The Seahawks Had An Unexciting Draft This Year

It’s interesting to go through the years – dating back to 2010, because I’m less into the idea of going back to the wild west days and trying to decipher a through-line – and see where things went right and where they went wrong. Obviously, the 2010-2012 drafts were epic and life-changing. But, there’s a real argument to be made that every single draft since then has been a failure.

Just scroll through this. Let’s leave 2022-2024 out of it, because there’s just not enough information to make a sound judgment in such a short period of time. But, 2013-2021? I think Seahawks fans with rose-colored glasses will say there have been peaks and valleys in our draft classes in this span. 2013 was pretty miserable and I don’t think anyone can really defend it at this point. But, if you want to think positively, you can say they’ve consistently found role players, contributors, and even starters.

In 2014, they got an offensive line starter in Justin Britt; in 2015, there was Frank Clark and Tyler Lockett. In 2016, there’s Germain Ifedi and Jarran Reed; in 2017, there’s Ethan Pocic and Shaquill Griffin. In 2018, you’re looking at Michael Dickson and Will Dissly; in 2019 there’s D.K. Metcalf. You could say 2020 was the start of a rebound by this organization, with guys like Jordyn Brooks, Darrell Taylor, and Damien Lewis rounding things out; but, also, almost this entire class is on other teams, and the three picks in 2021 produced absolutely no one.

Not a lot of second contracts in Seattle among this bunch. Lockett, Metcalf, and Dickson are the three greatest Seahawks draft picks since 2013. Everyone else were just role players, or able bodies who ate up an offensive line spot. But, no one has really flashed. No one has stood out. It’s all been pretty middling talent, which has led to middling results for this team.

I’m willing to believe in the 2022 and 2023 classes, because I think there’s a lot of meat on the bone. Charles Cross can still be great. Boye Mafe really took a big step in year two. Kenneth Walker is a fuckin’ stud. Abe Lucas, when healthy, can be a beast. Coby Bryant and Tariq Woolen can be ball hawks in the right scheme. Devon Witherspoon clearly has All Pro type talent. Jaxon Smith-Njigba could be amazing if he’s unleashed in the right offense. Derick Hall has the body type to do great things, Zach Charbonnet flashed true elite greatness as a rookie, Anthony Bradford could be a mauler at guard, Cam Young and Mike Morris could be big bodies in a solid D-Line rotation, and Olu Oluwatimi figures to be in a battle for this year’s starting center job as a fifth round pick in his second season. That’s a lot of potential greatness just waiting to be unleashed by the right coaching staff.

But, then again, we’ve already seen the writing on the wall that many of these guys could be busts. Should it really take a left tackle in Charles Cross 3+ years to develop into a star? Shouldn’t that guy enter the league ready to take it by storm? You’ve got two second-round running backs in there, a devalued position that’s frequently getting itself injured. Speaking of injuries, Lucas appears to have a chronic knee issue, and it can only be a matter of time before Witherspoon – with the way he attacks players with reckless abandon – plays himself out of the league a la Jamal Adams. If Kam Chancellor had to retire early due to medicals, what makes you think some tiny dude like Witherspoon is going to last very long into a second contract? JSN sure looked pedestrian for his rookie season as the #1 receiver drafted; Mafe and Hall could both be one-trick ponies unable to set an edge or play at all against the run. There’s whispers about Woolen’s toughness and ability to stay healthy; I could go on and on picking these draft classes apart.

The thing is, I really want to believe in John Schneider. I want to believe it was Pete Carroll putting his foot down and leading to the worst personnel decisions of the last decade. But, I dunno. The last three draft classes – including this one that took place over the weekend – have had decidedly different feels compared to the ones that came before. It’s really felt like a Best Player Available festival, which is a strategy I hold near and dear to my heart. But, if we proceed to spend the next 3-5 years finishing at or around .500, without any real charge towards Super Bowl contention, then I think it will be pretty obvious that this front office doesn’t know what the hell it’s doing any more than any other front office, and 2010-2012 will be seen as flukes more than anything else.

***

That’s a lot of preamble – and a negative one at that – to get to what I actually thought was a pretty smart draft by the Seahawks. If there’s ever going to be a draft that seriously turns things around for this franchise, it’s going to be one that features a lot of bulk along the line of scrimmage, and absolutely nothing with any of the skill positions.

What have we been complaining about for years? Even during the Super Bowl years, what were we after? Elite defensive tackles who can rush the passer and be a force in the middle against the run. From 2013-2019, we drafted 12 guys who were either DT’s or plus-sized DE’s who we wanted to slide inside on passing downs; those were all some of our greatest busts. Malik McDowell, L.J. Collier, Rasheem Green, Naz Jones, Jesse Williams, Demarcus Christmas; the list goes on and on. Jarran Reed was the only guy worth a damn in that bunch, and even he wasn’t worth it – in the minds of this front office – to spend on that second contract he received. Defensive tackle has been a fucking wasteland for this franchise, and if it wasn’t for Michael Bennett sliding inside during the glory years, we’d be talking about spanning multiple decades of futility.

So, yeah, I’m pretty excited about Byron Murphy. I’m also justifiably reserved in my excitement, because while it’s great to say we got the best all-around defensive lineman in this class, you also can’t deny that we got him with the 16th pick. The NFL deemed 15 other guys better than him. I know a lot of those teams had more pressing needs – mostly on the offensive side of the ball, what with the first 14 picks going that way – but if there was a true juggernaut, no-doubter of a defensive behemoth ready to plug-and-play as a future All Pro and maybe even Hall of Famer, there’s no way that player would’ve fallen to 16. You think Will Anderson – had he left for the NFL this year – would’ve been there for us? Or Aidan Hutchinson, or Chase Young, or Nick Bosa, or Quinnen Williams? I don’t think so.

I think the odds are a lot better that Byron Murphy was the best of a very weak defensive line class, than he’s a future game-wrecker in the mold of Aaron Donald or Geno Atkins. He’ll probably be good, but I’m not holding my breath waiting around for him to be great. As long as he’s not a fucking turd like just about every other defensive tackle we’ve drafted in the last decade, I’ll be happy.

One of the big problems with this draft is how it laid out for the Seahawks. This was a top-heavy draft, with an extremely thin bunch of players in Day 3. If ever there was a draft to select your next punter, kicker, or even long-snapper, this was the one. And, unfortunately for us – when all was said and done – only two of our eight picks were in the first three rounds, where the odds were best we’d actually find useful players. Even though we traded down once – at the top of the fourth round, to get an extra sixth, I think – we didn’t have any sort of capital to make the kinds of moves necessary to give us back the second rounder we lost in the Leonard Williams deal. Had we traded out of 16, we likely would’ve missed out on the last remaining true impact players. Would that have been worth a pick in the mid-20’s and mid-50’s? Probably not.

So, instead, we stuck at 16, took the best player available, and had a LOOOOOONG wait until pick 81 in the third round.

Where we took Christian Haynes, a quality guard who figures to start right away, and might even convert to center, to give us more beef at that spot than we’ve had since Max Unger. I don’t know how good a lineman is from UConn, but draftniks seem to like him, so that’s good enough for me.

I hear the inside linebacker we got from UTEP in the fourth round, Tyrice Knight, is more of a project than a guy we can plug and play. I’m assuming we missed out on the linebacker we actually wanted, and settled for this guy because that was a particular need (one of the few instances where we probably went away from our BPA strategy). I don’t expect Knight to be much of anything.

I also don’t expect much out of our other fourth rounder, A.J. Barner, tight end out of Michigan, but for very different reasons. I actually like the pick, because it sounds like he’s one of the better blocking tight ends in this class, and that was certainly a position of need. If we can get tougher at that position, I’m all for it, because it’s almost like drafting another lineman. He’s probably NOT the stone-hands catcher we’re all imagining, but he’s also not going to drastically improve this offense with his receiving. But, if he opens up holes in the running game, and gives our quarterback a little extra time to make a throw, he’s exactly the kind of tight end I want on my roster.

With our last four picks, we took two cornerbacks from Auburn, and two more offensive line projects. It certainly seems strange to invest so heavily in cornerback depth, when there’s no realistic way we can keep all these guys on our roster (Witherspoon, Woolen, Brown, Jackson, the two rookies, Artie Burns, Coby Bryant (unless we’re still turning him into a safety)), but maybe we’re looking to wheel and deal during training camp. Or, maybe some hard cuts are a-comin’. Either way, until further notice, guys like Nehemiah Pritchett and D.J. James are just camp fodder, and probably practice squad-bound, unless they really stand out as special teamers.

As for the O-Line projects, we got a widebody from Utah named Sataoa Laumea, and some no-name guy from Findlay who goes by Michael Jerrell. Laumea, by all accounts, is the more interesting of the two, as he could conceivably have a shot at contending for a starting spot. Jerrell might as well already be on the practice squad, but I’m not going to hold that against him.

We took three offensive linemen in this draft, that’s not lost on me. I think that’s a huge development for this team. Not that they’ve neglected the O-Line, necessarily. They’re always taking bites at the apple. But, they’ve also failed so miserably for so long, while getting by with middling production from guys on rookie deals. It’s nice to see they haven’t given up. There’s a way to build this unit up from the draft; other teams do it all the time. You need your foundational guys like Charles Cross to pan out, but you also need your mid-rounders like Lucas and Haynes and Bradford and Laumea to develop in a hurry and take the world by storm. I want to be the team that’s the envy of fans across the league. I want them to look at the Seahawks and think, “How do they keep finding these diamonds in the rough later in the draft?!” It’s nice to do it at cornerback and wide receiver, but when you can do it on the O-Line, you’ve really got something.

Half of this draft went to the line of scrimmage; when you throw in a primarily blocking tight end, and an inside linebacker who’s going to have to attack that LOS on the regular, that’s 3/4 of your draft going to the most important non-quarterback spots on the team. If we’re ever going to turn this thing around, it’s either going to be by finding another transcendent quarterback, or by killing it everywhere else. Since we’re bound and determined to ignore QB in the draft every fucking year, then we’ve gotta start putting in work on Plan B. Devoting the bulk of your draft to the LOS, while signing Leonard Williams to a long-term extension, and bringing back George Fant to be offensive tackle depth, is a great start to that process.

Now, let’s check back in three years and see if this class – and any of the others that came before it – are worth a damn.

Seahawks Death Week: Were The 2023 Seahawks Better Than They Were In 2022?

Both teams finished the regular season 9-8. The 2022 Seahawks actually made the playoffs, while the 2023 Seahawks did not. The 2023 Seahawks clearly had higher expectations coming into the year, whereas the 2022 Seahawks were expected to be among the worst five teams in the NFL. But, just because the current iteration underperformed, while the previous one overachieved, doesn’t necessarily mean the 2022 Seahawks were the better team. And, since we don’t live in a magical world where we can have these two squads duke it out on the football field, we have to look at the numbers and see where they compare.

I will readily admit that I’m coming into this exercise HOPING that the 2023 team is actually better, and thanks to a game or two not going our way at the end, we ultimately failed to achieve our goals. Because, if that’s the case, then maybe an argument can be made that this is actually a team on the rise, and this year can be seen as an aberration. However, if the 2023 Seahawks are objectively worse, then this is a team going in the wrong direction. Then, we have to start questioning how good these last two draft classes actually were. Then, we’re left to wonder how long it’s actually going to be before things turn around.

I’ll start with the defense. Heading into the season, what was the biggest problem area, the biggest area of need, the part of the team we all knew needed improvement? The defense. In 2022, we gave up 361.7 yards per game (26th in football); in 2023, we gave up 371.4 yards per game (30th in football).

You know what sucks? Every team that was worse than us in 2022 improved. Detroit went from 32 to 19, Minnesota went from 31 to 16, Houston went from 30 to 14, Chicago went from 29 to 12, Las Vegas went from 28 to 13, Atlanta went from 27 to 11! This isn’t, like, small baby steps of improvement. These are LEAPS AND BOUNDS! And it’s not like we’re talking about teams that all made the playoffs; they were all varying levels of mediocre-to-bad in 2023. Yet they all also saw significant improvements on defense, in one season’s time.

If we keep going back, in 2021, the Seahawks were 28th in yards per game, in 2020 we were 22nd (but still gave up over 380 per game), in 2019 we were 26th. In 2018, we were 16th; that’s the last time we were even kind of okay. Before that, we were obviously very good. But, starting with 2019, that’s five years of being one of the worst defenses in all of football. Of being a defense that absolutely CANNOT compete for a championship. With a head coach that prides himself on being defensively-minded. We’ve been stuck in the shit for half a decade now; meanwhile, all these shitty defenses from 2022 are kicking ass in 2023.

Where did we struggle the most in 2022? Rush defense (150.2 yards per game, 30th in football). How did we fare in 2023? When we got rid of a lot of dead weight and put the majority of our resources into shoring up this part of the game? 138.4 yards per game, 31st in football. So, we improved our number of yards allowed per game, but still ended up worse compared to the rest of the NFL.

The two teams worse than us in 2022? Houston (32) and Chicago (31), who finished 2023 6th (!) and 1st (!!!) in rush yards per game allowed. IN ONE YEAR, they went from the worst to the best!

I mean, this isn’t fucking rocket science! We’re talking about Houston, who had a total coaching regime change, and Chicago, whose head coach in 2022 was just finishing his first year and was already on the hot seat. The Seahawks, meanwhile, are among the most stable franchises in the sport, yet again, we’ve struggled on defense for half a fucking decade. Un-fucking-believable.

To round it out, the 2022 Seahawks gave up 211.5 passing yards (13th); the 2023 Seahawks gave up 233.0 (21st). The 2022 Seahawks gave up 23.6 points per game (25th); the 2023 Seahawks gave up 23.6 points per game 25th). We literally gave up one more point than a year ago. The pass defense – particularly the secondary – was supposed to be our biggest strength (even discounting Jamal Adams as “likely to be injured” heading into the season); yet it was kind of mediocre, in spite of the fact that we got more Jamal Adams than I ever thought possible.

Just a little more housekeeping, for context. The 2022 Seahawks were +2 in turnover differential; the 2023 Seahawks were also +2 in turnover differential. We actually turned it over less in 2023, but also generated fewer turnovers, which is how we get to that number. That’s interesting to me, because if you would’ve told me prior to 2023 that the Seahawks’ offense would have 6 fewer turnovers – knowing what I knew about the perceived improvement of talent on defense – I would say that’s HUGE, and might’ve translated to 2-3 more victories. Instead, that perceived talent improvement never really materialized.

For a little more context, the 2022 Seahawks had 45 sacks (tied for 7th); the 2023 Seahawks had 47 sacks (tied for 11th). Another interesting stat is the 2022 Seahawks gave up 62.7% completions (10th), whereas the 2023 Seahawks gave up 66.7% completions (26th). So, in spite of being slightly better at generating sacks, it looks like we were actually softer all around, and probably not generating as much pressure on the whole. Or, you know, maybe we just faced significantly better quarterback play in 2023 than in 2022; you can’t rule that out either. Maybe both are true!

What do my eyes tell me about this defense? It’s tricky, because I believe we were actually significantly more talented in personnel in 2023 than we were in 2022. I think Jarran Reed had a fabulous season. I think Leonard Williams is the best all-around defensive lineman we’ve had since Michael Bennett (very different players/body types, but similarly dominant in everything that they do). I think Dre’Mont Jones is as talented as advertised, but likely wasn’t utilized properly. I think Boye Mafe took a HUGE step forward. I think Devon Witherspoon is deserving of every single accolade that comes his way. I think Jordyn Brooks is an animal, and it’s tremendous how well (and how quickly) he came back from such a significant injury. I thought Tre Brown, Mike Jackson, and Julian Love all shined at times. I thought Riq Woolen was injured for most of this year and that likely explains his step-back (I still think he’s great in coverage, but when he’s hurt, he’s going to be a liability in the run game).

That being said, I think we were another wide-body short on the interior, to significantly plug the run. I think Bobby Wagner likely helped in that regard, but probably not as much as everyone thinks. Wagner obviously had his struggles in pass defense (to the point where he probably should’ve been taken off the field on every 3rd & medium-to-long), but we also had no one behind him to fill in (linebacker depth was non-existent yet again); I also don’t think Wagner was the fix-all in the run game everyone’s making him out to be. How many times did he too get swallowed up, or jump the wrong gap? He’s old! He was old two years ago!

I also thought Quandre Diggs looked a little old. I thought Jamal Adams – aside from a few plays near the LOS here and there – looked legitimately bad. Maybe he was hurt all year, but still, he looks toast. And, I think the outside linebacker play was atrocious outside of Boye Mafe and Uchenna Nwosu (who got knocked out 6 games in), and I’m not even sure Mafe is any good at setting an edge. What I know for sure is that Darrell Taylor and Derick Hall are 100% NOT good in that regard, and it’s a huge hole for us.

A lot of these were problems in 2022, though. We couldn’t set an edge then either. Our linebacker room was unquestionably worse with Cody Barton getting significant reps. Adams was still hurt, Diggs was still getting up there, and we were obviously missing out on beef in the interior line.

So, how do you explain this across-the-board drop-off in defensive production?

The coaching staff. Clint Hurtt and Co.

He’s not a defensive coordinator. We learned that in his first season in 2022, and it’s been nothing but cemented into my brain in 2023, when he was gifted better talent, and his unit produced worse results. He needs to go.

***

Now, let’s go to the offense. Spoiler alert: it also looks like it’s worse in 2023 than it was in 2022.

2022 total yards = 351.5 (13th); 2023 total yards = 322.9 (21st). 2022 passing yards = 231.4 (12th); 2023 passing yards = 230.0 (14th). 2022 rushing yards = 120.1 (18th); 2023 rushing yards = 92.9 (28th).

So, passing yards remained stagnant, in spite of total stability at the QB spot, and arguably an improved wide receiver room with first rounder Jaxon Smith-Njigba replacing Marquise Goodwin. And we’re talking about a DRASTICALLY worse rushing attack, in spite of the fact that Kenneth Walker played in the same number of games (all as the lead back), while we added the robust talent of Charbonnet (taking the smattering of 2022 carries given to DeeJay Dallas, Travis Homer, and Rashaad Penny the few times he was healthy).

Okay, so point to the offensive line. Obviously, there were lots of injuries across the board causing this unit to suffer. Except, we took 46 sacks in 2022, vs. a combined 37 in 2023. Team passing, okay, you can attribute some of that to Drew Lock playing in 4 games (starting 2). But, Geno’s per-game numbers year over year obviously declined (fewer yards per game, lower completion percentage, fewer yards per attempt, lower passer rating).

Also, if your O-Line is so banged up, wouldn’t you WANT to run the ball more? In 2022, we attempted 425 carries; in 2023, it was 382. In 2022, we attempted 573 passes; in 2023, we attempted 575. Geno attempted a little over 33 and a half passes per game; but Drew Lock attempted 32 per game in his two starts, so it’s not like we really took it easy on him. Yet, neither quarterback benefitted from extended competence out of the rushing attack. As a team, we averaged 4.8 yards per carry (4.9 yards per carry if you take out two massive losses by our punter) in 2022; we could only muster 4.1 yards per carry in 2023.

So, what’s THAT all about? We thought we really had something with our new O-Line coach in 2022. But, while improving on our sack numbers (in basically the same number of drop-backs), we took a massive nosedive in our running numbers. I guess we have to HOPE that it’s just injuries and things are bound to positively regress in 2024. But, there’s also a number of personnel decisions we have to make – along the interior, particularly – that has been one of our greatest weaknesses since time immemorial.

All told, our 2022 Seahawks scored 23.9 points per game (9th); our 2023 Seahawks scored 21.4 points per game (17th). An already-bad defense somehow managed to get worse, and a decently-good offense became painfully mediocre. In spite of the fact that the offense had a ton of carry-over, improved in both the running back and wide receiver rooms, and had a quarterback who couldn’t have been more motivated to better his career-best numbers from the previous season.

Does that also come down to coaching? Because, to me, that comes down to coaching.

***

Here’s my ultimate ruling on the question at the top:

I think, personnel-wise, the 2023 Seahawks were better than the 2022 Seahawks. However, I think the play on the field was worse. The numbers bear that out, even if their records were the same. We were -38 in point differential in 2023, meaning we probably overachieved. The NFL record 7 go-ahead TD passes by Geno Smith in the 4th quarter or OT sort of proves that point. We had a +6 point differential in 2022, which seems appropriate for a 9-8 team. So, while things were disappointing for Geno Smith, and some of the other veterans in 2023, I don’t think they were so much worse that it cost us. Ultimately, I put it on our coaching staff – our coordinators specifically, though Pete Carroll certainly doesn’t get a pass from me at this point – as the reason why the 2023 Seahawks were worse.

I believe, with more competent leadership, the 2023 Seahawks should’ve won more games and reached the playoffs.

That doesn’t mean I believe this team was good enough to win the NFC West. They clearly had a ceiling that was much lower than the 49ers. But, I do believe we should’ve beaten the Rams at least once, if not twice. Win one and we’re in the playoffs. Win both, we’re 11-6 and playing in Tampa in the first round of the playoffs (while the Rams would’ve been 8-9 and on the outside looking in, where they belonged).

So, in that sense, it’s pretty clear why Pete Carroll needed to go. We can’t really tell at this time if it was a matter of the messaging not getting through, or too much meddling by Pete in the personnel decisions to keep around these guys who are getting up there (saying nothing of giving up a second round draft pick for half of a season of Leonard Williams). But, I believe we didn’t have the proper staff in place to get the best out of these players. A more run-focused offensive scheme (becoming almost exclusively either a run or play-action team), with more attention paid to stopping the run and generating pressure by being blitz-heavy on defense, likely would’ve enhanced our win/loss record.

What we couldn’t do were the same things we’ve done the last 5+ years. What we couldn’t do was declare a shift towards a 3-4 defense, only to pretty much play a random hodgepodge of the exact defensive fronts we’ve used all along. What we couldn’t do was give up huge defensive cushions underneath – hoping to take away the deep ball – only to give up the deep ball anyway, and everything else opposing offenses wanted to do. Change it up! Drastically, if necessary! But, do SOMETHING.

This team did nothing, and mediocrity was our end result. Let’s hope that doesn’t continue on into 2024.

The Seahawks’ Season Ended With A Pointless Victory Over The Cardinals

I don’t see this victory as being QUITE as enraging as the Week 18 Broncos victory last year (when we had their first round draft pick, which fell from a #3 to a #5, a crucial drop that eliminated any opportunity for a truly impactful stud player, or at least a bevy of extra picks in a potential trade-down from 3), but, you know, a win when your season is going nowhere is always going to be annoying to me.

The Seahawks fell from 14th to 16th, while allowing the Cardinals to go from 5th to 4th. It’s not really a HUGE difference, on either end.

Of course, the ideal scenario would’ve involved the Bears beating the Packers, with the Cards beating the Seahawks, but we can’t ever have nice things. You know that. The Bears, for whatever reason, couldn’t get anything going, in a 17-9 loss to the Packers in Lambeau. 3/11 on third down will do that, I guess. That was a weird all-around game, though. Green Bay’s defense actually showed up to play! Maybe they’re getting healthier on that side of the ball at the exact right time? Because their D looked like ass for a while.

That game ended in the middle of the fourth quarter. At that point, Arizona had a 20-13 lead, and they were driving to go up two scores. Matt Prater missed a 43 yard field goal with just under 3 minutes to go in the game that would’ve ended things. The Seahawks, naturally, drove right down the field in just over a minute and hit Lockett on a beautiful 34 yard TD pass to pull within one. With the season already over, we went for two, Geno had all day, and was able to connect on the 2-point conversion to go up 21-20.

The only good thing about that was Arizona had so much time left to re-take the lead. They got back into field goal range with a second remaining, but Prater missed again (this time from 51 yards). Both kicks were wide-right, ever so slightly.

Geno hit 16/28 for 189, 2 TDs, and 0 INTs. Walker ran 78 yards on 17 carries. Charbonnet added 32 yards on 5 carries. Lockett had 2 catches for 71 yards and a TD, Dissly had 3 for 46 and a TD. Bobby Wagner had 15 tackles to lead the league (with 183). Devon Witherspoon had 11 tackles (including 3 for loss). Darrell Taylor had our lone sack.

I tried to make it a point to watch the entire game, though I did go split screen with the Packers/Bears. It feels weird rooting against the Seahawks, and I’m sure if that other game had gone the other way, I would’ve felt that bubbling excitement boiling over. But, truly, this Seahawks team was not made for the playoffs. It was barely made for the regular season. This team felt like damn near every Mariners team we’ve seen over the last 20 years. Just good enough at times to hold our interest, but ultimately destined to fall short.

The Rams finished 10-7, after beating the 49ers in a Battle of the Backups. That leaves us, at 9-8, firmly entrenched in third place. We had a -38 point differential. We were 5-3 at home, 4-5 on the road. We were 2-4 in the division (both wins against Arizona), and 7-5 in the NFC.

Of note, our Strength Of Schedule – used in tiebreakers to determine draft order – was .512. Only 4 of the 14 playoff teams had to overcome a more difficult schedule: Baltimore (.543), Pittsburgh (.540), Cleveland (.536), and the Rams (.529). The 49ers were close (.509), but isn’t that interesting? The AFC North was the only division EVER to have four teams finish above .500. They ended up, as a result, having the most difficult schedule of anyone. The NFC West were next on that list, in no small part because we also had to play the AFC North. 12 of the 18 teams to not make the playoffs had Strength of Schedules over .500. It’s crazy how much luck comes into it.

Geno Smith finished with 3,624 passing yards, 20 TDs, and 9 INTs. I’ll do a separate post about how this compares to his 2022 season, but suffice it to say, there’s a significant drop-off.

Kenneth Walker finished with 905 yards in 15 games, for a 4.1 average per carry. Charbonnet had 462 in 16 games, with a 4.3 average per carry. D.K. Metcalf had 66 receptions for 1,114 yards and 8 TDs. Tyler Lockett had 79 for 894 and 5 TDs. Jaxon Smith-Njigba had 63 for 628 and 4 TDs.

Bobby Wagner had the 183 tackles, with 3.5 sacks. Julian love had 123 tackles and led the team with 4 INTs. Boye Mafe led the team with 9 sacks, Jarran Reed had 7, Darrell Taylor had 5.5, Dre’Mont Jones and Jordyn Brooks had 4.5 each, and Leonard Williams had 4 sacks in just 10 games with the Seahawks (5.5 sacks in total, across a whopping 18 games, since he missed out on having a BYE week this year). Devon Witherspoon led the team with 16 passes defended, Riq Woolen had 11 and Love finished with 10. Woolen and Tre Brown had 2 INTs each, Witherspoon, Diggs, and Brooks each had 1.

That’s really all I got for now. We’ve got a lot going on, sports-wise, this week, so Seahawks Death Week will have to be postponed. It’s been … a season. See you next time!

The Seahawks Aren’t Great At Any One Thing

The Seahawks get a lot of credit for being competitive. If I understand the phrase right, it’s a double-edged sword. When things are going well, people point to the coaching staff and say, “Boy Pete Carroll does a great job of adapting and getting the most out of his players!” But, when things go poorly, people point to the coaching staff and say, “Boy Pete Carroll is over the hill and washed up and doesn’t understand what the game of football is morphing into!”

There was a time this year where the Seahawks were winners of 5 out of 6 games, and the one we lost (to the Bengals) you could argue we gave away. But, even still, they were the Bengals, Joe Burrow was still alive, and you can understand why even a good team would lose that game on the road. The offense felt vibrant, the defense appeared to be improving, and we all let ourselves believe that these Seahawks could compete with those 49ers for this NFC West and maybe even above and beyond.

Then, we got massacred by the Ravens. That kicked off a lull where we lost 4 out of 5 games, with the lone victory being a 3-point variety against one of the worst, most dysfunctional teams in football (the Commanders), at home no less. We won the next two games to regain control over our own playoff destiny, only to lose to the Steelers last week, to once again need a Week 18 victory plus some help.

The Seahawks are 8-8. You can’t really give this team a lot of credit for being competitive, because if we’re honest with ourselves, this team is only competitive against very flawed-to-bad teams.

There are lots of teams hovering around .500, though. Lots of flawed teams who are in contention for the playoffs. There have been plenty of flawed teams throughout the years who have made the playoffs, gotten hot, and managed to do some damage (even winning a Super Bowl here and there). It’s not always the VERY BEST teams who win it all. Sometimes, you just need to pose the right matchup problems against the right teams, to get the result you want.

The Cleveland Browns are 11-5 and locked into the playoffs. You wouldn’t consider them a front-runner; they’re on, what, their fourth quarterback? Joe Flacco off the scrap heap re-joined the league and has set the world on fire. Has Joe Flacco suddenly gotten amazing again? No way! But, he’s in the right situation, with the right team, that has some elite components (defense, running game, O-Line) that allows them to make up for any mistakes Flacco might generate.

The Dolphins are also 11-5 and locked into the playoffs. Their defense kinda stinks, but they’re so dynamic on offense that you could see them winning any game if things break right. The Chiefs are 10-6 and their receivers are hot garbage. The Eagles are 11-5 and their defense has regressed HARD. The Rams are 9-7, but they’re still well-coached and explosive enough (and veteran enough) on offense to beat anybody.

Which brings me to the Seahawks. They’re a consummate 7-seed type of team. But, unlike the Packers, Steelers, or either of the South divisions, the Seahawks don’t have any one thing they do extremely well. They just have a lot of things they’re okay at, with some VERY glaring weaknesses that hold them back.

It’s honestly pretty miserable watching the Seahawks closely. I wonder if these other fringe teams have the same type of disgruntled fans. There’s nothing you can hang your hat on, where you can say, “If THIS happens, we can pull it out.” Even in the post-L.O.B. era of Seahawks football with prime Russell Wilson at the helm, we could look at the team and say, “Well, if Russell Wilson plays out of his mind, maybe we can win three playoff games and get to the Super Bowl.” Of course, that never happened, and we now understand why it was foolish to think that way. But, at least there was a chance. Russell Wilson used to be magic, and sometimes he was all we needed to will ourselves to victories.

You can’t say that about Geno Smith. Russell Wilson could get by with a rancid offensive line. Geno Smith is like this delicate flower that needs a climate-controlled environment to flourish. I’m not talking about weather here; it’s sort of a terrible analogy. But, like, Geno needs very good O-Line play. He needs the defense to keep us in it. He can’t carry us on his back and will us to victory. Oh sure, if everything is just right, he can lead us to a late come-from-behind victory every now and then. But, you better not allow any pass rushers to get in his face! He’s not making those comebacks against the likes of the 49ers, Cowboys, or Steelers!

What’s the best thing Seattle has going for it? The easy answer is the wide receiver room, but that’s so dependant on your quarterback’s play, that I think I have to push them down a tier. I think the actual best thing Seattle has going for it is the running back room. The one-two punch of Kenneth Walker and Zach Charbonnet is as good as it gets. Walker makes something out of nothing in a way I haven’t seen since Barry Sanders. I’m not saying he’s as good as Barry Sanders, but I’m saying the moves you see him put on people on the football field week-in and week-out are as electric and jaw-dropping as I’ve seen out of anyone since Sanders retired. Charbonnet, on the other hand, is just a solid and dynamic straight-ahead runner. Every time I see him play well, I wonder if he’s the future #1 on this team, but then Walker comes back and flashes those amazing cut-back moves, and I’m swayed in his direction. Either way, those two combined – with their tremendous blocking and pass-catching abilities – puts us at a level few teams are at in the NFL.

So, why don’t we feature it more? Why aren’t we scheming to highlight the run, rather than using it to complement a passing attack that’s … fine? Your guess is as good as mine. Seems to me, once again, we have the wrong offensive coordinator. He was brought in to try to appease a disgruntled Russell Wilson, we traded Wilson a year later, and now we’ve been trying to make it work. Sometimes, Waldron looks like one of the best OCs in football. But, too often – especially this season – he gets too one-track minded. He goes away from the run – mind-bogglingly – even though we’re in more games than we’re way behind. And less and less do we see guys schemed open. We were supposed to get the system that the Rams use to tremendous success. Lots of crossers, lots of different plays out of similar-looking personnel groupings. But, either Geno isn’t seeing them, or we’ve gone away from them. Regardless, this offense looks as dysfunctional as it was under Schotty and in the final years of Bevell.

Getting back to the receivers, I’ll tell you what this team doesn’t have; it doesn’t have Doug Baldwin, or a Doug Baldwin type. It doesn’t have that guy who can get open under any circumstance. It doesn’t have that guy you can go to on 3rd & Long, when you absolutely need a conversion to move the chains. Tyler Lockett sort of used to be that guy, but not really, and definitely not anymore. I don’t know what Lockett is nowadays, if I’m being honest. Either he’s trending towards being washed up, or we’re just not utilizing him like we should. More often than not, we’re going to D.K. when we need a big catch to move the chains. Don’t get me wrong, D.K. has been GREAT this year. But, he still has massive drops at the worst times, and you never know when he’s going to be that powderkeg that’s one bad taunt away from exploding.

The good news is: maybe Jaxon Smith-Njigba will be the next true heir apparent to Doug Baldwin. But, he’s still a rookie, he’s still developing that relationship with Geno, and while he’s much more productive now than he was at the beginning of the season, he’s not quite there yet. Hopefully in the next year or two, but that doesn’t help us out THIS season, now does it?

As far as the defense goes, write it off. There’s nothing elite about any of these position groups. Jamal Adams was shut down, having never fully recovered from his knee injury. He was getting beaten on the reg, and was less and less productive out in space near the line of scrimmage the more he played. Clearly, his body is broken, and it’s going to really suck if we’re stuck with him for another year.

As for the rest of the secondary, that was sort of our big hope, but it hasn’t come to fruition. I think the depth is there, but the top-end talent has been lacking. Which is interesting, because two of our three Pro Bowlers came from this group (Devon Witherspoon and Julian Love). Witherspoon looks as good as advertised, but he started the year banged up, and he’s ending the year banged up. When he’s been healthy out there, he’s been a game-changer. But, I’m starting to have serious doubts that we’re ever going to get a full season out of him. And I’m certainly dubious about getting a respectable second contract out of him. As for Love, he’s definitely come on late, but early this season he was a huge liability! The bar to climb over for Pro Bowl contention seems to be getting lower and lower nowadays.

You can’t deny Riq Woolen’s sophomore season has been anything but disappointing. Seems like he too is injured, but I don’t remember him ever being all that active in tackling near the line of scrimmage. That wasn’t a problem last year when he was making plays and generating turnovers; but this year, when he’s not doing that, he’s not really doing anything for you, is he? The rest of the guys – Diggs, Brown, Jackson, Burns, etc. – have all flashed some level of greatness, but have also totally disappeared for long stretches. As a result, this defense is getting increasingly shredded as the season goes along.

The linebackers have been okay against the run, but Bobby Wagner has been one of the biggest weaknesses in the passing game in the entire NFL (he’s a Pro Bowler based on reputation only). Without Jordyn Brooks, the linebacker room is totally decimated (as we saw last week against the Steelers). It’s tough when you’re as thin as you are, and you’re forced to play Wagner at or near 100% of the snaps every week. Now we have to pay Brooks whatever the market rate is for a top-end interior linebacker? What are we doing with our money here?!

I think the interior of the defensive line has been the most productive unit on this team, especially with the addition of Leonard Williams. Between him, Jarran Reed, and Dre’Mont Jones, we’re as solid as you can get. But, when Nwosu went down, the edge has been kind of a wasteland. Frank Clark has hardly played, and I think has since been cut (or is on the verge of being cut). Darrell Taylor can’t set an edge to save his life. Boye Mafe has slowed down considerably the second half of this season. Derick Hall is also struggling to play his position properly (but he’s a rookie, so he gets a pass). So, when you talk defensive line as a whole, I think you have to give them a net-negative. They get sacks at a decent clip, but I would say overall pressure numbers are sub-par, and the run defense has actually gotten worse as the season has gone along.

Defensive coordinator might be our biggest weakness, so we’ll see where that goes this offseason.

That leaves the O-Line, which is middling at best. But, Abe Lucas has been banged up all year, and we’ve had a revolving door at most of our positions from week to week. So much so that we’ve had to emphasize getting the ball out incredibly quickly if we even WANT to have a passing game. Seems like that would be the time to try to pound the rock, but again, we’re not, because of Reasons.

All told, that adds up to a team – as I said in the title – that isn’t great at any one thing. They’re okay at some things, terrible at others, and that’s what adds up to an 8-8 record heading into the final week of the season. Which is why I’ve been saying – for however many weeks now – that I do NOT want these Seahawks in the playoffs. What good does it do to get in there and get your doors blown off in the first round? We did that last year; did it do anything to make the 2023 Seahawks even remotely better? Or, did it just give us worse draft positioning, while allowing us to delude ourselves into thinking we were closer to Super Bowl contention than we actually were?

The Seahawks only make significant changes when they fail to make the playoffs. Whenever we make the playoffs, we bring our coaching staff back, keep the majority of the veterans we’re able to keep, and try to fill in around the fringes with what little resources we have left over. We’ve never really committed to a true rebuild since the 2010 season, and it’s starting to feel like all those Mariners teams from 2004-2018. Close, but no cigar.

What’s this team going to do as a 7-seed? Probably go to Dallas and lose by double digits. We already couldn’t stop them once – the week after Thanksgiving – what makes you think we can stop them now, when our talent is actually more depleted thanks to injury? We tried our best to keep up offensively – putting up 35 in a losing effort – but literally everything had to go right for that to happen, and I’m not buying that we can do that a second time.

And even IF we somehow, miraculously, beat the Cowboys in Dallas (because, at their heart, they love to choke in the playoffs), what is our reward? Playing the 1-seed 49ers after a week off (and after playing no one of consequence in Week 18). Just the worst case scenario of all scenarios; we haven’t come CLOSE to beating them for the last two years now.

So, no, I don’t want to see us in the playoffs. I don’t even want to see us winning this week! I want us 8-9. I want that LOSERS label to be firmly stamped all over this team. Pete Carroll and John Schneider aren’t going anywhere. But, maybe with a losing record, they’ll stumble into the correct coaching and personnel moves to turn this thing around before we’re all old and gray.

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: Back In The Saddle Again!

It’s been a minute since I’ve been in the playoffs in this league. Considering it’s a 10-team league and 60% of the teams actually make the playoffs? That’s pretty terrible. Last year I finished in 9th place in the regular season, and dead last in the Consolation Bracket. In 2021, I finished in 10th place in the regular season and second-to-last in the Consolation Bracket. In 2020, I snuck into the playoffs as a 6-seed, lost in the first round, and lost again in the 5th place game. In 2019, I was 8th. 2018 was the last time I cracked the top four, and ended up in 4th place.

The last time I was a legitimate contender for this league? You have to go all the way back to 2010, when I came in second. In 2009, I won it all, but 2010 was the first year of the Trophy Era. I do not have my name on that trophy; it’s a sore spot for me. I’ve won other leagues, but not this one. We’ve morphed from just being a league for fun, to being a league for fun and money, to being a keeper league with a trophy, to being a dynasty league. And ever since we introduced keepers, and slowly increased the number of keepers until now – where we’re keeping a full starting lineup, including 1 flex, a kicker, and a defense – I’ve been in Quarterback Hell. It’s been so bad that I’ve essentially been in rebuilding mode since 2019, desperately trying to figure out my two QB spots.

High first round picks galore have been used on the Next Big Thing. It started with Jameis Winston and Carson Wentz. It evolved into Daniel Jones and Tom Brady’s last year in New England (when it looked like he was cooked), in an ill-fated trade that saw me give away Tyreek Hill. Then, there was my big Tua campaign as a rookie, when he looked like he was going to be a noodle-armed nobody. There was Mac Jones and Justin Fields, just PRAYING that one of them would pan out. That’s been the last two seasons, in fact, while I also took a flier on Jordan Love as a late-2022 pick-up.

I kept Love and Fields heading into 2023, and it honestly looked like more of the same ol’ bullshit. Fields was erratic early, got hurt, and it looked like his team once again was letting him fail. Love seemed to get off to a hot start, but was VERY turnover-prone for a while there. I picked up Cousins in the draft to have some competent depth, but we all know how that ended. And, of course, I made Bryce Young my first pick (over C.J. Stroud), who has been languishing on my bench all season.

But, you know what else I did? Through it all, I made some pretty shrewd moves over the last couple years of dynasty play. I locked down CeeDee Lamb and targeted him as a guy worth keeping as a rookie. I handcuffed Ezekiel Elliott with Tony Pollard and haven’t missed a beat with owning the Dallas backfield all this time. I got T.J. Hockenson off waivers, I’ve had the Jets defense the last two years, I’ve managed to keep a quality kicker (Cincy’s guy the last two years, Cleveland’s guy this year). I drafted Kenneth Walker as a rookie (and handcuffed him midseason with Charbonnet). And this year, I set up my bench pretty effectively outside of the QB spot. I grabbed Kyren Williams as a free agent. I drafted Jordan Addison (who was great when Cousins was healthy), I picked up Tank Dell, Trey McBride, and Rashee Rice (all of which look like stars going forward). Frankly, I have so many players I like, it’s a shame I can’t keep some of these bench guys! At the very least, I can prevent other people from keeping them, and therefore afford myself a chance at drafting them next year.

For the last two years, I’ve felt like my team is as complete as can be, outside of the QB spots. Last year, the situation was so dire, I once again found myself near the bottom of the league, with a real stark situation on my hands heading into 2023. But, Fields is healthy again, and is looking MUCH improved as a passer. And Love has taken a significant step forward (this past Monday notwithstanding), after looking like a guy I might have to cut at some point. Hell, I almost traded him away, but the guy who wanted him (a Packers fan) thought I was asking too much in return (a Packer tax, as it were).

I don’t know if I’m a legitimate playoff contender or not. I mean, I’m in the playoffs – and I just leapfrogged my first round opponent for the 4-seed after beating him pretty handily (153.25 to 125.40) in Week 14 – but can I win it all? I do have the third-most points scored in the league, and that’s with three separate 2-game losing streaks, and a significant mid-season lull where I was averaging under 130 points in five out of six weeks (my overall weekly average for the season is over 150, for frame of reference). And, for the first time in I don’t know how many years, I feel like I’ve at least got a handle on this quarterback situation (barring injury) for at least the next month. If not maybe the next year(s) to come.

I’ve long said I don’t need the best of the best. I don’t need Mahomes and Allen. I just need competent guys who can score in the 20’s, and once in a while get me in the 30’s. Who aren’t a regular threat to get me less than 10. I feel like there’s a pretty solid floor with Fields and his rushing ability (again, when healthy), and I feel like the sky might be the limit with Love, as he’s able to develop with a pretty nice set of young receivers.

It’ll be great having the luxury of going out and drafting just a competent veteran backup (a la Cousins or Stafford) next year, instead of trying to scramble to predict who the next rookie stud is going to be. Considering I’m definitely not drafting in the Top 4, and very well might not draft until the Bottom 4, it’s a good thing I’m able to have this level of confidence. Now, it’s just a matter of going out and winning the games that need to be won.

The playoffs start this week. Once again, I’m playing Sloane N Steady in the 4 vs. 5 matchup. Here is my lineup:

  • Jordan Love (QB) vs. TB
  • Justin Fields (QB) @ Cle
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ Buf
  • Rashee Rice (WR) @ NE
  • Tony Pollard (RB) @ Buf
  • Kyren Williams (RB) vs. Was
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ Cin
  • Kenneth Walker (RB) vs. Phi
  • Dustin Hopkins (K) vs. Chi
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) @ Mia

I don’t have a lot of great options on my bench. Walker is going up against Philly’s defense, which is notoriously stingy against the run. But, Trey McBride is going up against the 49ers (stingy against TEs, and will probably dominate Arizona from start to finish); Addison is dealing with a new starting QB in Nick Mullens; and I can’t be sure if Christian Watson is healthy enough to be worth playing. Walker feels like a safe bet; he looked solid against the 49ers, and seemed to come out of that game without any aggravation to his oblique. Plus, Philly’s defense has looked shaky has hell recently, and this is a Kitchen Sink game for the Seahawks; as much of a must-win as it gets, in their minds, anyway.

I’m VERY intrigued by Addison, especially if Justin Jefferson is out this week, and Nick Mullens is under center. Mullens is at least somewhat competent. What’s giving me pause there is the fact that I don’t know if I want to rely THAT much on Mullens, when I’ve already got his TE in play.

As for Watson, he’s looking like he’ll be a week or two away from full strength, so I dropped him for Ty Chandler, the Vikings’ backup RB. Mattison is looking doubtful to go this week, and my opponent might have a need for an emergency RB in his lineup, so I thought I’d play the waiver game a bit. Besides, I’ve been saying all year that the Vikings have been looking for every excuse to bench Mattison, why couldn’t Chandler be an improvement?

Here is Sloane N Steady’s lineup:

  • Derek Carr (QB) vs. NYG
  • Will Levis (QB) vs. Hou
  • Brandon Aiyuk (WR) @ Ari
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR) vs. Den
  • Isiah Pacheco (RB) @ NE
  • Travis Etienne (RB) vs. Bal
  • Kyle Pitts (TE) @ Car
  • Michael Pittman (WR) vs. Pit
  • Evan McPherson (K) vs. Min
  • Baltimore (DEF) @ Jax

He scored an inordinately low amount of points last week. Pacheco was out early in the week with an injury; Gus Edwards in his place stunk up the joint. Carr returned from injury, but couldn’t put up more than 14 points. Amon-Ra St. Brown had an anomaly of a bad game with 5.10 points. The Ravens’ defense gave up a ton of points to the Rams. And no one individual player scored over 20 points. Can’t win that way!

I expect bounce-backs galore this week. I think Levis can have a monster game against Houston. I think St. Brown will be force-fed at will. I think Aiyuk will have a Deebo-like game. Pacheco will likely be back and making lives miserable. And I could see the Ravens really smashing the Jags.

It’s going to be tough. I don’t LOVE my matchups. But, my guys are going to have to figure out a way to get the job done. Otherwise, it’s going to be a HUGE failure of a season. It all comes down to this week. What I dread the most. All the marbles riding on one single game. Good grief.

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.

The Seahawks Were Pretty Great On Offense, Simply Atrocious On Defense

If you take a step back, that was actually a cool, entertaining Thursday Night Football game. If we had no rooting interest in the outcome, how can you beat a game with zero punts, nine touchdowns, and lots of great plays by really talented play-makers? Admittedly, I do like a little more competence out of the defenses I’m watching, but this was the perfect game for a Thursday. I don’t take these games seriously anyway, so why not have a lot of offensive fun?

I’ll admit, I didn’t have a lot emotionally riding on the Seahawks in this one. I picked against them in my weekly pick ’em game, I had plenty of Cowboys in fantasy (Dak in one league, CeeDee and Pollard in another), and I’m at the point of the season where I’d rather we just lose every game going forward. I don’t believe this is a Super Bowl contender, I don’t believe Geno Smith will ever be the answer at quarterback, and I need the Seahawks to go on a significant losing streak to close out the regular season, as that will be the only way Pete Carroll will be able to see that, objectively, I’m right.

That being said, I couldn’t help getting swept up in the action. The Seahawks were once again wearing their throwback jerseys, backs were against walls, and if ever there was hope of winning a game in this gauntlet stretch we’re in, this was it. The Cowboys are good, but flawed. They were ripe for the picking. They were at home – where they were 5-0 heading into this game – they were on a three-game winning streak where they’ve been absolutely dominating the opposition, and I’m sure they were somewhat looking ahead to their showdown with the Eagles next week. Especially if the Eagles lose to the 49ers this week, that game could put the Cowboys in the driver’s seat for the division.

The Seahawks needed this game more than the Cowboys, and they came out of the gates playing like it. Our third play of the game was a third down conversion to D.K. Metcalf that went 73 yards to the house. Right after he caught the ball, he was ten yards away from the nearest defender, yet he turned on the jets like they were right on his heels. That’s what this game meant to us. Going above and beyond.

D.K. was phenomenal in this game, catching 6 for 134 and 3 TDs. Jaxon Smith-Njigba had maybe his best game as a pro (7 for 62). Zach Charbonnet played his ass off before injuring his knee late in the game; he finished with 60 yards rushing and a TD, with 1 reception for 39 yards. More importantly, Geno Smith was on it in this one: 23/41 for 334 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT. With zero sacks to boot, against an extremely ferocious Dallas pass rush.

If we had managed to play this well on offense on Thanksgiving, maybe we would’ve stood a chance against the 49ers!

The problem with this one is that the defense brought nothing to the table. We forced them into a 4 & Out after the interception left them in Seahawks territory, but even that was a clear CeeDee Lamb drop that would’ve otherwise easily kept the drive going. Quite frankly, if it weren’t for a couple of drops (of admittedly tough catches), this game would’ve been a Dallas blowout!

Heading into this game, the Seahawks were 36-0 in the Pete Carroll era when they’ve scored 35 or more points. It should go without saying, but when you score 35 points in a football game, YOU SHOULD WIN THAT FOOTBALL GAME! I know a lot of people are going to point to the Seahawks’ performance on 4th down (0 for 3), in particular our final play of the game, and call for Shane Waldron’s head, but don’t let that distract you from this being an all-time bungled defensive showing.

If I had to nitpick the offense, I’d start with Charles Cross. He totally whiffed on our 4th & 1 play, when Charbonnet was running behind him only to get stuffed. He looked mediocre to bad all game; decidedly not worthy of an upper first round draft pick.

I couldn’t tell you what happened on the second fourth down play. There was immediate pressure, but I don’t remember who that was on. It’s unfortunate that Smith and Smith-Njigba weren’t on the same page. It looked like Geno threw it up to him, but he didn’t see the ball and didn’t seem to be aware that it might be coming his way. Had he had the proper awareness of the situation, he might’ve been on the lookout for a quick pass and adjusted his route accordingly. It certainly looked like a ball he could’ve gotten to, if his head was on a swivel. That’s a play Doug Baldwin in his prime makes 10 times out of 10.

But, it’s the final play, ye gods. Dallas rushed six. We let our offensive linemen single-block the first five, leaving Micah Parsons unblocked on the edge. DeeJay Dallas was in the backfield. He was in the game either because Zach Charbonnet was injured (and couldn’t have played anyway), or because it was a 2-minute offense and that’s DeeJay’s role. I have my doubts about the second part of that, because Charbonnet was in there at the end of the first half, so it would stand to reason he’d remain out there in this situation if he was capable of going.

Almost immediately after the game, we were bombarded with video noting how we intentionally left Parsons unblocked. You know, probably the best pure pass rusher in the game of football today? That guy? Yeah. DeeJay was supposed to peel off in the flat and be the number one read to convert the 4th & 2. Except, another defensive lineman forced his way into the backfield and DeeJay got caught up in the wash. Parsons was in Geno’s face almost instantly, and all he could do to avoid a sack was throw the ball at DeeJay’s feet. At that point – with the game clearly hinging on that one play – I don’t know why you don’t just heave the ball straight up into the air and hope for the best, but that’s neither here nor there.

What a crap play call against that defense! Do literally anything else! Max protect, align DeeJay on that side to try to block Parsons, throw a slant to D.K. Something! Not a play where Parsons can get to the quarterback in 0.2 seconds, because not even Tom Brady himself would’ve been able to convert it with that play call.

But, again, it was an otherwise good-to-great game from Shane Waldron, Geno Smith, and the rest of the offensive crew. 35 points is good enough. Except it wasn’t today, and that’s all on the defense.

I will say that it was tough watching some of the penalties in the secondary. There was A LOT of ticky-tack calls going on. And the call against Bobby Wagner was flat out fucking wrong. If I had one gripe about my overall enjoyment of this game, it was the flags. Let guys play. I’d rather they allow a little extra grabbing and hand-fighting than nothing at all. Or, what we actually got last night, which was three quarters of nothing at all, followed by it being pretty much a free-for-all in the fourth quarter. Which you had to know was coming, either by design, or because refs are gonna ref and let things go late in games.

As much as I love to shit on terrible referee performances, I can’t blame them for this one. The Seahawks’ defense was total ass. Devon Witherspoon, Jamal Adams, and Riq Woolen all had mediocre-to-terrible games. Bobby Wagner isn’t able to cover anyone in space unless they literally run right at him and stop; he’s a fucking statue out there. The pass rush did get to Dak for 4 sacks, but they seemed pretty quiet otherwise (and Darrell Taylor whiffed HARD on another potential sack, having Dak dead to rights before letting him go). The Cowboys were 8/14 on third down and 1/2 on fourth down; that’s all you need to know. They dominated in total plays (79-64) and therefore in time of possession (36:27 to 23:33).

Now we get a little extra rest before going on the road to get decimated by the 49ers again. So, enjoy this Seahawks-free weekend while you can!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: A Perfect Honeymoon

My honeymoon spanned two fantasy football weekends, and between my three teams, I went a perfect 6-0. It was just incredible! I tried to talk my wife into stowing away on the cruise ship for another week, but sadly she wasn’t up for breaking so many laws.

I defeated the first place Beasts in Week 11, 147.75 to 125.65. I got great production out of Jordan Love and Justin Fields, a red hot game out of Tank Dell for my flex, and the combo of Lamb and Pollard came through with flying colors. This compensated for a Kenneth Walker injury and almost nothing from the Jets defense.

Then, in Week 12, I had the most points in the league, defeating Turd Sandwich 192.05 to 176.80. Once again, Jordan Love looked amazing, Pollard and Lamb were awesome, Dell and Hockenson were great, and Kyren Williams returned to obliterate the competition.

The two victories broke the Cousins Curse, and got me back up to 6-6 on the season. That’s good for fifth place in the league (top six go to the playoffs), with a 1-game cushion over the two teams directly below me (as well as around 100 points of tie-breaking cushion as far as total points are concerned). With two weeks left in the regular season, I only have one guy to worry about. He’s right there with me in total points, but he’s two games behind me in record. So, all I need to do is win one more game, have that guy lose one more game, or have one of the 5-7 teams lose once more, or just score no fewer points than the 4-8 team over the next two weeks. My point being: a playoff spot is all but guaranteed, unless the absolute unthinkable happens (unfortunately, none of those three teams play one another).

The highest I can get is fourth place, but I would have to win out and he would have to lose out, so that seems unlikely. The top four teams have already clinched playoff berths though, so there’s four teams fighting for two spots. Interestingly enough, I have the third-most points scored in the league. No one considers me a threat to win it all, which feels appropriate.

With Williams back in the fold, and with Jordan Love playing positively Cousins-esque, I do think I have a fighting chance. But, this is fantasy football, so of course anything can happen.

This week, I’m going up against last place Toot Cannons. I’ve got my Vikings and Bears (Hockenson, Addison, Fields) on a BYE, so if ever there was an opportunity to blow my winning streak, this is it. Here’s my lineup:

  • Jordan Love (QB) vs. KC
  • Bryce Young (QB) @ TB
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. Sea
  • Terry McLaurin (WR) vs. Mia
  • Tony Pollard (RB) vs. Sea
  • Kyren Williams (RB) vs. Cle
  • Trey McBride (TE) @ Pit
  • Tank Dell (WR) vs. Den
  • Dustin Hopkins (K) @ LAR
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) vs. Atl

I love what Love has been doing the last couple weeks, but Kansas City poses quite a threat for him. They didn’t play very well against the Raiders last week, but they still have a lot of talent in their secondary, and can make life difficult up front, so I’m not expecting another 30-point performance. The last thing I want to do is start Young, but I have no other options at the position. On the plus side, Carolina just fired their head coach, so maybe there’s a bounce-back opportunity there. Plus, Tampa’s secondary has been a joke for a while now, so if there was ever a chance for Young to bust out, this might be it.

I like any Cowboys player against this Seahawks defense, but then again, it wouldn’t totally shock me if our defense finally got it together. Williams will have a tough go against the Browns. I do like McLaurin against the Dolphins; Washington should have to throw a lot in this game. And the Jets have a pretty juicy matchup against a turnover-prone Falcons team.

My concern at this time has to do with injury designations to Tank Dell and Trey McBride. McBride is a highly-coveted tight end prospect who has done quite well in the absence of Zach Ertz. If he can’t go, I’m screwed, as there are no other decent TE options on the free agent pile. Dell’s injury sounds minor, but he didn’t practice yesterday, and my problem is having an alternative for him. With Addison on BYE, all I have left is Charbonnet (assuming Walker will miss another week with an oblique injury). With Charbonnet going tonight, I would have to commit to him right now, which means I’d either have to bench Dell (who has been one of the hottest receivers in the league over the last few weeks) or maybe Kyren Williams (if we bank on the Browns’ defense being amazing; he’s nevertheless a snap-hog for the Rams when he’s in there). I don’t want to play Charbonnet against the Cowboys, because I kinda think they’re going to dominate the Seahawks.

So, we’ll see what happens. Hopefully Dell returns to practice later today, and I won’t have to worry about it.

Here’s who Toot Cannons has to offer:

  • Kyler Murray (QB) @ Pit
  • Tua Tagovailoa (QB) @ Was
  • Marquise Brown (WR) @ Pit
  • Chris Olave (WR) vs. Det
  • Jerome Ford (RB) @ LAR
  • Jaylen Warren (RB) vs. Ari
  • Jake Ferguson (TE) vs. Sea
  • Najee Harris (RB) vs. Ari
  • Cameron Dicker (K) @ NE
  • San Francisco (DEF) @ Phi

He’s got a number of injuries (including Justin Jefferson) as well as Saquon Barkley on a BYE. He’s also got De’Von Achane, Tee Higgins, Dallas Goedert, and Tyler Boyd to throw in there in place of Najee Harris. Any way you slice it, Toot Cannons is in rough shape. I would love nothing more than to take care of business this week and not have to worry about the regular season finale.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: I Lost A Game I Should Have Won

Consider Week 9 my first game I lost because I lost Cousins.

This was a pillow fight any way you slice it. 137.65 to 113.15. To be fair, no one had a super strong week; scoring was down leaguewide in week 9. It happens. But, I was the worst of the lot. 25 more points would’ve gotten me the win. Let’s explore.

For starters, I had Bryce Young in there, pick-sixing his way to 6.75 points. Josh Dobbs – Minnesota’s backup by virtue of just joining the team last week – entered the game early and scored over 30 points. That’s the difference, right there. If we can assume Cousins would’ve scored around 30, it’s a slam dunk case.

But, I would invite you to join me further down my roster. I started Josh Downs. He was banged up heading into the week, but he still seemed like a safer bet than Addison (remember, Jaren Hall was the starter, and presumably would’ve struggled the entire game had he stayed healthy). If Cousins was in there, Addison would’ve also been in there. As it was, Addison scored 10.2 points for my bench; Downs scored 2 points for my roster. If we project those 10.2 points across the board, all Cousins would’ve needed to do was get me less than 25. Seems VERY reasonable.

I’m chalking it up to the loss of Cousins. It didn’t help that Walker did fuck-all, or Pollard continued driving his own personal shit train, or Jordan Love continues to be a total bum. Now, I’m 4-5 and just barely clinging to 6th place. I’m still at least a week away from Justin Fields returning, I’m like two weeks from Kyren Williams coming back, and Bryce Young is looking like the bust of the century.

In roster shake-up news, I dropped Downs for Tank Dell. For starters, how do you not like the name Tank?! I get it, this screams of recency bias. Dell just had a 30-point game; Downs hasn’t been great the last two weeks. But, looking long-term, it seems like Houston really has something in C.J. Stroud (I’ll never forgive myself for totally dismissing him in the draft, taking Young over him, much the same way the Panthers did). I think Stroud and Dell are going to develop an amazing rapport the next few years. If we’re thinking possible keepers, it might boil down to Addison or Dell. Downs is nice too, but knowing Anthony Richardson will be back next year, I find it hard to believe he’s ever going to be an amazing passer. He might be the second coming of Lamar Jackson – which is very high praise – but when has Lamar ever broken big with a wide receiver? Never. I can see Downs being frustrated a lot in future years; meanwhile, Stroud should be bombing it up and down the field for the next decade, and Dell could very well be the primary beneficiary. Either way, this was my last opportunity to pick up Dell before he’s rostered for good. And, I have a gut feeling that Minshew is going to turn back into a pumpkin the more he plays. I could see the Colts really falling apart as the season concludes.

All that being said, spoiler alert, Tank Dell is on my bench this week. Here’s my team:

  • Bryce Young (QB) @ Chi
  • Jordan Love (QB) @ Pit
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. NYG
  • Terry McLaurin (WR) @ Sea
  • Kenneth Walker (RB) vs. Was
  • Tony Pollard (RB) vs. NYG
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) vs. NO
  • Alexander Mattison (RB) vs. NO
  • Dustin Hopkins (K) @ Bal
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) @ LV

I actually don’t hate starting Young this week. Why should I be afraid of the Bears’ defense? I very much DO hate starting Love this week, because I think he’s going to be sacked 9,000 times and throw a couple picks. But, I have no choice, because Fields is out, and Aidan O’Connell is going up against the Jets (where he will be destroyed). I thought O’Connell looked fine last week, but he also didn’t really have to do a lot. I’d like to see him actually get into the endzone before I give him a start. As for Love, I will say that I’ve seen teams move the ball against the Steelers quite a bit; I feel like he can have an okay game if he can figure out how to avoid turnovers. I’m not expecting the moon or the stars here; just give me 18-20 points and let’s see if the rest of my team can pick up the slack.

I like McLaurin’s steadiness over Addison’s boom or bust potential. Until I see Dobbs actually find his receivers (and not just check down to running backs and tight ends), I’m limiting my exposure to receivers in my lineup. Enter Mattison, who had a great week last week, now that he’s playing solo thanks to Cam Akers being lost for the year. As for Scary Terry, I think he could have a monster game against the Seahawks.

CeeDee Lamb has been as elite as advertised; he’s got a tasty matchup this week. So does Pollard; if he’s ever going to figure it the fuck out, it should be against a terrible Giants team. I’m concerned about Walker’s health, but that’s why I rostered Charbonnet. Hopefully Walker makes it back okay, because I think he could be good for a couple of scores in this one.

I’m hoping for lots of Browns field goals, and I’m hoping for a 40-burger from the Jets defense. I hope they just KILL the Raiders!

This week, I play the same guy twice, in two different leagues. In this one, he’s You Dropped Your Dildo and he’s somehow in 8th place in spite of having the 4th-most points scored. His roster is full of killers:

  • Lamar Jackson (QB) vs. Cle
  • Dak Prescott (QB) vs. NYG
  • Ja’Marr Chase (WR) vs. Hou
  • Garrett Wilson (WR) @ LV
  • Austin Ekeler (RB) vs. Det
  • Jonathan Taylor (RB) @ NE
  • Logan Thomas (TE) @ Sea
  • Mike Evans (WR) vs. Ten
  • TBD (K) vs. TBD
  • Pittsburgh (DEF) vs. GB

He’s got Waddle on a BYE and Danny Dimes on IR, but that doesn’t matter a whole helluva lot. There’s a chance Chase sits out, but he’s got Joe Mixon on his bench. It’s a total nightmare playing You Dropped Your Dildo! Hopefully, the Browns can slow down Lamar, and hopefully Dallas hands off for all of their touchdowns, but I’m not holding my breath. The skill guys are all fuckin’ elite, and he’s got the Steelers’ defense to boot! I have no chance.