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Fantasy Football

Gene Wang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 29, 2007 12:00 PM

Want to win your league this year? Washington Post staff writer Gene Wang was online Thursday, Nov. 29 at noon ET to solve your fantasy football dilemmas.

The transcript follows.

Read Gene's latest column and rankings.

Discussion Archive

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Gene Wang: Greetings fantasy owners. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and that you remembered to set your lineups on Thursday. Don't forget to do the same today ahead of tonight's big game. Also check out my column today to read why I think Ryan Grant is going to have a nice game against the Cowboys. Now let's get to you questions.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Geno, missed you terribly last week.

RB 9-1-1

How close to coming back are:

Larry Johnson

Brandon Jacobs

Is Droughns a worthwhile play this week against Chicago? And speaking of Chicago, who backs up THEIR Adrian Peterson? Will that guy get any play in the upcoming weeks? Just trying to find some viable RBs!

Gene Wang: LJ has said he'll be be this season, but don't hold your breath. Brandon Jacobs has a hamstring injury and most likely isn't going to play this week, especially because Derrick Ward is ready to go. With Ward coming injury, Droughns should get a fair number of carries as they share time, but not enough to start him. The Bears' No. 2 RB is Garrett Wolfe, who isn't going to get a lot of work unless Peterson gets injured.

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Metro Center: Gene,

You are an unabashed Cowboy hater. Please just admit that Dallas will win the Super Bowl this season behind Romo, TO and a rapidly improving defense. Also, Romo and Marion the Barbarian are going to carry my team to the fantasy football championship

Gene Wang: I'm not a hater, but Dallas really has no chance of winning the Super Bowl. The Cowboys would have to get there first in order to have a chance, and I don't even see them winning tonight's game against Green Bay, which is my pick to represent the NFC on Super Sunday.

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Alexandria, Va.: So, I'm tied for first place in my league and am playing the team I'm tied with this week. I want to go into the play-offs ranked No. 1. I'm pretty set at all positions except with my D/ST: Seattle or Chicago?

Please help a girl out!

Gene Wang: I like Chicago's matchup for a couple reasons. First, the Giants are really beat up, especially now that Plaxico Burress has a knee injury to go along with that bum ankle. Second, Eli Manning's confidence has to be shaken after last week.

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Arlington, Va.: Gene,

Didn't see Jesse Chatman (RB for Miami) on your hotsheet. It seems like he will get a lot of carries with Ricky Williams now out for the season. I also didn't see Marshawn Lynch (RB for Buffalo). I was hoping that he would miss maybe the Redskins game then come back. Any news?

Gene Wang: Chatman has a seriously sprained ankle, and even if he plays, he's going to be greatly limited. The only healthy backs on Miami's roster are Samkon Gado and Patrick Cobbs. Lynch won't be back on the hot sheet either until it's clear he's going to play, which appears next week at the earliest.

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RBs Rankings: Gene: Frank Gore is ahead of McGahee and Fred Taylor. Can you help me understand this please?

Was last week a fluke for Gore?

Thanks.

Gene Wang: Frank Gore vaulted up my hot sheet after last week's performance and the fact that the 49ers now seem committed to giving Gore more touches in light of that performance. Credit new assistant Ted Tollner with giving Gore a bigger workload. And guess what? The 49ers won because of it.

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Gulf of Mexico, Fla.: Gene,

Love your information! keep it up!

I have suffered from Edgerrin James's reduced roles in the Red Zone and come-from behind situations. I usually play him with McGahee, who has a bad matchup. Do I change to Justin Fargas vs. Denver, or just hope for the Cardinals to see James's playoff moxie?

Gene Wang: I too have cursed Edge's reduced role in the red zone. Justin Fargas is a great play this week against the Broncos, who give up roughly 147 rushing yards per game (29th in the NFL).

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Alexandria, Va.: I've got sort of a problem. I am unsure of who to sit out at WR this week. I have to start two: Andre Johnson, Roy Williams or Deion Branch. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Gene Wang: Both Tennessee (Houston's opponent) and Minnesota (Detroit's opponent) are stout against the run, so you have to figure those teams will have to throw to score. That means Andre Johnson and Roy Williams are nice plays.

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Second Cube on the Left: Gene-o, thank you for your advice to us poor, mortal FFL owners. I'm having a RB crisis--do you see Adrian "The Other" Peterson doing better in Chicago then Benson was? Is he worth a start over L. Jordan, J. Chatman or M. Lynch?

Gene Wang: TOAP (The Other Adrian Peterson) is your best option. Jordan is all but an afterthought with Justin Fargas running well, and Chatman and Lynch are too banged up at the moment.

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Woodley Park, D.C.: What do you think: Palmer or Favre this week? They both coming off such outstanding games and have tough opponents this week, so I'm torn.

Gene Wang: I like both QBs this week, but lean a bit toward Favre because the Cowboys secondary is clearly not as talented as Pittsburgh's. The Steelers rank first against the pass. The Cowboys are 21st against the pass.

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Philadelphia: Gene, does your prediction about tonight's game further suggest that I should start Favre over Romo at QB? Playoff bid on the line.

Gene Wang: See previous answer.

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Washington, DC: Aaaauuuggghhh!! Jon Kitna is making me pull my hair out! Please help before I'm bald!

Start him this weekend and hope he's "on" Sunday? Or start A.J. Feeley?

Gene Wang: Kitna is taking years off my life too. I feel your pain. In any case, the Lions are going to have to throw a bunch to beat the run-tough Vikes, so I like his chances this week. Plus there's no guarantee Feeley will play. Donovan McNabb said there's a good possibility he'll be ready to go, and we all know how loyal Coach Andy Reid is to him.

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Jefferson City, Mo.: I have to brag first about my team and then ask a question. I have Romo, Westbrook, Gore, Moss (the good one), Fitzgerald, Gates and Derek Anderson as flex. Needless to say, I've had a great season. Okay, our league had problems with tie-breakers for playoff seedings last season and I want to avoid that this season by determining what they should be before the playoffs start. Our league provider has their own, but they tend to be confusing. My question is how do other leagues do their tie-breakers for playoff seedings and also for playoff games and what is the reasoning behind it? Thanks for taking my question.

Gene Wang: Your lineup is certainly imposing. I can see why you've had a great season so far. I've always been in leagues where head-to-head is the first tiebreaker -- as it should be. After that division record in leagues that operate as such, common opponents and then somewhere down the line total points. Seedings shouldn't matter because there's no such thing as home-field advantage in fantasy. But I'll throw this out to other fantasy players. How do you all decide tiebreakers?

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The Replacements!: Hey Gene! With Jacobs out, I need to start either Selvin Young, Chatman, or Kolby Smith as my RB2. I could also start one of these guys in my flex, but I'll probably start Welker there instead. Thanks for your help in my drive to the playoffs!

Gene Wang: Kolby Smith. Young and Chatman are dealing with injuries.

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Fort Washington, Md.: Is Kolby Smith the real deal, or did he benefit from a poor Raiders run defense?

Gene Wang: It does appear the Chiefs are becoming similar to the Broncos in that they can throw different RBs into that offense and have them be successful. From Priest Holmes to Larry Johnson and now seemingly Kolby Smith. I'm not ready to call Smith the real deal just yet, but he's off to a great start.

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Montgomery, Ala.: How worried should I be about Reggie Bush this weekend? And assuming he starts, is Selvin Young a better option?

Gene Wang: I wouldn't worry too much about Reggie Bush. He missed practice time two weeks ago with a sore shin but still played.

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Flexing: Hi Gene, I need to pick two of these five, one RB and my flex position. Ryan Grant, Jesse Chatman, Kevin Jones, Donte Stallworth, and Deion Branch. Injuries at RB have been killing me all year.

Sorry to go with a play either/or question, I promise all my other questions this season have been more substantive.

Gene Wang: Ryan Grant and Deion Branch.

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Arlington, Va.: Gene, Available as free agents in our 8-team league are Rudi Johnson and Shaun Alexander, who would have thought that before the season? I'm thinking about making it a trifecta by parting with Larry Johnson. Should I finally drop LJ and pick up Rudi Johnson (although I have Carson Palmer and TJ Housh...) or Kolby Smith?

Gene Wang: I'd feel comfortable dropping LJ and adding Rudi. I don't see LJ getting back on the field this season.

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Washington, D.C.: Hey Gene. Pick one at flex, please: Chester Taylor, Derrick Ward, Kevin Curtis, or Patrick Crayton.

I'm leery of Curtis with a new QB situation, and Taylor's probably no good because Peterson is back. (Am I the only one surprised that Peterson is back so soon after an injury that seemed fairly serious?)

I'm also beating my head against the wall because I have Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor. When I handcuff them, they both do nothing, and the No. 3 RB I benched does well. When I start Jones-Drew, Taylor racks up the points.... Ugh.

Gene Wang: Chester Taylor. Even if AP does play, he's got to be limited coming off the injury, so Taylor should get his fair share of carries. He's been running well lately too. MJD is overall a better play than Taylor. MJD has five more TDs than Taylor on 36 fewer carries.

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Still in the playoffs, USA: Willie Parker No. 3? Please.

He's on my bench until further notice.

It's as if someone has painted bull's eyes on the back of the Steelers o-linemen. He didn't miss a one Monday night. Pathetic.

(I lost a close one.)

Gene Wang: If Willie Parker is on your bench, I'm guessing you have LT and Brian Westbrook as your other RBs. Despite a couple of mediocre games, he's still a must-start this week. Look for him to rebound this week against the Bengals, who give up 120 rushing yards per game (25th in the NFL).

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Arlington, Va.: What oh what am I supposed to do with Steve Smith. I'm a big proponent of never sitting your stars, but if Vinny doesn't start this weekend I'm benching Smith. David Carr is horrendous.

Gene Wang: Regarding David Carr, you took the words right out of my keyboard.

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Baltimore: I feel kinda guilty asking this but...I'm considering benching the Pack's D tonight against Dallas. I can pick up the 'Skins playing at home vs. the Bills. Given the tragedy of this week, do you think they'll play "inspired" or be distracted? Thanks Geno.

Gene Wang: I'm not sure what the protocol is for discussing the Redskins defense under the current circumstances. I know I don't feel entirely comfortable doing so. Let's just say I fully expect them to play inspired, much like Sean Taylor did every game. May he rest in peace.

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Philadelphia: For tiebreakers -- we decided years ago (this is a nine year league) to drop h2h as a tiebreaker in favor of total points in all situations except for a h2h sweep within the division. One game shouldn't determine playoff seeding like that. So, for division titles, it's Record, H2H, Divisional Record, Points, and for Wild Cards and for seeding among playoff teams, it's just Record then Points.

We do have a playoff game tiebreaker -- better seed coming into the game wins in case it's tied. More fair than picking a bench player.

Gene Wang: Thanks Philly. Any more tiebreaker rules out there?

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Washington, D.C.: Where do you stand on player hoarding? It's the first week of playoffs in my league, and one guy is without a QB due to McNabb's injury. His opponent hit the waiver wire and grabbed the three best available, including Feeley. Is this acceptable strategy or is he being an uncompetitive jerk?

Gene Wang: I'm not going to say the two are mutually exclusive, but my fantasy philosophy is that as long as an owner is operating within the league rules, then so be it if he/she hoards players or tanks to get a higher pick.

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Herndon, Va.: Fantasy Guru, for once, PLEASE answer my lineup question, I HAVE to win my next game: Pick two RBs: Parker (could be another rainy day for the Steelers), R. Dayne (Haynsworth for TN might be back), K. Smith, Adrian Peterson (Chicago). Also, would you start the Titans or Denver D? Thanks!

Gene Wang: I'd start the Titans def if Haynesworth is back. So that means you wouldn't want to start Dayne, since he'd presumably be racking up points at the expense of your defense. That leaves Kolby Smith and fast Willie Parker.

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Washington, D.C.: Gene-

My playoffs start this week, I have a first round bye -- and I'm still here...do I have a fantasy football problem?

Gene Wang: The first step to beating addiction is admitting you have a problem. Congrats on the first-round bye. Make sure your players get plenty of rest and aren't breaking the law so they'll be on the field next week.

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Football Girl: My fantasy is to watch the game tonight -- but since I don't have a dish or get the NFL Network I'm out of luck! Why oh why is such a big game unavailable to so many people!

Gene Wang: It really is a shame the game isn't on free TV, but there are plenty of sports bars around town that get NFL Network. I'd be happy to recommend a few. Or else come to my football watching party! Time and place to be determined.

On that note, I'm outta here to get prepared for tonight's huge NFC showdown. Real life playoff seeds will be at stake, and so will many fantasy playoff berths. Be sure to check out my column and hot sheet each Wednesday. See you next week.

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