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Greetings from beautiful* Las Vegas! I am here, appropriately, for a fantasy football thing of sorts. There’s some kind of challenge among “experts” that will go on through the season, and a clerical led to my inclusion in the competition. I’ll be sure to not let you know how it goes, as you probably don’t care.

*in a shiny-casing-covering-a-diseased-core kind of way

Today’s mailbag, in the tradition of August mailbags, is draft- and keeper-heavy, but we’ve got a doozy of a swinger down at the bottom of the column if you want to live REALLY vicariously through one lucky reader. Please enjoy responsibly.

Hi Caveman,
Hope you’re enjoying the preseason. I have the 10th pick in my draft. Assuming Charles/McCoy/AD/Lacy/Forte/Calvin/Graham are gone, it’s my opinion that the three top QB’s are the best pure value around there. However, this is a 14-team league that starts 2 RB/2 WR/1 Flex and has a pretty thin waiver market due to a long draft. Are those rules enough to make me stray from a BPA strategy and maybe go for Dez, Montee Ball, or Lynch? Whenever I’ve waited on RB’s in this league in the past, I’ve gotten killed because some guys grab 3 starting RB’s and dry up the market pretty quickly.

Marshawn Lynch is looking at significantly fewer carries this year, and Montee Ball has yet to wrap up the starting job in Denver. Your RB options at 10 aren’t good. But I don’t think the top three quarterbacks are the best “pure value” with the 10th pick, either. I’d much prefer to have Dez Bryant or Demaryius Thomas at that spot, and try to snag Brees or Rodgers with your second pick at 18 (I’m avoiding Peyton; I’d rather get off that train too early than stay on too late).

Or, given the relative depth at fantasy QB, you could aim for an RB at 18 — Le’Veon Bell and Gio have ADPs around there — then get a lesser starting RB with your third pick at … [*does a shit-ton of math*] what, 38? Here are a couple ways I might want to go with picks 10, 18, 38, and 46 (apologies if my draft math is off):

  • Dez, Aaron Rodgers, Toby Gerhart, Rashad Jennings
  • Brees, Le’Veon Bell, Keenan Allen, Roddy White (I don’t love this, because you’ll be left struggling to grab Shane Vereen / Devonta Freeman / Carlos Hyde / Robert Turbin in later rounds, though Brees/Bell/ and two stud WRs will mitigate some weakness at RB2)
  • DeMarco Murray (he’ll have a better season than Lynch), Doug Martin, Victor Cruz, Michael Crabtree (don’t be afraid to go for a QB late — Philip Rivers, Tony Romo, and Jay Cutler should all be perfectly effective fantasy QBs this season)

As always, I recommend participating in a mock draft where you can practice drafting at that position; it will give you a feeling for how the draft might go. In short, prepare to be flexible. You should have a number of guys at each spot that you’re prepared to take; that way, you can go with the flow of the draft without worrying about filling holes. Julius Thomas falls to you at 38? Go ahead and grab him, then prepare to draft a lesser RB or WR with your next pick. Every player you draft comes at the cost of getting someone else you covet — accept it and move on.

With regards to girls, recently there was one I liked and went out with 10 or so times who completely changed her mind on me overnight. Early on, it went great but she gave a bunch of hedgy language like we should take it slow, have no expectations, etc. (which I went along with and never pushed the issue). She still invited me as her date to a wedding with her whole family and we had a great time. She seemed into it and she said she really regretted talking negatively like that early on and wanted to move things forward soon. I thought we were in good shape so of course, the next day she cancelled a date we had and pretty much disappeared. She was still polite but you could tell something flipped and the next time I saw her, she said something was holding her back and basically ended it. I really tried to think of something specific that might have happened at the wedding to turn her off, but couldn’t. My guess is once everything seemed real, she was done.

Don’t sweat this at all. I’ve said this before, but think of an abrupt break-up as her sudden, tragic death. You can lose sleep wondering what you did wrong (probably nothing — she either didn’t like you that much, found someone she liked better, or just didn’t want to be in a relationship), or you can think, “Why did she have to get hit by that bus? So sad — I never even got to say goodbye.” Much easier that way. She’d want you to to be happy, you know? You should start dating again.

I’ve written this one off but I guess my question to you for the future is whether there’s a better way to play poker early on with a girl so you don’t reveal too much interest. I’ve had the dreaded “too nice” label in the past and specifically tried to be fun and low key with this one, but I guess I was still pretty straightforward and tried to treat her well. I’ll never be able to play the heel with a straight face, but I guess I’m just really frustrated that any show of interest seems to repulse girls on a dime. Is there a way around this in the early stages, or is it just not happening when the whole thing is that fragile anyway? Thanks, good work as always.
Earnest Byner’s Fumble

There’s something to be said for not revealing your hand right away, for approximately the same reason that you don’t fart in front of her on the second date. You want her to tell her friends that you’re “too good to be true” for a little while. You want to text her to let her know that you’re thoughtful, but you also don’t want to suffocate her. In a perfect world, she occasionally gets nervous or worried that she hasn’t heard from you, then you call or text her to provide her with relief and happiness before her worry turns to outright anger. As Antoine de St.-Exupéry wrote in The Little Prince:

“You must be very patient,” replied the fox. “First you will sit down at a little distance from me–like that–in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day…”

The next day the little prince came back.

“It would have been better to come back at the same hour,” said the fox. “If, for example, you come at four o’clock in the afternoon, then at three o’clock I shall begin to be happy. I shall feel happier and happier as the hour advances. At four o’clock, I shall already be worrying and jumping about. I shall show you how happy I am! But if you come at just any time, I shall never know at what hour my heart is to be ready to greet you…”

Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect world, and women aren’t a function of time and emotion that can be solved with a mathematical equation. Your best bet is to be essentially yourself, because that’s the person you’ll be with the woman who eventually falls in love with you. You can’t bait-and-switch your habits and expect the relationship to continue apace — that’s a rom-com plot, and there’s a reason those aren’t realistic scripts (besides Matthew McConaughey falling in love with Sarah Jessica Parker).

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CC,
Wanted to thank you for the Best Man advice you provided a while back. I followed your guidelines last month and delivered a solid, non-embarrassing speech at the wedding of my best friend.

HUZZAH!

Fantasy: I need 2 keepers from the following:

- Dez for a 2nd round pick (17 overall)
– Pierre Garcon for a 5th round pick (56)
– Any of Riley Cooper, Jarrett Boykin, Justin Hunter, Dennis Pitta, or Laserface for a 16th round pick (15th round if I select a 2nd from these 5 options).

Thanks in advance. Keep up the great work.
Le Chez

Dez is the no-brainer. While Garcon at 56 is good value relative to his ADP, I don’t like him as a fantasy option this year — he doesn’t have great hands, and the emergence of Jordan Reed and addition of DeSean Jackson will cut his targets down considerably. I’d much rather have Justin Hunter in the 16th round — he doesn’t have much buzz as a sleeper, but I think he should. I’d also like to keep Rivers if possible — to get a dominant QB2 (or even very-good QB1) in the 15th or 16th round is something that you’re just not going to find (whereas you can probably find a wide receiver similar to Pierre Garcon in the 5th). There are also good arguments for all of your other late-round possibilities, but I’m not as enamored with them.

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Dear Caveman,
How are things? Any new fantasy videos in the pipeline?

YES, and thank you for asking. You must be very handsome to ask a question like that.

Next Wednesday afternoon (August 27th), Nick Stevens and I will be doing a live pre-draft/pre-season show called The War Room; you can watch it on SB Nation. Follow me on Twitter for additional details as it gets closer. I’ll also be coming out with two more pre-season episodes of Keepers that will focus on sleepers for the 2014 season. You’ll be able to see those by checking out SB Nation’s YouTube channel or, again, following me on Twitter. If you need a fantasy video fix sooner, you can see my collection of positional rankings at the Keepers page on SB Nation.

Fantasy: I’m in a quandary. I’m in a PPR league and I have 3 keeper slots (no penalties), and 4 strong candidates. Lacy and Dougie are locks, but my 3rd spot is in the air. I have Andre Ellington, but all the hype has turned me off a little. My other option is the one and only Josh Gordon, who we still do not have any suspension information about. I have until midnight tomorrow (8/15) to select my keepers.

Whoops! For the record: this is why I recommend emailing me on Tuesday or Wednesday for a Thursday column, and not, say, on Thursday for a Friday decision.

My questions are as follows:

1. If no suspension info comes out before Friday, do I just suck it up and take Ellington? (I vote yes)

I think that’s the right thing. You know the saying: “a bird in hand is better than a suspended bird also in your hand.”

2. If suspension info does come out, what is the maximum suspension length he gets before he becomes a worse option than Ellington? (I say 8ish games)

I think it’s all or nothing. The negligible sample used to verify the positive test is either ruled an out-and-out negative test resulting in a repeal of the suspension, or the positive test and full-season suspension are upheld. The NFL — and the law — tend to be black-and-white that way. It’s shitty.

If I could absolutely guarantee that he would never get in trouble again, I would keep him no matter what, but as recent history has shown (DUI), he cannot stay out of trouble. I’m leaning towards going forward with 3 RBs and letting someone else roll the dice with Blackmon 2.0, but I felt I needed to consult the grand wizard of fantasy before I made a decision.

Starting out with 3 running backs is great, because you enter your draft not needing to worry about drafting for any RBs beyond a bench spot or two. I’m glad you didn’t need my help to make a good decision.

Sex: Here’s a picture of the nice young lady from the Carl’s Jr commercial (Hannah Ferguson). Turns out she’s pretty attractive even when she isn’t jamming jalapeno burgers down her gullet.

Hannah-Ferguson-05

Carls Jr.

I suppose I’m just getting old, but the Carl’s Jr. ads really don’t do it for me any more. Like, they’ve been having sexy women eat sandwiches in slo-mo since Paris Hilton was considered attractive. Is “model mouth-fucks a burger” really the brand image you want to cling to?

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Hey Cap’n.

Sex, quickly: Wrote in a little more than a year ago about my long-term girlfriend’s declining sex drive due to her birth control. We talked about it and she decided to quit birth control to see if it would help her libido and energy levels, and it has, to at least some extent. She still wants to have more sex, too, and is frustrated by her low sex drive. She’s willing to continue to work to overcome this and I’m willing to do anything in my power to help get her in the mood. So, all said, things are very good; thank you for the sound advice.

Bow

HBO

On the football side of things: For years, I’ve stuck to one fantasy league only because the league I’m in has been extremely competitive and intense throughout its existence. But a buddy of mine from another circle of friends had someone drop from his league and asked me to join and I’m giving a second league a shot.

But my main league switched to an auction draft a number of years ago (and we’ve never looked back; we all agree it’s much more fun). So I really feel out of my element heading into a snake draft for this new league, when I haven’t done a snake draft since probably 2008. It’s also a PPR league, which I have no experience with.

As the new guy, I’ll be picking between 8th and 10th (out of 10). Obviously, if a top-5 running back is miraculously still available, I’ll have an easy pick, but assuming my new leaguemates aren’t idiots and the top tier RBs are off the board… do I go receiver, since they’ll be more valuable in a PPR situation? Go for a so-so back then best available WR in Round 2, or vice-versa? Any advice, overarching for snake draft newbies or specific to my situation, would be much appreciated.

Yes, get dominant wide receivers (or Jimmy Graham if he’s available). I think Demaryius and Dez are 2 and 2A after Calvin Johnson, while Antonio Bryant is primed to make a definitive leap ahead of AJ Green and Julio Jones this year — especially in PPR leagues. I think Brown will have between 90-100 catches and around 1400 yards. At RB, there’s lots of great PPR value to be had after the first two rounds: Andre Ellington, Toby Gerhart, Shane Vereen, Pierre Thomas, Danny Woodhead, etc. None of those guys are Jamaal Charles, of course, but 4-6 catches in a PPR game closes the gap with an Alfred Morris very nicely.

And, of course, take a swing at some 10-team mock drafts where you’re slotted at 8 through 10. The auction league has probably skewed your perceived value of running backs; let ADP guide you through a mock draft or two, and you’ll get your snake draft bearings back.

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Dear General Australopithecus,
Sex: my wife and I have been married a little over a year. We’re super in love, partners, soulmates, etc. etc. Several months ago, quite unexpectedly, we started dabbling in what I believe the cool kids call “swinging.” We have really open lines of communication with each other about the whole thing, we’ve agreed that protecting the other’s feelings is always paramount, if it ever gets hurtful to either of us or stops being fun we can bail, all that. So, while it’s still a learning process for us, we feel totally comfortable with that part of our lives.

We’ve only had sex with two other couples, one of which consists of my wife’s close friend (“Allison”) and her cohabiting girlfriend (“Chelsea”). 

You, your wife, and two swinging lesbians, eh? Sounds like a real rough deal for you.

The first time we got together, it was by Chelsea’s design. They live a few hours away, and we all met up at a midway town, got a room, had dinner, drinks, etc. Back at the hotel, Chelsea cajoled Allison and my wife into making out, and away we went. We all talked about it the next day, agreed that it was a good time and that we’d like to do it again.

Fast forward to a couple weekends ago, when the four of us again went away for the weekend together, for the first time since that initial encounter. We again went out for dinner and drinks and such, and when got back to the room, there was some canoodling,

Canoodling? Do you write for a British tabloid?

mostly involving combinations of Allison, my wife and me, but nothing heavy. No kissing, everyone kept their clothes on. At some point it became clear that Chelsea wasn’t into it, so we just all hung out talking and what not, then went to bed. Not a big deal, as we’re all friends and obviously it’s not a cool situation to pressure someone into. Enjoying each other’s company is plenty fun on its own.

“No, this conversation is great! Way better than sex with three women.”

The next morning, Chelsea left early for another engagement back at home, while the rest of us still had plans for brunch and hanging out, so Allison stuck around. Before checking out, Allison, my wife and I had what I believe the cool kids call “a threesome.” While it definitely raised questions that Allison was getting involved with us without Chelsea around, we asked Allison if it was OK to do, and she said yes, so on we went with things.

Later, driving Allison home, she told us that she just planned to not tell Chelsea, under the “I love her and see no reason to hurt her” doctrine. She didn’t regret the sex, but also didn’t want to tell her partner about it. This didn’t sit well with me, as that essentially just made complicit in her infidelity. I’m not about that life, and I was not stoked to hear that that was her solution, which of course also meant that her earlier reassurance that it was OK to proceed was not honest.

Well, Allison assured you that it was okay for HER to proceed. You didn’t ask if her if Chelsea thought it was okay.

Of course, Allison told Chelsea almost immediately. Chelsea called my wife, told her they were no longer friends, and that it’s our fault their relationship is over. I know it’s not true that it’s our “fault,” per se, but we obviously share some blame. My wife and I assumed when Allison said it was OK that the two of them had some sort of arrangement, but obviously that turned out to not be the case. Chelsea’s response was clearly emotionally charged and spur of the moment, so we don’t expect that the two will really break up, but obviously there will still be some fallout from this.

That’s a whole lot of story, and I guess my question is: what’s my/my wife’s level of responsibility here? We feel guilty and awful for having driven a wedge between two people we care about, but again we don’t believe Chelsea when she says it’s our fault. We don’t hold ourselves blameless — maybe we shouldn’t have assumed it was cool when Allison said it was? — but we also don’t think we should beat ourselves up over it. What do you think? Our relationship with Chelsea, such as it was, is almost certainly ruined, although Allison still loves us both and likely always will, and we’d like them both to be happy, whatever that means to them. I know, I know, “guy whose wife lets him have sex with other women as long as she gets to, also” isn’t exactly a sympathetic character to give advice to, but still, if you can muster some, I’m all ears.
Regards,
If I Tell You Who I Kept Last Year My Friends Will Definitely Figure Out Who Wrote This

You’re correct: this is a verrrrrrrrrry small violin that I’m playing for you. Still, emotional fallout is real and painful, even when it’s the result of a bitchin’ illicit threesome.

I think you’ve got a pretty good handle on it in terms of blame/fault: it was ultimately Allison’s decision to go through with the threesome without Chelsea’s consent or knowledge, and it’s unreasonable to expect you and your wife to put the brakes on when the WHOLE PURPOSE OF THE TRIP WAS TO HAVE SEX WITH EACH OTHER.

If there’s a learning point here, it’s that you and your wife got to see the dangers of swinging with anything less than totally open communication and full consent. Swinging has its evangelists, people who swear that it takes their relationships to new levels of trust and love (not to mention lust). And that’s great! More power to those people. But it’s a fine line to walk, and doing it wrong can be catastrophic for a relationship. You may ultimately lose Chelsea and/or Allison as friends because of this — along with the sexy benefits, of course — but it’s a small price to pay if it means you and your wife never come close to breaching each other’s trust the way Allison did Chelsea’s.

Anyway, good luck finding another set of swinging lesbians.