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Sunday, October 26, 2008
TRUM: Jumping on the bandwagon (or not)


So I went to the first of my two planned Halloween parties this weekend, and I've never been a huge Halloween guy. You see, I'm not an arts-and-crafts guy, so I don't like to spend time making a costume, and I always feel dumb standing there in some bought costume. Frankly, if you don't have kids, Halloween is more about the girls' costumes. No one cares what the guys are wearing.

But I thought I would try to be clever for once … so I wore a Phillies jersey, an Obama pin and a Hannah Montana hat. I was "A Bandwagon Guy." I got a few people saying, "Oh, that's funny." But most people just looked at me and were like, "Yeah! Go Phillies!" Or they would say, "Boo, Phillies."

The takeaways? First, if you've ever been scared to wear a Hannah Montana hat in public, you should feel fairly safe in doing so. Folks don't notice.

And second, sometimes things are not what they seem at first glance. As for this past week in football? Some things were mirages, and some were, in fact, legit. Here are 10 things I noticed:

1. "Yeah, I'd say he's healthy."

Guys who were banged up coming into the week who looked good:

LaDainian Tomlinson had 170 total yards and a score. He looked healthy again, and now he has a bye week to fully heal. He'll be the LT you drafted once the team returns to action.

Anquan Boldin is a man among men. He played with more wires in his face than Wireman, a lame superhero costume I briefly considered, and finished with nine catches, 63 yards and two scores. The entire Arizona passing game was impressive in Carolina, a tough place to play. Larry Fitzgerald was his normal stud self with 115 yards, and Steve Breaston proved start-worthy, with nine catches for 91 yards. And Kurt Warner threw for almost 400 yards.

Jerricho Cotchery had nine catches for 102 yards.

Brian Westbrook
Didn't take long for Westbrook to regain his mojo.
Brian Westbrook continues to show that when he plays, fantasy owners should start him. Period. He had 209 total yards and two touchdowns.

And while they didn't do all that much, it was good to see Joey Galloway, Chris Chambers, Kevin Curtis and Marques Colston make appearances. (I know Colston was active last week, so save your e-mails, but at least he made it into the box score this week).

2. Remember when I was on his bandwagon? And then I jumped off? Can I jump back on?

Welcome to fantasy relevance, Ted Ginn Jr. Ginn had seven catches for 175 yards and looked like the guy I was pumping up in the preseason, not the guy I bailed on two weeks ago. Before you dismiss it as just one game, take a closer look: He's second in targets on the Dolphins coming into Sunday and has at least 40 receiving yards in three of his past four games. The next four opponents are Denver, Seattle, Oakland and New England, and none of them have good pass defenses. That's the other big reason I'm buying on him.

3. Don't look at the name, just the numbers.

Consider these stat lines from Weeks 5 through 7:

Quarterback A: 881 yards, four touchdowns
Quarterback B: 807 yards, four touchdowns

Quarterback A is Drew Brees. Quarterback B is Chad Pennington, who threw for more than 300 yards in Week 8, one week after he threw for 295. Again, look at the Dolphins' upcoming schedule. We've been talking about Pennington for a while, and this is why.

Speaking of quarterback pickups, Shaun Hill of the 49ers replaced J.T. O'Sullivan and could have value as a matchups play if they give him the starting job.

4. We're still waiting …

For Terrell Owens to be Terrell Owens. Sadly, I don't think you see it until Tony Romo comes back. And this is me, washing my hands of Torry Holt. I'm done. And part of the reason is …

5. Yeah, Donnie Avery! Yeah!

Avery had six receptions for 163 yards and a score, marking the third straight impressive week for him. And while Steven Jackson was a late scratch, I thought Antonio Pittman ran well. He looked solid, on the road, with 22 touches for 105 total yards. You'll see Pittman's name in this week's pickup column. Along with Jamaal Charles, who I keep harping about. Again, he was better than "starter" Kolby Smith; hopefully Charles' ankle injury isn't serious. And don't look now, but I thought Tyler Thigpen looked solid. Seriously. I actually think he could be OK.

6. Come on, seriously? Really?

In my longtime (15 years), 12-team keeper league in which you can keep 10 players a year (so there's very little turnover), I co-own a team with Chris Lindsay, my college roommate. We are 4-3. Today, we played a 1-6 team. Among the guys the 1-6 team had: Leon Washington, Devery Henderson, Anthony Fasano, Derek Anderson and Roddy White.

Leon Washington
I expected a fine week from Leon Washington, but two touchdowns?
I had Washington as a deep sleeper this week, but come on. A 21-point fantasy day was beyond anything I expected. Only White should have been expected to do anything in that group. Isn't that the worst, when the worst team in the league has all its scrubs go off the week it is facing you? Aaaargh. I'm just amazed he didn't have Leonard Weaver on his team. And no, I'm not buying Weaver either. The 49ers looked lost.

By the way, if you were redrafting today, White would have to be a top-seven wide receiver. And one of the reasons?

7. I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

About Matt Ryan, who I didn't like on the road at Philly. He's a legit fantasy starter, regardless of matchup. He had 227 yards and two scores, and I'd rather have him the rest of the way than, say, Anderson or Jeff Garcia. Speaking of stuff I got wrong, I really thought Garcia would have a big day against that banged-up, porous Cowboys defense. Clearly Wade Phillips taking over the defensive play calling had a good effect.

I can't decide whether to be happy or sad that I was wrong about Cedric Benson, who ended up with 69 total yards, short of the 100 yards I bet Eric Karabell he would get. Either way, I can resume my hatred of him.

Other stuff I was wrong about (mostly in my Week 8 Love/Hate):

Justin (Boston): TMR, you've crossed the line this time. Goldie Hawn is a national treasure.

Ian C. (South Wales, U.K.): Fair enough, your comments about last year's London Mud Bowl were spot on, but I'm pretty sure Dame Edna Everage is Australian, not British, so don't blame us for everything.

Gordon (U.S. in London): Burger King is a British company. Shoulda gone with McDonald's.

8. So much for that.

New England's Heath Evans did nothing, and neither did BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who had nine carries for only 16 yards. Antonio Bryant came down to earth with only 46 yards (but does get seven receptions), and just when I was starting to come around on the Bengals' wideouts and Trent Edwards, they laid an egg. Blech!

9. How about a raised eyebrow?

I'm not totally worried about these guys, but I do have a raised eyebrow: Earnest Graham (continued his streak of not scoring on the road this season), Michael Turner (continued his streak of inconsistency), Jonathan Stewart (continued to be outplayed by DeAngelo Williams), Ronnie Brown (continued to not find room when the "Wildcat offense" is stopped), Isaac Bruce, Darren McFadden (scratched for health reasons) and Julius Jones.

10. But look on the bright side …

Yes, Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor did nothing. But David Garrard is finally living up to preseason hype, Matt Jones continues to play well, and the Jaguars play the Bengals and Lions in their next two games. Buy low.

Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- is finishing a day of watching and writing about football by doing his SimmonBerry (hoops) Auction. He is the creator of RotoPass.com, a Web site that combines a bunch of well-known fantasy sites, including ESPN Insider, for one low price. Use promo code ESPN for 10 percent off. Cyberstalk the TMR | Be his Cyberfriend