Drop 'em like they're hot
Matthew Berry [ARCHIVE]
ESPN.com
November 29, 2012
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Congratulations!

Seriously, if you have a reason to read this column in Week 13, your season has gone better than it's gone worse, you're still alive, and, in a tough, injury-filled season, that's an impressive accomplishment. So, well done, Internet friend!

My philosophy in general is to be risk-averse unless there is massive upside that makes the risk worth it, but, in Week 13 especially, I like to go safe and conservative unless I'm in a situation in which, for whatever reason, I need to swing for the fences. So today's column is with that in mind.

I'm actually putting my warning up top this week in the desperate hope that you'll use this column correctly. Please read my ranks if you are wondering whom to start between two players. Yes, I have Andrew Luck on the "hate" list. But I'm still playing him over, say Joe Flacco. Every week, I get the "I have so-and-so and so-and-so, but you have (one of them) on your hate list, what should I do?" What you should do, my friend, is check my rankings. Or, better yet, go with your own gut. You know your team and rules better than anyone, it's do-or-die time, you're the only one who has to live with what happens. Make a call you believe in, not just what I or anyone else thinks. Remember that.

I will say that, in many cases, your season is now one game long. If there is someone on your waiver wire who can help you, go out and get him. And with that in mind, here's a list of players I would have no issue dropping if you aren't planning to start them. I'm not saying you must drop them, but merely that, if you are not planning to start them, there's no need to have them on your team if there's a free-agent defense or a one-week running back who can help you win now.

Here's a list of players owned in more than 50 percent of ESPN.com leagues, by position, who don't need to be carried on your bench if there are more helpful guys out there who can help you right now, or handcuffs to your starters who would become more valuable than your current player should an injury befall him.

Quarterbacks: Michael Vick, Philip Rivers, Alex Smith, Joe Flacco.

Running backs: Vick Ballard, Rashard Mendenhall, Willis McGahee (73 percent owned still!), Isaac Redman, Donald Brown, Felix Jones, Any Saints running back not named Darren Sproles, Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, Peyton Hillis.

Wide receivers: DeSean Jackson, Brandon Lloyd (sigh -- officially my worst call of the year), Antonio Brown, Anquan Boldin, Robert Meachem, Nate Washington, Jeremy Maclin, Titus Young, Andre Roberts, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Mario Manningham.

Tight end: I almost never carry more than one tight end. Unless you have a really good guy who is injury-prone (Aaron Hernandez) who can sometimes be a late scratch, I would keep only the guy you're starting on your roster.

Again, if you need to win to get in, your season is one game. Get in and worry about next week next week. Maximize your roster slots. Be smart and safe where you can. And I have no issue with picking up a player who has no use to you but would help your opponent. Often, a good offense is just a good defense and, hey, that guy had a shot at the free agent, as well. You snooze, you lose. This is do-or-die time. As long as it is within the rules, you do what you gotta do. Take, for example, the case of Andy. He's been running a league with high school friends since 1997. It's a coed league with three women and nine guys, and it includes one married couple. Well, it did.

Just before the season started, the league learned that the couple were divorcing. But it was an amicable divorce, and both said they would like to continue to be in the league and neither had an issue with the other staying in. So the season starts and, in what might be a fantasy football league first, "Another female owner in the league, who is friends with the wife, swooped in and started dating the husband before the divorce papers were even signed!" Andy told me.

The drama doesn't stop there, Andy explained. "She has never said anything about it to the wife, her now former friend, of course, and the wife had to find out about the relationship via Facebook."

So, here we are in Week 13 and Andy needs to win to make the playoffs. And the team he is facing? The "swooper." The swooper has the highest-scoring team in the league, so Andy is already an underdog, but there is a glimmer of hope in this 12-team league. The swooper just lost Willis McGahee, and, like most of us, had backed him up with Ronnie Hillman. Which means Knowshon Moreno is still out on the wire. The swooper has $34 left in FAAB money, and Andy has only $28 left.

Down but not out, Andy realizes he has to leave it all out on the virtual field. What he does next is as good an example of an "Oh yeah? This isn't over until I say it's over!" move in fantasy football as I've ever seen. Because, you see, the ex-wife has $80 left in FAAB.

Andy presents the situation to her and, despite her being out of the playoff race, she is more than happy to spend the money and keep Moreno away from the swooper! Andy still has to play this weekend, but at least his opponent has a weakness, and we've all learned a valuable lesson. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, especially one with FAAB money to blow.

Quick housekeeping notes before we get to the names. It's Jimmy V week, so it's a good time to remind everyone about my Twitter amnesty policy, which is always in effect. If I've blocked you on Twitter and you'd like to be unblocked, just make a donation (of any amount) to the Jimmy V fund and send a copy of the receipt and your Twitter name to MatthewBerryTMR@gmail.com. Be sure to put "TWITTER" in the subject header. If you want advice, Facebook and Twitter are still the best ways to get a hold of me; I don't respond to email from that email address.

Finally, I tend to get a lot of questions asking how I do in my own leagues. I tend to think most people care only about their own teams, but, for the record, I am in eight leagues and, if the playoffs started today, would be in the postseason in seven of them. Despite fourth-highest points for (and some injury issues), having the most points scored against us in my longtime dynasty keeper league will keep my old college roommate and me out of the playoffs in that league.

Since we talk about it a lot on the podcast and on "Fantasy Football Now," it's natural that the most questions I get are about the 16-team PPR "War Room" league with all my ESPN colleagues that I wrote about here awhile back. In that one, I am in a weird situation. I am second in points scored and have done a really good job in a very competitive league, but I am also second in points against. I play Mark Schlereth this week. If I win, I am the No. 2 seed and have a first-round bye. If I lose, I am out of the...
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