The whole thing, frankly, is nuts.
I remember having a conversation once with the actor/director Kevin Connolly (who's most famous for his role in "Entourage") and he was talking about how, as much as you may want something, as an actor you have to know that some roles just aren't for you: "As my agent once told me, 'Hey Kevin, you're never gonna star in the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar story, you know?'"
Which is why I was shocked when I got an email from Brian Teta, co-executive producer of "The View."
Would you like to be on the show?
Um ... what?
The female-centric "The View"? The show that is often politically driven by the widely different opinions of its hosts and other times delves into many other topics, none of which are sports-related? That "View"?
Yeah. That "View."
I had the same reaction you did. Am I being catfished? Is this some made-up email? Did they mean to send this to Halle Berry? You'd be amazed by how much mail I get meant for her.
But no, they had the right Berry.
Apparently, Brian had an idea that involved a site I co-founded, FantasyMovieLeague.com. It's exactly what it sounds like: A site where you play a fantasy game based on movies. In short, you have your own eight-screen fantasy movie theater, you fill the screens with movies that are playing in theaters in the upcoming weekend, and you can use the same movie on more than one screen. There's a salary cap, so you can't just load up on blockbusters, and how much money the movies make at the box office in real life is how much they make for your fantasy movie theater. Simple and fun.
Anyway, it turns out Brian plays the game and loves it, and he had an idea: He was looking for a fun way to do a holiday movie preview, so he thought it would be cool to have the cast of "The View" play in a league against their viewers (and anyone else who wants to play). They'd give away prizes like a trip to the Oscars, a trip to New York and more. And they wanted me to come on the show to introduce it. Was I in?
Hell yes, I was in.
We agree on a date, and after hanging up the phone, it sinks in.
I'm doing WHAT?!?
And suddenly, I felt a pit in my stomach. I was nervous. And I was trying to figure out why.
It's not the TV part. I've been on TV a lot in my life.
It's not the live part. This football season, I am on live national TV every day of the week except Wednesday and Saturday. So it wasn't that.
And then it dawned on me. I was nervous because, for the first time, I was speaking to a primarily female audience. One that, if statistics are to be believed, is much less familiar with the concept of fantasy games than a typical male audience.
I NEVER get to speak to a female audience.
Obviously, there are many millions of women who watch and enjoy ESPN and play fantasy. And certainly, it's growing. But still, men currently make up the majority of the owners in fantasy football and my audience. I'd like to change that. The promotion of fantasy is hugely important to me, and especially to those who have not played and may not understand its appeal.
And that includes women. As a (relatively) recent father of twin daughters, it has become even more important to me.
So I was nervous. And excited. The show aired Wednesday, and if you'd like to see the segment, you can do so here.
I have very rarely done TV in front of a live audience before, so that was new for me. And very cool. It definitely gives you a charge. It started and then, just like that, it was over. But it was a lot of fun, the entire staff at "The View" could not have been nicer to me, and the best part was I got tweets and notes like this:
Dear Matthew Berry,
Thank you for making Fantasy Movie League and stopping by on The View this morning. My wife has never been interested in fantasy and has often put up with my shenanigans during the football season ... But this is all about to change once I showed my wife your interview. We are going to run a movie theater together in The View's contest! Maybe if she likes it, we could co-own a team next year.
Keep up the mediocrity.
Sam Sessa in St. Louis
See, I love that note. Thanks, Sam. One of the big things I love about all fantasy sports and leagues -- and if you've read any of my work before, you know this is a big theme for me -- is that fantasy brings folks together. And if this contest is a way to explain fantasy to a significant other in your life who wants to have fun with fantasy but is not a huge sports fan, that's amazing to me.
Because finding something to do together -- husband and wife, parents and kids, friends, family and co-workers -- is what it's all about. Now, more than ever, we need more people playing fantasy, understanding what it is, and enjoying it.
In case you were wondering, we are not getting paid by "The View" for this and the game is 100 percent free to play. The contest starts Friday at noon ET, but there are weekly prizes if you miss the first-week deadline. It runs seven weeks. And, of course, you can always start your own private league anytime you want. If you'd like to compete in "The View" league, you can find out more details at ABC.com/TheView.
Even if you are not into it, I hope you'll ask someone who has never played fantasy sports to try it. As I have often said, my job isn't done until every man, woman and child is playing some form of fantasy. Show them what this game we love is all about.
Let's get to it. Playoff week here, so names listed are a bit shorter. It's all about your studs, now. There should be much fewer choices this week. Don't get cute. Keep it simple, stupid. And as always, thanks to Robert Nelson and Jacob Nitzberg of ESPN Stats & Information for their help.
Quarterbacks I love in Week 14
Blake Bortles, Jaguars: Start your studs in the playoffs, they say. And guess what? Blake Bortles is a stud. Yeah, he is. He's got as many 20-plus-point games in ESPN standard scoring as Carson Palmer and Cam Newton. Since Week 5, only Tom Brady has more passing touchdowns than Bortles, whose five 300-yard passing games since then are tied for the most in the NFL. Going against the team that has allowed the most pass plays of 20-plus yards, it's worth noting that no quarterback has more yards via the deep pass than Bortles. Easy top-10 play for me this week.
Tyrod Taylor, Bills: I always believed in Tyrod! Yeesh ... well done, Tyrod. Showed me up, putting up big numbers in two tough matchups. Now he'll face an Eagles defense that has allowed 18 passing touchdowns in the past five games (and all five QBs threw for at least two TDs, while four of them threw for three or more.) By the way, the Eagles have allowed 131 fantasy points to opposing QBs during that span, 14 more than any other team in the NFL.
So you're saying there's a chance: I know Eli Manning has had two subpar games in a row, but I like his chances for a big game against a Miami pass defense that has ranked 27th in the league over the past four weeks. ... Can I just mention that Jameis Winston is playing the Saints and leave it at that? He had 18 points against them in Week 2, and since then, he has gotten a lot better and the Saints have gotten worse.
The price is right: As always, all players mentioned above are players I like in daily as well (Taylor is just $5,400), but here are a few I like specific to their prices on DraftKings.com: Andy Dalton is $6,600 and is at home against a Steelers team that has allowed five touchdowns on deep passes in the past four games, tied for the second most in the league during that span. ... If you're looking for relief at the position, Blaine Gabbert is just $5,100 and takes on a Browns team that has coughed up multiple passing touchdowns in each of the past five games, and Matt Schaub was the only opposing quarterback not to reach 20 fantasy points in those games. Gabbert has had at least 16 points in DK scoring each of the past three weeks.
Quarterbacks I hate in Week 14
Derek Carr, Raiders: Oh, this is a car, all right. A car headed for a playoff exit, baby! Eh, what do you want from me? It's the end of a long season, and sadly, I think it is also the end for those in 10-team leagues counting on Carr this week. This is not a great matchup, as he faces a Broncos team that he scored just nine points against in the first meeting this season. Denver has allowed just 11 passing touchdowns this entire season, tied for the fewest in the NFL. In fact, only three quarterbacks have thrown for more than one touchdown in a game against Denver, and Brady is the only one to have three.
Kirk Cousins, Redskins: Those who are streaming need to look elsewhere. Very quietly, the Bears have the fourth-best pass defense over the past four weeks, and on the road, Cousins has thrown for an average of just 231 yards with just five touchdowns total.
Philip Rivers, Chargers: He has multiple touchdown passes in just one of his past four games, and he's close to being the only healthy guy on the offense. Rivers had just 178 yards and no scores the last time he faced K.C., and yes, I know the Chiefs have given up big games the past two weeks. But looking closer, Taylor and Carr (who had the big days) are both among the top five in deep pass accuracy, giving them a few big plays to pad stats and help stretch the field. Rivers is just 31st in percentage of passes thrown 20 yards or longer and is 18th in accuracy among qualified QBs.
Running backs I love in Week 14
David Johnson, Cardinals: The fact that a guy who was a free agent in a ton of leagues two weeks ago is a top-five player in the playoffs tells you everything you need to know about how this season has gone. Johnson is expected to once again get all the work, and I love him against a Vikings run defense that is traveling on a short week, will be without Linval Joseph and is tied for 22nd against the run the past four weeks, having allowed three straight 100-yard rushers.
Thomas Rawls, Seahawks: Putting him here in case you were worried about the Ravens' defense. Don't be. During the past three weeks, Rawls is averaging 5.6 yards per rush and is in the top 10 among qualified RBs in both yards per rush before contact (3.0) and yards per rush after contact (2.6). And oh yeah, he has the most carries in the NFL (70).
So you're saying there's a chance: Even though they are splitting carries, I like both Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware against a Chargers team that has allowed the most 20-yard rushes this season, along with 4.88 yards per rush to opposing runners, the second-highest mark in the league. Both are usable as low-end RB2s or high-end flexes. ... On the road and with a banged-up quarterback, I expect a heavy dose of Frank Gore against Jacksonville's 21st-ranked run defense over the past four weeks. ... Shaun Draughn has 78 touches in his four games as a member of the 49ers. That's the same number as Rawls during that stretch. And that kind of volume against a Browns team that has allowed the second-most rushing yards this season should pay dividends.
The price is right: As always, I like all of the running backs I list above, but here are some players I like specific to their prices on DraftKings.com: Doug Martin is averaging 142.3 rushing yards in his past three games, best in the NFL since Week 11. Facing the Saints, he is worth every penny of his $6,200 price tag, as is Jonathan Stewart at $5,800. The volume is there (no one has more carries over the past six weeks) and the Falcons have given up the most catches, receiving yards and rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs. ... As long as we are going high end here, LeSean McCoy has had at least 100 yards from scrimmage in six straight games and, you know, might be a tad motivated on Sunday. The Eagles have coughed up 155.2 rushing yards per game since Week 7, the most in the NFL in that span. McCoy is $6,100. ... You either believe or you do not believe. I believe in James White and an expectation that New England will continue to pass quite a bit against Houston. White is $4,100. ... Tournament players should consider Ryan Mathews at just $3,400, as he's been productive when out there, and DeMarco Murray's stay in the doghouse could be a long one.
Running backs I hate in Week 14
Latavius Murray, Raiders: Of Murray's 199 carries this season, 163 (82 percent) have come between the tackles, as well as all five of his rushing touchdowns. The Broncos are allowing the fewest yards per carry (3.3) on rushes between the tackles this season. After just 57 total yards (and no TDs) when he faced off with the Broncos in Week 5, Murray is a touchdown-dependent, low-end RB2 this week.
Javorius Allen, Ravens: It's all about them Seahawks. They have not allowed a 100-yard rusher this season, and in fact, only three players have reached 75 yards rushing against them (none since Week 6). They also have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs and have yet to allow a receiving score to an opposing runner.
Eddie Lacy and James Starks, Packers: I could easily see one of them having a good game here, I just don't know how you trust either guy after last week. If you have Lacy and survived last week to be reading this here, hats off to you, my friend. Hats off.
Danny Woodhead, Chargers: For those in PPR leagues, it's worth noting the Chiefs have allowed the second-fewest receptions and fewest receiving yards to opposing runners this season, and in Week 11, Woodhead had one catch for 9 yards (also six carries for 7 yards) against these same Chiefs.
Wide receivers I love in Week 14
A.J. Green and Marvin Jones, Bengals: See Dalton, Andy. Green is obvious, of course, but I was the highest on him among all our rankers when the initial ranks came out. Meanwhile, Jones (a WR3 with upside this week) lines up wide left more often than any other position, which will match him up with Antwon Blake -- rated 117th out of 118 cornerbacks by Pro Football Focus -- who lines up wide right on 63 percent of his snaps.
Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, Jets: In case you were wondering if the good times would continue to roll, the answer is a resounding yes. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-3, respectively, this week they get a Titans team whose tallest DB is listed at 6-1. Fitzy is no dummy. Throw it high! Both guys are top five in the NFL in red zone targets.
Jarvis Landry, Dolphins: Another player that if you survived his Week 13, well done, gentle reader. It gets better this week, as Landry will take on a Giants team allowing the most receptions and most receiving yards to opposing wideouts lined up in the slot this season. Landry has lined up in the slot on 73 percent of his routes this season, and Landry has 17 red zone targets this season, tied for fourth most in the league.
Sammy Watkins, Bills: Much like Tyrod, I'm on Sammy this week, as he's clearly healthy and Buffalo is actually targeting him (a novel idea). Nine receptions for 267 yards and three touchdowns in his past two games will work, and now he'll go against an Eagles team that might be focused on LeSean McCoy. Either way, they've coughed up 12 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers in their past five games, four more than any other team since Week 9.
So you're saying there's a chance: In the Titans' past five games, Dorial Green-Beckham leads all Titans pass catchers not named Delanie Walker in targets and receiving yards and is tied for the most receptions. In the same five-week span, the Jets' defense has allowed the second-most receptions and receiving yards and the most receiving TDs on passes 15-plus yards downfield. ... DeVante Parker has scored in two straight games, looked great doing so and should have no problem against a secondary that is the worst in the NFL during the past four weeks. ... Logic and history says Doug Baldwin needs to come back down to earth, but the man has been a top-five fantasy wideout in three of the past four weeks and has the hottest quarterback this side of Cam Newton, so given the targets and matchup, expect at least one more week in the spotlight.
The price is right: I like everyone listed above in daily this week as well, but specific to their prices on DraftKings.com, here are some other players to consider: Mike Evans ($7,200) is this week's winner of the "who gets to match up with Brandon Browner" contest. Browner still ranks last out of 118 graded CBs by PFF. ... Brandin Cooks ($6,200) is likely to be somewhat low-owned given Drew Brees' struggles on the road and other good players in the same price range, but the No. 1 WR versus Tampa Bay the past two weeks has had 14 catches for 188 yards and two scores. In the past two months, Cooks has five games with at least 70 yards and a score. In 2014, Demaryius Thomas had five such games all season and was the No. 2 wideout in fantasy. That's what we're dealing with here. ... Very quietly, Brian Hartline ($3,700) has 22 catches for 234 yards the past three weeks, with at least 13 points in DK scoring in every game. He's got a solid floor with a limited upside, so he's interesting as a safe cap saver.
Wide receivers I hate in Week 14
Randall Cobb, Packers: I don't need to tell Randall Cobb owners this, but in seven different games this season Cobb has had fewer than 45 receiving yards. His target count is heading in the wrong direction (12-10-9-7-5) in the past five weeks and it's actually not a great matchup, as Dallas has allowed only 12 passing scores this entire season while giving up the sixth-fewest points to opposing wide receivers.
Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, Raiders: Shocker. Once again, I am down on the Raiders' offense. But hey, it's against Denver, man. Need another good Broncos defense stat? Only two wide receivers have reached 100 yards against Denver this season, and only three have scored double-digit fantasy points. Bottom line: The Broncos have allowed just 118 fantasy points to WRs this season, 36 fewer than any other team.
Ted Ginn Jr., Panthers: Podcast fans know him by another name, but the man who, um, makes every catch interesting, should not be able to bounce back from brutal drops this week. The Falcons are tied for the fourth-fewest receptions and the fewest receiving yards on deep passes this season. In fact, in their past four games, the Falcons have allowed just eight such receptions and are the only team not to allow a touchdown pass on a deep ball in that span. Expecting a repeat of last week would be low-percentage point chasing.
Tight Ends I love in Week 14
Delanie Walker, Titans: Another week, another mess of great Delanie Walker stats. Dude has been so, so money. The kids still say that, right? Walker's got 90-plus yards in three straight games and at least 50 yards in eight straight, which ties the longest active streak by any tight end. He has at least six catches in seven of his past eight and five more catches than every other tight end despite missing two games this season. He's an obvious top-five play for me, despite a matchup that's not great.
So you're saying there's a chance: Speaking of ignoring tough matchups, Scott Chandler has a score in three of the past four games and is in an offense in which there isn't a lot else to throw to. ... With Martellus Bennett out for the season, expect even more love for Zach Miller, whom Jay Cutler and the Bears are very high on, especially in the red zone. Miller has four scores in his past five games. ... Coby Fleener gets the Jags this week. In the past four weeks, Jacksonville has been shredded by opposing tight ends. The Jaguars have allowed the most receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns to opposing TEs during that span.
The price is right: I like all the players I just mentioned above in daily as well, but specific to their prices on DraftKings.com, you might want to also consider Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who is this week's "gets to play the Saints" winner and is just $2,400, if you seek another cheap option beyond guys like Miller. ... Considering the Steelers have given up the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends, Tyler Eifert and his $5,600 salary should be fired up confidently. ... Julius Thomas has scored in three straight, gets another good matchup with Indy and is just $4,200.
Tight ends I hate in Week 14
Antonio Gates, Chargers: The Chiefs have allowed the fewest receptions and receiving yards (33 yards per game!) to opposing TEs this season. Gates had just one catch for 6 yards in Week 11 against K.C. and things have only gotten worse for the Chargers since then. The most fantasy points by a TE in a game versus the Chiefs this season is seven.
Richard Rodgers, Packers: The man is a football hero, no doubt, but I don't expect anywhere close to a repeat of last week. Despite facing Greg Olsen and Jordan Reed in the past two weeks, the Cowboys have allowed just 41.8 receiving yards and one touchdown to opposing tight ends in their past five games. And before last week's 146-yard performance (aided by that Hail Mary), Rodgers hadn't had more than 45 in a game this season.
Defenses I love in Week 14
New York Jets: The Jets haven't been great, and yes, the Titans put up a ton of points last week, but they still turned the ball over twice, giving them 24 on the season, second most in the NFL. At home in a must-win game, the Jets are a strong play for double-digit points.
So you're telling me there's a chance: Very quietly, the Bears have the fifth-best scoring defense in the NFL the past four weeks, and on the road this season, Kirk Cousins & Co. have given up an average of more than 11 fantasy points per game to opposing defenses.
The price is right: I like all these defenses in daily, but specific to their prices on DraftKings.com, also consider the Chiefs ($3,200), who have the most fantasy points in the league since Week 9. They scored 19 against San Diego last time out and since then, San Diego has gotten worse. This game is in Arrowhead, making the going even tougher for the Chargers. ... If you just want to punt the position, San Francisco is just $2,100 and gets Johnny Manziel and the Browns, who have allowed the most sacks in the NFL (41) and are tied for the third-most turnovers (22). ... Speaking of turnovers, is there any question Matt Schaub throws a pick-six against Seattle? The Seahawks are $3,500.
Defenses I hate in Week 14
Minnesota Vikings: In case it wasn't obvious by now, you shouldn't even start good defenses against Arizona. The Cardinals have allowed a total of 19 fantasy points to opposing defenses this season, fewest in the league, and the most they have allowed in any game is seven.
Cincinnati Bengals: Since the last meeting between the Steelers and Bengals in Week 8, opposing defenses versus Pittsburgh have scored minus-8 points, by far the lowest total in the league, with three of the four teams scoring negative points. The Steelers' offense has scored 30-plus points in each of those four games. The Cincy secondary is really banged up, so this could get ugly versus Big Ben.
Matthew Berry -- the Talented Mr. Roto -- says that now that he's done "The View," his next goal is his own Lifetime movie. He is a paid spokesman for DraftKings.com and the creator of RotoPass.com, a website that combines a bunch of well-known fantasy sites, including ESPN Insider, for one low price. He is also one of the co-founders and owners of FantasyMovieLeague.com.