Commentary

The all-in-one Week 12 column

Your one-stop shop for everything Matthew Berry, or at least his pickups and love/hate

Updated: November 24, 2009, 9:33 PM ET
By Matthew Berry | ESPN.com

So it's Thanksgiving week, and that means I, like many of you with your loved ones, get to take Thursday off to spend with my friends and family in College Station, Texas. And since you have three games to watch Thursday and strangers to elbow out of the way Friday to make sure you get your grubby little hands on that last Hannah Montana lampshade your kids just have to have, you're pretty much going to be setting your lineup Wednesday and letting it ride. That's cool. We got you covered with both pickups and Love/Hate all in this one here column. Think of it as the turducken of fantasy advice.

The Talented Mr. Roto

Now, obviously, I have a lot to be thankful for. But rather than you hearing about my job, or worse, some horrible, hacky "fantasy performances/players we should be thankful" column, I figured I should give back.

What are my readers thankful for? For once, I will turn it over to them and let them express their gratitude in the week when we should all remember how lucky we are.

Phishman4398 (Bethlehem, Pa.): Thanks for the stellar advice on LaDainian Tomlinson, [bad word]. I sat Mike Sims-Walker and Mike Bell. You suck [bad word].

Leeroi (Baton Rouge, La.): I haven't followed your column this season out of disgust, because for the first time I basically followed your picks from the preseason draft (Slaton, Calvin, etc.) and am getting killed, worst season ever, ridiculed, etc. You don't appear to know what you're doing, despite the fact that ESPN still employs you, they can't value results. Thanks for costing me my league's entry fee.

turducken
AP Photo/Chuck BurtonTurducken: A bit of everything … like TMR's column.

Nick Melville (Park Forest, Ill.): Hey just wanted to say thanks for the great advice on benching Ricky Williams, and Julius Jones b/c LT and Clinton Portis were gonna blow up [TMR note: This was sent after Week 9] and thanks for the great power rankings with Calvin Johnson (I benched Hine Ward for him) ranked so high I scored a whole 88 points this week and lost by one. Is it possible I can get a job with you guys, it doesn't seem like you actually have to be right, to get paid (lucky for you huh), and maybe you can start a new section with, ya know, good advice! It doesn't matter if this makes the show or not b/c I will not be watching it anymore or using your fantastic power rankings (unless you give me a job and then I will watch to see my pretty face, maybe we can compare picks like a Pro's vs. Joes kinda thing). I will be asking my 3-year old daughter for advice now (her birthday was yesterday).

From Twitter, where folks can get advice and follow me as @MatthewBerryTMR …

@srudnicki1: kept T.O. against your advice all season... dropped him on Tuesday... Thanks. You're the best.

@Big_TomCallahan: good call on Pierre Thomas. Thanks.

@cajuntexdave: Thanks a bunch! Benched Heath Miller for John Carlson based on this a.m.'s FF show.

TMR: Um, that one actually wasn't me. … And this guy didn't say thanks, per se, but it seems like that's the drift he is going for. Save for language, I am leaving it as is:

Gjgothing (Boston): [Make love to] YOU AND EVERYONE ON YOUR [lovemaking] FANTASY FOOTBALL SHOW I AM IN A GAME WHICH IS THE ENTIRE SEASON AND YOU GUYS SAID SAMMY MORRIS WILL BE PLAYYING WELL HE IS NOT YOU [final gateway of the digestive system] ALSO WHILE IM EAMAILING YOU THE LAST WEEKS YOU HAVE BEEN TELLING ME TO START MATT HASSLEBECK OVER MY OTHER [lovemaking] QBS AND SO I LISTEND AND EVERY WEEK THAT HASSBECK PLAYWED HE CAME IN THE NEGATIVES AND THE QB YOU TOLD ME TO SIT GET PLUS 30 POINTS.

TMR: Well, we said we were expecting Sammy Morris to play because he had practiced during the week. But it was a 4 p.m. game, so you always have to check the inactives on ESPN.com the hour before kickoff. You can also sign up to get mobile alerts for this kind of thing and change your roster from any phone if you can't be online at that time. But listen, I apologize. I wasn't going to take you seriously, but then I saw you put the e-mail in all caps, so I knew you meant business.

Anyway, fine, it's Thanksgiving week, so here's one from the other side.

Logan Callanan (Venice Beach): TMR, hope this email gets to you and not some ESPN lackey. Just wanted to shoot you a quick thank you. Why? I noticed something you didn't point out in today's chat (11/16) that you could have. Dude noted "admit it, CJ's the best back in football now," to which you did not disagree. You in fact agreed, noting the knock on him was always Lendale Hamburgler White. Anyway, point is, what you didn't say and could have (surprising) is that you noted multiple times leading up to fantasy draft time that you were not worried about BFLW's vulturing this year, that in fact it would not be as significant. Well, I both agreed with and believed in your assessment, and now I'm riding CJ all the way to the playoffs in multiple leagues when in every draft peeps were passing him up cause of this same fear. So thank you. And what was up with not patting yourself on the back on that good call? Rare for you. Anywhoser, read all your stuff and have never written, so thanks again. Keep up the good work.

TMR: Don't worry, I seem to have blown that whole "not patting myself on the back" thing by printing your e-mail here.

Pickups of the week

"Say, baby, your daddy must have been a baker, because you've got a nice set of buns."

So here's the deal: With this being a holiday week, the company being short-staffed and all that, I'm doing just one column this week. And since we're done with the byes, there aren't a lot of decent pickups to choose from. So I'll keep this section short, and then get right to my Week 12 Love/Hate.

Only a few names that are new this week, so I'll do what I did last week: rank the players who are available in more than 50 percent of leagues in the order I would pick them up.

Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs (41 percent): Has a great schedule the rest of the way.

Justin Forsett, RB, Seahawks (37 percent): He's a big part of the passing game, which helps even when the run game is struggling, as it was last Sunday.

Rock Cartwright, RB, Redskins (0.3 percent): Had 140 total yards last week, and more important, he looked good. Not a great matchup this week (the Eagles), but Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts are out. He's the one new name here, and he sounds like a wrestler. Say it aloud: Rock. Cartwright.

Bernard Scott, RB, Bengals (15 percent): A lot of Scott's value depends on the health of Cedric Benson, and my guess is that he is back this week. But Scott looked good in Week 11 and gets Cleveland and Detroit next.

Jerious Norwood, RB, Falcons (25 percent): I expect Michael Turner back eventually, and I like Jason Snelling going forward, but the Falcons do expect Norwood back at some point.

If we were doing an obvious-name section this week, Fred Jackson (RB, Bills) would be on it, and if we were doing a "Mendoza" section, I would mention Lex Hilliard (RB, Dolphins) again.

And finally … Vince Young, QB, Titans (9 percent): With Kurt Warner and Ben Roethlisberger potentially missing games, it's worth noting that Young now has scored at least 12 fantasy points in four straight games and in Week 12 draws the Cardinals, who have given up almost 14 points per game to opposing quarterbacks. Also, I don't love him, but if Kurt Warner were to miss any time, Matt Leinart (QB, Cardinals) would have a couple of great wide receivers to throw to and has Detroit and St. Louis in Weeks 15 and 16, respectively.

More than anything, I suggest looking at last week's pickups column. Many good names in there.

Let's get to this week's Love/Hate. As always … you know what? If you haven't gotten by now what Love/Hate is, you never will. The one thing I will say, however, is that because this is so early in the week, I encourage you more than ever to look at my Week 12 rankings, which will be up early Wednesday morning and then updated Friday after the Thanksgiving games. Also, there are bonus "loves" and "hates" in the video above.

Week 12 Players I Love

Jermichael Finley, TE, Packers: You're starting all the obvious guys against the Lions, but keep in mind that the Lions give up the third-most points in the league to opposing tight ends, and Finley came back strong last week.

Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions: I'm expecting him to play, and play well, regardless of his quarterback. The Packers will be up, and their defense has been shredded by injuries.

Marion Barber, RB, Cowboys: Has three scores over his past three Thanksgiving games. Oh, and he'll play the Raiders.

Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants: Denver can't stop the run. They also can't stop the music. But in fairness, who among us can?

Jason Snelling, RB, Falcons: Last week? Yeah, not a fluke.

Josh Freeman
Fernando Medina/US PresswireThe Atlanta Falcons are a favorable matchup for the emerging Josh Freeman.

Josh Freeman, QB, Buccaneers: If you're scrambling (get it? Scrambling? Like a quarterback? Oh, never mind. This gold is wasted on the likes of you. It's gold, Jerry. Gold!), the Falcons give up the third-most points to opposing quarterbacks, and Freeman has at least one score in every game he has started this season.

Kellen Winslow, TE, Buccaneers: Support a soldier this Thanksgiving! Even a pretend one.

Ricky Williams, RB, Dolphins: Oh, Ricky, you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind, hey Ricky. Hey Ricky. … OK, obvious joke there, but I've always wanted to do that one. By the way, deeper leagues, don't be surprised to see Lex Hilliard get some run in this one, too. I like him here as well.

Terrell Owens, WR, Bills: That sound you hear is my flesh crawling.

Fred Jackson, RB, Bills: Thinking he'll get in the 8-10 point range. And I know I said I hate all Bills in my video, but looking at it closer, it's more Lynch, Fitzpatrick and Evans that I hate.

LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles: The Redskins have allowed 50 fantasy points to opposing running backs over the past three weeks.

Justin Forsett, RB, Seahawks: Even if Julius Jones does play, I like Forsett against the Rams. In fact, you're starting all your Seahawks here.

Chris Chambers, WR, Chiefs: Think he has motivation against San Diego? Yeah, me too.

Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs: Now has two straight weeks of 17 fantasy points.

Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers: In five road games this year, the Jaguars have allowed nine touchdowns to opposing wide receivers. I say Crabtree makes it 10.

Tim Hightower, RB, Cardinals: I expect a lot of underneath, dump-off passes for Hightower against the Titans' defense.

Greg Olsen, TE, Bears: Come on, Cutler can't overthrow him every time, right? Right? Hey, where are you going? Come back here! Hey!

Week 12 Players I Hate

Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys: He'll be OK but not great against a Raiders team that actually plays the pass fairly well. I'm thinking 12 points or so for Romo.

Jason Witten
Jeff Hanisch/US PresswireDon't look for Jason Witten's bounce-back to happen this week.

Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys: Remember when he was, well, Jason Witten? This might shock you, but the Raiders have not given up a touchdown to an opposing tight end all season.

Eli Manning, QB, Giants: I expect a conservative game plan. If Brian Dawkins doesn't play, it'll help Manning, but I still don't see him putting up big numbers on the road at Denver.

Steve Smith, WR, Giants: See Manning, Eli.

Marshawn Lynch, RB, Bills: I'm saying the injuries to Lynch and the Bills' offensive line are worse than the injuries to the Miami defensive line. Plus, I expect Jackson to be part of the passing game, which is why I love him above. Bottom line is, I'm not touching Lynch with your team. And yes, I realize he was a bold prediction. I was wrong.

Steve Smith, WR, Panthers: Can we call Kerry Rhodes "Butthead?" Not because I dislike him; he's terrific. But I have all these "Revis and Butthead" T-shirts printed up …

Brent Celek, TE, Eagles: The Redskins actually give up the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Celek had only eight yards in their last meeting.

Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals: That tough Titans run defense is back.

Jay Cutler, QB, Bears: Antoine Winfield is expected back. Not expected back? Cutler's decision-making skills.

That's all I have. Thank you, everyone, for always reading, commenting, writing, playing and supporting.

Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- is very excited to have his Mom's stuffing. Seriously. It's like crack cocaine with carbs. 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

• Senior Fantasy analyst for ESPN
• Member, FSWA and FSTA Halls of Fame
• Best-selling author of "Fantasy Life"