The Top 20 Seahawks Of 2021

The theme of this offseason – which I alluded to last Friday, but don’t think I properly answered – is: How Quick Can The Seahawks Get Back To Contending For Championships? Turning things around can be a little nebulous; if by “turning around” you mean getting back to the playoffs, as I’ve said before, we can pretty much run the same team back and hope variance takes care of everything else (on top of a second year with the same coordinator, and a little better injury luck). But, I don’t think very many of us are satisfied with “just making the playoffs”. We’ve been “just making the playoffs” pretty much the entire time Russell Wilson has been in the league! After getting a taste of back-to-back Super Bowls, I think the more hardcore fans are now rabid animals, desperate to get back no matter the cost.

The 2021 Seahawks were a collosal disappointment, no doubt about it. We started the season 3-8, it doesn’t get a whole lot worse than that. We lost to a lot of teams we had no business losing to (the Titans, the Vikings, the Steelers, the Saints, the Football Team, the Bears). Flip half of those games and we’re at 10 wins and in the playoffs. It’s not like we were TERRIBLE though. We finished 7-10 – a record we absolutely deserved – but we’re not in such bad shape that the roster MUST be completely turned over.

I have a list of 20 Seahawks from the 2021 team. I’ve split them into three categories: young rising stars, good guys who would find regular work on other teams, and the cream of the crop established superstars. So, let’s go in that order.

Young, Rising Stars

  • Jake Curhan (RT)
  • Tre Brown (CB)

Most every year, you stumble upon at least a guy or two who comes out of nowhere to really make an impact. Tre Brown was the first one this past season. As a 4th round draft pick, I didn’t expect a whole lot – if anything – from Tre Brown, as a rookie, or really throughout his career. The odds are stacked so far against you as a Day 3 draft pick. You could argue the Seahawks have had a lot of success drafting DBs late, but you could also argue we haven’t done so since 2012 (unless you’re a big Ugo Amadi fan; he’s okay, I guess, but I wouldn’t call him a rousing success). Tre Flowers, Tedric Thompson, Michael Tyson, Tye Smith, etc. are all the Day 3 busts we’ve accumulated since the L.O.B. heyday; I think we’ve proven that we’re not capable of just throwing any ol’ draft pick out there and turning them into studs.

So, yes, Tre Brown was a breath of fresh air! He was aggressive, without being reckless. He fit into the system without giving up huge cushions of yardage pre-snap. And, most importantly, he supplanted Tre Flowers once and for all, allowing us to cut him when he finally ran out of chances to make it in this defense. Which made his injury in November that much more demoralizing, because Brown looked like he’d be a 4-year starter with this team right away. Now, he’s gotta recover from knee surgery, and who knows how long it’ll be until he returns to form, if ever? I’m still holding out hope, though not for a 2022 return.

Jake Curhan, on the other hand, looks like he’s here to stay. He was an undrafted rookie in 2021 who slipped in the draft due to medicals. Those medicals don’t project to be as serious as once thought, and it appears he’ll be able to have a long and fruitful NFL career. He was able to slide into the right tackle spot when Brandon Shell went down with injury, and he really impressed! His pass protection isn’t quite there yet, but it’s not as dire from a tackle as it is with a guard; Russ was able to work with it and get away from a lot of the pressure coming from that side. Curhan’s run blocking proved to be top notch though, so at least he does SOMETHING well! That’s more than we could say for the revolving door that’s been the right tackle spot since Breno Giacomini manned the position. Making it through his rookie season injury-free gives me even more hope as we head into 2022, when he’ll project to take a step forward in his development.

Better Than Replacement-Level Players

  • Gerald Everett (TE) *
  • Damien Lewis (G)
  • Alton Robinson (DE)
  • Poona Ford (DT)
  • Al Woods (DT) *
  • Carlos Dunlap (DE)
  • Bobby Wagner (LB)
  • Sidney Jones (CB) *
  • D.J. Reed (CB) *
  • Rasheem Green (DE) *

I didn’t put these in any particular order, but if I’m being honest, D.J. Reed was the one I was most on the fence about; he might be an elite player, I’d just like to see more than 2 interceptions a year out of an elite corner.

These are all guys who aren’t quite studs, but if we cut them (or they’re free agents, which is what the * represents), I would expect all of these guys to find jobs on other teams. Anyone I didn’t list here, or in the upcoming elite category, are guys who may or may not find work elsewhere, but don’t have a ton of value to an NFL team outside of depth.

These guys, however, are productive enough, but I could probably take ’em or leave ’em. They all have flaws. Everett is a weird headcase who cost us too many yards in stupid fucking penalties (not to mention all the drops). Lewis has run into a string of injuries and doesn’t feel quite as irreplaceable as he was as a promising rookie. Robinson just didn’t take that next step in his second year, finishing with a disappointing number of sacks. Poona and Woods are run-stuffing tackles, there’s a ceiling for what those guys are (and it’s in this category). Dunlap has only showed up for half-a-season in each of his two years here. Wagner’s just flat out lost a step and doesn’t make the same number of impact plays as he did as a young buck. Jones and Reed need to generate more turnovers. And Green is taking his sweet-ass time to really bust out as a force in this league.

Elite Seahawks Studs

  • Russell Wilson (QB)
  • Rashaad Penny (RB) *
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR)
  • Tyler Lockett (WR)
  • Darrell Taylor (LB/DE)
  • Jordyn Brooks (LB)
  • Jamal Adams (S)
  • Quandre Diggs (S) *

Again, no particular order, but Brooks is the one I was most on the fence about. He might just be another guy. But, he led the team in tackles in his second season (his first as a starter), and all the smart football wonks have been praising his play since he started getting in there. There haven’t been a ton of impact plays, but he’s making all the regular ones, and he’s another guy who should continue to improve over the next year or two.

Diggs and Penny both feel like guys who need to be re-signed. It’s tantalizing to envision a scenario where Penny can stay healthy and dominate the league (I’ll be FASCINATED to see where he goes on fantasy football draft boards heading into next year).

Seeing the offensive players on this list, it’s all the more frustrating that we weren’t able to move the football and score as much as we’d like. So many NFL teams would KILL for the type of talent we have at the skill positions. Let’s hope – if things do carry over into 2022 – that it was just an adjustment period to the new offensive coordinator, and we’re now over the hump.

As for the defense, those were some nice players for us (particularly encouraging to see Taylor here, considering this was his first full year, after being injured his entire rookie season), but in order for Taylor to remain on this list, he’s going to have to really turn it up in 2022, and be a kind of Von Miller-like talent off the edge. The Seahawks have been in dire need of that kind of pass rushing monster for years now; if they don’t get it this offseason, then I’d expect more of the same middling finishes for years to come.

We’re not bereft of talent, but obviously you’d like to see more than 8 players in that elite category. I don’t know what it’s going to take to get there, but that feels like a tall ask to do in one offseason.

Seahawks Death Week: How Close Are We To A Turnaround?

Yesterday, we talked about all the pending cuts and free agents who might walk. Now, let’s see what needs to be done to right the ship.

It would be the peak of unsatisfying insanity if the Seahawks chalked up 2021 to an injured Russell Wilson fluke and tried to run back the exact same roster (more or less; it’ll never be 100% retention), in hopes of returning to our 2020 level of success. As we saw – in 2020 – that level of success was still underwhelming, in spite of the division title. Knowing how much money the Seahawks have in salary cap room heading into 2022, it’s conceivable that we could keep all the guys under contract now, while using that money to bring back Quandre Diggs, Duane Brown, D.J. Reed, Sidney Jones, Rasheem Green, Al Woods, Gerald Everett, Rashaad Penny, Ethan Pocic, and Will Dissly. But, what’s that going to get us? The ceiling is 2020, the floor is 2021 (or worse, if Wilson leaves and we’re stuck with a replacement-level quarterback).

But that is, technically, one option. Run it back for a third year in a row, and see if we can luck our way in one-score games into another divisional title. That option has the possibility of a turnaround from 2021, though that seems unlikely to me. Both that it happens at all, and that it leads to improvement. Stagnancy begets stagnancy.

As you’ll recall, the Seahawks punted the 2021 NFL Draft, making only three selections, by far the fewest in the Pete Carroll/John Schnedier Era, and easily the fewest in franchise history. This had everything to do with trading away so many of those draft picks for veteran players. We’re in a similar boat in 2022 – most aggravatingly missing our 10th overall pick in the first round – but we do have six picks on the books so far. Our first pick is the 10th overall in the second round, which SHOULD net us a player who can contribute right away, but we’ll see (regardless, he probably won’t be a high impact player as a rookie, if ever).

The point is, in spite of our poor 2021 performance, I wouldn’t expect a ton of help to come from the 2022 draft. Figure it’ll be more depth pieces to throw onto the pile we already have.

I suppose trades are a possibility, but if we’re not talking about trading Russell Wilson, I don’t see where we have anything anyone else would want. So help me if we continue trading future first round picks, banking on being good again next season.

There simply has to be a hugely impactful free agent or two that comes in, if we want to turn this thing around.

Priority #1 – Left Tackle

I won’t take Duane Brown or Stone Forsythe for an answer. We squeezed all we could out of Brown this late into his career, but it would be damn near criminal to keep bringing him back on one-year contracts without a viable backup plan in place. But, we also can’t count on the 2021 rookie to step in there, when he looked pretty bad in the limited duty he got this past season (and was already a pretty low-rated draft pick). There has to be someone on the free agent market that we can bring in on a long-term deal. I don’t know who it is, but I know he’s out there. Find him.

Priority #2 – Draft A Middle Linebacker

Get the top guy available at Pick 42, bingo bango bongo. Ideally, he’s someone fast and smart that you can pair with Jordyn Brooks and let them both go off for the next however many years (similarly to how K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner were once the two young studs in the middle). If the rookie needs some time, then by all means, go with Cody Barton for a few games until the rookie gets his feet wet. But, this needs to be the move 100%, with Bobby Wagner’s salary going elsewhere.

Priority #3 – Pass Rush

Either sign one guy at near top of the market prices, or sign two guys for mid-level money, but either way we need to stop dumpster diving this critical part of the team. Then, we can base our cuts around the guys we bring in (Benson Mayowa can probably go, hopefully we can find someone younger and better to also replace Carlos Dunlap, since he’s incapable of giving us a full season’s worth of production).

Priority #4 – Secondary

IF the Seahawks cut Wagner and bring in a rookie middle linebacker to take over, then I think I’m comfortable using that money to extend Quandre Diggs. There might also be some semblance of a discount at play given his leg injury, though I kind of doubt it. The more you read about Diggs, the more it seems like he’s truly indispensable to this team with his play and leadership. I would also throw money at both D.J. Reed and Sidney Jones; let’s run the entire secondary back! I liked Tre Brown as much as the next guy, but we don’t know how he’s going to recover from his injury. 2022 might be a lost year for him. It would be nice to have Reed on a long-term deal and Jones on a shorter-term deal to carry us over.

Priority #5 – Draft A Running Back

I would make this the third round pick (ideally) or one of the fourth rounders. There will still be quality running backs at that level. This will be our Chris Carson replacement. I’m going into this year assuming we’ll find a way to bring Rashaad Penny back (because his final five games of 2021 were too enticing to just let walk for nothing), but it would be idiotic to expect him to all of a sudden be an every-down, every-game running back. I want a rookie with a higher ceiling than either Homer or Dallas. He doesn’t necessarily have to be the best blocker in college, nor does he have to be a return man of some sort. He just needs to have incredible running back skills, vision, ability to hit the hole and make cuts, break tackles, all of it. Let him develop into a pass catcher or a blocker when he gets into the NFL. Ideally, Penny will continue to be amazing and we won’t need the rookie. But, if and when Penny gets injured, throw the rookie in there, because hopefully by that point he’s had a chance to learn and grow from the bench.

Priority #6 – Draft A Tight End

Make this one of the fourth rounders. I’m assuming the Seahawks make a play on bringing back Will Dissly for a few more years, and making Colby Parkinson more of an offensive priority. He was starting to see more action towards the end of the season, especially down around the red zone; I think his role will only continue to grow given his size. With Dissly back, we can afford to go grab another offensive weapon in the fourth round, to make this room entirely young and homegrown.

Priority #7 – Extend D.K. Metcalf

The Seahawks are at a crossroads here. If Wilson forces his way out, then I think the Seahawks would be dumb to not trade Metcalf when his value is at its highest (he still has one year left on his rookie deal; after that, he’ll be too costly to be valuable). But, if Wilson stays, then I think we have to extend Metcalf now, both to keep him happy and to keep his next contract relatively cost-contained. We don’t want to play the Franchise Tag game with him.

Priority #8 – Bring In A Rookie Kicker

I’m not saying draft one, but definitely bring in a college guy – maybe one of those studs from the Alabama/Georgia game – as an undrafted rookie to compete with Jason Myers. Myers is on the final year of his deal in 2022. I don’t know if cutting him is the answer; he was so good in 2020, I’m more inclined to think his struggles in 2021 were just random kicker variance. But, you also shouldn’t take any chances that I’m correct on this issue. Bring in someone to compete; we’ll get to see how Myers handles that kind of adversity. Either the rookie struggles and we keep Myers anyway (the likeliest scenario, unless we’re really up against it with the salary cap and need to save $4 million), or the rookie is good but Myers is better (and we find a way to keep the rookie on the practice squad until a time comes when we can no longer trust Myers), or the rookie out-performs Myers and it’s win-win when we cut Myers before the regular season starts.

Priority #9 – Center

I don’t know if this is done through the draft or free agency, or by converting one of the guards we’ve got on our roster now, but I think this needs to happen. Maybe, if it’s a rookie, we sign Pocic to a one-year deal and let the rookie learn. Or, maybe we go with a veteran and stop fucking around for once. But, I’d like some real beef at center, to help us keep our quarterback upright.

Priority #10 – Bring Back Al Woods

I’ll be honest, I loved everything the defensive tackle room did this year, but especially Al Woods being a huge presence in the middle. That dude deserves some stability; give him a 2-year deal and let’s fucking go!

Seahawks Death Week: Non-Russell Wilson Reasons The Seahawks Declined In 2021

The Seahawks had five fewer wins in 2021 than in 2020. Last year, we were 12-4 divisional champs; this year, we’re 7-10 divisional basement dwellers. Yesterday – and really, all season – we discussed the Russell Wilson of it all, how his injury and subsequent struggles probably cost us a minimum of three games this season. Flip from 7-10 to 10-7 and this is a wild card team. That doesn’t do much for me, of course, because a 10-7 Seahawks team would probably still lose in the first round (it would certainly lose in round two, otherwise, especially if we had to play in Green Bay), but you’re painting the whole situation with a different brush if that’s the case. If this is just another in a long line of disappointing playoff teams who fail to win a championship, that still looks better than a possibly-dysfunctional team with a losing record who traded away its 10th overall pick to the Jets.

Anyway, as much as I’d like to talk about how Wilson’s performance drove me crazy this year, I’m dedicated to writing about other reasons the Seahawks faltered as well. We’ll see how it goes (so far, it’s going very poorly).

I think a big reason for this season’s decline has to do with the pass rush, which I wrote about last week. That was, of course, written after only 16 of 17 games had been played (you know, like a normal NFL season, before greed forced this additional week on us); at that point, the Seahawks ranked 28th in the NFL with 29 sacks. So, what happened? Well, the Seahawks kicked some ass down in Arizona, racked up 5 additional sacks, and improved their ranking all the way to 22nd in the NFL. Which still isn’t great, but looks a lot better than 28th. Oh what a difference a week can make.

No one stands out more than Carlos Dunlap as far as how an outlook of a season can change in just a few weeks. He had 0.5 sacks heading into December. Then, he had 8 in the final six games to end with 8.5. The way it was looking, Dunlap was the bust of the century; now he looks like the same beast we had on the team last year!

In my post last week, I talked about how Dunlap and Rasheem Green were leading the way with 6.5 sacks. Now, Dunlap is our 2021 team leader with 8.5, Green still has 6.5, but Darrell Taylor also added half a sack to get to 6.5. Everything looks remarkably better with one outstanding performance. Poona Ford added 1.5 sacks to get up to 2 on the season, and Kerry Hyder added a sack to salvage SOMETHING (ending the year with 1.5 sacks).

I would still say pass rush is the biggest concern heading into the 2022 season, as it was one of the biggest drop-offs from the 2020 season. Other than that, though, the defense was roughly the same. In 2020, we gave up 380.6 yards per game; in 2021 it was 379.1 (both figures among the worst in football). Our pass defense improved by roughly 20 yards per game (which passes the eye test, as the secondary appeared to be better than it was in 2020), while our rush defense declined by roughly the same amount (also seeming to pass the eye test, as it was a problem at times all year). We gave up almost 2 fewer points per game in 2021, which is impressive given our injuries and the extra game we played. All in all, the defense was probably better than it had any right to be in 2021, especially given how poor the pass rush played until very late in the season.

The offense, however was atrocious in 2021 compared to 2020. We generated 323.9 yards per game, compared to 369.5 yards last year. Passing yards per game declined (201.9 vs. 246.3), and our rushing yards per game was roughly the same (122.0 this year vs. 123.2 last year), but a lot of that had to do with Rashaad Penny’s bust out in the final few weeks of the season. That translated to a drastic reduction in points per game (23.2 vs. 28.7); just a miserable offensive year.

It’s particularly aggravating to try to analyze, because if you take the eye test out of it, Russell Wilson’s numbers largely align between 2020 and 2021.

  • Completion Percentage: 2020 – 68.8%, 2021 – 64.8%
  • Yards Per Attempt: 2020 – 7.5, 2021 – 7.8
  • Passer Rating: 2020 – 105.1, 2021 – 103.1

Even while his touchdown percentage declined, his interception percentage improved. There’s a lot about his 2021 season that, at least, compared favorably to his career norms. It’s not like Wilson suddenly fell off a cliff. You can always point to his declining rushing production – he had a career-low 3.1 rush attempts per game, after averaging over 2 more per game last year – but that was always to be expected as he got older.

I would say, in general, both years were failures from a running game perspective. Chris Carson led the Seahawks in 2020 with 681 yards; Penny led the Seahawks in 2021 with 749. But, neither player put up anywhere near a full season; if they had, we’d be talking about the Seahawks’ offense in much more glowing terms.

The Seahawks, in both years, struggled to find a third receiver who stood out. What was alarming about 2021 is how D.K. Metcalf’s production declined: 83 catches for 1,303 yards in 2020; 75 for 967 in 2021. There’s some combination of his foot injury and Wilson’s inaccuracy at play there.

What we can’t discount is the change in offensive coordinators. For as much as we all hoped – with the established stars on this roster – that there wouldn’t be a drop-off in production as a new scheme and play-caller were installed, I think that was probably inevitable. Time will tell – and probably very soon – whether or not Shane Waldron is the right guy for the job, especially in how he calls plays. But, I don’t think you can render final judgment after one season. It’s unfortunate, though, because we’ve seen guys step in and see immediate improvement in other situations.

There’s also the bad luck factor at play (or regression to the mean, depending on your sports beliefs). The 2020 Seahawks were 8-3 in one-score games; the 2021 Seahawks were 3-5 in those games. These are games where we held our fate in our hands, and failed to rise to the occasion. You pay a quarterback like Russell Wilson big money to pull these games out. I don’t know if he managed to succeed in any of these that we won, so much as maybe the defense perhaps held on in the end a few times.

If there’s one area the Seahawks will need to find a way to improve – if everything else ends up staying the same – it’s the offensive line. I think we’ve stumbled upon our right tackle of the future, but we need to find a better left tackle, as Duane Brown was really starting to show his age at times this season. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to find a stud center to finally lock that part down. Who knows if any of it will matter, though, as long as Russell Wilson keeps doing Russell Wilson things (which used to be amazing, but now has grown seriously infuriating).

So, what’s the TL;DR? I think Russell Wilson’s poor play – inaccurate, lack of clutchness, lack of ability to convert third downs, lack of willingness to take the plays opposing defenses gave him – deserves a healthy chunk of the blame. I think the O-Line not improving one iota is partly to blame. I think gross incompetence in the running game until the final few weeks of the season has a lot to do with it (and the front office re-signing an injury-prone Carson goes to the top of that particular list). The pass rush shares in the burden, as do the defensive coaches in general, who for the second year in a row failed to have this team prepared in the first half of the season, as we stumbled to a historically-inept start yet again.

Some of these we should have seen coming and corrected ahead of time. Others – like Wilson and the pass rush – totally blindsided us. But, no, Russell Wilson wasn’t the only reason why the 2021 Seahawks failed to live up to what the 2020 version achieved. But, he was the highest-profile and most disgruntled reason why they did.

I’ll be honest, his media antics following the 2020 season soured Wilson on me maybe forever. I’ll always appreciate what he did for this organization, but now I think he’s a joke and that it’s time to move on. More on this tomorrow, as we start to look toward the future.

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

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

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

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

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

Splinter League Round-Up!

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

Third League Round-Up!

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

Potential 2022 Dynasty Keepers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Seahawks Won A Meaningless Blowout Over The Lions

For as bad as the Seahawks have been this season – and make no mistake, 6-10 with one game to go is pretty damn bad – this one felt a little predictable. There was no way the Seahawks were going to lose to the Bears AND the Lions at home in back-to-back weeks. Just as predictable – as it turns out – that there was no way we were going to beat them in back-to-back weeks either.

The Lions are one of the worst teams in the entire league. It turns out there’s a pretty significant difference between the two very worst teams (the Jags and Lions) and everyone else. The Seahawks beat the Jags and Lions by a combined 82-36. So, if you’re looking at our +21 point differential on the season, look no further and go ahead and put that line of thinking out of your mind. That season-long point differential is almost identical to the outcome of our game with the Lions yesterday, which we won 51-29.

That doesn’t mean we were particularly unlucky, or that we deserve to be at or better than a .500 team. That just means we beat the everloving shit out of the two worst teams in football, but we ourselves are still in the bottom ten of all NFL teams for a reason.

I know it’s tempting to look at this game as some sort of turning point. That maybe, if you squint, you could see the offense rebounding (if we managed to keep the band together for one more go-around) next season. But, these are the Lions we’re talking about. They have no talent whatsoever on defense. Their offense didn’t do much of anything at all in the first half, then gave us a bunch of short fields in the second half. We could’ve put up 60+ if we wanted to (or if we were in any way competent at recovering onside kicks).

One interesting thing to talk about is the emergence of Rashaad Penny. I know, I know, but if you could hold off on your dramatic eye rolling for a minute, hear me out. I just want to talk; see, I’m unarmed!

For reasons that are abundantly clear to any Seahawks fan, this is the greatest stretch of success in Rashaad Penny’s 4-year NFL career. He’s long showed flashes in VERY short 1-game bursts (12 for 108 and a TD in 2018 against the Rams; 14 for 129 and a TD in 2019 against the Eagles), but here are his lines over the last four games (in four consecutive injury-free weeks, no less!):

  • 16 for 137 and 2 TDs at Houston
  • 11 for 39 at the Rams
  • 17 for 135 and a TD vs. Chicago
  • 25 for 170 and 2 TDs vs. Detroit

That’s 69 carries for 481 yards, for a 6.97 yards per carry average. That is, of course, a clinically insane level of dominance for a running back, but it at least establishes a ceiling for Mr. Penny. It’s just unfortunate that it’s taken him this long to show what he can do (to be fair, he might’ve shown it sooner, but he was always blocked by Chris Carson even when he was healthy).

I’m not saying the Seahawks need to extend him, but I’m also not totally against it either. This is another case where I wouldn’t care if some other team blew him away with an amazing offer. But, if we wanted to give him an incentive-laden deal, it might be worth our while. That assumes, of course, that our objective isn’t to blow the whole thing up and start over.

In other news, it was cool to see D.K. Metcalf finally bust out with 3 TDs. He’ll likely have foot surgery this offseason, and then we’ll see. It seems like these types of big & tall receivers tend to have chronic foot problems for their entire careers. But, as long as they’re capable of totally taking over games like this, they’re worth the consternation (I would still, nevertheless, trade him while the value is still sky-high, especially if Russell Wilson is also going to force his way out).

If this was Russell Wilson’s last home game in a Seahawks uniform, he went out looking very Wilson-esque: 20/29 for 236, 4 TDs, and 0 INTs. What wasn’t Wilson-esque was the fact that he only took 1 sack for -4 yards. I’m not used to that level of efficiency from our O-Line, but you don’t get to play the Lions every week.

If this was Bobby Wagner’s last home game in a Seahawks uniform, he went out with a whimper, getting injured on the first series of the game (the first play?). It was strange, because it looked like he tried to go right back into the game even though he had to sit out at least a play, but then he just went to the locker room and never returned. I can’t help but wonder if there are some injury guarantees attached to the final year of his contract, and the team was using an abunance of caution to make sure he didn’t do significant damage. We’ll know more if he’s in the game next week down in Arizona.

Apparently, this game also featured the first interceptions of the season by the Seahawks’ cornerback room. D.J. Reed had two and Ugo Amadi had one (if we still consider him to be a nickel corner and not a safety). That’s something, I guess.

It was also nice to see Jason Myers get back on the horse in not-so-great weather conditions. I’m of the mind that kickers will fluctuate in their level of effectiveness from year to year, so I’m not necessarily clamoring for the Seahawks to cut him and start over. He could just as easily bounce back and be nails again in 2022.

That’s all I got. One more game to go. Then, we can mercifully focus on literally anything else.

I Napped While The Seahawks Lost To The Bears

Not for the whole game, but for a good chunk of the “action” in the second half. Who can watch this team for three straight hours?!

It’s impossible for me to keep rehashing all the ways the Seahawks are a disappointing mess. Obviously, we’re all just running out the clock on this dreadful season before massive changes will be made. What will those changes be? Ditch the coach and GM and keep the quarterback? Ditch the quarterback and keep the coach and GM? Ditch all three and completely start over?

I know there are fans who want to blow the whole thing up. I get that impulse. Sometimes, different is better, if for no other reason than your peace of mind. Different might still be bad on the football field, but it’s not the same ol’ bad with the same ol’ people you’ve grown to loathe.

There are also lots of fans who have drawn their battle lines in the sand. They’ve chosen a side in this impending divorce. That’s sort of where I’m at right now. If you’ve read any of my Seahawks coverage lately, you probably know where I land. I feel like most Seahawks fans side with Russell Wilson. They see Pete Carroll as holding this franchise back with his old and stodgy ways. They see John Schneider whiffing on countless trades and draft picks in recent years. They see an elite, franchise quarterback, with a bad offensive line and a bad offensive scheme that doesn’t fully utilize his talents.

Well, you know what I see? I see a spoiled brat of a quarterback. I see someone who didn’t get his way and is throwing a temper tantrum every time he goes on the field. I see someone being told what to do, then going out and doing the opposite.

Here’s the thing: you can’t keep it all the same, because that hasn’t worked since 2014. At least one of those big three (GM, coach, QB) has to go. This will never be a Super Bowl-winning trio ever again; it’s time to try something new. But, I also don’t think the Seahawks should blow it all up and start over.

Yes, it’s extremely difficult to find a franchise quarterback. But, you know what else is hard? Finding a coach and GM who know their asses from a hole in the ground. I’m simply terrified by the notion of going into the next few years with absolutely nothing in place.

Maybe I’m way off-base. I’m willing for that to be so. But, I’ve seen Pete Carroll and John Schneider have tremendous success before in building a roster from scratch. Granted, a big piece of that roster was Russell Wilson, but that was a version of Russell Wilson who worked within the scheme that was set in place. The scheme can work! There’s no one unifying way to win in the NFL. You can pass a lot, you can run a lot, or you can do any variation in between (so long as you have a good defense; that’s always going to be the key come playoff time). Where the scheme fails is when you have a quarterback constantly going rogue and refusing to run the scheme.

We’ve yet to see this team – as carried by Russell Wilson – get us to the promised land. For as good as he was from 2012-2014, he was also severely hamstrung by a conservative scheme, and carried by an elite defense. Ever since the defense started falling apart, and the scheme started being tweaked in his favor, we’ve had middling results, never even making the NFC Championship Game again.

Russell Wilson, by himself, isn’t good enough to lead a team to a championship. You can argue no quarterback is THAT good, and that they all need a quality cast of supporting players to help them succeed. But, I would also argue that Russell Wilson isn’t even in the elite class of quarterbacks who make the players around them better. When you think of all the games won by Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, who have always been LUCKY to have a single quality receiver (in Brady’s case, in the pre-Tampa years), these are guys getting by with less-than-elite receivers, while making them look competent. Russell Wilson has D.K. Metcalf and is somehow making him look WORSE!

We’ve had great success with Russell Wilson, and we’ve now had tremendous failure with him. We know what he is. He’s never going to get with the program, and the program is never going to fully adapt to his aging skillset.

If we fire Carroll and keep Wilson, that means we’ll have to hire some hotshot offensive mind and hope he’s a Matt LaFleur and not one of the countless fucking duds that are hired and fired within three years because being a head coach was too much for them. The thing is, you can’t hire any ol’ hotshot offensive coordinator and hope he’s going to work out as a head coach. Some guys don’t have that skillset. Some just got lucky as an OC and took advantage of being in the right place at the right time. Some guys are just better suited to be play-callers and not actual coaches. Matt Nagy was supposed to be some amazing new head coaching prospect; can you imagine the next Matt Nagy paired with Russell Wilson? It would be a disaster!

I would argue it’s more difficult to find a quality head coach than it is a franchise quarterback. Coaches are the ultimate scapegoats, and at the slightest inkling of misfortune are replaced in favor of a disgruntled QB. There are plenty of franchise quarterbacks who hold down jobs in the NFL for a decade-plus; how many head coaches have that kind of longevity before being demoted to a coordinating job, or going back to college? Even Super Bowl-winning head coaches can’t keep their jobs forever! Yet, there are always 10-15 franchise quarterbacks out there still kicking; there are maybe 5 head coaches who’ve remained with their same teams for just as long.

Give me Carroll and Schneider, let them trade Wilson, and let’s see if we can rebuild this thing into a winner again! Let’s see if we can get the same old scheme humming along. We know this team doesn’t work with Wilson; let’s see if the scheme also doesn’t work without Wilson. If they fail, then so be it, we only had a few more years left with them anyway.

But, the thought of just handing over the team to Wilson, and continuing to struggle in this fashion, because the new head coach wasn’t capable of being a head coach, just sickens me to no end.

I believe in Pete Carroll. I love watching football teams who run well and defend well. Granted, I’d love it a lot more if we found a defensive coordinator who knew what he was doing, but I have to hope putting resources towards the defense – and away from the quarterback spot – will be the spark we need to turn things around.

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!

The Seahawks Predictably AND Unpredictably Lost To The Rams

I thought the Rams should’ve been favored anywhere from 8-10 points, and they ended up winning by 10. If you listened to me yesterday, took the Rams, and laid the 7, you’d FINALLY have some money in your pockets! Look, I’m not the sharpest gambler in the shed, but I have my moments. A broken clock is usually right a few times a day and whatnot.

My point is, that’s the predictable part of what happened in yesterday’s 20-10 Rams victory. The unpredictable part was how good the Seahawks’ defense looked. I was living in a world where the Rams put up 30+ and the Seahawks would struggle to keep pace; however this game was tied 3-3 at halftime and 10-10 heading into the fourth quarter. It took two monstrously horrific calls by the refs (as well as a lot of plays the Seahawks simply failed to make, but that’s neither here nor there) to gift-wrap the game for Los Angeles, the second-biggest media market in the NFL (surely, the league isn’t sorry to see the Rams contending for the division title and the top spot in the NFC).

There was a defensive holding call that went against the Seahawks that simply wasn’t holding. That happened on a third down play that would’ve resulted in the Rams punting deep in their own end. Of course, there’s no guarantee the Seahawks would’ve converted their subsequent possession into a score; but we know what DID happen: the Rams went on to score a TD of their own.

Even worse was the non-pass interference call against DeeJay Dallas that would’ve given the Seahawks a fourth down conversion late in the game. That would’ve put us damn near the red zone with plenty of time to try and tie it up. Again, there’s no guarantee the Seahawks would’ve actually done so; but we know what DID happen: the Rams took over deep in Seahawks territory (after a DeeJay Dallas frustrated unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, kicking the football after the refs botched their second huge play of the game) and kicked a game-sealing field goal to go up 10 with just under two minutes to go.

Again, I reiterate, those two plays alone didn’t cost us the game; there were still opportunities for us to overcome them, as well as hypothetical plays for us to make had the refs done their fucking jobs. But, the Seahawks aren’t good enough to win on the road when they’re going up against the Rams, the referees, and the National Football League front office. The Rams are really fucking good, the referees are really fucking inept and/or corrupt, and the league had every opportunity to force the Rams into playing on Sunday, and they gave them a massive reprieve. Why? Because they play in Los Angeles, and it behooves the NFL for the main team in Los Angeles to be good and go deep into the playoffs. That’s it. The NFL got lucky with other teams having COVID outbreaks as well, because they can maintain plausible deniability by also postponing the Browns/Raiders and Eagles/Football Team games, but make no mistake: if the Rams were the only team with a significant COVID outbreak, they still would’ve played this game on Tuesday. Not so much to fuck the Seahawks, but most definitely to benefit the Rams.

Not to get all JFK assassination conspiracy theorist on you, but follow the money sheeple!

It’s hard to get too upset, of course, because the Seahawks are so mediocre, particularly on offense. Russell Wilson was, again, wildly off-target all game. It hurt him a great deal not having Tyler Lockett for this one, as Dee Eskridge came up short on a number of opportunities. But, that doesn’t excuse Wilson vastly underthrowing D.K. Metcalf on a deep pass where he had Jalen Ramsey dead to rights. That wasn’t the only underthrow, counterbalanced by a few overthrows for good measure. Wilson finished 17/31 for 156 yards. As someone who is supposedly a Top 5 quarterback – who is certainly EARNING Top 5 quarterback money – that’s unacceptable. Russell Wilson is doing a great job of playing his way off this team; I can’t wait for him to get traded somewhere else and start kicking ass again. I still contend, though, if you’re truly an elite quarterback, then this is the kind of game where you pull the team on your back. He hasn’t done that once all year. I don’t care if he’s been carrying this team in seasons past, that only shows a further lack of heart, to give up so easily on the team that has made you a multi-millionaire many times over, as well as an internationally-renown superstar. He’s a petty frontrunner who shrinks when the going gets tough.

I never would’ve thought it would end so miserably with Russell Wilson. But, I’ll say this: he is NOT an elite quarterback, full stop.

The Seahawks fall to 5-9. The only good news is that there’s only three games remaining before this season is mercifully concluded.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Toilet Trophy Championship

Sloane N Steady tried to do me a solid by not updating his team until after the Thursday night game started, accidentally leaving Dalvin Cook (and his 35.2 points) on his bench, but that only spared me the indignity of him dropping 200+ points on me. As it was, he had no trouble putting up 171.20 points, which easily eclipsed my 134.36.

Taylor Heinicke stunk. Ezekiel Elliott clearly isn’t healthy, as Tony Pollard was out and he STILL didn’t even get the most carries on his team (ceding a good chunk of snaps to Corey Clement of all people). And, of course, D.K. Metcalf was outscored by my kicker. In the end, I got bulldozed by the combo of Aaron Rodgers and the Chiefs’ defense scoring a combined 74.05 points.

The loss dropped me to 3-11 on the season, one game (and a shitload of points) behind Korky Butchek. I’m officially in last place for the season, and that means I’ve won myself the league’s Toilet Trophy. I’ll make sure to take a picture for posterity.

All isn’t totally lost, as we still have the Consolation Bracket yet to go. But, I can’t say I have the highest of hopes. I’m a combined 1-4 against my Consolation Bracket foes, and that lone win was pretty flukey. Worst-case scenario is I’ve spent all of 2021 playing for 2022, and I end up with the fourth overall draft pick (which is pretty meaningless in the grand scheme of things).

Our league has a 6-team playoff system, with the remaining four teams in the aforementioned Consolation Bracket. The way it’s set up, the playoffs start today, with the top two teams on BYE. The way Yahoo has set it up means that the entire Consolation Bracket is also on BYE, which nobody is happy with. I think, as losers, we’re all ready for this season to be over with as quickly as possible. But, we have to wait until the bitter end.

Which is a bummer, because I have the Rams’ defense going up against the Seahawks this week. I feel like that’s a 20+ game just waiting to happen.

Splinter League Round-Up!

At least there’s good ol’ BUCK FUTTER! We soundly defeated Look At Me Run by the end of Sunday, when I still had two more players left to go to pour it on! Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, I guess we’ll see), Beer Thirty also won to stay a game ahead of me for first place. The good news is, I’ve locked up a spot in the playoffs, making next week’s game meaningless. Of course, I’m going up against the last place team who has given up on life, so that should be an easy win regardless. All that’s left to be determined is playoff seeding. This league is extremely top-heavy and extremely bottom-heavy. The top six teams all have 8 or more wins (with the three teams who’ve clinched a playoff spot all having 10+ wins); the bottom four teams all have 10 or more losses. So, there really aren’t any easy options for me heading into the playoffs. I’m going to have to beat two REALLY good teams if I’m to win this championship!

Third League Round-Up!

I joined an established third league this year that I haven’t talked much about, because it’s standard scoring, with 0.5-point PPR. They’ve got other interesting wrinkles to the rules that make it fun, but it’s obviously not what I’m familiar with. My goal going in was to avoid last place (which I’ve managed to accomplish with relative ease). Last place has a penalty where you have to buy drinks for everyone at the end of the season. Then, I started winning so many games, the playoffs started looking like a real possibility! As of the last two weeks, I’ve held down the second place spot, after back-to-back clutch wins against my potential playoff foes. But, this most recent week I got my doors blown off. Thankfully, everyone right below me also lost, so I’ve held my ground. But, I have the third-fewest total points in the league, and I’ve got five teams below me all within a single game (I’m 8-6, they’re all 7-7); I’m going up against the top team in the league (in both record and total points), and there’s a scenario where I still manage to hold my spot in second place, or a scenario where I fall all the way to sixth or seventh. It’s a nightmare! Win and I’m in; lose and I need A LOT of help!

The Seahawks Blew Out A Terrible Texans Team

As a fan, when you get too close to a team – you obsess about them week-to-week, you sit enrapt during every game, you might even pour over the footage after it’s done to try to glean extra nuggets of information to spout out on your social media outlet of choice – it’s easy to get swept up by the rollercoaster.

  • Week 1 – The Seahawks handily beat the Colts, we’re headed to the Super Bowl!
  • Week 3 – The Seahawks blew two winnable games in a row, fuck my life
  • Week 4 – The Seahawks stole one from the 49ers, maybe we’re okay
  • Week 5 – Russell Wilson’s hurt, please kill me
  • Week 7 – We’re 2-5, stick a fork in us
  • Week 8 – We’re 3-5 with the BYE coming up, let’s see if Russ comes back
  • Week 9 – Russ is back, just in time!
  • Week 10 – Shut out at Green Bay, uh oh
  • Week 12 – Lost three in a row, 3-8 overall, season’s over
  • Week 14 – Won two in a row, so you’re sayin’ there’s a chance …

Sure, technically, if the Seahawks win out, they’re 9-8. 9-8 is probably enough to make the 7-seed in the NFC (that’s ignoring the fact that 6 of those 8 losses are to NFC teams, which probably precludes us from that particular very important tie-breaker, but that’s neither here nor there), but what happens when the Seahawks lose to the Rams this week? Then, we have to try to talk ourselves into an 8-9 team making the playoffs? Where does it end?!

My point from above (if this is even interesting to talk about at all), is that it’s a lot easier to avoid that rollercoaster of emotion – and see this team for what it is – when you’re not as invested. When you stop obsessing about them as much during the week, and when you blow off halves or entire games on Sunday, and go out and live your life.

I watched the first half of this Texans/Seahawks game, and you know what I saw? I saw the REAL Seahawks. I saw a team with superior talent struggle to cling to a 16-13 lead at halftime. I saw a defense with very little pass rush and soft coverage let a nobody quarterback march his team up and down the field. I saw an offense with a terrible line give up repeated pressure. Sure, I saw some good things too, but they were drowning in mediocre results.

And then I brushed my teeth and washed my face and left the house to go do something more enjoyable. What was there for me in the second half of that game? Well, as it turns out, there was a 17-0 finish in favor of the Seahawks, to give the game its 33-13 final. But, it just as easily could’ve been some weird scenario where the Seahawks keep shooting themselves in the foot on offense, and squander the game away late. Is Davis Mills really THAT much worse than Colt McCoy? And Colt McCoy has beaten us in back-to-back seasons!

You watch that second half, and you might go on to delude yourself into thinking this is a Seahawks team that’s capable of making the playoffs. But, the taste that’s still left in my mouth? It’s not nearly so scrumptious. I’ve missed the best parts of the last two weeks (the entire victory over the 49ers, and the half against the Texans where it was a Seahawks rout), so my last visions of these guys are a baffling loss to the Washington Football Team, and whatever I saw in the first half yesterday morning.

My outlook is far less rosy. My hunch is: the Seahawks go 2-2 the rest of the way (and not necessarily the 2-2 that you THINK is going to happen – where we beat the Bears & Lions at home and lose to the Rams & Cards on the road), finish 7-10, and hand-deliver the Jets a quality draft pick very close to the top 10.

Some interesting nuggets from this Texans game include Rashaad Penny busting out for 137 yards on 16 carries (including 2 TDs). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Penny could’ve run for 300 yards against the Texans and I still wouldn’t trust him with a contract extension if I were the Seahawks. DON’T get suckered in! Let him walk! Especially if there’s an ounce of a possibility that Chris Carson recovers and returns next year. Just, please, give us all a fucking break. Penny had a good game; I hope he has a great end to this season. And then I hope he signs on elsewhere and has a lovely finish to his career with another team. I’m done, you hear?!

Pretty decent game for the Russell Wilson to Tyler Lockett connection. Wilson had 260 yards overall (17/28 passing) with 2 TDs and 0 INTs. Lockett caught 5 of those for 142 and a TD. That somehow left only table scraps for my guy D.K. Metcalf, but you can’t win ’em all.

Al Woods had another monster game in this one; boy is he fun to watch when he’s wreaking havoc! Give him half a sack and a tackle for loss (5 tackles total). Darrell Taylor had another sack, bringing his total to 6 on the season (a team high). Also, Bobby Wagner had another 15 sacks, to give him approximately a billion on the year (or 152, to lead the NFL, because all guys who lead the league in tackles are on mediocre defenses, it’s a rule; Jordyn Brooks is third in the NFL with 135).

I dunno. More guys got injured in this one, Jason Myers missed two extra points, and only two of Michael Dickson’s four punts were inside the 20 yard line. You hate to see it.