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Sunday, December 28, 2008
TRUM: A perfect capper to a crazy season


Thoughts, Ramblings, Useless information and Musings from Week 17 games

I get a lot of questions about the name of this blog. TRUM, in case you skipped the lead-in above, stands for "thoughts, ramblings, useless information and musings," and that description has probably never been more accurate than today, with a perfectly nutty Week 17 finishing off an insane year.

So here are a bunch of random thoughts as I watched today's games and, as a treat to you readers, I'll finish with what I believe is the first set of fantasy football rankings for next year.

So let's go back to one of my favorite catchphrases with a little …

Just Saying …

… That Week 17 tends to be like a high school reunion. Or being on Facebook. There are a lot of old, familiar names you haven't thought about in years. Oh wow, you think, Michael Clayton is still alive?! He had 87 yards receiving, and I'm as surprised as you to report it was not in an Arena Football League (RIP) game.

Also, DeShawn Wynn, who was a trendy pickup for one week last season, had 122 total yards and a score for the Packers. Thanks to Pierre Thomas being scratched, Deuce McAllister had one last day of fantasy relevance, with 81 total yards. There was a Ryan Moats sighting; he had more than 50 total yards and a score. Moats plays for Houston these days, in case you were wondering. Or didn't know. Or, more than likely, didn't care. Najeh Davenport, a member of the Colts these days, had 80 total yards, and midseason darling Donnie Avery had 40 yards and a score while sitting on waiver wires.

Steven Jackson
Hey, at least the Rams' Steven Jackson finished strong.
… That listeners of the Fantasy Focus podcast I do with Nate Ravitz should note that Steven Jackson ran very effectively. He had 30 carries for 161 yards (for 5.4 yards per carry), and finished with more than 200 total yards and two touchdowns. Of course, Edgerrin James ran 14 times for 100 yards (a 7.1-yard average) because life isn't fair.

… That in a week in which a lot of studs didn't play much (both Mannings, Pierre Thomas, Marshawn Lynch, Chris Johnson, Brandon Jacobs, Anquan Boldin, Frank Gore) or didn't show up even though they did play (the Patriots' passing game, Larry Johnson, Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Tashard Choice, Brian Westbrook), we should applaud the studs who did show up, including: Andre Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Le'Ron McClain, Steve Smith, DeAngelo Williams, Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Aaron Rodgers, Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Turner, Clinton Portis, Greg Jennings and Calvin Johnson.

… That Pacman Jones made it rain for the Eagles.

… That I said on Fantasy Football Now this morning that Brett Favre is an overrated choke artist.

… That Tony Romo is the new Brett Favre.

… That I saw my first previews of the "new" "American Idol." You know how we have that "countdown to kickoff" clock on "Sunday NFL Countdown" and Fantasy Football Now? Well, having seen what the new female judge looks like, can we go ahead and start that clock on "Idol"? The countdown to Paula's last show, that is.

… That the most surprising performance in an already-shocking day was Michael Bush's. The third-string running back, on the road against a Tampa Bay team that had yet to give up a rushing touchdown at home all year, ran for 177 yards and scored twice. He was started in 0.6 percent of ESPN.com leagues.

… That for the third straight week, Michael Jenkins had more yards than Roddy White. White, however, got the score. Jenkins finishes the regular season with at least 50 yards in nine of his last 11 games.

… That Bill Simmons wrote the following in his mailbag column Friday: "… the Celtics' 19-game winning streak came to a screeching halt on Christmas Day, thanks to Kobe Bryant and a gritty 15-man Lakers team (I'm including the refs)."

… That Bill and every other Celtics fan should note that after Game 2 of last year's NBA Finals, in which the Celtics had 38 free throws to the Lakers' 10 -- backup center Leon Powe had three free throws more than the entire Lakers team -- and the Celtics won by just six points, you are all banned from whining about ref calls in any Lakers-Celtics game from here 'til the end of time. And you're certainly banned from whining about the refs following a regular-season game in which Tony Allen and Rajon Rondo shot a combined 6-for-20 from the field. Seriously. The Lakers shot seven more free throws than the Celtics. Not something crazy like 28 -- in a Finals game.

… That you should consider these numbers from the past three weeks:

Running back A: 462 total yards
Running back B: 360 total yards
Running back C: 377 total yards

Running back C is DeAngelo Williams. Running back B is Adrian Peterson. And running back A is … Cedric Benson. This doesn't include touchdowns, but still …

… That Detroit's Kevin Smith scored in his last three games, and on Sunday, he finished 1 yard short of posting his third straight 100-yard game. Nice sleeper for next season.

Johnnie Lee Higgins
We salute Johnnie Lee Higgins ... and consider him a 2009 sleeper.
… That speaking of sleepers for next season and scoring in three straight games, Johnnie Lee Higgins qualifies there as well.

… And three other "under-the-radar" guys who finished the season strong: Deion Branch, Mark Clayton and Anthony Fasano.

… That JaMarcus Russell finishes the year with two touchdown passes in each of the last three games, the last one coming on the road at Tampa Bay.

… That second only to Michael Bush's performance in weirdness was Jamal Lewis'. On the road at Pittsburgh, he managed to run for 94 yards.

… That I love that fantasy commercial with all the sad fantasy teams, promoting postseason fantasy football -- which we have for free right here on ESPN.com. Compete with me and all the other ESPN fantasy analysts in Gridiron Playoff Challenge. You can sign up to play here.

… That it was a week too late for Donald Driver, DeShaun Foster, Lance Moore and Dwayne Bowe, among others, to help us. They had nice games, but we really could have used those last week. A lot of people got burned by Foster, especially, last week.

… That it was nice to see Carnell Williams get two scores. Not as nice, though, was seeing him clutch his knee in pain. Again.

… That despite all the crap I took when I called Frank Gore a second-rounder before the season, he will finish the year as no better than the 14th-best fantasy running back. And he once again killed owners down the stretch, with two goose eggs and three single-digit-fantasy-point games in his final six games.

… That I'm sick of the commercial in which the crazy-hot blond bartender says, "Let's talk about commitment," and the guys freak out until she says something like, "Relax, I'm talking about the beer's commitment to excellence." And she proceeds to lecture them on how great the beer is. First off, I've never been lectured by a bartender in my life, at least not about how good a beer I've just ordered is. The guys just ordered it -- they're convinced it's good. Plus, not one guy in America would freak out if that girl started talking about commitment. These guys have "tool" written all over them. Trust me, they'd be thrilled to get attention from a girl like that.

… That those who want to hear my preseason predictions -- what I nailed and what I whiffed on -- should tune in to an upcoming Fantasy Focus podcast Nate and I will do. Be sure to look for it.

… That it has been a blast, a privilege and occasionally a pain in the butt (not gonna lie) to write for you every week. I appreciate all of you taking the time to read. Even the haters; your page clicks count the exact same as the nice folks! I'm taking a good long break and will see you back around these parts for baseball season.

But I will leave you with my top 10 at quarterback, running back and wide receiver for next season, just off the top of my head. It's never too soon to think about it:

Quarterback

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1. Drew Brees
2. Tom Brady (if healthy at the start of camp)
3. Kurt Warner
4. Peyton Manning
5. Tony Romo
6. Aaron Rodgers
7. Jay Cutler
8. Philip Rivers
9. Donovan McNabb
10. Tyler Thigpen (if he plays all 16 games, he'll run for 700-plus yards)

Running back

1. Michael Turner
2. Adrian Peterson
3. Matt Forte
4. Brian Westbrook
5. Clinton Portis
6. Chris Johnson
7. Steven Jackson
8. Brandon Jacobs
9. Maurice Jones-Drew
10. LaDainian Tomlinson

(Sorry, I just don't think DeAngelo Williams or Thomas Jones will score the way they did this year, and I think LT gets healthy and gets a true fullback and offensive line in the offseason.)

Wide receiver

1. Randy Moss
2. Calvin Johnson
3. Anquan Boldin
4. Andre Johnson
5. Steve Smith
6. Roddy White
7. Larry Fitzgerald
8. Marques Colston
9. Reggie Wayne
10. Greg Jennings

Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- has a birthday on Monday the 29th. He has always hated having a birthday this close to the holidays. 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