I’ve typed and deleted three different intros to this week’s column and can’t decide what to go with. We all know where we stand. We’re either second guessing every move we’ve made for the last four months or we’re already planning the ways we’re going to rub victories in the faces of our leaguemates. If you’re still playing right now then you probably aren’t looking for advice as much as you just want to find more reasons to love your players. Whatever your situation, good luck and enjoy the rest of the season.
Carson Palmer vs Minnesota: Palmer is a gunslinger of “John Wick” proportions right now, and Minnesota is looking like the fake tough guy whose voice is cracking as he accepts the duel challenge knowing his fate is already sealed.
Jay Cutler vs Washington: Does anybody actually like rooting for Washington? Once you get based the moronic owner, the team’s baffling commitment to racism, the eye-sore jerseys, and the gif-able goofball quarterback, what’s not to like? It’s like that time Moe Szyslak got all indignant in the face of insults and proclaimed, “Hey, hey, I may be ugly and hate-filled, but I … um, what was the third thing you said?
Enter Jay Cutler, aka The Man of a Thousand Memes aka The Windy City Whipping Boy aka The Guy Who Will Target Alshon Jeffery Twenty Times. When Washington loses, we all win.
TJ Yeldon vs Indianapolis: If you had TJ Yeldon as the only trustworthy Alabama running back at this point of the season, you’re crazier than Ted Cruz talking about climate change (or anything). You probably have the same smug look on your face, but at least you know what you’re talking about. Enjoy Yeldon’s performance in whatever “unseasonably warm” locale you’re watching from.
Doug Martin vs New Orleans: This game almost a lock to be a points bonanza, so you can pretty much pick your poison here. I’m going with Doug for the sheer fact that he’s the most likable person on the Bucs offense. I may also need Doug to carry a fading team in a total points league, hey, it’s a lot better than having to deal with the queasy feeling you get when you think about playing Jameis Winston and whether he’ll make as big a mockery of the Saints’ defense as he did the legal system.
Jeremy Maclin vs San Diego: I don’t know what’s gotten into the Alex Smith and the Chiefs offense, but they’ve started dropping bombs all over the field and Maclin is the beneficiary. The Chargers’ defense is the most moveable object in the league, so this is the opposite of a Sisyphean task for Maclin this week. If anything, he’ll have to look for ways to slow himself down.
Every WR in Pittsburgh vs Cincinnati: This game is the football equivalent of what gun nuts talk about when they suggest the best way to curb gun violence is with more guns. It’s not hard to see Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, AJ Green, and Marvin Jones mowing down these secondaries. While that “guns plus more guns” math is a disaster in real life, on the football field it’ll probably end in the most entertaining day of the game. I mean, these teams are so loaded I’m tempted to roll out Mohammed Sanu and Markus Wheaton. It’s that real out here.
Delanie Walker: I know I used Walker last time I wrote this column, but that two weeks has made me wise enough to know where my bread is buttered this week. Walker and Greg Olsen are the only TE1s you have any faith in, so let them bring you as much comfort as I imagine a staunch open-carry supporter must feel with their gun on their hip.
Defense / Special Teams
Seahawks vs Baltimore: There was a moment last week where Matt Schaub may have probably most likely could’ve been concussed. But he allayed those fears by throwing his customary pick-six, so he should be ready to go this week. If I had to peg the Seattle player who will be scoring this week, I’m taking Earl Thomas. Just remember, as he’s running the ball in for the score to yell out “ET phone home!”
Philip Rivers vs Kansas City: Watching Rivers right now is like watching the guy in the action movie whose partners are all dead and he’s fired all his bullets, so he’s scrambling for anything he can shove into his gun to stave off the inevitable. The mighty Chiefs’ defense will not be felled by someone firing scraps at it.
Matt Ryan vs Carolina: Dude, Matt Ryan’s fall from mediocrity has been anything but baffling. At least he knows to target the hell out of Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman, but even then, he looks like the target sheet at the gun range wavering in the wind before some guy spits his tobacco out and takes his shot.
DeMarco Murray vs Buffalo: Last year Murray had 392 carries. This year America has had 353 mass shootings. Are they related? Unlikely, but we’ll see. Murray cut his numbers in half by going to Philadelphia, so there’s hope America can do the same. I know that’s a bold statement since Philly’s greatest accomplishment in 2015 is “Creed”, but if Murray can find a way to reduce an untenable pace, it’s certainly a plan worth considering. I mean, it’s more than we’ve done to curb gun violence so far. Expect Murray’s downward trend will continue and let’s all hope the mass shooting numbers follow suit.
Eddie Lacy vs Dallas: I trust Eddie Lacy with my playoff match on the line like I trust a Good Samaritan to stop a mass shooting. That is to say, I like the idea of that happening and certainly hope for the best possible outcome, but in reality the evidence to the contrary is overwhelming.
Amari Cooper vs Denver: There’s an episode of “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper” where we find out one of Mr. Cooper’s students has a metal plate in his head and Mr. Cooper uses that metal plate to beat someone in a game of H-O-R-S-E. It was convoluted, but is emblematic of the lengths you have to bend and twist logic to see the sense behind (open carry or) starting Mr. Cooper against Denver this weekend.
DeAndre Hopkins vs New England: This one is just to see who’s still reading at this point. We’re all starting DeAndre no matter what. We played him through Ryan Mallet, we played him through Brian Hoyer repeatedly, and we’ll never stop playing DeAndre. They’ll have to pry DeAndre from our cold, dead, first-round-playoff-losing rosters.
Jason Witten vs Green Bay: If you’re looking for four-to-six points, lock in Witten right now. If you’re the type who likes to aim much higher (like a Matt Cassel pass to Dez Bryant) look elsewhere. The offenses are going to struggle so much that your uncle’s pro-gun Facebook memes will start look like high art in comparison. What I’m saying here is that those memes and these offenses are going to baffle and agitate you so much that you’ll have no other option but to shoot your TV, laptop, and phone, just for good measure.
Defense / Special Teams
Dolphins vs New York Giants: Young Odell Beckham Jr. is about to run through the Dolphins’ defense with more reckless abandon and flagrant disregard for humanity as the NRA. Brent Grimes has been getting torched like Wayne LaPierre when presented with anything resembling an actual fact, and we all know Odell is the Truth.