Commentary

Berry: Love/Hate for Week 15

Updated: December 13, 2007, 3:29 PM ET
By Matthew Berry | ESPN.com

Tonight, while most of America is not watching the Broncos-Texans game, I will be at "ESPN The Holiday Party." It is a festive affair, I'm told, and there will be karaoke.

I can only assume the karaoke is not the reason for the title "festive affair." Still, after a few glasses of spiked eggnog, Vegas has set the odds of me doing "Islands in the Stream" with ESPN's Sage Steele at 4-to-1. Doing the same song with John Kruk? 2-to-1.

If the holidays are a time for giving, there might not be a better gift than Roger Clemens' name on the Mitchell Report. Cause I hate Roger Clemens.

Regular readers of my column know that …

You know what else regular readers of my column know? That I always put a version of the following paragraph in my Love/Hate:

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. Um, like when I said to start Adrian Peterson against San Francisco last week.

But here's one thing that I don't say every week: When I write this column, I assume you are not a moron. I printed this e-mail earlier, but it's worth re-posting:

Ryan (N.Y.): Hey Mr. Berry, I just wanted to thank you for having Kevin Jones and Brett Favre on the players you hate list. I listened to you and sat them and started Reuben Droughns and Donovan McNabb instead. I can solely blame you for me being eliminated from fantasy playoffs. Thanks again.

TMR: In my mind, this column is like a weekly sleepers and busts column. Just because I love Arnaz Battle (below) doesn't mean you bench Reggie Wayne for him. It means I like Battle to have at least nine fantasy points this week. That's all. Use my Love/Hate to help make your lineup choices. Also read our other columns, look at our updated rankings (I'll also have updated flex rankings on Friday to reflect injury updates, etc.) and then make your own decisions. And then, when you lose, still send me hate mail, because I gotta be honest, it's hilarious.

I have another long column today, so another crazy-chick story will have to wait until next week. Remember, Broncos-Texans game tonight, so be sure to set your lineup.

Week 15 Players I Love

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Darius Walker, RB, Texans: Sage Rosenfels hands off to Darius Walker … Ladies and gentlemen, these are your Houston Texans!

Andre Johnson, WR, Texans: Yes, they have Champ Bailey and Dre' Bly, but only four teams in the NFL have allowed more touchdown passes than the Denver Broncos. And Johnson has averaged 114 yards per game at home this season.

Selvin Young, RB, Broncos: I've been very consistent in my support of Selvin, and he's the guy I want right now in Denver. The Texans are 23rd in the league against the run, and this game is in Houston, not far from where Young played college ball (as a Texas A&M fan, I won't say where).

Brandon Marshall, WR, Broncos: Hey, two first names …

Arnaz Battle, WR, 49ers: Has scored in three straight games. Plus, the Bengals have given up 24 passing touchdowns, third most in the NFL.

Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals: I want to put Jerheme Urban in here just to show I know how to spell his name, but I'm not convinced his Week 14 performance wasn't a fluke. The Saints will give up a lot of yards in this one, but I'm not gambling with Urban or Bryant Johnson in a playoff week.

Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Aaron Stecker, Saints: Interesting stat about Colston: Since Week 8, he leads the NFL in receptions (53), receiving yards (715) and is tied for fourth in touchdowns (6). Oh, and only five teams give up more points per game than the Cards.

Jeff Garcia, Earnest Graham, Joey Galloway, Bucs: So fearful of these three, Bobby Petrino quit!

Buccaneers Defense/Special teams: I don't see the Falcons rallying for this one.

Kyle Boller and Derrick Mason, Ravens: Only five teams have given up more passing touchdowns than the Dolphins this year.

Willis McGahee, RB, Ravens: Just because it's obvious doesn't mean it's not true.

Marshawn Lynch, RB, Bills: And if you lack depth, I could see using Fred Jackson as a flex here as well.

All your Browns: I can't believe this game is for a playoff spot. I can't believe Jamal Lewis and Derek Anderson are no-brainer plays here. I can't believe it's not butter!

Brett Favre, Greg Jennings, Ryan Grant, Donald Lee, Donald Driver, Packers: The Packers are good. The Rams are not. You do the math.

Steven Jackson, RB, Rams: You have to start Torry Holt, too, but this is the only Rams player I trust here.

Fred Taylor, RB, Jaguars: Three straight 100-yard rushing performances. Averages more than 115 rushing yards in his last five versus the Steelers. Either you believe or you don't. I do.

Willie Parker, RB, Steelers: The quietest leading rusher in the NFL, ever.

Jeff Reed and Josh Scobee, Ks: This will be a fairly low-scoring affair, I believe.

All your Patriots: Well, not Donte' Stallworth and Laurence Maroney, but I am playing Jabar Gaffney. If it's a snow game, of course, only Tom Brady and Randy Moss are definite starts, with Wes Welker also deserving consideration.

Matt Hasselbeck, Deion Branch and Bobby Engram, Seahawks: It's not just that I like them, it's that I also hate Shaun Alexander.

LenDale White, RB, Titans: You know that song by Joan Jett called "I Hate Myself for Loving You?" Well, I just typed LenDale White's name …

Kolby Smith, RB, Chiefs: Here's the deal: He belongs in "Love" if he is 100 percent healthy. But if it turns out he's banged up and Gilbert Harris will get into the mix, I want no part of it. So check on Kolby's status as we head toward game time.

Joseph Addai, RB, Colts: You're starting Peyton Manning and Wayne, of course, but Addai is the guy who will go off against the Raiders. In fact, I don't think the passing offense has a huge game here.

Justin Fargas, RB, Raiders: This is not a great matchup, but it's not a terrible matchup either. The Raiders are at home, and the Colts are 17th in the league against the run and give up more than 117 total yards to opposing running backs.

Jon Kitna, QB, Lions: I'm actually not crazy about anyone in this game on either side, except for the obvious guys like Tomlinson and Gates. My guess is Kitna has 225 yards and a score here, which is right at 15 points. I keep going back and forth on Kevin Jones here as well. He doesn't run well on the road -- only one game with double-digit fantasy points away from Detroit -- but with Luis Castillo and Shawne Merriman out, I think Jones will have some room. Plus, Detroit will want to establish the run on San Diego. I'm not trusting Jones or starting him in the league I own him in, but it wouldn't surprise me if he had a good game here.

Brian Westbrook and Kevin Curtis, Eagles: Westbrook is a no-brainer, of course, but I see Curtis getting deep for a touchdown here.

All your Cowboys: As a Skins fan, I hate that they are good this year. And they really are good. Don't start Julius Jones, but I like Patrick Crayton along with the obvious ones: Tony Romo, Terrell Owens and Marion Barber.

Chris Cooley, TE, Redskins: You know what would be funny? If you were a girl named Julie and you met, fell in love with and then married Chris Cooley. And you were then known as Julie Cooley.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings: The battle for the name Adrian Peterson! That's what I've decided is the best sell to Monday Night Football this week, instead of "Kyle Orton versus Tarvaris Jackson!" Anyway, I'm not worried about last week, I'm not worried about Chester Taylor, and I'm sure not worried about people calling Jennifer Love Hewitt "fat." Must have been a slow week around the "People" magazine office.

Vikings Defense/Special teams: The Vikings have returned six interceptions for touchdowns this year, the most in the NFL. Kyle Orton has 13 interceptions in 15 career games. Just saying …

Week 15 Players I Hate

Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals: Here's an e-mail I just got:

Craig (Edmonton): Dude! I hate Carson Palmer! Please put him on your Hate list for the rest of the year! He cost me the playoffs two weeks running (while Jay Cutler had a career day)! You know what to do -- hate Carson too!

TMR: I know. Only 13 touchdowns in his last 11 games, including two straight without a touchdown. It looks like a good matchup against the 49ers, but last week was a good matchup, too. Start T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson, but I don't trust Palmer.

Edgerrin James, RB, Cardinals: The Saints have a good run defense and James has had more than 100 yards rushing only twice all year.

All your Falcons: I could see Roddy White having a decent day, but this game is at Tampa Bay and given all the Petrino stuff this week, plus the Bucs really needing to win this game, I'm just not feeling it.

Cleo Lemon, QB, Dolphins: If it's bottom-of-the-barrel time for you at quarterback, there are better options.

Marc Bulger, Isaac Bruce, Rams: I'm also not crazy about Holt because I'm not sure who will be throwing the ball to him, but he's not on the Hate list.

Laurence Maroney, RB, Patriots: Not even against the Jets. Sigh.

Steve Smith, WR, Panthers: What does one wear to the funeral for the death of someone's fantasy value?

Shaun Alexander, RB, Seahawks: See Smith, Steve. And remember the outfit will have to be worn on more than one occasion.

Vince Young and Justin Gage, Titans: Of course, as I write this, it occurs to me that if you have these two guys and played them in a playoff league last week, you're probably not playing this week.

Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Colts: The Raiders are good against the pass, and while you can't bench Manning or Wayne, I don't see a big game from A-Gonz.

Any Raider not named Justin Fargas: Do I really need to explain this one?

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers: On again, off again, on again … his fantasy value is like dating Britney Spears. Fun at times, sure, but is it worth the pain and suffering?

Every Redskin except Cooley: I really hope I'm wrong here, but I don't think I will be.

Eli Manning QB, Giants: Another week, another appearance on my Hate list.

All your Bears: There's not one Bear I like this week against Minnesota. Not a one.

That's all I got, kids. You can be my cyberfriend and read my personal blog here: myespn.go.com/MatthewBerry

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.

Cyberstalk the TMR

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

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