Here we are, approaching the middle of July with hot summer temperatures on the way, if they have not already arrived where you are. Though I find the summertime heat positively stifling, this past week has been filled with entertainment and ways to beat the heat.
Fourth of July Festivities
Last Monday was the Fourth of July here in the U.S. I took my family down to a local park for a family-friendly neighborhood event. There were inflatable slides, a swing ride and a climbing wall. A food truck served corn dogs, and a DJ blasted music across the park.
My daughters, the “Sneaky Girls,” lived it up. Besides the swing ride, the water slide was their favorite. As the day warmed up, I was a little jealous of them cooling off in the water.
After the park festivities, we went to my parents’ house to enjoy a day of smoking ridiculous amounts of meat while my wife took charge of creating the side dishes.
My beloved Detroit Tigers (yes, I know I root for a losing team) played a doubleheader and won both games. It was a banner day for the Tigers. After gorging ourselves at dinner, we returned home to prepare to watch fireworks exploding all across our neighborhood. These midsummer Idaho days last a long while; it doesn’t get dark until well after 10 pm. Our next-door neighbors put on quite a show and even shared sparklers with the Sneaky Girls, whose bedtime seemed to be forgotten. We packed as much fun into that day as possible.
Saturday brought us two birthday parties to attend. The first was for a neighborhood kid and came with a bike rodeo, hot dogs, and ice cream. My kids felt like it was a hit and what really struck me was how excited they were for the birthday boy. Kids tend to view everything in life as being about themselves. Seeing them understand that this party was not about them but rather the guest of honor was quite refreshing. They seemed genuinely pleased watching him open gifts. It will always be a reward for a father to see his kids exhibiting selflessness.
After roaming the neighborhood on their bike parade, the girls were ecstatic that birthday party No. 2 included a swimming pool. They spent the better part of the afternoon splashing and playing with friends. This party was for my neighbor across the street, and I was pleased because he has a smoker and likes to use it. There were chipotle lime ribs and al pastor. It was a culinary treat for sure. I had a good time mingling despite not really knowing any of his party guests. I have always been comfortable meeting strangers.
We wrapped up the night by pitching a tent on top of the trampoline for a fun campout night. We did not have a campfire, but we did watch a movie in the tent on my computer. There is something to be said for camping where there is WiFi. Not surprisingly, the girls did not stay awake for much of the movie.
Who can blame them? They had a full day.
More than just recapping the week, I wrote about celebrations because I think we all need to celebrate the good things in our lives and care about others. Invite people to your celebrations. Talk and listen to them. Meet a stranger. Enjoy the camaraderie. Be present in those moments and understand when you are creating memories.
The Scott Fish Bowl
The Scott Fish Bowl (SFB) is also about all of these things. Scott and his compadre, Ryan McDowell, run the world’s largest pro-am fantasy football league. This year’s event, dubbed “SFB12” for the league’s 12th year, features 3,000 competitors. It is an outstanding opportunity to make new friends, network and – best of all – raise money for charity.
With my passion for digging deep to uncover late-round talent, I have highlighted one player in each of the last eight rounds that could help make the difference between winning and losing for your SFB12 squad.
Late-Round SFB12 Targets
Round 15: Baker Mayfield (QB, Carolina Panthers)
Now, I understand the Average Draft Position (ADP) may be a little off for Baker Mayfield, considering he was traded to the Carolina Panthers just last week. There is a realistic chance he will not be available by the time your draft reaches round 15. However, if he is there, you should pull the trigger.
Mayfield struggled last year due largely to playing the majority of the season with a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. He injured his shoulder attempting a tackle after throwing an interception in week 2 and had surgery in January to repair the torn labrum.
2021 was the only season of his career that Mayfield failed to throw 20+ touchdowns. His completion percentage dropped from 62.8 percent in 2020 to 60.5 percent last season. He also experienced career-lows in passing yards, Yards Per Attempt (YPA), First Downs Gained and Quarterback Rating.
The point is that he is bound to bounce back. With the importance of quarterbacks in this superflex format, finding a player in round 15 who is likely to start every game, barring injury, is a dream come true.
Wait, what? I’m recommending a kicker? I certainly am.
Tyer Bass is not just any kicker. Last season, he kicked 28 field goals and 51 Points After Touchdown (PATs). He did not miss a single PAT. Buffalo has good offense again this year and should be expected to put up points. Bass was 136th in SFB11 scoring. SFB scoring now does not penalize missed field goals but does add 0.1 point per yard of field goal distance. In addition, one point is awarded for every field goal made.
For example, a 42-yard field goal is worth 5.2 points (one for the made field goal, 4.2 for the distance.) Last year, Bass kicked two 50+ field goals, including a 57-yarder. His career-long is 58, kicked in 2020. He is a virtual guarantee to return on his 16th-round ADP.
I cannot pretend there is no risk in picking Bryan Edwards. While he had his believers coming out of the 2020 NFL Draft, he did not do much to impress in his two seasons in Las Vegas. Now in a new city, he finds himself as a potential starter in the Falcons’ offense.
Calvin Ridley is suspended for the year for gambling on football games, and Kyle Pitts cannot possibly catch every pass in Atlanta this year. The Falcons selected Drake London with the eighth-overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, and he will become the de facto No. 1 receiver. Olamide Zaccheaus will likely play the majority of his snaps from the slot, allowing the physically imposing Edwards to line up outside, opposite London.
Edwards had a healthy 14.1 Air Yards Per Target in 2021 and has an 80th percentile speed score, according to PlayerProfiler, suggesting he could become a deep threat in Atlanta.
We all know that Deshaun Watson is facing a suspension that could be as long as the entire season. So, how is Jacoby Brissett available in the 18th round? Stop asking questions and just draft him. He could be starting 17 games for the Browns this year.
Brissett has only started 15 games in a season twice in his career, both for Indianapolis. While his numbers will not make your eyes pop, he has thrown at least 13 touchdowns in each of those seasons and passed for around 3,000 yards in each. He also adds a little with his legs, topping 250 rush yards in both 2017 and 2019.
He also rushed for at least 15 first downs in each of those seasons. Rushing and receiving first downs are worth 0.5 points in SFB scoring. Cleveland’s offense has a few more playmakers than the Colts’ offenses Brissett played with, and I expect Brissett to have his best season to date. In round 18, it is hard to imagine Brissett not returning value.
This is the riskiest of all my selections in this article. Chris Carson may never play again due to a serious neck injury. However, he is a hard worker who is unwilling to give up his football career.
If he never sees the field again, this will be a wasted pick. But when he has been on the field, he has been dominant. In 2021, playing in four games, he totaled 232 yards rushing and three touchdowns. He had an impressive 26.7 percent Juke Rate and his 66.7 percent opportunity ranked ninth among running backs. He has never had less than 1,151 rushing yards in any season where he played in 14 or more games. Therefore, this is a pick with some risk and a potentially big reward.
I have written about Justyn Ross before. He has first-round NFL talent, but serious injury concerns led to him falling out of the 2022 NFL Draft. Ross burst onto the national scene as a freshman at Clemson Univesity, reaching 1,000 receiving yards and nine touchdowns on only 46 catches.
He put on another solid performance in his sophomore year with 865 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. However, Ross missed the 2020 season after undergoing congenital fusion surgery to address a severe neck injury.
Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney said that only four NFL teams cleared Ross medically, so the risk of injury will remain a serious concern throughout his career. Yet, Ross has the talent and size to be an effective, perhaps excellent, NFL receiver. No pick this late comes without risk, so this is a ceiling play. With Tyreek Hill traded to Miami, the Chiefs will be looking to new faces to have an impact in the receiving game.
Round 21: Will Fuller (WR, Free Agent)
Will Fuller is not currently on an NFL roster but has been one of the league’s premier deep threats throughout his oft-injured playing career. No matter what team inevitably signs him, Fuller will be utilized in much the same way he has been throughout his six-year career.
Fuller has played in only 55 of a potential 97 games during those six seasons, so he clearly misses a lot of time. But when he is on the field, he is explosive and catches nearly everything. Fuller has only eight career drops and averages 14.7 YPR with 24 career touchdowns to his name. In the right place, perhaps Green Bay, Fuller can be a dangerous downfield weapon.
We’ve all heard the old-man jokes. Velus Jones is a 25-year-old rookie. That is because he played six college football seasons between his time at USC and Tennessee (yeah, I’m not really sure how that happened either). Primarily a kick returner before breaking out as a receiver in his final collegiate campaign, Jones has blistering speed on a solid 6-foot, 204-pound frame.
He is expected to crack the starting lineup as a rookie for the Chicago Bears, playing alongside Darnell Mooney and Byron Pringle in the Bears’ receiving game. No offense to Pringle and his family, but I believe Jones has the inside track to become the Bears’ No. 2 receiver this year.
If you are one of the lucky ones to be included in SFB12, count your blessings, join your league and draft slot chats on Twitter, donate to charity and have a fantastic time. I hope my advice will help you draft a winning squad. Best of luck.
Life is hard, but it gets a little easier when we learn to lean on each other. Find me on Twitter @DaveFantasy for more life and fantasy sports content.