“The Mundies” is a bi-weekly column by Scott Rinear, awarding life and the fantasy football winners, losers and mirages, starting here, at the conclusion of NFL Week 7. Now in its second year of publishing, this column presents an optimistic outlook on life and an analytical approach to the game.
“Pardon me, Mr. Perfect! I guess I forgot that you never ever make a mistake.” – Lloyd Christmas, “Dumb and Dumber”
I do not like making mistakes. No one really does. It does not feel good, and I do not like to not feel good. Those few simple sentences sum up the struggles I’ve had with this topic.
From age 16 to age 38, to varying extremes, I made it a priority to try and feel as good as possible as much as possible. The feeling of making a mistake did not mesh with this goal. Even the possibility of being wrong was enough to keep me from even attempting to answer or taking a stance on anything. I was constantly in “always agree” mode. I was the guy who would separately agree with both sides of an argument to avoid confrontation and prevent any semblance of being wrong.
I still have a lot of work to do on myself, so I have yet to unearth the origins of some of my issues. I’m pretty sure this behavior was born out of some form of warped self-preservation. Yet, looking back, it was a miserable and boring way to exist. There were a lot of things I never even tried, strictly because I didn’t want to fail.
I often think of it metaphorically, as if I was constantly digging a small hole, standing in the hole and pouring cement over my feet until it formed into concrete. If I didn’t move, I couldn’t get hurt. If I curled up in a ball and never left my room, the world couldn’t hurt me.
Ironically, although narcotic painkillers were my drug of choice, I was never that afraid of physical pain. I can handle physical pain. But mental pain? Emotional pain? I considered those to be unacceptable. I was naive and immature enough to think I could exert enough control to keep them at bay. I was convinced that I was successfully preventing myself from experiencing these feelings. My delusion was that I was cutting the head off of the snake before it caused any pain. However, the snake was always there, alive and well, and I was just ignoring, avoiding and doing everything I could to numb and not feel anything.
I admit that got a little dark. But it helps explain why I have struggled with making mistakes and getting things wrong. And I don’t hold back in these columns. It’s not that I wasn’t aware of the standard cliches growing up; we learn from our mistakes, and knowing why we got something wrong can be more valuable than getting that thing right. And this is true. But I wasn’t interested in growth for a long time if it meant I’d have to feel bad.
I’ve made a lot of progress as I’ve gotten older and removed the numbing agent from my life. Today, relatively speaking, I am OK with making mistakes. I am fine with getting things wrong.
Not always, though.
I still allow the fear of discomfort and pain to stay at the party it wasn’t invited to. But far less often does it stop me from doing something. And being a part of this fantasy football community has played a major role in that improvement.
Same Me, Just Healthier
Sometimes I think of my current self as the “new me.” But it’s the same me it always has been, just a more mentally and emotionally healthy version. And a big reason for this I can trace back to November 2020.
Once I cut through the cloud of fear and decided to throw my name into the fantasy football ring, I made a second conscious decision. I was going to start from a place of honesty and integrity. It was a clean slate opportunity for which I was not going to bury my feet in concrete. For the first time, maybe ever, I prioritized just being myself, no matter what. Risking the typical fear-based roadblocks like rejection and “people not liking me,” I allowed myself to be vulnerable.
And what that has led to in this space has been miraculous when compared to just five years ago. The friends I’ve made, those who have helped me without even really knowing me and the people I’ve been able to help are an invaluable part of my life now. The experiences and opportunities I’ve had, an environment that facilitates a daily creative release and the ability to finally do something I’m passionate about has me in a regular state of gratitude. These are prominent reasons why I am happier more often and in a better place mentally than at any other time in my life.
Cliches Become Reality
I’m going to make mistakes, and I’ll be wrong more often than I’m right. I’m still not going to like it some of the time. But I will be OK with it. Regardless of how it makes me feel, and to the best of my ability, I won’t let fear make decisions for me.
As a 43-year-old, I am just now starting to put the cliches into action and make them a reality. I have learned so much over the last two years – a lot of it through trial and error and being wrong. I still try to avoid mistakes, but the motivation is no longer self-preservation or a petrifying fear of feeling. It’s because I want to do my best work, and I want to treat people with empathy and respect.
And now, The Mundie Awards.
This column was written before the Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football games in Week 6.
THE NFL WEEK 7 MUNDIE AWARD
The Mundie will be awarded to a player or players who were winners during the previous week(s), whether directly by scoring a lot of fantasy points or from a volume/opportunity standpoint that puts them in a position to score a lot of fantasy points moving forward.
Parris Campbell (WR, Indianapolis Colts)
It feels good to hand this award to Parris Campbell. I have been a fan of Campbell since his days at Ohio State University and have watched him sustain injury after injury since being drafted by the Colts with the 59th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Campbell came out of college with an impressive athletic profile, ranking in the 97th percentile or higher in 40-time, speed score, burst score and breakout age. His athleticism and explosiveness have not been in question. He just could not stay healthy.
Coming into the 2022 season, Campbell had played in only 15 of a possible 49 games, and his 26 targets through only six weeks of 2022 were already a career-high. Finally healthy, Campbell averaged the following from Week 1 through Week 5:
• Targets per game: Three
• Receptions per game: 2.2
• Receiving yards per game: 22.4
• Target share: Eight percent
These are not attention-grabbing or fantasy-relevant numbers. However, Campbell’s peripheral statistics have been solid all season. On the Colts, Campbell is second to only Michael Pittman Jr. in WR snap share at 83.4 percent, leading the Colts in routes run. Pittman did miss a game, so Campbell is also second to Pittman in routes run per game, but the point is he’s been on the field a lot and is plenty involved in the Colts’ route packages as the primary slot WR.
Campbell has an Average Depth of Target (aDOT) of 5.8 and a 67 percent slot rate, the second highest in the NFL. These shorter, quicker targets can be a valuable position for a team whose offensive line ranks 31st in the league, according to PFF. It just had not translated to any fantasy relevance until Week 6.
Campbell has taken off the last two weeks with the following averages:
• Targets per game: 11.5
• Receptions per game: 8.5
• Receiving yards per game: 63.5
• Target share: 23.7 percent
With the Colts averaging over 42 pass attempts per game, Campbell has shown that if he can stay on the field, he may finally be able to sustain consistent fantasy relevance. You love to see it. And he is widely available, at only a 2.7 percent rostership in ESPN leagues.
THE NFL WEEK 7 ANDY BERNARD WALL PUNCH AWARD
The theme of this award is overreaction, and Andy Bernard said it himself after punching through the wall, “That was an overreaction.” This award will be awarded to a player or players as a warning to not overreact to recent performances or outcomes, either good or bad.
Marquise Goodwin (WR, Seattle Seahawks)
As a Seahawks fan, no one is more surprised than me that they are atop the NFC West standings through NFL Week 7. Geno Smith has been a revelation in 2022 and has the Seattle offense playing with efficiency and effectiveness that will likely continue.
Marquise Goodwin will likely be an intriguing waiver option in Week 8. D.K. Metcalf had to be carted off the field versus the Chargers after landing awkwardly on his knee. Seattle ruled him out immediately, which is typically not a good sign. As of this writing, initial tests have not shown any damage to Metcalf’s knee, but he will undergo further tests to confirm. The Seahawks may have dodged a bullet, but that doesn’t mean Metcalf won’t miss any time.
Before NFL Week 7, Goodwin had seen 10 targets on the season, with a snap share under 50 percent. Goodwin essentially filled in for Metcalf after the injury and turned in a stellar fantasy performance. Goodwin caught four of five targets for 67 yards, including two impressive TD catches. Tyler Lockett had some crucial third-down catches, but Goodwin was the receiving star on the day for Seattle.
Even if Metcalf misses time, I don’t think Goodwin has staying power as a fantasy-relevant WR. The Seahawks homer in me hopes I’m wrong. However, this looks like a spike game for Goodwin, a WR who hasn’t seen more than 43 targets in a season since 2017. Two TDs on five targets is not sustainable. With how much the Seahawks throw to the TE (25.4 percent TE target share coming into NFL Week 7, fifth-highest), I don’t think there is a third Seahawks WR who will be consistently fantasy relevant.
THE NFL WEEK 7 BUFFALO BRANCH AWARD
No relation to the Bills. The Buffalo Branch Award will be handed out to a player or players who were “not great Bob” during the previous week(s) and is representative of the trend rather than the exception for that player.
AJ Dillon (RB, Green Bay Packers)
Handing this award to AJ Dillon stings. The In-Between media (IBT) family was bullish on Dillon coming into the 2022 season. I still have hope for Dillon long-term, but he is looking like a major disappointment based on expectations. Many saw Dillon as a great value where he was being drafted in redraft formats as a solid option as your Points Per Reception (PPR) RB2. If you waited on RB, he was perceived as a good option in that context for your team’s RB1. Overall, he was valued as an RB2 who could be a league-winner if fellow Packer RB Aaron Jones were to miss time.
The fact that Dillon is in a shared backfield with Jones was baked into that Average Draft Position (ADP). True “bell cow” RBs are certainly rare these days. So subsequently sharing backfield duties is not the knock for an individual RB as it used to be. It all boils down to opportunity and efficiency, and in 2021 Dillon was able to approach the production of Jones:
2021 Aaron Jones (PPR RB10):
• 15 opportunities (rush attempts plus targets) per game
• 14.9 touches per game
• 5.3 yards per touch
• 79.3 scrimmage yards per game
• 10 touchdowns
2021 A.J. Dillon (PPR 23):
• 13.2 opportunities per game
• 13 touches per game
• Five yards per touch• 65.7 scrimmage yards per game
• Seven touchdowns
Dillon also surpassed Jones in rush attempts, 187 to 171, while Jones was more efficient and scored more TDs and is the better fantasy option between the two. But expectations were that Dillon would build on that 2021 resumé, potentially taking an even larger share of the rush attempts in 2022.
Through the first four weeks, it seemed to be happening. Dillon averaged 14.2 opportunities and 14.3 rush attempts in that span. But both Dillon and Jones have taken a nosedive during the Packers’ current three-game losing streak. Dillon has averaged 6.7 opportunities in those games and only 31.3 scrimmage yards per game, including a four-carry, zero-target game in NFL Week 7. There have been rumors all season about the Packers acquiring another WR. Still, until something changes in Green Bay, Dillon looks like one of the bigger disappointments of 2022.
Thank you so much for reading my NFL Week 7 winners and losers! As I have moved toward more analytics-based fantasy football content, my goal is to provide that content in a manner that is as easy to digest as possible. Advanced analytics are very useful, and I think can be explained simply and logically. Please feel free to reach out to me to explain more about the analytical concepts I present in these columns. My Direct Messages (DMs) are always open.