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The 5: Weird quips in Matthew Berry’s fantasy tirade against the Cardinals

Matthew Berry puts his feelings into his work.

That’s why the ESPN fantasy football analyst is considered the face of fantasy football experts. Berry has the same burning passion as fantasy football owners and NFL fans.

You can see that in Berry’s nearly-seven-minute-long tirade about how the Arizona Cardinals handled their running back situation against the New York Giants.

Long story short, the Cardinals made David Johnson active despite an ankle injury and played him a few snaps before realizing he couldn’t give it a go, leaving Chase Edmonds to carry the load for 127 yards and three touchdowns.

Berry apparently took it personally that the team’s Twitter account made a point to acknowledge all the ugly fantasy football-related tweets directed at them on Sunday.

But, uh, Berry needs to pump the brakes on attacking Cardinals fans, head coach Kliff Kingsbury and Arizona’s social media team. Especially with all the wacky arguments he used.


(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

1. Missing context

“I don’t actually care because that’s gamesmanship. You don’t want to give that out because of a competitive advantage. OK, that’s frustrating, but that’s part of the game. We deal with that. But then to come out after the game and for Kliff Kingsbury to say, like, ‘Oh, David Johnson was only going to play in an emergency.’ What? Well that’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard in my life.”

Berry is correct that David Johnson actually practiced more heading into Week 7 than he did in Week 6. But Berry failed to mention that Johnson had only one limited Friday practice heading into a Week 6 game against the Falcons because of a back injury.

Before the Giants game, it was an ankle injury that limited him on Thursday and Friday (Note: receiver Christian Kirk has been limited for every practice over the last two weeks and yet hasn’t played because of his own ankle problem and you didn’t see anyone assuming he would play Sunday).

Also, did Berry ignore that Kingsbury blatantly said Johnson’s injury didn’t look good?

“If we played today, he wouldn’t play,” Kingsbury said last Friday. “But we’ll see where that goes.”

Finally there’s this: The fantasy folks who benched Edmonds hadn’t been paying attention.

He had been, at worst, a solid scoring flex option in most fantasy leagues the two weeks prior with 20 or more snaps plus a touchdown in each of those games.


(AP Photo/Gail Burton)

2. Berry argues Cardinals fans do not know Trent Sherfield or KeeSean Johnson

“You know who cares about Trent Sherfield and KeeSean Johnson  — the other KeeSean Johnson — or Pharoh Cooper? You guys are rolling Pharoh Cooper out there. You know who knows that? Fantasy players. Not Arizona Cardinals fans.”

And yet Berry does not seem to know that third-string running back D.J. Foster was ruled out for Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury.

That is a pivotal element to understand when Kingsbury spoke Friday of the potential that the Cardinals could be without two of their three running backs.

Foster was limited on Thursday and did not practice Friday before Arizona headed off to New York.

That gave them little time to find an out-of-facility replacement. They took the risk of hoping Johnson would play rather than making a roster move when both Johnson and Foster are considered day-to-day.


3. Kliff Kingsbury does not run the team’s social media accounts

“You should have started Chase Edmonds? No crap! Like we’re a bunch of dummies like we didn’t know? Of course! If you guys would have been honest with us, of course we would have started Chase Edmonds!” 

Berry does know that Kingsbury doesn’t run the team’s Twitter account, right?

Like, Kingsbury (probably) truly believed that Johnson would try to give it a go. At worst, Kingsbury was making the Giants prepare for their starting running back. His job is to win games, which he did.

The job of the team’s social media squad, in contrast, is to drum up noise, catering to the Cardinals fans that (breaking!) do exist. Hey, guess what?! The Cardinals’ social team is also winning right now!

Maybe Berry should be mad at ESPN colleague Adam Schefter for reporting Saturday that Johnson would play. That tweet accurately said Arizona would keep Johnson active, and it above all else led to fantasy owners placing the running back into their lineups.

But pair the Schefter report with everything Kingsbury also said, and there were many reasons to be concerned.

Beat reporters in Arizona spent all week writing stories about Edmonds’ potential to carry a bigger load.


(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

4. Berry is also mad about Kyler Murray

“Somehow you’ve made Kyler Murray, the most exciting prospect to come out of college, a game manager?”

This here writer for ArizonaSports.com somehow ended up on the Wikipedia page for “game manager” because I said the term “comes with negative connotations of a non-talented, play-it-safe type of quarterback.”

For Murray, I meant it as a complement! And he was the ultimate game manager against the Giants, when a rainy day made his job as simple as not turning the ball over.

“It was getting to the point where (center A.Q. Shipley) at one point had to put two hands on the ball to snap it,” left guard Justin Pugh said Monday. “You had to take what you had.”

Murray’s box scores have been up and down in terms of fantasy value. That’s not because he or Kingsbury are struggling in their rookie seasons.

This is also besides the running back point. It appears Berry’s just upset with the Cardinals spreading the ball around and making their players unpredictable from a fantasy perspective, which undercuts his argument about the running back situation.


(AP Photo/Matt York)

5. The Cardinals have lost a lot so they have no right to have fun on social media after a three-game winning streak

“You know who’s been a fan of the Arizona Cardinals, you know who pays attention to Arizona Cardinals football? Not actual fans,” said Berry before listing off the team’s struggles over the past few seasons.

This ain’t it. Three wins in a row is a big deal around these parts exactly because of the Cardinals’ woes in recent years.

Let’s not argue about whether wins against bad teams matter or not. They do in the standings and in the locker room. And they matter to fans.

Oh, look, the Cardinals are adding more running back confusion to next week’s game. Maybe, just maybe, Berry is starting to get it.

Phillips Law Group


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