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WALLY’S WORLD: Pre-Super Bowl Edition

Welcome to the Pre-Super Bowl edition of Wally’s World. If you’ve ever perused this particular article, you know that we aren’t exactly big believers on the old saying, “The fastest way between two points is a straight line.”

When we fire up the Wagon Queen Family Truckster there’s a tendency to zig-zag a bit with stops along the way to check out the sights such as the world’s biggest ball of quarterback (I’m looking at you, Jared Lorenzen).

So please do not be misled by the title of this edition as it’s not going to be a position by position breakdown of the big game.

I just happen to be writing it in the weeks between the conference championships and the Super Bowl. Thus, the catchy title ‘Pre-Super Bowl’ edition.

I will offer up at least one thought regarding the New England and Atlanta matchup. After the completely “meh” playoff games outside of Dallas against Green Bay, please just be a close game worth watching into the fourth quarter.

Those were some of the worst NFL playoff games Old Uncle Waldo can remember.

Alright. Let’s hit the road for a look back at 2016 as well as a look ahead to the 2017 season. And let’s face it – there are likely to be some sideways looks as well.

Let’s get the bad news out of the way early as Old Uncle Waldo did not have a great 2016, failing to bring home a single championship in either ‘expert’ or local long-time leagues. There were plenty of playoff appearances as well as a few championship games played but no need to clear off space on the mantle for a trophy.

I suppose it’s a good thing that I actually don’t have a mantle.

There were too many Todd GurleyBen Roethlisberger (go ahead and retire as I’m still mad at you) and DeAndre Hopkins sightings on my rosters that led to an uphill climb for much of the season.

Drinking a bit too much of the Matt Forte Kool-Aid didn’t do Old Uncle Waldo any favors either.

On the flip side, Melvin Gordon and Jordan Howard definitely saved my bacon in quite a few leagues. So there’s that.

Let’s go sideways for a second here. Anyone else excited about the prospect of Tony Romo ending up as the starting quarterback for Houston? I know Denver keeps being mentioned but my man crush on the aforementioned DeAndre Hopkins has me hoping that Romo stays in-state for the 2017 season.

Running back Lamar Miller would benefit from that scenario as well.

It was a gut punch watching Thomas Rawls and Randall Cobb have huge games in the NFL playoffs after doing basically nothing for yearlong fantasy purposes. Thanks for nothing, fellas.

It was especially painful watching Rawls tear up my beloved Detroit Lions in the Wild Card round.

I am officially avoiding drafting Rob Gronkowski from here on out. Too many injuries and too many good options later in the draft. In fact, I may avoid the position all together until at least the sixth or seventh round.

If Gronkowski happens to still be around at that point in the draft then I’ll amend my earlier statement.

Speaking of the draft. Have to believe that if Old Uncle Waldo has a Top 3 selection in re-draft leagues then he’s going running back early.

I can certainly see building a strong roster around Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson or Ezekiel Elliott.

After those three things get very interesting as far as the rest of the Top 10 running backs. Will folks prefer the youth of Jay AjayiJordan HowardTodd Gurley (still mad at you) and Melvin Gordon? Or will they look to the experience and proven track records of LeSean McCoy and Demarco Murray?

There will be plenty of debates between now and fantasy draft day for sure.

As long as the ageless wonder Drew Brees is under center for New Orleans I will be buying high on wide receiver Michael Thomas. The kid had a great rookie season and will only get better heading into his sophomore campaign.

Speaking of Brees, it’s nice to see that Dak Prescott spoke about following him around the Pro-Bowl (ugh) practices in order to become a better player. A very smart move for Prescott.

It’s also encouraging to hear Kansas City head coach Andy Reid talking about doubling the number of snaps that wide receiver Tyreek Hill could play next year. That young man is electrifying with the ball in his hands. Be careful to not jump on the youngster too high in drafts though as Kansas City isn’t going to suddenly transform into “The Greatest Show on Turf.” It’s just not the Reid way.

Sorry to see Baltimore linebacker Zach Orr retire so young (24 years old) as he was emerging as an Individual Defensive Players (IDP) stud.

That being said, I will always support players choosing to step away rather than risk their health by continuing to play. I hope he enjoys a happy and healthy life. It was certainly fun watching him play.

Ooh! Before I forget let’s take one final look at my ‘breakout’ tight end for the 2016 season – Green Bay’s Jared Cook. Cook finished the regular season with 30 receptions for 377 yards and a single touchdown.

Wait. In the NFL playoffs Cook caught 18 passes for 230 yards and a pair of touchdowns! So in the end … hmm … let me try to spin this positively. Cook did produce some nice numbers … after it didn’t matter for season long fantasy leagues.

Nope. I was wrong. There. I said it.

Here’s hoping that working with a personal quarterbacks coach this offseason pays off for Denver’s Paxton Lynch. Denver needs more than 20 total touchdown passes next season or Demaryius Thomas’ and Emmanuel Sanders’ fantasy values will continue to plummet.

It wouldn’t bother Old Uncle Waldo if Oakland decided to allow running back Latavius Murray to walk via free agency. That would open up more touches for Jalen Richard and that speedster has game-breaking abilities in all facets of the game.

Keep that kid’s name in mind on fantasy draft day. Trust me.

Don’t sleep on Chicago’s Kevin White  either. Especially if Alshon Jeffery doesn’t re-sign with Chicago.

That’s plenty of rambling for now. I have to get ready for my Pro Bowl Party. Bwahahahahahaha!

No. Old Uncle Waldo does not watch the Pro Bowl.

About Wally Spurlin

Wally Spurlin is a Fantasy Football Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writer Association (FSWA). Spurlin’s work has appeared in print publications, including the FSWA award winning 2014 USA Today Fantasy Football magazine as well as the 2015 edition. Wally is also a weekly co-host on the Fantasy Football Feeding Frenzy pod cast on Fantasy Sharks Radio at Blog Talk Radio.Follow him on Twitter @WaltonSpurlin