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!
More Fantasy: Fantasy Home Page
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:02 AM)
Good morning everyone! We're in the thick of the fantasy football playoffs and fresh off a busy winter meetings in the fantasy baseball world. So many questions that need answers, so let's get right to 'em, shall we? Here we go!
Down by 2 with Wilson and Graham going tonight against Colston. Is this the week that Graham actually returns to his old form and send me to the Super Bowl?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
If there's any week during which Jimmy Graham is to rebound, it's this one. The Bears have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends (entering the week, this is), though to be fair, let's point out that a lot of that was the Week 8 game in New England where Rob Gronkowski and Tim Wright tore them to shreds. Still, the Bears are a bad D, especially against the position, and the Saints smell a division title in a game they desperately need to win. I've said in recent weeks that I'm not sure Graham is truly 100 percent; I do believe that even if he's just, say, 80-85 percent tonight, he's good for 10-12 fantasy points.So, yes, let's pencil that prediction of mine in: We'll say he gets 10 and that's good for fifth at his position for the week. Hope that's enough to win it for you! Good luck.
Early word on Hyde's injury? Does he play and start next week if Gore can't go?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:08 AM)
Early word: He claims it was a back, not an ankle, injury. I unfortunately have little word beyond that, so at best we can only assume "day to day." Frank Gore is in the league's concussion protocol, though, so I'd imagine that we'll get swift word on Hyde's status; the Wednesday practice, at latest, should give us better word.By the way, with the 49ers now out of the playoffs, I do think Hyde has great odds -- health willing -- of an expanded role these next two weeks.
Gabe Asher (San Fran)
Hey Tristan, what's your prediction on the game tonight and what kind of stats do you see for Brees and Ingram?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
Honestly, Gabe, I don't do Monday morning projections nor do I change what I estimate with my weekly rankings, barring the unlikely breaking of news today that impacts the game. I made that Graham prediction more for fun, and because Graham is a good talking point. So I'll point you to our site projections if you want a projection, my ranks on the site if you want to know positional value, and I'll continue to stress that I think the Saints' matchup tonight could not be better than they've seen all year. Easily this is right there with their top matchups of 2014, so feel free to be pretty confident.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
Breaking: Chase Headley to the Yankees, per Buster Olney. Looks like four years and a little over $50 million. Good for his fantasy value, between ballpark and the chance he'll consistently keep both corner infield spots' eligibility for a few years.
Thanks for the help last week Tristan...I crushed & play for the title this week...Eli
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
Congrats Sonny! Good luck.
Need 10 points. Standard Scoring. Shayne Graham or Feely / Gould tonight @ MNF?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
I want Graham if only because I go with the kicker on the team I project to win the game. I do think Feely kicks for the Bears, for the record, but we'll see when the official inactives are released at approximately 7 p.m. ET.
What do you think of Stills tonight? Is this the week he puts up the big game with all the vertical routes he runs?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
Again, I like the Saints' chances and it's a bounce-back for Stills; I've used him in a few places in my daily leagues in fact. Yes, there was the letdown of a Week 14, but he's still being heavily targeted and that's a good thing against a D like Chicago's.
mike (at work)
Did you watch the Dallas/Philly game last night? Demarco Murray didn't seem the same to me. I know there was not much room to run. But it looks like the workload is finally getting to him. Thoughts?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
I saw a good chunk of it and there were a few runs sprinkled in there that made me think he's got enough left in the tank. Maybe he's hard-pressed to keep up the per-game pace -- think more like 85-90 percent of it, especially since a Redskins matchup isn't the best for a running back -- but I'm really not worried, at least from the snaps I did see.
hi Tristan, do you see Jonas gray getting a larger role for the pats?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
John, I think that was now three games since the 44'er that he didn't play a single snap in the first half yet got a noticeable volume of work in the final two quarters. It's two games, that I know for certain; I think it was three in which that was the pattern. And if that's how Gray is being used -- and I'll add that Vereen goal-line chance early yesterday, which made no sense -- that's classic Belichick backfield shenanigans. I don't buy it, Blount seems much more involved to me. And even with him I have my doubts.
Dave (Redding, CT)
A trade has our league up in arms. The league has no trade deadline and two active playoff teams exchanged defenses, Team A who had a bye traded a defense with a favorable matchup for a defense from Team B which had a favorable matchup down the road. The commissioner vetoed this on account that the rule wasn't fair (A rule he created when setting up the league). The commissioner also played Team B the week of this. Thoughts Tristan? Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
I'm not sure I follow, Dave, the commissioner vetoed a deal because he objected to the rule? Sorry, but rules are rules. If trading is still legit this time of year, so be it. You change rules between seasons, never ever in-season.
I get the feeling that next year, rankers are going to be hesitant to put OBJ in the "Truly elite" class (with Brown, Johnson, Julio, Nelson, etc). Where will you be putting him? I believe he's been the best WR since he started in week 5.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
I'm not hesitant, have had him a compelling weekly top-five candidate and have been tempted to slot him 1-2-3 several times. For next season? I can make the top-five case. By the way, for the rankings perspective, only Demaryius Thomas (180) has more fantasy points than Odell Beckham Jr. (147) since Week 5. Hilton, Dez and Brown are right there with OBJ.
What's up with Polk and Sproles getting multiple goal line looks over McCoy? Cause for concern?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
Touchdown vulturing is nothing new, and a painful part of the game, sorry to say. No real concerns besides that, and I'll point out that LeSean McCoy's overall workload ranks right up there with any running back's.
mike (at work)
Good Morning Tristan. I know you don't like to do these, but maybe you can make an exception because it's the holidays. I'm down by 8 in a Non-PPR. 6 pts. per TD pass league. I have Brees and Colston. My opponent has Stills. How am I looking?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
It's not that I don't like to do these, it's more that any quick guess on a projection like that is just that, a guess, and I question the value to fantasy owners. It's why we rank (and the site projects) earlier in the week; we take the time to carefully consider chances then.I'd say that on quick glance, you're in pretty good shape. And since I'm known for having fun with numbers, I'll say that you have a 64.712 percent chance of winning tonight.
Dom [via mobile]
You think the Redskins will realize that Morris should be used WAY more than they use him? And what can I expect from him next year? And will Latavius Murray be a stud next year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
Alfred Morris is one of the better -- and I'd say more underrated such -- short-yardage running backs in the league, in my opinion at least. I don't think a lot of him in terms of breakaway speed/between-the-20s work, but there's no reason the guy can't be a consistent 8-10 touchdown guy. He'll be solidly in the RB2 class for 2015.As for Murray, can't say stud, more like high-ceiling guy who we'll see what the Raiders surround him with. Might be in the mid-20s in rank, but we'll see, a lot can change there.
Jay (FL) [via mobile]
Jordan Matthews with 0 catches last night, what gives? Going into the championship next week if Julio sits again should I roll with Harry Douglas at flex or give Matthews another chance?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
Matthews had just one target, which if I'm recalling it correctly, was an ugly drop. He now has 11 targets the past three games combined, and sure seems to be suffering from Mark Sanchez's struggles. Unfortunately, since my Matthews case has always been founded upon chemistry solely with Sanchez, yes, if Jones sits again in Week 16, I'm using Harry Douglas instead.
Steve (SoFlo) [via mobile]
Onto the finals next week, Eli at Wash or Tannehill vs Minn?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
Eli Manning plays St. Louis on the road, FYI. And I'm using him over Tannehill, if only for these two reasons: 1) Odell Beckham Jr. Seriously, one dominant receiver can make the QB in fantasy. 2) Tannehill's recent struggles; haven't like what I've seen from him of late.
Frank (New York)
How do you feel about the Headley deal from a real-world perspective? Yanks out on Scherzer now?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
I think it's good value considering the market, and a smart move for the Yankees, knowing that he can contribute at either corner, providing them insurance behind two aging injury risks in A-Rod and Teixeira. As for Scherzer, I refuse to rule that out; Yankees' winter sure has a similar pace to last year's, where they waited for a bit to blow right past the luxury tax threshold.
Hey Tristan. Keeper question. Is Jeremy Hill worth keeping at $16 ($500 budget)?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
Yes, unquestionably. I don't even need to see how that backfield shakes out -- thought it's obviously smart to keep tabs -- to know he'll warrant at least that price in 2015.
Jack (St Louis) [via mobile]
Looking for a defense to start next week, Buffalo's Defense vs Jacksonville? Or Eagles defense vs Washington?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
People love to ask me about D/ST sleepers each week, so why not, here we go...Buffalo is at Oakland. But yes, that's an obvious one. Will be in my top five, and I'm guessing will make a push for top-3 (Seattle is going to be No. 1 for me, I'm sure, in a game at Arizona).Titans get the Jags on Thursday; I'll bite in a desperate spot -- though I'm likely to slot them 15th-ish in my ranks -- if only because of the short week (remember this recent Thursday game?).I like Philly, I like Carolina (facing Manziel and company), I like Baltimore and I kind of like Green Bay.
Martin (SF) [via mobile]
How do you see Aaron Rodgers fairing in wks 16 and 17. I'm playing against him and Cobb I'm the finals. Should I be worried?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
I'm not worried. A Tampa Bay matchup is a recipe for rebound. Plus, the Week 17 game against the Lions is now likely to be a critical matchup, meaning no early rest for Rodgers.
Eddie (New Mexico)
What are some of your favorite Christmas movies?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
Strangely, Eddie, there are a lot of Christmas movies I've never seen, and the overall crop is actually somewhat disappointing to me (especially the more recent ones).I loved "A Christmas Story" before it was cool to; now I just think it's overplayed (and possibly overrated), though I still do like it (and watch it once, period, a year). I also really liked the original "Miracle on 34th Street." Am also a fan of "Christmas Vacation."
ok math boy- up by 3 in ESPN standard, opponent has cutler.... my chance of winning is________
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
"Math boy"? Really?You have a 7.265 percent chance of winning.
Mike (San Diego)
Is TE the new kicker in terms of predictability?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
Hey, I saw that comment made somewhere; was that something Matthew had said recently? I can't remember who it was, but it was an interesting comment to make. I won't take the same approach to drafting tight ends that I do kickers next season, but yes, it's a position that tends to be easier to fill on the cheap than people think.
From a fantasy value-- what can we expect from the new red sox's starters (Porcello, Masterson, and Miley)?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
Streaming value, but perhaps more of it than you might think when seeing that label. I wrote a bit about that recently: Winter meetings wrap
Mike (San Diego)
BTW, it was Christopher Harris that I forgot to cite with that question.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
That's right, and I should've known that. Christopher is a whiz with the VBD data; extremely helpful as you begin formulating plans for attacking positions in the draft.
Hi Tristan, you think I could go off tonight in a shootout vs. Brees? Is there any upside here?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
I think there is absolutely upside in Jay Cutler tonight. The Saints are not only a bad D, they're bad from an all-time perspective; seriously their numbers put them on pace for one of the worst in the game's history. Cutler could pick this D apart, and if he's throwing frequently while playing from behind, as I expect, sure, he'll be worth many owners' whiles.
Seems to me that the state of the TE position would make getting the consistency of a Gronk all the more important.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
Yes, I think that is a fair assessment... though five months ago the same could've been said about Jimmy Graham, and we know where that's taken us... I can't see how I have a single TE in my first round.
A thankful fan (Phoenix)
Just wanted to say thanks Tristan for all of the thoughtful, meaningful work you put out there. Your "big 3" baseball columns you used to write guided me to many trade "wins" and your baseball and football work is always appreciated in my fantasy success. Hope you and your's has a great holiday and your stocking is filled with chicken parm goodness.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
Thank you very much, and a happy holiday to you and all my chat followers as well!
Gronk should be the first non-RB taken off the board next year, he's that valuable.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
If that's true then it should be in the second round (which is where I'd slot him as of now anyway). And it means another first round full of running backs (which, again, I'd have projected anyway). I'd make the case Demaryius should go first though...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
My Fantasy Fallout column is also now out...
Keeper question: Hopkins (9th), Russ Wilson (10th), Hyde (8th) or Mason/Michael (14th)? .5 PPR
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:47 AM)
As things stand right now, I'd rank those keeper values Tre Mason, DeAndre Hopkins, Russell Wilson, Carlos Hyde.
Early 2015 top 5 picks?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
Right now, for me, it'd likely be Jamaal Charles, Le'Veon Bell (I can make the case he belongs first), DeMarco Murray, Matt Forte, Eddie Lacy. I know I'm keeping out some guys I have awfully close, like Foster, McCoy and Lynch, whom I might have in that very order. And I'm sorely tempted to put Andre Ellington in the top-eight range.
Joey (Tampa) [via mobile]
Flex for next week. Gordon, benjamin, or douglas?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
If Julio Jones is out -- we'll see -- I'd be tempted to put Harry Douglas first facing the Saints. I'd likely go Benjamin, Gordon, Douglas, as things stand today, though.
Donnell (DC) [via mobile]
Hello Mr. Turkey Leg, when is your next Fantasy Baseball podcast airing? Also, in a dynasty baseball league with 35 man rosters, what should the ratio of veterans/prospects be if any? Appreciate your help.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
Taping tomorrow, if my voice holds up, haha. Gotta be able to sing! (I sure hope people actually like the singing...)There's no hard-and-fast answer, as roster construction and competitive chances influence, but I tend not to go further than 6-8 prospects on a roster that deep. And I mean pure prospects, guys with at best 50/50 chances of playing in the bigs in 2015.
Facing Mark Ingram tonight, up 20. My opponent has the tiebreaker if we end up with the same score. Since you like numbers, can you give me a percentage of my chances at holding him off? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
Let's say about 71 percent. I can't calculate it to multiple decimal points on this one; my calculator broke.
Where does Forsett fall in your early rankings next year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
Yeah, I'm kinda tempted on him. The problem is that once you get into the 9-18 range, there are a lot of young, up-and-comer types that I'll likely be tempted to slot first heading into 2015. (Read: Jeremy Hill. Did I mention Jeremy Hill?)I'd say Forsett might be as good as a top-15 running back entering 2015. Just a hunch he'll be borderline 20th when I get to it.
I'm up 38 with Graham going vs Brees and that terrible, jv-like defense. You'd think I'd think I have it locked up. What's my win %?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
One meeeeellion percent. Give or take about nine million, nine hundred ninety nine thousand, nine hundred and 15 or so.
Scott (Westminster, CO)
Thoughts on CJ Anderson for next year? His production has tailed off the last 2 weeks, but his usage hasn't..63.27% chance of being the starting RB next year...too high or too low?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
I'd say it's about right, if not too low, as unlike Knowshon Moreno before him, he's (I believe) already under contract and not a free agent, so he'll be back on the roster. I could completely see an Anderson-Montee Ball backfield where Ball is just the short-yardage, change-of-pace dude.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
Oh, and that'd make Anderson a surefire RB2, if it works out that way.
So I have a commissioner question. It is the first year of a keeper league and wondering what number of keepers you typically like. Its a two QB league. I'm thinking three but I also wouldn't mind having more. Thanks for your time, it is always appreciated
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
Jared, the first thing I'll caution is that you cannot change a league's rules to a keeper system once the rosters are in place; you need to set them, then let people fill their rosters (meaning make this decision and draft fresh for 2015, then it's a new keeper league).My favorite dynasty league allows everyone to keep up to eight players with no minimum (so you can cut everyone if you wish), and everyone has a price tag attached. But I prefer deeper formats; I think 3-5 is generally a good number for most.
Didnt mention Pats D vs. NYJ next week. You like them better that Ten vs Jax or STL vs NYG?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
Yes, I do like the Patriots, and easily tops of these three. I assumed they wouldn't be available on free agency in any league.
Victor Cruz (Chunky Commercial set)
Hey guys. Don't forget to draft me in the 10th round next season and get the steal of the draft.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
That is not a crazy idea. Not in the slightest.
Eric Karabell (Philadelphia)
Our teams or awful. Please tell me that Ryan Howard will be traded to the Yankees!!! See you on the podcast.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
Take A-Rod's contract, please!
Jim (South Bend, IN)
Whats your opinion on Josh Gordon. Is he worth keeping in the lineup next week if you had DeSean Jackson sitting on the bench.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
I'm just not sure what to do with Gordon; his prospects are so tied to the messy quarterback situation. I have a hunch he'll be in the 20s for me, so WR3 material. Without running the stats, I'd be amazed if I didn't have Jackson at least five spots higher, what with the Philly matchup. That's a good one for him.
Our league does worst to first waivers. The guy in last place all year got to stock up on talent and has now made the finals. What do you think the best way to do waivers is? Waiver budget?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:02 PM)
FAAB budget. I like auctions to fill initial rosters, and FAAB to do in-season pickups. Grant every owner equal opportunity to acquire every player, and complete control for owners deciding players' worth.
End of the Tennessee game any chance that Walkers 33yds get corrected to zero looked like a forward lateral to me.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
A play's a play, whether it should or should not have happened. If it counted in the game then it counts in the box score, and the league would have to change the stat ruling for that to happen.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 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, best of luck to you in your matchups both tonight and in Week 16!