Fantasy Sports with Tristan Cockcroft
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday 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.
Cockcroft is a two-time LABR member and was the 2012 Tout Wars champion. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame.
Send your questions now and join Cockcroft Monday at 11 a.m. ET!
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Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:04 AM)
Good morning everyone! Well, the 2014 fantasy baseball season is in the books, and my hopes are that you captured your league's championship. Congrats to the champs! But it's also a key point in the fantasy football season, Week 4 (with 5 around the corner), so we'll get to a good number of those questions as well. Ask away, let's get started!
Which 2B do you think makes for a better keeper? Wong or Odor?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
Kolten Wong. Two contact-oriented hitters with low batting-average downside, which is the kind of thing I want to see in a developing youngster, but Wong is the one who showed more signs of breaking through, particularly pop and speed.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who do you think will be in the 2014 World Series?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
I'm predicting a Nationals-Orioles World Series, though I will admit that I am sorely tempted to pick the Royals as the American League's representative. I'm going with pitching, and in the AL's case, strength of bullpen.
What're your expectations for Doug Martin ROS?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
I think, at this stage of his career, Martin is more matchups-conscious running back than a contender for weekly RB1 status. He just hasn't performed the way he did as a rookie in his portions of two seasons since, and I do wonder whether the Bucs wish they had a viable contender for his starting job. With some committee concerns long-term, I'd say he's maybe a top-15 back, but more likely someone I'd rank between there and 20th.
Jose Fernandez (Miami) [via mobile]
Are you comfortable drafting Jose Fernandez around the 10th-12th round (where you ranked him) next year? Seems like TJ victims have one bad year upon their return, and Miami will likely restrict him to 150(?) innings next year with low pitch counts.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
I do have some concerns, yes, but even 80-90 percent of Jose Fernandez beats a heck of a lot of pitchers out there. I wouldn't select him much sooner than where I ranked him, but I'd say he's got good odds of the 150-inning campaign you can trust for the final 4 1/2 months, at borderline top-10-starter value. That said, I'll point out that guys like these are often those I'll let go at the draft table, only to attempt to acquire on the cheap in-season.
Is Jerrick McKinnon startable on Thursday vs. Green Bay?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
Only two teams (Dolphins, Raiders) are on bye in Week 5, meaning that it's a practically full slate of running backs playing, so no, I'd say McKinnon will be lucky to earn a flex-play ranking, at least by me. I'm totally on board with him as a bench stash; I also think he could put forth a nearly identical stat line in Week 5 as his Week 4. But that's just not enough volume to warrant a clear start, as most have stronger options.
Despite Asiata having a career 3 TD day, do you think he lost the starting gig to McKinnon yesterday?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
The other part of the McKinnon question, no, I do not think he lost the "starting job" ... but then I'd say that label is flat-out ridiculous in football anyway. They're partnered backs, and if you saw the game, surely you saw the several plays where McKinnon would've been a natural choice yet Asiata was the one getting the ball. Think 60-40 carry split, Asiata handles all (or close to it) of the short-yardage play, but I do think by November, there's an excellent chance that McKinnon is "the guy" with Asiata in the short-yardage/situational role. Hence why you stash the kid.
michael brantley (cleveland )
how do you see me going forward. looks like you have me in the top 3 rounds. Am i really this good or did i just have an awesome year
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
A little of column B, but more of column A. Some of the underlying numbers hint at a small batting-average drop, but there's no reason to think Brantley will be anything but a significantly above average performer in the five primary Rotisserie categories again in 2015.
Survivor wk 5, New Orleans over TB or San Fran over KC
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
I'd be stunned if the Saints lose that home game against the Bucs. I know, I'm as disappointed as anyone in their early performance, especially the defense, and there's a home/road issue. But that Sunday primetime loss will smart, it's a home game where the Saints usually play well and a division contest; I think they bring their best.
Baseball!! (Playoffs) [via mobile]
I know this isn't exactly fantasy related, but would like to hear your picks for the AL/NL Wild card games???
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
I'm picking the Royals and Giants, much as I would like to pick the Pirates, I have an extremely difficult time picking against Madison Bumgarner. I do think Edinson Volquez keeps that game close, but I'll say 3-2, Giants.
Bryan Witt (Chicago)
I've already won my matchup this week. Should I drop New England's DEF today and pick up Cincinnati's? Thanks in advance!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
If your league's structure allows that kind of move, I am not going to tell you that you cannot do it. Legal by rules is legal by rules. Win the game. That said, I do consider it gauche to leave a lineup spot vacant in any week, either blank entirely or with a bye-week or injured player (at least one that was preventable). I refuse to do it and I frown upon it.I'd endorse adding the Bengals D/ST over the Patriots in general, I'll say that. But not at the expense of a blank lineup spot.
pat(Toronto) [via mobile]
Keeper league- Which two? : J.Zimmermann, Tanaka, Springer, Rendon, Soler and Betts
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
I'm targeting 2015 value here without other specs, and Anthony Rendon stands out by far, with a Zimmermann-versus-Springer battle for the other spot. I usually build around hitters, but there's something awfully nice about a "safe" pitcher like Jordan Zimmermann. He's my second pick.
Tristan, FFB question, what do you think of Shady McCoy going forward, sell or hold?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
He's a primary topic in my "Fantasy Fallout" column today, so take a look at his place in the history books. I have worries about that offensive line that weren't answered in Week 4, and while the Eagles get one O-liner back this week, it's not enough to make me go back all in on McCoy as the top talent in the game. That said, I'm only selling if it's for a top-10 running back; if it's McCoy for Matt Forte, OK, but I'm just not going to be peddling McCoy for a player like Rashad Jennings.
How come the joy of winning a fantasy league is less than the anguish of losing?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
I don't think that's true at all. But I'd point out that it's the stories of how you got there which are the most fun; I've heard so many good ones that resulted in wins or losses. And feel free to share! Always enjoy hearing 'em.
Tristian who are you most confident in tonight injuried charles or davis
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
If Jamaal Charles is active tonight, barring some crazy thing like a report that he'll "get 10 percent of the carries," he's starting for me for sure between the two.
Tristan, thanks for the advice this year, my friend and I just won our 13 team roto league. Keeper question for next year, we can only keep 5...Stanton (32), Vmart (11), Harper (15), D.Gordon (5), Teharen (10), Stroman (10), deGrom (5). Thank you!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
Congratulations, Stephen!I'd keep Harper, Gordon, Martinez, Stanton and deGrom. Always keep the top-shelf talent priced at or slightly beneath market value (Stanton), and with the pitchers, I believe quite a bit in deGrom and I'm always going to save as much cap space on that side as I possibly can.
How'd you come out in your main leagues this year? Also, thanks for all ur insight this yr. Great stuff from you.What do you foresee next year for Alex Guerrero and Cory Spangelberg? Could keep both for $2 in NL only.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
I won Tout Wars (NL-only) for the third consecutive season, finished fifth in LABR (AL-only), won my local 14-team points league, finished eighth in my longtime keeper league (I had been rebuilding since June and was in last at the start of July), and have other third-, fifth-, fifth- and eighth-place finishes. I also have a couple of awful ones -- like 13th, 15th, I can go back and check -- but not a single team in last, which is an important thing from the pride department.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:31 AM)
Cory Spangenberg: I think he'll be in the mix for playing time at second base, should Jedd Gyorko slide back to third, and right now I think he's a potential $2 keeper in NL-only. I wouldn't pay a cent more just yet, not with his role uncertain, because he'll have to battle for the gig in March.Alex Guerrero: I wonder where he plays. Third, maybe, but I'm just not so sure he's got the defense for it. Probably a better bat of the two, which warrants the $2 keeper, but I also think he's got longer odds of a starting gig next Opening Day of the two. In other words, more risk, I'd be cautious.
Am I selling high on Demarco? Or do you see the production continue ROS?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
Honestly, Cory, about the only way I'm selling DeMarco Murray is if I'm being granted a blank check; that meaning the effective equivalent of you tell your trade counterpart, "You will give me this player for him straight up," and if it's a no, then the answer is it's a no. Which means: Murray would certainly garner my consideration for a No. 1 ranking from this point forward, and off the top of my head, I think he indeed would be that guy. So while I think I can guess your point -- likelihood of maintaining the pace -- I don't think that's what constitutes a "sell high." I'd stick with him, because I believe in him remaining a weekly RB1.
Hey THC, when will you be posting updated baseball keeper rankings?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
My Keeper Top 250 was published Sept. 17, and my top 250 for 2015 was published Sept. 24. Maybe the only significant change to the former since that date is that I'm taking more of a "run for the hills" angle with Jurickson Profar, with the recent news that he has suffered a setback with his injury and will not play in the AFL.
Jon (Bozeman, MT)
THC, I asked a question 6 weeks ago whether I should sell or take a shot at the playoffs as my team was sinking fast. You recommended taking a shot and just wanted to let you know that I won my league. Thanks for the advice!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
Congratulations, Jon! I'm extremely pleased to hear that, and it's a reminder to others that there's very often value in sticking with the plan even when your team is struggling early.
Tristan, Kap is averaging 20 points a game (in my leagues scoring) and looks horrible. Obviously the running helps, but what kind of potential does Kap have if he gets it together?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
Oh, I agree. I watched almost every snap of that game and I was awfully disappointed in Colin Kaepernick; poor decision making at times, erratic throws at others. I really thought he had the kind of passing -- important aspect there, as he's already renowned for his rushing ability -- ability to break through this year, but now I'm wondering whether he'll be much more than a 10-12 ranker at the position going forward. And most of that is the lower basement inherent in a mobile quarterback.If he "gets it together," no doubt in my mind that Kaepernick can be a weekly top-5 QB. But that's an awfully large step to take, with how he looks to me.
Jose Abreu (Chicago)
are you concern about my second half numbers. i seem to have a power outage. Was that due to adjusting to a full season or have pitchers caught up with me.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
I plan to take a closer look at Abreu's plate discipline and pitch-specific numbers; I've always had some Yasiel Puig-like concerns that he might be too aggressive, undisciplined, especially situationally. I'll keep you posted this winter, but let's also not forget that Puig answered many of those questions during his sophomore year, and at least in my estimation, Abreu has better plate discipline of the two. He deserves the benefit of the doubt illustrated by my generous rank of him.
What are your thoughts on Tanaka for next season? can keep him for $7 in a league and don't know what to do. Did the last start change anything?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
Neither of those two starts changed anything, other than my basic reaction that he seemed not to be as reliant on his splitter, his "out" pitch. Who knows why; maybe wanted to ease back in more slowly. I'd say at $7 he's worth the keeper spot, as if there's any place where you can easily make up $7 of profit elsewhere if you need to, it's on the pitching side.
pat(Toronto) [via mobile]
Thanks for the tip and all the tips you and Eric have gave all year with your Podcasts, Top 250 ranks and Forecasts throughout the year. This has helped me win my league!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
Alx [via mobile]
Should i sell high on e.royal? I have megatron and b.marshall. 12t standerd # go big blue
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
Well, if you can. I'm not so sure you'll be able to. I'd deal Eddie Royal for Keenan Allen in an absolute instant, if I could. Royal's stats through four weeks this year are almost spot-on to those through four weeks of 2013. And we know how that ended...
Stew (New York)
If Seattle was dropped, how much would you spend picking them up (FAAB)?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
On a D/ST? I'd never spend much more than 10-15 percent of my seasonal FAAB budget on any D/ST, even Seattle's, but that's still an awfully generous percentage I've listed...
Will you be doing a Fantasy Focus pod cast today with Eric?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
Yes. Season recap edition should be posted soon.
Hi Tristan, can you list some streaming defenses for week 5?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
Quick looks (pre-stat-crunch process): Chargers, Eagles, Steelers (yeah, some have dropped them), Saints (I'm all in on them in that home, divisional game). Might even say Titans.
What are your thoughts on Chris Coghlan and Mat den Dekker for next season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:47 AM)
I don't buy either at all. Both of them are fourth/fifth outfielder types in an era where the latter role cannot be justified, roster-wise, for a 180-day season. Coghlan's season seemed awfully fluky to me as well.
Welcome to Dumpsville for Hurns, Stills?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
Allen Hurns moved there midway through Week 2. Kenny Stills has that home-run ability and would be the one I'd prefer to keep of the two; that said he's just so difficult to project (mostly because of the nature of his offense). I'm game that he has also changed his address to there.
Tristian you said unless something crazy happens before the game tonight (Charles gets 10% of carries) you would start Charles 100%. Are you even a little worry of a set back during the game?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
Well, sure I am, and I also said on a radio hit of mine this week that I saw the Chiefs as one of the greater upset-special choices of mine -- in a week that I saw as pretty bad for potential upsets -- so there's always the chance that they get the game in hand and ease Charles' workload accordingly midway through. But that said, how can one justify Knile Davis over Charles if the latter is on the active list, starting and without word of a limited role? Isn't there every bit the likelihood that Charles gets 20-plus touches and plays the whole game as suffers a setback?Point is, I'm not trying to tell you I see Charles as a rock-solid, no-doubt-he'll-dominate guy, but I do see him as unquestionably better a choice for tonight than Davis if he's active (and I expect that he will be).
In Hurns defense....what jacksonville wr would you have? I think most would say shorts or robinson....and hurns jsut missed a roughly 40 yd touchdown catch (was tackled on the 3) if he gets in there..nobody talks negatively about hurns...just think that play might have gone under the radar for everyone here...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
Honestly, Sully, I wouldn't roster any of them, and if I did, it'd be a speculative grab of Marquise Lee, who I see emerging by year's end as their go-to guy. For now, though, it's a maddening rotation, and with a group of players who have been popping up on the injury report too often for my tastes.
From a pure fantasy perspective, are you keeping or dropping Adrian Peterson?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
I don't wait for sidelined players, simple as that. I think it's wasted bench space.
Thanks for all the help this year. I won my h2h 12-team keeper league with Victor Martinez, Donaldson, 24/24 man Desmond, Dickerson, Pence, Cruz and Rizzo. Which 5 would you keep of this group of 7? Next year is my last year of the keeper league so it's 2015 value only. Cheers!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
Congrats Ian!I'd keep Martinez, Ian Desmond, Corey Dickerson, Anthony Rizzo and then it's really a personal-preference toss-up between the other three; I had Cruz ranked the highest but it was by a mere four spots, and let's not forget that his 2015 team's identity isn't yet known. I can easily make the case Pence is the better outfield keeper, because he's safer.
Mike Gordon (Sudbury, MA)
Do you think that Odel Beckham is worth a stash in a 14 team, .5 ppr league. I have Donnell is my starting TE but no bench depth at WR for my WR bye's coming in week 10. I'd be dropping either D. Allen or Daniels as my back up TE's. Thank you very much for your time!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
I'm not a Beckham fan in redraft leagues; for me he's a keeper-league prospect and one who has borderline December redraft value (depending upon the Giants' playoff situation by then). His injury was a real issue and in fact kept him from practicing at all this year until the past week. I bet the Giants ease him back in very slowly, as they have enough receiver depth without him, and in your case with your tight ends, I'd be sticking with my depth until someone emerges (and my bet for the one who does is Allen).
Hey Tristan, any concerns over Calvin's health long term? Thinking about trading for him. Would Welker and Ridley be about right?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
No major concerns here. In fact, it could be a good buy-low time. After all, Calvin Johnson has a tremendous history of bouncing back quickly from injury -- one example was cited in my inactives report on Sunday -- so I don't see a lot of reason to doubt him. Make that deal if you can, but I'd expect you'll be pressed to pay more.
David (Reading, PA)
Would you Trade Lamar Miller for Andre Ellington
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
Yes, though I'll stress that I like both of these players quite a bit. The main reason to do this deal: Miller has always had this kind of potential, even in the past, but he has been so maddeningly inconsistent in previous years.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:02 PM)
Ok, time to wrap things up for today. Thanks for all your questions, and my congratulations again to all of those of you who won your fantasy baseball leagues. We'll keep the Monday chats rolling for fantasy football owners, helping you to your championships as well! And we'll also get some offseason baseball questions in there too. Best of luck to you in Week 5.