new-year

Welcome, friends, to the first mailbag of 2014, and the frosty beginning of the long, cold, fantasy off-season. For those of you who missed it, Trevor Risk filled in with mailbag duties last week, and did admirable work once you got over the fact that he put his responses in boldface, rather than the reader emails. RESPECT THE ESTABLISHED FORMATTING, TREVOR.

A couple readers also asked about the offseason schedule for Keepers, the fantasy show I like to pimp here. The schedule is this: there will be no episodes until next August. However, if you for some reason want to see me talk about the NFL, you can watch Uffsides, which is a weekly preview show where I goof off and pick games against the spread (poorly). Once the postseason is over, I’ll also be talking about the draft with my SB Nation colleague Dan Rubenstein, so follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook to get those links as they come out.

That’s that for housekeeping issues. Let’s get to your letters.

Captain,
How’d your fantasy teams do this year?

Of my six teams, five made the playoffs and four made the championship game. Of those four, only one followed through with a league title, but it was my sole big-money league, and it happened because I benched Drew Brees and the KC D for Andy Dalton (33 points) and the Buffalo D (17 points). So I’m feeling saucy about it.

I wound up finishing third after getting bounced in the semi-finals thanks to career days from Alex Smith, Jordan Todman, and Dan Bailey. Fortunately, I have decent keepers to pick from next year. Who do you prefer, Zac Stacy as a 9th rounder or Josh Gordon as a 7th?

That’s a tough one. Stacy’s an awesome value, but you HAVE to go with Gordon, who finished with 150 more receiving yards than any other wideout despite only playing in 14 games. Assuming Cleveland upgrades its quarterback situation in the offseason — and it would be hard to downgrade — Gordon will enter the 2014 season as the likely top fantasy wideout (or at least be neck-and-neck with Megatron and Demaryius Thomas).

As for sex, I’m happily married with a newborn, no questions on that front.
Thanks,
J.O.

BORING. So you’re just gonna use me and throw me aside like some kind of one-night stand of fantasy knowledge without any kind of sex or relationship input? That ain’t how this works, people. Seriously, we’ve been over this like thirty times over the course of the mailbag.

So, here: have a Kate Upton GIF.

kate-upton

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The following question was in last week’s mailbag, but I’m including it here because Trevor lost his damn mind and enabled a Redskins fan.

Dear KSK,
How does one responsibly talk themselves out of drafting a player from their favorite team? In four leagues this season, I drafted RG3 three times as well as drafting Alfred Morris and Santana Moss, (operating under the assumption that RG3 and Alfred Morris would enjoy continued success and that Santana would flourish in the slot) and I think even Roy Helu, and I just caught myself thinking “You know, Jordan Reed might be a good option for TE next year.” Suffice it to say, I finished last in three out of my four leagues.
-NatinalsMLB

Fandom makes us stupid. Bill Barnwell is one of the smartest, most rational NFL writers alive, but you can’t trust anything he writes about the Giants. One of the dudes I work with is a statistical genius but has the emotional maturity of a 12-year-old when he talks about his 49ers. And you: you are probably a smart person, but Santana Moss is a 34-year-old wideout who hasn’t had a 1000-yard season since 2010 (When RG3 was breaking records last year, Moss had just 41 catches for 573 yards despite playing all 16 games).

I do it, too: before Russell Wilson’s rookie season, I drafted him in two keeper leagues as a long-term upside guy. Then he played poorly in his first four games, and I dropped him in both leagues because I’m an impatient piece of shit who thought Matt Flynn gave the team a better chance to win. (Like I said: fandom makes us stupid.)

It’s not that my team would be better with Russell Wilson, or that a Chiefs fan like Trevor benefits from having Jamaal Charles — it’s that our inherent inability to make rational decisions regarding our teams does us a disservice, both as competitive owners and fans cheering our team on. And that’s why I recommend trying to avoid building a team around your favorite players. While there are exceptions to be made for blue-chip players, this year I still tried to avoid Marshawn Lynch in the first round, and I favored Romo over Wilson in the fifth.

If you need to indulge your fandom, save it for the later rounds and use it on your team’s tight end or kicker.

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This one’s from a few weeks ago:

Dear KSK,
Short question, no sex followup: IS THERE ANY WORSE WAY TO LOSE THAN A DOUBLE STAT CORRECTION?

I’m going to assume that’s a rhetorical question.

I was winning on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. This morning, Calvin Johnson was awarded 3 yards. No biggie, I was winning by .6. Then Roethlisberger was awarded 5 receiving yards (and 0 receptions) because he was thrown a lateral on that desperation play at the end of the game. He ran 5 yards forward before lateraling to Antonio Brown who ran out of bounds.

Now I am suddenly not in the playoffs, losing 97.6 to 97.8… to my brother.

ouch

Fuck. Me.

Thanks for listening to me gripe. I do not expect this to make the mailbag.
-DL

So, okay: totally brutal and awful way to end your season.

But if I can play the dispassionate devil’s advocate (aka “asshole”) for a moment: As both fans and fantasy owners, we overinflate what happens last in a game or a matchup, but things get more reasonable if we place equal weight on everything throughout the course of competition. It takes some of the sting off of “What if?” scenarios.

So you can be mad about the last 8 yards that got tacked on, or you can be mad at Victor Cruz for going tits-up this season and getting 42 yards against the 29th-rated pass defense in the NFL, or you can realize that the score wouldn’t have been that close if Calvin Johnson hadn’t played in a blizzard. There are hundreds of little things that could have gone for or against you, and those last two things weren’t more important than any others — they were just the last.

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Hi Matt:
Football. I flamed out in Fantasy Football and question why I play it still.

Welcome! You’ll find plenty of kindred spirits here and everywhere else online.

Sex. Here is the thing. I am a straight male. I have exclusively dated women and am not attracted to guys in real life. However,

tony-romo-sup

Nah j/k please continue.

sometimes I really enjoy watching bisex porn. It’s different, the girls in it are usually pretty hot, and the newness of it excites me. However, I can’t mention this to any of my friends or girls that I date because I know they are all going to think I am gay. And it makes me feel bad about myself that I can’t be open about it. Especially when my gf asks me what turns me on.

Seriously, am I crazy? Thinking about this too much?
Thanks,
Insert clever name here.

Okay, first of all, you didn’t exactly strengthen your case for bisexual porn by saying “the girls in it are usually pretty hot.” Like, “Sure, I sometimes watch dudes getting it on because the women in the scene are so attractive.” C’mon.

Aside from that, you’re making too big of a deal of this. Porn is already so far removed from the sex that real people have that I have a hard time drawing deep conclusions about your sexuality from a masturbational aid. There are people out there who watch hentai, and I doubt they’re interested in actual trees fucking women.

And even if you DO have some sort of curiosity/fascination with men beyond what you’ve experienced in real life, you shouldn’t feel bad about not being “open about it,” as you say. Dude, it’s PORN. What you jerk off to is NOT something that requires full disclosure. When your girlfriend asks what turns you on, she wants to know what SHE can do to excite you more, not the last thing you jerked off to.

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Hi Matt,
Relationship question: why is my wife so grumpy?

Probably because I haven’t called.

ice-burn

Fantasy question: I recently won my 12 team PPR league. That doesn’t really have anything to do with my question, just wanted to brag.

The two-week period following the fantasy season is really the only time I’m cool with readers bragging about exploits. So good job! Congrats! Winning your fantasy league is a big deal.

We can keep 4 players. My top candidates in order of wanting to keep them: LeSean McCoy, J Graham, and then I get unsure between Randall Cobb (who I held onto all season), Josh Gordon (drafted him) and Nick Foles. I assume all the good QBs will be kept, so I want to hang onto Foles probably. I guess the big question is Cobb or Gordon?

I anxiously await your reply.

Yours forever,
GorCobb

If you prorate Cobb’s stats this season across 14 games — the same number Gordon played in — Gordon would still have SIX HUNDRED more yards. So: Gordon. (Although, to be fair, Cobb scored TDs at a higher rate than Gordon this season, because the Packers have an actual functioning offense.)

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Dear KSK,
Fantasy: I’m in a ten team keeper league. I got second place this year after getting first last year, so everything is good on that front. I’m trying to decide on my second keeper. My first is Alfred Morris (12th round). My other options are Demaryius Thomas (2nd round) and Jimmy Graham (2nd round).

You have two second-round picks?

I’m leaning towards keeping Graham, but his injury history is somewhat concerning, and I feel like Thomas is on the verge of putting up Calvin Johnson numbers if Manning can stay healthy.

First of all:

Demaryius Thomas in 2013:  92 receptions, 1430 yards, 14 TDs

Calvin Johnson in 2013: 84 receptions, 1492 yards, 12 TDs

Demaryius Thomas is already putting up Calvin Johnson numbers.

The difference between Thomas and Graham, though, is one of relative value to their position. This season, Thomas was one of the top three fantasy wideouts in football, posting gaudy numbers that were similar to those of Megatron and Josh Gordon, while Antonio Brown, A.J. Green, Brandon Marshall, Dez Bryant, and Alshon Jeffery were all close behind.

Now compare that to tight ends: Graham was by far and away the #1 TE. He scored 16 touchdowns, which was two more than any WIDE RECEIVER. He had 34 more catches than Vernon Davis. He had over 400 more yards than Julius Thomas.

Let’s put it this way: in a 0.5 PPR league, Graham was 38.9% better than the second-best tight end (Davis). Thomas was also the best at his position, but only 0.8% better than Gordon. If you accept that Rob Gronkowski will always struggle with injuries — and I do — no other player in fantasy football is as far above his positional peers than Jimmy Graham.

Relationship: I’m 26 and just finished law school.

That’s terrible, I’m sorry.

I have a handful of girls who I can call to hook up with, but it’s been approximately two years since I’ve had a girl who I actually enjoyed spending time with and wanted to see everyday. And generally, if I like a girl and think it could go somewhere beyond just hooking up, I will act too nice. The girls who I just hook up with would all jump at the chance to be more serious, and the girls I actually like aren’t into me. I need your advice, Captain.
-Kind of want something more serious but not sure

Nah, you don’t need advice. That’s just life being life. Which is to say: a typical single man has a lower bar for sexual escapades than for relationships. It’s possible that this is also true for women, which may be why the girls you like aren’t into you :(

Anyway, it’s nothing to worry about. You’re a young professional with willing sex partners who is also smart enough not to get into a relationship with someone he’s not totally into.

As for that whole “acting too nice” thing? I don’t buy it. When men “act too nice” for women to like them, it’s usually one of three situations:

  1. The man went way overboard and smothered the woman with attention. That’s not too nice, that’s too crazy.
  2. The woman doesn’t like to be treated well by men, which means she’s got emotional baggage that will make for a less than ideal relationship.
  3. The woman never liked the guy in the first place, and “too nice” is a euphemism for “you’re not attractive to me.” 

Don’t worry about being too nice. Just be nice. Be considerate and thoughtful and respectful. Maybe that won’t work on a long-standing crush with daddy issues, but it’s the simpler and better route to making a worthwhile connection. Also: it just kind of makes the world a happier place.