Commentary

The Talented Mr. Roto: New Packers RB to know

Updated: September 19, 2007, 7:27 AM ET
By Matthew Berry | ESPN.com

I am Jewish.

This is relevant because very soon it will be Yom Kippur, one of the Jewish High Holidays.

For the uninitiated, Yom Kippur is also known as the Day of Atonement. The basic idea is that we spend the day in prayer, atoning for our sins of the year.

First thing out of my mouth in temple?

"Hey God? My bad on recommending the Bengals' defense last weekend."

It's actually a lucky break, 'cause, you know, I had led a perfect life this past year and had nothing to atone for until that call.

Dude, could there have been a worse call? I mean, it made sense on paper. Bengals had scored 20 fantasy points in Week 1. And the Browns' new starting quarterback, Derek Anderson, had nine turnovers in his past three games. Cleveland's offense had looked anemic against Pittsburgh the week before.

So it made perfect sense. Until, of course, it turned out to be fantastically, horrifically, amazingly, unbelievably wrong.

Hey, it comes with the territory. I make educated predictions on the future. Sometimes they turn out correct, sometimes … not so much. Luckily, I know my peeps got my back.

Right?

Vinnie (Tampa): WHY DO THEY HAVE YOU WORK THERE GOOD PICK CINNCY DEE !!!!!!YOU ARE AN IDIOT!!!!GREAT PICK JACKASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bill (Durham): Wow, how about that Cinci defense … Oh and I started Jamal Lewis, thanks for making it clear I should do the exact opposite of whatever you say.

The City of Cleveland: Oh, Snap!

TMR: OK, that one made me laugh.

Dr.X: How do you call yourself talented? (I guess you have talent in other places) not fantasy football … two weeks in a row I listen to you and lose. I just watched Jamal Lewis rip off a 61-yard run (OH. DON'T PLAY ANY BROWNS TODAY....) [Here, the TMR is accused of being a hygiene product.] … How can I get your job? You are the talented robo suck [a word that is not related to "Roto"]

Browns Offense (Cleveland): DOUBLE Snap!

TMR: So did that one.

Robert (St. Petersburg, Fla.): Thanks for the Bengals defense tip. Keep up the good work.

TMR: I think Robert was being sarcastic.

Rob (Cary): Nice call on sitting all your Browns and using the Cincy D. The "Talented" Mr. Roto indeed.

TMR: And the one millionth person to make a bad pun using "talented" is …

Ricky Deleandro (Cleveland): Sit all Cleveland Browns huh? That's [why] I have never gone to you for fantasy advice. You really messed up a lot of fantasy teams this week!

TMR: In fairness, the Bengals' defense contributed a bit as well.

Chris (Branford, Conn.): I would like to thank you for suggesting I sit Braylon Edwards and Jamal Lewis … Well, Mr. Berry, please continue to fill the internet with your horrible projections and I will continue to no longer read an article written by you and hit mute whenever you waste pregame coverage. Whatever they are paying you, it's too much … I wonder who is dumber, you for [a word which implies "not good"] predictions, or who ever decided you are an "expert."

TMR: At least he said "please."

Adam (Columbus, Ohio): Your exact words: "Pick a Brown, any Brown: Kellen Winslow, Jamal Lewis and Braylon Edwards all need to be on your bench." Hmm … let's see. In my fantasy league, their point totals went like this: Winslow, 19 points; Lewis, 30 points; and Braylon, 29 points. Wow, you're so talented. I'll give it to you that no one would have predicted the points barrage from the Browns, but you always speak in absolutes and make yourself look like a fool. You act as though you know something that nobody else knows every week, but consistently get proven wrong. Please remove the "Talented" from your so-called nickname. Week after week I have told people how big of a fool you are and week after week you prove me right.

Thanks for bashing my Brownies to a whole new level and falling flat on your face. Sometimes talent is able to get by. You are miserable and I am amazed everyday that ESPN doesn't fire you. You over-analyze everything, which clouds your brain from making rational decisions. You consistently make terrible predictions and decisions. I never listen to your recommendations and, amazingly, I am the back-to-back champ of my league, largely in part to never listening to your B.S. Thank you so much for your insight and I hope you enjoy knowing that just about anyone with any intelligence could do your job much better than you do.

TMR: Without my fans, I am nothing.

I will say that Adam is dead-on in at least one of his statements. He says I speak in absolutes and he is correct. Here's why: Anyone can waver. You don't need a fence-sitter. There are tons of fantasy analysts out there who sit in the safe middle, who don't make bold predictions, who are scared of falling flat on their faces, like I did with the Bengals defense call.

Well, I'd rather go out on a limb and have it break once in a while than wait until three weeks after everyone in your league has picked a player up to suggest him. Or be the kind of guy who says, "He might have a good game" or "If he can stay healthy he'll be good, but I'm concerned about his health." What good does it do to give some sort of caveat? My feeling is always that, when I use the word "if" or "maybe," it doesn't help anyone.

You play the game, you pay attention, you're intelligent … you already know these things. I give strong opinions. I give reasons for those opinions. And then it's up to you to see if they make sense for your team. Be it fantasy sports or anything else in life, no analyst or expert's advice should ever be listened to 100 percent blindly.

And on the plus side, no way I make a prediction as bad as that one the rest of the season. Nowhere to go but up, baby! You'll be able to see all of my predictions, plus a scoring of how I did (as far as I know, I am still the only guy to consistently grade myself on all picks after the fact) when I do my "Love/Hate" column for Week 3 on Thursday.

Working The Wire

Here are some players who have recently seen an increase in value and who are available in a majority of leagues.

DeShawn Wynn, RB, Packers: A funny thing happened on the way to Ahman Green's replacement. Oh, there was a rookie running back all right. And he was good. Especially against the Giants. It just wasn't Brandon Jackson. Wynn is a rookie running back from Florida who not only scored two touchdowns on Sunday, he had 68 total yards on 12 touches. One of the scores was kind of a "right place, right time" run, but still. Three things I know here: He looked better than Jackson; Vernand Morency is still banged up; and the Packers play San Diego next week. Which means Wynn is a good guy to grab for depth, but not to start next week.

James Jones, WR, Packers: Might as well stay in Green Bay. Trendy preseason sleeper Jones continues to get playing time with Greg Jennings unable to stay healthy, and the rookie is making the most of it. Four receptions, 75 yards and he's a nice No. 3 or No. 4 wide receiver.

Jason Campbell, QB, Redskins: Hail to the Redskins. Hail victory. Braves on the warpath. Fight for ol' D.C. The fight song has nothing to do with Campbell, really, and it's still as politically incorrect as the team nickname, but I'm a Washington fan and we're 2-0. Just wanted to take a moment to point that out. Here's another thing I'm pointing out: Campbell looked good on Monday night. In addition to the 209 passing yards and touchdown he threw, he also got 39 rushing yards. And this week? The horrible New York Football Giants defense comes to Washington. He's a very nice fill-in.

Jason Avant, WR, Eagles: I mentioned him in last week's column in the "On the Sideline" section. I wanted to call that section "Below the Mendoza Line," which is what I've always used, but I was overruled. Some people think the football folks reading this won't get the baseball reference. I think all of you are smarter than that, but at least one of my editors thinks all of you are stupid. He doesn't love and respect you the way I do. I hold you in high regard, knowing the fact that you are very charming, attractive and successful does not mean you aren't whip smart as well. But that's me. Anyway, Avant had another good game (five catches, 55 yards) and it's clear that McNabb is looking for him. And oh yeah. The Eagles get Detroit this week.

Shaun McDonald, WR, Lions: Speaking of those high-flying Lions, don't look now but their leading wide receiver is … Shaun McDonald? Yes, he has the most yards through two games, with 13 receptions and 161 yards to lead Detroit. He also has one touchdown and you remember all those three-wide receiver sets we talked about that the Lions were going to use? They're also using four wide. And while McDonald may not have the explosiveness of Roy Williams or the upside of Calvin Johnson or the quiet consistency of Mike Furrey, McDonald has gotten it done in two straight weeks and needs to be owned in a lot more leagues than he is.

From The Obvious Name Department:

Here are some players who have recently seen a spike in value and who are available in some of the shallower leagues out there.

Some eight-team league folks may have dropped LenDale White after the Chris Brown explosion last week but, as the ex-Mrs. Roto used to say, "not so fast, buster." White was the more effective back on Sunday, getting the score and 64 yards on 15 carries. I still like Brown more, but it looks as if both guys will have value.

Owen Daniels is a tight end whom I've been high on for a while, and the injury to Andre Johnson only helps him. With five receptions for 58 yards last week, he's a nice, big dump-off target for Matt Schaub, especially next week when he faces pressure from a better-than-you-think Colts defense. … I mentioned Drew Carter last week after his two-touchdown game but it's worth noting, if he wasn't snatched up, that he had another solid game. Three receptions, 50 yards, and it's clear that Jake Delhomme looks for him whenever Steve Smith has three guys on him.

I wish I had a dollar for every time I mention Brandon Marshall. Especially since I am going to do it one more time. He's good. He should not be available in even the shallowest of leagues. Five receptions and 82 yards Sunday -- he'll be a top-25 wideout before the season is over. … David Garrard had another good game, with 272 yards, a score and 20 rushing yards. He's at Denver, then a bye, then Kansas City before he gets Indy and an improved Houston defense, so the schedule does him no favors at all. But if you're looking for quarterback depth, it's not a fluke. He's going to be solid.

Speaking of quarterbacks in Florida, Jeff Garcia had 243 yards and two scores in Week 2 and he gets the Rams at home in Week 3.

On The Sidelines

Here are some players who have recently seen a spike in value and should be added in deep leagues. Otherwise, just keep an eye on them.

Lost in the hoopla of the crazy Browns-Bengals game was the emergence of Cincinnati wide receiver Glenn Holt. Doing what Chris Henry was supposed to do as the No. 3 guy, Holt had five catches for 52 yards.

I thought Kellen Clemens looked pretty good in the fourth quarter of the Jets' game and would not be surprised at all if he's the full-time starter at some point in the season.

Matt Spaeth is a rookie tight end for the Steelers. He's also 6-7. And he has a touchdown in two straight games. Just saying …

Speaking of rookies, Dwayne Bowe of the Chiefs didn't have great numbers, but made a fantastic catch for a score that got called back because of a penalty. He has skills and will be a factor in the second half.

David Patten was mentioned in this space last week, but I'm bringing him back because of his 66 receiving yards in Week 2. The Saints will get it together.

A few other wide receivers of note? Bobby Engram (and not Nate Burleson) had five catches for 71 yards. … A big reason why David Garrard had a good game was Dennis Northcutt. He had five receptions, 75 yards and, let's face it, it's not as if the Jags have anyone else. … And finally, if I were in a deep league where backup quarterbacks were drafted, one of the guys holding a clipboard but with tons of upside is J.T. O' Sullivan, of Detroit. A Mike Martz offense never does a great job of protecting the quarterback and Sullivan played some last week when Kitna went out. He had 148 yards and a score and if Kitna gets injured (a distinct possibility), O'Sullivan would be very fantasy friendly.

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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