Fantasy NFL with Christopher Harris
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com fantasy expert Christopher Harris will drop by to take your questions and analyze all the latest football news from a fantasy perspective.
Harris, a senior writer for ESPN.com, is a six-time Fantasy Sports Writers Association award winner. He wrote the noir thriller "The Big Clear."
Send your questions now and join Harris Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET!
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Christopher Harris (3:03 PM)
Hey, everyone! Welcome to your Wednesday afternoon chat! As always, you can follow me @CHarrisESPN, and if you have single-position questions, my answers are here: http://espn.go.com/fantasy/football/story/_/page/13ranksWeek11QB/fantasy-football-week-11-quarterback-rankings. Let's go!
The panicked Aaron Rodgers owner in my league just dropped him and I snagged him. Only problem - I already have Cam Newton. Do I try to trade Rodgers? What should I try to get for him?
Christopher Harris (3:04 PM)
Hi, Grant. Good on you. The Packers are talking about A-Rod missing only one more game, though we really have no idea whether that's realistic. If your trade deadline is next week (as is the case in our standard game), you can wait until after next Monday night, to make sure Cam is healthy. And then, yeah, I'd probably be looking to deal Rodgers. What should you get? What will the market bear? I would hope to be able to fill in a missing RB or WR spot in your starting lineup for sure.
Zander (Manchester, NH)
How would you compare Hilton and Gordan ROS? Am I crazy for loving Gordan as much as I do (high end WR2)?
Christopher Harris (3:05 PM)
Hi, Zander. I think they're in the same neighborhood. I don't have ROS ranks, but I would say I'd probably have Hilton a notch or two higher, yet would completely understand if you felt otherwise. I guess it comes down to more faith in Luck than Campbell....but I don't hate the idea you'd evaluate these WRs differently.
SUPER FLY SNUKA (OFF THE TOP OF THE CAGE)
Terrance Williams or Amendola rest of year? and why..thanks
Christopher Harris (3:06 PM)
Amendola. Don't think it's all that close. You've seen T-Will slow down in a major way even as Dez has gotten shut down...plus Miles Austin reportedly practiced before the Cowboys broke for their bye.
Ethics question: Commish in my league is trying to make a mid-season change to the number of playoff teams, going 4 to 6. He has most points in league but a terrible record. He put it up for a league vote. Thoughts?
Christopher Harris (3:07 PM)
Hi, KC. Horrendous. You can't have midseason changes. If it happens, I'd just look for a new league next year.
Thoughts on Spiller after his bye week? Thanks
Christopher Harris (3:08 PM)
Hi, Dan. Worth owning. Not sure about starting. I'm good with owning him or trading for him on the mega-cheap, because we know what kind of upside he could have if he used Week 12 to get healthy, and/or if Fred Jackson got hurt (which has happened in each of the past two seasons...). Starting, though? I think I'd need to see more on the field before I could feel good about it. I thought he'd take advantage of what looked like a good matchup vs. PIT last week, and he really didn't have much. It didn't look good on tape.
Why do you have Andrew Luck ranked 5th this week?
Christopher Harris (3:08 PM)
Hi, Mike. It just so happens I'll be taping a Fantasy Underground: Film Room segment about Luck tonight, which will be out tomorrow morning. It'll get into way more detail than I can here!
Yosemite Samwich (Philly)
Is Colston back?
Christopher Harris (3:10 PM)
Sure, I think this was probably a best-case scenario for him...a big-production game where he proved to himself, to Brees and to tape-watchers that his knee is right. Now, you can't be promised that it won't go bad again, nor do I chalk his big slump up to just physical problems. You know the story with NO weapons -- they will ebb and flow. But Colston over the middle is a big part of what makes this offense go.
Early this year, you said Giovani Bernard was the guy you are most excited about in terms of keeper and dynasty leagues. I'm likely going to keep him at the cost of a 3rd round pick but I'm curious if you have more faith in a good follow-up year from him vs rough ones like Doug Martin and Spiller had between last year and this year?
Christopher Harris (3:13 PM)
Hi, DL. The hype on Gio figures to be intense next year. I won't be shocked if/when Cincy releases the Law Firm, because he just doesn't do much for them -- if that happens, just *watch* the hype. Anyway, listen, RBs are always risky, because injuries happen to people who get in 20 car crashes per game. But we need them. QBs and WRs tend to even out, and the teams who keep their start RBs healthy wind up winning. (A lot of the time.) And I think Bernard is a lock RB2 and could be a RB1 when all's said and done next year. But obviously he'd need to stay healthy. That was the curse of Martin and Spiller this year.....
Hey Chris, seems like there's only a handful of 'safe' RBs this year. Trying to pry Gore away from his owner, you think Cruz/MJD is too much?
Christopher Harris (3:14 PM)
Hi, Tyler. Yeah, I mean, there are probably 7 or 8 "safe" RBs right now, and some of those won't wind up being safe. I think the deal you're talking about is fair. It stinks to be selling low on Cruz, but if you need a RB, you need a RB.
Where does Ben Tate rank ROS?
Christopher Harris (3:15 PM)
Hi, Kel. As I mentioned earlier, I don't have formal ROS ranks -- it's just something they don't ask me to do, and I already have 12-to-14-hour days, so I don't codify them. But I would say Tate qualifies as a definite top-20 RB right now, and probably not quite the top 15. That could rise if he starts running with more conviction -- that's almost certainly due to his broken ribs.
Listen, I love that you type like you talk.
Christopher Harris (3:16 PM)
Hi, DL. Yeah, I don't really know any other way. Stream of consciousness, baby!
Hello Writer Boy! Are you trying to trade Sproles? His lack of consistency has been maddening! and he is my RB3 tho, I am worried about Moreno getting hurt. Thanks for your help!
Christopher Harris (3:18 PM)
Hi, James. We talked about Sproles today on the Fantasy Focus rankings reaction video (it's currently all over the fantasy pages) -- I'm not so sad about Sproles as some others; I really only feel like he messed us up big-time in that Buffalo game. That was pretty inexplicable. But the Jets game, he got hurt at the very beginning, can't really get too worked up over that. If he doesn't get targets, he doesn't help you...but he gets target. I don't view him as a must-trade.
Hey Chris - What's your take on a DST like the Chiefs? Are they matchup proof or should I look to stream another DST in games vs Peyton?
Christopher Harris (3:19 PM)
Hi, Kurt. Yeah, ranking the Chiefs D was a problem for me this week. Every metric I use told me to keep them at No. 1. The Broncos offense actually has been *adding* points to opposing fantasy defense averages over the past five weeks, and heaven knows the Chiefs have been averaging a bunch! But I couldn't make myself do it. I lowered them out of my top 10 (they're 12th on my list), and felt chagrined...it would've been braver to stick to my metrics. But I didn't do it.
Rod (Reading, Pa)
Why are the rankings so much different than the projections? For example, the rankings clearly recommend starting Luck, where the projections clearly pick Brady.
Christopher Harris (3:21 PM)
Hi, Rod. The simple answer is that they're done by different people. I don't have anything to do with the projections -- and if you think about it, projections are an utterly thankless job. I find projections to be meaningless (not ours, *all* projections), because they are inherently wrong. I think it's a far more valuable service to tell people who you like relative to other players. It's possible that the projections people actually like Luck less than Brady. And that's fine, it's a matter of opinion. But it's also possible that to make the math work for other players, they projected Luck for a low total. Anyway, clearly since I do ranks, I'm going to tell you to pay attention to ranks. But just as clearly: It's an educated guess. Nobody can promise you anything.....
MJ ((Grand Island, NE))
Hey Chris, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions! Big fan of Christine Michael. Will he get a chance to shine towards the end of the season when SEA locks in their playoff spot?
Christopher Harris (3:22 PM)
Hi, MJ. I'm a fan, too, but no, I would tend to doubt any SEA backup is likely to be much of a trustable fantasy factor without a Marshawn Lynch injury. SEA will have home field to play for. Could it happen in Week 17 if Seattle decides to rest guys? I guess. But even then, it becomes awfully tough to *trust* such players in your fantasy finals.....
Are you concerned at all about Peyton's injured ankle? Which of the Denver weapons would be affected most negatively if the injury turns out to be substantial?
Christopher Harris (3:24 PM)
Hi, Brian. I'm concerned, in that I'm going to keep close watch on what Peyton looks like. But the hard truth is that Manning wasn't good in the Colts game, and he struggled for the first half of the Redskins game, too. Of course Peyton's "struggles" still wind up with him topping 20 fantasy points, so yeah, I'm not going crazy. But no question, you could see his accuracy and decision-making suffer in those two games, in a way they *didn't* suffer last week against the Chargers. But then at the end, of course, he hurt it again. So I think it could be a factor, and all the WRs and Julius Thomas *can* be hurt by it. But I'm not coming close to sitting any of them....
More upside Rainey or Leonard?
Christopher Harris (3:26 PM)
Hi, Brent. I would say we pretty much know what Leonard is. Rainey? Not so much. I have my suspicions that he's "just another guy," and behind a not-great line and in a suspect offensive scheme, I suspect he won't do a ton. But that could be wrong. So if I'm picking upside, I'm picking Rainey. Nobody really knows how the workload works out until we see 'em on the field again. My guess in the ranks was that Leonard is the early-down dude. But that's absolutely not certain.
Worried about Dez ROS? Just bought low on him hoping last week was a fluke.
Christopher Harris (3:27 PM)
Hi Jay. I'm not that worried. It's been a bit fallow for him over the past few weeks. But the good thing is talent isn't a question, and the Cowboys certainly have a *willingness* for him to be huge. My hope is that they use this bye to get their heads screwed on straight, and start moving him around, putting him in the slot, sending him on more crosses...that kind of thing. All great WRs see safety help. It's beatable. I think they'll start beating it more.
Joe (Milwaukee, WI)
Where do you see Eddie Lacy going in drafts next year with so many older rbs tanking this year? First or second round?
Christopher Harris (3:29 PM)
Hi, Joe. I've literally put zero thought into it, so you're getting my unfiltered thoughts. I think there's a chance. Volume has been there this year (lately) in a way that probably isn't healthy for the young man, and Johnathan Franklin can hopefully get over his ball security issues and become a viable option to keep Lacy healthy, which of course could hurt his fantasy upside. Also, we haven't seen a ton of big-play upside (other than that fluky Bears run where the safeties appeared to be picking their noses -- told you it was unfiltered!). But yeah, he's gonna be in the mix. If nothing changes by the end of the season, how could anyone in their right mind put Trent Richardson over Lacy?
Slotback Purchaser (The Big Clear Slacker)
Hey Chris. Big fan of all your stuff man. Your pragmatism keeps me from burning myself on shiny new fantasy commodities that haven't proven themselves. That said, are we low on Ellington this week? Sure the Jags have been better lately, but isn't 15 touches from this guy worth more than #26? By the way, I acknowledge that you were right about him last week, but still!!!
Christopher Harris (3:31 PM)
Stop slacking! Go get The Big Clear! You'll love it! (Maybe.) Yeah, I mean, my opinion hasn't changed. If at some point I see Ellington look like anything resembling a feature back week to week, I'll be glad to reconsider, but at the moment that just isn't happening on the field. My resolution is not to listen to coaches at *all* the rest of the year. No more proclamations about who's getting touches. They just don't have any incentive to tell the truth. (I'm ticked about the Andre Brown thing....) Jax isn't a super-easy matchup, but this is about workload. It's frustrating -- you know how much I've liked Ellington since early this summer. But that's the way it is at the moment.
Jeff R. (Boston, MA)
Does Ogbonnaya have any value going forward or am I dreaming?
Christopher Harris (3:32 PM)
Hi, Jeff. Hm. Maybe a little dreaming. I think in a deep PPR, he can be a decent option if you're struggling at RB. But in standard leagues, boy, tough to get excited about any of the CLE RB options. Especially with Fozzy Whittaker getting involved, too.
chris - your work is always insightful. would you trade stacy for dez? stacy's schedule certainly is going to get more challenging.
Christopher Harris (3:34 PM)
Hi, Kevin. I'm on record being very impressed with Stacy. I think Frank Gore is a very nice equivalent for him, though obviously he's got nothing resembling Gore's offensive line at the moment. But yeah, of course, Dez is another kind of cat. I would do this.
Are you worried about Ridley's production ROS with Vereen returning to the fold?
Christopher Harris (3:35 PM)
Hi, Adrian. This is another topic we touched on during today's video Fantasy Focus, so check it out for a bit more detail. The short answer: concerned, yes. I'm worried that the Pats are as game-plan-specific with their RBs as any team in the NFL. But am I concerned enough not to use Ridley right away, before evidence slaps me in the face? No. I still have him as a top-20 RB. There are no guarantees in life or in fantasy advice. But if I've got him, I'm still playing him until we see what the Pats decide to do.
James (A Giant Peach)
Thoughts on Montee Ball vs Dennis Johnson in terms of who you think will be more likely to be fantasy relevant ROS?
Christopher Harris (3:37 PM)
Hey, James. Can I say neither? Listen, Montee Ball is the kid with the ability. He completely barfed up the chance to be at the front row of the greatest offensive show potentially in history, and now a lesser player in Knowshon Moreno is benefiting. I would imagine it would take an injury for him to get really relevant, but I do think he's got a ton of ability. Johnson? He's probably closer to the big chair, with Tate's injured ribs, but we also know much less about what he could do. Much smaller kid...he's Jacquizz-Rodgers-sized. Plus if Tate got hurt, wouldn't the Texans need to have a bigger back like Deji Karim in the mix? I'd tend to think so.
Once he gets back to where he's "supposed" to be, do you think Harvin takes any value away from Lynch?
Christopher Harris (3:39 PM)
Hi, George. The short answer is: I wish I knew. My guess (and it's a guess!) is that Harvin will be healthy enough skills-wise to mostly be himself. But will Seattle change their play calling? This is the run-heaviest offense in the NFL. Will Harvin change their thinking, or will he be held hostage? If the former happens, it could hurt Lynch a little. But we haven't seen it yet. This is a pretty stubborn team. I'm not downgrading Lynch as a result of anything that's happened yet.
Chris - You touched briefly on Giovani Bernard's keeper value on the Underground Podcast (RB2+). What does Doug Martin's 2014 behold?
Christopher Harris (3:42 PM)
Hi, Dante. I assume he'll be fine. It's a shoulder, and he's not a big-league pitcher. I'm guessing he'll get back to himself. Will the offensive line stay healthy and/or figure itself out? (Especially at tackle.) Will the new coach (and there will be a new coach) have a better handle on stuff? I'm still very bullish on the skills, but Martin is an object lesson on the danger of getting carried away by one season. He was "my guy" last year, and I had to talk the ESPN room out of putting him at No. 2 overall this spring.
How can Cam still be rated so high every week even though 3rd stringers and guys off of the street are putting up more points then him every week. Please don't tell me about his potential, which has got me 2 wins so far this year.
Christopher Harris (3:44 PM)
Hi, George. Well, I mean, I don't think you can blame Cam for all that ails you. He was disappointing last week. But his four weeks before that were 30, 14, 27, 17. That's pretty bloody good, pal. I'm not sure of the status of Aqib Talib for Monday night, but without him, the Pats D is certainly not an awful matchup for him.
Danny (Erie, PA)
Hey, Chris...I understand your hesitation on Foles, but are you really starting Matt Ryan over him this week?
Christopher Harris (3:46 PM)
Hi, Danny. Thanks for asking this -- I actually came down to Bristol today expecting to have to defend myself for my Matt Ryan ranking...and the TV folks didn't say a peep about him! I spend about four hours late Tuesday evening and night putting together my ranks, and the QBs were BRUTAL on me this week. Probably if you asked me to do it again today, I'd rejigger everything. Ranking Ryan was so hard to do...but I looked back to his game vs. TB back in Week 7, when he scored 22 fantasy points and threw for 3 TDs and zero turnovers. I don't believe in Foles. It's true. This is my concession to that fact. But you'll note even not believing, I couldn't put Kaepernick ahead of him.
Any thoughts about dennis pitta?
Christopher Harris (3:48 PM)
Hi, Jo. I wrote about Pitta in this week's Free Agent Finds column, which you can still find on ESPN.com -- in brief, I think he's okay as a deep-league bench stash. The Ravens need *something* on offense! But I haven't even heard that he's practicing yet. That makes me think he doesn't go in Week 11, and Week 12 could be dicey.
Someone already mentioned Ellington, but you are also a good bit lower on Fred Jackson than your fellow ESPN rankers at 28 compared to 19 on average. Is this just about the matchup with the Jets? Would you trust Woodhead or Mathews over him even thought they are all sharing touches?
Christopher Harris (3:49 PM)
Hi, Mark. I haven't digested anyone else's ranks, so I can't speak to what they're seeing...but it seems to me that the Bills split their backfield work just as much as the Chargers do...unless I hear that the team is going to rest Spiller (which I don't expect to happen). And yeah, I don't want any piece of the Jets going against my RB. I've got 'em as the worst matchup in the league right now...taking 9.8 fantasy points off opposing RB groups over the past five weeks....
Cockcroft has Ryan higher than you do!
Christopher Harris (3:50 PM)
Hi, Stevie. I knew I liked that Tristan guy. Taking the heat off me. What a friend!
At this point in the season, do you worry about how much money you have left in a FAAB league?
Christopher Harris (3:53 PM)
Hi, Stephen. All general answers to this question obviously depend on the situation you find yourself in. But I think my answer is: No, if there's someone you think can really help, I don't save much at this point.
Hey Chris, Why so low on the Jets DST this week ? I know the play @ Buf, but they are really banged up and the Jets have been a steady defensive unit. Could you please elaborate ? THX
Christopher Harris (3:56 PM)
Hi, Mark. I agree with everything you're saying -- and their strong performances of late (and the fact that they're coming off a bye, which at this point in the season I think is a big advantage) scares me quite a bit if I'm thinking of using any Bills. Yet the fact remains, despite the fact that they've been awfully tough, the Jets haven't *scored*. I've got them averaging 4 fantasy points per game over the past five weeks. Here, I guess, is the disconnect between being a good defense, and a high-scoring fantasy defense. Frankly, I could be way off here. I do like the idea of picking a good DEFENSE, and just assuming eventually the sacks and turnovers will come. But they haven't for these guys!
Are you buying or selling Colston?
Christopher Harris (3:57 PM)
Hi, Eric. I was buying last week. Now? I'm assuming the price went up. I'm probably in "hold" mode, hoping he has another stinker so the price will go back down again. I would like to buy, though. If you can convince the Colston owner that it was a one-week fluke, I would do that.
I have Terrelle Pryor as a backup for Stafford. Is he droppable at this point in the season in favor of a WR5 like Rishard Matthews or worth holding onto as a playoff emergency stash?
Christopher Harris (3:59 PM)
Hi, Jim. The answer depends on how many free agent QBs are out there. If yours is a league where all starting QBs are owned, then you should probably hang onto Pryor. But if you'd be able to find *someone* if Stafford went down? I would cut Pryor. Can't promise Matthews is a great add -- it was really one game -- but I don't mind taking a flyer with that roster spot.
The Other Harris (Harlem)
Whats good, Christopher? You still think Lamar Miller can finish top 25 with all the drama poppin' off in Miami with the linemen? Thanks homie
Christopher Harris (4:00 PM)
Did I ever say he was top 25? I guess before the season he was *around* 25 on my list, but as I recall, many readers and viewers gave me all kinds of grief for not liking Miller nearly enough. (I believe the term "idiot" was bandied about....) He's a platoon back behind a pretty crummy line. I think 25 if probably fair in today's landscape. Expecting more is probably folly.
Christopher Harris (4:01 PM)
Okay, everyone. I have to run -- got a Film Room segment to record. Thanks very much for coming. I know it can be frustrating that you don't get your questions answered...but there were > 1,500 in this hour, so you can imagine it can be difficult. Again, you can follow me @CHarrisESPN -- and be sure to check out the Fantasy Underground podcast which is twice weekly...we'll be talking trade deadline stuff on tomorrow's podcast. Hope you have a great afternoon, and thanks again. I wouldn't be able to do this great job without you all.