Chat with Tristan Cockcroft
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday morning, ESPN.com fantasy expert Tristan Cockcroft will drop by to take your questions and analyze all the latest football and baseball news from a fantasy perspective.
Send your questions now and join Cockcroft Thursday 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
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:01 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
TJ (Des Moines)
News is that Moreno's Hamstring is an issue again. With that the case does Charles rank higher than Moreno for a fill in back this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:02 AM)
Jamaal Charles ranks higher than Knowshon Moreno either way. I've got Charles in the back end of my top 10; Moreno, when healthy, is only a high-end No. 2 back. And with word of the hammy bothering him again, I'd be concerned and rostering some alternatives for Sunday just in case.
I lost Romo. Who do you like for the rest of the year Fitzpatrick or Cassel? Thanks for the help
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:04 AM)
I don't trust either one on an every-week basis. To me, they're matchup plays, and yes, Matt Cassel's schedule is favorable, but the Chiefs simply don't let him throw that much. They're as run-based an offense as it gets. I'd try to pair 'em, play matchups and hope one gets hot. If you MUST pick one, go Ryan Fitzpatrick, if only because the Bills are actually willing to let him throw 40 times a week. Quite a bit more of a quantitative advantage.
Fred Jackson (Buffalo)
Our new offense is booming! But will I ever get to join it?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
Last I checked, you were? Twenty-three carries last week? That Ryan Fitzpatrick isn't "Captain Checkdown" like his predecessor means Jackson isn't as much of a factor in the receiving game as I was hoping, but I still see in the neighborhood of 15-20 touches for him weekly.
Josh ((Go Sparty))
Tristan, You had Miles Austin still at #3 WR overall in ROS rankings on Tuesday. You aren't that concerned about him with Kitna throwing now and emergence of Bryant and Williams?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
Well, first of all, I wouldn't use the word "emergence" with Roy Williams, when he was completely invisible in the Monday night game. Yes, I'm slightly more worried about Miles Austin's chances with Jon Kitna now at quarterback, but the guy did have a semblance of success in Detroit. I still think he'll get the ball to Austin enough to make the ranking right.
Patrick (Rochester, NY)
Any word on if Donald Brown will be healthy enough to play Monday Night?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
Not yet, and that it's a Monday game means that we're going to need some sort of thumbs-up before Sunday's 1 p.m. starts in order to trust Brown. He hasn't resumed practicing, from the last report I read, but if he's in there Friday I'll feel a bit better about it. Mike Hart might actually see a lot of work on Monday otherwise.
TRADE VETO QUESTION (NY)
Deal went through in our league where we have commish review. Wanted a expert's opinion. Guy that is 1-6 traded desean jackson to a 5-2 team for austin collie. I never like to veto, but this seems a bit odd mainly since collie might be out for a few weeks at best. Thoughts?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
Tough to evaluate trades of injured players, and remember, Jackson is no guarantee to play coming out of the bye, either. I'd say there's a greater chance Jackson plays more games the rest of the way, and he's the more talented -- and more involved -- receiver of the two, so it's a bad trade. "Vetoable"? Well, I side with you, I rarely ever veto unless I think it's a completely absurd trade. And it's not COMPLETELY absurd because of the injuries to both players.
Lost Romo so I traded Beanie Wells and Vincent Jackson for Aaron Rodgers....will it work out for me?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
Mathew Stafford (Det)
Do like me even a "little bit" over Drew Brees this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
C'mon, don't force me to use the phrase "don't get cute." That's how this move strikes me; we have no idea how Stafford's shoulder will hold up, or how it will impact his on-field performance. It's his first game back. In a week chock full of byes, I like him as a lower-level option -- good for two-quarterback leagues, pretty much -- but I can't endorse this move, no way.
so why is Brown ranked higher than Hart? Would you go with Blount over either Brown or Hart?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
Look, when we do rankings on Wednesday, we have to estimate the greatest likelihood that an injured player plays. That's part of the prediction game. Brown, with the information we have, is the most likely man to start for the Colts, but I'll repeat, I want to see him practice Friday (or Saturday) before I'd give him the a-OK. Injuries probably decide this. Brown is back-end top 20 at his position if he's OKed. Blount is more of a flex option -- think cracks top 25 -- so that's good enough depth to have just in case.
Ryan Torain (Landover)
Do I continue my solid production the remainder of the season? And what is my value on a fantasy roster, am I RB1 status yet?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
I ranked Torain 21st among running backs the remainder of the year, and can make the case for as many as 5-6 spots higher. One thing to point out, to talk you off the top-10 idea: He's got some tough matchups down the stretch, including two against the Giants, and one each against the Vikings and Titans.
Anthony (El Paso,Tx)
I have Eli Manning, Tom Brady and Matt Schaub at QB, who should I be looking to trade to upgrade other positions (mainly WR)
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
I'd be OK with trading either Manning or Brady, and the latter primarily because I think he should fetch you a top-shelf wide receiver, while his numbers might not be tops-of-his-position the remainder of the year. I see that Patriots pass attack as less potent than it was before the Randy Moss trade, and you've got the depth to afford trading him.
JT (Heart of it all)
Tristan, you seem a little uneasy this morning.. everything ok? Maybe your thoughts on Danny Woodhead going forward will help calm your nerves...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
Huh, go figure, I actually feel pretty good today! But Woodhead's an intriguing topic. Patriots said they wanted to give him a look in the old Kevin Faulk role -- meaning PPR-league sleeper especially during the bye weeks -- and I think he's stepped in admirably.
What are your expectations for J. Stewart this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
What I've seen of him hasn't impressed me, however, understand that all of it has come in a clear backup role. DeAngelo Williams (foot) isn't practicing yet, so it wouldn't surprise me if Stewart starts against the Rams, which is a nice matchup. Think a borderline No. 2/flex option, which means a start in most leagues, but again, that's only if Williams sits.
Timothy Sacks (NYC)
Tristan, simple one. How many carries do you expect from Greene and Blount? I see the rankings, but I have my own opinions on them depending on carries. Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
Our projections have Shonn Greene for 9 and LeGarrette Blount for 17, and I think those are about right, though I might give 2-3 more to the Jet and take 1-2 off the Buc.
Would you hold onto D. Bowe since he has good mtach up coming up or sell high?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
Sell high, sell high, and very often, you need to sell high at the time that a good matchup beckons. Understand two things: His two best games just came against the league's two worst secondaries, Houston and Jacksonville, teams he will not face again. And as pointed out earlier, the Chiefs don't like to throw. I think Dwayne Bowe resides in No. 3 fantasy wide receiver territory the rest of the year, meaning there are weeks you definitely won't want him, and if you've got a prayer of dealing him at top-20 value at his position, by all means do it.
Kenji (Austin, TX)
Better player the rest of the year, McFadden or Hillis?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
What the heck happenned to Rashard Mendenhall. Iv'e heard he has shoulder issues. Sell while his value is high?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:31 AM)
The shoulder injury was a minor one suffered in Week 6, and I hadn't heard any lingering issues related to that coming out of Week 7. This past week was more of a "rest" situation than anything, and with Ben Roethlisberger back, the Steelers can afford to do that. But I wouldn't sell; Mendenhall still has top-10 value, and I think Roethlisberger's presence only helps keep balance the offense.
Follow up to your Dwayne Bowe comment - i agree completely...would you put Britt in the same category as Bowe and sell high while you can or does he have a better chance of keeping it going?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
Well, this week, I ranked Kenny Britt higher. Now, if coming off that game he's going to fetch you a huge return, by all means go for it. I'm a big proponent of "everyone can be had for the right price." If I could deal Bowe for Britt, I'd do it. And I think Britt actually does have a better chance of maintaining consistency.
Give Rice to get Turner?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
I feel dirty saying yes, but it's the right answer. The only question surrounding Michael Turner is, "Can he stay healthy?" Meanwhile Ray Rice has questions about his role.
fred (at work)
how do you like trading Bowe to receive Maclin or M. Wallace?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
Wow. Um, accept that quickly, for either. I like Wallace best.
How is Ray Rice's role any different than it was when he was ranked number 3 or 4 overall heading into the season? We always knew McGahee would get some carries.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
Well, see, that's the reason he's still in my top 10, because not a ton has changed. But I thought of Willis McGahee as ONLY one thing: Goal-line vulture. Takes 4-6 carries a week, not nearly enough to rankle Rice's owners. But look at the past two weeks: McGahee is invisible, then McGahee is the starter and every bit involved, in much the way Thomas Jones is a pest for Jamaal Charles owners. Are you happy with that? Probably not, but if I'm still ranking the guy top-10, I still have a lot of love for him and don't think it's devastating.
How many transactions in a season do you see as excessive, Tristan? I'm averaging over 25 across my three leagues at this point. I'm big on match ups and so far, I've done fine record-wise.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
If it's working, nothing's excessive. I do think people tend not to average more than two a week (so 14 or so to this point), though. But that's an average, and no two teams are the same. Incidentally, I do not like transaction caps at all.
Welker for Wallace?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
I've got concerns about Wes Welker's value moving forward, EXCEPT in PPR leagues. I'd be all over that deal.
Landon (South Bend, IN)
What are your thoughts on Beanie Wells for the rest of the season? How do you have him ranked? Better or worse than Hillis?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
I ranked him worse -- two spots worse. But I see a lot of upside in Wells. His team just needs better quarterback play. Larry Fitzgerald's owners can tell you a bit about that. My gut says, "Hey, can't possibly be any worse," when I look at the Arizona quarterback situation in future weeks, but I know that's not much of an endorsement. In other words, Fitzgerald scares me a bit, and I can't help but see Wells being asked to shoulder the load accordingly.
R. Matthews (SD)
Value rest of season? Can I break out or am I likely relegated to sub-par performances the rest of the season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
You need to actually start practicing without issue. Until then, Mike Tolbert will lurk to thieve your touchdowns (bleagh). I'm still thinking second-half breakout. Too talented a back, and too favorable a schedule, not to. Maybe the Week 10 bye helps. I'm optimistic.
Felix Jones (Dallas)
This has to be my home run week. I mean the Jags on the road??
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
Well, you're at home, the Jags are on the road, though I figure that's what you were getting at. (Just don't want to confuse people.) Yes, that's the gut instinct, and I'll throw in that the quarterback change might mean Jones is asked to do more this week. That said, he might never be a top-10 back in my rankings, always sitting in the teens, being that I'm not convinced he's durable enough to stand up to 20+ touches per week.
Mr. McFadden (Oakland, CA)
Am I the real deal the rest of the way or should I sell myself high right away?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
Real deal. Health the only risk factor.
Your #1 Halloween candy and #1 replacement QB: Kitna, Stafford, Fitz or Bradford?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
I'm still partial to Nestle Crunch; like Toblerones but those aren't especially common Halloween treats. As for the quarterback, I'm leaning ever-so-slightly to Matthew Stafford here, because the Redskins' pass D is truly that bad. I wouldn't fault those who had a really good feeling about Jon Kitna, though. Another great matchup.
Do you think the Colts will go up quick early and will cause the Texans to abandon the run and prevent Foster from having a good day? You like Torain better?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
What makes you say that? The Texans have been fighters in recent battles against the Colts, regardless of the victory. Could be high-scoring again. I see no reason to doubt Arian Foster, or most anyone in that game other than the defenses (and if you were counting on either, your season is already over anyway).
Bye week doldrums..Better "lock" to score a TD on Monday Night: B. White (Ind) or D. Ward (Hou)? What about more upside?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
Well, the better "lock" (and that's a really generous word to throw about for these two) is Derrick Ward, who does have Gary Kubiak's eye. But I'd keep an eye on Blair White. If Anthony Gonzalez sits, White might get a decent amount of work out of the slot against a brutal D.
The first time you did your for the rest of the year rankings after the Moss trade you had Brady as your #2 QB. Did you think Brady would get better without Moss....what has changed?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
Faith in Tom Brady, and let's point out that I still have him ranked fairly high. Also, there's this: Randy Moss really did about nothing when he was with the Patriots this season, yet Brady's numbers were fine. I don't think it was unreasonable to think that if the Patriots felt, accordingly, that they could pawn Moss off and not hurt the offense, then Brady's numbers wouldn't take a hit. Well, they have. I just see him being more of the Brady of, say, 2003-04, than the 40+ touchdown passer we're more familiar with in recent years. Is it really a lot to quibble over?
Jacob Tamme taking over Clark's TE spot. With Manning at the helm do you think he produces "Clark-like" numbers? Worth dropping Celek for him?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
Tamme is probably the greatest oversight in my rankings this week, in that I was thinking about him, but wasn't quite overwhelmed enough to slide him in there. I probably SHOULD have put him in the 20s, just from the "hey, you never know" angle. But let's all understand, he is NOT Dallas Clark. Period. He's the kind of guy you could stash on a bench if you need tight-end depth, track him these next couple weeks and keep your fingers crossed. That's sort of how I view him right now. A guy who, maybe, cracks the back end of a weak top 20 at the position. But off the top of my head, no way I could push him higher than that number ... yet. So no, don't drop Celek.
My team is in a tailspin, thinking about trading Chris Johnson. What kind of return should I get back at minimum?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
Check out my top 100 rankings, published Tuesday. He's ranked second overall, which says a lot. It says to me, again off the top of my head, if you're not getting a guy ranked close to that, or, say, two members of the top 25 or so overall, you're making a foolish move.
D. Woodhead vs MIN or S. Holmes vs GB for a WR bye week fill-in???
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
Danny Woodhead is a good PPR flex-play at his position. If it's non-PPR, I'd go Santonio Holmes for this one.
someone in my league just dropped TE Winslow - worth picking up?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
The only issue I have with Kellen Winslow right now is a lack of red-zone targets (I count 3 so far). But I like the tight end who's regularly targeted (like Jason Witten). So yes, pick him up, if you need help at that position.
DJ (New Orleans)
Raiders D or Bucs D this week? Yep... those are my choices.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:02 PM)
Yikes. I can make the case the Bucs could be a surprise being that they're facing the Cardinals and their awful quarterbacks. But I don't envy your choices.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
OK, time to wrap things up for today. 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 8!