- Matthew Berry, Fantasy
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I get e-mail.
Sometimes it's happy
Ivan (Chicago, Ill.): After losing a close one because I didn't start [Tyler] Thigpen despite your advocacy of him in Week 11, I decided to trust you much more this past week, especially on Lance Moore. Thank you for your sound advice.
Barry T., (Ottawa, Canada): Comment: Your intuition that Brandon Jacobs would sit was pure genius, even the Cardinals were not prepared for this development and have filed a complaint with the NFL. I should have listened and put [Anthony] Gonzalez in my lineup instead. Therefore I lost my game and my playoff hopes; all a fitting reward for disregarding your usually great advice.
Sometimes it's not
John (Shady Shores, Tex.): TMR, This is the worst Love/Hate week that I've seen yet. Proves that the monkeys and dartboard scenario would have beat your analysis three to one. Time for you to have a bye week.
Jason (Manhattan, N.Y.): The Chiefs D you put in your "love" spot, did you think they would do better then minus 20, because minus 10 is not "love" in my book. Great call, you are like a weather man you are totally wrong 9 of 10 times, but the one time you are right you are called an "expert." One more thing: Great call with the Jets too. Thomas Jones 16 points is pretty good in my book. For an expert, you are a moron!
Sometimes, it looks like it will be angry and then turns into a nice, very reasonable e-mail
Danny (San Diego, Calif.): HAH! Philip Rivers strikes again! You had to be at least a little bit impressed with what he did last night against a defense that's built to prevent exactly the kind of performance he had last night. No? STILL not impressed? Well that's OK. But you at least have to acknowledge his prospects for the rest of the season. He is the No. 1-rated passer in the league and he gets the Raiders and Chiefs in the fantasy playoffs (14-15) and Denver in Week 17. You gotta like his chances to finish the year as the NFL's highest rated passer, a well as its TD leader. My displaced frustration stems from the fact that the Chargers will be drafting in the top 10 come draft day, I love everything that you write for ESPN (as well as the podcast) and want to thank you for all the excellent advice I've gotten from you over the past couple years. I'm 9-3 and basically have a bye locked up in my primary league, and I couldn't have gotten there without you. So on behalf of the entire Charger Nation, we forgive you for not believing in Philip Rivers. I just can't wait for when some Rivers-led team knocks a TMR team out of the playoffs in the first round.
Sometimes I get to leave Bristol and go out and about
John L. (Boston, Mass.): You wadded up a paper towel and chucked it at the trash can, unfortunately you missed and then had the wonderful experience of knowing what it is like to be heckled by drunken Patriots fans in the bathroom
Dave (NYC): Spotted: You and two hot girls, walking to your seats (approx 5 rows up behind the announcers) at the Garden last night towards the first half of the Duke game Right?
Sometimes they still bring up the
famous texting story
Charlie (Mechanicsville, Penn.): Love the column. So much in fact that once I texted a girl while I was drunk with the famous words: "Lincoln freed the slaves." She's not a reader and didn't think it was as funny as my friends and I thought it was.
Josh (Lubbock, Tex.): Matt! I once texted my girlfriend "George Washington had wooden teeth." I'm not sure why, but it got her off my back for a while. I have your columns to thank for this awesome solution to the nagging girlfriend!
Marc (Wilmington, N.C.): I need to share the dumbest text ever with you. My buddy was interested in a cute girl and they were texting back and forth for a day or two. As it turns out, she actually asked him out to dinner. He had to work that night, and while trying to say "That'd be cool, but I have to work" he mis-texted and typed "that'd be cool, but i gay" and while trying to delete it, he hit the send button. Needless to say, they never made it out on a date.
And sometimes I don't have a category for the e-mail
Chris (Roxbury): Matt, I suggest a "Name the island of hair on Matthew Berry's head" contest.
David(Greensboro, N.C.): You are lucky to have an awesome job. Don't want to get nosy, but how much do you guys make?
But mostly they save me from writing an open when I'm stuck.
As always, I've saved one of my pickups of the week for the video, just to make you watch it. If I've gotta put on makeup and a tie, the least you can do is click on my face.
Pickups of the Week
At this point in the season, there's not a lot that's new out there. So I've got a few new names for you, but generally, it's a list of folks I have mentioned before, and it's a just a matter of your team needs and who is still available in your league. Ownership percentages in ESPN 10-team standard leagues are listed in parentheses.
Jerome Harrison, RB, Browns (3 percent): Followed up his 101 total yards and a score with getting just three fewer carries than Jamal Lewis last week. Now, a lot of those 101 yards came on one play and he didn't do much against Houston (31 yards on seven carries), but he does have a lot of speed, a team that is looking toward next year and the Colts on Sunday. Plus, the Browns get the Bengals in Week 16 if you're looking ahead to the playoffs in deeper leagues and have room to stash him. He's really just a skilled guy I like who seems to be getting more involved in the offense.
Davone Bess, WR, Dolphins (1 percent): Sure, he spells his name weird. But he has eight receptions for 137 yards in his past two games and now Greg Camarillo is lost for the year. Then you look at Miami's upcoming schedule: at St. Louis, at Buffalo, San Francisco, at Kansas City, at the Jets. Not a tough pass defense among them and some great matchups. In fact, it's worth noting here that Chad Pennington (82 percent) and Ted Ginn Jr. (64 percent) are available in a lot of leagues, as well.
Leon Washington, RB, Jets (57 percent): Want to read a wacky list? LaDainian Tomlinson, Joseph Addai, Chris Johnson. Leon Washington now has seven touchdowns on the year. That's more than LT, Addai or Johnson, and the same number as Clinton Portis, Frank Gore and Steve Slaton, among others. They play Denver at home this week. Just saying. But don't just take my word for it. Check out what Leon has to say about his fantasy value by clicking on the second video above.
Domenik Hixon, WR, Giants (4 percent): If Plaxico Burress will miss time, remember that we like Hixon, OK? Six for 57 last week and four for 102 and a score against Seattle when Plax was suspended earlier this season. I like him more than Steve Smith (21 percent) or Amani Toomer (34 percent) but all of them see an uptick in value if Plax misses time.
Lorenzo Booker, RB, Eagles (0 percent): With Correll Buckhalter injured and Brian Westbrook still having Brian Westbrook's knees and ribs, there's a chance Booker could be starting this week, or in Week 15 when the Eagles play Cleveland. A good chance he ends up having no value whatsoever, but if you're looking for a lottery ticket, Booker could very easily be it.
Jerramy Stevens, TE, Buccaneers (12 percent): Chances are you can do better at tight end, but in case you are scrambling, Stevens now has eight fantasy points in back-to-back weeks. The Bucs have only 12 touchdown passes all season, but six of them have gone to tight ends. And if Alex Smith misses more time (he could potentially return this week), that helps Stevens, especially against the Saints.
Fred Jackson, RB, Bills (15 percent): Another very deep-league play here, Jackson has double-digit touches in five of his past six games and at least 60 total yards in his past two. The 49ers and Dolphins are his next two games.
Chris Henry, RB, Titans (0 percent): I feel like I am writing this a lot, but here's another shot in the dark. With LenDale White pouting on the bench and saying he'll take his fat and go home unless he gets to play, I could see Jeff Fisher telling White to sit there and shut up while Henry gets some work on one of the better rushing offenses in the league. Now, White and Fisher say they have made up, but we will see.
Harry Douglas, WR, Falcons (0 percent): I want to see it again, but he does have very nice skills and tons of speed, and he did have a huge game against the Panthers. Worth keeping an eye on because the Falcons have a decent upcoming schedule and, if for no other reason, he has two first names.
Guys I have mentioned before who are available in way too many leagues:
Quarterbacks: Matt Cassel (78 percent), Tyler Thigpen (67 percent), Joe Flacco (43 percent). Kerry Collins (37 percent) will be a solid play this Thanksgiving against Detroit, and as long as you don't have to actually watch him, Shaun Hill (25 percent) will put up solid numbers. Finally, I may be the only one, but I still believe Kyle Orton (80 percent) returns to early-season form.
Running backs: Peyton Hillis (48 percent), Pierre Thomas (36 percent, but don't go nuts. Reggie Bush is due back next week), Warrick Dunn (84 percent), Darren McFadden (80 percent), Justin Fargas (63 percent), Derrick Ward (71 percent), Sammy Morris (71 percent), Mewelde Moore (85 percent), Maurice Morris (16 percent), Selvin Young (37 percent) might be back this week, and if you are looking for a true Hail Mary, desperation play, shot in the dark Julius Jones (82 percent) didn't get much work against the Redskins so he's fresher, the Seahawks have a short week and the game is against his former team, for extra motivation.
Wide receivers: Justin Gage (41 percent), Kevin Walter (77 percent), Lance Moore (83 percent), Anthony Gonzalez (63 percent and a great upcoming schedule), Devin Hester (41 percent), Steve Breaston (67 percent) and Jabar Gaffney (9 percent, but they play the Steelers, so buy now, but play later).
Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- reads every e-mail but doesn't respond to most. 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
Matthew Berry sifts through his mailbag before recommending some Week 13 pickups.