Fantasy Football with Tristan Cockcroft
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday morning, ESPN.com fantasy expert Tristan Cockcroft will drop by to take your questions and analyze all the latest football news from a fantasy perspective.
Send your questions now and join Cockcroft Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET!
Need an in-depth answer to your question? Want your roster or trade offers reviewed? Get a personalized response from an ESPN expert with The Answer Guys. All questions answered within 24 hours, guaranteed. Ask your question
More Fantasy: Fantasy Home Page
Who would you rather have going forward, SJax or DeAngelo?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:03 AM)
Good morning everyone! Jumping right into the questions today ...Steven Jackson. Can't criticize me for being reactionary on that one; I preferred him in the preseason, too.
The Jets have a good run schedule ahead, who would you want the rest of the way between Jones, Washington, and Greene?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
Why yes, for the most part I suppose that they do! Smart money says Thomas Jones, because he's the "starter," therefore garnering the most carries, and quantity matters here. I like Leon Washington as a lower-level sleeper, though. Good chance he keeps up a 10-touch-per-game average this season, and I think it's a closer race between those two than most think.
Ahmad B. (NY)
Am I bcoming the #1 RB?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
Nope. Still Brandon Jacobs' job. That said, Ahmad Bradshaw will get his carries, and there will be weeks (like last week) where he's more than worth your while as a flex play. And if Jacobs misses a game or two, as he inevitably does each year, Bradshaw would be a surefire starter in all formats in that week.
Chris (latham ny)
i really need your help on this one.... i have the giants def and i dont know if i should start brees or orton
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
Well, first of all, there's just no way I can sit Drew Brees, certainly not for Kyle Orton (who I do like this week to an extent ... just not to that extent). So if I'm in your shoes, I'm thinking about sitting the Giants, and it's because it's a road game against a loaded offense. Risky play. I've got them in a couple leagues and I scooped up the Redskins for their favorable matchup as a one-week plug-in.
What are your thoughts on Miles Austin and Tony Romo from here on out? While Wade Phillips didn't name Austin a starter, he said that he is going to see the field as much as he did this past Sunday. That is a positive sign, yes?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
Certainly. I think Austin deserves to remain the starter over Patrick Crayton, who might have to fight for his snaps out of the slot in three-receiver sets. If it plays any other way I admit I'll be surprised. Common sense says Austin won't ever come close to those numbers again, but with the chemistry he and Romo flashed last week, I think he can at least be a matchups play the rest of the way. No one in Dallas has seemed to work so nicely with Romo yet this year.
What is your stance on dropping Terrell Owens. I really want to do it with Burleson on the WW. Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
You know, if you did that, I wouldn't call you nuts. I find it hard to believe that there are leagues where cutting Terrell Owens is a smart strategy, but hey, I just don't play in a lot of shallow leagues. Nate Burleson is far and away the better fantasy play this week and having Matt Hasselbeck back improves his stock. Good chance these two could produce the same numbers from this point forward.
Mike (Roanoke, VA)
Tristan. Seriously. For the past two weeks I've been eating sandwiches for breakfast and it has made such a difference in my mentality, outlook and approach on life. I suggest giving it a try, you'll feel energized from the first bite! It's amazing. Roast Beef wtih Muenster this morning. I'm going!Need a Peyton Manning Sub (no pun intended but emphasized)! Campbell, Flacco or Hasselback?Thanks for all you do. Try a sandwich for breakfast. Please.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
Interesting thought, especially pitched to a guy who generally picks one meal or the other, breakfast or lunch, but not both. (I'll usually have a small snack that qualifies as the other depending on choice.) Dunno if I could get primed for cold cuts in the early a.m., though, but I've been known to have lunch at 11.Anyway, your question is more important here, and I do like the Matt Hasselbeck matchup. Yes, Jim Mora typically builds his offenses run-based, but Julius Jones is in a funk, Hasselbeck is coming off a phenomenal first game back from injury and the matchup screams throw, throw, throw. I see another huge stat line coming.
Is FWP going to be out a job?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
Going? Hmmm, maybe not, that whole Wally Pipp argument and all, but frankly I think he should be out of a job. Or at the very least Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall should evenly divide the carries, with the latter getting all the grind-'em-out short-yardage touches.
Hakeem Nicks (NY)
How does my fantasy season look from here on out?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
Promising! I'm a Nicks believer, and think that he could leap ahead of Mario Manningham in that rotation the Giants have going. Amazing how that receiving game, which looked bone dry in the preseason, is now deep enough that we're talking about third-stringers being useful. I think Nicks is the future here, more so than Manningham, so I'd be keeping tabs on that.
Desean Jackson's inconsistency worries me. Am I justified in thinking he will always be up and down? Do you think d bowe will be a more steady wr?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
Wide receiver is just an inconsistent position. Offenses read the defense, and if the defense is clamping down on one receiver, the quarterback is going to go another direction. It's as simple as that. Unless you can find a reason to prove why a receiver stunk that doesn't have to do with the defense keying on the guy -- as was the case with DeSean Jackson this past week -- I think you can feel free to discard results like this. It happens. Just something you have to deal with, sorry to say.
Tank Clayzer (Joliet, IL)
ESPN is projecting LT to lay a goose egg this week vs Denver.....What up wit that?!?!?!?!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
I must have put a bug in the ear of our computer that LaDainian Tomlinson is over the hill and primed to disappoint you. That said, I do think if there's any week to expect fireworks from LT2, it's this one.
Chris (Hamilton, NJ)
Who is the best underperforming fantasy player to try and steal away right now?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
I really feel like right now, Greg Jennings is your Roddy White (meaning a guy who had ho-hum numbers the first few weeks and at any instant will positively explode and ruin any hopes of a buy-low deal).
JONATHAN (FANTASY PURGATORY)
Tristan, whats going on with the Jets Defense. They get absolutely no sacks, ints, fumbles, or td's. All I hear is how well they get pressure on the Qb, too bad that gets you nowhere in fantasy. Even with prime matchups they've been less then bad. Time to dump and look at saints or niners D??????
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
Well, one of the biggest criticisms of Rex Ryan's squad is that it's great bringing the blitz, but other than that it's fairly susceptible to big plays. In other words, it fits the description of a fairly predictable defense. I'm not saying it's a bad defense, just that certain offenses can work around it. For example: Couldn't handle the Dolphins and their multi-faceted offense. Just weren't prepared for it. There's still way too much here to let the Jets go for either of those defenses, though I do see matchups potential for each one. Might be worth stashing one away for plug-in possibilities, and given the choice, I'd go Saints accounting for their turnover potential.
Marc (Galveston, Tx)
Vinatieri out for about 6 weeks....... There goes my season.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
Mark (Boise, ID)
I am holding on to TO only in the hope that he gets traded. Any truth to the rumors?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
Well, Adam Schefter reports it's not the case, and I trust Adam on these things. I find it a bit surprising that the Bills won't consider it, so I wouldn't rule out a late change of heart, but understand that midseason trades, especially ones of big-name players with huge contracts, are rare. Braylon Edwards and Roy Williams were the exceptions, not the rules.
What is Fred Jax's Value moving forward? Is he droppable in a 10-team league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
Sigh, yes, seems it. The guy let me down.
Matt (Chapel Hill, NC)
Am I wrong to believe that the incapability of the rest of the Titans offense will hamper Chris Johnson's fantasy numbers for the rest of the season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
It's going to be a factor, certainly, being that opposing defenses can just stack the box and make Kerry Collins (Vince Young?) beat them (which he won't). But Johnson will still get decent enough numbers. He's too talented to be contained entirely, but let's just say his chances at meeting his preseason draft price aren't great right now.
What are your thoughts on Sammy Morris for the next 2 weeks?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
I don't think he's a very good play this week against the Titans, but he'll be fine to use next against the Buccaneers. The Titans' run defense is one of their few strengths, so expect the Patriots to use more of a committee approach to try to throw them off of their game plan. Their usage of Morris in Week 5, however, should be more the game plan come Week 7.
Marc (Malden, MA)
What do the Cardinals have against running the football?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
Beanie Wells stinks as a receiver and he can't pick up a blitz, so he's effectively useless outside of obvious running plays ... which naturally means opponents know exactly what's coming when he's in there. That really saps a team's running plans, and let's not ignore that Tim Hightower isn't all that great a runner outside of short-yardage situations. There simply isn't a lot here, though Hightower, thanks to his pass-catching ability, is actually a decent fantasy option.
Congrats on the baby girl, Tristan. I've got a pretty good stable of RBs this year. Pick two this week out of Chris Johnson, Kevin Smith and Knowshon Moreno. I'm leaning towards benching Johnson this week facing NE on the road. Thoughts? Thanks, man.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
Thanks Will! Knowshon Moreno is a no-brainer fantasy start. Love that matchup and the starting gig seems his. The Chargers stink as a run defense. I'd probably sit Kevin Smith of this bunch, if only because he might not yet be 100 percent and it's not like the Patriots' run defense terrifies me.
Mike (Albany, NY)
Please rank for rest of season: Maclin, Austin, Nicks. Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
I would probably rank them in that very order, and part of it is the likelihood that each of them gets starts/starter's targets. Jeremy Maclin is the Week 5 standout I'd be investing my highest waiver pick to get.
Is knowshon such a no-brainer that he should be over Marshall?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:31 AM)
Depends upon your scoring system (PPR or not, pretty much), but let's just say in standard ESPN leagues I'd be going Moreno.
Do you think both Colston and Jennings will start to produce? Colston seems to be hurt but the vast array of weapons in NO and Jennings by the Packers offensive line.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
I'd agree with your assessment of Greg Jennings, but I disagree re: Marques Colston. Remember that earlier note of mine about defenses clamping down on certain receivers? Colston fits the bill. Look at the Jets game; Darrelle Revis shadowed him the entire game. Won't happen every week, and I'm confident both of these guys will be top-10 bets the remainder of the year.
Is Westbrook going to simply split carries against good teams and get rested when they're up big against bad teams like the Raiders? Westy suddenly seems worthless. Your thoughts
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
He's 30, he has a checkered health history and he has a talented running back who can help ease his workload, so sharing carries with LeSean McCoy is a strategy that makes a lot of sense. I think Brian Westbrook will have his value, like this week when the matchup suits him, but it's going to come as a No. 2/flex when it's time to give him the thumbs up. I thought that in the preseason and I feel even stronger in that opinion today. He's just not going to be a top-10 back, no way. Top 20 would be a good year for him.
Jack (Washington (DC))
Who do you like most this week? (2 RB Spots) R Rice @ Min, B Westbrook vs. Oak, Slaton @ Cin, or Hightower @ Sea?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
I'm thinking Steve Slaton, the one no-brainer of this bunch, and then in a tougher call between him and Tim Hightower, I'm going Brian Westbrook. The Raiders are awful; 10 touches alone can mean a top-10 week (week, people, not season which was the point of the earlier question) for him. Don't like the Ray Rice matchup at all.
Is Coffee droppable now or hold onto him in case Gore cannot go? Would you keep him or beanie baby?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
I'd keep Glen Coffee ahead of Beanie Wells. I know everyone says the Cardinals realize Wells is their future at running back, but I'm not ready to invest heavily ... yet. Until Gore returns and shows he's fine, I think Coffee as a handcuff is mandatory.
Love Mendenhall and Moreno's matchups this week. But not enough to leave AP on the bench right? Right?!?!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
I'm never, ever sitting Adrian Peterson. Well, barring any change to his role or health, and the former's not happening. I'd sit Knowshon Moreno here, much as I like that matchup. Mendenhall's is way too good.
Mike W (Chiacgo)
At what point do you veto a trade? In my league the 1st place team is trading Knoshon Mareno, Mendenhall, and Braylon Edwards for Adrien Peterson and John Carolson. Is this as unfair of a trade as I think it is even with the league being a keeper league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
I have said countless times on these pages that I'm an extremely liberal trade judge, and this trade doesn't come close to one I would get worked up over, especially not in a keeper league. Yes, it's Adrian Peterson. But that's two potential weekly starters at running back coming back, and Edwards sure proved me wrong last week that he would need time to adapt to the new team. Three startable players for one stud; hard to veto a deal like that.
Please rank these guys for this week (PPR) -- Bradshaw (at NO), LT (vs. Den), Sims-Walker (vs. STL). Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
I think you need to closely monitor Mike Sims-Walker's status, but all indications are that he'll play, and that's a fabulous matchup if so. Being that it's a PPR league, I'd use MSW and LT2.
Is it safe to start the JAGS Defense this week over the Vikings defense?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
Yikes, Jags defense ... I just can't do it. Talent alone says stick with your Vikings and hope that Joe Flacco stays as erratic as he was this past week.
so now the RB to have in clev is jamal lewis n not harrison?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
How about: neither is the one to have? Jamal Lewis owners need to treat his recent output as your final awesome sell-high opportunity. In no way do I like his potential the remainder of the year. His schedule isn't all that great (lots of brutal matchups with good ones sprinkled in) and he looks a step slower to me this year.
Bryan (New Orleans)
Can JC get it done against that weak cheifs D? Might need to start Moss if Calvin Johnson isn't a go.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
I like Santana Moss quite a bit this week and all indications are that Calvin Johnson will either be limited or sidelined entirely this season. It's a shame, because Megatron dominated the Packers in both meetings in 2008. I think you'll be pleased enough with Moss if you're pressed to use him, and you should if there's any doubt about Johnson's health.
Pierre Thomas for Addai, Good trade?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
I think that's an awful trade for you.
Which D is the safest play (and, yes, i know, none are safe): NYG vs the Saints, Saints vs. NYG, or Carolina vs. Tampa Bay. Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
That's extremely difficult to weigh being that scoring for defenses varies. If you need to go after points for turnovers, I'm sticking with the Giants. Enough playmakers to make that worth a gamble for those alone. If you're looking to minimize the damage -- think the lowest-scoring game -- I think you need go Panthers. I leave the choice to you based on your needs.
Greg Jennings (Wisconsin)
Braylon Edwards and Michael Bush...too much to give up for me?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
I'd do that. Bush would barely ever crack my lineups, being that his offense is terrible. And Jennings, simply put, is an upgrade over Edwards.
Josh (Lincoln, NE)
Whoa, Megatron sidelined all SEASON? Or just this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
Sorry, sorry, THIS WEEK. Have to type quickly with these, and thanks for catching that! Only a little risk that he sits out WEEK 6.
Jake (VA Beach)
95 days and counting till 24! Hastings is back from season 1 to run CTU - meh... anyway, Jennings, Ocho or Roddy from here on out and Jacobs or LT (1/3 PPR)
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
I need to start crossing off the days on my calendar! Once the MLB playoffs end for sure. Sorry to say, Jake, that I don't remember Hastings from Season 1. Do you have him confused with someone else? Seemed a new casting to me.I would go Greg Jennings from this point forward. Still love the offense, his talent, his touchdown potential. And I'm sticking Brandon Jacobs. Younger, fresher legs, good touchdown potential.
Westbrook for Steve Jackson. Good deal?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
That's highway robbery, I think.
How about if I trade cooley for Olson? Is this anything more than a coinflip?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
One thing to consider here is that there's no way Chris Cooley will be in my Week 6 lineups, being that he'll be blocking almost all day with Chris Samuels expected out. And I play for the now when the values are close, so I would prefer Greg Olsen. The Bears do seem to want to get him more involved in the offense, and I can't help but think they will in the coming weeks.
What do you see M. Lynch doing from here forward? He seems to be the NO. 1 running and receiving option in Buffalo. I have an offer on the table to trade him for Roddy White. He's my third RB (I have Peterson and Thomas).
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
I think he's going to play directly into his matchups, and being that he's in a mediocre offense, I think he has much more limited potential than either of your other two running backs. I'm just not a Marshawn Lynch fan. Now, I admit, I was entirely wrong on the Lynch/Jackson breakdown last week, but let's face it, Jackson isn't the kind of guy who will be held to one or two touches per week looking forward. If I had that deal on the table, I'd make it. White has a greater chance to ride it out in your weekly lineup than Lynch does, and you have the depth to afford to do it.
Carlson or Finley this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
I like the Jermichael Finley matchup a heck of a lot, and what I said about Chris Cooley in an earlier question also applies to John Carlson. With the Seahawks a bit nicked up on the O-line, Carlson has been called upon to block a bit more than fantasy owners would like to see.
Who will have the best rest of season, Bradshaw or Choice?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
Felix Jones' health is most relevant to this question. I think he'll be fine in a couple of weeks, at which point he'll slide back in as the No. 2 in Dallas. So it's Ahmad Bradshaw, because his role is a bit clearer.
What's your opinion on David Garrard this week? Another 3 point performance?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
Against the Rams? At home? With the Rams coming cross-country? With Mike Sims-Walker presumably back in the lineup? Uh, I think Garrard will be better than that. Maurice Jones-Drew might do the most damage in this game but I bet Garrard gets you in the 10-12 point range.
What would "selling high" on Benson look like in your mind?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
I have a feeling that most people are going to hear the name "Cedric Benson" and fail to offer you the returns that make a sell-high deal worth it. That's a gut instinct, though. If I could deal Benson for a clear top-10 running back, say, a Matt Forte, or a top-10 wide receiver, say, a Brandon Marshall, I would make the deal.
Palmer or Hasselbeck - just play the matchups?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
But they're both decent enough matchups. I just like Hasselbeck's better.
2 minute warning.. dnt let me down today --Trade away DeAngelo and Harvin for Jacobs and Hester?? 12 team leauge what are you thoughts? thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
Interesting trade, and one I think I would make. I might be too optimistic with Brandon Jacobs, but I keep thinking that opposing defenses are going to realize they can't focus on containing him and let the rest of the Giants offense beat them up. With DeAngelo Williams, I think Jonathan Stewart's presence cuts into his appeal, not to mention having the erratic Jake Delhomme as the quarterback hurts, too.
Thoughts on where Steve Smith (NYG) ends the season in a PPR ranking?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
If he cracks the top 10 I will not be at all surprised. I suppose if I had to take a specific guess, I could see him finishing, say, 12th. He's going to be pretty darned good in that format.
Which injured player has more value for the rest of the season? Run DMC or Anthony Gonzalez? Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
At this point I think it's Anthony Gonzalez. Seriously, the Raiders look baaaaaaaad. We don't even know when Darren McFadden will be back -- Gonzalez will almost assuredly beat him back to the field -- and even after that he's no guarantee to get consistent double-digit touches the remainder of the year.
who would you rather have for the rest of the season -- MJD or Forte?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
Maurice Jones-Drew. Not many better pass-catching, touchdown-scoring running backs in football, if there is a better combination of those (and I don't think there is).
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
OK, folks, time to wrap things up for the day. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I didn't get to yours. Take care everyone, and best of luck to you in Week 6!