Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: Back In The Saddle Again!

It’s been a minute since I’ve been in the playoffs in this league. Considering it’s a 10-team league and 60% of the teams actually make the playoffs? That’s pretty terrible. Last year I finished in 9th place in the regular season, and dead last in the Consolation Bracket. In 2021, I finished in 10th place in the regular season and second-to-last in the Consolation Bracket. In 2020, I snuck into the playoffs as a 6-seed, lost in the first round, and lost again in the 5th place game. In 2019, I was 8th. 2018 was the last time I cracked the top four, and ended up in 4th place.

The last time I was a legitimate contender for this league? You have to go all the way back to 2010, when I came in second. In 2009, I won it all, but 2010 was the first year of the Trophy Era. I do not have my name on that trophy; it’s a sore spot for me. I’ve won other leagues, but not this one. We’ve morphed from just being a league for fun, to being a league for fun and money, to being a keeper league with a trophy, to being a dynasty league. And ever since we introduced keepers, and slowly increased the number of keepers until now – where we’re keeping a full starting lineup, including 1 flex, a kicker, and a defense – I’ve been in Quarterback Hell. It’s been so bad that I’ve essentially been in rebuilding mode since 2019, desperately trying to figure out my two QB spots.

High first round picks galore have been used on the Next Big Thing. It started with Jameis Winston and Carson Wentz. It evolved into Daniel Jones and Tom Brady’s last year in New England (when it looked like he was cooked), in an ill-fated trade that saw me give away Tyreek Hill. Then, there was my big Tua campaign as a rookie, when he looked like he was going to be a noodle-armed nobody. There was Mac Jones and Justin Fields, just PRAYING that one of them would pan out. That’s been the last two seasons, in fact, while I also took a flier on Jordan Love as a late-2022 pick-up.

I kept Love and Fields heading into 2023, and it honestly looked like more of the same ol’ bullshit. Fields was erratic early, got hurt, and it looked like his team once again was letting him fail. Love seemed to get off to a hot start, but was VERY turnover-prone for a while there. I picked up Cousins in the draft to have some competent depth, but we all know how that ended. And, of course, I made Bryce Young my first pick (over C.J. Stroud), who has been languishing on my bench all season.

But, you know what else I did? Through it all, I made some pretty shrewd moves over the last couple years of dynasty play. I locked down CeeDee Lamb and targeted him as a guy worth keeping as a rookie. I handcuffed Ezekiel Elliott with Tony Pollard and haven’t missed a beat with owning the Dallas backfield all this time. I got T.J. Hockenson off waivers, I’ve had the Jets defense the last two years, I’ve managed to keep a quality kicker (Cincy’s guy the last two years, Cleveland’s guy this year). I drafted Kenneth Walker as a rookie (and handcuffed him midseason with Charbonnet). And this year, I set up my bench pretty effectively outside of the QB spot. I grabbed Kyren Williams as a free agent. I drafted Jordan Addison (who was great when Cousins was healthy), I picked up Tank Dell, Trey McBride, and Rashee Rice (all of which look like stars going forward). Frankly, I have so many players I like, it’s a shame I can’t keep some of these bench guys! At the very least, I can prevent other people from keeping them, and therefore afford myself a chance at drafting them next year.

For the last two years, I’ve felt like my team is as complete as can be, outside of the QB spots. Last year, the situation was so dire, I once again found myself near the bottom of the league, with a real stark situation on my hands heading into 2023. But, Fields is healthy again, and is looking MUCH improved as a passer. And Love has taken a significant step forward (this past Monday notwithstanding), after looking like a guy I might have to cut at some point. Hell, I almost traded him away, but the guy who wanted him (a Packers fan) thought I was asking too much in return (a Packer tax, as it were).

I don’t know if I’m a legitimate playoff contender or not. I mean, I’m in the playoffs – and I just leapfrogged my first round opponent for the 4-seed after beating him pretty handily (153.25 to 125.40) in Week 14 – but can I win it all? I do have the third-most points scored in the league, and that’s with three separate 2-game losing streaks, and a significant mid-season lull where I was averaging under 130 points in five out of six weeks (my overall weekly average for the season is over 150, for frame of reference). And, for the first time in I don’t know how many years, I feel like I’ve at least got a handle on this quarterback situation (barring injury) for at least the next month. If not maybe the next year(s) to come.

I’ve long said I don’t need the best of the best. I don’t need Mahomes and Allen. I just need competent guys who can score in the 20’s, and once in a while get me in the 30’s. Who aren’t a regular threat to get me less than 10. I feel like there’s a pretty solid floor with Fields and his rushing ability (again, when healthy), and I feel like the sky might be the limit with Love, as he’s able to develop with a pretty nice set of young receivers.

It’ll be great having the luxury of going out and drafting just a competent veteran backup (a la Cousins or Stafford) next year, instead of trying to scramble to predict who the next rookie stud is going to be. Considering I’m definitely not drafting in the Top 4, and very well might not draft until the Bottom 4, it’s a good thing I’m able to have this level of confidence. Now, it’s just a matter of going out and winning the games that need to be won.

The playoffs start this week. Once again, I’m playing Sloane N Steady in the 4 vs. 5 matchup. Here is my lineup:

  • Jordan Love (QB) vs. TB
  • Justin Fields (QB) @ Cle
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ Buf
  • Rashee Rice (WR) @ NE
  • Tony Pollard (RB) @ Buf
  • Kyren Williams (RB) vs. Was
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ Cin
  • Kenneth Walker (RB) vs. Phi
  • Dustin Hopkins (K) vs. Chi
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) @ Mia

I don’t have a lot of great options on my bench. Walker is going up against Philly’s defense, which is notoriously stingy against the run. But, Trey McBride is going up against the 49ers (stingy against TEs, and will probably dominate Arizona from start to finish); Addison is dealing with a new starting QB in Nick Mullens; and I can’t be sure if Christian Watson is healthy enough to be worth playing. Walker feels like a safe bet; he looked solid against the 49ers, and seemed to come out of that game without any aggravation to his oblique. Plus, Philly’s defense has looked shaky has hell recently, and this is a Kitchen Sink game for the Seahawks; as much of a must-win as it gets, in their minds, anyway.

I’m VERY intrigued by Addison, especially if Justin Jefferson is out this week, and Nick Mullens is under center. Mullens is at least somewhat competent. What’s giving me pause there is the fact that I don’t know if I want to rely THAT much on Mullens, when I’ve already got his TE in play.

As for Watson, he’s looking like he’ll be a week or two away from full strength, so I dropped him for Ty Chandler, the Vikings’ backup RB. Mattison is looking doubtful to go this week, and my opponent might have a need for an emergency RB in his lineup, so I thought I’d play the waiver game a bit. Besides, I’ve been saying all year that the Vikings have been looking for every excuse to bench Mattison, why couldn’t Chandler be an improvement?

Here is Sloane N Steady’s lineup:

  • Derek Carr (QB) vs. NYG
  • Will Levis (QB) vs. Hou
  • Brandon Aiyuk (WR) @ Ari
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR) vs. Den
  • Isiah Pacheco (RB) @ NE
  • Travis Etienne (RB) vs. Bal
  • Kyle Pitts (TE) @ Car
  • Michael Pittman (WR) vs. Pit
  • Evan McPherson (K) vs. Min
  • Baltimore (DEF) @ Jax

He scored an inordinately low amount of points last week. Pacheco was out early in the week with an injury; Gus Edwards in his place stunk up the joint. Carr returned from injury, but couldn’t put up more than 14 points. Amon-Ra St. Brown had an anomaly of a bad game with 5.10 points. The Ravens’ defense gave up a ton of points to the Rams. And no one individual player scored over 20 points. Can’t win that way!

I expect bounce-backs galore this week. I think Levis can have a monster game against Houston. I think St. Brown will be force-fed at will. I think Aiyuk will have a Deebo-like game. Pacheco will likely be back and making lives miserable. And I could see the Ravens really smashing the Jags.

It’s going to be tough. I don’t LOVE my matchups. But, my guys are going to have to figure out a way to get the job done. Otherwise, it’s going to be a HUGE failure of a season. It all comes down to this week. What I dread the most. All the marbles riding on one single game. Good grief.

The Sea-Yikes-le Seahawks Never Seriously Threatened The 49ers Yet Again

It’s a 28-16 loss. The big “victory” here is that the Seahawks somehow found a way to cover the 13-14 point spread. Of course, that’s really due to the generosity of the 49ers; they could’ve scored on us at the end of the game if they wanted to (and they could’ve easily taken a timeout before halftime to get the ball back near midfield and at least tack on an extra three points).

The big storyline of this game for a lot of people is the fact that Drew Lock got his first start in a Seahawks uniform and kinda looked okay. But, don’t get sucked into that narrative. The REAL story of this game is the Seahawks’ inept defense once again looking like the absolute worst in the entire NFL. 527 yards, the most we’ve given up … since last year against the Raiders. 9.94 yards PER PLAY. They averaged nearly a first down every time they snapped the ball! You can’t get much fucking worse than that!

We’re on, what, year 8 of the Seahawks playing the most impotent brand of defense imaginable? What do you even say anymore? The coaching stinks! We’ve cycled through so many different players and nothing changes. Ergo, it’s the coaching and the scheme. It’s Clint Hurtt being unqualified for the job. And, quite frankly, it’s Pete Carroll being a terrible judge of coaching talent. At a minimum. Or, if this is Pete sticking his nose too far into the defense’s business, then it’s ENTIRELY on Pete Carroll, because he’s supposed to be a defensive-minded coach, and he’s heading up the worst fucking defense of all time, year after year after year. This unit hasn’t been the same since Dan Quinn left, and it’s never going to get better until Pete Carroll and the rest of these coaches get shit-canned.

That won’t happen, of course, so let’s move on.

I will say that Drew Lock wasn’t the total wasteland I was expecting, when I heard he was named the starter. 22/31 for 269 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs. There were some awesome-looking throws in there. The early TD to D.K. Metcalf was as impressive as it gets. The other TD to Colby Parkinson was just a scheme dream. But, by and large, Lock was pressured immensely, had at least the one bad throw that ended in a pick (with the other coming off of someone hitting him as he threw it), and was never a serious threat to win us this game. Against an inferior opponent, we might’ve won with Lock. But, we’ve been doing that with Geno Smith for a year and a half now. Drew is not an improvement over Geno, so the last thing I want to hear about is how one or both of these guys are going to be back next year as this team’s starter.

I don’t have a lot of interest in deeply analyzing this game, or the players in it, but I will say that Jamal Adams – once again – gave up a deep TD, this time to Deebo Samuel. He was caught looking in the backfield, was flat-footed as Deebo ran by him, and was clearly too slow to catch up. Jamal Adams is a waste of fucking space, and I can’t wait until he’s off of this team. Worst Seahawks trade of all time? 100%.

This predictably dropped the Seahawks to 6-7. It’s our first 4-game losing streak of the Pete Carroll era. And it kind of just further punctuates how important it is for change to take place.

There’s four games left. It’ll start with losing to the Eagles on Monday night next week. That HAS to happen. Because there’s a decent chance we figure out a way to win out and end the season 9-8. At which point, people are going to THINK there is something to salvage there. But, I’m here to tell you not to believe the hype. The Titans, Steelers, and Cardinals all have a dearth of talent offensively. They’re pretty much the ONLY teams who could make this Seahawks defense look good.

I’m just hoping that we’ve done enough to eliminate us from contention, at the very least through conference tiebreakers. We’re 5-5 in the NFC with two games to go. The Rams already have the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Packers seem to be in good shape, even if they lose later today. The Falcons & Saints, of course, are useless, but there shouldn’t be more than one NFC South team in the playoffs anyway. And the Bears – at 5-8 – are lurking! They’re 4-5 in the NFC, but they have a very reasonable schedule the rest of the way.

Let Tanking Season begin!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: Finally A Monday Night Miracle!

131.35 to 65.9. That’s what I was losing by heading into Monday night. AND he had Brock Purdy going against what looked to be a fairly mediocre Vikings defense.

Who did I have going? A bunch of players I likely wouldn’t have been playing if I didn’t absolutely have to. Kirk Cousins, for starters. Alexander Mattison for another. T.J. Hockenson is my tight end, so I’m ride or die there. And Jordan Addison, who very well might’ve been sitting this week if CeeDee Lamb wasn’t on BYE. That’s four Vikings players, going up against the 49ers’ defense, a week after losing their first game of the season, so you figure they would’ve been extra pissed off.

How did the game start? How about with a Kirk Cousins interception? If you think I wasn’t expecting that to be the first of many, you’re crazy. By my calculations, going into this game, I needed 4 Cousins TDs, 2 to Addison, 2 to Hockenson, maybe with a rushing TD for Mattison. The game ended with a 22-17 Vikings victory over the 49ers; I decidedly did not get the bonanza I had hoped for.

BUT, I did get two TDs to Addison (7 catches for 123 yards), I got 11 receptions to Hockenson for 86 yards, and 378 passing yards from Cousins (who did not, in fact, turn the ball over again after the first drive).

Even still, I wouldn’t say things were looking super fantastic. Don’t get me wrong, the first half was amazing! But, the Vikings’ offense stalled in a big way in the second half, just as Brock Purdy was starting to get things going. My saving grace, ultimately, was two fourth quarter picks by Purdy – each worth -4 points – to pull my team ahead once and for all: 149.80 to 144.85. If anything went differently on either of those drives, I’d probably be on here lamenting another bad beat.

Ultimately, I think my team is going to go as far as the Vikings can take me. I can win it all if these guys are going to continue being lights out on offense. But, when they shit the bed, I’m going to shit it as well.

Jordan Love was mediocre (and threw another late pick), Christian Watson got hurt and otherwise had a bad game, and the Packers’ defense did next-to-nothing against an inept Broncos team. Suffice it to say, my team will NOT be going as far as the Packers take me.

I did get decent points from Walker and McLaurin, and just enough out of the Jags’ kicker. Now, I get the Jets’ defense and my Cowboys players back for the stretch run. Boy, will I need ’em!

I’m now 3-4 and clinging to sixth place in the standings, but I need to pile on some wins – and some quality scoring weeks – if I want to hang around playoff contention.

This week, I’m going up against Champagne & Sweats, the current last place team at 1-6. He’s the reigning league champion, so obviously I can’t take him lightly. But, this is fantasy football, and I just won a game I very much wasn’t projected to win, so literally anything can happen.

Here’s my lineup:

  • Kirk Cousins (QB) @ GB
  • Jordan Love (QB) vs. Min
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. LAR
  • Jordan Addison (WR) @ GB
  • Kenneth Walker (RB) vs. Cle
  • Tony Pollard (RB) vs. LAR
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ GB
  • Terry McLaurin (WR) vs. Phi
  • Dustin Hopkins (K) @ Sea
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) @ NYG

Mattison returns to my bench this week, for the foreseeable future. Cam Akers is munching into his carries to the point where they’re practically in a 50/50 timeshare; who didn’t see THAT coming? To be fair, the Vikings’ running game in general has been pretty mediocre, so for now he’s just an injury replacement/BYE week fill-in.

Christian Watson got hurt at the tail-end of that Broncos game. He has, decidedly, been a bad keeper through seven weeks. Obviously, he was out injured for most of that time, but also Jordan Love isn’t great, and the Packers in general keep games close enough where they’re rarely in a super-negative game-script. And when they do pass, they tend to spread the ball around. Watson has not proven to be the TD machine he was last year.

Bryce Young is still a Wait & See for me. He’s looked moderately improved over his last two games, and just went through his BYE week; here’s hoping he used that time wisely and heads into the back-half of the season as a viable option for me. Justin Fields looks to be out for another week, so who’s crazy for rostering four quarterbacks all season NOW?

On Wednesday, after players left waivers and reverted back to free agents, I had the opportunity to pick Evan McPherson back up. But, instead, I opted to go with Dustin Hopkins, kicker for Cleveland, who has been absolutely kicking ass this year in general, and especially over the last two weeks – where he has 39 points – in hopes that his good fortunes will continue. The Browns seem to have an offense that’s struggling to score touchdowns, but isn’t so inept that they can’t move the ball at all. Of course, now that he’s on my team, watch them totally fall apart.

I had been in a back-and-forth trade negotiation with Champagne & Sweats for a couple weeks in there. He’s been trying to trade me Geno Smith for Jordan Love. At this point, neither one has been all that enticing. He’s a Packers fan, so he just wants to root for his guy; I’m a Seahawks fan and I don’t trust Geno as far as I can throw him. Unfortunately, I think we’re a poor fit for this, as all the guys I like on his team are too good for Love, and it’s hard to find an evenly-matched deal. Here’s his team:

  • Jalen Hurts (QB) @ Was
  • Geno Smith (QB) vs. Cle
  • Stefon Diggs (WR) vs. TB
  • Christian Kirk (WR) @ Pit
  • D’Andre Swift (RB) @ Was
  • Javonte Williams (RB) vs. KC
  • Evan Engram (TE) @ Pit
  • Gabe Davis (WR) vs. TB
  • Justin Tucker (K) @ Ari
  • Philadelphia (DEF) @ Was

See, I like Hurts and Diggs, but those guys are practically untouchable. I don’t care for Davis – after last year’s debacle, where I drafted him in every league – nor am I high on his running backs or any of his bench guys. Our whole trade dalliance commenced with me trying to get Deebo Samuel from him for Mattison, but as you can see, Deebo just can’t stay on the field. Now, I don’t know if I even want THAT headache. Even when he’s good enough to play, he could get knocked out in the first quarter, and then where will I be?

Other than Hurts, Philly’s D, and Kirk, I don’t really love his matchups. This is a game I probably SHOULD win, but when have I said that before? And how did that actually end up? I’m not super thrilled that I’ve got two quarterbacks going up against one another again; what are the odds the Packers/Vikings game is another slugfest just like the Bears/Vikings game a couple weeks ago? Would’ve been REAL nice to have Fields going up against the Chargers, so I could bench Love.

Have The Seahawks Done Enough To Overtake The 49ers?

That’s the question we’re asking ourselves all offseason. It’s really the only relevant question to the 2023 season from a Seahawks perspective.

The 49ers were 13-4 last year, and very clearly the second-best team in the NFC. They were the #2 seed in the playoffs, they met Philly in the NFC Championship Game (the #1 seed, naturally), and they got pounded into submission.

The 49ers had one of the best and deepest rosters in the NFL, on both sides of the ball. They’re well-coached, and they have a quality offensive system that allows them to plug & play literally any quarterback (including Brock Purdy, a rookie last year who was taken with the literal final pick in the NFL Draft), and they’re STACKED where it counts. They have one of the best running backs (when healthy) in Christian McCaffrey. They have one of the best wide receivers (when healthy) in Deebo Samuel. They have one of the best tight ends (when healthy) in George Kittle. They have one of the best defensive linemen (when healthy) in Nick Bosa. They have one of the best middle linebackers (who’s always healthy) in Fred Warner. Now, the fact that almost all of these guys have had major injuries recently – yet were all healthy in 2022 – tells me the 49ers were exceedingly lucky last year. One has to wonder if that’s going to carry over; perhaps that’s a feather in our cap.

Where the 49ers are most in flux is at quarterback. Jimmy G is gone. Brock Purdy got injured at season’s end and is no sure thing to return by the start of this regular season. Trey Lance got hurt early on and was lost for most of 2022; he’ll be back, but now there are questions about his viability as a starter going forward. And their big hedge in all this is Sam Darnold, I guess?

Here’s the deal: talking about injuries, or pontificating on who the quarterback is going to be, leaves a lot of variables in play. I’m not interested in “What Ifs” when it comes to the 49ers. I think Brock Purdy will come back and play again; I believe he’ll be in the majority of the games this season. I also believe – as noted up top – they can roll with anyone (including Sam Darnold) and be fine on offense. They have enough talent at the skill spots to move the chains, and they have a deep enough defense to not need a lot of points to win games. Now, they didn’t have much of an opportunity to fill things out in the draft – and eventually the chickens will come home to roost for this franchise – but I’m going into 2023 believing the 49ers will be pretty much as good as they were in 2022. Without even looking at their schedule, I’ll pencil them in for 11-13 wins right now.

I want to focus on the Seahawks more than the 49ers, for obvious reasons. I follow the Seahawks more closely. This is a Seattle-centric blog. And the onus is on the Seahawks to have done enough to bridge the gap.

The 2022 Seahawks were also in the playoffs, as a wild card team, with a 9-8 record. For our hard work, we were rewarded by playing the 49ers in the first round. We got obliterated. Indeed, we lost three games to the 49ers last year, and none of them were particularly close. We couldn’t move the ball! That’s the long and the short of it; we couldn’t move the ball until we were already getting killed, and by that point it didn’t matter. None of the games were competitive, and that’s hard to do when both teams are playoff teams, who are in the same division. We know the 49ers! There were no surprises. They just beat our fucking asses, mano a mano.

This post isn’t just about beating the 49ers this year. It’s about overtaking them for the NFC West title. Any team on any given Sunday and all that; we could fuck around and luck into a win. But, I’m more interested in going toe-to-toe with the 49ers over the long haul. So, what have the Seahawks done?

  • We signed Jason Myers to an extension. He’s great every other year, so I’m a little worried about what 2023 has in store. That being said, the 49ers just drafted a kicker, so I’d be more concerned if I were them.
  • We signed Geno Smith to an extension. Obviously, this is much bigger news than a kicker. His contract is pretty well tied up with his performance; if he does even a fraction of a percent better than he did last year, he’ll get PAID. If he fails to live up to what he did last year, he’ll still get paid, but considerably less.
  • We signed Dre’Mont Jones and Jarran Reed to plug the middle of our defensive line. They both feature vast improvements in pass rush ability, with moderate improvements in run stuffing.
  • We filled out our offensive line with trusted veterans (on short-term deals) and exciting rookies (on long-term deals). Gabe Jackson is no more, but Phil Haynes returns (and figures to get first crack at one of the guard spots opposite Damien Lewis). Evan Brown was brought in to compete at center; he replaces Austin Blythe (who was a detriment for us last year) and figures to be much more competent. We also drafted a couple of thrilling prospects in Anthony Bradford (humongous guard taken in the 4th round) and Olu Oluwatimi (a savvy 5th round pick who many project to become our starting center as early as game 1).
  • We signed Devin Bush and Julian Love at inside linebacker and safety, respectively. Bush is a potential reclamation project who – at the very least – should be a slight improvement over Cody Barton. Love is much more interesting, as he figures to be a major hedge against the inevitable Jamal Adams injury. Love essentially cost us Ryan Neal, but it still feels like a solid upgrade at the position.
  • We brought back Bobby Wagner, which was vitally important, considering how mediocre we were at linebacker last year (again, see: Cody Barton), as well as factoring in the Jordyn Brooks injury (who figures to start this year on the PUP list, and might not be back to normal again until 2024). This improves our run defense, our communication on defense, and gives us another brilliant mind on this side of the ball to ensure players are in the right spots and doing what they’re supposed to be doing.
  • Then, we went out and drafted the best cornerback and wide receiver in the class. We also brought in a couple of very promising running backs (to replace Penny and Homer), a few defensive linemen to fill out our depth, and even another safety who is getting all kinds of kudos (Jerrick Reed won’t be a starter – or even much of a defensive participant – in year one, but he figures to cut his teeth on Special Teams, and could eventually develop into a Quandre Diggs replacement down the road). It appears to be the second consecutive elite draft class by the Seahawks – with a major emphasis on Best Player Available – and as we all know, there’s no better way to quickly turn around your franchise than to draft the way we did from 2010-2012.

And that’s the rub, isn’t it? The previous iteration of a championship-level Seahawks squad took three drafts to reach. So far, this one has only had (MAYBE) the two. Granted, finding even ONE elite draft class is a stretch, for any organization. But, if we want to keep up with the Joneses, we gotta be on the ball. I will say – in comparison to the L.O.B. squad – that we are starting from a MUCH better spot compared to what the Seahawks were from 2009 to 2010 (when Pete Carroll and John Schneider took over). So, an optimist might say that we only NEED the two elite draft classes.

What do I like? Let’s start there.

I’m absolutely enamored with the non-quarterback skill guys on offense. D.K., Tyler, and JSN are all incredible; here’s hoping JSN gets healthy and stays there (it’s disconcerting that he’s still dealing with an injury he suffered in college). Kenneth Walker returns (along with DeeJay Dallas, I guess), and gets paired with a couple of rookies who look tremendous. The tight ends are fine Seahawks tight ends.

I like the potential of this offensive line. Our two hotshot tackles had a full (healthy) year to experience everything the NFL had to offer; the hope is they take a big step forward in year two. The interior should be solid, if not improved over the dead weight we jettisoned this offseason. Any amount of extra time we can give Geno Smith is only going to help him when it comes to finding all his weapons.

Speaking of, I don’t hate the Geno signing, but I especially love how incentivized it is. He’s hungry, he proved he’s at least a capable starter in this league, now we’ll see if – with all this talent around him – he can take his game to another level.

And, how do you not like the secondary? Tariq Woolen as a rookie showed he’s capable of being a top cover guy. Coby Bryant as a rookie showed he’s capable of being a quality nickel guy. We still have Quandre Diggs playing at a high level (as another veteran leader to keep guys in line). We still have Jamal Adams (who is dynamic when he’s on the field). We still have promising depth in Tre Brown and Mike Jackson. Then, you add the consensus best cornerback in this draft class, to go opposite Woolen. That makes the whole room CONSIDERABLY better. Then, you add one of the top free agent safety acquisitions in Love. Then, you add another rookie safety to the mix who looks like a valuable depth piece. The secondary is fucking LOADED. It might eventually be better than it ever was, and that’s saying something.

What don’t I like?

I’m going to single out the linebackers here, but specifically I’m talking about the inside linebackers. We were already one of the worst units last year; we might be worse this year. Bobby Wagner gets a lot of credit for what he did with the Rams last year, especially with everything crumbling around him thanks to injuries and the team losing. But, how good was he really? I think a lot of Seahawks fans saw what he did in those two games against Seattle – where he was hyper-motivated to rub it in our faces – but are ignoring the rest. And are ignoring how he’s looked the last few seasons, when he’s been in unquestionable decline compared to his prime. Eventually, it’s going to come crashing down for Bobby; maybe that’s 2023. But, for the sake of argument, let’s pretend we get his exact 2022 production; is that better than what a healthy Jordyn Brooks gave us? I dunno. There’s also a lot of doubt about Bush, and some second thoughts about Cody Barton (especially with Barton getting a multi-year deal with the erstwhile Washington Football Team). If Bobby’s worse than Brooks, and Bush is worse than Barton, YE GODS! That’s a nightmare scenario.

Then, there’s just the blanket Defensive Line, but it’s really broken down into Pass Rush and Run Defense.

I thought the pass rush last year was good, not great. It took a while before the team understood how to properly utilize Darrell Taylor (he’s not an every-down outside linebacker/defensive end; he’s more strictly a guy you want to save for obvious pass rushing situations). Uchenna Nwosu was our best performer all year. Boye Mafe was just okay as a rookie, but I’m not expecting much from him ever. Derick Hall gets the honor of being this year’s Boye Mafe – and he’s getting rave reviews so far in OTAs – but I’m not expecting anything here either. Mario Edwards was just signed as a low-priced veteran defensive end, but he’s never done much in pass rush in his career.

What should we expect from our pass rush? At best, probably what we saw last year. Dre’Mont Jones is a wild card here; if he can consistently blow things up in the middle, that’s going to make everyone’s jobs on the outside a lot easier. But, I wouldn’t hold my breath. At worst, the pass rush takes a step back, and this is still our #1 priority next offseason (just like it was this offseason).

I thought – as does literally everyone – the run defense last year was total and complete shit. We lopped off a lot of dead weight: gone are Al Woods, Poona Ford, Shelby Harris, Quinton Jefferson, and L.J. Collier, among others. And we brought in Jones, Reed, Edwards, and rookies Cameron Young and Mike Morris. We retained Bryan Mone, but he’s injured and it’s not clear when he’s going to be ready to play again. We could’ve had Jalen Carter, so that’ll forever be a major What If. We also could’ve held onto Al Woods for not much more money than what his dead cap figure amounts to, but we’re up against the salary cap and already had to convert some Tyler Lockett money into signing bonus proration, just to sign our rookies.

Could the run defense be worse this year? It was so bad last year, I find that hard to believe, but I guess I have to admit it’s possible. I’m hoping that continuity among the coaching staff will lead to a better understanding of the scheme by the players, as well as a better understanding by the personnel people as to who needs to be on this roster, to fit in with that scheme. Is there a run-plugging diamond in the rough, either among the rookies or the back-of-the-roster holdovers from last year? Poona Ford and Bryan Mone both came from out of nowhere to be major contributors for this team, so anything’s possible.

All told, where does that put us compared to last year?

If we get modest improvements out of the run defense and pass rush, we should see tremendous value from our secondary and enough explosiveness from our offense to be improved over last year. I could see the Seahawks winning anywhere from 9-12 games, as long as we don’t suffer too many major injuries. I’ve got the 49ers at 11-13 wins, so what I’ll say is I think the Seahawks have given themselves a chance. I think we’ve done enough to compete on their level. That doesn’t mean I’m expecting us to blow them out ever; I think we can eke out one victory in the regular season, and be within a game of them by season’s end.

Gun to my head, if I have to make a definitive prediction, I would say the Seahawks finish a game back. Or, maybe tied in record, but losing to them via tiebreakers. Bottom line, I’m still predicting the 49ers win the NFC West; but I do think we’ll have a better wild card spot than we did a year ago, and hopefully that means we won’t have to play them in the first round again.

So, no, I don’t think the Seahawks have done enough to overtake the 49ers in 2023. But, at this rate, 2024 is ON THE TABLE.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: Not Last Place!

It’s a bummer, because I was one tinkering week away from a 5-game winning streak and a pretty legitimate chance at sneaking into the playoffs. Without getting too bogged down in hypotheticals, if I had been riding that 5-game winning streak, all I’d need to do is win this week, have another team lose (as he’s projected to do), and I would’ve achieved the unlikeliest playoff berth in league history.

As it stands, I’m currently 5-8 and have put myself in a position to be guaranteed that I’m not in last place. How is that possible? Well, there are two teams currently sitting at 4-9, and they’re both going head-to-head in this week’s regular season finale. So, win or lose, I’m guaranteed to hand off the last place Toilet Trophy to someone else!

I accomplished this feat by taking down Beasts, who was sitting in second place last week (and has since fallen to third). Beasts has the second-most points scored this season, but he lost to RoundTine 155.95 to 144.60.

It wasn’t looking good heading into Sunday night’s 5pm game, as he had a 27-point lead over me, with Tampa’s defense still set to go Monday night. But, my Cowboys dominated – with both Lamb and Pollard getting 20+ points – and I was just able to hold on.

I also had big weeks from D.K. Metcalf and Christian Watson, with competent weeks from Mike White and Justin Fields (I resisted the urge to start Mac Jones, but it turns out the difference would’ve been negligible). I’m very concerned about Kenneth Walker’s injury – that very nearly cost me – but hopefully he’ll be able to return to health soon enough.

I put in a waiver claim for Brock Purdy – the 49ers starter, now that Jimmy G is out – and thought I had a good shot at him. I had #3 priority, which should’ve been plenty good for a nothing quarterback. I like him because the 49ers’ offense seems to be idiot-proof. He also might be a weird diamond in the rough. But, that was shot to hell when some jagweed with higher priority stole him from me. So, I settled for my backup option: waiver claim for Tyler Huntley. He might only be available to me for this one week, which probably makes it a waste of my waiver priority, but what are you gonna do? You can’t take it with you!

In the regular season finale, I’m going up against Einfach A.F. It has minor implications, as a RoundTine victory would help Korky Butchek sneak into that 6th seed (assuming Korky defeats Beasts), but all I can do is set my lineup and let the chips fall where they may. Here’s who I’ve got:

  • Mac Jones (QB) @ Ari
  • Tyler Huntley (QB) @ Pit
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. Hou
  • Gabe Davis (WR) vs. NYJ
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. Hou
  • Tony Pollard (RB) vs. Hou
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ Det
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. Car
  • Evan McPherson (K) vs. Cle
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) @ Buf

No Justin Fields, Christian Watson, or Brian Robinson this week due to BYEs. I’m assuming Kenneth Walker will be out. So, that really limits my options.

That being said, even if I were at full strength, I would still start both Cowboys running backs in a heartbeat. Against the Texans?! Yes please!

I hate having to start Gabe Davis, especially against the Jets’ elite secondary. I’m hoping to make up for that with a big game from D.K. I’m dubious that CeeDee Lamb will do much, as I feel like the Cowboys are just going to run the ball 50 times. So, here’s hoping Hockenson can have a big game.

I don’t love the Huntley matchup at Pittsburgh, but I just blew a waiver on him, so I better start him. Mike White at the Bills doesn’t do much for me. But, who knows, maybe I’ll get cold feet with Mac Jones yet again and opt to go with White at the last minute.

Here’s what I’m going up against:

  • Jalen Hurts (QB) @ NYG
  • Geno Smith (QB) vs. Car
  • Stefon Diggs (WR) vs. NYJ
  • Deebo Samuel (WR) vs. TB
  • Latavius Murray (RB) vs. KC
  • Jeff Wilson Jr. (RB) @ LAC
  • Pat Freiermuth (TE) vs. Bal
  • Adam Thielen (WR) @ Det
  • Justin Tucker (K) @ Pit
  • Baltimore (DEF) @ Pit

His skill guys aren’t the scariest in the world, but his quarterbacks more than make up for it. Also, every time I have Gabe Davis going up against Stefon Diggs, it’s a fucking bloodbath against me, so that’s a nightmare.

That being said, if I’m being perfectly honest, I think I’d rather go up against Korky Butchek in the Consolation Bracket over Einfach A.F. So, I won’t be too broken up if I lose this weekend.

On the flipside, though, if I can knock Einfach A.F. out of the playoffs, I’ve got his top two draft picks next year, so I’d be guaranteed to have two picks out of the top four in both of the first two rounds, which would be SWEET.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: You Snooze & Lose

I don’t know what to tell you. Jameis Winston has back fractures one week and he plays as normal. Then, all of a sudden, it’s too much? I had him locked into my starting lineup all week and really didn’t give it a second thought. What are the Saints going to do, start Andy Dalton? Yeah! They did! And, to make matters worse, the game was in London, so I was fast asleep by the time it was announced that Winston wouldn’t be out there. Dead to the world! Thanks NFL!

To be fair, it would not have mattered. No quarterback I could’ve picked up would’ve made up for my 185.13 – 117.30 drubbing. I could’ve played ALL available QBs and still lost!

I will say that it was nice to see T.J. Hockenson make good on his promise. I held onto him for so long through the end of last year, I kept him over Mike Gesicki, and wouldn’t you know it? He finally made me look like a smart guy!

Justin Fields continues to look like a fucking steaming pile of dogshit. 11.9. Against the New York Football Giants. What can you even say about how inept he – and that offense – is?

No roster moves this week. I’m licking my wounds, hoping Winston makes it back. Moreover, I’m REALLY hoping Mac Jones has a chance to play, because the Pats are going up against the Lions and their circus show on defense. I’m not holding my breath, though. Here’s who I’ve got, tentatively:

  • Jameis Winston (QB) vs. Sea
  • Justin Fields (QB) @ MIN
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ LAR
  • Romeo Doubs (WR) vs. NYG
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ LAR
  • Tony Pollard (RB) @ LAR
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ NE
  • Gabe Davis (WR) vs. Pit
  • Evan McPherson (K) @ Bal
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) vs. Dal

We lost Javonte Williams for the year. At the time of this writing, I could pick up Melvin Gordon, but I won’t. I don’t trust him (fumbler) and I don’t think the team does either. I think that’ll turn into a wild merry-go-round of whoever is the hot hand at the time. No thanks. I have Williams in my IR slot – presumably for the rest of the year – but he has one of the worst kinds of knee injuries, and I don’t know if I will want to bother with that mess. Maybe I abandon the Denver running game. I dunno, I’ll give it more thought later.

My ideal scenario is that Mac Jones makes a triumphant return, because then I would actually love my quarterback matchups. I’m praying that Jameis can get back to the field, because Seattle is ripe to be shredded. But, even if I have to go with Fields, I can think of a worse fate than him against the Vikings.

Ken Walker is firmly the #2 in Seattle, so I can’t play him yet. Brian Robinson is off the NFI list this week, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be active. There is hope he might be, though, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be starting. There’s a lot I need to actually see from someone who was just shot a bunch of times before I can trust playing him. So, I’m doubling up on the Cowboys running backs, hoping between them we can approach 30 points. Pipe dream, I know.

I’m benching D.K. Metcalf again, and that’s probably a mistake. But, I don’t expect the Seahawks to repeat what they were able to do against the Lions in New Orleans. They have a lockdown corner in Marshon Lattimore, for starters, who can get in Metcalf’s head. I also don’t think the Seahawks’ offense will be nearly as effective on the road against a competent defense, so I’m playing the odds here. I also have Garrett Wilson on my bench because of course the week after everyone said he’s a “Must Add”, he’s done little-to-nothing. Fantasy Experts: They’re Just Like Us (Morons).

RoundTine has Einfach A.F. as its opponent this week. Yeah, I don’t get the name either. He’s the other 0-4 team in our league at the moment, but he has a whopping 152.75 more points than me. He will get his first win of the season this week. Here’s who he’ll do it with:

  • Matthew Stafford (QB) vs. Dal
  • Jalen Hurts (QB) @ AZ
  • Stefon Diggs (WR) vs. Pit
  • Deebo Samuel (WR) @ Car
  • Chase Edmonds (RB) @ NYJ
  • Rashaad Penny (RB) @ NO
  • Zach Ertz (TE) vs. Phi
  • Devin Duvernay (RB) vs. Cin
  • Justin Tucker (K) vs. Cin
  • Green Bay (DEF) vs. NYG

In Guys I Have In Other Leagues News: I’ll be rooting hard for Ertz and the Packers’ defense.

He had a week like I did last week, accidentally leaving in Cordarrelle Patterson even though he was ruled out late. I’m assuming he’ll get Penny in there at some point this week, but you never can tell sometimes.

Hurts is elite. Diggs is having a helluva year (one year after I had him in another league and he did Just Okay). Deebo is an animal. Again, I will lose, and it won’t be particularly close.

The Seahawks Drafted More Non-Quarterbacks On Day Three

The next few years of Seahawks football are going to be greatly dictated by how well these players pan out. Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, the Seahawks are in Rebuilding Mode. Now, this isn’t your grandfather’s Rebuilding Mode; it shouldn’t have to take a decade to get back to the promised land if you do things right. But, by foresaking the quarterback position in this draft – leaving us with Geno Smith, Drew Lock, and We’ll See – my expert analysis is that the Seahawks are planning on finding their quarterback of the future in the 2023 NFL Draft.

As they should.

So, what does that mean for 2022? Well, that means building up the roster around the quarterback position. Constructing this warm and fuzzy protective cocoon, where a rookie QB in 2023 can step right in and at least give us competence. How many careers have been derailed because a rookie quarterback’s confidence was destroyed by a terrible offensive line, or a lack of weapons to get the football to? Sometimes, if your team is truly terrible, you have no choice but to take that quarterback (usually #1 overall) and hope for the best. But, I’d rather do what I suspect the Seahawks are doing now, and hold off for a year until a better opportunity presents itself.

In the process of building up the roster around the quarterback position, that means returning to the mantra of Always Compete. Letting anyone and everyone participate in fighting for starting jobs. Coaching them up, throwing them out there in live NFL games, and seeing who rises to the top and who needs to be cut. The Seahawks have drafted a class for this express purpose. The more starters we find, the better the team will be going forward. The more blue chip superstars we find, the likelier it’ll be that we can return to a championship level.

I’m pretty confident we’ve got our Day 1 starting left tackle in Cross. I’m guessing he’ll be fine. I’m also pretty confident – with Abe Lucas at least as competition for the spot – we’ve locked down our right tackle position, either with him or Jake Curhan. I’m guessing they’ll also be fine. Walker will likely back up Rashaad Penny at first, but I think at some point he’ll take over and at least be a quality rotational running back, if not an outright stud. And, I think the floor for Boye Mafe is Alton Robinson. I hope he’s significantly BETTER than Alton Robinson, but he’ll at least be NFL-ready to step in there and contribute in some capacity.

There’s a floor there with all of the picks from the first two days of the draft where they’re at least contributing to the team. There’s also, of course, a ceiling that could be off the charts, depending on how they fit within our system and how the coaching staff gets them to improve.

But, it’s the Day 3 picks where we could see some dividends. How did we build up that last Seahawks championship squad? Lots of success in the 4th-7th rounds. I’ll go in order, for those who forgot: Walter Thurmond, Kam Chancellor, Anthony McCoy, K.J. Wright, Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell, Malcolm Smith, Robert Turbin, Jeremy Lane, J.R. Sweezy, Luke Willson. To say nothing of the undrafted guys we selected from 2010-2013 who contributed greatly to what we were doing.

It’s handy that the Seahawks took cornerbacks back-to-back in this draft, because I’d like to talk about them together. Bryant won the Jim Thorpe Award in 2021 for the best defensive back in football. He played at Cincinnati opposite Sauce Gardner, which means that teams probably avoided Gardner’s side like the plague, and therefore Bryant had ample opportunities to defend the pass. Why he fell to the fourth round, then, is a mystery.

Bryant is certainly the more polished cornerback between him and Woolen. He seems to be a higher floor/lower ceiling type of player. It wouldn’t shock me to see him contribute right away, but I fully expect him to see considerable snaps as the season progresses. Woolen, on the other hand, looks like a fascinating prospect whose floor could be as a training camp cut, but whose ceiling could be as an All Pro.

6’4, 4.26 40-yard dash, 42-inch vertical. This guys looks like an athletic freak. He’s also, notably, a former wide receiver who converted to corner just a few years ago. His skills are raw and there are liabilities in his game as it currently stands that may prevent him from ever making a dent in the league. That being said, if he works at it, and the team is able to unlock his potential – with the athleticism he already possesses – he could be an absolute monster. There’s a lot to clean up, though, so I wouldn’t bank on it.

If the Seahawks just drafted bookend starters at cornerback to go with bookend starters at offensive tackle, I’d say we’re in good shape for the next half-decade or so. If the Seahawks just found one eventual starting cornerback in this class, I’d say they did their job well. If neither of these guys pan out, then I think we have a serious problem. Because, either we brought in the next Tre Flowers – who we’re forced to start because we have no better alternatives – or we have to go back to the drawing board next year (with Sidney Jones on a 1-year deal, and with Tre Brown still a big question mark).

Just as I’m not holding my breath for Boye Mafe in the second round, I’m not convinced Tyreke Smith will be much of anything either. I know elite pass rushers exist from outside the Top 5 of the NFL Draft, but it seems like those guys are total unicorns. Even with someone like Darrell Taylor – who I’m very happy with – he had to miss a year due to injury, and even then wasn’t, like, a Pro Bowler or anything in 2021. He was fine. He showed potential to be even better, but we’ll see if that comes to fruition.

I would project both Mafe and Smith as third down pass rushing specialists, especially as rookies. I wouldn’t expect either to be very good against the run, though Mafe at least has a better track record in that regard. Smith seems like a blind dart throw. Alton Robinson is probably his ceiling, but his floor is probably a special teamer who rarely – if ever – sees a snap on defense.

I don’t know what to say about Bo Melton or Dareke Young, the 7th round receivers we brought in. Melton seems to have a slot receiver build, but I don’t even know if that’s his forte or not. Young is a much taller receiver from a small school who probably projects more as special teams help. Of the two, Melton probably has the better chance of seeing offensive snaps, but let’s not kid ourselves here. We have quite the depth chart going so far, with Lockett, Metcalf, Swain, and Eskridge/Hart all having experience.

If anything, I wonder what this says about Eskridge’s status. He didn’t show a lot as a rookie last year, though a concussion saw to it that he wasn’t able to play a ton. Nevertheless, when he was in there, he didn’t make much of an impact. I don’t know if Melton plays a similar style or not (word is Young actually has played all around the offense in college, even taking handoffs on the regular, like a taller version of Deebo Samuel), but it’ll be interesting to see the pressure on Eskridge and how he responds.

That being said, probably don’t count on these rookie receivers to do much of anything AS rookies. Just take it as a win if they even make the team.

The 2022 draft class by the Seahawks will be defined by the top six guys we selected. The better those players are, the better our chances will be to turn this thing around in a hurry. If they struggle, though, it could be a long, dark period in our immediate future.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Monday Night Disappointment

I’ve long bemoaned my Monday night plight when it comes to fantasy football. I’ve lost countless games I was otherwise leading heading into Monday, while almost never flipping the script on someone else. If I have, I don’t remember it, and I feel like I’d remember the glory of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

Look, I’ll be the first to admit I probably didn’t deserve to win this one. But, I don’t necessarily think my opponent did either. Car Talk With Josh Allen beat Snoopy & Prickly Pete 146.40 to 141.16.

It was simple: I was up 139.16 to 125.20. I had the Rams’ defense (usually a pretty reliable one that’s good for 10-15 points or so) and he had Jimmy G, going up against that Rams defense. Jimmy G, as we all know, is usually good for a turnover or two, so I felt reasonably confident that I could pull this one out.

Instead, the Rams decided to let Deebo Samuel take over – apparently Jalen Ramsey had more pressing matters to attend to than lock down the 49ers’ best offensive weapon – and he absolutely fucking DOMINATED! Good lord. What were the Rams thinking?

Anyway, I also lost because of my own stupidity. Ben Roethlisberger was diagnosed with COVID and out for Sunday’s game. As a result, I got cold feet on Diontae Johnson and benched him for A.J. Brown. Johnson got 13.3 points – which is nothing special – but Brown, predictably, was shut down by the Saints’ defense, scoring only 3.3 points. I knew it was going to happen, but I followed Yahoo’s stupid advice anyway, and there we have it. Having rostered Brown for long enough, I have a pretty good feel for when he’s going to lay an egg. He can’t seem to get it up for elite cornerbacks. It happens to the best of us.

We prattle on. Here’s my lineup for this week:

  • Mac Jones (QB) @ ATL
  • Justin Fields (QB) vs. BAL
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ KC
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. ARI
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ KC
  • Rhamondre Stevenson (RB) @ ATL
  • Mike Gesicki (TE) @ NYJ
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) @ LAC
  • Zane Gonzalez (K) @ SEA
  • Cleveland (DEF) vs. DET

I picked up Stevenson, dropping Mark Ingram. Again, let’s keep the focus on guys who might be relevant next year and beyond. A Dynasty League owner’s roster tweaking is never done.

That’s a clear example of burying the lede, because Trader Steven was on the prowl this week! First and foremost, our trade deadline is November 20th (this upcoming Saturday). Second, as has been discussed ad nauseam throughout most of the year, I have four really good wide receivers who I like a lot; we are only allowed to keep up to three of them (two in the WR spot, one for a FLEX if that’s your preference). It was a nice luxury to have through most of the BYE weeks, because between BYEs and injuries, I always had at least three guys I could play. But, having all four on my roster to the end of the season did me no good in the grand scheme of things.

While I had four receivers I liked, I only had one running back (at most) that I liked. Ezekiel Elliott has been fine this year, but his clock is ticking. Nevertheless, the dropoff from Zeke is a steep one. Bottom line is: I was going to have to keep a running back I hated, unless I made a trade. So, with Korky Butchek, I traded away A.J. Brown, receiving in return tight end Mike Gesicki and rookie running back Javonte Williams (to make the numbers match, I dropped the other tight end I picked up recently, Pat Freiermuth).

I originally offered him Diontae Johnson straight up for Williams, but he rejected that one and countered with the above deal that I accepted. For me, the ranking of my receivers went like this:

  1. CeeDee Lamb
  2. D.K. Metcalf
  3. A.J. Brown
  4. Diontae Johnson

Lamb was as close to untouchable as it gets, and Metcalf is pretty close to untouchable as well. Brown, on the other hand, is frustratingly boom or bust, and always finds himself on the injury report in spite of his young age. He tends to get better as the season goes along, though, so I would expect great things out of him in the month of December. Plus, with Henry out, and Julio Jones largely a non-factor, Brown figures to be far and away the #1 offensive option on the Titans. This could very well be the move that spares Korky Butchek of a last place finish!

On the flipside, Javonte Williams is seen by many experts to be a “league winner”. One of those guys good teams stash on their bench, who explode for huge fantasy numbers in the final month of the season (a la Cam Akers last year). He plays on the Broncos, who are pretty devoted to the run; but they’ve – to date – also been devoted to a running back by committee approach. Here’s to hoping that changes as we head into next year.

I’m not totally sold on Gesicki’s prospects as a dynasty tight end, mostly because Miami’s quarterback situation is muddy at best. Nevertheless, you can’t deny his talent, when he’s managed to stay healthy. I’m not getting my hopes up too high, but he’s a far cry better than Noah Fant at this point.

Then, late last night, I discovered a trade was offered to me. My opponent this week wants to swap kickers – I get Gonzalez, he gets Justin Tucker – and for my trouble, he’s giving me his 2nd round draft pick next year, in exchange for my 5th rounder (in our dynasty draft, the first 10 rounds are devoted to keepers; so technically it’s a swap of his 12th rounder for my 15th rounder).

I think this is a helluva deal for me! I get better draft positioning for next year, in exchange for Justin Tucker. I can stumble into the next Justin Tucker, no problem. Besides, thus far this year, Zane Gonzalez has more points than Tucker, and is hitting at one of the highest rates of anyone in the NFL. We’ll see if that carries over into next year and beyond, but the last thing I’m going to sweat is the kicker spot, especially when I have a chance to improve through the draft next year.

We’ll see how it goes. My season is already fucked – I’ve been playing for next year since day one – so I might as well take some big swings and hope for a huge turnaround. And, you never know, if my QB situation picks up, and Williams emerges as the stud a lot of people think he’ll be, I could be well on my way to making some noise in the Consolation Bracket!

This week, I’m going up against the annoyingly-named Hahmez Wah 360 Allstars, who has been Joey IR Police on the message boards. God forbid anyone leave a player on the IR spot for an extra week to try to get through the BYE weeks with all your players! IT’S THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY, AND HAHMEZ WAH 360 ALLSTARS IS GOING TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF IT! Here are the guys who will defeat my guys:

  • Jalen Hurts (QB) vs. NO
  • Tyrod Taylor (QB) @ TEN
  • Deebo Samuel (WR) @ JAX
  • Stefon Diggs (WR) vs. IND
  • D’Andre Swift (RB) @ CLE
  • D’Onta Foreman (RB) vs. HOU
  • Zach Ertz (TE) @ SEA
  • Marquise Brown (WR) @ CHI
  • Justin Tucker (K) @ CHI
  • Buffalo (DEF) vs. IND

I’ve got three of his guys (Hurts, Diggs, and Brown) in another league, so it’s like looking in a mirror this week. There’s no analysis needed here, his team is better than mine from top to bottom. I’ll take my loss like a man and move on.

Unfortunately, bungling the game last week drops me to 2-8. I’m still in last place by a full game, and also 50+ points behind Korky Butchek in the tie-breaker of total points. That’s huge, because I recently learned the Toilet Trophy goes to the regular season last place team, and not – as I’d originally hoped – the Consolation Bracket loser.

So, here’s the deal: I play Korky over Thanksgiving weekend. If trends continue, that game might very well decide the Toilet Trophy winner. I’m calling it the Toilet Bowl. I just hope he doesn’t win this upcoming week to ruin my narrative ahead of our Sludge Match!

Splinter League Round-Up!

BUCK FUTTER bounced back with a victory that was more difficult than it needed to be, over 50 Shades Of Gritty. That improves me to 6-4 and in third place (the best of all the 6-4 teams). So far, it looks like a 5-team race for four spots. The top two teams are 9-1 and 8-2; they’re going to be hard to catch up to. Though, one of them (Beer Thirty, the 8-2 team) is going up against me this week. Ideally, I need one of the other 6-4 teams to start losing, but it’s getting scary out there for ol’ BUCK FUTTER. Someone give me a break!

The Seahawks Get Their Thursday Night Game Out Of The Way Relatively Early This Season

You kind of have to throw out analysis and expectations when it comes to Thursday Night games, especially for the Seahawks. I was legitimately shocked to hear that we’re 9-1 on Thursday Night in the Russell Wilson era. You know what’s even crazier? That one loss was in 2012 – his rookie season – meaning we’re on a 9-game winning streak! And these aren’t just creampuff games; it’s almost always against a divisional opponent (who always play us tough, home or away) and oftentimes against a very good version of those divisional opponents.

Two years ago, we had that unlikely victory against the Rams that we won because their kicker BARELY missed a game-winning field goal. Last year, we were coming off of two straight horrible road losses – to the Bills and Rams – and managed to right the ship against a frisky Cardinals team (that only faltered down the stretch last season when their quarterback got injured).

It feels very Seahawky to be this mediocre version of ourselves, start the season 1-2, and yet win back-to-back divisional games against superior opponents to turn things around. I’m really trying to see how that’s possible this time, but I’m struggling.

The Rams are fucking GOOD this year. I don’t know what happened to them against the Cardinals last week, but I have an idea. I think the Cards’ front seven is just good enough to generate lots of pressure (even if they don’t always get home on sacks), and I think they have a lockdown secondary that was able to neutralize Cooper Kupp (5 receptions for 64 yards, on 13 targets, and 0 touchdowns) and force other guys to try to beat them. When Van Jefferson is the Rams’ leading receiver, the Rams aren’t going to win many ballgames.

The Seahawks don’t have that secondary. Even though they played better against the 49ers, you saw the game Deebo Samuel had (8 for 156 and 2 TDs)! There’s no way we’re going to be able to hold that offense to a .500 3rd/4th down conversion rate like the Cardinals did.

Which means, ideally, we’d have to score in the mid-to-high 30’s to keep up. Doing that against the Rams’ defense? That chronically makes Russell Wilson’s life miserable? That has always shut down D.K. Metcalf and got all up in his head while doing so? I can’t see it.

But, I’ve said similar things in the lead-up to a lot of these Thursday Night games recently, and look at our record.

As I always say, I hate Thursday Night Football. How many players have we lost for the year on Thursday Night because they were playing through a nagging injury and it finally snapped? Now I hear that both Metcalf and Lockett are playing hurt, and my ears perk up. Just seems like a no-brainer that one of them goes down with something severe, because they haven’t had enough time to recover since the last hard-fought game.

Not for nothing, but I would LOVE Thursday Night Football if every team had two bye weeks, and one of those bye weeks landed the week prior to TNF. That way you get a week and a half off, play a game, and have a naturally built-in week and a half off until the next one. I don’t know why it’s so hard to make this work. Just extend the season by another week – which gets you an extra week of television rights – and your teams are hopefully all the healthier as a result (which is a better product to showcase to those networks).

But, I digress. It wouldn’t TOTALLY floor me if the Seahawks won tonight, but my expectations are mighty low. The Rams just feel like a better team from top to bottom, plus they kind of have our number. The only thing going for us is that it’s at home, but that’s only a 2.5-hour flight from L.A. so how hard could that be? The 12’s didn’t prevent Tennessee from coming in here and whupping our behinds.

My guess is that the Rams will be up by a couple scores late, the Seahawks will drive for a garbage-time touchdown, and then screw up the onside kick because they let Dickson do that useless drop-kick thing that never works. 32-24 Rams.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Snoopy & Prickly Pete

Also, check out the Fantasy Football tag for all my past ramblings on the subject.

Last year ended as horribly as can be in my Main League. I made the 6-team playoffs, but then promptly lost in the first round. That means I missed out on the 4-team consolation bracket – which plays for the top 4 draft picks the following season – and was saddled in the 5/6 game, playing for the 5th/6th draft pick. Of course, I lost that game as well, and here I was, heading into this season drafting 6th out of 10 teams, in a standard (non-snake) draft.

Last year, we were up to 4 keepers, having steadily increased that number over the last few years, with the ultimate goal of turning the league into a Dynasty League. Finally, there was enough discontent that the talk at this year’s rules meeting centered on, “We either need to go full dynasty, or blow it all up and eliminate keepers altogether.”

I don’t mind telling you I was lobbying hard to go with the dynasty league. I’ve been spending the last few years suffering mediocre finishes all in the name of trying to find the best keepers possible to carry over (with the primary goal of finding one or two quality quarterbacks to finally cement that position once and for all). I didn’t want all of that work to go to waste. Thankfully, by the thinnest of margins, we were able to vote in the dynasty.

Our set up is like this: we have to keep all of our starting positions. 2 QBs, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 FLEX, 1 K, 1 DEF. Easy peasy. We’ll get to wait until about a week before our fantasy draft next year before declaring who those keepers will be. Then, at the draft, we’ll select our 5 bench spots out of whoever’s left over, plus any incoming rookies.

This all starts NEXT year, meaning that we’re still only carrying over 4 keepers from last season. But, with our draft – that took place last Thursday – it’s officially on. If you’re not going all-in on the dynasty aspect with regards to who you’re drafting, then that means you like your team an awful lot and are pushing to win the championship within the next 1-2 years.

I didn’t love my keepers heading into our draft, because – SPOILER ALERT – I had no quarterbacks among the four. My keepers were:

  1. A.J. Brown (WR)
  2. CeeDee Lamb (WR)
  3. Ezekiel Elliott (RB)
  4. Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB)

That’s the ranking of how much I liked them, 1 through 4. I was waffling back and forth on CEH until the bitter end, before I read enough pundits who think he’s due to have a bounce-back year in his second season in the league. I can buy it. He doesn’t appear to have a lot of competition at the spot in Kansas City; even though they throw the ball WAY MORE than they run it, he could sneak in for some more touchdowns and still catch a lot of balls.

I had zero interest in keeping Josh Jacobs. He was supposed to be my horse last year, but he underwhelmed, and then the Raiders brought in Kenyan Drake (the bane of every fantasy owner’s existence wherever he plays, because he’s always stealing carries from someone more promising). I had a lot of fringey receivers I was mulling over (Jerry Jeudy, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, D.J. Chark, and Rashard Higgins), but all of those guys are players that could easily be had in any fantasy draft.

As for my two quarterbacks, I had Kirk Cousins (who’s a non-starter for me, since he’s not vaccinated – which means there’s a high likelihood he misses games this year – and he’s just overall mediocre), and Tua Tagovailoa. I made a HUGE to-do about picking him up on waivers last year, thinking his Alabama pedigree might translate to NFL success. But, he just looked too shitty as a rookie last year. More often than not, you can see which rookie quarterbacks are going to be studs, and which ones are going to be Marcus Mariota. Tua looks like he’s going to be a left-handed Mariota.

In the end, my final keeper came down to CEH and Tee Higgins. I was THIS close to keeping Higgins, because I freaking love that dude, and I think in that Bengals offense he’s going to be steadily productive for the next decade. But, the Bengals also went out and drafted another elite receiver really high in this year’s draft, plus they still have Tyler Boyd, who’s solid. There ended up being too many cooks in that kitchen, and I was scared off. I still think Higgins will be the best of those three this year, but going forward, it’s iffy.

Plus, let’s face it, there are tons of solid wide receivers all throughout the league. Keeping three of them seemed like overkill. I would’ve been effectively handing over my FLEX spot to Higgins, and if for whatever reason he struggles, then I’ve wasted one of my keeper spots for a fringe fantasy starter.

***

I had a couple plans heading into the draft with my 6th overall pick. Trevor Lawrence would obviously be off the table (he, indeed, went #1 overall). I assumed Najee Harris would also be off the table (he ended up being taken with the third pick, for reasons I’ll get into in a moment). I ranked my top six players, and my third choice would’ve been Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts (who very well might’ve fallen to me, as he was ultimately taken 7th), followed by Matthew Stafford (who did fall to me, though I ended up trading him – SPOILER ALERT AGAIN), and then the Washington and Indy running backs as 5th and 6th (they ended up going 5th and 4th respectively).

I would’ve been elated to have Matthew Stafford, because I think he’s going to have an awesome year with the Rams. Plus, he’s only 33 years old, which means he could have another 7-10 years ahead of him if things break right!

My general plan was to load up on quarterbacks – taking lots of flyers on rookies, after Stafford – and running backs (to try to load up on depth in case of injuries and BYEs). This was always going to be a quasi-throwaway year for me, in hopes that I’d find the two quarterbacks I’d be rolling with for the next 5-10 years.

That was thrown out the window when Hahmez Wah 360 Allstars (don’t ask) texted the entire league saying his keepers were available for trade (in exchange for players and/or draft picks).

He actually had four pretty good keepers (Derrick Henry, D.K. Metcalf, George Kittle, and Stefon Diggs), but for whatever reason, he was looking to shake things up.

I didn’t want Henry because he’s being run into the ground and probably has 1-2 more years MAX before he begins his slide. I didn’t want Kittle because he could be an injury risk with the way he plays the game and how hard he is on his body. D.K. Metcalf is obviously a huge draw for me, as a Seahawks fan, and I think he’s someone who could be the #1 scoring wide receiver as early as THIS year. Plus he’s young and should be good for another decade. Sign me up!

I made Hahmez Wah 360 Allstars a lowball offer (I think a second rounder, or a fourth rounder plus A.J. Brown); he countered saying he needed my first rounder. I took a bit to think about it, before ultimately concluding that D.K. Metcalf with the 6th pick would be guaranteed to be better than anyone who might fall to me (there would’ve been the potential for higher upside with someone like Pitts, but there’s always a risk with any rookie).

I’m lucky I accepted the offer when I did, because by the next day someone had offered him the #2 overall pick for D.K. I told that guy (with the #2 pick) if Trevor Lawrence somehow – by the grace of God – fell out of the top spot, I’d trade him D.K. for Lawrence (which he agreed to, since he already has Russell Wilson and Justin Herbert as his keepers), but of course that was never going to happen.

Hahmez Wah, in the end, turned his aforementioned keepers into Jalen Hurts (#2 overall) & Chris Carson (he traded his #9 overall for the #2 overall, while also giving away Derrick Henry in the deal), Matthew Stafford (in the Metcalf deal), Tyler Lockett (in the Kittle deal, where he got the first pick in the second round), while still hanging onto Stefon Diggs. I wouldn’t love that for my team – if I were him, I would’ve stuck the keepers I had – but I understand the impulse in making a radical change. Also, it IS a game, after all; it’s supposed to be fun, right? What’s more fun than a crazy slew of trades?

***

So, heading into the second round, I had three receivers and two running backs. It was time to start looking into the quarterback position.

No other QB was taken after the three I already mentioned. Next up on my private dynasty rankings was Justin Fields, so I grabbed him with my second pick. No, he’s not starting right away, but the stories I’ve read about him were phenomenal, and I think he has real breakout potential. Trey Lance was going to be my next choice, but he was taken from me two picks before my spot in the third round, so I settled on Mac Jones. Also hearing great stories about him! Less of a running threat, but in a better team situation than Fields, so I like that.

Then, for good measure – because I needed someone to start right away in week one – I nabbed Jameis Winston. He’s been on and off my fantasy team for years, but he had last year off (for the most part) and has been learning the Saints’ system. If he’s even remotely more careful with the ball, he’s a guy who’s capable of throwing for 5,000 yards and 30+ touchdowns. We also forget: he’s also only 27 years old; so if he does change his entire career around, that could be a steal for me.

As chance would have it, Cousins was around for my fifth pick, but I zagged and went with the Rams’ defense. I feel like they have the potential to be solid for the duration of Aaron Donald’s career, so why not? Then, with my sixth pick, Noah Fant was still available. I had him as a rookie and it sounds like the offense is going to be vastly improved in Denver, so I like the idea of having him for the foreseeable future. Also, the drop-off after Fant was pretty considerable (the next guys taken were Goedert and Tonyan; I’m good with my choice).

Then, I finally had to break down and get a third running back. Obviously, my plan to load up on the position was a failure. It was down to Chase Edmonds or Raheem Mostert in the 7th round. Edmonds went one pick earlier, so Mostert it is! I like Mostert; when he’s healthy, he’s dominant (in many ways, he’s like Chris Carson). He just can’t stay healthy. But, if I can squeeze a few weeks out of him, I’ll look to hopefully address the running back position next year.

In the 8th round, I nabbed Justin Tucker. He’s only 31 years old and he’s the best kicker in football. He could be around for another 10-15 years if he takes care of himself. After that, I went back to the quarterback well, grabbing Jimmy G. Obviously, the 49ers drafted their quarterback of the future. But, if you look at the 49ers’ schedule, it’s pretty damn easy the first few weeks of the season. I’ll mix and match with him and Mac Jones for a while until Jimmy G ultimately gets benched, and hope he has enough pride to force the 49ers’ hand in benching a guy playing well. At the very least, he has a soft landing against the Lions in week one, where I expect him to be a Top 10 fantasy quarterback (for just that one week, anyway). Yes, I know there’s potential for Lance to snipe some snaps from him, but I don’t care. As long as he’s not getting entire chunks of plays in the red zone, I’ll be happy.

With my next-to-last pick, I took a chance on Buffalo’s Zack Moss. He was a rookie last year and the team obviously liked him enough to draft him in the third round. Maybe this is the year he assumes the starter job! Of course, even then, it’s not like Buffalo runs the ball all that much. I’m hoping they get such huge leads early in games, that they’ll be running the ball exclusively in the fourth quarter.

Finally, for my super sleeper, I picked Jordan Love, backup quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. I’m going to do my damnedest to hang onto him all year. The way I see it, if none of my rookie QBs pan out this year, and are not keeper-worthy in my eyes, I’ll just keep Love and roll the dice. They obviously drafted him to be Aaron Rodgers’ replacement sooner or later. If I have no one better, why not keep him and see if he’s elite?

***

There’s obviously a lot wrong with my team at this point in my dynasty. The quarterback situation is a mess and my running back depth is nil. But, I have just the three receivers: D.K., Brown, and Lamb, and I think all three of those guys are Top 10 calibre players at the position. I’m set! In non-BYE weeks (and, in non-injury situations), I have my two WR spots and my FLEX spot all locked down. Not having any receivers on my bench affords me the luxury of carrying extra RBs and QBs. If I’m ever able to lock down the quarterback spot to my satisfaction, that leaves me more room on my bench for even more RBs, as well as potential backups to tight end or defense (which always comes in handy).

I think I’m done making RBs a priority. Unless some super-stud rookie falls to me in the first round of the draft next year, I’m just going to do my best to either stream running backs or carry enough in those second-to-fourth tiers to play matchups and hope I get around 10 points from each. If my QBs and receivers can carry me, I think that’s a championship formula. Running backs are just too damn fickle and too injury prone; it’s impossible to rely on them to be 20+ point workhorses anymore. I’d rather go for elite receivers, hope they blow up a few times a year, and just get steady-if-unspectacular production from my RBs. Plus, if I’m able to find someone on the free agent scrap heap that comes from nowhere to crush it, all the better.

***

Now, it’s time to talk about this week. My team is Snoopy & Prickly Pete (Seinfeld reference, for the second straight year!). I’m going up against the reigning league champion, Car Talk With Josh Allen (guess who one of his quarterbacks is). He’s projected to finish third in our league (one game ahead of me), and – not for nothing – he’s projected to beat me in week 1.

Here’s my week 1 lineup, barring any unexpected last-minute COVID issues:

  • Jameis Winston (QB) vs. GB
  • Jimmy Garoppolo (QB) @ DET
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ TB
  • A.J. Brown (WR) vs. AZ
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ TB
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB) vs. CLE
  • Noah Fant (TE) @ NYG
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) @ IND
  • Justin Tucker (K) @ LV
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) vs. CHI

As I said, I love Jimmy G against a nothing Detroit defense; Mac Jones is my only other option and I’d rather not start a rookie in his first game, against a defense as good as Miami’s. As I also said, all my receivers are locked in, which means the only other choice was my #2 running back (though, I don’t love Zeke against that Bucs defense, with their All Pro guard out for this game). I briefly considered Mostert against Detroit, but I’d really like to see what the 49ers’ offense looks like, with their two quarterbacks, plus their new rookie running back angling to steal snaps. I’m rolling with all my keepers, at least for now!

Car Talk looks like he’s got the following:

  • Josh Allen (QB) vs. PIT
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB) vs. LAC
  • Allen Robinson (WR) @ LAR
  • Julio Jones (WR) vs. AZ
  • Aaron Jones (RB) @ NO
  • Joe Mixon (RB) vs. MIN
  • Travis Kelce (TE) vs. CLE
  • Robert Woods (WR) vs. CHI
  • Tyler Bass (K) vs. PIT
  • Baltimore (DEF) @ LV

Our teams are pretty much even (he’s a little better at QB, I’m a little better at WR) except for the difference in our projected points from the tight end position. Kelce is the best in football; mine is just okay. That’s always a huge advantage and I hope I’m able to one day have something similar on my team. In the meantime, I’ll just have to hope the Chiefs run the ball more and throw their TDs to their wide receivers. That’s a tall ask.

I’m guessing I’ll lose this game. I’ll be down in the dumps on Sunday, but a dynasty league isn’t about just one week, or even one season. This is a transitional year, and I hope to be better at the end than I am at the beginning.

In the meantime, PATIENCE! I need to practice extreme patience, and accept losing for what it is: a temporary means to an end, that will one day result in my name on that championship trophy. Maybe not this year, but one year soon. Let’s fucking go.