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Gene Wang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 8, 2007; 12:00 PM

Want to win your league this year? Washington Post staff writer Gene Wang was online Thursday, Nov. 8 at noon ET to solves your fantasy football dilemmas.

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The transcript follows.

Read Gene's latest column and rankings.

Discussion Archive

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Gene Wang: Injuries continue to ravage fantasy lineups, with Larry Johnson the latest superstar to go down. What to do? Check out my column today and find out. Now let's get to your questions.

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Raleigh, N.C.: Gene, I am currently 9-0 in my league, and I owe most of my success to the fact that I have Tom Brady on my team and that he is having one heck of a year. But, as you surely know, this is the bye week for the Patriots, and I'd like to keep my perfect record. My backup choices right now are Warner, Campbell, Boller or Harrington. I know...But I have to start someone! Who should it be?

Gene Wang: Congrats on the 9-0 start. Warner is your best bet. Campbell and Boller don't have the WRs, and Harrington is, well, Harrington.

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Lanham, Md.: Jesse Chatman or Priest Holmes this week?

Gene Wang: Chatman

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Boston: I've been holding on to Chris Henry -- WR. What should I expect of him for the rest of this year?

Gene Wang: You should expect him to catch TDs, especially in the immediate future with Chad Johnson and TJ Housh limited because of injuries.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Hi Gene - Really enjoy the chats. Been consistently disappointed by Shaun Alexander this season, but luckily have had Tom Brady, Marion Barber, and Lendale White to help ease the pain. In any event, reaching the end of my rope and considering using WR Brandon Marshall from Denver, instead of Alexander, in the flex"WR/RB" spot. Can you tell me if this might be a dumb move? My other WRs are Larry Fitzgerald and Donald Driver.

Gene Wang: I've just about had it with Alexander as well. He's been dead weight on a couple of my teams since Week 2, but I've continued to start him anyway, hoping he has that breakout game. If you want to go with Marshall instead, I wouldn't say it's a unwise move. But because I'm stubborn, I'm sticking with Alexander this week.

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Rockville, Md.: Gene, for those of us who are lucky to be 8-1 or 9-0 and have virtually clinched the playoffs, is it wise to acquire players now before the trade deadline based on matchups for Weeks 15/16? Or foolish given the week-to-week fluctuation of player values in FF?

Gene Wang: Ah, to be 9-0. I remember what that's like. Unfortunately it's just a memory at this point in fantasy seasons. Acquiring players based on Week 15/16 matchups is not a bad idea, presuming you do so wisely. Put it this way: I wouldn't give up a stud RB/WR to get a lesser player just because of a better matchup.

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Washington, D.C.: Gene,

How would you evaluate the rookie back Kolby Smith as a fantasy prospect ? Thanks.

Gene Wang: He's worth picking up and stashing on your bench in deeper leagues. Priest Holmes will get a chance to show if he's anywhere near back to his old form. Meantime, Smith will get some touches, but probably not enough to make a significant fantasy impact.

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San Antonio: Gene you da best. Quick question, who's the better option this week at QB - Bulger or Huard? My man Brady is in a BYE and I need a replacement that isn't gonna kill me. Thanks man!

Gene Wang: Bulger

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Washington, DC: Gene, quick question. I've been offered Derrick Mason for Steve Smith straight up. I know Smith has no one to throw him the ball, but should I ask for another player in addition?

Gene Wang: I would not under any circumstances trade Steve Smith for Derrick Mason.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Gene!

I really need to fill my 3rd WR spot, is Chris Henry worth a start his first week back or should I go with Derrick Mason? Thanks so much for all your help!

Gene Wang: With the Ravens secondary a mess and the Bengals having injury issues at WR, I like Chris Henry.

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Greenwich, CT: Gene, I've got the dreaded bye week for my stars (Tom Brady, Randy Moss and Wes Welker). While I feel ok with my receivers, I have a QB dilemma. I've got Damon Huard penciled in right now. The noteworthy available QBs are David Garrard (who, if he plays, would go up against my Titans defense), Philip Rivers, Vince Young, J.P. Losman, Brian Griese, Vinnie Testaverde, and Steve McNair. Who do I play come Sunday? Thanks.

Gene Wang: I can't believe I'm writing this because I've been so down on the guy over his career, but J.P. Losman may be the best play.

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Hi Gene: I have Steven Jackson, Willis McGahee, Marion Barber, and Kevin Jones, and need to start two of them. Given matchups and recent injuries, which two should I go with? Thanks!

Gene Wang: I like McGahee and KJ. Normally I'd say Steven Jackson and McGahee, but I still don't trust Jackson coming off another injury. If he has a good game this weekend, he'll be back on the must-start list.

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Carlisle, Pa.: Gene, please tell me what to do with Steve Smith! What level of WR do you bench him for? Right now I'm thinking of sticking him on the bench in favor of David Patten.

Gene Wang: You should start Steve Smith, despite the Panthers' QB troubles. It looks like Vinny Testaverde will be ready to go Sunday, and he still can throw the long ball well. Plus Smith has payback in mind for DeAngelo Hall, who held Smith in check the last time they played.

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Washington, DC: Wanger,

Is Priest Holmes a legitimate option to start at RB this week?

Gene Wang: He is in deeper leagues, but don't expect him to rip off 200 yards from scrimmage and a couple TDs. Consider him a low-end No. 2 RB.

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New Jersey: Gene, I was thinking of offering up Carson Palmer for Ben Roethlisberger. Am I giving up on Carson too early?

Gene Wang: You may be giving up on Carson too early. Consider that he has Chris Henry coming back, which should help that offense a great deal in the passing game.

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Tyson's Corner: Hey Gene! What is your typical keeper strategy? In our league, we have one keeper per year from the 3rd round or blower. Whoever you keep, you lose that draft pick in the following draft. I am of the mindset that 99 percent of the time you should aim to keep RBs, especially since they are so scarce in our 14-team league. Do you always look to have a RB keeper? The exception for our league will obviously be Randy Moss in the 4th round, which was at the time considered a stretch! Brady was taken in the 2nd round, so he isn't a keeper option.

Gene Wang: I always look to keep RBs because good ones aren't easy to find and because of their tendency to get hurt. Just look at this season (and another shameless plug for my column today on the plethora of injured RBs . . . check it out!) with Ronnie Brown, Cadillac Williams, Deuce McAllister and now Larry Johnson. The list is distinguished and exhaustive.

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Washington, D.C.: My league is already tired of me talking about this, so I need to share it here.

I'm in a keeper league and, after a slow start, began to go into "rebuilding" mode. Last week, I traded Larry Johnson - who helped me to two title games in past years - for to-be free agent Michael Turner and a draft pick.

LJ helped the other team win last week, and is now gone. And I am a happy owner.

Gene Wang: You've come to the right place, where we encourage owners to gloat. This chat would make TO proud. Thanks for sharing.

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Alexandria, VA: Gene,

Your hotsheet has Larry Johnson down to #40. I'm taking that to mean that you don't have high hopes for him coming back from injury to be productive come fantasy playoff time.

Gene Wang: Barring divine intervention, LJ isn't going to play this week. As I wrote today, the best-case scenario is that Johnson heals quickly and plays a couple games in the final month, but if the Chiefs are out of playoff contention, they won't want to rush him back, especially if his foot is really broken. For all you LJ owners -- of which I am one -- plan on going in another direction at RB the rest of the season.

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State College, Pa.: Is it better to start RBs or WRs as flex position players? I have a bunch of 2nd tier WR and BBs, and all are dinged up, so it becomes a question of which position type on average provides more points. Thoughts?

Gene Wang: I've always advocated starting RBs at flex, just because they tend to get more touches than WRs and therefore have more opportunity to produce fantasy points. Of course if you have the option of starting Larry Fitzgerald, for example, at flex, that's a better move than starting a low-end No. 2 RB.

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Alexandria, VA: What are the expectations for Andre Johnson's return in Week 11? I've had him on my team since Day 1 and could really use a strong WR from here on out. Thanks..love the chats, BTW.

Gene Wang: Players in their first game back from injury are not a good play in most cases. Just look at Marvin Harrison, who was a non-factor in his only game back from an injured knee. I know that because I started him, and he didn't produce. Bad move. Learn from my mistakes.

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Washington, D.C.: Hey Gene,

Just got a big trade offer:

I send Jeremy Shockey and Wes Welker and in exchange, I get Brandon Jacobs, Anquin Bolden and Jerius Norwood.

It is tempting but Welker has been my best player but as of now, I have no RB's save for Ryan Grant and Justin Fargas and I do have WR's in Torry Holt and Donald Driver.

Help?

Gene Wang: First, I hope you have another TE to take Shockey's place, unless of course you play in a format that doesn't require TEs. I like the trade for you. Brandon Jacobs is going to have a good game against the Cowboys this week, and Bolden goes against the Lions secondary. They both are high end fantasy players at their positions. It's tough to give up Welker, but in the long run I like what you are getting in return.

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Shepherdstown, W.V. : Gene, I have a trade offer on the table right now that would provide me with a big upgrade at WR. Reggie Wayne for either broke-down Steven Jackson OR banged-up Frank Gore.

Now I do realize both RBs have seriously under performed to say the least. My hesitation comes from the fact that I'm in a 12-team keeper league where Tier-1 RB's are hard to come by.

Which back do you feel has the best long-term potential? Jackson or Gore?

Gene Wang: Give Gore's injury history, I like Jackson's long-term potential better.

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Silver Spring, MD: Geno, Oh wise one:

Please evaluate the Fantasy prospects for both Kolby Smith and Michael Bennett. I have both on my bench and am looking for a PRODUCTIVE replacement for the VERY disappointing Cedric Benson. Time to make a move or give Cedric another try coming off the Bears BYE week??

Gene Wang: Neither Smith or Bennnet has much fantasy value at this point. Benson remains a better option.

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Pittsburgh: Thanks for convincing me to start Big Ben last week.

Who would to start -- Seahawks D vs 49ers or Chiefs D vs Broncos? In view of the Broncos performance last weekend against Detroit, do you think the Broncos could perform that poorly again?

Thanks again

Gene Wang: I'm glad someone took my advice, unlike myself, who didn't follow it. Can you believe I started Donovan McNabb over Ben Roethlisberger? One of the biggest bonehead moves of the season. I like the Seahawks D against the woeful 49ers, who are 32nd out of 32 teams in total offense. Yup, that means they are dead last.

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Richmond, Va.: Hi Gene,

I've noticed that Willie Parker is always ranked so highly, typically in the top 5 running backs every week. I think he is a little over rated, but I was able to pick him up in a trade this week for Hines Ward. Do you think he'll pick up more TDs in the second half of the season? Also, I now have five good starting running backs (Parker, Gore, Mcgahee, Kevin Jones and Earnest Graham). Who should I trade to get some WR help? What can I expect in return?

Gene Wang: I respectfully disagree that Parker overrated. He is ranked highly each week because of his consistency (five 100-yard games this season) and because he stays injury-free. He's one of the few RBs who has not missed time with an injury this season. BTW, check out my column today on just that subject. I expect Parker to get more TDs as the Steelers run the ball more in the second half of the season when the cold weather sets in. Eight of his 13 TDs last season came over the second half of the season. If you want a true No. 1 WR, you'd have to deal either McGahee or KJ.

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Harrisonburg, VA: Tough QB question. Would you start Derek Anderson at Pitt or Kitna at Arizona? While Anderson has had the better season, Sunday's game looks tough.

Gene Wang: I'm starting Kitna in a couple leagues, so he better have a good game. Even if I had Anderson, I'd probably go with Kitna.

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Edison, N.J.: Should the Ravens D be benched this week? The D looked terrible against the Steelers and they play the Bengals this week.

Gene Wang: Ravens D is still worth starting in most formats.

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Arlington, Va.: Gene,

Need a defense to carry me the rest of the way. I have Dallas, but really don't like this week's matchup against NYG. I could pick up either the Vikings, Ravens, or Packers. Should I make a switch from the Cowboys to one of those three?

Gene Wang: The Cowboys defense is not a good play this weekend. The Giants should be able to get a lot done in the passing game and with Brandon Jacobs. I do look for the Ravens to rebound from an embarrassing performance on Monday night. The Packers at home facing a dome team isn't a bad play either.

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Gene Wang: Thanks for all the great comments and questions, and good luck this weekend. Watch for my column and hot sheet on Wednesday. Let's chat again 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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