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 (11:01 AM)
Good morning everyone! The fantasy football playoffs are rapidly approaching, and I'm sure you've got questions as you prepare your rosters for them. Let's get started, shall we?
sillyme [via mobile]
Steve Smith Sr or Percy Harvin going forward?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
I'd jump to say Harvin, based upon Smith's recent returns, which look a lot like his 2013. That said, keep in mind that Harvin has had two so-so games and one good one so far with the Jets, and on his schedule are a pair against the Dolphins, one against the Bills and one against the Patriots, plus a bye. Smith, meanwhile, does have a Saints and a Jaguars left on his. He's also on bye this week. Harvin, but I do think Smith has a couple of higher-ceiling games there, that's all.
How do you see the Denver RB situation playing out with Ball coming back this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
Well, first of all, I hope that Ronnie Hillman's modest usage and results on Sunday were more the product of his ankle injury than the game plan itself, but we'll see on that front. I still think Hillman is the leading man, but C.J. Anderson carved out a role for himself, Juwan Thompson has been a useful backup (when healthy) at times and I think Montee Ball has the makings of a short-yardage type to provide Hillman a breather. The result is that Hillman's going to be challenged to be a weekly RB1, but I don't think he's far from it; think the 15th back ranked per week the rest of the way, give or take depending upon matchup. Health willing, that is. I think Ball's going to be overrated, frankly; he's a low-end flex at best, and that's all a hope for TDs.
Ricky B (Pasadena, CA)
Cam Romo or Sanchez tonight and ROS
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
Cam Newton > Mark Sanchez for tonight. Both are good matchups, but Eagles is better, based upon who has been accruing the stats that have them third in fantasy points per game allowed to quarterbacks (remember Austin Davis?).As for the rest of the year, I'd go Newton, but I could be talked into Tony Romo. With Newton, the Week 12 bye is bothersome, but there's a pair of Falcons on his schedule, plus the Saints and the Bucs. Those are four automatics for me, out of seven remaining weeks. Pretty solid, I'd say.
After an awesome Lynch performance, and with his tough schedule coming up, do you keep him, or trade him and VJax, for something like Rashad Jennings and Josh Gordon?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
If those are the offers, I'm keeping him, and it's not even close for me. Lynch is a top-five talent -- you can try to talk me down to merely top-10 if you wish, but you'll have to work at it to do so -- and that demands an instant weekly play in return in exchange via trade. Neither Vincent Jackson nor Jennings is that; there's too much weekly risk involved with either.
ROS (Wk 12 forward), do you prefer BAL DST or SFO DST?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
Well, you said Week 12, which is key. Ravens are off in Week 11, and have the Saints on the road in Week 12, so I'm looking elsewhere both weeks.I'd say 49ers if you were counting all seven remaining weeks. Less weekly volatility. But I have to sing the praises of that Ravens Week 14-17 schedule: @MIA, JAC, @HOU, CLE. Wow.Remember: I always play the matchups game with defenses. Always.
Must-add: ODB, shoelace (can be WR), or both?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
Uh, both, and I'm shocked they're both available. Shoelace over ODB though, if I must pick.
Tomorrow is our trade deadline. I got offered Lynch and Patterson for Brees and Jennings (NYG). I have Rivers as my other QB and also have McCoy and Foster as RBs. We can play extra RBs in our RB/WR slots. Is this a trade worth making or is Rivers too risky the rest of the way?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
I'd make that deal, and I don't think Philip Rivers is all that risky the rest of the way. Brees has shown us some things to doubt, no? Nice value there, though I'd have liked to press for someone more trustworthy than Cordarelle Patterson, should you have the opportunity to tweak that one part.
Do you see any boost for Andre Johnson with Mallet starting?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
Sure, if only because I think Ryan Mallet has the arm to ramp up the Texans' volume of vertical targets, and let's not forget that Johnson was sixth in the NFL in vertical targets in 2014. That said, DeAndre Hopkins has three more than Johnson this year, and the Texans do run a lot so those two toe a fine line in the volume department. Right now I'm not adjusting any expectations for either, but I'm leaning on the side of concern if only because they can't afford to lose targets (to, say, the TEs) in the slightest.
Do you think Palmer's injury is going to hurt Ellington's production?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
Andre Ellington scored 43 fantasy points -- including his season high of 26 -- in the three games Carson Palmer missed earlier this year, so no, I don't see any significant change coming. I wouldn't be surprised if he has a small handful of carries swapped for short-range targets, though, but that's the only adjustment I'm making (which pretty much pertains to PPR).
What are your thoughts on Jerick McKinnon ROTS? What's more worrisome, potential AP return or complete lack of TDs?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
The complete lack of TDs. I do feel like there's a chance we'll see Adrian Peterson play this year, but I'm not sure when or in what role. And I've said it a million times this year: I don't like tying up bench spots with multi-week inactive players. McKinnon's fine as a low-end RB2, though he could drop into the flex class in December.
javier (miami, fl)
Hi Tristan...in a jam next week must win or out of playoffs... Browns D a good stream for next week? what are your top defense adds for the week
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
First of all, oh no, no Jaguars matchup for a D/ST in Week 11! (They're on bye.)Browns D/ST, I'm OK with it under the guise that they're facing a QB making his first career start, but as I said with Mallet's arm in the earlier question, there's some big-play potential there that makes it at least slightly dangerous. Texans haven't afforded an opposing D/ST a double-digit fantasy game this year, so I'd say something in the range of eight is an appropriate projection, and that's maybe a top-10 ranked D/ST. Maybe.I like the Broncos, Steelers, Chargers, Texans, Vikings, Panthers and Redskins, among D/STs that have a reasonable chance of being available.
Brian (San Diego)
Was this Golden Tate's way of saying that he is still and RB2 even with Calvin around?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
Certainly, but no one should've been downgrading Tate even with Calvin Johnson back, at least not further than, say, the 20-25 range at WR, which is low-end WR2/high-end WR3 material depending upon league settings.I'll say that at least the parts of the game I saw, it seemed that the Dolphins were a little more intent on covering Calvin Johnson of the two. Wasn't to any great extent, and let's also say, "Wow, Brent Grimes. What a game."
Mark Shell (Camp Hill, PA)
Will Bishop Sankey have a 100yrd game this year? He's getting the touches
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:31 AM)
I think he could. He should get an expanded opportunity in a few of these upcoming games; Titans surely need to take a longer look at him. I'd nominate the Giants (Week 14) or Jaguars (Week 16) as good candidates for it, but don't let your expectations north of that get the best of you.
Why doesn't Boykin's crazy play last night count as a blocked kick? Did the Packers defense score any fantasy points on that play?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
That falls into the category of requiring the reminder that live scoring is unofficial; though a quick scroll through the play-by-play shows that there's no record specifically of a "blocked punt" (it says O'Donnell suffered a loss of 12 yards on a play that wasn't a punt). Watch the video; doesn't look like he necessarily even makes contact with the ball, so it might remain a fumble in the scoring. We'll see. Stuff like that tends to resolve itself in the final scoring tally on Tuesday (or with subsequent league scoring changes).
Missed the boat on unloading Gio Bernard before his injury..what will he be ROS? Still sell him or hold tight
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
I think at this point you hold tight because Jeremy Hill performed well enough that first week to cast some doubt with owners about Bernard's going-forward role and value. And incidentally, that's hardly a "shoulda" situation; we cannot possibly forecast every injury.
Brian(Murray) [via mobile]
I have both Doug Martin and Bobby Rainey as my 3rd backs. Which one is going to see more work going forward?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
A maddening rotation a la the St. Louis Rams, though I'll point out that Rainey hardly impressed these past two weeks, and Charles Sims didn't have the look of a starter with the work he received in Week 10. Martin's got a shot at a solid 33.3 percent of the work going forward, and I'd argue there's every reason to believe he'll lead (if there is one) in carries... sorry that's not a glowing endorsement but that backfield remains unimpressive.
Nicholas (Baton Rouge, LA)
Who is the better RB2 going forward? Hillman, Gore or Joique? Forte is my RB1
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
I personally prefer Joique Bell, but Ronnie Hillman's probably right there with him. I'm just a little more concerned about Hillman's competition than I am Bell's.
Martin (New York, NY)
Is Odell Beckham the real deal? In terms of keepers, how does he rank for you going forward?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
I think he's got a legitimate chance at a top-20 ranking among wide receivers for 2015 and in a dynasty league, I'd surely price him as one.
Joe (Det MI)
Hey Tristan already looking towards next week with Stanton lkely under center do you believe Fitz can keep his production up especially against Det next week, or is C Patterson or D Bowe a better option?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
I don't like the Cardinals' matchup one bit, not with the Lions playing good defense, generating a lot of pass pressure and the Cardinals using Drew Stanton at quarterback. That said, boy, it's so difficult to endorse Patterson here, though the matchups say if you swap Fitzgerald out, he's the guy. Love that Bears matchup and I'll say that I probably lean towards Patterson, at least as things stand this second. Risk/reward but I'll take it.
thoughts on ryan matthews ros?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
I feel like he'll be back in Week 11, play limited snaps and be worked up to full speed, in a likely 2-3 week process (adjusting either shorter or lengthier depending upon how he looks next week). I do think Mathews, if all goes well, recaptures that job, though, so take that into account if you're a Branden Oliver owner.
With Sammy Watkins "injury" status and poor performance, and quick turn around. Would you play him on Thursday, or go with VJax or Keenan Allen on sunday?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
I'm going to try to avoid Watkins wherever I can on Thursday. Besides the injury concern, it's a road game at Miami, and the Dolphins have played tremendous defense of late.Vincent Jackson, he'd be my choice facing a poor Washington D. I know Jackson's fantasy point totals have been frustrating, but the past two weeks he's had some nice volume games, had eight catches on 13 targets this week. With a touchdown in either game he'd look a lot more enticing right now, but I'll almost always play volume.
I'm down 8 going against Maclin tonight. I have both Sanchez and Cam. Start Sanchez and hope to negate any points Maclin receives or start Cam in hopes of higher ceiling?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
I don't play the "neutralize the opponent" game. The bottom line is that you need the most fantasy points you can get, and I've projected Cam Newton with more. You roll the dice with him accordingly (or, at least, I mean I would).Look at it like this: If Maclin scores 11 and that's on the heels of a Mark Sanchez 16, but Newton scores 19, what was the point of using Sanchez in the first place? You left three points on the table no matter what the Eagles did.
I was stunned the Bears generated nothing vs the Packers. Is it time to unload all Bears
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
I'd say no, and it's for a few reasons: One, this is the absolute worst time to bail on your Bears, because everyone in fantasy is probably in panic mode with them right now. Two, let's consider the Bears you might own? Matt Forte? Well, in these past three ugly losses he has totaled 53 fantasy points, not bad. Brandon Marshall or Alshon Jeffery? Each had a double-digit game the past two weeks, and if this team is really this bad all year, it'll mean plenty of garbage-time passing anyway, so neither will be invisible. So what's left, Martellus Bennett? Jay Cutler? Ok, sure, perhaps, but again, volume possibility. And it's not like anyone owned the Bears D/ST anyway; it's just such a bad defense (something everyone realized at the season's start ). This couldn't be more obvious a team that's poor on the field, but not as bad as you think it is for fantasy.
What do you expect from K.Benjamin tonight?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
Solid game, but I love Eagles matchups for opposing wide receivers. WR2, I ranked him 11th.
Give Antonio Brown for Megatron? nonPPR
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
Seven remaining games for Calvin Johnson compared to six for Brown -- that's actually a bigger deal than people make it out to be this time of year -- and Johnson has a slightly better remaining schedule, though Brown does have two more cakewalk matchups in his own right. Can't lose either way here, if I have my choice I chase the additional game. I hate byes and the dead roster spots they create.
Looking to acquire a WR1. Rank these WR's ROS: Calvin, Dez, Julio.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
Dez moves ahead of Calvin and that's the order.
Do u think Romo for Martellus is a fair swap? Non - PPR
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
You get or give Romo? I want the Romo side 1,000 times out of 1,000 I'm offered that. And that's coming from a guy who believes in Bennett as a solid weekly TE.
Any insight on Andre Holmes? 1 target i think? Not even a part of their gameplan on some weeks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
More the story of the Raiders' receivers than it is Holmes' own ability. He's the most intriguing of the bunch, but it's a lot of mouths to feed and a developing quarterback who can be inconsistent with deep throws. I'd say just play matchups, exploit the softer secondaries, but it doesn't work that way on teams like this; unpredictability in weekly target totals, unfortunately. WR4/5, that's about it.
What do you think of Carlos Hyde as a keeper? Starter next year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
He might be one of the more obvious such candidates, but I'd say Hyde is easily one of the 10 players in the NFL with the greatest differential in potential 2015 comparative to rest-of-2014 value. I think he can and will start next year and should be picked in the RB2 class (which means a probable second/third rounder).
Hillman just a bad/off week? or a sign of things to come?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
He dealt with an ankle injury during the game and the reports on it weren't glowing afterward. I genuinely wonder how much that contributed to the momentum of that game. We'll see. Seems more to learn this week from the practices.
Scott (Westminster, CO)
With your thoughts on the Brown for Calvin trade, same thoughts apply to a trade giving Leveon Bell and Mike Wallace for Forsett and Calvin? Alos, Bell is a 9th round keeper, Calvin is a 2nd...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
If there are keeper implications such as that, I think you could do better for Le'Veon Bell. He'd be one of the five most valuable keepers in any league priced as a ninth rounder; I'd be shocked if you could find me 4-5 others who were as good.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 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 you in tonight's Panthers-Eagles game as well as in the upcoming Week 11!