Smoke ‘Em, Pass ‘Em – Week 8
Editor’s Note: If you scroll down to a random sentence in this article, you may have the fortune of reading colorful language, as if you were transported to a world without censorship. All bets are off. If that sort of glimpse into a speculative future frightens or disgusts you, consider skipping this post.
There is a practice of opening Virgil’s Aeneid to a random page and reading the first sentence you read as a predictor of fortune. It’s a type of bibliomancy known as Sortes Vergilianae.
They say this idea has been around since the second century AD. I find this fascinating and frequently do it with my favorite books. It’s truly one of the best things ever.
I use On Becoming a Novelist all the time. It’s a book about writing by John Gardner.
And I kid you not, I opened it the other day, looking for divination, and I found it.
“Or the novel may bog down because in terms of overall structure—pace, emphasis, and so on—the writer can no longer see the forest for the trees.”
Now, of course, this answered my particular problem plainly. I must set aside some of my writing and come back to it later. When my mind is fresh. When I’ve fostered the patience and courage necessary to go once more into the breach, as the poet said. But the passage also applies to almost all of life.
Slow down. Think clearly. And move forward.
Of course this has to be our strategy in fantasy football. We are at the halfway point, but remember that means there is still plenty of time to make all your wrongs rights. Even if you cut Marlon Mack, you idiot. Even if you cut Nick Chubb the day before the Carlos Hyde trade, you divinely inept loser. Even if you wasted FAAB on Judge Ito, you colossal dipshit.
Slow down. Think clearly. And move forward. But don’t cut Ito yet. Because you paid too much to let go already.
Alex Smith at NYG
You ever read about Tim Mara? He was the founder of the New York Giants. His life reads like some Ragged Dick paperback. At 13, he quit school to help support his mother. His dad was a policeman of Irish descent. They were dirt poor. A job as a newspaper boy got him in with bookmakers, a legal business at the time. By 18 he was a bookie. A few things here: first, fucking great story. Second, what if the Maras are betting on Eli Manning’s live diarrhea show every Sunday afternoon? Third, you think it was talent alone that got Kate Mara into her fancy Hollywood actress pants? The last one was rhetorical.
Jordan Howard vs. NYJ
I’m 4-3 in one league and I have the fewest points, nearly 300 off the lead horse. Knowing this, I started dealing. I traded Howard, Manny Sanders, and Kenny Golladay for OBJ and Amari Cooper. I already had Stefon Diggs and Leonard Fournette on the same team and I was worn out from collecting goose eggs. You know how heavy goose eggs are? And the day after the trade cleared, this dude gets in the end zone twice. Maybe I should’ve been more patient, but Howard had lost half his snaps to Tarik Cohen. The Aeneid, random page: “Fear ever argues a degenerate kind; his birth is well asserted his mind.” That makes no sense, just like Howard’s usage.
Jalen Richard vs. IND
The boat is sinking, but there are a few life rafts. And I fully expect Richard to find a raft and get to work this weekend. Indy is hotter than the coal that burned in the furnace of the Mara home when they were struggling to make ends meet. Hotter than the coals in the bowels of the Titanic, the very ship which brought Doug Martin to America many years ago. On a serious note, you can supposedly buy coal pulled form the wreckage of the Titanic. Unbelievable they were able to bring it up from its watery grave. I guess you could say they raided it. This, among many other reasons, is why I’m a failure.
Geronimo Allison vs. LAR
Conventional wisdom says the Rams will win this in a runaway. Green Bay will have no choice but to open up their offense. It’s actually much more fun to watch Green Bay play from behind, as it forces Mike McCarthy to take risks. “Instead of missionary tonight, honey, we are going to try a hand job.” McCarthy strikes me as the type of person who would choose milk over whiskey. What was it Max McGee said? “On third-and-10, you can take the milk drinkers and I’ll take the whiskey drinkers every time.”
Tre’Quan Smith at MIN
This is an absolutely brutal matchup from a statistical point of view. Just the kind of wide receiver you want, right? Honestly I think Smith’s here because I got him in 100% of my leagues. I’m looking for divination in all the wrong places. But he had six targets last week and should’ve had a touchdown. Tre’Quan is French for “three shots of Wild Turkey,” which is what you should line up before you plug him in the lineup. You’ll need them no matter what happens.
OJ Howard at CIN
This whole column is utterly useless. I have no idea what I’m doing. Honestly, I watch some of the games. I read some assholes on Twitter. I Google a few things. Then I pray. But the tight end position is the easiest in the league to read. You either got a guy who is worth starting. Or you got the other guy who looks like Eli Manning taught him how to shave points.
Houston Defense vs. MIA
It feels like Thursday nights have burned some streamable defenses lately, but this feels right. Miami is starting Peyton Manning’s backup from when Manning could barely walk or navigate that big sixhed of his on his titanium-reinforced neck. They’re still giving Highlander Frank Gore carries. They lost Albert Wilson to injury. And Devante Parker is healthy.
Blake Bortles vs. PHI
“Ol’ Blakey Bortles, the hard luck fellow has gone to Bedlam, for sure. He returned from the American Revolution to live in London Town and by moonlight wanders beside River Thames, whispering into the brisk and bitter wind, ‘I would’ve been a chuffed chap, for certain. But, alas, I was unable to thwart the Patriots on their own turf and me mind and body has been mush ever since.'”—The Failed Jaguar by Charles Dickens
Aaron Jones vs. LAR
Why on earth did I ever believe this would be a thing? I make bad calls all the time. But this one bothers me more than any of them. It makes no sense. Even if he’s not Walter Payton, Jones has to be the best of the three in Green Bay, right? He’s the Curly. The Left Eye. The Groucho. No, he’s more likely the Ron Weasley.
Ronald Jones at CIN
This is uglier than Green Bay’s running back fiasco. And though the defense is a pretty matchup, and Jones is getting all the practice reps with Peyton Barber hurt, it’s suspicious like Kate Mara’s resume. It’s best to avoid situations until coaches prove they can be trusted. And Dirk Koetter is not the type of name you trust. It sounds like a down-on-his-luck bookie. Instead of founding an NFL team, he gets drunk, pisses himself, and passes out behind a Burger King dumpster.
Oakland Wide Receivers vs. IND
The Worst Unit in the league. *Kelvin Benjamin winks and smiles at the camera* But seriously, don’t get tricked into this. I know there’s temptation and maybe the bye week has you more uncomfortable than watching Jon Gruden masturbate to Brett Favre highlights from his days at Southern Miss. Press pause. He doesn’t deserve to get off after giving us this garbage.
Allen Robinson vs. NYJ
Who is on the list of biggest disappointments thus far? Le’Veon Bell for sure. David Johnson. Dalvin Cook. Alex Collins. Congratulations on being one of the few receivers to make the list, Allen. He’s approaching droppable territory, which tickles my punny bone. There’s only one more, I promise.
Jake Butt at KC
This is one of the randomly chosen other guys. Also, he tore his ACL, so, yeah, don’t start him.