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Gene Wang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 18, 2008; 12:00 PM

Want to win your league this year? Washington Post staff writer Gene Wang was online Thursday, Sept. 18 at Noon ET to solve your fantasy football dilemmas.

The transcript follows.

Discussion Archive

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Gene Wang: What a wild Week 2 in the NFL. Donovan McNabb owners were cursing DeSean Jackson on Monday night, or at least I was. With all the quarterback changes and slow starts by some of the elite running backs, I'm sure you have many questions. Let's get started.

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DC: I have both Maroney and Morris of the Patriots. Which one would you start this week and why?

Gene Wang: I'd start Sammy Morris because Maroney is going to be slowed by injury even if he does play. Morris will get you touchdowns, and he'll at least split carries with Maroney, if not handle most of the work.

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Nyack, N.Y.: Hi Gene, This is already a crazy fantasy season. I already have two big question marks on my team: Wes Welker and Steven Jackson. My other receivers are Ocho Cinco, Chris Chambers and Joey Galloway. My other RBs are Westbrook (thank goodness), Selvin Young and Deuce McAllister. I need to play 2 of each. What do you recommend I do with this mess? Any suggestion would help. Thank you!

Gene Wang: Obviously you're going to play Westbrook, and I'm not ready to give up on Steven Jackson yet. Chambers is fast becoming a reliable No. 1 WR, and Welker remains a must-start in PPR leagues.

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Fairfax, Va.: Gene! I am struggling with my RBs. I have Westbrook as one of my starters but who should be my other starter? Pick one out of Ronnie Brown, Felix Jones, or Jonathan Stewart. Thanks!

Gene Wang: Jonathan Stewart should be your No. 2 RB just about every week.

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Annapolis, Md.: I have Moss, Cotchery and Roy Williams at WR I can only start two and I have been offered Lavernius Coles and Antonio Gates for Roy Williams? Good Trade? I am week at TE.

Gene Wang: Even if you weren't weak at TE, it's a good trade. Having Gates is about as close as you're going to get to having a No. 1 WR starting at TE. Plus Coles's upside is excellent now that he has Brett Favre.

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Falls Church, Va.: Hey Gene, I'm suffering from a bit of a RB conundrum. I need to play two out of the three, Forte, Portis or Thomas Jones. I'm leaning toward Forte and Portis. Your thoughts please?

Gene Wang: Portis is a must-start regardless of matchup, and I like Forte a little better than Jones this week. You'll want to start either Forte or Jones based on matchups the rest of the way and make sure Portis is always in your lineup.

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Arlington, Va.: Who should I start out of MJD or Thomas Jones?

Gene Wang: Right now it looks like Thomas Jones is a safer play because MJD missed practice yesterday with a sore ankle. That doesn't necessarily mean MJD won't play Sunday; it just means he could be limited.

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Dupont Circle: Gene, the Rams are awful. I'm thinking of benching Steven Jackson for DeWayne Bowe in my flex position. (My other two RBs are Frank Gore and Thomas Jones). My starting WR is Plaxico. Is it stupid to bench Jackson for a 2nd year wideout who is going to catch balls from Tyler Thigpen?

Gene Wang: It's not a move I'd make, let's put it that way. A lot of owners are ready to give up on Steven Jackson, but I say give him at least another week, especially with another new QB in KC.

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NW DC: Hi Gene, do you think Jay Cutler is for real? Do you see this kind of success sticking around for the rest of the season or is he going to come back down soon? Asking because I'm debating a trade, Larry Fitzgerald for Cutler, straight-up.

Gene Wang: Jay Cutler is the real deal, so long as Brandon Marshall remains on the field. That tandem could be this season's Peyton Manning to Marvin Harrison of old.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Braylon Edwards looked terrible on Sunday. What's the deal with him? Will he improve?

Gene Wang: Edwards is another player who has infuriated fantasy owners. He has dropped a bunch of balls this season, including what appeared a sure TD against Dallas in Week 1. But he has too much talent -- and so do the Browns, for that matter -- to bench him. He has practiced extensively this week on keeping his eye on the ball as he brings it in. He worked on drills in which balls were painted with a number and a color, and he had to call out both as he made catches during practice.

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Washington, D.C.: Gene, do you think Ben Roethlisberger is going to be ok with the shoulder injury, or should I look elsewhere for a starter this week and deeper into the season?

Gene Wang: Big Ben participated fully in practice yesterday and by all accounts will be good to go. He should be your No. 1 QB the rest of the season.

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Springfield, Va.: Hi Gene, Stat-wise both McNabb and Rivers are pretty close. Who would you start this week? Also, Maroney seems to be getting fewer carries each week. Should I replace him with Chris Johnson?

Gene Wang: I'm a big fan of McNabb, who is a fantasy must-start regardless of matchup. You saw how he lit up the Dallas defense on Monday night, and the Cowboys are supposed to have one of the best in the league. Chris Johnson is emerging as a fantasy stud who should be in your starting lineup every week too.

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Flex RB/WR position: Hi Gene, do you think it's worthwhile to start Felix Jones with my flex position? My other options are TJ Hous and Roddy White.

Gene Wang: If your league awards points for return yards, then it's good play. Otherwise I like TJ.

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Annandale: Thanks for this forum.

Cassel or Hasselback this week? I thinking Cassel.

Gene Wang: Until Hasselbeck gets some WR help, which should be at the end of the month when Bobby Engram and Deion Branch are back, then Cassel probably is the better play. I'm intrigued though to see how Koren Robinson pans out for Seattle. He's going to be their No. 1 WR this week and could be a fantasy sleeper.

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Arlington, Va.: Gene, I have Peyton Manning as my starter and Kurt Warner as my backup. Warner has outperformed Manning as a fantasy player, by far, so far. Do I make the big switch and start Warner over Peyton? That would be a first, I believe.

Gene Wang: I think this week is when Manning gets it going since center Jeff Saturday is expected back. But if it's clear Saturday isn't going to play, then strongly consider starting Warner, who faces a suspect Redskins secondary. Manning has been a must-start for just about his entire career, but this season is unique in that he's coming off knee surgery and hasn't had his Pro Bowl center to help him get back into rhythm.

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20005: Hey Gene,

Larry Johnson is killing me. I need to start on one of the following 3, Johnson, Forte or Selvin Young. Westbrook is my other starting RB. Thoughts...

Gene Wang: I like the youthful legs of Matt Forte. Johnson is one of those players fantasy owners dreaded drafting, and the RB situation in Denver is just too unstable.

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Adams Morgan, DC: Gene,

I'm fortunate enough to have to make this decision: Romo or Cutler this week?

Passing Yards (25 yards per point; 2 points at 300 yards; 6 points at 400 yards) Passing Touchdowns (4) Interceptions (-2)

What do you think?

Gene Wang: Cutler because that New Orleans-Denver game figures to be a very high-scoring affair, and it's in Denver. Romo meantime goes on the road to face a Packers defense that has excellent secondary play. Dallas is coming off a Monday night game too, meaning one fewer day to rest.

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Arlington, Va.: I have Carson Palmer and Eli Manning. For the last two weeks, I've kept Palmer in, which killed me, while Manning did great on my bench. Should I make the switch for their head-to-head match?

Gene Wang: I'm close to giving up on Carson Palmer too. With virtually no threat of a running game, defenses are focusing only on TJ and Ocho Cinco and coming after Palmer in the pass rush. I like Eli this week because his matchup is more favorable.

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Silver Spring, Md.: A question for you commishes out there:

We have one manager who is constantly adding/dropping players week by week. Only 2 of the managers mind this. It seems to de-value the draft(at least for him). Besides charging a fee for moves, what else can you (anyone)suggest? Again, most managers don't mind him doing this but some do. We can't reach concession AND in our Yahoo leage we don't use waiver position to determine new player additions so it becomes a free for all. Help!

Gene Wang: My suggestion would be to cap the number of moves each owner is allowed during the season. Put it to a league vote. If the majority doesn't seem to care, then leave it alone. Any other suggestions from fantasy commishes?

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Germantown, Md.: Hi Gene

who do you think is the better TE to start this week, Tony Scheffler or Chris Cooley? Cooley has not put up the points that Scheffler has so far and I want to believe that he's going to break out soon. What do you think?

Gene Wang: Cooley will break out. The Redskins got their offense going last week, and Cooley is going to be a big part of the game plan Sunday against Arizona.

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Springfield, Va.: Need a RB call this week on Larry Johnson or Reggie Bush.

Gene Wang: I'd lean toward Bush, especially in PPR leagues and IRP leagues.

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Bristow, Va.: Trade options, (I have Manning) which one would you choose?

Peyton Manning for Portis Peyton Manning for Jackson, RB, STL -OR- possibly Peyton Manning for Willie Parker, RB, PIT

Gene Wang: Portis is the best bet of the three RBs, but I hope you have another stud QB if you're looking to deal Manning.

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Reston: Is it time to drop Carson Palmer for Gus Forgetusnot?

Gene Wang: No, because at least Carson Palmer has legit wide receivers. Can't say the same for the Vikes. Just ask my colleague and Wizards beat reporter Ivan Carter, a long-suffering Vikings fan.

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20003: Gene, is DeSean Jackson a legit #2 WR now, despite his gaffe against the Cowboys? The Pittsburgh matchup this week doesn't help, admittedly.

Gene Wang: Jackson is without question a legit No. 2 WR considering he's part of an offense that passes 60 percent of the time. He's going to be the Eagles' No. 1 wide receiver by the end of the season and could be that now based purely on production. He's even more valuable in IRP leagues.

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NYC: Prediction: Brandon Marshall is the #1 WR in next year's drafts.

Gene Wang: That's not a stretch at all. Marshall has said he wants to catch 140 passes this season, which would approach Marvin Harrison's single-season record. Marshall just has to stay away from trouble. The latest news is prosecutors are going to file criminal charges against Marshall for an alleaged domestic incident in Atlanta. If Tom Brady is back healthy next season, my No. 1 wide receiver still is Randy Moss.

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New York: Caps on the number of moves are ridiculous. Guys who make lots of moves both load up the pot (a good thing) and increase liquidity in the league (another good thing). The owners who are upset about the moves are losers who should be kicked out of the league- if the season is to be over after the draft then you will have a mediocre league with nobody paying any attention after awhile.

Gene Wang: Thanks for another point of view.

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Re: League Rules on Transactions: One option is to expand the number of starters by position. If you only start 1 QB, for example, then folks can use the waiver wire in lieu of trades and/or the bench. If you start 2 QBs (in a 10-team league), then good QBs are drafted or held on rosters and who cares if one owner picks up the prevailing 3rd-string QB every week. In my opinion, leagues requiring more starters are much better and encourage more trades (e.g., quality for quantity) than leagues with fewer starters.

Former Commish

Gene Wang: There's another good suggestion.

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Chargers Q: Hi Gene, I have both Antonio Gates and Chris Chambers but can only start one. Gates has the toe injury and Chambers has more TDs on the year, so I'm leaning towards Chambers - bad move?

Gene Wang: Depends on whom your other options are at wide receiver. I'd still lean toward Gates, especially considering he's going to have an extra day to rest with San Diego playing on Monday night.

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Gallup, N.M. : Gene -- what about Marvin Harrison? He has done nothing so far. If I have both Harrison and the Jacksonville defense, should I sit Harrison and play the Jax defense, or play Harrison and pick up another defense - like Atlanta this weekend? Thanks for the help

Gene Wang: I don't recommend starting a defense over an individual player like Harrison under any circumstances. Plus the Jags are on the road against the Colts, who are due to get their offense in gear.

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Gene Wang: Another fantasy chat in the books. Thanks for your questions, comments and suggestions. I'll be talking fantasy at 5:25 pm. tomorrow and every Friday on Washington Post Live on Comcast SportsNet, so please tune in. See you next time.

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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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