Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2019: Fucking Sick Of This Shit

On Saturday night, I asked my brother who he would start: Robert Woods or Jamison Crowder. I ended up going with Woods because I paired him with Kupp and I liked at least ONE of those guys to go off against the Bears. I didn’t expect the Rams to continue to look so fucking inept on offense. And I CERTAINLY didn’t expect Woods to be a surprise healthy scratch because of some personal issue that we weren’t privy to until maybe an hour or two before gametime; when ALL of my other players were fucking dead to me.

I ended up dropping Darius Slayton for Sammy Watkins, going for the Chiefs on Monday Night. I could’ve had Josh Reynolds, but the Chiefs receiver looked like the safer play. High-flying offense against a mediocre defense, surely would do the trick! It ended up not mattering either way.

Of course, the rest of my team fucking SUCKED. I got a combined 27 points out of Brady and Wentz which fucking murdered me. So, I went into the Monday Night game essentially tied with my opponent. He had Rivers, I had Watkins. Tyreek Hill even got injured for me pretty early on to help out the cause! But, Watkins is fucking over the hill and useless from a fantasy perspective, so he got me 4.6 points. Rivers was totally fucking worthless as well, but at least through his 4 interceptions he still managed 9.65. I lost to Sloane N Steady 138.89-133.50. If I’d played Crowder, I would’ve won.

Honestly, the main reason I didn’t play him is because he’d already had two good games in a row; what were the odds a Jets receiver would have THREE in a row? I also thought the Redskins’ defense was slightly frisky (they’re not). Plus, I got burned the week prior when I tinkered with my lineup on a Saturday night; now I’ve been burned by NOT tinkering. I can’t do anything right.

I truly, truly fucking hate this game. It ruins every weekend for me. I don’t know why I keep playing fantasy football. I hope the league disbands and I never have to play again.

***

I’m now 5-6, in 8th place out of 10 teams, two spots out of the playoffs. I’ve underperformed my projections in 9 out of 11 weeks now. I’m down to the 8th most points scored and what does it even fucking matter how many I’ve had scored against me? I should be on a 5-game winning streak, but my team fucking shits the bed at every turn. There are two more weeks. I somehow still have an outside shot – as there are two other 5-6 teams ahead of me in total points – but I need help. I think I’ve got a decent shot of going 1-1 in the final two weeks of the regular season, which means I need both teams ahead of me to lose out. It can be done, but it would be the silliest back-door entry into the playoffs anyone’s ever seen.

***

I immediately dropped Sammy Watkins on Tuesday morning because fuck that turd. I didn’t put any waiver claims out there because honestly I don’t know. I wasn’t inspired. Nobody out on the scrap heap looked better than my guys; at least no one I’d want to go to any trouble for. The rest of the league was pretty active. I waited until Wednesday morning, then re-claimed Darius Slayton off of Free Agency, dropping Robert Woods. That guy seems like bad luck from a fantasy perspective, and if I’m gonna be out of it, I might as well go down with a rookie with high upside. Who knows, maybe in the Consolation Bracket playoffs, I’ll start him and Danny Dimes and watch them do their things.

I’m also thinking it’s time to drop A.J. Green. He’s been on my bench/IR spot all season, but lately it’s more trouble than it’s probably going to be worth. He keeps reverting back to ineligible for the IR spot – because he’s effectively week-to-week – but it’s looking less and less likely that he’s going to ever return. Besides that, the Bengals are obviously in Lose-Now mode by going with the younger QB (who sucks), so what upside does Green have even if he DOES come back for the fantasy playoffs? Probably not much. Certainly not more than Kupp or Crowder or any of the receivers I could pick up off waivers. So, before Sunday, I could see myself making another roster move; but at this point I don’t see myself using up a waiver claim unless someone special pops up.

***

My lineup is pretty set at this point for the stretch run. I’ve got Brady vs. Dallas and Wentz vs. the Seahawks. They should be okay. My running backs are really the only guys not totally letting me down; Zeke, Bell, and Jacobs all have decent-to-good matchups. The Disappearing Cooper Kupp has to face Baltimore’s ravenous defense on Monday Night, so let’s hope I’m somehow able to lock things up before then. I actually am going to start Crowder this week at home against the Raiders, WHAT ARE THE ODDS HE HAS FOUR GOOD GAMES IN A ROW??? Pretty fucking negligible, I’d say. Then, there’s Waller, Tucker, and Buffalo hosting Denver, so whatever.

My Space Pirates are going up against our biggest nemesis: Space Forcin’. I’m catching him on a Mahomes BYE – which was really my only hope of beating him – but the rest of his team is still stacked, led by Kamara, Davante Adams, Tyler Lockett, and Zach Ertz who will absolutely dominate the Seahawks this week.

Did I mention I fucking hate fantasy football? I wish everyone was dead.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2019: Trade Deadline Follies

Make that Space Pirates has underperformed 8 out of 10 weeks!

My team turned out much differently compared to what I wrote about in my Week 10 preview post. Inspiration struck after I hit “Publish”. I’ve had conversations off and on with the last place team in our league, as I have a serious need to improve my quarterback position and he has a serious need to get better keepers. He was rightly reluctant to part with San Francisco’s Jimmy G, so there was nothing doing there. But, his other guy was Tom Brady, who he’s had for years and years, and has won multiple league titles with. In spite of Brady’s disasterous fantasy performances in recent Decembers, I still see him as a step up from Nick Foles, or the inconsistent Danny Dimes (he gets his nickname back after another 40-point fantasy week).

It took me trading Tyreek Hill to get Brady, which in turn forced him to give up Robert Woods (which he was happy to do, as Woods has been pretty mediocre this season after a solid 2018) because I needed to play a second WR this week, which in turn forced me to give up on Nick Foles (which I was happy to do because he’s Nick Foles) because he needed to roster a third quarterback for emergency purposes.

That left my team weaker for Week 10 than it already was, if that’s even possible. But, I THOUGHT I turned my fortunes around for the better by making a last-minute trade on Friday night.

See, the guy who grabbed Brian Hoyer off of waivers last week found out on Friday that Mahomes was a go. That eliminated the need for him to roster Hoyer. He offered him to me in trade – as I was needy for improvement for Week 10, and had complained about my bad fortune to him earlier – and I told him I couldn’t offer much (it is Hoyer after all, and he was to be a one-week rental), but I could send over Ryan Finley as a possible lottery ticket. He accepted, and I had my Hoyer for the week.

Turns out, I would’ve been better off playing Finley. I nearly would’ve been better off playing Taysom Hill, with his 1 catch for 17 yards!

To further complicate matters, I realized that with the move to bring in Brady, and give up on a supreme talent like Hill, I’m in full-blown Win Now Mode. So, why am I hanging onto Gardner Minshew? Particularly when the Jags aren’t close to annointing him as the starter. So, I beefed up my depth by picking Derrius Guice back up, as he’s set to return pretty soon.

This past weekend was the official trade deadline for our league, so that’s it for the excitement. You’ll be happy (or possibly dismayed) to know that I was involved in every single trade in this league, and that there were officially just the two trades for the entire season. Of course, I highly doubt anyone else obsesses over these things like I do, as most everyone else in the universe has more of a life than me.

***

It was a rough Week 10 for Space Pirates. As I noted up top, my team yet-again underperformed expectations. Part of that had to do with my cold feet when it came to Le’Veon Bell. That Adam Thielen fiasco the week prior really got in my head, as I couldn’t stand the thought of me starting someone who might have to come out of his game without getting me anything. So, in his stead I put in Jaylen Samuels who got me a whopping 7 points, nearly 10 points less than Bell who finally found the endzone for my bench.

Cooper Kupp got me 0. The aforementioned Hoyer only got 4.20 (which was FAR from the nice number it appears to be). Justin Tucker was relegated to 7 extra points and 0 field goals. Darren Waller also only had 7 points. Zeke Elliott had 8.30. Danny Dimes was the only guy keeping me afloat – with his 41.40 points – but unfortunately he doesn’t get to face the Jets’ defense every week. I lost 149.35-121.50. When Robert Woods is your third-highest scorer of the week, you know you’re probably in for a bad time.

The loss drops me to 5-5 on the year, stopping my winning streak at three games. There are also just three more games left to go in the regular season. I’ve fallen to 7th place, just outside of the playoffs if the season ended today. I’m down to the 7th most points scored, but still with the second-most points against.

***

I dropped Hoyer on Tuesday to open up a place on my bench, as neither Hilton nor Green are eligible for the IR spot just yet. With those guys injured – and thus only two healthy wide receivers on my roster at the moment (Kupp & Woods of the Rams) – I had to make a move to at least shore up some depth. So, I put in two waiver claims, and got my top priority: Darius Slayton of the New York Giants. He’s a rookie fifth rounder who has come on of late, with 4 touchdowns and over 55 points in the last three weeks. Of course, sandwiched in there was a game where caught 1 ball for 6 yards, but rookies aren’t perfect. I feel like he’ll go where Danny Dimes goes, especially if the other targets in that offense continue to get banged up.

I also put in a request to pick Scary Terry back up, but it wasn’t meant to be as someone else nabbed him. I had to downgrade him by the simple fact that Dwayne Haskins was named the starter for the rest of the season, and he just seems like too much of a bust to depend on. McLaurin will have better days ahead, but he’s going to need a better quarterback throwing to him if he wants to be on my roster.

***

I’m stuck playing Sloane N Steady this week, the first place team in the league. Granted, he’s on a 3-game losing streak, but he’s still a shitload better than me and that losing streak will almost certainly end now. Space Pirates need to bring their A-game, and based on what I’ve seen from my guys, I don’t think they have it in ’em.

He has Aaron Rodgers on BYE, but other than that everyone’s a full go. Plus, he has Philip Rivers as a plug n’ play going up against the Chiefs on Monday Night, so it’s pretty much like he’s at full strength anyway. Derek Carr is his other QB, who has a juicy matchup against the Bengals this week.

Then, he’s got Amari Cooper, Dalvin Cook, Nick Chubb, New England’s defense, and countless other guys who always kick my fucking ass. Assuming I lose this one, next week I have to go up against last year’s league champion, before finally facing the last place team the week before the playoffs start. It’s looking AWFULLY grim.

I’m Expecting Nothing From Josh Gordon On The Seahawks

I think we can all agree that this is a no-risk move for the Seahawks, in making a waiver claim on Josh Gordon. At least, no risk that’s obvious at this time. The mind can imagine just about anything happening that might be a POTENTIAL risk, but let’s live in the real world for a moment.

Feel free to peruse Gordon’s Wikipedia page if you want a refresher course on all his problems; I’m not really too interested in all of that. Drugs are apparently high on the list, as well as some mental health stuff? I dunno, I’m sticking to football on this one.

Josh Gordon in 2013 was the best wide receiver on the planet. There’s just no debate. In a 2-game stretch that year – with the likes of Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell throwing to him – he caught 24 balls for 498 yards and 3 touchdowns, which I have to believe (without doing any research whatsoever) is the best 2-game performance by a receiver in NFL history. Just imagine if he’d had Tom Brady throwing to him; he probably would’ve broken the universe!

Then, the problems, starting with an abbreviated 2014. He was out of football for 2015-2016, then came back for another abbreviated season in 2017. In 2018, the Browns finally had enough and he was shipped to New England for real this time (and not just in our 2013 dreams), where he was fine. At times he sparkled like the Josh Gordon of old, but he’s also now LITERALLY old(ish, at 28, but who knows how many years he’s taken off of his career with his troubles?), and he also had to leave the NFL for a spell before returning earlier this season.

With a knee injury, and I’m sure just being tired of all the bullshit, the Patriots finally had enough. They traded for Mohamed Sanu and that was all they needed to release Gordon. He’s apparently passed the Seahawks’ physical over the weekend, and all signs point to him at least getting in the mix as early as this week.

My reservations for this move start with the fact that if the Patriots couldn’t make it work with Gordon, what makes anyone think it’s going to work in Seattle? He’s not the explosive mega-athlete he once was in Cleveland, so is he really an improvement over D.K. Metcalf, for instance? We KNOW he’s not better than Tyler Lockett, and if he’s also not going to take snaps from Metcalf, then that means we brought in a #3 receiver to take over for David Moore or Jaron Brown.

Fine. I’ll buy that.

I believe that Josh Gordon is better than David Moore and Jaron Brown. That’s wonderful. Even with the Seahawks needing to pass more this year (to keep up with their wretched defense), we’re still not the Chiefs or Texans or Bucs. We don’t usually throw THAT much. If we’re talking about a guy who’s getting targets/touches behind Carson, Lockett, and Metcalf; how many targets/touches are we talking about? 3-4 per game? How much of a difference could he possibly make?

We’re also talking about a roster that – not for nothing – currently sits 8 wide receivers deep make that 7 wide receivers deep, with the waiving of Greg Jennings yesterday, with only 2 true tight ends. I don’t think you’re bringing him in to be the next Will Dissly, because I don’t think he really blocks all that much. And he’s certainly not coming here to play special teams. So, unless we run into a spree of injuries at the position, again this seems like a needless move at a position of relative strength (wide receiver is always going to get a boost with a quarterback like Wilson, no matter who he’s throwing the ball to).

Who knows? Maybe I’m being overly negative. Maybe those 3-4 catches per game will make all the difference. Or maybe it won’t matter on a per-game basis, but maybe he makes a clutch catch here or there in crunch time. It doesn’t have to be Gordon coming in and catching 200 yards per game; his impact could be a lot smaller in scope, but no less important in our overall goal of making the Super Bowl.

What I do know is that this whole experiment is a ticking time bomb. I feel like the best case scenario is he plays for the Seahawks in 7 more regular season games, plus the playoffs, as a small contributor to a well-oiled machine of an offense. The worst case scenario is he never plays a down; the Seahawks try him out, he can’t pick up the playbook, he reinjures himself, or he needs another leave of absence to get his head straight. I don’t think he’ll be a Percy Harvin-level distraction where he’s punching out teammates. My hope is that he’s not a different type of Percy Harvin-esque distraction.

Maybe this was more due to Darrell Bevell not being a good enough play-caller, or there not being a consistent voice in the offensive scheme when he was paired with Tom Cable, but when the Seahawks had Harvin and later Jimmy Graham, they never could make the offense work. Either they spent too much time trying to force-feed the ball to one guy (Harvin), or they flat out refused to throw the ball to the other guy in the red zone (Graham). When the offense faltered, it was always because the Seahawks didn’t know how to properly incorporate their new superstar acquisitions.

Fortunately, in this case, I don’t believe Gordon is that level of superstar. He’s fine. As I said before, he’s a #3 on this team, and maybe with the low stakes and low expectations, he can thrive in such a scenario. Being just one of the guys, as opposed to the one everyone is counting on to make every single big play.

What I absolutely DON’T want to see is this hindering D.K. Metcalf’s progress. Metcalf is the future; Gordon is a half-year rental. Metcalf is coming off of his best game as a pro and needs to continue to get opportunities to thrive with our quarterback. Gordon needs to be content with taking over for David Moore, or otherwise chipping in on some sub-packages.

I generally prefer to be pleasantly surprised over getting my hopes up only to be let down later. I think this is the perfect time to keep my expectations as low as possible. I wish Josh Gordon all the luck in the world, as long as he helps the Seahawks win football games.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2019: Man Down!

So, in hindsight, maybe I should have traded Danny Dimes for Stafford & Godwin? It certainly would’ve made my Week 4 a whole lot less stressful.

I was heading into some deep doo-doo as it is when I originally set my Week 4 lineup. T.Y. Hilton had left his Week 3 game prematurely with a nagging injury he’s been dealing with all year. Then, Scary Terry McLaurin popped up on a mid-week injury report for a quad or something. Whatever it was, he did it in practice, and it’s especially brutal because they were – in theory – going up against a terrible secondary in the Giants.

What was even worse for me is that with those two guys eventually declared inactive, I was down to just one healthy wide receiver. I’ll explain.

The person who picked up Wayne Gallman last week (and left him on HIS BENCH no less!) dropped David Montgomery (Chicago’s rookie RB) to get him. In my opinion, TheGangUnderperforms was a little short-sighted in this move, as Gallman will eventually be relegated to his usual backup role, whereas I’m of the belief that Montgomery is only getting better, and will continue to see his snaps increase with each passing week. If I were him, I probably would’ve dropped Matt Breida, but that’s me and I could easily be wrong in this thing. Regardless, I wanted David Montgomery, so that took up the bulk of my Wednesday-Thursday, obsessing over who I should drop.

It was down to Chris Thompson or Christian Kirk. I was 4th in waiver priority, and while I felt pretty good about my chances (that the top 3 guys wouldn’t put in a claim, or even notice he was out there), I couldn’t let him pass and see someone with a lower priority make the claim. So, I used mine. The claim would go through on Friday morning, and at this point in the week I believe Hilton was still pretty doubtful, but Scary Terry (from reports of Washington beat writers) was looking a little more probable than he had the day before. Since I’ll see Tyreek Hill and A.J. Green eventually returning from their injuries at some point this year, and I’m already rostering Kupp, Hilton, and Scary Terry, I had a hard time justifying Kirk’s existence. Particularly when – while I do have a pretty loaded backfield – running backs are notoriously injury prone, and I like playing Thompson in case of emergency, over some waiver wire scrub.

So, I dropped Kirk, and I crossed my fingers. With my luck, neither Hilton nor McLaurin made miraculous recoveries, which left me with two options: leaving the spot open and only playing one receiver, or leaving the spot open and seeing how the weekend went. I just so happened to be going up against the worst team in the league (who was also, thankfully, minus one of his regular QB’s in Jimmy G), and even minus one player, I was still in the thick of things heading into the week. I had a good game out of Wentz on Thursday, so I rolled the dice.

I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done, because as Sunday progressed, the pool of available wide receivers – for lack of a better word – sucked. When I woke up Monday morning and saw that Zeke Elliott had an okay game, I was up 131.35 to 117.7. I had no one in the Cincinnati/Pittsburgh game; he had Andy Dalton. Could Pittsburgh’s defense hold him to under 13 points? I didn’t LOVE my chances, but I thought they were reasonable enough. My other option would’ve been picking up either James Washington (the person I was leaning towards, who ended up with 0 points) or Diontae Johnson (who ended up scoring over 17 points and would’ve easily sealed the deal). See, my other thought was, with the Steelers having a backup QB, the odds of someone like Washington getting zero points were very legit, and I would’ve had to waive someone I REALLY didn’t want to waive to get those zero points.

In short, I was willing to take the Week 4 L to preserve my roster for the long term. The me of 5 years ago would’ve panicked; I’m proud of my restraint, and I was rewarded accordingly. I won’t say I deserve this victory, but after last week’s bullshit, I think I earned it.

***

Yeah, as it turns out, Danny Dimes kinda stunk in his second start. Meanwhile, Gardner Minshew once again tore it up, this time in Denver of all places. I was strongly considering rolling with the Mississippi Moustache in Carolina this week, but their defense has savagely limited QB production this year, whereas the Vikings can be thrown on. So, Dimes gets one more week.

I otherwise got just okay games from the rest of my lineup, minus Kupp who REALLY saved my bacon. The Lance Petemans had pretty much everyone else on the Rams (Gurley, Woods, and Cooks) who combined for 68.5 of his 121.05 points. I was most worried about having to play Buffalo’s defense against the Patriots, but they did me an okay 7 points. On top of which, they kept Brady out of the endzone and limited him to 3.20 points for my opponent (he got a combined 6.55 points out of his two quarterbacks, which ultimately sealed his fate).

This victory brings me back to .500 at 2-2. I’m in fourth place (currently tied with three others at 2-2), I’ve got the fourth-highest total points and the second-highest points against.

***

Apparently Cooper Kupp is now a Must Start wide receiver. It’s weird! I don’t know how it happened – especially coming off of his injury last year – but he’s got more points than any other Rams skill position player! By kind of a lot, after four weeks.

As for my other receiver, it’s Wait & See once again. I don’t know if I can throw away another WR spot this week, so I’ll probably be forced to make some kind of move if my guys don’t get right. I prefer T.Y. Hilton (@ KC) over Scary Terry (vs. NE), but at this point I’ll take what I can get (and hope that Dwayne Haskins doesn’t get the start).

I get Le’Veon Bell back this week to pair with Zeke, which is always comforting. Darren Waller is locked in as my starting tight end as long as he’s breathing. For my FLEX, it’s down to Josh Jacobs (vs. CHI) Thompson (vs. NE) or Montgomery (@ OAK). The Raiders/Bears game is actually in London, so throw location out the window. Jacobs is a no-play for me against that Bears defense, so it’s down to Thompson vs. Montgomery. I like Thompson particularly in this matchup, where you figure it’ll be nothing but check-downs to running backs no matter who’s playing quarterback for the Redskins. But, I’m rolling with my new pickup Montgomery.

Montgomery is now, finally, getting the lion’s share of the carries in their base offense. His snap counts have improved from 38% in Week 1, to 44%, then 67%, then 69% against the Vikings last week. I’ll be the first to admit, his fantasy numbers still aren’t great, and he’s useless if the Bears have to throw a lot to get back into the game. But, I expect their defense to really sit on the Raiders and I don’t think it’ll be too hard for the Bears’ offense to move the ball. Game script being what it should be, I like Montgomery for a lot of second half points in this one.

I’m pretty lukewarm on the matchups my players are facing this week. I’m also a little terrified to be going up against one of our better fantasy players (he’s got his name on the league trophy multiple seasons). Beasts has got Russell Wilson and Matt Ryan. He’s got McCaffrey and Chris Carson. He’s got Edelman and Godwin. He’s got Tyler Boyd going up against Arizona’s shitty defense, and he’s got Baltimore’s defense going up against Pittsburgh’s shitty offense. I’m nervous. With Seattle’s kicker, he’s got three Seahawks going up against the Rams; last year both of those games were shootouts and I see no reason why that won’t continue now.

As it stands now, Beasts is a 57% projected favorite in our matchup, but I’m used to playing the underdog. I don’t think Yahoo has a good handle on a lot of the younger players I have on my team; as they keep exceeding expectations, I figure my projections should start to change in the coming weeks.

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 …

Jarran Reed Did Something Stupid, Got Suspended

I don’t know, man. Apparently Jarran Reed was involved in some incident in 2017(?), police were notified, and he ultimately wasn’t charged with anything nor did he get into any real trouble that I can discern, yet here we are in 2019 and boom, he’s popped for 6 games. I could understand if it was some drug thing, or if he was caught on tape making threatening-sounding comments, but this feels like a SEVERE over-reaction to a non-issue.

And you can call me insensitive all you want, but let’s see some charges, huh? Let’s see – if nothing doing from a prosecutorial perspective – at least a civil suit. SOMETHING. Video, audio, pictures, give me SOMETHING to hang my hat on where I can say, “Okay, Jarran Reed clearly did something and should probably be punished in some capacity.”

Even if it’s nothing from the alleged victim, how about A LITTLE transparency from the NFL’s investigation. Just a whiff. Tom Brady probably didn’t do anything that warranted his suspension (or at least the extent of his punishment), but at least we could point to some deflated footballs and say, “Yeah, that’s a sneaky organization, something was probably going on.”

I’ll be the first to admit that I have little-to-no knowledge of the latest Tyreek Hill case (other than the fact that my fantasy football team benefits from his being active from Game One, so this must be the karma gods punishing me for my insolence), but he generally seems like a bad dude and almost certainly did something he shouldn’t have. I’ve seen the NFL suspend guys for A LOT less, let’s put it that way (Jarran Reed, for instance), and yet he’s off playing football and our boy will miss a month and a half.

Hill’s legal team must’ve been worth every damn penny!

This is obviously a catastrophe for the Seahawks. Jarran Reed is our best interior lineman, our best interior pass rusher, and maybe even our best OVERALL pass rusher! The team was already in pretty dire straits in that regard – particularly early in the season, when we don’t know if Ziggy Ansah will start off on the PUP list or not heading into the regular season – so compounding it with the loss of Reed is absolutely the worst possible way to start our 2019 season.

Also, like, what the fuck took so long? Why do these fucking investigations and appeals take fucking forever? I mean, fuck, if we’d lost Reed for 6 games last year, no one would’ve given two shits!

On the plus side, maybe it won’t cost so much to extend him beyond this season? Either that, or he puts up 10+ sacks in 10 games and he becomes impossible to re-sign.

I hate sports. Sports are fucking dumb. Why do we put ourselves through this?

Is Russell Wilson The Greatest Dual-Threat Quarterback Of All Time?

The first thing we have to ask is: what constitutes a true Dual-Threat Quarterback? I think it’s pretty easy to whittle things down on the Eye Test alone. For starters, we’re talking about quarterbacks who can also run with the football. So, we’re not talking about the greatest Running Quarterback, because if you looked at just the 2018 season, you’d have to say Lamar Jackson was the best Running Quarterback in the league. But, Dual-Threat means he can beat you with his legs AND his arm, and it’s pretty safe to say Jackson hasn’t built up that arm half of his game just yet.

So, I went into Pro Football Reference and played around with the numbers. First, I separated all the quarterbacks into a list of those who’ve run for 1,000 yards in their careers. But, that’s not quite good enough, because Tom Brady has 1,003 rushing yards in his career, and he is NOBODY’S idea of a Dual-Threat. So, I went ahead and bumped it up to 1,500 career rushing yards (mostly to knock him the hell off of a GOAT list, because he has enough GOATs in his life).

When you list them by rushing yards, you’ll find someone by the name of Tom Matte, who is listed as a quarterback and a running back. Among all quote-unquote Quarterbacks in NFL history, Matte has the 4th highest rushing yards total with 4,646. But, he only threw for 246 yards, so he’s obviously got to go. To be considered as the Greatest Dual-Threat Quarterback Of All Time, I figure at a minimum you need 20,000 passing yards. That drops our total from 53 to 38, which is a number I can get behind.

Such a list includes favorites like Jim Zorn, Andrew Luck, Joe Montana, Warren Moon, Archie Manning, and even Ryan Fitzpatrick! But, it also includes such stiffs as Vinny Testaverde, Boomer Esiason, Jay Cutler, Johnny Unitas, and Brett Favre. While they’re all pretty good-to-great, I don’t think you’d ever fear for your life if they were running with the football. Those guys mostly just hung around long enough to qualify for my arbitrary cutting-off point.

So, to whittle it down further, I had to put a limit on Yards Per Game. Yards Per Attempt isn’t worth a damn for a quarterback, because most guys scramble once or twice per game, and with the defense not expecting it, they tend to rack up a lot of garbage yards in the process. We need to focus on guys opposing defenses are specifically game-planning for. Setting it at 10 yards per game gets us down to 30 guys, and just barely keeps Jim Zorn on the list. But, it also keeps Jay Cutler on the list, and I just can’t have that. So, I increased it to a minimum of 13 yards per game, which also managed to cut off Joe Theismann, Ken Anderson, and Mark Brunell (who had 12.5 yards per game). While I like Brunell an awful lot, I don’t mind lopping him off because I don’t think he belongs in the conversation.

1,500 career rushing yards, 20,000 career passing yards, and 13 rushing yards per game put us at 25 quarterbacks. But, a couple of names still bothered me, because mediocre quarterbacks like Jeff Blake and Aaron Brooks were still hanging around. So, I made the cutoff 22,000 passing yards, and we’re left with a Top 23. This fits better with my idea of a Dual-Threat Quarterback.

For what it’s worth, I was going to be more strict with the Rushing Yards Per Game, and set it at 20, to really separate the wheat from the chaff, but that ended up cutting off guys like John Elway, Fran Tarkenton, Roger Staubach, and Aaron Rodgers. While I don’t consider A-Rod to be a “running quarterback” per se, he’s still lumped into that Dual-Threat mold, even though his arm is VASTLY superior to his running ability (I’d put it at somewhere like 90/10, or 80/20 at the very most). And, while Elway certainly slowed down on running in his old age, you just can’t have this conversation without him.

There are a number of ways to go about ranking these guys, but I’m just going to go by Who I Would Most Want On My Football Team, at the beginning of their careers, for the duration of their careers.

I’m also going to split them up even further, because ultimately I have a Top 4 REAL Dual-Threat Quarterbacks.

There’s no perfect way to rank these guys, because all of the ones in the aforementioned Top 23 are much more passers than runners. But, I would argue that the vast majority of them are more “scramblers” than actual threats to run downfield with the football. So, if I had to pick a Top 10, I would definitely include guys like Andrew Luck (10), Donovan McNabb (9), Steve McNair (8), Fran Tarkenton (7), John Elway (6), and Aaron Rodgers (5). Those guys have a ton of rushing yards, pretty solid Yards Per Game averages, and a ton of passing yards. But, to me, they’re not REAL Dual-Threat Quarterbacks in the sense I’m defining here.

Just outside my Top 10, I might add, we have Alex Smith, who I wouldn’t have expected to show up here, except he has over 34,000 passing yards, over 2,600 rushing yards, and averages over 15 rushing yards per game. I’m also leaving out Michael Vick, because his passing game was far too weak to be considered, even though he leads all QBs in total and per game rushing yards.

My Top 4 includes Randall Cunningham (4) and Cam Newton (3). I LOVE me some QB Eagles, and if their careers both ended today, he’d actually rank ahead of Cam. But, given Cam’s age and the fact that he has so much left in the tank, he’s easily the superior option. Even though I don’t love the way he reacts in losing situations, it would be idiotic to keep Newton outside of the Top 3.

My Top 2 should come as no surprise. In some order, it’s Russell Wilson and Steve Young. Young has over 33,000 passing yards, over 4,200 rushing yards, and over 25 yards per game. He’s right in that sweet spot of elite passer and elite runner, and if you just count his prime (from 1991-1998), you’re talking about eight Hall of Fame seasons where he averaged nearly 4,000 passing yards and 28 passing touchdowns, with an average of over 400 rushing yards and 5 rushing touchdowns. I mean, just unstoppable production, and his total career could’ve been so much better if he A) wasn’t saddled behind Joe Montana for so long, and B) didn’t succumb to head injuries (among other maladies) late in his career.

So, if we’re just talking about today, I have Steve Young at #1 and Russell Wilson #2, but it won’t be too much longer before Russell Wilson is the All Time Greatest Dual-Threat Quarterback, with Cam Newton coming in at #2 (in other words, we’re watching the two greatest Dual-Threat Quarterbacks while they’re in their primes, and that’s pretty amazing).

Not for nothing, but if you compare Young’s best 7 years to Wilson’s only 7 years, you can see what I’m talking about:

  • Steve Young 1992-1998: 24,266 passing yards, 178 TDs, 68 INTs, 66.9% completions; 2,450 rushing yards, 29 TDs, 5.8 yards per attempt
  • Russell Wilson 2012-2018: 25,624 passing yards, 196 TDs, 63 INTs, 64.2% completions; 3,651 rushing yards, 16 TDs, 5.7 yards per attempt

As I said, it’s only a matter of time before Wilson surpasses him in all career numbers. And, considering Wilson’s best statistical years might still be ahead of him, it could be sooner than we think.

Finally, I know nobody likes talking about superficial things QB Winzzz or Pro Bowl/Playoff appearances, but I’m sorry, you just can’t have this discussion without bringing those into the mix. Young’s record as a 49ers quarterback was 91-33 over 13 years; Wilson is 75-36-1. Young was in 7 Pro Bowls to Wilson’s 5, and he was on 3 First All Pro Teams to Wilson’s 0. Young has 14 Playoff Games Started to Wilson’s 13, with an 8-6 record to Wilson’s 8-5. Young, of course, has 3 rings to Wilson’s 1, but two of Young’s were as a backup to Montana. Finally, Young has 2 MVPs to Wilson’s 0, and 1 Super Bowl MVP to Wilson’s 0. Wilson is RIGHT THERE in so many areas, but just not quite over the hump.

Not yet, that is.

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).

Can The Seahawks Win With Russell Wilson Making A Million-Billion Dollars?

There are two schools of thought dominating the NFL landscape nowadays:

  1. You can’t win without a Franchise Quarterback
  2. You can’t win with a Franchise Quarterback taking up too high of a percentage of your salary cap

Which essentially boils down to:

  1. You can only win with a Franchise Quarterback on his rookie deal, or
  2. You can only win if you have Tom Brady and you cheat the salary cap in some way that has yet to be exposed

So, that’s great if you’re the cheatin’-ass Patriots, but otherwise it’s a pretty minuscule window of opportunity for the rest of the league. For starters, how many Franchise Quarterbacks are there in the league right now? Let’s count ’em out, in no particular order:

  1. Tom Brady
  2. Ben Roethlisberger
  3. Andrew Luck
  4. Patrick Mahomes
  5. Philip Rivers
  6. Aaron Rodgers
  7. Matt Ryan
  8. Cam Newton
  9. Drew Brees
  10. Russell Wilson

I think that’s pretty much it. You could make an argument for Deshaun Watson, Carson Wentz, and Kirk Cousins, but I think you could also make plenty of arguments against those guys as well. Anyone I haven’t listed here is on that next tier down; doesn’t mean you can’t win a Super Bowl with those guys (see: Eli Manning, Nick Foles, Joe Flacco), but obviously you need to hit on a roster full of studs around them.

Regardless, we’re talking approximately a third of the league having bona fide Franchise Quarterbacks. Everyone else has some variation on a question mark. Everyone else needs to be special in other ways (like the Rams, with their coaching staff) or they’re selling out to find that elusive game-changer at the game’s most important position.

So, let’s pull it back to just the cream of the crop; how many are Tom Brady or on a rookie deal? Well, Tom Brady is Tom Brady, so the Pats are set. Other than him, you’re talking about Mahomes, Watson, Wentz, the Rams (in spite of Goff more than because of him), and let’s throw in the Browns for shits n’ giggles. We’re talking about 6 teams who are in a prime position with their quarterback and salary cap situations; should we just lop off the rest of the teams in the league?

Or, do the Seahawks have a shot?

It’s funny, because in the days leading up to Russell Wilson’s contract extension, everything I read was some variation on: DON’T BE STUPID, YOU HAVE TO EXTEND WILSON BECAUSE HE’S AMAZING! Then, as soon as Wilson announced his signing, everything I’ve read since was: THE SEAHAWKS ARE PAYING TOO MUCH FOR THEIR QUARTERBACK, THEY’LL NEVER WIN!

Ostensibly, the argument is: if you’re going to run all the damn time, what’s the point in paying a quarterback $35 million a year? Pay someone adequate like Case Keenum to be a game manager, and use the rest of the money to bolster other areas.

The first knock against that line of thinking is that you’re never going to build the perfect team. The 2013 Seahawks were a fucking unicorn; being able to draft or otherwise acquire that much Hall of Fame talent in one roster is nearly impossible. There are always going to be holes and weaknesses, even on the best teams, and that’s before you get into the injury attrition that nearly every team faces every single year.

The second knock against that line of thinking is that, even on the best teams, you’re still going to need your quarterback to put the team on his back and win you a handful of games. Even the 2013 Seahawks needed some Russell Wilson magic against Carolina, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game (before The Tip, there was the 4th down bomb to Kearse). Could you envision that team with the likes of Case Keenum winning it all? Because I can’t.

In fact, I would argue that it’s even MORE important to have someone as clutch and efficient as Wilson on a team like the 2018 Seahawks, where running on 1st & 2nd downs were the norm. There’s so much more strain on Wilson to do more with fewer opportunities than there is on someone like Mahomes, who threw it 36 times a game compared to Wilson’s just under 27 attempts.

Ultimately, in the reality we’re living in, would you rather have Wilson on the deal he got, or whatever’s behind Door #2 (maybe trade him for draft picks while he’s got the most value, then either try to acquire whatever semi-competent veteran is still on the market, suck for a year with Paxton Lynch, and/or draft a new QB in this year’s questionable class)?

For me, I’ll take the certainty that Russell Wilson provides.

The obvious trade-off, though, is that there’s not as much money left to spread around the rest of the roster. Which gets us back to the topic of this post: can the Seahawks win with Russell Wilson making a million-billion dollars?

The answer, of course, is yes. How likely is it? I dunno, but let me flip it back on you: how likely is it for ANY team to win a Super Bowl? Because, that’s what we’re talking about, right? The worst nightmare of any NFL fan is ranging anywhere from 8-8 to 10-6 and at best winning a Wild Card berth while going nowhere in the playoffs and constantly drafting in the mid-20’s. If that’s what we’re doomed to be for the next 5 years with Russell Wilson under this contract, then I’ll admit to being pretty disappointed. It’ll further fuel the fire of those who list off all the Super Bowl champion teams with quarterbacks making under such-and-such percent of their team’s cap (conveniently ignoring the cap status of those teams who lost their respective Super Bowls, though they were just as capable of winning those games had certain things broken their way).

Ultimately, it’s all randomness! There’s no one blueprint to winning a Super Bowl (unless you cheat and get away with it like the Patriots). You need a good quarterback, we know that. Beyond that, you need the strengths of your team to overcome the weaknesses. You don’t NEED a dominant defense, you can easily overcome that the way the Chiefs did last year by scoring a ton of points. Even the Pats never really have super great defenses, but the coaches scheme the shit out of their opponents and ultimately those D’s do just enough to put Brady & Co. in position to win (the fact that the Pats constantly get to coast to a division championship every single year because the Bills, Dolphins, and Jets are all inept notwithstanding).

I would argue, the Seahawks have a Top 5 quarterback. The Seahawks have a Top 5 coaching staff. The Seahawks have enough skill position players on offense to move the ball and score on the regular, as well as an offensive line that can keep the whole thing moving. The question at this point would be: do the Seahawks have enough talent on defense to take it to the next level and compete for a divisional title? Or, conversely, do the Seahawks have enough on offense to mask their defensive deficiencies? That ultimately remains to be seen.

More than anything, if the Franchise Quarterback is 1-A most important, luck is 1-B. Good luck with injuries. Good luck with hitting on draft picks and free agent signings. And good luck with key roster guys making big leaps from year to year. And, quite frankly, good luck in those 50/50 games that keep a 10-6 team from being 12-4 or better. The Rams were 3 games better than the Seahawks, but beat us by a combined 7 points in two games. What happens if we find a way to win those two? What happens if we beat the Broncos in week 1, or the lowly 49ers in week 15? Just a couple bounces of the football here or there. What happens if we keep Dak from scoring on that insane 4th down run in the Wild Card game?

Sure, you need the Franchise Quarterback to put you in a position to win those 50/50 games, but it’s luck more than anything else that decides if you’re going to be 13-3 or 10-6.

My thought process, heading into the 2019 season, is we’ve got the most important piece locked in. Luck will hash out the way it hashes out. But, beyond that, I think the Seahawks have a winning formula they can follow. I believe in this team running the football, using its giant goons up front to punish opposing defenses. Running the football keeps the clock moving, keeps the defense off the field, and limits the punishment Wilson has to face (especially when you factor in how our O-Line still isn’t super great at pass protection).

The Seahawks were 6th in points per game with 26.8. That’s with a new offensive coordinator, a new offensive line coach, and a lot of new pieces on that side of the football. Sure, it ended crappy in Dallas, but I think with the continuity in place, this coaching staff learned a lot about what this team is made of. I think they’ll be able to tweak things enough to improve upon those points per game and be even more efficient going forward, without the need to drastically increase the number of times we throw the football. Having all of this set and ready to go TODAY – as opposed to learning on the fly and figuring things out heading into Week 3 last year – puts us at a greater advantage over the 2018 squad. From there, I’ll trust that this coaching staff and front office knows what it has to do to improve the defensive side of the ball.

Plus, let us not forget, we’ve got a Pro Bowl kicker now. You scoff, but let’s go back to that whole luck argument: how many games did a kicker cost us in 2017?

Russell Wilson Signed His Contract Extension, Part 2

We went through all of this back in 2015, so you’d think we would’ve learned our lesson, but apparently not. Remember when the big issue back then was whether or not Russell Wilson would play on the final year of his rookie deal, in order to leverage the team into giving him a fully-guaranteed deal? That was back before Kirk Cousins’ idiotic contract standoff with the Redskins was even a glimmer in anyone’s eye! And then an arbitrary deadline was set – I believe to coincide with the start of Training Camp – and lo and behold a deal got done at the last minute. Everyone was FREAKING OUT, and then it was over, and we all got to rest easy after that.

Well, here we are again, making the same mistakes fans always make. An arbitrary deadline was set – this time coinciding with the start of OTA’s – and instead of playing out the final year of his deal with the cliff of multiple Franchise Tags looming over the horizon, a deal got done at the last minute. He’ll play out his 2019 contract, then it’s 4 more years totalling $140 million (or $35 million average per year) with $65 million in his signing bonus.

He’s the highest-paid player in NFL history in per-year average, just edging Aaron Rodgers’ $33.5 million, and he blows past the highest-ever signing bonus, which was also A-Rod at $57.5 million. There’s also a No-Trade Clause attached, which could mean nothing (because why would you trade a QB like Russell Wilson?) or could get very interesting if things sour in Seattle.

There were so many rumors and opinions floating around in the weeks and days leading up to this thing, as there were in 2015. Of course, there was still talk of a Fully Guaranteed deal. But, that never really gained much traction, not with a year left on his last contract and Franchise Tags to bandy about. There was a lot of nonsense about Wilson wanting to play in New York for the Giants. There were 3-way trade rumors that would’ve given the Seahawks the #1 overall draft pick this year. There were trade rumors to Oakland for 2 first round picks. Then, the latest salvo fired over the weekend said that Wilson would refuse any and all future contract extension talks if the deal didn’t get done yesterday, which is another way to say that he’d likely try to force his way out of town by playing out his deal, playing through Franchise Tags, and waiting for the Seahawks to blink by either trading him or just letting him walk.

I mean, honestly, I don’t know how we didn’t all become alcoholics. It’s going to be tough to go through another one of these in 2023.

Probably the best rumor that came out over the weekend was that Wilson was looking to become the first player in NFL history to have his contract raise year by year – percentagewise – with the rise of the salary cap. The other sticking point was whether or not the first two years would be guaranteed upon signing (which means ownership would have to put all of that money in escrow until the time comes to pay the man), or whether the guarantees would click in at the start of every new year (in March or whatever of that respective season). Considering how high the signing bonus is, I think we have our answer (only the first year is guaranteed at signing), but I guess we’ll see when more information leaks out.

Regardless, Russell Wilson is here, and we can all move on with our lives again. Hurrah!

Truth be told, I’m fine with the deal. You only pay a player top dollar like this if he’s indeed one of the top players, and I believe Russell Wilson is one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He’s absolutely on par with Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. He’s absolutely BETTER than Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford and some of these other schlubs who were earning more money than him before today. So, we’ll just have to make it work and coach up the cheaper guys on this roster.

And Russell Wilson is going to have to continue to put this team on his back at key points. I believe he’s capable of doing that.

But, if he was going to go crazy and start asking for his contract to increase with the salary cap, then I’m sorry, but you never marry Crazy. You might date Crazy for a while, but don’t make Crazy your damn spouse!