Predicting The 2021 NFL Season

YES! My favorite post of the year! Back again, boys and girls! Here are all of my prior entries:

First thing’s first: let’s take a look back at how I did last year.

Welp, bad start with the NFC East: I was all in on Dallas and had Washington dead last. That’s a big 0 or 1 right out of the box.

Big whiff on the NFC North: for some reason I was EXTREMELY high on the Vikings last year, who finished 7-9. I shorted the Packers (but gave them a wild card berth), who finished 13-3. And, I said the Bears were “heading in the wrong direction” even though they finished 8-8 and made the playoffs. I was only correct about the Lions, but who couldn’t see that coming?

Ugh, the less said about my NFC South prediction the better: I had … the Falcons winning it? I did have Tampa second, but not making the playoffs, famously saying their defense was “a year or two away”. Yikes. You don’t read this blog for expert analysis, do you? How am I getting WORSE at these picks the more I do them?!

God, even my NFC West take was horrible: I had the Rams winning it (they did make the wild card), with both the 49ers and Seahawks making the wild card (in that order). Of course, in reality the 49ers were in last place after a bunch of injuries; hard to blame me for not predicting that.

All right, not too terrible with the AFC East: I nailed the Buffalo division winner. Buuuuut, I had the Pats making a wild card.

I’m quite happy with my AFC North prediction: I had all of Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland making the playoffs (they did!). I did have the Ravens winning the division instead of the Steelers, but otherwise I’m taking that as a win.

I’ll accept partial credit for my AFC South take: I loved Indy; not so much Tennessee. I didn’t have Houston making the playoffs, but never anticipated they’d be as bad as they were. I nailed Jacksonville getting the #1 overall pick.

As for the AFC West: good stuff in making KC my number one overall team; bad stuff in saying that Justin Herbert wouldn’t be the Chargers’ quarterback of the future. It is what it is.

If we just count playoff teams, I got 9 out of 14 (though I got 6 out of 7 in the AFC). I only got 1 out of 4 teams in the conference championship games – the Chiefs – but I had … Jesus Christ, the Vikings over the Ravens in the Super Bowl. Fucking A.

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All right, wash that taste out of your mouth! It’s all uphill from here! Without further ado.

NFC East

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Washington Football Team
  • New York Giants
  • Philadelphia Eagles

I’m going to say we’re going to have most of a full season (if not ALL) out of Dak, and that ultimately makes all the difference. There’s lots of Washington chatter, and I don’t blame you; that defense is legit. But, Fitzmagic? I’m out; I think he’s good for maybe 9 wins. I think Dallas can get to 10. The Giants likely won’t be as bad as people expect, but I still think they’re around 6-7 wins. The Eagles MIGHT be as bad as people expect; either way, I don’t think the NFC East will be the punching bag people have come to anticipate.

NFC North

  • Green Bay Packers
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Chicago Bears
  • Detroit Lions

We’re not fucking around this year. The Packers have won 13 games the last two years and I think that will stay the same this year. I don’t know what to say about the Vikings after last year’s display of futility; probably won’t be worse? The Bears will take a step back with Dalton, before taking a step forward with Fields. The Lions will continue to be a punching bag.

NFC South

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • New Orleans Saints
  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Carolina Panthers

I know I’m going to be screwed by the Bucs in one way, shape, or form. They do have the target on their backs, but there’s just SO MUCH talent on that team. I guess Brady could start showing his age, or injuries could take a toll, but I dunno. I’m going with the safe pick this year. I kind of like Jameis; is that weird? I mean, I like him on this team, in this offense. I think they’ll be okay! I don’t know anything about the Falcons, but I hear they could be frisky. The Panthers seem the opposite of frisky; lethargic, I guess? Sam Darnold sucks.

NFC West

  • Los Angeles Rams
  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Seattle Seahawks
  • Arizona Cardinals

I wanted to put the Seahawks as the division winner here, but the more I think about it, the more I’m concerned by this team. First-year offensive coordinator; you think there won’t be growing pains? You think there won’t be frustrating losses where the offense can’t move the ball? I’ll have more on this on Friday’s official season preview, but it just looks like the Rams are too stacked. Stafford will throw for 5,000 yards and they’re probably in line for the top seed in the NFC. The 49ers are just all-around talented, and regression should dictate a healthier season from them. I still like the Seahawks to crack the wild card though. And the Cards should play around .500 ball again.

AFC East

  • Buffalo Bills
  • New England Patriots
  • Miami Dolphins
  • New York Jets

I think this is the easiest division to predict; Buffalo by a mile (and the AFC’s top seed). I think the Pats are improved across the board and will get just enough game-managing out of their rookie quarterback to sneak into the wild card. I think Tua is a bust and will hamper the Dolphins, though they’ll be close to making a wild card. I think the Jets are the Jets.

AFC North

  • Cleveland Browns
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Baltimore Ravens
  • Cincinnati Bengals

We’re not going to see three playoff teams from this division this year, and the odd-team-out will be the Ravens. The way the injury bug is decimating this team already, I think they’re in for a Year From Hell season. I think the Browns simply have too much talent throughout that team to be held back. I think the Steelers will figure out their O-Line and continue to dominate along the D-Line. I think the Bengals will continue to grow with Burrow, but it’s going to be another year or two before we can consider them playoff material.

AFC South

  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Tennessee Titans
  • Houston Texans
  • Jacksonville Jaguars

I would say I’m a quasi Carson Wentz believer. Behind a good offensive line, with a great head coach, I think he can be special. The Colts’ defense is underrated; the only question is their receivers (especially with T.Y. Hilton out). I think the Titans come close to making the playoffs, but that defense is just too awful. A lot of people are predicting the Texans to have the worst record in football, but I think Tyrod Taylor will pull it out in enough of those 50/50 games they play with other terrible teams. Don’t get me wrong; Houston is probably still winning 3-4 games, but that should be more than the Jags.

AFC West

  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • Los Angeles Chargers
  • Denver Broncos
  • Las Vegas Raiders

I think the Chiefs and Bills will fight to the bitter end for that top seed, but the Bills will prevail. The Chargers are more of an aspirational pick for me, because I think they’re fun. I also think their defense is a little underrated, and with proper head coaching, they should be in line for a record boost. I think the Broncos will be steady, maybe 9-8. I think the Raiders will fall on their faces pretty hard, with Jon Gruden on the hottest of seats.

NFC Playoffs

  1. Los Angeles Rams
  2. Green Bay Packers
  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  4. Dallas Cowboys
  5. San Francisco 49ers
  6. Seattle Seahawks
  7. Washington Football Team

AFC Playoffs

  1. Buffalo Bills
  2. Kansas City Chiefs
  3. Cleveland Browns
  4. Indianapolis Colts
  5. Pittsburgh Steelers
  6. New England Patriots
  7. Los Angeles Chargers

Two playoff teams from the NFC East? Have I learned NOTHING?!

Wild Card Round

  • Green Bay over Washington
  • Seattle over Tampa Bay
  • Dallas over San Francisco
  • Kansas City over Los Angeles
  • New England over Cleveland
  • Pittsburgh over Indianapolis

Divisional Round

  • Los Angeles over Seattle
  • Green Bay over Dallas
  • Buffalo over New England
  • Pittsburgh over Kansas City

Championship Round

  • Los Angeles over Green Bay
  • Buffalo over Pittsburgh

Super Bowl

  • Buffalo over Los Angeles

My backup guess is Buffalo over the Packers, but either way I’m all in on the Bills. Since I was all in on the Vikings last year, they should be TERRIFIED. Buffalo just seems like a juggernaut any way you slice it, though.

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.

Sigh, The Russell Wilson Temper Tantrum Continues

What did I JUST SAY? God, this is so dumb.

There was a big article that came out yesterday that I didn’t read, because I don’t subscribe to The Athletic. But, I follow enough Seahawks-adjacent people on Twitter to get the jist of it. Russell Wilson – according to some – “approached the Seahawks about a trade”. Now, just to keep things above board, according to Wilson’s camp, he did not demand a trade, but if such a deal were to happen, they did give a list of teams he would agree to go to.

How thoughtful of you.

I mean, call it what you want, but when you have a No-Trade Clause built into your contract, and you approach your current organization with a list of teams you’d be willing to play for – if something were to magically form out of thin air, I guess! – can we please stop shitting a shitter and just call it what it is? You can nudge-nudge, wink-wink your way through all of this if you want, but we all know what’s happening here.

In the report in The Athletic, the teams mentioned were the Jets, Dolphins, Raiders, and Saints. However, according to Wilson’s crew, those teams are actually the Cowboys, Saints, Raiders, and Bears.

Here’s the thing: Russell Wilson isn’t the be-all, end-all of quarterbacks in the NFL. We all know that. Yes, he’s VERY good. Yes, he’s one of the 3-5 best quarterbacks in the game today. Yes, he is that proverbial Franchise Quarterback everyone talks about. You obviously don’t need Russell Wilson to win a championship in the NFL, but you DO need a franchise quarterback. And so, while I am willing to listen to any trade offers, they will be a total non-starter if we don’t get a franchise quarterback in return.

There aren’t many teams who have that to pony up. Of the four teams on Wilson’s list, arguably only the Cowboys have someone they could send us, but that’s Dak Prescott (who would need to be franchise tagged first, who is also coming off of a DEVASTATING injury to his ankle). I have no interest in the Raiders’ Derek Carr, nor whoever the Bears and Saints have on their scrap heap.

Of the teams The Athletic brought up, the Jets and Dolphins make the most sense. I don’t know how the Seahawks feel about Tua Tagovailoa, but if they believe in his potential to hit it big, between that and all the draft picks they could send our way, I don’t think the Seahawks would take much of a hit in the short term, before returning back to prominence. As for the Jets, they can keep Sam Darnold, or fucking throw him to the God damn wolves, but I want no part of him on the Seattle Seahawks. The Jets do, however, have about a million high draft picks (including #2 overall, as well as both of the first rounders we sent to them in the Jamal Adams trade). I’d be willing to entertain a conversation that afforded the Seahawks the opportunity to draft the second quarterback this year.

New York and Miami would be obvious choices for Wilson as well when it comes to whatever business empire he’s building for his post-football life. Frankly, I don’t see why he wouldn’t want to go to those teams.

But, that’s everything, isn’t it? He gets to choose. He gets to hold the Seahawks hostage in this deal. I know I JUST talked about not automatically jumping to the defense of the billionaire organizations in these types of arguments, but what can I say? I root for clothes. I’ll say this: I think the no-trade clause is a brilliant idea for the player. You shouldn’t have to worry about waking up one day and find out you’ve just been dealt to some also-ran because your team got tired of you. But, if YOU are the one demanding (or requesting, or approaching, or whatever) for a trade, then you can’t just waive your no-trade clause for the few teams you like. You have to leave the team open to maximize its value for you. Remember, YOU want out; the team would rather honor its contract. So, it makes no sense to then restrict the Seahawks.

Really, Russell Wilson needs to get his priorities together. Does he want to win football games? Or does he want to put up tons of numbers and win MVP awards? It’s fine to want both, but you HAVE to value one over the other, so which is it? If he truly wants to win, then as I’ve argued before, Seattle is one of the best places for him. But, if he’s going to be a poopy pants about the offense not being high-flying enough, then he’s full of shit when he says his ultimate goal is to win.

You know what winners say? Winners say, “I don’t care if I have to hand the ball off 100% of the time, as long as our team comes away victorious.” You know what stats-obsessed prima donnas say? “I’m tired of being hit so much and I want to run the offense my way.”

As has been discussed, Russell Wilson is one of the most media-savvy people in the NFL. He’s been able to elude controversy just as he has so many defensive linemen barrelling down on him. But, there’s a tremendous amount of insincerity when you know exactly what he’s going to say before he’s said it, because he’s already said it a million times before. He’s phony. When his brain is on autopilot in an interview, and his mouth is running a thousand words per minute, there’s no one who says less with more. But, when he’s pressed to give an honest answer – like in that infamous Dan Patrick interview a few weeks ago – he stammers and stutters and sometimes lets slip out the actual, honest truth. It’s rare, though. But, in those moments, you can see what Russell Wilson is all about.

Russell Wilson is all about Russell Wilson. That shouldn’t be shocking; there are countless other quarterbacks on countless other football teams who are the exact same way. That doesn’t make him a bad guy, or a bad player. But, as a fan, it’s hard, because it feels like we’re all being gaslighted. I don’t know how else to reconcile the lip-service he pays towards winning, while at the same time forcing himself out of one of the winningest organizations in the league.

I dunno, maybe Pete Carroll really sucks that much. That’s always on the table too, I suppose.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2020: Thank Fucking Christ I Don’t Have To Think About Fantasy Football Again For Another Year

  • Pre-Season Week 1 HERE – Here We Fucking Go Again
  • Pre-Season Week 2 HERE – Corona-Draft Prep
  • Fantasy Draft HERE – Nobody Beats The Wiz!
  • Week 1 HERE – Crisis Averted!
  • Week 2 HERE – Everything That Could Go Wrong
  • Week 3 HERE – Some Nobody Did, In Fact, Beat The Wiz!
  • Week 4 HERE – Literally Everyone Beats The Fucking Wiz
  • Week 5 HERE – Signs Of Life!
  • Week 6 HERE – And Tua All A Good Night
  • Week 7 HERE – Tua Be Or Not Tua Be, That Is The Question
  • Week 8 HERE – Tua Thine Own Self Be True
  • Week 9 HERE – Tua The Window, Tua The Wall!!!
  • Week 10 HERE – Tua Infinity & Beyond!
  • Week 11 HERE – Tua Err Is Human
  • Week 12 HERE – Although We’ve Come Tua The End Of The Road
  • Week 13 HERE – Tua No Avail
  • Playoffs HERE – It’s Time To Pound Some Cunth!

Piss on this game and anyone who plays it!

Nobody Beats The Wiz lost its 5th Place Game to conclude things, meaning I’ll be drafting sixth overall next season. What’s worse, Pound Some Cunth just got ANNIHILATED by Vinegar Strokes, 197.13 to 151.17 in the Splinter League this week. It was (fantasy) bad all around this weekend! The less said about it, the better.

Actually no. First, let me reiterate just how FUCKING STUPID fantasy football is! My all-world stud quarterback, Russell Wilson, should be a no-brainer when we’re talking about who to start in a 2-QB league like mine. What does he do? He goes up against a stout Washington defense and gets me 15.27 points. Meanwhile, Jalen Hurts – a rookie making his second-ever career start – goes on the road to Arizona (with a defense that can do a lot of damage to an inexperienced quarterback with their disguised blitz packages and whatnot) and absolutely fucks their (fantasy) shit up to the tune of 52.83 points. And I’m supposed to use my fucking crystal ball to predict this, to win a fucking (fantasy) playoff game. Who would EVER come to that conclusion ahead of time?! It’s IDIOTIC! WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE EVEN DOING HERE?!

How an entire season can hinge on a decision this asinine is beyond me. In real life, you would NEVER in your WILDEST fucking dreams consider benching Russell Wilson for Jalen Hurts. Yet, in fantasy, you’re a fucking pissant moron if you don’t somehow read the tea leaves and sense this. Unbe-fucking-lievable.

All right, rant over. Probably. I could always have another aneurysm between now and the end of the post.

Getting back to the intention of this column, let’s now re-forget about the Splinter League and get back to Nobody Beats The Wiz, the latest in a long line of huge, buttfucking disappointments. I have decisions to make between now and the start of next season (so, thankfully, I have many months before this decision will be official), namely: who will be my four keepers?

Remember my keepers for this year?

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

Two of those guys (the quarterbacks) weren’t on my team any longer by season’s end. Ezekiel Elliott was a tremendous disappointment once Dak Prescott went out injured. And Josh Jacobs was an okay player, but obviously not a difference-maker. Not someone who ever single-handedly swung any games for me. Neither was he someone who consistently got me around 20 points per week (those would be the two hallmarks of QUALITY keepers in our league).

The fact that I made the playoffs at all is almost impossible to fathom, and speaks to how very lucky my team was this year.

So, here are the players I have on my roster at press time:

  • Kirk Cousins (QB)
  • Tua Tagovailoa (QB)
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB)
  • Josh Jacobs (RB)
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB)
  • Rashaad Penny (RB)
  • A.J. Brown (WR)
  • Brandon Aiyuk (WR)
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR)
  • Tee Higgins (WR)
  • Jerry Jeudy (WR)
  • Deebo Samuel (WR)
  • Rashard Higgins (WR)
  • Irv Smith (TE)
  • Harrison Butker (K)
  • L.A. Rams (DEF)

You can cross out Smith, Butker, and the defense, as well as Kirk Cousins right off the bat. They are non-starters in the keeper game. From there, let’s look at the running backs.

Ezekiel Elliott is a really interesting one for me. 2020 is just his fifth season in the league. I did not assume that this would be his last year with me, coming in. But, he signed a huge deal before last season and already appears to be suffering the consequences of Overpaid Running Back Syndrome. He looked mediocre this year! Even before Dak went down, he didn’t look quite right. Now, a lot of that might have to do with the injuries along the Cowboys’ offensive line. If they can get that fixed up ahead of next season – and, of course, if Dak returns by Week 1 – then I think he’s a candidate for a bounce-back year. But, at some point – and some point relatively SOON – Zeke is going to fall off the cliff. And when he does, he will be totally unstartable. In the NFL, it’s usually better to cut someone a year too early than a year too late. I might want to adopt that for fantasy as well.

Josh Jacobs would be a “safe” choice to be one of my keepers. I imagine we’ve seen what his ceiling looks like, and it looks like his 2020 season. Through 13 games, he has 907 yards and a 3.7 yard average. He doesn’t catch enough balls to be elite, and his fantasy numbers are propped up by the 10 rushing touchdowns he’s accrued. That, and the fact that the Raiders haven’t drafted someone to significantly eat into his carries, leads me to lean towards a Yes when it comes to keeping Jacobs.

CEH is probably out for me. As my top draft pick, I was hoping for a long and fruitful (fantasy) career with him as one of my lead guys. But, the shame of it is that the Chiefs just don’t run the ball enough (especially at or near the goalline), and they’ve got too many viable running backs who are all basically the same. Unless I read reports that Kansas City is going to make a concerted effort to declare CEH their lead back, I think I’ll expose him to the rest of the league to snap up.

Finally, I picked up Rashaad Penny – the Seahawks’ running back who just returned from injury this past week – on the off-chance we let Chris Carson walk in free agency and Penny becomes the #1 of this team. I don’t think that’s very likely, but anyway it’s more important for me to make sure these types of guys aren’t kept by OTHER teams. I want Penny available to be drafted (by me) if it turns out he is the starter.

In the last couple weeks, I made a big push to pick up a lot of young receivers, so that’s what I find most interesting among my options.

A.J. Brown feels like a definite keeper to me. He’s the only guy I feel REALLY good about.

There are three other guys I’ll be watching VERY closely in the offseason, to see how their teams look and how their prospects will be in 2021: Tee Higgins, CeeDee Lamb, and Brandon Aiyuk. It took Aiyuk about half of this – his rookie – season before he was really incorporated into the 49ers’ offense. But, once he assumed lead receiver duties (helped by Deebo Samuel’s injury-plagued year), he’s been quite effective. Other than a week missed to COVID, Aiyuk has averaged in the 20’s or high teens in 6 of the 49ers’ last 8 games. What’s unknown is how Aiyuk will look next to a fully-healthy Deebo in 2021. But, presumably Jimmy G will be back at quarterback next year, so that should help both of those guys a lot. Lamb was one of the better-looking rookie receivers until Dak went out; assuming Dak is healthy, Lamb might be a no-brainer. And, Higgins was ALSO one of the better-looking rookie receivers until Joe Burrow went out; assuming Burrow will make it back, Higgins should return to his former glory (and maybe then some).

None of my other receivers are likely to be kept by me, but again, I just want them among the draftable talent pool for next year. I don’t know what the rest of my league is thinking with their keepers, but there’s no point in helping them out when I don’t have to.

Finally, to Tua or not to Tua? That is the biggest (fantasy) question.

Going into a season with zero fantasy keepers at quarterback seems reckless. But, let’s look at it realistically here: I went into 2020 with Wentz and Dimes and came out with Cousins and Tua and still managed to make the playoffs. What I NEED more than anything else is talented players I can rely on – week-in and week-out – to provide me steady points. Keeping four receivers seems idiotic, but keeping two receivers and two running backs might be something to consider! Likewise, keeping three receivers and one running back could be an option (though, a little overkill, since we have just the one FLEX spot, and none of my receivers are what you would call super-elite).

I would need to see quite a bit more from Tua than what I’ve seen so far this season. At this point, Tua has started seven games. He has four games over 20 points. That’s pretty terrible. He has two games over 25 points (which is kind of the baseline average you’d want out of a QB in our league). And, of course, just the one game over 30; no 40 or 50-point explosions you see out of some of the game’s best. Those are the types of games that single-handedly swing weeks in your favor.

Now, Tua is young. He’s still getting his feet wet. He’s on a team that’s contending for a playoff spot and it’s pretty clear they haven’t taken the training wheels off of him. Nevertheless, if they do make the playoffs, I’ll be watching him VERY closely. At some point, they will be down late in a game, and I’ll need to see him do something remarkable to make me a believer.

Otherwise, if this is all he is – what we’ve seen from him in his almost half-a-season – then I feel more than confident exposing him to the draft next year. I highly doubt anyone in the Top 5 picks will snap him up, so if I REALLY want him, I should be able to get him back.

But, keeping guys based on potential? Fool me once, Danny Dimes, shame on you. Fool me twice, Tua?

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 …

This Game Is For The Birds! Seahawks At Cardinals

I think the Cardinals are one of the more interesting teams in the NFL this year. Last Monday Night was really my first time seeing them in 2020; it was pretty eye-opening, but I wish they’d had an opponent that could’ve given them more of a challenge (and not the Dak-less Dallas Cowboys).

The 2019 Cardinals weren’t all that great, but they were breaking in top pick Kyler Murray as well as a new coaching staff. Even though they finished last year 5-10-1, almost everyone had the Cards pegged as a potential Wild Card team this year, figuring Murray and the offense for a significant boost with experience and better consistency. So far, that’s played out about as well as can be expected; they’re 4-2 and tied for second in the NFC West.

But, who have they played? Well, they’ve beaten the Cowboys and Jets – two pretty abysmal teams – as well as Washington and the 49ers to start the season. Meanwhile, they’ve lost to Detroit (kind of mediocre) and Carolina (kind of okay). So, Seattle will be their first real test.

Of course, by the same token, it looks like the Cardinals will be OUR first big test. Our best win is against the Patriots, who have been struggling (in many ways, thanks Corona …) of late. The only difference is: we have the MVP, and didn’t gag away a couple of those games we were supposed to win.

I like our chances in this one, but obviously I’m mighty concerned. Kyler Murray is coming into his own, and he’s one of the best scrambling quarterbacks in all of football. DeAndre Hopkins is one of the best wide receivers alive and will be a tremendous challenge to our secondary that has looked pretty inept this season. Kenyan Drake has his detractors – mostly due to his injury issues and age, which I find ridiculous – but he’s coming off of a game where he just TORCHED the Cowboys (to say nothing of the last time we saw him in late 2019, when he ran it up to the tune of 166 yards and 2 touchdowns on 24 carries), so I’d rank him up there among the bellcow running backs left standing this season. Plus, they’ve got Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk, both of whom are outstanding weapons who can both stretch the field and get those tough 3rd down-converting catches in traffic.

That’s a lot of offensive firepower to tangle with. Of the teams we’ve faced so far, I’d put them up there with the Dak-full Cowboys in Week 3 as the best. So, how do you combat that?

Well, I’ll tell you, I’m very nervous about Murray’s legs. I don’t know how often we employ a defensive spy (it doesn’t feel like a lot), but one might come in handy this week. Who to use in that role, though? The thought of Cody Barton trying to ankle tackle him is bringing back bad memories of Isaiah Kacyvenski! This is precisely the reason why we drafted someone like Jordyn Brooks, which makes his injury troubles all the more annoying. It doesn’t look like he’s recovered yet, but even if he has, he hasn’t played in many weeks, so would we trust him to follow around one of the most dynamic players in all of football? Seems risky, to say the least. In reality, it’s going to be a team effort.

Not for nothing, but this is a game where having a bad pass rush might actually be to our advantage. As long as our edge rushers don’t over-commit and run themselves out of the play, we could just clog things up and force Murray to stay in the pocket. Not that he’s a BAD pocket passer, but he’s not yet at a Russell Wilson level, and he’s more prone to make mistakes while he’s in there.

Honestly, the Seahawks need to keep doing what they’ve done the last couple of weeks: Bend/Don’t Break. Murray throws a nice deep ball – again, not on Russell’s wavelength, but good nonetheless – and so we’re going to have to limit deep gains to hopefully zero. Force the Cardinals into longer, 10-, 12-, 15-play drives. I guarantee you Murray won’t be as consistent as Kirk Cousins; he’ll get antsy, he’ll miss some guys, he might even throw a pick or two.

To go along with that, we MUST keep Drake in check. Giving up first down-converting runs to Murray is going to happen once in a while. But, allowing Drake to run for huge chunks of yardage is a huge no-no. The Vikings were able to exploit us in that regard (with Cousins obviously not being NEARLY the threat Murray is with his legs) and that game ended up being a lot closer than it should’ve been. We need to get back on track and force the Cardinals into being one-dimensional.

It would be nice to get Jamal Adams back for this one, but it looks like he’s going to miss another week. Sigh. Look, I get it, we want him 100% from this injury so he isn’t hampered the rest of the way (especially when it matters most: the playoffs), but it’s fucking annoying because we could REALLY use him in this one. His pass rushing, and his speed in general, would solve a lot of our defense’s ills when it comes to containing Murray.

Offensively, the Seahawks need to keep doing what they’ve been doing. It’s hard to say how good Arizona’s defense is, because the Cowboys were SO BAD in the game I saw. If that was the only game you ever saw the Cardinals play, you’d think they are nothing but a bunch of world-beaters. But, that’s obviously not the case, as their two losses would indicate (on top of losing Chandler Jones for the rest of the season).

Hopefully, the Seahawks have done a little self-scouting, as I think the Vikings exposed a lot of flaws with our offensive attack. I mean, opposing defenses should just do what we’re trying to do on defense: sell out to limit the big plays and force the Seahawks to dink and dunk down the field. We have the talent to do that; Russell Wilson is certainly capable of moving the ball in such a fashion. It’s just a matter of execution, and staying patient. Continue to take what the defense gives you, and the big plays will still show up occasionally.

I’m sure the Cardinals are fine along the front seven, but I’m not overly concerned there. Where they’re REALLY strong is in the secondary, led by UW standout Budda Baker, who is an absolute MACHINE! Every time I’m reminded that the Seahawks passed him over in the draft for some lunkhead who never played a down in the NFL, I grow more infuriated with what we all knew at the time was a moronic decision by the front office. Anyway, he was all over the place against Dallas, and I expect him to be just as big of a pain in our asses come Sunday.

One thing we have going for us is we’re coming off of a BYE week. The Seahawks – under Pete Carroll, and with Russell Wilson – are 6-2 after a BYE week. One of those losses? To the Cardinals (in Seattle, on Sunday Night Football); but I wouldn’t be too worried, because unlike that weekend, this time I won’t be in the state of Nevada losing hundreds upon hundreds of dollars (that won’t happen again until the first weekend in December, when the Seahawks play the lowly Giants).

I ultimately believe the Seahawks will (and should) win this game. We weirdly own the Cardinals in Arizona (6-1-1 in the Russell Wilson era, with the lone defeat being his very first game in the NFL). But, if there ever was a game where I wouldn’t be shocked if we blew it, this would be it. The good news is: we’re pretty healthy, with more reinforcements on their way. The bad news is: we’re still missing a few key pieces to the puzzle, and so our perfect record will continue to be in jeopardy as long as they’re out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The BYE-Week Seahawks Keep On Winning!

For the risk-averse, there’s nothing better than a BYE week. Your team can’t lose! There shouldn’t be any new injuries! You hope there aren’t any DUIs or bar fights, but the odds of that happening are mighty low! I guess you can worry about COVID now, but I’m not going to let that keep me up at night.

Being 5-0 during a BYE week is that much better, because you get to enjoy the high of perfection for one more week, with the possibility of other teams around you taking one on the chin. In this regard, the Seahawks had a pretty ideal weekend.

Heading into yesterday, there was one other undefeated team in the NFC. The Green Bay Packers were 4-0, heading to Tampa Bay to take on Tom Brady and the Bucs. They were only favored by 1 or 2 points (depending on where you looked) and it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Packers would win, that the line was too low, and anyone betting certain family farms on them might come away pretty happy!

Well, when the Packers went up 10-0, it sure as shit seemed that way! Then, the Bucs scored 38 unanswered to really boring up that one. BUT, what’s bad for the Packers (and my poor, mistreated family farm) is good for the Seahawks, who are now the ONLY unbeaten team in the NFC (the AFC has the Titans and Steelers, but they don’t factor into our getting the #1 seed, so bully for them).

Considering we won’t see the Packers in the regular season, that’s a pretty significant loss. We’re a game up now! More importantly, I think, is the fact that they appear to be mortal again. The Packers had put up 30+ in all of their games before yesterday; Aaron Rodgers looked like a man possessed until the second quarter onward against the Bucs. Now, they look beatable. Of course, it took an outstanding defensive performance to slow them down; I don’t know if the Seahawks have that in them. But, that won’t matter until we get to the playoffs anyway.

In the meantime, the Packers have a lot of tough defensive matchups headed their way. They play at the 49ers in early November (when they should be relatively healthy again), they play at Indy, they host the Titans, and they have two games against the Bears in the final six weeks of the season. It’s entirely possible that the Packers get beaten up a little bit. Whereas, I’ll remind you again that the Seahawks have a relatively soft landing the rest of the way, particularly outside of our divisional games.

Speaking of the division, we got some help there too! Last night, the 49ers toppled the Rams in convincing fashion to hand them their second defeat. That is SO HUGE! I might be one of the few big Rams believers out there, but I can certainly see why you might be skeptical. At 4-2, the Rams’ four wins have all come against the putrid NFC East. Some of those games were close, with the Rams not looking particularly great to boot. Now they’ve lost to Buffalo and the 49ers, two common opponents (which plays into tiebreaker scenarios we’ll get to later in the season).

It’s interesting, because I think the Rams really got the unlucky end of the stick here when it came to their schedule. As the third place team in the NFC West last year, the two games that placement decides are against the third place teams in the South and North from last year. Which just so happens to be the Bucs and Bears, respectively (the two teams currently LEADING their respective divisions). I don’t expect the Rams will lose both of those games, but they COULD; regardless, I expect them to be properly tenderized, as going up against those defenses will be a considerable challenge.

It’s nice to have this cushion against the Rams, because I still see them as the second best team in the division. So, having a 2-game lead should make all the difference in the world, as I don’t think they’re finished losing for the season.

What I’m just a LITTLE curious about is this 49ers team. At 3-3, they’ve been effectively left for dead, but we’ve all seen those Halloween movies; don’t turn your back on Michael Myers! What I want to know is: what will this team look like when it gets back to full strength? Obviously, that will never truly happen this season, as a couple of key components along their defensive line are out until 2021. But, what about all the guys who will return? They’re already starting to get some guys back, and as you can see they looked pretty good last night. Odds are, this is their season from hell and they’ll continue to see guys go down periodically. But, regardless, the times we go up against them will still be dogfights, just as the games against the Rams and Cardinals will be.

I was massively impressed with the 49ers’ offensive line, holding the Rams to zero sacks, and keeping Aaron Donald in check. That will literally NEVER happen when the Seahawks go up against them, but boy is that ever fun to dream about!

The only other NFC teams to worry about are the aforementioned Bucs and Bears, who both prevailed and looked good doing it yesterday. But, they’re not on my radar at all. They might end up with good records, but I don’t think Tom Brady or Nick Foles are quarterbacks who will do anything special at their ages, and on these particular offenses. The defenses for these teams will ensure they make the playoffs; one or both might even win their divisions. But, I don’t think either will be in line for the #1 seed. It would just be nice if these teams continued to help us out by beating the teams I’m legitimately scared of: the Packers, and everyone in the NFC West.

Tonight, the Cardinals play in Dallas. I think the Cards will prevail, but that’s no sure thing. The Cowboys could help us out A LOT by getting a win. Do it for Dak! Do it for America! Do it for the Seattle Seahawks!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2020: Signs Of Life!

There are two keys to Nobody Beats The Wiz that you can bank on most weeks: my non-quarterbacks are pretty solid, and my actual quarterbacks are the fucking worst. That’s not the ONLY way to score in the 160’s in back-to-back weeks (which is a respectable number for our league; 170+ is good, under 150 is bad), but it happens to be MY way.

So, if the 160-range is to be my ceiling (which will be the case, as long as Carson Wentz and Daniel Jones continue to play like dogshit), then I’m going to need my opponents to not go off for crazy-good weeks. Thankfully (and FINALLY), someone obliged when I needed it the most. Nobody Beats The Wiz defeated Sloane N Steady 163.12 to 137.20.

My QBs combined for 30.40 points. That’s an average score for one quarterback having a good week. Wentz was going up against the Steelers and threw a last-second hail mary interception, otherwise I wouldn’t be so upset with his day. But, Jones eked out just over 10 points against a putrid Cowboys defense and I couldn’t be more despondent. Back to the quarterback drawing board in 2021 I guess!

As I alluded to above, the rest of my moves panned out! I made smart fantasy football decisions for once! Darius Slayton was an INSPIRED choice over Odell Beckham Jr. My guy got almost 10 more points over ODB. Including Slayton and Wentz, I had five guys score over 20 points (CeeDee Lamb is a Must Start every week, even with Dak lost for the season). No one else really even deserves to be singled out for poor performance, that’s how pleased I am with my non-QB roster!

Sloane N Steady just had an off-game, highlighted by his quarterbacks also struggling mightily (they combined for 32.10 points to beat my duds, but still vastly underwhelm); he had three guys get under 10 points in this one to seal his fate.

My only roster move actually took place over the weekend. As soon as Yahoo! allowed me to put Noah Fant in my IR spot for the week (because he was ruled out, right before the Broncos game ended up getting postponed to next week), I picked up the Chargers’ defense. Not so I could employ them last week, but absolutely so I could employ them this upcoming week! They’re playing the Jets, and while I like Indy’s defense in pretty much any situation, when you have an opportunity to use the defense that’s going up against the Jets, you have to take advantage! And just like that, the Chargers/Jets game has been moved to Week 11 thanks to COVID schedule shuffling around the league. So, I guess that brilliant idea is out!

This week, Nobody Beats The Wiz goes up against Space Forcin’. This is always a killer matchup for me, as I seem to lose to this guy every fucking time that I play him. It doesn’t matter how good his team is over the decades we’ve been playing against one another, but lately he’s had a lot of elite-level talent as his keepers and it makes beating him a huge struggle.

BYE weeks affect us both, but probably him a little more than me. I will be without Josh Jacobs, so my three-headed running back hydra is down a head. Thankfully, I have my full assortment of healthy receivers at my disposal. He will be without Saints back Alvin Kamara and Seahawks receiver Tyler Lockett, so I feel like those are pretty huge bullets dodged. But, he does get Davante Adams back from injury which is pretty scary. First, here’s what my lineup is looking like:

  • Carson Wentz (QB) vs. BAL
  • Daniel Jones (QB) vs. WAS
  • Odell Beckham Jr. (WR) @ PIT
  • A.J. Brown (WR) vs. HOU
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. ARI
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB) @ BUF
  • Jimmy Graham (TE) @ CAR
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. ARI
  • Harrison Butker (K) @ BUF
  • Indianapolis (DEF) vs. CIN

My already-abysmal quarterbacks have even MORE abysmal matchups. The silver lining for Wentz is that the Eagles will probably be losing heavily to the Ravens and have to throw to get back in the game; the downside is the Eagles might very well be losing BECAUSE Wentz is throwing picks and otherwise ineffective. As for Jones, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a worse matchup. The Washington Football Team isn’t anything special, but they have a great defensive line that can get a lot of sacks; the Giants have one of the worst offensive lines in all respects, so we’re almost certainly looking at another long day for Jones.

Ezekiel Elliott figures to be my MVP going forward, with Dak Prescott out for the season. I assume Dallas will be riding him all day long. That also puts into question Lamb’s value as the #2 receiver on that team. Andy Dalton is no slouch (well, he’s only SORT OF a slouch), but with the Cowboys defense being as bad as it is, I still expect they’ll need to throw the ball quite a bit. I just think it’ll be a little more balanced going forward, now that their starting quarterback isn’t someone who is trying to re-set the entire quarterback market behind Patrick Mahomes. Lamb is a true focal point for the passing game and I don’t think that will change one iota the rest of the way (unless Dalton gets injured, then I’ll be worried).

I don’t love CEH’s potential against that Buffalo defense; but I DO love Butker’s potential in the kicking game. That could be a game where the Chiefs kick a lot of field goals, so maybe he’ll make up for CEH’s lack of production a little bit.

I’m not super high on my starting receivers. I could see myself flip-flopping a bunch of these guys before Sunday rolls around. Indeed, the flip-flopping has already started, as just before writing this, I inserted A.J. Brown over Darius Slayton. Brown returned from injury and played well on Tuesday against the Bills. That gives me all the confidence I need to roll with him against the Texans. I really want to find a way to get Deebo Samuel into my lineup, but I think patience is going to be the play with the 49ers until their offense gets rolling again.

Here’s what we’re looking at with Space Forcin’ this week:

  • Patrick Mahomes (QB) @ BUF
  • Tom Brady (QB) vs. GB
  • Cooper Kupp (WR) @ SF
  • Robby Anderson (WR) vs. CHI
  • Chase Edmonds (RB) @ DAL
  • Antonio GIbson (RB) @ NYG
  • Zach Ertz (TE) vs. BAL
  • Davante Adams (WR) @ TB
  • TBD (K) vs. TBD
  • Baltimore (DEF) @ PHI

Well, I thought I MIGHT have caught a break with his quarterbacks not having the greatest matchups, but that was before I saw the Bills let Ryan Tannehill have a career day on Tuesday. Considering Mahomes is coming off of his first defeat of the season, I’m sure he’ll be good and pissed off and ready to throw seven TDs against me the Bills. Also, the Bills figure to be among the top AFC teams vying for that #1 seed, so a Chiefs victory will be doubly important (motivation won’t be an issue, in other words). As for Brady, who knows what we’ll see from week to week? Or from quarter to quarter?! He’s old and has a noodle arm, but he’s also a Hall of Famer and there must still be some magic in that old silk hat he found …

As I expected, as soon as Davante Adams was cleared to play, Space Forcin’ found room in his lineup for him. David Johnson, the Texans’ running back, was benched in his place. In the only game Adams was fully healthy for this year, he put up over 40 points. With the way that Packers offense is humming along, this move will likely seal my fate.

Also, don’t think I’m not HIGHLY annoyed by the fact that he has Zach Ertz – Carson Wentz’s number one target in an offense lacking in receiving weapons – who will probably catch 20 balls and wrangle in all the receiving TDs. Just a little insult to injury in what should be a massive blowout loss for Nobody Beats The Wiz.

Just when I clawed my way into 8th place, with a 2-3 record. I still have the second-fewest total points, but the team with the third-fewest total points is currently 4-1 and sitting in second place in the league. So, there’s hope for me yet! Not this week, of course. Space Forcin’ is 3-2 and has the second-MOST total points (and that’s, again, with a number of injuries to key players throughout this season). I would need a miracle just to keep it close.

Which is why I don’t fully understand why Yahoo! has me projected to win by almost 9 points. Granted, Space Forcin’ doesn’t have a kicker yet – and thanks to his roster construction, might not want to drop anyone to pick one up – but I really don’t think that will matter. On paper, everything always looks fine for Nobody Beats The Wiz! And then the games start, and my team proceeds to get trounced.

I’m not falling for the bullshit lies anymore, Yahoo! You hear me?! So can it!

The Seahawks Remain Perfect While Still Being Entirely Imperfect

There aren’t any BAD 4-0 teams in the NFL. I can say this, of course, because the Chicago Bears finally lost (HI-YO!), but that’s neither here nor there. You don’t really get to complain about your team once you’re undefeated after a quarter of the season. This is awfully exciting, and ever-so-much fun! At this very moment, it’s just us and the Bills leading the way in the NFL (with a smattering of 3-0 teams lurking off in the distance).

But, obviously, the Seahawks are only “perfect” in record (and, quarterback too, I suppose); there are still things for this team to improve upon. And, not for nothing, but there are deficiencies that are always going to be there! Deficiencies we’re going to have to overcome on a weekly basis if we aim to keep this Rock N’ Roll Train a-rollin’.

It was all on display yesterday down in Miami, as the Seahawks beat the Dolphins 31-23 (it was 31-15 before a late touchdown by Ryan FitzGarbagePoints ran one in, almost making my score prediction last week pretty close!). The frustration, the glory, the rage, the surprise, the awe. It wasn’t the prettiest, but it nevertheless got my mojo rising, so let’s get into it!

It feels like a million years ago, but this game actually started out with another interception by Ryan Neal on the very first drive (after he caught the game-ending pick against Dallas the week prior)! Indeed, Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn’t very good in this one. He threw two picks and honestly probably should’ve thrown two more, if our guys didn’t keep dropping them. It’s a bit of a shame that they did, because Miami’s yardage total wouldn’t look nearly as good if we’d held on. But, regardless, the Seahawks were up 7-0 before we knew it, and this one had all the makings of a blowout.

The offense went weirdly cold for most of the rest of the first half, unfortunately. It was 10-9 with 24 seconds to go before halftime when we got the ball back. You could be forgiven if you didn’t expect anything to come out of this possession. Hell, in years past, we would’ve just handed the ball off to a running back up the middle for a 5-yard gain and regrouped for the second half! But, not this year! Not with MVP Wilson calling the shots! We hit Greg Olsen for 11 yards, called time out, and proceeded to find David Moore running WIDE open down the left sideline for 57 yards! How the Dolphins managed to leave him alone like that, I’ll never understand, but that gave us 1st & Goal at the 7 yard line with 10 seconds left. It took us four seconds to throw it down to the 3 yard line, and another three seconds to toss it to Travis Homer. Yes, it took all of 21 seconds for this offense to go 75 yards and extend our lead to 17-9. THAT is an offense that’s capable of carrying a team to a championship!

Since we got the ball back immediately after halftime, I was hoping we’d just put the hammer down right then and there and run out the clock for an easy victory. We almost did! But, the drive was vanquished in the Miami endzone with a rare Wilson interception. Once again, the lights went out with the offense, as the Dolphins clawed back to 17-15 (all on field goal drives) midway through the fourth quarter, as Miami held an insane Time of Possession advantage at this point.

I’ll be honest, I was a little unnerved! This was EXACTLY the scenario I was worried about! Stupid mistakes costing the Seahawks, letting the Dolphins hang around, and needing to pull a rabbit out of our asses in the end! But, of course, there were two things I was overlooking: the defense was playing exactly to design, and the offense would eventually figure it out.

It can be a little maddening to watch this defense sometimes. Even at its peak – when it was the very best defense in all of football – this is the style we’ve played: keep plays in front of you (don’t let them hit any deep balls) and force opposing offenses to dink and dunk down the field if they’re going to score. The difference between yesterday’s performance and ones from yore is that we just don’t have the level of talent now to really punish other teams. So, when they dink and dunk, they’ll do so for a while! There’s a helplessness to it. Like we’re never going to stop them, and they’re going to continue converting new first downs until the end of time.

Thankfully, these were the Dolphins, and five of their six scoring drives ended in a field goal. One or two more touchdowns in there and we might be singing a different tune today.

The offense did figure it out, at the best possible time. Our 17-15 lead expanded to 24-15 with a beautiful 17-yard touchdown pass to David Moore in the back corner of the endzone. Then, after Shaquill Griffin picked off Fitzpatrick (he really played a flawless game in this one, in locking down his side of the field), we marched right down the field – on the legs of D.K. Metcalf, who caught a quick out at the sideline and bullied his way to the 1-yard line – before Chris Carson plunged over the goalline for his second TD of the game. From that point, it was just a matter of wasting clock and recovering an onside kick.

Wilson’s MVP campaign continued on, though of course this wasn’t quite as breathtaking. He nevertheless threw for 360 yards and 2 touchdowns (to tie the record for most TD passes through four games, with 16).

I would argue Carson was actually the star of this one. Remember last week when that Dallas defender tried to twist his leg off? Remember when it looked like Carson might miss a few weeks? Well, he not only returned without missing any games, but started and really carried the load! 80 yards on 16 carries (the other running backs only handled it 6 times, not counting Wilson scrambles), with another 3 receptions for 20 yards. The offense obviously isn’t going through Carson anymore, but that doesn’t mean he’s not vital to making this whole thing work. I’d love to know how many times Wilson changed a play to a run, where Carson was able to burst through a huge hole – in a light box – for a significant gain (because the opposing defense was so concerned about Wilson throwing it on them). That’s going to be a considerable trend the rest of this season, as more teams adjust to the new Seahawks way of doing things.

D.K. Metcalf led the way for receivers, with 4 catches for 106 yards. David Moore had more of the highlights, as he caught 3 for 95 and a TD. Tyler Lockett had a relatively quiet day, but that’s just a matter of Wilson spreading the ball around (nine guys caught balls in this one, with eight guys catching at least two).

If I have one thing that irked me about the offense, it has to do with this weird notion that they need to shuffle guys on the offensive line for some reason? I know they talked about this a while back, I think as a function of not having a real pre-season, but I don’t get it. Isn’t the whole thing about the O-Line that they need continuity and reps together with the same guys? Will someone explain to me why Cedric Ogbuehi is in the game at all, let alone on a relatively critical drive in the first half where we’re going for it on fourth down? Brandon Shell has more than proven why we signed him to that contract in free agency: he’s CLEARLY the best right tackle on the team. So, is it any shock that Ogbuehi gave up the sack on fourth down to stall yet another potential scoring drive? I didn’t notice him in the game at all after that, so, I dunno, maybe keep it that way? I mean, yeah, I get it, you want guys to have experience in case others get injured. But, he’s a professional and a veteran, if we need him, he’ll figure it out. Right now, let’s keep our BEST guys out there and rack up huge leads! That way, when the game is out of reach, we can start playing our backups to give them some experience when it doesn’t matter as much. Just a thought.

On defense, I thought we showed flashes of competence. Only one sack, of course, isn’t very inspiring (particularly when Fitzpatrick threw it 45 times), but I thought Miami had a really smart gameplan. They never totally abandoned the run until late in the game and the Seahawks were up by two scores. That kept them in manageable situations, which meant there weren’t a lot of obvious passing situations where we could send in our specialists to tee off and get after the quarterback. That’s my way of saying I wish we could’ve had more Shaquem Griffin, because he’s always electric whenever he’s rushing the passer.

The rush defense was fairly on point. Fitzpatrick led the way with his scrambling (6 for 47 and a touchdown), but the other guys combined for 56 yards on 16 carries (3.5 yards per carry average).

K.J. Wright, in spite of his dropped interceptions, otherwise had a remarkable game, with lots of shoestring tackles preventing big plays. That guy’s wingspan is simply incredible, as he’s able to get to guys he shouldn’t, even if he’s actively engaged with a blocker! Bobby Wagner led the team in tackles with 12, and I thought most of our secondary was pretty sticky and making plays (Ryan Neal is a revelation, and Ugo Amadi is up there among our best cover guys).

If I can bitch about anything for a moment, it has to be Tre Flowers, who might want to consider calling his post-football late night chat show “Picking On Tre Flowers”, because the dude gets absolutely molested on a daily basis in this defense. He’s really a problem for this team, and ultimately I don’t see him as a Seahawk-type defender. He’s too soft, in all respects. I know the objective for this defense was to keep everything in front of them – to not give up big plays deep – but he’s giving up SO MUCH cushion, on every single down! If it’s 3rd & 6, why are you lining up 12 yards deep? That’s the easiest pre-snap read for even the most bumbling of quarterbacks! By all accounts, it sounds like his confidence is totally shot. Quinton Dunbar coming in and taking his job has really gotten into his head. After Dunbar has struggled when he was in there, on top of being injured these last two weeks, Flowers finally has a shot at redemption and to take his job back for good, and what has he done? He’s gotten used and abused, first by an elite quarterback in Dak Prescott, and now by a mediocre one in Ryan Fitzpatrick. Year three is supposed to be the year where you take your game to new heights; Flowers is regressing. I imagine year four will be pretty quiet for him, and after that he’ll be on a new team.

Probably the best thing to come from this game is a lack of new injuries. FINALLY! Now, we can enjoy the soft landing that is the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football next week, followed by a much-needed BYE week.

It’s funny what a 4-0 start will do for you, when looking at the upcoming schedule. Potential losses start looking like easy victories, and even those certain losses start looking like toss-ups. The outlook is bright! And I can’t help but be really excited for what’s to come!