Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 4, 2008 12:00 PM
Want to win your league this year? Washington Post staff writer Gene Wang was online Thursday, Sept. 4 at Noon ET to solve your fantasy football dilemmas.
The transcript follows.
Gene Wang: Here we are seven hours from the start of the NFL season. Can you believe it? It finally has arrived. Don't forget to set your lineups today if you have players on the Giants and/or Redskins. Let's get going with your questions.
Mechanicsville, Md.: What is your feeling on Steve Slaton in Houston and Ray Rice in Baltimore. I miss reading you in the Post.
Gene Wang: Steve Slaton has been battling turf toe during the preseason, and he still isn't 100 percent. Ray Rice, however, could be starting Sunday. In any event, count on Rice getting significant carries, even if Willis McGahee plays. I like Rice's upside in an offense that will emphasize the run with a rookie QB starting.
Silver Spring, Md.: Gene,
You keep referring to your ratings list, but where's the link you usually have to get to your top 20 ratings? It doesn't appear on the Post Web site like it used to. ALSO, don't u usually write an online column in addition to this discussion?
Gene Wang: So glad you asked. Just like the newspaper business, my fantasy column is fluid at this point. We're still trying to figure out the best way to provide fantasy content. It's a work in progress, so please stick with me on these chats, and hopefully I'll be writing again very soon.
Tomball, TX: With McFadden breathing down his neck, is there any reason to start Justin Fargas?
Gene Wang: Consider Fargas a Chester Taylor-type fantasy player. He'll get maybe 10-12 touches per game and is a decent flex option in deeper leagues.
'Zona: With Warner available in my leauge (standard scoring - 6points TD/1 point per 20 yards passing) - would he be an upgrade over Rivers or Schaub? Definitely for week 1 (at least over rivers) but how do you see it over the season? I think Schaub will be a good QB but wondering about Rivers.
Gene Wang: Not necessarily. The concern about Schaub and Warner is injuries. Warner is ancient and has high-priced Matt Leinart right on his heels, and Schaub has shown to be a bit brittle. We know from last season's playoffs that Rivers will play through pain. Rivers has a much better chance at getting through a full season than Warner or Schaub.
Leesburg, Va.: As my second running back (I'm also starting LT) do I go with Michael Turner or McFadden?
Gene Wang: I really like DMac to have a fantastic rookie season. I know I'm not the only one saying this, but it would be a disappointment if he didn't post numbers similar to Adrian Peterson last season.
That Go Hard NE DC: Big Wang,
7 Hours and counting. This year is really a toss up year for Fantasy. We are seeing some coaches holding onto the 2002-2004 coaching style of being running back heavy. Some leagues are shifting to a WR focus with point totals favoring the passing game. QBs are at a premium with Brady, Peyton, Brees, and Romo being the preffered choices. Palmer, Big Ben, Favre and a few others being the next option.
So here is the question, do you favor changing scoring in a league based on the talent/trend levels in the NFL or should commissioners keep things the same? I tried to get my league to up the scoring from .5 per rec to 1pt but it got shot down. Any thoughts on how we deal with the changes in the NFL and how that impacts Fantasy?
Gene Wang: The beauty of fantasy is that there are no set rules. We are free to make them up at our whim. Is this a great country or what? You just have to tailor your drafting to a particular league's point system. If receptions are worth points, a player like Wes Welker or T.J. Houshmandzadeh becomes more valuable.
Herndon, VA: Gene I miss your Wash Post FP articles.
Who to start? Chad Ocho? Joey Galloway? Bernard Berrian?
Gene Wang: Thanks for the kind words. I do miss writing them, but at least we all can get a little fantasy fix with these chats, right? Chad Ocho Cinco participated fully in practice yesterday and looks good to go despite a torn labrum. He's my first choice, but Galloway is someone to consider too because I have a feeling the Bucs' game vs. New Orleans could be high scoring.
Arlington, Va.: Gene,
I own Ryan Grant in two leagues, and I'm getting concerned about his status for the weekend. Not only is he coming off a holdout and an injury, but assuming he plays, he'll be facing the Vikings' tough run defense. Should I consider pulling him? In my deep league, my only real option to replace him is Chris Perry. In my shallow league, I could replace him with Perry, Thomas Jones, Matt Forte, or Chris Johnson. Thanks for the advice!
Gene Wang: I'd pull Grant this week for Chris Perry in your deeper league and start Thomas Jones in your shallow league. Grant may need a few weeks to get back into game shape, and facing the Vikes nasty run defense makes him a questionable start at best.
RB quandry: Gene, I drafted Maurice Jones-Drew as my 2nd RB (and not thrilled by it). Managed to get Selvin Young later. Should I start him over MJD?
And does Brady (my QB) really have a cracked bone in his foot?
Gene Wang: I'm a big fan of MJD and would start him over Selvin Young. As for Brady, a radio report out of Boston indicates Brady does have a cracked bone in his foot. But Brady did participate in drills yesterday, and he has started 126 straight games, the third longest streak in the NFL. He's durable, and I expect him to be out there for the opener.
Falls Church, Va.: Chris Cooley vs. the Giants or Eagles LJ Smith against a weak Rams secondary, and with the Eagles missing their top receivers?
Gene Wang: Cooley all the way. LJ Smith has been a disappointment in recent seasons. I know because I had him.
New England: Hi Gene, help alleviate a girl's QB worries! There was a run on QB's in the early rounds and given my draft position, I was left with Eli and Delhomme. Should I be panicking or thinking about offering a trade? Overall I am happy with my receivers (Fitzgerald, Burelson), TE (Cooley), and backs (Peterson, Selvin Young), but still a little worried that I am not Fantasy-Superbowl bound this year. Should I be?
Gene Wang: I've always been a big fan of Jake Delhomme, and he looked great during the preseason. I'd feel good about him as a No. 1 fantasy QB. I expect him really to get going when Steve Smith comes back from his two-game suspension.
Washington, DC: I've heard that you're not supposed to worry about bye weeks when you're drafting, but my two starting RBs (Lynch and Parker) both have the same bye week. I have Fred Taylor and Ahmad Bradshaw on my bench...should I try to make a trade? Or hold off and see how things play out for a few weeks?
Gene Wang: Who said you aren't supposed to worry about bye weeks? To me that's one of the most important considerations of any fantasy draft. I'd hold off on making a move though. Taylor is fine as bye-week fill-in, and we'll have to wait and see on Bradshaw.
Washington D.C.: Isn't fantasy football just Dungeons and Dragons for jocks? Isn't it about time you boys moved out of mommy's basement?
Gene Wang: Hey, I used to play D&D growing up. In fact I was in a D&D club in high school. I guess it's no big surprise then I'm doing a fantasy chat these days, right? I will say living in my parents' basement was great -- no rent, free food and full use of laundry facilities!
Alexandria, Va.: Gene,
In a 12 team league that counts receptions, I took Welker in the 3rd round, 25th overall. Did I overreach for him a little bit?
Cal Johnson, Anquan Boldin, Brandon Marshall and Plaxico were the next 4 wide outs picked.
Gene Wang: Not at all. Welker definitely is worth the 25th overall pick in a league that counts receptions. Good choice.
Bloomfield, NJ: Hi Gene, love your column and that it's back for another year. Quick one, Roethlisberger or Warner. Thanks.
Gene Wang: Thanks, and Big Ben.
Arlington, Va.: Gene,
Should I start Derek Anderson against Dallas or Vince Young Against Jacksonville? Is Anderson recovered from his concussion?
Gene Wang: Derek Anderson should be your starting QB regardless of matchup. He participated fully in practiced yesterday, so don't worry about that concussion just yet. Jacksonville's defense is ferocious, and they'll get after Young. Plus the Titans really haven't helped Young at wide receiver.
WDC: So is he "Chad Ocho Cinco" or just "Ocho Cinco"? When will all the fantasy sites reflect the change? And when will his involuntary confinement to a mental asylum begin?
Gene Wang: Official name: Chad Javon Ocho Cinco. CJOC for short. Fantasy sites are staying with Chad Johnson. Perhaps by next year the name change will be reflected. Ocho Cinco certainly is a bit peculiar, isn't he? Btw, don't you just love the Bengals' flip-flop? They were so sanctimonious after releasing Chris Henry, saying he didn't live up to the team's code of morality. Now he's back on their roster because of injury worries surrounding CJOC and TJ. Funny how that soap box means nothing when it comes to winning football games.
Miami, FL: Hey Gene! What do you think of Ricky Williams? Is he going to be the real thing this year? I've got him and Reggie Bush, and I can't figure out which one to take more seriously.
Gene Wang: I'm really expecting big things from Ricky Williams. He's going to get the bulk of the carries early as Ronnie Brown works his way back from injury. Ricky looked fabulous during preseason. A fellow fantasy owner compared Reggie Bush to Michael Vick, in that both players have a lot of flash on the field, leading them to be overvalued as fantasy players. I think that's about right. I remember one owner in a league last season drafting Bush No. 3 overall.
The MacGahee Penalty: As a penalty for getting to draft AP #2 overall, I'm (perhaps) stuck with McGahee as my #2 RB. Do you think Willis will pull out another stud year or regress? Also in week 1 should I sit MacGahee and say Run, Ricky, Run for the Fins?
Gene Wang: McGahee will be a game-time decision, so keep close watch on that. I'd be tempted to start Ricky Williams (see previous post) regarless though. Having AP give you a luxury most fantasy owners don't have. You can have a subpar game from your No. 2 back and still have a reasonable chance at winning because AP is going to post monster numbers most weeks.
Washington DC: I love FFBL, and wonder what could we expand it to outside of sports? Fantasy Politics, Fantasy Movies.
Gene Wang: Now that's a great question. I've heard of fantasy fashion, where you draft name brands (ie Gucci, Prada, Armani, etc.) and get points each time a celebrity wears that brand on the red carpet. My boss EGR (name shortened to protect my job) approached me some time ago about creating fantasy politics, but I wasn't able to wrap my arms around that one. Would be cool to have fantasy politics of some sort though. Any ideas out there? I promise to give you a cut if it becomes profitable.
San Diego: Who do you see being the more productive back in Carolina, both in Week 1, and over the course of the season? DeAngelo Williams or Johnathan Stewart?
Gene Wang: Both backs looked great during the preseason. I know because I watched both torch the Redskins. Right now they'll be sharing carries fairly evenly, so it's difficult to say who will be more productive. In the long run I like Stewart.
Denver, Colo.: Gene, should I start Jerry Porter? My plan is to start Berrian, Larry Fitzgerald and Marvin Harrison. On the bench I also have Jabar Gaffney and Devin Hester. Thanks.
Gene Wang: I'd wait on Porter to see how that hamstring injury holds up. He did participate fully in practice yesterday, but hamstring injuries are just about the worst type of ailment for wide receivers. They can linger for an entire season and greatly compromise a player's productivity.
Washington, D.C.: Gene,
I'm having some RB troubles and am already dreading the season. But for this week, which two of these four would you start? Consider that we do have PPR in our league.
Graham, Willie Parker, Jonathan Stewart, and Larry Johnson.
Gene Wang: Hate to hear fantasy owners so glum even before the season has begun. I'd lean toward Graham and Larry Johnson.
Baltimore, Md.: Gene, what have you heard, will Reggie Williams be playing for Jax this weekend or not? Even if he does, a WR with a mushy hammy probably isn't a valuable asset to my fantasy team. Who would you start in his place: P. Crayton, or A. Gonzalez? Thanks Gene!
Gene Wang: Reggie Williams did not practice yesterday. If he doesn't practice today, I'd certainly bench him until further notice. Since Crayton is literally the only other WR the roster for Dallas this weekend aside from TO, he's a nice play.
Washington, DC: Is it just me, or is talent getting more diffuse? It seemed like by the 3d round of our draft there were no players left to be enthuastic about at any position. Partly it's because I had the second pick in a 12-team draft -- an awful lot of talent goes away between the 2nd pick and the 23rd/26th picks. But still -- I could have been taken in the 3d round of our draft.
Gene Wang: By the third round, most of the household names probably are gone. But that doesn't mean the talent pool is empty. Half the fun of fantasy is being able to gloat about a great draft pick in the middle to late rounds.
Boston: Gene, welcome back. Should I start Chris Perry over Cooley or Chris Johnson in my flex position?
Gene Wang: Yes, I've always been partial to starting RBs in the flex position.
New Orleans: I picked 5th in a 10 team league and drafted RBs with my first 3 picks - Addai, M. Lynch and Jones-Drew. It left me a little exposed at WR with Steve Smith, Greg Jennings, Reggie Brown, Bernard Berrian and T Ginn in the last round. My QB is Roethlisberger. We have the flex option so I can start 3 RBs and I locked up Addai by picking D. Rhodes in round 15. Do you think I took the "fill your RB first" strategy too far using it on my first 3 rounds?
Gene Wang: Not at all. If you are a regular reader of the fantasy chat, you know I'm a huge proponent of filling the RB slots above all else. A lot of fantasy advice these days is trending away from that philosophy, but it has worked for me plenty of times, so I'm sticking to it. Smith is an excellent No. 1 WR, and Jennings is more than adequate as your No. 2.
Washington, D.C.: Gene,
I have Ricky Williams on my bench, but he's my only backup RB. Should I swap him for Ray Rice?
Gene Wang: Hang on to Ricky.
Gene Wang: Another fantasy chat in the books. Before I sign off, I want to wish Daunte Culpepper a happy retirement. He just announced he's done with football. Culpepper owners have fond memories of his 2004 season in which he threw for 4,717 yards and 39 TDs. Owners who had him in subsequent years, however, were cursing his name. Probably still are. Good luck this weekend, and let's do it again next week.
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.