Nausea is the worst feeling. While some people have an iron stomach for the most part (myself included), others are queasy at the mere thought of something. Like Filbert from “Rocko’s Modern Life,” something as simple as watching someone leave a public restroom with unwashed hands sends them into an ungovernable battle to keep their mouth from flooding with saliva and stomach from somersaulting.
Fantasy Football Storylines (2023)
Although I can pretty much eat any food without the wretched doom of a reversal of fortune, I about lost it when I saw Nick Chubb‘s gruesome knee injury on Monday night. One part, “nobody’s knee should go that way,” and two parts, “could be the last we see his greatness,” had me all clammy and sick for the man. Fortunately, the broadcast did not air the replay, and I was able to finish my Thai food before encountering the grotesque footage littered throughout my Twitter feed. The insensitive, apathetic attention-seekers were quick to share what could be the end of a man’s career, and that’s disgusting.
Injuries suck. They are also an unlucky inevitability in football. The sporting community as a whole needs to humanize athletes more and show compassion when devastating injuries occur. Mere minutes after Chubb was carted off the field, there were discussions about Jerome Ford‘s change in fantasy value. Instead of taking a breath, the drumbeat persisted and cheapened the impact of how devastating an impact Chubb’s absence is to his club.
Week 3 brings more to the table than the swath of sprains and strains coursing through the league. Talented teams are winless, and coaching staffs are failing good players. Young stars are exploding onto the scene, while old names are reemerging like Obi-Wan Kenobi. Here are the most pertinent topics coating my stomach, like Pepto-Bismol this week.
Staley’s Seat is Hotter Than a Lightning Bolt
Most football fans know what “Chargering” is. The first two games have seen the most chargering that has ever chargered before. Justin Herbert and his talented offense have done enough to win in both cases, but Brandon Staley’s defense has coughed up both of them like an owl pellet. There were murmurs of Staley’s shaky job security last season, even when the team reached the playoffs.
Los Angeles now travels to the great white north to face the NFC’s greatest letdown in the Vikings. Minnesota recently acquired Cam Akers from the Rams to finally quell the last whimper of hope for Alexander Mattison‘s value. They are also winless this season, and fans are already getting testy. One of these teams will break into the win column, most likely off the exploits of their offensive firepower. Expect very little defense to be played in this game, with a Shakespearean ending of folly and tears.
Fields’ Start Hard to Bear
What could possibly be next for Justin Fields‘ career bingo card? Year 1 was a deliberate sabotage job by exiting head coach Matt Nagy. Year 2 saw the talented Buckeye running for his life behind a tissue-paper offensive line and an FCS-level receiving corps. This season has begun with an offensive scheme concocted by Henry Winkler’s character in “The Waterboy,” with Fields cemented in the pocket like a submerged Houdini in a straight jacket for dramatic effect.
Fields is an awesome football player but has certainly underwhelmed through his first two games. He talks of playing “more instinctually” and not focusing so much on his coaching once the game starts. I believe that will be a harbinger of good things to come. The side-mouthed barbs at his coaching staff were more tactful than I would have been with how blatantly dumb their approach has been with a 1,000-yard rushing QB through two weeks. Four designed runs. Total. Good luck with that.
Cleveland’s Season Coming Up Brown
The term “adding insult to injury” is an incredibly apt description of Deshaun Watson‘s performance in addition to the loss of the Browns’ best offensive player. Watson looks nothing like he did in his illustrious Houston days. Every throw has been late, and most have been well off-target. Not for a lack of receiving talent, the embattled QB is letting the team down with how far he has underperformed his record contract so far.
Now the team must traverse the rugged AFC with the new-again Kareem Hunt back in the fray. I envision Hunt assuming his previous 40% role, with Ford slotting into Chubb’s more valuable and leveraged responsibilities as the lead back. This gives both enough looks to be fantasy-relevant and less frustrating than some are making it out to be. Cleveland needs a strong running game to pair with the tough defense they’ve shown so far. Lord knows they can’t count on Watson to shoulder any real responsibility.
Tight End or Lion Loin?
Many football fans have grown fond of the Detroit Lions. They are affable and exciting, with a coach off his rocker who pushes a style of play akin to how I would beat my cousin at Madden when we were kids. Amon-Ra St. Brown is awesome but has been dealing with an injury this week. David Montgomery is also on the mend. It’s high time we get a closer look at the two stud rookies whom Detroit selected early in the draft. Double points if they use them to rip the overrated Falcons to shreds.
Jahmyr Gibbs is electric but has yet to be fully unsheathed by Dan Campbell. That cost them a win at home versus Seattle last week. 14 touches in an overtime loss is egregious, especially when only half of them were rushing attempts. Sam LaPorta is the player I most want to show out against Atlanta. His first two NFL games have resulted in five receptions for the Iowa rookie each time. Both of those performances resulted in more targets and catches than megastar TE Kyle Pitts has combined this season.
Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson gets his best players the ball as much as possible. The opposite is true of fake sharp Arthur Smith, who will need to plod for more than 25 points to beat the Lions at Ford Field.