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Dan's Sack (Fantasy Football Mailbag): Week 4

Dan Ciarrocchi answers all your Week 4 fantasy football questions from Wednesday. If you have more, post away in the comments section.

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I’m not going to pull any punches this week with the fantasy football questions, folks. I’m running a ridiculous fever, and against my best efforts to rest up and get better, I couldn’t shake my own curiosity and see what one of my columns looks like when it’s written on pure sick fumes. Mmm…sick fumes.
That said, we have a couple cameos this week. Kevin and Ken had some questions for me, and I get one more chance to show them I actually know what I’m talking about before they wise-up and cut me loose. Let’s see how badly I wind up letting them down as well as the others who sought my advice this week.

@ViewtheRoad writes via Twitter

Philip Rivers at KC or Carson Palmer at Denver? Rivers under-performing all season. Palmer overachieving. Better matchup?

Right and right. Philip Rivers has underperformed. His offensive line has been bad, although in recent years, he’s been one of the more reliable quarterbacks when pressured. Not the case this year. One major issue is that he hasn’t gotten much help from his receivers, and the return of Jared Gaither could make life a lot easier for him in coming weeks.

As for Carson Palmer, you tend to not want the guy you know is over-performing. Regressions are always in order when these situations arise, and it’s not fun to be the owner when the wheels fall off. Being in a volatile environment without his number-one target and against a potent pass-rush doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in me if I want to start Palmer.

At the end of the day, I'd lean toward Rivers this week. He will almost always present more upside than Palmer.

Distractoro from the Hogs Haven community writes:

I am in a 12 team league. For my W/R/T option, should I start Benson against NO or Boldin against CLE?

Ugh. I never like telling people to start Cedric Benson. But I have to in this case just because there could be 150 points scored in that Packers/Saints game and he could get a goal-line chance or two. Everyone’s been running roughshod on the Saints this year, and while Benson’s no Jamaal Charles, he can still take the yards that are there. That may be enough.

Anquan Boldin’s losing it. Rather, he has been for some time, but he’s becoming more of an afterthought in that Ravens offense the more Torrey Smith and Dennis Pitta show up. Since his three-touchdown outburst versus the Browns in 2010, Boldin has just six catches and 59 yards over his last three meetings with them since.Go Benson this week.

Jiggy121 from the Hogs Haven community writes:
In another topic besides sacks...

Other topics matter?

What is your outlook on Eli Manning for the rest of the year? Do you think he will finish in the top 5 QB ranks in fantasy? I got Peyton Manning but am considering to trade and get Eli instead (p.s. Eli’s owner already has Matt Ryan as his starter).

Top five is certainly a possibility, but I don’t think it’s a likelihood. There’s still too much time for the Bradys, Breeses and Rodgerses, Staffords and Newtons to turn things around. But Eli will still give you a very consistent output each week as long as he doesn’t turn into the same quarterback prior to 2011. I’ve yet to see any indication he will revert.

As for his brother, it’s unfortunate. It just doesn’t look like Peyton’s body and brain are cooperating, and he is failing at making several throws he used to be able to in better physical condition. Once he figures that balance out, he could be dominant in the league once again. But for now, if you could really get Eli in a trade for cheap, I would do it. Peyton going forward is far too much of an unknown for me to feel comfortable about.

Matt Williams writes via Facebook

Trading Andre Brown and Danny Amendola for the law firm in a standard 16 team league. I wanted a consistent RB since my others were CJ0K, Kevin Smith, Doug Martin and Tashard Choice.

It comes down to what you favor. If you’re desperate for some consistency, then I think you have to get BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

But if you want upside, I would stand pat. I think Amendola is certainly good enough to lead the Rams receivers as long as he gets some help. We’ve already seen what Andre Brown can do when given time, and I’ve gone into detail before about how the Giants typically play two or three backs regularly and allow the best one to stay on the field. That just isn’t Bradshaw anymore.


HTTR-RTR from the Hogs Haven community writes:

Two Questions. I have the Giants team Defense and they have been alright. Atlanta’s team defense is available and I was wonder if Atlanta’s D would be the better move for the season.

Starting any team defense that plays the Eagles is a good move, period. I picked up the Cardinals defense last week in a few of my leagues just because of the Eagles’ susceptibility to turn the ball over. The Eagles certainly have the talent and the competency to put yards and points on the board, but giving those up can be negated with a few sacks and turnovers. Besides, I’m usually a big fan of leaning towards starting players and defenses with higher ceilings than floors, and the Cardinals certainly had amazing potential to light-up scoreboards last weekend. The Giants will get to Michael Vick on Sunday night and that could result in some big points for your lineup, too.

As far as Atlanta’s defense goes, they should be solid enough to play week-to-week but I’ve always hated doing that with team defenses. In most cases, you’ll be able to find a team with a juicy matchup on waivers during any given week that will fare just fine.

Also, in a 14-team league is Jerome Simpson a good pick up?

Big time. That Vikings offense is getting better each week, and Simpson has the athleticism to warrant big games every now and then while teams key-in on Percy Harvin and Kyle Rudolph. A lot will depend on Christian Ponder’s development, but that’s something to feel really good about right now going forward. Wait a week before plugging him in your lineup, but he’s a priority stash right now.

Ken Meringolo, Senior Editor of Hogs Haven writes:

I want to know when I should gamble with a Mendenhall start.

(answered in my best pregame show voice)

Ken, I have to say, probably not this week. He’s just a little banged up and you have to wonder if his fresh legs will be under him.

Also, his team isn’t playing, so definitely look for that to be a hindrance on his performance this week.

(/end scene)

Before I get fired, I don’t think I would gamble on him at all this year. It looks like it’s going to be a running-back-by-committee despite the sluggishness of the Steelers ground game so far. Remember how recently Rashard Mendenhall went down with the injury, and backs typically deal with losing a degree of their burst and production soon after the fact.

Unless, of course, your name is Adrian Peterson (and not that stupid Adrian Peterson who was on the Bears a few years ago who I tried to trade to all of my league-mates for their best players).

Mendenhall isn’t Adrian Peterson, and he’s going to have a ton of rust to shake off. Because of that, I’m not sure why Mike Tomlin and his staff would have any incentive to rush him back into the workload he used to have. The truth is, he probably won’t ever get back to that point this year. Try shopping him around and see if people will be enticed by a player who used to be one of the best weekly options in fantasy football.

Second question: what kind of value should I be looking for in a trade if I make Sam Bradford available?

I always try to highball these things just to see what comes from it, but I’m not sure Bradford is going to offer much to a team aside from a bye week plug-in. We all know those players are a dime-a-cliche.

What you saw from him Week 1 versus the Lions is about par for the course for him, despite having potential to really be one of the better quarterbacks in the league. But for a third-year quarterback, a trade partner would want to see a big step already taken. And the fact is, he just hasn’t started to do that yet. Quarterbacks are a deep position this year, and Sam Bradford has yet to truly demonstrate value*.

*(After he "Demonstrates Value," the next step for him would be to "Engage Physically")

So if you’re looking to unload him, I’d try to find an under-the-radar guy with a high ceiling who is getting snaps or close to having a featured role. Rolling the dice on guys like Jacquizz Rodgers, Justin Blackmon or Titus Young wouldn’t be the worst thing you could do. Go upside, and if you feel more comfortable, see if you can squeeze out a more reliable player in the near future to complement your young gun.

Kevin Ewoldt, Managing Editor for Hogs Haven writes:

Is Golden Tate worth starting (my WRs are bad).

Yes, yes he is

…In a 40-team league!



No, but seriously. Don’t. It’s going to be a run-first offense in Seattle as long as that defense continues to be as good as it has been, and the Rams don’t present a great matchup for the passing game. I know you said your receivers are bad, but probably not bad enough to consider starting Tate. Don’t bank on a guy who needed a once-in-a-lifetime play to be relevant in starting/sitting discussions.

That will be all today, folks. I'm getting delirious. If you need more questions answered, what’s remaining of me will answer them Thursday. Go ahead and post them in the comments section or reach me on Twitter