Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Not The Absolute Worst

If the Toilet Trophy went to the ultimate loser of the Consolation Bracket, and not just the last place team of the regular season, I would’ve actually dodged it this year. What can be worse than being both last place AND the Consolation Bracket loser? Well, playing in and losing the 5/6 game. Not only did you go down in the first round of the playoffs, but you draft below all the Consolation Bracket teams. Woof.

Snoopy & Prickly Pete defeated The Lance Petemans 155.40 to 109.48. He scored far and away the lowest points, but my team actually put up a semi-respectable showing (even if he’d given a shit and filled in the two spots who didn’t play, I’d like to think I would’ve made it interesting). Mac Jones got 30+ for the first time all year (if only every game could be played at home against the Jags), D.K. Metcalf woke up from his lengthy slumber to get 30+, the Rams’ defense got me 23, my rookie kicker got me 11, and even Sean Mannion (a late-week pick up for the injured Justin Fields) got me nearly 17 points and out-performed Taylor Heinicke (who I waived earlier in the week for James Robinson).

This all means that I get the third pick in our fantasy draft next year (where we just draft for our bench spots). I would’ve been much happier drafting in the top two, but it wouldn’t shock me if the cliff of high-profile rookies happens just AFTER the third pick. I don’t know a lot about this rookie class, but we’ll see. Fingers crossed!

All that’s left is to decide my keepers. But, before I do that, let’s run through the other leagues really quick.

Splinter League Round-Up!

BUCK FUTTER handled Beer Thirty relatively easily for third place. Not a bad little season! I’m not as upset by losing last week, knowing that the eventual champion would’ve seriously kicked my ass regardless. Ja’Marr Chase won many championships this week with his 50+ point output. The only downside to third place is I don’t get my money back. But, in this league, if you’re not first, it’s not profitable in the slightest. I’ve never finished worse than 5th, but I’ve also never finished higher than 3rd in the Splinter League (dating back to its inception of 2015). This year really felt like the best team I’ve had in quite some time, in ANY league, so maybe my instincts are heading in the right direction? Or, maybe I just got lucky for a while, until my luck ran out.

Third League Round-Up!

Unfortunately, RUM HAM! didn’t show up at all. I wish I had the fortitude to start Amon-Ra St. Brown (who put up 32.4 points), but he was a waiver pick-up that very week, and I had three other receivers going who I liked a lot. Who wouldn’t start Stefon Diggs vs. Atlanta? Or A.J. Brown vs. Miami? And Jaylen Waddle had been a stalwart for my team all year (at Tennessee). You gotta ride the horses who brought you to the championship; that’s what everyone says. Well, Diggs was an utter disappointment of a second round pick all year (he got me 7.7 this week) and Brown is someone I’m never drafting again after taking him in the third round (he got 5.1 a week after scoring 27 for my bench). Still, I was lucky to get where I got, considering my team was middling-at-best. Not a bad little $50 payout for second place; I doubled up my money. Plus, I can keep Jaylen Waddle heading into next year, which will only cost me a 13th round pick.

Potential 2022 Dynasty Keepers

I don’t have to decide who my dynasty team will be until somewhere around a week before next season’s fantasy draft. Nevertheless, barring some shocking developments, I have my mind set for the most part.

Quarterbacks – Mac Jones is as close to a lock as I have (he’s the only one on my roster in the top 25 in our league in scoring, 18th overall). Then, it boils down to Justin Fields or Jordan Love. Love is, obviously, off the board if Aaron Rodgers is back again. But, otherwise, I’m strongly considering him over Fields. Fields obviously has a lot going for him: his legs, his high draft status, his acumen in big games in college. But, he’s got a terrible coaching staff (that, in all likelihood, will turn over this offseason), while Love (assuming he’s still with the Packers) will be part of a first-rate organization and a high-quality offensive mind at head coach. I’ll need to see who takes over for the Bears as head coach and what his offensive pedigree is before I opt for Fields. I have no problem keeping Love, because I know regardless, the quarterback position will be a high priority for me again in the 2022 draft.

Wide Receivers – This is probably a done deal, but I can’t yet say it’s 100% locked in. However, in some order, I like D.K. Metcalf (15th in scoring), Diontae Johnson (8th in scoring), and CeeDee Lamb (16th in scoring). We’ll have to see what the quarterback situation is in Seattle and Pittsburgh before I can fully commit. The lone downside to keeping three receivers is the fact that there’s usually an uber-stud at receiver in the NFL Draft every year. Two years ago, it was Justin Jefferson; last year, it was Chase. Who will it be this year, and will that person be available at the third overall pick in our league? Regardless, it’s usually easy enough to find a third receiver on waivers; hell, I picked up Johnson as a free agent someone let go! So, I might keep an extra running back just to hedge my bets on that position, which can be so difficult to fill and keep healthy.

Running Backs – Javonte Williams is a lock (15th in running back scoring); I just have to hope the Broncos fire their coaching staff and come to their senses in making him the bellcow. Ezekiel Elliott is probably a lock (7th in running back scoring), simply because he has to have at least one more good year left. I’m reluctant to get too excited, because his contract is so high; I could see Dallas wanting to get out from under it as soon as financially viable. They’ve also pretty much made their running back position a timeshare with Tony Pollard, who has often flashed as the better back this season. If I were to keep a third back, I have options. If, for whatever reason, Dalvin Cook is no longer the guy in Minnesota, then Alexander Mattison becomes a Must Keep. I also took a flier on the aforementioned James Robinson (24th in scoring in spite of all his injury woes this year); we’ll have to see how he recovers from his torn Achilles. If it looks like he might be back for the regular season (or not too long after the season starts) he could be a good player to stash. He’s been remarkably effective for a guy on a terrible team the last two years. The more I think about it, the more I’m leaning towards keeping three running backs, and hoping to fill out the receiver position in the draft. The running back I’m definitely NOT keeping is Clyde Edwards-Helaire; what a BUST! I took him with the second overall pick as a rookie and he’s done NOTHING to justify it. I don’t even want to know who I passed over to take him.

Tight End – It’s T.J. Hockenson (13th among tight ends, in spite of missing multiple games due to injury). He was somehow left on the waiver wire and I snapped him up. My other option is Mike Gesicki (8th among tight ends), but I don’t love the fact that he hasn’t developed a rapport with Tua. Usually, mediocre quarterbacks with no deep game thrive with tight ends, but somehow it hasn’t clicked (Gesicki was MUCH better with FitzMagic at the helm). Hockenson is the kind of talent who could make a huge leap forward in the next year or two; sort of the next Mark Andrews perhaps.

Kicker – I thought I was going to be screwed here after trading away Justin Tucker; it was still a good trade for me, because I need the extra draft pick more than I need an elite kicker over 30 years of age. As it turns out, I may have fallen ass-backwards into Justin Tucker 2.0 with Evan McPherson, the rookie Bengals kicker who was just named the AFC Special Teams Player Of The Month for December. Through this past week, he’s the third-highest scoring kicker in the league (just 2 points behind Tucker), he’s hit the most 50+ yard field goals, and he’s only missed 2 extra points for an offense that scores in bunches. Considering the first kicker off the board in our last draft was Harrison Butker, and McPherson has outscored him by 24 points, I think I’m in a pretty strong position for years to come (now watch him totally shit the bed as a sophomore).

Defense – I guess I’m happy enough with the Rams. They were the 8th highest scoring defense this year in our league, which is respectable. I’m assuming they’ll continue to be pretty reliable next year, but I’m also confident this will be a position from year-to-year with the most turnover in our league.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet for what I’m thinking for next year:

  • Mac Jones (QB)
  • Justin Fields (QB) or Jordan Love (QB)
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR)
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) or Diontae Johnson (WR)
  • Javonte Williams (RB)
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB)
  • FLEX: Metcalf/Johnson, Alexander Mattison (RB), or James Robinson (RB)
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE)
  • Evan McPherson (K)
  • L.A. Rams (DEF)

I’m excited about my receivers, I’m excited about Williams, and I’m really excited about my tight end, kicker, and defense. I’m cautiously optimistic about Jones, but overall underwhelmed with all of my quarterback options. And, considering the early comments on rookie QBs coming out of this draft, I don’t know if there’s a lot of hope for the 2022 season. I need to catch a few breaks somewhere.

Well, that’s it for fantasy football in 2021. As always, I’m glad it’s over. I will say, this year hasn’t been so agonizing from week to week. I had one really good team, one team that over-achieved, and my dynasty team was in a full rebuilding mode. I didn’t get everything that I wanted out of this year, but no one ever does. On to 2022.

The Seahawks Looked Dreadful In A Pre-Season Loss To The Broncos

In yet another game where no starters played, we saw an offense that couldn’t do a God damn thing, and a defense that was somehow both better and worse than it was a week ago. Again, I don’t know what you can glean from a performance like this, other than the depth on the Seahawks might be a HUGE problem. Don’t get injured, good starters!

On top of Wilson taking another week off, the Seahawks also kept Geno Smith safely stashed on the sidelines. Alex McGough got the start and had three horrific turnovers in his half of play; clearly not a great way to stay on this particular team. Sean Mannion looked marginally better by comparison, but averaged a measly 5.1 yards per attempt against Broncos 3rd and 4th stringers, so …

Still nothing from the running game. 74 total yards on 24 carries. Still no real standouts in the passing game, as the ball was spread to 12 different receivers.

On defense, I don’t know how you can heap too much praise on a unit that gave up 30 points. Sure, McGough (and some shaky O-Line play) put us behind the 8-ball in some of those drives. But the Broncos were allowed to convert 3/4 fourth down plays; the Seahawks, by comparison, converted 0/4 fourth downs.

I saw Jordyn Brooks make some nice plays. Nick Bellore is a fun story: a fullback playing significant linebacker minutes. Rasheem Green had another sack and looked pretty active. I think our defensive tackle rotation – particularly from a run stuffing perspective – will be a big strength when we settle on the three or four primary guys.

The secondary looked pretty weak. That’s, obviously, a big concern. It’s less of a concern when our defensive line does its job and harasses the quarterback. But, when our guys get stuffed, we’re going to need the cornerbacks to actually cover guys and make plays on the ball. I don’t know if they’re talented enough to do that. I don’t think any of the cornerbacks who played on Saturday are starting calibre. Considering D.J. Reed appears to be the only guy worth a damn – and he’s out with injury – that’s pretty scary as a Seahawks fan. Are we SURE Richard Sherman is a no-go this season? We couldn’t sign him to an incentive-laden deal based on games played?

The Player of the Game, non-Michael Dickson Edition, was DeeJay Dallas. He had two phenomenal kickoff returns, including one that went 45 yards. When you combine that with his 3 catches for 27 yards, he looked like one of the VERY few players on the Seahawks who belonged on an NFL field. He looked fast! So much improvement over a season ago! It makes me wonder if he hasn’t earned a leapfrog over Rashaad Penny (who managed all of 8 rushing yards on 5 carries).

As for Dickson himself, the turnovers prevented us from punting as much as we’d like (WHAT A SENTENCE TO WRITE!), but he had a long of 61 yards and landed both of his kicks inside the 20 yard line. MVP, baby!

Seahawks Position Breakdown 2021: Quarterbacks

Hey, did you know the first pre-season game is this Saturday? And we’re about a month away from the start of the regular season? Doesn’t this year feel like it’s flying by?

I haven’t thought a lot about the Seahawks this year, mostly by design. 2020 felt like a bust in many ways. We won the NFC West, we went 12-4, but we were saddled with the 3-seed and lost in the first round to the 6-seeded Rams. I still haven’t gotten over that late-season home loss to the Giants that could’ve changed our fate completely. And, everything that’s happened subsequently – starting with the Bucs of all teams winning the Super Bowl (I still don’t think they were all that special), followed by Russell Wilson’s media mania, mostly punting the draft, the dark cloud of the Jamal Adams contract situation, and the other dark cloud of the Duane Brown contract situation – has left me with not a lot to be excited about with this Seahawks team. It just feels like 2021 is going to be more of the same, with the final nail in the coffin being Russell Wilson demanding a trade out of here.

This year has Looming Disaster written all over it.

We’re at a crossroads, and the worst part of it is that we don’t seem to be well set to succeed. We pretty much have to either make it to the Super Bowl or win it all for things to stay on track and continue on Pete Carroll’s “Win Forever” plan; failing that, it feels like the whole thing is going to be blown up. Which means we have to do that with two looming contract holdouts, various holes throughout our roster, a defensive coordinator who’s almost certainly inept at his job, and a first-time offensive coordinator who has mere weeks to get everyone to learn and perfect his system.

You can see why I’m dreading the next few months, at least from a professional football perspective.

One of my stated life objectives is to try to live more in the present. I think I do a pretty good job – for the most part – of not dwelling on the past. But, I have a big problem with being obsessed with possible futures, and oftentimes dwelling on the negative potential outcomes over looking forward to the limitless positive possibilities. I’m kind of the anti-Pete Carroll or anti-Russell Wilson in that regard. But, I’m a Seattle sports fan, so who can blame me? We’re conditioned to expect the worst, which helps us tolerate the frequent mediocrity we’re given.

If I were to try to forget about what’s going to happen in 2022 and beyond – and live in this moment – there’s a lot to like about this Seahawks team. Especially at the quarterback position.

Russell Wilson is our quarterback now. If, indeed, that’s all that matters, then I’m happy. We get to root for one of the five best quarterbacks on the planet for one more year.

Things got off to a phenomenal start in 2020 – it looked like he’d have his best-ever season – before falling apart as the offense became predictable, and as the calibre of defenses became more difficult. The pieces are there, though, for Wilson to succeed. Two elite receivers, two quality running backs (when healthy), talented depth weapons who can get the job done, and one of the better offensive lines we’ve had in Seattle since he was drafted.

What’s more, if this offense is all it’s cracked up to be, it should open up the short and intermediate passing game that was so thoroughly lacking in 2020. And you know with Wilson’s arm and ability, the deep passing game will be as effective as ever.

I guess what needs to happen now is for Wilson to completely buy in. To take the lesser play as it comes, and not ALWAYS hold out for the home run ball. A lot of what he was complaining about is well within his control: get the ball out of your hands before the pass rush overwhelms you. Now, against the particularly fierce pass rushes, it’ll be nice to have a play-caller who’s able to take advantage of opposing defensive aggressiveness. Is Shane Waldron that guy? We’ll find out. That’s the biggest wild card of this whole season: how is Waldron as a play-caller, and how effective will he be adjusting to what the defense is showing us?

Assuming everyone is on the same page, and we’re not overwhelmed by injuries, I expect great things from this offense. I expect REALLY great things from Russell Wilson, who is still right there in the prime of his NFL career.

Behind him, we have Geno Smith. We don’t want to see any part of Geno Smith on the field in the regular season. Any part of this year that sees Wilson sidelined for any reason, and you can kiss the NFC West goodbye. Which obviously means you can kiss goodbye the top seed in the conference and a first round BYE. And, by kissing those things goodbye, you can probably also kiss the Super Bowl goodbye, because we’ve yet to make it to the final game without having home field throughout the playoffs.

I guess, if you had to twist my arm and have Geno Smith start a game for you, it might not be horrible so long as the opponent was clearly inferior. But, I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him against a halfway competent defense.

Sean Mannion was just signed to be a possible practice squad guy. By all accounts, Geno Smith’s job is safe, but I could see us looking to upgrade the backup QB spot. This guy supposedly knows the Rams’ system, which means he probably has a good idea about what Waldron is trying to instill here. It shouldn’t be THAT hard to supplant Geno Smith as this team’s #2, but what do I know?

Alex McGough is back, and fighting for the #3 spot. He’s just a guy.

In conclusion: don’t get injured Russell Wilson. Then, go out there and win us the Super Bowl. And, finally, stay here for the entirety of your prime. Thank you, and good night.

Huskies Dominate Down In Corvallis

Well, it’s about time.

This was the dominating road performance we’ve been waiting for!  I guess last year we went into Colorado and won 38-3, but that’s nothing special.  That’s like going to Idaho and winning 38-3.  The Huskies haven’t made this kind of a killing on the road since Sark got here, and really it couldn’t have come at a better time.

69-27.  That’s a score you can take home to mother!  530 rushing yards, with three 100-yard rushers (Sankey – 179, Cooper – 166, Washington – 141), the second-most on the ground all time in school history.  Then, tack on three interceptions (two for Peters, to go along with a forced fumble & fumble recovery; one for Shaq, which he took back to the house) to go along with some rock-solid situational defense (until the game was 62-6 and the Beaves scored a bunch of garbage points), and you might be looking at the best, most complete game the Huskies have ever played under Sark!

Granted, there are certainly bigger wins, against better opponents, but has the situation here ever been this dire with Sark at the helm?  6-4, 3-4 in conference, sans a conference road win this year, facing the real possibility of being behind the Beavers AND the Cougars going into this week’s Apple Cup, with a very good chance of being bowl eligible with no bowl left to attend.  This being Sark’s fifth year, after three consecutive 7-6 finishes, with Husky Nation grumbling like we haven’t seen since 2008.  Showing improvement on the field, yet nevertheless having the same exact results on the field again and again.  Make no mistake, this was a must-win for this regime.  Not only that, but I would argue the Huskies had to win exactly as they did:  in dominant fashion.  Anything less, and you could seriously be looking at one of the hottest seats in the nation.

So, that’s a relief.  But, we’re not out of the woods yet.  We still have to win the Apple Cup on Friday.  We HAVE to break that spell of 7-win seasons!  And we have to put the Cougs in their fucking place.

To close, let’s highlight some performances.  Give it up for Deontae Cooper!  The Junior has had about a million knee surgeries, and in this game broke off a number of breathtaking runs.  Of course, it helps when the offensive line is manhandling everyone else, but still.

Good win for Cyler Miles.  He didn’t really break the bank – 15/24, 162 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs – but he didn’t cost us anything either.  This is the type of performance – and soft landing – you can build upon.  I’m not ready to say that he’s going to be the next big dominating force in Husky football, but he’s on the right track and is likely The Guy next year.  I’d rather have something like this to reflect upon than something with a few more attempts and a few more interceptions.

Kevin Smith is going to be a great possession receiver in the NFL.  I see a lot of Doug Baldwin in him.  He may not get drafted high – or at all – but he’s going to make some team really happy it took a shot.

Marcus Peters was a man possessed!  I don’t know how we got to be so good against Sean Mannion, but we’ve really got his number.  I look forward to what Peters is able to do through the rest of his career.

I’m really gonna miss watching Bishop Sankey, as there has to be a 100% chance he goes pro after this year.  He tied the career mark for touchdowns by a running back, and appears to be well on his way to breaking the single-season rushing record of 1,695 by Corey Dillon (now standing at 1,575).