I usually wait until the afternoon to write this, but my inbox was flooded already, so I had enough to get it up early. Thanks for all the questions, everyone.
Can you give a quick rundown of the relevant injuries and their effects? -Tiffany, New Hampshire
The Cowboys are all questionable right now, except Miles Austin who is out. I expect Dez Bryant to play. I expect Felix Jones to play, but get less touches than normal. Tashard Choice would pick up some of the slack. Don’t expect Arian Foster to play, and if he does, he won’t be the main back. Ben Tate’s value remains high for this week. Mario Manningham and Michael Vick both sustained concussions. I like the chances of Vick playing. Manningham is still uncertain, I’d say 50/50. Hakeem Nicks should be there. It sounds like there is about a 30% chance Malcom Floyd plays. Vincent Jackson might see even more coverage than usual.
Where would Ben Tate fall in your rankings with Foster likely out or limited? How about Thomas Jones and Dexter McCluster? -Kevin, Mass.
The Chiefs offense has been bad all around. I wouldn’t have either of them in my top 20 RB. Jones is worth a flex play. McCluster is worth owning, but not starting yet, except perhaps as a WR3 in deeper leagues. Meanwhile, I expect 20 touches for Tate, if not more, so I’d have him among my top 15 RB (perhaps closer to 10).
Cam Newton… I’m sure I’m not the only one asking. You hate rookies, but how can you deny what he’s done? -Jameson, Carolina.
I don’t deny what he’s done. I am simply skeptical of what he will do. Defenses thus far have played close to the line, focusing on his running ability. Meanwhile, Steve Smith has gotten behind them, making for some easy throws. Now, I was impressed by his accuracy at times against Green Bay, but at other times he was wild. As defenses respect his arm, the interceptions will rise. Also, the Panthers are still 0-2. They need the run to win, so expect Deangelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart to get more action, and Newton to get less.
I drafted Matthew Stafford as my backup, and I’m tired of seeing huge stats go to waste. Who would you expect to get back in trade? -Ramon, New Mexico
First of all, I’d ask who your starter is. After Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Rivers… I could make an argument to start him against just about any other QB, thought I’m not saying I would for sure. That being said, look at your needs, and look at your league. Chances are someone has been getting frustrated by an underperforming QB, or a star they’re ready to give up on. For instance, I’m in the same exact situation in one of my leagues, with Aaron Rodgers as the starter. I have offers out there trading Stafford for Vincent Jackson because the guy has Eli Manning. I have an offer out involving Chris Johnson because he’s not performing. Shoot high, and then negotiate from there, but make sure you are A) filling a need and B) filling it with a solid reliable option. Personally, I wouldn’t take less than the top 15 at RB or WR.
How do you feel about trading three for two or two for one? I hate to lose the depth. -Brian, Kansas
A lot of my deals are lopsided because I am aware of the value I place on my guys. Most of my bench guys become throw-ins to get a deal done. If I can trade one starter and a bench guy for a better starter, then I’ve made my lineup better. The bench doesn’t score you points. And there’s always another RB or WR on waivers who is at least worth owning.
Who do you see at each position as the top scorer who wasn’t in anyone’s top-10 at that position to start the year? -Mack, NYC
Stafford at QB. He could be top six or seven at year’s end. Ben Tate could earn himself a long-term serious role if Foster misses another couple weeks. I didn’t know anyone who had Dez Bryant or Jeremy Maclin in their top 10s, so they could both be there at year’s end, or Kenny Britt if he could stay healthy. Jimmy Graham was an outside guy who was a bit of a sleeper but he’s getting the targets to be there.
In a keeper league, is it worthwhile to trade for a guy like Peyton or Jamaal? -Ken, Los Angeles
I can’t imagine a deal in which I give up useful players for either of them. I always focus on this year, so I probably wouldn’t give up players who can help me now, for two guys who I have long-term concerns over. Manning is old, by football standards. If this neck thing leaves any real concerns from doctors, he could just retire. He’s already a Hall of Famer. Meanwhile, Charles should recover, but doctors I’ve heard from say he may be 70% next year, improving to 80% over the course of the season, but we likely wouldn’t see the fully explosive Charles until 2013.
How do you decide which questions to answer each week? Random? -Carl, London
I usually flip through and see if there’s specific things multiple people are asking about (like injuries, or trade philosophy). I rarely do “should I start player A or B”, mainly because there’s usually only two types of those, either 1- the players are nowhere near each other, and they should be able to figure it out, or 2- they are close and it’s purely a gut call, which is the kind of decision an owner should make himself. I like to do some over/under type but I don’t get as many of those with football as I do in baseball season.
That’s all for now. Thanks for the questions. Sorry if I didn’t get to yours. Good luck.