TRUM: Sure, now Marvin Harrison shows up

October, 12, 2008
Thoughts, Ramblings, Useless information and Musings from Sunday's games

It's a sinking feeling.

In the pit of your stomach, you're like "Oh no." Like when you are speeding and you pass a hidden cop. Like that moment before the cop turns on his lights and pulls out, but you know you're toast. Like that moment you had as a kid when you think you are home alone and are doing something wrong, and your mom comes home early. Like that moment when you know something is horribly wrong, and no one else knows it yet. But they soon will. It's kinda like being in a small elevator with a bunch of people right after a spicy lunch. Yah!

Having listed and talking about Marvin Harrison as a "sit" on "Sunday Countdown," I walked into the NFL game center at ESPN we call the "War Room" to watch the day's games -- and I see Harrison go 67 yards for a score. Yah!

I had that feeling most of the day. My Redskins losing at home to the Rams in a terrible loss continues to eat away at me. I had Joseph Addai and Fred Taylor starting on different teams; both left their games early having done nothing.

Some amazing football games played today but not a ton that was fascinating from a fantasy perspective. Nevertheless, here are the top 10 things I noticed today.

1. Not Dunn Yet

Warrick DunnFernando Medina/US PresswireLike it or not, Warrick Dunn is a big part of the Bucs' running game.
For the second straight week, Warrick Dunn had more carries and more rushing yards than Earnest Graham. Graham got the goal-line carry, at least, and did have 47 yards receiving, but five carries for 11 yards is reason for concern. Now, a couple of things here. Bucs fullback B.J. Askew left because of a hamstring injury, so they shifted Graham to fullback because they had no one else. Plus, the Bucs play Seattle next week and Kansas City in Week 9, so better times are ahead. Still, Dunn ran effectively and is still available in 52 percent of leagues.

2. Rising from the dead in time for Halloween

Welcome back to fantasy relevance, Thomas Jones, Marvin Harrison (sigh) and Calvin Johnson (four catches for 85 yards and a score). I believe all three performances were more a result of favorable matchups, but it was nice to see anyway. If you get a solid offer for any of them, consider it.

3. Time to play the "Name Game"

Player A (first five games): 591 yards, one touchdown
Player B (first five games): 440 yards, two touchdowns

Based on ESPN standard scoring, Player A has 65 fantasy points on the season; Player B has 56 points. They are close, but Player A is the more valuable player, right?

Steven JacksonGeoff Burke/US PresswireSee? See? I told you Steven Jackson is still good.
Player A: Steven Jackson, 2008. Player B: Steven Jackson, 2007. For all the talk that he is a bust, including the continuous razzing I get from Bill Simmons, Jackson is actually ahead of his pace from last year. Now, Jackson was injured after his third game last year, so Games 4 and 5 came after a break, but the point remains. Jackson continues to be a good buy-low option after posting another 100-yard game today, this time against a good Redskins defense.

4. Maybe it's every other week, not home and away

Michael Turner followed up his first strong road game with his first terrible home game, getting just 54 rushing yards on 25 carries. He remains a No. 2 running back. He has a bye next week and then a tough matchup at Philly the week after, so feel free to deal him now. Or you can wait until after he faces Oakland in Week 9, New Orleans in Week 10 and Denver in Week 11. Because it gets much tougher after that. The Falcons have tough matchups versus Carolina in Week 12 and San Diego in Week 13, and after a brief respite to face the Saints again in Week 14, they have Tampa Bay and Minnesota to finish off the fantasy playoffs. No thanks.

5. Really?

As in, you're watching the games or reading the box scores, and you get stuck at a spot where you just say "Really? Are you kidding me? Patrick Cobbs?" You can't worry about Cobbs right now. Two crazy big plays, but he won't be anyone you can count on, barring injury. Taylor and Addai left their games early. Ray Rice showed up and Le'Ron McClain didn't. I rank the Ravens' running backs as Willis McGahee, then McClain, then Rice the rest of the way. Meanwhile, the Colts just quickly jumped out to a big lead. Aaron Rodgers gets a rushing touchdown, but Ryan Grant doesn't? And Rodgers is throwing to someone named John Kuhn? And finally, the Cardinals got ripped off on three horrific fumble calls and the first Larry Fitzgerald touchdown (and still won).

6. Are you worried yet? Because maybe you should be.

So you see Adrian Peterson rush for 111 yards and you're like, "That's more like it." I see a guy who has single-digit fantasy points in three of his past four games, is at Chicago next week and then has a bye. He has a great schedule on paper for the playoffs, but still, let's keep his performance in perspective.

7. So about those Redskins …

Clinton PortisGeoff Burke/US PresswireClinton Portis: No. 1 player in fantasy? Hmmmm.
Yeah, just brutal. The second straight bad game for Santana Moss and Jason Campbell. Clinton Portis continues to be a stud. Frankly, if you were drafting today, you'd be hard-pressed to take anyone before him. I'm not worried about Moss. Ultimately, he will get his. But you have to be a little concerned about Campbell, who remains a matchups play.

8. Thanks, but you're missing the point

Shane (Oklahoma City): TMR, [I'm a] huge fan! As much as it pains me to say this, you were right about Steve Slaton doing nothing against Miami. I really hoped you were wrong on this, and believed you would be, since Slaton did run well against Tennessee. I'll just do what you tell us to do from now on and not think about it. Thanks a lot, and keep up the great work. Lincoln Freed The Slaves (that should be used as a goodbye phrase in my opinion).

TMR: I agree. LFTS is a hilarious goodbye phrase. I wrote about bad texting choices in a Talented Mr. Roto column a few weeks ago. But Shane, I don't want you to do everything I say and not think about it. Consider what I say, what other analysts here at ESPN say, and then make your decision based on your team, roster, scoring settings, needs, etc. Like David here.

David (Valdosta, Ga.): I don't blame you. I blame me. This is one of those "help me help you" situations, and I didn't help you help me. I was leaning toward the sacrilege of benching Peyton Manning anyway, and then I read your love/hate and saw your note on the Ravens' No. 1-ranked pass defense. So I did it -- I benched Peyton. He has three touchdown passes midway through the third quarter. Now I have to sweat whether Kurt Warner plays like his "greatest show on turf" days or his "fumblerama" period. Still, it's not your fault. It's mine. All me. But … arghhhhh.

TMR: Yeah, I was surprised at how poor Baltimore played. As I mentioned in my "Called Out" column, I realize the Ravens have feasted on some subpar passing offenses, but I didn't think they would be as bad as they were. I still don't think Manning is out of the woods just yet. At Green Bay, at Tennessee, New England and at Pittsburgh are his next four games. But I appreciate the recognition that we are in this together.

Harry51537: Dude, you suck. Twice I've listened to you, and I've burned both times. I would bet my wages for a month against one week of yours that I could answer 50 questions better than you. Step up and be a man -- the gauntlet has been tossed. By the way, I am just a machinist, so you still will most likely put more money on the line. Truthfully, I would challenge you without the money, but I wouldn't mind doubling up a payment or two on my mortgage. I'd at least like to wager a guest spot on a podcast (I was a disc jockey for three years but left it to support my family since small-market radio doesn't pay well).

TMR: Hard to resist that invitation, but somehow I will.

9. Sage who?

Matt Schaub finally makes good on the preseason sleeper love we had for him, throwing for almost 400 yards and a score. Look at the Texans' upcoming schedule: Detroit, Cincy, Minnesota, the not-as-good-as-we-thought Ravens, at the Colts and then at Cleveland. Other than Indy, and to a lesser extent Baltimore (though that game is at home), it's very favorable.

10. Yeah, can I take that back?

Click here to add the Matthew Berry widget.ESPN.comESPN Widgets are portable applications you can place almost anywhere! Click on the image to add the Matthew Berry widget to your Web space.
wilson21322147 (ESPN Conversation): Mr. Berry, you wear your ignorance like a long, red scarf, twirling it around for everyone to see. Jerramy Stevens, not Alex Smith, is the Bucs tight end who gets looks in the red zone.

TMR: Alex Smith in Week 6: three receptions, 43 yards, touchdown.

Marc (Sturbridge, Mass.): Matthew, you are wrong about Steve Slaton this week. You cited the fact that the Dolphins have allowed only one 100-yard rusher this year, but look at who they played: Arizona (Edgerrin James has rushed for only 100 yards once in five games and is averaging 66.8 yards per game), San Diego (LaDainian Tomlinson also has managed only one 100-yard game in five tries) and New England (are you kidding? Sammy Morris has their highest rushing total for any game this year, with a whopping 63!). Slaton is going to show that it was the Dolphins' schedule that was good against the run, not their defense.

TMR: Slaton in Week 6: 15 carries, 58 yards.

On "ESPN Sunday Countdown:" I said to start Greg Camarillo and sit Marvin Harrison. Yeesh.

And a bonus No. 11: Not worried. Yet.

About Terrell Owens, Jake Delhomme, Dallas Clark, Michael Turner, Santana Moss, Torry Holt, Julius Jones and Bobby Engram.

Among the additional nominees in need of fantasy atonement: Todd Heap, Jon Gruden, Braylon Edwards …

Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- is disgusted by his Redskins. 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, 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 | 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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