- Matthew Berry, Fantasy
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Turns out, Jeff is "That Guy."
Jeff P., from Snyder, Texas, wrote to me with the following.
"Yo! What's up with this line from your 'Draft Day Manifesto'? 'And certainly, Ben Roethlisberger will be solid.' (What) happened there in Week 1? Is he going to be going the way of Donovan McNabb or does he really have a comeback season in him somewhere? I need to know before I drop him and try to pick up Cam Newton."
First, Jeff, I think what happened to Ben in Week 1 was that Baltimore exposed a weak Steelers offensive line and came much more prepared to play. And losing Willie Colon for the season doesn't help Ben at all.
It's not a comeback season you're looking for because there is nothing to come back from. Ben was terrific from a fantasy perspective last season, and he led his team to the Super Bowl. The Steelers play the NFC West this year, starting with a nice home game against the Seahawks this week. He is in the same system, with the same coaches and elite playmakers around him, which is a completely different situation than McNabb is in. The comparison is, to be kind, insane.
Ben will be just fine so, no, I do not recommend dropping him for a rookie who had one good game. Yes, Cam Newton put up an impressive display and is an interesting pickup, but it was one game against one of the worst pass defenses in the league that was geared toward stopping Carolina's run game. In fact, I'll even say I'd rather have Rex Grossman or Chad Henne this year than Cam Newton, if you're looking for a guy. (If you read last week's "You Heard Me," you'll see I am high on both as sleepers this year.)
Don't be "That Guy," Jeff. The overreacting guy.
Like anything else in life, there is a right way to do fantasy football and a wrong way. No one likes "That Guy." Not even if "That Guy" is a girl.
What defines "That Guy?" I asked the gang on my Facebook page and on Twitter what one thing annoyed them the most. This elicited a deluge of responses, more than any other question I have ever posed, and they're still pouring in.
So, be honest. Are you "That Guy?"
That Guy whines about what could have been. "I would have won if I had started Early Doucet instead of Roddy White." Yeah, dude, because you're the only one who would have had a better lineup if you could see into the future.
That Guy talks about his team non-stop. Listen, the least interesting thing in the world to anyone (except me, because it's my job) is having to hear about any team that is not theirs. You didn't ask about my team, why do you think I care about yours?
That Guy suggests insane trade offers. No, dude, I do not want to deal Vincent Jackson for Ted Ginn, despite Week 1 results. I'm gonna try and hang tough here. If you wouldn't trade Vincent Jackson for Ted Ginn, why do you think I would? Unless you'd be honestly willing to do the same trade in reverse, don't offer it.
Speaking of trades, That Guy doesn't respond to reasonable trade offers and ignores emails. Hey, you don't want to do it, that's fine. A quick "no thanks" takes 10 seconds to type, even if you're only using your thumbs. Are you in this league or not?
And That Guy doesn't take no for an answer. If I didn't want to do the deal in the first place, I'm probably not going to want to do it the 10th time you ask, either.
That Guy talks a bunch of smack but whines when anyone else gives it back to him. You're either in or you're out, kid. Don't dish what you can't take.
That Guy bails on the season when his team starts losing. Have some pride. You signed up for a league -- play it out. It matters to the others in the league. If you can't handle five minutes a week to set your lineup 14 times in a row (since you're out of the playoffs), don't join.
That Guy thinks his team name is the most original name ever, but fails to realize a million different people have all made the same "Double Dwayne Bowe" wordplay. I should do a whole column about that. The most obvious and overused team names. Puns off of Bowe, Arian Foster's first name and Michael Vick's last name could fill a column on their own.
That Guy vetoes a trade because it didn't involve him or her. I've said it a million times: The art of negotiating is a skill in fantasy and it is not your job to coach someone else's team. As long as both teams feel the deal helps their team, regardless of whether you agree, it should go through. The only time a trade should be vetoed is if there is proof of collusion. Otherwise, win on the cyber field, not in bureaucracy. Seriously, de facto vetoing of trades makes you a weasel, not a smart owner.
And as long as we are on deals, That Guy's word isn't worth anything. If you agree to a deal, it's a deal. That Guy will verbally agree to a deal but, then, if something better comes along, or something happens before it can be processed, will rescind the deal. When you agree to a deal, it's done. Your word needs to mean something.
That Guy is late on making good on his league entry obligations. Really man? If you can't, don't join. And if you can, don't make me chase you down.
That Guy brags about his team and getting "sleepers." You're right dude. You're the only one who saw that Dez Bryant might be good this year.
That Guy can't think for himself. I can't tell you how many tweets I get that the person has asked multiple analysts the same question. So you don't care who gives you advice as long as it's someone? Anyone? How many opinions do you need? I never answer those.
Or worse, That Guy just blindly follows someone's advice. I'm the first person to say "It's your team, you know it better than I do, use me and others as a resource but, ultimately, you should be the one to pull the trigger."
That Guy is lazy. Or stupid. Can't tell you how many "this RB or that RB" questions I get. I'm like you realize I rank every player every week for exactly this reason, right? If it's a weird scoring system or a running back versus wide receiver question that you want my take on, I get it. But in general, if I have one player ranked higher than another, that's whom I would start. Check my rankings. I don't do them for my health.
That Guy is irrational. No, LeGarrette Blount will not average only five carries a game this season. Calm down.
That Guy is someone who asks for your opinion and argues with you. Hey, you asked for my opinion. I gave it to you. I don't care if you take it or ignore it, just don't argue with me about it.
That Guy is an Internet tough guy. If you wouldn't say it my face, don't say it on a message board or behind a screen name. Nobody is perfect, tough guy, not even you.
That Guy doesn't read the league rules or emails, but then asks the commish 10 minutes before the draft, "Hey, how do I log in? And wait, this is a PPR league?"
That Guy is a sexist. Won't let a woman in his league or thinks it's the end of the world when he loses to a woman. Some of the smartest sports people I know and best fantasy players I've seen are women. Everyone plays. Get used to it and get better.
Having said that, don't be That Guy who brings his non-playing girlfriend or wife to the draft. If you're not in the league, you're not invited.
But mostly, That Guy ruins your enjoyment of the greatest game ever invented. Don't be That Guy.
Before we get to "Love/Hate" for Week 2, some quick housekeeping. I announced this on Twitter, but, if you haven't noticed, I'm doing only one column a week this football season. The "Love/Hate," which will appear every Thursday. I'm no longer doing the Tuesday pickups column. I appreciate everyone's kind words about it and I miss doing it, but there are only so many hours in the day and the new show "Numbers Never Lie," which airs Monday-Friday at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2, takes a lot of time, as do additional duties I have here at ESPN, six days a week. Ultimately, we want the best possible product for everyone from all the people at ESPN Fantasy, so it was decided (and I agreed) that there would not be enough time for me to do two quality columns a week. (Insert your own joke here). Don't worry, you'll be in good hands with Christopher Harris. The good news, however, is that my chat is returning (I didn't do a weekly chat during last football season), so please come join that. This week it'll be on Friday.
Time now for this week's "Love/Hate." As always, this is not a pure "start/sit" column, but rather a look at players that I am higher or lower on than my fellow rankers. I asked folks on Facebook how they would prefer this column be done and the most popular answer was that I base it on where I differ from where the player is ranked for the season. So that's what I will do in the future, but since it's just one week (I can't really say I hate Cam Newton as the No. 1 quarterback, now can I?), I'll try to hit players of interest, regardless of whether or not my fellow rankers disagreed with me. Finally, be sure to check my Friday ranking updates for where I specifically have a certain player.
Week 2 Players I Love
Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions (7th in my ranks, 7th on average for the other three rankers): Welcome to the bandwagon, guys. All of my fellow rankers have "Matthew Stafford If He Stays Healthy" (copyright Bill Simmons) as a top-10 guy this week. When your opponent gives up four scores to Ryan Fitzpatrick at home, loses Eric Berry for the year and then has to come to your house to play, that's what happens. Right there in the rulebook and everything.
Rex Grossman, QB, Redskins (10, 17): Rexy is suddenly sexy again and it's not because he claimed the Redskins will win the NFC East. No, that just makes him crazy. Look, he's started four games for the Redskins and he's thrown for 300 yards in three of them. Given that the Redskins had the fourth most pass attempts in the NFL last season, I don't think that's a fluke. Nor do I think the Cardinals' defense, which just gave up more than 400 yards to Cam Newton and is now on the road, is anything other than fantasy goodness waiting to happen for Rex owners.
Jay Cutler, QB, Bears (11, 12): This is less about support for Jay and more about a disbelief in the Saints' defense. They've given up seven touchdown passes in their past two games and, while I expect the Saints to blitz the hell out of Cutler, without Will Smith this game, I expect Cutler to be able to handle and even exploit the pass rush. And for what it's worth, in his past four starts indoors, Cutler has 975 yards passing and 10 touchdowns.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Bills (14, 17): West Coast team traveling east for a 1 o'clock game on a short week (they played the late game Monday night) I don't believe the Bills are as good as they showed in Kansas City, but I'll tell you something: they're not as far off as you think.
Tim Hightower, RB, Redskins (15, 21): You know the saying: Revenge is a dish best served at 69 degrees. That's the expected game-time temperature for when Hightower faces his former team, which will be focused on stopping the high-flying Rex Grossman. High-flying Rex? I love Cutler? What the hell is wrong with me? (Pause). You know, I didn't mean for you to actually answer. (Longer pause). OK, fine, are we done? (Once more). You know what, you keep listing things, I'm moving on.
Mike Tolbert, RB, Chargers (16, 22): Told you so.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Buccaneers (18, 23): This is a guy who averaged 5.5 yards per carry on carries 11-15 last year and got just five carries in a Week 1 loss. He needs work to be effective, and what happens when you give a guy only five carries and you lose? You change it up. He will get the rock this week and he will be just fine. I am keeping the faith.
Danny Woodhead, RB, Patriots (30, 42): Another West Coast defense traveling east. Lost in all the "Monday Night" hoopla about Tom Brady and the yards and Wes Welker and the tight ends is this little, but important, nugget: The Law Firm got seven carries and Woodhead got 14. It's always hard to predict what the Patriots will do in any given week since they scheme specifically for an opponent, but given these two offenses, I expect a high-scoring game and Woodhead, not surprisingly, plays the majority of snaps on passing downs. If you're in a deeper league and looking for running backs, I like Woodhead to have a sneaky-good game this week.
Darren Sproles, RB, Saints (34, 38): Bears gave up 11 receptions and 105 passing yards to opposing running backs last week, and that was to the Falcons, who don't have a pass-catcher the likes of Sproles out of their backfield. Against Chicago's Cover 2 and with Marques Colston and possibly Lance Moore out, I expect a lot of underneath stuff for Sproles.
Miles Austin (9, 10) and Dez Bryant (10, 13), WR, Cowboys: Both obvious names, but I wanted to put them in because I have both guys inside the top 10. That's how much I believe in the Cowboys' offense. They put up big numbers against the Jets, they'll do the same against the 49ers.
Santana Moss, WR, Redskins (12, 20): I'm clearly jinxing my Redskins this week. Sorry in advance.
Owen Daniels, TE, Texans (4, 7): Don't lose faith after Week 1. Colts are much better against the tight end than you think and, um, did you see what tight ends did to Miami on Monday night?
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots (9, 11): Everyone's on Aaron Hernandez now but the Gronk is also a starter (I'm the only one to have him in the top 10) as no team in the NFL, since the start of last season, has more plays with two tight ends on the field than the Patriots. Chargers traditionally struggle with the position, and if not for a penalty on Chad Ochocinco that wiped out a 41-yard pass play, Gronk could have had a better game than Hernandez on Monday night.
Lance Kendricks, TE, Rams (15, 23): I know, I know. I didn't do you any favors with that call last week. What can I say? He dropped a ball that hit him in the hands that, had he caught it, he would have waltzed into the end zone with. I can't catch it for the guy. Anyways, bad call last week but what the hell. I'm back for more. With a banged-up wide receiving corps and run game, I expect Sam Bradford to lean on Kendricks in this game, especially considering the (also banged-up) Giants gave up 126 yards to Fred Davis and Chris Cooley last week.
Lions D/ST (4, 12): When a team gets pushed around by the Bills' defense at home, you start the next defense that gets to face them as the road team. It's right there in the rules and everything, next to the one where you get to re-use this bit.
Week 2 Players I Hate:
Eli Manning, QB, Giants (20, 15): Looked bad all preseason, looked bad against the Redskins, probably won't have Hakeem Nicks, and despite the score, I thought the Rams' defense played all right against a much more explosive Eagles offense last week. I'm expecting a lot of running by the Giants in this game and thankfully, none of it from Eli.
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons (17, 15): I know, he plays great at home. But I believe in the Eagles' secondary (I do think Tony Gonzalez has a good game here, however) and think the Falcons try to run the ball a lot to keep Vick off the field as much as possible. Oh yeah, just a head up: Vick is making his first start in Atlanta since leaving the Falcons! Whew. Almost went 30 seconds without mentioning that. Close one!
Kyle Orton, QB, Broncos (24, 19): Same reasoning as last week. Until I see him put up a good fantasy performance under John Fox, I'm not trusting him, even in deep leagues. Rather be a week too late than a week too early. I feel that way about pop singers, reality shows and, clearly, fashion.
Cedric Benson, RB, Bengals (21, 14): Since Week 1 in 2010, Cedric Benson has averaged 110 yards a game and 4.7 yards per rush against the Browns. And 64 yards a game and 3.3 yards per carry against every other team. I know Darren McFadden ran all over the Broncos last week, but Cedric Benson is not Darren McFadden.
Jahvid Best, RB, Lions (28, 16): I have him as a low-end flex play this week, my fellow rankers have him as a must-start. Same logic as Orton here. I want to see it. I'm probably too low on him at 28 and will raise him a bit in my Friday update, but he won't crack my top 20. There's a lot to like for Best this week. I am way down on the Chiefs this year and they did give up 164 total yards to running backs last week. And Best did have more than 100 total yards last week. So yeah, I once again acknowledge that if there is a prediction that could blow up in my face, it's this one, so proceed with caution. But Best got 21 carries in a game the Lions controlled and averaged 3.4 yards per carry. Now that was on the road and this game is at home on the turf, which is better for Best. I'm probably gonna regret this one, but I until I see it, I just can't justify making Best a top-20 must-start.
James Starks, RB, Packers (31, 22): He looked like the better running back to me, but I'm not coaching the Packers (and if I did, I would totally ask Motorola to make a Cheesehead headset) and ultimately, Starks ended with 12 touches and Ryan Grant with 10 in a shootout with New Orleans. So until proven otherwise, it's still a time-share on a pass-first team, making it tough to trust either guy in a non-bye week.
Plaxico Burress, WR, Jets (33, 28): Last week, the Jets got down big and had to throw a lot to catch up, with Mark Sanchez throwing 44 passes (he averaged 33 last year, more than you think, but still -- 44 is a lot). The Jets will control the Jags from the get-go, take a lead and run the ball a lot. I could see him getting a score, which is why I have him as a low-end No. 3 in a 12-team league, but not convinced he gets nine targets again.
Devery Henderson, WR, Saints (42, 35): He's so feast or famine, which I'm pretty sure was a Stones song back in the '80s. Like I said with Sproles, I'm expecting a lot of underneath stuff against Chicago, not a ton deep.
Saints D/ST (16, 8): In their past two games, they have given up 83 total points. Packers in Week 1, Seahawks in the playoffs last year. Yes, they are at home, and yes, it's the turnover-happy Jay Cutler & Co. coming to town, but they looked really unimpressive last week. Even with the caveat that it was Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Really unimpressive. Gregg Williams will bring a lot of pressure and if Cutler handles it even slightly, they will get burned. Again.
Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- has played in way too many leagues with "That Guy." Berry is the creator of RotoPass.com, a website that combines a bunch of well-known fantasy sites, including ESPN Insider, for one low price. Use promo code ESPN for 10 percent off. He is a charter member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame. Cyberstalk the TMR | Be his cyberfriend