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Coming up, we're going to talk about the late, great Tommy Heinsohn, and we are going to talk about fantasy football, half season MVP and some predictions for where we're going heading down the homestretch. That's all next. We're also brought to you by the ring of Dotcom and the Ringer podcast network to ring her notes. Claire McNeer wrote a book for Ringer Books that was released today. It's about Jeopardy! And as you know, a lot of Jeopardy talk this week, Alex Trebek.


Passing away at age 80, just a beloved guy, I think one of the highest approval ratings of any celebrity, really enjoyed reading all the tributes and stuff the last two days, really like that guy. So Claire's book was supposed to come out November 10th. It is now out. It is called Answers in the Form of Questions A Definitive History, An Insider's Guide to Jeopardy. She talks to Alex in the book. She's going to come on this podcast actually on Thursday to talk more about it, but wanted to put that on your radar.


Now you can order it wherever you get your books. It's really good. And and I encourage you to get that one. Also, the Book of Basketball podcast is coming back on Wednesday night, season three begins. We're doing all players for this season. And the first one I'm excited about, it's a very famous play. I won't give it away. But that would be out if you subscribe to that podcast, just refresh it sort of pop up or if you haven't subscribed, check it out and you can listen to the entire library on Spotify anywhere you want.


It's available anywhere. So book basketball returning Wednesday night. Coming up, my dad and I are going to talk about Tommy Heinsohn. If we retell a story that we probably told before and some other pide, forgive us, I can't remember what I did three days ago, but he was somebody that meant a lot to both of us. And then old friend Matthew Berry talking about fantasy football as we head into the homestretch here. That's all coming up.


First, our friends from Pearl Jam.


All right, Tommy had passed away today. He was eighty six years old. He was a legend in Massachusetts and New England for almost seven decades. I want to my dad, because as you texted me earlier, it felt like a member of the family died, which I thought was an interesting way to think about it. But that's how I felt today. It felt like he was in our family, even though he never came to any holiday. We didn't know him, but really out of anybody in the whole Boston sports.


And I felt like he was in our life the entire time. And you felt that way, too? I felt like I knew him, even though, as you said, we never met. But when we got our season tickets in 1973, he was the coach is the first coach of the Celtics of a team that I was suddenly going to all the games with you. And that first year won a championship. And he was like a God.


He was the coach of a championship team.


We thought it was going to happen like every other year. It did two years later. But it wasn't just that, though. You know, I had a tight bond a little bit. He went to Holy Cross like you and I did. He was a legend there when I was there. And when you were there, they had stories of when the team won the NFC. And as later it became a radio announcer and TV announcer. Well, both be eventually, you know, any time we were on the road or any time we couldn't go to the game, he was the person I listened to with Mike Gorman.


And and actually, even more than that is it was such a devoted husband. His wife, Helen's, eventually died of cancer, but she had brain and lung cancer. And when she was going through, I'd say, two to three years of treatment, she sat right near us and she would have a scarf around her head because of the cancer. And every time there was a time out, every time a break in the action, he'd run away from his seat, go down to check on her, make sure she was OK.


There was referred to as the redhead, the redhead from Needham. Her name was Helen, the redhead from Needham. And as the cancer progressed and there were times when she would get up from her seat and kind of wander a little bit, you'd see her running over lovingly cajole her back to her seat. It said look over her shoulder, making sure she was sitting there. The usher was always paying attention. It was just like a member of the family taking care of another member of the family.


Yeah, I always had always felt that bond with him and your stepmom, Molly's favorite person of all these years as a Celtic. Going to the game after you moved was Tommy Hanson, she had and she's still at work, doesn't know yet, but I really do feel like Uncle Tommy passed away today. Yeah. You know. Well, I wanted to go through the four kind of phases of Tommy, right, so go back all the way to the early 50s, he goes to Holy Cross and he's there for four years.


They won the title with Koo's they won the NCAA title with Tommy. They won the Knight in nineteen fifty four, which is the last championship polocrosse ever won anything. And he was this top five college guy. And there's, there's a magazine cover that I put on Instagram where he's on the cover as like the star of college basketball that year and then the little squares. Bill Russell's one of the squares. That's funny. Tom is on the Holy Cross thing.


So he graduates. He's considered to be a top. He'd be like a high lottery pick now in today's NBA. But the Celtics have this wrinkle, which they had in the you know, this is nine years into the NBA. They had these territorial picks. And if you had a college start your territory, you just got to take the college star. So there it had Cousy and then Heinsohn and they're like, yeah, we'll take Heinsohn. But it's also the same draft they get Bill Russell.


So they get Bill Russell and in Hyson and they just get for free just because he played 40 minutes away. So it's another local hero. They have two local heroes, plus Bill Russell. And that first year, his rookie year, they win the title seven games against St. Louis. And he has this legendary game in game seven is thirty seven and twenty thirty seven points. I was reading about it and he's going head to head against Bob Pettit, who's the best forward in the league at the time.


And he's going toe to toe. He falls out near the end, puts his puts a towel over his head, is crying on the bench because he found out he thinks they're going to lose. And so that game's famous for two reasons. First of all, it's not there's no video of it. There's like little clips of it, but no video. And it's considered the first great NBA game. Russell has some famous block where it was like one of those LeBron chased down blocks.


But it's at the end of one of the overtimes and he just like covers the entire court in one second block state from behind. But then the Celtics go up to there's one second left, Alex tandems the player coach. He calls this play where he throws the ball for court off the backboard to Bob Pettit, who catches it to shoot a jumper, and they're like, this'll work. This would be a great play. And it worked. And Pettit missed the shot.


So we missed like a 10 footer after this dude threw a 90 foot pass off the backboard to Pettit, but he missed the crowd pause on the court that carried time, had off God knows what kind of party they did. And that was the beginning of his career. So he said he plays nine seasons. That's it makes the finals all nine years with eight titles. And, you know, this is how good he was. He was sick of team all NBA and sixty one, sixty to sixty three and sixty four.


And again, Bob Pettit, algebra in the league. He won Rookie of the Year and fifty seven. He was twenty two and ten basically at his peak but weirdly was better in the playoffs. And there he started every year in nineteen sixty three. It was funny when I was doing the research on my book, that was the year he decided I'm going to be in good shape for the playoffs. So he gave up drinking and smoking for the playoffs and the average twenty five and nine and 11 playoff games.


You read that stuff and you're like what was basketball back then with these dudes are smoking at halftime. They're flying coach. But you know, he was living a full life and his career is over in nine years. But, you know, trying to figure out what kind of player he was because it's a little different. It's more physical. Everyone's just firing up shots. But it really did seem like he was like a Blake Griffin, you know, Karl Malone type of power forward.


Do you remember watching him or now? Yeah, I do. It seemed like he got every rebound. It seemed like that that either here Russell got every rebound, but his you already mentioned his playoff performances were unbelievable. Yeah, I think I think during the season, maybe there were a lot of cigarettes and and a few cocktails and a few beers, and he never quite looked like he was in shape. But the playoffs, he turned on a different switch.


And a lot of people forget that, that sixty nine, sixty eight, sixty nineteen versus last year as a player coach, which was probably the first year that I, I switched my allegiance from the Knicks to the Celtics. And because you were in New England. Yes, I was. I was had been here for four years at college and stayed here. But he took over for Bill Russell as the coach. Yeah, as the coach. And he had a couple of tough years because the cupboard was a little bit bare.


It was best to have a check. And then they drafted Jojo. Then they get Dave down south. They're going in. So that's a player, Russell said in second win, this is a quote. Tommy was so gifted and so smart that if he had made up his mind that he was going to play every night, the only forward who would have been any competition for him was Baylor. Elgin Baylor, not even pedic could have come close to him.


So that was kind of the rub with Tommy. Right. Great player, Hall of Famer, but also was a really fun guy, awesome teammate. He's, by all accounts, was our backs whipping boy that when our back was mad at the team, he would just go right at Tommy and that when he was yelling at Tommy that he was sometimes really yelling at Russell or Sam Jones, but he didn't want to, like, mess with those guys.


So he would just take everything out on Tommy. And he has this nine year career that now you think like if somebody played nine years and retired now, you would think something happened, they tore their Achilles or something. This was just the way the NBA was. These guys are flying coach and wearing shitty converse.


And so anyway, and they weren't in shape and they weren't living a healthy lifestyle now. So as you said, he takes over as coach, which leads to this whole second chapter. And you get that season ticket seven three seventy four says you start Carome. And I don't really remember anything until the seventy five playoffs. But Tommy was this coach. He was such a character. He got technicals all the time. I don't know how many technicals he got, but it was like he would get mad at the refs.


And it's a lot like what it was like on TV, but it was worse because the whole crowd would be like, settle down, Tommy, don't get kicked out. You know, there would be a call. And he would just he he was such a character here, so demonstrative. And he would and then Jake O'Donnell would walk over and they would just start yelling at each other and be like, oh, you're out in the crowd of like, oh, oh, we got kicked out again.


I remember Earl Strong.


And that to me seemed to have a love hate relationship. Yeah, mostly. Mostly hate. It looked like his head was going to explode. He get so mad. Yeah. Those moments really. Go ahead. Well, I was going to say there was that one game which I do have a memory of, where I think it was Cleveland. And it might have been a playoff game, but him and John Killelea got kicked out and Red had to come out of the stands to help take over.


And I still I I don't remember a ton from when I'm that little, but I still remember how exciting that was when Arbat got out of his seat, because it was like he was like the Yoda of the whole, you know, the whole experience. And he would be sitting at the seat across from us staring at him. The guy that built the Celtics dynasty when he comes out of the seat to coach was like, Oh my God, it's Red Auerbach.


Kyrie comes but tell them about tell the audience about how they used to let me go on the court. Well again, there was no security. The Ashes were there to help you to your seat, not to keep your away from the court. And you were four or five, six years old during that time period.


I was like five and a half that first year when I really started doing it. Yeah.


And it kept going for two or three years. They all knew all the issues year because the suits were pretty close to the court was one seat at that time. Yeah. And but one seat with your legs hanging over the side and and the ashes. No. So they'd let you when we got there early because we wanted to beat the traffic so they'd let you go on the court, there'd be a couple ball boys trying to get the rebounds and they let you this little five and a half year old kid go out there and also get the rebounds and throw them back in.


And then when you get tired of doing that, because that was work and you weren't into that, did it walk over to the bench? Yeah. And you stand next to Tommy Heinsohn or I would go, hey, yeah, this really is true. I know people are like people think we're making this up. I would stand under the basket. I would hope that there would be an air ball so I could throw the ball back to somebody or that two balls would hit each other.


And once I got tired of rebounding for the fucking Celtics, I would just wander over the bench to talk to. Tommy had said to Jack, Yeah, and every game. And then there is this one game where they took a check, was in crutches. And I put this I'll put it on my Instagram again. But they take this picture of me talking to have a chat with Tommy Hudson. And I'm just looking up at them and I don't know.


I can't imagine what I was asking them. And it was on the front page and you bought like twenty copies the next day. You're so excited about a few coffee, but I'd love to. But of course, I'll never know what you were asking. You're probably asking what do you think about tonight or something like that. Yeah. How do we stop back there.


But it was just such a different era and he was such a big part of it because like, you know, you'd have halftime. Everybody would go for a smoke break. Right. They would just smoke in the hallways. And then the third quarter would start in the garden and the smoke would come in, remember? And it would just be like this, always over the court for like twenty minutes almost into the fourth quarter.


And then it would lift up into the rafters, right. Yeah. So you'd have that. You had people getting just lost. We were sitting around all normal people because the tickets weren't that expensive and we had was just everyday blue collar crowd that that loved one hates and got into it the refs and loved Cowans and all that.


I mean, no selling out as as many people know that first year. Seventy three, that one ticket cost me four dollars a game and we were as close to the court as you want to be. Yeah. We were like probably four or five rows back the visitors bench. So then in seventy six we went to the Triple T game which I wrote about in my book, but I can tell the story quickly. I fell asleep because the game started at nine o'clock because they wanted to see me.


They started it like nine 20. Yeah. So I fell asleep somewhere in the second half.


And then with like 10 seconds left, everybody had to stand up because we were down one and have a check made that running banker like one of the most famous shots of his career right in front of us. And I'm like half asleep. I don't know what's going on. And everybody charges the court, remember? Yeah.


Yeah, I thought it was over. And so they call this bogus technical timeout. They call it a timeout they didn't have. Jojo makes a free throw. So now we're up to their second left. We're going to win. They get all the fans off the court, somebody punch Richie Powers and then Gar heard makes this it seem like it was a fifty footer. But when you watch the tape, it's like 18 feet. But it seemed the way longer that we go to another over time.


My memory is it was like from half court. Right. Anthony is losing his mind because he can't believe the Suns got this bogus timeout, technical foul thing where they're able to get the ball again goes to a third overtime Celtics win. And we got home at like one thirty. And I think it was the most excited I've ever been because it was like we won the game. We're up three two in the series. It's one thirty. I remember Charlie's Angels was on.


They were like rerunning. And I'm like, is this what happens? Late at night? They rerun Charlie's Angels. So it's it's the whole piece of this.


And then then that. After they won the title, they let pass Silas go. Your favorite? I think the biggest mistake that one of one of Redd's three or four biggest mistakes you love, that was your favorite subject? Well, he was the glue of the team and and they didn't replace him with anybody who could rebound. And then we started to see the Curtis row and Sidney works and they started taking flyers on talented guys who weren't glue guys.


Basically, we don't have any heart. You know, one of the most vivid memories I have of a press conference was Red Auerbach in tears disclosing that he had just fired Tommy Hansen. Yeah, I think you're seventy eight to seventy eight to seventy seven. Seventy eight is OK. And he was in tears saying. The hardest decision I've ever made, yeah, because they were so close, they had such a history, but the team just wasn't gelling at the time, right.


So Tommy leaves. It's two terrible years, which is great for us because we're able to get a second seat and we have awesome seats down midcourt. And it's still, you know, nobody wants to go. So it's still cheap. And then Bird shows up. We have this whole room with birds simultaneously. Tommy now moves the TV and they first it was on like, I think Channel four or Channel four locally, but then it moves to cable and all of a sudden it's Mike Gorman.


Tommy Heinsohn, Bob Cousy, and it's like half cable, half channel, fifty six and but never but those guys we as one of my favorite announcing teams ever because Cuzzi and Heinsohn, they had known each other forever and cuzzi was kind of like the one who was always coming Tommy down, Tommy Thomas flipping out.


Every ref is trying to screw the Celtics. Cousy is like the kind of voice of reason and they would talk and they would have really candid conversations on top of it. Bird is there and all of a sudden we're having this transcendent eight year run where it's like one of the greatest basketball player in the history of the franchise other than Russell. And so we get that whole thing. And then Tommy goes to CBS to say he's a national guy is the color guy.


We all know he's rooting for the Celtics in every game. And we're playing these teams in the playoff series.


And if you're like a Sixers or a Laker fan, you're like, really Tommy Hisense by announcers like Red Auerbach of that say. And he's trying to rein himself in. And so we have that whole area. He does CBS all the way through. And, you know, he was really good at CBS. He was he ranted in even when the subjects were playing, barely just kept. You kept waiting for him to yell at the ref, though.


If the call went against the Celtics and they were on national TV, but he arranged it and I think they might have been they might have been electroshock him a little bit.


So to not have him go completely and say, that's OK.


So anyway, he CBS loses the race and now he comes back to Boston. And this is when he blossoms into this whole real this whole extra career that he had for generations, like my friends, always kids or people who are now probably in their mid thirties, late thirties, where they only know Tom is the color guy for the south, the games, the guy who compared Greg's teams to Bill Russell and compared to Buzz's VALONE.


And he would fall in love with these dudes right away. And the team we love that we were always in any time we poked fun about him, it was always out of pure love to say it was a family member for me who's that blonde player we drafted?


And he said he would be the next Larry Bird and he can look like Michael Smith. Michael Smith. Yeah, yeah, yeah. He like Michael Smith now underway. And he's getting progressively just crazier and crazier with the officials. And we all love it because this is what Johnny Mercer did to and Johnny. Most guys, Tommy replaces Johnny Mercer. So he has this is an awesome player, is probably one of the best. Ten players in the history of the franchise wins eight titles, coaches, wins two titles, and then has this third act as like the Johnny Most Chick Hearn of four something fans of this whole generation that only knows him for that.


And on top of it, I left out this part. He because he takes over the players union for Cuzzi in the early 60s, who is the first, but they're not getting anything done. It goes to Heinsohn. The famous nineteen sixty four all star game in Boston. Heinsohn and Oscar Robertson, a couple other guys are like, we got to we got to strike this game, it's in Boston, there's a snowstorm. It's a big TV game.


They're trying to get new TV contract and they want the league to the owners to recognize these basic rights. Right. Just like you just can you recognize our union? A couple of basic things, health care, things like that. And they decide not to play. And they have this vote in the locker room and it's like ten to eight between the players and Heinsohn side ends up convincing everyone else we can't play. So a half hour before the game, they tell the owners they're not playing.


The owners begrudgingly agreed to recognize the union. And it's the most important labor moment in the history of the league. He's right in the union that is in charge of it. So he has all these different phases, plus the Holy Cross phase where, you know, by the time I got to Holy Cross Heinsohn and cuzzi, it was like, man, could we get back to the Glorias? You were there in sixty nine in the late 60s, all the way through sixty nine.


And those let the legacy of those guys was really strong, right. Yeah they, he was, he certainly helped the college recruit. That's when they brought in Ron Teixeira and that to that and they brought in the high school coach. You had Lewis Center at the time thinking they might even recruit a center right. This was sixty five. They didn't, but they had some really, really good teams for about four or five years. And they're so it's the legacy of a matter, the fact that we had these two historic guys who won titles at Holy Cross and they even when I was there in the late 80s, early 90s, there's this feeling like, hey, we have the DNA here with these two guys, they're still alive.


I mean, when I got there in sixty five was only eleven years after the Hansen team won the net. So, I mean, Holy Cross was a national recognized national power at the time. And then amazing to think. Amazing to think, you know, he actually has the fifth stage that he's extremely famous for. He's quite a painter and his artwork goes for thousands and thousands of dollars. People love the opportunity to buy one of his pieces of art when they when they become available.


A wonderful painter. Well, and then the sixth stage, which I think people are realizing, if you read some of the tributes today, is like so back starts getting old. Right. Backs the Yoda of the team. And when Len Bias dies, he's never really the same after that. And he's still he's still around. He's in the mix, but he's not the orchestrator like he was. He handed things over to Dave Gavitt. Patiño comes in and takes his presidency.


We'll never forgive Pitino for that and 20 other things. And then he becomes kind of this emeritus. Kind of conciliatory type like Vito Corleone at the end of The Godfather, and then he passes with the twins and Tommy becomes the guy to link all the generations because he's a monster. He's kind of out of it at that point for the most part. Bill Russell's in Seattle. He wouldn't even come back really until they gave him the statue a couple of years ago.


And he had his reasons for that, which they've have talked about on the book, a basketball. Pat Heinsohn was the guy who had all the links to everybody. He he played and coached Havlicek. He played with Russell and the Jones boys, played with cuzzi, coached all those dudes in the 70s and announced everybody from the 80s on.


And then if you're a player, a coach in the team, he was kind of the guy you had to get to, like you, you know, whoever you're a new guy or you knew rookie, that was the guy you wanted to impress. Tommy was kind of the leprechaun in a lot of ways, and that's where he eventually evolved into the last twenty five years, I think.


Well, I think in addition to that, from what I've read as the players joined the team over the next 30 years while he was involved with television, he had their back.


Yeah, I mean, he had their back in a funny way to us when he would go after the referees or obviously as Celtic never committed a foul. He had their back. And they I think they really appreciate that. I would watch over the years, former players always come down and talk to him before the games. He was the the common threat, as you said, from.


Late 50s, all the way to 2020, it was the threat really from the first title all the way through to today, and he was also, you know, you forget he's like 64.


He's put on a little weight after he was a physically imposing guy. You know, it wasn't like I think he's bigger than six or maybe six, five, whatever, whatever he ended up in.


I forget the exact type, but I remember Jack and I told this story a few months ago on this podcast when we went up to him at the force, which ironically, the force is also close in time. He was there all the time. And Jacko and I were there when we saw him and were like, fuck it. And we just went over to say we were Holy Cross guys, when are we going to get good at basketball? And got him go and talk to him for 20 minutes.


Had a drink with him. He signed Jaco's bill. It was like everything we wanted from the interaction. And we had always like we were always like someday, someday we're going to talk to Tommy. You know, we'll run into him at some point. And it was everything we want. And I think a lot of people had interactions like that. He was also when he was coaching and playing, too, he was a guy that was when the reporters were around the players like he had.


I remember with Bob Bryant, Bob Brown's talked about it like they had a huge falling out. And Ryan was covering the team and they ended up making up much later. But you were so tight with the era, so around each other and they're flying on coach and the media's on the plane and they're around each other. They're having drinks in the hotel bar. He's just left to this other era. I remember when you had Bob Ryan and your podcast within the last year.


As you said, he talked about the falling out with Tommy, Tommy, talk to them. And eventually they they reconciled because it meant a lot to Ryan to reconcile with Tommy. It was a big part of Ryan's life. Yeah, well, Tommy was definitely I think the new owners figured it out pretty quickly, too, that. Do you want the untie, Tommy, take care of Tommy, protect Tommy at all time in your corner? Yeah, you want him in your corner?


He's an institution. So I think just looking at this big picture, obviously, he had an awesome life and an awesome career. But you think like there's certain franchises like the Celtics and the Lakers and the Knicks and some of the baseball franchises and I think some of the hockey the original six franchises where you just have generations, generations of fans. Right. So you have this Celtics team. They start in nineteen forty six. They start in Boston.


And I think you're the seventh oldest are the seventh longest tenured season ticket holder at this point. But you have generations of fans who grew up with this team, which is so different than I don't know if if like let's say the Charlotte Hornets, where they've only been around 30 years, the Celtics have been around like your great great grandparents might have been Celtic fans and pyenson for him to tie all of those generations together. It's really unique, I don't even think the Lakers have a guy like that, you know, like the Lakers basically have Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, but both of them have kind of worked for other teams.


I probably would say something like Choucoune, but but he died wasn't a player and he wasn't a coach. Right. And with the Knicks, it would be like you would point out, like somebody like Marv Albert. But then Marv Albert left and announced another team. One of the unique things with Tom is it was always the Celtics. He never coached another team he could have coached. There was one of the stories today that apparently the Rockets tried to hire him and 79, 80 to be a coach.


He was out. He want to do it. So so when you just talk about terms of service to go from nineteen fifty six to twenty twenty with the same franchise, I guess Phil Roseto maybe was like that. With the Yankees have the same kind of thing, right, played immediately, announced that was it, except he never coached, right? I mean, again, people forget because it was, you know, over 40 years ago, two world championships as a coach.


Yeah. I mean, significant at a time when after the Russett retired people wondered what would happen to the franchise when they go back to glory years and. He was a good coach, as you said, crazy on the sidelines, but I always appreciated him as a dad because he let you do whatever you want. When I was five. Yeah, I mean, he never going to go away. You're right, kid. There's some good stuff written about him.


John Powers wrote a book called The Short Season, which is basically about covering that Celltex team as Tommy and Red when Red finally had to fire Tommy, but just that unhappy year. But it's a lot about the previous few years, too. And then Tommy wrote an autobiography that I really enjoyed when I was researching doing the research for my book. A lot of nuggets in there. I think it was called Jim, Jim, the Hook and Tommy, his famous shot was like the running hook, which now he looked at it like the advanced metrics.


People would have a heart attack if they saw what a bad shot that was. But it looks good when it went in and authorized it was an autobiography.


And and he kind of talked about his life and career and had some really funny moments that it was valuable because he was really candid. So talking about people from his era and stuff. So, yeah, I had the Celltex franchise. Kuusisto here, thank God. I think he's 90, but he's not around the team like Tommy was. And Tommy, even in the last five, six years, he stopped going on road trips, made sense. He's in his 80s, was still doing games every once in a while and then was doing the studio.


I thought he did a nice job transitioning with Scalabrine because, as you said, he didn't want to go on the road anymore. And I think from what I've read and what Scalabrine has said, he helped mentor Scalabrine not to take his place, but to be in that seat on the road. Yeah, and. Tough thing to do, because I'm sure Tommy wanted to be on the road after he lost his wife, though I the traveling was reduced quite a bit.


Well, what a career.


And look, I think when you're a sports fan, especially if you refer to the same team for a long time, you have those people that are attached to the team. If you're lucky that just Dave, as you said, feel like part of the family. He was one hundred percent one of those guys. And now that he's gone, I don't Coombs's like that, but he really hasn't been in our lives that much just because he took a huge backseat for the last 20 years.


Tommy was still in my life. I was still watching Tommy and pregame shows six months ago, seven whatever, before the pandemic started, where early March. And I still care. It's funny, I still cared about what he thought about basketball. I still really respected his opinion. He would have these old school, you know, be like this guy is not physical enough or they're playing too slow. He would call a lot of the clock toilet offence stuff out that you and I both hated.


Like they got to move. There's no movement. And where were you? And I would always talk about X athletes who lost their fastball either in interviews or announcers, and he never lost his fastball. I agree.


Johnny posted near the end. Johnny knows that the wheels came off. Yeah. Yeah, he refined it. And the. Again, I feel like. He's been in my life for so many years, it's like losing Uncle Tommy. Yeah, he won't be at the dinner table for Thanksgiving. It's sad.


Yeah. All right. Thanks for coming on that. Appreciate it. All right.


Take care, Sam. All right, every year around this time, Matthew Berry texted me and says, we got to do our halfway fantasy look at the whole thing, what's going on? I'm like, oh, you're right.


And then we do it this year. I texted you. I was ahead of the game. I was really proud of myself. It's unbelievable.


I think that maybe you have and I've been doing this for over a decade. That might be the first time you've ever been ahead of the game, like literally in August. I have to remind you, I'll be like, yo, hey, should we do our preview? And you're like, oh, shit. That's right, it's August. I'm like, so I'm impressed. Well, you know, I'm I'm crushing it and both my fantasy leagues and share so fantasies on my mind a lot doing really well.


One of the reasons is Kyla Murray, who is second in fantasy points. And I would we're going to do our halfway MVP's and some predictions and we're also going to do murders club for the the all star team of people that murdered fantasy owners this year. But first, Kyla Murray. So he's ten points behind Mahomes. But just the fact that he's ten points behind Mahomes is amazing. He's single handedly won a couple of weeks, including this past week on Sunday.


And this is a rare case, Matthew Berry, of somebody getting a ton of hype before the season. Right. And delivering on the hype. This never happens. Thousand percent like he was the most common answer to who could be this year's Lamar Jackson. And the answer was always Kyler Murray because of the rushing ability second year in a system fantasy friendly offense under Kingsbury and oh, by the way, they just added DeAndre Hopkins. So just to give you some more stats on Kyla Murray.


Right. So he's the number one quarterback on a per game basis this season. He's averaging twenty nine point two fantasy points per game. That's one point five more points per game the Lamar Jackson averaged last season. As you remember, Bill, Lamar Jackson last year not only was the one number one quarterback in fantasy, not only was the number one player in fantasy, Lamar Jackson had the greatest season in fantasy football history last year. Kyle Murray is outpacing him right now.


He's been a top five quarterback in six of eight games this season. And I'll give you this crazy stat that we looked up. So here's an entire list of players that are averaging sixty five rushing yards and a rushing touchdown per game this season. That's what they're averaging over sixty five rushing yards and at least one rushing touchdown a game. Dalvin Cook, Derrick Henry. Kylo Murray. Oh my God. Like that's the entire. So like literally just as a running back Kylo Murray is among the elite and then you add the passing and he's a special kid.


It's weird you don't hear people talking about the hand size anymore do you know. Well the other thing is it feels like he's getting better. That's what I really enjoyed it from where he's gone from week one, a week ten. And, you know, I'm sure he's getting used to certain guys on the team and second year and you're just getting more comfortable. But he's figured out that when to take off, when to stay in, when my team really needs me to get eleven yards.


It's really thrilling to watch you when you watch him. I feel like he like more than any other player in the NFL, Kyla Murray is one of those guys that you're like you're watching. And you can just sort of see the moment of that play where Tyler is just like, screw it, I'll do it myself with these other properties. It's like, all right, effort, man. I'm doing this myself. Get out right away. Like, yeah.


I mean, he's I mean, he's a he's a special guy. I am on a fun team too, and a guy who also I think is really legit in the MVP conversation now. So there's a world in which Arizona could be competing for like a top three seed. He could be deciding hundreds of thousands of fantasy playoffs and also, you know, battling for the MVP, which basically the same situation Lamar was in last year. I think I just enjoy watching it more than Lamar because the the possibility of the 400 yard passing game, you never know what's going to happen.


He's yeah. I mean, he's he's crazy. I mean, one of the things that we talked about coming into the league last year was the fact that I don't think people appreciate this. I think everyone you watch ten seconds of the guy and you're like, OK, he's insanely fast and obviously very mobile and athletic. But I don't think what Kyla Murray gets nearly enough credit for is how accurate a passer is. And so actually, like everyone talked about coming out of college, how Baker Mayfield was so insanely accurate at college, if you look at the numbers in college, Colin Murray was just as accurate.


I believe this is way off the top of my head. So but it was something like over sixty six percent of his passes in college in terms of accuracy, I wanted maybe maybe sixty seven percent. Sixty six. I mean, like, really like he's he's a very good passer and you know, and I think a lot of times. Quarterbacks that are as mobile as he is, that often gets overlooked or discounted and, you know, we were worried come into season because it was such a weird pre-season.


Right. Because of covid-19, there was this accelerated ramp up to the season and they didn't have OTAs. They didn't have a lot of mini camps. Right. And then they now they have, like whatever it was, 14 padded practices, no preseason games. DeAndre Hopkins missed most of the practice as it was. You know, he was dealing with some nagging injuries. Some people said maybe he was holding out for a new contract or whatever it was.


There wasn't a lot of time for those two guys to get on the same page. And so there was some concern coming in the season, like that's going to take a while to get that chemistry and then get a very first game, like whatever. Fourteen targets for DeAndre Hopkins or whatever Fresen. Yeah, I mean they ridiculous. Think about Kliff Kingsbury by the way. We talk about him for one second, think the master of the head scratching decision combined with like their offense is really good and it's hard to criticize him but man yeah.


But also also a guy that had Patrick Mahomes in college and now gets Tyler Murray. Oh my God. Yeah. And has been blessed with insane genetics because he's really good looking like, you know, it just it doesn't seem fair that you should be a coach. You should get those two guys in your life at some point. And oh, by the way, genetically, you're you know, you're you're you're this insanely handsome guy. Yeah. Be funny.


If he had, like, a fourteen inch penis to just like just I'm winning all over the place. Oh, I'm sure he does, by the way. And my dad's an oil magnet. Yeah. Calamari outside shot at five hundred points. I don't think it's realistic but five hundred fantasy points for the year which nobody has ever done to my knowledge.


Yeah. I mean, listen, he's right. He ranks eighth in the NFL in rushing yards like he has. I mean, he's he's such a dual threat. Like if you took away all if you took away all the past, like he's a he's a top five fantasy running back. He's still getting a twenty two twenty three points even on his worst day with a 30 degree mile an hour wind tunnel. Think of the other MVP of the year, which you have Kyla Murray on your team.


Explains to me why you want to talk about fantasy football. I do ask more of it. My podcast appearances on the Bill Simmons podcast coincide with how your season is going when Bill Seasons is going well. I show up more on the podcast because it allows you to talk about it. I believe it's even better because I got maybe next year I'll have them in this keeper league where I have my eighteen dollars. He's going to be my life for four years.


I feel like he's moved. He's moved into my guestroom.


Basically, it's good news for your team. It's good news for me. It's good news for for me because this is the year the Patriots kind of died. So it's that kind of money. The other MVP candidate from a fantasy standpoint has been Dalvin Cook. So he's had one hundred and ninety three points right now. But he's also had, I think three. If you had me this week, you won your week because I was on your team weeks, which should really be a fantasy stat where just like the you won because you had me this week stat whatever that is.


But going forward, like he missed the game too, and he was a little banged up for another one of the games and he still is on pace to be in the three hundred fifty point range, which for a running back is ridiculous. And then if you look at the whole running back slate right now, it's been him and Kamara, Derrick Henry, and then it just drops. It goes to James Robinson, Zeke Elliott, who's been a massive disappointment.


And somehow the fifth running back right now, Todd Gurley, Aaron Jones, Kareem Hunt, who didn't start the first three games. And it's just like a shit show. So Cook is so Cook is by far the RB one this year, right? Yeah, he is. He's RB one. He has a couple of weeks, as you put like we like to call week winners literally. Like it doesn't matter who else you started, as long as they had some semblance of a pulse that Dalvin Cook plus whatever replacement level players that every other position that we know he's the number one running back in fantasy is averaging twenty eight point seven points per game.


The last two weeks, the last two weeks, Dalvin Cook has scored nine point five more fantasy points than any two other running backs combined. Like, wow, like like if you had Dalven cooking a zero, you outscored whoever your opponent whatever to running back to your opponent had. Like, that's how good he has been, it's been you know, it's been a revelation and he's somebody that coming into the season I had at number two after Christian McCaffrey, in terms of my running back, raised, a lot of people did.


And then there were issues about the contract. There were issues about, you know, there were there were concerns there, Schefter and I. And by the way, when Schefter says something like this is two things, No. One, he doesn't say it lightly because he he knows sort of the power of of his reporting and because he's a hard core fantasy player himself. But he said he came on our podcast and he said this on the fiscal marathon.


We did. It was like, if Dalvin Cook Steel is not done by draft by the start of the season, it would give me pause to draft him. So they were like he understands the exact weight of that statement. And so as a result of that and we all have we're all sort of, you know, gunshy from Le'Veon Bell a couple of years ago, like Le'Veon Bell changed the landscape for fantasy managers because of that season where he was drafted very highly and then set up the entire year.


So David Cook, slitted drafts and he ended up going like five or six, depending on when you did your draft, if you did your draft, like, whatever, the day before the season started, he went up to number two again once the deal got done. But the deal didn't get done until that last week. And so depending on where you draft it, there's a very good chance that if you have Dalvin Cook, you've got a bargain because there was some concern he might hold out for a new deal.


So. It's so annoying when that happens, I always stay away. I just don't think it's worth it for the amount of money in an auction or in a fantasy, if it's like your first rounder and it's like I might not get this guy, I just I personally don't think it's worth it. I think this is the year, though. Between Zeke Elliott, whatever happened to that with him and whatever's going on with him this year, I know his stats are a little better than the eye test on him.


McCaffrey gets hurt, Cequent goes out, Clyde Edwards Hillaire, who everybody loves the it's been fine, but not like a first round. Fifty five running back, anything like that. Is this the year that we start getting a little gun shy with the running back position and just think like, fuck it, I'd rather have an awesome receiver that I know is going to be there or an awesome quarterback maybe.


Except the question is, is that first off, there's a lot of awesome quarterbacks. And secondly, like if you said, I want safe this year, I don't want to mess with these running backs. I want safe this year. I'm going to go with Michael Thomas, who's as close to money in the bank as there is when it comes to fantasy. You were also screwed. True. I mean, he's he was he missed six games and last week he finally comes back.


He was wide receiver. Forty nine last week in the game against the Buccaneers. Here's the here's the top ten, by the way, just as I pulled this for you. Right. So McCaffrey missed six games. He's been awesome in the three games that he's played, but he missed six games that he might miss this week. Barkley was running about twenty three in week one. He's missed the rest of the season. Zeke Zeke was fine. He was running back eight up until Dak went down or I'm sorry, he's running back eight for the year.


But since Dak went down with his injury last four games, he's running back thirty two on eight. He's actually not somebody who might start a meaningful fantasy game again this year. Yeah, for me, like four weeks, 14, 15, 16. I find it hard to believe he would be starting for a playoff team. You have to hope that they're on a bye this week, that their line gets healthier. They figured out that Dalton gets better and that the offense.


But because it's been. Yeah, I mean, it's I mean, it's been awful just watching them. Right. Dalvin Cook was ended up at number four in ESPN's ATP, so it's fine, he's been awesome. Alvin Kamara running back. He went as running back five. He's also been off some seven twenty six point five fantasy points per game. It's been a top ten fantasy running back every week. This season has been awesome, but that's another guy that dropped because there were concerns about the contract, about the fact then Michael Thomas, we just talked about Derrick Henry.


So he's been good. Derek always, I think, been a pleasant surprise, considering there are a lot of signs for a tail off this year with the amount of U.S. aid last year, the hype, all that stuff. But I, I regret not going after him, to be honest. Yeah, he's running back for the season. No passing game usage. Yeah, well, that were concerned about the touchdown regression. That hasn't happened. Like Tennessee's really good, like they're the most boring team world, but they're but they're a great fantasy team because it's like it's like four guys on that team.


You have to worry about it. It's like there's only four guys you need to worry about. Like it's you know, if you have those guys to stardom, then Clyde Edwards player, whatever, he's been fine. To your point, he's running back fifteen so far this year, but he has just so he's drafted eighth overall. He has one top 10 finish. He's had one week where he was a top ten running back and that's been touchdowns.


He's just gotten sort of unlucky with the touchdowns. And they bring in Le'Veon Bell. And we'll see, you know, now, kids, they're on their buy this week. So do they work? Bell in more bell looks kind of toasted to me. I could not agree more. I'll say this about Clyde. He's been like a cheese pizza. Yeah, fine, I thought there was going to be some pepperonis, I thought maybe they'd put a little more time in making the crest nice and crispy for me.


He's been fine. He's been fine.


If I wanted more, though, I thought I was I thought I was getting a pepperoni and I thought maybe they're going to throw a couple mushrooms on there and it just didn't happen.


No, no, that's actually. That's exactly right. He's been fine. He's been like your uncle. Fine. Yeah. I don't have anything exciting for you. I've got a cheese pizza. All right. That'll work. It'll great. It's yeah. Then Josh Jacobs also fine. Like he's running back ten on the season. And then Nick Chubb, who missed the last four games. And my guy. Yeah, so, I mean, it's been a I mean, there's been like a handful of guys other than you left out, I think Mostert was going to be a top guy.


And that was that was kind of the lost injury of this season because he looked lights out and then he got hurt. But it looked like he was going to rush. I thought he was like a dark horse to win the rushing title just from the one game when he was healthy, the way he was going around the corners.


Mostert is awesome and I feel like I might have talked about him when last time I was on the podcast with you, when we did a preseason preview, he was a big guy for me. He was like on the preseason Love, Hate and as a love. And when I did my fax column, he was sort of the player that I featured at the start of that article. So I love Mostert and I agree with you. That's been that one was really tough.


Another guy that I love is Chris Carson. He's right on these last couple of games. Myles Sanders was a couple of games. Joe Mix just a couple of games. So we've just we've had a ton of injuries in football, but especially the running back position, which again, not super surprising given the accelerated ramp up to the season and the shortened pre-season and, you know, all those issues. But by the way, at wide receiver like Davante Adams, like he's been awesome lately, but missed a couple of games early on there.


AJ Ground, AJ Brown missed a couple of games. Chris Godwyn, Mike Evans, like those guys were all drafted as top six, not AJ Brown, but Godwyn Evans, Michael Thomas and Devonta Adams, all drafted as top six wide receivers. Well, then on top of it, you have the whole covid thing where you don't know who's going to be there day to day. The one guy I thought was going to I traded it for him and one of my legs was Jonathan Taylor and Andy, because there were a lot of signs for him being a breakout guy and think he had a huge fumble on Sunday.


And just in general, it hasn't happened yet. And I'm waiting on him when we were going to take a break. When we come back, we're going to talk about the most important guy in fantasy.


All right, so we're going to talk a couple other nominees you have for fantasy MVP. Before we do that, I wanted to finish the great green things that I did right before the break. You could make a case Travis County is the most important guy in fantasy football. He demolishes every other person his position. He's untradeable. Nobody would be like, hey, I'll give you Travis Kelsey for Johnny Smith and a receiver that if you have Travis Cusi, you're not trading him right now.


He is fifty three points higher than anyone else at the position who'll be over one hundred points higher by the end of the year. So if you get him and it always seems like, oh, man, that guy spent thirty dollars on Travis Kelsi or you know, if you're in a league of Dimwits. Wow. You took him in the second round. Guess what, you're getting a tight end who every week has six to eight more points than every other tight end that seems viable.


I think he is the underrated, awesome fantasy guy. He's amazing, especially given how brutal that position is. So Kittles hurt, right? He's done for the year. Mark Andrews has been brutal and inconsistent this year. Zach Ertz was brutal while he was healthy and then he's been hurt now. So right now, if you get eleven fantasy points, a game that's good enough to be tight and seven, just give me a give you a just an example of of just how bunched up it is that on a per game basic story on a per game basis, two point five fantasy points per game is the difference between the number ten type in fantasy right now and number twenty three MO Alicorn.


Wow. Two point five points per game. And here's a trivia question like I had at Thirsty, Kyle was the the researcher for the fantasy focused podcast that I do with Field every day. Felgate and had him look this up. Here's a trivia question which he always loves. There are two healthy tight ends. So we're not counting Kittel, obviously, or Ertz or any of the Dallas got around it. Injured guys. Right. Can you name the two healthy titans that have had multiple weeks as a top two fantasy tight end?


Obviously, Kelsey is one of them. Can you name the other?


I think I have the other one on my keeper team. Hokanson, not Hawkinson is a good guess. Jimmy Graham. But the ghost of Jimmy Graham, that's ridiculous. I went, Jimmy Graham, I could take you anywhere three for twenty nine, then you might catch a touchdown or he might give you two point nine points.


I can't take it, but that's the tight end position this year that puts up with it. Yeah, 100 percent like it's all it's very, very random. Well not random for Kelcey. Not at that position. What not. I was going to say not not random for Kelsey because. No, I think he's the key guy in that team other than Mahomes and he's the guy especially in close games. They just start going to. But it's just it's just hilarious that nobody talks about that position as, oh, my God, I got a lock down Kelsey the same way you'd be like, I got to get a top seven running back.


I'll spend fifty eight dollars. And meanwhile, Kelsey gives you this huge advantage. Who are your other MVP for this year?


So far, I was just I was going to say, Travis, Kelsey has coming into this year four straight years of at least 80 receptions. At least a thousand receiving yards. Eighty thousand every single year. Four straight years for him. I will say Darren Dharawal has been pretty good to a great tight ends, but Hodgkinson's been good, too. He's been putting up points every week. Yeah. So I think there's a couple other people that we could argue for.


Fantasy MVP. OK, so Russell Wilson, I mean, Wilson's been ridiculous in terms of how good he has been. He's been right there with with Tyler Murray. Many averages point seven fantasy points per game less than Kyla Murray. So I think you could argue him. I would also say Alvin Kamara, along with Dalvin Cook at the running back position. Yep. And to me, a big piece of fantasy MVP is not just the production, but also what it cost to acquire that production.


Right. Last year, Lamar Jackson was the fantasy MVP, not only because of the amazing the amazing numbers yet, but he was the thirteenth round pick last year. So so I think when all is said and done, I think Justin Herbert's going to be right there in the mix. Wow. I mean, Justin Herbert right now, I mean, as we speak, Justin Herbert, who didn't start that first week, Justin Herbert right now is QB eight on the season.


He's averaging twenty four point three fantasy points per game. That is, I think fourth, let me say he is off my screen. Well, two other things a bit. He's a I mean, if you include Dak in there, he's fifth in terms of fantasy points per game on quarterbacks, fourth among healthy guys. So he's he's basically two points a game worse than Patrick Mahomes. And this is somebody that you got on the waiver wire. No one saw to Herbert.


Not only that was available on the week one waiver wire and didn't get picked up that week either because it was like, oh, the Chargers doctor tried to stab Tyrod Taylor to death. Maybe he's back for week two. And after week two, if somebody really picked up herbut for whatever after week one and you're like, oh, that moron, he's done, we're going to start and then the next week. Oh my God, I can't believe I didn't pick them up.


It was a great it was great. Hate yourself. Fantasy moment. Yeah. And by the way, the Chargers team doctor might be the MVP. I mean if he doesn't stab a'la in the chest, we never see. That's the insane thing is that Anthony Lynn was like, oh, no, no, no, Tirhas. My guy writes my great like they were only they were forced to start Justin Herbert. Right. And well, you know, speaking of Herbert and I just think this is a good point in general, this is in fantasy.


It's hard to thread this needle because you just want guys who put up points. But it's also really fun to have guys who are fun for fun to root for, like Lamar was last year, that Kyla's this year Herberts just fucking fun like he really is ten points in the third quarter. And you're like, Oh man, finally the Herberts stinker. And then it's like he just sort 60 yards touchdown to my games. Now he has twenty points.


He held double his score in one play. Right, Hickies? Yeah, I mean, he's really fun to watch, and he's also like he's also the guy that looks like an NFL quarterback, like he really looks like the guy, you know, that that's taking your order at the fast food place. Right. It's like he's he's got he's got the long hair and, you know, and he's got like the basically like the teenage skin. Oh, come on, do it.


Come on. We haven't done it yet. Drop the drop the reference. Come on. We're at the 30 minute mark. Do a Peach Pit reference. Just do it. Yeah.


He looks like he looks like he's an extra on there it is boom. But it should be on the Peach Pit asking not where the where the fries go with the fries, you know, or the mega burger. So. So Justin Herberts, I think in that conversation and I think there's a there's a couple of wide receivers as well that we would talk about. I mean, Aaron Jones has been great, by the way. He's missed a couple of games, but I can cut that out now.


You're just throwing people out. Come on, Aaron Jones. Just been great. Stop. Hang on, I'm going to pull us up. He's an MVP candidate. He's been great, but not is that better than Kamara Cook? He's not.


But he's in the conversation. He's others receiving votes. How about that? OK, that's fine. Who do you have? Do you have as your top MVP receiver, Metcalf, DK Metcalf, is there a lesson you can make an argument for Tyreek Hill, who, you know, very touchdowns. Right. D.K. Mack cap, I think is right there. And just since we're talking about herbut in terms of like guys that you can pick up on the on the waiver wire now, Travis Fulgham, yeah, he's on a points per game basis, is the fifth best wide receiver in fantasy.


He's averaging nineteen point three fantasy points per game. That's more than AJ Brown, more than Keenan Allen, more than DeAndre Hopkins, more than Stefon Diggs or Calvin Ridley. Diggs was looking like he'd be the guy more than Julio, like he's averaging nineteen point three fantasy points per game, like Travis Fulgham has been nothing short of special. And again, that was a guy that was free. And I'll give you one other guy that was free that again, you put in the fantasy MVP conversation.


Because of what? Because it cost you so little to acquire. And that's James Robinson, who's a top five fantasy running back. He's. And then one of the most important titles, fantasy kicker MVP, usually it's Justin Tucker, right this year, Sanders on Miami coming out of nowhere. He literally does miss ever and now he's on a team with two that actually will score points the rest of the way. And who is the number one guy in fantasy right now?


But he's got a bye week coming up, so that's going to end. Sanders might be the new Tucker he doesn't miss. They're like, cool where it's a fifty three yarder. Just bring them out.


Yeah, he was he's been he's been really, really good and he's been really good. And like Miami is going to be offensively and good enough defensively to be in most games. So yeah, young Waku is is really good for a while there was Rodrigo Blankenship joyed him. Yeah.


Rodrigo and I had a couple of cups of coffee for a couple of weeks for I had to wear them on a bike and then you have the Ravens D I guess is it's the number one D by points, but going forward I think is clearly the number one day because they got better, they've added guys and I think going forward that would be the defense I want. All right, let's let's talk about some fantasy murders, OK? The Zeke Elliott thing to me, even before dark, he didn't totally look like Zeke, and I know he's there from a point standpoint, but if you spent like if you spent sixty five bucks on Berkely and he gets hurt and he's out for the year, you can accept that mentally.


Right? You grieve. You have your fantasy funeral for your team. You're like, I'm probably screwed or or it's a jump in action. Like, No, I'm not going down this way. I'm going to I'll trade for somebody. I'm going to work the way or whatever. Zeke is like the worst guy to have in fantasy where it's like you've spent all this capital on this guy. You can't waive them, you can't trade him. Nobody wants him.


You have to start him every week. And, you know, it's going to end badly. And, you know, by week 14, 15, 16, he's probably Tony Pollard probably has a job. Now, that guy in your league who has Tony priorities like, fuck you, I'm not training and you're just in this bad relationship with Zeke Elliott, this fantasy guy who doesn't even know who you are yet.


It's been a tough one, though. I don't think Tony Pollard takes over his job like they're paying him too much money. They're playing Jerry Jones ego is too big and they're paying is clearly too much money that if he's healthy, he's still going to go out there fair if ever there was a week for Ezekiel only to miss the game. This one, you know, fourth string quarterback Garrett Gilbert, they're playing the Steelers they have to buy this week.


He has the Hammie all week long. If ever there was a week for Zeke to be like at the moment, I'm sitting this one out. And he did. Ezekiel Elliott in his entire NFL career has never missed a game due to injury. He had the six game suspension that one year, but he's never missed a game due to injury. So I think that's a point of pride with him. So but I do understand you do feel sort of like sunk costs, like you're like, I can't bench him, but, like, I can't feel good about it because I know it's like they're not they're not using him the passing game anymore.


They're not they're not scoring anymore. It's awful. But he's not my hero. He's just a candidate. Michael Thomas, I think, is another one. But Michael Thomas still might be salvage week fourteen, fifteen, sixteen. Which is all you care about.


Yeah. So his is an injury related. I think so. I will tell you who I think is the most disappointing player in fantasy this year, and I think it's going to shock you. OK, Lamar Jackson. He is the number one biggest disappointment in fantasy because the argument and we talked about this in the preseason pot, that we did the argument for Lamar Jackson drafting him or spending a lot of money on him in an auction is that you wanted to show that he was not only going to finish the year the number one quarterback in fantasy, but he had to finish it by a massive margin because that's what happened last year.


He not only was the number one quarterback in fantasy, number one player in fantasy, Lamar Jackson was better than every other quarterback by like 40 points last year. So his second round ADP, which is where he went on ESPN and a lot of people took him in the first in order to justify that he had to be that good. And he's not I mean, like we just talked about it, like so far this year, Lamar Jackson is QB 11.


Like he's not even like Lamar Jackson isn't even a top ten fantasy quarterback on a per game basis. He's been QB 18 or worse in five of the last seven games, been held to under 19 fantasy points five different times this year. That happened only once, all last season. And and we talked about this again, so, I mean, like Kyla Murray would have been better, Deshaun Watson, I mean, like Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers, I would have been bad.


Tom Brady, who you maligned in the preseason. Would I stand by. Stand by. Well, in my eye and my keeper league, Lamar went for thirty six dollars, twice as much as Calamar. That's a tough one. That was to Joe House. Yeah. In a related story. Joe has his team not doing very well. Yeah, well, when you spend that much kind of capital on a guy that doesn't produce, I'm sure I can we talk about can we talk about the Tampa receivers from hell.


But Kevin and Chris Godwin Godwin, who when he plays is good but got hurt, who's kind of had the has just had the red flag on his name for seven weeks. And then Evans, who Tom Brady just clearly hates his guts. That's the only explanation he's actually open in these games.


It's that the the Evans and Godwin thing has been and I can't figure it out because I think Kartal is a part of it, is is that they just haven't had those guys all healthy on the same on the field the same time, you know, Evans was banged up coming into the year. He had the hamstring issue and then Godwin missed a few games that I mean like it's been back and forth. But Evans has turned into like this is going to sound weird, but Evans has turned into kind of like late career Gronk and not this year.


But like remember, towards the end, like Gronk would have some of those games where Gronk was like it'd be like, you know, two, four, six, but two touchdowns like that's like that's what Evans to sort of become. And he's become this weird touchdown dependent guy, you know, and like that's kept his fantasy value afloat. But like, he's not getting a ton of targets. He's not he's getting shut down way too easily. And, you know, it's tough on Godwyn.


Just can't stay on the field. Who only knows who he is? Another one that what can we call Julio a murderer or is he more like he he cut you, but the hospital was able to stitch it back together and you're going to be fine in two weeks.


No, Julio's fine. Like, who is what Julio is like. Julio is like, you know, he's he's a wide receiver, too. So far this year, he's averaging seventeen point a game. Oh, he's wide receiver two. No, no, no. He's a wide receiver, too. Meaning like. Like, I like like he's fine, like. So he has wide receiver 13 on a per game basis so far this year in Park.


Yeah, so it's like a stabbing. It's not a murder. No, not absolutely not a murder. He's he's been he's been completely fine, like there have been other you know, there have been other wide receivers that have been, you know, been much worse. David, John David Johnson, just a drive by shooting where it's like, oh, I like this guy might be able to get fifty dollar value for twenty five new team, our guys, the Ringer Fantasy Show Craig quarterback on that show had this big theory about, oh, David Johnson.


O'Brien's going to want to prove that this was a good trade. He's going to feed him.


The ball is going to force him to touches. I'm like I'm in. I think that's a good theory about him and James Connor. Both of those guys look like they're running in cement sneakers. Connor who? Pittsburgh doesn't really have a choice. I just have been impressed by him either. So I don't know if they're murderers. Is maybe Johnson is Connor is more of another guy that you're bleeding from him, but you're not dead.


Yeah, no. I mean, I have the exact same theory on David Johnson, and he was somebody they liked a lot in the preseason. And the volume has been there. The production just hasn't been. And, you know, the team has been better offensively since Bill O'Brien left and what's been a lot better. But, yeah, it's you know, it's been tough and the schedule got a little easier and it was a, you know, bad break.


I mean, you saw with Duke Johnson did this last week and against Jacksonville. I mean, I think David Johnson was on his way to a big game against the Jags until you know, until it got until he got the concussion, like, early in that game. But, yeah, that's been very disappointing. Right? I mean, it's been a it's been a tough year for for David Johnson. But I it's hard for me to say, like he's a killer just because, like, he went in like the fourth or fifth round.


I don't know that anyone was banking on him as like, oh, this is my guy. Right. I mean, like there was there was a wide range of guys. There was a group of guys that were sort of going in the early season, I'm sorry, in drafts that were in that range and that kind of fifteen to twenty range among running backs. There's been a mixed bag, right. Christians, but good. Todd Gurley has been really good.


Those were two guys that went in that range. But Le'Veon Bell went on that range. He's been awful. He's been much worse. Like he was awful with the Jets and now he's not doing anything with the Chiefs. Melvin Gordon has been brutal. He was going in that range. So he hasn't he hasn't been great. When I have I have another one for you, OK, all the rookie running backs, because every year you usually hit on two of those right in this area.


Zach Moss, carmakers, Jonathan Taylor, Clyde was was being treated like he was a top five guy. And all of those like those running those rookies in like that twenty dollar to twenty five dollar range. And they've all the kind of been whiffs. Yes. Yeah they have. I mean like and DeAndre Swift, D'Andre Swift is stuck stuff. I mean the swift like you can see the talent when they give him a chance, but it's a running back by committee in Detroit.


And like the very first game that carry on, Johnson, who'd been there and was fully healthy, knew the system. They had DeAndre Swift and they spent, you know, a pretty high draft pick on. And here comes whatever it is, you know. Seventy five year old Adrian Peterson, like, who had been on the team for a week and a half, and Adrian Peterson, of course, because he's ageless, like, you know, runs out and gets whatever it was.


Seventy five yards or whatever it was. So, yeah, I mean, he's been you know, it's been it's been a very tough year for running backs because for the most part, a lot of those those RB two tier guys, those fifteen to twenty guys, you know, most or even the guys that have popped have got injured. Right. I mean, like, like we talked about, like we talked about with with Moster. When you think about like ekler getting hurt, you know who he was more like kind of a 10 to 14 range.


That one hurt. Yeah. Oh been awful. Been in that one was that was that was a bummer. But you know, Myles Sanders obviously has been disappointing as well. So yeah. I mean it's been a it's been it's been ugly. James Connor James has been OK, but the usage is weird. The usage is weird. Like the usage against Dallas was once again weird. Like they just they like Benny Snell too much. The other the other murder of the year was the entire Buccaneers team.


And in Sunday night, where you had, you know, that Sunday, that game can be pivotal, especially with all the guys in there. So you might have had the Bucs defense. You had Brady, you by the had Evans, you might have been excited to play Godwyn Ronald Jones, the tight end. It was it was one of the biggest demolitions I can remember.


Or Michael Thomas, like you've been you've been you've been puttering along, like just trying to keep your head above water while Michael Thomas is this week. Nope. This isn't the week. Is this the week? No. Oh, he's finally healthy. Oh, wait. He punched a guy up. No, but it's like right here, like in your final. Oh, my sweet Michael Thomas going to play. I finally get my first round pick.


Right. And then Michael Thomas does absolutely not. You know, I mean, like again, he was wide receiver forty nine in week nine and in a game in which Drew Brees is on fire and you're like, wait a minute, Raekwon Smith, Adam frontmen. Well, there's a hundred million dollars to Michael Thomas and you're throwing it Adam Trotman in the water in the red zone, you know. So, so, so we won't put Michael Thomas, we will put Michael Thomas in the fantasy murders.


We'll put him in the wait. He punched a guy, all stars. Right. Coming up, we're going to talk about I have a very special treat for you right after this break.


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All right, we're back.


I briefly brought my son on here who's done the school for today, but he got into fantasy football this year. I love it. And he was watching your show. In the end, you had the wide receiver rankings and you had KD Lamb and he had Amari Cooper and I think Field said something disparaging about starting one of the guys and he was furious and dropped an F bomb and stormed out. So he's in a feud with Field Yates. I'm not sure who knows, but Ben Aska asked Matthew Berry, my friend, give him your fantasy question.


All right.


So Patrick Mahomes is a buy. This week is my starting QB. Do I start herbut or do I start to think you're starting herbut and it's not physically close?


That's OK, because I already had him starting. Yeah. There you go. All right. Can you leave now. See you got better advice than me.


There you go. By the way, I like that he's in a field with field gates because they're basically the same age.


And the other thing I like, Bill, is that your kids are like my kids. I have three I have three sons, you know, and my my youngest is now sixteen. And he's exactly like that kid, which is he he never wears a shirt. No, the boys wear a shirt around the house. It's and I don't know what it is like. It's dinner. Could you throw on a shirt. You never warned me about this because he'll face time me and I'm working on a zoom call doing a podcast and he's face time me.


And before this year, if he FaceTime me, I would assume like something terrible happened. Right. Like one of the dogs got out of the house or somebody was in an accident. And now it's like eight times a day of dad, dad, should I pick up Mike Williams and stuff like that. And Dad, somebody offered me this trade. And so finally I just thought, be easier to bring them on the pot. I thought you were going a I thought you were going a different way.


I don't get that from my kids, from my kids. I get like, when are you coming home? Can you drive through McDonald's on the way home? Can you step by Shake Shack? Yeah. Yeah. A Dairy Queen, you know, so I get I get that. And then the questions I get, I pick up McWilliams, whatever. I get that from everyone else on my phone. Well, you're very good about that. You.


Thank you. I appreciate that. Like and what has happened now is that some of my friends and I will say your son has never done this, but some of my friends, like their kids, are now into fantasy. And so, like, I've got texts from like I get texts from like this woman. Her and her husband are very good friends with my wife and I. And like, I'll get a text from my friend Melissa. And I'm like and it's like a fantasy question, like that's like fantasy.


And then I realize it's her 10 year old son asking has taken her, you know, I mean, I'm just like and so like Melissa blows up my phone. But it's not Melissa. It's Melissa's 10 year old son. It's it's like anyway, it's just for the league the league is in.


I call it drunk fantasy because so he's in this league with these seventh graders and eighth graders. And it's like watching people do fantasy when they're drunk or he'll get these trade offers and somebody will offer it would be like a seven player trade. But he's giving up the three best players in the trade and everybody trying to pull those three dimes for a quarter and two quarters for a dollar type trades on each other. And I was just like, oh, my God.


And it's just constant throughout offering each other bad trades constantly every day. Yes. If there's one piece of advice you can give your son, it's this win. Unless you absolutely have to never be the guy that gives up the best player in the trade idea.


Give him that. And I said, never make a trade where you're giving up less players than the other guy because that means you're giving up the best player in the trade, which is basically the same advice. A three, four, four buddy came back cafs, one of the three heading out. It's like never works. You could always pick up somebody in the fridge. You're all right. Most important part of the podcast. Guys, looking forward as we head toward the stretch run here, the playoffs undervalue dudes, people to target if your trade deadline hasn't happened yet, just people to think about going forward.


I'm going to give you two, OK? Go for it. I think Chubb coming back with fresh legs. Really has to be taken seriously, and if you if you have the handcuffs of Chubin Hunt. Which I do, and my keeper league, I think is a real case to be made for just starting both of them. Because it's like, how many points do I want to get out of my running back each week, do it ultimately, do I want 30 points?


Is that like the best number? What is the target for me for two running backs?


Yeah, 30 points would be great. Thirty points with thirty points would be great. I know. I like that. Listen, it's one of the it's one of the run heaviest teams in the NFL. Both guys are legitimate RB one types. Right. They can they can handle a load. And and then there's and there's also the added benefit of the past there by and then if you end up doing that, especially if you play the league with an extra flaks, you play in a super league, something like that, and you're like, I don't care.


I'm just whoever I don't have to sit there and be like, I'll give it a chump. No, not hunt. Like both guys before Nick Chubb got hurt, before Nick Chubb got hurt, Nick Chubb, I believe, was running back seven and Kareem Hunt was running back 13. So when both guys were in the lineup, they were both viable. Top fifteen fantasy running backs.


You know what's interesting? I don't really remember a situation like this one with that team where they have two guys who are clearly two of the ten best running backs in the league. They're on the same team and they've actually figured out how to feed both of them. You know, hono come in, he'll have eleven rushes for fifty yards, but also catch four passes and he'll probably get a touchdown and he'll he'll get the numbers you want from him. But usually this should not work.


I don't really remember a lot of instances of this being a good idea.


It worked last year with Melvin Gordon Austin Ekeler Among the Chargers but it doesn't often happen. You often see. You see that a lot more with wide receivers where you'll see two wide receivers that are really, really good on the same team and you're seeing it this year, obviously, with like who will encounter walk in and Metcalf. So you see it you see it more this year, right? I mean, listen, you're seeing it with the AJ Brown and Corey Davis of all people.


Right. And so Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, obviously not both wide receivers, but two very fantasy viable pastures. And so you see that more often than not. You saw it last year with Godwin and Evans. They both were great last year.


And so so that was one of my things. My other thing I had for you. I just love Joe. I think he's going to get better and better. Easier because I'm in on all three rookie quarterbacks. But I think it's really worth watching the receivers because this receiver draft was incredible. And if you remember last year, this was right around the time some guys in your league I remember I waved AJ Brown after week eleven to my eternal nightmare.


This is the time when all of a sudden you might be able to either trade for one of these dudes at a discount or maybe even somebody there in a big crunch. And they're just say, fuck, I'm going to waive jury duty. And then he's sitting there. Jefferson has been lights out. We should have talked about him earlier. And you've had some stuff about how awesome he's been. But do you see any of these other rookie receivers being a Bilo candidate?


Yeah. So, I mean, just to Jefferson, it's been a tough couple of weeks there for for him and Thielen, but I'm still banking on sort of the volume. They have a tough matchup this week against Chicago, but then Cowboys, Panthers, Jaguars. So we'll get to hear after this week. So somebody maybe you think about Minnesota like hey, they'll struggle, it'll be Monday Night Football, everyone will be watching probably another tough game against the Bears and then their managers will be three straight bad games for Thielen and Jefferson.


And then, you know, you go there and try to make an offer. I love Judy, what might have been one week too late on duty, but double digit targets, nine consecutive games like we led the NFL in their yards for the second straight week. And just to the test. Right. Like he's awesome. He's potentially cedi lamb, you have to believe. I mean, maybe you don't have to, but like Cedi Lamb's talent is off the chart and coming out of the bye.


They have two weeks now to get things fixed in Dallas. Like Andy Dalton should be good enough. You're going to get the ball to Cedi lam like their defense is obviously awful. They're going to, they're going to be throwing. I know it's a little bit tough because of the three headed monster, but I am a Chase Claypoole believer meets hero and I do listen they play Cincinnati this week. Speaking of the Bengals and Gerbera t Higgins is the real deal.


And and so the bloom may be off from a little bit because it's been two weeks since we've seen him. And so, you know, the time to trade for might have been last week a little bit. But but yeah, I mean, I, I'm a big I'm a big believer in the Bengals offense and Joe Barrow and I love Tee Higgins, love them and Dynasty love them for the rest of the year. In terms of some guys to Bilo, you talk about playoff targets.


You know me, I'm a Ryan Tannehill defender, right in Tannahill Ryan Tannehill since he became the starting quarterback of the Tennessee Titans last year. From that time forward, he's a top ten fantasy quarterback. He's been great. He's once again always underrated. No one ever likes to different out. And yet all he does is produce since he's become the quarterback of the Titans. OK, they play the Colts on Thursday night. This week. That's not a great matchup.


Then he's had Baltimore also a bad matchup. Then he's at the Colts. So three straight games. He plays the Colts twice in the next three weeks, Ravens in between bad matchups all the way around. But then check out the schedule after that. As we start getting into the fantasy playoffs, home to Cleveland, go back to Neville, home to Detroit at Green Bay at Houston. So the next three weeks are going to be tough for the Titans, but after that, it's ridiculous.


And so Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry, AJ Brown, Corey Davis, even Johnny Smith, I know he's fallen off, but he did get the touchdown last week. But if you're tired and needy, I'm just like their playoff schedule is really good and that's a really good offense. That's not going to be able to take a bye or anything like that like that. Because the AFC so good. Because you've got you've got the Steelers, you've got the Chiefs, you've got the Ravens.


They're going to have to try to keep pace to, you know, to to get a home playoff game and everything like that. So the Titans are a team that I'm looking at quite a bit for those of you who know that you're going to the playoffs. That's an interesting one. It's so funny how that schedule there's always a team every year where it goes that way, where it's like this rope a dope and then all of a sudden week 13, then then it's easy.


The rest of the way, I got to say, I like Carolina's team, especially with McCaffrey back. And I'm wondering what's going to what their ceiling is. I was impressed with them in that Chiefs game and in general, like, I just like how they're coached. It's a really inventive staff. They trash it. They'll do you know, they'll do a fake punt every once in a while or they'll do some crazy third down play. But it's a coaching staff that seems really on it.


And they've been there. One of those teams you don't want to pick if they're favored by six against a shitty team. But when they're getting 10 against the chiefs, you feel like they can hang. Yeah. So I think that's a fun one.


Yeah. They play up or down to their opponent. I'll give you another one in terms of it that you might still be able to acquire cheaply. And that's the Eagles. Right. So people are frustrated. Myles Sanders, he's missed a couple of games. Get that? Carson Wentz actually was dropped in some leagues. He's still out there in a few leagues. Look, they're getting healthier. They're going up. Dallas got it back. They're going to Jalen Reagor back down, who got like a ton of looks before the bye.


And he's still out there in a lot of league. So Jalen Reagor talked about rookie wide receivers, but listen to their schedule bill. Starting this week. They're at the Giants, then Cleveland, then Seattle. At Green Bay. Home to the Saints, Saints have been an up and down defense and I really look like against Tampa Bay, but they've been brutal prior to that. Yeah, and you expect a lot of points to be scored in that game.


Week 15 at Arizona, week 16 fantasy championships and a lot of league at Dallas. And if you play the week 17, they're home to Washington. There's not one game on there that you'd be like, you know, one of the Packers and the Saints and Arizona are decent defenses, but there's not one game. On their way, you're like a boy can't start a guy against that fence, like because especially the teams with the defenses like Arizona, like it's a decent defense, but their offense is so good they're going to have to throw to keep up.


And so the Eagles have a ridiculous fantasy schedule the rest of the way out of the by. And I think people are down on that team just overall and offensively and they're getting healthier. And Wentz has been better fantasy wise that I think his on field play has indicated and I'm a big Jalen Reagor believer. You know what it as it goes back to what we were talking earlier, where you want to have guys in your fantasy team that are actually fun.


Yeah, people like like Herbut in the Eagles, the Eagles are just a root canal every game. And even when they score, you feel like it was an accident or they have seven points with 10 minutes left in the game. And Wentz just looks like he's throwing it up for grabs every play and it's just not fun to do them. All right. I'm going speed round. OK, which rookie running back? Do you trust the bus the rest of the way?


Because this is the time when the rookie running back start all of a sudden emerging. Clyde Edwards layer, just let's remove him, it's not non Clyde. None quite. God, I keep waiting for JK Dobbins to do something, but I'll say Zack Moss, I'll say I'll see Zack was because I think he's I think Buffalo's offense is going to get better and he's going to be the goal line guy. He's the one scoring touchdowns, but there's there's not one rookie running back that I'm like, I have to have that guy.


I can't quit Taylor Hazmi, I can't quit guy this year. He makes me nervous, man.


Like he lost the ball on the ground. Yeah. He puts the ball on the ground in the last to the last two weeks. He basically hasn't played in the second half. And Jordan Wilkins is outplayed. I'm not saying Jordan Wilkins is great because he's not. But like Frank Reich actually came out like literally an hour before we taped this and said something to the effect of, you know, he's excited about the committee that he likes playing the hot hand have multiple running backs, which, you know, does us no good.


You know, I had I had to trade Deshaun Watson in my other league, I need a running back and I basically could ask for Nick Chubb or Taylor, like two weeks ago. Yeah. And Chubb wasn't going to come back to week 11. Who knows if he's spending time with him. And I really believed in Taylor. And I was like, the Colts are bigger. They need him. And now I just feel like, oh, I but I can't quit.


I'm just stuck with him. He's going to take me down and get the hell.


You know what he is like. This is the phrase you you coined back in the day. He's fantasy kryptonite. He's your fantasy. And yes, it's too bad. All right. Just so before people start, stop screaming at the podcast. James Robinson is the obvious rookie running back. But I was putting him away because I feel like he's sort of already established as a as a fantasy superstar. But James Roberson is a rookie running back that I would, you know, if I had to pick a rookie running back ranking.


Why that's fair is ridiculous.


But I was yeah, I like I like Gibson a lot more. Before Kyle Kyle Lowry dislocated his ankle at that. Gibson would have been a good one for the stretch because I think he's really good. I love that guy.


Yeah. Antonio Gibson. Yeah. I love him too. They like JD McKissic too by the way. I mean like with Alex Smith under center, like it is going to be nothing but dump offs to those two guys.


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All right. Speed round is it it? Will a patriot start for anybody's fantasy title team in week sixteen. Maybe Jacoby Myers, maybe Todd. I mean, like, you know, it depends on sort of it does Edelmann come back? I'm not convinced. So if Edelmann doesn't come back and, you know, like, they're going to have to throw to somebody and I'm trying to sad day is that I mean, honestly, Trag a fantasy tragedy.


No, Patts and week 16, I like I mean, they are buried by the way, I think he's a superstar sleeper. He's always open.


And Kamo is Overthrust, their home to Buffalo in week 16. Not a bad match up. Their their defense hasn't been great this year. So maybe Howman probably mires.


How many other teams get shut out of week sixteen fantasy title games like does a jet start in week sixteen? No, and by the way, I would argue there's a chance that no colt starts in week 16, I mean, name a colt that you feel good about starting for as good of a team that is like you're not the first. The running back is a committee. Like there's not one wide receiver that's been any good. They have this three headed monster, a tight end between Trey Burton, Mosley, Cox and Jack Doyle.


Like if two guys are hurt, then maybe you'd start one of them. But generally, like the best colt that has a chance of starting in week sixteen is either their defense or Rodrigo Blankenship. Who actually might start, that's a possibility, the bears are a fun one for this because you would say, oh, no, Allen Robinson, but.


Allan Robinson is quarterback proof I just found Robinson. OK. The other way, Alan Robinson plays Jacksonville week 16 him. Yeah, well, we also might have some tanking, too, for some of the stuff. The which which is what coach this year hates fantasy owners the most. Who who is just deliberately. Stuck it in in the buttholes of fantasy owners everywhere. Probably Kyle Shanahan, if you like Kyle Shanahan, that's like Jared McKinnon. He's our after after Mostert went down.


Derrick McKinnon is a guy great up. Now, all of a sudden, it's like it's to Michael Hasti and Jeff Wilson Junior. And they're like, all right, great. And Jeff Wilson Junior's out and they haven't used McCain in two weeks. And so now we're like, OK, Thursday night to Michael Hastey. No, I'll get it. And like, so I think Cam and like, they just they use different different quarterbacks, different wide receivers, like they've also had brutal injury.


Luxo Kyle's sort of trying to put it together week to week. But I think him or him or the Colts, again, the Colts are a good team with an offensive minded coach, a good offensive minded coach, and Frank Wright. And they don't have one usable fantasy piece like it's unbelievable. And in the Phil Rivers thing was just such a misfire. Apparently they didn't have DirecTV last year. Kyle has as covid just. The news aspect of it.


Has it made your job, what would be the adjective to describe what it's like to be a fantasy guy, especially on those Sundays before the games and stuff like that? What is it done to your job, A.J.?


Yes, it's definitely it's more nerve wracking and challenging because there's just so much unknown, right? I mean, like in fantasy, literally, all we're trying to do is saying, like, hey, there's all this stuff that's unknown. And so I'm sitting here trying to tell you, based on all the data that I've looked at of the film that people I've talked to, here's my best guess as to what I think is going to happen. I think this is you start this guy and here's why I think you start this guy.


I'm trying to predict the future and you're trying to do that with everything. And so there's so much that's unknown just in general about game plans and players hiding injuries and, you know, in flukey place. And now you add this worldwide pandemic to it where the NFL itself is trying to adapt every single week in terms of how they deal with it. Right. They've changed their protocols multiple times this season in terms of how they do it, how they have to report it when a player is eligible to come off.


And so, you know, Stephania Bell does a really great job with that. She's literally on on conference calls multiple times a week, multiple times of the week with the NFL hearing about the new protocols. Like, I do not envy her job trying to keep track of it. But it's weird because especially there's two aspects to it. There's no one is the aspect of the guy going to play. Right? We did our podcast this morning and literally 10 sites where we go on the air.


Steelers announced Ben Roethlisberger on the covid-19 list. OK, I mean, now that happened with Matthew Stafford last week. He ended up playing on Sunday against the Vikings. But now we don't know. Is Ben going to play this week or not? So that's so that's one of it is just like it can come up at any time, right? If you come in Sunday morning and it could happen and come up and you're waiting for the shelter that you're waiting for the chef to tweet about, like no new positives this morning, like all games get out.


But then the other thing is, is that then you have these games being scheduled and it hasn't happened. It's recently. But like we're like, hey, we Buffalo, Buffalo, Kansas City, we think it's going to be Tuesday. And you're like, OK, now what do we do? So so you're not only from a player prediction standpoint, is it weird, but also just from a from an ESPN fantasy games perspective? Because a lot of people, because of my job, they sort of look at me as the representative of, you know, for people to play with us on ESPN and we have millions and millions of leagues.


And so they're like, yo, yo, dude. And I'm so I'm trying to talk to me. I'm doing something that I that I don't normally do in a massive way. It's like I'm talking weekly with the guys, the men and women that run our games, that literally run our fantasy app, that run the backend technology for our games. And they do a great job and they're trying to and they have to think of things that never occurred to you.


Like, OK, if it's a Tuesday night game, what does that do to waivers because of the way the system run? It's like there's been twenty four hours since the game. And so then it resets the standings to put the waivers like there's all these different back in machinations that when games get pushed back, affect the mechanics of the game. And so how do you make that seamless for all of our fans? How do you message that correctly to all of our fans about what's going on with the game?


Will this count as part of the scoring period? Will it not? And so it's just it's a lot and it's a lot. But at the end of the day, if your biggest complaint about covid-19 is that it makes fantasy a little more challenging, like you're in pretty good shape, like I feel dumb complaining about that. Give it it. It's made it livelier. Yes. It definitely makes it livelier. And the other thing is, I think I tweeted this out before that Tuesday night game is, you know, or even when, like, you know, when they cancel the Patriots Broncos game because Cam went on the list.


Right. And I just said, listen, man, if I had told you in May of last year that you would have football, but it might mean some games get postponed or you have a game on Tuesday night, you just signed up for that immediately. Like, I think just the fact that we that so far every game has been played. There's been some that have been moved around. But the fact that NFL has had a season through through nine weeks and that every game has managed to get played is is fantastic.


It's also much like it's shown a light on relationships, the pandemic, right, where you have some relationships that the couple got stuck together. It just fell apart. Some marriages probably get a little shaky or things like that. Yeah, it's shown that same light on the stability of different leagues. Like we started this keeper league. I'm the commissioner. It turns out I'm a wartime commissioner. I'm not a peacetime commissioner. I'm not. When things get tough, I don't fall apart.


You just have to make communicate with everybody, make quick rules, be like, hey, this game got moved to Tuesday. Keep your starters in for the Tuesday games, but send me backups. If that game gets canceled, you get your backup and you just you need to have, first of all, the trust and whoever's running it and us and the league of guys that get along or ladies or whoever is right. But if you have a league that's completely dysfunctional, that every year there's a big fight about some trade or some waiver thing or whatever.


This is not the time to have a league like that. This is where that really falls apart. Yeah, I can totally see that. So how are you as a commissioner? How are you? You're a wartime commissioner with your league members. Say like you rule with an iron fist. Are you are you fair? Are you how are fair? I'm all about yeah, I'm all about fairness. OK, I'm all about this is what we should do, because let's all agree that this makes the most sense.


And that's I think I have to do it. And I think there's been some some trying ones. Right. Like, you know, we added to kind of covid spots on the roster. Right. We have the nine bench spots, but then two spots for like if you have a KOVA guy, you can pick up an extra guy, put that covid guy their honor system. Once the guy comes out like he had to cut the guy and I'll check the rosters and if somebody forgets to just tell him.


But for the most part, I don't think it's been that hard to to navigate. I was a lot more worried after like week to week. Holy shit. When they started moving that Buffalo, Tennessee game around, that was when I think all of us were like, well, wait a second, what happens if we're in the fantasy playoffs in week sixteen and three games gets canceled due to what does the team get to do? So I guess we'll find out when we get there.


And covid definitely getting worse and the cold weather is coming. And I'm sure it's going to be a major subplot. But as we try to escape a life with fantasy football, of course, it's going to overlap and suck. But I think we've all kind of figured it out.


Yeah, I think so. And I think I think, you know, a lot of commissioners have done that. I've done that in the leagues that I'm running as well. ESPN did a thing where you can, by the way, if you haven't done this already and you want to and you play with a city of spin, you can add bench spots. You're the commissioner can add bench spots or ad spots. And if you're if a player is placed on the covid 19 list, they're eligible for IRR in ESPN.


So so, yeah, we've we've done that as well. I think the important thing here is just to just to sort of communicate, you know. Yeah. With your league. I got one. Can we talk about a competitor or is that will that make mad? OK, don't. So we use CBS for the Keeper League, which everybody bitches about. CBS has this, but that sends out reports and we call it the sarcastic robot and it writes out, obviously, this prescriptive thing about the recap of what happens in the league.


But they, like, dialed up the sarcasm, meanness of the robot this year and the robot will take real shots at some of our owners. It'll be like like David Chang's in our league. Going to be like another terrible week for coach David Chang, who just can't seem to get his act together and stuff like that, like, whoa, shots fired. Well, it's been this running joke about this crazy robot to the point that I. I actually think that they should make that a choice.


Like when you sign up for the league, it's like almost like spice on a pizza from one to ten. It'd be like, give me the ten, let's get the latest version of the robot possible. But I think ESPN needs to incorporate this the the newsletters to the teams, but with a little spice little a little zest. I think it's been really hilarious. I like it. I'm going to do I'm going to I'm going to I'm going to call Jeff Ross and I'm going to be like, listen, I need you for like a day in a day and a half.


Just give me, like, a couple of pages of insults and then we're going to put it into this automated bot. And, yeah, just just start trashing them people and people will love it. Yeah, this was yeah. This was this week's update. This is nephew Kai who's on the phone because he runs a team with Nathan Hubbard. It said Bubba coaches Nathan Hubbard's decisions this week allow them to relinquish their title as the worst game day coach in the league.


Prizzi's coach Tadokoro. Where's the crowd now of just shots fired. Unbelievable. So anyway I'm I'm all in on really mean robot fantasy recanvas.




You know the nice part about that though is because it's not coming from you like because they. Yeah because if you were writing the league recap they're like Bill, you know that's that's fucked up. What are you doing. You know, that kind of stuff, but this way, there's there's a there's an element of separation there. Yeah, but yeah, well as the continues to invest in digital technology, maybe the sarcastic maybe they should hire the sarcastic robot from CBS who we can we can look that on on the fantasy show on ESPN plus the show we did with this year we introduced Stephen Abott.


So we have we have an actual robot character and all its clips of Steve and a from first take like insult us and yell at us. And so I would I would pitch that, I would say, can we get Steve in a box to. It's a great idea, right. Yeah. With that. All right. Matthew Barry, we did it again. These are our two pods. I probably well, you come on at some point, but these are these are these are two signature pods.


It was great to see you as always. Say hi to say hi to my son's nemesis, Field Yates and the rest of the crew. And and best of luck as we head into the holidays.


Thanks, Bill. Appreciate it. Everyone listen to the ESPN fantasy focused podcast.


Let me get one plug in for my book. Get multiple plugs in. I forgot to tell you to plug stuff. ESPN, ESPN, Fantasy Focus and Fantasy Football. Now what your son watches on ESPN two Sunday mornings, 10:00 a.m. Eastern, 7:00 a.m. Pacific. Sometimes sometimes preempted by weird races like weird car races. And it's like, can you just tell me who the top ten receivers are today? Like, I have to watch cars going in laps.


I know it is frustrating. Sometimes it's life on a sports network. What are you going to do? But but generally speaking, you usually we are on ESPN to 10:00 a.m. Eastern every Sunday morning, going all the way to kick off and me and Gates to find your balance, a bunch of reporters around the country, we do a great job. And then the fantasy life that which is one hundred percent free and the alerts are the best in the business.


We're over five stars reviews and like thousands of views of both app stores, literally like it. Just download the app. You'll see it like it's a community app. It's a social app. There's a lot of tools as well. But even if you don't want to. We can engage in the community. It's a really great community. The alerts are literally the best and fastest in the business. If you read all the reviews, you'll see that it's like best alerts, fastest alerts, Bleacher Report by ten minutes, et cetera, et cetera, like just fantasy life app, dot com.


It's a one hundred percent free app. Try it. If you don't like it, just delete it. It's a free app. Who cares? But I don't know why people wouldn't just download it and try it. Good to see you. Thanks for coming up. Thanks, Bill. That's it for the best podcast, I was not on the watch, but this week they did Toy Story. Check that out. Don't forget, Book of Basketball podcast is coming up on.


Wednesday night, the first episode of Season three. Looking forward to it, can't wait. Check it out. Don't forget to subscribe if you haven't subscribed already and see on this feed on Thursday.