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

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

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

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

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

Splinter League Round-Up!

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

Third League Round-Up!

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

Potential 2022 Dynasty Keepers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Toilet Trophy Championship

Sloane N Steady tried to do me a solid by not updating his team until after the Thursday night game started, accidentally leaving Dalvin Cook (and his 35.2 points) on his bench, but that only spared me the indignity of him dropping 200+ points on me. As it was, he had no trouble putting up 171.20 points, which easily eclipsed my 134.36.

Taylor Heinicke stunk. Ezekiel Elliott clearly isn’t healthy, as Tony Pollard was out and he STILL didn’t even get the most carries on his team (ceding a good chunk of snaps to Corey Clement of all people). And, of course, D.K. Metcalf was outscored by my kicker. In the end, I got bulldozed by the combo of Aaron Rodgers and the Chiefs’ defense scoring a combined 74.05 points.

The loss dropped me to 3-11 on the season, one game (and a shitload of points) behind Korky Butchek. I’m officially in last place for the season, and that means I’ve won myself the league’s Toilet Trophy. I’ll make sure to take a picture for posterity.

All isn’t totally lost, as we still have the Consolation Bracket yet to go. But, I can’t say I have the highest of hopes. I’m a combined 1-4 against my Consolation Bracket foes, and that lone win was pretty flukey. Worst-case scenario is I’ve spent all of 2021 playing for 2022, and I end up with the fourth overall draft pick (which is pretty meaningless in the grand scheme of things).

Our league has a 6-team playoff system, with the remaining four teams in the aforementioned Consolation Bracket. The way it’s set up, the playoffs start today, with the top two teams on BYE. The way Yahoo has set it up means that the entire Consolation Bracket is also on BYE, which nobody is happy with. I think, as losers, we’re all ready for this season to be over with as quickly as possible. But, we have to wait until the bitter end.

Which is a bummer, because I have the Rams’ defense going up against the Seahawks this week. I feel like that’s a 20+ game just waiting to happen.

Splinter League Round-Up!

At least there’s good ol’ BUCK FUTTER! We soundly defeated Look At Me Run by the end of Sunday, when I still had two more players left to go to pour it on! Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, I guess we’ll see), Beer Thirty also won to stay a game ahead of me for first place. The good news is, I’ve locked up a spot in the playoffs, making next week’s game meaningless. Of course, I’m going up against the last place team who has given up on life, so that should be an easy win regardless. All that’s left to be determined is playoff seeding. This league is extremely top-heavy and extremely bottom-heavy. The top six teams all have 8 or more wins (with the three teams who’ve clinched a playoff spot all having 10+ wins); the bottom four teams all have 10 or more losses. So, there really aren’t any easy options for me heading into the playoffs. I’m going to have to beat two REALLY good teams if I’m to win this championship!

Third League Round-Up!

I joined an established third league this year that I haven’t talked much about, because it’s standard scoring, with 0.5-point PPR. They’ve got other interesting wrinkles to the rules that make it fun, but it’s obviously not what I’m familiar with. My goal going in was to avoid last place (which I’ve managed to accomplish with relative ease). Last place has a penalty where you have to buy drinks for everyone at the end of the season. Then, I started winning so many games, the playoffs started looking like a real possibility! As of the last two weeks, I’ve held down the second place spot, after back-to-back clutch wins against my potential playoff foes. But, this most recent week I got my doors blown off. Thankfully, everyone right below me also lost, so I’ve held my ground. But, I have the third-fewest total points in the league, and I’ve got five teams below me all within a single game (I’m 8-6, they’re all 7-7); I’m going up against the top team in the league (in both record and total points), and there’s a scenario where I still manage to hold my spot in second place, or a scenario where I fall all the way to sixth or seventh. It’s a nightmare! Win and I’m in; lose and I need A LOT of help!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: My Best Week Of The Year, Followed By Probably My Worst

I have no explanation for what just happened last week. Snoopy & Prickly Pete came from out of nowhere to blow out Space Forcin’ 200.45 to 127.00. I’ll be honest, I can’t remember the last time I had a 200-point game in this league. I can’t remember ANYONE who’s gotten a 200-point game in this league who had a combined 30.15 points between their two starting quarterbacks. But, that’s what I got out of Mac Jones and Taylor Heinicke.

Heinicke is an interesting test case for me and my luck in this league when it comes to quarterbacks. In his three starts before I picked him up, he averaged 28.57 points; in his two starts since, he’s combined for 19.50 points. Yeah.

But, the rest of my team absolutely DOMINATED! CeeDee Lamb led the way with 36.1, the Rams’ defense got me 29, Noah Fant got me 24.7, Khalil Herbert, Diontae Johnson, and Zeke Elliott all got me in the high teens. D.K. Metcalf was my lowest scorer and he still managed 11.8.

The victory improbably – and temporarily – improved me to 2-4 and in 9th place in the league. I say temporarily, because this week is bound to be a shitshow. There are lots of great teams on BYE this week, and I am among the many fantasy owners hurting to fill out a roster.

This week, I face COVID Bubble Boys, the first place team. It’s going to be a massacre; here is my lineup:

  • Jameis Winston (QB) @ SEA
  • Justin Fields (QB) @ TB
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. NO
  • A.J. Brown (WR) vs. KC
  • Khalil Herbert (RB) @ TB
  • Trey Sermon (RB) vs. IND
  • Noah Fant (TE) @ CLE
  • TBD (FLEX)
  • Justin Tucker (K) vs. CIN
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) vs. DET

Lamb & Zeke are on BYE for Dallas, and Johnson is on BYE for Pittsburgh. I’m starting Jameis because he’s going up against the Seahawks and that’s what you do when you have guys going up against that defense. I’m starting Fields mostly based on a hunch. The Bucs’ secondary is depleted and their defense as a whole is pretty underwhelming. That means, of course, I’m benching Mac Jones against the Jets, but he struggled mightily the last time they played the Jets; I’m also benching Heinicke because he’s annoying the shit out of me.

Both of my running backs are in terrible matchups, and only one figures to get the start for his team. That’s putting me at a severe disadvantage; I’m sure there are more viable options on waivers. Furthermore, I have no one to go in my FLEX spot. And I don’t think I’m going to do anything about it.

Look, it’s a dynasty league. I have a terrible team that has no chance this season, and I am dedicating my year to going all-in for the future. That means not losing potential keeper candidates in trying to win one meaningless game in Week 7. The bottom line is: I have a quarterback problem. I’m HOPING that Justin Fields and Mac Jones will become worthy starters going forward, but so far they’ve yet to really bust out or even give me consistent average production from week to week. Jameis Winston is probably my best trade chip at this point, so I’m not just going to drop him for nothing. Heinicke has been disappointing since joining my team, but at least he still fits the criteria of being a young guy who has the potential to bust out. And, as I’ve stated all along, I’m holding onto Jordan Love through the season, in the event that I opt to go with him (assuming he’ll be the starter in Green Bay next year).

I also have a lowkey running back problem. Zeke Elliott is great, but has a lot of mileage on his legs. CEH has largely been disappointing. Below them, I have two young guys who are backups, but both look like potential keeper candidates (especially Sermon) who I don’t want to lose.

These are the weeks where there’s a lot of roster turnover on the waiver wire, as contending teams look to fill out their rosters. I’m not in a position to win this year, so I’ll be looking to bolster my future prospects. That’s all there is to it. If you’re lucky enough to play against me in these types of weeks, you’re more likely to see a victory. If you’re the rest of the league, you’re bound to be upset. I don’t know what to tell you; take care of your own business and stop worrying about mine.

COVID Bubble Boys has that luxury this week, and here’s who he’s running out there:

  • Lamar Jackson (QB) vs. CIN
  • Trey Lance (QB) vs. IND
  • Terry McLaurin (WR) @ GB
  • Ja’Marr Chase (WR) @ BAL
  • Jonathan Taylor (RB) @ SF
  • TBD (RB)
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ LAR
  • Jaylen Waddle (WR) vs. ATL
  • TBD (K)
  • New England (DEF) vs. NYJ

As you can see, he’s not taking me seriously. Frankly, I don’t blame him. Lance would be a good option, if it looked at all like he was going to start this week. But, Jimmy G is back (and some other fantasy owner snapped him up recently), so Lance figures to be a zero, or close to it.

COVID Bubble Boys has a lot of Cowboys on his team, including Amari Cooper, Dak Prescott, Tony Pollard, their kicker, and their defense. That’s a lot of BYE real estate, and he’s not looking to drop any of them (at least, at press time). Most likely, he won’t need to do a thing to beat me, but it wouldn’t shock me if we see some moves made in the wee hours of Sunday morning, when no one is paying attention.

I should say that I made him an offer this past week, Jameis for Lance, with a swap of picks in next year’s draft. Considering he’s got Lamar and Dak, and considering he can only keep two quarterbacks heading into next year, there isn’t a ton of incentive for him to hang onto Lance. Jameis would be a much better fantasy backup for him, considering he’s very much in the running for a championship this season. But, who am I to tell someone how to run his team?

I’m expecting to lose regardless, but it will be virtually guaranteed if-and-when he makes any roster changes ahead of Sunday morning. I’m sure my team will score well under 100 points, and more than a few people in the league will be mad for a while. What can you do?

Splinter League Round-Up!

I motherfucking lost with the second-most motherfucking points to the motherfucker with the most points, because this is my motherfucking luck in this motherfucking league! I’m 3-3 now, I’ve scored the second-most points in the league after six games, but I also have the second-most points scored against me. It’s asinine! What in the motherfuck do I have to do to start piling up some motherfucking wins?! I’m good enough to win it all, but I’m not going to do that if I bad-luck my way into the Consolation Bracket! GOD DAMN I hate motherfucking fantasy football!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2019: We’re Back!

If you want to read back through my 2018 season, click HERE. Follow the links at the top to go back all the way.

This weekly blog post was such a rousing success (and by “success” I mean literally zero people read it) that I absolutely had to run it back. How will it differ? Well, I’m throwing this up on the fly, so we’ll see!

I was in the middle of my great 5-week, cross-country road trip when we drafted on Friday, August 30th, so I was in a motel in Boise when the shit went down. There weren’t too many significant rule changes in our offseason fantasy football meeting, but a major one was an increase from 3 to 4 keepers. As you can see from the link above, I had a pretty good pile of players to choose from. Without belaboring things, here are the four I went with:

  • QB – Carson Wentz
  • RB – Ezekiel Elliott
  • RB – Le’Veon Bell
  • WR – Tyreek Hill

The final spot came down to Hill or Adam Thielen; when it looked like Hill might miss some games to a suspension, I was rolling with Thielen (when Hill was let off the hook, I obviously changed my mind). The fact of the matter is, Hill has the much higher upside. Of course, this was before he got injured in Week 1, causing him to miss a few weeks of the season, so that’s kind of a bummer. Fortunately, it’s only a clavicle injury, so he should be back and ready to rip once the bone heals.

Due to my fourth place finish in the playoffs last year, I ended up drafting 8th overall. It’s a straight draft – as opposed to a snake draft – which means I was picking 8th in every round. With everyone going with four keepers, that’s 40 players off the board before we do anything, so it should be pretty clear the best of the best were gone by the time I selected. My plan going in was to grab Kyler Murray, but he went second overall (after Thielen was taken first), so I had to pivot earlier than I expected. I’ll give you the total rundown, then explain my rationale afterward:

  1. QB – Ben Roethlisberger
  2. RB – Josh Jacobs
  3. WR – T.Y. Hilton
  4. WR – Cooper Kupp
  5. RB – Derrius Guice
  6. WR – Christian Kirk
  7. TE – Vance McDonald
  8. RB – Tony Pollard
  9. K – Justin Tucker
  10. QB – Daniel Jones
  11. DEF – Buffalo

So, if you know anything about our league, you know quarterbacks are vital. It’s a 2-QB league, with TDs worth 6 points (and INT’s worth -4 points), so if you’re not picking quarterbacks high (or keeping them from last year), then you’re not doing it right. I’d already missed out on Lamar Jackson, and lucked out that someone took Jameis Winston, so it came down to Roethlisberger or Rivers for me (though, I may regret letting Dak fall to a rival in the next round).

I had been eyeballing Jacobs for quite some time, and felt fortunate he was still there the next time I picked. There was no debate whatsoever, as plenty of those second-tier RBs were flying off the board. Jacobs should be good right out of the gate, plus he could be a possible keeper in the years to come, should one of my other guys age out.

It got dicey with my third pick, because I’d been salivating over Kenny Golladay all offseason, after it had been announced he was going to be their #1 receiver. The Lions aren’t great, but they like to throw the ball a lot, and Golladay has been looking like a breakout candidate for some time now. He went one pick ahead of me, which left me scrambling. I needed someone to pair with Tyreek Hill, and I had too many running backs already to start filling up my bench with more. In a panic, it came down to Hilton, Tyler Lockett, and Tyler Boyd. I REALLY didn’t want any of these guys, for a variety of reasons. In general, I don’t like having Seahawks on my fantasy roster as a rule; I especially don’t like having Wilson or any receivers, because they can be wildly inconsistent from a fantasy perspective. Boyd is someone I had last year, who was very underwhelming when A.J. Green was out of the lineup and he was thrust into the #1 receiver role (which he would be in the first month or so of the season, with Green’s foot/ankle injury). Hilton is another inconsistent receiver who can be really awesome or get you less than 10 points, with seemingly little in-between. But, the fact of the matter is, I wanted a true #1 receiver to pair with Hill, and even with Luck retired I still like that Indy team. Jacoby Brissett isn’t totally inept, so I rolled the dice with Hilton.

The funny thing is, by the time it got around to my next pick, both Lockett and Boyd were still available! They went with the subsequent two picks after mine. I went with Kupp because I’d heard all the great things about his pre-season and his improved health, plus I just REALLY wanted a piece of that Rams offense, and he was the last viable candidate left on the board. In an ideal world, I’d have Robert Woods back, but he was snagged a few picks before I took Hilton. Kupp isn’t a world-beater, but he’s always good for a chunk of targets, and you never know if/when he’ll have a breakout game/season.

With my next pick, I thought I had something special. I thought I had a potential League Winner. Guice was Washington’s main dude in the draft in 2018 before he got injured and lost his rookie season. With him back in the fold, it felt like only a matter of time before he took over sole possession of the RB1 role on that team. Even if I had to hold onto him for a few weeks before he ascended, it would’ve been worth it.

I took Kirk next because Will Fuller V went a few picks earlier, and I really wanted a piece of that Arizona offense. I took McDonald because there weren’t many good tight ends left, and with AB gone in Pittsburgh, it seemed only natural that he’d see an uptick in targets. I took Pollard as an Elliott handcuff, as he still wasn’t extended by the time we drafted. I took Tucker because kickers are weirdly important in fantasy (even though they should be totally outlawed, and I’ll never stop fighting for this cause, because the variation is too random from week to week) and I wanted a guy I didn’t have to worry about. I took Daniel Jones because I still hadn’t drafted a backup QB. Roethlisberger’s BYE isn’t until week 7, and my hope was that he’d take over the starting job by then (and, if he pans out, he could be a possible keeper candidate for 2020). I took Buffalo because they were on the board, and I’d heard some good things (if nothing else, they were playing the Jets in Week 1, so that felt like a safe way to grab some cheap points).

Before Week 1 started, once everyone on waivers reverted back to free agents, I grabbed A.J. Green and stashed him in my IR slot. If he comes back in October, that could be a real boon. I wouldn’t expect him to play the rest of the season upon his return, but if he can get me a few big weeks, that should be something.

My team’s name is Space Pirates! There’s another team in the league referencing the good ol’ Space Force, so I’m going the other direction with it. We like to have fun.

Anyway, in Week 1, Space Pirates! squared off against Korky Butchek (the third place finisher in the playoffs last year). He’s the guy who knocked me from the 7th overall draft pick to the 8th; he’s also the guy who took Golladay from me. So, the revenge factor was pretty high on my part.

I got absolutely great games out of Wentz, Hilton (of all people), Bell, and Jacobs (all ranging from 23-34 points each). Buffalo got me a solid 17 points, Tucker got me 11, and everyone else did just enough (Roethlisberger, of course, stunk up the joint, and Hill’s injury knocked him out pretty early which also hurt ME). Korky Butchek had great games from DeAndre Hopkins and Evan Engram, but it wasn’t nearly enough. I took care of business to the tune of a 172.25-152.70 victory. That was good for just the fourth-highest total of the first week, putting me in fourth place.

I didn’t put in any waiver claims with my #3 waiver priority, so I held off until the wee hours of Wednesday morning before making my pickups. As a result, I now have the #1 waiver priority, which I fully intend to hoard until someone amazing comes along.

First thing’s first, I grabbed T.J. Hockenson from the Lions. He had a tremendous first week, and with people comparing him to Gronk, that felt like a no-brainer (I dropped Tony Pollard, because with so few bench spots, keeping handcuffs is a luxury few can afford). I also got Darren Waller, as with AB gone from the Raiders, he’s set to see a huge number of targets in the passing game (I dropped McDonald, because I just don’t trust Roethlisberger or the Steelers to ever make their TE a focal point in the passing game). Finally, with Guice set to hit the actual IR for the next 8 weeks, I set him loose, picking up a proper backup QB in Gardner Minshew. Consider me a believer in the moustache! Again, if he pans out (and he was terrific in replacing an injured Nick Foles last week), that’s another possible keeper for next year.

See, with a league like this, you have to always be thinking about the next year. Selling out to “win now” just isn’t tenable, because you’ll set yourself back YEARS in the process, all for what’s essentially a lottery ticket. I feel like I have a pretty good mix of both veterans who are great now, with younger guys who could develop into stars.

The obvious downside to my season so far is that the injury bug is crippling my depth. Hill is out 4-6 weeks, which is actually less time than Green is expected to be out, so I moved Hill to the IR spot. And, with Guice gone, my RB depth takes a big hit (for a position that gets injured as much as this one, you just can’t have enough quality RBs on your roster). I opted to go Waller over Hockenson for my TE spot, because I need to see at least another week out of the Lions’ rookie before I totally fall for the Gronk hype. I’ve got Hilton and Kupp as my starting receivers, as Kupp is more dependable than Kirk (plus the Cards are playing the tough Ravens defense). Everything else is the same, with my 3-headed RB hydra of Elliott, Bell, and Jacobs all locked in (two RB slots and my FLEX).

This week, I’m going up against Sloane N Steady, who is the only guy in our league with worse luck right now, in that he has no Luck at all (HI-YO!). He had the unfortunate occurrence of locking in Andrew Luck as one of his four keepers just a day before he announced his retirement. With Luck & Aaron Rodgers as two of his keepers the last few years, he was probably the most settled of anyone in the league at his QB spots. But, not only did he get Thielen with the first overall draft pick, in the second round he got Rivers as his QB2, which is an awesome find.

Sloane N Steady’s team looks quite formidable. Rodgers and Rivers. Thielen and Amari Cooper. Dalvin Cook and Nick Chubb. Delanie Walker (TE) and James White (FLEX). Dallas’ kicker and New England’s defense. With bench spots devoted to Mike Williams, Jordan Howard, Donte Moncrief, and Derek Carr. At the time of this posting, I’m favored by less than 3 points; I have to imagine it’s going to be as close as advertised.

When the dust of Sunday settles, it’ll be Chubb vs. Bell on Monday Night Football to likely decide who wins or loses. Space Pirates! had a mighty scare when Bell went in for an MRI this week, but it looks like he’s playing. Regardless, if his touches are limited as a result of whatever this shoulder thing is, I think I’m toast. The rest of Sloane N Steady’s team plays in the 10am Sunday window, so I’ll certainly be playing from behind for the entire day.