Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Bill Simmons Report...Appropriately Named

by Jason Jones

The B.S. (Bill Simmons) Report with guest Matthew Berry

For those who are not familiar with Bill Simmons, in my humble opinion, he is the Pat O’Brien of the ESPN mediums of information. He is not even in the stratosphere with Dan Patrick, Keith Olbermann, or even John Anderson or Scott Van Pelt. He is an entertainment/shock-value side show. If he were to have a television show on the ESPN network, it would be fighting for time with former shows like Quite Frankly (with Stephen A. Smith) and Playmakers. Clearly, I am not a fan of Bill Simmons, in my opinion ESPN should not have a “National Enquirer” division. This is evident in the first few minutes of the edition of his podcast I plan on dissecting. When I was growing up, my parents told me that inevitably there would be something (i.e. fashion trend, music, entertainment, or related fads) that I would be ashamed to be a part of. It's just the way the world works. For my mother, it was bell-bottom pants. For me it was Cross Colours (that’s a topic for an entirely different post). I am proud to say that I never supported boy bands, Aaron Spelling television programming, emo music, using metro-sexual “product” or wearing macramé. Clearly Simmons and Berry didn’t get the memo on one of these. As I have only heard the first 5 minutes of this podcast, I look forward to hearing and commenting on the remainder of this podcast in real time, a sort of live blog.

Bill Simmons in red

Matthew Berry in blue

My comments in black bold

00:48-Bill indicates that “for all of you interested in football talk” you’ll have to wait for about 8 minutes while he and Matthew Berry get into some “Beverly Hills 90210 and Hollywood talk”. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!! This is ESPN, not Access Hollywood. If we gave a $%&! About the abomination that is Beverly Hills 90210, we wouldn’t be on this particular website. Besides, the people who were in Beverly Hills 90210 don’t care about Beverly Hills 90210!

01:13-Simmons: “Ladies and Gentleman the most ubiquitous employee for ESPN, Mr. Matthew Berry”. Ubiquitous?? Really, sure Berry is everywhere…distorting and polluting the average sports fan with half a$$ed and irresponsible commentary.

02:26-Simmons: “I have the greatest name for a production company in Hollywood, of the legendary Tiffany Amber Thiessen…who I think we both love. Her production company is called, T.A.T. Productions. No, better yet, its called Tit for Tat Productions” Berry: “Every time I think I’ve run out of reasons to love Tiffany Amber Thiessen, somehow I find a little more of a sliver of my heart I can give her”. Wow! I think my brain is hemorrhaging. What is wrong with this picture? Two middle-aged men are crushing on some D rate celebrities like a couple of ten year old boys who are looking for material to aid in the discovery of how their twig and berries work. Oh, and legendary…LEGENDARY TIFFANY AMBER THIESSEN? These tools should have their man cards revoked.

03:04-Simmons: “The final 90210 episode was on television last week, and of course I watched it. Two things. 1) How is some employee of the network not fixing this problem at an editing point before the file is uploaded? 2) I love television and I clearly watch too much of it. I could not begin to tell you where you could even find an episode of this crap. Maybe you’d have to start at Lifetime, Oxygen, WE, or Logo, I must not be watching the right channels.

03:14-I can’t believe this. I will save you the crap that ensues. In a nutshell…they summarize the final episode (Berry actually corrects Simmons on a mispronunciation of one of the lower tier character names). If I continue to comment on the Beverly Hills 90210, your eyes might start to bleed.

05:36-Ok, maybe we’re getting into the fantasy football talk. Simmons starts off by mentioning that by this time in the season everyone has read the same stuff and go into each draft looking for the same sleepers. Well, if you are listening to people like Matthew Berry, he is suggesting players that are not sleepers at all. Fantasy sports are funny that way. The only time there is a real sleeper is if the player is unproven and you take a flier on him (which Berry would never recommend, too risky even in the last round) or the less popular one, you select a guy that everyone else believes is done career wise/player coming off of a terrible season. Either way, I find it hard to believe that Berry has ever mentioned a legitimate sleeper.

06:01-Berry, “I used to read everybody. I was really up on the whole fantasy industry, I haven’t read another fantasy article in over two and a half years.” I assure you of one thing…MATTHEW BERRY HAS NEVER UTTERED TRUER WORDS!!!!!!!!!!!! He may have been a legitimate fantasy analyst at one point. But ever since signing on with ESPN, he has stopped putting in the work. As we’ve said here before, Berry has the largest megaphone in the industry and he continues to spew lazy and irresponsible content. This is our motivation. To show how poor his advice really is.

06:32-Simmons: “You’re on record as saying that you now are more interested in your predictions than you are of your team’s success. Subconsciously, you are throwing out some crazy predictions just hoping they’ll come true. I like finding guys like Marvin Harrison. He finally sucked last year, I like guys like that. The guy that we’ve all had previously and who’s stock has fallen for no reason. We know he’s going to have one last real good year before he falls off. Are there any guys like that? Berry: "I like Torry Holt ”

Ok, I can’t wait to hear this one. Torry Holt has been the most consistent WR in fantasy football for about eight years; including last year. Everyone is entitled to an off year, and Holt hasn't had one.

11:42-Berry: “You look at what he actually did, 93 receptions, 1200 total yards and 7 touchdowns. That’s pretty good for a guy who was quote un quote terrible. If you tell me he catches 90 balls, I like my chances.” This is one of those rare comments by Berry that makes sense.” I was worried he would make a ridiculous claim like, “Torry Holt will be a sub-20 fantasy WR". The only problem is, the question was, “Who is going to have that one final great year?” Torry Holt has more than one year left. I guarantee it.

13:56-Simmons: “Ok, let me get this straight…If you were picking and Steven Jackson fell to you at 5, you would take him? Berry: Yes. Simmons: How many sure things do you have on the first tier first round? For instance, I have seven. Berry: My top 5, and I’ve gotten some crap for this, is in order…LaDainian Tomlinson, I have Westbrook at 2, I have Joseph Addai at 3, Adrian Peterson at 4, and Steven Jackson at 5. Simmons: So you have Brady and Moss out? Berry: You look at history…if Brady throws 38 (touchdowns) that would be an amazing feat.” WOW!!! No fantasy player in their right mind would take Westbrook 2nd, much less not take Peterson at 2…at the VERY LATEST. I don’t agree with Jackson in the top 5. 1. LT 2. Peterson 3 / 4 Westbrook and Addai 5. depending on who you prefer Tom Brady or Randy Moss.

18:12-I can’t believe this but they are debating what would make a better name for a sports bar…J.T. O’Sullivan or R.W. McQuarters? Just know that I am putting myself through this for your benefit. I’d rather watch a television channel devoted to presidential ads than go through this crap.

19:38-Simmons: “Getting back on track, who would you take if you were picking 6th? Berry: I’d probably take Brady. At 7? Portis. Simmons: Portis? Really? Over Marion Barber? Berry: I like Barber, I am a little worried about Felix Jones, but not enough to move Barber down. I also like Lynch. Simmons: I think all of those guys are the same. You could make a case for Barber, Lynch, Portis, Larry Johnson. Except maybe Johnson. If you’re picking 9th, can you really win your league with Lynch and Gore? Berry: Probably not, I’m really down on Gore as a first round pick. If I’m picking 10th I’m probably taking Moss or T.O. and then one of those running backs.” Ok, if Berry was a politician we would be discounting him as a flip/flopper. This is the first time EVER that I have heard Matthew Berry claim that there is any situation where he would not recommend taking running backs 1st and 2nd. Amazing. Also, Larry Johnson is the only back of these mentioned that has even sniffed 1700+ yds rushing. How is he not at the top of this list?

22:12-Simmons: “Would you make fun of me if I took Romo at 7? Berry: Not really, because if you are picking at 7, and you pass on him…he won’t be there when you pick again. Simmons: This is one of those things I’m on. Sometimes you just have to take the guy you like. Last year I took Wes Welker ten spots ahead of where he should have gone. If you have to get a guy 8 or 6 spots ahead of where they should go, you just gotta do it.” If you read between the lines, they both basically endorsed the idea of disregarding value. F@#% the guy you like. If you pick based on guys you like…you ARE GOING TO LOSE.

23:08-Berry: “I think Romo is going to have a great year. I have him ahead of Peyton and its not even close. I think I would go RB, WR, then in the third try to get Brees. I have David Garrard as my #8 QB. I love Garrard. He’s healthy and he knows he’s the starter. And…he has better receivers. They’re not great but they are definitely better than what Garrard had last year.” Romo may have a great year, but what over the last 5-8 years tells you that Peyton Manning should go lower than 2nd among QB’s. LT is number one until otherwise notified, Peyton Manning is no worse than number two until otherwise notified and the top WR’s are in any order Randy Moss and Terrell Owens…period. Please I beg you, do not fall into the David Garrard idea. Apply value. If his value is appropriate, then pull the trigger. But quarterback rating is not a typical fantasy stat. If he had gotten an Andre Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald-type WR, then I would change my tune.

29:59-Simmons: “Your 3rd best WR after Moss and T.O.? I;m sorry, Wayne would be 3rd, who’s 4th? Berry: I have Braylon Edwards ahead of Wayne. Marques Colston 5.” I absolutely love Braylon as the 3rd best WR. However, once again its lazy or irresponsible of Berry to not recognize that with Harrison on the field, Wayne is very good. This one could very well be a toss-up. There are extenuating circumstances that could be argued for or against on either guy. Those details should be addressed when discussing number 3 vs. 4.

30:37-Simmons: “Ok, who is your comeback sleeper of the Larry Johnson/Donovon McNabb variation? Berry: I actually like McNabb and like I said, Bulger and Holt. I could see Hines Ward. Simmons: Am I completely crazy for being high on all of the New York Jets? Berry: Not at all, I am very high on the Jets. I spoke with Antonio Freeman and he said that Favre will find a guy. That one guy on every play, he knows where that guy is. This year that guy will be Jericho Cotchery. He will have a monster year.” It's very convenient to say McNabb, since everyone is claiming that he looks better than he ever has in training camp. Bulger and Holt are also not sleepers pick. Even when they are bad, they are still pretty good. Define monster year. Will Cotchery go for 1400 yds and 18 touchdowns? I doubt it.

34:16-Matthew Berry is glomming his favored Washington Redskins.

39:42-Simmons: “You have two minutes, give me your top 3 sleepers. Berry: Chris Johnson. The Titans rushed the ball more than any NFL team. LenDale White will waddle into the endzone a few times, but I really like Chris Johnson. How deep do you want to go…I like David Garrard and Matt Schaub. I like Steve Slaton and Chris Taylor. Simmons: Strong name. Chris Taylor, I like that name. Kind of like the Melrose Place character names that were made up.” Now they’ve gone off on a Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place tangent. “Berry: I love Ted Ginn Jr. Pennington is a professional quarterback, but from what I’m hearing Ginn is catching everything.” David Garrard is a risky pick. What if he is never going to be a 25+ td guy or throw over 3,000 yds guy? Is he still a good fantasy pick? The answer is an emphatic NO. Just my opinion, but if you are looking at Steve Slaton or Chris are going to lose and lose badly.

42:23-Berry: “I think McFadden is going to have a monster year. I have him as a top 20 running back. I actually love Troy Smith. And I really love Patrick Crayton. Terrence Newman was in Bristol and he said that Crayton has the best hands I’ve ever seen.” Again, define monster year. I am not going to destroy McFadden on this post, but he is going to have to learn to effectively run between the tackles to be effective -- much less monstrous. The Crayton talk is a load of crap. I'd love to ask Terrence Newman, one, if he actually said that, and two, if he believes it. The Cowboys at one point were considering two undrafted free agents as their number 2 WR because Crayton looked like crap. I never draft any WR who is not at least a no doubt number 2. I prefer to only have number one's on my team; it's just too much of a gamble.

49:01-Simmons: “Did we miss anything? You have a minute. Berry: I like Tony Scheffler as a tight end sleeper. Simmons: That’s it? You’re going to end on Tony Scheffler? (insert ESPN plug).” He did miss something. Berry misses a lot...often.

I understand this is only a podcast, but it once again provides evidence of how thoughtless Matthew Berry is. Granted, not everything he says is wrong. But, I protest that the things he mentions that are logical or correct are things that 99% of fantasy fans already know. It's the other stuff that is detrimental for fantasy fans to consider. Earlier, they both stated that they often disregard value. Are you kidding me? Value is the one facet of fantasy sports that separates the players from the winners. I love Braylon Edwards, but I would never think of taking him over Randy Moss or Terrell Owens. According to them, taking Edwards first is perfectly acceptable. I really really like Chad Johnson, but should I take him over Reggie Wayne just because I am a fan of his? Absolutely not, that violates the most basic of fantasy principles that you can find on and not with people like Matthew Berry and Bill Simmons. So we carry on, fighting the good fight. Doing our best to give fantasy sports players everywhere solid, logical, researched, and well thought out takes and perspectives on how to win in your fantasy leagues. All the while, doing our best to deter you from taking advice from so called "fantasy experts" who don't do the work we do. Just because you are speaking into the industry's largest megaphone doesn't mean that what you are saying is worth listening to.

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