Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: The Cousins Curse Continues

I lost 188.35 to 180.62 to You Dropped Your Dildo. Bryce Young scored 11.05 against the Bears of all teams. You’re telling me I couldn’t have gotten a measly 19 points from Cousins in a game where Josh Dobbs put up 29.8 on the Saints?

Not for nothing, but Jordan Love threw two late interceptions in Green Bay’s loss to the Steelers. Interceptions in our league are -4 points. That’s the difference. That’s technically DOUBLE the difference, because my opponent had the Steelers’ defense, and they get +4 points for INTs! One fewer interception by fucking Love would’ve won me the game!

I hate my fantasy life.

It’s especially galling because there were so many teams I would’ve easily beaten this week with 180. Only two would’ve gotten the better of me, so OF COURSE I have to be playing one of them. That’s just the way it works for me.

CeeDee Lamb had another monster game of almost 40 points. Hockenson had 30+, Walker and Tank Dell had nearly 20 apiece, the Jets got me a respectable 15 (but, alas, couldn’t hold it down against a pretty inept Raiders team), and even my kicker got me 13. I’m solid! At every spot but quarterback. Broken record, playing on repeat, until the end of time.

This week, I’ve got a date with Beasts, who is 9-1 and in first place. I have fallen to 4-6 and am now in seventh place, one spot outside of the playoffs. It’s getting real dark! I can’t believe I’m going to be playing in the Consolation Bracket once again!

Here’s my lineup:

  • Justin Fields (QB) @ Det
  • Jordan Love (QB) vs. LAC
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ Car
  • Terry McLaurin (WR) vs. NYG
  • Kenneth Walker (RB) @ LAR
  • Tony Pollard (RB) @ Car
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ Den
  • Tank Dell (WR) vs. Ari
  • Dustin Hopkins (K) vs. Pit
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) @ Buf

God bless Tank Dell! I knew last week would be my last chance to pick him up, and he really looks like a stud! Alexander Mattison was a last-minute benching last week, which is a rare moment of prescience for me. He sucks! His team knows it, which is the worst part. Granted, they were going up against the Saints’ defense – generally stout against the run – which is what scared me off in the first place. But, seeing his carries fall to the next man up, and seeing the other moves the team is making to bolster their RB room, it seems unlikely Mattison will ever be That Guy for me. He’s Just A Guy instead, which is someone I can ill-afford to start unless in an emergency.

As such, he’s essentially useless to me, so I ended up dropping him and picking up Trey McBride as a free agent. I don’t have an immediate need for a tight end, however Hockenson does have a BYE coming up in Week 13. Frankly, it’s silly that McBride was still out there to be had by anyone; are there 9 better fantasy tight ends in the league right now? I don’t think so. This is his second year in the league, and he’s already taken over for Zach Ertz (thanks to injury, but he’s also better than Ertz, so there’s that). After starting off as the team’s #2 TE and doing very little the first five weeks, he’s really come on, scoring over 20 in two of the last three weeks. The sky seems to be the limit for him. In an ideal world, I would trade one of my tight ends for a more competent starter (especially at QB), but the trade deadline is this week and I just don’t think there will be time. Really, it might be prudent just to hang onto him, since it seems like Hockenson is a little banged up and is on the injury report every week. You never know when he might go over the edge, or have to otherwise sit out a week. And, you know, if I can hang onto McBride through the end of the season, it gives me an option as far as keepers go heading into next year. That’s one less quality keeper for someone else.

When Kyren returns, I’ll have a legitimate decision to make on Tony Pollard. He ALSO stinks! I can’t explain how invisible he’s been this year, but it’s starting to become absurd. The Cowboys are doing pretty well on offense – and going up against some pretty miserable defenses – but Pollard is nowhere to be found! I don’t like it. I don’t like it one bit.

Addison and Dell are the two flexes for me, going forward, depending on who the Commanders are playing. I’ll sit Scary Terry against an elite defense, but otherwise he’s pretty reliable. I just have my doubts about Dobbs as a passer of the football to NFL wide receivers. I’d like to see Addison really blow up one time before I start him again. Also, not for nothing, but Justin Jefferson is coming back soon, and will surely command the lion’s share of the targets again (targets that figure to diminish due to Dobbs’ ineffectiveness as a passer).

Fields returns this week; it’s not a moment too soon. If Young can’t get it going against the crappy Bears, what hope does he have ever? This week, Young is at Dallas, and there’s no way in hell I can start him there; he’s a negative points day waiting to happen! Aidan O’Connell followed up a mediocre start against the Giants with an even more mediocre start against the Jets. Not totally surprising there, but he’s also not giving me a whole helluva lot of confidence. As such, with Deshaun Watson being lost for the year, and Dorian Thompson-Robinson being named his replacement, I decided to cut O’Connell and pick up DTR.

O’Connell has, like, zero upside. He doesn’t run, he doesn’t throw deep, he’s helming an offense that’s run first, run second, run infinity. He’s like a dumpier version of Mac Jones (and now that I say that, watch him turn into the next Tom Brady). At least DTR theoretically has some wheels. If nothing else, he’s more of an unknown than O’Connell, since he has one fewer start. On the plus side, Will Levis has had back-to-back not-good games, so I don’t have to be totally devastated anymore.

I actually like Love’s matchup against the Chargers; if he can’t blow up this week, I don’t know what to tell you. I like Scary Terry against the Giants, I like the Cowboys against the Panthers, I like Hockenson against the Broncos. Give me all the Dell against Arizona, and all the Hopkins against the Steelers’ defense. I’m a little unsure about Walker against the Rams, but that’s no slight against him, rather an acknowledgment of the weird mastery the Rams have over the Seahawks.

Here’s who Beasts has going:

  • Justin Herbert (QB) @ GB
  • Russell Wilson (QB) vs. Min
  • Cooper Kupp (WR) vs. Sea
  • Tyler Lockett (WR) vs. LAR
  • Derrick Henry (RB) @ Jax
  • Josh Jacobs (RB) @ Mia
  • Mark Andrews (TE) vs. Cin
  • Christian McCaffrey (RB) vs. TB
  • Jason Myers (K) @ LAR
  • Detroit (DEF) vs. Chi

Look at all the studs! He’s also got Calvin Ridley if he wants to swap out Lockett. Hard to love Russ the Fantasy Quarterback anymore, but he has been better this season. Also Minnesota’s defense is no great shakes. Herbert is a points monster, and always blows up when he plays against me. Kupp is a stud, Henry and Jacobs are both studs, and CMC is like a god at this point. He’s even got Andrews, probably the best fantasy TE in the game, if that all wasn’t bad enough! To boot, he gets the Lions’ defense to rub it in my face when Fields either sucks or doesn’t end up playing. I’m going to get massacred.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: A D-Lightful Week 1 Victory

In my dynasty league – which I write about here almost exclusively – I was given a D draft grade, and my Draft Day Projections were for a 5-9 record and a 7th place finish (the top 6 go to the playoffs). In my other two leagues, I was given A+ grades and projected for very successful records. Last week, I won my first dynasty league matchup and scored the second-most points in doing so; in my other two leagues, I lost miserably and am among the bottom-dwellers in points scored. Sure, it’s only one week, but it’s kind of funny how that works out.

For what it’s worth, I’m still projected to finish 7th, but now with a 6-8 record.

I do, to a point, trust in the draft grades. That seems to largely bear out with past results. I remember in particular, in the league I won last year, I was among the top graded teams out of the draft. I also remember regularly getting blasted in my grades in this dynasty league, and finding myself at or near the bottom by season’s end.

I don’t know yet if I have anything special with Fight The Mattriarchy, but I’m cautiously optimistic after what happened in Week 1.

I defeated You Dropped Your Dildo 158.30 to 108.30. My first blush of week 1 as a whole is that scoring was down among fantasy players, unless you were blessed to have the Dallas or Jets’ defense, or if you had Tua or Tyreek Hill. Seems like what scoring there was came from sources not on anyone’s rosters, or flooding their benches. I certainly saw some of that on my team.

I started Fields and Cousins at my QB spots. They did okay; but I had Jordan Love on my bench, and he nearly outscored both of them by himself. Live and learn. I don’t know if Love is the real deal yet – it’s only one week, and the Packers seem to own the Bears no matter who’s under center – but I’m encouraged. He has this in him. He looked good throughout; it wasn’t just bubble screens and receivers breaking umpteen tackles. He found open men, down field, and took advantage.

I was able to pick up Courtland Sutton – with Christian Watson out and in my IR spot – and started him over Terry McLaurin, which was the right move. Unfortunately, Jordan Addison outscored them both and he was on my bench. I think I might need to see him do that on a regular basis before I can trust starting him.

Bryce Young had a rough game. Looks like, if he’s ever going to make it, it’s going to take more than a few weeks for him to get going. My hope is, by season’s end, he’ll start to assert himself. I’ll say this much: Justin Fields looked as bad as ever throwing the ball. D.J. Moore appeared to make zero impact in the passing game, and I REALLY thought he was going to have a big day.

Everyone besides the Jets’ defense did just okay. My opponent had Austin Ekeler to take care of business, but just about everyone else underperformed (Dak, Lamar, Waddle, Chase, and the Dolphins’ defense all sucked). I think I got lucky in that regard; he’s got a solid team that should go far this year.

This week, I’m going up against Beasts. He’s a regular playoff participant, and a multi-year champion. I’ll have my hands full; here’s my lineup:

  • Justin Fields (QB) @ TB
  • Jordan Love (QB) @ Atl
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. NYJ
  • Terry McLaurin (WR) @ Den
  • Kenneth Walker (RB) @ Det
  • Tony Pollard (RB) vs. NYJ
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ Phi
  • Alexander Mattison (WR) @ Phi
  • Evan McPherson (K) vs. Bal
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) @ Dal

I’m sitting Cousins because it’s a road game in Philly on Thursday night. I don’t have a lot of experience with Cousins on my fantasy teams – because I usually actively avoid having him – but I know his reputation against great defenses in primetime games. No thanks.

I had to drop Sutton because Christian Watson was questionable all week. For now, I have McLaurin over Addison. Addison was third among receivers in snaps – as is expected, given his rookie status – and while I expect that to grow as the season goes along, I just don’t think the Vikings are going to have a great game and I’m trying to limit my usage of them this week.

I don’t love starting McLaurin because he might be going up against Denver’s #1 cornerback. So, I’m hoping Watson can slide back into my IR slot and I can pick up Sutton again. I like having Sutton because my opponent appears to be starting Russell Wilson this week. If he does throw any TDs, I’d like them to go to Sutton please!

I waived Dalvin Cook because Breece Hall looked amazing on Monday night, and I hate a time share more than life itself. In his place, I picked up Chargers backup RB Joshua Kelley. I was hoping to throw him into my lineup this week, but I don’t know if Ekeler will play or not, and with a Thursday game gobbling up a lot of players on my roster, I didn’t have the flexibility to sit Mattison and wait it out. But, I’m trying to think long term with Kelley. Can Ekeler play in every game like he did last year? Seems unlikely. Also, Ekeler is on the final year of his deal, so if Kelley wins that job next year, I can keep him going forward if he proves to be as effective as he’s been in his limited touches.

Here’s who Beasts has going for him:

  • Justin Herbert (QB) @ Ten
  • Russell Wilson (QB) vs. Was
  • Tyler Lockett (WR) @ Det
  • Calvin Ridley (WR) vs. KC
  • Derrick Henry (RB) vs. LAC
  • Christian McCaffrey (RB) @ LAR
  • Mark Andrews (TE) @ Cin
  • Josh Jacobs (WR) @ Buf
  • Jason Myers (K) @ Det
  • Washington (DEF) @ Den

He’s looking pretty stacked. He’s also got Cooper Kupp in his IR slot, which makes him dangerous down the road.

I’m expecting Ridley will come back down to Earth a little bit, after an explosive return to the NFL in week 1. I’m kind of banking on it, as I have Christian Kirk in another league. I also think Lockett is due for a rebound after a tough game against the Rams. Henry and CMC are both studs, and Jacobs is quietly effective. Mark Andrews returning from injury should be a big boost; if not, Beasts also has Higbee from the Rams, so he’s more than set there.

I don’t have a lot of confidence this week. I’m going to be worried for days if I made the wrong choice benching Cousins. Lamb has a tough matchup against the Jets; the Jets’ defense has a tough matchup against Dallas’ offense. And Fields could very easily give me two clunkers in a row, against that Bucs front seven.

But, you know, that’s fantasy football. Anything can happen. I’m 1-0 after one week, that’s pretty good in my book.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: Mr. Tinker Train

I was so damn close to winning four in a row, it’s sickening. Officially, my late-week tinkering fucked me. But, unofficially, I believe I would’ve won if only Justin Fields were still healthy. That, or if the Patriots didn’t play on Thursday night.

See, I took Mac Jones out of my lineup in favor of Mike White of the Jets. The White move in a vacuum was genius, as he got me 33.95 against the Bears. But, that was when I erroneously believed Fields would still go on Sunday. That meant dropping Mac Jones to my bench, who improbably got 31.1 points against the Vikings on Thanksgiving night. He looked terrific! Zipping the ball down field like I’d never seen before! Where the hell has this guy been all year?!

Anyway, when it was decided that Fields would take this week off, that left me with the terrible option of starting the Rams’ backup, Bryce Perkins, whoever that is. He threw a couple of picks and only 100 yards, while only rushing for 44 yards to boot, ending up with a feeble 7.4 points on the week. Clearly, if I’d gone with Mac Jones, I would’ve cruised to victory. Instead, I lost to Car Talk With Josh Allen 163.35 to 151.15.

My bench really crushed. Christian Watson – as expected – got me 21 points for my bench. That was a big leap over Gabe Davis, that overrated shitheel who only got me 7.8. That’s another move that cost me the week. Ezekiel Elliott got me 16.5 for my bench, over Tony Pollard’s 8.1. And, for good measure, Brian Robinson got 20.5 on the week. Nightmare scenario, all the way around.

I’m in a similar quarterback conundrum this week, because once again I don’t know if Fields will play, and once again I have Mac Jones going on Thursday. I have to play Mike White, because he’s the hot hand, and he’s going up against a pretty measly Vikings defense. Jones is at home against the Bills, but I’m not sure if I’m in a position where I can afford to trust Jones just yet. He might not be terrible, is the thing. Even as the bane of my existence this year, he’s still good for 10-15 points when healthy. The 31 he got last week is definitely going to be considered an anomaly until I see it happen again.

On the plus side, it sounds like Fields is feeling better. Is that good enough to actually see game action? We’ll find out. Athletes tend to be overly-optimistic in these cases, when in reality they’re dealing with superhuman pain. Failing that, if I opt to bench Jones again, that leaves me with whoever ends up starting for the Rams. Against a porous Seahawks defense, that might not be the worst thing in the world.

I didn’t make any waiver moves this week, so my priority is all the way up to 3. I don’t know who’s about to become available or desired, but my roster is pretty jam-packed with guys I like. Relatively speaking, that is. For a 4-8 team.

Here’s who I’m looking at starting this week:

  • Mac Jones (QB) vs. Buf
  • Mike White (QB) @ Min
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. Ind
  • Christian Watson (WR) @ Chi
  • Kenneth Walker (RB) @ LAR
  • Tony Pollard (RB) vs. Ind
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) vs. NYJ
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) @ LAR
  • Evan McPherson (K) vs. KC
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) @ Min

I’m NOT happy about starting Jones in this position. I sat him last week and he got me 31. I’ll start him this week and he’ll get me 13 and I’ll be thoroughly annoyed. Meanwhile, if Fields ends up playing, then White will have to sit, which is also annoying because I think he’s got a very juicy matchup against the Vikings. I might tinker with this again before gametime tonight.

I don’t know how much more I can afford to start Pollard over Zeke. I’ll give it another week because Indy’s defense is pretty good. That being said, I learned some possibly-disturbing news that Pollard is going to be a free agent after this season. On the one hand, that means he’s free to sign wherever, and command a starting job next year. On the other hand, will that team utilize him to as great an effect as the Cowboys have the last couple years? I’ll be VERY interested in where his career takes him.

Gabe Davis is done as a starter for me. He’s purely a bench/fill-in guy for injuries and/or BYE weeks. I look forward to not having him next year. He’s too much of a boom/bust guy in an offense that throws it a shit-ton.

I’m doomed to a fate of facing Beasts this week, who is going to murder me with these guys:

  • Justin Herbert (QB) @ LV
  • Russell Wilson (QB) @ Bal
  • Tyler Lockett (WR) @ LAR
  • Courtland Sutton (WR) @ Bal
  • Derrick Henry (RB) @ Phi
  • Christian McCaffrey (RB) vs. Mia
  • Mark Andrews (TE) vs. Den
  • Josh Jacobs (WR) vs. LAC
  • Jason Myers (K) @ LAR
  • Tampa Bay (DEF) vs. NO

Those running backs are insane. He’ll likely beat me with just those guys alone.

The Seahawks’ Rush Defense Is Atrocious Right Now

Two weeks ago, the Tampa Bay Bucs ran all over the Seahawks in Germany. We didn’t make a huge deal out of it because the final score was only 21-16. We fell to 6-4 (after a 4-game win streak, where our defensive woes felt like they’d been shored up a great deal), and we were headed into our BYE week, which we’d hoped would lead to the proper tweaks being made to right the ship.

What that game boiled down to, reportedly, was the defensive game plan focusing much more on stopping the Bucs’ passing attack, while neglecting the running game. Surely, THAT wouldn’t happen again!

Except here we are, losers at home to the Raiders – 40-34 in overtime – giving up 283 yards on the ground, on 40 carries, for a whopping 7.1 average per attempt, while we reportedly spent the last two weeks focusing on how to stop Davante Adams and the Raiders’ passing attack.

At some point – and I think that point is now – I’m going to stop believing this is a game plan shortcoming, but rather just a plain ol’ scheme/talent deficiency.

Josh Jacobs came into this game as one of the most proficient running backs in the NFL this year. It’s a phenomenal personal turnaround – one that’s severely underreported, when you think about how mediocre he’s been up until this year – so I’m having a hard time understanding why we’d take him so lightly. This is Pete Carroll, we’re talking about. He never fucking shuts up about running the football and stopping the run. That’s his whole fucking thing! There’s no way we’re going into these game plans completely overlooking these running backs! I might – for half a second – believe such when it comes to the Bucs (who have been inept running the ball all year), but not with the Raiders. Running the football is the one thing they actually excel at. If we’re being perfectly honest, they’ve yet to fully unleash Davante Adams, and probably never will get him back to the heights he saw with the Packers. So, don’t give me this bullshit.

Josh Jacobs ran for 229 yards on 33 carries (a 6.9 yard per carry average) and 2 touchdowns. The yards are a franchise-worst given up by the Seahawks to an individual rusher, surpassing that infamous Bo Jackson game way back when.

I don’t know what’s more at fault, the scheme or the talent, but I’m leaning towards talent. I’ve seen the Vic Fangio system work with flying colors with countless other teams. But, you can’t convert a defense overnight. It takes a year or two before things start clicking, and you’re able to get the guys in here who will buy in. I think the Seahawks are severely lacking – especially in the front seven – and that’s only going to be held together with duct tape until 2023.

That doesn’t mean we’re doomed. That doesn’t mean we’re going winless the rest of the way. But, the division is probably out of reach, and any sort of significant playoff run is wishful thinking at best.

Getting off the defense a bit, I’ve got a couple thoughts about the offense. My overarching sentiment is that if your score 34 points, you should win 100% of the time. It’s unforgivable for a defense to blow it in such spectacular fashion. We were up a touchdown with under 6 minutes to go, and promptly gave up a 10-play, 75-yard drive to tie it up. Then, the cherry on top – after holding the Raiders to a missed field goal in overtime – was allowing an 86-yard game-winning touchdown. WHAT?! How is this a Pete Carroll defense?

That being said, I’m perturbed that we had two shots at winning the game, and the offense came up empty both times. With just under two minutes to go in regulation, the Seahawks went 5 & Out. Granted, one of those plays was a hard-luck overturning of a D.K. Metcalf first down conversion, but we still had another play after that and ended up taking a sack, which forced a punt. Then, we got the ball back after that missed field goal in overtime, and promptly went 3 & Out. You hate to have the ball with a chance to prevail on any type of scoring drive, and give the ball right back. There are only so many possessions at your disposal with 10 minutes of game clock. With how shaky the Seahawks’ defense looked all game, you don’t want to have them try and get a stop twice in a row, even if you don’t expect to give up an 86-yard run.

That’s on Geno Smith. That’s a concern I’ve had about Geno Smith dating back to before the season. And, quite frankly, that’s not something I’ve really seen him prove he’s capable of achieving. Where’s the game-winning 2-minute drive at the end of the game? You haven’t seen it! Not in a Seahawks uniform, anyway. You’ve seen many of his attempts fall short. And you’ve seen him seal a game much earlier in the 4th quarter, when there were still possessions left for the defense to defend. But, no miracle comebacks unlocked. And, not even a field goal drive in a tie game late? If you’re going to pay a guy $33+ million per year, you need to know he’s capable of doing that!

It’s just a total breakdown on a team-wide level. It isn’t the first time that’s happened this year, and probably won’t be the last either.

The good news is that the schedule still favors the Seahawks the rest of the way. We get to play the Rams twice – including next Sunday in L.A. – and they’re absolutely falling apart at the seams. Yet, the Raiders were also part of that easing of the schedule – they came into this game a disappointing 3-7 on the year – so now I don’t know what to think. Could the Rams and Panthers do what the Raiders just did? I wouldn’t doubt it.

Defending The Seahawks On This Kenneth Walker Pick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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?

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2020: Tua No Avail

  • 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

Well, I lucked out winning the previous four weeks, because if I’d bungled any one of them I’d be relegated to the Consolation Bracket. Instead, with my 7-6 record, I managed to sneak into the playoffs as the sixth and final seed. I really had no shot against Sausage Shaped Pest, who annihilated me 193 to 136.45.

He got almost 40 out of Derek Carr and 45 points from Carr’s tight end Darren Waller, with another 27.3 from Justin Jefferson (remember when I had him on my team oh-so-briefly, earlier this season?); those three guys alone practically did enough to beat me! As for my team, I’m still getting great effort out of Kirk Cousins (28.45), and my kicker finally had a huge game (17). But, my sweet, simple Tua only got me 21.1, and I took a full-on goose-egg from CEH (who I had to throw into my second running back spot, because Josh Jacobs was injured).

In Nobody Beats The Wiz Bench News, Carson Wentz has finally been replaced at quarterback by the Philadelphia Eagles, in favor of Jalen Hurts. So, he’s now useless to me. I’m down to Cousins and Tua, but I probably have to hang onto Ryan Fitzpatrick just in case Tua has to sit again. What a nightmare! Wentz has SO MUCH guaranteed money left on his contract; I don’t know what the Eagles are going to do.

So, here’s how the playoff seeding works: the top two teams (Sloane N Steady and The Lance Petemans) get a BYE this upcoming week. Then, the 3-seed plays the 6-seed, while the 4-seed plays the 5-seed. The top two teams ended up with 9-4 records; third place is 8-5, and the rest are 7-6 (including me, who has the fewest points scored among all the playoff teams).

Everyone in the “Wild Card” round was trying to scramble to not play Space Forcin’. Somehow, through my sheer incompetence, I managed to do just that! As the 6-seed, I play Colinoscopy Time, while Crazy N8’s Prostates (who leapfrogged me this past week) has the ill-fortune to get Space Forcin’. The winner of my game plays 2-seed The Lance Petemans; the winner of the other game goes up against 1-seed Sloane N Steady.

Last week I promised you a rundown of all my season finishes dating back to 2003, when we started running a Yahoo! league. I’ll list them out really quickly here, noting for the record that 2010 was the first year we had the trophy (as you’ll see, my only championships were in years BEFORE the trophy, which has been a constant source of misery for me):

  • 2019 – Space Pirates!: 8th Place
  • 2018 – King Flippy Nips: 4th Place
  • 2017 – Mr. Poopy Butthole: 4th Place
  • 2016 – Shittin’ Clits: 8th Place
  • 2015 – Catalina Wine Mixer: 6th Place
  • 2014 – Honky Hoedown: 4th Place
  • 2013 – Wanna Kiss Dicks?: 5th Place
  • 2012 – Leaky Submarine: 10th Place
  • 2011 – The Jake Sucks: 7th Place
  • 2010 – Macho Headgames: 2nd Place
  • 2009 – Hot Beef Injection: 1st Place
  • 2008 – The Vers Stopper: 3rd Place
  • 2007 – Washington: 6th Place
  • 2006 – Goodnight Honeytits: 8th Place
  • 2005 – Titty-Fuck Jake’sMom: 7th Place
  • 2004 – Ray Finkle: 1st Place
  • 2003 – Must Win Out: 5th Place

A few notes: for starters, there’s a 20-character limit on team names, so keep that in mind when you see some creative spellings/line spacings. Also, after the first few years, the league had to institute a rule – due to my shenanigans – where the name you choose at the beginning of the year is the name you’re stuck with; I would often change my team’s name from week-to-week depending on if I was losing or not. I’ll never top Hot Beef Injection as a team OR a team name (though, I have a fondness for Wanna Kiss Dicks?, as I feel that made everyone REALLY uncomfortable to ever have to say or read on their screens).

I should also point out that 2014 was the first year we expanded the playoffs from four to six teams (a rule that I recommended at the start of the year, I might add, thanks to Wanna Kiss Dicks?’ heartbreaking finish on the outside-looking-in). Honky Hoedown went into the playoffs as the #1 seed; we were a JUGGERNAUT! The sixth place team, on the other hand, barely limped into the playoffs, yet he got hot at the right time and won three games in a row. Had the playoffs been limited to just the four teams (oh yes, I went back and did the math), my name would’ve been on that trophy for that season. Instead, it continues to be my white whale …

All right, so let’s get into the playoff week. Unless Colinoscopy Time totally falls on his face, breaks his nose, and simultaneously shits his pants while suffering a brain aneurysm, I’m going to lose this week. Losing this week means I’ll be playing for 5th place next week (and, as such, the right to draft 5th overall in next year’s draft; the highest I can possibly draft since I made the playoffs). It’s actually a curse to be the worst team to make the playoffs, so I don’t know why the fantasy football gods decided to put this on me. I mean, obviously they hate me! That much is clear. But why? And what can I do to atone for my sins?

Anyway, here’s my shitty roster with my even-shittier matchups:

  • Kirk Cousins (QB) @ TB
  • Tua Tagovailoa (QB) vs. KC
  • A.J. Brown (WR) @ JAX
  • DeVante Parker (WR) vs. KC
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ CIN
  • Josh Jacobs (RB) vs. IND
  • Dallas Goedert (TE) vs. NO
  • Deebo Samuel (WR) vs. WAS
  • Harrison Butker (K) @ MIA
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) vs. NE

And here’s the list of guys who are going to murder me:

  • Deshaun Watson (QB) @ CHI
  • Ben Roethlisberger (QB) @ BUF
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. NYJ
  • Stefon Diggs (WR) vs. PIT
  • Derrick Henry (RB) @ JAX
  • Ronald Jones (RB) vs. MIN
  • Robert Tonyan (TE) @ DET
  • Jamison Crowder (WR) @ SEA
  • Zane Gonzalez (K) @ NYG
  • Tennessee (DEF) @ JAX

He’s also got James White and D’Andre Swift at running back, Marquise Brown as an alternative at his FLEX spot, and Cam Newton at quarterback if he wanted to get cute with his matchups (going against my defense). I don’t know if I love a lot of his matchups either, but his players are SO MUCH better. Derrick Henry alone will surely score 30+, and don’t even get me started on D.K. Metcalf!

Well, it’s been an improbable run so far, but we finally made it. The playoffs are everything you imagine them to be. It’s exciting, because you never know who will get hot at the right time. It’s also a huge source of dread, because I know it won’t be me.

I guess there’s always my other league, where I’ve been on a 3-game losing streak, yet somehow still hold onto the #2 spot in the standings. I’ll still make it into the playoffs, but it doesn’t feel good to limp in, I’ll tell you that much!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2020: Although We’ve Come Tua The End Of The Road

  • 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

Still I can’t let go! Tua belongs to me! I belong Tua!

This was supposed to be a Get Right game for Tua (against the Jets), but instead he suffered some sort of thumb injury beforehand (!) and didn’t even play. That left me scrambling to get his backup, but thankfully I was on the ball this time. So, it was The Return Of FitzMagic who was … fine. 25.85 points is actually pretty good for me, but obviously when you’re going up against the Jets you’d like to see 30+ out of your quarterback. In the end, it didn’t matter because I was smart enough to sub Kirk Cousins in for Carson Wentz, who ended up getting me 35.25 (compared to Wentz’s 22.95), and Nobody Beats The Wiz ended up defeating Korky Butchek 172.78 to 104.90.

What a drubbing! And, it could’ve been so much worse, but I got cold feet at the last minute with Deebo Samuel. Once Tua was ruled out, I was able to stash him in one of my IR spots, giving me an opportunity to pick up Atlanta’s backup running back – Brian Hill, who was starting in place of the injured Todd Gurley – who I figured would be good for 10 points or so, with upside in the high teens. I was honestly more worried that the Rams’ defense would destroy the 49ers, but boy was I mistaken! Hill only got 5.5, while Deebo racked up 24.3 for my bench (and, to boot, the 49ers actually beat the Rams, to help the Seahawks out!).

But, on top of my QBs killing it, I had a lot of guys running up the score. A.J. Brown, Dallas Goedert, and the Rams’ defense all had over 20 points (with DeVante Parker getting 19.9); that was enough to overcome my three running backs scoring me a combined 13.8.

The victory puts me at 7-5 on the season, and thanks to Sausage Shaped Pest losing, guarantees me a spot in this year’s playoffs! Now, all I have to worry about is playoff seeding.

I was about to get into all the possible scenarios, but they are too varied to count. Suffice it to say I’m currently in 5th place; the highest I can climb is to third place (if I win and the two teams above me – also 7-5 – lose their games). The lowest I can finish is 6th place; I have no tiebreaker advantages because I have the fewest points scored of all the teams in the playoffs. I wish I knew the history of being the playoff team with the fewest points, but I’ve never been in this position! Usually, I’m one of the teams that scores MORE than one (or more) of the playoff teams, but due to bad luck ends up in the Consolation Bracket. So, this is uncharted territory for me; hopefully my team gets hot at the right time!

This week, Nobody Beats The Wiz gets a meaningless matchup against Sausage Shaped Pest. It most likely won’t matter either way if I win or lose, so watch me have my best game of the entire season (right before having my absolute worst game, to bounce me from the playoffs). Here’s my lineup anyway (subject to change, if I get a wild hair up my ass about something on Sunday morning):

  • Kirk Cousins (QB) vs. JAX
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick or Tua Tagovailoa (QB) vs. CIN
  • A.J. Brown (WR) vs. CLE
  • DeVante Parker (WR) vs. CIN
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ BAL
  • Josh Jacobs (RB) @ NYJ
  • Dallas Goedert (TE) @ GB
  • Deebo Samuel (WR) vs. BUF
  • Harrison Butker (K) vs. DEN
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) @ ARI

It seems to be a toss-up as to who will start for Miami this week; is Tua’s injury healed? We’ll see! My three receivers all have great matchups this week; my running backs less so (especially if Jacobs’ sprained ankle doesn’t allow him to play; then I’ll have to start CEH against Denver’s stout defense). But, again, I’m not too worried because this game is meaningless. Here’s Sausage Shaped Pest’s roster this week:

  • Derek Carr (QB) @ NYJ
  • Kyler Murray (QB) vs. LAR
  • Michael Thomas (WR) @ ATL
  • Justin Jefferson (WR) vs. JAX
  • Gio Bernard (RB) @ MIA
  • Wayne Gallman (RB) @ SEA
  • Darren Waller (TE) @ NYJ
  • Brandin Cooks (WR) vs. IND
  • Brandon McManus (K) @ KC
  • Cleveland (DEF) @ TEN

That’s a pretty good team, that’s been decimated by injuries. He should have Joe Mixon and Saquon Barkley as his starting running backs, but both are currently on IR. He’s also got Mike Evans on BYE this week to hamper his flex spot. Nevertheless, there’s a lot of firepower left over. My guess is he’ll pick up a new defense this week, but he also might not care because he’s already been doomed to the Consolation Bracket.

Next week, I’ll have a playoff preview, since I’m guaranteed to be playing in Week 14. The top two seeds – both with 8-4 records at the moment – while they don’t have their BYEs locked in, they’ve at least locked me out (since they have SO MANY more points than I do). Nevertheless, you know what’s crazy? I have the longest active winning streak in the league right now, of four games, with a very good chance to make it five heading into the playoffs. The hottest team wins no awards, and it has no bearing on what happens in the all-important playoffs. But, I feel better than I did two months ago, when it comes to my team! I’ve done everything I can to try to improve my lineup, and now it’s up to the players to lead me to victory or (more likely) submarine me into the briny deep.

Now that I feel somewhat okay about my lot in (fantasy football) life, watch it all blow up in my fucking face. Next week, I’ll take you down Memory Lane, and look at all of my fantasy football finishes in this league, dating back to 2003 (when we joined Yahoo!). Spoiler Alert: there’s A LOT of mediocrity!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2020: Tua Err Is Human

  • 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!

Again, I just want to say: I don’t know how I’m doing this. I don’t know how I’m still winning games. I don’t know WHY these opponents of mine keep underperforming their projections. I DON’T KNOW! It boggles the mind. 162.75 to 131.29, Nobody Beats The Wiz over Colinoscopy Time.

I’m 6-5 on the year, currently sitting in fifth place in the standings. I have the third-fewest points scored and – more importantly – I have the second-fewest points scored against me.

It wasn’t a 200-point week for me, but it wasn’t awful either. Bad news on the Jameis Winston front: he never played. Instead I was played … for a sap! I mistakenly thought – since he subbed in for Drew Brees the previous week when Brees left the game injured – that Winston would slide right in there and run with the job. Instead, Taysom Hill got the nod, and I was less than ten minutes too late in picking him up after I noticed the announcement. You hate to see it.

But, I was able to slot Kirk Cousins back into my starting lineup and he got me a whopping 32.1 points! A helluva lot better than Carson Wentz’s 16.75 for my bench. Tua, on the other hand, had a really tough day, scoring only 10.15. He was benched by Miami’s coach late in the game, BUT he’s already been reinstated as the starter this week against the Jets. If he doesn’t tear shit up in this one, I’ll officially be worried about his long-term prospects; the Jets are literally THE worst.

I also ended up benching Jerry Jeudy in favor of Dolphins receiver DeVante Parker (who was a free agent, and one of my original draft picks lo those many weeks ago). Jeudy stunk (6.7), but Parker played great (18.1)! A.J. Brown (16.2) had a solid game thanks to a late TD, Ezekiel Elliott (19.4) showed why he’s so great, CEH (20.7) had a rare multi-TD game, and new tight end Dallas Goedert made me proud with 18.7!

As for Colinoscopy Time, he had five guys score less than 7 points apiece; that’s not going to get it done, even with Deshaun Watson leading the way with 38.8.

My only move this week (at press time) was to drop Jameis Winston, because I had to clear room for one of my 49ers receivers to come off IR. I don’t know yet what my other move is going to be (since I have two 49ers receivers on IR, and both could possibly return to action this week), but since I refuse to post this thing on a holiday (and since I refuse to post this thing on Friday, after a whopping three Thanksgiving games have been played), you get to live in a little suspense for a week. Here’s my potential lineup:

  • Tua Tagovailoa (QB) @ NYJ
  • Carson Wentz (QB) vs. SEA
  • A.J. Brown (WR) @ IND
  • DeVante Parker (WR) @ NYJ
  • Josh Jacobs (RB) @ ATL
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. WAS
  • Dallas Goedert (TE) vs. SEA
  • Deebo Samuel (WR) @ LAR
  • Harrison Butker (K) @ TB
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) vs. SF

Again, the choice comes down to Wentz vs. Cousins. Cousins is going up against Carolina, who would probably be the safer play. HOWEVER, it’s my understanding that the Panthers have a pretty awful rush defense (giving up the 6th most fantasy points to running backs), and the Vikings have the world’s greatest running back in Dalvin Cook (who I have in my other league, and is 100% my MVP). So, I kind of anticipate the Vikings giving all of their fantasy love to Cook. This will also be a good week to see if the Seahawks’ defense has indeed turned a corner, or if the last game against the Cardinals was a fluke.

CEH is a no-go because the Chiefs are playing the Bucs, and their rush defense is amazing. Since the Chiefs rarely run the ball as it is, that makes CEH too touchdown-dependant for my tastes. Deebo Samuel isn’t ideal – since he hasn’t played since October 25th due to injury – but I think the 49ers will need to throw the ball a lot, so he could be a target machine in that offense.

I actually like my Miami and Philly players in this one; I think Goedert could have a great game against the Seahawks. I also think my running backs could be poised to carry me a little bit, as I worry about A.J. Brown against that Indy defense. Finally, this could be the game where my kicker busts out (since Tampa’s defense should HOPEFULLY force the Chiefs into attempting a few field goals, instead of ONLY touchdowns every single scoring drive). And, I’m pretty high on the Rams’ defense against the 49ers (especially at home, where the Rams are often much better than on the road, even in these fanless COVID times).

Since I don’t totally hate my matchups, WATCH ME SHIT THE BED! I’m going up against Korky Butchek, who really fucking destroyed me in Week 3. He just lost his franchise quarterback in Joe Burrow, so he’s reeling a little bit, but as you’ll see there’s plenty of talent left over:

  • Jared Goff (QB) vs. SF
  • Drew Lock (QB) vs. NO
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) vs. BAL
  • D.J. Moore (WR) @ MIN
  • James Robinson (RB) vs. CLE
  • Raheem Mostert (RB) @ LAR
  • Jonnu Smith (TE) @ IND
  • DeAndre Hopkins (WR) @ NE
  • Matt Prater (K) vs. HOU
  • Tampa Bay (DEF) vs. KC

I’m just assuming he’ll insert Mostert over Zack Moss (who he currently has in his lineup), because Mostert is 150 times better (plus he’s someone I’m counting on in my other league, so of course he’ll come back to bite me in the ass here). I’m also half-expecting Korky to find an alternate defense, because I can’t imagine why anyone in his right mind would start a defense going up against the Chiefs.

I don’t totally love any of his matchups, really. Lock against the Saints looks like a nightmare. Goff is always a 3-INT game waiting to happen. Baltimore’s secondary is pretty solid. Cleveland’s defense is pretty stout up front. And if Stephon Gilmore follows Hopkins all over the field, that could be a long day for someone who is always a fantasy stud. D.J. Moore against the Vikings is probably his best matchup, but the Panthers have two other really good receivers they love to throw to, and you never know who’s going to be left in the lurch on that team on any given Sunday.

That being said, I can envision a scenario where any or all of those guys have great games (okay, probably not Lock). Don’t think I’m not supremely irritated he’s got Jonnu Smith and I’ve got A.J. Brown; I can’t see more than one of those guys having a good game against the Colts (my money’s on Smith).

Korky and I are two of the worst teams in the league (he’s one of only two teams that have scored fewer points than me this season. The difference between my 6-5 record and his 4-7 is … quite honestly bad luck! He actually has the FEWEST points scored against him, which is kinda mindblowing. It wouldn’t shock me to see the both of us duking it out in the Consolation Bracket for a #1 overall seed next year. If he beats me this week, that’ll open the door for the surging Sausage Shaped Pest to claim my spot in the 6-team playoffs. Sausage Shaped Pest is 5-6, but has almost 50 more points than me; if he beats Space Forcin’ and I lose, we’ll be tied in record, with one week to go in the regular season.

Who should I happen to play next week? Sausage Shaped Pest, of course! So, even if he stays within a game of me (meaning we both win, or we both lose), it’ll all come down to next week’s outcome. I would need to win and him to lose this week for me to clinch one of the final playoff spots. Pray for me! Pray for Nobody Beats The Wiz!