Berry: Love/Hate for Week 7
Now they're interesting.
I'm speaking about the Colorado Rockies. I am bypassing the intro I had planned today because of the reaction to my Tuesday TMR column. If you didn't read it, I basically said I wasn't all that excited about the Rockies being in the World Series. That it was an amazing story, sure, but as far as amazing stories go, I'm just not that excited, you know? It's a team I should be rooting for. I'm just not. Not rooting against them, either. I just don't care.
Apparently, the lame Dane Cook promos aren't getting it done for me. Maybe it's the lack of characters on the team. Maybe it's that Grizzly Adams thing on Todd Helton's face that repels me. But my attitude toward a team with this amazing story: "Eh."
I got tons of e-mails. Tons of responses on ESPN Conversation (beta!). Many of them angry, defensive and attacking.
But here's what's weird, right? If you've read my work for any amount of time, you know I try very hard not to be boring. Love me or hate me, you know exactly where I stand on any issue I write about. And to be honest, there are times when I write something that I just know will really hack people off, yet I do it anyway because I'd rather be honest about what I feel than be "politically correct." But this wasn't even one of those times.
I really didn't think I wrote anything controversial. Just that I personally am not all excited about the Rockies being in the World Series. I should be, but I'm not. It's not an East Coast bias thing (I lived in Los Angeles for 15 years and am pretty public about being an Angels fan), it's not because the Yankees are out (I actually hate the Yankees), and it's not because I don't think donating a full playoff share to Mike Coolbaugh's wife wasn't a wonderful gesture, because it was. It just doesn't make me root for them.
But, I got so many e-mails and postings that were filled with incoherent ramblings, misspellings and irrational interpretations of what I wrote that I can come to only one conclusion: Rockies fans are idiots.
Of course, I'm now safe to write this because none of them will know. Trust me here. Between my "lame jokes" and "personal attacks," they all swore never to read me again, so I'm safe. But seriously, it was pretty hilarious to me. I've never seen such a groundswell of anger that was so poorly expressed in all my life.
I'm all for criticism, legitimate or not. Comes with the gig. You put yourself out there, you have to take the heat. And I'll be the first to admit when I'm wrong (see Defense, Bengals). I've been wrong before and I'll be wrong again. But these "defenses" were so Unabomber-esque that I'm thrilled. Because now the Rockies are interesting.
Now I am openly rooting against the Rockies. Their fans don't deserve a championship. This has already gotten too long, so I'll tell you that my all-time favorite e-mail came from this column. I'll print it below.
It's Love/Hate time, and I'm coming off a solid week where I went 37-of-60, for 62 percent. It's actually tougher projecting against Hector and Victor than against statistical benchmarks because H&V take the same things I do into account. You'll see. I've added something new this week. After the player's name, I have a number. That is Hector and Victor's projected fantasy point total for the player this week. And just like last week, players I love are players who I think will exceed Hector and Victor's total fantasy points projections for them. Players I hate are players who I think fall short. That simple. Let's get to it.
Jason Campbell, QB, Redskins (12): So I was watching a show that was doing a story on Campbell, right? And it was showing footage of him playing well. And at the bottom of the screen was a graphic that read: "Mmmm, mmm, good." (Pause) Sometimes I'm embarrassed to be in the sports broadcasting profession.
Chris Cooley, TE, Redskins (10): Chris Cooley plays fantasy football. Just like Matt Holliday. Of the Rockies! Who are in the World Series! (Pause) Even with excessive exclamation points, I can't get excited. I do like that Holliday plays, however. Can't wait 'til the Rockies trade him and Helton.
Santana Moss, WR, Redskins (6): The Cardinals like to blitz, leaving one-on-one matchups that Moss will exploit.
Washington defense/special teams (7): A great defense gets Tim Rattay? At FedEx Field? That's what I'm talking about.
Roddy White (14): A bit of a gamble here, since 14 strikes me as high. But I do like Roddy this week against the Saints. While I don't think Byron Leftwich is the answer to a lot of questions, he is to this one: Can you name a Falcons quarterback who is better than Joey Harrington?
Morten Andersen, K, Falcons (4): Hoping my love of old guys inspires others to do the same.
Reggie Bush, RB, Saints (24): See what I mean about it being harder? I really like Bush this week, even if I do think 24 points is a bit high. But I can't put him in my hate section just because I have him projected to score 18. Suffice it to say, I think he has a very good game.
Drew Brees, QB, Saints (18): Add me to the list of folks who don't think last week was a fluke.
Eric Johnson, TE, Saints (4): Fact that has nothing to do with Johnson but will anger Rockies fans: I was born in Denver. Seriously. Rose Hospital, baby.
Willis McGahee, RB, Ravens (19): It's "payback is something that rhymes with witch" week, as a number of players face their former teams. I like almost all of them, starting with McGahee against the Bills.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Bills (12): I never watch Bills games, but why do I think there's a group of fans that call themselves the "The Lynch Mob"?
Tarvaris Jackson, QB, Vikings (7): Hear me out now. I expect the Cowboys to put everyone in the box against Adrian Peterson. And the Cowboys have given up 11 passing touchdowns, third most in the NFL. I'm not saying it'll be pretty, but if you're bye-week desperate
Terrell Owens (16), Tony Romo (15), Patrick Crayton (14) and Jason Witten (8), Cowboys: Guess which teams give up more passing yards per game than the Vikings? Ha! It's a trick question. No team does.
Patriots defense/special teams (9): Speaking of defense, did you know the Rockies had the best fielding percentage in all of baseball in 2007? Does that make them interesting? Come on, everyone roots for fielding percentage!
David Martin, TE, Dolphins (2): Not that it's a great matchup or that he's any good, but he did have two touchdowns last week, and I can definitely see a lot of checkdown dump-off passes in this game.
Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers (3): Speaking of tight ends, did you know that the Giants give up the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends in the NFL?
Giants defense/special teams(7): You know who is starting at quarterback for the 49ers? Well, keep it to yourself because it doesn't matter.
Buccaneers defense/special teams (5): Defenses that have played against Detroit almost always score in the double digits. The Bucs are available, by the way, in 70 percent of ESPN.com leagues.
Kevin Jones, RB, Lions (7): Surprised he's the only Lion to make this list? Me too, but when I break down the matchup, that's what comes out.
LenDale White, RB, Titans (15): Has a touchdown in three of four games.
Larry Johnson (14), Damon Huard (10), Chiefs: I'm not crazy about Huard in this game, but I do think he'll do better than 10 points. Meanwhile, Larry Johnson is finally starting to earn that big contract. Hey, speaking of big contracts, remember when the Rockies signed Denny Neagle? (Pause) OK, now I'm just being mean.
Chiefs defense/special teams (6): This is a very underrated defense that has scored double-digit fantasy points three of the past four weeks.
Carson Palmer (18), Chad Johnson (16), T.J. Houshmandzadeh (15) and Rudi Johnson (5), Bengals: Rudi's ranking is so low because H&V do their projections on Tuesday, and his health was a question mark at that time. When they do their updates on Friday, I am guessing it will be higher. But I like all these guys in what should be one of the highest-scoring games of the week.
Brian Griese (9), Bernard Berrian (12), Muhsin Muhammad (4) and Greg Olsen (4), Bears: I'm gonna give you some numbers. Forty and three. Here's what they mean: Since becoming a starting quarterback, Brian Griese is averaging more than 40 pass attempts per game, and he's had three straight games of at least 200 yards and two touchdowns. I know the Bears will be down in this game, that they can't run, and Brian Dawkins is banged up.
Donovan McNabb (13) and Kevin Curtis (13), Eagles: I also like Brian Westbrook here, but H&V have him at 22 points, which I feel is high. I say 18 for Westbrook. Hey, remember when they were the Chicago Bears' defense?
Brian Leonard, RB, Rams (9): He has two first names, which is the opposite of (Rockies pitcher) Ubaldo Jimenez, who has no first names.
D.J. Hackett, WR, Seahawks (2): Welcome back.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars (17): You might be tempted to bench him versus a better-than-advertised Colts defense. Don't. In two games last year against Indy, MJD had more than 300 total yards and three touchdowns. He also has been hot, with three scores in his past two games.
Tim Rattay (13) and Larry Fitzgerald (16), Cardinals: Redskins allow only 13 points per game, third best in the NFL.
Clinton Portis, RB, Redskins (24): If only he could fumble away more games for the Redskins. Not that I am bitter.
Marques Colston, WR, Saints (13): The Falcons have one good player in the secondary, DeAngelo Hall, and my guess is they put him on Colston.
Lee Evans, WR, Bills (7): Another guy I was wrong about. Sigh.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings (16): Not that you'd ever bench him in a million years, but I bet the Cowboys stack the line here and do everything possible to slow him down.
Marion Barber III, RB, Cowboys (12): Three straight games without 100 total yards, and now he gets the Vikings, who haven't given up a rushing touchdown all year.
Randy Moss, WR, Patriots (17): You have to start him, but I don't think he has a huge day here.
Frank Gore (12) and Darrell Jackson (12), 49ers: San Francisco also has a baseball team. They're called the Giants. They play in the same division as the Rockies. And people say I don't know anything about them.
Cedric Benson, RB, Bears (12): And yet, I bail on Benson every week and do his fans say anything? Noooooo.
Reggie Brown, WR, Eagles (6): Is he still in the league?
Matt Hasselbeck (17), QB, Seahawks: The Rams are actually 10th in the NFL against the pass.
OK, so there is this week's Love/Hate. Using Hector's and Victor's projections is a way to get a lot more names in there, which is what I think folks want. Now to that e-mail reprint. As I said, this might be my favorite e-mail of all time. I have not touched any of it except for the things we can't print on a family Web site:
David (Phoenix): "Below is something i posted about your latest article, I rarely email journalist about their work mostly because I plan to be one and I feel a artist has some leeway with his or her craft. This being said your an embarrassment. I go to ASU who is an extremely recognized journalism school (especially in the last few years) but if you went here, tell me and I'm dropping out tomorrow you schmuck. I added my original comment because I'm sure a self proclaimed expert pretencious [here, he calls me a name] like yourself doesn't read the comments on his articles. Maybe you should and you wouldn't be embarrassed as often. Makes me wonder what kind of [personal injury] you had to collect on [a part of my anatomy] to get that job. Feel free to email me back, but based on your cowardly article that seems unlikely. You're a heartless bastard if you think the Rockies have no personality. Quit [in this part, I'm accused of really, really liking the subsequently named players] to pictures of Tim Wakefield and Tom Brady and realize there's another side of the country here. You might even be from the west and in that case you might want to [OK, nobody needs a visual of what he said here] you Pete Carroll picture we all know you think about when you with your wife. If this team was in Boston, New York Miami Chicago or LA you would think they were the re incarnation of Jesus and his 12 disciples. Take a lesson from a real journalist such as Jason Stark and look at the team for the players not for where they play. As a journalism major I feel embarrassed thinking that someone from my future field could write this kind of low grade trash, especially when you're using it to the beginning of a fantasy football article. We're taught to capture the reader with your first five sentences and then narrow down from there; you were obviously [ um, in contract negotiations? Discussing strategy? Swapping recipes?] with Joe Torre on that day. Seriously man, you're ridiculous.
TMR: Come on now. How awesome is that? No wonder Arizona State's journalism program is so renowned.
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. Cyberstalk the TMR.
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