Holy shit, Special Ed, there's only 8 weeks til FOOTBALL SEASON!!!
LETS FUCKING GOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!
This past season Team DYM completed the unlikeliest of feats - The Fantasy Three-peat.
We couldn't have been prouder, it was probably the greatest personal accomplishment of our lives. The problem is every time we tell someone about it the first thing they always say is "Woah, that league must suck."
Of course, we all know that The Special Ed League does not suck. Quite the opposite in fact. But if we've heard that comment two dozen times this off-season, then we're sure some of you might have heard it once or twice as well. We don't want you guys to have to hear that, it can be upsetting, and we don't want you guys getting discouraged. The last thing this league needs is another team slipping into an Ertz-like malaise of Fantasy Apathy.
So, while we will continue to put maximum effort into winning Special Ed Super Bowl XI, we're gonna use the rest of our 2021 DYM Off-Season to give you guys a little more insight into our predraft rankings process. In the past we've been pretty cagey about what we REALLY think about players before the draft. But it's time for a change. We want you guys to be better at Fantasy Football. LETS MAKE SPECIAL ED GREAT AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!
Instead of just giving you guys our rankings, we'd prefer teach you all to fish, as they say. There are three essential components to the DYM off-season research process that one simply has to do for oneself:
We do a ton of mock-drafts
We listen to a ton of podcasts
We shoot hoops outside (weather permitting)
Ideally from June until September we try to make an hour or two per day for our fantasy research and we try to do two of those three activities simultaneously.
When we shoot hoops and listen to podcasts we like to play Around-The-World. Here's our customized rules for off-season 1-man ATW basketball -
We make 7 spots around the arc, and shoot form the left baseline corner first. Make it, move on to the next spot. When we make spot #7 we get to go home.
If we miss a shot we can get the rebound and make take a shot from the place we caught the ball. If we make the rebound shot we get a do-over on the missed spot. If we miss the rebound shot, or miss the same spot twice in a row, then we gotta move back one spot.
We pretty much never get all the way around the world, but that's OK cause the point is just to kill time and keep our hands busy while we listen to podcasts - it’s not actually a basketball exercise.
2021 Top 10 Fantasy Football Podcasts:
ROTOUNDERWORLD RADIO!!! - RotoUnderworld with The Podfather Matt Kelley has been our favorite show for about the last 5 years. It's just the best. The most entertaining and the most accurate fantasy football show around. Also the purveyor of the unparalleled stats site PlayerProfiler.com.
The Action Network Podcast Mostly gambling stuff but the fantasy show on Thursdays is one of the very best.
The Most Accurate Podcast - We like this show, but it's actually not the most accurate podcast (that's RotoUnderworld). Their process is a bit cryptic as well since 4for4.com is subscription only (fuck that).
THE TAEKCAST - Another very entertaining and very smart show. We like Davis Mattek's takes a lot even though he's a millennial so his voice kinda goes up at the end of every sentence like he's asking a question.
PFF Fantasty Football Podcast - PFF is another site that we think might be good but we're not gonna pay money to find out.
The podcast is a great listen tho. We really like listening to Ian Hartitz talk. We think he's from Chicago and he sounds like a pretty heavy smoker. Sometimes he gets excited and talks too fast and gets himself all outta breath, which is funny.
A GOOD FOOTBALL SHOW - Unlike Most Accurate Podcast, this show is, in fact, A Good Football Show. Hosted by Patrick Daugherty who used to write all the player blurbs on Rotoworld, and Denny Carter who's REALLY good at Wii Golf.
Fantasy Points Podcast featuring THE GURU John Hansen. Also check him out on SiriusXM 7-9am!!
The Rant with Jeff Ratcliffe - This is the guy on xm channel 87 right after the Guru at 9am. That's a tough time for most people to listen even though this show is actually much much better than The Guru's show.
Living The Stream - Another Denny Carter joint. This one is just about weekly streaming QB, defense and kicker options.
Dynasty Crossroads- We think it's important to take in some Dynasty League talk even if we're only playing season-long. It's helpful to get yourself acquainted with rookies and sleepers before they're actually relevant in our league. Also Peter Howard is British. American football analysts with British accents are the fuckin best. Such a treat.
If you're very lazy, The Fantasy Footballers is the the #1 most popular Fantasy Football Podcast, so you know they try really hard to be funny so it's very accessible. They listen to a lot of the podcasts linked above and pretty much just say the same shit that the smart people said. To be honest that's as solid a strategy as any other, and the show is a pretty decent listen.
These Podcasts Are ALWAYS WRONG & Not Fun To Listen To
(THE DO NOT LISTEN LIST):
The worst. Might be worth listening to every now and then as a hate-listen/so-bad-it's-good kinda thing. Absolutely ludicrous takes.
Harris Football Show - We think Chris Harris used to work at ESPN. which probably means he was worse at fantasy and/or less entertaining than Matthew Berry and 'em, and they fuckin SUCK. Plus this guy's a nerd and hard to listen to.
ESPN Fantasy Focus - (see above). Also, never trust fantasy advice from a company that runs fantasy contests. They want you to lose.
NFL Fantasy Live - The NFL Network fantasy show (see above).
CBSsports.com Fantasy Football Today - (see above again).
FantasyPros Fantasy Football Podcast - You would think these guys would be better at this but they're not.
Draft Sharks - We think these guys run some of the bots that put like 1,000 entries in Fanduel contests. Fuck Draft Sharks.
RotoWire Fantasy Football Podcast - Chris Liss lives in Portugal but he doesn't have a cool accent. He's just a regular American jerkoff who really only pays attention to fantasy baseball until October. So, in a way he's kinda worse than The Counselor
We know we just threw a lot at you guys. It's gonna take some time to work through those pods and knock down those corner threes. But we always knew we‘d have to give you guys a more digestible and straight-forward fantasy resource for this season, which is why we got our good friend Miss Cleo to make us a customized 2021 Fantasy Football Tarot Deck!!!!!!!!!!! The deck contains images of the 78 most archetypically significant Fantasy Football Players for this season.
Now that we're just EIGHT WEEKS away from the start of Fantasy Season we're gonna use the deck to do a division-by-division season preview.
We're starting this week with Special Ed Nation's favorite division -
THE NFC EAST!!!!!!!!!!!
The NFC East was the laughing stock of the league late last year when no team finished over .500, and the Eagles tanked week 17 to give Washington their 7th win. We think a lotta guys in this division are gonna be undervalued (except the Cowboys of course) based on that big-picture narrative of last year.
But one of DYM’s core draft strategy principals for this year is to NOT FADE any NFC East teams because none of them play any fuckin defense and they play the AFC West this year (also a lotta blow/shoot-out). Plus they get those division games during the fantasy playoffs, which gets them all a ✔️➕on our big board.
Each of these teams has at least one potential top-5 player at his position. But none of them is very deep on offense so there are no sure things, and not a lotta handcuffs. Every NFC East player is gonna have to be just as lucky as they are good to break out in 2021.
Let's see what the cards have in store for them:
SAQUON is The Empress, card #3.
In the symbolic imagery of Tarot, the Empress is the quintessence of feminine energy. It represents the Mother, so it is #3 in the cards but #1 in our hearts.
Saquon is still probably the best running back in the NFL. But the injury (first of his career) and fears of a low-octane offense (unfounded) have driven Saquon as low as 7 in our recent mock drafts. That’s absurd. We have him #3 in our ranks right now but it’s real close. We would still think about taking him #1 overall. You guys know we love C-Mac, DYM Legend, but you can’t convince us that there’s anything about McCaffrey or his situation that’s better than Saquon.
If you're wondering how Saquon (or any NFL player) exemplifies the feminine mystique, look no further than this widespread ranking injustice. Almost every fantasy analyst has extremely masculine RBs like Dalvin Cook and Derrick Henry ranked above Saquon, and we honestly don't see why.
KENNY GOLLADAY is Death, card #13.
There's lotta charlatan sooth-sayers out there slangin these Tarot Cards these days. Most of em would tell you that Death (13) is a bad luck card. But here at DYM we make our own luck - Han Solo style. So, in our opinion there aren't any bad Tarot cards, just challenging ones. Optimistic Tarot readers will say "Death always brings a re-birth" - the meaning of the rising sun on the horizon. That's nice, but for the Fantasy Tarot, we prefer to say that Death (13) need not be your own death, instead it ought to mean the death of your rivals and competition.
In this card Miss Cleo used Cowboys, Eagles, and Washingtons as the dead and dying, which would be ideal, but Golladay has also been a bane to his own teammates. The Lions drafting Kenny Golladay in 2017 spelled the beginning of the end for Detroit stalwart Golden Tate. We suspect Tate's days in NY are now numbered as well. But Tate isn't the only one on the hot seat. We're fading Darius Slayton and Evan Engram cause Golladay is a target HOG. In his two full season in Detroit he was the only player (RB or WR) with over 1,000 yards from scrimmage; both seasons he was targeted on 20% of all Lions passes and accounted for about 20% of their total offense.
DANNY DIMES is the Nine of Swords.
This is another challenging card. It's a guy waking up from a nightmare. Possibly a soldier (swords) haunted by images of death, or perhaps a quarterback who has no one to throw to except an RB and Kenny Golladay.
Danny could be a decent fantasy QB. But it's a crowded field this year. There's about 5 other guys who we're just as confident in that won't be drafted in Special Ed. If he doesn't take an Allen-esque step forward this year there's gonna be a lotta sleepless nights for the NYG faithful.
MILES SANDERS is The Sun, card #19.
The rising sun symbolizes rebirth, a new day with new opportunities. And so it is Miles' task to lead The Eagles new generation into their bright and shining future.
And we're not just blowin smoke either, we honestly believe Hurts, Miles, Goedert, and DeVonta Smith are poised to supplant the aging (and expensive) Cowboys' offense as the division's perennial favorite. Whether this comes to pass will mostly depend on the new coaching regime.
New Eagle head coach Nick Sirianni and offensive coordinator, Shane Steichen were the WR & QB coaches for San Diego from 2014-18. The last two years Sirianni was OC for the Colts and Steichen was promoted to Chargers OC. In three of their combined four years as OCs these guys named a STARTING RB before week one AND made that guy the team's scrimmage-yardage leader. Sirianni only saw two Colts players eclipse 1,000 total yards, and both were RBs - Marlon Mack and Jonathan Taylor. Steichen ran Melvin Gordon out of town in 2019 and got Ekeler over 1,500 total yards, including 993 receiving on 92 targets, in an offense with two 1,000 yd WRs.
The future could be very bright for young Miles.
JALEN HURTS is the Five of Swords.
Like the Sun (19), the Five of Swords is an image of rebirth - Picking up the pieces and starting over. This guy is optimistic, as we see him smiling and gazing off into the distance.
Cautiously optimistic is the probably best thing the Eagles can realistically be in 2021. Nobody can deny that this team has been a fuckin mess since they won that Super Bowl. They're not gonna turn it around all at once but they've got some pieces in place.
Jalen was a fuckin BALLER in his brief appearance last year. In weeks 13-15 Jalen totaled 847 passing yds, 238 rushing yds, and 6 total TDs - good for over 25 points per game in Special Ed.
Right now he's ranked #9 among QBs on FantasyPros with an ADP of 79. If we get to draft this guy in the 8th round (AS A KEEPER!?!?!?!) we'd be pretty optimistic too.
DALLAS GOEDERT is the Page of Wands.
A Tarot deck has four suits, just like a regular card deck, with numbered cards 2-10. Unlike playing cards Tarot suits have 5 face cards: Ace, King, Queen, Knight and Page.
The Page is the youngster, the apprentice. Although Goedert is 26 already (same age as Jordan Howard, wow), he's still the Page as long as Zach Ertz is hanging around.
The Page of Wands is another card that looks toward the future, she's embarking on a great and mysterious journey (pyramids in the distance). And even though we've been saying it for 3 years now, Goedert still seems like he's got a lot longer way to go on his Philadelphia Journey than Ertz does.
ZACH ERTZ is the Nine of Wands.
The Nine of Wands is a pensive card, and as long as Zach is still on the Eagles, he's still jealously guarding his role on the team (and his status in the league) against Dallas Goeddert.
For the third year in a row we're ready to give up on the dream of Ertz in Buffalo. We still want it to happen but we're probably done googling "Ertz + Bills" for another year.
ZEKE is The Hanged Man, card #12.
The Hanged Man is in trouble.
The secret of this card is that, with his hands behind his back, the Hanged Man is holding the rope he's hanging by. He can free himself, but it'll cost him a bump on the head.
One fantasy player take we 've been pretty public about the last few years is we think Zeke is washed. He just turned 27 (older than Jordan Howard), and he's averaged 280 carries per season the last five years. That’s 1,413 total career carries, putting him one good season away from the dreaded "1,800 Carry Cliff." We read that article back in 2015 and made it a staple of our draft strategy ever since. NEVER draft an RB with over 1,400 career carries, certainly not in the 1st round.
DAK is The Queen of Swords.
For this Fantasy Tarot deck, Miss Cleo decided to use the four suits to represent the four essential Fantasy Football positions:
Swords - QB
Pentacles - RB
Cups - WR
Wands - other
Dak is the 5th ranked QB at FantasyPros right now, and in our deck he is the 5th highest QB card. Josh Allen is The Magician (1), Mahomes is The Emperor (4), Kyler is the Ace of Swords, and Rodgers is the King.
The Queen of Swords sits on a thrown in the clouds. She wields great power but is entirely at ease, her power is effortless.
Likewise Dak should have the easiest time cracking the top 10 of any NFC East QB. The Cowboys have by far the best receiving corp and the best offensive line in the division. Rodgers is the King but he's very very jealous of the Queen.
AMARI is The Six of Cups.
The Six of Cups is about generosity and helping a friend in need. That's Amari helping young CeeDee tend his garden.
Right now on FantasyPros Amari and CeeDee are the WRs #14 and 15, both with 5th round ADPs. That's about right for CeeDee but we have Amari a lot lower. He had ankle surgery in the off-season and is expected to be back in time for pre-season. We believe it. But we've seen this before from Amari. He's tough as shit. He's had almost every available bodypart listed on an injury report but only missed 3 games in 6 years.
That's why Amari is the selfless Six of Cups. He's just gonna decoy out there for the first month or so and let CeeDee and Dak get all the glory. What a guy!
CEEDEE LAMB is The Two of Cups.
Some what the opposite of the Six, the Two of Cups is about accepting, or taking, what is owed to you. One man voluntarily gives, the other receives, and each is kept in balance and harmony.
Likewise CeeDee and Amari are often thought of as a WR duo that make eachother better by lining up on opposite sides and spreading out the defense. But we think CeeDee could end up with the lion's share of targets at least to start the season.
GREG ZURLEIN is The Queen of Wands.
Much like the Empress, the Queen of Wands is full of feminine energy and mystery.
GZ is ranked #4 among kickers on FantasyPros and we feel like there's a pretty big perceived gap between him and the #3 kicker, Younghoe Koo. Zurlein is the third Kicker in our deck but the top four (Tucker, Butker, GZ, and Koo) are all pretty interchangeable for us this early. The Cowboys offense is gonna move the ball, but there's no reason they have to score TDs on all those drives. Kicking is all about opportunity, and kicking opportunity is a crapshoot. GZ has as good a shot at #1 as anybody, but then again so does Graham Gano.
ANTONIO GIBSON is The Two of Pentacles.
The two of Pentacles (aka Two of Coins) is another card about balance, but this time you're doing it on your own. We gave Antonio two balls, one for rushing and one for receiving. He's ready to carry that load even if Fitz gets lost at sea.
We were cautiously hyped on Antonio last year but Sharon snagged him in round 9. Fuckin great pick.
He's gonna be the best keeper in Special Ed this year. We're NOT gonna miss out on Gibson in the second round of the Other League draft
TERRY MCLAURIN is The Four of Cups.
We fuckin LOVE scary Terry and this is one of our very favorite cards in the whole deck.
The four of Cups is about being contented with what you have. The angel in the cloud tempts the man with a fourth cup but he's good with the three, so he remains in a Buddha-like meditation.
Terry's got everything he needs with the three cups he was served in 2019 and 2020. Dude caught 145 balls for 2045 yards and 11 TDs and we're pretty sure Washington didn't have a QB either of those seasons. He's clutching what he's got and hoping Fitz and Curtis Samuel don't fuck it up for him.