Manic Monday: Week 17

Gump New Year

A clean slate is always a good thing, particularly in a year as challenging as 2021. While having the full-time opportunity with FullTime was certainly a highlight, 2021 also brought much that makes me grateful to turn the page to January.

Losing my dad in June was something I was not prepared to accept could happen so quickly. I hate that he spent most of the final handful of months of his life in a rehab facility and I was only able to go see him once there. It was a good visit but also very hard.

It was good that he was able to come home and even after another hospital scare, my siblings and I were able to gather and visit with him one final time on Father’s Day. There was a good atmosphere and plenty of Pink Floyd. I’m so thankful that he gave us the ok to have that gathering, even if none of us knew it would be the final one.

After that, I had to attend another funeral in the family that was also unexpected.

Then the final blow came on September 25 when the fantasy community was rocked by the loss of Mike Tagliere. Mike was truly one of the best football analysts that have ever plugged in a USB mic or keyboard, and a fine human that I grew very close to in real life.

I’m quite certain that was the most challenging three-month period that I’ve ever dealt with but I’m also proud that I was able to embrace this job and used loss as inspiration to be better and do more.

Despite ending on an up note, I was happy to ring in 2022 with people I love, doing what I love for a living, and looking forward to that clean slate.

New Year’s Resolutions

Tis the season for people to start complaining about all the new people at their local gym. Instead of trying to help or embracing these new guests that have the same hobby or simply want to improve their lives, so many people complain.

That’s just today’s world, unfortunately.

January is a fine time to reflect back on the year that just passed and vow to make improvements. I know I need to eat better, get out my chainsaw and find my backyard, and I may even start lifting again here as soon as my elbow completely heals.

Of course, there truly is now off-season for football fanatics and soon here I’ll delve right into more college film and dynasty content. I may even try to expand my fantasy baseball knowledge but, admittedly, I could use a slight break. I wasn’t joking about my overgrown backyard.

Plenty of our favorite football heroes should probably have New Year’s resolutions too. I wonder what Antonio Brown‘s would be? No doubt it will involve something selfish, but the good news is he’ll have plenty of time to start thinking about it when he has to book his own JetBlue flight home from New York. I hope he is able to get help, but I’m pretty sure we’ve seen the last of Brown in the league.

The New York Giants had (-10) passing yards. I don’t even know where to start with that, but wishing Dave Gettleman the best in his next endeavor would be a good way to assure a fresh start. The Jaguars and Bears also need their owners to start off 2022 by blowing it all up and beginning anew. The jury is still out in Houston, but we’ll see here in a few months how Nick Caserio does with actual draft capital.

And to all of my fellow fantasy fanatics, resolve to get better in 2022. Whether it’s at work, your health, or you want to spend even more effort expanding your football knowledge with plans on winning the 2022 Fantasy Football World Championship, we all need to have something to aspire to be better at this year.

Here’s to hoping 2022 delivers for all of us.

Where We Were Right

Looking back on a big picture review, how about James Conner as my Comeback Player of the Year. In this preseason piece, I mentioned how well Conner had performed when healthy in Pittsburgh, and his short-yardage prowess. Throw in the fact that Kliff Kingsbury’s offenses had averaged 20 rising touchdowns per season plus Chase Edmonds’ lack of opportunities in that area and nabbing Conner as my feel-good story (and not to mention my RB3 everywhere) worked out great.

Can you believe there was a big debate just a few months ago that the Bengals should take Penei Sewell to protect Joe Burrow rather than an elite play-maker like Ja’Marr Chase? Not only did I mock Chase to the Bengals mack in April, but I’ve also been tweeting about Chase since 2019.

In our 2021 Rookie WR Outlook, Riley Bymaster penned that Chase was a combination of A.J. Brown and D.J. Moore. Anyone who drafted Chase year, and especially those who started him in Week 17 undoubtedly feel the love.

Back to Week 17, our quarterback projections looked pretty good. Eight of our top-9 signal-callers on the slate finished as top-9 options, with only Jalen Hurts letting us down. Considering how big some of the performances were on Sunday, the timing was perfect.

Where We Were Wrong

Not everything last week was as accurate, unfortunately. Geroge Kittle only caught 1-of-2 targets against the lowly Texans and Dawson Knox was a complete dud, despite our lofty projections. Overall, tight end was rough this year, which is a reminder of why so many of us simply use weekly streamers rather than burn early draft capital on a position that tends to be so erratic.

Running back also left a lot to be desired. Ronald Jones got hurt and was almost completely non-existent. Javonte Williams and Ezekiel Elliott also came up very small when they were needed most, despite being top-20 players in our projections. And, of course, we have to mention Antonio Brown again, as his walk-off Week 17 performance will be brought up in championship weeks for years to come.

Back to the big picture, while we did hype of James Conner and called Saquon Barkley a player to avoid, we totally whiffed on naming Trey Sermon as our sleeper of the year. The thinking was solid, as Elijah Mitchell showed, we just pegged the wrong 49ers’ rookie running back. We weren’t alone on this, of course, but I’ve preached accountability all season, so there it is.

Mike Tagliere Memorial Playoff Challenge

In honor of industry giant and close personal friend to our Jody Smith, this year’s playoff contest is in memory of Mike Tagliere from Fantasy Pros.

“As you all know, the fantasy industry was dealt a devastating blow in September when we lost one of the most genuine people and finest football analysts ever in Mike Tagliere.

I knew Mike for over a decade and had the privilege to work together with him on multiple occasions. Mike truly was a craftsman, who loved this industry and considered himself truly blessed to be able to do this for a living.

My personal relationship with Mike goes back over a decade and we became real friends. I had the pleasure to meet him and his wife, Tabbie, in Dallas and consider that experience one of my finest memories in my dozen years of providing fantasy football content.

Mike made an impact on thousands of people, who he helped, entertained, and impacted in a positive manner for many years. You simply will not read a negative opinion of Mike because there aren’t any.

His positive impact on the industry is still felt today and we wanted to do a little something to give back and honor the memory of one of the finest human beings I’ve ever known. For those lucky enough to win their leagues this season, please consider donating a portion of your winnings to the Tagliere family.

With help from and permission from Mike’s team at FantasyPros, we wanted to present a FREE playoff fantasy football contest honoring the life and legacy of one of fantasy football’s all-time greatest people, Mike Tagliere.”

This is a FREE-to-play NFL Playoffs contest and we’ve increased the prizes this year.

Head to now to enter this contest!