Week 7 Observations
I’m annoyed. I had the Dolphins -7 as one of my Circa Millions picks, and now I’m 2-2, pending the Patriots game, instead of 3-1. I needed to go 4-1 or 5-0 for the next few weeks to get back on schedule, and now, best case, I’m 3-2.
It’s not that the Dolphins should have covered — in fact, the Steelers were the right side, even though the Dolphins could have gone up nine with a chip-shot field goal in the third quarter. But aside from an impressive opening drive, these were roughly equal teams, and the Steelers dropped at least three easy interceptions.
I’m not annoyed because I deserve better — I don’t. I’m annoyed because what was a near perfect Sunday just got derailed during my Monday morning watch of the edited version of that game.
Before that I was (likely) 7-0 in my leagues, Travis Etienne (who I have everywhere) is looking like the player I thought I drafted, I was 2-1 ATS in the Circa Millions and the Giants are 6-1 after another dramatic come-from-behind win.
I also have a 70:1 ticket on the Giants to win the NFC (not only are they 6-1, but the preseason favorites, the 49ers, Packers, Buccaneers and Rams have three wins each), a 300:1 ticket on Saquon Barkley for MVP, 80:1 on Barkley for OPOTY, 35:1 on Barkley to lead the league in rushing and even my 12:1 Panthers to win the NFC South is live! But my Circa entry is on the ropes rather than getting back on track, and all I can feel is annoyance.
I wrote about it last week, but when you have too much going on, there’s always something about which to be unhappy. Eventually, once you’re drawing dead in Circa, and with a few of your fantasy teams, you cut the dead weight, narrow your focus on the succeeding ones and have a chance for a good week across the board. But until then, something will go wrong, and I’ll be annoyed.
I never want to be the professonal guy who has 100 teams and pools and just looks at his NFL investments as part of an intentionally diversified stock portfolio. That would be like going to your favorite restaurant and looking at the food there as mere fuel. I’m not at Lotus of Siam to acquire the requisite calories I need to function — I’m there to eat an epic meal with my friends. I’m not playing fantasy football to make a small net profit based on my superior portfolio management. I’m doing it to dominate fools and have an epic season!
I want to be overjoyed when Barkley jump cuts a defender out of his shoes, then rumbles forward for a key first down. I want to test my predictions against reality, see how well my vision holds up against the complexity of the league. If I’m not enraged at a bad roughing-the-passer call that nearly costs the Giants the game, why am I even watching? Stoicism is trendy now, but if I want to be stoic, only worrying about what I can control, why am I watching the NFL at all? I can sit on a mountain in the Himalayas, drink raw yak milk and get to the essence of time, space and being. I don’t need this bullshit. I’m dealing with it by choice!
So if you choose to engage with the NFL, make predictions, bet on those predictions, track them and win or lose based on whether they come true, you are going to be annoyed. I don’t know how much longer I will choose this, but when I no longer want to be annoyed, I’ll do what I’ve done with the Knicks (and sadly even the Yankees), not pay much attention during the playoffs and not care.
. . .
I thought Joe Burrow might break Norm Van Brocklin’s passing yards record (554), but after cutting the lead to 28-17 at the half, the Falcons didn’t score again, and Burrow took his foot off the gas.
The Lions were the league’s highest-scoring team after a few weeks, but Jared Goff is the kind of QB who is fine against weak defenses and terrible against good ones.
I remember excoriating myself a few weeks into the year for not reaching up to take Amon-Ra St. Brown and instead donkeying into Etienne.
I was in on CeeDee Lamb early (though I never drafted him), but backed off once I realized how meager his production was in the second half of last year. He’s a solid receiver, but I don’t think he’s a true alpha. I’d take Amari Cooper over him in real life.
I almost took the Titans over the Dolphins in the Circa Millions, and I should have. Matt Ryan is bad, the Titans were coming off a bye, and Mike Vrabel is a much better coach than Frank Reich.
Parris Campbell (12-10-70-1) is finally healthy and productive four years into his career, not something on which I would have bet.
Taylor Heinicke isn’t good, but he’s better than Carson Wentz.
The Packers, Bucs and Rams don’t look like contenders this year. The NFC is truly wide open.
With AJ Brown on bye, I started Romeo Doubs this week:
The Bucs were favored by 13 in Carolina and lost 21-3. That has to be one of the worst ever beatdowns for a team favored by that much. The Panthers are now a game out of first place. Maybe they don’t trade D.J. Moore, after all.
I had the Giants +3 because all year they’ve made plays in key situations, while the Jaguars have done the opposite. I know the stats bros will want to bet on regression, but what’s true generally, or on average, is often not true at the extremes. Justin Tucker always being among the league leaders in scoring, Mariano Rivera being the leader in BABIP-against and HR/FB rate, Bill Belichick’s teams covering at a 58-percent clip for 20 years. There was no regression in those cases because regression is for average players, not great ones. And the Giants coaching, playcalling and in-game adjustments have been extremely good so far this year. I don’t think their winning these tight games has been a fluke.
That said, they only held on Sunday because they stopped Christian Kirk at the one-yard line as time expired. But it never should have gotten to that because the normally heady Barkley went out of bounds unnecessarily *three times* on the game’s final drive.
The Giants had 4th-and-6 with 1:07 left, up three, and kicked the field goal to go up six. I hate the field goal to go up six there because it forces the team to play for the win rather than the tie. Teams down six are forced to go four it on all four downs in field-goal range too, rather than attempting the game-tying field goal. It’s got to be about 40 percent to convert on 4th-and-6, and then it’s game over. And even if you don’t, you can still win on defense, and most likely the worst case is overtime. You even sometimes see teams idiotically play for the long game-tying field goal and miss!
Daniel Jones played out of his mind for the second straight game, though he got bailed out by a roughing the passer call on a would-be soul-crushing pick. Otherwise, Jones didn’t make mistakes and was victimized by at least three drops, one of them on the goal line by Marcus Johnson. He also ran for 107 yards and a TD, thanks in part to great reads and the defense overplaying Barkley. The Giants need to acquire a receiver.
Barkley (24-110-0, 4-4-25-0) looks as spry as I’ve ever seen him with jump-cuts and moves in the open field.
Etienne (14-114-1, 5-1-5-0) seems to have taken over as the starter in Jacksonville, and that was the case even after he lost a fumble at the goal line. He looks awfully fast getting outside, though he and Trevor Lawrence had trouble connecting in the passing game.
Early in the year, Lamar Jackson was on pace to make his all-time 2019 season seem quaint, but he’s cratered over the last four games, and I’m here for it. (I faded him because I thought he’d get hurt, but I’m happy to be right for the wrong reason.)
The Jets are unwatchable, and they might be more so if rising star Breece Hall indeed tore his ACL. No one can take away what QB1
has accomplished off the field, but the passing offense is non-existent.
That the Jets are 5-2 is a testament to how bad the QB play is league wide. You can win with QB1 only because Brady, Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott, Matthew Stafford, etc. haven’t been much better.
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