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 (11:02 AM)
Good morning everyone! Yet another injury-filled week in the fantasy football world, so surely there are plenty of questions to be asked. Let's get right to 'em, shall we?As always, remember that I'm always happy to sneak in a few offseason/postseason baseball questions as well, so if you've got 'em, send 'em along as well.Awaaaaay we go!
Greetings Tristan. How concerned are you over Eddie Lacy? Buying low or best to stay away
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
Growing increasingly concerned, as initially, I was more troubled by the performance (or lack thereof) of his O-line, but this week James Starks certainly looked to be cutting into his carry total (14-8 in Lacy's favor, but that's too close for my tastes). Problem is, Lacy's role seems to be whittling down to mere 60/40 splits where he's the goal-line back, and that's more of an RB2 than RB1 level of production. I don't want to say he's Stevan Ridley-esque, not yet, but it's fair to think he's starting to gravitate towards that. Plan accordingly as you consider trading for him/trading him away.
Erin (Fort Myers)
I know this might not be the hottest topic, but do you see Khiry Robinson having any roll moving forward? I'm considering dropping him for McKinnon.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
Well, if that's the cut-and-dry choice, I'd rather have Jerick McKinnon than Khiry Robinson, if only because the Week 6 returns showed that McKinnon is the clear starter in Minnesota going forward. Matt Asiata is probably going to be limited to short-yardage/goal-line work.But I'd still keep Robinson around in most cases. I think it's going to be a near 50/50 divide between him and Mark Ingram -- and yes, that's before even considering Pierre Thomas' presence -- but I think he's simply the better back of the two. And I root for skills to win out in that kind of battle, though it might take a few weeks to happen.
Would you trade Julio for Leveon Bell
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:08 AM)
If it's addressing a roster need, certainly. That's fair value. And I'm a big Le'Veon Bell fan; the only possible knock on him is that he's not getting the bulk of the goal-line work, but there are worse things to complain about.
Mike [via mobile]
I have Brandon Cooks and Kelvin Benjamin. Which are you higher on going forward?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
Benjamin, and it's not close. I was big on him in the preseason, yet I'd admit not nearly enough so; classified him as WR3 material then because I thought that despite the burgeoning chemistry he was showing with Cam Newton, he'd be a little raw a prospect at least initially (think drops, occasionally poor routes, etc.). Not so, it turns out. The case can be made he's a weekly WR2 going forward.
Is Cordarrelle droppable?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
Yes. Now, mind you, most of Cordarrelle Patterson's disappointing results are tied to either injuries or role, and I hate to manage my teams that way, but in his case the result is so severe, it's difficult to imagine a quick enough turnaround to justify keeping him rostered in 10-team, 2-WR formats.
Adam Wainwright (St. Louis)
BASEBALL! = Are all the innings Waino has thrown over recent years finally starting to catch up to him? He is looking shaky and I am questioning his Keeper Value heading into 2015...Thoughts? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
I've been making this case for months, most of it tied to his declining strikeout rate (I believe that started in June, you could search my archives for specifics), and the fastball results also back up the notion. Wainwright is clearly not right, but the problem is that this is perhaps the worst time to leap off the bandwagon, because it's so prominent a topic right now. I don't want to start a flat-out panic; he's so talented that by all rights he could fix things and with a winter's rest be a top-20 starter when the 2015 returns are in. But I don't think it's safe to say he's a guaranteed top-10 guy right now. Say "10th" as your over/under, and have some skepticism.
Roger (New Mexico)
Who would you rather own going forward: Torrey Smith or Steve Smith Sr.?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
Torrey Smith, and that's not chasing Week 6. I think it can and might be close the rest of the way, but Torrey was bound to get more looks in time and that game illustrated it.
What is your take on Ronnie Hillman yesterday? Startable against SF with McCoy on bye?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
I haven't seen the tape yet so it's difficult to say, but from the glimpses I saw he impressed me; I really thought he'd be more suited to situational work (think passing downs, for one). There's no reason he can't be at least a solid flex play for that game. I still think his ceiling is capped, though, and that he'll have a tough time earning a top-15 ranking at his position any future week.
Thoughts on Palmer going forward?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
He looked just about as expected on Sunday: Inconsistent with his throws, sometimes they had zip, sometimes not, all right in line with what you'd think from a guy fresh off a shoulder injury. But it was promising, and I'd say it gets better from here, so he goes right back to being a matchups-dependent, lower-end QB2. Everything with Palmer, for me at least, ties to his receivers; I like Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald so much more when he's the starter.
Is Welker droppable in a 10-team standard?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
I'd have a hard time calling any of Peyton Manning's receiving weapons "drops," but Welker sure was invisible on Sunday, right? I wasn't a Walker guy in the preseason -- much of that the risk of re-injury -- and my opinion of him remains in the same general area now, WR3 type, with greater value in PPR.Just one thing I do want to remind: Manning has a history of feeding the hungriest mouth, so a guy who is invisible one week can sometimes be the standout the next. Be careful not to forget that. I'd need to see several games of invisibility before I'd say "cut."
Please talk the Pats RB situation and who is the guy to own given the Ridley inury. Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
I have to think it's Shane Vereen, but that's not a direct replacement in that offense; not like he's going to suddenly get 15-20 carries per game. Brandon Bolden is going to get a good amount of the early-down work, so he's a surefire pickup entering Week 7.
Thoughts on Storm Johnson?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
Without the touchdown no one would be talking about him today. I saw little different in him than I did Toby Gerhart; I also saw little different in his offensive line, which is downright awful. Unless Johnson gets the confidence of another clear start/leading back assignment, I just can't see how any Jaguars running back is ever going to garner a top-25 weekly rank.
Roger (New Mexico)
How would you rank McKinnon, Hillman, and Sankey for the rest of the season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
What's difficult there is that Hillman is the one with the least promise of being the starter/leading man the entire remainder of the year; he's also the one I'd want most for the next 3-4 weeks. I'll keep them in the order you listed them from a rest-of-season angle.
Flaming Moe's (Springfield)
I'm torn between Gausman and Stroman for 2015. Which do you think is the better keeper?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
I'd rather have Kevin Gausman, but that's a personal preference thing. I just think he has better overall command of all his pitches at this stage of his career.
Dave [via mobile]
Your thoughts on Moreno ROS? Was yesterday a tune-up? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
It had to be, from what I saw, but who knows? Lamar Miller came on late in that game, was a workhorse during that late drive and sure looked the part of a productive, big-play runner. I think Miller deserves a workload share similar to Week 6; I'm not so sure it happens as Moreno gets healthier. It's completely fair to guess that they're used 50/50 the rest of the year, I just personally think Miller's the better player.
Andre Holmes seems legit...you agree?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
If you're going to draw from that offense, sure, he's the best big-play man they've got. Still, doing it all on those big plays; one red-zone target so far and 12.0 yards at the catch on average. Just be careful, I'm sure there will be weeks he lets you down, as he'll go as his quarterback goes.
Jake [via mobile]
With hosmer's big postseason for next year where should he be drafted and where do you think he'll actually get drafted? I was hoping to get him cheap for a bounce back season then this monster postseason happensd
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
I ranked him outside my top 100 and I'd keep him outside that group despite this postseason, as let's face it, Eric Hosmer has shown me this kind of performance before yet had difficulty sustaining it over a full six-month season. I know he's made some adjustments at bat, so he'll move up in my winter ranks if it keeps up, but he plays a deep position. I just can't justify more than a 10th-round pick on him right now, even if he's going to sneak up closer to 8th-9th at this pace.
Tom Brady had his best game of the season yesterday, time to sell or does this continue?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
I'd consider selling, as the Patriots continue to deal with injury issues, they're on the short week and we now have a year and a half of awfully inconsistent Tom Brady play. I'm not saying he's without value; I'm saying that if anyone is biting on the idea he's a top-eight quarterback for sure, I'd sell.
Matt (Aberdeen, MD)
Thoughts on Ben Tate going forward? Obviously losing Mack will hurt him, but he was at his strongest after Mack's injury. Top 10 this week against Jags?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
That's true, and the matchup is about as good of one as he could ask. I do think the Mack injury is a negative, regardless of how Tate performed afterward. So it's possible that this is a brilliant sell-high time (or that it might be time right after this Jaguars matchup). After all, Tate has an injury history and Isaiah Crowell looks plenty capable of handling more work behind him if necessary. I'd say RB2 value, maybe Tate's in that 15-18 range at the position for me going forward, off the top of my head.
Hey Tristan, With Cruz our can you see any of the Giants WR (Randle or Beckham) possible being a top 20? Also who would you prefer to own moving forward between these two? Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
I'd prefer to own Reuben Randle, partly because of his lengthier experience working with Eli Manning. I've always felt, watching Manning for years, that he seems to fare best with the players he has worked with the most consistently, and let's not forget how much practice time Odell Beckham has missed already this year. Beckham is the obvious benefactor from Victor Cruz's injury; he's inevitably the first one people will think of. But I bet Randle is the one who actually steps up between the two, to the point that I'd be close to saying he's top-20 worthy.
Which likely unowned defense are you streaming next week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
The Browns for sure, they're available in more than 95 percent of ESPN leagues and play at Jacksonville. I'd also nominate the Bills in a home game against the Vikings, as they're out there in nearly two-thirds of ESPN leagues.
Davante Adams (Green Bay)
Thoughts on young WR, Davante Adams of Green Bay going forward ROS? What is the upside here?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
Let's realistically look at this as if Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb remain healthy all year (which is safe to do); that's going to cap Adams as a WR3/low-end WR2 for fantasy, and I mean, that's his ceiling on a weekly basis. And that's awfully good for a No. 3 receiver on a given NFL team, as for as much as the Packers go three-wide, Adams still can't garner the targets that a clear every-snap type would for another squad. I do like what he's done the past 2-3 weeks, and he's worth the roster spot in any league. But fact is, you're partly stashing him on the hopes he gets a greater opportunity because one of the guys ahead of him misses time.
Michael (Alberta, Canada)
Whoa sorry Tristan - Eli has thrown with Odell Beckham Jr since the kid was in high school...Peyton too, if there is familiarity with a WR, don't you think that would be Beckham...?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
Consistently? I've never read that they did so from high school regularly and routinely up until now. And can we really compare a high-school workout five years ago to three years of consistent, week-in-and-week-out (plus practices) work as has been true with Randle? Bit of a stretch here...
Philly D really this good? They are the leading defense, pts wise, in my league.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
It's a touchdown-dependent unit, period, like that Cardinals D/ST (I believe it was 2009 or 2010). Which is fine, that drives fantasy scoring, but just be careful, sometimes this team is going to face a squad that's less apt to turn over the football, in which case it's going to earn a lower ranking by me. I'd have a difficult time putting them in my rest-of-year top five, for instance, not with that secondary.
Scott (Westminster, CO)
CAM! Back to stud status?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
Sure looked that way, didn't he? Check out my Fantasy Fallout column now on the site, talks a lot about his rushing prowess on Sunday, which is the primary reason why I'd again completely believe.
What's the deal with Donnell? Thinking of dropping him for Hillman. I had Kelce on a bye
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
I'd rather have Travis Kelce, personally, regardless of his limited snap counts (which are the product of his still-to-develop blocking skills). And I'm always OK dropping the second tight end if it's for something with potential weekly-start value. I can't give you any promises either Donnell or Kelce will warrant the every-week start going forward. Unrealistic to expect with either. In Donnell's case, the Giants are notorious for tight end inconsistency. But I just want the better pass catcher in my estimation: Kelce.
Kickers are people too....Prater or Bailey ROS?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
Bailey. The Lions kickers certainly seem cursed, don't they?
I've been holding Wheaton on the assumption that WR2 for Big Ben isn't the worst gig in the world. Do you see him bouncing back from catching only 4 of 11 targets yesterday, or is it time to drop him for someone like Beckham?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
I have too, and I'm not impressed by what he has done with the decent-sized share of the targets he's gotten thus far. Given those choices, I'll take the chance on Beckham's higher ceiling of the two.
How aggressive would you be bidding on Jeric McKinnon on the wire?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
I bid 30 percent of my FAAB budget on him two weeks ago and won him with relative ease; I would now expect that he'd cost at least that price, and if you bid in that range you'd have competition.
Ryan (Library) [via mobile]
Thoughs on Bradshaw ROS? I'm concerned about the injury risk and whether he can hold up.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
I think he's teetering on that RB2/flex brink, and probably warrants the starting role ahead of Trent Richardson at this point. That said, if Richardson's presence helps diminish the injury risk, I'm all for it.
Pablo (Santa Fe)
Terrance Williams has been great considering how few targets he's seen. Do you think his targets will increase, or is he destined to be an afterthought of the game plan? Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
Well, it's a lot of mouths to feed. I agree that Williams has looked great and is in the low-end WR2 range, value-wise. Guys like that are going to have their days.
Anthony (Andover, MA)
Hi Happy.....what did you glean both Hillman's & Juwan Thompson's performances yesterday? Is their a short-yardage/goal line winner here?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:02 PM)
All I gleaned was that Ronnie Hillman is the clear starter, Thompson his clear backup, and that Hillman did a lot better as a runner than I expected. He got the team's only goal-line chance, advanced two yards with three to go for a score. So I'm not sure there's a lot to be said for that role, but I do think Hillman gets the next goal-line chance.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
Ok, time to wrap things up. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours. Take care everyone, and best of luck to those of you seeking the Monday miracle tonight, as well as to everyone in Week 7!