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Sunday, November 23, 2008
TRUM: T.O. and Moss pick a good time to show up


I once had an idea for a column opening awhile back, but I ended up scrapping it. I didn't like where it went, so I trashed it and did something else. But at its core, it was this:

I asked a few people to describe me in three adjectives.

My kid brother Jonathan chose "brilliant, neurotic, determined."

My college roommate Chris Lindsay chose "passionate, funny, mensch."

My ex-wife Rachel chose "competitive, ambitious, loyal."

I found all of these answers fascinating, mostly because they are about me. I was just as surprised as you that no one chose "narcissistic."

I am all these things and more. Including "quizzical."

As we all headed into the meat of Week 11, I had 10 questions I wanted to see answered. Here they are, and their answers:

1. Are Terrell Owens and Randy Moss done as elite receivers?

I've gotten tons of e-mails about these two guys, with their owners freaking out. Owens had not had more than 40 yards receiving in five straight weeks. Moss had a score last week to salvage a terrible game against the Jets but was coming into this week with three straight weeks of single-digit fantasy points.

Well, both guys showed why you drafted them early. Owens had seven catches for 213 yards and a score; Moss had 125 yards and three touchdowns. Both looked like the studs you drafted. Owens will keep it going against Seattle on Thanksgiving Day, but Moss has tough matchups in two of his next three, with the Steelers next week and then the Raiders and my man Nnamdi Asomugha in Week 15. You're still starting Moss no matter what, but a heads-up for those in salary cap leagues. Either way, once again, lesson learned: Always start your studs. Ten percent of T.O. owners and 12 percent of Randy's owners left their man on the bench.

2. What's up with the Eagles?

Donovan McNabb
Donovan McNabb was pulled Sunday, but I still think he has something left in him.
I don't know, but I do know this: I'm not starting any of them with any degree of confidence. Any. Of. Them. Now, they also have a short week and a good matchup at home against Arizona in Week 13. If I have Brian Westbrook, I start him despite another horrific game from him (that's four straight now). My guess is, because this game makes no sense whatsoever, that Donovan McNabb starts and has a good game. The Cardinals are terrible on the road; they have a short week; and they're a West Coast team traveling east. In fact, I say DeSean Jackson and Kevin Curtis also have good games. But it will be a short-term solution. This team is an overall mess. If I own anyone other than Westbrook, I am making alternative plans. And these days Westbrook is looking like a No. 2 back, not a No. 1.

3. Can Thomas Jones be stopped?

Hottest running back in the league versus the Titans' great run defense. Winner? Jones, with 117 total yards and a score. He now has 10 touchdowns in his past seven games. And I thought the Titans were exposed a bit. The Jaguars had some success against them last week. And Matt Forte did OK against them in Week 10, and Ryan Grant also ran well against them in Week 9. They still have a very good run defense, but it should no longer be considered elite. And yeah, Leon Washington continues to be useful in deeper leagues, with two scores and 84 total yards.

4. Was Jerome Harrison a one-week wonder or is there something there?

There's something there for the Cleveland running back. Jamal Lewis had 10 carries for 58 yards, and Harrison followed up his big game from last week with seven carries for 31 yards. Lewis had only three more carries, and he had a costly fumble. Lewis is still your starter, but watch Harrison get more and more action as the weeks roll on.

5. Was Kyle Orton a flash in the pan, or would he return to being the fantasy stud he was before his injury?

Stud. In his first game back, he wasn't 100 percent healthy, and it's hard to come back from injury and play on the road at Green Bay. But this week against the Rams would be a truer test. He should have put up big numbers against them. And he didn't. Only 139 yards and a score. But he looked good. This was a case in which Matt Forte was even better, and the Bears didn't have a need to throw because they were up big. I still like Orton quite a bit going forward.

6. What would drive me nuts?

Frank Gore
Sure, one week after I ate crow about Frank Gore (the helmetless one), the Cowboys bottle him up.
The week after I admitted I was wrong in saying that Frank Gore wasn't worth a first-round pick, he puts up a huge stinker (32 total yards) against Dallas. Meanwhile, Trent Edwards scores four touchdowns. What?! Trent Edwards? Quinn Gray takes a touchdown away from my beloved Tyler Thigpen. The Patriots have three rushing touchdowns, and none of them comes from Sammy Morris. Not worried about Gore or Thigpen (who still had a huge game), not buying Trent, and I still say Morris is the Patriots runner I want if I must have one. But clearly, Matt Cassel is a top-five guy the rest of the way.

6. Who is the Ravens running back you want to own?

Honestly, none of them. But as I mentioned last week, Le'Ron McClain has been the leading fantasy back in six of 11 games this year. McClain had 18 carries for 88 yards and a score, while Willis McGahee did nothing. Ray Rice had a decent game catching the ball, but if you must start a Ravens runner, McClain is the one you want.

7. Is Tim Hightower done?

No. And then no again.

8. What about Jake Delhomme?

I thought he looked pretty good on the road against Atlanta, actually. And DeAngelo Williams continues to be terrific and an every-week start.

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9. Would I look like a complete idiot?

I mean, more than normal anyway? Every Sunday, I do a "Start 'Em, Sit 'Em" segment for Sunday Countdown. Here's how it works: Every Friday, I pick six guys I like to "start" and three guys I want to "sit." I send them to Merril Hoge, who picks the two on which he agrees the most with me. I had Warrick Dunn and Dustin Keller this week. Dunn went nuts (I had him at No. 5 overall this week), and Keller was very so-so for a tight end.

But my sits were Philip Rivers, Ronnie Brown and Brandon Marshall. I got a lot of "Wow, some gutty calls" comments in the "War Room" today. I was sweating them in a "Larry Johnson goes off kind of way." It's always tough, of course. You don't want to go on national TV and say "Bench Daunte Culpepper," or something obvious. So I always look for guys who would normally be started or at least a strong consideration.

Anyway, those three all had "Berry is more of an idiot than normal" potential. And as I write this, Rivers has yet to play, Brown did nothing (10 carries for 37 yards and no scores), and Marshall (four catches for 84 yards) was solid but not amazing or anything. So far, so good.

10. Would someone win $1 million from ESPN.com?

No. A bunch of folks came close. As you probably know, our Streak for the Cash game is giving away $1 million to the first person to correctly pick 25 in a row. Heading into the weekend, we had four different people who could have gotten to 25 and won. Boston College's defeat of Wake Forest took out Scott Conant and his 23-game win streak. Carolina's loss to Atlanta took out two more. Our new leader is now at 23. But those last two are always the toughest. ...

Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- is very happy he didn't play against teams that had Michael Turner this week. 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