Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2019: The Final Nail In The Coffin

Space Pirates won’t be making the playoffs. Again, to reiterate, the top 6 teams out of 10 make the playoffs in our league, and I won’t be one of them.

It’s just too much to overcome at this point. Even in losing to Space Forcin’ last week, I would’ve had a shot if certain teams had lost. Instead, they won, and now I would not only have to win this week, but two teams would have to lose, and I’d have to outscore them by well over 100 points … it’s over. It’s just over and I have to accept that and move on.

Let’s see here, where to begin. Well, Tom Brady stunk. He came up with an elbow injury last week, and threw all of one touchdown pass against the Cowboys to put up a measly 15.20 points. Carson Wentz against the Seahawks was even worse, getting me only 9.50 points. The Jets routed the Raiders, and yet Jamison Crowder (predictably, because I finally started him) caught only 2 balls for 18 yards. I could go on and on, but what’s the point? This officially makes it 10 out of 12 weeks where I’ve underperformed expectations. Yahoo likes my team MUCH more than reality, and there’s nothing I can do to change that.

I’ve fallen (and I can’t get up) to 5-7 on the season. This week was as brutal a drubbing as you’ll see, losing 182.72 – 114.10. I’m in 8th place, I have the 8th-most points scored, it’s just an impossibly-bad season any way you slice it. I’ve fallen apart since week 3 of the season.

***

No major moves this week. I tried picking up Kyle Allen, but my waiver priority prevented me. Someone had waived JuJu Smith-Schuster over the weekend as well, but again I was thwarted. I ended up putting a claim in for Minnesota’s running back, who shall be named on this blog if he eventually becomes the starter there. As a lottery pick, if Dalvin Cook gets hurt or otherwise starts a major holdout this offseason, he’s not a bad one. At this point, my moves will be all about preventing other teams from having viable keepers for next year, so the pool for me to choose from (and eventually draft from) will be larger.

I dropped Crowder on his fucking worthless ass, because I should’ve stuck to my original thought all along: no more than one Jets player in my lineup at a time.

***

I’m going up against The Lance Petemans, the last place team in the league. He’s the guy I traded Tom Brady away from, so you don’t even have to wonder if he’s going to beat me with my own players, because it’s happening. Nick Foles is hosting the hapless Tampa Bay defense, and Tyreek Hill figures to return from his injury after resting it during the BYE week.

I, on the other hand, have no reason for optimism. Thankfully, when I’m eliminated from the playoffs, I’ll get Week 14 off, so as to not have to think about fantasy football whatsoever. It’s going to be a dream-come-buttfucking-true.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2019: Down Goes Roethlisberger

Read about my season to date HERE.

So, yeah, of course I brought this on myself. It’s a 2-QB league, I only kept one quarterback – Carson Wentz – from last year, and when it came time to make a selection for my other guy, I took the first opportunity I could to draft Ben Roethlisberger. I could’ve had Rivers, I could’ve had Dak, but I figured the Steelers would need to throw the ball a lot and Roethlisberger had the highest upside.

Then, on top of all that (taking a guy who tends to be banged up a lot, if not outright injury prone and old), I didn’t pick up a backup QB until the second-to-last round. Now, as it happens, that guy was Daniel Jones, and as luck would have it, he’s starting in place of Eli Manning this week, but do I really want to play a rookie making his first-ever start? Granted, he’s seen a little bit of relief action this year, but they’re also on the road and going up against a sneaky-good Tampa defense. I think I need to give it some time.

***

Before we get into all of that, a quick recap of last week’s matchup. I got TROUNCED. The combination of Roethlisberger getting less than 4 points, with my opponent – Sloane N Steady – having New England’s defense go off for 57 points, was too much to overcome. Most of the rest of my team played to their expected points (no one really blew up), and some (like Wentz) really shit the bed for me. 190.90-142.60.

***

Let’s talk about my moves this week. I talked about this on Twitter the other day, but it bears repeating: I hate having the #1 waiver priority. I always hold onto it waaaaaaay too long – letting countless guys fall to other teams – hoping for the perfect superstar to pick up that someone is forced to drop because maybe they’re dealing with BYE weeks or something. Inevitably – because the guys in my league have been at this for a while – no one really good comes along, and as the playoffs approach, I feel obligated to just take the best player available to actually make use of the damn thing, and it’s never someone who helps me win games. It’s just a huge clusterfuck and I’ve had enough!

After Week 2, you should generally have a good idea of who on the waiver wire is worth rostering. A strong Week 1 can be a fluke, but if they put up back-to-back great weeks, and all the analysis is telling you to GET THIS GUY, you have to get the guy.

The best player available after two weeks in my league was Scary Terry McLaurin. He’s a rookie, he appears to be the best receiver on the Redskins right now, and he might be the best overall offensive weapon on the Redskins! Which, I know … they’re the Redskins. But, even crappy teams put up points. Scary Terry got 7 targets in week one, reeling in 5 of them for 125 yards and a TD. He upped his game to 9 targets in week two, reeling in another 5 for 62 and a TD. He’s not just a deep threat either; they’re featuring him all over the field. He’s fast, he’s hungry, and he’s a possible keeper candidate for next year if things go very right. I ended up waiving Roethlisberger because he’s out for the rest of the season, and he’s not someone I would even remotely consider as a keeper.

I put in a second waiver claim – because why the fuck not? – but Mason Rudolph went to another team. I generally have a bad read on the rest of the league when it comes to who I should prioritize in waiver claims; guys I tend to lock into oftentimes go unclaimed entirely! But, I’ll admit, I didn’t expect Sloane N Steady to snipe this one from me – even if he is a die hard Steelers fan – since he has three other QBs on his roster who are pretty solid (depending on your thoughts on Derek Carr as a third). He must know something I don’t – that Rudolph is going to take this job and run with it – which I probably should’ve seen coming. Here’s to Roethlisberger playing for the Bucs next year!

I still wanted to grab another backup QB, because at this point I’m seriously scrambling, so I took Teddy Bridgewater as a free agent. It’s weird that no one put a claim in for him, considering how few eligible quarterbacks are available in our league, but there you have it. I dropped T.J. Hockenson, as I don’t really have a need for a second tight end (particularly one who had a shit game last week after being lights out in week one) right now. I’ll probably try to get him back at some point, if my season continues to fall apart and I just need to play for next year.

It really sucks talking like that after two weeks, but again, I did this to myself.

***

I’ve got a lot of shuffling going on in my lineup, so let’s jump right into it.

For my QB spots, I’ve got Wentz and Gardner Minshew II. As noted above, I need to actually see how Danny Dimes plays before I throw him into my lineup (and even then, I’ll be going game-to-game based on matchups). Part of me really wants to play Bridgewater here, but he’s just SO MEDIOCRE. Now, who knows, maybe they’ll tailor the offense to him and he’ll come into Seattle on Sunday and throw for 300 yards and 3 TDs, but I doubt it. Even if he has all day to throw, it’s going to be some underneath bullshit. Their O-Line is good, so that gives me pause, but the Seahawks should be pretty close to full strength on the D-Line this week with the return of Ansah. Combine that with us being at home, and I’m expecting something in the 200-yard range with maybe a TD. For our league, that’s anywhere from 15-20 points, depending on how many turnovers he has. Not great. I feel like the upside is higher with Minshew at home. Now, I HATE the fact that it’s a Thursday game, and those tend to be super wonky and super one-sided. Feels like a 50/50 proposition though that this one will be one-sided towards Jacksonville. I guess I have to like those odds, considering my opponent this week (more on that later).

For my receivers, I’m Ride Or Die with T.Y. (Hilton) until Tyreek Hill comes back. It’s discouraging that A.J. Green isn’t going to return this month like I’d hoped, but I still feel good rostering him (for now) with the hope that he’ll provide my team a boost in the second half (he is in a contract season, after all). I elevated Christian Kirk into my starting lineup, based on his strong line against the Ravens last week. It looks like the Cardinals’ offense is just getting warmed up, and they’re about to explode with a ton of TDs the rest of the way. I’m keeping my RBs as Elliott and Bell, and my lone tight end is Waller (who might figure to get even more targets this week, depending on how well Tyrell Williams is feeling). But, I’m benching Josh Jacobs in lieu of Cooper Kupp (who continues to get ranked crazy-high by the ESPN experts). I don’t love how much the Rams spread the ball around, as it feels like Kupp oftentimes gets relegated to the sloppy seconds (or thirds, as it were) of Woods and Cooks; but I could see them needing to put up a lot of points and throw a lot against the Browns. It feels like the much smarter play over Jacobs, who isn’t a factor in the passing game, which means if they’re losing on the road against the Vikings (as is my expectation), he just won’t see the ball all that much.

Scary Terry was certainly a thought – I did blow a #1 waiver priority on him – but they’re playing the Bears on Monday Night, and I just don’t think the Redskins are going to score all that much. And, let’s be real here, I’m going to need A LOT of points, so going with high-variance guys is the way to play.

***

Space Forcin’ is my opponent, the arch nemesis of Space Pirates! We’re at it again. He of the A+ draft grade. He of the best keepers in the league – Mahomes, JuJu, Kamara, and Davante Adams. On top of those guys, he’s got Ertz, Phillip Lindsay, Lockett as his flex, Philly’s kicker, and San Fran’s defense (hosting Pittsburgh). His only real weak spot is Jacoby Brissett, who also just so happens to be throwing balls to my #1 wide receiver this week. It’s a mess!

What I’m banking on is Baltimore’s defense holding Kansas City’s passing attack in check. I’m not asking for the keys to Fort Knox here, just keep him under 30 points! I’d love to see Brissett throw a few picks to those ball-hawking Falcons cornerbacks. I’d also love it if the Steelers put up a good fight against the 49ers, yet maybe Richard Sherman still shuts down JuJu? Is that possible? The Seahawks should be pretty formidable against the Saints’ rushing attack, so I’d hope Kamara doesn’t go off like he normally does (ideally, let’s just keep him out of the endzone and see how the rest shakes out). Hopefully New Orleans’ #1 corner locks down Lockett, the Packers’ defense completely shuts down Denver’s running game, and Denver’s secondary finds a way to force anyone but Adams to beat them.

As for my team, Wentz should have a bounce-back game against the Lions. How do you not love Elliott at home against the Dolphins? If that isn’t a 30-point game, something’s seriously wrong. Bell should continue to be featured heavily on the road against the Pats. I have to believe Waller is due for the endzone a couple times. I love Baltimore’s kicker against KC’s defense. And, I love Buffalo’s defense against whatever the hell Cincinnati is trying to do on offense.

Look, if I’m being honest, I have no shot to win this week. Yahoo has me as a 13-point underdog, but if I don’t lose by 40 it’ll be a miracle. My only real hope is for his guys to have uncharacteristically bad games. I mean, like, I deserve some good luck! I scored 142 points last week, which is well below par for our league, and there were still FIVE teams who did worse (including someone who went on to win their matchup)! Why can’t I ever be playing some shit team when I’m having a similarly shit week? I swear to Christ, the schedule is my biggest obstacle every fucking year; when is it my turn to get some good fortune in this part of the game? I lose one of my keepers (Hill) in the middle of week one, then the injury bug swings back around to take my top draft pick in the middle of week two. I’m not even getting FULL GAMES out of these injured guys! How I managed to get to .500 after two games is a total mindfuck.

If I’m also being honest, it doesn’t even matter if I win this week or not. What’s more important is having one of these young QBs (ideally someone like Daniel Jones) really shine this week, affording me the confidence to play them the rest of the way. What’s more important is someone like Scary Terry doing it against a top shelf defense like the Bears, so I can pencil him into my lineup every week from here on out. What’s more important is for Josh Jacobs to come back with a vengeance so I feel like a fool for benching him.

What’s even MORE important than all of that is none of my other superstars getting fucking injured anymore!

If I wake up on Tuesday morning and find my bench outscored my starters, I’ll be fine with it. There are still lots of weeks left this season; I just need to tread water – and find a viable second quarterback – until some of my injured guys come back and I can kick ass again when it counts: the playoffs. As long as I can sneak into a 5th or 6th seed, that’s all that matters.

I Can’t Envision A Seahawks Victory In Pittsburgh

Usually, whenever I feel this strongly about an impending Seahawks defeat, one of two things usually happens in the game: either I’m right and the Seahawks lose, or I’m wrong and the Seahawks win. THIS IS THE HARD-HITTING ANALYSIS YOU COME HERE FOR!!!

Sure, every once in a while there’s a tie sprinkled in there, but you get the idea. One of three things.

This early in the season, we really don’t have a lot of knowledge about what the Seahawks are and what they’re going to be. All we REALLY have to go on is the one game, last week, where Andy Dalton of all people came into Seattle and threw for a billion yards. On the flipside, last week the Steelers went into New England and only scored 3 points. But, they’ve still got Ben Roethlisberger (inarguably better than Dalton), they’ve still got JuJu Smith-Schuster (inarguably better than any receiver on the Bengals), and they’ve still got James Conner (who helped the Steelers not miss a beat with Le’Veon Bell leaving town). That’s an offense, again, you have to believe is far and away superior to the Bengals. Plus, they’ll have the added advantage of being at home, so our defense won’t have the noise factor on their side.

If we gave up 418 yards to Dalton last week, with all the noise and everything else, what’s the ceiling for Roethlisberger? I can’t stress this enough, that noise is critical to what we do in our pass rush; without it, I don’t think we’ll touch him. Which is terrible news, because aside from our improved run defense, that’s the only thing we’ve got going for us. Our secondary hasn’t improved at all in the last week (unless you think signing a veteran nickel defender off the scrap heap will suddenly turn this sinking ship around), and you could argue it’s actually gotten worse if Lano Hill starts (I wouldn’t make that argument, because I’d take literally anyone over Tedric Thompson, but if you want to make that argument, I won’t stop you).

I will say this, for the Seahawks: I think our offense will look better. It would pretty much have to, though. It’s hard to look a whole lot worse, so long as you wipe 2017 from your memory. I do NOT think the Seahawks will get blown out, because they rarely do. Then again, I’m also not totally leaving that option off the table. If the Steelers jump out to a big early lead by 14 or 21 points in the first half, we could definitely see more sacks and turnovers in the second half than we’d like. I believe the Steelers have a MUCH better defense than last week would indicate. They’ve got great players at every level.

They’re also not a team we see very often. The Seahawks have lost on the road to an AFC team almost every single year since Pete Carroll has gotten here. Generally, the games are more high scoring than you’d like, and the Seahawks even look semi-competent at times. But, the defense ends up letting us down in these games, and I have no reason to believe that won’t happen again this week.

Look, I hope I’m wrong! But, it’s gonna take 30+ points to go into Pittsburgh and win this thing, and I just don’t think we’re there yet. That’s fine! It’s not the end of the world! Road AFC games are the least important games on our schedule; it’s MUCH more important to come back home next week and take out the Saints. We were always going to lose one of these two games, and I’m officially on record as hoping we lose this week and win the next.

And not just because I have a bunch of Steelers on my various fantasy teams.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team: Playoffs Consolation Game

And just like that, my season’s over.  All that’s left is to figure out the draft order for next year.  Since I’m officially in the 3rd place game, the highest I’ll be drafting next year is 7th, and that’s if I beat one of the two best teams in the league this week, who improbably lost in the semi-finals along with me.

I couldn’t have asked for a better matchup.  I was playing the consensus Best Team In The League (i.e. “Whatever Team Has Patrick Mahomes 2018”) and he ended up having his 3rd-worst week of the season, with a total of 158.10 points.  For your reference, he AVERAGES 183.30, so this is quite a dip from his normal production.  He got under 10 from JuJu Smith-Schuster, under 1 from an injured Aaron Jones, and under 10 from George Kittle; along with some pedestrian numbers across the board from his elite QBs and other studs.  A late insertion of Marlon Mack into his FLEX got him 25.90 points and hurt my chances quite a bit.

But, I mean, this is all on King Flippy Nips.  My team has been a JOKE over the last three weeks, and I only advanced this far thanks to my opponent last week suffering a slew of injuries.

True, I had injury issues of my own.  Nick Foles – in place of the lost Carson Wentz – got me an even 10 points.  I smartly benched Jameis Winston (who had less than 4 points against the Ravens), but Derek Carr did dick against the Bengals.

Ultimately, the reason why I lost boils down to two of my best skill guys:  Tyreek Hill and Adam Thielen.  It sucks, because those guys are BIG reasons why my team was as good as it was!  But, they got me 8.10 and 3.90 points respectively when it mattered most, and that was all she wrote.  I had monster games out of Chris Carson and Ezekiel Elliott, Robert Woods and the Chicago defense did good-enough.  But, my team scored 131.45 points in just a DREADFUL playoff effort.  And, so now I’m left to fight for a slightly-better draft spot.

I would’ve lost to all but the very worst of the Consolation Bracket teams this week, so it’s not like my playoff seeding even mattered.  Indeed, had I been excluded from the playoffs this year, I’d be in the Consolation Bracket Championship Game, playing for a #1 overall spot in the draft next year.  So, I have that to dwell upon all off-season.

I guess I’m relieved it’s all finally over.  I don’t have to sit around anxiously all day and night Sunday through Tuesday.  I can finally watch the Seahawks and the rest of the NFL games in peace.  But, it’s yet another year with my name NOT on the league’s championship trophy.  I like my friends an awful lot, but I have no trouble telling you that I deserve that honor more than the lot of them combined!

Why, you ask?  Fuck you, that’s why!  I want it!  That’s enough.

Here’s my final week lineup:

  • QB1 – Jameis Winston @ DAL
  • QB2 – Derek Carr vs. DEN
  • WR1 – Tyreek Hill @ SEA
  • WR2 – Adam Thielen @ DET
  • RB1 – Ezekiel Elliott vs. TB
  • RB2 – Chris Carson vs. KC
  • TE – Cameron Brate @ DAL
  • FLEX – Robert Woods @ AZ
  • K – Ryan Succop vs. WAS
  • DEF – Chicago @ SF

My bench is:  Kerryon Johnson, Boyd, Adams, Foles, Wentz, Bell (IR).

No point in making a bunch of moves when your season is over.  I dropped the Pittsburgh tight end because I don’t trust any offensive player against the Saints’ defense.  Brate seems … good enough.  As for the pickup of Kerryon Johnson – who just hit the IR – that’s more of a nab for the future.  I don’t know how the rules are going to change in this league, or how many keepers we’re going to be allowed next year, so I might as well take a flier on someone who could be a stud next year.  I wasn’t going to use Adrian Peterson anyway, and I doubt anyone in the championship game will care if he’s out there.  Plus, his existence on the waiver wire really isn’t my problem.

Depending on who drops what, I might make a waiver claim between now and the weekend, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

This week’s opponent is the immortal Korky Butchek.  He’s got a very good team who has, for whatever reason, underachieved in recent weeks.  I’m sure he’ll beat me, so I better get used to drafting 8th next year.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team: Playoffs Round 2

Well, it looked dicey there for a while on Sunday – as both King Flippy Nips and Crazy N8’s Prostates struggled to do much of anything – but as the day wore on, my guys had just enough in the tank to prevail, 164.77 to 124.10.

Predictably, I made a bunch of pre-game panic moves that either had no bearing on the outcome, or totally cost me points because I’m an idiot.  For starters, I put Wentz back in my lineup over Carr.  It was the right call – as my fantasy confidant and sherpa guide told me, “… this time of year I generally say play your best players,” – and in the end I got an extra point out of the deal.  Turns out Carr against the Steelers was also a good call, as I figured.  But, the risk of Carr totally melting down was too much for me, so I went with my keeper.

I also ditched the Giants defense, going with Detroit’s.  That ended up costing me 4 points, which was no big thing (thankfully).  But, I could’ve just stuck with Chicago’s defense (who DOMINATED the Rams, to my surprise) and had 10 more points!  IDIOT!

Finally, I put Adrian Peterson in there, thinking that the Redskins would hang around and try to run the ball a ton.  He got me less than 3 points in a week where Carson would’ve gotten me 15.  Woof.

Luckily, Zeke came to play (31.20), both my QB’s showed up, and Tyreek Hill shook off an early injury to get me over 20 points.  More importantly, Crazy N8’s Prostates had to replace ODB at the last minute (Chris Godwin, who got less than 3 points), and had mediocre games up and down his lineup.

So, I advance to the next round.  As a 6-seed, my reward is to play the 1-seed, Space Forcin’.  You know, the guy who managed to keep Mahomes, Kamara, and Rivers (QB1, RB5, and QB6).  The guy who – on his BYE week last week – still managed to lead the league in scoring with over 200 points.  This dude is a juggernaut.  I’m so fucked it’s not even funny.

Barring a miracle, I’m pretty much where I deserve to be:  in the final four.  I will say this, though:  for a team as good as mine, it’s weird that I’ve yet to surpass 200 points in any given week.  Most all of the other good teams in our league has had at least one 200-point week this year.  Just sayin’.

Anyway, here are my guys:

  • QB1 – Carson Wentz or Nick Foles @ LAR
  • QB2 – Derek Carr @ CIN
  • WR1 – Tyreek Hill vs. LAC
  • WR2 – Adam Thielen vs. MIA
  • RB1 – Ezekiel Elliott @ IND
  • RB2 – Chris Carson @ SF
  • TE – Vance McDonald vs. NE
  • FLEX – Robert Woods vs. PHI
  • K – Ryan Succop @ NYG
  • DEF – Chicago vs. GB

My bench is:  Winston, Peterson, Boyd, Adams, Detroit, Bell (IR).

Come Wednesday morning, I made a flurry of moves.  Gone:  Jimmy Graham.  Fuck that guy, I fucking hate him anyway.  Plus, with the Packers going up against my defense, it’s not like I want him to do well anyway.  So, watch him have a monster game with multiple touchdowns.  In his place, I grabbed Vance McDonald.  There aren’t a lot of great tight ends out on waivers this time of year, and the ones I like are in tough matchups.  With McDonald, I just want to get SOME points, and I feel like he’s got the safest floor.

Also gone:  Matt Bryant.  The dude is old, their offense has sucked lately, and again I just want POINTS.  Per Yahoo, the Giants give up the most points to kickers in the league, so in comes Succop.  I don’t love Tennessee’s offense, but hopefully he’ll get me a 50-yarder or two.

Finally, I didn’t need two defenses, as I’m FOR REAL THIS TIME sticking with Chicago the rest of the way.  With word coming down on Wednesday that Carson Wentz is unlikely to play this week, I picked up Nick Foles.  I still like him more than Jameis Winston against that Baltimore defense.

My guys are okay, my matchups are okay, but Space Forcin’ is just STACKED.  The aforementioned Mahomes & Rivers (in a matchup against one another on Thursday night that’s destined to be a shootout to end all shootouts), Adams and Smith-Schuster as his starting wideouts, Kamara and Aaron Jones as his starting RBs, the immortal Kittle as his TE, Jacksonville’s defense going up against the pathetic Redskins.  I mean, how do you compete with these guys?

I’m gonna need my first 200-point week, and even then, will it be enough?  Yahoo has me losing by over 20 points already, before anyone has played a game.  It’s gonna be ugly.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team: Week 13

I’m a man on the brink of destruction.

I took another one on the chin this week, losing to Space Forcin’ 178.53 to 170.70.  I had an opportunity, but I froze, and it bit me in the ass.  If I’d picked up Chase Daniel and dropped Derek Carr, that would’ve been the difference.  Space Forcin’ had Daniel going on Thursday, so of course he blew up for 25 points.  There were any number of other issues – JuJu Smith-Schuster scoring on a 90+ yard touchdown against the inept Denver Broncos secondary, Philip Rivers being unstoppable; or on my team getting another crap game from Wentz, AP and Greg Olsen – but the bottom line is if I couldn’t beat a team with Mahomes on BYE and with Kamara getting under 12 points, then I just don’t deserve to win.

So, this is it.  The final week of the regular season.  I’m 5-7, in 6th place.  Still 3rd in points scored; still 2nd in points against.  This year is a clusterfuck of epic proportions.  The team ahead of me is 6-6; I can only pass him if I win and he loses (because I’m way ahead of him in points).  The team behind me is also 5-7.  If I lose and he wins, I’m out of the playoffs.  If he loses, I’m in the playoffs regardless (because, again, I’m way ahead of him in points).

I don’t deserve any of this.  But, I also deserve every single bit of this.  Because I play this stupid fucking game by choice; no one’s putting a gun to my head!  I could quit any time.  And yet I continue to put myself through this.  I’m miserable all day Sunday as I obsessively check score updates; I’m miserable all day Monday as I sweat out yet another close game.  I’m miserable Tuesday through Saturday because I’m in this fucking position of having one of the three best teams in the league while on the outside-looking-in.  I need a miracle and the guy I need to win next week just lost Alex Smith and Jack Doyle.

As for my team, I lost Andy Dalton for the year, so that’s fun.  Thankfully, I wasn’t planning on playing him ever.  Jameis Winston is now my Ride Or Die #2 QB, so I’ll live and die with a potential 4-INT game hanging over my head.  Before Monday Night’s game, I dropped Dalton for Derrick Henry, but I never expected to hang onto him long.  Indeed, I was able to flip him for Philly’s Josh Adams.  It’s Week 13, I’m not gonna make a waiver claim and NOT play him immediately!  So, he slots in for Carson.  I do think Carson will play well against the 49ers – and watch this be the game he scores 3 TDs – but I think Adams is going to be more reliable, more explosive, and more of a workhorse over Seattle’s committee.  Plus, this way, if Carson stinks, I don’t have to sit there being miserable the entire afternoon.

No more BYE weeks to kick me around, so here’s this week’s lineup:

  • QB1 – Carson Wentz vs. WAS
  • QB2 – Jameis Winston vs. CAR
  • WR1 – Tyreek Hill @ OAK
  • WR2 – Adam Thielen @ NE
  • RB1 – Ezekiel Elliott vs. NO
  • RB2 – Josh Adams vs. WAS
  • TE – Greg Olsen @ TB
  • FLEX – Robert Woods @ DET
  • K – Matt Bryant vs. BAL
  • DEF – Chicago @ NYG

My bench is:  Carr, Peterson, Boyd, Carson, Brown, Bell (IR).

This week I’m going up against Korky Butchek again.  He’s the #2 team in the league, in record and in points.  I’m not posting his lineup because I don’t give a fuck anymore.  I’m not obsessing over this thing like I’ve been doing.  My lineups are set in all my leagues, I’ll check before game times to make sure there are no injury/inactive surprises.  But, once 10am on Sunday rolls around, I’m not opening up Yahoo again until Tuesday morning.  I don’t want to know who my opponent has going this week, because I don’t want to feel that pang of misery every time I see one of his guys scores a touchdown.  I just want to watch football and try to enjoy myself.  If I make the playoffs, great.  If I don’t, then whatever, I’ll try to rip shit up in the Consolation Bracket.

I should be favored in all those games – barring more injuries – because I’m far and away better than the bottom 4 teams.  So, watch me lose in the first week.

Every year I tinker with the thought of quitting fantasy football.  That urge is going to be tough to beat after this season if I’m eliminated from the playoffs.  I mean, how is this fun?  What makes this a worthwhile endeavor?  These are the questions I’ll be asking myself in the weeks ahead.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team: Week 12

I’m just a mess of a human being.  I went into Monday Night trailing TheGangUnderperforms by a score of 140.75 to 124.75.  I was absolutely ROLLING during the morning games on Sunday.  At one point, I was projected as a 90% favorite to win the week.  Sure, a few of my guys were doing okay, but my heavy hitters were yet to come, and more importantly HIS guys were shitting the bed!  Ben Roethlisberger was at negative points until late in that game against the Jags; Mariota ended his day with less than 2 points total.  Then, that same shit in the bed started hitting the fan.

Predictably, TheGangUnderperforms picked up a tight end to play in Gronk’s place before Sunday.  He ended up picking up Vance McDonald for the Steelers, who MIRACULOUSLY caught a touchdown.  Because of course he did.  He only did that because he was going up against my team!!!  That was double-touchdowns because, obviously, Roethlisberger was the one who threw it.  Things went downhill as the Steelers’ fortunes continued to soar.  Instead of handing off to James Conner at the goalline, Roethlisberger ran in the winning touchdown just to FUCKING spite me!

Anyway, unpredictably, TheGangUnderperforms snuck Doug Baldwin into his lineup before the Thursday game.  He benched Kenny Golladay, which was the good news, but still, Doug had easily his best fantasy game of the season – again – because he was going up against me.

So, there I was, Monday Night.  I had Tyreek Hill, Robert Woods, and a 16-point deficit; he had Kareem Hunt and the aforementioned lead.  It was the Chiefs at the Rams, easily the most hyped matchup in the history of regular season football.  This was a fantasy boon the likes of which we’ve never seen.  So many games were on the line!  So many high-scoring players were in the middle of the action!

And I couldn’t bring myself to watch one single second of it.  Literally the greatest offensive shootout in the history of the NFL – the first time two teams scored over 50 points in the same game – and I was hiding in my room, watching old reruns of The Monkees and Get Smart.

This is what Fantasy Football has brought me to!  It’s literally ruining my life!  But, in my crazy, fucked-up brain, I needed to NOT watch to win my fantasy game.  I went to bed not knowing the result – of either the Rams/Chiefs or TheGangUnderperforms/King Flippy Nips – and I woke up at 4am to immediately hop on my computer to check the results.

Sure, I was disappointed I didn’t see the Best Game Ever, but I won.  DAMMIT, I WON!  186.33 to 160.85!

Blessings to Tyreek Hill, who got me over 44 points.  Tidings of love and joy to Zeke Elliott who got me over 33.  Kudos to Dalton and Chicago for getting over 20.  And a bigtime FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU to Carson Wentz, who finished with -3.60, and single-handedly was the reason why I couldn’t bring myself to watch the game on Monday.  Had he done what he was supposed to, I would’ve had a comfortable lead heading into Monday, and my night would’ve been more enjoyable for it.

To think, a friend of mine on Saturday said he wasn’t sure if Carson Wentz would eventually turn into Drew Brees or Ryan Tannehill (to which I replied, “Oh, he’s WAY better than Ryan Tannehill!” … yeah, except Tannehill didn’t even play this weekend and would’ve gotten me more points).

Anyway, here I am.  5-6 in the standings.  I leapfrogged TheGangUnderperforms to get into 5th place.  I am still comfortably 3rd in total points, and still 2nd in total points against.  That’s the good news, if you can call it good news.

The bad news is I have 2 games to go, and I need help (in more ways than one).  Two of the bottom-feeders won last week in upsets.  That puts them both at 4-7.  Those two teams – as chance would have it – play one another THIS week, meaning one of them is guaranteed to be 5-7 heading into the final week of the regular season.  As you’ll see below, I’m going up against the #1 team (in record, #2 in total points by a large margin over me) and I’ll be projected to lose.  Assuming I do lose, that will drop me to 5-7 and in a tie with one of those bottom-dwelling teams.  In the final week of the regular season, my opponent is the #2 team (in record, #1 in total points by a large margin over me); I will be projected to lose that game as well.  The aforementioned bottom-feeders will have very winnable games that week, so I’m in a real pickle.  Without getting too much further into the weeds, I’ll need certain teams to lose a lot the rest of the way …

Or, I’m effectively in if I can just get an upset win in one of the next two weeks.

Yeah, I’m screwed.

Just one minor move this week.  I swapped Matt Prater out and brought in Matt Bryant.  I don’t love any offensive player going up against the Saints right now – as they’re just STEAMROLLING people left and right – but I think the Falcons will move the ball a little bit.  My big concern is that the Saints get up by such a big score that the Falcons will have to go for nothing but touchdowns all game.  I could’ve legitimately put a zero in my lineup this week; regardless, going forward I like Bryant and that Falcons offense more than Prater and the Lions right now.

Here’s this week’s lineup:

  • QB1 – Carson Wentz vs. NYG
  • QB2 – Jameis Winston vs. SF
  • WR1 – Adam Thielen vs. GB
  • WR2 – Tyler Boyd vs. CLE
  • RB1 – Ezekiel Elliott vs. WAS
  • RB2 – Adrian Peterson @ DAL
  • TE – Greg Olsen vs. SEA
  • FLEX – Chris Carson @ CAR
  • K – Matt Bryant @ NO
  • DEF – Chicago @ DET

My bench is:  Dalton, Carr, Hill (BYE), Woods (BYE), Brown (BYE), Bell (IR).

I like Andy Dalton at home against Cleveland – and I think it’s highly possible he goes off against them – but I also think the Browns’ defense is a little underrated, and they could force him to look a little mediocre.  I think with Winston (first of all, I need to get SOME sort of value out of that Le’Veon Bell trade, even if I’m shoe-horning it in this fashion), the Bucs have nothing to lose, so they’re going to let it rip.  I could see that game being super high scoring, because the Bucs’ defense is the worst in football, so as per usual they’re going to be throwing the ball a lot.  With Winston, you accept there are going to be turnovers.  The hope is that he’ll also rack up the TDs and yards to outweigh all the shittiness.  Also, who knows, maybe with his career on the line, he steps up and blows the league away.  Bottom line is the upside is higher with Winston over Dalton, while the floor is essentially the same (both of them could throw tons of picks and blow it for me).  Beyond that, with the BYEs what they are, my lineup choices are essentially made for me.

My opponent this week is Space Forcin’.  You may recall he’s the guy who kept Mahomes, Rivers, and Kamara from last year, so he’s obviously pretty fucking stacked.  You may also recall that at full strength, he beat my ass by almost 30 points back in Week 3.

Well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news.  The good news is Mahomes is on BYE this week.  The bad news is that his team is still really fucking stacked and I pretty much have no chance of winning.

I can only make an educated guess at this point as to who Space Forcin’ will put in his lineup, as everyone apparently likes to wait until the last minute to make a fucking decision:

  • QB1 – Philip Rivers vs. ARI
  • QB2 – Joe Flacco vs. OAK
  • WR1 – Davante Adams @ MIN
  • WR2 – JuJu Smith-Schuster @ DEN
  • RB1 – Alvin Kamara vs. ATL
  • RB2 – Marlon Mack vs. MIA
  • TE – George Kittle @ TB
  • FLEX – Aaron Jones @ MIN
  • K – Wil Lutz vs. ATL
  • DEF – Philadelphia vs. NYG

His bench is:  Mahomes (BYE), C.J. Beathard, Miami, Austin Hooper, Duke Johnson.

Joe Flacco against the Raiders would normally be as juicy of a matchup as you can get on a team this stacked.  But, his injury status is looking iffy.  I texted Space Forcin’ to try to get a sense of what his plan is.  Frankly, the QBs on the free agent scrap heap are nothing to write home about.  Tannehill is starting this week, so that rules out Osweiler.  Colt McCoy is probably the best bet of the bunch to at least get points, but someone with a higher waiver priority just made a claim on him.  He has Beathard now, but that’s probably a hail mary of an option, in the hopes that Nick Mullens goes down with injury or otherwise gets benched.  The only guy left in free agency is Taysom Hill, the backup for the Saints who runs a few gadget plays per game.

Could I have dropped Derek Carr this week, now that I’m holding 4 healthy quarterbacks on my roster?  I absolutely could have, but why should I help the best team in the league when I don’t have to?  He’s got enough.  Let me try to get mine.

As it stands, even with just 1 QB starting, he probably has more than enough to beat me.  Rivers is more than capable of shredding the Cards, Adams will be a focal point in a must-win game against the Vikings, Kamara might lead the league in non-quarterback points this week in a shootout against the Falcons, and so on and so forth.  Meanwhile, without Hill and Woods, the upside for my team takes a significant hit, as I’m forced to start both Chris Carson AND Adrian Peterson.  I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team: Week 3

My Rationale Beforehand

Ol’ King Flippy Nips really needed that win last week.  We SHOULD be 2-0 and one of the scariest teams in the league, but instead we’re the best of the 1-1 teams (#2 in total points overall) and in a dogfight against the top scoring team in the league, the 2-0 Space Forcin’.

Since there’s hashtag No Time To Sleep, there were a couple more roster moves to sort out this week.  First thing’s first, I used my dreadful waiver priority (I want to say I was 8th out of 10) to pick up Ryan FitzMagic.  I figured after his week 1 heroics, it was all a fluke, and probably the Saints’ defense isn’t that good this year.  However, he threw for 4 more TDs against the Super Bowl champion Eagles, so this HAS to be for real, right?  He’s got 94 points in two weeks in our league!  Maybe it’s like a Case Keenum situation from last year, where a veteran comes from out of nowhere to take the league by storm!

Plus, he’s going up against the Steelers on Monday Night this week, their defense looks atrocious, so I feel better about FitzMagic than I do Derek Carr (at Miami, whose defense COULD be secretly good) or Andy Dalton (at Carolina, whose defense is usually good when healthy).

To make room for the magic man, I once again waived Kenny Stills, after a 3.70-point week.  Bottom line:  Miami’s offense is never going to be explosive enough to want to count on him week-to-week, so it’s all going to be Boom or Bust with this guy and I just don’t need that in my life right now.

Early Wednesday morning, I was up at 3:30am, a few hours after the waiver claims went through, looking to do even more tinkering.  See, this week, Carson Wentz is set to make his triumphant return, so there’s really no need to keep Nick Foles – a fifth quarterback – on the roster (frankly, even 4 QBs is too many, considering how small our benches are).  In looking to boost my skill position depth, I picked up Detroit’s Kenny Golladay, who has been terrific when healthy, and obviously plays for a more explosive offense than Miami’s.  He’s not just a big play, touchdown-dependent receiver; through two weeks he’s averaging over 10 targets per game, and is on a team that should frequently find itself behind and needing to throw their way back into games.  Golladay won’t start for me now, but if he keeps it up, I could see him supplanting Demaryius Thomas sooner or later for my FLEX spot.

Here’s this week’s lineup:

  • QB1 – Carson Wentz vs. IND
  • QB2 – Ryan FitzMagic vs. PIT
  • WR1 – Tyreek Hill vs. SF
  • WR2 – Adam Thielen vs. BUF
  • RB1 – Ezekiel Elliott @ SEA
  • RB2 – Leonard Fournette vs. TEN
  • RB2 – Adrian Peterson vs. GB
  • TE – Jordan Reed vs. GB
  • FLEX – Demaryius Thomas @ BAL
  • K – Robbie Gould @ KC
  • DEF – Chicago @ AZ

My bench is:  Dalton, Carr, Adrian Peterson Fournette, Robert Woods, Golladay, and Greg Olsen.

I like almost all of these matchups.  My only concern with Thielen is that the Vikings will be up so big that they’ll eventually stop throwing the ball, and if Thielen doesn’t get his early and often, it could be a surprisingly quiet day.  Obviously, you never know what’s going to happen – any one of these guys could throw up some duds – but I’ll take my chances with this lineup against just about anybody’s.

It’s nice having Fournette back in the fold, since I don’t love Peterson’s chances against the Packers.  I wouldn’t mind playing either of those backup receivers, as they both figure to be in high-scoring games, but when in doubt, go with the #1 receiver in Thomas.

SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE:  the neverending disappointment that is Leonard Fournette’s injury-riddled body reared its ugly head once again.  Even though he was able to practice in a limited capacity all week, the Jags are holding him out yet another game.  My expected points took a pretty significant hit with Peterson not likely to get much of anything going against the Packers (since the Redskins figure to be playing from behind all game and trying to throw their way back into it).  Here’s the real bummer of not having a deeper bench and a bigger stable of backup running backs.  If only I could’ve injected one of my spare wide receivers into this game!

As I noted, I’m going up against the best team in the league through two weeks.  I’m second overall in points and Space Forcin’ has outscored me by 48.81 (to put it in context, I’m closer to the 5th place team in total points than I am to him in first).  His keepers were Mahomes, Rivers, and Kamara (i.e. the three best fucking keepers in the league; i.e. the 2nd, 5th, and 8th best players in our league).  While his bench is pretty suspect, he’s rounded out by some high-ceiling, high-floor players that will make all of our lives a living hell as long as they remain healthy.

It should be pointed out that the guy running Space Forcin’ has had my number in recent seasons; even if his teams suck, he seems to really get it up for kicking my ass.  So, I can love my guys and I can love my matchups until the cows come home, but it’s not going to make me even remotely confident as we head into this week.  In the next section, we’ll talk about how my week went.

***

Week 3 Results

And here we are, a 1-2 record with the second-most points scored in the entire league.  This is my fantasy fucking life.

Here’s what Space Forcin’ looked like, as they thoroughly destroyed me, 192.14 to 166.90:

  • QB1 – Philip Rivers @ LAR
  • QB2 – Patrick Mahomes vs. SF
  • WR1 – JuJu Smith-Schuster @ TB
  • WR2 – Davante Adams @ WAS
  • RB1 – Alvin Kamara @ ATL
  • RB2 – Jordan Howard @ AZ
  • TE – O.J. Howard vs. PIT
  • FLEX – Quincy Enunwa @ CLE
  • K – Will Lutz @ ATL
  • DEF – Philadelphia vs. IND

His worst player was his defense, who still got him 7 points.  His kicker out-scored 6 of my guys, including Carson Wentz, who just couldn’t get it going against Indy.  Getting stuck with Adrian Peterson was actually a blessing in disguise, but I still went into Monday Night down 20 points.  He had two guys going, and all the FitzMagic in the world couldn’t get me over the hump.

Just brutal, all around.  His lineup is as stacked as they come for 2018.  The key for me was always going to be Mahomes feeding the ball to Tyreek Hill, who instead had easily the worst game of his season so far.  On the plus side, maybe Ryan Fitzpatrick is a viable QB2 going forward after all?  We’ll see how the Bucs respond now that Jameis Winston is off of his suspension.

I still like my team, but this shit is getting real frustrating.  I need to bank some early-season wins and instead I keep running into buzzsaws!

Huskies Defeat Cal On The Back Of A Mid-Game 38-Point Run

This was a disjointed affair through the first 21 minutes of the game.  Our offense looked both inept and world-beating; our defense looked both dominant and susceptible to the big play; and our special teams:  the less said about them, the better.  The Huskies had a 21-13 lead after the first quarter, and with 9 minutes left in the first half, were clinging to a 21-20 advantage.  My worst nightmares were being realized.  Going into this game, my only fear was Cal pushing this game into shootout territory and keeping it close throughout thanks to our offense not being on top of its game.

I don’t know how you score 21 points in the first quarter and still feel like your offense is spotty, but it was.  A couple of 3 & Outs deep in our own territory, followed by a couple of the most miserable punts you’re ever going to see, gave Cal good field position on our side of the 50.  We essentially spotted them 6 points on a couple of field goals, and it certainly could’ve been a lot worse.  Beyond that, our three scores were on two bombs to John Ross and a trick play where Dante Pettis threw a TD to Darrell Daniels.  None of these were sustained drives, and we had no semblance of a running game early (against the worst rushing defense in college football).  Cal was only a couple of tweaks in their secondary away from making a game of this!

But, when Cal pulled to within 1 point, the Huskies finally turned on the jets.  38-unanswered extended our lead to 59-20 before the Bears finally got a late garbage time touchdown.  We followed that up with a lengthy run for a score with our backups in the game, and there was your final, 66-27.

In the end, we finished with 287 rushing yards on a whopping 44 carries, with both Gaskin and Coleman going for scores.  Browning had a great game, going 19/28 for 378 yards and 6 TDs against 0 INTs.  On the Heisman front, it looks like too-little, too-late, but in the Husky record books, we’re talking about a guy who – in 9 games – has already broken the single-season record for TD passes (34, over Keith Price’s 33).  He needs just 10 more to break the all-time Pac-12 record, held by Jared Goff (43).  He’s still pretty far off of the pace for the single-season Husky record for yards held by Cody Pickett (4,458 in 2002), but that’s what happens when you don’t play in the 4th quarter of most of your games because you’re blowing teams out too much.  But, assuming all goes according to plan, Browning should be alone in 4th place on the all-time Husky passing yards list, on pace to absolutely shatter the record if he stays in school all four years.

The aforementioned John Ross had himself quite the night, with 208 yards receiving on only 6 receptions, 3 of them for touchdowns.  Pettis, in addition to throwing for a touchdown, caught 3 others en route to an 8-catch, 104 yard evening.

The stars were out in full force on both sides of the ball.  The Huskies nabbed 3 picks, 2 of them going to Sidney Jones.  The line only managed 1 sack, but even though they were depleted, they were able to harass Cal’s quarterback with regularity most of the night.

I’d say, if the playoff selection committee went to bed after the first quarter, they wouldn’t have been all that impressed with the Huskies.  Considering the game didn’t start until after 10:30pm eastern, I’d say those odds are pretty good.  But, on the whole, a 66-27 drubbing has to look pretty good.

If I had to bet the family farm, I’d wager the Committee will have Ohio State in the top 4, with the Huskies on the outside looking in once again.  If, however, they wise up and put Washington in at #4, as long as we win out, I don’t think there’s any chance of us ever falling out of the top 4 between now and the end of the year.  Tomorrow could be big.  I’ll have more on the issue on Wednesday, once everything has sunk in.

Next up, the Huskies host USC at 4:30pm on Saturday.  Thanks to a bunch of early-season losses, the Trojans haven’t been on my radar, so my last impression of this team is throttling them down in L.A. last year, followed by the dramatic fall from grace for Sark.  Those Trojans would somehow rebound to climb into the Pac-12 Championship Game (because the Pac-12 South is the God damned worst), only to lose to Stanford before rounding out their season with a bowl loss to Wisconsin.

This year, USC came into the season ranked 20th, and was immediately humbled by Alabama.  The Trojans would lose 3 of their first 4, including games to Stanford and Utah, before turning things around and winning 5 in a row, including handing Colorado their only conference loss.  A big part of that turnaround is attributed to the Trojans dumping former Husky recruit Max Browne in favor of Freshman Sam Darnold.  Darnold looks like the real deal, and a perfect fit with all-world receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (who is somehow still a Junior, but will hopefully be declaring for the draft after this year).

I would also argue that part of their turnaround has to do with the schedule easing up.  It’s probably no coincidence that their conference losses were on the road (the Alabama game was played in Texas, but still probably more of a road atmosphere).  In their 5-game winning streak, 4 of these games have been at home (including the victory over Colorado).  The other wins, against the Arizona schools, Cal, and Oregon, are about as soft of a landing as you can get.  I don’t know if any of those teams have a defense that’s worth a damn.

ESPN College Gameday is coming back to Montlake for the first time since 2013, when we were ranked #16 and hosted the #2 Oregon Ducks.  That game turned out to be a disaster for all involved (unless you’re a Ducks fan, in which case, yes, I will have fries with that).  This time, the tables have turned though.  USC isn’t ranked, though they’re 26th in both the AP & Coaches polls.  People are touting the Trojans as the biggest test we’ll have faced all year.  I’d say that honor still belongs with the underrated Utah Utes, but this is what happens when one of the L.A. schools goes on a 5-game winning streak.  Everyone loses their minds and starts writing checks their asses can’t cash.

The fact of the matter is, yes, we’re talking about a hot USC team.  If the national rankings happen to be in love with that school, it’s all the better for the Washington Huskies.  Anything that boosts our national profile is good for our chances.  By the same token, it will have been 3 full weeks since our last home game.  It will have been a whopping 6 full weeks since the Husky fans have had an opportunity to get jacked up about a significant opponent (the Stanford game, on September 30th).  This is our last opportunity to get all lathered up on a national stage.  The next game is at home, but against a pretty hapless ASU team; then, we have the Apple Cup on the road.  My point is:  I expect Husky Stadium to be as loud and raucous as I’ve ever seen it.

GOD I CAN’T WAIT FOR SATURDAY!!!

Huskies Notched A Huge Win In USC

That, my friends, was one sweet game.  From the very beginning, the Husky defense came out and brought the pain!  We sacked their quarterback repeatedly, we picked him off twice, we were in his face on almost every pass attempt … it was really quite the show!  To be fair, their running game was able to plow through us on the reg – if you take away all the negative yardage from the quarterback, their actual running backs were averaging over 6 yards per rush – but, thankfully, we were facing a Sark-run team, and therefore a team that wouldn’t stay dedicated to what’s working.

There’s plenty of reasons to bash on Sark; I know I, for one, will never trust anyone who comes to Seattle as a new hire and describes this as his “dream job”, because it’s a fucking lie (yeah, I’m looking right at you, Jerry Dipoto; sell that shit somewhere else because I ain’t buying it).  But, Sark did a lot of good here.  He won some big games with some under-manned squads and really helped us turn things around (aside from the offensive line, but what are you gonna do).  Some people on Twitter were killing him, referencing “Same Ol’ Sark” when it comes to his teams not coming prepared to play.  I don’t know if I buy that.  I think he’s able to get his teams plenty motivated, and plenty prepared for what’s in store.  I just think he’s a little too in love with the passing game, and it gets him in trouble sometimes.

I know, he’s not necessarily calling USC’s plays, but he’s still the fucking head coach.  When you see your running backs are clearly burning the Huskies at such a fantastic clip, why would you continuously go away from that?  Is it because you promised your quarterback a Heisman Trophy?  Is it because your stud receivers will endlessly bitch and moan if they don’t get enough targets?  Are you so worried about recruiting that you’d rather showcase a passing game that’s clearly faltering, ahead of a running game that could’ve gotten you the win?  Honestly, as a Husky fan, I don’t understand what happened last night.  I’m grateful!  I thank my lucky stars they entrusted that game to an immobile quarterback behind a substandard pass-blocking unit.  But, for the life of me, I’ll never understand why he didn’t run those backs on every single down until the Huskies could prove that they could stop it.

For what it’s worth, the Huskies were definitely improved in their own running game.  I’m glad Coach Pete stuck to his word as far as riding the hot hand is concerned.  Myles Gaskin had his REAL coming out party last night in Southern California, running the ball 22 times for 134 yards.  Granted, a lot of that was in the second half, but this game was fairly close throughout, so those are still meaningful rushing yards we’re talking about (and not necessarily a team with a huge lead trying to run the clock out).

The fact of the matter is, the Huskies looked like the more talented team out there.  Our secondary was ever the match of their vaunted, 5-star receivers; in fact, I’d say our secondary was BETTER!  We were running stride for stride, we were jumping routes, we were in Cody Kessler’s head from the first minute of the game.  When you play USC, your first objective needs to be:  deny any big plays.  It says a lot that we were able to hold their longest play to only 26 yards.  Yeah, JuJu Smith-Schuster got his (6 catches for 82 yards), but we kept him and his wide receiver cohorts out of the endzone, and that’s huge!

Going further, I’d say that USC defense was okay, but you’d think with their high school talent base, they’d be able to stockpile more studs.  The only reason why the Huskies didn’t score 30-40 points last night was because we were starting a true freshman quarterback who missed countless deep balls.  When he wasn’t over-throwing receivers who had at least a full step on their defenders, he was underthrowing jump balls to Joshua Perkins.  I know it comes with the territory – we’re going to suffer the growing pains, but it’ll all be worth it a year from now when he’s exponentially better – but it’s still super frustrating to watch in the moment.  The Huskies started their first three possessions last night DEEP into USC’s territory, and came away with zero points.  But, there were opportunities in the pass game all night, and Browning just couldn’t hit ’em.  It seemed like he was really blasting his deep throws to receivers, and putting extra loft to Perkins; anyway you slice it, he couldn’t find the mark.  I would hope he’ll have a better feel for those balls as he gains more experience, but then again, I’ve been watching Ryan Tannehill throw the ball a lot this year (since he’s on my fantasy team), and he’s a professional who still can’t get the loft right on a lot of his throws!

Browning wasn’t totally inept, but it’s telling that the only real successful semi-deep ball was thrown by receiver Marvin Hall to tight end Joshua Perkins.  Nevertheless, Browning was able to manufacture a number of third down conversions, including the game-clincher in a slant to Jaydon Mickens on the final drive.  Speaking of which, Mickens looked like a man possessed last night.  It was good to see the fire there.

What we have here is the first “signature win” of Chris Petersen’s Husky career.  It’s been a long time coming, but hopefully, it’s the first of many.  Now, we get 10 days before playing Oregon at home – an eminently winnable game, as it turns out.  7:30pm start, so you KNOW there’s going to be a full, hard day of tailgating involved.  I expect a rabid Husky fanbase to be present for a history-defining achievement.  November 1, 2003, was the last time we beat the Ducks.  It’s been 12 long years since we’ve tasted the sweet taste of victory over those savages.  It’s time.