For those of you that are longtime Huddle subscribers, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Cletus and my shop has run a fantasy league for so long that we had an owner who drafted Dan Marino, Mark Clayton and Mark Duper with his first three picks of the draft before most of the fellas knew who the last two of those boys were. Needless to say, he won the first Shop championship. In those days, you didn’t need to take every running back with a pulse before your started looking at QBs and wide receivers.
The thing that makes the barber shop a fantasy football hotbed is that all the chairs are filled on Monday and Tuesday – but most of them are doing more talkin’ than payin’. They’re full again on Thursday and Friday, but we don’t take to letting people slide when it comes to filling out lineups. At that point, you’re getting something done that requires cash money, whether it’s getting a shave or the twice-a-month classic of John Tuvey walking in, climbing into the chair and telling one of the barbers, “Give me the Bill Brown.” Back in the day, Tuvey sported a Kid-N-Play style Tower of Power. Then he went to a “high and tight.” He settled in on the Bill Brown and has been fixture in The Shop ever since – as opposed to Double D, who gets his Jimmy Johnson done by busty ladies who lean in close to give him a wash and rinse, and Whit, who doesn’t get a haircut, he gets a hair cut. The Shop is a crossroads for fantasy playahs and players. There’s a significant difference. Some know their bidness. Some got no bidness. We’re all about bidness.
You can hear Tommy Pants gloating in his embarrassingly roomy Monday morning Zubaz. You can hear Ashy Larry pissing and moaning about making the wrong lineup decisions – nobody historically has left more dead points on his bench than Ashy Larry. Wino Carl does all the talkin’. As far as any of us know, he’s not in a league – much less the half-dozen leagues that so many of our patrons are. He doesn’t know the sickening sting of winning a fantasy playoff game with the same guy who sticks the cold blade through his heart in another league. Yet, he never shuts up with his belief that he’s the smartest guy in the room. That’s the nature of The Shop.
What you can expect to hear from our in-Shop intel is the word on the street. The best part about the word on the street is that, while it isn’t always accurate, there is always a grain of truth that stands out. Whether you agree with the word on the street or not is up to you. It’s not Sunday gospel. But, ignoring the word on the street is dangerous because, more times than not, you can bank on it (or make bank on it).
What you’re going to get this season from The Barber Shop will be what we see every day as the bell on the top of the door rings to announce a new arrival. When you hear “That Ain’t Nothin’ But a Jheri Curl,” that means that, while a player embarrassed himself, his team and his family on a given week, it’s easily fixed and isn’t a long-term problem. Bald is beautiful and you cut it off, make a blow torch out of the Soul Glo can and move forward. If you hear, “That’s a Ratty Perm,” it isn’t nearly as easy to fix. That guy is committed to a bad look that makes dudes with a mullet raise an eyebrow of disdain. If a player is discussed in terms of Ratty Perm, that problem is going to plague an owner for weeks, if not months. We’ll talk about “Sweepin’ Up,” which means looking for the little details of how a team is making a change and what we’re hearing in hushed tones about players on the rise and on the decline – a ‘90s style Tuvey fade, if you will.
But, in deference to The Huddle’s legendary Kevin Ratterree, we will continue the tradition of the Misery Index by calling it “The Razor’s Edge” – a little splash of Barbicide as tribute to The Man – the liquid Lombardi Trophy. The edge of a razor can cut both ways – it can help give you a clean look or it can cut your throat and leave you to slowly bleed out. For our purposes, it’s like yelling, “We’ve got a bleeder!” As such, we present the first Razor’s Edge preseason edition of misery, woes and unanswered questions for fantasy owners.
10. Buffalo’s Wings – Just as Scooby Doo was wont to say, “G-g-g-ghost?” the passing game has been the calling card with the Bills since Jim Kelly talked about having “Cown-fidence” in throwing on every down. Memo to C.J. Spiller: you may be the first player in NFL history to see 11 in the box.
9. It’s the Story of a Man Named Brady – Tom Terrific has a wife who makes more money than him – The Shop’s “Buy One Brazilian, Get the Next 10 Free” policy definitely applies to Giselle – but one has to wonder how much stock Tom Brady can have with so many unproven young receivers? He was consistently drafted to be an every-week starter, but he’s never faced a challenge like he will this season. All of his top receivers are either gone or injured. Good luck with that. Tell GiGi that Cletus says, “Hey, baby! How YOU doin’?”
8. Landing Strip – I’m no fan of Bush – 41, 43 or Reggie. At least the first two don’t have Kardashian stink lingering on them. We’ve seen what that did to Lamar Odom. New Orleans used the second pick in the draft on him and saw greener pastures with Darren Sproles after they got tired of watching him cash fat checks at a part-time player. Miami made no effort to re-sign him, even though he posted solid numbers. Can he succeed in the shadow of 8-Mile Road or will Bush be trimmed in Motown?
7. RG-Knee – Robert Griffin III and Mike Shanahan clearly have issues. The worst part of this story is that Griffin comes back from injury a year after Adrian Peterson returned from a career-threatening injury (on RG3’s home field) and was a phoenix rising from the ashes. Every guy with an ACL tear has to live up to the Sergei Bubka heights of the bar that A.D. set for the rest of them. Griffin is the first to step up and say he can do it too. He was drafted to be an every-week starter. His coach is being cautious. Then again, he’s the same coach that sent him out and made a bad situation worse in the playoffs.
6. I’m Taking My Talents to South Beach – You ever notice that wide receivers that make their name in Pittsburgh and don’t get the franchise in a bidding war tend to stink out the joint when they leave? Mike Wallace is the latest of those. He was Big Ben’s big play guy, but in Miami, he’s expected to be the cornerstone of the passing game. History (and most expert rankings) says it won’t happen. Stay tuned.
5. Smokin’ Weeden – Most second-year quarterbacks are young and dumb. Second-year Brandon Weeden turns 30 in October. If he doesn’t step up quick, he’s going to be a franchise mistake for a team known for being the Mistake By the Lake. Few QBs have more pressure on them than Weeden, because, if he fails, defenses can concentrate on T-Rich and make the Browns offense a Browns stain.
4. Oak-Hell No! – The Oakland Raiders are a physical anomaly – they can suck and blow at the same time. Run DMC is more like Limp DOA and the Mighty Flynn is once again stealing money. Commitment to Excrement.
3. A Case of the Raging Pitts – The Steelers are still carrying a Terrible Towel cache among fantasy owners, but one has to wonder who is going to provide the ground game in Pittsburgh? Le’Veon Bell is hurt. Jonathan Dwyer got cut. Isaac Redman and Felix Jones have played their way out of starting jobs when they were given the chance. Big Ben will be lucky to meet his namesake in Week 4 when the Steelers play the Vikings in London Sept. 29 if things don’t change in a hurry.
2. Jacks-off-ville – While nobody appreciates a luxurious moustache more than the boys at The Shop, Shahid Kahn is fighting a losing battle much like his doppelganger Saddam Hussein. Maurice Jones-Drew is the face of a faceless franchise and Justin Blackmon is already being viewed as bust. Blaine “Sunshine” Gabbert isn’t an NFL QB and the best the team can hope for is to get more seats in the stadium covered by tarps – and provide fans with stink-masks. Look at the schedule as it sits today. Pick one game in which the Jags will be favored. As transplanted Floridians like to say, “Oy, vey!”
1. The Jets No-Offense Huddle – Do you really want anyone from Sexy Rexy’s community college all-stars? The only positive that we at The Shop can find is the Fu Manchu moustache grown by their injured QB, so we can officially call him Dirty Sanchez. Only poachers want Ivory and those who passed on Holmes say, “No sh*#, Sherlock.” Rex was more successful when he was fatter. Eat up, son.
See you next week. There’s a chair with your name on it. The combs will be soaking in the Barbicide until then and the complaints will start coming fast and furious.