I hate Norv Turner.
With every single fiber in my being.
Now, as you know, I'm a longtime Redskins fan, so I am very familiar with Norv. Way too many reasons to go into, but here's just one example: Last night, on the NBC Sunday Night game, they flashed a graphic saying that 37 of 38 teams that started 7-1 or 8-0 had made the playoffs. The one team who did not were the 1996 Redskins, coached, of course, by Norv Turner.
So why today do I bring up my hatred of him? Because I am so angry at myself. Here, these emails might clear something up.
Sam (Overland Park, Kan.) From your Love / Hate last week: "Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings: The Emperor has no clothes. At least this week." If anyone benched AP because of your advice, I think you need to send them a fruit basket or, at the very least, an e-card. Has there ever been worse advice given? Are you giving Britney Spears career advice on the side?
Marty (Golden) Wow, I'm glad I listened to your advice and started Kevin Jones over AD, or AP as some people refer to him. Thank you TMR!
Pete Nice call on AP this week! I benched him for Kevin Jones five minutes before game time, and thank goodness I did. The emperor was exposed today! He didn't even get 300 yards! That San Diego run defense staunchly prevented those final four yards.
Tim (Baltimore) Good call on not starting Adrian Peterson this week.
Dave (Minneapolis) LOL. Just had to laugh about how you hated Adrian Peterson against the Chargers D. I wish my fantasy opponent had shared your opinion, 'cause he killed me this week.
TMR: It made sense in my head when I put Adrian Peterson in my "Hate" section this week. I try not to give obvious advice and to not "play it safe." And coming into the game, All Day (his correct nickname, by the way) had had some tough games. He had gone for 63 yards and 70 yards (on 20 carries!) rushing the previous two weeks against tough defenses (though he did get a score against Dallas).
So it seemed to me that teams had figured out how to contain him somewhat. Coming into the game, the Chargers had allowed only 12.3 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. They were allowing only 88 rushing yards per game. They had just decimated a Texans offense that was eighth in the NFL before the Chargers game. Tarvaris Jackson was back, meaning the Chargers could stack the line even more.
It all made sense except for the fact that I forgot that Norv Turner is the single worst head coach in the NFL. That I should never trust him. That no one turns more talent into less than Norv.
My bad, kids. Terrible call. Sorry. The same goes for trusting Philip Rivers after being down on him all season. I was right the first time. Argghhh. Allow me to say, in my best Dennis Green voice: "He is who I thought he was!"
The frustrating part is the horrificness of the call overshadows what was a pretty solid week. Very nice calls on Ron Dayne (pretty sure I'm the only guy who called that), Marshawn Lynch, Clinton Portis, J.P. Losman and Lee Evans, Reggie Bush, Brandon Marshall, Tony Gonzalez, Kenny Watson even if Rudi Johnson played and Ryan Grant. Also, I recommended benching guys like Travis Henry, Kurt Warner, Thomas Jones and the aforementioned Rudi.
Sigh. What are you gonna do? It comes with the gig. If you swing for the fences, sometimes you're gonna miss. If it makes anyone feel better, I played against Jamal Lewis in four different leagues yesterday and against the Detroit defense in two. That's just ridiculous. Let's get to some quick Week 9 reactions.
... That lost in the Peterson news is that Sidney Rice caught four balls for 66 yards and a touchdown. I like him in deep leagues as long as someone other than Tarvaris Jackson is throwing.
... That despite Maurice Hicks (eight touches for 52 yards) getting the start and being more productive, it appears that Michael Robinson (19 touches for 69 yards) is the 49er you want to own if Gore continues to miss time.
... That people continue to underestimate just how good the Buccaneers defense is. I saw all the Cardinals ranked high going into this week (and even I liked Edge), and none of them did anything.
... That we can now officially welcome all of the Saints back to elite status. And David Patten is quickly becoming an every-week starter; one more week and it's a lock. He had four catches for 81 yards and a touchdown on Sunday.
... That I ended up getting really sick this weekend. Terrible cough, sore throat, the whole nine yards. It may have been, in fact, due to watching Adrian Peterson highlights. But it was also a reason I was not able to get to all the notes from my new cyber friends. Regardless, I read every one, and if you want to join the fun, click here.
... That even with Patrick Ramsey at quarterback, Brandon Marshall managed to catch nine balls for 96 yards.
... That yes, Clinton Portis ran nuts against the Jets, but so did Ladell Betts. Nine carries for 64 yards for Betts. That bodes well for the Redskins, but the Jets are really not very good.
... That Kellen Clemens (23-of-42, 226 yards and a touchdown) looked solid, and I like him as a spot starter going forward.
... That despite getting five carries for 48 yards and a touchdown, I am not buying T.J. Duckett. And as a Kevin Jones owner, I am bitter.
... That before everyone jumps up and down about Warrick Dunn coming back from the dead with his 27 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown, look closer. That comes out to 3.7 yards per carry. Jerious Norwood had six carries for 39 yards, or a 6.5 yards-per-carry average.
... That it may not look like it, but DeShaun Foster ran well. He had 17 carries for 63 yards. That's 3.7 yards per carry, and against the Titans and with no passing game to speak of, that's pretty good.
A while back, based on the Bill Simmons article, I asked if anyone had ever gone undefeated in a fantasy football season. I got flooded with e-mails, and in a week in which I recommended going against Adrian Peterson, it seems appropriate to recognize those for whom perfection is less elusive.
I had to edit a lot of these because many of them went game by game, every move they made, trade they turned down etc., but here you go. Congrats to all.
Jonathan (Atlanta) Hey Mr. Berry. I have an undefeated team story. I'll get to that in a minute. First off, I enjoy the voice inflection when you do your spots on TV. When I read your columns I try to do so in a manner that uses the same sort of inflection (I do the hand gestures too). Anyway. Undefeated team last year.
Derek (Emporia, Kan.) Matthew Berry, in regards to your "undefeated" question, yes, I have seen it happen! No proof, but it was the 2000 season. My friend, and fellow fantasy football guru, Levi went 16-0. He beat me three times, including the championship game. We have both played for 15 years, since back in the day of paper/pencil scoring, so it was quite cool to see!
Mike Chase (Los Angeles) TMR. I am the commissioner of a very competitive 12-team league. One of our owners did have a magical season in 2005 going undefeated that season. It was even more impressive (lucky) given the fact that he ended 2004 with nine straight wins and began 2006 with five straight wins. All told, it was 30 straight wins (with three different teams over three seasons).
Kyle (Louisville, Ky.) I finished 13-0 with a team, the Four Horsemen, last season. Although I used the Talented Mr. Roto site at the time, I must confess that that team was almost all the product of luck. I pretty much eked out a win every week. I have had many better teams than that one, but none luckier. On another note, thanks for your advice and help in fantasy sports.
Mike (Boston) I have had an owner go undefeated. It was maybe one of the most mind-boggling experiences in fantasy sports. This guy's teams lived in the basement. He made the worst trades you could imagine (in 2001 he traded Jeff Garcia for Todd Pinkston straight up), and if we charged for waiver moves he would need to apply for a home-equity loan. His first season in our league he made 149 waiver moves, picking up and dropping Tyrone Wheatley a grand total of six times. Then one season he had a surprisingly good draft, won his first game, made savvy trades and smart waiver moves and, before you knew it, he was 5-0. It was like watching a fat defensive lineman running back a fumble for a 99-yard touchdown: slow, painful and you couldn't understand how he had made it. It seemed like each week he won in a more improbable fashion than the last. So he ended up winning the title. Since that season he has reverted to his former Matt Millen-esque tendencies. But the moral of the story is: Undefeated happens. Unfortunately for us.
Jeff (Chanhassen, Minn.) I did e-mail Simmons my story of the undefeated season but I figured I'd send it to you too. It happened in 2005 and it was the first year of a 10-team auction league. The undefeated fantasy season is real, and it's spectacular!
Fletch (Los Angeles) My undefeated season: Two years ago I took Alexander over LT with the first pick. I was mocked. I then drafted Larry Johnson in about the 8th round just to tick off my friend who had drafted Priest Holmes.
Andy (Phoenix, AZ) TMR, let me preface this by saying this is my 14th season playing fantasy football, and I always play in competitive leagues. Until 2005, I didn't think it was possible to go undefeated in a fantasy season. I was in law school and sports fans in my class set up a 10-man league. I finished the year undefeated and was totally shocked. You should take into account that these were law students who maybe spent more time doing homework than anything, but I fit the criteria. I am one of the few who went undefeated.
And my favorite one...
Drew McGarr (Nolensville, Tenn.) Uh, regarding your search for someone who has gone undefeated in a fantasy league: I don't know anyone who actually did, but I once made it to the third game before losing.
Also writing in with tales of undefeated teams, whether on behalf of themselves, their friends, their enemies, or the 1972 Dolphins: Joe (Kissimmee, Fla.); Sean (Minneapolis); Brick (Charlotte); Steve Ricrads (Rincon, Ga.); Nick (Detroit, Mich.); John (Livonia, Mich.); Ryan DuVall (Fort Wayne, Ind.); Connor (New Jersey); Benjamin (Austin, Texas); Manny (Baltimore); Ben (Wilmington, [state unknown]); Adam Levitan (Philadelphia); Edwin (Washington); Doug (Phoenix); Michael (New York, N.Y.); Josh (Arlington, Texas); Kennie (Charleston, W.Va.); Aaron (Dallas); Scott (Toronto); Jason (Bear); Scott (Gainesville, Fla.); Jared (West Islip, N.Y.); Trevor (Los Angeles); Ed (New Jersey); Charlie (Portland, Ore.); James (Kitchener, ON); Joe (Kissimmee, Fla.); Sean (Minneapolis); Brick (Charlotte).