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HTH Mailbag
Week 13
12/3/04

Here is a mix of interesting questions I received from fantasy players this past week, and the response provided. If you have a question for the HTH Mailbag, just drop me an email.

Note that not all questions will be answered because it just isn't possible to respond to them all. Also there are no certainties in fantasy football. The responses represent one opinion to consider in your final decision managing your fantasy team. Overall, I just Hope This Helps...


Mike, Your site has been very helpful this season, although this is the first time I'm writing to you. I have a trade question.

I have 3 RBs (Fred Taylor, Onterrio Smith, and Michael Pittman) and I start 2. I'm looking to trade to upgrade at WR. My problem is which RB should I trade? I will hold on to Pittman but should I trade Taylor or Smith? I want to trade the guy that will be the least productive for me. I would have thought a week ago that that would be Smith but he got 20 carries this week. Plus Mike Tice said today that Smith would be the starter.

I know that you can't trust him, but he did back it up this weekend. If Smith gets 20 carries every week, I think that he will be more productive than Taylor, who seems to disappear in the red zone. Should I take a shot and trade Taylor or play it safe and trade Onterrio? At this point, Taylor will get me a better receiver (I could get Derrick Mason), whereas Smith would leave me with a slightly lesser receiver (I could get Eric Moulds). So, which is better: Pittman, Taylor, Moulds or Pittman, Onterrio and Mason? (I already have Harrison and Walker, so I could carry Moulds, but Harrison, Walker and Mason is an awfully good combination.)

Thank you, Larry

Hi Larry. I'm not sure Mason and Moulds are that different. Mason has been playing better, but Moulds has a great schedule coming up and the team is surging. The Titans are falling a bit flat and one has to wonder how long Steve McNair can last. Maybe that isn't a big factor on Mason though with Volek the #2.

The Bills are running the ball a lot more and should continue to do so. Moulds has been getting good targets and I expect him to produce a little better then he has, but the upside is limited. Tennessee has some good matchups that could result in shootouts all but week 16 vs. DEN.

Here are the stats for each player since week 6. The Targets and production are not that different, just Mason has been able to find the end zone each of the past 3 weeks.

Derrick Mason
 Week  Starter  Opp  Result  Target  Rec  Yds  TD  FF Pts
6 Y HOU L 10-20 13 5 74 0 7.4
7 Y at MIN L 3-20 12 8 85 0 8.5
8 Y CIN W 27-20 13 8 85 0 8.5
10 Y CHI L 17-19 9 7 91 1 15.1
11 Y at JAC W 18-15 5 3 56 1 11.6
12 Y at HOU L 21-31 13 8 87 1 14.7

Eric Moulds
 Week  Starter  Opp  Result  Target  Rec  Yds  TD  FF Pts
6 Y MIA W 20-13 8 5 99 0 9.9
7 Y at BAL L 6-20 10 6 96 0 9.6
8 Y ARI W 38-14 6 3 40 1 10
9 Y NYJ W 22-17 10 7 85 0 8.5
10 Y at NE L 6-29 12 5 46 0 4.6
11 Y STL W 37-17 10 3 17 0 1.7
12 Y at SEA W 38-9 11 8 93 0 9.3

Overall I'd call it a wash. Hopefully this isn't because I've got my Bills homer glasses on ;)

On the RBs though, I would tend to agree with you that Smith and Taylor are not that different themselves IF Smith remains the 20+ carry starter. The big question mark is Tice. If the Vikings aren't winning he can abandon the running game and/or get the different RBs involved. The good thing though is I like the Vikings schedule down the stretch (@CHI, SEA, @DET, GB). They should be in a winning situation more then not, especially with Moss back.

I like the Jags schedule too (PIT, CHI, @GB, HOU), but the Vikings a bit better. Plus the Jags just aren't a high powered offense like the Vikings, preferring to control the clock and lean on the defense to keep games close before they eek out a win at the end of the game. Taylor's potential return is therefore limited.

Ask yourself how much a receiver upgrade helps you versus the risk of Smith not panning out. If it is a big upgrade and you can live with the risk, then I would trade Taylor. Whether Moulds or Mason I will leave to you.



Likely with trade deadlines passing and the playoffs berths on the line, I received more lineup questions this week. Hopefully these are the same decisions some of you are facing (assuming I can help you make the right call).

Okay, this next week is critical. What would you do?:

Need to start 2 QB - Start Tom Brady and Kerry Collins, or Brady and Byron Leftwich?

Need to start 3 WR/TE - Start Torry Holt, Derrick Mason, Antonio Gates or Eddie Kennison. Could also pick-up Jerry Porter and/or Lee Evans and start one or both of them?

On the RB side, need to start 2 - Corey Dillon, Derrick Blaylock, Chester Taylor, T.J. Duckett or Sammy Morris?

Sandy

I go exactly the order you have them listed there.

Brady and Collins
Holt, Mason and Gates
Dillon and Blaylock

Looks good!

I now have some difficult decisions, with the last week of our regular season coming up (week 13). Can you provide some advice on who should I start for Week 13? I placed an "x" beside who I think I will start. This is a critical week as I need to win both to ensure I don't play the top team in the first round!

QB (1)

x - Tom Brady
Jake Delhomme - he might be a good start vs. NO in week 13, but I just like Brady vs. CLE - especially after this past week

RB and WR (any 4 but need at least 1RB and 1WR)

x - The Edge- worried about not enough TDs
x - Corey Dillon
Julius Jones

x - Reggie Wayne - should I diversify as there are just too many WR options in Indy?
Andre Johnson - while he is just great, I have a hard time believing that Carr will get him the ball versus the Jets
x - Isaac Bruce - chose Bruce because he is playing SF
Michael Clayton - reserve; I probably will not start him unless injury

TE (1)

x - Jason Witten
Erron Kinney

K(1)

x - Ryan Longwell
Morten Andersen

Def (1)

x - Jets
Bears

I am really struggling with my decision at RB/WR. I would like to play Jones, especially in Week 14 since he plays NO, but I don't know who should sit? Also, any thoughts about who could be a better start in Week 14?

Thanks. Chris

Hi Chris. After last week and given what Willis McGahee did to Seattle, I think you should start Jones. Start all 3 RB in fact and only 1 WR, which are more risky anyway. Mike Krueger has all 3 of your RB in his top 10 rankings this week. At WR I would go with Bruce because the Rams should play much better at home then they have the past couple weeks, and could lay a pounding on the 49ers. Check his injury status on the weekend as he got banged up at the end of the Monday game, but I believe it was minor and he should be fine this week.

As for week 14, the lineup would probably be very similar as the RBs each have good matchups again (Edge's being the worst at HOU). I would probably switch to Andre Johnson at WR though. Delhomme could get the call over Brady but Brady is just generally a more reliable option at QB and that is a position that really fluctuates depending how the game goes in the early going - something that is more difficult to determine with CAR vs. STL then NE vs. anyone.

Cheers,

Mike

Big week for me, I am on the fringe of being out of the playoffs if I lose.

RB, Pick 2: Deuce McAllister, Chester Taylor, Najeh Davenport (if he starts), Ahman Green (if he starts), Reuben Droughns and Brian Westbrook

WR, Pick 1: Roy Williams or Chris Chambers

QB, Pick 1: Trent Green, Matt Hasselbeck, Brian Griese and Jake Delhomme

Defense: Bills or Miami

Thanks, Aaron

Hi Aaron. Well, I'll do the best I can.

At RB, Deuce and Droughns for now. Consider Green if he looks to carry a full load. Could be difficult to determine before gametime since they play late afternoon on Sunday, so Droughns is the lower risk play.

At WR, Chambers. Roy Williams is too risky given his recent performances.

You could basically draw straws between the 4 QBs. Green if healthy. Your gut choice between Delhomme and Griese if not. I favor Delhomme because the team has been doing well lately and the Saints provide a better matchup than the Falcons.

Bills or Dolphins on defense I would side with the Bills.

Good luck!



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