It was a nice change of pace. For once, I was getting advice instead of giving it.
After reading last Tuesday's love letter to Tyler Thigpen in which I discussed my gal pal whom I had feelings for, many readers wrote. They posted suggestions and many more used my feedback inbox to give me advice about how to get from the friend zone to the end zone.
Almost all suggested I go for it and most others begged me to never again use the phrase "gal pal." I'm definitely going for it, the question is just how to?
Among the suggested ways? Sending her a gift of lingerie, getting drunk and making the move, showing her the column and gauging her reaction, trying to hang out with her in a group of friends, trying to hang out with her alone, using a variety of cheesy lines and, in what was easily the most insane suggestion, just being honest and telling her how I feel.
Many asked if the girl in question was someone I worked with, whether she was the "Lincoln Freed the Slaves" girl. Many more offered words of encouragement and told tales of being married to a girl whom they were "just friends" with for a long time prior to going for it. And, of course, there was this:
A. Burgess (Baltimore): Single men should not be allowed to hold positions in journalism. You're depraved and egomaniacal. Grow up and do your job.
TMR: Come on dude. That's a bit rough, don't you think? Calling me a journalist?
I'm going to try (no promises, but I am going to try) to do a TRUM mailbag for Friday where I'll run the best comments along with some other, at least semi football-related e-mails. But either way, I'm reading through all the suggestions and I'm definitely going to take someone's advice.
I have no idea what will happen when I try it. All I can do is research the situation as much as I can, rely on my experiences and those of the people whose notes I'm reading, and make an informed decision. And then make my own decision and see what happens.
I know I can't predict the future. But as long as I put myself in the best position for a favorable outcome, I've done all I can and then the chips will fall where they may. And if it doesn't work, it'll be my fault and no one else's. But ain't that always the case?
Week 11 players I love:
Thomas Jones, RB, Jets: Remember when the Bears thought they had to get rid of him because they had Cedric Benson? Bwahahaha! Anyway, Jones has eight scores in his past five games and, on the road in a bad-weather game, he's the only Jet I trust.
For what it's worth, however, my colleague Keith Lipscomb points out to me that the only rushing scores the Patriots have given up this year are all to Ronnie Brown in that crazy game where we got our first look at the Wildcat. I still like him (both Jones and Lipscomb), but food for thought.
Dustin Keller, TE, Jets: Jones is the only one I trust, but Keller could be OK here. Again, bad weather, short checkdown passes, all that.
Wes Welker, WR, Patriots: So I don't end up doing a lot of radio interviews these days because there's just not enough time in the day. But I got an e-mail from a kid at the University of Oklahoma wanting me to go on his college radio show. It was very nice so I said sure. And it just goes to show, karma comes back to you. He sent me this:
B. Walnick (Oklahoma): So since Wes Welker set the record for receptions in the first 9 games we need a nickname for him. My buddy came up with the genius nickname "Dr. PPR." Fantastic right?! Get it ... Dr. Pepper ... Dr. PPR. I'm sure you got it. Anyway, he said feel free to take it as if you came up with it. It's genius.
TMR: Love it. Absolutely love it.
Jabar Gaffney, WR, Patriots: A deeper sleeper here, but talking with scouts about the game, they expect Gaffney to get some single coverage and that Cassel will go deep a few times looking for him with Darrelle Revis busy being all over Randy Moss. I'm going out on a limb and predicting at least five fantasy points for Gaffney.
As long as I am doing some mail today, I got another one yesterday.
John (Atlanta): Today on NFL Live you advised a writer that it was OK to bench LT in favor of Chris Johnson and DeAngelo Williams, but in last week's Love/Hate column you included Tomlinson in your list of "start 'em no matter what" players. Last week I applied the start 'em no matter what policy and got 5 points from Westbrook and 1 from Chris Johnson while Mewelde Moore sat on my bench collecting 21. Sure LT faces a tough Steelers D this week, but when does the matchup become more important than the quality of the player and his past production?
TMR: A great question and every situation is different. You can't (well, I guess you can, but you shouldn't) beat yourself (or me) up for starting Brian Westbrook or Chris Johnson instead of Moore. As for the question, yeah, I hate to say this, but LT is no longer on my must-start-every-week-no-matter-what list. That Chargers offensive line looks brutal, the loss of Lorenzo Neal hurts a lot more than folks thought and in this case, the guy who wrote in had two better matchups.
The list is constantly changing. Here's this week's edition of "must play no matter what":
Brandon Marshall, Roddy White, Brian Westbrook, Matt Forte, Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Drew Brees, Tony Gonzalez, Brandon Jacobs, Adrian Peterson, Andre Johnson, Steve Smith, Steven Jackson, Frank Gore, Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald, Antonio Gates, Chris Johnson, Marion Barber, Jason Witten, Clinton Portis.
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons: And I'll even say this. If I had Cutler and Ryan, I like Ryan even more.
Michael Turner, RB, Falcons: Now ahead of Ike and Tina on my list of favorite Turners.
Jerious "Hooch" Norwood: You realize if we start calling him Hooch we got Turner and Hooch, right? Yes, fine, I used that joke before. But until others start calling him hooch, my work isn't done. By the way, Norwood now has a score and double-digit fantasy points in two straight games. After this week, it'll be three straight.
Falcons D/ST: Double-digit fantasy points in their past two games, they are at home and Denver is second in the NFL in giveaways. I think this game has enough aerial fireworks that, yes, guys on both sides of the ball end up being worth it, unless your league penalizes yards and points allowed rather harshly.
Donovan McNabb, DeSean Jackson, Eagles: I actually think this will be a lower-scoring game than folks think since it's on the road at Cincy, the Bengals are coming off a bye and I expect Westbrook to go nuts. But you gotta start these two anyway.
T.J. Houshmanzadeh, WR, Bengals: At least seven receptions in five straight.
Donald Driver, WR, Packers: Look who's back. Back again. Apologies to Slim Shady but very quietly, Driver is back to being the focal point of Green Bay's passing game. In the past three weeks, Driver has 20 passing targets. That's the most on the Packers and playing at home against the Bears is a very nice matchup. Chicago currently gives up the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. You're already starting Greg Jennings and Aaron Rodgers, but I like Driver in this one as well.
Friends, ladies and gentleman (I'm assuming at least one member of my audience is a gentleman, but I'm not willing to gamble on the plural) ... let's meet your fightin' Texans:
Steve Slaton: Ran for 93 yards and two scores in his last game against the Colts.
Kevin Walter: Bet you didn't know he leads Houston with six scores, did ya?
And Owen Daniels as "Owen:" Only Gates and Gonzalez have more fantasy points among tight ends.
All Your Colts: Bet the over.
All Your Chiefs.
Lou (St. Louis): Dude, your heading for this week should be "In Tyler We Trust." "Fight Club" reference? I'm somewhat baffled that there are thousands of dudes writing fantasy articles about this guy and no one has made that connection. By the way, I'm going for it. Over (Jake) Delhomme, (David) Garrard, and (Ben) Roethlisberger, I'm going with Tyler Thigpen. Screw being safe, I'm going for the jugular in my league. I imagine this is what it would be like to be a "girl" friend deciding to be your girlfriend. Risky on paper. Chance of this being a total disaster. Lets hope for both of our sakes that some risks are worth taking.
TMR: I don't write the headlines and I've been talking about Tyler for three weeks now. But you're right. Totally blew that one. Well done. Anyway, Thigpen, Dwayne Bowe and Mark Bradley should all be rockin' like Dokken against the Saints, who currently are top 11 in both fantasy points given up to opposing quarterbacks and wide receivers. And Lou, I also agree with your starting quarterback choice and that I'm sure it's more than just "disaster" that comes to mind when women decide whether or not to date me.
All Your Dolphins except Ted Ginn Jr: West Coast team traveling east? I'm sorry, make that bad West Coast team traveling east? I know Nnamdi Asomugha will shut down Ginn, but Chad Pennington, Greg Camarillo, Anthony Fasano and both running backs will have a field day.
Plaxico Burress, WR, Giants: When I have breakfast in the morning and look at the milk carton I see a picture of Plaxico Burress. Since coming back from suspension, Burress hasn't topped 60 yards receiving in five straight. But step aside, Stella. This is the week Plax gets his groove back. Because of the Giants' strong run game, the play-action will be in effect and Burress will see single coverage. He has scored in six of his past nine games against the Ravens and this week, he'll make it seven of 10.
Kevin Boss, TE, Giants: Bruuuuuuuuce! (pause) Oops, sorry. Wrong Boss. Anyway, he's got a score in three straight now.
Antonio Bryant, WR, Buccaneers.
Rob (Hillsborough): In your weekly rankings, how come all of the ESPN guys hate Antonio Bryant? You don't even rank him in your top 50 and everyone else has him around 40. How do you guys get paid to do this for a living and overlook a player having a Pro Bowl season? And how do I get a job doing this? I would put you all to shame.
TMR: Yeah, I had him in the 50s initially and that's a mistake. After looking at the matchup and doing more research I like him more than I did at first. I'll put him somewhere in the 30s in my Friday afternoon rankings update. I can't speak to my colleagues but Bryant has been inconsistent this year and with Tampa's run game banged up, the Vikings can drop more guys back into coverage. Bryant's had less than 40 yards receiving in two of his past three home games, too. That said, he also has at least 115 yards receiving and a touchdown in two of his past three games. And considering Minnesota gives up more than 19 fantasy points a game to opposing wide receivers, I think he'll be solid this week. To answer your other question, just keep doing what you are doing. I know tons of guys who got a job by sending random e-mails telling potential employers how much better they are than them.
All your Panthers: They are at home and it's Detroit. Not worried at all about last week.
Donnie Avery, WR, Rams: Mr. Berry, that well is looking a bit dry, no? No, no it isn't. You'll see.
Shaun Hill, QB, 49ers: Sure, he could have had 49 turnovers against the Cardinals. But he is at home against one of the worst defenses in the league. And he looked good at times against Arizona. I'm saying 200 yards and two scores. You can do worse. That line also has potential for me to use it as a way to get out of the "friend zone."
Jason Hill, WR, 49ers: With Josh Morgan out this week, Hill the receiver has a good connection with Hill the thrower, catching a score two games ago and getting seven balls for 84 yards last week. Isaac Bruce will be solid here as well.
Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers: Make no mistake, as a rule, I hate Vernon Davis. But a reader pointed out (sorry, I couldn't find the e-mail) that Davis' last three scores have come from Shaun Hill. And he's right.
Steve Breaston, WR, Cardinals: At least seven receptions in five of his past six.
Tim Hightower, RB, Cardinals: Can't believe I am writing this, but the Seahawks aren't the 49ers.
Matt Hasselbeck and Bobby Engram, Seahawks: Cardinals play much worse on the road, they've given up the second-most passing touchdowns this year, you know Seattle will be down to the highest-scoring offense in the league ... nice fantasy game for these two and I bet John Carlson is solid here too.
LenDale White, RB, Titans: The "Hooch" of the South!
Bo Scaife, TE, Titans: Jags give up the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.
David Garrard, QB, Jaguars: Traditionally plays decently at home against Tennessee. Don't expect miracles but 12 fantasy points or so is very doable here.
Marcedes Lewis, TE, Jaguars: If you're looking for a deep sleeper, he's second on the Jags in targets. Just saying.
Roy E. Williams, WR, Cowboys: Nothing more than a gut call here. But Romo is back, they've had the bye to work Roy in more, the Redskins will focus on Terrell Owens and Jason Witten, and Jerry Jones likes to be right, you know? He's got a pretty big ego and he signed Roy to a lot of money. Wouldn't surprise me if Jerry told Wade Phillips to make sure Roy got the damn ball this week.
Santana Moss, WR, Redskins: He has four touchdowns in his past six games against them, he's had at least 115 yards in his past three games against the Cowboys, and earlier this year against Dallas, Moss had 145 yards receiving. As close to money in the bank as you get. Also like Chris Cooley and Antwaan Randle-El in a game where Portis might be limited.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Bills: New epitaph. Here lies Matthew Berry; he believed in Marshawn Lynch.
Week 11 players I hate:
Brett Favre, QB, Jets: 47-3. The Jets put up 47 points last week and Brett Favre still had only one touchdown pass. Since that crazy six-touchdown game, Favre has only four touchdowns in five games. He also has eight turnovers, it's expected there will be bad weather in this game and, by the way, the last time Favre faced the Patriots, he had less than 200 yards and only one score.
Randy Moss, WR, Patriots: Bad weather, Darrelle Revis and last time they played, he had only two receptions for 22 yards.
All your Bengals: Except the aforementioned-in-love Houshmandzadeh.
The entire Bears pass game: Assuming Orton doesn't play, we should call the Bears "Rexy's Midnight Runners" because with Grossman at quarterback, it's gonna have to be totally dark to do anything other than hand the ball off with success.
Deuce McAllister, RB, Saints: Don't think this is as easy a matchup as you think it is.
Jeremy Shockey, TE, Saints: It's not just me who hates Jeremy. It's also Drew Brees. And Shockey owners.
Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs: Welcome back, Larry. We missed you. On this list.
Every Raider. Do I even need to put a reason?
Joe Flacco and the Ravens' run game: Great story, solid team, but not on the road, not against the Giants. No thanks.
Any Tampa Bay running back: Banged up, facing the Vikings, splitting carries ... just because it's obvious doesn't mean it isn't true.
Kevin Smith, RB, Lions: As long as we are talking about what teams do at home, the Panthers held the Cardinals to 50 yards rushing total in their last home game and have given up only three rushing touchdowns in five home games this year.
Julius Jones, RB, Seahawks: Don't trust him. At. All.
Chris Chambers, WR, Chargers.
Aaron (Kennesaw): My question is why do you still hate Philip Rivers? I went back and looked at the rankings archives and you have not had him ranked inside of your top 10 QBs any week of the season. He is currently the No. 1 fantasy QB after 10 weeks, which means it's not a fluke. This is my fourth e-mail regarding Rivers, and I'll probably keep sending them until he pops at least into your top ten.
TMR: Last week I had Rivers 12th. And you know where he finished last week among fantasy quarterbacks? 12th. You are correct, there have been some weeks I've been dead wrong on Rivers, but there have also been weeks when he has not been good. In fact, he has been outside of the top 10 among fantasy quarterbacks in four of his past six weeks. So, because of the "LT" threat of taking scores away, plus the West Coast team in the east, at the Steelers ... not crazy about him or anyone in the Chargers' passing game (except Gates).
Fred Taylor, RB, Jaguars: Good week last week, yes. But that was Detroit. And this is Tennessee. Don't love MJD here either.
Trent Edwards, QB, Bills: Where are all the Trent Edwards lovers now, huh?
Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- might have just written the longest column ever. He thanks you for getting all the way down here. He appears on Fantasy Football Now, airing Sundays at noon ET on ESPN.com. He is a four-time award winner from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, including a Writer of the Year award. 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