Commentary

The Talented Mr. Roto: Picking up Samkon, Darius and Ivanka

Updated: December 11, 2007, 6:33 PM ET
By Matthew Berry | ESPN.com

I'm in.

I'm not going to lie. I was on the fence for the celebrity edition of "The Apprentice."

Because like any reality show with "celebrities," it's a very loose interpretation of the word. I have often said my goal is to become well-known enough to get on "The Surreal Life." Or some bad dating show like "Rock of Love." ("Roto of Love?" "TMR of Love?" "Who wants to be the Future Ex-Mrs. Roto?").

And if all else fails, I intend to keep eating enough Rice Krispies Treats and chicken fingers to get on Celebrity Fit Club. Me and Big Fat Bartolo Colon. Now that's must-see television.

I actually really like "The Apprentice," so for me it boiled down to who the celebs were. Did I care? Here's the list.

  • Trace Adkins is a country music star, supposedly. I say supposedly because the only thing I know about country music is that Carrie Underwood is hot. And by hot, I mean her career's on fire. And she's really attractive. Much more so than when she was on "American Idol." She got famous and babed up. Anyway, as you can tell from the fact that I'd rather talk about Carrie, I don't care at all about Trace. 0 for 1.

  • Carol Alt is a supermodel who was in "Private Parts." Sold. 1 for 2.

    Stephen Baldwin is not the lamest Baldwin brother and, true story, I was actually attached to do a reality show pilot with him at one point, back when I was still in show business. He's very funny, charming and only slightly crazy. 2 for 3.

  • Nadia Comaneci was a great Olympic champion who I could not care less about. 2 for 4.

  • Tiffany Fallon according to NBC.com, was named Playboy's Playmate of the Year for 2005. She is married to Joe Don Rooney from the chart-topping country band, Rascal Flatts. She holds a sports marketing degree from Florida State University. (Pause) You know, I wasn't sold until I heard about the sports marketing degree. 3 for 5.

  • Jennie Finch once had a contract that forced her to dance next to me in a commercial and she didn't grimace once. She's a great person. Or a great actress. 4 for 6.

  • Nely Galan is the former president of the powerhouse Telemundo network, and this is the biggest stretch of the "celebrity" term. She's a fantastic businesswoman but I'm fairly certain she can walk down Broadway without being mobbed, no? 4 for 7.M.

  • Marilu Henner is someone who I have never met but strikes me as a very cool chick. She's on that short list of women who will always be crazy attractive no matter what their age, including Racquel Welch, Ann-Margaret and Bea Arthur. Or is that last one just me? 5 for 8.

  • Lennox Lewis ... just when you think the sport of boxing can't get any lower. 5 for 9.

  • Omarosa is from the first season of The Apprentice, and she's so crazy, I'm amazed I haven't dated her. Say this for her though: you hear her just her one name and you know exactly who we are talking about. Just like Tiger, Madonna and Bea. Or is that last one just me? 6 for 10.

  • Piers Morgan is currently a judge on a NBC show that I don't watch, and I've never heard of him. Apparently he's British and boring, although you could argue that's redundant. 6 for 11.

  • Tito Ortiz is an Ultimate Fighting Champion. On the off chance he decides to beat up Omarosa, I'll accept this. 7 for 12.

  • Vincent Pastore. With the exception of the guy who played Artie the chef or the girl who played Janice, pretty much anyone from "The Sopranos" would be more interesting here. None of them would do this show, of course, because once you do "The Sopranos," you're classy and don't need to do reality fare like this. Except, evidently, for Pastore. Pass. 7 for 13.

  • Gene Simmons is already in a reality series that I don't watch. Enough already. 7 for 14.

    So there I was, on the fence, and then I remembered that Ivanka Trump, who is smart, beautiful and rich (the exact opposite of me) is on the show. I'm in. I love Ivanka Trump. If there is anybody who knows her who reads this, please ask her if she'd like to go out with a low-rated, basic cable personality.

    Speaking of trying to pick people up, here's this week's free-agent list.

    Working the Wire

    Here's some players who have recently seen a rise in value and who may be available in your league.

    Samkon Gado, RB, Dolphins: It's not an NFL season without the phrase "time to pick-up Samkon Gado." You saw the two-touchdown game on Sunday and, although he plays Baltimore next, all is not lost. The Ravens have given up five rushing touchdowns in their past four games. Gado's still available in pretty much every ESPN.com standard league.

    Darius Walker, RB, Texans: When Ron Dayne went down, Gary Kubiak turned to Ahman Green. And then went "Oh, right. We just put you on the IR. Nevermind." So he gave the rock to the undrafted rookie from Notre Dame, and 22 touches and 81 yards later against a tough Buccaneers defense, you're looking at the probable starting running back for Houston on Thursday night against the Broncos. The same Broncos who, despite Kolby Smith laying an egg worse than me hitting on Ivanka Trump, is terrible against the run.

    Aaron Stecker, RB, Saints: Well, you saw him Monday night. He had 107 total yards and that's a pretty fair representation of what you get with Stecker. Not a ton of upside, but he's solid and can give you between 80 and 100 total yards every week. He gets Arizona next, which means he's a decent flex play in 12-team leagues.

    Jabar Gaffney, WR, Patriots: Has a touchdown in three straight games. Patriots might get to triple-digits against the Jets, and I'm not sure if I'm actually kidding. Gaffney is a potential No. 3 wideout in 12-team leagues.

    Reggie Williams, WR, Jaguars: Like his quarterback, I keep writing about him and yet he is still available in 65 percent of ESPN.com standard leagues. He has a touchdown in four of his past six games.

    Arnaz Battle, WR, 49ers: Another guy with touchdowns in three straight games. And he plays the Bengals on Saturday night. They've given up 24 passing touchdowns this year. Which is a lot.

    From The Obvious Name Department

    Here are some players who have seen an increase in value and might be available in more shallow leagues or leagues in which you play with idiots.

    Selvin Young, RB, Broncos: In case someone was dumb enough to drop him when Travis Henry came back. He's the running back you want the rest of the way for Denver. If only I hadn't been saying that every day for the past four months.

    Vikings Defense/Special Teams: Minnesota has returned six interceptions for touchdowns, best in the NFL. They are at home on Monday night and get Kyle Orton, who has 13 career interceptions in 15 career games. Just saying.

    Jerricho Cotchery, WR, Jets: Yeah, about that whole out-for-the-year thing ... thanks, ManGenius. Anyways, if someone dumped him because they, too, were fooled by the Jets' sneaky injury ploys, go get him. He's available in 17 percent of ESPN.com standard leagues, so some folks might have been fooled and he could certainly get some junk-time stats against the Patriots. And the Titans and Chiefs to close out the season aren't bad situations, either.

    Jerious Norwood, RB, Falcons: This is what I wrote last week about Norwood:

    " Free Jerious! I wrote that yesterday. Seriously, I should run a bunch of links to past articles and call it a day. Anyway, he's the best running back they have, Petrino says Dunn is the guy, blah blah blah. Same dance, but one of these days ... Sunday was a nice game and if you have the roster space, it's certainly a worthwhile gamble that Petrino realizes he's not going anywhere this year and his future is not with Dunn."

    One week later and Norwood wasn't terrific, but he was a lot better than Dunn. Again. Eight touches for 78 total yards and, although I'm not crazy about him against Tampa Bay, he does get Arizona in Week 16.

    Chris Redman, QB, Falcons: Another one from last week, here's what I wrote about him:

    " I like him. Always have. OK, that's not true. But I did point out at the start of the season when the whole Vick thing went down that Redman had played under Bobby Petrino (when he was the O-coordinator at Louisville) and, you know, was good in college. Anyway, he looked solid last week and he might get the start this week. If he does, he'll play the Saints on "Monday Night Football," as seen on ESPN and ESPNHD. What can I say, I'm a company man. New Orleans is 28th in the NFL against the pass and I like him."

    Well, with Week 14 in the books, I can tell you that Redman looked pretty good and, more importantly, he was the eighth-best fantasy quarterback. Same deal here as with Norwood: don't like him Sunday, do like him against the Cardinals in Week 16.

    Standing on the Sidelines

    Here are some players who have recently seen a spike in value and who you should keep an eye on or pick up in really deep leagues.

    Derek Hagan, WR, Dolphins: I want to see it again, but he did have eight receptions for 93 yards and gets the Bengals in Week 17.

    Nate Burleson, WR, Seahawks: I've been burned before too, so you touch him at your own risk here, but he does have three touchdowns in his past four games.

    Jerheme Urban, WR, Cardinals: Hey, weren't you supposed to be Bryant Johnson? Anyways, Urban had six receptions for 123 yards and a score and plays the Saints, Falcons and Rams the next three weeks. If Boldin continues to be out, Urban could be a nice little player down the stretch.

    Devin Hester, WR, Bears: Lost in the whole Rex-and-Campbell-are-out-for-the-season reaction from last Thursday's game is the fact that Hester caught five balls for 67 yards. Now, I'm not all that confident in Kyle Orton getting the ball to him a lot, but they do play the Vikings. If they are going to target Hester that much, he needs to be on your radar.

    That's all I got kids. You can be my cyberfriend here: myespn.go.com/Matthew Berry.

    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.

    Cyberstalk the TMR

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