Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Not The Absolute Worst

If the Toilet Trophy went to the ultimate loser of the Consolation Bracket, and not just the last place team of the regular season, I would’ve actually dodged it this year. What can be worse than being both last place AND the Consolation Bracket loser? Well, playing in and losing the 5/6 game. Not only did you go down in the first round of the playoffs, but you draft below all the Consolation Bracket teams. Woof.

Snoopy & Prickly Pete defeated The Lance Petemans 155.40 to 109.48. He scored far and away the lowest points, but my team actually put up a semi-respectable showing (even if he’d given a shit and filled in the two spots who didn’t play, I’d like to think I would’ve made it interesting). Mac Jones got 30+ for the first time all year (if only every game could be played at home against the Jags), D.K. Metcalf woke up from his lengthy slumber to get 30+, the Rams’ defense got me 23, my rookie kicker got me 11, and even Sean Mannion (a late-week pick up for the injured Justin Fields) got me nearly 17 points and out-performed Taylor Heinicke (who I waived earlier in the week for James Robinson).

This all means that I get the third pick in our fantasy draft next year (where we just draft for our bench spots). I would’ve been much happier drafting in the top two, but it wouldn’t shock me if the cliff of high-profile rookies happens just AFTER the third pick. I don’t know a lot about this rookie class, but we’ll see. Fingers crossed!

All that’s left is to decide my keepers. But, before I do that, let’s run through the other leagues really quick.

Splinter League Round-Up!

BUCK FUTTER handled Beer Thirty relatively easily for third place. Not a bad little season! I’m not as upset by losing last week, knowing that the eventual champion would’ve seriously kicked my ass regardless. Ja’Marr Chase won many championships this week with his 50+ point output. The only downside to third place is I don’t get my money back. But, in this league, if you’re not first, it’s not profitable in the slightest. I’ve never finished worse than 5th, but I’ve also never finished higher than 3rd in the Splinter League (dating back to its inception of 2015). This year really felt like the best team I’ve had in quite some time, in ANY league, so maybe my instincts are heading in the right direction? Or, maybe I just got lucky for a while, until my luck ran out.

Third League Round-Up!

Unfortunately, RUM HAM! didn’t show up at all. I wish I had the fortitude to start Amon-Ra St. Brown (who put up 32.4 points), but he was a waiver pick-up that very week, and I had three other receivers going who I liked a lot. Who wouldn’t start Stefon Diggs vs. Atlanta? Or A.J. Brown vs. Miami? And Jaylen Waddle had been a stalwart for my team all year (at Tennessee). You gotta ride the horses who brought you to the championship; that’s what everyone says. Well, Diggs was an utter disappointment of a second round pick all year (he got me 7.7 this week) and Brown is someone I’m never drafting again after taking him in the third round (he got 5.1 a week after scoring 27 for my bench). Still, I was lucky to get where I got, considering my team was middling-at-best. Not a bad little $50 payout for second place; I doubled up my money. Plus, I can keep Jaylen Waddle heading into next year, which will only cost me a 13th round pick.

Potential 2022 Dynasty Keepers

I don’t have to decide who my dynasty team will be until somewhere around a week before next season’s fantasy draft. Nevertheless, barring some shocking developments, I have my mind set for the most part.

Quarterbacks – Mac Jones is as close to a lock as I have (he’s the only one on my roster in the top 25 in our league in scoring, 18th overall). Then, it boils down to Justin Fields or Jordan Love. Love is, obviously, off the board if Aaron Rodgers is back again. But, otherwise, I’m strongly considering him over Fields. Fields obviously has a lot going for him: his legs, his high draft status, his acumen in big games in college. But, he’s got a terrible coaching staff (that, in all likelihood, will turn over this offseason), while Love (assuming he’s still with the Packers) will be part of a first-rate organization and a high-quality offensive mind at head coach. I’ll need to see who takes over for the Bears as head coach and what his offensive pedigree is before I opt for Fields. I have no problem keeping Love, because I know regardless, the quarterback position will be a high priority for me again in the 2022 draft.

Wide Receivers – This is probably a done deal, but I can’t yet say it’s 100% locked in. However, in some order, I like D.K. Metcalf (15th in scoring), Diontae Johnson (8th in scoring), and CeeDee Lamb (16th in scoring). We’ll have to see what the quarterback situation is in Seattle and Pittsburgh before I can fully commit. The lone downside to keeping three receivers is the fact that there’s usually an uber-stud at receiver in the NFL Draft every year. Two years ago, it was Justin Jefferson; last year, it was Chase. Who will it be this year, and will that person be available at the third overall pick in our league? Regardless, it’s usually easy enough to find a third receiver on waivers; hell, I picked up Johnson as a free agent someone let go! So, I might keep an extra running back just to hedge my bets on that position, which can be so difficult to fill and keep healthy.

Running Backs – Javonte Williams is a lock (15th in running back scoring); I just have to hope the Broncos fire their coaching staff and come to their senses in making him the bellcow. Ezekiel Elliott is probably a lock (7th in running back scoring), simply because he has to have at least one more good year left. I’m reluctant to get too excited, because his contract is so high; I could see Dallas wanting to get out from under it as soon as financially viable. They’ve also pretty much made their running back position a timeshare with Tony Pollard, who has often flashed as the better back this season. If I were to keep a third back, I have options. If, for whatever reason, Dalvin Cook is no longer the guy in Minnesota, then Alexander Mattison becomes a Must Keep. I also took a flier on the aforementioned James Robinson (24th in scoring in spite of all his injury woes this year); we’ll have to see how he recovers from his torn Achilles. If it looks like he might be back for the regular season (or not too long after the season starts) he could be a good player to stash. He’s been remarkably effective for a guy on a terrible team the last two years. The more I think about it, the more I’m leaning towards keeping three running backs, and hoping to fill out the receiver position in the draft. The running back I’m definitely NOT keeping is Clyde Edwards-Helaire; what a BUST! I took him with the second overall pick as a rookie and he’s done NOTHING to justify it. I don’t even want to know who I passed over to take him.

Tight End – It’s T.J. Hockenson (13th among tight ends, in spite of missing multiple games due to injury). He was somehow left on the waiver wire and I snapped him up. My other option is Mike Gesicki (8th among tight ends), but I don’t love the fact that he hasn’t developed a rapport with Tua. Usually, mediocre quarterbacks with no deep game thrive with tight ends, but somehow it hasn’t clicked (Gesicki was MUCH better with FitzMagic at the helm). Hockenson is the kind of talent who could make a huge leap forward in the next year or two; sort of the next Mark Andrews perhaps.

Kicker – I thought I was going to be screwed here after trading away Justin Tucker; it was still a good trade for me, because I need the extra draft pick more than I need an elite kicker over 30 years of age. As it turns out, I may have fallen ass-backwards into Justin Tucker 2.0 with Evan McPherson, the rookie Bengals kicker who was just named the AFC Special Teams Player Of The Month for December. Through this past week, he’s the third-highest scoring kicker in the league (just 2 points behind Tucker), he’s hit the most 50+ yard field goals, and he’s only missed 2 extra points for an offense that scores in bunches. Considering the first kicker off the board in our last draft was Harrison Butker, and McPherson has outscored him by 24 points, I think I’m in a pretty strong position for years to come (now watch him totally shit the bed as a sophomore).

Defense – I guess I’m happy enough with the Rams. They were the 8th highest scoring defense this year in our league, which is respectable. I’m assuming they’ll continue to be pretty reliable next year, but I’m also confident this will be a position from year-to-year with the most turnover in our league.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet for what I’m thinking for next year:

  • Mac Jones (QB)
  • Justin Fields (QB) or Jordan Love (QB)
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR)
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) or Diontae Johnson (WR)
  • Javonte Williams (RB)
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB)
  • FLEX: Metcalf/Johnson, Alexander Mattison (RB), or James Robinson (RB)
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE)
  • Evan McPherson (K)
  • L.A. Rams (DEF)

I’m excited about my receivers, I’m excited about Williams, and I’m really excited about my tight end, kicker, and defense. I’m cautiously optimistic about Jones, but overall underwhelmed with all of my quarterback options. And, considering the early comments on rookie QBs coming out of this draft, I don’t know if there’s a lot of hope for the 2022 season. I need to catch a few breaks somewhere.

Well, that’s it for fantasy football in 2021. As always, I’m glad it’s over. I will say, this year hasn’t been so agonizing from week to week. I had one really good team, one team that over-achieved, and my dynasty team was in a full rebuilding mode. I didn’t get everything that I wanted out of this year, but no one ever does. On to 2022.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Mac & Me

I’m in a little text thread with two of the other guys slated to play in the Consolation Bracket this season. They’re both pretty disgruntled with the new Dynasty format, and have been since the very beginning. I turned out to be one of the swing votes, in that in the past I had always voted against hard change in the league. But, after slowly building things to where we went – to four keepers per year – it finally felt like it was time to make good on a long-ago dream. If you weren’t in a Dynasty League mindset by now, you were never going to get there. I got there, and I’m all in.

I love the Dynasty League! And I’m in absolute last place, with no real hope of climbing out before the end of the season. Spoiler alert: Snoopy & Prickly Pete lost to Toot Cannons 191.85 to 164.35; meanwhile, Korky Butchek won his matchup against The Lance Petemans (the two I referenced in the above text chain) to all but guarantee his avoidance of the Toilet Trophy. Oddly enough, had I won, there would’ve been a three-way tie at the bottom (all 4-9 records) with Korky and my upcoming opponent, Sloane N Steady, which would’ve created a legitimate Toilet Bowl scenario, where – depending on the outcomes – any of the three of us could’ve taken the trophy. As it is, I think it’s mine for sure.

Anyway, my point is, as the worst team in the league, I have the most right to be disgruntled with the new format, but I’m all in. Because I’ve spent the last few years cultivating this mindset. Patience. Playing for the future. Acquiring future keepers either via free agency or trades. It helps that Javonte Williams has gone off the last two weeks (including scoring 29.8 points this past week, when he was given full starter’s reps), shoring up one of my running back spots. I feel like I’m ALMOST there. It’s not a perfect team, that’s obvious. It might not even be a good team next year. But, I should see improvement. I should avoid last place at the very least! Between what I’ve done this year, and how I set my team up going forward with the next year’s draft, there could be a nice little shake-up! We’ll see.

The key to it all is, was, and always has been finding at least one viable quarterback in 2021. Ideally two. But, one for sure. Granted, this is something I’ve been looking for since I can’t even remember anymore. Forever, probably. I thought I had something good with a rookie Carson Wentz. I lost my mind last year when I was able to nab Tua off free agency before he was handed the starter’s job. But, I’ve always kind of half-assed it. I was trying to have it both ways, develop an elite quarterback of the future, while trying to also win. I succeeded in doing neither. This year, it’s been all about the QB position. I’ve had up to six QBs on my roster at any given moment; right now, I have four, including Jordan Love as a lottery ticket. Love is my option if no one else asserts themselves in the next few weeks (or in offseason workouts).

I think I have the one, though. Mac Jones. There’s a lot to like there. He’s in a good system, with a good coaching staff. He’s got good players around him. He’s careful with the football. He’s got some skills and put up some nice fantasy numbers as a rookie. He looks like, at the moment, the best quarterback of this rookie class. We’ll see if that translates to future fantasy success, but he’s the best quarterback I’ve got at the moment.

Well, technically Taylor Heinicke has the most fantasy points on the year, but that’s as underwhelming of a dynasty quarterback as you can get. With that noodle arm? He’d have to be the next Peyton Manning, and I don’t think he is. For me, it’s down to either Justin Fields or Jordan Love as my second QB option heading into next year, but I’m pretty well convinced that I will need to address this position again in the draft next year.

But, I can’t throw away a second season trying to chase down the quarterback position. I need to figure it out next year. Which means I need to be right on Mac Jones. If I have him already in place, then I’m in pretty good shape. There’s hope that he’ll take a step forward in his second season, and then we’ll be off and running.

Unfortunately, I needed him this past week, and he failed to deliver. As noted, Toot Cannons came to play. The return of Kyler Murray buried me in a pretty deep hole. But, Diontae Johnson put up 30.5 to go with Williams’ high score, and the rest of my team did just enough to get me to within 28 points of winning. I had Mac Jones going against Buffalo on Monday Night Football. 28 points isn’t outlandish! An elite quarterback should be able to give you that in a pinch. Of course, Mac Jones has only reached that lofty target a few times this year, so we really needed him to give it all he had. It turns out, I got next-to-nothing from him, as the Patriots threw the ball only three times in their 14-10 victory over the Bills. Mac Jones had zero turnovers and was healthy for the entire game, yet he came away with 0.65 points. That’s not inspiring a ton of confidence heading into next year. (of course, the weather was a mess, with wind gusts up to 55 mph, but that’s neither here nor there).

This is it, the last week of the regular season. I’m 3-10, going up against the 4-9 Sloane N Steady. I would need to win, have Korky Butchek lose to Beasts, and outscore Korky by 59.02 points to avoid the Toilet Trophy. It ain’t happening. You hate to see it. Here’s my team:

  • Taylor Heinicke (QB) vs. DAL
  • Justin Fields (QB) @ GB
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ WAS
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) @ MIN
  • Javonte Williams (RB) vs. DET
  • Alexander Mattison (RB) vs. PIT
  • TBD (TE)
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) @ HOU
  • Ryan Succup (K) vs. BUF
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) @ ARI

Mac Jones is on a BYE, as is tight end Mike Gesicki. I’m going to try to pick up another tight end to keep on my roster the rest of the season, but we’ll see how it goes. At some point, I’m going to have a roster decision to make, because I can only abuse the IR slot so much. Right now, Jordan Love is on COVID IR, which should only work for a day or two (since he’s truly vaccinated and not just immunized). I’ve been trying to shore up my running back position heading into this offseason, but I’d like to keep some options open depending on what happens going into next year. I’ve got some choice backups on my roster I’d love to hold onto, but my team is just too damn healthy at the moment! I might end up dropping a kicker for a little bit until things get less hairy.

Here’s what Sloane N Steady has to work with (he’s another future Consolation Bracket foe I might have to contend with again in the near future):

  • Derek Carr (QB) @ KC
  • Aaron Rodgers (QB) vs. CHI
  • Mike Evans (WR) vs. BUF
  • Chase Claypool (WR) @ MIN
  • Nick Chubb (RB) vs. BAL
  • Darrel Williams (RB) vs. LV
  • Kyle Pitts (TE) @ CAR
  • Mark Ingram (RB) @ NYJ
  • TBD (K)
  • TBD (DEF)

My boy got swallowed up pretty good with the BYEs this week. He’s gonna have to make some moves to fill out his roster; I’m sure there will be ample opportunities out there for him. He also has a number of players that I’m going with in other leagues, so I would love for those guys to play really well (you know who you are).

Splinter League Round-Up!

BUCK FUTTER had the week all wrapped up before Monday, so we didn’t need Mac Jones to do anything (thank Christ!). The win leapfrogged me over Eddie’s team, into second place at 9-4. I’m one game behind Beer Thirty at 10-3, with two weeks to go. I’m not locked into a playoff spot yet, but with one more win I’m all but guaranteed. I have the second-most points in the league (50 behind Beer Thirty), which is appropriate. I just need to not fall apart over the next two games and I should be all right! Then, it’s playoff time, and we let the chips fall where they may. Shout out to Chris Godwin, Matthew Stafford, and the Indy defense for really carrying me last week!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Staving Off Elimination

It’s not over, but Snoopy & Prickly Pete avoided a guaranteed last place finish by eking one out over Korky Butchek in the Toilet Bowl, 126.15 to 125.10.

This one looked REALLY solid as I headed into Monday Night Football with over an 80% chance of winning. I was trailing by around 15 points, but Korky had no more guys going, while I had Taylor Heinicke and D.K. Metcalf. Each player by themselves was projected to outscore my deficit. But, there I was, needing 4 points with a quarter left to play. There I was, needing 2.5 points with four minutes left to play. There I was, with a touchdown pass by Heinicke that was overturned with just over two minutes to go! And, there I was, right after that, needing just one catch for two yards out of D.K. Metcalf on the Seahawks’ final drive of the game. To that point, he had zero catches for zero yards on, I believe, just one target (he had zero targets heading into the second half, which is batshit crazy to me).

Thankfully, on that last drive, Metcalf had 1 reception for 13 yards, which was plenty for me to work with, even with Heinicke losing a rushing yard on the kneel down to end the game.

Clearly, with my team’s output, there wasn’t a lot to celebrate this past week. However, Javonte Williams – in my first game with him since the trade – put up 20.1 points, which is VERY encouraging. Even moreso, Mac Jones put up 28.6 to lead the way for my team. The move of the week – that won it for me – was picking up Houston’s defense. They only scored 12 points, but the Rams only scored 1 for my bench; it’s about time a move like that paid dividends.

It’s good too, because Korky’s kicker obnoxiously put up 21 points. Losing because an opposing kicker scores 21 is reason enough to never want kickers in the league; I’ve been fighting that losing battle for years, and I’ll continue to rage against the randomness of kicker scoring.

The victory puts me in a tie with Korky Butchek for last place, with a 3-9 record. However, he’s got a 50-point advantage over me. Which means either I need to keep pace with him record-wise – and outscore him by 50 points in the process – or I need to beat him by a game somewhere in the final two weeks of the regular season.

So, you’re tellin’ me there’s a chance!

This week, I go up against Toot Cannons; here’s who I’m looking to go with:

  • Mac Jones (QB) @ BUF
  • Taylor Heinicke (QB) @ LV
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ NO
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) vs. BAL
  • Javonte Williams (RB) @ KC
  • Alexander Mattison (RB) @ DET
  • Mike Gesicki (TE) vs. NYG
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. SF
  • Ryan Succop (K) @ ATL
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) vs. JAX

Big news this week, as Dalvin Cook is injured and figures to miss a couple games. Mattison has been riding my bench ever since it looked like Cook might get suspended for domestic violence, and I’ve seen no reason to give up on that because Mattison is easily the most valuable backup running back in football. It’s for weeks like these where you want to have him. Against the Lions, he should feast. I’m benching Ezekiel Elliott this week because there’s been chatter of the Cowboys resting him. Even if he plays, though, the Saints have one of the best rush defenses in football. I could see him being more decoy than actual offensive asset; we’ll see if my gamble pays off. I’m kind of all in on Williams at this point, plus I absolutely HAVE to believe D.K. is in for a big game at some point. My dynasty kind of depends on it.

Toot Cannons has an extremely strong team, as you’ll see below:

  • Carson Wentz (QB) @ HOU
  • Kyler Murray (QB) @ CHI
  • Justin Jefferson (WR) @ DET
  • Mike Williams (WR) @ CIN
  • Najee Harris (RB) vs. BAL
  • Saquon Barkley (RB) @ MIA
  • Dallas Goedert (TE) @ NYJ
  • Tee Higgins (WR) vs. LAC
  • Harrison Butker (K) vs. DEN
  • San Francisco (DEF) @ SEA

He’s also got Tua, who has looked halfway competent at times! Certainly better than most of the QBs on my roster. And, he’s got Myles Gaskin as insurance off his bench. It’s going to be a tall order; Toot Cannons is 7-5 and has weathered the storm of the Murray injury over the last month. He looks to be in great shape to make a playoff run. Meanwhile, I’m fighting for my life to avoid last place.

In the spirit of Scoreboard Watching, Korky Butchek will be going up against The Lance Petemans this week. Lance is 5-7 and on the outside-looking-in on a playoff spot in seventh place. He has something to play for, so I’m hoping he’s up to the challenge of keeping me alive for Not Last Place.

Splinter League Round-Up!

BUCK FUTTER had an unimpressive victory over Chubby Dumplings to keep my hold on third place. More importantly, we knocked Chubby to a game back in the standings. The first place team also lost, which means I’m now just a game back of the top spot, all with three weeks to go. Next week, I get to play that erstwhile first place team (who fell to second, based on total points scored) for a chance to leapfrog him and try to cement my spot in the 4-team playoffs. I’ll have to do it without Aaron Rodgers, who has really been carrying me this year; thankfully, I was on top of stashing Mattison in all my leagues, so he should provide a boost for three teams I know and care about!

The Seahawks Beat The Viking, Are Taking Years Off Of My Life

The fucking rain.

It’s like we’re the Wicked Witch of the West whenever a few droplets hit our jerseys! There was about a 2-minute period in the third quarter of this game where the rain stopped, and I honestly don’t think it’s a coincidence that those are the two minutes where the Seahawks exploded for 21 unanswered points!

There’s so much to discuss about this game.

Here are the broad strokes: the Seahawks won 27-26. The Seahawks converted exactly 0 of 7 third down opportunities. The Seahawks held the ball for just under 21 minutes of game time. The Seahawks allowed the Vikings to rush for 201 yards. The Seahawks allowed the Vikings to run 83 plays and convert 31 first downs. EVERYTHING about this game screamed not only a Vikings victory, but a Vikings BLOWOUT victory! And yet, somehow, here we are, with a 5-0 record heading into our BYE week (the first of multiple, maybe, depending on how these COVID outbreaks keep shaking out).

I can’t begin to tell you how bad the Seahawks looked in the first half. The Vikings jumped right out to a 7-0 lead on the first drive of the game and it wasn’t even all that difficult. This looked to be a modified version of our performance against the Dolphins last week – where we kept plays in front of us and forced them to dink and dunk down the field – but the difference was the fact that Dalvin Cook is maybe the best running back in all of football, and Kirk Cousins finds a way to elevate his game when he goes up against the Seahawks (not every time, but sometimes).

Ultimately, we did slow the bleeding – even forcing the Vikings to punt once in the first half – and it felt lucky that we were only down 13-0 at the break. It was pretty appalling how badly the offense was sputtering. There were breakdowns along the offensive line, there were bad throws by Wilson, and guys weren’t able to get open. But, more than anything, I think the Vikings out-schemed us. They took away anything and everything deep, and for at least a half we fed right into that. It seemed like we were looking to chuck it 40 yards on every passing play, but with nothing open, that meant Wilson was stuck back there getting clobbered by a fairly feisty pass rush.

We’ve seen these games before from the Seahawks. This felt like the most “normal” game for us in this brand new Let Russ Cook era: fall into a deep first half hole, spend the second half clawing our way back into contention. The main difference here is: the Let Russ Cook Seahawks are able to come back almost immediately! A 13-0 deficit morphed into a 21-13 lead less than halfway into the third quarter! Not only did it look like the score we expected all along, but it looked like we were going to run away with it!

It honestly seemed like the Vikings got away from their gameplan on offense – which was: pound the rock – and put the ball in Kirk Cousins’ hands. So, the fumble and BAFFLING interception on back-to-back drives certainly gave us all the confidence we needed in watching our Seahawks come back. He settled down, of course, and ultimately put the Vikings into a position to steal one. But, he’s not Russell Wilson!

In that two-minute stretch, Dalvin Cook looked like he pulled a groin, went to the locker room, and returned for one play only to sit out the remainder of the game. It didn’t matter, as his backup – Alexander Mattison – was running like a total beast. This was not the Seahawks rush defense I signed up for, nor the one I promised last week! There were glimpses of dominance – especially from Jarran Reed, who was all over the place in the interior line – but instead of giving up on it, the Vikings doubled down. The Seahawks linebackers not named K.J. Wright had a pretty awful game. They would come up big late in the fourth quarter, but Cody Barton especially looked overmatched, and reminded us why this team drafted Jordyn Brooks in the first round (hopefully he’ll return to action after the BYE week).

As soon as we took that 21-13 lead, the offense went right back into hibernation mode. 21-13 became 21-19, which then became 26-21 Vikings halfway through the fourth quarter. More long, clock-churning drives. And THEN, one of the worst interceptions I’d ever seen from Russell Wilson!

That gave the Vikings the ball back at midfield, with just under six minutes in the game. They drove it all the way (eventually) inside the Seahawks 10 yard line at the two minute warning, for the play of the game. 4th down & 1 at the Seattle 6 yard line. Kick a field goal, and the Vikings would lead by 8 points, necessitating the Seahawks to drive approximately 75 yards for a touchdown (and a two-point conversion) in just under two minutes with only 1 time out. OR, go for it and seal the victory by getting a single yard. For a team that averaged 4.9 yards per carry on the day, it seemed like a no-brainer. As a Seahawks fan, I was dreading them going for it, which should tell you all you need to know about their decision being a smart one. The fact that my aggressive ways agree with what the math tells you is just a bonus; every once in a while I find myself on the right side of history, and I agree, it feels weird. Of course, with the Vikings ultimately NOT converting 4th & 1, and losing the game, in retrospect makes the choice to kick a field goal there more enticing. But, I’d like to think I wouldn’t be furious with my team if I were a Vikings fan right now.

I’d LIKE to think that, but, you know me …

The Seahawks still needed to score a touchdown to win it, and that was no sure thing! Not with the way we’d been trying to move the ball for all but two minutes of the game! Indeed, we were on our own 23 yard line, 4th & 10, with the game on the line and I was convinced it was over. I just couldn’t believe how badly Wilson was missing the mark on some of his patented deep throws! It seems impossible for him to over-shoot these guys when he puts so much arc on them, but there were a number of opportunities that shot well over the intended mark (I don’t know HOW you over-throw D.K. Metcalf, but he found away!). Anyway, thank Christ for Metcalf, who caught a lob ball down the left sideline to convert that 4th down; just a beauty of a 39-yard play! From there, the game-winning TD felt inevitable, and my main concern was not scoring TOO fast, to leave the Vikings time to go down and kick a field goal!

And yet, there we were, 4th & Goal at the 6-yard line with 20 seconds left. I guess that’s the third “Play of the Game” in this one? Once again, who does Wilson go to but D.K. Metcalf coming across the middle of the endzone?! With 15 seconds to go in the game, the Vikings converted one short pass and fumbled on the final play of the game to end it.

Not the best game in the world for Wilson – 217 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT – but his rating was still over 100. The rushing attack probably could’ve been leaned on more as Wilson, Carson, and Homer combined for 124 yards on only 16 carries (for a 7.8 average). D.K. was obviously the receiving star, with 6 catches for 93 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Defensively, K.J. Wright was phenomenal (including a 1-handed interception after dropping so many last week!). Shaquill Griffin had a strong coverage game. Ryan Neal continues to make plays at safety in lieu of Jamal Adams. Jarran Reed came up huge a number of times. Benson Mayowa looked good (the line combined for 3 sacks, which isn’t terrible). And, honestly, the best performance on either team might’ve come from our punter, Michael Dickson, who dropped 4 of 5 punts inside the 20 yard line, including two that landed inside the 2-yard line! The fact that our defense couldn’t make them pay for such poor field position is quite concerning.

The BYE week – as I’ve been saying for a while now – couldn’t come at a better time for this team. We’ve had a ton of guys show up on the injury report in recent weeks; most of them should be healthy as we head into our Week 7 matchup down in Arizona. More importantly, I hope to see some of the defensive issues cleaned up in these next two weeks, before we take on a potent-looking Cardinals offense.

For now, we get to take a deep breath and relax. The rest of the NFL is a COVID nightmare, but we’re 5-0 and alone in first place in the NFC (for the time being). Part of me knows it might not get any better than this, but I’m a romantic at heart, and I want so desperately to believe the best is yet to come! I think the Seahawks have what it takes.

But, just in case, let’s build a giant bubble to put over them so that nasty ol’ rain doesn’t interfere!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2019: Consolation Bracket Bound

That’s it. The regular season is over. I finished 6-7, a game outside of the playoffs. The top two seeds get a first round BYE, 3 vs. 6 and 4 vs. 5 play one another this week, but that doesn’t affect me, so whatever.

I won a meaningless game last week against the last place team, 172.20 to 96.50; it was just the third time out of 13 weeks where I exceeded my projected points. I finished with the 7th most points scored. There’s another 6-7 team ahead of me in total points who got knocked out of the playoffs on a heartbreaker, losing by less than 2 points this past week. He has the third-most points scored in the entire league and is on the outside looking in, which is just a kick to the crotch (though he did start Julio Jones on Thanksgiving, who ended up not playing).

I did end up with the second-most points scored against me (only the last place team had a higher total against him, but he also scored by far the least amount of points in the league, so his 2-11 record was well-earned), but as I’ve said countless times, I can’t blame the fantasy gods for this one. My team underachieved, plain and simple, and when they didn’t underachieve, I made a series of terrible decisions to eliminate myself from the playoffs.

***

I’m on BYE this week as the Consolation Bracket has to wait until Week 15 to get going. It’s unfortunate, because most of my matchups are truly magnificent. Brady vs. Kansas City, Wentz vs. the Giants, Kupp vs. Seattle, Le’Veon Bell vs. Miami; those guys alone should’ve propelled me to the next round of the playoffs. Instead, I get to watch those guys rack up a ton of points for my bench.

No roster moves this week. I picked up the backup running backs for Dallas and Minnesota last week, mostly to be a dick I guess? I mean, if the guy who has Dalvin Cook couldn’t be bothered to handcuff him, that’s not really my problem (my longterm goal is for the Vikings to trade Cook in the offseason and commit to his backup going forward, before it’s time for us to declare our keepers).

***

One of the last remaining decisions to make is who my keepers will be. I’m pretty committed to keeping Daniel Jones, considering all it took to get him and keep him on my roster this year. Here’s to hoping for that Year 2 bump.

I’m also pretty dialed in on keeping Ezekiel Elliott. He’s got his big payday, he’s still in the prime of his career, so he’ll be one of my starting RBs for a good while yet.

I’m also very committed to Josh Jacobs with the Raiders. He’s had a great rookie campaign and figures to really bust out next year, assuming he stays healthy and all that good stuff. He’s over 1,000 yards and has 7 TDs through 12 games; I’d say that’s keeper-worthy.

The fourth one is probably my most vital decision. Right now, I’m leaning towards Carson Wentz. He’s shown he’s pretty capable when his receivers are healthy; the main problem is his receivers have NOT been healthy. Like, at all this year. I also don’t want to put too much stock into one mediocre season. The last time I did that was Dak Prescott’s second year (where he took a step back after a fine rookie campaign). He ended up turning things around in Year 3 and has been a legitimate MVP candidate in Year 4 this season. Assuming Wentz makes it through this last month healthy, there’s no reason to NOT expect a bounce-back year in 2020.

My next-best option is Le’Veon Bell. He’s been a target-monster this year in a terrible offense with a terrible offensive line. I’ll be looking at him very closely, to see where he ends up next year, and how good his situation appears. If he stays with the Jets, they better beef up their O-Line something fierce.

Beyond Wentz or Bell, it’s a lot of fliers. I have Tom Brady, but he seems like he’s finished. Even if he plays in 2020, he’s already a shell of his former self, so I can’t imagine how mediocre he’ll be at age 43. He can’t throw the ball down field at all, and if they don’t put elite receivers around him, no one can get open with enough space to do anything after the catch. If they get whoever’s the equivalent of Randy Moss in 2020, maybe I’ll consider him.

Another guy I’ll be watching closely this month is Derrius Guice. He’s shown flashes of his original potential, but obviously injuries have killed his first two years. Nevertheless, if he can make it through this next month injury-free, and goes the whole offseason in good health, I could easily see myself keeping him over some of these other guys (especially if he’s declared to be far-and-away the #1 starter on their team).

My aforementioned fliers include rookies Terry McLaurin and Darius Slayton. They’re nice fallback options – along with Cooper Kupp – if things go horribly, horribly wrong with the rest of my keepers. But, at this point, I’ll be following them with an eye towards drafting them next year. I think both could be future Pro Bowlers, and fantasy dynamos.

(also, not for nothing, but if we turn this into a Dynasty League in the offseason, I feel I’m well prepared with the youth on my roster).

Finally, the afore(not)mentioned Alexander Mattison is a lottery ticket, in case Dalvin Cook gets traded or injured in pre-season. On that team, he’d be a no-brainer as a keeper if he was the Vikings’ #1 back.

We get until a week before next year’s draft to declare our keepers, so I’ll have the entire offseason to mull it over and obsess over every little thing I read. Should be a good time and not at all unhealthy!

***

I won’t be running this post next week, so I should probably explain our league’s Consolation Bracket, for those unaware.

In an attempt to keep the entire league engaged and trying to the end of the season, we set up the Consolation Bracket to determine the next year’s draft order for the top 4 picks. Winner of the Consolation Bracket gets the #1 pick, which is huge considering every team keeps 4 players. It’s been made even bigger this year when we switched from a Snake Draft to a Straight Draft, so the winner of the Consolation Bracket not only gets the #1 overall pick (after keepers), but the #1 pick in every round of our draft.

This year, the top three draft slots from the previous year all jumped into the playoffs (including the guy who drafted first overall; he ended up with the 2-seed and a first round BYE). Of course, the guy who drafted fourth overall ended up in last place; whereas the guy who drafted ninth in every round ended up with the 1-seed, so it’s clearly a crapshoot.

***

When it’s time for me to play again in Week 15, I’ll be going up against Korky Butchek. I beat him in Week 1, but lost to him in Week 10.

I’ll be riding or dying with my usual lineup. Brady @ CIN, Wentz @ WAS, Kupp @ DAL, Bell @ BAL, Elliott vs. LAR, Waller & Jacobs vs. JAX, Tucker vs. NYJ, Buffalo D @ PIT. My one change (assuming everything stays the same; i.e. Hilton is out & Haskins is still the QB of Washington, rendering McLaurin unstartable) is putting in Darius Slayton vs. MIA. He’s less valuable when the rest of the Giants’ starters are playing, but he’s still got big play ability and Miami’s defense is pretty terrible. We’ll see; a lot can happen in two weeks.

Like Danny Dimes coming down with an ankle injury and Eli Manning getting a start. If that keeps up, I’ll have to go away from Slayton, for what should be obvious reasons.