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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Snoopy & Prickly Pete

Also, check out the Fantasy Football tag for all my past ramblings on the subject.

Last year ended as horribly as can be in my Main League. I made the 6-team playoffs, but then promptly lost in the first round. That means I missed out on the 4-team consolation bracket – which plays for the top 4 draft picks the following season – and was saddled in the 5/6 game, playing for the 5th/6th draft pick. Of course, I lost that game as well, and here I was, heading into this season drafting 6th out of 10 teams, in a standard (non-snake) draft.

Last year, we were up to 4 keepers, having steadily increased that number over the last few years, with the ultimate goal of turning the league into a Dynasty League. Finally, there was enough discontent that the talk at this year’s rules meeting centered on, “We either need to go full dynasty, or blow it all up and eliminate keepers altogether.”

I don’t mind telling you I was lobbying hard to go with the dynasty league. I’ve been spending the last few years suffering mediocre finishes all in the name of trying to find the best keepers possible to carry over (with the primary goal of finding one or two quality quarterbacks to finally cement that position once and for all). I didn’t want all of that work to go to waste. Thankfully, by the thinnest of margins, we were able to vote in the dynasty.

Our set up is like this: we have to keep all of our starting positions. 2 QBs, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 FLEX, 1 K, 1 DEF. Easy peasy. We’ll get to wait until about a week before our fantasy draft next year before declaring who those keepers will be. Then, at the draft, we’ll select our 5 bench spots out of whoever’s left over, plus any incoming rookies.

This all starts NEXT year, meaning that we’re still only carrying over 4 keepers from last season. But, with our draft – that took place last Thursday – it’s officially on. If you’re not going all-in on the dynasty aspect with regards to who you’re drafting, then that means you like your team an awful lot and are pushing to win the championship within the next 1-2 years.

I didn’t love my keepers heading into our draft, because – SPOILER ALERT – I had no quarterbacks among the four. My keepers were:

  1. A.J. Brown (WR)
  2. CeeDee Lamb (WR)
  3. Ezekiel Elliott (RB)
  4. Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB)

That’s the ranking of how much I liked them, 1 through 4. I was waffling back and forth on CEH until the bitter end, before I read enough pundits who think he’s due to have a bounce-back year in his second season in the league. I can buy it. He doesn’t appear to have a lot of competition at the spot in Kansas City; even though they throw the ball WAY MORE than they run it, he could sneak in for some more touchdowns and still catch a lot of balls.

I had zero interest in keeping Josh Jacobs. He was supposed to be my horse last year, but he underwhelmed, and then the Raiders brought in Kenyan Drake (the bane of every fantasy owner’s existence wherever he plays, because he’s always stealing carries from someone more promising). I had a lot of fringey receivers I was mulling over (Jerry Jeudy, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, D.J. Chark, and Rashard Higgins), but all of those guys are players that could easily be had in any fantasy draft.

As for my two quarterbacks, I had Kirk Cousins (who’s a non-starter for me, since he’s not vaccinated – which means there’s a high likelihood he misses games this year – and he’s just overall mediocre), and Tua Tagovailoa. I made a HUGE to-do about picking him up on waivers last year, thinking his Alabama pedigree might translate to NFL success. But, he just looked too shitty as a rookie last year. More often than not, you can see which rookie quarterbacks are going to be studs, and which ones are going to be Marcus Mariota. Tua looks like he’s going to be a left-handed Mariota.

In the end, my final keeper came down to CEH and Tee Higgins. I was THIS close to keeping Higgins, because I freaking love that dude, and I think in that Bengals offense he’s going to be steadily productive for the next decade. But, the Bengals also went out and drafted another elite receiver really high in this year’s draft, plus they still have Tyler Boyd, who’s solid. There ended up being too many cooks in that kitchen, and I was scared off. I still think Higgins will be the best of those three this year, but going forward, it’s iffy.

Plus, let’s face it, there are tons of solid wide receivers all throughout the league. Keeping three of them seemed like overkill. I would’ve been effectively handing over my FLEX spot to Higgins, and if for whatever reason he struggles, then I’ve wasted one of my keeper spots for a fringe fantasy starter.

***

I had a couple plans heading into the draft with my 6th overall pick. Trevor Lawrence would obviously be off the table (he, indeed, went #1 overall). I assumed Najee Harris would also be off the table (he ended up being taken with the third pick, for reasons I’ll get into in a moment). I ranked my top six players, and my third choice would’ve been Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts (who very well might’ve fallen to me, as he was ultimately taken 7th), followed by Matthew Stafford (who did fall to me, though I ended up trading him – SPOILER ALERT AGAIN), and then the Washington and Indy running backs as 5th and 6th (they ended up going 5th and 4th respectively).

I would’ve been elated to have Matthew Stafford, because I think he’s going to have an awesome year with the Rams. Plus, he’s only 33 years old, which means he could have another 7-10 years ahead of him if things break right!

My general plan was to load up on quarterbacks – taking lots of flyers on rookies, after Stafford – and running backs (to try to load up on depth in case of injuries and BYEs). This was always going to be a quasi-throwaway year for me, in hopes that I’d find the two quarterbacks I’d be rolling with for the next 5-10 years.

That was thrown out the window when Hahmez Wah 360 Allstars (don’t ask) texted the entire league saying his keepers were available for trade (in exchange for players and/or draft picks).

He actually had four pretty good keepers (Derrick Henry, D.K. Metcalf, George Kittle, and Stefon Diggs), but for whatever reason, he was looking to shake things up.

I didn’t want Henry because he’s being run into the ground and probably has 1-2 more years MAX before he begins his slide. I didn’t want Kittle because he could be an injury risk with the way he plays the game and how hard he is on his body. D.K. Metcalf is obviously a huge draw for me, as a Seahawks fan, and I think he’s someone who could be the #1 scoring wide receiver as early as THIS year. Plus he’s young and should be good for another decade. Sign me up!

I made Hahmez Wah 360 Allstars a lowball offer (I think a second rounder, or a fourth rounder plus A.J. Brown); he countered saying he needed my first rounder. I took a bit to think about it, before ultimately concluding that D.K. Metcalf with the 6th pick would be guaranteed to be better than anyone who might fall to me (there would’ve been the potential for higher upside with someone like Pitts, but there’s always a risk with any rookie).

I’m lucky I accepted the offer when I did, because by the next day someone had offered him the #2 overall pick for D.K. I told that guy (with the #2 pick) if Trevor Lawrence somehow – by the grace of God – fell out of the top spot, I’d trade him D.K. for Lawrence (which he agreed to, since he already has Russell Wilson and Justin Herbert as his keepers), but of course that was never going to happen.

Hahmez Wah, in the end, turned his aforementioned keepers into Jalen Hurts (#2 overall) & Chris Carson (he traded his #9 overall for the #2 overall, while also giving away Derrick Henry in the deal), Matthew Stafford (in the Metcalf deal), Tyler Lockett (in the Kittle deal, where he got the first pick in the second round), while still hanging onto Stefon Diggs. I wouldn’t love that for my team – if I were him, I would’ve stuck the keepers I had – but I understand the impulse in making a radical change. Also, it IS a game, after all; it’s supposed to be fun, right? What’s more fun than a crazy slew of trades?

***

So, heading into the second round, I had three receivers and two running backs. It was time to start looking into the quarterback position.

No other QB was taken after the three I already mentioned. Next up on my private dynasty rankings was Justin Fields, so I grabbed him with my second pick. No, he’s not starting right away, but the stories I’ve read about him were phenomenal, and I think he has real breakout potential. Trey Lance was going to be my next choice, but he was taken from me two picks before my spot in the third round, so I settled on Mac Jones. Also hearing great stories about him! Less of a running threat, but in a better team situation than Fields, so I like that.

Then, for good measure – because I needed someone to start right away in week one – I nabbed Jameis Winston. He’s been on and off my fantasy team for years, but he had last year off (for the most part) and has been learning the Saints’ system. If he’s even remotely more careful with the ball, he’s a guy who’s capable of throwing for 5,000 yards and 30+ touchdowns. We also forget: he’s also only 27 years old; so if he does change his entire career around, that could be a steal for me.

As chance would have it, Cousins was around for my fifth pick, but I zagged and went with the Rams’ defense. I feel like they have the potential to be solid for the duration of Aaron Donald’s career, so why not? Then, with my sixth pick, Noah Fant was still available. I had him as a rookie and it sounds like the offense is going to be vastly improved in Denver, so I like the idea of having him for the foreseeable future. Also, the drop-off after Fant was pretty considerable (the next guys taken were Goedert and Tonyan; I’m good with my choice).

Then, I finally had to break down and get a third running back. Obviously, my plan to load up on the position was a failure. It was down to Chase Edmonds or Raheem Mostert in the 7th round. Edmonds went one pick earlier, so Mostert it is! I like Mostert; when he’s healthy, he’s dominant (in many ways, he’s like Chris Carson). He just can’t stay healthy. But, if I can squeeze a few weeks out of him, I’ll look to hopefully address the running back position next year.

In the 8th round, I nabbed Justin Tucker. He’s only 31 years old and he’s the best kicker in football. He could be around for another 10-15 years if he takes care of himself. After that, I went back to the quarterback well, grabbing Jimmy G. Obviously, the 49ers drafted their quarterback of the future. But, if you look at the 49ers’ schedule, it’s pretty damn easy the first few weeks of the season. I’ll mix and match with him and Mac Jones for a while until Jimmy G ultimately gets benched, and hope he has enough pride to force the 49ers’ hand in benching a guy playing well. At the very least, he has a soft landing against the Lions in week one, where I expect him to be a Top 10 fantasy quarterback (for just that one week, anyway). Yes, I know there’s potential for Lance to snipe some snaps from him, but I don’t care. As long as he’s not getting entire chunks of plays in the red zone, I’ll be happy.

With my next-to-last pick, I took a chance on Buffalo’s Zack Moss. He was a rookie last year and the team obviously liked him enough to draft him in the third round. Maybe this is the year he assumes the starter job! Of course, even then, it’s not like Buffalo runs the ball all that much. I’m hoping they get such huge leads early in games, that they’ll be running the ball exclusively in the fourth quarter.

Finally, for my super sleeper, I picked Jordan Love, backup quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. I’m going to do my damnedest to hang onto him all year. The way I see it, if none of my rookie QBs pan out this year, and are not keeper-worthy in my eyes, I’ll just keep Love and roll the dice. They obviously drafted him to be Aaron Rodgers’ replacement sooner or later. If I have no one better, why not keep him and see if he’s elite?

***

There’s obviously a lot wrong with my team at this point in my dynasty. The quarterback situation is a mess and my running back depth is nil. But, I have just the three receivers: D.K., Brown, and Lamb, and I think all three of those guys are Top 10 calibre players at the position. I’m set! In non-BYE weeks (and, in non-injury situations), I have my two WR spots and my FLEX spot all locked down. Not having any receivers on my bench affords me the luxury of carrying extra RBs and QBs. If I’m ever able to lock down the quarterback spot to my satisfaction, that leaves me more room on my bench for even more RBs, as well as potential backups to tight end or defense (which always comes in handy).

I think I’m done making RBs a priority. Unless some super-stud rookie falls to me in the first round of the draft next year, I’m just going to do my best to either stream running backs or carry enough in those second-to-fourth tiers to play matchups and hope I get around 10 points from each. If my QBs and receivers can carry me, I think that’s a championship formula. Running backs are just too damn fickle and too injury prone; it’s impossible to rely on them to be 20+ point workhorses anymore. I’d rather go for elite receivers, hope they blow up a few times a year, and just get steady-if-unspectacular production from my RBs. Plus, if I’m able to find someone on the free agent scrap heap that comes from nowhere to crush it, all the better.

***

Now, it’s time to talk about this week. My team is Snoopy & Prickly Pete (Seinfeld reference, for the second straight year!). I’m going up against the reigning league champion, Car Talk With Josh Allen (guess who one of his quarterbacks is). He’s projected to finish third in our league (one game ahead of me), and – not for nothing – he’s projected to beat me in week 1.

Here’s my week 1 lineup, barring any unexpected last-minute COVID issues:

  • Jameis Winston (QB) vs. GB
  • Jimmy Garoppolo (QB) @ DET
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ TB
  • A.J. Brown (WR) vs. AZ
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ TB
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB) vs. CLE
  • Noah Fant (TE) @ NYG
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) @ IND
  • Justin Tucker (K) @ LV
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) vs. CHI

As I said, I love Jimmy G against a nothing Detroit defense; Mac Jones is my only other option and I’d rather not start a rookie in his first game, against a defense as good as Miami’s. As I also said, all my receivers are locked in, which means the only other choice was my #2 running back (though, I don’t love Zeke against that Bucs defense, with their All Pro guard out for this game). I briefly considered Mostert against Detroit, but I’d really like to see what the 49ers’ offense looks like, with their two quarterbacks, plus their new rookie running back angling to steal snaps. I’m rolling with all my keepers, at least for now!

Car Talk looks like he’s got the following:

  • Josh Allen (QB) vs. PIT
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB) vs. LAC
  • Allen Robinson (WR) @ LAR
  • Julio Jones (WR) vs. AZ
  • Aaron Jones (RB) @ NO
  • Joe Mixon (RB) vs. MIN
  • Travis Kelce (TE) vs. CLE
  • Robert Woods (WR) vs. CHI
  • Tyler Bass (K) vs. PIT
  • Baltimore (DEF) @ LV

Our teams are pretty much even (he’s a little better at QB, I’m a little better at WR) except for the difference in our projected points from the tight end position. Kelce is the best in football; mine is just okay. That’s always a huge advantage and I hope I’m able to one day have something similar on my team. In the meantime, I’ll just have to hope the Chiefs run the ball more and throw their TDs to their wide receivers. That’s a tall ask.

I’m guessing I’ll lose this game. I’ll be down in the dumps on Sunday, but a dynasty league isn’t about just one week, or even one season. This is a transitional year, and I hope to be better at the end than I am at the beginning.

In the meantime, PATIENCE! I need to practice extreme patience, and accept losing for what it is: a temporary means to an end, that will one day result in my name on that championship trophy. Maybe not this year, but one year soon. Let’s fucking go.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Seahawks Don’t Need Julio Jones

This falls under the Needless Extravagance category.

Julio Jones is up for grabs. He wants out of Atlanta for some reason; since he’s very well-paid and presumably treated like the superstar that he is, it’s probably because the Falcons stink and don’t figure to be good again anytime soon. Regardless, he’s asked to be moved, and the Falcons appear willing to accommodate this request; since they’re also at the edge of their own salary cap, this seems to be beneficial for both parties. The Falcons save some cash, Julio gets to play for a ring.

It was announced this past week that the Seahawks are in the running. Likely, they called to inquire about Atlanta’s asking price, as they would about any major impact player; it’s what smart organizations do. Word of this, in the context of the Seahawks being the Seahawks (i.e. VERY willing to make these types of splashy, blockbuster deals for megastars), has left Vegas of the opinion that the Seahawks are the frontrunners to acquire Julio Jones, in spite of the fact that we also have very little money to spend, very few draft picks to trade, and we JUST drafted a wide receiver to throw onto the pile (a pile that also includes D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett). None of this makes any sense from Seattle’s perspective, but again, when have these types of Seahawks trades EVER made sense? They find a way to get them done, and we go from there.

Fans have been split, to say the least. Many are rightly excited, because he’s Julio Jones for Christ’s sake! If for no other reason than to prevent him going to the Rams or 49ers or Cardinals, this is a no-brainer! He’s one of the most dominant wide receivers of all time, a 7-time Pro Bowler and 2-time All Pro (first team); when you have an opportunity to add someone of this level of talent, you jump at it!

On the flipside, he’s 32 years old. He’s coming off of a season where he played in only 9 games. I don’t care that he was still playing at an elite level in those 9 games, the main number isn’t his 11.3 yards per target, it’s the 7 fucking games he missed. For a wide receiver, the only phrase worse than “lingering hamstring injury” is the dreaded “turf toe”. On top of which, he’s under contract through 2023 (when he’ll be 34 years old), with fully-guaranteed money through 2022. I think people are right to be concerned about his health over the next two years. You trade for a guy like Julio Jones banking on him playing 15-16 games (or, in this brave new world, 16-17 games) plus the entire playoffs; it’s fucking useless if he’s out half the year and playing through injuries the rest of the time. Unless he’s on some secret HGH regimen, guys don’t get MORE durable as they get into their 30’s, this is just the way it is. Father Time was, is, and always will be undefeated.

I’ll admit, I think it would be cool to have Julio on the team, for all the positive reasons stated above. But, I just don’t know how much of a difference he’d make. This offense is already shaping up to be pretty fucking great as it is. We have two top tier receivers and a rookie I’m sure everyone would like to get involved thanks to his speed and toughness. Between that and our dedication to the running game, I don’t see how a few targets to Julio is going to make THAT much of a difference. More impactful would be a shutdown cornerback, or an elite pass rushing defensive tackle; really just another superstar in general on the defense would make me SO MUCH happier than Julio Jones.

If it happens, and he’s a Seahawk in 2021, I won’t be mad. Indeed, I’m sure I’ll be giddy at the thought. But, when we’re all inevitably disappointed that his addition doesn’t translate to the Super Bowl championship we all expect, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2020: Tua The Window, Tua The Wall!!!

SKEET SKEET MOTHERFUCKERS!!! I am ROCK-HARD right now! All praise to Tua (and Sloane N Steady for waiving him, and the rest of the league for leaving him to me to pick up). My fuckin’ fantasy quarterback troubles are over (well, half over; damn Wentz). I don’t even care that I won! Not really, anyway (okay, I do care); I’m just happy Tua got me 27.9 points and looked good on the road against a frisky Cardinals defense. It’s not even that great of a performance, but it shows we’re scratching the surface of his potential, and THAT is what’s got my loins ablaze at the moment with the intensity of a thousand suns. Fuckin’ Tua, y’all! Let’s get this!

Once again, it helped my chances to have my opponent vastly underperform his projections, but a win is a win and I’ve been on the other side of this PLENTY of times in my storied fantasy football career. That being said, my 168.00 points is nothing to sneeze at! It’s on the higher side of average (and plenty to beat Beasts’ 138.50). It’s actually my second-highest output this season, which is sort of alarming (I don’t see any 200-point games in my future this year), but makes sense if you’ve been following along.

On top of Tua’s remarkable performance, Kirk Cousins was even better with 29! On top of that, my starting receivers – Jerry Jeudy and A.J. Brown – scored 25.5 and 20.1 respectively (Brown did indeed continue his streak of scoring at least one touchdown!). There wasn’t really a dud in the bunch, though my 3-headed running back hydra all scored in the 11-14 range which is just so-so. I didn’t get enough of a boost from the Washington defense to really make them worth picking up in the first place (somehow, the Giants and Daniel Jones managed to NOT turn the ball over for the first time all season, the one week I needed them to of course), but in the end it didn’t matter.

Speaking of Jerry Jeudy, I’m finding him to be a really interesting mid-season find for my roster, not just as a potential keeper, but as a potential Starting Wide Receiver alongside A.J. Brown. As a rookie, Jeudy clearly had the best game of his career this past week, which is giving me pause, as I had intended him to be a one-game plug-and-play. I wouldn’t have even picked him up at all if Brandon Aiyuk wasn’t placed on the COVID list! But, Jeudy has 24 targets in his last two games. Now, the downside is, obviously, Denver’s quarterback situation. It’s not good. But, Drew Lock is CLEARLY better than his backups, and they can somewhat move the ball when he’s in there. I can’t tell if Lock is good yet (as I absolutely refuse to watch Broncos games because they’re so boring), but he might be. And I think Jeudy has the potential to be this year’s A.J. Brown (who, down the stretch LAST year as a rookie, really dominated for a lot of really good fantasy teams). So, I think I’m going to hang onto Jeudy and start him for a while, because his matchups the rest of the way are pretty solid. And, if he kills it, my wide receiver spot is locked cold!

Beasts got a huge boost from the return of Christian McCaffery (37.1), but Russell Wilson obviously had a tough game, and Justin Herbert was the only other player on his team to hit double-digits. Everyone else was under 10.

Before the weekend was finished, I made a roster move, picking up Dallas Goedert, who is healthy and the primary tight end (at the moment) for Carson Wentz and the Eagles. Noah Fant is not so reliable for me; he keeps getting injured (missing some snaps this past week after an early big gainer, never really picking things up from there) and he’s on an offense (again with the Broncos) that can struggle to move the ball. Goedert is a legitimate Top 10 tight end when healthy, on an offense that LOVES to throw to its tight ends (especially in the red zone). As long as Zach Ertz is out, Goedert is a phenomenal pick-up for me.

To make room, I officially had to abandon the Daniel Jones experiment. He went from keeper (and hopeful fantasy franchise quarterback), to on the waiver wire in half a season. What a disgrace! Both for him and for me! But, I mean, you can’t keep banging your head against the wall when something isn’t working. I have Cousins now and he’s a much more reliable third QB. Tua is the future! Dimes was a mistake.

More roster moves needed to be made, as it appeared I had two wide receivers coming off of the IR in Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel. My first drop went to the Washington defense. I had three on my roster last week and that’s about two too many (but I’ll never drop the Rams’ defense, as they’ve got solid matchups coming up this season).

As of press time, I haven’t officially made the other move I need to make, because I still have up until Sunday morning. You never know who’s going to get tagged with a COVID designation for the week, so I don’t want to go dropping anyone before I have to. If I do end up needing to drop someone, it’s going to be Noah Fant. I have no use for two tight ends on my roster and if Goedert ends up getting hurt again, I’ll just pick up someone else. Fant isn’t even a top ten tight end – though he’s been a relatively consistent high-floor/low-ceiling guy – so I don’t mind streaming tight ends the rest of the year if I need to.

My concern is: my kicker is on a BYE this week. Harrison Butker hasn’t been the world-beater I expected (I REALLY regret taking him over Justin Tucker two rounds before the final round, where most people draft their kickers); he’s ranked 14th in our league this season. The Chiefs predominantly score touchdowns because they have an elite offense, which was to be expected, but he hasn’t been hitting as many 50+ yarders as I thought he would, and he’s annoyingly missed the most PATs in football, that have taken points AWAY from his total! But, I don’t want to just fucking lose him for nothing, because I know as soon as I drop him, he’s going to go off for some games in the high teens. So, I’ll be waiting until the last minute to pick up a replacement kicker; the guy I end up dropping to do THAT will be TBD.

This week, I go up against Crazy N8’s Prostates, the guy I improbably defeated in Week 1, as well as the guy who just traded for Drew Brees and Julio Jones. He’s currently 4th in the standings, yet has far-and-away scored the most points. Here’s what Nobody Beats The Wiz is looking at starting:

  • Tua Tagovailoa (QB) vs. LAC
  • Carson Wentz (QB) @ NYG
  • A.J. Brown (WR) vs. IND
  • Jerry Jeudy (WR) @ LV
  • Josh Jacobs (RB) vs. DEN
  • Chase Edmonds (RB) vs. BUF
  • Dallas Goedert (TE) @ NYG
  • Brandon Aiyuk (WR) @ NO
  • TBD (K) vs. TBD
  • Indianapolis (DEF) @ TEN

Pretty easy choice with the quarterbacks, as Kirk Cousins is playing a stout Bears defense on Monday Night Football. I expect that game to be low scoring, and it wouldn’t shock me to see Cousins turn the ball over a lot. Also a no-brainer for my starting wide receivers, as Brown is a Must Start and Jeudy might be heading that way. It’s a no-brainer for my running backs as well, because Ezekiel Elliott and Clyde Edwards-Helaire are both on BYEs. My FLEX spot is still up in the air, as there’s a rumor that Deebo Samuel might be healthy this week. If he is, he’s my guy over Aiyuk. However, with the 49ers scheduled to have a BYE next week, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them rest Deebo one more week before bringing him back super fresh. As for my defense, I don’t love the matchup, but I can’t play the Rams against my Seahawks, even if Aaron Donald alone will probably get three sacks and they could have a field day if Wilson continues to turn the ball over like he’s been doing.

I’m catching some more good BYE-week luck with Crazy N8’s Prostates, as both Julio Jones and Travis Kelce are out this week. As you’ll see, though, he has replacements more than capable of filling their shoes:

  • Josh Allen (QB) @ ARI
  • Drew Brees (QB) vs. SF
  • Allen Robinson (WR) vs. MIN
  • Robert Woods (WR) vs. SEA
  • James Conner (RB) vs. CIN
  • Aaron Jones (RB) vs. JAX
  • Eric Ebron (TE) vs. CIN
  • Keenan Allen (WR) @ MIA
  • Justin Tucker (K) @ NE
  • Green Bay (DEF) vs. JAX

He has some of the SICKEST matchups this week. I mean, Robert Woods alone – against our inept Seahawks defense – is just a nightmare. But, all his receivers should do great, his running backs might score three TDs apiece, his quarterbacks will certainly be fine, and I bet Baltimore kicks a lot of field goals against the Patriots on the road. He’s even got an elite defensive matchup (I should know, I picked up the Packers this week in my other league, where I should reiterate I am CRUSHING it).

Nobody Beats The Wiz is going to need to WILDLY outscore projections. This would be, probably, the most perfect time to net my first 200-point week of the season.

At 4-5, I’m in 7th place in the league, JUST on the outside-looking-in at the playoffs. I now have the third-fewest total points, having leapfrogged Korky Butchek for the honor. Now that everyone has played everyone once, we officially have a season that will count in the record books; if COVID officially ruins everything … well, I won’t have my name on the trophy, that’s for damn sure.

That having been said, I don’t expect the season to ever shut down completely. I have four weeks to make up ground. If I get lucky, my final two regular season games could be against my direct competition for the 6th and final spot in the playoffs. I technically have control of my own destiny; if I win out, I will definitely make the post-season. But, come on, let’s not go overboard here.

One week at a time. Let’s go 2-0 against Crazy N8! Wouldn’t that be something?

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2020: Tua Thine Own Self Be True

Just another brutal loss in a season full of them. It shouldn’t be difficult in our league to score over 140 points. My team is pretty awful and I’m still AVERAGING 148.22 per week (and I’m about 13 points away from having the fewest in the entire league). So, it’s saying something when I lose a game 139.05 to 119.90 to The Lance Petemans.

Was there anything I could’ve done to make up those 20 points? No reasonable human being with my roster of players at his disposal is going to bench Carson Wentz against the lowly Dallas defense; yet Carson Wentz only got me 9.85 points (thanks to 2 interceptions and 2 lost fumbles; that’s negative 10 points right there). My best two quarterbacks of the week were both on my bench. Tua and Wentz combined for 18.5, but Kirk Cousins and Danny Dimes only combined for 32.8, which STILL doesn’t make up the overall deficit. Beyond that, no one on my bench did better than who I had in my lineup, so it doesn’t matter. Nobody Beats The Wiz is just BAD and that’s it.

Carson Wentz, though, is a God damn shitshow. I don’t know how to explain it; he has NEVER been this awful! He’s obviously pressing. He’s obviously trying to do too much. He’s holding the ball too long, he’s trying to throw it deep too much, he’s trying to throw it into tight windows, he’s trying to force the ball to his guys when he should just throw the ball away, he’s taking too many hits; everything he’s doing this year is the dictionary definition of what an NFL quarterback should NOT be doing. People point to the lack of weapons around him, but I would argue his weapons were WORSE last year, and he still managed a 27/7 TD/INT split. This year, it’s 12/12. He lost 4 fumbles all of last year, he’s already lost 3 in half the number of games.

He hasn’t suddenly gotten worse! Not for the long haul; this isn’t an age thing where he’s fallen off a cliff. I guarantee you in 2021 he will bounce back and have a year closer to career norms. Hell, he might even have a career year next year! This is just one of those random occurrences that happen to good quarterbacks in their prime when everything that CAN go wrong DOES go wrong. And it’s fucking infuriating, because if just HE was playing to his usual abilities, my team would be in a much better position.

I figured Tua was going to have a rough go in his first-ever start. Even though they were at home, and even though their defense and special teams racked up a huge lead in the first half, that’s still a tough Rams defense that’s going to be hard for ANY quarterback to move the ball on, let alone one so inexperienced. If you had told me going in that the Dolphins would win 28-17, I probably would’ve expected more than what I got out of him, but that was a freaky game. Compared to the first start of someone like Justin Herbert of the Chargers, or what Joe Burrow has shown with the Bengals this year, it was a discouraging beginning for Tua. I don’t know if what I saw necessarily inspired a ton of confidence. But, it was only one game, and I’m still Ride Or Die. He goes on the road against Arizona before hosting the Chargers the week after that. These next two games should tell us quite a bit about what we might be able to expect.

In Three-Headed Running Back Hydra News: the Three-Headed Running Back Hydra dream is dead. I had SUCH high hopes for Josh Jacobs this year, but the man just doesn’t get in the endzone enough! Yes, he has five touchdowns, but those are spread out over just TWO games! This past Sunday was his first 100-yard rushing game of the season, but he had zero catches (and obviously zero scores), so his 128 yards (which SOUNDS great) only translates to a disappointing 12.8 points. And that was the highlight for the Hydra, as Zeke Elliott is facing nothing but 15-man boxes (since the Cowboys have the most inept quarterback room in all of football now, which is saying something since the New York Jets allegedly still play the sport), and CEH got all of 6 rushing attempts in a game the Chiefs won by 26 (because, for some reason, Patrick “Ball Hog” Mahomes needed to throw for all the touchdowns against the worst team in football).

In good news, my receivers played well. A.J. Brown scored his fifth touchdown in the last four games, giving him serious keeper potential for 2021. And Brandon Aiyuk got A LOT of garbage-time love in the fourth quarter against a prevent-playing Seahawks defense! He was my most welcome surprise of the day! Also, the Colts defense did me proud in dismantling the Lions on a day where I properly benched the Rams defense (who didn’t even score a third of the points I got out of Indy).

I spent most of the last week trying to deal Kirk Cousins to a quarterback-needy team, but found no takers. Makes sense. One guy ended up trading away Dak Prescott to the last place (scoring) team for Drew Brees and Julio Jones; meaning one team is playing for next year while the other is playing to win it all right now. The guy who got Dak will be able to pair him with Lamar Jackson for the next decade and I could NOT be more jealous. Having your quarterback troubles solved for such a long period of time is a VERY enviable position to be in in our league; it’s what helped The Lance Petemans win so many championships early in the trophy era (when he had prime Peyton Manning and Tom Brady for so long).

So, for now, I’m stuck with four quarterbacks. I need to get rid of either Cousins or Jones at some point, because I’m going to face a BYE week crunch pretty soon. I hope someone bites and I’m not forced to drop one of them for nothing.

I’m actually kind of glad I still have Cousins though, for reasons I’ll get into below. Here’s my lineup for this week:

  • Tua Tagovailoa (QB) @ ARI
  • Kirk Cousins (QB) vs. DET
  • A.J. Brown (WR) vs. CHI
  • Jerry Jeudy (WR) @ ATL
  • Josh Jacobs (RB) @ LAC
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB) vs. CAR
  • Noah Fant (TE) @ ATL
  • Chase Edmonds (RB) vs. MIA
  • Harrison Butker (K) vs. CAR
  • Washington (DEF) vs. NYG

Indy is going up against Baltimore’s offense. While the Ravens have been a little shaky this year (particularly against good teams, which I would argue the Colts are), they still can be QUITE potent, and therefore are a scary team for one to face in fantasy. Washington was out there as a free agent, so I picked them up (dropping CeeDee Lamb, because their quarterback situation is atrocious, as I’ve already mentioned, and I was never going to play him with the way they’re going right now). The Washington defense is pretty good, and the Giants are capable of many multiple turnovers at any given moment, so this feels like a smart play for me. As a result, obviously, I can’t play Daniel Jones this week, nor would I want to. With Wentz on a much-needed BYE week, I’m more than happy to have Cousins going up against a Lions defense that isn’t all that great. Tua, of course, is a no-brainer (for now).

I’m benching Ezekiel Elliott, which are words I never expected to write this year. But, they are ABSOLUTELY inept on offense, and with injuries along the offensive line compounding the QB issues, it makes zero sense playing him against a Steelers defense that’s the absolute best (according to Yahoo!) against opposing running backs. So, watch this be the week Zeke gets 20+ points out of nowhere as their coaches finally figure out how to employ a Zeke-heavy offensive scheme for once (and only once, because as soon as I put him back in my starting lineup, he will surely revert to sucking again; this is the way). However, I’m THRILLED to have Chase Edmonds, who has proven – every time the Cardinals have used him as their primary running back – to be a super-stud for fantasy purposes. Considering they’re going up against a Dolphins defense that’s no great shakes, I have high hopes he’ll make up for what I’m lacking with CEH (who has a decent matchup against a bad Panthers defense, but given the Chiefs’ usage of him, your guess is as good as mine as to whether he’ll get touches or not).

I actually like my new Three-Headed Running Back Hydra for this week, with Josh Jacobs getting a juicy matchup against the Chargers. I’m a little more dubious about my receivers, though. A.J. Brown’s touchdown streak might come to an end against a very-good Bears defense, and I had to pick up Jerry Jeudy as a free agent because Aiyuk was placed on the COVID injured list this week. Jeudy was probably the highest-rated receiver coming out of the draft, but he also plays with Drew Lock and the Broncos, so even against a team as poor as the Falcons, I expect them all to struggle. Jeudy was the best of a terrible bunch of options for me, though, so fuck me I guess.

This week, I’m going up against Beasts. Along with The Lance Petemans, he’s the other guy who’s essentially owned our league in the Trophy Era. He’s JUST getting back one of his primary keepers in Christian McCaffrey, so he’s going to have a roster decision to make soon. He has BYE week guys in Travis Fulgham (Wentz’s primary pass catcher), Darrell Henderson, and A.J. Green. He’s also likely to miss T.Y. Hilton due to injury, so his bench is going to be full of guys he can’t use and won’t like to waive. Here’s his projected lineup:

  • Russell Wilson (QB) @ BUF
  • Justin Herbert (QB) vs. LV
  • Marquise Brown (WR) @ IND
  • Antonio Brown (WR) vs. NO
  • James White (RB) @ NYJ
  • Chris Carson (RB) @ BUF
  • Hunter Henry (TE) vs. LV
  • Chris Godwin (WR) vs. NO
  • Wil Lutz (K) @ TB
  • Arizona (DEF) vs. MIA

Two things I might have going in my favor are Chris’s Carson and Godwin both being banged up. Carson had a foot injury that held him out of the 49ers game last week, though I had originally expected him to gut his way through it. He’s a REALLY tough dude, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s back this week, and playing extensively with Carlos Hyde almost assuredly out with injury once again. As for Godwin, he recently had surgery for a broken finger. The Bucs get Antonio Brown back for this one, so there might not be extreme urgency to rush Godwin back as well; but it’s also just a finger, so he’ll probably just wrap it up and play. I suspect regardless of what happens, McCaffery inserts as a starter for one of those guys (as if Beasts wasn’t already in a strong-enough position against my lowly team).

Like I said, though, Beasts doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room if he needs to make a roster move. Anyone he drops from his bench is likely to be picked up immediately; does he want to risk that against an opponent in Nobody Beats The Wiz who he should probably defeat even while undermanned?

I mean, he’s got two of the best fantasy quarterbacks going right now. I have Russell Wilson in my other league (which I am absolutely DESTROYING), so I know the luxury it is having an MVP candidate in your lineup every week. I also like his kicker a lot; I think the Saints are destined to kick a ton of field goals against the Bucs. And, I feel like he just picked up Arizona’s defense to spite me; BEASTS DOESN’T BELIEVE IN YOU, TUA, BUT I DO!!!

My defeat drops me to 3-5, and in 8th place. Oddly enough, Beasts is in 10th place with a 2-6 record, but he’s been riddled with injuries all year. He has almost 60 more points than I do on the season; he’s been plagued by the unlucky circumstance of having the second-most points scored against him. That absolutely should not be a problem this week. It’s likely we’ll find me all the way at the bottom of the league this time next week.

This one seems like an easy one to predict: Beasts Beats The Wiz. Try saying that five times fast! I would, but this noose around my neck makes it difficult …

I’m Cool With The Seahawks Not Signing Antonio Brown

There’s something to be said for not actively welcoming cancer into your body.

It was reported last week that the Seahawks were interested in signing Antonio Brown. He was suspended for the first 8 games of this season for … lots of reasons. He’s not well. I don’t know what’s going on (bipolar?), but he sort of had a meltdown last year. Not that he was all that “normal” when he was with the Steelers, but he effectively forced his way out of Pittsburgh, caught on with the Raiders, and before he could even play a down in Oakland, had forced his way off of that team as well. He played in one game for the Patriots, then his suspension came down and he was released (or maybe reverse the order there, but either way, there was a suspension and a release). I think there’s a domestic violence thing going on, and maybe something else? I dunno, the point is, Antonio Brown isn’t a good person, probably.

What I do know is that he’s not a particularly good teammate. He’s selfish, he’s a ballhog, and he didn’t get along with many of his teammates on the Steelers. I get not getting along with Ben Roethlisberger; that guy seems insufferable. But, not getting along with his other receivers, particularly JuJu Smith-Schuster? That’s not a guy I want on my team.

Especially a team with a budding young superstar in D.K. Metcalf. The way I see it, either he shows Metcalf the WRONG way to be a diva receiver in this league, or he does everything to cut him down to size and ruin his confidence with his overbearing personality. Either way, I don’t want it.

Also, the Seahawks don’t NEED it. D.K. Metcalf might be the next Julio Jones. Tyler Lockett just caught 15 balls for 200 yards against the Cardinals. David Moore is a fine third receiver. Josh Gordon is probably going to return this year. Our tight end room is quietly one of the best in football. We HAVE weapons! Antonio Brown would be coming into a situation where he’s the #3 guy at best. Could he handle that? Well, he would have to, because he’s coming here mid-season and hasn’t acclimated himself to our offense. He would likely start out slowly – because he hasn’t played in over a year – and be in only a small subset of offensive packages. So, how much could we expect from him? Probably not a whole lot until later in the season.

Also, would all that time away from football make him more susceptible to injury? What if he comes in here and tries to do too much and pulls a hammy or something?

Odds are, he’ll be on his best behavior. So, had the Seahawks signed him, I probably would’ve downplayed the valid chemistry concerns I outlined above. He’s damaged goods. He forced his way off of two teams in less than a year, then couldn’t make it work in New England of all places. This will likely be his last chance. Three strikes and you’re out (in this case, four strikes, but you get the idea). He’s also 32 years old, which isn’t a spring chicken in football terms. If it’s one last payday he’s after, then he HAS to be a model citizen, on top of still being an elite-level receiver. If it’s a Super Bowl ring he’s after, then he’s going to have to prove he can play nice on high-functioning teams like Tampa’s. If it’s an eventual Hall of Fame induction, then he’ll have to take whatever he can get if it doesn’t work in Tampa, but even the worst teams will be leery of signing him if his attitude doesn’t improve. I mean, I hate to be that guy, but also Antonio Brown sure does seem to be a dick!

There’s a reason why these head cases tend to get blackballed. You saw what happened with Earl Thomas when the Houston Texans talked about signing him. Also, Michael Thomas, you’re on notice.

It ultimately didn’t cost the Bucs much to sign Brown; a minimal guarantee and some incentives. The Seahawks, even with as little extra cap space as they have, could’ve easily afforded it. But, they weren’t going to get into a bidding war to sign him, and I agree with that 100%. If we were the only potential dance partner out there, I’d say sure, bring him in on that exact deal. But, going above and beyond the minimum seems idiotic, given all the above reasons. Of course, I don’t know why the Bucs were so gung ho about bringing him in either, considering the bevy of weapons they have at their disposal. But, you know, he’s their problem now.

The Seahawks need help on DEFENSE. I can’t stress that enough. If there’s a player to take on that requires a reworking of our salary cap, it better be for someone who plays defensive end and rushes the passer! Bolstering a position of strength is nice, but how about we at least take a peek at our positions of weakness and see if there’s ANYTHING we can do there first?!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2020: And Tua All A Good Night

There are plenty of reasons to hate fantasy football, but I think the sheer randomness of it all really gets to me. MOSTLY, that randomness goes against me, because I make poor decisions, or because the fantasy football gods hate me. But, sometimes – in spite of myself – I manage to prevail when I have no business doing so. Among this week’s five winners, I had the lowest total points. Yet, my opponent – Space Forcin’ – underperformed to such a massive degree that I ended up winning pretty comfortably. Normally, the thought of sweating out a Patrick Mahomes Monday Night Football performance is enough to want to crawl under a rock and die (rather than watch my slow, inevitable demise unfold on television), but this time it was as worry-free as it gets!

Nobody Beats The Wiz won 147.39 to 117.85. I ended up getting A LOT of garbage-time points out of Carson Wentz (who is quickly becoming the new king of Garbage Time), who led the way with 35.55. Daniel Jones seemingly got all 15 of his points in the first quarter, then did nothing the rest of the way. A.J. Brown led the way among my receivers with 22.6, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire put in a strong pre-Le’Veon Bell performance (who will be joining the Chiefs this week, to take snaps away from my first round draft pick, to my utter dismay) with 20.9.

Odell Beckham Jr. led the way among my disappointments, with 4.5. I figured he – and by extension, the Browns – would struggle against the Steelers (and they did), but I had hoped for some Garbage Time Magic there that never came. The Indianapolis defense also didn’t do much for me, until salvaging things at the very end with a cool 8 points. Also, while CeeDee Lamb’s 13.44 isn’t totally awful, Andy Dalton – Dak Prescott’s replacement at quarterback – IS and will be dragging down the entire Cowboys offense with him (with an assist from Ezekiel Elliott’s fumbling issues).

Before the weekend last week, I made a (hopefully) significant move for Nobody Beats The Wiz’s future. Tua Tagovailoa, the rookie backup for the Dolphins, was out there as a free agent; I could have put in a waiver claim for him, but my waiver status was #4 (which is as high as it’s been all season), so I kinda wanted to save that for something more urgent. In the end, no one claimed Tua (I’m really going to have to get used to spelling out that guy’s last name at some point), so I got him (dropping the Chargers’ defense).

At the time, I had no idea if Tua would ever play this year; I knew the Dolphins wanted to take things slowly with him, since he’s coming off of an injury in college, not to mention the fact that he’s a rookie. I always figured Ryan Fitzpatrick would eventually show his true colors (or get injured) and Tua would assume the starting role, but FitzMagic has killed it for the most part. With week 7 being their BYE week, I was a little discouraged, because I really didn’t see them making the move now, even though this would be the best and most natural time to do it. The Dolphins are 3-3; it’s far too early to give up on a season when 7 of 16 AFC teams will make the playoffs.

But, to my shock and delight, on Tuesday they announced Tua would be taking over the rest of the way! I was right, this is the best and most natural time to do it – giving him two weeks to get acclimated to being the top guy – and I’m heartened that they’re essentially sticking to their plan. Tua was drafted to be their Quarterback of the Future, so they might as well get to work in seeing what they have, and drawing up an offense around his talents to best help him succeed.

I’m probably going to have to be in it for the long haul here. Tua was SO GOOD at Alabama. Patrick Mahomes only played in one game as a rookie – Week 17 – and not only did he turn into the superstar we see before us, but Space Forcin’ made the bold move to make him one of his keepers with just one game’s worth of experience. Some might say that’s idiotic, but I can CERTAINLY be that stupid! At least I should have more of a resume to look at before I have to make my keeper decisions for next year. But, I just don’t see any other alternative (unless I luck out, get a top draft pick again next year, and have the honor of picking up Trevor Lawrence). You gotta take some chances in life to get what you want! And I want that fucking fantasy football trophy!

That wasn’t the end of my moves heading into Week 7. I’ve got a minor BYE week concern, with Indianapolis off this week. Speaking of how stupid I can be, Buffalo’s defense was just sitting out there! I could’ve had them for nothing, and they’re playing the Jets (the most inept offensive team I’ve ever seen)! I don’t love using my waiver status on a defense, but I feel I have little choice. There also weren’t many great options at my choosing. I made one waiver claim, the Rams’ defense (hosting the Bears on Monday Night), and had to drop Cam Akers. I knew this day would probably come; it’s hard to hold onto someone who never plays when you only have five bench spots and so many BYE weeks to contend with throughout the football season. I’ll try to get him back at some point, but I’m obviously less bullish on him ever being one of my keepers heading into next year.

My opponent for this week is COVID Bubble Boys, the consensus worst team in the league at the moment, with a 1-5 record and the fewest points scored by a wide margin. He was also my partner in the Top Two of the fantasy draft this year, picking #1 overall to my #2. I have him to thank for my having Clyde Edwards-Helaire (he ended up taking Drew Brees with the first pick, which I know from experience in my other league, has been quite a mixed bag). On top of his team being so poor, I also have the tremendous fortune of dodging last year’s MVP, as Lamar Jackson is on BYE this week. Boy, with all of this great news, that SURELY seems like a bad omen of things to come! Here’s my lineup:

  • Carson Wentz (QB) vs. NYG
  • Daniel Jones (QB) @ PHI
  • A.J. Brown (WR) vs. PIT
  • Odell Beckham Jr. (WR) @ CIN
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ WAS
  • Josh Jacobs (RB) vs. TB
  • Noah Fant (TE) vs. KC
  • Deebo Samuel (WR) @ NE
  • Harrison Butker (K) @ DEN
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) vs. CHI

I don’t LOVE seeing both of my quarterbacks participating in the Thursday Night game together! Those games are notorious one-sided shit-shows, so I’m expecting either Wentz or (more likely) Jones to really stink up the joint.

I have decided to break up my 3-headed running back hydra for now, thanks to Le’Veon Bell. I imagine the Chiefs are going to want to work him in, to get used to the offense. Also, Denver has a pretty good defense (according to Yahoo!, they give up the fewest points to opposing running backs), so I don’t see a lot of upside there. Not that I’m a huge believer that Jacobs can carve up the Bucs’ defense, but you never know.

My wide receivers have all sorts of terrible matchups this week. Once again, I have a receiver going up against the Steelers in Brown; surely the Titans will be able to do what the Browns couldn’t. Since I don’t have a lot of faith in the Giants on Thursday night, it seems doubly idiotic to start Slayton, even though the Eagles’ defense is pretty inept, and Slayton seems to rise to the occasion in primetime; but he’s also nursing a nagging foot injury, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s out of the game by the end of the first quarter. Also, will Baker Mayfield play this week? Will he be effective? The Bengals don’t have much of a defense, so it’s hard to sit Odell Beckham, but let’s just say I don’t have the highest of confidence either. It’s further troubling that I don’t have options I like on my bench any better. CeeDee Lamb is going to be downgraded a bit, as I play the matchups with Dallas’ offense. I can’t trust Andy Dalton to hit him in stride as far as I can throw him, and I still expect the Cowboys to try to run the ball more. Finally, Deebo Samuel does look healthy – he scored 18 points for my bench last week – but I would’ve liked to give him another week before I thrust him into my lineup. He’s likely to draw New England’s top cornerback, but he seems to be pretty defender-proof (plus, I JUST don’t have any better alternatives).

Finally, with Noah Fant back and healthy (I hope), I’m free to waive Jimmy Graham. Don’t think the fact that I was 2-0 with Graham in my lineup didn’t weigh on my feeble mind; was he my good luck charm? Only time will tell!

Here’s what ol’ COVID Bubble Boys are bringing to the yard:

  • Matthew Stafford (QB) @ ATL
  • Drew Brees (QB) vs. CAR
  • Terry McLaurin (WR) vs. DAL
  • Kenny Golladay (WR) @ ATL
  • Mike Davis (RB) @ NO
  • Kenyan Drake (RB) vs. SEA
  • Eric Ebron (TE) @ TEN
  • Julio Jones (WR) vs. DET
  • Zane Gonzalez (K) vs. SEA
  • New England (DEF) vs. SF

Based on matchups alone, I think this will be the end of Nobody Beats The Wiz’s winning streak. Atlanta’s defense is awful, and I fully expect that game against the Lions to be a total shootout (so, look for huge days out of Stafford, Golladay, and Jones). Scary Terry is one of my favorite fantasy football players in recent years, and he was SNATCHED from me by COVID Bubble Boys in the draft, right before I was about to take him! I had him as a rookie last year and if he was on any other team with even a halfway competent quarterback, I would’ve gladly made him one of my keepers. As it is, as atrocious as they are in Washington, Scary Terry is still the go-to option on offense. The fact that they’re playing Dallas’ Swiss cheese defense makes him all the more potent. Then, there’s Drake going up against the Seahawks, the defense that never was. Mike Davis has been solid in place of Christian McCaffrey, and that offense is just conservative enough to feed Davis consistently. I don’t know how good the Saints’ defense is, but it wouldn’t shock me to see Davis hit the endzone a couple times.

Not only do I think I’m going to lose this game, but I think COVID Bubble Boys will finally bust out with a 200-point game (they are officially favored over me by around 7 points at the time of this writing). It would be only natural for Nobody Beats The Wiz, who has already had that happen twice before.

Mark this day! After six weeks, Nobody Beats The Wiz is 3-3 and in sixth place in the league! That’s good enough for the final playoff spot, in spite of the fact that I have the second-fewest total points. Like I said up top, fantasy football isn’t fair. I should be down there in the cellar, rolling around with COVID Bubble Boys for last place. Of course, odds are – if I keep putting up these putrid performances – I WILL be down there by season’s end! So, again, mark this day. Because I predict this will be Nobody Beats The Wiz’s high water mark on the season. It’s all surely downhill from here.

There’s always 2021 though. Tua, I need you! Please be my savior!

The Seahawks Beat The Falcons Convincingly, Making Me Exceedingly Happy

I don’t know if it was a matter of Pete Carroll and Brian Schottenheimer “letting” Russell cook, or if Wilson barged into the kitchen, shoved everyone else out, barricaded the doors in a huff with tables and chairs and whatever else he could get his hands on, and started whipping up soufflés and quiches and gumbos like a man possessed! Is this anarchy? Do we have a mutiny on our hands? God save the queen, I could not care less! That performance was a sight to behold, and I’ll take fifteen more of those if he’s got ’em in ‘im!

31/35 (with at least two pretty awful D.K. Metcalf drops that I can recall, which would’ve made his performance even more special) for 322 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. I will say this, if I may nitpick a tad: there seemed to be a high percentage of high-percentage short throws; wide receiver “bubble” screens, actual honest-to-goodness regular ol’ running back screens, and some iffy designed dump-offs to the tight ends when it looked like he still had time to find something better. But, I mean, listen, this is me at my most pedantic here (and, you know, we’ve been clamoring for the running back screen game to return to Seattle since 2012!), and there’s a very good reason for this sort of game plan in this situation.

This was the first game of the season in a year with no pre-season and very little in the way of a Training Camp (as has been stated, ad nauseam, for the last month or more). On top of which, we were breaking in a new offensive line from center to right tackle, and clearly that was an issue. The running backs – Chris Carson, Carlos Hyde, and Travis Homer – combined for 43 yards on 16 carries (an average of 2.7 yards per carry). Imagine ten more frustrating carries tacked onto that total – at the expense of Wilson’s passing attempts – and it’s clear the Seahawks wouldn’t have scored nearly as many points, and very well could’ve lost the game. On top of which, the line surrendered 3 sacks for 23 yards, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but could’ve been much worse if Wilson wasn’t as mobile as he was. So, getting the ball out of his hands quickly – even if there might’ve been time to find something better down field – was certainly advisable. As it was, I thought Wilson took more hits than normal, which comes with the territory of allowing Wilson to explore his inner Boyardee. I do think the line showed some promise – Pocic seemed to stay out of trouble, Lewis had a couple penalties but was otherwise fine, Shell might be a problem, but we’ll wait and see on him – but obviously there will be growing pains through the first few weeks.

While this was a convincing 38-25 victory for the Seahawks, it wasn’t total domination. The first touchdown drive required a pass interference penalty on 3rd & 23 to prevent us from opening the game with a punt. And the defense was the epitome of Bend, Don’t Break all day.

Atlanta’s run game was held in check by the simple fact that the Seahawks were so far ahead in the second half – making the score 28-12 midway through the third quarter – that they simply didn’t have time to run the ball anymore. While the team average doesn’t look great, I thought Todd Gurley looked pretty close to his usual self from when he played for the Rams. There were large, gaping holes to run through that the Seahawks will need to clean up in a hurry.

Also, maybe it comes with the territory of going up against the likes of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, but I didn’t think the secondary looked too elite in this one. That wasn’t all due to the garbage-time yards and points the Falcons racked up. I thought Quinton Dunbar looked pretty rusty (at least, I’m hoping it’s rust, and not just an ill fit with this defensive scheme), and I don’t know if Shaquill Griffin was at a Pro Bowl level in this one (though, his PI penalty was pretty ticky-tacky). The Falcons had three 100-yard receivers in this one; that’s probably two too many.

As for the dreaded pass rush … I’m going to give them an “incomplete”. With Matt Ryan dropping back a whopping 54 times, you would THINK the Seahawks should be able to muster more than a measly two sacks (one from an actual member of the front seven), but for now I’m going to chalk it up to Ryan being a veteran who knows how to get rid of the football quickly. We did manage to hit him eight times, which is better than nothing.

Benson Mayowa got the defensive line’s only sack, and at the best possible time: on fourth down, right after we’d just taken that 28-12 lead. I thought L.J. Collier looked pretty impressive – at least, compared to his non-existent rookie season – and I thought Bruce Irvin looked pretty spry (though, both of them disappeared for long stretches in this one, getting swallowed up by Atlanta’s O-Line).

The real stars of this game on defense were, shockingly enough, our two best players on defense: Jamal Adams and Bobby Wagner. I mean, get ready to read a shit-ton about these guys, because they figure to be pretty important every single week! Adams led the team with 12 tackles and was ALL OVER THE PLACE in this one. My goodness! If you were worried the Seahawks wouldn’t blitz him as much as the Jets did, rest assured, I saw him crashing down the line repeatedly all day. Which came in handy when you consider Adams had our other sack, as well as 2.5 tackles for loss and 2 hits on the quarterback. He was simply amazing, there’s no other way to describe it. He’s like if Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas had a baby who was possessed by the devil, but then that baby was slimed with that pink ooze from Ghostbusters II while uplifting soul music was playing from the loudspeakers, leading to his good side shining through and … you know what? This explanation is getting too unwieldy. Jamal Adams = Great.

Also Great = Bobby Wagner. He added seven tackles (one for loss) and had two big pass breakups. I noticed Wagner was doing a little bit of everything – including a healthy chunk of pass rushing – which is really what we were all hoping for. Adams is freeing Wagner up to not have to do EVERYTHING, which in turn should see a spike in some of those really special numbers, like sacks, interceptions, forced fumbles, and the like.

Shout out to Marquise Blair, who got considerable playing time as advertised. He showed solid coverage, also netting seven tackles, and he had a critical forced fumble on a fake punt in the second half that was otherwise going to be converted for a first down had we not recovered the ball. There were smashing hits all day, and that’s exactly the sort of impact this team needs to change its reputation on defense from the softest of cheeses into something more akin to the outer crust of a stale loaf of sourdough.

Of course, it might not matter if the offense keeps wheeling and dealing the way it did in this one. Chris Carson didn’t have a lot on the ground, but he caught six passes for 45 yards and two touchdowns. Tyler Lockett led the team in receptions with 8/8 for 92 yards, and D.K. Metcalf had an up-and-down affair with 4 catches on 8 targets, for 95 yards and a VERY impressive 38-yard touchdown on 4th & 5 to start the second half on the right foot. Newcomer Greg Olsen also showed up with 4 receptions for 24 yards and a touchdown to round things out.

This is rather new territory for us as Seahawks fans. It seems like every other year in the Russell Wilson era, our first game out of the box is some ugly 16-12 slugfest with lots of sacks, turnovers, and penalties. I’ve NEVER seen the offense come out of the gates looking this elite! Usually it takes about three months to get going, but here we go! This is what we’ve been waiting for! Sure, last year the offense clearly outplayed the defense, but this year, it seems like the offense is finally ready to take over games.

As for the Falcons, it’s hard to say. They might be bad, but they could’ve also just run into the buzzsaw that is the Seattle Seahawks. I highly doubt they schemed for us to be as pass-happy as we were, so in that sense maybe they got bitten by it being the first week. If there was ever a good year to unleash a brand new offensive attack, this would be the perfect time!

There’s going to be a lot of talk about, “Do We REALLY Need A Pre-Season?” Honestly, I’m finding it a little difficult to say we do. Obviously, I didn’t watch every single game, but I watched a lot of football yesterday, and by all accounts the games weren’t as ugly as we expected. Penalties didn’t seem to be any more of an issue than in any other season. It looked like a regular week of football (aside from the lack of fans in the stands, and the players being pretty gassed). I do think the pre-season serves a purpose, in that it allows teams to get a better look at their younger guys. But, at the same time, with the increased practice squads, and the fact that other teams don’t have tape on your young guys, you’re able to retain more of your draft picks who aren’t quite good enough to make the 53-man roster, but still have potential in the next year or two to take the next step in your program. So, I dunno. I can go either way with having pre-seasons. Maybe, as has been discussed, split the dif: just take it down to one or two games from now on.

Regardless, if the Seahawks are going to play this well on offense the rest of the season, it won’t matter who we play nor how well our defense performs. I just hope it’s a sign of better things to come, and not a one-week anomaly.