Print and Go Back ESPN.com: 2009 [Print without images]

Thursday, November 12, 2009
Updated: November 15, 11:39 AM ET
Sharing the misery

By Matthew Berry
ESPN.com

"See my eyes, don't see what I see
Touch my tongue, don't know what tastes good to me
It's the human condition that keeps us apart
Everybody's got a story that could break your heart
Yeah everybody's got a story that could break your heart" -- Amanda Marshall

The Talented Mr. Roto

"Comedy is tragedy plus time" -- Carol Burnett

I'm not sure why people delight in others' misfortunes, but we do. And everyone does. Those who say they don't are either lying, dead, or lying about being dead.

Probably because our own life isn't perfect, we love examples of other people's lives not going according to plan. "You mean I'm not the only one?!" is the kind of thing we like thinking upon reading someone's horrific life event. Can't tell you how many times I've said it to my fellow ESPN writers. Very recently, even.

It occurred to me the same is true for fantasy football. Yes, you just got a soul-crushing loss. In a way that defies all logic. But you, my friend, are not alone.

I asked my followers on Twitter (where you can find me at www.twitter.com/MatthewBerryTMR ) to send me their best crushing loss stories from Week 9. Here's a sampling.

Denver Broncos
Monday Night Football scoreboard watching can be trying, both for the players and fantasy owners.

@vaderstg: Started (Monday) night up 64. My opp had Santonio Holmes, Rashard Mendenhall, Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Prater in a PPR. Lost by 3.

@bryansimpson: Had a 1-point lead against Rothlisberger/Hines Ward going into that last series. Run it from the two? No, throw to Ward for TD.

@greglaurette: Kyle Orton throws a pick on the last play of game. Lose by one point to Steelers D/ST.

@dplummer627: My 3 WR were outscored by Steve Breaston 19-12.

@ritamghosh: Against the 49ers, Joseph Addai had more passing touchdowns than my Peyton Manning.

@orangechicken: Week 6, I have Philip Rivers on MNF, he fumbles (-1) and Norv goes for a FG instead of a TD to end the game. I lose by 0.9.

@themigs: Traded for Clinton Portis this week.

@esiemonsma81: I am losing by 25 points, but my bench has high score of the week.

@donnysamson: I lost by 3 points. Packers D got me -4. Thanks guys.

@shawnwetzel: I lost last week by .1 point when Drew Brees had a 1-yard loss when he took a knee to ride out the clock.

@ rawmeet: made the wife change her lineup to DeSean Jackson at home versus Larry Fitzgerald away.

When the dust settles on Week 10, there are bound to be disappointments. Wrong decisions, bad bounces, fluky losses. But hopefully, no matter what happens, you're not this guy:

@RAmore2183: Lost to my gf this week, same woman who asked me what the line of scrimmage was during yesterday's game.

Let's get to it. A reminder that there is a Thursday night game this week, so get your lineups in now, especially if you have some Bears and Niners to deal with. As always, these are players I expect to do better or worse than their generally expected production. If I don't mention a player, it's because I feel he'll do generally what he's expected to or he's an obvious name you are going to start regardless, like Peyton Manning or everyone, possibly even the hot-dog vendors, versus the Lions and the Rams. And if you have specific questions about whom to play versus another player, be sure to check out my rankings both for Thursday's game and then the updated version Friday afternoon.

Week 10 Players I Love

Devin Hester, WR, Bears: Ah, the Thursday game. I remember last season, on Fridays, if the players I liked in a Thursday game would perform poorly, the message board would light up with insults. And if I nailed it -- I remember a pretty good call about Jabar Gaffney on a Thursday -- then there were messages about my cheating and posting it after the game. This is what you call a "can't-win" proposition. Anyway, you're obviously starting Cutler and Olsen, but I like Hester here; he has quietly turned into one of the most consistent fantasy wide receivers in the game.

Matt Forte, RB, Bears: I tend to like guys on short weeks; less time for the defense to prepare and all that. Plus, the way the Bears defense is playing these days, they'll be playing from behind and Forte is a big part of the pass game. And while yes, the 49ers are fourth-best in run defense, they have also given up seven scores in the past four games to opposing running backs.

Alex Smith
Conspiracy theorists believe that Alex Smith drafted Vernon Davis in his fantasy league, then traded him after Week 8 and picked up Jason Hill. Here, we can imagine Alex trying to explain to Vernon why he won't see another red-zone target this season.

Alex Smith, QB, 49ers: Double-digit fantasy points in every game he's played this year. Just saying.

Devery Henderson, WR, Saints: Not to be confused with DeVry Henderson, founder of the prestigious technical institute.

Kellen Winslow, TE, Buccaneers: Scored last week with Josh Freeman as his quarterback and now gets to face the Dolphins, who just happen to give up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.

Joey Haynos, TE, Dolphins: If you are in a super-deep league and looking for a flier, it's worth noting that Haynos has scores in back-to-back weeks and the Bucs have given up a touchdown to an opposing tight end in three of their past five games.

Brett Favre, QB, Vikings: I'm putting him here because I have him ranked as my No. 2 quarterback this week. He's off a bye, rested and at home, where he's averaged 21 fantasy points a game. He's had at least three touchdown passes in three of his past five games and one of the two he missed was on the road at Pittsburgh. Forgivable. Especially when this week's opponent is the Lions, who will keep it competitive enough that the Vikings will have to keep throwing.

Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions: Feel he gets back to being Calvin this week.

Mark Sanchez, QB, Jets: He's had 39 fantasy points the past two games, plus he's off a bye and at home, both of which I always like. And the Jaguars are 26th against the pass. I expect nice things from Braylon and Jerricho here as well.

Marshawn Lynch, RB, Bills: The less time Chris Johnson is on the field for the Titans, the better it is for the Bills. My scouting insight knows no bounds.

Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers: Touchdowns in three of his past four games, and when he faced the Bengals earlier this year he had seven receptions for 102 yards. And yes, the Bengals are playing better, but they are still 25th in the NFL against the pass. You're already starting Ward and Holmes, but those in deeper leagues should take a look here.

Ladell Betts, RB, Redskins: As I wrote to Tristan Cockcroft in this week's "Called Out" and as I mentioned in my pickup column Tuesday, Betts ran well after coming in for Portis last week (16 touches, 103 yards and a TD) and we know a few things: Washington is committed to the run, Betts is also part of the passing game (Jason Campbell enjoys the check down) and the Skins face a Denver team that is on the road, on a short week and has given up 324 total yards to opposing running backs the past two weeks.

Steve Smith, WR, Panthers: In his past two games against the Falcons, including Week 2 this season, Smith has 299 yards receiving. The Falcons are now 27th against the pass and need to focus on stopping the Panthers' run game.

Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs: Seriously, someone stop me. I have a problem. When's the next meeting of Jamaal Anonymous?

Justin Fargas, RB, Raiders: Trying to predict what the Raiders will do in any given week is a pointless folly. But you're reading me, so clearly, you enjoy the pointless folly. And I say Fargas gets the majority of work here in a very good matchup, even with Darren McFadden back.

Steve Breaston, WR, Cardinals: Has scored in each of the past two games against Seattle.

John Carlson, TE, Seahawks: I believe Greg Olsen showed that you can attack the Cardinals with a good tight end.

Brent Celek, TE, Eagles: And the tight end starting against the Chargers this week is ...

Laurence Maroney, RB, Patriots: He's now scored in three straight games. And the Colts have given up double-digit fantasy points to opposing running backs in every single home game this year, and in three of the past four games.

Week 10 Players I Hate

Josh Freeman, QB, Buccaneers: Just like donkey basketball, I am intrigued by the idea here, but not willing to trust it at all. I need to see it again before I totally buy in.

Cadillac Williams, RB, Buccaneers: Wish I could, Caddy. Wish I could.

David Garrard, QB, Jaguars: He has struggled on the road this year and the Jets are coming off a bye. Always like teams at home coming off a bye, which is why I am down on Garrard.

Mike Sims-Walker, WR, Jaguars: Add all that to the fact Darrelle Revis will be on MSW, and he's on my bench, too.

Vince Young
Not even the Buffalo Bills can make Vince Young a palatable starting fantasy option.

Vince Young and Justin Gage, Titans: In case you were in a bye week bind and thinking of getting cute, don't. There are better free-agent options this week. The Bills actually have a pretty good secondary.

Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals: Not on the road at Pittsburgh. No sir.

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos: Splitting time with Correll Buckhalter, and the Redskins are actually decent against the run at home. In fact, they have not allowed a touchdown to an opposing running back at home all season and allow the fourth-fewest points to opposing running backs.

Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons: Single-digit fantasy points in three straight games, Ryan has generally been worse on the road this year than at home (49ers game notwithstanding) and the Panthers, believe it or not, are second in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game. I'd lower expectations for Roddy White this week as well.

Matt Cassel and Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs: Because their run defense is so bad and, thanks to Nnamdi Asomugha, teams don't pass very well on Oakland. The Raiders give up only 13 fantasy points a game to opposing quarterbacks. Cassel will be fine, just not great, and I feel you expect great in a game against Oakland.

Marion Barber, RB, Cowboys: Only has one score in his past four games, he hasn't had 100 yards rushing since Week 2, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice are in the mix and now he's on the road at an angry Packers team that is top-10 against the run. No thanks.

LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers: It kills me to put him here. But here he must be. He's averaging just 3.2 yards per carry. And he has not scored a touchdown this season on any team not named Raiders. Meanwhile, the Eagles are top-10 in rushing defense, top-10 in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs and have given up only one rushing touchdown on the road all season.

Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon, WR, Colts: One of them may go off, but I don't feel you can start either with any confidence.

That's what I got this week.

Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- takes no shame or joy in schadenfreude. 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