The Way I See It
Ugh, getting in the right frame of mind to churn out this column is taxing, and you all know how I feel about taxes. So for this Way I See It, I went for some low-hanging fruit this week, so get set for yet another take on the Deshaun Watson suspension, a contrarian opinion on Jonathan Taylor, and my feelings on NASCAR.
Deshaun Watson – Are We Done?
The NFL announced its decision in the Deshaun Watson drama, and as expected, no one was satisfied with the outcome.
Watson received an 11-game suspension and a $5 million fine. The Browns and the league will also each donate $1 million, totaling a $7 million fund supporting the education and prevention of sexual misconduct and assault. It’s important to note that this decision is the result of a settlement between Watson and the NFL, not the result of the NFL’s appeal of the arbitration ruling of Judge Sue L. Robinson (a six-game suspension).
Needless to say, this settlement has left a lot of folks confused and disappointed. To those who feel the need to regulate people’s lives to match their own sensibilities, this settlement was a disgrace; to those who feel there’s no such thing as a crime unless a court of law says there is, this settlement was a huge over-stepping of authority.
My own opinion is now, and has always been, the following: every team should decide for itself what type of people they wish to employ. Until said employees have broken laws, the issue should be a private matter. In this case, Deshaun Watson wasn’t indicted for any crime, let alone convicted of any wrongdoing; thus, the matter should just come down to whether or not the Cleveland Browns feel they can make more money with him than without him.
An Interesting Theory
Of course, that’s my libertarian utopian vision; in reality there’s other factors at play here. Charles Robinson lays out a convincing theory as to why the NFL– seemingly all set to suspend Watson for the entire 2022 season and pay a substantial fine ($10 million), thanks to the rigged appeal process– relented and offered the reported settlement: the NFL was afraid of a protracted legal appeal by Watson’s camp in a federal jurisdiction. Why the fear? Because such an appeal would try to highlight the unequal treatment of players who run afoul of NFL personal conduct policies compared to owners who run afoul of the same policies (think Jerry Jones, Daniel Snyder). It’d be a PR nightmare.
Which brings me back to my original libertarian solution: let each team decide for itself how to deal with its employees who have not been convicted of any crimes. Not a perfect solution, but the best one we could hope to achieve.
Jonathan Taylor: Top Fantasy Pick?
Most mock drafts have Indianapolis Colts’ RB Jonathan Taylor as the top player taken overall, and certainly the top runner taken. There’s also a river of “experts” who have very eloquently (as well as poorly) declared the inevitability of Taylor’s upcoming 2022 dominance.
Unfortunately, they’re all very probably wrong.
You see, over 30 years ago, I stumbled upon a statistically validated leading indicator of RB busts. My theory has often been plagiarized but rarely espoused with any conviction; I’m here to tell you that the Curse of 370 is rarely ever wrong.
While other analysts focused on RBs who logged 370 carries in a season (who did show declines the following year), I realized RBs actually suffered from “wear & tear”, i.e., carries and targets together. As a result, I saw that 87.50% of RBs with wear & tear above 370 the next season had worse performances– averaging a 43.55% decline in fantasy PPR. Think about it: if you knew something would hit 88% of the time, you would take it.
However, starting in 2015, the NFL game changed, and RBs were simply not getting anywhere near 370 wear & tear attempts a season. So I began searching for a new threshold… and found one. It’s 325. Since 2015, when a RB registers a W & T of at least 325 in a season there’s an 88.89% chance of his having a decline the following season, with the average decline being 27.87%. If you looked at the only two RBs for the 2020 season who logged W & T over 325 (Derrick Henry, Dalvin Cook), they both under-performed in 2021 posting PPR score declines of 43.83% and 38.34%, respectively.
In 2021, there three RBs who topped W & T of 325: Joe Mixon (340), Najee Harris (401!) and Jonathan Taylor (383). So if you’re someone who believes in statistical analysis and has the top pick in your fantasy draft, trade down. You’ll thank me next season, just like everyone else has been doing for the past 30 years.
“Is veteran NASCAR driver Aric Almirola retiring following the 2022 Cup Series or not?” asks the opening sentence of an article by The Spun this week. After applying my own analysis to the question, I think I’ve been able to land on a definitive answer: I couldn’t care less about Aric Almirola, NASCAR or anything related to either of them. Look, I’ve been very clear in past columns and shows that when it comes to non-sports and their participants, the needle doesn’t move off zero for me, and very often leads to intense feeling of annoyance.
Not a Sport!
NASCAR is not a sport. The acronym NASCAR is foreign to me; I had to look it up… It stands for National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. Sounds like a crew Boss Hogg assembled during a Dukes of Hazzard planning session.
As a second point, I drive around in an endless circle for hours every time my wife wants me to take her shopping: I fight through a ton of traffic on Long Island’s highways, and then drop her off at the mall and circle the parking lot for hours. After two or three hours of extended left turns while avoiding idiots and old people, the wife texts me to say she’s done shopping and wants me to pick her up… at the furthest point from my current location. Waving her bags of crap, she flags me down. Does that sound like a sport to you? No? Because that’s NASCAR in its essence.
I don’t know Aric Almirola; he might be a saint of a man or a complete jerk. Either way I’ve got more important things to worry about, like whether I want ranch or blue cheese with my wings. Just kidding, that’s never a choice; only ignoble savages prefer ranch to blue cheese with their wings.
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