Week 8 2018 Recap: Big Trades, and Killin’ It Avoids the Sweep

By Jason Gunderson

The week leading up to our eighth round of contests was the first clear indicator teams are trying to bulk up and hunker down for the playoffs. Justin Walter approached his game this week without a quarterback for most of it, as both his QBs were on a bye. He dipped his toes into various trading pools over the course of several days, before finally zeroing in on a deal with Patrick Imhof. It wasn’t an easy deal, as the two sent back and forth a combined 19 trade proposals before one was accepted: Patrick gave up Carson Wentz and received Phillip Rivers—a nearly identical QB, fantasy-wise—and WR Sammy Watkins in return. 

Craig Ericson and Jeremiah Walter also got in on the swapping action, and they took their sweet time doing it. Over the course of several days, the two spoke at length about world peace, philosophy, and fantasy football. Jeremiah, coming to grips with his team’s mortality, was willing to deal some big names in order to  net some short-term gains, while Craig was clearly thinking about the long haul. It was a late deal, one the Commissioner had to push through in order for Craig to see its benefit in time. Craig gave up QB Jared Goff and WR Doug Baldwin, while Jeremiah let go of RB Jalen Richard, the Jaguars defense, and everybody’s most maddening holdout, Le’Veon Bell. Craig is hoping Bell will contribute to his playoff run, or at least hobble Caleb Kallander’s team by forcing a backfield split in Pittsburgh, between Bell and the VERY LAST pick of our 2018 draft, James Conner. 

I still can’t get over that: any one of the nine of us other than Caleb could have picked up Conner at any time, and we all got stuck in our own heads. Consider Conner going in about the middle of the draft,  maybe pick 85. That’s not unreasonable. Did anybody take him? No. Conner sat for another 74 picks. Right around pick 157,  Caleb leaned over to Mike Arnold, his carpet buddy at the draft (not that kind, Jesus, keep your mind out of the gutter, they just sat next to one another) and asked, “Hey, who’s Bell’s backup in Pittsburgh this year?” At that point, Mike realized the colossal mistake we had all made, but he couldn’t do anything about it, as he had to fill his kicker or defense spot. Prior to week 8’s games, James Conner has been Caleb’s top scorer twice, to Todd Gurley’s three times. And he was the last pick in the draft. Are you kidding me?!?

James Conner. We all wish…

Justin’s team, King Slayer, with his new third-string quarterback, played virtual host to Jason’s Nordic Love Gods this week. Jason, looking to get on the comeback trail, made a bold prediction that he would win this week, and then got a timely 20 points out of DeAndre Hopkins on Thursday night. Things were going according to plan. But Sunday is a fickle paramour in the NFL, and Jameis Winston came off Jason’s bench and took a steaming dump in the middle of the field. With corn in it. His 276 yards passing and a TD were good for 14, and he added a couple points with his legs for 16. Kind of a sad day for Jameis. Oh wait: he also had FOUR INTERCEPTIONS, bringing his fantasy total down to 8 and earning him a spot on the bench in the second half. Wentz did just fine for Justin, putting up a 21-point outing, but Justin had some woes of his own. His running back corps totaled 15 and his TE, kicker, and defense combined for a total of three points. Flex guy, RB James White, was Justin’s last chance on Monday night, and had the capability to win it. Alas, his 14 points were not enough, and this game belonged to the Love Gods, 92 – 85 over King Slayer.

DeAndre Hopkins. “You damn right I’ll catch that ball.”

Another team started off with a huge Thursday night this week, Dr. V.D….I mean Dr. V.M. Mike’s dynamic Houston duo of Deshaun Watson and Lamar Miller put Quagnis in a 49-point hole before they had a chance to roll out a single guy. Eric Martens weren’t skeered however, and he relaxed, sat back…no, who am I kidding? This one was a nail-biter, as Ben Roethlisberger underperformed with 16 points for Eric, Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster shared Ben’s woes with only 3, David Johnson continued to struggle with 9, and Kenny Golladay had an off night with only one point. On the other side, San Fran running back Rostafar Mostert could only muster a single point, while Mike’s minor skill positions, WR2, TE, and Flex, combined for 7. Gross. It was Oakland TE Jared Cook and Carolina kicker Graham Gano who won this one for Eric, as they combined for 28. Had Mostert run for two more yards and WR Mike Evans been one yard further downfield when he was hit, Mike would have won this thing. But no, Quagnis squeaked by Dr. Vegas Mike in this one, 93 – 92.

Deshaun Watson scored 30 for Dr. Vegas Mike.

Jeremiah Walter and Nick Simon slugged it out in another tight battle this week.  Jeremiah immediately rolled out his new receiver, Dough Baldwin and told him to “Get some!” Doug Baldwin didn’t get some. In fact, Baldwin and his WR partner, Alshon Jeffrey, teamed up for a total of 5 points between them, which was decidedly worse than Nick’s WR corps, which only managed an anemic 12. Those twelve points helped make up for QB Andy Dalton’s 20, which isn’t exactly bad in its own right, but Jeremiah’s QB, Andrew Luck, scored 23. The running backs were nearly identical, Nick’s scoring 38 and Jeremiah’s 39. The streaming positions were also almost identical between the two “gentlemen,” 19 for Nick and 20 for Jeremiah. It all came down to the tight ends, and Nick had the slightly better one this week. Travis Kelce caught and carried the rock for forty more yards than Eric Ebron this week, giving Nick a four-point edge at that position. That was most of the margin of victory, as dA Champ knocked off The Crown, 102 – 96.

“Do I get double points if I carry ‘em both in?” –Adrian Peterson

Two real-life superstar quarterbacks faced off across the virtual field this week as Aaron Rodgers, on Patrick’s team, faced the Rams while Tom Brady took on the Bills, playing for Nicole. Dude, Brady versus the Bills? While Rodgers faces arguably the toughest team in the NFL? Nicole had this one in the bag, yes? No. The Patriots kicked ass as expected, but Brady didn’t toss a single TD. He threw for 324 yards and 12 fantasy points. That’s it. In fact, of the three Patriots playing in this fantasy battle, Brady scored the least. The other two, kicker Stephen Gostkowski and the Patriots D, scored 13 and 17, respectively, and they both played for Patrick. Nicole had the better running backs and WR1, but it was all Patrick beyond that. The Big Man for the Dig Bick this week was WR Sammy Watkins playing in the flex, who scored 22. DigBick Imhof took home the win, 110 – 95 over Gronk ‘a’ Holic.

Sammy Watkins shows us his dig bick.

Craig Ericson’s Untarnished Krones visited Caleb Kallander’s C Killin It K in the marquis matchup this week. The Krones, 6 – 1, hoped to complete a regular-season sweep of Killin’ It, 5 – 2, and this one shaped shaped up to be a high-scoring affair. Mahomes, Kamara…Gurley, Conner…and some other guys. Whatever. Patrick Mahomes was merely great this week, posting 26 points, while Kamara hit just above his average with 19. Christian McCaffrey added 17 and New Orleans kicker, Will Lutz, posted 16. I think it’s fairly well established, however, that when playing Caleb, any team needs to be firing on all cylinders, plus injecting a little nitrous oxide into the chambers. Craig’s effort wasn’t enough. Stefon Diggs scored 17, Todd Gurley nabbed 27, and James Conner threw down for 32. Making up for a lackluster defense and kicker, TE Zach Ertz added 8, as opposed to David Njoku’s 0 for Craig. C Killin’ It K soundly defeated the Untarnished Krones, 132 – 103.

James Conner, coming through.

Side note: In Caleb’s eight games so far, James Connor and Todd Gurley have both been his leading scorer three times. The other two weeks were headlined by quarterbacks Kirk Cousins and Cam Newton. 

Another side note: It’s Raheem Mostert, not Rostafar. I was checking to see if you were paying attention.

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