Smoke ‘Em, Pass ‘Em - Week 14
Editor’s Note: This article crosses from the corporeal world into the spirit world, and ghosts don’t give a damn about curse words or taboo subjects. Why should they? They’re dead. You’ll be dead someday too, so live a little and enjoy the colorful language Ken weaves into these starts and sits. Or don’t. Just acknowledge that you’ve been warned before boarding this uncensored cruise down the River Styx.
I’m 10-3 and got the bye in the league with my college buddies. But I’m seventh in points. We are in talks to move to a fairer system, but for now, fire up the Kool & the Gang. I also have the bye in my keeper league. In a third league, I am writing strongly-worded letters to Jordan Howard and Doug Baldwin and Stefon Diggs.
What I’m saying is I don’t give a shit what happens this week. But I’m here for you nonetheless. It’s just my giving heart.
And if you’re reading this, you must have advanced into the playoffs. Also, you must’ve been lucky enough to miss my shitty column last week. Cody Kessler? Such a suggestion should get me banned from the country. But the great part about fantasy football is last week might as well be three years ago.
Reading the names in the Smoke ‘Ems from the first few weeks is like reading the names in an abandoned graveyard. Quincy Enunwa. Keelan Cole. Jimmy Garoppolo. Who are these people? No one knows. The ghosts of fantasy football are abundant and active, though. Be careful not to wake and anger them.
The trick is to avoid those who walk in both worlds. Giovani Bernard. Ryan Tannehill. Mark Ingram. You know who they are. The names of those who cannot be trusted. They will leave you without warning, wandering into the void without explanation.
As you stare into oblivion, knowing your season can be over at any moment, avoid the wraiths and the undead. Carry with you logic and analytics. These are your only tools. Good luck out there. We’re all counting on you. And whatever you do, don’t listen to whatever I’m saying.
BAKER MAYFIELD vs. CAR
A rookie quarterback in a must-win fantasy game? Carolina is middle of the pack on defense, but have surrendered two 300-yard passing games in their last four—versus Seattle and Pittsburgh. Baker Mayfield, meanwhile, had been on a tear until he couldn’t make the cookies at Houston. So this is a bet the kid watched film like Alex from Clockwork Orange and is ready to sling again. The Panthers are 6-6 and need to press for a win. The over-under is 47 points, so even Vegas thinks things will get loose. Speaking of Clockwork, Anthony Burgess, the author, said he would be haunted until the day he died by how the film glorified the sex and violence. The violence in the book is a nuanced and functional, but the movie does feel somewhat gratuitous. Regardless, both are wonderful. If you have never read the book, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s said he wrote the book in three weeks. The very idea brings tears to my eyes.
THE DRAKE vs. NE
This is a monumentally stupid idea. You should avoid this if you have other options, but this feels like a setup for above average usage for Kenyan Drake. New England is rolling, but Miami is in a must-win. Playmakers are ideal pieces to use in such situations. The Drake is like standing at the craps table and pushing all your chips into the field. You might spill your whiskey and soda all over the felt, puke on the carpet, and get dragged out, or you might double your money and finally do something with your life. The choice is yours.
MARK INGRAM at TB
These names are like that scene from The Deer Hunter when they’re playing Russian roulette. Just start watching Ken Burns’ Vietnam and tie your ears back. Keep them tied back while watching this game, too. Ingram might get two touchdowns or he might go 7-34. The Saints spread the ball all over the place. I keep waiting for Drew Brees to complete a pass to Joe Horn or Marques Colston or Indigo Menaboni. Who’s Indigo Menaboni? He’s a character in my military sci-fi novel about a network of mind-uploaded soldiers who control drones with their thoughts. I need to smoke less weed. Once I’m through this pound, I’m done forever.
CHRIS GODWIN vs. NO
I cut him in Week 4. Or was it Week 5? It’s was impulsive and stupid. I told myself I’d be more patient this year and I haven’t been. But it’s good to know you’re right even when you can’t get out of your own way. Be happy for the person who benefited. I don’t think that’s how you play fantasy football, though. Fantasy requires a special balance of patience and impulsivity. At any moment, you have to be willing to just say, “Fuck it. Let’s do it.” The greatest part of this is that fantasy football means absolutely nothing. Until next week, when my two teams are back on the field, of course.
DANTE PETTIS vs. DEN
Sweet Jumping Jesus in Lynn Swann cleats. Pettis has posted 14-9-206-2 in his last two. He’s got Chicago in Week 16, but with Seattle on deck, Pettis is poised to push folks into the championship. It’s a shame I already spent all my FAAB like Jim Irsay in a Costa Rica pharmacy. San Francisco is also without Matt Breida this week, and Denver is 23rd in the NFL against the pass. How long until John Elway has to field some questions? And by field I mean how long till they put him out to pasture? Because he has horse teeth, everyone. Actually he could be why Irsay is a drug-hound. Baltimore took him in ’83, and he refused to go there. Great move, really. Elway still looks like an equine, though.
CAMERON BRATE vs. NO
He had six targets last week and dropped three of them. Do the math, Harvard boy. Brate just signed a deal, so maybe he thinks he’s tenured. One of the drops would have been a touchdown, which is essentially the only reason to roster this oafish goon. Catch the ball. If he had a line of 6-5-57-1 every few games, no one in their right mind would ever complain. We’re not asking you to be a Hall-of-Famer, Cameron. We’re just asking you to be a decent Buccaneer. I hope you know how truly low that bar is.
RYAN TANNEHILL vs. NE
If I’m throwing darts, I’m throwing the Drake before this guy. Tannehill posted three touchdowns last week on just 137 yards passing. Play the odds, the gambler said with his hands in his empty pockets. New England has the second-fewest sacks in the league and ranks 24th against the pass. I know these numbers are an argument for the other side, but ask yourself when you’re alone in bed at night, after your kids are asleep and you’ve poured yourself a Scotch, and you’re pondering what your life will look like five, 10, 20 years from now, do you want Ryan Tannehill on your mind when you are on your deathbed?
SPENCER WARE vs. BAL
The numbers say he’s gonna be fine. On the Twitters, Graham Barfield explained Ware hit most of the historic data for Andy Reid’s running back usage. We live in a world with poverty and famine, but fortunately my mind is at rest knowing Ware might be worth starting in a 12-team PPR flex spot if you need a solid floor. It’s comforting in more ways than I can understand.
TEVIN COLEMAN at GB
Don’t put the fire out. Add gasoline and burn it beyond recognition. This whole Atlanta team should be sent to London to play for next year as punishment. The last two weeks, Coleman has 14 carries for 14 yards. On the road against another struggling franchise is not where I want to put my eggs. In fact, I wouldn’t trust Tevin with my eggs at all. Dude’ll probably drop them on the floor. Breakfast is ruined, Tevin. Thanks.
ZAY JONES vs. NYJ
Zay it ain’t so, Jones. Maybe Josh Allen has found some timing and rhythm with Zay, and this is the start of something beautiful. Maybe this is the Kelly-to-Reed 2.0 all those maniacs in Buffalo have been waiting for. But are you truly rolling out Jones this weekend with confidence? Just three weeks ago, Buffalo—and then the following week, New England—torched the Jets for 200-yard rushing games. Stay away from Zay.
MIAMI WRs vs. NE
DeVante Parker had 11 targets against Green Bay. And he caught five for 48 yards. Cameron Brate doesn’t understand this math and neither do I. Kenny Stills is perhaps an option, as he is now seemingly healthy, but he hasn’t had over 40 yards receiving since Week 3. A ghost in aqua green pants is still a ghost.
LEVINE TOILOLO at ARI