Fantasy Football

Gene Wang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 28, 2009; 11:00 AM

Want to win your league this year? Washington Post fantasy guru Gene Wang, who writes The Post's Fantasy Check blog, was online Friday, Aug. 28 to help get your fantasy football team through the playoffs.

The transcript follows.

Fantasy Check Blog

Discussion Archive


Gene Wang: Good morning fantasy enthusiasts, and welcome to another discussion. I know many of you will be drafting this weekend, so let's get to your questions.


Monmounth, N.J.: McFadden - Raiders or Washington - Jets? Who do you think is going to have a better fantasy season? I'm looking for a backup running back to cover starters during bye weeks. Thanks

Gene Wang: I'm on the DMac bandwagon. Raiders Coach Tom Cable has said he wants to give McFadden 20 touches a game, which is great news for fantasy owners who drafted him.


Brooklyn, N.Y.: I'm in a 12 team PPR league and have the 12-13 pick in a snake draft. I'm leaning toward WR/QB since we can use QBs as a flex. Thoughts?

Gene Wang: I had pick No. 12 in a snake draft last weekend and took Randy Moss and Aaron Rodgers consecutively. This year truly elite wide receivers are few and far between, so get one early.


Washington, D.C.: Hey Gene,

Just wondering which teams will have a two back rotation and which ones will have the one go to RB.


Gene Wang: The days of a true single-back offense are fast becoming a memory. These days a good number of teams are following the New York Giants and New England Patriots formula of using two or more running backs regularly. Dallas will use three running backs this year, and so will Tampa Bay. Among the last remaining workhorse running backs are Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte, Maurice Jones-Drew and Michael Turner, thus making them top five picks in all formats.


Arlington, Va.: I see Matt Forte going early in fantasy drafts, but I have no idea why?! This guy was pretty solid for a few games last season, but I am seeing him drafted before Tomlinson! That seems crazy. Am I missing something?

Gene Wang: As I mentioned earlier in this chat, Forte is one of the only true workhorse running backs left, and in PPR leagues, he's even more valuable. Plus with Jay Cutler in the mix, defenses won't be able to focus solely on stopping the run. Many fantasy experts are bearish on LT because of his age, injuries and the fact San Diego franchised Darren Sproles.


Greenbelt, Md.: Gene -

Welcome back! My draft is tonight and I'm considering taking Witten in the 5th or 6th round, before a QB. I expect a big year from him with TO gone, as long as Roy Williams is healthy. Am I crazy?

Gene Wang: I've taken a tight end (Antonio Gates) as high as the fourth round and have had success, so it's not far-fetched to target Witten in the fifth or sixth round. Plus Roy Williams has a shoulder sprain, and it's unclear how much time he's going to miss, so Witten becomes really the only option in the passing game for the Cowboys.


Columbia, Md.: With the second pick in the draft, assuming Adrian Peterson is gone, who do you take? And who do you hope is there in the second round?

Gene Wang: I take Maurice Jones-Drew and then a wide receiver in the second round. Assuming the big five -- Larry Fitzgerald, Randy Moss, Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson and Steve Smith -- are gone, Greg Jennings is a good choice.


South Riding, Va.: The Broncos have suspended Brandon Marshall for conduct detrimental to the team, but we don't know how long.

In what round would you consider him a value? Or would you just stay away?

Gene Wang: I'm staying away from Marshall. There are just too many red flags, i.e. off-field issues, injuries and general lack of professionalism. Plus he has to find a comfort zone with a new quarterback and a new coach, and so far that doesn't appear to be happening.


Alexandria, Va.: Here's my draft algorithm. What do you think?

1. Rank your RBs/WRs and put the list aside.

2. The first round, pick your top RB.

3. Continue picking RBs/WRs until you have 4, or until somebody makes a break for QB.

4. You want to get one of the top 6 QBs - Brees, Brady, Rivers, Rodgers, Warner, Manning.

5. After the QB, you want to get 1 of the top 4 D/ST - Ravens, Steelers, Eagles, Vikings. If you can't get one of those, go back to RBs/WRs. The top 4 D/ST are worth more than the kickers and tight ends.

6. When you have filled a QB and 4 RB/WR slots, get a K and a D/ST. The top kicker is Gostkowski, the rest of the kickers and bottom 4 D/STs are about equal.

7. At some point, you have to get a TE. The next 4, after all the kickers and D/ST, are Gonzalez, Witten, Clark, and Gates.

8. Fill out your bench with RB/WR. You might get a backup QB for bye weeks.

Gene Wang: You ever considered writing about fantasy for a living? I like many of your strategies, but I've never drafted a D/ST before a tight end. Depending on the scoring rules in your league, I'm guessing the Steelers D/ST really isn't worth more than Antonio Gates or Jason Witten.


Woodbridge, Va.: I have the first pick in a 12 team league. I know who my first choice will be -- Peterson -- but who do you think I should pick for my second and third picks?

Gene Wang: I'd target the best available wide receiver in the second round and best available player regardless of position in the third round.


Gallup, N.M.: Gene - my draft is this Sunday and I am picking at No. 5. If the top running backs are gone, I'm considering taking Larry Fitzgerald first. Good decision?


Gene Wang: A lot depends on how many teams are in your league, if it's a PPR league, how many players you start at each position and what your league scoring format is overall. I have the No. 5 pick in a 14-team draft in a standard scoring league, and I'm constantly re-evaluating whom I should select. I think fifth is a bit high for a wide receiver, so I'm hoping someone reaches for a quarterback, and a player like Matt Forte falls to me there.


Washington, D.C: I picked up Portis and McFadden in my fantasy draft. Do you think they will be enough firepower for me at RB?

Gene Wang: You know what you'll be getting from Portis: roughly 1,400 yards and 10 touchdowns, which you can live with from your No. 1 back. If it's true Ladell Betts is going to get more carries this season, it's probably a good thing for Portis owners because he'll be fresher down the stretch when hopefully you're in the playoffs. DMac has a huge upside and could be this season's breakout player. Keep your fingers crossed.


Washington, D.C.: Gene,

I have pick 4 in a 10-team league where passing TDs get 6 points. Given that this makes QBs more valuable, should I reach for Manning/Rodgers in Round 3, wait until Round 4/5 to pick up Warner/McNabb/Romo, or leave it until Round 6/7 and hope for Schaub/Ryan? Thanks for your advice.

Gene Wang: I seriously doubt Peyton Manning will be available in Round 3, but if he is, that's incredible value, and you should draft him for certain. If you're going to wait, Schaub is a better choice than Ryan.


Washington, D.C: I have both Peyton Manning and Jay Cutler. Do you think I should trade one of them and upgrade one of my other positions like RB or WR?


Gene Wang: Yes, unless your league starts two quarterbacks. Obviously Cutler is the guy you want to move.


Vienna, Va.: Traditional drafting theory, at least in our league, says take running backs first. But with the scarcity of (as you put it) elite wide receivers this year, where would you start grabbing your first WR?

Gene Wang: I'd seriously consider a wide receiver as high as pick No. 8. Now there's some debate who the first wide receiver off the board should be, and I'm in the minority in thinking it's Randy Moss. But you won't go wrong with Larry Fitzgerald, who's probably the safer of the two.


Washington, D.C.: My fellow Procrastinators listen up; these questions are for all of us that waited until now to purchase our fantasy mag...


On the eve of my fantasy draft, I will be kicking around the WR-WR-QB or WR-QB-WR draft strategy from out of the eight-hole in a 12 team league. It's a PPR league that also awards 1 point per completion and 6 points per TD pass for QB position.

When is the right time to pounce on RBs? By waiting this late to draft my starters will I be giving too much back to the field? When drafting this low my strategy has always been to stay out ahead of runs.

Thanks and good luck to everyone drafting this weekend!

Gene Wang: Actually in fantasy, waiting as long as you can is sometimes a better idea. I went WR-QB-WR-RB in my most recent draft and came away with Randy Moss, Aaron Rodgers, Roddy White and Clinton Portis. You can wait until deeper in the draft to get a viable starting fantasy back.


Washington, D.C: For WR, I picked up Calvin Johnson, Santana Moss, Ted Ginn Jr., and Lance Moore.

I know Calvin Johnson is a stud, but what do you think of Ginn and Lance Moore? I think Moore could be a real steal in the 12th round ...

Gene Wang: Lance Moore carried me a couple times last season, so I have an affinity for him. I think you're right in that he could be a sleeper in the 12th round, especially in that offense. I'm not as high on Ted Ginn, just because that offense isn't nearly as potent as New Orleans.


Montgomery Co., Md.: Hey Gene!

I'm new at all this and we play in a fun and free league. Most of us aren't knowledgeable of a lot of the players because we mainly know our home team.

Anyhow, I feel good with some of my picks and even see that you have Aaron Rogers like I do :-). I did luck out and snag Adrian Peterson as my No. 1 running back. Reggie Bush is my No. 2, though. What's your feelings on Reggie? Thanks.

Gene Wang: Welcome to the addictive world of fantasy. Newbies are always encouraged to join this discussion, so thanks for the question. As you will find as the season moves along, Reggie Bush is not an every-down running back, so the honest assessment is you'll probably be disappointed with him.


Alexandria, Va.: I am the 10th pick in a 10-team PPR league. I'm debating if I should choose two wide receivers for my first 2 picks because of the drop off in talent. This is assuming 2 out of the 3 (Fitz, Moss, Andre Johnson) are available. What do you think? Is this a good strategy or should I get a RB?

Gene Wang: The 10th pick is just fine to draft a wide receiver, but you don't need to grab another in the second round. I waited in my most recent draft and was able to land Roddy White in Round 3 after taking Randy Moss No. 12 overall.


Arlington Va.: A draft question: So I've been doing some mock drafts, and I've got the 8th pick in a 12-team league, standard scoring. I'm getting a player like LT/Chris Johnson at 8th, or I could go WR. In the second round, I'm seeing Frank Gore in either case, usually. Do you think it's best to go WR-RB in this situation, or stick with LT and Gore? Or should I take a WR in the second round (like Jennings)?

Gene Wang: Most fantasy experts agree there is a dearth of top-flight wide receivers this season, while a viable fantasy running back can be had later. Taking a stud WR like Larry Fitzgerald or Randy Moss in the first round, especially in a 12-team league, is sound strategy. Then if you can get Frank Gore in the second, that's good value. Basically I like Fitzgerald/Moss and Gore better than LT/CJ and Jennings. Btw, I'm still not sure where I stand on LT. The fantasy world is split on him.


Washington, D.C: How do you think the Vikings DST is going to be this year? I know their defense is solid, but do you think that Percy Harvin will really make a difference?

Gene Wang: The Vikes will have a top five defense, and yes, Harvin is going to make a big difference on special teams.


Montgomery County, Md.: Gene,

Thanks for welcoming us newbies and for taking my question on Reggie Bush. My others choices at RB are Sammy Morris and Steve Slaton. Are they any better?

Gene Wang: Steve Slaton is an incredible player to have as your No. 2 RB. I'd love to have Adrian Peterson and Slaton in my fantasy backfield. Slaton is a No. 1 fantasy back on any roster.


Shirlington, Va.: Hi Gene,

Who are your favorite rookies to draft this year, especially if you are in a keeper league and are looking toward next year as well?


Gene Wang: I'm on the Knowshon Moreno bandwagon, but I also like Donald Brown of the Colts and LeSean McCoy of the Eagles.


Rockville, Md.: In a 14 team league would you trade Brady and Walters for Romo and Wayne? My other recievers are Colston, Hixon, Mason, Washington. Brady dropped to me at 28 and I couldn't pass on him but now I am paying for it with my lack of receiver depth.

Gene Wang: It's not a terrible trade if you really feel Romo is going to have a big season. I'm just not too sure about that with TO gone and Roy Williams hurt.


Los Angeles: I'm in a league with an unusual scoring system: 6 pts per rushing, receiving, passing, and returning TD. 1 pt for every 50 passing yds, 1 pt for every 50 return yds, 1 point for every 25 rushing yds, 1 pt for every 25 receiving yds, 1/2 point per reception, plus usual DST points. I draft 6th. I'm trying to figure out a strategy for the draft.

I'm think WR, WR, QB, RB, RB, with an emphasis in the RB on people like Sproles and Leon Washington who will get some receptions and returns. But then I think this is really like a touchdown only league and nobody generates more TDs than a top 5 QB. At 6 I could probably get Brees or Brady. What should I do?

Gene Wang: You can wait and still get a value at QB in the third round. I'd suggest a player like Steve Slaton at No. 6. I know it may be too high for some fantasy players, but in a PPR league, he's more valuable than usual. He caught 50 passes last season and had close to 1,700 yards from scrimmage with 10 touchdowns as a rookie. He's due for a monster season in an offense that's extremely potent. In fact, I just may have talked myself into picking Slaton No. 5 in my next draft.


Washington, D.C.: Who do you think is the best WR I could get in return for Jay Cutler?

Gene Wang: A player on the level of Reggie Wayne, Greg Jennings or Anquan Boldin.


Washington, D.C.: Gene,

Please evaluate my RB class in my recent draft: Maurice Jones-Drew, Larry Johnson Joseph Addai, Ray Rice and Edgerrin James.

Also, what is your take on WR Percy Harvin?


Gene Wang: Jones-Drew is the No. 2 player overall, and in PPR leagues, he's gone ahead of Adrian Peterson, so you're set at No. 1 RB. I'm really sold on Ray Rice having a big season too. Larry Johnson is an intriguing player. He's one of the biggest high-risk/high-reward running backs in fantasy.


Washington, D.C.: Hey Gene,

Not really a fantasy question, but you you ever seen a more over-hyped, over-exaggerated impact a player will have than Vick with the Eagles? I know the media needs things to talk about, but come on ...

Gene Wang: Your question actually does have a fantasy spin. Vick always was drafted way too high in many leagues because at times he looked so good on the field. He was fantasy eye candy. I do agree Vick's impact on the Eagles isn't going to be huge, but he does give defensive coordinators something extra to think about, and that's going to help the Eagles at least somewhat.


Washington, D.C: Is Kevin Boss a legitimate No. 1 tight end?

Gene Wang: Boss could end up being the No. 1 pass-catching option for Eli Manning this season. If you're not going to get one of the top four tight ends -- Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten, Dallas Clark -- then it makes sense to wait until late to draft that position. Boss is just fine, and remember he led the Giants in touchdown receptions last season.


Washington, D.C.: Drafting for a bunch of novices:

Can you recommend the best way to run a draft for a bunch of football know-nothings? We're trying to get into it this year.

Thanks! Don't eat me alive, please!

Gene Wang: We welcome all comers to this fantasy chat, so don't be afraid. We don't bite. New players are highly encouraged to ask questions. The best place to start is one of the big fantasy sites such as, ESPN or Yahoo. You can set up your draft there, and they will walk you through the process. Most fantasy players draft manually, but there's also an autodraft option that will do the picking for you if you feel you don't have the time to research the many fantasy sites out there and make up your list of top players. Best of luck, and if you have more questions, please visit my Fantasy Check blog at


New York, N.Y.: Just drafted last night, No. 5 in a PPR league. I wanted to go after one of the No. 1 WRs with one of my first two picks, but I was shocked when Forte was available at No. 5, and even more shocked when Steven Jackson was still there in the second round. So I have two stud RBs (with Ward and Sproles), but my receivers are Greg Jennings, Ochocinco, and Ginn, and I have McNabb at QB. Do you think it would be worth trying to move one of Jackson or Forte (probably Jackson) for a Moss/Andre Johnson type?

Gene Wang: I'd stand pat with your roster. I think you'll be just fine. Jennings may end up a top six fantasy wideout after this season.


Washington, D.C.: I missed the first round of my draft because I was running late and the Yahoo! machine gave me Ladanian Tomlinson. I'm mad because I had him last year and he was terrible for me.

Please talk me off the ledge. Or should I trade him - I know I'd get lesser value, but what is acceptable to take for him?

Gene Wang: To be honest, I'm not sure exactly where I stand on LT at the moment. One day I think he'll be the LT of old, and another I think he's hit the proverbial running back wall. I took him No. 1 last year so I feel your pain. My inclination is that he's not one of the top six or seven fantasy backs, so if you're really soured on him, you might consider trying to get a player like Steve Slaton or Chris Johnson in exchange.


Gene Wang: Time for me to get back to compiling my cheat sheet for several drafts this weekend. Thanks for your questions, and for all your fantasy needs, please join me next week for another discussion. Meantime, you can get your fantasy fix every Thursday with me on the radio courtesy of the Mike Wise Show at 1 p.m. on 106.7 The Fan and on television at 5 p.m. on Washington Post Live With Ivan Carter on Comcast SportsNet. See you next time, and be sure to visit my Fantasy Check blog at


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