What If The Seahawks Got Jimmy Garoppolo?

I did this before with Baker Mayfield. Recently, people (on 710am and elsewhere) have been talking about Jimmy G becoming available and possibly landing in Seattle. So, I guess we’re doing this now.

My thoughts on the whole Baker thing are pretty much the same as they were back then. I don’t believe he makes us a Super Bowl contender, nor a divisional contender. He might make us a wild card contender, but more likely he only takes us to the very edge of the playoffs, earning us a terrible draft pick next year, when we’ll inevitably have to reload at the quarterback position once again.

In a nutshell, you could transfer all of those same thoughts and lay them at the feet of the Jimmy G argument. Other than the collective moistening of panties around the Pacific Northwest, I don’t know what Jimmy G brings us that Baker Mayfield doesn’t. And, again, I’m not all that high on Baker.

Yet, I don’t know what it is. There’s something about the Jimmy G hypothetical that’s intriguing. Honestly, I think it boils down to QB Winzzz, which is tearing me up inside. There’s something to be said about a guy who’s a proven leader in the locker room. There’s something to be said about a guy who’s played under some of the best coaches and offensive minds in the game today. There’s something to be said about a guy who’s been there before (by that, I mean the playoffs, the conference championship games, and indeed, the Super Bowl itself).

Of course, there’s a reason why his teams never won it all. Many people would say Jimmy G’s teams have won in spite of him. That he’s been on some of the best-constructed overall teams we’ve seen in the last decade. He, for the most part, didn’t lose his teams those games. And sure, in some cases, he went above and beyond. But, by and large, I think you can count on a handful of boneheaded passes per game. Some of them get caught by opposing defenders for interceptions. Hence why the 49ers have given up on him and drafted his replacement last year. Jimmy G won’t cost you a lot of games, but he’s also not going to go out and put you over the top to win it all.

Obviously, he’s still on the 49ers. And, much like the Baker situation, I’m sure the 49ers want something in return for their quarterback commodity. So, there’s that to factor in.

There’s no reason to expect the Seahawks would have to break the bank in terms of salary cap to get one of these guys. As free agents, they’d probably command more than the minimum, but I imagine there would be plenty of incentives built in to protect us. Any trade would probably see the other team assuming a healthy chunk of salary. My concern with a trade is what we give up in return. I don’t think it should be anything above a Day 3 draft pick.

If I had to rank our options for the 2022 season – assuming we don’t just tank for the best possible draft pick, which is always my number one preference in these types of situations – I would put Jimmy G slightly ahead of Baker. I would put both of them miles and miles ahead of Geno Smith. And, considering Drew Lock has been consistently playing behind Geno Smith, that shows me he’s clearly the fourth-best option on this team. Hell, a wildcat quarterback might be a better option than Lock at this point.

But, for Jimmy G to be an effective winner, the track record indicates you need a rock-solid roster around him. Do we have that? I would argue not. We have an offensive line that’s a huge question mark. And, it’s not like Jimmy G is all that athletic or mobile. Seems to me this would be a terrible landing spot for someone who needs a clean pocket to be effective. At least with Baker, he can run around a little bit. The hope – when it comes to Jimmy G – is that the O-Line would gel over the second half of the season, and maybe we go on a little run to close things out.

All that being said, I don’t think Jimmy G is the answer long-term. Age is against him; he’ll be 31 in November. He’s not adept at the deep ball. He’s not super great at protecting the football. Sure, he won’t cost us an arm and a leg, but there’s a reason for that. My question, whenever it comes to the quarterback position, is: Could this guy win us a Super Bowl? Maybe in the absolute perfect situation. But, that ain’t us. Maybe in a year or two – if the defense improves and the young guys ascend – but 2022 feels like a transition year in every sense.

The Seahawks, Again, Re-Signed Geno Smith

It appears to be a 1-year deal for $4 million, with incentives taking it up to $7 million.

I don’t know what this means. I mean, I sort of do. This is what you get when you suck, but you’re told that you can compete for a starting job next season. Considering the incentives – and the value as a whole – it seems to indicate the Seahawks believe pretty highly in Geno’s chances.

A 1-year deal for $4 million for a backup quarterback isn’t the most outrageous cost in the world. But, I’ll ask again: who were we competing against? Who was clamoring for the services of Geno Smith?

Are we talking about the three games he started last year? On the surface, I guess you could make an argument his numbers looked okay. In four games (recall the Rams game he entered in the fourth quarter), he had a 103.0 passer rating, with 5 TDs and 1 INT. He even had a 68.4% completion percentage. But, I would argue those numbers were propped up by his performance against the Jags (the very worst team in football), and he was a big reason why we couldn’t prevail in two VERY winnable games against the Steelers and Saints. Ineffectiveness and late-game mistakes cost us against those flawed opponents, which ultimately cost us a shot at the playoffs last year.

Geno Smith is who he is, and everyone in football knows it. He’s a backup quarterback, period. No one else was going to offer him a starting job, or even a CHANCE at a starting job. At best, he was looking at the minimum, to compete for a backup job, in a new system. So, again, who were we competing against? Retirement? If that’s the case, then clearly his heart isn’t in football to begin with, and what are we doing?

But, on the flipside, 1 year for $4 million (up to $7 million, I’m assuming, based on playing time in the regular season) is a bargain for a starting quarterback, no matter how mediocre he is.

I think it’s fair to say Geno Smith has the inside track to be the starter in Week 1 over Drew Lock. Because Drew Lock stinks, of course, but also because Geno knows the system and has rapport with the players.

This has the feel of the 2011 Seahawks, with Tarvaris Jackson at the helm. T-Jack was a respected veteran who had the admiration of his teammates; that seems to be what Geno has now with these guys. I’m sure they’ll play their asses off for him. But, I’m also sure it won’t be enough to make a difference.

There is, I’ll admit, an outside chance that Geno Smith is just competent enough to take us to an annoyingly mediocre 7-10 or 8-9 record, which has us both missing the playoffs AND missing out on a Top 10 draft pick next year. Fuck that. God, do I hate the sound of that nonsense. It’s further bolstered by the fact that I think the roster outside of the quarterback position is relatively solid, with a chance to be further improved with quality draft picks and an opportunity for young guys to step up in starting roles.

So, it boils down to our schedule in 2022. The Seahawks were dead last in the NFC West, which gives us that coveted last place schedule. But, that only accounts for a handful of games (in this case: the Giants and Jets at home, and the Lions on the road). For starters, it wouldn’t shock me to see the Seahawks blow one of those games. But, the rest of our schedule looks MEATY.

The NFC West is still vastly superior to us; that accounts for 6 games. Then, we catch the vaunted AFC West, the consensus Toughest Division In Football. Those should be 4 more defeats. We round it out with the NFC South. The Bucs are good, the Saints are better than us (plus that one is also on the road); we catch the Falcons and Panthers at home (both should be winnable games, but I could see us losing one, if not both).

I’ll generously give us a 1-5 divisional record, but a 1-2 record against the bottom feeders, and another combined 2 wins against the AFC West and NFC South puts us at 4-13 on the year, which SHOULD be good enough for a Top 5-ish pick.

That’s WITH Geno Smith starting all the games, mind you. Don’t even get me started on how low we can go with Drew Lock or someone else.

Most interestingly, I wonder what this means for the Baker Mayfield rumors. He seems to think the Seahawks are a quality destination. Lots of pundits have the Seahawks high on the list. But, with Lock and now Geno under contract, are we REALLY going to keep three quarterbacks on the roster? The only way Baker makes sense is if Geno’s contract is in no way guaranteed. But, the way it was reported, it makes it seem like Geno is the guy. We’ll see, I guess.

I do think this puts the Baker thing to rest, which is probably best for everyone involved. I’m still Team Tank 2022, and I think Geno Smith gives us a great chance to see that to fruition.

What If The Seahawks Got Baker Mayfield?

All right, calm down people. I’m not sitting here advocating for the Seahawks to acquire Baker Mayfield, in case that’s the conclusion you jumped to. GET OFF MY ASS! We’re just talking things through here.

The situation is this: the Browns traded for Deshaun Watson, and gave him a batshit crazy all-guaranteed contract. Somehow, Watson allegedly sexually harassed (if not outright sexually abused) dozens of women, and yet he held all the cards when it came to his future? How does this work? Browns gonna Browns, of course, but it would seem multiple teams were prepared to go to this great length – burning down the league’s leverage in the quarterback contract market for all future superstars – so I guess I would just point to the insanity of the NFL owners themselves. They’ll cater to an alleged abuser, but they won’t even give a tryout to a guy in Colin Kaepernick fighting for social justice. Okay.

Anyway, the Browns have Watson, they also just signed Jacoby Brissett to be his backup, and all the while there’s Baker Mayfield in the final year of his rookie deal, making around $18 million. Not an outrageous sum of money for a viable starting quarterback, but the question remains: IS Baker Mayfield a viable starting quarterback? One that can lead a team to a championship?

It’s obvious to anyone with half a brain that the Browns have shit the bed in this one particular scenario: they want out from under Mayfield’s guaranteed money. Unfortunately, most of the big ticket quarterback moves have already been made. Aaron Rodgers is staying with Green Bay. Russell Wilson is now with the Broncos. The aforementioned Watson is with the Browns. Matt Ryan went to the Colts. Carson Wentz … went to the Commanders. Tom Brady is back with the Bucs. The Vikings are committed to Cousins, the Dolphins are committed to Tua, the Saints look to be committed to Jameis, the Jets are (apparently) committed to Zach Wilson, the Giants are (bafflingly) committed to Danny Dimes. Of the quarterbacks who are reported to be available in trades, Jimmy G should head that list, and so far there haven’t been any takers. So, where’s Baker’s market, exactly?

If the Browns cut Baker, they’re on the hook for his entire salary. But, they obviously can’t keep him around through training camp, because he almost certainly won’t be there, as he’s now demanded a change of scenery.

If I’m the rest of the NFL, and I had the slightest inkling in bringing in Baker, I’d play hardball and force the Browns to cut him. Then, swoop in with a lowball, incentive-laden offer to take him on as a 1-year flier.

No fanbase is excited about Baker Mayfield, though. It’s undeniable that he had a bad season in 2021, so there’s that taste in everyone’s mouths. He did have the torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder, though, which undoubtedly affected his on-field play. He’s also, not for nothing, irritatingly over-exposed in TV commercials (based on his personality, I guess, because it’s not a reflection of his performance in actual professional football games). Even before his 2021 injury-plagued season, it’s not like Baker Mayfield was the epitome of an elite franchise quarterback. Odell Beckham’s dad more or less saw to making that clear to everyone with a Twitter feed.

He’s not particularly tall, he’s not particularly athletic, his arm isn’t particularly strong …

Funny Office Space quotes are funny …

And that’s where we are now. I still think the Steelers are the most logical destination for him, because he feels like a Steelers-type quarterback. Plus, he’d get two chances a year to stick it to the Browns, which I’m sure he’d love to do.

But, the Seahawks keep coming up in the rumor mill, and I have some free time this morning, so let’s get into it.

I’m just putting this back out into the universe for anyone who wants to read it: my number one preference for the Seahawks is to tank in 2022. That means, likely, giving Drew Lock as many reps as he can handle and watching him crash and burn spectacularly. That does NOT mean bringing in a middling veteran to annoyingly steal wins we don’t need. Draft a great pass rusher in the first round this year (or an elite left tackle, if one is still available), draft a couple of quality starters in the second round, and wait to draft a quarterback until 2023.

I have no number two preference. All other options for the Seahawks are going to be met with disdain. That includes Baker Mayfield.

If we MUST bring him in, then I would rather we wait for the Browns to cut him, and sign him to that aforementioned lowball, incentive-laden offer. I’ll admit, if that comes to fruition, I’d be intrigued.

I’m curious about what a healthy Baker Mayfield can accomplish, who is savagely pissed off at the world and hyper-motivated to rehabilitate his image. Don’t forget, it wasn’t that long ago when the Browns were lauded for taking him above the rest of his 2018 draft class. Of course, now we know Josh Allen was the true prize, but at first there were lots of questions about Allen’s accuracy and whatnot.

Ryan Tannehill is a name that gets bandied about. As a former Top 10 draft pick who flamed out with his original team, he became a … pretty good quarterback when he was inserted onto the right team. He doesn’t have to do too much, so long as Derrick Henry is healthy, but when he’s asked to step up, he tends to make plays more often than not. Now, EVERY team thinks they can rehab their own guys (to wit: the Giants with Danny Dimes), and it’s becoming sort of a disturbing trend. Most of these quarterbacks flame out for a reason, so giving them opportunity after opportunity is only going to prolong the mediocrity that’s so prevalent at the position.

But, if anyone can be “the next Ryan Tannehill”, I could see it being Baker.

Now, I’m not saying Tannehill is some great shakes, but he’s fine. Could Baker also be fine? Sure, why not?

The thing is, I don’t HATE the rest of the Seahawks’ roster. Assuming, of course, that they don’t trade away D.K. Metcalf. You know. If they do that, then the rebuild is almost certainly going into overdrive. But, with D.K., we’ve got two elite receivers, two stud tight ends, one potentially elite running back (with the high likelihood we draft another), and a pretty solid offensive line (whenever we figure out the left tackle spot).

I also don’t HATE the defense. We’ve got a new coaching staff and a tweaked scheme. Our interior linemen look good, we signed a promising pass rusher away from the Chargers, we’re moving on from Bobby and getting younger at linebacker, we’ve got Darrell Taylor who looks outstanding, and our secondary has a high floor, if not quite so high of a ceiling (unless Tre Brown returns from injury and asserts himself as the next great cornerback on this team). Don’t get me wrong, we still need an infusion of hot talent from the draft, but the bones are there for a quick turnaround (assuming we eventually get the right quarterback).

Could Baker Mayfield join this roster and lead us to a 9-8 record? It wouldn’t shock me in the slightest. That might be a worst-case scenario in its own right, though, because 9-8 doesn’t seem like it’ll be good enough to catch a Wild Card spot, even with the expanded playoffs we’ve made our new reality.

However, I firmly do NOT believe Baker joins this roster and makes us a divisional contender. He certainly doesn’t make us a Super Bowl contender. At which point, his addition to this team just smacks of Pete Carroll refusing to rebuild through the draft like we need to.

And this scenario only gets scarier the more the Seahawks have to give up to get him here. The Browns are reportedly looking for a second round draft pick; that’s asinine. I wouldn’t give up anything higher than a 5th rounder, and even then, the Browns better be paying the bulk of his contract.

The thing is, I don’t think the Browns want him to go to the Steelers. And, if they cut him, I think that’s his top destination; I think he’d do everything – including taking a minimum contract from them – to make it happen. So, the Browns should be happy to take a 7th rounder from us – and pay the entirety of his contract – just to get him out of the AFC. Because, there won’t be anyone more motivated to beat up on the Browns if he’s in Pittsburgh (a city that already hates Cleveland with a passion).

In conclusion, Baker Mayfield is my nightmare. But, ultimately I don’t think he’ll be a Seahawk when it’s all said and done. Good luck, Steelers fans.

Have The Seahawks Done Enough At Cornerback?

The Seahawks seem pretty well set at safety. Quandre Diggs is back in the fold, Jamal Adams isn’t going anywhere anytime soon; the two of them comprise the highest-paid safety tandem in the NFL. Then, there’s Marquise Blair and Ryan Neal backing them up. That seems like a very solid group, maybe even the best group of safeties in the entire NFL.

Or, you could say it’s the most injury-prone safety group in the NFL. Either way, there isn’t a ton of coverage going on, especially with Adams being deployed as a sack specialist. What about, you know, the guys who try to prevent opposing wide receivers from gashing us up and down the field? What about the cornerback spot?

Coming into this offseason, we really only had Ugo Amadi and Tre Brown locked in as sure bets to make the 2022 roster. Amadi is a hybrid safety/nickel corner, and Brown was a rookie coming off of season-ending injury. That’s not really … good.

With the start of free agency, some things are becoming clearer. Our best corner, D.J. Reed, won’t be back. Our next-best corner, Sydney Jones, is back. Conceivably, if Brown returns fully healthy, the duo of him and Jones feels strong-ish. But, there’s also a lot you could easily question about going with those two.

As insurance, the Seahawks signed Artie Burns, who played with the Bears under new defensive guru Sean Desai. We also, just today, brought back Justin Coleman, who was great with us in 2017-2018. He went away to make the bulk of his money, but now he’s reasonably-priced again and can help us solidify our nickel corner spot.

It’s tough to say, this early in the offseason, whether or not Burns or Coleman have legitimate shots at making the team, or are just here as camp fodder. Burns appears to be earning $2 million, so that feels significant, but it’s unclear if he’s also a nickel or if he plays outside. That makes a big difference. If the Seahawks are just stockpiling nickel corners, then it would make sense that we look to the draft once again. But, maybe we’re sold on Brown, and he’s healing as he should. Then, it’s fair to wonder if the Seahawks are more or less done, with a secondary that looks like this:

  • Sidney Jones (CB)
  • Quandre Diggs (FS)
  • Jamal Adams (SS)
  • Tre Brown (CB)
  • Ugo Amadi (FS/CB)
  • Marquise Blair (SS)
  • Ryan Neal (SS)
  • Artie Burns (CB)
  • Justin Coleman (CB)

Is that enough? It’s clear what we’ve done at the safety position means we’ve opted to go cheap on corner, but there also appears to be real value guys in that group. Lots of underrated talent earning less than they probably should. It leads me to believe that the Seahawks are opting to use their draft picks in the first two rounds at other areas of need. Probably offensive tackle and defensive end. Maybe (but I hope not) quarterback.

It’s hard to get too excited about this team, knowing the black hole we have at the most important position. Really, does it MATTER if the Seahawks are good in the secondary, if they’ve got Drew Lock or Geno Smith or even Baker Mayfield behind the center? It’s not like we’re going to have the world’s best defense; this isn’t going to be the Trent Dilfer Ravens or anything. You have these conversations when you’ve already got the franchise quarterback, not when you just traded him away. Making marginal improvements with a non-elite secondary only matters if you’ve got the QB to carry the rest of the load.

But, until we know what the Seahawks plan to do at QB, we can’t just sit here and bemoan that one spot. There are other things to talk about! Like the return of Justin Coleman. Do you think he still has it? I’m legitimately curious! He was never better than when he was with Seattle. Now he’s back!

Just as we’re shifting away from the style of defense we played here in his heyday. Ha.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Return Of The Splinter League

My fantasy column (which is really just an excuse to complain about my fantasy teams, but also lets me provide my analysis on a variety of players and matchups on a weekly basis) has been a regular feature on my blog since 2018. You can catch up on the types of leagues I’m in HERE. I mostly just talk about my Main League, one I used to be commissioner of since its infancy back in the 2003-range. I’m still in it – with a group of my oldest friends – though I’m no longer in charge. I went and started my own Splinter League with some friends who are in the Main League, as well as some other friends, and it’s much more lowkey and casual. Both are 2-QB leagues that heavily skew towards more points for the quarterbacks (since they’re the most important players in the real NFL, I feel this is valid for fantasy as well).

The Splinter League is much more QB-friendly (15 yards per point, compared to 20 in the Main League; both are 6-point touchdowns and -4 points for INTs). Anyway, I’ll have more to say about the Main League at another time, but my Splinter League team just had its draft on Sunday night, so let’s get into it!

This year’s Splinter League team name is BUCK FUTTER, from the infamous SNL Jeopardy! sketch. It’s an okay name, but I didn’t have a lot of inspiration this year, especially after trying to compete with last year’s Pound Some Cunth, which was *chef’s kiss*.

I’m mostly just excited because I drafted a really good team. I’m not the only one who thinks so, as Yahoo – on draft day – pegged me for a 14-1 record this season. Just a day removed – even though Yahoo has tinkered with the projected standings of other teams – I remain with that 14-1 prognostication. I was also the only team to get an A grade by Yahoo (the next-highest was a B; then there’s a B-, with everyone else in the C-range in our 10-team league).

I logged on 30 minutes prior to find I was drafting 9th. That means that – again, with our scoring system being what it is – most of the top tier quarterbacks would be taken. The guy with the first draft pick never showed and had his team auto-drafted by Yahoo; as a result, Yahoo drafted him a team the way it would in any old league (i.e. eschewing quarterbacks early for running backs and receivers). CMC was the first overall pick. Then it went: Mahomes, Allen, Brady, Dalvin Cook, Wilson, Kyler, and Lamar (the Cook guy also temporarily forgot about the scoring system, but that’s not a bad alternative for him).

So, I was left with the guy I picked – Aaron Rodgers – among players like Tannehill, Dak, Herbert, Hurts, Stafford, and Lawrence. The 10th pick in the snake went with Zeke Elliott and Tannehill back-to-back, which left me in the illustrious position of getting Alvin Kamara with my second round pick. Outstanding! I’ve never had him on a fantasy team before and I couldn’t be more thrilled that he’s with me now (with no Brees, and lots of question marks on that Saints offense).

I had the usual LONG wait before I got to my third and fourth picks. I opted for Matthew Stafford over Trevor Lawrence to close out the third round (I never considered for a second going with either Baker Mayfield or Matt Ryan, who both went later in the fourth round). I’ll say this: if the Splinter League were a keeper league, it would’ve been Lawrence all day. But, we do full redrafts here, and I’m not willing to jump on the Lawrence bandwagon if there’s no long-term benefit for me. There will be lots of yards thrown, but I also anticipate lots of turnovers that will hurt him. I also wanted to go with Stafford because – like Rodgers – he’s on a team that’s going to be in the running with the Seahawks for the top seed in the NFC. If I have any bad mojo on me, and it carries over to those guys, all the better for my beloved Seahawks. Otherwise, if they play as well as I expect them to, I should have no problems at the quarterback position in 2021 (for this league, anyway).

With my fourth round pick, I nabbed Najee Harris. This is a guy I LOVED in college, and desperately wished my Seahawks could’ve somehow gotten in the real NFL draft. I was burned last year in my Main League with rookie running back CEH, but Harris seems like a slam dunk as long as he stays healthy. I can’t remember the last time I had two running backs I was so fond of! If you let me hand-pick any two running backs for my fantasy team, it would’ve been Kamara and Harris. I know guys just say things like that all the time, but for me it’s true. I think both will be durable, as well as points hogs both in the running and passing games. Plus, they’re just fun players to watch (unless they’re going against your team, then you’re never more miserable, particularly when they’re going off).

With another long wait between picks, a lot of good receivers were going off the board. I had no shot at the upper tier guys (Tyreek, Davante, Kelce, D.K., Hopkins, Diggs, and Ridley all went in rounds 2 and 3 between my picks), and players I was potentially eyeballing for the end of the fifth round, like Keenan Allen, Allen Robinson, and particularly CeeDee Lamb, were all swiped from me (Lamb one spot prior). I could’ve gone after the Rams guys – Kupp & Woods – to pair them with my quarterback; I could’ve had Tyler Lockett, Amari Cooper, or even Julio for that matter. But, inspiration struck, and I decided to ride the bandwagon of another prominent Seahawks opponent in the NFC in the Tampa Bay Bucs. I got Chris Godwin in the 5th, and swung around and took Mike Evans in the 6th. People are down on Evans, but I still like his touchdown potential if he stays healthy. Godwin is playing for a new contract next year and I expect him to be fired up to make a big splash this year, statswise. I’ll put both of them in my starting lineup together and hope Tom Brady can give it another run (big “if”, I know).

With my next two picks, I was looking for Best Skill Position Available, as the Splinter League has two flex spots (and no mandatory tight end spot, though you could play TE at either/both flex spots if you wanted). Adam Thielen was sniped from me one pick prior, so I settled for Tee Higgins, who is a guy I really like anyway. I had a chance to make him a keeper in my Main League, but was ultimately scared off by the two other quality receivers they have in that offense. Nevertheless, I expect Higgins to continue to produce as long as Joe Burrow is healthy. When the draft whipped around, I got the other running back I wanted: Darrell Henderson. With Cam Akers out for the year, Henderson seems like a strong bet to break out in the Rams’ offense. There’s a chance Sony Michel takes some of his carries (particularly at the goalline), but there’s a reason why the Patriots gave up on Michel: he stinks. I might end up handcuffing the two at some point, but for now Henderson is the safer bet.

I opted to continue going Best Skill Position Available in the 9th & 10th rounds, settling on Mark Andrews first. I’m already iffy on that, but Gus Edwards was sniped from me one pick prior (seriously, that guy who drafted 8th fucked me no less than three times). I also didn’t love the value I was getting on defenses at that spot (the elite defenses were already taken, meaning I had some questionable ones left over), nor did I love the value on a backup quarterback (which I’ll talk about later). Andrews gets a lot of looks around the goalline with the Ravens, so he’s very TD-dependent; he also can get a case of the dropsies which is frustrating. Nevertheless, he’s a fringe flex guy for me until I can find someone more dependable. When we whipped around to the 10th round, Michael Thomas was still sitting there and I jumped on him.

Michael Thomas is one of the biggest question marks of this year’s fantasy football drafting world: when do you take a chance? He’s injured, he’s unhappy with the Saints, and they have a non-Brees starting quarterback heading into a season for the first time in forever. When will he be healthy enough to play again, and how will he fit into the offense? I’m hoping he’ll be back by October, and I’m hoping he returns to being one of the most dominant players in football. For a 10th round flier? Absolutely! Plus, I can stash him in my IR spot until he plays again. No brainer whatsoever.

By the 11th and 12th rounds, it was time to get a defense and a third quarterback. Somehow, the 49ers’ defense was still there, so I grabbed them. But, waiting until the 12th round meant I had slim pickins for QB. I opted for Zach Wilson, not because I believe in the Jets rookie, but because he seemed to be the best of a bunch of terrible options (including Sam Darnold, Jared Goff, and Jimmy G).

The thing with quarterback for me was: Stafford has a BYE in week 11, and Rodgers has his in week 13. Some of these guys – like Jimmy G – might not have their starting jobs that late into the season! Zach Wilson isn’t going anywhere, unless he gets injured or is supremely inept. If he’s halfway competent, he’ll give me the two games I want out of him. Teddy Bridgewater would’ve been a perfectly fine option, but he has a week 11 BYE as well, so that defeats the purpose. I didn’t have room to keep a fourth QB, nor would I want to if I did. I’d rather have a second defense, if anything, just in case!

The guys who ended up on the free agent scrap heap include Cam Newton, Tyrod Taylor, the aforementioned Jimmy G, Andy Dalton, and, of course, Taysom Hill. Rookies who aren’t even starting yet were drafted ahead of all these guys! It’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out. I have zero faith whatsoever in Zach Wilson, though. If anyone else even remotely interesting becomes available, I won’t hesitate to waive him.

In the 13th round, D.J. Chark was still available; that’s excellent value, in my book. That meant I missed out on snagging the Patriots’ defense (which I think will be good this year), who was taken with the very next pick, but oh well. With my 14th and final selection, I took a flier on a lottery ticket in Darnell Mooney, wide receiver for the Bears. He has strong sleeper potential in an offense that could be better than we give it credit for. I don’t know if he’ll be long for my roster either, but that’s okay. You can’t make an omelette without scrambling some eggs, or some damn thing.

One thing that leaps out about this team is how razor thin I am in my depth at quarterback and running back. Rodgers and Stafford just can’t get hurt, period, end of discussion. If they go down for any length of time, I’m probably screwed. Similarly, I only have Kamara, Harris, and Henderson. I need to play a minimum of two running backs every week. Thankfully, they all have different BYE weeks, but what are the odds they play every single game? Slim-to-none. So, I’ll have to work my magic on the waiver wire at some point (I have #2 priority after the draft, so I’ll want to use that to my advantage).

I get an extra roster spot with Michael Thomas on IR, so that helps. I have a couple players in mind as we get into the week that I’ll be looking to snag. Then, it’s just the long wait until the regular season starts!

I don’t know how this column is going to look this year, but I imagine it’ll be heavily discussing my Main League. However, I’ll also devote a section in each one to my Splinter League team. It’s too good and interesting to just ignore completely!

I’m also joining a third league – ran by my brother’s friend – but it’s going to be too confusing if I bring a third into the mix, so we’ll let that one go, unless I absolutely get a bug up my ass about it.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2020: And Tua All A Good Night

There are plenty of reasons to hate fantasy football, but I think the sheer randomness of it all really gets to me. MOSTLY, that randomness goes against me, because I make poor decisions, or because the fantasy football gods hate me. But, sometimes – in spite of myself – I manage to prevail when I have no business doing so. Among this week’s five winners, I had the lowest total points. Yet, my opponent – Space Forcin’ – underperformed to such a massive degree that I ended up winning pretty comfortably. Normally, the thought of sweating out a Patrick Mahomes Monday Night Football performance is enough to want to crawl under a rock and die (rather than watch my slow, inevitable demise unfold on television), but this time it was as worry-free as it gets!

Nobody Beats The Wiz won 147.39 to 117.85. I ended up getting A LOT of garbage-time points out of Carson Wentz (who is quickly becoming the new king of Garbage Time), who led the way with 35.55. Daniel Jones seemingly got all 15 of his points in the first quarter, then did nothing the rest of the way. A.J. Brown led the way among my receivers with 22.6, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire put in a strong pre-Le’Veon Bell performance (who will be joining the Chiefs this week, to take snaps away from my first round draft pick, to my utter dismay) with 20.9.

Odell Beckham Jr. led the way among my disappointments, with 4.5. I figured he – and by extension, the Browns – would struggle against the Steelers (and they did), but I had hoped for some Garbage Time Magic there that never came. The Indianapolis defense also didn’t do much for me, until salvaging things at the very end with a cool 8 points. Also, while CeeDee Lamb’s 13.44 isn’t totally awful, Andy Dalton – Dak Prescott’s replacement at quarterback – IS and will be dragging down the entire Cowboys offense with him (with an assist from Ezekiel Elliott’s fumbling issues).

Before the weekend last week, I made a (hopefully) significant move for Nobody Beats The Wiz’s future. Tua Tagovailoa, the rookie backup for the Dolphins, was out there as a free agent; I could have put in a waiver claim for him, but my waiver status was #4 (which is as high as it’s been all season), so I kinda wanted to save that for something more urgent. In the end, no one claimed Tua (I’m really going to have to get used to spelling out that guy’s last name at some point), so I got him (dropping the Chargers’ defense).

At the time, I had no idea if Tua would ever play this year; I knew the Dolphins wanted to take things slowly with him, since he’s coming off of an injury in college, not to mention the fact that he’s a rookie. I always figured Ryan Fitzpatrick would eventually show his true colors (or get injured) and Tua would assume the starting role, but FitzMagic has killed it for the most part. With week 7 being their BYE week, I was a little discouraged, because I really didn’t see them making the move now, even though this would be the best and most natural time to do it. The Dolphins are 3-3; it’s far too early to give up on a season when 7 of 16 AFC teams will make the playoffs.

But, to my shock and delight, on Tuesday they announced Tua would be taking over the rest of the way! I was right, this is the best and most natural time to do it – giving him two weeks to get acclimated to being the top guy – and I’m heartened that they’re essentially sticking to their plan. Tua was drafted to be their Quarterback of the Future, so they might as well get to work in seeing what they have, and drawing up an offense around his talents to best help him succeed.

I’m probably going to have to be in it for the long haul here. Tua was SO GOOD at Alabama. Patrick Mahomes only played in one game as a rookie – Week 17 – and not only did he turn into the superstar we see before us, but Space Forcin’ made the bold move to make him one of his keepers with just one game’s worth of experience. Some might say that’s idiotic, but I can CERTAINLY be that stupid! At least I should have more of a resume to look at before I have to make my keeper decisions for next year. But, I just don’t see any other alternative (unless I luck out, get a top draft pick again next year, and have the honor of picking up Trevor Lawrence). You gotta take some chances in life to get what you want! And I want that fucking fantasy football trophy!

That wasn’t the end of my moves heading into Week 7. I’ve got a minor BYE week concern, with Indianapolis off this week. Speaking of how stupid I can be, Buffalo’s defense was just sitting out there! I could’ve had them for nothing, and they’re playing the Jets (the most inept offensive team I’ve ever seen)! I don’t love using my waiver status on a defense, but I feel I have little choice. There also weren’t many great options at my choosing. I made one waiver claim, the Rams’ defense (hosting the Bears on Monday Night), and had to drop Cam Akers. I knew this day would probably come; it’s hard to hold onto someone who never plays when you only have five bench spots and so many BYE weeks to contend with throughout the football season. I’ll try to get him back at some point, but I’m obviously less bullish on him ever being one of my keepers heading into next year.

My opponent for this week is COVID Bubble Boys, the consensus worst team in the league at the moment, with a 1-5 record and the fewest points scored by a wide margin. He was also my partner in the Top Two of the fantasy draft this year, picking #1 overall to my #2. I have him to thank for my having Clyde Edwards-Helaire (he ended up taking Drew Brees with the first pick, which I know from experience in my other league, has been quite a mixed bag). On top of his team being so poor, I also have the tremendous fortune of dodging last year’s MVP, as Lamar Jackson is on BYE this week. Boy, with all of this great news, that SURELY seems like a bad omen of things to come! Here’s my lineup:

  • Carson Wentz (QB) vs. NYG
  • Daniel Jones (QB) @ PHI
  • A.J. Brown (WR) vs. PIT
  • Odell Beckham Jr. (WR) @ CIN
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ WAS
  • Josh Jacobs (RB) vs. TB
  • Noah Fant (TE) vs. KC
  • Deebo Samuel (WR) @ NE
  • Harrison Butker (K) @ DEN
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) vs. CHI

I don’t LOVE seeing both of my quarterbacks participating in the Thursday Night game together! Those games are notorious one-sided shit-shows, so I’m expecting either Wentz or (more likely) Jones to really stink up the joint.

I have decided to break up my 3-headed running back hydra for now, thanks to Le’Veon Bell. I imagine the Chiefs are going to want to work him in, to get used to the offense. Also, Denver has a pretty good defense (according to Yahoo!, they give up the fewest points to opposing running backs), so I don’t see a lot of upside there. Not that I’m a huge believer that Jacobs can carve up the Bucs’ defense, but you never know.

My wide receivers have all sorts of terrible matchups this week. Once again, I have a receiver going up against the Steelers in Brown; surely the Titans will be able to do what the Browns couldn’t. Since I don’t have a lot of faith in the Giants on Thursday night, it seems doubly idiotic to start Slayton, even though the Eagles’ defense is pretty inept, and Slayton seems to rise to the occasion in primetime; but he’s also nursing a nagging foot injury, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s out of the game by the end of the first quarter. Also, will Baker Mayfield play this week? Will he be effective? The Bengals don’t have much of a defense, so it’s hard to sit Odell Beckham, but let’s just say I don’t have the highest of confidence either. It’s further troubling that I don’t have options I like on my bench any better. CeeDee Lamb is going to be downgraded a bit, as I play the matchups with Dallas’ offense. I can’t trust Andy Dalton to hit him in stride as far as I can throw him, and I still expect the Cowboys to try to run the ball more. Finally, Deebo Samuel does look healthy – he scored 18 points for my bench last week – but I would’ve liked to give him another week before I thrust him into my lineup. He’s likely to draw New England’s top cornerback, but he seems to be pretty defender-proof (plus, I JUST don’t have any better alternatives).

Finally, with Noah Fant back and healthy (I hope), I’m free to waive Jimmy Graham. Don’t think the fact that I was 2-0 with Graham in my lineup didn’t weigh on my feeble mind; was he my good luck charm? Only time will tell!

Here’s what ol’ COVID Bubble Boys are bringing to the yard:

  • Matthew Stafford (QB) @ ATL
  • Drew Brees (QB) vs. CAR
  • Terry McLaurin (WR) vs. DAL
  • Kenny Golladay (WR) @ ATL
  • Mike Davis (RB) @ NO
  • Kenyan Drake (RB) vs. SEA
  • Eric Ebron (TE) @ TEN
  • Julio Jones (WR) vs. DET
  • Zane Gonzalez (K) vs. SEA
  • New England (DEF) vs. SF

Based on matchups alone, I think this will be the end of Nobody Beats The Wiz’s winning streak. Atlanta’s defense is awful, and I fully expect that game against the Lions to be a total shootout (so, look for huge days out of Stafford, Golladay, and Jones). Scary Terry is one of my favorite fantasy football players in recent years, and he was SNATCHED from me by COVID Bubble Boys in the draft, right before I was about to take him! I had him as a rookie last year and if he was on any other team with even a halfway competent quarterback, I would’ve gladly made him one of my keepers. As it is, as atrocious as they are in Washington, Scary Terry is still the go-to option on offense. The fact that they’re playing Dallas’ Swiss cheese defense makes him all the more potent. Then, there’s Drake going up against the Seahawks, the defense that never was. Mike Davis has been solid in place of Christian McCaffrey, and that offense is just conservative enough to feed Davis consistently. I don’t know how good the Saints’ defense is, but it wouldn’t shock me to see Davis hit the endzone a couple times.

Not only do I think I’m going to lose this game, but I think COVID Bubble Boys will finally bust out with a 200-point game (they are officially favored over me by around 7 points at the time of this writing). It would be only natural for Nobody Beats The Wiz, who has already had that happen twice before.

Mark this day! After six weeks, Nobody Beats The Wiz is 3-3 and in sixth place in the league! That’s good enough for the final playoff spot, in spite of the fact that I have the second-fewest total points. Like I said up top, fantasy football isn’t fair. I should be down there in the cellar, rolling around with COVID Bubble Boys for last place. Of course, odds are – if I keep putting up these putrid performances – I WILL be down there by season’s end! So, again, mark this day. Because I predict this will be Nobody Beats The Wiz’s high water mark on the season. It’s all surely downhill from here.

There’s always 2021 though. Tua, I need you! Please be my savior!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2020: Literally Everyone Beats The Fucking Wiz

To Be Named By Casey was apparently … named by Casey between my last fantasy football column and this past weekend. To Be Named By Casey was the only 0-3 team in the league, and pretty safely had the lowest total points out of everyone. BUT, let me introduce you to Sausage Shaped Pest! Same guy, same collection of players, but he’s going up against Nobody Beats The Wiz, so OF COURSE he scores the second-most points in the league this past week.

Yes, I lost. I lost handily. 200.40 to 165.39. My score wasn’t great, but it was far from terrible; I would’ve beaten five teams in our league this week, so there was some good to come out of my suffering.

Odell Beckham Jr. put up 38.4 to lead the way. CeeDee Lamb rocked pretty hard with 26.24. Ezekiel Elliott put up a stout 20.50, and even Carson Wentz put up a respectable 23.35.

But, the lows were mighty low. For a second straight week, I started a quarterback who got benched midway through his game; in this case, Nick Mullens put up all of 6 points. That’s going to be hard to overcome for most teams, but particularly difficult for me when I had so many mediocre performances. Including Mullens, I had six guys get me 13 or less. Against someone who had six guys get 20 or more (including Joe Mixon, who looked like he might be too injured to play heading into this one, who dominated to the tune of 42.1 points), that’s just a recipe for disaster.

I didn’t have anything on my bench that would’ve put me over the top, either. Daniel Jones finished with an even 10 points, and it’s looking increasingly idiotic to have made him a keeper. A guy who has no offensive line, no quality weapons, a new offensive coordinator, and a fanbase that’s certainly riding his ASS every fucking day of his life, it can’t be fun to be Daniel Jones right now (on the plus side, he’s a millionaire quarterback in the NFL, in his 20’s, who can date probably anyone he wants, so in the grand scheme of things he’s doing all right).

At 1-3 on the season, I know it’s not technically over for me, but I’m already sort of eyeballing who my keepers might be for next year. I can’t envision a scenario where any of them are the quarterbacks I currently have on hand, but part of me doesn’t think I’ll ever be able to quit Carson Wentz for some masochistic reason.

In free agency news, my tight end – Noah Fant – got injured in his game on Thursday night, so I had to scramble to pick up someone to start for this upcoming week. That person is Jimmy Graham, an ex-Seahawk I hate more than life itself. I dropped that rookie receiver Justin Jefferson, which I’m sure I’ll live to regret.

On the plus side, I have Deebo Samuel back from his early-season IR stint. It sounds like they’re bringing him back slowly, but he could very well provide a boost for my struggling team. I won’t play him until Jimmy G is healthy again, but once he is, watch out! With A.J. Brown in the fold, that’ll be five receivers (with Darius Slayton being #5) that I won’t mind starting!

I’m banking on a strong second half to make my season relevant again. That’s going to require good health, and some positive regression from my uber-struggling QBs (and probably a lot of luck).

I would love to tell you about my OTHER fantasy football league, where I’m 3-1 and actually LIKE what my life has become (if only to show that I’m not completely and utterly bereft of fantasy football acumen), but this is a family fantasy football column, and I don’t think my X-rated MacGruber references are going to fly in the flyover states.

So instead, let’s look ahead to Week 5. I’m facing off against Sloane N Steady. Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Carson Wentz (QB) @ PIT
  • Daniel Jones (QB) @ DAL
  • Darius Slayton (WR) @ DAL
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. NYG
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. NYG
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB) vs. LV
  • Jimmy Graham (TE) vs. TB
  • Josh Jacobs (RB) @ KC
  • Harrison Butker (K) vs. LV
  • Indianapolis (DEF) @ CLE

Here’s the deal, am I potentially a fool for sitting ODB a week after he just exploded for 38.4 points? Probably. Am I over-thinking things as usual? 100%. But, recency bias is a bitch, and in fantasy football I fall for her charms more times than I like to admit. Guys go from hero to zero and vice versa all the time! I also don’t want Cleveland to do well because they’re going up against my defense (and, not for nothing, but Yahoo! tells me Indy gives up the 4th-fewest points to opposing receivers).

I’m playing a hunch here. I’m hoping the Cowboys/Giants game will be a huge shoot-out. Dallas has an elite offense, so I want as many of their guys (Lamb & Elliott) as possible. The Giants have a TERRIBLE defense. On top of which, Dallas has a bad record and will look to throw a pounding on the Giants to get right. On the flipside, I’m stuck with Daniel Jones because I literally have no other alternatives. But, Dallas’ defense is also pretty awful, so maybe this is also a get-right game for Jones? I sure hope so, and I sure hope he throws all of his touchdowns to Darius Slayton (who hasn’t had a game over 10 points since week 1, when he had 28.2).

So, since I’m counting on Cowboys/Giants being high-scoring, feel free to use that knowledge and bet the UNDER 54.5 total points, because this game being a low-scoring snoozer is all but guaranteed thanks to me.

I need to see Deebo Samuel and A.J. Brown play well – coming off of injuries – before I’ll be comfortable starting them. With Brown going up against the Bills (if that game even happens at all), I’m comfortable keeping him on my bench against their top-tier defense.

Sloane N Steady gets bitten a little bit by the BYE week, as he’ll be without MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers. His replacement is Nick Foles, which doesn’t inspire much confidence. Sloane N Steady also got hit by the injury stick, as Nick Chubb will miss some time. Here’s what his lineup is looking like:

  • Baker Mayfield (QB) vs. IND
  • Nick Foles (QB) vs. TB
  • Adam Thielen (WR) @ SEA
  • Amari Cooper (WR) vs. NYG
  • Dalvin Cook (RB) @ SEA
  • Jonathan Taylor (RB) @ CLE
  • Tyler Higbee (TE) @ WAS
  • Tyler Boyd (WR) @ BAL
  • Randy Bullock (K) @ BAL
  • Seattle (DEF) vs. MIN

I don’t love his quarterback matchups. His wide receiver matchups across the board are pretty elite (he’s even got Diontae Johnson going up against Philly’s decimated secondary, if he gets cold feet about Tyler Boyd). Even though Dalvin Cook is a stud, the Seahawks don’t give up many points to running backs. But, Cleveland’s defense sure does, so Taylor should make up for the loss of what Cook would normally bring. It’ll be interesting to see if Sloane N Steady continues to go with the Seahawks defense, since he has so many Vikings on his roster (and since the Seahawks are so iffy on that side of the ball).

Sloane N Steady is 4-0, the only undefeated team in our league, and has scored the third-most points. Nobody Beats The Wiz is 1-3, in ninth place, and has scored the second-fewest points. YOU KNOW, FOR SOME REASON I JUST DON’T THINK THIS WEEK IS GOING TO BE MY WEEK!

I’ve lost one game to someone who absolutely sucked, because I scored the fewest points in the league; and now I’ve lost two games to teams who’ve surpassed 200 points. The fantasy gods aren’t happy with me for some reason (which wouldn’t be a problem if any of the other gods thought enough of me to throw me a damn bone once in a while; I’m looking at you Lotto gods). Should I sacrifice a chicken? Pull out my old lucky rabbit’s foot? Suck it up because in the grand scheme of things I’ve got it pretty good right now, all things considered?

I can’t do that! Fantasy football is the bane of my existence! If it’s not making me miserable, then am I really alive?!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2020: Nobody Beats The Wiz!

  • Pre-Season Week 1 HERE
  • Pre-Season Week 2 HERE

Oh that’s right, I’ve decided to name my team after the great Seinfeld character!

Nobody beats this guy!

Anyway, we had our draft last Friday, and of course I opted to go rogue. Look, I don’t know who reads this! I can’t be handing my league-mates possible insights into my fantasy football mind! So, you know, I conveniently left out the part that my top two guys were NOT Mike Evans and Aaron Jones, but rather:

  1. Clyde Edwards-Helaire
  2. Miles Sanders

To be fair, I did talk about Sanders last week. In going back and looking at his numbers, I didn’t realize just how many targets he gets in the passing game! Considering I also have his quarterback – Carson Wentz – and they still might not have the best crop of wide receivers in the world, I wouldn’t have thrown that connection out of bed.

But, all along, my true number one was always Clyde Edwards-Helaire (I might just shorten that to CEH even though it looks like an unpleasant search term on Pornhub or something). Remember before when I was bemoaning how there weren’t any great rookie running backs in this class? Remember how I wanted my Saquon Barkley? Well, he might be it! He was looking like a dark horse fantasy candidate before Damien Williams decided to opt out of this season due to COVID, but now that he’s the true #1 on the Chiefs, there’s just no denying him! His potential is through the roof!

Sanders would’ve been the safer pick, because at least he has a year of experience. But, I’ll take upside every time.

Just as I suspected, the guy with the #1 draft pick – COVID Bubble Boys – opted to go quarterback with his first selection: Drew Brees. Definitely a Playing For Now type of guy, and you have to respect that. He’s already got Lamar Jackson, might as well take his shot every chance he gets!

That left me with my pick of the litter, CEH. Sure enough, Miles Sanders went #3. THEN Joe Burrow went off the board! Followed by Aaron Jones, Tom Brady, Mike Evans (to the guy who had him last year, in effect giving him five keepers), Baker Mayfield, Chris Carson, and D.K. Metcalf rounding out the Top Ten.

That D.K. Metcalf pick is an interesting one, because he was CERTAINLY a guy I was targeting (although, I wanted him much later than when he went). That’s what’s hard about being in a fantasy football league with guys who either currently live in the Seattle area or have lived a long time in the Seattle area: the good Seahawks tend to get over-valued. Russell Wilson, for instance, has been on the same fantasy team since his rookie year, kept every single time by the same guy. Chris Carson is certainly an elite running back when he’s healthy, but he’s finished every year of his pro career with an injury, and there’s no reason for that not to continue. Tyler Lockett was kept this year mostly because that guy didn’t have a great fourth option for his keepers. And, while Metcalf certainly looked phenomenal in his rookie season last year, he’s still young and still a member of this offense, that likes to spread the ball around more than just about any other.

Metcalf COULD be the next Julio Jones; he seems to be driven as such. But, in this offense, he’s very touchdown-dependant (and very deep play-dependant). You might see a lot of lines like: 4 catches for 88 yards and 2 TDs. Which, yeah, is 24.8 points in our league, but without those two touchdowns, you’re looking at 12.8 points (which is okay, but nothing to write home about, especially for the first receiver you’ve drafted). In my mind, Metcalf would’ve been an ideal third receiver for a fantasy team, so I was a little disappointed he went off the board before I’d even selected my first.

That brings us to the second round (I won’t go through all of them, I promise); with three RBs on my team, I knew I was going receiver, regardless. Thankfully, some great ones remained! Kenny Golladay ended up going one spot ahead of me, but I was okay with that, because it means I get to enjoy Odell Beckham Jr. for the first time in my fantasy career!

I don’t know how ODB fell to me, but I’ll take him! I mean, I sort of know how he fell to me: he plays for Cleveland. He’s a diva. He could score me 40 points … or he could get so mad, blow up, and retire in the middle of a football game. It’s all on the table! The headache and the constant worry can be a little much, and I get that. If he were my first draft selection, I’d be much more nervous; but, as a second? The pressure is off! I’ve already got the guy I’ll be looking to keep next year. Had I landed ODB back when he was on the Giants, I’d be looking at him with those same eyes, figuring I’d hold onto him for many years to come. But, this way? I see him as a one-year rental. A hired gun to help bring me a championship.

I went back to the WR well in round three. Two top receivers from the 2019 rookie class – Scary Terry McLaurin and A.J. Brown – were both sitting there (among many others, of course). Once again, my choice was made for me by the COVID Bubble Boys, as he nabbed Scary Terry. That was a tough one; I had him last year, and was looking to reinvest! The Washington Football Team is a disaster – and they’re starting with Dwayne Haskins at quarterback, which could be a shitshow – but Scary Terry is a rising star and could help make anyone throwing to him look good! So, I settled for A.J. Brown. Considering I thought he might’ve been a keeper at one point, I think that’s a pretty swell consolation prize. I’m not a believer in Ryan Tannehill, but I’m also willing to be wrong. If he – and the Titans – can recapture that magic from 2019, then A.J. Brown could be even BETTER than a #2 receiver.

A lot of other receivers were taken in that round, but I wanted to get one more just to be safe. So, with my fourth pick, I went with DeVante Parker. It was either him or Robert Woods or Michael Gallup (kinda wish I’d remembered he was out there and grabbed him instead) or Courtland Sutton. Parker has been around for a while, but had a breakout season last year; when he’s on, he’s a bona fide #1 guy. But, I think the risk with him is that he doesn’t totally buy in. That he’s more of a fair-weather football player. Plus, he plays for the Miami Dolphins, and they will likely be breaking in a rookie quarterback at some point this year. Look, I’m not expecting a lot out of Parker; I mostly just took him because Yahoo had him rated so high (and because I REALLY didn’t want to pick LeVeon Bell, who fell REALLY far in this draft because he’s old and on the Jets and it’s pretty apparent the current Jets coaching staff doesn’t like him much). If we look back at where I screwed up my season, I’ll be looking at this pick (and probably wishing I’d gone with Gallup).

With my two quarterbacks, three running backs, and three receivers, I took a couple chances on some guys who might not help me right away; “projects” or “developmental guys” if you will. Cam Akers, rookie running back for the Rams, was my fifth pick. I love a running back from an explosive offense! The Rams sent Todd Gurley packing, so that running back job is wide open. I don’t think Akers will start right away, but he could get the nod as the season wears on. If he proves himself, he could be either a valuable trade chip OR a stud for me in the fantasy playoffs.

Then, with my sixth pick, I grabbed receiver Deebo Samuel. He’s injured at the moment, but has just started practicing, and could come off of whatever injured list he’s on. No one figures he’ll play much in the first couple weeks, but if he heals properly, he could be another boost for me after the season gets going. The downside is, of course, that his injury is to his foot, and foot injuries for receivers are notoriously chronic. Part of me worries that he’ll be dealing with this foot thing all year, which won’t be enough to put him on the IR, but will hamper him JUST enough to be rendered ineffective. I suspect the minute I feel confident in starting him will be the game where he comes out in the first quarter with that foot injury, never to return again.

You’ll notice I have yet to mention selecting a tight end. What can I say? The good ones didn’t stick around, and I always saw a better receiver or running back when it was my turn to pick. Finally, I had to bite the bullet. There were a couple potentially-solid guys left over – Hayden Hurst for the Falcons went in the following round, and Hunter Henry for the Chargers went a round after THAT – but I opted to go with second year player Noah Fant for the Broncos. As a first round pick for Denver last year, CLEARLY Fant is someone they want to feature pretty heavily in their offense. Reports indicate they’re moving him all around pre-snap (from along the O-Line, to in the slot, to out wide like a receiver) and I take that as a VERY positive sign that he has a lot of fantasy upside. I know, Drew Lock is their quarterback, but even mediocre throwers still manage to find a tight end safety valve every now and then. I don’t ask a lot from my tight ends; just get me around ten points per week. Anything more than that is gravy. I have a feeling that I might be eating a lot of gravy this year with Fant in the fold.

With my eighth pick, it was time to buy a lottery ticket. Mecole Hardman, wide receiver with the Chiefs. He’s mostly just a big play wide receiver, but he has the best of the big play quarterbacks throwing to him! He’s also one Tyreek Hill injury away from being this team’s #1 guy (and, with the way Hill plays – always putting his body in harm’s way to make a play – that’s not much of a stretch for me to make).

Confident with the rest of my roster – from a skill position perspective, anyway – I decided to use my ninth pick to take the first kicker off the board: Harrison Butker, also of the Chiefs. Give me as many Chiefs as you got! My man Crazy N8’s Prostates bemoaned the pick – as he had the same idea – and he had to settle for Justin Tucker few picks later.

With two rounds left, I still needed a third quarterback and a defense. Yikes, I know. I was eyeballing a third quarterback as early as that DeVante Parker selection, but none of the leftovers really caught my eye. Down to the nitty gritty, there STILL wasn’t anyone who caught my eye; it came down to Teddy Bridgewater, Dwayne Haskins, Mitch Trubisky, and the guy I ended up going with: Sam Darnold of the Jets. Yeah, I know.

Trubisky was a hard pass, because his career is on the ropes, and I don’t know if he’ll still have the starting job by the time I need him (my starting QBs have BYEs in weeks 9 and 11, so it should be some time before I actually NEED a third guy). Of course, idiot that I am, I didn’t realize until the moment of this writing that Darnold ALSO has a BYE in week 11 (SIGH), but I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. Anyway, I ruled out Bridgewater because I don’t think he’s good, and that team he’s on has no one but an elite running back to throw to. I ruled out Haskins because he sucks and that team sucks. That’s not saying much, because I also think Darnold sucks (and the fantasy league would seem to agree, considering how far he fell) and the Jets suck, but I do believe Darnold has SOME upside. This will be his third year, after recovering from an injury-plagued start to his career. Love or hate his head coach, the guy at least has a reputation as someone who does well with quarterbacks. I don’t plan on starting Darnold unless absolutely necessary. But, if he proves – with improved play – that he’s viable, I may have to work him in (considering I can’t be totally sold on someone like Danny Dimes at this point in his development).

Regretfully, the New England defense went one spot before I picked Darnold; the Patriots were CARRIED by their defense last year, and by all accounts they should be good in 2020 as well (my only concern was not knowing who on their team has opted out of this season for COVID reasons). With my final pick, I went with the highest-rated defense remaining: the Indianapolis Colts. I don’t have a lot of confidence, but I fully expect there to be a good defense for me to grab on waivers at some point.

Yahoo graded me with a B+ which is good for middle-of-the-road in our league (5th in rankings). However, I’m projected for a second place finish in our league at the moment of this writing! I have the league’s youngest team once again, but I’m hoping it actually pays off this time.

More than anything, I’m hoping my team name proves prophetic. Nobody Beats The Wiz? I sure hope so! It couldn’t be any worse than that year I went as Mr. Poopy Butthole …

***

Really quick, let’s take a look at this week’s matchup. Nobody Beats The Wiz is facing off against the aforementioned Crazy N8’s Prostates. Here’s my lineup:

  • Wentz (QB) @ Was
  • Jones (QB) vs. Pit
  • ODB (WR) @ Bal
  • Brown (WR) @ Den
  • Jacobs (RB) @ Car
  • CEH (RB) vs. Hou
  • Fant (TE) vs. Ten
  • Elliott (RB) @ LAR
  • Butker (K) vs. Hou
  • Ind (DEF) @ Jax

Predictably, I’m expected to be carried by my running backs. I think Yahoo is under-projecting Wentz against a terrible Washington Football Team, but they might be over-hyping Indianapolis against the Jaguars, who won’t be good, but could still be a little frisky on offense. Crazy N8’s Prostates is projected to win our league this year, and is favored against me this week. Here’s his lineup:

  • Dak Prescott (QB) @ LAR
  • Josh Allen (QB) vs. NYJ
  • Allen Robinson (WR) @ Det
  • Keenan Allen (WR) @ Cin
  • James Conner (RB) @ NYG
  • Aaron Jones (RB) @ Min
  • Travis Kelce (TE) vs. Hou
  • Robert Woods (WR) vs. Dal
  • Justin Tucker (K) vs. Cle
  • San Francisco (DEF) vs. Ari

I have … a lot of concerns. I could see that Cowboys/Rams game being a shootout. I think Josh Allen is going to RAMPAGE over a terrible Jets defense. His receivers both have juicy matchups against mediocre secondaries. Kelce should thrive against the Texans. And, even the 49ers could come up with lots of turnovers in taking advantage of a Cardinals offense that’s pretty aggressive.

Thankfully, there’s so many unknowns at this point in the season. Even after the first week, it’s hard to draw any firm conclusions. I just need to ride the wave of anxiety and hope for the best. I think I have a pretty solid team from top to bottom. But, teams are rarely as good on paper as they end up being in real life. Who will be the great disappointers this year? I can hardly wait to find out!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2020: Corona-Draft Prep

  • Pre-Season Week 1 HERE

Well, the keepers are set in place, and now I get to look forward to our draft this Friday. There were some minor surprises – and a couple big ones – so without further ado, let’s take a quick glance at how wrong I was about my projected keepers for the rest of the league:

  1. Russell Wilson, Christian McCaffrey, Chris Godwin, Matt Ryan (all correct)
  2. Dak Prescott, Josh Allen, James Conner, Travis Kelce (Odell Beckham Jr., Mark Ingram, and Keenan Allen all available to draft)
  3. Deshaun Watson, George Kittle, Derrick Henry, Cam Newton (Aaron Jones)
  4. Jared Goff, Drew Lock, DeAndre Hopkins, JuJu Smith-Schuster (A.J. Brown and Raheem Mostert)
  5. Kyler Murray, Saquon Barkley, Michael Thomas, Joe Mixon (Mike Evans)
  6. Aaron Rodgers, Nick Chubb, Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen (Amari Cooper)
  7. Patrick Mahomes, Alvin Kamara, Davante Adams, Tyler Lockett (all correct)
  8. Jimmy Garoppolo, Tyreek Hill, Gardner Minshew, Todd Gurley (Matthew Stafford)
  9. Lamar Jackson, Julio Jones, Austin Ekeler, Kenyan Drake (Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold)

I remember being MUCH more successful in predicting my league’s keepers before last season, so I don’t know what that says about me or the state of the NFL right now, but it makes the upcoming draft more interesting!

Until I saw the actual keepers, I wasn’t too thrilled about my prospects as the guy with the #2 overall draft pick. It just seemed like there wouldn’t be anyone really dominating for me to select. BUT, I see two guys among the leftovers who are VERY exciting! Not just for 2020, but for many years to come potentially!

Of this group, Mike Evans and Aaron Jones are both VERY enticing to me. Either one of them could fall to me and I’d be ecstatic with whoever I get. I know I bemoaned Tom Brady’s noodle arm last week, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be interested in the weapons he has to throw to. For starters, Brady isn’t totally inept; he hasn’t fallen completely off the cliff just yet. While Mike Evans has been mostly a deep threat thus far in his career, he still has a ton of value as a red zone target, and should thrive with someone like Brady throwing jump balls his way. If, by the grace of all that is holy, both Evans and Jones were to fall to me, I’d have to go with Evans simply because the drop-off at receiver is so steep among him and the rest of the leftovers.

Odell Beckham Jr. is, of course, one of those leftovers. I can’t say that I agree with exposing him to the rest of the league while keeping someone like Josh Allen, but you know, there’s a reason why I haven’t won a league championship in the fantasy trophy era (2010-Present). I think the Cleveland Browns – and by extension, their players – are pretty underrated in 2020, after being so very OVER-rated heading into 2019, so there could be some good value in guys like ODB and Baker Mayfield. If I picked lower in the first round, I’d be over the moon if someone like ODB fell to me; someone is going to get an absolute steal.

Aaron Jones was one of the best running backs in all of football last year, at least from a fantasy perspective. So, it’s shocking to see him available. But, it’s telling that he is, because the owner who exposed him is also a lifelong Packers fan. If HE’S not keeping Aaron Jones, there must be a reason (he’s also the reigning league champion, but that’s in spite of him auto-drafting last year, as well as never checking his e-mail, so we’re all in agreement that this was a fluke, and if his wife weren’t cc’d on all league e-mails, we’d probably never hear from him again). I have to believe Aaron Jones still has a lot of value, though, so if Mike Evans goes to the guy drafting #1 overall, I’m okay with nabbing Jones, even though I’ve already kept two running backs. There’s still the FLEX spot, and there are only so many bona fide, workhorse running backs in the league, so you really can’t have too many.

That would, of course, necessitate my drafting wide receivers in both the second and third rounds (which might see me needing to reach for some lesser players, but that’s the price you pay, I guess).

As I stated before, I still haven’t done a ton of research heading into the draft, as my objective at this point is still to mostly go by what Yahoo tells me. But, to pique my curiosity, I checked the season projections and found some surprising guys among the leftovers.

Miles Sanders, running back for the Eagles, is rated VERY high. Even higher than Aaron Jones! I can’t remember the last time an Eagles running back was worth more than an in-season free agent pickup (probably Shady McCoy), because they so often are in a time-share with multiple backs. But, he’s been definitively named the starter by the head coach, which is saying a lot but also not saying anything at all. Why would the head coach be motivated to give away such news for free to the rest of the league? Also, there’s no saying he has to stick with that, if Sanders under-produces or gets hurt. Sanders was really good towards the end of last year though, so I think that’s where the hope lies.

Not ODB nor Mike Evans is the highest-ranked wide receiver remaining; that falls to Allen Robinson of the Bears. I don’t totally get that, but ESPN also has him ranked pretty high, so I guess I have to believe it. With Chicago’s quarterback situation being what it is, I don’t have ANY faith in any of their players, but if he somehow falls to the second round, I might have to take him anyway.

Kenny Golladay is also rated above ODB and Evans, and he seems like a safer pick. He has elite talent, and Matthew Stafford is healthy again. It’s looking highly likely that MANY wide receivers are going to fly off the board in the first three rounds of our draft, so I’ll be interested to see who I’m able to grab.

Mark Andrews, Zach Ertz, and Darren Waller are the three tight ends I’m looking at right now. Andrews is probably the only guy worth reaching for (maybe in the second or third round, if he’s still there), but if the draft doesn’t fall the way I want it to, I have no problem waiting until the end of the draft to pick up a tight end. There will be someone on waivers worth claiming in the first week or two of the regular season.

I need to resist the urge to get a third quarterback too early, but there are LOTS of veteran options out there (who I would anticipate get snapped up before I have a chance), including Drew Brees, Brady, Stafford, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Kirk Cousins, Derek Carr, Ryan Tannehill, and Tyrod Taylor. There’s also Baker Mayfield, who still has a lot of potential to be great, as well as Darnold and Dwayne Haskins (who stunk last year, but is still young enough to turn it around). And then, of course, there are the rookies. The more I think about it, the less inclined I am to want to reach too early for any of them. I also wonder if Joe Burrow won’t be the first overall player taken in the draft, considering the guy picking there and how badly he’s been looking to shore up his QB spots. Having Lamar Jackson and Joe Burrow for the next generation might be too tantalizing to pass up.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2020: Here We Fucking Go Again

If you want to read about my 2019 fantasy football season, click HERE and you can see all the prior links at the top. And, if you want to read about my 2018 season (which has a lot of good info at the beginning about how our league works), click HERE.

Note: please don’t go back and read all of that. There’s a reason why this series is called, “Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team”. You’ve been warned; this isn’t necessarily a generic fantasy football column like you may be used to, this is specifically about MY team, and if the players I write about happen to be relevant to your situation, then all the better, I guess.

Just a quick reminder: this is a 10-team, 2-quarterback PPR league where quarterback points are slightly inflated compared to standard leagues (20 yards per point, 6 points per TD, -4 points per INT). So, you know, it’s pretty important to have a couple quality quarterbacks.

We had our annual fantasy football meeting last week, without much tweaking of the rules. For our purposes, the league season only counts – as it relates to the championship and related prizes therein – if the NFL completes nine regular season weeks. I don’t think that will be much of an issue, but apparently we have to account for these things in these COVID times. We also are allowed one extra IR spot (on top of the IR spot we already get) specifically if someone is diagnosed with COVID and placed on leave accordingly. Seems unlikely that anyone super good will catch it, so I’m not too concerned.

It’s another year with four keepers, so here are mine:

  • Carson Wentz (QB)
  • Daniel Jones (QB)
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB)
  • Josh Jacobs (RB)

The only holdovers from my 2018 squad are Wentz and Elliott. I made an ill-advised trade for Tom Brady midway through last year – costing me Tyreek Hill in the process – and for that I have much regret. Nevertheless, Danny Dimes looks like he has true stud potential, and as someone I held onto all year in spite of not playing him very regularly, I’m pretty devoted to seeing how he plays out in his second season in the league. Josh Jacobs, from the moment I drafted him, was someone I eyeballed as a potential keeper for years to come (and someone I see has a HUGE upgrade over LeVeon Bell, who was mired on a terrible Jets team with a God-awful offensive line).

The only other serious contenders as keepers were the aforementioned Tom Brady and Le’Veon Bell. Brady is REALLY intriguing, as we all know he’s now in Tampa, with a ton of weapons, and with an offensive-minded head coach in Bruce Arians. Like many around football, I’m not totally sold on Carson Wentz. The bloom is off the rose with him, even though he played in all 16 games, had a career high in passing yards (4,039) in spite of having no great wide receiver options to throw to, and still had a very commendable 27:7 TD:INT ratio. I don’t know if the weapons situation is all that much improved, but they went after wide receiver HARD in the draft, and hopefully will see some younger guys from prior seasons step up. So, there was a serious look at Brady over Wentz, but in the end Brady is just so old, and that noodle arm looked SO feeble last year. The offense under Arians tends to feature a lot of deep downfield plays in the passing game. I could see Brady starting off the season on fire, but when I would need him the most – in the fantasy playoffs – I just don’t think he’ll have it. Besides that, Wentz is obviously still very young and should still be viable for many more years; Brady is on his very final legs and could be forced into retirement at any time.

As for Bell, I couldn’t tell you what the Jets have done to bolster their O-Line (other than pay a lot of money to George Fant to be their left tackle, a position he’d rarely been asked to play as a member of the Seahawks). I don’t know if I totally buy Bell as still having it. He was a steady fantasy player last year, but he’s getting up there as well, and if that offense continues to struggle, I don’t know if I see him having a lot of TD opportunities. I’m of the opinion that Jacobs will be a superstar, and Elliott already IS a superstar. Kind of a no-brainer there.

In coming in second place in the Consolation Bracket last season, I earned the second overall draft pick in the upcoming draft on Friday, September 4th. This presents me with a unique opportunity. The deadline for everyone to declare their keepers is this Friday, August 28th, so before next week’s column, I should know who’s available to me.

Since there isn’t a ton to write about this early in the pre-season, I’ll try to take a stab at guessing who the keepers will be for the other nine teams (with guys in parentheses being alternate options):

  1. Russell Wilson, Christian McCaffrey, Chris Godwin, Matt Ryan (Tyler Boyd)
  2. Dak Prescott, Odell Beckham Jr., Mark Ingram, Travis Kelce (Keenan Allen)
  3. Deshaun Watson, George Kittle, Derrick Henry, Aaron Jones (Cam Newton)
  4. DeAndre Hopkins, Jared Goff, A.J. Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster (Raheem Mostert)
  5. Kyler Murray, Michael Thomas, Saquon Barkley, Mike Evans (Joe Mixon)
  6. Aaron Rodgers, Nick Chubb, Dalvin Cook, Amari Cooper (Adam Thielen)
  7. Patrick Mahomes, Alvin Kamara, Davante Adams, Tyler Lockett (Zach Ertz)
  8. Tyreek Hill, Jimmy Garoppolo, Todd Gurley, Matthew Stafford (Gardner Minshew)
  9. Lamar Jackson, Kenyan Drake, Baker Mayfield, Julio Jones (Austin Ekeler, Sam Darnold)

Honestly, I’m not in love with any of these potential leftovers. I’m tempted to more or less auto-draft. I’m happy with my keepers, but I was REALLY hoping there’d be someone super exciting for me to select with my #2 overall pick. Thankfully, we have a straight draft, so I’m #2 in every round. By auto-drafting, I figure I can’t do much worse than I’ve been doing over these last dozen or so years.

I haven’t done much of any research so far this off-season, and I don’t know what I’ll end up getting to prior to the draft. My hunch is: not much. Again, being prepared hasn’t done a damn thing for me; my name sure as shit isn’t on that league trophy, I’ll tell you that much!

One idea I’ve been mulling over is using my #2 overall pick on one of the incoming rookies. I have three players in mind, two of them being the most prominent rookie quarterbacks: Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa. Gun to my head: I like Tua more than Burrow. But, he’s projected to start this season as Miami’s backup, and their BYE week isn’t until Week 11. So, either Ryan Fitzpatrick sucks and Tua’s thrown to the wolves prematurely, and without a proper BYE week to prepare, or FitzMagic continues to do his thing and we don’t see Tua until very late in the season. The point being: there’s a great chance Tua doesn’t help me much at all this year, and I’d be throwing away yet another season trying to get my shit together when it comes to the quarterback position (with a very small, but important chance that Tua is the next Mahomes and I’d be missing out on my one and only opportunity at getting in on his ground floor).

It just figures that I have this great draft pick for the first time in YEARS, and there are no real stud running backs that would change the course of my fantasy franchise for years to come. Where’s MY Saquon Barkley?!

We’ll see, though. Once the keepers are locked in place, I’ll hop back into the league site and see who Yahoo thinks I should take. It does seem kind of idiotic to have a third quarterback on my roster before even getting ONE wide receiver. At some point, I need to stop playing for the future and start playing for today.

How many times have I admonished myself the last few years by saying that very same thing?