Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: The Dark At The End Of The Tunnel

It was another demoralizing defeat, it’s fine. This time, it wasn’t quite the bloodbath; I only just BARELY scored the fewest points in the league (the team I lost to the previous week – the team who scored the most that week – just edged me out by .05 points this past week). Car Talk With Josh Allen defeated RoundTine 142.95 to 117.25.

I got 2 points from Justin Fields. He’s looking like utter trash from a fantasy perspective. I would hold out hope for Mac Jones (who managed 13.15 points), but he just suffered a severe high ankle sprain. That means more Fields; lucky me!

Gabe Davis didn’t do much of anything for me; looked like he dropped a TD pass in that one. Everyone else did just sort of okay, but when you’re getting that kind of nothing out of your two QB spots, it’s going to be hard to get over the 100-point hump week-in and week-out. Even if I were able to cherry-pick my very best lineup, I still would’ve lost by a marginal amount, so I’m not too devastated. My calls would’ve been proven right had Davis nabbed that touchdown.

No waiver claims this week, but I did pick up Romeo Doubs from the Packers as a free agent. Once again, we’re playing for the future, and so I’m on the rookie receiver trail, hoping to find the next Justin Jefferson. I already picked up Garrett Wilson, now I have Doubs. In his place, I dropped Diontae Johnson, who is perfectly fine, but he’s got Mitch Trubisky throwing to him. That’s not reliable. Eventually, he’ll have a brand new rookie quarterback throwing to him. That’s also not reliable. Plus, there’s a lot of competition for targets in that offense. It all adds up to a nice little pick-up for someone else in the league to get a dependable receiver going forward.

Meanwhile, I get Doubs, who (for now) has Aaron Rodgers throwing to him. I like that a lot more. That seems VERY reliable.

It’s on to next week, against Beasts, one of the best fantasy football owners I know. Here’s who I’ve got:

  • Jameis Winston (QB) vs. Min
  • Justin Fields (QB) @ NYG
  • Gabe Davis (WR) @ Bal
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) @ Det
  • Javonte Williams (RB) @ LV
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. Was
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) vs. Sea
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. Was
  • Evan McPherson (K) vs. Mia
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) @ SF

I’m sitting Doubs because I’m always reluctant to immediately start my brand new lottery ticket. I did the same thing with Wilson last week and was proven correct, as he only got 12 points. I’ve still got Wilson on my bench this week, waiting for a matchup that isn’t the Steelers. He still got a great target share last week, but I think I’m also waiting for Joe Flacco to not be his quarterback anymore. Zach Wilson can return anytime he likes, as far as I’m concerned!

Do you want to see a dynasty team that’s LOADED? Take a look at Beasts:

  • Justin Herbert (QB) @ Hou
  • Russell Wilson (QB) @ LV
  • Cooper Kupp (WR) @ SF
  • Courtland Sutton (WR) @ LV
  • Christian McCaffrey (RB) vs. Ari
  • Derrick Henry (RB) @ IND
  • Mark Andrews (TE) vs. Buf
  • Tyler Lockett (RB) @ Det
  • Tyler Bass (K) @ Bal
  • Tampa Bay (DEF) vs. KC

He might have to swap Herbert out due to injury, but otherwise this is a cakewalk. Do you know what it’s like to go into a contest and know – without a shadow of a doubt – that you’re going to lose? It’s like if I walked into a ring with vintage Mike Tyson. Hell, it would be like walking into a ring with TODAY Mike Tyson! What would it take for me to even be competitive? Every single one of my players would have to have the game of his life, and even then I’d get -4.05 from Fields and lose by 20.

I’d be more demoralized if I wasn’t a combined 5-1 in my other two leagues. I can still do this! I can still be a smart fantasy football guy! I just got trapped inside a hell of my own making with this league.

At one point, Tua was my future. I let him go. At one point, I had Tyreek Hill, and I traded him for some magic beans. At one point, I could’ve had Herbert or Dak or Hurts. Hell, I could’ve had Jared Goff this year and instead I opted for a fifth receiver I don’t really need! This quarterback conundrum has been neverending, for the better part of a decade. Even when I thought I had a good one, I managed to get him in the absolute worst year of his career (I’m having flashbacks to Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers at their pre-old guy nadirs). In this league, I can’t do anything right. Even when I think I’ve gotten everything BUT the quarterback position settled, it’s all just kind of mediocre. I’m in another league where I took that strategy, and it’s working splendidly. But, this league? For whatever reason, my non-quarterbacks can’t seem to get much more than 10 points per week, and often get far less.

I think that’s why I’m reluctant to move on from Jones or Fields. If Tua can do what he’s done so far this year, why couldn’t Fields – at some point – develop into the kind of player who can get me 40+ points? He was great in college, like Tua. He’s not necessarily super mobile with his legs, like Tua. He’s starting out his NFL career without much in the way of offensive talent around him, like Tua. Why couldn’t he blossom in Year 3 or Year 4?

There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be patient. It’s not like these guys are going anywhere. I’m guaranteed at least a top 4 pick for next year. Here’s hoping I’ll find someone among the incoming rookie class to hang my hat on.

Predicting The 2022 NFL Season

You know it and love it! The NFL prediction post is back again! Here are the prior years I’ve done it:

Not to toot my own horn too much, but I did pretty damn good last year. I had all of the NFC divisional winners, and 5 of the 7 playoff teams from that conference. I only missed the Eagles and Cardinals (I had WFT and the Seahawks, of course). I wasn’t quite as good with the AFC, picking half of the divisional winners correct. But, I still managed 4 of the 7 playoff participants. I’ll take it!

I even nailed half of the Super Bowl matchup, though the Bills screwed me. If they weren’t so unfathomably shitty on defense against the Chiefs, they might’ve made it!

Anyway, that’s last year. This year, I’ve done even less research than usual. That’s what happens when you pack your summer with trips and activities. That’s also what happens when the Seahawks suck and I just don’t give a fuck. Let’s get into it.

NFC East

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

I know everyone is on the Eagles’ hype train this year, after apparently making every single correct move this offseason. But, I’m not there yet. I need to see it before I’ll believe it. The Cowboys are still really fucking talented, and in spite of their bumbler of a head coach, I think they’ll prevail in the division. I think Washington will probably be middle-of-the-road at best, and I think the Giants will be among the worst four teams in football.

NFC North

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

I wanted to put the Vikings in the top seat, but I kept feeling supremely dumb going against the Packers. I’ll say this much: the Packers won’t get to 13 wins again this year. The receivers are GOING to be an issue, that’s just the way it is. But, they should have enough talent to hold everyone else at bay. I do think the Vikings have a good shot to make it as a wild card. I’m not drinking the Lions’ Kool Aid after watching them on Hard Knocks, but I do think they could be a 7-8 win team. I think the Bears will be among the worst four teams in football.

NFC South

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

REAL fucking samey in the NFC so far. I like the Bucs even less than I like the Packers, what with their O-Line woes. If the O-Line doesn’t hold up, and if the receivers aren’t back to full health, I think this will be a LONG year for Brady. I predict this is the beginning of the end, and we won’t see Brady in the NFL next year. I’m not as high on the Saints as most people; I think the surprise team will be the Panthers and how competent they are with Baker at the helm. And I think the Falcons will be among the worst four teams in football.

NFC West

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

I was going to run it back with all four same division winners, but I could see some Super Bowl Hangover with the Rams. The 49ers are loaded all over the place, and I think Trey Lance will be just dynamic enough to make some plays and not screw things up. He could also be amazing with that Shanahan offense. I like the Cards to take a step back this year. And I HOPE BEYOND HOPE that the Seahawks are among the worst four teams in football.

AFC East

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

Surprise surprise, I love the Bills again! God dammit. I hope they shored up their defense. I don’t like any of the other teams, but that’s also not shocking. I think the Dolphins get one over on the Pats, even though Tua’s Noodle Arm looks like a poor fit for what should be a high-volume passing offense. I’m not hearing great things about the Pats, which is just fucking great, because I’m saddled with Mac Jones in my dynasty league. And the Jets are gonna Jets.

AFC North

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

Definite Super Bowl Hangover for the Bengals, but I still like them enough to make the playoffs. I think Lamar Jackson comes out on fire this year, in looking for a new deal. The Ravens might vie for the top seed overall. I think the Browns will STINK under Jacoby Brissett, and I think they will continue to stink under Deshaun Watson. The dude will have missed nearly two full years, there’s no way he’s coming back and being awesome right off the bat. On top of which, he’s pretty much going to be hated everywhere he goes, so he’s definitely going to feel the effects of that on the field. The Steelers won’t be good, but I think they’ll out-perform expectations.

AFC South

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

All right, THIS is the year the Colts put it together and supplant the Titans atop the AFC South. Matt Ryan might not be elite, but he’s good enough, and the pieces will be around him to coast to an easy 10 or 11 wins. This might be the end of the road for Ryan Tannehill; where are his weapons? The loss of A.J. Brown is going to be HUGE, and look for them to over-compensate next offseason by whatever means necessary. I also think Derrick Henry is going to continue breaking down; they might not even be the second-best team in this division. Kill me, I like Davis Mills! I know most people like the Jags to be a sleeper, but I think they’re still a year away. I like the Texans to be a possible sleeper, since really EVERYONE is sleeping on them.

AFC West

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

I kinda want to put them all in the playoffs! But, ultimately, I think the Raiders come up JUST short. The Chiefs are definitely going to be hurt by the loss of Hill; it can’t all fall on Kelce. Defenses are going to double-team him and no one else will be there to step up (you can save the JuJu talk). I like the Broncos here because there’s no way the Seahawks don’t get screwed in this Russell Wilson deal. They’re going to win 12-13 games just to spite me. I do like the Chargers to finally get over the hump and make it as a wild card, though.

NFC Playoffs

  1. Dallas Cowboys
  2. San Francisco 49ers
  3. Green Bay Packers
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  5. Los Angeles Rams
  6. Philadelphia Eagles
  7. Minnesota Vikings

AFC Playoffs

  1. Buffalo Bills
  2. Baltimore Ravens
  3. Denver Broncos
  4. Indianapolis Colts
  5. Kansas City Chiefs
  6. Los Angeles Chargers
  7. Cincinnati Bengals

Wild Card Round

  • 49ers over Vikings
  • Packers over Eagles
  • Rams over Bucs
  • Ravens over Bengals
  • Broncos over Chargers
  • Chiefs over Colts

Divisional Round

  • Cowboys over Rams
  • Packers over 49ers
  • Bills over Chiefs
  • Broncos over Ravens

Championship Round

  • Packers over Cowboys
  • Bills over Broncos

Super Bowl

  • Bills over Packers

Now that I have it all laid out, I could not be less enthused by this prediction post. I think I’m going to be LAUGHABLY off-base. None of it is coherent; for some reason I’m skeptical about the Packers up top, but I like them to go all the way to the Super Bowl? I dunno. This is gonna be one of those years where it’s a total crapshoot. Kinda exciting!

Pay That Myan Hees Munny: D.K. Metcalf Gets A Contract Extension

When in doubt, listen to Teddy KGB.

3 years, $72 million, with $30 million of that as a signing bonus, and just over $58 million guaranteed. It’s the highest signing bonus of any wide receiver in NFL history, but that’s mostly due to the way the Seahawks like to do business, with no second year guarantees built in.

So, we’ve got D.K. Metcalf through the 2025 season. He’ll still be a relative bargain – assuming he stays healthy – for the next two seasons. Then, in 2024, the contract starts to balloon, and we’ll assume after that the economics of the NFL will come into better focus. Either he’ll have earned another contract extension, or he’ll be cut because maybe he gets hurt or the Seahawks go on a rebuild, or maybe he just plays it out and we see what happens.

I’ll be very interested to see what the wide receiver market looks like after 2024. As we’ve seen this offseason, contracts for wide receivers are exploding. Some of them are downright stupid. What we’re seeing, though, is an unprecedented collection of young, elite wide receivers coming up for deals and getting paid accordingly.

It feels like a bubble, though, right? Every year there are more and more elite young receivers entering the NFL. The rules of the game today make it safer than ever to be a receiver and extend your career. At what point does the NFL unlock the magic system where teams start to realize they don’t need “elite” wide receivers? They just need some good ones, under reasonable contracts. When will Moneyball come to the NFL in regards to this wide receiver gold rush?

In the late 90s and early 2000s, the Denver Broncos showed the rest of the NFL that you could generate a quality running game with pretty much whatever running back you had on hand. If the scheme is right, and your linemen are capable, then it doesn’t totally matter who’s handling the rock. In the years since, we’ve seen running back contracts hit a definite ceiling. You have to be superman Derrick Henry to really set any kind of bar (or you have to have a senile old man running things, in the case of Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys). Running backs are now largely considered to be disposable and interchangable. Teams would rather have a collection of cheap, competent runners – making the lives of fantasy football owners miserable in the process – because of what I stated above, combined with the likely injury risk every running back faces.

In short, the running back bubble burst. I think that’s coming for the wide receivers next.

What we know for a fact is that the quarterback bubble is never going to stop expanding. It’s like the universe itself; it’s just going to keep going and going until the end of time. The quarterback bubble is going to likely expand at a greater rate than the NFL salary cap as a whole expands. So, teams are going to have to find a way to cut costs somewhere. Receiver seems like the most likely best option.

So, I guess, what I’m trying to say is good for D.K. Metcalf! Good on him for being drafted at the right place, at the right time in NFL history! Good for him being so elite!

Now, he’s gotta catch balls from the likes of Geno Smith or Drew Lock. Now, he’s gotta suffer through an uncertain quarterback future where a likely rookie takes over in 2023. Now he’s gotta try and help us bridge the gap between Russell Wilson and whoever our next elite quarterback ends up being.

My guess? D.K. Metcalf won’t be here the next time the Seahawks have an elite quarterback. That’s just playing the odds, though.

TL;DR, do I like the move?

This is one of those I struggle to have a strong opinion about. The pure, raw, emotional fan in me likes having D.K. Metcalf in a Seahawks uniform because he’s so damn fun to watch. I’ve been on him since the day we drafted him, and he’s yet to let me down. And, as we enter this period of shaky quarterback play, I know for a fact that this offense is going to be a fucking bummer to watch week-in and week-out. Give me SOMETHING to look forward to. If football is supposed to be entertainment, then from a pure entertainment perspective, there’s no one else like D.K. Metcalf on this team. His bigtime catches, his bruising playing style, his ability to get under the skin of opponents: inject it all into my veins.

The rational, analytical fan in me, however, wonders what the point is. Are we rebuilding or not? The team would never admit to such a thing, but it seems clear with the quarterbacks we’ve got on the roster that we’re not REALLY playing for 2022. It’s obvious to anyone with half a brain that – unless they make a deal for Jimmy G – the plan is to use a high draft pick next year on our quarterback of the future.

So, what we’ve done is effectively signed D.K. Metcalf through his prime years. He’s never going to be much better than he is right now. He might be smarter, more savvy. But, the combination of athleticism and speed is never going to be better than it is right now. For one of those prime years, he gets Geno/Drew throwing somewhere in his vicinity. For another of those prime years, he gets a rookie (who will likely be playing with training wheels, like Russ did for much of 2012). Then, we’ll see, but we know for sure that half of his remaining years here will be a struggle.

How will that affect his psyche? How will he respond on the sidelines? I don’t care who you are, when you make a name for yourself in the NFL and start getting paid at near the top of the market, you get a big head. It happens to everyone. And wide receivers are fucking divas, man. That’s just the way it is. When will he get disgruntled and start making scenes because he’s not getting the ball enough? You know it’s going to happen. Is this all going to be pointless, because he’s never going to be part of the next great Seahawks team, whenever that ends up being?

And, of course, the dynasty fantasy football owner of D.K. Metcalf is annoyed because his value is effectively decimated. I just have to hope that he gets enough TD opportunities throughout the years to make up for his dearth in actual receptions.

Overall, though, I think I’m more happy that he’s here and I get to continue watching him every week. I also do see the value in not totally bottoming out from a talent perspective. Having guys like D.K. around keeps everyone else engaged and trying hard. It shows that – in spite of our terrible QB situation – we’re still interested in turning things around and ultimately winning it all. It’s just going to require some patience.

That having been said, my philosophy hasn’t changed either. If I had my druthers, we’d be constantly running it back with the likes of Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, and Golden Tate. Give me mid-tier guys with good hands and clean route running over a monster #1 receiver. What’s good for fantasy football isn’t always good for winning NFL games.

Thankfully, I don’t expect the Seahawks to win too many of those over the next year or two. So, the least we can do is have some fun watching D.K. Metcalf make opponents’ lives miserable.

Defending The Seahawks On This Kenneth Walker Pick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What If The Seahawks Got Baker Mayfield?

All right, calm down people. I’m not sitting here advocating for the Seahawks to acquire Baker Mayfield, in case that’s the conclusion you jumped to. GET OFF MY ASS! We’re just talking things through here.

The situation is this: the Browns traded for Deshaun Watson, and gave him a batshit crazy all-guaranteed contract. Somehow, Watson allegedly sexually harassed (if not outright sexually abused) dozens of women, and yet he held all the cards when it came to his future? How does this work? Browns gonna Browns, of course, but it would seem multiple teams were prepared to go to this great length – burning down the league’s leverage in the quarterback contract market for all future superstars – so I guess I would just point to the insanity of the NFL owners themselves. They’ll cater to an alleged abuser, but they won’t even give a tryout to a guy in Colin Kaepernick fighting for social justice. Okay.

Anyway, the Browns have Watson, they also just signed Jacoby Brissett to be his backup, and all the while there’s Baker Mayfield in the final year of his rookie deal, making around $18 million. Not an outrageous sum of money for a viable starting quarterback, but the question remains: IS Baker Mayfield a viable starting quarterback? One that can lead a team to a championship?

It’s obvious to anyone with half a brain that the Browns have shit the bed in this one particular scenario: they want out from under Mayfield’s guaranteed money. Unfortunately, most of the big ticket quarterback moves have already been made. Aaron Rodgers is staying with Green Bay. Russell Wilson is now with the Broncos. The aforementioned Watson is with the Browns. Matt Ryan went to the Colts. Carson Wentz … went to the Commanders. Tom Brady is back with the Bucs. The Vikings are committed to Cousins, the Dolphins are committed to Tua, the Saints look to be committed to Jameis, the Jets are (apparently) committed to Zach Wilson, the Giants are (bafflingly) committed to Danny Dimes. Of the quarterbacks who are reported to be available in trades, Jimmy G should head that list, and so far there haven’t been any takers. So, where’s Baker’s market, exactly?

If the Browns cut Baker, they’re on the hook for his entire salary. But, they obviously can’t keep him around through training camp, because he almost certainly won’t be there, as he’s now demanded a change of scenery.

If I’m the rest of the NFL, and I had the slightest inkling in bringing in Baker, I’d play hardball and force the Browns to cut him. Then, swoop in with a lowball, incentive-laden offer to take him on as a 1-year flier.

No fanbase is excited about Baker Mayfield, though. It’s undeniable that he had a bad season in 2021, so there’s that taste in everyone’s mouths. He did have the torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder, though, which undoubtedly affected his on-field play. He’s also, not for nothing, irritatingly over-exposed in TV commercials (based on his personality, I guess, because it’s not a reflection of his performance in actual professional football games). Even before his 2021 injury-plagued season, it’s not like Baker Mayfield was the epitome of an elite franchise quarterback. Odell Beckham’s dad more or less saw to making that clear to everyone with a Twitter feed.

He’s not particularly tall, he’s not particularly athletic, his arm isn’t particularly strong …

Funny Office Space quotes are funny …

And that’s where we are now. I still think the Steelers are the most logical destination for him, because he feels like a Steelers-type quarterback. Plus, he’d get two chances a year to stick it to the Browns, which I’m sure he’d love to do.

But, the Seahawks keep coming up in the rumor mill, and I have some free time this morning, so let’s get into it.

I’m just putting this back out into the universe for anyone who wants to read it: my number one preference for the Seahawks is to tank in 2022. That means, likely, giving Drew Lock as many reps as he can handle and watching him crash and burn spectacularly. That does NOT mean bringing in a middling veteran to annoyingly steal wins we don’t need. Draft a great pass rusher in the first round this year (or an elite left tackle, if one is still available), draft a couple of quality starters in the second round, and wait to draft a quarterback until 2023.

I have no number two preference. All other options for the Seahawks are going to be met with disdain. That includes Baker Mayfield.

If we MUST bring him in, then I would rather we wait for the Browns to cut him, and sign him to that aforementioned lowball, incentive-laden offer. I’ll admit, if that comes to fruition, I’d be intrigued.

I’m curious about what a healthy Baker Mayfield can accomplish, who is savagely pissed off at the world and hyper-motivated to rehabilitate his image. Don’t forget, it wasn’t that long ago when the Browns were lauded for taking him above the rest of his 2018 draft class. Of course, now we know Josh Allen was the true prize, but at first there were lots of questions about Allen’s accuracy and whatnot.

Ryan Tannehill is a name that gets bandied about. As a former Top 10 draft pick who flamed out with his original team, he became a … pretty good quarterback when he was inserted onto the right team. He doesn’t have to do too much, so long as Derrick Henry is healthy, but when he’s asked to step up, he tends to make plays more often than not. Now, EVERY team thinks they can rehab their own guys (to wit: the Giants with Danny Dimes), and it’s becoming sort of a disturbing trend. Most of these quarterbacks flame out for a reason, so giving them opportunity after opportunity is only going to prolong the mediocrity that’s so prevalent at the position.

But, if anyone can be “the next Ryan Tannehill”, I could see it being Baker.

Now, I’m not saying Tannehill is some great shakes, but he’s fine. Could Baker also be fine? Sure, why not?

The thing is, I don’t HATE the rest of the Seahawks’ roster. Assuming, of course, that they don’t trade away D.K. Metcalf. You know. If they do that, then the rebuild is almost certainly going into overdrive. But, with D.K., we’ve got two elite receivers, two stud tight ends, one potentially elite running back (with the high likelihood we draft another), and a pretty solid offensive line (whenever we figure out the left tackle spot).

I also don’t HATE the defense. We’ve got a new coaching staff and a tweaked scheme. Our interior linemen look good, we signed a promising pass rusher away from the Chargers, we’re moving on from Bobby and getting younger at linebacker, we’ve got Darrell Taylor who looks outstanding, and our secondary has a high floor, if not quite so high of a ceiling (unless Tre Brown returns from injury and asserts himself as the next great cornerback on this team). Don’t get me wrong, we still need an infusion of hot talent from the draft, but the bones are there for a quick turnaround (assuming we eventually get the right quarterback).

Could Baker Mayfield join this roster and lead us to a 9-8 record? It wouldn’t shock me in the slightest. That might be a worst-case scenario in its own right, though, because 9-8 doesn’t seem like it’ll be good enough to catch a Wild Card spot, even with the expanded playoffs we’ve made our new reality.

However, I firmly do NOT believe Baker joins this roster and makes us a divisional contender. He certainly doesn’t make us a Super Bowl contender. At which point, his addition to this team just smacks of Pete Carroll refusing to rebuild through the draft like we need to.

And this scenario only gets scarier the more the Seahawks have to give up to get him here. The Browns are reportedly looking for a second round draft pick; that’s asinine. I wouldn’t give up anything higher than a 5th rounder, and even then, the Browns better be paying the bulk of his contract.

The thing is, I don’t think the Browns want him to go to the Steelers. And, if they cut him, I think that’s his top destination; I think he’d do everything – including taking a minimum contract from them – to make it happen. So, the Browns should be happy to take a 7th rounder from us – and pay the entirety of his contract – just to get him out of the AFC. Because, there won’t be anyone more motivated to beat up on the Browns if he’s in Pittsburgh (a city that already hates Cleveland with a passion).

In conclusion, Baker Mayfield is my nightmare. But, ultimately I don’t think he’ll be a Seahawk when it’s all said and done. Good luck, Steelers fans.

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!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Down Goes Jameis

Hilariously, after writing about how down I was on Justin Fields last week, his beleaguered head coach, Matt Nagy, was kept home due to a COVID outbreak, and Fields ended up having the greatest fantasy game of his career! For my bench, of course, but weird how that happens. It’s like Nagy’s incompetence might be the one holding him back or something!

Snoopy & Prickly Pete lost to The Lance Petemans 151.95 to 139.48. He almost blew it by leaving Calvin Ridley in his lineup, but unfortunately Jameis Winston blew out his knee on an illegal horsecollar tackle and my team was properly fucked as a result. If he had the kind of game it looked like he was going to have, I think I would’ve overcome the final deficit. As it stands, a zero for Ridley kept me in it enough to pick up the Giants’ kicker on Monday night. But, as I expected, Tyreek Hill went off (he always does when I’m up against him, because I foolishly traded him to The Lance Petemans a few years ago), and the Giants’ kicker was worth all of 5 points to me.

A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, and CeeDee Lamb all had good-to-great games for me. The Rams’ defense was solid, but could’ve been better. Noah Fant was fucking miserable, and is making me re-think my tight end plans as I consider what I’ve got going for next year. I might end up dropping him entirely if I find a better tight end on the market. I asked on Twitter, and a Denver fan responded that Fant hasn’t been all that great (so it’s not just their lack of talent at quarterback). Either way, a Broncos tight end seems to be a dead end in fantasy. Half his games so far have seen him get less than 10 points (PPR); only two games have seen him get 10 targets or more. I don’t know what to do here.

Mac Jones didn’t do much of anything in my starting lineup, but Taylor Heinicke didn’t do much for my bench either. With Jameis out for the year, I’m left scrambling once again to find a replacement quarterback. I made a couple of waiver claims. Taysom Hill – Jameis’ backup – was snagged out from under me, so I got the next best thing available: Jets’ Week 8 phenom Mike White.

Even though the Bengals did good work against the Ravens, I’d still say their defense is somewhat suspect. Well, the Jets are now going up against the Colts, who have proven to be pretty effective on D. Since this is a road game, and a Thursday night game, I’m going to go ahead and hold off on starting White. However, if he balls out in this one, he might be a redneck the real deal.

On the tight end front, Noah Fant got dinged with a COVID IR designation this week. He needs back-to-back negative tests to be able to play this Sunday. I went ahead and picked up Dawson Knox in free agency, who has missed one game so far with a fractured bone in his hand, but otherwise was on a 3-game run of excellent tight end play before the injury. Since he’s on a quality offense in Buffalo, I’m going to keep him regardless of whether or not he can play this week. Ideally, for Week 9 purposes, one of these guys will return for me. But, long-term, I think Knox might be my guy. He’s only in his third year, and if all goes according to plan, he’ll have Josh Allen throwing to him for a good chunk of his career. That beats whatever the hell Fant has to look forward to in the quarterback quagmire that is Denver.

Put it this way: Fant has 5.4 more points than Knox on the season, yet Knox has missed a game to injury AND had his BYE week (Fant doesn’t have his until Week 11). That tells me everything I need to know about their potential both this year and beyond.

This week, I’m going up against Beasts, who is 4-4 and in 4th place. He’s got beat up by the injury bug, with Russell Wilson going on IR for his hand, and Derrick Henry recently being lost for most of the rest of the season. He’s also had Christian McCaffery doing the Will He Play/Won’t He Play game for most of the season. Given the rest of the talent on Beasts, he’s certainly a contender for the league championship. But, he’s going to have to find a way to hang around and somehow crack the top six to make the playoffs.

Luckily for him, he’s got Snoopy & Prickly Pete this week. Here’s my lineup:

  • Mac Jones (QB) @ CAR
  • Justin Fields (QB) @ PIT
  • A.J. Brown (WR) @ LAR
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. DEN
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. DEN
  • Khalil Herbert (RB) @ PIT
  • Dawson Knox (TE) @ JAX
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) vs. CHI
  • Justin Tucker (K) vs. MIN
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) vs. TEN

You know what us fantasy owners of the Rams’ defense loved to see this week? Them trading for Von Miller! Of course, with the way they’re just throwing away draft picks, the long-term viability of the Rams defense seems a little iffy from a dynasty perspective. But, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Fantasy defenses are a lot like bullpens in baseball, they can be a little volatile from year to year.

I’m dealing with a D.K. Metcalf and Taylor Heinicke BYE situation, so that rules both of them out. I tell you, I’m loving having four quality starting wide receivers, even though I know I can only keep three of them. It’s a nice problem to have; one of the few nice problems about my fantasy team!

Here’s what Beasts figures to run out there:

  • Justin Herbert (QB) @ PHI
  • Teddy Bridgewater (QB) @ DAL
  • Cooper Kupp (WR) vs. TEN
  • Adam Thielen (WR) @ BAL
  • Boston Scott (RB) vs. LAC
  • Chuba Hubbard (RB) vs. NE
  • Mark Andrews (TE) vs. MIN
  • Courtland Sutton (WR) @ DAL
  • Randy Bullock (K) @ LAR
  • Arizona (DEF) @ SF

It’s definitely not an ideal lineup compared to what he was rolling with earlier this year, but I think there’s easily enough there to get the job done. Herbert and Kupp alone are probably good for 60+ points combined. I have Mark Andrews going on my Splinter League team, so it’s going to be weird to root for him to kill it.

I’m guessing I get a 0 from my tight end position, and under 10 from Fields. The rest of my guys have tough opposing matchups or are on the road. I think I’ll be lucky to clear 130 points this week. So, even if Beasts underperforms, he should still have enough firepower to defeat me.

Splinter League Round-Up!

That’s back-to-back wins for BUCK FUTTER, with the week’s biggest blowout over the last place team. The latest impressive victory makes me the league leader in total points this season, which you love to see. I had a bit of a dilemma with both of my Bucs receivers on BYE this week, but I found Cole Beasley in free agency. I hope the anti-vaxxer doesn’t get COVID this week! He and Tee Higgins will be my guys in the WR spots, with the rest of my team being running back-heavy. I was able to drop Deshaun Watson this week, since the trade deadline passed with him still in Houston. That’s okay, I’ll only need Mac Jones to start for two weeks. If he needs to start more than that, something has gone seriously wrong. I have a tough one this week against Vinegar Strokes, who is right on my heels at 4-4. This week will be HUGE for my playoff implications.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Seahawks Vs. Titans Game Could Be High Scoring & Fun!

It’s my understanding that the line for this game has swung wildly in the Seahawks’ direction, from somewhere around -3.5, all the way up to -6 or so. There were clearly some questions about the Seahawks that the betting public at least feels were emphatically answered in that victory over Indianapolis. We didn’t know if the Seahawks were good, to be frank, particularly on offense with a new scheme and play-caller. Now we know – or, at least, we THINK we know – that the Seahawks ARE good. Great even! Maybe even a Super Bowl contender; I don’t think you have to squint quite as hard to see that reality coming to fruition.

At the same time, what can you say about the Titans – based on their opening week loss, at home, to the Cardinals – other than they look like a mess? They gave up 6 sacks (and countless other pressures), they were held to 86 rushing yards (Derrick Henry was held to only 58 yards on 17 carries), Ryan Tannehill’s QBR and passer rating were both pretty poor, and their defense – always expected to be a major weakness for them – gave up 38 points and 416 yards. All of this at home! Against an Arizona team most people have as the fourth best in the NFC West.

Now, it’s possible the Cardinals are MUCH better than we all expected, but regardless I think that game reflects more poorly on the Titans than it does positively on the Cards. Most people had the Titans as a playoff team again in 2021, and likely a division winner to boot. But, they looked like neither in that game, and now they have to fly across the country to Seattle and play in front of a 12th Man that hasn’t seen live football in person in quite some time.

So, yeah, given what we saw out of both of those games, and knowing where this game is being played, I think it’s reasonable for the line to move the way it did. The Seahawks SHOULD be a touchdown favorite. If the Titans are as bad as they looked in Week 1, they might lose by 50!

But, I don’t believe the Titans are as bad as they looked, nor do I think the Seahawks have solved all their problems. I still have questions about this team on both sides of the ball, and I’m going to need more than one quality game to have those concerns quelled.

Also, let’s face it, it’s a completely different matchup. The Titans will have had a week to review the tape, identify where things went wrong, and shore up their weaknesses.

I’ll say this: I don’t have a lot of worries about the Seahawks’ offense this week. The Titans are fundamentally flawed on defense; they won’t be able to fix their issues in one week, and likely won’t be able to fix them all year. What they need is to not be the absolute worst. They need to mitigate big plays, get off the field on a reasonable percentage of third downs, and keep the Seahawks somewhere in the 20’s in points. If they somehow find a way to dominate this Seahawks offense, then I think it’ll be fair to panic a little bit, because there’s no way in hell the Titans should limit the Seahawks to under 20 points; in fact, I would expect a minimum of 24 points, with a very legitimate chance to get into the 40’s.

I do think there’s cause for concern about the Seahawks’ defense. There’s no way the Titans are as bad as they looked against Arizona. For starters, the Seahawks don’t have a game-wrecker like Chandler Jones on their defense. Sorry, but I’ll believe it when I see someone single-handedly get 5 sacks in a game. I also highly doubt Derrick Henry is going to be held in check for two straight weeks; that guy is a fucking tank! Not to say I think we’ll give up 200+ yards or anything, but a 100-yard game is easily within the realm of possibility.

Now, it’s possible the Seahawks – as a group – can generate a similar kind of pass rush, but this is where I believe the Titans can improve from week 1 to week 2. I think they can tweak some things with their protection to mitigate that. I don’t believe the Seahawks will get 6 sacks, but could they do something similar to what they did to Carson Wentz and the Colts? Absolutely. The difference is: we’re not going up against Carson Wentz this week. Ryan Tannehill – say what you will – but he’s been playing at a high level since becoming their starter. He’ll still struggle in the face of pressure, but not as badly as Wentz.

That leads us to their receivers. A.J. Brown is a stud, period. And we’re all familiar with what Julio Jones brings to the table. Even though he’s a veteran and past his prime, it’s early enough in the season where he’s not dealing with so many nagging injuries that continue to slow him down. Plus, he’s coming off of a game where he caught 3 balls for 29 yards, and also got called out by the head coach in the press after the game. He’s a proud guy; I think he’ll be playing his ass off to impress his new team in week 2. Thankfully, they no longer have Jonnu Smith, but who knows how they replaced him? It seems like this is an offense that can effectively utilize a tight end when it wants to. But, who cares, because with that 1-2 punch – only topped by the Seahawks and maybe a small handful of other teams in the league – you really don’t need a whole lot beyond them.

The Seahawks’ secondary didn’t really get tested a whole lot against the Colts, for good reason; name one Colts receiver not named T.Y. Hilton (who is on the IR). The cornerbacks WILL be tested against the Titans, and we’ll have a much better idea just how big of a weakness they are for this defense and this team.

I still expect the Seahawks to win this game, but I’m telling you right now, don’t be shocked if the game is a lot closer than it was at the Colts. In fact, don’t be shocked if this game looks like most every other Seahawks game we’ve seen in the Russell Wilson era! I wouldn’t trust the Seahawks to cover a 6-point spread as far as I can throw them. If anything, I like the over 54 points, but that’s a lot of points, and it also wouldn’t surprise me if both offenses struggled to a stalemate in the first half. I mean, even a 28-24 Seahawks victory is still a loser in that over 54-point total.

Why couldn’t it be 31-24, you ask? Well, I suppose it could, but what if the Seahawks’ defense is just as effective as they were last week, and instead this game ends up 31-14?

My point is, probably stay away from betting this game altogether. Unless you like doing a 6-point tease and have another team you’re really in love with.

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.