Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: The Worst Around

Well, I scored easily the lowest points in our league last week, and I went up against the team who scored the very most. Through two weeks, I’ve scored easily the lowest points in our league, and for good measure I’ve had the most points scored against me. So, that’s fun. That’s a neat little parlor trick.

I don’t really have anything to say about my performance last week, since there was nothing I could do. Besides build a time machine, go back in time, and draft all the players I should’ve drafted in the first place – years ago – to ensure my team wouldn’t be this inept when we finally made it a dynasty league. As I said on Twitter, when you have four quarterbacks (for a 2-QB league), you really have zero quarterbacks, and that adage holds true. If there was a “right” play to be had, I would’ve went with Mac Jones (a measly 15.2) and Davis Mills (8.95). I went with Mills and Winston (the lowest of all – my “safe” bet – at 6.00), while Fields was saddled with 7.5.

I decided to make this my week to shake things up a bit. I had a good-enough waiver priority slot to get one move done. So, I had my choice: I could make a play for Garrett Wilson – rookie receiver from the Jets – or I could get Jared Goff. I made claims for both – prioritizing Wilson – and I already regret it. I don’t necessarily regret waiving Davis Mills for him, because I don’t think his noodle arm is ever going to be a massive fantasy talent (famous last words). But, Goff was probably my one and only chance to find a high-upside fantasy quarterback for nothing, and I let him fall to The Lance Petemans.

Long-term, I don’t know what Goff is. With Amon-Ra St. Brown, he’s certainly found a stud he can ride to big fantasy days. But, is this sustainable? Regardless, he’s better than the nothing I’m getting from Jones and Fields, and he seems to be more steady than the wild fluctuations of Jameis. Is he a quality #2 quarterback going forward, even beyond this season? Maybe!

Ultimately, I went with Wilson because I wanted to cash in on a rookie receiver craze. Will he be the next Justin Jefferson? Will he be this year’s Ja’Marr Chase? Probably not. Did I just blow any opportunity at having fun with this league this season? It’s highly likely. I’m up to five receivers now, and the most you can keep/play is three, so what are we doing?

This week, I go up against Car Talk With Josh Allen. As you might suspect, he’s got Josh Allen on his team, so look for him to put up 50+ (that’s the trend, first with Mahomes, then with Tua of all people). I, decidedly, do not have Josh Allen, or anyone even close to his calibre, so I’m looking to cruise to an 0-3 record by the time the morning games conclude on Sunday. Here’s the RoundTine roster:

  • Jameis Winston (QB) @ Car
  • Justin Fields (QB) vs. Hou
  • Gabe Davis (WR) @ Mia
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) @ Cle
  • Javonte Williams (RB) vs. SF
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ NYG
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ Min
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. Atl
  • Evan McPherson (K) @ NYJ
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) @ Ari

It is, as always, a useless decision between Fields and Jones. Jones is at home against Baltimore. Baltimore just gave up a billion points to Tua last week. But, clearly, the Pats don’t have the kinds of weapons that the Dolphins have. Houston seems to be a tasty matchup, so I’m hoping to see ANYTHING out of Fields resembling a break out performance.

I’m sitting Wilson for another week, just to make sure he’s not a fluke. I’m playing D.K. because I like him at home against a paltry Falcons defense. I’ll play Gabe Davis if he’s healthy. My ultimate decision comes down to Diontae Johnson and CeeDee Lamb. If Gabe looks hurt, then it’s no decision at all, and I’ll just play them both. But, if Gabe looks on track early in the week (like, today or tomorrow) to return, then I’ll have to make a choice ahead of Thursday’s game. The more I think about it (Steelers offense against a potentially-stout Cleveland defense on the road), the more I think the Steelers will be toast in this one, at least offensively.

As for the running backs, I’m just biding my time until Walker and/or Brian Robinson take over starting duties for their respective teams. T.J. Hockenson – my tight end – is in the running for most disappointing player of 2022, which is really saying something, given the state of my roster.

Here’s my opponent:

  • Josh Allen (QB) @ Mia
  • Tom Brady (QB) vs. GB
  • Brandin Cooks (WR) @ Chi
  • Christian Kirk (WR) @ LAC
  • Joe Mixon (RB) @ NYJ
  • Aaron Jones (RB) @ TB
  • Travis Kelce (TE) @ IND
  • Leonard Fournette (RB) vs. GB
  • Nick Folk (K) vs. Bal
  • Cleveland (DEF) vs. Pit

It’s yet another bloodbath waiting to happen.

The Seahawks Looked Predictably Inept Against The 49ers

I’ll be honest, Saturday was a long, fun-filled day for me. We had some tailgate festivities, a couple of long drives to and from that event, followed immediately by a family poker game, followed by some late night billiards in our rec room. I didn’t go to bed until maybe midnight or 1am, yet still managed to wake up well before the 10am games on Sunday. Long story short, I took a nap for most of the second half of those early games, and didn’t wake up until we were already an hour into the Seahawks’ game.

So, I missed out on the Trey Lance Experience. A very small part of me will always wonder if we might’ve had a chance in this one had Lance stayed healthy.

But, given the way our offense performed, I still highly doubt we would’ve come close to winning in this one. I hope you heeded my warning and stayed away (or bet hard against the Seahawks), because I was as on the money with this one as I’ve ever been! I missed the total by a single point! That’s unheard of (for me)!

Even though I saw a good percentage of this game (I tuned in when we were only down 13-0 in the second quarter), I didn’t see much of an effort whatsoever by the Seahawks’ offense to try and run the ball. Maybe my attention was stolen by the Broncos/Texans game on the little TV – rooting hard for Houston to take down Denver – but that was really shocking to me. Then again, given how poor our offense looked overall – not to mention how badly we were losing for the last 2/3 of this game – I guess it’s not all that surprising either.

Geno Smith only threw the ball 30 times, so it’s not like we went all pass-wacky. We just couldn’t do a damn thing, running or throwing. He completed 24 of those passes, for a measly 197 yards (for a 6.6 average per attempt, a miserable figure).

There was one highlight in this game for the Seahawks, and it was a blocked field goal for a touchdown. In a game we lost 27-7. That marks six consecutive quarters (and counting) where the offense has failed to score a single point. If you want to push things further, Tyler Lockett had a breakthrough game (it was starting to be worrisome that he just never has been on the same page as Geno in their limited action together), with 9 catches for 107 yards. For someone of his talent, he deserves better.

Also, I’m really scraping the bottom of the barrel for highlights, but it was nice to see Kenneth Walker out there getting some play.

Defensively, I dunno. There were plenty of mop-up tackles for Brooks and Barton. I thought Al Woods made his presence felt in the middle (7 tackles, 3 for loss, with a pass deflection). But what’s Poona Ford been up to this year? Whereth Bryan Mone? I did think Nwosu looked good again, and Darrell Taylor looked better than his week 1 faceplant.

We’re still seeing lots of growing pains out of the secondary. Too soon to make any sort of definitive statements, but I’ll say this: I’d rather have excessive penalties over excessive cushions for receivers to get lots of yardage. I’d rather have aggression, because you can teach them to tone it down for the refs; but you can’t teach a guy to be stickier to his receiver. I’ll take this all day over the likes of Tre Flowers and whatnot.

Even though the Special Teams got that score, it’s hard to give them too positive of a grade. We didn’t do much in the return game, and the new guy got in Lockett’s way for a critical muffed punt in the second half. You just can’t have that. That’s bad even for high school players, let alone the NFL.

This is more in line with what I expected from the Seahawks this year. But, I don’t think it’s going to be this dire every single week. I think the 49ers have a tremendous defense, and any time we go up against a defense of this calibre, it’s going to be a bloodbath. Otherwise, though, I think we’ll move the ball and score some points at an okay clip. I still contend, however, that anytime we’re down – and we need Geno Smith to orchestrate a scoring drive late in the game – it’s going to be a difficult proposition for this team to execute. And, god forbid if we ever get into any shootouts.

So far, I’ve seen glimpses of greatness out of this defense, but I don’t think we’re going to get over the hump until the secondary starts making some strides. As I said before, I like the way it’s trending, but at some point it’s going to have to click. Otherwise, this defense looks like every other mediocre Ken Norton defense we’ve had in recent seasons. Until they play to their highest potential, I don’t see a path to a winning season for this team. And, if it’s too little, too late when they finally figure it out, then clearly this will be a bottom 10 team in the league (looking forward to a top 10 draft pick next year).

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: What A Stupid, Idiotic Game

It’s supposed to be fun, right? Fantasy football is supposed to be a fun, entertaining lark. A way to enhance the already-enjoyable experience of watching actual football every Sunday. But, what is it really? It’s something to obsess about, to stress over, to watch in horror and/or misery as – every week – your team lets you down in one way or another. And even if you’re fortunate enough to prevail, what does that get you? A brief, temporary reprieve from all the negativity? Whatever it is, it’s short-lived, because as early as Sunday night, you’re right back at it, looking at how you want to set your lineup for the next week!

Fantasy football is a waking nightmare from September until January. Why do we put ourselves through this?

Ostensibly, usually we do this with our friends, and it’s nice to have that connection. It’s nice to check in – even if it’s only once or twice a year – to say hello and bust balls and whatnot, during the draft and off-season meeting. But, the rest of the time? You’re actively ruining one another’s existence with the outcome of these games!

Suffice it to say, RoundTine (you know, like the old Seinfeld gag about Ovaltine … the mug is round, the jar is round …) did not have a good week. As expected, I got nothing out of my Cowboys running back (I went with Pollard over Zeke, but neither one was worth a damn). Unexpectedly, though, CeeDee Lamb is a total turd and decidedly NOT a number one receiver in this league. So, that’s great. I’m so happy the fantasy football know-it-alls have been pumping him up for the last two years. These fucking morons get it right MAYBE 50% of the time, and yet they can’t shit without telling you all the “great calls” they made. For every Gabe Davis, there are thousands of CeeDee Lambs, and we should call this kind of punditry what it really is: a total fucking crapshoot.

I was pretty happy with Gabe Davis, that might be the one fantasy football move I’ve made in this league over the last five seasons that actually works out in my favor. But, he couldn’t possibly make up for all the dreadful decisions I’ve made. Mac Jones, for instance, did nothing. T.J. Hockenson did nothing. I got a pretty good game out of Jameis, but he’s hot one week and ice cold the next. I was able to pick up Baltimore’s defense, which was nice to have against a bumbling Jets team, but how many inept offenses will they go up against this year? And how long can I afford to hold two defenses, when I’m dealing with two injured running backs and only one IR spot to take advantage of?

It didn’t help that I was going up against a buzzsaw, who had a 70+ point lead over me heading into Monday night. Nearly 50 from Mahomes, 30 from Davante Adams, 20+ from Miami’s defense and Antonio Gibson. That’s just an impossible gauntlet to try to get through, especially for my team. I need opponents who have uncharacteristically bad weeks. This was someone who outscored his projected points by 12. Final score 171.50 to 129.10.

This week, I face Toot Cannons. Let’s see who I’ve got at my disposal:

  • Jameis Winston (QB) vs. TB
  • Mac Jones (QB) @ Pit
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. Cin
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) vs. NE
  • Javonte Williams (RB) vs. Hou
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. Cin
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) vs. Was
  • Gabe Davis (WR) vs. Ten
  • Evan McPherson (K) @ Dal
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) vs. Atl

I didn’t put in any waiver claims this week. No one really jumped out at me. So, for what it’s worth, I’m up to 5th in waiver priority. We’ll see how high I can get, or what that will ultimately net me.

I did make a free agent pick up. Quarterback Davis Mills in exchange for the Baltimore defense. I’m rebuilding, it makes zero sense to hold onto multiple defenses. But, here we go. That brings me to 4 quarterbacks on my roster. I’m in this fucking quagmire for another season.

I opted for James and Mac based on matchups. I don’t love Jones going up against the Steelers on the road, but who are my alternatives? Fields on the road against a great Packers defense? Mills on the road against a great and pissed off Broncos defense? I might still switch out this spot 40 times between now and Sunday, but for now that’s my rationale. Just go with Yahoo’s expected points, who has Jones a fraction ahead of Fields (who are both a good 5 points ahead of Mills).

I opted to bench D.K. because I think the Seahawks are going to have a LONG day offensively against the 49ers on the road. I was pretty happy with Javonte Williams for the Broncos and think he’ll be a Must Start as long as he’s healthy. I went back to Zeke in hopes that the Cowboys go run-heavy without Dak; maybe he’ll get me a TD for my trouble. Not a lot of alternatives on my roster; Kenneth Walker might return this week, but he’ll be decidedly behind Penny for quite some time, methinks.

Here’s Toot Cannons:

  • Kyler Murray (QB) @ LV
  • Tua Tagovailoa (QB) @ Bal
  • Tee Higgins (WR) @ Dal
  • Justin Jefferson (WR) @ Phi
  • Najee Harris (RB) vs. NE
  • Saquon Barkley (RB) vs. Car
  • Darren Waller (TE) vs. Ari
  • Mike Williams (WR) @ KC
  • Harrison Butker (K) vs. LAC
  • San Francisco (DEF) vs. Sea

He’s got some injury issues already; we’ll see if Higgins or Harris play. Also, his kicker might be out? Will that be worth rostering a second kicker for a week? As always, though, he’s got plenty on his bench to make up for it. Michael Carter for the Jets and Rashod Bateman for the Ravens are both steps down, but should be more than enough to get the job done against my pathetic team.

Toot Cannons is really looking to make a comeback this year, with a rejuvenated Barkley kicking ass and taking names. Jefferson and Murray are both point-hogs. Waller should have a better week against some shaky linebackers on the Cards. Mike Williams looks to ascend to the team’s #1 receiver role with Keenan Allen potentially out this Thursday. Even Tua looks decent with all those weapons around him!

Toot Cannons could defeat RoundTine with one hand tied behind his back. Here we go.

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.

Seahawks 53-Man Roster Projection Ready Set Go!

It’s a little early for this, I’ll admit. But, this Friday I’m leaving on a trip and won’t be back until Labor Day, which doesn’t leave me a lot of time until the start of the regular season (plus, will be after the final cut-down day anyway, rendering this whole exercise moo. A cow’s opinion). Really, when you think about it, this isn’t early at all. It’s probably late, if I’m being honest! What am I even talking about?!

I don’t have a lot invested in this team, so I imagine my latest 53-man roster projection is going to be more wrong than normal (when I never really gave a damn anyway). Did I include too many linebackers and not enough offensive linemen? Probably. Anyway, here we go.

Quarterbacks

  • Geno Smith
  • Drew Lock

It’s our worst nightmare, come to fruition. If I had to guess, I’d say Geno gets the nod to start the regular season, but I can’t imagine that will last long (if it happens at all). I still contend the team wants Lock to be the guy, but his fucking up at every turn is holding him back.

Running Backs

  • Rashaad Penny
  • Kenneth Walker
  • Travis Homer
  • DeeJay Dallas
  • Nick Bellore

Pretty easy one here. I don’t dare lump Bellore in with the rest of the linebackers, but sure, he’s that too, I guess (in addition to a fullback the team almost never uses). When Walker’s healthy, this figures to be a 2-man backfield, but Homer will still likely see his fair share of reps in the 2-minute offense. And, injuries will likely dictate all of these guys appear at one time or another.

Wide Receivers

  • D.K. Metcalf
  • Tyler Lockett
  • Freddie Swain
  • Dee Eskridge
  • Penny Hart
  • Dareke Young

I really don’t believe Eskridge has done a damn thing to earn a spot on this roster, other than being our top draft pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Feels too soon to give up on a 2nd round pick, but then again, he’s CONSTANTLY FUCKING INJURED. I don’t get it. Hart is a hedge against that, plus he’s a special teams whiz. And I feel like if you keep Eskridge, you have to keep a sixth receiver just in case. It seems like Young has the higher upside, whereas Bo Melton is probably likelier to pass through to the practice squad.

Tight Ends

  • Noah Fant
  • Will Dissly
  • Colby Parkinson

Easy peasy lemon squeezy. No notes.

Offensive Line

  • Charles Cross
  • Damien Lewis
  • Austin Blythe
  • Gabe Jackson
  • Abe Lucas
  • Phil Haynes
  • Jake Curhan
  • Kyle Fuller
  • Stone Forsythe

Odds are we’ll see a 10th lineman here, but you could conceivably get away with just the 9. It all depends on how bad the Lewis injury is and how long he’ll miss time. But, Curhan can play guard or tackle. Fuller can play center or guard. Forsythe is your traditional tackle backup. There’s enough cross-polination among the backups here to cover your ass in a pinch. That assumes, of course, that Lucas is your starting right tackle, which is the rumor I’m hearing.

Defensive Linemen

  • Shelby Harris
  • Poona Ford
  • Bryan Mone
  • Al Woods
  • Quinton Jefferson
  • L.J. Collier
  • Myles Adams

These are the beefy dudes who should spend little-to-no time dropping back into coverage. That figure could be drastically high; I’m really taking a stab in the dark here. But, I’ve also ranked them in order of likelihood to make the team, so could be a tough break for one or both of Collier & Adams (but, I’ve heard good things about Collier in practice, and I’ve seen good things from Adams in the two games so far).

Pass Rushers/Strong-Side Linebackers

  • Darrell Taylor
  • Boye Mafe
  • Uchenna Nwosu
  • Alton Robinson
  • Tyreke Smith

Again, I’m ranking these by order of likelihood to make the team. But, I think the top four are as close to locks as possible. Smith makes my roster because he’s a draft pick, but I couldn’t tell you if he’s done a damn thing so far in the pre-season.

Linebackers

  • Jordyn Brooks
  • Cody Barton
  • Tanner Muse
  • Vi Jones

I’ll be honest, Muse and Jones are here because they’re names I recognize. I think one or both might be valuable special teamers, maybe? I also think this team could be sifting through cast-offs from other teams, since the position outside of Brooks has been so underwhelming.

Safeties

  • Jamal Adams
  • Quandre Diggs
  • Ryan Neal
  • Marquise Blair

I haven’t seen or heard about Neal, but I’m assuming based on his production for this team of late, he’ll get a crack to be a backup again. Blair, on the other hand, has done nothing but disappoint in the pre-season. I wouldn’t be shocked if Blair gets chopped and we go with someone else on our roster or pick up another team’s reject(s).

Cornerbacks

  • Tariq Woolen
  • Coby Bryant
  • Sidney Jones
  • Artie Burns
  • Justin Coleman

I don’t think Coleman deserves to be on this team, but I think he’s going to make it anyway. Odds are it’s Jones and Burns to start – with Bryant being the team’s top nickel guy – but I won’t be surprised to see Woolen out there (especially if Burns or Jones can’t get healthy). I’m also banking on Tre Brown starting out on PUP, or otherwise not joining the roster until later on in the season.

Special Teams

  • Tyler Ott (LS)
  • Michael Dickson (P)
  • Jason Myers (K)

Seems crazy that Myers gets to keep his job based on what we’ve seen, but what are you going to do? He’s going to continue to be aggravating, but he’s going to be far from the most aggravating thing we see on a weekly basis from this team.

The Seahawks Weren’t Totally Uninteresting In A Pre-Season Loss In Pittsburgh

I had scheduled myself to write about the Mariners today and the Seahawks tomorrow, but we’re flip-flopping after an underwhelming series loss to the Rangers of all teams.

I didn’t watch the Seahawks game live, because I have better things to do than watch quasi-meaningless pre-season games. But, you know what I don’t have better things to do than? Watching quasi-meaningless pre-season games the next day on DVR when I already know the outcome of the game!

I’ll just get this out of the way early so we can all move on: I’m not crazy about pre-season announcing booths in general, but the addition of an otherwise quite charming Michael Robinson brought the homerism to a new level. I didn’t bother to write down any specific criticisms, but at points I was wondering if we were watching the same players. Like, he’d praise their attributes that they clearly don’t exhibit! To counter-balance that, I thought the addition of Michael Bennett was delightful, and I particularly enjoyed his interviews on the field. He’s a wild card in the best possible way (even though it’s clear he’s been instructed to also juice up the homerism). Curt Menefee, as always, is a pro’s pro and we’re lucky to have him doing our games. He has no reason to! We’re not interesting from a national perspective without Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner anymore!

The game result is – as has been mentioned everywhere – not important. The Seahawks got down 14-0 through the first quarter, we managed to execute a 2-minute drive heading into halftime to cut the deficit to 17-10, then we tied it on our first possession after halftime. We swapped touchdowns and 2-point conversions after that, to make it 25-25 late in the game. Then, a critical stop by the Seahawks defense was rewarded with a devastating sack/fumble, and the Steelers scored a TD with just 3 seconds left in the game to give the game its final score, 32-25.

Pre-Season Quarterback Report

As has been the case pretty much all off-season, Geno Smith worked with the starters and Drew Lock worked with the backups. In this particular game, Geno worked the entire first half and Drew worked the entire second half.

And, as expected, neither one really stood out, at least to my eye. They’re both crappy-to-mediocre backup quarterbacks in this league. And yet, I came to a definite conclusion while watching this game, as Geno Smith tottered his way to a sack in an imploding pocket (even though he had plenty of time to throw it away): if I have to watch a full season where Geno Smith is my team’s starting quarterback, I’m going to blow my fucking brains out.

Mind you, I don’t expect that to be the end result of my life, so let’s just say I’ll be taking every opportunity to casually skip even regular season Seahawks games this year.

I don’t want this to sound like I’m gung-ho over Drew Lock, because I’m very much not. But, man, we fucking know what Geno Smith has to offer. He was shitty with the Jets (and other teams) and he’s shitty now. Age and sitting behind Russell Wilson has not magically made him better. There’s no savvy to his game. He looks way too long to his first read, for one thing. That makes him frequently late in throwing to that first read if he decides it’s open. Otherwise, it makes him late to his secondary reads, so it’s like he holds on Read 1, and then a few seconds later decides to check it down to his final read. This is especially aggravating when it’s 3rd & long and the check-down gets tackled well before the first down line to gain.

That’s why you can see his stats from Saturday – 10/15, 101 yards, no turnovers – and think that’s not so bad. Last year, in three games, he completed over 68% of his passes largely in this fashion (looking pretty spry against probably the league’s worst defense in Jacksonville), which again leads one to think he’s not so bad. Think again. Think long and hard about the Geno Smith you’ve watched over the last decade.

I just can’t with him. All things being equal – and they do look pretty equal – give me the unfamiliar. Drew Lock, to his credit, did some good things in this one. He doubled the number of touchdown drives that Geno gave us, he completed one more pass for one more yard in the same number of attempts. But, he also took double the number of sacks, including the game-sealing fumble at the end (where he was supposed to recognize the blitzer off the edge and adjust the play/protection accordingly).

You look for moments where a quarterback can show you what he’s got. That was Drew Lock’s moment. The game was tied, there was just over a minute left and we got it on Pittsburgh’s side of the 50 yard line. All we needed was 20-25 yards for an easy game-winning field goal. That’s a moment where you MUST orchestrate a game-winning drive for your team. Granted, it was the pre-season, so it was backups against backups. But, that makes it all the more important if you’re Drew Lock and you’re trying to be a starter in this league. Starters don’t fuck that up. Starters see that blitzer and make mincemeat out of the Steelers on that play. This is going to be Lock’s fourth year in the league; if you can’t see a pretty obvious blitz off the edge by now, then I just don’t think it’s ever going to click for you.

And yet, I still would prefer to see Lock as our starting quarterback this season. Partly because he’s Not Geno Smith, but also because I think he sucks just a little bit more. I think he’s going to be a little more reckless with the football, where Geno might be a little more careful. I think he’ll cost us maybe an extra game or two, where Geno might do just enough to game manage his way to victory. It’s the difference between going 8-9 and 6-11, but that’s a pretty big leap in the NFL draft standings, and that’s all that matters right now.

Because, clearly, neither of these guys deserve to be around and playing in meaningful football games in 2023.

Other Pre-Season Tidbits

I was quite impressed with the offensive line throughout this one. If there’s one positive takeaway, it’s that the depth up front is likely to be our biggest strength.

By extension, I thought the running backs looked great as well! Granted, Rashaad Penny was out with injury (of course), but that just meant more Kenneth Walker. He didn’t break anything, but he looked solid in general. More eye-opening was what we saw from DeeJay Dallas and even Travis Homer, who both got busy running AND pass catching. Great day from that room!

I was pretty appalled by our run defense, especially when you saw a good chunk of our starting interior linemen out there for much of the game. Even in the first half, the Steelers were ripping us to shreds.

Cody Barton is Just A Guy. I don’t know where anyone got the opinion that he’s going to be a good player for this team, but he’s not. He’s just a warm body. His deficiencies might be covered up a little more when Jordyn Brooks is out there being a beast. But, when Barton is the main guy, you can see just how slow he is, how bad his instincts are, and how he gets run over on the reg. If ankle tackles where the runner still falls forward for 2-3 extra yards are your jam, then sign up for more Cody Barton. But, as for me, I prefer an inside linebacker with some juice.

Bit of a mixed bag from our receivers. I thought the rookies Bo Melton and Dareke Young looked solid. No D.K. or Lockett in this one, nor any Swain or Dee Eskridge (naturally). We did get our first look at Noah Fant, who will definitely have a big role in this passing game. That being said, Fant isn’t going to be much of a blocker, especially out in space, so we’ll have to adjust our expectations accordingly. Also, he needs to work on his footwork, because he had a great opportunity along the sidelines, but couldn’t get his second foot down in bounds.

I was pleased to see Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson make big impacts in the pass rush. And I was thrilled with the two sacks from Boye Mafe! He might be raw, but his speed is NFL-ready, no doubt about it. Shelby Harris looks like a quality addition to the interior, and I think it was Myles Adams who stood out quite a bit in the second half (I believe he was wearing #95 in this one, but I could be mistaken). I don’t know how many DTs we can carry, but I’m rooting for Adams.

I’m going to withhold too much judgment on the secondary for now, because we were looking at a lot of inexperienced guys out there on the boundary. I will say that Justin Coleman looks bad and old and slow; he probably shouldn’t make this team. Promisingly enough, Tariq Woolen got the start on one side and was hit or miss. I say “promisingly” because he was always expected to be more of a project, so the fact that the team trusts him enough to start him right out of the gate is encouraging for his overall talent level. I’ll need to see better ball skills, and turning his head when the ball is in the air, but otherwise there are things to build upon, as well as things to point to and praise. On the other side, we saw a lot of Coby Bryant. I don’t know where he’s ultimately going to end up (if it’s outside or as a nickel guy), but sort of the same deal: some good things to point to, some things for him to work on. You wouldn’t expect either guy to be finished products right out of college, but I like that they both have the trust of these coaches this early in their careers.

That being said, if Sidney Jones and/or Artie Burns continue to be injured throughout this season, we could be looking at significant growing pains from our secondary. Granted, neither of our starting safeties – Quandre Diggs & Jamal Adams – played in this one. Here’s hoping they can paper over where we’re limited on the outside.

Finally, I’ll just say the kicking game looked shaky as hell! Jason Myers doinked one in off the upright and did not look sharp; he was also knocking some kickoffs short, but that may have been by design to test our coverage units (who graded out pretty poorly, in my layman’s opinion). Michael Dickson punted a bunch into the endzone, which is entirely unlike him. I’d say the old line about how it’s pre-season for everyone, including punters, but what else does he do with his time in training camp? He punts! Where’s that magic leg we’ve seen for four years?! That magic leg we’re paying Top-Of-The-Punter-Market prices!

How Good Could The Seahawks Be (Quarterback Aside)?

Don’t get it twisted that I’m sitting here talking myself into the Seahawks making some noise in 2022; they’re not going to contend for shit! But, as an exercise to see my vision through – drafting a franchise quarterback in 2023, setting that player up for success now by building up the team around him a year ahead of time – I think it’s fair to wonder. Now that the draft is behind us, and we can start to piece a roster together, how good is this team at every position other than quarterback?

Let’s start at offensive line, since that was a big emphasis for the Seahawks in this draft. O-Line, as we all know, is vitally important to a team’s chances for success. Especially when you’re talking about breaking in a rookie QB. So, have we done enough?

Obviously, that depends on how these draft picks pan out. But, if they’re as good as a lot of people think they can be, this is going to bode very well for our future. As it stands now, going left to right, we’ve got Charles Cross, Damien Lewis, Austin Blythe, Gabe Jackson, and Abe Lucas. Lewis has two years under his belt, and has performed pretty well when healthy. Blythe comes in with extensive experience in winning programs (including as a former Ram, who this offensive coaching staff knows well), and Jackson is still an in-his-prime starting guard in this league. Either he sticks around, or the Seahawks look to improve at that spot in the draft next year; I’m fine with both scenarios. I think the O-Line has the potential to be very good, creating a nice, soft landing spot for a rookie QB in 2023.

Next, let’s look at weapons. Tyler Lockett is here for the long haul. The team has given every indication that D.K. Metcalf will see a second contract. Freddie Swain has proven to be a competent 3rd/4th/5th receiver. Dee Eskridge and our two rookies this year could be nice gadget players if they stay healthy. That’s a solid group.

Noah Fant is a good tight end, with the potential to be great. He’s right there on the fringe of being a top 10 guy. Will Dissly is the consummate blocking tight end, but he has soft hands and can play down the field. Colby Parkinson hasn’t shown much yet, but his frame should play well around the goalline. I would like to see what he can do when given an opportunity. I think the tight end room is also solid.

Then, we’ve got Kenneth Walker as our potential starting running back. He gets 2022 to play behind Rashaad Penny, giving us a 1-2 punch that could be pretty formidable in the short term. If Walker proves he deserves a shot at being the bellcow, I think he’ll run away with the job in 2023 and beyond. Figure the Seahawks will go back to the running back well in the draft next year, likely selecting a lower-round player to be his backup. There’s a lot that’s up in the air about the running back room right now, but it has the potential to be elite if Walker is The Guy.

As far as weapons go, you could do a helluva lot worse! I think with a year’s experience, that’s about as ideal of a landing spot as any rookie quarterback could find himself in 2023.

But, the real question is: how good could the defense be?

This doesn’t work if the defense isn’t ready to grow into a dominant unit over the next two years. That’ll be what I’m most obsessed about heading into the 2022 regular season. I need to see existing players take huge leaps forward, I need to see rookies develop relatively quickly. I need impact! I need this to be a group that harkens back to the 2011/2012 seasons, when they were clearly ascending.

Let’s go back to front, because I have more confidence in what we’ve done with the secondary.

Between Tre Brown and the two rookies, we need two of those three guys to pan out. My hope is that Brown returns from injury and parlays his brief excellence as a rookie into better things going forward. I’d also bank on Coby Bryant having enough of a chip on his shoulder – and enough skills as a corner – to wrench a job away from Sidney Jones. I’m also not against Jones simply being elite and earning a big money extension, because he’s still pretty young. There are obviously a ton of question marks in this group, but the ceiling is through the roof, and I’m willing to bank on this coaching staff getting the most out of these guys (in ways they thoroughly failed at with Tre Flowers & Co.).

Like it or not, Jamal Adams isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Definitely not before the 2022 season is through. So, he has at least this year to try to prove his worth to this defense. There’s certainly reason for optimism that – from a talent perspective – the coaching staff will find a way to maximize his game. But, can he stay healthy? If this is the third straight year where his season is drastically cut short, then I don’t see how you can keep him in 2023 or beyond. Quandre Diggs, on the other hand, should be a quality contributor for a while, and the younger players behind them (Ugo Amadi, Marquise Blair, Ryan Neal) are quality depth pieces we can roll with in a good defense. I think we’re well set up at Safety, even if the value isn’t there (with our two starters making an insanely high percentage of the salary cap).

Inside linebacker is pretty interesting. I think we’re all pretty happy with Jordyn Brooks and his production on the field. I was of the opinion that it was time to move on from Bobby Wagner, so it’s kind of a no-brainer for Brooks to slide into that spot. But, with the defense expected to be more of a 3-4 look, did we do enough? Are we really going with Cody Barton as the other inside linebacker? Sure, he looked … fine, in limited action towards the end of the season. From a value perspective, he was giving us 80% of Bobby Wagner for a fraction of the price. But, does he really wow you going forward? Is he someone this team would look to re-sign after this season?

I guess we’ll see! Seems to me, there’s no reason NOT to have an open competition at the other inside linebacker spot. Which makes it all the more shocking that the Seahawks didn’t make this position a priority in the draft. The good news is, if everything goes to shit here, they can easily draft one next year and plug him into the starting lineup immediately. Inside linebackers are a dime a dozen.

At outside linebacker/pass rusher, I think it’s fair to doubt the Seahawks completely. I’ll believe it when I see it, for lack of a better phrase. Uchenna Nwosu was the big free agent splash, and he signed a 2-year deal. His season high in sacks is 5.0, which he got last year. He’s a 4-year pro from the Chargers who is more like a veteran prospect than an actual veteran producer. Maybe he wasn’t in the right system? Maybe they didn’t utilize him properly? Maybe he just needed more time to develop? I guess his pressure rate might be better than it looks on the stat sheet, but I’m going to need to see him with my eyes before I can make a proper opinion. Is he a diamond in the rough? Or, is he another Rasheem Green?

Darrell Taylor is our prize. He missed out on his rookie season due to a lingering college injury, but as a second year pro he really stood out. 6.5 sacks in his first healthy season is pretty impressive; THAT’S something to build on. That’s the kind of talent you can see making strides during his rookie contract, unlike Nwosu, who never really put it together with his original team.

Then, there’s guys like Alton Robinson and Boye Mafe. Robinson had 4.0 sacks as a rookie, then regressed to the one sack last year. He might just be rotational filler, and it’s fair to question if he even makes the team. Mafe is a rookie, and unless you’re one of the top two or three in the draft, I never have confidence that lower-rated pass rushers will make an immediate impact. If he gets a few sacks, that’s good. If he gets 6+, that’s a little more encouraging. But, I wouldn’t expect anything like double-digits. He just doesn’t have the skills; it’s a whole new ballgame when you make the leap to the NFL. Mostly, I just hope he stays healthy – especially through training camp and the pre-season – so he can learn on the job as much as possible.

Beyond that, we have to talk about the 3-4 interior linemen. Some of them are considered defensive ends, but they’re “ends” in the way Red Bryant was an end. Shelby Harris came over in the Russell Wilson trade and figures to be a leader on this team. He’s already in his 30’s though, so presumably he’ll need to play well in 2022 to stick around going forward. Quinton Jefferson was signed as veteran depth to compete with L.J. Collier; you figure only one of those guys will make it. Then, there are the tackles, Poona Ford, Bryan Mone, and Al Woods. I like the tackles a lot! Harris is probably the best of the bigger ends we have. This looks like another spot that will need to be addressed after this season. But, as far as run stuffing is concerned, I think these guys are on the better side of average.

The defense is, by no means, a finished product. Far from it. But, you don’t really even have to squint to see where the potential lies. Pass rush is a concern and it always will be. But, I’ll say this about that: if everything else looks good, and if we manage to hit on the rookie quarterback next year, then we can attempt to do what we did in 2013 and sign a couple of quality free agent pass rushers, using all the free money we have laying around by not paying a quarterback at the top of the market. Free agency in 2023 and 2024 could be VERY interesting for the Seahawks, in ways it really hasn’t been since that Super Bowl-winning season.

TL;DR: there’s reason for optimism, but obviously a lot of holes to fill, and a lot of question marks currently on the roster to boot.

Defending The Seahawks On This Kenneth Walker Pick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Seahawks Drafted More Non-Quarterbacks On Day Three

The next few years of Seahawks football are going to be greatly dictated by how well these players pan out. Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, the Seahawks are in Rebuilding Mode. Now, this isn’t your grandfather’s Rebuilding Mode; it shouldn’t have to take a decade to get back to the promised land if you do things right. But, by foresaking the quarterback position in this draft – leaving us with Geno Smith, Drew Lock, and We’ll See – my expert analysis is that the Seahawks are planning on finding their quarterback of the future in the 2023 NFL Draft.

As they should.

So, what does that mean for 2022? Well, that means building up the roster around the quarterback position. Constructing this warm and fuzzy protective cocoon, where a rookie QB in 2023 can step right in and at least give us competence. How many careers have been derailed because a rookie quarterback’s confidence was destroyed by a terrible offensive line, or a lack of weapons to get the football to? Sometimes, if your team is truly terrible, you have no choice but to take that quarterback (usually #1 overall) and hope for the best. But, I’d rather do what I suspect the Seahawks are doing now, and hold off for a year until a better opportunity presents itself.

In the process of building up the roster around the quarterback position, that means returning to the mantra of Always Compete. Letting anyone and everyone participate in fighting for starting jobs. Coaching them up, throwing them out there in live NFL games, and seeing who rises to the top and who needs to be cut. The Seahawks have drafted a class for this express purpose. The more starters we find, the better the team will be going forward. The more blue chip superstars we find, the likelier it’ll be that we can return to a championship level.

I’m pretty confident we’ve got our Day 1 starting left tackle in Cross. I’m guessing he’ll be fine. I’m also pretty confident – with Abe Lucas at least as competition for the spot – we’ve locked down our right tackle position, either with him or Jake Curhan. I’m guessing they’ll also be fine. Walker will likely back up Rashaad Penny at first, but I think at some point he’ll take over and at least be a quality rotational running back, if not an outright stud. And, I think the floor for Boye Mafe is Alton Robinson. I hope he’s significantly BETTER than Alton Robinson, but he’ll at least be NFL-ready to step in there and contribute in some capacity.

There’s a floor there with all of the picks from the first two days of the draft where they’re at least contributing to the team. There’s also, of course, a ceiling that could be off the charts, depending on how they fit within our system and how the coaching staff gets them to improve.

But, it’s the Day 3 picks where we could see some dividends. How did we build up that last Seahawks championship squad? Lots of success in the 4th-7th rounds. I’ll go in order, for those who forgot: Walter Thurmond, Kam Chancellor, Anthony McCoy, K.J. Wright, Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell, Malcolm Smith, Robert Turbin, Jeremy Lane, J.R. Sweezy, Luke Willson. To say nothing of the undrafted guys we selected from 2010-2013 who contributed greatly to what we were doing.

It’s handy that the Seahawks took cornerbacks back-to-back in this draft, because I’d like to talk about them together. Bryant won the Jim Thorpe Award in 2021 for the best defensive back in football. He played at Cincinnati opposite Sauce Gardner, which means that teams probably avoided Gardner’s side like the plague, and therefore Bryant had ample opportunities to defend the pass. Why he fell to the fourth round, then, is a mystery.

Bryant is certainly the more polished cornerback between him and Woolen. He seems to be a higher floor/lower ceiling type of player. It wouldn’t shock me to see him contribute right away, but I fully expect him to see considerable snaps as the season progresses. Woolen, on the other hand, looks like a fascinating prospect whose floor could be as a training camp cut, but whose ceiling could be as an All Pro.

6’4, 4.26 40-yard dash, 42-inch vertical. This guys looks like an athletic freak. He’s also, notably, a former wide receiver who converted to corner just a few years ago. His skills are raw and there are liabilities in his game as it currently stands that may prevent him from ever making a dent in the league. That being said, if he works at it, and the team is able to unlock his potential – with the athleticism he already possesses – he could be an absolute monster. There’s a lot to clean up, though, so I wouldn’t bank on it.

If the Seahawks just drafted bookend starters at cornerback to go with bookend starters at offensive tackle, I’d say we’re in good shape for the next half-decade or so. If the Seahawks just found one eventual starting cornerback in this class, I’d say they did their job well. If neither of these guys pan out, then I think we have a serious problem. Because, either we brought in the next Tre Flowers – who we’re forced to start because we have no better alternatives – or we have to go back to the drawing board next year (with Sidney Jones on a 1-year deal, and with Tre Brown still a big question mark).

Just as I’m not holding my breath for Boye Mafe in the second round, I’m not convinced Tyreke Smith will be much of anything either. I know elite pass rushers exist from outside the Top 5 of the NFL Draft, but it seems like those guys are total unicorns. Even with someone like Darrell Taylor – who I’m very happy with – he had to miss a year due to injury, and even then wasn’t, like, a Pro Bowler or anything in 2021. He was fine. He showed potential to be even better, but we’ll see if that comes to fruition.

I would project both Mafe and Smith as third down pass rushing specialists, especially as rookies. I wouldn’t expect either to be very good against the run, though Mafe at least has a better track record in that regard. Smith seems like a blind dart throw. Alton Robinson is probably his ceiling, but his floor is probably a special teamer who rarely – if ever – sees a snap on defense.

I don’t know what to say about Bo Melton or Dareke Young, the 7th round receivers we brought in. Melton seems to have a slot receiver build, but I don’t even know if that’s his forte or not. Young is a much taller receiver from a small school who probably projects more as special teams help. Of the two, Melton probably has the better chance of seeing offensive snaps, but let’s not kid ourselves here. We have quite the depth chart going so far, with Lockett, Metcalf, Swain, and Eskridge/Hart all having experience.

If anything, I wonder what this says about Eskridge’s status. He didn’t show a lot as a rookie last year, though a concussion saw to it that he wasn’t able to play a ton. Nevertheless, when he was in there, he didn’t make much of an impact. I don’t know if Melton plays a similar style or not (word is Young actually has played all around the offense in college, even taking handoffs on the regular, like a taller version of Deebo Samuel), but it’ll be interesting to see the pressure on Eskridge and how he responds.

That being said, probably don’t count on these rookie receivers to do much of anything AS rookies. Just take it as a win if they even make the team.

The 2022 draft class by the Seahawks will be defined by the top six guys we selected. The better those players are, the better our chances will be to turn this thing around in a hurry. If they struggle, though, it could be a long, dark period in our immediate future.