The Husky Basketball Team Acquitted Itself Well At The Crossover Classic

I understand the impulse to mock a pre-season college basketball tournament in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, but if I’m being honest, I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t make it a priority to go! I always talk a good game about wanting to go to one of these little tournaments, whenever it’s some place fun or exotic, like Las Vegas, Hawaii, New York, or the Bahamas. But, how cool would it be to go to some small midwest town with nothing to do, and just immerse yourself in basketball for three straight days? You’re not worried about your tan, or where you’re going to go rage later that night. You’re just there for the purity of the game (and maybe finding a grungy dive bar to hole up in at the end of the night).

Also, Falls Park is pretty awesome. Kill me, I like South Dakota!

Time will tell how good the competition was in this little 4-team round robin. Everyone remembers George Mason for something they did 15 years ago, making them the Uncle Rico of college basketball (Uncle Rico being a 17 year old reference, making it the Uncle Rico of references). My eye test – from our game on Monday, as well as seeing how they fared against the other two teams – tells me they’re probably not Tournament-bound.

That isn’t to say they didn’t give the Huskies fits all night, in a 77-74 victory for the Dawgs. The Huskies struggled from long range again, but made up for it by hitting 21/28 at the free throw line, and hitting nearly 50% of their total shots (WELL over 50% from 2-point range).

P.J. Fuller had the hot hand off the bench, scoring 21 points, including 3/8 from three. That was a nice little boost considering Matthews struggled and Bey was pretty quiet.

Of course, Terrell Brown led the Huskies with 23 points, absolutely taking over in the second half. This game looked like it was going to get away from us, and he would not be denied! He hit 7/13 shots overall, and a whopping 8/9 from the free throw line to help salt it away. He also had 8 boards, 4 assists, 4 steals, and a block. Simply outstanding!

Our 87-76 victory over South Dakota on Tuesday is probably the best win of the year so far, since it was a de facto home game for the Jackrabbits, and since they DO look like a potential Tournament team.

The Dawgs came out on fire in this one, going on to shoot 10/22 from long range, and 58.3% overall! It was needed, since the Jackrabbits were probably the best shooting team in the Crossover Classic. This game featured a more even split of scoring; Fuller had 14 off the bench, Matthews had 13, and Bey had 12. But, once again, when things started to get a little tight in the second half, it was Brown Time (oof, I gotta come up with a better name for it than that). Brown finished with a career-high 32 points on 13/18 shooting (!) with 5 boards, 2 assists, and a steal.

Unfortunately, the Huskies ran out of gas in the second half of Wednesday’s game against Nevada and couldn’t complete the sweep. We were down only two at halftime – 29-27 – but would go on to lose the game 81-62. Once again, we were plagued by poor long range shooting (9/25) and this time not even Terrell Brown could bail us out, though he did lead the Huskies with 19 points. Sadly, no one else could even get to double figures.

We’ll see about Nevada. Taking a look at their schedule so far – and their 3-4 record – they don’t strike me as a Tournament team either. Though, the same could be said of the Huskies and our 4-3 record. We would need to get supremely hot in conference play to get there.

This was a fun little tournament though, until the very end. Every week, I’m more and more encouraged by what I’m seeing from this Husky basketball team. Terrell Brown is my favorite player by a thousand miles, and maybe my favorite Husky since Isaiah Thomas! He’s that good and that productive; I can’t wait to see where he’s able to take us. I just hope he gets more help on the regular from his supporting cast. We CAN’T keep shooting as poorly as we have been, I refuse to believe it.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Toilet Bowl Week

Hahmez Wah 360 Allstars defeated Snoopy & Prickly Pete 163.00 to 100.60. All of our players were done playing before Monday, but the matchup between the two fantasy teams was over pretty much during the first quarter of the morning games on Sunday. Justin Fields underperformed and got hurt. CeeDee Lamb underperformed and got hurt. The only player on my team worth a damn was Diontae Johnson, and by the time his game started I was already out of it. His 23.1 points spared me from a sub-100 point game, so for that I’m grateful.

Nothing went right. I had Taylor Heinicke on my bench, who scored 31.2 points. I left Clyde Edwards-Helaire in my IR spot (because no one knew until gametime that he’d actually play this week), who got 15.6 points. Of course, I wouldn’t have won regardless of how I set my lineup, but I’m just pointing it out to show the forces at play in my futility.

Taking a look at the immediate results of my trades last week, Justin Tucker outscored Zane Gonzalez 11 to 3. Again, it’s not WHY I lost, but there you go. Mike Gesicki scored an even 10 points for my TE spot; Pat Freiermuth would’ve gotten me 11.1 (not for nothing, but Noah Fant would’ve gotten me 10.9, just to show you what a wasteland tight end has become). The only moderately good news is that A.J. Brown is no longer on my team; he had to leave the game twice last week for two different injuries (and is officially questionable for this week). I’m sure he’ll return and kick some ass, but I gotta tell you, I’m just glad I don’t have to worry every time I play catch-up on Twitter that I’m going to read some tweet to the effect of “A.J. Brown is limping off the field”.

Anyway, the Toilet Bowl is upon us! Snoopy & Prickly Pete is taking on Korky Butchek for a battle to help decide who ends up with the 2021 last place trophy! I’m 2-9, he’s 3-8; he’s got a 50-point lead. If he beats me, he’ll have a 2-game advantage with only two weeks to go, and it will be a virtual lock that I take home the toilet trophy. If I win, we’re tied in record, and I make up some of that deficit in total points (the tiebreaker if our records are the same at season’s end), giving me two weeks to surpass him in total points to avoid the dubious honor.

Here’s my lineup in this do-or-die week:

  • Mac Jones (QB) vs. TEN
  • Taylor Heinicke (QB) vs. SEA
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) @ CIN
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) @ WFT
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. LV
  • Javonte Williams (RB) vs. LAC
  • Mike Gesicki (TE) vs. CAR
  • Rhamondre Stevenson (RB) vs. TEN
  • Zane Gonzalez (K) @ MIA
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) @ GB

I am majorly irritated CeeDee Lamb is out with a concussion this week. I’m also majorly irritated CEH is on BYE; I don’t understand why he was brought back last week at all! Why risk it if you’ve got a BYE this week?! Anyway, it looks like I’ll be saddled with starting Stevenson in my FLEX, which is far from ideal.

Of course, Korky Butchek has reason to be irritated himself with the various maladies his team is beset with. Here is a possible alignment of players for him to start this week:

  • Joe Burrow (QB) vs. PIT
  • Daniel Jones (QB) vs. PHI
  • DeVonta Smith (WR) @ NYG
  • A.J. Brown (WR) @ NE
  • David Montgomery (RB) @ DET
  • A.J. Dillon (RB) vs. LAR
  • George Kittle (TE) vs. MIN
  • D.J. Moore (WR) @ MIA
  • Daniel Carlson (K) @ DAL
  • New Orleans (DEF) @ BUF

He’s actually got plenty of options to play around with on his bench, so we’ll see what the lineup looks like at gametime. I would assume A.J. Brown will be in there if he’s playing. Otherwise, I’m looking at James Robinson going against a poor Falcons defense. I’m a little surprised to see Danny Dimes in there over Trevor Lawrence, but I could see the Giants making an immediate improvement now that they’ve fired Jason Garrett from the offensive coordinator job.

Korky Butchek has a lot of good players who have simply underperformed this year. I’m going to need them to continue underperforming this week, otherwise it’ll be curtains for me.

Splinter League Round-Up!

BUCK FUTTER took out Beer Thirty pretty handily, even though he got a strong comeback effort in that Chargers game with Herbert and Williams. Aaron Rodgers finishing with 50+ points and the rest of my guys (sans Tee Higgins) pulling their weight made things pretty comfortable. I’m still in third place, but only a game behind Beer Thirty, and only two games behind the first place team. I’m in for a dogfight this week with another 7-4 team; it would behoove me to knock out ChubbyDumplings to put a little distance between me and the teams behind me trying to take me out of a playoff spot. The Saints’ running back situation is scaring the living daylights out of me; I need ONE of either Kamara or Ingram to play. If they both have to sit, I’m in trouble.

The Seahawks Should Trade D.K. Metcalf

Right off the bat, I have to say this is predicated on Russell Wilson demanding a trade out of town. I’m just assuming that’s going to be our reality after this season; it was vey nearly our reality after last season! What about the 2021 Seahawks would lead Wilson to believe things are trending in the right direction? Especially since it seems to me – at least – that Wilson is a major reason why it’s trending in the wrong direction.

If we take that as our eventual reality, then there’s really no point in hanging onto D.K. Metcalf. Presumably, the Seahawks will get a nice little haul of draft picks and/or players in return for Wilson. Whether or not this is the best draft for these purposes remains to be seen, but our front office is going to have to make it the best if we’re going to rebound in the coming years. Regardless, what we get in trade for Wilson won’t be enough to fill out this roster. Not right away. I would guess the return for him will include any number of draft picks over the next 2-3 years. So, we’re going to need more than just that to rebuild.

2022 is set to be the final year in Metcalf’s rookie contract. In other words, he’ll still be a bargain. His value from a contract perspective is as good as it’s ever going to be; very soon, he will be making money commensurate with the top receivers in football. We have one year left until he’s no longer a value player, but just a very good player. And, really, we might have zero years left, because would it surprise anyone to see him hold out for a new deal this upcoming offseason? I mean, the guy is already allegedly engaging in four-ways; he’s got a lifestyle to support!

I only want Metcalf here if he’s got a franchise quarterback throwing to him. Otherwise, I think it’s a waste of his gifts. If I’m right, and the Seahawks trade Wilson this offseason, I’m assuming we will sign in free agency some retread of a veteran quarterback, like Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tyrod Taylor, or Joe Flacco. Do you really look forward to one of those guys making severely off-target throws to D.K. Metcalf, while Metcalf is earning $20 million a year? What’s that going to get us?

Then, there’s the matter of that contract Metcalf will command. We’re looking at $20-$25 million a year. Is ANY receiver worth that? Maaaaaybe, but it depends on the team and the scheme. Is Metcalf worth that? Same answer: depends on team and scheme. Is Metcalf worth that on THIS team with THIS scheme? No and no. Why would you pay a receiver that kind of money and then run a scheme that aims to throw the ball no more than 25 times a game? That’s insanity.

It’s even more insane to do that with Russell Wilson out of the picture. Because that then makes Metcalf the top dog on this team, and when has that EVER worked out, for ANY team? Elite receivers earning elite money on teams with sub-elite quarterbacks is only a recipe for headaches and losing (see: the careers of OBJ, Terrell Owens, Ochocinco, Brandon Marshall, Dez Bryant, etc.). With Wilson around, you at least have someone to help keep him in line. I guarantee there will be a vast increase in sideline tirades with Wilson gone, and Metcalf unhappy with the number of balls he’s getting thrown in his direction (hell, there might be an increase anyway; Metcalf is pretty volatile).

Of course, the key here is what the Seahawks would get in return for Metcalf. I’d love multiple first rounders, but I’d also take a first and a future second (or vice versa). I think the peace of mind alone would be worth it, as well as being able to spend $20-$25 million in other areas of the team where it would be money better spent.

The combo of trading Wilson and Metcalf would be quite a haul in draft capital! We can use that to improve the team as a whole, or we can use some of that to trade up and maybe find the next franchise QB.

I’ll also say this, as someone who has Metcalf in a fantasy football dynasty league: I worry about his longevity. He takes a lot of hits. I’d be concerned about Metcalf’s availability over the course of his second – and especially third – contract.

I could be wrong, of course, about all of it. But, right now I see a Seahawks team that’s one of the very worst in all of football. Changes need to be made. And, other than Wilson, there’s no one else on this team that has the kind of value to make franchise-altering moves. Metcalf is the next best player to trade. So, I think the Seahawks should do it. There will never be a better time.

Leaving The Seahawks For Dead

I know the Seahawks aren’t officially eliminated from playoff contention yet, but it’s only a matter of time. The writing has been on the wall since the second week of the season, but when you melt down like the Seahawks melted down yesterday, there’s no coming back. Even if the Seahawks did manage to run the table, what would be the point? To stick it to the Jets? Haven’t they suffered enough?

The Arizona Cardinals went into this game with no DeAndre Hopkins; we knew that well ahead of time. They also went into this game with no Kyler Murray; we heard about this either the night before or the morning of. Colt McCoy got the start, and much like last year – when he came into Seattle as a member of the New York Football Giants and somehow emerged victorious – he once again decimated our season. If you’ll recall, at season’s end we were one game out of the top spot in the NFC; had we beaten the Giants, we would’ve been in a vastly superior position over merely hosting in the wild card round and losing at home to the Rams.

This year, Colt McCoy & Co. dropped us to 3-7. It’s like when Travis Coates shot a rabid Old Yeller out behind the barn, but if Old Yeller was a dick to everyone the entire movie. No one is mourning the death of this Seahawks season; this team hasn’t been fun to watch for years, and this is the LEAST-fun version of all of these mediocre Seahawks teams.

You know whose schtick gets really old and tired when he’s not pulling games out of his ass and carrying the team on his back? Russell Wilson. I’m ready for him to go somewhere else. It’s clear he doesn’t give a shit and doesn’t want to be here.

All the old, dead weight needs to be dropped as well. That means getting rid of Chris Carson, Alex Collins, and Rashaad Penny. Carson is already out for the year with an upcoming neck surgery, and has probably played his final down of football (because the last thing anyone wants to do is take a chance on permanently injuring their neck, especially when they play a position that gets hit as often as running back does). Trash-aad Penny had an opening run of 18 yards, immediately got injured, had a run of 1 yard in the second half, and never returned. He had the highest health grade of all running backs the year he was drafted.

Duane Brown sure looks like he’s done! I’m glad we didn’t bother to extend him. Gabe Jackson sure looks like a waste of money! I saw him fuck up on two critical plays where he couldn’t handle a simple defensive stunt; that’s all I need to see. The center position has been a continuous wasteland ever since we traded away Max Unger. And, the worst player I saw yesterday was Brandon Shell, who got repeatedly abused by Chandler Jones.

It’s hard to get too mad at the defense, as I thought they did their jobs for the most part. But, they couldn’t do anything when it mattered most (7 minutes left in the game, the Seahawks just scored to pull it to within 3 points; Arizona promptly drove 67 yards for a TD, taking 4:45 off the clock) and there are any number of guys who are overpaid and not performing to market rates.

I can’t wait to have most of these veterans out of my life, but there’s one thing I haven’t mentioned yet.

If we’re talking about doing a full tear-down and rebuild, you can’t ignore the coaching staff and front office. Since I referenced schtick getting old, I might as well talk about Pete Carroll here. Conventional wisdom indicates when you find a franchise quarterback, you do whatever it takes to make him happy and keep him for as long as his prime will last. Between that, and Carroll’s advanced age, it was fair to wonder if he wanted to endure another rebuild. But, at this point, I don’t think he has a choice. And in fact, I think the choice will be made for him as soon as the final game ends and Russell Wilson hands the team his updated list of teams he’ll accept a trade to. So, the next question to ask is: does Pete Carroll want to return? And, if so, will the team decide to keep him?

I’ll save the conversation around whether the team SHOULD bring him back or not for another time. Seeing how this team devolved over the last half decade, I think it’s fair for a lot of Seahawks fans to want a change from the top on down. But, Pete Carroll helped engineer the greatest rebuild in team history a decade ago; part of me is curious to see if he can do it again. Or, rather, what he would do this time around (because it’s unfair to expect him to helm a rebuild as epic as the last one).

The downside of keeping Carroll is we’re almost certainly going to keep the coaching staff around him. That means Ken Norton wouldn’t be going anywhere, even though he’s inept at his job. And, that means Shane Waldron getting another crack at it. A blind chimp should be able to take the talent we have with Russell Wilson at quarterback and average more than 19 points on offense. I think our initial suspicions were correct when we saw the Seahawks hire someone who had – time and time again – been passed over for promotions, by both his own team and the other teams who were looking to poach from the Rams.

Then, there’s John Schneider. He’s a guy who hasn’t had a quality draft since 2012. He’s a guy who has bungled a high percentage of high-profile trades. He’s punted on most first rounds of the draft, and when he hasn’t, he’s still failed spectacularly. I don’t know how you defend the guy anymore. Other teams win a lot, get saddled with lower draft picks, and still manage to find quality players to incorporate into their systems. Other teams don’t go through these endless periods where their fucking offensive line can’t block for shit.

I don’t know. Normally, when things get this bad, I take solace in looking forward to what changes can be made to improve things, but as I’ve mentioned nonstop, there’s nothing to look forward to with this team. The Jets own our first round pick (at this point, it’s the fifth overall pick … sigh). For some reason, we got back the Jets’ fourth rounder, but we traded away our sixth rounder to the Jags for Sidney Jones. We’ve managed to save a little bit of money, but who knows if there’s some panic deal to be made in free agency in the coming weeks. Nevertheless, that money appears to be earmarked to go towards future dead money (with all of the monkeying around with contracts this year, combined with the dead money from shedding this team of its underperforming veterans), but regardless it’s not like this team has problems free agency can solve.

This team needs to bottom out, and that’s what’s so miserable about being in this position: we’re 3-7, we have the fifth-worst record in the entire NFL, and we haven’t even reached rock bottom yet! It’s not like we’re going to magically improve with Russell Wilson gone next year and this team immersed in a full rebuild. Indeed, we’re probably going to contend for the worst overall record in that scenario, so we have another full year of this to look forward to, at least!

This feels like the early 90’s all over again. Buckle up, because it’s going to be a turbulent bandwagon for the foreseeable future.

Husky Basketball Is In Desperate Need For A Shooter To Emerge

There’s an argument to be made that if the Washington Huskies had even one quality outside shooter, they’d be 4-0 right now and among the front-runners in the Pac-12. I think they definitely would’ve beaten Wyoming last night in this scenario, and a good chance they also would’ve taken out Northern Illinois in the opener (a game where we hit only 3/18 from behind the arc). But, literally every Husky shooter has struggled from long range. Even Jamal Bey’s numbers are deceiving because he doesn’t shoot enough to be taken seriously; he’s aggressive when the defense is all over him, but he’s weirdly passive when he’s wide open. It’s infuriating to watch Jamal Bey, and I can’t stand him as a basketball player.

Last night’s 77-72 overtime loss to the Cowboys was a heartbreaker. I’m not even that mad, really, because as I’ve said before, I have no expectations for this Husky team. But, I’m sad for the guys who really played their asses off in a tough matchup. What’s worse is that WE HAD IT! Terrell Brown had the ball in his hands, score tied, clock winding down in regulation; he even had a free lane to the hoop with just one man to beat, and his game-winning runner BARELY missed its mark, over the outstretched arms of Graham Ike.

It hurts all the more because I freaking love Brown, he has been everything I’ve ever wanted out of a Husky point guard and then some. Once again, with the offense scuffling, Brown took it upon himself to pick up the slack and single-handedly keep us in that game. He finished with a game-high 30 points on 10/29 shooting, while hitting 9/10 at the free throw line. It’s obviously not the greatest shooting percentage – especially when he only shot 1/4 from beyond the arc – but I’m not going to fault him when every other Husky struggled.

The Huskies didn’t deserve to lose this one. Obviously, they didn’t deserve to win it either, but they didn’t just have a poor percentage from three (5/26), they also missed a lot of runners and lay-ups in the paint, which under most other circumstances will fall in the future. It was one of those games! Compound that with a whistle-happy referee crew (thanks #Pac12Refs) that clearly got sloppier with their calls as the game went on, and there was a lot karmically going against the Huskies they just couldn’t overcome.

Nevertheless, if Brown had help from literally anyone else, I think the Huskies would’ve easily won this in regulation.

I mean, you could literally say if just Daejon Davis was better from long range (he’s currently hit 25% – 4/16 – on the season), the Huskies would be 4-0. Or, if Emmitt Matthews was better (21.4%, 3/14 on the season), or P.J. Fuller (28.6%, 4/14 on the season), or supposed sharp-shooter Cole Bajema (16.7%, 1/6 on the season). But, no one has been able to consistently step up and stretch the defense this year.

That’s going to be a problem eventually, because teams are going to scout us and realize our only offensive weapon is Terrell Brown drives into the paint, and the ensuing chaos on the offensive glass with put-backs and whatnot. Teams will, in turn, start to clog the paint and give us wide open looks on the outside. If we’re not hitting those outside shots, it’s going to be another LONG season.

I mean, just look at the last few minutes of regulation last night. The Huskies had a relatively comfortable 62-55 lead with about five minutes left. That’s right around when the Cowboys switched to a zone defense, which utterly befuddled the Huskies. Isn’t that Mike Hopkins’ thing? Doesn’t he feature the zone defense as his core philosophy? Wouldn’t that mean, in turn, that the Husky offense regularly goes up against other Huskies playing a zone defense in practice? How are we not prepared to score against this?! Don’t we watch the teams we go up against, and how they have no trouble whatsoever scoring against us in these situations?!

Anyway, that 62-55 lead turned into a 64-62 deficit before Brown scored a miraculous 3-point play the old fashioned way to momentarily give us the lead, before Ike hit one of two free throws to tie it.

Graham Ike, by the way, was phenomenal. I don’t usually spend a lot of time writing about guys on other teams, but he was an animal out there. If he wasn’t in foul trouble for almost the entire second half, he might’ve put up 40 points. He abused everyone who guarded him with his low post moves, and the Huskies adamantly refused to double-team him until it was too late (he finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds)

The Cowboys overall look like they’re a Tournament team this year. They’re tall across the board, and with point-forward Hunter Maldonado leading the way (he had 24 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 50% from the field, with a wicked low post game of his own), I look forward to betting on them getting a first round upset when I’m in Reno for March Madness.

Overtime didn’t go our way, because Brown literally can’t do it all himself. Nate Roberts and Emmitt Matthews fouled out, which set us back quite a bit in our defense. And after Davis got his fourth foul relatively early in the second half, we didn’t see him again, which was odd. Bajema has, for whatever reason, earned an insane amount of playing time, even though he doesn’t appear to do anything well. Practice Darlings are nice, but I’m going to need to see him step up in an actual game – and SOON – or I am going to start getting upset that he’s hogging minutes that should go elsewhere.

I was encouraged by Langston Wilson in this one, who was sort of the last big man standing at the end. He finished with 8 points and 12 boards off the bench (7 of those boards coming on the offensive glass). For someone as raw and inexperienced, I think he could blossom into a special player over the next two years.

Anyway, that’s it for a relatively disappointing 2-2 homestand. Now the Huskies go off to play in some weird tournament in South Dakota next week. I’m glad most of our non-conference schedule – except for Gonzaga, of course – is made up of lower-tier teams. Wyoming was a nice little test, but clearly we have some things to work on before we get to Pac-12 play. I don’t think we’re TOO far away from stepping up and surprising some teams, but a shooter WILL have to emerge. Otherwise … yikes.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Monday Night Disappointment

I’ve long bemoaned my Monday night plight when it comes to fantasy football. I’ve lost countless games I was otherwise leading heading into Monday, while almost never flipping the script on someone else. If I have, I don’t remember it, and I feel like I’d remember the glory of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

Look, I’ll be the first to admit I probably didn’t deserve to win this one. But, I don’t necessarily think my opponent did either. Car Talk With Josh Allen beat Snoopy & Prickly Pete 146.40 to 141.16.

It was simple: I was up 139.16 to 125.20. I had the Rams’ defense (usually a pretty reliable one that’s good for 10-15 points or so) and he had Jimmy G, going up against that Rams defense. Jimmy G, as we all know, is usually good for a turnover or two, so I felt reasonably confident that I could pull this one out.

Instead, the Rams decided to let Deebo Samuel take over – apparently Jalen Ramsey had more pressing matters to attend to than lock down the 49ers’ best offensive weapon – and he absolutely fucking DOMINATED! Good lord. What were the Rams thinking?

Anyway, I also lost because of my own stupidity. Ben Roethlisberger was diagnosed with COVID and out for Sunday’s game. As a result, I got cold feet on Diontae Johnson and benched him for A.J. Brown. Johnson got 13.3 points – which is nothing special – but Brown, predictably, was shut down by the Saints’ defense, scoring only 3.3 points. I knew it was going to happen, but I followed Yahoo’s stupid advice anyway, and there we have it. Having rostered Brown for long enough, I have a pretty good feel for when he’s going to lay an egg. He can’t seem to get it up for elite cornerbacks. It happens to the best of us.

We prattle on. Here’s my lineup for this week:

  • Mac Jones (QB) @ ATL
  • Justin Fields (QB) vs. BAL
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ KC
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. ARI
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ KC
  • Rhamondre Stevenson (RB) @ ATL
  • Mike Gesicki (TE) @ NYJ
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) @ LAC
  • Zane Gonzalez (K) @ SEA
  • Cleveland (DEF) vs. DET

I picked up Stevenson, dropping Mark Ingram. Again, let’s keep the focus on guys who might be relevant next year and beyond. A Dynasty League owner’s roster tweaking is never done.

That’s a clear example of burying the lede, because Trader Steven was on the prowl this week! First and foremost, our trade deadline is November 20th (this upcoming Saturday). Second, as has been discussed ad nauseam throughout most of the year, I have four really good wide receivers who I like a lot; we are only allowed to keep up to three of them (two in the WR spot, one for a FLEX if that’s your preference). It was a nice luxury to have through most of the BYE weeks, because between BYEs and injuries, I always had at least three guys I could play. But, having all four on my roster to the end of the season did me no good in the grand scheme of things.

While I had four receivers I liked, I only had one running back (at most) that I liked. Ezekiel Elliott has been fine this year, but his clock is ticking. Nevertheless, the dropoff from Zeke is a steep one. Bottom line is: I was going to have to keep a running back I hated, unless I made a trade. So, with Korky Butchek, I traded away A.J. Brown, receiving in return tight end Mike Gesicki and rookie running back Javonte Williams (to make the numbers match, I dropped the other tight end I picked up recently, Pat Freiermuth).

I originally offered him Diontae Johnson straight up for Williams, but he rejected that one and countered with the above deal that I accepted. For me, the ranking of my receivers went like this:

  1. CeeDee Lamb
  2. D.K. Metcalf
  3. A.J. Brown
  4. Diontae Johnson

Lamb was as close to untouchable as it gets, and Metcalf is pretty close to untouchable as well. Brown, on the other hand, is frustratingly boom or bust, and always finds himself on the injury report in spite of his young age. He tends to get better as the season goes along, though, so I would expect great things out of him in the month of December. Plus, with Henry out, and Julio Jones largely a non-factor, Brown figures to be far and away the #1 offensive option on the Titans. This could very well be the move that spares Korky Butchek of a last place finish!

On the flipside, Javonte Williams is seen by many experts to be a “league winner”. One of those guys good teams stash on their bench, who explode for huge fantasy numbers in the final month of the season (a la Cam Akers last year). He plays on the Broncos, who are pretty devoted to the run; but they’ve – to date – also been devoted to a running back by committee approach. Here’s to hoping that changes as we head into next year.

I’m not totally sold on Gesicki’s prospects as a dynasty tight end, mostly because Miami’s quarterback situation is muddy at best. Nevertheless, you can’t deny his talent, when he’s managed to stay healthy. I’m not getting my hopes up too high, but he’s a far cry better than Noah Fant at this point.

Then, late last night, I discovered a trade was offered to me. My opponent this week wants to swap kickers – I get Gonzalez, he gets Justin Tucker – and for my trouble, he’s giving me his 2nd round draft pick next year, in exchange for my 5th rounder (in our dynasty draft, the first 10 rounds are devoted to keepers; so technically it’s a swap of his 12th rounder for my 15th rounder).

I think this is a helluva deal for me! I get better draft positioning for next year, in exchange for Justin Tucker. I can stumble into the next Justin Tucker, no problem. Besides, thus far this year, Zane Gonzalez has more points than Tucker, and is hitting at one of the highest rates of anyone in the NFL. We’ll see if that carries over into next year and beyond, but the last thing I’m going to sweat is the kicker spot, especially when I have a chance to improve through the draft next year.

We’ll see how it goes. My season is already fucked – I’ve been playing for next year since day one – so I might as well take some big swings and hope for a huge turnaround. And, you never know, if my QB situation picks up, and Williams emerges as the stud a lot of people think he’ll be, I could be well on my way to making some noise in the Consolation Bracket!

This week, I’m going up against the annoyingly-named Hahmez Wah 360 Allstars, who has been Joey IR Police on the message boards. God forbid anyone leave a player on the IR spot for an extra week to try to get through the BYE weeks with all your players! IT’S THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY, AND HAHMEZ WAH 360 ALLSTARS IS GOING TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF IT! Here are the guys who will defeat my guys:

  • Jalen Hurts (QB) vs. NO
  • Tyrod Taylor (QB) @ TEN
  • Deebo Samuel (WR) @ JAX
  • Stefon Diggs (WR) vs. IND
  • D’Andre Swift (RB) @ CLE
  • D’Onta Foreman (RB) vs. HOU
  • Zach Ertz (TE) @ SEA
  • Marquise Brown (WR) @ CHI
  • Justin Tucker (K) @ CHI
  • Buffalo (DEF) vs. IND

I’ve got three of his guys (Hurts, Diggs, and Brown) in another league, so it’s like looking in a mirror this week. There’s no analysis needed here, his team is better than mine from top to bottom. I’ll take my loss like a man and move on.

Unfortunately, bungling the game last week drops me to 2-8. I’m still in last place by a full game, and also 50+ points behind Korky Butchek in the tie-breaker of total points. That’s huge, because I recently learned the Toilet Trophy goes to the regular season last place team, and not – as I’d originally hoped – the Consolation Bracket loser.

So, here’s the deal: I play Korky over Thanksgiving weekend. If trends continue, that game might very well decide the Toilet Trophy winner. I’m calling it the Toilet Bowl. I just hope he doesn’t win this upcoming week to ruin my narrative ahead of our Sludge Match!

Splinter League Round-Up!

BUCK FUTTER bounced back with a victory that was more difficult than it needed to be, over 50 Shades Of Gritty. That improves me to 6-4 and in third place (the best of all the 6-4 teams). So far, it looks like a 5-team race for four spots. The top two teams are 9-1 and 8-2; they’re going to be hard to catch up to. Though, one of them (Beer Thirty, the 8-2 team) is going up against me this week. Ideally, I need one of the other 6-4 teams to start losing, but it’s getting scary out there for ol’ BUCK FUTTER. Someone give me a break!

Somehow, The Seahawks Aren’t Even Relevant With Russell Wilson

The Seahawks had to go to Green Bay to play the Packers on Sunday. There was a lot of excitement and general football interest in this one because it was the first game back for Aaron Rodgers after his COVID kerfuffle, and the first game back for Russell Wilson after his grisly finger injury.

I don’t think the analytic wing of Seahawks fandom had much hope for the Seahawks prevailing, but I do think your everyday beer-swilling, boorish Seahawks fan probably believed in an upset for the good guys. I, of course, ever-the-pessimist, not only expected a surefire Seahawks loss, but I didn’t even bother really watching the game (I saw most of the first half in a Round Table Pizza with the sound off).

I can’t remember a season where I’ve consistently missed out on watching so much Seahawks football. I’ll regularly dodge the Mariners or the Husky basketball team (admittedly, my Kraken viewership has waned considerably), but I’ve always made time for the Seahawks until this season. Of course, most of that has to do with me just having better things going on in my life, but regardless, you’d think at some point I’d have to pay for it. I’d return home having missed the greatest Seahawks game of all time.

That decidedly has not been the case!

The Seahawks lost 17-0 to the Packers on Sunday. Clearly, when you go on the road and play an Aaron Rodgers-led offense, and you hold them to 17 points, you’ve done your job on defense. Even though I’m criminally uninformed, no notes! Great job, everyone, go grab some cake and ice cream and enjoy the party.

The Seahawks’ offense, on the other hand, is bad. I don’t know if it’s the offensive coordinator or the play-calling, but since Shane Waldron is a first-timer for both jobs, I think it’s safe to say he shoulders some blame. The vitriol isn’t quite there for me, because Russell Wilson has been decidedly un-Russell Wilson-like this year, which I think we all should’ve seen coming.

This is the Superstar Trying To Force His Way Out Of Town playbook to a T. See, it’s subtle, but it’s highly effective. You start with a superstar. He’s had a miraculous career where he’s won lots of games and done remarkable things. He’s still close-enough to the prime of his career that you know there are lots of great seasons ahead. Then, he gets mad about this n’ that, and either publicly or privately demands to be traded. The important thing here – unlike most other trade demands – is that the team doesn’t trade him. At least, not right away. Instead, they mend fences and the superstar returns.

Only, his game is a little … off. He’s suddenly not very good! He’s suddenly below .500 with a 4.33 ERA, in the case of 1998 Randy Johnson, who would go on to be traded to the Astros halfway through and compile a 10-1 record with a 1.28 ERA the rest of the way. Or, he’s throwing multiple interceptions in the endzone, and generally not knowing where the ball needs to go, in the case of Russell Wilson.

We KNOW Russell Wilson isn’t finished. But, he’s playing JUST bad enough to provide nothing for this Seahawks team, so everyone won’t feel quite so bad when he gets traded next year. It’s brilliant, really, because all it does is harm the team trading you away. It reduces your own value – just temporarily – but that will be easily rectified when you go to a new team and suddenly start trying again.

Yeah, I’m saying Russell Wilson isn’t trying. Because, that’s the only explanation I can come up with for why the Seahawks are 2-4 in games started by Wilson. See, this goes beyond a 3-game Geno Smith stretch. You can’t watch the way Wilson is playing and the decisions he’s making with the football, and come away with any other impression. It’s like he’s willfully defying the whole point of bringing in this offensive scheme just to do his own thing.

We’ve seen the Seahawks lose before, obviously. But, we’ve rarely seen the Seahawks so non-competitive. Even in the losses of old – as recently as LAST YEAR – I would always believe the Seahawks were going to win those games, late into the fourth quarter, until the score got impossibly out of reach (and even then, the 2014 NFC Championship Game did a lot to warp my thinking towards what’s possible in a positive sense). But, this year? I almost never feel good about what I’m watching with the Seahawks. This is the third time we’ve lost by more than one score; we used to go multiple seasons without losing games by 9 or more!

Even if we lost, we were always fun to watch (usually in a heart attacky sort of way)! We were almost always the best game on television in any given week. But, now it’s like we’re only comprised of the worst elements of traditional Seahawks games with none of the old magic. We’re not even stressful to watch anymore, because that stress always came with the belief that we deserved to win games. I’m not sure if we even have more than two wins in us the rest of the way.

This is Russell Wilson’s last year in Seattle, so soak it in. He’s going to be traded in the off-season, and we’re going to get peanuts on the dollar for our trouble.

This is also going to be a multiple-year rebuild, so I hope you’re prepared to hurry up and wait. Remember when the Mariners were great from 2000-2003? Remember how many games they won in that stretch? And then, suddenly, the Mariners in 2004 fell off the cliff and ended up winning only 63 games? This is like that. Most of our stars were still attached to that squad, no one really saw it coming, but the fall from grace was there in all its glory. These Seahawks finishing with 5 wins and giving away a Top 10 pick to the Jets is absolutely the equivalent to those Mariners. And there’s no telling when we’ll be able to get back to our former glories. The Mariners are STILL waiting to be as good as they were from 2000-2003; I might be retired and stuck in an old age home by the time the Seahawks are seriously contending for Super Bowls again.

This got real dark. But, that’s what happens when you get shutout for the first time since 2011 in the NFL. Unfortunately, we don’t have a facsimile of the 2012 season waiting right around the corner. Instead, we likely have the second-coming of a Tarvaris Jackson-type to take over next year.

By then, I fully intend to still have better things to do with my time on Sundays. Here’s to missing many more Seahawks games!

The Huskies Found A Way To Take Care Of Business Against Texas Southern

Watching this No Expectations Husky Basketball Team is, I have to admit, pretty entertaining! Don’t get me wrong, this team isn’t good. It’s deeply flawed for any number of reasons – many of them, we saw examples of in this very game – but they play hard and they play a brand of basketball I can get behind.

I think I’m a fan of the full-court press defense! Who knew that’s what I’ve been missing all this time?! It’s exciting, it pressures the other team for the full amount of shot clock, and if done properly it can force them into turning the ball over. This has been a HUGE development for this Husky team that otherwise has been just okay in man-to-man, but has been truly God-awful at the zone.

The zone, at its best, is supposed to limit three-point opportunities. When we were running it at its best – with Matisse Thybulle dominating everyone in his path – we still weren’t perfect, but for the most part we could shut down an outside game and funnel shots to the mid-range. That has decidedly NOT been the case since Thybulle went pro; teams have been doing whatever they want against our zone.

Thankfully, Mike Hopkins has recognized that he doesn’t necessarily have the guys to properly enforce the zone. He also recognized that if he has another season like the last two, he’s probably out on his ass, so it’s time to adapt to the personnel he has. The man-to-man has been a breath of fresh air; we’re at least able to stop the bleeding caused by the zone leaving guys with wide-open looks all over the court. But, the full-court press has been a jolt of caffeine straight to the heart! Teams aren’t expecting it, and at least in the early going, it’s almost single-handedly kept us in ballgames.

The Texas Southern Tigers came out absolutely on fire in the early going last night. They were making shot after shot, but luckily so were we. They didn’t necessarily have the long-range game going – not for lack of opportunity, as they were 2 of 18 on the night, many of them wide open – but everything else was on the table.

That was, in large part, thanks to their offensive rebounding. They didn’t have any one huge behemoth out there dominating us; it was a true team effort. I can’t remember the last time I saw a team so pesky on the offensive glass. They CONSTANTLY had guys crashing after balls, and we were fundamentally incapable of boxing them out. I do recall games in the last couple years where giving up offensive rebounds was an issue, but not like this! They had 29! They had more offensive rebounds (29) than defensive rebounds (23). I was absolutely blown away. As a result, they were able to put up 72 shots to our 57. But, they only hit 36.1% of them to our 40.4%.

We also, as indicated above, made ample use of the press to help force 21 Tigers turnovers. We had 7 blocks and 8 steals as a team, and we made 20/28 from the free throw line (we’re getting better!). While our three-point shooting wasn’t terrific (6/22), it was just good enough. All told, it amounted to a 72-65 victory for the Huskies.

Terrell Brown led the way with 20 points and 9 assists. It was a steady, quiet performance that nevertheless showed up in a big way late, as he finished the game making 6 of 7 free throws. Daejon Davis stood out to me, having his best game as a Husky so far. He had 15 points, hitting 2 of 5 threes (4 of 7 overall) and 5 of 7 free throws (tack on 2 steals and a block to his line). Jamal Bey had 10 points, 7 boards, 2 blocks, and a steal. P.J. Fuller had 11 points, 3 boards, 2 steals, and 2 blocks in 23 minutes off the bench. And Langston Wilson had 7 points and 7 boards in 22 minutes off the bench.

This was a really well-rounded Husky victory, with lots of people contributing. And if you shield your eyes from who the opponent was, and how they were able to push us to the last minute of the game, this was a nice little victory.

Right now, the Huskies just need to learn how to play together and learn how to win some ballgames again. Get a little confidence as we head into conference play. It’s probably going to be a long year, but I still don’t see why we can’t at least improve upon expectations and be a Top 10 team in the Pac-12.

The 2021 Husky Football Team Has Found A New Low, Needed To Fire Jimmy Lake

It’s impossible to say the Washington Huskies football team has hit rock bottom, when 2008 is still a thing that existed, but this is about as bad as it gets.

We headed into the game on Saturday against Arizona State with Jimmy Lake suspended for the one game. Earlier in the day, the Seattle Times dropped a bombshell of a story from 2019 – when Lake was still the defensive coordinator – corroborated by multiple players that he attacked then-wide receiver Quinten Pounds, unprovoked, at halftime in the locker room. There’s a bit of he said/she said going on – and Pounds, to my knowledge, hasn’t commented one way or the other – but if the final straw didn’t already break the camel’s back, this looked like a Bane vs. Batman scenario.

What’s more damning from the same article is that only 4 of 17 outgoing Huskies from that 2019 season would recommend players come play for Washington during their exit interviews. That’s appalling! That means the culture was fundamentally rotten, and given all the defectors over the last year-plus, points squarely at Jimmy Lake having lost the team. No doubt about it: he needed to go.

Of course, Lake will almost certainly be hired as a defensive coordinator at Alabama – or some other successful SEC school that doesn’t give two shits if coaches beat up their players – which will completely rehabilitate his image and have him back as a head coach somewhere else within the next five years. But, that’s neither here nor there.

Things looked especially galling for Washington when the Huskies jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter against the Sun Devils. The offense looked crisp, efficient, and wildly effective. John Donovan should never be allowed to coach in football ever again.

But, unfortunately, the Huskies got saddled with terrible field position the rest of the first half. The defense kept us in it for a while, leaving us with a 17-7 halftime lead, and a 24-14 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

We saw extended Sam Huard action FINALLY, but he was not put into a position to succeed. His first couple drives saw us backed up deep into our own end of the field. Then, the only drive he got in the second half was a TD drive comprised entirely of handoffs to running backs.

Meanwhile, after the first quarter, Dylan Morris was atrocious. He threw yet another miserable interception, and was WAY off-target throughout. I refuse to blame the weather for this, because he’s been WAY off-target all season, rain or shine. He stinks. If it wasn’t announced that the team is now planning to redshirt Huard (as long as he doesn’t play in TOO many games, the redshirt is still in play), I would be clamoring harder for Morris to get benched. As it is, whoever the third QB is on this roster can’t be any worse. It’s time to dump Morris and let him transfer away in the offseason.

As a result of Morris’ jackassery, the Sun Devils were able to take over in the fourth quarter. Certainly, the defense being gassed – thanks in large part to a 20-play, 9-minute drive in the period, followed by no rest from the Husky offense on the subsequent drive – had everything to do with it.

I hate the 2021 Huskies. They stink. They’re 4-6 and will probably have a decent chance to win in Colorado next week, but that’s only the precursor for losing the Apple Cup and watching the Cougs dancing on our field on Black Friday. Yay. I can’t wait.

Who the Huskies hire next will be the big story of the offseason. I fully expect to be underwhelmed.

Husky Basketball Looked Slightly Improved

I’m obviously not going to go nuts about one win against a crap team, but I think we all need to adjust our thinking on the Washington Huskies. For starters, as much as the Pac-12 Network wants to push this narrative that their basketball teams are BACK, let’s calm down. They had one good run in the NCAA Tournament last season, but let’s see this take place over multiple years before we make any proclamations.

I’m not going to just take for granted that the Pac-12 is a Power Five conference. I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m also not going to just take it for granted that since Washington is in a so-called Power Five conference, that they automatically deserve the respect normally granted those teams. I see Washington as no better than any of these low-level schools coming in here that no one has heard of. They’re no different than the Northern Illinois Huskies (who they lost to on Tuesday), and they’re no different than the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (who they defeated last night, 73-62).

It can be easy to get angry at the games we’ve watched this week. As Washington fans, we tend to have high expectations. We expect, for instance, to see our Huskies blow out the types of teams we’ve played this week. So, when we struggle to eke one out, it’s just as aggravating and galling as if we lost to them. You can’t have that mindset with this team, though. They’re not this elite collection of basketball players; they’re mostly transfer guys who couldn’t hack it anywhere else, so they returned home – tails between their legs – to see if they could salvage something of their college careers before they run out of eligibility.

If you see Washington as on the same level as these other teams, then you got to witness two pretty entertaining – if sloppy – games this week! Sure, the shooting is pretty horrendous from the Huskies. But, they’re much more active on defense than they were the last couple years, and they’ve actually got guys who can drive the paint and draw fouls. It beats what we’ve had here recently, where they couldn’t drive AND they couldn’t shoot.

The key last night was not continually digging themselves into a hole. The Huskies mostly kept it close through the first half, before pulling away late in the game.

This one had a slightly different feel, in that it wasn’t so Nate Roberts-centric. He still managed to finish with 8 boards and 2 blocks, and was really active in the second half. The star of this one was Emmitt Matthews, who is quickly becoming my favorite player on this team. He’s always slashing, always deflecting balls, always putting back rebounds, and he even hit a couple outside shots (which doesn’t appear to be his game, but I’ll be happy to be wrong if he continues to hit 50% from long range). Matthews tore up the box score: 21 points and 9 boards. He shot 7/14 from the field, 2/4 from three, and hit 5/7 free throws. Excellent!

Bey, Brown, and Davis all scored in double-figures as well. Jamal Bey had a REALLY frustrating game to watch. He turned down too many wide open jumpers (even though he hit 2/3 from beyond the arc) for reckless drives in the paint that had no chance of going in. Also, he had 3 turnovers, but it felt like he had 8. Everything about this game felt off, but he still had 15 points, 4 boards, and 2 steals. Which goes to show you he’s gifted; it just doesn’t feel like he has the confidence to take charge on this team.

Brown’s game was much more quiet than on Tuesday, but he still finished with 11 points, 4 boards, and 2 steals. I’d like to say he spent more of the game distributing the basketball, but with everyone driving instead of shooting the open shots he was dishing to them, he only finished with 1 assist (and, again, the Huskies as a team had only 5 assists, after having that many on Tuesday). I was encouraged to see Brown start to assert himself late in the game, as the Lumberjacks started to pull the game close (he was 3/3 on free throws, and that seems like it’ll be a good source of points for him in games where the Huskies lead late). Davis was also a big part of this one, finishing with 10 points (on 3/9 shooting), with 5 boards, 2 assists, 2 steals, and a block.

The bench hasn’t been a significant contributor to this team just yet, but I liked what I saw from P.J. Fuller (4 points, 3 steals, and 2 blocks). And I want to shout out freshman Jackson Grant. I didn’t even know we HAD high schoolers coming here anymore; I thought Washington was strictly a transfer program now! It’s nice to see us not only trying to bring in high schoolers, but actually getting them minutes on this team. He’s a forward, which helps, since we’re so thin there. But, he hasn’t looked bad at all! Indeed, in this one, he led the bench in scoring with 7 points, and also had 4 boards. Most importantly, he passed the eye test; he looked like he belonged out there, and he wasn’t just some gangly white guy getting minutes because he’s tall and wide.

It’s not all roses and sunshine, of course. In the old way of thinking, I would say this is a game the Huskies are supposed to win. I’m trying to quit that mindset, because then I’d be upset we didn’t beat them by more. The Huskies can be maddening to watch. Lots and LOTS of unforced errors, on both sides of the court. There were still a distressing number of wide-open threes attempted by the Lumberjacks; fortunately they weren’t nearly as hot as Northern Illinois (hitting just 4/12). I don’t know if the perimeter defense is something that’s going to get better. I think it is what it is, and sometimes teams will be hot, and sometimes they’ll be cold. Some teams will look to make that a focus, and some teams will try to get their points inside.

I’m more concerned with the Huskies offensively. I like that the drive into the paint is still a thing; I like that we’re still getting to the free throw line (hitting 24/35 in this one; slight improvement over Tuesday). I think those are sustainable modes of scoring that we can count on for the entire season. The outside shooting gets an Incomplete grade from me, though it’s not looking good. It would be nice if ONE guy could step up and not only be aggressive shooting the ball, but hit a relatively high percentage of those shots.

How long of a leash are we giving Cole Bajema, by the way? He’s supposedly the team’s best 3-point shooter, yet he’s attempted exactly one of them in two games (over 37 combined minutes off the bench). What are we doing here? He’s looked lost in all the time I’ve watched him this week. It doesn’t look like he knows how to shoot, how to pass, how to defend; he fails the eye test. If he’s playing because of his perimeter jumper, then he needs to start busting it out in a big way, otherwise I can’t justify giving him these extended minutes in games.

Next game’s on Monday. I’ll be watching. This is fun! It’s a crappy team, but it’s an entertaining kind of crap that I can get behind!