Ian Allan's Mailbag
Posted Nov. 13 at 02:15 AM
Publisher Ian Allan fields your questions on strategy, how to run your league, player ratings -- and whatever else you think of. Updated every Friday during the season; Tuesdays and Fridays during the last two months of the preseason. You must be registered and signed-in to submit a mailbag question. After you sign in at the top of the page, the link to submit a mailbag question will become visible.
WTFO? You have the Baltimore kicker, Steven Hauschka ranked 5th and they're in the process of working out replacement kickers? He may not even on the team come Sunday.
ROBERT DAVIS [SHALIMAR, FL]
His job is definitely in jeopardy. The team worked out Billy Cundiff and Mike Nugent earlier in the week. But they’re staying with Hauschka for this week. And given the matchup – against the lowly Browns – I think Hauschka will outscore a lot of more-talented kickers this week. You know me, with the kicker position, I’m not so much concerned with whether the guy hits 80 or 90 percent on his field goals. I consider the team and matchup to be far more important. In this case, the matchup is ideal. So far, opposing kickers have scored 65 points against the Browns; only four teams have allowed more points on field goals and extra points.
Week 13 is the last week I can pick up free agents in my keeper league. It is 14-team league with experienced owners, so there are no obvious players available in free agency. I'm looking for very deep RB/WR sleepers who might have value next year (players entering their 2nd or 3rd years or potentially changing teams with more prominent roles). Any suggestions?
JASON WILHELMSEN [SMYRNA, GA]
A few under-the-radar names, in no particular order, come to mind: Bernard Scott is the No. 2 tailback in Cincinnati, and he looked very good in the preseason. … Mike Wallace of Pittsburgh has good size and speed, and he keeps making plays. … The Chargers selected Gartrell Johnson in the fourth round; now he’s with the Giants, who have a habit of turning less-heralded running back prospects into big-time players – Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward, Ahmad Bradshaw. … Johnny Knox of Chicago (who played at Abilene Christian with Bernard Scott) definitely has play-making ability. … Jason Snelling looked very good while filling in for Michael Turner a few weeks back.
I am considering trading Marion Barber and Tashard Choice for Steve Slaton and Ryan Moats. I would like to hear your opinion on this trade.
JOHN SHELBROCK [FRANKENMUTH, MI]
Of those running backs, Barber is the one that is the best, I think. So I would take the Dallas side. With the two Houston backs, you’d be left hoping that one of them wins the job cleanly – and that the team can get its running game going. The Texans rank only 27th in rushing right now, and they’ve scored only 7 of their 24 offensive touchdowns on running plays.
I'm in a PPR League and have had a pretty good run thanks to your advice. This week I'm missing Andre Johnson, and after I move Welker into the WR slot from my flex slot, I need to decide from among Jamaal Charles, Shonn Greene, Reggie Bush, Robert Meachem or even possibly Willis McGahee for that final spot. I like the Saints against the Rams, but it is hard to trust Bush or Meachem to get the opportunity. The others have nice matchups too, but will K.C. give Charles the ball? Will Thomas Jones hog the touches? And will McGahee get on the field?
L.B. Graham [WILDWOOD, MO]
I’d go with Charles. He should have a decent day against a really bad Oakland defense. The Raiders have allowed a league-high 13 rushing touchdowns, and only three teams have allowed more rushing yards. And this is a PPR league; Charles is a good pass catcher – I think he’ll catch 4-plus passes.
What do you think of JUSTIN FORSETT? He picked up 5 receptions last week and is averaging over 6 yards per carry. Is there any reason why he shouldn't steal some carries from JULIUS ("I wish I was Felix") JONES? I'm also curious about KOLBY SMITH in Kansas City. JAMAAL CHARLES can't possibly hold up as a featured back can he? Could Smith be in line for at least an even split of carries going forward? Finally, are there any universally overlooked defenses out there worth picking up for the Week 14-16 playoff home stretch? Always grateful for your insight. Speaking of, I've got to hand it to you -- I'll admit I had my doubts, but in the end you really made a lot of us look like geniuses this year with RAY RICE and CEDRIC BENSON.
Jacob Wilson [Crandall, TX]
I’m not a big Forsett fan. Even though the Seahawks released Edgerrin James, I think Forsett is still just a third-down back. If Julius Jones gets hurt, I believe it will be their other young running back, Louis Rankin, who would become the main back. Forsett is too small for a big role. And I don’t think he’ll catch 5 passes in a game again this season; the Seahawks really went pass-crazy last week against Detroit after falling behind 17-0 early. They attempted 51 passes, completing 17 to their running backs. An aberration game. As for Kolby Smith, I think he’ll split time with Charles (who’s kind of in that Forsett class). Maybe Smith gets 40 percent of the workload. With both of these offenses (Kansas City and Seattle), we’re talking about bad teams with no chance of getting out of the bottom 10 in rushing this season. You aren’t going to see another Ray Rice or Cedric Benson come from these teams.
Great column you have. Wanted to ask about coaches sitting players in weeks 15-16 with division wrapped up. With Welker and Moss on my roster was concerned about Belichick holding them out. Our final waivers deadline is Nov. 18. Any backup quarterbacks (such as Mark Brunell in New Orleans) you would you take a flier on for those last two weeks? Also, would you rate Seahawks defense over Patriots and Packers for weeks 13-16? Thanks again for all the info this year; my team is gearing up for playoff run and squirming every time Rodgers gets sacked.
dean stewart [SEAGOVILLE, TX]
I wouldn’t worry about teams resting players in weeks 15-16. Normally, it’s not until the final Sunday – week 17 – that you see teams starting to rest their stars for the playoffs. And it’s too early to say with any certainty which teams might hold players out, with the first-round byes and playoff positioning up in the air. Normally, Bill Belichick is a coach who tends to play his front-line players in those seemingly meaningless games. The Colts have historically held out Peyton Manning week 17 when possible, but they have a new coach now. It’s also possible that Manning will enter that game within reach of breaking Dan Marino’s single-season record for passing yards (or that the Colts will need to win to capture top seed in the AFC). I advise against trying to pick up No. 2 quarterbacks like Mark Brunell. If a team is mailing it in by not playing its first-string quarterback, that’s a good sign the team won’t put up its usual type of offensive production.
I love your work and I have been very loyal for many years now. I also will be loyal for many more years to come. A lifer if you will. I have never emailed until now. How is Cincinnati's defense not in your top 20 again this week. With the upcoming schedule that they have (@Oak, Clev, Det and KC during Fantasy Super Bowl week) and the performance that they have shown. I think they deserve a little bit of credit. By the way, I am not a Bengals fan, just a fantasy football fan.
Stephen Connell [CHICAGO, IL]
I agree. That’s an oversight. The lower ranking for the Bengals is more an indication of how they would perform in general against a regular schedule. During the four-week stretch that you mention, I expect the Bengals to be at least a top-10 defense – maybe in the top 5. And the rankings should be adjusted accordingly. Cincinnati doesn’t have a top-level kick returner, which hurts them, but that defense is definitely playing well right now – ranks in the top 10 in both sacks and interceptions, and only four teams are allowing fewer points.
Hope you are having a good season. I have made a great comeback after a slow start. Aaron Rodgers has been a big part of my success this year. He is taking a beating though and it seems unlikely that he will make it through the season. My backup is Flacco but I was wondering how much value Matt Flynn would have as a starter.
Scott DENHAM [MILLBROOK, AL]
There is a chance that Flynn will have to play. Rodgers is on pace to be sacked over 70 times, and he’s also running a lot (32 carries in eight games). At some point, he’ll probably get hit in an awkward way and pick up some kind of injury. But would Flynn do anything if moved into a starting role? Certainly, his production wouldn’t come anywhere close to what you’re getting out of Rodgers. And I doubt that he would be good enough that you would ever start him ahead of Flacco.
I've got a team full of "good name, no production" players and ready to shake things up. I've been offered Moats and S.Smith (CAR) for S.Jackson. What's your prognosis on Moats for the remainder of the season? Plus I already have Ochocinco, Hester and Boldin at WR, so I'm not sure Smith offers me much "net gain" since to start him means sitting one of the others. Call me crazy (while I languish here in 12th place), but I'm thinking of turning this down. What say you, Ian?
Matt Tinker [ORLEANS, VT]
I don’t see how it helps you. Steve Smith isn’t going to play any games for your team, and you would trade out a really good running back (Steven Jackson) for a time-share guy who might not even be playing a few weeks from now.
Running back question in a PPR league that also gives .5 per rush attempt. I already have Ray Rice starting, but do I start Cedric Benson or Rashard Mendenhall as my second RB? I know you guys have Mendenhall ranked higher this week, but just curious as to why.
Anthony Cillis [Springfield, MA]
The Steelers have the best run defense in the league. They held Denver to 27 rushing yards on Monday night – had me remembering that Super Bowl IX win over Minnesota. So while Benson is having a great year, I think you go with Mendenhall this week.
Ian, love the product I have won the last two years in great thanks to your analysis. This year, however, I am not doing so great at 4-5. Someone has offered me the following: Brady+Jennings for Rice+Steve Smith. I have Flacco and Cutler at QB, other RBs are P.Thomas, D.Williams and Mendenhall. My other receivers are Roddy White and Crabtree. I see Rice and Brady as an even match but not so sure about Jennings, he hasn't done much yet.
David Thompson [CONCORD, CA]
You have a surplus of talent at running back (you can start only two, right?). By my count, you’ve got four legit starting running backs. So I think it makes sense to move one of those guys. But I think the deal should be for a clear, butt-kicker receiver. I don’t think Jennings quite fits in that class right now. It’s got to be for somebody better. I don’t think obtaining Brady is important; you’ve got a couple of quarterbacks who can get the job done (Cutler isn’t losing points for his interceptions, is he?). I’m not sure that Brady is a big upgrade over the tandem of Flacco and Cutler; other than the two big games against the really bad pass defenses (Tampa Bay and Tennessee), Brady has thrown 7 TDs in six games.
Trying to pull the trigger but I'm just not positive. I'm giving up Turner and Mason for Mendenhall and Ochocinco (others on my team are Rice, Jacobs, Boldin, Manningham). I see your re-drafter. My concern is Mendenhall holding up and making up the difference for Turner.
TIM ZEUCH [MASON, OH]
I think I’d just stand pat. I don’t see a big enough difference between Ochocinco and Mason to merit giving away Michael Turner.
I am in a league that can keep 6 players a year. My potential keepers for next year are Cutler, Schaub, Jones-Drew, Benson, Steve Smith (Car), Braylon Edwards, Sidney Rice, Jonathan Stewart, Kevin Smith, LenDale White and Devin Hester. I obviously can not keep all them and have no way of making the playoffs this year (even with this team). Who would you trade/package this year for a player(s) that has breakout potential next year that someone may be down on right now?
RYAN RENSHAW [WILLIAMSTOWN, NJ]
Looks like you’ve got 10 viable keepers (White isn’t a possibility right now). Rice and Kevin Smith probably won’t make the cut, and you won’t want to protect both Cutler and Schaub. That takes you down to seven guys, and you may sour on one of those players before next August because of injury, free agency, the draft or a coaching change. I’d go from there. If somebody agrees to make a trade that will help your team, then you can improve your team at that time.
Question 2: Week 13 is the last...
Posted by David Grace | Nov. 13 at 03:50 AM
Come on Ian, I'm sure Knox and Wallace are already rostered in a 14 team league (they are in my 14 team league) and where is the potential opportunity for Scott, Snelling or Johnson? They all have entrenched starters in front of them and I don't think any of them are potential free agents. If I were Jason I'd see if James Davis is available. Lewis is retiring so Davis may have the opportunity to start and with a new coach next year things may start to turn around in Cleveland. You also might look at a guy like Josh Morgan who has really disappointed this year but is only in his second year and was the talk of OTA's. You never know when the light is going to go on for someone, and it might never happen for Morgan, but the 2nd half of your 2nd season is often a time when guys figure it out. With Crabtree getting the attention of the other teams top corner Morgan has a chance to do something if the light goes on. He's worth a flier. One other guy I'd look at is Jerious Norwood, who will be a free agent if there is a new collective bargaining agreement. He could end up somewhere where he gets enough touches to be useful. Of course he would have to stay healthy too...he's not too good at that.
Question 2: Week 13 is the last...
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Nov. 13 at 04:20 AM
I'll toss out some names I picked up recently in my dynasty league, or in the case of Tate thought about but couldn't make room for. Kansas City's Lance Long, New England's Brandon Tate, Seattle's Louis Rankin. These are all guys we've talked about in the Weekly the last few weeks...all could potentially be starters or at least No. 3 WRs next year.
Question 2: Week 13 is the last...
Posted by David Grace | Nov. 13 at 04:58 AM
Chaz Schillens is another guy who might be available. Maybe the Raiders get a real QB in the off season.
Question 7: I love your work and...
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Nov. 13 at 02:54 AM
Stephen - For a minute I thought we'd received an email from the A-Team creator, but that was Cannell. Oh well. I take the lead on the defense rankings for Fantasy Index. Good point on the upcoming schedule for Cincinnati, and I agree the Bengals D should (and will) be a little higher. One thing with the Bengals was they slipped after they lost pass rusher Antwan Odom for the season. Although they're currently top 10 in sacks, they're kind of an average or slightly below average group right now. They got 9 of their 21 sacks on the season in the first two games (7 of which were Odom's; 6 of the team's 9 came against Aaron Rodgers), just 12 in the six games since then. The defense projections tend to flow from expected sacks and turnovers, which is why you'll see teams like the Vikings and Eagles very high in the rankings. (And each week, teams who match up with sack-prone quarterbacks get a nice bump - like the Bengals this week, in fact, facing Ben Roethlisberger. Anyway, that's one of the major elements to these rankings. But given that the Bengals' next few games are against the Raiders, Browns and Lions, they'll probably be ahead of their recent pace in sacks and turnovers, and the ReDrafter rankings will reflect that.
Question 13: I am in a league...
Posted by Kevin Witt | Nov. 18 at 11:31 PM
Sidney Rice won't make the cut?? Whoa, am I missing something here? Many consider this guy a top 10 WR right now. He is breaking out in front of our eyes and you don't think he is a keeper in a 6 man keeper league?? It's funny because I am in a 6 keeper league myself and own Rice. No chance I leave him exposed.
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