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Gene Wang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 1, 2007; 12:00 PM

Want to win your league this year? Washington Post staff writer Gene Wang was online Thursday, Nov. 1 at noon ET to solves your fantasy football dilemmas.

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The transcript follows.

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Discussion Archive

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Gene Wang: Did anyone out there make a play for Jeff George? He said he could help the Vikings because he still could throw the deep ball. Vikings Coach Brad Childress responded by saying George should go to fantasy camp. Zing! Major props for Childress. Now let's get to your questions.

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Herndon, Va.: Gene, what are you hearing about Marvin Harrison this week? Is he going to be healthy enough to play an entire game if he plays at all?

Gene Wang: I'd be shocked if Marvin Harrison did not play this week. He did not practice yesterday, but that doesn't mean much. He could have played against Carolina if it were a playoff game. The Pats game is as big as it gets, so expect Harrison to be out there.

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Jackson, Miss.: What's your opinion on Marvin Harrison? Is he finally healthy, and can he have a second half that is comparable to his previous seasons?

Gene Wang: See previous answer, and yes, I firmly believe he'll have an outstanding second half.

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Alexandria, Va.: G-Man...love the chats! What are the chances of the Ravens doing damage to Pittsburgh this weekend? Do you think they've regrouped coming off of the bye? I've got McGahee, Stover, Mason, Ray Lewis, and Baltimore defense in my line-up. Thanks!

Gene Wang: It appears to me you must be a Ravens fan. You can't sneak anything past me! The Ravens may get some key players back for the Steelers, and it should be a real slug fest.

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Chicago: Adrian Peterson (Min) . . How valuable do you see him for the rest of this year? The qb infirmary in Minneapolis seems to be hurting him because defenses are stacked up against him with no fear of being beaten by the pass. I see his value as much higher in keeper leagues. If your 2008 draft were today, where would he be on your board?

Gene Wang: The Vikings haven't had the threat of a passing game all season, and here AP is leading the league in rushing as a rookie. He certainly would be in the top 5 on my draft board right up there with LT, Joseph Addai and Willie Parker.

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Wide Receivers: Hey Gene, what's the good word on Deion Branch? Is he healthy yet? Would you start him alongside TJ Houshmazilly, or would you start Donte' Stallworth?

Gene Wang: Hawks Coach Mike Holmgren said Branch has a 50 percent chance of playing. I'd wait on him for another week until it's certain he'll be a go before inserting him in your starting lineup. Houshmanzilly . . . championship! I still love saying that.

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Why is this my choice?: Oh knowledgeable one...Jay Cutler or is Jason Campbell sure to bounce back against the Jets?

Gene Wang: Both are good plays. But keep in mind the Redskins have said they are going to get back to emphasizing the run after averaging 72 rushing yards per game over the past three.

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Steel City, Pa.: Gene,

I have Big Ben and was thinking of benching him and starting Losman or Edwards.

Do you think Losman or Edwards can put up good numbers against the Bengals D?

Gene Wang: I wouldn't start Losman if it were against my high school JV. Roethlisberger has been throwing the ball exceptionally well, and now that Hines Ward is healthy, watch out. Just look at the Big Ben-to-Hines combo last week.

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Bethesda, Md.: Gene,

Blockbuster trade proposed to me. Background ... league awards 6 pts/TD, 1 pt/10 yards gained rushing or receiving. I've been offered Braylon Edwards and Willie Parker. In return, I have to give up LT (my No. 1 overall pick). Would you pull the trigger on this move? I love the numbers Edwards has put up this year but am concerned about Parker's lack of goal line production. LT hasn't had the same kind of year though he had last year. Your thoughts?

Gene Wang: It's a very tempting offer, but the Chargers are coming on strong, and LT figures to have a tremendous second half of the season. I'm saying he'll still be far and away the best fantasy back when the season is over, and I wouldn't deal him.

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Rosslyn, Va.: I may have a chance to get Andre Johnson in a trade. Do you have any information about when he might be back from injury and if anyone will throw to him once he does return? Thanks!

Gene Wang: The plan is to have Andre Johnson back Nov. 18 vs. the Saints. Houston has a bye next week, which will give Johnson more time to heal. He said he could go if he had too this week, but he's playing it safe. Ditto for Texans QB Matt Schaub. Expect both to be back for that Saints game.

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Salisbury, Md.: Anything on Steven Jackson's back injury?

Gene Wang: Jackson's back spasms were a result of overcompensating for his groin injury. He looked great before coming out of the game, and this bye week will be good for him. Expect him out there when the Rams come back Nov. 11 against the Saints.

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Lost in Tennessee: Gene help

Can someone tell me if Rudi Johnson will ever play again? I have him, his backup Watson, or Jamal Lewis, who should go this week. Also one other question: Santonio Holmes or D Stallworth

Also just bragging but none of my first three pick are doing anything (Rudi Johnson is a good example) but I am still in the hunt for the playoffs, viva free agents!!

Gene Wang: Nothing wrong with a little bravado. Good for you on being in the playoff hunt despite some adversity. Rudi is going to play this week, although Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis wouldn't say if he would start. Watson has been running well in his place, so you have to think both players will get a good number of carries. I like Santonio, too.

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Springfield Wants to Know: First-time poster, long-time reader...I'll keep saying that until I make the cut in your column. Anyway, flex position question. I'm 3rd in one of my leagues and not deep at the RB position. I can play Selvin Young at the flex or a WR like Roddy White or Dwayne Bowe (is he worth holding on to?) Thanks Gene!

Gene Wang: Dwayne Bowe is worth keeping, but I wouldn't start him at flex this week against a good Packers secondary. Selvin Young is a good play against a weak Lions defense. He will get carries even though Travis Henry appears back in the starting role after practicing yesterday.

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Falls Church, Va.: Gene, Help a lady out... I gotta pick three (I know who's obvious, but even the obvious ones are inconsistent) -- Steve Smith, Joey Galloway, Deion Branch, Marques Colston, and Anquan Boldin. Thank you very much for your advice.

Gene Wang: Smith, Galloway and Boldin

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McLean, Va.: Gene,

What can I expect out of Clinton Portis this week? Another inconsistent day, or finally some yards and a TD?

Gene Wang: The Redskins have said this week they want to re-dedicated themselves to the run. Not a bad idea against a Jets run defense ranked 27th in the league and giving up 134 yards per game. Expect Portis to be a major factor and perhaps have his first 100-yard game as well as a touchdown or two.

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20008: Gene, let me apologize for last week when I wrote in saying Brian Griese will lead you to success. I had been out late the night before, hadn't had my coffee, and obviously I wasn't thinking straight. Brian Griese?! Once again, I'm very sorry.

Gene Wang: Apology accepted, and if it makes you feel any better, Griese killed me last week starting as a bye-week QB.

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Arlington, Va.: I have the Patriots defense and it's been the only thing keeping me competitive. However, do you start them against the Colts? My alternative is the Titans defense.

Gene Wang: I would not start them on the road against Indy. Tennessee at home vs. Carolina is a better play.

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20002: Gene-o, I'm thinking about trading to get Joseph Addai for Braylon Edwards. My RB corps is a shaky match-up dependent rotation (L. Jordan, L. Maroney, C. Benson, M. Lynch) and I'd love to have one stable RB, but I hate giving up Edward's production. Any thoughts from the master? Thanks for the great chats.

Gene Wang: That's a trade I'd make. I know Braylon is having a heck of a year (check out my column today, where you'll see I've picked Edwards as the fantasy breakout player at the season's midway point), but I expect him to slow down a bit in the second half while Addai picks up the pace. Plus your RB situation could use an upgrade.

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Knoxville, Tenn.: Mean Gene

Love the chats, I have a bench question for you or anyone out there.

In a 10-team league what do you think is a good bench size? Our league has a bunch of good players sitting almost every week, bench of 9 I think. Would it be more fun to have a smaller bench and a bunch of FA moves each week or keep the bench the same next year? Thanks for the chats, love 'em.

Gene Wang: Nine bench players seems like a bit much to me, unless your league has a huge starting lineup. I played in a league that started 2 QBs, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 2 TEs, 2 Ks, 2 DEFs and 3 IDPs. There practically weren't any free agents available by the time we finished drafting. I'll throw this one out to other owners. Thoughts?

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Charlottesville, Va.: I've got Frank Gore, and I'd like to unload him for a No. 1 WR or another No. 2 RB...do you think a swap for Steve Smith is a fair trade?

Gene Wang: If you have depth at RB and need an elite WR, it's a good trade.

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Downtown: How badly hurt is Frank Gore? I keep hoping for him to breakout, but it's not happening.

I stashed Priest Holmes on my bench in hopes of a breakout, but I don't think he's ready...My other backups are on bye weeks

I can pick up DeShaun Foster, Kevin Faulk or Earnest Graham off the waiver wire.

Should I?

Gene Wang: Gore's sprained right ankle has been bothering him, but this week's opponent could get him healthy fast. The Falcons give up 123 rushing yards per game, and they just released run-stopping DT Grady Jackson. Keep an eye on him this week, and if he practices fully today and tomorrow, start him.

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Bethesda, Md.: Marc Bulger -- did we see a blip last week or is he posed to become an actual quarterback again? I've been really tempted to drop him for a while...

Gene Wang: It all depends on the health of Steven Jackson. If Jackson plays, the Rams can get a lot done in play-action with Bulger. Otherwise defenses can focus on stopping the pass because backup RB Brian Leonard isn't really a threat.

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Falls Church, Va.: Gene,

Your Hot Sheet ranks both my regular starting RBs, Frank Gore and Willis McGahee pretty high, but Gore is hurt and playing on a team with issues and I am dubious about McGahee's opportunity for success v. Pittsburgh.

How much should I consider opponents?

On the bench I have Kevin Faulk and Earnest Graham. You just never know which weapon Brady and Belichick will use so Faulk could be a nonfactor. Graham did nothing last week, but against Arizona... who knows...?

Any thoughts?

Gene Wang: I'd still go with Gore and McGahee. I know McGahee has a tough matchup, but I like him still over your other options.

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Bench:9 spots? Too much. there's nothing to lose with that many players sitting. Part of the fun is the jostling that takes place, and not knowing who's going to be dropped, added, or traded if you can just stash every player there is. No decisions will ever have to be made, and that allows people to just put it in autopilot and lose interest.

Gene Wang: Thanks. Anyone else?

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Washington, D.C.: My QB situation is in really rough shape. I mean REALLY rough shape. I've been offered Jeff Garcia and Terrell Owens for Randy Moss. I'm this close to pulling the trigger. I hate to give up Moss, but I can't stand starting Joey Harrington again.

Gene Wang: That's actually not a bad trade considering your dire circumstances at QB. No one should have to suffer the indignity of starting Joey Harrington.

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Washington, D.C.: Normally, I would never consider sitting Joseph Addai unless he was hurt, but I'm afraid this week that the Colts will have to pass more and he won't find much room against the Patriots defense. Would it be a wrong move to sit Addai in favor of Ernest Graham this week? My other running back is Kevin Jones.

Gene Wang: Yes it would. Don't forget the Colts like to throw the ball to Addai too. They'll get him the ball plenty, one way or the other.

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Washington, D.C.: Bogus Injury Reports:

I thought the league was cracking down on false injury reports. Then how come we still have players listed as PROBABLE who don't suit up AND players listed as DOUBTFUL who start AND play the ENTIRE game? Very frustrating...care to comment?

Gene Wang: The league has been trying to resolve this problem for a long time, but unfortunately it just doesn't seem to be getting better. I'm not sure there is a way to settle it, other than fining a team for listing someone as doubtful and then having him start and play an entire game.

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Re: Knoxville: I am in a 10-team league with a roster size of 17 players. Our RB list this week is Travis Henry(maybe) Rudi Johnson(maybe) Jamal Lewis (just above maybe) Jesse Chapman (just picked up & off this week) and just picked up Ryan Grant. Sometimes you can never have enough good backs.

Gene Wang: I'm of the mind that you never can have enough good backs. Just look at all the RB injuries this season: Cadillac, Ronnie Brown, Steven Jackson, Gore, Addai, Westbrook, etc. It's like the starting lineup for the Pro Bowl.

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RBs: Hi Gene, thanks for these chats, they're much appreciated. My question: My starting RBs are Larry Johnson and Kevin Jones. My backups are Brian Leonard, Jesse Chatman, and Michael Robinson, whom I scooped up this morning when I heard Frank Gore might be out. Can you think of any reason to switch any of the above with my starters, or should I put one or two of them out there for trade bait? I could use help at WR.

Gene Wang: Keep LJ and KJ as your starters. Chatman should land you a decent WR in a trade.

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Chantilly, Va.: Alright, I've been blessed with Peyton and the Pats DST all season long but this week it's a curse.

Who to start:

Peyton and Chiefs DST

-OR-

Favre and Pats DST

Gene Wang: Peyton and Chiefs D.

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Will from Rockville: I have Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne starting this week, but a little nervous since they are going up against the Pats. Should I just start Derek Anderson and pickup another WR off the waiver wire or do you think I should play my Colts' players.

Gene Wang: Play your Colts players.

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Stinkin' Injuries: Javon Walker and Deion Branch. Both injured and out for significant games this season, both on my fantasy roster. Is it worth it to be patient, or is it time to dump one or both?

Gene Wang: You can dump Walker but keep Branch. He may play this week, and if there are no setbacks, expect him to start in two weeks.

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Alexandria, Va.: Where can I find out what the rules of fantasy football (and baseball) are? I have no ideas how these fantasy games are played.

Gene Wang: Go to any fantasy sports Web site, and the rules will be posted. It's really very easy to learn. I mean if I can do it, I assure you anyone else can.

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Gene on Sunday: Show of hands, who would log on to WaPo on Sunday at say... noon on Sunday to get advice from the Oracle Gene. We want..no NEED you on Sunday man.

But I guess you have better things to do on Sunday than answer questions from clueless rubes across the country. You rock man

washingtonpost.com: Paul the producer here -- this would mean that Gene and I would have to log in on Sunday also, right?

Gene Wang: Actually, most Sundays at noon I'm either recovering from a hangover or setting my fantasy lineups. Or both. So I could see myself doing a bonus chat, but only if the powers that be at washingtonpost.com will be providing bonus money!

On that note, it's back to the grind. Good luck this weekend, and don't forget to check out my column and hot sheet each Wednesday. See you next week.

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Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


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