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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s what I’m going up against:

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

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

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: 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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Splinter League Round-Up!

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

Third League Round-Up!

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

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: 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: Some Good & Bad In A Week 1 Win

Part of me feels like I had no business winning that first game; that’ll happen when you score the 4th (out of 5th) most points in victory (and when you score the 7th most points in total). There were only three teams I would’ve defeated, and I was lucky enough to have gone up against one of them.

But, as a seasoned fantasy football veteran, I know shit like this happens. And, at some point, my team is going to be held WAY under its expected total points, and I’m going to lose to a team that was Just Okay. The fantasy gods giveth, and the fantasy gods taketh away.

Snoopy & Prickly Pete defeated Car Talk With Josh Allen 161.88 to 123.35.

I woke up on Sunday to find that Trey Sermon was inactive. That had me scrambling to my computer to put Raheem Mostert into my lineup over Clyde Edwards-Helaire. When you roster Mostert, you know time is of the essence; there are precious few weeks in a season where he makes it through a game unscathed. In striking while the iron was hot, I figured what better opportunity to enjoy a completely-healthy Mostert?

It turns out, he was good for two carries before he injured his knee, sending him to the IR for the rest of the year.

I’m a pretty rational human being. I know, for instance, that I wasn’t the only person who was duped into starting Mostert this past week. I know I wasn’t the only person to make a last-second lineup change that backfired. But, I believe wholeheartedly that I’m the only person in the world who gets so consistently fucked over by these moves every single time. Either I make the switch, and it backfires, or I stick to my guns, and I leave points on my bench. EVERY. FUCKING. TIME.

In this case, it was hard to be too upset, because CEH only got 10.2 points – pretty much what I expected him to get against the Browns – but that’s not the point. The point is the potential of what Mostert represented, in a cupcake matchup against the Lions’ inept run defense. That was a 20+ point game in the making!

The fantasy gods, knowing they did me dirty, decided to help me out in this one. My opponent had Ryan Fitzpatrick going as one of his QBs; he made it all of 6 pass attempts before going down with an injury. That one probably hurt Car Talk more than it hurt me, but if Mostert would’ve had the monster day I was expecting, I think it might’ve been close.

Anyway, the highlight of my day was Jameis Winston throwing for 5 touchdowns and getting me 41.1 points. He REALLY carried me, though I had some good performances elsewhere. CeeDee Lamb got me 23.88, Jimmy G got me 19.9 (and had a TD pass stolen from him at the goalline by the backup, FML), D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown, and the Rams’ defense all got me in the teens.

Meanwhile, Car Talk had 25-point games out of Kelce and Mixon, but Josh Allen struggled in a tough matchup against the Steelers’ defense. On top of that, he had four guys NOT named Fitzpatrick who also got him under 10 points each (compared to just Elliott and Mostert for me).

Late last week, after Gus Edwards went down, I picked up Ty’Son Williams, dropping Zack Moss (who was another surprise inactive on gameday). Williams looks to be going up against Latavius Murray (who I also just picked up on waivers this week) for carries in that backfield; he had a solid game on Monday Night, but the splits were pretty even between the two. I’ll continue to monitor them, while still looking to shore up the position. In the meantime, Mostert lands in my IR spot.

This week, I go up against Hahmez Wah 360 Allstars. Here’s my projected lineup:

  • Jameis Winston (QB) @ CAR
  • Jimmy Garoppolo (QB) @ PHI
  • A.J. Brown (WR) @ SEA
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. TEN
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ LAC
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB) @ BAL
  • Noah Fant (TE) @ JAX
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ LAC
  • Justin Tucker (K) vs. KC
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) @ IND

I have at least one friend in my league who thinks Winston might’ve been the best pick in the entire draft. After one week, who am I to argue?! But, I’d like to see it over a consistent basis before I crown my ass. Nevertheless, the Panthers’ defense looks like a pretty good landing spot for his second week. Jimmy G, I’m a little more concerned about. Maybe the Philly defense is better than we thought? Or Atlanta is just terrible? My alternative is Mac Jones at the Jets, which seems like a no-brainer. But, the Jets do have a pretty good D-Line, I’m told, and again it’s only his second game. My hunch is the 49ers will need to throw the ball more to put up points to keep up with the Eagles (especially if the 49ers’ defense is as bad as we saw in the second half against the Lions last week). I’m really just biding my time – and THOROUGHLY on the Bench Andy Dalton Bandwagon – until Justin Fields gets the starting job full time. Boy did he look good in limited action against the Bears!

Zeke is locked in at running back, and I fully expect him to have a much better game against the Chargers. CEH is up in the air …

As usual, my three receivers are locked in, so I won’t be throwing any running backs into my flex spot just yet. Ty’Son Williams is still in too much of a timeshare to trust at this point.

I’m reasonably happy with Justin Tucker against the Chiefs, though that could be uncomfortable if the Chiefs start racking up the touchdowns. I still don’t know enough about Noah Fant or the Jaguars to know if I’m happy with that matchup, but my gut tells me it should go well for me. I’d like to think the Rams could do just as well against the Colts as the Seahawks did, if not better; here’s hoping Aaron Donald can make Carson Wentz’s life miserable!

The lineup Hahmez Wah is throwing out there looks quite formidable!

  • Jalen Hurts (QB) vs. SF
  • Matthew Stafford (QB) @ IND
  • Stefon Diggs (WR) @ MIA
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) vs. LV
  • Chris Carson (RB) vs. TEN
  • D’Andre Swift (RB) @ GB
  • Robert Tonyan (TE) vs. DET
  • Tyler Lockett (WR) vs. TEN
  • Rodrigo Blankenship (K) vs. LAR
  • Buffalo (DEF) @ MIA

Hurts looks like a Top 5 fantasy quarterback, and if the 49ers’ defense is as bad as they were in the second half against Detroit, that could be a 40-point game in the making. Stafford, of course, I’m super-high on, and Indy’s defense is beatable, as we just saw with Russell Wilson. Diggs is a Top 5 wide receiver and Buffalo loves to throw the ball, so that’s always scary. Johnson is a little boom-or-busty for the Steelers, but nothing I know about the Raiders’ defense leads me to believe they can stop a top-flight passing attack. Carson was held out of the endzone against the Colts, but I wouldn’t expect that to continue against a truly wretched Titans defense. Swift had a GREAT first week and could very well find himself the beneficiary of lots of checkdowns as the Lions try to come back against the Packers on Monday night. Tonyan is solid, though I imagine Rodgers will look to get all his receivers going this week. Lockett had a terrific first week, so hopefully this time he hangs back and lets Metcalf take the lead. Miami’s offense stinks with Tua, so I fully expect Buffalo to blast them.

All told he’s got some great looking players and matchups this week, so I’m going to need a bundle to keep up. It’s not totally impossible for me to do so, but I get the feeling my team is probably a 160-ish point team at best most weeks. Jimmy G is too much of a burden, and that might make all the difference if he shits the bed. I’m predicting a loss, maybe even a total blowout.

Splinter League Round-Up!

Dude, fuck me, I don’t know what happened. I was projected to be the top scoring team in the league this year, and came out and scored the fewest points in week one. That’s thanks in large part to Aaron Rodgers laying a fucking EGG and getting less than one point. Najee Harris was also disappointing, getting less than 6 points. And Mark Andrews didn’t do me any favors on Monday night either (though, by that point, I was rooting against him in other leagues, so it was okay). I’m chocking this up to a fluke occurrence and we’re On To Cincinnati.

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.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Return Of The Splinter League

My fantasy column (which is really just an excuse to complain about my fantasy teams, but also lets me provide my analysis on a variety of players and matchups on a weekly basis) has been a regular feature on my blog since 2018. You can catch up on the types of leagues I’m in HERE. I mostly just talk about my Main League, one I used to be commissioner of since its infancy back in the 2003-range. I’m still in it – with a group of my oldest friends – though I’m no longer in charge. I went and started my own Splinter League with some friends who are in the Main League, as well as some other friends, and it’s much more lowkey and casual. Both are 2-QB leagues that heavily skew towards more points for the quarterbacks (since they’re the most important players in the real NFL, I feel this is valid for fantasy as well).

The Splinter League is much more QB-friendly (15 yards per point, compared to 20 in the Main League; both are 6-point touchdowns and -4 points for INTs). Anyway, I’ll have more to say about the Main League at another time, but my Splinter League team just had its draft on Sunday night, so let’s get into it!

This year’s Splinter League team name is BUCK FUTTER, from the infamous SNL Jeopardy! sketch. It’s an okay name, but I didn’t have a lot of inspiration this year, especially after trying to compete with last year’s Pound Some Cunth, which was *chef’s kiss*.

I’m mostly just excited because I drafted a really good team. I’m not the only one who thinks so, as Yahoo – on draft day – pegged me for a 14-1 record this season. Just a day removed – even though Yahoo has tinkered with the projected standings of other teams – I remain with that 14-1 prognostication. I was also the only team to get an A grade by Yahoo (the next-highest was a B; then there’s a B-, with everyone else in the C-range in our 10-team league).

I logged on 30 minutes prior to find I was drafting 9th. That means that – again, with our scoring system being what it is – most of the top tier quarterbacks would be taken. The guy with the first draft pick never showed and had his team auto-drafted by Yahoo; as a result, Yahoo drafted him a team the way it would in any old league (i.e. eschewing quarterbacks early for running backs and receivers). CMC was the first overall pick. Then it went: Mahomes, Allen, Brady, Dalvin Cook, Wilson, Kyler, and Lamar (the Cook guy also temporarily forgot about the scoring system, but that’s not a bad alternative for him).

So, I was left with the guy I picked – Aaron Rodgers – among players like Tannehill, Dak, Herbert, Hurts, Stafford, and Lawrence. The 10th pick in the snake went with Zeke Elliott and Tannehill back-to-back, which left me in the illustrious position of getting Alvin Kamara with my second round pick. Outstanding! I’ve never had him on a fantasy team before and I couldn’t be more thrilled that he’s with me now (with no Brees, and lots of question marks on that Saints offense).

I had the usual LONG wait before I got to my third and fourth picks. I opted for Matthew Stafford over Trevor Lawrence to close out the third round (I never considered for a second going with either Baker Mayfield or Matt Ryan, who both went later in the fourth round). I’ll say this: if the Splinter League were a keeper league, it would’ve been Lawrence all day. But, we do full redrafts here, and I’m not willing to jump on the Lawrence bandwagon if there’s no long-term benefit for me. There will be lots of yards thrown, but I also anticipate lots of turnovers that will hurt him. I also wanted to go with Stafford because – like Rodgers – he’s on a team that’s going to be in the running with the Seahawks for the top seed in the NFC. If I have any bad mojo on me, and it carries over to those guys, all the better for my beloved Seahawks. Otherwise, if they play as well as I expect them to, I should have no problems at the quarterback position in 2021 (for this league, anyway).

With my fourth round pick, I nabbed Najee Harris. This is a guy I LOVED in college, and desperately wished my Seahawks could’ve somehow gotten in the real NFL draft. I was burned last year in my Main League with rookie running back CEH, but Harris seems like a slam dunk as long as he stays healthy. I can’t remember the last time I had two running backs I was so fond of! If you let me hand-pick any two running backs for my fantasy team, it would’ve been Kamara and Harris. I know guys just say things like that all the time, but for me it’s true. I think both will be durable, as well as points hogs both in the running and passing games. Plus, they’re just fun players to watch (unless they’re going against your team, then you’re never more miserable, particularly when they’re going off).

With another long wait between picks, a lot of good receivers were going off the board. I had no shot at the upper tier guys (Tyreek, Davante, Kelce, D.K., Hopkins, Diggs, and Ridley all went in rounds 2 and 3 between my picks), and players I was potentially eyeballing for the end of the fifth round, like Keenan Allen, Allen Robinson, and particularly CeeDee Lamb, were all swiped from me (Lamb one spot prior). I could’ve gone after the Rams guys – Kupp & Woods – to pair them with my quarterback; I could’ve had Tyler Lockett, Amari Cooper, or even Julio for that matter. But, inspiration struck, and I decided to ride the bandwagon of another prominent Seahawks opponent in the NFC in the Tampa Bay Bucs. I got Chris Godwin in the 5th, and swung around and took Mike Evans in the 6th. People are down on Evans, but I still like his touchdown potential if he stays healthy. Godwin is playing for a new contract next year and I expect him to be fired up to make a big splash this year, statswise. I’ll put both of them in my starting lineup together and hope Tom Brady can give it another run (big “if”, I know).

With my next two picks, I was looking for Best Skill Position Available, as the Splinter League has two flex spots (and no mandatory tight end spot, though you could play TE at either/both flex spots if you wanted). Adam Thielen was sniped from me one pick prior, so I settled for Tee Higgins, who is a guy I really like anyway. I had a chance to make him a keeper in my Main League, but was ultimately scared off by the two other quality receivers they have in that offense. Nevertheless, I expect Higgins to continue to produce as long as Joe Burrow is healthy. When the draft whipped around, I got the other running back I wanted: Darrell Henderson. With Cam Akers out for the year, Henderson seems like a strong bet to break out in the Rams’ offense. There’s a chance Sony Michel takes some of his carries (particularly at the goalline), but there’s a reason why the Patriots gave up on Michel: he stinks. I might end up handcuffing the two at some point, but for now Henderson is the safer bet.

I opted to continue going Best Skill Position Available in the 9th & 10th rounds, settling on Mark Andrews first. I’m already iffy on that, but Gus Edwards was sniped from me one pick prior (seriously, that guy who drafted 8th fucked me no less than three times). I also didn’t love the value I was getting on defenses at that spot (the elite defenses were already taken, meaning I had some questionable ones left over), nor did I love the value on a backup quarterback (which I’ll talk about later). Andrews gets a lot of looks around the goalline with the Ravens, so he’s very TD-dependent; he also can get a case of the dropsies which is frustrating. Nevertheless, he’s a fringe flex guy for me until I can find someone more dependable. When we whipped around to the 10th round, Michael Thomas was still sitting there and I jumped on him.

Michael Thomas is one of the biggest question marks of this year’s fantasy football drafting world: when do you take a chance? He’s injured, he’s unhappy with the Saints, and they have a non-Brees starting quarterback heading into a season for the first time in forever. When will he be healthy enough to play again, and how will he fit into the offense? I’m hoping he’ll be back by October, and I’m hoping he returns to being one of the most dominant players in football. For a 10th round flier? Absolutely! Plus, I can stash him in my IR spot until he plays again. No brainer whatsoever.

By the 11th and 12th rounds, it was time to get a defense and a third quarterback. Somehow, the 49ers’ defense was still there, so I grabbed them. But, waiting until the 12th round meant I had slim pickins for QB. I opted for Zach Wilson, not because I believe in the Jets rookie, but because he seemed to be the best of a bunch of terrible options (including Sam Darnold, Jared Goff, and Jimmy G).

The thing with quarterback for me was: Stafford has a BYE in week 11, and Rodgers has his in week 13. Some of these guys – like Jimmy G – might not have their starting jobs that late into the season! Zach Wilson isn’t going anywhere, unless he gets injured or is supremely inept. If he’s halfway competent, he’ll give me the two games I want out of him. Teddy Bridgewater would’ve been a perfectly fine option, but he has a week 11 BYE as well, so that defeats the purpose. I didn’t have room to keep a fourth QB, nor would I want to if I did. I’d rather have a second defense, if anything, just in case!

The guys who ended up on the free agent scrap heap include Cam Newton, Tyrod Taylor, the aforementioned Jimmy G, Andy Dalton, and, of course, Taysom Hill. Rookies who aren’t even starting yet were drafted ahead of all these guys! It’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out. I have zero faith whatsoever in Zach Wilson, though. If anyone else even remotely interesting becomes available, I won’t hesitate to waive him.

In the 13th round, D.J. Chark was still available; that’s excellent value, in my book. That meant I missed out on snagging the Patriots’ defense (which I think will be good this year), who was taken with the very next pick, but oh well. With my 14th and final selection, I took a flier on a lottery ticket in Darnell Mooney, wide receiver for the Bears. He has strong sleeper potential in an offense that could be better than we give it credit for. I don’t know if he’ll be long for my roster either, but that’s okay. You can’t make an omelette without scrambling some eggs, or some damn thing.

One thing that leaps out about this team is how razor thin I am in my depth at quarterback and running back. Rodgers and Stafford just can’t get hurt, period, end of discussion. If they go down for any length of time, I’m probably screwed. Similarly, I only have Kamara, Harris, and Henderson. I need to play a minimum of two running backs every week. Thankfully, they all have different BYE weeks, but what are the odds they play every single game? Slim-to-none. So, I’ll have to work my magic on the waiver wire at some point (I have #2 priority after the draft, so I’ll want to use that to my advantage).

I get an extra roster spot with Michael Thomas on IR, so that helps. I have a couple players in mind as we get into the week that I’ll be looking to snag. Then, it’s just the long wait until the regular season starts!

I don’t know how this column is going to look this year, but I imagine it’ll be heavily discussing my Main League. However, I’ll also devote a section in each one to my Splinter League team. It’s too good and interesting to just ignore completely!

I’m also joining a third league – ran by my brother’s friend – but it’s going to be too confusing if I bring a third into the mix, so we’ll let that one go, unless I absolutely get a bug up my ass about it.

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

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

Piss on this game and anyone who plays it!

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

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

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

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

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

Remember my keepers for this year?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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