If you’ve made it this far you probably don’t need advice. Unless one of your guys went down last week. Or the week before. Or the week before that. This season has been brutal. But I guess that can be said about every season and will probably be said next year and so on. It’s like “Game of Thrones” in that way, except that not even George R.R. Martin is cruel enough to take Le’Veon Bell and Steve Smith from us. I would’ve rather seen Arya Stark bite it than see Jamaal Charles go down. Anyway, if you’ve made it this far you’ve probably done it by bathing in the blood of your enemies’ fallen players. Godspeed to you and if you’re coming here looking for advice that’ll carry you to victory, well, it’s already too late.
Blake Bortles vs New Orleans: The “play the QB going against New Orleans” strategy has been the best and most consistent thing that #NarrativeStreet has had to offer this year. Bortles is still a middle of the road real life player, but he’s been a strong fantasy play all year and will be ending this season with a bang-bang-bang-bang day. That’s right, young Shakey Blakey is going out with four touchdowns. After the game we’ll fondly reminisce about all the terrible players how had career days this year while we put the Bortles bust next to Kirk Cousins.
Derek Carr vs San Diego Chargers: It was great to see San Diego take a break from being awful to win their last home game. It was a classic “win one for the gipper” moment. The fifty or so remaining fans will have the memory of beating down the Dolphins to keep them warm during the holidays and the onslaught of perfect weather in SoCal. Going to the decidedly less perfect Oakland will remind us, and them, that world can be an ugly place. An ugly place full of black and silver-coated Santas and the specter of Al Davis smiling as Carr runs a sleigh through that Charger defense.
Karlos Williams vs Dallas: Which is less surprising: Rex Ryan putting handmade massage coupons in players’ stockings or the fact that Ryan’s excited for Karlos to redeem his for a foot rub after he runs all over the Cowboys?
Giovani Bernard vs Denver: You can call Bernard Tim Allen this week because he’s the “Last Man Standing” of the Bengals best weapons. He’s gonna be working so much that you can call him Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor, but with Al Borland type results. Terrible jokes aside, this game just sets up so well for Bernard that expectations for him are rightfully to infinity and beyond.
Michael Crabtree vs San Diego: If this game goes as we expect, then King Crab is going to eat. The only thing we really have to worry about this week is Crabtree playing so well that Jameis Winston tries to stuff Crab in his pants and shuffle out of the stadium at halftime.
DeSean Jackson vs Philadelphia: The next best #NarrativeStreet gambit is the #RevengeGame. DJax is so salty when he plays Philly that he’s the ideal choice to compliment Crabtree.
Jordan Reed vs Philadelphia: As Jay-Z (he’ll always have the hyphen in my eyes), “If I ain’t better than Gronk, Reed’s the closest one.”
Defense / Special Teams
Minnesota vs New York Giants: The Vikings got an early gift from Odell Beckham Jr. this week, and will kindly return the favor by steamrolling New York. The rest of the Giants’ receivers win 50/50 balls at the same rate I win those games on Dr*ftK*ngs. My luck ran out a few weeks ago and the Giants are about to bust out too.
Jay Cutler vs Tampa Bay: The Battle for Lovie Smith’s heart will be won by the team that plays the most confounding style of football. Watching these two teams play is like watching Clive Owen coked out of gourd and performing self-surgery (or any surgery) on “The Knick.” The only certainty is that no one will make it to the end.
Aaron Rodgers vs Arizona: People who drafted Rodgers at the top of their drafts are getting their just desserts. The final nail in this disappointing season in Cheeseland is this matchup against the Cards. The prospect of the matchup of the Pack’s receivers against the Cards’ defense is bleaker than a Wisconsin winter.
Denver backfield vs Cincinnati: The rationale for this pick breaks down thusly: 30% injuries, 10% matchup, and 60% regret for drafting CJ Anderson in the first round in the league I care about most.
Rashad Jennings vs Minnesota: It only took 14 games for the Giants to get decent production out of their backfield. On the one hand, I consider myself an optimist, on the other hand, I’m not counting on the Giants for anything this week. And if I had a third hand, I’d make like a Giants running back and fumble.
Dez Bryant vs Buffalo: I hope Dexter’s Library doesn’t read this because he’d ban me from writing this column and smack me with the heaviest book he can find. Tolstoy couldn’t write a sadder sentence than “I benched Dez.” But you can’t start him in good faith, and sadly that’s been the case all year. The season can’t end soon enough.
Brandon Marshall vs New England: The Pats held Marshall relatively in check during their first meeting and there’s no reason to think the same won’t happen again. The Patriots need a first round bye like we need to hear that Ryan Fitzpatrick went to Harvard again. Unfortunately just being tired of something happening repeatedly doesn’t change the likelihood that it’ll happen again. And just like before, keeping Marshall quiet almost seems like a formality.
Travis Kelce vs Cleveland: Can you imagine a world where the Chiefs actually try to maximize their skill players’ um, skills? I can’t, and that’s why Kelce finds himself in this most precarious of spots. But fear not, for Alex Smith and Andy Reid will make sure nothing harmful comes your way, Travis.
Defense / Special Teams
Philadelphia vs Washington: You can’t trust the Eagles at all, can you? More importantly, why would you want to? They’re a group that can drop a defensive score at the drop of a hat, but they’re just as likely to give up 30-plus points and leave you more dumbstruck than Sam Bradford reading Chip Kelly’s playbook.