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Decisions, Decisions: Parallels

by Mike Tulanko

Songs are created that strangely yet perfectly describe how we feel in the moment. Shows exist that feel like reliving favorite memories with our friends and/or families. The teams we root for go through trials and tribulations that rock their foundations to the core – much like the growing pains of becoming an adult. Life is full of uncanny parallels.

Some of the best parallels come from the world of music. Music is an art form with a very long tradition of describing the feelings of love, loss, lamentation, loathing, lust and life in general. From graceful choruses to guttural cries, our voices convey the cornucopia of human experience.

What is most important is that music is a shared experience. Though interpreted through the lens of the listener, all who listen feel as if they understand what the artist is sharing. Music speaks to you. Some of it is pushed on you, some of it is censored for you, but all music has something to say to you: the listener. And you interpret it as best as you can.

Your fantasy football teams run an interesting parallel. They can move you to feel all kinds of feelings from joyous victory to jeering realizations that “next year is my year.” As you take in all of the things your teams and strategies have taught you over the season, you can reflect on what led you to this moment here at the end of Week 14. 

No matter if your season is over after “Monday Night Football” or you are entering the playoffs, you have a couple of choices. You can learn, evolve, and grow like so many of the best artists do. You can also play the same hit that made you famous all those years ago over and over hoping to recapture the thrill again as well. As always, dear reader, the choice is yours.

If you chose to do the learning, evolving and growing, you are in luck! Lennox (my 4-year-old son) has a bunch of favorite songs to jam to in the car, and some have strange parallels to this point of the season. Specifically, they align with some of the players and decisions that can make a difference for you this postseason and beyond.

Decisions, Decisions: Dynasty Roster Considerations

Kendrick Bourne (WR, New England Patriots)

Fall Out Boy – “Centuries”

As Patrick Stump quips, “some legends are told / some turn to dust or to gold,” all I can think about is how Kendrick Bourne has ascended from fantasy obscurity and the player I cut from two of the four dynasty teams, to fantasy gold. 

Last week’s game in bizarre weather conditions aside, Bourne has been pretty awesome this season. His somewhat boom-bust nature has him slated as a high WR3 in Points Per Reception (PPR) scoring as I type this. 

Oh, by the way, he was on bye this week. When it comes to your flex spots, you will live with the booms as the Patriots push to enter the NFL playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the AFC.  “And just one mistake/ is all it will take / we’ll go down in history / remember me for centuries.” You’re right, Patrick! I’ll be trading for Bourne while I can still get him at a reasonable value and putting him in my lineups. That way my league-mates can remember this championship for centuries.

Chuba Hubbard (RB, Carolina Panthers)

Del the Funky Homosapien – “If You Must”

Christian McCaffrey’s health has left some teams in a serious bind again and rookie RB Chuba Hubbard’s performance has been OK. It’s not what you really want from either of them. I’d see what you can get for these players now while you can. This team is going to have to lean toward more of a split in the future to keep McCaffrey healthy. 

McCaffrey’s talent is awesome, but I feel Hubbard will be in the mix next year too. They will be “crackin’ on each other, and neither were poster boys / both of em smell like the type that soap avoids,” as Del says. 

So wash them out of your rosters “if you must / or else you’ll be funky.” It’s still not too late to cash out for a good value because there’s usually one team around the bottom of your league who is willing to pay up and gamble on McCaffrey or a playoff contender looking to gain flex options with Hubbard.

Donovan Peoples-Jones (WR, Cleveland Browns)

Green Jellÿ – “Three Little Pigs”

“Why don’t you sit right back? / and I, I may tell you a tale.” It’s a tale of two wide receivers for the big, bad Browns. Cleveland built their receiving corps “out of straw, what a pity.” 

With Odell Beckham Jr. (OBJ) off the roster, it seems Donovan Peoples-Jones is shaping up to be the house to run to. For your fantasy team, some weeks he will be a house of sticks, and others he will be made of concrete. 

His Week 14 performance where he put up 14 PPR points  makes me feel confident in his Week 15 and 17 matchups against the Raiders and Steelers. Though you may want to flex someone else in Week 16. 

As far as long-term hopes for Peoples-Jones go, just be sure to temper your expectations. The Browns only have invested sixth-round draft capital in him. I’d like to pick him up in a couple of leagues, but don’t huff and puff and blow much of your future on him. He could easily be replaced by a veteran or rookie next year.

Josh Gordon (WR, Kansas City Chiefs)

Lil Wayne – “A Milli” (Clean Version)

Much like the looks one would expect when your spouse finds out you bumped this jam in the car with your little one, you should skeptically raise a brow toward Josh Gordon. 

Sure, 30-year-old Josh Gordon caught his first touchdown since popping up on the Chiefs’ roster earlier this season. Yes, the same dude that was phenomenal all those years ago is still in there. 

Look, this Wayne song still bumps hard as hell too… but these are different times. Just like Gordon’s chances of being useful on your roster in the long and short term are tainted at best, even the “clean” version of this song should probably avoid your kid’s ears. In both cases:  You know better by now.

Make today a great day! And don’t forget to be awesome (DFTBA)!


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