- Matthew Berry, Fantasy
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It's an insane list.
Among the things that Bill Simmons and I have been offered in exchange for spots in our fantasy basketball Man's League for listeners? Twelve different people have pledged to get Bill or Matthew tattoos, four people have offered to name their kids after one or both of us, others have offered food products inspired by us, World Series tickets, very public acts of humiliations, introductions to women, free baby-sitting, details of stories involving famous athletes, chartered planes to Vegas, trips to the Kentucky Derby, cults dedicated to us, blogs devoted to us, movies and plays written in honor of us. There have been pleas from people in Seattle, Tom Brady owners and the disappointed fans of many teams (Cubs, Knicks, Raptors and Timberwolves seem to lead the way). And there are many people who feel I owe them for bad fantasy predictions, like benching Larry Johnson or my Erik Bedard/Jeff Francoeur man-love at the start of baseball. Bill and I taped a very funny "BS Report" going through the best of them on Monday.
Yup, it was an insane list of stuff and I haven't even told you the half of it. And frankly, I expected a lot of it. Bill has a huge following and there's no shortage of folks who feel they know fantasy better than me and would love to prove it.
But that's not the list I was talking about. In among all the other e-mails, there was one that managed to truly shock me.
Chris Summers: So my girlfriend and I were discussing our "lists" the other night. My list encompassed any Victoria's Secret model or girl I went to high school with that shunned me when I was younger. Initially, she said any NFL player, past present and future; I told her that was too much. Eventually she whittled her list down to any actor that makes $20 million a movie, Tom Brady and Matthew Berry. After the bile cleared from my throat I realized this wasn't much of a surprise. The Berry pick, while grotesque, is not a huge surprise. Daily, she speaks of her love for Berry, a love which goes far beyond his erroneous fantasy football projections.
TMR: OK, I have as big an ego as there is, but even I wouldn't put me on the same list as rich and famous movie stars or Tom Brady. I wonder if this bothers Chris. Not for the obvious reasons, but clearly, if she's putting me on her "list," the girl has questionable taste in men. What does this say about Chris?
I remember once meeting an ex-boyfriend of a girl I was dating and being really bummed out because the guy was soooooo ugly. Like, I'm a dude, right? I can't generally tell who is good-looking and who isn't. But even I was like "Man, that guy was hit with the ugly boomerang, you know? So ugly he got hit on the way back, too."
I was so depressed after. And my girlfriend was, like, "What's wrong?" And I told her I mean, "If you think that guy is good-looking, what's that say about me?" And she was, like, "What? He's cute." And I said, "No, seriously, that guy is heinous." I've never thought I was good-looking but I've always thought, you know, kinda-sorta cute, I guess. Anyway, that just depressed me.
Until I realized that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What is attractive to one person isn't the same to another. Whether it's my ex-girlfriend or the lady love of Chris Summers or you, with your fantasy team, the point remains the same. It doesn't matter that I or you think Chris Summers' girl is nuts for putting me on her list. It only matters that she's happy.
Whether it is me or your league mates or other fantasy analysts, the most important thing is that you are happy with your team. Heading into Week 8, you can tweak your team, you can do a massive overhaul or you can stay put. Sometimes the best moves are the ones you don't take. I have a team that's 3-4 right now and I'm not doing a thing. It's the second-highest scoring team in the league and my bad luck with the schedule will probably even out.
So if you are unhappy with your team, I suggest reading Shawn Peters and Christopher Harris for trade-target ideas and rankings for the rest of the season. And if you're just looking to tweak, I have some names for you. It's a fairly light week for new pickups, but Green Bay, Minnesota, Denver and Chicago are on a bye. Which means a lot of fantasy stars on the bench for you, so I suggest you read past columns as well for potential names in addition to this. As always, ownership percentages in ESPN.com standard 10-team leagues (which this column is geared to) are listed in parentheses, and I've held out one pickup to make you click on the video above.
Pickups of the Week:
Deuce McAllister, RB, Saints (77 percent): Reggie Bush having undergone knee surgery means two things: Reggie gets more quality time with Kim K and Deuce gets more quality time with the football. Only one of those makes me ill. A nice matchup this week against a Chargers run defense that has given up almost 500 rushing yards in four road games is a good sign, if Deuce is available in your league.
Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints (14 percent): Not a ton of value but he goes from a No. 3 to a No. 2, you know they trust him somewhat around the goal line and, in a bye week for leagues that play three running backs, he's worth adding for depth. Not like McAllister is the healthiest cat around, you dig?
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Patriots (0 percent): My mom tells me I was dangerously close to being named BenJarvus when I was born. It's a shame they went with the more conventional "Matthew" because BenJarvus is cool. The BJGE, as I call him, is an important handcuff to Sammy Morris now that Laurence Maroney is out for the year. My guess is Morris plays but, with the Rams coming to town (even the resurgent Rams), you have to like Green-Ellis and Kevin Faulk in deeper leagues. And, of course, if anything happens to Morris, I'd rather bet on The BJGE than on LaMont Jordan.
Donnie Avery, WR, Rams (4 percent): Speaking of the resurgent Rams, Avery followed up his four-for-73 game with an impressive four-for-65 and a score. That doesn't include the fact that he had another score called back by penalty and missed by 6 inches on yet another. Patriots just lost Rodney Harrison and regardless, I expect the Rams to be down and throwing in a lot of games.
Cedric Benson, RB, Bengals (18 percent): I hate Cedric Benson. Seriously, I've just never liked him. It is out of my love for you, gentle reader, that I mention him here. Because frankly, I would rather not. But he actually ran strong or, as I like to put it, "Un-Benson like." He's the starter and on the road at Houston, you could do worse. If you'll excuse me, I've just now recommended Cedric Benson. For the second straight week. I must take a "Silkwood" shower now to cleanse myself. I'll probably be curled in a ball, on the floor of the shower, like Elisabeth Shue in "Leaving Las Vegas."
Malcolm Floyd, WR, Chargers (1 percent): He now has a touchdown in two straight games, he's facing the Saints and their 21st-ranked pass defense and so far I've resisted making a bad "Malcolm in the Middle" reference. So, lots to like here. As long as Chris Chambers is out, Floyd has value.
Jets D/ST (60 percent): If you have the Bears, Vikings or Packers on a bye and are looking around, I like the Jets the most as a pickup. They have 31 fantasy points the past three weeks (most came against Arizona, but still) and they're at home to the Chiefs. Kansas City has issues at quarterback, running back and is last in the NFL in scoring. Why do I not see KC getting all inspired "For Herm" in his return? If the Jets are gone, I like the Redskins (54 percent, playing the Lions) and the Panthers (61 percent, playing Arizona). Also, it's worth noting that the 49ers (25 percent) are at home against Seattle and that Seattle has given up at least eight fantasy points to opposing defenses the past three weeks.
Others Receiving Votes:
Here are some guys you should keep an eye on. Nate Washington (2 percent) has a score in two straight games but a brutal upcoming schedule and he's not someone I expect to become a big part of the offense.
It's hard to recommend anyone on the Seahawks these days, especially someone who's in a time split, but Maurice Morris did have a better day than Julius Jones and the 49ers should be a much easier opponent than Tampa Bay.
Bears are on a bye this week, but they get Detroit in Week 9. If you have bench space, you may feel like grabbing and stashing Greg Olsen (74 percent), who has either a touchdown or at least 80 yards in three of his past four games. And if Devin Hester will miss significant time, Marty Booker (2 percent) got a lot of looks in the last game and has two scores in his past four.
Guys I Have Mentioned in Previous Columns Who Are Still Available in Lots of Leagues:
Frankly, these guys should be grabbed before many of the guys I list above. But because I don't want to write about the same names every week, I'll just mention I like Jamaal Charles (4 percent) more than Kolby Smith (2 percent). Antwaan Randle-El (50 percent) gets to face the Lions this week and, in that same game, Kevin Smith (68 percent) very quietly has two scores in his past three weeks.
Guys That I Am OK With You Dropping:
I am not saying you SHOULD drop them, just that if you wanted to, I would be OK with it. There are, in some cases, better options out there. Use your best judgment and then weigh each decision against the upside potential of whom you will be getting in return.
Josh Reed; Patrick Crayton; Chris Perry; anyone on the Titans who isn't LenDale White, Chris Johnson or their defense; any Chief who isn't Dwayne Bowe or Tony Gonzalez; Le'Ron McClain; Ray Rice; Ted Ginn Jr.; Michael Bush; Robert Meachem; Amani Toomer; and Mewelde Moore (just because Willie Parker should be back and the Steelers' upcoming schedule is brutal, but I only drop him as a last resort).
Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- thanks everyone who applied to be in the BS Report Man's League. He appears on Fantasy Football Now, airing Sundays at noon ET on ESPN.com. He is a four-time award winner from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, including a Writer of the Year award. He is also the creator of RotoPass.com, a Web site that combines a bunch of well-known fantasy sites, including ESPN Insider, for one low price. Use promo code ESPN for 10 percent off. Cyberstalk the TMR | Be his Cyberfriend