The Seahawks Re-Signed Noah Fant & Leonard Williams

The first day of free agency is so much fun! It’s almost worth it to take the day off of work and spend the whole time scrolling through Formerly Twitter to see all the moves. Just a nonstop barrage of contracts being announced during the Legal Tampering Period or whatever you want to call it.

It’s also fun to imagine fans going nuts, as free agents start flying off the board, because under John Schneider, the Seahawks always tend to hang back. This isn’t the team that’s going to “win” free agency. Oftentimes, they’re barely even going to participate!

Thankfully, I no longer freak out about this stuff. Instead, I’ve started marvelling at the over-pays we see (which seems to be going to the 100th power this year, with the influx of salary cap money every team has available to spend).

What’s interesting about this offseason is the fact that the Seahawks both have a good chunk of change with which to restock the roster (thanks to favorable cuts and restructures), but we also have the smallest roster of players in the league (meaning we have the most holes to fill to get to 90 players by the time Training Camp rolls around). We have something in the ballpark of $40-$50 million, minus whatever we need to sign our draft picks and hold in reserve for injury replacements.

In an upcoming post, I’ll write about all the players who are going elsewhere. Not for nothing, but it’s beginning to feel like the Seahawks are on the hunt for compensatory draft picks for 2025. Considering we’ve been shut out of those valuable freebies dating back to 2020, I would say it’s long overdue! Considering the reason we’ve been shut out is because – by and large – we’re signing worthless free agents, makes it all the more galling.

One way to ensure you get some comp picks is by re-signing your own free agents. Of course, coming off of back-to-back 9-8 seasons, you don’t want to bring back TOO MANY of your own guys, lest history repeats itself. But, all things being equal, you definitely would rather bring back your best guys, rather than try to outspend other teams for players who are going to take away from your comp pick ledger.

The Seahawks were down to approximately zero tight ends heading into yesterday. Spoiler alert: prior to Noah Fant re-signing, the other two tight end mainstays latched onto new teams. I’m all too happy to go dumpster diving for tight ends, or finding some in the draft. But, it’s nice to have at least ONE trusted veteran in the fold, if for no other reason than to help the new class understand what it takes to play the position at this level. Tight end should only be considered a premium position if you have one of the very best. Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, Sam LaPorta. Otherwise, I think it’s smarter to save (especially if the wide receiver room is already taking up as much of our cap space as it is).

Did the Seahawks accomplish that feat? 2 years, $21 million. It’s not nothing! But, again, I do think there’s value in having a guy like Fant in the fold. He may not be the long-term answer at the position, but he’s still right there in the prime of his career, and should be a nice little bridge to whatever the position morphs into in the years to come.

I like Fant. He obviously hasn’t been as productive in Seattle as he was in Denver, but I attribute that to the bevy of wide receivers and running backs commanding their share of touches. On top of which, I would argue last year all three of our tight ends were pretty close to equal in ability, and none of them really got hurt. When Fant got targets, though, he made the most out of them. He had sneaky big-play ability, which shows up in his 12.9 yards per reception, which was the most he racked up since his rookie year in 2019.

It’s also nice to know the Russell Wilson trade is still paying dividends. There’s a reason we wanted Fant as part of that deal. He’s a capable tight end with good hands who can stay healthy. It’s nice to have that kind of security blanket, even if Geno Smith doesn’t utilize him as much as he should. Or, hell, who knows? Maybe he utilizes him the appropriate amount!

The big news of the day was keeping Leonard Williams on a 3-year, $64.5 million deal. It’s pretty massive, nearly $49 million is guaranteed to the soon-to-be 30 year old. I figure that means he’s locked in for the first two years.

This was beyond necessary. For starters, we gave up our second round pick this year to get him during last season. Had he walked – while it indeed would’ve amounted to a pretty decent compensatory pick – we would’ve given up a second rounder for pretty much nothing.

I’ll never understand how this defense flopped so spectacularly after he got here. Leonard Williams was far and away our best defensive lineman – and maybe our best overall defensive asset – and yet we got worse? Maybe it’s just bad luck. Maybe it was the schedule getting tougher. But, if that isn’t reason-enough to clean house with the coaching staff, I don’t know what is.

He had 4.0 sacks in 10 games with the Seahawks. He had 9 tackles for loss, which was second on the team. He’s just an absolute monster along the interior, and quite frankly, I don’t know if we’ve ever had anyone quite like him. We certainly haven’t had someone with his set of skills in the John Schneider Era. And, while it’s a lot of money, if he can stay healthy, he should be worth every penny, especially with Mike Macdonald revamping this side of the ball.

There seems to be a lot of changes happening, but it’s comforting to know something remains the same. All along, John Schneider has maintained that Leonard Williams was our top priority. You know when the Seahawks say that, they tend to get their guys. And, considering some of the other contracts I’ve seen thrown around this week by other teams, the values of these two deals don’t feel out of bounds in the slightest.

I can’t wait to see where we go from here!

The Seahawks Fired/Promoted Pete Carroll

This is always kind of a tricky time of year for a local sports blogger. Football’s over, baseball spring training might start in February, but the regular season doesn’t get going in earnest until the end of March. Husky basketball is usually a joke, I don’t know enough about (or watch enough of) the Kraken to be anything close to relevant writing about it. So, other than the occasional hot stove flurry, I’m usually struggling to find anything to write about on a daily basis.

But, lately, I’ve got TOO MUCH to write about! I’ve got blog posts banked for days! To the point where they’re in danger of needing significant re-writes if I actually get around to posting them!

Seahawks Death Week is an annual tradition on Seattle Sports Hell, where I devote a week’s worth of posts – almost always immediately following the end of our season, whenever the last game concludes – to the season that was and what to look forward to in the year ahead. It’s a good way to knock out a week’s worth of posts without really trying, saving some back-burner items for later. But, with the Huskies playing in the national championship, and with the Mariners really taking their sweet-ass time in adding to this roster, I’ve suddenly found myself with a back-log of posts, meaning Seahawks Death Week will start a week late.

But, I can’t let this news go too stale before saying something. Pete Carroll being relieved of his duties / being retained to be a consultant or whatever, is too big to ignore.

It is so bizarre – and pretty disingenuous – to see all these eulogies all over Twitter, all over the blog-o-sphere, and all over the talking heads on ESPN and the like. I get it, as Seahawks fans, we love Pete Carroll for what he did for this organization. He led us to our first Super Bowl championship. He was the greatest head coach we’ve ever had. We had an unparalleled run of success under Pete that, honestly, might not ever be matched or surpassed. We don’t know! Maybe that’s it; maybe 2012-2015 was as good as it will ever be, and we’ll never win another championship ever again. There are teams who have played countless decades without winning it all. It’s like winning the lottery, only harder, because so much more has to go right. No one ever said your teams have to win a certain number of championships in your lifetime.

Anyway, getting away from being too morbid, Pete Carroll was wonderful. I never thought he’d work out here, and he absolutely did. I was 100% wrong in my initial assessment of his original hiring.

But, it was also time for him to step aside. The franchise got SUPER stagnant. As I will outline in a future blog post, the defense has been among the worst in the last five years. He became too loyal to his guys, whether it’s the veteran players who’ve lost a step, or the incompetent coordinators who never deserved to be calling plays or devising schemes in the first place.

I’ll be the first to admit, I never thought he’d be let go at this time. I always figured nothing would happen until the team was eventually sold (likely in the next year or two). I just assumed Jody Allen would keep the status quo until the new owners took over, and let them make whatever decisions they wanted to make on the future of the Seahawks. I had HOPES that maybe we’d clean house a little bit and find new coordinators, but I’m guessing – given the way this all shook out – that Pete was reluctant to do even that.

For me, it was never so much about getting Pete out of there, it was 1) replacing Clint Hurtt with someone who knows what the fuck he’s doing, and 2) maybe seeing if we can find someone to replace Shane Waldron, who knows how to scheme a decent running game. Then, from there, I wanted to see us go after a quarterback in the draft, cut the old, dead weight from the roster, and really start rebuilding this thing from the ground up, with the young players we’ve accumulated over the last two drafts. Pete just as easily could’ve been there for all of that. But, if all of that wasn’t going to happen with Pete still here, then yes, he needed to go too.

I get it. I’m sure it’s devastating to fire people. Even though this is the line of work they all chose, I’m sure it never gets easy to mess with their livelihoods. But, if it gets so hard that you can’t do what needs to be done, then it’s probably time to step aside and find someone who can.

I’m not here to simply dance on his grave, but I’m also not here to give you the same reverential claptrap. I’m just telling it like it is. Pete was great, and also it’s time to move on.

It’s kind of funny that Alabama announced Nick Saban’s retirement shortly after Carroll’s goodbye press conference. It’s funnier still that this morning, Bill Belichick and the Patriots have parted ways. What’s next? Brett Favre’s going to come out of retirement again? Aaron Rodgers is going to purchase the Jets? Travis Kelce is going to have a three-way with Taylor Swift and Jake From State Farm on the 50 yard line during their game this weekend?

It’s also funny to see how many people are saying that it’s all but assured that Pete Carroll is going to make the NFL Hall of Fame. Are we sure? He’s currently 14th in wins in the NFL with 170. There are currently seven ahead of him who are NOT in the HOF (as coaches). Granted, Belichick and Andy Reid are two of those guys; but of the remaining five, four of them have been eligible for quite some time, and repeatedly overlooked. Granted, none of those four ever won a Super Bowl, but is that all it takes? One Super Bowl title gets you in, if you’ve coached long enough? Because Tom Coughlin and Mike Shanahan both have multiple titles (and the same number of wins), but they’ve yet to get in. Mike Holmgren has a title and another appearance, and only 9 fewer wins, and he doesn’t seem to be close to making it. It’s HARD getting in the HOF as a head coach! It’s hard getting there period, but I don’t know if Pete is the slam dunk people are saying he is.

I’m sure a lot of that sentiment is just that. It’s emotional people, in the moment, trying to pay tribute. And it’s surely an interesting debate to have. Personally, I’m of the opinion that he should be in. But, I also think all the guys ahead of him in wins total should be in, even the ones who never won it all. I like a big Hall of Fame. The more the merrier! Let our favorite people be honored for the greatness they showed.

I can’t sit here and tell you this is a sad day. I feel bad for him, I guess. But, I also feel like he had plenty of opportunities to get this thing turned around, and for whatever reason, the Seahawks just never recovered after the L.O.B. era ended. That falls on him. And it didn’t look like it was going to get fixed anytime soon.

There’s now a couple ways this can go. Thankfully, we have John Schneider at the helm, so there’s some continuity there. That effectively eliminates the first way this can go: a total tear-down and rebuild. I don’t THINK that’s going to be what happens, because I have to believe a lot of these guys on the roster are still Schneider’s guys. And that’s a good thing; I don’t feel like we NEED a total tear-down and rebuild.

There’s a core here we can still build around, but that leads us to our other way this can go: cutting out the vets and really taking this youth movement to its logical conclusion.

When the Seahawks were at their best, they were the youngest team in football. That needs to happen again. I know we’re all jealous of the 49ers and some of these top-notch AFC teams, to varying degrees (Chiefs, Dolphins, Ravens, Bengals, Bills), but you know who I’m jealous of the most? The Packers. They’re the youngest team in football, they’ve just found out that Jordan Love is going to be The Guy for the foreseeable future, and they’re back in the playoffs yet again, poised to go on another run of excellence.

Give me that. Ideally, without the retread head coach of a Dan Quinn or even Mike Vrabel.

Of course, the funniest part of all of this is Russell Wilson’s online reaction. Please. With what we know about what went down as he broke up with the Seahawks, it’s about as phony as it gets. Perfectly on brand, but also extremely obnoxious.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: Blitzed In The Finals

My Splinter League team – The Annexation Of Puerto Rico – lost to 50 Shades Of Gritty in the finals, 188.56 to 168.37. She had CeeDee Lamb and D.J. Moore going, which is really all you need to know. My team was good, but it was outclassed in this one. Really, she deserved to win; her team showed up and blew the doors off in both playoff games.

Last week was also disappointing because in my third league, I lost in the Consolation Bracket Finals, which may or may not have determined who gets the #1 pick next year. It was another instance where my team was good, but as fate would have it, I was going up against the team who’d have the very best game. 164.14 for Me So Zorny to 142.98 for RUM HAM! Considering my team averaged 95 points per game, I’d say I really did a number on those Consolation Bracket playoffs, but alas, it wasn’t enough.

So, that’s another fantasy season in the books. Regarding my main Dynasty League team, Sloane N Steady is our champion. He beat me in the first round of the playoffs – thanks to my stupid tinkering – so the two dudes who lost to him have me to thank. In following along, if I had NOT tinkered and actually won my first playoff game, I still would have lost the following week. But, there’s a very good chance I would’ve ended up in 3rd place overall, which would’ve been my best finish in this league in the Trophy Era, if I’m not mistaken. I don’t know how to receive this information. My team is good, but I’m also an idiot, I guess is the main takeaway.

Now, we head into the long offseason. At some point, we’ll have a post-season meeting to exchange the trophy and various monies, set a draft date, a keeper date, and have a pre-season meeting to discuss new rules/business. Assuming everything stays relatively the same, I’ve got a dynasty team to plan for.

The way we have it set up, you keep a starting roster, and re-draft your bench. Here’s who I’ve got to choose from:

Quarterbacks

  • Jordan Love
  • Justin Fields

I’m locked into these two, after dragging Bryce Young’s carcass across the entire season. Love ended up as the 6th-highest scoring QB in our league, ahead of Patrick Mahomes no less! By a good margin! Justin Fields ended up 18th, but he also missed all or parts of 5 games with injury. I’m happy with these two guys, but I’m also going to draft another young QB relatively early next year, likely with my 5th overall pick.

Love looks like he’ll be the guy in Green Bay for a good, long while. I’ll be interested in what the Bears end up doing with Fields. They have the #1 pick, and if it were me, I’d be on them to draft Caleb Williams. That being said, you can’t deny Fields has looked light years better as a passer this season, to go along with his elite running abilities. My guess is they keep Fields, trade down, compile a ton of picks, and see if they can make it work. Either way, I’m going to need Fields to stay healthy if I want my team to go anywhere next year.

Running Backs

  • Tony Pollard
  • Kyren Williams
  • Kenneth Walker
  • Zach Charbonnet
  • Ty Chandler

At this point, I’m leaning towards keeping Pollard, Williams, and Walker. But, obviously, a lot can change between now and the time I have to formally declare my keepers. Williams finished as the 5th highest scoring RB, and that’s after missing FOUR games! He’s a lock, for sure. Walker is just special, and feels like another lock for me (I’ll try to re-draft Charbonnet to have that handcuff again next year). My goal is to keep three RBs, since they’re usually so injury-prone. So, that would likely mean Pollard is back (he finished a disappointing 15th among RBs), but I can’t force it. I’ve got some REALLY interesting wide receivers to pick from, and even though they generally are easier to pick up in the draft, I might be better served keeping my FLEX from that pile.

We’ll see how the offseason goes. Ty Chandler is only a possibility if he gets a MASSIVE vote of confidence this offseason, works his tail off, and looks special in pre-season. Otherwise, I don’t know if I can trust the Vikings’ run game. I’ll also be curious to see what the Cowboys do in the draft; it wouldn’t shock me if they took a RB relatively high to compete against Pollard. Either way, this feels like the last time I keep Pollard; hopefully it isn’t the last time I keep a Cowboys RB.

Wide Receivers

  • CeeDee Lamb
  • Rashee Rice
  • Tank Dell
  • Jordan Addison
  • Drake London

Right off the bat, Lamb is a lock. He finished comfortably as the #1 scoring WR in the league. The only other guy on my team to finish in the Top 25 is Rice, who was 21st. I will say, for what it’s worth, that D.K. Metcalf only finished 19th, so it’s not like it was super-dumb of me to not keep him from last year. That being said, Christian Watson … let’s move on.

At the moment, it comes down to Rice and Dell. Assuming Dell comes back with no reported issues, it’s actually an interesting argument. Rice has been coming on in that Chiefs offense, but it’s still unclear whether or not they fully trust him to be the #1 guy behind Kelce. My concern is that his fate is being a solid possession receiver, but he never makes the leap to a true top dog. Either way, he’s got the best QB situation of all my guys. But, Dell is no slouch. He seems special, he got off to a fast start, but clearly there’s an injury concern I have to deal with. Dell is also undersized, but he seems to have incorporated himself into that offense a lot more. I’ll have to monitor both closely.

As for Addison and London, it all depends on who their respective teams bring in at QB. If they have bums throwing to them, then they’re going back on the scrap heap. Addison is at a further disadvantage since Justin Jefferson is also on his team and commanding lots of targets. London is someone I’m rooting for to find a competent thrower, as he really seems like he has an elite skillset. He could be another Mike Evans, if he just had the right guy getting him the ball.

Tight Ends

  • T.J. Hockenson
  • Trey McBride

One of the best moves I made late in the year was to pick up McBride as a free agent. It looks even smarter now that Hockenson has gotten hurt, and may not make it back in time to start the regular season. I have the 3rd and 8th highest scoring tight ends (and Hockenson might’ve been 2nd or 1st if he didn’t get hurt). McBride’s standing is even more impressive when you consider he was playing behind Zach Ertz and was hardly utilized for half the season. I’m leaning towards McBride given his youth and health, but it’s been a wonderful experience having Hockenson around.

Kicker

  • Dustin Hopkins

He finished 5th among kickers. That being said, I’ll almost certainly be looking for a replacement next year. For what it’s worth, Evan McPherson finished 14th, so that just goes to show you what you can do in kicker free agency. It’s always kind of a crapshoot.

Defense

  • N.Y. Jets

Sadly, we finished 10th. I blame injuries, I blame bad luck, and I mostly blame a stinker of an offense that kept giving opponents short fields. Regardless, not quite the juggernaut I was hoping for. We’ll see what shakes out next year, but … yeah I dunno.

It’s too early, but if I had to choose now, my keepers would be: Love, Fields, Williams, Walker, Pollard, Lamb, Rice, McBride, Hopkins, Jets. Thankfully, I have a lot of time left to make my decisions.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: Tanks For The Memories

Week 13 was kind of fucked from an injury perspective. All across the league, very important players went down with a range of maladies. Some are short term, some might not keep them out at all. But, some are season-enders, and some are fantasy season-enders, which is all I really care about.

I had Tank Dell in two leagues. In this one, where I clinched a playoff berth thanks to a 152.95 to 138.85 victory over Toot Cannons, and in my Splinter League, where I was in first place heading into last week, before losing by 24 points and falling into second. There’s a slim chance I drop out of the playoffs entirely in that league over the next two weeks – now that I’m down both Dell and Christian Kirk – the injury bug is decidedly NOT my friend.

Dell’s goose egg in this league very nearly cost me my victory. I somehow also endured a goose egg from Terry McLaurin (who is getting less Scary by the week in that offense), which goes to show how tough of a season Toot Cannons is having. I will say that I got some great games out of Jordan Love, CeeDee Lamb, Tony Pollard, Zach Charbonnet (who was a last-minute addition to my lineup), and Trey McBride. If I had given it the proper thought, given Dell’s injury designation during the week, I would’ve swapped him out for Kyren Williams, but that’s neither here nor there.

After I lost Dell, I picked up Rashee Rice as a free agent (prior to the Chiefs game starting), dropping that Cleveland QB I’m never going to keep in a million years. Rice has seen his targets and points increase the last two weeks, as the Chiefs have to be desperate at this point to promote one of their receivers, if for no other reason than to take some of the pressure off of Travis Kelce. I have Rice in another league and have been waiting around for him to start taking off; hopefully he turns into a League Winner for me down the stretch.

I also – after waiver guys reverted back to free agents – picked Christian Watson back up, dropping Scary Terry. It’s time. He’s currently the 29th ranked WR and that’s bound to go down after this BYE week. I don’t understand why he’s not better, why he’s not more dependable. I don’t understand why Howell isn’t throwing him the ball more – he often gets ignored for most of the game, only to score some garbage time points in the 4th quarter after they’re already losing by a ton – and I don’t understand why he isn’t more of a target in the red zone. 2 TDs is ridiculous for a scoring offense that isn’t THAT bad. More than anything, he’s supposed to have a high floor in PPR leagues, and that’s decidedly not the case. With all the uncertainty around that team – surely to have a new coaching staff next year – McLaurin isn’t someone I’m even remotely thinking about keeping. He’s also got a BYE this week, followed by tough matchups against the Rams, Jets, and 49ers the rest of the way. I was never going to want to start him anyway. Watson, at least, is coming on in a big way (until he suffered that injury late last week). He was my keeper from last year, and if he finishes this season strong, he’ll at least be in the running to be a keeper next year. Still leaning towards Dell at the moment, but you never know. If nothing else, Watson is the highest-upside receiver left on the market for these upcoming playoffs, so I’ll gladly welcome him back into the fold.

This week, I’m going up against Sloane N Steady, who is in 4th place, and looks to be my first round playoff opponent, which means I’ll get the opportunity to face him in back-to-back weeks. 4th place plays 5th place (which I’m in); 3rd place plays 6th place, before the winners move on to play the top two teams on a first round BYE.

As this game is effectively meaningless, I’m not going to sweat the outcome. I’ve got McBride on a BYE. I’ve got Bryce Young (hopefully) forever on my bench the rest of the way. I’ve got both Seahawks running backs on my bench because they’re playing the 49ers. Seems like a bad week to try to bring back Kenneth Walker from an oblique injury; here’s hoping they play it safe.

With that out of the way, I don’t have any real decisions to make. Here’s my Week 14 lineup:

  • Jordan Love (QB) @ NYG
  • Justin Fields (QB) vs. Det
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. Phi
  • Jordan Addison (WR) @ LV
  • Tony Pollard (RB) vs. Phi
  • Kyren Williams (RB) @ Bal
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ LV
  • Rashee Rice (WR) vs. Buf
  • Dustin Hopkins (K) vs. Jax
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) vs. Hou

Addison has seen a dramatic downturn in his production with the absence of Kirk Cousins. Now that Justin Jefferson is nearing his return, really the last thing I want to do is start Addison. I will be looking for every opportunity to bench him when the playoffs start next week, up to and including starting two tight ends. At this point, McBride seems like a better all-around option than Addison, but we’ll see who the Vikings end up going with at quarterback. I’ll admit, Nick Mullens sounds intriguing; he’s one of the less-bad backups out there, in the right offense.

That being said, how can you hate the matchup with the Raiders? If Addison has anything left this season, he should show it this week. Can’t say that about the Rams going on the road to play Baltimore. Kyren has loads of value considering how much they use him, but I’m looking forward to whoever the Rams play next week (please don’t be the 49ers). I actually like the Rice matchup this week. That should be a high scoring game, and the Bills should put their focus on Kelce, opening up one-on-one opportunities for Rice. Let’s keep the good times going!

Let’s take a peek at Sloane N Steady, and get to know these players intimately, since I figure to be seeing a lot of them the next two weeks:

  • Aiden O’Connell (QB) vs. Min
  • Will Levis (QB) @ Mia
  • Brandon Aiyuk (WR) vs. Sea
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR) @ Chi
  • Isiah Pacheco (RB) vs. Buf
  • Travis Etienne (RB) @ Cle
  • Kyle Pitts (TE) vs. TB
  • Michael Pittman (WR) @ Cin
  • Evan McPherson (K) vs. Ind
  • Baltimore (DEF) vs. LAR

His bench includes an injured Derek Carr, an injured Kenny Pickett, an injured Anthony Richardson, and an injured Aaron Rodgers. Thankfully, the Rodgers thing is a smokescreen, and he will have no effect on my life over the next two weeks. Pickett also sounds like a longshot to return anytime soon. I’m guessing Carr will be back in his lineup next week come playoff time, but we’ll see.

As far as skill guys, he’s got DeAndre Hopkins and George Pickens. So, not really a lot in reserve.

But, he’s been one of the best teams in our league this season – he was 8-3 before a recent 2-game skid – on the strength of his starting lineup (sans QB). Aiyuk and St. Brown are absolute studs, and Pittman has been on FIRE … pretty much all season. He’s 11th in WR points, but he’s 4th in receptions, and honestly if it wasn’t for him only having 4 TDs, I think he’d easily be in the top five. Pacheco and Etienne are both quietly amazing, and Pitts is as talented as they get (if only the Atlanta offense would scheme itself for him). Tacking on a tremendous, opportunistic Ravens defense, and my old kicker from the last two years, and it’s a real hornet’s nest.

I’m trying not to look ahead to next week, but suffice it to say, his matchups aren’t going to matter so much. Those guys are really matchup-proof, and it’s up to MY guys to A) stay healthy, and B) go above and beyond their projections. The fact that I’ll have to do this the rest of the way without Tank Dell is a HUGE blow. I was already on thin ice with this team, and now I’m starting to hear some ominous cracks.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: I Never Had A Chance

Sometimes you go up against the guy who scores the most points in the league. Shit happens. 181.15-142.25.

Sometimes, it just so happens to coincide with your two quarterbacks combining for 16.05 points, in a game where they’re going up against one another (Minnesota @ Chicago) and it was projected to be something of a shootout. To be fair, Cousins and Fields would’ve needed phenomenal games for me to pull this one out. But, to finish with such shitty numbers is really demoralizing for someone who’s spent the better part of half a decade trying to fix his quarterback problem.

I got good-enough points everywhere else to give myself a chance. Everyone except my kicker hit double digits; everyone got close to their projection, or beat them by a pretty good margin (good on the Jets’ defense, Kyren Williams, and Kenneth Walker). But, how can I compete when guys like Tyreek Hill, Raheem Mostert, Jared Goff, and Adam Thielen are absolutely going OFF?

The good news is: enough people around me also lost, and I scored a good number of points to give myself a fighting chance with the standings. I’m still in fifth place (the best of the five 2-4 teams), but I have the third-most points in the league.

The bad news is: Week 7 is upon us. It’s my BYE-armageddon.

No Tony Pollard, no CeeDee Lamb, no Bryce Young, no Evan McPherson, no Jets’ defense. And, thanks to injuries, no Fields or Williams. I’m in BAD shape. I’m going to have to (hopefully temporarily) drop my kicker; thankfully, I can use an IR spot finally, so I won’t have to lose my precious Jets.

There’s six teams on BYE this week. Unfortunately, my opponent isn’t NEARLY as throttled as I am. He loses Nico Collins and Chuba Hubbard; I have to imagine one of those guys was destined to be benched anyway since he’s likely getting Aaron Jones back this week. Also, his team name is Car Talk With Josh Allen, so you can guess who one of his quarterbacks is.

I have penciled this game in as a loss since the draft (which has made losing the last two games all the more agonizing). Here’s my M.A.S.H. unit:

  • Kirk Cousins (QB) vs. SF
  • Jordan Love (QB) @ Den
  • Christian Watson (WR) @ Den
  • Jordan Addison (WR) vs. SF
  • Kenneth Walker (RB) vs. Ari
  • Alexander Mattison (RB) vs. SF
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) vs. SF
  • Terry McLaurin (WR) @ NYG
  • Brandon McManus (K) @ NO
  • Green Bay (DEF) @ Den

The last thing I wanted to do was load up on Vikings this week, especially with the 49ers coming off of a loss. My intended lineup was to include both Fields and Love for the first time this year, to give my team some semblance of the look it might have in 2024 and potentially beyond. Instead, I have four Vikings in my lineup. Mattison will surely be stuffed all day, Addison and Hockenson will likely cede receptions to whoever’s left on that team that I don’t currently own, and Cousins should be good for 3-4 picks.

On the plus side, give me all your Packers against that Broncos defense; this will hopefully be a rebound day for Love and Watson. Walker has been very steady for me this season, and McLaurin has been up and down.

I had my pick of some pretty good defensive options once Wednesday rolled around and all the waiver claims had gone through. The only defense claimed on waivers was the Rams. The top projected defense this week in free agency was Las Vegas, at Chicago. Believe me, I was tempted! I’m probably going to look back on this decision and really regret what I did. But, I dunno. The Raiders on the road? They’re boom or bust on defense; they’ve boomed the last two weeks, but that was at home. I could see the Bears actually doing something without Fields out there constantly giving the ball to the other team. There was also Washington at the Giants; for as bad as the Giants’ offense is, though, I think the Commanders are worse on defense. If I wanted a home team, I could’ve nabbed Indy who’s hosting Cleveland. But, I opted to go with the Anti-Denver strategy. Green Bay, in general, has put up good points every week; they’re far more reliable in my mind. There’s been no negative weeks (in spite of playing the Lions), there’s three double-digit points weeks, including a couple up around 20. Denver’s offense is always a trainwreck ready to happen, so I’ll take my chances here. Even though I kinda sorta feel bad for Russell Wilson, I still get a giddy little thrill when he stinks up the joint.

Not a ton of great options for kicker. Jason Myers got snapped up in a waiver claim early Wednesday morning. Of available free agent kickers, the Raiders’ guy was projected highest, but I don’t trust them to move the ball well without Jimmy G. I dunno, it’s a lot of the usual suspects; I’m sure I got it wrong. I usually like a kicker who’s on a good offense (we’ll see, but Jacksonville seems okay), going up against a good defense (so they’re not just scoring TDs at will). I feel like the Jags should move the ball on New Orleans, but maybe stall out in the red zone. It’s indoors, which I love. My biggest concern is that it’s a Thursday night game, so watch the Jags get shut out or something.

I guess the one thing I have going for me is the fact that my bench is unavailable to me, so I don’t REALLY have to make any decisions (other than the aforementioned rentals I picked up at kicker and defense).

But, I’m really banking on my opponent having an uncharacteristically bad week. Considering he’s 5-1 on the season, he hasn’t had too many of those. Here’s his lineup:

  • Josh Allen (QB) @ NE
  • Brock Purdy (QB) @ Min
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. Ari
  • DeVonta Smith (WR) vs. Mia
  • Brian Robinson (RB) @ NYG
  • Aaron Jones (RB) @ Den
  • Travis Kelce (TE) vs. LAC
  • Amari Cooper (WR) @ Ind
  • Tyler Bass (K) @ NE
  • New Orleans (DEF) vs. Jax

If it all wasn’t bad enough for me, he’s got the best QB, the best TE, a loaded receiver room, and Jones will probably steal all the points I get out of Love and then some. He’s also got Cleveland’s defense against Indy, if he wants to shuffle two amazing options at that spot.

I’ll be particularly focused on the D.K. Metcalf Revenge Game. He was on my team last year, and I ended up keeping Watson over him. So, I only have myself to blame when D.K. scores two TDs and thoroughly embarrasses me.

The silver lining of this past weekend is that I won my other two matchups pretty handily. I’m going to need them to continue that trend if I want to enjoy this weekend at all, from a fantasy perspective.

The Seahawks Blew It In Cincinnati

I was right: the Bengals beat the Seahawks. But, they didn’t quite do it as I expected.

As I noted on Friday, I was at the Taylor Swift movie experience – surprisingly, they did NOT cut away occasionally to Travis Kelce cheering along in the luxury suites – so I didn’t get to see this game. As such, this will be a post with more questions than answers. I’ll tell you this much, I didn’t project this as a 17-13 slugfest.

I have two main takeaways coming out of this game. First and foremost – the reason why we lost this one – has to lay at the feet of the offense. Geno Smith had one truly atrocious pick, and another where D.K. apparently gave up on the route. The team as a whole was only 5/12 on third down, and critically 0 for 2 on fourth down (both near the goalline in the fourth quarter, where we had a chance to take the lead or even win the game). Penalties were costly in setting us behind the sticks. And the Bengals were able to pressure us more than we’ve been pressured all season.

I’d love to know what the gameplan was coming into this game. We got Charles Cross back from his injury, but were still saddled with Jake Curhan at right tackle (with some interior shuffling, moving Haynes to left guard, and starting Bradford at right). Did we leave them on more islands than we had the previous few games, opting to go with more 3 wide receiver sets and fewer jumbo packages? Or, was it pretty comparable, and we just got manhandled by a superior front seven? I would hope the coaching staff would have more sense than that, but you can’t rule it out until we see the snap counts. Regardless, it didn’t seem like a well-called game by Waldron. Nor was it a very efficient game from Geno and the rest of our skill players.

My other big takeaway, however, has to do with the defense, and how promising this unit looks going forward.

The Bengals had back-to-back touchdown-scoring drives to open this game, which initially led me to believe my prognostication would be accurate: that we wouldn’t touch Burrow, and they’d carve us up and down the field accordingly. But, we ended up tightening things up the rest of the way, giving up just 3 points after the 12:20 mark in the second quarter. We forced 6 punts and got an interception. We sacked Burrow 3 times in the game, hit him 5 times, got 4 tackles for loss, and knocked down 6 passes. We held Burrow to a paltry 185 yards passing (5.3 yards per attempt) and held their running game to 46 yards on 15 carries. Coming on the heels of that Giants massacre, there were a lot of questions about whether or not we could keep that going against a competent offense. The Seahawks’ defense came through this one with flying colors. They absolutely did enough to win us this game, which hasn’t been something we’ve been able to say very often the last 5+ years.

I can’t sit here and get too down on this team after one game. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel very strongly the other way either; I’m not telling you everything is wonderful. It probably helps that I didn’t actually sit through this game for 3 hours; I’m sure in the moment I would’ve been miserable for damn near every minute. Part of me wants to say people are too quick to write off Geno Smith (and they’re damn near insane if they’re calling for Drew Lock to start for this team!), but there’s another part of me that saw Geno finish 3-6 last year (including playoffs), and knows he’s still getting credit for some of those early-2022 performances. He’s good against bad defenses, he’s pretty miserable against good-to-great defenses, and we still don’t have a lot of those late-game heroics that we regularly saw during Russell Wilson’s prime.

I’ll also say that we’ve given Wilson a lot of crap – especially since he’s gone to Denver and stunk up the joint – for poor performances on 3rd down and with taking brutal sacks, but that hasn’t really let up a whole lot with Geno under center. Especially in the biggest games. I don’t know what that says about the team as a whole, other than it’s really hard to be great at quarterback in the NFL, and I ultimately don’t think Geno Smith is great. I think he’s fine. He’s much closer to Ryan Tannehill in his prime than Russell Wilson in his prime.

But, I think we’re going to need to see this season as a whole before we can totally rule him out. There are more opportunities for Geno to turn it around. In a couple weeks, we have back-to-back games against the Browns and Ravens, two good-to-great defenses that he’ll need to be the best version of himself if we expect to win either of those games.

Ultimately, it’s a loss to an AFC team, which means very little in the grand scheme of things. Thankfully, we were bailed out by the Browns – who took care of business against the 49ers – so we haven’t lost any ground. But, that makes next week’s game against the Cards all the more important.

Good on Kenneth Walker for continuing to look like a stud. Good on Tyler Lockett for having another big game. Good on Jaxon Smith-Njigba for being involved, and good on Jake Bobo for making a couple of hard-nosed catches.

Devon Witherspoon had a quieter game than the one in New York, but still broke up 3 passes. Jamal Adams stayed healthy throughout. Dre’Mont Jones, Jarran Reed, and Boye Mafe each had sacks. Tre Brown returned from injury and had a bigtime pick (the combo of him, Witherspoon, and Woolen look dominant together). And look at Jason Myers being perfect (and hitting a 55 yard field goal)!

I will say that I was disappointed in Pete Carroll. If there was ever a game we needed him to be the conservative version of himself, this was it. The defense was rolling by the fourth quarter. We were down 4 points, we had the ball near the goalline. We failed to get it in due to offensive incompetence. There was still over 2 minutes to go, we had two time outs, and he opted to keep the offense out there on 4th & goal at the 6. Kick the field goal! Then, you’re down 1, you have a chance to get the ball back (which we did), and drive it down for the game-winner. It’s mind-boggling when Pete decides to be hyper-aggressive, and when he decides to turtle up. He’ll punt from the opposing 40 yard line in one drive (when we’ve proven capable of moving the football), then he’ll go for it near the goalline (when we’ve looked like ass trying to score in the red zone). Just be consistent! He’s standing on a 16 against a dealer’s 10, then he’s hitting on a 14 when the dealer has a 5, just because he has a feeling or whatever.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: Draft Results May Vary

I completed three fantasy football drafts in about an 80-hour span; is it possible to feel terrible about every single one of them?

Before we dive into my Dyntasy League 5-round draft, I’ll talk a little bit about my other two teams, as I seem to have stumbled into a couple of different strategies without even trying.

Every draft is different. You never know where you’re going to land in any given draft (assuming it’s randomly selected for you), you never know who’s going to be available (who people reach for, or who people steal from you at the last moment), and so you can go into a draft with one plan, but circumstances force you to go another way.

I try to be adaptable. I’m just looking for as many good players as possible. If it comes down to one of two guys, I’ll simply take the player I want to root for more. And I definitely tend to skew towards younger players, especially at running back and wide receiver.

Yet, I think I have two wildly different teams! To wit, the True League, and my team, RUM HAM:

  • Jalen Hurts (QB)
  • Aaron Rodgers (QB)
  • James Conner (RB)
  • Dalvin Cook (RB)
  • Breece Hall (RB)
  • Elijah Mitchell (RB)
  • Jonathan Taylor (RB)
  • Jahan Dotson (WR)
  • Treylon Burks (WR)
  • Zay Flowers (WR)
  • Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR)
  • Cooper Kupp (WR)
  • Jameson Williams (WR)
  • Travis Kelce (TE)
  • Kicker TBD
  • New York Jets (DEF)

There’s injury concerns (Conner, Hall, Mitchell, Taylor, Kupp), there’s age concerns (Rodgers, Kelce, Conner again), and then there’s just an endless array of first- and second-year players (Hall, Dotson, Burks, Flowers, JSN, Williams). This is more of a standard scoring league, with half-PPR I believe, but I don’t know if I have enough TD-power to cut the mustard. Will Taylor return to playing football this season? How bad is Kupp’s injury? How many games will I get out of Conner? When will Hall have his inevitable set-back? Will I be able to hold onto Williams through his entire 6-week suspension?

There’s a lot of questions swirling around my team. On the one end of the spectrum of possibilities, I’ll be spending every week scrambling to field a healthy team, constantly worried about and second-guessing injury reports. On the other end, my hurt guys get healthy, and I’m able to field a juggernaut by season’s end that will take me all the way to the championship. High variance, high reward!

Also, I should say, I do like Dotson and Burks more than most. And, really, the Cardinals ONLY have Conner, so he should feast as the only dude on that offense.

Now, here’s my other team, The Annexation Of Puerto Rico, in my beloved Splinter League:

  • Josh Allen (QB)
  • Dak Prescott (QB)
  • Matthew Stafford (QB)
  • Bijan Robinson (RB)
  • Rachaad White (RB)
  • Tyler Allgeier (RB)
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR)
  • Tee Higgins (WR)
  • Christian Kirk (WR)
  • George Pickens (WR)
  • Brandon Aiyuk (WR)
  • Treylon Burks (WR)
  • Jameson Williams (WR)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (DEF)

On the flipside, not a lot of injury issues here, at least out of the gate. But, I also don’t have the glut of running backs to pull from in a pinch. Thankfully, I have the Falcons guys to fall back on, but if White is a bust, I’m kind of screwed.

In the True League, I had the fifth pick in the draft. After the usual suspects went 1-4, I made Kelce my top overall pick. By contrast, in the Splinter League, I had the second pick. Last year, I won it all by having the 10th pick, so this was a VASTLY different experience for me. My Splinter League is even more quarterback-crazy (2 QB league, 1 point per 15 passing yards, 6-point TDs, -4 INTs), and I’m happy to say I got to take Josh Allen for the first time ever. That’s a recipe for him having an uncharacteristically-down year if I’ve ever heard one!

Anyway, I guess we’ll see. I should point out that in the True League, I got an A+ grade by Yahoo, second overall in the league. And, in the Splinter League, I also got an A+ grade, first overall. Will that mean anything? We’ll see. I had a high grade last year in Splinter as well, and ended up winning the whole thing. But, there’s a lot that goes into a championship season; you need to get extremely lucky along the way.

In my Dynasty League, my team – Fight The Mattriarchy! – got a D grade, 8th out of 10 teams. Since everyone’s 10 keepers get slotted randomly into the draft rounds 1-10, I don’t know how much of that grade is outside of my control. But, with the way AI has been trending, I think Yahoo is probably able to take a global view of every team’s quality and depth of players and make an honest assessment. I mean, I’ve been kind of bottom-feeding for a while now; maybe my keepers aren’t up to snuff.

I wrote about my dilemma last week, so you can read that HERE. That link will also tell you who my keepers were. Without further ado, let’s talk about my 5-round draft! Or, rather, my 3-round/5-person draft.

As expected, the two rookie running backs went 1 and 2 (Bijan and Jahmyr Gibbs). That left one guy standing between me and the quarterback of my dreams/nightmares. He ended up taking Anthony Richardson, which left me no choice but to take Bryce Young. Here’s hoping that #1 overall NFL draft pedigree accounts for something!

By the time I selected with my second pick in the first round, I sadly missed out on re-acquiring D.K. Metcalf, who went two picks earlier. I also missed out on Joe Mixon, C.J. Stroud, Calvin Ridley, and Daniel Jones. So, I made my pick, and I made it Kirk Cousins.

He was already on my radar as a potential pick at #4, because I’ve got Fields and Love, so why not have a little leeway in case of injuries or ineffectiveness? Now, I get to have both my cake and eating it too! I get my rookie lottery ticket, AND I get the veteran who’s mostly good, but occasionally terrible when you least can afford it. I’m not saying I love having Cousins on my team; I’m just saying he should be better than Young and Love, at least in the early going.

I’M FIELDING A FANTASY TEAM WITH TWO COMPETENT QUARTERBACKS IF IT FUCKING KILLS ME!

The second round went pretty well for me: JSN, Sam Howell, and Isiah Pacheco with the top three. I had pretty much my pick of the rookie receivers, and opted to go with the guy from the Vikings, Jordan Addison. I would’ve taken him even if I didn’t have Cousins, but I love having them both, for obvious Double Touchdown reasons! The rest of the second round went Miles Sanders, James Cook, Dotson, Mac Jones, and Mike Williams before I selected again. I would’ve only wanted Dotson, or MAYBE Cook, out of that group. I’ve had Mac Jones for the last couple seasons, and good riddance!

With my second pick in the second round, I got to FINALLY draft Scary Terry McLaurin! I’ve wanted him since he was a rookie, but he was snagged out from under me. Having him fall to me couldn’t have gone better; I’m very happy with my receiver depth now!

Finally, the third round went like this: Dalton Kincaid, Christian Kirk, and Aiyuk. That left me with Dalvin Cook as my final draft pick of the evening. I don’t love him as a long-term prospect, but early on he should get the bulk of the carries as Hall returns from his injury. Cook is also insurance against Alexander Mattison, in the event a starter’s load doesn’t suit him well. As long as Cook stays healthy, Aaron Rodgers is going to want him in there, and that offense should have enough meat on the bone for all their stars, including Cook for an occasional TD. Who’s to say Cook couldn’t be the Ezekiel Elliott in this offense, vulturing touchdowns left and right?!

For Week 1, I’m starting Fields & Cousins, Lamb & Watson, Walker & Pollard, Hockenson & Cook (though, I may put McLaurin in there as a last-minute replacement, if it looks like he’s fully healthy, because that Arizona defense looks like straight garbage).

We’ll see how it all goes! I’ll be on here every week lamenting my losses and celebrating my victories.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: The Worst Possible Outcome

This season’s previous fantasy football posts:

Of course.

It’s not just that I came in last – ONCE AGAIN – in the Consolation Bracket, leaving me with only the 4th overall draft pick next year, but my trade partner – whose top two picks I get next year – also won the entire league, meaning those picks are 10th overall. The 4 and 10 picks. Fucking super. Maybe there’s some way I can trade for literally everyone’s first picks in 2024, that way I can guarantee myself a shot at a decent QB.

The only silver lining to this year is that I finally did win the championship in my Splinter League. It was a runaway. My team was great from the jump. I was projected to go 14-1 on draft day, I ended up going 11-4 through the regular season, and smoked both of my opponents in the playoffs (204.44 to 150.49 in round one, 178.30 to 147.90 in the championship). Shoutout to Christian McCaffrey and Austin Ekeler, my top two picks. Special shoutout to Jared Goff who probably saved my season. Honorable mention to CeeDee Lamb and Travis Kelce, stalwarts throughout. Even my bench rocked and rolled for me when I needed them! It’s nice to see Gabe Davis win at least one league, after such a disappointing season.

My other playoff team – in my third league – finished in fourth place, and was a colossal disappointment in the second half of the season.

All that’s left is choosing my dynasty roster for next year.

Quarterbacks

  • Justin Fields
  • Mike White
  • Mac Jones
  • Jordan Love
  • Matthew Stafford

Fields is a lock. Mac Jones is definitely out. Mike White is definitely out. Jordan Love is a wild card, but it all depends on what the Packers end up doing with him. If he remains Aaron Rodgers’ backup, then obviously he’s not going to be on my team next year. That leaves me with Matthew Stafford, who has already said he’s coming back in 2023. He’s definitely worth a shot, though obviously I’ll be drafting a quarterback with my top pick.

Running Backs

  • Ezekiel Elliott
  • Tony Pollard
  • Brian Robinson
  • Kenneth Walker
  • Alexander Mattison

I’m all in on Kenneth Walker, I think he’s just going to get better and better. My dream scenario involves the Cowboys cutting Zeke and handing the keys to Pollard, in which case I’m keeping Pollard. But, that would require a Pollard extension, which might not fit in the budget. On the plus side, maybe he lands with another run-heavy team that appreciates his talents. Mattison is another guy who will be a free agent, who could land with a run-heavy team (I mostly just picked him up so no one else could keep him). If all else fails, the Commanders seem to like Brian Robinson, and it might be interesting to see what he turns into with a full offseason of NOT getting shot in the leg in a robbery.

Wide Receivers

  • CeeDee Lamb
  • D.K. Metcalf
  • Christian Watson

Lamb is a guaranteed keeper. We’ll see with the other two. Watson has a high upside, but D.K. is already established. I could keep both, but that might be silly. Wide receivers are a dime a dozen; it’s probably more prudent to keep three running backs, what with injuries and everything.

Tight End / Kicker / Defense

  • T.J. Hockenson
  • Evan McPherson
  • New York Jets

I couldn’t be happier with where Hockenson landed. For whatever reason, the Lions just never figured him out, even though they pass a ton. The Vikings also pass a ton, but they seem to remember they also have a good tight end every once in a while. He actually finished #2 behind Kelce, which is kind of crazy, but also good on me for keeping him.

McPherson, on the other hand, REALLY took a step back in his second season. He finished 19th in kicker scoring. There were 11 guys on the scrap heap ranked ahead of him! I’m chalking that up to kicker randomness and hoping for better things in year three.

I’m cautiously optimistic with the Jets. They finished 7th in defensive scoring, but seem to have a young and talented core on that side of the ball that should continue to play well in 2023 at least. They finished MUCH better than the Rams, that’s for damn sure.

If I had to choose now, I’d go something like this:

  • Justin Fields (QB)
  • Matthew Stafford (QB)
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR)
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR)
  • Kenneth Walker (RB)
  • Tony Pollard (RB)
  • Brian Robinson (FLEX)
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE)
  • Evan McPherson (K)
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF)

My first pick is destined to be a quarterback. My second first round pick might ALSO be a quarterback. Then, it’s best player available the rest of the way (likely non-quarterbacks), with probably my early second rounder being another wide receiver.

I’ll be back with an update before next year’s season starts, where I should have a better idea of who I’m keeping.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: A Peek Into My Other Teams

This season’s previous fantasy football posts:

Just to close up a dangling thread from last week, Einfach A.F. did, in fact, win, so they’re moving on to the regular playoffs. Which means the two picks I receive from them in trade are getting worse and worse.

Since nothing happened with RoundTine last week (I will say that I scored the fewest points of any team in the Consolation Bracket, which is either an ominous sign, or the first shitty waffle everyone throws away before the good ones start popping out), I thought I’d talk about my two other fantasy football teams. In leagues where I made the actual playoffs!

Puppy Monkey Baby is my pride and joy. My Splinter League team finished in first place at 11-4, two games better than my playoff brothers and sisters (who all finished 9-6). I’m pretty loaded here at every spot but quarterback (we, thankfully, have eliminated kickers and a mandatory tight end position, though we allow two flex spots where you could play tight ends if you want).

I’m talking CeeDee Lamb and Amon-Ra St. Brown. I’m talking Christian McCaffrey and Austin Ekeler. I’m talking Travis Kelce, Kenneth Walker, and the Steelers’ surging defense. I’m talking a bench comprised of useful dudes who would be starters on other teams: Chris Olave, Cordarrelle Patterson, Gabe Davis, and Mike Williams. I also took a flier on Jameson Williams (who hasn’t panned out, but oh well, you can’t win ’em all).

It’s dicey with the quarterbacks, though (it’s another 2-QB league). Jared Goff has been fine (sometimes good, sometimes not). Kenny Pickett is my preferred #2, however I also have Andy Dalton. If I’m winning this league, I’m winning in spite of these guys. I need the rest of my team to pick up the slack!

In my third league, RUM HAM! went 6-0 to start the year. I was 7-7 heading into last week. I needed to win, and I needed my brother to knock someone out of my spot in the playoffs. It came to pass, and so here I am, the 4-seed, and the least-likely person to win this league.

Justin Jefferson has been as advertised this season. Nick Chubb has been pretty great, but he’s definitely fallen off in recent weeks. Terry McLaurin has been on a disappointing team with disappointing quarterbacks. I figured Lamar Jackson would lay the league to waste this year, but he’s been relatively mediocre. This is another league where I’ve got Gabe Davis, though in this one I’ve had to use him almost every week, to frustrating results.

I’ve had Kareem Hunt as a handcuff all year, but it hasn’t paid off. I also started the year with both starting Rams running backs, and that was a total disaster. I was able to grab J.K. Dobbins a couple weeks ago, and I’ve got Zack Moss (for the Colts) in there now, but it might be too little too late. I do have Buffalo’s kicker and Philly’s defense, who have both been pretty reliable during their non-BYE weeks (both in week 7), but my guys just don’t score enough touchdowns in general. I rarely ever have big breakout weeks. It could be we just haven’t seen my team play to its fullest potential, but I think I’m VERY lucky to be in this position, and this playoff spot is probably wasted on me.

We’ll see how it goes! Fantasy Football gets exciting this week! Let’s get back to RoundTine and see what I’m working with in the all-important Consolation Bracket:

  • Justin Fields (QB) vs. Buf
  • Tyler Huntley (QB) vs. Atl
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. Phi
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) @ KC
  • Kenneth Walker (RB) @ KC
  • Tony Pollard (RB) vs. Phi
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) vs. NYG
  • Christian Watson (WR) @ Mia
  • Evan McPherson (K) @ NE
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) vs. Jax

I’m only playing Huntley if Lamar Jackson is out again this week. Otherwise, I’m stuck with Mac Jones vs. Cincinnati. Mike White – my ultimate choice to be my #2 QB – was killed in a Revenant-style bear attack on the football field a couple weeks ago.

I have two viable bench players, if needed. Ezekiel Elliott is obviously there, if I need him. And Brian Robinson is going up against the 49ers. So, Zeke would be my obvious first choice between the two.

This week, for my Consolation Bracket livelihood, I’m going up against The Lance Petemans, in a matchup of 8 vs. 9. Here’s his team:

  • Kirk Cousins (QB) vs. NYG
  • Jared Goff (QB) @ Car
  • Tyreek Hill (WR) vs. GB
  • DeAndre Hopkins (WR) vs. TB
  • James Conner (RB) vs. TB
  • Tyler Allgeier (RB) @ Bal
  • Darren Waller (TE) @ Pit
  • Keenan Allen (WR) @ Ind
  • Robbie Gould (K) vs. Was
  • Cleveland (DEF) vs. NO

I traded him Tyreek Hill a few years ago and have rued it ever since. So, expect him to blow up for 40 points. The rest of the guys are capable of big days, but they’re also capable of stinkeroos. So, we’ll see.

I’m not confident. Winning the Consolation Bracket is something I’ve wanted SO desperately for years now; ever since we started trending towards being a dynasty league, with more and more keepers every year. Basically, ever since I realized my team wasn’t good enough to hack it with the big boys, because my keepers (read: quarterbacks) have been trash. The best I’ve finished is second (meaning I had the second overall draft pick) and my reward was the top non-QB rookie position player off the board: Clyde Edward-Helaire.

I need a stud rookie quarterback. I can’t get that guy with the fourth overall pick. I would LOVE it if I landed in the top two. But, for that to happen, I must win this week.

I want it too much! I want it too much, so it’s not going to happen for me. That’s the way this works.

The Washington Huskies Could Very Well Make The Rose Bowl

Saturday was as enjoyable a day of football as I’ve seen in quite some time. Everything sort of opened up for me and I had an opportunity to sit down and watch almost nonstop from about 3pm until 11pm (while taking a brief intermission to go out and buy a Christmas tree with my dad).

Now, obviously, it wasn’t perfect. But, Friday’s mini-slate of games had a lot to do with that, thanks to Cal blowing it against UCLA. The Huskies were iced out of the Pac-12 Championship Game when the Utes blew out the Buffaloes, but that game was over before it started. Colorado is one of the worst teams in all of football. They’re an embarrassment to the Power 5 conferences, and deserve to be relegated to a lower level until further notice.

It’s unfortunate, because the biggie improbably worked out, as Oregon State defeated Oregon in a thrilling matchup, where the Beaves overcame a 31-10 deficit late in the third quarter to prevail 38-34. In really dominating fashion, by just running all over the Ducks to the tune of 268 yards on 43 carries (that’s a 6.2 average for those following along at home), while their quarterback only completed 6 passes for 60 yards all game. I don’t know how you come back from being down 21 points by only running the ball, but this was straight out of the 1920’s. The Ducks didn’t do themselves any favors by making a lot of mistakes, and coaching their way out of any shot at the Rose Bowl by going for it deep in their own territory with a quarterback run that was doomed to fail.

There were other great outcomes throughout the day. 5th ranked LSU lost to a Texas A&M team that didn’t even qualify for a bowl game this year. USC handled a 15th ranked Notre Dame team by double digits. Michigan absolutely destroyed Ohio State on the road to lock in their spot in the playoffs (as probably a 2-seed).

It all led up to the Apple Cup at 7:30pm in Pullman. If the Huskies won, they would create a 3-way tie for second place in the Pac-12, with Utah and Oregon. With the tiebreaker system set in place, that gave Utah the nod to play USC in the conference championship. If the Huskies lost, it would’ve been a 2-way tie for second with just Utah and Oregon, with the Ducks having the head-to-head victory over the Utes. So, this was an opportunity for the Ducks to lose twice in the same day, which is why it was so great!

The Apple Cup was an intense scoring festival through the first half. The offenses sputtered a tiny bit through the first three possessions, with the Cougs improbably doinking in a 50-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead. But, once the quarterbacks got used to the cold, they were gripping it and ripping it like nobody’s business. After those first three drives, there were a whopping SEVEN consecutive touchdown drives before the Cougs had to settle for a field goal just before halftime to only be down 28-27. If the clock wasn’t a factor, they’d still be out there trading TDs!

Somehow, the defense stepped up in the second half, limiting the Cougars to only 6 points (should have been 8 points, but quarterback Cameron Ward had the ball in the wrong hand as he ran for the front left pylon on the 2-point conversion – the first of two such instances where he failed to simply reach the football over the line to gain while running out of bounds – in one of the most baffling displays of low football IQ I’ve seen in a while), which was pretty necessary since the Huskies had a couple of uncharacteristic turnovers to keep things interesting. But, we got things on track after a brutal pick in the endzone, pulling away from a 35-33 lead to a 51-33 end result.

Interception aside, Michael Penix was a wizard out there, throwing for 485 yards and 3 TDs (on 25/43 passing), while adding 34 rushing yards and 2 TDs on the ground. His regular season with the Huskies looks like this:

  • 330/500 for 4,354 yards, 29 TDs, 7 INTs, and only 5 sacks in 12 games. He added 86 rushing yards and 4 TDs on the ground

This is, without question, the greatest season I’ve ever seen from a Husky quarterback. It might literally be the best season ever by a Husky quarterback; I’ll defer to the experts on that one. But, this is legitimate pro-level talent we’re watching! I can only imagine what it would’ve looked like to have Kalen DeBoer, Ryan Grubb, and Michael Penix together for four years. Penix still technically has a year of eligibility left, but I would be absolutely shocked if he opted to stick around for another season, especially given his injury history.

Our top three receivers also, by consequence, had huge games. Rome Odunze led the way with 5 for 157 and a TD. Jalen McMillan had 6 for 150 and a TD. And Ja’Lynn Polk had 4 for 82 and a TD. On the year, here’s how they shake out:

  • Odunze – 70 for 1,088 and 7 TDs
  • McMillan – 71 for 1,040 and 8 TDs
  • Polk – 38 for 649 and 6 TDs

The Huskies haven’t stopped recruiting receivers at a high level since the likes of John Ross and Dante Pettis went pro, but they simply haven’t had a quarterback capable of getting the ball to their most talented weapons. Instead, we’ve been Tight End University in the interim, which is fine, but unless you’re cultivating the next Travis Kelce, your tight end shouldn’t be your best weapon on offense. It’s long overdue that we’re seeing our wideouts getting this kind of attention. As you can see, it opens things up tremendously for everyone else.

The running game gets overlooked in all this, but Wayne Taulapapa had another wildly efficient game, running it 13 times for 126 yards and a TD. Cameron Davis also had a fine day, rushing it 6 times for 55 yards. On the year, they weren’t ever the headline stars, but they accounted for a lot of our scoring:

  • Taulapapa – 126 carries for 779 yards and 10 TDs
  • Davis – 107 carries for 522 yards and 13 TDs

It’s definitely a pass-heavy attack, but the offensive scheme takes advantage of that by gashing teams in the run. I think it’s exactly the right kind of balance for today’s game, and I couldn’t be happier with how the offense performed this year. I guess it’s all downhill from here!

So, here’s where everything stands. On Friday at 5pm, USC plays 14th ranked Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game. At the moment USC is ranked 4th in the AP Poll (the official college football playoff rankings come out later today, I believe). The Top 4 in the AP Poll are Georgia, Michigan, undefeated TCU, and USC. TCU will play the 12th ranked Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday morning in the Big-12 Championship Game. Also in play we have a 1-loss Ohio State team playing for jack shit since they lost to Michigan. How this week’s rankings shake out will speak volumes. If USC is also ranked 4th in the college football playoffs, then I think it’s a foregone conclusion: win and they’re in. If Ohio State is still the 4th team, then all bets are off (though, in all likelihood, they’ll be in with a win, but you never know). I don’t think anyone believes that a 3-loss LSU team would make it, even if they beat Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, but let’s hope the Bulldogs take care of business just to be safe.

Anyway, if USC makes the college football playoffs, then that sets up the Huskies for a Rose Bowl berth. That would make the Utes a 3-loss team in conference (with 4 losses overall). Meanwhile, the Huskies and Ducks would both have 2 losses in conference (with Oregon having 3 losses overall), and the Huskies BEAT the Ducks. So, that should give us the edge.

Even if things go wonky on us, and USC has to “settle” for the Rose Bowl, there’s still an outside chance – as a 10-win team – that we might qualify for the Cotton Bowl, and be part of the big New Year’s 6. That’s fun! I’d be happy with that!

I’d be less happy if we are iced out completely, but that’s always a possibility as well. I would think – given our offensive firepower – that we’d be an attractive team to put into ANY bowl game.

Of course, a Rose Bowl showdown would be a rematch with Ohio State from the 2018 season, which was a tough-luck 28-23 defeat. Ohio State is always a scary team to play, but I’d still love the opportunity.

We’ll see what happens! Regardless, this season has surpassed my wildest expectations for the Huskies. I’m just tickled pink with how it all has gone so far.