The League S02E09: Never Use Your Friend as an “Expert Witness”

We never have gotten to see the league members in their unnatural environment: their jobs. Sure, in Season 1, we saw Kevin and Ruxin negotiate a plea bargain and a trade of the No. 1 overall pick, but we never saw them in court.

Pete’s been in an office, but we’ve never seen him working. And Andre’s been seen in scrubs and in commercials, but he’s never performed a surgery on the show.

We’re in for a treat this week, as the league decided it was “Take Your Fantasy Football Leaguemates to Work” Week in “Expert Witness.”

Taco is at Kevin’s trial this morning. It seems his cable’s out so he’s subbing out “Judge Joe Brown” for Kevin’s workplace, plus popcorn. But Kevin won’t have it, and the judge will have even less.

At the bar, Ruxin explains his big case. A fugly got in a car accident, sued the brake company, and used the money to pay for her plastic surgery. Now, as a super hotty, she’s suing for emotional distress. It’s in the bag, or so Ruxin thinks. In Ruxin’s own words, they “paid for her own personal episode of The Swan.”

His secret weapon is his “work flirt,” the judge for this trial.

This launches a discussion of “work flirting” as a practice. Ruxin swears by it, but Kevin completely shut his “flirt thrusters” down when he got married. Pete explains that he “strained a testicle” by not keeping his flirt muscles active during his marriage. Sounds painful.

After that PSA from The League, I have to be a little worried. I’m engaged and my flirt thrusters are completely shut down. In fact, they have been for years. So hopefully, I’m never forced to spring them back into action. Am I the only one? Do any married guys out there have “flirt thrusters” on full throttle?

Hearing about Ruxin’s case, Andre adds that women who have plastic surgery lead better lives. It’s the discovery of the century: Hot women have it easy. Who knew?

In what will never be seen as his finest hour, Ruxin seizes the moment and asks Andre to be an expert witness in his case. Andre gets far, far too excited about it. First warning sign!

Andre proceeds to start a conversation about sausage places downtown, which gets Pete involved. If you’ve followed the show, you’ll know that Pete often likes to steal Andre’s thunder via one-upmanship or trade rape. He lets no moment pass when he might be able to make Andre feel like less of a man.

Pete claims his sausage joint is the best, and he invites the gang to eat at HIS place, his treat, so that they can see how right he is, which infuriates Andre to no end.

Back at home, Kevin finds out that Peyton Hillis is out this week. What?!? Oh, right. This is fictional. And it’s not like I own Peyton Hillis in any of my leagues anyway.

It’s not like I would care if he’s hurt and not racking up double-digit points for his owners this week in fantasy football. It’s not like I’M BITTER about that, after having thought of him as a great late-round sleeper and then neglecting to lock him up in the early part of the season. NOT. BITTER. AT. ALL.

But Kevin makes the mistake of revealing his need for a running back in front of Jenny, who happens to have the first priority on the waiver wire this week. Poor, poor Kevin. Never talk about your waiver wire needs in front of another owner unless you know, for certain, that they have a later pick than you. In fact, just never talk to another owner about the waiver wire.

Enter collusion. Kevin himself proposes a bribe: Good sex for Mike Bell, Hillis’ backup. Jenny counters by forcing Kevin to do all of Ellie’s thank you notes in order to earn the right to pick up Mike Bell. And it’s a deal.

By the way, did you notice how Jenny’s drinking a beer and holding the remote to the TV while Kevin sits on his laptop and begs for a draft pick in this scene? Clearly, Jenny wears the pants in this relationship…but we already knew that.

Back at the courthouse, Taco catches up with the courtroom artist to get a play-by-play of the day he missed. Ruxin ducks away from having to talk to him and runs right into his “work flirt,” the judge. He lays it on thick for her, as usual, before blowing off Taco and getting back to work.

At Kevin’s house, Ruxin and Kevin have Andre in Kevin’s mancave garage trying to talk him through how to be an expert witness. Andre wants to wear “To Catch A Predator” glasses, against the advice of Kevin and Ruxin. They have to coach him out of using “double guns,” to stop trying to play humble on the stand, and on how to tell the truth no matter what. But the pressure becomes too much for poor Andre. He goes into a blinking fit.

Jenny reminds Kevin to do Ellie’s thank you cards, and Kevin’s immediate acceptance makes Ruxin suspicious. Rightfully so. Ruxin goes on a rant and sniffs through Kevin’s computer, but no luck. He can’t even find an answer in Jenny’s underwear. Is everyone in this episode trying to come off like a sexual predator?

Andre confesses to Kevin that he needs a trade and reveals that he plans to persuade Taco to trade with him. Against all odds, he thinks his sexual predator powers can bend Taco to his will. *Shivers*

The gang gathers for pizza, and Andre brags about having eaten an entire “Wide Load” pizza. Pete, seeing another opportunity to steal thunder, asks Andre if he’s ever tried the “Holy Stromboli.” Pete claims that he’s eaten the entire thing. Twice.

Taco interrupts this sad little game to reveal his love affair with the courtroom artist. She drew him a sex sketch. Now he has to send her one of his own.

Brett Favre must have really good freehand skills.

In hopes of swaying Taco to trade, Andre volunteers to sketch Taco naked. Raising the stakes, Kevin volunteers Andre to shave Taco’s shaft for him since he’s done it as part of his job as a plastic surgeon. That’s the dark side of plastic surgery, kids.

In Ruxin’s office, Pete recognizes the brake lawsuit girl. She used to work in his office.

Pete wants a hook-up, but Ruxin, once again, has a not-so-great idea. He wants to put Pete on the stand as a second expert witness.

Ruxin, even I see how this one is going to fail.

When Taco shows up for his sketch, he finds Andre in a Professor X-looking head massager. It freaks Taco out, but Andre doesn’t have to do much to make that happen. (See: Nosferatu vs. Andre)

Andre dives further into the depths of super-creepy artist mode and sketches Taco down to his junk. It’s both magical and disturbing as they discuss the wilt and the bend of his member, but segueing right off of that horrific conversation, Andre pitches a trade to Taco. Having already logged into Taco’s account, Andre pulls out a laptop to seal the deal. It wasn’t too easy to crack Taco’s password since his team name is “Password is Taco.” Uncreative and easy to crack. Double foul.

The deal they strike is David Akers for Ray Rice, and Taco accepts. This trade is why we have to have vetoes, people. That’s a terrible deal. But it’s not my place to veto trades in The League.

In watching Andre make the trade, Taco brings his junk front and center in front of Andre’s face. It pains me to describe it in full detail, but Taco ends up giving Andre a shoulder massage from the front. So he does do something from the front after all…

When Pete comes in to pick up Andre for a movie, this massage scene Taco has trapped Andre in, of course, looks like a blow job. Game, set, match, Andre.

At the trial, Andre’s nervous, and Pete’s arrival to “steal his thunder” again doesn’t help him.

Ruxin takes the asshole approach to questioning the victim of the brake accident, otherwise known as being Ruxin. He plays it cool and tries to make her look like a hot girl complaining about the pains of being attractive. It works to an extent.

But the case really starts to come apart when Andre takes the stand claiming to be “Slim Shady” and employed as an “expert witness” with the double guns. Ah, the double guns. He even brings out the pedophile glasses and the pedophile jokes.

Andre’s pit stains don’t sway the jury as Ruxin had hoped.

So Ruxin moves swiftly to his next witness, Pete.

Pete’s testimony goes a little more smoothly until he admits to having called the plaintiff “Das Dinga” before her plastic surgery transformation, accented by Ruxin’s thing-like screech at the jury. So much for getting a date with the Das Dinga 2.0, Pete.

At the tail end of his testimony, Ruxin puts Pete on the spot about whether Kevin colluded with Jenny to get Mike Bell. Under oath, Pete can’t lie, and the court erupts with Kevin, Andre, Pete, and Ruxin screaming at each other.

Ruxin’s brought back to the judge’s chambers, and to win his trial, he’s asked to fulfill the flirtation he’s perpetuated with his “work flirt.”

Meanwhile, the courtroom artist tries to tell Taco that her husband is coming. Like with most things, Taco doesn’t connect the dots. When the husband storms in, he gets caught trying to slip out.

In trying to hit Taco, the husband throws a piece of evidence straight into Das Dinga’s new nose, and then chases Taco into the judge’s chambers, where the league finds “Dog Ruxin” taking his licks from the judge with a bone in his mouth.

At the end of an eventful day at the office, the gang takes Ruxin to prove he can eat the “Holy Stromboli” just like Pete did.

Turns out, Pete never did it. He just made it up to steal Andre’s thunder. Poor Andre.

Memorable quotes from Episode 9

RUXIN: “Dude, when you’re married, you have to keep a work flirt. It keeps the flirt muscles limber. Otherwise, you tense up. You could pop a hammy like Pete did when he got divorced.”

TACO: “If I ever got plastic surgery…ASIAN EYES.” [Pointing at his face]

ANDRE: “Ohhh, we’re gonna go out to lunch with my bro-bros!”

PETE: “I’m not stealing your thunder. I merely escorted them to a more interesting storm.”

JENNY: “Do you not try your best now?” [on Kevin’s sexual efforts]
KEVIN: “I will give you 100 percent for four minutes, and then like 60 percent for five minutes after that. And then after that, you’re on your own.”
JENNY: “You naughty little commissioner.”

RUXIN: “I don’t know you here.” [Said to Taco as Taco tries to say “hello” to Ruxin in the courthouse]

RUXIN: “My guess is a country entirely populated by fans of Aerosmith.” [on what country Andre’s proposed outfit for his court appearance would represent]

RUXIN: “Oh, good, so you look like a crafty sexual predator.”

RUXIN: “Your wife asked you to do something, and you did it on the first ask. It takes my wife three asks before I’ll do something menial like take the trash out. And we have a loving marriage.”

RUXIN: “They brought me in for an evaluation in middle school, but I left before the psychiatrist could give me his final diagnosis (whispering) ’cause he had it out for me.” [on whether he’d ever been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia]

JENNY: “Sad little man, NO!” [while slapping Ruxin’s hand away from her underwear]

TACO: “I don’t use front anything.” [on why he didn’t come through the front door]

RUXIN: “She really captures your inner hobo.” [on Taco’s portrait by the courtroom artist]

RUXIN: “How many shafts do you think you’ve shaved?” [to Andre]

RUXIN: “I could watch you flick it…?” [to the judge, when asked to beg like a dog]

TACO: “Nothing happened, okay? We just had sex.”

[ Jump to Episode 10: “High School Reunion” ]

Believe it or not: Bad franchises, big fantasy points with Peyton Hillis, Matthew Stafford, and Jacoby Ford as Week 9 Scoring Leaders

This week’s high scores include members of teams you wouldn’t expect to produce fantasy powerhouses. The Browns? The Lions? The Raiders?  Parity is the name of the game this season, as even these recently terrible franchises have produced fantasy gold.

Hillis looks like a top back the rest of the way. The Raiders continue to put up points no matter who has to catch the ball and clear the way for Darren McFadden. And the Lions continue to scare teams who don’t take them seriously.

If you had one of these scoring leaders on your roster, you should have won this week. If not…well, at least there’s hope for the future.

Peyton Hillis, RB, Browns: 184 rushing yards, 2 TDs, 3 catches for 36 yards vs. Patriots

You have to wonder how former Patriots coordinator Josh McDaniels felt watching Hillis destroy the Patriots on the ground for another former Patriots coordinator’s team. Eric Mangini certainly looks like he won on this trade. The Broncos have no running game, and the Browns are all running game with Hillis.

Now that he’s fully healthy after their bye and with Colt McCoy starting for the Browns, Hillis should continue to grind out these tough yards. As long as he can get in the end zone, he’ll produce at a high level. His schedule poses few challenges.

Next week he gets the Jets, and the only other two teams who might stand a chance at slowing him down are the Dolphins in Week 13 and the Ravens in Week 16. He also get the Steelers in Week 17 if you play your fantasy championships the last week of the year — but why, WHY are you doing that?

Green Bay Packers D/ST: 7 points against, 2 INTs, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 TDs vs. Cowboys

The Cowboys gave up this game before the kickoff, and the Green Bay defense took advantage of Jon Kitna, who seemed like the only player other than Dez Bryant who had any interest in playing.

As many have stated throughout recent weeks, somehow the Packers manage to put together a great defensive game plan no matter how many players they lose to injury. But they hardly had to try against the Cowboys.

Terrell Owens, WR, Bengals: 10 catches for 141 yards, 2 TDs vs. Steelers

The fact that T.O. is good this year still puzzles me. He stepped into a team with a proven wide receiver and replaced him entirely (and with more success). Those who drafted him will continue to benefit from Palmer’s force-feeding of the ball to T.O., especially late in games when the Bengals are down. That happens often.

Michael Vick, QB, Eagles: 218 passing yards and 1 TD, 74 rushing yards and 1 TD vs. Colts

Those owners who held onto Vick throughout his injury should reap the rewards now. He stepped onto the field and right back into his previous form. Other than two matchups against the Giants, the Eagles schedule should be a big bag o’ fun for the Eagles.

Circle Week 13 if it’s the first week of your fantasy playoffs. The Eagles face the Texans very terrible defense at home in Philly.

Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions: 240 passing yards and 2 TDs, 1 INT, 11 rushing yards and 1 TD vs. Jets

Stafford surprised many by dismantling the Jets defense right up until he got hurt again. That’s right: Hurt. AGAIN. Stafford could have been a savior for many a fantasy team late in the season, and this showdown against the Jets only proved how talented he is (and how good he can make the Lions). But it looks like he’ll go back on ice for a few weeks.

Stafford’s fantasy owners have to hope that Shaun Hill is healthy enough to start Week 10. Drew Stanton just doesn’t cut it as a Stafford stand-in.

Seyi Ajirotutu, WR, Chargers: 4 catches for 111 yards, 2 TDs vs. Texans

Yeah, you try to say that. I’m glad I just have to type it. But Seyi Ajirotutu showed up big for those who took a chance on him as a sleeper.

After the Chargers bye, he’ll probably be relegated to a lesser role with Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd, and Legedu Naanee likely to return to the field. Vincent Jackson will also soon be in the mix. But those who benefited from Ajirotutu’s big Week 9 should hold onto him if possible. Philip Rivers might not soon forget his big play potential.

Brett Favre, QB, Vikings: 446 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs vs. Cardinals

Does the old man still have it? I don’t think so. But he showed signs of life this week against the Cardinals in willing the Vikings to a win in overtime. The rest of his schedule shouldn’t be so kind — other than possibly the Bills. It’s hard to trust Favre as a fantasy quarterback down the stretch as the games matter more than ever.

Jacoby Ford, WR, Raiders: 6 catches for 148 yards, 1 kickoff return TD vs. Chiefs

Jacoby Ford is proof of one thing: ANYONE is better than throwing to Darrius Heyward-Bey. With every receiving weapon for the Raiders out due to injury, DHB still managed to catch nothing.

On the other hand/side of the field, Ford emerged as a great deep weapon, which could mean he keeps the speedster role when Louis Murphy returns to the lineup. He’s on bye but worth a pickup this week, for sure. Other than against the Steelers in Week 11, the Raiders could make good use of Ford throughout the rest of their schedule.

Brandon Jackson, RB, Packers: 42 rushing yards and 1 TD, 4 catches for 26 yards and 1 TD vs. Cowboys

The Packers defense created so many turnovers that the Packers had to run the ball, and Jackson proved his worth in the short-yardage situations he was given. Those who paid a high price for him early in the season (as I did) can only hope that the Packers look to develop their ground game as the weather turns cold late in the season.

Clearly, Jackson will put points on the board when he’s given a chance, but this game against the Cowboys was not the norm. Let’s see what they do against a real opponent (if you can call the Vikings that) after their bye week.

On the Waiver Wire: Week 9 Pickups Blount If You Want

It’s already Week 9. Week 9! That’s just four weeks away from the fantasy football playoffs for most of us. It’s time to start tightening up those rosters. As you exit your bye weeks, consider picking up extra running backs, wide receivers, and maybe a bang-or-bust fantasy playoff quarterback. These players could be the extra push you need to win in the playoffs, or they could do absolutely nothing for you. At least you’ll use your bench spots wisely.

When picking up free agents, you should also consider whether their current hype could get you a proven veteran with a great schedule for the fantasy playoffs. MJD, anyone?

Could Steve Johnson and your backup quarterback steal — if you got Big Ben at a discount, for example — land you MJD and a lesser receiver for Weeks 14-16? If it can, consider that deal.

If you’re a lock to make the playoffs, start planning your wins for Weeks 14-16. It’s that time. Now, on to the pickups.

LeGarrette Blount, RB, Bucs

Get him? Got him? Good. I hope you’ve been listening to all the Blount I’ve been talking for weeks. He’s a starting running back the rest of the way on a winning team and getting a hefty, at least in Week 8, amount of carries with more than 20 touches.

Steve Johnson, WR, Bills

He’s legit, and he seems to always find his way to the end zone. His size makes him the best Buffalo’s got when they get deep into enemy territory.

Jacob Tamme, TE, Colts

Is it fair that the Colts have a mini-Dallas Clark just waiting in the wings for a chance to play? No. But it is nice for Dallas Clark’s former fantasy owners.

Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Colts

He’s working his way back into the offense in Indianapolis, but the absence of Austin Collie leaves the door wide open for him to contribute in a big way each week.

Sidney Rice, WR, Vikings

There’s a slim chance he’s available in your league since someone probably drafted him and held onto him all season, despite my best efforts to convince them to let him go. But if Rice is out there, he might be able to make an impact during the fantasy football playoffs now that Moss is out of Minnesota.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Raiders

It’s unlikely that he’ll repeat his Week 8 performance, but in a way, he’s all the Raiders have in the passing game. McFadden’s challenging the defenses to use additional blockers to stop the run, which should free things up for DHB if he can break the big one AND catch the ball. It’s harder than it looks for DHB.

Visanthe Shiancoe, TE, Vikings

Without Randy Moss, Brett Favre could turn back to his tight end. Shiancoe started off the season with two strong performances before falling off the map and becoming completely irrelevant after Moss’ arrival. If Favre can still be effective with his injuries, both physically and to his ego, Shiancoe could become the Vikings best red zone target. But that’s could become, not will, until we see the Vikings passing game come back to life post-Moss.

Troy Smith, QB, 49ers

Maybe the 49ers just started the season with the wrong Smith under center. Smith threw for one touchdown and ran for another in his London debut. He’s on a bye this week, but as long as he keeps the starting job when he returns, he’ll face the Rams, Bucs and Cardinals before he hits a harder stretch against the Packers, Seahawks, and Chargers.

Brandon Tate, WR, Pats

It was Tate, not Deion Branch, who made the big plays on Sunday. Branch was dealing with an injury, but the spark that Tate provided won’t go unnoticed. Maybe those who wrote off Tate after the Patriots acquired Branch spoke too soon. While unreliable, Tate should be owned in deep leagues. But until he gets more attention from Tom Brady, I’d hold off on starting him.

Derek Anderson, QB, Cardinals

Arizona turned to the veteran again on Sunday after Max Hall failed to get the offense moving. With Anderson under center, the Cardinals looked a little bit like a shadow of their former selves — just a little bit. Assuming Anderson gets the start next week, he’d be a fine stash. The schedule gets much brighter for the Cardinals the rest of the way. They play the Broncos, Panthers, and Cowboys in Weeks 14-16, typically fantasy playoffs.

More waivery wires:

The League S02E06: Old Dude Causes a #Hardfall at “The Anniversary Party”

Ruxin seems to be a glutton for punishment this season, and this episode continued that trend as Taco tortured Ruxin by tricking him into throwing an anniversary party for his wife. But is Taco really that evil and smart? There’s no way to tell if he is just a completely oblivious of his actions or an evil genius.

My vote: evil genius. There’s room on the dark side for more than just Ruxin, and Taco’s brilliant in his simplicity. Someone get this man a white kitty to pet. (Don’t take that the wrong way.)

From the start, Taco’s in Ruxin’s business — and in his home. Ruxin comes in from work to find his wife, Sofia, with Taco. And no, not like that, even though it would be the first assumption when you find Taco with your wife, but Taco is just Ruxin’s teasing stallion.

Instead of doing the horizontal Macarena, Taco and Sofia are “girl talking” about Ruxin and Sofia’s wedding anniversary. Taco is collecting photos for a “very special gift” he’s planning and makes Ruxin look like the “anniversary grinch” for not having anything planned for the occasion.

By the end of Taco’s visit, whether by evil design or sheer luck, he’s forced Ruxin into promising a “surprise” anniversary party for Sofia with all their friends at the restaurant where he first proposed. Evil or idiot? Still can’t tell. You want to think the guy was planning this all along, but at the same time, he appears completely unaware that he is facing Ruxin’s fantasy football team that weekend — thinking he has a bye week.

Ruxin sends out the invites, immediately irritating Jenny because her birthday is the same day as the party, just as her birthday was the same day as the Ruxin wedding. Her birthday always gets passed over for subsequent wedding anniversaries, and she’s fed up with it. But this party won’t ruin her weekend. She’s not the type. Sofia’s the one who would slowly poison someone over a period of months without an ounce of remorse…Ruxin should really hire an official tester…

When the league gathers for lunch the next day for one of their many trash-talking gatherings, usually kept to the bar, Ruxin explains how sensitive his palate is. So maybe he can handle his own poison detection. He’s too snooty for the grub the rest of the gang is inhaling since his palate is much more refined than his league mates’ mere mortal taste. He’d rather hit up the gastropub for some “edamame foam.”

Andre’s rocking a bedazzled Kardashian of a Bluetooth in his ear. There are few ways to make a Bluetooth earpiece more ugly than most of them already are. I, myself, have tried and failed to find one that would work for me. I really only end up using them for conference calls because I don’t want to be that guy that roams around with a Bluetooth in his ear at all times, constantly challenging anyone around him to decide whether he is A) crazy B) talking to someone else or C) talking to the person right in front of him.

Come to find out, this Bluetooth is just one stage in a long line of boyfriend chameleoning for Andre. ANOTHER WORD FOR THE LEXICON. Let it be defined:

“Boyfriend chameleon” — A male so desperate for shared interests that he basically just adopts the hobbies of the woman he is dating

The blinged out ear accessory is his chameleon way of connecting with his new girlfriend, a techie deep Googler you’ll soon love to hate — or will you hate to love her?

Ruxin announces to the group that Meegan will be at the part-ay…WITH a plus one. Oh snap! Pete bout to get all mad up in this motha…wait, no?

He’s not mad. He’s fine with it. It’s like he’s a bigger man…but we know that isn’t the case.

Pete rushed back to the office to his up the bathroom, but at the threshold to the poop room, Pete is stuck debating what to do with his leftover sandwich from lunch: A) leave it outside the bathroom or B) take it inside, where poop particles are just waiting to jump on that baby and give him dysentery. Believe me, the potty mouth disease is a complete buzzkill, and unlike Oregon Trail, you don’t get to write a witty one-liner on a tombstone. You just have to tough it out.

Not wanting to lose his sandwich, Pete opts to bring it into the danger zone, and he pays the price. A burly fellow office worker hits the stall before Pete can dive on the grenade for his sandwich and get out of there, ruining the bathroom-tainted food forever.

Side note here: What exactly does Pete…do? I didn’t think he had an office. He always seems to be working from home. Is his job fantasy football? Is he…my hero? The office is the first thing to suggest otherwise.

At the anniversary party, we find Ruxin and Sofia greeting all the guests at the door. Jenny’s still pissed that the party is on her birthday, and she takes a few stabs at Sofia for still focusing on their anniversary rather than wishing Jenny “Happy birthday.”

Somehow both ladies come out without wrestling in oil or Jell-O. We all lose. But there’s always next time.

Pete shows up with an ice cream sandwich. Yes, it’s that random. But he does explain: “When do you ever see an ice cream truck anymore? I had to go for it.”

When the ice cream truck appears, it must be taken advantage of. The same rule applies to open bars and impressionable foreign supermodels.

But we’ve ignored the really important oddity in Pete’s other hand. Pete has invented a “bathroom cubby,” a cubby to store food outside of the bathroom until you emerge, clean and free of poop particles, to retrieve it.

I wondered when we’d advance as a culture beyond Everyone Poops. THIS is that day (and THIS is funny).

Ruxin, being the sophisticated gent that he is, loves the bathroom cubby: “I won’t even chew gum and go into the bathroom because I’ll end up chewing whatever it is I smell in there.” And so, Pete immediately installs it at the party.

Meegan arrives with her plus one, and it’s an old dude. Is this the 15-year gap they talk about in L.A.? Did they make in time for him to get his senior discount? ZING!

But this old guy, Ted, is actually a baller. He thanks Pete for letting him have his chance at Meegan (must be a fan of that finger trick) and upstages Pete’s bathroom cubby with a gift for Ruxin and Sofia, a Nepalese Dream Box from Nepal.

Everyone immediately falls in love with Ted’s George Clooney-like, grey-haired charm. But Pete is determined to embarrass Ted in front of all of Meegan’s friends, especially when Meegan insists that Ted can hang with even the best of Pete’s breed, the heavy drinking layabouts.

Filming for his blog on the way in (Did this just get meta?), Andre introduces his deep Googling techie girlfriend, Stacy. Somehow she page five-ed every member of the league and dug up plenty of Google dirt on them in the process. THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD STOP SEXTING AND POSTING PARTY PICS, KIDS!

On an archived Prodigy page, she found (and read) Ruxin’s poetry. It seems he was expressing some homoerotic fan fiction: “Hernando rode the gallows of his love into my heart.” Stacy also brings up Sofia’s nose job, a sore spot for the self-absorbed hottie.

As they sit down to dinner, Ruxin wants to say a few words, but his speech is soon interrupted by Kevin, who claims to be so touched by the night’s events that he has to give an emotional salute to his own wife, Jenny, and thanks her for being his wife. Jenny eats it up and turns into putty. And that, my friends, is good husbandry (of the non-farm variety).

Pete (and Meegan’s prodding) pressure Ted into ordering bacon-wrapped steak instead of salmon. Ted one-ups the fantasy football league by revealing that he’s in an actual, no pads, football in the mud league “like Favre in those Wrangler ads” (Thanks, Kevin). But not like these ads. That’s some salt of the earth, Chuck Norris stuff right there. So they move on to shots and dancing.

Meanwhile, the ladies go all Sex and the City, and Meegan tells Jenny that Ted’s some powerfully tuned, Italian muscle car in comparison to Pete’s gas-guzzling Trans Am. If only Pete had heard that; those words be real fighting words.

Ruxin bumps into Andre and explains how Andre’s techie girl’s tweets about the party are getting him in trouble — his cousin, who wasn’t invited, happens to be one of her 831 followers. But Andre has more pertinent news to share: Cedric Benson has been ruled out for tomorrow’s game. Ruxin’s got to change his lineup.

But Taco sweeps in, again through dark side brilliance or ridiculously good timing, to enforce the “no phone” policy alongside Sofia. Still can’t tell whether he’s an evil genius or an “I love lamp.”

The real kicker of the party is Taco’s movie premiere. Tacos shot behind-the-scenes footage of Ruxin and Sofia’s wedding in secret, and he debuts his creation, finally edited, for the party as his wedding/anniversary present. What’s just a few years late, right?

Highlights include Sofia prancing around in lingerie before the wedding, Pete and Meegan sneaking away to handle some bidness in the coat closet, Andre chameleoning into an African themed suit for his date, and Ruxin’s cold feet rant about how Sofia’s “conquistador” family will pillage and plunder his Jewish relatives.

Kevin calms down Ruxin by passing down a trick he’d obviously perfected and refined like some kind of relationship guru. Strangely similar to Kevin’s exact speech tonight, he instructs Ruxin on the art of emotional word porn: “Love is a [insert any noun you want, any noun you want!]”

Oh, we are all so busted.

By the end of the video, every couple is in a fight besides Andre and Stacy, who were probably live tweeting the video anyway. #GreatEvent!

Ruxin believes the only thing that can save him from Sofia’s wrath is the top of the original wedding cake, but he takes a detour when he sees Andre’s iPad in the bathroom cubby.

He takes it into the bathroom to finally change his lineup, but Andre retaliates by bringing the precious top of the cake into the bathroom as well. When Ted comes flying in, falling apart at the seams in his competition with Pete, he bumps Andre, who drops the cake onto the floor. URINAL CAKE!

Without another alternative, Ruxin does the unthinkable. He salvages the cake, takes it into the main room, and presents it to Sofia. He attempts to kill it by dropping it to the ground in front of Sofia, but Taco, in an impeccably timed flash of dexterity, saves it Spider-Man-style before it hits the ground.

Ruxin has no choice but to bite the bullet. In this case, the bullet is a dirty bathroom floor cake. So Ruxin has a gutter palate after all.

Ruxin, still crying a little, gets hoisted into the air on a chair along with Sofia, but the competition has started to wear Ted down. His old Brett Favre-ian body can’t take this abuse. He eventually suffers a heart attack, falling to the floor and causing a domino effect that takes Sofia and Ruxin out as well. #Hardfall!

At the end of the night, we end as we began with Kevin and Jenny.

Kevin apologizes for gaming the system with his love speech, but by now, Jenny is over it. She actually enjoyed the “train wreck” excitement of the party’s complete collapse.

I felt the same way, Jenny. The same way.

The one-liners you know and love from Episode 6

KEVIN: “You look like gay Iron Man.”

KEVIN: “You’re being selfishly selfless.” PETE: “I prefer the term altruistically self-serving”

RUXIN: “You look like a Russian figure skater.”

PETE: “Thanks for being emotionally above board and awesome, Ted!”

STACY: “How many times do I have to poke you before you accept my friend request on
Facebook?”

SOFIA: “Shits natural, bitch!”

MEEGAN: “A 30-year-old sloth is far less useful to me than a 60-year-old, finely tuned machine.”

ANDRE: “That’s what you get when you live your life on the net.” RUXIN: “You know, your life on the Net is even sadder than your life on Earth.”

KEVIN: “You look great, Dr. Huxtable”

ANDRE: “Hashtag #Hardfall!”

TACO: “Meegan, is your dad okay?”

Looking to the next episode: I hope we get to find out whether Taco’s smart or not. Someday. But really, I hope there’s more fantasy football talk. Isn’t it time for somebody to trade? Or trade rape?

[ Jump to Episode 7: “Ghost Monkey” ]

On the Waiver Wire for Week 8: Matthew Stafford, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Jon Kitna are the quarterbacks you seek

The pain continues. We lost a lot of good men out there.

If you were already struggling to replace Jermichael Finley (like me) or fill the hole left by Dallas Clark (like me), I hope that you weren’t also relying on Tony Romo (again…like me) who is now out for the rest of the fantasy season. He may be back in time to play two games when most of us are in the fantasy playoffs, but that will only happen if — and that’s a big if — the Cowboys are in still in the running to make the playoffs. Plenty would have to break their way for that to happen.

Look at your quarterback’s schedule right now. If he fapicapces the Giants at any point this season, it’s time to strengthen your backup quarterback position. The New York Giants have already knocked five quarterbacks out of games this year after taking out Romo on Monday Night Football, and they’ll continue to attack.

Make sure you hang on to Kevin Kolb. Vick will face the Giants in Week 11.

If you a Favre owner, you might as well jump on the new quarterback bandwagon as well. Old Favre-ful hasn’t been putting up the numbers he did last season, and he looked terrible on Sunday night against his old team. His ankle can only get more fractured. Without a bye week in his future, I have to say it’s all downhill from here. Take a stab at adding one of these “Romo replacement” quarterbacks before the Romo owner does.

Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
Detroit quarterbacks have been the unsung heroes of fantasy through the first part of the year. Until the Giants knocked Shaun Hill out, he was keeping up with the elite of the quarterback class. Stafford, in case you forgot him, is the starter in Detroit, which implies that he’s even better than Shaun Hill, the backup. This week, he gets to play the 31st ranked pass defense in Washington. This could be the beginning of a beautiful quarterback savior-ship.

Jon Kitna, QB, Dallas Cowboys
The most immediate gainer from Tony Romo’s injury, Kitna is now in control of the offensive weapons in Dallas. This group is the most talented that Kitna has ever had at his disposal, but he’s also probably past his prime as a quarterback. Time will tell what he’s able to do with Miles Austin, Roy Williams, Dez Bryant, Felix Jones…and the less than stellar offensive line that the Cowboys have struggled to work behind this season. At least this week he gets the Jaguars, which shouldn’t pose much of a challenge. If you can’t get your hands on Stafford, go get Kitna as a safe alternative.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Buffalo Bills
Fitzpatrick seems to have emerged as a consistent fantasy starter. He’s had 20 fantasy points or more (standard scoring with 6-point passing touchdowns) in his last three games, and he somehow managed to throw four touchdowns against the Ravens formidable pass defense — and two against the Jets. As long as the Bills continue to play from behind, Fitzpatrick will have value, and as I said in the Scoring Leaders post this week, he could rise to fantasy fame just like Tyler Thigpen did under Chan Gailey’s system in Kansas City not too long ago. But if you take a chance on Fitzpatrick, know that he’s a candidate to fall off a fantasy cliff at any moment, as the Bills are apt to do. He has his doubters. So while he’s doing well now (and you should ride it while you can), he’s a riskier pickup this week than someone like Kitna or Henne. I’d still take that chance. If you’re a gambler, you could even go with Fitz over Kitna.

Troy Smith, QB, San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have passed over David Carr just like the fantasy gods did and named Troy Smith the starter for Week 8. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do. As long as Alex Smith is held out with his separated shoulder (2-3 weeks) and maybe even after, Smith will be worth owning. And Singletary must have seen something he liked in Smith since they acquired him in order to jump him over Carr, the backup quarterback, to be the starter and to be bold enough to go into Week 8 with just two healthy quarterbacks, Carr and Smith, on the active roster. In the next four weeks, San Francisco faces Denver, a bye week, and then St. Louis and Tampa Bay. If Smith performs well in Week 8, the 49ers could adjust their offense over the bye and go into Week 10 with Troy Smith as the official starter, keeping the job even after Alex Smith is back to 100 percent. Just saying, it could happen. The 49ers have talented receiving weapons in Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, and Frank Gore, who catches plenty of passes out of the backfield, and Alex Smith was putting up serviceable numbers before his injury.

Chad Henne, QB, Miami Dolphins
Henne’s not going to come close to the elite most weeks, but he’s doing plenty of passing in Miami right now. He may not be on the waiver wire, but if he is available, I’d slot him behind Stafford, Fitzpatrick, and Kitna as a guy to target to replace Romo or Favre. And I think I’d rather start Henne than Matt Cassel, who just doesn’t inspire confidence in me yet.

Other Romo replacement considerations: Matt Cassel (QB-Chiefs), Josh Freeman (QB-Bucs), Sam Bradford (QB-Rams), and Matt Moore (QB-Panthers)

LeGarrette Blount, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Blount got his fair share of carries this week against the Rams with Earnest Graham injured and Kareem Huggins out for the season, and he made good use of them. Tampa Bay’s coaches now say he’ll be splitting time with Cadillac Williams in the backfield, and he’s started to pick up the blitz well enough to protect Josh Freeman. Make sure you get your hands on him now before he takes over the entire Bucs rushing attack. Cadillac isn’t going to put up much of a fight with his age and past injuries weighing him down.

Danny Woodhead, RB, New England Patriots
I’ve mentioned him before, so why haven’t you gotten him yet? He’s now an integral part of the Patriots’ offense, and he’s worth owning, especially in PPR leagues. His slow day against the Chargers may have led owners to dump him, but I think he’ll get back on track.

James Jones, WR, Green Bay Packers
Donald Driver finally seems to be slowing down, and Jones is ready to take his role and run with it. Like the Colts, if you can get a piece of the Packers’ offense, you want it.

Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Reports of his “tweak” this weekend seem to be false, and all signs point to Gonzalez returning to the Colts roster this weekend, just in time to replace an injured Austin Collie. He should start ahead of Blair White if things go as planned, but be sure to check his status later in the week to make sure he’s playing. Without Dallas Clark, the Colts’ wide receivers should receive some extra attention from Peyton Manning for the rest of the season.

Blair White, WR, Indianapolis Colts
If Gonzalez doesn’t go, he’s your guy. Collie’s out, and White was able to jump straight into this offense as soon as he was signed from the practice squad. He should hold value until Austin Collie returns or Anthony Gonzalez unseats him. But this kid has staying power. As a walk-on in college, he eventually rose to team captain.

Steve Johnson, WR, Buffalo Bills
If you believe in Ryan Fitzpatrick, believe in Steve Johnson. Other than Lee Evans, who had a huge week, Johnson has benefited the most from Buffalo’s rejuvenated passing attack. And he’s getting into the end zone consistently.

Mike Williams, WR, Seattle Seahawks
The big guy in Seattle has shown enough to be trusted after two games of 10+ points, and he’s got a nice schedule the rest of the way with Matt Hasselbeck.

Brandon Jackson, RB, Green Bay Packers
What? The Packers are finally letting him run with it? So they are. If you’re still holding onto Jackson from earlier in the season, keep him. If someone in your league dumped him after his weak first half of the year, go get him. As the weather turns in Green Bay, he could turn into a reliable fantasy option to end the season. Just like I said about James Jones, if you can get a piece of this Packers offense, you want it.

David Gettis, WR, Carolina Panthers
The rookie wideout landed on a lot of fantasy radars this week with his two-touchdown performance and with Matt Moore returning under center. Steve Smith will continue to receive most of the defensive attention, which could open up the other side of the field for Gettis, but I’d like to see him do it one more time before I rely on him. He’s a stash with great potential now that this offense is moving with Moore.

Dexter McCluster, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Chris Chambers is out, and it seems McCluster is in. He’s finally being used in this offense, so it’s time to join the bandwagon. I don’t put much faith in Matt Cassel, but with the way the Chiefs are running the football and playing defense, surely he can manage a few plays in the passing game, especially with that nice schedule.

Chester Taylor, RB, Chicago Bears
I’m not too high on him, but he gets an upgrade this week with the Bears saying he’ll be handling goal-line duties moving forward. I agree with FF Toolbox that this probably doesn’t hurt Forte much. It just makes Taylor an interesting stash or wait-and-see guy when the Bears come out of their bye week.

Don’t forget about a few wait-and-see players I’ve named in past weeks: Danario Alexander (WR-Rams), James Starks (RB-Packers), and Arrelious Benn (WR-Bucs), just to name a few.

More waivering and wiring from around the fantasy football Web-u-verse…

On the Wire: Week 6 Waiver Wire Pickups to fix your Jermichael Finley, Mark Clayton and Aaron Rodgers woes

So Deion Branch is now a Patriot? That’s exciting for Bill Belichick and all — that man knows how to swing a three-way trade while moving up in the draft. But I don’t think the trade changes Branch’s fantasy value much.

Branch wasn’t that useful as a Seahawk, and they are hurting for playmakers. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will work their magic and integrate Branch into their system, but don’t expect Randy Moss-like numbers out of the Patriots’ new acquisition this year.

Oh, and did you hear that Brett Favre threw his 500th touchdown? And it was to his own team, no less.

Even less exciting, the presence of Branch in New England will muddy the fantasy waters for Brandon Tate, who was Week 5’s hot waiver wire pickup. Let’s see what we can do to fix that.

First, the guys you’ll need if you just lost Jermichael Finley this week:

Marcedes Lewis, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars

You may not have noticed, but Lewis has become the only person David Garrard throws touchdowns to this year. I’ve heard a legend about a man named Mike Sims-Walker who used to be targeted more often, but that man could just be a ghost. He has been for at least two games this year. Meanwhile, Lewis has two games with two touchdowns and only one really miserable fantasy performance, 15 yards receiving and no touchdowns in Week 3 against the Eagles. He trails only Antonio Gates (so does everyone), Dustin Keller, and Zach Miller in total fantasy points this season among tight ends. Yes, I’d say it’s safe to bet on him to fill the void left by Finley if you just lost your starting tight end. It also might not be a bad play to trade him out for the guy you’re currently starting unless you have one of the elite.

Tony Moeaki, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

Lewis may already be off the board, and in that case, Moeaki is not a bad consolation prize. He’s got great hands, and he’s one of Matt Cassel’s favorite (read: only) targets. He comes it as the No. 12 tight end in total points even after sitting out for his Week 4 bye. Don’t hesitate to rely on Moeaki.

Brandon Pettigrew and/or Tony Scheffler, TE, Detroit Lions

Both Lions tight ends have had off and on weeks throughout the season while without their starting quarterback Matthew Stafford, but Shaun Hill has proven to be a strong replacement, if only we knew which tight end he liked in any given week. At this point in the season, we can’t tell, but if forced to choose, I’d take Pettigrew over Scheffler. Pettigrew currently ranks No. 10 in total tight end fantasy points while Scheffler comes in at No. 16. If Calvin Johnson’s shoulder injury keeps him out in Week 6, both of these tight ends would receive more attention than usual…as long as they’re not too busy blocking the Giants’ attack.

Wide receivers you should grab now before they go off big time:

Obvious ones to grab before these guys: Kenny Britt, WR, Titans and Danny Amendola, WR, Rams

Dexter McCluster, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

A hot sleeper this preseason, McCluster hasn’t carved out a role in the Kansas City offense just yet. But Todd Haley finally came around on Jamaal Charles in Week 5 and gave Charles the majority of the carries in the running game. Surely, Haley will soon realize what he has in McCluster and find a way to get him on the field more frequently. Thus far, McCluster has just 7 catches this season, but he’s shown hints of his big play ability. You won’t be able to get him on the cheap if you wait for him to breakout.

Anthony Armstrong, WR, Washington Redskins

I almost listed Armstrong last week when he made a big catch downfield for McNabb, but I thought I should probably wait until he had more than one big catch in a game. Last week, he went out and got three of them, including one for a touchdown. So now he’s on a lot of fantasy radars. If you’re looking for a WR3, he just might be the guy you need. He could soon be the No. 2 receiver in Washington, replacing Joey Galloway, who turned 200 this preseason for those keeping a tally at home.

Steve Johnson, WR, Buffalo Bills

I wouldn’t call the Bills’ offense “good,” but when they do score, they’ve been looking Johnson’s way ever since he moved from the No. 2 receiver role to the slot position. Lee Evans may be the big play threat, but Johnson’s just in the right place at the right time. That has value. Take a chance on Johnson if you have the space on your roster.

Those who will benefit from trades and injuries:

Mike Hart, RB, Indianapolis Colts

Addai got hurt on Sunday and left the running duties to Hart, who filled in nicely. If Donald Brown can’t get back on the field in Week 6 and if Addai misses some time, Hart is the starter in Indy. Remember: you can never have enough starting running backs. Don’t be afraid to go after Hart this week, but check Brown’s status first.

Deon Butler and/or Golden Tate, WR, Seattle Seahawks

I care more about what the Deion Branch trade does to the Seahawks than how it affects the Patriots. Without Branch, the Seahawks will have more snaps for Butler and Tate. Golden Tate would appear to be more likely to take over as a starter since he’s the guy they drafted just this year to make an impact, but I can’t get over my sleeper love for Butler. Both have the potential to excel with more playing time, but if forced to choose, pick up Tate and just keep an eye on Butler.

UPDATE: Forget what I just said. Now I’m hearing that the starting job is Butler’s. I actually like him better than Golden Tate so make sure you go out and get him. He could be the big winner of the Deion Branch trade, and he has the speed that Mike Williams (SEA) lacks to make big plays in the passing game.

Laurent Robinson and/or Mardy Gilyard, WR, St. Louis Rams

Clayton’s injury comes at a bad time for the Rams. Robinson is still trying to come back from an injury, and Gilyard has been taking his time learning his way in the Rams’ offense. Both have a shot at the starting job and a chance to fill the void in targets that Clayton leaves behind. Brandon Gibson has sniffed the fantasy value charts this season, but I don’t see him becoming a dominant force anytime soon. Danny Amendola is one helluva pass-catcher (and he stands to gain the most from Clayton’s injury), but someone has to play Robin to his Batman. That leaves these two. Choose your own adventure! I loved Robinson before the Clayton trade (and before he got injured, which he seems to do pretty frequently), but time will tell whether he can make it back on the field at 100 percent. For now, I’d say the best bet to replace Clayton in the lineup is Gilyard.

Some speculative picks if you have some room for a stash:

Keiland Williams, RB, Washington Redskins

Williams rejoined the active roster after Portis went down with injury, and even though he’s only playing passing downs and half as many snaps as Ryan Torain, he’s one Shanahan-igan away from the starting lineup. Stash him now if you want to benefit for the few weeks (or snaps) that Williams remains Shanahan’s preferred running back in Washington.

Arrelious Benn, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I highlighted Benn in previous “On the Wire” items, but consider this your final reminder. He’s working his way into the Bucs’ offense, and they’re starting to impress in the passing game.

Defenses that might be an upgrade over your current squad:

New York Giants D/ST

At first they seemed like they’d fallen off the wagon, but the Giants D/ST has stepped up in the past two weeks. That’s enough for me to recommend you jump on them before the rest of your league. I wouldn’t say they’re an every-week start just yet, but as long as the matchup is right, the Giants will put pressure on the quarterback and fantasy points on the board. This week, they get the Lions.

Kansas City Chiefs D/ST

They somehow managed to slow down even the Colts’ offense. I believe. You should, too.

And some quarterbacks that might be available in your league for the bye week or if you are scared about starting Matt Flynn:

Alex Smith, QB, San Francisco 49ers

Trust me, he’s better than David Carr. And this week, he gets to play Oakland, fun for the whole family.

Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs are better than expected, and Freeman is a big reason why. Mike Williams (TB) is another. He’s not a bad fill for an injured quarterback or a quarterback on bye. This week, he faces the Saints, which may not seem as scary as it should after they dropped one to the Cardinals last week. Even if they do show up to play against the Bucs, we know that Freeman will have to throw it a ton to keep up with Drew Brees. Hopefully, that’ll make up for his mistakes.

Moves that don’t excite me: John Carney released by Saints to make Garrett Hartley (woohoo, a kicker!) their starter, and the Saints signing Julius Jones (depth at best)

More waiver wire wonders from around the Interwebs:

  • TMR wants to help you find the best hot dog ever. No, really.
  • Just in case they’re still on your waiver wire, FF Toolbox reminds you about Vince Young, Ryan Torain, Brandon Lloyd, and a few more guys
  • FF Librarian has compiled a linkfest of waiver wire love both here and here
  • Fanhouse highlights Mike Hart’s potential and a few players you may have left on the wire a bit too long: Floyd, Hill, Gaffney and Kolb just to name a few. They also chatted it out earlier this week.
  • Razzball hits on a few names for Week 6
  • Pro Football Focus has you covered, even if you’re looking for Finley’s backup’s backup this week to fill in at tight end
  • The Hazean picks three important adds
  • The FF Geek Blog spreadsheets it up
  • Sports Illustrated runs down the list of pickups a few starters in the hot seat

5 Reasons to Drop Sidney Rice

If you’ve stashed Sidney Rice away on your bench waiting for his triumphant return to fantasy football studliness, it’s time to drop him. Let him go. Let someone else burn that candle, sacrificing a roster spot for almost the entire season in hopes that he will return to dominance for their playoff push.

You need reasons? Oh, I got reasons.

1. Brett Favre is a broken man.

In case you haven’t heard, Brett Favre is not 100 percent. He’s hurt. He’s old. He’s got just a little bit left in the tank, and unfortunately, that little bit isn’t getting it done for the Vikings. Even with Randy Moss, he’s not that excited about life. Do you really want to trust Favre to make Sidney Rice valuable enough to hold on to for almost an entire season of no production? Favre could start the retirement talk by Week 8.

2. The Vikings don’t look good.

Last season, Rice was dominant because the Vikings were great. Percy Harvin was available to distract the secondary. Visanthe Shiancoe was making plays across the middle and down the field. And then there’s that little known workhorse named Adrian Peterson there to churn out yardage. Even Chester Taylor contributed by protecting Favre as well as any back in the game could. This year, they’re not looking so hot. The offense is struggling, Favre isn’t performing as expected, and Percy Harvin is on and off the field with migraines. Without all those playmakers at 100 percent, can Sidney Rice get anything done? Look at Calvin Johnson. Sometimes he’s excellent…and sometimes he’s non-existent. You need a supporting cast.

3. Randy Moss

But wait…Sidney Rice has a supporting cast. He’s going to share the field with Randy Moss. Well, about that…Randy Moss will get his. I don’t know that Sidney Rice will have enough leftover for his fantasy owners. As the veteran, well established in the offense by the time Rice takes the field, Moss will remain the No. 1 guy. Being in the mix with Harvin and Shiancoe, Rice could end up being the No. 3 or 4 target in this offense when he is healthy. And just trading for Moss in the first place might be a hint that Rice’s recovery isn’t on schedule for a Week 9 return.

4. Week 10

A roster spot is a terrible thing to waste. Even if Rice returns in Week 9, stashing him for an entire season is going to cost you waiver wire pickups. It’s going to cost you bye week adjustments. And it’s going to cost you wins. Is he worth it? If the Vikings don’t make a lot of progress over the next few weeks, Brad Childress could decide to put Rice on IR and shut Rice down for the rest of the season to rest up for 2011. That would free up a roster spot for the Vikings to work with until the end of the year and make your Sidney Rice stash worthless.

5. Packers, Redskins, Bills, Giants, Bears, Eagles (Lions W17)

That’s the schedule the Vikings face after Week 10. So if you’re saving Sidney Rice, you’re saving him for these matchups. Sure, the Redskins and Bills might look good on paper. The Giants and Packers have the potential to be shootouts, but none of these games are pushovers. Even the Bills have a decent secondary — enough to give a team like the Vikings trouble unless they’re firing on all cylinders. Week 16 vs. the Eagles is no game to hang a championship on either. If the Eagles get their defense back in shape, they’ll be coming after Favre all day.

So it’s time, my friend. Time to let him go. Maybe you can trade him to the highest bidder for a quality backup wide receiver. Don’t let his value go to waste if you don’t have to, but please don’t keep him on your bench if you need that roster spot. It won’t do you much good.

What Randy Moss trade to Minnesota means for fantasy owners, a collection of thoughts from around the Web

Randy Moss returned to the Minnesota Vikings yesterday as the latest victim of the Patriot Way, the “get out while we can still get draft picks for you” way. After all, there is no “pay” in Patriot…err, wait, that doesn’t seem right.

While there is no “I” in team, there are two in Belichick. Above all, he believes in his system. The Patriots will go back to the team mentality they had before Moss, and they’ll have to rely on a lot of young potential stars like Brandon Tate and Aaron Hernandez.

On the flip side of that, Minnesota is pulling out all the stops to get Moss in the fold and on the field against the Jets in Week 5. The contrast is pretty incredible. The Patriots continue to get younger and stockpile draft picks, as is their custom. The Vikings just forked over draft picks to take on another big name, aging veteran to help Brett Favre, their other big name, aging veteran, win now.

For you Moss owners, I don’t think this trade changes much. He’s still a No. 1 target in a nice passing offense. Old Favre is no Tom Brady, but he can get Moss the ball down the field at least once or twice a game. Usually, that’s all Moss needs. He might even be more consistent if Favre forces it to him each week.

On top of that, since the Vikings are already coming off of their bye, Moss owners will have him available for all 17 games of the season — no bye week. Lucky you, although you might have thought that he took his bye last week against the Dolphins.

Brandon Tate will probably replace Moss in the Pats’ lineup, and while he won’t draw as much attention as Moss did in the passing game, he’s quick enough to take on those long routes and do some damage. He may also share time with Julian Edelman, but we’ll have to see how the Pats use each post-Moss.

The biggest fantasy value winner, in my opinion, is Aaron Hernandez. Wes Welker loses out with this deal because he’ll get a lot more attention now that Moss isn’t there to distract opposing defenses. But Hernandez was one of the Pats leading pass-catchers before this trade, and he should continue to play an important role without the immediate attention that may affect other Patriot weapons.

The Pats have moved to a more tight end friendly offense this season than what they used last season with rookies Ron Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez both playing important roles in the passing game. Hernandez is worth owning now, and Gronkowski is worth keeping an eye on. He’s developing into Brady’s favorite red zone receiver.

Tom Brady now becomes a little more ordinary, but New England won’t fall apart. Brady may have fewer touchdowns, but he’ll continue to throw as much as necessary to win games. He’ll stay among the top 10 at quarterback.

Danny Woodhead intrigues me with Moss gone. He’s scored in both his games so far as a Patriot and could play a larger role in the Patriots passing game, depending on how Belichick makes the adjustments. If Wes Welker can’t be Wes Welker, those short passes have to go to someone else.

I don’t believe the  Pats will go after Vincent Jackson now that they’ve stocked up on draft picks, but they certainly could if the asking price drops. Belichick will never overpay. Unless you have him on your bench already, I wouldn’t go after Jackson. We have no idea what shape he’ll be in if he actually returns to a team at all this year.

In Minnesota, Moss immediately becomes the No. 1 guy. He’ll take some of the heat off Percy Harvin, Visanthe Shiancoe and Adrian Peterson, but his passes and touchdowns will also take away from the rest of the Minnesota offense. Adrian Peterson should have more room to run, but it could be Moss catching the touchdown every now and then or taking those passes A.P. has been getting a lot of lately.

Brett Favre stands to play a little better, and he could even become a starter the rest of the way post-bye and with Moss (and with a chance of Sidney Rice returning later in the year).

Of course, Rice owners have to hate this news. This trade means that Rice will have to share targets with Moss when (and if ) Rice returns from injury this year. The Vikings might know something they’re not sharing yet. Maybe Rice isn’t coming back this year. But regardless, his value takes a huge hit with another top receiver in the mix.

At least it’s safe to say you can drop Bernard Berrian if you’ve been punishing yourself by holding onto him.

Hungry for more intel? How about a plethora of fantasy trade analysis from around the Web? Here you go:

  • The FF Geek Blog (a Pats fan) on bump for Brandon Tate, future of Pats wide receivers — maybe Vincent Jackson?
  • Drew Magary tries to make sense of it all. While I totally see this move the same way he does from the Vikings’ perspective, I can’t agree with him that this is Pats giving up on the season. I think this is the Pats’ way of playing smart. They knew they wouldn’t sign Moss to an extension, so why not get a pick or two out of the deal? They want to see what Brandon Tate and the rest of their young receivers and tight ends can do.
  • I’m not as optimistic about the Vikings’ offense with Randy Moss as FF Toolbox.
  • Chris Liss talks Randy Moss’ value at Rotosynthesis and how the Pats will spread the wall. Tom Brady definitely drops, but the Pats always seem to make it work.
  • KFFL touches on why the Patriots no longer needed Moss
  • Fantasy Joe goes player-by-player on how this move changes fantasy value. Aaron Hernandez will probably be the biggest winner of this deal. Well, Hernandez and Favre, I guess, who now has an excuse to throw the long ball all day.
  • The Hazean notes the damage this trade does to the rest of the Vikings’ offense.
  • Roto Arcade warns that you shouldn’t go nuts trying to acquire the Patriots’ upgraded receivers (Tate, Edelman)
  • FF Today points out that this trade hits Sidney Rice stashers pretty hard, even though Favre will have no complaints
  • Fanhouse thinks Visanthe Shiancoe is the biggest loser, but you could always go out and grab Aaron Hernandez now if he’s available. Consolation prize? Not a bad one.

Week 3 Quick Hot Hands, Cold Shoulders: Take a chance on Kyle Orton, Brandon Marshall, and Vick

No time for a full start/sit post this week, but if you’re struggling to make a call for you lineup this morning, I do have lots of wonderful links for you.

Fantasy Football Librarian’s Consensus Start/Sit: When it comes to Brett Favre, I’m firmly in the “sit him” camp until he proves that he’s worth starting on the field this season. That might never happen the way the Vikings have looked in the last two weeks.

Razzball’s Week 3 Schmidt/Schmart: But note that Knowshon Moreno is out this week.

FFXtreme’s Start and Bench Advice: Lots of love for Michael Vick, and I’m also picking up Keiland Williams in hopes that he gets a larger role soon.

USA Today’s Fantasy Joe Studs and Duds: Let them tell you why you should believe in Brandon Marshall this week.

TMR’s Love/Hate for Week 3: Giving Kyle Orton a little recognition and a recommendation for this week against the Colts.

Fantasy Football Nerd’s Where to Put ‘Em: Putting Jamaal Charles on the bench.

SI’s Start ‘em, Sit ‘em Week 3 and Projections: Breaking down each game’s starts and sits

FF Toolbox’s Start ‘em and Sit ‘em: Dwayne Bowe is going to be a risky start until Matt Cassel improves, and Josh Morgan is a lesser noticed gem that could be worth a start this week, especially in deeper leagues.

Week 2 Hot Hands, Cold Shoulders: Bradshaw FTW, Bench Benson and Think Twice Before You Take Out the Cadillac

It’s that time again. Time to dust off the old lineups and see what you’ve got for Week 2. Lucky for us, we now have one week of games to look at and make judgment calls, but it’s still pretty hard to tell whether the Bucs and Chiefs are good…or whether the Browns and Chargers are just that bad.

If you got your hands on Brandon Jackson this week off the waiver wire, you’re sitting pretty with his too tempting matchup with the Buffalo defense. Gotta love it. Start that hot hand.

And I’m giddy that Ahmad Bradshaw gets a chance to go up against the Indy run defense that just surrendered 3 TDs to Arian Foster in Week 1.

But it’s feeling pretty chilly in Miami for Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, whose cold shoulders have to face the stout Minnesota Vikings D/ST.

Chad Henne doesn’t quite provide the same threat to pass as Drew Brees. Without a substantial threat, the Vikings will be able focus on stopping the run and keep Brown from unleashing the Wildcat in Week 2.

I really want to like Cadillac Williams like TMR does this week. I really do. But I’m having a hard time. Something about not scoring against the Browns just rubs me the wrong way, and this talk of getting the other running backs more involved from Bucs’ coach Raheem Morris doesn’t help.

It’s Week 2, but even though I own him in one league, I don’t see myself starting him (That’s what Brandon Jackson is for). I’d rather have more than 8-9 points out of my RB2.

Jabar Gaffney is another hot hand in Denver. He faces the Seattle Seahawks this week, and I’m not convinced that the Seahawks played the real 49ers in Week 1.

Strangely enough, I want to give the Chiefs D/ST a chance this week. That Monday night performance against the Chargers was miraculous. Dexter McCluster looks like a touchdown waiting to happen everytime he’s in the game. With him returning kicks, what’s not to like? I like it all, especially against the Browns.

KC’s defense might just outperform expectations as long as you have a sub for them when they visit the Colts and the Texans in back-to-back weeks. That won’t be pretty.

I am doubting the Vikings this week. As I said earlier in the week, they haven’t shown me anything in the passing game that excites me. I have no confidence in them.

So why am I going to start Brett Favre over Jay Cutler? I just fear the Dallas pass rush vs. a Mike Martz offense that much. Favre is the safe play, and I guess I am playing it safe. I hate it when I do that.

Razzball has my back on sitting Cutler.

FFXtreme loves DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart while they be hating on Cedric Benson. I am not part of the DeAngelo Williams fan club, but there is a lot to like about anyone facing Tampa Bay’s run defense.

If you want to play the Williams and “The Daily Show” (Jonathan Stewart) game, this week is as good as any to play it. Fingers crossed the one you pick gets the TDs.

On the Benson front, I know he tore up the Ravens last season, but I think they’ll remember him for that. The Ravens weakness is in the secondary, where they are without Ed Reed and have suffered a lot of injuries this preseason. The front seven will have to compensate, and priority No. 1 of that compensation plan is accounting for Benson. Much like the Jets-Ravens game last week, this game will probably come down to who capitalizes on their possessions and takes care of the football. Look elsewhere if you have any more exciting options.

Fanhouse’s got some sleepers for you like Mike Bell and Seneca Wallace, and I’m seriously considering starting Legedu Naanee.

USA Today’s Fantasy Joe is one of the few places I see recommending Todd Heap. If he can stay healthy, I tend to agree with them.

For more sit/start advice, check out FF Librarian, Sports Illustrated’s projections, Fanhouse’s rankings, The FF Geek Blog rankings, and FF Toolbox’s collection of starts, sits and sleepers. Good luck this week.