DOMINICK PETRILLO @ENVISIONFF
It is finally the offseason. So why not have some fun.
While others are busy putting out lists of top players who are not even on NFL rosters yet, I decided to pick players who are and relate them to clumps of rock and balls of gas in the solar system. We work so hard leading up to and through the season. Now it is time for the silly season, so just take a gander and enjoy the solar system as it relates to the football world.
Jameis Winston (QB, TBB) He can be one of the hottest quarterbacks in the league when he is right, but when he is wrong, e can be one of the coldest. This fits perfectly with Mercury, which at 800 degrees facing the sun is the second hottest planet in the solar system. But on the side away from the sun? It is a frigid -340 degrees making it one of the coldest. Also, much like Jameis Winston, it is not very mobile. Although it does orbit the sun in less than 90 days, it does not move around, in this case, rotate.
When it comes to Winston and Mercury, they are never going to elude anything coming their way. Hence why Winston cannot help but throw interceptions and why Mercury is full of craters from meteor hits. Neither one is very glamourous for sure, nor if you have an option, neither would be your first choice. But much like Mercury being the first planet, Winston was the first draft choice and therefore is still given chances to prove his worth to his team. An opportunity soon to run out with another season in the 30/30 club.
If the Buccaneers want to win or even get to the playoffs, it is time they move on from Jameis Winston and bring in a better quarterback to replace him. But unfortunately, much like the planet Mercury, he is probably here to stay.
Stefon Diggs (WR, MIN) The hottest of the planets at 900 degrees is also one of the most volatile. Much like Stefon Diggs, who can be a top receiver as one of the best route runners in the NFL. But he is also full of drama and toxic behavior in the locker room. Much like Venus, which is slowly being destroyed by out of control greenhouse effect, Diggs and his drama-filled personality are likely to find themselves on a different team sooner rather than later. He may think the pastures will be greener somewhere else but ask the last toxic WR Antonio Brown how that worked out for him.
Stefon Diggs would be better off settling himself down and realizing he has a very good quarterback in Kirk Cousins. One who will help him be the best of his ability. If he is unable to see this and instead is as blind as me to what is around him? Well then, I hope he ends up with a team that has no concept on how to use him, like the Houston Roughnecks or New York Guardians.
Austin Ekeler (RB, LAC) This one was kind of difficult. I wanted to put JuJu Smith-Schuster here, but after a down season, it didn’t feel right. So, I went with another player who, although hot flashy or brash, just gets the job done quietly.
After a season as the backup to Melvin Gordon, Ekeler got his chance to shine in 2019 and did so. With Gordon stupidly sitting out to start the year, Austin thrived behind a subpar Los Angeles Chargers offensive line. Even when Gordon returned, Ekeler did not indeed relinquish his role. He was still finishing as a top-five fantasy running back in many formats. While his run game work was good, his pass game exploits were extreme. He has propelled himself into the conversation as a topflight pass game back and drove Melvin Gordon clear out of California.
It will be exciting to see what he will accomplish in 2020 as the primary back for the Chargers. If last season is any indication, we could be seeing the next number one fantasy running back should McCaffrey slip at all or Barkley not return to form.
Melvin Gordon (RB, LAC) After Earth is Mars. With Austin Ekeler taking his place in the Chargers backfield, Melvin Gordon has been relegated to the red planet. Waiting and wondering what could have been and where he goes from here.
Mars is like a self-imposed purgatory, and Gordon belonged right there due to his hold out last season. If he winds up in a good situation next season, like Houston, he could quickly come back to earth. But if he runs for the money and ends up in an even worse situation, he could end up on Pluto right next to Le’Veon Bell, wondering where he is and why it is so cold.
Tom Brady (QB, NEP) Is it my favorite planet? No, but it is the biggest and best. This is why the all-time best quarterback in league history, Tom Brady, gets the nod as Jupiter.
Sure, there have been a few storms in his career. But not unlike the storms of Jupiter, they are minor in comparison to its size. And like the Big Red Spot on Jupiter, Brady had one major blip in his career. That being the missed season after tearing his ACL. Other than one lost season or giant spot, Brady has been outstanding and crushed anyone who tried to claim his throne. Like Jupiter crushing any satellite which tried to invade its atmosphere, Brady and Belichick are a force you can not defeat. You can only hope to contain them for a little while.
While it is not the brightest object in the sky like Patrick Mahomes, it is still the best, and its pull is felt by everyone and everything else in the solar system.
Aaron Rodgers (QB, GBP) Like Jupiter, Saturn is one of the giants. Unlike Saturn, this is my favorite planet and also a lot flashier than Jupiter. Much like Aaron Rodgers is flashier than Tom Brady.
While he is not as accomplished and therefore not as great as Tom Brady, he is far more naturally talented than Brady. This makes Rodgers much more exciting on the field than his counterpart from the east coast.
I have always said Brady is the best quarterback, but Rodgers is the most talented. This is shown here as Brady gets the Jupiter spot as the biggest and best, but Rodgers gets the place as the more exciting Saturn location. You cannot go wrong with either of these planets or these players, so pick your poison. But never forget, bias aside, he may not be your favorite or mine. But Brady is the best, and Rodgers is the more talented.
Jordan Reed (TE, WAS) This one is kind of mean, but I had to do it. Why is Jordan Reed Uranus? It is simple for those who know the planets. It is because, like Jordan Reed getting hit and knocked out with concussions all the time, Uranus was also walloped in its time of development that it actually turned completely sideways, and its axes are sideways. As I said, it is mean, but it is also fitting.
Reed was a big star. One of the best tight ends when he was able to play. Much like Uranus is one of the biggest planets. But much like Uranus, Reed’s time is through. I genuinely hope Reed learns from his last concussion. One which he just cleared protocol from the previous week and retires. He has given football everything he could. From lost toes to head injuries and everything in between, Jordan Reed has nothing to prove. At 29 years of age, he should walk away before he gets hurt even worse. It is strange to say he should look to Rob Gronkowski for advice, but he should do just that. Take Gronk’s example and walk into retirement, wealthy, and mostly healthy.
Russell Wilson (QB, SEA) Somewhat forgotten but possibly the most beautiful planet, it fits right in with the forgotten nature of the glorious career of Russell Wilson.
Maybe it is because he is in the pacific northwest with no other teams around. Perhaps it is because the Seahawks are not a flashy team that makes a significant slash. Whatever the reason, Wilson, like Neptune, is consistently underrated in the NFL world.
In 2019, he was the only quarterback who was drafted in the top 10 who outperformed their ADP. This has been happening year over year, and it is time we recognize it. Another good option here would have been Dak Prescott, but Wilson is the better player and, besides, who wants a Cowboy on their list.
The only thing slightly holding Wilson back is a good offensive line. It has improved, but not to the extent it needs to. If this gets fixed this offseason, look for Seattle to be in contention for a Super Bowl berth in the 2021 game. If it happens, it will be due to Russell Wilson getting the most out of all the surrounding players. Only please, Russell, Enough with the Stefon Urkel imitation. Just be yourself.
Le’Veon Bell (RB, NYJ) First he was great. Then he removed himself from the league. After he returned, he was a shell of his former self. Sound familiar?
Yes. Like Pluto being demoted and then somewhat promoted again to a dwarf planet, the best days of Le’Veon Bell are behind him. As long as he is with the New York Jets and, more importantly, Adam, Gase, his fantasy value has shrunk to that of a dwarf planet.
This may be mean to say, but he brought this on himself. Instead of sticking with the team, which made him a star, he wanted a bigger city and took the money of New York. Well to paraphrase Frank Sinatra: If you can’t make it here, you won’t make it again anywhere.:
Maybe he will get onto a new team and succeed again. But he will never be the same. Much like Pluto, he is more of a planetary afterthought at this point than a real planet.
Patrick Mahomes (QB, KCC) The most prominent and brightest star in the NFL today. This is the spot for Mahomes. Even I can see it. Whether you are a Chiefs fan or not, it is undeniable who has taken the league by storm over the past two seasons. Some May try to throw Lamar Jackson and the season he had in 2019 in your face. But those people are wrong.
Patrick Mahomes does not have the legs of Jackson. But he runs very well in his own right. Just ask the Tennessee Titans. He is also the best passer in the NFL. The arm strength is incredible, and the precision is out of this world.
If somehow he does not keep up the pace he is on; maybe someone else can take over this spot in the future. But until he flames out much like the sun will eventually, he belongs as the most significant and brightest star in the solar system.
Baker Mayfield (QB, CLE) Not just because he is out there with his attitude, but also because much like the moon landing, no one is sure whether Mayfield is good or not.
After a good rookie season where he broke Peyton Manning’s record for touchdown passes as a rookie, Baker followed it up by throwing for so many interceptions in 2019, he was lucky Jameis Winston was also playing quarterback to take the glare off him. If he does not return to form in 2020, the Cleveland Browns and his career ark may go the way of a black hole. But if he can mature and prove himself competent? We may also just find out once and for all that he like the moon landing was real after all.
Dalvin Cook (RB, MIN) Is he a great player? Yes. But he is also not a reliable one.
Of course, he is more reliable than say, a comet, but with all the injuries and coming in and out of the game, it is unknown when and if he is going to boom or bust on a given week.
Even in the best of matchups, Cook is a shot in the dark. When you do see him, much like the shooting star, he will bring good luck and a win. But if you don’t see the star and you play him anyway, it is a gamble whether he will make it through or not.
Knowing this, you are still going to draft him high and play him. He will likely go in the first round of many fantasy drafts for 2020. But like others from the past, David Johnson 2019 and others, he could be the pick who flames out and doesn’t return results you may have wanted him to.
Sammy Watkins (WR, KCC) This was the most natural choice of all. Much like Halley’s Comet, Sammy Watkins seemingly only comes around once every 100 years or so. This said, when it does, it is a sight to behold.
In the early part of the 2019 season, Watkins had a remarkable game against the Raiders. One which made us think he would finally have a full season of production. But then it happened. And it happened. And it happened…
And week after week, he did nothing. Yet again disappointing all of his owners. He did not re-emerge again until the NFL playoffs. Much after the time, he would be useful for your fantasy needs. Like Halley’s Comet, most people will only see it once in their lifetime. With Watkins, you get one good game in the lifetime which is the season. If you can use him for that week and then flip him somehow? Awesome. But it is not likely to happen. Just like it is unlikely you will see Halley’s Comet twice in a lifetime.