Raise Your Glasses High - Fantasy Football Meets Vanderpump Rules
America is a divided land. You either like the smooth-talking, slick-haired, bombastic loudmouth or the quieter, more pragmatic, sweetheart. Depending on which side of the aisle you fall on there are fierce defenders and brash opponents. Saying their names out loud in a public place might get you into an argument with a total stranger.
Of course, I'm talking about the epic break-up of Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix on this season of Vanderpump Rules.
As we prepare for World War III, also known as the third episode of the cast reunion I wanted to match some of our favorite fantasy footballers up with the kids from West Hollywood. Join me for a fun game of, "If the NFL went to SUR."
(I went to SUR in 2021 with my wife and kids, it was great, my wife had a cocktail, and the kids had pasta.)
Lisa Vanderpump / Bill Belichick - This season has shown some cracks in the once impenetrable armor of the restaurant mogul. Once off-limit from the cast's scorn, Lisa now finds herself taking hits because of her loyalty to Sandoval and Tom Schwartz. It reminds me of what happened in New England as Belichick's hubris allowed Matt Patricia to run his offense in 2022. While no one can deny the greatness of LVP or the hoodie king, we have to wonder if age is starting to catch up with our fearless leaders. Fans are now quicker than ever to point out missteps from even those who sit on the highest of thrones.
Ariana Madix / Aaron Rodgers - Not one bad word can be uttered about either or you'll feel the wrath of a thousand swords. Ariana is now America's sweetheart after learning that her long-term boyfriend, Tom Sandoval, was cheating on her with her best friend Raquel Leviss (more on her later). Ariana is now Taylor Swift level untouchable as the masses have backed her like 70,000 "Swifties" singing "Shake it off" at a sold-out concert. One could argue this breakup was the best thing ever to happen to her career. The same might be said of Aaron Rodgers. His divorce from the Green Bay Packers was no less ugly. Now at the helm of the New York Jets, he has risen to cult hero status among gang green faithful. Neither can do any wrong at the moment. Ya know, maybe they'd make a cute couple?
Tom Sandoval / Tua Tagovailoa - Everyone hates these fuckin' guys. You can't find three people to say one nice thing about either Tom or Tua. Actually, "Tom and Tua" sounds better as a bar name than "Schwartz and Sandy." Sandoval is public enemy number one. His transgressions (and horrific mustache) have crippled his bar businesses and turned the public vehemently against him. Tua by all accounts isn't nearly the scumbag that Sandoval is nor has he been compared to a worm with a moustache. He simply gets hurt often, has a suspect throwing arm, and for some reason drawn the ire of fantasy football analysts. Either way, if you walked into a bar and said in a loud and clear voice, "I love Tom and Tua" you'd get tossed out the front door like Will Smith on 'The Fresh Prince'. It's a shame really. If Tua starts a band this year, just shut down the Dolphins franchise. They'll never recover just like Sandoval's businesses.
Lala Kent / Tyreek Hill - Whenever I hear either of these people talk I typically think, "I wish I didn't have ears." Then when you hear Lala's adventurous takes on intimacy or watch Tyreek take a 90-yard slant to the house, you're back in. Both look like absolute Ferraris in the showroom but as we've seen with many of their relationships, you'd rather be driving a 2003 Ford Focus than be involved with either. I'll admit, I like Lala. She's opinionated, a stone-cold MILF, and a total hypocrite. She's honestly everything reality television was created for. Hill seems like a loose cannon that I probably wouldn't want in my locker room but like Lala on the red carpet, no one holds a candle to him at his best.
Katie Maloney / David Montgomery - If you leave your draft with Montgomery it's the same feeling you get after a Katie-centric episode of the show. You don't feel really good about it. You kind of don't want to watch anymore but deep down you know there's solid content there. Whether it's a goal-line plunge or a fight with Scheana-Schwartz-Sandoval it's likely going to be good for something. None of your buddies will high-five you after drafting Montgomery just like you'll never meet anyone named "Satchel" in real life but hey we all need angry ex's with Karen hair and boring running backs for best ball.
Kristen Doute / Tom Brady - That's right I went there. The GOAT drama queen of VPR meets the greatest QB ever to lace them up. Just be honest with yourself, the NFL and VPR were better when Brady played and Kristen was being a hot mess. The venom their enemies spewed could kill entire villages. Did it matter? Not at all. These titans of tequila have still reigned supreme over their kingdoms even while not playing. I do miss Kristen. She was a disaster. That said, she was compelling, fun, and hooked up with everyone years before Raquel even owned a lightning bolt necklace. Brady is Brady. The guy honestly should be on the show next year. Maybe he marries Kristen? I'd watch that.
Tom Schwartz / Cooper Kupp - Yea both guys had down years in 2022. Not to worry, they'll bounce back. That L.A. sun is too bright not to shine on these legends. Kupp was once the golden boy of fantasy. He won a title just two years ago. He'll be fine. Schwartz is now single and owns multiple bars in Hollywood, don't pity him. I think Schwartz is the one guy from VPR that I'd most want to get a beer with. He seems like a total bro, kinda like Kupp. Deep down you know he's a dog and can get after it like nobody's business, kinda like Kupp. I'm a fan of both.
Racquel Leviss / Brandin Cooks - Everyone is super excited when Cooks joins their team. It's the same when Racquel or Rachel (whatever) joins your friend group. Instantly your squad looks better. You're a contender. Then reality hits. The injuries, the attitude, the sharing of a dog with James, the blank stares into space. There's a lot going on here. It's odd how a player of Cooks' caliber can find himself on his fifth team since coming into the league in 2014. Racquel during this season alone was hooking up with multiple guys per episode (not that hooking up is wrong, it's not). The issue becomes once you let them into your locker room they tear you apart. Maybe they don't get along with the coaches or they sleep with your boyfriend while you are at your grandmother's funeral. Either way, these culture killers have fans foaming at the mouth this time of year. For Racquel's sake, I hope not every mouth has a mustache.
James Kennedy / Cole Beasley - One is known for his legendary, oftentimes uninformed tirades and spouting off at anyone and everyone over literally anything. The other is James. Everyone needs a little DJ James Kennedy in their lives, just as QBs need a competent slot receiver. A little of each of these is probably enough for a lifetime. James is semi-sober and has a gorgeous new girlfriend (Ally) who he's dating while clearly not over his Racquel breakup. In a perfect world, he and Lala get back together. C'mon, we all see that happening next season, don't we?
Follow Brian Drake on Twitter at @DrakeFantasy