I get email.
Rachel: I read your article on "It comes in stages" and would like to request you to feature an article about our fantasy product called (product name). I hope to reach you by email to provide more information.
TMR: Cool. I'm surprised more people don't take me up on this. Because that's how it works. If you read my article, I promote your product. Send it along.
Nick from Luray, Va.: Just wanted to drop you a note and say I really enjoyed your book. The book is now being passed around so everyone in my league will be able to read before the season is over, kind of a new requirement I put in.
TMR: You have no idea how excited my book company is that the 10 of you are sharing one book.
Neil B from Colorado Springs: Hey Matthew! If I am looking to trade Jimmy Graham in a non-keeper H2H 10 team league, what should I be looking to get?
14 minutes later ...
TMR: Happy to be of service!
Dan Schwartz from Vail, Colo.: Any particular reason you left Philip Rivers out of your top 25 QBs?
TMR: Well, I just think there will be 25 better quarterbacks this week since, you know, he's on a bye.
Benjamin from El Paso, Texas: I was just wondering why Vincent Jackson's projection is so low, after all he's been pretty consistent all season long so far.
TMR: I have nothing to do with our projections, positive or negative. If you want my opinion on a player, it's in my rankings or this column.
Jacob Delahaut, Green Bay, Wis.: I obsess over statistics, live and die with wins and losses, endlessly debate trades and everything else fantasy football related in two different leagues. My loving wife of over two years appears to be OK with my obsession however, aside from the occasional influx of small amounts of "jelly beans," she's never received any tangible benefit from my fantasy football pursuits. That all changed about one month ago.
My wife got a summons for jury duty. Like most people, she had no interest in missing work and money to sit around for possibly days on end. But she shows up to court and starts answering questions to determine if she can sit on the jury. They ask a group of them if any of them play fantasy football or have a significant other that plays. Apparently, the case is a lawsuit involving a fantasy football website based in Wisconsin. My wife raised her hand. They ask her how she feels about fantasy football. She replies I spend too much time with it and is very displeased about fantasy football in general and just like that, Becky is dismissed from jury duty. She arrives home and tells me her story. My reply: "You're welcome!"
TMR: Getting people out of jury duty. Is there anything fantasy football can't do? I feel like someone should write a poem about it.
Greg from Austin, Texas: I love fantasy football more than just about anything. So I wrote a poem.
Run down buildings, holed with gatherings called bars,
Under bridges I sleep, Even Under the stars,
To normals I'm le rat, Although I try to stand tall,
I own a thing called nothing, Yet I still have it all.
A long car I travel, I pay a quarter no toll, Many are pumped for this day,
To I ... it's just same ol' Spring to summer,
Summer to fall, I own a thing called nothing,
Yet I still have it all,
Hello good Stranger, How do you do?
I do fine good sir, How about you?
I own a thing called nothing, has one ever tried?
If I told you I had, you could say one just lied.
That thing in your mouth, do you have one to spare?
To deny a man with nothing, I sure would not dare.
I may own a thing called nothing, but I damn sure have it all.
Please explain how to live this life, without fantasy football?
TMR: Never mind.
Ken from Boca Raton, Fla.: Matt, for the guy that ripped off your kid. Place an ad in the local paper as if you're him that he's selling I phones for $25.00 each. Write to just come by and ring the bell any time after 8 PM. Keep doing this with other ideas until you feel somewhat vindicated. Don't hold in your anger, it'll mess up your picks and make you constipated.
TMR: Thank you and thank you to everyone who expressed kind words for my son, outrage at the guy who did it and suggestions on how to get even. The company involved actually reached out via social media and ended up refunding my son's money into his account along with an apology and an investigation into the guy who did this. And the smile when I told my son he had his money back was a mile wide.
Brandon from Houston: Hey Matt, so it's Sunday morning. I'm debating whether to play Lamar Miller or Jacquizz Rodgers, and my roommate, an avid fantasy football player, says to go look at your love/hate list, since he trusts your advice. So I do. You love Lamar Miller and you hate Jacquizz Rodgers. Sounds easy. So when you're doing your show this week and you want to put on that little witty personality and talk about the crazy emails you get and how you know you get picks wrong so that makes it ok, include this quote, which is directed at you. "You're a butt-licking, toe-sucking, hobo-kissing cat lover of an 'expert.' You make a moose with rabies look like the sun on a perfect summer day. If I had a nickel for every time I thought about smearing wet cream cheese all over your car and watching you lick it off, I'd have two nickels. Enjoy the rest of the season. I hope you eat a moldy onion and have horrible halitosis during the entire second half of the Super Bowl, enraging whomever you are sitting next to. You're a banana cream frog licker, and my dog wouldn't dare lick your feet, even if you doused them in sugar and applesauce."
TMR: Another satisfied customer!
Ben from Sherman Oaks, Calif.: To this day every time my wife sees your face she starts yelling at the TV. She thinks you are a monster.
TMR: Why do I do this again?
Mike from Elsie, Mich.: Mr. Berry, I'm sorry to hear what happened to your step son. It doesn't shock me that someone would do that. Thank you for sharing your stories each week I enjoy them. I also realize many people lose perspective of fantasy football and you catch a lot of grief for your love/ hate columns. As a father raising a special-needs child, which can be very difficult task at times, it puts things in perspective for me, what things are important. Many people take so much for granted in their lives and don't learn to appreciate the little things that makes us happy. Thank you for making my Thursday better with your column.
Seth from Pittsford, N.Y.: Wanted to thank you for putting a smile on myself and my wife's faces. We're at St. Jude Children's Hospital with my daughter, who has a brain tumor. I'm laying on one bed, my wife on the other. She is reading you on the iPad, I'm reading it on the Kindle. We are both laughing to ourselves. Keep up the great work! Seth
TMR: Oh yeah. That's why.
Let's get to it. As always, please don't use this as a typical start/sit column but rather as a guide to players who will exceed or fall short of general expectations. Consult my rankings for how I feel on specific player-versus-player calls. Thanks, once again, to Zach Rodgers and the gang at ESPN Stats & Information for their way-too-kind assistance and away we go.
Quarterbacks I love in Week 8
Robert Griffin III, Washington: Well, it's about time. He finally looked like RG III again last week and, more importantly, they're using him the way they did last season with more designed runs. He's racked up 161 yards on 20 rush attempts after averaging 18 yards on 4.5 attempts per game in the first four. Meanwhile, Washington can't stop anybody, so you know Peyton & Co. will light them up. Which means Washington will be in response mode and a big fantasy day coming for Griffin against a Broncos team allowing the most passing yards and tied for giving up the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.
Matthew Stafford, Lions: In case anyone was worried that the Cowboys defense was good after Nick Foles was so brutal last week and RG III didn't have a huge day against them two weeks ago; I'm starting Stafford with confidence. Which should be a fragrance. Stafford with Confidence. I wouldn't buy it, but I know people who would. You know about Stafford's best weapon, Megatron, of course, but Stafford has also been a check-down machine this year (thank you, Reggie Bush). He's second in yards and third in touchdowns on passes 10 yards or fewer downfield. Guess what the Cowboys really struggle with? They've allowed the second-most yards on such passes this season, and are also tied for the third-most touchdowns on such passes.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks and Colin Kaepernick, 49ers: Both have great matchups, obviously, but I wanted to list them because I kind of lump them together. Young running quarterbacks that were great down the stretch last year, came in as top-10 picks this year, struggled early on and now ... look like their old selves. When I went back and watched these two, I loved what I saw and expect it to continue. You were already starting them against the Rams and Jaguars respectively, just wanted to say I think they'll be strong for the rest of the season, especially Wilson.
If you're desperate: There's always a chance Michael Vick leaves the game early and he won't be 100 percent to begin with, but against the Giants, he'll be a solid bet for 14 points or so with some upside. ... Geno Smith has been very up and down this year, but three 20-point games in his past five and no Leon Hall for the Bengals. ... Not saying it will be pretty, but worth noting that Carson Palmer now has back-to-back games of double-digit production and the Falcons give up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. I could see him getting you 10 to 15.
Quarterbacks I Hate for Week 8
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers: Here's something you don't expect: The Raiders defense is actually -- gasp -- not bad. It ain't the Seahawks, of course, but it's better than you think: tied for 13th in scoring defense, allowing just 1.5 passing touchdowns per game. Ben will be fine in this game, but I wanted to put him in here because I feel the perception is that Oakland is bad, and they aren't. They send pressure a lot (only two teams send added pressure more than Oakland), and Big Ben has struggled with that this year. They're just mediocre, which is an upgrade from atrocious, so this is not as cushy a matchup as you might think at first glance. Big Ben lands outside my top 10.
Eli Manning, Giants: Did you see last Monday night? Oh, you did? Then on behalf of everyone here at ESPN, I thank you for your continued, if tortured, patronage. Until we see some consistency from him, I cannot recommend starting him, even in a game with an easy matchup like Philly. Because you know who else was an easy matchup? Minnesota. He's owned in 88 percent of leagues and he shouldn't be. In 10-team non-keeper leagues, don't start him, don't own him.
Running backs I love in Week 8:
Frank Gore, 49ers: Obvious name but including here because I like this stat: Since Week 4, Gore leads the league in rushes and rushing yards and has four touchdowns. This is a good week to use him in salary-cap leagues, or the "use a player only once a season" version of Gridiron Challenge, as the Jaguars have allowed the most fantasy points to running backs, rushing yards, rushing yards after contact and rushing touchdowns (tied) this year.
Reggie Bush, Lions: Pop quiz, hotshot: It's been a few days now, has Reggie Bush stopped laughing at Kanye's engagement, or is it still going on? While you ponder, consider the fact that the Cowboys have allowed the most receptions and second-most receiving yards to opposing running backs this season.
Eddie Lacy, Packers: Every week I put him in, every week he makes me look smart. And sad, because I'm playing against him this week in one of the leagues where I don't have him. The Vikings let Peyton Hillis score on them last week. Peyton Hillis. Just let that sink it for a moment. Marinate in it. On-his-couch-a-week-ago, hasn't-been-good-since-2011 Peyton Hillis.
Fred Jackson, Bills: Fred Jackson a top-10 back? He is this week, brother. Or sister. Spiller is still banged-up and might not play and Jackson -- who apparently has taken the "writhe on the ground like you are going to die from pain and then return a few minutes later totally fine" gig from Paul Pierce -- played 40 snaps last week to just 13 for Spiller. The Saints have allowed 5.1 yards per carry this season, second-most in the league.
If you're desperate: The Roy Helu thing isn't a fluke. He's their guy in the red zone, in the no-huddle, on third down. They are going to be behind in this game and throwing, which means hello to Helu. (hangs head in shame). I'm sorry. I thought I was better than that. I'm not. ... So Lamar Miller continues to be inconsistent (my word) or terrible (everyone else's) but he has averaged 5.6 yards per carry between the tackles this season, and last week, in the Patriots' first game without Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo, they gave up 146 rushing yards between the tackles, tops in the league for Week 7.
Running backs I hate in Week 8
To be honest, the running back situation is so brutal this week, I have a hard time putting anyone in this section this week. I mean, Fred Jackson is a top-10 guy this week. It's ugly. Like DeAngelo Williams would normally be a "hate" this week. Mike Tolbert was on the field for more snaps last week, Williams has yet to score a touchdown this year, Tampa Bay is fifth against the run and have only allowed one rushing touchdown all year. Yet he's a top-20 guy this week! There's nobody else!
So honestly, I could tell you that I'm not buying Mike James, that you should expect lower numbers from guys like Darren Sproles (Bills allow second-fewest receptions and third-lowest receiving yards to opposing runners), that Zac Stacy, as much as I like him as a runner, probably won't have the game of his life on "Monday Night Football" against Seattle, that Willis McGahee or BenJarvus Green-Ellis are down even from their current low standards, but I'm not going to. This week, all bets are off. No running backs are in "hate" this week. Or they all are. It's a wasteland out there. Good luck, my friend. And hey, as you sift through the rubble this week for a running back, just remember: clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.
Wide receivers I love in Week 8
Eric Decker, Broncos: Another super-obvious name. I mention him just because I thought it was worth noting that while Decker tends to be an afterthought to Julius Thomas and Wes Welker, did you know he actually leads the Broncos in targets and receiving yards? Just as much a top-10 play as the other guys; my Washington semi-professional football team is not only terrible on defense, but they just lost Brandon Meriwether for the game. Brandon Meriweather is not a good football player. Yet him missing is a downgrade. Seriously. It's that brutal.
Steve Smith, Panthers: Calvin Johnson. And Wes Welker. That's it. That's the list of wide receivers that have been targeted more in the red zone this year than Steve Smith. Touchdowns in two straight, Revis Island no longer exists. Revis Island is no longer a thing (thanks for the zone, Tampa Bay!) and in fact, the Bucs have allowed four touchdowns to opposing wide receivers in the past two weeks, which is tied for the most in the league.
Marques Colston, Saints: I'm guessing that Jimmy Graham doesn't play, or if he does, he's limited by injury. Colston is too good a player to have this long a drought, I feel it ends against the Bills who have allowed the second-most fantasy points, yards and touchdowns to opposing wide receivers this season. Admittedly, they've been banged up and they now have Stephon Gilmore and Jairus Byrd back, but still. The Saints are gonna throw and they're gonna throw it to Colston. He's a good WR2 play this week.
Jarrett Boykin, Packers: Now, not every game is going to have Joe Haden on Jordy Nelson and James Jones out, but Boykin is legit. It's a nice matchup here (only two teams have allowed more receiving touchdowns or receptions per game to opposing wide receivers than the Vikings, who are 29th against the pass) and I'm not expecting James Jones in this one again. But even if Jones plays, he won't be 100 percent, and they're going to be short Jermichael Finley as well. Even if they are running more, as we keep saying, the Packers offense can sustain three fantasy viable wide receivers.
Terrance Williams, Cowboys: A score in three straight, Tony Romo trusts him and it's easy to see why. Since Week 4, the only qualified wide receiver catching a higher percentage of his targets than Williams is Antonio Brown. He throws it to Williams and Williams comes down with it. Meanwhile, I would say this is a tasty matchup, if I talked like Paris Hilton five years ago. The Lions rank in the top five most generous defenses in fantasy points, receptions and yards allowed to opposing wide receivers.
If you're desperate: As bad as Eli has been, he keeps finding Rueben Randle (four scores in three games) and Randle had 15 targets last time they faced Philly. ... You can throw on Atlanta and Michael Floyd has five catches in each of the past four games. ... It's the Monday night game, so you'd have to have another option, but if Percy Harvin is out there, I'm playing him as a WR 3. If he's not, I like Golden Tate the most of any Seahawks receiver in what is a terrific matchup. ... If you look at what No. 2 wide receivers have done against the Browns this season, the numbers are good. Among them? Brian Hartline in Week 1 (9 receptions, 114 yards, 1 touchdown), Marlon Brown in Week 2 (4-for-45, 1 TD), Kris Durham in Week 6, (8 for 83 yards), Jarrett Boykin in Week 7 (8 for 103 yards, 1 TD), which is a long way of saying I like Donnie Avery this week in deeper leagues as Dwayne Bowe gets Hadenized, which I just made up and semi-hate.
Wide receivers I hate in Week 8
Mike Wallace, Dolphins: Hasn't scored since Week 2, his quarterback is inconsistent, and I expect Aqib Talib to be active for this game and covering Wallace. The Patriots have played pretty good pass defense recently (11th best in the NFL, Drew Brees had just over 230 passing yards against them two weeks ago) and Hartline and Brandon Gibson take enough targets away that I can't see him as a top-20 play this week. FYI, since 2012, when Talib is in the lineup, the Patriots have allowed 14 touchdowns to 16 interceptions. Without Talib, the Patriots have allowed 20 touchdowns to 12 interceptions.
Denarius Moore, Raiders: "Three scores in four games, Berry, what's the problem, yo?" Steelers defense, that's what. I'm expecting Ike Taylor to be on him and overall, the Steelers defense is pretty strong against the pass. They allow just the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers and just three touchdowns all season.
Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs: Insert wide receiver being covered by Joe Haden here. Sorry. Insert "wide receiver who was signed to a $56 million extension in the offseason by an offensive-minded coach who had been pass-happy throughout his entire career but now spends time watching as his quarterback checks down to his running back on every play because he is deathly scared to throw into coverage, and now he's wondering why they bothered to sign him for all that money in the first place" being covered by Joe Haden here.
Kenbrell Thompkins, Patriots: In Rob Gronkowski's return, Thompkins saw only five targets for two catches and 16 yards, all tied for his season lows this season. Part of Thompkins' appeal was the scoring, and those opportunities are fewer now with Gronk around. Meanwhile, the Dolphins are still the only team yet to allow a touchdown to an opposing wide receiver, and they've allowed the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season.
Tight ends I love in Week 8:
Tony Gonzalez, Falcons: I know, he's getting doubled to death, but against the Cardinals, that's not gonna matter. You know he's getting targets in the end zone (only Jordan Cameron has been targeted more among tight ends), and you know that this is as good as it gets for matchups. The Cardinals have allowed the most receptions, yards, fantasy points and touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season.
Jordan Reed, Washington: As mentioned a few times this year, but most recently in the "love" section of last week's Love/Hate, Reed now has three straight games of over six targets. Reed has now caught 87 percent of his targets this season, the highest among any qualified wide receiver or tight end. Fred Davis was a healthy scratch last week; they like Jordan Reed there. This is not a fluke. You already know Griffin is gonna have to throw, throw, throw in this game, and the Broncos are bottom five in receptions and yards allowed to opposing tight ends.
If you're desperate: Heath Miller now has 70 yards or a score in three straight games. ... Cowboys give up the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends, and Joseph Fauria is a legit red zone target in what should be a high-scoring game.
Tight ends I hate in Week 8
Jared Cook, Rams: Averaging fewer than 35 yards a game since Week 2, he should not be owned in ESPN standard leagues.
Brandon Myers, Giants: Owned in 78 percent of ESPN.com leagues. Again, should not be owned. At all. Just stop.
I know, a very lame "hate" list for tight end this week. What can I tell you? Tight end is ugly this week as well. Like, I don't love Jordan Cameron's matchup, but he's still a top-10 tight end this week. So because of injuries, the bye week and a general lack of consistent talent, people are scrambling a bit here as well, so there's not a ton to hate.
Defenses I love in Week 8
Carolina Panthers: Still available in 40 percent of leagues or so, the Panthers have allowed the second-fewest points per game (13.8) and third-fewest yards per game (302.2) this season. In fact, only the Chiefs and Seahawks have averaged more fantasy points per game than the Panthers defense this season. And you like the opponent on a short week. The only team to score fewer points or gain fewer yards than the Buccaneers this season? The Jaguars.
New England Patriots: Patriots at home, angry, against a quarterback that gets sacked a ton and likes to throw picks? OK.
New Orleans Saints: Banged-up Bills team coming into New Orleans, where the Saints are off a bye, have had two weeks to prepare for this game and are fourth in scoring defense. Thad Lewis, incidentally, has taken nine sacks since Week 6, tied for most in the league over that time.
If you're desperate: The Philadelphia Eagles have played a lot better recently and get the human turnover, Eli Manning.
Defenses I hate in Week 8
Denver Broncos: They are at home, they are angry, the Washington special teams are terrible, so there's a chance that Trindon Holliday runs one back. I get the potential appeal here, but I'm avoiding. Denver is bottom six in both points and yards allowed per game, they are no higher than 13th in either sacks or turnovers, and Washington is top-10 in points and yards. Shootout city. No thanks.
Cleveland Browns D/ST: They'll be fine, I have them at 11, but they are outside my top 10 just because Alex Smith does not turn the ball over. He doesn't throw it anywhere near Dwayne Bowe, of course, but he also doesn't turn it over. Not a top-10 play for me this week.
Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- suggests next time changing the channel instead of screaming. . He is the creator of RotoPass.com, a website that combines a bunch of well-known fantasy sites, including ESPN Insider, for one low price. Use promo code ESPN for 10 percent off. You may also have heard: He's written a book.