Fantasy Check Live: Fantasy Football

Gene Wang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 2, 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, Oct. 2 to help get your fantasy football team through the playoffs.

The transcript follows.

Fantasy Check Blog

Discussion Archive


Gene Wang: Hello fantasy players, and welcome to another installment of Fantasy Check Live. Remember this is the first bye week, so make adjustments in your starting lineup. Let's get to your questions.


La Plata, Md: Hi Gene,

Last week I played McGahee and Rice against CLE and it worked out well. I am nervous about trying that against NE. Pick two....McGahee, Rice, D. Brown


Gene Wang: The McGahee-Rice tandem has worked great for the Ravens but causes a headache for fantasy players. If you're in a touchbdown-heavy league, McGahee is a smarter play, but if you're in a yardage-heavy league, Rice is the better option. The Colts have been relying on Peyton Manning's arm so far, but this could be the week the running game gets going, meaning Brown has a great upside as a sleeper starter. The Colts are hosting Seattle, which is giving up 139 rushing yards per game.


Quick Hit - WRs: Walter or Steve Smith (NYG) as a #3?

Gene Wang: Steve Smith is emerging into a bonafide fantasy starter, and he has another excellent matchup this week against Kansas City.


Washington, D.C.: Tashard Choice: start or sit? LT: start or sit? Thanks.

Gene Wang: It appears by all accounts Barber will play, but Choice still will get enough carries to make him a worthwhile flex choice. LT practiced, and Coach Norv Turner has said he has made good progress, but he's not 100 percent and has a difficult matchup on the road against a desperate Steelers team that's giving up fewer than 77 rushing yards per game.


Helmetta, N.J.: Hi Gene, love the chats. Do you think Coffee is worth a start this week over McFadden? My other RB is Stephen Jackson. Thanks!

Gene Wang: I do, plus it also will simplify your fantasy Sunday game watching. You'll have Steven Jackson and Coffee going in the same game. I love watching games in which my starting running backs are going head to head.


Washington, D.C.: Gene, if Parker is out with turf toe who will be the main back - Mendenhall or Moore?

Gene Wang: Mendenhall, but Moore will play a big part in the offense too. By the way, Parker missed practice yesterday, and it doesn't look like he'll be playing. Go to my Fantasy Check blog for more information on Parker's turf toe injury. According to Dr. Brion Gardner, our resident injury expert who contributes each Friday to the blog, it's extremely painful.


Detroit, Mich.: Gene -- which 2 RBS do I start out of Grant, McGahee, Addai, Julius Jones and Coffee? Even though Grant and McGahee have the toughest matchups, dont i go with my studs? Thanks!

Gene Wang: I'm a firm believer in going with the hot hand, so I like McGahee against a Patriots defense that is vulnerable. Also Coffee has a super matchup against the Rams, who are giving up 148 rushing yards per game (27th in the league).


Anonymous: I have an offer to trade Larry Fitzgerald and Frank Gore for Chris Johnson? Should I do it? Its a 16 team league, standard scoring.

Gene Wang: Hang on to Fitzgerald and Gore. No reason to trade one must-start running back for another and then also throw in a top five wideout.


Beffudled Buffalo, N.Y.: Freddy Jackson or Marshawn Lynch? Who do you start?

Gene Wang: That's a big fantasy question this week. The Bills have said they will split carries, but that may not be the case right off the bat. I like Jackson to get more touches while Lynch gets back to game speed.


St. Paul, Minn.: The byes have hit and I look for your wisdom. Pierre Thomas or Tashard Choice this week? And any sleeper WRs you like out of Nate Washington, Isaac Bruce, Andre Caldwell or Kenny Britt? - and do you see any having more lasting value this season? Thank you.

Gene Wang: I wrote in my blog this week that any Saints running back is a good play, with Thomas currently being the top choice. He'll get plenty of work this week in what figures to be a great game against the Jets. I'm a bit wary of the Dallas offense going on the road against a Broncos defense that is giving up 5.3 points per game, best in the league. As for the wide receivers, I mentioned Washington and Caldwell on Washington Post Live on Wednesday. Both have long-term fantasy potential.


Gene Wang: Speaking of Washington Post Live, show producter Scott Taylor e-mailed to ask if he should start Fred Jackson or Pierre Garcon as his flex.

Two weeks ago I would have said Taylor was a slam dunk, but Garcon has been playing great. With the Bills on the road facing a good run defense and the Colts getting Seattle at home, I'd go with Garcon and count on Peyton Manning staying hot.


Boston: Do you play Fred Taylor against the Ravens D?

Gene Wang: No, I don't play any Patriots running back against the Ravens defense. Taylor may be a good option based on matchup the rest of the season, but not this week.


Baltimore, Md.: With McNabb both injured and on a bye week, and no backup on the roster right now, which of these guys on the waiver wire should I target for a spot start this week?

Favre, Collins, Hill, Stafford, or Campbell?

Gene Wang: Jason Campbell has a highly favorable matchup at home against Tampa, which is giving up 30.3 points per game (31st overall) and ranks 21st against the pass. I expect Campbell to post stats similar to what he produced against Detroit.


Poplar Bluff, Mo.: Gene, thanks for the chat. Early question today because of work. Should I start Bret Farve against a probable highly-charged Green Bay defense or Tony Romo against a Denver team that is undefeated. Thanks.

Gene Wang: Work? That's overrated if you ask me. I mean what's more important than fantasy, right? I said on The Mike Wise Show yesterday that I was down on Romo this week. The Broncos defense is no joke so far, and the Cowboys just don't travel well. I know the Packers will be motivated against Favre, but their main concern has to be Adrian Peterson, and because of that I like Favre to outpoint Romo this week.


Bethesda, Md.: Hi Gene!

I love the fantasy football chats. Which Defense should I start: Green Bay or Steelers? Thanks.

Gene Wang: The Steelers are desperate, and they're defense is among the best in the league. I suspect the Chargers will be in for a long day. I mean can anyone really see Pittsburgh falling to 1-3, especially with a home game this week?


Baltimore: I'm thinking about dropping earl Bennett and picking up nate Burleson or derrick mason (both are FA at the moment in my league). Bennett is really the only player I could drop (especially since I'm carrying mcnabb, Edwards and Sanchez ... although I'll drop edwards or sanchez after this weekend depending on performance). Thanks for the advice!

Gene Wang: This questions sounds like it's from none other than Manda Gross from Comcast SportsNet and Washington Post Live. Although Burleson has been better than Mason so far, I hesitate to pick him up so long as Matt Hasselbeck is out of the lineup. Have you heard Hasselbeck feel pain when he inhales deeply? I'm no medical professional, but that just can't be a good sign. Meantime, Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense are clincking on all cylinders.


Washington, D.C.: I drafted Marshawn Lynch (towards the end of our league's draft) with the hope that he'd become productive once he started playing. With the comments I'm hearing from Buffalo, I'm begining to wonder if he'll ever get a lot of carries.

Do I cut bait and pick up another RB, not that there are great free agents in my league, or do I hang onto him for a little longer? My starting RBs are Chris Johnson and Ronnie Brown.

Thanks Gene.

Gene Wang: I'd definitely hang on to Lynch. The RB situation in Buffalo could evolve into something like what's happening in Baltimore with Ray Rice and Willis McGahee, meaning both players are legit starters every week.


New York, N.Y.: Hi Gene. Which RB: D. McFadden or R. Grant? Thanks

Gene Wang: Grant faces a nasty Vikes run defense, while DMac draws Houston, which is dead last against the run and yielding 205 rushing yards per game. If there's any week for McFadden to have a monster game, this is it.


Fairfax, Va.: What do you think Drew Brees vs the Jets, or Roethlisberger vs the Chargers?

It's hard to bench Brees, but the Jets D is looking pretty tough.

Gene Wang: I wrote about what to do with Brees earlier this week in my blog. Here's the link:

The short answer is that Brees still is a must-start, even against what appear unfavorable matchups, but check out the blog post for more details.


Alexandria, Va.: Marion Barber III - is he a healthy start this week?

And, will Wes Welker play enough to be a fantasy factor?

Gene Wang: Yes, Barber has practiced fully and appears ready to go. Welker is another matter. He practiced yesterday, but no great surprise the Patriots are hush-hush on his status. I'd have Welker in my starting lineup at the moment but have a backup plan just in case.


Reston, Va.: gene,

Phillip Rivers has been money for me...though I think San Diego has trouble traveling east. Combined with the fact that they are playing the Pitt defense, woul dyou start Carson Palmer over Rivers this week?

Gene Wang: I was asked a similar question on The Mike Wise Show yesterday, and I said Rivers isn't a great play this week under the circumstances. Palmer, on the other hand, faces a Cleveland team that's last in scoring defense (31.7 points per game).


Washington, D.C.: Should I play Cooley or Miller at the TE position for week 4. Should I play Portis or R Williams (MIA) at RB this week? Basically, should I play everyone that doesn't play on the skins? Thanks.

Gene Wang: To the contrary, this is the week to start all your Redskins fantasy players. I know I said the same thing when Washington played the Rams two weeks ago, and it backfired. But I think the light finally went on in the organization that the Skins need to take some shots downfield, which they did successfully against Detroit. That should open up the running game for Portis and the middle of the field for Cooley, who is a must-start regardless of matchup.


Baltimore: Hey Gene,

Back again this week with a RB question. I've been starting Ray Rice and Slaton each week since week 1, in a PPR league with a flex spot. I also have McGahee and Hightower. After those guys had big games in week 1, I moved McGahee into the slot position each week and have been rewarded with a bunch of touchdowns. I know its not ususally advised to start 2 RBs from the same team, but the Ravens get a lot of production from both guys.

So, with Slaton presumably a must start, would you go with Hightower, Rice or McGahee at RB?

I've got Andre Johnson, Donald Driver, the other Steve Smith, and the Questionable Wes Welker at WR. I'm thinking that Johnson and Smith take the WR spots and Driver goes into the flex position over Welker or any of the running backs. Does this seem reasonable? I love Welker (drafted him the past three years) but hate playing questionable players. Even if they play, they may be limited. Make sense or is Welker a must start this week?

Gene Wang: I'm giving the edge to McGahee, only because he's been a touchdown machine. I said earlier Rice is more valuable in yardage-heavy leagues, but bottom line in fantasy is touchdowns. And I'm with you when it comes to starting players right after injury. I like to give them at least one game to breathe, plus Driver is nice play since the Packers are going to have to throw to beat Minnesota.


Baltimore, Md.: In regards to my earlier question on Rice, Slaton, McGahee, and Hightower, I wrote it before I had my coffee. Of course Hightower is on a bye this week. Duh. I knew that.

Gene Wang: I'm not a coffee drinker, but I have many friends who need their cup of Joe in order to start the day right. This just serves as a friendly reminder that byes start this week. If you have players from Carolina, Arizona, Philadelphia or Atlanta, get them out of your starting lineups as soon as you can, so you don't forget come Sunday at 1 p.m.


The FAX: Gene!

As a former Gore owner, I drafted and stashed Coffee on my bench, knowing this day would come and I could sell high.

The problem is, I can't get back anything for Coffee that makes my team better at the top (I could get Percy Harvin, but he'd be the 4th best WR on my team currently).

Should I trade Coffee for a long-term average investment, or use Coffee the next 2 weeks (he will be my best RB option the next 2 weeks), then hope Gore's injury lingers/reoccurs? Any chance Coffee could cut into Gore's carries if he has big success in his absense?

As always, much apprec!

Gene Wang: First, well done on the Gore handcuff. I'm not a huge believer in that strategy, but for certain players with injury histories (Gore and Brian Westbrook come to mind), it's a sound move. Coffee has an excellent matchup against St. Louis and next week against Atlanta (both at home, incidentally), so I'd keep him and get him in your starting lineup. He does have a great chance to cut into Gore's carries if he shows well. Plus who knows if Gore's injury will linger throughout the season.


Harrisburg, Penn.: I drafted the Steelers defense this year so I could "set it and forget it" when it came to that lineup spot. Now I'm worried. Should I be looking at other defenses to play until Polamalu returns?

Gene Wang: I like the Steel Curtain this week. They have to get this win or risk falling to 0-3.


Germantown, Md.: Gene,

I have both Tom Brady and Carson Palmer. I know Brady has been my bread and butter, but Carson Palmer vs. the terrible Cleveland defense may be too good to pass up. What would you do?

Also, I need to decide between Kevin Walter and Wes Welker (if he's healthy).


Gene Wang: To me, Tom Brady is a must-start regardless of matchup. I know the Palmer vs. Browns matchup is enticing, but the Pats aren't going to beat Baltimore by running the ball. Their best bet is to get it to Randy Moss as often as possible. As for your wide receiver, right now I'd lean toward Walter based on being cautious about starting a player coming off injury unless it's absolutely necessary.


Quick: I am starting McGahee.

Moreno, McFadden, K. Smith or Ward as a No. 2.


Is Ward even worth keeping?

Gene Wang: McFadden, and at this point, Ward isn't worth keeping.


Hyattsville, Md.: Gene - you seem to be pretty high on Coffee this week. I have DeAngelo Williams (bye week), Cedric Benson, Ronnie Brown, and Thomas Jones as my RBs. Coffee is available in my league and I'm thinking about dropping Jones, picking up Coffee and then starting him this week. Do you think this move would pay dividends? Right now, I have Benson and Brown starting.

As usual, thanks for your help.

Gene Wang: I am high on Coffee (there's a joke in there somewhere) for the next two weeks based on matchup. Have you considered dealing Jones and another player for a high-end wide receiver, then using your two open slots to add Coffee and the player you get in the trade?


Washington, D.C.: Larry Johnson. Is he going to do anything this year?

Also, what's your prognosis for Matt Cassell and Rashard Mendenthal for the rest of the season? Injuries and benchings have me looking at a trade getting both these players in a two-quarterback, three-running back, 12-team league.

Gene Wang: The Chiefs are in really bad shape, and being a Larry Johnson owner myself, I'm not expecting much from him. I figured he was worth a gamble really late, but clearly it's not paying off. I like Mendenhall going forward if Willie Parker's turf toe is serious. We saw how that painful and nagging injury affected Darren McFadden and LT last season. As for Cassel, he's a good option as your No. 2 QB in two-QB leagues.


Washington, D.C.: I'm very close to cutting LenDale. How much longer do I have to give him?

Gene Wang: I'd say two more weeks maximum. The Titans get the Jags this week, and they are okay against the run (100 ypg), but in two weeks Tennessee plays Indy, which has had issues stopping the run (126 ypg). If White can't post good fantasy numbers then, it's definitely time to cut bait on him.


Knoxville, Tenn.: Gene

Posting early, have to make a meeting but wanted to give you a shout out and seek the Oracle's wisdom once again.

First, I am probably the only one who will say this but thanks for the Jason Campbell advice two weeks ago, he did better than Shaun Hill. My Redskins stink, but Campbell has quietly put up some decent fantasy numbers. hat will probably end as soon as the cream puff part of the schedule is over

Lineup questions: Roy Williams vs Nate Burelson in my PPR league?

Any word on the Willie Parker injury? Should I sit him for ... wait for it ... Nate Burelson? (have him in both my leagues)

Football gods have mercy on me, but I thinking of trading Randy Moss. I have this feeling that his 2007 performance is Looong gone. Thoughts? and what is he worth?

Thanks as always, you da' man

P.S.: Is your radio show on the net anywhere?

Gene Wang: Thanks for the shout out. I'll take 'em when I can. I like Williams more than Burleson simply because of the injury to Hasselbeck. I just don't trust Seneca Wallace. It doesn't look like Parker is a go this week, so Burleson is your guy by default. As for Moss, I made him my first pick in four leagues, and I'm counting on him to start reaching the end zone frequently the rest of the season. Would be nice if it began this week against Baltimore. I still think he's the best wide receiver in the league.

And you can listen to me every Thursday at 1 p.m. on 106.7 The Fan. Here's the link to stream:


Gene Wang: Thanks again for another great week of fantasy chatting. As usual your questions were great, and I wish I could have gotten to all of them today. But that's the great thing about blogging -- I can take some time to regroup and answer some of the questions I didn't get to today in Fantasy Check Live OT on my Fantasy Check blog. Check back there often, as I hope to post some questions and answers later this afternoon and throughout the weekend. Remember you also can catch me every Wednesday on Washington Post Live and each Thursday on The Mike Wise Show. Best of luck to all the fantasy players out there, and see you next time.


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