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.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: I’ve Got Good News & Bad News

Damnedest thing: I won again! That’s three wins in a row, for those keeping track. This time, it was a pretty healthy 161.00 to 136.90 victory over Toot Cannons. That brings my record to 4-7, and my place in the standings ALLLLL the way up to 8th place. I have a one-game lead over the two teams below me, but of course, I have the fewest points in the league, so tying in record with those animals will put me right back in last place where I belong.

I will say that I’m slowly, but surely, creeping up on The Lance Petemans in points. He has less than a 10-point lead, with three weeks to go in the regular season. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) we don’t play one another in any of those games; I’ll see him next in the Consolation Bracket (which doesn’t factor into who gets the Toilet Trophy).

The bad news is: my meal ticket might be going away, as Justin Fields injured his non-throwing shoulder. That’s not always the end of the world for a quarterback, but it can be pretty devastating for a quarterback who’s better at running with the football than throwing it.

Fields had another respectable week, getting me over 24 points. Christian Watson kicked off the week strong wth 21. The Jets defense did me proud (a couple weeks after I traded away the Eagles) with 19, and Evan McPherson kicked in 17 points in The Week Of The Kicker (where Tyler Bass got over 20, and Brett Maher tied the single-game record for kickers, all-time, with 29).

The star of my team was Tony Pollard. He’s been thrashing the league during my winning streak, thanks in large part to Ezekiel Elliott being injured. Zeke returned this past week and got 17 points for my bench. But, Pollard’s big-play ability netted me almost 37: 2 touchdowns, 109 receiving yards, and 80 rushing yards to boot. My dream for this offseason is the Cowboys cut Zeke in a cost-cutting measure, and make Pollard the full-time #1 running back. He’ll set NFL records!

My big boner of a move was benching Matthew Stafford in favor of Davis Mills. Stafford got me 20 points for my bench, while Mills needed garbage time to get up to 7.45. Mills had the better matchup, and was projected to out-score Stafford (who is without Cooper Kupp for the foreseeable future), but at some point common sense needs to prevail.

This week, I go up against Car Talk With Josh Allen, the second place team in our league. I’m just happy I get to play him both times without Deshaun Watson, as he doesn’t need any extra help to lay me to waste. Here are my guys:

  • Justin Fields (QB) @ NYJ
  • Mac Jones (QB) @ Min
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. NYG
  • Gabe Davis (WR) @ Det
  • Kenneth Walker (RB) vs. LV
  • Tony Pollard (RB) vs. NYG
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) vs. NE
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. LV
  • Evan McPherson (K) @ Ten
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) vs. Chi

I might have to start BOTH of my backup quarterbacks. Matthew Stafford had another concussion late in the game last week, which almost guarantees he sees time on the IR. I don’t like Mac Jones, but I’m going to hope he has a little something left in the tank against the Vikings, in what will need to be a high-scoring affair if the Patriots hope to win. If Fields goes down, I’ll have to start Davis Mills against the Dolphins (assuming he’s still starting for the Texans).

It’s a toss-up between Zeke and Pollard as long as both are healthy. When they’re both healthy, they split carries pretty evenly. Pollard gets the advantage of being a bigger factor in the passing game, but Zeke gets the advantage of being the goalline back by and large. Pollard is more boom-or-bust as a result, but also somehow has a higher floor. That isn’t to say Zeke won’t out-score him on the regular, because their offense is very efficient, so he’ll get his opportunities to punch it in. But, I’m sort of resigned to being disappointed whenever my guy isn’t in there.

This might be the last week I play Gabe Davis over Christian Watson. The Lions stink. I know they’ve been a lot better of late, but Davis should have no problem scoring in bunches in this matchup. The concern is that the Bills get Diggs going and forget about Davis, which is a nightmare scenario. I kinda need Davis to be The Guy since I’m going up against Josh Allen (spoiler alert). Taking away his touchdowns would be a big help. On the flipside, Watson is going up against the Eagles’ defense, which is very good against the pass. My hunch is that he comes down to Earth a little bit this week. However, if he puts in a third consecutive humongous week, then it’s time to set him (in my lineup) and forget him.

Here’s the list of players who figure to destroy me:

  • Josh Allen (QB) @ Det
  • Tom Brady (QB) @ Cle
  • DeVonta Smith (WR) vs. GB
  • Amari Cooper (WR) vs. TB
  • Aaron Jones (RB) @ Phi
  • Joe Mixon (RB) @ Ten
  • Travis Kelce (TE) vs. LAR
  • Christian Kirk (WR) vs. Bal
  • Tyler Bass (K) @ Det
  • Kansas City (DEF) vs. LAR

A lot of these guys had big weeks LAST week, so my hope is that they … don’t have big weeks this week.

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

Well, I scored easily the lowest points in our league last week, and I went up against the team who scored the very most. Through two weeks, I’ve scored easily the lowest points in our league, and for good measure I’ve had the most points scored against me. So, that’s fun. That’s a neat little parlor trick.

I don’t really have anything to say about my performance last week, since there was nothing I could do. Besides build a time machine, go back in time, and draft all the players I should’ve drafted in the first place – years ago – to ensure my team wouldn’t be this inept when we finally made it a dynasty league. As I said on Twitter, when you have four quarterbacks (for a 2-QB league), you really have zero quarterbacks, and that adage holds true. If there was a “right” play to be had, I would’ve went with Mac Jones (a measly 15.2) and Davis Mills (8.95). I went with Mills and Winston (the lowest of all – my “safe” bet – at 6.00), while Fields was saddled with 7.5.

I decided to make this my week to shake things up a bit. I had a good-enough waiver priority slot to get one move done. So, I had my choice: I could make a play for Garrett Wilson – rookie receiver from the Jets – or I could get Jared Goff. I made claims for both – prioritizing Wilson – and I already regret it. I don’t necessarily regret waiving Davis Mills for him, because I don’t think his noodle arm is ever going to be a massive fantasy talent (famous last words). But, Goff was probably my one and only chance to find a high-upside fantasy quarterback for nothing, and I let him fall to The Lance Petemans.

Long-term, I don’t know what Goff is. With Amon-Ra St. Brown, he’s certainly found a stud he can ride to big fantasy days. But, is this sustainable? Regardless, he’s better than the nothing I’m getting from Jones and Fields, and he seems to be more steady than the wild fluctuations of Jameis. Is he a quality #2 quarterback going forward, even beyond this season? Maybe!

Ultimately, I went with Wilson because I wanted to cash in on a rookie receiver craze. Will he be the next Justin Jefferson? Will he be this year’s Ja’Marr Chase? Probably not. Did I just blow any opportunity at having fun with this league this season? It’s highly likely. I’m up to five receivers now, and the most you can keep/play is three, so what are we doing?

This week, I go up against Car Talk With Josh Allen. As you might suspect, he’s got Josh Allen on his team, so look for him to put up 50+ (that’s the trend, first with Mahomes, then with Tua of all people). I, decidedly, do not have Josh Allen, or anyone even close to his calibre, so I’m looking to cruise to an 0-3 record by the time the morning games conclude on Sunday. Here’s the RoundTine roster:

  • Jameis Winston (QB) @ Car
  • Justin Fields (QB) vs. Hou
  • Gabe Davis (WR) @ Mia
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) @ Cle
  • Javonte Williams (RB) vs. SF
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ NYG
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ Min
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. Atl
  • Evan McPherson (K) @ NYJ
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) @ Ari

It is, as always, a useless decision between Fields and Jones. Jones is at home against Baltimore. Baltimore just gave up a billion points to Tua last week. But, clearly, the Pats don’t have the kinds of weapons that the Dolphins have. Houston seems to be a tasty matchup, so I’m hoping to see ANYTHING out of Fields resembling a break out performance.

I’m sitting Wilson for another week, just to make sure he’s not a fluke. I’m playing D.K. because I like him at home against a paltry Falcons defense. I’ll play Gabe Davis if he’s healthy. My ultimate decision comes down to Diontae Johnson and CeeDee Lamb. If Gabe looks hurt, then it’s no decision at all, and I’ll just play them both. But, if Gabe looks on track early in the week (like, today or tomorrow) to return, then I’ll have to make a choice ahead of Thursday’s game. The more I think about it (Steelers offense against a potentially-stout Cleveland defense on the road), the more I think the Steelers will be toast in this one, at least offensively.

As for the running backs, I’m just biding my time until Walker and/or Brian Robinson take over starting duties for their respective teams. T.J. Hockenson – my tight end – is in the running for most disappointing player of 2022, which is really saying something, given the state of my roster.

Here’s my opponent:

  • Josh Allen (QB) @ Mia
  • Tom Brady (QB) vs. GB
  • Brandin Cooks (WR) @ Chi
  • Christian Kirk (WR) @ LAC
  • Joe Mixon (RB) @ NYJ
  • Aaron Jones (RB) @ TB
  • Travis Kelce (TE) @ IND
  • Leonard Fournette (RB) vs. GB
  • Nick Folk (K) vs. Bal
  • Cleveland (DEF) vs. Pit

It’s yet another bloodbath waiting to happen.

Predicting The 2022 NFL Season

You know it and love it! The NFL prediction post is back again! Here are the prior years I’ve done it:

Not to toot my own horn too much, but I did pretty damn good last year. I had all of the NFC divisional winners, and 5 of the 7 playoff teams from that conference. I only missed the Eagles and Cardinals (I had WFT and the Seahawks, of course). I wasn’t quite as good with the AFC, picking half of the divisional winners correct. But, I still managed 4 of the 7 playoff participants. I’ll take it!

I even nailed half of the Super Bowl matchup, though the Bills screwed me. If they weren’t so unfathomably shitty on defense against the Chiefs, they might’ve made it!

Anyway, that’s last year. This year, I’ve done even less research than usual. That’s what happens when you pack your summer with trips and activities. That’s also what happens when the Seahawks suck and I just don’t give a fuck. Let’s get into it.

NFC East

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Washington Guardians
  • New York Football Giants

I know everyone is on the Eagles’ hype train this year, after apparently making every single correct move this offseason. But, I’m not there yet. I need to see it before I’ll believe it. The Cowboys are still really fucking talented, and in spite of their bumbler of a head coach, I think they’ll prevail in the division. I think Washington will probably be middle-of-the-road at best, and I think the Giants will be among the worst four teams in football.

NFC North

  • Green Bay Packers
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Detroit Lions
  • Chicago Bears

I wanted to put the Vikings in the top seat, but I kept feeling supremely dumb going against the Packers. I’ll say this much: the Packers won’t get to 13 wins again this year. The receivers are GOING to be an issue, that’s just the way it is. But, they should have enough talent to hold everyone else at bay. I do think the Vikings have a good shot to make it as a wild card. I’m not drinking the Lions’ Kool Aid after watching them on Hard Knocks, but I do think they could be a 7-8 win team. I think the Bears will be among the worst four teams in football.

NFC South

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Carolina Panthers
  • New Orleans Saints
  • Atlanta Falcons

REAL fucking samey in the NFC so far. I like the Bucs even less than I like the Packers, what with their O-Line woes. If the O-Line doesn’t hold up, and if the receivers aren’t back to full health, I think this will be a LONG year for Brady. I predict this is the beginning of the end, and we won’t see Brady in the NFL next year. I’m not as high on the Saints as most people; I think the surprise team will be the Panthers and how competent they are with Baker at the helm. And I think the Falcons will be among the worst four teams in football.

NFC West

  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • Arizona Cardinals
  • Seattle Seahawks

I was going to run it back with all four same division winners, but I could see some Super Bowl Hangover with the Rams. The 49ers are loaded all over the place, and I think Trey Lance will be just dynamic enough to make some plays and not screw things up. He could also be amazing with that Shanahan offense. I like the Cards to take a step back this year. And I HOPE BEYOND HOPE that the Seahawks are among the worst four teams in football.

AFC East

  • Buffalo Bills
  • Miami Dolphins
  • New England Patriots
  • New York Jets

Surprise surprise, I love the Bills again! God dammit. I hope they shored up their defense. I don’t like any of the other teams, but that’s also not shocking. I think the Dolphins get one over on the Pats, even though Tua’s Noodle Arm looks like a poor fit for what should be a high-volume passing offense. I’m not hearing great things about the Pats, which is just fucking great, because I’m saddled with Mac Jones in my dynasty league. And the Jets are gonna Jets.

AFC North

  • Baltimore Ravens
  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Cleveland Browns

Definite Super Bowl Hangover for the Bengals, but I still like them enough to make the playoffs. I think Lamar Jackson comes out on fire this year, in looking for a new deal. The Ravens might vie for the top seed overall. I think the Browns will STINK under Jacoby Brissett, and I think they will continue to stink under Deshaun Watson. The dude will have missed nearly two full years, there’s no way he’s coming back and being awesome right off the bat. On top of which, he’s pretty much going to be hated everywhere he goes, so he’s definitely going to feel the effects of that on the field. The Steelers won’t be good, but I think they’ll out-perform expectations.

AFC South

  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Tennessee Titans
  • Houston Texans
  • Jacksonville Jaguars

All right, THIS is the year the Colts put it together and supplant the Titans atop the AFC South. Matt Ryan might not be elite, but he’s good enough, and the pieces will be around him to coast to an easy 10 or 11 wins. This might be the end of the road for Ryan Tannehill; where are his weapons? The loss of A.J. Brown is going to be HUGE, and look for them to over-compensate next offseason by whatever means necessary. I also think Derrick Henry is going to continue breaking down; they might not even be the second-best team in this division. Kill me, I like Davis Mills! I know most people like the Jags to be a sleeper, but I think they’re still a year away. I like the Texans to be a possible sleeper, since really EVERYONE is sleeping on them.

AFC West

  • Denver Broncos
  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • Los Angeles Chargers
  • Las Vegas Raiders

I kinda want to put them all in the playoffs! But, ultimately, I think the Raiders come up JUST short. The Chiefs are definitely going to be hurt by the loss of Hill; it can’t all fall on Kelce. Defenses are going to double-team him and no one else will be there to step up (you can save the JuJu talk). I like the Broncos here because there’s no way the Seahawks don’t get screwed in this Russell Wilson deal. They’re going to win 12-13 games just to spite me. I do like the Chargers to finally get over the hump and make it as a wild card, though.

NFC Playoffs

  1. Dallas Cowboys
  2. San Francisco 49ers
  3. Green Bay Packers
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  5. Los Angeles Rams
  6. Philadelphia Eagles
  7. Minnesota Vikings

AFC Playoffs

  1. Buffalo Bills
  2. Baltimore Ravens
  3. Denver Broncos
  4. Indianapolis Colts
  5. Kansas City Chiefs
  6. Los Angeles Chargers
  7. Cincinnati Bengals

Wild Card Round

  • 49ers over Vikings
  • Packers over Eagles
  • Rams over Bucs
  • Ravens over Bengals
  • Broncos over Chargers
  • Chiefs over Colts

Divisional Round

  • Cowboys over Rams
  • Packers over 49ers
  • Bills over Chiefs
  • Broncos over Ravens

Championship Round

  • Packers over Cowboys
  • Bills over Broncos

Super Bowl

  • Bills over Packers

Now that I have it all laid out, I could not be less enthused by this prediction post. I think I’m going to be LAUGHABLY off-base. None of it is coherent; for some reason I’m skeptical about the Packers up top, but I like them to go all the way to the Super Bowl? I dunno. This is gonna be one of those years where it’s a total crapshoot. Kinda exciting!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: A Three-Time Loser

I’m in three fantasy football leagues. I didn’t intend to be in so many, but it just happened that way. I have my longstanding – now Dynasty – league with my college friends that I write about here; I have my Splinter League that I write a little blurb about at the end of each of these posts; and I’m in a league with my brother and his work friends (they had an opening and needed someone to fill it at the last minute). All three leagues have different rules and therefore bring something unique to the table.

And, somehow, I managed to lose in all three this week.

The ONLY positive to being in three leagues is that it’s really hard to lose ALL of your games. You can have a really shitty weekend, but usually you’ll at least find one of your three teams victorious. It’s a rare, special kind of sucking that sees you go 0-3 in the same calendar weekend.

Snoopy & Prickly Pete lost to Beasts 157.15 to 80.25. I was without a tight end – due to injuries/COVID – but that didn’t matter. I got just over 20 points combined out of my two QBs, and everyone else just sort of shit the bed. Somehow, Justin Fields outscored everyone on my team, but he was on my bench because he was going up against the Steelers’ defense. Mike White somehow outscored Mac Jones even though White lasted only two drives and Jones’ team won 24-6. I don’t even know.

My general thoughts on last week are that scoring was down for pretty much everyone because it was a weird week in the NFL. Also, my team fucking SUUUUUUUCKS, so there’s that.

Jordan Love looked … not great. From what I saw of that game, the Chiefs’ defense was blitzing early and often, and he couldn’t make them pay. I know he’s a young guy making his first regular season start, but that was hella cringe. I am, helplessly, still no closer to finding my quarterbacks of the future.

This week, I’ll be facing Car Talk With Josh Allen, the team I played in week one. That was one of my two victories this season, so I’m sure he’s looking for revenge. Here is a tentative lineup I’m looking at:

  • Mac Jones (QB) vs. CLE
  • Taylor Heinicke (QB) vs. TB
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. ATL
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) vs. DET
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. ATL
  • TBD (RB)
  • Dawson Knox (TE) @ NYJ
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) @ GB
  • Justin Tucker (K) @ MIA
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) @ SF

I need to pick up another running back. David Montgomery is back, which means Khalil Herbert is back to being his understudy; regardless, the Bears are on a BYE this week anyway. CEH is still on IR and isn’t likely to return this week. So, I’ll be looking to drop Herbert after everyone clears waivers and pick up someone to get me points. I would think about dropping one of my tight ends – I have Knox and Noah Fant still – but this tight end decision is going to have ramifications for years to come, so I’d like to make a measured, patient decision on the matter.

As for QB, Fields is on BYE, Love returns to my bench (as Rodgers is said to be starting against the Seahawks, assuming he clears COVID), and White is coming off of an in-game injury, so I’d like to see him survive a full game before starting him. Also, Buffalo has a pretty good defense and I could see them smashing the living daylights out of the Jets in response to blowing it against the Jags last week.

A.J. Brown is the WR I’m sitting this week. I don’t know if that’s a smart choice or not, though I have to expect the Saints (who they’re playing this week) will put their very best cornerback on him all game. Now that I’ve said that, I’ve just ensured Brown goes off for multiple TDs; it’s okay, I have him going in another league, so it won’t be a total waste if he crushes it.

Car Talk is looking at this collective of players:

  • Josh Allen (QB) @ NYJ
  • Jimmy Garoppolo (QB) vs. LAR
  • Robert Woods (WR) @ SF
  • Cole Beasley (WR) @ NYJ
  • Aaron Jones (RB) vs. SEA
  • Leonard Fournette (RB) @ WAS
  • Travis Kelce (TE) @ LV
  • Melvin Gordon (RB) vs. PHI
  • Tyler Bass (K) @ NYJ
  • Baltimore (DEF) @ MIA

This looks like a massacre waiting to happen. There’s no way Allen has two bad games in a row, especially against a team as inept as the Jets. Jimmy G – one of my pile of QBs from earlier this season – comes back to haunt me. Aaron Jones is a super stud, as is Travis Kelce (who has been relatively quiet this season … except when he’s going against me in fantasy).

We’re officially one time through the league on this season. I’ve played everyone once, and I’m 2-7 as a result. Of course, I’m in last place, both in record and in total points. I have five games remaining before the regular season ends and I have to figure out some way to succeed in the Consolation Bracket. Here’s hoping things start looking a little more clear over the next month!

Splinter League Round-Up!

This week was pretty much decided on Thursday night, as Jonathan Taylor scored 34 points when he was projected to only get 18. Otherwise, Vinegar Strokes didn’t do so hot! But, BUCK FUTTER did far worse, in spite of making all the right 50/50 moves on who to start and who to sit. I was severely hampered by the Bucs being on a BYE and losing both of my starting receivers. My team should be at full strength this week, though, as I try to avenge my week one loss to 50 Shades Of Gritty. Her team isn’t super great, but she can step up and bring the smack down when she has to.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Some Good & Bad In A Week 1 Win

Part of me feels like I had no business winning that first game; that’ll happen when you score the 4th (out of 5th) most points in victory (and when you score the 7th most points in total). There were only three teams I would’ve defeated, and I was lucky enough to have gone up against one of them.

But, as a seasoned fantasy football veteran, I know shit like this happens. And, at some point, my team is going to be held WAY under its expected total points, and I’m going to lose to a team that was Just Okay. The fantasy gods giveth, and the fantasy gods taketh away.

Snoopy & Prickly Pete defeated Car Talk With Josh Allen 161.88 to 123.35.

I woke up on Sunday to find that Trey Sermon was inactive. That had me scrambling to my computer to put Raheem Mostert into my lineup over Clyde Edwards-Helaire. When you roster Mostert, you know time is of the essence; there are precious few weeks in a season where he makes it through a game unscathed. In striking while the iron was hot, I figured what better opportunity to enjoy a completely-healthy Mostert?

It turns out, he was good for two carries before he injured his knee, sending him to the IR for the rest of the year.

I’m a pretty rational human being. I know, for instance, that I wasn’t the only person who was duped into starting Mostert this past week. I know I wasn’t the only person to make a last-second lineup change that backfired. But, I believe wholeheartedly that I’m the only person in the world who gets so consistently fucked over by these moves every single time. Either I make the switch, and it backfires, or I stick to my guns, and I leave points on my bench. EVERY. FUCKING. TIME.

In this case, it was hard to be too upset, because CEH only got 10.2 points – pretty much what I expected him to get against the Browns – but that’s not the point. The point is the potential of what Mostert represented, in a cupcake matchup against the Lions’ inept run defense. That was a 20+ point game in the making!

The fantasy gods, knowing they did me dirty, decided to help me out in this one. My opponent had Ryan Fitzpatrick going as one of his QBs; he made it all of 6 pass attempts before going down with an injury. That one probably hurt Car Talk more than it hurt me, but if Mostert would’ve had the monster day I was expecting, I think it might’ve been close.

Anyway, the highlight of my day was Jameis Winston throwing for 5 touchdowns and getting me 41.1 points. He REALLY carried me, though I had some good performances elsewhere. CeeDee Lamb got me 23.88, Jimmy G got me 19.9 (and had a TD pass stolen from him at the goalline by the backup, FML), D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown, and the Rams’ defense all got me in the teens.

Meanwhile, Car Talk had 25-point games out of Kelce and Mixon, but Josh Allen struggled in a tough matchup against the Steelers’ defense. On top of that, he had four guys NOT named Fitzpatrick who also got him under 10 points each (compared to just Elliott and Mostert for me).

Late last week, after Gus Edwards went down, I picked up Ty’Son Williams, dropping Zack Moss (who was another surprise inactive on gameday). Williams looks to be going up against Latavius Murray (who I also just picked up on waivers this week) for carries in that backfield; he had a solid game on Monday Night, but the splits were pretty even between the two. I’ll continue to monitor them, while still looking to shore up the position. In the meantime, Mostert lands in my IR spot.

This week, I go up against Hahmez Wah 360 Allstars. Here’s my projected lineup:

  • Jameis Winston (QB) @ CAR
  • Jimmy Garoppolo (QB) @ PHI
  • A.J. Brown (WR) @ SEA
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. TEN
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ LAC
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB) @ BAL
  • Noah Fant (TE) @ JAX
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ LAC
  • Justin Tucker (K) vs. KC
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) @ IND

I have at least one friend in my league who thinks Winston might’ve been the best pick in the entire draft. After one week, who am I to argue?! But, I’d like to see it over a consistent basis before I crown my ass. Nevertheless, the Panthers’ defense looks like a pretty good landing spot for his second week. Jimmy G, I’m a little more concerned about. Maybe the Philly defense is better than we thought? Or Atlanta is just terrible? My alternative is Mac Jones at the Jets, which seems like a no-brainer. But, the Jets do have a pretty good D-Line, I’m told, and again it’s only his second game. My hunch is the 49ers will need to throw the ball more to put up points to keep up with the Eagles (especially if the 49ers’ defense is as bad as we saw in the second half against the Lions last week). I’m really just biding my time – and THOROUGHLY on the Bench Andy Dalton Bandwagon – until Justin Fields gets the starting job full time. Boy did he look good in limited action against the Bears!

Zeke is locked in at running back, and I fully expect him to have a much better game against the Chargers. CEH is up in the air …

As usual, my three receivers are locked in, so I won’t be throwing any running backs into my flex spot just yet. Ty’Son Williams is still in too much of a timeshare to trust at this point.

I’m reasonably happy with Justin Tucker against the Chiefs, though that could be uncomfortable if the Chiefs start racking up the touchdowns. I still don’t know enough about Noah Fant or the Jaguars to know if I’m happy with that matchup, but my gut tells me it should go well for me. I’d like to think the Rams could do just as well against the Colts as the Seahawks did, if not better; here’s hoping Aaron Donald can make Carson Wentz’s life miserable!

The lineup Hahmez Wah is throwing out there looks quite formidable!

  • Jalen Hurts (QB) vs. SF
  • Matthew Stafford (QB) @ IND
  • Stefon Diggs (WR) @ MIA
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) vs. LV
  • Chris Carson (RB) vs. TEN
  • D’Andre Swift (RB) @ GB
  • Robert Tonyan (TE) vs. DET
  • Tyler Lockett (WR) vs. TEN
  • Rodrigo Blankenship (K) vs. LAR
  • Buffalo (DEF) @ MIA

Hurts looks like a Top 5 fantasy quarterback, and if the 49ers’ defense is as bad as they were in the second half against Detroit, that could be a 40-point game in the making. Stafford, of course, I’m super-high on, and Indy’s defense is beatable, as we just saw with Russell Wilson. Diggs is a Top 5 wide receiver and Buffalo loves to throw the ball, so that’s always scary. Johnson is a little boom-or-busty for the Steelers, but nothing I know about the Raiders’ defense leads me to believe they can stop a top-flight passing attack. Carson was held out of the endzone against the Colts, but I wouldn’t expect that to continue against a truly wretched Titans defense. Swift had a GREAT first week and could very well find himself the beneficiary of lots of checkdowns as the Lions try to come back against the Packers on Monday night. Tonyan is solid, though I imagine Rodgers will look to get all his receivers going this week. Lockett had a terrific first week, so hopefully this time he hangs back and lets Metcalf take the lead. Miami’s offense stinks with Tua, so I fully expect Buffalo to blast them.

All told he’s got some great looking players and matchups this week, so I’m going to need a bundle to keep up. It’s not totally impossible for me to do so, but I get the feeling my team is probably a 160-ish point team at best most weeks. Jimmy G is too much of a burden, and that might make all the difference if he shits the bed. I’m predicting a loss, maybe even a total blowout.

Splinter League Round-Up!

Dude, fuck me, I don’t know what happened. I was projected to be the top scoring team in the league this year, and came out and scored the fewest points in week one. That’s thanks in large part to Aaron Rodgers laying a fucking EGG and getting less than one point. Najee Harris was also disappointing, getting less than 6 points. And Mark Andrews didn’t do me any favors on Monday night either (though, by that point, I was rooting against him in other leagues, so it was okay). I’m chocking this up to a fluke occurrence and we’re On To Cincinnati.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Snoopy & Prickly Pete

Also, check out the Fantasy Football tag for all my past ramblings on the subject.

Last year ended as horribly as can be in my Main League. I made the 6-team playoffs, but then promptly lost in the first round. That means I missed out on the 4-team consolation bracket – which plays for the top 4 draft picks the following season – and was saddled in the 5/6 game, playing for the 5th/6th draft pick. Of course, I lost that game as well, and here I was, heading into this season drafting 6th out of 10 teams, in a standard (non-snake) draft.

Last year, we were up to 4 keepers, having steadily increased that number over the last few years, with the ultimate goal of turning the league into a Dynasty League. Finally, there was enough discontent that the talk at this year’s rules meeting centered on, “We either need to go full dynasty, or blow it all up and eliminate keepers altogether.”

I don’t mind telling you I was lobbying hard to go with the dynasty league. I’ve been spending the last few years suffering mediocre finishes all in the name of trying to find the best keepers possible to carry over (with the primary goal of finding one or two quality quarterbacks to finally cement that position once and for all). I didn’t want all of that work to go to waste. Thankfully, by the thinnest of margins, we were able to vote in the dynasty.

Our set up is like this: we have to keep all of our starting positions. 2 QBs, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 FLEX, 1 K, 1 DEF. Easy peasy. We’ll get to wait until about a week before our fantasy draft next year before declaring who those keepers will be. Then, at the draft, we’ll select our 5 bench spots out of whoever’s left over, plus any incoming rookies.

This all starts NEXT year, meaning that we’re still only carrying over 4 keepers from last season. But, with our draft – that took place last Thursday – it’s officially on. If you’re not going all-in on the dynasty aspect with regards to who you’re drafting, then that means you like your team an awful lot and are pushing to win the championship within the next 1-2 years.

I didn’t love my keepers heading into our draft, because – SPOILER ALERT – I had no quarterbacks among the four. My keepers were:

  1. A.J. Brown (WR)
  2. CeeDee Lamb (WR)
  3. Ezekiel Elliott (RB)
  4. Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB)

That’s the ranking of how much I liked them, 1 through 4. I was waffling back and forth on CEH until the bitter end, before I read enough pundits who think he’s due to have a bounce-back year in his second season in the league. I can buy it. He doesn’t appear to have a lot of competition at the spot in Kansas City; even though they throw the ball WAY MORE than they run it, he could sneak in for some more touchdowns and still catch a lot of balls.

I had zero interest in keeping Josh Jacobs. He was supposed to be my horse last year, but he underwhelmed, and then the Raiders brought in Kenyan Drake (the bane of every fantasy owner’s existence wherever he plays, because he’s always stealing carries from someone more promising). I had a lot of fringey receivers I was mulling over (Jerry Jeudy, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, D.J. Chark, and Rashard Higgins), but all of those guys are players that could easily be had in any fantasy draft.

As for my two quarterbacks, I had Kirk Cousins (who’s a non-starter for me, since he’s not vaccinated – which means there’s a high likelihood he misses games this year – and he’s just overall mediocre), and Tua Tagovailoa. I made a HUGE to-do about picking him up on waivers last year, thinking his Alabama pedigree might translate to NFL success. But, he just looked too shitty as a rookie last year. More often than not, you can see which rookie quarterbacks are going to be studs, and which ones are going to be Marcus Mariota. Tua looks like he’s going to be a left-handed Mariota.

In the end, my final keeper came down to CEH and Tee Higgins. I was THIS close to keeping Higgins, because I freaking love that dude, and I think in that Bengals offense he’s going to be steadily productive for the next decade. But, the Bengals also went out and drafted another elite receiver really high in this year’s draft, plus they still have Tyler Boyd, who’s solid. There ended up being too many cooks in that kitchen, and I was scared off. I still think Higgins will be the best of those three this year, but going forward, it’s iffy.

Plus, let’s face it, there are tons of solid wide receivers all throughout the league. Keeping three of them seemed like overkill. I would’ve been effectively handing over my FLEX spot to Higgins, and if for whatever reason he struggles, then I’ve wasted one of my keeper spots for a fringe fantasy starter.

***

I had a couple plans heading into the draft with my 6th overall pick. Trevor Lawrence would obviously be off the table (he, indeed, went #1 overall). I assumed Najee Harris would also be off the table (he ended up being taken with the third pick, for reasons I’ll get into in a moment). I ranked my top six players, and my third choice would’ve been Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts (who very well might’ve fallen to me, as he was ultimately taken 7th), followed by Matthew Stafford (who did fall to me, though I ended up trading him – SPOILER ALERT AGAIN), and then the Washington and Indy running backs as 5th and 6th (they ended up going 5th and 4th respectively).

I would’ve been elated to have Matthew Stafford, because I think he’s going to have an awesome year with the Rams. Plus, he’s only 33 years old, which means he could have another 7-10 years ahead of him if things break right!

My general plan was to load up on quarterbacks – taking lots of flyers on rookies, after Stafford – and running backs (to try to load up on depth in case of injuries and BYEs). This was always going to be a quasi-throwaway year for me, in hopes that I’d find the two quarterbacks I’d be rolling with for the next 5-10 years.

That was thrown out the window when Hahmez Wah 360 Allstars (don’t ask) texted the entire league saying his keepers were available for trade (in exchange for players and/or draft picks).

He actually had four pretty good keepers (Derrick Henry, D.K. Metcalf, George Kittle, and Stefon Diggs), but for whatever reason, he was looking to shake things up.

I didn’t want Henry because he’s being run into the ground and probably has 1-2 more years MAX before he begins his slide. I didn’t want Kittle because he could be an injury risk with the way he plays the game and how hard he is on his body. D.K. Metcalf is obviously a huge draw for me, as a Seahawks fan, and I think he’s someone who could be the #1 scoring wide receiver as early as THIS year. Plus he’s young and should be good for another decade. Sign me up!

I made Hahmez Wah 360 Allstars a lowball offer (I think a second rounder, or a fourth rounder plus A.J. Brown); he countered saying he needed my first rounder. I took a bit to think about it, before ultimately concluding that D.K. Metcalf with the 6th pick would be guaranteed to be better than anyone who might fall to me (there would’ve been the potential for higher upside with someone like Pitts, but there’s always a risk with any rookie).

I’m lucky I accepted the offer when I did, because by the next day someone had offered him the #2 overall pick for D.K. I told that guy (with the #2 pick) if Trevor Lawrence somehow – by the grace of God – fell out of the top spot, I’d trade him D.K. for Lawrence (which he agreed to, since he already has Russell Wilson and Justin Herbert as his keepers), but of course that was never going to happen.

Hahmez Wah, in the end, turned his aforementioned keepers into Jalen Hurts (#2 overall) & Chris Carson (he traded his #9 overall for the #2 overall, while also giving away Derrick Henry in the deal), Matthew Stafford (in the Metcalf deal), Tyler Lockett (in the Kittle deal, where he got the first pick in the second round), while still hanging onto Stefon Diggs. I wouldn’t love that for my team – if I were him, I would’ve stuck the keepers I had – but I understand the impulse in making a radical change. Also, it IS a game, after all; it’s supposed to be fun, right? What’s more fun than a crazy slew of trades?

***

So, heading into the second round, I had three receivers and two running backs. It was time to start looking into the quarterback position.

No other QB was taken after the three I already mentioned. Next up on my private dynasty rankings was Justin Fields, so I grabbed him with my second pick. No, he’s not starting right away, but the stories I’ve read about him were phenomenal, and I think he has real breakout potential. Trey Lance was going to be my next choice, but he was taken from me two picks before my spot in the third round, so I settled on Mac Jones. Also hearing great stories about him! Less of a running threat, but in a better team situation than Fields, so I like that.

Then, for good measure – because I needed someone to start right away in week one – I nabbed Jameis Winston. He’s been on and off my fantasy team for years, but he had last year off (for the most part) and has been learning the Saints’ system. If he’s even remotely more careful with the ball, he’s a guy who’s capable of throwing for 5,000 yards and 30+ touchdowns. We also forget: he’s also only 27 years old; so if he does change his entire career around, that could be a steal for me.

As chance would have it, Cousins was around for my fifth pick, but I zagged and went with the Rams’ defense. I feel like they have the potential to be solid for the duration of Aaron Donald’s career, so why not? Then, with my sixth pick, Noah Fant was still available. I had him as a rookie and it sounds like the offense is going to be vastly improved in Denver, so I like the idea of having him for the foreseeable future. Also, the drop-off after Fant was pretty considerable (the next guys taken were Goedert and Tonyan; I’m good with my choice).

Then, I finally had to break down and get a third running back. Obviously, my plan to load up on the position was a failure. It was down to Chase Edmonds or Raheem Mostert in the 7th round. Edmonds went one pick earlier, so Mostert it is! I like Mostert; when he’s healthy, he’s dominant (in many ways, he’s like Chris Carson). He just can’t stay healthy. But, if I can squeeze a few weeks out of him, I’ll look to hopefully address the running back position next year.

In the 8th round, I nabbed Justin Tucker. He’s only 31 years old and he’s the best kicker in football. He could be around for another 10-15 years if he takes care of himself. After that, I went back to the quarterback well, grabbing Jimmy G. Obviously, the 49ers drafted their quarterback of the future. But, if you look at the 49ers’ schedule, it’s pretty damn easy the first few weeks of the season. I’ll mix and match with him and Mac Jones for a while until Jimmy G ultimately gets benched, and hope he has enough pride to force the 49ers’ hand in benching a guy playing well. At the very least, he has a soft landing against the Lions in week one, where I expect him to be a Top 10 fantasy quarterback (for just that one week, anyway). Yes, I know there’s potential for Lance to snipe some snaps from him, but I don’t care. As long as he’s not getting entire chunks of plays in the red zone, I’ll be happy.

With my next-to-last pick, I took a chance on Buffalo’s Zack Moss. He was a rookie last year and the team obviously liked him enough to draft him in the third round. Maybe this is the year he assumes the starter job! Of course, even then, it’s not like Buffalo runs the ball all that much. I’m hoping they get such huge leads early in games, that they’ll be running the ball exclusively in the fourth quarter.

Finally, for my super sleeper, I picked Jordan Love, backup quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. I’m going to do my damnedest to hang onto him all year. The way I see it, if none of my rookie QBs pan out this year, and are not keeper-worthy in my eyes, I’ll just keep Love and roll the dice. They obviously drafted him to be Aaron Rodgers’ replacement sooner or later. If I have no one better, why not keep him and see if he’s elite?

***

There’s obviously a lot wrong with my team at this point in my dynasty. The quarterback situation is a mess and my running back depth is nil. But, I have just the three receivers: D.K., Brown, and Lamb, and I think all three of those guys are Top 10 calibre players at the position. I’m set! In non-BYE weeks (and, in non-injury situations), I have my two WR spots and my FLEX spot all locked down. Not having any receivers on my bench affords me the luxury of carrying extra RBs and QBs. If I’m ever able to lock down the quarterback spot to my satisfaction, that leaves me more room on my bench for even more RBs, as well as potential backups to tight end or defense (which always comes in handy).

I think I’m done making RBs a priority. Unless some super-stud rookie falls to me in the first round of the draft next year, I’m just going to do my best to either stream running backs or carry enough in those second-to-fourth tiers to play matchups and hope I get around 10 points from each. If my QBs and receivers can carry me, I think that’s a championship formula. Running backs are just too damn fickle and too injury prone; it’s impossible to rely on them to be 20+ point workhorses anymore. I’d rather go for elite receivers, hope they blow up a few times a year, and just get steady-if-unspectacular production from my RBs. Plus, if I’m able to find someone on the free agent scrap heap that comes from nowhere to crush it, all the better.

***

Now, it’s time to talk about this week. My team is Snoopy & Prickly Pete (Seinfeld reference, for the second straight year!). I’m going up against the reigning league champion, Car Talk With Josh Allen (guess who one of his quarterbacks is). He’s projected to finish third in our league (one game ahead of me), and – not for nothing – he’s projected to beat me in week 1.

Here’s my week 1 lineup, barring any unexpected last-minute COVID issues:

  • Jameis Winston (QB) vs. GB
  • Jimmy Garoppolo (QB) @ DET
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ TB
  • A.J. Brown (WR) vs. AZ
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ TB
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB) vs. CLE
  • Noah Fant (TE) @ NYG
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) @ IND
  • Justin Tucker (K) @ LV
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) vs. CHI

As I said, I love Jimmy G against a nothing Detroit defense; Mac Jones is my only other option and I’d rather not start a rookie in his first game, against a defense as good as Miami’s. As I also said, all my receivers are locked in, which means the only other choice was my #2 running back (though, I don’t love Zeke against that Bucs defense, with their All Pro guard out for this game). I briefly considered Mostert against Detroit, but I’d really like to see what the 49ers’ offense looks like, with their two quarterbacks, plus their new rookie running back angling to steal snaps. I’m rolling with all my keepers, at least for now!

Car Talk looks like he’s got the following:

  • Josh Allen (QB) vs. PIT
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB) vs. LAC
  • Allen Robinson (WR) @ LAR
  • Julio Jones (WR) vs. AZ
  • Aaron Jones (RB) @ NO
  • Joe Mixon (RB) vs. MIN
  • Travis Kelce (TE) vs. CLE
  • Robert Woods (WR) vs. CHI
  • Tyler Bass (K) vs. PIT
  • Baltimore (DEF) @ LV

Our teams are pretty much even (he’s a little better at QB, I’m a little better at WR) except for the difference in our projected points from the tight end position. Kelce is the best in football; mine is just okay. That’s always a huge advantage and I hope I’m able to one day have something similar on my team. In the meantime, I’ll just have to hope the Chiefs run the ball more and throw their TDs to their wide receivers. That’s a tall ask.

I’m guessing I’ll lose this game. I’ll be down in the dumps on Sunday, but a dynasty league isn’t about just one week, or even one season. This is a transitional year, and I hope to be better at the end than I am at the beginning.

In the meantime, PATIENCE! I need to practice extreme patience, and accept losing for what it is: a temporary means to an end, that will one day result in my name on that championship trophy. Maybe not this year, but one year soon. Let’s fucking go.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Return Of The Splinter League

My fantasy column (which is really just an excuse to complain about my fantasy teams, but also lets me provide my analysis on a variety of players and matchups on a weekly basis) has been a regular feature on my blog since 2018. You can catch up on the types of leagues I’m in HERE. I mostly just talk about my Main League, one I used to be commissioner of since its infancy back in the 2003-range. I’m still in it – with a group of my oldest friends – though I’m no longer in charge. I went and started my own Splinter League with some friends who are in the Main League, as well as some other friends, and it’s much more lowkey and casual. Both are 2-QB leagues that heavily skew towards more points for the quarterbacks (since they’re the most important players in the real NFL, I feel this is valid for fantasy as well).

The Splinter League is much more QB-friendly (15 yards per point, compared to 20 in the Main League; both are 6-point touchdowns and -4 points for INTs). Anyway, I’ll have more to say about the Main League at another time, but my Splinter League team just had its draft on Sunday night, so let’s get into it!

This year’s Splinter League team name is BUCK FUTTER, from the infamous SNL Jeopardy! sketch. It’s an okay name, but I didn’t have a lot of inspiration this year, especially after trying to compete with last year’s Pound Some Cunth, which was *chef’s kiss*.

I’m mostly just excited because I drafted a really good team. I’m not the only one who thinks so, as Yahoo – on draft day – pegged me for a 14-1 record this season. Just a day removed – even though Yahoo has tinkered with the projected standings of other teams – I remain with that 14-1 prognostication. I was also the only team to get an A grade by Yahoo (the next-highest was a B; then there’s a B-, with everyone else in the C-range in our 10-team league).

I logged on 30 minutes prior to find I was drafting 9th. That means that – again, with our scoring system being what it is – most of the top tier quarterbacks would be taken. The guy with the first draft pick never showed and had his team auto-drafted by Yahoo; as a result, Yahoo drafted him a team the way it would in any old league (i.e. eschewing quarterbacks early for running backs and receivers). CMC was the first overall pick. Then it went: Mahomes, Allen, Brady, Dalvin Cook, Wilson, Kyler, and Lamar (the Cook guy also temporarily forgot about the scoring system, but that’s not a bad alternative for him).

So, I was left with the guy I picked – Aaron Rodgers – among players like Tannehill, Dak, Herbert, Hurts, Stafford, and Lawrence. The 10th pick in the snake went with Zeke Elliott and Tannehill back-to-back, which left me in the illustrious position of getting Alvin Kamara with my second round pick. Outstanding! I’ve never had him on a fantasy team before and I couldn’t be more thrilled that he’s with me now (with no Brees, and lots of question marks on that Saints offense).

I had the usual LONG wait before I got to my third and fourth picks. I opted for Matthew Stafford over Trevor Lawrence to close out the third round (I never considered for a second going with either Baker Mayfield or Matt Ryan, who both went later in the fourth round). I’ll say this: if the Splinter League were a keeper league, it would’ve been Lawrence all day. But, we do full redrafts here, and I’m not willing to jump on the Lawrence bandwagon if there’s no long-term benefit for me. There will be lots of yards thrown, but I also anticipate lots of turnovers that will hurt him. I also wanted to go with Stafford because – like Rodgers – he’s on a team that’s going to be in the running with the Seahawks for the top seed in the NFC. If I have any bad mojo on me, and it carries over to those guys, all the better for my beloved Seahawks. Otherwise, if they play as well as I expect them to, I should have no problems at the quarterback position in 2021 (for this league, anyway).

With my fourth round pick, I nabbed Najee Harris. This is a guy I LOVED in college, and desperately wished my Seahawks could’ve somehow gotten in the real NFL draft. I was burned last year in my Main League with rookie running back CEH, but Harris seems like a slam dunk as long as he stays healthy. I can’t remember the last time I had two running backs I was so fond of! If you let me hand-pick any two running backs for my fantasy team, it would’ve been Kamara and Harris. I know guys just say things like that all the time, but for me it’s true. I think both will be durable, as well as points hogs both in the running and passing games. Plus, they’re just fun players to watch (unless they’re going against your team, then you’re never more miserable, particularly when they’re going off).

With another long wait between picks, a lot of good receivers were going off the board. I had no shot at the upper tier guys (Tyreek, Davante, Kelce, D.K., Hopkins, Diggs, and Ridley all went in rounds 2 and 3 between my picks), and players I was potentially eyeballing for the end of the fifth round, like Keenan Allen, Allen Robinson, and particularly CeeDee Lamb, were all swiped from me (Lamb one spot prior). I could’ve gone after the Rams guys – Kupp & Woods – to pair them with my quarterback; I could’ve had Tyler Lockett, Amari Cooper, or even Julio for that matter. But, inspiration struck, and I decided to ride the bandwagon of another prominent Seahawks opponent in the NFC in the Tampa Bay Bucs. I got Chris Godwin in the 5th, and swung around and took Mike Evans in the 6th. People are down on Evans, but I still like his touchdown potential if he stays healthy. Godwin is playing for a new contract next year and I expect him to be fired up to make a big splash this year, statswise. I’ll put both of them in my starting lineup together and hope Tom Brady can give it another run (big “if”, I know).

With my next two picks, I was looking for Best Skill Position Available, as the Splinter League has two flex spots (and no mandatory tight end spot, though you could play TE at either/both flex spots if you wanted). Adam Thielen was sniped from me one pick prior, so I settled for Tee Higgins, who is a guy I really like anyway. I had a chance to make him a keeper in my Main League, but was ultimately scared off by the two other quality receivers they have in that offense. Nevertheless, I expect Higgins to continue to produce as long as Joe Burrow is healthy. When the draft whipped around, I got the other running back I wanted: Darrell Henderson. With Cam Akers out for the year, Henderson seems like a strong bet to break out in the Rams’ offense. There’s a chance Sony Michel takes some of his carries (particularly at the goalline), but there’s a reason why the Patriots gave up on Michel: he stinks. I might end up handcuffing the two at some point, but for now Henderson is the safer bet.

I opted to continue going Best Skill Position Available in the 9th & 10th rounds, settling on Mark Andrews first. I’m already iffy on that, but Gus Edwards was sniped from me one pick prior (seriously, that guy who drafted 8th fucked me no less than three times). I also didn’t love the value I was getting on defenses at that spot (the elite defenses were already taken, meaning I had some questionable ones left over), nor did I love the value on a backup quarterback (which I’ll talk about later). Andrews gets a lot of looks around the goalline with the Ravens, so he’s very TD-dependent; he also can get a case of the dropsies which is frustrating. Nevertheless, he’s a fringe flex guy for me until I can find someone more dependable. When we whipped around to the 10th round, Michael Thomas was still sitting there and I jumped on him.

Michael Thomas is one of the biggest question marks of this year’s fantasy football drafting world: when do you take a chance? He’s injured, he’s unhappy with the Saints, and they have a non-Brees starting quarterback heading into a season for the first time in forever. When will he be healthy enough to play again, and how will he fit into the offense? I’m hoping he’ll be back by October, and I’m hoping he returns to being one of the most dominant players in football. For a 10th round flier? Absolutely! Plus, I can stash him in my IR spot until he plays again. No brainer whatsoever.

By the 11th and 12th rounds, it was time to get a defense and a third quarterback. Somehow, the 49ers’ defense was still there, so I grabbed them. But, waiting until the 12th round meant I had slim pickins for QB. I opted for Zach Wilson, not because I believe in the Jets rookie, but because he seemed to be the best of a bunch of terrible options (including Sam Darnold, Jared Goff, and Jimmy G).

The thing with quarterback for me was: Stafford has a BYE in week 11, and Rodgers has his in week 13. Some of these guys – like Jimmy G – might not have their starting jobs that late into the season! Zach Wilson isn’t going anywhere, unless he gets injured or is supremely inept. If he’s halfway competent, he’ll give me the two games I want out of him. Teddy Bridgewater would’ve been a perfectly fine option, but he has a week 11 BYE as well, so that defeats the purpose. I didn’t have room to keep a fourth QB, nor would I want to if I did. I’d rather have a second defense, if anything, just in case!

The guys who ended up on the free agent scrap heap include Cam Newton, Tyrod Taylor, the aforementioned Jimmy G, Andy Dalton, and, of course, Taysom Hill. Rookies who aren’t even starting yet were drafted ahead of all these guys! It’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out. I have zero faith whatsoever in Zach Wilson, though. If anyone else even remotely interesting becomes available, I won’t hesitate to waive him.

In the 13th round, D.J. Chark was still available; that’s excellent value, in my book. That meant I missed out on snagging the Patriots’ defense (which I think will be good this year), who was taken with the very next pick, but oh well. With my 14th and final selection, I took a flier on a lottery ticket in Darnell Mooney, wide receiver for the Bears. He has strong sleeper potential in an offense that could be better than we give it credit for. I don’t know if he’ll be long for my roster either, but that’s okay. You can’t make an omelette without scrambling some eggs, or some damn thing.

One thing that leaps out about this team is how razor thin I am in my depth at quarterback and running back. Rodgers and Stafford just can’t get hurt, period, end of discussion. If they go down for any length of time, I’m probably screwed. Similarly, I only have Kamara, Harris, and Henderson. I need to play a minimum of two running backs every week. Thankfully, they all have different BYE weeks, but what are the odds they play every single game? Slim-to-none. So, I’ll have to work my magic on the waiver wire at some point (I have #2 priority after the draft, so I’ll want to use that to my advantage).

I get an extra roster spot with Michael Thomas on IR, so that helps. I have a couple players in mind as we get into the week that I’ll be looking to snag. Then, it’s just the long wait until the regular season starts!

I don’t know how this column is going to look this year, but I imagine it’ll be heavily discussing my Main League. However, I’ll also devote a section in each one to my Splinter League team. It’s too good and interesting to just ignore completely!

I’m also joining a third league – ran by my brother’s friend – but it’s going to be too confusing if I bring a third into the mix, so we’ll let that one go, unless I absolutely get a bug up my ass about it.