Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Bring On The Consolation Bracket!

What a refreshing BYE week for those of us in the Consolation Bracket (as well as the top two seeds in the actual playoffs; I feel like such a big shot!).

In all seriousness, what truly sucks about it is that I scored the second-most points among my Consolation Bracket brethren. And, indeed, I would have beaten my upcoming opponent – Sloane N Steady – if our little mini-tournament had started last week. There’s some conjecture involved there, but in looking at the players he left in his starting lineup – as well as his bench – I had him either way. His guys did nothing.

Which means, of course, that I’m going to get my ass handed to me, now that everything is on the line. I can’t even begin to tell you how important this game is this week. A top two draft pick vs. a draft pick in the 3 or 4 spots doesn’t seem like a lot, but we JUST converted to a full dynasty league, which means all future drafts are going to have a very small pool of talent from which to draw. We’re relying on incoming rookies, or trying to find a diamond in the rough from the leftovers who weren’t kept. Recall in our league, there will be 100 players kept – 10 players on 10 teams (each one of us will keep 2 QBs, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 FLEX, 1 K, 1 DEF) – so the odds of finding a leftover gem are pretty remote. Just as remote as finding a quality rookie.

The thing with rookies is: usually there’s one or two obvious studs on offense. But, three or four? Especially in a year without a clearcut baller at quarterback?

This Consolation Bracket feels just as important as the actual playoffs. I’m just as invested as if I were playing for the prize money. I might be more invested, to be honest! The money is nice, the name on the trophy is nicer, but I haven’t been close to that trophy in years. I’m trying to start a dynasty! I’m trying to build a team from the ground up and contend for that trophy for years to come! I’ve been mediocre for too long, and now I feel I’m close to turning a corner. I just need a break. A spark. Something to ignite my team starting in 2022 and going forward.

Getting that spark starts right now, beating Sloane N Steady. I have to! I need this!

  • Mac Jones (QB) vs. BUF
  • Justin Fields (QB) @ SEA
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) @ KC
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. CHI
  • Javonte Williams (RB) @ LV
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. WAS
  • Mike Gesicki (TE) @ NO
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. WAS
  • Ryan Succop (K) @ CAR
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) @ MIN

I have an interesting decision to make at quarterback. Everything else is pretty well set. I could toss in CEH against a porous Steelers run defense, but I just don’t trust him. No, my conundrum is what to do between Jones, Fields, and Taylor Heinicke. Jones famously had that 3-pass game against the Bills three weeks ago. I’m banking on that not happening again (obviously, since he scored less than a point in that game), but my alternative – Heinicke – scored only 8.9 points two weeks ago against the Cowboys (and this game is on the road!). I dunno, I may flip-flop before Sunday; the Bills give up the second-fewest points to opposing quarterbacks (though, they’ve given up a bundle the last two weeks, to Tom Brady and Cam Newton, two QBs who are NOTHING like Mac Jones at the moment).

This is another one of those situations where whatever decision I make will be the wrong one. I’m probably so off-base that Fields will actually be the big stinker of the three. You know what’s funny? Last week – again, on my BYE – was only the second time all year that both of my starting quarterbacks scored 20+ points in the same week. How sad is that? Did I say how much I need to win this game (and a top two draft pick for next year)?

  • Aaron Rodgers (QB) vs. CLE
  • Zach Wilson (QB) vs. JAX
  • Mike Evans (WR) @ CAR
  • Michael Pittman (WR) @ ARI
  • Nick Chubb (RB) @ GB
  • Dalvin Cook (RB) vs. LAR
  • Kyle Pitts (TE) vs. DET
  • Chase Claypool (WR) @ KC
  • Brandon McManus (K) @ LV
  • Kansas City (DEF) vs. PIT

I have Rodgers and Evans in the Splinter League, so I need them to do really, really well. I have Pitts in my third league and need HIM to do really, really well. The other guys on his roster mean nothing to me, but boy does he have some excellent matchups! Wilson against a terrible Jags team? The Chiefs against a terrible Steelers offense (Big Ben should be good for a minimum of two turnovers and forty sacks). Cook is always a superstar, and I’m sure this is the week Chubb gets over 30 points again. FML.

Splinter League Round-Up!

BUCK FUTTER had a relaxing final week of the regular season, going up against a team that had fully given up and didn’t even field a full roster of starting players. It was a good time to have my fourth-lowest scoring output of the season, since it didn’t matter and I won anyway. I finished the regular season 11-4, one game behind Beer Thirty for the top spot. I also finished second in total points scored (behind Beer Thirty, who looks like a true juggernaut). I get to avoid him in the first round, but this league is so stacked at the top, it really doesn’t matter who you face in the playoffs, it’s going to be a tough matchup. I go up against Vinegar Strokes this week, who scored the third-most points this year. I lost the only time I played him, when I scored my lowest output of the season. I have to go into the playoffs without Chris Godwin, who was one of my best position players, now on the IR. I might be without Mike Evans to boot, depending on how fast he heals. I managed to pick up Antonio Brown, so I might run it back with two Bucs receivers, or I might just slot Brown in for Evans if the latter is out this week. We’ll see.

Third League Round-Up!

I did it! I actually beat the top team in the league, and I had no business doing so! I scored among the lowest points in the league last week, but he scored the absolute lowest. I had to sweat it out all the way to Tuesday night though, needing Jalen Hurts to outperform Rashaad Penny and the Rams’ defense. He did, so I make the playoffs! If I’d lost, I would have fallen all the way to sixth place. Instead, I’m in second place, even though I scored the third-fewest points in the league this season. How about that? Everything is gravy at this point. Which is good, because Beer Thirty is also in this league, he scored the second-most points this season, and he’s going up against me this week in the playoffs. Yikes! Wish me luck!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Splinter League Round-Up!

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

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: How Low Can We Go?

Snoopy & Prickly Pete lost to Sloane N Steady 178.00 – 115.33. Thankfully, it didn’t matter that I started A.J. Brown over D.K. Metcalf (a 20-point swing), nor did it matter that I started Taylor Heinicke over Jameis Winston (a 26.15-point swing), because I got very little out of Mac Jones, CEH landed on the IR, Justin Tucker somehow only got me 3 points in game where the Ravens scored 31, and Noah Fant did Noah Fant things (which involve, almost exclusively, disappointing me). Of course, benching Metcalf, and continuing to refuse to start Jameis speaks to my poor fantasy football instincts. Should I even be allowed to run this team anymore? I’ll take your answer off the air.

That game dropped me to 1-4 on the season, in last place (tied with another 1-4 team, but he has over 100 more points than me).

Someone dropped 49ers running back Trey Sermon, so I made him a waiver claim this week. He’s not doing much of anything right now, but this whole year is dedicated to playing for next year, so my goal is to keep him (and pray he ends the year as a viable replacement for CEH). I waived Jimmy G, who has exhausted all his usefulness to me. He won’t be the starting quarterback there for long, and he’s obviously not a keeper candidate, so there’s no point in dragging his carcass through the season.

Once my claim went through, I needed to make another move. Because, with CEH officially hitting the IR, I needed to pick up a second running back to play this week. The only other running back I had on my roster was another 49er – Jeff Wilson – who is on the PUP list and won’t return for another few weeks. So, I dropped him, moved CEH to my IR spot, and picked up Bears running back Khalil Herbert.

Herbert took a bunch of snaps away from Damien Williams last week – who both played in pretty much a 50/50 share with David Montgomery on the shelf – but is slated to get the lion’s share of the running back load with Williams on the COVID IR. I very well may have to stream a second running back from week to week, but here’s hoping Herbert turns out to be something.

Here’s my lineup for Week 6:

  • Taylor Heinicke (QB) vs. KC
  • Mac Jones (QB) vs. DAL
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) vs. SEA
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) @ PIT
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ NE
  • Khalil Herbert (RB) vs. GB
  • Noah Fant (TE) vs. LV
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ NE
  • Justin Tucker (K) vs. LAC
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) @ NYG

This week, Jameis is on a BYE, and Justin Fields is going up against Green Bay. Fields had a season-high 11.95 points last week against the Raiders in a victory. He didn’t have to do much and doesn’t seem to be anywhere close to a viable fantasy quarterback. I don’t love the Mac Jones matchup against the Cowboys – whereas Fields against a poor Packers defense might actually be interesting – but at least Jones has a couple 20-point games under his belt. I need to see literally ANYTHING from Fields before I can put him back in my starting lineup.

With Trey Sermon also on a BYE, the only other skill guy I have is A.J. Brown. I’m benching him because he still fucking sucks, though I may insert him over Metcalf, because I don’t trust Geno Smith to get him the ball as far as I can throw him. I may also have my hand forced because Metcalf is dealing with injury issues and could possibly sit for this game.

I’m going up against Space Forcin’, who had two guys go last night:

  • Patrick Mahomes (QB) @ WAS
  • Tom Brady (QB) @ PHI
  • Davante Adams (WR) @ CHI
  • Chris Godwin (WR) @ PHI
  • Antonio Gibson (RB) vs. KC
  • Chase Edmonds (RB) @ CLE
  • Dalton Schultz (TE) @ NE
  • Brandin Cooks (WR) @ IND
  • Matt Prater (K) @ CLE
  • Carolina (DEF) vs. MIN

Brady and Godwin already combined for 14 points under their expected totals, which should help a great deal. Mahomes, on the other hand, could easily make up for that all by himself (against a TERRIBLE Football Team defense). I don’t love Edmonds against the Browns, and I think Schultz could be in for a long game against the Pats. Luckily, I avoided Alvin Kamara, who is on BYE this week.

I’m happy I got the 49ers running back, but I’m still pretty dismayed that zero of the quarterbacks on my roster have emerged. This is not the way I wanted this season to go.

Splinter League Round-Up!

I kicked some fuckin’ ass last week, over the guy who had Lamar Jackson and his 60+ points. It was my first 200-point week! My lowest total came from my 49ers defense, and that was still a respectable 11 points. This week, I’m already in a huge fucking hole, though, as both Evans and Godwin stunk it up last night. Kamara is on bye, which hurts, but I get another week out of Hubbard. I also managed to nab the Colts’ defense, with the 49ers on BYE; they’re expected to CRUSH Houston, so watch them give up 35 points. I can’t keep playing .500 ball all year and expect to make the 4-team playoffs! My team is too good for this!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Going Down Without A Fight

I’m just going to say this right now: I picked the best-possible weekend to get away to Leavenworth, because almost NOTHING went right for me, sports-wise. On top of the Mariners and Huskies bungling things, all three of my fantasy teams collectively shit their respective beds!

Snoopy & Prickly Pete lost to Toot Cannons 157.48 to 129.90. With a score that feeble, you’d expect my team had problems throughout the lineup, but really it was just a matter of having the worst quarterback situation in the league, combined with the Rams’ defense getting boat-raced.

My position players – save CeeDee Lamb, who mystifyingly did nothing in a game where the Cowboys scored 36 points (it happens, I guess) – all did okay! Metcalf had 16.5 points, Zeke got me 20.3, even CEH got me 19.4. Noah Fant had a respectable tight end day with 16.6, and Diontae Johnson busted out with 24.2 (making the waiver claim my highest scorer on the week). I even got 13 points from my kicker! I would take those scores from those guys every week and be happy.

But, Jimmy G was held to 10.25 points (before being pulled with a “calf injury” at halftime), and Justin Fields was held to 7.35. If I’d gone with Jameis and Mac Jones, I could’ve added approximately 21 points to my total, but that still wouldn’t have made up for the -1 I got from the Rams’ defense. I was just destined to lose this game.

Toot Cannons didn’t blow my doors off or anything; he didn’t put up 200+ like you can in this league. But, he had competent quarterbacks, and a huge day from Saquon Barkley, Najee Harris, Justin Jefferson, and Darren Waller. Those are the kinds of young studs I wish I had.

I managed to get Taylor Heinicke in a waiver claim, which I feel like is the last possible moment someone can get this guy. He’s been good-to-great since he’s been in the lineup! Certainly better than any of my quarterbacks I’ve been rolling with. He put up 36.8 against the Falcons for Christ’s sake! I don’t know if he’s a viable long-term option, but for the rest of this year he’s a must-start for me until things take a turn for the worse.

I have lots of other last-minute decisions to make this week, because I’ve got lots of guys who are KINDA injured, but might still play. What I want to do is bench D.K. Metcalf, because Jalen Ramsey always makes him his bitch. But, I don’t know if A.J. Brown is going to for-sure play or not, and with my bench structured the way it is (with all these quarterbacks), it’s not like I’m loaded with alternatives to start at the rest of my spots. Plus, even if Brown plays – it’s a great matchup against a terrible Jags defense – who knows if he’ll just be out there as a decoy, or if he’ll actually be incorporated into the offense? If Brown suits up, I might put him in for Diontae Johnson (who has a tough matchup against the Broncos), but like I said, that’ll be a last-minute decision (that I’m sure I’ll get wrong, no matter what I choose).

I really have a conundrum at the QB spot. Jimmy G may or may not go; I like his chances for a high-scoring game against the Cards, as they will need to throw a lot to stay in it. Justin Fields may or may not go, with Andy Dalton on the mend; but he’s yet to score over 8 fantasy points in our league, so is he worth starting at this point, after doing nothing against the Lions? I’m leaning Jameis against the Washington Football Team, but he keeps getting TDs sniped inside the 10 yard line by the bane of my existence Taysom Hill. Mac Jones looked semi-competent against the Bucs and has a solid matchup against the lowly Texans.

So, I dunno what I’ll do. Here’s how my lineup tentatively shakes out for Week 5:

  • Taylor Heinicke (QB) vs. NO
  • Mac Jones (QB) @ HOU
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. LAR
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) vs. DEN
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. NYG
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB) vs. BUF
  • Noah Fant (TE) @ PIT
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. NYG
  • Justin Tucker (K) vs. IND
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) @ SEA

Justin Tucker is my favorite person on the planet. I’m hoping for a big bounce-back game out of Lamb. Zeke looks rejuvenated with Dak back in the fold. And, I fully expect the Rams to make Russell Wilson’s life miserable all game long.

My opponent this week is Sloane N Steady. I’m currently in 9th place with a 1-3 record; he is currently in 10th place with a 1-3 record (only two points separate us). It’s a rumble for last place! You hate to see it. Here’s what I have to go against:

  • Aaron Rodgers (QB) @ CIN
  • Derek Carr (QB) vs. CHI
  • Mike Evans (WR) vs. MIA
  • Michael Pittman Jr. (WR) @ BAL
  • Nick Chubb (RB) @ LAC
  • Dalvin Cook (RB) vs. DET
  • Kyle Pitts (TE) vs. NYJ
  • Kareem Hunt (RB) @ LAC
  • TBD (K) vs. TBD
  • San Francisco (DEF) @ ARI

He’s got good quarterbacks, he’s got elite running backs, so I don’t totally get why he’s doing so poorly this year. His receivers are a little lacking, but it seems like he could fix that in free agency. And, it feels like it’s only a matter of time before Kyle Pitts busts out.

I don’t like my chances, but then again I never do. I think I’ll have sole possession of last place when this week is done, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to climb out of it the rest of the year. I just need to figure something out for the Consolation Bracket and try to finagle my way into a Top 2 pick for next year.

Splinter League Round-Up!

I’m starting to regret adding this segment to my weekly fantasy column, because BUCK FUTTER has lost two games in four weeks now; I was projected to lose only one all season! I don’t know what happened, but my non-QBs totally shit the bed. Chuba Hubbard was a waste of a waiver claim, and Waddle and Godwin did practically nothing. I’ll try to right the ship next week, but it’s like I’m getting everyone’s best efforts every week.

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: Tua Thine Own Self Be True

Just another brutal loss in a season full of them. It shouldn’t be difficult in our league to score over 140 points. My team is pretty awful and I’m still AVERAGING 148.22 per week (and I’m about 13 points away from having the fewest in the entire league). So, it’s saying something when I lose a game 139.05 to 119.90 to The Lance Petemans.

Was there anything I could’ve done to make up those 20 points? No reasonable human being with my roster of players at his disposal is going to bench Carson Wentz against the lowly Dallas defense; yet Carson Wentz only got me 9.85 points (thanks to 2 interceptions and 2 lost fumbles; that’s negative 10 points right there). My best two quarterbacks of the week were both on my bench. Tua and Wentz combined for 18.5, but Kirk Cousins and Danny Dimes only combined for 32.8, which STILL doesn’t make up the overall deficit. Beyond that, no one on my bench did better than who I had in my lineup, so it doesn’t matter. Nobody Beats The Wiz is just BAD and that’s it.

Carson Wentz, though, is a God damn shitshow. I don’t know how to explain it; he has NEVER been this awful! He’s obviously pressing. He’s obviously trying to do too much. He’s holding the ball too long, he’s trying to throw it deep too much, he’s trying to throw it into tight windows, he’s trying to force the ball to his guys when he should just throw the ball away, he’s taking too many hits; everything he’s doing this year is the dictionary definition of what an NFL quarterback should NOT be doing. People point to the lack of weapons around him, but I would argue his weapons were WORSE last year, and he still managed a 27/7 TD/INT split. This year, it’s 12/12. He lost 4 fumbles all of last year, he’s already lost 3 in half the number of games.

He hasn’t suddenly gotten worse! Not for the long haul; this isn’t an age thing where he’s fallen off a cliff. I guarantee you in 2021 he will bounce back and have a year closer to career norms. Hell, he might even have a career year next year! This is just one of those random occurrences that happen to good quarterbacks in their prime when everything that CAN go wrong DOES go wrong. And it’s fucking infuriating, because if just HE was playing to his usual abilities, my team would be in a much better position.

I figured Tua was going to have a rough go in his first-ever start. Even though they were at home, and even though their defense and special teams racked up a huge lead in the first half, that’s still a tough Rams defense that’s going to be hard for ANY quarterback to move the ball on, let alone one so inexperienced. If you had told me going in that the Dolphins would win 28-17, I probably would’ve expected more than what I got out of him, but that was a freaky game. Compared to the first start of someone like Justin Herbert of the Chargers, or what Joe Burrow has shown with the Bengals this year, it was a discouraging beginning for Tua. I don’t know if what I saw necessarily inspired a ton of confidence. But, it was only one game, and I’m still Ride Or Die. He goes on the road against Arizona before hosting the Chargers the week after that. These next two games should tell us quite a bit about what we might be able to expect.

In Three-Headed Running Back Hydra News: the Three-Headed Running Back Hydra dream is dead. I had SUCH high hopes for Josh Jacobs this year, but the man just doesn’t get in the endzone enough! Yes, he has five touchdowns, but those are spread out over just TWO games! This past Sunday was his first 100-yard rushing game of the season, but he had zero catches (and obviously zero scores), so his 128 yards (which SOUNDS great) only translates to a disappointing 12.8 points. And that was the highlight for the Hydra, as Zeke Elliott is facing nothing but 15-man boxes (since the Cowboys have the most inept quarterback room in all of football now, which is saying something since the New York Jets allegedly still play the sport), and CEH got all of 6 rushing attempts in a game the Chiefs won by 26 (because, for some reason, Patrick “Ball Hog” Mahomes needed to throw for all the touchdowns against the worst team in football).

In good news, my receivers played well. A.J. Brown scored his fifth touchdown in the last four games, giving him serious keeper potential for 2021. And Brandon Aiyuk got A LOT of garbage-time love in the fourth quarter against a prevent-playing Seahawks defense! He was my most welcome surprise of the day! Also, the Colts defense did me proud in dismantling the Lions on a day where I properly benched the Rams defense (who didn’t even score a third of the points I got out of Indy).

I spent most of the last week trying to deal Kirk Cousins to a quarterback-needy team, but found no takers. Makes sense. One guy ended up trading away Dak Prescott to the last place (scoring) team for Drew Brees and Julio Jones; meaning one team is playing for next year while the other is playing to win it all right now. The guy who got Dak will be able to pair him with Lamar Jackson for the next decade and I could NOT be more jealous. Having your quarterback troubles solved for such a long period of time is a VERY enviable position to be in in our league; it’s what helped The Lance Petemans win so many championships early in the trophy era (when he had prime Peyton Manning and Tom Brady for so long).

So, for now, I’m stuck with four quarterbacks. I need to get rid of either Cousins or Jones at some point, because I’m going to face a BYE week crunch pretty soon. I hope someone bites and I’m not forced to drop one of them for nothing.

I’m actually kind of glad I still have Cousins though, for reasons I’ll get into below. Here’s my lineup for this week:

  • Tua Tagovailoa (QB) @ ARI
  • Kirk Cousins (QB) vs. DET
  • A.J. Brown (WR) vs. CHI
  • Jerry Jeudy (WR) @ ATL
  • Josh Jacobs (RB) @ LAC
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB) vs. CAR
  • Noah Fant (TE) @ ATL
  • Chase Edmonds (RB) vs. MIA
  • Harrison Butker (K) vs. CAR
  • Washington (DEF) vs. NYG

Indy is going up against Baltimore’s offense. While the Ravens have been a little shaky this year (particularly against good teams, which I would argue the Colts are), they still can be QUITE potent, and therefore are a scary team for one to face in fantasy. Washington was out there as a free agent, so I picked them up (dropping CeeDee Lamb, because their quarterback situation is atrocious, as I’ve already mentioned, and I was never going to play him with the way they’re going right now). The Washington defense is pretty good, and the Giants are capable of many multiple turnovers at any given moment, so this feels like a smart play for me. As a result, obviously, I can’t play Daniel Jones this week, nor would I want to. With Wentz on a much-needed BYE week, I’m more than happy to have Cousins going up against a Lions defense that isn’t all that great. Tua, of course, is a no-brainer (for now).

I’m benching Ezekiel Elliott, which are words I never expected to write this year. But, they are ABSOLUTELY inept on offense, and with injuries along the offensive line compounding the QB issues, it makes zero sense playing him against a Steelers defense that’s the absolute best (according to Yahoo!) against opposing running backs. So, watch this be the week Zeke gets 20+ points out of nowhere as their coaches finally figure out how to employ a Zeke-heavy offensive scheme for once (and only once, because as soon as I put him back in my starting lineup, he will surely revert to sucking again; this is the way). However, I’m THRILLED to have Chase Edmonds, who has proven – every time the Cardinals have used him as their primary running back – to be a super-stud for fantasy purposes. Considering they’re going up against a Dolphins defense that’s no great shakes, I have high hopes he’ll make up for what I’m lacking with CEH (who has a decent matchup against a bad Panthers defense, but given the Chiefs’ usage of him, your guess is as good as mine as to whether he’ll get touches or not).

I actually like my new Three-Headed Running Back Hydra for this week, with Josh Jacobs getting a juicy matchup against the Chargers. I’m a little more dubious about my receivers, though. A.J. Brown’s touchdown streak might come to an end against a very-good Bears defense, and I had to pick up Jerry Jeudy as a free agent because Aiyuk was placed on the COVID injured list this week. Jeudy was probably the highest-rated receiver coming out of the draft, but he also plays with Drew Lock and the Broncos, so even against a team as poor as the Falcons, I expect them all to struggle. Jeudy was the best of a terrible bunch of options for me, though, so fuck me I guess.

This week, I’m going up against Beasts. Along with The Lance Petemans, he’s the other guy who’s essentially owned our league in the Trophy Era. He’s JUST getting back one of his primary keepers in Christian McCaffrey, so he’s going to have a roster decision to make soon. He has BYE week guys in Travis Fulgham (Wentz’s primary pass catcher), Darrell Henderson, and A.J. Green. He’s also likely to miss T.Y. Hilton due to injury, so his bench is going to be full of guys he can’t use and won’t like to waive. Here’s his projected lineup:

  • Russell Wilson (QB) @ BUF
  • Justin Herbert (QB) vs. LV
  • Marquise Brown (WR) @ IND
  • Antonio Brown (WR) vs. NO
  • James White (RB) @ NYJ
  • Chris Carson (RB) @ BUF
  • Hunter Henry (TE) vs. LV
  • Chris Godwin (WR) vs. NO
  • Wil Lutz (K) @ TB
  • Arizona (DEF) vs. MIA

Two things I might have going in my favor are Chris’s Carson and Godwin both being banged up. Carson had a foot injury that held him out of the 49ers game last week, though I had originally expected him to gut his way through it. He’s a REALLY tough dude, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s back this week, and playing extensively with Carlos Hyde almost assuredly out with injury once again. As for Godwin, he recently had surgery for a broken finger. The Bucs get Antonio Brown back for this one, so there might not be extreme urgency to rush Godwin back as well; but it’s also just a finger, so he’ll probably just wrap it up and play. I suspect regardless of what happens, McCaffery inserts as a starter for one of those guys (as if Beasts wasn’t already in a strong-enough position against my lowly team).

Like I said, though, Beasts doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room if he needs to make a roster move. Anyone he drops from his bench is likely to be picked up immediately; does he want to risk that against an opponent in Nobody Beats The Wiz who he should probably defeat even while undermanned?

I mean, he’s got two of the best fantasy quarterbacks going right now. I have Russell Wilson in my other league (which I am absolutely DESTROYING), so I know the luxury it is having an MVP candidate in your lineup every week. I also like his kicker a lot; I think the Saints are destined to kick a ton of field goals against the Bucs. And, I feel like he just picked up Arizona’s defense to spite me; BEASTS DOESN’T BELIEVE IN YOU, TUA, BUT I DO!!!

My defeat drops me to 3-5, and in 8th place. Oddly enough, Beasts is in 10th place with a 2-6 record, but he’s been riddled with injuries all year. He has almost 60 more points than I do on the season; he’s been plagued by the unlucky circumstance of having the second-most points scored against him. That absolutely should not be a problem this week. It’s likely we’ll find me all the way at the bottom of the league this time next week.

This one seems like an easy one to predict: Beasts Beats The Wiz. Try saying that five times fast! I would, but this noose around my neck makes it difficult …

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?

If The Seahawks Continue To Suck On Defense, They’ll Lose To The Bucs This Week

Seattle’s home field advantage is officially dead. 2-2 at home through the midway point of the season means the crowd noise alone isn’t doing enough of the job. The defensive line should be swarming all around every quarterback that comes in here, but that’s clearly not the case. It’s loud everywhere, and most teams have figured out how to play with a silent count. Also, since the Seahawks apparently don’t play well in the rain, that shuts down any weather advantage you’d think we’d have.

With the way the Ravens and Saints were able to move the ball, it’s going to come down to just the talent on the field. No external circumstances figure to be in play.

On paper, you’d think that’d be a good thing. The Bucs aren’t very good. The Seahawks, if nothing else, have proven to be able to handle the not-very-good teams they’ve played so far. But, we’ve yet to put it together in all three phases, and we’ve still yet to see that game – that comes seemingly every year – where we blow one against a team we’re clearly superior to.

The Seahawks SHOULD dominate the Bucs. They also should’ve dominated the Falcons, Browns, Bengals, and Saints (without Brees). It turns out the Saints as a whole are a lot better than I thought heading into that one, but those other teams played us tough; a couple breaks going the other way, and we’d all be singing a drastically different tune about the Seahawks.

The Bucs can score in bunches. They made the Rams’ secondary look like they weren’t even on the field! They’ve got two elite receivers and a quarterback who, at times, is as talented as they come. He’s also not very bright and has a tendency to turn the ball over. Every time you think about the Bucs, you have to ask yourself: will we see Good Jameis or Bad Jameis? Good Jameis can beat any football team in any city on any given Sunday. Bad Jameis can lose to the absolute worst teams, even in ideal circumstances, with his terrible decision-making.

And, there’s really no predicting which Jameis we’ll get this week. A betting man would probably put the odds higher on Bad Jameis showing up in Seattle. It’s on the road, it’s loud here, and he definitely forces it to his receivers over his tight ends. If I were to ever buy-in on a Tampa tight end, it would be this weekend, but I dunno. They just don’t throw the ball to O.J. Howard or Cameron Brate, even though those guys are giants and very gifted (particularly in the red zone). To be fair, though, I don’t know if either one is all that healthy heading into this game.

On the flipside, it’s not like the Seahawks are so great at covering receivers. Shaquill Griffin has been rock solid on his side of the field, but it ain’t no thang to just throw to the other side, where our coverage is considerably weaker. And, if Chris Godwin plays exclusively out of the slot, he could EASILY put up double-digit catches and 200+ yards on us, with either a linebacker or a replacement-level nickel back covering him.

There’s also the factor that Bruce Arians is their coach, and if anyone knows how to beat the Seahawks, it’s Jeff Fisher Bruce Arians. I’ve seen plenty of mediocre Arizona teams come into Seattle under Arians and somehow sneak out of here with a victory.

If Bad Jameis shows up, this should be an easy Seahawks victory, maybe the easiest of the season. But, even if Good Jameis plays, it’s not like we’re screwed. Fortunately for all concerned, the Bucs’ defense gives up the second-most passing yards in the league. That works out for us, because Russell Wilson is one of the best quarterbacks in the game. That’s doubly important, because the Bucs give up the fewest rushing yards per game in the NFL. So, getting the ball out on time and down field will be vital. As the Bucs give up over 30 points per game, we should have no problem with our offense in this one.

As the Bucs are almost as bad at the Seahawks at getting pressure, I fully expect this one to be a shootout through the air. My one concern is if the Seahawks try to continuously run into a brick wall with Carson. I believe in him as much as anyone, but maybe this could be the week where we bust out the air attack. You gotta play to your opponent’s weaknesses, and it’s pretty clear where the Bucs are weakest.

In the end, I’m officially predicting a close Seahawks victory (if I were a betting man, I’d also be POUNDING the over on this one; as 60 points feels more accurate for these two defenses), but I could see this entire weekend going haywire. I’m already off to TERRIBLE starts in my two premiere fantasy football games (the 49ers defense dominates pretty much every opposing quarterback, except the week I go up against Kyler Murray), the Huskies are probably going to be routed by Utah for a third home loss on the season, so might as well top off this shitty sundae with a baffling loss to an inferior squad on Sunday.

Hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst. That’s my life’s motto and it’s in full effect this weekend.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2019: All Hell Breaks Loose

I feel these sorts of weekends in my bones. It usually starts with the Huskies losing on Saturday. I wake up as hungover as can be on Sunday, there’s no Seahawks game, and I’m up against a buzzsaw in fantasy. In this case, I’d go on to lose in all four fantasy games I’m involved with, so I avoided watching football entirely (for Family Guy and Brooklyn Nine-Nine reruns in bed).

I kept track of the score on my phone for a while, but at some point it became too sadomasochistic to continue. Beasts, my opponent, started off his week with Russell Wilson going off for 40+ and Chris Carson beating expectations to get nearly 20. Then, he had Christian McCaffrey score almost 50, Matt Ryan in a shootout, Chris Godwin picking up all the slack for the Tampa offense, and for good measure Edelman and Boyd having huge days.

I, on the other hand, benched Josh Jacobs (almost 30) for David Montgomery (10) and Minshew (almost 30) for Dimes (12). Not that it would’ve mattered; Wentz, Hilton, and Waller were all mediocre, and I had absolutely no one in the realm of Beasts’ best guys.

I was crushed 253.66-150.05. I’d be complaining about my bad luck, but someone else in the league dropped 260 on the poor sap who’s still winless on the year. My defeat drops me to 2-3 and 7th in the league. I’m down to just the 6th-most points, but the 2nd-most points against (the last place team has the most points against at 950.65 and I’m at 940.77; the 3rd-most points against is only 793.14, to give you an idea how unlucky we’ve been).

***

What’s worse is that I’m setting myself up for another loss in week 6. I have a tight end and defense on BYE, with no backups to put in their place. Furthermore, Jacobs, Hilton, and Montgomery are all on BYE as well, which is a huge setback.

I’ve got Wentz at MIN and Minshew hosting the Saints; I fully expect two mediocre games from them (Dimes is at New England and is unstartable in this Thursday Night matchup). My Big 4 of Kupp, Tyreek Hill (looking on pace to return for the first time since Week 1), Zeke and Bell are all set to start for me, which is nice to finally have back. But, my FLEX is a little iffy with Scary Terry being my choice over Chris Thompson. They’re playing the Dolphins, so if there’s any time to load up on Redskins players, this might be the week, but with their coaching & quarterback shuffling, who the fuck knows? Can Justin Tucker score 30 points somehow?

My opponent – Crazy N8’s Prostates – will be fielding a full team. They’re, of course, better than me even when I’m at full strength, so I really expect to get killed for the second time in a row. He’s got Dak in a juicy matchup against the Jets, with Cousins in a potential shootout against the Eagles. He has Keenan Allen, ODB, and James Conner; with David Johnson, Ingram, and Kelce rounding out the offense. He could also toss Sammy Watkins into his FLEX if he so desires. And, since he actually has roster flexibility, he was able to grab Dallas’ defense off of the scrap heap, who figure to murder the Jets this weekend; it’s certainly risky to bench Sacksonville’s defense, but when you have a chance to field a defense going up against one of the worst teams in the league, you have to do it.

I’ve just gotta weather this storm and hope for better days in the second half of the regular season. There’s still a lot of time to get right, but I’m in desperate need of Carson Wentz to pick his game up. I also need to figure it out when it comes to Minshew vs. Jones; I somehow make the wrong decision every single week, even though I feel like my judgment is sound. Dimes didn’t have a great matchup last week, but Carolina’s defense to date had been murder on opposing quarterbacks. Maybe it just boils down to Minshew being the real deal and Dimes being a flash in the pan? I can’t help but feel I’m about to have the rug pulled out from under me; that I’m going to finally start Minshew and that’s the week he turns back into a pumpkin.

Regardless, if it wasn’t clear before, it’s all but assured I won’t get to enjoy a Top 2 finish to the regular season (and a first round playoff BYE). It’s hard enough to win ANY week in fantasy, but having to win three in a row during the playoffs is damn near impossible. This week, I’m going up against the last person in our league to do it (I think). Maybe I can get some of that magic to rub off on me.

The other hard truth I might have to face as the season progresses is that my team just isn’t very good this year. Maybe I’ve been spending too much time focusing on the future and not enough time on getting better in the short term. It certainly doesn’t help that I made Roethlisberger my first draft pick, that I got unlucky with Hill getting injured in week 1, and that I drafted T.Y. Hilton over Tyler Lockett, among many other disasterous decisions. This year is a learning experience. Of course, I could say that damn near every year, where I continue to remain off of the championship trophy entirely.