Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Snoopy & Prickly Pete

Also, check out the Fantasy Football tag for all my past ramblings on the subject.

Last year ended as horribly as can be in my Main League. I made the 6-team playoffs, but then promptly lost in the first round. That means I missed out on the 4-team consolation bracket – which plays for the top 4 draft picks the following season – and was saddled in the 5/6 game, playing for the 5th/6th draft pick. Of course, I lost that game as well, and here I was, heading into this season drafting 6th out of 10 teams, in a standard (non-snake) draft.

Last year, we were up to 4 keepers, having steadily increased that number over the last few years, with the ultimate goal of turning the league into a Dynasty League. Finally, there was enough discontent that the talk at this year’s rules meeting centered on, “We either need to go full dynasty, or blow it all up and eliminate keepers altogether.”

I don’t mind telling you I was lobbying hard to go with the dynasty league. I’ve been spending the last few years suffering mediocre finishes all in the name of trying to find the best keepers possible to carry over (with the primary goal of finding one or two quality quarterbacks to finally cement that position once and for all). I didn’t want all of that work to go to waste. Thankfully, by the thinnest of margins, we were able to vote in the dynasty.

Our set up is like this: we have to keep all of our starting positions. 2 QBs, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 FLEX, 1 K, 1 DEF. Easy peasy. We’ll get to wait until about a week before our fantasy draft next year before declaring who those keepers will be. Then, at the draft, we’ll select our 5 bench spots out of whoever’s left over, plus any incoming rookies.

This all starts NEXT year, meaning that we’re still only carrying over 4 keepers from last season. But, with our draft – that took place last Thursday – it’s officially on. If you’re not going all-in on the dynasty aspect with regards to who you’re drafting, then that means you like your team an awful lot and are pushing to win the championship within the next 1-2 years.

I didn’t love my keepers heading into our draft, because – SPOILER ALERT – I had no quarterbacks among the four. My keepers were:

  1. A.J. Brown (WR)
  2. CeeDee Lamb (WR)
  3. Ezekiel Elliott (RB)
  4. Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB)

That’s the ranking of how much I liked them, 1 through 4. I was waffling back and forth on CEH until the bitter end, before I read enough pundits who think he’s due to have a bounce-back year in his second season in the league. I can buy it. He doesn’t appear to have a lot of competition at the spot in Kansas City; even though they throw the ball WAY MORE than they run it, he could sneak in for some more touchdowns and still catch a lot of balls.

I had zero interest in keeping Josh Jacobs. He was supposed to be my horse last year, but he underwhelmed, and then the Raiders brought in Kenyan Drake (the bane of every fantasy owner’s existence wherever he plays, because he’s always stealing carries from someone more promising). I had a lot of fringey receivers I was mulling over (Jerry Jeudy, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, D.J. Chark, and Rashard Higgins), but all of those guys are players that could easily be had in any fantasy draft.

As for my two quarterbacks, I had Kirk Cousins (who’s a non-starter for me, since he’s not vaccinated – which means there’s a high likelihood he misses games this year – and he’s just overall mediocre), and Tua Tagovailoa. I made a HUGE to-do about picking him up on waivers last year, thinking his Alabama pedigree might translate to NFL success. But, he just looked too shitty as a rookie last year. More often than not, you can see which rookie quarterbacks are going to be studs, and which ones are going to be Marcus Mariota. Tua looks like he’s going to be a left-handed Mariota.

In the end, my final keeper came down to CEH and Tee Higgins. I was THIS close to keeping Higgins, because I freaking love that dude, and I think in that Bengals offense he’s going to be steadily productive for the next decade. But, the Bengals also went out and drafted another elite receiver really high in this year’s draft, plus they still have Tyler Boyd, who’s solid. There ended up being too many cooks in that kitchen, and I was scared off. I still think Higgins will be the best of those three this year, but going forward, it’s iffy.

Plus, let’s face it, there are tons of solid wide receivers all throughout the league. Keeping three of them seemed like overkill. I would’ve been effectively handing over my FLEX spot to Higgins, and if for whatever reason he struggles, then I’ve wasted one of my keeper spots for a fringe fantasy starter.

***

I had a couple plans heading into the draft with my 6th overall pick. Trevor Lawrence would obviously be off the table (he, indeed, went #1 overall). I assumed Najee Harris would also be off the table (he ended up being taken with the third pick, for reasons I’ll get into in a moment). I ranked my top six players, and my third choice would’ve been Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts (who very well might’ve fallen to me, as he was ultimately taken 7th), followed by Matthew Stafford (who did fall to me, though I ended up trading him – SPOILER ALERT AGAIN), and then the Washington and Indy running backs as 5th and 6th (they ended up going 5th and 4th respectively).

I would’ve been elated to have Matthew Stafford, because I think he’s going to have an awesome year with the Rams. Plus, he’s only 33 years old, which means he could have another 7-10 years ahead of him if things break right!

My general plan was to load up on quarterbacks – taking lots of flyers on rookies, after Stafford – and running backs (to try to load up on depth in case of injuries and BYEs). This was always going to be a quasi-throwaway year for me, in hopes that I’d find the two quarterbacks I’d be rolling with for the next 5-10 years.

That was thrown out the window when Hahmez Wah 360 Allstars (don’t ask) texted the entire league saying his keepers were available for trade (in exchange for players and/or draft picks).

He actually had four pretty good keepers (Derrick Henry, D.K. Metcalf, George Kittle, and Stefon Diggs), but for whatever reason, he was looking to shake things up.

I didn’t want Henry because he’s being run into the ground and probably has 1-2 more years MAX before he begins his slide. I didn’t want Kittle because he could be an injury risk with the way he plays the game and how hard he is on his body. D.K. Metcalf is obviously a huge draw for me, as a Seahawks fan, and I think he’s someone who could be the #1 scoring wide receiver as early as THIS year. Plus he’s young and should be good for another decade. Sign me up!

I made Hahmez Wah 360 Allstars a lowball offer (I think a second rounder, or a fourth rounder plus A.J. Brown); he countered saying he needed my first rounder. I took a bit to think about it, before ultimately concluding that D.K. Metcalf with the 6th pick would be guaranteed to be better than anyone who might fall to me (there would’ve been the potential for higher upside with someone like Pitts, but there’s always a risk with any rookie).

I’m lucky I accepted the offer when I did, because by the next day someone had offered him the #2 overall pick for D.K. I told that guy (with the #2 pick) if Trevor Lawrence somehow – by the grace of God – fell out of the top spot, I’d trade him D.K. for Lawrence (which he agreed to, since he already has Russell Wilson and Justin Herbert as his keepers), but of course that was never going to happen.

Hahmez Wah, in the end, turned his aforementioned keepers into Jalen Hurts (#2 overall) & Chris Carson (he traded his #9 overall for the #2 overall, while also giving away Derrick Henry in the deal), Matthew Stafford (in the Metcalf deal), Tyler Lockett (in the Kittle deal, where he got the first pick in the second round), while still hanging onto Stefon Diggs. I wouldn’t love that for my team – if I were him, I would’ve stuck the keepers I had – but I understand the impulse in making a radical change. Also, it IS a game, after all; it’s supposed to be fun, right? What’s more fun than a crazy slew of trades?

***

So, heading into the second round, I had three receivers and two running backs. It was time to start looking into the quarterback position.

No other QB was taken after the three I already mentioned. Next up on my private dynasty rankings was Justin Fields, so I grabbed him with my second pick. No, he’s not starting right away, but the stories I’ve read about him were phenomenal, and I think he has real breakout potential. Trey Lance was going to be my next choice, but he was taken from me two picks before my spot in the third round, so I settled on Mac Jones. Also hearing great stories about him! Less of a running threat, but in a better team situation than Fields, so I like that.

Then, for good measure – because I needed someone to start right away in week one – I nabbed Jameis Winston. He’s been on and off my fantasy team for years, but he had last year off (for the most part) and has been learning the Saints’ system. If he’s even remotely more careful with the ball, he’s a guy who’s capable of throwing for 5,000 yards and 30+ touchdowns. We also forget: he’s also only 27 years old; so if he does change his entire career around, that could be a steal for me.

As chance would have it, Cousins was around for my fifth pick, but I zagged and went with the Rams’ defense. I feel like they have the potential to be solid for the duration of Aaron Donald’s career, so why not? Then, with my sixth pick, Noah Fant was still available. I had him as a rookie and it sounds like the offense is going to be vastly improved in Denver, so I like the idea of having him for the foreseeable future. Also, the drop-off after Fant was pretty considerable (the next guys taken were Goedert and Tonyan; I’m good with my choice).

Then, I finally had to break down and get a third running back. Obviously, my plan to load up on the position was a failure. It was down to Chase Edmonds or Raheem Mostert in the 7th round. Edmonds went one pick earlier, so Mostert it is! I like Mostert; when he’s healthy, he’s dominant (in many ways, he’s like Chris Carson). He just can’t stay healthy. But, if I can squeeze a few weeks out of him, I’ll look to hopefully address the running back position next year.

In the 8th round, I nabbed Justin Tucker. He’s only 31 years old and he’s the best kicker in football. He could be around for another 10-15 years if he takes care of himself. After that, I went back to the quarterback well, grabbing Jimmy G. Obviously, the 49ers drafted their quarterback of the future. But, if you look at the 49ers’ schedule, it’s pretty damn easy the first few weeks of the season. I’ll mix and match with him and Mac Jones for a while until Jimmy G ultimately gets benched, and hope he has enough pride to force the 49ers’ hand in benching a guy playing well. At the very least, he has a soft landing against the Lions in week one, where I expect him to be a Top 10 fantasy quarterback (for just that one week, anyway). Yes, I know there’s potential for Lance to snipe some snaps from him, but I don’t care. As long as he’s not getting entire chunks of plays in the red zone, I’ll be happy.

With my next-to-last pick, I took a chance on Buffalo’s Zack Moss. He was a rookie last year and the team obviously liked him enough to draft him in the third round. Maybe this is the year he assumes the starter job! Of course, even then, it’s not like Buffalo runs the ball all that much. I’m hoping they get such huge leads early in games, that they’ll be running the ball exclusively in the fourth quarter.

Finally, for my super sleeper, I picked Jordan Love, backup quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. I’m going to do my damnedest to hang onto him all year. The way I see it, if none of my rookie QBs pan out this year, and are not keeper-worthy in my eyes, I’ll just keep Love and roll the dice. They obviously drafted him to be Aaron Rodgers’ replacement sooner or later. If I have no one better, why not keep him and see if he’s elite?

***

There’s obviously a lot wrong with my team at this point in my dynasty. The quarterback situation is a mess and my running back depth is nil. But, I have just the three receivers: D.K., Brown, and Lamb, and I think all three of those guys are Top 10 calibre players at the position. I’m set! In non-BYE weeks (and, in non-injury situations), I have my two WR spots and my FLEX spot all locked down. Not having any receivers on my bench affords me the luxury of carrying extra RBs and QBs. If I’m ever able to lock down the quarterback spot to my satisfaction, that leaves me more room on my bench for even more RBs, as well as potential backups to tight end or defense (which always comes in handy).

I think I’m done making RBs a priority. Unless some super-stud rookie falls to me in the first round of the draft next year, I’m just going to do my best to either stream running backs or carry enough in those second-to-fourth tiers to play matchups and hope I get around 10 points from each. If my QBs and receivers can carry me, I think that’s a championship formula. Running backs are just too damn fickle and too injury prone; it’s impossible to rely on them to be 20+ point workhorses anymore. I’d rather go for elite receivers, hope they blow up a few times a year, and just get steady-if-unspectacular production from my RBs. Plus, if I’m able to find someone on the free agent scrap heap that comes from nowhere to crush it, all the better.

***

Now, it’s time to talk about this week. My team is Snoopy & Prickly Pete (Seinfeld reference, for the second straight year!). I’m going up against the reigning league champion, Car Talk With Josh Allen (guess who one of his quarterbacks is). He’s projected to finish third in our league (one game ahead of me), and – not for nothing – he’s projected to beat me in week 1.

Here’s my week 1 lineup, barring any unexpected last-minute COVID issues:

  • Jameis Winston (QB) vs. GB
  • Jimmy Garoppolo (QB) @ DET
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ TB
  • A.J. Brown (WR) vs. AZ
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ TB
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB) vs. CLE
  • Noah Fant (TE) @ NYG
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) @ IND
  • Justin Tucker (K) @ LV
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) vs. CHI

As I said, I love Jimmy G against a nothing Detroit defense; Mac Jones is my only other option and I’d rather not start a rookie in his first game, against a defense as good as Miami’s. As I also said, all my receivers are locked in, which means the only other choice was my #2 running back (though, I don’t love Zeke against that Bucs defense, with their All Pro guard out for this game). I briefly considered Mostert against Detroit, but I’d really like to see what the 49ers’ offense looks like, with their two quarterbacks, plus their new rookie running back angling to steal snaps. I’m rolling with all my keepers, at least for now!

Car Talk looks like he’s got the following:

  • Josh Allen (QB) vs. PIT
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB) vs. LAC
  • Allen Robinson (WR) @ LAR
  • Julio Jones (WR) vs. AZ
  • Aaron Jones (RB) @ NO
  • Joe Mixon (RB) vs. MIN
  • Travis Kelce (TE) vs. CLE
  • Robert Woods (WR) vs. CHI
  • Tyler Bass (K) vs. PIT
  • Baltimore (DEF) @ LV

Our teams are pretty much even (he’s a little better at QB, I’m a little better at WR) except for the difference in our projected points from the tight end position. Kelce is the best in football; mine is just okay. That’s always a huge advantage and I hope I’m able to one day have something similar on my team. In the meantime, I’ll just have to hope the Chiefs run the ball more and throw their TDs to their wide receivers. That’s a tall ask.

I’m guessing I’ll lose this game. I’ll be down in the dumps on Sunday, but a dynasty league isn’t about just one week, or even one season. This is a transitional year, and I hope to be better at the end than I am at the beginning.

In the meantime, PATIENCE! I need to practice extreme patience, and accept losing for what it is: a temporary means to an end, that will one day result in my name on that championship trophy. Maybe not this year, but one year soon. Let’s fucking go.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2020: Thank Fucking Christ I Don’t Have To Think About Fantasy Football Again For Another Year

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

Piss on this game and anyone who plays it!

Nobody Beats The Wiz lost its 5th Place Game to conclude things, meaning I’ll be drafting sixth overall next season. What’s worse, Pound Some Cunth just got ANNIHILATED by Vinegar Strokes, 197.13 to 151.17 in the Splinter League this week. It was (fantasy) bad all around this weekend! The less said about it, the better.

Actually no. First, let me reiterate just how FUCKING STUPID fantasy football is! My all-world stud quarterback, Russell Wilson, should be a no-brainer when we’re talking about who to start in a 2-QB league like mine. What does he do? He goes up against a stout Washington defense and gets me 15.27 points. Meanwhile, Jalen Hurts – a rookie making his second-ever career start – goes on the road to Arizona (with a defense that can do a lot of damage to an inexperienced quarterback with their disguised blitz packages and whatnot) and absolutely fucks their (fantasy) shit up to the tune of 52.83 points. And I’m supposed to use my fucking crystal ball to predict this, to win a fucking (fantasy) playoff game. Who would EVER come to that conclusion ahead of time?! It’s IDIOTIC! WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE EVEN DOING HERE?!

How an entire season can hinge on a decision this asinine is beyond me. In real life, you would NEVER in your WILDEST fucking dreams consider benching Russell Wilson for Jalen Hurts. Yet, in fantasy, you’re a fucking pissant moron if you don’t somehow read the tea leaves and sense this. Unbe-fucking-lievable.

All right, rant over. Probably. I could always have another aneurysm between now and the end of the post.

Getting back to the intention of this column, let’s now re-forget about the Splinter League and get back to Nobody Beats The Wiz, the latest in a long line of huge, buttfucking disappointments. I have decisions to make between now and the start of next season (so, thankfully, I have many months before this decision will be official), namely: who will be my four keepers?

Remember my keepers for this year?

  • Carson Wentz (QB)
  • Daniel Jones (QB)
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB)
  • Josh Jacobs (RB)

Two of those guys (the quarterbacks) weren’t on my team any longer by season’s end. Ezekiel Elliott was a tremendous disappointment once Dak Prescott went out injured. And Josh Jacobs was an okay player, but obviously not a difference-maker. Not someone who ever single-handedly swung any games for me. Neither was he someone who consistently got me around 20 points per week (those would be the two hallmarks of QUALITY keepers in our league).

The fact that I made the playoffs at all is almost impossible to fathom, and speaks to how very lucky my team was this year.

So, here are the players I have on my roster at press time:

  • Kirk Cousins (QB)
  • Tua Tagovailoa (QB)
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB)
  • Josh Jacobs (RB)
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB)
  • Rashaad Penny (RB)
  • A.J. Brown (WR)
  • Brandon Aiyuk (WR)
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR)
  • Tee Higgins (WR)
  • Jerry Jeudy (WR)
  • Deebo Samuel (WR)
  • Rashard Higgins (WR)
  • Irv Smith (TE)
  • Harrison Butker (K)
  • L.A. Rams (DEF)

You can cross out Smith, Butker, and the defense, as well as Kirk Cousins right off the bat. They are non-starters in the keeper game. From there, let’s look at the running backs.

Ezekiel Elliott is a really interesting one for me. 2020 is just his fifth season in the league. I did not assume that this would be his last year with me, coming in. But, he signed a huge deal before last season and already appears to be suffering the consequences of Overpaid Running Back Syndrome. He looked mediocre this year! Even before Dak went down, he didn’t look quite right. Now, a lot of that might have to do with the injuries along the Cowboys’ offensive line. If they can get that fixed up ahead of next season – and, of course, if Dak returns by Week 1 – then I think he’s a candidate for a bounce-back year. But, at some point – and some point relatively SOON – Zeke is going to fall off the cliff. And when he does, he will be totally unstartable. In the NFL, it’s usually better to cut someone a year too early than a year too late. I might want to adopt that for fantasy as well.

Josh Jacobs would be a “safe” choice to be one of my keepers. I imagine we’ve seen what his ceiling looks like, and it looks like his 2020 season. Through 13 games, he has 907 yards and a 3.7 yard average. He doesn’t catch enough balls to be elite, and his fantasy numbers are propped up by the 10 rushing touchdowns he’s accrued. That, and the fact that the Raiders haven’t drafted someone to significantly eat into his carries, leads me to lean towards a Yes when it comes to keeping Jacobs.

CEH is probably out for me. As my top draft pick, I was hoping for a long and fruitful (fantasy) career with him as one of my lead guys. But, the shame of it is that the Chiefs just don’t run the ball enough (especially at or near the goalline), and they’ve got too many viable running backs who are all basically the same. Unless I read reports that Kansas City is going to make a concerted effort to declare CEH their lead back, I think I’ll expose him to the rest of the league to snap up.

Finally, I picked up Rashaad Penny – the Seahawks’ running back who just returned from injury this past week – on the off-chance we let Chris Carson walk in free agency and Penny becomes the #1 of this team. I don’t think that’s very likely, but anyway it’s more important for me to make sure these types of guys aren’t kept by OTHER teams. I want Penny available to be drafted (by me) if it turns out he is the starter.

In the last couple weeks, I made a big push to pick up a lot of young receivers, so that’s what I find most interesting among my options.

A.J. Brown feels like a definite keeper to me. He’s the only guy I feel REALLY good about.

There are three other guys I’ll be watching VERY closely in the offseason, to see how their teams look and how their prospects will be in 2021: Tee Higgins, CeeDee Lamb, and Brandon Aiyuk. It took Aiyuk about half of this – his rookie – season before he was really incorporated into the 49ers’ offense. But, once he assumed lead receiver duties (helped by Deebo Samuel’s injury-plagued year), he’s been quite effective. Other than a week missed to COVID, Aiyuk has averaged in the 20’s or high teens in 6 of the 49ers’ last 8 games. What’s unknown is how Aiyuk will look next to a fully-healthy Deebo in 2021. But, presumably Jimmy G will be back at quarterback next year, so that should help both of those guys a lot. Lamb was one of the better-looking rookie receivers until Dak went out; assuming Dak is healthy, Lamb might be a no-brainer. And, Higgins was ALSO one of the better-looking rookie receivers until Joe Burrow went out; assuming Burrow will make it back, Higgins should return to his former glory (and maybe then some).

None of my other receivers are likely to be kept by me, but again, I just want them among the draftable talent pool for next year. I don’t know what the rest of my league is thinking with their keepers, but there’s no point in helping them out when I don’t have to.

Finally, to Tua or not to Tua? That is the biggest (fantasy) question.

Going into a season with zero fantasy keepers at quarterback seems reckless. But, let’s look at it realistically here: I went into 2020 with Wentz and Dimes and came out with Cousins and Tua and still managed to make the playoffs. What I NEED more than anything else is talented players I can rely on – week-in and week-out – to provide me steady points. Keeping four receivers seems idiotic, but keeping two receivers and two running backs might be something to consider! Likewise, keeping three receivers and one running back could be an option (though, a little overkill, since we have just the one FLEX spot, and none of my receivers are what you would call super-elite).

I would need to see quite a bit more from Tua than what I’ve seen so far this season. At this point, Tua has started seven games. He has four games over 20 points. That’s pretty terrible. He has two games over 25 points (which is kind of the baseline average you’d want out of a QB in our league). And, of course, just the one game over 30; no 40 or 50-point explosions you see out of some of the game’s best. Those are the types of games that single-handedly swing weeks in your favor.

Now, Tua is young. He’s still getting his feet wet. He’s on a team that’s contending for a playoff spot and it’s pretty clear they haven’t taken the training wheels off of him. Nevertheless, if they do make the playoffs, I’ll be watching him VERY closely. At some point, they will be down late in a game, and I’ll need to see him do something remarkable to make me a believer.

Otherwise, if this is all he is – what we’ve seen from him in his almost half-a-season – then I feel more than confident exposing him to the draft next year. I highly doubt anyone in the Top 5 picks will snap him up, so if I REALLY want him, I should be able to get him back.

But, keeping guys based on potential? Fool me once, Danny Dimes, shame on you. Fool me twice, Tua?