Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2019: Consolation Bracket Championship Game

Well, through all my Vegas losses, I also lost in the playoffs in the two other leagues I’m involved in; it was almost the perfect storm of shittiness. BUT, I did somehow manage to prevail in the first round of my Consolation Bracket Playoffs in this league. Remember: the winner of the Consolation Bracket gets the #1 pick in next year’s draft, so there are considerable stakes at hand.

I whupped up on Korky Butchek 199.40 to 164.04; if I’d made it to the regular playoffs, I would’ve outscored everyone involved this week. But, alas.

This was the type of performance I was hoping for from my team all year. Wentz and Zeke and the Bills defense and Scary Terry and Waller and Brady and Kupp all had great to solid games.

With my victory last week, I’m guaranteed to draft in the top 2. Last time I was in this position, I lost to the same guy I’m set to play this week: TheGangUnderperforms. True to the name of his team, he had enough points to make it into the regular playoffs, but one blunder in the final week of the regular season – leaving Julio Jones in his lineup on Thanksgiving, when he was inactive – cost him an opportunity. And, in doing so, probably cost me a shot at the #1 seed next year. That having been said, the last time he picked 1 and I picked 2, he took Marcus Mariota and I ended up with Dak Prescott, so if something like that happens again, I think I’d be okay with it.

***

I made 3 waiver plays this week. #1 was Dwayne Haskins of all people. I’ve been killing him on here, but he finally looks like he’s getting the hang of things. He put up 25 points last week against the Eagles and gets a juicy matchup against the Giants this week. #2 was Breshad Perriman, who I should’ve picked up LAST week instead of his understudy, Justin Watson, who did nothing against the Lions after breaking out the week prior. Watson, FYI, is the guy I’m dropping in all three of these moves. The #3 waiver pick is Will Grier. I don’t love the thought of starting a rookie making his first career start on the road against the Colts, but I might have no choice.

***

See, I’ve got Tom Brady’s rotting corpse at home against the awesome Bills defense. I don’t like playing a quarterback against my own defense as a principle, and I especially don’t like playing Brady against my own defense!

My alternate would be the two quarterbacks involved in the Giants at Washington game. I’d probably prefer Danny Dimes in this case, but how healthy is he really? The Giants have the inferior defense of the two, but Haskins (who I got in my waiver claim) is also the worse quarterback of the two, so at the moment I’m leaning toward Dimes, but my mind could change fifty times between now and this weekend.

To pair with Dimes, I’m leaning towards Darius Slayton and hoping the pair blows up the way they tend to do sometimes. Also, I guess I’m Ride Or Die with Cooper Kupp, but I’m far from thrilled with him going up against an angry 49ers defense that’s getting healthier by the minute. My alternative here would be Scary Terry, but what are the odds BOTH of my receivers in this Giants/Redskins game go off? I gotta pick a side, and I’m sticking with the guy who pairs with the quarterback I start.

I guess I’m also Ride Or Die with Le’Veon Bell? God, now I’m starting to understand why I sucked so hard this year. Many things would need to change for him to be even a glimmer of a possibility as one of my keepers next year. He gets paired with Zeke, who’s having a fairly strong finish to the season. With Jacobs out, I’m rolling with the return of T.Y. Hilton in my FLEX. He made it through last week unscathed, he’s got a peach of a matchup, and the Colts are absolutely DESPERATE for a win. If they can’t find a way to get Hilton a few TDs, then I just don’t know anymore.

Waller, Tucker, and the Bills round out my team.

***

TheGangUnderperforms is really too good for the Consolation Bracket, and I’m kind of irritated that I have to face him (especially after he just knocked my team out of another league’s playoffs last week). He has Lamar Jackson in both leagues; I don’t know how anyone with Lamar Jackson doesn’t make the playoffs, but this feels like another conspiracy against me somehow.

On top of Lamar, he’s got Baker and Darnold, so not a great second option (just like me). Unlike myself, Lamar is good enough by himself to score the points of two quarterbacks (whereas Wentz is lucky when he doesn’t shit the bed, considering his utter lack of receiver options).

Then, he’s looking at a fully healthy Julio Jones and Stefon Diggs at receiver; Fournette and Ekeler at running back; and Tyler “Big Balls” Higbee at tight end. For his flex, he’s got Kenyan Drake, who just got 4 TDs last week. He’s also got Dede Westbrook and Mark Andrews on his bench. For good measure, he’s got the Saints’ kicker and Indy’s defense going up against that rookie Grier and those terrible Panthers.

#2 draft pick next year, here I come!

Seattle Sports Hell’s Gambling Corner: Vegas This Weekend

In chronicling my progress at fake sports gambling, I feel like I’m at the very least starting to think a little smarter about the games I pick and my rationale behind all of it. Last week, I actually did better than expected! There’s a lot of quality wins in this group, so let’s dig into it before I start looking at what REAL bets I want to make this weekend.

My primary strategy was a cluster of 2-team teases featuring Baltimore as my rock. All I needed was for the Ravens to beat the Bills, and they came through (though it was a little scary at the end).

I paired the Ravens with seven other teams, going 5-2 in the process. I needed the Packers to win by a touchdown and they allowed the Redskins to backdoor cover it at the end. My other defeat saw the Jags get absolutely ROUTED at home by a struggling Chargers team. There were some nice wins though: Cincy kept it close, the Falcons blew out the Panthers, the Jets won on a last-second field goal, Indy kept it close, and the Vikings did their jobs.

I also hit on the Tampa OVER, but my parlay with the Indy victory fell through. That also blew up my underdog parlay of Indy and Kansas City, though the Chiefs did their job in my solo fake wager on them.

I did pretty well on overs, all things considered. Cincy & Cleveland went over, as did Carolina & Atlanta. But, the Steelers/Cards game was just short, as was the Rams/Seahawks (my lock of the group).

And, finally, it’s back-to-back weeks where I’ve devised a well-crafted 3-team tease only to have one of the three teams stab me in the back! It was, as expected, the Raiders completely falling apart. In fairness, the game was within range through three quarters. But, the Titans tacked on a couple more TDs to put it out of reach in the final frame.

I did nail the 49ers beating the Saints. But, I lost the UNDER 50 points before we even got to halfitme, so my separate tease was a bust.

All in all, a pretty solid week. This makes me DOUBLY nervous as we head to Vegas tomorrow, as I wait for the other shoe to drop.

***

I’ve waited until the last possible minute in the week to figure out what I’m doing on my Vegas trip. Now, obviously, there will be some ad libs, probably some live betting, but I’ve at least got my plan outlined and ready to go.

For starters, I wanted to do a big parlay (with point spreads) just as a stab in the dark. So, I’m going to put $50 to win $9,000 on the following 8-team parlay:

  • Tennessee -3 vs. HOU
  • Green Bay -4.5 vs. CHI
  • Philly -4.5 @ WAS
  • Detroit +3.5 vs. TB
  • Miami +3.5 @ NYG
  • Oakland -6.5 vs. JAX
  • San Francisco -10.5 vs. ATL
  • Cleveland -2.5 @ AZ

I’ve already swapped about four teams in and out of that lineup, and may continue to tinker with it up until tomorrow when I arrive in Vegas. But, for now, that’s what I’m looking at.

I’m also looking at an 8-team moneyline parlay, where the teams just need to win. I’m thinking somewhere around $150 (I don’t know what it’ll pay out, but probably around that amount). You’ll see some overlap in the first parlay, but obviously more heavy favorites are included here:

  • Philly @ WAS
  • Green Bay vs. CHI
  • LA Rams @ DAL
  • Seattle @ CAR
  • Kansas City vs. DEN
  • Oakland vs. JAX
  • San Francisco vs. ATL
  • Cleveland @ AZ

Now, in conjunction with my attempt last week at picking one sure thing to pair with multiple different teasers, I’ve got my sights set on Green Bay. I loved the Packers back on Monday when I first saw the line was -5, and I love them even more now that a certain amount of the public has money on the Bears to cover, forcing the line down to -4.5. Moving that 6 points gives me the Packers +1.5; I’ll take that all day and twice on Sunday. So, here are my teaser partners, all with Packers +1.5 (each of these will be $100):

  • Philly to +1.5 @ WAS
  • Tennessee to +3 vs. HOU
  • Seattle to -0.5 @ CAR
  • Miami to +9.5 @ NYG
  • Oakland to -0.5 vs. JAX
  • Arizona to +8.5 vs. CLE
  • LA Rams to +4.5 @ DAL
  • Buffalo to +8 @ PIT

As for my beloved over/unders, there’s only one that I REALLY like: Oakland vs. Jacksonville over 45.5. Those are a couple of mediocre defenses that should give up considerable points (the risk is the Jags on the road, across 3 time zones, just doing absolutely nothing with the fraud that is Gardner Minshew). We’ll keep that to a simple $110. Also, if I’m feeling frisky, I might put the same amount on Detroit vs. Tampa over 46 (though, I’m hoping that line goes down).

I want to do one really BIG teaser bet, and in an effort to not put all my eggs COMPLETELY in the Packers’ basket, I’m thinking of making Buffalo +8 my lock in this one. The three teams I’m considering are … the Packers +1.5 (but, again, I’m trying to avoid this), the Raiders -0.5 (which just FEELS like a can’t-lose situation that might be too good to be true) or one that just intrigued me as I wrote it out above: Miami +9.5. I mean, all they have to do is NOT lose to the Giants by 10 or more? That Giants defense is terrible, and Eli is still Eli the last time I checked! How do I lose that one?

Also, should I switch it, and go Dolphins +9.5 at NYG and Oakland -0.5 vs. JAX?

I’m putting about $1,100 on this one, so I better figure it out, because this could be my weekend.

Also, if I’m desperate, I have a Sunday Night Game Teaser that I’ve been working on. Take Buffalo, move them to +8, then take the over/under of 36 and move it to 42 and pound the UNDER, and just hope for a game filled with punts and field goals. My initial instinct was to move the line to 30 and take the OVER, but my initial instinct is usually wrong in these same-game teasers. This is really only if I’m chasing a day full of losers, trying to win some money back (in other words, PRAY it doesn’t come to this).

In my Irrational Homer Pick, the Rams game is an interesting one. Dallas, at home, was originally favored by 2 points. That line has since moved to the Rams being favored by 1.5 points. I still like the Rams (and apparently literally everyone else does too), and I like them even more in a tease that moves the line to +4.5. I’m hoping some money comes in on Dallas in the next couple days, because I could actually see myself pairing the Rams with the Bills, Dolphins, or Giants in that giant teaser bet I’m cooking up.

As for Steven’s Stay Aways, I want no part of Patriots -10 @ Cincy. Tom Brady is washed up, but the Pats’ defense is still elite, and Cincy is a total wild card, even at home. I could see Cincy keeping it close, I could even see them winning! Or, I could see the Pats pounding it down their throats, giving up nothing on defense, and winning an ugly game 27-3. I also want no part of KC -9.5 vs. Denver. I like Denver, they keep most of their games close and fight hard. But, this game’s in Kansas City, and I feel like most of the public is onto Denver as well. It wouldn’t shock me in the least to see KC win by 10 points, so no thank you. I’m also not super fond of Minnesota -2.5 at LA Chargers. Gun to my head, I think the Vikings win and probably easily. But, the last time I said that with a game in LA against the Chargers, it was when Green Bay went there and got their doors blown off. Kirk Cousins is still Kirk Cousins, and that Chargers defense is getting healthy at the right time (maybe not in time to make the playoffs, but to still wreak some havoc in the last few weeks).

Okay, so that’s it. My dilemma that I’m leaving up in the air is as follows: I need two of these five teams in a 6-point teaser:

  • Buffalo +8
  • Oakland -0.5
  • Miami +9.5
  • LA Rams +4.5
  • Green Bay +1.5

Who will I go with? Tune in next week for my Vegas recap. And, if you’ve got any recommendations, let me know.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2019: Consolation Bracket Bound

That’s it. The regular season is over. I finished 6-7, a game outside of the playoffs. The top two seeds get a first round BYE, 3 vs. 6 and 4 vs. 5 play one another this week, but that doesn’t affect me, so whatever.

I won a meaningless game last week against the last place team, 172.20 to 96.50; it was just the third time out of 13 weeks where I exceeded my projected points. I finished with the 7th most points scored. There’s another 6-7 team ahead of me in total points who got knocked out of the playoffs on a heartbreaker, losing by less than 2 points this past week. He has the third-most points scored in the entire league and is on the outside looking in, which is just a kick to the crotch (though he did start Julio Jones on Thanksgiving, who ended up not playing).

I did end up with the second-most points scored against me (only the last place team had a higher total against him, but he also scored by far the least amount of points in the league, so his 2-11 record was well-earned), but as I’ve said countless times, I can’t blame the fantasy gods for this one. My team underachieved, plain and simple, and when they didn’t underachieve, I made a series of terrible decisions to eliminate myself from the playoffs.

***

I’m on BYE this week as the Consolation Bracket has to wait until Week 15 to get going. It’s unfortunate, because most of my matchups are truly magnificent. Brady vs. Kansas City, Wentz vs. the Giants, Kupp vs. Seattle, Le’Veon Bell vs. Miami; those guys alone should’ve propelled me to the next round of the playoffs. Instead, I get to watch those guys rack up a ton of points for my bench.

No roster moves this week. I picked up the backup running backs for Dallas and Minnesota last week, mostly to be a dick I guess? I mean, if the guy who has Dalvin Cook couldn’t be bothered to handcuff him, that’s not really my problem (my longterm goal is for the Vikings to trade Cook in the offseason and commit to his backup going forward, before it’s time for us to declare our keepers).

***

One of the last remaining decisions to make is who my keepers will be. I’m pretty committed to keeping Daniel Jones, considering all it took to get him and keep him on my roster this year. Here’s to hoping for that Year 2 bump.

I’m also pretty dialed in on keeping Ezekiel Elliott. He’s got his big payday, he’s still in the prime of his career, so he’ll be one of my starting RBs for a good while yet.

I’m also very committed to Josh Jacobs with the Raiders. He’s had a great rookie campaign and figures to really bust out next year, assuming he stays healthy and all that good stuff. He’s over 1,000 yards and has 7 TDs through 12 games; I’d say that’s keeper-worthy.

The fourth one is probably my most vital decision. Right now, I’m leaning towards Carson Wentz. He’s shown he’s pretty capable when his receivers are healthy; the main problem is his receivers have NOT been healthy. Like, at all this year. I also don’t want to put too much stock into one mediocre season. The last time I did that was Dak Prescott’s second year (where he took a step back after a fine rookie campaign). He ended up turning things around in Year 3 and has been a legitimate MVP candidate in Year 4 this season. Assuming Wentz makes it through this last month healthy, there’s no reason to NOT expect a bounce-back year in 2020.

My next-best option is Le’Veon Bell. He’s been a target-monster this year in a terrible offense with a terrible offensive line. I’ll be looking at him very closely, to see where he ends up next year, and how good his situation appears. If he stays with the Jets, they better beef up their O-Line something fierce.

Beyond Wentz or Bell, it’s a lot of fliers. I have Tom Brady, but he seems like he’s finished. Even if he plays in 2020, he’s already a shell of his former self, so I can’t imagine how mediocre he’ll be at age 43. He can’t throw the ball down field at all, and if they don’t put elite receivers around him, no one can get open with enough space to do anything after the catch. If they get whoever’s the equivalent of Randy Moss in 2020, maybe I’ll consider him.

Another guy I’ll be watching closely this month is Derrius Guice. He’s shown flashes of his original potential, but obviously injuries have killed his first two years. Nevertheless, if he can make it through this next month injury-free, and goes the whole offseason in good health, I could easily see myself keeping him over some of these other guys (especially if he’s declared to be far-and-away the #1 starter on their team).

My aforementioned fliers include rookies Terry McLaurin and Darius Slayton. They’re nice fallback options – along with Cooper Kupp – if things go horribly, horribly wrong with the rest of my keepers. But, at this point, I’ll be following them with an eye towards drafting them next year. I think both could be future Pro Bowlers, and fantasy dynamos.

(also, not for nothing, but if we turn this into a Dynasty League in the offseason, I feel I’m well prepared with the youth on my roster).

Finally, the afore(not)mentioned Alexander Mattison is a lottery ticket, in case Dalvin Cook gets traded or injured in pre-season. On that team, he’d be a no-brainer as a keeper if he was the Vikings’ #1 back.

We get until a week before next year’s draft to declare our keepers, so I’ll have the entire offseason to mull it over and obsess over every little thing I read. Should be a good time and not at all unhealthy!

***

I won’t be running this post next week, so I should probably explain our league’s Consolation Bracket, for those unaware.

In an attempt to keep the entire league engaged and trying to the end of the season, we set up the Consolation Bracket to determine the next year’s draft order for the top 4 picks. Winner of the Consolation Bracket gets the #1 pick, which is huge considering every team keeps 4 players. It’s been made even bigger this year when we switched from a Snake Draft to a Straight Draft, so the winner of the Consolation Bracket not only gets the #1 overall pick (after keepers), but the #1 pick in every round of our draft.

This year, the top three draft slots from the previous year all jumped into the playoffs (including the guy who drafted first overall; he ended up with the 2-seed and a first round BYE). Of course, the guy who drafted fourth overall ended up in last place; whereas the guy who drafted ninth in every round ended up with the 1-seed, so it’s clearly a crapshoot.

***

When it’s time for me to play again in Week 15, I’ll be going up against Korky Butchek. I beat him in Week 1, but lost to him in Week 10.

I’ll be riding or dying with my usual lineup. Brady @ CIN, Wentz @ WAS, Kupp @ DAL, Bell @ BAL, Elliott vs. LAR, Waller & Jacobs vs. JAX, Tucker vs. NYJ, Buffalo D @ PIT. My one change (assuming everything stays the same; i.e. Hilton is out & Haskins is still the QB of Washington, rendering McLaurin unstartable) is putting in Darius Slayton vs. MIA. He’s less valuable when the rest of the Giants’ starters are playing, but he’s still got big play ability and Miami’s defense is pretty terrible. We’ll see; a lot can happen in two weeks.

Like Danny Dimes coming down with an ankle injury and Eli Manning getting a start. If that keeps up, I’ll have to go away from Slayton, for what should be obvious reasons.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2019: The Final Nail In The Coffin

Space Pirates won’t be making the playoffs. Again, to reiterate, the top 6 teams out of 10 make the playoffs in our league, and I won’t be one of them.

It’s just too much to overcome at this point. Even in losing to Space Forcin’ last week, I would’ve had a shot if certain teams had lost. Instead, they won, and now I would not only have to win this week, but two teams would have to lose, and I’d have to outscore them by well over 100 points … it’s over. It’s just over and I have to accept that and move on.

Let’s see here, where to begin. Well, Tom Brady stunk. He came up with an elbow injury last week, and threw all of one touchdown pass against the Cowboys to put up a measly 15.20 points. Carson Wentz against the Seahawks was even worse, getting me only 9.50 points. The Jets routed the Raiders, and yet Jamison Crowder (predictably, because I finally started him) caught only 2 balls for 18 yards. I could go on and on, but what’s the point? This officially makes it 10 out of 12 weeks where I’ve underperformed expectations. Yahoo likes my team MUCH more than reality, and there’s nothing I can do to change that.

I’ve fallen (and I can’t get up) to 5-7 on the season. This week was as brutal a drubbing as you’ll see, losing 182.72 – 114.10. I’m in 8th place, I have the 8th-most points scored, it’s just an impossibly-bad season any way you slice it. I’ve fallen apart since week 3 of the season.

***

No major moves this week. I tried picking up Kyle Allen, but my waiver priority prevented me. Someone had waived JuJu Smith-Schuster over the weekend as well, but again I was thwarted. I ended up putting a claim in for Minnesota’s running back, who shall be named on this blog if he eventually becomes the starter there. As a lottery pick, if Dalvin Cook gets hurt or otherwise starts a major holdout this offseason, he’s not a bad one. At this point, my moves will be all about preventing other teams from having viable keepers for next year, so the pool for me to choose from (and eventually draft from) will be larger.

I dropped Crowder on his fucking worthless ass, because I should’ve stuck to my original thought all along: no more than one Jets player in my lineup at a time.

***

I’m going up against The Lance Petemans, the last place team in the league. He’s the guy I traded Tom Brady away from, so you don’t even have to wonder if he’s going to beat me with my own players, because it’s happening. Nick Foles is hosting the hapless Tampa Bay defense, and Tyreek Hill figures to return from his injury after resting it during the BYE week.

I, on the other hand, have no reason for optimism. Thankfully, when I’m eliminated from the playoffs, I’ll get Week 14 off, so as to not have to think about fantasy football whatsoever. It’s going to be a dream-come-buttfucking-true.

Is This Where The Seahawks Start To Take Their Season To The Next Level?

We talk about it all the time: the Seahawks are excellent closers. They tend to play pretty well at the end of games, and they tend to play pretty well at the end of seasons.

In futzing around with Pro Football Reference, I discovered that the Seahawks aren’t quite as elite as we think they are in one-score (8 points or less) regular season games in the Russell Wilson era, with a record of 36-32-1. But, nevertheless, Wilson has built his career on end-of-game comebacks, so the reputation is born.

That record is actually more in line with conventional thinking: over the long haul, most teams are usually around .500 in close games (be it the one-score variety in football, one-run games in baseball, or basketball games that finish within 3 points).

This year, the Seahawks are 8-2 overall, and 7-1 in one-score games. So, the fear would be (as they talked about on the Brock & Salk podcast this past week) the dreaded Regression To The Mean. If you expect most teams to be right around .500 in these situations, then you might expect a rash of one-score losses to be coming in these final six games. But, as everyone always talks about, it’s such a small sample size in football of 16 regular season games; therefore anomalies abound. So, if this year the Seahawks are an anomaly, maybe that regression hits in 2020; but of course, there’s so much turnover in the NFL that it’s effectively an entirely new team from year to year, so I don’t really know how much regression will play into this at all.

TL;DR: it’s all a fucking crapshoot.

The more interesting thing is how the Seahawks finish their seasons in the Russell Wilson Era. From Week 11 through Week 17, the Seahawks are 34-13 in this span, which is absolutely phenomenal. I don’t know where that ranks among all the teams in the NFL, but that’s a .723 winning percentage (whereas overall, the Seahawks have a regular season winning percentage of only .674 since Russell Wilson joined the team). So, there’s just no arguing that overall, the Seahawks are a better team closing out the year than they are to start.

Now, of course, 2016 and 2017 weren’t great, but pobody’s nerfect.

Anyway, here we are, closing out the month of November. Coming off of our BYE week. Hitting the road, going to Philly, who’s coming off of a difficult loss to the Patriots last Sunday. Shit’s getting real for everyone. The Seahawks are one game behind the 49ers for the division lead, and we’re tied with Green Bay and New Orleans in the conference standings. How we wrap up these final six games will determine if we’re in the playoffs or not, as well as if we’re division winners, or even in the Top 2 in the NFC. Our very championship hopes and dreams hinge on these final regular season games.

If you thought our game against the 49ers was intense, just you wait.

Which brings me back to the other point made on Brock & Salk: the infamous point differential. The Seahawks are only +21, which is more in line with a 5-4-1 record than it is the one we have now. As we’ve seen with recent Mariners seasons (when they were improbably contending for a wild card spot, not 2019), the chickens come home to roost over the long haul if you’ve got a great record and a mediocre point/run differential. But, again, as I just got done talking about: small NFL sample sizes.

Also: the Seahawks have Russell Wilson and you guys don’t.

If this is the time of year where the Russell Wilson-led Seahawks traditionally start picking things up (which we’ve established that it is), and these 2019 Seahawks continue that trend (which we all pray that they do), then we should start seeing some more lopsided scores in our favor, to push that point-differential out to a more respectable number. So we’re NOT having to rely on all of these close, one-score games!

Unfortunately, the opponents don’t get any easier, and that starts with Philly this weekend. Sure, the Eagles are only 5-5, and their only path to the playoffs appears to be a divisional battle with the 6-4 Cowboys, but they’re a quality, veteran team with good coaching that’s had recent success in the playoffs and Super Bowl; this is a team that also generally finishes their seasons better than they start them.

Kind of an unstoppable force against an immovable object situation.

The 2019 Eagles thus far have been – to my fantasy dismay – pretty underwhelming on defense, particularly in the secondary where they’ve been shredded by most teams they’ve played. Until last week (when I conveniently traded for Tom Brady in fantasy, of course), when they held the Pats in check and generally made life miserable for them on offense. Of course, the Eagles have also been pretty underwhelming on offense this year (last week was no exception), but then again so have the Seahawks on defense.

Until that 49ers game. So, which Seahawks defense will we be getting the rest of the way? Will it be from the first nine weeks? Or, the vastly improved unit we saw in Santa Clara a couple Mondays ago?

If that’s the defense we get, I think this Sunday’s game against the Eagles will be no contest. But, if our defense reverts back to sucking, and the Eagles’ defense keeps up what they started last week (which was, for them, coming off of a BYE, where presumably key guys had since gotten healthy on that side of the ball), then this game is going to be a lot closer – and a lot more difficult to win – than we’ve come to expect.

This game is no sure thing, in other words. Also: what else is new?

The Eagles started out this week as 2.5-point favorites. That line has since moved to 1.5; nevertheless it feels wrong for them to be favored. I don’t think Vegas quite trusts that the Seahawks’ defense has turned a corner, and I don’t blame ’em.

The Eagles are hurting at receiver. Honestly, believe what their fans say when they rant on Twitter about how they let Josh Gordon fall to us, because they definitely could use him (and definitely could afford him). Nevertheless, they’re quite strong at tight end, and that’s where the Seahawks’ defense tends to be weakest. I would expect big games out of both Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. They’re also banged up at running back, but Miles Sanders has the potential to be special. Carson Wentz isn’t my favorite fantasy quarterback at the moment, but he’s as capable as anyone (you have to at least put him in the top half of all QBs from a talent perspective, which is plenty good enough to beat this defense, even when we’re rolling).

I nevertheless would expect the Seahawks to win this game. I picked them in my weekly pick ’em contest, and if I were in a sportsbook I’d put a decent amount of money on us to win on the moneyline. I never know what to expect out of a Seahawks game, but this should prove to be a solid indicator of things to come. If the Seahawks win in a rout, then the End Of Season Roll should be in full effect. We should see a drastic improvement in our point-differential, and could make a serious charge at one of the top two seeds in the NFC. If the Seahawks win a tight one, then maybe that’s just who this team is, and they’ll have to continue to pull these nailbiters out of their collective asses to get us to where we want them to be by season’s end.

And, if the Seahawks lose … all bets are off. I don’t want to even think about what might happen if that’s the case. Like a rock n’ roller with no backup plan: it’s either the bigtime, or dead in a ditch; there is no Plan B (which, in this case, would be sneaking into the playoffs as a wildcard and losing in the first round in Dallas like last year).

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 …