The Talented Mr. Roto: Getting over AP
Just because it's obvious doesn't mean it isn't true.
I use that from time to time both in this column and in the weekly "Love/Hate" blurbs, and the reason is that, well, just because it's obvious doesn't mean it isn't true. And it doesn't hurt to be reminded of that from time to time. With that in mind, here are 10 truths of fantasy football to help you get through the end of the season.
- Handcuff your stud running backs, and keep handcuffing them as the backups change, especially now that bye weeks are over and you don't need that No. 4 wide receiver anymore.
- Mike Shanahan is out to get you. Yes, you, personally. He just doesn't like you.
- Some weeks, you'll have the second-best score in your league, and lose. There's no use whining about it ... but it sure is fun.
- Some weeks, you'll have the second-worst score in your league, and win. That's OK, but if you brag about it, you're guaranteed a karmic payback, likely during the playoffs. It's just not worth risking it.
- The Patriots fan in your league is probably 9-1 right now. It doesn't mean he's the best drafter, the best trader or the best player. After all, he probably took Laurence Maroney as his running back, too.
- Cedric Benson is terrible. Just terrible. The best use of him if you're stuck with him is to drop him in hopes that you get to play against whomever picks him up.
- Kickers can win your week, kickers can lose your week, but in the end, all that matters is that you can't predict which will be which. And that's why they're contemptible.
- Recent injury aside, I'd rather go with a nice, consistent player like Joseph Addai than with an explosive player like Adrian Peterson. Sunday's throwaway game against the Chargers was the first time all season Addai played and failed to get at least 10 fantasy points and only the second time he fell short of 14 (essentially, 80 yards and a score.) Peterson has had 11 or fewer five times in nine weeks. Explosiveness wins weeks. Consistency wins leagues.
- Nobody's going to be right all of the time. All you can do is make your best guess, and sometimes, a crazy hunch is better than a ream of data. It's your team, my friend, do what you want with it, and don't blame anyone but yourself if you make the wrong decisions. That way, if you win, you can take all the credit, too.
- I hate Norv Turner. Just sayin'.
Quickly, before we get to this week's pickups ... as you may or may not know already, we here at the Worldwide Leader are joining the social networking game with our new ESPN Fan Profiles (beta!). You can put up your own blog, pictures, declare your allegiances and, best of all, you can be my cyber friend by clicking here.
To the waiver wire we go, where you'll find more examples that just because it's obvious...
Here are some players who have recently seen a spike in value and who are available in many ESPN.com standard leagues.
Chester Taylor, RB, Vikings: It's as true today as it was in my grandfather's day. When the guy sharing the job with you runs for almost 300 yards in a game, everyone drops you. Then, when that guy gets injured, everyone runs to pick you back up. As well they should. Taylor is a talented running back with a very good offensive line running on a team that can't throw. And you might have heard the other guy got hurt.
Maurice Morris, RB, Seahawks: Another repeat name. Just making sure you saw the Monday night game when Alexander didn't play (just like every other game) and Morris got a touchdown.
D.J. Hackett, WR, Seahawks: Another repeat name. Just making sure you saw the Monday Night game where Branch didn't play and Hackett got a touchdown.
Chris Henry, WR, Bengals: Four receptions for 99 yards in his return. Nine touchdowns in 13 games last season. The Bengals are behind a lot and will be throwing a lot. Pick a reason.
Kellen Clemens, QB, Jets: He looked good just before going on a bye, and it's also fair to say that the Jets will be behind. A lot.
Mark Clayton, WR, Ravens: I've always loved his skills and he really came on toward the end of last season. Never could seem to get healthy this year until this past Sunday, when he finally showed up. I expect him to be solid the rest of the way.
Here are some players who have seen a spike in value and are available in more shallow leagues or leagues in which you play with morons.
Ryan Grant, RB, Packers: In the past month, he has shown up in this column week after week, but he's still available in more than 50 percent of ESPN.com standard leagues. There are those who don't believe, but after his most recent performance, my guess is there are a lot fewer. In his past three games (since becoming the main guy for Green Bay) Grant is fifth in the NFL in total yards among running backs.
Todd Heap, TE, Ravens: A big name, and many folks got sick of waiting on him. And with the depth at tight end this year, about one in 10 of his owners dropped him. Well, he's finally back, looks healthy and has a better skill set than most of the tight ends out there.
Selvin Young, RB, Broncos: If I had a dollar for every time I've specifically talked about Selvin Young or the fact that you don't trust Mike Shanahan or that no matter where they were drafted or where they are on Denver's make-believe depth chart, a Broncos running back has value ... well, dinner would be on me.
Warrick Dunn, RB, Falcons: I am on record as saying I am not a believer in the current resurgence. But I would be remiss in my duties if I didn't point out the guy has had two consecutive very good fantasy days, and there's no guarantee that Jerious Norwood is back this Sunday.
Marc Bulger, QB, Rams: Look, I said it was the obvious names section. I was able to pick him up and start him in a few leagues this past weekend, and he now has more than 300 passing yards in back-to-back games, sandwiched around a bye. There's a one in five chance that he is available in your ESPN.com standard league. Do yourself a favor and find out if he's available in yours.
Here are some players who don't have value except in deeper leagues, but you should keep an eye on them.
Craphonso Thorpe and Aaron Moorehead, WRs, Colts: Neither guy looked that good, but then again, neither did Peyton Manning. With Harrison's return still very questionable, wideouts on the Colts are worth knowing about.
Koren Robinson, WR, Packers: For those of you playing in obscure-Packers-wide-receivers leagues, I like Koren's upside here more than Ruvell Martin's, even with the two touchdown grabs for the latter against Minnesota. Yeah, there, I said it!
Rex Grossman, QB, Bears: Not convinced he gets the job full time and not convinced you want him if he does, but for a brief moment in time last season, he was a terrific fantasy quarterback. For now, he's worth keeping on the radar.
L.J. Smith, TE, Eagles: Everything I said about Todd Heap, just a little less so.
Zach Miller, TE, Raiders: Not that anyone did anything for Oakland, but he was the best of a bad lot in the passing game.
Justin Gage, WR, Titans: His biggest problem, of course, is that Vince Young is throwing to him (or, at the very least, to his general vicinity). But he did have seven receptions for 90 yards and a score 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.