Tag Archives: football

The Legend of Mayfield and Mahomes

Long before Mahomes made headlines when the chiefs traded up in the draft to get him, and long before Mayfield was drafted 1st overall by the Cleveland Browns, their paths became intertwined in a rather unorthodox way.

First and foremost, they are both young QB’s from central Texas. This alone bodes well for their pro potential, as Texas leads the nation in QB’s currently playing in the NFL. Amongst the elites are Drew Brees, Andrew Luck, Mathew Stafford, Derek Carr, Andy Dalton, Nick Foles, and many more. Mayfield reigns from Lake Travis in Austin. Mahomes from Whitehouse near Tyler. This would be only the first of multiple similarities that would occur between their two respective careers.

Mayfield began his college career as a walk on at Texas Tech University. He earned the starting job as a true freshman after an injury to the projected starter. He had a great start to his career, before injury and “miscommunication with coaches” sidelined him. In his absence, fellow true freshman Davis Webb stepped in and Mayfield announced he would leave the program after the 2013 season. Issues between Mayfield and the Texas Tech coaching staff influenced this decision.

In January, 2014, Mayfield enrolled at Oklahoma University as a walk-on. Bob Stoops announced his arrival to the team in February, despite the fact that he was not eligible to play until the 2015 season.

During the 2014 season, back in Lubbock, Patrick Mahomes had just arrived to Texas Tech as a freshman, and sat behind Davis Webb. After injury to Webb, Mahomes got his first start against Texas, and remained the starter for the rest of the season. He began his sophomore year as the starter. During his 2015 season, Mahomes had 4,600+ yards and 36 touchdowns.

Back in Norman, in August of 2015, Baker Mayfield was named the starting QB for the Sooners after a tough competition with Trevor Knight. He went on to lead the Sooners to the 2015 College Football Playoff, and finished fourth in the Heisman voting. A year later, in December of 2016, after a prolific scoring clinic was put on by the Oklahoma offense, both Mayfield and his primary target Dede Westbrook were named as finalists for the Heisman trophy. The Sooners were slotted to play in the 2017 Sugar Bowl and were victorious against Auburn.

Not to be outdone by his fellow competitor, Mahomes had himself a great 2016 season as well. He finished his magnificent campaign by eclipsing 5,000 passing yards and scoring 53 total touchdowns on the year. His highlight of the season, strangely enough, came during his contest with none other than Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma Sooners. During the game, he tied the NCAA single-game passing yards record of 734 passing yards, and set a new NCAA record for most total passing yards in a game by two players (other was Mayfield). After the season, Mahomes announced he would enter the 2017 NFL draft. He would later be taken 10th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs, and stashed behind Alex Smith for his rookie season.

During the 2017 season, Mayfield took off and set the nation on fire. He made a name for himself when he planted an Oklahoma flag in the middle of the “O” after beating Ohio State in Columbus in week three. Mayfield capped his 2017 season with a Big 12 championship victory against TCU, and a trip to the 2017 College Football Playoff against Georgia.

heisman mayfield

Mayfield was awarded the 2017 Heisman trophy, becoming the first walk-on player to accomplish this. After entering the draft, he was selected first overall by the Cleveland Browns, becoming the first walk-on player to go first overall in the NFL draft as well. This was immediately criticized by almost everyone, as Sam Darnold had been detailed as the most pro-ready QB available, and the Browns were expected to take the “sure thing” given their current and past QB situation. GM John Dorsey does what he wants. He wanted Baker Mayfield, and that was that

Right around the time Mayfield was making waves and winning awards at the collegiate level, Mahomes’ name was starting to cause a stir in the NFL. Everyone knew he had the physical traits to last in the league, but some still questioned his ability to run the offense.

Mahomes got his first start late in the 2017 season when the Chiefs rested Alex Smith for the playoffs. He played well, but didn’t really have a breakout performance. It wasn’t until two weeks ago, week one of the 2018 regular season, that he showed us all what he could do.

mahomes pro

Mahomes has since thrown for 582 yards and 10 touchdowns in their first two games of the 2018 season, setting the Chiefs up at 2-0, and silencing any critics to his name. If he can continue to play at near his current pace, Kansas City will be looking good going forward, and the rest of the AFC should look out.

Two weeks into the 2018 season, and Mayfield had yet to see the field during the regular season. The Browns managed a 0-1-1 start through the first two games under starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Although it was believed that Mayfield could give the Browns offense an added element in the passing game, some questioned whether it was too early to play him or not. Given that fellow rookie QB’s Sam Darnold and Josh Allen have already been moved up to QB1, some have speculated that Mayfield might be given the nod sooner rather than later. As it turned out, they were right.

It would only take roughly two and half games into the regular season before fans at FirstEnergy Stadium began to boo the Browns stagnant offense, and scream the name of their coveted first overall draft pick. After most of the first half had passed, and only a couple minutes remained on the clock before halftime, Tyrod Taylor went down with a concussion, and on came Baker. You could hear the immediate reaction from the crowd, as they were finally getting to see their QB of the future in his first real action. He did not disappoint.

Mayfield came into the game down 14-0, with an offense that had struggled mightily to this point, and without hesitation, took over the game. His first two passes seemed effortless, and had been exactly what the team was lacking. They went into the half down 14-3, and came out firing. Mayfield led the Browns on three second-half scoring drives, including a re-enactment of the “Philly Special”(most previously seen in Super Bowl LII) on a 2-point conversion attempt to tie the game at 14-14. They scored again on a short burst by Carlos Hyde, whose two touchdowns of the night helped push the Browns in front. The Jets would only go on to score three more points, and the Cleveland Browns got their first win, 21-17, in 635 days.

Not only did the offense have a completely different attitude under Mayfield, but paired with that already nasty and youthfully explosive defense, they could give a lot of teams trouble. His surrounding teammates were clearly energized by his confident approach and “production only” mindset.

These two players took different roads to reach where they are, and despite their difference in play style, they both have a good chance to succeed in the NFL. If I had to put my money on it, I would say they are both on their way to being top 10 QB’s in the league.

Their collaborative story writes a new chapter on Nov. 4th when the Browns take on the Chiefs in Cleveland. If previous showings are a correct indicator, these two could put on an offensive clinic. Whether it’s competitive nature, or mutual respect, these two always seem to bring the best out of one another.

If you enjoyed this piece, and want to see more follow me on twitter @fantasyguy93, and make sure to follow @garageguysfs for any and all sports updates!

Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood

During the offseason, one of the biggest topics of discussion is always money. Which top-notch players were going to receive a market-altering contract offer, and who was going to be cut to save space on the cap. It was no different this year, with quite a few high-caliber players making waves with their pay stubs.

There are always differing opinions on whether certain players deserve what they get, or whether they were overpaid as a result of limited options at their respective positions.

In an era of offense, there is added stress being put on rules protecting ball carriers and receivers, as well as quarterbacks. Most of the rules put into place are to protect the players health as much as possible without affecting the general overall outcome of the performance. These rules, set in place, also create a game vastly different from the one we once knew. More scoring, less contact. With these changes, comes elevated importance on contractually locking down your most dangerous offensive threats.

Ideally, in a situation where a player has given his all to an organization, and his production mirrors that of the elites, he is compensated accordingly. Also, though, exits the opposite. A player can be a major contributor to a franchise, and still find himself at a crossroads come contract negotiations. Despite their success on the field, they may still find themselves having to make a tough financial decision regarding their future.

Professional football is a business, first and foremost.

One of the most noteworthy players that signed an astronomical contract this offseason, is Aaron Rodgers. Almost immediately following the announcement, the internet, as well as most football fans around the globe, broke into a debate over whether or not he deserved the contract he received. Against him, were all the normal arguments waged against a player after a big signing. “He only has one ring.” “His team never performs in the postseason.” “He’s a benefactor of a great offensive mind.” Although some of these points may be partially true, none of them are reasons why he shouldn’t receive his monstrous payday. Here are the number from OvertheCap.com.

Age Base Salary Prorated Sign-on Roster Workout Cap #
35 $1.1M $11.5M $7.8M $500k $20.9M
36 $1.1M $11.5M $13.4M $500k $26.5M
37 $1.1M $11.5M $19.5M $500k $32.6M
38 $14.7M $11.5M $6.8M $500k $33.5M
39 $25M $11.5M $0 $500k $37M
40 $25M $0 $0 $500k $25.5M
Total $68M $57.5M $47.5M $3M $176M

With football being the ultimate team sport, there are a lot of moving cogs that go into the final product. Every position practices separately while perfecting their craft, and then all of the pieces are put together to make magic. In football, a game where every position is codependent on the man lined up next to you, consistency and leadership are two qualities every franchise longs for in a QB. Rodgers makes everyone around him better, and can make any throw you can draw up. If you can obtain and lockdown a prolific passer for the foreseeable future, especially one with great field awareness, every other roster decision becomes slightly easier.

Rodgers is the ultimate asset. He proves himself time and time again. He is dominant every time he steps on thdownloade field, and has never met his match in terms of a defense he can’t pick apart. Defensive coordinators lose sleep game planning for him, and he’s the key to an offense that is completely built around the way he plays the game. When he is on the field, his team can compete against anyone in the league. When he’s not, they are less than stellar.

Without Rodgers, the Packers offense fails to move the ball.

In his absence, not only does the passing game fall apart, but their rushing attack, which already notoriously struggles, and has averaged 17th in the league since Rodgers’ emergence as the QB1 ,cannot be trusted.

The Green Bay Defense has helped Rodgers about as much as the rushing game has. In his time as the starting QB, over the span of the last decade, the Packers team defense has averaged 17th in the league , and never held up in clutch situations. Although their defense did manage a great year in 2011(also the year they won the Super Bowl), they’ve never shown consistency during his time there. Therefore, his play at the QB position has been made a priority in a franchise that expects to win.

With Rodgers at the command, the Packers offense is always a lethal threat to put up both yards and points. They consistently move the ball, and can usually make up for the lousy rushing game with an elite passing attack.

In the eight full seasons that he has played without injury, he has put up fantastic numbers. He routinely finishes the season in the top five in QBR, and is historically careful with the ball.

Season Games Att Comp Comp % Yds Yds/G TD Int Rate
2017 7 238 154 64.7 1,675 239.3 16 6 97.2
2016 16 610 401 65.7 4,428 276.8 40 7 104.2
2015 16 572 347 60.7 3,821 238.8 31 8 92.7
2014 16 520 341 65.6 4,381 273.8 38 5 112.2
2013 9 290 193 66.6 2,536 281.8 17 6 104.9
2012 16 552 371 67.2 4,295 268.4 39 8 108
2011 15 502 343 68.3 4,643 309.5 45 6 122.5
2010 15 475 312 65.7 3,922 261.5 28 11 101.2
2009 16 541 350 64.7 4,434 277.1 30 7 103.2
2008 16 536 341 63.6 4,038 252.4 28 13 93.8

If you needed a recent example of just how masterful he can be in the pocket, look no further than the last game he played against the Bears.

On Sunday, September 9th, the Packers played the Bears at home. After Rodgers went down in the first half, the Packers fell behind 20-0 at the break. Rodgers left on the cart and it looked gloomy for Green Bay fans.

And then, like the Magician he is, Rodgers emerges from the locker room in the second half, and brings his team back from the dead to a 24-23 victory over the visiting Chicago Bears.

Rodgers is obviously worth the house, but it’s not always just a question of whether a player is worth it or not, but whether the team can afford them. In his case, the Packers had enough cap space to offer a huge deal. Had they not, they would have made space.

Rodgers’ 4 year/$134M contract extension($100M+ guaranteed) is a small price to pay to keep this man in town. As mediocre as their rushing game AND defense has been for the past decade, the fact that they won a Super Bowl in that time is impressive.

Sometimes it’s ok to question the contract a player receives, especially if it’s for your team. In this case, it should be obvious. Aaron Rodgers is worth it.

If you enjoyed this piece on the Aaron Rodgers saga, and want to hear more from me and the Garage Guys follow us on Twitter @garageguysfs and myself @fantasyguy93 for any and all fantasy sports updates and advice!

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Well that didn’t take long! Our first fantasy football conundrum is upon us before 30 teams even play a down. Le’Veon Bell has not reported to the Pittsburgh Steelers to sign his $14.544M franchise tag, which will cost him around $850k per game missed. This is driving both fantasy owners and good old Mike Tomlin to focus on the next man up, who is James Conner, who we hope you Bell owners were able to roster.

The Steelers seem content waiting this out and not rescinding the tag or taking calls. This makes sense based on the fact that if Bell walks before entering free agency the Steelers would lose out on the compensatory pick in the 2019 draft, which would most likely be a 3rd. Bell also seems likely to return around week 10 to maintain that unrestricted free agency status entering the 2019 offseason.

What also seems destined is Bell wearing another uniform in 2019. Let’s take a look at the current CAP situations and who the squad thinks is the best destination. Per @FieldYates  here is the current top CAP friendly teams that could potentially acquire the rare talent that is Bell.

Stoner’s Pick: (SF 49ers)

@FantasyFBStoner : The Jerick McKinnon Era in San Francisco has ended before it even began. You heard it here first: He will never play a meaningful down for the 49ers. I understand they just signed him to a 4-year deal, but that means nothing. His salary for 2019 is very manageable, totaling $4.5m including bonuses, but that means nothing. Let me say it louder for those in the back: MCKINNON WILL NEVER PLAY A DOWN THAT MATTERS IN SAN FRAN.

The minimal cap hit ($1.5m) that will come from releasing McKinnon prior to the 2019 season makes him easier to cut, but there is another main reason his stay by The Bay will be short-lived. His name is Le’Veon Bell. Arguably, there is nobody in the history of football better suited for the things Kyle Shanahan likes to do on offense.

Shannahan.jpg

He is constantly lining running backs up in receiver positions, something no running back can do as well as Bell. There is so much pre-snap movement in Shanahan’s offense that running lanes open up simply because of defensive confusion, not just blocking schemes. Though an argument could be made that the success he has had in the power run game of the Steelers may not translate over to Shanahan’s outside-zone scheme, but this is utterly ridiculous.

Overall, Bell is the most talented player in the NFL. In 3 out of the last 4 season, he has easily surpassed 1200 rushing yards, 70 receptions, and 600 receiving yards. Additionally, he has 42 total touchdowns over 5 seasons. Not to mention, Bell is still only 26 years old, so (barring injury) there are plenty of years left in the tank. Last, but certain not least, there are few teams in the league that have the financial flexibility to pay Bell what he is worth and luckily for the 49ers, they are one of them.

After dipping their toes in the Khalil Mack waters, John Lynch and the 49ers need to cannonball in the Le’Veon Bell pool. He has the ability to beat a team in a multitude of ways and is the game-changer the 49ers need to truly fulfill their Quest For Six.

Chase’s Pick (NY Jets)

@GarageGuyChase :When you think of Lev, you think big, fast and popular. Kind of like a Jet plane. Jets are awesome and Lev Bell to the Jets would be even more awesome. The team has struggled to find a run game in years past. This move would allow a team that is ready to be a true contender in the AFC East to take a huge leap in the standings.

download (1).jpgWith Sam Darnold grabbing the starting job at QB, this would be the perfect time to add a weapon that could give the New England Patriots a run for their money and help progress a true rebuild in the Todd Boles era. Currently the Jets have $15,451,473 in cap space and we would more than likely see the release of 5 year running back Bilal Powell.

Fantasy Guy’s Pick (Indy Colts)

@fantasyguy93 I’m sure everyone has already heard, but Le’Veon Bell is good, and looking to get paid. The Steelers won’t do it, but someone else certainly will. One good landing spot for an elite RB1, with a high price tag, would be Indianapolis.

download (2).jpgAlthough the Colts franchise is headed by a “less than stable” owner in Jim Irsay, it sill remains a desirable location for Bell. The offense comes with a returning star in Andrew Luck, who can turn the team around immediately if he can get back to his normal self. There’s the always explosive T.Y. Hilton at WR, who can only benefit from Luck’s return, and an improved offensive line including the sixth overall pick, Quenton Nelson.

The Colts have a great mix of talented offensive weapons to put around Bell, if he chooses to play there. They also have what other teams don’t, which is cap space. The Steelers have made it perfectly clear that their opinion on Bell’s worth completely differs from that of Bell himself, or his agent, Adisa Bakari. They offered him $14M and he was asking for $17M. Based on how far apart the two sides are in this situation, it seems fair to assume that there’s little to no chance of him being a Steeler next season. The Colts have the roster space and the cap space to appease Bell, but will they be the ones to sign him to the historical contract he desires? We’ll see.

Kevin’s Pick (Houston Texans)

My thought is why not the Houston Texans. Pairing Bell with the electric young QB that is Deshaun Watson, and DeAndre Hopkins, that I wrote about here , would make for one of if not the most electric combo of QB/WR/RB in the NFL. The Texans could also front-load the guaranteed money to allow themselves time before signing Watson to the mega-deal he will demand if he can stay healthy. images (1).jpg

Look I know Lamar Miller is decent, but let’s be honest – he is nowhere close to the level of RB that Bell brings to an offense. Bell would provide the Texans with basically a WR2 in terms of target share, couple that with Nuk and Will Fuller V and the Texans are a hybrid TE away from having the potential to lead the league in offensive production, coupled with a solid defensive unit.

Here is exactly why Bell is basically a RB1 and WR2/TE1 combined, (courtesy of Pro Football Reference!

Rank Player Position Targets Catches Yards TD
1 Jarvis Landry WR 161 112 987 9
2 Larry Fitzgerald WR 161 109 1156 6
3 Michael Thomas WR 149 104 1245 5
4 Keenan Allen WR 159 102 1393 6
5 Antonio Brown WR 163 101 1533 9
6 DeAndre Hopkins WR 174 96 1378 13
7 Golden Tate WR 120 92 1003 5
8 Adam Thielen WR 142 91 1276 4
9 Julio Jones WR 148 88 1444 3
10 Le’Veon Bell RB 106 85 655 2
11 Travis Kelce TE 122 83 1038 8
12 D. Thomas (Den) WR 140 83 949 5
13 Alvin Kamara RB 100 81 826 5
14 Jack Doyle TE 108 80 690 4
15 C. McCaffrey RB 113 80 651 5
16 Doug Baldwin WR 116 75 991 8
17 A.J. Green WR 143 75 1078 8
18 Tyreek Hill WR 105 75 1183 7
19 Davante Adams WR 117 74 885 10
20 Zach Ertz TE 110 74 824 8

I mean honestly this guy had more catches in 2017 than Ertz, Adams, A.J. Green, or Baldwin! Those are WR1s and TE1 comps while maintaining workhorse rushing touches that separates him from the likes of Kamara and CMC in my opinion.

Where would you like to see Bell in 2019? Let us know!

Bluff on the Rivers

In life, we are faced with choices that must be made. There are days when those situations are minor, like choosing what to eat for dinner, or where to spend a Saturday evening. Simple things. Other days, you can find yourself faced with making life-altering decisions, like where to attend school, or whether you want children or not, or who to play at QB on your fantasy roster.

You know, real game-changers. Here’s a tale of fantasy self-destruction and how it can draw similarities to real life success-deprivation.

Decisions are made every single day. They’re made every week, every month, every season. A good decision can bring about glorious change, while a bad decision can leave you wondering what could have been. Good decisions often lead to success. Success, even at the most elementary level, can bring about a state of euphoria. So what can a bad decision do? I’ll tell you…

download (8).jpg

A bad decision can derail progress. It can cause turmoil to flourish where potential once lived. Bad decisions are rooted in poor analysis, bad judgement, and a lack of trust. A decision, when bad enough, can be life-changing. Alone, it can be the downfall of a once semi-prominent Southern California professional football franchise, as well as a budding Fantasy Football team with no titles, about to endure its third straight year in the playoffs. Let me explain.

I’m good at Fantasy Football. At least I think I am. I’ve made the playoffs for the last three seasons and have finished 12-2, 10-4, 12-2. I have a deep love for Football that I developed as a child, and it’s only increased as an adult. So why is it that I don’t win titles? What is it that keeps me from succeeding? It’s bad decisions. The Chargers, sadly, know all about this.

Like the L.A. Chargers, my poor franchise history is rooted in bad judgement, poor analysis, and a lack of trust. Even more coincidental, both of our decisions involved the same two players, just decades apart.

In 2005, the L.A. Chargers(then San Diego) made a decision that would directly impact their future as a championship contender. They let Drew Brees walk. Now I get it, Philip Rivers is consistent, and he’s had a pretty good career as a gunslinger, but this was a bad decision. Although Rivers is a competitor, he is not Drew Brees.

20100212-tows-drew-brees-1-300x205.jpgThey found this out in 2010, when Brees delivered a Super Bowl to the Saints, and the city of New Orleans, instead of San Diego. This realization was known. It was understood then, that no matter how good it felt in the moment to take Rivers, it wasn’t the right choice. Although they have enjoyed consistently strong QB play from Philip Rivers over the span of his career, Chargers fans would’ve loved to have been the ones hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.

I too made the mistake of not betting on Brees. It was just last year, but I remember it vividly. I was 12-2, in first place, and rolling through the schedule. Then it happened…the decision that would once again prolong my title drought. I chose Rivers.

I can’t tell you why, and I can’t make it seem better than it is. I had Brees all season, and he was great. Not his normal out-of-this-world great, but really damn good. I took a gamble. I don’t know if it was his personality, or the fact that he has eight children, but something about Rivers made me think he was the one. Brees, again, proved that wrong.

Why is it that I doubted Brees? Is it because I fell into the same trap the Chargers did? download (5).jpgDid I fall victim to Rivers and his 6’5” 228 pound frame? I did. The Chargers made the same call. They wanted the sparkly new ride, the one with more “potential”.

Brees is an average-sized man. Obviously, he’s a bit more built than most of us, but his heart is nowhere near average. He’s proved this throughout his career by being one of the most electrifying arms the league has ever seen, and bringing a Super Bowl to the city of New Orleans, all while being a seemingly subtle 6’0” 209 lbs. The dude can ball, no matter his size. He’s a Hall of Fame QB, whether you look at his film, his stats, or his demeanor.

On film, Brees is an extremely accurate passer with great field awareness. He runs an offense designed around his skill set and he gets the maximum results out of the weapons around him. His short-range and mid-range games are unmatched other than by maybe Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. His pristine passing-vision is apparent when he throws the deep ball, placing it in the smallest of windows.

His stats are as elite as they come. There’s not much to explain other than he throws the ball a lot, and he throws it well. Brees is credited with having passed for over 5,000 yards in five different seasons. He did so in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2016. No other QB has ever done this more than once. Brees is also most likely going to break the record for passing yards in a career, which is currently held by Peyton Manning.

Rank Player Yards
1 Peyton Manning 71,940
2 Brett Favre 71,838
3 Drew Brees 70,445
4 Tom Brady 66,159
5 Dan Marino 61,361
6 Eli Manning 51,682
7 John Elway 51,475
8 Ben Roethlisberger 51,065
9 Philip Rivers 50,348
10 Warren Moon 49,325

Considering Brees has averages 4,841 yards a season, it’s completely possible he becomes the NFL’s all time passing yards leader somewhere in the middle of his 2018 campaign.

Normally, I wouldn’t purposely pile on evidence of my fantasy short-comings, but I feel it’s necessary. If I can’t admit my faults, and try to improve myself when I have failed, how can I expect others to do the same? So I write of these experiences, to hopefully deter future fantasy footballers from contracting the same fate.

In closing, just don’t overthink it. Play the guy that always proves it. There are very few sure things you get in this life, but Drew Brees throwing for 4,000+ yards in a season is as good of a bet as you can make.

images (3).jpgIt’s the bet that neither I, nor the Chargers, were able to make. To be as abundantly clear as I can be…If you ever find yourself choosing Philip Rivers over Sir Brees, in a season-defining moment, just reconsider.

Bluff on the Rivers, Bet on the Brees.

Thanks for reading! If you liked this story, and want to hear more from Fantasy Guy and the rest of the Garage Guys follow @garageguysfs  and myself @fantasyguy93 on Twitter for daily updates from around the sports world!

From The Top Shelf (Vol. 1)

Fantasy football and marijuana are intrinsically linked. Think about it; there are few things in this world that create as much anxiety as fantasy football. Whether it is the draft, waiver pickups, trades, or setting lineups, your blood pressure will rise exponentially as the season progresses. There is nothing, in my estimation, that cures anxiety (and anything else that ails you) quite like some danky cannabis. Indicas, Sativas, and Hybrids. THC oil pens, crumble wax, and edibles. Whatever is your pleasure.

For fantasy football purposes, the most relatable terms are “Dank” and “Schwag”. For those of you outside the smoking circle, dank refers to a very potent, top-shelf strain of marijuana; one with dark and sticky buds (think Antonio Brown). Schwag is quite the opposite. It refers to some low-grade, bottom shelf bud that is dry, full of seeds and stems, and does not quite get the job done (think DeVante Parker). Dank Buds you should play and schwag buds you should seriously consider benching.

Without further ado, here are your Dank & Schwag Buds for Week 1:

Dank Buds of the Week:images (1)

QB: Matthew Stafford: I have a bong that I have owned for almost 7 years. It is about a foot tall, has a decent sized bowl, and always hits very well. That bong is named after Matthew Stafford. Both are always consistent and have earned my confidence that they will always be there. Stafford has not missed a game since 2010 and is extremely reliable, having finished in the top 10 in 6 out of the last 7 years. The Lions are a pass first team with questions surrounding the run game. Golden Tate and Marvin Jones are both lethal and get to start the season at home versus a bottom 3rd defense. The Jets allowed the 3rd most TDs to quarterbacks last season with 28, against only 10 picks.

RB: James White: There is one strain of weed that I am always going back to called Super Elmer’s Glue. James White is Belichick & Brady’s Super Elmer’s Glue. No matter what changes have come to the Patriots backfield over the years, White is the constant. White has earned their trust and seems to be the only healthy running back in the New England backfield. Under normal circumstances, he is no more than a flex option, but against this aggressive Texans defense, White is going to be a PPR beast. But these are not normal circumstances. The patriots are lacking pass-catchers, so while White may not get the carries one would hope, he should more than make up for it in the pass game, at least until Julian Edelman returns.

WR: Cooper Kupp: My love for Cooper Kupp has not been understated. I think he will end up as the #1 pass-catching option on the Rams high powered offense. Kupp is like a THC oil vape pen—small, quick hitting, and always delivering. The Raiders are a dumpster fire right now and I expect Kupp to reap the benefits. The Raiders defense had the fewest interceptions in the league last season and traded away a large portion of their sacks. Kupp was one of the league leaders last season in Red Zone Targets and will have a coming out party on Monday night and the summer reports of Kupp and Jared Goff becoming BFFs will be confirmed.

TE: Austin Seferian-Jenkins:Does not matter how stoned you are because every fantasy football players knows to play your tight ends against the New York Giants. They were historically bad at defending TEs last season and while I expect them to be better, I do not expect a miracle turnaround. ASJ has never been able to stay healthy, but did play the most games of any season in his career last year. He also caught 50 passes for the Jets last season.

I expect him to be a big part of the Jags passing game, especially since they no longer have the Allen Brothers (Robinson & Hurns) and recently lost Marquis Lee for the season. There are a ton of targets available for ASJ. As long as he stays on the field, I think he has a great shot at being a top 10 TE, but the health issues make it hard to consider him more than a matchup play. I consider ASJ to be a Sativa. When he is there, he does a great job, but it is definitely not my preference.

Schwag Buds of the Week:

QB: Jimmy Garoppolo: Don’t get me wrong, as a Niner fan, I love Jimmy G and all he will bring to the franchise, but this week, on the road against a Vikings defense that only allowed 11 receiving touchdowns last year, you have to sit him. Keep in mind that the 49ers running game has some huge question marks after the season-ending ACL tear suffered by Jerick McKinnon. Alfred Morris and Matt Breida are solid, but not spectacular. download (3).jpg

The offensive line is average at best and will have its hands full with the Minnesota font seven. Jimmy G is like smoking a dab; it is new and sexy and you know it will do damage, but there is a time and a place for it. Choose wisely or it could go bad quickly.

RB: Devonta Freeman: I have made my dislike of Devonta Freeman abundantly clear—I believe Tevin Coleman is the better running back, but we should not disregard the impact Freeman has had over the years. He has been a RB1/RB2 for the last few years. But looking closer, you will see that his carries and targets have gone down each of the last 3 seasons. Last year in the playoffs, against the very same Eagles defense he faces this week, Freeman ran 10 times for 7 yards.

His best chance of having a productive fantasy week against a top 3 defense is through the air, but TC is the better receiving option out of the backfield. He is most likely your second round pick, so you are going to play him, just taper your expectation. Freeman is like an edible that never really kicks in; the expectations are always high, but the result is a huge disappointment.

WR: Josh Gordon: I am expecting Josh Gordon to have a great season, but it will not start week 1 against Pittsburgh. I am basing this pick solely on uncertainty. He has been away from the team for the whole off-season and Hue Jackson has already named another Cannabis Connoisseur, Antonio Callaway, starter for this week.

download (4).jpgHe can put up solid numbers even with minimal targets, but this is not the week to take that chance. Steelers secondary isn’t horrible and their pass rush should be much improved. Moreover, there is talk of a hamstring injury, which may limit his usage as well. Gordon is like a finely rolled blunt filled with kush. You know there is a time and a place to use it, but this isn’t the week.

TE:  Jordan Reed & Tyler Eifert: There is not a strain of weed on this planet or any other that would cause me to put one of these two players in my starting lineup this week. I do not doubt that these are two of the most talented tight ends in the NFL, but I also recognize that, much like my bong I have named Matthew Stafford, both of these guys are made of glass. Reed has started only 25 games the last 5 seasons; Eifert has started 30 over the same time-frame.download (1).jpg

Playing these two comes with added aggravation and an increase in blood pressure. Do not let their potential dictate your starting lineup. They remind me of that friend who claims to have the dankest bud of all time, but when he brings it over, you see its dry, brown, and full of broken stems.

A Letter To The Commish: The “My Wife Controls Me” Guy

Hey Commish,

Wow man, another year has flown by and Its almost time for Fantasy SZN again. Hope the draft isn’t the first Sunday of September by the way because Cheryl’s mom will be in town and we made plans to go to the lake for pictures. If it is that’s ok, I’m cool with auto drafting. I’ve been watching a lot of ESPN and even started recording Fantasy Live so I can really get ready for the league this year. I know I should have been more active last year but you know Cheryl was having a hard time after that bad experience in October when she died her hair and it turned orange. Had to spend my Sundays watching movies with her and I really didn’t want too but gotta do what I gotta do (ughh..). I’ve told her that I want to be able to let loose a little on the weekends with the guys like old times and she was cool with it. I just have to make sure I’m home before 7 for Super Salad Sundays. You know how serious she is with that. But anyway that’s neither here nor there. I wanted to get your advice on my first pick. Since you’re behind me I figured you be cool to help but I’m really thinking about drafting Saquon Barkley this season. I know he’s like some sort of sleeper rookie and all but I want to really shock the guys. Like really let them know I’ve been doing my homework because I know Drew wanted me out because he thought I didn’t take this serious enough after he made that comment about Cheryl and how she basically runs my life. (Yeah right lol). I’m in it to win it this year and you’re going to see that! I wont be able to make it to kickoff Sunday next week either though because we have to go to church that morning for Cheryl’s third cousins baptism. I’m sure you get it since you’re married and all but I will definitely come kick it with you for an hour on Monday to watch a little of the first Monday Night game. Cheryl’s going to bring some of her famous recipe alfredo so it going to be awesome! Let me know when you need the money for league dues and ill get you a check asap. See you Monday man!

P.S. Can you please tell Monica not to bring up Cheryl’s mole on her ear? It really upset her last time and I wasn’t able to set my lineup that week last year because of it. It was CRAZY. She slammed my phone on the ground and broke it. She can get a little emotional sometimes but hey thats women.

The Alvin Kamara Special: 2018 ADPs For 2019 Keepers

A keeper is a player that you can keep and holdover for your team for the next season. For the 12-Man league that I participate in, we are allowed to only keep one player drafted in 2017, or players who were traded to you that were drafted in 2017, for the 2018 season. When you keep this player, the team  MUST give up the round that player was drafted in in 2017.

I will use my 2017 season of my 12 man league (Be You At BU) as an example. I was able to pick Alvin Kamara, Saints RB [2017 Average Draft Position (ADP) RB59] in the 13thround and was able to obtain him again in 2018 by just giving up the 2018 13thround pick (2018 ADP Overall 1.7). ADP is important in this respect, because Kamara well surpassed his ADP at RB59 from the 2017 season, making his value strong as a keeper for the 2018 season as a keeper.

All four position groups are represented by one player, with one, Alvin Kamara Special to finish the story off:

Quarterback

Sam Darnold, New York Jets, No Overall ADP

Disclaimer: I am a long die hard Jets fan, but after knowing and observing what good quarterback play is in the NFL, and watching a team who hasn’t had a QB like Sam Darnold since Joe Namath, I can promise you that this kid is going to be good, and I might go as far to say special.

The ceiling in the 21 year old mobile gunslinger from USC is extremely high. Seth Galina’s Football Outsiders Futures Evaluation of the number #3 overall pick explained it perfectly, “His weaknesses help reveal his true strengths.” His mastering of the Run-Pass-Option (RPO), his great arm strength, his control of the huddle, his vision on the field, his great ability to move within the pocket and run out of the pocket to make a play as a rookie, is extremely impressive.

The Jets landed with a pot of gold, and will invest in the 2019 Off Season in improving that offensive line to protect this pot of gold. Add Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, Jermaine Kearse, Terrelle Pryor, Bilal Powell, Isiah Crowell this year with more talent with talent coming in 2019 (Jets have 9thmost salary cap space in the 2019 off-season), do not be surprised of Carson Wentz like 2017 coming from Sam Darnold in 2019.

Running Back

Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions, Overall ADP Round 5.2

This spot was a toss-up between Kerryon Johnson and Royce Freeman, as both will end up being starters for their respective teams by year’s end barring injury. Since Johnson’s ADP is lower than Freeman’s (3.9), he is the currently the better value to keep for the 2019 season. The Auburn RB has three down ability, to run inside and each the edge on the outside, with positive pass protection ability.

Detroit has brought in LeGarrette Blount for inside running and still has Theo Riddick in this backfield to catch some screen passes and work the edge, but the Lions realized that Johnson his ability to make defenders miss (57 forced missed tackles in 2017) was a special quality moved up eight picks  by giving up their second round pick and an additional 4throunder to the Patriots to get their guy. They intend to use him presently this year, and the future for many years to come. I was able to obtain Kerryon in round 8 in my 12 man keeper league, hoping it will be a steal. 5thand 6thround pick for Kerryon would be considered a steal for his value next year.

Wide Receiver

Robby Anderson, New York Jets, 2018 Avg Overall ADP Round 8.3

Alright, so you think I’m a homer since I’m a Jets fan, but dwell on this. As referenced with Sam Darnold, he’s going to be special and thrive in this league, so he needs a partner in crime to thrive with to grow, enter Robby Anderson. The 2016 undrafted free agent (UDFA) out of Temple had a breakout 2017 season with Josh McCown and garnered WR2 numbers. With Sam Darnold having a higher ceiling with more accuracy and off the cuff play-making than McCown, the potential for Anderson to be a WR1 with dangerous deep threat ability has potential to scare defensive coordinators for years to come.

If Anderson puts it together altogether after the catch in immediate routes, fantasy owners who drafted Anderson may salivate over the possibilities of his 2019 campaign. He may have a 1-2 game suspension coming down the wire this season or next, but if he’s putting up close to 90-100/1100-1300/ in 2018, that’s the opportunity for the UDFA to be drafted in the 2-3 rounds of the 2019 draft. He may be a risk, but the value may prove is too good not to take.

Tight End

Trey Burton, Chicago Bears, 2018 Avg Overall ADP 7.3

The former Eagle has made his way to another Andy Reid disciple, Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy, who was recently just left being the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs under, you guessed it, Andy Reid. Thinking of the names of Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, Brent Celek that are in this coaching tree, Burton should not have a problem finding his name atop of the TE depth chart after backing up Ertz last year.

Earning positive PFF grades in pass protection, run blocking, and most importantly receiving last year, Burton is up for a huge role, one that may lead to a top 5, with maybe top 3 upside for 2019 based of Mitch Trubisky’s growth in his third year.

The Alvin Kamara Special: James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers, Overall ADP Round 14.2

I got a small hunch that Le’Veon Bell may not find his way on the 2019 Steelers roster. Why not have his elite backup handcuff for 2018 to 2019, James Conner, as an immediate 2019 RB1/RB2 with an elite offensive line, in rounds 14 or 15. This is the textbook definition of a perfect keeper, where the value in 2018 way exceeds expectation.

Yes, you are taking a chance with the unknown, but overall, Conner has looked good in place for Bell so far this preseason. Conner is an instant RB1 in fantasy if Bell goes down in 2018, and there’s no reason Conner is an instant RB1 when/if Bell leaves the Steelers after the 2019 season. Not bad for a hometown kid who had to beat the odds against cancer, and it looks like he can beat it again.

Now its your turn, who are you eyeing or have drafted with keepers in mind?

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