Chat 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 baseball 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
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:04 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
Ryan (Pittsburgh )
Should we start talking about Megatron breaking randy moss's single season td record? I think it is possible. over/under 20 tds? also better fantasy season welker or CJ?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
Certainly it is possible. From a "pace" standpoint, he's at 29 for a full year. And I've said this a million times but generally related to his quarterback, but it's worth repeating: It's all linked to Matthew Stafford's health. If Stafford hangs in there for 16 games, there's no question Calvin Johnson is on track for an all-time great season. Jeez, the guy goes up and repeatedly beats double- and triple-teams. Incredible skills.
Darius Heyward-Bey (Oakland baby)
hey are the 11 catches for 214 the past two weeks a fluke? or a sign of things to come
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
I think they're part playing the defense, part a shift in the receiver pecking order, part him developing as a viable NFL wideout. Put it all together and he's a pickup, sure, and I ranked him at least respectably this week. But I still cap his upside at WR2 levels, and that's with me reaching pretty high to say it.
Is Doug Baldwin going ot be this years Brandon Lloyd?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
Poor comparison, but only because Baldwin is a rookie while Lloyd was a failure in multiple previous organizations. On a statistical basis, the guy who comes out of nowhere, sure. I get the comp. But I said in the Consistency Ratings and stand by it: It's somewhat awkward to pick up the bye-week player, when we're in a lengthy stretch of six-teams-off weeks, and I'm not entirely convinced that Baldwin is A) "the guy" or B) that his quarterback has the skills to keep him consistently reliable.He's a pickup, yes, and intriguing. And I like that Charlie Whitehurst might be his quarterback coming out of the bye. But I'm not all in ... yet.
How much do you trust BJGE? Is he an every week flex player at this point? Is Daniel Thomas and BJGE too much to give up for Sproles in a .4 ppr leauge?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
I don't beyond his being a low-level RB2. The Patriots still shuffle around their backfield and Lawfirm's Week 5 production was boosted by Danny Woodhead's absence; he played a slew of snaps and that's not going to happen most weeks.That said, that's a low-level and a mid-level (Thomas) RB2 you're giving up, for a guy I'd be shocked if he remained RB1-capable. I would turn that deal down, PPR impact or not.
So who is your top WR that you think has the best chance to "come out of nowhere" and be a reliable fantasy WR?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
Any reason to hold onto Kolb?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
I think Kevin Kolb is a low-level QB2, meaning he's weak "insurance" during the bye weeks (and below-average as your second option in a two-quarterback league), and the fact that he fell flat on his face facing a favorable matchup in Week 5 ruins any chance of his earning the "matchups candidate" label. Yeah, I think you could cut him, if the pickup makes sense in his place.
Would you give up McFadden/Holmes for VJAX/CJ2K?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
Yes, but most of that is tied into Darren McFadden's lower chances at a full 16 games played than your typical running back. It's purging a little risk while upgrading the WR.
THC... Someone is trying to trade Nicks for Fitzpatrick and Brandon Gibson. Is this trade fair in your eyes?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
I'd need context. It's a great deal for the team getting Hakeem Nicks. Probably not objectionable, however.
Where would you rank Lebron in the TE rankings when he signs with a team?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
Ha!Low. From what I've seen on TV, he's been spending a lot of time at McDonald's, eating free fries.
Is it finally worth dropping Mike Williams South? For a guy like Greg Little?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
I'm not ready to cut Mike Williams South yet; I'd cut Mike Williams Northwest first, of course. (Though that's obvious.) Here's the thing with Williams: He's manning shorter routes and shaping up a little like your 5-and-60-without-a-score player, and that's probably not what you drafted him as. Still, he's the No. 1 wideout in Tampa, and that's got targets/receptions value, plus the prospect that he could return to 2010 form. He's bench fodder ... I'd be a little more patient.
What do you think about Gronkowski the rest of the way now that both TE are healthy again in NE?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
Rob Gronkowski gets a free pass from me for Week 5 because of the note on his illness. You can claim it's an excuse, but let's face it, the Patriots aren't exactly forthcoming on injury information so I could completely understand that being the truth.Or, it's a total lie and Aaron Hernandez is higher in the pecking order. You just never know on that team. I'm merely investing in Gronkowski, just no longer as a top-three-for-the-week guy.
Terrible BYE WEEK for me. Best flex option in your opinion. Cruz, Gresham, or J. Stew. Thanks!!!!!!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
Victor Cruz. You can't keep a player with his skills down; he's going to get his looks out of the slot, period. And the matchup favors Eli throwing a lot.
Is Fitz now a WR2?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
No. The Vikings keyed on him this past week and I'm not going to drop him in my rankings merely because of that. He's WR1, albeit in the lower end of that tier.
TEE-BO TEEE-BO!... believe the hype?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
Certainly. Look, he's a terrible passer, inaccurate, period. I get the complaints. But in fantasy -- which is not the on-field game -- Tim Tebow is a valuable weekly asset, period. The mathematics are simple: 150-1-2 from a passer equals six points in an ESPN standard league. But Tebow is the goal-line back and scrambles a lot. Let's say each week he gets you 40-50 yards, that's 4-5 more points. And if he's slightly over 50/50 for the potential score, that means the majority of his weeks will be 16-17 points (6 + 4-or-5 6). You just can't give me a compelling argument to the contrary.
ETHICS QUESTION! Looking ahead to next week, I have both Vick and Eli who are on bye weeks. I can only carry two QB's by rule of the league, but no rule states I must completely fill a lineup. I have a very good team and barring injury, will be in the playoffs. Is it wrong to keep both and ride out the bye week? With Vick's injury concerns, I really don't want to lose Eli....
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
I'm torn on this issue, always have been. In our game, you are permitted a "dead spot," meaning you can leave no player in there, or a player on bye. By the letter of the law, you can go right ahead. I cannot remotely argue against that fact.But as a player, I personally loathe rules that allow you to ever leave an inactive player active -- except in the rare instance that you thought the player was going to play and he suddenly was scratched at the last instant (Beanie a few weeks ago!) -- and don't like it.It's neither a yes nor a no, I get that. But in your shoes, yeah, if you want to and your rules don't prevent it, I won't stop you or argue against it. I'll just tell your commish it's a foolish loophole. (Then again, a 2-QB cap is another foolish rule, in my opinion.)
Tony Romo @NE or Cam Newton @ATL, who would you start?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
My -- and ESPN's experts' -- rankings will be out very shortly, so I'll make this the lone, clear A-versus-B question, but I like it because Newton is always worth the chatter and I like the Romo matchup a heck of a lot. Shoot-out city? Could happen. Romo's my No. 4, Newton my No. 5, this week.
Garcon was an amzing bye week fill in last week for me! Would you use him again this week over Moss?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
Again, check rankings. I'm choosing here to discuss Garcon, because it's time to say that the positive buzz surrounding his past two performances, coupled with Curtis Painter's installation as the Colts' starter, is a trend. Buy it, though you cannot possibly expect 2 TDs a week from such a drop king as Garcon. There will be a 50-and-0 week coming, trust me, it's just, he's worth owning and starting as matchups dictate again, for sure.
What do you make of D.Mason to Houston?? A better option than Jacoby Jones??
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
No. He's what, almost 38? Depth fodder. Then again, so might be Jones, but I'll take the shot on upside every day of the week.
Value of Kerley for the Jets now that Mason has been shipped out of town?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
Third receiver in a back-to-the-run offense. This means the only time he's likely to be meaningful for our purposes is if one of the starters gets hurt and he's pressed to start. In which case, I'd say, freely check back when that actually happens and he'll still be on your waiver wire.
Who would u stash at RB in the hopes he has value later in the season ?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
Roy Helu is the first name that comes to mind -- a question I could sit and think about for five minutes if I really wanted -- and I consider him because he's a definite sit-and-stash based upon the current breakdown of the Redskins' backfield. I do think he emerges as the season progresses.
Bill (New York)
Would you trade Beenie Wells and Branch for Starks and Fitzgerald?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:31 AM)
That's a toughie, but I'm feeling the better running back is a bit smarter to have in this case. Yes, I believe in Beanie. He's for real.
Jay Y (East Longmeadow, MA)
You've been pretty outspoken on your opinion on selling Bradshaw on the podcast and in your consistency rankings this week. I happen to share your feelings on him (and own him) after watching much of his play, the way the Giants use him in his timeshare, and the fact that the G-men haven't looked spectacular this year. If you were selling him, could you name 3-5 targets who you would be looking for in return for him in a straight up deal?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
I picked this question for an important reason: People tend to overreact when we make blanket statements, and then at other times they want us to make blanket statements where such a thing would be awkward. This was my complete point about the Giants: That team faces a massive, uphill team climb. As a blanket approach, if I could sell Giants players at value, I would do so. So, for example, if I'm selling Eli Manning at, say, top-10 QB value, I'm doing it. I just don't think he's much more than the borderline 10th-best at his position. Period. Ahmad Bradshaw: High-end RB2. Hakeem Nicks: Mid-to-low WR1. Those are the prices you sell; I did not say in the slightest that you undersell or run screaming from any of them.In Bradshaw's case, that means if I was to pick random names, here are three I'd do straight up: Beanie Wells. Chris Johnson (yeah, it's actually possible, he's been that bad and he's on bye now). Philip Rivers. Steve Smith South. Heck, I'd even dip to Dez Bryant or Steve Johnson, if I needed the wideout help and had proper RB depth.
Nick (Woburn, MA)
Will Dexter McCluster be fantasy relevant this year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
I wanted to believe, now no longer do. He's sure shaping up as a "gimmick" player. But, boy, even Josh Cribbs looks like a more attractive such type to me these days...
Tristan, I'm in a league that I'm sadly 0-5. Due to a combination of injuries (Hillis and Dez Bryant) along with under performing (Percy Harvin + Big Ben), however I'm only 2 games out of a playoff spot so I'm not completely dead. I guess I'm wondering what would you do in a situation like this (this isn't a keeper league btw). Be aggressive and make trades? Give up? I just made a sort of buy low move / sell high move of, Dez Bryant Peyton Hillis Boldin for Ryan Matthews Stevie Johnson Mario Manningham.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
Never give up. Ever, ever, ever. If you disagree with me on that, that's cool, you're wrong. Personal pride is important; you committed to this and it's on you to see it through.That's not a personal criticism; I admire your desire to keep fighting at it. Decent trade there, much as I hate to lose Bryant, I like some of the upside you received in exchange. Keep at moves like that, be mindful of the waiver wire -- you command the board with a bad record -- and we'll keep helping you.
Jackie Battle is such a stud that I'm considering starting him on his bye week. Seriously though, any chance he's a viable RB2 ROS?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
What?!I know, I know, you're kidding. But I disagree on him being a RB2. I think he's flex-play material, a guy weaker in yards than touchdown potential, and that means you have to sniff the matchups. After all, that's a bad team, so between the mediocre yardage potential and prospects of fewer carries than your average back, Battle might not get the opportunities to be reliable on a weekly basis.
Which side would you rather be on: Moreno or Tate and Sims-Walker?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
Latter, but boy, I wish you had sold Knowshon Moreno a couple of weeks ago. No, I don't have a lot of hope he'll be much more than your run-of-the-mill PPR-flex-play kind of player, getting those fluky passing-down stats here and there.
Follow-up on your "stash RB" answer: Do you think Stevan Ridley has higher/lower/equal chance as Helu to be a flex/RB2 starter by the end of the season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
Less, but not much less. Also a stash, but he wouldn't have been the first name that came to mind.
So you don't believe Eli will continue to produce at or near the level he's been playing at the past few weeks? I was ready to deal him after two weeks of incompetence but he's changed my mind more recently.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
Correct. He is currently the No. 7 quarterback in ESPN scoring, but I think he's going to finish barely 10th, if he even cracks the top 10, from this point forward. I look at the rankings and see, say, Philip Rivers (yeah, I know, chose his name for a reason) with 17 fewer points. I will say this: I would be floored if Rivers had fewer points than Manning come season's end.
What RB's did come to mind? About a few names in no order to stash. WR's too!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
"Stash guys": Jacquiss Rodgers, Kendall Hunter, Jacob Hester...
H Munster (1313 Mockingbird Lane)
H Douglas was scary in preseason. Can he haunt defenses with J Jones probably out with a hammy?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:47 AM)
I kind of liked Harry Douglas in the preseason; have been intrigued by him in past seasons as well. Note: We are talking hugely deep here. And that means that if he starts, I'm curious to see what he can do and I'd think about stashing him in an uber-deep league. But that's as far as I'd go; Douglas belongs in the "watch" class, and probably "waivers-and-watch."
I would say Hardesty should be considered a good "stash" player in case Hillis gets traded or loses touches.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
Frankly, I think it's too late for that, at least in the competitive leagues in which I play. So I just checked out his ESPN ownership, he's at 15.8 percent. Wow. Yeah, he's a stash in our standard leagues. Maybe I'm digging too deep!
Hank (The Tank)
who would you rather have, S.Rice or Crabtree? .5pr
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
I know all the concerns I've laid out about Michael Crabtree so far this season. Today, I say it's time to buy, which is a fair thing to say considering he's available in nearly half of ESPN leagues. The circumstances have changed; Harbaugh is helping turn Alex Smith into a serviceable NFL quarterback, and the 49ers' other wideouts are dropping like flies. Crabtree is going to have to get things done, and I'd like to be on the early part of that upward curve if at all possible.
Is Benson ever going to be suspended? I'm seriously sick of carrying B Scott
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
I've read reports that say it's not going to happen until after the bye, and that's next week. In other words, you're going to be burning that bench spot on Bernard Scott for at least two more weeks, and even after that there's no guarantee this suspension is going to happen at all. If you need that spot, I'm not stopping you from shedding Scott.
Why so low on sanchez?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
Memories of that prime-time Week 4, coupled with the Jets' shift to the run, plus the fact that he threw just 26 times in Week 5 despite trailing the Patriots for a solid 50-plus minutes. The Jets just aren't going to put it on him to win, and I simply don't see anything in his skill set or his past results to lead me to believe a breakthrough is coming.
Foster owner, and tempted, so tempted, to use Tate's bench spot for another player. Talk me down...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
You know, the same point that I constantly make about Matthew Stafford is somewhat relevant here, except in the opposite direction. Owning Ben Tate is handcuffing Arian Foster, whose hamstring injury puts him in that class of "what ifs." It's all in how risky you choose to play it. Frankly, I'm never doubting Foster in a week he's healthy, and he's healthy now and could the rest of the year. Very good chance Tate gives you 15 points total the rest of the year. So it's not crazy; it just puts you at risk if you're a Foster owner.
Hey Tristan, thanks for your consistent consistency ratings! Pick me a non-ppr flex this week: Lance Moore, M. Bush, Little, James Jones. I'm intrigued with Moore because I'm playing against the guy with Brees. I'm also starting Jimmy Graham. Thanks again!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
Well, I ranked James Jones highest of the receivers and this is a clear "go receivers" decision, so that's who I'd pick.
Drew (Hudson Valley, NY)
Trying to gauge Tebow ROS - please rank him alongside Flacco, McCoy and McNabb.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
Behind Joe Flacco, ahead of Colt McCoy and Donovan McNabb. Close with Flacco ... clear calls over the others.
Would you trade Aaron Hernandez for Blount (both would be backups for me)?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
Tristan, I'll trade you Felix Jones and Roddy White for Ray Rice. Are you down?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
Need context. On-paper value says fair, fair offer. Based on the way I typically construct my rosters, however, I'm going to stick with Ray Rice, but I admire your competitive offer.
Would you drop Dallas Clark for Ed Dickson?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
I ranked them right next to one another this week and would endorse the move even if it was a one-week play at this point; Clark's stock has slipped that much. But being that I'm lukewarm on both for Week 6, I'd say Clark sticks around another week.
Homer Simpson (Springfield)
Please answer so that my season doesn't go "DOH!" Dwayne Bowe or Larry Fitzgerald PPR ROS?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
Fitzgerald, going talent over team/role.
Is Blount playing this week? If not is Ernest Graham the guy to take his place and play. Bye week is killing me.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:02 PM)
He hasn't been formally ruled out but the reports aren't positive. I'm planning and ranking as if he sits. And, well, I can't really knock Graham as your fill-in. You're a lot better off than I; I'm currently scouting a trade in this particular league, but in one of mine I'm currently staring at Bernard Scott as my best option to start in one spot.
Baseball predictions for this afternoon/evening?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
I'm picking Rangers, Cardinals. But I'm a huge Chris Carpenter believer, plus that's a home game where he's going to feel completely comfortable, and in the Rangers' case, that lineup is going to be far too much for Rick Porcello to handle.
How are you so high on Little and you don't have him ranked this week when he is starting?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:05 PM)
Aw darn it. Oversight. I'll get that fixed in the Friday update, but to be honest, my pro-Little stance is rooted in the long-term, not merely Week 6 potential. He belonged in the 40 range this week, right around where I had Jerome Simpson.
Sell high on Fred jackson? I don't see him keeping up this run...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:05 PM)
Every player has a price tag. But considering what I think you'd fetch, no, I would absolutely not sell Fred Jackson. I believe and I'd happily buy from you.
Brian (Watertown, S.D.)
Freeman is getting no love, and deservedly so after Sunday. But is it really time to ditch out him? The rankings say start Alex Smith at Detroit over Freeman against a weak Saints secondary? Seriously, has the hate gone that far?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:06 PM)
I didn't rank Alex Smith over Josh Freeman. But there's every reason to be down on Freeman right now. In fantasy, he's an "earn-back-my-faith" player. Bench him, don't cut yet.
Will Braylon have any value if he comes back following the bye?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:08 PM)
Yeah, but primarily because he has to, what with Josh Morgan out for awhile and Ted Ginn ill-suited to be a weekly starter in that offense. That said, I think Braylon Edwards' best hope is WR4 value even after his return.
0-4 (Still trying!!!)
Tristan, I'm desperate!!! TRADE QUESTION: I've been offered Cam Newton for AJ Green should I take the deal? - OR - what would you counter with? My team QB: Schaub, Fitz. WR Jennings, AJ Green, Boldin, S.Moss, M.Floyd, & M.Clayton.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:10 PM)
How are you 0-4? Does your league have byes?If I were you, I'd accept that trade, then look to move Matt Schaub, preferably after Newton's bye (Week 9), for wide receiver depth. (And if the offer was good enough now, do it, and deal with getting a Week 9 plug-in when it arrives.)
Bill (Banks County)
Does Revis shut down Marshall? He is ranked pretty high still...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:12 PM)
Brandon Marshall did have a monstrous game against the Jets last year, but my understanding -- cannot recall off the top of my head -- was that Darrelle Revis wasn't covering him much of that game. (Actually, that might have been a game Revis missed, now that I think of it. I do recall there was an explanation that involved Marshall being free all day.) I don't like this matchup at all, and I've got serious quarterback concerns with the Dolphins. I'm really iffy on Marshall right here. I ranked him a low-end WR2 and really wanted to push him lower, but it's a week chock full of byes...
ROS question- how much of an upgrade is Rivers over Romo?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:13 PM)
Marginal, really, but it's rooted in "safety" of week-to-week performance. And I'm going the safe route every time given this choice.
Greg Little? Seriously? Barely managed to get a starting spot on the team, and now were all suppose to buy in? Can you list some similar success stories to make me believe?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:17 PM)
Wow, we're really going to criticize the guy for what was essentially a poor team decision? Look, I understand, but I was in complete disagreement about the decision not to start Little right off the bat.Anyway, and I want to be crystal clear upfront, this is not a comparison of skill set or surrounding corps, not in the slightest. But Greg Jennings is a wideout who was a complete unknown in 2006, which is what Little is today. I liken Little to that; he's a guy whose skills say he deserves the shot to play, and who could similarly surprise with 45-632-3 numbers (Jennings' rookie-year totals) and a couple of very surprising late-year outings.Again, this is long-term speculating. But when you have the bench space to afford the luxury, it's smart.
Bill (Banks County)
Why didnt you rank Antonio Brown?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:17 PM)
A) Week 5. B) Hines Ward. C) Defense really quells the deep ball.
Will Knox ever be worth starting? Getting frustrated with cutler
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:18 PM)
There's another guy I was floored to see not in the Week 1 starting lineup. Hey, we don't all make the right decisions every time. (Week 1 Chiefs D/ST sleeper pick, right here!)Johnny Knox is really WR3 material, and I agree about the quarterback concerns. I do like his matchup this week, however.
Hi Tristan, love your insight. Which side you like better? Forte/Cruz for Jacobs/D-Jax
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:20 PM)
That's such a scary downgrade at RB that I cannot possibly choose anything but the Matt Forte side.
Rob (State College)
When Gronkowski and Hernandez are both ranked in the top 10 TEs, does that mean you guys see them as both likely to get top 10 point totals or is it that you think one or the other is likely to be top 10 but you just aren't sure which?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:22 PM)
Well, you might be surprised by this, but most weeks the No. 10 tight end doesn't actually get 10 points, from my experience he ranges from 5-9. So that's not a requirement to make my top 10. But I rank based upon my personal projection of his point total, so, yes, if both are in my top 10 it means I expect both to have point totals in the top 10.Here's why: Patriots roll out both tight ends a lot, and their pecking order in the receiving game really goes Wes Welker, Gronkowski, then Hernandez/Deion Branch closely regarded. The tight ends are pretty darned involved.
Why do you have David Nelson 14 spots lower than any other ranker this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:23 PM)
His role changed when Donald Jones went down and I don't think it was for the good.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:23 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 to you in your matchups this week!