You'd really be wise not to emulate Shaun Phillips, at least in your post-game smack talk. The Chargers linebacker is putting on a clinic in how to set yourself up for a vicious backlash.
Here's what Phillips said about Cedric Benson in a radio interview on Tuesday, following San Diego's 14-3 victory over Chicago: "One of our knocks on him is that he can get a little disgruntled when you hit him." Then this: "He turned the ball over. He'll fold."
That could very well be true. But it's ridiculous to talk about it.
Again, it could be true. But Wilhelm isn't helping his team by discussing any of Rex's issues.
You're only 1-0, linebackers. Until you're retired and sitting in the … what did NBC call it? "The Players' Lounge"? "The Players' Lair"? It was something that suggested strippers but delivered only Jerome Bettis.
Until you're sitting there outside the fray, don't offer any unnecessarily harsh post-game criticism, even if it's accurate. That sort of thing has a way of catching up with you.
If you're going to talk trash in your fantasy league – and it can be deeply satisfying, so by all means do it – there's an appropriate time, place and range of subjects. For example, I'm willing to tell you exactly how good my team is on Friday and Saturday, before a match-up. (Key word: "before.") I'm also willing to make derisive statements about your players prior to a match-up. (Key words: "prior to.") I might even discuss my team's awesomeness on Tuesday morning.
But I am not willing to twist knives after a win by mentioning your team, your draft strategy, or your start/sit decisions. No good can ever come from this.
There's a certain schoolteacher living on the East Coast who talked a lot of smack to me after a 10-4 win in a head-to-head baseball league last season. It was Week 6. My team was off to a wretched start, suffered a few injuries, and was never seriously in playoff contention. By mid-season, I was paying a great deal more attention to other leagues.
Until Week 19. That was the rematch. Against a different opponent, I might have absorbed another 6-8 defeat. But facing my less-than-gracious Week 6 rival, I managed my team with reckless aggression and achieved a near-shutout. The loss dropped him from fourth place to eighth in the standings, effectively ending his season. It was fantastic.
If he had simply gloated privately – or not at all – there would have been no payback, no reckoning, no simmering animosity. This guy is a terrific person with a lovely family. But few things in life give me greater pleasure than whacking his teams around in fantasy leagues.
People just have long memories for perceived insults. Being conciliatory after a win isn't really a matter of good sportsmanship – it's good strategy. If you have any Week 2 trash-talking to do, get it out of the way right now while it can still be received as confident, good-spirited nonsense. No one appreciates a post-game dissection of their team's failings.
If you'd like a template for trash-talking, by the way, study the Crusher's 100-megaton genius. A thousand dolls are fainting, indeed.
• Yeah, that's right. I've got Grossman among my top-10 quarterbacks for Week 2. And this says absolutely nothing about his long-term usefulness. It's just difficult for me to imagine a better scenario for Rex.
Is it an early-season home game with agreeable weather conditions? Check. Is his back against the wall again? Check. Is he facing a defense that will allow him time to throw? Check.
Of course it's one thing to rank him highly, and it's another to actually start him in a fantasy league. So far I'm limiting my exposure to the Cannon, only adding him to one team.
• Another quarterback who won't find a permanent home in my rankings, but he's visiting this week: Tarvaris Jackson. He gets the Lions defense, a group that made Josh McCown last week's eighth-best fantasy QB. • This was one of my "Roster Alerts" Thursday: "Brandon Jacobs has been dropped by 6818 teams in Yahoo! leagues." That's crazy. Brandon Jacobs is not a droppable player in a 10-team public league, not until we hear that Derrick Ward has permanently taken his job (which he won't) or that Jacobs' season is over (which it isn't). If Jacobs was dropped in your league, he's almost certainly the most valuable player currently on waivers.
• A few interesting names and numbers from Matt Buser's Week 1 look leaders: Amani Toomer (10 looks), Wes Welker (9), Arnaz Battle (9), Demetrius Williams (9), and Dennis Northcutt (9). Those players all entered the week owned in fewer than 25 percent of Yahoo! leagues, yet they were among the top-30 in looks.
• Mark Clayton (toe) is reportedly still limited in practice. That stinks, because Clayton and Kyle Boller, who has a chance to start against the Jets in Week 2, had a nice thing going last season. They connected for two touchdowns in Week 6 and a 42-yard reception in Week 15. Boller also threw a 77-yard touchdown to Demetrius Williams in Week 15 versus Cleveland.
• All three Yahoo! experts included Greg Jennings somewhere in the WR rankings this week. If we knew then (Thursday) what we know now (2:30 Central on Friday), we might have all steered clear and bumped James Jones up the list. I'd probably place Jones somewhere in the upper-30s right now. The Giants secondary impresses no one. As a result, both Brett Favre and Donald Driver find their way into the top-ten of the composite rankings.
• Tom Coughlin hasn't officially committed to starting Eli Manning on Sunday, but, according to the New York Daily News' Ralph Vacchiano, Manning "took about half of the first-team snaps during the team drills." If you drafted Manning as a starting QB, you still need to have Plan B on your roster (see above).