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Gene Wang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 30, 2008; 12:00 PM

Want to win your league this year? Washington Post staff writer Gene Wang was online Thursday, Oct. 30 at Noon ET to solve your fantasy football dilemmas.

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The transcript follows.

Discussion Archive

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Gene Wang: Injuries, suspensions, benchings are all in play this week for fantasy owners in this pivotal Week 9. Let's get right to your questions.

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Arlington, Va.: Hi Gene,

I can't believe I'm saying this, but should I bench Clinton Portis this week? The Steelers only give up 71 yards a game on the ground and I have Ronnie Brown (vs. the awful Broncos D) on my bench. (My other starter is Matt Forte vs. Detroit)

Gene Wang: Do not bench Clinton Portis. I know the Steelers haven't been giving up much against the run, but that's in large part because of the competition. They've played Houston, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Philly without Brian Westbrook and Baltimore, among others, so we don't really know good the Steelers run defense is. Portis is still a must-start regardless of matchup.

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Boston: Hey Gene...what are you hearing on Joseph Addai this week? Think its safe to start him?

Gene Wang: At this point it is safe to start Joseph Addai. Colts Coach Tony Dungy has said he expects Addai back this week, and he has been back at practice. And boy do the Colts need him.

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Chicago: Hi Gene, I'm in a must-win this week. Do you like Orton or McNabb? I'm thinking Orton, with the Lions match up. Also, McNabb's been underachieving this year. Thanks!

Gene Wang: Both QBs have nice matchups this weekend, and both are worth getting into starting lineups, but I like Orton a bit more because the Bears are at home against a reeling team. The Seahawks might have some life after last week's thrashing of San Francisco.

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Blacksburg, Va.: Gene-o! Is it time to end the Marques Colston experiment? I've been hanging on to him based on past performance, but he hasn't done anything this year...

Gene Wang: I've been debating that for the past two weeks as well. Colston did have one big catch last week for 49 yards, but other than that he's done nothing. That said, my plan is to hang with Colston for one more game. He should be fully healed after the bye week.

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Arlington, Va.: Please help a girl out. In our 12 team league, despite running back woes, I can still win my terrible, terrible division. I drafted Larry Johnson, Maroney, and Ernest Graham. Other than Graham, I have Maurice Morris and Aaron Stecker to start this weekend. Our very thin waiver wire has both Sammy Morris and BenJarvus Green-Ellis available. Which do I pick up? Which of my admittedly bad options do I start?

Gene Wang: Sammy Morris would be the sensible choice, but the Patriots' RBBC often defies logic. It doesn't look like Morris will be able to play this weekend, so Green-Ellis is your best bet. The Colts have a lot of trouble stopping the run. If we find out for sure that Morris will play, however, he's a definite must-start.

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Fantasyland USA: Hi Gene,

Matt Ryan is available and I've got Cassel as my starting QB. Who do you go with? I've got Brees but he's on a bye. Or are there other QB's who are probably a free agent that you would look towards?

Gene Wang: Matt Ryan isn't a bad play at all. The Colts, on the other hand, are going to get after Cassel and are in dire need of a win.

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RB Woes: Hi Gene, here's my list of running backs on my roster: McGahee (questionable), Parker (probable), Bush (out), and DeAngelo Williams (bye). Is it worth starting McGahee and Parker both, or should I start one and use a WR for the flex position?

Gene Wang: I'm not sure which WR you are thinking about at flex, but in general I prefer to start RBs there because they simply get more touches.

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Dupont Circle: Gene,

Dwayne Bowe against Tampa or Burress against Dallas?

Bowe's got a tougher matchup but I like that he and Gonzo are pretty much the only receiving option. Plus he's been good to me in my PPR league.

Burress is going against a softer defense but he's been a dud as of late.

Thanks.

Gene Wang: Plax will shred the Cowboys secondary, as most every solid wide receiver has. He is due for a monster game, and for whatever reason players sometimes shine just when controversy surrounding them is at their peak. I don't see the Chiefs getting much done offensively at all against that aggressive Tampa defense, which is ranked seventh against the pass.

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Washington, D.C.: I am facing a must win game this week. Do I sit TO in favor of Antonio Byrant?

Gene Wang: Yes, all Cowboys WRs and TEs are fantasy non-factors as long as Brad Johnson is starting.

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Hey, Gene: I need your advice on filling a flex position: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Hines Ward or Antonio Bryant.

Thanks.

Gene Wang: Green-Ellis.

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Alexandria, Va.: How long is Jason Witten going to be out with a broken rib? It sounds bad. I wish I had picked up Chris Cooley in the initial draft!

Gene Wang: Witten may not be out at all. He says he hopes to play despite a broken rib. I love his attitude, but Wade Phillips should strongly consider resting him. Dallas has zero chance of beating the Giants on the road with Brad Johnson starting. Don't risk further injury in a game that probably is going to be a blowout. Even if Witten does play, he's not a good fantasy option this week. The Giants pass rush is going to be all over Johnson.

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Pittsburgh: Is Marvin Harrison done? In the Baltimore game he ate up McAlister, (2 TDs but only 3 catches) Last Monday, Manning just missed him in double coverage. Is this just trickle down from Manning and Addai injuries or is he too old? Wayne being nicked makes me hold on to him, and they won't clinch ANYTHING early this year.

Gene Wang: All very good questions and points. The days of Harrison being a 1,400-yard, 12 TD player are done, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't be in starting lineups based on matchup and injuries. Addai is probably back this week, so that should open up the passing game a bit. Harrison is a nice option against a mediocre Patriots secondary that is missing Rodney Harrison.

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Silver Spring, Md.: My QB, Rivers is a must start every week. But for this bye week I picked up Pennington, who's playing AT Denver. The other QB I'm considering would be Seneca Wallace at home against Philly. Which way would the GREAT GENE go?

Gene Wang: No question it's Chad Pennington against Denver, who is missing starting CB Champ Bailey. And even when Bailey was playing, the Broncos were having major issues stopping anyone. Pennington has been a fantasy surprise this season, and I expect big numbers from him this weekend. Wallace is not a good play at all against a Philly defense that's strong at rushing the passer. Plus the Eagles have one of the best secondaries in the league.

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Germantown, MD: Good day, Gene! Randell El hasn't given me much all season. Think it's better to play him or DeSean Jackson? Thanks.

Gene Wang: Normally I'd say Jackson, but the wrinkle this week is that Randle El is facing his former team. He's going to be extra motivated to burn the Steelers, and I think the Redskins are going to try a couple gadget plays with him because Pittsburgh has such an attacking defense.

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Clarks Summit, Pa.: I am a Jason Witten owner. What are your thoughts about him and other Cowboys players in the up coming weeks?

Gene Wang: Until Tony Romo comes back, the only Cowboys player worth starting is Marion Barber. Any Dallas player who makes a living catching passes is basically worthless because Brad Johnson can't seem to complete a five-yard out.

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Arlington, Va.: Peyton Manning (vs. NE) or Aaron Rodgers (vs. TEN) this week? Projections say Manning will have the better day, but I've been burned by projections many times this year.

Gene Wang: Manning, especially because he's likely getting Joseph Addai back. With a few expections, most QBs are bad plays against the Titans, who have yielded just three passing TDs. That's ridiculous.

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Providence, R.I.: Who do you think has overachieved fantasy wise for the first half. Who do you think underperformed and is poised to break out in the second half.

Gene Wang: I'll be talking about just that topic tomorrow on Washington Post Live at 5:30, so tune in. I'm going to reveal my fantasy MVP, overachiever and underachievers. Some overperformers so far have been Donnie Avery, Chad Pennington and basically any rookie RB. Underachievers include LT, yes I said LT, Steven Jackson and anyone on the Bengals.

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Cabin John, MD: So do I need to "draft for character guys" next year...

My squad is all blown up this year with Santonio Holmes, LJ and Plax. Has it gotten to the point where we need to evaluate more than stats for fantasy?

Gene Wang: Thanks for a really smart question. I may have to address that in a fantasy column come next year's draft. Character issues are a big concern for fantasy owners. I know many owners who stayed away from Brandon Marshall for just that reason, and they are paying for it. But I also know many owners who stayed away from, say, Chris Henry, and it's working out. When it's close, draft the character guy you know is going to be on the field.

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Herndon, Va.: Hi Gene-

Pick a QB, please: Chad Penningron vs. Denver's terrible defense or Matt Ryan vs. terrible all-around Oakland?

Thanks!

Gene Wang: Pennington

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Gallup, N.M.: Gene - who is the best of the worst in this list of QB's to pick up for a bye week? JeMarcus Russell, Gus Frerotte or Joe Flacco?

Gene Wang: Get on the Gus Bus. Washington fans remember that slogan well.

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19th and K: Never thought this question would come out of my mouth, but here it is: go with Kyle Orton this week or McNabb? I've been going with McNabb all year, leaving points on the bench with Orton's performances. He's got Detroit again this week, and lit them up last time. At this point I'm planning to go with Orton.

Gene Wang: That's a good plan. I'm doing the same.

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Duh, Md.: Gene - This may sound dumb, but what is Washington Post Live? Is that online, or on the radio/tv? Sorry, it sounds familiar, but I just can't put a finger on it. Thanks again.

Gene Wang: No such thing as a dumb question my friend. WPL is a sports roundtable that airs each weekday from 5 to 6 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet and features Washington Post reporters and editors. Just think of the McLaughlin Group, except we talk about sports and our moderator isn't as grumpy.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Hi Gene. I've got a minor problem (but a good problem to have). Can only play 2 of these RBs each week....Lendale White, Earnest Graham, and Steve Slaton. Do you consider any of them must starts every week?

Gene Wang: LenDale White is a must-start regardless of matchup. Normally I'd say go with Slayton, but he has a bad matchup against the Vikes' run defense. The Chiefs are ranked last against the run, so Graham is a nice play.

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Jacksonville: Gene-O ... any idea if Matt Jones will be playing for the Jags this Sunday? I just picked him up and haven't heard anything regarding his suspension. Gracias

Gene Wang: Matt Jones is expected to play this weekend.

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Bethesda, Md.: Gene, why, when I drafted second and the season started with such promise (AP, Tony Romo, Anquan Boldin, Antonio Gates), am I now 4-4? Those are the studs of my line-up, yet injuries and good-but-not-great performances have limited my team's production. Are those four coming back to help me make a play in the post-season, or do I look for a big trade?

Gene Wang:4-4 is no reason to panic. You have the right players to make a playoff push. Boldin and Gates both had fine games last week, and Romo will be back in two weeks. Don't give up the ship just yet.

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DC: Gene, in your opinion what's the best Web site to have a FFB league in?

Gene Wang: Yahoo offers free leagues, so if funds are an issue, that's the first one to consider. CBS Sportsline has some really nice features and is accessible via cell phone, which is a huge bonus for me.

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Redskinsville: Hey Gene

I have Adrian Peterson, Lendale White, and Chris Johnson. Who do I bench this weekend?

Gene Wang: AP is a must-start regardless of matchup, and I lean toward White because he'll get more goal-line looks.

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Quick Fire!: Roethlisberger or Rodgers this week?

Gene Wang: Big Ben

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Westminster, Md.: Hey Gene,

Need some vital trade help! Would you trade McNabb, B. Edwards, and Ocho for Matt Ryan, Garcia, and Grant.

I'm desperate for RBs as I have Portis, Moore, and James (the other two are limited coming down to the playoffs)

Gene Wang: You could do it, but don't expect big things from Grant this week against the Titans' stiff run defense.

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Bloomfield, N.J.: Gene, always a must-read every Thursday. I have a trade proposal on the table. Another team is offering Delhomme and DeSean Jackson for Orton. My other QB is Warner, need only 1 active per week. My WRs are Roy Williams, Torry Holt, Larry Fitzgerald and Antonio Bryant, 2 or 3 (flex) active WR per week. Any help would be appreciated.

Gene Wang: Not a bad deal for you. If you're in a league that awards IRP, then getting Jackson is even better.

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Gene Wang: Wow, another hour just flew by. Thanks for your questions, and remember to watch my Friday fantasy fix on Washington Post Live tomorrow. Good luck this weekend. See you all after the election.

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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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