Berry: Love/Hate for Week 8
Red Sox 13, Rockies 1. Just saying
Many folks have written in about their own undefeated seasons, and I thank you for your responses. I'll discuss them in my Monday blog. Meanwhile, it's looking as if I'm not going to find the time to do my preseason Love/Hate for hoops. I'm too busy on football to do it the right way. You can't just "whip up" those 5,000-worders. You'll live, right?
Time for the Love/Hate for Week 8, and the people have spoken. Or written. Or stopped me in the halls and asked me what the deal is with Molly and then mentioned they want me to go back to the old statistical benchmarks and not use the Hector and Victor projections as the baseline for my Love/Hate.
The idea was a noble one. I wanted to get more guys in the column, especially during the heavy bye weeks, and in a nutty season like this, there were players who I thought might have a good game but not necessarily get 17 fantasy points (which was the old benchmark for quarterbacks).
So I'm going to revert to the statistical benchmarks but lower them slightly, and we'll try it that way. For the record, I had a really good Week 7 versus Hec and Vic.
As always, players I love this week are guys I think will exceed certain statistical benchmarks. Guys I hate are the ones I think will fall short. That simple. Those benchmarks are 175 yards and two touchdowns for quarterbacks (or 15 fantasy points in ESPN standard scoring); 90 rushing/receiving yards and/or 30 yards and a touchdown (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. For instance, if I had told you to start Carson Palmer versus the Jets last week, you would have said that was obvious. It also wouldn't have helped you much.
Here we go:
Steven Jackson, RB, Rams: If I ever tear my groin, I want to return to action against the Browns. No matter what my job is.
Marc Bulger, Drew Bennett, Torry Holt, Rams: Everyone says I hate on the Browns too much, but it's not my fault they've given up the most passing touchdowns in the NFL. Isaac Bruce will have a solid game here as well, but I have a feeling Bennett comes back strong and does even better than Bruce.
Kevin Jones, RB, Lions: I'm as surprised as you.
Cedric Benson, RB, Bears: Writing this and meaning it is a sign of my own personal apocalypse.
Bears defense/special teams: Remember when it wasn't a question whether you should start or sit them?
All your Colts: Including Kenton Keith. The Panthers are terrible.
Brandon Jacobs, RB, Giants: How come every time you come around, my London, London Bridge wanna go down?
Jeremy Shockey, TE, Giants: Yes, we're sending our best to represent America overseas.
Giants defense/special teams: This unit has 70 fantasy points over its past four games. Just to compare, the No. 1 fantasy defenses, the Patriots and two others (they're tied), have 77 points this whole season.
LenDale White, RB, Titans: Touchdowns in four of the last five games. Raiders 29th against the run. Two first names, plus a last name. Pick a reason, any reason.
Brian Westbrook, RB, Eagles: On the off chance you were concerned with Westbrook against the tough Vikings run defense at Minnesota this week, know that only one running back in the NFL has a better yards-per-carry average on turf than Brian's 6.0.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings: All. Day.
All your Steelers: Including Najeh Davenport. This just in: The Bengals are bad. Ben, Willie, Hines, Santonio and Heath sound like the names in a boy band. But all of them should be started with confidence.
Kevin Walter, WR, Texans: Has 29 receptions over his past four games, at least 15 fantasy points in two straight and is available in way too many ESPN.com standard leagues.
Reggie Bush, RB, Saints: Sentence I can use only right here: I like Bush!
Ike Hilliard, WR, Buccaneers: Has 28 receptions, 323 yards and a touchdown in his past four games. What can I say? I like Ike!
Arnaz Battle, WR. 49ers: Touchdowns in two straight games. Just saying.
(Almost) Any Patriot: Yes, the Redskins' defense is good, but the Patriots are unreal. Brady, Moss, Welker, Kyle Brady and Stallworth should all be started. But not any running backs.
DeShawn Wynn, RB, Packers: When it comes to running inside the 10-yard line, no one in the NFL has a higher touch percentage than DeShawn Wynn (60 percent). He also has four scores in his past five games and gets the Broncos' 32nd-ranked run defense on Monday night.
Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Brandon Stokley, Broncos: They play on "Monday Night Football," which airs on ESPN and ESPN HD. That last sentence might not have been helpful for your team, but it was helpful for my career. Some of these are for you, some are for me
I actually like a lot more guys this week than I hate.
Steve Smith, WR, Panthers: You probably don't have better options, so you'll have to start him. But lower your expectations here. Obviously, there are questions at quarterback, and only one team has allowed fewer passing touchdowns than the Colts. Also, Indy is allowing fewer than 13 fantasy points a game to wide receivers, the best mark in the NFL.
Amani Toomer, WR, Giants: The hot streak ends this week.
Cleo Lemon, Jesse Chatman, Ted Ginn Jr., Dolphins: See defense/special teams, Giants.
LaMont Jordan, RB, Raiders: The Titans are having a terrific season.
Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals: I can't imagine you have better options, but I don't think he has a great game here.
Vince Young, Titans: Strike up another victim of the Madden Curse.
Quinn Gray, Dennis Northcutt, Jaguars: Not even if you are desperate.
Earnest Graham, RB, Buccaneers: Remember last week? Last week was fun.
Drew Brees and any Saints WR, Saints: Believe it or not, the 49ers actually are 11th in the NFL against the pass. And on the grass I'm not feeling this one.
All Redskins: My heart bleeds for my beloved Redskins, but I'm a realist. By the way, Santana Moss has three straight games with no fantasy points, and he's second in the NFL in dropped passes. I have some anger to express to Moss.
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.