Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Going Down Without A Fight

I’m just going to say this right now: I picked the best-possible weekend to get away to Leavenworth, because almost NOTHING went right for me, sports-wise. On top of the Mariners and Huskies bungling things, all three of my fantasy teams collectively shit their respective beds!

Snoopy & Prickly Pete lost to Toot Cannons 157.48 to 129.90. With a score that feeble, you’d expect my team had problems throughout the lineup, but really it was just a matter of having the worst quarterback situation in the league, combined with the Rams’ defense getting boat-raced.

My position players – save CeeDee Lamb, who mystifyingly did nothing in a game where the Cowboys scored 36 points (it happens, I guess) – all did okay! Metcalf had 16.5 points, Zeke got me 20.3, even CEH got me 19.4. Noah Fant had a respectable tight end day with 16.6, and Diontae Johnson busted out with 24.2 (making the waiver claim my highest scorer on the week). I even got 13 points from my kicker! I would take those scores from those guys every week and be happy.

But, Jimmy G was held to 10.25 points (before being pulled with a “calf injury” at halftime), and Justin Fields was held to 7.35. If I’d gone with Jameis and Mac Jones, I could’ve added approximately 21 points to my total, but that still wouldn’t have made up for the -1 I got from the Rams’ defense. I was just destined to lose this game.

Toot Cannons didn’t blow my doors off or anything; he didn’t put up 200+ like you can in this league. But, he had competent quarterbacks, and a huge day from Saquon Barkley, Najee Harris, Justin Jefferson, and Darren Waller. Those are the kinds of young studs I wish I had.

I managed to get Taylor Heinicke in a waiver claim, which I feel like is the last possible moment someone can get this guy. He’s been good-to-great since he’s been in the lineup! Certainly better than any of my quarterbacks I’ve been rolling with. He put up 36.8 against the Falcons for Christ’s sake! I don’t know if he’s a viable long-term option, but for the rest of this year he’s a must-start for me until things take a turn for the worse.

I have lots of other last-minute decisions to make this week, because I’ve got lots of guys who are KINDA injured, but might still play. What I want to do is bench D.K. Metcalf, because Jalen Ramsey always makes him his bitch. But, I don’t know if A.J. Brown is going to for-sure play or not, and with my bench structured the way it is (with all these quarterbacks), it’s not like I’m loaded with alternatives to start at the rest of my spots. Plus, even if Brown plays – it’s a great matchup against a terrible Jags defense – who knows if he’ll just be out there as a decoy, or if he’ll actually be incorporated into the offense? If Brown suits up, I might put him in for Diontae Johnson (who has a tough matchup against the Broncos), but like I said, that’ll be a last-minute decision (that I’m sure I’ll get wrong, no matter what I choose).

I really have a conundrum at the QB spot. Jimmy G may or may not go; I like his chances for a high-scoring game against the Cards, as they will need to throw a lot to stay in it. Justin Fields may or may not go, with Andy Dalton on the mend; but he’s yet to score over 8 fantasy points in our league, so is he worth starting at this point, after doing nothing against the Lions? I’m leaning Jameis against the Washington Football Team, but he keeps getting TDs sniped inside the 10 yard line by the bane of my existence Taysom Hill. Mac Jones looked semi-competent against the Bucs and has a solid matchup against the lowly Texans.

So, I dunno what I’ll do. Here’s how my lineup tentatively shakes out for Week 5:

  • Taylor Heinicke (QB) vs. NO
  • Mac Jones (QB) @ HOU
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. LAR
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) vs. DEN
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. NYG
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB) vs. BUF
  • Noah Fant (TE) @ PIT
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. NYG
  • Justin Tucker (K) vs. IND
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) @ SEA

Justin Tucker is my favorite person on the planet. I’m hoping for a big bounce-back game out of Lamb. Zeke looks rejuvenated with Dak back in the fold. And, I fully expect the Rams to make Russell Wilson’s life miserable all game long.

My opponent this week is Sloane N Steady. I’m currently in 9th place with a 1-3 record; he is currently in 10th place with a 1-3 record (only two points separate us). It’s a rumble for last place! You hate to see it. Here’s what I have to go against:

  • Aaron Rodgers (QB) @ CIN
  • Derek Carr (QB) vs. CHI
  • Mike Evans (WR) vs. MIA
  • Michael Pittman Jr. (WR) @ BAL
  • Nick Chubb (RB) @ LAC
  • Dalvin Cook (RB) vs. DET
  • Kyle Pitts (TE) vs. NYJ
  • Kareem Hunt (RB) @ LAC
  • TBD (K) vs. TBD
  • San Francisco (DEF) @ ARI

He’s got good quarterbacks, he’s got elite running backs, so I don’t totally get why he’s doing so poorly this year. His receivers are a little lacking, but it seems like he could fix that in free agency. And, it feels like it’s only a matter of time before Kyle Pitts busts out.

I don’t like my chances, but then again I never do. I think I’ll have sole possession of last place when this week is done, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to climb out of it the rest of the year. I just need to figure something out for the Consolation Bracket and try to finagle my way into a Top 2 pick for next year.

Splinter League Round-Up!

I’m starting to regret adding this segment to my weekly fantasy column, because BUCK FUTTER has lost two games in four weeks now; I was projected to lose only one all season! I don’t know what happened, but my non-QBs totally shit the bed. Chuba Hubbard was a waste of a waiver claim, and Waddle and Godwin did practically nothing. I’ll try to right the ship next week, but it’s like I’m getting everyone’s best efforts every week.

The Seahawks Just Need To Get Through These Next Few Games In One Piece (and Also Some Gambling Stuff)

I’ll go through the motions of talking about the Giants this week, and the Jets after that, and the Football Team from Washington D.C. after that, but my heart won’t really be in it, because I have no respect for any of these teams. They’re all inferior, deeply-flawed teams that should lose to the Seahawks. I can’t promise these games will be easy to watch. I can’t tell you the Seahawks won’t make you want to throw your remote control across the room as they sometimes struggle against teams they should easily defeat by double-digits. But, just as the game against the Eagles ultimately proved, the Seahawks are better and they SHOULD prevail.

So. The New York Football Giants. What can you say? They’re 4-7 and somehow tied for first place in the NFC East. They are winners of three in a row (and 4 of their last 6), but those victories are against Washington (twice), Philly, and Cincy (who have a combined 9 wins this season). Of our next three opponents, this is probably the best, but since they have to come all the way out here, I would argue this isn’t the toughest matchup of the three.

The Giants’ strengths lie exclusively on the defensive side of the ball. They’re in the upper half of the league in sacks. They’re in the top 10 in fewest yards given up. They’re fifth in fewest rushing yards given up, but they’re only middle-of-the-pack in passing yards given up. We should be able to throw on them if we want to; if we try to force the issue on the ground, it could be a long, frustrating game. They’re tied for fourth in takeaways, evenly split with nine interceptions and nine fumble recoveries; the fumble number is on the higher side, which shows that they’ve been relatively lucky in that regard to date.

Offensively, the Giants are a fucking disaster. Daniel Jones has proven to be thoroughly inept in his second year in the league, regressing quite a bit after a promising rookie season (I think it’s no coincidence that the Giants just hired Jason Garrett before the season, who was a mediocre head coach and – before that – coordinator for the Cowboys for many years); he’s too prone to turning the ball over (which is how the Giants can be tied for fourth in most takeaways, yet only have a +2 turnover differential), which totally negates his plus-ability to run with the football.

And yet, Jones was injured last week and probably won’t even play. I can’t tell if that’s a good thing or not. Colt McCoy is a career backup (for a reason), but the Seahawks have shown that they can struggle against these guys. They tend to be more careful with the football, and play us tough in low-scoring, hard-fought affairs. The ceiling for the Giants’ offense this Sunday isn’t very high, but the floor isn’t very low (compared to the floor for Jones, which is through the Earth’s fucking crust, with how he can cough up the football).

Besides the new offensive coordinator, the Giants (and Jones) have struggled behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league. I don’t know if they’re super injured or just bad in general, but I suspect probably both. They’ve also suffered a rash of injuries to all of their wide receivers and their superstar running back in Saquon Barkley. So, again, REALLY low ceiling here.

I can’t envision a scenario where the Seahawks lose this one, but the only way it’s close is if we continuously ram our heads against a brick wall trying to get the running game going, and Wilson has one of his infrequent turnover-prone performances. By keeping the game close, I suppose it’s conceivable that the Giants could have the ball late, down only a small handful of points, driving for a go-ahead score. But, it feels like the perfect storm of fuckery would have to happen for this to be our reality. I’m not buying it.

Give me Seahawks 23, Giants 13, which – no joke – is the spread and the total points listed in Vegas (SIGHT UNSEEN, mind you!), so I think we might be on to something here!

In unrelated gambling news, my Vegas trip has been postponed, and I mostly forgot to set up any fake bets last week. I did one 3-team, 10-point teaser: moving Washington to +13 over Dallas (Washington won outright), Atlanta to +13 over the Raiders (they also won outright), and Green Bay to +1.5 over the Bears (they also won outright). My other teaser, a 2-team, 6-point one, was Washington to +9 and New England to +8.5 over the Cardinals (New England won outright). So, not too bad! I also had Denver in that 3-team teaser (in place of Atlanta), but that was prior to all of their quarterbacks being placed on the COVID IR (nevertheless, a loss is a loss when you place the fake bet). Still, 2-1 on the week isn’t bad.

Here’s the bets I’m looking at for this weekend:

  • 3-team tease:
    • SEA to PK over NYG
    • GB to +1.5 over PHI
    • AZ to +13 over LAR
  • 3-team tease:
    • SEA to PK over NYG
    • GB to +1.5 over PHI
    • HOU to +13.5 over IND
  • 3-team tease:
    • SEA to PK over NYG
    • GB to +1.5 over PHI
    • NYJ to +19 over LV
  • 3-team tease
    • SEA to PK over NYG
    • GB to +1 over PHI
    • MIN to PK over JAX
  • 3-team tease
    • SEA to PK over NYG
    • GB to +1.5 over PHI
    • CLE to +16 over TEN
  • 3-team tease
    • SEA to PK over NYG
    • GB to +1.5 over PHI
    • NE to +9 over LAC

Also, here are some college bets, for shits n’ giggles:

  • Appalachian State -2.5 over UL Lafayette
  • Ohio State -24 over Michigan State
  • Oklahoma State & TCU over 51.5 points
  • Rutgers +11.5 over Penn State
  • Marshall -23.5 over Rice
  • Texas A&M -6.5 over Auburn
  • Notre Dame -33.5 over Syracuse
  • Buffalo -11.5 over Ohio
  • Buffalo & Ohio over 58
  • Indiana +14 over Wisconsin
  • Iowa St. -6.5 over West Virginia
  • Washington -11.5 over Stanford
  • Coastal Carolina +10 over BYU
    • Also Coastal Carolina on the Money Line at +280
  • Oregon -9 over Cal
  • WSU +12.5 over USC

I’d put the most money on App State, Indiana, Buffalo & Ohio over, Washington, and everything Coastal Carolina.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2020: Although We’ve Come Tua The End Of The Road

  • 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

Still I can’t let go! Tua belongs to me! I belong Tua!

This was supposed to be a Get Right game for Tua (against the Jets), but instead he suffered some sort of thumb injury beforehand (!) and didn’t even play. That left me scrambling to get his backup, but thankfully I was on the ball this time. So, it was The Return Of FitzMagic who was … fine. 25.85 points is actually pretty good for me, but obviously when you’re going up against the Jets you’d like to see 30+ out of your quarterback. In the end, it didn’t matter because I was smart enough to sub Kirk Cousins in for Carson Wentz, who ended up getting me 35.25 (compared to Wentz’s 22.95), and Nobody Beats The Wiz ended up defeating Korky Butchek 172.78 to 104.90.

What a drubbing! And, it could’ve been so much worse, but I got cold feet at the last minute with Deebo Samuel. Once Tua was ruled out, I was able to stash him in one of my IR spots, giving me an opportunity to pick up Atlanta’s backup running back – Brian Hill, who was starting in place of the injured Todd Gurley – who I figured would be good for 10 points or so, with upside in the high teens. I was honestly more worried that the Rams’ defense would destroy the 49ers, but boy was I mistaken! Hill only got 5.5, while Deebo racked up 24.3 for my bench (and, to boot, the 49ers actually beat the Rams, to help the Seahawks out!).

But, on top of my QBs killing it, I had a lot of guys running up the score. A.J. Brown, Dallas Goedert, and the Rams’ defense all had over 20 points (with DeVante Parker getting 19.9); that was enough to overcome my three running backs scoring me a combined 13.8.

The victory puts me at 7-5 on the season, and thanks to Sausage Shaped Pest losing, guarantees me a spot in this year’s playoffs! Now, all I have to worry about is playoff seeding.

I was about to get into all the possible scenarios, but they are too varied to count. Suffice it to say I’m currently in 5th place; the highest I can climb is to third place (if I win and the two teams above me – also 7-5 – lose their games). The lowest I can finish is 6th place; I have no tiebreaker advantages because I have the fewest points scored of all the teams in the playoffs. I wish I knew the history of being the playoff team with the fewest points, but I’ve never been in this position! Usually, I’m one of the teams that scores MORE than one (or more) of the playoff teams, but due to bad luck ends up in the Consolation Bracket. So, this is uncharted territory for me; hopefully my team gets hot at the right time!

This week, Nobody Beats The Wiz gets a meaningless matchup against Sausage Shaped Pest. It most likely won’t matter either way if I win or lose, so watch me have my best game of the entire season (right before having my absolute worst game, to bounce me from the playoffs). Here’s my lineup anyway (subject to change, if I get a wild hair up my ass about something on Sunday morning):

  • Kirk Cousins (QB) vs. JAX
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick or Tua Tagovailoa (QB) vs. CIN
  • A.J. Brown (WR) vs. CLE
  • DeVante Parker (WR) vs. CIN
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ BAL
  • Josh Jacobs (RB) @ NYJ
  • Dallas Goedert (TE) @ GB
  • Deebo Samuel (WR) vs. BUF
  • Harrison Butker (K) vs. DEN
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) @ ARI

It seems to be a toss-up as to who will start for Miami this week; is Tua’s injury healed? We’ll see! My three receivers all have great matchups this week; my running backs less so (especially if Jacobs’ sprained ankle doesn’t allow him to play; then I’ll have to start CEH against Denver’s stout defense). But, again, I’m not too worried because this game is meaningless. Here’s Sausage Shaped Pest’s roster this week:

  • Derek Carr (QB) @ NYJ
  • Kyler Murray (QB) vs. LAR
  • Michael Thomas (WR) @ ATL
  • Justin Jefferson (WR) vs. JAX
  • Gio Bernard (RB) @ MIA
  • Wayne Gallman (RB) @ SEA
  • Darren Waller (TE) @ NYJ
  • Brandin Cooks (WR) vs. IND
  • Brandon McManus (K) @ KC
  • Cleveland (DEF) @ TEN

That’s a pretty good team, that’s been decimated by injuries. He should have Joe Mixon and Saquon Barkley as his starting running backs, but both are currently on IR. He’s also got Mike Evans on BYE this week to hamper his flex spot. Nevertheless, there’s a lot of firepower left over. My guess is he’ll pick up a new defense this week, but he also might not care because he’s already been doomed to the Consolation Bracket.

Next week, I’ll have a playoff preview, since I’m guaranteed to be playing in Week 14. The top two seeds – both with 8-4 records at the moment – while they don’t have their BYEs locked in, they’ve at least locked me out (since they have SO MANY more points than I do). Nevertheless, you know what’s crazy? I have the longest active winning streak in the league right now, of four games, with a very good chance to make it five heading into the playoffs. The hottest team wins no awards, and it has no bearing on what happens in the all-important playoffs. But, I feel better than I did two months ago, when it comes to my team! I’ve done everything I can to try to improve my lineup, and now it’s up to the players to lead me to victory or (more likely) submarine me into the briny deep.

Now that I feel somewhat okay about my lot in (fantasy football) life, watch it all blow up in my fucking face. Next week, I’ll take you down Memory Lane, and look at all of my fantasy football finishes in this league, dating back to 2003 (when we joined Yahoo!). Spoiler Alert: there’s A LOT of mediocrity!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2020: Everything That Could Go Wrong

What an unbelievable clusterfuck. I mean, there’s really nothing to say at this point, other than Nobody Beats The Wiz scored the fewest amount of points in the league. My quarterbacks were fucking trash, and my last-minute wide receiver replacement – Parris Campbell of the Colts – got injured the first time he touched the football and is now out indefinitely. He really looked like he was going to be an awesome play against an inept Vikings defense (the other receivers on that team ended up having great days, to further twist the knife into my heart), but it doesn’t even matter because if I’d stayed with my original second wide receiver choice Darius Slayton, he only ended up with 6.3 points, which wouldn’t have been enough to put me over the top, as the final score was 136.20 to 123.45.

The loss drops me to 1-1; there are eight teams in our league with the same record (one team is 2-0, and one team is 0-2). Thanks to my low number of total points, that means I’m in 8th place out of 10 teams. So, obviously, not great.

I suppose it could’ve been worse, given all the crazy injuries that took place over the weekend. Saquon Barkley – a keeper in our league, but a top 5 draft pick most everywhere else – is out for the year. Christian McCaffrey – another top 5 guy – is out for a few weeks. God help you if you’re reliant upon the 49ers, as most of their team is hurt! The Broncos lost their quarterback and top receiver, the Chargers’ quarterback is week-to-week, even the Seahawks’ run-down defense is feeling the loss in significant ways.

This is a week to just forget about and move on as quickly as possible. I have nothing positive to say, other than my opponent left Cam Newton’s 38 points on his bench, otherwise I would’ve lost by a significantly wider margin!

I have something of a dilemma on my hands this week. Not with my running backs, who are all great; between those two spots and my FLEX, I’m happy starting all of them every single week. While my receivers are far from ideal, I’m pretty much resigned to playing whoever’s got the best matchup (with ODB getting the lion’s share of the starts until he proves too mediocre to play on a regular basis). But, once again, I’m getting abysmal quarterback play, which is the worst-case scenario for a 2-QB league where points are skewed in their favor.

You strive in fantasy football to take all decision-making out of it, by acquiring players who are Must Starts every week they’re active. The more you introduce decision-making into it, the more you open yourself up to mistakes. You can have all the stats in front of you, making your decision based on the soundest of logic, taking emotion completely out of the equation, and it can still bite you in the ass. I frequently tout Daniel Jones and his four 40-point games last season as the primary reason why I decided to make him one of my keepers, but how many of those games did I have him in my starting lineup last year? I want to say once. One time I was able to take advantage. Every other time, I was scared of the matchup, or not ready to believe in his abilities.

Well, here I am, two weeks into 2020, and I’m scared of EVERY matchup, and I don’t believe in ANY of my quarterbacks! Carson Wentz was supposed to be my safe play, the guy who gets me a steady 20-something points every week. He won’t go off for 40+ very often, but he’s not supposed to be wretched either! Yet, I’m looking at 15-point and 10-point games in back to back weeks; that’s unacceptable. But, it’s not like Daniel Jones is much better. My best quarterback through two weeks is Mitch Trubisky (who I picked up as a free agent last week); he’s a guy NO ONE believes in, yet here we are.

My dilemma is, I allegedly have three good matchups this week. Daniel Jones is hosting a depleted 49ers defense; with all the injuries on that side of the ball – combined with Barkley’s injury for the Giants – I could see Jones throwing the ball with great success. Carson Wentz is projected to score me the most fantasy points this week, as his Eagles host the Bengals. But, Mitch Trubisky might have the juiciest matchup of all, playing in Atlanta against a Falcons defense that’s given up the most points to opposing quarterbacks in all of football. So, who do I sit?

To me, Trubisky is a Must Start this week. Atlanta has proven they can’t stop anyone this season, and Trubisky has shown he’s at least semi-competent. The Bengals allegedly have a terrible secondary, but from what I’ve seen, it’s their run defense that’s truly awful; I could see the Eagles getting an early lead and leaning on their running game the rest of the way in a comfortable, lowish-scoring blowout. With Jones now being The Guy on that Giants offense – combined with the fact that the Giants’ defense is one of the worst, so they’re always going to need to score lots of points to stay in games – I can’t bring myself to sit him. The potential is too great, whereas Wentz doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing this year.

So, with that being said, watch out for a HUGE day by Wentz this week! I’m sitting him, so of course he’s going to put up 40+ points! I fucking hate fantasy football.

All right, with my crybaby tantrum out of the way, let’s take a look at my roster moves for this week. I put in a waiver claim for Dallas rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb (dropping the injured Campbell, naturally). As a guy who currently owns way too many compact discs (and whose collection once numbered into the four-digits), that’s a name after my own heart. But, more than that, he looks like the real deal. The Cowboys obviously like him a lot, and it appears he’s taken over the #2 receiver job on that team ahead of Michael Gallup (who many thought would have a breakout year, but hasn’t done much of anything so far). Lamb is immediately going into my lineup as the Cowboys face off against the Seahawks, who have given up a TON of yards and touchdowns to receivers this year (in fact, according to Yahoo!, the Seahawks have given up the most points to fantasy receivers this year). He is, once again, taking the spot of Darius Slayton (who I really like, as again, he’s going up against that depleted 49ers secondary), but it’s a numbers game at this point (also, watch out for Odell Beckham Jr. to have far and away the worst day of the three receivers on my roster this week; just a hunch).

I also went ahead and picked back up the Indianapolis Colts’ defense. They bounced back in a big way against the Vikings last week (scoring 29 points for no one), showing that they’re not horrible like I’d once feared. While Washington has a pretty solid matchup against the Browns this week, Indy is going up against the Jets, who might have the worst offense in all of football. So, this will hopefully be a significant boost to my team this week (and ideally, for weeks to come). I still have Washington’s defense, though, as I plan to mix-and-match for a while; I ended up dropping running back Malcolm Brown, who is, indeed, in a 3-headed hydra at that position for the Rams (and who looked pretty mediocre last week). At this point, I can’t afford to hang onto two backup running backs for the same team, when I’ve already got three quality starters for other teams going every week.

I HOPE … that will be the end of my tinkering. Here is my lineup:

  • Jones (QB) vs. SF
  • Trubisky (QB) @ ATL
  • Beckham (WR) vs. WAS
  • Lamb (WR) @ SEA
  • Elliott (RB) @ SEA
  • Jacobs (RB) @ NE
  • Fant (TE) vs. TB
  • Edwards-Helaire @ BAL
  • Butker (K) @ BAL
  • Indianapolis (DEF) vs. NYJ

A.J. Brown, receiver for the Titans, looks like he’s going to miss a second consecutive week, which is a shame, because they’re going up against an inept secondary in the Vikings. Corey Davis might be a decent pickup for someone who is streaming receivers, but obviously you want Jonnu Smith, the Titans’ tight end (he should have a monster day; if you haven’t picked him up in your league, now is the time, because he’s elite). I’ve pretty much talked about the rest of my bench and why they’re not playing this week, other than Cam Akers, who has a rib injury and is also still playing behind the other two running backs on that Rams team. He’s still my little stash, though! I’m hoping for a late-season run of good fortune out of him!

This week, Nobody Beats The Wiz is facing off against Korky Butchek. On paper, his team doesn’t seem that strong, but I’m really one to talk. So, without further ado, here is his projected lineup:

  • Jared Goff (QB) @ BUF
  • Joe Burrow (QB) @ PHI
  • DeAndre Hopkins (WR) vs. DET
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR) vs. HOU
  • David Montgomery (RB) @ ATL
  • James Robinson (RB) vs. MIA
  • Jonnu Smith (TE) @ MIN
  • D.J. Moore (WR) @ LAC
  • Matt Prater (K) @ ARI
  • Kansas City (DEF) @ BAL

He also has Hayden Hurst as his other tight end, but Jonnu was one of Korky Butchek’s waiver claims this week, and I have to believe that’s who he’ll be going with. Otherwise, his team is pretty banged up. Raheem Mostert went down last week; he’s out. Drew Lock went down last week; he’s out. LeVeon Bell went down in week 1; he’s on IR. As for his starters, his quarterbacks are playing some tough defenses on the road. His receivers should all clean house, and his running backs should be fine. If I were him, I’d worry about that Kansas City defense going up against Baltimore; let’s just say I’m glad I picked up Indianapolis this morning, because I’d hate to have to go up against someone with them in their lineup!

I’m a soft favorite so far, but there’s still time for him to pick up another defense to even that out. I’m sure my tinkering (with quarterbacks) and lack of tinkering (with ODB) will kill me, and you’ll be talking to someone who’s 1-2 and spiraling out of control this time next week.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2020: Nobody Beats The Wiz!

  • Pre-Season Week 1 HERE
  • Pre-Season Week 2 HERE

Oh that’s right, I’ve decided to name my team after the great Seinfeld character!

Nobody beats this guy!

Anyway, we had our draft last Friday, and of course I opted to go rogue. Look, I don’t know who reads this! I can’t be handing my league-mates possible insights into my fantasy football mind! So, you know, I conveniently left out the part that my top two guys were NOT Mike Evans and Aaron Jones, but rather:

  1. Clyde Edwards-Helaire
  2. Miles Sanders

To be fair, I did talk about Sanders last week. In going back and looking at his numbers, I didn’t realize just how many targets he gets in the passing game! Considering I also have his quarterback – Carson Wentz – and they still might not have the best crop of wide receivers in the world, I wouldn’t have thrown that connection out of bed.

But, all along, my true number one was always Clyde Edwards-Helaire (I might just shorten that to CEH even though it looks like an unpleasant search term on Pornhub or something). Remember before when I was bemoaning how there weren’t any great rookie running backs in this class? Remember how I wanted my Saquon Barkley? Well, he might be it! He was looking like a dark horse fantasy candidate before Damien Williams decided to opt out of this season due to COVID, but now that he’s the true #1 on the Chiefs, there’s just no denying him! His potential is through the roof!

Sanders would’ve been the safer pick, because at least he has a year of experience. But, I’ll take upside every time.

Just as I suspected, the guy with the #1 draft pick – COVID Bubble Boys – opted to go quarterback with his first selection: Drew Brees. Definitely a Playing For Now type of guy, and you have to respect that. He’s already got Lamar Jackson, might as well take his shot every chance he gets!

That left me with my pick of the litter, CEH. Sure enough, Miles Sanders went #3. THEN Joe Burrow went off the board! Followed by Aaron Jones, Tom Brady, Mike Evans (to the guy who had him last year, in effect giving him five keepers), Baker Mayfield, Chris Carson, and D.K. Metcalf rounding out the Top Ten.

That D.K. Metcalf pick is an interesting one, because he was CERTAINLY a guy I was targeting (although, I wanted him much later than when he went). That’s what’s hard about being in a fantasy football league with guys who either currently live in the Seattle area or have lived a long time in the Seattle area: the good Seahawks tend to get over-valued. Russell Wilson, for instance, has been on the same fantasy team since his rookie year, kept every single time by the same guy. Chris Carson is certainly an elite running back when he’s healthy, but he’s finished every year of his pro career with an injury, and there’s no reason for that not to continue. Tyler Lockett was kept this year mostly because that guy didn’t have a great fourth option for his keepers. And, while Metcalf certainly looked phenomenal in his rookie season last year, he’s still young and still a member of this offense, that likes to spread the ball around more than just about any other.

Metcalf COULD be the next Julio Jones; he seems to be driven as such. But, in this offense, he’s very touchdown-dependant (and very deep play-dependant). You might see a lot of lines like: 4 catches for 88 yards and 2 TDs. Which, yeah, is 24.8 points in our league, but without those two touchdowns, you’re looking at 12.8 points (which is okay, but nothing to write home about, especially for the first receiver you’ve drafted). In my mind, Metcalf would’ve been an ideal third receiver for a fantasy team, so I was a little disappointed he went off the board before I’d even selected my first.

That brings us to the second round (I won’t go through all of them, I promise); with three RBs on my team, I knew I was going receiver, regardless. Thankfully, some great ones remained! Kenny Golladay ended up going one spot ahead of me, but I was okay with that, because it means I get to enjoy Odell Beckham Jr. for the first time in my fantasy career!

I don’t know how ODB fell to me, but I’ll take him! I mean, I sort of know how he fell to me: he plays for Cleveland. He’s a diva. He could score me 40 points … or he could get so mad, blow up, and retire in the middle of a football game. It’s all on the table! The headache and the constant worry can be a little much, and I get that. If he were my first draft selection, I’d be much more nervous; but, as a second? The pressure is off! I’ve already got the guy I’ll be looking to keep next year. Had I landed ODB back when he was on the Giants, I’d be looking at him with those same eyes, figuring I’d hold onto him for many years to come. But, this way? I see him as a one-year rental. A hired gun to help bring me a championship.

I went back to the WR well in round three. Two top receivers from the 2019 rookie class – Scary Terry McLaurin and A.J. Brown – were both sitting there (among many others, of course). Once again, my choice was made for me by the COVID Bubble Boys, as he nabbed Scary Terry. That was a tough one; I had him last year, and was looking to reinvest! The Washington Football Team is a disaster – and they’re starting with Dwayne Haskins at quarterback, which could be a shitshow – but Scary Terry is a rising star and could help make anyone throwing to him look good! So, I settled for A.J. Brown. Considering I thought he might’ve been a keeper at one point, I think that’s a pretty swell consolation prize. I’m not a believer in Ryan Tannehill, but I’m also willing to be wrong. If he – and the Titans – can recapture that magic from 2019, then A.J. Brown could be even BETTER than a #2 receiver.

A lot of other receivers were taken in that round, but I wanted to get one more just to be safe. So, with my fourth pick, I went with DeVante Parker. It was either him or Robert Woods or Michael Gallup (kinda wish I’d remembered he was out there and grabbed him instead) or Courtland Sutton. Parker has been around for a while, but had a breakout season last year; when he’s on, he’s a bona fide #1 guy. But, I think the risk with him is that he doesn’t totally buy in. That he’s more of a fair-weather football player. Plus, he plays for the Miami Dolphins, and they will likely be breaking in a rookie quarterback at some point this year. Look, I’m not expecting a lot out of Parker; I mostly just took him because Yahoo had him rated so high (and because I REALLY didn’t want to pick LeVeon Bell, who fell REALLY far in this draft because he’s old and on the Jets and it’s pretty apparent the current Jets coaching staff doesn’t like him much). If we look back at where I screwed up my season, I’ll be looking at this pick (and probably wishing I’d gone with Gallup).

With my two quarterbacks, three running backs, and three receivers, I took a couple chances on some guys who might not help me right away; “projects” or “developmental guys” if you will. Cam Akers, rookie running back for the Rams, was my fifth pick. I love a running back from an explosive offense! The Rams sent Todd Gurley packing, so that running back job is wide open. I don’t think Akers will start right away, but he could get the nod as the season wears on. If he proves himself, he could be either a valuable trade chip OR a stud for me in the fantasy playoffs.

Then, with my sixth pick, I grabbed receiver Deebo Samuel. He’s injured at the moment, but has just started practicing, and could come off of whatever injured list he’s on. No one figures he’ll play much in the first couple weeks, but if he heals properly, he could be another boost for me after the season gets going. The downside is, of course, that his injury is to his foot, and foot injuries for receivers are notoriously chronic. Part of me worries that he’ll be dealing with this foot thing all year, which won’t be enough to put him on the IR, but will hamper him JUST enough to be rendered ineffective. I suspect the minute I feel confident in starting him will be the game where he comes out in the first quarter with that foot injury, never to return again.

You’ll notice I have yet to mention selecting a tight end. What can I say? The good ones didn’t stick around, and I always saw a better receiver or running back when it was my turn to pick. Finally, I had to bite the bullet. There were a couple potentially-solid guys left over – Hayden Hurst for the Falcons went in the following round, and Hunter Henry for the Chargers went a round after THAT – but I opted to go with second year player Noah Fant for the Broncos. As a first round pick for Denver last year, CLEARLY Fant is someone they want to feature pretty heavily in their offense. Reports indicate they’re moving him all around pre-snap (from along the O-Line, to in the slot, to out wide like a receiver) and I take that as a VERY positive sign that he has a lot of fantasy upside. I know, Drew Lock is their quarterback, but even mediocre throwers still manage to find a tight end safety valve every now and then. I don’t ask a lot from my tight ends; just get me around ten points per week. Anything more than that is gravy. I have a feeling that I might be eating a lot of gravy this year with Fant in the fold.

With my eighth pick, it was time to buy a lottery ticket. Mecole Hardman, wide receiver with the Chiefs. He’s mostly just a big play wide receiver, but he has the best of the big play quarterbacks throwing to him! He’s also one Tyreek Hill injury away from being this team’s #1 guy (and, with the way Hill plays – always putting his body in harm’s way to make a play – that’s not much of a stretch for me to make).

Confident with the rest of my roster – from a skill position perspective, anyway – I decided to use my ninth pick to take the first kicker off the board: Harrison Butker, also of the Chiefs. Give me as many Chiefs as you got! My man Crazy N8’s Prostates bemoaned the pick – as he had the same idea – and he had to settle for Justin Tucker few picks later.

With two rounds left, I still needed a third quarterback and a defense. Yikes, I know. I was eyeballing a third quarterback as early as that DeVante Parker selection, but none of the leftovers really caught my eye. Down to the nitty gritty, there STILL wasn’t anyone who caught my eye; it came down to Teddy Bridgewater, Dwayne Haskins, Mitch Trubisky, and the guy I ended up going with: Sam Darnold of the Jets. Yeah, I know.

Trubisky was a hard pass, because his career is on the ropes, and I don’t know if he’ll still have the starting job by the time I need him (my starting QBs have BYEs in weeks 9 and 11, so it should be some time before I actually NEED a third guy). Of course, idiot that I am, I didn’t realize until the moment of this writing that Darnold ALSO has a BYE in week 11 (SIGH), but I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. Anyway, I ruled out Bridgewater because I don’t think he’s good, and that team he’s on has no one but an elite running back to throw to. I ruled out Haskins because he sucks and that team sucks. That’s not saying much, because I also think Darnold sucks (and the fantasy league would seem to agree, considering how far he fell) and the Jets suck, but I do believe Darnold has SOME upside. This will be his third year, after recovering from an injury-plagued start to his career. Love or hate his head coach, the guy at least has a reputation as someone who does well with quarterbacks. I don’t plan on starting Darnold unless absolutely necessary. But, if he proves – with improved play – that he’s viable, I may have to work him in (considering I can’t be totally sold on someone like Danny Dimes at this point in his development).

Regretfully, the New England defense went one spot before I picked Darnold; the Patriots were CARRIED by their defense last year, and by all accounts they should be good in 2020 as well (my only concern was not knowing who on their team has opted out of this season for COVID reasons). With my final pick, I went with the highest-rated defense remaining: the Indianapolis Colts. I don’t have a lot of confidence, but I fully expect there to be a good defense for me to grab on waivers at some point.

Yahoo graded me with a B+ which is good for middle-of-the-road in our league (5th in rankings). However, I’m projected for a second place finish in our league at the moment of this writing! I have the league’s youngest team once again, but I’m hoping it actually pays off this time.

More than anything, I’m hoping my team name proves prophetic. Nobody Beats The Wiz? I sure hope so! It couldn’t be any worse than that year I went as Mr. Poopy Butthole …

***

Really quick, let’s take a look at this week’s matchup. Nobody Beats The Wiz is facing off against the aforementioned Crazy N8’s Prostates. Here’s my lineup:

  • Wentz (QB) @ Was
  • Jones (QB) vs. Pit
  • ODB (WR) @ Bal
  • Brown (WR) @ Den
  • Jacobs (RB) @ Car
  • CEH (RB) vs. Hou
  • Fant (TE) vs. Ten
  • Elliott (RB) @ LAR
  • Butker (K) vs. Hou
  • Ind (DEF) @ Jax

Predictably, I’m expected to be carried by my running backs. I think Yahoo is under-projecting Wentz against a terrible Washington Football Team, but they might be over-hyping Indianapolis against the Jaguars, who won’t be good, but could still be a little frisky on offense. Crazy N8’s Prostates is projected to win our league this year, and is favored against me this week. Here’s his lineup:

  • Dak Prescott (QB) @ LAR
  • Josh Allen (QB) vs. NYJ
  • Allen Robinson (WR) @ Det
  • Keenan Allen (WR) @ Cin
  • James Conner (RB) @ NYG
  • Aaron Jones (RB) @ Min
  • Travis Kelce (TE) vs. Hou
  • Robert Woods (WR) vs. Dal
  • Justin Tucker (K) vs. Cle
  • San Francisco (DEF) vs. Ari

I have … a lot of concerns. I could see that Cowboys/Rams game being a shootout. I think Josh Allen is going to RAMPAGE over a terrible Jets defense. His receivers both have juicy matchups against mediocre secondaries. Kelce should thrive against the Texans. And, even the 49ers could come up with lots of turnovers in taking advantage of a Cardinals offense that’s pretty aggressive.

Thankfully, there’s so many unknowns at this point in the season. Even after the first week, it’s hard to draw any firm conclusions. I just need to ride the wave of anxiety and hope for the best. I think I have a pretty solid team from top to bottom. But, teams are rarely as good on paper as they end up being in real life. Who will be the great disappointers this year? I can hardly wait to find out!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2020: Corona-Draft Prep

  • Pre-Season Week 1 HERE

Well, the keepers are set in place, and now I get to look forward to our draft this Friday. There were some minor surprises – and a couple big ones – so without further ado, let’s take a quick glance at how wrong I was about my projected keepers for the rest of the league:

  1. Russell Wilson, Christian McCaffrey, Chris Godwin, Matt Ryan (all correct)
  2. Dak Prescott, Josh Allen, James Conner, Travis Kelce (Odell Beckham Jr., Mark Ingram, and Keenan Allen all available to draft)
  3. Deshaun Watson, George Kittle, Derrick Henry, Cam Newton (Aaron Jones)
  4. Jared Goff, Drew Lock, DeAndre Hopkins, JuJu Smith-Schuster (A.J. Brown and Raheem Mostert)
  5. Kyler Murray, Saquon Barkley, Michael Thomas, Joe Mixon (Mike Evans)
  6. Aaron Rodgers, Nick Chubb, Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen (Amari Cooper)
  7. Patrick Mahomes, Alvin Kamara, Davante Adams, Tyler Lockett (all correct)
  8. Jimmy Garoppolo, Tyreek Hill, Gardner Minshew, Todd Gurley (Matthew Stafford)
  9. Lamar Jackson, Julio Jones, Austin Ekeler, Kenyan Drake (Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold)

I remember being MUCH more successful in predicting my league’s keepers before last season, so I don’t know what that says about me or the state of the NFL right now, but it makes the upcoming draft more interesting!

Until I saw the actual keepers, I wasn’t too thrilled about my prospects as the guy with the #2 overall draft pick. It just seemed like there wouldn’t be anyone really dominating for me to select. BUT, I see two guys among the leftovers who are VERY exciting! Not just for 2020, but for many years to come potentially!

Of this group, Mike Evans and Aaron Jones are both VERY enticing to me. Either one of them could fall to me and I’d be ecstatic with whoever I get. I know I bemoaned Tom Brady’s noodle arm last week, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be interested in the weapons he has to throw to. For starters, Brady isn’t totally inept; he hasn’t fallen completely off the cliff just yet. While Mike Evans has been mostly a deep threat thus far in his career, he still has a ton of value as a red zone target, and should thrive with someone like Brady throwing jump balls his way. If, by the grace of all that is holy, both Evans and Jones were to fall to me, I’d have to go with Evans simply because the drop-off at receiver is so steep among him and the rest of the leftovers.

Odell Beckham Jr. is, of course, one of those leftovers. I can’t say that I agree with exposing him to the rest of the league while keeping someone like Josh Allen, but you know, there’s a reason why I haven’t won a league championship in the fantasy trophy era (2010-Present). I think the Cleveland Browns – and by extension, their players – are pretty underrated in 2020, after being so very OVER-rated heading into 2019, so there could be some good value in guys like ODB and Baker Mayfield. If I picked lower in the first round, I’d be over the moon if someone like ODB fell to me; someone is going to get an absolute steal.

Aaron Jones was one of the best running backs in all of football last year, at least from a fantasy perspective. So, it’s shocking to see him available. But, it’s telling that he is, because the owner who exposed him is also a lifelong Packers fan. If HE’S not keeping Aaron Jones, there must be a reason (he’s also the reigning league champion, but that’s in spite of him auto-drafting last year, as well as never checking his e-mail, so we’re all in agreement that this was a fluke, and if his wife weren’t cc’d on all league e-mails, we’d probably never hear from him again). I have to believe Aaron Jones still has a lot of value, though, so if Mike Evans goes to the guy drafting #1 overall, I’m okay with nabbing Jones, even though I’ve already kept two running backs. There’s still the FLEX spot, and there are only so many bona fide, workhorse running backs in the league, so you really can’t have too many.

That would, of course, necessitate my drafting wide receivers in both the second and third rounds (which might see me needing to reach for some lesser players, but that’s the price you pay, I guess).

As I stated before, I still haven’t done a ton of research heading into the draft, as my objective at this point is still to mostly go by what Yahoo tells me. But, to pique my curiosity, I checked the season projections and found some surprising guys among the leftovers.

Miles Sanders, running back for the Eagles, is rated VERY high. Even higher than Aaron Jones! I can’t remember the last time an Eagles running back was worth more than an in-season free agent pickup (probably Shady McCoy), because they so often are in a time-share with multiple backs. But, he’s been definitively named the starter by the head coach, which is saying a lot but also not saying anything at all. Why would the head coach be motivated to give away such news for free to the rest of the league? Also, there’s no saying he has to stick with that, if Sanders under-produces or gets hurt. Sanders was really good towards the end of last year though, so I think that’s where the hope lies.

Not ODB nor Mike Evans is the highest-ranked wide receiver remaining; that falls to Allen Robinson of the Bears. I don’t totally get that, but ESPN also has him ranked pretty high, so I guess I have to believe it. With Chicago’s quarterback situation being what it is, I don’t have ANY faith in any of their players, but if he somehow falls to the second round, I might have to take him anyway.

Kenny Golladay is also rated above ODB and Evans, and he seems like a safer pick. He has elite talent, and Matthew Stafford is healthy again. It’s looking highly likely that MANY wide receivers are going to fly off the board in the first three rounds of our draft, so I’ll be interested to see who I’m able to grab.

Mark Andrews, Zach Ertz, and Darren Waller are the three tight ends I’m looking at right now. Andrews is probably the only guy worth reaching for (maybe in the second or third round, if he’s still there), but if the draft doesn’t fall the way I want it to, I have no problem waiting until the end of the draft to pick up a tight end. There will be someone on waivers worth claiming in the first week or two of the regular season.

I need to resist the urge to get a third quarterback too early, but there are LOTS of veteran options out there (who I would anticipate get snapped up before I have a chance), including Drew Brees, Brady, Stafford, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Kirk Cousins, Derek Carr, Ryan Tannehill, and Tyrod Taylor. There’s also Baker Mayfield, who still has a lot of potential to be great, as well as Darnold and Dwayne Haskins (who stunk last year, but is still young enough to turn it around). And then, of course, there are the rookies. The more I think about it, the less inclined I am to want to reach too early for any of them. I also wonder if Joe Burrow won’t be the first overall player taken in the draft, considering the guy picking there and how badly he’s been looking to shore up his QB spots. Having Lamar Jackson and Joe Burrow for the next generation might be too tantalizing to pass up.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2020: Here We Fucking Go Again

If you want to read about my 2019 fantasy football season, click HERE and you can see all the prior links at the top. And, if you want to read about my 2018 season (which has a lot of good info at the beginning about how our league works), click HERE.

Note: please don’t go back and read all of that. There’s a reason why this series is called, “Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team”. You’ve been warned; this isn’t necessarily a generic fantasy football column like you may be used to, this is specifically about MY team, and if the players I write about happen to be relevant to your situation, then all the better, I guess.

Just a quick reminder: this is a 10-team, 2-quarterback PPR league where quarterback points are slightly inflated compared to standard leagues (20 yards per point, 6 points per TD, -4 points per INT). So, you know, it’s pretty important to have a couple quality quarterbacks.

We had our annual fantasy football meeting last week, without much tweaking of the rules. For our purposes, the league season only counts – as it relates to the championship and related prizes therein – if the NFL completes nine regular season weeks. I don’t think that will be much of an issue, but apparently we have to account for these things in these COVID times. We also are allowed one extra IR spot (on top of the IR spot we already get) specifically if someone is diagnosed with COVID and placed on leave accordingly. Seems unlikely that anyone super good will catch it, so I’m not too concerned.

It’s another year with four keepers, so here are mine:

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

The only holdovers from my 2018 squad are Wentz and Elliott. I made an ill-advised trade for Tom Brady midway through last year – costing me Tyreek Hill in the process – and for that I have much regret. Nevertheless, Danny Dimes looks like he has true stud potential, and as someone I held onto all year in spite of not playing him very regularly, I’m pretty devoted to seeing how he plays out in his second season in the league. Josh Jacobs, from the moment I drafted him, was someone I eyeballed as a potential keeper for years to come (and someone I see has a HUGE upgrade over LeVeon Bell, who was mired on a terrible Jets team with a God-awful offensive line).

The only other serious contenders as keepers were the aforementioned Tom Brady and Le’Veon Bell. Brady is REALLY intriguing, as we all know he’s now in Tampa, with a ton of weapons, and with an offensive-minded head coach in Bruce Arians. Like many around football, I’m not totally sold on Carson Wentz. The bloom is off the rose with him, even though he played in all 16 games, had a career high in passing yards (4,039) in spite of having no great wide receiver options to throw to, and still had a very commendable 27:7 TD:INT ratio. I don’t know if the weapons situation is all that much improved, but they went after wide receiver HARD in the draft, and hopefully will see some younger guys from prior seasons step up. So, there was a serious look at Brady over Wentz, but in the end Brady is just so old, and that noodle arm looked SO feeble last year. The offense under Arians tends to feature a lot of deep downfield plays in the passing game. I could see Brady starting off the season on fire, but when I would need him the most – in the fantasy playoffs – I just don’t think he’ll have it. Besides that, Wentz is obviously still very young and should still be viable for many more years; Brady is on his very final legs and could be forced into retirement at any time.

As for Bell, I couldn’t tell you what the Jets have done to bolster their O-Line (other than pay a lot of money to George Fant to be their left tackle, a position he’d rarely been asked to play as a member of the Seahawks). I don’t know if I totally buy Bell as still having it. He was a steady fantasy player last year, but he’s getting up there as well, and if that offense continues to struggle, I don’t know if I see him having a lot of TD opportunities. I’m of the opinion that Jacobs will be a superstar, and Elliott already IS a superstar. Kind of a no-brainer there.

In coming in second place in the Consolation Bracket last season, I earned the second overall draft pick in the upcoming draft on Friday, September 4th. This presents me with a unique opportunity. The deadline for everyone to declare their keepers is this Friday, August 28th, so before next week’s column, I should know who’s available to me.

Since there isn’t a ton to write about this early in the pre-season, I’ll try to take a stab at guessing who the keepers will be for the other nine teams (with guys in parentheses being alternate options):

  1. Russell Wilson, Christian McCaffrey, Chris Godwin, Matt Ryan (Tyler Boyd)
  2. Dak Prescott, Odell Beckham Jr., Mark Ingram, Travis Kelce (Keenan Allen)
  3. Deshaun Watson, George Kittle, Derrick Henry, Aaron Jones (Cam Newton)
  4. DeAndre Hopkins, Jared Goff, A.J. Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster (Raheem Mostert)
  5. Kyler Murray, Michael Thomas, Saquon Barkley, Mike Evans (Joe Mixon)
  6. Aaron Rodgers, Nick Chubb, Dalvin Cook, Amari Cooper (Adam Thielen)
  7. Patrick Mahomes, Alvin Kamara, Davante Adams, Tyler Lockett (Zach Ertz)
  8. Tyreek Hill, Jimmy Garoppolo, Todd Gurley, Matthew Stafford (Gardner Minshew)
  9. Lamar Jackson, Kenyan Drake, Baker Mayfield, Julio Jones (Austin Ekeler, Sam Darnold)

Honestly, I’m not in love with any of these potential leftovers. I’m tempted to more or less auto-draft. I’m happy with my keepers, but I was REALLY hoping there’d be someone super exciting for me to select with my #2 overall pick. Thankfully, we have a straight draft, so I’m #2 in every round. By auto-drafting, I figure I can’t do much worse than I’ve been doing over these last dozen or so years.

I haven’t done much of any research so far this off-season, and I don’t know what I’ll end up getting to prior to the draft. My hunch is: not much. Again, being prepared hasn’t done a damn thing for me; my name sure as shit isn’t on that league trophy, I’ll tell you that much!

One idea I’ve been mulling over is using my #2 overall pick on one of the incoming rookies. I have three players in mind, two of them being the most prominent rookie quarterbacks: Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa. Gun to my head: I like Tua more than Burrow. But, he’s projected to start this season as Miami’s backup, and their BYE week isn’t until Week 11. So, either Ryan Fitzpatrick sucks and Tua’s thrown to the wolves prematurely, and without a proper BYE week to prepare, or FitzMagic continues to do his thing and we don’t see Tua until very late in the season. The point being: there’s a great chance Tua doesn’t help me much at all this year, and I’d be throwing away yet another season trying to get my shit together when it comes to the quarterback position (with a very small, but important chance that Tua is the next Mahomes and I’d be missing out on my one and only opportunity at getting in on his ground floor).

It just figures that I have this great draft pick for the first time in YEARS, and there are no real stud running backs that would change the course of my fantasy franchise for years to come. Where’s MY Saquon Barkley?!

We’ll see, though. Once the keepers are locked in place, I’ll hop back into the league site and see who Yahoo thinks I should take. It does seem kind of idiotic to have a third quarterback on my roster before even getting ONE wide receiver. At some point, I need to stop playing for the future and start playing for today.

How many times have I admonished myself the last few years by saying that very same thing?

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2019: How Low Can I Go?

You may have read that I was all set to hand away Week 6, by not playing a tight end or a defense. On Saturday morning, I finally came to my senses.

I did the math, and I saw a game I could maybe steal if things went my way. For starters, Washington’s defense was still out there. And, until they gave up a couple garbage touchdowns late to Miami, they were having a fantastic day. Miami owes me at least 8 points for putting in Fitzmagic; who knows, maybe the Redskins could’ve gotten a late pick-six or something if Rosen played the entire game! I hate them with all of my being right now.

I also picked up Gerald Everett for the Rams. There weren’t a lot of great options out there (though, apparently I spaced out on Hunter Henry’s presence on the waiver wire, so that’s on me). It sounds like Everett COULD’VE had a solid game, but either there were drops or Goff was terrible or probably both.

I dropped Chris Thompson and David Montgomery to make those two moves. This week, I put in a claim for Montgomery again, dropping Washington’s defense because I’m gonna just roll with the Bills from here on out. Thompson is still safe and sound out in free agency, for now, with a case of turf toe (I think I’m probably over-rating him some a lot, but that’s neither here nor there).

I ended up losing to Crazy N8’s Prostates 178.30-161.95. The Rams royally screwed me, in multiple leagues. Alongside Everett’s dud, Cooper Kupp couldn’t get going either. I otherwise had good-to-great games from most of my roster. Wentz, Hill, Scary Terry, Zeke, and my kicker all were fantastic! The main problem with my team is my second quarterback, and there’s really nothing I can do about that but ride it out with the two rookies and hope for favorable matchups as the season progresses. I smartly sat Danny Dimes (who had only 2.85 points against New England), but Gardner Minshew wasn’t really much better (4.25 points against New Orleans). You can’t win games when your second QB is sucking all the life out of your team!

The loss drops me to 2-4 on the season. I’m in 8th place, firmly ensconced in the Consolation Bracket. I have the 6th most points scored, and I’m now officially up to the very most points scored against. Here’s how unlucky I’ve been: the rest of the league combined averages 155.17 points against per week; I’ve averaged 186.51. That’s like my opponent having an extra QB posting a GREAT day that I’ve got to account for each and every week just to win these fucking games! What kind of bullshit luck is that? Someone in the league averages only 122.62 points against! If I played his exact schedule, I’d be 5-1 right now and in the driver’s seat for a top 2 seed.

I hate fantasy football so fucking much.

***

The good news is, with Tyreek Hill officially back and kicking ass, I’m at full strength. This week, I’ve also got no one on BYE, so I just have to set my lineup based on matchups.

Wentz is always locked in, though if there was a week to sit him, it might be this one. Danny Dimes is hosting Arizona’s shitty defense, while Minshew is on the road against Cincy’s equally-shitty defense. I’m honestly struggling between the two – I think Minshew is the better player, but I think that Giants/Cardinals game will be higher scoring. So, I’m gonna go with Dimes again, but fool me twice six fucking times and you’re out of here, buster!

In spite of last week’s bungling, Cooper Kupp is one of my starting wideouts every week going forward. Hill is obviously a must-start as well. Both are in pretty great matchups (especially Kupp, going against Atlanta’s nothing defense). Zeke and Bell are also must-starts for me, though I’m a little less certain about Bell going up against New England’s defense on Monday Night. I might panic at some point and swap him out; but his ability in the check-down passing game is – I think – too good to pass up. My alternative is Josh Jacobs against the Packers, but I dunno. It’s on the road, and if the Raiders are down in that one, I could see them go away from the rookie. Jacobs probably has the higher upside over Bell, but I’m going with the safer play.

I’ve got Waller locked and loaded as my starting tight end the rest of the way, though I might hold onto Everett for a bit for some depth and/or as a trade chip. For my FLEX, I’ve ruled out Scary Terry (vs. SF), Montgomery (vs. NO), and Everett (he’s a TE). It boiled down to Jacobs or T.Y. Hilton and, without looking at their schedules, if I get burned on this one, I’ll likely just roll with Jacobs the rest of the way (unless he has an obviously terrible matchup). With Hilton’s Colts hosting the Texans, my hope is that it’s high scoring enough to see Hilton bust out with a big game. The more I think about it, the more I’m regretting it; if nothing else, just know that Hilton is projected to score more than Jacobs by Yahoo, so if I fail, I’ll gladly blame the website.

I love Tucker against the Seahawks – Baltimore should be able to move the ball at will – and I love love LOVE Buffalo’s defense at home against Miami (so watch Fitzmagic come out and torch ’em like he’s been known to do on occasion).

***

My opponent is Mandelbaum’s Gym, who features Mike Evans as his most-prominent BYE. He’s got Kyler Murray in a juicy one against the Giants, his other two QB’s are playing against one another (Bridgewater over Trubisky in his lineup for now).

He’s pretty well stacked at running back, with the returning Saquon Barkley (when he was originally injured, he was projected to still be out this week, but of course he makes a miraculous return in time to face my fantasy team; what else is new?), Kerryon Johnson, and Joe Mixon. Even without Evans, he’s still got Michael Thomas and Larry Fitzgerald as his wideouts, so that’s not too shabby at all. And, he just picked up Hunter Henry from waivers, who dropped 30 points last week in his return from injury. He has Houston’s kicker and both the Saints and Bears’ defenses (he’s starting the Saints at the time of this writing).

Yahoo has me projected to win pretty handily (around 20-point favorites), but I’m done trying to predict how these games will go. Odds are I’ll score around 160 and he’ll score around 220 and I’ll be back on here bitching and moaning again about the pisspoor luck my Space Pirates are cursed with. Fuck fantasy football.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2019: Trade Hijinks

The question on my mind this week: should spouses be allowed to trade with one another?

This is a story about a different league I’m involved with – one that I’m the commissioner of – so don’t get this confused with what I’ll talk about later. I’ll take you back to last Thursday. My team was playing someone who has Drew Brees. It’s also a 2-QB league, and her third QB (the only other healthy one she had on her roster) was Marcus Mariota, who was going up against Jacksonville on Thursday Night Football. She hadn’t updated her lineup all week – so Brees was still in the starting lineup; Mariota was on her bench – as kickoff came and went. I wasn’t about to say anything, because she was my opponent! If you don’t look at your roster by Thursday night, that’s on you! I figured she’d make a free agent claim over the weekend and we’d all have a good laugh.

Instead, on Saturday, I got a text asking me to push a trade through so she could set her lineup.

There aren’t any rules about trades in my league. Not really. I’ve never vetoed a trade in my life and I wasn’t about to start now. I legitimately don’t believe in it. Part of it has to do with trusting people to do the right thing. Part of it is you never know how these things are going to shake out in the long run; you can easily overreact in the moment (if you think one person is fleecing another), but then it turns out to be more even than you expected as the weeks go on. Part of it also has to do with the fact that pretty much EVERYONE has very intense reactions about pretty much every trade that’s ever happened, and by and large they’re largely just that: overreactions because they’re just bitter they didn’t have a chance to make a better offer.

I like trades. I like wheeling and dealing with other people. I like trying to come up with terms that someone else will accept (while at the same time secretly getting something over on someone else with my “brilliant fantasy football intellect”). I like shaking my team up and getting new guys to play around with. And, I generally find the reactions of others pretty amusing when I’m involved in a trade that’s perceived to be one-sided. The funniest parts of the TV show The League are when cries of “COLLUSION” are bandied about, because it’s so true to real life.

That having been said, this trade – on paper – looks pretty bad. It’s not the worst fantasy trade I’ve ever seen (that would still be when I got Shaq in his prime for Erick Dampier one year – which may or may not have been legitimate collusion, I can’t remember – but pretty much destroyed the entire league as a result), but it’s far from equal right now, and I think it’ll look a lot worse over time:

  • “Team Fleeced” Got: Mason Rudolph (QB) and Cleveland’s Defense
  • “Team Fleeced” Gave Up: Damien Williams (RB) and Chicago’s Defense

Now, if the defenses were reversed, and it was Rudolph and Chicago going one way, with Williams and Cleveland going the other, it might be more reasonable. But, just going by draft projections, we’re talking about Chicago (generally the number one defense selected, alongside maybe Baltimore) and a running back that was considered to be in the top 10 of fantasy backs, if not in the top 10 of all players (in standard leagues); whereas we’re talking about an okay defense in Cleveland, and Big Ben’s backup making his first career start. It’s a bad look. To her credit, she already had Minnesota’s defense on her roster, and Cleveland’s defense has a lot of talent, so the Cleveland/Chicago comparisons should probably line up pretty close by season’s end. But, if you polled fantasy football players, I feel like well over 90% of unbiased voters would choose the Bears over the Browns for their own teams, if given the opportunity.

As for Rudolph vs. Williams, it’s no contest. Rudolph looked awful against the 49ers; Williams is the starter on an offense that scores the most in football. He’ll be out for one week, maybe two? Then, he’s dialed in as your starting RB for the rest of the season as long as he remains healthy.

I said up top, we won’t know how this looks until season’s end, but I have a pretty good feeling there will be a clear winner, and with it potential changes to the league’s rules heading into next year.

I don’t want to pick on spouses, because I don’t believe for one minute that this was done with the intent to collude to win a league championship. I’ve known these people for years, so believe me when I say that I trust their intentions. But, I mean, you’ve got two people living in the same house, who’ve got nothing but time to discuss their rosters (I assume that’s what married people do? Talk about their fantasy football teams all day every day?). Why reach out to the rest of the league when it’s so much easier to trade with someone right in front of you? Also, time was of the essence; she had one day to roster a second QB, and Rudolph probably seems like a better option than whoever’s left as a free agent; so there’s not a lot of time to put feelers out to the league on a Saturday when people have lives and things going on.

But, we’re talking about a guy who has been playing fantasy football for over two decades and who’s been watching football his entire life, against a gal who is on her third season in the game (all in this particular league) and is just a casual football observer. In that case, regardless of whether he intended to or not, it’s one person taking advantage of another’s inexperience.

This isn’t the first time a questionable trade between spouses has happened in this particular league. Two years ago, a husband – again, in need of a quarterback – gave up Todd Gurley & C.J. Beathard for Blake Bortles & Kelvin Benjamin. That was arguably Bortles’ best season of his career, but I mean come on. Gurley was the best offensive player of 2017. His wife, who already had a good, playoff-bound team, went on to win the league’s championship, largely on the back of Gurley crushing opponents.

Again, I’m not against trading, but there has to be an argument that both people are getting something at least CLOSE to equal. But, in each of these deals, we’re talking about one person taking advantage of another’s desperation. Being desperate is no excuse for flipping the whole league into one person’s advantage.

So, I dunno. I might have to make a change for next year. I don’t want to outlaw trades entirely, and I don’t want to be the sole arbiter. So, maybe it has to fall to a league vote on every trade. That runs the risk of – again – people being bitter and voting against every trade because of their own biases, but we’ve got people of varying skill levels in this league, and something has to be done to level the playing field.

I really hate my gut reaction to this, because as I said before, most of the time these things are overblown. But, as commissioner, I’m torn. I take that role seriously, maybe definitely too much so. I take things to heart in a situation that’s totally ridiculous and doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Football itself doesn’t matter when compared to real life events and whatnot; fantasy football, by its own definition, doesn’t matter to the Nth degree. I don’t like calling people out, because I’m not really interested in shaming people for something that doesn’t matter. But, I also have a responsibility to the league as a whole, and a need to ensure things are above board. Trades are a slippery slope; they breed resentment. Retaliations generally come in the form of even MORE lopsided trades, this time with actual collusion in intent. Then, the league blows up and you’re left with nothing but hurt feelings and randos as your opponents.

***

My worst-case-scenario came to fruition last week, as my Space Pirates! lost to Space Forcin’ by a score of 222.46-198.95. His score was the highest that anyone has posted all season long. My score was the second-highest that anyone has posted all season long. Of course this happens to me. I can’t be allowed to have nice things! Perish the thought!

It’s pretty rare that both teams in a weekly matchup can get A+ grades, but this is what happens. Cooper Kupp went off for over 30 points. Four other guys got over 20 points, and Buffalo’s defense wasn’t far behind with 19. Everyone on my team except for Justin Tucker scored in double-digits. But, I mean, it just wasn’t even a contest! Mahomes, Kamara, and Lockett each scored over 30 for his team; two others scored almost 30. Only if I had the option of going back and replacing guys in my lineup with higher-scoring bench guys (Danny Dimes had 41, for instance), I still only would’ve BARELY beaten him by less than 1 point (and, seriously, who in their right mind would play someone like Chris Thompson over Le’Veon Bell?). It was the perfect storm, and one that I could see from about 5,000 miles away.

As a result, my team falls to 1-2 on the season, in fifth place in the league. Much like my unlucky streak from a year ago, I find myself with the fourth-highest point total, and the first-highest points-against total. Can’t catch a break. Just gotta find a way to stay in the playoff hunt (top 6 advance, with top 2 getting a first round BYE).

***

I made a waiver claim for Wayne Gallman in every league I’m in, and I got him in every league except this one. Ehh, it happens. I didn’t totally need another running back just yet anyway, and in the long run I still have Chris Thompson on my bench, who is a pretty solid plug n’ play guy if you’re desperate (PPR leagues only).

Some interesting news, as I woke up this morning to check all my waiver claims (much like a survivalist goes around the camp checking all his traps for stray rabbits and rodents and whatnot), someone proposed a trade! To me! This so rarely happens, I feel like the prettiest girl at the ball. I’m almost always the one throwing things out there to mix it up.

This one, I’ll admit, is pretty interesting to me. Beasts is asking me to give him Danny Dimes, and in return he’s willing to give me Matthew Stafford and Chris Godwin.

I’m just running it all through my head right now. Dimes is a rookie quarterback who has made all of one start in his young career. Of course, in that start – by our league’s scoring – he got over 41 points, which is pretty remarkable. Nevertheless, it was his only start, and there’s still so much we don’t know about him. What we do know is that Tampa’s defense is pretty mediocre. We know his offensive line is pretty shaky, and he doesn’t have a ton of weapons (reduced all the more impactfully by the injury to Saquon Barkley). His value might literally never be higher than it is right now; he could be the next Christian Ponder or Jake Locker or take your pick (name any terrible first round bust). In return, I’d be getting a legitimate veteran starting QB and a #2 receiver in an offense that has to throw it a billion times a game.

But, I’m obviously torn. For starters, I don’t love Stafford. I don’t love how that offense is being neutered into a more balanced attack. He’s only had one good week and that was against Arizona, who might have the worst defense in all of football. Now, Beasts picked the right week to offer him up, because he’s facing Kansas City, and you would expect the Lions will need to throw the ball a ton. But, with that comes the obvious risk of him throwing interceptions. Stafford isn’t reliable to me. As for Godwin, you just never know. He can blow up in some weeks, but he can also disappear. That offense has a ton of different people to throw to, with Mike Evans being the clear #1 focus. Plus, I feel like my team is full of Chris Godwin types. Cooper Kupp, Christian Kirk, Scary Terry, T.Y. Hilton, these are all boom or bust types, albeit ones with higher floors than people you’d see on waivers.

In looking at Beasts’ team, it’s an interesting move. He’s already got Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson as his starting quarterbacks, but I have a hard time figuring he’s doing this to shore up his bench. I’m wondering if he’s maybe starting to sour a little bit on Ryan?

On the flipside, in looking at my team, I’m reluctant to do any 2-for-1 deals when I’ve still got Tyreek Hill on the bench and A.J. Green on IR; I’m not letting those guys walk. And, honestly, I think I like the rest of my depth guys more than I’d want Godwin on my roster. I mean, I literally just blew my #1 waiver priority on Scary Terry, so if I don’t keep him around, I’m a huge fucking idiot.

My biggest concern, though, quite frankly, is the chance that Dimes might turn out to be one of the best five fantasy quarterbacks in the entire league. He has that stink of someone who was drafted WAY too high, and that’s still in the backs of everyone’s minds. Let’s see how he does against Washington, then Minnesota, then the Patriots. Later on he plays Chicago and Green Bay to boot. He could come crashing down to Earth so hard it’ll make all our heads spin, and all the doubters will be out in force with their I Told You So’s.

But, I mean, who scores 41 fantasy points in their first-ever start? This isn’t just a controversial rookie tearing up the pre-season. This isn’t just comparing him to the corpse of Eli Manning. This is a regular season game, on the road, playing for the country’s #1 market for that market’s #1 football team. The closest comp for those kinds of fantasy numbers would be Mahomes’ first start in 2018, when he threw for 256 yards and 4 touchdowns (but even he had a mediocre & meaningless start in the final week of 2017 after the Chiefs had clinched).

I mean, if I trade Dimes for Stafford and Godwin, I could be the guy who traded Manhattan for $24! This is a decision that could affect the fantasy league for the next decade!

Part of me wants to counter his offer with a request for his best player, Christian McCaffrey. I don’t think he’d accept that offer, but what if he did? What if he’s so sure about Dimes being the next Mahomes that he accepted it in a heartbeat? I think I’d be terrified to even throw that out there!

When you’re in a league with 4 keepers, as I’ve said before, you’ve always gotta have at least 1 eye toward the future. The way my team’s set up right now, I’ve given myself a lot of options: Wentz, Dimes, Zeke, Bell, Hill, Jacobs, and maybe even Kupp or Scary Terry if they continue to really kill it. The funny thing is Dimes might end up being the best of that bunch, and the guy I decide to keep around for his entire career. I got in on the ground floor of something potentially special. The last time I made this kind of move, it was Wentz in his rookie year, and so far you’d be hard-pressed to say it’s paid off for me. He’s been injured a lot, and he really doesn’t have a lot of those supernova blowup games where he goes off for 40+ points. You need those in our league, especially when you’re playing against a top team like Space Forcin’.

So, I’ll give it some thought. I’ll let it sit out there and think about it a bit. As soon as Dimes goes down with a season-ending injury this week, I’m sure I’ll want to crawl into a hole and die. We’ll see how it goes.

***

This week, I go up against The Lance Petemans, who are currently 0-3 and in last place. He’s had a rough go the last season and a half, but he’s also got his name on our Championship Trophy more times than anyone else in the league, so no one is feeling sorry for him.

I’ve obviously got Dimes in my lineup with Wentz; my receivers are Kupp, Scary Terry, and we’ll see (T.Y. Hilton if he’s playing, probably Christian Kirk if he’s not); Bell is on BYE, so I’ve got Zeke and Jacobs (hoping for a bounce-back week for the rookie, now that he’s over his illness); Waller is a locked-in Top 10 TE in football, which is a fun thing to have grabbed off the free agent pile a few weeks back; I’m hoping Tucker has a better game against the Browns this week; and with my bench being so stacked, I’m forced to roll with the Bills’ Defense at home against New England. I’m just hoping for maybe a few sacks or something, I dunno.

The Petemans are down a Jimmy G, so they’re rolling with Andy Dalton in primetime. He’s still got Tom Brady, who’s still pumping out the points in the early part of the season, so that could do a ton of damage to my defense. His skill guys include all of the Rams that I don’t have (Gurley, Cooks, and Woods), but I don’t know if he’s playing all three of them or not (he currently has Woods on his bench). The rest of his guys are … far from ideal. He’s got Houston’s Defense going up against Carolina, so that’s a real wild card with the Panthers going with a young QB.

At the moment, Yahoo has me as a slight favorite, but their projections are usually bad. They’re shorting Dimes about 20 points, for instance …

Russell Wilson Will Be The NFL MVP For The 2019 Season

SCORCHING MOLTEN LAVA TAKE ALERT! This is one of those things where if I’m right, I’ll be crowing like a jackass for the rest of my life. And, if I’m wrong, then it’ll never be spoken of again.

Remember the time I predicted the Seahawks would beat the Broncos in the Super Bowl before the season started?

Remember the time before that when I predicted the Ravens would beat the 49ers in the Super Bowl just 1 week into the regular season?

I’ll leave it to the rest of you to find all the times I’ve been wrong, and go out on a limb to say I’m the greatest sports mind of our generation.

I don’t often do a lot of prognosticating on the NFL’s MVP award – or ANY MVP award, really – because I kind of don’t care about it. The only time a Seahawk has won was in 2005, when Shaun Alexander ran for 1,880 yards and 27 touchdowns in leading the Seahawks to their first-ever Super Bowl appearance in a 13-3 regular season. I argued this at the time and maintain it to this day: the most important player to the Seahawks’ success that year was actually Matt Hasselbeck (we NEVER would’ve gotten anywhere without him), but since he didn’t have insanely gaudy stats (3,459 yards, 65.5% completions, 24 TDs, 9 INTs) he didn’t stand a chance.

Which brings me right back to this year and begs the question: if gaudy stats are a precursor, WHY IN THE HOLY HELL WOULD I PREDICT RUSSELL WILSON FOR THIS AWARD?

Look, it’s not the most thought-out opinion I’ve ever had. 99% of everything I say on here I pull straight from my gut, which has been notoriously inconsistent over the years. But, I’ll try to make an argument and you take it with however much salt you want.

Last year, Wilson had a pretty impressive season: 3,448 yards, 65.6% completions, 35 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, and a 110.9 passer rating. Of course, that was nothing compared to Patrick Mahomes’ season (the actual MVP): 5,097 yards, 66.0% completions, 50 TDs, 12 INTs, and 113.8 rating. Every step of the way (except for INTs) he was better than Wilson.

Well, the first part of my argument is that I believe Mahomes takes a step back in his second full year as a starter. I think he’ll come down to Earth and be more in the middle of the pack. He’ll almost certainly throw for over 4,000 yards, but I don’t think he’ll approach 50 TDs again, and I think his INTs will increase. I would also argue that whenever someone wins as thoroughly as he has, there’s inevitably a backlash among voters, who are constantly looking to give the award to someone different. If you don’t believe that to be true, then please explain to me why LeBron James has zero MVP awards since the 2012/2013 season, in spite of the fact that until this year, he carried his teams to every single NBA Championship series in that span. Also, while you’re at it, tell me why Bill Belichick hasn’t won since 2010 and yet Bruce Arians and Ron Rivera have both won twice in that span.

So, if you bet Mahomes at +400, you’re throwing your money away. Which brings me to the current betting odds:

  • Patrick Mahomes +400
  • Drew Brees +700
  • Aaron Rodgers +800
  • Andrew Luck +800
  • Tom Brady +1000
  • Baker Mayfield +1400
  • Russell Wilson +1600
  • Carson Wentz +1900
  • Philip Rivers +2200
  • Deshaun Watson +2500

That’s just the top 10. Some things stand out. All of those guys are quarterbacks (the most important players in the game) and all of those guys are projected to be in the playoffs (or at least contending for the playoffs). While being a quarterback isn’t a MUST, it’s certainly the safest bet. For a non-quarterback to win it, he has to do something REALLY special. Like Shaun Alexander’s touchdown totals. The last non-quarterback to win it was in 2012 when Adrian Peterson came within 8 yards of the all-time rushing yards record in a single season. The time before that, it was LaDainian Tomlinson the year after Alexander, when he ran for 1,815 yards and broke Alexander’s rushing touchdown record with 28.

If I were going to pick a non-QB in 2019, I’d lean towards Saquon Barkley (at +4000), but the Giants are so bad that he would literally have to break every single rushing record for it to happen.

Anyway, as you can see, Wilson is firmly in the Top 10 (shamefully behind Baker Mayfield, which is just a crime against humanity at this point), so Vegas likes his chances. With his new contract extension, Wilson’s name is in the zeitgeist. And, at this junction in his career, I believe there are enough fervent Wilson believers out there to really help make his case and keep his name alive.

Now, he can’t do it alone. It’s going to require the Seahawks to get back to the playoffs. It’ll probably even require the Seahawks to win the NFC West, which I believe this team is capable of. Ideally, the Seahawks will be a top 1 or 2 seed and have a BYE in the playoffs. Something like 12-4 could accomplish this, if everything breaks right. The Rams, you figure, are in for a Super Bowl hangover. The Saints and Bears figure to be our biggest obstacles, as I believe the NFC East will feast upon itself to keep their records down.

Playing well in marquee games is also a must. The Seahawks have five primetime games scheduled, including three in a row late in the season, right in that window where we separate the men from the boys in races like these. Wilson has traditionally stepped up big in these games, so I don’t see that as being an issue either.

With the team playing well, and with his reputation intact, that just leaves his biggest hurdle: his numbers.

Wilson has thrown for over 4,000 yards only twice in his career (though he was 17 yards away in 2017 from making it three times), and last year he was obviously limited by the offense’s design. Part of that was a backlash against the losses in our first two weeks, when the coaching staff had to re-set everything. But, ultimately this team was so successful running the ball that there wasn’t always a serious need to get things done through the air. While the plan heading into the season will be more of the same run-centric style, it wouldn’t totally shock me to see our effectiveness on the ground weaken (much in the same way that I see Mahomes’ numbers taking a dive). Opposing defenses will game plan better. And, I figure injuries will play a more significant role (Carson played in 14 games; I could see that dropping as he doesn’t seem like a guy who can stay healthy for the duration) with both the running backs and the O-Line. There’s no Mike Davis, who was a solid contributor, and I seriously question whether Penny will be up to the task if he’s thrust into the #1 role. There should be just enough of a dip in the running game to add a few hundred more yards to Wilson’s passing total.

On top of that, Wilson’s rushing yards are going to continue to go down with every year. He’s a quarterback, and an elite one at that. Elite quarterbacks throw the ball or hand it off, period. He’s heading into his 8th season, which puts him squarely in his prime. He’s had a Hall of Fame trajectory to this point in his career, and I don’t know a whole lot of Hall of Fame quarterbacks who haven’t won an MVP award. With that in mind, it sort of feels like it’s his destiny to win this award at least once. If we get to the end of the season, and no one has really stood out with awe-inspiring numbers at any position, maybe the voters will look around, see Wilson sitting there with 0 career MVPs, and figure he’s due. People have voted for things based on dumber logic before (say hello to every politician who ever seemed like a guy you’d want to have a beer with).

Getting back to the numbers, though, Wilson’s best chance seems to be with his touchdowns. While he was a far cry from Mahomes’ 50 last year, Wilson was still tied for third with 35. In 2017, he led the league with 34. In 2015, he came in sixth also with 34. I could easily see that number jump up into the 40’s, which should put him well within range. More than that, he’s usually very careful with the ball. Last year he tied a career low with only 7 INTs. I feel with his ability, he can shave that down even further. If he has an insane TD:INT ratio of something like 40:3, that’s the sort of stat that could push him over the top.

Finally, if we’re truly talking about the Most VALUABLE Player, then who has had more value to his team than Russell Wilson in his career to date? The knock against him has always been that he’s had an elite defense (except for last year) or an elite running game (except for a few years there post-Beastmode). Well, I’ve already argued that I don’t believe the running game will be as exceptional as it was in 2018, and as for the defense, it was already middle-of-the-road last year; this year, I think middle-of-the-road will be this unit’s CEILING. I think the defense could be truly terrible this year. We’ll likely rank in the bottom third or bottom quarter in the league in sacks and turnovers.

In 2018, the Seahawks had 43 sacks, 13 of which belonged to Frank Clark. 43 put us 11th in football; 30 would’ve been tied for 30th. Ziggy Ansah figures to mitigate some of that, but I highly doubt he’s going to get us all the way there. In fact, I don’t think he’ll even get us halfway there (yes, I’m putting Ansah’s over/under of sacks at 6.5, and I’ll bet the under). With no one else coming in to help account for the loss of Clark’s production (both in sacks, and in the help he provided someone like Jarran Reed, who saw his numbers skyrocket playing with Clark on the outside next to him). If Reed is our only pass-rushing threat (assuming Ansah misses multiple games, or plays through injury and is ineffective as a result), he can be easily neutralized, sending the D-Line tumbling towards the bottom of the league.

In 2018, the Seahawks had 12 interceptions, 5 of which belonged to Earl Thomas, Justin Coleman, and Frank Clark. 12 put us tied for 18th in football; 7 would’ve been tied for 29th. Bradley McDougald had 3 of his own last year, but he’s also an injury waiting to happen. Of our younger core in the defensive backfield, Shaquill Griffin, Tedric Thompson, Delano Hill, and Tre Flowers all combined for 3 total INTs (Hill and Flowers combining for 0). Who did we add to this group? A couple of rookies, and presumably whatever veterans we bring into Training Camp later this summer. There just isn’t a lot of turnover production in this unit. With the D-Line unable to get pressure, that puts more of the onus on the secondary, which is not NEARLY as talented as the Legion of Boom in its prime.

Now, of course, the Seahawks tied for the league lead in fumble recoveries in 2018, but as we all know, that’s largely based on the luck of the bouncing ball. We did tie for third in forced fumbles, which you’d hope would translate, but again our leader in that category – Frank Clark – is gone.

My point with all of this is to further indicate that I think the Seahawks’ defense will be bad. Our only hope is that we hold teams to an inordinate amount of field goals. But, my expectation is, for the Seahawks to win a lot of games, we’re going to rely exclusively on our offense. That means Russell Wilson will have to do considerably more than he had to do in 2018.

All that being said, it still doesn’t feel like a strong argument, and I get that. All I can say is, with this being the second season with a new offensive coordinator, you have to figure Brian Schottenheimer has had a full year to work with this team, and a second full off-season to tinker with his scheme. While it’ll be foolish to expect the running game to take a complete back seat, I think his ability to adjust in games will improve. With the defense putting us into more passing situations – based on game score alone – I think it’ll open things up for Wilson to really shine like he’s never quite shone before.

Wilson has had spurts. The back-half of his 2015 was as brilliant as it gets; if he had a full season of that, he’d be a hands-down winner of the MVP. I also thought 2018 was his best year yet, particularly from an efficiency standpoint. If we keep the efficiency (or even improve upon it slightly), increase touchdowns, decrease turnovers, and boost up those yards, there won’t be any other excuses to keep him from his due. ESPECIALLY when you consider Baldwin retired, and Lockett is his only quality veteran receiver heading into this season. Voters won’t have the L.O.B. to fall back on, nor will they have as dominant of a running game. They’ll have 8 full years’ worth of elite game play, with 2019 as a coronation of sorts.

In a muddled year of MVP candidates, Wilson will win it in a close voting battle. Mark my words (unless I’m wrong, then forget this ever happened).