specifically, Oakland implementing a zone-blocking scheme and McFadden being a one-cut-and-gone runner). Plus, I bet McFadden catches more balls than AP this year. Is it crazy to pick up McFadden in the 15-20 range of a ten team draft?
Christopher Harris (11:20 AM)
Hi, Kyle. Is it crazy? No. It just means you believe, which it sounds like you do. Listen, I think you're taking *absolutely* the right approach -- listen to what the "experts" have to say, but in the end, come to your own conclusions about a guy. If you've concluded McFadden can have an AP-like influence on the Oakland offense, then you're absolutely right...you should draft him high. For the moment, I'm hesitant to go there with you, because you're right: Fargas is the starter. I'm not completely sold that Run DMC gets 200+ carries (touches, though? better bet) -- I mean, Fargas was *really* good last year, and Michael Bush will do his best to get in the goal-line mix as well. There's also McFadden's fumbling problem to worry about -- the young man needs to hold onto the ball, or he could be in for a benching. I've got McFadden ranked 16th among RBs at the moment, highest among rookies -- but his upside, as you say, is spectacular (and better than many of the guys I have ranked above him).
projections for Jonathan Stewart this year? Prefer him or McFadden in a keeper league?
Christopher Harris (11:21 AM)
Hi, Ryan. I do have Stewart rated ahead of DeAngelo Williams, but this weekend's preseason game was a nightmare scenario for owners of either guy: they both looked great, they both took one to the house, and they pretty much guaranteed that to start the year, we're going to see moderate doses of both of them. Williams is actually a very good goal-line back, but Stewart has the chance to be immense from close in -- but Williams figures to be on the field more on third downs. They'll probably cannibalize value from one another. Even this year, I like McFadden better than Stewart, and in keeper leagues, the distance between them grows, because eventually McFadden will absolutely be a starter and a star.
Any projections for James Hardy this year? I grabbed him in the last round of our draft.
Christopher Harris (11:23 AM)
Hi, Matt. Sure, I think it's a good pick. I'd say Hardy tops my list for rookie receiver TDs (though guys like Josh Morgan and Eddie Royal -- Virginia Tech tandem from last year -- probably have a shot at amassing more overall fantasy value). I could see Hardy scoring six times and maybe amassing 500 or 600 yards. That would make him a very nice value in the last round of your draft.
Dave (Frisco, Texas )
I'm in a 18 team h2h keeper league that just held it's draft. At this point, most of us are looking for that "super sleeper" or other magic bullet for our arsenal in the extremely thin player pool. My backup RB's are L. Washington and Ward. My backup WR's are Gaffney, Desean Jackson, Obomanu and Randle El. Would you replace my RB's with Fred Jackson, Sproles, C. Henry, Sammy Morris? I do have LT on my roster if that helps. Also, would you replace any of my WR's with James Jones, Chris Henry, Booker, Battle, or Josh Morgan? I've really struggled over Fred Jackson, Sammy Morris, Josh Morgan and James Jones as replacements but I just can't seem top pull the trigger. Any advice? I know it's slim pickings but this is all I have to work with. Thanks!
Christopher Harris (11:27 AM)
Hi, Dave. No worries -- I love deep leagues. My primary league is a 16-teamer that drafted on Saturday, and all those guys were drafted...there's nothing like hitting the lottery on a late-round pick in such a deep league. As I mentioned above, Josh Morgan is my current crush for sleepers. I would take him over Randle El right now. I don't love any of the backup RBs you mention; if you were a Marshawn Lynch owner, I'd want Fred Jackson, but otherwise, I think you're set with the pair you have. I actually think that Courtney Taylor is more valuable right now than Ben Obomanu -- that's a chance I might make. Taylor looks like an outside receiver starter for several games, while Obomanu is the slot guy (at least that's the latest I read about from the Seattle papers). And incidentally, if I'm handcuffing one guy to Tomlinson, I think it'd be Jacob Hester, not Sproles. They'd probably both get looks if LT gets hurt; I just think Hester can take the pounding, while Sproles is just so small.
Solid sleeper: Chris Taylor with the Texans. Word is that Brown or Green could get cut? What do you think?
Christopher Harris (11:29 AM)
Hi, Scott. I'm not so sure about Taylor -- fullbacks in halfbacks' clothing tend not to work out in the long term. I guess you're right -- Taylor's at least going to be on the team, and if Steve Slaton's going to see more work than we originally thought, you wouldn't expect him to get many goal-line looks, which could then go to Taylor. Chris Brown sounds like he's squarely on the chopping block, and will be holding his breath for a couple days this week. Frankly, while I do think there's going to wind up being value in the Texans backfield, I think trying to predict it right now is fools' gold. Whoever wins that gig will get carries, yes, but I don't think he'll be a fantasy star. So while in a deeper league, I don't hate taking Taylor, I'm not all that revved up about him.
Rick (Irvine, CA)
Thoughts on Warner, I have Hassleback as my QB, but am getting a little worried about him with his receiving core all hurt?
Christopher Harris (11:30 AM)
Hi, Rick. Yeah, I picked up Warner in the 14th round of a 16-team draft this weekend, just a day before it started to sound like he'll replace Matt Leinart as the Cardinals QB. I wrote a lot about Leinart this summer, believing what I read in the Arizona paper and saw on MNF a few weeks ago, but I guess one horrific preseason night (this weekend) can turn everything around. Now it's clear Warner's going to be the starter in Week 1, and be given a fair amount of rope. I wouldn't cut Hasselbeck, but if Warner's a free agent in your league, go get him -- drop a lesser player at a position of depth.
Morgan over Bryant, really?
Christopher Harris (11:32 AM)
Hi, Chad. Yeah, really. Check out this article from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat: http://49ers.pressdemocrat.com/default.asp?item=2254988 . It really sounds like Bryant's chances to start have slipped away, and Morgan has been the star of Niners camp. Isaac Bruce will catch more balls, but he can't get open deep like he used to. I guess you could say I'm very high on Josh Morgan.
Accepting a trade offer giving me Kellen Winslow Jr. for Ricky Williams is a no brainer right? Winslow isn't hurt or anything is he?
Christopher Harris (11:34 AM)
Hi, Josh. Well, Winslow is *always* a little hurt, but no, there's nothing new, and his knee seems to be back from offseason surgery. Williams is looking like the starter in Miami in Week 1, but there's no question the organization is more invested in Ronnie Brown, and will give Brown every chance to amass at least 10 or 15 touches a game, at minimum. I don't think this is an *absolute* no-brainer, just because week-to-week production for tight ends, even ones as good as Winslow, can be pretty variable. But yeah, if you've got some good RB depth, I'd do that deal.
Geddy (Toronto, ON)
Worried about Wes Welker and his rib injury to start the season???
Christopher Harris (11:35 AM)
Gosh, Geddy, it's just so tough to know, because the Patriots are so secretive about injuries. Welker was seen slamming his fist on the turf after getting banged up, and that's not good. But I guess lacking any other information, I'm going to assume he's all right at the moment. Same goes for Brady, but we could all be in for a terrible awakening in Week 1, couldn't we?
Joel ( Roscommon MI)
Chris Are you concerned enough with the Rams O-line to consider Barber over SJax or is that taking it too far ?
Christopher Harris (11:36 AM)
Hi, Joel. I'm not going to say that Marion Barber can't have a better year than Steven Jackson, because he can. There's absolutely no question; I mean, Barber *smoked* Jackson last year, even in games when Jackson returned from injury. But yeah, I'm probably taking Jackson if I'm picking between the two. I may have made the Rams O-line situation sound worse than it is in an earlier answer: they've lost *depth* on the O-line, but they haven't actually lost starters. Yet.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
With Dallas' rash of injuries at WR, how much more important does that make Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd in the offense?
Christopher Harris (11:38 AM)
Well, the "rash" really consists of Terry Glenn, on whom the Cowboys were never counting, Miles Austin and Isaiah Stanbeck. I frankly never believed in any of those guys, and always saw Patrick Crayton as a very valuable No. 2 guy, his sometimes-shaky hands notwithstanding. But I guess you're right: Sam Hurd's value really takes a leap -- he's in Jabar Gaffney territory now: third receivers who could actually contribute fantasy-wise.
In my 12 team league, Addai fell to #7 after Moss and Brady. Am I playing with idiots?
Christopher Harris (11:38 AM)
Hi, Jack. Idiots or Patriot fans. (And I leave the obvious punchline to you.)
Joel (East Longmeadow, MA)
What are your thoughts on the RB situation in Cin? I took Rudi Johnson with the last pick in the 7th round. He's only 28 years old. His he in a competition for the starting job right now?
Christopher Harris (11:41 AM)
Hi, Joel. Yeah, he really is -- in fact, at the moment, the Week 1 starter is Chris Perry. The Bengals are very concerned about Johnson's legs and his lack of burst, which was apparent even before he got hurt last year, and seems to be the concensus here in '08, too. Marvin Lewis has said that he needs to see Rudi Johnson practice for an entire week without drama before he'd consider reinstalling him as the starter, which means this could be an ongoing drama. Frankly, fantasy-wise I'm probably staying away from all these guys unless it's in much later rounds -- Perry would be an interesting pick in the 10th or later, but otherwise? Ick.
Plesae Christoper, I am DESPERATE. First ever auction. What is your strategy in a really deep auction league (20 teams). Money is on the line. Do I go for a couple big players and a mess of sleepers, or do I spread it around even? Are the running backs even more valueable in a 20 team league?
Christopher Harris (11:44 AM)
Hi, Jay. You won't have any choice but to spend a lot on at least a *few* big names -- that's the nature of an auction. But advocates of the "Stars & Scrubs" (or, if you will, "Studs & Duds") strategy would have you go further than that -- get four or five guys for high money, and then just fill in with $1 players. That tends not to be the way I go in auctions. I will definitely try and find value among the stars, but I'll rarely spend 40% of my budget on one guy (which means I don't get Tomlinson often this year). My logic is that everyone who seems so sure about who'll be great this year is full of mularkey (and not Mike Mularkey). The top RBs last year were LT, LJ, Jackson, Gore and Parker. The top WRs were Smith and Harrison. Marc Bulger was the No. 3 QB. Other than LT, none of these guys finished in the top 34 fantasy scorers. In other words: I prefer to spread risk, and buy numerous lottery tickets.
Hi Chris - can you rate the top 5 te's, does Gates' "recovery" change anything?
Christopher Harris (11:47 AM)
Hi, Steven. I had Gates at the top through the whole summer, so I haven't moved him. My top five goes: Gates, Witten, Winslow, Gonzalez and Dallas Clark; I think those top four represent a first tier, with Clark, Shockey and Cooley on a second tier. That's my current take, anyway.
Calvin Johnson or Harrison for the year in a standard league? Also, have to drop 1 from Warner, Favre, Hasselbeck and Eli. Thanks.
Christopher Harris (11:49 AM)
Hi, DT. For me, it's Megatron. I've bumped Calvin Johnson into my top 10 overall among WRs, while Harrison is at No. 21. Obviously, that's *ridiculously* low for Marvin if he stays healthy all year, but that low ranking incorporates what I think is still a lot of risk. As for the QBs -- I have Favre lowest among that group, though they're all right next to one another in my rankings, and it might be better to try and trade Favre and capitalize on the hype machine if you're just going to cut him anyway.
Chris (Linden, NJ)
Chris: I have the 4th pick in a PPR. After picking Sjax, Westbrook, or Addai in the 1st, am I committing fantasy suicide if I stack WR and wait for a RB until the 4th and 5th. Hoping for someone like McFadden, K.Smith, T.Jones, D.Williams or even Ricky Williams,etc.
Christopher Harris (11:51 AM)
Hi, Chris. Not fantasy suicide at all. You're taking a chance, yes, but this kind of strategy falls in line with what I wrote in our Draft Kit positional previews like six weeks ago -- with so many tandem RB situations, it might make sense to try and locate the stars at WR (and maybe QB) and then try and get lucky with multiple lottery tickets at RB somewhere further down the line. Now listen, I think it's bad to be dogmatic about *any* strategy going into a draft, because if the picks in front of you don't go the way you expect, you need to be ready to be flexible and grab the fallers. But if it works out where most of the RBs you'd really want at your 2nd pick are gone, I don't mind the strategy you're discussing at all. Just be sure to take multiple chances with "high-upside" tandem backs or non-starters later in your draft.
Let me rephrase my somewhat rude question. Due to the amount of luck involved in fantasy football and the high risk of injury to football players, don't you think people should just go with who they like in the first round? All of the S-Jax vs. Addai vs. Barber vs. Portis questions seem like nitpicking to me, whereas draft prep time would be better spent digging up values later on.
Christopher Harris (11:54 AM)
Hi, Michael. I definitely wasn't not-answering because of rudeness -- chatting like this gives a guy pretty thick skin. There's really just hundreds of questions flitting by, and obviously there's only a limited amount of time. But I think this is probably the smartest manifesto I've ready in a while -- you're *absolutely* right: because injuries play such a big part (not just to the RBs but also their O-lines) and because the distinction between the top players is very minimal before the season starts, I think we make way too big a deal about who we take fourth vs. fifth. Better to get a guy you think has a good chance to stay healthy and who you just have a good feeling about, once you've done your research. As someone who does this for a living, I feel like I've got all the facts, but that there are so many factors beyond my control that making dogmatic statements about what will *definitely* happen is just stupid. When I'm giving my rankings, I'm almost saying, "This guy has a slightly better percentage chance of being excellent than this guy." Which means going with one's own gut is very smart.
if you were drafting today, where would you put peyton given his knee problem?
Christopher Harris (11:55 AM)
Hi, Bob. That's a great question. I hear Peter King say he gives Marvin Harrison a better chance of playing Week 1 than Peyton, and I say, "Oh, please. Don't believe everything a football player tells you." I just don't believe Manning would let his consecutive-games streak fall by the wayside over what is, by all accounts, a relatively minor injury. Now, will the Colts be likelier to pull him from a blowout? Maybe. Still, I'm probably not moving Manning at all until I hear he's *definitely* going to miss time. As of now, I think that's all media smoke.
If Lights Out cant play this season, how far does that drop SD's Def?
Christopher Harris (11:57 AM)
Hi, Steve. It's another great question, and paired with the injury to Umenyiora (and Jason Taylor), it definitely puts some of the more "draftable" fantasy defenses under the spotlight. I think the Chargers will still muster a very good pass rush -- they've still got the beast in the middle, Jamaal Williams, and Shaun Philips is tremendous. The corners (and corner depth) is good. I think it hurts them, but not enough to move them fantasy-wise. I'd still take them in the top five.
Thoughts on Hightower from the Cardinals?
Christopher Harris (11:59 AM)
Hi, Eric. Well, the Cardinals beat guys are foaming at the mouth, saying he's going to get 1/3 of the Arizona carries. I think that's over-exuberant. He could be the goal-line guy, definitely (he's a bulldozer who ran for 1,900 yards his senior year at Richmond), and he looks like the starter if Edge goes down. But Hightower doesn't belong in that "tandem" group of backs. The only fantasy team for whom he should be a high priority is the one that drafts James. If you draft Edge, reach for Hightower, just to be sure you get him as a handcuff.
Justin (Islip, NY)
buzzer beater....PPR keeper league: Marshall, FWP or Roth (top 4 QB being kept) to go along with Gore & Wayne? thanks
Christopher Harris (12:00 PM)
Hi, Justin. Hm. Not Parker -- I'm just down on him with Mendenhall around. Roethlisberger is tempting if all the good QBs are gone, but really, once you get past the elite guys, who cares -- their stats are all so similar. I'm going Marshall, even if he is suspended a couple games. Baby T.O. can play, if he gets his head straightened out.
Greg (Crystal Lake, IL)
Chris, besides Jason Witten, I don't see the worth in picking any other te's any earlier than you have to. Can you give me an idea of a good sleeper at TE, and give me your take on Bo Scaife, who is Vince Youngs (in my opinion) security blanket?
Christopher Harris (12:02 PM)
Hi, Greg. I agree -- there's no use reaching for a TE. I almost never get one of the top four guys, because there are always a few owners in my leagues who think, "OK, I've gotten my starters at every other position, now I'm going to get my TE!" I would rather keep taking lottery tickets at RB and WR, and wait a long time for the TE. In one industry draft recently, I got Owen Daniels in the 12th round -- I loved that pick. I'm not high on Scaife, just because Alge Crumpler is in Tennessee now.
Christopher Harris (12:02 PM)
All right, everyone -- one more and then I've got to get writing....
BUZZER BEATER: What can you tell us about Chris Johnson?
Christopher Harris (12:05 PM)
Hi, Will. Well, he went to East Carolina where he was a speedster without a lot of shiftiness or yards-after-contact -- a guy who looks awesome when he breaks a big one, but rarely makes something from nothing. I like him, but I think he's probably the most-hyped rookie of this summer, and as such is going too early in fantasy drafts. I have him as my No. 35 rusher, behind Justin Fargas and ahead of Rashard Mendenhall. I don't think he'd take the kind of pounding an every-down back gets in the NFL, but he's a very good and dangerous complement to LenDale White. I think he's got a chance to have big weeks, but I don't see him as a consistent fantasy contributor right away. All right, everyone. Got to get back to the grind here. Thanks very much for coming to this chat, as always -- you folks make this job the greatest. I really appreciate your interest, and I wouldn't get to have this great gig without you. See you next week.