Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: The Dark At The End Of The Tunnel

It was another demoralizing defeat, it’s fine. This time, it wasn’t quite the bloodbath; I only just BARELY scored the fewest points in the league (the team I lost to the previous week – the team who scored the most that week – just edged me out by .05 points this past week). Car Talk With Josh Allen defeated RoundTine 142.95 to 117.25.

I got 2 points from Justin Fields. He’s looking like utter trash from a fantasy perspective. I would hold out hope for Mac Jones (who managed 13.15 points), but he just suffered a severe high ankle sprain. That means more Fields; lucky me!

Gabe Davis didn’t do much of anything for me; looked like he dropped a TD pass in that one. Everyone else did just sort of okay, but when you’re getting that kind of nothing out of your two QB spots, it’s going to be hard to get over the 100-point hump week-in and week-out. Even if I were able to cherry-pick my very best lineup, I still would’ve lost by a marginal amount, so I’m not too devastated. My calls would’ve been proven right had Davis nabbed that touchdown.

No waiver claims this week, but I did pick up Romeo Doubs from the Packers as a free agent. Once again, we’re playing for the future, and so I’m on the rookie receiver trail, hoping to find the next Justin Jefferson. I already picked up Garrett Wilson, now I have Doubs. In his place, I dropped Diontae Johnson, who is perfectly fine, but he’s got Mitch Trubisky throwing to him. That’s not reliable. Eventually, he’ll have a brand new rookie quarterback throwing to him. That’s also not reliable. Plus, there’s a lot of competition for targets in that offense. It all adds up to a nice little pick-up for someone else in the league to get a dependable receiver going forward.

Meanwhile, I get Doubs, who (for now) has Aaron Rodgers throwing to him. I like that a lot more. That seems VERY reliable.

It’s on to next week, against Beasts, one of the best fantasy football owners I know. Here’s who I’ve got:

  • Jameis Winston (QB) vs. Min
  • Justin Fields (QB) @ NYG
  • Gabe Davis (WR) @ Bal
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) @ Det
  • Javonte Williams (RB) @ LV
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. Was
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) vs. Sea
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. Was
  • Evan McPherson (K) vs. Mia
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) @ SF

I’m sitting Doubs because I’m always reluctant to immediately start my brand new lottery ticket. I did the same thing with Wilson last week and was proven correct, as he only got 12 points. I’ve still got Wilson on my bench this week, waiting for a matchup that isn’t the Steelers. He still got a great target share last week, but I think I’m also waiting for Joe Flacco to not be his quarterback anymore. Zach Wilson can return anytime he likes, as far as I’m concerned!

Do you want to see a dynasty team that’s LOADED? Take a look at Beasts:

  • Justin Herbert (QB) @ Hou
  • Russell Wilson (QB) @ LV
  • Cooper Kupp (WR) @ SF
  • Courtland Sutton (WR) @ LV
  • Christian McCaffrey (RB) vs. Ari
  • Derrick Henry (RB) @ IND
  • Mark Andrews (TE) vs. Buf
  • Tyler Lockett (RB) @ Det
  • Tyler Bass (K) @ Bal
  • Tampa Bay (DEF) vs. KC

He might have to swap Herbert out due to injury, but otherwise this is a cakewalk. Do you know what it’s like to go into a contest and know – without a shadow of a doubt – that you’re going to lose? It’s like if I walked into a ring with vintage Mike Tyson. Hell, it would be like walking into a ring with TODAY Mike Tyson! What would it take for me to even be competitive? Every single one of my players would have to have the game of his life, and even then I’d get -4.05 from Fields and lose by 20.

I’d be more demoralized if I wasn’t a combined 5-1 in my other two leagues. I can still do this! I can still be a smart fantasy football guy! I just got trapped inside a hell of my own making with this league.

At one point, Tua was my future. I let him go. At one point, I had Tyreek Hill, and I traded him for some magic beans. At one point, I could’ve had Herbert or Dak or Hurts. Hell, I could’ve had Jared Goff this year and instead I opted for a fifth receiver I don’t really need! This quarterback conundrum has been neverending, for the better part of a decade. Even when I thought I had a good one, I managed to get him in the absolute worst year of his career (I’m having flashbacks to Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers at their pre-old guy nadirs). In this league, I can’t do anything right. Even when I think I’ve gotten everything BUT the quarterback position settled, it’s all just kind of mediocre. I’m in another league where I took that strategy, and it’s working splendidly. But, this league? For whatever reason, my non-quarterbacks can’t seem to get much more than 10 points per week, and often get far less.

I think that’s why I’m reluctant to move on from Jones or Fields. If Tua can do what he’s done so far this year, why couldn’t Fields – at some point – develop into the kind of player who can get me 40+ points? He was great in college, like Tua. He’s not necessarily super mobile with his legs, like Tua. He’s starting out his NFL career without much in the way of offensive talent around him, like Tua. Why couldn’t he blossom in Year 3 or Year 4?

There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be patient. It’s not like these guys are going anywhere. I’m guaranteed at least a top 4 pick for next year. Here’s hoping I’ll find someone among the incoming rookie class to hang my hat on.

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.

Predicting The 2022 NFL Season

You know it and love it! The NFL prediction post is back again! Here are the prior years I’ve done it:

Not to toot my own horn too much, but I did pretty damn good last year. I had all of the NFC divisional winners, and 5 of the 7 playoff teams from that conference. I only missed the Eagles and Cardinals (I had WFT and the Seahawks, of course). I wasn’t quite as good with the AFC, picking half of the divisional winners correct. But, I still managed 4 of the 7 playoff participants. I’ll take it!

I even nailed half of the Super Bowl matchup, though the Bills screwed me. If they weren’t so unfathomably shitty on defense against the Chiefs, they might’ve made it!

Anyway, that’s last year. This year, I’ve done even less research than usual. That’s what happens when you pack your summer with trips and activities. That’s also what happens when the Seahawks suck and I just don’t give a fuck. Let’s get into it.

NFC East

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Washington Guardians
  • New York Football Giants

I know everyone is on the Eagles’ hype train this year, after apparently making every single correct move this offseason. But, I’m not there yet. I need to see it before I’ll believe it. The Cowboys are still really fucking talented, and in spite of their bumbler of a head coach, I think they’ll prevail in the division. I think Washington will probably be middle-of-the-road at best, and I think the Giants will be among the worst four teams in football.

NFC North

  • Green Bay Packers
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Detroit Lions
  • Chicago Bears

I wanted to put the Vikings in the top seat, but I kept feeling supremely dumb going against the Packers. I’ll say this much: the Packers won’t get to 13 wins again this year. The receivers are GOING to be an issue, that’s just the way it is. But, they should have enough talent to hold everyone else at bay. I do think the Vikings have a good shot to make it as a wild card. I’m not drinking the Lions’ Kool Aid after watching them on Hard Knocks, but I do think they could be a 7-8 win team. I think the Bears will be among the worst four teams in football.

NFC South

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Carolina Panthers
  • New Orleans Saints
  • Atlanta Falcons

REAL fucking samey in the NFC so far. I like the Bucs even less than I like the Packers, what with their O-Line woes. If the O-Line doesn’t hold up, and if the receivers aren’t back to full health, I think this will be a LONG year for Brady. I predict this is the beginning of the end, and we won’t see Brady in the NFL next year. I’m not as high on the Saints as most people; I think the surprise team will be the Panthers and how competent they are with Baker at the helm. And I think the Falcons will be among the worst four teams in football.

NFC West

  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • Arizona Cardinals
  • Seattle Seahawks

I was going to run it back with all four same division winners, but I could see some Super Bowl Hangover with the Rams. The 49ers are loaded all over the place, and I think Trey Lance will be just dynamic enough to make some plays and not screw things up. He could also be amazing with that Shanahan offense. I like the Cards to take a step back this year. And I HOPE BEYOND HOPE that the Seahawks are among the worst four teams in football.

AFC East

  • Buffalo Bills
  • Miami Dolphins
  • New England Patriots
  • New York Jets

Surprise surprise, I love the Bills again! God dammit. I hope they shored up their defense. I don’t like any of the other teams, but that’s also not shocking. I think the Dolphins get one over on the Pats, even though Tua’s Noodle Arm looks like a poor fit for what should be a high-volume passing offense. I’m not hearing great things about the Pats, which is just fucking great, because I’m saddled with Mac Jones in my dynasty league. And the Jets are gonna Jets.

AFC North

  • Baltimore Ravens
  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Cleveland Browns

Definite Super Bowl Hangover for the Bengals, but I still like them enough to make the playoffs. I think Lamar Jackson comes out on fire this year, in looking for a new deal. The Ravens might vie for the top seed overall. I think the Browns will STINK under Jacoby Brissett, and I think they will continue to stink under Deshaun Watson. The dude will have missed nearly two full years, there’s no way he’s coming back and being awesome right off the bat. On top of which, he’s pretty much going to be hated everywhere he goes, so he’s definitely going to feel the effects of that on the field. The Steelers won’t be good, but I think they’ll out-perform expectations.

AFC South

  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Tennessee Titans
  • Houston Texans
  • Jacksonville Jaguars

All right, THIS is the year the Colts put it together and supplant the Titans atop the AFC South. Matt Ryan might not be elite, but he’s good enough, and the pieces will be around him to coast to an easy 10 or 11 wins. This might be the end of the road for Ryan Tannehill; where are his weapons? The loss of A.J. Brown is going to be HUGE, and look for them to over-compensate next offseason by whatever means necessary. I also think Derrick Henry is going to continue breaking down; they might not even be the second-best team in this division. Kill me, I like Davis Mills! I know most people like the Jags to be a sleeper, but I think they’re still a year away. I like the Texans to be a possible sleeper, since really EVERYONE is sleeping on them.

AFC West

  • Denver Broncos
  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • Los Angeles Chargers
  • Las Vegas Raiders

I kinda want to put them all in the playoffs! But, ultimately, I think the Raiders come up JUST short. The Chiefs are definitely going to be hurt by the loss of Hill; it can’t all fall on Kelce. Defenses are going to double-team him and no one else will be there to step up (you can save the JuJu talk). I like the Broncos here because there’s no way the Seahawks don’t get screwed in this Russell Wilson deal. They’re going to win 12-13 games just to spite me. I do like the Chargers to finally get over the hump and make it as a wild card, though.

NFC Playoffs

  1. Dallas Cowboys
  2. San Francisco 49ers
  3. Green Bay Packers
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  5. Los Angeles Rams
  6. Philadelphia Eagles
  7. Minnesota Vikings

AFC Playoffs

  1. Buffalo Bills
  2. Baltimore Ravens
  3. Denver Broncos
  4. Indianapolis Colts
  5. Kansas City Chiefs
  6. Los Angeles Chargers
  7. Cincinnati Bengals

Wild Card Round

  • 49ers over Vikings
  • Packers over Eagles
  • Rams over Bucs
  • Ravens over Bengals
  • Broncos over Chargers
  • Chiefs over Colts

Divisional Round

  • Cowboys over Rams
  • Packers over 49ers
  • Bills over Chiefs
  • Broncos over Ravens

Championship Round

  • Packers over Cowboys
  • Bills over Broncos

Super Bowl

  • Bills over Packers

Now that I have it all laid out, I could not be less enthused by this prediction post. I think I’m going to be LAUGHABLY off-base. None of it is coherent; for some reason I’m skeptical about the Packers up top, but I like them to go all the way to the Super Bowl? I dunno. This is gonna be one of those years where it’s a total crapshoot. Kinda exciting!

What If The Seahawks Got Baker Mayfield?

All right, calm down people. I’m not sitting here advocating for the Seahawks to acquire Baker Mayfield, in case that’s the conclusion you jumped to. GET OFF MY ASS! We’re just talking things through here.

The situation is this: the Browns traded for Deshaun Watson, and gave him a batshit crazy all-guaranteed contract. Somehow, Watson allegedly sexually harassed (if not outright sexually abused) dozens of women, and yet he held all the cards when it came to his future? How does this work? Browns gonna Browns, of course, but it would seem multiple teams were prepared to go to this great length – burning down the league’s leverage in the quarterback contract market for all future superstars – so I guess I would just point to the insanity of the NFL owners themselves. They’ll cater to an alleged abuser, but they won’t even give a tryout to a guy in Colin Kaepernick fighting for social justice. Okay.

Anyway, the Browns have Watson, they also just signed Jacoby Brissett to be his backup, and all the while there’s Baker Mayfield in the final year of his rookie deal, making around $18 million. Not an outrageous sum of money for a viable starting quarterback, but the question remains: IS Baker Mayfield a viable starting quarterback? One that can lead a team to a championship?

It’s obvious to anyone with half a brain that the Browns have shit the bed in this one particular scenario: they want out from under Mayfield’s guaranteed money. Unfortunately, most of the big ticket quarterback moves have already been made. Aaron Rodgers is staying with Green Bay. Russell Wilson is now with the Broncos. The aforementioned Watson is with the Browns. Matt Ryan went to the Colts. Carson Wentz … went to the Commanders. Tom Brady is back with the Bucs. The Vikings are committed to Cousins, the Dolphins are committed to Tua, the Saints look to be committed to Jameis, the Jets are (apparently) committed to Zach Wilson, the Giants are (bafflingly) committed to Danny Dimes. Of the quarterbacks who are reported to be available in trades, Jimmy G should head that list, and so far there haven’t been any takers. So, where’s Baker’s market, exactly?

If the Browns cut Baker, they’re on the hook for his entire salary. But, they obviously can’t keep him around through training camp, because he almost certainly won’t be there, as he’s now demanded a change of scenery.

If I’m the rest of the NFL, and I had the slightest inkling in bringing in Baker, I’d play hardball and force the Browns to cut him. Then, swoop in with a lowball, incentive-laden offer to take him on as a 1-year flier.

No fanbase is excited about Baker Mayfield, though. It’s undeniable that he had a bad season in 2021, so there’s that taste in everyone’s mouths. He did have the torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder, though, which undoubtedly affected his on-field play. He’s also, not for nothing, irritatingly over-exposed in TV commercials (based on his personality, I guess, because it’s not a reflection of his performance in actual professional football games). Even before his 2021 injury-plagued season, it’s not like Baker Mayfield was the epitome of an elite franchise quarterback. Odell Beckham’s dad more or less saw to making that clear to everyone with a Twitter feed.

He’s not particularly tall, he’s not particularly athletic, his arm isn’t particularly strong …

Funny Office Space quotes are funny …

And that’s where we are now. I still think the Steelers are the most logical destination for him, because he feels like a Steelers-type quarterback. Plus, he’d get two chances a year to stick it to the Browns, which I’m sure he’d love to do.

But, the Seahawks keep coming up in the rumor mill, and I have some free time this morning, so let’s get into it.

I’m just putting this back out into the universe for anyone who wants to read it: my number one preference for the Seahawks is to tank in 2022. That means, likely, giving Drew Lock as many reps as he can handle and watching him crash and burn spectacularly. That does NOT mean bringing in a middling veteran to annoyingly steal wins we don’t need. Draft a great pass rusher in the first round this year (or an elite left tackle, if one is still available), draft a couple of quality starters in the second round, and wait to draft a quarterback until 2023.

I have no number two preference. All other options for the Seahawks are going to be met with disdain. That includes Baker Mayfield.

If we MUST bring him in, then I would rather we wait for the Browns to cut him, and sign him to that aforementioned lowball, incentive-laden offer. I’ll admit, if that comes to fruition, I’d be intrigued.

I’m curious about what a healthy Baker Mayfield can accomplish, who is savagely pissed off at the world and hyper-motivated to rehabilitate his image. Don’t forget, it wasn’t that long ago when the Browns were lauded for taking him above the rest of his 2018 draft class. Of course, now we know Josh Allen was the true prize, but at first there were lots of questions about Allen’s accuracy and whatnot.

Ryan Tannehill is a name that gets bandied about. As a former Top 10 draft pick who flamed out with his original team, he became a … pretty good quarterback when he was inserted onto the right team. He doesn’t have to do too much, so long as Derrick Henry is healthy, but when he’s asked to step up, he tends to make plays more often than not. Now, EVERY team thinks they can rehab their own guys (to wit: the Giants with Danny Dimes), and it’s becoming sort of a disturbing trend. Most of these quarterbacks flame out for a reason, so giving them opportunity after opportunity is only going to prolong the mediocrity that’s so prevalent at the position.

But, if anyone can be “the next Ryan Tannehill”, I could see it being Baker.

Now, I’m not saying Tannehill is some great shakes, but he’s fine. Could Baker also be fine? Sure, why not?

The thing is, I don’t HATE the rest of the Seahawks’ roster. Assuming, of course, that they don’t trade away D.K. Metcalf. You know. If they do that, then the rebuild is almost certainly going into overdrive. But, with D.K., we’ve got two elite receivers, two stud tight ends, one potentially elite running back (with the high likelihood we draft another), and a pretty solid offensive line (whenever we figure out the left tackle spot).

I also don’t HATE the defense. We’ve got a new coaching staff and a tweaked scheme. Our interior linemen look good, we signed a promising pass rusher away from the Chargers, we’re moving on from Bobby and getting younger at linebacker, we’ve got Darrell Taylor who looks outstanding, and our secondary has a high floor, if not quite so high of a ceiling (unless Tre Brown returns from injury and asserts himself as the next great cornerback on this team). Don’t get me wrong, we still need an infusion of hot talent from the draft, but the bones are there for a quick turnaround (assuming we eventually get the right quarterback).

Could Baker Mayfield join this roster and lead us to a 9-8 record? It wouldn’t shock me in the slightest. That might be a worst-case scenario in its own right, though, because 9-8 doesn’t seem like it’ll be good enough to catch a Wild Card spot, even with the expanded playoffs we’ve made our new reality.

However, I firmly do NOT believe Baker joins this roster and makes us a divisional contender. He certainly doesn’t make us a Super Bowl contender. At which point, his addition to this team just smacks of Pete Carroll refusing to rebuild through the draft like we need to.

And this scenario only gets scarier the more the Seahawks have to give up to get him here. The Browns are reportedly looking for a second round draft pick; that’s asinine. I wouldn’t give up anything higher than a 5th rounder, and even then, the Browns better be paying the bulk of his contract.

The thing is, I don’t think the Browns want him to go to the Steelers. And, if they cut him, I think that’s his top destination; I think he’d do everything – including taking a minimum contract from them – to make it happen. So, the Browns should be happy to take a 7th rounder from us – and pay the entirety of his contract – just to get him out of the AFC. Because, there won’t be anyone more motivated to beat up on the Browns if he’s in Pittsburgh (a city that already hates Cleveland with a passion).

In conclusion, Baker Mayfield is my nightmare. But, ultimately I don’t think he’ll be a Seahawk when it’s all said and done. Good luck, Steelers fans.

Culture Is Everything In The NFL

Buyer beware, because I can already tell this is going to be a long, rambling mess. Buckle up!

I’m on record as being in favor of the Seahawks retaining Pete Carroll, even if it’s at the expense of Russell Wilson demanding a trade out of Seattle. Yes, I’ll acknowledge the obvious: it’s really fucking hard to find a franchise quarterback in the NFL who’s capable of leading you to a championship.

There are differences between run of the mill franchise quarterbacks, and those who can take you all the way. Andy Dalton was a franchise quarterback for many years; he led the Bengals to the playoffs a number of times. But, he was never going to win them a title. Not without a remarkable level of talent around him, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. I would lump guys like Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan, and Matthew Stafford into that camp, even though Flacco won it all, Ryan very nearly won it all, and Stafford very well might win it all this season. Flacco rode an elite defense and a red-hot playoff streak to a title; Ryan had the biggest Super Bowl choke job in NFL history; and Stafford has a crazy fantasy roster around him helping prop up his damaged throwing hand and shaky decision-making.

The point is, none of those guys are on the level of Russell Wilson. And I would still pick Pete Carroll over him, even though odds are Carroll’s time in the NFL will come to an end first. Because I would argue it’s just as hard – if not harder – to find a quality head coach in the NFL to build the kind of winning culture you need to succeed for many years.

Head coaching in the NFL is a neverending revolving door. Really, you can extend that to all the major professional sports.

The Seahawks have been lucky in that regard. We’ve had three Grade-A culture builders in our relatively short tenure in the NFL. Chuck Knox was the first, and arguably one of the most underrated; if he was blessed with a proper ownership group, there’s no telling where he could’ve taken this franchise. Even still, from 1983-1991, he led the Seahawks to the second-best winning percentage in franchise history (minimum of 10 games), even better than Mike Holmgren (who everyone points to as the first great culture builder in Seahawks history). Holmgren, obviously, helped build and lead the Seahawks to their first-ever Super Bowl appearance. Then, we’ve got Pete Carroll, hands down the best of the bunch. Those three guys comprise 31 of the Seahawks’ 46 seasons of existence; we’ve been spoiled with great culture builders!

You’ll notice, though, of the 15 other years, we had a total of 5 separate head coaches. And that’s common throughout the NFL. I couldn’t tell you what the average is, but it feels right to say guys get approximately 3 years to prove if they’re winners or not. When you consider it’s predominantly the worst organizations who are doing most of the hiring of new coaches – you don’t see the Steelers, Ravens, Patriots, or Seahawks hiring and firing guys all willy-nilly all the time – it’s doubly hard to turn things around. You really have to catch lightning in a bottle with the right quarterback, the right roster construction, the right scheme, and the right salary cap situation to see those kinds of quick results. All just to prolong your tenure an extra few years! But, as you’ll frequently see, even guys who’ve won it all don’t get a free pass forever. One or two bad years and suddenly you’re washed up. This leads to going the complete opposite direction with who you hire next: a stern disciplinarian might give way to a “players’ coach”, a defensive guru might give way to an offensive mastermind, etc.

Now, take a step back and look at the Mariners, for instance. Lou Piniella was our greatest and longest tenured manager in franchise history; he was out following the 2002 season. Scott Servais is already the second-best and second-longest tenured manager in Mariners’ history at only 6 seasons. Of the Mariners’ 45 years in existence, Piniella and Servais have managed for 16 seasons; of the remaining 29 seasons, the M’s have had 18 official managers (interim or otherwise). That’s insane. Merely taking into account the 13 seasons between Piniella and Servais, we had 8 managers. When you think of the worst-run, most-dysfunctional North American professional sports franchises, you think of – among many others – the team with the longest playoff drought: the Seattle Mariners. Is it any surprise that we would have 8 managers in 13 seasons, until finally stabilizing things under Servais and Dipoto? I’m not saying either of them are perfect, but unless things go totally FUBAR, they should be the ones to lead us back into the post-season (even if an extra playoff spot will help necessitate it). I’d say it’s looking good – with the talent we have at all levels of the organization – that they’ve done a good job of both finding the right talent and turning the culture into a winning one. They still have to go and do it, of course. But, that’s how hard it can be. That’s how long it can take. The Mariners were one of the best baseball organizations from the mid-90s through the early 2000’s; then they were one of the worst for almost two full decades. That has everything to do with the culture we let fall apart with the loss of Lou Piniella and Pat Gillick; finding their replacements has been exceedingly difficult.

Now, take a look around the rest of the NFL. The longest tenured head coaches are Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin, John Harbaugh, Pete Carroll, and Andy Reid. All are guys at the top of their profession, who regularly take their teams into the playoffs and have won at least one championship. But, aside from Belichick, they’ve all weathered some down periods. Down periods that lesser organizations might’ve fired them over. Of course, they’re still employed because those down periods aren’t very long, nor are they very bad, but still. Head coaches have been fired for a lot less, because their organizatons lack the fortitude to ride out the rough patches.

Every coach aside from those top five have been hired in 2017 or later. Not coincidentally, I would argue those head coaches are one or two bad years away from also joining the unemployment line, even though they’re coaches who’ve led their teams to conference championship games and Super Bowls.

Not all of them, of course. I think there’s a valid point that a great head coach needs a great quarterback, but I would also say the reverse is true: a great quarterback needs a great head coach. Granted, great quarterbacks have been propping up good-to-mediocre head coaches since time immemorial, but a great QB by himself is only going to take you so far. How many titles has Aaron Rodgers won in his Hall of Fame career? How about Drew Brees? On down the line.

I would argue great quarterbacks are helped along and nurtured to their fullest potential by the elite head coaches who’ve built a culture in which they can thrive. It’s when they try to bash heads with the head coach and the culture where things go sideways. And organizations – fearing reprisal from the fanbase – will almost always side with the elite QB over the elite head coach.

For those who wanted to put the issue to bed after one Tom Brady championship in Tampa Bay, just look at what Belichick has done in that same time: he had a down year with Cam Newton at the helm, then he turned right around and made it back to the playoffs with a rookie QB. Now, it looks like the Patriots are set up for another decade of success, while Brady just went and retired. THAT is what an elite coach – with an elite culture – can do for an organization.

Meanwhile, look at the Dolphins. They just fired Brian Flores after back-to-back winning seasons. His first season with the team was arguably his best, in spite of a 5-11 finish. The ownership and GM did everything to strip that team of all its talent; yet, Flores managed to win 5 of his last 9 games with a nothing roster.

Now, he can’t get hired anywhere, even though I think he’s proven to be an effective and winning head coach with a great culture. The reason why the Dolphins failed to make the playoffs in 2021 has everything to do with being saddled with a sub-par quarterback. And yet, Flores still managed to coach them to a winning record! He’s suing the NFL and I think he has a point; the Giants knew who they wanted to hire well before they “interviewed” Flores for the job. Flores was only cursorily considered for the job because he’s a person of color, and therefore fits the requirement under the Rooney Rule.

Look at David Culley of the Houston Texans. He – another person of color – replaced Bill O’Brien, someone who gutted the organization in his desperation to cling to his job. O’Brien, not for nothing, was a mediocre coach and culture builder, responsible for some of the worst and most lopsidedly terrible trades I’ve ever seen. How he kept his job for as long as he did is baffling. Culley only won 4 games this year and was fired after one season on the job. A season, mind you, where the Texans – much like the Dolphins in 2019 – gutted the roster to try to tank for the top draft pick. The fact that they won any games at all is a testament to the job Culley did.

These are just two examples of dysfunctional organizations; I haven’t even mentioned the Washington Football Team, which seems to embarrass itself on a monthly basis with its variety of scandals. Or the Jaguars, who churn through terrible head coaches like cheap sticks of gum. Or the Lions or Bears or Cowboys or Raiders or Jets, who have done nothing but underachieve for years and years and years. They continue to fuck up on the regular, with zero accountability from the top.

Is that what you want for the Seahawks?

Most franchises pay a lot of lip service to diversity and doing the right thing; very few actually back that up in their hiring practices and the way they construct their organizations. The Seahawks aren’t perfect; no team is. But the Seahawks do it better than most.

I don’t worry about the Seahawks paying lip service to hiring their next defensive coordinator. Because they have the culture in place, and a proven track record of hiring based on their scheme and the qualifications of the coach, regardless of race. If the Seahawks hire a white guy, I’ll at least be satisfied with the fact that they searched far and wide for the best person for the job. If the Seahawks hire a person of color, ditto.

The thing about culture is it has to be about what’s best for the organization, what’s best for everyone involved. It can’t be all about one man’s ego trip. That’s where you see pitfalls throughout professional sports. The ego of the owner, the ego of the general manager, the ego of the head coach, the ego of the quarterback (or that team’s best player, whoever it may be). Once it becomes about one man’s quest to be the best, all is lost. That person is the cancer, and that person is who needs to go. Unfortunately, that’s much easier said than done, the higher they are on the organizational chart.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Justin Fields Looks Far From Ideal

Well, it was a nice idea: Justin Fields had been slowly, but surely, getting better every week he’d been starting for the Bears. But, that offense is broken and they’ve done nothing to help their rookie quarterback succeed. The Bears even managed to be the first team this year to successfully run the ball against the Bucs! You’d think with that advantage, they would’ve mustered something against a depleted secondary. But, based on my eye test, I didn’t see a lot of play-action. Just a lot of plays that were probably designed for an Andy Dalton-led offense (or, given Matt Nagy’s reptuation, probably just a generic offense he’s hoping to shoe-horn into any situation, regardless of who’s under center).

There are two things at play: either Justin Fields just doesn’t have it and is a bust, or the Bears coaches are failing him and will likely be fired at season’s end (if not sooner). Either way, that doesn’t give me a lot of confidence in Fields’ viability as a fantasy quarterback. Certainly, he’s not someone worth hanging onto for next year.

Of course, I’m not going to waive him; I’ll let the season play out and see if there’s a dramatic turnaround. But, I’m assuming we’ll see more of the same conservative, unoriginal play-calling, resulting in the same conservative, mediocre offensive scoring output. That will, ultimately, break Fields as a prospect and we’ll all be wondering which team he’s going to be a backup on in a few years.

Mac Jones, on the other hand, looks pretty good! It’s hard to say if he’s going to be an elite fantasy quarterback; he very well could just be one of the better game managers a la Andy Dalton, Joe Flacco, Carson Wentz (in Indy, so far) and not a Justin Herbert or Joe Burrow or Patrick Mahomes. That doesn’t do me a lot of good, though those types of game managers – in their primes – can be okay as a second quarterback in a 2-QB league. But, you really need a stud to anchor your team week-in and week-out in fantasy, and it’s still up in the air whether or not Jones can be that guy.

His 29.25 points (for my bench) this week against the Jets was a season (and therefore career) high. Prior to this week, he had three games right around 20 points, with three other games significantly under 20 points. It’s fair to say they haven’t taken his training wheels off yet, so the best may still be to come. But, there’s also the chance for – as he gets more freedom – increased turnovers and other mistakes. Also, 29.25 is fine, but a stud will get you 30+ on the regular. Let me know when Mac Jones has multiple 40+ games. Also, 29.25 came against the Jets. I know they hampered him earlier in the season, but their defense is starting to get mighty depleted, and I bet any mediocre QB would’ve done something similar against that flailing team.

Taylor Heinicke (also for my bench) managed to out-score either of the guys I started this week, and he was close to having a 30+ point game. That was on the road, in Green Bay, against some shaky officiating, so color me moderately impressed. I’m not giving up on him just yet, though he might be running out of time, with Fitzpatrick on the mend and set to get his job back when he’s ready.

As expected, Snoopy & Prickly Pete lost to COVID Bubble Boys 171.25 to 111.20. Even if I had fielded a FLEX guy, I would’ve lost. Perhaps if I’d played my best two QBs AND fielded a FLEX guy, I could’ve made it interesting (this would also assume I’d drop Trey Sermon – who had zero stats in the 49ers game this week, as he seemed to be strictly an emergency back for them – and inserted a running back from the scrap heap), but even with COVID Bubble Boys starting Trey Lance at QB (who wasn’t even active), he scored a ton of points that my team wasn’t equipped to cover. You hate to see it.

No roster moves this week, so it’s on to Week 8. Snoopy & Prickly Pete goes up against The Lance Petemans. He’s in 9th place, I’m in 10th place (out of 10 teams); we’re both 2-5. We very well may be looking at a future Consolation Bracket matchup, so it’ll be fun to scout things out now.

Here’s what my lineup is looking like:

  • Jameis Winston (QB) vs. TB
  • Mac Jones (QB) @ LAC
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. JAX
  • A.J. Brown (WR) @ IND
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ MIN
  • Khalil Herbert (RB) vs. SF
  • Noah Fant (TE) vs. WAS
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ MIN
  • TBD (K)
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) @ HOU

You know what? I’m not gonna lie to you, I like a lot of my matchups! I like a Jameis Revenge Game at home against the Bucs. I like Mac Jones needing to throw a lot on the road against the high-flying Chargers. I like D.K. against the Jags (where the Seahawks should FINALLY have a get-right game with Geno at the helm). I like A.J. against a depleted Colts secondary. I really like Fant against a suspect Football Team defense. And, the Rams should have no trouble making life miserable for the Texans and their inept offense (though, I’m less than thrilled with the prospect of Tyrod Taylor returning; he’s actually competent).

My bench includes Diontae Johnson, who has to go on the road to play a tough Browns team. I could see that game being very low-scoring, but I could also see Johnson racking up points anyway and making me rue the day I went with D.K. over him. Otherwise, it’s Fields against the 49ers (we’ll see) and Heinicke against the Broncos on the road (far from ideal).

Here’s what The Lance Petemans are running out:

  • Ryan Tannehill (QB) @ IND
  • Kirk Cousins (QB) vs. DAL
  • Tyreek Hill (WR) vs. NYG
  • Calvin Ridley (WR) vs. CAR
  • Darrell Henderson (RB) @ HOU
  • James Conner (RB) vs. GB
  • Tyler Higbee (TE) @ HOU
  • Keenan Allen (WR) vs. NE
  • Matt Gay (K) @ HOU
  • San Francisco (DEF) @ CHI

He’s got a pretty good team, that’s clearly favored over me this week, and would likely defeat me even if I pick up a kicker. He’s unfortunately got Tyreek Hill going on Monday Night, which means A LOT would have to go right for me and wrong for him on Sunday if I were to – at the last minute – want to pick up the Giants’ kicker on Monday Night. Hill always has the potential to go off for 40+ points in any given game, and the Giants’ defense is God-awful. So, we’ll see, but I’m not holding my breath.

If I do end up dropping anyone, it’ll be Trey Sermon. It’s probably a bad sign that the 49ers have two rookie running backs, and the lower-ranked one is the workhorse in this situation. I’m sure there’s still ample opportunity for Sermon to pick up the offense and be a dynamic player late in the season. But, they have another running back returning from PUP or IR pretty soon, so it’s looking highly doubtful.

Splinter League Round-Up!

No trouble this week for BUCK FUTTER! I had the biggest blowout in the league, 198.44 to 131.26 over I REGRET NOTHING. Huge days from A-Rod and Stafford, huge days from my TB receivers, and a huge day from Kamara on Monday Night all sealed the deal. I REGRET NOTHING mistakenly left in Sterling Shepard even though he was inactive (probably leading him to regret that, at least), but it wouldn’t have mattered. This time I had the third-most points scored in the league, but lady luck was on my side (as I didn’t go up against one of the top two). That brings my record up to 4-3 (third place overall), still with the second-most points scored in the league this season. Now I get the luxury of going up against the last place team, sitting on a ton of injuries. Here’s hoping I don’t massively underperform!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2020: It’s Time To Pound Some Cunth!

  • Pre-Season Week 1 HERE – Here We Fucking Go Again
  • Pre-Season Week 2 HERE – Corona-Draft Prep
  • Fantasy Draft HERE – Nobody Beats The Wiz!
  • Week 1 HERE – Crisis Averted!
  • Week 2 HERE – Everything That Could Go Wrong
  • Week 3 HERE – Some Nobody Did, In Fact, Beat The Wiz!
  • Week 4 HERE – Literally Everyone Beats The Fucking Wiz
  • Week 5 HERE – Signs Of Life!
  • Week 6 HERE – And Tua All A Good Night
  • Week 7 HERE – Tua Be Or Not Tua Be, That Is The Question
  • Week 8 HERE – Tua Thine Own Self Be True
  • Week 9 HERE – Tua The Window, Tua The Wall!!!
  • Week 10 HERE – Tua Infinity & Beyond!
  • Week 11 HERE – Tua Err Is Human
  • Week 12 HERE – Although We’ve Come Tua The End Of The Road
  • Week 13 HERE – Tua No Avail

At the risk of putting this column’s stink on my other fantasy league, honestly I don’t know how I could do any worse, since I limped into the playoffs over there riding the wave of a four-game losing streak. But, here’s the thing: Nobody Beats The Wiz took his first round playoff exit like a man, and all that’s left is the Fifth Place Game (going up against the heavily-favored Space Forcin’ for the right to draft fifth in next year’s fantasy draft; I would otherwise draft sixth if I lose).

Colinoscopy Time beat me 171.10 to 149.95. That’s probably not a surprising score if you’ve been following my team all year, but it’s particularly heartbreaking when two of my guys got injured VERY early in their respective games (DeVante Parker and Deebo Samuel), netting me a combined 0.90 points. If they had simply gotten what they were projected to get, I would have won easily. If I had substituted them for my two bench receivers, I would’ve won even easier. Alas, that’s the way it goes sometimes.

The Rams’ defense really got me off to a fantastic start, scoring 33 against the Patriots. Tua was next up with a SOLID 32.2. A.J. Brown and Kirk Cousins also scored over 20 to keep me somewhat respectable.

Fuck it though, it’s time to talk about my other league!

MacGruber!

If you’ve never seen the film MacGruber, then a team name like Pound Some Cunth might not make a lot of sense. But also, come on, you get it. Anyway, the rules of the other league are remarkably similar, except it’s only a four-team playoff. And, instead of having a mandatory tight end and one FLEX spot, I have two FLEX spots where you can play a tight end (or two) if you want (also, no kickers in this league, because kickers are dumb).

A team called Look At Me Run did indeed run away with the regular season, with a 12-2 record. But! Pound Some Cunth was NOT far behind! I started out 8-2, keeping pace with the consensus best team in the league, but have since gotten quite unlucky. I scored the second-most points in the league by a pretty significant margin this season, making me the best of the three 8-6 teams to make the playoffs. I’ve also had the second-most points scored against me, to show how unlucky I’ve been.

I rode an early-season blitzkrieg thanks to my super-studs: Russell Wilson, D.K. Metcalf, Dalvin Cook, Drew Brees, Terry McLaurin, and Tee Higgins (who was elite until Joe Burrow got injured). Once Brees went down – forcing me into starting Taysom Hill – it’s been quite a shitshow; not necessarily Hill’s fault, either! Wilson has stunk, my various 49ers players (Raheem Mostert, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk) have all missed chunks of the season with injuries and/or COVID, and I was forced into trading away Miles Sanders in the middle of the season to help fill out my roster (getting Cooper Kupp and Kareem Hunt back, while also trading away Kirk Cousins to complete the deal).

This week, Pound Some Cunth is going up against Vinegar Strokes – the two sexiest names in the league, apologies to Vagician’s Assistant and 50 Shades Of Gritty – in the 2 vs. 3 matchup (my brother, Beer Thirty, is the sacrificial lamb facing Look At Me Run). Here’s the loaded roster I’ve got going:

  • Russell Wilson (QB) @ WA
  • Taysom Hill (QB) vs. KC
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) @ WA
  • Terry McLaurin (WR) vs. SEA
  • Dalvin Cook (RB) vs. CHI
  • Cam Akers (RB) vs. NYJ
  • Cooper Kupp (WR) vs. NYJ
  • Brandon Aiyuk (WR) @ DAL
  • Cleveland (DEF) @ NYG

I don’t love the Seahawks’ offense at Washington, nor do I love Scary Terry’s prospects against a resurgent Seahawks defense. My flex receivers should be okay, but they can be weirdly hit-or-miss. I’m mostly going with the Browns because I know how bad the Giants’ offense CAN be, and I’m hoping they prove me sage this time around. Cam Akers was a new pick-up this week, and he’s been GOING OFF for the Rams the last couple games. So, I’m hoping he eats the Jets’ defense for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

And, here is what Vinegar Strokes will be throwing against me:

  • Lamar Jackson (QB) vs. JAX
  • Matt Ryan (QB) vs. TB
  • Davante Adams (WR) vs. CAR
  • Jamison Crowder (WR) @ LAR
  • Jonathan Taylor (RB) vs. HOU
  • David Montgomery (RB) @ MIN
  • Brandin Cooks (WR) @ IND
  • Stefon Diggs (WR) @ DEN
  • Pittsburgh (DEF) @ CIN

He’s got some FANTASTIC matchups. Pittsburgh, Lamar, Davante, and Jonathan should all destroy. I’m going to need the other guys to have abnormally bad games, and I’m also going to need my team to over-perform.

This is really the best fantasy team I’ve fielded in quite a while. When Russell Wilson was in MVP mode, I was tough to beat. But, lately it’s just been one continuous slump that I’m hoping can turn around as of this week. I just need to go 2-0 over the next two weeks and I can win this league! I haven’t done so great since I took myself out of the commissioner’s seat in the original league and started this Splinter League (so I could set my own rules and keep them the way I want them forever), as you can see by my finishes:

  • 2019 – BrundleFly: 3rd Place
  • 2018 – ManChine: 5th Place
  • 2017 – Gamel Of Thrones: 3rd Place
  • 2016 – PimpDaddySupreme: 5th Place
  • 2015 – Toad Load Weekly: 3rd Place

As you can see, I’ve broken the streak of 3rd-5th-3rd-5th-3rd place finishes, so CLEARLY Pound Some Cunth is something special. We’ll see if that’s actually the case or not!

Next week, I’ll have an answer to that, as well as talk about my potential keepers in my regular league. It’s all happening!

How High Can These Seahawks Fly?

The big questions heading into week two are: was Week 1 an aberration, or a sign of things to come? And, if it’s a sign of things to come, how good can this Seahawks team really be?

All you can really do – heading into a new season – is review any roster changes and see how they might fit with what you’ve seen from that team in the past. Generally, you would compare this team to what it was in 2019, but we have ten years’ worth of Seahawks teams to look at with respect to Pete Carroll, eight of those years with Russell Wilson. Knowing what we know, having seen what we’ve seen, it was sensible to expect more of the same: a balanced offense, relying on the defense to keep it close, and hope our All Pro quarterback can pull it out in the fourth quarter. For a team that’s only missed the playoffs twice under Pete Carroll – and only once with Russell Wilson at quarterback – clearly “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It” comes into account.

That’s why last week was such a shock – a welcome shock, don’t get me wrong – because it was SO unexpected. Part of me saw them throwing on that first drive and thought, “Well, they’re just doing this to shut the fans up; they’ll get back to a run-heavy approach on the next drive.” But, the passes kept coming, and coming, and coming, and before we knew what hit us, the Seahawks turned into the 2019 Chiefs!

You’ll recall that’s a team that won the Super Bowl. So, in answer to the second big question listed at the top: that’s how good this team can be. With Russell Wilson playing out of his mind, with this offense putting up that many points every week, it doesn’t really matter what the defense does; as long as it’s not dead-last in all of football, this team will win 12+ games, the NFC West, and could very well advance to the Super Bowl if things go right in the playoffs.

BUT, remember that caveat: if Week 1 was a sign of things to come, and not just a one-time treat.

I’m going to stick with my cautiously-optimistic stance for a bit here (instead of full-blown elation), for two reasons. For starters, Pete Carroll was already quoted this week complaining about how few carries the running backs had against Atlanta. 16 carries split between the three of them. Chris Carson is still one of the best running backs in football – as evidenced by his two receiving touchdowns – but he only had six carries! That’s not good enough. In a game we won by double-digits, it’s weird that we didn’t have more of a running game presence in the fourth quarter. So, I would expect Carroll will get his way as early as this week in pounding the rock more than we did last week.

The other cause for concern is our opponent: the New England Patriots. Their defense is crafted much like ours, in that their biggest strength is in the secondary. While I don’t expect the Seahawks to completely revert back to their 2019 form, it would make sense to neutralize things a little bit by hitting the Pats where they’re weakest: defending the run.

That isn’t to say the Pats are bad at defending the run; I can’t say with any certainty one way or the other. Against the Dolphins last week, they held them to 87 yards and a 3.2 yards per carry average; however, the Dolphins’ top two rushers combined for 62 of those yards on 14 carries, for a 4.4 yard average. The Dolphins were playing from behind for most of the game, so they didn’t have the luxury of working that part of their offense in more.

It’ll be REALLY interesting to see what how the Patriots gameplan the Seahawks’ offense. Bill Belichick famously creates a new scheme every week, based on his opponent, to take away whatever it is they do best. Now, he’s a smart man, and he surely knows Russell Wilson is what this team does best, so I don’t expect him to neglect defending the pass in any way. But, will he see this Seahawks team through the lens of what happened last week, or the previous ten years?

The Seahawks offense has been built around two concepts: running the ball and completing deep passes. Last week, the Seahawks completed exactly one deep pass (the 4th down touchdown to D.K. Metcalf), and as I mentioned, hardly ran the ball at all. Most of these were short-to-intermediate routes, which is completely counter to everything we’ve ever done before. Pete Carroll prides himself on his offenses taking care of the football. Running, and throwing deep balls to guys in one-on-one situations, are the safest things you can do. As long as your running back isn’t a fumbler, with a guy like Wilson chucking it, you feel like you have a minimal risk of turning it over on a bomb (either your guy gets it, or it’s incomplete; even in the rare instances where it’s picked, that’s still sort of like a punt in the field position game). The odds of turning it over increase when you throw it a lot, and throw it in those short-to-intermediate routes (where there are lots of different defenders running around, some in areas you wouldn’t expect them to be).

Ultimately, I don’t think the Seahawks are going to totally revert to what they’ve always done, but I do think it will be difficult to run that same gameplan out there for a second week in a row and have the same level of success. I think the running game will have to be incorporated more, for the simple reason that I don’t think the Patriots’ coverage will be as soft as the Falcons’ coverage was last week. If their corners start bullying our receivers at the line of scrimmage, or if the Pats play significantly more zone – while their D-Line does everything it can to keep Wilson in the pocket – I think that’ll open us up to switch to running plays at the line of scrimmage. It won’t be the coaching staff asserting their dominance, it’ll be Wilson doing the smart thing and checking to what the defense is giving us.

It has never made sense to continually pound the running back into 8-man boxes. I think what we saw against the Falcons had to do with exactly that: giving our quarterback the freedom to make smart decisions on the fly.

I actually like the Seahawks in this one. It’s a night game, for one, and you know how we always show up for those. While the home-field advantage won’t be there – with no fans in the stands – I would argue that hasn’t been as effective in recent years, as most teams have adapted to playing on a silent count. I just think we’re better than them at this point.

Now, that isn’t to say I believe we’ll blow out the Pats (though, I’m not throwing that concept out of bed either). I kind of see this as a normal Seattle/Carolina matchup, only with a better coaching staff. Cam Newton is the star of that offense (an offense that is pretty bereft of talent, even by Cam Newton standards); he’ll be the man we need to beat. The Patriots have built an offense that features his skillset (meaning: lots of designed quarterback runs) that might end up being even better than some of those elite offenses he ran with the Panthers (having him on a one-year deal makes this more palatable, as if you run him into the ground or get him injured, it’s no long-term risk to your franchise). With Julian Edelman being the only guy that scares you from that receiving corps, it’s never been more The Cam Newton Show than it will be this year. And, for as savvy as Edelman is, I think our cornerbacks won’t have trouble keeping up with him, for the most part.

It’s almost like the Seahawks traded for Jamal Adams with this game in mind in particular. As we all saw, Adams was all over the place last week, frequently up at the line of scrimmage pre-snap, and also frequently diving into the backfield to chase after the quarterback or running back. He was often successful, and more importantly, he punished anyone that he ended up hitting. My biggest concern in this game isn’t the pass rush; it’s the run defense. The Falcons, when they did run the ball, were pretty successful, including a number of chunk runs through considerable holes created by their otherwise so-so offensive line. It’s been YEARS since the Patriots have had an alpha dog at running back; they usually have three or four guys they like to work in there throughout every game. So, it doesn’t really matter who they hand it to, if their O-Line is able to do to our run defense what the Falcons were able to do, they’re going to have an easy time moving the ball down the field (made even easier by the fact that Cam Newton, when healthy, is in the top two among rushing quarterbacks with Lamar Jackson).

That’s where Jamal Adams comes in. Cam is an elite runner; we need an elite defender to shadow him. Bobby Wagner has traditionally been that man for us, and he’ll certainly play a significant role in following Cam around and keeping him in check. But, as we saw last year, Bobby can’t do everything by himself. Having Adams right there with him should be the difference-maker in keeping this Patriots offense from blowing up.

I’ll also be very interested in seeing what Bruce Irvin and L.J. Collier can do in setting the edge on either side of the line. Keeping Cam contained as a scrambler is just as important as stopping him on those designed runs. Irvin didn’t seem to do a whole lot last week, but as the game went on I thought he did a good job of setting that edge (of course, where is the statue that is Matt Ryan going to run to?); he’s going to be vital in this one, and I think he has what it takes to step up in a big way.

I’m a little over 50% convinced the Seahawks win in a close game. I also think there’s a reasonable chance we prevail by double-digits again (in which case, go ahead and lump us in with the Ravens and Chiefs as the best teams in football, because it’ll be Go Time, my friends!). The only way we lose is the same way most elite offenses like ours end up losing: by keeping them on the sidelines. If the Patriots convert an insanely-high percentage of 3rd/4th downs and dominate Time of Possession, they could steal a close one late in the game. There’s an infinitesimal chance the Pats blow us out, so small as to not even be worth thinking about.

I am SOOOOOO excited for this game! Even more than I was last week, and that had all the juice of being the first game of football I’ve seen since the Super Bowl (not counting the Thursday Night game, of course). I think we’re all holding our breath and crossing our fingers and rubbing our lucky rabbit’s feet that this offense will come out slinging it just like we did last week (and, not only that, but producing a similar type of production from a points perspective). All of our collective worst nightmare is if we continue to throw the ball and it fails; we endure multiple 3 & Outs and turnovers in the process. Because then, you seriously have to wonder about the coaching staff abandoning it and going back to what worked before.

Our enjoyment of football is on the line, people! On the biggest stage, against history’s best-ever football coach, and the team that has far-and-away won the most football games over the last two decades! If we succeed here, the rest of 2020 shapes up as one of the most fun football seasons we’ve ever seen. If we fail, the cost will be enormous.

I know I sound like those lying politicians who say this election is the most important in history (how can they ALL be the most important?), but I’ve never been so on edge for a Week 2 football game in my life. I’m 1-0 in both of my fantasy football leagues, yet all I can think about is the actual football team I follow? You KNOW this is a big one!

The Seahawks Beat The Falcons Convincingly, Making Me Exceedingly Happy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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