THE REKINDLING OF THE RELATIONSHIP
Football has been back in full swing for 2 weeks now, and for the most part it has been true bliss. The amazing aerial passing, the exhilarating running game, the heart pounding pass rushes, the crushing hits… man, it’s great to have football back! For the most part.
To continue my analogy from a week ago, your girlfriend (football) has returned from wherever she was (Canada, acting school, whatever) and the two of you have lit up the old flame. Waking up next to her is intoxicating—whereas you were plodding through your days with no purpose before, you are legitimately excited to get up now—waking up next to her makes you feel like twice the man you were a month ago. Things are perfect—there is nothing, and I mean NOTHING wrong with her or this relationship and there NEVER will be.
Except… you are fairly sure you saw her use your toothbrush the other day and then when you asked her she lied about it. And at dinner a couple nights ago she started an argument with you for absolutely no reason at all (it was kind of like a WR getting a flag thrown on him for offensive pass interference when there was equal pushing and shoving on both sides). But things are still great, right? Even if she’s starting to occupy a disproportionate amount of your thinking time, money, and physical resources… it’s worth it. Because she’s hot—and you don’t see any way this could ever go sour again. You can trust her, right? This whole thing is a net gain… right? Right??
With that said, let’s see how our guy The Wolf did this week.
SHOWING OFF THE WOLF’S BIG BRAIN
Elite QBs: Well, say what you will about it not being a particularly bold prediction that Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, and Drew Brees would all produce in a big way this week, but they all looked good (or great) and three of them (Brady, Brees, and Rodgers) put up monstrous fantasy numbers. If Ryan had been a little more selfish he would’ve joined the elite crew as well—he passed for over 200 yards in the 1st half.
Philip Rivers: Rivers remains the QB an awful lot of smart people took as a late round pick who is going to be effective all season. Even in an offensively challenged 19-17 game against Miami, Rivers still managed 331 passing yards and a TD. The Wolf was right on the money naming him as his middle-of-the-road pick—Rivers finished 10th—solid middle-of-the-road numbers for a QB.
Russell Wilson: The Wolf said where the experts were ranking Wilson going into week 2 was ridiculously high (5th) and The Wolf was right. Not that I wasn’t completely impressed with Wilson eking out a 12-9 victory over the always tough 49ers. Not that I wasn’t impressed with the whole 34 rushing yards he put up on that vaunted San Francisco run defense. It took balls for the Wolf to rank Wilson so low (11th) given the opponent he was going against. Even that, as it turned out, was too generous.
Kareem Hunt: Well, The Wolf ranked Hunt 3rd amongst RBs this week. He finished 4th. That’s what we, in the industry, call a “winning prediction”. The ECR had him 9th. Have they seen him play? Nice try experts. Better luck next week.
Ty Montgomery: The Wolf loved his usage in Week 1 and decided to make his Week 2 rankings reflect that love. Montgomery put up huge fantasy numbers against the Falcons, actually finishing 2nd amongst all RBs this week. A case could be made that he belongs in elite fantasy RB conversations moving forward.
James White: This was another big hit from the Wolf. The Wolf ranked White 24th, a legitimate starter at RB in a 12 team league. The “experts” ranked him 33rd. He sits at 12th on the RB list now. Hope you listened to the Wolf.
Mike Evans: Not only did the Wolf like Evans slightly better than the ECR this week, he named him as his high end stud of the week on our most recent podcast. Evans did in fact have a great week (7 catches for 93 yards and a score) but more importantly he outshined the rest of the “elite” WRs substantially. The next guy you could call elite on the scoring list would be Julio Jones, and he barely cracked the top 20. Honestly, I wonder why the Wolf didn’t rank Evans as his #1 guy—he clearly thought he was going to clean up. Either way, it was a good call.
Rob Gronkowski: Any lingering doubts people may have been having about whether Gronk was washed up after his disappointing Week 1 outing were clearly put to rest this week as he utterly dominated a Saints pass defense that was completely unequipped to deal with him. Assuming the groin injury he suffered near the end of the game isn’t a huge issue, expect to see several more of those this year.
ERRORS WORTHY OF PUBLIC SHAMING
Tyrod Taylor: Sorry Wolf, I can’t give you credit for this sleeper pick. In a 25 team league, Taylor would’ve been a borderline starter. In a league played in by people who value points, yards, and stuff like that, Taylor was a total dud this week. A sign of things to come? Yeah, probably.
Carlos Hyde: Friend of the podcast Grant Cohn has been telling us since well before the season that Hyde was not going to be a successful RB this season, and The Wolf decided to listen to our Bay Area contact and recommend people beware of the 49ers RB. This one didn’t pan out—although the 49ers looked awful in general, Hyde averaged over 8 yards a carry en route to a 124 yard rushing performance. He ended up being a borderline top 10 play.
Cooper Kupp: Not so much. This week, this Kupp was half empty—or maybe more. To be totally fair, the Wolf wanted Danny Amendola to be his sleeper/low end pick this week, but for some reason Amendola was unable to shake off the symptoms of getting his brain violently jarred against the side of his skull in time to play, so he went with Kupp. Kupp finished outside the top 50, but more interesting were the names around him on that pathetic part of the list. Amari Cooper, Brandin Cooks, Desean Jackson, Adam Thielen, and Eric Decker were all within a couple spots up or down of Kupp. Does Kupp get a little extra credit for rubbing elbows with these guys? No.
Alshon Jeffery: The Wolf and I are generally extremely aligned when it comes to Jeffery in that we both dislike him quite a lot as a fantasy WR. Well, he made us both kind of look like chumps this week with a Mike Evans level 7 catch, 92 yard, 1 TD game against a pretty good pass defense that kept Tom Brady out of the end zone a week earlier. Live and learn.
Martellus Bennett: The Wolf’s reasoning was sound—Green Bay’s explosive passing offense is going against an Atlanta defense that is subpar against tight ends. But… that’s why they play the games I guess. Bennett barely cracked the top 20 and was not a significant factor in Green Bay’s offense.
GUYS WHO DID NOT AMAZE US OR EMBARRASS US
Alvin Kamara: The Wolf liked Kamara to have a game worthy of flex appeal due to the Patriots’ proven ability to give up passing plays to RBs. At the end of the day, he was OK. Kamara caught 3 balls for 51 yards—which is not insignificant—but he wasn’t a break out either. He basically split the difference between the Wolf and the ECR’s rankings of him this week.
Jeremy Maclin: I didn’t like Maclin this week, but these are the Wolf’s picks, not mine. If you ask me, his totally mediocre 4 catches for 31 yards was about what I expected him to pull in, but the fact that he scored a touchdown salvaged an otherwise forgettable week. The Wolf and the ECR ranked him about the same, and he ended up right around the same spot on the actual scoring list, so it was clearly a push—even if I think he was lucky to get it.
HOW THE WOLF DID AGAINST THE “EXPERTS” THIS WEEK
The only change I made to this week’s scoring system was that I changed the number of WRs being considered from the top 36 to the top 24 for the sake of having a little less data to crunch, but the rest of the criteria remains the same: I am looking at The Wolf’s top 12 QBs, top 24 RBs, top 24 WRs, and top 12 TEs. I’m comparing his ranking to the ECR (Expert Consensus Ranking) to the actual fantasy scoring for the week to see who came out on top.
In a slightly more by the book week than Week 1 ended up being for QBs, The Wolf actually lost a little ground early to the ECR in a category he won by a slim margin in the first week of the season. This going to put The Wolf in a position he has never been in during this competition—having to come from behind.
The Wolf had the single biggest win (+6) with his daring aforementioned Russell Wilson pick, but he was gradually picked apart by slightly overvaluing Marcus Mariota (-4) and Matthew Stafford (-4). A slight undervaluing of Ben Roethlisberger (-3) sealed the deal, and the ECR took the first round.
The Wolf ended the week with a small -4 disadvantage to the ECR based on rankings of their top 12 QBs. Just like Week 1 (although that one went our way), it’s a nice start for the “experts”, but not a significant margin. We can still rally.
Last week The Wolf and the ECR finished dead even (which was fairly in itself) across the Wolf’s top 24 RBs. This week, The Wolf—never having been a guy who was satisfied with a tie— redeemed himself.
The Wolf of Roto Street took it on the chin by believing too much in Tarik Cohen (-6), Bilal Powell (-5), and Dalvin Cook (-5). Personally, I think the days of giving Powell starting RB respect may be over, but we’ll see how The Wolf ranks them in Week 3. Luckily for our guy, after falling behind on those underperforming RBs, he hit big on James White (+9), his successful prediction (again) that Lamar Miller (+6) would underperform, and also made up big ground on Marshawn Lynch (+6) and Jaquizz Rodgers (+5) who he ranked 16th amongst RBs… and who finished 16th on the scoring list. He probably should’ve gotten some kind of bonus for that one.
The Wolf finished with a nice +12 edge on the ECR after comparing their rankings of the Wolf’s top 24 RBs. This gives the Wolf a +8 advantage overall as we head to the WRs.
The wide receiver pool size is down from last week, but it’s still a big group of guys to assess (24 guys in all, down from 36 last week—but still a big group of players) so if someone was going to create a little distance in this contest or secure a lead, this category is still integral. The Wolf’s biggest category win last week came here. What will Week 2 hold?
The Wolf’s biggest loss came from the fact that the ECR valued Golden Tate (-7) less than he did, and his biggest score came from the fact that he valued Terrell Pryor (+8) less than the ECR. His biggest call was Martavis Bryant (+6), who a lot of people shied away from after his disappointing Week 1, but who the Wolf hung with and was rewarded for his loyalty by.
The Wolf beat the ECR by a small, yet gratifying +2 margin across the WR pool. This brings the Wolf’s lead up to +10 as we head to the final category.
The tight ends weren’t kind to the Wolf this week. For the second week in a row, Jared Cook earned a spot on the top 12 list, only this time he let us down (-6) big time. Although The Wolf scored on predicting Jimmy Graham’s (+4) ineptitude, he lost to the ECR on Travis Kelce (-3), Jordan Reed (-3), Martellus Bennett (-3), and Charles Clay (-3). Might be time to duck and run on Clay and give that bitch Kelce his due.
The ECR outduels the Wolf on tight ends, winning by a margin of 10 much to our chagrin.
The boxing world was outraged this weekend by a draw that took place on a high profile stage (it was bull shit; GGG clearly won) and the fantasy football community will be angered this week, as the Wolf and the ECR fought to a draw over the rankings of 72 players. The Wolf won RBs and WRs (which are the two positions where we rank a larger group of players) but lost his hard earned advantage at the QB and TE positions. Not very satisfying for either side, but those are the numbers.
Week 2 is officially in the books and after two weeks of this competition, the Wolf still mantains his lead from last week (+30). See you in Week 3.
Week 2 Advantage: EVEN
Season Advantage: WOLF