Life's little dilemmas
Matthew Berry lists the players he loves and hates for Week 7 of the NFL season
As of this writing, I currently have 126 friend requests, 16 event invitations, five friend suggestions and 158 other requests on Facebook. I think someone has also poked me with a sheep or some other livestock.
The reason I have 126 friend requests, 158 other requests and various farm animals being thrown at me is that I haven't had time yet to deny all of them. Unlike a lot of folks in the public eye, I use Facebook for my personal life and my personal life only. And by personal life, of course, I mean seeing what all the girls I went to high school with look like today.
My rule is I only "friend" you if I know you in real life. If you have the odd conviction that your Facebook experience isn't complete without some Matthew Berry in it you can still add this page.
I have a Twitter (therealtmr), an ESPN Profile (link below), you can comment on this article, I chat once a week, I read all the e-mail submitted at the link below and you can e-mail our podcast as well. Lots and lots of ways to reach me and I love hearing from fans. OK, I love hearing from some fans.
And it's fine. When you take this gig, being accessible to folks you don't know is part of the job. Got no issue with that. But Facebook -- just Facebook -- is for me. Personal use, it's only for me, it's the one thing I want to keep to myself, such as it is.
Facebook "friends" are weird. I used to be very selective. Then, like, every single person I ever went to high school with started adding me. People I didn't even talk to in high school, let alone the last many years, suddenly wanted to be connected. And I wanted to deny them but then I didn't want them to think I thought I was too good for them or something just because I pop up on TV occasionally, so I added them. Then, after they leave a dumb comment on my wall, I un-friend them. What can I say? That's how I roll on the Book of Face.
I bring this all up because, generally speaking, I don't have a tough time with it. If I recognize the name, I add you. If I don't, I don't. And then, I got the request.
My mom wants to be my Facebook friend.
And I had no idea what to do. It's not like I ever put anything bad on there. I'm friends with many people on Facebook, including my boss and my boss's boss. And I don't play the limited profile game. If I'm your Internet friend, we go all the way. Wait. That didn't come out right.
So everything on there is reasonably polite and proper. So it's nothing embarrassing. And, I love my mom. She, you know, gave me life and stuff. Drove me around to a million tennis tournaments all over Texas when I was growing up. Helped me move many times, cared for me when I was sick, listened to me when I was upset. Has been supportive and loving every step of my stupid life.
But still. There's pictures of girls I have dated or are dating or whatever and I don't want my mom asking "Who's that?" I don't want her to ask me if I'm feeling OK because I look bad in a picture. (Note: I look bad in every picture. I hate pictures of myself and immediately un-tag myself in most photos. I have bad skin and I always looks flushed in photos. Ugh. Seriously hate photos of me.)
Don't need her asking if I had fun at a certain concert, why don't I date so-and-so -- "She's cute and leaves such funny messages!" -- and just, I don't know, it's weird. I can't describe it but ... she's my mom. I love her, but as my Facebook friend? I'm on great terms with my ex-wife. Seriously, no drama, I've met her current boyfriend, we talk once a month or so, all good. Still a very close friend. And yet ... we're not Facebook friends. We don't want to know everything about each other.
As it is, my brother Jonathan tells her everything about me anyway, so I get on the phone to tell her something and she's, like, "Oh yeah, Jonathan told us."
Now I'm gonna have even less to discuss. So, mom or no mom, it was a tough, complex decision, just like the ones we face every week in Fantasy Football. It's not always a no-brainer. If I say yes, what does that open me up to? What if I say no?
When we set our lineups, we have to look at every angle. Not just what it means for this guy, but by putting this guy in it means this guy sits. If I add my mom does this open me up to all my other relatives? I have a ton of them, many of whom I never ever see or talk to. Am I the world's most ungrateful son if I say no? What's the scoring in my league? What's the weather like? How's the defensive line my running back is facing? Healthy or banged up? Is the team coming off a bye or at home? Will they scheme for one player to try to throw off the balance of another?
So many thoughts have to go into one simple decision. And unlike Facebook, once you set your lineup and the game kicks off ... you can't unfriend your player. At least not that week.
Ultimately, I added my mom. When in doubt, go with what brought you to the party. That's my mom, of course, who is the reason I am able to be outgoing, personable, a fighter, and much of that determination discussed in the Week 6 pickup column came from her. And in a week where you have six teams on a bye, in a week where, especially if you are sitting at 2-4 or 3-3, a win is crucial ... go with the closest thing to a sure thing. Why take a gamble ... on Facebook or on your team?
As always, these are players whom I expect to do better or worse than what is generally expected. For my specific feelings on one player versus another, be sure to check out my updated Week 7 ranks on Friday afternoon.
Week 7 Players I Love
Donald Driver, WR, Packers: Frankly, it's every single Packer you can get your hands on. They are playing the Browns. Not just the Browns, but the flu-ridden Browns. So Ryan Grant, Greg Jennings, Aaron Rodgers and Jermichael Finley are all great starts. The Packers' defense is a smart go Sunday and if ever there was a week to have cheese while you watch the game, this is it. I mention Driver because he's outscored Jennings every single week except for one. I think this is because the Packers are having such trouble protecting Rodgers that he doesn't have time to get deep as much as they'd like. Regardless, he's the one I like more this week, if you're having to choose.
LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers: I thought this would be an obvious guy, but then Tristan Cockcroft just called me out for ranking him in the top five. So here's what I wrote Tristan: 100 total yards last week against a top-5 rushing defense. Sproles got one carry last week. One. And yes, it was a trick play at the goal line, but it didn't work so I am expecting LT gets all future goal-line work. There are so few guys who are the "no-brainer he's the only guy" guys and Tomlinson is one of them. He looked healthy on Monday night and back to being his old self. And now he gets KC, which is 25th against the run, is top 10 in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs and has given up six touchdowns in six games to running backs. Averages more than 90 yards rushing a game in his career versus the Chiefs and is a must-start this week.
Sean Ryan, TE, Chiefs: Deep sleeper here, but he already has two scores on the year and faces the Chargers. San Diego has given up four touchdowns in five games to opposing tight ends.
Hines Ward, WR, Steelers: Averaging 125 yards a game at home this season.
Sam Aiken, WR, Patriots: Mentioned here because the news about Julian Edelman came out just as my pickup column was published. Just like in Green Bay, you're starting every Patriot who isn't nailed down, against a Bucs defense that is 29th in points allowed per game. Aiken makes a decent No. 3 wideout in a deeper league if you are hurt by the byes. Bet the over.
Cadillac Williams, RB, Buccaneers: I actually don't "love" him but he's the only Tampa Bay player I could live with if I had to.
Shaun Hill, QB, 49ers: In a "I'm really stuck and I could really use 200 yards and one touchdown from someone" sort of way.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Bills: When you have a player profile picture this bad, you know he's a good football player. Look at him. He looks mean, son. Mean.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers: You're already starting DeAngelo Williams, of course, but assuming the Daily Show is healthy, no team gives up more rushing yards per game than Buffalo. That said, even though you can run on the Bills, I still like them because ...
Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys: See Cockroft, Tristan and his most recent "Called Out" column.
Miles Austin, WR, Cowboys: Last week? Not a fluke.
Greg Olsen, TE, Bears: The Bengals have given up three scores to opposing tight ends in the past three weeks.
Fantasy Focus Football
Nate Ravitz and Matthew Berry discuss the Redskins' coaching situation and play the Name Game with Clinton Portis. Plus, more on the weekly rankings.
Johnny Knox, WR, Bears: Knox versus the stars of "Hard Knocks"! It's a lock to be on my box as I watch in socks and eat bagels and lox. (Some of these are for me, kids. Just move along. Nothing to see here.)
Eli Manning, QB, Giants: Arizona is in the top 10 in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks and is ranked 31st versus the pass. West Coast team traveling east and Eli's not happy with last week's performance, so I think he'll have a good game on national television. Check the weather, however. Could be nasty in NYC during the game and if so, I'd drop him a few notches.
Clinton Portis, RB, Redskins: Only guy I trust. OK, only guy I trust in Washington. OK, only guy I trust in Washington this week. Who plays football. Whom I might have on a fantasy team.
Week 7 Players I Hate:
Certain Defenses: I believe there will be negative points scored by some fantasy defenses. I'd rather take a zero than start the Browns, Buccaneers, Rams or Dolphins D/STs.
Owen Daniels, TE, Texans: I know, he was a monster last week. But he faces a 49ers team that is coming off a bye, has had two weeks to prepare and gives up the third-least amount of fantasy points to opposing tight ends.
Steve Smith, WR, Panthers: No touchdowns, fewer than 40 yards receiving in three of five games, and faces the aforementioned better-than-you-think Bills defense.
Mike Bell, RB, Saints: I think we all know I'm a Pierre Thomas man myself and the Dolphins have been terrific against the run. While I expect Thomas to be part of the pass game, I'm not crazy about Bell on the road at Miami's third-ranked rush defense.
Ted Ginn Jr., WR, Dolphins: Lots of reasons to bench him, but how about just using the one that'll tee the most folks off? Ohio State sucks. Go Purdue.
Brandon Jacobs, RB, Giants: He has to bust out eventually. Just not this week.
Brent Celek, TE, Eagles: Turns out he's no relation to Tom Selleck. Which is a shame because we need more mustachioed tight ends in the NFL. We just do. Trust me on this.
Donovan McNabb, QB, Eagles: Lots of great QB matchups this week. This is not one of them.
Matthew Berry -- the Talented Mr. Roto -- won't add you on Linked In, either. He is also 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
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