If you screw up my team, I'm going to cut your penis into thin slices of salami

The League S03E13: The Funeral for Kevin’s Championship [Season 3 Finale]

This is why we can’t have nice things. Ruxin stroked out. Kevin got everyone busted for redrawing the draft order, and Andre still doesn’t have an ICE. How can we save this season?

We all got a bit of a scare in the last episode. Could Ruxin be dead? Will his face really stick like that? And who takes over his team?

You’ll be delighted to know that he lived — at least long enough for Rafi to rack up several attempted murder charges.

In my view, killing Ruxin would be a step in the wrong direction, so I’m glad Rafi’s thinly veiled attempts to smother his brother-in-law were a complete failure. He probably made more progress in spitting game at the gruff nurse.

Of course, Rafi first ensured Ruxin’s legacy by procuring his sperm in the most humane way possible. That’s all a decent guy could ask, right?

How? I jerked you off. Like a dog.

While Rafi may have a special way of coping with his brother-in-law’s close encounter with death, the rest of the league is a little more level-headed. Only Taco, sensitive soul that he is, feels changed in ways he nor we fully understand by the “near-death” experience of being near Ruxin’s near-death experience.

But the rest of the league just needs to know who’s going to take over Ruxin’s team for his showdown with Pete in the Sacko Bowl. For that answer, they turn to Ruxin’s video will, carefully crafted by his own law firm. And it’s a piece fit for the message boards itself.

After dictating that his golf clubs should be sold on Craigslist or thrown away rather than given to any of his very disappointed friends, Ruxin goes on to torture them even further by confessing that he was the one to trash Pete’s favorite vinyl and that he never really understood what Kevin saw in Jenny.

One might have expected that to be the other way around. But then again, evil Ruxin has always been full of surprises.

Eventually (and maybe the stalling was all part of the game for him), Ruxin finally gets to the issue at hand. He leaves his team to Andre — a surprise option D for most odd makers — before  finishing with a final, sounding “Suck It!”

So we can gather that, in the event of his death, Ruxin wanted to leave us all with a joke.

The anxiety of managing Ruxin’s team in the Sacko Bowl immediately starts to show on Andre, who tries to channel his own inner Ruxin around the gang by swilling vodka and offering to buy hotel rooms  as if it will somehow empower him to run Ruxin’s team more effectively.

Couldn’t he just laugh maniacally and second-guess all his lineup decisions? Seems to work for Ruxin-everyone-calls-me-Ruxin himself.

But Andre’s job gets a little more difficult when Rafi discovers he’s been left out of the family fortune and demands they run the team together, as Rafi is the rightful next of kin. And Rafi’s knifey conversation style can be pretty convincing.

A visit to Ruxin provides them with only positive reinforcement…
If you screw up my team, I'm going to cut your penis into thin slices of salami

But Jenny has better luck.

Knowing her husband, Kevin, is hopelessly dependent on this season counting to validate his abilities as a fantasy football addict and as a man (because of the bet Jenny and Kevin made), Jenny pays Ruxin a visit to beg him to allow this season to count.

Dressing as Sofia to bypass the nurses station (“That Puerto Rican slut is my husband’s mistress!”), Whore-Jenny meets with Ruxin and gets him to agree to allow the season to count as long as he doesn’t win the Sacko.

But the charity is not strong with the Pete one. He’s done  his St. Pete duties. Now he’s just the old, mean Pete, unwilling to take a dive in the Sacko Bowl to save  the season for Kevin’s championship because it would be too dangerous for him as the ruthless Sacko del Toro commissioner.

One ray of hope does emerge from this intervention with Pete in the form of Taco — who else? Finally making sense of the life-altering moment that was peeing on a post-stroke Ruxin, Taco donates his money to Matt Forte’s charity, Mercy Home for Boys and Girls. The donation warrants a visit from Forte to Ruxin’s bedside, which could motivate the fallen villain just enough to get him back on his game.

But Matt Forte’s official visit is hijacked by Andre, who’s sizing up Forte’s knee in order to properly set Ruxin’s lineup. Forte’s only real encouragement for a very excited Ruxin is a jersey and a slap of the football into Ruxin’s nuts. But I have to say Ruxin seemed to enjoy it, even through the post-stroke duckface.

As the Sacko Bowl showdown draws near, Ruxin learns how to use a mouth device to type and click the trackpad on his laptop, which allows him to make add/drops that confuse and upset both Andre and Rafi. Rafi just wants Bruce Banner on the team so The Incredible Hulk can win it all for his brother-in-law. Is that so much to ask?

It’s Shiva that finally comes to Ruxin’s rescue. While being wheeled out to see his own wife, eager to see him start walking so they can get him out of the hospital, Ruxin spots Dr. Shiva — the person, not the trophy — in the hallway.

The sight of her and the accompanying vision sends Ruxin stumbling down the hallway to exchange a sloppy, duckfaced kiss with the embodiment of the trophy he still owns, at least for now.

Much like kissing a frog, kissing Shiva cures Ruxin of all the effects of his stroke, and, instantly, he speaks clearly and walks without a limp.

Back at Kevin’s house, the Shiva Bowl is wholly uneventful. Taco blows off even watching the games because he wants Kevin to win anyway and has more important things to do, and the lackluster experience just takes the fun out of bringing home the trophy, at last, for Kevin.

What good is a trophy without a face to rub it in?

The Sacko Bowl ends up the same way. Against the combined powers of stroked Ruxin, Andre, and knifey-Rafi, Pete wins easily to doom Ruxin to a term as the Sacko and put the very legitimacy in the league in danger.

But the gig is up! It’s then that the  invites to the funeral arrive.

It seems Taco, disgusted by his fantasy football league this season, has been plotting all along to put it down. So he’s prepared a viking funeral for all the league’s memorabilia, including the Sacko, the Shiva, Kegel the Elf, and Andre’s laptop (“This is where the evil all began”).

Rafi arrives in the Bobbum van just in time to deliver the dead — err, not so dead — body of Ruxin to the festivities.

But only the crazies (Do I have to say? Okay, Rafi and Taco) and Ruxin really want to see this season burn.

Kevin desperately wants the season to count so that he can finally put his name on the Shiva, but Ruxin is determined not to let that happen.

It’s at that touching moment, standing by a boat full of fantasy football memories and a torch-wielding Taco, that Jenny reveals the news: she’s pregnant. So whether or not Kevin wins the Shiva, at least he won the bet.

That seems to calm him down, but they have to fight over something, right?

Ready to do this thing, Taco and Kevin become locked in a struggle for who gets to light the funeral pyre. When Pete tries to intervene, he gets knocked to the ground right on top of the hot SACKO brand from Andre’s weekly forced steak ceremony, searing “SACKO” into Pete’s own flesh.

Appropriate for the Sacko del Toro commissioner, you might say.

While Pete’s tending to his damaged skin and pride, he distracts everyone just enough for Ruxin to light the boat on fire and Taco to kick it out into the water.

For a moment, it’s actually quite peaceful as they all watch the memories of three seasons of bickering, trash-talking and tomfoolery float away.

It was good times, wasn’t it? You were there…and you were there…

However, touching moments are for losers, not champions. Kevin can’t settle for that. So Kevin, not content to be just a father, dives in the water after his Shiva — Shiva blasting all the way.

Will he drown? Is his life in danger? And more importantly, will they recover the Shiva?!?

In any event, the credits roll, and once again, we’re without The League for a few months. I don’t always comment on the overall quality of the show as we go through it episode by episode. I prefer to keep these as recaps rather than reviews — I’m no TV critic — but I enjoyed Season 3 a bit more than I did Season 2 of The League. I  think it found a bit of that spark that gave Season 1 so much hype without losing the depth and character they developed in Season 2.

I can’t wait to see what they put together next year. Oh, and yes, there will be a Season 4.

“We are thrilled to do more shows with a cast that makes us laugh hard everyday, on a network that actually lets us put those jokes on air,” the Schaffers, executive producers of ‘The League,’ said. “In the words of Taco: ‘The League’ on FX on Thursday nights is a law, like water or dinosaurs.”

Water or dinosaurs indeed.

What do you want to see out of The League in Season 4?  Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Memorable quotes from Episode 13:

RAFI: “You had a stroke, okay? So it’s time to die…Great news! Your dick still works. I harvested a bunch of your sperm, so you’re going to live forever.”

RAFI: “It was a murder boner. What do you think it is?”

TACO: “You know what? He’s been through a lot. We should just give him the Shiva.”
KEVIN: “You shut your goddamn mouth!”

RUXIN [on video]: “Hello, I’m Rodney Ruxin, everyone-calls-me-Ruxin.”

TACO: “So you would pay to see two guys having sex?”

RAFI: “Now we’re having a conversation!”

RAFI: “I am allowed to carry a gun if I don’t tell anybody I have it. It’s called a concealed weapon!”

RAFI: “It’s fantasy football. So the Hulk should be able to be on the team.”

RUXIN: “If you screw up my team, I’ll cut your penis into thin slices of salami.”

RAFI: “You know what I like about you? You’re making me work for it.

JENNY: “Are you trying to ‘high-na-tize’ me right now?!”

KEVIN: “Ew. Feels like I’m kissing Al Davis.”

RUXIN: “Liar.”
JENNY: “There you are!”

RUXIN: “Why are you dressed like a whore?”
JENNY: “I had to dress like your wife to get in here.”
RUXIN: “Fives.”

KEVIN: “This is the most important thing that’s ever happened to me in my life! [To Jenny] No offense.”

RUXIN: “Classic Forte burn.”

KEVIN [to Taco]: “Hey, Vincent Van Slow, what are you drawing over there?”

RAFI: “Hey, do you still have those  butt plugs  with Bert and Ernie’s face on them?”
KEVIN: “Those were my daughter’s tubby toys…”
RAFI: “She should not play with those. Those should be burned.”

RAFI: “Is he from Super Mario Bros.? Because, if it was on me, I would have picked up Luigi.”

RUXIN: “Andre? Oh, no, that human kumquat’s got my team.”

PETE: “…it is decided!”

PETE: “It’s an honor. It’s a Dre-peat!”

KEVIN: “Oh, where did this platypus get a boat?”

TACO: “This whole league is tarnished. We need burn it, bury it, and start clean just like Pete did with his wife.”

RAFI: “You sure it’s not my baby? I did jerk off in your underwear drawer.”

RUXIN: “You can take my draft pick…but you can never take my Shiva! This season never happened!”

KEVIN: “Any asshole can be a father. I want to be a champion!”

TACO: “My brother’s such an idiot.”

Images thanks to the wonderful work of  RAFI BOMB!

On the Wire: Week 17 Pickups and Holiday Leftovers

As most of you are probably riding the team that got you to the final week of the fantasy season or done for the year, there won’t be an official “On the Wire” post this week.

Instead, I’ll offer up some takes from around the Web.

As always, FF Librarian is another one-stop shop for your weekly fantasy football prep. You can also get some good fill-ins for Week 17 at The FF Geek Blog, Fanhouse, KFFL, Razzball, and Lester’s Legends.

Fantasy Joe even has some special one-week plays on defense, including the San Francisco 49ers, who had a solid outing last week against the Lions — solid enough to prevent me from my third championship this year.

As you go into this week, pay special attention to which teams are resting their players. Week 17 is more of a mess than any other week in the NFL. Maybe next year you can request that your commish kindly move the championship game to Week 16 instead.

Foolish Thoughts on 2009 Season: So why didn’t we all draft Chris Johnson?

It’s insanity. That’s what fantasy football is when it comes to the playoffs. Jonathan Stewart and Jerome Harrison become huge fantasy steals in the final two games, and studs that you’ve depending on all season like Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers clam up and shut down early, even in blowout wins. At least Chris Johnson has continued to be magical every week.

I forget how bizarre it really becomes until it’s this time of year again.

Now Harrison will likely compel some fantasy footballers to draft him as an RB3 or maybe even an RB2 next season. Jamaal Charles could be right up there with him. We can only hope that neither is next year’s Steve Slaton or Pierre Thomas, hot in the playoffs but average or inconsistent the following season when given the full responsibility and trust of fantasy owners.

In Charles’ case, I think he’s got a real chance to thrive in the Kansas City offense as long as the current coaching staff stays intact. He’s a great receiving back, and even if the Chiefs decide that they need to bring in a bigger runner to take some of the carries and compliment Charles in the offseason — LenDale White is available, or so I hear — Charles should get plenty of chances to put up big numbers as part of the explosive offense Todd Haley is trying to create.

Out of the five fantasy football leagues I played in this season, I made the playoffs in three and had the chance to play for three championships this week. Of those, I won two and lost one by just a single point (as long as current calculations hold up) after Peterson racked up those two short-yardage touchdowns last night. It was incredibly frustrating, but I can’t be completely unhappy with the results. Even losing that one championship game out of three, this year has been my best season so far.

And next season, I want to focus even more on the leagues that were truly competitive. I’ve reduced the number of leagues I played in over the past two seasons. This year, I was down to five, and next season, I’ll probably take it down another league or two until I find the sweet spot for managing leagues, writing fantasy football analysis, and enjoying the game.

Here are some questions you can answer in the comments below: How many leagues do you play in? Do you find it more fun to play in a small number of leagues or as many as possible? These are the decisions I always debate this time of year.

I think I’m one of the few fantasy football fans out there, especially among fantasy football bloggers, who cares more about their real team winning (in my case, the Cowboys) than their fantasy team. It excited me to no end when the Cowboys shutout the Redskins last night and secured a playoff spot.

I wasn’t nearly as pumped when my fantasy football teams made the playoffs. Satisfied? Yes, but excited? Not off-the-wall excited. That said, it wasn’t a close call for any of them either. I knew weeks in advance that I was bound for the playoffs.

I’d hope we’re all fans of the game and the action-packed saga that is the NFL. If not for it, we wouldn’t have fantasy football.

So even if you lost your league, even if you got shot down in the championship game, even if your league dues were wasted as soon as you drafted Brian Westbrook and Matt Forte, I hope you’ll sit down and watch a few more games next week and deep into the playoffs.

Playoff football is a treat that only comes around once each year, much like the holiday season that just passed. Our presents? The Super Bowl, one of the most extravagant and exciting sporting events in all the land.

If you truly want to win in fantasy football, I think you first have to love the game because you have to understand how to translate what you watch and get excited about on the field into what works on your fantasy roster. So sit down, crack open a cold one (or a nice, frosty beverage of a less alcoholic persuasion if that’s your thing), and enjoy some football over the next month.

Of course, it’d be nice to know you’re all doing it with a championship trophy on your mantel, like me, but if you didn’t win, there’s no shame in cheering your fantasy studs on to a Super Bowl as you start to prep for next season.

And don’t feel like the fantasy season has to end. I’ll still be posting to Fantasy Football Fools because we have to start looking ahead to 2010 and because I still have some prizes to give to you, my dear readers. If you need help with Week 17 decisions (for those terrible, terrible leagues that go into the dreaded final week of the regular season), drop me a line on Twitter or in the comments.

Thanks again for reading Fantasy Football Fools this season and being part of the foolish community. Stay tuned for more over the coming days. Even if you didn’t win your championship, you deserve to take home some prizes.

Week 16 Hot Hands and Cold Shoulders: All the marbles? But can’t I just keep at least one?

I really hope that the scoring change on Kurt Warner’s touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin didn’t burn you. That has to be the worst kind of pain in the world.

It’s exciting to pull out your semifinal game by just a few points, and it’s exciting to have a chance at the championship. Having that pulled out from under you by a scoring change on a Wednesday, two days after scores are supposed to be final, is rough. Too rough for most mortal fantasy footballers to handle.

So let’s move on and not dwell on it? Okay?

I’ve already said how I feel about starting studs and sleepers in last week’s Fourth & 1 debate fantasy football roundtable. You can only reasonably take a chance on a sleeper if your stud is in a bad spot and if the sleeper has proven himself on more than one occasion in the recent past.

That’s when you do it. Otherwise, start your studs.

But I find myself in a situation this week — and no, not that kind of situation. I have Ray Rice and Steven Jackson at running back but could potentially play Jamaal Charles and/or Beanie Wells in their place. Considering Steven Jackson’s health and Ray Rice’s challenging matchup, I’m tempted to put Beanie Wells in for one of the two, probably Jackson. But it’s hard to put a guy I haven’t started all year in for the championship game.

I’ve watched Wells strengthen his role in the Cardinals offense late in the season, but…is he ready to be trusted in a championship game? Tell me what you would do in the comments.

For your more pressing playoff questions, you should read up at the FF Librarian for plenty of start or sit opinions. She’s got plenty of goods for you and your post-holiday needs.

Jason Snelling, Cedric Benson, and Jonathan Stewart are all looking good in Fantasy Joe’s studs and duds this week. I like Snelling’s chance to take advantage of a good matchup, and Benson should get back on track against the Chiefs. Even the Browns were able to do that.

KFFL offers some potential help on the waiver wire for you this week, but I’d only sub in Alex Smith and Mike Sims-Walker into your rosters if you’re in a critical playoff game. Both of them are likely to already be on a roster in your leagues this week unless someone gave up on Sims-Walker already or unless no one took any interest in Alex Smith’s schedule to end the season.

I like Alex Smith quite a bit this week. Actually, I like all the 49ers against the Lions. In this week’s Fourth & 1 debate fantasy football roundtable, I selected Alex Smith as my sleeper.

My bust in that debate is a little more out there, Jerome Harrison. You’ll have to read my input in the debate to see why I doubt the Week 15 fantasy football superstar.

I know many of you may be afraid of your players sitting this week, especially your Colts, but Reggie Wayne is the only player I’m very worried about. He might sit at halftime if the Colts are able to put up a lead, and even when he is on the field, he’ll be blanketed by Darrelle Revis.

I’m considering starting Josh Morgan over Wayne, but I haven’t made the call just yet. Me thinks a half of Wayne facing Revis might still be better than taking a chance on the third receiving option in San Francisco, but I could be wrong. The aggressive player in me wants to make the switch.

The FF Geek Blog adds to be my reasoning behind benching Jamaal Charles this week in their Hits & Misses. They also hit on most of the other possible sits this week. Alongside ESPN’s rankings, they just might have me convinced the Steven Jackson is my best start.

But there’s still the matter of Beanie Wells. The TMR is a Beanie Wells lover this week, and it’s hard not to side with him against the St. Louis Rams.

So I’m still torn. I wish you all the best of luck this week as you set your lineups. Please feel free to weigh in on my dilemma in the comments below. Pick two: Steven Jackson, Ray Rice, Jamaal Charles, or Beanie Wells?

As your set your rosters this week, you can enjoy the smooth jams of the holiday season: the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Christmas Canon Rock

I just like to say that name. I like to imagine they live in some sort of strange compound in Siberia, only emerging to play music at Christmas in large orchestral settings.

It makes every YouTube video of them so much more interesting to watch.