Folks, we feel you. Your old friends Hector and Victor know exactly what you're going through right now. It happens to be the holidays; your fantasy team is in the playoffs; and your significant other is lamenting your laptop addiction (with several salty words that cannot be printed in this column) as you check scores and get instant updates instead of chopping firewood or helping haul decorations down from the attic.
We're here to help.
As a special service to our loyal readers -- and, heck, because it's the holidays, we'll even offer an olive branch to our disloyal readers and those who hate on us via the message board -- Hector and Victor have decided to give you a female-friendly version of "Are You For Real," so you can huddle with your loved one and share in the glory that is breakout NFL player analysis.
We originally had offered the job to our wives, Hectoria and Victoria, but they flat-out refused although, to be fair, we're not sure they could hear us over the sounds of their wood chopping. Instead, we're offering some quick parallels that will help buy you some time in front of the computer this weekend.
So go grab your special someone, pull her up to the computer and let her enjoy the fun associated with playoff fantasy football, as we ask Are You For Real?
Todd Collins, QB, Redskins
Want to know the definition of "dated"? It's playing behind Elvis Grbac. Which is most likely the "accomplishment" that was bumped off Collins' résumé Friday, replaced by, "led the emotionally drained Redskins to a thrilling victory against the Bears." Collins threw for 224 yards and two TDs on 15-of-20 passing. For those of you with "QB rating" fetishes, he compiled a whopping 144.6. The question remaining, however, is this: Even if Todd is the starter for the rest of the season, will he be able to keep up these numbers? Or should we expect him to go plummeting back to Grback-up numbers?
How to explain Todd Collins to your girlfriend: Collins is totally sharing a career arc with Dr. McDreamy right now. Patrick Dempsey was pushed out of the spotlight for so many years since "Can't Buy Me Love," and now he's back on the cover of People magazine with his role in "Grey's Anatomy." He always had some jerk like Josh Lucas in "Sweet Home Alabama" being the main guy, and McDreamy would just smile and be hot.
So, Todd, will you continue your march toward McDreaminess? Or is this a flash in the pan?
Hector: Flash in the pan? Bedpan, maybe. Collins actually last threw two touchdown passes in 1997. How he's more of a long-term solution than Vinny Testaverde, I don't know. For real? Not even close. And with the matchups he has left (Giants, Vikings and Cowboys, all three likely playoff-bound), there's no way I go anywhere near him, McDreaminess or no.
Victor: You know what? It's the holidays! What better story could you come up with than Todd Collins, career backup, emerging from the sideline to lead a Washington team in disarray into the playoffs? This optimism is giving Todd a "For Real" here from Victor, but not just because my gut tells me it's a beautiful story. We have historical precedents with Jeff Garcia and the Eagles last year and -- more of a parallel -- Jeff Hostetler and the Giants in 1991. Sometimes these things just happen.
Jerheme Urban, WR, Cardinals
Let's get this out of the way first. It's pronounced "Jeremy." Yes, it's cool to look at, and yes, the combination of a strangely spelled first name and a last name that can double as an adjective is always fun. But, all the fun and games aside, we have to be sure Urban is going to keep this up before we recommend him.
Urban had put together a nice string of games (between Weeks 4 and 7, he had three weeks of 40-plus yards and a TD catch) before he was slowed by both a heel injury and a crowded receiving corps. With the top two options in Arizona now battling injuries, and the Cardinals' chances of making the playoffs in the "very slim to none" category, Urban stands to at least get a chance to repeat his 123-yard, 1-TD performance of this week, doesn't he?
How to explain Jerheme Urban to your wife: He has a funny first name but his last name is a word, just like "Hannah Montana." And this could be like Hannah, but the early 2006 version, when nobody had heard of her or her show (yet she guested on some smaller Disney shows). So we didn't know whether it was going to be good, but we watched because there was nothing else on TV, really, except for Britney's sister's show on Nickelodeon, but we hate Britney and we never saw it.
So Jerheme, will you be able to take off in the Arizona lineup because there's little competition? Or will you be overtaken by Bryant Johnson, football's version of Jamie Lynn Spears?
Hector: It's hard to step up when you have that bruised heel, yet up he did step in Week 13. Urban clearly passed the likes of Sean Morey on the depth chart, and in our estimation, deserves first shot at being Anquan Boldin's fill-in should the need arise again. Certainly he put his best -- and only -- foot forward, something Johnson once again failed to do. For real, for sure.
Victor: I agree. Although that heel injury can go either way, either the heel heals during the week as Jerheme pulls a quasi-Plaxico and rests it in practice, or he runs on it too much and the pain becomes unbearable. There are a lot of ifs to consider here, but the fact that Urban was playing well before the injury pushes my vote into the "For real" camp.
Darius Walker, RB, Texans
All you sour Notre Dame fans can just skip ahead if you'd like.
For those of you unaware, Walker left Notre Dame a year early, after the 2006 campaign, to be an undrafted practice-squadder for the Houston Texans in the 2007 season. Until, that is, Ahman Green fell to injury, Ron Dayne hurt his ankle and Adimchinobi Echemandu failed to excel as a starter. So enter Walker, Notre Dame's fourth all-time leading rusher. In Week 14, Walker put up seven fantasy points in relief of Dayne, rushing 16 times for 46 yards and catching six passes for another 35. With the Texans playing a Thursday night game, signs point to Dayne's ankle not being up to the task so soon and Walker seeing some sort of role this week.
So, Darius, spurner of Notre Dame, we must ask; Are You For Real?
How to explain Darius Walker to your Saturday night hookup who slept over and expects brunch: Darius is totally the Heidi (of "The Hills") here in this situation. Why would you stop hanging out with LC or even Notre Dame to go be with some gross boy? That's lame. And so are the Houston Texans. Like, Heidi might have gotten prettier through surgical methods and people kind of think she's hot now, but I would rather be like Audrina or Whitney instead. Once Heidi left LC, LC just wasn't the same, and Heidi really hasn't done much, either. The stupid show keeps putting her on, though, and we'll just have to keep watching even though she's not hot enough to be on TV.
Hector: Am I the only one who thought Hootie was suddenly in the NFL? Still, with all other options gone, it's not a question of only wanting to be with Darius. It's of having only Darius to be with. Green is gone, and with a quick turnaround, Dayne likely will not make it back in time for Thursday. Denver's rushing defense doesn't exactly make me quiver with fear, so I guess -- for Week 15, anyway -- I will hold Walker's hand and love him the best that, the best that I can.
Victor: How do you follow Blowfish quotes? I simply can't.
Adoring Public: But you must, you must!
Victor: OK, then. Walker was the fourth-leading rusher of all time at Notre Dame, a school known for -- if nothing else -- its sustained football excellence since the times when dinosaurs walked the earth. So he has rushing skill. And the Texans have an opening. And Echemandu doesn't seem to be the choice to grab the reins and run with them. All signs, therefore, point to Walker's being a legitimate free-agent pickup for this week.