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The Talented Mr. Roto: Pickups of all kinds

Much has been made in these pages of my dating life and the nuttiness it entails, so it probably comes as no shock to many when I tell you I hooked up with a dude this summer.

Got your attention now, didn't I? That was what we in the business call a "grabber." It's also what we in the business refer to as "not exactly true."

It actually happened this summer, after the karaoke girl fiasco, and I've been sitting on it for a while. I like writing about my life and if the mailbag is any indication, my love life is by far the most popular aspect of it, in the same way that Adam Sandler movies are also very popular.

So here's what happened. This summer I was in both Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Went out a lot. One particular night I meet a bunch of friends for dinner and at the dinner is a cute blonde. She's actually heard of me and seems sort of impressed, so we're off to a good start.

Talk to her a bit and, despite the fact that she's heard of me and is impressed, she's actually bright. She's also fun, cool, laid-back, all the things you're hoping for. The group then goes to a party.

We're all at the party, having fun, listening to music, dancing, whatever. I'm flirting, she's flirting, it's all good. Time to leave and I offer to give her a ride to wherever she's going. She accepts.

We leave. I invite her back to my hotel for a drink, because I'm smooth like that. And I have no etchings. She accepts.

We go back to the hotel where the hotel bar is closed. In fact, it's looking like we're at the time of night where every bar is closed. Or, as it is known here in Connecticut, 9 p.m.

I say to her we have three options.

  1. We go find a 24-hour diner type place. She says no, what else?

  2. I drive her back.

  3. We go up to my room and see what's in the minibar. Because I'm smooth like that.

Happily, she decides to go up to the room with me, we open the minibar, we partake, and, because I never go anywhere without my trusty console, I challenge her to a game of video football. She's into it. Like I said, cool chick.

OK, so we're having fun and at this point in time, she's actually having more fun playing the game than I am. Which is great. I am nothing if not a gracious host. She scores the first touchdown and it's halftime. And she gets up to leave.

And I was like … what? Wait a minute! We haven't finished the game! You can't just play offense and leave with a lead! Don't I get a chance to score? She didn't care.

And then I realized, it was a total dude move. I had just played Madden with a dude. In a mini dress and with a devilish grin, but a dude.

Clearly, I was payback for something else.

Now, here's the question I want to ask you, because I was upset. And my friends are split down the middle here. Like, on one hand, hey, no one, especially a woman, should ever feel like they have to do something they don't want to or are uncomfortable with. She didn't want to finish the game, no worries. Get that, agree with that, fully support it. But, as my friend Greg pointed out to me, I am obsessed with fairness.

I see many things in black-and-white, I demand a lot from myself and others, I get very upset when I perceive I have been treated unfairly or someone else has been treated this way. No idea why, just one of my issues. Probably my biggest issue, actually.

So, assume you are me, obsessed with fairness, what's good for the goose is good for the gander, yin needs to go with yang, all of that. So here's my question:

If the goose is good with her Madden score, does she get to leave before the gander gets his shot at the end zone? I say no, once you've started the game, you have to finish. Some of my friends disagreed and thought I was wrong for being upset. You tell me.

And with that story of a pickup game that didn't go the way I wanted it to, we get to this week's pickups. Hopefully, there'll be plenty of touchdowns to go around.

Working the Wire

Not a lot here this week because of the playoffs and Week 16. But, if you don't need anyone, be sure to see who your opponent in the finals might need. And then you can pick that guy up. A good defense is a good offense in fantasy football as well. So, here are some players who have seen a spike in value and might be available in your league.

Dominic Rhodes and LaMont Jordan, RBs, Raiders: The Raiders haven't announced who will be replacing Justin Fargas as the starter. I think it should be Jordan but my guess is they go with Rhodes. Whoever it is might be a decent start this week against a Jacksonville team without Marcus Stroud. The Raiders have been very effective running the ball this year.

Shaun Hill, QB, 49ers: Obviously a great game against the Bengals. And while I want no part of him this week against the Buccaneers, he plays at Cleveland in Week 17. Weather is a concern, but that's as good a matchup as you could ask for.

Cleo Lemon, QB, Dolphins: Speaking of quarterbacks who had big games last week who have favorable matchups with Ohio-based teams in Week 17, guess who has a date with the Bengals? And know what? Even if the Bengals are up at halftime, they'll still finish the game. Because it's the right thing to do. Just sayin'.

Michael Turner or Darren Sproles, RB, Chargers: If the Chargers clinch home field and decide to rest Tomlinson, one of these guys will get the start in Week 17 against the Raiders and that terrible run defense.

And now, the names I teased in this week's TRUM:

David Patten, WR, Saints: Patten now has 193 yards and two touchdowns in his past two games (or, since Reggie Bush went down) and gets Philadelphia at home next week.

Devin Hester, WR, Bears: Now has nine receptions in his past two games. They are clearly trying to get him the ball and the Bears get the Saints' terrible pass defense in Week 17.

Jerious Norwood, RB, Falcons: He has 25 fantasy points over his past three games and had 73 yards on just nine attempts against a very good Tampa Bay defense. He gets Arizona next week and if I were in a deep league and needed to gamble, I'd probably roll the dice with him.

Nate Ravitz's Instant Replay from Monday makes good points about Sinorice Moss and Troy Smith, so I would check them out as well.

That's all I got kids. Good luck, if you are still reading this for the pickups. And remember, 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