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.
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Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:02 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
In a 2 QB league, I am considering trading Orton to someone who is in desperate need of a starting QB; what is Orton's value going forward and what should I expect to get back in return?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
I think that he's very much a matchups quarterback, and I'm his owner in a two-quarterback league. It's only there where I'm confident he'll be pretty much an every-week starter. Outside of that? I don't think people trade much for matchups quarterbacks. I know I wouldn't. Probably a depth receiver, in that Nos. 25-30 range, or a decent-but-not-great running back. In two-quarterback leagues like ours, I'd say he might fetch you a definite starter at wide receiver, or a running back who will start more often than not -- think a Mendenhall type maybe, though that's reaching high.
Tristan, you think Greg Jennings is about to pick it up or just not enough time for Rodgers to get the ball downfield to him? I'm thinking of trading Lynch and Walter to get him. Good move?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
I think you've pegged it perfectly; the O-line isn't providing enough protection to allow Aaron Rodgers the time to make best use of Jennings' skills. Look at Jennings' history; he does a ton with his catches and all the numbers point to deep threat, deep threat, deep threat. Doesn't mean I think he's useless, and I'd probably make that deal because neither of the guys you're dealing strikes me as an every-week guy. Jennings does, because even with 1-2 big plays per week, he can be worth it.
Kevin Meehan (MA)
Who has more value now in the long run Glen Coffee or Jamal Lewis
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
Good question. I'm no Lewis fan; he's a matchups play, one I only use facing miserable defenses. Coffee, well, he should be back to the bench with Frank Gore back this week but there's handcuff value. The answer to this question can vary based upon format (depth of bench) and your team's needs, but I want talent over what I'll term occasional opportunity, and from that angle I think Coffee has more long-term appeal.
Is Steve Smith (Car) a buy low? Or is he avoidable, just like TO is?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
I actually think Terrell Owens is more buy low than Steve Smith of the Panthers is, being that T.O. isn't the kind of guy who will keep his mouth shut if you don't throw him the football, plus he doesn't have a quarterback who's an interception machine. Smith is just in a miserable situation; he's getting targets but Jake Delhomme's inaccuracy is killing him. Frankly I don't like either of them, but if I had to term one or the other a buy low, Owens would be first.
Who would you start this week-- LJ or T Choice?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
Larry Johnson without question. It's one of the few times all season I'll be pro-LJ, being that the Chargers give up tons of points to opposing running backs and the guy did actually have a somewhat respectable yards-per-carry average in his last game. I won't call for a week-winning fantasy total, no way, but there's more opportunity and a better matchup in his corner.
jon (portland, or)
RBs: I'm in a bad way, pick up Faulk, Bell or fargas?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
While I like Kevin Faulk as a deep (stress deep) PPR league pickup, it's Mike Bell. He's seemingly the goal-line back for the Saints right now. Ride that hot streak while it lasts, and be prepare to hop on the next one when you see it.
MR C.. Will Choice get 15+ touches this week? Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
It depends on whether Felix Jones is active, though I think 15 should be about your maximum expectation. I still see Marion Barber getting a little more rushing work than Choice, but Choice is going to get his touches, at least enough to be flex-worthy. After all, Jerry Jones says Choice will keep playing, and we all know that what Jerry Jones says goes.
Dinged up Barber or P. Thomas this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
Don't like Pierre Thomas at all this week. Avoid, avoid, avoid. Yardage bet facing a defense that never surrenders rushing yardage. Bad mix.
With Crabtree starting does that mean he knows the plays and will be in the normal amount of snaps or will he have a limited amount of snaps?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
"Starting" doesn't really mean a whole heck of a lot in the NFL, especially at wide receiver, and since Josh Morgan is the guy being bumped out of the lineup, I can't see Michael Crabtree playing every snap. Morgan isn't the kind of guy who would sit an entire game, can't see it. And it's not a team that's going to go heavy on three-receiver sets; that's a running team. Early indications were that Crabtree would play maybe 15 snaps, but I'd bump that up and say he plays maybe half to two-thirds. Not enough to play him, but definitely enough that it's a good week to evaluate him for future matchups.
What do I do with Matt Forte!??!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
Have to be patient, unfortunately. If you sell him now you sell him at basement value.
Which Austin has more value: Miles or Collie?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
Miles Austin. And I love his matchup this week. Falcons are down a corner and I think that plays right into his hands.
Is Maroney the starter from here on out? What kind of production do you see from him?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
Do the Patriots really have "starters"? I'm sorry to break this to you, but there isn't a person on the planet not named Belichick (or one of his coaches) who could accurately forecast the Patriots' running plans. Wish I could give you more than that. My gut instinct is that Sammy Morris sits this week, Laurence Maroney plays, the matchup is great and you're very happy with his output. But that's going to be a maddening rotation if Morris doesn't miss a huge chunk of time talking the full-season angle, just like it was last year. It's a ride-the-hot-streak team, period.
DeAngelo Williams (CAR)
I know I'm like the biggest sell high ever, but will be my value be even higher next week after I tear through what Buffalo calls a defense?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
How are you the "biggest sell high ever"? You dominated fantasy football in 2008 and look pretty darned good this year, too. What does DeAngelo Williams need to do before people believe he's a good running back? Just curious. If there are any huge knocks on him -- and sure, there's a price at which he's a sell high, it's at top-10 overall value -- it's that he has a terrible quarterback that makes it easier for opponents to stack the box.
Lynch for portis in a keeper league, which side do you like?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
Yuck. I guess Marshawn Lynch because at least he has a decent chance at future value. I think Clinton Portis is nearing the point where his career steeply declines; his next-year prospects frighten me.
Harry (Rootstown, OH (Just East of Akron, West of Youngtown and
What is the deal with ray rice? It cannot continue at this pace can it? I have him pegged to slow down quite a bit. sell high? i say yes.also, goober grape? who wants their jelly and peanut butter in the same jar?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
Regarding PB&J, I actually haven't had a PB
Mike (Charlotte, NC)
If LT can stay healthy, what's your gut on his production the rest of the way?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
My gut is that he's a guy I'd be selling as quickly as I could. Not a Tomlinson fan; think he's bound to disappoint you accounting for his hefty career workload. Think No. 2 value in his best weeks, and probably just as many weeks that leave a sour taste in your mouth.
Is it okay to start both Panther's RBs?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
This week certainly. DeAngelo Williams a top-tier, maybe best across the board at running back, Jonathan Stewart a solid flex play. The matchup is that favorable.
Brandon Jacobs can I get anything for him? Or do I have to ride it out? I was thinking Grant or Forte. Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
If I could get Matt Forte for Brandon Jacobs I'd do it; I would not the other way around.
Fred (Baton Rouge)
Who ya got: Stewart or Bell at Flex this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
With the bye week, I am desperate in need of a RB: Mccoy, Fargas, Jamal Lewis, Kevin Faulk or Green-Ellis (Maroney is gone) this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
You put the words "desperate" and "Jamal Lewis" into the same sentence, which seems absolutely appropriate. This is no ringing endorsement of Lewis; it's just a matter of most opportunity. I suppose I'd go Justin Fargas next, a hair over McCoy.
Adam (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Am I crazy to believe Roy Williams will still have a good year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
"Good" can be a broadly defined word. My assumption is that Williams' production is not going to match your definition, though. Putting this injury aside for a moment, Jason Witten is clearly a more highly-regarded talent in that passing game, and Williams really showed little to no chemistry with Tony Romo in the opening weeks of the season. That troubles me, because it means the only thing he really has over a Miles Austin or Patrick Crayton is name value. Name value is overrated.
Tom (Sunny Florida)
Does Donald Brown look like a solid Flex play this week and what is his value going forward.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
Absolutely. And I think that's his value for the most part, flex play in a vast majority of weeks. Brown fan; I do see a little potential for more if he can elevate himself to the go-to guy in the offense.
Is Sidney Rice Favre's guy? Also, best dollar menu: McDonald's, Wendy's or Burger King?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
Does anyone really warrant the label "Favre's guy"? Visanthe Shiancoe has actually been a favorite of Favre's in the red zone, and Percy Harvin has performed pretty well himself. Rice has his value, but between him, Harvin and Bernard Berrian, I see big weeks shifting back and forth. Re: Dollar menus, gotta admit it, I haven't eaten at a McDonald's in four years, and a Burger King for longer! So I guess by default it's Wendy's.
If you don't like peanut butter, you are not an American and can no longer give advice on fantasy football.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
I absolutely love peanut butter. On it's own it's fantastic.
Sell "kinda" high on Mendenhall or keep? Should I target Jacobs for him?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
Very interesting proposal there, and a shot I would absolutely take. The Steelers are more passing than running offense, and while I like Rashard Mendenhall, I still have confidence Brandon Jacobs has a lot of very good weeks left in his legs. Certainly a higher ceiling from this point forward. Very good buy-low, sell-high proposal.
Mike Bell or Hakeem Nicks this week, in .5 PPR league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
Interesting dilemma, and I actually like the Hakeem Nicks matchup. I've been advising to load up on Giants passing game players, so I'll go Nicks here, accounting the PPR bonus.
For what its worth, Bernard Berrian leads the Vikings in targets.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
Sure does, which only emphasizes my earlier point. By the way, he's averaging barely six targets a game, which isn't all that great a number.
I've seen it before..Belichik plays a totally different RB as the game before..changes Green-Ellis dissapoints all us Maroney starters this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
Let's say it wouldn't entirely shock me, but BenJarvus Green-Ellis is simply not as talented a player as the men ahead of him on the depth chart, which is why he's a useful backup and never seemingly a starter candidate (except in desperate circumstances). Just in terms of raw talent you have to go Maroney, but another point that helps emphasize the earlier point that the Patriots' backfield is maddeningly unpredictable. I say Maroney's a good start -- but that's as a low-No. 2/flex play, not an elite play.
Ahman Green fantasy relevant?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
Sure, if you hop in your time machine and go back five years. Otherwise? Uh...
KICKER QUESTION ALERT! Do you every keep a kicker over their bye week, and drop someone else to pick up a second kicker? I have Ryan Longwell's bye coming up, and he's been so solid that I'm reluctant to just let him go for nothing and risk not getting him back.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
Kickers are easily replaceable. Heck, I'd love to see fantasy football do away with them entirely, because picking them really doesn't do anything to demonstrate skill in evaluating talent.
I see Nate Washington and all other Titan receivers have fallen out of the Harris Poll. Doe's this leave them basically worthless going forward?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
I think it means more that if they're to have value, it'd be in plucking them off the waiver wire for the occasional useful matchup, but certainly they don't belong on a standard roster. Having Kerry Collins (and perhaps Vince Young) as your quarterback doesn't help.
i really need this question answered, cutler or big ben this week, i have both w ith no idea who to start
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers throw a healthy share, and the Vikings will probably be down Antoine Winfield. I think the game plan will be to pick on that secondary.
Which sides do you like better? Kevin Jones and Marion Barber for Gore? Mason and Michael Bush for Jennings? THanks Tristan.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
Always take the best player in the deal, if you can afford to (speaking to roster depth). Clearly Frank Gore and Greg Jennings in each.
Ryan (Kansas City)
I've got another QB question for ya...Favre or Ryan this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:47 AM)
I'll go Matt Ryan, but I admit that I have little-to-no respect for the Cowboys' pass defense. And it's not that I think Brett Favre's is a loathsome matchup, but it caps his numbers for the week for sure.
Tough TE question here! Brent Celek or Greg Olsen?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
I'm going Olsen, but I also watched the Bengals game and know their defense can be beat on screens and short throws. Good matchup.
Who is the better play Finley or Z. Miller?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
Jermichael Finley. His value benefits from Aaron Rodgers' inability to get a lot of time to locate his deep threats.
Dan (Ann Arbor)
I see you're pretty high on Donald Brown this week. You think he's a better flex play than Leon Washington against Oakland?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
I'm not huge on Brown, I just think he's going to be in the vast majority of fantasy lineups accounting for that matchup. Though I think Washington will, too. Both good matchups, and it's a six-team bye week so each makes a strong flex consideration. Given the choice, I'll actually go Washington. Got a hunch there.
I see you like Ryan this week, do you like him over Schaub or is that pushing it.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
That's pushing it.
ANOTHER QB QUESTION - ROMO vs ATL or McNabb at Washington this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
I don't like the Donovan McNabb matchup, though I admit that in a week where I think the quarterback rankings should be fairly predictable, he's probably going to be a start for most of his owners because of a lack of alternatives. It's just that Eagles-Redskins games are historically lower-scoring than you think; McNabb got shut out in the touchdown department facing this D last year.
Last QB Question (NY NY)
Henne or Hill for bye-week Garrard replacement? THANKS!!!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
Ugh, I guess Shaun Hill. Better matchup, really.
From this point on, rank the Giants WRs... I know that Smith and Manningham were the early season rage, but their hot starts were unsustainable. I like Nicks a lot...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
Steve Smith is still the guy among Giants wide receivers. But my bold call is that I agree with you, I think Hakeem Nicks actually outperforms Mario Manningham from this minute to season's end. I've watched him play and with the skills he's got and the increase in his workload, I think he's a huge sleeper.
I'm sure Donovan will go without a TD two weeks in a row.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
OK, so he gets one touchdown, ho-hum yardage and doesn't hurt you, but doesn't help you either. Most people get displeased with me when I say "yay" to the idea of starting that kind of player. Just my cautionary words; there are higher-upside plays this week.
I agree about Hakeem Nicks. BUT I just this second dropped him for Steve Breaston.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
See, that makes sense with Anquan Boldin nicked up, but I would certainly be keeping my eye on Nicks and preparing to scoop him back up the second I had some deadweight elsewhere on my roster. Saying a guy's a "sleeper" doesn't mean "guaranteed spot on my bench," it means do your best to get the guy and keep the guy, but if you can't, watch his performance like a hawk and be ready to pounce.
Who should I start McNabb or Flacco?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
Joe Flacco! Kidding, kidding...
Is Favre one with high upside than McNabb?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
Nah. Good call there, James, I have them about the same. In that Nos. 10-15 range among quarterbacks this week, which might (unfortunately) be enough for some.
Trade Jennings and Burleson for V-Jax and Breaston?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
No way. First half all the way.
Margaret Thatcher (London)
How does playing in the good old UK affect things?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
Well, the first thing people are going to point to is that miserable Giants-Dolphins game two years back, where the field was utterly unplayable. I thought it was shameful, frankly. That said, last year's game wasn't so bad, and the field conditions should only improve each year as the grounds crew gets comfortable with the demands. The only difference I really have in evaluating matchups is that I think teams will be more conservative with injured players; it's why I firmly believe Sammy Morris sits, if I had to guess.
Craig G. (Fairfield, California)
Buzzer Beater! Can you rank these defenses for this weekend: Green Bay, Minnesota, New Orleans and Houston.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
Packers, Vikings (don't like the matchup but on talent alone, I suppose), Saints (not wild about teams facing those Wildcat packages), Texans.
Is Brady back for good?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:02 PM)
Yup, and I was asked this recently and my answer was this: Everyone thinks "back" with Tom Brady means a repeat of 2007. It doesn't to me. It simply means that if you put aside his 2007 numbers, which were outrageous, I put the Brady of right this second on par with the high point at any other stage of his career.
Jason (Ellicott City, MD)
How many more years does Peterson have before he gets LDT or Shaun Alexander syndrome?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
Many. He's young, has a long way to go.
how do you like SF's D coming back from the bye after a blowout loss?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
Well, I don't like it being that I don't think the Niners can keep up with the Texans' throw-happy offense in a road game. You can find better matchups out there.
Am I the only one that remembers Vince Young starting his career great? Why the assumption we get bad Vince vs. good Vince if he gets to play?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
Because "good Vince" was the one who tallied most of his numbers with his legs, not his arms. And I'm not convinced that a guy who has been standing on the sidelines, not being involved for oh-so-long, is going to be able to roll right in there and get back to his form as a runner in that huge rookie campaign. I don't trust him as a passer, period.
Waiver wire selection -- LJ or LT2?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:06 PM)
LaDainian Tomlinson is on the waiver wire? Seriously? Jeez, I don't like him but even I would never say he's waiver-wire fodder. Let's play this like "Who's better in Week 7" -- I'm going Tomlinson. Too talented, too strong a matchup.
Please help a jilted Forte owner out. L. Washington or L. Maroney has a back up? R. Brown is my lead guy now.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:07 PM)
I still like what Washington brings to the table. Between his rushing, receiving and return work the guy's money for 15 touches per week. That's a lot of opportunity, certainly enough to trust over Laurence Maroney.
Jason (Los Angeles)
Megatron for Portis or Jacobs? Which side do you like better?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:09 PM)
I actually would take Brandon Jacobs given that choice; I am simply not a Clinton Portis fan. He's running like an old back. And with Megatron's injury, not to mention the quarterbacks throwing him the ball, I think there's a downside with him.
Chris Johnson and Johnny Knox for MJD and Lance Moore?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:10 PM)
I'd be all over that deal so fast ... though I think anyone who has been reading my columns all year knows how huge I am on Maurice Jones-Drew. He was my unquestioned No. 2 overall pick in the preseason.
Tristan's Lunchbox (Bristol)
What am I?????????
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:11 PM)
Stromboli, probably, and that does give me a heads up that it's indeed lunch time in these parts. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I didn't get to yours. Best of luck to you in your Week 7 matchups, and take care everyone!