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Elephants on the Field: Week 2


Winning at fantasy means making predictions and acting on them prior to other players. To do that, you don't always have the privileges of hindsight and deduction. You will need foresight and inference. I hope to offer a some good if not somewhat inferential arguments for why some early moves on this weekly (if I have time) post.
Fantasy thinking is often over-obsessed with statistical correlations at the expense of firm causal understanding of what is happening on the field. The forest is often lost for the trees. A combination of understanding the game of football, recognizing interconnected changes that will influence teams, and eye testing the games themselves is the best antidote to the groupthink, herd-mentality of fantasy football expertism which, time and again, proves spotty at best in anticipating changes.
Last week I posted this as "Eye-tested Takes" but I realized that's not what I was aiming for. A variety of posters and services watch the whole game and give you maximally thorough takes on every snap. I won't offer much of an opinion on players/teams I don't watch. I'll always watch enough. However, a lot of what I'll make as the case for picking up (or dropping) a player will be based on obvious things that are happening that rankings-myosis may miss.
There's always an elephant in the room that no one want's to acknowledge. This post gives fantasy advice that accounts for the elephants on the field.

Things I'm right about (so far):

1. Rivers Noodle Arm = Colts Lean into Jonathon Taylor:
With the quality of that offensive line, Mack going down, and Rivers looking like shit, Jonathon Taylor may end-up being a top-5 back this year. TY Hilton and Parris Campbell are going to disappoint you.
A bunch of commenters disagreed, insisting Hines was the guy to get and Taylor as a top-5 was nuts. This is an instance of the eye-test making people too smart. Yes, Taylor netted 22 yards on 9 carries week 1. Who cares, he was great in college (larger sample size) and more importantly, Rivers looks SOOO spent that Taylor is the only obvious bell-cow RB for what is probably the best O-line in the league. You want that. Rivers threw it 25 times in week two (down from 44). Taylor had 26 carries, 2 receptions, 110 yards, and 1 touchdown. It was obvious what had to happen in Indy but fantasy groupthink herded everyone toward Hines.
If you had the audacity to ignore me on this (/s), the good news is there's still time. His trade value has skyrocketed on most charts but he's not quite valued as a top back yet. If you get the feel someone is under-valuing him, don't wait longer because his first 2 TD game is going to make him inaccessible in a trade. The Colts defense is also looking good enough to maintain a lead throughout a game, opening-up more run play calls. (Rivers sucking is going to do that all the time anyway).
And if you still don't believe me, watch his highlights from this week and you'll see why he could be such a focal point. He does a lot of things that coaches like to lean-into: great ball security, adds 2-3 yards to the end of runs, explosive speed when he has big holes.
2.Browns Offense is fine:
Don't panic about the Browns offense. Baker Mayfield looked like trash but the running offense actually looked pretty good at times...Stefanski is the guy you need to believe in... The biggest takeway from the game isn't the Browns offense is bad, its that the Ravens defense is great.
Both Browns running back scored multiple TD's and registered more than 150 yards each week 2. Baker continued to suck and it didn't matter. Stefanski's offense is good and his coaching career is a testament to his talent. All-Ivy-League Football Player. First coaching job was in the NFL. They wouldn't let him leave for 14 years because they knew he was a talent.
So don't run from Chubb or Hunt yet. And if you have them both, start them both and don't feel bad (unless you have a clearly better option like Zeke too...then probably favor starting Kareem Hunt the larger your ppr value, but its a tough call). The Browns are a perfect storm that make both startable: (a) Both Chubb and Hunt have top-5 rb talent and it comes across when you watch them on the field. With good combinations of strength and speed, each one is TD risk on every snap. (b) Sefanski divides snaps very well. Both are getting touches-a-plenty. They just signed they're "back-up" RB to a new contract (I mean, how often does that happen in the modern NFL?). KS also divides snaps by drive, unless a drive gets very long, so even if Chubb is doing well, he's going to give Kareem Hunt a whole drive. (c) starting both is fading Baker which is smart. The Browns are going to increasingly realize that their offense is more effective with Baker doing less. They may even move to Case Keenum (their back-up, legit didn't know that last week) and that's fine for Chubb/Hunt.
I wouldn't run from OBJ or Jarvis Landry yet either, though Baker's ineptitude has got to make you worry. Think about what Minnesota offenses did over the years with Diggs, Theilen, etc. Both OBJ and Landry are going to be solid bets for big-play TD's (like OBJ's last Thursday) here and there but likely not breaking the top-10. Still, the talent ceiling is high with both so a buy-low scenario where you get them in a trade could pay-off if you bet on Stefanski more than Mayfield.
3. Deandre Hopkins is the WR1
Deandre Hopkins will be the #1 fantasy receiver this year... And most importantly, the offensive situation in Arizona is the perfect storm for his fantasy situation. Kyler Murray is good, but he's not working his way through progressions yet.
Hopkins nabbed a TD but only had 9 targets this week. I'll admit that I only watched Kyler Murray's highlights so forgive me if its there and I didn't see it, buuuuut...He's not completing passes to 2nd and 3rd reads. Its one read then run. That's great for Hopkins' stats because the further into the season they get, the MORE Hopkins is going to be involved on plays designed to chuck it to him, no matter what. Hopkins is one of those guys that's always open, and Kyler is a smart player who knows that AND knows he's not good enough yet to start looking for someone else if Hopkins is "covered". That may hurt the Cardinals at some point. But Hopkins is getting fed this season.
And obviously, a rash of injuries at WR has made this look to be a better prediction. Hopkins is already a stud in that offense and he's still learning it. His stock is only going up from here.
Its true the WR's new offenses typically do poorly. A couple of reasons why that's not true of Hopkins: (a) he's physically the most gifted receiver in the league. Randy Moss kicked ass his first year with the Patriots. Some players are talented enough that it doesn't take time, as long as they're smart as hell like Randy Moss or (b) Hopkins is an intelligent dude. He negotiated his own contract and didn't fuck it up. He wants to be G.M. Big brained guy, he'll pick up quickly. You can see that on the field, he's constantly looking back at Kyler to make sure he did the right thing on each play. (c) HOF'er in the WR room: Fitz will get him up to speed fast.
Quick note about Kyler Murray: He's tearing it up. One encouraging thing that you might not see how little he's allowing himself to be tackled. As a fantasy owner, that's encouraging because it suggests he can sustain a high running floor and not get injured. And there's an added assurance that he's putting those slides for zero yards (for example) on tape because the coaches see that too and are more willing to call more of those plays down the stretch. Still, I wouldn't compare him to Lamar Jackson last season yet. Lamar Jackson was throwing TD's to his 4th and 5th read in week 1 against the Dolphins last season. Murray may hit a scheme ceiling where defenses, especially good ones, start to take away his 1 and 2 and contain his run game (though it is strong and he has good vision).

Things I was totally wrong about: zero things!

HA! Next section!

Things I'm not right about yet but pretty soon I will be:

1. Joe Burrow AJ Green is going to be good.
If you watch the game, you see Joe Burrow fitting the ball into tight windows in clutch situations. In fact, he wasn't finding a lot of open receivers, he was throwing the ball well/correctly into great coverage and making lemonade. Also, AJ Green is looking fully healthy and like his old self.
Well, AJ Green was targeted 13 times and caught...3 of those passes for 29 yards. So clearly, the chemistry between them was oversold by me last week. Still, 13 targets is encouraging and so is the Bengals inability to run the ball. No matter how much they try, they're wretched run-blocking always leaves them down late in games and in 3rd-and-forever situations. They just let a rookie throw it 61 times.
Another consideration is that Denzel Ward was covering Green all night:
A.J. Green has had an up-and-down career vs. the Browns. Thursday’s game was on the down side, and it had mostly to do with Denzel Ward.
Green had three catches for 29 yards. Overall, Ward broke up three passes against the Bengals. And according to Next Gen Stats, Ward was making life difficult for Joe Burrow all night, forcing eight tight window passes in 11 targets as the nearest defender.
Green is still pretty low on trade value charts but stands to have a huge upside as Burrow's primary target.
2. Rodgers is back.
...are there really any physical traits that are important to his game that would fade significantly at 36 year's old? I didn't see any missing zip off of his throws. I did see fucking darts getting tossed all over the field into tiny windows.
Aaron Jones is the #1 fantasy RB right now so obviously saying Rodgers is fully back is pre-mature. However, he is impressing with some very, very pretty darts.
Also, the elephant on the field for the Packers is that Aaron Rodgers is a player driven by ego. Not a knock on him, he's just a guy who needs mojo to play at his finest. Maybe it required the stimulation of an insulting draft pick to prod him back into his HOF form. I'm not saying Rodgers can be a top 3 QB this year with Jackson and Murray running so well, but 4 or 5 doesn't seem out of reach.
Rodgers is pff top-graded QB right now btw.

Fresh takes:

1.The Ravens are the best defense in the NFL.
The loss of Earl Thomas is doesn't matter as much as what has been gained with Patrick Queen and L.J. Fort. Queen is incredibly fast and explosive underneath, getting into the backfield and making big plays. And L.J. Fort (top rated pff lb right now) combine to give them rangey-coverage, tackling, and pass break-up ability over the middle they didn't have before which has further weaponized they're depth at CB (Humphrey, Peters, Smith). Peters specifically is a ball hawk that's found a great home in Baltimore; he couldn't scheme well anywhere else but Harbaugh has found a way to give him the freedom to ball hawk. Over the long haul, Harbaugh has maintained a great defense, regardless of departures/changes, for years and years. When he has this much talent, his defenses are typically dominant.
Be warry of starting iffy players against them at any position.
They're worth trading for, I think the turnovedef TD potential makes them worth it.
2. J.K. Dobbins will break-out out as the preferred option in the Ravens backfield.
Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards have both proven to be reliable RB's for the Raven offense. But Ingram is 30 with over 200 carries in 3 of the last 4 seasons. Edwards has been reliable, a home-grown UDFA. But at 238lbs and without elite speed, he's leaving many big runs on the table.
Dobbins didn't attend the combine. But ran a 4.44 high school:
Dobbins posted a 4.44s 40-yard dash, 4.09s short shuttle and a 43.1-inch vertical jump as a high school senior at the event. There are also many reports that Dobbins squatted over 700 pounds.
He has power running balance and break-out speed that NONE of the other backs in Baltimore have. 4th rounder Justice Hill was their attempt of to develop that speed last year but didn't break out.
A couple of elephants make this one a good bet:
(a) Lamar's durability -- right now, he's taking a bunch of carries because he's the only one in their backfield that has the speed to break huge runs. If Dobbins can fill that role, Lamar Jackson can afford to take fewer chances and John Harbaugh can opt to only drop him back to pass 7 times in the second half when they're winning, like what happened in week 2.
(b) that defense -- Baltimore's defense is going to be great enough this year to take over games, making steady doses of run plays inevitable as they'll spend a lot of games up by 2 scores. Yes, they were up like that a lot last year but their only homerun hitter in the backfield was Lamar (see above, Justice Hill wasn't getting it done).
Here's an example: this is a shot from Gus Edwards' 22 yard scamper last week:
The Ravens offensive line is good at opening holes like this. While it didn't prove important in this game (BAL was up 30-16 at the time), each run like this where a more explosive player could scored is an opportunity cost for the people calling plays. And its not just points left behind, its points scored while Lamar is watching like a fan. Its points that could allow more aggressive defensive play calling. If you're a coach for Baltimore, you don't necessarily want Lamar to have a gaudy stat-line every week if you're winning. If he can throw 16 passes in a game and then sit-out the 4th quarter, that's ideal from the franchise's perspective (though not so much for Fantasy managers). Each Ingram/Edwards run that coulda been a touchdown means there's more time on the field for Lamar, larger portion of the game where they're not playing a dominant lead, and higher chance that they'll lose because points were left on the field. They need someone else hitting home runs in the running game.
Am I fading Lamar because of all of this? Not yet. Eye test = that guy is a singular talent. His throwing motion is smooth like Vick's, just a gifted, effortless release. He's also great at mostly avoiding contact (though all contact is bad contact if you're his coaches). Great decision maker too. Makes multiple reads on plays. Can't say enough about how great of player he is. Still, Baltimore is well put-together enough that they may be able to functionally win without him. So don't be surprised if, especially approaching the playoffs, Baltimore starts calling plays that don't involve as much Lamar. What's scary is that they may be a complete football team without him and he's the reigning MVP.
Finally, Dobbins had two carries last week. One was for a 44 yard gain where the blocking was good but not nearly as good as the image above. Even if the transition to him isn't fast, he could force the issue like Chubb did his rookie year, gaining 100 yards on 3 carries in a game.
No matter what, the Ravens will run by committee but there will come a point where the player to start out of the trio is Dobbins without a doubt.
3. Minshew is the truth and his team situation makes him a great fantasy player.
Minshew isn't the most talented QB in the league. But above all things, he is competitive and scrappy. The Jags are good but not great so he's going need a lot of that scrappy-iness (lol, just say that sentence out loud, you'll hear it). James Robinson is very good and they're going to lean on him a lot. But when the time for much needed yards and points, it seems like the Jags tag Gardner Minshew II's Id in at offensive coordinator. Minshew isn't likely going to be top-5 qb but he might make the top 10 and is likely easier to get than other top targets.
Part of the reason DJ Chark isn't getting the production folks hoped is because Minshew is effectively spreading the ball around. Good for the jags, bad for fantasy owners. I wouldn't panic.
One of his targets I picked-up to stash is Laviska Shenault Jr. He's getting a legit number of carries each week and averaging over 10 yards per reception. He's an interesting pick-up because he doubles as handcuffs for Robinson. Seems like his carry count could go up to 10ish no problem if the Jags lost Robinson. So pay attention to what position he's listed in your league, scoring rules about how carries count in ppr, etc. But he passes the eye test, very shifty and fast on the field.
4. Teams that are quickly turning into dumpster fires that you should across-the-board fade:
Gase is the worst. Never underestimate the ability of a shitty boss to ruin a workspace and make everyone fucking hate themselves, even though they're well compensated to play a game for a living. Listen, I know there's always gems on bad teams. But I have high blood pressure. So tuning into games with players I need to play well and watching the offense go 3-and-out 5 times in a row...I'm literally too old for that shit now so I try to stray-away from dumpster fire teams.
Kubiak has got some big Stefanski shoes to fill and he's doing a bad job so far. I wouldn't panic about Dalvin Cook yet but another bad couple of weeks and I'd start shopping him. See the Browns thing above: Stefanski may have made the Vikings offense look better than it actually was for a decade. Combine that with the defense whose secondary would be better if they were scare crows and you're looking at a team that can't plan to run the ball for more than a quarter or 2.
Teams to be worried about:
Whew, the injuries. They're basically just starting with new team. We'll see how things go.
Matt Patricia may have lost this team. And coaches like him don't recover team faith/confidence well in a loss-spiral.
BoB is going to crash that plane into a mountain while we all watch. Poor Watson, just watching Deandre Hopkins ball-out. One thing you can still bet on for awhile out of the Texans offense; Bill O'Brien is ego- and career-invested in David Johnson doing great things. He'll role with him when he shouldn't to prove to everyone that he was right to trade Nuk. Its dumb. But he's dumb.

Fortune Favors The Bold (FFTB) Predictions

WARNING: What you're about to read is not necessarily good fantasy advice, but things for me to say "told you so" about a week from now. I take no responsibility for any money you lose (and all responsibility for the money you win). Still, Alexander the Great said, Fortune Favors the Bold.
  1. JK Dobbins scores more fantasy points than CEH this week. (This prediction is backed-up by the time-honored tradition of spitting in one's hand and shaking on it so this shit is serious. Its also painful because I'm a Chiefs fan.)
  2. Laviska Shenault scores a running and a receiving touchdown tonight.
  3. Jonathon Taylor is the RB1 this week and its not close.
  4. Danny Dimes throws 3 TD's this week against the 49ers.
I'm probably wrong about most of this shit but FORTUNE FAVORS THE BOLD!

Thanks for reading! If I continue to be kind mostly right and people find it a good read, I'll keep posting these each week. Good luck!

EDIT: Thanks for the awards and upvotes strangers! I'll bring the column back next week. Appreciate the comments too, thanks for the banter, shit-talk, and criticism. I'll be spittin in palms again soon.
EDIT AGAIN: Thanks again for the feedback. This is fun and I'm going to enjoy doing it again next week. Some of the comments have suggested that the post doesn't really go out on many limbs. I'll do that more in the future. I've also added an extra section with a few "FFTB predictions" for this week.
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The "Apology" for not being "Christian-Like" towards me... Not exactly a happy ending because she wished my death, pretty awkward.

I don't give anyone permission to post anywhere else... all that good stuff.
For anyone who didn't read at least my first story: the summary... this was years ago. DH and I have been together for over a decade now, we are VLC with her and I'm by default NC with her because she started giving me the silent treatment so I returned the favor. We've been married for a few years and we're very happy and happier for her not being in our lives. I'm not happy that this was the outcome but she dug her own grave and it's not for me to get her out. Truthfully, I wouldn't even know how because she has some serious cuts and scars to mend with me and I won't speak for DH totally, but he's been out of the FOG and refuses to tolerate her crap just to have a relationship.
So from my last little tid bit (see the bot) I explained that things with DH's (BF at the time) family was simply different. They didn't do anything together really and things were just divided for the most part. It was a lame story but it'll all be relevant as time goes on, but that's the summary. Now, his mother truly believes that they are a very close family with this inseparable bond. Over the years she has made so many comments to DH (more than I will ever know) and quite a few passive aggressive comments to me. MIL openly talks about BF being the golden child, BIL is salivating for her attention and to point out all that is wrong with BF. It's just a really unsteady boat.
The more I saw her, the more she judged me but still never got to know me. I'm a downright TERRIBLE person because I had 1 tattoo at the time (now have 3 and planning on #4 this fall/winter). She would go on and on and on about how they're disgusting and only delinquents and sinners get tattoos directly to my face. Props for saying it to my face but what exactly am I suppose to say back without being disrespectful? I really didn't want to make DH's life hell by telling off his mom so it left me in a pickle. She really tried to make me feel like shit. I mean... this one didn't work but still, wtf is your goal by saying this shit?
She would then proceed to cry to me that she didn't want BF to get one and I need to stop influencing him. WTF. How exactly do you respond to that you ask? Well you tell her to fuck off and shove it up her ass. But I didn't. I said something like, "You realize I don't have the same beliefs as you and I'm going to school to get a doctorate, right? A tattoo that you never see (it's on my ribs) just isn't a big deal anymore and I'm far from a delinquent."
But her babbbbyyyyyy might get one and she simply couldn't handle it. Guys... DH has zero desire to get a tattoo. Like none. He doesn't exactly care what I do with tattoos to my body (although I think he would formulate an opinion if I came home with a penis tattooed on my forehead) but he, himself, said he doesn't feel the need to get anything. I doubt that will change. I would bet my paycheck on it - Oh wait... I did but I would happily pay up just to see her reaction now (that's just me being petty). I ended the conversation with something along the lines of "Well you really don't know your son if you think he would get a permanent tattoo on his body just because his GF has one" ....apparently that wasn't the right response. Found out from SIL-W(Now wife of BIL) a few weeks later that she was still crying a river to them that she was just so scared he would make such a poor decision. Like this seriously kept her up at night.
Oh why else was I a bad person at this point in time?
I'm a bad person because I "constantly put down" BF. Well... I'm not really sure how to navigate this one without being painfully honest here so hang with me.... I actually started to point out all the ways she was a shitty mom to him, but she took this to be me putting down BF. Well that backfired and apples didn't fall correctly, clearly. Let me explain: DH didn't know how to use a ratchet set let alone a screwdriver. Laundry was a learning experience. He didn't know how to cook really (FF: he's an amazing cook and his homemade meatballs are out of this world). He ate like 6 foods until I literally took on this persona of a psycho girlfriend who made him try EVERYTHING and his roommates got him to try different spices and wings so now he's less of a 5 year old and has a solid adult-range diet. Stuff where it was just like.... why is he a grown adult and doesn't know this? She would make comments about BF like I was his mother as well and expect me to "fix" the I only found it fair to point out every way she sucked or encouraged him to formulate these bad habits that she now has a problem with. It's not my job to fix shit. I'm not in a relationship to "fix him" (but yes, I would like to eat more than pizza, pancakes, chicken nuggets and french fries so I did push that one for my sanity, not his). So she spun it where I talked bad about him when in reality I was judging her parenting because I was starting to landslide. Not the best approach. For anyone reading who is currently dealing with this type of shit: don't be passive aggressive. It's not worth the fucking time and energy. Just call her out or move on to laugh about it.
I'm also a bad person because I would defend DH - apparently that wasn't okay either. So back to that crap where she would complain to me about BF and then expect me to fix things... One summer when the Olympics were on and BF is really into them while subsequently losing weight and getting healthy. He spent weeks in his room watching them while on a stationary bike or elliptical or whatever which wasn't far from the norm past his workout obsession... as I've said, they don't do anything together. Well, MIL all of a sudden wanted a closer family (probably to remove my "influence" from him) and seriously complained to me about him being antisocial and asked if he's acts this way when he's away at college. All I can say is... I didn't appreciate her bashing him when this is the atmosphere she created. So, I stuck up for him. "Oh that's so funny because he's really social at college. Although it doesn't seem like he's doing anything different than any other summer home. You guys have never done anything as a family so I'm not sure why you think that's changed" Wrong. Answer.
I'm also a bad person because she didn't like that I drank and I was forcing her perfect son to drink at college. Yes - you read that correctly. She flat out blamed me for him drinking and it never crossed her mind that he chose to drink, I didn't have some magical vagina that made him fall under a spell to get fucked up. New flash bitch: he tried alcohol in high school well before he met me, but yup I'm the influence holding his mouth open to pour fireball and vodka down it.... but I couldn't say that. So I took the hit for being "that girl" again over the years.
So overall.... She kept throwing digs about me or DH and I answered them in the mildest form possible which ended up being passive aggressive, while trying to not be completely steam rolled, but it was a waste because she just treated me like shit anyway. Sometimes I threw a dig back and sometimes I brushed it off. Overall, she was just buying her time waiting for us to break up... Yup... she's still waiting. SIL told me that MIL made a ton of comments on how I'm so disrespectful and it pissed me off. So you can say whatever you want to me including openly dissing me but I'm suppose to what? Kiss your ass? Say thank you? So.... I was very aware of how she felt about me and what she says even though DH didn't directly tell me, it's not fucking rocket science here.
Side note: MIL has like.... one friend. She calls BIL and he's her sounding board for everything. Frankly, I find it really unhealthy for you to be treating your child like your therapist... just like... go to a therapist. So how things work in this family is something happens (or basically nothing) she runs to BIL and spins the entire thing to her fancy, BIL tells SIL, SIL comes running to me to get our side while BIL makes backhanded comments to DH about how he needs to be better with MIL or whatever. Both MIL and BIL operate by guilt tripping and it's just fucking annoying. It worked on DH for a few years and then it was like a switch flipped and it's yet to work again. I will say, I shut this little drama train down a few years ago and it's much nicer. Once in a while I get pissed enough to engage but it's rare. Now I just let everything go to shit, let BIL think what he wants while making ridiculous assumptions and him and MIL are little butt buddies who talk shit but have no guts to actually say it or own up to their part.. fun, right?!
So to the story of how she once again used her religious crap on me to really show that she's just a Holy Hypocrite. Welcome to her name everyone, I have a winner of a MIL.
SIL (little sister) decided she was going to go to prom with her friends and she was really excited. I truly don't know 100% if I offered or she asked me... but I'm pretty sure I offered... to do her hair and makeup. I think I offered because I was home from college so only about 2 hours away (versus 5), she was talking to me at that time for whatever reason, I worked it out with DH where he was coming home and we would drive back to college together, and if she was going to ask someone I would think she would've asked her other SIL-W (BILs wife) since they were closer; I imagine I offered. I also did SILs hair a few other times we were together - nothing fancy just some french braid based that I can do in my sleep so it's not like this would be completely out of the blue.
HH doesn't wear a lick of makeup and does nothing with her hair so that option was out, obviously. If SIL wanted to look good she had to look elsewhere. Like many of the ladies know hair and makeup is wicked expensive and I happen to be really good at both, at least for prom quality so SIL took me up on the offer.
I had her send me pictures of her dress, some different hair styles that I thought might look good on he the dress and she seemed really excited. MIL texts me and wants to "confirm" if I was really willing to put myself out to do her hair and makeup because she didn't want her daughter to get her hopes up but also wanted to see if I was charging her so she could set aside the money because this type of thing is an arm and a leg and she's a single mother. I was kind of pissed about this. She really thinks so low of me that I would be texting her daughter, in writing, that I was committing to doing all of this, and at no charge (none the less) but would just bail and ruin her one and only prom? Especially over.. what... $100? Wow. Cool. I specifically told her that I would do it for free, I was just happy to be able to make her prom everything she hoped - it was never about money. I mean really? Why would I spend all that money on traveling down to slave over her hair and makeup for $100 or whatever versus sitting at home watching HIMYM? I made it clear and it was obvious I was thrilled to be able to do something, anything for SIL to be happy - It's not about you HH.
Next Text: She says something along the lines of really underestimating me and my intentions prior and she would like to have a private conversation with me one on one to apologize for not being Christian like towards me when I come to do her hair and makeup.
GUYS, I FINALLY DID IT. IT TOOK 4.5 YEARS BUT SHE'S REALIZING I'M NOT A TERRIBLE PERSON. I'm like... fucking thrilled. I'm sitting here thinking we will finally be on the same page. She can accept me as a person rather than a walking sinner... holy shit maybe BF won't have this unknown future. Well... you read the title so you know I was naive and should've never agreed to a one-on-one talk.
So I do SILs hair and makeup... she looks... amazing. She started to tear up and said she actually looks pretty (SIL has some self confidence issues and the lack of ability to do her hair and makeup at that point in time was a big trigger IMO). My heart is ripping into two and I'm so thankful I chose to be apart of this and made a difference in her experience. (FF: her hair and makeup was the only one to make it through the night let alone into the next day so basically a "brush your shoulders off" moment for me.) HH is ecstatic that she's on cloud 9... all is right in the world. They leave to all go take pictures with friends and HH comes back.
HH signals me into the living room to have our little talk. It starts off really nice. She's telling me the Bible says XYZ and she clearly hasn't been living up to those standards in regards to me so she really wants to move forward. We talked for probably a good 30 minutes getting to know each other more and she's telling me funny stories about how BF was as a child. I'm getting all the warm and fuzzies. This is what I'm good at. I'm good at being open, no bullshit, and just finding happiness - this felt so natural and raw. Well all good things come to a fucking end.
She brings up BFs religious beliefs and she's afraid that he's pulling away from God and it's only happened because of me coming into his life. She keeps pressuring me. She brings it up again and again and again. Yes, he went off to college and became his own person... during that time he also met me. It's a pretty logical coincidence that freedom allowed him to formulate his own opinions and of of those opinions was he wanted to date me. Shocker, I know. HOW could this all happen - at once?! Nope. I'm to blame. Me and my magical vagina.
What she doesn't know and BF has never talked with her about is - he doesn't actually believe in her religion let alone her views. He openly says (to me) there were many parts of Church growing up but at the end of the day he isn't committed like she is and he doesn't plan to be. He knows she will be disappointment and he doesn't want to after being the perfect child for so long. He just doesn't feel it in his soul. He struggles with a lot of his mother's specific views and I think it left a really bad taste in his mouth overall.
I keep throwing it off saying "While I understand you feel that way this is a conversation you should have with your son, this isn't the conversation to have with me" "BF has his own views that are his to tell, I'm not going to speak for him" "It sounds like this matters a lot to you, but that's not for me to answer. You need to have this conversation with him."
After about the tenth time, I caved. I said something like "Well BF has his own reservations and he makes his own decisions. He has chosen not to go to church at college, that has nothing to do with me. He would rather watch football every Sunday and he has never once asked me to go yet I've offered half a dozen times. So maybe you need to accept that BF isn't the same person as when he left for college because that's who he is choosing to be irregardless of me."
She just about loses it and dives into every single other little time she has been disappointed in BF and how she knows it's my doing.
One example: BF got drunk at a Halloween party and accidentally sent the snap to his sister where he was clearly drunk... wouldn't you know it, that's my fault!!!! Ha. In reality: I was at work and met up with him and his roommates when he was already gone. I had nothing to do with it. But here we are again, her blaming me for him drinking alcohol like... three times a year... okay.
She finally says word for word "I pray every day that something happens to you so you can no longer be with BF" as she looked up to the sky with her hands physically praying.
Just to recap: In a conversation that she asked for to apologize to me for not being "Christian-like" towards me... she wishes I would die.
Holy. Hypocrite.
Well... that's the last time we were alone in a room together and that was over 5 years ago.

Also: I keep "flairing" No Advice Wanted because it was like... 5 years ago... but feel free to spill some tea ladies and gents.
submitted by ZeroFcksGiven14 to JUSTNOMIL [link] [comments]

Hawk And The Billboard-Sized ID Card

Hawk is like a box of of Meals Ready to Eat (MRE); you never know what you are going to get, but you are pretty confident it will make you shit your pants. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself." Kudos to Mrs. Roosevelt for that well articulated adage. She clearly never met Hawk though, because that fucker said, "Hold my beer!"
We are about to embark on another journey with Hawk. The typical paths for mankind are either the straight and narrow or wide and crooked. This does not apply to Hawk though; Hawk is a trailblazer. Hawk came to that proverbial fork in the road, and instead of taking the clearly marked routes, Hawk decided to break brush, butt naked, through thorny vines and poison ivy. Some of you have arrived here and are likely wondering, "What the fuck is OP talking about?" I could tell you to go back and read the Hawk prequels, but I don't think you will. Therefore, I might as well briefly explain Hawk.
Imaging three Service Members are conducting a mounted patrol through Death Valley. They are hours into their trip through Satan's grundle-region, but the vehicle breaks down. They have to abandoned the vehicle and continue on foot. They are exhausted and understand the desert sun is going to rape their souls. They each decided to take one item to assist with surviving the blistering heat. The breakdown is below.
  1. Marine: Water
  2. Sailor: Food
  3. Hawk: Car Door
The three men travel for hours before deciding to take a much needed break; it's Death Valley people! The break was the first opportunity they had to discuss the item each person brought, and elaborate on why they chose said item.
  1. Marine: I brought water in the event we get thirsty.
  2. Sailor: I brought food in the event we needed energy.
  3. Hawk: I brought the car door. We can roll down the windows when it gets hot outside.
Hey OP, did this really happen? No. I repurposed a Polish joke. I don't mean to be rude, but my intent was not to make you laugh. I am merely doing my best to explain how unbelievably oblivious Hawk is to commonsense or a rational thought process. It may have been a joke, but shit like this is perfectly feasible for Hawk. Still not convinced? I will assume the majority of us have played at least one video game in our life in which were able to create a character. The game is irrelevant. Imagine you have a total of 100 points to allocate between Attack, Speed, Confidence, Power, and Stupidity. Now imagine allocating all 100 points to Stupidity. Trust me when I say the character you created is at least 100 points smarter than Hawk on an Intelligence Quotient (IQ) test. Still don't believe me? Read the other stories. If you don't believe me after that, I simply want to say I am sorry. I am sorry you now know I am posting about you on Reddit Hawk.
The setting is Iraq. I was a leader at war with the terrorist that inhabited Iraq, and the nearly constant stupidity Hawk continually displayed. Hawk has just informed me that he had lost his Identification card (ID). Nobody that has lost and ID enjoys it, but please understand that the process is different between civilians and Soldiers. I have never lost one, so I am not entirely certain, but I know they are different. I had to counsel (wrist-slap/discussion) Hawk regarding his lost ID. I needed the Company Commander to counsel Hawk, and sign documentation in order for Hawk to receive a new ID card. We can't simply go to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and replace it. The military process requires a couple wrist-slaps and a fuck-ton of paperwork.
The fact that we were deployed made this process more difficult. We did not have the ability to reissue ID cards within our Battalion. We had to venture to a larger Forward Operating Base (FOB) that had an ID card facility. The process was not complicated, but it was certainly a pain in the ass. Our particular Operations Tempo (OPTEMP) did not allow me to send an underpaid babysitter; Hawk was going solo. This would not be a problem with any other Soldier, but this is Hawk. I would feel more comfortable sending my preteen to Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch for a sleepover than I do sending Hawk anywhere without adult supervision. I was forced to allow Hawk to spread his wings, and pray he didn't fly into a fucking window.
OP: Hawk. You are manifested to leave with Battalion Headquarters (HQ) tomorrow. You will be departing at 1000 hours, but need to report to Battalion HQ tomorrow at 0930. Any questions?
Hawk: No.
It was fucking cut-and-dry. There was no room for subjective mental retardation on behalf of Hawk. I was not requesting a dissertation in thermonuclear astrophysics. I just needed Hawk to exit the rear of the barracks, walk 50 feet, and stand there before 0930. Still, that doesn't mean Hawk wont fuck it up. Hawk was a football-bat in a soccer game. Hawk fucked it up. Hawk mentally computed, "Go to the chow hall at 0900 and eat. Then go to port-a-john at make an underwater sculpture, and then report to the wrong side of the battalion headquarters building around 1000. Cool. Hawk did not maliciously miss the trip, but his potato-brain outwitted himself. I had a Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) escort Hawk back over to Battalion an manifest him for a for the dinner trip.
This time I had a Team Leader ensure Hawk was properly nestled inside a departing vehicle. All Hawk needed to do was report to the ID card facility and get a new ID card. Too easy. Right? Hawk made it though. I called the ID card facility to ensure Hawk received a new ID card. He did! I was happy, but my confidence in Hawk was short lived. Any confidence in Hawk has an incredibly short shelf-life. The 30-minute trip between Hawk getting a new ID card and arriving back to our FOB was too much.
Hawk enters Team Room
OP: Hawk! Great to have you back brother. Show me your new ID card.
Hawk: Okay Sergeant.
Hawk is rifling through his wallet. No worries. He must have misplaced his new ID card. It's brand-fucking-new. He must have accidentally stowed it in a different spot in his wallet. We waited, and then we waited some more for Hawk to produce a less than one-hour old ID card. No dice though! Hawk lost it. Again.
Hawk: I am going to run back to the vehicles Sergeant. It must have fell out.
I knew better though. I was fairly certain it didn't fall out. I didn't know where it was, but I was fairly certain the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had better odds of finding the boogieman, than Hawk had of finding his ID car. The race was on! I don't know how the FBI fared, but Hawk failed. I wasn't even mad anymore. Hawk was now just living up to my very low expectations. Still, what the fuck was I going to do as a leader to rectify this situation? We have to repeat the counseling process, and have the Company Commander sign more documents in order to get another ID card. I know it was not purposely lost, but I still have to punish the kid.
I decided to walk in the footsteps of those before me. Hawk was going to make a new ID card. It was not going to be as precise as a real Army ID card, but it would suffice for me. Hawk was going to make his own ID card. The template for his design was going to be the side of an MRE box. His ID card was about to be at least eight inches wide and sixteen inches long. I placed the materials on Hawks bed and instructed him to make a new ID card, loop 550 cord (cordage) through it, and wear it around his neck.
Hawk looked like an idiot walking around the FOB with a billboard sized ID card. It was working though. The door-checker at the chow hall thought it was funny, and Hawk didn't leave his new ID card at the phone-tent or internet-tent either. He went a full two-days until there was an issue. The Regimental Command Sergeant Major (CSM) was at our FOB that day. He wanted to greet the Soldiers and get a general sense of our morale levels. He was not happy when he seen Hawk wearing his giant ID card in the chow hall. I typically spend my days providing very, very detailed guidance to Hawk, and typically expect him to fuck it up anyways. It was a giant kick in the nuts when Hawk pulled a reverse card and gave me instructions.
Hawk: Sergeant OP.
OP: Yes Hawk?
Hawk: I have some guidance for you.
OP: (This is going to be good.) Really? You're going to give me guidance?!? Hit me with it then!
Hawk: The Regimental CSM wants to see you tonight at 2000 hours in the Battalion CSM's office.
OP: Why? (Fuck my tits! I didn't think I did anything wrong, but I was going to find out.)
Hawk: He was mad about my ID card and...
OP: (Cool. We agree on something!) Me too. Seeing how you can't keep track of something that was less than an hour old.
Hawk: The Regimental CSM said my punishment was demeaning and humiliating.
OP: Roger. Thanks for the information.
What the fuck? I understood where the Regimental CSM was coming from, but he was wrong. Hawk is too stupid to be humiliated. Hawk lacks the mental wherewithal to understand he was actively being humiliated. I understand this sounds rude as fuck, but Hawk is just too oblivious to understand when he is the butt of a joke. He is a goldfish brain trapped inside a human body. Making matters worse, Uncle Sam, issued this troglodyte an assault rifle outfitted with a grenade launcher. Fuck. The more I think about it, the more I believe I should be mad at the Regimental CSM for humiliating me by assigning me Hawk, type one each! However, informing the Regimental CSM of this would have gone over like a fart in church.
I immediately informed First Sergeant to ensure he was aware of the situation. First Sergeant had a smile on his face and told me, "I can't wait to go to Battalion with you and see how this plays out." I walked over to Battalion at 1950, and just waited outside the CSM's door. I could hear my Battalion and Regimental CSM bullshitting back-and-forth. It was better than overhearing angry-talk. I knocked on the door at 2000, and was told to come in. First Sergeant accompanied me inside the office as well. I was "on the carpet" in front of "the man" and I was about to have a sizeable chunk of my ass chewed-off without any anesthetic.
OP: Sergeants Majors. How are you doing this evening?
RCSM: Well, I was good until I seen one my Soldiers wearing THE SIDE OF A MRE BOX AS AN ID CARD. That's just humiliating and uncalled for. What made you think this was an acceptable recourse?
OP: He lost his ID card Sergeant Major.
RCSM: (Now a bit more irritated.) Then why didn't you just get him a new ID card then? WHY DID YOU FIND IT ACCEPTABLE TO EMBARRASS HIM?
OP: I did Sergeant Major. He went a couple days ago to get a new card. He had it for less than an hour and lost that one as well. That's why he is walking around with the MRE box ID card.
BCSM: Hawk is a little different Sergeant Major. (Said with a big grin and a chuckle.)
First Sergeant: That is an understatement Sergeant Major!
RCSM: What do you mean?
BCSM: Why don't you elaborate OP NICKNAME.
OP: He is an idiot Sergeant Major!
BCSM: (Laughing.) I said elaborate. Why don't you tell him what you told me at the Promotion Board!
OP: Okay Sergeant Major. Please be cognizant that I a merely trying to explain Hawk the best way I know how. Sergeant Major, picture a room with no windows and only one door. Hawk is in that room, with one cat and one dog. I give Hawk very explicit and simple instructions. "Hawk, I will be back in five minutes. Make sure the dog doesn't eat the cat". Sergeant Major, you could go back in that room 30 seconds later and there would be no cat, no dog, a dead fucking elephant and Hawk is clueless about how the fuck it happened. That is Hawk Sergeant Major.
Now 75% of the occupants in the room are laughing hysterically. Guess who is not happy with that analogy? Wrong. The Regimental CSM is laughing. OP. OP is not laughing. The analogy is no longer funny to me at this point. It is a said reality of my life. Hawk is my Soldier. I deal with this heavy mouth-breathing Simple Jack human every single day. I was deployed and there was no reprieve from Hawk.
This is the shit I deal with on a nearly daily basis:
OP: Hawk. Why are you wearing DIFFERENT SOLDIER NAME uniform top?
Hawk: The laundry place fucked up.
OP: What?
Hawk: The laundry facility accidentally gave me DIFFERENT SOLDIERS clothes.
OP: So, rather than take it back and get your shit (LONG "I AM FUCKING DUMBFOUNDED" PAUSE) you decided to just wear another persons clothes?
)YES! Yes, these are the type answers I get in return.)
Hawk: I am not wearing his underwear Sergeant OP. (Hawk smile. The "I am mentally deficient" smile) I am free-balling Sergeant.
OP: Goddamn it Hawk. I bet DIFFERENT SOLDIER will be happy to hear that your dick-meat is funking up his uniform bottoms. Take off his uniform and put on YOUR PT (Physical Training) shorts. Then take his fucking clothes back to the laundry facility and get your shit.
Shit like this is a constant. He fucks up Promotion Boards. He can't keep track of newly printed ID cards for more than an hour. He is now wearing another Soldiers uniform. My god, I have accidentally interrupted him milking his snake while on guard duty. Scratched that, interrupted would imply he stopped. He didn't he continued without missing a stroke. THIS. THIS IS WHY I WAS NOT AMUSED OR LAUGHING!
RCSM: Is it he really that bad Sergeant OP?
OP: Oh No! Sometimes it's worse. We take our dose of Hawk one day at a time Sergeant Major.
BCSM: (Phone Call.) SSG OPERATIONS NCO. Call over to OP's Operations Center (OPCEN). Tell them to send Specialist Hawk over to my office.
The Operations NCO calls back and informs the Battalion CSM that Hawk has arrived at Battalion. The Battalion CSM instructs the Operations NCO to, "send him to my office."
The door to the office is still closed. We can hear the shuffling of feet in the hallway. We are all waiting for Hawk to knock on the door. Who knows, he might even be wearing his own uniform. We wait, and then we wait some more. We finally hear knocking. The knocking was not on Sergeant Majors door though. The knocking echoed from an office down the hall. I am about to excuse myself and go retrieve my "special" Soldier, but the phone rings. It was the Battalion Commander. He is wondering why someone knocked on his door and let himself into his office while he was on a conference call with the Regimental Commander and other Battalion Commanders. It was Hawk! The door sign that said "Command Sergeant Major NAME" must have confused him.
I can see the Regimental CSM now coming to the slow realization that the dead elephant analogy was not intended to be funny at all. It truly, and accurately, described what 5'9 and 150 pounds of stupidity looks like. We again hear the shuffle of feet down the hall, and finally there is a knock at the correct door.
BCSM: Enter!
Hawk just walks in. Then he sees the amount of rank in the room and pauses. He opened his mouth as if he was about to utter something ridiculous stupid, but his brain was smart enough to know better. I personally think he needed to let the abundance of drool escape his mouth.
RCSM: Hawk good to see you again. Glad you are not wearing the largest ID card I have ever seen. Hawk! I have had a conversation with your leadership, and I see why they are irritated with your lack of situational awareness. Son, you need to get your shit together or I will find you a job I am certain you won't like. You understand where I am coming from?
I heard it. He heard it. The Regimental CSM gave a pretty simple warning. "Stop fucking up or else!" All Hawk had to say was "Roger" or "Understood Sergeant Major." Something the Regimental Sergeant Major said must have peaked his interest though. I was about to gently rest my face inside the palm of my hand and wonder what I did in life to deserve this creature. What poor choices led me to this moment in time in which I am truly wondering, "What the fuck are you doing with your life OP?"
Hawk: What's the other job Sergeant Major? (Goddamn it Hawk. Fuck my tits. Why? Fucking why Hawk?)
RCSM: I was implying that you would not want the "other" job. It was a threat Hawk. I will have you sweeping the Regimental headquarters building and pulling Kitchen Patrol (KP) duty for the remainder of the deployment. Get your shit together Hawk. You tracking?
OP BRAIN: Please. Please only utter one word or the name Roger. PLEASE. I beg you.
Hawk: Yes Sergeant Major. (YES. It was a small victory in an otherwise long day.)
RCSM: Hawk. I am going to personally take you over to LARGE FOB tomorrow to get an ID card, and then return you, WITH THE ID CARD, to Sergeant OP.
Hawk: Roger Sergeant Major.
RCSM: Hawk. What happened to the MRE box ID card?
I look at Hawk and I think I see a little turd-nugget exit his wrinkle-grommet (asshole) and tumble down the leg of his trousers and come to rest above his boot. It was either that or his peanut size brain had finally managed to dislodge itself and roll down his neck-hole. It was probably the brain.
Hawk: (Drum roll. The anticipation in the air was as thick as a surgically enhanced Kardashian butt.) Um. Ah. I think I lost it Sergeant Major. I set it on my bed, and when I came back it was gone.
Well, would you look at that. Hawk managed to lose an ID card that was larger than an eight-by-ten sheet of paper. Wow. Just fucking wow.
We were eventually dismissed from the meeting, and returned to the Team Room. I needed to ensure Hawk was prepared to get another ID card while the Regimental CSM babysit. On-the-other-hand, I prayed Hawk acted Hawk-like. I wanted the Regimental CSM to return Hawk back to me, scratching his head, and apologizing for verbally reprimanding me.
Regarding the billboard-sized ID card; Hawk lost it. He said he set it on his bed before walking over to Battalion, and taking a pit-stop in the Battalion Commanders office. I suspect he threw it in the trash and forgot. Maybe the Regimental CSM took it, or trashed it while in the chow hall? Maybe aliens stole it? I don't know. I just know it was never found again. I was not mad though. I just laughed it off. Nothing, and I mean nothing, surprised me if Hawk was involved.
UPDATE: Hawk is still dumb. Hawk will forever be a brainless shell of a human. He is a genuinely a kind and caring person though. He will give you the shirt of his back if you need it. However, you will need to provide step-by-step instructions, and have a bucket-load of patience in order for him to put it back on, inside-out and backwards. Even that would be a small victory though.
Some of you may be happy to know that I reached out to a handful of people I am still in contact with. I currently have 17 stories on-deck. They are not all about Hawk, but he does make retarded cameos in some of the stories. I also have not-funny stories, like my first Improvised Explosive Device (IED) encounter or the time I took a fair amount of mortar shrapnel to the face. Fear not though. I have my own unique way of conveying stories and I assure you there will be at least one chuckle hidden within.
I appreciate all the kind comments, and really enjoy the back-and-forth conversations and story-sharing with you, the Reader. I hope you got a laugh. Be safe, drink beer, take a knee, and face out!
I will continue to spread-out the Hawk stories weekly. The title may change, but there at least three on deck!
07 SEP 20: Hawk's Hot Tub Excursion
14 SEP 20: Hawk Walks Home, IN IRAQ
21 SEP 20: Hawk Drives; We Shoot

submitted by SloppyEyeScream to MilitaryStories [link] [comments]

Breakout candidates for 2020 – Defense edition

I started this exercise of choosing second- and third-year players in the NFL I expect to take the next step in their development, based on being in a better situation due schematic changes, the respective team not re-signing certain veterans and allowing their young guys to play a bigger role or just my evaluation of them coming out of college.
Once again, my criteria was – they were not allowed to have a Pro Bowl so far, reached a major statistical milestone (1000 yard season, double-digit sacks, etc.) or are just looked at generally as one of the better players at their position already. I didn’t include guys that made my list already last year (Kemoko Turay, Justin Reid, etc.) or haven’t seen the field at all yet (Jonah Williams, Hakeem Butler, etc.). Across my two articles on these breakout players, you will only find one top ten pick, since I believe those are obvious choices anyway, if those guys just haven’t been healthy or whatever it may be.
In this version, we are looking at eight more defensive players ready to break out in 2020 after talking about offense last week already:

Ifeadi Odenigbo

When I did these write-ups, I actually realized later on that Odenigbo was originally drafted in 2017 in the seventh round by the Vikings, but he only made the practice squad that year and was later claimed and waived by the Cardinals and Browns respectively. So since he finally made an active roster in 2018 and that’s when he finally saw the field, I thought he still qualifies. With all those guys Minnesota has had on the D-line in recent years, it was a challenge for Odenigbo to get their coaches to believe in him, having only played in one game for Arizona before last season. However, he was on the field more and more towards the end of this past year and with little investment in the draft into the front, the Vikings are betting on him to continue to develop, similar to what happened with Pro Bowler Danielle Hunter. Odenigbo recorded seven sacks and tackles for loss respectively, while adding another 18 pressures to the mix. He also forced a fumble and returned another one for a long touchdown against the Chargers, while he was actually called down on another scoop-and-score, where he originally got the trifecta (strip sack, fumble recovery and return TD). That is much more impressive putting it into context, as he played just a third of the defensive snaps. Now with Everson Griffen off the roster (unless he somehow decides to re-sign with the Vikes, Odenigbo is almost a shoe-in for that second defensive end spot in the starting lineup.
Number 95 was mostly used in passing situations, especially early on, as three quarters of the snaps he played came on pass-rushing downs, and Mike Zimmer used his inside-out flexibility on different sub-packages. Odenigbo was asked to line up anywhere from pretty much 2i in sort of a track stance pointed inside to a wide nine alignment. His favorite (and best) move at this point is the dip and rip, but he also flashes a nice up-and-under combined with a high swim move. However, he also has a lot of power behind those pads, as he set up one of his teammates as the initial slanter versus Detroit and just flattened a guy I talked about in my offensive edition of this breakdown last week already in Frank Ragnow. In addition to that, I think the Vikings DE already shows good timing and execution on twists, freeing himself up by using teammates appropriately. As he seems to be transitioning to a starting role, the biggest question now is – How much improvement can he show as a run-defender? He displays very good pursuit coming unblocked from the backside, but at the point of attack he has some issues holding his ground at times, due to not always playing half the man and getting drawn in and allowing cutback lanes. In the pass game, Odenigbo needs to work on being more successful on secondary maneuvers and not give away opportunities if that initial rush stalls.

Marcus Davenport

Leading up to the 2018 NFL draft, Bradley Chubb was considered the clear-cut number one edge rusher coming out of N.C. State and after him most people said there was a huge drop-off. The Saints however shocked everybody by trading up to the 14th overall pick – not for a quarterback, but rather an outside linebacker from UTSA. While there isn’t a lot of buzz around Davenport entering year three of his pro career, I can promise that New Orleans did not spend their 2018 and ’19 first-round picks on a player they didn’t believe in. I was very surprised at the time of selection, because I thought they were looking for a more immediate-impact type of player with Drew Brees arriving in his 40s and the team coming off a 13-3 record, but there was never any question about the talent this kid presented. Davenport has missed three games in each of his first two years in the league and “only” put up 10.5 sacks, but he went from 28 QB pressures as a rookie to 50 last season. He might have been even better against the run, helping the Saints finish as the fourth-best rush defense at 91.3 yards allowed per game. So this is kind of a case for the improvement he has already made and I think the coaches in New Orleans already looked at 2019 as his breakout season, but among more casual fans, I believe Davenport will move his name into more of the conversation as one of the better young edge rushers this year.
I personally had the young phenom as my 13th overall prospect coming out of San Antonio. When you put on his tape in college, that combination of explosiveness, power and closing burst really stood out. He already flashed the ability to string his hand together to dominate as a pass-rusher, but he needed to do it more consistently, and he showed the shock in his hands to own the point of attack, if he played with better extension. Those to me were certainly coachable areas and with the situation he was in, I thought he could produce in year two or three. Well, we have arrived at his third season and I believe he is ready to roll. I don’t think there’s much to critique as a run-defender about Davenport. He may still be a tick late recognizing some schemes, but when he extends those arms and drops the anchor, you won’t see much movement and he just owns tight-ends. In the pass game, I do believe he needs to broaden his repertoire a little and rush under a little more control, but he has clearly shown signs of becoming a difference-maker in that area as well. He has burst to win around the edge if he times his swipes up correctly, but also the immense power to bull-rush big offensive tackles back right into the quarterback’s lap. If he just learns to convert speed to power a little better and works on finishing that under-and-under he flashes with a follow-through chop, he could be scary. With third-round pick Zack Baun probably rushing outside on sub-packages, it will enable the Saints to move this guy and Cam Jordan more inside and create mismatches that way.

Jeffery Simmons

Simmons was the 19th overall pick for Tennessee last year. In his debut game he had three pressures on eleven pass-rushing snaps. The rest of the season wasn’t as promising, but considering I didn’t expect him to suit up at all in 2019 after tearing his ACL in pre-draft workouts, the fact he did collect valuable on-field experience, playing less than 40 percent of the defensive snaps just once from that point on, only helps him more. Purely based off his tape, I had Simmons as my IDL3, behind only Quinnen Williams and Ed Oliver (both top five prospects for me) and ahead of the two Clemson standouts (Christian Wilkins and Dexter Williams). I even said without the injury he would have been at least around the top ten when I put out my big board a few days ahead of last year’s draft. In limited playing time as a rookie, he recorded 32 tackles, four of them for loss and two sacks. Simmons was an immovable object at Mississippi State and looked to be the same among grown men. I went back and watched the Raiders game in week 14, who have some maulers in the run game and you saw guys almost bounce off the rookie as if he was a brick wall. More importantly, they doubled him on pretty much every single snap he was on the field, probably because of what they had already seen on tape.
This guy has some shock in his hands, the ability to look through the blocker on zone-runs and then get back to the gap behind him as the running back decides to cut up into it. He didn’t look as mobile working his way down the line laterally as I thought he did in college and he will have to do a better job working across the face of some blockers, rather than allowing them to wall him off at times. You see him just be a split-second late of actually stopping the ball-carrier rather than allowing him to stumble forward or barely miss altogether. If he gets back to his collegiate form, he can be an elite run-stopper. Having him out there will allow the Titans to run primarily sub-packages with Harold Landry and now Vic Beasley on the edges. The area he still needs to prove himself at is getting after the quarterback. Simmons is very straight-forward as a pass-rusher and didn’t show a lot of finesse to win in that area, getting stuck with stalemates for the most part if he couldn’t drive his guy backwards initially. He flashed a few quick wins on reps with the arm-over, but he has to get off the ball with more of a plan. I believe his ability to shoot upfield, the unbelievable power and just that disruptive style of play will show up big time in his first year at full strength.

Ed Oliver

This young man was my fourth overall prospect in last year’s draft behind only Quinnen Williams, Nick Bosa and Josh Allen (the edge rusher). Oliver was an uber-talented, explosive athlete coming out Houston, who I think is still learning the game to some degree. He came in as a freshman with the Cougars and immediately dominated, recording 22 tackles for loss and being named First Team All-American – an honor he would repeat his two other years there as well. While it was obviously a transition from the AAC, where he was just so superior to everybody else physically, compared to lining up against professionals every single week, I thought he started flashing more and more as his rookie season progressed. And while Jordan Phillips just put up double-digit sacks for Buffalo and got a big deal from the Cardinals in the process, I thought Oliver was already the Bills’ best interior pass rusher in December. Overall he recorded five sacks and TFLs each to go with 31 pressures on 374 pass-rushing snaps. That ratio may not be up there with some of the league’s best, but he definitely showed sparks on winning in that area and he finished up playing 53.7 percent of the snaps on defense overall, as part of a deep rotation.
Coming out of Houston a year ago, it was clear Oliver needed some time to adjust to the NFL, after he was playing at the nose mostly in college and not having to stay true to his run fits all the time. While there are still moments where his pad-level gets too high and I feel like he is a tick late recognizing the run scheme, at 287 pounds his anchor is excellent and he has the ability to chase down plays laterally. In the pass game his natural power and quickness present problems for the opposition. What really stands out as well is he flexibility he possesses, as can be knocked from the side and somehow regain his balance to keep going and even if he ends up outside his pass-rush lane, he just continues to work. Something Oliver does really well already, which will give him a couple of “easy” sacks in 2020 is set up his loops to the outside on a twist, staying tight and aiming at the outside shoulder of the guard before pivoting outside suddenly. As a rookie, he had his issues going up against the better-schooled guards in the league, especially trying to beat the Steelers’ Ramon Foster and David DeCastro, who landed their hands inside his chest early and Oliver couldn’t gain an advantage. If he can work on being a little more pro-active and rushes the passer with more of a plan overall, I think he could be a Pro Bowler in year two.

T.J. Edwards

A four-year starter at Wisconsin, Edwards recorded 366 tackles over the course of his career and made several impact plays for the Badgers. Unfortunately he could not participate in any on-field drills at the 2019 NFL combine due to a banged up ankle and if you can trust his pro day results, his athleticism is still below-average. Labelled as a classic college linebacker with limitations to translate his game to the next level, Edwards ultimately went undrafted and signed with the Eagles. As a rookie, he mostly made an impact on special teams, with nine combined tackles on punt and kickoff coverage. He only played 11 percent of the defensive snaps, but when he was on the field, he earned close to an elite grade by Pro Football Focus and got involved on another 21 tackles. When you divide those 122 snaps by the amount of tackles he recorded, that actually gives him the highest tackle rate of any player at the position with at least 100 snaps played. In his first year under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, he was mainly utilized on early downs to stop the run, as he was on the field for 89 run downs compared to only 33 pass plays.
That is somewhat understandable, since you just have to love his oldschool mind-set in the frame of a well-built, strong guy. Edwards aggressively shoots downhill on inside runs and drops the shoulder on lead-blockers trying to move him out of there, actually stonewalling some of those guys and creating traffic jams that way. At the same time, he shows enough patience with combo-blocks in front of him to not just give away free cutback lanes by overrunning plays, keeping bouncy feet as he deciphers what he sees in the backfield. He offers a sturdy base to absorb the contact by offensive linemen climbing up to him and keeps them at extension, while also showing the mobility to mirror pullers and beat them to the spot. Then he really brings some thump at initial contact on tackles to stop the forward momentum and missed only one attempt on the year (on special teams). It is kind of funny how Edwards was labelled a pure run-stopper because of some athletic limitations, when he actually intercepted ten passes and broke up another 15, while adding eight sacks throughout his career at Wisconsin. He may never be a candidate to shadow more dynamic backs or tight-ends one-on-one, but his feel in zone and ability to get involved as a blitzer should keep him on the field for third downs more. Edwards is also quick to recognize play-action and turn his head for potential crossers behind him before swiveling back towards the quarterback. I believe Edwards will be an excellent replacement for Zach Brown at MIKE, who left in free agency. There are some questions about linebacker trio with Duke Riley and Nathan Gerry, Jatavis Brown or Davion Taylor, but Edwards should be a fixture in the middle on first and second down at least.

Byron Murphy

Murphy was my number one corner heading into the 2019 draft ahead of guys like Greedy Williams and DeAndre Baker and he was the first pick in round two. While he started all 16 games for Arizona and missed less than 30 snaps the entire season, I think barely anybody really knows about or watched this guy play for the Cardinals as rookie. There were definitely some learning experiences early on and if you look at the total yards and touchdowns allowed, it’s not a beautiful sight and 78 total tackles for any corner aren’t a great sign either. However, a lot of that had to do with the 105 targets coming his way (fourth-most by any player in the league) due to lining up on the opposite side of Patrick Peterson and the fact he was part of the 31st-ranked pass defense. I thought he improved every single week and he actually put up better marks in coverage than his running mate Peterson, despite being targeted at a much higher rate – 7.7 compared to 9.3 yards allowed per target. Murphy also intercepted one pass and broke up another ten.
What I loved about Murphy coming out of Washington last year was his innate feel in zone coverage with an outstanding ability to click-and-close and be a play-maker. He can flip his hips with ease and has that gliding speed to stay on top of routes, rarely allowing opponents to detach from him late. In the run game, Murphy does not shy away from getting involved as a tackler, arriving low and up-ending bigger ball-carriers routinely. You see him fill the D-gap or squeeze plays from the outside on several occasions. He also won’t allow bigger receivers to bully him as blockers, keeping them away from his frame and leveraging the ball accordingly. The rookie mostly played in the slot versus 11 personnel once Patrick Peterson returned in week seven last season and he was utilized as a blitzer off the edge a few times, where he chased running backs down from behind or got into the face of the opposing quarterback. He was heavily exhausted when he was moved in the slot and had to follow receivers back-and-forth across the formation on motions at times. The one thing Murphy really struggled with as a rookie was playing with his back towards the quarterback on slot fades and such as, where receivers could use subtle push-offs and win with their frame, as he almost purely face-guarded them and didn’t even try to snap his head around. The Cardinals have added a super-rangy player is Isaiah Simmons and beef up front to stop the run on early downs, in order to set up third-and-long situations. Allowing the now second-year player to focus more on his coverage and now with veteran Robert Alford being brought in as another outside corner, I see Murphy taking the next step in his developing. By the way, re-watching those Cardinals tapes – Budda Baker is just a freaking baller.

Rock Ya-Sin

At the start of last year’s draft process, Ya-Sin wasn’t a huge name since he had only played one year at the FBS level for Temple. However, after he and now-49ers receiver Deebo Samuel went back and forth at the Senior Bowl, I started falling love with this guy and so did the scouting community. As a rookie with the Colts, wearing number 34 as the spot he was selected at, he started 13 of 15 games and played at least 93 percent of the snaps in ten of them. Ya-Sin was targeted on 15.2 percent of pass plays and he had some struggles, but he also improved a lot from the first to the second half of his debut campaign. There was one really rough showing versus one of the NFL’s young star receivers in Courtland Sutton, when he was penalized five times and was responsible for 75 receiving yards. However, the rest of the season he was called for defensive holding three times and for pass interference just once (40 total yards). That’s not too bad for a rookie who likes to get into the face of receivers and whose play-style out of college could be described as “grabby”. Over the final eight weeks, Ya-Sin held opposing QBs to a passer rating of just 75.8 and didn’t allow any touchdowns (after being responsible for two up to that point), while coming up with his first career pick.
Ya-Sin can be described is a very sticky, quick-footed corner. As a rookie, he primarily played outside and faced some tough matchups, while even being asked to travel with some of the game’s elite, such as Michael Thomas. While I’m not saying that always went great, his competitiveness is off the charts and I think he has all the tools to develop into an excellent cover-corner. Ya-Sin was rarely just caught out of position. It was more about struggling to find the ball down the field and panicking a little when he did overcommit initially. The more experience he had, the more comfortable he felt turning his head and making a play on the ball. I still love his competitiveness, rapid feet at the line, ability to read the hips of the receiver and use his length to get his hands on the ball. He had a few textbook reps, staying in phase with the receiver from press alignmenz on hitch or curl routes and knocking the pass down coming out of the break. I thought playing in year one, he was also a pretty good edge-setter in the run game and he didn’t just wait for the ball-carrier to cut back inside to stay clean. You saw him fight off blocks and try to cut down the guy with the ball. Now with Pierre Desir gone in free agency, I expect Ya-Sin to step into the spotlight as Indy’s true CB1. The Colts also brought in veteran Xavier Rhoades, who I thought looked broken down last season, but will help this kid grow mentally as well.

Nasir Adderley

My top-rated safety from a year ago, I thought Adderley was a perfect match with Derwin James on the Chargers, because he has that range for a true deep middle safety to allow Derwin to roam and play more around the line of scrimmage. Unfortunately he had hamstring issues before even being drafted, which forced him to miss mandatory minicamp and most of training camp. He only appeared in one preseason game and then played 10 defensive snaps across four regular season games, making two pretty meaningless tackles, before the Chargers placed him on injured reserve. So with that little experience, Adderley barely meets my criteria, but he was active for four games and I want to grab the opportunity to talk about one of my favorites in last year’s draft. Coming out of Delaware, he filled the alley in the run game with the mind-set of a linebacker, while also showing the ability to cover ground to bail out his team-mates on the back-end. When the ball is completed in front of him, he punishes receivers and when it gets into his hand, he shows off his background as a kick returner, where we had one of the sickest plays I have ever seen, running an opponent over, staring him down and proceeding to go the end-zone.
Outside of some questions about the level of competition in the FCS and how much different he moved different than anybody else, I loved everything about his game. The one time we did actually see him play with pros – week four of the preseason – Adderley made one interception and deflected another three passes, while one of them should have been another pick, with a receiver knocking the ball out of his hands late, and he got both hands on another ball down the seams to deny a touchdown. You could see him show up outside the numbers against go-routes and cut in front of deep in-breaking routes, which led to the one INT he actually made. In addition to that, you saw him try to go underneath offensive linemen and be willing to take on some contact on screen plays, instead of staying back and avoiding collisions, getting involved late on scrums or jumping on the back of a receiver trying to catch the ball at the sideline. Now with Chris Harris added to the mix, Casey Hayward on the opposite side and Desmond King in the slot, with the guys they have up front to get after the passer, plus Derwin possibly being sent as a blitzer with his stupid closing burst, Adderley has the ability to gamble and make plays. Plus he gives them somebody who plays with an attitude, which I really appreciated going back to my evaluations coming out of college. Before he can become an impact player, he first needs to beat out Rayshawn Jenkins, but I’d be shocked if he wasn’t on the field for the majority of snaps.

Notable other names:

Oshane Ximines
Rashan Gary
Jerry Tillery
Mack Wilson & Sione Takitaki
Rashad Fenton
Mike Hughes
Darnell Savage
Tracy Walker

If you enjoyed this content, I would really appreciate if you could visit the original piece (with video clips) -
You can also listen to my breakdown on Youtube -
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Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ Apr. 4, 1988

Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words, continuing in the footsteps of daprice82. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives.
The Complete Observer Rewind Archive by daprice82
1-4-1988 1-11-1988 1-18-1988 1-25-1988
2-1-1988 2-8-1988 2-15-1988 2-22-1988
2-29-1988 3-7-1988 3-14-1988 3-21-1988
3-28-1988 * * *
  • ”This is horrible, Gorilla.” These words open the issue this week, because Wrestlemania IV is in the books and, well, it was not pretty. Dave is flabbergasted by how bad a show it was, wondering if this was a dream or a nightmare that he hasn’t woken up from. Wrestlemania III was the best wrestling production of all time. It may not have had the best card, but it was entertaining all around and the fans loved it. It set Vince up as the king of wrestling, all-powerful over the business. He’s still the king, but he’s definitely not all-powerful, and Crockett absolutely kicked Vince’s ass on March 27. Financials will take time to come in, and of course McMahon will win that measure, but we can flash back to January 24 for an analogue: The Royal Rumble won even though the Bunkhouse Finals made more money.
  • Preliminary info Dave has gotten from phoning cable companies and hearing from fans at closed-circuit site is that Wrestlemania interest was down by nearly half of last year’s. The buyrate for ppv could be as low as 6 percent, half of WWF’s expected 12% and still way down from last year’s 10.3%. Even so, the PPV gross would be $10.8 million, of which WWF can expect no more than $3.5 million, plus an estimated $2.3 million from a minimum 175,000 (last year had 375,000) at closed-circuit and a live gate of about $ million and an undisclosed site fee from Donald Trump for putting on the show. The early (and I mean early, don’t get attached to these numbers) overall estimate is a total gross of $14 million, with WWF netting maybe $6.5 million, a far cry from the $18 million they were predicting their take would be. How much was because Crockett ran the Clash? How much was because WWF just has been less interesting? It’s hard to say, but Crockett hurt McMahon way more than anyone could have anticipated.
  • As for the shows themselves, just absolute night and day between them. Crockett’s Clash was a really solid show. It wasn’t as polished a production and only had 30 minutes of wrestling in the first 90 minutes of the show, though this was to allow Sting/Flair to work without commercial breaks so it was an overall benefit. The matches, minus the barbed wire one, were all good. The crowd was into it. Two excellent matches. Probably best to never let Steve Williams talk again, though. The Jim Cornette and Eddie Haskel bit was great and made Bob Uecker and Gene Okerlund look worse than they were. Meanwhile, Wrestlemania made Starrcade 1987 look like Starrcade 1985, and that’s too nice to say even. WWF’s guys, rather than working harder because it was Wrestlemania, opted to phone it in instead because Wrestlemania itself would carry the day. Even Jesse Ventura had no good lines and coasted while Gorilla was like soundbites of his Wrestling Challenge commentary.
  • Anyway, Dave breaks down the major problems for WWF, as he sees them. 1) Hogan - he’s too over, to the point he overshadows everything else and by booking him as just one of the guys in the field, they completely devalued their star attraction. And instead of putting Randy over at the end, which they need to do if they’re going to try and have him be even close to as over as Hulk has been, they put Liz and Hulk over. “It’s like Randy can’t even order a taxi cab unless Liz tells Hulk to flag down the cab.” 2) Hindsight is always 20/20, but Trump Plaza was a terrible venue for a Wrestlemania, and the crowd just wasn’t a wrestling crowd, so they were not invested at all. 3) Steroids. Dave supposes he’s probably the most hated person in the world among the heavy steroid users in the business because of all the nicknames he gives them, but in all seriousness it was embarrassing to watch so many guys get blown up in a minute or two to where they couldn’t even pace out a five minute match. Like, take out the health issues, take out any sense of blame on the guys, Dave says. The tournament was embarrassing. It wasn’t funny to see the guys fail like this. It was just sad. 4) The tournament as a concept flopped. It gave fans no specific issue to focus on because belts in modern wrestling just don’t mean anything to fans - the real draw is the big personalities, and WWF proved it with this show: the only matches anyone cared about were the ones with Hogan and, to a lesser extent, DiBiase and Savage. 5) Spoilers. Too many people knew the outcome, and giving Savage the title is almost a mistake after you’ve given so many spoilers of your own show. ABC News did a report the morning after, saying “Randy Savage was the winner at Wrestlemania, but of course everyone knew it since the WWF magazine had printed the result three weeks ago. The WWF claims the magazine report was simply a typographical error.” Anyway, Dave is sick of people blaming him for their wrestling promotions not being able to draw fans at live shows when they aren’t interesting enough. Newsletter subscribers are maybe 0.002% of the viewing audience - if all Dave’s subscribers quit watching nobody would notice in the viewing numbers. Meanwhile, the fans who read newsletters are probably the most dedicated and put more money into the business than the “marks” do and will be the ones stubbornly holding on to the end if the business somehow were to die. So don’t blame Dave if your show sucks and your creative is bad and you give away your finish weeks ahead of time and don’t even bother changing it.
  • Anyway, Wrestlemania preliminary numbers time. About 540,000 homes on PPV, plus 195,000 through closed-circuit, as far as the U.S. goes. They did just 95 closed-circuit sites in the U.S., 39 of which had less than 2,000 capacity. No word on Crockett’s ratings, but if they hit a 5 on TBS that’s about 2 million homes.
  • So all that said, time to look at the Wrestlemania card. Good production, particularly the opening graphics, but not as far ahead of Crockett as last year now that they’ve upped their game. Battle royal started hot and quickly became your standard boring battle royal. The Hart/Badnews angle at the end saves the match from a dud and gets it half a star. DiBiase vs. Duggan was real slow for a five minute match, and Duggan no longer resembles the worker he was in UWF/Mid-South just a couple years ago. Very little heat. 1.5 stars. Muraco vs. Bravo gets half a star, and both were blown up by the double clothesline like they’d wrestled a hard 20 minutes, but the whole match was under 5. Valentine vs. Steamboat saw Valentine look tired and old, and just not have his famed longevity anymore. Good finish, solid work even with the timing issues. Steamboat coming out with his son and being able to be lost in the moment of just being a proud father was “a tremendous sight” for Dave. 2.25 stars. Savage vs. Reed got a pop for the finish but nothing else, really. 1 star. One Man Gang vs. Bam Bam Bigelow wasn’t good. It was obvious how bad Bigelow’s knee was, and that takes away his agility, which is the thing that sets him apart. Dave says this is a -1.5 star match in a vacuum, but considering Bam Bam’s condition he’s not going to rate it that low and calls it a dud instead. Rick Rude vs. Jake Roberts was a 15 minute draw and Dave hated it. He hated Rude’s tights, the many long rest holds, the fact that there just weren’t any moves in there to pop the crowd, and the fact that the crowd chanted boring. Worst match of the year candidate. -2 stars. Ultimate Warrior blew up before he entered the ring for his match with Hercules and the match was bad. -1.5 stars, and Dave says it was worse than Rude vs. Roberts, but gets a better rating for knowing when to be done quick and not overstaying its welcome like the other match did.
Watch: Cleanse your palate with Hogan’s weird promo from Wrestlemania about faultlines and Donald Trump caring about his family
  • Wrestlemania continued, because holy shit that was a really long paragraph and we needed an intermission. Round two saw Hogan and Andre go to a double disqualification to start off. Andre could barely stand by two and a half minutes in. Lots of shenanigans, Virgil took a nasty suplex on the floor where Hulk didn’t protect him at all, but there’s a glimmer of a future face push for him at least. Maybe his father’s a plumber, Dave quips. Half a star if you ignore the posing at the end (dud if you count the posing). But really, the crowd came to see Hogan pose. DiBiase vs. Muraco had no heat but decent action for its short stay. 1.5 stars. Savage vs. Valentine was good, well-paced with good action. 2.5 stars. Beefer vs. Honkytonk Man amazed Dave since neither was over at all when both usually are decently over. Sherri Martel made more noise than the entire audience. Loads of shenanigans, Beefer’s new haircut makes him look like a Davey Boy Smith with less wrestling ability, dud. Islanders and Heenan vs. Koko and the Bulldogs had some decent comedy and started okay, but got boring quick. 1.25 stars. Savage vs. One Man Gang was watchable but the finish sucked. Half a star. Demolition vs. Santana and Martel was solid throughout, although the crowd seemed on Demolition’s side. If the crowd had been responsive this would have been a really good match rather than just pretty good at 2.5 stars. DiBiase vs. Savage saw the crowd missing “two top-flight guys trying to work a good match” because they were watching the entrance waiting for Hogan. Savage sends Liz to get Hogan, Hogan evens the odds, Savage wins, Hogan must pose. 2.25 stars. Once round two started, the show was pretty decent, Dave thinks, just the first half of the show wasn’t RestholdMania, but Rigor Mortis Mania.
  • Over in Crockett Country, it’s a whole different story. They drew 6,000 fans to the Greensboro Coliseum, and all six thousand were champing at the bit for the show, which created a great energy that the wrestlers fed on for their matches. Rotunda retained the TV Title against Jimmy Garvin in the amateur rules match with a one-count pin, pinning Garvin a minute into the second round. 2.5 stars. The Midnight Express beat the Fantastics by DQ to retain the U.S. Tag Titles in a classic Memphis style brawl that was so action packed the cameras missed a lot of it. Dave gives them 4.25 stars, saying the action earned it 4.5, but the overused finish with the over the top rope throw and the referee reversing the decision lost it half a star, but then the post-match action with Corette lashing Bobby Fulton’s back with a belt got it back a quarter star. Dusty and the Road Warriors (the Rhode Warriors, I almost typed) beat Warlord and Barbarian and Ivan Koloff in a real short barbed wire match, and Dave notes the resemblance between Dudty wearing facepaint and a black t-shirt and Dump Matsumoto (with the notable difference that Dump is prettier). Ivan was bleeding after 20 seconds and Dusty after 90. Dave hates these matches - everyone gets all cautious and careful and stays in the center of the ring, so nothing really happens. 1 star. Luger and Barry Windham beat Arn and Tully for the NWA Tag Titles. Good match all around, 3.5 stars. Flair and Sting had a 45 minute draw for the NWA Title in a match of the year candidate. Slow pace to start, but the heat kept up and they weren’t dull and Flair sold the hell out of every rest hold. Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone did fantastic work on this, particularly Ross who sold the intensity and importance of the match, which was critical for the first half (if only he were still able to do that today). There were supposed to be three judges, but there were five people at the table, only two of them didn’t vote, so no idea what the point there was. Anyway, Patty Mullen (Penthouse Pet of the year and who had been on Ric’s arm the night before on tv) picked Flair. Gary Juster, former NWA promoter, voted for Sting. Sandy Scott then ruled it a draw, and nothing came of the judging gimmick which made it utterly pointless. 4.75 stars
Watch: Clash of the Champions. I’ve set it to start with the Steve Williams promo because it needs to be heard to be believed
  • During Clash of the Champions, after the first match, there was an ad on TBS for the WWF 900 number advertising play-by-play for Wrestlemania. WWF managed to get an ad on TBS during Crockett’s big special, and that’s hilarious. They also ran the first ad for the new Four Horsemen vitamins, which was hilarious but unintentionally so, and Dave thinks they aren’t going to sell a lot of those vitamins.
  • Last week Dave teased a big story, and it’s that Crockett has been negotiating with Ken Mantell of World Class Dave didn’t give any details beyond the tease last week because he was hoping to get more before press time. He promises to never note a major story the way he did again without giving more details up front, because he expected more details to break before he had to print copy but it didn’t. Anyway, negotiations have been ongoing for ten days and there are conflicting reports. Crockett’s goal is taking over World Class the way they did Florida, getting the valuable channel 11 time slot on Saturday nights in Dallas. They’re going to need Fritz on board to complete the deal, though. If it does go through, Kerry and Kevin will have guaranteed work and a push in the NWA, but neither really seems to want the travel, so they’d likely get a deal for local stuff and maybe occasional work in St. Louis. The bottom line everyone needs to consider, though, is that Mantell and Michael Hayes may be the most creative bookers anywhere right now, but they aren’t turning WCCW’s business around and it just may not work out that they can. Dave doesn’t expect a deal done now, but he thinks Mantell and Hayes may give themselves until May to see if their hard work will pay off before considering any offers.
  • An example of that creative booking is the WCCW title change on March 25 in Dallas. Hayes was at ringside with Kerry while Black Bart and Buddy Roberts were for Parsons. Iceman King Parsons is one of the least likely champions in wrestling history, and the match wasn’t particularly good, but the finish saw the lights go out after Terry Gordy came down, at which point Bart and Roberts used flashlights to blind the fans in the front row so nobody could see what happened. When the lights came back on, Kerry was knocked out in the ring, Hayes was bleeding on the floor, nobody knew who hit whom, and Parsons pinned Kerry to win the belt. They even had Kerry carted out on a stretcher. Dave doesn’t think (and actively prays against) Parsons will hold it for long. Hayes looks like the best prospect (nope. It’s going back to Kerry in May at the Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions). Also, I just learned that King Parsons is his real legal name. I always thought combining Iceman and King was a weird combo of gimmicks, so that solves a mystery for me.
Watch: Iceman King Parsons wins the WCWA World Title
  • Eddie Gilbert is leaving Memphis to book for Continental beginning April 10. Continental’s business is bottoming out and it’ll be interesting to see if Gilbert and Missy can get things going there again like they did in Memphis. This also puts Memphis in some dire straits, since the Gilberts were basically all their storylines and they were drawing triple what they had been by giving the Gilberts such big spotlight, so they’re in trouble.
  • Lanny Poffo, brother of WWF Champion Randy Savage, has a book coming out called Wrestling with Rhyme. It’s a book of poetry coming out in late April and will be available at Walden Books. Man, I remember when Walden went out of business. It was a sad day for me.
  • The only news Dave has from Japan right now is that Bruiser Brody beat Jumbo Tsuruta for the International Title at Budokan Hall on March 27. Tenryu also retained his PWF Title against Hansen.
  • Roddy Piper’s latest project is a new film going into production called They Live.
Watch: They Live trailer
  • A correction on the Bruno Sammartino stuff. WWF isn’t trying to ban Bruno from using his name. They’re trying to ban him from using the trademarked nickname “The Living Legend” in contexts outside WWF. There’s a lot of talk about his radio interview , and some excerpts in the mail section of this issue.
  • There’s a film in the works about former Olympic and pro wrestler Chris Taylor. Taylor was a 450 lb wrestler from Iowa who won bronze in the 1972 Olympics and died in 1979. A book about him called “The Gentle Giant” is being adapted into a film, currently called “Lean On Me.” That does not wind up being the title, and I can’t find a movie based on him so this might have gotten scrapped. In other biopic news, no word from Hollywood on any upcoming Hulk Hogan movie.
  • WWF went up to the number 4 slot in the syndicated ratings for the week ending Feb. 28. They had a 10.6 rating, an increase on the previous week. Crockett’s network fell to number 9 with a 7.6.
  • Paul E. Dangerously firing Joe Pedicino, Gordon Solie, and Boni Blackstone on Pro Wrestling this Week aired this past weekend. It was fantastic stuff, and Paul has cemented himself as one of the top managers in the business. This is all part of a reformatting of the show to a 30 minute format with Pedicino and Patrick Schaeffer (who was the mastermind behind Global doing an IPO to build up a million dollars of operating capital) at the helm, with Schaeffer as the heel commentator.
  • Crockett had a big angle taped on March 21 that they aired this past Saturday, involving Magnum T.A. Magnum was doing an interview when Tully and J.J. came out, then Barry Windham came out and Tully popped Windham with a hit, then hit Magnum. J.J. was behind Magnum and helped Magnum gently go to ground, then Dusty barged in with a baseball bat and swung for the fences on Tully, then knocks out Jim Crockett without realizing who he’s swinging at when Jim and David Crockett and Rob Garner try to restore order. Jim Cornette did a tearful interview about his “good friend Jim Crockett” and Magnum even bladed, though that last didn’t make it to tv. Later on, Magnum came out and hit Tully with a bat in a match to cause a disqualification. Dave loved the concept here at first because you have to imagine Magnum hates being on the sidelines and wants to be involved to some extent and this gives him something to sink his teeth into. At the same time, “the idea of beating up a cripple, which unfortunately is the reality of the situation” is just kind of pathetic. That said, it’ll draw, and it’ll let Dusty (with Magnum in his corner) push himself as top star once again, and it may even be enough to put heat back on Dusty vs. Tully. Dusty will be suspended for 120 days come Saturday’s tv (taking us into July - will we see the Midnight Rider face Flair at the Bash, Dave wonders), Dusty will return as the Midnight Rider with Magnum at his side, and he’ll likely get the U.S. title in the tournament they’re going to hold in May.
Watch: Tully suckerpunches Magnum
  • The Oregon State Athletic Commission held a public hearing on March 18. Topics mostly stuck to safety concerns such as cleaning the mats, barriers at ringside, security, mats on the floor by ringside, etc. A lot of wrestlers were there, along with Billy Jack Haynes and Don and Barry Owen. Most of the wrestlers were negative about the Owens’ promotion, with only Tony Borne and Art Crews saying anything positive. Borne testified against the idea of using mats outside the ring, saying it’s not going to help as much as it hurts the visual effect of a spill to the floor. He also said the commission’s drug testing proposal went too far by including painkillers and marijuana on top of cocaine. The commission indicated they’ll be looking at action like the use of chairs in the future and potentially issuing fines. They also clarified their stance on blood: hardway is good, blading is bad. It’s pretty absurd to say that the more dangerous way of getting color is good but blading is bad, but this whole blood thing has become a thing for commissions around the country because blading sounds absolutely insane to people outside the industry, and even Dave has mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, blading is a minor safety issue at best, especially compared to rampant steroid and drug use and nasty bumps. On the other, Dave’s not sure fans are really drawn by excessive bleeding either, and probably actually turns off a large number of potential casual viewers. It doesn’t hurt if kept rare, but it doesn’t help if half the matches have it. And more dangerous to the wrestlers in a blood match than AIDS (they’re more likely to get that from outside activities) is scabies, which Owen’s wrestlers had an outbreak of not too far back. Rip Oliver said he’s gotten scabies four times since July and wound up giving it to his wife and kids on top of it. The outbreak led the Commission to pass a ruling against wrestlers working while they have communicable diseases and that they must notify promoters.
  • Eddie Gilbert vs. Jerry Lawler on March 21 drew 6,000 fans for Memphis. Gilbert won in what’s being hailed as a great match (and Dave’s heard their match the week before was even better). On tv on March 26 Gilbert acted like he was going to throw fire at Lance Russell, which got Lawler out from backstage in his first tv appearance in a month. They wound up brawling into the parking lot and Gilbert slammed Lawler on the hood of a car, shattering the windshield.
  • Scott Rechsteiner, using the ring name Scott Steiner, debuted as a babyface in Memphis recently. No mention of peaks or freaks yet.
  • Some random trivia about AWA Tag champ Paul Diamond. His real name is Tom Boric, and he was born in Winnipeg, you idiots, on May 11, 1961. He played soccer for the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the old North American Soccer League and was drafted sixth in the 1980 collegiate draft by the Calgary Boomers, before getting traded to Tampa in 1982. He stayed until the NASL folded, which is when he got into wrestling.
  • Anyway, Diamond and Tanaka won the belts because the Midnight Rockers wanted $500 a week guaranteed to stay and Verne doesn’t believe in guaranteed money. They don’t appear to have left yet.
  • [Continental] Looks like Eddie Gilbert is replacing Robert Fuller and going to be sole booker.
  • [USA] The other spinoff from the old Continental promotion ran its first big show in Knoxville, drawing a $10,000 gate. Previous sellouts there hit $27,000, to give an indication of relative value there. Not a lot to report about this. Moondog Spot is there as “The Dog.” He’s not a big dog. He’s not a little dog. He’s The Dog.
  • WCCW drew 1,700 on March 25 for their Dallas show, where Kerry dropped the title to Parsons. The other main event had Michael Hayes vs. Buddy Roberts, and Roberts kept trying to apologize for hitting Hayes, but Hayes wasn’t going to let it slide. Terry Gordy did a run in and broke things up, and told Hayes they sold Angel of Death’s contract so they can all be friends again. Hayes walked out on Gordy, though.
  • [WCCW] Fabulous Lance keeps getting booked for shows but hasn’t returned. His agent still doesn’t want him to be a heel because it’ll cut down his opportunities for tv and modeling work.
  • To illustrate how bad business is for World Class, here’s the biggest gate they drew out of three shows last week in Mississippi: $783.
  • A man named David Peschel of Washington, New Jersey is suing Randy Savage for a million dollars. He alleges that Savage punched and bodyslammed him when he got out of his car at a light to ask Savage for his autograph. He describes Savage as 6’4” and 280 lbs, prompting Dave to ask if this was maybe a different Randy Savage.
  • Rumor has it that Angelo Poffo put a $1 bet on the Wrestlemania tournament. Apparently, his bet was on Ted DiBiase.
  • According to a sumo journal in Japan, Futuhaguro is 99% certain he won’t go into pro wrestling. Koji Kitao will debut near the end of 1989 in the AWA, so I’ll put my dollar bet on the 1% chance.
  • Reader Mike Rodgers attended the Oregon commission hearing on March 18 and writes about his take. The commission is making big improvements to safety that he thinks are great, but thinks they’re overstepping by wanting to legitimately fine wrestlers who use foreign objects or chairs, and says they don’t understand “that promoters do what they can to fill up arenas.” Banning the blade but not blood is just going to increase the chance of legitimate injury, and it’s part of the proof that the commission really isn’t smart to what wrestling really is about.
  • We get a really long letter on Bruno’s radio interview. The writer taped the second hour and is hoping to get tape of the first hour. But before getting to the good stuff, he first wants to note that lying and silly gimmicks didn’t start in 1984 (was Gorilla Monsoon really from Manchuria? Didn’t Bruno employ gimmick wrestlers when he booked Pittsburgh? How about when he’d blade and claim to have spent the night hospitalized receiving transfusions) and that Bruno’s not really got a leg to stand on for “wrestling must be credible and it is an insult to the fans’ intelligence to lie to them.” Fans knew then just as they know now that it’s a work, but that doesn’t matter - you watch the show because it’s entertaining and you want to see the magician do their tricks. Also, the writer weighs in that the real story with the Main Event will be told by the demographic breakdown rather than the overall rating. In other words, is Hulk Hogan the Demo God? Anyway, after all this preamble, we finally get some quotes from the interview:
  • Bruno denies blading happened in his day but says “today, nothing would surprise me.”
  • Says he’ll never work for the NWA. “I wouldn’t touch it with a 50-foot pole.”
  • He breaks kayfabe on George Steele and says he’s been a teacher for years.
  • He thinks Bobby Heenan is a “dud and a disgrace” to wrestling.
  • He compliments Ric Flair as a guy who can give you an exciting 30 or 40 minute match, but the NWA “have an awful lot of bizarre nonsense in there that, to me, is no good.”
  • He says David wanted to be like him and he tried to warn David that these days they aren’t interested in “guys who just want to wrestle” but he’ll be going to Japan where they appreciate that better.
  • He didn’t like doing commentary. He just clocked in, did his job, and left as soon as he was done. He was very uncomfortable and unhappy doing it.
  • Bruno says WWF didn’t really have anything great to generate interest in the tournament for Wrestlemania.
  • A caller asks if his wrestling was all real, and Bruno says “Well, it was in my day, at least I thought it was.
  • We get a letter that feels so much like it could have been a post here on /SquaredCircle when Dave rated Omega/Okada 6 stars that I’m posting it in its entirety. Be warned, it is long, kind of racist, and absolutely bonkers, but that’s not unfamiliar around these parts. It gets the headline “Sick of praise for Japan.”
I get so sick of the way that people talk about Japanese wrestling. There’s no question it should be covered extensively in the Observer because it is a significant part of the wrestling world. However, when you start printing letters that criticize the American society and the jazz scene, then you are going way too far.
Anyone who thinks the Japanese never forsake quality for showmanship is full of it. The rock group KISS has enjoyed phenomenal success there because of their wild appearence [sic] and stage show. In fact, when they stopped wearing their makeup in the United States, they waited almost two years to do the same in Japan because they knew they wouldn’t be accepted there without it. And what about the movie industry? Do you think Godzilla movies are popular because of great acting?
As a student, I find teachers constantly comparing the American intelligence with that of the Japanese. I’m sure that the wrestlers love being compared to Japanese wrestlers as much as I love being compared to Japanese students. The Japanese do well at everything because they become obsessed with it. For them, it’s a matter of pride. If they screw up, it’s not only a mark on themselves but also on their entire family. You may think that’s great, but it puts a lot of pressure on everyone. They spend hours studying and I’m certain spend hours learning wrestling skills and have no time for themselves. Cut the North American wrestlers some slack. They’re just trying to make a living and preserve their bodies in the process. Look at what trying to wrestle like the Japanese did to Tommy Billington. Everyone would love matches filled with nothing but high spots, but working them is a great way to destroy yourself in a hurry. Now there is no excuse for total duds like Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant either, but there are many non-Japanese who can hold their own without going crazy about it. I wonder how many Observer readers can honestly say that they work as hard at their own jobs as the Japanese in the same profession do. If they do, then I think they would quality [sic] as workaholics.
If there is anything wrong with our society, it’s the lack of national pride, which is so evident in the pages of the Observer. You seem to hate everything that wasn’t imported from the other side of the world. I have absolutely nothing against the country of Japan or Japanese wrestling, but I don’t think it’s up to a bunch of wrestling fans to dictate what’s wrong with our country just because they prefer the Oriental style of wrestling. I think the Observer is great, but I’d like to see you stick to writing about wrestling instead of how rotten our way of life is. I’m sure that’s what a Japanese journalist would do.
  • Anyway, Dave responds to that letter, giving the writer only 4 stars because it’s not in the literally-only-opened-a-couple-weeks-ago Tokyo Dome:
DM: Have I ever written about how rotten our quality of life is or done any cultural comparisons between the U.S. and Japan except to where it pertains to the wrestling business? If I lived in Japan and made a comparison of the quality of the football product and wrote the U.S. product was superior, I hope people wouldn’t take it as an indictment against an entire society.
  • Lastly, it’s about that time of year, I guess, because we have letters arguing about whether Dave should include GLOW coverage or not. Two letters this week on that theme, the first noting what the writer calls a progression in the letters calling for more coverage of women’s wrestling. First were the calls for more coverage of “conventional” women’s wrestling. Then the calls for GLOW coverage. Then POWW. Guess the next will be coverage of the apartment house wrestling scene, the writer supposes. The other writer claims to speak for 90% of subscribers and says Dave would offend that much of his readership if he covers GLOW and POWW and says that if you even consider GLOW to be pro wrestling, you’re incapable of understanding what makes a match good or not. This one asks if Dave’s going to be asked to cover mud wrestling next. There’s no misogyny problem in wrestling fandom. Move along. Nothing to see here.
  • Back to news, the Kentucky Athletic Commission has put up some new rules. There are to be guard rails around the ring now. Throwing an opponent over the top rope will result in a fine or suspension. Ditto for any referee who doesn’t immediately stop the match for it. The top rope rule is now state law, as insane as that sounds.
  • Dave should have national numbers next week, but in Atlanta Clash of the Champions drew an 11.7 rating, with the FlaiSting match hitting 14.5 National numbers will not be nearly that high, but hitting that 5 Dave mentioned earlier that would mean 2 million viewers doesn’t seem so far fetched anymore. Clash beat the NCAA tournament on the networks in Atlanta. TBS is reportedly looking to do another in prime time on a Wednesday early in the summer.
  • Stampede set up an angle where Johnny Smith (kayfabe Davey Boy’s cousin or brother or something) argued with Diana Hart Smith, which got Owen out to defend his sister. Davey Boy was supposed to come in after Wrestlemania to work with Johnny, but Vince put the kibosh on that. There were also considerations for some Stampede guys to participate in the Crockett Cup, but politics (Vince) made that a no-go. So it’s probably no coincidence that when Owen did the job for Hercules it was just outside Greensboro. Anyway, the real takeaway is that Owen is probably coming over to WWF by the end of the year.
NEXT WEEK: Clash vs. Wrestlemania poll results, Clash ratings and Wrestlemania buyrate, an assload of mini headlines because news is apparently thin next week, and more
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The Rookie Report: Week 1 Starts & Sits

Welcome back to the Rookie Report! We’re on the brink of a new season, albeit a strange one. Stadiums with no fans, the Raiders in Vegas, 14 playoff spots, and no Tom Brady in New England are just a few of the things that will feel strange this year – but football will go on. Of course, there’s always the looming threat of a Covid-19 outbreak derailing things, but I’m going to operate from the optimistic point of view that things will go on as scheduled. If you’re new to the Rookie Report, each week I’ll be breaking down the matchups that the rookie class will be facing and letting you know which ones are good fantasy options and which ones should be avoided. I’ll throw in some sleepers and guys to stash on the bench as well, and I try to cover all of the fantasy relevant rookies each week (kickers excluded). Make sure to read the details on each player and not just what header they’re under since some of these may be format specific. Any players under the same header that play the same position are listed in the order that I would play them this week.
The rookies are always a tough group to predict for fantasy production, but week 1 is always tough since we don’t have any on field production to go off of when making decisions. This year we don’t even have preseason games. For some of these predictions you have to read the tea leaves a bit and read between the lines of the coachspeak, and sometimes you just have to trust the talent of the player to win out. With all that in mind, let’s dive in and talk about week 1…

Rookies to Start:

RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC (Wk. 1: vs. Hou.): If you have CEH, you likely took him in the first round, so you don’t need me to tell you that you’re starting him every week unless he gives you a reason not to. The Chiefs have the highest projected point total in the league this week at 31.75, and the Texans were in the bottom-6 in the league last year at limiting RB fantasy points. They were especially vulnerable to receiving backs, allowing more receptions per game to backs than every team other than the Colts. There’s no reason to shy away from CEH in DFS lineups despite a $7,000 price tag in DraftKings. Editor's Note: this article was posted here on /fantasyfootball after TNF aired, although it was composed earlier. Sheesh. :)
RB Jonathan Taylor, IND (Wk. 1: @ Jax.): Taylor will be in a prime spot to make a splash in his NFL debut. You likely drafted him as your RB2 unless you started with 3 straight running backs, so you’re probably going to play him regardless of what I write here. I won’t try to stop you. He’ll likely be splitting the backfield work with Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines this week, but the Jaguars were one of the worst defenses in the league against opposing running backs last year and lost Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue and AJ Bouye from that defense in the offseason. They’re projected to be one of the worst teams in the league and are an 8-point home underdog in week one. The Colts should be able to run plenty in this one, and I expect Taylor’s talent to show through even if his opportunities are limited. He’s a solid RB2 option this week.
WR CeeDee Lamb, DAL (Wk. 1: @ LAR): Lamb is the best of the rookie receiver crop in my opinion, and he gets a great opportunity to start proving me right in week 1. The Rams consistently use Jalen Ramsey to shadow the opposing team’s #1 receiver, and with Dallas that means Ramsey will be chasing around Amari Cooper. This will be good news for both Lamb and Michael Gallup who get to face off with Troy Hill and Darious Williams instead. Advantage Cowboys. Despite Zeke Elliott racking up plenty of carries last season, the Cowboys ranked 10th in pass attempts, 2nd in passing yards and 5th in passing TDs in 2019, so there is plenty of volume to go around, and this week that volume should be finding Lamb and Gallup. The Cowboys also have the 3rd-highest implied point total of the week at 27.5. You may not have drafted Lamb as one of your top 3 wide receivers this season, but this could be a week to get him in the lineup over someone you drafted before him. At just $4,100 in DraftKings, he’s a screaming value for tournaments.

Borderline Rookies:

RB Cam Akers, LAR (Wk. 1: vs. Dal.): Akers enters week 1 listed as the number 3 running back on the depth chart with Malcolm Brown as the starter and Darrell Henderson at #2, but I see ‘starter’ as a nominal title for Brown. He’s a guy the team trusts to do the job if the others don’t step up, but he’s not a feature back that you build around. Darrell Henderson is playing catch-up a little bit after being banged up in camp, and I think Akers has a real chance to take over the lead role in week 1. I expect the team will ride whoever gets the hot hand this week, but this is an offense that creates plenty of fantasy production for the running back position. We know that Todd Gurley was an otherworldly talent at his peak, but McVay has also gotten productive fantasy seasons from Alfred Morris and Rob Kelley when he was in Washington, and an incredible 3-game stretch from a seemingly washed up CJ Anderson in LA. Dallas was a middling run defense last season, so if Akers is able to get the bulk of the work this week, he’s got obvious RB2 upside.
RB Zack Moss, BUF (Wk. 1: vs. NYJ): The Jets boasted one of the best run defenses in the league a year ago, but in the offseason they lost two of the guys that were big reasons why they were so effective. CJ Mosley opted out of 2020, and Jamal Adams was dealt to Seattle. Even if the Jets are able to be a solid run defense again without those guys, they’re likely going to be playing from behind so much that the RB counting stats are still going to add up. Moss enters the season expected to be the Bills’ early down running back. The Bills had the 7th-highest rushing percentage in the league last year, running on 47.5% of their offensive snaps, and they figure to be run-heavy again. I’d expect Moss to finish week 1 around 15 touches, and he’d be first in line for any goal line carries. That puts him firmly on the flex radar in 12-team leagues and is a better play in non-PPR formats.
WR Henry Ruggs, LVR (Wk. 1: @ Car.): Ruggs was the first receiver off the board in April, and he’ll open the season as the team’s WR1 with Tyrell Williams out for the year. Ruggs has the speed to be a dangerous deep threat, but with Derek Carr at QB he’ll likely have to make his living on schemed touches in the short part of the field where he creates yards after the catch. As the WR1, I’m sure Jon Gruden will make sure Carr is getting the ball to Ruggs, but the group of pass catchers that thrives in the short part of the field is crowded in Vegas. Hunter Renfrow, Darren Waller, and Jalen Richard are all good receivers in that area, so I don’t see Ruggs being a target hog early on. His road to being a fantasy standout will be through creating big plays. He’ll get a chance to do that against a Carolina defense that isn’t terrible against the pass but isn’t imposing either. Ruggs is a boom-or-bust option who is capable of a Marquise Brown style week 1 breakout (Brown went 4-147-2 in week 1 last year), but is also capable of falling short of 40 yards.
WR Jerry Jeudy, DEN (Wk. 1: vs. Ten.): Jeudy is an outstanding talent and landed on a team where he’ll walk right into the WR2 role in the offense, but it’s not a high volume passing offense and he’ll likely start the year behind both Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant in the pecking order. That outlook may have changed on Thursday with Sutton suffering a shoulder injury in practice. If Sutton sits, Jeudy could be the WR1 in week 1. No cornerback on the Titans should be capable of stopping Sutton, but they probably won’t be quite as overmatched by Jeudy. Fant should be in line for a nice day as the Titans struggled to contain tight ends last year, allowing the 6th-most points per game to the position. Keep an eye on the Sutton updates. If Sutton sits or is going to be limited, Jeudy should see enough volume to be a playable WR3 option. If it seems like Sutton is going to be fine, I would probably keep Jeudy benched until we see what his target share looks like as the WR2.
WR Brandon Aiyuk, SF (Wk. 1: vs. Ari.): Aiyuk’s status is still up in the air this week, as is Deebo Samuel’s. If Aiyuk plays and Deebo doesn’t, there should be some consideration for getting Aiyuk in your lineup as a flex option. He may be facing off with Patrick Peterson in that scenario, but Peterson was anything but his typical self after returning from a 6-game suspension to open the 2019 season. He rounded into form late in the year, but Peterson is on the wrong side of 30 and Aiyuk is the type of receiver that can win at all levels of the field. The 49ers’ offense is going to run through George Kittle and their running backs, but they do have an implied point total of 27.25, so it’s likely that *some* receiver puts up a nice fantasy game Sunday. If he plays, Aiyuk is likely to lead the wide receiver group in targets, giving him the best shot of being that guy.

Rookies to Sit:

QB Joe Burrow, CIN (Wk. 1: vs. LAC): I like Burrow’s upside over the course of the year as a QB2, but I think there will be some growing pains in the early part of the season. The Chargers are not an inviting matchup for an NFL debut. They’ve got a solid pass rush anchored by Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. No team blitzed less than the Chargers in 2019, and yet they ranked 13th in the league in QB pressure percentage. It didn’t translate into a lot of sacks, but the addition of Linval Joseph to the middle of the line should help free up the edge rushers to be more disruptive this season. The team will be hurt by the loss of Derwin James to injury, but they still boast one of the best starting pairs of corners in the league in Casey Heyward and Chris Harris. I think there is a good chance the Chargers make Burrow look like a rookie in his debut and would be hesitant to play him in 2 QB leagues if I didn’t have to.
RB JK Dobbins, BAL (Wk. 1: vs. Cle.): If I drafted Dobbins as my RB3 this season, I’d be tempted to play him this week. The Browns ranked 30th in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA stat last year, and the Ravens are favored by 8 in the opener. There could be some garbage time for Dobbins once the Ravens get out in front, but Baltimore may still try and keep Gus Edwards and/or Justice Hill involved in the run game as well. The official team depth chart listed Dobbins as the 4th-string back. I expect he’ll work as the number 2 guy behind Mark Ingram but would like to see how the rotation plays out before putting Dobbins in my lineups. I
RB Antonio Gibson, WAS (Wk. 1: vs. Phi.): Gibson has had a ton of buzz around him during camp after Washington cut Adrian Peterson. He’s a versatile player who has drawn comparisons from the coaching staff to Christian McCaffrey. That’s obviously a pretty big stretch, but the head coach and offensive coordinator making the comparison were both in Carolina last year. I think Gibson will be the best fantasy back on the team this year, but I don’t love him for week 1. The Eagles ranked third in run defense DVOA last season, and I expect we’ll see Peyton Barber handle most of the early down work early in the season for Washington. Gibson will also be competing with JD McKissic and Bryce Love for 3rd-down work. The team is thin at wide receiver, so you could even see Gibson line up in the slot a bit since he played a lot of wide receiver in college. All in all, there’s just too much uncertainty about what his week 1 role will look like to trust him in fantasy lineups.
RB D’Andre Swift, DET (Wk. 1: vs. Chi.): Swift has been working through a couple injuries in camp but should be able to suit up on Sunday. The problem is that with the signing of Adrian Peterson this backfield figures to be a three-headed monster, and that’ll be a headache for fantasy players. Swift may get the valuable 3rd down passing work, but I’d like to see how the workload is divided before relying on any Lions running back in my fantasy lineups. I’d take a wait and see approach with Swift.
RB AJ Dillon, GB (Wk. 1: @ Min): Dillon enters week 1 listed as the 3rd running back on the depth chart in Green Bay, and while I would normally tell you to ignore the official team depth charts at this point, this one feels like how it’ll actually play out on the field. I’d expect Aaron Jones to be the clear lead back with a mix of Jamaal Williams and Dillon spelling him for some early down work. The best bet for Dillon getting a healthy workload would be garbage time in a blowout win, but that seems unlikely with the Vikings favored by 3. I’d keep Dillon away from your lineups.
RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn, TB (Wk. 1: @ NO): In case you drafted Vaughn early and have been living under a rock in recent weeks, the signings of Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy will make Vaughn mostly useless for now in fantasy leagues. He’ll likely be limited to special teams early in the season and won’t have much value without injuries in front of him. Feel free to drop him outside of dynasty leagues.
WR Michael Pittman Jr., IND (Wk. 1: @ Jax): Pittman should see the field quite a bit in week 1, but I don’t expect it to translate into fantasy production just yet. The Colts played 61% of their snaps last season in 11 personnel (3 WR), and their 3-WR sets to open the year should feature Pittman, TY Hilton and Parris Campbell, but the bulk of the passing volume should go through Hilton and Campbell (along with Jack Doyle and Nyheim Hines). The Colts are an 8-point road favorite this week, and I’d expect them to lean heavily on the running game which will limit how many targets there are to go around. If Pittman makes it to even 5 targets, I’d consider his week 1 to be a successful one.
WR Chase Claypool, PIT (Wk. 1: @ NYG): The Steelers have spent much of the summer talking up Claypool, but this is an offense with a lot of mouths to feed. The return of Ben Roethlisberger should make this a much more fantasy-friendly offense than it was last year, but Claypool enters the season as no higher than 4th in the target pecking order. The Steelers do have a favorable matchup this week and have the 5th-highest implied total of the week, and Big Ben hasn’t really played much with James Washington or Diontae Johnson, so if you want to roll the dice on Claypool in a DFS tournament (just a $3,000 price tag in DraftKings) I wouldn’t fault you for it. For season-long leagues you should have safer options for week 1.
WR Denzel Mims, NYJ (Wk. 1: @ BUF): It sounds like Mims is going to play this week, but after missing much of camp with a hamstring injury, I wouldn’t count on him getting a full workload in this one. It also remains to be seen which outside receiver will tangle with standout corner Tre’Davious White. Breshad Perriman is coming off an injury of his own, and both players make for poor options against a tough Bills defense with the Jets having an implied point total of just 16.5 points.
WR Justin Jefferson, MIN (Wk. 1: vs. GB): Jefferson is a very talented receiver, and the Vikings obviously believe in him after drafting him in the first round in April, but he’ll likely open the season splitting WR2 snaps with Bisi Johnson. The Vikings play with 3 WRs less often than any other team in the league. They consistently operate out of a 2 tight end base set with Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr. Jefferson will eventually work his way past Bisi, but I’d want to see what kind of opportunities he gets early on before trusting him in my fantasy lineup. His week one matchup isn’t all that appealing either. Green Bay is one of just 2 teams in the league that allowed less than 10 receptions per game to opposing wide receivers last year.
WR Tee Higgins, CIN (Wk. 1: vs. LAC): With AJ Green expected to play week 1, it’ll be hard for Higgins to get on the field much. It looks like Green, Tyler Boyd and Auden Tate will be the trio on the field in 3 wide receiver sets, and Higgins will be competing with John Ross for any leftover reps. There’s no reason to consider Higgins for week 1.
TE Cole Kmet, CHI (Wk. 1: @ DET: Kmet was the first tight end drafted in April, but he doesn’t figure to play a large role early in his rookie season. He’ll open the season behind at least Jimmy Graham on the depth chart, and possibly Demetrius Harris as well. The Lions were a middle of the pack defense against tight ends a year ago, but Kmet shouldn’t be a consideration in any formats this week.

Deep League Sleepers, Stashes, and Cheap DFS Options:

QB Tua Tagovailoa, MIA (Wk. 1: @ NE): I don’t list Tua here with any thoughts of you using him in week 1. I mention him in case you’re in a 2-QB league where he’s sitting on the waiver wire. He’s going to take over for Fitzpatrick at some point this season, and when he does he’s going to have big-time upside. He’s worth stashing if you have the roster spot in superflex and 2-QB leagues. I would rather have Tua than fellow rookie Justin Herbert.
RB Josh Kelley, LAC (Wk. 1: @ CIN): Kelley enters week 1 as the likely backup to Austin Ekeler, but that role will probably come with 10-12 touches and possibly more if the Chargers pull away. Ekeler isn’t built to be a 20+ touch per game kind of back and the Chargers are shifting to a more run-heavy approach this season with Philip Rivers gone. Kelley looks like the back who will pick up the slack the Melvin Gordon left behind. Only 4 teams allowed more rushing yards last season than the Bengals, and while Cincy could be improved with the addition of DJ Reader to their D-line, I expect they’ll still find themselves in a lot of negative game scripts. For week 1, Ekeler has RB1 upside, but Kelley isn’t a terrible option as a flex in deep leagues. He’s someone you should be picking up everywhere if he’s on the waiver wire. I expect his role will grow as the season progresses.
RB James Robinson, JAX (Wk. 1: vs. Ind.): What a difference a week makes for Robinson. A week ago Robinson looked like he was going the be the number 4 or 5 running back on the depth chart, but since then Leonard Fournette was cut, Ryquell Armstead went back on the Covid-reserve list, and Devine Ozigbo landed on IR. Robinson is suddenly the projected starter this week. Chris Thompson will handle most of the 3rd down work, but Robinson is going to be on the field a lot. The Colts didn’t give up many running back touchdowns last season (6), but they gave up plenty of yards to them, both on the ground and through the air. The Jaguars project to be playing from behind in this one, so Chris Thompson is probably the guy that will lead this backfield in fantasy scoring this week, but in deep leagues a starting running back is hard to ignore. Robinson certainly shouldn’t be on your waiver wire and he has 10+ point upside this week.
WR Bryan Edwards, LVR (Wk. 1: @ Car): Ruggs is the guy with the draft capital, but Bryan Edwards may emerge as the alpha receiver on this Vegas team. He excels in the intermediate part of the field where few other receivers on the team do, and he’s easily the most physical of their receivers, which will serve him well in the red zone. His QB has compared him to former teammates Davante Adams and James Jones, both of whom excel at getting in the end zone. The Raiders have a reasonable implied point total of 25.25 this week, and if I had to bet on any Vegas pass catcher getting in the end zone it would be Edwards. He costs just $4,200 in DraftKings and is very likely to outperform that price tag. He may not get as many targets as Ruggs, but don’t be surprised if he outscores the first rounder in week 1.
WR Laviska Shenault, JAX (Wk. 1: vs. Ind.): After all of the changes and injuries that have come up for the Jaguars over the last week or 2, about the only thing that seems clear with this offense is that DJ Chark is going to be targeted a lot. I’ll add a second thing here – Laviska Shenault is going to be very involved in this offense. Reports out of camp this week are that the Jaguars are getting VERY creative with the ways they’re using him. He’s a versatile player that lined up all over the field in college and is dynamic with the ball in the open field. I expect Jacksonville to make it a point to get the ball into his hands any way they can, even if it means handing it to him out of the backfield. Viska has a higher DraftKings price tag than some of the other rookies at $4,400, but he could be a really interesting option in limited slate contests. 10 touches isn’t out of the question in week 1.
WR Van Jefferson, LAR (Wk. 1: vs. GB): I wasn’t high on Jefferson coming into camp, but he’s been impressive. He’s not an explosive athlete, but his football IQ and feel for the game are off the charts. He’s a route running technician who was a tough cover for Jalen Ramsey in camp. It remains to be seen if he’s fully overtaken Josh Reynolds for the WR3 role in the offense, but if he has he’ll be on the field a lot. The Rams like to line up with 3 wide receivers on the field as much as anyone. Dallas was stingy against wide receivers a year ago, but they said goodbye to their number one corner Byron Jones in the offseason. Jefferson is more of a stash right now, but if he’s on the field as the WR3 a 4-60 kind of game wouldn’t be that crazy for him this week.
WR John Hightower, PHI (Wk. 1: @ Was): Hightower has a chance to benefit from a couple of injuries ahead of him this week, and also from the extra attention the Washington secondary will give to DeSean Jackson. D-Jax burned them in the opener last year with 2 TDs of 50+ yards. They’re going to do everything they can to make sure that doesn’t happen again. That means less attention for JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward, and Hightower. Of that trio, Hightower is the only one with the burner speed to hurt Washington deep. He’s a DFS tournament dart throw who will cost the minimum in DraftKings, and can have a nice NFL debut with just one or two deep balls.
That’s all I’ve got for this week. Hopefully it helps you as you try to figure out what to do with the rookies on your team for week 1. Keep a close eye on the injury report this week to make sure you don’t end up playing anyone inactive. Feel free to hit me up on twitter (@Shawn_Foss) if you have any questions or want to yell at me about anything written above. As always: Good luck, trust your gut, and have fun. It’s just a game. Original article from
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[S] Marooned: Africa (Complete)

16 Americans are about to begin the adventure of a lifetime in the scorching deserts of Kenya in eastern Africa. They are about to be abandoned in the heart of one of the most diverse and dangerous collections of animals anywhere on the planet. Zebras, giraffes, elephants, lions, just a sampling of the animals that call this place home. Temperatures here can reach 120 degrees. Water is scarce. It is a land virtually untouched by the modern world. For the next 39 days these 16 strangers will be left to fend for themselves. Forced to create a new society while battling the elements and each other. They must learn to adapt or they’ll be voted out of the tribe. In the end only one will remain to claim the million dollar prize. 39 days, 16 people, 1 survivor! This is Marooned: Africa!
The Cast
Boran Tribe:
Samburu Tribe
*I apologize to u/swoldow for misspelling their character’s name in the sim.
Episode 1: After making a long trek through the savannah both tribes reach their tribe campsite and begin setting up camp. On the Boran tribe the building of the tribe camp is mostly harmonious although Toni and Ray do start butting heads a little. Meanwhile on the Samburu tribe there is a clear power struggle between Leo and Jeremy. Both think that they have what it takes to be the leader of the tribe and neither is willing to back down from that position. Crystal and Kaylee both side with Leo thinking that he should be the tribe leader while Matt and Kathy side with Jeremy and think that he should be the tribe leader. Ryan and Talia both dislike the conflict going on in the tribe and decide to stay neutral. At the immunity challenge Samburu manages to win despite the tension they have at camp. When Boran gets back from the immunity challenge Ray accuses Toni of being the reason that they lost the challenge. Toni does not take this well and begins screaming at Ray. Ray does not back down and soon they are in the middle of a huge argument. Right before things get physical Al and Wallace step in and separate the two. It is clear that for the sake of the tribe either Toni or Ray need to go and because Toni is perceived to be weaker than Ray in challenges she is seen as less valuable so at tribal council Toni is unanimously voted out of the tribe.
Episode 2: Without Toni Boran is once again harmonious and this causes them to go into the next immunity as strong as ever and win. Over on Samburu Leo and Jeremy’s battle for dominance leads them to target each other. Leo still has Cris and Kaylee on his side and the two of them agree to vote for Jeremy. Matt still has Kathy and Matt on his side and the two of them agree to vote for Leo. This leaves Ryan and Talia in the middle and forces them to end their neutrality by picking a side. The two of them decide to do what they believe will keep the tribe strong so they decide to keep Leo the pro wrestler and vote out Jeremy. At tribal council Jeremy is voted out in a 5-3 vote.
Episode 3: After the last vote Kathy and Matt are clearly at the bottom of the Samburu tribe. At the immunity challenge Boran wins, sending Samburu to their second tribal council. Back at camp it seems clear that either Kathy or Matt will be the next person voted out. The new majority alliance of Leo, Ryan, Kaylee, Cris, and Talia come together to discuss whether they should vote out Kathy or Matt first. They come to the conclusion that they should vote out Matt first because he seems like more of a fighter and they know that he has the potential to stir up trouble in the future if he’s still around. After that conversation the vote seems obvious but Kaylee didn’t come to Marooned to play an obvious game. She views Kathy and Matt as people who she could potentially work with down the line. Talia on the other hand is someone who Kaylee doesn’t trust at all. Kaylee tries to convince Cris and Leo to go along with her new plan and blindside Talia. At first they think that Kaylee’s new plan is crazy but they slowly realize that she’s right. Talia is the type of person who will flip on them as soon as the merge comes so at tribal council they turn on her and Talia is blindsided in a 5-2 vote.
Episode 4: Ryan is shocked and out of the loop after the last tribal council. He recognises that he’s going to have to step up his game or he’s going to end up blindsided just like Natalia. At the immunity challenge the Boron tribe wins for the third time in a row sending Samburu back to tribal council. Ryan knows that he could be in trouble because he was left out of the loop on the last vote but luckily his social connections on the tribe are strong enough that nobody bothers targeting him. Instead Leo decides to target Matt because he thinks that Matt poses the biggest threat to his leadership role. Leo is easily able to get Ryan and Kaylee on board with the plan. In addition Kathy realizes that her alliance with Matt is a sinking ship and decides to get on board with Leo and vote for Matt. Cris on the other hand doesn’t want to vote out Matt. She would rather keep the tribe strong and vote out Kathy. Unfortunately she is not able to get anyone else on board with her plan and at tribal council Matt is voted out in a 4-2 vote.
Episode 5: In the biggest twist in the history of Marooned each tribe is told to select 3 tribe members to represent their tribe. Katrina, Kiara, and Wallace all volunteer to be the representatives for Boron. Samburu decides to have their 3 women represent their tribe. These 6 people are given new buffs and forced to switch tribes. At the immunity challenge the Boron tribe wins the first immunity challenge as new tribes. Back at Samburu Ryan and Leo know that they are in trouble being outnumbered by the original Boron people 3-2. Ryan decides to fight to stay in the game so he tells the Boron people about how Leo is the leader of the Samburu people and is a huge threat moving forward. Kiara doesn’t like the way that Ryan ratted out his tribe by giving away their information and thinks that they should give him some Karma and vote him out but Wallace and Katrina are more focused on getting rid of a big threat and want to vote out Leo so at tribal council Leo is voted out in a 3-2 vote.
Episode 6: On the Samburu tribe Ryan is the clear underdog being the only original Samburu person left on his tribe but there is clear dissension between Katrina and Kiara giving him some hope that he may be able to survive if they don’t win the next immunity challenge. At the immunity challenge Samburu finally wins immunity for the first time since day 3 sending Boran to tribal council. Over on Boran the three Samburu girls appear to be outnumbered by the original Boran people and therefore you would expect them to be on the bottom of the tribe but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality Al and Ray haven’t been getting along for the past 10 days and want to take eachother out. Marilyn is in an alliance with Al and Alix is in an alliance with Ray leaving the Samburu girls in the middle acting as swing votes. In the end the Samburu girls like Ray better than Al so at tribal council they all vote for Al and Al is voted out of the game in a 5-2 vote.
Episode 7: The two tribes finally come together and merge into one tribe called Moto Maji. At the immunity challenge Ray wins the first individual immunity challenge of the season guaranteeing himself a spot at the final 9. Back at camp Wallace, Katrina, and Marilyn want all of the original Boran people to put their differences aside and work together to pick off the original Samburu people one by one starting with Cris but Ray, Kiara, and Alix have zero intentions of sticking with the original Boran people and instead form a new 7 person alliance with the original Samburu people and at the first tribal council of the merge this 7 person alliance works together and blindsides Marilyn putting Ray in a power position.
Episode 8: Katrina and Wallace are pissed at the rest of the original Boran people for not sticking with them and going Boran strong for the rest of the game. At the immunity challenge Alix wins individual immunity. Back at camp Ray feels like he has full control of the tribe and decides that he wants to vote out Cris so he tells everyone to vote for Cris. Most people are on board with this plan but Wallace and Katrina are still angry at Ray for betraying them at the last tribal council and are gunning for him hard. They pull in Cris in order to have 3 votes for Ray but they still need at least 2 more people to vote with them. Cris has a talk with Ryan during which she learns that Ryan doesn’t like Ray so she is able to convince him to join them and vote for Ray. They still need one more vote but aren’t sure who they can trust. They don’t want word of their plans to get back to Ray and are worried that Kaylee or Kathy might spill the beans so they decide to try to convince Ray’s close ally Kiara to flip and help them blindside Ray. Katrina has a long talk with Kiara and is able to convince her that if she works with them to blindside Ray she’ll take her to the final 2. Kiara really likes this plan so at tribal council she decides to work with them and in the biggest blindside of the season Ray is voted out in a 5-4 vote.
Episode 9: After the last tribal council everyone is shocked that Kiara flipped on her closest ally Ray and everyone starts calling her a snake. At the immunity challenge Kaylee wins individual immunity ensuring her safety at the next tribal council. After the intense past two tribal councils nobody wants to deal with anymore crazy scrambling and instead everyone wants to go with an easy vote. As it turns out the easy vote is voting out Kiara due to the fact that everyone considers her to be a snake. Everyone quickly jumps on board the vote out Kiara band wagon and when Kiara finds out about this she is furious at Katrina for going back on her word and not taking her to final 2 like Katrina said she would so at tribal council Kiara votes for Katrina but everyone else votes for Kiara and Kiara becomes the second member of the jury.
Episode 10: For the first time since the merge the original Samburu people have the numbers and the four of them decide that they are going to take advantage of this. At the immunity challenge Wallace wins immunity. Back at camp the four original Samburu people come together and decide to vote out Katrina. Alex decides to join them and vote for Katrina too because he doesn’t like Wallace or Katrina. Wallace and Katrina find out what's going on and try to convince Ryan and Cris to flip back to their side and help them blindside Kathy but Ryan and Cris decide to stick with the Samburu people and at tribal council Katrina is voted out.
Episode 11: After the last tribal council Wallace has no allies left in the game but he talks about how he’s going to keep on fighting and won’t give up any time soon. At the immunity challenge Wallace does everything he can to win but falls short and Ryan wins individual immunity. Back at camp Wallace starts talking to people about what a big threat Kylee is. When Alix hears about this he realizes that he doesn’t want to get stuck sitting next to Kylee at the final tribal council so he agrees to vote for her. Wallace then attempts to convince Ryan and Cris to jump on board with him and blindside Kylee. Ryan is totally on board with this but Cris isn’t and Cris convinces Ryan to stick with the Samburu so at tribal council Wallace is voted out in a 4-2 vote.
Episode 12: Alix shot himself in the foot at the last tribal council by voting with Wallace and is now clearly on the bottom of the tribe. At the immunity challenge Kylee wins immunity securing herself a spot in the finale. Back at camp it seems clear that the 4 Samburu people are going to work together to vote out Alix but Kylee is worried that if it’s the four Samburu people are sitting in the final four it would become Cris and Ryan vs her and Kathy. If that were the case and Cris won immunity then her and Ryan would be able to vote Kaylee out because Ryan doesn’t have any previous votes cast against him and Kaylee has 2. Because she is trying to avoid this Kaylee decides to make a new final 3 alliance with herself, Kathy, and Alix. At tribal council this new 3 person alliance pulls off another huge blindside when they vote out Ryan in a 3-2 vote.
Finale Part 1: After the last tribal council’s blindside Cris knows that she needs to win immunity in order to stay in the game but at the immunity challenge Alex wins immunity essentially sealing Cris’s fate. Back at camp Cris makes one last attempt to stay in the game. She explains to Alix that if he goes to the final 3 with Kaylee and Kathy and he doesn’t win immunity he will 100% be voted out of the game. Unfortunately Alex is in denial and still believes that he has a shot at being brought to the end by Kathy or Kaylee and at tribal council Cris is voted out in a 3-1 vote.
Finale Part 2: Kaylee wins the final immunity challenge. For her the decision of who to take to the end is easy. Her and Kathy have been close allies ever since the swap so at tribal council she votes out Alix.
Final Tribal Council: At the final tribal council most of the jury respects both of the girl’s games and believes that they are both very deserving of being in the final two however, they can’t deny that Kaylee played a much more well rounded game. Whereas Kathy only really played the social game Kaylee played a great physical, strategic, and social game. This leads to Kaylee winning in a 4-3 vote.
**My Thoughts:**>! I LOVED this season. From start to end the season was entertaining and full of great blindsides. The Ray blindside was probably the highlight of the season but I also loved the Ryan blindside, the Talia blindside, and the rivalry between Jeremy and Leo. The cast of this season was also top notch and I found almost every single person on it to be memorable in some way. Kaylee is another fantastic winner who played an extraordinary game. Her taking out Ryan at the final 5 was really smart and I would definitely consider that to be her signature move though her blindsiding Talia in episode three was also pretty iconic. There are so many people in this cast who I would love to see return for all stars and I’m betting that at least a couple of people on this cast are going to become legends.!<
Potential All Stars: Ryan, Kaylee, Katrina, Ray, Wallace, Kiara
Potential Second Chancers: Cris, Jeremy, Leo, Alix, Talia
Past Seasons:Borneo
The Australian Outback
Stay tuned for the next season of Marooned, Marooned: Marquesas
I’d love to hear what you guys thought about the season in the comments!
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