What a weekend.
The NFL Draft, one of the marquee events of the offseason, took place this weekend, and it did not disappoint. An unusual amount of trades took place, involving bonafide players and not just draft picks.
Potential superstars found out where they would be playing, and several teams left Las Vegas feeling like they are on the verge of a reversal of fortunes for their franchises. All in all, it was one of the most compelling draft weekends in years. I will get into all that, but first, I want to get in the kitchen.
For me, cooking is about learning to utilize different flavors to your advantage. Like contestants on a cooking show with a box of mystery ingredients, sometimes an unexpected element can take your culinary creations in a completely new direction.
Peanut Butter Bacon Burgers
My most recent endeavor in the kitchen featured peanut butter as the unique piece of the puzzle. Inspired by the NFL Draft, we decided to whip up some peanut butter bacon burgers, and they were delicious. They were pretty simple to make too. I used lean ground beef (85/15) for the burgers and here is how I made them.
• Divide 1 lb ground beef into 4 oz portions
• Shape burger patties (I used a burger press and I recommend it.)
• Grill or broil burgers to an internal temp of 160 degrees
For the sauce:
• Combine 1 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup honey, and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper in a saucepan over low heat
I served the burgers with the peanut butter sauce spread on the bun and, of course, bacon. You may decide to increase the amount of cayenne pepper if you truly want a spicy kick. I used a small amount for balance, but I did not want to make it too spicy for the kids.
The sweet and savory peanut butter sauce paired so well with the smokiness of the bacon. I also grilled the burgers on my Traeger, which added to the smoky characteristic. It is hard to beat a big, juicy burger, and “the Sneaky Girls,” my twin daughters, appreciate any excuse to make tater tots.
Peanut Butter & Jelly Wings
Peanut butter can star in non-traditional ways in other recipes too. I have made peanut butter and jelly wings for sharing with my chicken wing-loving daughter. They turned out to be a big hit. Read my Super Bowl edition of “The Fantasy Kitchen” for tips on how I cook wings. If you just want the peanut butter and jelly sauce, try this.
• Combine equal parts peanut butter and jelly (about 3/4 cup each) I used strawberry jam, but most people use grape jelly.
• Add 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp sriracha (more if you want spicy)
• Red pepper flakes are also an option to add spice
It makes a superb sweet and savory sauce for the wings. I imagine you could put the sauce on anything. Peanut butter is a versatile ingredient. It is commonly used in Asian cuisine, particularly Thai and Indonesian fare. You can use peanut butter to make soups, slow cooker meals, or stir fry. The possibilities are wide-reaching.
NFL Draft Surprises Fallout
Like a surprise ingredient in the kitchen, NFL teams found out what they would be working with for the upcoming season over the course of three days in the desert. Sin City hosted the NFL Draft and, by all accounts, it was a success. Football fans watched one of the busiest, craziest drafts in recent memory. There were nine trades in the first round alone.
Tennessee and Baltimore each shipped out their top wide receiver in surprising trades Thursday night. So, now that the dust has settled, what kind of impact will the draft have on fantasy football? Let me tell you who I think made out for the better post-draft.
Jalen Hurts (QB, Philadelphia Eagles)
The Eagles began Thursday night as one of three teams with multiple first-round picks. It was not as much who they selected but rather how they utilized the second of those first-round choices that will have a lasting effect.
Philadelphia sent a pair of picks to Tennessee in exchange for star wide receiver A.J. Brown. Brown is a young player in his prime who immediately upgrades the wide receiver room in Philadelphia.
Hurts, who finished 2021 as the QB9 in 2021, must be grinning ear to ear. Pairing Brown with 2021 first-rounder DeVonta Smith gives the Eagles a formidable threat on the outside. Both players had over 100 targets last season, and each had 64 receptions.
Perhaps most significantly, Brown and Smith each had at least 220 Yards After Catch (YAC). Hurts will benefit greatly from getting the ball to his playmakers and letting them create yards on their own. He is easily a top-10 quarterback for me this year and a top-five season is well within his range of outcomes.
Treylon Burks (WR, Tennessee Titans)
This goes hand-in-hand with the Brown trade. The Titans used pick No. 18, acquired from the Eagles, to select Treylon Burks, who will now be tasked with filling Brown’s shoes in Tennessee.
Fortunately for the Titans, Burks possesses some of the qualities that made Brown a standout in their offense. Both big-bodied receivers, Burks is a few inches taller than Brown. They have similar speed, and both are dangerous with the ball in their hands.
Burks posted 222 rushing yards in his three years at Arkansas and totaled 2,621 yards from scrimmage. A bit of a polarizing prospect throughout the lead-up to the draft, he is a tremendous athlete with a high ceiling. When you consider how heavily he is likely to be targeted given Brown’s departure, his floor is safe, as well. Burks should be viewed as a top-five pick in rookie dynasty drafts.
The New York Jets
Many teams had successful drafts, but it is hard to find a unit that made out better than the New York Jets’ offense. With the second of their two top-10 selections, New York nailed down explosive Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson. In the second round, they added Breece Hall, widely considered the best running back prospect in the draft. Ohio State tight end Jeremy Ruckert was the choice in round three and round four saw them taking the big offensive tackle from Louisiana, Max Mitchell. Second-year quarterback Zach Wilson has to be on cloud nine.
Hall is an ideal-sized NFL running back who posted nearly 4,000 yards rushing in just three seasons at Iowa State. He had a career average of 5.5 Yards Per Carry (YPC) and totaled 734 receiving yards. He is a true three-down back who should be drafted as the top pick in dynasty rookie drafts.
Wilson is alarmingly fast, having posted a 4.38-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. He should see plenty of targets in the Jets’ offense alongside Elijah Moore and Corey Davis, making him a surefire top-five pick in dynasty rookie drafts.
Ruckert is a rugged blocker with great hands for a tight end. He will be a great addition, though he may not see a high volume of targets in a tight end room that just added free agents, C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin. At 6’6” and 307 pounds, Mitchell is a house. He has quick feet and can play at either tackle position. It never hurts to have more beef upfront to protect your investment in a young quarterback.
A number of teams came away from the draft with exciting new additions, albeit not necessarily the ingredients that were expected. After a draft that was at times wild and consistently unpredictable, it will be interesting to see what NFL teams will be able to cook up for the 2022 season.
My motto in the kitchen is “have fun.” For me, it is easy to keep. I sure hope you have fun in your kitchen preparing food for your friends to eat.
Find me on Twitter @DaveFantasy for more life and fantasy sports content.