Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: Here We Go Again

Check out my prior Fantasy Football posts to get a better handle on the type of leagues I’m in. Long story short: I’m in three leagues. One of them means very little to me, but I joined because they needed someone to fill things out. One of them is my sanctuary – my Splinter League – that I created to give me some semblance of hope and control over the way a league should be run. And one of them I care about very deeply, but has been a total and complete disaster for me since 2010 (my last title was 2009, the last year of our pre-trophy era, and it’s stuck in my craw ever since). So, by and large, I’ll be talking about that league in this space on a weekly basis. Of course, the last thing anyone wants to hear is someone complaining about their fantasy football teams (hence the running title of these posts). But, this is my blog, and you’re stuck with me!

I also use it as a means to discuss players I have, players I’m interested in picking up, and players I’m going up against. I’m no fantasy football expert – far from it, in fact – but even the experts can be full of shit on a regular basis, so how is this different than any other fantasy football blog post you might read? At least I’m honest about my incompetence!

My league has morphed quite a bit over the years. It started out as a simple 2-QB 10-team PPR league with points skewed heavily towards the quarterbacks (they’re the most important players in the actual NFL, so they should also be the most important players in fantasy). Then, we started increasing the buy-in, adding keepers, tweaking the point-scoring, to the point where we’re like an everyday, run-of-the-mill 2-QB 10-team PPR dynasty league. We’d talked about going Dynasty for years, and now we’re there. This is the first off-season where we’re keeping a full accompaniment of rosters.

2 QBs, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 FLEX, 1 K, 1 DEF. We all have to keep a full roster of those positions, so when we finally draft on Wednesday, September 7th, we’ll just be drafting for our 5 bench spots (we also have an IR spot, but that doesn’t factor into our draft). Barring some last-minute injury issues, here’s what my team is going to look like heading into the draft:

  • Mac Jones (QB)
  • Justin Fields (QB)
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB)
  • Javonte Williams (RB)
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR)
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR)
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE)
  • Diontae Johnson (WR)
  • Evan McPherson (K)
  • L.A. Rams (DEF)

Keepers are based on who’s on your roster at the end of the season (wherever you end up in the playoffs, be it consolation bracket or otherwise). The only other QBs I had at the time were Jordan Love and Sean Mannion (don’t ask). Love was only a hedge in case Aaron Rodgers retired or moved to another team, but he’s not really a viable option for me in this instance. I need QBs who are actually going to play. That being said, I’m less than thrilled by my choices. I think Mac Jones is okay (I’m encouraged by how he’s looked in training camp), but Fields looks like a bust. He’s not accurate, he doesn’t make any big plays with his arm, and I don’t think he’s looking to run enough to be of any sort of value with the run game (a la Jalen Hurts or Josh Allen).

I feel both blessed and cursed with my receivers. Of the three, only Lamb figures to be a superstar fantasy producer. The other two are highly talented, but D.K. has the obvious situation of the Seahawks’ quarterback quagmire. And Diontae has a couple of promising throwers, but also a lot of talent around him fighting for targets. Receiver is also the deepest of all the skill spots in the NFL, so blowing my flex on one feels like kind of a waste, when there should be excellent value still remaining in the draft.

I had to do that, of course, because I want to give myself the best chance to win. And, in all honesty, my running back situation – like most – is a disaster. Zeke has been a stalwart for me (when healthy), but he’s obviously over the hill, and being pushed by Pollard hard. And while Williams looks as talented as they get, he’s also in a time-share that figures to sap his value.

But, my alternatives (or flex options) are no better. Clyde Edwards-Helaire was a waste of a #2 overall draft pick when he came out as a rookie. That’s a bust you just can’t afford when you’re in a constant state of middling – like I was at the time – nor in a constant state of rebuild (which I’ve been in ever since). Alexander Mattison is the league’s best handcuff, but you can’t really make him a keeper when he’s so clearly behind Dalvin Cook. And I like James Robinson a lot, but the Jags like Travis Etienne even more (who, I unfortunately, do not have).

Tight end is arguably my biggest strength, having Hockenson and Mike Gesicki to choose from. Both figure to be Top 10 guys at their position, but Hockenson has the clear upside over the two. He just needs to stay healthy. It’s fair to doubt his ability to stay on the field, but when you’ve been struggling as I have for over a decade, you choose upside over consistency (especially knowing how much help I’m going to be lacking from my QB spots).

I ended up trading Justin Tucker last year at the deadline, for the ability to swap draft picks. I moved up from the last round (aka the 5th round) to the 2nd round, which is pretty good for a rebuilding guy like me. I’ll take a second 2nd round pick for a kicker anytime! As a bonus, McPherson was available, and he finished within 10 points of Tucker (while hitting more 50-yarders). He’s also considerably younger than Tucker, so if this dynasty holds, I’ll have McPherson for a long chunk of time.

Finally, the Rams aren’t the best fantasy defense, but they’re pretty solid. They’ve got strong players up front and in the secondary; with the addition of Bobby Wagner, I think they’ll continue to be a reliable source of points. If not, then who cares? It’s a fantasy defense, they’re a dime a dozen. Heading into last year, who expected the Cowboys to be the best?

***

We won’t know until a week prior to the draft who is going to be available, as that’s when our keepers are due. That being said, we do know who the rookies are. So, while I haven’t done extensive research on the matter, I’ve dipped my toe.

Kenneth Walker was a guy I was strongly considering. The Seahawks, obviously, favor the run over most teams. And Rashaad Penny can’t be counted upon for long health, so you figure Walker will start out as a backup, but still get some playing time, and maybe sooner rather than later make the leap into full-time starter. If he’s elite, then Walker is going to win the starter’s job at some point. And if he does, he’s going to be a 20-carry-a-game kind of guy, a la Chris Carson. That being said, Walker’s already dealing with a groin injury that’s cost him the final two preseason games. And there’s no guarantee he’ll be ready for Week 1. That’s a bad sign for a rookie, who needs as many reps as possible to acclimate to a new system and a new league.

Breece Hall is, obviously, another option. He went to the Jets – who drafted a talented rookie back last year as well in Michael Carter – but Hall looks to be the real deal, and should assert himself in good time. But, how’s their O-Line? Well, luckily, they snagged Duane Brown, so unless their interior is shit, I could see that actually being okay. Consider me intrigued!

There’s also an interesting little nugget about another rookie running back who I’m keeping to myself. I don’t want to jinx anything, but if I can snag him, it could be a boon to my overall chances.

As for quarterbacks, I really need the help. I’ll take a gander at whoever ends up eligible for drafting among the vets – mostly out of necessity – because there isn’t a huge swath of options from the rookie class. Kenny Pickett is the only viable option, in my mind. Will he be available at #3 when I select? I’m guessing he will be. The bigger question is: when will he take over as starter? Will they give it to him out of the preseason? Or, will he have to sit a few weeks behind Trubisky? I hypothetically have time, because Jones and Fields have BYE weeks in 10 and 14 respectively. So, if they stay healthy, I can afford to sit Pickett on my bench. But, I can’t tell you how many years in a row I’ve gone all in on rookie quarterbacks, only to get the rug pulled out from under me. That being said, what are the odds that NO rookie quarterback this year steps up as a viable star?

I’m willing to let the board fall to me in a lot of ways. The only thing is, I don’t want to reach for a receiver. There are a shit-ton of receivers entering the NFL this year, and your guess is as good as mine who will be the next Ja’Marr Chase or Justin Jefferson. I heard there’s a new Steelers receiver who looks awesome, but how much do I want to go all-in on the Steelers offense, especially when I already have Diontae?

We’ll see. I have a couple weeks and a whole-ass vacation to ponder my options. I’ll also have two drafts before I do this one. Maybe a little practice will make perfect. Or, maybe doing little-to-no research will be just the ticket. Maybe I’ve spent the last decade-plus over-thinking every fucking thing, and I just need to sit back and relax. Maybe following the Yahoo rankings – or even letting them draft for me – is what I need to break this curse that’s come over me. Who knows?

All I know is, as always, I’m dreading fantasy football for the mental drain that it is. All this stress and disappointment takes its toll. I’m a glutton for punishment, but at some point even a glutton gets full.

Defending The Seahawks On This Kenneth Walker Pick

There’s a weird consensus around what the Seattle Seahawks did in this 2022 NFL Draft. People seem to be heartened by the fact that the Seahawks filled some very important holes, and they did so by not reaching. You didn’t hear a lot of chatter about how the Seahawks took guys most experts projected a round or two later. If anything, you heard chatter about how well the Seahawks picked certain guys who might’ve fallen to them unexpectedly. There was, of course, only one trade-back, and it happened well into the third day. Not a lot of fucking around by the Seahawks; as a fan, I appreciated it.

But, the downside to what the Seahawks did – again this is the opinion of the Consensus At Large I’m talking about here – is that they totally and completely neglected the quarterback position, while at the same time taking a running back with the 41st pick.

I’m on record, first of all, that you can’t call this the worst quarterback draft class in recent history – maybe the worst class of the last 2-3 decades – and then give the Seahawks a reduced draft grade for not taking one. Are you listening to yourself? Just because the Seahawks are rolling with Geno Smith and Drew Lock at the moment – and believe me, I’m no fan of either – doesn’t mean they should have doubled down by drafting a guy who’s not going to be any better than them. What’s the point of bringing in a third mediocre QB to throw into the mix? What is Malik Willis going to do to help us win a championship?

That’s one argument I refuse to have. If any of these rookie QBs eventually pan out, then we can have that conversation. But, don’t pretend like you’re out here touting these guys who the NFL passed over multiple times in this very draft!

The other issue is the simple fact the Seahawks took a running back in the second round. I can see this argument, at least, so let’s talk about it.

The Seahawks very much had a need at running back. Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, and Travis Homer are all on the final season of their respective deals, while DeeJay Dallas has two years remaining. Carson is currently injured – with a significant, probably career-ending neck issue – and there’s no sign he’ll be ready to play this year or ever again. So, I would discount him immediately; even if he’s cleared by doctors, it wouldn’t shock me to see the team cut him. Rashaad Penny – until late last year – has been constantly injured throughout his career. That’s the whole reason why he only signed a 1-year extension with us! He’s good, maybe even elite, but I’ll believe it when I see it that he can stay on the field for a full season, let alone multiple seasons. And Travis Homer is strictly a backup in this league; he’s just a guy and not even all that good of one, from a football-talent perspective. For what it’s worth, ditto DeeJay Dallas.

The prevailing theory on running backs in the NFL is that quality backs can be found anywhere, all the way down into the 7th round and even among the undrafted rookies. Just get a guy, plug him into your lineup, and you should be fine. These are also, usually, the same people who want to throw the ball 95% of the time, so I don’t know if I’m totally buying what they’re selling. Travis Homer (a 6th rounder) and DeeJay Dallas (a 4th rounder) would seem to argue against the notion you can get a good back anywhere. But, by that same token, Chris Carson (7th rounder) and how great he’s been when healthy is all the ammo they need. Not to mention Rashaad Penny (1st rounder) is the poster child for why you DON’T draft a running back high.

I guess my question, then, is when is it NOT too early to draft a running back? What’s the line of demarcation?

Let’s just, for the sake of argument, look at the NFL’s rushing leaders from last year, and see where those guys were selected:

  1. Jonathan Taylor (2nd round, 41st overall)
  2. Nick Chubb (2nd round, 35th overall)
  3. Joe Mixon (2nd round, 48th overall)
  4. Najee Harris (1st round, 24th overall)
  5. Dalvin Cook (2nd round, 41st overall)
  6. Antonio Gibson (3rd round, 66th overall)
  7. Ezekiel Elliott (1st round, 4th overall)
  8. Elijah Mitchell (6th round, 194th overall)
  9. Derrick Henry (2nd round, 45th overall)
  10. Damien Harris (3rd round, 87th overall)
  11. Melvin Gordon (1st round, 15th overall)
  12. Austin Ekeler (undrafted)
  13. Javonte Williams (2nd round, 35th overall)
  14. Alvin Kamara (3rd round, 67th overall)
  15. Josh Jacobs (1st round, 24th overall)

I could keep going and going. So, for you anti-running back crowd, where’s the cutoff? I know there’s a contingent who thinks even the third round is too early! Yet, of the top 15 running backs last year, 13 of them were taken in the third round or higher. 10 of them were in the first or second rounds. In fact, the sweet spot seems to be right around pick 41, where both Taylor and Cook were selected, to say nothing of Derrick Henry – running back god – who was taken four picks later.

So, if there were no good quarterbacks to be had, and the Seahawks had a pretty urgent need for a quality running back (both to replenish their own supply, as well as to help compensate for shaky quarterbacking we’ve got on our roster currently), why would you shit-talk this team for doing the prudent thing and taking the best running back available? When MOST of the best running backs are taken somewhere in this range, and there was a pretty obvious drop-off in talent in this draft after Breece Hall was nabbed at 36 by the Jets.

For that matter, why aren’t the Jets getting as much shit for taking a running back five spots earlier?!

The next running back off the board went to the Bills at 63; his name is James Cook, and at least one article I read noted him as being among the most overrated coming out of this class.

You jump in there, take the reins of the Seahawks’ draft, and you tell me who you would’ve taken instead. We’d just grabbed Boye Mafe at 40; our third rounder was Abe Lucas at 72. Between those guys and Charles Cross at 9, we addressed our offensive line and got a pass rushing lotto ticket.

I don’t see a lot of point in taking one of the second or third-tier wide receivers, when we already have Lockett and are looking to extend Metcalf. David Ojabo stands out as a name, that would’ve been an idea (especially since it looks like we’re quasi-throwing out the 2022 season anyway). Maybe the center, Cam Jurgens, who went to Philly. Maybe a talented inside linebacker. I dunno, it’s easy to speculate now, but let’s revisit this in a year or two and see who among the players between 41 and 72 turned out to be better than Kenneth Walker.

I mean, this could all blow up in my face and Walker could be a collosal bust in the vein of Christine Michael. But, as I also said previously, just because you get bitten in the ass before by taking crappy running backs too high, that doesn’t mean you just give up on the entire concept. If Walker turns out to be a stud – like Taylor, like Cook – who doesn’t want that on their team? Who looks at Jonathan Taylor and thinks, “Nah, I’d rather have some pass rushing project who will probably cap out at 6 sacks per season.” That’s insane!

Like it or hate it, the Seahawks love to run the football. Who’s going to get a better opportunity to shine – not just as a rookie, but over the next four years – than Kenneth Walker? Rashaad Penny would not only have to prove the last 5-6 weeks weren’t a fluke, but he’ll also have to stay healthy for 17 games in order to keep Walker at bay. And, even then, it might not be enough, if indeed Walker is as good as we think he might be.

You gotta really look at a team, its needs, and its scheme, before you can start throwing out these opinions about how idiotic it is to take a running back at 41. I guarantee you the Colts and Vikings aren’t regretting it. And, I don’t care who’s under center, Walker is only going to be an even bigger help as we throw against 8-man boxes. Let Lockett get underneath some deep balls. Let Metcalf go up and catch passes in traffic. They’re going to be just fine. The play-action game is going to be off the charts.

And when we finally do get our quarterback of the future in the 2023 class? He’ll be stepping into a fantastic situation. Walker should have everything to say about just how great it’ll be.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Splinter League Round-Up!

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

Third League Round-Up!

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

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: 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!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Staving Off Elimination

It’s not over, but Snoopy & Prickly Pete avoided a guaranteed last place finish by eking one out over Korky Butchek in the Toilet Bowl, 126.15 to 125.10.

This one looked REALLY solid as I headed into Monday Night Football with over an 80% chance of winning. I was trailing by around 15 points, but Korky had no more guys going, while I had Taylor Heinicke and D.K. Metcalf. Each player by themselves was projected to outscore my deficit. But, there I was, needing 4 points with a quarter left to play. There I was, needing 2.5 points with four minutes left to play. There I was, with a touchdown pass by Heinicke that was overturned with just over two minutes to go! And, there I was, right after that, needing just one catch for two yards out of D.K. Metcalf on the Seahawks’ final drive of the game. To that point, he had zero catches for zero yards on, I believe, just one target (he had zero targets heading into the second half, which is batshit crazy to me).

Thankfully, on that last drive, Metcalf had 1 reception for 13 yards, which was plenty for me to work with, even with Heinicke losing a rushing yard on the kneel down to end the game.

Clearly, with my team’s output, there wasn’t a lot to celebrate this past week. However, Javonte Williams – in my first game with him since the trade – put up 20.1 points, which is VERY encouraging. Even moreso, Mac Jones put up 28.6 to lead the way for my team. The move of the week – that won it for me – was picking up Houston’s defense. They only scored 12 points, but the Rams only scored 1 for my bench; it’s about time a move like that paid dividends.

It’s good too, because Korky’s kicker obnoxiously put up 21 points. Losing because an opposing kicker scores 21 is reason enough to never want kickers in the league; I’ve been fighting that losing battle for years, and I’ll continue to rage against the randomness of kicker scoring.

The victory puts me in a tie with Korky Butchek for last place, with a 3-9 record. However, he’s got a 50-point advantage over me. Which means either I need to keep pace with him record-wise – and outscore him by 50 points in the process – or I need to beat him by a game somewhere in the final two weeks of the regular season.

So, you’re tellin’ me there’s a chance!

This week, I go up against Toot Cannons; here’s who I’m looking to go with:

  • Mac Jones (QB) @ BUF
  • Taylor Heinicke (QB) @ LV
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ NO
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) vs. BAL
  • Javonte Williams (RB) @ KC
  • Alexander Mattison (RB) @ DET
  • Mike Gesicki (TE) vs. NYG
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. SF
  • Ryan Succop (K) @ ATL
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) vs. JAX

Big news this week, as Dalvin Cook is injured and figures to miss a couple games. Mattison has been riding my bench ever since it looked like Cook might get suspended for domestic violence, and I’ve seen no reason to give up on that because Mattison is easily the most valuable backup running back in football. It’s for weeks like these where you want to have him. Against the Lions, he should feast. I’m benching Ezekiel Elliott this week because there’s been chatter of the Cowboys resting him. Even if he plays, though, the Saints have one of the best rush defenses in football. I could see him being more decoy than actual offensive asset; we’ll see if my gamble pays off. I’m kind of all in on Williams at this point, plus I absolutely HAVE to believe D.K. is in for a big game at some point. My dynasty kind of depends on it.

Toot Cannons has an extremely strong team, as you’ll see below:

  • Carson Wentz (QB) @ HOU
  • Kyler Murray (QB) @ CHI
  • Justin Jefferson (WR) @ DET
  • Mike Williams (WR) @ CIN
  • Najee Harris (RB) vs. BAL
  • Saquon Barkley (RB) @ MIA
  • Dallas Goedert (TE) @ NYJ
  • Tee Higgins (WR) vs. LAC
  • Harrison Butker (K) vs. DEN
  • San Francisco (DEF) @ SEA

He’s also got Tua, who has looked halfway competent at times! Certainly better than most of the QBs on my roster. And, he’s got Myles Gaskin as insurance off his bench. It’s going to be a tall order; Toot Cannons is 7-5 and has weathered the storm of the Murray injury over the last month. He looks to be in great shape to make a playoff run. Meanwhile, I’m fighting for my life to avoid last place.

In the spirit of Scoreboard Watching, Korky Butchek will be going up against The Lance Petemans this week. Lance is 5-7 and on the outside-looking-in on a playoff spot in seventh place. He has something to play for, so I’m hoping he’s up to the challenge of keeping me alive for Not Last Place.

Splinter League Round-Up!

BUCK FUTTER had an unimpressive victory over Chubby Dumplings to keep my hold on third place. More importantly, we knocked Chubby to a game back in the standings. The first place team also lost, which means I’m now just a game back of the top spot, all with three weeks to go. Next week, I get to play that erstwhile first place team (who fell to second, based on total points scored) for a chance to leapfrog him and try to cement my spot in the 4-team playoffs. I’ll have to do it without Aaron Rodgers, who has really been carrying me this year; thankfully, I was on top of stashing Mattison in all my leagues, so he should provide a boost for three teams I know and care about!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Splinter League Round-Up!

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

The Seahawks Should Bounce Back Against The Vikings

I like how the big argument in favor of Minnesota this week is, “Ohh, the Vikings are 0-2, but they could easily be 2-0!” Give me a break. They lost in overtime to a bad Bengals team (after having multiple opportunities in said overtime), then they gave up 34 points to a fringe-playoff team in the Cardinals. I’m not impressed.

The Seahawks had to go through a tough little mini-gauntlet of AFC South teams. I think we’re prepared for what the Vikings have to offer.

I don’t see a ton of defense out of either of these teams. This could very well be another one where both teams score in the 30’s with relative ease. How they end up doing it could be pretty interesting.

I fully expect the Seahawks to gear up to stop the run, whatever it takes. Dalvin Cook won’t single-handedly kill us, and if he does, then I think it’s a clear Seahawks defeat. He might rip off a small handful of good runs, but it wouldn’t shock me to see us hold him to under 100 yards. That’s exactly what you want when you play the Vikings: make Kirk Cousins beat you. Of course, he’s got two pretty great receivers in Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, but he’s also Kirk Cousins. He’s going to make mistakes here and there. The Seahawks had better take advantage, or it could be a miserable day.

I’ll tell you this much: I just don’t see the Seahawks as a 1-2 team. That feels crazy to me. That also feels like something that could snowball into utter disaster, because the next few weeks’ worth of games doesn’t look any easier now that we’ve seen a small sample from everyone. Niners, Rams, Steelers, and Saints are on deck. If we lose to the Vikings, that means we could lose to anyone; 1-2 could easily be 1-6 if we’re not careful.

I know it sounds almost as crazy to think the Vikings are an 0-3 team, but is it really? They were pretty mediocre last year, and I don’t know that they’ve done anything to improve themselves.

This is a game of two defensive-minded head coaches with pretty mediocre defenses (and pretty elite offenses); on paper it should be another fun one to behold! The Vikings’ pass defense is their real Achilles heel, so this should be another get-right game for Russell Wilson. But, he needs to stay within the confines of the offense. I thought he went a little rogue in the second half against the Titans; truth be told, it seemed like he went rogue the whole game – reverting back to his old ways of only seeking out the deep balls – but it worked in the first half. If he’s not going to abide by the scheme of the guy HE wanted to run the offense, then I don’t know what the fuck we’re doing here. Other than he’s just sabotaging his way out of town, which I suppose is on the table. I wouldn’t think so, given his penchant for winning, but maybe Wilson is playing the long game. If he can sabotage his way out of town, while still making his numbers look good, all the better for whatever team he lands on next.

That unpleasantness aside, I think the Seahawks will win this week. I think last week was a bit of an early-season wake-up call, and we’ll bounce back in a big way against the Vikings. Likely, it’ll be close, and the Seahawks will either need a late score or a late stop to win it. But, I wouldn’t be shocked if we handle the Vikes in a walk-away fashion, up two scores.

I also expect D.K. Metcalf to have something in the realm of 200 yards receiving and 2 or 3 touchdowns. This is a monster game in the making.

The Seahawks Were Sloppy, Inept; Lost In Overtime To The Titans

I have a very strong belief that 30 points should be enough to win any game in the NFL. If you lose a game where you score 30 points, that means your defense stinks and gave the game away. It’s a very nearly foolproof theory, but here we have the Seahawks losing to the Titans 33-30, and my first instinct is to blame the offense.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the Seahawks’ defense more than helped gift-wrap this game to the Titans; they were as undisciplined as I’ve ever seen them. They gave up 182 yards to Derrick Henry and 347 yards to Ryan Tannehill. Julio Jones had 128 yards receiving and A.J. Brown would’ve had something similar if he wasn’t on my fantasy team and therefore dropping 2 out of every 3 passes thrown his way. They couldn’t cover anyone, they took bad angles, they over-pursued in their pass rush – leaving wide-open cut-back lanes for Henry, as well as large chunks of YAC to him in the screen game. Oh, and they had about a billion stupid penalties to keep Titans’ drives alive, many of them converting third down incompletions into first downs. Late hits to the quarterback, taunting, late hits out of bounds. Just the stupidest fucking infractions that – make no mistake – the Seahawks were 100% guilty of. These are the rules the NFL has decided to put in place. All the players know these are the rules. You can bring your gripes to the NFL’s front office, but the refs on the field did their jobs in enforcing some of these idiotic rules. Some 90 year old white owner doesn’t like it when players yell at each other and show any semblance of emotion, so now we’re stuck in this world (until they finally come to realize no one enjoys the No Fun League and de-emphasize them again).

Anyway, yeah, the Seahawks’ defense could’ve drastically helped themselves by not being fucking knuckleheads. But, I’m sorry, this game is on the offense.

How do you run up a 24-9 halftime lead and lose 33-30? It’s no coincidence that the Titans’ offense exploded for everything in the second half; the Seahawks’ defense was fucking exhausted from being on the field the entire time! Time of Possession is usually a meaningless stat, but the Titans had the ball for 42:33 compared to our 22:42. You’ll take that sort of discrepancy in the first half, when the Seahawks were connecting on big plays and scoring fast touchdowns. But, the second half saw the Seahawks punt the ball on 4 out of 6 possessions (the other two were a quick-strike 68-yard TD pass to Freddie Swain, who got behind the defense somehow on 3rd & 12; and the last possession of the half, that ended because we ran out of time). The Seahawks had one drive in the second half and overtime that went almost 5 minutes (before a punt); every other possession lasted anywhere from 29 seconds to 1:54.

And, in that span, the Titans got stronger on both sides of the ball. Derrick Henry was like tackling a real life rhinoceros. He was never going to be denied when he had the ball in his hands. It’s almost insane that the Titans played for the tie at the end, because there’s no way in hell we could’ve stopped him on a 2-point conversion to win it. That’s why I’m not mad at Jason Myers for missing that extra point in the second half. This outcome was inevitable.

I don’t know, exactly, what the deal was with the offense, either. Clearly, we couldn’t run the ball. That’s a problem. I don’t think it was for want of trying, Carson had 13 carries. But, he only generated 31 yards; so, is that an offensive line issue? Is it a play-calling issue? Is it Russell Wilson having a bad game and making poor decisions? Is it the scheme?

There were a couple of frustrating moments in the first half, but otherwise I thought the offense looked as good as it did a week ago in Indy. Then, it just totally shut down, against a defense who – again – let Freddie Swain beat them for 68 yards!

I figured I’d be more upset by the loss, but to tell the truth I’m more baffled than anything. It’s like someone hit me in the head and I’m left in a daze. I know for a fact I’d be much more angry if this loss came to an NFC West opponent, or one of the other NFC contenders. But, honestly? If you’re going to lose a game, losing one to an AFC opponent isn’t the worst thing in the world. As far as tie-breakers go, it’s relatively harmless. Of course, you can’t have too many of these, because the ultimate tie-breaker is simple Win/Loss record. But, the 2021 Seahawks were never going to go undefeated. If this wakes us up and gets us to perform better and smarter against the teams we really NEED to beat, then I don’t think all hope is lost.

But, if this is foreshadowing a defense that’s going to be totally inept – either because we don’t have the talent to stop high-level offenses, or because we don’t have the coordinator to coach these guys up – and an offense that’s going to go in the tank for long stretches of games, then I guess we’ll all look back at this loss as a bad omen for the season.

My ultimate take-away is that we’re never going to see the Titans again. Their offense was always going to be a bad matchup for us. But, thankfully, no NFC team has a running back like Derrick Henry; as far as running backs go, the only scary one remaining on our schedule is Dalvin Cook next week, and I expect us to be super fired up to shut him down after being so thoroughly embarrassed on the ground this past Sunday. So, it’s not like we have to worry about the Titans competing for a playoff spot with us, or have them looming as a potential post-season opponent (yes, I understand the Super Bowl is a thing that exists, but there’s no way the Titans are making it out of the AFC). On to Minnesota.

Kudos to Lockett (8 for 178 and a TD) and Swain (5 for 95 and a TD). Anti-Kudos to Metcalf (6 for 53 on 11 targets, plus multiple penalties).

Kudos to Bobby Wagner for his 20 tackles, his sack, and his two quarterback hits. Kudos to Al Woods for being an animal in the middle (filling in for Bryan Mone, who was out injured), with 7 tackles and a sack. Kudos to Alton Robinson for his sack and forced fumble, and to Kerry Hyder for recovering that fumble and being a menace in the backfield.

Anti-Kudos to the secondary. Just, all of it. D.J. Reed had an awful taunting penalty. Tre Flowers had his usual miserable game. Quandre Diggs couldn’t contain Henry on his 60-yard touchdown. And Jamal Adams had no positive impact on this game, while negatively impacting it with his own penalties. Fucking sorry effort by the whole lot of ’em.

Also, a weird bad game from our kicking duo. Michael Dickson had at least two punts sail into the endzone, and of course, Myers had that missed extra point that loomed potentially large. I guess there’s a non-zero chance the defense might’ve stopped Henry an inch short of the goalline, or maybe the Titans would’ve run a dumb non-Henry play for the game-tying 2-point conversion had they needed it to force overtime. I dunno.

Lots to work on before next week! Maybe start with the rulebook.

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.