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Week 12 Observations
It wasn’t a total disaster, but I expected better, especially after seeing this double-rainbow while playing tennis yesterday afternoon:
I know some of you have heard this story fewer than five times, so I’ll tell it again. The last time I saw and photographed a double-rainbow was in July, 2011 on the drive to the RotoWire Vegas trip:
Sorry for the bad photo with the dead bugs on the windshield — you can’t even see the second rainbow, and now I’m doubting whether it really was a double, but I was doing 100 mph in the rain and didn’t want to kill myself to get it. (Real man gets a museum-quality photo even if he has to ghost-ride.)
In any event, I saw this rainbow on the way to Vegas and the following day found myself at a poker table with a high-hand bonus and Jeff Erickson. I bought in for about $300, and a few hands later got A-7. I saw the flop which was 7-7-6, and so did Erickson. I think he bet something like $20, and I made it $60, everyone else folded, and I told him to fold, that he didn’t want any part of what I had, but he donkeyed all-in, and I called. We flipped over the cards. He had 10-7.
The turn card, of course, was a 10, he made a full house and wiped me out. Keep in mind this was 2011, and we weren’t making that much money. Knowing me, you’d think I’d be enraged about it, but for some reason I wasn’t. I played the hand right, he caught a card on the turn, I’d rather give the money to Erickson than some rando and that’s poker.
I took two more hundreds out of my wallet, bought back in.
A couple hands later, I look down, see A-J of spades. The flop comes king of hearts, queen of spades, 10 of spades. I have the nut-straight and am four to the Royal. I check because if I bet and everyone folds, I won’t get to see the next two cards. One guy bets, and two of us call. The turn brings the king of spades. I got it. It’s 1 in 649,740.
The guy to my right checks, I check, guy to my left goes all in (he had made a lower flush, was worried I had the ace.)
I have two regrets in this life, and both happened on this hand: (1) That I didn’t pretend to agonize over the call for 30 seconds and say, “Just kidding, I have a Royal Flush” and (2) That I didn’t take a photo of the hand and the rack of green chips ($2500) they brought to me for the high hand bonus. Even Erickson (and everyone else at the table) got $100 each just for being in the presence of greatness.
So that’s a long-winded way of saying when I saw the double rainbow yesterday, I expected better.
The problem was Travis Etienne hurting his foot early in the first quarter and getting me 0.3 points. Recall I have Etienne in five leagues, so that’s like someone else getting five separate RB1 injuries across his teams. As a result, I’m looking at 1-4 in the NFFC, and as luck would have it, a loss to Erickson himself in the Vegas league and against whom I have a side bet. Time is a flat circle, and maybe if I can exhibit similar equanimity in the face of this bad beat, the rainbow will pay off yet.
The silver lining is the one likely win (it’s not a done deal — I’m up 29.3 with Pat Freiermuth facing Najee Harris) would be in the Primetime where I’ve got a good chance to be one of the two teams vying for the $7700 prize.
I went 2-2 ATS in the Circa Millions because the Saints simply could not get into the end zone in the fourth quarter, but in fairness, I benefited from the Jaguars narrowly doing so in their game earlier.
Equanimity — Etienne getting hurt is just fantasy football, even if the camera showed him yucking it up on the sidelines all game, totally unconcerned.
I sat Nick Chubb for Etienne in one league (other backs are Jonathan Taylor and Kenneth Walker), and the Browns had to rub it in by getting Chubb the game-winning TD in overtime when a chip-shot field goal would have sufficed.
Chris Godwin (13-12-110-0) seems like he’s getting 100 percent back from the torn ACL. Mike Evans has too many tattoos, not enough production.
Amari Cooper (12-7-94-0) had one of the worst drops I’ve ever seen (on fourth down, no less) but made up for it with a 45-yard catch in overtime that set up Chubb’s TD.
I usually bet the Titans for the same reason I always bet the Patriots — they’re mentally tough and don’t beat themselves with stupid mistakes. But both teams did just that, the Patriots roughing the punter on Thanksgiving and the Titans with a personal foul on the field-goal attempt that would have put the Bengals up seven, rather than ending the game.
It was nice to see Derrick Henry (17-38-0, 3-3-79-0) get his yards through the air rather than on the ground for my Saquon Barkley 35:1 rushing title bet, but now Barkley’s in fourth place after Josh Jacobs went bananas against the Seahawks.
I picked up the Dolphins defense at the last minute in the Primetime, and it’s a good thing I did. I was hoping for the shutout too, before they took the foot off the gas. When it was 30-0 in the third quarter, the announcers in the game were begging them to take Tua Tagovailoa out. I’m not saying they were necessarily wrong, as the game was (mostly) in hand, and Tua was taking some hits, but they wouldn’t shut up about it. As it turns out, the Texans made a run, and had they made a two point conversion would have been down 16 with 13 minutes left. The idea you should protect your quarterback before the game is completely sewn away doesn’t seem good for the culture, and if he’s that fragile he’ll probably get hurt anyway.
Dameon Pierce had his second straight bad game — it’s tough being a running back on a doormat.
With Justin Fields out, I thought about picking up White Lotus (Mike White) in the Steak League, but opted for Kenny Pickett instead. It’s amazing what a difference it makes to have a quarterback who can complete a forward pass. I didn’t think it were possible, but the Jets drafted an even worse quarterback than Sam Darnold in 2021. It pains me to say this about QB1, given all he’s accomplished off the field, but I’m compelled to bring up this poll from last year:
Have a feeling it would be like 10, 10, 80 if we were to re-run it. The Gettlechad knows quarterbacks.
Garrett Wilson (8-5-95-2) is the obvious beneficiary from having White Lotus under center, but Elijah Moore (2-2-64-1) has upside too.
With respect to Trevor Siemian, I leave you with this poll:
The Team is scrappy and ugly.
My Panthers to win the NFC South bet at 12:1 just refuses to die.
The Jaguars-Ravens was a great game. The Trevor Lawrence final drive with a pinpoint deep ball to Zay Jones (14-11-145-0), the TD to Marvin Jones and the two-point conversion was impressive. Part of me wanted it to go to overtime because I have Lawrence and Christian Kirk (9-4-46-0) in a few places, but I also had Jaguars +4, so the two-point try sealed it for me. Lawrence looks stiff at times, but that drive showed a glimpse of his upside. The quarterback he most reminds me of (so far) is actually Daniel Jones. (Jaguars fans — I know of only one — probably won’t love that comp.)
But the craziest thing about that game was the Ravens getting the ball with 10 seconds left and getting in position for a not-that-crazy Justin Tucker record-breaking 67-yard attempt. It was so straight and perfect, I really thought it was going through. Makes you realize how crazy Nathaniel Hackett was for trying a 64-yard field goal with freaking Brandon McManus on 4th-and-5 on the road (no altitude) Week 1. But no crazier than me using Denver in Seattle in all three of my Survivor pools.
The Jaguars going for two locked up an ATS win for me, and it was the same with the Chargers (I had Cardinals +4.5). I also had Kyler Murray and Marquise Brown going against me in the Primetime, so locking in the cover while killing off the chance for overtime was perfect.
I had no interest in drafting Josh Jacobs in the fifth round (33-229-2, 7-6-74-0) because he had no upside. His 304 YFS was eighth all time.
I had DK Metcalf (15-11-9-0) going in two key leagues including the Primetime, so it was especially annoying they overruled his 12th catch after what seemed like a 20 minute review. I’ve said this before but for every million people watching a game, the five-minutes wasted by a review is five million minutes (9.5 years) of human existence flushed down the drain. If 10 million people are watching, that review just destroyed a 95-year human life. It’s murder by instant replay. One day I’ll just defenestrate to eliminate the middle man.
Greg Gumbel couldn’t stop calling Travis Homer “Travis Horner.”
I didn’t watch the Chiefs exhibition game against the Rams. I’ve never seen a defending Super Bowl champ be this destroyed the following season.
I started Freiermuth over George Kittle in my Primetime, and I’m not regretting that so far.
Christian McCaffrey (11-32-0, 6-4-17) had one great game for the 49ers, but has had only modest production since. His role might grow with Elijah Mitchell out though.
Aaron Rodgers looked sharp to me despite playing with a broken thumb before leaving with a rib injury. Jordan Love looked good in relief, and the Packers might as well kick the tires at this point.
Aaron Jones (12-43-0, 4-3-56-1) still looks awfully spry to me, and there’s nothing wrong with AJ Dillon (8-64-1, 4-3-24-0), either.
Christian Watson (6-4-110-1) made his big play with Love rather than Rodgers. The Packers have to get the ball in his hands more. Allen Lazard (3-2-24-0) sure goes in motion a lot for a player who rarely gets a target.
AJ Brown (6-4-46-1) lost a fumble and didn’t get heavily involved, but that was only because the run game was working so well.
The Eagles rushing attack (363 yards) was unstoppable. Another player I benched for Etienne was Miles Sanders (21-143-2, 3-3-17-0). But I’m not unduly upset about it — it’s fantasy football.