BY ZACHARY KRUEGER
Work gets in the way of life once in a while, which is why everybody today is being treated to a Wednesday edition of the Monday Rundown, which is okay because those two days have given me a few moments to stew on topics I may not have otherwise thought of prior to today.
Take a close look at the joker in the headline photo, because he's what drives me to wake up at 6:00 AM to get this article started. Your Monday Rundown is set to go...on this beautiful Wednesday.
Congrats Doc, You're Famous!
You've likely never heard of Dr. Richard Harkaway before Thursday, October 27th, unless you've been to his urology practice in Philadelphia. He's the goofball pictured above who decided to make himself a part of the previous night's 76ers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder game a little too much.
Harkaway was ejected in the first quarter for flipping OKC guard Russell Westbrook a classy "double-bird" after Westbrook scored on an and-1 play and was about to head to the free throw line. Now in Harkaway's (only) defense, he did state after the game that it was Westbrook calling him fat that lead to the moment pictured above. That being said, even if it is true, I really don't care. Here's why.
Harkaway also said that part of his charm when going to games is the fact that he loves to yell at players and how anybody who has been to a game with him would know that.
Unfortunately, Rich, I think that's the problem. I also think that's why you probably saw yourself watching the rest of last week's game at the nearby Chickie's and Pete's. Not because Russell Westbrook allegedly called you fat, but because even if he did, you probably started it with your "charm" and you had to get involved.
Take a few listens to Colin Cowherd's radio show "The Herd" on any given week and there's a chance that you'll hear him drop the colorful adjective "booger eaters" to describe any grown adult who is too busy acting like a child, or perhaps even participating in childlike behavior.
It's a perfectly accurate and acceptable phrasing, and one that can be applied to at least one fan at every game. Shoot, maybe you can even apply that to one person you know in your personal life. I think it goes without saying that we all know at least one booger eater.
I used to holler and scream at players in basketball games. They were D3 college athletes who were on the same juvenile level I was, and 99.9% of what I said was more so for the sake of my friends on the court playing at the time to hear the wisecrack I made about Player A's hair, or Player B's lame choice of socks. Then, I graduated, I grew up.
I get sick of going to games and seeing guys like Rich Harkaway. Guys who want to make themselves a part of a game and entice a player because he doesn't play for his favorite team, makes millions of dollars, and isn't allowed to respond, because let's face it, that person is filthy rich and we aren't. Part of them making that money is that they are required to not talk back to us no matter what filth or "charm" comes from our mouths...right?
Fanboy Dr. Rich Harkaway; the world's biggest 76ers fan, charming trash talker, Allen Iverson jersey wearing, double-bird flipping, loud mouth got everything he deserved on Wednesday, regardless of what Westbrook allegedly said to him.
The 76ers mean so much to Harkaway that he is willing to put his entire reputation, medical practice and name at risk for the sake of letting everybody in the arena know that he isn't going to be intimidated by Russell Westbrook's glare, returned trash talk or whatever it may have been.
You don't agree with me? The photo above says I'm right.
Furthermore, if you truly subscribe to the notion that these athletes who make more than you should be expected to not retaliate to your boorish behavior based on their financial status, then please, stop reading this article now and go curse out your local doctor, dentist, psychologist, or whoever it is that you know makes more money than you.
There are plenty of people out there who are just as willing to do what Harkaway did on Wednesday, all for the sake of standing up for their team, and being world's biggest fan (WOOOOOOOOO!). If you are one of those fans however, do yourself a favor and learn from him. Rather than trying to emulate him, make it a point to not be like him.
If you have to wear your favorite player's jersey still, that's fine. But nobody is impressed by a 30+ year old's jersey count, creative/foul mouthed insults he can hurl at a millionaire athlete, or how adept they are at presenting their middle digits all for the sake of standing up for their team. Nobody cares that you are "world's biggest." If you haven't done it yet, graduate now. Leave your fanboy, booger eating ways behind you.
Pull up a seat and enjoy watching your favorite team play, knowing that tomorrow you will wake up just as non-famous as you were before you went to that game.
The Great 8
Week 8 in the NFL brought some good footnotes and storylines, and reminded us how bad (once again) ties are.
- The Redskins and Bengals went to London to show people over seas what great football looks like. The game ended in a 27-27 tie, and is now the second time a game has ended in a tie this season. Ties in the NFL are awkward, and I think I have an easy, albeit goofy fix to it. What if teams ended an overtime quarter tied, and went to a "kick off" to determine the winner? Kickers will kick the same distance field goal from the same hash mark until one misses a kick that the other makes. It's a novice concept, and I'm not sure what we would do if both kickers nail 55-yarders and now cannot hit a field goal of 60 yards, but I still like to think my idea is off to a good start. Please, offer better suggestions to me via Twitter, I'd love to hear them!
- Aaron Rodgers is being forced to polish a turd every single week. To be fair, Rodgers hasn't been great this season, but he was just forced to lead a game winning drive this week with guys like Jeff Janis, Geronimo Allison and Aaron Ripkowski. They basically don't have a running back (although Ty Montgomery is better suited at HB than WR), and his offense looks confused on the field more often than not. Even if his teammates aren't confused, he sure acts like they are after every failed play. At 4-3 the Packers will have a chance to pickup a win in Week 9 against a woeful Colts team.
- The Vikings are looking more overrated by the week. They lost Adrian Peterson in Week 2, but still managed to get off to a 5-0 start. Since then however, they are 0-2, and being carried by a stout defense and an average quarterback. Jerick McKinnon, though versatile, can't handle an every down back role, and Matt Asiata has got to be one of the slowest running backs in the entire league. On offense the Vikings are 28th in passing yards per game, and 23rd in the league in points per game (19.9). If they can't figure out something on offense soon, their 5-0 start won't hold much water come playoff time, if they even make it.
- The Patriots are 7-1 and won the AFC East on Sunday. Basically.
- The Colts are so bad that they got beaten by Charcandrick West and Nick Foles...AT HOME!!! Spencer Ware went down with concussion-like symptoms, as did quarterback Alex Smith, and the team was forced to roll with two backups. Technically Charcandrick West is a third string running back whenever Jamaal Charles (just hit IR) is healthy. Foles went 16-for-22 passing for 223 yards and two touchdowns without throwing an interception. Say what you want about the talent on the Colts roster, the poor coaching, whatever you want. That team is bad and won't be winning 10+ games for a while.
- At 3-4-1, the Arizona Cardinals are one of the biggest enigmas this season. Their defense ranks in the top 10 in points allowed per game, yards allowed per game and passing yards allowed per game. They are also in the top half of the league on offense in yards per game, rushing yards per game and passing yards per game, yet they still can't seem to put together a string of wins. With the Seahawks flailing, Arizona still has a very real chance to make the playoffs, but their overall performance on this season still somehow manages to be sub par at best.
Survive Your Horrible Week 9 Byes
Week 8 and Week 9 have been horrible for fantasy football owners this year. Week 8 featured six teams with by weeks, and Week 9 features another six. Not to worry, here are a few streaming options for your Week 9 woes, and even a stash pick or two for the future.
1. Tim Hightower - Running Back (Saints)
Mark Ingram fumbled last week against the Seattle Seahawks, and was left on the bench for the remainder of the day. The result? Veteran running back Tim Hightower unleashed 102 rush yards on 26 carries for the Saints en route to a 25-20 victory. Ingram has struggled to produce all season for the Saints, and is averaging only 3.8 yards per carry this season. He has one rushing touchdown and two receiving touchdowns on the year, but his benching Sunday indicates he could be on the outs in New Orleans. The Saint face the 49ers on Sunday in a juicy matchup against on of the worst teams in the league. If you need a running back for Week 9 and Hightower is available, scoop him up.
2. Tyreek Hill - Wide Receiver (Chiefs)
Rookie wide receiver Tyreek Hill saw his best day as a pro last Sunday against the Colts. He was targeted six times, resulting in five catches for 98 yards and a touchdown. Despite getting limited run with the Chiefs this season, Hill now has 19 receptions for 223 yards and four receiving touchdowns (third most in NFL). Hill also gets opportunities in the kick and punt return game, making him that much stronger of a streaming option. He faces the Jaguars in Kansas City in Week 9.
3. Aaron Ripkowski - Fullback (Packers)
WHAT?! A fullback could be a viable option in fantasy this week? Well, yes...possibly. If Ty Montgomery is kept out in Week 9 as he was in Week 8, consider streaming Ripkowski in one of your RB slots this week. He took the most carries of any player in Green Bay's backfield last week against the Falcons, and ran for 34 yards on six carries. The team also just cut running back Knile Davis, who they traded for just two weeks ago. Next week the Packers get a porous Colts defense that ranks 21st in the league at stopping the run (114.8 rush yards per game).
4. C.J. Prosise - Running Back (Seahawks)
You'd have to consider yourself pretty desperate to play Prosise on Monday Night Football against the Bills, but the rookie running back has taken on the appearance of the team's third down/receiving back at this point, and was on the field for 43% of the Seahawks offensive snaps on Sunday. He finished the game with 103 all-purpose yards, including four receptions for 80 yards and four carries for 23 yards. Christine Michael struggled to get anything going against the Saints last week, and Prosise is easily the more versatile back. The former receiver should look to take more snaps away from Michael as the season progresses, and could be in line for a 50/50 share on Monday night.
5. Ladarius Green - Tight End (Steelers)
He hasn't played all season, and he would come up as one of the sneakiest plays of Week 9 even if he manages just a few short catches and a touchdown, but Steelers tight end Ladarius Green should be in line for his first game of 2016. The talented tight end spent the first four years of his career in the shadow of future hall of famer Antonio Gates in San Diego. He still managed to turn his limited action into 77 receptions for 1,087 yards and seven touchdowns over that time, and averages 14.1 yards per catch. If he is a full go for Pittsburgh on Sunday, Green could find himself in line for a big week against a defense that can't stop anybody through the air.
6. J.J. Nelson - Wide Receiver (Cardinals)
DISCLAIMER: The Cardinals HAVE A BYE WEEK IN WEEK 9!!!!!!!!!
With that being said, if you can afford to stash J.J. Nelson, you should consider doing so immediately. The second-year wide receiver out of UAB posted 8 receptions for 79 yards and two touchdowns against the Panthers on Sunday, and was named a starting receiver by Bruce Arians the following day. Over the last two weeks, Nelson has seen a combined 19 targets, turning them into 11 receptions for 163 yards and two touchdowns. Nelson is an explosive wide receiver who ran a 4.28 40-yard dash at the combine, and has risen through the ranks this season with Arizona. His next game is Week 10 against the 49ers. Mark it.