All I wanted for my birthday was for Russell Wilson to play out of his mind, win a big game for the Seattle Seahawks and single-handedly save my canister in fantasy football.
I did not want Percy Harvin to have a ridiculous 3 touchdowns called back to prevent me from losing a silly fantasy football game.
But it happened.
The Creepers were 3-1 this week, with the only loss in my free league. To my sister-in-law, who has a little baby even younger than mine. She deserves it.
So I sit with two 4-1 teams, one 3-1-1 and a 3-2. I'll take it, but I need to stay crunchy. This is no time to get soggy.
It is time for ten things regarding fantasy football, non-fantasy football and non-fantasy non-football.
#1 Is Percy Harvin a Fantasy Monster Yet?
Or is he an imaginary fantasy football monster?
Somehow with all the times Harvin had the ball and looked dangerous with it, he still managed only 34 real yards on 6 touches. His first giant breakout game is yet to happen. Or did it already happen?
Had either the 16 yard touchdown in the 2nd quarter or the 26 yarder on the next play and the 41 yarder in the 4th quarter counted, he'd be looking at 91 yards and 2 scores.
People would be throwing ape dung at each other in excitement.
Instead, fantasy owners were throwing their own hair into the sky.
#2 Riding the Kirk Cousins Coaster
What to do with a quarterback who put up terrible numbers between two good games? Assume the young guy is improving. Look at his most recent performance.
283 yards and two scores with no turnovers against the Seahawks' defense? He should be proud of that. His deep passes looked good and he made no bad decisions. DeSean Jackson looks healthy and dangerous.
Against Arizona this week, I think he plays solid. If you're looking for a Drew Brees bye week replacement, you could do worse.
Furthermore, while I like Teddy Bridgewater's guts and future, Cousins has more seasoning and talent around him. Teddy faces Detroit this week, who's defense is a bit tougher and offense is more likely to put the Vikings in a hole.
#3 Believe or Not Believe in Repeats?
Of last week's big performances, who do I think will and will not repeat?
Will - Branden Oliver, RB San Diego. Especially if Donald Brown doesn't recover from his concussion. Even if Brown does play, I think Oliver finds plenty of meat against the Raiders and Brown has not looked very explosive this year.
Won't - Austin Davis, QB St. Louis. He won't repeat the gun-slinging performance he had against the Eagles. San Francisco will play a much tighter game with a final score in the teens. Looking for a quarterback? Think Ryan Tannehill instead.
Will - Andre Ellington, RB Arizona. The Pigskins had trouble with Russell Wilson's elusiveness. They'll have problems with Ellington, too. Expect a couple of big breakaway dashes.
Won't - Greg Olsen, TE Carolina. The Bengals got embarrassed and their defense won't look that bad again. They only play lousy in prime-time and in the playoffs. Olsen's line against Chicago looks very ordinary if you subtract the touchdowns. I'd prefer Delanie Walker versus the Jaguars.
#4 Good Service Dog, Great Service Dog
Somehow, for some people nothing in the restaurant industry is more terrifying-to-the-point-of-immobility than a service dog.
It's a touchy subject. Rumor has it you can be sued to the ground for questioning anyone about a service animal. They don't require any documentation nor can you ask about it. They are much more than simply seeing-eye dogs. A service dog can be a comfort to someone with social anxiety.
I've heard of, but never seen, service ponies. I've been told any creature can be a service animal. Is that your service earthworm? Yes, this is my service earthworm and I'd appreciate it if service trout would stop staring at it.
Therefore, some restaurant managers are totally unwilling to question anyone who brings a dog into the establishment. Less scary to have a machine gun in your lap than a terrier.
Service dogs are some of the most professional creatures I've ever seen, humans included. I know of a seeing-eye golden retriever working for a regular bar guest who was so silent and attentive, you could drop a drumstick on his nose and he wouldn't budge.
Last night a very obedient black lab was silently curled in the shadow of his master's chair. My greatest accomplishment of the shift was not stepping on him.
Once a small dog with a red service animal vest came into the house with a couple. As I greeted them, the dog was anxious and yappy. I was thinking it was the worst-behaved service dog I'd ever seen.
In a minute or so, the couple left. The man said they might come back later, but she was about to have a seizure.
How do dogs know these things?
To sum things up, take your alligator and the card of a lawyer to a restaurant and sit wherever you like. If they question your service-gator, start dialing the lawyer's number. They'll let you be.
#5 Defenses I Like
Last week, I actually did good with my predictions for San Diego and Pittsburgh. I also said if Bridgewater does not play, go with Green Bay. I didn't act on it personally and was kicking myself until Sunday, but no regrets now.
Offenses to pick on? Rams, Vikings, Jets and Jaguars. That means go with San Francisco, Detroit, Tennessee and Denver.
Somehow, Philadelphia keeps getting non-offensive touchdowns. Those things are streaky, but they can happen against the Giants.
And San Diego gets Oakland this week. Delicious. I'm sticking with them.
Pittsburgh against Cleveland is worth holding onto as well.
#6 There is No Poetry at the Poetry Slam
As I am fond of saying, and no one is fond of hearing, poetry is a written art form and competitive open mike is a performance art.
For the first time since May, I dropped in at the Slam again this week. It's as thrilling as it is frustrating. Performing from memory in front of a crowd is scary and fun. I'm getting better. The nerves used to screw with my memory. Yet I still can't earn a point. I usually fall into the bottom half and get cut from the second round.
And yet I also try to be as un-Slam as possible. I am not a diary-reader. I do not play the sick kid or sexual misdeed cards. Rather, I acknowledge I'm at a bar trying to entertain a crowd. I break out stuff like "She Scratch the Record" (a euphemism for female masturbation) or "10 Rules for Slam Poetry" including #1: This is not Poetry.
Getting a rise out of the crowd and getting points from the judges are not the same thing. I will simultaneously refuse to try to please them while expecting different results.
It's a maddening sport. By definition, readers are judged on creativity and performance. Yet I've been the only one to perform from memory before and finish 7 out of 8.
I've seen a 12 year old walk into a bakery, realize he was at a poetry slam and decide he wanted to do it. He stepped to the mike, spoke for 15 seconds about leaving his backpack by the door and getting in trouble for it. He finished in the top half while I got cut.
Thankfully, no one ever reads this blog because griping about slam scores is very bad form. No one will know I just did it.
#7 Other Pickups this Week
Andre Williams will be a good fill-in at RB while Rashad Jennings is out.
Likewise, Ronnie Hillman for Montee Ball.
I already mentioned Branden Oliver.
Grab Benny Cunningham and wait, if you have bench room.
I wouldn't play Tim Wright yet, but consider him becoming a Tom Brady favorite.
Roy Helu Jr. showed a lot of ability against Seattle. Facing a worse defense or in case of Alfred Morris injury, he could become a fantasy starter.
#8 You Deserve a Padron
Padron 1926 Series #2 Maduro 5.5" x 52.
I'm breaking away from my normal realm of cigars you can get for $3 or less if you work hard. I'm flashing back on something I had the pleasure of trying back when I worked for a cigar room.
Padron is one of the few expensive sticks truly worth the money. With cigars and many other things, a good name costs money. A great cigar with an unknown name is cheaper than a great cigar with a famous name. Certain brands like Rocky Patel and Arturo Fuente make consistently great stuff, but always charge top dollar. For my money, I choose La Gloria Cubana, My Father and 5 Vegas for value.
But Padron is truly worth $30 or more, if you got it. Their blends have a very dense, rich intensity. Compared to other smokes, there seems to be so much more in there. Their maduros are not simply leather and pepper. They're lighter yet fuller at the same time. Their spice is not the cinnamon/pumpkin-pie sort I just don't like. It's woodsy and aromatic and hard to place.
And the power is undeniable. I've heard it said that sometimes you just have to set a Padron down for a minute. They'll put a spin on you. Respect it. I've had to use both handrails to climb the stairs before. Nicotine rarely does that, but Padron will.
I still dig the 2000-7000 series for a budget Padron experience, but for special occasions or if someone else is buying, get a granddaddy Padron.
You're worth it.
#9 Are You Ready for Thursday?
Lots of blowouts this year or Thursday. I get the feeling Indianapolis will be on the handle end of a beat-down, with Houston on the mallet end. With Arian Foster and Andre Johnson both dinged up, I don't like Houston's chances of scoring much.
I like Dwayne Allen and Ahmad Bradshaw to do some damage along with the usual names. TY Hilton is streaky but this could be his game.
I like the previously mentioned defenses better, but you could do worse than the Colts. I get tired of looking up and computing Ryan Fitzpatrick's career turnovers, but it's similar to the number of snowflakes in a blizzard.
Trent Richardson will plod his way to double digits and Reggie Wayne will get his catches. Andrew Luck will be the star of my wife's Team Certik. That's Czech for "little devil" if you don't know.
#10 Closing with a Haiku
Three times? C'mon, man.
Percy Harvin touchdowns can't
Be against the law.
Good luck and happy creepings.