Commentary

Berry: Love/Hate for Week 16

Updated: December 21, 2007, 9:45 AM ET
By Matthew Berry | ESPN.com

I'm very upset.

For once, I was on board with Terrell Owens. When he said, in essence, that it's Jessica Simpson's fault that Tony Romo played poorly, I found myself nodding.

Then he backed off, saying he was joking. What?!? Stick to your guns, T.O.! This is a guy who appeared in a racy locker room scene with one of the actresses from "Desperate Housewives." This is a guy who once did sit-ups on his driveway. This is a guy who questioned his Pro Bowl quarterback's sexuality. But from this, he backs down?

What happened, T.O.? Where did it all go wrong? What happened to the self-absorbed, crazy guy we used to tolerate? Because you're right.

[+] EnlargeJessica Simpson
AP Photo/LM OteroJessica Simpson casts her cursed gaze upon Tony Romo during the Cowboys' loss against Philadelphia.
Look back at any historic event and somewhere, somehow, there's an attractive woman involved. Think about the Trojan War. Dude built a giant wooden horse for Helen of Troy and started a war. (May not be historically accurate.) Lots of folks think the Cuban Missile Crisis was caused in large part by Marilyn Monroe. Think about the Clinton presidency. Whether you thought he was a good president or a bad one, the important thing to note is that the running of the free world was basically stopped for six months by the Lewinsky scandal. Remember when Brad Pitt used to make good movies instead of adopting kids every other week? Or when I used to just write about fantasy sports?

True story: I once had a college roommate who was an intern at the David Letterman show. I asked him to get me an autograph on a book of "Top Ten" lists that I had bought. The book came back signed with the following inscription: "Matthew, remember babes make the world go 'round."

True dat, Dave. True dat.

Let's dig in. 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. Like when I said start Tony Romo last week.

Week 16 Players I Love:

Steven Jackson, RB, Rams: In case you were thinking of benching him against Pittsburgh, don't. He has a touchdown in each of his past four home games, better than 100 total yards in three of four and has scored double-digit fantasy points in eight straight games.

Willie Parker and Hines Ward, Steelers: And a nation of hundreds will cheer them on.

Terrell Owens, WR, Cowboys: He's been terrible the past few weeks but he gets back on track this Saturday. In his past six games against Carolina, Owens has averaged more than 100 yards and scored in four of six.

Marion Barber, RB, Cowboys: You don't need a healthy thumb to hand it off to Marion.

Cowboys D/ST: You know who scares me on the Panthers? Nobody.

All your Browns: Suffice it to say, I'm not recommending the Bengals' defense this time around.

Rudi Johnson, RB, Bengals: Yes, he struggled last week, but so did Adrian Peterson against the 49ers. Prior to the game with San Francisco, Rudi had scored in three straight weeks. If he can't go because of hamstring injuries, I love Kenny Watson in this game.

Ryan Grant, RB, Packers: He's actually the only Packer I really like here. Brett Favre traditionally struggles against Chicago.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Bears: He won't score, but 100 total yards is easily gettable.

Andre Johnson, WR, Texans: Only Texan I trust. OK, that's not true. I'm a big Lyle Lovett fan. But other than him …

Kolby Smith, RB, Chiefs: This is me, not worried about Larry Johnson. At all.

Tony Gonzalez and Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs: I even think Brodie Croyle could be OK here.

Kevin Jones, RB, Lions: Runs much better at home.

The Patriots: They get back on track this week. Even Maroney is a good start here.

Brandon Jacobs, RB, Giants: More than 700 yards from scrimmage in his past six games.

Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew, RBs, Jaguars: There might not be a better play this week than Taylor.

Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook and Kevin Curtis, Eagles: Only two teams in the NFL give up more passing yards per game than New Orleans and only two teams have given up more touchdown passes as well. Here's hoping they roll Westbrook into the end zone if he takes another flop.

Drew Brees, Marques Colston, David Patten, Saints: This is assuming, of course, Jessica Simpson doesn't show up in a pink Brees jersey.

Chris Cooley, TE, Redskin: Only Redskin I trust. Well, except Lyle Lovett. Wait a minute …

Roddy White, WR, Falcons: The Cardinals are banged up and, prior to last week's debacle against the Bucs, White had scored in three straight.

Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Edgerrin James, Cardinals: Not a low-scoring game, this one. The Cards' defense could be a decent play if you're desperate as well. I don't trust that Anquan Boldin is totally healthy, however.

Matt Hasselbeck, Deion Branch, Bobby Engram, Seahawks: And if you're choosing Seattle wideouts, I like Branch slightly more.

Willis McGahee, RB, Ravens: Seattle's D is good. Willis is better.

Jerricho Cotchery, WR, Jets: Believe it or not, I think Chad Pennington helps his value.

LenDale White, RB, Titans: Two first names. And a last name. Don't often see that.

Jeff Garcia, Joey Galloway, Ike Hilliard, Buccaneers: 49ers have been pretty strong against the run the past two weeks (Peterson, Rudi Johnson) and I expect them to try to stop Earnest Graham as well, leaving the passing lanes open.

Brandon Marshall, WR, Broncos: You're starting LaDainian Tomlinson, of course, but this is the only other player in the Monday night game I trust.

WEEK 16 PLAYERS I HATE:

Marc Bulger, QB, Rams: Three-to-one says he doesn't make it through the game.

Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys: I'm worried about the thumb, I'm worried about the defense (the Panthers are actually 13th against the pass) and I'm worried an attractive blonde will show up. Where's Tara Reid when you need her? If you have him, you probably don't have better options, but I don't think he has a huge game here. I project 225 and two scores with a turnover. Not a lot of margin left for error.

All your Panthers:

I wouldn't play one of them. Not one. Not even with your team.

Brett Favre and Donald Driver, Packers: Yes, he's having a great year and the Bears aren't. But Favre doesn't traditionally play well against Chicago. In fact, in his past seven games against the Bears, Favre has only five touchdown passes and 13 interceptions.

Sage Rosenfels, QB, Texans: Don't get cute.

Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Colts: For the record, he was listed here last week and went off. But not until the very last moment. And I don't see it happening again.

Jon Kitna, Calvin Johnson, Shaun McDonald, Lions: It was fun while it lasted.

Any Dolphin: A no-brainer, but printing it here just so you don't think I forgot it.

Eli Manning, QB, Giants: Another week, another appearance.

Trent Edwards and Lee Evans, Bills: Just in case you thought last week was only because of the weather.

David Garrard and Reggie Williams, Jaguars: When's Jack Del Rio gonna chop another stump? That was fun.

Aaron Stecker, RB, Saints: Eagles have been solid against the run all year. And rumor has it Ashlee Simpson is showing up in a fuchsia Stecker jersey.

Clinton Portis, RB, Redskins: If you were Brad Childress, would you stack the line against Portis or would you hang back, trying to protect against Todd Collins?

Warrick Dunn, RB, Falcons: Free Jerious!

Troy Smith, Derrick Mason, Ravens: Seriously. Don't get cute.

Shaun Alexander and Maurice Morris, RBs, Seahawks: Say this for Alexander, it's not often a guy kills the fantasy value of two running backs.

Thomas Jones, RB, Jets: Say this for Jones, he's terrible.

Vince Young, QB, Titans: You're playing with fire. Just saying.

Shaun Hill and Frank Gore, RB, 49ers: Not against the Bucs. No way.

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers: Yes, the last time they played he did well. But he has only eight touchdown passes in his past seven games. Let me put it another way. The Chargers scored 51 points last week and Rivers had only one score.

Broncos running backs: One of them will probably go off. I just have no idea who it will be. Neither do you. Nor Mike Shanahan.

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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