Saturday, August 23, 2008

Look Out! Matthew Berry Is Predicting Again

By Jason Jones

It is a widely understood idea that the vast majority of Fantasy Sport experts believe that Matthew Berry is a laughable ambassador for the industry. We at are not only in agreement with such an idea, we are probably the spokespeople for it. Whether we like it or not, millions of sports fans turn to ESPN as the proverbial “worldwide leader in sports”. A large number of those people will take just about anything ESPN says or reports on as sports' Divine Mandate. Although the remainder of the sports analysts and experts can take that with a grain of salt, I am one who will not sit back and allow Berry’s verbal feces to be considered true guidelines for fantasy players everywhere. It is crucial to understand that Matthew Berry is not the Peter Gammons of fantasy sports. He’s not even the Stephen A. Smith or Tony Kornheiser of fantasy sports. In his latest piece found on’s front page today, he spews even more verbal diarrhea. Every year it seems, Mr. Berry (I refuse to call him the Talented Mr. Roto) releases a list of “rules to play by” or predictions that he makes with absolute certainty, but routinely will not address the following year when he is proved wrong repeatedly. This particular piece is of the prediction variation.

Here are some direct quotes before getting to the actual predictions:

- “I'm the type who constantly goes for it. I don't care what others say or think. I've fallen flat on my face many times and will do so again in the future, but generally speaking, it has served me very well, both in fantasy sports and in life. I play to win. And winning isn't being happy with third, it's being angry about it. If I don't win, I don't care if I finish fourth or dead last. As the saying goes, no one remembers second place”. (if memory serves, he falls on his face more often than not)

- “So to win, you'll have to draft well, make smart pickups and trades and get lucky with your team's health. You'll also have to take some leaps of faith (Actually all you need to do is draft well. Seriously, if you draft well observing value, you will never need to make trades or pickups. Those things should only balance out poor luck).

Here are the actual predictions with my sobering comments…

1. Anquan Boldin-will shut up and have a better fantasy season than Larry Fitzgerald. I say 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns. (Boldin is fighting for a trade partner to get him out of Arizona. It is a very safe way to go to say he will have a great season. Especially since Fitzgerald just got PAID. First seasons following a major pay day generally are lower than their perceived average. Not very bold.)

2. Leonard Pope-will catch seven touchdowns. (Last year there were only 5 TE’s to accrue 7 touchdowns or better. They were Dallas Clark, Antonio Gates, Chris Cooley, Heath Miller, and Jason Witten. Pope was 8th with 5 touchdowns. Not a very bold prediction, plus Boldin, who previously mentioned will have a 1,300 yard season only had 800 yards last season. Where does the production get cut?)

3. Michael Turner-will finish with fewer than 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns. (I don’t agree with that. The majority of Turner’s touches in San Diego came in garbage time with other teams gunning for a playoff spot. 1,000 yards is not the benchmark it used to be. There were 17 running backs who went over 1,000 yards. Some that are not better than Turner…Thomas Jones, LenDale White, Brandon Jacobs, Justin Fargas. To assert yourself and claim Turner won’t reach 1,000 yards is bold. Boldly stupid. The rebuilding Falcons will have to run the ball if for nothing else than to preserve rookie Matt Ryan.)

4. Willis McGahee-will play every game this year and finish as a top 10 fantasy running back. (Wow! A few more comments like this and Mr. Berry should be committed. How can ANYONE say a player will play all 16 games? Trying to play God from Bristol, Conn? Top 10? Think about that. He is claiming that McGahee is good enough to knock one of the following out of the top 10…1. L. Tomlinson 2. A. Peterson 3. S. Jackson 4. B. Westbrook 5. J. Addai 6. J.Lewis 7. C. Portis 8. M. Barber 9. F. Gore 10. M. Lynch. And that’s not giving any credit to players who should have a drastically improved statistical season like Ryan Grant or Larry Johnson.)

5. Troy Smith-will net 24 total touchdowns. (I like Troy Smith and think he is the best option in Baltimore until Flacco is ready. But, I missed when Baltimore acquired any WR who could beat a Division 3 cornerback. There were 10 QB’s with 24 or more touchdowns. All of which have a current, former, or fringe pro bowl WR. T. Brady-R.Moss, T.Romo-T.Owens, Roethlisberger-H. Ward, P.Manning-M. Harrison & R. Wayne, D. Anderson-B. Edwards, B. Favre-G. Jennings, D. Brees-M. Colston, M. Hasselbeck-D. Branch, K. Warner-L. Fitzgerald & A. Boldin, C. Palmer-C. Johnson & T.J. Houshmandzadeh.)

6. Marshawn Lynch-will earn more than 1,700 yards and double digit touchdowns. (Lynch had 1,100 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2007. The offensive line is not very improved and there is still a question at QB, so what would make a person think he would improve another 600 yards? 10+ touchdowns is a serious possibility.)

7. Steve Smith-will not reach 1,000 yards or eight touchdowns. He’ll play in only 12 games. (First off, Smith is suspended for the first 2 games of the season. A margin of error of +/- 2 games is no reach. This would make the 3rd season in a row of less than 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns. Big deal. This one was almost not even worth mentioning.)

8. Devin Hester-will finish the year as a top 25 WR and score a total of 10 touchdowns. (Well considering he will have about 4 or 5 touchdowns on special teams, that leaves 5 or 6 touchdowns on offense. How many WR’s had 1,000 yards and 5/6 touchdowns? 18. Bold move there, Matthew.)

9. Rudi Johnson and Chris Perry-blah blah blah. Kenny Watson will finish as the leading rusher on the Bengals and will have at least 1,000 total yards. (Well, there is a logjam of mediocre running back performances when you consider Rudi may have seen his best year already. Nice way to protect yourself by saying “total yards”. Who would really be impressed if Kenny Watson has 700 rushing yards and 300 receiving yards?)

10. Brady Quinn-will start for the Browns by week 9. (Can’t say anything upsets me about this one. Even though I think it will happen sooner. I still don’t think Quinn has much fantasy value)

11. Marion Barber-will finish the year as a top five fantasy running back. (Again, look at that top 5 of running backs. Is he better than LT, Adrian Peterson, Steven Jackson, Brian Westbrook, or Joseph Addai? Oh, did I mention rookie Felix Jones will figure into the running back touches…OFTEN?)

12. Some non-sense about Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo…not worth commenting on.

13. Tony Scheffler-will finish the year’s top 5 fantasy tight end. (I like Scheffler a lot. The bottom line is that this league has evolved at the TE position. There is only one TE in the top 5 known for his blocking and that is Jason Witten. The others are primarily pass catchers. Kellen Winslow, Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez, and Dallas Clark. He would have to catch 900 yards+ and at least 5 but more like 9+ touchdowns. He wasn’t even the clear first option at TE in Denver last year.)

14. Calvin Johnson-will be a top 10 WR. And Jon Kitna will throw for more than 4,000 yards, even without Mike Martz. (1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns MIGHT get him in the top 10. Anything less in touchdowns and he will need to get 1,200-1,400 yards to make that claim. Way to go out on a limb with the Kitna comment.)

15. Some lame cheap ESPN plug.

16. James Jones-will have 800 yards and seven touchdowns. (There are 21 WR’s who had better numbers than that last season. Are you serious? Next you will be claiming that Lorenzo Booker and his 300 yards from scrimmage is worth drafting.)

17. Something about fantasy baseball and dating a sane woman.

18. Matt Schaub-will throw for 3,500 yards and 28 touchdowns. (In a typical 12 team league, there were 10 QB’s that threw for 3,500 yards. Big deal. And there were 10 QB’s at or within striking distance of 28 touchdowns. Most experts like Schaub in the middle rounds and 3,500/28 is not all that stellar.)

19. Dallas Clark-will finish the year as the number 1 tight end. (Do you have a fever? There’s no logical reason to make this claim. Kellen Winslow will be number 1 and Dallas Clark will be behind Witten, Gonzalez, Gates and maybe even Cooley or Shockey depending on how they are used. Clark is a very nice tool for Peyton Manning, but lets be real, even with an aging Marvin Harrison, Clark might be the fourth or even fifth option.)

20. David Garrard-will be a top ten fantasy quarterback this season and throw no more than six interceptions. (I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been in a league that scores QB rating. No one wants interceptions, but if Garrard throws for 2,500 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions…he’s not a good fantasy quarterback. If Jacksonville would ever get him a decent WR, I might believe this one.)

21. Reggie Williams-will catch double digit touchdowns again. (You are clinically retarded.)

22. Something about how he’ll beat someone in a footrace.

23. Kolby Smith-will end the year as the leading rusher for the Chiefs. (A prediction of my own: Not only will Larry Johnson lead the Chiefs, but it will be north of 1,200 yards and double-digit touchdowns. And even if I’m wrong, they drafted Jamaal Charles who is absolutely sick.)

24. Ted Ginn Jr.-will reach 1,000 yards and score more than seven touchdowns. (Really? That’s your comment on Ted Ginn? With the addition of Jake Long and Chad Pennington, while Ricky Williams actually looks like a football player again and 1,000/7 is the boldest you can do for a real speedy deep threat at WR and probably their number 1 WR…really reaching aren’t we?)

25. Adrian Peterson (Vikings)-will play fewer than 13 games this year and finish outside of the top five of fantasy running backs. (Remember this is the same guy that went on ESPN and told the world to bench Peterson against the Chargers because of their solid run defense…that game he broke the single season rushing record. Sour grapes maybe? Also, Jamal Lewis only played 13 full games and still went over 1300 yards. You really are just trying to create controversy.)

26. Something about the new Beverly Hills 90210.

27. Tom Brady-will throw for 40 touchdowns. (THAT STILL MAKES HIM THE NUMBER ONE QUARTERBACK YOU IDIOT!!!!!!!)

28. No Saints running back-will have more than 600 yards rushing or 1,000 total yards. (This is the primary problem. Berry thinks all of you ride the short bus to work. No one is drafting a Saints running back to be one of their starters, that includes Bush. I personally think Darren McFadden will not be great, but I still drafted him over Reggie Bush. And McFadden is a rookie on a bad team.)

29. Eli Manning-will have another disappointing second half, play poorly at home and finish with no more than 25 touchdowns. (Eli had 23 touchdowns last season and that was good for 12th best in the category of touchdowns. What are you saying? Eli will be the Eli that won the Super Bowl so don’t draft him?)

30. Amani Toomer-will catch seven touchdowns. (No he won’t. Clearly you are just trying to come up with 50 things to say. Mario Manningham will replace Toomer as the number 2 and Steve Smith will be more productive than Toomer.)

31. Thomas Jones-will be a top 10 fantasy running back. (In 2007, Thomas Jones was the 24th best RB. Alan Faneca will help, but can you say Brett Favre? Cotchery and Coles will be better than Driver and Jennings were and he also has his former teammate Bubba Franks and is developing a chemistry with TE hybrid Dustin Keller.)

32. Jericho Cotchery-will be a top 20 WR. (That puts him somewhere between Lee Evans and Chris Chambers…which is right where any warm-blooded human would rank him.)

33. Brett Favre’s-consecutive game streak will end this season. And Brett will get involved in a scandal before he realizes the New York Media is very different than the Green Bay Media. (Let’s assume that this National Enquirer take happens. As far as a fantasy approach is concerned…WHO GIVES A SH#%!!!!)

34. Brett Favre-will retire at the end of the season and do a long, tearful farewell at various stadiums. There’ll be magazine covers and retrospectives. (Again…WHO GIVES A SH#$!!!!! That does not affect how players draft their fantasy teams for this up coming season.)

35. Brett Favre-will suit up for the Buccaneers next season. (I’m tired of this crap, see response from number 34.)

36. Darren McFadden-will have more than 1,600 yards and score double-digit touchdowns. (YOU ARE F@#%ING HIGH!!! Ask yourself this question, who was the last NFL RB who rushed for over 1,200 yards who COULD NOT run between the tackles? McFadden will be draft-worthy. But to say 1,600/10+, that puts him in the first round…You are a tool.)

37. Ronald Curry-will have at least 1,000 yards receiving, and JaMarcus Russell will score 25 touchdowns. (Are you on Al Davis’ payroll?)

38. Donovon McNabb-will play all 16 games. (There’s a stretch -- especially since just about every national analyst who has seen him in training camp say McNabb looks the best he’s every looked, physically.)

39. Santonio Holmes-will finish the year as a top 12 fantasy WR. (I don’t see him moving up into that level, but he was the 17th best WR last year anyway.)

40. Marc Bulger and Torry Holt-will return to fantasy prominence. Specifically, Bulger will throw 3,500 yards and at least 24 touchdowns. Holt will get 10 scores. (Again those stat lines don’t really say anything or chance people’s perception of their fantasy value. Besides, with the exception of last year, Holt has been the most consistent WR in fantasy over the last 6+ seasons.)

41. At least eight other tight ends will have a better fantasy season than Antonio Gates. (I personally don’t see Gates as the TE golden boy that most do, but c’mon you can’t be serious. Gates will be no worse than 4th.)

42. Something about Michael Phelps dating Lindsay Lohan. (Dude! Taking a shot at Michael Phelps is about as un-American as criticizing our men and women of the armed forces. Don’t be That Guy.)

43. Frank Gore-won’t be a top 15 fantasy player this year. Specifically, he won’t get 1,300 total yards or double digit touchdowns. (Not only are you wrong, you are throwing darts while blind folded. Without Martz, Gore had almost 1,600 yards from scrimmage. I have no clue as to what his touchdown tally will be, but he will probably get somewhere north of 1,200 yards rushing and flirt with 2,000 yards from scrimmage. It's not like their QB and WRs are all that great either.)

44. Ben Obomanu-will reach 800 yards and six touchdowns. (Really? Ben Obomanu. You’re putting a fantasy player that 95% of fantasy players don’t even know. Do you actually expect people to draft or even pick up off of waivers a player who’s career receiving numbers are 180 yards and 1 touchdown? You are unbelievable.)

45. Tampa Bay’s-defense will return to being a top five fantasy defense. (I won’t argue with this one either. However, I would like to point out that this is the same Matthew Berry that claimed that kickers and defensive teams are not worth drafting before the second to the last round.)

46. Chris Johnson-will be the leading rusher for the Tennessee Titans. (That’s not really saying anything. Clearly, the Titans want to recreate a USC type of backfield for LenDale White -- thus, Johnson being the Reggie Bush in this analogy. That could mean Johnson gets 700 yards rushing and White gets 650. So what are you saying? Anything? Anything at all?)

47. Justin Gage-will have more than 1,000 yards receiving. And Alge Crumpler will get eight scores. (Wrong!!! If they are lucky, the Titans offense will look like the one Michael Vick used to have. Terrible QB numbers, Crumpler will be the go-to receiver and probably the leader in receiving yards and have one of the better rushing attacks in the conference…if they are lucky.)

48. Both Santana Moss and Antwan Randle El-will have more than 1,000 yards receiving. Jason Campbell will throw for more than 3,000 yards and 25 touchdowns. (Jason Campbell will be fine. If any two Washington WR’s get 1,000 yards each it will be the two rookies-Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly-and Moss will finally get to play his natural position…the slot.)

49. Something about the positive/negative breakdown of comments on this article. (Whatever, you assmunch.)

50. My Redskins will win the Super Bowl, and Jim Zorn will be named coach of the year. Hey, it’s my list. Make your own. (Quite possibly the worst homer take possible. Look, I am a diehard Cleveland Browns fan and I would never suggest to fantasy fans that Braylon Edwards and Donte Stallworth will combine for 3,000 yards receiving, Jamal Lewis will rush for 2,000 yards, or either Browns QB’s will throw for 4,500 yards and 40 touchdowns. Which is what he might as well have said about his Redskins-see number 48.)

You see, just like any complacent tool of the machine, Matthew Berry has stopped working. He just doesn’t put in the time and analysis necessary to give objective well thought out advice to the millions of fantasy owners to seek him out for it. Somebody has to stand at the podium at the top of the mountain. It's just too bad for the rest of us that ESPN chose this hack of an "expert" to represent us all. Do yourselves a favor, let it go in one ear and out the other. Matthew Berry is not worth your time. Repeatedly, we at have called him out and challenged him, but as you can imagine, he wants nothing to do with a superior product like

1 comment:

Rick Morris said...

Good dissection of this list. I liked how you pointed out in detail how stupid some of the assertions were and also about how some of the points were Captain Obvious statements that he tried to disguise as deep, meaningful insights. I also like how I don't have to dirty my hands with a hit piece like this because my Senior Editor is so fired up on the subject :-)

Nice how Berry again justifies his advice with the old "at least I'm being different" excuse. There's nothing wrong at all with being different, if it's based on at least a shred of scientific evidence that there's something to it, like our Ultimate Quantitative Baseline (UQB) statistic or something equally valid. You've said it before on our fantasy webcast, Jason, and you're right -- he is nothing more than the fantasy equivalent of Skip Bayless, belching out a contrary opinion on some subjects just for the shock value. The say-anything ethos of ESPN programming these days is regrettable enough when they are perpetrating gassy shoutfests at the audience during SportsCenter; it's inexcusable when it finds a place in their fantasy coverage -- where they are supposed to be delivering useful content to help people win their leagues and maybe some caysh as well. We've said it before: Berry has the biggest megaphone in our business and it hurts us all when our most recognizable industry representative lazily peddles snake oil at the general public.