Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: If A Tree Falls In The Woods …

My season ended with a 147.85 to 143.05 victory over You Dropped Your Dildo in the 5 vs. 6 game of the fantasy playoffs. Sounds exciting, right? It’s less thrilling when you realize my opponent couldn’t have given two shits about this game. My hunch is, with the holidays and general fantasy apathy following a first round playoff exit, he didn’t check his team at all. As such, Ja’Marr Chase was left in his starting lineup, even though he was ruled out pretty early in the week. He could’ve easily subbed in Jonathan Taylor from his bench (moving his flex WR into the starting WR spot) for an additional 10.3 points.

So, I was essentially gifted this victory. Feels pretty hollow, but I’ll take it. As my prize, I get to draft 5th instead of 6th next year.

I’m kind of having a tough time grappling with my 147.85 points. Seems low when you consider I actually got good games out of both of my QBs (30.15 for Love, 26.2 for Fields). If I got that every week from those two guys next year, I’d take it in a heartbeat! I even got good games out of my two consistently-great skill guys in Lamb and Kyren Williams (25.2 and 16.4, respectively). But, the Jets only got me 12, Rashee Rice only got me 11.7, and everyone else – including my bench – got under 10. On the one hand, it’s nice to know my decision-making didn’t kill me once again; on the other hand, it sucks knowing that my team totally shit the bed, and if it weren’t for a guy taking the rest of the season off early, I would be drafting one spot worse.

I’ll also take solace in the fact that I would’ve lost this week anyway (had I won last week and advanced in the playoffs), as three of the top four remaining teams outscored me (and the fourth team wouldn’t have played me this week anyway, since he was another wild card team like me). So, blowing it last week was actually a good thing! I wouldn’t have advanced to the finals anyway, so this bought me a couple of extra spots in the draft.

Look, I’m just trying to cling to whatever silver lining I can find.

I should point out, for reference, that I dropped Bryce Young late last week. I was resolute in my decision to not keep him for next year, and as such, I decided holding onto Ty Chandler – in case the Vikings make him their everyday starter next year – was a little slice of upside, giving me yet another option for a potential dynasty RB. Who knows? Maybe this offseason he tears it up in the weight room and dominates the pre-season? It’s always good to have options.

So, of course, what happened this weekend? Bryce Young had the very best game of his professional career! He’ll be a stud in 2024, mark my words.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. In one of my other leagues, I advanced to the Consolation Bracket Finals, and I hear this league is giving the winner of the Consolation Bracket the first overall draft pick next year. We’ll see, it’s my brother’s friend’s league, so I’m only half-conscious about the actual rules and regulations.

The real good news comes with my Splinter League. Last year, my team Puppy Monkey Baby defeated Vinegar Strokes for the league championship. This year? My team The Annexation Of Puerto Rico is going up against his wife, 50 Shades Of Gritty for the league championship.

I’ve had pretty great teams in this league the last two years. A LOT of luck goes into that, but for whatever reason, I’ve just been locked in during the draft. Neither season has seen me making too many roster changes. Why can’t I transfer this way of fantasy football ownership to my main league?

Anyway, here is my lineup for the championship:

  • Josh Allen (QB) vs. NE
  • Dak Prescott (QB) vs. Det
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR) @ Dal
  • Puka Nacua (WR) @ NYG
  • Rachaad White (RB) vs. NO
  • Bijan Robinson (RB) @ Chi
  • Brandon Aiyuk (FLEX) @ Was
  • Jake Ferguson (FLEX) vs. Det
  • Kansas City (DEF) vs. Cin

It’s really the perfect league: no mandatory tight ends, no kickers, two flex spots, and five bench spots. On my bench, I have Tyler Allgeier (I’ve had both ATL running backs from the jump, which has been a nice little bit of peace of mind, as I so rarely get to enjoy such a pure handcuff situation), Ty Chandler (who didn’t look great last week, and may be looking at more of a timeshare situation with Mattison this weekend), Tee Higgins (who I am reluctant to start against my defense, especially since what are the odds he has three great weeks in a row after such an up-and-down season), Philly’s defense, and Matthew Stafford (who is playing some elite ball of late, but I’m not allowed to play three quarterbacks, and there’s no way I’m benching Josh Allen or Dak Prescott in the fantasy finals).

When I say I’ve been lucky this year, I’m mostly looking at the quarterbacks. I had the #2 overall draft pick in this league; Patrick Mahomes went #1, affording me the “consolation prize” of Allen (in this league, QB points are so high, it generally means that most top tier quarterbacks are gone by the first or second rounds). It’s a big shift from my drafting strategy LAST year, when I was picking near the bottom of the round, and waited until later in the draft to address my QB spots. I banked hard on a couple of bounce-back guys in Dak and Stafford, and both have come through like gangbusters.

I’ve also pretty much only rostered the three running backs I have all year (there was a spell where I had Kareem Hunt, when Atlanta was on BYE). White has been a revelation for me, but he wasn’t so great early in the season. For a few weeks there, I opted to roll with both Falcons RBs and just hoped they’d combine for something close to 20 points.

In this league, you live and die by your WR production. With two flex spots, if you’re not loading up on RBs, then you potentially need up to 4 WRs doing the most damage. I lucked into grabbing Nacua after week 1, but that was counter-balanced by Tee Higgins being largely hurt or underachieving. St. Brown and Aiyuk have been my rocks, but I’ll tell ya, I would be WAY more confident if I still had Tank Dell. Losing him has thrown my second flex spot into flux. I like Ferguson as a steady 10-point threat, and honestly I’m hoping that’s enough. High floor, low ceiling, can’t lose!

50 Shades of Gritty has lingered near the top of the league all year. This is a 4-team playoff, and all four of us were 10-5. I scored the most points, which gave me the 1-seed, and the easy 200.17 to 126.65 victory over my brother, Beer Thirty. I would’ve outscored both teams in the other playoff game, but it would’ve been much closer. Here is Gritty’s team:

  • Geno Smith (QB) vs. Pit
  • Derek Carr (QB) @ NO
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. Det
  • D.J. Moore (WR) vs. Atl
  • Jahmyr Gibbs (RB) @ Dal
  • D’Andre Swift (RB) vs. Ari
  • James Conner (FLEX) @ Phi
  • Michael Pittman Jr. (FLEX) vs. LV
  • Baltimore (DEF) vs. Mia

She’s got Godwin, JSN, and Addison on her bench, as well as Brian Robinson (up against the 49ers defense) and Tennessee’s defense (@ Hou). I don’t see how anyone could bench the Ravens’ defense given the way they’re playing, but Miami is always formidable.

Lamb scares me, of course. He’s been a true #1 receiver all year, and I have Dak as my quarterback, so they’re likely to match in points. I always refer to this as the wide receiver “taking” my quarterback’s points, since QBs are supposed to outscore all position players. My only hope is Ferguson getting all of Dak’s TD passes.

I don’t love her quarterbacks, but all of her running backs look amazing, and Pittman is an under-the-radar stud. I am very much going to have my hands full in this one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is Sloane N Steady’s lineup:

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

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

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

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

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: Down Goes Cousins

Well, I beat Champagne & Sweats 181.45 to 164.25. That brings my record to 4-4. I’m in fifth place, but I have the third-most points scored in the league. That’s the good news, I guess.

The bad news is that Kirk Cousins tore an Achilles, and he’s out for the year. This might do irreparable damage to my fantasy chances this year. I don’t know if I’ll be able to recover. For starters, I have three other Vikings on my team, who all suffer an immediate impact as a result of this injury. Besides that, Cousins has been one of the best fantasy QBs in the league this year! He’s right there with Tua (and would probably be ahead of him had he not gotten hurt during the last game), with only Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts ahead of him (and not by a ton).

So, that’s one of the best quarterbacks – and, indeed, one of the best players overall – lost for the rest of the year. That’s a hit to Addison significantly, a hit to Hockenson moderately, and practically kills Mattison’s value (which was already diminishing as Akers eats into his carries) because the Vikings are sure to be playing from behind the rest of the way.

On top of which, my depth at QB is sus as hell. Jordan Love is Just A Guy, but now he’s thrust into my every-week lineup for the foreseeable future, so I have to pray that he figures it out. Justin Fields can be great when he’s healthy, but who knows when he’ll be able to grip a football again? I already know he’s out this week; it might be two more on top of that, given a 6-week timetable for thumb injuries, then he has his BYE in Week 13. It feels like best case scenario is I have Fields for the final four weeks, but who knows how effective he’ll be after such a layoff? Then, there’s Bryce Young, who immediately becomes my second starter. I had no intention of playing him EVER, or at least until he took a significant step forward in his development. That might not ever happen! Not with how bad the team is around him (especially his O-Line). He’s averaging about 19.48 points per in his last three games, which is probably the best I can hope for. He’s also missed a game with injury and has two other games with fewer than 10 points, which is my nightmare right now.

I tried to make a waiver claim for Will Levis – who had his rookie debut last week, to the tune of 4 TD passes – but sadly not even my #2 waiver priority was enough to get me there. I’ve clung to that waiver priority all season (as a result of where I finished the previous year), but the #1 guy – who also has significant quarterback concerns – was able to leapfrog me. Levis will surely go on to have a Hall of Fame career, and this will be yet another back-breaking setback in a fantasy football career full of them.

Who else is available? Well, shockingly, Mac Jones is still out there. He’s the only legitimate starter I could grab. But, I’ve had him since he was a rookie (sans this season, of course), and he has NOT developed one iota since then. There are a couple of 26+ point performances, but also three games well under 10 (two of those being in the negative). I’m not thrilled, but I had to pick him up just to give myself a little depth for the time being, since my quarterbacks are apparently dropping like flies.

Of course, I dropped him within a couple hours yesterday, when it was announced that the Raiders are absolutely cleaning house. I decided Aidan O’Connell would be a higher-upside sort of guy. Considering he’s a 4th round rookie … probably not going to end up being the next Kirk Cousins (who was, himself, a 4th round draft pick at one point).

What a downer, for an otherwise excellent week. I got 40+ out of CeeDee Lamb, and a combined 40+ from Addison and Hockenson. Everyone but my starting running backs contributed in a legit way! I’m going to need that kind of collective effort A LOT going forward if I want to hang around. Otherwise, it’s the Consolation Bracket for me once again.

This week, I’m facing the other 4-4 team, Korky Butchek. I’m up on him by less than 10 points, so this is quite the Battle For Mediocrity! Here’s my (sigh) lineup:

  • Bryce Young (QB) vs. Ind
  • Jordan Love (QB) vs. LAR
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ Phi
  • Jordan Addison (WR) @ Atl
  • Kenneth Walker (RB) @ Bal
  • Tony Pollard (RB) @ Phi
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ Atl
  • Terry McLaurin (WR) @ NE
  • Dustin Hopkins (K) vs. Ari
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) vs. LAC

If Young can’t get it going against Indy’s terrible defense, I’ll have much bigger concerns about his abilities going forward. I would also love to see Love get it going against a beat-up Rams defense, the way the Cowboys were able to shred them. Predictably, when I dropped Christian Watson, he was picked up by the guy I was going up against last week (the same guy who’s a Packers fan and had been trying to trade Love away from me). He didn’t start Watson, but it’s only a matter of time before Watson starts blowing up like he did last year.

The only start/sit decision I had to make was McLaurin vs. Downs. Given the way Scary Terry has been utilized in recent weeks, combined with how often they have to throw the ball, he should be good for solid points. I may change my mind though. Indy throws the ball a lot, but may have a huge lead and decide to run it to death against the Panthers. We’ll see.

Lotta road games. Lotta bad matchups in those road games. I’m going to get crushed. Here’s Korky’s team:

  • Joe Burrow (QB) vs. Buf
  • Baker Mayfield (QB) @ Hou
  • A.J. Brown (WR) vs. Dal
  • Puka Nacua (WR) @ GB
  • Bijan Robinson (RB) vs. Min
  • Breece Hall (RB) vs. LAC
  • Dalton Kincaid (TE) @ Cin
  • D.J. Moore (WR) @ NO
  • Jason Sanders (K) @ KC
  • Kansas City (DEF) vs. Mia

Thankfully, Trevor Lawrence and George Kittle are on BYE for him, otherwise I’d get smashed into oblivion. Baker is obviously a HUGE step down, but nothing about Houston’s defense scares me too bad; I think he gets right this week. His RBs are studly and lethal; I also own them in other leagues where my teams are better, so that’s a bad sign. A.J. Brown is up there for best WR in the game right now; no way that doesn’t continue. Moore is a little iffy, but he’s got other capable backups on his bench if he decides to swap him out. I would be a little worried about KC’s defense against the Dolphins, but this game is in Europe, so anything can happen. They’ve also proven to be a fantastic fantasy defense this season regardless of opponent, so I expect nothing to change there either.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: I Never Had A Chance

Sometimes you go up against the guy who scores the most points in the league. Shit happens. 181.15-142.25.

Sometimes, it just so happens to coincide with your two quarterbacks combining for 16.05 points, in a game where they’re going up against one another (Minnesota @ Chicago) and it was projected to be something of a shootout. To be fair, Cousins and Fields would’ve needed phenomenal games for me to pull this one out. But, to finish with such shitty numbers is really demoralizing for someone who’s spent the better part of half a decade trying to fix his quarterback problem.

I got good-enough points everywhere else to give myself a chance. Everyone except my kicker hit double digits; everyone got close to their projection, or beat them by a pretty good margin (good on the Jets’ defense, Kyren Williams, and Kenneth Walker). But, how can I compete when guys like Tyreek Hill, Raheem Mostert, Jared Goff, and Adam Thielen are absolutely going OFF?

The good news is: enough people around me also lost, and I scored a good number of points to give myself a fighting chance with the standings. I’m still in fifth place (the best of the five 2-4 teams), but I have the third-most points in the league.

The bad news is: Week 7 is upon us. It’s my BYE-armageddon.

No Tony Pollard, no CeeDee Lamb, no Bryce Young, no Evan McPherson, no Jets’ defense. And, thanks to injuries, no Fields or Williams. I’m in BAD shape. I’m going to have to (hopefully temporarily) drop my kicker; thankfully, I can use an IR spot finally, so I won’t have to lose my precious Jets.

There’s six teams on BYE this week. Unfortunately, my opponent isn’t NEARLY as throttled as I am. He loses Nico Collins and Chuba Hubbard; I have to imagine one of those guys was destined to be benched anyway since he’s likely getting Aaron Jones back this week. Also, his team name is Car Talk With Josh Allen, so you can guess who one of his quarterbacks is.

I have penciled this game in as a loss since the draft (which has made losing the last two games all the more agonizing). Here’s my M.A.S.H. unit:

  • Kirk Cousins (QB) vs. SF
  • Jordan Love (QB) @ Den
  • Christian Watson (WR) @ Den
  • Jordan Addison (WR) vs. SF
  • Kenneth Walker (RB) vs. Ari
  • Alexander Mattison (RB) vs. SF
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) vs. SF
  • Terry McLaurin (WR) @ NYG
  • Brandon McManus (K) @ NO
  • Green Bay (DEF) @ Den

The last thing I wanted to do was load up on Vikings this week, especially with the 49ers coming off of a loss. My intended lineup was to include both Fields and Love for the first time this year, to give my team some semblance of the look it might have in 2024 and potentially beyond. Instead, I have four Vikings in my lineup. Mattison will surely be stuffed all day, Addison and Hockenson will likely cede receptions to whoever’s left on that team that I don’t currently own, and Cousins should be good for 3-4 picks.

On the plus side, give me all your Packers against that Broncos defense; this will hopefully be a rebound day for Love and Watson. Walker has been very steady for me this season, and McLaurin has been up and down.

I had my pick of some pretty good defensive options once Wednesday rolled around and all the waiver claims had gone through. The only defense claimed on waivers was the Rams. The top projected defense this week in free agency was Las Vegas, at Chicago. Believe me, I was tempted! I’m probably going to look back on this decision and really regret what I did. But, I dunno. The Raiders on the road? They’re boom or bust on defense; they’ve boomed the last two weeks, but that was at home. I could see the Bears actually doing something without Fields out there constantly giving the ball to the other team. There was also Washington at the Giants; for as bad as the Giants’ offense is, though, I think the Commanders are worse on defense. If I wanted a home team, I could’ve nabbed Indy who’s hosting Cleveland. But, I opted to go with the Anti-Denver strategy. Green Bay, in general, has put up good points every week; they’re far more reliable in my mind. There’s been no negative weeks (in spite of playing the Lions), there’s three double-digit points weeks, including a couple up around 20. Denver’s offense is always a trainwreck ready to happen, so I’ll take my chances here. Even though I kinda sorta feel bad for Russell Wilson, I still get a giddy little thrill when he stinks up the joint.

Not a ton of great options for kicker. Jason Myers got snapped up in a waiver claim early Wednesday morning. Of available free agent kickers, the Raiders’ guy was projected highest, but I don’t trust them to move the ball well without Jimmy G. I dunno, it’s a lot of the usual suspects; I’m sure I got it wrong. I usually like a kicker who’s on a good offense (we’ll see, but Jacksonville seems okay), going up against a good defense (so they’re not just scoring TDs at will). I feel like the Jags should move the ball on New Orleans, but maybe stall out in the red zone. It’s indoors, which I love. My biggest concern is that it’s a Thursday night game, so watch the Jags get shut out or something.

I guess the one thing I have going for me is the fact that my bench is unavailable to me, so I don’t REALLY have to make any decisions (other than the aforementioned rentals I picked up at kicker and defense).

But, I’m really banking on my opponent having an uncharacteristically bad week. Considering he’s 5-1 on the season, he hasn’t had too many of those. Here’s his lineup:

  • Josh Allen (QB) @ NE
  • Brock Purdy (QB) @ Min
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. Ari
  • DeVonta Smith (WR) vs. Mia
  • Brian Robinson (RB) @ NYG
  • Aaron Jones (RB) @ Den
  • Travis Kelce (TE) vs. LAC
  • Amari Cooper (WR) @ Ind
  • Tyler Bass (K) @ NE
  • New Orleans (DEF) vs. Jax

If it all wasn’t bad enough for me, he’s got the best QB, the best TE, a loaded receiver room, and Jones will probably steal all the points I get out of Love and then some. He’s also got Cleveland’s defense against Indy, if he wants to shuffle two amazing options at that spot.

I’ll be particularly focused on the D.K. Metcalf Revenge Game. He was on my team last year, and I ended up keeping Watson over him. So, I only have myself to blame when D.K. scores two TDs and thoroughly embarrasses me.

The silver lining of this past weekend is that I won my other two matchups pretty handily. I’m going to need them to continue that trend if I want to enjoy this weekend at all, from a fantasy perspective.

Can The Underdog Seahawks Turn Their Season Around?

There’s kind of a lot on the line this week. I’m the last person who LIKES being an alarmist; it’s just so fucking predictable and cliche for the hardcore football fan to be like, “WEEK 2 IS A MUST WIN GAME FOR THE SEAHAWKS OTHERWISE THE SEASON IS OVER AND WE MIGHT AS WELL ALL KILL OURSELVES!!!1”.

For the record: do NOT kill yourself if the Seahawks lose this week.

There’s a number of ways to look at this, though. Every time week 2 of the NFL season comes and goes, you get the requisite: such and such percent of teams who start 0-2 make the playoffs; that percentage falls to such and such if they start 0-3. I really only have articles from last year, but since 1970, only 9.5% of teams that started 0-2 made the playoffs. Since 1990, only 14.8% of 0-2 teams made it. Last year, Cincinnati started 0-2 and finished with a 12-4 record (the unfinished Buffalo game notwithstanding) to win their division. That’s a pretty remarkable turnaround; definitely not the norm.

There’s been 6 teams total since 1979 that have made the playoffs after an 0-3 start, for what it’s worth. So, not great.

Last year, the Seahawks started 1-2 before turning things around – oddly enough, with a 48-45 victory over the Lions in Detroit kicking things off – but I guess I’m less concerned about just making the playoffs. There’s always a 9- or 10-win team squeaking into a wild card spot. It’s very possible to start 0-2 and get there; tack on a win at home next week against Carolina and we’re in the same spot we were a year ago. But, I guess I just had higher hopes for this team. Or, you know, just fool me a bit! Make me believe the Seahawks have what it takes to contend with the 49ers! Don’t rip off the band aid in the first two weeks with an 0-2 start.

Sports seasons are most fun when you know you’re elite. 49ers fans must be thrilled right now. Eagles and Cowboys fans are feeling great. The next level of entertainment is when you THINK you’re great. Dolphins fans, Lions fans, Chiefs, Bills, Bengals, Jaguars, and even lower rung teams like Packers, Browns, Ravens, Patriots, Vikings, and Giants fans can delude themselves into having high hopes. No hope for Jets fans though. Never Jets fans. And the Giants fans are only there because they’re galoots who don’t know any better.

But, we Seahawks fans don’t get to live in that fantasy. Not after last week. The best we can hope for is that the Rams are better than anyone expected, and might be a dark horse for a playoff spot. I don’t believe that’s the case. I think the Rams ARE who we thought they were, and they’re going to finish among the bottom teams in football. Which makes our 17-point loss at home all the more demoralizing.

So, that’s a lot to overcome in one week. The Seahawks are fighting for their own fans to have some semblance of confidence in this team, this season. Even if we were always meant to be in a stepping stone year in 2023, it has to actually be a step UP. It can’t look like every other year since 2015.

What does that look like? Well, the team as a whole gets off to a slow start. Not an alarmingly slow start, but an annoyingly slow start. The defense is utter shit, but the offense is just good enough (sometimes) to float around .500 for a while. Then, we go on a little mid-season run to get everyone flying high, before the offense collapses into itself and the we’re stumbling our way into the playoffs. We settle for yet another wild card spot, and we lose in the wild card round. While I’m exaggerating about the 2015 thing, it’s been a virtual reality since 2018 (there was a surprise division championship in 2020, only for us to lose to the Rams in the first round at home).

I can’t go through it again. I REALLY can’t go through it again when I know exactly what’s going to happen.

Winning in Detroit this week would go a long way in changing that perception.

For the record, I’m not even REMOTELY interested in any moral victories this week. We all know the storyline: the Seahawks are as low as a team can be. The Lions, meanwhile, finished 9-8 last year, knocking hated rivals Green Bay out of the playoffs in Week 18, and followed that up with a thrilling victory in Kansas City over the Super Bowl champs last Thursday to kick off the NFL season. They had a potentially-underrated off-season and draft, there’s both a lot of hype and anti-hype surrounding the Lions (many predicting them to win the NFC North; many also predicting them to be the team that most disappoints expectations), but one thing most people agree upon: they’re going to be fun and they’re going to score a lot of points this year. Now, with their 1-0 start, they play at home in front of a sellout crowd that’s going to be louder and more raucous than they’ve been since Barry Sanders’ heyday.

It’s a lot for the Seahawks to walk into.

The Lions are favored by 4.5 points. That line hasn’t really changed since the week began; we’ll see what happens as Sunday approaches. No one REALLY thinks the Seahawks are going to win. Odds say the Lions have a 2/3 chance of winning, which honestly feels low. The Seahawks are likely to be missing both offensive tackles. Devon Witherspoon is probably another week away from entering the starting lineup (who knows if he’ll even play at all this Sunday); Jamal Adams is probably a month away from returning to limited game action. JSN sure as shit didn’t look 100% last week, and I have no idea what’s going on with Lockett. The Seahawks just signed 41 year old Jason Peters off the scrap heap, who might HAVE to start this week, because Stone Forsythe is a joke. Meanwhile, Abe Lucas just hit the IR and we’ll see if he’s able to return this year and actually make a positive impact.

It’s a nightmare. I’m flashing on the Seahawks getting saddled with having the ball first, going 3 & Out, and the roof literally exploding off of that dome. It makes me physically ill.

I’m also flashing on Jared Goff carving up our defense with precision passes, and their running backs double-teaming us right in the pooper at a 5-yards-per-carry clip.

Maybe that all comes to fruition. Maybe these Seahawks are significantly worse than we thought. Maybe we just caught two teams at the wrong time of year, when they’re playing their absolute best. I’m not willing to completely throw out of bed the possibility that we lose by double digits once again.

But, it’s not like we haven’t been here before. There’s something fishy about a line like 4.5, after the Seahawks looked the way they looked last week, and the Lions looked the way they looked last week. Why isn’t it 6 or 7? If I was a dispassionate sports bettor, I’d be looking at the Lions like the lock of the week. I’m assuming the betting public will be on the Lions hot and heavy, if they aren’t already. What are the sharps doing, though? Where are they going to lean?

The Seahawks thrive in chaos. The Seahawks love being the underdogs. The Seahawks constantly defy expectations when you least expect it. There’s no real rational reason to pick the Seahawks to win this game. But, winning this game – dirty and ugly – is the most Seahawky thing I can think of. Especially if they go down 7-0 early in the first quarter.

There’s been nothing but bad vibes permeating throughout Seahawksland this week. Everything that could go wrong DID go wrong last week. We’re all just bracing for the 0-2 start, and the obituaries that will surely follow.

But, isn’t that what Week 2 is all about? Trying to figure out what’s real, and what’s an overreaction?

Look at fantasy. Think about all the players who stunk up the joint last week. Hell, I had a number of them on my teams! Tee “Zero Catches” Higgins, Joe Burrow, Christian Kirk, Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Elijah Mitchell, the Steelers’ defense; they all did nothing or next-to-nothing last week. Meanwhile, Jordan Love, Zay Flowers, Brandon Aiyuk, Tyler Allgeier, Puka Nacua, Matthew Stafford, Jordan Addison, the Jets’ defense; they all killed it in week 1 (many of them for my bench, or on the waiver pile). Are all of those guys who stunk going to continue to suck? Of course not; I would bet on most of them turning it around this very week. Similarly, will Jordan Love play at an MVP clip, and will Flowers, Nacua, and Addison never have ANY rookie pitfalls? Of course not.

Guys have bad games. The good ones tend to bounce back the very next week. I still believe the Seahawks have a number of good guys on their team.

The question will be: is this a fundamental, deeply-rooted problem that goes beyond the individual talent level of guys like Dre’Mont Jones, D.K. Metcalf, Bobby Wagner, and Geno Smith? Is it the scheme? The coaching staff? The head coach? The general manager?

We’ll find out. For what it’s worth, I like the Seahawks to cover +4.5. I also don’t hate the notion of the Seahawks winning outright, but a 30-something percent chance – as I mentioned before – feels a little high. My fear is that the Seahawks look 1,000% better than they did last week, but they still fall short at the end. Either the Lions score late to win it, or we have the ball with two minutes to go and Geno is running for his life and getting sacked for his trouble.

0-2, here we come.

Predicting The 2023 NFL Season

Guess who’s back! Back again! The NFL prediction post is the one that’s back again. Here are the prior years I’ve done it:

Last year, I was just BRUTALLY awful. Bills over Packers in the Super Bowl, let’s just start there, because believe me, it gets worse. I had Denver and the Colts as division champions. I had the Giants and Seahawks as among the four worst teams in football; I also had the Jags coming in last in their division.

Turn the page! On to the next! Let’s flush 2022 and get back on the winning train. Here are my predictions for the entire NFL:

NFC East

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • New York Giants
  • Washington Commanders

I made this mistake – picking the Cowboys over the Eagles – last year, but I’m running it back because I think Dallas is really good on both sides of the ball. I think Dak has a bounce-back season in him (I’m banking one of my fantasy team’s fortunes on this), and I think they win one more than Philly in a Super Bowl Hangover season. I don’t know if I like the Giants to repeat as wild card teams, and I actually lowkey believe in Washington keeping things close with New York

NFC North

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

I think most people are penciling in the Lions as division champs – based on how they finished 2022 – but I’m not buying it. They MIGHT be able to squeak into the playoffs, but we’ll see. I like the Vikings; I think they’re underrated. I don’t think they’ll be as fortunate in close games as they were last year, but even if they regress down to 10 wins or so, I think that’s enough to win the division. My big reach is the Packers overtaking the Lions behind Jordan Love and a solid defense. I think the Bears are – at best – a year away.

NFC South

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

I like the Saints to win this at 9-8; very mediocre. I think the Falcons might get to 7-8 wins at best. I think the Panthers will be better than people expect (many are expecting them to be among the worst teams in football), but they’ll come on too late to make an impact. I think the Bucs will legitimately be among the four worst teams in football.

NFC West

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

Fuck it, let’s go! Give me the Seahawks as division champs! Give me the Seahawks as a Top 2 seed! Give me the 49ers settling for the wild card. Give me the Rams being slightly better than expected (6-8 wins). And give me the Cards contending for a top overall draft pick.

AFC East

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

I had the toughest time with this one, but here’s my rationale. I love the Jets’ defense. I know the popular pick is for the offense to underperform behind Aaron Rodgers, but I think he has enough in the tank to give them one good season; they also shouldn’t need to score a ton to get there. With the talent they have at the skill positions, I think that’ll be more than enough to compensate for a potentially-shaky O-Line. I’m putting my eggs in the basket that Tua will stay healthy and that Miami offense will do some work. I think Buffalo’s defense is shaky as hell, and we’ll see some regression out of an offense that relies too much on Josh Allen. For what it’s worth, I think the Pats’ defense is among the best in football, and they’ll be involved in a lot of low-scoring games where they still manage to win 8-9 games.

AFC North

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

I just think the Bengals are the whole package. I love the Steelers’ defense and think Pickett takes a big step in his development. The Browns have a lot of talent, but I’m not so sure they’ve got enough at the quarterback spot to overtake the top two teams. And, sort of by default, I think the Ravens struggle.

AFC South

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

I want one last ride with the Titans: great coaching, good-enough defense, so-so quarterback play, and one final monster year from Derrick Henry. I think the Jags are also right there and will nab one of the wild card spots. Houston and Indy will be among the bottom-feeders in football

AFC West

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

I’m not super high on the Chiefs to repeat as champions, but I think they’re the best of an otherwise Just Okay division. The Chargers will probably be among the first ones out of the playoffs. I think Denver will be slightly improved, but I also think Russell Wilson is finished as a premiere quarterback. And I think the Raiders are a mess.

NFC Playoffs

  1. Dallas Cowboys
  2. Seattle Seahawks
  3. Minnesota Vikings
  4. New Orleans Saints
  5. Philadelphia Eagles
  6. San Francisco 49ers
  7. Green Bay Packers

AFC Playoffs

  1. Cincinnati Bengals
  2. New York Jets
  3. Kansas City Chiefs
  4. Tennessee Titans
  5. Miami Dolphins
  6. Jacksonville Jaguars
  7. Pittsburgh Steelers

Wild Card Round

  • Seahawks over Packers
  • 49ers over Vikings
  • Eagles over Saints
  • Jets over Steelers
  • Chiefs over Jaguars
  • Dolphins over Titans

Divisional Round

  • Cowboys over 49ers
  • Seahawks over Eagles
  • Bengals over Dolphins
  • Chiefs over Jets

Championship Round

  • Cowboys over Seahawks
  • Bengals over Chiefs

Super Bowl

  • Bengals over Cowboys

Probably a little too high on the Seahawks. Probably a little too low on the 49ers. Almost certainly too high on the Cowboys. Might be a mistake dismissing the Bills the way I did. We’ll see! I don’t feel great about any of it, other than the Bengals. For whatever reason, I really like Cincy this year (almost certainly the kiss of death!).

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: Draft Results May Vary

I completed three fantasy football drafts in about an 80-hour span; is it possible to feel terrible about every single one of them?

Before we dive into my Dyntasy League 5-round draft, I’ll talk a little bit about my other two teams, as I seem to have stumbled into a couple of different strategies without even trying.

Every draft is different. You never know where you’re going to land in any given draft (assuming it’s randomly selected for you), you never know who’s going to be available (who people reach for, or who people steal from you at the last moment), and so you can go into a draft with one plan, but circumstances force you to go another way.

I try to be adaptable. I’m just looking for as many good players as possible. If it comes down to one of two guys, I’ll simply take the player I want to root for more. And I definitely tend to skew towards younger players, especially at running back and wide receiver.

Yet, I think I have two wildly different teams! To wit, the True League, and my team, RUM HAM:

  • Jalen Hurts (QB)
  • Aaron Rodgers (QB)
  • James Conner (RB)
  • Dalvin Cook (RB)
  • Breece Hall (RB)
  • Elijah Mitchell (RB)
  • Jonathan Taylor (RB)
  • Jahan Dotson (WR)
  • Treylon Burks (WR)
  • Zay Flowers (WR)
  • Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR)
  • Cooper Kupp (WR)
  • Jameson Williams (WR)
  • Travis Kelce (TE)
  • Kicker TBD
  • New York Jets (DEF)

There’s injury concerns (Conner, Hall, Mitchell, Taylor, Kupp), there’s age concerns (Rodgers, Kelce, Conner again), and then there’s just an endless array of first- and second-year players (Hall, Dotson, Burks, Flowers, JSN, Williams). This is more of a standard scoring league, with half-PPR I believe, but I don’t know if I have enough TD-power to cut the mustard. Will Taylor return to playing football this season? How bad is Kupp’s injury? How many games will I get out of Conner? When will Hall have his inevitable set-back? Will I be able to hold onto Williams through his entire 6-week suspension?

There’s a lot of questions swirling around my team. On the one end of the spectrum of possibilities, I’ll be spending every week scrambling to field a healthy team, constantly worried about and second-guessing injury reports. On the other end, my hurt guys get healthy, and I’m able to field a juggernaut by season’s end that will take me all the way to the championship. High variance, high reward!

Also, I should say, I do like Dotson and Burks more than most. And, really, the Cardinals ONLY have Conner, so he should feast as the only dude on that offense.

Now, here’s my other team, The Annexation Of Puerto Rico, in my beloved Splinter League:

  • Josh Allen (QB)
  • Dak Prescott (QB)
  • Matthew Stafford (QB)
  • Bijan Robinson (RB)
  • Rachaad White (RB)
  • Tyler Allgeier (RB)
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR)
  • Tee Higgins (WR)
  • Christian Kirk (WR)
  • George Pickens (WR)
  • Brandon Aiyuk (WR)
  • Treylon Burks (WR)
  • Jameson Williams (WR)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (DEF)

On the flipside, not a lot of injury issues here, at least out of the gate. But, I also don’t have the glut of running backs to pull from in a pinch. Thankfully, I have the Falcons guys to fall back on, but if White is a bust, I’m kind of screwed.

In the True League, I had the fifth pick in the draft. After the usual suspects went 1-4, I made Kelce my top overall pick. By contrast, in the Splinter League, I had the second pick. Last year, I won it all by having the 10th pick, so this was a VASTLY different experience for me. My Splinter League is even more quarterback-crazy (2 QB league, 1 point per 15 passing yards, 6-point TDs, -4 INTs), and I’m happy to say I got to take Josh Allen for the first time ever. That’s a recipe for him having an uncharacteristically-down year if I’ve ever heard one!

Anyway, I guess we’ll see. I should point out that in the True League, I got an A+ grade by Yahoo, second overall in the league. And, in the Splinter League, I also got an A+ grade, first overall. Will that mean anything? We’ll see. I had a high grade last year in Splinter as well, and ended up winning the whole thing. But, there’s a lot that goes into a championship season; you need to get extremely lucky along the way.

In my Dynasty League, my team – Fight The Mattriarchy! – got a D grade, 8th out of 10 teams. Since everyone’s 10 keepers get slotted randomly into the draft rounds 1-10, I don’t know how much of that grade is outside of my control. But, with the way AI has been trending, I think Yahoo is probably able to take a global view of every team’s quality and depth of players and make an honest assessment. I mean, I’ve been kind of bottom-feeding for a while now; maybe my keepers aren’t up to snuff.

I wrote about my dilemma last week, so you can read that HERE. That link will also tell you who my keepers were. Without further ado, let’s talk about my 5-round draft! Or, rather, my 3-round/5-person draft.

As expected, the two rookie running backs went 1 and 2 (Bijan and Jahmyr Gibbs). That left one guy standing between me and the quarterback of my dreams/nightmares. He ended up taking Anthony Richardson, which left me no choice but to take Bryce Young. Here’s hoping that #1 overall NFL draft pedigree accounts for something!

By the time I selected with my second pick in the first round, I sadly missed out on re-acquiring D.K. Metcalf, who went two picks earlier. I also missed out on Joe Mixon, C.J. Stroud, Calvin Ridley, and Daniel Jones. So, I made my pick, and I made it Kirk Cousins.

He was already on my radar as a potential pick at #4, because I’ve got Fields and Love, so why not have a little leeway in case of injuries or ineffectiveness? Now, I get to have both my cake and eating it too! I get my rookie lottery ticket, AND I get the veteran who’s mostly good, but occasionally terrible when you least can afford it. I’m not saying I love having Cousins on my team; I’m just saying he should be better than Young and Love, at least in the early going.

I’M FIELDING A FANTASY TEAM WITH TWO COMPETENT QUARTERBACKS IF IT FUCKING KILLS ME!

The second round went pretty well for me: JSN, Sam Howell, and Isiah Pacheco with the top three. I had pretty much my pick of the rookie receivers, and opted to go with the guy from the Vikings, Jordan Addison. I would’ve taken him even if I didn’t have Cousins, but I love having them both, for obvious Double Touchdown reasons! The rest of the second round went Miles Sanders, James Cook, Dotson, Mac Jones, and Mike Williams before I selected again. I would’ve only wanted Dotson, or MAYBE Cook, out of that group. I’ve had Mac Jones for the last couple seasons, and good riddance!

With my second pick in the second round, I got to FINALLY draft Scary Terry McLaurin! I’ve wanted him since he was a rookie, but he was snagged out from under me. Having him fall to me couldn’t have gone better; I’m very happy with my receiver depth now!

Finally, the third round went like this: Dalton Kincaid, Christian Kirk, and Aiyuk. That left me with Dalvin Cook as my final draft pick of the evening. I don’t love him as a long-term prospect, but early on he should get the bulk of the carries as Hall returns from his injury. Cook is also insurance against Alexander Mattison, in the event a starter’s load doesn’t suit him well. As long as Cook stays healthy, Aaron Rodgers is going to want him in there, and that offense should have enough meat on the bone for all their stars, including Cook for an occasional TD. Who’s to say Cook couldn’t be the Ezekiel Elliott in this offense, vulturing touchdowns left and right?!

For Week 1, I’m starting Fields & Cousins, Lamb & Watson, Walker & Pollard, Hockenson & Cook (though, I may put McLaurin in there as a last-minute replacement, if it looks like he’s fully healthy, because that Arizona defense looks like straight garbage).

We’ll see how it all goes! I’ll be on here every week lamenting my losses and celebrating my victories.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: Anthony Richardson vs. Bryce Young vs. ???

Our draft in my dynasty league is this Friday, September 1st, and so much is hinging on what happens in these five rounds. Rookies, players left over from last year; playing for this year while keeping an eye towards the future. It’s a lot to grapple with!

For those unaware of how this league operates, I ask you, why are you reading this? You don’t want to hear about my fantasy team! Nobody wants to hear about anyone’s fantasy team! But, if you’re interested in continuing, here’s the jist: this is a 2-QB PPR league with adjusted scoring to make quarterbacks more important (6-point TDs, 1 point per 20 yards passing, -4 points for INTs). Every team keeps 10 players, one per position, with one regular flex. Here’s the roster I kept:

  • Justin Fields (QB)
  • Jordan Love (QB)
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR)
  • Christian Watson (WR)
  • Tony Pollard (RB)
  • Kenneth Walker (RB)
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE)
  • Alexander Mattison (RB)
  • Evan McPherson (K)
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF)

I had one decision to agonize over, and that was leaving D.K. Metcalf off of my team. For starters, he was a prior trade acquisition of mine, so part of me feels like I gave up a lot to get him, and then threw him away for nothing. Granted, I don’t remember what it cost to bring him to my team, but I remember it being somewhat significant. It more or less came down to Metcalf vs. Watson. I was committed to keeping three running backs, especially when Dalvin Cook was released by the Vikings and Mattison was there to pick up all those extra snaps. Now, Mattison might be mediocre, and he might get hurt or eventually lose his starting job. But, I couldn’t resist keeping a bona fide lead running back in a high-powered offense.

The Watson vs. Metcalf debate might haunt me all season long, though. My rationale for only keeping two receivers is simple: you can always find a quality receiver late in the draft or in free agency during the season. It’s how I got Watson in the first place. I like Watson’s upside as the #1 receiver with relatively little competition from any other Packer; whereas Metcalf has to contend with Lockett and Smith-Njigba and a quarterback who likes to spread the ball around. The obvious downside is the fact that Metcalf is a proven 1,000-yard receiver, who’s going to get the lion’s share of attention in red zone situations (and, not for nothing, but he’s also got big play abilities to score from anywhere on the field). Watson is a second year player, catching balls from a quarterback in his first year as the starter. He could be a total bust! But, the big plays he was making, and his pedigree out of the draft last year, made him intriguing. You don’t win fantasy football leagues on intriguing players, I get that. But, ultimately, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have both Love and Watson on my team. Double touchdowns!

In lesser decision-making news, I decided to keep Love over both Stafford (old, injured last year, on a terrible team) and Mac Jones (might be good for a bounce-back under better offensive coaching, but I’ll have to see it to believe it), going for upside.

As has been the case for the last half-decade, if not longer, Quarterback is my weakest position. In a league where quarterbacks are – again – the most important position. The difference here is that I feel like I finally have someone viable in Justin Fields. If he stays healthy, he’s a strong bet to turn into a Jalen Hurts type. If that’s the case, with the rest of my team looking pretty strong, that means I need to focus on the second quarterback spot.

I’m drafting fourth this year. I also have extra picks in the first two rounds (in a deal made last season), while having given up my picks in the final two rounds. So, every team drafts their bench, essentially. Five rounds for five spots (or, in my case, three rounds for five spots).

I have it on reasonably-good authority that both Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs will be selected ahead of me. These could be lies, of course. Competitors gaining an edge by throwing me off the scent. But, I know for a fact that one of the teams has two loaded quarterbacks and has no need to take another rookie. So, even if the other guy goes rogue and both Anthony Richardson and Bryce Young are gone by the time I select, then I have no problem whatsoever grabbing Gibbs and further bolstering my running back stable.

Based on the information I have, and knowing who the #3 pick has at quarterback heading into the draft (Aaron Rodgers and Derek Carr), I am reasonably sure he’s 1,000% taking a quarterback.

There’s one interesting wrinkle to this debate, and that’s the fact that Kirk Cousins is available as well. Of the quarterbacks not kept by teams from last year, the top holdovers are Cousins, Stafford, Daniel Jones, Sam Howell, and then the likes of Jimmy G, Ryan Tannehill, Baker Mayfield, Mac Jones, and Desmond Ridder. So, the quality is falling FAST. If #3 is looking to play for this year, and wants a safe, pro-ready option to gobble a lot of points, he could very well roll with Cousins and take his chances. If you believe Aaron Rodgers is destined for a bounce-back, on a new team, with a familiar coordinator, and a stable of studs at the skill positions around him, then you could do a lot worse choosing between Carr and Cousins every week based on matchups. I like the rest of #3’s team, so he could definitely make that work and ride it into the playoffs.

My take on this year’s rookies is pretty well set in my mind. For fantasy purposes, I think Anthony Richardson is the clear top dog. I think Bryce Young is the safest bet, even though he’s too short and doesn’t run and has no weapons and a suspect O-Line (for what it’s worth, I think they all have suspect O-Lines). And I think C.J. Stroud is the worst of the three, in the worst situation (even worse weapons, with a first time head coach who might be bad at the job, in an organization that has no idea what it’s doing). I was never taking C.J. Stroud, even if the other two guys were taken ahead of me; he’s off all my draft boards (so, knowing me, maybe bet the farm on Stroud being a Hall of Famer when it’s all said and done).

They all have drawbacks, of course. I think the hype train is a little too inflated for Richardson. He’s getting A LOT of Josh Allen comparisons. But, Josh Allens don’t grow on trees! He’s kind of a unicorn. Most quarterbacks don’t improve their completion percentages that significantly from the college to the pros. With Richardson, obviously he’s projected to be a points hog because he runs so well. And now it appears the Colts won’t have any competition for him, if they ultimately trade Jonathan Taylor (or he holds out). But, the downside is, his value is mitigated if he can’t also throw for touchdowns, or worse, if he throws a lot of interceptions (the -4 for INTs is the great equalizer in our league, and should be standard for all fantasy football leagues). Also, on a personal level, do I really want both Fields and Richardson? Two guys who run a lot, can’t throw, and are one big hit away from sinking my season?

If I were to talk myself into Bryce Young, I’d talk about his leadership, his poise, his intangibles. He’s also very accurate and he’s a winner. There’s a reason why he was the #1 pick in the NFL. Young really bridges the gap for me when it comes to being ready THIS season. Richardson might have more upside, and a higher longterm outlook for fantasy purposes. But, if I want to win THIS year? Young might be the better way to go.

My second pick in the first round isn’t until the very end, at number 10. I highly doubt Cousins will be there for me in this scenario. But, I don’t want to throw all my eggs in the Cousins basket for this year at pick 4, because he’s 35 years old, he’s on the final year of his deal, and I have no idea where he’ll be going forward. Also, it’s never fun to have to rely on Cousins; he takes a dump at the most inopportune times!

Once I have my quarterback locked in at 4, I need to scramble and get a receiver at 10. Because if I wait until the second round, it might be too late. My secret hope is that D.K. Metcalf is still there at 10, but that might be a longshot. How confident am I in Calvin Ridley? Yeesh. That’s either going to work out spectacularly or blow up in my face. I’ve always wanted Scary Terry McLaurin, and he’s out there again for me!

Of the rookie receivers, I dunno. JSN is probably the most talented, but not in a situation to showcase his talents. Do I want to trust a receiver for the Ravens? Or the third receiver on the Chargers? Or the #2 to Justin Jefferson’s #1? I wouldn’t mind terribly seeing who’s left over of those four, and taking that guy in the second round.

Then, it’s just Best Player Available. Don’t have to worry about kickers. I could always look into keeping a second defense, though I like the Jets a lot and they don’t have a BYE until Week 7. We’ll see. A lot riding on this one! I’ve been in rebuild mode for the last 3-4 years; now it’s time to see if I can take that next step.

Is Geno Smith A Top 10 Quarterback In 2023?

There’s a lot of Top 10 lists being thrown around nowadays when it comes to the NFL. You know, it’s still pre pre-season, most of the important free agents have signed with teams, and there just isn’t much going on. The calm before the storm, if you will.

So, to get everyone all riled up, media outlets create fake outrage (in the absence of legitimate outrage, which will surely be coming, if it isn’t already here – NFL running backs being underpaid and whatnot) to get everyone talking about football. It’s how we keep the NFL on the front of everyone’s mind 24/7/365.

They’ve been doing this series of Top 10 lists by position group, and save D.K. Metcalf (I think), the Seahawks can’t seem to buy any representation. Hell, even Pete Carroll can’t get a Top 10 nod, being ranked behind the likes of Brian Daboll, Kyle Shanahan, among other coaches who don’t have the resume Pete has. Other than PFF being responsible for that head coach list, I don’t really know where these are coming from. Is it ESPN? NFL.com? Other? I don’t really care.

Other than the head coaching thing, I kind of understand why the Seahawks aren’t among the Top 10 in anything. Outside of D.K., who is our biggest star? I would argue our very best players are so young, they haven’t had a chance to really prove themselves. There’s a variety of rookies from the last couple drafts (including 2023) who I believe will turn into studs, if they aren’t there already. So, you know what? Disrespect them now! Put another chip on their shoulders! I read on Twitter that the Seahawks were iced out of the top 32 in NFL offensive tackles; great! Stupendous! Charles Cross and Abe Lucas see that, and they’re coming for you!

But, if anyone might have a gripe, I think it’s Geno Smith. I think he might be a Top 10 quarterback, and he’s being summarily dismissed once again in the eyes of the know-it-all pundits.

Not all of them. There are always contrarians out there willing to go to bat for Geno. But, it’s weird just the same.

We’re not making a case for All Time Top 10. We’re just talking about the Top 10 quarterbacks heading into 2023. It’s a prediction, based on last year’s production, and what you think is possible for this year.

The usual suspects round out the very top of this list: Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Justin Herbert. On the next tier down, I think you can make an argument for Lamar Jackson, Kirk Cousins, Tua Tagovailoa, Trevor Lawrence, Jared Goff, Dak Prescott, Matthew Stafford, and even Aaron Rodgers; they all have flaws, but I think they have to be in the conversation just the same.

And I would put Geno Smith squarely in that group in the second tier.

So, we’re locking in the Top 5, in some order: Mahomes, Burrow, Allen, Hurts, Herbert. What about the next five?

Well, I think you have to consider the very real injury risks coming with the likes of Tua, Dak, Lamar, and Stafford. Stafford’s arm is about to fall off, plus the talent around him is depleted. Even if he plays in 2023, I don’t think he’ll be better than Geno. When you take away the Dak injury, he was still wildly inconsistent, and good for at least a mistake a game that might cost ’em. At this point, the bloom is off the rose and I don’t think I would rank him over Geno. Lamar, as a running quarterback, is taking a massive amount of hits over the average pocket passer or scrambler. He isn’t the smartest about avoiding contact, and frankly he’s not the passer that Geno is. Other than Mark Andrews, who is he throwing to? Now that he’s been given the massive contract he was looking for, will he be as motivated? I have a lot of doubts about Lamar, most of all: is he a winner? In the regular season, sure, but I think I’d rather have Geno in a playoff game, all things considered. And, we all know what’s going on with Tua. He’s legit elite in that offense, and could be a Top 5 QB when healthy. But, one more big hit to the head might end his career. No thanks.

Aaron Rodgers is an interesting case here. He definitely wasn’t a Top 10 quarterback in 2022; he was legitimately bad! A lot of that, I’m sure, had to do with the loss of Davante Adams, though it’s concerning because great QBs are supposed to elevate the talent around them. I just think A-Rod was done with Green Bay prior to last season, but they couldn’t move him for a variety of reasons, so they had to eat a sub-par year out of him before sending him on his way. Rodgers has elite receivers in New York. Presumably, the O-Line will be fine, though they might also be terrible (which would worry me). More than anything, I wonder if his heart is in it anymore. He’s getting up there. He’s got a world of interests outside of football. He spent a significant portion of this offseason contemplating whether or not he would play again. And, everyone is already crowning the Jets as the next Super Team, which is always cause for concern. BUT, on the flipside, everyone is already counting Rodgers out. There’s a significant portion of the talking heads out there who are dismissing the Jets for all the reasons I just mentioned. And people are taking every opportunity to clown on Rodgers for his … everything (personality, beliefs, political leanings, etc.). In that respect, part of me wonders if he goes Scorched Earth on the NFL for one more year. I mean, he was just the MVP back-to-back years in 2021 and 2022, so you can’t entirely rule him out.

As for Cousins and Goff, I think there’s enough of a sample for both of them to see where they’re lacking. They play up against the bad teams, but don’t always show up against the good ones. There’s enough mistakes in their game to make them total wild cards on any given week. And, with Trevor Lawrence, last year was really his first with any sort of coaching competence around him. And, in spite of that, Geno still out-performed him in most every major category.

This isn’t to say I think Geno Smith is perfect, or even the best option of all of these Tier 2 guys. He has his own mistake issues. He’ll throw a back-breaking interception, drop a killer fumble, or allow defensive pressure to get the best of him. And he also only has the one season of quality play.

But, Geno was Top 10 in total yards (8th, with 4,282), was 4th in passer rating among quarterbacks who played in at least 13 games, he led the league in completion percentage among qualified passers, he averaged 7.5 yards per attempt (7th in football among QBs who played in at least 13 games), and was one of only 8 quarterbacks who played in all 17 games. He also had the 4th most touchdown passes with 30.

I think in aggregate – based on all of the above – you have to put Geno in the Top 10. That doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed to be there at season’s end. But, knowing what we know now, about him and the rest of the league, when you factor in his ability, the talent and coaching around him, I would put him in the Top 10, and I’m as much of a doubter as anyone.

What If The Seahawks Take A Quarterback With The Fifth Pick?

This question feels like a waste of time. It feels like clickbait nonsense. When you read it from established journalists/pundits – as opposed to yours truly, who’s writing this in his pajamas in the middle of the afternoon while listening to some #FunkyDiscoHouse – it feels like they’re just parroting what unnamed agents/NFL front offices want them to “leak”, for financial/competitive gains.

When I read about the Seahawks showing interest in the quarterback position at the top of the draft, it seems very disingenuous. That’s what we WANT the rest of the league to believe, so the price to trade into our spot goes up. Or, so teams will leapfrog us, in hopes that one of the bigtime defensive line prospects falls to us. And/or to drive Geno Smith’s price down.

99.9% of me believes it’s bullshit that the Seahawks would select a quarterback with the fifth overall draft pick. I can’t say 100%, because nothing is 100% in the game of football. But, I’m saying it without saying it: the Seahawks are NOT drafting a quarterback fifth overall.

I say that as a fan of the Seahawks who has followed this organization VERY closely through the years.

Can you name the highest-drafted quarterback in the Pete Carroll/John Schneider era? You should, because his name is Russell Wilson, and he was famously taken by us in the third round. We’ve taken exactly one other quarterback in the draft since 2010: Alex McGough in 2018, in the 7th round. That’s a 50% success rate, for those keeping track at home.

The Seahawks have largely been unconventional at the spot over the last 12+ years. The inherited Matt Hasselbeck, they traded for Charlie Whitehurst (a huge bust), they took on Tarvaris Jackson because he was familiar with Darrell Bevell’s system, they made a medium-sized splash on Matt Flynn, and they’ve run through a number of starting busts to sit behind Wilson until we got to Geno and Drew Lock last year battling it out. LOTTA crap there, up to and including Hasselbeck’s last year here (when he was over the hill), outside of hitting the lottery on Russell Wilson.

But, at the same time, there haven’t been those huge swings you see out of most other franchises. Do you know who was the last quarterback we drafted in the first two rounds? The much-maligned Rick Mirer at number two overall, back in 1993. In fact, there’s only one other QB the Seahawks have taken in the first two rounds, and that was Dan McGwire at number 16 in 1991 (when Chuck Knox lobbied hard for Brett Favre). That’s a 0% success rate, for those keeping track at home.

Isn’t that interesting, though? When you think about the Seahawks, you don’t think about us being totally bereft of quarterback talent. But, we’ve been unorthodox at getting our guys. Jim Zorn was an undrafted free agent. Dave Krieg was as well. Warren Moon was a free agent, Matt Hasselbeck was a trade acquisition; those are all the big names, that comprise a significant chunk of the Pre-Wilson Seahawks history.

What’s also interesting – especially going from the Holmgren era through the John Schneider era (both with ties to the Green Bay Packers way of doing things) – is that this organization doesn’t even take a lot of draft fliers the way the Packers model themselves after. We get our franchise quarterback, and we throw whatever scrubs we find off the scrap heap behind him. Now, to be fair, what are we talking about? The Packers have made two high-profile draft picks of Aaron Rodgers (when Favre was still playing at a high level) and Jordan Love (when Rodgers was still playing at a high level); it’s not like they’re actually drafting a new quarterback every season.

But, that’s their reputation, and that’s also the reputation that was foisted upon John Schneider. I don’t know if he buys into that or not. Maybe that was an unfair allegation that was levied against him, since he came from Green Bay. But, regardless, it hasn’t been even remotely his practice since coming here. Not even when you consider this team really could’ve used a little more attention paid to the position!

There are those rumors that he was all in on Patrick Mahomes and/or Josh Allen. That if those guys would’ve fallen to us in their respective draft classes, we would’ve taken one of them even though that was smack in Wilson’s prime. Of course, we’ll never know; it’s easy to plant those stories to make yourself look smart. It’s also easy to plant those stories when you want to drive down the price of your own franchise quarterback in times of contract extension. But, it’s a great What If. What if we traded Wilson back in 2017 and acquired a ton of draft picks at that time? What if we used those picks to select (or trade up for) one of Mahomes or Allen? Wouldn’t that be exciting?!

That’s where you get to the 00.1% chance of the Seahawks taking a quarterback at five. Because to do that, they would have to be SO SURE this guy is the next superstar in this league. Which is what makes all the Anthony Richardson hullabaloo at the combine over the weekend all the more intriguing. He blew the collective minds of everyone watching, with his freakish athleticism, with his interviewing skills, and with his leadership traits. He also apparently had a very positive interview with Pete Carroll (who, as we all remember, had that crazy interaction with D.K. Metcalf before we later took him at the end of the second round).

Would I be excited if the Seahawks took a quarterback at five? You’re damn right I would be! Because I love a surprise out of left field. Because I don’t really want to overpay for Geno Smith’s services. And because I would have to 100% buy in on this guy, since the organization is taking such a huge risk. With our philosophy largely undermining the quarterback spot throughout the years, this would be a HUGE step in the other direction.

Naturally, it depends on who we take at five. I’ll say this, there’s no “sure thing” in this draft. Bryce Young is undersized and slight of frame. Also, I don’t know how much I buy Alabama quarterbacks, after the underwhelming showing of both Mac Jones and Tua (Hurts goes pretty far in turning that tide for me, but he also transferred out of there, and had to find a way to succeed without the crutch of being on the best roster college football has to offer). C.J. Stroud has great accuracy, but lacks a willingness to scramble, and if I don’t trust Bama quarterbacks, I REALLY don’t trust Buckeye QBs. He also had the luxury of being on an elite roster of players, and it’s impossible to tell how someone will react to the real world of the NFL, where there’s significantly more parity.

Richardson is naturally on everyone’s minds – and might excite me more than the other two guys, if only for his potential upside – but he has serious accuracy problems. He also didn’t play much at college and might be a little too reliant on his legs for success at the next level. I know it feels nitpicky – one guy runs too much, the other not enough, what is this a 3 Bears situation? – but that’s the nature of the beast with drafting a quarterback, especially in the upper half of the first round. For every Andrew Luck or Peyton Manning, there are dozens of Blake Bortleses. You don’t often get those “sure things”. Most of the time, you get someone with flaws that you hope don’t usher him out of the league as a bust.

But, as I said, if the Seahawks take a quarterback at five, of course I’m going to be excited! What other choice do I have? That being said, if it’s not one of those three guys I just referenced, not only would it be a gargantuan shock, but it would be downright irresponsible. There’s just no one else worthy of that kind of attention.

When Seahawks fans speculate on the team taking a QB, it’s usually in the second or third round; MAYBE with the 20th overall pick (or trade down from 20 and take him later in the first). That feels a little more reasonable. It’s FAR less sexy, but it’s also probably the smarter play. Take a bigger project with less upside and hope to mold him over this season as he rides the pine behind Geno. But, can you imagine how much we’d lose our minds if we were one of those teams to take a quarterback in the top five?! What a thrill!