Fantasy Check Live: Fantasy Football

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Gene Wang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 4, 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, Sep. 4 at 11 a.m. ET to help get your fantasy football team through the playoffs.

Fantasy Check Blog

Discussion Archive

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Gene Wang: Good morning fantasy enthusiasts. Some big news in the fantasy world yesterday regarding Jonathan Stewart and Steve Slaton. In case you missed it, please take a look at my Fantasy Check blog. I know many of you have drafts today and throughout the weekend, so let's get to your questions.

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End of the Li, NE: I'm in a 14 team league and stuck with the 14th (i.e. BOTTOM of the first round) and 15th picks in the draft. How on earth do I salvage anything worthwhile from the pile of second tier players I'm doomed to choose from?

I'm tempted to shy away from RB-RB, because all of the sure-fire winners will be gone and there is depth to be had with RBBCs later on. Dare I go QB-WR or WR-WR? Should I just close my eyes and pick at random, assuming I can't possibly be any worse off? Please tell me I'm not toast.

The league awards points for TDs, yards gained, and PPR, with required 1 QB, 2 RBs, and 3 WRs.

Gene Wang: You're not in a bad spot at all. If it makes you feel any better, I picked 12th out of 12 teams two weeks ago, and I picked Randy Moss first, followed by Aaron Rodgers (league starts two QBs), Roddy White and Clinton Portis. I was pretty happy with those four off the bat. Especially since this is a PPR league, going WR first makes a lot of sense for you, and there's a chance either Moss or Fitzgerald will be there at 14.

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McLean, Va.: Currently on my roster I have Peyton Manning and Jay Cutler. My only TE is Kevin Boss. Do you think Cutler for Jason Witten would be a good trade?

Gene Wang: Yes, that's a great trade.

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Alexandria: Hi Gene,

Which one WR should I start game 1, Ochocinco, Braylon Edwards or Cotchery?

Gene Wang: Ochocinco, assuming Carson Palmer is playing.

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Silver Spring, Md.: It's almost time...CAN YOU FEEL THE ANTICIPATION. CAN'T WAIT!

I know it's early but PLEASE tell me my STUD RB (Maurice Jones-Drew) did not suffer a serious injury ALREADY! Any word on his condition yet?

P.S. For our snake draft, we've started using Fantasy Labels. It has changed our lives! They're GRRRRREAT!

Gene Wang: Yes, MJD owners held their collective breath last night when he left the game with soreness in his lower leg. X-rays following the game were negative, and it appears we're talking about just a bruise here. He's is having an MRI today, so stay tuned, but at this point it's nothing that should trouble MJD owners. I'll post the latest update on my blog.

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N.C.: Maurice Jones-Drew, my first pick, scheduled for an MRI. Should have I shelled out for Fantasy Insurance? Is my season already over?

Gene Wang: You still can shell out for fantasy insurance, but see my previous answer. By the way, I blogged about fantasy insurance a few weeks ago. I think it's one of the greatest innovations to hit fantasy since online drafting, don't you?

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Washington, D.C.: Gene,

Out of the Ray Rice, Darren McFadden, Pierre Thomas tier of RB and/or below, which of these backs can reasonably be a number one in a PPR league?

Gene Wang: Pierre Thomas is a viable low-end No. 1 in PPR leagues. DMac would be my second choice.

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Washington, D.C.: Gene,

Addressing the first question about your two qb league...... How quickly and who did you pick as your second qb?

Gene Wang: I waited until much later to add David Garrard as my No. 2 QB.

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Blacksburg: I have Dallas's Def for Yahoo fantasy football. I am having doubts. Still available are Tampa, Miami, Colts and Packers. Should I drop Dallas and pick up one of these others?

Gene Wang: I'd be wary of the Dallas defense too. The Cowboys lost some key components along the D-line, and that secondary is average at best. I like the Packers and Bucs defenses best out of those four.

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Deep or shallow Wells?: Gene -

Picked Chris Wells, but later got Cedric Benson. Seems like we should start Benson at least until we see how Wells will be used and how many carries Hightower gets in Arizona.

I'm right, right?

Gene Wang: Yes, especially since Benson will be facing a team projected to have one of the worst defenses in the league.

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Virginia: Good morning Gene,

My auction league drafts next Saturday and I have Steve Slaton in a keeper league for $15 (total salary cap is $140). Even though he's going to lose red zone carries, I think he's still worth keeping due to his low salary. What do you think?

Gene Wang: Absolutely. Even though it appears Slaton will lose goal-line carries, he's still a top 10-12 fantasy back and a solid No. 1 in your starting lineup. He's especially valuable in keeper leagues for those savvy owners who picked him up last season under the radar.

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Boston: My son picked up the Pats D for his fantasy football team. Beyond the front line and Jerod Mayo, is there much hope for this unit? They were pushed all over the field last year and this year's schedule is alot tougher. Is Tom Brady and the offense controlling a game the only hope?

Gene Wang: I think your son will be fine with the NE defense. The fact that Tom Brady is back makes a huge difference. The Patriots' high-scoring offense will create fits for the opposition and allow New England's defense to be aggressive and get after the quarterback. Plus with the efficiency of the Pats' offense, they will control the ball and keep the defense well rested.

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Odense, Denmark: I have been offered Adrian Peterson and Anquan Boldin for Matt Forte and Andre Johnson.

It seems like pretty even, but whom would you give the edge?

Gene Wang: If it's a PPR league, Forte and AJ. Otherwise AP and AB have the edge.

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Alexandria, Va.: Ok, first time Fantasy Football player here. My husband is an avid fan and I'm desperately trying to beat him in our league this year. I have a pretty good team from our draft last night. How do I now go about deciding who to play when - and what are basic strategies I should think about this season? Thanks!

Gene Wang: Welcome to the addictive world of fantasy. Glad you decided to join us.

There's not that much strategy when it comes to your top players. They should be in your starting lineup every week. Not sure if you have a flex position, but if so, that's when you need to decide which RB or WR to play based on matchup.

So if you had to choose between a running back going against a good run defense or a wide receiver facing a bad pass defense, you'd start the WR. I'd be happy to go into more detail on my blog after this chat. Best of luck this year to you and your husband.

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Fairfax, Va.: Can I count on Jay Cutler? I have Matt Hasselbeck as my backup but with his injury history, I'm uncomfortable with my QB options. Should I see how things go for the first couple of weeks before making a panic trade for a top 5 QB?

Gene Wang: Don't panic on Cutler. He looked fine in the preseason, so no need to push the panic button. The big issue of course is the perception that he doesn't have good wide receivers. I'm not saying that isn't the case now, but remember, no one had heard of Brandon Marshal or Eddie Royal before they played with Cutler.

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Virginia: Will Calvin Johnson be able to improve last year's numbers if Matt Stafford is the starting QB or would D. Culpepper be better?

Gene Wang: Yes, Megatron -- perhaps the best nickname in all of pro football -- is a top four fantasy wideout regardless of who is throwing him the ball. Remember last season he played with guys like Dan Orlovsky, Drew Stanton and Drew Henson, and he still had 1,331 yards and 12 touchdowns on a team that went 0-16. Imagine what this guy could do if he ever got a legit No. 1 QB.

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Washington, D.C.: Gene, is Trent Edwards dismal preseason a sign of things to come, or will he turn it around once TO is back in the mix?

Gene Wang: I pegged Edwards as a mega-sleeper QB, and I'm not going back on that now just because he's had a subpar preseason. Now if T.O. had played and he still didn't produce, that's another story. Right now I'm saying T.O. gives Edwards a big upside, based on T.O.'s history with Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb and Tony Romo. I mean who had ever heard of Romo before T.O. got to Dallas?

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Alexandria, Va.: The Browns, who do you think ends up with the carries at RB: Lewis, Davis or Harrison?

Gene Wang: I had this discussion just last night with a couple of Browns fans. Yes, believe it or not, there are Browns fans in Washington, D.C. Initially it will be Lewis, but he's been slowing down for years, so don't be suprised to see James Davis, a sixth-round pick from Clemson, become much more involved. The Browns apparently love him, and he has looked fantastic in the preseason.

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San Diego: Yeah, Gene! FF is back! So I am in a 1 PPR league and decided to load on WRs. Drafted Fitz 1st, and also have Reggie Wayne and 85, which I reckon will work. But, it means my RBs are Slaton and Kevin Smith. Do you think they will hold up their end? Should I maybe trade to try to improve? I also wound up with Cutler and Carson (no flex in our league). Love your insights and look forward to following you again this season.

Gene Wang: It's great that FF is back. It's like Christmas in September. I'd be more than content with Slaton and Kevin Smith as my top two backs in a standard league and elated with them in a PPR league. No need to shake up that lineup with a trade.

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the second G: Is for genius. Is the Saints D worth a look?

Gene Wang: Yes, Gregg Williams is new defensive boss in New Orleans, and that makes them a sleeper. Boy, you know I'm a bit too involved in this fantasy business when I'm talking about sleeper defenses.

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Arlington, Va.: Gene, do you think the Chargers D this year will look more like the 2007 or 2008 version?

Gene Wang: The Chargers defense will be more like 2007. Last year the Bolts didn't have Shawne Merriman, and Antonio Cromartie played with a hip injury. Now that Lights Out and Cromartie are presumably healthy, San Diego's defense is nice starting option.

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Philladelphia: Geno - despite my pre-draft rule of avoiding all Broncos, I ended up with Brandon Marshall on my team. He dropped to the 6th round and I didn't like anyone else that was available at the time.

So, all-knowing One, look into your crystal ball and predict where he is going to end up this year and what his stats will look like. Thanks!

Gene Wang: You did fine getting Marshall in the sixth round. That's about the right value for him considering he has more red flags than a China pride rally. He's in a contract year, so he's motivated to put up big numbers so he can get paid. Project him for 80 catches, 1,100 yards and 5 touchdowns.

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Washington, D.C.: How many touches do you think Felix Jones will get week 1, and do you see his role increasing through the season?

Gene Wang: If you are a regular reader of my Fantasy Check blog -- and I certainly hope you will be if you aren't already -- you know I'm really high on Felix Jones. The Cowboys will find a way to get him the ball 10-12 times per game, but this guy is so good that it wouldn't surprise me to see him get more touches than that. You can be sure he'll get more touches as the season progesses because Dallas wants to keep Marion Barber fresh for December.

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Fantasy Novice: So I'm in a 12-team PPR league and my backs are Forte, Addai, Larry Johnson, and Fargas. Who are my two regular starters, Forte and Addai/Johnson?

Gene Wang: For a fantasy novice, it sounds like you know exactly what to do. Forte is a must-start regardless of matchup, and right now I generally like LJ over Addai, but not on opening day. The Chiefs play Baltimore, which we know has a nasty defense and an especially unforgiving run defense. Meantime the Colts host Jacksonville, which isn't the same defensive powerhouse it was a few years back.

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Alexandria, Va.: Do you see any of the top-tier tight ends not performing well this year -- example Gonzalez with a new team? Do you think Winslow will go down as the best tight end ever now that he plays in Tampa?

Gene Wang: Winslow has a long way to go before reaching the level of his dad. If he get his head right, he has all the physical tools to be maybe the best tight end in the game. But with the Bucs' QB issues, he's not in a good situation. And Gonzalez will be just fine.

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FF!: My BF monpolized the laptop last night to complete his lineup. He ended up with Brady for QB - should he have signed up for FF insurance? He was also pretty happy with a RB out of Minnesota.

Gene Wang: If your boyfriend was able to get Adrian Peterson and Tom Brady, the rest of his league might as well pay him now, assuming he didn't really blow it the rest of the way in the draft. I'm a big believer in fantasy insurance since I blogged about it, and I'll be getting it for all of my first-round picks. For those who don't know about it, go to fantasysportsinsurance.com for more details.

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Philladelphia: What do you think of Holt this year? I drafted him in the 9th round as a bye replacement.

Gene Wang: I drafted him too as a bye-week replacement. He's great to have on any roster in that capacity.

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Alexandria, Va.: I wasn't paying too much attention and wound up with the AARP RB squad. Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson & Jamal Lewis. I got decent value for them so my team is in alright shape. Any advice for managing my risk?

Gene Wang: That's a great fantasy backfield five years ago. The guy I'd be most worried about is Lewis. If James Davis or Jerome Harrison went undrafted, put in a bid for one or both on your waiver wire as insurance.

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The NAC: Mean Gene,

I have the first pick in my draft this weekend...10 team league, we start 2 QBs, and passing TDs are 6 pts (also not PPR). Is it worth taking Brady or Brees instead of a top RB first overall?

Gene Wang: I'd strongly consider taking Brees or Brady first overall in two-QB leagues, especially with only 10 teams. You'll be able to get a viable No. 1 RB at No. 20 overall with your second pick.

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San Diego: Thanks for the encouraging word on Slaton. At first I was dismayed at the potential lack of TDs, but in a PPR league, he should still be pretty productive. I was wondering wassup with Westbrook. Do you think he will hold up this year? I have Lesean McCoy, so I guess something of a vested interest in Westbrook missing some games!

Gene Wang: Even if Westbrook holds up, LeSean "Shady" McCoy -- another great nickname -- will get carries. The Eagles don't want to overwork Westbrook.

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Fairfax, Va.: What are your thoughts on Chris Johnson? I picked him at #10 but I'm not so sure I made the right move. He won't get any goal line carries but all the draft boards ranked him pretty high. Can he truly a #1 RB for fantasy? (I did make myself feel better by getting Randy Moss in the 2nd round).

Gene Wang: You did just fine getting Johnson at No. 10. In fact that's great value. And Randy Moss in the second round is another excellent pick.

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Fairfax, Va.: Out of the 2nd and 3rd tier RBs on most draftboards, who do you think will have a pleasantly surprising year (or a bounce back year ie: Addai, R. Grant, W. Parker, etc.)?

Gene Wang: I'm looking for Ryan Grant to have a bounce-back year. He played hurt pretty much all last season and still ran for 1,204 yards. Assuming he's healthy, he'll have double-figure touchdowns too.

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Gene Wang: Well, it's time for me to get back to my draft prep and posting to my blog. I'll be updating Fantasy Check with some post-disucussion thoughts, as I do every week, so head there shortly.

Also please join me on Monday as I fill in for Mike Wise on his radio show from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on 106.7 The Fan. I'll be doing a live draft while on-air, so it should be good radio. Please feel free to call in with your fantasy questions. Have a great Labor Day weekend everyone!

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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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