|ESPN.com: 2009||[Print without images]|
I am going to the dentist today.
That's not some hip new slang or an obscure euphemism. That's actually what I am doing as soon as I am done with this. Going. To the dentist.
It's a cliché but it doesn't make it any less true: I hate going to the dentist. Always have. It's not the pain. I can deal with the pain. I'm a Redskins fan, after all. The long leathery chairs, the bright light, the wearing of the bib, the person grabbing your mouth open and staring into it close while you look up into their nostrils ... there's just nothing about it that's pleasant.
I've lived in a lot of towns in my life and they are all the same. The dentists are always nice and self-deprecating. Apologetic, professional and understanding that people don't like going. Doesn't matter. They are never like my friend Margo, who is super-cool, a die-hard Ravens fan and, I am convinced, the hottest dentist in America. (Watergate Dental in Washington, D.C., if you care.)
The biggest reason I don't like going to the dentist is they tell me everything I already know. No, I don't floss enough. Does anyone? Yes, I could brush after every meal but you know what? I don't, OK? I don't do anything enough. During football season, when I work six days a week and go from TV to podcast back to TV to column to online video to TV again and to radio, I rarely have time to eat let alone floss. My breakfast every morning is a Pop Tart and a Diet Coke. Seriously. And I'm aware it's terrible. I am the dentistry equivalent of taking out a packet of sugar and pouring it all over my teeth. I know all this. I know I'm bad. I know I should do more. There's millions of things I do every day that I know I shouldn't. I do them anyway because I either want to, need to or am just a weak person with no discipline.
|I swear, the moment this guy asks me "is it safe?", I'm bolting.|
I tell the dentist this. And yet ... still the lecture comes. I need to floss more, brush more, take care of my teeth. The dentist shows me X-rays and gross sculptures and pictures of people with black fangs and bloody gums and insane diseases that all have the words "acute" and "vitis" in them. "This is what happens when you don't floss for a week." At least, that's what it sounds like to me. I hate being lectured and told stuff I already know, especially when it's bad news.
But it can't be fun for the dentist either. No one likes to be the bearer of bad news. To lecture and tell you stuff that they know you already know. Kind of like me. You think I like telling you Tony Romo is going to disappoint again this week? You know you need to get rid of Terrell Owens and you made a mistake drafting him, but do you want to hear it from me? Again? No. But you're gonna because many of you keep starting him and refusing to floss.
Yes, saying "start Steve Smith of the Giants against Kansas City" is obvious. But I get questions all the time and if I don't say it, folks will e-mail and comment "What's wrong with Steve Smith?" "Is he not for real?" So I say yes. And I say start him. And then some of you will say "yeah, I know that already, I'm aware Steve Smith is good. I'm aware the Chiefs are bad. I know I'm cruising for a cavity the way I am going."
I know, I know, I know. You've looked at your team, your matchups and your opponent's team and matchups millions of times before you got to this column. Trust me, I see the traffic. There's very little I can tell you that you haven't already thought of.
But like the dentist, it's still necessary. Because as much as you tell yourself something, you need another opinion. Even a professional opinion. What you decide to do with that opinion is up to you. On a related note, anyone want an unused box of floss?
As always, these are players I expect to do better or worse than what is normally expected. For how I feel specifically about one player versus another, be sure to check out my updated positional player ranks, which will be posted on Friday afternoon.
Cedric Benson, RB, Bengals: I actually ranked him second overall this week. And thought seriously about him at No. 1. After years of hatred, I liked him last year in the second half and had him as a big preseason sleeper. Now I keep ranking him in the top 10 until, finally, this. Just so you know, every time I get a one of these "good" predictions on Benson right, a little piece of me dies inside and an angel gets its wings torn off.
Matt Forte, RB, Bears: Here's what's sad. He's been so brutal he no longer violates my "no putting obvious guys on the list" rule. I like him to rebound not only against Detroit, duh, but also going forward, as he has the Falcons, Bengals and Browns after a Week 5 bye. Last chance to buy low. And oh yeah, Greg Olsen and Devin Hester are going to go off in this game too.
Bengals D/ST: Cincy defense, meet Derek Anderson. Derek, I believe you are intimately familiar with the Bengals' pass rush and secondary?
Braylon Edwards, WR, Browns: Derek Anderson isn't any good. Let's get that straight right now. But as I discussed on today's podcast with ESPN NFL Insider Michael Smith, Anderson does help Edwards' value. He will get deep for one in this game. The announcement of Anderson as starting quarterback will cause me to move Edwards up in the Friday rankings update.
Josh Cribbs, WR, Browns: Super, super deep sleeper here, but if you are in a crazy deep league and desperate during a bye week ... I've been told the plan this week is to get the ball in his hands a lot more. You know, as opposed to running more quarterback sneaks on first-and-10.
Julius Jones, RB, Seahawks: You can run on the edges against the Colts, and that's what Jones sucks the least at.
Nate Burleson, WR, Seahawks: Deeper sleeper here, but the Colts are blitzing more these days, Seneca Wallace actually throws a better deep ball than folks realize and I think Burleson gets loose on blown coverage. I'm also guessing Seattle will be down and throwing. Burleson had 12 targets from Wallace last week, by the way.
Dallas Clark, TE, Colts: Another "dentist moment" for me but, while I know he's super obvious, I'm putting him here for this reason. He's gonna finish the season as the No. 1 tight end. The Colts are using him in the backfield, on reverses, in the slot, in the coaching booth, selling tickets, running the scoreboard, I'm sure he'll start throwing passes soon, I mean he is everywhere. They are lining him up next to Reggie Wayne on the same side of the field and letting Wayne draw double coverage, leaving Clark to be guarded one-on-one by a linebacker. In short, they are doing a million different things to get him the ball. Trade for him with confidence and blow plenty of money on him in Gridiron Challenge or other salary-cap games.
Pierre Garcon, WR, Colts: Oui, oui!
Ray Rice and Willis McGahee, RB, Ravens: Said it last week and I'll say it again. Like both guys (McGahee more) but if I had both, I'd have no problem starting both of them.
Jason Campbell, QB, Redskins: Lost in the Redskins being terrible and losing to the Lions is that Campbell still racked up 21 fantasy points in that game. The Buccaneers are another very good matchup for him. Chris Cooley and Santana Moss will be good starts here as well.
Justin Gage, WR, Titans: Last time he played at Jacksonville, he had 147 yards and two scores. And no team in the NFL gives up more passing yards per game than the Jaguars. Just saying.
Mike Sims-Walker, WR, Jaguars: Sims-Walker. Jones-Drew. Lotta hyphenated names thing going on in Jacksonville. I also like Marcedes Car-Lewis in deeper leagues. The Titans give up the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.
Steve Slaton, RB, Texans: Now or never, kid. Now or never.
|Ol' "Sex on a Stick."|
Jerricho Cotchery and Dustin Keller, Jets: They are going to have to throw in this game and ol' "Sex on a Stick" will get it to him.
Jeremy Shockey, TE, Saints: Worse than the dentist? That I have to admit I love Shockey, Cedric Benson and, coming up, Vernon Davis in the same column.
Lee Evans, WR, Bills: As I mentioned in this week's "Called Out," in five career games at Miami, Evans has five scores and 427 yards. Last year, he had 116 yards in this matchup and the Bills' offense is better now than it was then. Oh and T.O. sucks, no matter what play is called and that he then just runs.
Anthony Fasano, TE, Dolphins: With it being Chad Henne's first game and all, I expect it to be conservative play calling, which means lots of looks to Fasano against a Bills team that has already given up four touchdowns to opposing tight ends.
Shaun Hill, Glen Coffee and Vernon Davis, 49ers: They are at home and it's the Rams. Closing my eyes and gripping onto the chair tight ...
Tashard Choice, RB, Cowboys: Denver's a better run defense than folks realize but Dallas will pound the rock on the road, and the Cowboys actually lead the league in rushing in both total yards (581) and yards per attempt (6.8!).
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers: Tila Tequila has brought more pressure on Shawne Merriman than the Chargers' D has been able to put on opposing quarterbacks. Big Ben will have all day to throw.
John Carlson, TE, Seahawks: The Colts are best in the league in terms of limiting fantasy points given up to opposing tight ends.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants: He was walking around in a boot Wednesday. He's not a big part of the passing game (only five receptions in three games), you know when the Giants get in the red zone, it's going to Jacobs. That, and the emergence of the their passing game has meant that the New York offense is being spread around. Bradshaw's getting only 10 touches or so a game and even with a tasty matchup with the Chiefs, I'm not crazy about a banged-up Bradshaw getting a limited number of carries.
Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs: Don't get cute. You might see that the Giants are 20th against the run and get some ideas. They are the wrong ideas. The Cowboys ran against them but Dallas runs against everyone. No one else does and certainly not LJ. Same for Dwayne Bowe (aka the K.C. passing game), if he plays.
Andre Johnson, WR, Texans: You'll be hard-pressed to bench him, especially during a bye week, but don't touch him in Gridiron Challenge or other salary-cap games. His past two games against Oakland ... three receptions for 28 yards. Combined.
Marques Colston, WR, Saints: Same thing as Andre. Not in a salary-cap league as the Revis Effect will be in full force. By the way, if I ever start a band, I'm calling it the Revis Effect.
Reggie Bush, RB, Saints: Bad pro, bad fantasy guy and now he's not even my favorite athlete linked to a Kardashian. Welcome to the club, Lamar Odom!
Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson, RB, Bills: Splitting carries and on the road. So far, the Dolphins are third-best in the NFL against the run. They've held Michael Turner, Darren Sproles and the Colts duo in check. I like both these guys a lot going forward, just not this week.
|Bills fan call this play the "Snoop 81." Drop it like it's hot, drop it like it's hot ...|
Terrell Owens, WR, Bills: I mentioned he sucks, right? Here's a fun fact that I used in "Called Out." Do you know who Derek Schouman is? He's a Bills tight end who got injured in Week 2 and is out for the year. And he still has 11 targets on the year. Or only two fewer than Terrell Owens, who, you may have heard, is just running the plays that are called.
Let me repeat that. Owens has only two more targets than the tight end in a time-share who has played one fewer game than Owens and was injured in the other. Everyone who yelled at me in the preseason about hating on Owens ... you may start crafting your apologies now. Unless you stupidly drafted him. Then you have punishment enough. We covered the sucks thing, right?
Steven Jackson, RB, Rams: Same as Colston and Andre Johnson. Not in a salary-cap game and, if you have two great matchups this week, think about benching him. On the road at San Francisco, the grass doesn't play to his strength nor does his team being down, which it will be. The 49ers have yet to give up a rushing touchdown this year, they are fourth in the NFL in rushing yards per game and held the great Adrian Peterson to under 100 and no score last week, in Minnesota.
Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys: On the road, the Broncos have yet to give up a passing touchdown this year and Romo has only one touchdown and three interceptions in his past two games.
Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- isn't fond of the G.I. exam either. He is 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