I won my matchup this week, by a harrowingly narrow margin, and I can really only thank God, or if he doesn’t influence Fantasy Football, then thank Tony Romo, or Tom Brady, or Ahmad Bradshaw, or someone, because I. Lucked. Out.
I had a pretty good week again, Tom Brady and Ahmad Bradshaw led the way for me with 27 and 22 points, respectively. Neither of those point values is mind-blowing, but both are good solid games from players whom I need to score consistently. I also racked up 20 points from the Ravens Defense as they clamped down on the Rams, but aside from those three, I didn’t have anyone score over twenty points.
I started Cam Newton for the first time, but he didn’t have that great of a game, despite his team getting the win. The inclement weather in which he played almost certainly affected the play-calling, but I’ve read that Newton struggled to find receivers, and not because of the rain. To punish my infidelity, Mark Sanchez–my usual starter whom I benched and replaced with Newton–scored around 25, a great game for any quarterback and especially Sanchez.
Frank Gore had another abysmal game, and on top of his poor performance, may have injured himself in a manner that fantasy owners hate: the “slight bruise” that lingers and constantly causes players to underperform, but still claim that they are ready to go. Personally, I like a player to get hurt, rest and recover, and then return, instead of playing the remainder of the season at half-temp. T
Thomas Jones, one of the running backs from KC I got in the trade with Mike, played pitifully, and I don’t plan on starting him this week., I didn’t expect much from him though, and I will replace him with Colston or Hernandez when they convalesce.
Speaking of my trade with Mike, Greg Jennings had a great game with over sixteen points, while Jackson–the player I traded away–had half that amount. For this week at least, it looks like I made the right choice.
Nelson, Davis, and Henderson all performed adequately. Davis had a game that hopefully will foreshadow future performances, because Davis had been under-targeted so far, and in this game ws frequented by Alex Smith’s pigskin kisses. Henderson didn’t do well enough to ease my fear of starting him, and I plan on replacing him as soon as I find a more reliable option.
I stand at 2-1 now, with the third most points scored total in the league. I’m still making tweaks and have been blessed to not have any serious injuries to players. I play Phil Erikson, who has been the sob story of the league. He drafted Arian Foster first round and has been weeping ever since. Foster might return this week, though, and I’d be bummed to find out my team is his welcoming party. Still, Phil’s team is so dilapidated I think that by this time next week I’ll be 3-1.
One summer morning at a local café I listened to a young Vietnamese-American neighbor of mine tell me the harrowing tale of her life. She was born in Saigon, and when the south collapsed her family fled the advancing North Vietnamese, becoming “boat people.” During a terrifying sea journey to Malaysia the engines failed twice and they drifted for days.
Then, very matter-of factly, she let it slip. “My parents ate people, you know. The old and weak died and the others cut them up and cooked them. That’s how they survived.”
Astonished at how benign my life had been thus far by comparison, I found myself asking “What did it taste like?” Of course, she didn’t know. “I was too young to have any. They gave me baby food, and my mother and father won’t talk about it. Never.”
However, many others have known the taste. It is accepted by paleontologists that our slightly crude cousin Homo neanderthalensis was a cannibal based on the evidence of split human shin bones found in southern European caves. But we’re Homo sapiens, an altogether brainier, better behaved hominid, surely. Take the past residents of Fiji, Homo sapiens all. They certainly once knew—fearful nineteenth century explorers called Fiji the “Cannibal Isles” and gave it a wide berth. The present-day Korowai tribe of Papua New Guinea may know. It wasn’t until 1970 that these remote hunter gatherers were aware of any other humans besides themselves. They were likely eating tribal members convicted of witchcraft—as well as enemy warriors—as little as a generation ago.
Sadly, among these willing cannibals was no Brillat-Savarin that we know of, no Balzac able to titillate the gastronomic cortex by describing the gourmet delights of human flesh. Among history’s unwilling eaters of human flesh, the Jamestown settlers were understandably squeamish about detailing their meals during “the starving time” in the winter of 1609. Likewise, the survivors of the man-made Ukrainian famine of the 1930s and the tens of millions of Chinese who endured Mao’s Great Leap Forward in the 1950s were somewhat naturally disinclined to dwell on the question of the taste of those relatives and neighbors whom they were forced, in desperation, to ingest.
Some gifted writers have alighted on the topic. Montaigne fantasized in high style about the Tupinamba of Brazil who made jolly feasts out of their enemies conquered in war;
Melville wondered whether the peaceful communistic Typee valley people of Polynesia, among whom he had dwelt, could, as was claimed at the time, be cannibals, deciding that there was no evidence for the accusation, and that these good folk had been traduced by colonialist prejudice; and the Brothers Grimm had their wicked witch in Hansel and Gretel lay in wait for stray children in the forest, and when one fell into her hungry clutches she killed it, cooked it, and ate it. None of these writers, however, indulge us with so much as a hint as to the gustatory delights or otherwise of human flesh, because unsurprisingly none of them had a clue.
So what does it taste like? “Like good veal” wrote journalist William Seabrook in 1931. A New York Times correspondent heavily under the influence of the English occultist and black magician Aleister “The Great Beast” Crowley, Seabrook obtained what he vaguely described as a “hunk of human flesh” stolen from the local morgue by a medical student friend of his from the body of a young man killed in a Paris auto accident. Like any reporter willing to break with convention for a good story, the intrepid American took it home, roasted it, and washed it down with Medoc. “It was mild, good meat” he declared.
It somehow seems quite natural that it was once again in Paris, the self-proclaimed capital of gastronomy, the city where Marie-Antonin Carême, the “King of Cooking,” and Auguste Escoffier, his acolyte, once ruled, that another feast of human flesh led to the most detailed account of people eating on record.
It had been half a century since Seabrook’s stunt. In the summer of 1981, a thirty-two-year-old Japanese man named Issei Sagawa, a literature major studying in Paris for his doctorate, tucked into a meal consisting of body parts cut from the corpse of a female Dutch exchange student, a colleague of his at the Sorbonne whom he had murdered in his apartment the day before. “Human meat is extremely tasty,” he told Vice magazine in 2009. The interview must rank as a first in the sordid annals of gutter journalism. Never before had a cannibal talked. And he, ever the lit major, talked up a highly articulate storm: “George Battaille believed that the kiss is beginning of cannibalism—and I agree.”
He was not bashful, Mr. Sagawa. What does it taste like? “It’s widely believed that human meat doesn’t taste good” he carefully explained. “In fact it’s the tastiest of all meats…Odorless, without a hint of gameyness”
And which is the choicest cut? he was asked. “The neck”, he said with a gleam.
How was such an interview with a true life Hannibal Lecter allowed? After he was spotted trying to dump his victim’s remains in a lake in the Bois de Boulogne following his feast, Sagawa was arrested. Upon examination by psychologists he was declared insane and unfit to stand trial. The French authorities incarcerated him in an institution for the criminally insane, but his rich father hired the best attorneys money could buy and got him released. Sagawa was returned to Tokyo where the authorities tried to prosecute him for murder. The French, however, by refusing to hand over vital evidence to a foreign jurisdiction, forced the hand of the Japanese judiciary. In 1986 all charges had to be dropped and, from that day to this Issei Sagawa has been a free man.
How does he explain himself? Quite matter-of-factly. Weak and small from the moment he was born, he became obsessed as a teenager with beautiful, tall women like Grace Kelly who were physically his opposite. “I was short and ugly and sought out women like that. Eventually I began feeling a strong desire to bite into them…My cannibalistic urge is a sort of sexual appetite.”
According to the interview, after the murder Sagawa was still not cured of his addiction. “I think about wanting to eat someone again before I die,” he told Vice. This time I’d like to eat a Japanese woman. As far as preparing the meat, I think sukiyaki or shabu shabu [Japanese hot pots] may be the way to go.” As a “celebrity cannibal,” he has become a gourmet-about-town in Tokyo, the city with the most three-star establishments in the world, writing restaurant reviews for the Japanese magazine Spa.
I made a few big changes this week to my typical Fantasy line-up in hopes that I could shoar up my starters and not have to rely on Brady having a legendary week in order for me to eek out a win. I made a few acquisitions, one trade, and switched some bench players for starters, all in hopes for me to be a little bit more consistent.
I am still starting Tom Brady, who has the most fantasy points for any quarterback, and the most points of any player in the league at this point. However, I am replacing my second starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez. With whom am I replacing Sanchez? Well, if I’m already playing the #1 quarterback in the league, wouldn’t it make sense for me to start the #2 quarterback? Of course, but who is that, and how could I possibly have the #1 and #2 highest point scoring quarterbacks in the league?
Simple. Cam Newton has scored the second highest amount of fantasy points in the NFL. I picked up Cam almost as joke, in fact, ya, I picked him up as a joke. As he stewed on my bench in the preseason, I had thoughts about his potential, but never did I expect two 400 yard games. His performances so far have been record-breaking and unprecedented, and one of them was against Green Bay, one of the best defensive teams in the league. It is still an act of courage to relinquish the starting role to Newton because he is so green and untested, but I can’t consciously keep him on my bench if I think he could reel off another fantasy bombshell of a game. Thus, Cam Newton replaced Mark Sanchez on my starting lineup.
The next changes in my startup were mostly caused by injuries, but I am curious to see if those injuries were blessings in disguise. Marques Colston and Aaron Hernandez both were minorly injured–the recovery time for either is three more weeks tops. Still, I needed to fill their starting positions, and I didn’t like anyone on my bench to do the deed, especially with the pool of talent waiting in the Free Agency ocean. I submitted my waiver wire request for David Nelson, a little known receiver (although he’s 6’5) who plays for the Bills. His quarterback, Fitzgerald, is starting the season aflame, and it’s uncertain whether he continue at this rate. Still, the Bills do not have a deep receiving corps, and with Roscoe Parrish out on injury, Buffalo needed someone to step up to fill the #2 spot behind Steve Johnson. David Nelson has more receptions than the Steve Johnson, the supposed “number one” receiver on the team. Johnson also has two touchdown catches already, which puts him up there with receivers like Greg Jennings, Roddy White, and Reggie Wayne, who all have two. Nelson is physically imposing and a great target, and he benefits from being the number two receiver on his team because opponents focus most of their energy on the number one. Hopefully Nelson plays to his potential and has a breakout year, but his team is still Buffalo, and it’s only been two weeks.
My other big acquisition was Eric Decker, a slot receiver for the Denver Broncos, who is #5 best fantasy receiver at this point in the season. Very few people would have predicted that, and I, among many, do not foresee that trend continuing. Decker is only getting more targets because Brandon Lloyd has been hurt, and Lloyd is returning this week. Plus, Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow are fighting for the quarterback position in Denver, and so Decker can’t hope to have much consistency from this qb; and, whichever Denver quarterback wins the competition, Decker is still stuck with a sucky quarterback. His number cannot be denied, however. He has had two monster games, and if he has another big game with Lloyd in the line-up, then I will start him. This week, however, Decker sits, as I evaluate his performance now that teams know who he is and can prepare for him.
My biggest move this week was a trade, something that is a rare occurrence in our league. If you had checked my emails, you wouldn’t think trades are rare, because dozens of offers float through my email account every week. Other teams want players on your team, and they typically try to rip you off by offering worse players. In my league at least, there are very few trades because of one main reason: both parties in the trade want to be better off after the trade. Because roster size is limited, you can’t just accept five decent players for one good player; you have to essentially have a one-for-one equal trade. So if both teams want to benefit, and most trades are one-for-one, won’t each party in a trade have to think that they are giving away a worse player for a better player? So won’t every trade effectively feel like a rip-off? They are, for the most part, all rip-offs. That, or one side of the trade is misinformed. Either way, trades are suspect and feel oddly black market.
Even in my case, I feel like I ripped off Michael Healey, my friend with whom I made the trade. However, he proposed it. His proposal was: (he offers) Greg Jennings and Dexter McCluster; (I offer) Vincent Jackson. To me, the trade is essentially Jennings for Jackson, and I like Jennings as a more time-tested source of consistent points. It works in my favor that Jackson has enjoyed a hot start to the season, and so I can sell him high, as stockbroker speak goes. I think Jennings is better; Mike thinks Jackson is better–that’s why the trade works. We each think we’re ripping the other off! I amended the terms a little bit, so the final trade was: Jennings, McCluster, and Thomas Jones for Jackson and J. Stewart. The reason we added the last part is because I didn’t want to invest in half of the KC running game, and find out that the other running back was the man to replace J. Charles, so I asked for both. I offered Mike Jonathan Stewart in return, because he already has DeAngelo Williams, so he will now have both pieces to the Carolina handcuff. Again, I feel like I ripped him off because neither Carolina rb is getting many touches, so having both does not benefit. He probably thinks he ripped me off because the KC running game’s future is uncertain, and so both rb’s might be worthless. The trade boils down to Jackson for Jennings, and I like it.
So my lineup this week is (unless I change it because of jitters and insert Decker for Jones):
QB: Tom Brady (#1)
QB: Cam Newton (#2)
RB: Frank Gore (#21)
RB: Ahmad Bradshaw (#18)
RB/WR: Thomas Jones (#67)
WR: Greg Jennings (#17)
WR:David Nelson (#22)
WR/TE: Devery Henderson (#7)
TE: Vernon Davis (#24)
D: Ravens (#7)
D: Lions (#3)
I might put in Eric Decker (#5) for Thomas Jones (#67)