The Seahawks Will Keep Losing Until They Stop

I’m torn this week.  On the one hand, I feel committed to this bit I started where I’m picking against the Seahawks until they prove to me they’re capable of actually winning a football game.  On the other hand, the Seahawks are at home, and I feel like they actually match up pretty well against the Cowboys this Sunday.

There’s a lot of toxicity around the Seahawks and their fanbase this week after a pretty embarrassing road defeat to the Bears on Monday Night.  We’re not used to this.  Not since Russell Wilson joined the team, anyway.  The Seahawks have been consistent winners!  This is uncharted territory, albeit probably not totally unexpected given all of our pre-season reservations.  8-8 teams lose on the road to other 8-8 teams.  By the same token, they usually win at home against other 8-8 teams.  Dallas is an 8-8 type team.

But, I’ve gotta say, if I pick the Seahawks and they lose, I’ll be FURIOUS with myself for going against my stated pledge!

Make no mistake, while I’ve picked against the Seahawks in the first two weeks, I was absolutely rooting for them.  It’s one of those no-lose situations where either my pick comes through, or it doesn’t but my team is happy.  But, at some point, you gotta stop riding the fence, you know?  Either you hop on the bandwagon or you run away screaming; but just walking beside the bandwagon isn’t a viable long-term solution.

The Reasons Why The Cowboys Will Win On Sunday

Because even with the likes of Bobby Wagner and Tre Flowers back in the fold, this defense isn’t anything special.  The Cowboys might not dominate with their rushing attack, but they’ll be able to do a little bit; the Seahawks won’t totally shut Zeke down.  They’ll be the more disciplined team – avoiding offensive penalties that put them behind the chains – and Dak is fully capable of dinking and dunking his way down the field.

Furthermore, there won’t be enough big plays to keep the 12th Man in it.  The 12th Man just isn’t as formidable as they once were.  Sure, it’ll be loud to start the game – it is the Seahawks’ home opener after all – but that’ll dissipate as the Cowboys rack up the first downs and move the ball at will.  By the second half, I’m sure Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will be wondering where all that vaunted crowd noise went.

And, let’s face it, the Seahawks’ weapons just aren’t there to help out Russell.  With no Doug, we’re over-dependant upon guys trying to get open, and those guys just aren’t up to the task.  With Wilson holding the ball longer and longer, that gives ANY defensive line – even one that’s as mediocre as the one I’m assuming Dallas has – time to get home.  The book is out:  nothing fancy, just constrict the pocket, wall Wilson in, and wait for him to make a mistake.  As long as you don’t let Wilson escape – and as long as the Seahawks’ coaching staff is willfully preventing any movement of the pocket – then it’s only a matter of time before we run into a sack, a fumble, or a penalty.

Speaking of the coaching staff, their unwillingness to stick to the running game – and stick to a specific running back (COUGH COUGH CHRIS CARSON) within that running game – is sinking this season.  I don’t expect anything here to change.  Penny is still going to get his shots; he’s going to continue looking just okay (but far from a first round talent).  Carson is going to look amazing, but left on the bench for long, unforgivable stretches.  C.J. Prosise is going to be healthy, but never in there when he’s most valuable (in 3rd downs and 2-minute offenses).  And, most importantly, the team is going to continue to slow down the pace of the offense, making it so it takes an entire half of football or more before Wilson gets comfortable and in the flow of the game.

It’s the same garbage fucking offense we had under Bevell, with a fresh coat of stupid slapped on there by way of Brian Schottenheimer’s play-calling (or Pete Carroll’s hormonal instincts, take your pick, depending on what you believe is actually going on).

The Reasons Why The Seahawks Will Win On Sunday

For what it’s worth, this is probably closer to what I actually believe, so spoiler alert.

This was never going to be an overnight fix.  What am I talking about?  Well, take your pick.

The offensive line was always going to need time to gel.  D.J. Fluker might be back this week, though it now looks like Britt is going to miss some time.  I think, in the grand scheme of things, it’s more important to gain Fluker’s mass than it is losing Britt’s … whatever he brought to the table.  Leadership, I guess.  I just think any sap can be a center.  The quarterback can always assist in line reads and pointing out blitzes and whatnot.  From strictly a talent standpoint, I don’t think there will be much of a difference between Hunt and Britt.  The dropoff from Fluker to Sweezy is much more significant, so getting our starter back would be HUGE.

Even though I don’t think the running back rotation will be any different, I think as time goes on, this O-Line will continue to improve.  Furthermore, the coaches have had 2 weeks to figure out what’s working and what’s not.  I HAVE to believe they’re going to work some fixes into the offensive play-calling to get this thing going.  It won’t be perfect, but it should be significantly better than it was the first two weeks.  Being in our temperate climate, without the significant crowd noise we had to endure on the road, should only assist in making sure plays are called timely and correctly.

As always, it’s going to be entirely dependant upon the offense to win this game.  I think the defense will be fine.  Sometimes, the Cowboys will drive the ball with ease; sometimes we’ll be able to stop them.  They’ll probably score in the low-to-mid 20’s; so it’s a matter of the Seahawks scoring in the mid-to-high 20’s to win it.

I think we can do that, because I don’t think the Cowboys are nearly as formidable in their pass rush as the Bears or Broncos.  If I had to point to one reason why the Seahawks will win this game, it’s that the Cowboys don’t have a Von Miller or a Khalil Mack.  That’s it!  That’s good for probably a Seahawks win by 3 points.

Where it could all go haywire is:  what if it doesn’t matter?

What if the Cowboys are just sort of average as a pass rushing unit, but they get home and make Russell Wilson’s life miserable anyway?  I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’m dreading next week if that’s the case.  The last thing I need in my life is more consternation about Wilson and the offensive line.

Anyway, I’m picking the Seahawks, but I’m not thrilled about it.  In fact, an overwhelming sense of dread and panic just set in as I typed out those words.  Visions of Wilson crawling around on the turf trying to collect the football he just had ripped out of his hands, combined with various Cowboys slicing and dicing through our Swiss cheese defense.

I CAN’T DO IT!  I’m picking the Cowboys.  As I’m usually wrong about most things, what’s really going to happen isn’t a 27-24 Seahawks victory, or a 24-16 Cowboys victory, but probably a 38-13 Cowboys victory, where the whole city just melts down.  Wilson will have multiple turnovers, Janikowski will miss a field goal and an extra point, the defense will give up a bevy of long plays, Elliott will run for 170 yards, and our punter will dislocate a shoulder trying to make a tackle.

Just the worst case scenario, all across the board.  And the calls to blow the whole thing up will only intensify.

Not Winners & Losers Of The Seahawks’ Game At Chicago

Yeah, I don’t know why I stayed up to watch all of that game either.

The Seahawks just looked bad.  The offense was terrible.  The defense looked like they wouldn’t be able to stop anything after the Bears’ first drive.  Luckily, some timely turnovers kept the Bears at bay for a while, but we couldn’t keep them off the board when it counted and came up a touchdown short for an 0-2 start to the season.  Now that we almost certainly don’t have to worry about the playoffs, let’s talk about this one.

What I’m Geeked Out About After Two Games

Shaquill Griffin caught two picks on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter to help limit the Bears to only a 10-3 halftime lead.  I was pretty worried about where our turnovers would be coming from heading into this season, but through two games we already have 5 picks!  We had only 14 all of last year, for a frame of reference.

I’m also geeked out about Mychal Kendricks’ first game, where he had a sack, tackle for loss, pass deflection, and a hit on the quarterback, all in pretty limited duty for a guy with just one practice under his belt.  Just imagine what he’d be able to do if he’s not suspended and can play with Wagner and Wright eventually!

Other Things That Caught My Eye (In A Good Way)

That was a pretty catch by Tyler Lockett for that touchdown in the 4th quarter to bring us back to within a single score and momentarily give us hope.

I thought Chris Carson looked good when he was out there – 6 runs for 24 yards – but like last week, his playing time was jerked around and we hardly saw him at all in the second half.  Either his conditioning SUCKS and he keeps calling out of the game (which, in turn, led to the coaching staff to just sit him the entire second half as punishment), or the coaching staff is filled with morons who clearly can’t see that he’s the best running back on this team and deserves to get touches reflecting as such.  Either way, it’s far from ideal.

The defense looked absolutely FRIGHTFUL early on in this game, but settled down nicely and deserved to win this game, since they only gave up 17 points on the road (that other TD was … more on that in another section).  Considering how many starters were out – Wagner, Wright, Flowers – and how many other players were playing through injuries, it’s damn near a miracle we did as well as we did!  I came away pleasantly surprised; let’s hope the offense can get its collective shit together sooner rather than later.

Shout out to Frank Clark, who got in on some of the action in the backfield, with a sack, 2 tackles for loss, and a QB hit.

Finally, that was a hefty 56-yard field goal by Janikowski before halftime to pull the game to within 7 points.  That was a HUGE kick, ultimately overshadowed by the fact that the Seahawks lost; but it felt like all would’ve been lost if he’d missed that one.

Let’s Talk About Competitions

I don’t think we saw anything out of Shaquem Griffin on defense, as he looked to be relegated to special teams.  Austin Calitro – carrying the mail for Wagner in the middle – looked pretty solid.  He got pushed back a little bit – where Wagner would’ve stood up guys – but I didn’t see a whole lot of missed tackles or poor angles.

Akeem King gave up one of those 4th quarter touchdowns, but otherwise I thought he looked okay.  He didn’t appear to be picked on an inordinate amount of times, but he really didn’t make any plays either.

Other Things That Caught My Eye (In A Bad Way)

Russell Wilson just had a garbage game.  He looked like Tarvaris Jackson back there with the way he held onto the ball forever!  Obviously, the Bears have a great pass rush, but it’s their interior guys who I thought did more damage than Khalil Mack or their rush ends.  Wilson didn’t really have a chance to run around, because the front got such great push, and the ends just played contain with Wilson until the pocket shrunk and shrunk on him.  At some point, you would’ve hoped the Seahawks’ offense would’ve adjusted and they would’ve incorporated more quick, short plays.

It did seem like either they were going for the long bomb on every drop back, or the receivers just couldn’t get open.  Probably a healthy mix of both, but either way it was a disaster against that defense.

And that Pick Six?  GOOD LORD, that was Kerry Collins-esque!  Matt Schaub couldn’t have thrown a worse duck!  WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING RUSSELL?!

Can someone explain that third quarter to me?  The Seahawks had 2 drives – both 3 & Outs – and all six plays were attempted passes.  You want to run the ball, Pete Carroll?  You say you want to make the running game great again?  Well, you have to actually RUN THE BALL YOU KNOW!

Just bland, pedestrian, predictable play-calling all the way around.  Don’t even THINK about bringing in an innovative mind to run the offense!  I want this shit to be as old school and boring as you can get!

It’s pretty easy to see why a lot of fans are fed up with this quarterback/coaching situation.  The Seahawks better get a win in a hurry, or this thing could get ugly fast.

The Seahawks Get An Early-Season Monday Night Game In Chicago

I got into this a little bit on Twitter and thought I’d expound on my feelings about this game.  In a nutshell, I won’t be picking the Seahawks to win until I actually see them do it first.

Last week, the Seahawks went to Denver, and it’s unfortunate timing from a scheduling perspective, because the Broncos never fucking lose at home in September.  I would argue the Seahawks are a pretty middle-of-the-road football team in the NFL (really, I’ve been saying that all along, and nothing in that first game has changed my mind in the slightest), and if you played that game in Seattle, the Seahawks probably would’ve won.  I think even on a neutral field – that isn’t a mile fucking high – the Seahawks are better than the Broncos, and I believe their respective records will reflect that by season’s end (as well as the stats and all the rest).  But, on that day, in that location, coming off of a pretty light preseason, there was just no way.  When you hear about all the guys cramping up and puking on the sidelines, with the heat and the elevation and all that, it sounded pretty miserable.  All the cards were stacked in Denver’s favor, and to their credit, they got the job done in the end.

This week, the Seahawks go to Chicago for Monday Night Football.  Again, the timing feels pretty unfortunate.  We’re now 0-1, we’ve yet to play a home game, and we get stuck playing Khalil Mack and a hyper-aggressive defense that should give our offensive line fits in pass protection.  A lot of people are down on the Bears, but I kinda like ’em.  If I had to rank them, I’d probably put them right in that Denver Broncos range.  Denver probably has a better QB (then again, time will tell) by a slight margin, but I would argue the Bears are even better defensively.  And the Bears have a number of quality weapons for Mitch Trubisky to give the ball to.

The key in this game is going to be whether or not Trubisky can avoid making a lot of huge mistakes.  The Seahawks’ pass rush shouldn’t be an issue, so he should have plenty of time to throw.  If he just makes smart, safe decisions, the Bears should have no trouble moving the ball down the field just enough to out-score the Seahawks and win this game by a close margin.

In short, I think the Seahawks are the better team overall, I think the Seahawks would win this one if it was in Seattle, and I think we’d also probably win this one on a neutral field.  Just like last week, I think we’re going to fall short, because I don’t think our defense is good enough to get those critical late-game stops with a narrow lead, and I don’t think our offense will be good enough against that defense to overcome a narrow deficit late in the game.  I hope I’m wrong, but there you go.

What can the Seahawks do to shock the world?

How about playing a clean game as far as offensive penalties are concerned?  How about converting third downs?  How about running the ball and sticking with the hot hand, which will almost assuredly be Chris Carson?

I want to see Carson having a big game in general (I think the rushing attack is going to be the great equalizer when it comes to slowing down the Bears’ pass rush), I want to see Tyler Lockett with a ton of catches and a ton of yards, and I want to see Brandon Marshall catch another TD or two.  If we can get those guys going, I think we’ll be all right.

If we can score 28 or more points, I think we’ll be all right.

But, if we score in that 24-point range, I think it’ll be a heartbreaking defeat.

The key for the Seahawks here is to get a lead that’s bigger than 3 points late in the game.  If we can get a 4-point lead, and force the Bears to drive the length of the field to score a touchdown, I think PROBABLY our defense can hold up.  But, if it’s 3 points or less, there’s just no way.  Not with how shitty our D-Line is.

In other news, the Seahawks signed Mychal Kendricks to a 1-year deal.  Assuming the NFL doesn’t suspend him, that’s an awesome signing for a defense that’s looking increasingly short on linebackers as guys keep popping up on the injury report.  I hope he plays this week and I hope he fucking kicks ass!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team: Week 1

See my Intro to understand what this is all about.

See my Draft Recap to see where we are heading into the first week of the season.

I’ll be the first to admit I obsess WAY TOO MUCH about fantasy football.  Thinking about my roster, listening to podcasts, reading articles, pouring over the rankings of other people, scouring the waiver wire for potential pick-ups, conjuring trades to try and swindle my friends out of their elite players.  My productivity in general takes a HUGE hit during the football season for those reasons and many others, but I’m no more insane than I am in the lead-up to Week 1.

It’s no more or less important than any other regular season week, but it FEELS like the most important game of the season.  At the same time, I’ve been trying my best in recent years not to tinker too much with my roster before I’ve actually had a chance to see these guys play.  I mean, if I liked these guys enough to draft them a week ago, why am I sitting here second-guessing myself before they’ve done anything to convince me they’re no good?

Last year, I think I managed to go all the way through the first week before making a roster change; this year I wasn’t as strong.  But, I feel I had a good reason:  the Bears made a huge trade for Khalil Mack over the weekend – the day AFTER I drafted Baltimore’s defense – so I used my relatively high waiver priority (3rd in the league) to swap defenses.

My draft strategy this year was simple:  wait until the very last minute to draft a defense.  There are a few you have to feel good about – the Rams, the Jags, the Vikings, maybe the Eagles – but a lot of the time, defense is about matchups.  Likewise, there are countless stories of defenses that came out of nowhere to lead the fantasy league in points, just as there are countless stories of supposedly-elite defenses succumbing to age or injury or simple over-rating.  Why get caught up in the fervor of taking one of the top pre-season defenses early in the draft when you can get one pretty close to just as good at the end of the draft or on waivers after the first week.  So, in this league, I picked up the Ravens’ defense, because they’re going up against Buffalo in Week 1, and that felt like a good one to stream against until some other team popped out as one to go with from Week 2 onward (or, if I got lucky, and the Ravens’ defense was really good in general – and not just against the Bills – then I just got them in the next-to-last round while the suckers in my league wasted precious earlier draft picks on the same quality).

The thing is, even heading into the draft, I liked Chicago’s defense as a possible sleeper.  I think Vic Fangio is an excellent defensive coordinator – on a tier just below Wade Phillips – and I seemed to remember them really going hard after young talent in the draft on this side of the ball.  They seemed poised like a breakout candidate BEFORE trading for Mack; now that they have him, and his sack potential, I like the Bears enough to make them my ONLY defense.

Also, not for nothing, but I like my bench players an awful lot (heading into Week 1, my bench includes:  Greg Olsen, Carson Wentz, Robert Woods, Adrian Peterson, and Kenny Stills).  I don’t want to drop ANY of those guys at the moment, as I feel like they could all play important roles on my team this year.  If I did have to drop someone, it would likely be one of those two receivers, so seeing how they both look in the first week is going to be critical in my line of thinking going forward (gun to my head:  I’d probably choose Woods over Stills, as I like the Rams’ offense more than Miami’s; but Stills could end up as the Dolphins’ best receiver this year, while the Rams have a lot of guys who will divide Goff’s attention).

Anyway, how I plan to do this is I’m going to write up my thought process heading into the week ahead of time, that way my rationale won’t be tainted by events that already happened.  You’re going to know exactly what I’m thinking heading into this week, because I’m writing it before the games start.  Then, I’m going to write a section after the fact, letting you know how my week went.  So, without further ado:

My Rationale Beforehand

Here’s my roster for Week 1:

  • QB1 – Derek Carr vs. LAR
  • QB2 – Andy Dalton @ IND
  • WR1 – Tyreek Hill @ LAC
  • WR2 – Adam Thielen vs. SF
  • RB1 – Ezekiel Elliott @ CAR
  • RB2 – Leonard Fournette @ NYG
  • TE – Jordan Reed @ AZ
  • FLEX – Demaryius Thomas vs. SEA
  • K – Robbie Gould @ MIN
  • DEF – Chicago @ GB

Obviously, if Wentz was healthy, he’d be my QB1 and I’d probably end up sitting Carr this week.  On waivers, the available QBs (at the time of this writing) are Tyrod Taylor, Joe Flacco, Sam Bradford, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and both Bills quarterbacks.  Of those guys, I might marginally prefer Taylor to Carr based on matchups (I could see Carr getting in trouble against that Rams defense, while Taylor is always careful with the football and the Steelers don’t really pose much of a threat to make his life miserable), but not enough to make a roster change.  I have a lot riding on Carr this year, based on the fact that I drafted him so high and because I believe the Raiders will be throwing a lot, so I kinda need him to work out for me early in the season.

I don’t have a lot to say about my starting WRs and RBs; they seem pretty self-explanatory.  I will say that I’m pretty confident about my FLEX guy as well, as I think Thomas could have a field day against this Seahawks defense.  For what it’s worth, I like Emmanuel Sanders a lot this year, but not particularly in this game.  The Broncos tend to move Thomas around quite a bit, and honestly I don’t see him going to Griffin’s side as much as Sanders.  I don’t think they play Thomas in the slot very much, so that negates Justin Coleman’s impact.  If I’m right, and Thomas is lining up opposite of Griffin’s side on the other end, I think 150 yards and a TD or two is well within his capabilities.  If I wasn’t playing Thomas, I would’ve gone with AP, but I’d like to take a wait-and-see approach with the veteran running back before I commit to giving him regular time in my fantasy lineup.

My biggest sticking point is in my TE spot, where I’ve already waffled once and it wouldn’t shock me if I waffled again.

Here’s the deal:  I drafted Olsen in the 8th round.  As I noted previously, I didn’t intend to use that high of a pick on a tight end this year, seemingly content with taking the leftover scraps.  But, Olsen was sitting there, and I would’ve felt like a fool if I’d let him drop any further.  He’s obviously a tremendous talent, both in fantasy and in real life, and in a usual circumstance, I’d be happy to start him against the Cowboys.  But, then in the 12th round, Jordan Reed was sitting there.  He’s got Alex Smith throwing to him.  He’s in an offense that utilizes the tight end to a great extent even before Alex Smith got there.  And, it’s week 1.  He’s healthy!  He’s probably as healthy as he’s ever going to be.  Indeed, I wouldn’t be shocked if this was the last chance I got to start him, that’s how fragile he is!  He’s going up against the Cardinals, which feels like a juicy matchup, and they’re on the road, so I expect the Redskins will need to throw the ball more than they would if they were at home and more likely to be sitting on a lead in the 4th quarter.  Ultimately, I feel like there’s better touchdown potential for someone like Reed over someone like Olsen, factoring in everything around both players.  The Panthers just have more weapons on offense, and I don’t believe Cam will be as inclined to look for his TE in the red zone as Smith will be.  We’ll see; I have a feeling I’m going to regret whatever I do here.

Also, thinking long term, I fucked up when I took Reed, because both players have Week 4 byes, which means if they both stay healthy between now and then, I either have to drop a really productive guy, or I’ll have to roster a third tight end for a week (or I guess I could take a 0 at that spot for one game, but that seems idiotic that early in the season).

Anyway, that’s that.  Below, read about how my fantasy week went.

***

Week 1 Results

Well, I didn’t want to believe it, but Derek Carr fucked me ALREADY!

I had a 20-point lead heading into Monday Night.  I had Carr left to go; usually, when you’re winning and you have a quarterback still to play, you’re in pretty excellent shape.  I want to say I was an 80% favorite heading into the night.  My opponent, Crazy N8’s Prostates, had Marvin Jones and the Rams’ kicker.  It was a lock, right?

Not so fucking fast.

If Carr had just thrown a single TD, I would’ve won.  If he’d just thrown TWO interceptions – instead of three – I would’ve won.  If Legatron had just missed one of those field goals (he ended up with 17 points in total), I would’ve won.  Instead, I’m a 3-point loser and everything is meaningless.

For a while there, I was looking like a genius with the Bears defense.  I also looked like a fucking boner, because remember how I had to drop Baltimore’s defense to pick up the Bears?  Well, not only did they go off (to the tune of 31 points in our league, way over their expected 17.12), but they went off FOR MY OPPONENT (who picked them up and played them against me!).  At one time, with Aaron Rodgers out of the game, the Bears had 35 points, but then the Packers started scoring, so that total fell to 20 (still well above the expected 9.06 Yahoo projected).

My big decision of Jordan Reed over Greg Olsen ended up panning out somewhat, with Olsen being the one to leave his game with an injury.  Reed beat Olsen by 9.5 points, so bully for me.

That Fournette injury is obviously a concern.  He was on his way to a monster day, but I guess his injury woes aren’t behind him.  Now, every time I have him in my lineup, I have to wonder if he’s going to get me 30 points or 3 points.  As long as Adrian Peterson is healthy – and in a plus matchup – I really have to consider putting him in there more often.

Demaryius Thomas acquitted himself well as my FLEX guy.  Predictably, the Seahawks’ defense posed little threat.  The bigger threat is Keenum’s rapport with Emmanuel Sanders, who went OFF in that game.  Still, my value pick is looking solid so far.

My biggest shining star was Tyreek Hill, who blew up to the tune of 46.10 points this week (he led all non-Fitzmagic players in my league).  He almost pulled my ass out of the fire, but you just can’t overcome a 3-point week out of your top available QB.

Crazy N8’s Prostates’ lineup looked like this:

  • QB1 – Kirk Cousins vs. SF
  • QB2 – Alex Smith @ AZ
  • WR1 – ODB vs. JAX
  • WR2 – Keenan Allen vs. KC
  • RB1 – Shady McCoy @ BAL
  • RB2 – David Johnson vs. WAS
  • TE – Travis Kelce @ LAC
  • FLEX – Marvin Jones vs. NYJ
  • K – Greg Zuerlein @ OAK
  • DEF – Baltimore vs. BUF

I ended up being the highest scorer of all the losers and had the third-highest points in the league this week.  Pretty sad state of affairs, all things considered.  Carson Wentz can’t come back soon enough.  Starting to think about picking up Fitzpatrick.  Things are looking bleak already!