Commentary

The Talented Mr. Roto: Love/Hate for Week 6

Updated: October 9, 2008, 5:09 PM ET
By Matthew Berry | ESPN.com

You have to admit, it's a great idea.

Today is Yom Kippur, which is known as the Jewish Day of Atonement. While you read this, I will be in temple, reflecting on the past year and atoning for my sins.

Whatever your beliefs, you gotta give it up to the Jews for this idea. One day, you pray and atone for all your sins and then you get a clean slate. Start anew for the year. In fact, this past weekend I loaded up on sins just to get a few in under the wire.

Play fantasy hoops against the TMR and Bill Simmons
So you know we offer fantasy basketball for free here on ESPN.com this year, right? That we have free live scoring, auction draft capability, fully customizable, all the bells and whistles. So you should give it a shot, especially if you drafted Tom Brady and are looking for something to do for the next few months.

"But TMR," you say, "I don't have a league." Well, you can always join a public league. Or, try out for the league I am doing with The Sports Guy, Bill Simmons. Bill and I announced the league on his "B.S. Report podcast" this week. Ever want to play in a league with me? Prove how much better you are than me at fantasy? Get smack talk from Bill? And ridiculous trade offers from him? Want to make him overpay for Celtics? Because I've been in a league with Bill before. You got no idea what you're getting into.

But if you want in, just tell us why, in no more than four sentences. Email us at fantasyfocus@espnradio.com by 5 p.m. ET, Friday, October 17th. And if win the league, you will get to make guest appearances on both The B.S. Report and in my column on the ESPN Fantasy pages, and you'll win a trip for you and a buddy to come visit ESPN in beautiful Bristol, Conn. Bring it on. -- TMR

Would you like to know more? Listen to Matthew and Bill on "The B.S. Report" and "Fantasy Focus" as they challenge you to the ultimate fantasy hoops competition, and don't forget to Sign up to play fantasy basketball for freel!

We need a Fantasy Yom Kippur. A fantasy Day of Atonement. A day where the players and coaches that have sinned apologize, admit their failings and then, a clean slate. They can turn it around. And with that, here's my list of top 10 fantasy sinners. The guys who need to reflect on their performance and ask for forgiveness.

10. Erik Bedard and Victor Martinez: OK, those are baseball guys and this is a football column, so I'll just limit it to those two, whom I felt were the biggest busts of this past year considering what you paid for them/where you drafted them and what they produced. Oh, and Erik Bedard single-handedly killed my Tout Wars team, thank you very much.

9. Ryan Grant: I love Ryan Grant. But so far he's been brutal on a team that is actually scoring a bunch of points. Ryan needs to get it together soon, or I'm personally taking back the red jacket.

8. Braylon Edwards: Is it just the football? Or does he drop everything? Like soap? Food? Does he not get invited out to cafeterias because he always spills his tray on the way to the table? I bet that's the case.

7. The Indianapolis Colts: OK, Reggie Wayne has been fine and Joseph Addai has been OK. But Marvin Harrison? Peyton Manning? I heard some crazy guy say he thought Dallas Clark would be the No. 1 fantasy tight end. Get it together, or Peyton might have extra time in January to shoot even more commercials.

6. Carson Palmer and Derek Anderson: Quarterbacks that were drafted in the top 10 at their position, and yet, this is the only top-10 list they are making. By the way, they may have both been on someone's preseason "hate" list. Just sayin'.

5. Bill Belichick: His karma cost owners Tom Brady. His play calling makes all his running backs useless for fantasy purposes. His defense got negative points against Miami this year. Miami! You know how many folks lost their matchup because they couldn't get a zero from the Patriots' defense? Plus he's a cheater who ran up the score on Joe Gibbs. Hah! I know, that last one has nothing to do with fantasy, but it'll just rile up all the Patriots fans. What do you want from me? I haven't gone to temple yet as I'm writing this. I've still got a few hours to get one or two more sins in.

4. TMR: Yeah, I'd like that Larry Johnson call back. Oh and everyone that bought in on Jeff Francoeur in baseball, I'm sorry. Ugh. And I'm sure I'll get something wrong this week, too, so let's throw that one on the pile. Let's just say a blanket "If you took my advice on something and it turned out wrong, um … my bad."

Brian Westbrook
Nelson Chenault/US PresswireThat "knee" may as well have been to the collective groin of thousands of fantasy players.

3. Brian Westbrook and DeSean Jackson: One took a knee and the other had a premature celebration. And you wonder why folks hate the Eagles. Both of these guys need to atone 'til the day they retire.

2. Mike Shanahan -- Lifetime Achievement: No coach has ever done more harm to fantasy owners than Shanny. Failing to get your team to play any semblance of defense against Larry Johnson (see No. 4) is at the top of my list. Might as well atone now, Mike, and clean the slate, because Sunday you know you are going to be right back on this list.

1. Chad Ocho Cinco: Say this for Terrell Owens: He has a big mouth, but he backs it up. Forget touchdowns; Chad hasn't even gotten 60 yards in a game this year. The 11th wide receiver taken, an average fourth-round pick, has been all sorts of brutal, especially the trash-talk that precedes the failures. And on a personal note, I can't tell you how stupid I feel typing "Chad Ocho Cinco."

Who's on your list? Who needs to atone for their fantasy sins to you? Let me know who I forgot.

Coming off a pretty good week, so let's see if we can keep the momentum going. As always, these are players that I like and don't like this week based on general expectations of what they do. For player-versus-player specifics, remember that I rank more than 200 players every single week, and you refer to my rankings if you're wondering whom I think you should start over whom; just because I hate on a star while I love a guy who's no better than a bye-week flex option doesn't automatically mean I think you should sit one over the other.

Week 6 Players I Love:

Kyle Orton, QB, Bears: Who needs Sexy Rexy when you can just Dial Kyle? I'm still working on the nickname, but in the meantime, in the past three weeks, Kyle Orton has the fourth-most passing yards, and only Brett Favre, thanks to that nutty 6-TD performance, has more touchdown passes. Orton has more fantasy points in the past three weeks than Tony Romo, Kurt Warner and Jay Cutler, among others. Oh, and the Falcons are ranked No. 22 against the pass.

Devin Hester, WR, Bears: Very quietly, a touchdown in two straight games.

Greg Olsen, TE, Bears: Here are some numbers for you: 16, 35, 87. That's Olsen's yardage the past three games. Orton is looking for him more and more, he has one touchdown in his past two games, and only three teams in the NFL give up more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than the Atlanta Falcons.

Roddy White, WR, Falcons: Roddy, Roddy, Roddy, get your adverbs here! (pause) Look, some of these are for you, some of these are for me.

Le'Ron McClain, RB, Ravens: Le'Ron is a Le'Load. And the Colts can't stop anyone. I like McGahee as well in this matchup, but if I have to choose a Ravens runner, it's Le'Ron.

Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams, WR, Lions: If they don't do it this week, they're going on the next atonement list.

Gus Frerotte, QB, Vikings: If ever there was a week to hop on the Gus bus, this is it.

Bernard Berrian, WR, Vikings: If ever there was a week to hop in the Berrian DeLorean, this is it. Hmm. You know, now that I see it in print, I think I'm forcing it a little bit.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, Bengals: aka: "All they got." If you were truly desperate, though, I could see Antonio Chatman having a decent game here, as I expect the Bengals to be behind and unable to run the ball, so they'll have to use a decent amount of three-receiver sets.

Cedric Benson
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezIn just one week, Cedric Benson has raised his stock to "better than nothing." Now that's taking pride in your work.

Cedric Benson, RB, Bengals: Again, this is only if you are truly, truly desperate and looking for a Hail Mary, but I could see him getting a goal-line carry. If you're looking at a zero otherwise, he's worth a gamble.

Brett Favre, QB, Jets: I forget. How'd Brett do in his last game? Bengals are actually sixth in the NFL against the pass, but you're starting Brett, Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery regardless.

Dustin Keller, TE, Jets: Scores in two straight games, and only eight teams give up more points to opposing tight ends than the Bengals. By the way, any of these "points against" stats can be found by clicking here or just by clicking the "points against" link at the top of this and other fantasy football pages.

Thomas Jones, RB, Jets: Thomas, you came dangerously close to making the list above. Last Chance Saloon for you this week, you dig?

Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, Deuce McAllister, Lance Moore, Billy Miller, Saints: I guess what I am saying is I don't think the bye solved all the Raiders' problems. They specifically give up a decent amount of points to opposing tight ends.

JaMarcus Russell, QB, Raiders: Remember high school geometry? Remember postulates? How you'd have to go through and solve all these long problems but then, once you learned the "why," you could just use a postulate as a shortcut? Like "This equals this because of postulate C." We need fantasy football postulates. Like instead of writing, "Anytime you can get punked by Gus Frerotte, we're starting any quarterback against you until further notice," I could just write "Postulate Gus" and be done with it.

Justin Fargas, RB, Raiders: Back and starting with Darren McFadden still a bit banged-up.

Muhsin Muhammad, WR, Panthers: At 5-foot-11 and 186 pounds, Bucs cornerback Phillip Buchanon will find there's too much Muhsin for the puh-sin. Please see White, Roddy. Move along.

Alex Smith, TE, Buccaneers: If you're desperate, the Panthers already have given up two touchdowns to opposing tight ends this year.

Steven Jackson, RB, Rams: If you have Torry Holt, you have to start him, but Steven is the only Ram I feel confident starting.

Jason Campbell, Clinton Portis, Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle El, Chris Cooley, Redskins: Long live The Zorn Supremacy!

Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, RB, Dolphins: I expect the Fish to run on the road. And against the Texans, you can do just that.

Greg Camarillo, WR, Dolphins: Has increased his yardage and fantasy points in three consecutive games.

David Garrard, Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor, Jaguars: Postulate Shanahan; Broncos can't stop the run. And their pass defense (30th in the NFL) is even worse.

Sean Astin
Giulio Marcocchi/Getty ImagesSean Astin probably wishes it was still 2004. If he plays fantasy, he can pretend by starting Brandon Stokely this week.

Brandon Stokley, WR, Broncos: This is what I said about him on "SportsCenter": "The year was 2004. 'Lord of the Rings' won every Oscar in sight, 'Friends' and 'Frasier' went off the air, and Britney Spears got married and divorced for the first time. It was also the year Brandon Stokley had fantasy relevance, with 10 touchdowns. Well, you never know what Britney will do, but if you're looking for a deep sleeper this week, consider Stokley against the Jags' 26th-ranked pass defense. Eddie Royal and Tony Scheffler are banged-up, and Stokley has 13 receptions for more than 130 yards and one touchdown in the past two weeks."

Felix Jones, RB, Cowboys: You're starting all the obvious Cowboys, but if you're stuck at flex, I have no problem with Felix. Four touchdowns in five games. Just sayin'.

Tim Hightower, RB, Cardinals: Again, if you're looking around for a flex start, the Cardinals' loss at Washington is the only game in which Hightower hasn't scored in this season.

Steve Breaston, WR, Cardinals: This is assuming Anquan Boldin doesn't play, of course, but Breaston's got 16 receptions for 199 yards the past two weeks, and the Cowboys' secondary ranked No. 17 against the pass. And for those of you disappointed that I didn't make the obvious joke, don't worry. It's a long season, and I'll have a whole year to build up a new list of things to atone for.

DeSean Jackson and Reggie Brown, WR, Eagles: This game is a must-win for the Eagles, and their star runner is either gonna be out or at less than 100 percent.

Eagles defense and special teams: You're starting them if you have them, obviously, but this is a good choice this week if you play the Gridiron Challenge or any other salary-cap game. The 49ers have given up the most sacks this year, and the Eagles are tied for the lead with the most. You can probably come up with your own postulate about that.

Isaac Bruce, WR, 49ers: Bruuuuuuuuuuuce!

Ryan Grant, RB, Packers: Here lies the Talented Mr. Roto. He believed in Ryan Grant.

Julius Jones, RB, Seahawks: Hands up, who had Jones as the most productive fantasy guy on Seattle this year? (Scans crowd). Really? No one? Not even you, Julius? Julius: "Hey, dude, I've seen me play. I ain't that good."

Matt Cassel, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Patriots: Sad that Moss is no longer an automatic start, but no team in the NFL gives up more passing yards per game or has given up more passing touchdowns than the San Diego Chargers. Oh, and they are giving up the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

Vincent Jackson, WR, Chargers: This one depends on the health of Chambers, but assuming he doesn't play, it's worth noting that Jackson has at least 50 yards receiving in four straight weeks.

Week 6 Players I Hate

Jerious Norwood, RB, Falcons: You're starting Turner at home, of course, but I'm not crazy about Norwood against the Bears' seventh-ranked run defense.

Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Colts: No. 1 pass defense in the NFL.

rudi johnson
Paul Spinelli/Getty ImagesRun, Rudi, run! They're fixin' to steal your luggage!

Rudi Johnson, RB, Lions: They're not chanting "Ruuuuudy," they're yelling "Booooodi."

Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders: I'm still worried about the toe and about Fargas. Hope I'm wrong on this one. I love McFadden.

Chris Perry, RB, Bengals: There's a couple of ways you can tell things aren't going well at work. No one will look you in the eyes. People ask how your wife's job is going. And you start hearing positive things about Cedric Benson.

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers: Earth, you remember DeAngelo? DeAngelo, welcome back.

Earnest Graham and Warrick Dunn, Buccaneers: What do LaDainian Tomlinson, Adrian Peterson, Larry Johnson, Michael Turner and Matt Forte have in common? Well, of course, none of those guys have ever been in my kitchen. But in addition, none of them have 100 yards rushing or a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers this season. The Bucs are normally a strong run team, but consider that the Panthers have given up only one rushing touchdown all season.

Bucs offense: Frankly, I don't want anyone who starts at QB for Tampa Bay in this game, and I'm not real excited about Ike Hilliard, either.

Marc Bulger, QB, Rams: He might wish he had stayed on the bench for this one.

Chad Pennington, QB, Dolphins: In case you were excited about last week's performance, don't be. That was a matchup call, and so is this one. Texans at home and 12th against the pass. Ronnie Brown is more likely to throw for a touchdown than Chad is.

Steve Slaton, RB, Texans: If you have better options, I'd look at them. Only the Ravens and Giants allow fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs than the Dolphins; only Thomas Jones in Week 1 has rushed for more than 100 yards against them, and they shut down Tomlinson last week. Game is at Houston, which helps Slaton, but I expect Miami to concentrate on Slaton and take their chances with Matt Schaub.

Any Denver running back: Oh, I could see one of them having a decent game. I just couldn't tell you who. I guess I'd start Pittman if I had to, but this is a quagmire with a capital quag.

Edgerrin James, RB, Cardinals: Hightower is stealing most of the goal-line carries.

J.T. O'Sullivan, QB, 49ers: Especially in leagues that give negative points for turnovers.

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Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Seahawks: He'll be OK, actually, especially with Bobby Engram back, but the way to attack Green Bay is on the ground, so I expect a lot of handing off here.

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers: Looks like Chris Chambers won't play, the Patriots are actually eighth-best in the NFL against the pass, and, in his past two games, Rivers has more turnovers than touchdowns. He also hasn't cracked 200 yards passing in those.

All your Browns: I think this is a low-scoring ground game, and I don't trust any of the Browns against the Giants.

Eli Manning, QB, Giants: Browns are at home, coming off the bye and are top 12 in the NFL in allowing fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. I figure the Giants will run the ball a lot on the road, especially to take the crowd out of it, which will be excited since it's "Monday Night Football" on ESPN and ESPN HD. I am a company man. I wonder if I should atone for that?

Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- is starving. He appears on Fantasy Football Now, airing Sundays at noon ET on ESPN.com. He is a four-time award winner from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, including a Writer of the Year award. He is also the creator of RotoPass.com, a Web site that combines a bunch of well-known fantasy sites, including ESPN Insider, for one low price. Use promo code ESPN for 10 percent off. Cyberstalk the TMR | Be his Cyberfriend

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

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