Hello everybody. I’m super-duper sorry about the mailbag being a day late. Wednesday was a crazy long day (I was shooting this video — I know, I know: it’s soccer, a poor excuse), and by the time I got home, it was crazy late and I forgot about the mailbag and just watched Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh win gold in beach volleyball. Then I rolled late into work on Thursday and didn’t even remember the existence of the mailbag until about 1:00, which was too late to do anything about it.

So. My bad. To make it up to you, here’s 5000 words — I’m nearing Peter King length here — of some REALLY good letters and my responses. So bravo and thanks to the readers who wrote in; it was a wonderful and funny and stimulating and well-written batch of mail this week. Let’s get to it:

Captain,
Fantasy first: I’m in a dynasty league where you keep everybody you draft for the duration of their career unless you to trade or drop them. The rosters are big enough (25) that I can afford to stash somebody on my bench while they develop at the pro level. Passing TD’s are worth 4, and it is PPR. I currently have S. Jackson, Tim Hightower, Michael Turner and Peyton Hillis at RB; and Eli Manning and Big Ben at QB. We start one QB and 2-3 RBs (I try to start 3, but have the WR depth to go with 2 if necessary). That being said, I also made a trade a couple years ago that landed me the #1 overall pick this year. I’m leaning toward drafting Luck and solidifying the QB position for the long term, but I can’t stop second guessing myself with regards to drafting Richardson instead. What would you do with the pick?

I understand wanting to improve your running back depth, but I wouldn’t want to draft a running back first overall if he just had knee surgery. Besides, it’s not like you’re exactly in terrific shape at quarterback: yes, Eli racks up yards and touchdowns, but he also has a knack for interceptions. And Roethlisberger’s even worse — his skill at quarterback is due more to his size and physicality than his decision-making. As he ages, I think he’ll spend a good deal of time on injured reserve after taking sacks that he used to be able to shake off. May as well take Luck and plan for him to be your guy in a couple years.

Sex: About 6 months ago, I had arranged a date with a girl (Erin). We are both in our mid-late 20s, and I know her parents well, but I had never met Erin personally. I set it up through Facebook, because I’m classy like that, and it was the easiest way to find/get in contact with her. We did some messaging back and forth and everything was looking good for a first date. However, she ended up cancelling on the day of, rescheduling, cancelling the day of again, rescheduling, and cancelling again. She never gave any excuses or reasons why, and after the last cancellation, she let me down easy by saying “I still really want to get together with you, but things have really gotten crazy lately, so we might need to reschedule sometime later on.” At the time, I figured that either she had lost interest, or that she met somebody else. No big deal, sometimes things like that just don’t work out. I moved on, briefly dated someone else, stopped liking the new girlfriend, and took your advice from previous mailbags and broke up with her once I realized it.

However, within the last month, I’ve been made aware of the fact that at the exact same time that I was pursuing Erin for a date, she was dealing with a substantial sexual harassment/stalking situation at work that required her to move, get a restraining order, change jobs, and more. She’s still single, and based on everything I’ve heard about her, she has the potential to be a very good girlfriend.

“Hey, nice to finally meet you! TELL ME WHERE YOU LIVE.”

Since I already struck out once, is it a waste of time to make another run at her? If not, how would you recommend approaching her about it? (Side note – I am not supposed to know about the sexual harassment stuff. Not that I would ever mention it to her anyway, but she can’t know that I know about it.)
Thanks,
Terrible Timing

Why  not? You’re not dating anyone, and she’s not dating anyone. If you think she’s cute and you like communicating with her, why not hit her up on Facebook again? Find an excuse to write to her. “Hey, I was just thinking about you because I bumped into your parents yesterday,” or something true, or something false that she can’t fact-check. “I don’t know what happened last time, but if you’re free I’d love to try to take you out again. But I’m warning you: I won’t let you cancel on me any more than three times.”

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Guy That Now Roots For Kellen and Braylon,

And T.O.!

/inhales from ether rag

SEX (kind of) – First, congrats again on your recent nuptials. As someone who has been happily married for three years now, it isn’t that hard unless you married a raging bitch.

Fingers crossed!

(j/k! Love you, honey!)

Anyway, and let me offer you some advice because you will be hearing this shit soon enough; it won’t be long until people start constantly asking you about kids. It never stops being annoying. My wife and I just aren’t in that mindset yet so when our friends ask, I usually just say that I’m impotent. I have no idea if this is true, but it is a GREAT way to stop that horrible conversation immediately.

Haha, that’s awesome.

However, my mom has been putting on quite a nasty full court press when it comes to the kid talk recently. I understand that she wants grandkids but I also would prefer that we make this decision and not her. Any tips on how to get her to stop without being a dick?

Well, I think some sympathy would be a good start. Your mom is old, man. I’m guessing she’s retired, which means she doesn’t have enough hobbies to fill the empty hours of her day. Every sore joint in her body reminds her that most of her life is gone, and she wants her little remaining time on Earth to be filled with the joy of grandchildren.

Now, that doesn’t mean her pestering isn’t annoying. You can curtail it any number of ways.

  • Polite but firm: “Mom, we’re not even entertaining the possibility of having kids for another two years. My wife is on birth control and will remain that way. From now until this date in 2014, you badgering me about grandkids will only make for testy conversations that hurt our relationship, so please just drop it.”
  • Graphic: “Well, we’re trying to have kids, but Angela will only let me come on her face.” OR: “I want to have kids, but Angela only wants anal sex all the time…. Sheesh, sorry for sharing. I mean, YOU’RE the one who asked invasive questions about our sex life.”
  • Troll: “Oh yeah! I totally forgot to tell you. Angela’s four months pregnant. Must have just slipped my mind.” Then keep telling her, week after week, that your wife is four months pregnant. “Seems like the baby should be growing. Maybe I’ll ask Angie to cut down on her cocaine use.”

FANTASY – Keeper auction league; I have the luxury of being able to keep Jimmy Graham and AJ Green this coming season each only costing $3 out of a $200 cap. The problem is that I can only keep one. Help please.
–Jim Zorn’s Boner

Graham. Don’t think twice about it.

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Dear KSK,
Sex: Why do I have such awful friends?

In most cases I’ve seen, it’s because people hang out with college drinking buddies after college, even when it becomes apparent that they no longer have anything in common. But I’ll let you finish your email.

I just got married this past weekend. I had selected my groomsmen and had mentioned months and months ago that we planned on requiring only black suits as to not be a pain for them. We came to realize that is really hard to coordinate multiple styles of suits for a wedding party and now required a rented tux of less than $115 with plenty of time in advance. Two of my groomsmen had no problem with this, while the other two did. One dropped immediately and the other (closer friend) dropped less than 2 weeks before the wedding. Not wanting to create even more drama, we still invited them to come as normal guests and they made the trip.

That’s not exactly a feather in your cap. You don’t uninvite someone just because they turn down being in your wedding party.

The ceremony and reception were awesome, however there was some bullshit drama with the same friends.  We made the mistake of not doing assigned seating, thinking a small reception (<30) did not need it. Big mistake. We had some surprise guests that did not RSVP and were one chair short. My friends were chatting with me while everyone grabbed a seat and left them without 3 (1 for my close friend, 2 for the husband and wife) chairs together.  I told them we would get the wedding coordinator on it and by the time I finished telling him to add the chairs, (which was no problem) I turn around to find all 3 friends telling me they will make it easy for me and they are leaving. I practically beg them not to go; that we have a fix coming, but they leave anyways. 

I felt horrible, so I sent a last ditch text telling them to come back, we have the chairs for them, at least have some cake. The close friend tells me he is already on his way home, but thanks anyways. The remaining couple tells me no thanks, then 20 minutes later follows with “The hospitality was so great the first time around”. What. The. Fuck? He sends this shit on my wedding day? These friendships are not salvageable, right? I should just focus on my marriage and finding other friends? What happened sucks, but it only happened to them because they were talking to me and could’ve easily happened to dear old Uncle Bill instead. We had it fixed but they refused to stay. Am I overreacting?

Yes, they are selfish dicks. Yes, you need better friends.

HOWEVER. You and your wife are not without fault here. Your friends leaving was a direct result of your own poor planning. Oh, you only have thirty guests? That makes a seating arrangement WAY EASIER. That way, when you get surprise guests who didn’t RSVP (who are also dicks, btw), they’re the assholes who get left without seats for a few minutes. Maybe that’s the lesson they need to send in an RSVP card.

Anyway, even though your friends awful people, I think they’re worth one more phone call. It’s worth apologizing for your poor planning, if only as a segue to tell them what dicks they are. “Hey, I just wanted to apologize about the seating thing. We really messed up by not assigning seats, and we were unprepared to seat a couple of unannounced guests who took your chairs. THAT SAID…” and then you can call them out on how they ditched the wedding because they had to remain standing for FIVE FUCKING MINUTES (or whatever), which is seriously the biggest bitch move I’ve ever heard a wedding guest pull. Who makes someone else’s wedding about them? That’s the kind of behavior I’d expect from a seven-year-old. And not a well-behaved seven-year-old, but one of those pouty-faced shithead kids that you want to pinch just to make them cry. Anyway, if you put it a little bit more tactfully (“Your actions put a damper on what was supposed to be a happy day for us, and I think that was really  selfish of you”), maybe you’ll get a fraction of the apology you deserve.

If not, fuck ‘em. At least you walk away from the friendship behaving like a straightforward adult.

Not fantasy football: Although not my hometown team, I have been a Chiefs fan since I was 9 years old. I am very cynical when it comes to my sports. Players don’t care about fans, lockouts are always millionaires versus billionaires, etc. Now with news that my Chiefs have been abusing tax payer money for years, I now have no euphoria for my team like I did when I was younger. Is there anyway possible to get that back? I miss the days when I refused to believe that Marcus Allen was a throbbing asshole or that Elvis Grbac was a legit NFL QB. Oh we were so stupid when we were younger.
Thanks
The pissed off Groom

Gambling. You can experience that childlike euphoria every time you have a hundred bucks on Chiefs covering and they pull it out.

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Dear KSK,
FANTASY: I’m just going to lay all my cards on the table right now. I’ve been in a fantasy league with every male member of my family

Worth noting: this is a female reader.

for the past six years and they always USED to make fun of me because I didn’t participate in the draft (two years ago it wasn’t my fault, I was at a water park. GOOD EXCUSE) and now when I participate they just make fun of me because I don’t read the magazines and watch ESPN fantasyologywhatthefuck shows about it for weeks ahead of time. My question is: who do I pick first in the draft to kick my family’s ass this year?

Depends on where you pick in the first round. I haven’t even started my fantasy player rankings for my draft yet, but here are Yahoo’s ranks based on average draft position for a standard draft:

1. Arian Foster
2. Ray Rice
3. LeSean McCoy

These are the top three running backs, period. They all run well, they all catch passes, they all score touchdowns in big numbers. Assuming they stay healthy, they’ll produce excellent numbers for your fantasy team. Any of them could go #1, though I’d be wary of Foster’s hamstring.

4. Aaron Rodgers
5. Calvin Johnson
6. Maurice Jones-Drew
7. Drew Brees
8. Chris Johnson
9. Tom Brady
10. Larry Fitzgerald
11. Cam Newton
12. Trent Richardson

I disagree with a couple choices here — I’ll probably drop MJD to 9 or so on my list, and I doubt Trent will be in my first round — but the general sentiment seems to be that the gap between running backs and QBs is finally closing. If you can’t get one of the top 3 RBs or Calvin Johnson, I’d recommend picking an elite quarterback.

SEX: So I met someone in my hometown and we hit it off right away. We really like each other and it was great but I live on the east coast and he lives 1000 miles away in the south. He has no plans to move up here in the next two years and I’ll only be back in the south periodically (holidays) for the next two years. I don’t want to do long distance. I know that’s a TERRIBLE idea. However, I still miss him and he still misses me and we end up talking a lot. Enough where I can tell it’s getting in the way of both our (well, I know mine at least) lives. He’s told me he doesn’t see himself seeing anyone else until I get back briefly for a wedding in November. I didn’t ask for that promise. It’s just how it is I think. His friends tell me that when he falls for a girl he falls hard. The whole thing just sucks and we end up being sad all the time because we’re in different cities. How do you get over the whole “the person of my dreams lives far away and there’s no way we can be together” thing?
-Title IX Manager

Sounds like tough shit for you. You can either break contact and try to date other people, which will be miserable and unsatisfying, or try to see each other more often and Skype a lot, which will be miserable and unsatisfying. In the meantime, think of all the fantasy football research you can do!

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Dear wise gentlemen of the internet,
Football: Due to various scheduling conflicts and wanting to have as many in-person managers as possible, my draft is this Saturday. Any advice/tips you can give on drafting before anything has been sorted out in the preseason?

Don’t draft anyone who could potentially be injured. You’re welcome!

I dunno, I guess I’d probably lean towards a more conservative draft. I often spend my later rounds trying to pick out rookies and second-year guys that could break out, but if I had to draft before I saw much preseason action, I’d probably draft more handcuffs and established veterans.

Sexy time: About a year ago I was having afternoon adult relations with the girl I was seeing. Someone began knocking at the front door so we ignored it hoping they would go away. Turns out it was her ex-husband who proceeded to break through the front door and come looking to rip my head off. Obviously my next move was to hide in the closet so he wouldn’t find me (thanks Hollywood) but he was already aware of my presence. I held the door closed as he tried to get in so he decided to punch through the flimsy door and pull me through the hole he created. He only managed to get my arm through the hole but eventually got the door open. I ducked his punch, took him down with a double leg takedown (thank you wrestling), and held him down until the cops arrived. I escaped relatively unharmed except for quite a few scratches on my arm from the door. Needless to say I am no longer seeing this girl.

This may be my favorite paragraph in mailbag history; that was a lot of fun to read.

Don’t take this the wrong way, but I really want to know if you were naked. If you were, it makes the story three times better and you shouldn’t leave that part out.

My question is in regards to the scars that are now on my arm. How do I respond to women who ask about them. Do I give the real story, a slightly modified version that leaves out the sexy time/ex-husband/closet part, or come up with a new story completely? Maybe something that involves saving puppes and/or children. Should I have a story to use early on in dating and then give the real version once the relationship has gotten more serious. Any advice would be helpful.
Sincerely,
Trapped in the closet

Personally, I find your story perfect the way it is. But women are an impossible bunch to please — they can’t even agree on Brad Pitt — so you never know what part of your story might turn a lady off, whether it’s you mentioning sex with another woman (“How dare he!”) or dating a divorced woman (“Poor morals!”) or hiding in the closet (“He won’t defend me if the chips are down”). Women can be awful at appreciating the rad stories behind scars.

So here’s what I’d do. Tell the essential truths of the story that make you look like a badass, and leave enough mystery to make her want to know you more. “This guy broke into my house and attacked me, so we fought and I had to pin him down until the cops came. It’s a long story,” and then wave your hand like it’s an annoyance to tell. If she presses for details, just say, “I’ll tell you the whole story after we’ve been sleeping together for a while.”

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Dear KSK Kommentariat,
Football first: Hope much stock would you put in the 49ers defense? Are they a top 5 defense on draft day? They were extremely tough vs. the run in 2011 and were decent against the pass. Two things worry me. 1) They benefited tremendously from forcing a lot of turnovers, which is as feast-or-famine as any single stat in football. 2) They got burned for 300+ pass yards against some of the NFL’s elite QBs (Big Ben in Week 15, twice against Eli Manning in Week 10 and the NFC Championship game, Breesus in the Divisional Game and Romo in Week 2). OK, calling Romo “elite” is kind of a stretch.

Considering this year they’ll be playing against Laserface, Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning, Breesus and Tom Brady, should I dump them and look elsewhere for my fantasy defense?

It’s very likely the Niners will be a top-five defense in 2012, but I wouldn’t look to draft them, because everyone knows that they’re good. It happens every year: someone takes the Ravens or Steelers defense in the 9th or 10th round (or earlier — ugh), and then there’s a run on the four or five defenses that everyone recognizes as good. Don’t bother. Pick up a young, rising defense like the Lions or Seahawks in the 14th round; it’ll be a better value.

Sexy time last: A lady friend that I met at my old job and have known for two years just got dumped by her boyfriend of five years. I’ve been told it was not a nice, amicable split.

I’ve had the hots for her (let’s call her “Erica”) pretty much since day one, although I was with someone at the time. I’m 30. Erica is 25. We enjoy a lot of the same things and share that warped sense of humor that comes from working in a newsroom. We’ve had that drunken “What if we were both single?” conversation (The answer? “Totally would”) a couple of times. Most importantly, she’s cool with my friends and I’m cool with hers.

How soon is too soon to make my move? And how can I avoid the pitfalls of getting stuck in the friend zone or winding up as just a rebound guy?
– It’s not a trap

I’ll answer your question, but first, a word about this “friend zone” that everyone talks about. While there are certainly examples of someone moving from friend zone to love interest, this staple of the shitty romantic comedy is the exception, not the rule. The truth is that “friend zone” is a euphemism people use for reality: that the person they want to have sex with is not physically attracted to them. “Oh, I didn’t make a move when I should have, and now I’m relegated to the friend zone,” says the guy who never had a chance with a girl in the first place.

What I’m saying is, if she’s already admitted that she “totally would” hook up with you, then you’re not going to end up in the friend zone. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean you should sit back and wait for the fireworks to happen. I’d talk to her as soon — and as openly — as possible. “I’m not really sure what your mindset is right now, but whenever you’re ready to see people again I’d like to take you out to dinner. I don’t want to be a rebound for you or exploit you when you’re feeling down, but I also think you’re really terrific person, and I’d hate myself if I missed the opportunity to get closer to you and know you better.”

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Dear Captain -
Fantasy first: I’ve been in a 16 team auction keeper league for 25 years now – we started in 8th grade as an 8 team league with a $10 buy-in, pre-internet, hand scored off of the USA Today box scores, and after a couple expansions and the invention of the internets (yay!) we are now a bunch of old guys with a rule book thicker than the tax code and a pretty spicy buy-in.

Welcome, O King of Sports Nerds. I pray the journey from Rotopia wasn’t too taxing on your inhaler.

My football nerdom started with college football, and she is still my first love, so to honor her I started a college league 4 years ago. Not everyone from the pro league joined, so I brought in some fresh blood mixed with the hardened codgers. It’s much more stripped down than our pro league, draft style, just now introducing “scholarships” and some other intricacies, but it’s been a blast.

Really interested to see where this question is going. So far it’s like Stephen Hawking asking a high school student for calculus tips.

So…I got to thinking, how about a high school fantasy league?

No.

We would limit it to a geography, initially California, and run it like our college league. There are no sites that support this, but stats are easy to compile online, so that is not the deal breaker that it would have been even 5 years ago. Think of it: fantasy football basically every night of the fall week except for Tues/Weds and an occasional Thurs.

(A) That sounds awful, and (B) your loved ones need to intervene on this addiction.

My question to you is am I mistaken to think that this is a healthy, natural evolution of my passion for a game that has given me a ton of enjoyment for all of my adult life?

A natural evolution? Probably. A healthy one? Ehhhh….

If it feels right, can it be wrong?

Thank you for the bait, but I’d prefer not to tell a Sandusky joke today.

We obviously already decided that gambling on amateurs wasn’t a big deal with our college league (and semi-unhealthy Saturday online sports wagering), but is there another issue that I am overlooking by bringing this to high school?

“Another issue” like, sayyyyyy, all of the players are minors? Dude, have you ever been to Rivals.com? Those people are freaks. Grown men and women evaluating teenage boys’ bodies and mental acuity and feel for the game and all that. Even for a violent sport with all sorts of ethical issues, the attention that adults pay to high school football can get pretty gross and unsettling.

Sex: I’ve been dating a girl for 5 years now, broke up once, begged her back, she’s moving in next month for the second time. I’ve watched her go from a pretty clueless 25 year old with a mountain of credit card debt and dreams of culinary school to a put-together career woman who would be the best mother ever. Your column has really helped me get my head straight on the commitment thing. She does not ask me to change who I am, loves me always, puts me first, has a huge heart, huge sex drive, works on becoming a better version of herself every day, my family loves her, there’s really no turning back now without basically admitting to myself, family, and friends that I’m a cowardly DB. There are some small things that annoy me, mostly around how she is when she’s drinking, but she doesn’t drink that often at all and is working on not becoming a bitch when she does, and that’s all I can ask (well, actually I’ve asked her to stop drinking but she won’t, and since I’m not about to stop drinking that’s all I’ve got left to ask).

She just pulled the goalie, and while she wants a wedding, her folks are broke and I am stingy and not about to ask for any help from anyone else. She really just wants to be married, and I can maybe agree to that and throw a big party later after my high school fantasy league company IPO’s, but I just want to start a family and not really worry about marriage and the inevitable hoopla that would accompany it right now. She is signaling that she might be open to that, but I kind of need to sell her with the “I am committing to you, I want you to be the mother of my brood and grow old together, but can we just push off the marriage part for awhile?”

Well one thing’s for sure: it was definitely a good call for her to go off of birth control before you two agreed on marriage and having a family. This can only work out well.

As you can see I’m not that good at the pitch, and so I come to you seeking counsel. I really like when you instruct a guy how best to phrase something, and I am not merely flattering you when I say you have a gift for taking a highly awkward topic and making it sound much more palatable to the recipient. I am fine with getting her something to show I mean business, but I don’t want it to be a ring because that really kind of undermines my attempts to divert focus from the marriage deal.

Can you help show me how to do this?
Love, Chi Chi Rodriguez

Geez, no pressure. Here’s the thing: marriage isn’t just the same ol’ living together post-hoopla of a big expensive wedding. It’s also a legally binding document that makes life a lot easier when you and your dedicated partner start raising a family together. A marriage certificate greases the wheels of the system: you get tax breaks, you can see each other in the hospital more easily should one of you get sick, it makes a will much simpler to make out, and the simple words of “my wife” or “my husband” carries a lot more weight than “my partner” or “my girlfriend” when you’re faced with the inevitability of shithead bureaucrats (receptionists, cops, TSA workers, etc.). So while I recognize and respect that you want to make sound financial decision and aren’t enamored with the idea of a wedding, I also believe that you should get married if you want to have kids together and spend the rest of your lives with each other.

As for what to say to her, I think the fact that you want to start a family with her is a pretty huge sign that you’re committed to her, so you should base your pitch around that. “I love you and I’m committed to you and I can’t wait to have kids with you, but I want to do the right thing financially for the family we’re going to have. I wish I could give you everything you want in terms of a wedding, but I also want our kids to have diapers and eventually attend college.”

That should, I hope, get the discussion moving. I think you should angle for a very small civil service. Go ahead and make it official, you geeky weirdo. You’re going to have to compromise the rest of your lives, may as well start now.