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Gene Wang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 11, 2008; 12:00 PM

Want to win your league this year? Washington Post staff writer Gene Wang was online Thursday, Sept. 11 at Noon ET to solve your fantasy football dilemmas.

The transcript follows.

Discussion Archive

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Gene Wang: Welcome to another fantasy chat. I'm sure there are many questions in the wake of injuries to Tom Brady and Vince Young, among others, so let's get started.

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Brady gone: How unhappy will Randy Moss be in New England now? He's not gonna have as good a season.

Gene Wang: That's one of the biggest concerns from the Brady injury. Matt Cassel knows that too, so his first throw was to Moss, and he completed a touchdown to Moss as well. Moss clearly isn't going to catch 23 TDs this season, but he's still a must-start regardless of matchup.

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Arlington, Va: Hey Gene,

Like a lot of other fantasy players, I'm trying to figure out how to replace Colson. Who on the pass-happy Saints is most likely to benefit? Patten? Shockey?

Gene Wang: Devery Henderson will benefit the most, but I suspect Reggie Bush is going to be split out at WR more often, and Shockey will get more looks too. Patten now becomes the No. 2 WR, but he'll operate in the slot and catch underneath passes, so he's worth starting in PPR leagues. All those players are worth starting this week against a vulnerable Redskins secondary.

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Alexandria: Is LenDale White's value shot now? Or am I just over-reacting to one week?

Gene Wang: Yes, and I harken you back to Week 1 of last season when Chris Brown ran for 175 yards against Jacksonville, and LenDale White owners were in a panic. By season's end, White had 1,110 yards and seven TDs, while Brown was a nonfactor. White is still the No. 1 option and should be a regular starter in virtually all formats.

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Chicago: Gene, I'm trying to salvage a season that may already be over for me. My week 1 roster included Tom Brady, Marques Colston and Dallas Clark. (I lost.) I've replaced them with Aaron Rodgers, David Patten and Anthony Fasano. What do you think? Does Rodgers look like the real deal? Thanks.

Gene Wang: Don't fret just yet. You're getting Colston and Clark back at some point, and just like the NFL season, it doesn't matter as much how you start as how you finish. Rodgers isn't going to provide anywhere near Brady numbers, but he's fine as your No. 1 QB. I remember losing Cadillac Williams last year and picking up this guy named Earnest Graham, and he led me to a title.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Mean Gene! I picked up David Patten as soon as I found out Marques Colston would be out four to six weeks. Right now I have Joey Galloway as my third receiver, but I like Patten's chances with the Redskins defense. Who do you play this week, Galloway or Patten?

Gene Wang: Patten, especially given that Brian Griese is going to start for the Bucs. Galloway and Jeff Garcia have great chemistry in the passing game, and I'm not confident Griese and Galloway will have the same comfort level.

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Vienna, Va.: GENEius,

Trade question. Would you give up Matt Forte to get Antonio Gates? Our league does not award PPR to RBs, but TEs do get 1 point for every 2 receptions. I'm pretty solid at RB already.

Thanks! CC

Gene Wang: Generally I wouldn't trade a RB for a TE, but in this case I'd make an exception, especially since you say you are set at RB. Gates is like having a No. 1 WR starting at TE. He's just so valuable.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Some question about Fantasy Strategy: Is it better to start players in a home game as opposed to away? Should I play the matchups instead of always starting a player? For example, in my league someone started McNabb over Peyton just because of the matchup, and it worked! Does must start really mean must, or is it a recommendation for usually?

Gene Wang: There are certain players, i.e. LT, Adrian Peteron, who are must-starts regardless of matchup, location of game, or any other circumstances. Right now Donovan McNabb is one of those players. He's going to carve up the Cowboys secondary on Monday night. But Peyton Manning is also a must-start regardless, despite his poor showing against the Bears. Apart from those and other top-flight players, matchups play a major role in determining whom to start. Also when the decision is close, it's not a bad idea to start the guy playing at home.

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Fort Washington, Md.: Gene, I hope week 1 was as exciting for you as it was for me. I chalked up my first ever fantasy win! Question though: I have a trade offer on the table and need your advice. I have Eddie Royal on the bench; they want to trade me Deuce Mcallister for him. Again, I'm new to fantasy football -- would you make the trade? I just don't know how banged-up Deuce is, and I know he is injury-prone. I'm a little weak at the RB position. I think teams will start to target Royal after Monday night's performance -- after all, it was the Oakland defense. Do you think McAllister will see any playing time in the future? Thanks, Gene.

Gene Wang: I'd say consider the deal strongly. McAllister participated fully in practice yesterday, which means he's going to play Sunday. When he's at his best, McAllister can be a good No. 2 RB and a great flex guy. As for Royal, his value is sky high right now, but when Brandon Marshall comes back this week, Royal's numbers are going to suffer. You're not going to win many fantasy games if you're weak at RB.

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Rockville, Md.: Gene, do you expect Carson Palmer to turn things around, or is the Bengals offense doomed this season?

Gene Wang: TJ Houshmandzadeh put it best when he said the Bengals' offense stinks. That offense is in disarray, and with no running game to speak of, defenses can lock in on TJ and Chad Ochco Cinco. Palmer's numbers are going to suffer because of it.

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Fairfax, Va.: Gene, what WR/RB do you need to have on the bench to consider sitting Torry Holt?

Gene Wang: I wouldn't sit Holt. I know Holt owners may be in a panic after the Rams' Week 1 showing, but he's been one of the most consistent WRs for the past decade, so no reason to bench him based on one poor performance by the entire team.

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Worcester, Mass.: How does your expectations for New England's win percentage change as a result of Tom Brady being out for the season? I had come to expect the Patriots to win, which made the Super Bowl loss to the Giants especially tough. Now I am back to hoping they win. I think this adversity will make every New England victory this season that much sweeter for the team and the fans. Thanks.

Gene Wang: Refreshing to hear from a Pats' fan to the end. I know the Patriots bandwagon got a lot lighter after news broke that Brady was lost for the season. New England is still a contender for the AFC title, even without Brady. Last I checked, they still have Randy Moss, Wes Welker, a solid defense and the easiest schedule in the NFL based on opponents' winner percentage last season.

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Washington: I was just offered Willis McGahee and Shaun McDonald for Jay Cutler. This sounds low to me and I'm very inclined to decline it -- I'm expecting great numbers from Cutler this year. Would you do this trade?

Gene Wang: I like your instincts. I'm expecting huge numbers from Cutler as well, especially down the road with Brandon Marshall due back this week. McGahee's injury could be nagging all season, and McDonald is at best a No. 3 WR in deeper leagues.

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Alexandria, Va.: Gene! Help me, Gene! I won the Matt Cassel sweepstakes in my leagues waiver wire (the guy just got the keys to the best car in football, that's worth a shot, right?), but that leaves me with Rivers, Palmer and the perpetual backup. ... I'm thinking about trading one, because I'm now very weak in wide receiver talent without Burleson and Colston. Which one of the three should I trade, and what's fair value?

Gene Wang: Yeah, you don't need three QBs on your roster, unless you're in a league that starts two QBs. You're going to get most value for Rivers at this point, and you should expect a low-end No. 1 WR or No. 2 RB in exchange. You should hold on to Cassel though, because he's going to be fine.

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Baltimore, MD: Gene, Who do you like as a replacement backup WR (lost my sleeper Burrelson for the season). Currently available are Bernard Berrian, Greg Lewis and the rookie Royal? Any chance of Royal putting up numbers like that now that Marshall is back?

Gene Wang: If you checked out my fantasy draft chats in late August, I had Nate Burleson as my sleeper WR this season too. It all started so well for him too. Oh well. Royal's numbers are going tail off with the return of Marshall, but he's still a decent option at No. 2 WR or in the flex position. Berrian isn't part of a passing offense, and Lewis is too inconsistent. Also remember the Eagles will be getting Reggie Brown back perhaps this week, and Kevin Curtis later this season.

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Miami: I know it has only been one week but how do you see Williams and Ginn Jr. doing the rest ofthe way? Ginn Jr. did not get many looks from Chad.

Gene Wang: I'm still a big Ricky Williams supporter, and I think he's going to have a nice season, despite a mediocre Week 1. Can't say the same for Ted Ginn, who despite his speed can't seem to gain separation. Right now the knocks on him being too brittle for the NFL seem accurate.

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Philadelphia: How do you like DeSean Jackson -- is he the next great rookie wide receiver after Colston and Bowe?

Gene Wang: I really like DeSean Jackson. He's going to be the No. 1 WR for the Eagles by the end of the season, and he is a great option this week against Dallas. In leagues that also award individual return points, he's a must-start regardless of matchup.

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Arlington, Va.: Love the chats! So I had the first pick of the draft and got LT. Unfortunately, that meant that I missed out on the rest of the top-tier RBs and my choices for RB2 are Willis McGahee, Ricky Williams, Ronnie Brown, and Lendale White (tried to drop White for Chris Johnson after last weekend but someone with first dibs on waivers beat me to it). Which one do you like for this week? Thanks!

Gene Wang: As I mentioned earlier, I'm a fan of Ricky Williams, and he has a favorable matchup vs. the Cardinals. LenDale White is a good option too against the Bengals.

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Woodbridge, VA: Hey Gene, My opponent this week has Darren McFadden and Michael Turner. I have Justin Fargas and Jerious Norwood on my bench. Should I start one or both for vulture purposes?

Gene Wang: I've never been big on starting a player simply because he may be a TD vulture. For those new to fantasy or who are unfamiliar with the term, TD vulture refers to a player who rarely touches the ball but who takes away a touchdown from the starting RB at the goal line. Think Zack Crockett in Oakland.

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Woodbridge, Va.: Not really a "fantasy" question, but who would you pick this week in a survivor/suicide league (I already used the Steelers).

Gene Wang: Happy to take a break from fantasy to discuss real football. I like the Giants and Packers this week.

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Pikesville, Md.: I lost Brady in one league; I lost to a team that started Brady in another. Worst week ever. Help me pull it together. Which of my waiver pick-ups should I start this week: Matt Cassel, Matt Ryan, Kerry Collins or Trent Edwards?

Gene Wang: I like Trent Edwards.

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Reston, VA: Thanks for the advice on Jake Delhomme in preseason. I ended up getting him in my draft and I'm very happy after a tough matchup in week 1.

I also ended up with Todd Heap in the draft, and week 1 was a disaster for him. I picked up Anthony Fasano as a backup this week. Should I start Heap this week? He's got a good matchup but I'm worried about his health.

Gene Wang: Fasano is a better option this week. The Texans should be able to get after Joe Flacco much better than the Bengals in Week 1.

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Wash DC: Gene,

Love the Wang report. In regards to the Saints situation, who would be the better reciever to pick up and why? Some pundits actually say that Meachum would be better pick long term.

Gene Wang: This certainly appears the chance for Robert Meachem to prove he's not a draft bust, but for right now, Devery Henderson, David Patten and even Terrance Copper are better options.

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Abingdon, MD: I told myself I would never do this, but whatever.....Schaub vs. B'More or Delhomme vs. Da Bears

Gene Wang: I've said the same thing many times, but it never seems to work. Schaub, but not by much.

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Baltimore: Oh All-Knowing Guru ... if you had to choose between promising Steve Slaton vs. the still-tenacious Baltimore D or Ronnie Brown and his enigmatic knee vs. the Pac-10-caliber Arizona Cardinals defense, whom do you like?

Gene Wang: Ronnie Brown

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Help a girl out!: What team's first week's offensive showing is most cause for concern, fantasy-wise: Rams, Bengals or Redskins? I am deciding between Houshmandzadeh, Holt and Moss for my two wide receiverss.

Gene Wang: Bengals, because they have no running threat.

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Clarks Summit, PA: Which "unknown" player impressed you the most? Do you like Eddie Royal? Who do consider a good pick up that is likely a free agent now?

P.S. Two Superbowl appearances the last two years directly due to your help.

Gene Wang: Eddie Royal impressed the most in the first week, but I think I'd take a chance on Courtney Taylor of Seattle. The Seahawks have to throw to someone, right? Everyone else is hurt.

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Fairfax, VA: With the loss of Brady, someone just dropped Wes Welker in my league. Would dropping Donald Driver for Welker be a good move?

Gene Wang: Yes, especially in PPR leagues.

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Anonymous: Gene, hopefully you and the gang can help me out. My league of seven years is changing demographics -- guys are working more, popping out kids, and eight of the ten owners just can't sit watching games all Sunday, pouncing on immediate injuries or flashy newcomers. Is there something similar to a "Waiver Wire" system for delaying or regulating free agent pickups? We already use the waiver wire for new drops. Alternately, we might impose a "no free agent pickup moratorium" until noon on Tuesday or something ... I have used the Yahoo! system for years after trying others, but if I have to switch to save the league, I will. Thanks for your help, gang.

Gene Wang: Well, let me say your first problem is putting family before fantasy! I mean really, where are your priorities man? All the sites I use allow the commissioner to prohibit waiver wire additions until a specified day and time. Get your league owners to take a vote and decide on a day for waivers to begin for the following week's games. Best of luck.

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Gene Wang: Thanks again for another week of great questions and comments. Keep your fingers crossed that we don't see as many injuries as last week. And please watch me each Friday at 5:20 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for my weekly fantasy report on Washington Post Live. It starts tomorrow, so be sure to tune in. See you all 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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