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 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...
With Brian Mccann struggling since his return (.171) would you rather hav him or Mike Napoli who continue to rake?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:03 AM)
I'm sure that in "Hit Parade" I ranked McCann higher of the two, and my gut instinct is that I'd prefer the everyday player with the longer track record, if this is today through year's end. But I wouldn't quibble about Napoli especially over the short term. He has had a tremendous season, showing the Rangers how foolish for not having him in there every week.
Getting really frustrated with A. Lind. Should I drop him for LoMo?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:04 AM)
I pointed out in "Hit Parade" that I regard Logan Morrison a matchups, not every-game, guy, and I'm standing behind that. So if you have lineup flexibility here, go for it, but Lind has more power potential and likely has the greater until-the-end numbers.
Paul (New Jersey)
keeper league Belt, Goldshmidt, Blanks rank in order plz
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
In that order in terms of overall package, actually. Best power potential: Goldschmidt, Blanks, Belt. Best categorical balance: Belt, Blanks, Goldschmidt.
wayne (va bch)
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
Hey, it says it's a baseball chat ... but I'm going to take some football as well, be patient.
Hamels is a 2 start pitcher next week...where will he land in your rankings?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
The only thing that's going to earn him a spot in my top 75 in the Forecaster is his name and reputation. He's a fresh-off-DL pitcher whose injury created questions, and I've historically advised caution with those types. That first start, incidentally? It's at Cincy. If you could avoid it -- think daily-leaguers -- I would just to see how he's shaping up before activating him for the Florida game. Off the top of my head? I bet he ranks around 50th. Still good, but not without hesitation.
the chat is also listed on the fantasy football homepage. So I figured it was for both.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:08 AM)
I said it is. I'll probably go about 50/50.
If you knew Orton would start 13 games this season, where would you rank Lloyd?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
Well, I think he will start 13 games this season, so I would rank Brandon Lloyd fairly generously. He's a top-20 wideout for me, though every spot higher than 20th makes him overdrafted.
rick pa [via mobile]
How bout a little 2 qb ppr league love... are u on board with taking Vick 1st overall.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
Absolutely not. It's Aaron Rodgers all the way at No. 1 in that format, and I'm adamant that there is no other correct pick in a two-quarterback pick at No. 1 than Aaron Rodgers.
Start Rickie Weeks once he's back? Or is there an "adjustment period?"
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
Does not apply to hitters, not the same as it does pitchers (closers included; the old "work up to full speed in a setup role" move). But check Weeks' rehab stats and reports, that usually builds any confidence you'll need. My guess: Yes, value comparative to replacement level has him worth an immediate activation.
Riddler (Secret Layer)
Riddle me this, Batman! Why is the estimated auction price for Vick/Rodgers/Brees so much greater than the cost for Rivers ($49/$45/$37 compared to $27). Rivers lead the league in passing and was 5th in TDs. Don't forget, he had V-Jax for only 3 games and Gates for only 10 games. In other words, is Rivers valued too low or are the top three QBs valued too high?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
I think it's a little of both. I would never, ever spend $40-plus on a quarterback. Not unless the cap is absurd, easily over $200 (think $300). Philip Rivers is a value selection in my opinion, for many of the reasons you mentioned (the other being that the Chargers are a pass-friendly offense).
Ed (Los Angeles)
How do you like Mike Minor the rest of the way?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
Way more than most people, apparently. I think he's an every-week NL-only value whose mixed-league appeal merely slots into the "avoid the treacherous matchups" class -- and without examining every one of his remaining outings it's hard to say he even has any left.
Why is everybody down on Dwayne Bowe this year? Is there a reason to be?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
I've cited the statistic, I think it was in our original sleepers/busts column if you want to check for complete accuracy, but if I recall, it was that 150 of his 200 fantasy points in 200 came in six specific games, of which almost every one was against the worst pass defenses in football.
Whats the update on Jose Constanza?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
Ankle sprains aren't easy to quickly heal. He's "day to day," but that could easily mean he misses this entire week. I would reserve him and force him to actually play a full game before making the decision to activate him.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
Is Romo/Eli an acceptable, underrated QB1? Pair with an upside 2 like Stafford/Bradford sound good?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
Well, in my rankings I've got a noticeable value split between Tony Romo and Eli Manning; I've got Romo rated quite a bit higher of the two. So if it's Romo and one of those two, sure, I like it. A Romo-Stafford combo, in fact, is interesting accounting for injury histories.
How worried are you about Thomas Hanson?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
Quite. Enough so that I'm preparing one of my most important teams for the prospect that he's not going to contribute a single thing to me the remainder of the year. That's not to cause you to press the panic button and overpay for a replacement, or cut him outright, but we might be only one more setback from needing to do that.
Indy signs Collins...are you concerned now about Manning?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
Yes, Kerry Collins has me shaking in my boots.Seriously though, I could see a scenario where Peyton Manning doesn't play until Week 2-3. The whispers are now loud enough.
Shouldn't you include at least 10 Catchers in your top 125 in hit parade? Also, who do you like ROS: Soto, Salty, Arencibia, Doumit?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
Maybe, but I'm not going to force a catcher in there merely because you have to start one. Ever hear of matchups exploitation? That's largely the strategy for those stuck at the back end of the catcher ranks -- read "Hit Parade" this week for a few such examples.If I'm picking one as an every-week option, I'm actually going to go Jarrod Saltalamacchia, despite the matchups label (in said column), because he's the one in the deepest lineup and no less productive of the bunch of late.
Tom (State College PA)
What are the chances Heath Bell becomes a Giant by Friday?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
I don't think especially good. Teams are demanding high prices for these quality waiver options and the Giants don't sound like they want to part with a top prospect for a dozen or so relief innings (plus potential postseason). Not that it matters that much in fantasy; Bell would close for the Giants so long as Brian Wilson is out, just as he is in San Diego.
Josh (New York)
Why is all of the text now in italics? Hill or K. Johnson ROS?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
Sorry, just a typo with the italics and not sure how to fix. Hey, the info's still there at least. I'd go Aaron Hill; it's a mere gut instinct based upon the fact that the Diamondbacks still have as favorable a hitters' venue to work with, as well as a good remaining schedule.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
Anyone you see yourself drafting over and over in mocks?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
Lance Moore comes to mind. I think he's a potential value, being that with Reggie Bush gone, Moore has the slot spot all to himself. His numbers in Bush's absence last season were solid.
Rules question here. We allow use of return TD's (not yards) for our offensive players. I argue against use of those TD's as we dont use defensive players and some of the players amassing those TD's arent avail for us to use. Just curious of your thoughts.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
If everyone knows said rule upfront, then I have no problem with it. I've seen this rule in place in countless leagues, so it's not anything odd.
Brian (My Office)
Rank these stream options: Cecil vs KC, Liriano v. BAL, G Floyd v. SEA, and Saunders v. SD
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
I would move Francisco Liriano to the back of the line and then you've got the right order.
Doug Fister (@ TB)
You starting me tonight? You gave me a match-up rating of 6, and AJ has me ranked 3rd on "Thursdays Notes".
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
I worry a little about Fister in a road game -- not the most stellar road pitcher lately -- but for the most part I consider it a sound matchup. I'd rank him a little lower than that off the top of my head, meaning AL-only/mixed/watch-your-cap, but that's still generally a "go."
Need a quick spot start: Hughes vs. Oakland today or Collmenter vs. SD tomorrow? Or find a way to use them both? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
I'm not positive the Yankees are going to be able to cleanly get the game in, and a matchup at Baltimore on Friday is a tad tougher than home against Oakland. Considering I'd have them ranked fairly closely, I'd lean towards Josh Collmenter here.
I'm tempted to trot Ubaldo out there tomorrow against KC... I shouldn't be, but I am.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:31 AM)
I understand the temptation, but Ubaldo Jimenez is now in a "show-me" classification. Any greater endorsement is taking a total shot in the dark.
AUCTION KEEPER QUESTION: (16 team auction keeper league) Would you keep Jamal Charles at $45 or Brandon Lloyd at $2. Top RBs usually go in the 60's in this deep of a league.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
You answered your own question then: It's Charles. If he's going to go for $60 in the traditional market of your league, then he's a steal at $45. Much, much more valuable player of the two anyway.
Matt (Cleveland, OH)
You named Wade Miley a good one start sleeper this week. Please expand on that.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
I had zero supporting evidence beyond minor league performance at the time of the publication of the column. The bad outing at Atlanta has me taking a step back; on paper an outing at Washington isn't a bad one, but it's a gamble. NL-only, deep such NL-only, that's my limit.That's one of the unfortunate things of writing a one-week-long prediction column that publishes on a Friday and then gets a minor update on a Sunday; the news changes so much, so quickly in baseball.
Chris (Windy City)
Re Ubaldo vs. KC, remember KC is a good hitting team. Remember that with Cecil too. Their problem is pitching, not hitting.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
That is exactly what I was thinking with Ubaldo Jimenez. But if you're questioning Brett Cecil, I will point out that he has been outstanding -- comparatively speaking -- in the past two months, including against some very good offenses (TEX, BOS).
With Irene making a straight shot at the East Coast- sit your coastal players on Sunday (Phil, NY, Bos)?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
This is a fair point being made by several people in the chat, and I think preparations need to be made, yes. Sunday sounds treacherous -- coming from someone living in the New York area -- and Thursday and Saturday look unpleasant, too. That said, with weather, you have to check the reports on a near-hourly basis, so it's impossible for me to tell you today "sit every single Yankee, Phillie or Red Sox from Thursday-Sunday." Those teams are rich in fantasy talent and not all their games are assured of being washed away. My guess today? We lose 33-50 percent of them. But it changes so fast...
3rd WR who do you like better (.5PPR) Danny Amendola or Lee Evans?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
I love Danny Amendola in PPR leagues. What did he have, 83 catches last season? I know it was darned near that many, and no one at all was talking about it.
I have a little problem with the premise of today's Relief Efforts... what type of league are you really able to afford to ever bench your closers? My league's not that deep, and I don't think I've ever done it
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
You'd be surprised. I was effectively scolded by dozens of readers for making the comment about potentially dropping a Craig Kimbrel-esque closer two weeks ago -- I said under no circumstances should you do it -- and what it told me is that a lot of people have a lot of closer depth and do face these weekly decisions.
Auction Question (Mathville)
Is that correct with regards to the Charles question? Wouldn't you need to know what Lloyd would typically go for? For example, if Lloyd goes for $25, and you keep him at $2, the break even point for bidding on Charles would be $68 ($25-$2+$45). So if you get Charles for $67 or less, you're in a better spot - or is there something wrong with that line of thinking?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
Sound mathematical reasoning. But the odds that Jamaal Charles sells for $60-plus, from the sound of it, are higher than the odds that Brandon Lloyd sells for $20-plus. It's a matter of ability to recapture the player -- or more importantly, a similar talent, of which there are many more at wide receiver comparable to Lloyd, comparative to Charles clones at running back -- for similar value. My opinion is that Lloyd is not a $20 wideout in a league where top backs go for $60.
matt [via mobile]
Just joined the chat and read what u said about rodgers over Vick. Why so adamant ?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
Safer. I hate to make it a one-word answer, but it is truly simple as that. Hey, I like Vick ... but Rodgers is less potential headache.
Tristan, can you direct me to the strength of schedule article? A big thank you!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:47 AM)
Right here. Excellent work by Christopher Harris and I agree with him 100 percent; "strength of schedule" is a grossly overrated factor in fantasy.
Auction Question (Mathville)
Speaking of "headache", Rodgers isn't without concern - he missed time due to concussions last year. And as a QB who likes to run it in on occassion, he isn't without risk. I like Rodgers better as well, but it would probably be more fun to own Vick.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
Every single player in the entire NFL is a risk for a concussion. We're going to criticize Rodgers for one missed game? I just can't see the risk as being close to equal; Vick makes things happen with his legs and is a rough-and-tumble kind of player. He's going to take more hits, period, which means, naturally, more risk of getting hurt.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
And for the record, I'm pro-Michael Vick. But I'm not about to sweep that part of his game under the carpet. It's foolish to do it.
Jennings was left off your All-2015 team... does that now look like a mistake? He'll be in his prime and has shown great ability already. Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
It might very well be a mistake, but I'd like to do a little personal projecting -- multiple-year projections is a lengthy project for me, what with dozens of spreadsheets being run at any given time as is -- before I'm prepared to invest in Jennings' power potential (I'm referring to his HR-RBI contributions). I've historically shied in keeper leagues from players who generate well north of 50 percent of their value with their legs, because steals can be somewhat unpredictable over multiple seasons.
Frank (In the bathtub)
Can you post the link to that All-2015 team article? I thought I had bookmarked it, but it seems that I didn't.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
Right here. But terrible work by that Cockcroft dude. I completely disagree with him.
Cisco (San Antonio)
12-team, 6 keepers, how would you feel about the following trades: Forte (rd1) for Hillis(11) or Greene(9)... or DeSean(1) for Maclin(15) or Lloyd(15) or S.Johnson(15)... OVERALL, I guess my question, is how much dropoff in quality would you accept, to open up those early picks with top 60ish players gone?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
Well, I've got the differential in value between Matt Forte and Peyton Hillis being minimal, so preserving a first-round pick at the expense of the 11th is brilliant. I could see sticking with DeSean Jackson; a little higher ceiling than the three you'd get back, if what you say is true, that the top 60 players will be off the board in the first round.
My draft is tonight, auction draft, and I'm wondering how much you would be willing to pay for Chris Johnson and Peyton Manning with their contract / injury concerns?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
Let's assume a $200-cap league. I'm likely dropping out of the running on Chris Johnson at around $45 -- primarily because at this point the Johnson owner has to also buy Javon Ringer (or else get another NFL starting running back) for what could be close to double digits, negating the price discount -- and there's no way I'm going past $20 on Peyton Manning.
First you say Dwayne Bowe had his great games against bad defenses to downgrade him. Then you say are against including SOS in player evaluation. How can you cite his bad 2011 SOS in comparison with last year? Seems quite inconsistent.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
I am completely in favor of evaluating in-the-book, last-year's statistics from a schedule standpoint. It is foolish if you don't. I am also completely against projecting players' 2011 values based upon what you think will be the best or worst 2011 schedules. There is a definitive difference between these two things.
14 Weeks of Peyton is as good as ______ (other QB)?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
Tony Romo. Matt Schaub. Perhaps Ben Roethlisberger.
Chris (Blount Bandwagon)
I'm currently riding shotgun on the Lagarrette Blount bandwagon... What pick # would be a reach in a 2 QB league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
In a two-quarterback league, assuming 10 teams, I can promise you that a minimum of seven quarterbacks will be gone by the end of the second round, and I'd bet about 12-15 will be gone by the fifth round. That means Blount's value drops, probably into the fifth round or so.
I should be owned in all leagues at this point. Right? I'm a wild card that will win many Fantasy Championships.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:02 PM)
You're taking a head-to-head owner's perspective, in which case I understand it. The correct answer to this is, no, definitely not. In a shallow mixed league where starts and innings are precious -- the oft-mentioned "cap" formats -- Strasburg could be a five-innings-a-start guy for 3-4 starts, and for all his strikeout potential that's not going to be an automatic in those formats. The deeper you go, however, the more the answer is a resounding "yes!"
Quick hit: Pick two keepers from CJ2k, MJD, Jennings or Rivers (PPR). Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
Argh, the Chris Johnson headache. Hey, I just locked him in in my keeper league, so I'm not about to steer you elsewhere. He's one -- still prefer him to Maurice Jones-Drew -- and I can't quibble with your choice of Jones-Drew or Jennings depending upon personal preference. Me? It's Jennings. But that's me.
At the buzzer! .5 PPR. Foster or Peterson? Why? Thx.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
Arian Foster. Half-PPR inclusion alone decides it, simple as that.
Non-PPR, Wallace or Fitzy?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
Mike Wallace in non-PPR, Larry Fitzgerald in PPR. I'm quite pro-both of these receivers. Like them as second/early-third rounders. Draft with confidence.
Over/Under on Matty Ice throwing for 4000/30 this year
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:05 PM)
Oh how tempted I am to pick the over. If you want a "fun" answer from me, to emphasize my positive feelings about Ryan -- underrated pass offense I think the Falcons will be -- I'm going to say over.
What's for lunch Tristan? Carp,JGuzman,GabySanchez,GarJones in H2H ROS? rank please? thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:06 PM)
Chicken and swiss sandwich. Check my "Hit Parade" rankings to be sure, but off the top of my head that should go Jesus Guzman, Mike Carp, Gaby Sanchez, Garrett Jones.
Strasburg will have a Billy Volek like impact on the fantasy baseball playoffs this year!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:07 PM)
OK, I'll steal your analogy: Volek threw "8-9 innings" per outing that year, and Strasburg should throw 5-6, tops. You decide how much that difference matters to you.
Auction Question ((may help))
u dare trust Harden at Yanks or Garza vs Atlanta today in H2H?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:09 PM)
I will take a chance on Matt Garza before Rich Harden, that's for sure! Garza wasn't awful in his last outing against the Braves...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:09 PM)
OK, time to wrap things up for today. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours. Take care everyone, and best of luck in your baseball matchups this weekend!