How do you leave that part out?
That question ran through my head over and over, as I attempted to have a good time in spite of the news.
I am still single. I have never been married. My last relationship was seven years ago. I’ve been on two “dates” (not sure either would fully classify) since. Oh, and I’m 33. It’s not that I’m not a great “catch” as people would say. Good looking (I’m told – I’m not conceited, which is another plus, ha), humorous (again, I’m told), honest, fun, caring, well kept, own my own business/home/car… basically, to quote a female friend, “Jake, you’re that guy girls want to find. How are you still single?!”
Maybe it’s the amount of free time I lack due to sports writing and business owning. Maybe it’s even the amount of sports related happenings in my life. Maybe, it’s how overly picky I am. Who knows? Okay, it likely has a lot to do with the last one.
In any case, this friend recently asked if I would be open to a blind date. Inherently, I’m not. There is more to a person than looks, but there has to be an attraction to start. Nevertheless, it’s been seven years, so I responded, “Not typically. But… tell me, what’s the deal?” She told me this girl was fun, self-sustained, and even great looking. Of course, I said, “So what’s the catch?” My friend said there was a downside, but mainly, it was that this girl hadn’t done much dating since her last long-term relationship.
Well, I definitely can’t hold that against her, now can I?
I agreed to go on my first blind date ever. I called her the week of the date to discuss where we’d go, and we even had a little light-hearted banter about our singleness before hanging up.
We met for dinner that Saturday, and everything started good, actually great. My friend didn’t lie, she was very good looking: blonde (I do prefer brunettes, but I can live with it), tall-ish (I’m 6’1”) and in great shape. Dinner went mostly smooth, a few lame jokes on both sides – hey, everyone has some level of nervousness on a first date, especially a blind one.
Right before we received our entrees, the night started going south. The sports topic came up, I told her about my job with RotoExperts, time on Sirius/XM, Twitter workload, etc., and she was only mildly interested. Okay, I’m not going to write off a girl because she isn’t into sports herself, but given what I do, it’d probably be better to have at least a casual interest. Maybe this is what my friend was really referring to. If that were only the case, I’d find out.
The next topic was the killer. It’s probably not what you’re thinking. Date: “So, I do have one thing I think is good to tell you and get out of the way. Because, after all, no point saving something that can affect things for later.” Me (in my head): “Uh, does she actually hate sports? Is she moving out of town? Talking to another guy? Married?! Has two left feet but just eight toes? What is it?!” Date: “I have a six-year-old son.” To this day, I really hope my face didn’t show my thought: “What the #&$%? How did my friend leave this part out?!”
You know when you are in those situations where a second feels like 10… minutes? Yea, that is how I felt. The best thing I could utter: “Oh. So what grade is he in?” Date: “He’s in first grade.” Me: “Oh cool. Uh, I didn’t start first until I was almost seven because of a weird deadline in New Jersey for signing up.” Date: “Oh. Okay.” Yes, wonderfully, stimulating first-date conversation here. I think my face did show my thoughts because the conversation was on life support after that, and not because of the food. I paid for dinner, and walked her to her car and said goodnight. I didn’t say, “I’d call” because I wasn’t planning on it. The kid was a deal-breaker.
You cannot leave something that major out of the pre-date breakdown. I have no problem with kids, don’t have issues with single parents and even admire what it takes to be one. I just am not positive if I want them, and if I do, I’d like my first kid also to be my wife’s.
As I said, you just can’t leave a game-changer out.
It’s the same with the numerous Twitter and email questions I receive about lineups and trades for Fantasy Sports. Every week, I get multiple questions such as this, “What do you think about this: I trade players X, Y and Z for players A and B?” I give my opinion, and then wouldn’t you know it, but I receive a quick reply of, “Well, I also have player C,” or, “Well, it’s a PPR league where TEs get 1.5 PPR.” The same is true for lineups. “Do I start this guy or that one?” Next is my answer. Then, “well, our league has these scoring settings, and we can only start two RBs.”
Ugh! You can’t leave vital details out. Save time and aggravation from now on and include all of the important factors up front.
After all, whether it’s with dating or Fantasy Sports, the “devil is in the details.” Or in my case, a secret six-year-old kid.
TOP PAIR (Guaranteed a Good Week): Aaron Rodgers, GB; Ray Rice, BAL; A.J. Green, CIN – Remember that T.J. Whosyourmama joke from years back? Remember how quickly that got old? I think we’re at that point with Rodgerrrs! (squeally voice included). Games like Week 6 don’t help it go away… It’s Ray Rice, what do you expect?… Hey Mr. Megatron, we have a new king of the wide receivers; Joe Haden can attest.
RIVER RAT (Surprising Top Performances): Sam Bradford, STL; Shonn Greene, NYJ; Jordy Nelson, GB – While Josh Freeman tied with Bradford, he had a cake matchup, where as Bradford lit up Miami on the road… Okay, half of Greene’s owners had him benched. That is all you need to know, and that the rumors of Bilal Powell taking over soon were very real, until that happened… Nelson couldn’t do anything without Greg Jennings on the field, and then, he did… a ton!
GUT SHOT (Let Everyone Down): Andrew Luck, IND; Rashard Mendenhall, PIT; Dwayne Bowe, KC – Nearly everywhere you looked (cough… here included…) Luck reached Top 10 QB status, then looked like a rookie against the Jets… One week back and Mendy reached Top 20 territory. Then, Mendy proved why rushing back is a risky plan, as he injured his Achilles and finished with one point… Yes. Brady Quinn is that bad.
Breakdown: Hold ‘Em – start them and/or players I like more than most rankings have them. Fold ‘Em – outright sit them; don’t consider them start-worthy in standard-sized leagues. Bluffs – still start them, but I like them less than most rankings and they will disappoint.
Tony Romo, DAL (@CAR) – My Ranking 8: Even though Dallas disappointed with another loss, Romo did his best to win it. Romo posted his best game since the opener, and Carolina is not as tough as Baltimore is defensively. Add in DeMarco Murray’s injury, as a Cowboys win will rest even more on Romo’s shoulders.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF (TEN) – MR 13: Fitzpatrick has been miserable the past two weeks, but he heads home and faces one of the two worst pass defense in the league (Fitz’s own team is the other). As seen in Given Up, the Titans allow 20.0 FPPG to QBs and a ridiculous 71.9 completion percentage. Fitz has tons of upside for a likely waiver grab.
Doug Martin, TB (NO) – MR 12: The Saints defense, bounty gate or not, is downright awful. Someone asked if I thought things would be different if not for the bounty mess, and while the Saints might have a winning record, I doubt it would do much for the defense – Jonathan Vilma isn’t that good. Even with a 60-40 carry split again this week, Martin will have plenty of opportunities to shred a defense allowing 142.2 YPG to RBs.
Marshawn Lynch, SEA (@SF) – MR 14: I know Skittles had one bad and one good game against San Fran last season, but in the first meeting, the backfield wasn’t his alone. On top of that, Lynch was the only RB to top 100 yards and score a rushing TD against the 49ers. You simply cannot bench Lynch given all of the messy backfields and with six teams on bye.
Vick Ballard, IND (CLE) – MR 24: Sure, Ballard disappointed in his first start, but the Colts were down early and HUGE thanks to Mr. Greene in the dining room with a hammer! You can’t blame Ballard for eight rushing attempts. Cleveland allows 120.2 rushing YPG to RBs. Expect better in Week 7
Dez Bryant, DAL (@CAR) – MR 11: There he is! These past two games for Dez have been what we have always wanted to see from the talented WR: 21 catches, 200 yards and two TDs. I’m sure many of you will echo my sentiment, “It’s about stinkin’ time!” Now, let’s just hope it continues, especially since Carolina doesn’t present any serious threat defensively.
Denarius Moore, OAK (JAX) – MR 21: The Jaguars rank in the Top 10 for most favorable WR matchups, and if Carson Palmer is going to keep slinging the ball, Moore will be the main beneficiary. Darrius Heyward-Bey’s nearing 100-percent health can only help Moore as well, since teams haven’t needed to cover much else in the Raiders passing game.
Kendall Wright, TEN (@BUF) – MR 29: Wright is a receiver in the mold of Wes Welker. Why Welker, who is on a completely different team? That’s because Welker posted nine catches for 129 against the Bills earlier this year. Wright has 26 catches in the past four games and the Titans are using Wright the right way (yes, that was a terrible pun, I know): in the slot where he can cause damage after the catch.
Aaron Hernandez, NE (NYJ) – MR 5: It was a bit risky starting Hernandez in his first game back – thoughts of Jason Witten and his spleen issues from Week 1 still on our minds. However, Hernandez shocked many by catching six passes, including one for a TD. If he can do that at less than 100 percent, what can he do against a Jets defense that has fallen apart at the seams? That’s a rhetorical question.
New England Patriots (NYJ) – MR 8: Do you really think the Pats are going to let Shonn Greene beat them? They’ll happily leave it in the hands Mark Sanchez who has eight TDs, six INTs and four fumbles. The Pats host the Jets and will see a host of turnover opportunities.
Alex Smith, SF (SEA) – MR 21: The Seahawks allow just 10.3 FPPG to QBs, and Smith has 200 passing yards or less with no TD passes in two of the last three games – the other was Buffalo, who gives up twice the FPPG.
Mark Ingram, NO (@TB) – MR 43: Rushing attempts per game: 6, 16, 5, 5, 5. Before you think, “Well, couldn’t he see those 16 touches again?” Those 16 came in garbage time against Carolina, and Tampa Bay is allowing just 64.0 rushing YPG.
James Starks, GB (@STL) – MR 44: We already knew the Packers were a pass-first team. Now, we also know that the Packers are going to Alex Green nearly the entire time for their rushing attempts. Green saw 22 carries while Starks had just five, and that was even in a blowout where the Pack could have used Starks for those garbage-type carries.
Mario Manningham, SF (SEA) – MR 46: Where Smith will struggle, so will his receivers, especially Manningham. Mario hasn’t topped eight FP, and that came in game where he scored a TD. Manningham just doesn’t catch enough passes or post big yardage totals with the few he sees, and the Seattle defense won’t help matters.
Leonard Hankerson, WAS (@NYG) – MR 51: Can you imagine playing for Mike Shanahan? You’re the Y receiver, no X, no Z, no you’re back to X, wait you’re the fourth receiver… argh! Even against the Giants forgiving secondary, you can’t risk Hank, who has just four targets in the past two games for two whole Fantasy Points.
Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, IND (CLE) – MR 20/21: Fleener hasn’t topped five catches or four FP since Week 1. Allen hasn’t topped five catches or nine FP on the season even with two TDs. Even combined, the FP totals of the two would be 8, 7, 3, 13, 7. That’s only one good week, and it came in a shootout with Green Bay.
Indianapolis Colts (CLE) – MR 21: The Browns offense is not that bad: 61 points the last two weeks. Brandon Weeden is not that bad: four TDs the past two weeks. The Colts defense in not that good: six FP as a high with negative three last week to Shonn Greene… err… the Jets.
Christian Ponder, MIN (ARZ) – MR 18: Ponder has been inconsistent to say the least but has shown the ability to exploit weaker defenses. Unfortunately, Ponder faces one of the best pass D’s with Arizona coming to town. The Vikings are also unlikely to be down big early to the Cards, which could have helped Ponder’s numbers due to more passing.
Carolina RBs (DAL) – MR 26/29/UR: It’s not the Dallas defense that will create disappointment, it’s the Carolina run game. The committee backfield and Cam Newton taking away carries himself already frustrate us, but now the Panthers lost one of the NFL’s best OL in Ryan Kalil. A messy situation just got worse.
LaRon Stephens-Howling, ARZ (@MIN) – MR 38: Like Green Bay, we likely have a clearer picture on the backfield. LSH saw a bigger share in Arizona than Starks did in Green Bay, but William Powell did much more with his chances. Powell rushed for 70 yards (5.4 YPC) and LSH just 22 (2.0 YPC). Powell is the back to own in Arizona, as LSH is just a deep-league play, even in PPR leagues.
Brandon Lloyd, NE (NYJ) – MR 24: Lloyd didn’t appear on the Patriots injury report on Wednesday. That’s good news, no? Well, not if that report comes from Bill Belichick who could just be messing with us all. Plus, Lloyd will likely draw Antonio Cromartie, which means an average day for Lloyd, not a great one.
Josh Gordon, CLE (@IND) – MR 34: Gordon is the pure definition of boom-or-bust. If not for big plays, the Fantasy world wouldn’t even be talking about him. Sure, Gordon could go deep for another big TD against Indy, but seeing as how lighting already struck twice, do you really want to bet on a third time?
Jermichael Finley, GB (@ARZ) – MR 15: I don’t know how St. Louis continues to rank near or at the top for most difficult TE matchup, but they do. This year, they’re the third best after being the best each of the past two years. Even if they didn’t rank so well, Finley is still ailing, and it’s a short week, which allows little time for him to get up to speed (whatever inconsistent speed that may be).