Fantasy Mailbag Q&A - Week 4

The hallmark of any good "advice-giver" is a general inability to benefit from his/her own advice, or a failure to follow his/her own advice to their own detriment. The axiom "Those who can do, do; those who can't teach give advice" surely applies to me this week. My fantasy team looked like it was going to really be something but now I find myself holding on for dear life. Tracking the success of some of the roster decisions I have advised people to make in recent weeks, you would think my team was a juggernaut. I guess I will stick to giving out advice and hope that I can pull myself up by the bootstraps to salvage my own fantasy season. Thanks for your questions...let's get started.

Q: 'Tis the season for backup running backs to start proving their worth. Which ones should I get aggressive in pursuing either by trade or waiver wire? - Aiden

A: Aiden, part of your question is part of your answer. You will have to get very aggressive to get some of the top tier backups at this point. I spent a few valuable auction dollars on Glen Coffee in my draft, and I simply can't wait to start him this weekend. If someone came at me for a trade, I would probably want more than they were willing to give up. However, there are a few guys out there that may have a big impact before the season is over that you could steal away from another team or off of the waiver wire. In Washington, Clinton Portis is banged up. He does not look healthy. Ladell Betts figures to get carries, and if you recall a couple years ago, he banged out over 1,000 yards in a 9-game stretch when he was filling in for Portis. James Davis (Browns), Michael Bush (Raiders), and Maurice Morris (Lions) are also guys you may want to pry away from somebody. When you approach a team for a trade like this, always ask for a better player and then when you get into negotiations, switch up to one of these lower tier guys. It should allow you to control the value you pay and will make the other owner feel like he talked you out of taking one of his studs.

Q: Is Mike Sims-Walker for real? I am very hesitant to rely on a Jaguars receiver. - Gary

A: Gary, I hear you completely. Counting on the Jags' passing game to win you cash sounds miserable, because it is. However, some good news for you: David Garrard has a big arm that has lacked a reliable target for quite some time. He is showing a LOT of love for Sims-Walker these days and the two are quickly building trust and confidence in each other. I get the sense this duo will develop nicely as the season progresses. Add to that the fact that they face the 29th ranked pass defense in the league this weekend (Titans) and you have yourself a nice start. Injuries on the front lines of the wide receiver position are piling up. A player like Sims-Walker is a very attractive option to have on your bench.

Q: Kyle Boller looked decent last week against the Packers. Would you add him and/or even start him in all fantasy formats? - Jennifer

A: Our first female questioner. Jennifer, you have to fight the temptation to add this guy to your fantasy roster, Boller is a player I would advise you to avoid at all costs. Sure he put up good numbers last week, but that passing offense is missing Laurent Robinson and now possibly Donnie Avery. Can I interest you in Chad Henne? Take a chance on him turning into a reliable option for your team instead of Boller.

Q: What is your advice on managing the bye week for kickers and defenses? - Leroy

A: I have a very strict policy on kickers: I only draft from among the kickers with the latest possible bye week so I don't have to be fiddling with roster moves early in the season to manage kickers on a bye. If your kicker has a bye in the first bye week, you are in the worst scenario, because anyone you pick up to replace him this week will have their own bye coming up at some point, so shame on you for having a kicker with a bye week in week 4! David Akers and Neil Rackers are off this week and if you drafted them, chances are you are happy with them. You might consider just starting those two guys on their bye week and then as long as they stay healthy, you won't have to make a roster move all season for a kicker. As the season drags on, make sure you don't replace a kicker with one who still has their bye week coming up, to the extent you can avoid that. As for defenses, a lot of owners like to start a defense on their bye week because it guarantees a non-negative score! Some leagues won't allow you to do that, but in general, you should have at least two defenses on your roster. Fantasy leagues have embraced the defense as a high-scoring option in recent years and you don't want to be tied down to just one because you could get stuck in a horrible matchup. Carry the extra defense for bye weeks and matchups. It could be the difference in winning a few dollars and coming up short.

Good luck everyone. See you next week.

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