At the highest-stakes Texas hold ’em poker table in Iowa, you put your career on the line. Every Friday, a group of graduate students gathered at a professor’s house. This professor, he was short, balding, and a British footballer. If it was your first time at his table, you’d drink wine for free and he’d chip $10 into the pot for you. He’d grab an LP, something you never heard before but was charming, like The Doves or Interpol. A 500-page book sat at the edge of the poker table, and the professor talked about the awards it won and his Cambridge education. He’d invite you back for another game, but next time, you bring the wine and chip in $20 to the pot. By the fifth game, you’re bringing snacks and booze and maybe some of his groceries. The book was always on the table, as were the stories of Cambridge. One night, the soundtrack would be Tom Waits for three hours straight. Who listens to Tom Waits for that long? Of course, he asked you to get the $60 bottle of wine because you’re enjoying your time so much. Seems like the professor is winning more than usual tonight. Around 11PM, you notice there’s some cards missing from the discard pile nearby the professor. You mention it. The professor stands, his hand on his award-winning book, his mood affected by the Pinot Noir you paid for. He looks you in the eye and says, “You’re accusing an award-winning, full professor in your department, from Cambridge, of cheating?” And you realize: it’s the cost of the wine and the buy-in, or your career. You went swimming with the sharks, and you got eaten. You back down. Tom Waits keeps growling in the background.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Deep in the hills of Los Angeles, there is a sacred space of learning that the kids call, “UCLA.” For those not familiar with the nature of university, it is like a bank where you can keep borrowing money no matter how bad your report card is. On the outskirts of UCLA, there is a junction where students spend their borrowed money. Hip shoppers stop at the Whole Foods, put their Chase Sapphire cards into a point-of-sale machine, and smile with maskless glee as the POS takes nine bucks from their account for a single watermelon. Across the street, there’s an In-N-Out, where students shout “ANIMAL STYLE” and wait for their slathered beef like it was the first co-ed on screen in a slasher film.
In the winter, the Rose Bowl celebrates the imagined paradise that is California: the orange groves, the rose gardens, the summer nights on the beach with a Mai Tai. The RazzBowl, however, celebrates the real paradise that is California: Raiders Chargers Rams greasy burgers and expensive watermelons. And just like your friends want you to come out for one more $15 Mai Tai before taking the Uber to your dad’s condo, the RazzBowl wants you on board for the wildest ride in fantasy football.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Soon, it’ll be August, that time of year where you get the gang together in the garage for punch and pie and fantasy football drafts. You and your eleven or fifteen closest friends–is that guy across from you Matt or Mark?–are burning the outlets with 10 MacBooks plugged into the same run strip. You’re a couple rounds deep into your draft, and you’ve got running backs, a receiver or two, and maybe a tight end locked up already. You’re feeling good, definitely better than Jerome, who just drafted the Pittsburgh defense in the fifth round and keeps double-dipping the buffalo chicken dip. But you, you’re focused on the draft app and studying for your next pick. Problem is, you’re getting into the middle rounds, and the ESPN draft room is showing you ten receivers who all have the same stats. Four people are ahead of you in the draft, and you’re clenching your tallboy of PBR so hard it’s denting. What do you do? Marvin Jones, of course.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Baker Mayfield is a trend-setter. Remember those Progressive Insurance commercials where he threw a party in an empty stadium? It’s like he knew those stadiums would be empty in 2020! Let’s throw our own party now–you get the grill out and make some bacon burger dogs while I talk about what Baker Mayfield will do for your fantasy football team in 2020. Don’t worry about spilling mustard over the 50-yard line. We know Baker will suck it up (with a hand vacuum! Come on!).Please, blog, may I have some more?
Helicopter blades whirl above my head, the whomp whomp of each rotation replacing my own pulse, putting me into a transcendent state where I commune with the all-knowing extra-dimensional beings of fantasy football. I pull a knife from my pocket and cut plastic strips from forty-pound bags of pellets of synthetic mosquito hormone. I lift the bags chest high to hand them to my partner, who dumps them in the hopper attached to the side of the helicopter. Whomp, whomp. “You’re drafting with experts,” I hear from my inner monologue as I cut and lift and cut and lift. “It’s the RazzBowl. You can do this.” In 37 seconds we dump 320 pounds of pesticide into the hopper. When the bags are empty my partner and I step quickly away toward a row of pickup trucks baking in the sun. We secure our waste bags, pull out the sun umbrella, lower the tailgates, and watch the helicopter take off to distribute the pesticide in wetlands across the St. Paul area. I pull out my phone. It’s time. I’m on the clock in RazzBowl. With Christian McCaffery taken at 1.01, I pick Alvin Kamara at 1.02. I shout out my victory to my co-workers, who nod and go back to their League of Legend highlight videos. By the end of the day, I’ve drafted Keenan Allen, and I think–I know!–that I’m going to win in RazzBowl.
[record scratch]Please, blog, may I have some more?
Miami Nashville! I guess I need to switch from a Cuba libre over to a mint julep for this article. Let’s begin with the storied Miami Dolphins franchise. Miami rostered three quarterbacks who passed for over 20,000 yards and threw for over 120 touchdowns. You may have seen the bronze busts of the first two–Dan Marino and Bob Griese–in Canton, Ohio, at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Yet it is the third Dolphins quarterback who owns the lowest interception rate and highest career quarterback rating of the trio. Yes, that’s right, Ryan Tannehill just made you say “no way,” but in that confusing dude-bro style that means “yes, extra sriracha pickles please.” Let’s take a closer look at Ryan Tannehill, who is an ideal quarterback to target in 2020 fantasy football, whether it be redraft, dynasty, best ball, or daily fantasy.