Bloom and I not only grew up as the original members of the MTV Generation, but we were also the first audience of the summer movie blockbuster. From an early age it has been ingrained in us that music is a part of the story line of our lives. If you’re one of us who remembers things like Poison Arrow, Fish Heads, Headbanger’s Ball, and Martha’s Muffin, then you also remember making mixed tapes for your friends – especially girlfriends.
I was a musician in a previous life. In college I used to watch Raiders’ games with my roommate’s synthesizer at the edge of the couch so I could play sound effects of bombs dropping whenever James Jett went deep:
Bloom lived a soundtrack as a Phishhead. Put the two of us together and it’s only a matter of time before we have to inject music into the football conversation. It only made sense that our 2013 season preview would be a soundtrack and mixed tape set to YouTube videos.
However, Einstein is the only video you’re going to see on this post due to account rights with YouTube that prevent us from embedding music here. Still, we’re providing links to each song and they will open in a separate window so you can have a soundtrack as you read our takes on players and their outlook for the year. This is us blowing off steam with two mixed tapes.
Album I, Side A: “It’s always Tease, Tease, Tease” [The Clash]
Should I stay or should I go now? . . . Should I stay or should I go now? . . . If I go there will be trouble . . . An if I stay it will be double . . . Come on and let me know . . . Should I cool it or should I blow?
Who better than the Clash to sum up the angst fantasy owners feel about so many players? They draw us in with talent so seductive and intoxicating that we stick around even after getting burned. Yet even as the logic of giving them another try wears thin, the promise of “what could be” is almost too great to resist – even when you know better.
It seems you always find yourself staring at their name on draft day and wishing you knew what to do. Bloom and I would love to intervene, but we’re too busy exorcising our own player-demons or giving it one more chance with the hope we’re not crying in our beer in December.
(Bloom) Track 1: QB Josh Freeman – My Minds Got a Mind Of Its Own [phish]
Maybe it’s his mechanics. Maybe it’s that he was in a new system. Maybe it’s his unwillingness to rely on his legs as often as he did earlier in his career. Or, maybe Josh Freeman is just as baffled by his inconsistent play as we are. His mind prompts him to make throws that are incomprehensible. Last year, he looked like a QB1 until he cratered with eight interceptions in the all-important weeks 15 and 16. Think twice before you add Freeman this year.
(Waldman) Track 2: RB Maurice Jones-Drew – We Had Joy, We had Fun . . . [terry Jacks]
He was a huge reason I won my first experts’ league. Using a Studs and Duds strategy, winning Jones-Drew’s services for a mere $1 was the bargain of all bargains. Watching him duel with Chris Johnson a few years ago was one of the most fun showcases of two running backs in a game that I have ever seen. The Jaguars’ little teapot has been an RB1 for most of his seven-year career and a cornerstone for many fantasy champions. Despite averaging at least 4.7 yards per carry the past two seasons, the familiar tug to get on board the S.S. Jones-Drew is there but my feet won’t leave the dock – even at a bargain price as the 23rd pick/RB15.
But he has taken a pounding and without a proven quarterback to keep defenses from crowding the line of scrimmage and daring the Jaguars to throw, I’d rather be a year too early than a year too late. Terry Jacks says it best: “Good-bye my friend it’s hard to die when all the birds are singing in the sky . . . but the hills that we climbed were just seasons out of time.”
(Bloom) Track 3: RB Darren McFadden – Won’t Get Fooled Again [The who]
Keep your “contract year” and “zone blocking scheme was holding him back” arguments. Oakland’s offense looks like a dumpster-fire without left tackle Jared Veldheer for a good part of the season. Matt Flynn is a backup quarterback and Terrelle Pryor isn’t even a backup-quality passer. Even if McFadden had a spotless durability record, it would be tough to like him this year.
(Waldman) Track 4: RB Ryan Mathews – Cold Shot [Stevie Ray Vaughan]
Mathews isn’t just singing this song to fantasy owners; he’s belting the lyrics to a standing room only audience in his locker room. The Fresno State runner is a borderline rare talent. If you’ve truly seen Mathews at his best then you know what I mean: exploits small creases, makes adroit cuts that kill defenders’ angles, a third gear to outrun corners, and rare balance against hits from first-level defenders. It’s one thing to lower the pads and truck a defender straight-on; it’s a completely different story when a defensive lineman with a good angle and plenty of steam gets his pads into the side of a running back’s thigh and slides off like butter on a hot skillet tilted sideways.
I saw Mathews do this enough times that I thought I was in this fantasy football relationship for the long haul. But the rare skills couched in boneheaded acts of immaturity has reached the point that I can’t make any more excuses. It doesn’t help that Danny Woodhead (DANNY WOODHEAD?!!!) is the player the Chargers are relying on as much as Mathews. It shows just how far this once-promising fantasy situation has gone down the tubes.
Mathews says his NFL career to this point as merely been “average” and while I like the attempt at honesty, the fact that he can’t bring himself to say his career has been below average to his first-round expectations tells me that he’s still in denial about not only what he has done, but he truly doesn’t realize how good he can be. If he doesn’t believe in himself, then how can I?
I still want to believe because I see glimpses every week he plays. But by game’s end, watching him is a cold shot.
(Bloom) Mathews Alternate take: It Ain’t No Use [Stevie Wonder]
Mathews may be looking good in camp and the preseason, but it ain’t no use. I’m done – at least while he’s running behind maybe the worst offensive line in the league. The new regime doesn’t have the draft pick or emotional investment in Mathews and you shouldn’t, either. I’m not saying that Mathews won’t have some big plays and games, but he’ll also frustrate with injuries and lost games as the Chargers struggle.