Thankfully, there are no friend-zone questions this week’s mailbag, but I couldn’t resist using this image (via Reddit). God, what a terrible existence. Dear women of the world: if you happen to be asexual, don’t give yourself a rainbow dye job. Get a cat.

Ufford,
Fantasy first: Standard espn 12 person ppr league. I have to start 2 RBs 2WRs and 1 flex. Who ya got among T Rich (@oak), Reggie bush (v NE), AJ green (@sd), Brandon Marshall (v SEA), Jacquizz Rodgers (v NO), Malcolm Floyd (v Cin), Mike Williams (@den) and Bryce brown (@dal). All serviceable with some obvious starters (Richardson, green and Marshall) but wanted your opinion.

Richardson and AJ Green are automatic starts. At the other RB position, I’d give the nod to Bryce Brown based on his performance last week. The Cowboys are obviously better than the Panthers, but the Dallas D’s strength is against the pass, not the run. At the other wideout spot, I’d stick with Marshall. Yeah, yeah, everyone keeps talking about Seattle’s “big, physical corners,” but the Seahawks are a fraction of the team they can be when they’re on the road. I guess Malcom Floyd has a softer matchup against the Bengals, but I’m a proponent of sticking with your beasts. At the flex, I’m tempted by Reggie Bush against a soft defense, but I think I might give the nod to Jacquizz. Last week it looked like he was finally starting to get the nod over Turner (Quizz had 10 carries for 49 yards to Turner’s 13 for 17). The matchup against the Saints D is just too tempting not to play him, IMO.

Sexy time: I’ve been aggressively single since a pretty difficult breakup for me in March. But, with my ex moving halfway across the world, I was able to get over her rebound rather quickly. Now I’m ready to get back in a relationship and two girls have emerged as strong candidates. I won’t bore you with their particulars but both offer much more than my ex and I think both are awesome. My question is: how much is a reasonable amount of time to properly evaluate without getting too deep with either one? I’ve been seeing both for around 3 weeks and still can’t choose one over the other. Trying to stay non-committal and avoid any serious “talks,” but I can feel it coming around the corner from both of them. Any advice or anecdotes would be much appreciated.
Thanks,
-X-wing @aliciousness

First of all, everyone who writes in to the mailbag is hereby encouraged to use a name from the East-West Bowl (or make up one yourself). I would happily read more emails signed “Donkey Teeth.”

As for your lady situation: tread carefully. There’s a fine line between “can’t decide” and “choosing not to decide, because dating two girls at once makes you feel cool.” And while the latter is great for your ego and not harmful in brief doses, over a longer period of time it can turn you into a Grade-A douchebag with a casual disregard for women’s feelings. I’m not so prudish as to ignore the reality of casual dating, but sometime around the fifth or sixth date is the last realistic chance you have of saying, “Hey, you’re great, but there’s someone else I’m interested in” WITHOUT it becoming a source of drama that you’d rather avoid.

**********

A couple of questions for the Captain…
Fantasy first: Is collusion ever OK? And if so, how subtle do you have to be?

My knee-jerk reaction is “no” and “don’t,” but I’ll hear you out.

A buddy and I play in two leagues. League 1 is a longtime league with a bunch of friends and friends-of-friends, and is pretty competitive. League 2 is something he and I joined on a whim with a bunch of strangers this season to test out new draft and personnel strategies.

For the record: that’s SUPER geeky. And a fantastic idea!

In League 1, due to a combination of injuries/horrible mismanagement, I am sucking hard, while my buddy is on the edge of playoff contention. In League 2, the situation is reversed. By coincidence, we play each other in BOTH LEAGUES this week. I have proposed a mutual tanking scenario, where each of us takes a dive in the league in which we are already out of the running, to boost the playoff prospects of the other party. A win doesn’t guarantee anything, but a loss would be near-fatal in either situation. The main hindrance to ensuring that our respective teams lose is the quarterback: he would have to bench Matt Ryan against the awful Saints (in favor of Andy Dalton), and I would have to sit Cam Newton against the pathetic Chiefs (in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick). 1) Is this acceptable fantasy football behavior? and 2) Any chance we get away with it?

1) No, it’s not acceptable.

2) I don’t know. It depends on how vigilant your commissioners and league mates are.

As a former Marine officer, I’ve been inundated with more ethics lessons than most priests. At the Basic Officers Course (we call it TBS, for The Basic School), we would actually sit in a circle and have EDGs (ethical decision games) — role-playing scenarios where you’d talk out what you’d do if you saw Lieutenant Schmuckatelli leave the rifle range with an unfired 5.56mm round or whatever. It was all very small shit, because the theory — which I agree with — is that morality is a slippery slope. If you’re guided by integrity in the smallest decisions in your life, it carries through in the larger ones.

Anyway, my platoon commander back then had this metaphor regarding ethics: not every turd floats. Sometimes shit sinks to the bottom and makes a quick exit. But eventually one will float — man, it’s 12 years later and I’m just now realizing what a lousy metaphor that was. What a complete waste of time this has been.

You shouldn’t collude. Not because you might get caught, but because it’s dishonest. I know I sound like a Pollyanna, but if you have a small collusion with your friend in a league with strangers this year, you might try a bigger collusion with him next year to swindle money from strangers. And then your guiding question becomes “What can I get away with?” instead of “What’s the right thing to do?” My platoon commander was trying to make a point about some pieces of shit rising to the surface while others lurk below, but here’s the real crux of it: don’t be a piece of shit.

Sexytime: I discovered a few years back that I have a fetish–an “extreme” fetish. The specifics aren’t really important, but it’s pretty out there. My significant other did their best to understand it and even gave it the old college try, but is understandably unable to get into it, and it’s not the sort of thing where you can just sort of “take one for the team” once in a while and tolerate it so that I can get my weird jollies. It’s off the table, permanently.

Before you go on, I just want to voice my frustration with where we’re at so far. This is an anonymous mailbag. It always has been since its inception years ago, and it will continue to be so. (Almost every week, one email says “Please don’t use my name.” WE NEVER USE NAMES.) And yet you, dear reader, are so secretive that not only can you not share this TOTALLY EXTREME FETISH you’re in to, you can’t even divulge the sex of your partner. And frankly, calling him or her “they” is just frustrating from a grammatical standpoint.

Anyway, all I’m going to do while you finish your question is wonder what the fuck it is your fetish is. Armpits? Amputees? Is it bestiality? What’s something your partner CAN ONLY TRY ONCE?

I absolutely understand this and am 100 percent OK with their decision on this (i.e., it’s not a relationship deal-breaker). My problem…I can’t get it out of my head. Porn related to this particular fetish is the only kind of porn I watch, or have any desire to watch. S.O. doesn’t really have any issue with the porn per se, but it has started to affect my ability to have “normal” relations (which had always been in the pretty-good-to-terrific range). My question, to which I guess I sort of already know the answer…I’ve gotta ditch the porn, too, don’t I?
–Sad Clown

I wish I could give you a helpful answer, but I have no idea what the hell you’re talking about. Like, maybe ditch the porn? I don’t know. Maybe your fetish isn’t that weird at all, and your girlfriend is just a prude. It seems unlikely, but how am I supposed to know?

The mailbag works because people are open and honest, and I’m open and honest back. If you’re completely vague about your life, you get a vague answer. So: sure, stop watching the weird porn. Or break up with your girl and find someone freaky on Craigslist. Maybe you can trust your anonymity there.

**********

Dearest Matthew,
Sex: What’s that like? Just kidding, I know the drill. Here’s Christina Hendricks smashing a plane on a desk because a.) she’s hot and b.) she’s smashing something. My interests are very limited.

Thanks, now I miss “Mad Men.”

/goes back to waiting for “Justified”

Fantasy: I’ve been needing a non-waiver wire RB for awhile now. I’ve been shuffling through the Felix Joneses and Daniel Thomases of this league for too long. With the season waning, and getting close to the playoffs, I decided to burn my insurance and make the following trade: Cam Newton, Vernon Davis, Colin Kaepernick, and Mark Ingram for Ray Rice and Jay Catler (the latter for insurance purposes, as I have Peypey). Others in the league are seeing this as a fishy deal, but I can’t see how this is a bad deal. How does this trade look to you?

Best,
Overt Sexual/Sporting Culture Reference

I suppose if you parted with pieces you didn’t need in order to get the piece you wanted, it’s a good trade for you. Given the notoriously douchiness and paranoia of the owners I hear about in the mailbag, I don’t even know for sure which way the deal is “fishy.” Here’s how I see it: Ingram and Cutler are both largely useless in my eyes — any team relying on either as a starter isn’t going anywhere. People who think you overpaid and gave too many assets away will see that Cam’s returning to his rookie form now that the Panthers’ schedule has softened, Vernon Davis is a top TE despite some boom-and-bust weeks recently, and Colin Kaepernick is one of the hottest late-season plays in fantasy. Maybe none of those three are as good as having the #4 RB in fantasy scoring, your leaguemates may see three useful commodities in exchange for one as “fishy.”

On the other hand, people deify the handful of true studs may see an assemblage of lesser players as no fair trade for the #4 RB in fantasy football. Cam Newton’s in a sophomore slump. In 11 games, Vernon Davis has had less than 40 yards six times — with two of those being donuts. Kaepernick has started two games in his life.

It really just depends on what your dipshit leaguemates want to be butthurt about. As with all fantasy trades, if both parties are happy with the result, the trade is fine. (Notable exception: collusion, of course.)

**********

Dear KSK,
I absolutely love my girlfriend of a little over a year and think she’s gonna be the one I marry. We laugh, like a lot of the same things, and have great chemistry. She is a cook and works crazy hours. She recently quit one job and said she’d been running herself ragged, only to pick up another one with slightly better hours – later start time, still tons of hours – a few weeks later. Problem is, now she’s working 7 days a week. I know it’s completely not my business,

Her work hours affect your relationship. It’s very much your business.

but I know there’s no way we can do any of the things I want to do with a girlfriend like go away for a weekend or even a night. I’m 28 and mature enough to understand the stress she’s under. She’s been good about coming by for the night a lot and squeezing me in during the down time, etc, and I’m okay with the whole working Friday and Saturday nights thing, cuz I’m not that concerned about going out and getting wild like I used to. I really want her to quit that second job because if she’s working 7 days a week, this is a timebomb waiting to go off. Unfortunately, I know I can’t say that. I don’t want to go anywhere, but I want no parts of being the guy she (literally) sleeps with, then is gone all day, every day til 11 o’clock, when she’ll come by, hang out for an hour, then go to sleep. She keeps telling me how important I am to her and I know there’s nothing sketchy going on, but I don’t know how long I can take not ever being able to spend the day with my girlfriend. With no end in sight, I don’t know how to handle this.

The only people who should work seven days a week are heads of state, misanthropic capitalists, and Bangladeshi child workers. If you love your girlfriend and want to marry her, then you need to have the communication skills to talk to her about your displeasure with her work schedule. Again: times may be tough, but no reasonable human being works seven days a week “with no end in sight.”

Fantasy: I chose Ronnie Hillman over Bryce Brown with my waiver pick last week then watched my opponent use Brown and beat me. Despite his game against a shitty KC team, how long do you think Knowshon keeps starting?

I feel your pain. I started Hillman as well, expecting a time-share because it’s Knowshon, you know? But Moreno got almost all of Denver’s carries last week, totaling 24 touches for 111 yards. As a result, the Yahoo player report says he’ll probably be John Fox’s guy for the rest of the regular season.

As a guy who’s owned him a few times and been waiting for the breakout that never came, I can’t imagine he’ll keep the job that long. Then again, he’s running next to Peyton, who won a SB with Joseph Addai starting so talent isn’t necessarily required. Should I drop Hillman or just wait til this weekend when Knowshon finally plays a real NFL team?

I’d drop Hillman. Actually, I already did drop Hillman.

For your help, the only reason to watch Revolution:

Now now, Tracy Spiridakos isn’t the ONLY reason to watch “Revolution.” I’m told there are also crossbows.

Fun fact: Tracy has a Rottweiler puppy and now I love her.

**********

Dear KSK,
My fantasy question and my sex question are somewhat related, in that it’s mostly just a sex fantasy question.

I am both a woman and a Broncos fan for life (bring on the Pey Pey jokes; I’m ok with it).

Your Hall of Fame-bound quarterback has a big forehead!

Nailed it.

However, the other day I had a not-so-sexy dream about Jay Cutler, which is awful on so many levels (one being that I’m a dog person and hate cats). In it, we were making out on the floor, he had the awful mustache and that same ol’ quick release like on the field (but it was into my hand instead of out of his), and said “What did you expect? I come fast,” and got up and went in the other room to change clothes. He came out wearing a purple and white gingham button down tucked into some Tobias-Funke-Never-Nude-esque cutoffs with a tool belt and left.

That was it. End of dream.

Hahaha. Best. Sex dream. Ever.

After my Crying Game shower, I remembered that he’s my backup QB on my fantasy team. Is this dream a sign to let him go and pick up someone else, or a sign to start him and send the Bears a box full of cutoffs?
Sincerely,
Afraid to Sleep at Night

Dreams don’t mean anything except that our unconscious brains are weird. Keep him on your bench unless he’s needed for a spot start.

**********

Dearest Caveman,
Sex: Just found out my wife is pregnant.

Yay, congrats, you must be excited, etc.

We weren’t “trying” but the goalie had been pulled (there really isn’t a football euphemism for it… squib kicking? Not in prevent mode? You guys should get on that.) We were having sex once or twice a day up until she found out. Now we’re more than a few weeks into this and we’ve had sex exactly once since. I understand that she’s not feeling particularly well (round the clock Morning sickness) or sexy, but I’m wondering just how much coitus I might expect over the course of this thing. I understand you don’t have children, but thought you could ask the other Mafia members.

This has been asked before. flubby was apparently traumatized by his wife’s hormonal needs, while Drew said something that wasn’t strong enough either way for me to remember. A good friend of mine has two kids and was very happy with the quality and frequency of the sex during his wife’s pregnancies.

Obviously, it varies depending on your tastes and your wife’s comfort and hormones. Give her some time to stop throwing up and be thankful that you created life. You’ll probably get some as soon as she’s not feeling nauseated 24 hours a day.

Fantasy: I am in a 12-team keeper league that has had the same players for many years now. It is very competitive, so each year we try and tweak the rules just to keep things interesting and add new competitive wrinkles. This year the discussion of draft order came up and we’re trying to put in place a system that will make the draft order tied to how competitive you are all season long, even including once you’ve been eliminated from the playoffs. It has been argued back and forth all year, so we decided to come to you with these 3 options:

1. Keep it simple and just do reverse order of last year’s standings, like we’ve always done. (Downside: encourages tanking/not giving a shit later on.)

2. Do a “Draft Order Draft” in which the 12th place team would get first choice of draft spot and so on until last year’s champ gets stuck with whatever spot is left. (Some in our league argue that picking 10th-12th is actually an advantage in a snake draft that gives you two top-15 draft picks and thus a more solid team.)

3. Stick the top 3 guys from the previous year into draft spots 7 through 9 (after the top RBs are gone, but still pretty good picks and would give them shittier 2nd round picks) and let the rest of the league “draft” their draft spot in reverse order of placement in case one of those smart asses wants the 12th pick on purpose.

I know this is probably totally overthinking it, but we have to do something to keep ourselves entertained.
Thanks,
JackKerowackoff

Yes, you are overthinking this, and you should probably find some additional hobbies, which are much better ways to stay entertained. Regarding #2, my main league tried something similar this year: instead of getting the #1 pick, the first person got his first choice of which draft pick he wanted. I figured the first person would choose the 3-spot, which would guarantee him one of Foster, Ray Rice, or LeSean. But no: 11 of 12 players picked the next available slot in the first round. It was a waste of time.

If you’re gonna get geeky and waste your time with this, why not do a lottery like the NBA? That way no one’s guaranteed the #1 pick for sucking.

Bottom line: the people who are good at drafting will draft a good team regardless of position. This is not worth a lot of time and discussion.

**********

Queridos Capitnes de la Concha-
Two doozies, please help. FF first: I am dead least in my (sad) eight-man league this year. I’m behind a guy who lives in Israel and doesn’t know what the fuck is going on in the NFL. It is partially my fault (drafted MJD and R. Mexico) partially bad luck (2nd highest points against total), but I don’t mind too much (a lie). I think another part of it is the structure of our league as well; we start 2 QBs and 2 D/ST (an 8 team league after all). Any way to stay motivated with a shite team? I have some decent players (AP, Breesus), just has not been my year.

If you drafted Michael Vick any time before the 11th round, it is entirely your fault.

I’m experiencing something similar. I’d never had a losing season before, and my team in the blogger league is 3-9. And it’s not a horrible team! With Brady as my only stud, everyone else falls into this morass of “star with disappointing season” and “hot waiver pickup who’s an unknown quantity.” I’ve lost four winnable matchups by starting the wrong players, which is just a FANTASTIC feeling, let me tell you.

Anyway, you should still play for pride. After all, if you’re not going to the playoffs, this is your last fantasy game UNTIL NEXT SEPTEMBER. Make that shit count.

On the SAIX (sort of). I have been dating a wonderful woman for almost three years and we are going to spend the rest of our lives together. We both know this but recognize that there is no need to get married, or engaged for that matter, as of yet. At the end of next month, I will be out of a job and have considered joining the military for some time. She is not crazy with her current job (has actively been seeking other positions in different places, a move I am onboard with), but it is a steady paycheck in her preferred field, which is a good thing to have these days. As a veteran, do you have any words of advice for a youngish (26) person in a serious relationship looking to join the military? It is my primary reservation against doing so.

-Major Dumpage

There are two favorable relationship scenarios if you’re in the military, and they are (1) married and (2) completely single.

America’s pretty good about displaying the red/white/blue and yellow ribbons and saying “support the troops,” and do you know why? Because they don’t have to live next military bases. The civilian populace doesn’t like living next to jets taking off or people firing guns or tanks driving by, and they like the exploits of young off-duty servicemen — drinking, fighting, etc. — even less.

As a result, almost every American military base is in the middle of buttfucking nowhere. The upside: low rent! The downside: if you’re single, you don’t get to live off-base unless you’re an officer or NCO. Oh, and I hope your girlfriend’s preferred industry is restaurants, bars, or tattoos, because there are almost no jobs near a military installation for college-educated people.

Part of the reason I got out of the Marines is that I knew I’d never find a smart, talented, career-driven woman in the Mojave Desert or Camp Lejeune — or if I did, she’d never want to put her career on hold so she could sit at home in BFE and wait for me to come home from riding in my tank. So either marry your girlfriend and enjoy the additional pay and government benefits (that’s right, you get paid more for doing the same job if you’re married) or don’t join the military. This whole “we don’t need to get married” thing is a luxury that servicemembers don’t get. One of many, as it turns out.

**********

Football: Win and I’m in time! Assuming Julio Jones, Dez Bryant, and Doug Martin are locks, which one player among this embarrassment of riches has to sit: Alfred Morris vs NYG, Hakeem Nicks @ Was, or Bryce Brown @ Dal? I probably shouldn’t trade these guys in for the hot younger model right?

I’d start Morris. He’s been one of the most consistent and effective fantasy backs all year, and the Redskins offense is on fire right now. The Giants are solid against the run, but that didn’t stop Morris from gaining 120 yards against them in Week 7. (I also really like Hakeem Nicks now that he’s healthy, and obviously the matchup against Washington is fantastic.)

Sex: Speaking of… I am a happily married man with no intentions of changing that fact. A few months ago I started a new project at work that requires me to interact with a woman in our remote office. We met briefly when she flew in for the kickoff, and since then we’ve needed to IM/video conference regularly. We’ve become pretty good friends (as much as you can in a few months over text), and I’ve started hearing faint alarm bells as our conversations get longer and more personal. So far, I’ve been good and not crossed into flirting territory. I think.

She will be in town for a holiday party; I said I owed her a drink, and she replied that we need to just get shitfaced and find a good club to hit up later. I thought to myself, “my wife will be there too and probably won’t like that.” It was then that I realized I’d never really talked about my wife in our conversations, and I’d never mentioned this coworker to my wife.

I talk about other female coworkers at home, and I talk about my wife at work (letting ladies know you’re happily married is always good policy), so clearly I’ve been subconsciously treating this one differently. Realizing my peril, I intend to start talking about my loving wife every chance I get, in case I was actually sending the wrong signals.

“in case”

My question is, how do I prepare for this party they will both be attending? I’d like my wife to meet my coworker/friend without incident… but honestly, this girl is in my wheelhouse, and my wife will notice this pretty quickly, and they likely won’t get along. Given the fact that I almost never see this woman in person, and I’m really not doing anything wrong (really), and these two will likely never meet again, I’m not particularly keen on stirring up a lot of needless drama. I can try to keep them apart, with the wife blissfully ignorant to my coworker’s existence, but if she finds out I’ve been working closely with a cute younger girl without telling her it will look suspicious.

Friends - Ya Think?

But if I tell my wife now, it will seem weird I’m telling her at all, weird I waited so long, and she will be on high alert when they finally do meet (and more likely to go looking for a reason to be jealous). Is that better off than getting caught in a Jack Tripper-esque situation where things look worse than they are?

Are little lies (of omission) a good prevention tactic or just more trouble? Am I just trying to have my cake and eat it to? Can men and women ever be friends? Should I just stay home?
– Prevent Defense

The bad news is you fucked up. The good news you fucked up the same way just about any grown man has fucked up. We’ve all been there: you work with an attractive female or bump into an ex-fling — you never even dated! — and you don’t want to hide it from your girlfriend/wife because it’s no big deal, but you also don’t want to bring it up because IT’S NO BIG DEAL, and why should you have to negotiate a minefield of a discussion when you can just avoid it completely? I mean, can’t she just TRUST YOUR JUDGMENT without you revealing every detail of your communication with the opposite sex? It’s the sort of thing that — when I had a distrustful and suspicious girlfriend — brought me abject misery every week of my life. (Note: this is not the case with my wife. She trusts me completely, which makes me more forthcoming about this stuff. Love you, honey.)

You have several options, and they all depend on (a) how cool/understanding your wife is and (b) whether your co-worker is respectful of the boundaries that appear when the guy you’ve been working closely with for the last few months suddenly mentions that he’s married. The safest option is to feign illness and ditch the party. This is the easiest thing in the world when you’re married, because all you have to do is say that you’re tired from a long week and you’ve got a headache, and BOOM! You get a nice, quiet evening at home with your wife. (Single people can’t miss holiday parties, because other single people ALWAYS badger them into coming out and drinking.)

Another option is to say, “Ugh, I don’t want to go to this holiday party, but I’m supposed to make nice with this woman I worked with on the last project.” If your wife asks why you’ve never mentioned her before, then you say, “Well, I’ve only met her once.” This is true, and truths are important. Your wife is the important person to please in this scenario, and if you need to sacrifice your co-worker’s friendship in the process, well, you take that friendship behind the barn and put a bullet in its head. Which is to say: you are not going to a club and getting shitfaced.

Your last option is to tell the complete truth to your wife, which opens the door for legitimate friendship with your co-worker, but is also WAY harder than just faking a headache, so I’m not going to go through the motions of pretending you’ll do that. Good luck.