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Sunday, November 9, 2008
TRUM: Time for a reality check


I get e-mail.

Taek (Seoul, South Korea): You're a joke, Berry. Your love/hate is so unrisky, it's like daring to say this country is in a recession. You love practically EVERYBODY, i.e. all your Panthers, Dolphins, blah blah, etc. Wow, what an "expert" prediction. And your hates are usually players on the bench of most fantasy owners or obvious bad matchups. Jerious Norwood? Who in the hell would start Norwood? This is FANTASY football. Not real football. When will fantasy experts ever be real like their Vegas bookie counterparts who boldly predict winners and losers each week? I must give you credit, though. You and [another ESPN personality] have milked and conned ESPN for quite some time now. No wonder you got your gig on "One Life to Live."

TMR: Being disappointed in the TMR. It's not just for America anymore.

Alternate line: Milked and conned? I prefer ripped off and hornswoggled.

Jerious Norwood
Sometimes it's OK not to listen to TMR's advice. Case in point: Jerious Norwood.
I included this e-mail because of the Norwood line. Here's what's great: I get ripped for saying I "hate" Norwood and that it was an obvious call to "hate" him. And yet I was dead wrong on this "obvious" call.

You should have started Norwood, and luckily, 28.5 percent of you ignored me and actually used him this week. Norwood had more than 100 total yards and scored a touchdown in the Falcons' romp over the Saints.

The question is: Is Norwood's performance real? And I say ... yeah, sort of. He now has 29 fantasy points in the past two weeks and gets Denver at home next. So as a flex, he's definitely startable.

It was a nuttier day than usual in the NFL. As Tyler pointed out:

Tyler (Fairmont, Minn.): WOW. I am speechless on how many Fantasy points Coles, Berrian and Rodgers have gotten me today. How wrong were you on Rodgers, Berrian and Coles? These are the worst performances I have ever seen and the worst fantasy projections/love-hates period.

TMR: Worst you have ever seen? Does this mean I am off the hook for Larry Johnson?

If you had told me the Jets would score 47 points (47!) and Brett Favre would not turn the ball over once, but would have a worse fantasy day than Seneca Wallace or Rex Grossman, I would have bet anything you wanted.

The Jets got up big early and Thomas Jones went nuts. No reason to throw. So what in that game was real?

Favre's line (167 passing yards, one touchdown): Yes. In the five games since his six-touchdown explosion, he has four scores. He also has single-digit fantasy points in three of five games. He's no longer a top-15 fantasy quarterback and I don't like him Thursday on the road at New England. Of course, as Brett goes, so does his wideouts, and they are now matchup starts.

Jones has a monster game (149 yards, three touchdowns) and you know what? It is legit as well. We've been talking about Jones for some time now. He has eight scores in his past five games. I like him at New England on Thursday and against Denver in Week 13. Plus, look at his playoff schedule (at San Francisco, versus Buffalo, at Seattle).

Ricky Williams
Ricky Williams turned in his first 100-yard game since the end of the 2005 season.
Rob (Washington, D.C.): Do the ESPN Fantasy analysts get paid? If so, it could be possibly the greatest racket in the history of employment. You guys are worse than meteorologists. I would be embarrassed if I failed half as frequently as you all do and then called it my profession. That being said, do I start Ricky Williams the rest of the year??

TMR: No, I'm not buying it. Williams had 12 carries for 105 yards. Much of it came on one play, a twist on the Wildcat offense, when Ronnie Brown took the snap and handed it off to Williams. Williams has 16 yards rushing in his past three games before Sunday, and defenses will now be ready for this version of the Wildcat. Williams does have three scores in his past five games, so in a 12-team league as a flex, I could see using him if you were desperate. However, Brown had 10 carries to Williams' 12, so it remains a time share in Miami. By the way, this is now the fifth straight game Brown has rushed for less than 60 yards and totaled under 100 yards. And yes, that is real too.

Kristen (Washington, D.C.): "Guess who Flacco is throwing to?" Did you ever think you'd use this line as a justification for putting someone in the "love" column? Ever? What a year.

TMR: Indeed. And yes, the rookie QBs continue to impress. Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan both had two-touchdown games, both are real and I mentioned Ryan as a "buy" on Fantasy Football Now this morning. Look at his schedule starting in Week 13: at San Diego, at New Orleans, Tampa Bay at home and then at Minnesota. Only Tampa Bay has an above-average pass defense, and that game is at the Georgia Dome.

Here are 10 other lines from Sunday that I think are "real."

1. Marques Colston (seven receptions for 140 yards): Welcome back.
2. Jeremy Shockey (two receptions for 16 yards): Fully healthy, Brees throws for more than 420 yards, and once again, Shockey isn't even the best tight end on his team. Instead, Billy Miller (five catches, 65 yards) outplays him again. Shockey might be the biggest bust of the season.
3. Bo Scaife (10 receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown): He's the leading target on the Titans and gets the Jags, Jets, Lions and Browns in his next four games.
4. Kevin Smith (24 total touches for 123 yards and a score): For the record, I had Smith as a "Love" and I thought that was a fairly gutsy call considering he was listed as second string Thursday when the article was published. Smith is legit and now has four scores in his past six games.
5. Seneca Wallace (185 passing yards, one touchdown): Not great. Not great at all. But for those in deeper leagues looking around, Wallace now has double-digit fantasy points in three straight games.
6. Ryan Grant (16 carries for 75 yards, one touchdown): He has now run very well against some very tough defenses. I've preached patience with Grant till I was blue in the face. Now I can rest.
7. Trent Edwards (120 passing yards, one touchdown, two interceptions): Here, let me help you off that bandwagon. Here, take my hand. Watch your step. There you go.
Tyler Thigpen
Tyler Thigpen has racked up an impressive 66 fantasy points in ESPN standard leagues over the past three weeks.
8. Tyler Thigpen (266 passing yards, three touchdowns): Third straight huge game. And since I printed the hate mail, can I tell you that I mentioned Thigpen two weeks ago in this space? Read No. 5.
9. Mewelde Moore (two scores): As long as he has the gig, he will run very effectively.
10. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (26 carries for 105 yards and a score): He has a touchdown in four straight games.

Also, Kevin Walter had another nice game, and how about Mark Bradley scoring again?

As for the big game from Willis McGahee, I did mention in Love/Hate this week that I thought McGahee would have the most value of the Ravens runners. Clearly, as long as McGahee is healthy, he's the guy. But how many owners are super bitter, sitting him this week in place of Ray Rice, who did nothing?

Guys who did nothing that I am not worried about: Chris Johnson, Aaron Rodgers, Steve Slaton (he had a long score called back by a penalty), Jake Delhomme, Marshawn Lynch and Lee Evans.

Guys who had big games that I am not buying: Todd Heap, Kerry Collins and Dustin Keller.

Jason (North Kingstown, R.I.): First off, my apologies. I was the belligerent moron in Hartford last night that was screaming across the street at you for fantasy advice.

TMR: Can you be more specific?

Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- played against a guy who had Eddie Royal, Kellen Winslow and Jamal Lewis on Thursday. He entered today down 75-2. Good times. 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