Ladd Biro: What a wonderful, miserable life 05:29 PM CDT on Tuesday, October 5, 2004 Dallas-area resident Ladd Biro writes a weekly fantasy football column for CowboysPlus.com and DallasNews.com. His column appears Monday afternoon during the NFL season. I'm ready for my interview with Mike Wallace. It's time to expose the pathetic nature of the rabid "fantasy-holic." The world needs to know the truth: It's a miserable existence. No, it's not the well-worn "nerd" label I'm referring to. Our "sport" has progressed to the point that its adherents are clearly among the coolest and most sophisticated cats on the street. Right? Come on, work with me here ... What 60 Minutes must reveal is that fantasy players are really no different from NFL head coaches like Bill Parcells. Actually, we didn't need Wallace's probing questions during Sunday's taped interview to know that Bill Parcells is a miserable man. Ever seen his face on the sidelines? It looks like he's being stalked by someone with irritable bowel syndrome. The problem is that I feel (and probably look) the same way, except that I'm sitting on a sofa with a remote control and no one to blame for the odors but myself. And just like Parcells, it really doesn't matter if I'm winning or losing; I'm a wreck either way. I know I'm not the only one. Take my buddy Pete (please), whose business trip to London was ruined before his first meeting on account of his fantasy obsession. He missed the early Sunday games because passport control took its sweet British time to get him processed. Then his cab driver had no clue where to find a sports pub with American football on the telly. Another hour passed in traffic, as billboards for Manchester United's "football" club streamed by, taunting him. Eventually, he found a Sports Café in Haymarket with an NFL sign out front. Eureka! He walked in to find one lousy screen showing football, and it was the Jets-Dolphins game. Talk about torture! But at least there'll be highlights, right? Uh, no. It's a satellite feed on Sky One Xtra, and at the commercial breaks, he's treated to gripping analysis provided by the special teams coach of the Amsterdam Admirals. Back at the hotel, the high-speed connection to the so-called "World Wide Web" is anything but, so he's up at the crack of dawn at an Internet café to check his results. He lost by four points because he sat Emmitt Smith – you know, the one who had his first 100-yard game in two years and first touchdown pass ever on Sunday – and another week is ruined. "I hate this %$*@# game!," said Pete's e-mail. "Why do I do this to myself? I feel like crap!" "Because you can't live without it," I remind him. Hey Parcells ... you've got nothing on us fantasy-holics. We're just as miserable as you. And loving every minute of it. FREE AGENT PICKS AND PANS To win a fantasy championship, you need to start with a good draft. But filling in your roster throughout the season with the right free agents is equally important. Here's a look at a few players worth grabbing, and others who would look better in someone else's lineup. Catch 'em while you can • David Carr, QB, Houston: Back-to-back victories aren't much to bank on, but Carr's intensity and explosiveness are. This guy is clearly the real deal, and his team might just be catching up to him. • Amos Zereoue, RB, Oakland: Truth is, I'm not really sure he belongs in this category. We don't know the status of Tyrone Wheatley's injury, for starters. But mostly because Zereoue has been a disappointment throughout his career. If you're desperate for running back help, and Wheatley remains sidelined, go with "Famous Amos." But don't expect another performance like Sunday's. • David Patten, WR, New England: The longer Deion Branch sits out, the more comfortable Tom Brady gets with Patten. Though it's still tough to know which Pats receiver is going to excel on any given Sunday, New England is passing enough to make just about everyone happy. • Daniel Graham, TE, New England: In general, it is best to avoid relying on tight ends in fantasyland unless your league requires them. Graham is becoming an exception to the rule – which heretofore only applied to Tony Gonzalez. He's scored four touchdowns in three games this season, and is Brady's go-to guy in the red zone. • Kris Brown, K, Houston: Not only has he been perfect on nine field goal attempts this season, but the Texans are starting to give him more opportunities. Brown is clearly a solid bye-week substitute, and, like Carr, may deserve a permanent spot on your roster if Houston's offense continues to improve. Don't be fooled • Tim Rattay, QB, San Francisco: Don't let his final stats (299 yards, 2 TDs) fool you. Most of Rattay's production came in mop-up time when the Rams were already thinking about their next opponent. Rattay is captaining a sinking ship, and does not merit a roster spot until they plug a lot of holes. • William Green, RB, Cleveland: Thank him for filling a roster spot while Lee Suggs was out, and send him back to your bench. You won't be hearing much from Green from now on, unless Suggs has another setback with his neck. • Mike Alstott, RB, Tampa Bay: If you were thinking the human bulldozer would see more action now that Charlie Garner is out for the season, think again. Michael Pittman stepped into the starting lineup and never looked back. Alstott is there to block and catch an occasional pass. And that's it. • T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, Cincinnati: T.J. has been getting some attention in fantasy circles while starting in Peter Warrick's place. Though he has talent, he's hindered by a struggling quarterback who hasn't even been able to get Chad Johnson his share of touches. Avoid Houshmandzadeh, unless your league awards points for vowels. DON'T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO ... ... trades Torry Holt, WR, St. Louis: Isaac Bruce has gotten the bulk of Marc Bulger's attention in the early part of the season, and Holt virtually disappeared in the Rams' Sunday night shellacking of the 49ers. But don't panic and trade away one of the best receivers in the game. Before mid-season, Holt will reclaim his No. 1 status in St. Louis, and you'll be glad you stuck with him. FLIER OF THE WEEK • Reche Caldwell, WR, San Diego: Is it possible that the Chargers might not be so bad this season? I'm not ready to go there just yet, but it does appear that Drew Brees has found a comfort zone with Caldwell (three scores in four games) that just might be more than a passing fancy. Danger lies ahead, though, in the form of the Jacksonville, Atlanta and Carolina defenses. After that, the going gets much easier, so the Brees-Caldwell connection could come up big down the stretch run.