In my pre-season predictions, I don’t think I could’ve been more off-base than I was about how good I thought the Vikings would be. I have no idea how I could’ve been so wrong! Well, other than the whole “doing zero research” thing, that might’ve played a part in it. But, it just seemed like they’d finally built the perfect Mike Zimmer-type team. They’ve arranged the offense around one of the best running backs in the game, Dalvin Cook. They have a quarterback who’s more than willing to buy into that scheme, while still being competent enough to hit on some play-action deep passes. They have a top receiver in Adam Thielen to be a security blanket, they have good tight ends for red zone production, and I really thought Stefon Diggs going to the Bills would be addition-by-subtraction (since he was clearly disgruntled in his tenure there). And, as a Mike Zimmer-coached team, they’ve ALWAYS had a good defense (on top of trading for that elite pass rusher from the Jags for practically nothing). With the foundation of a 10-6 wild card team from a season ago – combined with the fool’s gold that was the 2019 Packers season (with their unsustainable injury luck and easy schedule) – I thought this was a perfect opportunity for the Vikings to re-take the NFC North and coast to the Super Bowl.
Instead, it looks like they might be in the running for a Top 10 draft pick next year.
You have to start with the defense, which is truly dreadful. They’ve given up the fourth-most yards per game (fourth-most in passing, and ninth-most in rushing), as well as the seventh-most points per game. Now, you may be saying, “Okay, but the Seahawks are pretty bad in those categories too, and they’re still winning games!” True, but the Vikings don’t have Russell Wilson.
It’s easy to overrate Kirk Cousins, I think. He’s still the only guy who has totally bet on himself and successfully earned a 100% fully-guaranteed multi-year contract. That’s impressive! In hindsight, though, it seems like money poorly spent. I won’t get into all the numbers, but they’re bad. He’s 26th in passer rating, behind guys like Nick Mullens and Mitch Trubisky (a.k.a. guys who have been benched mid-game for their ineffectiveness). To my knowledge, Kirk Cousins has yet to be benched this year, which probably means the Vikings don’t have any better options. That’s a bad sign.
The one bright spot Vikings fans seem to be hanging their hats on is the running game. Dalvin Cook is as advertised. Of course, that’s going to run right into the part of the Seahawks defense that’s actually functioning at a high level this year (further bolstered by the signing of Damon “Snacks” Harrison), so … *Conceited Reaction Meme*
It’s hard not to make this a carbon copy of last week’s pre-Miami post. I mean, I guess the Vikings are slightly better than the Dolphins, but is that cause to worry? I don’t think Cousins is better than Fitzpatrick, so that’s something. The weapons around him might be better, but I think the Vikings’ defense is considerably worse.
It feels like the Seahawks have stumbled upon a defensive scheme that can work against most teams: hang back, don’t give up any deep plays, and wait for opposing quarterbacks to make mistakes. This is likelier to come up the more mediocre the quarterbacks are (obviously, the elite ones will just pick us apart, but we have to deal with those issues as they arise).
In a vacuum, I’d say the Seahawks’ offense should have an easier time scoring this week than they did in Miami. The Vikings are that bad, particularly in the secondary; they should be shredded accordingly. My biggest cause for worry, honestly, is the weather! It’s supposed to rain on Sunday – potentially leading to thunderstorms – and we’ve seen how this team has performed in that type of weather in the past. Not well! In that vacuum, with perfect weather, I could see the Seahawks putting up 50 points, with the over/under of 56.5 easily being eclipsed! But, in a torrential downpour, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the under hit and lead to big winnings for the Vegas sportsbooks.
This game really shouldn’t be close, but I fear it might be due to weather alone. Nevertheless, we’re witnessing two teams going in drastically different directions. The Vikings just aren’t in our league! On top of which, we’re looking at a primetime, nationally-televised game, and you know how the Seahawks love to perform in front of a huge audience! So, it’s really hard for me to see us losing this one.
My official prediction is 27-20 Seahawks. But, I’ll be curious to see if the offense can continue to beat expectations. While we’ve seen plenty of occasions where the Seahawks have struggled to move the football in crazy weather situations, we’ve never seen the Seahawks in those crazy weather situatons while employing a Russ who cooks!
We’ve got this game, then a BYE week, then we’re not in primetime again until mid-to-late November. Russell Wilson is in the driver’s seat as far as the MVP race is concerned, but you know he’s going to want to make a lasting impression as we head into this national exposure dry spell. So, while I won’t say I’m banking on a huge offensive explosion, it wouldn’t shock me if it still happened, and the Seahawks ended up putting this game to bed relatively early.
We really lucked out with how this has shaken out, all things considered. With the Dolphins and now the Vikings, it’s been a pretty soft landing to our BYE week. These extra weeks for our injured guys to rest will hopefully prove pivotal in allowing them to return well-rested and able to finish the bulk of the season on the field.
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!
What an unbelievable clusterfuck. I mean, there’s really nothing to say at this point, other than Nobody Beats The Wiz scored the fewest amount of points in the league. My quarterbacks were fucking trash, and my last-minute wide receiver replacement – Parris Campbell of the Colts – got injured the first time he touched the football and is now out indefinitely. He really looked like he was going to be an awesome play against an inept Vikings defense (the other receivers on that team ended up having great days, to further twist the knife into my heart), but it doesn’t even matter because if I’d stayed with my original second wide receiver choice Darius Slayton, he only ended up with 6.3 points, which wouldn’t have been enough to put me over the top, as the final score was 136.20 to 123.45.
The loss drops me to 1-1; there are eight teams in our league with the same record (one team is 2-0, and one team is 0-2). Thanks to my low number of total points, that means I’m in 8th place out of 10 teams. So, obviously, not great.
I suppose it could’ve been worse, given all the crazy injuries that took place over the weekend. Saquon Barkley – a keeper in our league, but a top 5 draft pick most everywhere else – is out for the year. Christian McCaffrey – another top 5 guy – is out for a few weeks. God help you if you’re reliant upon the 49ers, as most of their team is hurt! The Broncos lost their quarterback and top receiver, the Chargers’ quarterback is week-to-week, even the Seahawks’ run-down defense is feeling the loss in significant ways.
This is a week to just forget about and move on as quickly as possible. I have nothing positive to say, other than my opponent left Cam Newton’s 38 points on his bench, otherwise I would’ve lost by a significantly wider margin!
I have something of a dilemma on my hands this week. Not with my running backs, who are all great; between those two spots and my FLEX, I’m happy starting all of them every single week. While my receivers are far from ideal, I’m pretty much resigned to playing whoever’s got the best matchup (with ODB getting the lion’s share of the starts until he proves too mediocre to play on a regular basis). But, once again, I’m getting abysmal quarterback play, which is the worst-case scenario for a 2-QB league where points are skewed in their favor.
You strive in fantasy football to take all decision-making out of it, by acquiring players who are Must Starts every week they’re active. The more you introduce decision-making into it, the more you open yourself up to mistakes. You can have all the stats in front of you, making your decision based on the soundest of logic, taking emotion completely out of the equation, and it can still bite you in the ass. I frequently tout Daniel Jones and his four 40-point games last season as the primary reason why I decided to make him one of my keepers, but how many of those games did I have him in my starting lineup last year? I want to say once. One time I was able to take advantage. Every other time, I was scared of the matchup, or not ready to believe in his abilities.
Well, here I am, two weeks into 2020, and I’m scared of EVERY matchup, and I don’t believe in ANY of my quarterbacks! Carson Wentz was supposed to be my safe play, the guy who gets me a steady 20-something points every week. He won’t go off for 40+ very often, but he’s not supposed to be wretched either! Yet, I’m looking at 15-point and 10-point games in back to back weeks; that’s unacceptable. But, it’s not like Daniel Jones is much better. My best quarterback through two weeks is Mitch Trubisky (who I picked up as a free agent last week); he’s a guy NO ONE believes in, yet here we are.
My dilemma is, I allegedly have three good matchups this week. Daniel Jones is hosting a depleted 49ers defense; with all the injuries on that side of the ball – combined with Barkley’s injury for the Giants – I could see Jones throwing the ball with great success. Carson Wentz is projected to score me the most fantasy points this week, as his Eagles host the Bengals. But, Mitch Trubisky might have the juiciest matchup of all, playing in Atlanta against a Falcons defense that’s given up the most points to opposing quarterbacks in all of football. So, who do I sit?
To me, Trubisky is a Must Start this week. Atlanta has proven they can’t stop anyone this season, and Trubisky has shown he’s at least semi-competent. The Bengals allegedly have a terrible secondary, but from what I’ve seen, it’s their run defense that’s truly awful; I could see the Eagles getting an early lead and leaning on their running game the rest of the way in a comfortable, lowish-scoring blowout. With Jones now being The Guy on that Giants offense – combined with the fact that the Giants’ defense is one of the worst, so they’re always going to need to score lots of points to stay in games – I can’t bring myself to sit him. The potential is too great, whereas Wentz doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing this year.
So, with that being said, watch out for a HUGE day by Wentz this week! I’m sitting him, so of course he’s going to put up 40+ points! I fucking hate fantasy football.
All right, with my crybaby tantrum out of the way, let’s take a look at my roster moves for this week. I put in a waiver claim for Dallas rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb (dropping the injured Campbell, naturally). As a guy who currently owns way too many compact discs (and whose collection once numbered into the four-digits), that’s a name after my own heart. But, more than that, he looks like the real deal. The Cowboys obviously like him a lot, and it appears he’s taken over the #2 receiver job on that team ahead of Michael Gallup (who many thought would have a breakout year, but hasn’t done much of anything so far). Lamb is immediately going into my lineup as the Cowboys face off against the Seahawks, who have given up a TON of yards and touchdowns to receivers this year (in fact, according to Yahoo!, the Seahawks have given up the most points to fantasy receivers this year). He is, once again, taking the spot of Darius Slayton (who I really like, as again, he’s going up against that depleted 49ers secondary), but it’s a numbers game at this point (also, watch out for Odell Beckham Jr. to have far and away the worst day of the three receivers on my roster this week; just a hunch).
I also went ahead and picked back up the Indianapolis Colts’ defense. They bounced back in a big way against the Vikings last week (scoring 29 points for no one), showing that they’re not horrible like I’d once feared. While Washington has a pretty solid matchup against the Browns this week, Indy is going up against the Jets, who might have the worst offense in all of football. So, this will hopefully be a significant boost to my team this week (and ideally, for weeks to come). I still have Washington’s defense, though, as I plan to mix-and-match for a while; I ended up dropping running back Malcolm Brown, who is, indeed, in a 3-headed hydra at that position for the Rams (and who looked pretty mediocre last week). At this point, I can’t afford to hang onto two backup running backs for the same team, when I’ve already got three quality starters for other teams going every week.
I HOPE … that will be the end of my tinkering. Here is my lineup:
Jones (QB) vs. SF
Trubisky (QB) @ ATL
Beckham (WR) vs. WAS
Lamb (WR) @ SEA
Elliott (RB) @ SEA
Jacobs (RB) @ NE
Fant (TE) vs. TB
Edwards-Helaire @ BAL
Butker (K) @ BAL
Indianapolis (DEF) vs. NYJ
A.J. Brown, receiver for the Titans, looks like he’s going to miss a second consecutive week, which is a shame, because they’re going up against an inept secondary in the Vikings. Corey Davis might be a decent pickup for someone who is streaming receivers, but obviously you want Jonnu Smith, the Titans’ tight end (he should have a monster day; if you haven’t picked him up in your league, now is the time, because he’s elite). I’ve pretty much talked about the rest of my bench and why they’re not playing this week, other than Cam Akers, who has a rib injury and is also still playing behind the other two running backs on that Rams team. He’s still my little stash, though! I’m hoping for a late-season run of good fortune out of him!
This week, Nobody Beats The Wiz is facing off against Korky Butchek. On paper, his team doesn’t seem that strong, but I’m really one to talk. So, without further ado, here is his projected lineup:
Jared Goff (QB) @ BUF
Joe Burrow (QB) @ PHI
DeAndre Hopkins (WR) vs. DET
JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR) vs. HOU
David Montgomery (RB) @ ATL
James Robinson (RB) vs. MIA
Jonnu Smith (TE) @ MIN
D.J. Moore (WR) @ LAC
Matt Prater (K) @ ARI
Kansas City (DEF) @ BAL
He also has Hayden Hurst as his other tight end, but Jonnu was one of Korky Butchek’s waiver claims this week, and I have to believe that’s who he’ll be going with. Otherwise, his team is pretty banged up. Raheem Mostert went down last week; he’s out. Drew Lock went down last week; he’s out. LeVeon Bell went down in week 1; he’s on IR. As for his starters, his quarterbacks are playing some tough defenses on the road. His receivers should all clean house, and his running backs should be fine. If I were him, I’d worry about that Kansas City defense going up against Baltimore; let’s just say I’m glad I picked up Indianapolis this morning, because I’d hate to have to go up against someone with them in their lineup!
I’m a soft favorite so far, but there’s still time for him to pick up another defense to even that out. I’m sure my tinkering (with quarterbacks) and lack of tinkering (with ODB) will kill me, and you’ll be talking to someone who’s 1-2 and spiraling out of control this time next week.
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!
You may have read that I was all set to hand away Week 6, by not playing a tight end or a defense. On Saturday morning, I finally came to my senses.
I did the math, and I saw a game I could maybe steal if things went my way. For starters, Washington’s defense was still out there. And, until they gave up a couple garbage touchdowns late to Miami, they were having a fantastic day. Miami owes me at least 8 points for putting in Fitzmagic; who knows, maybe the Redskins could’ve gotten a late pick-six or something if Rosen played the entire game! I hate them with all of my being right now.
I also picked up Gerald Everett for the Rams. There weren’t a lot of great options out there (though, apparently I spaced out on Hunter Henry’s presence on the waiver wire, so that’s on me). It sounds like Everett COULD’VE had a solid game, but either there were drops or Goff was terrible or probably both.
I dropped Chris Thompson and David Montgomery to make those two moves. This week, I put in a claim for Montgomery again, dropping Washington’s defense because I’m gonna just roll with the Bills from here on out. Thompson is still safe and sound out in free agency, for now, with a case of turf toe (I think I’m probably over-rating him some a lot, but that’s neither here nor there).
I ended up losing to Crazy N8’s Prostates 178.30-161.95. The Rams royally screwed me, in multiple leagues. Alongside Everett’s dud, Cooper Kupp couldn’t get going either. I otherwise had good-to-great games from most of my roster. Wentz, Hill, Scary Terry, Zeke, and my kicker all were fantastic! The main problem with my team is my second quarterback, and there’s really nothing I can do about that but ride it out with the two rookies and hope for favorable matchups as the season progresses. I smartly sat Danny Dimes (who had only 2.85 points against New England), but Gardner Minshew wasn’t really much better (4.25 points against New Orleans). You can’t win games when your second QB is sucking all the life out of your team!
The loss drops me to 2-4 on the season. I’m in 8th place, firmly ensconced in the Consolation Bracket. I have the 6th most points scored, and I’m now officially up to the very most points scored against. Here’s how unlucky I’ve been: the rest of the league combined averages 155.17 points against per week; I’ve averaged 186.51. That’s like my opponent having an extra QB posting a GREAT day that I’ve got to account for each and every week just to win these fucking games! What kind of bullshit luck is that? Someone in the league averages only 122.62 points against! If I played his exact schedule, I’d be 5-1 right now and in the driver’s seat for a top 2 seed.
I hate fantasy football so fucking much.
The good news is, with Tyreek Hill officially back and kicking ass, I’m at full strength. This week, I’ve also got no one on BYE, so I just have to set my lineup based on matchups.
Wentz is always locked in, though if there was a week to sit him, it might be this one. Danny Dimes is hosting Arizona’s shitty defense, while Minshew is on the road against Cincy’s equally-shitty defense. I’m honestly struggling between the two – I think Minshew is the better player, but I think that Giants/Cardinals game will be higher scoring. So, I’m gonna go with Dimes again, but fool me twice six fucking times and you’re out of here, buster!
In spite of last week’s bungling, Cooper Kupp is one of my starting wideouts every week going forward. Hill is obviously a must-start as well. Both are in pretty great matchups (especially Kupp, going against Atlanta’s nothing defense). Zeke and Bell are also must-starts for me, though I’m a little less certain about Bell going up against New England’s defense on Monday Night. I might panic at some point and swap him out; but his ability in the check-down passing game is – I think – too good to pass up. My alternative is Josh Jacobs against the Packers, but I dunno. It’s on the road, and if the Raiders are down in that one, I could see them go away from the rookie. Jacobs probably has the higher upside over Bell, but I’m going with the safer play.
I’ve got Waller locked and loaded as my starting tight end the rest of the way, though I might hold onto Everett for a bit for some depth and/or as a trade chip. For my FLEX, I’ve ruled out Scary Terry (vs. SF), Montgomery (vs. NO), and Everett (he’s a TE). It boiled down to Jacobs or T.Y. Hilton and, without looking at their schedules, if I get burned on this one, I’ll likely just roll with Jacobs the rest of the way (unless he has an obviously terrible matchup). With Hilton’s Colts hosting the Texans, my hope is that it’s high scoring enough to see Hilton bust out with a big game. The more I think about it, the more I’m regretting it; if nothing else, just know that Hilton is projected to score more than Jacobs by Yahoo, so if I fail, I’ll gladly blame the website.
I love Tucker against the Seahawks – Baltimore should be able to move the ball at will – and I love love LOVE Buffalo’s defense at home against Miami (so watch Fitzmagic come out and torch ’em like he’s been known to do on occasion).
My opponent is Mandelbaum’s Gym, who features Mike Evans as his most-prominent BYE. He’s got Kyler Murray in a juicy one against the Giants, his other two QB’s are playing against one another (Bridgewater over Trubisky in his lineup for now).
He’s pretty well stacked at running back, with the returning Saquon Barkley (when he was originally injured, he was projected to still be out this week, but of course he makes a miraculous return in time to face my fantasy team; what else is new?), Kerryon Johnson, and Joe Mixon. Even without Evans, he’s still got Michael Thomas and Larry Fitzgerald as his wideouts, so that’s not too shabby at all. And, he just picked up Hunter Henry from waivers, who dropped 30 points last week in his return from injury. He has Houston’s kicker and both the Saints and Bears’ defenses (he’s starting the Saints at the time of this writing).
Yahoo has me projected to win pretty handily (around 20-point favorites), but I’m done trying to predict how these games will go. Odds are I’ll score around 160 and he’ll score around 220 and I’ll be back on here bitching and moaning again about the pisspoor luck my Space Pirates are cursed with. Fuck fantasy football.
I got into this a little bit on Twitter and thought I’d expound on my feelings about this game. In a nutshell, I won’t be picking the Seahawks to win until I actually see them do it first.
Last week, the Seahawks went to Denver, and it’s unfortunate timing from a scheduling perspective, because the Broncos never fucking lose at home in September. I would argue the Seahawks are a pretty middle-of-the-road football team in the NFL (really, I’ve been saying that all along, and nothing in that first game has changed my mind in the slightest), and if you played that game in Seattle, the Seahawks probably would’ve won. I think even on a neutral field – that isn’t a mile fucking high – the Seahawks are better than the Broncos, and I believe their respective records will reflect that by season’s end (as well as the stats and all the rest). But, on that day, in that location, coming off of a pretty light preseason, there was just no way. When you hear about all the guys cramping up and puking on the sidelines, with the heat and the elevation and all that, it sounded pretty miserable. All the cards were stacked in Denver’s favor, and to their credit, they got the job done in the end.
This week, the Seahawks go to Chicago for Monday Night Football. Again, the timing feels pretty unfortunate. We’re now 0-1, we’ve yet to play a home game, and we get stuck playing Khalil Mack and a hyper-aggressive defense that should give our offensive line fits in pass protection. A lot of people are down on the Bears, but I kinda like ’em. If I had to rank them, I’d probably put them right in that Denver Broncos range. Denver probably has a better QB (then again, time will tell) by a slight margin, but I would argue the Bears are even better defensively. And the Bears have a number of quality weapons for Mitch Trubisky to give the ball to.
The key in this game is going to be whether or not Trubisky can avoid making a lot of huge mistakes. The Seahawks’ pass rush shouldn’t be an issue, so he should have plenty of time to throw. If he just makes smart, safe decisions, the Bears should have no trouble moving the ball down the field just enough to out-score the Seahawks and win this game by a close margin.
In short, I think the Seahawks are the better team overall, I think the Seahawks would win this one if it was in Seattle, and I think we’d also probably win this one on a neutral field. Just like last week, I think we’re going to fall short, because I don’t think our defense is good enough to get those critical late-game stops with a narrow lead, and I don’t think our offense will be good enough against that defense to overcome a narrow deficit late in the game. I hope I’m wrong, but there you go.
What can the Seahawks do to shock the world?
How about playing a clean game as far as offensive penalties are concerned? How about converting third downs? How about running the ball and sticking with the hot hand, which will almost assuredly be Chris Carson?
I want to see Carson having a big game in general (I think the rushing attack is going to be the great equalizer when it comes to slowing down the Bears’ pass rush), I want to see Tyler Lockett with a ton of catches and a ton of yards, and I want to see Brandon Marshall catch another TD or two. If we can get those guys going, I think we’ll be all right.
If we can score 28 or more points, I think we’ll be all right.
But, if we score in that 24-point range, I think it’ll be a heartbreaking defeat.
The key for the Seahawks here is to get a lead that’s bigger than 3 points late in the game. If we can get a 4-point lead, and force the Bears to drive the length of the field to score a touchdown, I think PROBABLY our defense can hold up. But, if it’s 3 points or less, there’s just no way. Not with how shitty our D-Line is.
In other news, the Seahawks signed Mychal Kendricks to a 1-year deal. Assuming the NFL doesn’t suspend him, that’s an awesome signing for a defense that’s looking increasingly short on linebackers as guys keep popping up on the injury report. I hope he plays this week and I hope he fucking kicks ass!
Well, we did it. I drafted my team and, if I do say so myself, I think I did a pretty good job! Of course, I always say so myself, because why wouldn’t I? I brought in these players, I must like them to some extent! Because they’ve yet to disappoint me.
It’s all downhill from here.
As I talked about last time, my 3 keepers are Wentz, Fournette, and Elliott. Since I had my RBs set, I didn’t have to focus on them too much in the early going. So, after the first three rounds took care of the keepers, I went to work bolstering my WR unit.
I picked 8th, in every round. I won’t list out every single pick, but I’ll at least show you the first round, to give you an idea of the players we had available:
So, those were the guys taken right before me. Both of the top QBs that were left out there, the top 3 RBs, and my two favorite WRs. I was bound and determined to get a receiver; the available ones were: A.J. Green, Mike Evans, Gronk (technically a TE, but still), T.Y. Hilton, and Tyreek Hill. I went with Hill. I like Mahomes a lot, I like that offense, I think Hill is a stud in the prime of his career who will be the focal point of that passing game (as opposed to the tight end-centric offense run under Alex Smith), and I just believe he has the highest upside to really blow out some games.
I should point out that all of those other receivers I listed off were taken by the time I drafted again. I still wanted to go WR – to knock that position out of the way – even though I desperately needed a second QB (and, one might argue, a FIRST QB, since who knows when Wentz will be ready). Adam Thielen was sitting there and he felt like an obvious pick, so I took him (the other WRs were Amari Cooper, Jarvis Landry, Larry Fitzgerald, and Doug Baldwin; I think I made clearly the best choice).
By my next pick, all of those receivers were gone, as well as the next two best tight ends (Kelce and Ertz), so I went into the QB well. No more QBs were taken after Cam & Stafford, so I had my pick of the shit-filled kitty litter. I went with Derek Carr, upside over recent success. I think he’ll be a transformed player under Jon Gruden and even if the Raiders are a terrible team, I think they’ll be behind in a lot of games and throwing the ball a ton. Plus, they don’t really have a defined #1 RB (a respectable committee led by Beastmode), so I think this could be great for me. The other QBs available were Ben Roethlisberger, Alex Smith, Blake “The Bort” Bortles, Dak Prescott, and Case Keenum. Ben is obviously better, but I can’t trust him to play a full season. I might regret not taking Alex Smith though.
When it came back to me, in Round 7, Demaryius Thomas was still sitting there at the top of the Yahoo rankings. I needed a flex guy, and honestly the value I was getting for Denver’s #1 receiver was too good to pass up. I might’ve gotten the steal of the draft, or he might be the bust that everyone is expecting. We’ll see, I’ll take my chances. By taking him, though, I missed out on Chris Carson, his teammate Emmanuel Sanders, Jacksonville’s defense, the Rams’ defense, Allen Robinson, and Corey Davis, among others.
In Round 8, I took the best tight end available (who was also among the best overall players available), Greg Olsen. My plan going into the draft was to wait until one of the last three rounds to take a tight end (as well as a defense and a kicker), but Olsen is elite, and the drop-off in tight ends was significant (plus, like I said, he was one of the top players remaining). I missed out on Marquise Goodwin, Mark Ingram, and Minnesota’s defense, among others.
Next, I started filling my bench, with Robert Woods leading the way. At this point, I still haven’t grabbed a third RB, and that might be my undoing if I have injuries to my top two guys. A run on RBs went right after I took Woods, with guys like Lynch, Peyton Barber, Rex Burkhead, Chris Thompson, Dion Lewis, and Carlos Hyde all going off the board.
In Round 10, I went back to QB, because it’s always smart to have a competent third (in case of injuries, BYEs, or if Derek Carr really does suck), so I bought low on Andy Dalton. In Round 10 of a 2-QB league, I think I got really good value on this one too. Plus, I think everyone is severely underrating him this year, and I like him to bounce back in a big way. I passed on Jameis Winson, because I can’t have his 3-game suspension hanging over my head if I don’t know Wentz’s status those weeks and I didn’t want to have to roster 4 QBs. I also passed on guys like Mitch Trubisky, Mayfield & Darnold, Ryan Tannehill, and Eli Manning, which I’m okay with.
Next up, Adrian Peterson was still there, so I grabbed him. I don’t know if that’s going to work out for me, but he’s a #1 RB in the 11th round, so beggars can’t be choosers. The other RBs available were all backups or in time-shares (Latavius Murray, Sony Michel, James Conner, Nick Chubb, Kerryon Johnson, and Marlon Mack, among others). If worse comes to worse and I need an RB off waivers, I’m sure I can find someone, so I’m not too worried about it. If best comes to best, then in AP I have a 1,000-yard rusher on a good offense. (I will say that I’m disappointed that Will Fuller V was taken 2 picks after this; I think he’s a stud).
In Round 12, Jordan Reed was still there, so I grabbed him. Yep, the guy who was going to wait and take whatever TE was left over in the final rounds … ended up drafting TWO of them. But, when healthy, Reed is a Top 3 TE. And now he has Alex Smith throwing to him, the ultimate in TE-friendly QBs. Plus, Greg Olsen is getting up there, so it’s nice to have some TE insurance.
In the lucky 13th round, I grabbed Kenny Stills. All the podcasts I was listening to in the week leading up to the draft cited this guy as a potential break-out player. Tannehill apparently loves him, he’s a target monster, and with Landry out of the picture, he should be the team’s #1. I am CRUSHING this draft with all the value I’m getting!
In the final two rounds, I finally had to go grab a defense and a kicker. I drafted Baltimore’s defense in the 14th, and ‘Frisco’s Robbie Gould in the 15th. Whatever.
Yahoo’s stupid grading system put me in the middle of the pack with a B grade. It hated my Derek Carr pick (about 6 rounds too early according to ADP?), but it loves my Thielen pick, as well as my RB keepers. My team is the 2nd oldest in the league, which might be troubling; then again, my tendency is to draft a lot of young guys and where has it gotten me? Nowhere near the championship trophy, that’s for damn sure.
So, we’ll see how it goes. My schedule is one of the toughest in the league, so that’s fucking great. Then again, why should I trust Yahoo’s grading?
That’s the refrain, right? The most boring thing on the planet is to hear about some guy’s bad beat in fantasy. Being held captive in conversation with one of these dullards is a fate worse than death. It’s like that running gag in the movie Airplane! Even the staunchest of fantasy supporters acknowledge it’s a major faux pas to bring it up in any circle, even among like-minded fantasy obsessives.
Well, I’m going to put that to the test this season. See, this is my website, and as such I can do whatever I want! Obviously, people don’t have to read it, and I’m okay with that. But, I’m always on the lookout for a weekly feature I can write up during the football season, and usually it’s just another pointless NFL Power Rankings based on my own under-informed opinions. I don’t know how interested I’ll be in continuing that, but I do know I’m interested an awful lot in my own fantasy football teams!
I usually sign up for three leagues. One is just a random, standard-scoring, 10-team league, full of total strangers where half the league usually drops out after a month. I don’t care about this team, I just do it for fun and to take a whack at standard scoring.
My main league is one I started back in 2003 on Yahoo. Some members have come and gone through the years, but we’ve distilled it over time to 9 friends who went to college together, and one of my friends from high school. This will be the league I write about in this column.
The third league I’m in is a Splinter League I started in 2015, out of frustration with the yearly rules changes in my main league. See, at some point, we started playing for money (at first it was $20 per person, then it was bumped up to $50, and now I guess it’s $60 for some reason), and my friends demanded we turn the thing into a democracy. At that point, slowly but surely, fun started getting sucked out of this thing. NEVERTHELESS, we’ve been doing it for so long (and we’ve since added a trophy to the mix, where every year we add the champion’s name to it) that it’s still a big deal to me. The last time I won our league was the year right BEFORE we got the trophy; I haven’t really come close since, and every year it eats away at me.
Anyway, I started the Splinter League because I thought fantasy football should be fun again, and the only way it’s fun for me is if I’m in charge of all the rules. So, I renounced commissionership of my main league, I only run the Splinter League now, it’s a $20 buy-in, and the rules never change. But, no one wants to hear about my Splinter League, because it’s a low-stakes lark.
The main league is called 4West4Life. It’s a long story (short: my college friends and I all lived in the same dorm at the University of Washington; we were in the west building of Mercer Hall, 4th floor; aka Mercer 4-West, hence 4West4Life). Here’s the gist:
10 teams, head-to-head
6 teams make the playoffs (top 2 seeds get a first round bye)
Playoffs are weeks 14-16
Bottom 4 teams play in the Consolation Bracket
To mitigate tanking, we made the Consolation Bracket count towards the draft order the following year (i.e. the winner of the bracket drafts 1st, 2nd place drafts second, 3rd place drafts 3rd, etc.)
The rest of the draft order is determined by reverse-order of the playoffs, with a twist (champion drafts 10th, 2nd place 9th, 3rd place 7th, 4th place 8th, 5th place 5th, 6th place 6th; so if you’re in a loser’s game it’s like you’re in the Consolation Bracket and still want to win that game for a better draft spot)
It’s a Keeper League, where we had 2 keepers for the longest time, but just increased to 3 keepers this past offseason
It’s a straight draft, just changed from a snake draft this past offseason
And rosters are as follows:
2 Wide Receivers
2 Running Backs
1 Tight End
1 Flex (WR/RB/TE)
5 Bench Spots
1 IR Spot (new to this season)
1 Team Defense
I won’t get into all the scoring minutiae, but just know this: quarterbacks are the most important players in our league, not running backs. Which, honestly, makes sense, because quarterbacks are the most important players in the real NFL. If you don’t have a top-notch QB, you’re most likely not going to make the playoffs. But, since in normal 10-team leagues, it’s easy for all 10 teams to have a quality QB, we opted to make it a 2-QB league to add a little challenge. Yes, you can go for the best QBs in the league, but the rest of your roster might suffer as teams go after the elite players at other positions.
Also, it’s a PPR league; 1 point per reception. 10 yards per point for rushing & receiving; 20 yards per point for passing. We do allow for fractional points. Finally, regardless of whether they’re thrown, caught, or run in, all TDs are worth 6 points. Everything else is pretty standard down the line, with minor tweaks here and there (INT’s are -4 points, for instance).
Last year, my team was Mr. Poopy Butthole. I was kicking ass during the regular season, then Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension kicked in (I had him, with Dak Prescott as one of my QBs, and Carson Wentz as my other QB). The Cowboys fell apart, Nick Foles entered the scene, and I ended up in 4th place in the league, winning my first playoff game, then losing in the semis.
This year, in keeping with the Rick & Morty theme, my team is King Flippy Nips!
Per league rules, the deadline to get your keepers in is a week before the draft. Our league is drafting on Friday, August 31st, so our keepers are due tonight by midnight. I guess, if my friends are reading this, they get to learn about my keepers a little early; since I’m a mediocre player at best, I don’t think it’ll make much of a difference.
As my season was winding down last year – and I realized I wasn’t going to win the championship once again – I worked my roster around to try to give me the most keeper opportunities (knowing we’d likely expand to 3 keepers this year, it seemed prudent to think about the future). Quarterbacks and running backs are the overwhelming majority of players kept in our league (QBs more than RBs), so I set my focus there.
My quarterbacks on roster were:
My running backs were:
And, for good measure, my receivers (and tight ends) were:
So, I need to keep 3 guys. My obvious top 2 no-brainers are Carson Wentz and Ezekiel Elliott. I’m planning on keeping Wentz until the end of time, because I think he’s going to be great his entire career. And Elliott is one of probably the top 2 or 3 running backs in the league, so I’ll keep him as long as he’s in his prime.
As for those receivers, I’ll get them out of the way now, because I’m not keeping any of them. Gronk is great, but I can’t trust him to stay healthy. Allen might be even better from a fantasy, PPR perspective, but he too is difficult to trust to stay healthy. I think Adams will have a monster year as the unquestioned #1 target for the Packers, but I have enough lingering doubts to risk him to the draft. The other two are non-starters.
As for the QBs, Foles ain’t happening. With Trubisky, I just haven’t heard enough good things about him – either during his rookie season last year, or this off-season – to want to take that risk. I was leaning hard on keeping Dak, because I made him my top draft pick last season (when I was desperate to get my quarterback situation settled for the long term); I had the #2 overall pick, there weren’t a lot of quality leftover QBs, and Marcus Mariota ended up going #1 overall. But, the way Dak’s game rolled over and died when Elliott was suspended – combined with the fact that his receiving targets are some of the most mediocre in the entire league – I just don’t think he’s going to be that good.
Let’s face it, if you’re in a keeper league, you have to HIT on your keepers, or you’re fucked. So, I’m going with the three guys that give me the best chance to succeed in 2018.
I don’t know Washington’s running back situation very well, but they strike me as a team that likes a committee, so Perine is out. I like Henry an awful lot, and I’ve been waiting and waiting for the Titans to dump DeMarco Murray (or for Murray to get injured); let’s just say many a bench spot has been squandered the last two years waiting for Henry to get his shot with the #1 offense. With Murray now gone, this looked like prime Henry time! He’s clearly a stud, it’s an offense that likes to run the ball, so he should be a no-brainer right? So, why did Tennessee go out and pay a lot of money to Dion Lewis? Lewis who is another great running back (who, I would argue, is underrated when it comes to being an every-down back) and is sure to eat into a lot of Henry’s carries. So, that turned me off in a big way; it’s like the team just doesn’t have the confidence in Henry to be a feature back for some reason.
Leonard Fournette is the clear #1 in Jacksonville. On a great team, with a bad quarterback, looking to grind games out and plow Fournette into the ground. The main concern is Fournette’s injury history – you know I’ll be freaking out at the first sign of a rolled ankle – but his upside is so great I just can’t say no.
So it’s Wentz, it’s Elliott, and it’s Fournette.
The draft is next week at 6:30pm on Friday, August 31st. I’ll be meeting up with a bunch of friends with my laptop and we’ll be going to town. I’ll be drafting 8th in this bastardized straight draft, so wish me luck, because I’m gonna need it.
Next week’s post will have to be after the draft (because I’m not giving away any more of my draft plans), sometime during the Labor Day weekend if I can find a way to get my shit together.
Now is usually the time I express my pleasure/get all up in arms over the newly released Seahawks schedule. But, I’m on record as expecting an 8-8 season, so who gives a damn if a formerly west-coast game against the Raiders has been placed in London for no good God damn reason? To wit:
@ Chicago (Mon)
@ Oakland (London) (10am) (Sort Of)
@ Detroit (10am)
@ L.A. Rams
Green Bay (Thurs)
@ Carolina (10am)
San Francisco (SNF)
@ San Francisco
Kansas City (SNF)
So, one thing I actually kinda like is having 5 of the first 7 games (with a BYE week squeezed in) on the road; meaning obviously that 6 of the last 9 games are at home (including all the second half primetime games). The entire month of December, we only have to travel as far as San Francisco! 4 of those 5 games are in Seattle!
As far as 10am games go, only three isn’t too bad. I was pretty shocked to see a whopping 5 primetime games (2 Monday, 2 Sunday, 1 Thursday), considering we weren’t all that world-beating last year. Someone made the point on Twitter and I wholeheartedly agree: that’s the power of an elite, Top 5 quarterback. I still think at least one of those Sunday Night games will be flexed out; if I had to bet the family farm on one prediction this season, that would be it.
One thing I noticed is that the more difficult games look to be at home, which is always a plus. We play the NFC North, and the best two teams (presumably) are Green Bay and Minnesota, so getting them both in Seattle is pretty fortunate. Not that the Bears or Lions will be pushovers, but you get my drift. I particularly like seeing Green Bay having to come all the way out here for a Thursday game; FUCK YOU PACKERS! Then, we play the AFC West and get the Chiefs and Chargers here, while we play the Raiders over in London (so no one will really have an advantage, although I bet there are more Raiders fans living in London than Seahawks fans) and we catch the Broncos in the first week of the season. Will Case Keenum be up to snuff right out of the gate, with a new team and a new system? Then, among the second place teams from last year, we get Dallas here and go on the road to play Carolina, which again I think is the more favorable draw. I think Dallas will be good again, with full seasons out of Elliott and Dak (and the Dez situation is addition by subtraction), whereas who knows with Carolina? That late into the season? Are they going to be totally healthy?
It’s always a huge folly to try to predict the games this early, but it’s 4/20, SO LIGHT ‘EM UP BRO!
@ Denver – Safe money is on this one being a loss. Going to the Mile High City, playing against a good defense (not at its peak, but still with plenty of talent) that will probably be as healthy as it gets, I think Keenum can do just enough to squeak one by us. Maybe this one ends with a late Seahawks drive falling short with a pick in the endzone. Denver 24, Seattle 17.
@ Chicago – I do think the Bears will be much improved, particularly with another year for Vic Fangio to ramp up that defense. I just don’t know if Trubisky has what it takes. This one should be a good barometer of the Seahawks’ season, though. If we’re truly an 8-8 type team, we win this game. If we’re doomed to bottom out entirely in 2018, then notch this one in the loss column. I think there’s enough talent in Seattle to steal one, but it won’t be easy. Seattle 19, Chicago 17.
Dallas – Loss. No doubt about it. The Cowboys’ running game will stomp us into hamburger, their quick-strike passing attack will befuddle us, and if our offense can’t keep up in a shootout, this one could be a laugher. Dallas 33, Seattle 21.
@ Arizona – Sam Bradford? Please. The Seahawks go down to their winter home and take another shockingly easy W. Seattle 27, Arizona 13.
L.A. Rams – Loss. No doubt about it. Did you ever think the Seahawks would start out their home schedule 0-2? Don’t say I didn’t warn you when it happens. This one PROBABLY won’t be as embarrassing as last year’s loss to the Rams … but it also might be. Los Angeles 38, Seattle 18.
@ Oakland – I got this as a win. I don’t know if the Raiders are very good, and I don’t know if Jon Gruden is very good. I do think this game will be fun, and potentially high scoring. Seattle 34, Oakland 27.
BYE – So, through six weeks, I have the Seahawks with a 3-3 record, having shockingly gone 3-1 on the road. Let’s see if that holds up.
@ Detroit – This one has loss written all over it. Every year, the Seahawks play at least one road game where they come out looking great, but gag it up in the end. I think the Lions have offense for days and they’ll easily exploit our depleted secondary. Detroit 38, Seattle 31.
L.A. Chargers – Don’t love this matchup. I never love a matchup with this Seahawks defense against Philip Rivers, because he fucking carves us up every fucking time. Los Angeles 35, Seattle 20.
@ L.A. Rams – One more loss to throw on the pile; things are looking BLEAK here folks! I think the defense will show up a little better this time, but there’s still no doing anything against that Rams squad. Los Angeles 24, Seattle 6.
Green Bay – Fuck you Packers, we’re winning this one! With no time to prepare, and no time to fret over this 3-game losing streak, everyone will have written off the Seahawks by this point (if they haven’t already, like I have), and they’ll come out like a ball of lightning. Seattle 36, Green Bay 28.
@ Carolina – Fuck you Panthers, we’re winning this one too! One of those old school grudge matches. Seattle 17, Carolina 13.
San Francisco – Fuck you 49ers, we’re also winning this one! You don’t think the fans in this one are going to be fucking insane? With all day to drink and stew over the return of Richard Sherman? With the Seahawks and 49ers likely to be pretty close to one another in record (and probably fighting over the same Wild Card spot)? I see a touchdown being scored on Sherm and I see the Seahawks running away with this one. Seattle 26, San Francisco 10.
Minnesota – Here’s where the winning streak comes to an end. Too much defense with these Vikings. I think we hold our own against Cousins and their offense, but it won’t be enough. Minnesota 13, Seattle 3.
@ San Francisco – We’re dropping this one too. The 49ers are probably better than the Seahawks right now, and this will put them over the top. San Francisco 19, Seattle 16.
Kansas City – I like this one to be a win. First year starter at quarterback, who knows if he’ll hold up let alone be any good? I think the Seahawks impose their will on the ground and grind out a close one. Seattle 24, Kansas City 23.
Arizona – Who will be Arizona’s starting quarterback by week 17? Not Sam Bradford, that’s for damn sure! The Cards will be falling apart by this point and the Seahawks will cruise. Seattle 30, Arizona 10.
Any way you slice it, that’s 8-8. They’ll be a streaky team, they’ll deflate us, then get our hopes up, then break our hearts again. Wake me when it’s 2019.
The early theme through 7 weeks in this NFL season is how there aren’t any elite teams. While it does feel that way, I also think we could be singing a different tune after another 7 weeks. Mostly, I just think it’s an overreaction to the fact that the Patriots’ defense stinks, Aaron Rodgers is injured, and a 25 year old Peyton Manning isn’t walking through that door to help carry some unfortunate team into the playoffs.
I mean, Kansas City looks like the clear best team in the AFC right now, and does anyone trust the likes of Alex Smith in a do-or-die playoff game? He certainly looks better than he ever has before, but can he pull his team back from a 2-score deficit against a competent defense? I know I have my doubts.
Another theme, more locally focused, is that the vast majority of the NFL-covering public is ignoring the Seattle Seahawks. Which is pretty understandable. The Seahawks feel like more or less the same story being told over and over again for the fifth straight year. The media likes a new, exciting story. Carson Wentz! Dak Prescott! Jacksonville’s defense! Deshaun Watson! The Los Angeles Rams!
With the Seahawks, what do you have? A boringly elite defense (they don’t generate a ton of turnovers or a ton of sacks; they mostly just grind you down and force you to be perfect to slowly bleed them), a shaky offensive line, and a quarterback who – aside from a half season without Jimmy Graham – hasn’t really figured out the whole Pocket Passer thing to the degree that a Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers has. It’s the same thing virtually every season, and while it’s a recipe for success, it’s also just not a sexy story to keep championing. Ho hum, the Seahawks are a playoff team and a Super Bowl contender, same as they’ve been since 2012.
Ordinarily, I think this would bother me a lot more, mostly because I think a lot of teams get short shrift in the media in lieu of over-coverage of teams like the Patriots, Steelers, Cowboys, Giants, and Jets. But, I’m actually okay with it. For starters, the Seahawks haven’t really earned the type of coverage I’m talking about; come back when you’ve beaten a good team in convincing fashion. Also, I think this is the type of season where the Seahawks could benefit from a lack of a target on their backs.
Yes, the narrative is that there are no elite teams, but is that really true?
I think, before too long, the Seahawks could be the clear best team in the NFL. Frankly, the defense is already there, waiting for the offense to catch up. And, make no mistake, we’re all bemoaning the struggles of this offense, but they HAVE made strides as the season has gone along. More importantly, if they can just clean up a few things (drops, missed throws, protection issues), it’s not hard to see this as a team that scores 30+ points per game.
AND, if they do that, and don’t get destroyed by the injury bug, I think the Seahawks will be your answer to the league’s most elite team.
Of course, it won’t mean anything if the Seahawks fail to get the #1 seed in the NFC, and if the Seahawks falter at some point in the playoffs. See, that’s another issue with the Seahawks we’ve seen over and over and over again: they always turn it on in the second half. Which is great! That’s when you WANT your team to get hot! But, they could win the rest of their regular season games by an average of 50-7, and it could still all come crumbling down with one bad matchup in the playoffs. One crappy half of football in the Divisional Round, and POOF, another season ends without a championship. Getting the #1 seed reduces the chances of that, as the Seahawks are unquestionably better at home than on the road, particularly in the first halves of games. At that point, you’re just two wins from the Super Bowl, at which point anything goes.
On to the rankings:
Kansas City (5-2)
New England (5-2)
L.A. Rams (5-2)
A lot of this is based on projections. I do think the Patriots are flawed – especially on defense – but I agree with most prognosticators that they’ll get their issues figured out. I know I wouldn’t bet against them making the AFC Championship game against either KC or Pittsburgh. I think the Vikings look tough – particularly on defense – but I’ll never trust their quarterback situation. I think the Texans are better than their record and could be poised to go on a big second half run.
New Orleans (4-2)
These are all good teams, but probably none of them are Super Bowl contenders. MAYBE the Cowboys if they get Elliott back for the playoffs, and their defense gets its shit somewhat together. And while the Saints don’t necessarily look for real, I think their defense is still marginally improved, and with that offense, it might be all they need to win a division title. Also, good move getting rid of AP and working with a better 2-man running back rotation.
L.A. Chargers (3-4)
Tampa Bay (2-4)
N.Y. Jets (3-4)
These are fringe playoff teams who have a ton of flaws. One, MAYBE two of these teams will go on a roll and crack the playoffs, but for the most part I think they’ll disappoint. Also, Jacksonville’s defense looks legit, and Fournette looks like a stud, but the offense as a whole leaves a lot to be desired. And no, I’m not buying Miami as a 4-2 team.
Green Bay (4-3)
N.Y. Giants (1-6)
San Francisco (0-7)
I would have Green Bay even lower in the rankings, except I think there’s an outside chance they hang around in a mediocre division/conference just long enough for Aaron Rodgers to return for the last game or two and sneak them into the playoffs. Can they win 4 games with Brett Hundley? Cincy looks like a mess. Trubisky has training wheels attached to his training wheels. And for some reason everyone is shocked that Cleveland passed over yet another quality rookie quarterback in favor of someone who sucks.