I often get asked if this is my dream job and I answer the same way every time.
Because when I was dreaming of jobs, this didn't exist. When I was in college there were maybe three guys in the world making a living doing fantasy football analysis. Maybe.
So, like many young people, I thought about a lot of potential careers I wanted, finally settling on sitcom writer. While I was in college, I interned at MTV and one of the guys I interned for was named James Jones -- who, as it turns out, was not the Oakland Raiders wide receiver. Everyone called him Jim. However, he went by James professionally, so as not to be confused with the cult leader (or these days, the rapper). Anyway, he was a very cool dude to work for and he was patient with me as I made all the typical intern mistakes.
At the end of the internship, like many people do, he told me to keep in touch after I graduated from Syracuse (Go Orange). Unlike many people, however, he was true to his word. After I graduated, I moved to Los Angeles, looking to break into the world of sitcom writing. So when I got to L.A., I reached out to Jim, and he had good news: He was helping to produce a new sitcom that had just been ordered by Fox and they were staffing up, so this was perfect timing. Why didn't I come in for an interview?
So I did. They were looking for writer's assistants. If you want to be a sitcom writer, there is no better entry-level job. It's very hard work; long hours writing down all the pitches, keeping track of changes, actually doing the writing of the script on the keyboard as the actual staff sit around a screen pitching jokes and lines of dialogue. It's mentally exhausting to do for hours at a time and you're responsible for hearing everything and looking for cues from the show runner on what to keep and what to ignore.
Very demanding job. But . . . you're in the room with the writers, you see how it all operates, you learn a ton, and after you've been there a while and learn the rhythm of the room, often times they'll let you occasionally pitch jokes or maybe even write a script, invaluable for breaking in. So it's a very good first gig.
So I interviewed with a few folks. It seemed to go well. I had an advantage over other applicants, having worked previously with Jim, and I have some experience, as I acted as a de facto writer's assistant in meetings with Jim as they were coming up with a new show. But then, as the meeting ended, I made a mistake.
"You guys are hiring writers right now as well, right?"
"Well, I have some samples. Could I try out for that as well? Would you read my stuff?"
"Uh ... yeah, sure. Leave it with the receptionist."
Massive mistake. So stupid of me. I was so ambitious and hungry and this guy was so nice, I just didn't really think it through. I had no writing experience, no agent, nothing. They were calling me in for an assistant's job. That's how they saw me. That's the level I was at. And the most important job of an assistant is to, you know . . . assist. Not shoving scripts in people's faces, not asking when they can do a different job, not telegraphing that you're going through the motions until you get your big break. Everyone is aware that no one wants to be an assistant forever, but you gotta start somewhere and they need that person to do that job well. Going above and beyond in the lowly job is how you get a shot at the good job. Or at least a better job than the one you have.
The problem was I got greedy. And I'm reminded of this story as we head into the fantasy playoffs. Don't get greedy. Focus on what is most likely, what is attainable. Play the sure things, not the long shots.
My best chance was to be a writer's assistant. I had been gifted a great opportunity. An amazing one, actually. Like most industries, Hollywood is a "who you know" business, and as the son of a college professor in Texas, I didn't really know anyone. Except once. An entry-level job like this in an industry like show business is hard to come by, but for once, I had an in.
Instead of focusing all my energy on what was possible, I went for the crazy long shot. I can't imagine they read the sample and frankly, if they did, they probably weren't impressed. I wasn't ready. And not surprisingly, they also passed on me for the assistant's job.
Here's the killer piece of that story. The show they were hiring for? "The Ben Stiller Show."
A sketch show that had just been picked up by Fox, it ended up being short-lived but garnered a cult following. And what a group of people that worked on that show! In addition to Stiller, there was a crazy-talented group of comedians and writers, including people who are now very well-known, especially in the comedy world. Judd Apatow, Andy Dick, David Cross, Bob Odenkirk, Janeane Garofalo, along with some writers you probably haven't heard of who all went on to have really great careers, like Jeff Kahn, Robert Cohen, Bruce Kirschbaum, Brent Forrester, Dino Stamatopoulos and Sultan Pepper. Hell, Judd's assistant was Jack Giarraputo, who went on to become Adam Sandler's producing partner, making over a billion dollars at the box office with their Happy Madison Productions. I mean, it was an insane collection of talent and it's not surprising that so many of them had (and continue to have) huge success.
And had I not screwed up my interview, there's a decent chance I'm in on the ground floor there. And assuming I had kept my head down, did a good job and was a generally pleasant person to around, one of them probably would have hired me in their next job. And so on and so forth. Even if not, working with that group would have been an incredible learning experience, and every once in a while I'll think about what my life would have been like had I not screwed up that chance. Certainly would be different than it is now. Maybe better, maybe worse, but definitely not the same, and certainly my Hollywood career would have taken a different path.
Like I said, I got greedy. I had one shot and I blew it. Which is what you, my Internet friend, are facing right now. Playoffs are not the time to get cute. They are not the time to go away from the most obvious path to success. Yes, I wish LeSean McCoy were playing someone other than Seattle. But I'm not benching him for Andre Williams, even if Rashad Jennings is out.
Look, it's fantasy football, anything can happen, but we're looking for what's most likely, what puts us in the best position to win. Sure, maybe the guy takes pity on me, reads the script and it's so hilarious he hires me; it's just really unlikely. My best path to success was paying my dues, and yours is to stick with the studs who brought you here.
Winning is a process. Make the wrong move and your season, just like my chances at that job, is over. If you start a guy like Le'Veon Bell and he struggles against Cincy, OK. It happens. You took your best shot and the ball didn't bounce your way. But if you start Colin Kaepernick and he has a poor game like he has had in seven of the past eight games and you lose because of it . . . you have no one to blame but yourself.
This is crunch time and there are many tough decisions. With my rankings and this column and Fantasy Football Now (this week we're on ESPNEWS and the WatchESPN app, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET), I'll give you my thoughts on who to start and who to avoid, but my general advice: The playoffs are not a time to get creative. Start your studs. That way, if you're gonna go down, go down swinging with your best bat, to mix sports and metaphors.
This week, more than ever, it's important to understand that Love Hate is merely my thoughts on players I like more or less than what you've come to expect from them. Most of the players you will be starting are not listed here. You're starting your obvious studs, your top-10 players at every position. When I say "Quarterbacks I love in Week 14," it's implied that these are actually "Non-obvious quarterbacks I love in Week 14," because it's only about players you might have questions about. So I need you to use your brain here. While Mark Ingram is on the hate list, you're not benching him for someone like Steven Jackson, even though I think Jackson exceeds expectations against Green Bay.
Check the rankings, really think about it from every angle and then make the smartest decisions for your team. You're the one who has to live with it, so make sure you've studied it and play the best odds.
Quick housekeeping before we get to it: Got many wonderful responses to last week's story about B.J. Collins, including some notes from leaguemates of his and his sister, who left a kind Facebook comment at the bottom of the column. I'm glad B.J.'s story touched many of you the way it did me, and it's worth noting the SSFFL continues to this day, with B.J.'s 10-year-old godson, Dominick, taking over his team.
Dec. 2 would have been B.J.'s 32nd birthday. I bring all this up because people seem really interested in B.J.'s story, and because it is Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research week here at ESPN, as we continue to support The V Foundation. If you'd like to donate, you can do so at JimmyV.org -- 100 percent of the cash donations go to cancer research and related programs.
And yes, my offer is still good; if I have blocked you on Twitter and you'd like to be unblocked, just make a donation of any amount to the Jimmy V fund, send a copy of the receipt to me at MatthewBerryTMR@gmail.com with the word TWITTER in the subject line and I'll happily unblock. Please don't send advice questions there, however, as I answer those on Twitter and Facebook.
Shoutout to Zach Rodgers and the championship team over at ESPN Stats & Information.
Quarterbacks I Love in Week 14
Russell Wilson, Seattle: You think the Eagles' defense is a great matchup, but then they shut down Tony Romo, Seattle is on the road . . . I could see you wondering what to do here. I have him as a top-eight play this week and it's mostly about his legs. I'm still not a believer in the Eagles' secondary, but one thing that rarely slumps is rushing, and Wilson has averaged 7.5 yards per carry this season, which leads all qualified players. He has more rushing yards than Andre Ellington and Giovani Bernard, to name a few. The Eagles have allowed 5.5 yards per carry to opposing quarterbacks this season, third-most in the league. Philly actually has a pretty good run defense (11th best in the past five weeks), so I could see Seattle having to look for some success via air as well.
Jay Cutler, Chicago: Now, Cutler is no sure thing, so understand this is a risk/reward play. But he had at least 15 points in two of the past three games, and I don't think Dallas has the secondary to keep up with Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall and Martellus Bennett. Expect some nice dump-offs to Matt Forte as well. The Cowboys have allowed 18.5 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in their past six games, with at least 11 in each game, and given the success I expect Dallas to have over the Bears' defense, this will be a high-scoring game. Remember, it's not a short week, as both teams played on Thanksgiving. Two good offenses against two mediocre-to-bad defenses? Sign me up.
So you're saying there's a chance: If you survived Ryan Tannehill last week, congrats and apologies. The Dolphins are back home against a Ravens secondary that not only gave up six scores to Ben Roethlisberger, but has now given up three touchdown passes in each of the past two games and 13 TD passes in the past four. No team has allowed more points per game to opposing quarterbacks the past five weeks. The Dolphins will struggle to run, so Tannehill will have to take to the air to move the ball. ... As good as their corners are, it's worth noting that the Patriots have allowed at least 19 points by opposing quarterbacks in three of their past four. The pessimist will point out those four were Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Cutler and Peyton Manning and while I agree, I wouldn't want a middle-of-the-road guy against them. I do think Philip Rivers is playing well enough, especially at home, to warrant consideration. ... If Ryan Fitzpatrick can do it, anyone can. That's a good rule about quarterback play in the NFL and in life, so Eli Manning is a legit QB2 option against the Titans. ... I could see Colt McCoy putting up decent numbers against a Rams team that is 24th against the pass the past five weeks. I could also see him get killed behind that offensive line. Definitely risk/reward here, so it depends on your level of desperation, but I do feel like he winds up with double-digit points here.
Quarterbacks I Hate in Week 14
Mark Sanchez, Philadelphia: In the five games Sanchez has gotten significant action, he's scored 13 points or fewer in three of them, offset by two 20-point games. Those were against Carolina and Dallas; he struggled against Green Bay and Tennessee, and played only half the game against Houston. Bottom line, Sanchez has yet to play a top-10 fantasy defense in terms of fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Until Sunday. Seattle has not allowed more than 11 fantasy points to an opposing quarterback since Week 7 this season. Now, the Seahawks also haven't played very many good quarterbacks during that stretch, but as Tedy Bruschi points out, they are a different defense since getting Bobby Wagner back a few weeks ago. Sorry, with the playoffs on the line, if you're asking me to bet on Mark Sanchez or on the Seattle defense, I'm backing the Seahawks.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta: Yes, he looked good last week. At home. This is December, on the road, at Green Bay. The Packers give up an average of just 14 points a game to opposing quarterbacks, and while there is certainly shootout potential here, I'm not risking it with a banged-up offensive line, a banged-up Roddy White and a four road-game streak of 14 points or fewer for Matt Ryan.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati: Look, you were never planning on starting him. I just enjoy the opportunity to print bad Andy Dalton stats. In six career games against the Steelers, Dalton has averaged 199.7 yards and 1.2 passing touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Steelers blitz on 41 percent of opponents' dropbacks, the third-highest rate in the league. Dalton has thrown an interception against the blitz in each of his past two games. Bengals fans are forced to leave their playoff hopes in his hands. Doesn't mean you do, too.
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco: Boils down to how lucky you feel. Kaepernick has not scored more than 13 fantasy points in a game since Week 6, his only 20-point game of the season. If you're in the playoffs, it's in spite of Kaepernick, not because of it. Feel the Niners will run a lot here (and be successful at it) so there won't be a lot of throwing needed. The Raiders aren't great, obviously, but they're not terrible on defense (last week notwithstanding). In the Raiders' past five games against quarterbacks not named Peyton Manning, opposing quarterbacks have averaged just 14.8 fantasy points per game, so I put him in here just because I think a lot of people see Oakland and think "automatic start." I'm not convinced. He could easily do well -- it's Oakland, after all -- but nothing I have seen in him recently gives me any confidence whatsoever. Outside my top 10.
Running Backs I Love in Week 14
Matt Forte, Chicago: Just in case you were gun-shy after last week's debacle. He's a stud and you start your studs. Don't get cute. Top-five play for me.
C.J. Anderson, Denver: Yeah, yeah, Buffalo. Just stop. Another top-five play and worth the money in daily leagues.
Justin Forsett, Baltimore: Again, matchups are one thing, but studs are studs because they are matchup proof. Forsett is a stud and not for nothing, Miami is 24th against the run the past five weeks.
New York Giants running back: Hoping it's Rashad Jennings, it might be Andre Williams, but whoever it is gets the start for me against a Titans team that is allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. Now just a heads-up: Jennings is a better running back than Williams and a more versatile one as well, and earlier in the season, when Jennings was hurt, Williams was fairly ineffective as a starter. So Jennings would be a top-10 play for me this week if healthy, but if he's out, Williams is a top-20 play. Williams has looked better recently and with the expected workload and the fact that Odell Beckham Jr. helps stretch the field, the quality of the matchup makes this too good to pass up.
Daniel Herron, Indianapolis: Boom goes the Dynamite! Who says I'm not hip? OK, sure, that reference is almost 10 years old, but that's probably how long it's been since Trent Richardson was good. Or maybe it just seems that way. Both Herron and T-Rich got the same number of carries last week, but Herron averaged 11 yards per carry thanks to a 49-yard touchdown. Meanwhile, Richardson averaged 1.5 per carry with a long rush of 3 yards. Herron also got both targets out of the backfield. I know people think Richardson will show big in a "revenge game" against his former team, and sure, I could see him getting a goal-line carry from coach Chuck Pagano as a result, but ultimately, I prefer Herron. I feel he's a top-20 play this week against a Browns team that's 20th against the run in the past five weeks.
So you're saying there's a chance: In Frank Gore's four games with at least 80 rushing yards this season, the difference for him has been yards after contact. In those games, Gore has averaged more than twice as many (35.5) as the other eight games this season (16.4). The Raiders have allowed the most rushing yards after contact this season. Workload will always be an issue for Gore, but with the season on the line, expect Gore to be fed. ... One way to try and slow down Aaron Rodgers is to keep him on the sideline by running the ball, so I expect Steven Jackson to be a flex-worthy play against a Packers squad allowing the most yards after contact per carry this season. ... Vikings are 27th against the run in the past five games and the only other choice is to let Geno Smith throw it, which doesn't seem like a good idea, making Chris Ivory a flex consideration. ... You know what's fun? Running against the Saints. And that's exactly what Jonathan Stewart gets to do. Stewart has at least 80 yards or a score in two of his past three. He's still a Panthers running back, but if you're desperate, you could definitely do worse.
Running Backs I Hate in Week 14
Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati: No matter what you do, questioning your boss in front of others, especially the media, is never a good idea. Especially if you've just run for 40 yards on 13 carries when the other guy on your team ran for 49 yards on 10 carries. Maybe offensive coordinator Hue Jackson forgives Hill's outburst, maybe he doesn't. But it doesn't help, considering Giovani Bernard was the starter before he got hurt, was the better running back last week, and it's not a great matchup. The Steelers are in the upper half of run defense the past five weeks and have allowed only one rushing touchdown in their past four games. Splitting carries, Hill has some definite risk this week, making him more of a flex play than a RB2.
Mark Ingram, New Orleans: I can't imagine you have better options, so you're starting him, but lower your expectations, and I'm avoiding him in daily leagues. Because while a lot has gone wrong for the Panthers this year, their run defense has been pretty good recently. They have allowed only 2.9 yards per carry the past five weeks, second-fewest in the league during that span, and are actually sixth-best in terms of rushing yards per game the past five as well. Speaking of the past five games, Ingram has averaged only 3.8 yards per carry (26th among running backs during that span) compared with 5.7 before. He scored twice the previous time he faced the Panthers (Week 9, which is also the last time he scored, incidentally), so there's always a chance he gets in, but Khiry Robinson coming back isn't going to help, either. Outside my top 10 this week.
Denard Robinson, Jacksonville: Well, it was fun while it lasted. Under 50 yards rushing the past two weeks, a solid Texans defense is not the ideal way to break that streak. As our player card notes, the Texans have limited ball carriers to 3.4 yards per carry the past seven games, and have given up just two rushing scores to opposing running backs in their past six. So it really becomes a volume play for Robinson, and he's coming off a game where he got just 14 touches against one of the worst run defenses in the NFL (the Giants). Now that was a weird game, as the Jags fell behind big early before rallying to win, but don't you think that could happen here again? Houston's offense is as good if not better than the Giants', especially with Arian Foster healthy. Not a top-20 play for me.
Ryan Mathews, San Diego: The Patriots are third against the run the past five weeks. Mathews has scored in two straight weeks, so you could hang your hat on that, but New England is tied for the second-fewest rushing touchdowns allowed this season. Mathews has fewer than 15 touches in two straight games and actually split the two red zone carries last week with Donald Brown. Also outside my top 20.
Doug Martin, Tampa Bay: I don't care what he did last week. Don't get cute. Not against the Lions. Not in the playoffs. Just don't, OK?
Wide Receivers I Love in Week 14
Brandon Marshall, Chicago: I know, the past two weeks have been tough. But the volume of targets and the talent are too hard for me to ignore. The Cowboys have allowed three scores to opposing wideouts in the past two games and a 100-yard wide receiver in each of their past three games. With Alshon Jeffery a bit banged-up, the 6-foot-4 Marshall may get a few more looks, including near the goal line. I like his chances to rebound in this game with either a high yardage total or a score against 5-10 cornerback Sterling Moore.
Kenny Stills, New Orleans: In the Saints' past two games without the injured Brandin Cooks, Stills leads the team with 15 targets, five more than any other player. Playing at home on the turf, Stills gets a defense that plays the run well (see Ingram, Mark) but struggles mightily against the pass. Only Houston has given up more touchdowns to opposing wide receivers than the Panthers.
Mike Wallace and Jarvis Landry, Miami: Just forget Monday night. Focus on how well Tannehill plays at home, how only Randall Cobb has more red zone touchdowns than Wallace and how Landry has caught 76 percent of his targets this season, most among active wide receivers with at least 50 receptions. When I say this is a good matchup, I mean this is a good matchup. The Ravens have allowed the most receptions, receiving yards and fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season. I mean . . . dude.
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston: You go for over 200 yards and two scores, you get on the love list the next week. Says it right there in the rule book and everything. Hopkins loves him some FitzMagic, catching 70 percent of his targets from Fitzpatrick, compared with only 53 percent from Ryan Mallett. Hopkins' 17.4 yards per reception leads all wide receivers with at least 50 receptions this season, and look here ... the Jaguars have allowed the second-highest yards-per-reception rate to opposing wide receivers this season.
So you're saying there's a chance: I don't expect Kendall Wright to have a game like he did last week, but Justin Hunter's injury helps, as does the fact that the Giants are tied for the fifth-most touchdowns allowed to opposing slot receivers this season. ... Brandon LaFell has at least 90 yards or a score in four of his past five and gets to play against the very burnable Shareece Wright. ... Stedman Bailey has 12 reception for 189 yards and a score in his past two games, and there can't be a better feeling than going against Washington's constantly-out-of-position secondary. ... Rueben Randle drives me batty and I can't imagine starting him in a playoff game, but going against Blidi Wreh-Wilson is about as good as Randle will see all year, making him an interesting cheap option in a daily game.
Wide Receivers I Hate in Week 14
Keenan Allen, San Diego: I know. I know. How do you bench the guy after last week? The answer is, you probably don't. But you certainly have to lower expectations for him; Allen caught two of his three touchdowns in the past two games when working out of the slot. Darrelle Revis and the Patriots have limited opposing slot receivers to a 55 completion percentage, the lowest in the league this season. Revis Island is no paradise, and I expect Allen to spend a lot of time there Sunday.
Andre Johnson, Houston: You're probably happy with last week, but last week should be an alarm for you. Think about it. Ryan Fitzpatrick throws six touchdowns and 358 yards and Andre Johnson gets 53 yards and a score of that? That's it? He's just not targeting him deep, and this is not as good a matchup as you might think. In his past five games against the Jaguars, Johnson has been held to one touchdown, including three games of four fantasy points or less. The Jaguars are tied for 14th against the pass the past five weeks and have allowed only three touchdowns to opposing wide receivers in their five true home games this season. Not a top-20 play for me.
Sammy Watkins, Buffalo: Doesn't seem 100 percent healthy. In his past four games, Watkins has not caught one of his four red zone targets. A total of just nine points in that span (since their bye), Aqib Talib should be on him all game and I just don't see how you can trust him in a playoff scenario, and even if you're playing to catch lightning in a bottle, the Broncos have allowed only one deep touchdown to an opposing wide receiver in their past six games.
Tight Ends I Love in Week 14
Martellus Bennett, Chicago: You already know I like Cutler in this game, and even without the "revenge" factor against his former team, it's a great matchup here as the Cowboys have allowed the most receptions and the third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.
Antonio Gates, San Diego: With the Patriots' excellent corners taking care of Keenan Allen and company, expect Rivers to look Gates' way often, as the Pats have allowed the second-most yards to opposing tight ends and the eighth-most points. For what it's worth, in four career regular-season games against the Patriots, Gates has averaged 5.3 receptions and 67.5 yards per game with three touchdowns.
Delanie Walker, Tennessee: With Justin Hunter out, it means a few more targets to go around and Walker seems to like home-cooking. In his four home games this season, he's averaged 5.3 receptions and 70.8 yards per game with two touchdowns. Nice matchup here, too, as the Giants have allowed the most yards per reception to opposing tight ends.
So you're saying there's a chance: If it were a better matchup, Jordan Reed would be in the love section proper. My fear is that Washington won't be able to handle the Rams' pass rush, meaning you'll see more of Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen, their "blocking" tight ends. Plus, the Rams give up the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. That said, Reed is a special talent and Colt McCoy has had eyes only for him in the three games he's gotten significant action. ... It was nice to see Kyle Rudolph in the end zone last week. Wish he got more than two receptions, but then again, the Vikings didn't need to score on offense that much, what with their special teams doing the job. Rudolph certainly has a chance to hit pay dirt again this week against a Jets team giving up the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends, including five touchdowns in the past five games.
Tight Ends I Hate in Week 14
Coby Fleener, Indianapolis: In the first nine games this season with a healthy Dwayne Allen, Fleener averaged 4.8 targets and 2.4 receptions per game. In the past three games without Allen, Fleener averaged six targets and 4.3 receptions per game. It looked good in the box score, but I have to tell you, Fleener makes way too many NFL mistakes for me. Just not a fan of his actual game, and with Allen expected back, I can't see Fleener having the same kind of success against a Browns team that has allowed only one touchdown to an opposing tight end in their past 10 games.
Owen Daniels, Baltimore: Averaging only 3.7 targets and 19 yards per game the past three weeks, the Dolphins have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. No way.
Vernon Davis, San Francisco: Bwahahahahahaha. I'm just kidding. No one with Vernon Davis as their tight end made the playoffs.
Defenses I Love in Week 14:
Houston Texans: Still available in about 25 percent of leagues, the Texans' D has averaged 11.7 fantasy points per game at home this season, fourth-most in the league. And you know, it's the Jaguars. Every team that has played the Jags has scored at least seven points this season.
Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals blitz on 41 percent of opposing dropbacks this season, the fourth-highest rate in the league. The only quarterbacks to be sacked more than Alex Smith when blitzed this season are Blake Bortles and Colin Kaepernick. Jamaal Charles is banged-up and, coming off an embarrassing loss to Atlanta, expect the defense to show up in this game. The Cardinals have averaged 10.2 fantasy points per game at home this season.
San Francisco 49ers: Since Aldon Smith returned in Week 12, the 49ers lead the league with a 40 percent pressure percentage for opponents' dropbacks. Derek Carr has averaged the fewest yards per attempt in the league when pressured this season. And, oh yeah, the Raiders have allowed opposing fantasy defenses to score at least nine points in five of their past six games.
Minnesota Vikings: Why hello, Geno. Available in 65 percent of leagues, they're currently seventh in fantasy scoring and haven't put up a negative score at home.
St. Louis Rams: The Rams have nine sacks the past two weeks, and Washington's idea of blocking seems to be stepping back and pointing out the clearest path to the quarterback. They're like little ushers out there. Washington has been better against defenses in Colt McCoy games, but still.
So you're saying there's a chance: I'd like the Indianapolis Colts a lot better if Vontae Davis is cleared to play after suffering a concussion last week, but there's a reason Brian Hoyer was benched last week, you know? ... The Giants are not a good defense, but against a Titans team allowing more than 12 points a game to opposing defenses in their past four games (since their bye), it probably won't matter.
Defenses I Hate in Week 14
Philadelphia Eagles: It boils down to whether you think they score a return touchdown, because the Eagles' defense has averaged only six fantasy points per game in their six games without a return touchdown. Seattle has yet to allow a defensive touchdown this season and are holding opposing fantasy defenses to just 4.4 fantasy points per game (with only one reaching double-digits). Not a top-10 play to me.
Buffalo Bills: The second-highest scoring defense, and Peyton Manning is coming off his worst game of the season, but I don't care. I'm not starting a defense against Peyton Manning in Denver. I'm just not.
Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- hopes your biggest mistakes all turned out as happily as his did. 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. You also may have heard: He has written a book.