Fantasy Sleepers, General

Seahawks Release WR Doug Baldwin, S Kam Chancellor

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Seattle Seahawks

Image courtesy of Troy Wayrynen, USA Today Sports.

WR Doug Baldwin was unable to pass his physical and was released today by the Seattle Seahawks due to the cumulative effects of injuries suffered, including various knee, shoulder and groin injuries as well as recovery from a sports hernia surgery.

Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2011, Baldwin caught 493 passes for 6,563 yards and 49 TD during his tenure with Seattle. He also was part of the Super Bowl XLVIII-winning team that trounced the Broncos 43-8; Baldwin caught all 5 of his targets for 66 yards and a TD in an effort that saw the Seahawks dominate in all three phases of the game.

We here at Far From Fantasy wish Baldwin the best of luck in his future endeavors.

In other Seahawks news, the team has also released S Kam Chancellor as he also failed his physical. Two iconic players in the team’s franchise history are gone, just like that.

Chancellor was drafted in the 5th round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He was an integral part of the feared ‘Legion of Boom’; the legendary secondary consisting of Chancellor, free safety Earl Thomas III and cornerback Richard Sherman. Chancellor finishes his Seahawks’ tenure with 641 combined tackles (17 for loss), 9 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, 44 passes deflected, and 12 interceptions.

Due to the nature of both players’ injury histories, it’s unlikely either play in the NFL for another team. Far From Fantasy wishes Chancellor well in his life post-NFL.

 

 

Fantasy Sleepers, General

Patriots Sign Veteran TE Benjamin Watson

Detroit Lions v New Orleans Saints

Image courtesy of Chris Graythen, Getty Images.

 

After going from team to team, Watson’s career has come full-circle.

The veteran tight end has signed with the New England Patriots, the team he was drafted by in 2004 (32nd overall). The deal is for one-year, worth $3M.

Watson joins a tight end room that includes Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Matt LaCosse, Ryan Izzo, Stephen Anderson and undrafted rookie Andrew Beck. With the retirement of Rob Gronkowski, there will be a multitude of passes going the way of a few of the aforementioned guys in the 2019 NFL season.

Watson’s retirement was clearly a short-lived one. Heading into the 2019 season, Watson has 5,885 receiving yards and 44 TD receptions; 20 of them were with the Patriots from 2005-2009.

We’ll find out in short order which of these TEs makes the final roster. My prediction? ASJ, Watson, and LaCosse with a possible fourth being Beck.

General

What Kevin Durant’s Injury Means for Golden State

KD Warriors

Image courtesy of Kevin Jairaj.

Two words: Absolutely nothing.

The Warriors were winning championships before KD put on the blue and yellow. Don’t get me wrong, KD being out of commission is not ideal, but the Warriors are a team that can survive without him.

You have Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green still balling out. Andre Igoudala will certainly have an increased role in a Durant-less Warriors attack, but guys like Kevon Looney and Andrew Bogut will no doubt have additional minutes doled out to them.

The Warriors have the 3-2 lead over the Rockets, and I don’t see them dropping two straight just from the Durant injury. Expect Curry, Thompson and Green to have big games in an effort to put the series away tomorrow (Friday) night in Houston.

General

PSA: The New England Patriots Aren’t Done

Tom Brady defied Father Time yet again and helped lead the New England Patriots to their sixth Super Bowl championship. At age 41, Brady became the oldest starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl. The question on everyone’s mind now; when will the Patriots’ dynasty give way?

If you’re not a Patriots fan, I’ve got bad news for you: it’s not going to be the 2019 season. It might not even be the 2020 season either.

Tom Brady defies Father Time by getting the ball out of his hand so damn fast, reading pressure, picking apart defenses and taking advantage of key matchups in the secondary. He continues to work on improving despite storied success that has been unparalleled in the history of the NFL. In the words of many, including Shannon Sharpe, “You’re never going to see anything like this [Brady] again.” How right he is.

That being said, the Patriots’ window is surely closing – no doubt about that. Their long-term future obviously relies on the talent a successor to Tom Brady can bring to the team. They had plenty of talent in Jimmy Garoppolo before shipping him off to the San Francisco 49ers. New England should start getting serious about grooming a potential replacement in the event Brady gets injured in some way or his level of play falls tremendously.

The 2019 NFL Draft should be kind to the Patriots, who have 12 total picks including 5 in the first 100 (AND they have #101 overall). This gives them capital that could help land them a player like Antonio Brown, a star that clearly wants out of his situation in Pittsburgh with the Steelers – if they so choose. With Brady not getting any younger, the team could very well go into “win now” mode to maximize the remainder of his career. Acquiring Brown would do just that.

I think the Patriots need to prioritize signing DE Trey Flowers to a long-term deal. His versatility along the defensive line was a huge part of the defense’s 2019 success. Drafting another capable pass rusher to complement Flowers and the potential of Derek Rivers would be a great way to ensure a youthful defensive front for years to come.

New England has a bright future despite the sun setting on Brady’s career. If you’re hoping for a collapse sooner rather than later, you’re likely going to be disappointed.

General

Thoughts on 2018 AFC Playoff Teams

If you had told me at the start of the year that two AFC South teams would be in the playoffs, I might have laughed at you. Between the competition in the AFC North (Steelers, Ravens and Bengals always being in the hunt) and the AFC West still having the Chiefs and Chargers, my last thought was the Colts and Texans getting in to the postseason.

The AFC this year, like years past, seems to have quite a disparity once you travel down the list. The top two seeds, Kansas City and New England, are clearly the favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.. but Baltimore represents a sneaky option to come out on top based on their defensive success. The Chargers could make a case as another sneaky option, but they have to prove themselves against Baltimore after losing to them Week 16.. otherwise they won’t get the chance, which to me is a little insane.

I think the playoff seeding system should see a slight transformation for upcoming seasons, and I would be happy to submit this proposal to the NFL; change the seeding system so that teams are ranked in order of their records, regardless of their division.

In my new system, the current seeding would look like this:

1) Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)
2) Los Angeles Chargers (12-4)
3) New England Patriots (11-5)
4) Houston Texans (11-5)
5) Baltimore Ravens (10-6)
6) Indianapolis Colts (10-6)

Of course, tiebreakers like head-to-head record, division record, etc. would all stay the same.. but make it so a 12-4 team isn’t the friggin’ 5-seed just because they didn’t win their division. That’s all I’m gonna say on that.

Without further ado, what I think on each team in the AFC playoffs:

(6) Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck has led this team to 9 wins in their last 10 games, and this team is getting hot at the right time. Having T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron to throw to, Luck is finding himself the beneficiary of an overall strong passing attack. Marlon Mack has overall been far more efficient than most of Indy’s running backs in the past.

That being said, the defense for this squad is middle-of-the-pack. Outside of LB Darius Leonard, this defense doesn’t pop out at you in any way. I don’t have much confidence in this team’s ability to stop the Texans on the road – these teams have both changed a bit since Indy’s 24-21 win over Houston earlier this month. If the Colts beat Houston this weekend, it’s because Luck out-duels Deshaun Watson and passes for 350+ yards.

Even if this team does win against Houston, I don’t have them getting past the divisional round. I don’t see them keeping up with Kansas City.

 
(5) Los Angeles Chargers: I don’t think anyone would have guessed the Chargers would end the season 12-4. There’s definitely a lot of talent on this team, from Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen on offense to Melvin Ingram, Joey Bosa, Casey Hayward and Derwin James on defense.

Where I worry is in their recent performances. Rivers had a few consecutive bad games (Week 17 being a little more understandable as the running game and defense were featured far more). With the Chargers struggling offensively of late and a rematch with the Ravens on the horizon, this team will need to be on their A-game to topple Baltimore’s stingy defense.

If the Chargers make it past Baltimore, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them go to the AFCCG. They’ve done well against the Chiefs this season and I think could give Kansas City a run for their money in the divisional round.. assuming they can topple the defensive juggernaut that is Baltimore.

 
(4) Baltimore Ravens: This team has done a makeover of their offensive identity, heavily leaning towards the run thanks to the style of rookie QB Lamar Jackson. The combination of Jackson and RBs Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon make for a rough combination to stop – this team has been averaging north of 200 yards/game on the ground since Jackson took over for the injured Joe Flacco.

Defensively, this team has been lights out. CB JImmy Smith’s return from his suspension early in the season added to an secondary that already was excellent at blanketing opposing pass-catchers. They host the Chargers in the Wild Card round, and I can’t imagine why they’d have trouble containing Melvin Gordon in order to force Philip Rivers into errant throws.. you know, like they did not too long ago.

Overall, the defense has a chance to carry this team far.. the biggest weakness of Baltimore is their lack of an effective pass attack. If Lamar Jackson can beat people with his arm, the rest will fall into place as there are going to be too many elements to stop.

 
(3) Houston Texans: Like the Colts, the Texans have been on a roll, with the latter winning 10 of their last 12 games. QB Deshaun Watson is as much of a dual threat as Russell Wilson was back in 2013-2014, making him a sharp thorn in the side of opposing defenses.

With WRs Demaryius Thomas (Achilles) and Keke Coutee (hamstring) sidelined lately, the passing attack has seen its moments of inefficiency. DeAndre Hopkins keeps his name in the “best WR in the league” conversation week by week with solid performances. RB Lamar Miller is always capable of a breakout performance if you don’t respect the running game.

Defensively, this team could be better, and that is what will kill them in these playoffs. A strong front seven on paper featuring J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Whitney Mercilus and Bernardrick McKinney, they lack effectiveness in big games (see the Week 16 loss to the Eagles for instance). The Colts scored a combined 58 points on Houston this season, and will likely put up another 24 or 27 points at the very least this weekend.

I have the Texans trending in the right direction, but ultimately falling in the divisional round to New England.

 

(2) New England Patriots: It pains me as a Patriots’ fan to say this, but I just don’t think this is their year. They clinched a first-round bye, sure.. but they’ve been so inefficient on the road that it kills me.

This team doesn’t seem to have the passion that they had in the Super Bowl runs of old. They ended 11-5, which isn’t a bad record at all, however for Tom Brady-led Patriots team, it feels like a letdown. They’ve consistently put up 12-4 or better records for the last decade or so, with the last time they did worse than 12-4 being in 2009 (10-6).

They still have Gronk, and Julian Edelman continues to be effective in his 30s. The two-headed threat of Sony Michel and James White out of the backfield, with splashes of Rex Burkhead, has been monstrous through much of the season. Defensively though, this team feels underwhelming.

Getting to the AFCCG shouldn’t be a huge struggle with the first-round bye and all. The only way NE plays Baltimore is if Indy wins their game against Houston to advance against KC. Any other team, I’d have NE coming out on top (just barely against LAC). However, I think if a NE-KC rematch occurs, the game being at Arrowhead would tip the scale in KC’s favor.

 

(1) Kansas City Chiefs: What. A. Year. QB Patrick Mahomes became the third QB in NFL history to throw for 50+ touchdowns in a season (P. Manning and Brady being the other two). What’s crazier is that this is Mahomes’ first season as a starter. You won’t find a single Chiefs fan that misses Alex Smith (hope he can potentially recover from that awful leg injury from earlier in the season).

Even with the release of RB Kareem Hunt due to the video of him accosting a woman at a hotel going public, the Chiefs have been high-flying and multi-dimensional. RB Damien Williams has filled in nicely, and I think it would be a shame for the Chiefs to try and start a committee between Williams and Spencer Ware. Williams is more than capable of handling the lion’s share of the work.

WR Tyreek Hill and TE Travis Kelce round of the most explosive offense of 2018, both taking advantage of the strong-armed Mahomes to maximize their potential.

What this team lacks sorely is a consistent defense. The trade of CB Marcus Peters to the Rams this past offseason severely crippled their secondary. The Chiefs rely on winning shootouts against good offenses because their secondary has more holes than a block of Swiss cheese.

This strategy didn’t work against the Patriots or the Rams earlier this season, however. The way to beat Kansas City is to force Mahomes into turnovers. He fumbled multiple times against the Rams and threw 3 INTs, so losing by 3 (54-51) is actually an incredible feat. The Patriots forced 2 turnovers of their own, although miraculously the Chiefs lost that game by 3 as well (43-40).

If Mahomes can make smarter decisions with the football when rolling out to either side, this team would be virtually unstoppable. They fall by shooting themselves in the foot.

General

2018 NFL Playoff Predictions

I love the playoffs because they’re the most exciting time of the year for avid NFL fans. Even if your team isn’t chasing a Super Bowl title, watching some of the other games can be just as fun.. plus the chance to win some money on playoff bets is always intriguing!

One thing I don’t like though about the playoffs – they’re a reminder that the season’s nearing an end. Then we have to wait until next September for more meaningful NFL action.

Here’s how I think the 2018 NFL playoffs play out:

Wild Card

(6) Colts @ (3) Texans
34-27 HOUSTON
QB DeShaun Watson: 4 total TDs

(5) Chargers @ (4) Ravens
24-20 LOS ANGELES
WR Keenan Allen: 10 rec., 84 yds., 2 TD

(6) Eagles @ (3) Bears
31-20 CHICAGO
TE Trey Burton: 8 rec., 136 yds., TD

(5) Seahawks @ (4) Cowboys
24-17 DALLAS
RB Ezekiel Elliott: 115 total yds., TD

Divisional

(3) Texans @ (2) Patriots
38-31 NEW ENGLAND
TE Rob Gronkowski: 9 rec., 149 yds., 2 TD

(5) Chargers @ (1) Chiefs
31-27 KANSAS CITY
WR Tyreek Hill: 6 rec., 173 yds., TD

(3) Bears @ (2) Rams
27-24 CHICAGO
RB Tarik Cohen: 188 total yds., 2 TD

(4) Cowboys @ (1) Saints
34-28 NEW ORLEANS
WR Michael Thomas: 12 rec., 145 yds., TD

Conference

(2) Patriots @ (1) Chiefs
42-41 KANSAS CITY
RB Damien Williams: 3 total TDs
QB Tom Brady: 521 passing yds., 3 TDs

(3) Bears @ (1) Saints
30-22 NEW ORLEANS
RB Mark Ingram: 3 rushes of 20+ yds.
RB Alvin Kamara: 2 total TDs

Super Bowl LIII

Chiefs @ Saints
48-44 KANSAS CITY
QB Patrick Mahomes: 472 passing yds., 5 TD
QB Drew Brees: 390 passing yds., 4 TDs
Super Bowl MVP: QB Patrick Mahomes

General

Welcome to Far From Fantasy!

It’s a pleasure to launch Far From Fantasy, a blog dedicated to fantasy football and helping you succeed in it! Whether it’s season-long or daily fantasy sports (DFS), we at FFF are excited to start giving out advice!

I’ll say the same here that I tell everybody else; luck is always going to be a factor in whether you win or lose. It’s really that simple – the stats could point to an amazing day for your players, but a few things go wrong and then all of a sudden, you’re losing that week by 20+.

A little about me – my name is Patrick. I may not be a professional as of right now, but I’m on track to complete a degree in Mass Communications (Sports Journalism) next year. Where my degree takes me could be anywhere; News, Sports Information, Media Relations.. there are a lot of paths I could take. But my dream job would be to work with a major company like ESPN, NFL Network, Yahoo!, DraftKings or FanDuel as a fantasy analyst! I wanted to start this blog because there are so many people that play fantasy football and not a lot of people are well-versed in it. There’s so much info to sift through that it can be hard to know what to make of it all. My goal is to just get to the hard truth of it all and provide stats and other info to support my choices.

So why listen to me? Well, let me tell you a story about a little luck and a lot of happiness:

Last year, FanDuel offered a free, single-entry contest throughout the regular season called the “Golden 5” – you’d pick a QB, two RBs and two receivers (WR/TE). The player with the perfect lineup (best possible combination of 5) would win the prize, which started out in Week 1 at $200K. Each week the prize wasn’t won, it would jump $20K – so by Week 17, no one had won and the prize climbed to $340K.

So Week 17 they decided to change the rules a bit; instead of needing the perfect lineup, you just had to be in 1st place to get the money. Long story short… I was one of 24 people to tie for 1st place! I was ecstatic – a little over $14,000 for a free contest!

Now obviously it required a little luck – but I had a good idea of who was going to do well based on who needed to play their starters and who didn’t. JuJu Smith-Schuster was primed for a big day against the Browns because Antonio Brown was already ruled out due to it being Week 17 and the Steelers having already clinched the playoffs. Dion Lewis was going to get a lot of carries because the Patriots needed the win against Buffalo to clinch the #1 seed.

This is my biggest win thus far in DFS, and I’m looking for more.. but I’d love to help some of you get a story like mine one of these days!


Thank you for checking out Far From Fantasy!