TRUM: A tale of two headlines

August, 10, 2007
Thoughts, Ramblings, Useless information and Musings for Thursday, Aug. 9, 2007

I'm debating how to lead this TRUM. My two options are that I got my own show, and that I'm killing the TRUM.

Got your attention now, didn't I? Those are what we in the business call "grabbers!" They're also what we in the business call "not exactly true."

It's been a crazy week, and I've been sitting on this for three days now. I know folks are always like, "Really? How long could it take to talk about a few players?" Well the problem is it adds up. Between the two podcasts, "First Take," the "Fantasy Focus" video show, the weekly newsletter, the ESPN The Magazine column, two ESPNEWS hits a week and then a bunch of stuff I'm taping … it's a lot. Every time I appear somewhere, there's research and writing involved, then makeup for TV (lots of makeup), then the actual taping of the segment.

I'm not complaining, I've got an amazing job, but I produce a ton of content every day and, well, it takes time. Combine that with the executive stuff I do in terms of our fantasy business and … here we are, two days later, but still with the same two headlines. I got my own show, and I'm killing the TRUM.

Let's start with the first headline. So, no, I don't have "my own show." But I am part of a brand new one. ESPNEWS Fantasy Insider will debut Sunday morning. Hosted by Merril Hoge, with myself and Howie Schwab (of "Stump the Schwab" fame), we'll be talking all things fantasy, every Sunday at 11 a.m. ET on ESPNEWS.

So that's pretty cool, and I am sure all the other fantasy faces you know will be popping in from time to time, as well. I'm excited because, well … dude, it's a fantasy show. Come on! With a good time slot this time. Perfect for the NFL season, but we'll be dealing with all sports, not just football.

And by the way, Schwab is a huge fantasy player himself. I was in a league with him last year, and he's intense. So, you know, that'll be fun. Arguing with a guy who has encyclopedic knowledge of all sports. Good thing I'm funny!

We move to headline No. 2, and let me just nip that right in the bud: This is not the last TRUM … but the TRUM's days are numbered. Now, I'm thinking my blog will live on in some form. Just not as a written blog. There are a few reasons why:

• I don't think I do it justice. I don't have the time to truly do it the way I want to. I feel both the quality and consistency have suffered, and that means I either need to fix it or stop doing it. Fixing it isn't an option given all the other things I have to do.

• Without getting into why … It isn't fun to do anymore.

• It's confusing. Longtime readers get it, but there are many more ESPN folks for whom I am brand-new, and to them, it's like, "What are you? TMR? TRUM? That annoying guy?" Too many brands, if you will, and I'm sick of people sending me e-mails and chat questions referring to me as "TRUM."

I will continue writing, don't get me wrong. Just changing the column name to "The Talented Mr. Roto." We no longer need the "TRUM" nickname, and I'll probably move from a daily-ish blog to more of a weekly column. Maybe two a week. We'll see. I'll let you know when the end is closer. Probably end of this week or next.

OK. Enough about me. Let's talk a little football. From now until the start of the NFL season, I'll do something I call "Player Tracker," which looks at guys whose value is rising and falling.

Player Tracker: Rising

Santonio Homes, WR, Steelers: With a touchdown in his first preseason game, Holmes continues his impressive run from last season. Last year, over the final four games, only seven wide receivers had more yards than Holmes.

Brandon Jacobs, RB, Giants: Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said on the Giants official site that, right now, the plan is to give Jacobs 20-25 carries a game and that Ruben Droughns is the backup. If Jacobs is going to get that much work, he becomes a clear second-round pick. He's currently going in the late third round according to our live draft results.

Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers: According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Davis is looking "virtually unstoppable" in practice. I keep saying it: Tight end is really deep this year, and this just one more example of why.

Player Tracker: Falling:

Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs: Jeremy Green of Scouts Inc. said Thursday on his "Football Today" podcast that he truly thinks LJ will sit out. Meanwhile, the Chiefs lost another guy from their O-line as Damion McIntosh is now out 4-6 weeks. The guy replacing him at left tackle (Will Svitek) has played in one NFL game. All of it adds up to "not good," so my labeling LJ a bust in ESPN The Magazine last month is looking pretty good.

Tatum Bell and Kevin Jones, RBs, Lions: Tatum, dude, why are you calling out Kevin Jones? And KJ, why are you jawing back? Both of you have been huge disappointments. It's like when Paris was angry at Nicole for making a joke about her "extracurricular activities." It's like … are you guys really serious here? Anyway, neither guy is any good, and adding the element of a media sideshow to this "battle" can't help.

Willie Parker, RB, Steelers: I'm not that worried yet, but you never like to hear that a running back is missing the first preseason game due to inflammation of the knee.

Let's finish things off with a little bit of baseball.

Just saying …

… That NL-only leagues will want to jump all over Rick Ankiel, just promoted by the Cardinals. Yes, that Rick Ankiel, and in case you hadn't heard, he's a hitter now. And a good one. Seriously. In Triple-A this year he hit 32 home runs and had 89 RBIs in 385 at-bats. He also struck out 88 times, so he's not for the batting-average sensitive. He can, however, hit for power, and he will get a shot to play since the Cardinals can't send him back down (they are out of options). And, oh yeah, he went yard on Thursday.

… That Matt Cain now has three straight quality starts after his six-inning, no-earned-runs game against Washington on Wednesday night. He gets the Pirates next.

… That after going deep twice on Wednesday, Robinson Cano has five home runs in his last nine games.

… That Jermaine Dye now has homered in four of his past six games and is 10-for-24 in that span.

… That Brad Wilkerson has two home runs in his past three games, eight since July 1 and is hitting .417 in August. He's also available in a ton of mixed leagues.

… That I'm not worried about Pedro Martinez getting rocked in his rehab start. He felt good, he threw a lot of pitches for strikes (43 of 66) and his control was there.

… That I'm really not worried about Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo's horrific outing at Coors. It was Coors. In fact, if some owner is freaking out about that and the rumors he might get pulled from the rotation (he won't), go get him. It's your opportunity to buy low.

… That I'm glad to see James Shields show up again. Seven innings, one earned run, nine strikeouts. Man, he needed that. Of course, I didn't have the guts to start him on the road at Detroit, but still. Rather have him back than have been right to bench him.

… That I'd pick up Norris Hopper if I needed cheap speed and missed out on Eric Patterson of the Cubs. Ryan Freel is done for the year and Hopper will get some time in the outfield.

… That very quietly, Lance Berkman is on pace for 29 home runs and 103 RBIs.

… That Ryan Spilborghs, mentioned here before, is 14-for-his-past-34 (.412) with four home runs and 12 RBIs.

Cyberstalk the TMR

Matthew Berry | email

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



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