The thinking chair

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There is an old expression that says "you can never be too rich or too thin." I believe this has largely been disproved by any number of famous celebrities, mainly women, from Nicole Ritchie to the suddenly thin Kate Winslet, who suddenly are gaunt shells of themselves, and often not very healthy.

They also say you can never have too much pitching, a theory the San Francisco Giants are apparently trying to test, with news that they are gunning for CC Sabathia. Now, for fantasy purposes, you want Carsten Charles to end up in his hometown Bay Area, at least in terms of WHIP and ERA. The Giants home park is fabulously pitcher-friendly, and the other contender for his services, the Yankees, are moving into a new stadium that is as yet untested, but almost assuredly a hitters park. That said, as a Yankee, Sabathia would certainly get more wins than as a Giant, so there's an upside to his fantasy value wherever he lands. Why the Giants are actually interested is a bit beyond me -- their only strength is pitching, and apparently their best hitter is either Aaron Rowand or the newly signed Edgar Renteria. But you don't care about "real" baseball, you care about fantasy -- and it certainly seems like Sabathia is going to have solid value next year as a starter.

But heck, we're in football season now, so let's focus on the "never" rules that are more current. Most leagues began the playoffs this week, and one of those caveats is "Never sit your studs." I can't tell you how many e-mails I got last week asking whether an owner should sit LaDanian Tomlinson in favor of a variety of different good matchups. My feeling was that Oakland didn't have a great rush defense, and that LDT was someone I'd really have a hard time sitting in the playoffs. Now, if you've backed your way into the playoffs, there is a logic (that I agree with) which says you should gamble a bit, because that's the only way you'll beat a superior team. But unless LDT was facing the Steelers, Ravens or Giants, I wouldn't have thought of sitting him. There are a few teams out there that are better off without him in their lineup. (Yes, this is easy to say after he dominated the Raiders, but trust me -- I'm being consistent with my prior answers here.)

Speaking of "nevers," a pretty good episode of How I Met Your Mother was on recently, called "The Naked Guy." Now, I believe that HIMYM is one of the most underrated shows on TV, along with Friday Night Lights. But I mention the episode here because of the premise -- it was a guy who was a self-acknowledged loser, whose "move" on a bad date was to work his way back to the woman's house, strip naked and hope for the best. It was funny stuff -- but what got me was that he defined his loserdom by, among other things, the fact that he managed five fantasy football teams.


Now, I've pared myself back and I only have three teams. And trust me, were I still single, I'd like to think that I'd test out the Naked Guy theory a few times. Heck, I can humiliate myself a few times for my readers. But if managing a bunch of fantasy football teams makes you a loser, then we are turning into a nation of losers. And if you are reading this column, I want you to know -- you're not a loser.

OK, maybe you are. (How would I know?) But not because of fantasy sports.

Speaking of losers, it seems that time has finally caught up with O.J. Simpson. There's no fantasy impact to this, of course, but it certainly puts a ribbon on his fall from grace -- and it should serve as a warning to other players who are clearly dancing on the line between living a clean life and ... well, not so much. I'm talking to you, Plaxico Burress. Seriously, there's not a lot more to say about the idiocy of Burress, a guy who even when he was on the right side of the law acted pretty irrationally. (I'm thinking primarily of him spiking the ball not once, but twice as a pro, without being tackled, thinking he was still playing college rules.) If you had Burress, he's safe to drop -- and both guys who are getting reps in his place are worthwhile pickups. Domenik Hixon is the boom-or-bust option, while Amani Toomer is likely to be more consistent but with a lower upside.

Of course, a few other players found themselves in legal heat last week. Deuce McAllister's season is over because of performance enhancing drugs, as well as the 'Williams Wall' in Minnesota. McAllister's woes become Pierre Thomas' gains, as well as the returning Reggie Bush. As far as the Minnesota defense is concerned, it's only good news for guys like Kevin Smith and other running backs who face the suddenly holey run defense.

And then there's Jaguars WR Matt Jones, who was "sspended" for three games earlier in the season and has yet to have his hearing held. Now, I'm no legal whiz, but what's the purpose of a suspension like that if you can just defer it in perpetituity? What's the difference between him and the guys I mentioned above? Why were their cases such slam-dunks with little room for rebuttal, while Jones (whom I don't even think has argued that he's innocent of the drug charges) has been playing all season long? I'm not going to answer that question, but it's more than a little shady.

To all of you, good luck in your playoffs. If you missed out on the playoffs, it's a good time to stay focused if your league counts total points -- but it's also a good time to try and do some post-game analysis of why your team missed out. Sometimes, it's just random luck -- in my main league, the team with the most fantasy points missed the playoffs because of a terrible schedule. That happens. But just as often, it's a missed draft pick, a bad trade or overthinking a lineup decision. It's fine to make those mistakes, but it's a lot better to only make them once. Let's return to our main theme, and say that you should NEVER do that.

Good luck, and Happy Holidays.