Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: Let The Justin Fields Era Begin!

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m legitimately shocked. Not only did RoundTine defeat Korky Butchek 158.60 to 114.25, but I would’ve defeated 6 out of the 9 other teams in this league last week! It was far and away the most points I’ve scored this season, which is delightful and also really fucking sad. Teams can score over 200 points in our league fairly regularly. 160 is a decent average weekly score. So, yeah.

All praise goes to Justin Fields, though, who got me 49.95 points. That has to be a personal best for any single player on RoundTine this year. He’s turned into an animal! And to think, in the first month of the season, I was THIS CLOSE to cutting him entirely and moving on. If my team wasn’t so atrocious, I might’ve done just that; I shudder to think what I would’ve gotten in his stead, but rest assured I would have wanted to put a bullet in my brain.

I’m a little gunshy about raising the ol’ Mission Accomplished banner, though. I’d like to sit here and boast about how I’ve FINALLY gotten one of my quarterback spots locked down for the foreseeable future. But, all I really see is a guy who unlocked his rushing ability, but who still struggles throwing the ball. Maybe he improves that over the next year – like Jalen Hurts has this past year – or maybe this is as good as it gets with Fields.

I’ll be very interested to see how Fields progresses through the second half, especially in a stretch that includes some elite-level defenses in the Jets, Packers, Eagles, and Bills. If he continues on this trajectory, and improves his passing ability, I might be able to rest a little easier heading into 2023. At the very least, maybe I can make some noise in the Consolation Bracket this year!

I got another 27.5 points out of Kenneth Walker, as well as a ridiculous trade offer for him, in exchange for a broken-down Matthew Stafford. I shot that down immediately and countered an offer of Brian Robinson for Stafford. He swatted that one away and came back with a Stafford for Philly’s Defense offer. Boy that piqued my interest! I sat with that one for a full day, mulling it over. Stafford clearly isn’t the same player he once was. That shoulder isn’t getting any better, and the more the Rams lose, the closer we’ll get to them just shutting Stafford down for the year. At which point, either he rests & rehabs, or he goes in for surgery (or, worst case scenario, he rest & rehabs, that fails, and then he goes in for surgery later, costing him a chunk of next season). Best case scenario, he’s on an offense with one good skill guy for the rest of this year.

I crowd sourced my dilemma to some friends, who recommended holding out for draft picks next year. I like that idea! I can grab higher draft picks from wherever this guy ends up, and all it will cost me is a defense. On the flipside, I can utilize that defense to help me in the Consolation Bracket this year, getting me potentially a top overall draft pick. There’s a good chance that it won’t matter though. Unless the Philly defense goes bananas in the Consolation Bracket, the rest of my team is likely to be so bad it won’t make a difference. At which point, I’ll wish I had gone after the extra draft capital.

After careful deliberation, I made a slight tweak in my counter offer. I traded the Philly defense and my last two draft picks for Matthew Stafford and his FIRST two draft picks. So, at the very least, even if Stafford gives me nothing this year, I’ll have two first and second rounders in next year’s dynasty draft.

What’s funny is, my trade partner doesn’t really NEED the Philly D. He already has the Patriots. So, other than this BYE week, he’ll have two of the three best fantasy defenses, but obviously he can only play one.

Stafford is looking like he’s out this week, with a concussion. That’s a bit of a bummer, but maybe a week off will do his arm some good. In the meantime, I was able to snag the Jets’ defense. They’re currently fifth in fantasy scoring, but they’ve been on a tear the last six weeks, after struggling mightily the first three. I’ll still need to pick up a defense for this week – with the Jets on a BYE – but if they can keep it up going forward, I don’t think it’s a huge step down from Philly.

This week, I go up against Space Forcin’. Here’s my lineup:

  • Justin Fields (QB) vs. Det
  • Davis Mills (QB) @ NYG
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ GB
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) @ TB
  • Kenneth Walker (RB) @ TB
  • Tony Pollard (RB) @ GB
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ Buf
  • Gabe Davis (WR) vs. Min
  • Jake Elliott (K) vs. Was
  • TBD (DEF) vs. TBD

We lost Doubs to injury; he’ll be in my IR slot for a while. We also don’t have to worry about the Patriots, thanks to their BYE. What I do have to worry about is what decisions they make regarding their starting quarterback position. How patient are they going to be with Mac Jones, who is clearly struggling? That leaves me in a 2-week limbo period, since you know news won’t leak from there until it’s too late.

Here’s what I’m going up against:

  • Marcus Mariota (QB) @ Car
  • Patrick Mahomes (QB) vs. Jax
  • Chris Godwin (WR) vs. Sea
  • Davante Adams (WR) vs. Ind
  • Alvin Kamara (RB) @ Pit
  • Dameon Pierce (RB) @ NYG
  • Dalton Schultz (TE) @ GB
  • Antonio Gibson (RB) @ Phi
  • Younghoe Koo (K) @ Car
  • Buffalo (DEF) vs. Min

Lots of studs! Mahomes always throws for 17 touchdowns whenever I go up against him, so look for him to out-score my entire team. Also, that Pierce guy is one of the best young running backs in the game today. In the draft, it came down to him or Walker. I’m happy with my choice, but still.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: Dynasty Drafting

There are obvious plusses and minuses to being in a Dynasty League. On the plus side, if you have players you like, you get to keep them forever. If you’re a good team one year, you’re likely to continue being good. The flipside, of course, also is true: if you have players you hate, you might be stuck with them until the next year, when you can drop and replace. If you’re bad one year, you might continue being bad for the foreseeable future. Just like real life!

One thing’s for certain: a lot of pressure is taken off of the draft! We were done well under a half hour, as we only selected five bench spots. With the vast majority of good players already rostered, there was significantly less research to do.

As I noted last week (see the above link), we kept a full roster of starters, so my team going in looked like this:

  • 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)

I had the third overall draft pick. We do a straight draft – not a snake draft – so I had the third pick in each of the five rounds (except for the fifth round, which I traded for a second 2nd round pick, in a trading away of Justin Tucker last year). It’s not as confusing as I’m making it sound, I promise.

Sadly, I don’t really see a true top-shelf rookie in this class. That doesn’t mean there ISN’T one, but that just means he hasn’t made himself obvious to everyone just yet. There isn’t a Najee Harris or Kyle Pitts in this class, someone who we know is a sure thing right out of the box, sight unseen. That’s unfortunate for someone like me – a bottom feeder, who desperately needs an ace superstar to help bolster my fantasy future – so I was stuck in a pretty shitty spot.

I really wanted Breece Hall. I know he’s no guarantee, but everything I read about him prior to the preseason led me to believe the odds are in his favor on breaking big. He went one pick before me. I’ll just have to hope since he landed on the Jets, they’re going to do everything to Jets it up with him. Travis Etienne was looking to be my second option, but he actually went first overall.

So, I was left between two options I didn’t particularly love: Kenneth Walker III or Dameon Pierce, of the Houston Texans. The upside on Pierce is that he’s the starter from Day 1, and he’s looked pretty good in preseason so far. The downside is that he plays for the Houston Texans; do they even employ offensive linemen? Or are they just stuffed scarecrows spiked on the turf? Who’s to say?! The upside on Walker is that he’s a significant college talent, on a team that loves to run the football, playing behind an injury-prone starter. The downside, however, is that Walker himself is injured, and missed most of the preseason due to a hernia surgery. When will he return? Will he be up to speed? Or, will it be like every other rookie who’s missed significant time in their first preseason, where this is a totally lost year?

I ultimately picked Walker, and I immediately think it was a mistake. Pierce went two spots later in the draft (sandwiching Kenny Pickett, who was a quarterback I was looking at, though not in the first round), and I think he’s going to be a monster.

I hope I made up for it in the second round by taking Tony Pollard. I already have Zeke, but I have failed in the last few years to ever handcuff him. Pollard has been the ultimate handcuff in recent seasons, because not only is he great, but he pretty much splits time on the field and balls out accordingly. One could EASILY make the argument that – right now – Pollard is the better of the two, both in fantasy and in actual NFL games. I’ll be honest, I very nearly considered taking Pollard with my first pick. I have every belief that he’ll take over for Zeke this year, with Zeke being cut before next year. I could very well own the Cowboys’ succession plan at running back! Gotta love it.

With my other second round pick, I was able to nab Gabe Davis, the hotshot #2 receiver for the Bills that everyone is in love with. Wide receiver wasn’t as big of a need for me as, let’s say, QUARTERBACK. But, you gotta have quality depth. And, if Davis pans out like most fantasy experts think he will, I’ve got a real gem on my hands. As it is – SPOILER ALERT – he’ll be starting for me in week 1 against the Rams. So, hopefully we’ll see some immediate dividends.

Then it was time to finally address the quarterback position. I’m now in two leagues where I’m rostering Jameis Winston. What a fucking nightmare.

We’re in a 2-QB league, so clearly there weren’t going to be great options after all the dynasty guys were kept. However, shockingly, Tom Brady was out there. He went 9th overall in the first round (to the team who kept Deshaun Watson, of course). I thought about it, but as I’ve been saying all along, if his O-Line is weak, and his receivers are banged up, Tom Brady is as inept as it gets from a fantasy perspective. I’m not trying to rely on him come playoff time.

Winston was actually the third QB to come off the board. I selected his upside over Matt Ryan’s steady presence (in what’s looking like a run-heavy attack), over Daniel Jones’ incompetence (I still can’t believe he was drafted), over Baker Mayfield’s mediocrity, over Zach Wilson’s atrociousness, and over Jimmy G’s benchwarming. There are a few other guys still out there on waivers, but when you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel like I am, do you really want to devote so many bench spots to the scrubs of all scrubs?

With my last pick, I took Brian Robinson, the running back who got shot in a robbery in D.C. I’ve tried to get him in all my leagues, but succeeded in only 2 of 3. His upside looks fantastic if he can return to full health. Between him and Walker, I’ve got two rookies and I just need one of them to pan out. It’s a great hedge against Javonte Williams too, just in case things go FUBAR there. For now, Robinson goes on my IR, so I get an extra roster spot which I’m planning to use on a defense.

I’ve kind of said all along that I like the bulk of my team, sans quarterback. I don’t LOVE my team. I can say something similar to my Splinter League team – good skill guys, crummy QBs – but at least those skill guys are potential game-breakers. These skill guys are … fine.

Between D.K., CeeDee, Diontae, and Gabe, there has to be three guys I can play every week, barring injury. I’m pretty confident – even with the shaky quarterback play D.K. and Diontae have to endure – that I’ll get good numbers from my wide receiver position.

I’m encouraged by my running backs, now that I have both Dallas runners. But, until Javonte assumes the bellcow role he deserves – or until one of my rookies gets healthy and starts playing significant snaps – I’ll always be a little hampered by my running backs. But, unless you have one of the top 6-8 guys, everyone’s more or less in a time share of sorts.

I’m fine with my TE, I love my kicker, and I think most weeks I’ll be happy with the Rams’ defense. But, here we go again with these fakakta quarterbacks.

Just give me one. Jones or Fields, I don’t care who. ONE of them needs to pan out. Then, I can go into next year hopefully getting the best rookie QB available in what’s looking like a loaded draft. You can bet your ass I’ll be researching those guys HARD.

As things stand, Yahoo has me overwhelmingly finishing in last place, with a 2-12 record. That feels about right. Just gotta start playing quality ball in the consolation bracket.

***

Real quick, let’s look at this week’s matchup. I start the season going up against Space Forcin’, who has been a thorn in my side for a generation now. Here’s my lineup:

  • Mac Jones (QB) @ Mia
  • Jameis Winston (QB) @ Atl
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. TB
  • Gabe Davis (WR) @ LAR
  • Tony Pollard (RB) vs. TB
  • Javonte Williams (RB) @ Sea
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) vs. Phi
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. Den
  • Evan McPherson (K) vs. Pit
  • TBD (DEF)

Pretty easy decisions here. Justin Fields is going up against the stout 49ers defense (it was really a choice between him and Jones, as Jameis has to be a lock against a terrible Falcons team). I opted for those receivers over Diontae since he seems to be dealing with a shoulder injury and is questionable. I opted for Pollard over Zeke because they’re going up against the Bucs, who are terrific against the run (maybe Pollard can bounce some things outside, or otherwise catch some passes). Walker is out, since he’s hurt and might not make it back by Monday. And the Rams are out because the Bills have a tremendous offense and might pop 40 points on ’em. I’ll take my chances with whatever defense I can grab tomorrow when waivers convert to free agents.

Here’s my opponent:

  • Patrick Mahomes (QB) @ Ari
  • Trey Lance (QB) @ Chi
  • Davante Adams (WR) @ LAC
  • Chris Godwin (WR) @ Dal
  • Alvin Kamara (RB) @ Atl
  • Antonio Gibson (RB) vs. Jax
  • Dalton Schultz (TE) vs. TB
  • Adam Thielen (WR) vs. GB
  • Matt Prater (K) vs. KC
  • Miami (DEF) vs. NE

He’s had Mahomes, Adams, and Kamara for as long as I can remember. Lance sure seems like a safe bet for steady points at the QB spot. Godwin has been a steal for everyone who’s drafted him. Gibson is starting now, and that’s all that matters this week. Schultz looks fantastic, and might be a sleeper guy at tight end (since Dallas lost Amari Cooper). And all Thielen does is produce at a high level when healthy. It’s week 1, I’d say he’s as healthy as he’s going to get.

So, I’m going to lose. Regardless of the defense I end up with, I’m going to lose. I also have the 8th waiver wire spot, which seems like a travesty considering how bad I am. But, whatever.