- Matthew Berry, Fantasy
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The problem is there are not enough days in the week.
Like, I do my TRUM on Mondays, which is a reaction to the weekend's games and other random thoughts. Tuesday is the Talented Mr. Roto column which is free agent pickups. My Rankings on Wednesday, Love/Hate on Thursday and then my Flex Rankings (and the updated Rankings) on Friday. Where to do a mailbag?
Because I get awesome mail. So, anyway, once again, I eschew a semi-entertaining opening to dive right in, because we have some great mail to get to at the end.
So, let's get to love/hate for week 11. As always, players I love this week are guys I think exceed certain statistical benchmarks. Guys I hate I feel will fall short. That simple. Those benchmarks are 175 yards and two touchdowns for quarterbacks (or 15 fantasy points in ESPN standard scoring); 90 yards and/or 30 yards and a touchdown rushing and receiving (or nine fantasy points) for running backs and wide receivers, 60 yards or a touchdown for tight ends and eight points for kickers and defenses. I used to say no obvious names, but I don't think there is such a thing anymore. Last week, if I had told you to start Carson Palmer last you would have said that was obvious. It also would have been wrong.
Week 11 Players I Love
Antonio Gates, Chargers: Obviously, you are starting Tomlinson here, but Gates is the only guy I think could have a huge game for San Diego.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars: OK, it's a little out there, but go with me here. What if you got MJD and Emma Roberts together for a movie and we called it the "Maurice Jones and Nancy Drew Mysteries"? And the two of them -- football player and preteen girl -- solved crimes? Crimes on the football field? The junior high football field? I'm not saying you'd be there opening night, but when it was on cable, you'd stop and watch 15 minutes. Am I right or am I right?
David Garrard, QB, Jaguars: The running is what eeks him over the benchmark this week.
Priest Holmes, RB, Chiefs: I'm not saying you can run against the Colts, but I know you can't pass, even without pass-rush stalwart Dwight Freeney. That'd look great on a business card, wouldn't it? Dwight Freeney. Pass-rush stalwart.
Justin Fargas, RB, Raiders: Yes, the Vikings have a very good run defense. But the Raiders have a very good run offense. So it boils down to in whom do you believe? And, since only one them is the offspring of "Huggy Bear," that's the tiebreaker we use here. It's all very scientific and stuff.
Chester Taylor, RB, Vikings: Monster game on its way. Monster.
Willis McGahee, RB, Ravens: See Taylor, Chester.
Kyle Boller, QB, Ravens: For those who say I never go out on a limb.
Mark Clayton, WR, Ravens: For those who say I just say the obvious names.
Todd Heap, TE, Ravens: For those who think I am an idiot.
JB (Austin) Dear Dummy, In your frothing over Todd Heap this week, you failed to mention that, in his triumphant return, he reinjured the same leg and has yet to practice. He sucks as bad now as he has since Week 2. How in God's name did you con the Mouse to pay you for this job?
TMR: I know, lord help me, but I still believe in Todd Heap. I was talking about Heap being a good pickup and I stand by that. And if he plays this week, I like him.
Every Steeler: It's the Jets. If Franco Harris announces he's coming out of retirement, consider him as a flex play.
Earnest Graham, RB, Buccaneers: Tasty like a cracker! Better than this joke!
Joey Galloway, WR, Buccaneers: Quietly having a fantastic season.
Kurt Warner, Edgerrin James, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Cardinals: Can I just point out they are playing the Bengals? They looked good last week and nothing the Bengals have done lets me think that'll change anytime soon. And if you need a tight end, I'd consider Leonard Pope a decent start this week.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, Bengals: I'm not crazy about any Bengals this week, except T.J.
Jesse Chatman, RB, Dolphins: Dolphins are averaging 134 yards a game on the ground in their past seven games, and Chatman is averaging 12 fantasy points a game in his past three. Also known as TOOTMDH (The Only Offense The Miami Dolphins Have).
All the Patriots: Even Laurence Maroney.
All your Packers, including the defense: Remember when they were the Panthers Defense?
Brandon Jacobs, RB, Giants: Since coming back, he's been unstoppable.
Giants Defense/Special Teams: Two fun facts that go together: Giants have most sacks in the NFL. Lions give up the most.
All your Rams: My mom says if you can't say anything nice, you shouldn't say anything at all. Hmmm. When coach Nolan wears a suit, he looks really sharp.
Frank Gore, RB, 49ers: Finally looks like Frank Gore.
Maurice Morris, RB, Seahawks: Even if Alexander plays.
Week 11 Players I Hate
Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers: Zero, count them, zero touchdowns for Rivers in five of eight games this year.
Chris Chambers, WR, Chargers: Follow the logic here
Brodie Croyle, Dwayne Bowe, Tony Gonzalez, Chiefs: Colts are tied for third in passing touchdowns allowed, second in passing yards allowed and, in regard to Bowe, they allow the least number of fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers.
Any Viking not named Taylor: To be clear, this is not a sign of support for the Raiders' defense, but rather as insulting as I can be about the Vikings' offense.
All your Jets: Except Laveranues Coles, who I think will be decent here. But everyone else should be avoided if at all possible.
All your Falcons: You know what these birds are doing? Not flying. (Hangs head in shame for using that. Looks down. Decides to live with shame rather than trying to improve self.)
Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals: Only eight touchdowns in his past seven games.
Any Dolphin not named Chatman: Just because it's obvious doesn't mean it's not true.
Any Buffalo Bill: See above.
Marion Barber, RB, Cowboys: Before I explain why, some readers' thoughts
Rich McDonough (Flushing, N.Y.): TMR, Every week that you highlight a running back, you are the kiss of fantasy death. And soon as you say they "won't" they "will." You are fast becoming the Eddie Mush of fantasy football running backs. From now on I'll wait till you pick one then make sure he's on my bench!
Steve Sartori (Pittsburgh, Pa.): Talented Mr Roto; I would like to thank you for your great work! I have started using your Love/Hate articles. I was trying to decide if I should start Portis or not yesterday and said, "Hey, the Talented Mr. Roto said he was the bust of the week!" So I figured he would go off which, umm, yeah, he did! Thanks for the help and keep up the good work!
TMR: So, I don't like Marion Barber this week. He's had single-digit fantasy points in four of his past six and the Redskins have given up only seven rushing touchdowns all year. Meanwhile, with Sean Taylor and Carlos Rogers out, the Washington secondary is depleted and I expect Romo, TO, Crayton and Witten to go off. Do with this thought what you will.
Steve Smith, WR, Panthers: Remember when he was Steve Smith? Sigh.
Cedric Benson, RB, Bears: The Big Fat Bartolo Colon of football.
Vince Young, QB, Titans: Your choice. Last week or every other week?
Javier (Lodi, Calif.): A little bit of fantasy/reality here. I have to tell you, I completely agree with your take on the Pats and the evil Bill Belichick against the Redskins. I know this was a few weeks ago now, and this may seem a bit past due, but, first, I'm still stewed about the 2-yard touchdown pass with 9 minutes to go, up 38-0 (that score to Welker was the difference in winning and losing my matchup that week). I had let my hard feelings go and was on my way to a more Zen-like remainder of my fantasy season. So there I was, watching "Monday Night Football" with the Seahawks dismantling Stephania Bell's beloved Niners. Up 24-0 in the fourth, the Hawks ran 16 plays, of which only three were passes. Their last eight plays were Morris runs and Hasselbeck kneel-downs. I think it showed a lot of class by Mike Holmgren. Unlike Lucifer in Foxborough. So, I thought those ill feelings from Week 8 had faded, but it took a game like Monday night's for me to realize they were still inside, festering away. Just saying.
Rich (Portland): You said Kitna had a good day? Give me a break! He turned the ball over four times. You really are not that good at your job. This matchup thing is worthless. Sitting Portis, or at least not expecting him to play well. You are not the talented anything in my book. And you have to stop trying to be funny!!!
TMR: Once again, multiple response time:
You have a book?
Kitna had a good day fantasywise, especially if your league doesn't count turnovers.
You know, I was gonna ignore you and continue to try to be funny through the first two exclamation points, but then I saw you added a third and I reconsidered.
Kyle Duwel (Parts unknown): A few weeks back, you asked if anyone had ever gone undefeated in a fantasy football season. While I have not seen it happen yet, we do have a guy in our league who is currently 10-0. Any mention of this would be great, as hopefully it would jinx him. Owner's name is Jason Farley.
TMR: That's an all-time low. I love it.
Avram (Forth Worth, Texas): I've noticed that whenever an ESPN expert gets lambasted for a particularly bad call, the most popular response is "Well, it's your fault for listening to me and not making your own decisions" (or some variation of that). While I agree with the sentiment that no one is responsible for a fantasy team but its owner, I don't think your argument is fair either. You guys are paid to give advice, if it weren't for fans tuning in, you wouldn't have this job, which I imagine you truly enjoy doing. Therefore, when you make a bad call, rather than make fun of the angry fans, just say you're sorry and move on. Oh, and for the record, I do think you are pretty good at doing that.
TMR: Totally agree. Comes with the gig. And by the way, on the apology thing? Please see Jackson, Stephen, 2006.
Matt (St. Louis): Thank you so much for loving LenDale White and Tony Gonzalez and hating Ryan Grant and Jeremy Shockey. What horrible calls on your part. I usually follow your picks, but those two cost me a matchup against the top team in my fantasy league. Matthew Berry is to fantasy football picks as Norv Turner is to instant replay challenges.
TMR: Look, criticism and being held accountable comes with the gig. I can accept that. But calling me "Norv Turner"? That's hitting below the belt, that's taking it personal and is completely uncalled for. Seriously, that's not cool, man.
Carl (New York City): Sometimes you're funny, sometimes not so much, but you really seem to enjoy what you do, and I like watching your shows, even though I picked up Chris Henry (the RB) and then he gets in trouble. I want to blame you, but I won't. Thanks TMR for a hardworking, entertaining effort.
TMR: No, you can blame me for not predicting Henry's off-field issues. That makes perfect sense.
Gollum (Cave): We hates the TMR!! We hates it forever!!! It givessss usss free advices that is wrongssss!!! So wrongses! Now we get not fishes, so tasty, so succulent! Arrrggg!!! And we loses our Monsters of Fantasy performance bonusssss league!!!!!! We hates TMR almost as much as we loves exclamation pointses!!! And Adrian Peterson. And the Brownses!! Ah the lovely Brownses TMR!! Don't remind me! Arg! We hates it, my precious! We hates it forever.
TMR: Best. Hate. Mail. Ever.
Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- is ESPN's Sr. Director of Fantasy, in charge of content. He was just as surprised as you to find out it's a real job. He is a four-time Fantasy Sports Writers Association award winner and the only writer in the industry with wins in multiple sports (NFL, MLB, NBA). Be sure to check him out every Sunday morning on "ESPNEWS Fantasy Insider" at 11 a.m. ET and then on ESPN.com's "Fantasy Football Now," which is live starting at Noon ET.
3hThomas McKean, ESPN Stats & Information