I am not writing this.
True story: I'm driving my car right now -- how much is that toll? -- to New York City, where I will interview Gilbert Arenas. Yes that Gilbert Arenas. "Hibachi" is the cover boy for NBA Live 08, and I've -- do I take this exit? -- decided to waste a half-hour of Gilbert's life by forcing him to -- turn right or left? -- talk to me about fantasy basketball.
So I actually dictated this column, all off the top of my head, which means even less research than normal.
But it's all good. I'm ridin' a Love/Hate hot streak after having a great Week 3. I nailed 47 of my 69 picks last week, for a fine 69 percent success rate. Discuss among yourselves. In fact, it can be more fodder for ESPN Conversation (beta!).
As always, players I love this week are guys I think will exceed the statistical benchmarks. Guys I hate, I feel will fall short. That simple. Those benchmarks are 225 yards and two touchdowns for quarterbacks (or 17 fantasy points in ESPN standard scoring); 100 yards and/or 40 yards and a touchdown (or 10 fantasy points) for running backs and wide receivers, 60 yards or a touchdown for tight ends and eight points for kickers and defenses. I used to say no obvious names, but I don't think there is such a thing anymore. Not with the way some of the top guys have played this year.
Week 4 Players I Love
Derrick Mason, WR, Ravens. Oh sure, this year he's good. He's had at least seven receptions in each of his first three games.
Brian Griese, QB, Bears. If this were a cartoon, there would be a little thought bubble above Rex Grossman's head, saying, "How come I didn't get to face Detroit!"
Bernard Berrian, WR, Bears. Only one team gives up more passing yards per game than the Lions.
Brett Favre/Donald Driver/Greg Jennings, Packers. In his last four games at Minnesota, Favre has averaged 305.3 yards per game, with 10 touchdowns and only two interceptions. By the way, James Jones should be good for about 60 yards here as well.
Ron Dayne, RB, Texans. The Great Dayne rides again! (Sorry, I was just dustin' off my 1999 Wisconsin media guide).
Owen Daniels, TE, Texans. Aka: the only healthy guy the Texans have to throw to.
Alge Crumpler, TE, Falcons. Well, look at that: Alge Crumpler is alive!
Thomas Jones, RB, Jets. No team in the NFL gives up more rushing yards per game than the Bills.
LaMont Jordan, RB, Raiders. See Mason, Derrick (without the receptions part).
Daunte Culpepper, QB, Raiders. Culpepper has a little motivation in this one, so if you feel like gambling
Ronnie Brown, RB, Dolphins. Oh, he's a sell-high guy, all right. But why not wait until after this week, when you can get even more for him?
Brian Leonard, RB, Rams. Two first names. Always a crowd-pleaser. Old joke, but first time with this guy.
Shaun Alexander, RB, Seahawks. It's not like you need a healthy hand to run with the football. (Pause.) Wait a minute
Alex Smith/Darrell Jackson, 49ers. I'm normally not a fan of both, but if ever there was a week you'd start 'em, this would be it. Only two teams have given up more passing yards per game than the Seahawks.
Frank Gore, RB, 49ers. See Romo, Tony, et al.
DeShaun Foster, RB, Panthers. DeShaun is De-Man. (Hey, at least it's not as old as the two-first-names joke.)
Joseph Addai, RB, Colts. He's too Addai for! (Pause.) Move along, folks. Nothing to see here.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs. I call him "D-Bowe." Hoping it catches on.
LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers. This is the week. I promise.
Willie Parker, RB, Steelers. This has nothing to do with the game, but I'd like to say that I am a Willie Parker owner, and I couldn't be happier. In fact, I used him to beat Tristan Cockroft last week in an ESPN.com experts league to improve to 3-0.
All Patriots. Brady, Moss, Welker, Watson, Maroney, Sammy Morris
In fact, if you're desperate, go ahead and take a flier on Steve Grogan coming out of retirement.
Week 4 Players I Hate
Brandon Jackson, RB, Packers. The Vikings are great against the run and bad against the pass. That's bad news for a running back on a Brett Favre team.
Kelly Holcomb, QB, Vikings. Because he's Kelly Holcomb.
Matt Schaub, QB, Texans. All his receivers are banged up, Atlanta is ranked eighth in passing yards allowed per game, and the Texans are going to run the ball like crazy. Pick a reason, any reason.
David Carr, QB, Panthers. The last time he was on this list? The last time he started a game.
Colts defense/special teams. This game's gonna be a shootout.
Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs. The Chargers are ranked ninth in rushing yards allowed per game, and Johnson is averaging 2.8 yards per carry. :<( This is you (not so happy).
All Cardinals. Here's a number: 8.7. That's how many points the Steelers are giving up per game.
Derrick Ward, RB, Giants. The Eagles are giving up only 71.7 rushing yards per game.