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Week 14 Observations
That wasn’t pleasant, but it got the job done. Saquon Barkley and Travis Etienne killed off my long-shot NFFC Online teams — big days from both, and I probably make the playoffs in at least one of them — but they couldn’t derail the Primetime team that got 43.1 points from Trevor Lawrence to take down the points title and best record, locking in the $7000* first prize.
The $7000 goes a long way — even if every bet I made, and every league I entered winds up netting me zero, I’ll still be proftable, as I invested $6,138 for everything last summer. (I should add the $12.50 I owe Seslowski for our failed in-season Survivor run too.)
I probably shouldn’t say it’s over — in fact, we have a near “airplane test”: up 48.4 with Nick Folk and Rhamondre Stevenson, facing James Conner. Conner could have a 55-point game, while Stevenson gets hurt, and Folk gets a couple PATs. But it’s looking pretty good.
I want to mention the guy listed in third place, Brian Ng, who (assuming Conner has a modest game), missed second place (and $3200) by 3.1 points. That in itself isn’t remarkable until you consider he had Tee Higgins (scratched after lock), Tyler Huntley (7.5 points) who got hurt and Lamar Jackson (1.45 points) who got hurt in the first quarter the week before and still was up .2 points until the 23-yard Tyler Lockett catch with 1:56 left. (I was sweating it on his behalf last night, once I realized I was probably in the clear.)
He was the guy who got Nick Chubb at 4.11, Josh Jacobs at 8.11 and Jamaal Williams at 12.11, i.e., he had the best team and was leading in points all year. I was also rooting for him because he contributed to the Real Man Would podcast and ChrisLiss.com before I even had a pay Substack. (That said, as much as I was hoping he took second, had those things not happened, I’d be sweating Stevenson and Folk to hold onto first, a prospect I’m happy to avoid.) Hopefully, Conner has a dud, and he still gets $1100 for third.
*I had mistakenly thought it was $7,700 because last year I won the Primetime and took second in an online ($700), so that was the payout last year, and I conflated the two.
I also went 2-2 in the Circa Millions, pending the Pats tonight. I knew the Giants were a terrible pick as I was writing it up — maybe I should write them up *before* I submit — but then it would be harder to make up my mind. It was nice to see the strange lines (Panthers getting only 3.5 in Seattle and Lions favored over the Vikings) come in, though.
The Jets move the ball, but don’t score much. At least Elijah Moore (10-6-60-0) finally got involved, but unfortunately, he’s not on the Primetime team that’s in the playoffs. (If he were, it probably wouldn’t be.)
I had the Browns in the Circa Millions, and it was a bad pick. With all the money they spent on Deshaun Watson, they should just hire some prostitutes to pose as massage therapists, so he could do his routine consenually. (Interesting moral/legal question on whether it would be consensual if he didn’t know they were prostitutes.) Seriously though, it might be rust, or it might be just that Watson is a broken man after being publicly humiliated for two years.
The Higgins scratch is malpractice by the Bengals, given how much money rides on fantasy football. I don’t know precisely how much of the league’s popularity is due to fantasy, but it’s enough that the league should care about getting timely information out.
It sucks that the Cowboys came back and won. I knew they would, and I don’t care for Giants purposes — that ship has sailed — but it would have made my day that much more enjoyable.
The Lions control the game and grind you down with long drives. The Vikings fling the ball around, but they’re soft. It will be odd in a year or two when the Lions and Jaguars are league powerhouses.
Justin Jefferson (15-11-223-0) has 1,500 receiving yards, 40 more than Tyreek Hill, with four games to play
Trevor Lawrence played arguably the best game of his career. I keep thinking he’s turned a corner, and he follows it up with a bad game, so I don’t want to draw any big conclusion, but he was sharp, and he moved well despite the toe injury. He draws Dallas next week, and I’m torn on whether to use him (I also have Etienne and Chrstian Kirk) to stack for the Primetime playoffs, or to pivot to Mac Jones against the Raiders. I’m leaning Lawrence right now, in part because if he does go off and takes my guys with him, it’ll be a huge edge on the field. But stacking an inconsistent offense against a top-three defense isn’t ideal.
Would it kill Etienne to catch a pass?
Chig Okonkwo (6-6-45-1) is a player.
I used Barkley over Miles Sanders (17-144-2, 3-1-11-0) in one league. Barkley played just 20 offensive snaps, though he did get two goal line carries.
Jalen Hurts looks awfully smooth against mediocre defenses. It’ll be interesting to see what happens if he gets the 49ers or Cowboys in the playoffs. (He didn’t need to do much in the first Dallas game.)
The Giants just don’t have any weapons on offense, and the defense was missing three of its five best players (Leonard Williams, Adoree Jackson, Xavier McKinney.) Plus Daniel Bellinger got hurt again.
I picked up the Steelers defense for the Primetime playoff run, figuring with T.J. Watt back they’d be good again, but they’re not. They get the Panthers next week, and I think I have to use them over the Bucs who draw the Bengals.
JK Dobbins (15-120-1) did exactly what you had hoped if you stashed him ahead of the playoffs as I did. You still have to worry about Gus Edwards, but at least Dobbins handled a full workload and produced.
Russell Wilson looked okay (aside from the egregious pick-six) before getting a head full of dirt, a giant welt and a concussion. I get that his contract and trade were terrible, but I still don’t understand all the Wilson-the-person hate. He’s a weird guy, so what?
Jerry Jeudy (9-8-73-3) always goes off after the team that drafted him has been eliminated from the playoffs.
Deebo Samuel (ankle) is a big loss for the 49ers, but if any team can lose a superstar playmaker without a hitch, it’s them.
Christian McCaffrey (14-119-1, 3-2-34-1) is the 1.1 if active. Justin Jefferson is probably the real 1.1 because he’s more likely to stay healthy.
The Panthers are better than the Buccaneers and still have a chance to win the division. It would be hilarious if they made the playoffs and knocked out the Niners (and McCaffrey.)
Sam Darnold looked okay to me, but he’s on the Zach Wilson (forward pass is to be used only as as last resort) plan. Best QB the Jets drafted this past decade was easily Geno Smith.
The Seahawks defense has slipped the last few games, and they need Kenneth Walker back.
I guess Tyreek Hill gets credit for his fumble recovery TD, but not the yards he gained to get there?
It’s annoying how teams never seem to guard Austin Ekeler (15-45-1, 8-8-59-0) running routes out of the backfield. He’s always just curling out, getting a pass in stride and running 12 yards before someone tackles him. Ekeler has been the back to have this year, the closest thing to a healthy McCaffrey.