Fantasy Check Live: Fantasy Football

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Gene Wang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 16, 2009; 1:30 PM

Want to win your league this year? Washington Post fantasy guru Gene Wang, who writes The Post's Fantasy Check blog, will be online Friday, Oct. 16 at 12:30 p.m. ET to help get your fantasy football team through the playoffs.

Fantasy Check Blog

Discussion Archive

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Gene Wang: Welcome to another edition of Fantasy Check Live. Remember the Colts, Cowboys, Dolphins and 49ers have bye weeks, so adjust your lineups accordingly. Let's get to your questions.

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New York, N.Y.: Hi Gene - Thanks for taking my question. I'm in the middle of a tossup over quarterback. Do I play Farve at home against Baltimore, or Rivers on Monday night at home against that Denver defense?

Gene Wang: I like Rivers. I know Denver has been beastly on defense, but the Ravens scare me more.

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Takoma Park, Md.: Hey Gene-

You look like a big dude. You ever play ball yourself?

Gene Wang: That photo you see was taken before I dropped 40 pounds. I suppose it might be a good idea to get a new one. But to answer your question, I reached my athletic peak in high school.

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Chicago: Good morning Gene!

I want to get your opinion on the way Adrian Peterson has been used this year. Last week I noticed that the Vikings were still throwing in the fourth quarter and up by 21+, as an A.P. owner this has come back and bit me in the behind, but in the other hand the Vikes are winning games.

Do you think that saving A.P. for the final push or the tougher part of the schedule could possible come back and hurt Minnesota? it seems to me like the last three weeks A.P. hasn't been able to sync up with the offense maybe because of the lack of carries.

Also, would you go with Cutler or Garrard? And the Washington D or Giants D?

Gene Wang: You might have something there in suggesting the Vikes may be saving AP for the stretch run. We know they want to keep Favre healthy down the stretch too. AP has consecutive tough matchups (Ravens, Steelers), but he's still a must-start regardless of matchup. I like Garrard to have a bounce-back game, and despite how bad they are, the Skins at least can play some defense. Plus they have a favorable matchup. The Giants-Saints game, meantime, could turn into a track meet.

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A Good Problem to Have: So I have four RBs (PPR) that all have good matchups this week. Who would you go with (pick 2) from

Benson,

Grant,

Westbrook

or Moreno?

Gene Wang: Knowshon and Westbrook

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RB Question: I need to pick the right 2 RB an flex players for once this week. Two of these guys need to play

Cadillac Williams

Knowshon Moreno

Leon Washington

Jonathan Stewart

What do you think?

Gene Wang: Knowshon and Stewart

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Detroit, Mich: With Willie Parker on the mend, do I still start Mendenhall? Also, which TE do you think will have a better week - Finley, Watson, Shianco or Olsen? Thanks!

Gene Wang: Yes, Mendenhall is still your starter, and I really like Finley's matchup.

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Arlington, Va.: Hi Gene, due to my evil nature, I have ended up with three pretty decent QBs on my squad (Schaub, Brady, and Romo). I'm planning on playing Brady vs TEN as my starter this weekend, and I think I'm gonna try and offer up Romo as trade bait. Sound like a good idea to you?

Gene Wang: Yes, it's a great idea. Romo's value is high right now, but I've gone on the record saying he won't be a fantasy stud by the end of the season. He certainly isn't in the class of Brady or Schaub.

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St. Paul, Minn.: Hey Gene,

You've gave great advice the last time - now I'm looking for more. I've got Pierre Thomas, who is starting to look like a weekly headache with his myriad health concerns. Can I count on him this week? Otherwise I've got Harrison or Lewis of the Browns. Which one should I start if I have to start one? Thanks!

Gene Wang: The Saints are planning to use a RBBC situation this week. Thomas is a good play though because the Browns have a horrible matchup against Pittsburgh. Also keep an eye on Thomas as to how he pratices today. As you mentioned, he does have that nagging hamstring.

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Washington, D.C.: Sending this in early. Got offered Jennings/Sproles for Grant/Collie. Initially I'm all for this but now I'd be left with Sproles/Jonathan Stewart/Fred Jackson as my complement back to Maurice Jones-Drew, all bit-part RBs. I do feel Jennings is about to turn the corner for some big weeks though, despite the Packers poor offensive line. Thoughts?

Gene Wang: The Packers are going to get Aaron Rodgers injured if they don't protect him better, but yes, I agree on Jennings. I also think Jonathan Stewart could be ready to turn the corner. He looked great on that touchdown run against the Skins last week.

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Syracuse, N.Y.: Picked up Hasselbeck this week to prevent my opponent from doing so (He has Manning, now starting Campbell). I have Brady. And I am considering starting Hasselbeck given the opponent? Could I be crazy?

Gene Wang: I was asked that same question on The Mike Wise Show yesterday, and I'll give the same advice now: Brady is a must-start regardless of opponent. But the added bonus this week is that Brady is facing the Titans, who are second to last in pass defense.

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Herndon, Va.: Gene,

I don't have a who to start/sit question, my question is regarding a trade. Is Brandon Marshall for Calvin Johnson a fair trade? Or does Marshall have too much potential this year to trade him?

Gene Wang: That's a potential for production trade. You know Calvin Johnson will produce, but you are gambling on Marshall, who has looked great recently. Personally I like Johnson more, but keep an eye on his injury situation. The latest I heard was he doesn't look good for this weekend.

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Woodbridge, Va.: Hey Gene,

I am in a PPR keeper league with 3 starting WR's and a starting RB/WR spot. I am weak at RB, but my WRs are R. Moss, A. Johnson, Lee Evans, Miles Austin, Jeremy Maclin, and Austin Collie (Austin and Maclin were on my bench Sunday).

I would like to trade Austin, Maclin, or Collie after last Sunday's outbursts by all three to pick up a RB that can help me now. Which wide receiver do you think I will least regret letting go of this season and afterward?

Gene Wang: I'd be most inclined to deal Miles Austin, based largely on the fact Romo isn't as good as Donovan McNabb or Peyton Manning. Plus when Roy Williams gets healthy after the Cowboys' bye week, he'll be the No. 1 wide receiver again. Remember Austin got the start only because Williams couldn't go. And the Cowboys were playing the Chiefs, so you have to keep that in mind when reviewing Austin's stat line.

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Annapolis, Md.: I just offered Chris Johnson and Carson Palmer for Tom Brady and Deangelo Williams. PPR league that penalizes interceptions -4. Good Trade?

Keep up the good work!

Gene Wang: Yes, a good trade, and thanks for the kind words. I'll do my best!

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Washington, D.C.: Hey Gene, what do you think of starting Shady McCoy in a flex position this week? I'm pretty thinned out with byes. The other flex alternative for me would be Percy Harvin. Thanks!!!

Gene Wang: Shady is a great flex option given the Eagles have a favorable matchup against Oakland. Harvin showed up on the Vikes' injury report with a sore shoulder. Plus Minnesota has a difficult matchup against the Ravens.

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Washington, D.C.: Gene,

Help. I picked LT number one in our draft on what appears to have been a faulty hunch that he would have a monster comeback year. Now I have to decide every week whether to even start him. My other top RBs are Clinton Portis and Tim Hightower. Portis seems like a lock against KC, but Hightower vs. Seattle or LT vs. Denver? I'm in a PPR league, which might be a plus for LT, but it's a plus for Hightower, too. Am I right to be leaning Hightower?

Gene Wang: I know plenty of fantasy owners who drafted LT under the assumption he would have a bounce-back season. So far it isn't happening, and he has become the dreaded fantasy starter based on matchup. This week Hightower has a much more favorable matchup, but do keep in mind Beanie Wells is getting a bit more involved in the offense.

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Embarassment of Riches?: I can only have two running backs and my roster has: Matt Forte, Knowshon Moreno, Rashard Mendenhal, and Darren Sproles (not counting Frank Gore who has a bye and is injured).

I see from your blog that people are ranking Moreno and Mendenhal high, but I have to play Forte, right? Which two do I play?

Gene Wang: First, thanks for the props for the Fantasy Check blog. I hope fantasy players are enjoying it and finding useful information. Please let me know if there's anything I should be including in the blog that I am not currently. You can reach me directly at fantasycheck@washpost.com. As for your running backs, I like Forte and Mendenhall. All in all, it's a good problem to have.

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Severna Park, Md.: Hi Gene:

I think I know the answer that you will give for this lineup question but to me it is a difficult one: Brees vs. Giants or Big Ben vs. the Cleve Brownies.

Also do you like Winslow or Shockey this week.

Gene Wang: I know it's tempting to start Big Ben against the Browns, considering the Giants have the top-ranked pass defense in the league. But for my money -- and believe me, I've invested plenty of it in fantasy -- Brees is a must-start regardless of matchup. He hasn't thrown a touchdown over his past two games, which tells me he is due for a big game. Again, a good problem to have. As for the tight ends, you know this game is personal for Shockey, and I love starting guys who have a score to settle.

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Baltimore: Hello Gene,

I'm 5-0 this year for the first time ever. So far I've been buoyed up by my mid and late round draft picks after slow starts from Andre Johnson, Welker, Slaton, and McNabb. I've got a tough match up this week against the league leader in total points and owner of A.P.

Which 2 should I go with out of Slaton, Rice, and Hightower? I haven't used Hightower yet this year, because I just don't trust him, but other experts are projecting him high against the Seahawks.

Also, who would you pick for the flex position, Donald Driver or the other Steve Smith? Smith has been on fire, but DD goes up against a torchable Lions defense. I've been using W. McGahee here, but he has finally cooled off.

Finally, what can we do about a better name for the other Steve Smith? The new Steve Smith? The next Steve Smith?

Thanks for your help. Steve will appreciate it.

Gene Wang: Did you see that touchdown Andre Johnson had last week? Ridiculous. He looked like Jim Brown. This might just be the week to start Hightower because Rice has a very difficult matchup against the Vikings, and I like all Packers players this week against as you said a torchable Lions defense. And you raise an excellent point about Steve Smith. The way the Giants' Steve Smith is playing, he may become the first Steve Smith, while Carolina's Steve Smith becomes the other Steve Smith. Does that make sense? I'm confused myself now.

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Fairfax, Va.: Hi Gene, thanks for the chat.

I need help with some matchup based lineup decisions. Which two would look best as RB2 and Flex behind AP: Mendenhall, R. Rice, or Moreno? Mendenhall depends a bit on health (his own and Slow Willie Parker's), and Rice has a tough matchup...

Gene Wang: Knowshon and Mendenhall

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Seven Corners, Va.: Gene,

This is probably a good problem to have but who should I start this weekend, Big Ben or Rodgers? Thanks.

Gene Wang: A great problem to have, and as I told another chatter, I like virtually all Packers this week against the Lions. Not that Roethlisberger is a bad play either, but believe it or not, the Browns are rated 10th against the pass. Meantime, the Lions are 27th.

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Washington, D.C.: Great stuff Gene!

Trying to decide on an Eagles RB. Westbrook or McCoy?

Thanks Gene.

Gene Wang: Both are going to get theirs this week against just a really bad Oakland team, but I'm going with Westbrook until further notice. It's going to be a time-share situation apparently for the rest of the season, but remember the Eagles are adopting that situation to keep Westbrook healthy. He's still the first option in that offense.

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Fairfax, Va.: Hey Gene,

Any thoughts on Ray Rice vs. Minnesota (non PPR) -- he's show the ability to produce against tough opponents, but is he worth starting over Mendenhall or Moreno, given the matchup?

Thanks!

Gene Wang: I have Rice and Moreno, and I'm benching Rice because of his really difficult matchup.

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Centreville, Va.: Gene,

Good to see you on Washington Post live with Ivan. I need to pick 2 wide receivers from these guys, Santana Moss, Mike Sims-Walker, Andre Johnson or Nate Burleson, any suggestions. Of course we hope Mike Sims-Walker makes bed check this week.

Thanks

Gene Wang: Thanks for watching the show. Ivan needs all the help he can get! Andre Johnson is a must-start regardless of matchup, and Nate Burleson should have another nice game against a favorable opponent. As for Sims-Walker, he doomed many fantasy players last week.

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Arlington, Va.: Gene, love your chats. I have a wide receiver dilemma this week. I picked up Roddy White in a trade and also have Matt Ryan as my quarterback. So I have Desean Jackson, Roddy White, Wes Welker and Jeremy Maclin and can only play 2. I'm thinking White and Welker, given that the Ryan/White combo could give me a lot of points. Welker continues to be on the injury report but with the Patriots, you never know. What do you think?

Gene Wang: I have Roddy White and was glad to see him bust out last week. I'm starting him every week regardless of matchup. I like DeSean Jackson for two reasons. First, he gets the Raiders. Second, he was a nonfactor last week, and I'm convinced the Eagles are going to make every effort to get him involved this time.

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Bad draft advice: The worst draft advice I got (ESPN) was to take a wide receiver before a running back. Running backs are hard to find now!

Gene Wang: You may have gotten that advice from my friend Eric Karabell, with whom I worked at The Post for many years. To be honest, I took the same approach in all of my drafts. I got either Randy Moss or Larry Fitzgerald with my first picks in every league. I still believe it was the way to go. As you mentioned, great running backs are indeed hard to find, so why not go with a sure thing, like a Moss or Fitzgerald? Look at the first-round running backs, and you'll notice most of them are underperforming. That includes Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte, Chris Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew and LT. The list goes on, but you get my point.

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Chevy Chase, Md.: Hey Gene, I need a running back this weekend. Is it worth me trading Brett Favre for Sammy Morris? Kurt Warner is my other quarterback.

Gene Wang: Sammy Morris is top on my list of players to add, since it's clear he's the Patriots' No. 1 option now that Fred Taylor could be lost for the season with an ankle injury.

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Kicker/D questions: Tynes or Lindell? Giants or Packers D? I'm tempted to go with Tynes and Packers.

Gene Wang: This is a first: a kicker/DST question together! The Packers are a great play against Detroit. Tynes has been erratic, and the Giants even tried out Matt Stover this week, but he's still the league leader in scoring, and he'll be in a game that could be up and down the field for both teams.

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Bethesda, Md.: Hey Gene,

Thanks for doing the chat every Friday. Your advice is really helping out.

Better Flex Option:

Percy Harvin, LeSean McCoy or Cadillac Williams?

Thanks Gene!

Gene Wang: Shady. I love that nickname, and I love his matchup against Oakland.

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Unthinkable: Do I bench AP this week because of match-up? I'm in a point crazy leage that gives me 1 PPR and 1 P per 20 RT yards. I'm thinking of benching AP for: Sproles (flex), Mendenhall and Hightower? Crazy or crazy like a fox?

Gene Wang: I would not bench AP for any reason, despite his slow start. If it makes you feel any better, you're not the first person to ask that question. Many AP owners are frustrated by his lack of huge production recently, but we all know he's the best running back in the league. It's just a matter of time until he gets going for real.

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Gaithersburg, Md.: Gene,

What is the situation looking like for Mendenhall this week? Do I dare sit him and put Mike Sims-Walker at Flex? My other RBs are Ryan Grant and Kevin Smith, and my other WRs are Andre Johnson and Steve Smith (NYG).

Gene Wang: Mendenhall has an illness, but reports indicate he'll practice today. Keep an eye on that, but the hunch here is he'll play on Sunday. If he does, he's a better flex option than Mike "Bed Check" Sims-Walker. What a crazy story about why he was deactivated last week.

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Brooklyn, N.Y.: Hi Gene, thanks for the chats, they're always helpful!

I like the philosophy of doubling points with a QB and WR on the same team, which I'm not usually able to do. But this week, Peyton's on a bye, and I've got Schaub as my starter. I also have Kevin Walter (thanks for nothing last week!), but I'm penciling in Slaton as a starting RB, and I'm worried about starting three guys from the same team since it could sink my whole game if something goes south.

Would you start Sammy Morris over Slaton or Walter to avoid this? Or start all three of them and sit Hines Ward this week in what could be a laugher for the Steelers against Cleveland?

Gene Wang: Hines Ward has been a beast this season, and he's a great play regardless of matchup. I'd be tempted to start Sammy Morris over Walter too.

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New York, N.Y.: Gene, What's up with McGahee? He was a beast the first few weeks and now he doesn't play at all. I'm starting Lynch and Moreno before him this week. Is that the right call?

Gene Wang: McGahee carried one of my fantasy teams early, but clearly the Ravens want Ray Rice to be the featured back, thus severely limiting McGahee's touches. Lynch and Moreno is the right way to go, especially this week given the Ravens' tough matchup.

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20005, Washington, D.C.: Thanks for the informative chats. Quick question for you - Big Ben or Matt Ryan this week (standard scoring - 4 pts passing TDs, 6 pts rushing TDs)?

Gene Wang: Big Ben against the 27th ranked pass defense, which is just a bit worse than the Bears' 20rd-ranked pass defense.

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Arlington, Va.: A killer question that sums up the Redskins' unfortunate season: do I start Cassel or Campbell this weekend (no comments, please, on how I find myself in this QB dilemma in the first place).

Gene Wang: I'm starting Cassel this week with Peyton Manning on a bye. Let's both hope it's the right decision.

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Chicago: I have been offered Tom Brady for Pierre Thomas? Should I pull the trigger? I would be left with Tom Brady, Greg Jennings, Steve Smith (CAR), DeAngelo Williams, Steve Slaton, John Carlson, and Nate Burleson/Donald Brown at Flex.

Thanks!

Gene Wang: I'd pull the trigger immediately. I really think Brady is going to have a big second half of the season. Meantime, Thomas could be a health concern much of the rest of the season.

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Tysons Corner, Va.: Good afternoon Gene,

Which Matt do you like better this week, Schaub or Hasselbeck? Also as a frustrated owner of Steve Slaton do you think he will turn his season around?

Thanks

Gene Wang: That's a close call, and when it's close, I lean toward the home team if applicable. In this case it is, with Hasselbeck at home facing the league's worst pass defense that's giving up 303 yards per game.

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Atlanta: Tough One!

Eli Manning or Kyle Orton ... I am this close to banging my head against the wall!

Thanks !

Gene Wang: Don't hurt yourself my friend. While fantasy is important, it's not worth incurring head injuries. With the way Eli played last week on a hurt foot, I like him in a game that could be very high scoring.

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Tradesville: What are the valid reasons for voting against a trade?

Gene Wang: The only reason to vote against a trade is if there's clear collusion. I've never been one to stop a bad decision by another fantasy player in my league. Be smart or be gone. That's my motto.

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Mountain Time Zone: Gene - I am on the road today, so have to submit my question early.

My QB, Peyton Manning is on bye week. I planned ahead at the draft and had Joe Flacco as my backup QB. Now, I realize the Ravens are playing Minnesota - my defense. Would you play Flacco against the Minnesota defense? The only other QBs available are Marc Bulger and Josh Johnson. Any suggestions!

Gene Wang: I'd still start Flacco. The offenses in St. Louis and Tampa are just a mess.

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Gene Wang: Thanks for another great session of Fantasy Check Live. As usual, I will answer overflow questions on my blog, so go there for Fantasy Check Live OT. Remember you can catch me talking fantasy on Washington Post Live every Wednesday and on The Mike Wise Show each Thursday. Good luck this weekend, and see you next time.

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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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