Fantasy Check Live: Fantasy Football

Gene Wang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 11, 2009; 12:30 PM

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. 11 to help get your fantasy football team through the playoffs.

The transcript follows.

Fantasy Check Blog

Discussion Archive


Gene Wang: Welcome to another installment of the fantasy chat. With the season officially started, let's get right to your questions.


Tight spot, Md.: What's up Gene!

When I got to drafting tight ends, the the pickin's were kinda slim. Who do you think will do better this season? Kevin Boss or Dustin Keller?

Gene Wang: I actually like both of those players. Keller has a huge upside, but we'll have to see how Mark Sanchez develops. Right now Boss is probably the better play. Don't forget he did lead the Giants in touchdown recpetions last season, so Eli Manning has some chemistry with him.


Oklahoma City, Okla.: I saw this chat on the schedule and thought it said "Fantasy Football Chat: Gene Weingarten".

Now that would be entertaining!

Gene Wang: You're not kidding. I would love to get Mr. Weingarten's take on fantasy football. Perhaps I will get him to sit in with me for some funny guest chatter.


Knoxville Tenn.: Gene

In the name of the footbal gods, I wish you had been available yesterday to talk me out of playing Willie Parker, uggghhh.

That being said, I need you to talk me out of my idea of playing Peyton Hillis over any of these: Ryan Grant, Ray Rice, Thomas Jones. I am getting that feeling I get before I make a stupid lineup decision that costs me a win. Help!

Hillis will HAVE to be much better that Parker was last night and I have him in both my leagues.

What value does Hillis have both prior and after K. Moreno (no-show Moreno as we call him in SEC land)gets up to speed

Thanks as always

Gene Wang: I talked two people out of starting Willie Parker last night, including the producer of Washington Post Live. Ray Rice has a great matchup this week vs. Kansas City, and he's an excellent play. I really like Knowshon's upside, and once he gets going, there's really little reason to keep Hillis on your roster.


East Lansing, Mich.: With the news of Cadillac Williams not only coming back for the Bucaneers, but now listed as first on the depth chart, is there any point in starting Derrick Ward?

Gene Wang: Ward isn't a great option, unless you're in a real deep league. He's going to get limited touches in the Bucs' timeshare backfield.


Arlington, Va.: For my Flex position, who should I start this weekend: wide receiver Braylon Edwards, WR Anthony Gonzalez or tight end Kellen Winslow Jr.?

Gene Wang: I'm a big fan of Anthony Gonzalez, and this could be a breakout season for him. We all saw what Reggie Wayne did as a No. 2 in that offense. I suspect Gonzalez will have excellent production in that role as well.


Washington, D.C.: Hey Gene, happy kickoff weekend! Two questions:

1. In my draft, Dwayne Bowe fell pretty far (I picked him up in the 6th round). Are you pretty down on him as well? I was going to start him as my second receiver.

2. Assuming I start Bowe, I was debating between Ahmad Bradshaw and Lance Moore, leaning towards Moore given the match-up. The others on my bench are rookies Shady McCoy and Percy Harvin


Gene Wang: I was a bit down on Bowe to start with, and now even more considering Matt Cassel may not play on Sunday. Plus KC has a brutal matchup on the road against the Ravens. Lance Moore may be the better choice here.


Silver Spring, Md.: Hey Gene!!! Quick question. Ray Rice or Brandon Jacobs this weekend? Also, Which Handcuff would you drop first? Mendenhall or Norwood? My running back-heavy plan failed miserably as I see too many handcuffs on my roster ... Thanks!

Gene Wang: Ray Rice has a super matchup against KC, while Jacobs faces what figures to be a potent Skins defensive line with the addition of Albert Haynesworth. Hang on to Mendenhall. He should be much bigger factor as the season progresses than Norwood.


The District: First a moment of reflection, my thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the 9/11 victims.

Switching gears to fantasy land ... Gene, have you heard any news out Raiders camp on the number of carries/load McFadden will get this weekend, or am I better off with Cedric Benson's match up against Denver instead?

Gene Wang: Yes, we all should try to do our part to honor the 9/11 victims by acting on President Obama's call for a day of service. I'll be doing that tomorrow.

As for fantasy, DMac officially has been named the starter, and Raiders Coach Tom Cable has said all along he wants to give him 20 touches a game. I like McFadden to have a breakout season, assuming of course he stays healthy.


Fantasyville, USA: Gene, keep up the good radio work. It makes Wise a little more tolerable!

If you were drafting from the following wide reecievers, what would be your order? Lance Moore, Devin Hester, Malcolm Kelly, M. Muhammed, and Miles Austin?

Gene Wang: Thanks for the kind words. For those fantasy chatters who don't know, I join the Mike Wise show every Thursday afternoon at 1 to talk fantasy. You can listen on 106.7 The Fan or stream it live to your computer. Your list: Moore, Hester, Austin, Kelly, MM.


Alexandria, Va.: Any suggestions on what factors to look at in juggling starting QBs on a week-to-week basis?

After years of having Peyton in a keeper league, this year I've got McNabb and Flacco. While McNabb seems like the generally better fantasy play, how should I decide which weeks to start Flacco.

Gene Wang: McNabb is a borderline must-start regardless of matchup. He's just outside of that top tier of quarterbacks that comprises Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers, so I'd use him every week unless the Ravens unexpectly begin throwing a lot. The Ravens traditionally have been a run-first team, and they never have had a lights-out passer in his prime.


East Lansing, Mich.: Do you know if Pierre Thomas will play this weekend?

Gene Wang: It appears Thomas is all but certain to miss Sunday's opener. The Saints held him out of practice yesterday and he continues to mend from a sprained MCL. Mike Bell will get his carries and is a nice option based on the Saints' matchup against Detroit.


Orwell, Va.: As a co-commissioner, we treat our skill positions roughly equal. For each reception wide receivers receive 1/2 point and tight ends 1 point. Quarterbacks are penalized 1 point for each sack.

Do you like a more evenly distributed scoring system among skill positions or the more traditional scoring system where running backs and quarterbacks tend to lead the league in total points?

Gene Wang: I'm more old school when it comes to fantasy scoring. I do participate in leagues with non-conventional scoring, and there is merit to such formats as PPR. But don't ask me to join a league where running backs get points per carry.


Portland, Me.: Hi Gene,

What do you think of slipping in Mike Bell or McGahee instead of Darren McFadden this weekend?

Gene Wang: I like DMac as a lead fantasy back, but as I wrote earlier, Bell is a nice option this week too.


Alexandria, Va.: Hey Gene,

The chat is great! One question, with Wes Welker hurting, to what extent we really don't know, would it be worth it to replace him in my lineup with Braylon Edwards?

Gene Wang: Welker has an extra day to get better since the Patriots are playing Monday night, so that's something to keep in mind before deciding. Also remember the Browns have a terrible QB situation and a horrible matchup against the Vikings defense.


Tenleytown, Washington, D.C.: Ugh - I have a great quarterback in Eli Manning, I have a great defense in Baltimore and I have a great receiver in Randy Moss. I am not so blessed at the RB position.

Which one would you start? LenDale White, Derrick Ward or Correll Buckhalter?

Help a sister out!!

Gene Wang: You don't have to worry about LenDale this week, since the Titans played last night, and he was hardly a factor. I like Buckhalter a bit more, considering the Bucs play a pretty good run defense.


Springfield, Va.: Hate to be a homer here but is Malcolm Kelly worth picking up off the waivers?

Gene Wang: The folks at Redskins Park are high on Kelly, but I can't see him being a fantasy factor out of the gate. Campbell just hasn't been steady enough either on his deep passes.


San Diego, Calif.: OK, Gene. You assuaged my nerves regarding Slaton still being top value in my PPR league. Now I need your help with my wide receiver starters. I have the luxury of Fitzgerald and Reggie Wayne as my No. 1 and No. 2. I was planning to start 85 as my No. 3, but now wonder if after his stellar preseason DeSean Jackson might not be a better choice.

How much stock do you generally put in preseason performance when both drafting and sorting out starters?

Gene Wang: There is some value to assessing a veteran player's preseason performance, but I wouldn't overvalue it. For rookies, however, preseason performance makes a big difference. Rookies who looked good in preseason, i.e. Beanie Wells, have their draft value elevated considerably.


Arlington, Va.: I ended up drafting three rookie running backs in my league - Knowshon Moreno, Beanie Wells & Donald Brown. Do you think any of them have a chance to get any fantasy points this weekend? I drafted them with an eye toward later in the season and having a good keeper for next year.

Gene Wang: Knowshon is the No. 1 guy in Denver and will get touches, so he's not a bad play this weekend. I do like both Wells and Brown to be fantasy factors as the season progresses.


Reston, Va.: Hi Gene,

First time commisioner here. There's a trade going down in my league (PPR) of Randy Moss for Darren McFadden. Seems hugely lopsided to me. I'm not going to interfere, but at what point should a commish get involved in what appears to be bad deals? Or should they ever?

Gene Wang: My feeling is a commissioner shouldn't interfere with a bad trade unless there is collusion. Look at it this way: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn't get in the way of teams making poor personnel decisions. If you really want to mediate the trade, there's a fun Web site called that for a small fee will resolve your case. Yes, there really is a Web site for fantasy dispute resolution, and it's run by lawyers. I'll be blogging about it in the near future, so be sure to visit Fantasy Check for more details.


Archie Manning: I love the little bugger, but even I don't think Eli is a "great" fantasy quarterback.

Gene Wang: Agreed, but your other son is.


Kowloon, Hong Kong: Hey Gene, greetings from Kowloon HK! I need to start someone at wide reeciver this week, and here are my choices:

Brandon Marshall

Derrick Ward

Fred Taylor


Ginn Jr.

Issac Bruce

Help a fellow brother out!

Gene Wang: Marshall, and take a ride on the Star Ferry for me. Oh how I could go for some authentic dim sum too.


Arlington, Va.: Gene, glad to see you are back. Quick one: Matt Ryan or Brett Favre? Or am I an idiot for even considering Favre this week? I'm in a standard scoring league. Thanks!

Gene Wang: Ryan has a better matchup. The Dolphins were the 25th pass defense last season. Cleveland was 14th.


Silver Spring, Md.: With Pierre down, is Bush a "must start"?

What are your feelings on starting RBs going head to head, a la' Forte and Grant?

Gene Wang: Bush isn't a must-start; in fact I like Mike Bell more. I love watching games in which I have multiple fantasy players going against each other.


Rockville, Md.: On your blog, regarding the big fantasy auction in Las Vegas, you wrote: "Brotzman will be reporting the results of their Las Vegas draft to me right after it ends, so check back to see how they did."

Well? Any word?

Gene Wang: They are drafting as I do this chat. I expect to hear from them as soon as it's over, so do visit the blog later today. Best of luck to them in what really is a high-stakes fantasy auction.


Washington, D.C.: Hello Gene,

So I somewhat screwed up in my draft in that even though I knew that our flex spot could be used for quarterbacks, I didn't think to take two good QBs. I'm stuck with Big Ben (looked good last night!) and Trent Edwards (ugh) as my backup.

In other words, I need to trade for a second QB.

My wide receivers, on the other hand, are great and we're in a PPR league. Of the following, who do you think I could trade for a Tier 2/3 QB?

Andre Johnson


Vincent Jackson

Anthony Gonzalez

Nate Burleson

Gene Wang: You're not going to trade Andre Johnson under any circumstances, and if you did, you'd have to get a top tier QB since AJ is arguably a first-round pick. For a tier 2 or 3 QB, a fair exchange is a player you would draft probably in the fifth or sixth round, which means Ochocinco.


Crystal City, Va.: Gene:

Every year, I say I'm going to draft better at the receiver position. Every year, I fail. (Then again, I don't floss or do sit ups, either, so at least I'm consistent.)

This year, my team has Greg Jennings, an unproven Devin Hester, and Houston's Kevin Walter. Is this enough? I do have Jason Witten and Visanthe Shiancoe at tight end, though. Can Shiancoe get me a decent WR in a trade?

Gene Wang: Greg Jennings may be enough to stabilize your WR situation, but it's not a bad idea to seek upgrades. Shiancoe won't get you much though.


Clarks Summit, Penn.: Gene, I read and commented on your fantasy check blog about Auction Drafts. Do you see them gaining in popularity?

I am in a low stakes league and you make it seem like auction drafts are for high stakes. My FF league provider (CBS) made it very easy to conduct an auction draft in the same amount of time as a snake draft.

Gene Wang: If I gave the perception all fantasy auctions are high stakes, that wasn't my intention. Just the particular auction I wrote about involved significant money. I do see auctions increasing in popularity because it really is a more equitable format for player acquisition. And thanks for checking out my blog! I can use as many eyeballs as I can get.


Alexandria, Va.: Gene,

What are your thoughts on Johnathan Stewart. Will he play and does he have a chance of scoring some TD's in a TD heavy league? My other options are McGahee and Ted Ginn Jr.

Gene Wang: Stewart has looked great in practice recently, and by all accounts, his Achilles' injury is healing well. Keep an eye on his status today and tomorrow, but he's your best option assuming he goes on Sunday.


Rosslyn, Va.: What should I do with Brandon Knuckle Head Marshall? Is he worth starting?

Gene Wang: He is a knucklehead, but he's worth starting too, especially in PPR leagues.


Roanoke, Va.: Gene,

I'll be following this up to game time, but really, my only roster decision this week is Pierre Thomas (questionable, didn't practice Wednesday) vs Detroit or Jonathan Stewart vs Philadelphia as a flyer, I could also start LeSean McCoy ...

Thanks Gene

Gene Wang: It doesn't look like Thomas is going to play, and Stewart has been running well in practice. Stewart owners were worried about his injury, but it seems he'll be ready to go on Sunday.


Gaithersburg, Md.: Hey Gene,

Love the chats! I'm pretty confident about my lineup, aside from my flex position. I'm in a 14-team PPR league so the later rounds were a little depleted. You're my go-to so who would you start? Donnie Avery, Cedrick Benson or Ted Ginn Jr.? Thanks!

Gene Wang: I like Benson, since he's a full-time starter who won't share carries. Plus Avery is banged up, and Ginn has a long way to go before you can count him as a reliable fantasy player.


Centreville, Va.: Gene -

Current league debate. As of now, our league allows games to end in a tie. Two members are whining to set-up a tie-break system, such as next highest scoring bench player or starting QBs head to head. Any thoughts on allowing ties to happen or eliminate them?

Gene Wang: I hate ties, and highest scoring bench player is certainly a good way to break them.


Centreville, Va.: Hey Gene! What's your take on drafting backup D and TE? Would you rather pick up sleepers on draft day or backups you might only use once during the season?

Gene Wang: I don't recall ever drafting a backup defense or tight end. My philosophy has been to load up on running backs and sleepers until the final two rounds, where I take my defense and a kicker.


Washington, D.C.: The Titans threw 35 times last night, but never to Chris Johnson and only once to Lendale. Do they just not throw to RBs? Seems like the Steelers got plenty of production out of doing just that to Mewelde Moore. He was the best RB on the field last night. Mendenhall looked horrid.

Bonus flex pick 'em question - Felix Jones or Anthony Gonzalez?

Gene Wang: Yeah, it was perplexing. Johnson caught 43 passes last season, so he is a receiving threat. Not sure why the Titans didn't go to him more often. I realy like Felix Jones's upside too.


Takoma Park, Md.: Thanks for chatting, Gene. I got some bad advice and drafted Reggie Bush early (I didn't really know what I was doing). Is he worth starting at this point, or might Mike Bell be a better option? I know Pierre Thomas is also in the mix- how do you see that backfield sharing the load over the course of the season? This is a PPR league, by the way.

Gene Wang: In a PPR league, Bush isn't a bad play this week, since it appears Thomas will be a no-go on Sunday.


Naples, Fla.: Great work Gene, thanks

I lucked out last year in picking up Chris Johnson before anyone else. Can I do it again with either James Davis (Browns) or D. Greene (Jets)?

Gene Wang: James Davis is getting some fantasy push with an excellent preseason, so he may not be a supersleeper, but he still has excellent upside. Same for Shonn Greene.


Submitting Early: Now that Florida has won its second title in a row, what's the fantasy value of Tim Tebow?

Gene Wang: I need to consult Mel Kiper on that one. But I've always toyed with the idea of playing in a keeper league where you were allowed to draft college players. Wouldn't that be fun?


Bethesda, Md.: Gene- Love your stuff, you need your own show on Comcast.

Question- Should I drop Ted Ginn Jr for Malcolm Kelly or Steve Smith of the Giants?

I also have Jason Campbell as backup, my starter is Brady, should I drop J-Cam for Quinn?

Gene Wang: Thanks for watching and for the kind words. Hey Comcast folks, are you reading this? I'm not sold on Ginn becoming a reliable fantasy wideout, and both Kelly and Smith are also unproven. I do envision Smith becoming the No. 1 for the Giants though. The Browns have a terrible situation at QB. You know the saying: If you have two quarterbacks, you have none. At least with Campbell you know he's going to play every week. Who knows how soon Quinn will be yanked for Derek Anderson if he doesn't perform at a high level.


Washington, D.C.: What do to with Willie Parker? Would I be overreacting to dump him now?

Gene Wang: Yes, you would be reacting too soon by dropping Parker now. It's not like Mendenhall looked great either.


Ray Rice: Our draft was after the second preseason game in August. In my draft, 14 team PPR, I selected Ray Rice in the middle of the third round. At this point, Ryan Grant and Kevin Smith were available. I selected Greg Jennings in two at the end of our top tier WR run, so I didn't want to rely on GB and have bye week issues.

We have pretty astute league, and I really didn't believe Rice would be there on the wrap around, but keep in mind this was right as Rice began playing with the first team in practice.

A few in the league said smart move if you wanted him. Others said you passed up way too much value.

Am I an idiot or a fantasy genius? Or somewhere in between?

Gene Wang: Third round is a bit high for Rice, but that doesn't mean he won't be a productive player. You probably could have gotten him later in the draft. Kevin Smith is due for a breakout year and would have been a nice pick in Round 3.


National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.: So who should I start Rivers or Flaco? Both play for sorry teams, but who blows up bigger?

Gene Wang: Rivers is a must-start regardless of matchup. And I wouldn't call either San Diego or Baltimore sorry. They are both legit contenders in the AFC.


Gene Wang: Wow, two hours just flew by. I apologize to those chatters whose questions I didn't have time to answer. I will address some of those questions I didn't get to on my Fantasy Check blog later today, so head there when you have a moment. Remember you can catch me talking fantasy on Washington Post Live on Comcast every Wednesday at 5 and The Mike Wise Show on 106.7 The Fan every Thursday at 1. Best of luck this weekend, and see you next time.

_______________________ Thanks for tuning in to this week's chat, and feel free to email Gene with your fantasy questions and comments at


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