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 (2:58 PM)
Hey, all! Welcome to your Wednesday afternoon chat. As always, you can follow me @CHarrisESPN, and you can find single-position, standard-scoring ranks here: http://espn.go.com/fantasy/football/story/_/page/13ranksWeek14QB/fantasy-football-week-14-quarterback-rankings Let's get to your questions!
Rick (Plainville, CT)
My son came along to my draft this year and when one person no showed, became the proud owner of his first FF team. He's 10 and drafted Kaepernick 3rd overall. WIth Alshon, Decker, Bush, Tate,Tucker and SEA, he won his 6th in a row last week to claim the last playoff spot. Can you convince him to play Foles over Kaepernick this week?
Christopher Harris (2:59 PM)
Hi, Rick. I figured I'd start with this story to prove that fantasy football is a cruel, cruel mistress. At least it wasn't your secretary's aunt. I would play Foles. I'm as suspicious of his "long-term awesomeness" as anyone can be, but I'm not betting into a winning streak, not when Kap has Seattle.
Thanks for taking the time again this week! Popular question I'm sure: you ranked McCown at 8, but on the chance Cutler does get the start on ESPN's Monday Night Football, where would you rank him? Deciding between McCown/Cutler/RGIII.
Christopher Harris (3:00 PM)
Hi, Steve. I would probably just exchange Cutler for McCown if he's the guy. The rank is as least as much about the Cowboys being dreadful stopping the pass as anything...
Could you please explain why you and almost every other analyst ranked Peterson in front of Charles with Charles' great matchup thanks.
Christopher Harris (3:00 PM)
Hi, Tom. Well, I mean, we're talking the difference between 1 and 3 in my ranks, so if you feel strongly Charles should be higher, I get it. My logic: Peterson is better. That's it. That's the list.
Kenny (Fantasy Hell)
Owning Gore is tough these days. Would it be crazy to bench Gore for Boykin or Ogbonnaya? We know Gore has a tough match up.
Christopher Harris (3:02 PM)
Hi, Kenny. Yeah, Gore has a bad one. He falls to 14th on my RB list this week. But Boykin with Rodgers doesn't sound appetizing, and I can't use Obie over Gore. If you can, and it works out, it would be one heck of a gutsy call. But I couldn't do it.
Ryan (I JUST RATED THE POD!!!)
Hey Chris, I am an avid listener of the pod, great job.. few quick questions about your rankings: Giovanni Bernard(16) over SJAX(22) this week? Not sure how that works out considering your halfway breakdown having the Colts D in the top 5 worst matchups for RB's (and splitting time with BJGE) over SJAX vs. a potential great matchup? Is this just pure ability?I just wanted to know your rational before I go with my judgement call.. Thanks!!
Christopher Harris (3:04 PM)
Hi, Ryan. Thanks for rating the podcast. ("Fantasy Underground" for anyone who hasn't heard it....) Jackson definitely has a nice matchup vs. GB. As for the Colts -- they've been pretty neutral for opposing RBs over the past 5 weeks. Jackson's got the better matchup, Bernard is the vastly superior player. But you have a point -- Jackson's workload is also much less in question. They're close enough that if your gut is screaming play the better matchup, I can't argue. But make no mistake: Jackson's lateral ability really is on the total wane.
Vazheh (Providence, RI)
Hi, Chris. Are you at all concerned about Drew Brees's future? I can't help but feel a little scared about facing the Panthers at home this week, and even more for when they go to Carolina!!! Basically, I'm concerned that his ranks might be more out of reputation than anything else.
Christopher Harris (3:06 PM)
Hi, Vazheh. You put it very well. I'm a Brees owner, too, and I'm concerned as well. But who am I going to start over him? I can't play Nick Foles over Drew Brees, and miss out on a patented 5 TD game. I can't do it. RG3? Tannehill? I mean, I feel like I'm tied to the guy. And yeah, the rank is much more based on his ability and history than the matchup (which is poor), but what ability, and what a history! I hear what you're saying, but take a piece of paper and pencil and list the QBs...how many could you justify playing over Brees? I can't justify many. (But that's personal philosophy, I guess....certainly didn't work last week!!!)
Ted Flint (Kansas)
Sitting here made the playoffs with Welker stinking up my flex spot last 4 weeks, am I dumb to put Roddy or S Jax there instead with the GB matchup.
Christopher Harris (3:08 PM)
Hi, Ted. Not dumb. I get the impulse, especially in standard scoring. But Decker owners were saying the same thing last week, and if you'd benched him, you'd have been pretty mad. It's your team, and it's close enough that playing Jackson makes some sense. I don't have a crystal ball. But the possibility of Welker from the season's first two months probably pushes me his way.
Dan Hausle (Buffalo)
Hey Chris, Longtime/First time..... looking for help picking who to bench and play at RB (1 & 2) and flex. It's a point per yard so who's best for all purpose yards: Spiller, FJax at TB, Tate vs. Jville, Morris vs. KC or going WR at Flex with Shorts at HOU? I trust your analysis man.
Christopher Harris (3:09 PM)
Hi, Dan. I don't think it would be Shorts, only because the other options get to touch it so much more frequently. And big plays sure do help in this kind of format. I think I probably go Morris and Spiller, but Tate and Jackson *are* good options. Wish I had Marty McFly's sports almanac. But I think those first two guys give you the best chance...
Phil (San Diego)
Trust Roddy and andre brown over gore this week or roll with the studs who got you there?
Christopher Harris (3:10 PM)
Hi, Phil. I do have Brown ranked a bit ahead of Gore in the RB ranks (which you can see on ESPN.com). As for Roddy? Eesh. I mean, I do think he's back, and I don't fear the GB matchup. If you just didn't want to mess with Gore, I wouldn't debate. It's a bad matchup. The reason he's still a top-20 back is that he can still definitely score a bunny TD and make your week, something Roddy isn't going to do. But there's also the risk of 2 fantasy points. I don't mind if you want to get rid of that risk.
Knowing that Jennings practiced and DMC didn't, does Jennings' ranking improve or was that based more on matchup vs. NYJ? Torn between Jenning and Vereen for flex. Thanks!
Christopher Harris (3:12 PM)
Hi, Mo. The Jennings rank was based on him being the main dude, and DMC not stealing much work, so I don't think I'm changing anything. It's the Jets matchup I don't like. I know Jennings has been super-reliable, but this is a place where if he unexpectedly goes off, I won't feel terrible about it if he's on my bench.
JUAN (New York)
is Ridley safe to drop?? Is L.Green safe to start this week?
Christopher Harris (3:12 PM)
Hi, Juan. It's hard to make unilateral judgments not knowing your league, but I don't hate dropping Ridley is you really need the roster spot. How can you feel safe about starting him in Week 14? And even if he performs well this week, how can you feel safe in Week 15? It seems you'd need 2 solid games to get him right and feel good about it. As for Green, check out the TE ranks on ESPN.com.
Hey Chris. Thanks for all your work on the Underground, appreciate the in-depth analysis and your refusal to succumb to invented/ridiculous narratives. For the past 3 weeks I've benched the Bengals D/ST in favor of the matchup flavor of the week (see: HOU vs. JAC, NE vs. HOUE, etc.), and have been disappointed every time. This week, it's between the Pats and Bengals. You have CIN ranked higher, but might that change if it were to come out that Tanney or Hanie were starting for the Browns?
Christopher Harris (3:14 PM)
Hi, Tony. Thanks for the kind words. Help me fight the dumb narratives! I think I'm probably keeping the Bengals higher, almost no matter who the CLE QB is, because I'm worried about that Pats run D. Do I think any CLE RB will be *awesome* as a result Sunday? No, I don't think that. But could it happen? Gulp. I think it could. I'd rather just play the better unit.
What have you seen from Ben Tate on film? Does he look healthier then he was two weeks ago when he faced JAX i.e. can we expect a better showing?
Christopher Harris (3:16 PM)
Hi, Scott. It's almost hard to evaluate last week's Tate film, because as Field Yates mentioned on our podcast, the holes Tate got to run through against the Pats were just *comically* huge. I don't think that's likely to recur this week. And yeah, this is the group he just got benched against. They're improved. I think Tate is a big back with some moves and some speed, but I don't think his moves or his speed are elite. He needs great blocking to be great. That's why I'm trying not to overreact this week. I think of him as a low-level RB2 Thursday night.
Haroon (Berea, OH)
Hi Chris, I just wanted to know why you ranked Chris Johnson over Ben Tate seeing how Tate has a much sweeter matchup and gets all the goal line carries? Thanks so much!
Christopher Harris (3:20 PM)
Hi, Haroon. I figured I'd bunch together a couple Tate questions. I guess it comes down to a balancing act. I mean, do we ignore two weeks ago ever happening? Do we worry it will *definitely* happen again? I think to be honest, you have to come down somewhere in the middle. There's risk. I also want to get rid of the idea that the Jags are awful on D. They're not. Sen'Derrick Marks? Really good. Dwayne Gratz? We're going to hear more about him. That said, they're close, and listening to your gut is never a terrible idea.
Hi Chris, loved yesterday's podcast. I have RG3, Alex Smith, and Joe Flacco. I want to start Smith, but every time I look at the season opposing QB numbers against Minnesota I am temped to put in Flacco. Everyone torches them! Any thoughts?
Christopher Harris (3:22 PM)
Hi, Patrick. I was tempted by Flacco's matchup, too, when doing my ranks. And then I look at what he's actually done himself. He just hasn't played well. It isn't always his fault. I think he's a better player than his numbers have shown. But he also misses too many throws, and his weapons sometimes don't make plays for him. We might get a big one out of him because the matchup *is* good. But I wouldn't bet my fantasy season on him.....
No Ellington in the rankings yet I haven't seen any updates on his condition. Is that a reflection of Mendy overtaking him or common belief that Ellington is a no go. Also, any word on Juls Thomas, are there enough health concerns to justify starting L. Green or Cameron over him?
Christopher Harris (3:23 PM)
Hi, Jay. I know I didn't rank him because I assumed he wasn't playing, but you're right: I haven't really seen any kind of confirmation that that's true for sure. And as for Thomas -- it's all about how he feels. The good news on him this time is his starting time -- early game Sunday. So you'll have plenty of time. I say if he's active you use Orange Julius.
Hey, Chris, curious why you're considerably higher than your colleagues on Alfred Morris...not scared of KC? What do you know that they don't? Thanks!
Christopher Harris (3:26 PM)
Hi, Stephen. Our other rankers are smart dudes, so obviously it just comes down to a difference of opinion. Morris was disappointing against the Giants, but I feel like I saw that coming -- he was 10th on my list last week, lowest of the season. But the Chiefs aren't the same kind of bad matchup as the Giants at this point in the season, to be honest. They haven't kept an opposing RB group below their moving average in a game since Week 7. I would just keep using Morris per usual, and hope last week was an aberration.
Chris - serious kicker question. Can you give any advice on how you rank kickers week-to-week? I've yet to get double digit points from a kicker this year, and literally every time I drop a kicker, he goes off the next week. I barely made the playoffs, and lost 4 weeks because of being outscored significantly at the kicker position.
Christopher Harris (3:28 PM)
Alex, I don't mean to be dismissive, but the truth is -- I've run stat regressions, I've tried to relate good kickers to good offenses, etc.... There's just nothing there. Kickers are random. My ranking of them each week really doesn't involve much...I basically look at the past couple months of numbers, try and weed out any games where I fear a shutout could be in the offing, think about dome/weather a little bit, and move on. Unfortunately, my take is that you've simply been unlucky....
mike (streaming defense-landia)
From the pod and your rankings, you seem to make a lot of decisions based on the last five weeks of DVOA (rather than season ranks). Is that posted somewhere for us to look at?
Christopher Harris (3:29 PM)
Hi, Mike. It isn't posted -- it's a spreadsheet I have on my computer...we haven't made the decision to post them in the game, I guess. (There are only so many projects that can get tackled in any given season, which is totally understandable!) But yes, my philosophy is very much *not* to look at numbers from Week 1 or 2. I just don't think they have much bearing by now....
Full PPR, looking at Stevie Johnson (WR) or Donald Brown (RB) for flex. Thoughts?
Christopher Harris (3:30 PM)
Hi, David. It's a good question, and I don't have a definite answer for you. I'll say I'd probably go Brown, but it's one of those 51/49 type deals....
Josh Gordon or Julio Jones ranked higher coming into next season?
Christopher Harris (3:31 PM)
Hi, Ryan. Another great one. Eesh. I wish I could know right now what Julio's rehab looks like, and who'll be playing QB for the Browns. My gut tells me I'll like Julio more, but boy, that could easily change based on news in the next eight months....
Do you have any thoughts on Marshawn Lynch's contract situation with Seattle next year? Considering Michael as a potential keeper stash.
Christopher Harris (3:33 PM)
Hi, DL. Lynch has two more seasons on his current deal, and the money is pretty steep ($5m and $5.5m). And his guaranteed money is about done. So there's a real chance if the Hawks don't want to pay him that much, they could get rid of him. But if they make the deep playoff run everyone thinks they will, I have a hard time thinking they'd do it, trading one in the hand for two on the sidelines....
Zack (Rochester, NY)
Does putting (RB) after obvious names offend you as much as it does me? I mean, your job is to analyze hours and hours of game tape. It's obvious you know what position each person plays...Keep kililn' it on the Underground!
Christopher Harris (3:33 PM)
Ha! Hey, Zack. Thanks for being a listener. Naw, I understand that of the millions and millions of people who play fantasy, there will be some for whom names aren't first nature like they are for us. But I love the question. Thanks again.
What WRs would you target as the best keepers?
Christopher Harris (3:34 PM)
Hi, Bob. It's kind of a broad question, and one that probably requires more thought than I can give it in this forum. But on the Fantasy Underground podcast we're going to commit to talking keepers in at least one of the two podcasts were week for the rest of the year, including tomorrow. So tune in, and you'll start to hear us bandying some names....
Concerned about Josh Gordon's QB situation?
Christopher Harris (3:36 PM)
Hi, Robert. Yeah, totally. It's going to be a topic on tomorrow's pod. I don't really know what to say, if Caleb Hanie is under center. Oy. I mean, how can you bench Gordon under any circumstance? And yet! You could totally see NE wrapping him up. I think I have to use him no matter who the QB is, but it just stinks that this has happened to him....
Should I be worried about the potential of Lynch sitting week 16 due to Sea locking up home field?
Christopher Harris (3:37 PM)
Hi, Johno. You know, it's a good question, and I'll be honest -- I haven't really given it a ton of thought. I think it's fair to be a bit concerned. SEA has the tiebreaker over both NO and CAR, who seem to be the only teams with a crack at them. I guess the best thing to do would be to root for the Niners next week.....
If Moreno sits week 17 do you see Ball getting the work?
Christopher Harris (3:37 PM)
Hi, Kyle. So hard to know, since it's a month away, but I feel better about the possibility now than I did after Ball fumbled yet *again* in Week 12 against the Pats. At least Ball was obviously the next guy up last week in a big spot vs. the Chiefs. So my guess is that it'll go that way.
While we're on the topic of sitting, how about Moreno after Denver locks it up?
Christopher Harris (3:38 PM)
Hi, Ari. Yeah, I mean, you'd have to say there's a chance. Just pray that the Pats keep winning, because if they do, then the Broncos need to as well.....
slotback rhapsody fan (utah)
sorry to use the plug to try to get an answer but its the playoffs (and really is a good book)! I need a rb and a flex this week out of L Miller, Rainey, Mendenhal, Ivory and K Allen. Who would you go with?
Christopher Harris (3:39 PM)
Well, thanks very much. I was going to answer you anyway. Ahem. Ivory is the RB I have ranked highest, and I'd probably pair him with Allen, but obviously, these guys are super-bunched. Tough to call breakout games and TDs among similar dudes!
stuffed sole or chicken parm over penne tonight? i know its a back breaking question but I need your expertise
Christopher Harris (3:40 PM)
I'm a veggie, so I am seriously the wrong guy to ask this particular question. (And, I'm sure, many others.)
mark (New York, ny)
If denarius Moore is healthy and does in fact play...would you take a shot on him or Underwood in Tampa?
Christopher Harris (3:41 PM)
Hi, Mark. Yeah, it was pretty surprising to hear that Moore wasn't able to practice today. I ranked him. At this point, I think we probably need to play for him *not* going, and being pleasantly surprised if he does. But I have to believe there are better FAs out there in your league than Underwood...?
Love the podcast... I am a proud Zac Stacey owner because of you both. Please help me out this week, as in my flex I can go with either Stacey or Welker... Both against the #1 at there respective position... thoughts???
Christopher Harris (3:43 PM)
Hi, Rick. Thanks for listening. Yeah, Stacy has been a great find...I continue to enjoy his tape even when the box score isn't great. I think he's a star waiting to happen. But you're right: ARI is a crummy matchup, and TEN isn't a great one for Welker, either, and he hasn't done much. It's a 51/49 kind of answer, unfortunately. I would probably play Welker. But I could easily be talked out of it....
Heather S. (Macon,Ga.)
Hey chris! Would you consider dropping KC defense week 14 for cards then stream best D in week 16? Own Carolina too. Thanks
Christopher Harris (3:43 PM)
Hi, Heather. Honestly, the Chiefs D hasn't played well for about five or six weeks. The fact that the Broncos were two of those games doesn't help, but the pass rush just hasn't been there. If you need the roster spot, don't mind dropping them.
Is Ellington droppable?
Christopher Harris (3:44 PM)
Hi, Nasir. I wouldn't say unilaterally, because we don't know exactly what's going on. He apparently hurt himself in practice last week, and "wasn't close" to going in Week 13. But is it a major injury? Wish I knew. I'd hate to dump him and then have him play Sunday. But if he doesn't? Hm. I think yeah, probably in standard leagues....
Looking for a sleeper QB that could go BOOM or bust for this week?
Christopher Harris (3:45 PM)
Hi, Jon. I think E.J. Manuel fits that description. First off, the possibility of close-in rushing scores is always enticing, and there have been times where that pass offense has really clicked. I could see him posting 20-plus, though 5-minus is also in play...
Thoughts on Doug Baldwin? Been great since Rice went down
Christopher Harris (3:47 PM)
Hi, Matt. It's been a case of doing a lot with not that much -- especially the past two weeks, when he's had 2 and 5 targets, but scored a TD in each game. That worries me a little bit. But Harvin being so questionable isn't a bad thing for him continuing this unlikely streak....
Maybe I'm crazy, but I think Carolina has a serious chance of making the super bowl. If they ever add a big-time WR (see: Josh Gordon), look out. Thoughts?
Christopher Harris (3:47 PM)
Hi, Alex. Sure, that's fair. Like the QB, good enough RBs, line play is at least above-average (Jordan Gross = stud) and the front 7 is nasty. But I don't love the secondary, and the fact is, they *don't* have Josh Gordon...... But they could make it. Absolutely.
Never been Posted! Not wise to post same message repeatedly im assuming? Should I be concerned with possibility my fantasy workhorse lynch won't be playing week 16?
Christopher Harris (3:48 PM)
Hi, Johno. Yeah, not crazy about the multiple posts. We did already talk about the possibility of Lynch sitting, so scroll up. I wouldn't think Week 16 would be that much of a risk, though. Week 17 would seem more reasonable a concern.
Afternoon Chris! Are your ranking based on a combo of non ppr and standard? Best non ppr WR week 14: Torrey S. or M.Floyd?
Christopher Harris (3:49 PM)
Hi, Shaun. No, they're non-PPR for sure. In a PPR...I still do think I'd have Torrey higher. Floyd is an awesome story, though. I consider Torrey an elite talent and clear top WR on his team...my concern with someone opposite Fitz is obviously...Fitz!
Some experts say to drop non-starters to handcuff your rbs, but if you have players like Woodhead and Bell on your bench, isn't it a better idea to keep them so others can't use them?
Christopher Harris (3:50 PM)
Hi, Alex. Really depends on your league, and how competitive it would be to add those guys if you draft them, plus how good the teams that own Mathews and Bush are. If they're non-contenders, who cares...but if they're in the mix, I see your logic....
just send me some good vibes for the playoffs. thats all i need
Christopher Harris (3:50 PM)
Hi, Sean. Not sure I'm a great vibe-sender, but consider mine sent....
Is Andrew Luck droppable in a 10-tm league? I have Cutler and McCown rostered. Thanks.
Christopher Harris (3:51 PM)
Hi, Doug. Phew. I don't think so. Things can change so quickly. I'm high on the CHI QB combo this week in large part because I don't respect the Dallas defense. And Luck is one big game away from being everyone's buddy again, because we believe in his talent. If I could avoid it, I probably would.
Does Spiller's *breakout* game last week give you more pause about starting Freddy Jax? That is, does he cede touches to the more explosive player going forward (and assuming health)?
Christopher Harris (3:52 PM)
Hi, Alex. Boy, I wish I knew. Nobody does. I would remind everyone that Jackson played 36 snaps to Spiller's 24 Sunday, and played on third downs and in short yardage most of the time. Unfortunately, I don't think he's going anywhere. That doesn't necessarily mean you have to stay away from Spiller, nor does it guarantee Freddy will have production. But I don't think he's riding pine any time soon.
Nick (Snowy Minnesota)
Looking ahead: Who is the better keeper in auction league next year Charles for $87 or Calvin for $81 in $200 cap league? Thanks!
Christopher Harris (3:53 PM)
Hi, Nick. Well, you definitely know your league better than I. I would tend to say for similar money, the RB is probably the better bet, but Megatron's season has been *so* ridiculous, he's going to approach Charles in terms of value, which is rare. I would probably still go JC. But it's not easy....
Thanks for the time, Chris. Are you anticipating Jared Cook to have a big game against the Cardinals again this week? He did it in week 1, but he hasn't produced a similar game since. I can't help but feel skeptical about it....
Christopher Harris (3:55 PM)
Hi, Shaun. Yeah, I join your skepticism. The Cardinals have struggled at times to cover with their linebackers, including last week when the Eagles scored 3 TDs with their TEs. But Cook is such an enigma. One data point from three-plus months ago just doesn't feel like a good enough reason to start him in a standard-sized league....
Ben (Dover, ME)
Earl Bennett? Please...droppable?
Christopher Harris (3:55 PM)
Safe to say. Yes.
Time to give up on bennett? no doubt start over him if j reed can play?
Christopher Harris (3:56 PM)
Hi, Erick. It's interesting -- lost in the clamor about Jordan Cameron's big dropoff...Bennett's has been just as bad. In his case, I think it's about injury.... But that doesn't really help his owners. I have him rated 14th this week among TEs, lowest of the season. You can take a look at my list on ESPN.com for possible replacements....
Is there concern that Dallas runs all night vs Chi and Romo has a below average game? It's him or RGIII in big dance!
Christopher Harris (3:57 PM)
Hi, Paul. I never like to predict how games are going to go. Because I'm wrong. Everyone is. Games don't adhere to easy storylines in the NFL. It's frustrating, but true. The reason to doubt Romo is that he just hasn't played all that well or been stubborn enough getting Dez involved over the past month or so. You can see in my ESPN ranks that I have RG3 ranked ahead of him this week.
The Funny Police (Everywhere)
That "Earl Bennett" question was from Ben Dover, ME...get it. I got it.
Christopher Harris (3:57 PM)
Yeah, I saw that. But too late. ;-)
GAH (Last Minute)
Just got off a client call....kind of rushed him....Rice/S Jax or Woodhead this weekend for Flex!!????? Thank you!
Christopher Harris (3:58 PM)
Hi, GAH (my dad's initials, incidentally...but he does not play fantasy) - It's Steven Jackson for me...
Christopher Harris (4:00 PM)
Okay, everyone, I have to go tape the Fantasy Underground: Film Room segment on Roddy White. But I see SO many single-position questions. Please, please, please, I implore you -- just look at the "Weekly Ranks" link just above this chat. Please? Anyway -- thanks for being here...I'm genuinely appreciative, and I know I wouldn't get to do this great job without all of you. Thanks again. Have a great rest of your day....