I didn’t actually utter those words, but it’s verbatim what went through my head when my last girlfriend and I split over six years ago. “Did Jake just say six years?” Yes, I did. That’s what pickiness and a second job in sports writing will do to your love life.
That girlfriend was one of those on again-off again relationships (because they always work so well, and it’s always a good idea to get back together…). Things started great. We met while I worked as an intern for the Norfolk Tides, and she was a pretzel girl. I love me some ballpark pretzels, so it was a match made in baseball heaven.
Not only did we have a great connection, she helped me realize that my baggy-clothed/hip-hop style needed to go. Hey, it was nearly seven years ago and that was my style in high school and college. Don’t act as if your style was any less embarrassing.
The best part about Stacy (not real name)? She was cool with my sports-laden life. No, she didn’t get excited to watch football or want to watch numerous baseball games, but she was okay with them being on and if needed, she’d find something else to do. Okay, that’s almost strike one since she didn’t at least enjoy watching somewhat.
The problems began a little over a year into the relationship. Some friends suggested she wasn’t being 100-percent truthful about where she was while out or about things she did (let’s just say not everything was law-abiding). It was even suggested from a trusted friend that I shouldn’t be so sure about her loyalty.
Now, I thought I was in love. To be fair, I partly was… with the girl I thought I knew. It’s the part I didn’t know about that wasn’t for me. Due to those factors and (non)trustworthiness, we split up. As with any relationship at that level, it’s tough to say goodbye, and do so permanently – especially when you’re young(ish). She contacted me a while later saying how much she missed me and that she had changed.
— Quick note folks. Any time an ex says he/she has changed, it’s not true. Trust me. —
We talked a few times and then got back together. Mistake.
A little while later, the problems were back. We split up again. We got back together… again… Nearly four years after we started dating (for the first time), we sat in my Chevy Trailblazer outside her apartment in the rain. Seriously, does someone write this stuff? How does it always rain?
Stacy wanted to talk, and told me that we needed to end things, permanently – the real definition of permanently, not what we’ve been doing. She explained that what I wanted in a girl and the person she was were two different things.
So wait, all the reasons I had to breakup with her this entire time were the ones she was using to breakup with me? If that ain’t as backward as things come. Truthfully, I always knew we shouldn’t be together, but I was too young, immature and blinded to act on it. I’m better for the breakup and believe/hope she is too.
Almost seven years later, and I still think about the poor decisions I made and that I should have walked away long before we ended up playing out the scene from a daytime soap opera, tears and all – well, for her… I was more gapping-mouth faced.
It’s the same in Fantasy Football. Owners just don’t know when to walk away sometimes. How else do you explain Kevin Ogletree’s NFL.com 44 percent ownership? Or these ownership percentages: Russell Wilson 9.7, Mark Sanchez 11.4, Jahvid Best 18.7, Coby Fleener 30.9, David Wilson 55.7, Titus Young 64.9, Justin Blackmon 66.6?
Seriously folks? Wilson isn’t even the backup to Ahmad Bradshaw anymore, Young would have four Fantasy Points (FP) if not for the Hail Mary and Blackmon has two scoreless games. Don’t even get me started on the QBs – Tim Tebow and Matt Flynn, hope those arms are warm.
This reluctance to let go of someone you invested in is more than understandable – hello, four years and two breakups! But, we can’t let our desire of “what could be” cloud our judgment of what is reality. Stop ignoring the warning signs with players like Jonathan Dwyer, Brandon LaFell, Mark Ingram, Robert Meachem and even Doug Martin (season-long run of 17 yards and talk of revamping the running gameplan during the bye week). Whether via a straight drop or selling in a trade while you can, moving on is often the best decision, just make sure it’s gloomy and raining as you click your mouse button to let that player go.
TOP PAIR (Guaranteed a Good Week): Tom Brady, NE; Michael Turner, ATL; Roddy White, ATL – You know what I did when people actually asked, “Should I start ____ or Brady?”… I laughed… hard. This is why you don’t ever sit Brady… So Turner’s career high for receiving yards in a season is 168. Of course, we expected his 60-yard catch and scamper for a TD… Maybe now I’ll get credit for endlessly saying Roddy White wasn’t taking a backseat to Julio Jones. Ah, who am I kidding? I have a better shot of Stacy calling me again.
RIVER RAT (Surprising Top Performances): Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF; Brandon Bolden, NE; Brian Hartline, MIA – You’re not supposed to score 23 FP when you throw four picks! I guess you can when you also toss four TDs and put up 350 yards… All you need to know about Bolden, besides his supplanting Shane Vereen for No. 2 RB duty, is his ownership of 0.2 percent. It may be a stretch, but I’ll bet that no one started him… Was Arizona even covering Hartline? I can’t even do that in Madden!
GUT SHOT (Let Everyone Down): Tony Romo, DAL; Mikel Leshoure, DET; Stevie Johnson, BUF – Welcome back Romo. As I also write Given Up, which examines FPPG allowed, and it predicted a bad game for Romo, but who expected almost as many INTs as FP (five to six)?… The Lions turned the running game over to Leshoure and he surprised in Week 4, then disappointed greatly last week. Minnesota does have a tough run defense though. I’m Leshoure that was the reason (yes, I did)… When your QB goes for 350 yards, four TDs and you’re the team’s best WR, you must do better than 23 yards and two FP.
Breakdown: Hold ‘Em – start them and/or players I like more than most rankings have them. Fold ‘Em – outright sit them; don’t consider them start-worthy in standard-sized leagues. Bluffs – still start them, but I like them less than most rankings and they will disappoint.
Philip Rivers, SD (@NO) – My Ranking 10: I almost went with Eli Manning for the second week in a row, but if you still need to be assured of using Manning, there is nothing left to say. Now Rivers, he’s another story. Rivers does have three games with 13-plus points and one with 21, but it’s still less than what owners want, especially when you toss in his two-point effort against Atlanta. Fortunately, the Saints are terrible against the pass and allowed the fourth most FPPG for QBs at 19.8.
Christian Ponder, MIN (TEN) – MR 15: Over in Given Up, I recommended Ponder as great bye-week fill-in. The Vikings play Tennessee at home, and while Ponder has two single-digit games, he also has a 15 and 24-point game. The Titans are worst in the league versus the pass, and Jerome Simpson just gives Ponder more weapons to utilize.
Reggie Bush, MIA (@CIN) – MR 8: Even at less than 100 percent, Bush still managed six FP without registering a catch against Arizona. Bush is nearing that 100-percent health level, and the Bengals just let Maurice Jones-Drew and Greg Jones combine for nine catches and are allowing 20.3 FPPG to RBs.
Ryan Mathews, SD (@NO) – MR 12: Trust me, Mathews got the message… we all did. You can’t fumble, and Mathews didn’t fumble last week. The Saints allow the most FPPG to RBs (26.3) and Mathews still had eight FP in limited action against the Chiefs.
Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG (CLE) – MR 17: After warning Andre Brown hype-ists? hype-sters? hype-opotamus? – okay, that last one is obviously off the wall – that Bradshaw was still the lead back in New York, I smiled a bit as Bradshaw had 16 carries while Brown saw just six. Make no mistake, the Giants will turn to Bradshaw first and even more often than normal with no Hakeem Nicks and possibly even Ramses Barden too.
Reggie Wayne, IND (GB) – MR 10: Wayne’s targets/receptions/yards by game: 18/9/135, 7/6/71, 15/8/88. A hobbled Marques Colston’s triple-slash from last week against Green Bay: 13/9/153. Oh yea, and it’s obvious Andrew Luck is world’s better than anything Indy threw out there last year.
Brandon Lloyd, NE (NE) – MR 14: Lloyd had his lowest reception total last week while the Pats were busy running the ball 40 times, but still posted his highest FP total of 11 thanks to finally finding the end zone. Tom Brady still targeted Lloyd seven times in the madness, which bodes well for Lloyd as the offense balances back out.
Kyle Rudolph, MIN (@DET) – MR 6: How do I respond when Rudolph puts up a zero after ranking him in the Top 10 last week? By moving him up further! Say what?! Here’s why. Titans FPPG allowed to TEs: 19.0. Next closest: Denver at 10.3. Titans number of TDs allowed to TEs already: seven. Can you say, “bounce-back play of the week”?
Pittsburgh Steelers (PHI) – MR 12: Since this has the making of a defensive struggle, watch it end up 34-31 or something. Jinxes aside, the Eagles have 12 turnovers in three games (they didn’t have even one against the Giants). The Steelers have a defense much more accustomed to creating turnovers than New York does.
Mark Sanchez, NYJ (HOU) – MR UR: I was serious about Tebow getting his arm warm. Not only has Sanchez been awful outside the opener against Buffalo, but Houston is even better than San Fran at defending the QB. And Sanchez just put up a goose egg against the 49ers. I’d rather just risk using Tebow.
Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer, PIT (PHI) – MR 44/UR: There is a good chance Rashard Mendenhall makes his return this week, and if so, expect the Steelers to give him every opportunity to regain his starting role. After all, what have these two done? Nada. Even if Mendy doesn’t make it back, a matchup against a Philly team allowing just 10.5 RB FPPG is a bad sell for Redman supporters.
Daniel Thomas, MIA (@CIN) – MR 44: You may think Thomas can have sneaky value given the blurb about Reggie Bush. Not so fast. Thomas’ only good game was against the Jets when Bush was injured, and even then, Lamar Miller looked better and didn’t fumble like Thomas did. Look at Thomas’ other three weeks: two FP, DNP, zero FP. Yeah, not worth a second glance.
Kendall Wright, TEN (@MIN); Justin Blackmon, JAX (CHI); T.Y. Hilton, IND (GB); Alshon Jeffery, CHI (@JAX) – MR 46/47/48/49: Insert rookie here. Wright can barely provide value even in the games without Kenny Britt. Blackmon? Blaine Gabbert is still at QB right? Moving on. Hilton wouldn’t even register on Fantasy charts if not for the 40-yard blown coverage play against Jacksonville. And Jeffery has been fairly non-existent since Week 1.
Dustin Keller, NYJ (HOU) – MR 24: Your QB stinks. Your matchup stinks. Your scent stinks. Okay, I’m just guessing on the last one.
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (PHI) – MR 13: Being on the cusp of QB1 status (12-team leagues) isn’t terrible, or even benchable in most leagues. A matchup against Philly makes Ben a riskier option than he’s been in his first three games. Against defenses ranked in the Top Eight against the QB in 2011, Big Ben averaged 264 yards per game with five TDs and nine INTs. Not exactly “big” numbers.
Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, BUF (@SF) – MR 24/27: I’m going to pull straight from Given Up this week – not because I’m lazy, just because I know not everyone has the membership (here’s more reason why you should) and I couldn’t have said it better… well, of course, because I said it already. What am I saying? I’m lost, are you? Anyway, here you go: “It’s already a tough deal when you have to pick between two RBs splitting carries. So, which [Buffalo RB] do you choose? This week, neither. The Bills play the 49ers, and if you don’t know by now to sit your RBs when they play San Fran, well, then tell me… is that rock you’re living under granite, quartz or basalt?”
Mark Ingram, NO (SD) – MR 39: Funny how easily a player’s outlook can change. Everyone thought the Saints got the steal of the draft in 2010 when they snagged Ingram last in the first round. We’re in the midst of Ingram’s second season and he’s waiver fodder in most leagues. When you can’t pass Pierre Thomas on the depth chart, you know you’ve disappointed and things will be no different against a decent San Diego run defense.
Greg Little, CLE (@NYG) – MR 42: If Little’s hands aren’t made of stone, well, then they’re at least made out of wood. After leading the league in dropped passes last year, Little already has four more this season, tied for second most overall. There is a good chance Little could see a depth chart demotion if the other receivers like Mohamed Massaquoi get healthy.
Sidney Rice, SEA (@CAR) – MR 50: Sorry Rice, but your QB is still Russell Wilson. His gamelog? 153 yards, 151, 130, 160. Unless every single reception goes to Rice, we won’t see any value until Flynn comes walking onto the field.
Heath Miller, PIT (PHI) – MR 15: Not unusable. It’s simply that Miller is a bad bet to continue his level of success from his first three games against one of the better defenses in the league.