Pardon the ol’ video up top of yours truly, but I spent most of my day being pissed at Roger Goodell and the NFL for the slap on the wrist they gave Ray Rice for punching his now-wife unconscious. If you or I or any other NFL fan knocked our fiancée out on camera in front of witnesses, we’d be looking at jail time and the unemployment line. Ray Rice gets a two-week suspension, the support of his boss, and a line of former NFL players going on TV to say what a great guy he is. 

I can’t imagine how female fans of the NFL might feel today, but if you’re a man with a wife or a daughter or a sister or a mother — I’m pretty sure that’s all of us — you should have SERIOUS concerns about the NFL’s tacit approval of violence against women. It’s sickening.

On to your questions:

Ahoy, Captain,
FFL: My 10-team league used to do a random draw for our draft order, but due to a couple of guys either getting high or low picks, I switched to one that tried to make up for those discrepancies. It’s worked well, but soon, everyone will have had their fair share of good and bad picks. What are some creative ways to pick the order? I don’t want to do one that rewards bad teams.

I don’t see a need to be “creative” with it when what you’re looking for is randomness. “Okay guys, we’re all gonna whip our dicks out and measure them flaccid and erect. The biggest difference in size between the two states will draft first, smallest difference drafts last.” I suppose that’s creative, but what’s the point? Just use a random number generator

Sex: My friend’s wife set me up with an acquaintance recently. We get along fine, we have decent conversations, and I find her somewhat attractive, but we have little in common: we don’t share similar taste in music (she likes my least favorite music, modern country), booze, life experiences (I’m 33, she’s 22 and still lives with her mother). I don’t have a problem continuing to date her, and she certainly likes me (texting me the same night after a date to say what a good time she had and then following up several days later when I hadn’t gotten back to her), but the situation is weird because she texted my friend’s wife after our date, and my friend’s wife is even telling his family about our dates. Her involvement is annoying me, and I don’t know if it’s worth it to continue dating someone I’m lukewarm towards, even if most of my dates recently have been one-and-done online dates.
— Splash Log

If a female acquaintance sets you up on a date with one of her friends, you have to expect a certain level of emotional involvement from her. Like, she set her friend up with someone she thinks is a good guy (i.e., you), and after the date her friend texts her to let her know how great you are. That’s a good feeling for your friend’s wife! She’s naturally going to blab to everyone she knows about what an awesome Yente she is, especially if she’s also 22 or similarly young. So cut her a little bit of slack; I’d suggest talking to your friend and have HIM tell his wife to pump the brakes a little on planning her maid of honor dress.

Of course, that’s IF you want to keep seeing this girl. I was never interested in a 22-year-old beyond the age of 27 or so (and even then I was kidding myself), but in general I support people being patient during the early stages of dating. Everyone’s so busy blowing people off after one mediocre date that no one really establishes a connection over time, which is sometimes what it takes. Of course, you also don’t want to lead on a 22-year-old idiot if you’re not going to get serious about her, so what the fuck do I know? Just make a decision and go with it.

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Dear Captain,
Fantasy: you mentioned Jeremy Hill as a fashionable pick last week, but I could use a few tips for a sleeper rookie tight end, who could slip a few rounds but ultimately end up paying off. Any thoughts?

The only rookie tight end who sticks out to me is Eric Ebron; Yahoo has him projected as the 1873rd fantasy player this year, which means that he’s getting ignored completely or falling to the final rounds in a lot of mock drafts. That’s incomprehensible for a top-10 pick who’s in an offense with Matt Stafford and Megatron. The other rookies in this tight end class are all massive targets — Jace Amaro of the Jets, Austin Seferian-Jenkins of the Bucs, Troy Niklas of the Cardinals, and C.J. Fiedorowicz of the Texans — but I don’t think I’m ready to commit to any of them until I see them in some preseason games.

Not sex: I wrote to you a couple of years back for some advice on what my then-girlfriend and I should spend our three weeks in America doing. We followed most of your recommendations relating to NYC (thanks again) but for a variety of reasons didn’t manage to see as much of the West as we had originally intended.

So now (minus girlfriend, but that’s another story) I have another trip planned for December, which will culminate in staying with a friend who will by then be living in San Francisco. I’d quite like to spend 3-4 days driving through some sweet scenery to get there, but my question is: where from? Does your advice from back then work for December as opposed to May?

“Here’s what I’d do: I-90 across South Dakota (see the Badlands) into Wyoming (Devil’s Tower and Yellowstone), then down I-15 through Utah (incredibly beautiful: go to Arches and Canyonlands Nat’l Parks). Hit up Vegas for three days — your body and bank account will beg you to leave by that third day — then drive south to the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon. Take I-10 west through desert and take a detour north onto Highway 62 to visit Joshua Tree National Park. From there it’s a long haul up to San Francisco on I-5, but you don’t want to miss the Mojave, especially in the spring”

Any tips would be gratefully received…
Still can’t be bothered to pick up a guidebook

That advice is pretty terrible for December, actually. There will be snow all throughout the Rockies, so I wouldn’t recommend anything in Wyoming or Utah without 4-wheel drive. 

So stick to the Southwest. Fly into Phoenix, drive north to see Sedona and the Grand Canyon, and take I-40 west to Havasu. Cut south on CA-95 and take CA-62 west to go to Joshua Tree National Park. From there, take I-10 to Los Angeles, get a burger at Father’s Office or Umami Burger, then take the Pacific Coast Highway north to San Francisco. And if you’re running short on time, cut out Los Angeles — the burger may not be worth the traffic.

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Yo, Cap:
Football question first–I’ve been in a league with a few friends for a couple years now, and there’s a growing push to introduce keepers. What’s the optimal number, and what sort of retention rules do you suggest? (Give up draft pick equal to round they were taken in? Fixed round surrender for free agents? Have to stay on the keeping team all year? Can only keep two years in a row?) I’d think simpler is better, since this isn’t a particularly competitive league.

I like two keepers: one from rounds 2-8, the other from rounds 9-15 (or 16 or however many rounds your draft is), with the cost being one round higher than when they were drafted, and no one kept for more than two years (i.e., a total of three years on your team before they go back to the drafting pool). Anyone you get on waivers counts as an 8th-rounder (or 9th-rounder, if you want to decrease the possibility of a team keeping 9th-15th-round draftees).

My reasoning: no one who gets Adrian Peterson or Megatron is keeping him every year, and any top-flight second-rounders from the year before cost an owner his or her first-round pick. Pushing one of the keepers to the later rounds encourages people to be invested in the later rounds, and not just leave and let auto-draft take care of it.

NOTE: I play in a league with similar settings, but not quite exactly those. But it’s how I’d make it if I were commissioner.

And now, sex: I’m a dude in my mid-20s who, after years of being essentially undatable, lost a bunch of weight, started taking a modicum of pride in my personal appearance, mellowed out, and in general became a much more likable person. Now, I’ve also been using OkCupid for a few months, and I’m finding myself falling into a repetitive cycle–and I’m trying not to brag here–but it seems like the girls I’ve been dating even remotely seriously like me more than I like them. As much as I’d like to deceive myself, I don’t pretend that it’s all because I’m so good looking and witty and charming–I have a tendency to be pretty guarded, and as a result of some abandonment issues in my childhood, it takes a lot for people to became important to me. I also have a tendency to like to keep my space, and to be alone a lot.

Here’s the current issue, and it’s a microcosm of a few other similar relationships I’ve had: I’ve been going out with this girl for a couple weeks now, and so far, so good: she’s smart, she’s funny, she gets more of my pop culture references than I have any right to expect, and the sex is great. But: she also texts me constantly, throughout the day, and often seems to imply that we’re in a longer-term relationship than I’m ready for. For instance, she asked me to meet her friends sooner than I was ready for, and though it wasn’t horribly awkward, I’m not planning on reciprocating anytime immediately soon. There are also some issues of hers–which I won’t disclose publicly–that I’m really not sure if I’m comfortable with if she’s going to be my girlfriend. So, as the former fat kid with low self-esteem and codependence issues, how do I subtly ask her to back off a little bit and to take things one day at a time without jeopardizing what I do want to have?
Thanks,
I’ve Already Played the “Sorry, My Phone Died” Card

Own up to your neuroses. Trust me: if that girl likes you as much as the texts indicate, she’ll be more accommodating than you can possibly imagine. So be gentle: explain to her your past and your desire to maintain a little bit of space, and what she can do to give you that. And this is important: explain that it’s NOT her or anything she’s done. This is how YOU are, and that you still like her, etc. 

It sounds scary and it seems like a hard conversation to have, but it’s easier than it sounds. I promise.

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Dear Captain & Tentineel-
Pigskin- I’m heading into year 5 as the commish of a 10 team keeper league (.5 ppr) where you get to hold on to two players each season without penalty. My keepers are AP and Forte and I pick 7th in the draft. I’ve ranked the projected available players (everyone in the league is pretty open about who they are keeping, barring injury) and there’s a good chance that at least one of Montee Ball, DeMarco Murray, Zac Stacy or Alfred Morris will be there when it’s my turn. Jordy/Cobb/Alshon are the projected wide outs who should be available too. I’m already planning on grabbing Gronk with my second pick, seeing as the teams that pick 8, 9, and 10 are all keeping tight ends already (Graham, Thomas, Cameron) so I know he’ll still be on the board. My question for you is should I snatch up a 3rd RB with my first pick (I’m really high on Ball, no attachment to the others) to play at the flex or should I go for a more balanced approach and take a stud WR at #7? If I go RB/RB/RB/TE I’ll probably have to go to war with guys like Michael Floyd, Golden Tate and Terrence Williams as my receivers. Will the rest of my team be able to overcompensate? What seems like the smarter move?

Yeesh, that’s tough. I think Ball will do well this year — what offensive player in Denver doesn’t do well? — and I like Stacy, too. But I think the drop off at WR if you wait will be too stark — I think Jordy Nelson or Alshon are the way to go.

Pinkskin (although sadly, not a sex question) – I plan on proposing to my longterm, live-in girlfriend within the next year. Needless to say, everyone and their mother has been asking about our eventual weddings plans. It’s long been a matter of when, not if.

Of course this has led to my girlfriend spending countless hours surfing Pintrest and the like, coming up with wedding ideas, ranging from color schemes to gifts for the wedding party. Last week she even asked me how many groomsmen I would want, something I hadn’t given any thought to, but afterwards I did come up with a list of friends/cousins I would want to include.

One friend in particular jumps out to me and I can already see it getting awkward. It’s one of those situations where I’m clearly his best (and only real) friend, but to me he’s just another one of my many guy friends. I’ve known him since middle school and have been a good friend to him through many times of need, but he rubs people the wrong way almost immediately, with both his personality and odor. He’s also a compulsive liar, mostly when it comes to salary or women. And he finds a way to make every conversation about himself.

Sounds like an amazing friend.

In short, he doesn’t mix well with others.

Weird! People don’t like smelly lying braggarts?

He’s casually brought up how he can’t wait to give a speech at the wedding and I know in his mind he sees himself playing a big role in the celebration, but I don’t want that to happen.

Which is why it won’t. It’s your wedding, not his.

Only a couple of my friends have gotten married so I don’t have too much experience with this, but my question is how big of a deal (or a relief) is it to be excluded from a wedding party of someone whom you expected to be a part of? I know he’s going to be pissed off when the day comes, but it’s my wedding. I shouldn’t feel bad, right?

Any person who gets pissed off about being excluded from a wedding party is a shitty friend. I mean, unless you’ve given the bride or the groom a kidney, it should be an honor, not an expectation.

As penance for the least sexy question in Mailbag history, allow me to present to you Betty Brosmer.


DAT 1950′s ASS COMIN’ IN HOT!

– Ballsdeepak Chopra

God bless you, sir. And God bless Betty Brosmer.