Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team: Week 7

At some point heading into last weekend, I dropped Alfred Morris for Bilal Powell.  Morris was an absolute last-ditch option for me (I assumed the 49ers would get KILLED by Green Bay and throw it constantly, not necessarily that they wouldn’t play him whatsoever).  I had Bilal Powell in my lineup for a hot minute – as a potential hedge against the iffy proposition of starting a semi-injured Adrian Peterson – but then before gametime Sunday morning, I saw that Isaiah Crowell was active, and I reverted back to having AP get the nod.  Even though the Jets were at home, and in a favorable-appearing matchup with the Colts, I still liked the chances of AP over any sort of Jets timeshare.

As soon as I knew I wasn’t going to need Powell on my team, I swapped him out and picked up Detroit’s kicker (who was on BYE), who will be my guy going forward.  Yes, Robbie Gould had a fantastic game against the Packers, but I’m not counting on the 49ers being this high scoring going forward; Detroit’s offense is always going to be good as long as Stafford is around.

All in all, these moves had very little to do with my 184.95 to 142.25 drubbing of DelBocaVistaPhase2.  Truth be told, I had this week in the bag as soon as he traded away James Conner (28.90) and kept Dak Prescott (35.35) on his bench.  It’s hard to blame him for the trade, because who knows how long Conner is going to be Pittsburgh’s starting RB; and I know I won’t fault him for benching Dak, who was going up against the Jags (a defense I liked an awful lot in that matchup in Big D).  Those are the What If’s you have to live with as a fantasy owner; it’s why this game is a total mindfuck sometimes.

My ass was pulled out of the fire by Hill (39.20), Wentz (33.30), Thielen (29.30) and Dalton (23.45).  I got a shameful amount from my Bears defense, and Calvin Ridley’s day was cut short by an ankle injury.  Ridley will be on my bench going forward, as Robert Woods is too prolific to keep off my starting lineup any longer.  5 straight weeks of 14+ points!

I’m now 3-3, holding steady in 5th place in the league.  I have the 3rd most points scored, and I’m down to the 3rd most points against, so we’re slowly but surely starting to even out.

No waiver claims for me this week, as I’m not on the Ito Smith train just yet.  Gonna need to see him REALLY take over that Devonta Freeman role before I believe it (someone did pick up Ito Smith as a free agent and actually waived Freeman even though we have an IR spot at our disposal, which is something to think about).  That puts me up to 6th in the league’s waiver priority going forward, which isn’t great, but it’s better than nothing.

I was eyeballing David Njoku – who’s got a juicy matchup against the worst defense in football against tight ends – but Yahoo was dicking around with my IR designation on Fournette, as there’s apparently a quote/unquote chance that he plays this week.  Apparently, if you’re not ruled out completely, you’ve still got to be rostered on the bench.  Since I didn’t really want to give up on Calvin Ridley just yet – on top of the fact that I have 2 tight ends on my roster already – I decided to let Njoku sit out there.  He was promptly picked up Thursday morning, so we’ll see if I’m regretting this come next week.

Here’s this week’s lineup:

  • QB1 – Carson Wentz vs. CAR
  • QB2 – Andy Dalton @ KC
  • WR1 – Tyreek Hill vs. CIN
  • WR2 – Adam Thielen @ NYJ
  • RB1 – Ezekiel Elliott @ WAS
  • RB2 – Adrian Peterson vs. DAL
  • TE – Greg Olsen @ PHI
  • FLEX – Robert Woods @ SF
  • K – Matt Prater @ MIA
  • DEF – Chicago vs. NE

My bench is:  Carr (BYE), Ridley, Fournette, Golladay, Reed.

Watch this be the week that Jordan Reed goes off, but I don’t care anymore.  God dammit is he sucking my will to live!  I know Philly is pretty amazing against the TE position, but they also haven’t played very many elite tight ends so far this year, and it’s not like they’re perfect.  I’ll take my chances with the upside of Olsen (and hope he doesn’t re-injure his foot mid-game) over the steady mediocrity of Reed.

As I said before, Woods is in my lineup to stay.  Most likely.  I might mix n’ match him and Golladay depending on who they’re going up against, but Ridley is gonna be riding in the bitch seat for a while (his days on King Flippy Nips are probably numbered, if I need to make any emergency roster moves).

Up next, I’ve got a date with Sloane N Steady, who I’m catching on a pretty good week, as one of his main guys is Aaron Rodgers, who will be on a BYE.

Sloane N Steady has arguably had even worse luck than King Flippy Nips this year!  Last week, he suffered the same fate I did a couple weeks prior, in having the second-most points for the week in a losing effort.  But, his loss was by only 2.9 points.  He’s also had another loss earlier this season by a mere 0.45 points, so to say he’s due for an unlikely win is an understatement.  Here’s who he’s got:

  • QB1 – Andrew Luck vs. BUF
  • QB2 – Case Keenum @ AZ
  • WR1 – Josh Gordon @ CHI
  • WR2 – Devin Funchess @ PHI
  • RB1 – Melvin Gordon vs. TEN
  • RB2 – Isaiah Crowell vs. MIN
  • TE – Trey Burton vs. NE
  • FLEX – Allen Robinson vs. NE
  • K – Adam Vinatieri vs. BUF
  • DEF – Houston @ JAX

His bench is:  Rodgers (BYE), Dalvin Cook, Lamar Miller, Nick Chubb, T.Y. Hilton.

All things considered, I probably couldn’t be playing him in a better week.  No A-Rod, he’s got a bunch of guys banged up, the Browns haven’t recognized that Chubb deserves to be getting the lion’s share of the carries in that backfield (I have him on another team and it’s a constant source of frustration, as I absolutely REFUSE to drop him from my team; it’s a matter of principle at this point).

Sloane N Steady is 1-5 and in last place in the league (he’s 5th in points scored, and has the 2nd-most points against), but it wouldn’t shock me in the slightest if he makes a second half run.  With Rodgers and Luck dealing, with Gordon, Cook, and Chubb all eventually healthy and starting, with solid points out of his receivers and a good defense and kicker, he could definitely make some noise if he goes on a winning streak.

As for this week, however, it would take quite an upset.  We’ll see.  That wouldn’t shock me in the slightest either; my fantasy teams tend to play down to their competition, so if I’m back on here bitching about a loss next week, don’t say I didn’t warn myself.

Seahawks Throttle Jets Before Well-Deserved BYE Week

The lasting image I’ve taken away from this game – the first thing that’ll come to mind as the season goes on and I’m reminded of the week we went to New Jersey to play the Jets – isn’t Russell Wilson’s heroism, or Jimmy Graham’s demolition of everything in his path, or even the fact that we flew across the country and dominated in a 10am west coast start time that would’ve been unheard of 10 years or even 5 years ago.  While those are all great storylines that I’ll gladly talk about below, the really fascinating part of this game was the Brandon Marshall vs. Richard Sherman matchup, and Ryan Fitzpatrick’s fearlessness in trying to exploit it.

Richard Sherman doesn’t follow the other team’s #1 receiver every game.  Part of that is many teams don’t have a TRUE #1 receiver worthy of all the attention, part of that is our scheme is so sound and our other cornerbacks are pretty good in their own rights.  So, when Sherm does the unusual, like he did on Sunday, it’s noteworthy.  Hell, it’s appointment television!  And, this matchup didn’t disappoint.

Brandon Marshall IS a true #1 receiver.  He is, indeed, probably one of the top five most gifted and dominant receivers in all of football.  People don’t usually throw his name into the mix as much as they should because he’s 32 years old, he’s bounced around to now his fourth team in a tumultuous career, and he’s rarely – if ever – had a really elite quarterback throwing him the ball.  But, I’ll tell you this much, he’s had eight 1,000+ yard receiving seasons (including at least one with four different teams, which I believe is an NFL record), and he’s had 6 seasons with 100+ receptions.  This is a bona fide NFL Hall of Fame talent, and maybe a first ballot guy at that.

I mean, just look at the list of quarterbacks he’s made look like Pro Bowlers:

  • Jay Cutler
  • Kyle Orton
  • Chad Henne
  • Matt Moore
  • Jay Cutler again
  • Josh McCown
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick

If that isn’t a who’s who of utter crap, I don’t know what to tell you!

So, when I caught on to what Richard Sherman was trying to do, that game took on another level of intrigue.  Now, it didn’t hurt that Eric Decker was out with injury.  While Decker isn’t in Marshall’s league, he’s still a quality, veteran receiver and a consummate #2 guy who will do his share of the damage if the opposing team focuses too much on Marshall.  I wonder, with a fully healthy Decker, if Sherm still would’ve followed Marshall, or if we would’ve played it straight.

Either way, he did follow Marshall around, and it was absolutely the right thing to do.  There’s no doubt in my mind – with the way Fitzpatrick was already trying to pick on Sherm, because we left him out there on an island (so to speak) – that had we stuck with our regular defense, Marshall would’ve lined up against Shead probably 80% of the game, and he would’ve destroyed us for 200+ yards and maybe a couple more touchdowns.  And, believe me, I like Shead!  I just think there’s another class of cornerback above Shead (a class that Richard Sherman is in), and it takes a guy IN that class to try to shut down a quality receiver like Marshall.

I mean, hell, as it was, with Sherm on him all day, Marshall STILL caught 4 balls for 89 yards and the first receiving touchdown this defense has given up this season!  You’re telling me those numbers wouldn’t EASILY be doubled with Shead guarding him predominantly throughout the game?  Unless we would’ve shaded our safeties to his side on the reg, which isn’t really the way we like to play defense.

Anyway, it looked like it was going to pay off for the Jets.  Marshall got the lion’s share of his catches and yards in the first half – including the touchdown right before halftime that looked very un-Sherm, as he was unable to get his head turned around to look for the ball – but after a VERY bullshit pass interference call on Sherm in the second half, Fitz was caught with his hand in the cookie jar one too many times, and Sherm cut it off at the wrist with the first of two interceptions for him on the day.  EASILY the most satisfying interception I’ve seen him catch, probably since the 2013 game at Houston, as it came immediately after the bullshit flag.

In the end, the Sherman vs. Marshall matchup went about as well as you’d expect.  Marshall got his licks in early – because you’re not going to COMPLETELY eliminate a guy of his calibre – but ultimately Sherman won the day, and not just because the Seahawks came away with a victory.  Yes, Marshall had 4 receptions, but he was targeted 12 times.  Yes, Marshall got the TD, but Sherm got 2 INTs.  Yes, the Jets were able to exploit that matchup a little bit in the first half, but Sherman put Marshall on lock in the second half, and that was all she wrote.

Honestly, more than anything, I was shocked Fitzpatrick kept trying to go that way!  I understand the rationale – in the NFL, you love to go to a 1 on 1 matchup with a hall of fame receiver all day every day – but it just seems like eventually you’re going to get snakebitten.  I kept thinking that throughout the first half:  one of these times, Sherm is going to get his, and it’s going to be glorious.  It also makes sense in the fact that they really didn’t really have anyone else to throw to.  Decker was out.  Quincy Enunwa is a nice story as a second year possession receiver, but he’s not even at Decker’s level, let alone Marshall’s.  Behind him, there’s no one.  The Jets haven’t even completed a pass to a tight end in over a year!  Other than Enunwa, they had the two running backs to throw to.  While Bilal Powell had a nice game, and a couple of catches for first downs, that’s essentially playing right into our hands if they do that all day.  So, really, Fitzpatrick had no choice but to go to Marshall as if he was being guarded by Just Another Guy!  Nevertheless, it doesn’t make him look like any smarter of a person (Harvard education or not), but them’s the breaks in the National Football League.

***

Moving on to other things, Russell Wilson looked phenomenal.  Again, he was hampered by injuries, but I gotta think his ankle – if it’s not back to normal yet – will be fine by our next game in a couple weeks.  And, wearing the brace on his knee, while it slowed him a little bit – and most certainly took away a lot of our zone read plays – still allowed him to move around a little bit when he needed to.  I don’t think we’re going to see Wilson go full Tarkenton for a few more weeks yet (maybe in the second half of the season), but he’s upright, he’s mobile enough, and he’s making enough plays in the pocket to re-introduce the narrative of him taking that next step to Elite status (regardless of what many national pundits think; which, do they even bother watching ANY tape before crafting their hot taeks?).

Wilson completed 23 of 32 passes for 309 yards and 3 TDs.  8 of those 23 completions were of 15 yards or more.  He was, for the most part, on time, and dropping dimes into windows only our receivers could get to.

One of those receivers taking the bulk of the yards in this one was Jimmy Graham, who caught 6 more balls for 113 yards, which puts him on a 2-week run (since we opened him up to the full playbook and the full allotment of offensive plays) of 12 receptions for 213 yards and a touchdown.  He came up particularly huge in yesterday’s game, given the fact that Baldwin was held to just 4 catches for 54 yards.

As usual, Wilson did his thing when it comes to spreading the ball around.  8 different players caught at least one pass, including Tanner McEvoy’s first-ever reception (a WIDE open 42-yard touchdown in the second quarter), and C.J. Spiller’s first-ever Seahawks reception for a touchdown (after having just been signed earlier this week off the streets).

The offensive line did its job against a remarkable defensive line.  It wasn’t able to open up as many rushing lanes as you’d like, but that’s to be expected.  What was awesome was how much time it afforded Russell Wilson to pass the ball.  Sure, there were some pressures, and a couple sacks, but this O-Line isn’t ever going to be perfect.  As long as it can limit the damage as it’s been doing for the most part this season, and (even bigger) avoid excessive penalties that put us behind the chains, we’ll be just fine with this much-maligned group.

Germain Ifedi got his first start in replacing J’Marcus Webb, and had some good times and some bad times, but I have no doubt in my mind that he was better than what we would’ve gotten with Webb against that group.  Furthermore, going forward, we’re in MUCH better hands with Ifedi, as long as we can keep him off the trainer’s table.  We have this week off, which is a godsend to everyone with nagging injuries, but even better:  we face a much more reasonable slate of D-Lines going forward.  In the Nothing Special department, we face:  Atlanta, Arizona, New Orleans, Buffalo, New England, Philly, and Tampa in the next seven games.  The rest of the way, depending on injuries, we only have to be concerned about the D-Lines of Carolina, Los Angeles, and maybe Green Bay, and that’s it!  So, grey skies are gonna clear up, folks.

Great games by Bobby Wagner, Earl Thomas (who got his first pick of the season), K.J. Wright, and our D-Line as usual.  We ended up with 4 sacks on the day, a bunch of QB hits, and we held them to 58 yards rushing on the day.  If it weren’t for a crazy play involving the quarterback being strip-sacked, fumbling the ball about 10 yards forward, where a receiver picked it up and ran it into the endzone while everyone else on the field thought it was an incomplete pass, our points-against number would look a lot better than it does.  With that, and those two garbage time TDs by the 49ers last week, that’s a good 22 points we’re going to have to make up if we want to hold onto our championship belt of fewest points allowed in a season!

This one was fun.  Now, let’s all rest up and get ready to put the whuppin’ on the Falcons in two weeks.