Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: Finally A Monday Night Miracle!

131.35 to 65.9. That’s what I was losing by heading into Monday night. AND he had Brock Purdy going against what looked to be a fairly mediocre Vikings defense.

Who did I have going? A bunch of players I likely wouldn’t have been playing if I didn’t absolutely have to. Kirk Cousins, for starters. Alexander Mattison for another. T.J. Hockenson is my tight end, so I’m ride or die there. And Jordan Addison, who very well might’ve been sitting this week if CeeDee Lamb wasn’t on BYE. That’s four Vikings players, going up against the 49ers’ defense, a week after losing their first game of the season, so you figure they would’ve been extra pissed off.

How did the game start? How about with a Kirk Cousins interception? If you think I wasn’t expecting that to be the first of many, you’re crazy. By my calculations, going into this game, I needed 4 Cousins TDs, 2 to Addison, 2 to Hockenson, maybe with a rushing TD for Mattison. The game ended with a 22-17 Vikings victory over the 49ers; I decidedly did not get the bonanza I had hoped for.

BUT, I did get two TDs to Addison (7 catches for 123 yards), I got 11 receptions to Hockenson for 86 yards, and 378 passing yards from Cousins (who did not, in fact, turn the ball over again after the first drive).

Even still, I wouldn’t say things were looking super fantastic. Don’t get me wrong, the first half was amazing! But, the Vikings’ offense stalled in a big way in the second half, just as Brock Purdy was starting to get things going. My saving grace, ultimately, was two fourth quarter picks by Purdy – each worth -4 points – to pull my team ahead once and for all: 149.80 to 144.85. If anything went differently on either of those drives, I’d probably be on here lamenting another bad beat.

Ultimately, I think my team is going to go as far as the Vikings can take me. I can win it all if these guys are going to continue being lights out on offense. But, when they shit the bed, I’m going to shit it as well.

Jordan Love was mediocre (and threw another late pick), Christian Watson got hurt and otherwise had a bad game, and the Packers’ defense did next-to-nothing against an inept Broncos team. Suffice it to say, my team will NOT be going as far as the Packers take me.

I did get decent points from Walker and McLaurin, and just enough out of the Jags’ kicker. Now, I get the Jets’ defense and my Cowboys players back for the stretch run. Boy, will I need ’em!

I’m now 3-4 and clinging to sixth place in the standings, but I need to pile on some wins – and some quality scoring weeks – if I want to hang around playoff contention.

This week, I’m going up against Champagne & Sweats, the current last place team at 1-6. He’s the reigning league champion, so obviously I can’t take him lightly. But, this is fantasy football, and I just won a game I very much wasn’t projected to win, so literally anything can happen.

Here’s my lineup:

  • Kirk Cousins (QB) @ GB
  • Jordan Love (QB) vs. Min
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. LAR
  • Jordan Addison (WR) @ GB
  • Kenneth Walker (RB) vs. Cle
  • Tony Pollard (RB) vs. LAR
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ GB
  • Terry McLaurin (WR) vs. Phi
  • Dustin Hopkins (K) @ Sea
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) @ NYG

Mattison returns to my bench this week, for the foreseeable future. Cam Akers is munching into his carries to the point where they’re practically in a 50/50 timeshare; who didn’t see THAT coming? To be fair, the Vikings’ running game in general has been pretty mediocre, so for now he’s just an injury replacement/BYE week fill-in.

Christian Watson got hurt at the tail-end of that Broncos game. He has, decidedly, been a bad keeper through seven weeks. Obviously, he was out injured for most of that time, but also Jordan Love isn’t great, and the Packers in general keep games close enough where they’re rarely in a super-negative game-script. And when they do pass, they tend to spread the ball around. Watson has not proven to be the TD machine he was last year.

Bryce Young is still a Wait & See for me. He’s looked moderately improved over his last two games, and just went through his BYE week; here’s hoping he used that time wisely and heads into the back-half of the season as a viable option for me. Justin Fields looks to be out for another week, so who’s crazy for rostering four quarterbacks all season NOW?

On Wednesday, after players left waivers and reverted back to free agents, I had the opportunity to pick Evan McPherson back up. But, instead, I opted to go with Dustin Hopkins, kicker for Cleveland, who has been absolutely kicking ass this year in general, and especially over the last two weeks – where he has 39 points – in hopes that his good fortunes will continue. The Browns seem to have an offense that’s struggling to score touchdowns, but isn’t so inept that they can’t move the ball at all. Of course, now that he’s on my team, watch them totally fall apart.

I had been in a back-and-forth trade negotiation with Champagne & Sweats for a couple weeks in there. He’s been trying to trade me Geno Smith for Jordan Love. At this point, neither one has been all that enticing. He’s a Packers fan, so he just wants to root for his guy; I’m a Seahawks fan and I don’t trust Geno as far as I can throw him. Unfortunately, I think we’re a poor fit for this, as all the guys I like on his team are too good for Love, and it’s hard to find an evenly-matched deal. Here’s his team:

  • Jalen Hurts (QB) @ Was
  • Geno Smith (QB) vs. Cle
  • Stefon Diggs (WR) vs. TB
  • Christian Kirk (WR) @ Pit
  • D’Andre Swift (RB) @ Was
  • Javonte Williams (RB) vs. KC
  • Evan Engram (TE) @ Pit
  • Gabe Davis (WR) vs. TB
  • Justin Tucker (K) @ Ari
  • Philadelphia (DEF) @ Was

See, I like Hurts and Diggs, but those guys are practically untouchable. I don’t care for Davis – after last year’s debacle, where I drafted him in every league – nor am I high on his running backs or any of his bench guys. Our whole trade dalliance commenced with me trying to get Deebo Samuel from him for Mattison, but as you can see, Deebo just can’t stay on the field. Now, I don’t know if I even want THAT headache. Even when he’s good enough to play, he could get knocked out in the first quarter, and then where will I be?

Other than Hurts, Philly’s D, and Kirk, I don’t really love his matchups. This is a game I probably SHOULD win, but when have I said that before? And how did that actually end up? I’m not super thrilled that I’ve got two quarterbacks going up against one another again; what are the odds the Packers/Vikings game is another slugfest just like the Bears/Vikings game a couple weeks ago? Would’ve been REAL nice to have Fields going up against the Chargers, so I could bench Love.

Jason Myers Has Always Been The Placekicker. I Should Know, Sir. I’ve Always Been Here

Ready for another four years of up and down field goal kicking?!

Kicking is a fundamental part of the game. Everyone shits on it, but you look at the scoring leaders year-in and year-out and it’s nothing but kickers. They took up the top 22 spots in 2022, before Austin Ekeler and his 18 touchdowns squeaked in there. Who was at the very top of the list? Jason Myers, one point ahead of Justin Tucker.

And it’s funny you should see those two names together like that, because they’re also (now) the top two highest-paid kickers in the league. Tucker is at the top of that particular list, and then there’s Myers and his 4 years, $21.1 million.

I’m always extremely dubious about kickers. Maybe that’s because the Seahawks – by and large – have been blessed throughout my lifetime with good kicking games. Norm Johnson, John Kasay, Josh Brown, Olindo Mare, Steven Hauschka, and now Jason Myers. That’s 31 years of Seahawks football in just those six guys. So, I probably take this part of the game for granted. But, when it’s bad, it’s REALLY bad. It’s Blair Walsh losing all confidence in his leg. It’s Brett Maher missing four extra points in a game. It’s teams losing games and churning through the scrap heap over and over again until they get it right.

Did the Seahawks get it right? It would seem so. He previously signed at a fairly high level – 4 years, $15.45 million – and not only earned the entire contract, but an extension and a raise to boot. But, how much do you trust Jason Myers? On even years, I trust him a lot; but those odd years are where he randomly struggles. In reality, if my life depended on it, the only kicker I’d trust is, in fact, Justin Tucker. But, even he missed six field goals last season, five from 50+. Then again, while Myers was a perfect 6 for 6 from 50+, Tucker actually made more than Myers even attempted (9 of 14). So, it’s apples and oranges.

I don’t hate the deal. Even though the Seahawks have mostly been good at finding kickers, it’s still one of the more challenging positions to get right. I’d put it on par with finding a quality quarterback. Look at how everyone fell all over themselves (myself included) when Evan McPherson entered the league in 2021. He was phenomenal! Then, in 2022, he took a huge step back, and now it’s fair to wonder if he’s just as up and down as everyone else.

That’s where kickers and quarterbacks differ. If you have a great quarterback, usually they continue being great year-after-year. Even the best kickers can have random shit luck they have to work through. And, unlike quarterbacks, if you have one or two bad games, you could find your ass on the streets.

Jason Myers has the added challenge of playing half his games in Seattle (and one game a year on that trainwreck of an Arizona field). It’s a different game entirely for those cold weather, outdoor kickers. If you can make it in Seattle – with the rain and the marine layer – you can make it anywhere!

It’s nice not to have this part of the game to worry about. Of course, every time he lines up to kick, we’ll ALWAYS worry (until we see it go through the uprights). But, this is an important offseason for the Seahawks, so not screwing around with the kicker is to our advantage.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: Not Last Place!

It’s a bummer, because I was one tinkering week away from a 5-game winning streak and a pretty legitimate chance at sneaking into the playoffs. Without getting too bogged down in hypotheticals, if I had been riding that 5-game winning streak, all I’d need to do is win this week, have another team lose (as he’s projected to do), and I would’ve achieved the unlikeliest playoff berth in league history.

As it stands, I’m currently 5-8 and have put myself in a position to be guaranteed that I’m not in last place. How is that possible? Well, there are two teams currently sitting at 4-9, and they’re both going head-to-head in this week’s regular season finale. So, win or lose, I’m guaranteed to hand off the last place Toilet Trophy to someone else!

I accomplished this feat by taking down Beasts, who was sitting in second place last week (and has since fallen to third). Beasts has the second-most points scored this season, but he lost to RoundTine 155.95 to 144.60.

It wasn’t looking good heading into Sunday night’s 5pm game, as he had a 27-point lead over me, with Tampa’s defense still set to go Monday night. But, my Cowboys dominated – with both Lamb and Pollard getting 20+ points – and I was just able to hold on.

I also had big weeks from D.K. Metcalf and Christian Watson, with competent weeks from Mike White and Justin Fields (I resisted the urge to start Mac Jones, but it turns out the difference would’ve been negligible). I’m very concerned about Kenneth Walker’s injury – that very nearly cost me – but hopefully he’ll be able to return to health soon enough.

I put in a waiver claim for Brock Purdy – the 49ers starter, now that Jimmy G is out – and thought I had a good shot at him. I had #3 priority, which should’ve been plenty good for a nothing quarterback. I like him because the 49ers’ offense seems to be idiot-proof. He also might be a weird diamond in the rough. But, that was shot to hell when some jagweed with higher priority stole him from me. So, I settled for my backup option: waiver claim for Tyler Huntley. He might only be available to me for this one week, which probably makes it a waste of my waiver priority, but what are you gonna do? You can’t take it with you!

In the regular season finale, I’m going up against Einfach A.F. It has minor implications, as a RoundTine victory would help Korky Butchek sneak into that 6th seed (assuming Korky defeats Beasts), but all I can do is set my lineup and let the chips fall where they may. Here’s who I’ve got:

  • Mac Jones (QB) @ Ari
  • Tyler Huntley (QB) @ Pit
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. Hou
  • Gabe Davis (WR) vs. NYJ
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. Hou
  • Tony Pollard (RB) vs. Hou
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ Det
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. Car
  • Evan McPherson (K) vs. Cle
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) @ Buf

No Justin Fields, Christian Watson, or Brian Robinson this week due to BYEs. I’m assuming Kenneth Walker will be out. So, that really limits my options.

That being said, even if I were at full strength, I would still start both Cowboys running backs in a heartbeat. Against the Texans?! Yes please!

I hate having to start Gabe Davis, especially against the Jets’ elite secondary. I’m hoping to make up for that with a big game from D.K. I’m dubious that CeeDee Lamb will do much, as I feel like the Cowboys are just going to run the ball 50 times. So, here’s hoping Hockenson can have a big game.

I don’t love the Huntley matchup at Pittsburgh, but I just blew a waiver on him, so I better start him. Mike White at the Bills doesn’t do much for me. But, who knows, maybe I’ll get cold feet with Mac Jones yet again and opt to go with White at the last minute.

Here’s what I’m going up against:

  • Jalen Hurts (QB) @ NYG
  • Geno Smith (QB) vs. Car
  • Stefon Diggs (WR) vs. NYJ
  • Deebo Samuel (WR) vs. TB
  • Latavius Murray (RB) vs. KC
  • Jeff Wilson Jr. (RB) @ LAC
  • Pat Freiermuth (TE) vs. Bal
  • Adam Thielen (WR) @ Det
  • Justin Tucker (K) @ Pit
  • Baltimore (DEF) @ Pit

His skill guys aren’t the scariest in the world, but his quarterbacks more than make up for it. Also, every time I have Gabe Davis going up against Stefon Diggs, it’s a fucking bloodbath against me, so that’s a nightmare.

That being said, if I’m being perfectly honest, I think I’d rather go up against Korky Butchek in the Consolation Bracket over Einfach A.F. So, I won’t be too broken up if I lose this weekend.

On the flipside, though, if I can knock Einfach A.F. out of the playoffs, I’ve got his top two draft picks next year, so I’d be guaranteed to have two picks out of the top four in both of the first two rounds, which would be SWEET.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: You Snooze & Lose

I don’t know what to tell you. Jameis Winston has back fractures one week and he plays as normal. Then, all of a sudden, it’s too much? I had him locked into my starting lineup all week and really didn’t give it a second thought. What are the Saints going to do, start Andy Dalton? Yeah! They did! And, to make matters worse, the game was in London, so I was fast asleep by the time it was announced that Winston wouldn’t be out there. Dead to the world! Thanks NFL!

To be fair, it would not have mattered. No quarterback I could’ve picked up would’ve made up for my 185.13 – 117.30 drubbing. I could’ve played ALL available QBs and still lost!

I will say that it was nice to see T.J. Hockenson make good on his promise. I held onto him for so long through the end of last year, I kept him over Mike Gesicki, and wouldn’t you know it? He finally made me look like a smart guy!

Justin Fields continues to look like a fucking steaming pile of dogshit. 11.9. Against the New York Football Giants. What can you even say about how inept he – and that offense – is?

No roster moves this week. I’m licking my wounds, hoping Winston makes it back. Moreover, I’m REALLY hoping Mac Jones has a chance to play, because the Pats are going up against the Lions and their circus show on defense. I’m not holding my breath, though. Here’s who I’ve got, tentatively:

  • Jameis Winston (QB) vs. Sea
  • Justin Fields (QB) @ MIN
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ LAR
  • Romeo Doubs (WR) vs. NYG
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ LAR
  • Tony Pollard (RB) @ LAR
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ NE
  • Gabe Davis (WR) vs. Pit
  • Evan McPherson (K) @ Bal
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) vs. Dal

We lost Javonte Williams for the year. At the time of this writing, I could pick up Melvin Gordon, but I won’t. I don’t trust him (fumbler) and I don’t think the team does either. I think that’ll turn into a wild merry-go-round of whoever is the hot hand at the time. No thanks. I have Williams in my IR slot – presumably for the rest of the year – but he has one of the worst kinds of knee injuries, and I don’t know if I will want to bother with that mess. Maybe I abandon the Denver running game. I dunno, I’ll give it more thought later.

My ideal scenario is that Mac Jones makes a triumphant return, because then I would actually love my quarterback matchups. I’m praying that Jameis can get back to the field, because Seattle is ripe to be shredded. But, even if I have to go with Fields, I can think of a worse fate than him against the Vikings.

Ken Walker is firmly the #2 in Seattle, so I can’t play him yet. Brian Robinson is off the NFI list this week, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be active. There is hope he might be, though, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be starting. There’s a lot I need to actually see from someone who was just shot a bunch of times before I can trust playing him. So, I’m doubling up on the Cowboys running backs, hoping between them we can approach 30 points. Pipe dream, I know.

I’m benching D.K. Metcalf again, and that’s probably a mistake. But, I don’t expect the Seahawks to repeat what they were able to do against the Lions in New Orleans. They have a lockdown corner in Marshon Lattimore, for starters, who can get in Metcalf’s head. I also don’t think the Seahawks’ offense will be nearly as effective on the road against a competent defense, so I’m playing the odds here. I also have Garrett Wilson on my bench because of course the week after everyone said he’s a “Must Add”, he’s done little-to-nothing. Fantasy Experts: They’re Just Like Us (Morons).

RoundTine has Einfach A.F. as its opponent this week. Yeah, I don’t get the name either. He’s the other 0-4 team in our league at the moment, but he has a whopping 152.75 more points than me. He will get his first win of the season this week. Here’s who he’ll do it with:

  • Matthew Stafford (QB) vs. Dal
  • Jalen Hurts (QB) @ AZ
  • Stefon Diggs (WR) vs. Pit
  • Deebo Samuel (WR) @ Car
  • Chase Edmonds (RB) @ NYJ
  • Rashaad Penny (RB) @ NO
  • Zach Ertz (TE) vs. Phi
  • Devin Duvernay (RB) vs. Cin
  • Justin Tucker (K) vs. Cin
  • Green Bay (DEF) vs. NYG

In Guys I Have In Other Leagues News: I’ll be rooting hard for Ertz and the Packers’ defense.

He had a week like I did last week, accidentally leaving in Cordarrelle Patterson even though he was ruled out late. I’m assuming he’ll get Penny in there at some point this week, but you never can tell sometimes.

Hurts is elite. Diggs is having a helluva year (one year after I had him in another league and he did Just Okay). Deebo is an animal. Again, I will lose, and it won’t be particularly close.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: Dynasty Drafting

There are obvious plusses and minuses to being in a Dynasty League. On the plus side, if you have players you like, you get to keep them forever. If you’re a good team one year, you’re likely to continue being good. The flipside, of course, also is true: if you have players you hate, you might be stuck with them until the next year, when you can drop and replace. If you’re bad one year, you might continue being bad for the foreseeable future. Just like real life!

One thing’s for certain: a lot of pressure is taken off of the draft! We were done well under a half hour, as we only selected five bench spots. With the vast majority of good players already rostered, there was significantly less research to do.

As I noted last week (see the above link), we kept a full roster of starters, so my team going in looked like this:

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

I had the third overall draft pick. We do a straight draft – not a snake draft – so I had the third pick in each of the five rounds (except for the fifth round, which I traded for a second 2nd round pick, in a trading away of Justin Tucker last year). It’s not as confusing as I’m making it sound, I promise.

Sadly, I don’t really see a true top-shelf rookie in this class. That doesn’t mean there ISN’T one, but that just means he hasn’t made himself obvious to everyone just yet. There isn’t a Najee Harris or Kyle Pitts in this class, someone who we know is a sure thing right out of the box, sight unseen. That’s unfortunate for someone like me – a bottom feeder, who desperately needs an ace superstar to help bolster my fantasy future – so I was stuck in a pretty shitty spot.

I really wanted Breece Hall. I know he’s no guarantee, but everything I read about him prior to the preseason led me to believe the odds are in his favor on breaking big. He went one pick before me. I’ll just have to hope since he landed on the Jets, they’re going to do everything to Jets it up with him. Travis Etienne was looking to be my second option, but he actually went first overall.

So, I was left between two options I didn’t particularly love: Kenneth Walker III or Dameon Pierce, of the Houston Texans. The upside on Pierce is that he’s the starter from Day 1, and he’s looked pretty good in preseason so far. The downside is that he plays for the Houston Texans; do they even employ offensive linemen? Or are they just stuffed scarecrows spiked on the turf? Who’s to say?! The upside on Walker is that he’s a significant college talent, on a team that loves to run the football, playing behind an injury-prone starter. The downside, however, is that Walker himself is injured, and missed most of the preseason due to a hernia surgery. When will he return? Will he be up to speed? Or, will it be like every other rookie who’s missed significant time in their first preseason, where this is a totally lost year?

I ultimately picked Walker, and I immediately think it was a mistake. Pierce went two spots later in the draft (sandwiching Kenny Pickett, who was a quarterback I was looking at, though not in the first round), and I think he’s going to be a monster.

I hope I made up for it in the second round by taking Tony Pollard. I already have Zeke, but I have failed in the last few years to ever handcuff him. Pollard has been the ultimate handcuff in recent seasons, because not only is he great, but he pretty much splits time on the field and balls out accordingly. One could EASILY make the argument that – right now – Pollard is the better of the two, both in fantasy and in actual NFL games. I’ll be honest, I very nearly considered taking Pollard with my first pick. I have every belief that he’ll take over for Zeke this year, with Zeke being cut before next year. I could very well own the Cowboys’ succession plan at running back! Gotta love it.

With my other second round pick, I was able to nab Gabe Davis, the hotshot #2 receiver for the Bills that everyone is in love with. Wide receiver wasn’t as big of a need for me as, let’s say, QUARTERBACK. But, you gotta have quality depth. And, if Davis pans out like most fantasy experts think he will, I’ve got a real gem on my hands. As it is – SPOILER ALERT – he’ll be starting for me in week 1 against the Rams. So, hopefully we’ll see some immediate dividends.

Then it was time to finally address the quarterback position. I’m now in two leagues where I’m rostering Jameis Winston. What a fucking nightmare.

We’re in a 2-QB league, so clearly there weren’t going to be great options after all the dynasty guys were kept. However, shockingly, Tom Brady was out there. He went 9th overall in the first round (to the team who kept Deshaun Watson, of course). I thought about it, but as I’ve been saying all along, if his O-Line is weak, and his receivers are banged up, Tom Brady is as inept as it gets from a fantasy perspective. I’m not trying to rely on him come playoff time.

Winston was actually the third QB to come off the board. I selected his upside over Matt Ryan’s steady presence (in what’s looking like a run-heavy attack), over Daniel Jones’ incompetence (I still can’t believe he was drafted), over Baker Mayfield’s mediocrity, over Zach Wilson’s atrociousness, and over Jimmy G’s benchwarming. There are a few other guys still out there on waivers, but when you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel like I am, do you really want to devote so many bench spots to the scrubs of all scrubs?

With my last pick, I took Brian Robinson, the running back who got shot in a robbery in D.C. I’ve tried to get him in all my leagues, but succeeded in only 2 of 3. His upside looks fantastic if he can return to full health. Between him and Walker, I’ve got two rookies and I just need one of them to pan out. It’s a great hedge against Javonte Williams too, just in case things go FUBAR there. For now, Robinson goes on my IR, so I get an extra roster spot which I’m planning to use on a defense.

I’ve kind of said all along that I like the bulk of my team, sans quarterback. I don’t LOVE my team. I can say something similar to my Splinter League team – good skill guys, crummy QBs – but at least those skill guys are potential game-breakers. These skill guys are … fine.

Between D.K., CeeDee, Diontae, and Gabe, there has to be three guys I can play every week, barring injury. I’m pretty confident – even with the shaky quarterback play D.K. and Diontae have to endure – that I’ll get good numbers from my wide receiver position.

I’m encouraged by my running backs, now that I have both Dallas runners. But, until Javonte assumes the bellcow role he deserves – or until one of my rookies gets healthy and starts playing significant snaps – I’ll always be a little hampered by my running backs. But, unless you have one of the top 6-8 guys, everyone’s more or less in a time share of sorts.

I’m fine with my TE, I love my kicker, and I think most weeks I’ll be happy with the Rams’ defense. But, here we go again with these fakakta quarterbacks.

Just give me one. Jones or Fields, I don’t care who. ONE of them needs to pan out. Then, I can go into next year hopefully getting the best rookie QB available in what’s looking like a loaded draft. You can bet your ass I’ll be researching those guys HARD.

As things stand, Yahoo has me overwhelmingly finishing in last place, with a 2-12 record. That feels about right. Just gotta start playing quality ball in the consolation bracket.

***

Real quick, let’s look at this week’s matchup. I start the season going up against Space Forcin’, who has been a thorn in my side for a generation now. Here’s my lineup:

  • Mac Jones (QB) @ Mia
  • Jameis Winston (QB) @ Atl
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. TB
  • Gabe Davis (WR) @ LAR
  • Tony Pollard (RB) vs. TB
  • Javonte Williams (RB) @ Sea
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) vs. Phi
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. Den
  • Evan McPherson (K) vs. Pit
  • TBD (DEF)

Pretty easy decisions here. Justin Fields is going up against the stout 49ers defense (it was really a choice between him and Jones, as Jameis has to be a lock against a terrible Falcons team). I opted for those receivers over Diontae since he seems to be dealing with a shoulder injury and is questionable. I opted for Pollard over Zeke because they’re going up against the Bucs, who are terrific against the run (maybe Pollard can bounce some things outside, or otherwise catch some passes). Walker is out, since he’s hurt and might not make it back by Monday. And the Rams are out because the Bills have a tremendous offense and might pop 40 points on ’em. I’ll take my chances with whatever defense I can grab tomorrow when waivers convert to free agents.

Here’s my opponent:

  • Patrick Mahomes (QB) @ Ari
  • Trey Lance (QB) @ Chi
  • Davante Adams (WR) @ LAC
  • Chris Godwin (WR) @ Dal
  • Alvin Kamara (RB) @ Atl
  • Antonio Gibson (RB) vs. Jax
  • Dalton Schultz (TE) vs. TB
  • Adam Thielen (WR) vs. GB
  • Matt Prater (K) vs. KC
  • Miami (DEF) vs. NE

He’s had Mahomes, Adams, and Kamara for as long as I can remember. Lance sure seems like a safe bet for steady points at the QB spot. Godwin has been a steal for everyone who’s drafted him. Gibson is starting now, and that’s all that matters this week. Schultz looks fantastic, and might be a sleeper guy at tight end (since Dallas lost Amari Cooper). And all Thielen does is produce at a high level when healthy. It’s week 1, I’d say he’s as healthy as he’s going to get.

So, I’m going to lose. Regardless of the defense I end up with, I’m going to lose. I also have the 8th waiver wire spot, which seems like a travesty considering how bad I am. But, whatever.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Not The Absolute Worst

If the Toilet Trophy went to the ultimate loser of the Consolation Bracket, and not just the last place team of the regular season, I would’ve actually dodged it this year. What can be worse than being both last place AND the Consolation Bracket loser? Well, playing in and losing the 5/6 game. Not only did you go down in the first round of the playoffs, but you draft below all the Consolation Bracket teams. Woof.

Snoopy & Prickly Pete defeated The Lance Petemans 155.40 to 109.48. He scored far and away the lowest points, but my team actually put up a semi-respectable showing (even if he’d given a shit and filled in the two spots who didn’t play, I’d like to think I would’ve made it interesting). Mac Jones got 30+ for the first time all year (if only every game could be played at home against the Jags), D.K. Metcalf woke up from his lengthy slumber to get 30+, the Rams’ defense got me 23, my rookie kicker got me 11, and even Sean Mannion (a late-week pick up for the injured Justin Fields) got me nearly 17 points and out-performed Taylor Heinicke (who I waived earlier in the week for James Robinson).

This all means that I get the third pick in our fantasy draft next year (where we just draft for our bench spots). I would’ve been much happier drafting in the top two, but it wouldn’t shock me if the cliff of high-profile rookies happens just AFTER the third pick. I don’t know a lot about this rookie class, but we’ll see. Fingers crossed!

All that’s left is to decide my keepers. But, before I do that, let’s run through the other leagues really quick.

Splinter League Round-Up!

BUCK FUTTER handled Beer Thirty relatively easily for third place. Not a bad little season! I’m not as upset by losing last week, knowing that the eventual champion would’ve seriously kicked my ass regardless. Ja’Marr Chase won many championships this week with his 50+ point output. The only downside to third place is I don’t get my money back. But, in this league, if you’re not first, it’s not profitable in the slightest. I’ve never finished worse than 5th, but I’ve also never finished higher than 3rd in the Splinter League (dating back to its inception of 2015). This year really felt like the best team I’ve had in quite some time, in ANY league, so maybe my instincts are heading in the right direction? Or, maybe I just got lucky for a while, until my luck ran out.

Third League Round-Up!

Unfortunately, RUM HAM! didn’t show up at all. I wish I had the fortitude to start Amon-Ra St. Brown (who put up 32.4 points), but he was a waiver pick-up that very week, and I had three other receivers going who I liked a lot. Who wouldn’t start Stefon Diggs vs. Atlanta? Or A.J. Brown vs. Miami? And Jaylen Waddle had been a stalwart for my team all year (at Tennessee). You gotta ride the horses who brought you to the championship; that’s what everyone says. Well, Diggs was an utter disappointment of a second round pick all year (he got me 7.7 this week) and Brown is someone I’m never drafting again after taking him in the third round (he got 5.1 a week after scoring 27 for my bench). Still, I was lucky to get where I got, considering my team was middling-at-best. Not a bad little $50 payout for second place; I doubled up my money. Plus, I can keep Jaylen Waddle heading into next year, which will only cost me a 13th round pick.

Potential 2022 Dynasty Keepers

I don’t have to decide who my dynasty team will be until somewhere around a week before next season’s fantasy draft. Nevertheless, barring some shocking developments, I have my mind set for the most part.

Quarterbacks – Mac Jones is as close to a lock as I have (he’s the only one on my roster in the top 25 in our league in scoring, 18th overall). Then, it boils down to Justin Fields or Jordan Love. Love is, obviously, off the board if Aaron Rodgers is back again. But, otherwise, I’m strongly considering him over Fields. Fields obviously has a lot going for him: his legs, his high draft status, his acumen in big games in college. But, he’s got a terrible coaching staff (that, in all likelihood, will turn over this offseason), while Love (assuming he’s still with the Packers) will be part of a first-rate organization and a high-quality offensive mind at head coach. I’ll need to see who takes over for the Bears as head coach and what his offensive pedigree is before I opt for Fields. I have no problem keeping Love, because I know regardless, the quarterback position will be a high priority for me again in the 2022 draft.

Wide Receivers – This is probably a done deal, but I can’t yet say it’s 100% locked in. However, in some order, I like D.K. Metcalf (15th in scoring), Diontae Johnson (8th in scoring), and CeeDee Lamb (16th in scoring). We’ll have to see what the quarterback situation is in Seattle and Pittsburgh before I can fully commit. The lone downside to keeping three receivers is the fact that there’s usually an uber-stud at receiver in the NFL Draft every year. Two years ago, it was Justin Jefferson; last year, it was Chase. Who will it be this year, and will that person be available at the third overall pick in our league? Regardless, it’s usually easy enough to find a third receiver on waivers; hell, I picked up Johnson as a free agent someone let go! So, I might keep an extra running back just to hedge my bets on that position, which can be so difficult to fill and keep healthy.

Running Backs – Javonte Williams is a lock (15th in running back scoring); I just have to hope the Broncos fire their coaching staff and come to their senses in making him the bellcow. Ezekiel Elliott is probably a lock (7th in running back scoring), simply because he has to have at least one more good year left. I’m reluctant to get too excited, because his contract is so high; I could see Dallas wanting to get out from under it as soon as financially viable. They’ve also pretty much made their running back position a timeshare with Tony Pollard, who has often flashed as the better back this season. If I were to keep a third back, I have options. If, for whatever reason, Dalvin Cook is no longer the guy in Minnesota, then Alexander Mattison becomes a Must Keep. I also took a flier on the aforementioned James Robinson (24th in scoring in spite of all his injury woes this year); we’ll have to see how he recovers from his torn Achilles. If it looks like he might be back for the regular season (or not too long after the season starts) he could be a good player to stash. He’s been remarkably effective for a guy on a terrible team the last two years. The more I think about it, the more I’m leaning towards keeping three running backs, and hoping to fill out the receiver position in the draft. The running back I’m definitely NOT keeping is Clyde Edwards-Helaire; what a BUST! I took him with the second overall pick as a rookie and he’s done NOTHING to justify it. I don’t even want to know who I passed over to take him.

Tight End – It’s T.J. Hockenson (13th among tight ends, in spite of missing multiple games due to injury). He was somehow left on the waiver wire and I snapped him up. My other option is Mike Gesicki (8th among tight ends), but I don’t love the fact that he hasn’t developed a rapport with Tua. Usually, mediocre quarterbacks with no deep game thrive with tight ends, but somehow it hasn’t clicked (Gesicki was MUCH better with FitzMagic at the helm). Hockenson is the kind of talent who could make a huge leap forward in the next year or two; sort of the next Mark Andrews perhaps.

Kicker – I thought I was going to be screwed here after trading away Justin Tucker; it was still a good trade for me, because I need the extra draft pick more than I need an elite kicker over 30 years of age. As it turns out, I may have fallen ass-backwards into Justin Tucker 2.0 with Evan McPherson, the rookie Bengals kicker who was just named the AFC Special Teams Player Of The Month for December. Through this past week, he’s the third-highest scoring kicker in the league (just 2 points behind Tucker), he’s hit the most 50+ yard field goals, and he’s only missed 2 extra points for an offense that scores in bunches. Considering the first kicker off the board in our last draft was Harrison Butker, and McPherson has outscored him by 24 points, I think I’m in a pretty strong position for years to come (now watch him totally shit the bed as a sophomore).

Defense – I guess I’m happy enough with the Rams. They were the 8th highest scoring defense this year in our league, which is respectable. I’m assuming they’ll continue to be pretty reliable next year, but I’m also confident this will be a position from year-to-year with the most turnover in our league.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet for what I’m thinking for next year:

  • Mac Jones (QB)
  • Justin Fields (QB) or Jordan Love (QB)
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR)
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) or Diontae Johnson (WR)
  • Javonte Williams (RB)
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB)
  • FLEX: Metcalf/Johnson, Alexander Mattison (RB), or James Robinson (RB)
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE)
  • Evan McPherson (K)
  • L.A. Rams (DEF)

I’m excited about my receivers, I’m excited about Williams, and I’m really excited about my tight end, kicker, and defense. I’m cautiously optimistic about Jones, but overall underwhelmed with all of my quarterback options. And, considering the early comments on rookie QBs coming out of this draft, I don’t know if there’s a lot of hope for the 2022 season. I need to catch a few breaks somewhere.

Well, that’s it for fantasy football in 2021. As always, I’m glad it’s over. I will say, this year hasn’t been so agonizing from week to week. I had one really good team, one team that over-achieved, and my dynasty team was in a full rebuilding mode. I didn’t get everything that I wanted out of this year, but no one ever does. On to 2022.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Toilet Bowl Week

Hahmez Wah 360 Allstars defeated Snoopy & Prickly Pete 163.00 to 100.60. All of our players were done playing before Monday, but the matchup between the two fantasy teams was over pretty much during the first quarter of the morning games on Sunday. Justin Fields underperformed and got hurt. CeeDee Lamb underperformed and got hurt. The only player on my team worth a damn was Diontae Johnson, and by the time his game started I was already out of it. His 23.1 points spared me from a sub-100 point game, so for that I’m grateful.

Nothing went right. I had Taylor Heinicke on my bench, who scored 31.2 points. I left Clyde Edwards-Helaire in my IR spot (because no one knew until gametime that he’d actually play this week), who got 15.6 points. Of course, I wouldn’t have won regardless of how I set my lineup, but I’m just pointing it out to show the forces at play in my futility.

Taking a look at the immediate results of my trades last week, Justin Tucker outscored Zane Gonzalez 11 to 3. Again, it’s not WHY I lost, but there you go. Mike Gesicki scored an even 10 points for my TE spot; Pat Freiermuth would’ve gotten me 11.1 (not for nothing, but Noah Fant would’ve gotten me 10.9, just to show you what a wasteland tight end has become). The only moderately good news is that A.J. Brown is no longer on my team; he had to leave the game twice last week for two different injuries (and is officially questionable for this week). I’m sure he’ll return and kick some ass, but I gotta tell you, I’m just glad I don’t have to worry every time I play catch-up on Twitter that I’m going to read some tweet to the effect of “A.J. Brown is limping off the field”.

Anyway, the Toilet Bowl is upon us! Snoopy & Prickly Pete is taking on Korky Butchek for a battle to help decide who ends up with the 2021 last place trophy! I’m 2-9, he’s 3-8; he’s got a 50-point lead. If he beats me, he’ll have a 2-game advantage with only two weeks to go, and it will be a virtual lock that I take home the toilet trophy. If I win, we’re tied in record, and I make up some of that deficit in total points (the tiebreaker if our records are the same at season’s end), giving me two weeks to surpass him in total points to avoid the dubious honor.

Here’s my lineup in this do-or-die week:

  • Mac Jones (QB) vs. TEN
  • Taylor Heinicke (QB) vs. SEA
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) @ CIN
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) @ WFT
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. LV
  • Javonte Williams (RB) vs. LAC
  • Mike Gesicki (TE) vs. CAR
  • Rhamondre Stevenson (RB) vs. TEN
  • Zane Gonzalez (K) @ MIA
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) @ GB

I am majorly irritated CeeDee Lamb is out with a concussion this week. I’m also majorly irritated CEH is on BYE; I don’t understand why he was brought back last week at all! Why risk it if you’ve got a BYE this week?! Anyway, it looks like I’ll be saddled with starting Stevenson in my FLEX, which is far from ideal.

Of course, Korky Butchek has reason to be irritated himself with the various maladies his team is beset with. Here is a possible alignment of players for him to start this week:

  • Joe Burrow (QB) vs. PIT
  • Daniel Jones (QB) vs. PHI
  • DeVonta Smith (WR) @ NYG
  • A.J. Brown (WR) @ NE
  • David Montgomery (RB) @ DET
  • A.J. Dillon (RB) vs. LAR
  • George Kittle (TE) vs. MIN
  • D.J. Moore (WR) @ MIA
  • Daniel Carlson (K) @ DAL
  • New Orleans (DEF) @ BUF

He’s actually got plenty of options to play around with on his bench, so we’ll see what the lineup looks like at gametime. I would assume A.J. Brown will be in there if he’s playing. Otherwise, I’m looking at James Robinson going against a poor Falcons defense. I’m a little surprised to see Danny Dimes in there over Trevor Lawrence, but I could see the Giants making an immediate improvement now that they’ve fired Jason Garrett from the offensive coordinator job.

Korky Butchek has a lot of good players who have simply underperformed this year. I’m going to need them to continue underperforming this week, otherwise it’ll be curtains for me.

Splinter League Round-Up!

BUCK FUTTER took out Beer Thirty pretty handily, even though he got a strong comeback effort in that Chargers game with Herbert and Williams. Aaron Rodgers finishing with 50+ points and the rest of my guys (sans Tee Higgins) pulling their weight made things pretty comfortable. I’m still in third place, but only a game behind Beer Thirty, and only two games behind the first place team. I’m in for a dogfight this week with another 7-4 team; it would behoove me to knock out ChubbyDumplings to put a little distance between me and the teams behind me trying to take me out of a playoff spot. The Saints’ running back situation is scaring the living daylights out of me; I need ONE of either Kamara or Ingram to play. If they both have to sit, I’m in trouble.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Monday Night Disappointment

I’ve long bemoaned my Monday night plight when it comes to fantasy football. I’ve lost countless games I was otherwise leading heading into Monday, while almost never flipping the script on someone else. If I have, I don’t remember it, and I feel like I’d remember the glory of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

Look, I’ll be the first to admit I probably didn’t deserve to win this one. But, I don’t necessarily think my opponent did either. Car Talk With Josh Allen beat Snoopy & Prickly Pete 146.40 to 141.16.

It was simple: I was up 139.16 to 125.20. I had the Rams’ defense (usually a pretty reliable one that’s good for 10-15 points or so) and he had Jimmy G, going up against that Rams defense. Jimmy G, as we all know, is usually good for a turnover or two, so I felt reasonably confident that I could pull this one out.

Instead, the Rams decided to let Deebo Samuel take over – apparently Jalen Ramsey had more pressing matters to attend to than lock down the 49ers’ best offensive weapon – and he absolutely fucking DOMINATED! Good lord. What were the Rams thinking?

Anyway, I also lost because of my own stupidity. Ben Roethlisberger was diagnosed with COVID and out for Sunday’s game. As a result, I got cold feet on Diontae Johnson and benched him for A.J. Brown. Johnson got 13.3 points – which is nothing special – but Brown, predictably, was shut down by the Saints’ defense, scoring only 3.3 points. I knew it was going to happen, but I followed Yahoo’s stupid advice anyway, and there we have it. Having rostered Brown for long enough, I have a pretty good feel for when he’s going to lay an egg. He can’t seem to get it up for elite cornerbacks. It happens to the best of us.

We prattle on. Here’s my lineup for this week:

  • Mac Jones (QB) @ ATL
  • Justin Fields (QB) vs. BAL
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ KC
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. ARI
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ KC
  • Rhamondre Stevenson (RB) @ ATL
  • Mike Gesicki (TE) @ NYJ
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) @ LAC
  • Zane Gonzalez (K) @ SEA
  • Cleveland (DEF) vs. DET

I picked up Stevenson, dropping Mark Ingram. Again, let’s keep the focus on guys who might be relevant next year and beyond. A Dynasty League owner’s roster tweaking is never done.

That’s a clear example of burying the lede, because Trader Steven was on the prowl this week! First and foremost, our trade deadline is November 20th (this upcoming Saturday). Second, as has been discussed ad nauseam throughout most of the year, I have four really good wide receivers who I like a lot; we are only allowed to keep up to three of them (two in the WR spot, one for a FLEX if that’s your preference). It was a nice luxury to have through most of the BYE weeks, because between BYEs and injuries, I always had at least three guys I could play. But, having all four on my roster to the end of the season did me no good in the grand scheme of things.

While I had four receivers I liked, I only had one running back (at most) that I liked. Ezekiel Elliott has been fine this year, but his clock is ticking. Nevertheless, the dropoff from Zeke is a steep one. Bottom line is: I was going to have to keep a running back I hated, unless I made a trade. So, with Korky Butchek, I traded away A.J. Brown, receiving in return tight end Mike Gesicki and rookie running back Javonte Williams (to make the numbers match, I dropped the other tight end I picked up recently, Pat Freiermuth).

I originally offered him Diontae Johnson straight up for Williams, but he rejected that one and countered with the above deal that I accepted. For me, the ranking of my receivers went like this:

  1. CeeDee Lamb
  2. D.K. Metcalf
  3. A.J. Brown
  4. Diontae Johnson

Lamb was as close to untouchable as it gets, and Metcalf is pretty close to untouchable as well. Brown, on the other hand, is frustratingly boom or bust, and always finds himself on the injury report in spite of his young age. He tends to get better as the season goes along, though, so I would expect great things out of him in the month of December. Plus, with Henry out, and Julio Jones largely a non-factor, Brown figures to be far and away the #1 offensive option on the Titans. This could very well be the move that spares Korky Butchek of a last place finish!

On the flipside, Javonte Williams is seen by many experts to be a “league winner”. One of those guys good teams stash on their bench, who explode for huge fantasy numbers in the final month of the season (a la Cam Akers last year). He plays on the Broncos, who are pretty devoted to the run; but they’ve – to date – also been devoted to a running back by committee approach. Here’s to hoping that changes as we head into next year.

I’m not totally sold on Gesicki’s prospects as a dynasty tight end, mostly because Miami’s quarterback situation is muddy at best. Nevertheless, you can’t deny his talent, when he’s managed to stay healthy. I’m not getting my hopes up too high, but he’s a far cry better than Noah Fant at this point.

Then, late last night, I discovered a trade was offered to me. My opponent this week wants to swap kickers – I get Gonzalez, he gets Justin Tucker – and for my trouble, he’s giving me his 2nd round draft pick next year, in exchange for my 5th rounder (in our dynasty draft, the first 10 rounds are devoted to keepers; so technically it’s a swap of his 12th rounder for my 15th rounder).

I think this is a helluva deal for me! I get better draft positioning for next year, in exchange for Justin Tucker. I can stumble into the next Justin Tucker, no problem. Besides, thus far this year, Zane Gonzalez has more points than Tucker, and is hitting at one of the highest rates of anyone in the NFL. We’ll see if that carries over into next year and beyond, but the last thing I’m going to sweat is the kicker spot, especially when I have a chance to improve through the draft next year.

We’ll see how it goes. My season is already fucked – I’ve been playing for next year since day one – so I might as well take some big swings and hope for a huge turnaround. And, you never know, if my QB situation picks up, and Williams emerges as the stud a lot of people think he’ll be, I could be well on my way to making some noise in the Consolation Bracket!

This week, I’m going up against the annoyingly-named Hahmez Wah 360 Allstars, who has been Joey IR Police on the message boards. God forbid anyone leave a player on the IR spot for an extra week to try to get through the BYE weeks with all your players! IT’S THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY, AND HAHMEZ WAH 360 ALLSTARS IS GOING TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF IT! Here are the guys who will defeat my guys:

  • Jalen Hurts (QB) vs. NO
  • Tyrod Taylor (QB) @ TEN
  • Deebo Samuel (WR) @ JAX
  • Stefon Diggs (WR) vs. IND
  • D’Andre Swift (RB) @ CLE
  • D’Onta Foreman (RB) vs. HOU
  • Zach Ertz (TE) @ SEA
  • Marquise Brown (WR) @ CHI
  • Justin Tucker (K) @ CHI
  • Buffalo (DEF) vs. IND

I’ve got three of his guys (Hurts, Diggs, and Brown) in another league, so it’s like looking in a mirror this week. There’s no analysis needed here, his team is better than mine from top to bottom. I’ll take my loss like a man and move on.

Unfortunately, bungling the game last week drops me to 2-8. I’m still in last place by a full game, and also 50+ points behind Korky Butchek in the tie-breaker of total points. That’s huge, because I recently learned the Toilet Trophy goes to the regular season last place team, and not – as I’d originally hoped – the Consolation Bracket loser.

So, here’s the deal: I play Korky over Thanksgiving weekend. If trends continue, that game might very well decide the Toilet Trophy winner. I’m calling it the Toilet Bowl. I just hope he doesn’t win this upcoming week to ruin my narrative ahead of our Sludge Match!

Splinter League Round-Up!

BUCK FUTTER bounced back with a victory that was more difficult than it needed to be, over 50 Shades Of Gritty. That improves me to 6-4 and in third place (the best of all the 6-4 teams). So far, it looks like a 5-team race for four spots. The top two teams are 9-1 and 8-2; they’re going to be hard to catch up to. Though, one of them (Beer Thirty, the 8-2 team) is going up against me this week. Ideally, I need one of the other 6-4 teams to start losing, but it’s getting scary out there for ol’ BUCK FUTTER. Someone give me a break!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: A Three-Time Loser

I’m in three fantasy football leagues. I didn’t intend to be in so many, but it just happened that way. I have my longstanding – now Dynasty – league with my college friends that I write about here; I have my Splinter League that I write a little blurb about at the end of each of these posts; and I’m in a league with my brother and his work friends (they had an opening and needed someone to fill it at the last minute). All three leagues have different rules and therefore bring something unique to the table.

And, somehow, I managed to lose in all three this week.

The ONLY positive to being in three leagues is that it’s really hard to lose ALL of your games. You can have a really shitty weekend, but usually you’ll at least find one of your three teams victorious. It’s a rare, special kind of sucking that sees you go 0-3 in the same calendar weekend.

Snoopy & Prickly Pete lost to Beasts 157.15 to 80.25. I was without a tight end – due to injuries/COVID – but that didn’t matter. I got just over 20 points combined out of my two QBs, and everyone else just sort of shit the bed. Somehow, Justin Fields outscored everyone on my team, but he was on my bench because he was going up against the Steelers’ defense. Mike White somehow outscored Mac Jones even though White lasted only two drives and Jones’ team won 24-6. I don’t even know.

My general thoughts on last week are that scoring was down for pretty much everyone because it was a weird week in the NFL. Also, my team fucking SUUUUUUUCKS, so there’s that.

Jordan Love looked … not great. From what I saw of that game, the Chiefs’ defense was blitzing early and often, and he couldn’t make them pay. I know he’s a young guy making his first regular season start, but that was hella cringe. I am, helplessly, still no closer to finding my quarterbacks of the future.

This week, I’ll be facing Car Talk With Josh Allen, the team I played in week one. That was one of my two victories this season, so I’m sure he’s looking for revenge. Here is a tentative lineup I’m looking at:

  • Mac Jones (QB) vs. CLE
  • Taylor Heinicke (QB) vs. TB
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. ATL
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) vs. DET
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. ATL
  • TBD (RB)
  • Dawson Knox (TE) @ NYJ
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) @ GB
  • Justin Tucker (K) @ MIA
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) @ SF

I need to pick up another running back. David Montgomery is back, which means Khalil Herbert is back to being his understudy; regardless, the Bears are on a BYE this week anyway. CEH is still on IR and isn’t likely to return this week. So, I’ll be looking to drop Herbert after everyone clears waivers and pick up someone to get me points. I would think about dropping one of my tight ends – I have Knox and Noah Fant still – but this tight end decision is going to have ramifications for years to come, so I’d like to make a measured, patient decision on the matter.

As for QB, Fields is on BYE, Love returns to my bench (as Rodgers is said to be starting against the Seahawks, assuming he clears COVID), and White is coming off of an in-game injury, so I’d like to see him survive a full game before starting him. Also, Buffalo has a pretty good defense and I could see them smashing the living daylights out of the Jets in response to blowing it against the Jags last week.

A.J. Brown is the WR I’m sitting this week. I don’t know if that’s a smart choice or not, though I have to expect the Saints (who they’re playing this week) will put their very best cornerback on him all game. Now that I’ve said that, I’ve just ensured Brown goes off for multiple TDs; it’s okay, I have him going in another league, so it won’t be a total waste if he crushes it.

Car Talk is looking at this collective of players:

  • Josh Allen (QB) @ NYJ
  • Jimmy Garoppolo (QB) vs. LAR
  • Robert Woods (WR) @ SF
  • Cole Beasley (WR) @ NYJ
  • Aaron Jones (RB) vs. SEA
  • Leonard Fournette (RB) @ WAS
  • Travis Kelce (TE) @ LV
  • Melvin Gordon (RB) vs. PHI
  • Tyler Bass (K) @ NYJ
  • Baltimore (DEF) @ MIA

This looks like a massacre waiting to happen. There’s no way Allen has two bad games in a row, especially against a team as inept as the Jets. Jimmy G – one of my pile of QBs from earlier this season – comes back to haunt me. Aaron Jones is a super stud, as is Travis Kelce (who has been relatively quiet this season … except when he’s going against me in fantasy).

We’re officially one time through the league on this season. I’ve played everyone once, and I’m 2-7 as a result. Of course, I’m in last place, both in record and in total points. I have five games remaining before the regular season ends and I have to figure out some way to succeed in the Consolation Bracket. Here’s hoping things start looking a little more clear over the next month!

Splinter League Round-Up!

This week was pretty much decided on Thursday night, as Jonathan Taylor scored 34 points when he was projected to only get 18. Otherwise, Vinegar Strokes didn’t do so hot! But, BUCK FUTTER did far worse, in spite of making all the right 50/50 moves on who to start and who to sit. I was severely hampered by the Bucs being on a BYE and losing both of my starting receivers. My team should be at full strength this week, though, as I try to avenge my week one loss to 50 Shades Of Gritty. Her team isn’t super great, but she can step up and bring the smack down when she has to.