The Talented Mr. Roto: The Undefeated?
It's a fair question.
The Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, called me last week to ask one simple question.
Had I ever heard of a fantasy football team going undefeated? And I could not think of a time. I've been playing for over 20 years and nothing sprung to mind.
Now, just because I have not heard of it does not mean it didn't happen. Much of our world news, or whatever goes on in my parent's bedroom when the door is closed, falls under this category.
But Bill asked me to ask you, gentle readers, if it had happened. A few caveats: It has to have happened in a real league, so at least 10 teams, and not in a public league where no one else was paying attention. It has to be in a reasonably competitive 10-team league, or better.
Has it happened? Have you seen it? Not just some wild "friend-of-a-friend says she saw Britney get trashed at a night club with Lindsey"-type rumor. I want an actual eyewitness here. Or proof that it happened to you. Or to Britney and Lindsey. E-mail me if it has. (With pictures, for the latter.)
Speaking of undefeated, much has been made of the potential that the Miami Dolphins might go undefeated in the loss column. Winless through seven, and now they've lost their best offensive player for the season. Oh, and they get to go to London. Because nothing will help sell American football to England like Cleo Lemon.
At any rate, the Ronnie Brown-out-for-the-season news is a huge blow to fantasy owners who didn't sell high, like I suggested. (Is it a cheap, tainted victory? Yes. Am I taking it anyway? Have you not read me before?)
Remember, there are six teams with a bye this week (Cowboys, Falcons, Cardinals, Seahawks, Ravens, Chiefs), so make sure you grab whatever and whoever you need to field a complete lineup.
Let's dive in.
Here are some guys that have recently seen a spike in value and are potentially available in normal-size leagues.
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Jesse Chatman, RB, Dolphins: Just because it's obvious doesn't mean it's not true. The No. 1 waiver pickup this week, Chatman had decent numbers on Sunday. Junk time in a blowout, sure, but what makes you think the Dolphins won't have a lot of games like that in the coming weeks? Chatman had 82 total yards and, while I don't think he's fantastic, he does have the Bills twice (Week 10 and Week 14) plus the Jets (Week 13) coming up, so he'll make a good spot start in those games. Plus, he's now a starting running back in the NFL, which has value, and from the preseason "he might start" talk, we know coach Cam Cameron has confidence in him, and they have history from their days together in San Diego.
Derek Hagan and Ted Ginn Jr., WRs, Dolphins: Might as well stay in Miami. When Chris Chambers got dealt last week, it wasn't because someone in the Dolphins' front office was thinking, "You know, we really need to find more ways to get Marty Booker the ball." Miami is playing for the future, and that means these two young wide receivers are going to get their chances. Hagan had four receptions for 56 yards while Ginn Jr. had three for 37 in the loss to the Patriots, and those numbers will only increase, especially in the weeks against the Bills and Jets.
Brandon Stokley, WR, Broncos: Remember that one season with the Colts when he came out of nowhere to score double-digit touchdowns? That was a good year. It might be yet again. Because while I don't believe in double-digit touchdowns (or that the Paul Byrd news was released on that day by accident, but that's another column), I do feel he'll have a nice amount of value going forward while Javon Walker is out. He had five receptions for 70 yards and a score against Pittsburgh and is at home against Green Bay on Monday night.
Kevin Walter, WR, Texans: I mentioned him last week here as well, but apparently many folks didn't believe. He's still available in over 70 percent of ESPN.com leagues. He now has back-to-back games with at least 15 fantasy points, he's hauled in 29 receptions in his past four games and had 97 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. He also has two first names, which, as you may have heard, pleases crowds.
Here are some players who have recently seen a spike in value and may be available in shallow leagues or leagues in which you play with morons.
Jason Wright of the Browns had almost 100 total yards and a score in Week 6. He was dropped in a lot of leagues due to the bye week, but Jamal Lewis isn't a guarantee to play this week and the Browns get St. Louis. Remember, only one team in the NFL has given up as many rushing touchdowns as the St. Louis Rams. (That's called rubbing salt in the Shaun Alexander owner's wounds). Somehow Earnest Graham of the Buccaneers is still available in 30 percent of ESPN.com standard leagues. He had almost 200 total yards on Sunday and, even with Michael Bennett now in town, I expect Graham to get most of the goal-line carries. Speaking of Bennett, however, he looked solid in his debut and should also be grabbed if you didn't pick him up last week. I keep mentioning him, but he keeps being available. Muhsin Muhammad of the Bears now has three touchdowns in his past four games, which coincides with Brian Griese taking over as quarterback. Another guy I've been talking about for a month now but who is still out there in some leagues is Ike Hilliard, who now has 323 yards and 28 receptions in his last four games. He had 92 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. I've seen Brian Leonard of the Rams available in some leagues, and it's not like he's been great so far. And there's rumors Steven Jackson might be back this week. But in a week with six byes, it's worth a flyer considering St. Louis plays the Browns this week. His name is Sharod Lamor White, but you call him Roddy. The Falcons wideout is on a bye this week, but as I mentioned in the TRUM Monday, he's on pace for more than 1,200 total yards and is available in more than 50 percent of ESPN.com standard leagues. And it looks like Kenton Keith of the Colts is going to have some value beyond just a handcuff to Joseph Addai. He's going to get touches, and on the Colts, that's worth something. Finally, add bruised ribs to Travis Henry's long list of problems and make sure Selvin Young is still owned in your league.
Here are some players who have recently seen a small spike in value and whom you should keep an eye on but not necessarily grab yet, except in deeper leagues.
If you have Tony Romo or Matt Hasselbeck on a bye this week and are looking around a bit desperate, consider Trent Edwards of the Bills, who plays the Jets, or Daunte Culpepper, who wasn't terrible Sunday. Oakland is on the road against a Titans team that made Sage Rosenfels look all-world last week. Speaking of Sage Rosenfels, it looks like Matt Schaub will be back, but if he can't go, I do like Sage and don't think it was a fluke. One last quarterback and as of late Monday night, there are rumblings that Kellen Clemens may get the nod as early as this week. If he does, I like him a lot at home against Buffalo. I mentioned Chris Henry of the Titans last week and I'll put him in here again. He looked very good, getting 69 yards and a score and he'll continue to get into the mix. Speaking of Chris Henry, time to grab the other one, the Bengal, if you haven't already. He can come back in Week 9. Other wideouts to look at or grab in deeper leagues? How about Koren Robinson of the Packers or D.J. Hackett of Seattle? Robinson has been reinstated and Hackett quietly made his return on Sunday. Hackett is on a bye this week, so expect him to be much more involved in the offense coming into Week 9, with two more weeks of practice under his belt. There was finally a Mark Clayton sighting in Baltimore. He's another bye-week guy, but hopefully he's now 100 percent healthy and can contribute when the Ravens get back. He had five for 49 on Sunday.
Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- is ESPN's senior 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.