The Seahawks Participated In A Big Fucking Waste Of Time Over The Weekend

You know what I want more than anything? I want the ability to look at alternate universes to see the outcomes of what would’ve happened under hypothetical circumstances. There’s two schools of thought when it comes to these 2022 Seahawks making the playoffs:

  1. It was a good thing for guys to gain experience in trying to win in the playoffs, and it’ll hopefully leave a bitter taste in their mouths, making them hungrier going forward to never lose in the first round again
  2. It was a bad thing, because we could’ve had the 14th overall draft pick, and maybe those extra six spots make all the difference in finding another impact player in the draft

Obviously, we’re living in #1, and we’ll just have to see what happens going forward. But, I want to see what would’ve happened to those Seahawks that lost in Week 18 to the Rams. What happens when we have 5 and 14 in the draft? How does that change who we draft, and is that player (or players, considering we’d pick earlier in every following round) enough of an improvement to change the course of our franchise?

You also have to wonder, how does our making the playoffs affect our decision in whether or not to extend Geno Smith? Did that push him over the top? Or, was that decided many weeks ago, and it wouldn’t have mattered if we made the playoffs or not?

All I know is that I’m more annoyed now than I was last week. And I was pretty annoyed last week. Oh sure, it was fun for that second quarter, when we took a short-lived 17-16 lead into halftime against the mighty 49ers. But, what does a 41-23 defeat really net us going forward? Is that experience really going to push everyone to be better? Or are these guys professionals doing a job for money and it’s already forgotten? I tend to believe the latter.

What a stupid, miserable fucking game. I was glad to be on vacation and not super focused on the action on the field, because living and dying with every play in an 18-point blowout seems like a terrible way to spend an afternoon.

Yeah, the defense sucks. They added a new wrinkle by having our highly-touted young corners get burned on the regular. Usually I’m just bitching about our inept linebackers and our defensive line that gets pushed around, but the 49ers really blew the doors off of our secondary, as they were a nightmare all game.

Yeah, the interior of the O-Line sucks. Austin Blythe is a fucking pox on this team, and it’s LONG FUCKING OVERDUE that the Seahawks address the center position with someone who can play the fucking position.

Yeah, Geno Smith sucks on third & long and is pretty susceptible to pressure. I read something after the game about how he might be our version of Ryan Tannehill, and that feels remarkably upsetting to me.

The next 3-4 years of Seahawks football are flashing before my eyes, and I’m dreading every minute of it. You can spit numbers at me until your saliva runs out, but I’m never going to trust Geno Smith in the big moments. I’m never going to trust him to lead us to the top of the NFC. I’m never going to trust him to get us through the playoffs and into the Super Bowl. And I’m sure as shit never going to trust him to win it all.

The only way Geno Smith succeeds to that level is if he has the type of team around him that can carry us. Like the 49ers have. Like we used to have in 2012-2015. But, there’s no turning around this defense in that kind of timeframe. Even if this is the Geno Smith we get going forward, it feels like it’s going to take AT LEAST 4 years, if not double that, to turn this defense into something dominant. By which point, he’ll be long gone and we’ll have to reckon with what we should’ve done in 2023: start over with a rookie.

I’m going to be beating this drum all offseason, so buckle up, buckaroos. Of course, when the Seahawks extend Geno to a big money contract, I’ll hope like hell that I’m wrong. But, I keep seeing this 9-8 season playing out over and over and over again. This is our ceiling with Geno Smith. And I won’t believe otherwise until I see it with mine own eyes.

Should The Seahawks Extend Geno Smith?

When you’ve lived your life for many years under a particular assumption, it can be difficult to then accept a new reality. Pretty much since Geno Smith was drafted and started playing as a rookie in 2013, my opinion of him has been highly negative. It’s easy to write off a “bad quarterback”. It’s much harder for that opinion to flip the other way. Great quarterbacks seem like they start out great, so if you’re not immediately lighting the world on fire within the first six or so weeks, then you’re automatically relegated to Bust status.

Almost always, when a quarterback is labeled a Bust, he stays a bust forever. There are occasional guys who take a little longer to break through. Some guys just need time to develop (Josh Allen had a rocky first year before settling in). Some guys need stability within the coaching staff to grow (Tua being a prime example). Some guys need a change of scenery (Ryan Tannehill being a notable one). However, Geno Smith seemingly needed all of these things before it finally clicked.

What befuddles me about Geno Smith is the fact that he was extremely mediocre-to-bad with the Jets. He continued along that path as a backup with the Giants and Chargers. And even though he’s been with the Seahawks since 2019, I haven’t noticed a single change in his level of play before this year. Whenever he’s gotten into pre-season games, he’s been the same ol’ Geno Smith. When he started three games last year – in Shane Waldron’s system – he looked just as mediocre-to-bad as ever (his one great game was against the Jags, the consensus worst team in football at the time). Even this past pre-season – when he regularly got starter’s snaps in practice – he looked like a liability. He looked like someone the team couldn’t wait to cut, if only Drew Lock showed one iota of competence. I still contend that if Lock hadn’t gotten COVID and missed that second pre-season game, he would’ve been our starter heading into the regular season.

And even though Geno came out on fire in the first half of that Broncos game in week one, there were a number of growing pains early in the regular season (especially in a 20-point loss to the 49ers. But, starting with that shootout against the Lions, Geno’s not just been adequate, he’s been legitimately great! He’s been so great, people are clamoring for the Seahawks to extend him NOW. During the season, not later, when he hits the free agent market. And, these aren’t just reactionary fans, but smart football prognosticators. It’s something I never would’ve imagined in a million years.

So, I’m here to work this out in my mind. Should the Seahawks extend Geno Smith? How big of a deal should they sign him to? Should they also bother drafting a quarterback early next year?

There’s a lot of variables we just don’t know the answers to. For starters, we still don’t REALLY know how legitimate this improvement is. I understand the logic of signing Geno to an extension now: you hope to gain some semblance of a discount by not having to compete on the open market. But, you’re talking about a guy who’s not afraid to bet on himself. You’re talking about a guy who has signed repeated 1-year deals to stay here. You’re also talking about his first period of sustained success; he’s going to want to cash in on this opportunity. He’s 32 years old, this is probably his one and only opportunity to gain generational wealth on a big-time deal.

Since he is 32 years old, and he has such a history of mediocrity, I don’t think there’s any way he’s getting some sort of top-of-market contract. He’s not going to get $50 million per year, or anywhere close to it. Nor is he going to sign for anything more than 4-5 years (with probably only 1-2 of them guaranteed). I would also argue he’s very much a product of this particular system. Unless the Rams are going to cut Stafford and make a play for Geno, I don’t see him having nearly the same success with just any quarterback-needy team. On top of which, the Seahawks’ offensive line has been tremendous. Put him on a team with a Swiss cheese line and you’ll see him struggle just like most everyone else.

So, I don’t really believe Geno has the leverage you’d expect. That doesn’t mean he won’t have earned himself a nice little raise. But, I do think we can afford to let this season play out and THEN try to re-sign him. Also, not for nothing, but I don’t know if we even could afford to extend him now, with how much our salary cap is tied up in dead money.

In short, I’m in favor of waiting to extend him. But, I do believe – if he continues to play at this high level – that he does deserve an extension. I think this level of play would be a bargain at $20-$25 million per year, with 2023 and maybe a portion of 2024 guaranteed. I’d be reluctant to go over $25 million, though. There’s a point where he’s going to turn back into a pumpkin, and it’s probably sooner than we’d like.

As such, I would also look to draft a quarterback in the first round next year.

This is where I’m torn, though. One of the big perks of moving on from a high-priced quarterback is the grace period you have with a new guy on a rookie deal. You get to enjoy all the savings – while hopefully the rookie pans out and turns into a stud early on in his development – so you can build around him and hopefully make the Super Bowl before that guy is going to cost you an arm and a leg.

But, if we jump right from Russell Wilson making what he made (and costing us dearly in dead money) to Geno Smith making upwards of $25 million, you’re not really getting that competitive financial advantage. If we draft a rookie in the first round next year, he’ll almost certainly sit behind Geno the whole season (maybe even the first two). Then, if you move on from Geno to the guy on the third year of his rookie deal, you’re dealing with a season of him gaining experience, before he hopefully figures it out in year four. At which point, if he does figure it out, he’s going to command a huge contract, and you’ve essentially wasted his entire period of affordability, while needing to make difficult decisions elsewhere on the roster to keep him around.

The flipside to that argument is, of course, the fact that rookies aren’t guaranteed to be great, even when you draft them high in the first round. If the idea is to win football games, and Geno Smith is playing at a level that can win you a lot of football games, it’s probably more prudent to keep him around, while letting the young guy learn and develop at a slower pace. But, if the young guy is special, it would be a shame to have to sit him for longer than absolutely necessary. Aaron Rodgers hardly played at all his first three years; that seems crazy in today’s game.

Another variable to consider is: what happens if the Seahawks don’t have a Top 10 draft pick? What happens if we make the playoffs (which puts us drafting into the 20’s) and the Broncos improve to the point where maybe they approach .500 (or, God forbid, if they also make it as a wild card team in a weaker-than-expected AFC; they do still have time to turn things around)? Is there a quarterback we’d feel comfortable trading up for in the first round? Or, would we use our first rounders on other players and maybe focus on the 2nd or 3rd round for a rookie QB?

There’s a nightmare scenario where the Seahawks have two draft picks in the 20’s, where all of the elite-level quarterbacks and pass rushers have gone off the board. We’re already set at offensive tackle, we’ve got a couple great receivers (and are never really looking to draft receiver that highly), we’ve got solid cornerbacks (and, again, don’t usually look to this spot in the draft to take that position). So, there’s a real chance that we have to settle for a lower-tier pass rusher, or we have to reach for a linebacker or a lesser quarterback prospect. That’s not what I want to see, even if we’re able to extend Geno Smith on a team-friendly deal.

Lost in all of this might be the most important question of all: can the Seahawks win a championship with Geno Smith in the next 2-3 years? Before this year, I would’ve said unequivocally, 1,000% no. But now? There’s a slight glimmer of hope. I would still contend the Seahawks haven’t played anyone super great, and won’t until we go to play Kansas City late in the year. As far as the best teams in the NFC are concerned – Philly, Dallas, Minnesota – we wouldn’t see them until maybe the playoffs. And if we bank on the 49ers, Rams, and Bucs having at least good-to-great defenses, I’d like to see how Geno fares against them before making any real proclamation on his ability to take us all the way.

If he can keep it up, and show out against those teams, then I’d have to grudgingly say yes, we could win a championship with Geno. But, I’m really going to need to see it with my own eyes before I’ll fully believe.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: Finally A Victory

It was an upset to end all upsets, in a week full of them across the NFL. RoundTine FINALLY got on the winning train, defeating Sloane N Steady 141.85 to 127.00.

All praise to Bailey Zappe, who already kind of strikes me as a superior option to Mac Jones. Now, I’ve got to worry about holding onto Zappe for as long as I can, just in case Bill Belichick opts to go with the less-heralded quarterback in the future. What has Mac Jones done to earn his job, other than be a first round pick? Based on my team’s fantasy numbers, not a whole helluva lot.

Zappe’s 25 points, combined with the 20 I got from Fields, gave me competent quarterback play for the first time all year. But, I couldn’t have done it without a ridiculous under-performance from my opponent, who had bad weeks from the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Zach Wilson, Mike Evans, and Nick Chubb (one of those guys isn’t like the others). It was such a random freak occurrence that I didn’t need to pick up a replacement tight end at all! Good, because with the need to roster yet another quarterback, I wasn’t going to anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still safely in last place in the league, but my 1-5 record is tied with two other teams. It’s a real Gods N’ Clods kind of season, with three teams tied for first with a 5-1 record.

Here’s who I’ve got going this week:

  • QB Patriots (QB) @ Cle
  • QB Saints (QB) @ Ari
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. Det
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) @ LAC
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. Det
  • Kenneth Walker (RB) @ LAC
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ Dal
  • Brian Robinson (RB) vs. GB
  • Evan McPherson (K) vs. Atl
  • TBD (DEF) vs. TBD

I’m looking to pick up Andy Dalton if/when Jameis Winston is declared out. That’s going to be a problem, of course, if they don’t declare him out, and just have him as the backup. At which point, I won’t have him to throw in my IR spot, which means I’ll be reduced to starting Justin Fields. Why don’t I just cut Justin Fields and pick up Dalton? Because one of them is a young, highly-rated player out of college last year, and the other is Andy Fucking Dalton. I’m not getting rid of the young guy with upside for a past-his-prime loser. We’re not playing for this week, we’re playing for the Consolation Bracket.

I’ve got Gabe Davis on a BYE, which isn’t the end of the world. I’m going with Robinson over Doubs, which might be a huge mistake, but I haven’t seen much of anything from Doubs in quite some time. However, I’ve also got the Rams’ defense on a BYE, which may necessitate a move of some kind. If I can’t pick up Dalton, I’ll look to fill that spot with a defense and try to get a full roster of guys going.

I did end up cutting Garrett Wilson to get out of the IR quagmire, so expect him to finally return to kicking ass and taking names. If this fuckface turns into a superstar, I’m going to lose my fucking mind.

I’m going up against another 1-5 team, The Lance Petemans. He’s the once-proud winner of our championship trophy multiple times over, going through a rough patch. Here’s his projected lineup:

  • Jared Goff (QB) @ Dal
  • Ryan Tannehill (QB) vs. Ind
  • Tyreek Hill (WR) vs. Pit
  • DeAndre Hopkins (WR) vs. NO
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB) @ SF
  • James Robinson (RB) vs. NYG
  • Gerald Everett (TE) vs. Sea
  • Keenan Allen (WR) vs. Sea
  • Nick Folk (K) vs. Chi
  • Dallas (DEF) vs. Det

He’s a wee bit injury-ravaged, and while his quarterback problems aren’t nearly as pronounced as mine, he’s still looking for upgrades at both spots. We’ll be seeing each other again most likely in the Consolation Bracket later this year, so I’m sure if my luck holds, I’ll win this week and lose when it matters most. Or, I’ll lose both times! Anything is possible! Any of those two things are possible.

Predicting The 2022 NFL Season

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

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

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

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

NFC East

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

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

NFC North

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

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

NFC South

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

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

NFC West

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

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

AFC East

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

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

AFC North

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

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

AFC South

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

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

AFC West

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

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

NFC Playoffs

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

AFC Playoffs

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

Wild Card Round

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

Divisional Round

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

Championship Round

  • Packers over Cowboys
  • Bills over Broncos

Super Bowl

  • Bills over Packers

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

What If The Seahawks Got Baker Mayfield?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Funny Office Space quotes are funny …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s what my lineup is looking like:

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

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

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

Here’s what The Lance Petemans are running out:

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

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

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

Splinter League Round-Up!

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

The Seahawks Were Sloppy, Inept; Lost In Overtime To The Titans

I have a very strong belief that 30 points should be enough to win any game in the NFL. If you lose a game where you score 30 points, that means your defense stinks and gave the game away. It’s a very nearly foolproof theory, but here we have the Seahawks losing to the Titans 33-30, and my first instinct is to blame the offense.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the Seahawks’ defense more than helped gift-wrap this game to the Titans; they were as undisciplined as I’ve ever seen them. They gave up 182 yards to Derrick Henry and 347 yards to Ryan Tannehill. Julio Jones had 128 yards receiving and A.J. Brown would’ve had something similar if he wasn’t on my fantasy team and therefore dropping 2 out of every 3 passes thrown his way. They couldn’t cover anyone, they took bad angles, they over-pursued in their pass rush – leaving wide-open cut-back lanes for Henry, as well as large chunks of YAC to him in the screen game. Oh, and they had about a billion stupid penalties to keep Titans’ drives alive, many of them converting third down incompletions into first downs. Late hits to the quarterback, taunting, late hits out of bounds. Just the stupidest fucking infractions that – make no mistake – the Seahawks were 100% guilty of. These are the rules the NFL has decided to put in place. All the players know these are the rules. You can bring your gripes to the NFL’s front office, but the refs on the field did their jobs in enforcing some of these idiotic rules. Some 90 year old white owner doesn’t like it when players yell at each other and show any semblance of emotion, so now we’re stuck in this world (until they finally come to realize no one enjoys the No Fun League and de-emphasize them again).

Anyway, yeah, the Seahawks’ defense could’ve drastically helped themselves by not being fucking knuckleheads. But, I’m sorry, this game is on the offense.

How do you run up a 24-9 halftime lead and lose 33-30? It’s no coincidence that the Titans’ offense exploded for everything in the second half; the Seahawks’ defense was fucking exhausted from being on the field the entire time! Time of Possession is usually a meaningless stat, but the Titans had the ball for 42:33 compared to our 22:42. You’ll take that sort of discrepancy in the first half, when the Seahawks were connecting on big plays and scoring fast touchdowns. But, the second half saw the Seahawks punt the ball on 4 out of 6 possessions (the other two were a quick-strike 68-yard TD pass to Freddie Swain, who got behind the defense somehow on 3rd & 12; and the last possession of the half, that ended because we ran out of time). The Seahawks had one drive in the second half and overtime that went almost 5 minutes (before a punt); every other possession lasted anywhere from 29 seconds to 1:54.

And, in that span, the Titans got stronger on both sides of the ball. Derrick Henry was like tackling a real life rhinoceros. He was never going to be denied when he had the ball in his hands. It’s almost insane that the Titans played for the tie at the end, because there’s no way in hell we could’ve stopped him on a 2-point conversion to win it. That’s why I’m not mad at Jason Myers for missing that extra point in the second half. This outcome was inevitable.

I don’t know, exactly, what the deal was with the offense, either. Clearly, we couldn’t run the ball. That’s a problem. I don’t think it was for want of trying, Carson had 13 carries. But, he only generated 31 yards; so, is that an offensive line issue? Is it a play-calling issue? Is it Russell Wilson having a bad game and making poor decisions? Is it the scheme?

There were a couple of frustrating moments in the first half, but otherwise I thought the offense looked as good as it did a week ago in Indy. Then, it just totally shut down, against a defense who – again – let Freddie Swain beat them for 68 yards!

I figured I’d be more upset by the loss, but to tell the truth I’m more baffled than anything. It’s like someone hit me in the head and I’m left in a daze. I know for a fact I’d be much more angry if this loss came to an NFC West opponent, or one of the other NFC contenders. But, honestly? If you’re going to lose a game, losing one to an AFC opponent isn’t the worst thing in the world. As far as tie-breakers go, it’s relatively harmless. Of course, you can’t have too many of these, because the ultimate tie-breaker is simple Win/Loss record. But, the 2021 Seahawks were never going to go undefeated. If this wakes us up and gets us to perform better and smarter against the teams we really NEED to beat, then I don’t think all hope is lost.

But, if this is foreshadowing a defense that’s going to be totally inept – either because we don’t have the talent to stop high-level offenses, or because we don’t have the coordinator to coach these guys up – and an offense that’s going to go in the tank for long stretches of games, then I guess we’ll all look back at this loss as a bad omen for the season.

My ultimate take-away is that we’re never going to see the Titans again. Their offense was always going to be a bad matchup for us. But, thankfully, no NFC team has a running back like Derrick Henry; as far as running backs go, the only scary one remaining on our schedule is Dalvin Cook next week, and I expect us to be super fired up to shut him down after being so thoroughly embarrassed on the ground this past Sunday. So, it’s not like we have to worry about the Titans competing for a playoff spot with us, or have them looming as a potential post-season opponent (yes, I understand the Super Bowl is a thing that exists, but there’s no way the Titans are making it out of the AFC). On to Minnesota.

Kudos to Lockett (8 for 178 and a TD) and Swain (5 for 95 and a TD). Anti-Kudos to Metcalf (6 for 53 on 11 targets, plus multiple penalties).

Kudos to Bobby Wagner for his 20 tackles, his sack, and his two quarterback hits. Kudos to Al Woods for being an animal in the middle (filling in for Bryan Mone, who was out injured), with 7 tackles and a sack. Kudos to Alton Robinson for his sack and forced fumble, and to Kerry Hyder for recovering that fumble and being a menace in the backfield.

Anti-Kudos to the secondary. Just, all of it. D.J. Reed had an awful taunting penalty. Tre Flowers had his usual miserable game. Quandre Diggs couldn’t contain Henry on his 60-yard touchdown. And Jamal Adams had no positive impact on this game, while negatively impacting it with his own penalties. Fucking sorry effort by the whole lot of ’em.

Also, a weird bad game from our kicking duo. Michael Dickson had at least two punts sail into the endzone, and of course, Myers had that missed extra point that loomed potentially large. I guess there’s a non-zero chance the defense might’ve stopped Henry an inch short of the goalline, or maybe the Titans would’ve run a dumb non-Henry play for the game-tying 2-point conversion had they needed it to force overtime. I dunno.

Lots to work on before next week! Maybe start with the rulebook.

The Seahawks Vs. Titans Game Could Be High Scoring & Fun!

It’s my understanding that the line for this game has swung wildly in the Seahawks’ direction, from somewhere around -3.5, all the way up to -6 or so. There were clearly some questions about the Seahawks that the betting public at least feels were emphatically answered in that victory over Indianapolis. We didn’t know if the Seahawks were good, to be frank, particularly on offense with a new scheme and play-caller. Now we know – or, at least, we THINK we know – that the Seahawks ARE good. Great even! Maybe even a Super Bowl contender; I don’t think you have to squint quite as hard to see that reality coming to fruition.

At the same time, what can you say about the Titans – based on their opening week loss, at home, to the Cardinals – other than they look like a mess? They gave up 6 sacks (and countless other pressures), they were held to 86 rushing yards (Derrick Henry was held to only 58 yards on 17 carries), Ryan Tannehill’s QBR and passer rating were both pretty poor, and their defense – always expected to be a major weakness for them – gave up 38 points and 416 yards. All of this at home! Against an Arizona team most people have as the fourth best in the NFC West.

Now, it’s possible the Cardinals are MUCH better than we all expected, but regardless I think that game reflects more poorly on the Titans than it does positively on the Cards. Most people had the Titans as a playoff team again in 2021, and likely a division winner to boot. But, they looked like neither in that game, and now they have to fly across the country to Seattle and play in front of a 12th Man that hasn’t seen live football in person in quite some time.

So, yeah, given what we saw out of both of those games, and knowing where this game is being played, I think it’s reasonable for the line to move the way it did. The Seahawks SHOULD be a touchdown favorite. If the Titans are as bad as they looked in Week 1, they might lose by 50!

But, I don’t believe the Titans are as bad as they looked, nor do I think the Seahawks have solved all their problems. I still have questions about this team on both sides of the ball, and I’m going to need more than one quality game to have those concerns quelled.

Also, let’s face it, it’s a completely different matchup. The Titans will have had a week to review the tape, identify where things went wrong, and shore up their weaknesses.

I’ll say this: I don’t have a lot of worries about the Seahawks’ offense this week. The Titans are fundamentally flawed on defense; they won’t be able to fix their issues in one week, and likely won’t be able to fix them all year. What they need is to not be the absolute worst. They need to mitigate big plays, get off the field on a reasonable percentage of third downs, and keep the Seahawks somewhere in the 20’s in points. If they somehow find a way to dominate this Seahawks offense, then I think it’ll be fair to panic a little bit, because there’s no way in hell the Titans should limit the Seahawks to under 20 points; in fact, I would expect a minimum of 24 points, with a very legitimate chance to get into the 40’s.

I do think there’s cause for concern about the Seahawks’ defense. There’s no way the Titans are as bad as they looked against Arizona. For starters, the Seahawks don’t have a game-wrecker like Chandler Jones on their defense. Sorry, but I’ll believe it when I see someone single-handedly get 5 sacks in a game. I also highly doubt Derrick Henry is going to be held in check for two straight weeks; that guy is a fucking tank! Not to say I think we’ll give up 200+ yards or anything, but a 100-yard game is easily within the realm of possibility.

Now, it’s possible the Seahawks – as a group – can generate a similar kind of pass rush, but this is where I believe the Titans can improve from week 1 to week 2. I think they can tweak some things with their protection to mitigate that. I don’t believe the Seahawks will get 6 sacks, but could they do something similar to what they did to Carson Wentz and the Colts? Absolutely. The difference is: we’re not going up against Carson Wentz this week. Ryan Tannehill – say what you will – but he’s been playing at a high level since becoming their starter. He’ll still struggle in the face of pressure, but not as badly as Wentz.

That leads us to their receivers. A.J. Brown is a stud, period. And we’re all familiar with what Julio Jones brings to the table. Even though he’s a veteran and past his prime, it’s early enough in the season where he’s not dealing with so many nagging injuries that continue to slow him down. Plus, he’s coming off of a game where he caught 3 balls for 29 yards, and also got called out by the head coach in the press after the game. He’s a proud guy; I think he’ll be playing his ass off to impress his new team in week 2. Thankfully, they no longer have Jonnu Smith, but who knows how they replaced him? It seems like this is an offense that can effectively utilize a tight end when it wants to. But, who cares, because with that 1-2 punch – only topped by the Seahawks and maybe a small handful of other teams in the league – you really don’t need a whole lot beyond them.

The Seahawks’ secondary didn’t really get tested a whole lot against the Colts, for good reason; name one Colts receiver not named T.Y. Hilton (who is on the IR). The cornerbacks WILL be tested against the Titans, and we’ll have a much better idea just how big of a weakness they are for this defense and this team.

I still expect the Seahawks to win this game, but I’m telling you right now, don’t be shocked if the game is a lot closer than it was at the Colts. In fact, don’t be shocked if this game looks like most every other Seahawks game we’ve seen in the Russell Wilson era! I wouldn’t trust the Seahawks to cover a 6-point spread as far as I can throw them. If anything, I like the over 54 points, but that’s a lot of points, and it also wouldn’t surprise me if both offenses struggled to a stalemate in the first half. I mean, even a 28-24 Seahawks victory is still a loser in that over 54-point total.

Why couldn’t it be 31-24, you ask? Well, I suppose it could, but what if the Seahawks’ defense is just as effective as they were last week, and instead this game ends up 31-14?

My point is, probably stay away from betting this game altogether. Unless you like doing a 6-point tease and have another team you’re really in love with.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2020: Tua Be Or Not Tua Be, That Is The Question

For the first time all year, I actually got moderately-competent quarterback play from BOTH of my quarterbacks! A combined almost-58 points? If I’d been getting that every week, I daresay I’d have a much better win/loss record than I do now! Of course, I refuse to go back and double-check that math, because what could possibly be more of a waste of time? I mean, I’m already playing fantasy football; you can’t get much more time-wastey than that!

With that Thursday Night Miracle in hand, I’ll admit I was feeling pretty confident about winning this week. My projected points increased tremendously and if the rest of my team played according to how they’ve played all season, it should’ve been in the bag. But, you know me, I’m doomed to suffer. Things never seem to go my way. Close but no cigar and whatnot!

If I wanted to, I could blame the Atlanta Falcons for my loss. I could even blame Todd Gurley specifically! If he’d done what he should have done, they would’ve run out the clock and won their football game. Instead, he had to score a meaningless touchdown and that allowed the Lions to drive down and take the lead with a touchdown of their own to win the game. Which – thanks to my opponent having both the Lions’ quarterback and the tight end he threw that touchdown to – gave him just enough points to win his matchup against me, 165.05 to 156.40. Take away just the 12 points he got for the touchdown (6 for his quarterback, 6 for his tight end), and that’s a win for Nobody Beats The Wiz.

I could blame my misfortune on my running back keepers being totally worthless. Josh Jacobs and Ezekiel Elliott combined for 12.2 points when they were projected for a combined 35.63. I could blame my misfortune on the fantasy gods tearing Odell Beckham’s ACL in the first quarter of that Browns game where they racked up 37 points (surely some of those catches and/or touchdowns would’ve gone to their #1 receiver). Even if I’d had the gumption to stick with my three-headed running back hydra (CEH scored an improbable 13.3 points which seemed more flukey than a sign of things to come in that offense), the allure of playing ODB against the Bengals would’ve forced me to sit Deebo Samuel, who had 12.2 points of his own that I would’ve desperately needed to win this game.

The point is, there wasn’t much I could’ve done. If I would’ve played strictly by the projected points, I would’ve lost. Instead, I went by my gut and I lost. There was one combination of players that would’ve worked, and the odds of me figuring that out ahead of time was pretty minimal. This is the way.

I will say it wasn’t all doom and gloom. A.J. Brown had a monster game against the Steelers, getting me 27.3 points. The Rams’ defense was a great pickup, scoring 27 against the Bears on Monday Night. My kicker had his best game of the season, getting me 13 points.

Interesting waiver wire news: late last week, Beasts picked up Antonio Brown, who is headed to Tampa to play for the Bucs. Beasts, at the time, had four high-functioning quarterbacks, three of which already had their BYE weeks. There’s very little reason for anyone who’s fighting for a playoff spot to carry four quarterbacks on their roster when there are no longer any BYE weeks to work around. So, he ended up dropping his worst quarterback, Kirk Cousins. Who, as chance would have it, would be the second-best quarterback on my team had he been here the whole time. So, I put in a claim for him, dropping the most expendable receiver I had, Darius Slayton (who I would like to get back on my roster, if I’m so fortunate, especially thanks to ODB’s injury).

I also put in a claim for Chase Edmonds, because Arizona’s starting running back just got injured, but thanks to the Cousins claim, my waiver priority dropped down to 10th, so I assumed that was always going to be an impossible longshot. But, somehow, I got him! I guess maybe because Kenyan Drake will only be out for a few weeks, and because Arizona is on BYE this week, no one wanted to waste their waiver status. But still, I should get a couple good games out of Edmonds!

Finally, since I dropped ODB to pick up Edmonds, and since Deebo Samuel is in my IR spot for a bit, I picked up Brandon Aiyuk, also of the 49ers. He’s their impressive-looking rookie wide receiver who seems to be filling that Deebo Samuel-shaped hole in their offense. Since they’re going up against the Seahawks this week, you better believe I’m taking advantage!

The defeat drops me to 3-4 and in 8th place in the league. My opponent for this week is The Lance Petemans, who is 4-3 and in 5th place. He has the third-most total points (to my second-fewest), but he’s closer to the middle-of-the-pack than he is to the top two scoring teams. So, you know, it’s not an impossible task, but it will still likely require his team to underperform for me to beat him. Here’s what I’m looking at going with:

  • Carson Wentz (QB) vs. DAL
  • Tua Tagovailoa (QB) vs. LAR
  • A.J. Brown (WR) @ CIN
  • Brandon Aiyuk (WR) @ SEA
  • Josh Jacobs (RB) @ CLE
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB) vs. NYJ
  • Noah Fant (TE) vs. LAC
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ PHI
  • Harrison Butker (K) vs. NYJ
  • Indianapolis (DEF) @ DET

Fuck it, I’m Ride Or Die with Tua. Daniel Jones is a complete non-starter for me going forward until he proves he’s not totally worthless behind that offensive line (he’s especially impossible to start this week going up against that elite Bucs defense). Cousins is enticing, but he’s at Green Bay, and it wouldn’t shock me to see him play a bad game there. I’d hate to miss out on the Tua bandwagon because I “played it safe” with someone infuriating like Cousins. Believe me, I harbor no delusions about what Cousins brings to the table; I had him on my other fantasy team until about a week ago. He’s had a couple good weeks – largely fuelled by Garbage Time points – but he throws WAY too many interceptions, on top of which he’s leading a conservative, run-heavy offense that’s getting Dalvin Cook back this week (I hope, for my other fantasy team’s sake). Tua could stink! We just saw the Rams’ defense have a field day against the Bears. But, I’m hoping that by playing at home, having two weeks to prepare, and being a complete unknown will be enough to shock the world and lead Tua to have a huge game.

Not for nothing, but Daniel Jones’ first start last year saw him score 4 touchdowns (and over 40 fantasy points in our league), so there is precedent for someone coming from out of nowhere to blow away the competition.

I’m more or less stuck playing my full three-headed running back hydra because I have so many wide receiver injuries this week. ODB is out for the year, and Deebo Samuel strained a hamstring in his game last week; he’s already ruled out this week, and maybe next week as well. That’s a tough loss for me, because I have zero confidence in the Dallas offense whatsoever with Andy Dalton at the helm; the fact that I have to start Ezekiel Elliott is bad enough, but there was no way I could also start CeeDee Lamb. My hope is that CEH – against a putrid Jets defense – gets a lot of love in that one, and maybe Jacobs has a bounce-back game against a less-stout Browns defense.

I’m only starting Indy’s defense because I feel there’s a conflict of interest in playing the Rams against my rookie quarterback. I’m hoping the fantasy football gods see the good mojo I’m trying to throw into the world and reward me accordingly.

No significant BYE week luck this week. The Lance Petemans has Gardner Minshew on BYE, but he probably would’ve been benched anyway. Ryan Tannehill is a must-start every week apparently, and Jimmy G is facing the also-putrid Seahawks defense. When you’ve got someone going up against the Seahawks, you have to play them; it’s a new rule they just brought down. Here’s his projected lineup:

  • Ryan Tannehill (QB) @ CIN
  • Jimmy Garoppolo (QB) @ SEA
  • Tyreek Hill (WR) vs. NYJ
  • Calvin Ridley (WR) @ CAR
  • Todd Gurley (RB) @ CAR
  • Melvin Gordon (RB) vs. LAC
  • Rob Gronkowski (TE) @ NYG
  • Miles Sanders (RB) vs. DAL
  • Ryan Succop (K) @ NYG
  • Philadelphia (DEF) vs. DAL

I only have myself to blame for trading him Tyreek Hill last year in an ill-advised deal to get the aging Tom Brady (With No Weapons To Throw To), who is clearly different than this year’s Tom Brady (On The Bucs Who Scores Tons Of Points Every Week). So, look for Hill to score 4 TDs. Calvin Ridley has come on as a real stud, which I honestly didn’t see coming. Tannehill, I should point out again, has been a really dominant force (scoring over 30 points in three of his six games). All of his running backs are great, with juicy matchups. He’s probably weakest on defense, and even then there’s a lot to like, because I think even Andy Dalton is hurt and the Cowboys are going with a much less-touted rookie who will probably be overwhelmed.

I don’t see a clear path to victory this week, unless I get lucky with a lot of my opponent’s guys underperforming. We’ll see, though. I don’t totally hate my matchups this week, for whatever that’s worth (it’s probably worth my team scoring the fewest points it has all year).