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 sports 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 (11:01 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
Josh Gordon (Who else??) [via mobile]
I'm sure you'll get plenty of this question, but what do you expect from Josh Gordon? At what point do you predict he will be fully "back"?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:04 AM)
Let's get right to it, the big question on the day Gordon is eligible to return to practice with the Browns. I have little doubt he'll be thrust right back into his old tops-on-the-depth-chart role, the only caveat being that we'll probably need Week 12's action to gauge just how quickly he's being used (snap count, targets) as he tries to get back on the WR1 map. I've got little doubt he'll be a WR1 from Weeks 13-17. That's the final five games; for this week I'd probably conservatively rank him in the teens, i.e. a WR2. Just seems smart to assume he needs the one game to get up to full speed, but I bet it's quick.
Evans worth consideration as a keeper for next year? .5 ppr
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
Absolutely. Telling game, that Evans was targeted that heavily (9), while Vincent Jackson (4) was largely a non-factor. Evans is a nice fit for the Bucs' offense, and a big part of their future. For sure keep him.
Josh (not Josh Gorodn) [via mobile]
How much of an negative impact does Jonas Gray's emergence have on Vereen? Is Vereen still a valuable player in PPR?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
To me, it's a negative because Gray's emergence takes away the short-yardage (translation: goal-line) work from Vereen, which robs him of most of his standard-scoring upside. I think Vereen is a solid PPR play -- mid-to-high-range RB2 in that -- and in standard he's teetering on the flex-play brink.
does sims become the starter in tampa if so when?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
It sure seemed like he was this week, no? He had 13 of the team's 21 carries on Sunday, and the Tampa Bay Times is reporting he played 33 of the team's 52 snaps, which is pretty close to "starter" status on a typical team. Doug Martin's return might keep Sims' snap percentage in that range the rest of the year, but I think he's the one who will be most featured the rest of the way. Just don't expect any of those 25-plus-carry games, that's all. Doubt we'll see that until 2015.
Jonas (199 Shades of Gray)
Allowing for a likely average career, is there still SOME chance I am a star, Tristan? If I do follow through and become a great, any particular player past/present I remind you of?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
I don't have a particular player who comes to mind; I've frequently said that I think player comparisons are inherently unfair. Gray once compared himself to Marshawn Lynch, just to share that.But as for the "star" thought, read today's "Fantasy Fallout." Let's just say that a certain current star who was on the sidelines for Week 11 had an eerily similar career emergence to Gray. So we can't entirely rule out that he'll develop into something, though his Week 12 matchup isn't especially good and it's still the Patriots ... the other player was in a system perfect for his skill set, on a run-happy team that tends to be clear about who's running the football on a weekly basis.
Fill in the blank: eddie lacy would be a top ___ RB if he would get 20 carries a game
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
I could be talked into five, but let's be reasonable. It's the TD potential you like about Lacy.
There were a lot of nice rushing performances yesterday but few rushing TD's (excluding Jonas Gray). What up with that?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
I noticed that. I think it was Gray four, Kansas City Chiefs three combined (3 Charles, 1 Knile Davis) and then Roy Helu had a receiving score? Actually, someone else had a rushing score... think it was Lacy, actually, but I sort of mentally tuned out of that game once it got out of hand.Aberration is my quick take, though I do recall a few more recent weeks light on the rushing scores, and watching the games every Sunday, it does seem to me a little more like quarterbacks are resorting to the air near the goal line. Could be impacting things. I'll take a look at that...
I love C.J. Anderson's playoff schedule. Baring injury, do you think he'll get to take advantage of it? Or do you see Hillman or Ball stepping back in?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
I'd say Hillman and Ball are questionable at best for Week 12, and Hillman's timetable could range as wide as 2-6 weeks. Sure, there's a chance Anderson could capitalize.
TC thoughts on Fleener short term if Allen is out?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
I'm not that much of a Coby Fleener guy, I think Allen's the better pass-catcher of the two, and frankly deserved a larger share of the target pie. It was one of the reasons I've engaged in the occasional Dwayne Allen debate on Twitter, because his critics are quick to point out that he's so TD-dependent. Well, sure, but that's not his own fault; it was Fleener's presence to cut into his opportunities. I'd say Fleener will range 12-15 or so for me most weeks going forward, even sans Allen. On skills I think that's right.
Jeff Fischer (St.Louis)
Non ppr for ROS you like T.Mason?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
Yes, but Jeff, please do me a favor and increase Mason's workload? Fantasy owners are begging you. Right now, difficult to make more than the high-end-flex case (rank range 20-25 or so).
Although no trades in a vacuum, if you're not desperate, what QB/RB range would you target for a Gordon trade?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
Why would you trade Josh Gordon now? It seems to me that the best time would've been immediately after his suspension length was known; everyone was glowing about his late-season prospects and I pointed out that the 10 weeks he'd sit would be difficult to swallow. Now, I'd say he needs to fetch a top-15 running back, without question. Or a quarterback I'd have a difficult time arguing he'd be a "sit" a single game out of the next six.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
FYI: Fantasy Fallout is now live, for your reading pleasure.
Are Cutler, Marshall and Jeffrey must play next week vs Tampa, or will Lovie rain on their parade?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
There will be a noticeable group of players ranked ahead of each of 'em, but I'd be hard-pressed to nominate enough that any of them (except maybe Cutler) would take a seat on anyone's bench. Bears skill players fit the very "volume play" description I've been explaining for weeks now -- this past week specifically with Alfred Blue -- and there's little doubt that it'll continue this week.
TC's Early Rankings (ESPN FF Page)
Tristan better defense for week 12: SF,KC or Denver?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
I run my stats every Tuesday before making my final rankings, so these are top-of-my-head, no-promises ranks: I'd go 49ers, Chiefs, Broncos. I'd be sorely tempted to go Chiefs first with a Thursday game, but it is a road contest, that weighs (even if only a little).
Jason E [via mobile]
If AP is back for week 12 will he resume his workload pre-exemption
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
If he is, I won't be as quick to assume it as I would Josh Gordon. I have more skepticism that he'll ramp up to starter's touches in one game's time. But we'll see. Should hear more soon.
Brandin Cooks broken thumb estimated out 4 weeks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
Correct, tweeted earlier, per NFL Nation reporter Mike Triplett's report.Saints have an extremely favorable schedule for passing the final four weeks of the season, so with some hope, Cooks could be back in time for it. If not, Kenny Stills could become a sneaky pickup to exploit for any of those games.
3rd highest scorer in a 10 man league. I'll be 4-7 tuesday. Can I get a hug to go with my Irish coffee on this miserable monday morning?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
Hugs are fun.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
Sub-.500 records, behind high-scoring fantasy teams, are not fun.
John (San Diego)
Thoughts on Joique Bell going forward?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
I think he's done enough during his time as a recent fill-in starter to keep the (pardon the pun) lion's share of the carries, but that's still a pass-oriented offense that's going to keep his weekly rushing work in the 12-16 range, probably. At least Bell catches passes, which props up his fantasy potential, but I have a hard time believing he's anything other than a RB2.
Does Marshawn pack it in for the rest of the season with all the issues going on or does he finish strong? Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
While I respect the question, the thought seems somewhat absurd to me. If chatter that Lynch will be playing somewhere other than Seattle next season comes true, why pack it in and hurt your future market value (free agent after 2015)? Lynch's production was fine on Sunday, and I see no reason he can't perform in that range the rest of the way, handling his solid 20-carry weekly workload.
Andrew (New York)
Antonio Brown or Martavis Bryant have the better stat line tonight?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
Brown. The Steelers have six games remaining on their schedule, and I'd venture a guess that Brown outscores Bryant in terms of fantasy points in five of them... I'd say six except that wide receivers are somewhat volatile in terms of weekly targets (and where they occur). I'm fine saying that in three of them, Brown doubles Bryant's output.
Jason (Ottawa Canada)
Week 12 Streaming D's off the top of your head?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
Colts. Chargers. Chiefs. And I'm pretty confident that one of the two defenses in the Buccaneers-Bears game is going to go off for one of those "wow-how-did-that-happen" fantasy days, but darned if I could predict it today.
Vanessa (Hammond, America)
Jordan Reed worth a roster spot anymore? What TE's might be serviceable replacements?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
We'll see what his injury status is mid-week, but I've said many times that the greatest negative with Reed is his injury track record. Might be smarter as things stand this minute -- here's hoping we have more clarity before your league's waiver run -- to add a depth guy as insurance: Jacob Tamme (again, we'll see Julius Thomas updates soon), Garrett Graham possible adds.
Matt (Islamorada, FL)
Any reason to worry about Ingram as a RB #2 from here on out?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
The only reason I could think of is an attempt to keep his legs fresh; he has been heavily used in recent weeks, the Saints still have a shot at the playoffs (albeit with them having no bye and playing pretty much entirely on the road, probably)... Khiry Robinson could be back soon just to help keep him fresh. But I'd say Ingram's worst is mid-range RB2. Schedule's a nice one for the team, and with Cooks hurt and Graham also banged up this week, the Saints should continue to run.
Saw your Joique Bell answer. Feel better using him or Gore as a weekly RB2?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
Bell. Some of that is the age differential, some is that I think a lot more of Gore's backup (Carlos Hyde) than I do Reggie Bush.
Tristan.. I am about to be 4-7.. about 30 points from being in the playoff at number 6th.. Do you think I could win with a team like. 2 QB league.. Cutler/M.Ryan. D.Thomas/Marshall/Larry F/R.White. Lacy/Forte/Rob Gronk/Jerey Hill.. I did have the most points this week 204.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
Certainly can. I've gotten 6-7 teams into the playoffs. The problem you face is not the point potential, seems like you're fine, it's a competitive bunch (except perhaps for the QBs, will be tough to pick the leader some weeks), but in situations like this you need luck to fall your way each and every week. And in fantasy football, that's a big ask.
Kyle (Jacksonville, FL)
To add to the why trade Josh Gordon comment from earlier. The reason why I traded him before this weekend is because his value is at an all-time high for the season the week before he comes back. I traded Josh Gordon and Sims and received Mike Evans and McKinnon and it won me my week (and should have gotten me into the playoffs)
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
Understandable, but might you have hurt your championship prospects as a result? That's all I'd ask -- and I'd argue that you did -- but I'm totally in line with the "just get there first" angle if you were in a spot where that was in doubt.
Jeff (Atlanta, GA)
Tristan, with my current waiver priority, I doubt I get Jonas Gray to replace Bradshaw. Out of the following RB's, which should I target next? Charles Sims or Anthony Dixon?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
What do you think of Latavius Murray. Could he help down the stretch?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
I like him, but on the "low-end stash" level, and those guys bounce on and off rosters freely, so don't get too attached. His isn't that good of a team; that doesn't help. Frankly, I'd like to see the Raiders give him more of a chance. Maybe they will as they play out the string.
Has Jordan Matthews carved out enough of a role in the PHI offense to be in the WR2 conversation? A decent option at FLEX?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:47 AM)
I'd say so. I tweeted (@SultanofStat) some Matthews stats since Mark Sanchez took over at quarterback to begin the second quarter of Week 9. The two of them did get to work together a great deal during the preseason, so that they're the ones with the best chemistry right now doesn't shock me at all.
Bradshaw done for the year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
Unclear, we need to hear confirmation first that it's a broken ankle, in which case it sounds like a 4-6 week injury. And based on that timetable, I wouldn't count on him helping you at all the rest of the way; I usually won't trust the player who has missed a month-plus in his first game back, and a four-week prognosis places his return in Week 16, which is the final week in a lot of leagues.
Matt (Islamorada, FL)
Here it comes...trade help!! I was offered Maclin and Rivers for Brady and J Gordon. I am thinking stand pat, right?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
I wouldn't make that trade, stick with Tom Brady and Josh Gordon.Incidentally, a friendly reminder that the trade deadline in standard ESPN leagues arrives this Wednesday. Get those offers in!
Is Crowell now the back to own in Cleveland or will it be a different guy each week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
The Browns have no interest in telling you the true answer to that question. Sorry, have to give you the honest answer. They have three guys they claim they trust, they've already now shown us that they'll thrust Terrance West into the featured role one week, then Isaiah Crowell two weeks later. It's going to be maddening to predict, though -- at least the portions of their games that I've seen, and I'd say that's maybe 80-85 percent -- I'd say that Crowell has been the best performer of their bunch for the season. Take that for what it's worth.
Pick up Sanchez and start him over Wilson vs Arizona?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
I get your thinking there -- Wilson has averaged 11.0 fantasy points in his four career games against the Cardinals, a defensively sound squad, and he has had quite a bit of trouble running in those contests -- but I can't do it. Still think Wilson is the better player with the higher ceiling, while Sanchez is at too great risk of turnovers.
What do you think of rolling with R Wilson into the playoffs? I like that his ceiling is low in that he gets rushing yds and takes care of the ball but it seems unlikely he will win you a week on his own
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
He has won you weeks on his own twice this season (Weeks 5 and 7) and put forth entirely competitive totals in two others (Weeks 3 and 11) and even his bad games aren't devastating. I'm fine with him, even if I'd have a hard time ranking him higher than, say, eighth if I was to do a set of going-forward rankings.Speaking of going-forward ranks, highly recommend Eric Karabell's, which come out Tuesday. Critical week for them, too, what with the trade deadline near.
You just know Jonas Gray is getting 3 carries for 7 yards next week
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
Someone said that on Twitter as well, and I'll reply the same: "Wouldn't surprise me in the least." It's not a good matchup. They're the Patriots. Still, based on how things are shaping up, Gray's worth the add. The chance at a 20-carry, gets-the-goal-line-work running back alone warrants it.
Would you start Cutler vs (TB) Sanchez (Ten) or Romo (@NYG) next week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
I'd use Jay Cutler. Turnover-prone, too, but that's just a better matchup.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
I did a quick look of the stats to try to make a point earlier and ran out of time pre-chat, but if I recall, it was something to the effect of: Through Week 9, Ahmad Bradshaw had 40-something more fantasy points than Trent Richardson, which is a level that didn't feel quite so extreme at the time we were watching it happen, but I had a hunch he had been the better performer of the two. Richardson has been such a disappointment and isn't an explosive playmaker. I don't think this means all that much for him other than perhaps a few more carries, more volume ... but if the result is 2-3 more fantasy points per game, he's still RB2 material, nothing more.
Thanks got my answer about murray
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:02 PM)
Yes, and now the San Francisco Chronicle posts a report that Murray indeed could get a chance as the feature back. Isn't that two months overdue? Sheesh. Thought it then, so forgive me if I have my doubts now, though I'm excited at the prospect.
Would you rather have Benjamin or Evans as a keeper. I can keep a rookie in the 8th round
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:02 PM)
Why wont you answer a simple Justin Hunter question?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
What's the question? Tonight's game? I ranked him 42nd. He's got that high upside, but he needs the snaps/routes/targets to reach it. And I haven't seen hints of it happening, other than maybe in that Week 5 range or so when the Titans were talking about increasing his role. I want to believe... wanted to believe in Jared Cook, too. So be careful.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 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 those of you seeking the Monday Night Miracle tonight, as well as to all in Week 12!