What a refreshing BYE week for those of us in the Consolation Bracket (as well as the top two seeds in the actual playoffs; I feel like such a big shot!).
In all seriousness, what truly sucks about it is that I scored the second-most points among my Consolation Bracket brethren. And, indeed, I would have beaten my upcoming opponent – Sloane N Steady – if our little mini-tournament had started last week. There’s some conjecture involved there, but in looking at the players he left in his starting lineup – as well as his bench – I had him either way. His guys did nothing.
Which means, of course, that I’m going to get my ass handed to me, now that everything is on the line. I can’t even begin to tell you how important this game is this week. A top two draft pick vs. a draft pick in the 3 or 4 spots doesn’t seem like a lot, but we JUST converted to a full dynasty league, which means all future drafts are going to have a very small pool of talent from which to draw. We’re relying on incoming rookies, or trying to find a diamond in the rough from the leftovers who weren’t kept. Recall in our league, there will be 100 players kept – 10 players on 10 teams (each one of us will keep 2 QBs, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 FLEX, 1 K, 1 DEF) – so the odds of finding a leftover gem are pretty remote. Just as remote as finding a quality rookie.
The thing with rookies is: usually there’s one or two obvious studs on offense. But, three or four? Especially in a year without a clearcut baller at quarterback?
This Consolation Bracket feels just as important as the actual playoffs. I’m just as invested as if I were playing for the prize money. I might be more invested, to be honest! The money is nice, the name on the trophy is nicer, but I haven’t been close to that trophy in years. I’m trying to start a dynasty! I’m trying to build a team from the ground up and contend for that trophy for years to come! I’ve been mediocre for too long, and now I feel I’m close to turning a corner. I just need a break. A spark. Something to ignite my team starting in 2022 and going forward.
Getting that spark starts right now, beating Sloane N Steady. I have to! I need this!
Mac Jones (QB) vs. BUF
Justin Fields (QB) @ SEA
Diontae Johnson (WR) @ KC
D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. CHI
Javonte Williams (RB) @ LV
Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. WAS
Mike Gesicki (TE) @ NO
CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. WAS
Ryan Succop (K) @ CAR
L.A. Rams (DEF) @ MIN
I have an interesting decision to make at quarterback. Everything else is pretty well set. I could toss in CEH against a porous Steelers run defense, but I just don’t trust him. No, my conundrum is what to do between Jones, Fields, and Taylor Heinicke. Jones famously had that 3-pass game against the Bills three weeks ago. I’m banking on that not happening again (obviously, since he scored less than a point in that game), but my alternative – Heinicke – scored only 8.9 points two weeks ago against the Cowboys (and this game is on the road!). I dunno, I may flip-flop before Sunday; the Bills give up the second-fewest points to opposing quarterbacks (though, they’ve given up a bundle the last two weeks, to Tom Brady and Cam Newton, two QBs who are NOTHING like Mac Jones at the moment).
This is another one of those situations where whatever decision I make will be the wrong one. I’m probably so off-base that Fields will actually be the big stinker of the three. You know what’s funny? Last week – again, on my BYE – was only the second time all year that both of my starting quarterbacks scored 20+ points in the same week. How sad is that? Did I say how much I need to win this game (and a top two draft pick for next year)?
Aaron Rodgers (QB) vs. CLE
Zach Wilson (QB) vs. JAX
Mike Evans (WR) @ CAR
Michael Pittman (WR) @ ARI
Nick Chubb (RB) @ GB
Dalvin Cook (RB) vs. LAR
Kyle Pitts (TE) vs. DET
Chase Claypool (WR) @ KC
Brandon McManus (K) @ LV
Kansas City (DEF) vs. PIT
I have Rodgers and Evans in the Splinter League, so I need them to do really, really well. I have Pitts in my third league and need HIM to do really, really well. The other guys on his roster mean nothing to me, but boy does he have some excellent matchups! Wilson against a terrible Jags team? The Chiefs against a terrible Steelers offense (Big Ben should be good for a minimum of two turnovers and forty sacks). Cook is always a superstar, and I’m sure this is the week Chubb gets over 30 points again. FML.
Splinter League Round-Up!
BUCK FUTTER had a relaxing final week of the regular season, going up against a team that had fully given up and didn’t even field a full roster of starting players. It was a good time to have my fourth-lowest scoring output of the season, since it didn’t matter and I won anyway. I finished the regular season 11-4, one game behind Beer Thirty for the top spot. I also finished second in total points scored (behind Beer Thirty, who looks like a true juggernaut). I get to avoid him in the first round, but this league is so stacked at the top, it really doesn’t matter who you face in the playoffs, it’s going to be a tough matchup. I go up against Vinegar Strokes this week, who scored the third-most points this year. I lost the only time I played him, when I scored my lowest output of the season. I have to go into the playoffs without Chris Godwin, who was one of my best position players, now on the IR. I might be without Mike Evans to boot, depending on how fast he heals. I managed to pick up Antonio Brown, so I might run it back with two Bucs receivers, or I might just slot Brown in for Evans if the latter is out this week. We’ll see.
Third League Round-Up!
I did it! I actually beat the top team in the league, and I had no business doing so! I scored among the lowest points in the league last week, but he scored the absolute lowest. I had to sweat it out all the way to Tuesday night though, needing Jalen Hurts to outperform Rashaad Penny and the Rams’ defense. He did, so I make the playoffs! If I’d lost, I would have fallen all the way to sixth place. Instead, I’m in second place, even though I scored the third-fewest points in the league this season. How about that? Everything is gravy at this point. Which is good, because Beer Thirty is also in this league, he scored the second-most points this season, and he’s going up against me this week in the playoffs. Yikes! Wish me luck!
I’m in a little text thread with two of the other guys slated to play in the Consolation Bracket this season. They’re both pretty disgruntled with the new Dynasty format, and have been since the very beginning. I turned out to be one of the swing votes, in that in the past I had always voted against hard change in the league. But, after slowly building things to where we went – to four keepers per year – it finally felt like it was time to make good on a long-ago dream. If you weren’t in a Dynasty League mindset by now, you were never going to get there. I got there, and I’m all in.
I love the Dynasty League! And I’m in absolute last place, with no real hope of climbing out before the end of the season. Spoiler alert: Snoopy & Prickly Pete lost to Toot Cannons 191.85 to 164.35; meanwhile, Korky Butchek won his matchup against The Lance Petemans (the two I referenced in the above text chain) to all but guarantee his avoidance of the Toilet Trophy. Oddly enough, had I won, there would’ve been a three-way tie at the bottom (all 4-9 records) with Korky and my upcoming opponent, Sloane N Steady, which would’ve created a legitimate Toilet Bowl scenario, where – depending on the outcomes – any of the three of us could’ve taken the trophy. As it is, I think it’s mine for sure.
Anyway, my point is, as the worst team in the league, I have the most right to be disgruntled with the new format, but I’m all in. Because I’ve spent the last few years cultivating this mindset. Patience. Playing for the future. Acquiring future keepers either via free agency or trades. It helps that Javonte Williams has gone off the last two weeks (including scoring 29.8 points this past week, when he was given full starter’s reps), shoring up one of my running back spots. I feel like I’m ALMOST there. It’s not a perfect team, that’s obvious. It might not even be a good team next year. But, I should see improvement. I should avoid last place at the very least! Between what I’ve done this year, and how I set my team up going forward with the next year’s draft, there could be a nice little shake-up! We’ll see.
The key to it all is, was, and always has been finding at least one viable quarterback in 2021. Ideally two. But, one for sure. Granted, this is something I’ve been looking for since I can’t even remember anymore. Forever, probably. I thought I had something good with a rookie Carson Wentz. I lost my mind last year when I was able to nab Tua off free agency before he was handed the starter’s job. But, I’ve always kind of half-assed it. I was trying to have it both ways, develop an elite quarterback of the future, while trying to also win. I succeeded in doing neither. This year, it’s been all about the QB position. I’ve had up to six QBs on my roster at any given moment; right now, I have four, including Jordan Love as a lottery ticket. Love is my option if no one else asserts themselves in the next few weeks (or in offseason workouts).
I think I have the one, though. Mac Jones. There’s a lot to like there. He’s in a good system, with a good coaching staff. He’s got good players around him. He’s careful with the football. He’s got some skills and put up some nice fantasy numbers as a rookie. He looks like, at the moment, the best quarterback of this rookie class. We’ll see if that translates to future fantasy success, but he’s the best quarterback I’ve got at the moment.
Well, technically Taylor Heinicke has the most fantasy points on the year, but that’s as underwhelming of a dynasty quarterback as you can get. With that noodle arm? He’d have to be the next Peyton Manning, and I don’t think he is. For me, it’s down to either Justin Fields or Jordan Love as my second QB option heading into next year, but I’m pretty well convinced that I will need to address this position again in the draft next year.
But, I can’t throw away a second season trying to chase down the quarterback position. I need to figure it out next year. Which means I need to be right on Mac Jones. If I have him already in place, then I’m in pretty good shape. There’s hope that he’ll take a step forward in his second season, and then we’ll be off and running.
Unfortunately, I needed him this past week, and he failed to deliver. As noted, Toot Cannons came to play. The return of Kyler Murray buried me in a pretty deep hole. But, Diontae Johnson put up 30.5 to go with Williams’ high score, and the rest of my team did just enough to get me to within 28 points of winning. I had Mac Jones going against Buffalo on Monday Night Football. 28 points isn’t outlandish! An elite quarterback should be able to give you that in a pinch. Of course, Mac Jones has only reached that lofty target a few times this year, so we really needed him to give it all he had. It turns out, I got next-to-nothing from him, as the Patriots threw the ball only three times in their 14-10 victory over the Bills. Mac Jones had zero turnovers and was healthy for the entire game, yet he came away with 0.65 points. That’s not inspiring a ton of confidence heading into next year. (of course, the weather was a mess, with wind gusts up to 55 mph, but that’s neither here nor there).
This is it, the last week of the regular season. I’m 3-10, going up against the 4-9 Sloane N Steady. I would need to win, have Korky Butchek lose to Beasts, and outscore Korky by 59.02 points to avoid the Toilet Trophy. It ain’t happening. You hate to see it. Here’s my team:
Taylor Heinicke (QB) vs. DAL
Justin Fields (QB) @ GB
CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ WAS
Diontae Johnson (WR) @ MIN
Javonte Williams (RB) vs. DET
Alexander Mattison (RB) vs. PIT
D.K. Metcalf (WR) @ HOU
Ryan Succup (K) vs. BUF
L.A. Rams (DEF) @ ARI
Mac Jones is on a BYE, as is tight end Mike Gesicki. I’m going to try to pick up another tight end to keep on my roster the rest of the season, but we’ll see how it goes. At some point, I’m going to have a roster decision to make, because I can only abuse the IR slot so much. Right now, Jordan Love is on COVID IR, which should only work for a day or two (since he’s truly vaccinated and not just immunized). I’ve been trying to shore up my running back position heading into this offseason, but I’d like to keep some options open depending on what happens going into next year. I’ve got some choice backups on my roster I’d love to hold onto, but my team is just too damn healthy at the moment! I might end up dropping a kicker for a little bit until things get less hairy.
Here’s what Sloane N Steady has to work with (he’s another future Consolation Bracket foe I might have to contend with again in the near future):
Derek Carr (QB) @ KC
Aaron Rodgers (QB) vs. CHI
Mike Evans (WR) vs. BUF
Chase Claypool (WR) @ MIN
Nick Chubb (RB) vs. BAL
Darrel Williams (RB) vs. LV
Kyle Pitts (TE) @ CAR
Mark Ingram (RB) @ NYJ
My boy got swallowed up pretty good with the BYEs this week. He’s gonna have to make some moves to fill out his roster; I’m sure there will be ample opportunities out there for him. He also has a number of players that I’m going with in other leagues, so I would love for those guys to play really well (you know who you are).
Splinter League Round-Up!
BUCK FUTTER had the week all wrapped up before Monday, so we didn’t need Mac Jones to do anything (thank Christ!). The win leapfrogged me over Eddie’s team, into second place at 9-4. I’m one game behind Beer Thirty at 10-3, with two weeks to go. I’m not locked into a playoff spot yet, but with one more win I’m all but guaranteed. I have the second-most points in the league (50 behind Beer Thirty), which is appropriate. I just need to not fall apart over the next two games and I should be all right! Then, it’s playoff time, and we let the chips fall where they may. Shout out to Chris Godwin, Matthew Stafford, and the Indy defense for really carrying me last week!
Snoopy & Prickly Pete lost to Sloane N Steady 178.00 – 115.33. Thankfully, it didn’t matter that I started A.J. Brown over D.K. Metcalf (a 20-point swing), nor did it matter that I started Taylor Heinicke over Jameis Winston (a 26.15-point swing), because I got very little out of Mac Jones, CEH landed on the IR, Justin Tucker somehow only got me 3 points in game where the Ravens scored 31, and Noah Fant did Noah Fant things (which involve, almost exclusively, disappointing me). Of course, benching Metcalf, and continuing to refuse to start Jameis speaks to my poor fantasy football instincts. Should I even be allowed to run this team anymore? I’ll take your answer off the air.
That game dropped me to 1-4 on the season, in last place (tied with another 1-4 team, but he has over 100 more points than me).
Someone dropped 49ers running back Trey Sermon, so I made him a waiver claim this week. He’s not doing much of anything right now, but this whole year is dedicated to playing for next year, so my goal is to keep him (and pray he ends the year as a viable replacement for CEH). I waived Jimmy G, who has exhausted all his usefulness to me. He won’t be the starting quarterback there for long, and he’s obviously not a keeper candidate, so there’s no point in dragging his carcass through the season.
Once my claim went through, I needed to make another move. Because, with CEH officially hitting the IR, I needed to pick up a second running back to play this week. The only other running back I had on my roster was another 49er – Jeff Wilson – who is on the PUP list and won’t return for another few weeks. So, I dropped him, moved CEH to my IR spot, and picked up Bears running back Khalil Herbert.
Herbert took a bunch of snaps away from Damien Williams last week – who both played in pretty much a 50/50 share with David Montgomery on the shelf – but is slated to get the lion’s share of the running back load with Williams on the COVID IR. I very well may have to stream a second running back from week to week, but here’s hoping Herbert turns out to be something.
Here’s my lineup for Week 6:
Taylor Heinicke (QB) vs. KC
Mac Jones (QB) vs. DAL
Diontae Johnson (WR) vs. SEA
D.K. Metcalf (WR) @ PIT
Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ NE
Khalil Herbert (RB) vs. GB
Noah Fant (TE) vs. LV
CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ NE
Justin Tucker (K) vs. LAC
L.A. Rams (DEF) @ NYG
This week, Jameis is on a BYE, and Justin Fields is going up against Green Bay. Fields had a season-high 11.95 points last week against the Raiders in a victory. He didn’t have to do much and doesn’t seem to be anywhere close to a viable fantasy quarterback. I don’t love the Mac Jones matchup against the Cowboys – whereas Fields against a poor Packers defense might actually be interesting – but at least Jones has a couple 20-point games under his belt. I need to see literally ANYTHING from Fields before I can put him back in my starting lineup.
With Trey Sermon also on a BYE, the only other skill guy I have is A.J. Brown. I’m benching him because he still fucking sucks, though I may insert him over Metcalf, because I don’t trust Geno Smith to get him the ball as far as I can throw him. I may also have my hand forced because Metcalf is dealing with injury issues and could possibly sit for this game.
I’m going up against Space Forcin’, who had two guys go last night:
Patrick Mahomes (QB) @ WAS
Tom Brady (QB) @ PHI
Davante Adams (WR) @ CHI
Chris Godwin (WR) @ PHI
Antonio Gibson (RB) vs. KC
Chase Edmonds (RB) @ CLE
Dalton Schultz (TE) @ NE
Brandin Cooks (WR) @ IND
Matt Prater (K) @ CLE
Carolina (DEF) vs. MIN
Brady and Godwin already combined for 14 points under their expected totals, which should help a great deal. Mahomes, on the other hand, could easily make up for that all by himself (against a TERRIBLE Football Team defense). I don’t love Edmonds against the Browns, and I think Schultz could be in for a long game against the Pats. Luckily, I avoided Alvin Kamara, who is on BYE this week.
I’m happy I got the 49ers running back, but I’m still pretty dismayed that zero of the quarterbacks on my roster have emerged. This is not the way I wanted this season to go.
Splinter League Round-Up!
I kicked some fuckin’ ass last week, over the guy who had Lamar Jackson and his 60+ points. It was my first 200-point week! My lowest total came from my 49ers defense, and that was still a respectable 11 points. This week, I’m already in a huge fucking hole, though, as both Evans and Godwin stunk it up last night. Kamara is on bye, which hurts, but I get another week out of Hubbard. I also managed to nab the Colts’ defense, with the 49ers on BYE; they’re expected to CRUSH Houston, so watch them give up 35 points. I can’t keep playing .500 ball all year and expect to make the 4-team playoffs! My team is too good for this!
I’m just going to say this right now: I picked the best-possible weekend to get away to Leavenworth, because almost NOTHING went right for me, sports-wise. On top of the Mariners and Huskies bungling things, all three of my fantasy teams collectively shit their respective beds!
Snoopy & Prickly Pete lost to Toot Cannons 157.48 to 129.90. With a score that feeble, you’d expect my team had problems throughout the lineup, but really it was just a matter of having the worst quarterback situation in the league, combined with the Rams’ defense getting boat-raced.
My position players – save CeeDee Lamb, who mystifyingly did nothing in a game where the Cowboys scored 36 points (it happens, I guess) – all did okay! Metcalf had 16.5 points, Zeke got me 20.3, even CEH got me 19.4. Noah Fant had a respectable tight end day with 16.6, and Diontae Johnson busted out with 24.2 (making the waiver claim my highest scorer on the week). I even got 13 points from my kicker! I would take those scores from those guys every week and be happy.
But, Jimmy G was held to 10.25 points (before being pulled with a “calf injury” at halftime), and Justin Fields was held to 7.35. If I’d gone with Jameis and Mac Jones, I could’ve added approximately 21 points to my total, but that still wouldn’t have made up for the -1 I got from the Rams’ defense. I was just destined to lose this game.
Toot Cannons didn’t blow my doors off or anything; he didn’t put up 200+ like you can in this league. But, he had competent quarterbacks, and a huge day from Saquon Barkley, Najee Harris, Justin Jefferson, and Darren Waller. Those are the kinds of young studs I wish I had.
I managed to get Taylor Heinicke in a waiver claim, which I feel like is the last possible moment someone can get this guy. He’s been good-to-great since he’s been in the lineup! Certainly better than any of my quarterbacks I’ve been rolling with. He put up 36.8 against the Falcons for Christ’s sake! I don’t know if he’s a viable long-term option, but for the rest of this year he’s a must-start for me until things take a turn for the worse.
I have lots of other last-minute decisions to make this week, because I’ve got lots of guys who are KINDA injured, but might still play. What I want to do is bench D.K. Metcalf, because Jalen Ramsey always makes him his bitch. But, I don’t know if A.J. Brown is going to for-sure play or not, and with my bench structured the way it is (with all these quarterbacks), it’s not like I’m loaded with alternatives to start at the rest of my spots. Plus, even if Brown plays – it’s a great matchup against a terrible Jags defense – who knows if he’ll just be out there as a decoy, or if he’ll actually be incorporated into the offense? If Brown suits up, I might put him in for Diontae Johnson (who has a tough matchup against the Broncos), but like I said, that’ll be a last-minute decision (that I’m sure I’ll get wrong, no matter what I choose).
I really have a conundrum at the QB spot. Jimmy G may or may not go; I like his chances for a high-scoring game against the Cards, as they will need to throw a lot to stay in it. Justin Fields may or may not go, with Andy Dalton on the mend; but he’s yet to score over 8 fantasy points in our league, so is he worth starting at this point, after doing nothing against the Lions? I’m leaning Jameis against the Washington Football Team, but he keeps getting TDs sniped inside the 10 yard line by the bane of my existence Taysom Hill. Mac Jones looked semi-competent against the Bucs and has a solid matchup against the lowly Texans.
So, I dunno what I’ll do. Here’s how my lineup tentatively shakes out for Week 5:
Taylor Heinicke (QB) vs. NO
Mac Jones (QB) @ HOU
D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. LAR
Diontae Johnson (WR) vs. DEN
Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. NYG
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB) vs. BUF
Noah Fant (TE) @ PIT
CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. NYG
Justin Tucker (K) vs. IND
L.A. Rams (DEF) @ SEA
Justin Tucker is my favorite person on the planet. I’m hoping for a big bounce-back game out of Lamb. Zeke looks rejuvenated with Dak back in the fold. And, I fully expect the Rams to make Russell Wilson’s life miserable all game long.
My opponent this week is Sloane N Steady. I’m currently in 9th place with a 1-3 record; he is currently in 10th place with a 1-3 record (only two points separate us). It’s a rumble for last place! You hate to see it. Here’s what I have to go against:
Aaron Rodgers (QB) @ CIN
Derek Carr (QB) vs. CHI
Mike Evans (WR) vs. MIA
Michael Pittman Jr. (WR) @ BAL
Nick Chubb (RB) @ LAC
Dalvin Cook (RB) vs. DET
Kyle Pitts (TE) vs. NYJ
Kareem Hunt (RB) @ LAC
TBD (K) vs. TBD
San Francisco (DEF) @ ARI
He’s got good quarterbacks, he’s got elite running backs, so I don’t totally get why he’s doing so poorly this year. His receivers are a little lacking, but it seems like he could fix that in free agency. And, it feels like it’s only a matter of time before Kyle Pitts busts out.
I don’t like my chances, but then again I never do. I think I’ll have sole possession of last place when this week is done, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to climb out of it the rest of the year. I just need to figure something out for the Consolation Bracket and try to finagle my way into a Top 2 pick for next year.
Splinter League Round-Up!
I’m starting to regret adding this segment to my weekly fantasy column, because BUCK FUTTER has lost two games in four weeks now; I was projected to lose only one all season! I don’t know what happened, but my non-QBs totally shit the bed. Chuba Hubbard was a waste of a waiver claim, and Waddle and Godwin did practically nothing. I’ll try to right the ship next week, but it’s like I’m getting everyone’s best efforts every week.
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.
Still I can’t let go! Tua belongs to me! I belong Tua!
This was supposed to be a Get Right game for Tua (against the Jets), but instead he suffered some sort of thumb injury beforehand (!) and didn’t even play. That left me scrambling to get his backup, but thankfully I was on the ball this time. So, it was The Return Of FitzMagic who was … fine. 25.85 points is actually pretty good for me, but obviously when you’re going up against the Jets you’d like to see 30+ out of your quarterback. In the end, it didn’t matter because I was smart enough to sub Kirk Cousins in for Carson Wentz, who ended up getting me 35.25 (compared to Wentz’s 22.95), and Nobody Beats The Wiz ended up defeating Korky Butchek 172.78 to 104.90.
What a drubbing! And, it could’ve been so much worse, but I got cold feet at the last minute with Deebo Samuel. Once Tua was ruled out, I was able to stash him in one of my IR spots, giving me an opportunity to pick up Atlanta’s backup running back – Brian Hill, who was starting in place of the injured Todd Gurley – who I figured would be good for 10 points or so, with upside in the high teens. I was honestly more worried that the Rams’ defense would destroy the 49ers, but boy was I mistaken! Hill only got 5.5, while Deebo racked up 24.3 for my bench (and, to boot, the 49ers actually beat the Rams, to help the Seahawks out!).
But, on top of my QBs killing it, I had a lot of guys running up the score. A.J. Brown, Dallas Goedert, and the Rams’ defense all had over 20 points (with DeVante Parker getting 19.9); that was enough to overcome my three running backs scoring me a combined 13.8.
The victory puts me at 7-5 on the season, and thanks to Sausage Shaped Pest losing, guarantees me a spot in this year’s playoffs! Now, all I have to worry about is playoff seeding.
I was about to get into all the possible scenarios, but they are too varied to count. Suffice it to say I’m currently in 5th place; the highest I can climb is to third place (if I win and the two teams above me – also 7-5 – lose their games). The lowest I can finish is 6th place; I have no tiebreaker advantages because I have the fewest points scored of all the teams in the playoffs. I wish I knew the history of being the playoff team with the fewest points, but I’ve never been in this position! Usually, I’m one of the teams that scores MORE than one (or more) of the playoff teams, but due to bad luck ends up in the Consolation Bracket. So, this is uncharted territory for me; hopefully my team gets hot at the right time!
This week, Nobody Beats The Wiz gets a meaningless matchup against Sausage Shaped Pest. It most likely won’t matter either way if I win or lose, so watch me have my best game of the entire season (right before having my absolute worst game, to bounce me from the playoffs). Here’s my lineup anyway (subject to change, if I get a wild hair up my ass about something on Sunday morning):
Kirk Cousins (QB) vs. JAX
Ryan Fitzpatrick or Tua Tagovailoa (QB) vs. CIN
A.J. Brown (WR) vs. CLE
DeVante Parker (WR) vs. CIN
Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ BAL
Josh Jacobs (RB) @ NYJ
Dallas Goedert (TE) @ GB
Deebo Samuel (WR) vs. BUF
Harrison Butker (K) vs. DEN
L.A. Rams (DEF) @ ARI
It seems to be a toss-up as to who will start for Miami this week; is Tua’s injury healed? We’ll see! My three receivers all have great matchups this week; my running backs less so (especially if Jacobs’ sprained ankle doesn’t allow him to play; then I’ll have to start CEH against Denver’s stout defense). But, again, I’m not too worried because this game is meaningless. Here’s Sausage Shaped Pest’s roster this week:
Derek Carr (QB) @ NYJ
Kyler Murray (QB) vs. LAR
Michael Thomas (WR) @ ATL
Justin Jefferson (WR) vs. JAX
Gio Bernard (RB) @ MIA
Wayne Gallman (RB) @ SEA
Darren Waller (TE) @ NYJ
Brandin Cooks (WR) vs. IND
Brandon McManus (K) @ KC
Cleveland (DEF) @ TEN
That’s a pretty good team, that’s been decimated by injuries. He should have Joe Mixon and Saquon Barkley as his starting running backs, but both are currently on IR. He’s also got Mike Evans on BYE this week to hamper his flex spot. Nevertheless, there’s a lot of firepower left over. My guess is he’ll pick up a new defense this week, but he also might not care because he’s already been doomed to the Consolation Bracket.
Next week, I’ll have a playoff preview, since I’m guaranteed to be playing in Week 14. The top two seeds – both with 8-4 records at the moment – while they don’t have their BYEs locked in, they’ve at least locked me out (since they have SO MANY more points than I do). Nevertheless, you know what’s crazy? I have the longest active winning streak in the league right now, of four games, with a very good chance to make it five heading into the playoffs. The hottest team wins no awards, and it has no bearing on what happens in the all-important playoffs. But, I feel better than I did two months ago, when it comes to my team! I’ve done everything I can to try to improve my lineup, and now it’s up to the players to lead me to victory or (more likely) submarine me into the briny deep.
Now that I feel somewhat okay about my lot in (fantasy football) life, watch it all blow up in my fucking face. Next week, I’ll take you down Memory Lane, and look at all of my fantasy football finishes in this league, dating back to 2003 (when we joined Yahoo!). Spoiler Alert: there’s A LOT of mediocrity!
I honestly really don’t mind as much the weeks where there’s literally nothing I could’ve done to improve my chances. Nobody Beats The Wiz went up against a buzzsaw in the form of Korky Butchek. He got it started with a 30-point explosion last Thursday from his Jacksonville running back, and ultimately ran away with it partway through the morning games on Sunday. I lost 201.85 to 140.63, and none of my batshit tinkering mattered in the slightest.
In fact, one of my better tinkering moves in YEARS came in the form of picking up Indy’s defense, who got me 39 points; easily my best “player” of the week. I otherwise got good games out of Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Ezekiel Elliott, but they can’t all be abominations I suppose.
I’m not ready to call Daniel Jones a bust, but I’m FULLY prepared to rail against those idiots who are running the New York Football Giants. Why in the holiest of FUCKS would you put so much draft stock in your quarterback and running back – the two most important positions in your offensive attack – and not shore up the offensive line? I mean, ARE you stupid? I legitimately want to know, so I can avoid anything you have any part in from here to eternity!
Otherwise, I’m ready to move on to next week. The Mitch Trubisky Experiment was a collosal bust. Going up against Atlanta’s absurdly inept defense, he was so ineffective that the head coach pulled him in the third quarter (right before Nick Foles led the Bears on a massive comeback to win it late). Carson Wentz took a week off from being in my starting lineup, but I’m ready to kiss and make up. I can’t say he was impressive against the Bungles, but he did outscore my other two quarterbacks (as I figured he would, as soon as I benched him). At this point, I’m just hoping for mediocrity; I’ll settle for that after the disasters I’ve had to endure so far this season.
Now is the part of the column where we talk about my latest round of waiver claims and free agent pick-ups! Of course, I tried to get another quarterback, with Mitch Trubisky effectively fantasy poison. My claims for Ryan Fitzpatrick and Nick Foles were both thwarted, so I settled for 49ers backup Nick Mullens. If he plays this week, I’ll start him over Daniel Jones; if he’s not, then I guess I’m fucked, aren’t I? I did also put in a claim for Vikings first round receiver Justin Jefferson who had a big game last week. They need SOMEONE opposite Adam Thielen to step up in that offense, and he looks like the likeliest candidate. Considering the Vikings will frequently be losing in games, they will need to throw quite a bit, so there could be lots of targets and points on the table for me.
I ended up dropping the aforementioned Trubisky, as well as the Washington defense. I’ll be rolling with just the Colts for a while and see how that goes.
Nobody Beats The Wiz is facing off against To Be Named By Casey (who has apparently not gotten around to actually naming this team yet). It’s a battle of 1-2 vs. 0-3! Titans of the fantasy football industry! His team isn’t quite as bad as his 0-3 record might indicate, as he’s suffered a lot of injuries to his primary weapons (a lot of guys who figure to be back in his lineup just in time to face me; thanks fantasy gods!). Not for nothing, but I’m not so sure my team is as GOOD as my one win might indicate! We could be looking at a really long season. Here’s my lineup this week:
Carson Wentz (QB) @ SF
Daniel Jones (QB) @ LAR
Odell Beckham (WR) @ DAL
CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. CLE
Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. CLE
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB) vs. NE
Noah Fant (TE) @ NYJ
Josh Jacobs (RB) vs. BUF
Harrison Butker (K) vs. NE
Indianapolis (DEF) @ CHI
Mullens I’ve already talked about; I’m all for putting him into my lineup if he’s starting this week. I have three non-IR receivers on my bench right now, but none of their matchups look particularly good. My team is what it is, I just need guys to perform. Here’s my opponent:
Kyler Murray (QB) @ CAR
Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB) vs. SEA
Mike Evans (WR) vs. LAC
Michael Thomas (WR) @ DET
Joe Mixon (RB) vs. JAX
Myles Gaskin (RB) vs. SEA
Mark Andrews (TE) @ WAS
Darren Waller (TE) vs. BUF
Robbie Gould (K) vs. PHI
Chicago (DEF) vs. IND
He also has Derek Carr at quarterback, but given their matchup against the Bills, it makes much more sense to play Fitzpatick against the hapless Seahawks defense. His receivers are elite; my only hope is Michael Thomas hasn’t fully returned from his ankle injury and he’s used more as a decoy. Mark Andrews had a bad game against the Chiefs on Monday Night, so look for him to score three touchdowns against Washington. The other flex spot could go to a number of guys, but I see Waller in there now, so figure he’s as good as anyone.
I have zero reason for confidence that Nobody Beats The Wiz can win this week or ever again! It’s grim, folks! I have three running backs I like and that’s about it! I mean, at some point you have to ask yourself when this failing fantasy franchise is going to fire its general manager (me) and find someone more competent to take over the job!
Oh that’s right, I’ve decided to name my team after the great Seinfeld character!
Anyway, we had our draft last Friday, and of course I opted to go rogue. Look, I don’t know who reads this! I can’t be handing my league-mates possible insights into my fantasy football mind! So, you know, I conveniently left out the part that my top two guys were NOT Mike Evans and Aaron Jones, but rather:
To be fair, I did talk about Sanders last week. In going back and looking at his numbers, I didn’t realize just how many targets he gets in the passing game! Considering I also have his quarterback – Carson Wentz – and they still might not have the best crop of wide receivers in the world, I wouldn’t have thrown that connection out of bed.
But, all along, my true number one was always Clyde Edwards-Helaire (I might just shorten that to CEH even though it looks like an unpleasant search term on Pornhub or something). Remember before when I was bemoaning how there weren’t any great rookie running backs in this class? Remember how I wanted my Saquon Barkley? Well, he might be it! He was looking like a dark horse fantasy candidate before Damien Williams decided to opt out of this season due to COVID, but now that he’s the true #1 on the Chiefs, there’s just no denying him! His potential is through the roof!
Sanders would’ve been the safer pick, because at least he has a year of experience. But, I’ll take upside every time.
Just as I suspected, the guy with the #1 draft pick – COVID Bubble Boys – opted to go quarterback with his first selection: Drew Brees. Definitely a Playing For Now type of guy, and you have to respect that. He’s already got Lamar Jackson, might as well take his shot every chance he gets!
That left me with my pick of the litter, CEH. Sure enough, Miles Sanders went #3. THEN Joe Burrow went off the board! Followed by Aaron Jones, Tom Brady, Mike Evans (to the guy who had him last year, in effect giving him five keepers), Baker Mayfield, Chris Carson, and D.K. Metcalf rounding out the Top Ten.
That D.K. Metcalf pick is an interesting one, because he was CERTAINLY a guy I was targeting (although, I wanted him much later than when he went). That’s what’s hard about being in a fantasy football league with guys who either currently live in the Seattle area or have lived a long time in the Seattle area: the good Seahawks tend to get over-valued. Russell Wilson, for instance, has been on the same fantasy team since his rookie year, kept every single time by the same guy. Chris Carson is certainly an elite running back when he’s healthy, but he’s finished every year of his pro career with an injury, and there’s no reason for that not to continue. Tyler Lockett was kept this year mostly because that guy didn’t have a great fourth option for his keepers. And, while Metcalf certainly looked phenomenal in his rookie season last year, he’s still young and still a member of this offense, that likes to spread the ball around more than just about any other.
Metcalf COULD be the next Julio Jones; he seems to be driven as such. But, in this offense, he’s very touchdown-dependant (and very deep play-dependant). You might see a lot of lines like: 4 catches for 88 yards and 2 TDs. Which, yeah, is 24.8 points in our league, but without those two touchdowns, you’re looking at 12.8 points (which is okay, but nothing to write home about, especially for the first receiver you’ve drafted). In my mind, Metcalf would’ve been an ideal third receiver for a fantasy team, so I was a little disappointed he went off the board before I’d even selected my first.
That brings us to the second round (I won’t go through all of them, I promise); with three RBs on my team, I knew I was going receiver, regardless. Thankfully, some great ones remained! Kenny Golladay ended up going one spot ahead of me, but I was okay with that, because it means I get to enjoy Odell Beckham Jr. for the first time in my fantasy career!
I don’t know how ODB fell to me, but I’ll take him! I mean, I sort of know how he fell to me: he plays for Cleveland. He’s a diva. He could score me 40 points … or he could get so mad, blow up, and retire in the middle of a football game. It’s all on the table! The headache and the constant worry can be a little much, and I get that. If he were my first draft selection, I’d be much more nervous; but, as a second? The pressure is off! I’ve already got the guy I’ll be looking to keep next year. Had I landed ODB back when he was on the Giants, I’d be looking at him with those same eyes, figuring I’d hold onto him for many years to come. But, this way? I see him as a one-year rental. A hired gun to help bring me a championship.
I went back to the WR well in round three. Two top receivers from the 2019 rookie class – Scary Terry McLaurin and A.J. Brown – were both sitting there (among many others, of course). Once again, my choice was made for me by the COVID Bubble Boys, as he nabbed Scary Terry. That was a tough one; I had him last year, and was looking to reinvest! The Washington Football Team is a disaster – and they’re starting with Dwayne Haskins at quarterback, which could be a shitshow – but Scary Terry is a rising star and could help make anyone throwing to him look good! So, I settled for A.J. Brown. Considering I thought he might’ve been a keeper at one point, I think that’s a pretty swell consolation prize. I’m not a believer in Ryan Tannehill, but I’m also willing to be wrong. If he – and the Titans – can recapture that magic from 2019, then A.J. Brown could be even BETTER than a #2 receiver.
A lot of other receivers were taken in that round, but I wanted to get one more just to be safe. So, with my fourth pick, I went with DeVante Parker. It was either him or Robert Woods or Michael Gallup (kinda wish I’d remembered he was out there and grabbed him instead) or Courtland Sutton. Parker has been around for a while, but had a breakout season last year; when he’s on, he’s a bona fide #1 guy. But, I think the risk with him is that he doesn’t totally buy in. That he’s more of a fair-weather football player. Plus, he plays for the Miami Dolphins, and they will likely be breaking in a rookie quarterback at some point this year. Look, I’m not expecting a lot out of Parker; I mostly just took him because Yahoo had him rated so high (and because I REALLY didn’t want to pick LeVeon Bell, who fell REALLY far in this draft because he’s old and on the Jets and it’s pretty apparent the current Jets coaching staff doesn’t like him much). If we look back at where I screwed up my season, I’ll be looking at this pick (and probably wishing I’d gone with Gallup).
With my two quarterbacks, three running backs, and three receivers, I took a couple chances on some guys who might not help me right away; “projects” or “developmental guys” if you will. Cam Akers, rookie running back for the Rams, was my fifth pick. I love a running back from an explosive offense! The Rams sent Todd Gurley packing, so that running back job is wide open. I don’t think Akers will start right away, but he could get the nod as the season wears on. If he proves himself, he could be either a valuable trade chip OR a stud for me in the fantasy playoffs.
Then, with my sixth pick, I grabbed receiver Deebo Samuel. He’s injured at the moment, but has just started practicing, and could come off of whatever injured list he’s on. No one figures he’ll play much in the first couple weeks, but if he heals properly, he could be another boost for me after the season gets going. The downside is, of course, that his injury is to his foot, and foot injuries for receivers are notoriously chronic. Part of me worries that he’ll be dealing with this foot thing all year, which won’t be enough to put him on the IR, but will hamper him JUST enough to be rendered ineffective. I suspect the minute I feel confident in starting him will be the game where he comes out in the first quarter with that foot injury, never to return again.
You’ll notice I have yet to mention selecting a tight end. What can I say? The good ones didn’t stick around, and I always saw a better receiver or running back when it was my turn to pick. Finally, I had to bite the bullet. There were a couple potentially-solid guys left over – Hayden Hurst for the Falcons went in the following round, and Hunter Henry for the Chargers went a round after THAT – but I opted to go with second year player Noah Fant for the Broncos. As a first round pick for Denver last year, CLEARLY Fant is someone they want to feature pretty heavily in their offense. Reports indicate they’re moving him all around pre-snap (from along the O-Line, to in the slot, to out wide like a receiver) and I take that as a VERY positive sign that he has a lot of fantasy upside. I know, Drew Lock is their quarterback, but even mediocre throwers still manage to find a tight end safety valve every now and then. I don’t ask a lot from my tight ends; just get me around ten points per week. Anything more than that is gravy. I have a feeling that I might be eating a lot of gravy this year with Fant in the fold.
With my eighth pick, it was time to buy a lottery ticket. Mecole Hardman, wide receiver with the Chiefs. He’s mostly just a big play wide receiver, but he has the best of the big play quarterbacks throwing to him! He’s also one Tyreek Hill injury away from being this team’s #1 guy (and, with the way Hill plays – always putting his body in harm’s way to make a play – that’s not much of a stretch for me to make).
Confident with the rest of my roster – from a skill position perspective, anyway – I decided to use my ninth pick to take the first kicker off the board: Harrison Butker, also of the Chiefs. Give me as many Chiefs as you got! My man Crazy N8’s Prostates bemoaned the pick – as he had the same idea – and he had to settle for Justin Tucker few picks later.
With two rounds left, I still needed a third quarterback and a defense. Yikes, I know. I was eyeballing a third quarterback as early as that DeVante Parker selection, but none of the leftovers really caught my eye. Down to the nitty gritty, there STILL wasn’t anyone who caught my eye; it came down to Teddy Bridgewater, Dwayne Haskins, Mitch Trubisky, and the guy I ended up going with: Sam Darnold of the Jets. Yeah, I know.
Trubisky was a hard pass, because his career is on the ropes, and I don’t know if he’ll still have the starting job by the time I need him (my starting QBs have BYEs in weeks 9 and 11, so it should be some time before I actually NEED a third guy). Of course, idiot that I am, I didn’t realize until the moment of this writing that Darnold ALSO has a BYE in week 11 (SIGH), but I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. Anyway, I ruled out Bridgewater because I don’t think he’s good, and that team he’s on has no one but an elite running back to throw to. I ruled out Haskins because he sucks and that team sucks. That’s not saying much, because I also think Darnold sucks (and the fantasy league would seem to agree, considering how far he fell) and the Jets suck, but I do believe Darnold has SOME upside. This will be his third year, after recovering from an injury-plagued start to his career. Love or hate his head coach, the guy at least has a reputation as someone who does well with quarterbacks. I don’t plan on starting Darnold unless absolutely necessary. But, if he proves – with improved play – that he’s viable, I may have to work him in (considering I can’t be totally sold on someone like Danny Dimes at this point in his development).
Regretfully, the New England defense went one spot before I picked Darnold; the Patriots were CARRIED by their defense last year, and by all accounts they should be good in 2020 as well (my only concern was not knowing who on their team has opted out of this season for COVID reasons). With my final pick, I went with the highest-rated defense remaining: the Indianapolis Colts. I don’t have a lot of confidence, but I fully expect there to be a good defense for me to grab on waivers at some point.
Yahoo graded me with a B+ which is good for middle-of-the-road in our league (5th in rankings). However, I’m projected for a second place finish in our league at the moment of this writing! I have the league’s youngest team once again, but I’m hoping it actually pays off this time.
More than anything, I’m hoping my team name proves prophetic. Nobody Beats The Wiz? I sure hope so! It couldn’t be any worse than that year I went as Mr. Poopy Butthole …
Really quick, let’s take a look at this week’s matchup. Nobody Beats The Wiz is facing off against the aforementioned Crazy N8’s Prostates. Here’s my lineup:
Wentz (QB) @ Was
Jones (QB) vs. Pit
ODB (WR) @ Bal
Brown (WR) @ Den
Jacobs (RB) @ Car
CEH (RB) vs. Hou
Fant (TE) vs. Ten
Elliott (RB) @ LAR
Butker (K) vs. Hou
Ind (DEF) @ Jax
Predictably, I’m expected to be carried by my running backs. I think Yahoo is under-projecting Wentz against a terrible Washington Football Team, but they might be over-hyping Indianapolis against the Jaguars, who won’t be good, but could still be a little frisky on offense. Crazy N8’s Prostates is projected to win our league this year, and is favored against me this week. Here’s his lineup:
Dak Prescott (QB) @ LAR
Josh Allen (QB) vs. NYJ
Allen Robinson (WR) @ Det
Keenan Allen (WR) @ Cin
James Conner (RB) @ NYG
Aaron Jones (RB) @ Min
Travis Kelce (TE) vs. Hou
Robert Woods (WR) vs. Dal
Justin Tucker (K) vs. Cle
San Francisco (DEF) vs. Ari
I have … a lot of concerns. I could see that Cowboys/Rams game being a shootout. I think Josh Allen is going to RAMPAGE over a terrible Jets defense. His receivers both have juicy matchups against mediocre secondaries. Kelce should thrive against the Texans. And, even the 49ers could come up with lots of turnovers in taking advantage of a Cardinals offense that’s pretty aggressive.
Thankfully, there’s so many unknowns at this point in the season. Even after the first week, it’s hard to draw any firm conclusions. I just need to ride the wave of anxiety and hope for the best. I think I have a pretty solid team from top to bottom. But, teams are rarely as good on paper as they end up being in real life. Who will be the great disappointers this year? I can hardly wait to find out!
Well, the keepers are set in place, and now I get to look forward to our draft this Friday. There were some minor surprises – and a couple big ones – so without further ado, let’s take a quick glance at how wrong I was about my projected keepers for the rest of the league:
Russell Wilson, Christian McCaffrey, Chris Godwin, Matt Ryan (all correct)
Dak Prescott, Josh Allen, James Conner, Travis Kelce (Odell Beckham Jr., Mark Ingram, and Keenan Allen all available to draft)
Deshaun Watson, George Kittle, Derrick Henry, Cam Newton (Aaron Jones)
Jared Goff, Drew Lock, DeAndre Hopkins, JuJu Smith-Schuster (A.J. Brown and Raheem Mostert)
Kyler Murray, Saquon Barkley, Michael Thomas, Joe Mixon (Mike Evans)
Aaron Rodgers, Nick Chubb, Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen (Amari Cooper)
Patrick Mahomes, Alvin Kamara, Davante Adams, Tyler Lockett (all correct)
Jimmy Garoppolo, Tyreek Hill, Gardner Minshew, Todd Gurley (Matthew Stafford)
Lamar Jackson, Julio Jones, Austin Ekeler, Kenyan Drake (Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold)
I remember being MUCH more successful in predicting my league’s keepers before last season, so I don’t know what that says about me or the state of the NFL right now, but it makes the upcoming draft more interesting!
Until I saw the actual keepers, I wasn’t too thrilled about my prospects as the guy with the #2 overall draft pick. It just seemed like there wouldn’t be anyone really dominating for me to select. BUT, I see two guys among the leftovers who are VERY exciting! Not just for 2020, but for many years to come potentially!
Of this group, Mike Evans and Aaron Jones are both VERY enticing to me. Either one of them could fall to me and I’d be ecstatic with whoever I get. I know I bemoaned Tom Brady’s noodle arm last week, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be interested in the weapons he has to throw to. For starters, Brady isn’t totally inept; he hasn’t fallen completely off the cliff just yet. While Mike Evans has been mostly a deep threat thus far in his career, he still has a ton of value as a red zone target, and should thrive with someone like Brady throwing jump balls his way. If, by the grace of all that is holy, both Evans and Jones were to fall to me, I’d have to go with Evans simply because the drop-off at receiver is so steep among him and the rest of the leftovers.
Odell Beckham Jr. is, of course, one of those leftovers. I can’t say that I agree with exposing him to the rest of the league while keeping someone like Josh Allen, but you know, there’s a reason why I haven’t won a league championship in the fantasy trophy era (2010-Present). I think the Cleveland Browns – and by extension, their players – are pretty underrated in 2020, after being so very OVER-rated heading into 2019, so there could be some good value in guys like ODB and Baker Mayfield. If I picked lower in the first round, I’d be over the moon if someone like ODB fell to me; someone is going to get an absolute steal.
Aaron Jones was one of the best running backs in all of football last year, at least from a fantasy perspective. So, it’s shocking to see him available. But, it’s telling that he is, because the owner who exposed him is also a lifelong Packers fan. If HE’S not keeping Aaron Jones, there must be a reason (he’s also the reigning league champion, but that’s in spite of him auto-drafting last year, as well as never checking his e-mail, so we’re all in agreement that this was a fluke, and if his wife weren’t cc’d on all league e-mails, we’d probably never hear from him again). I have to believe Aaron Jones still has a lot of value, though, so if Mike Evans goes to the guy drafting #1 overall, I’m okay with nabbing Jones, even though I’ve already kept two running backs. There’s still the FLEX spot, and there are only so many bona fide, workhorse running backs in the league, so you really can’t have too many.
That would, of course, necessitate my drafting wide receivers in both the second and third rounds (which might see me needing to reach for some lesser players, but that’s the price you pay, I guess).
As I stated before, I still haven’t done a ton of research heading into the draft, as my objective at this point is still to mostly go by what Yahoo tells me. But, to pique my curiosity, I checked the season projections and found some surprising guys among the leftovers.
Miles Sanders, running back for the Eagles, is rated VERY high. Even higher than Aaron Jones! I can’t remember the last time an Eagles running back was worth more than an in-season free agent pickup (probably Shady McCoy), because they so often are in a time-share with multiple backs. But, he’s been definitively named the starter by the head coach, which is saying a lot but also not saying anything at all. Why would the head coach be motivated to give away such news for free to the rest of the league? Also, there’s no saying he has to stick with that, if Sanders under-produces or gets hurt. Sanders was really good towards the end of last year though, so I think that’s where the hope lies.
Not ODB nor Mike Evans is the highest-ranked wide receiver remaining; that falls to Allen Robinson of the Bears. I don’t totally get that, but ESPN also has him ranked pretty high, so I guess I have to believe it. With Chicago’s quarterback situation being what it is, I don’t have ANY faith in any of their players, but if he somehow falls to the second round, I might have to take him anyway.
Kenny Golladay is also rated above ODB and Evans, and he seems like a safer pick. He has elite talent, and Matthew Stafford is healthy again. It’s looking highly likely that MANY wide receivers are going to fly off the board in the first three rounds of our draft, so I’ll be interested to see who I’m able to grab.
Mark Andrews, Zach Ertz, and Darren Waller are the three tight ends I’m looking at right now. Andrews is probably the only guy worth reaching for (maybe in the second or third round, if he’s still there), but if the draft doesn’t fall the way I want it to, I have no problem waiting until the end of the draft to pick up a tight end. There will be someone on waivers worth claiming in the first week or two of the regular season.
I need to resist the urge to get a third quarterback too early, but there are LOTS of veteran options out there (who I would anticipate get snapped up before I have a chance), including Drew Brees, Brady, Stafford, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Kirk Cousins, Derek Carr, Ryan Tannehill, and Tyrod Taylor. There’s also Baker Mayfield, who still has a lot of potential to be great, as well as Darnold and Dwayne Haskins (who stunk last year, but is still young enough to turn it around). And then, of course, there are the rookies. The more I think about it, the less inclined I am to want to reach too early for any of them. I also wonder if Joe Burrow won’t be the first overall player taken in the draft, considering the guy picking there and how badly he’s been looking to shore up his QB spots. Having Lamar Jackson and Joe Burrow for the next generation might be too tantalizing to pass up.
If you want to read about my 2019 fantasy football season, click HERE and you can see all the prior links at the top. And, if you want to read about my 2018 season (which has a lot of good info at the beginning about how our league works), click HERE.
Note: please don’t go back and read all of that. There’s a reason why this series is called, “Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team”. You’ve been warned; this isn’t necessarily a generic fantasy football column like you may be used to, this is specifically about MY team, and if the players I write about happen to be relevant to your situation, then all the better, I guess.
Just a quick reminder: this is a 10-team, 2-quarterback PPR league where quarterback points are slightly inflated compared to standard leagues (20 yards per point, 6 points per TD, -4 points per INT). So, you know, it’s pretty important to have a couple quality quarterbacks.
We had our annual fantasy football meeting last week, without much tweaking of the rules. For our purposes, the league season only counts – as it relates to the championship and related prizes therein – if the NFL completes nine regular season weeks. I don’t think that will be much of an issue, but apparently we have to account for these things in these COVID times. We also are allowed one extra IR spot (on top of the IR spot we already get) specifically if someone is diagnosed with COVID and placed on leave accordingly. Seems unlikely that anyone super good will catch it, so I’m not too concerned.
It’s another year with four keepers, so here are mine:
Carson Wentz (QB)
Daniel Jones (QB)
Ezekiel Elliott (RB)
Josh Jacobs (RB)
The only holdovers from my 2018 squad are Wentz and Elliott. I made an ill-advised trade for Tom Brady midway through last year – costing me Tyreek Hill in the process – and for that I have much regret. Nevertheless, Danny Dimes looks like he has true stud potential, and as someone I held onto all year in spite of not playing him very regularly, I’m pretty devoted to seeing how he plays out in his second season in the league. Josh Jacobs, from the moment I drafted him, was someone I eyeballed as a potential keeper for years to come (and someone I see has a HUGE upgrade over LeVeon Bell, who was mired on a terrible Jets team with a God-awful offensive line).
The only other serious contenders as keepers were the aforementioned Tom Brady and Le’Veon Bell. Brady is REALLY intriguing, as we all know he’s now in Tampa, with a ton of weapons, and with an offensive-minded head coach in Bruce Arians. Like many around football, I’m not totally sold on Carson Wentz. The bloom is off the rose with him, even though he played in all 16 games, had a career high in passing yards (4,039) in spite of having no great wide receiver options to throw to, and still had a very commendable 27:7 TD:INT ratio. I don’t know if the weapons situation is all that much improved, but they went after wide receiver HARD in the draft, and hopefully will see some younger guys from prior seasons step up. So, there was a serious look at Brady over Wentz, but in the end Brady is just so old, and that noodle arm looked SO feeble last year. The offense under Arians tends to feature a lot of deep downfield plays in the passing game. I could see Brady starting off the season on fire, but when I would need him the most – in the fantasy playoffs – I just don’t think he’ll have it. Besides that, Wentz is obviously still very young and should still be viable for many more years; Brady is on his very final legs and could be forced into retirement at any time.
As for Bell, I couldn’t tell you what the Jets have done to bolster their O-Line (other than pay a lot of money to George Fant to be their left tackle, a position he’d rarely been asked to play as a member of the Seahawks). I don’t know if I totally buy Bell as still having it. He was a steady fantasy player last year, but he’s getting up there as well, and if that offense continues to struggle, I don’t know if I see him having a lot of TD opportunities. I’m of the opinion that Jacobs will be a superstar, and Elliott already IS a superstar. Kind of a no-brainer there.
In coming in second place in the Consolation Bracket last season, I earned the second overall draft pick in the upcoming draft on Friday, September 4th. This presents me with a unique opportunity. The deadline for everyone to declare their keepers is this Friday, August 28th, so before next week’s column, I should know who’s available to me.
Since there isn’t a ton to write about this early in the pre-season, I’ll try to take a stab at guessing who the keepers will be for the other nine teams (with guys in parentheses being alternate options):
Russell Wilson, Christian McCaffrey, Chris Godwin, Matt Ryan (Tyler Boyd)
Dak Prescott, Odell Beckham Jr., Mark Ingram, Travis Kelce (Keenan Allen)
Deshaun Watson, George Kittle, Derrick Henry, Aaron Jones (Cam Newton)
DeAndre Hopkins, Jared Goff, A.J. Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster (Raheem Mostert)
Kyler Murray, Michael Thomas, Saquon Barkley, Mike Evans (Joe Mixon)
Aaron Rodgers, Nick Chubb, Dalvin Cook, Amari Cooper (Adam Thielen)
Patrick Mahomes, Alvin Kamara, Davante Adams, Tyler Lockett (Zach Ertz)
Tyreek Hill, Jimmy Garoppolo, Todd Gurley, Matthew Stafford (Gardner Minshew)
Lamar Jackson, Kenyan Drake, Baker Mayfield, Julio Jones (Austin Ekeler, Sam Darnold)
Honestly, I’m not in love with any of these potential leftovers. I’m tempted to more or less auto-draft. I’m happy with my keepers, but I was REALLY hoping there’d be someone super exciting for me to select with my #2 overall pick. Thankfully, we have a straight draft, so I’m #2 in every round. By auto-drafting, I figure I can’t do much worse than I’ve been doing over these last dozen or so years.
I haven’t done much of any research so far this off-season, and I don’t know what I’ll end up getting to prior to the draft. My hunch is: not much. Again, being prepared hasn’t done a damn thing for me; my name sure as shit isn’t on that league trophy, I’ll tell you that much!
One idea I’ve been mulling over is using my #2 overall pick on one of the incoming rookies. I have three players in mind, two of them being the most prominent rookie quarterbacks: Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa. Gun to my head: I like Tua more than Burrow. But, he’s projected to start this season as Miami’s backup, and their BYE week isn’t until Week 11. So, either Ryan Fitzpatrick sucks and Tua’s thrown to the wolves prematurely, and without a proper BYE week to prepare, or FitzMagic continues to do his thing and we don’t see Tua until very late in the season. The point being: there’s a great chance Tua doesn’t help me much at all this year, and I’d be throwing away yet another season trying to get my shit together when it comes to the quarterback position (with a very small, but important chance that Tua is the next Mahomes and I’d be missing out on my one and only opportunity at getting in on his ground floor).
It just figures that I have this great draft pick for the first time in YEARS, and there are no real stud running backs that would change the course of my fantasy franchise for years to come. Where’s MY Saquon Barkley?!
We’ll see, though. Once the keepers are locked in place, I’ll hop back into the league site and see who Yahoo thinks I should take. It does seem kind of idiotic to have a third quarterback on my roster before even getting ONE wide receiver. At some point, I need to stop playing for the future and start playing for today.
How many times have I admonished myself the last few years by saying that very same thing?