😵‍💫 Trouble in Paradise? (San Francisco)

"Show me the money!" - Brandon Aiyuk...

Fantasy Life Presented by Masterworks

Loser of my fantasy league has to wear Joe Burrow’s backless shirt for a month

In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Masterworks:

  • Disgruntled WR Brandon Aiyuk met with the 49ers on Monday

  • Rams WR Cooper Kupp is finally feeling healthy again

  • What Now? The Principles of Fantasy Football

  • It’s 6/25. Take it away, Ian Hartitz…

Most of this year’s key offseason storylines have already been resolved. From star QBs and WRs getting new big-money deals, to Kirk Cousins … and Michael Penix Jr. finding new homes in Atlanta: The majority of rosters are pretty much all set just 72 days away from the 2024 season opener.

And yet, the Brandon Aiyuk situation simply won’t go away. A quick refresher:

  • March 19: Aiyuk tweeted at Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin to see what he thought about the public thinking they are twins (I can see it).

  • March 25: Aiyuk sent a cryptic emoji-filled IG story that seemed to translate to, “Money talks, bullshit walks.”

  • June 17: A video of Aiyuk and former Arizona State teammate/current Commanders QB1 Jayden Daniels surfaced, with the 49ers’ WR noting, “They say they don’t want me back.”

  • June 24: ESPN’s Ryan Clark said that Aiyuk walked into their meeting WITH Daniels before revealing that he would be linking up with the 49ers later in the day. To be clear, Daniels was with Aiyuk for Clark’s podcast, not for the meeting with San Francisco (that would be illegal tampering!).

Clark also noted that Aiyuk has been taking the negotiations “personal” and that while his first choice is to stay in San Francisco, he’s comfortable playing elsewhere if they’re willing to trade him.

Now, dealing with a disgruntled WR isn’t exactly anything new for 49ers GM John Lynch and company. After all, Deebo Samuel publicly requested a trade in April of 2022 … before signing a big-money extension by the end of July.

The 49ers certainly don’t need to match their stud wide-out’s demands: Aiyuk remains under contract through 2024 and could feasibly be franchise-tagged in 2025.

This is certainly a better football team with the rising fifth-year pro on it. Aiyuk’s route-running mixtape is as good as anyone’s and he will be just 26 years young next season. The man is fresh off one of the most efficient seasons from a WR in the last decade; it's not surprising that ESPN (No. 1) and PFF (No. 2) both graded him among the position's very best players of 2023.

The results in fantasy land have certainly been pretty, pretty, pretty good over the years despite the absence of a WR1-worthy workload:

  • 2023: 15.6 PPR points per game (WR16), 105 targets (30th among all WRs)

  • 2022: 13.4 (WR24), 114 (25th)

  • 2021: 10 (WR44), 84 (44th)

  • 2020: 15.4 (WR18), 96 (38th)

The Commanders do make sense as a potential suitor if the 49ers decide to part ways with their talented WR. Obviously Aiyuk is a big fan of Daniels, and Washington has the second-most effective cap space in the league at the moment. They should do everything in their power to maximize what has largely been a mediocre supporting cast over the years.

While this scenario would be bad news for Brock Purdy’s fantasy upside, it’s safe to say the likes of Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and (especially) first-round rookie Ricky Pearsall would benefit from a condensed target tree.

Ultimately, this 49ers football team was a 4th-and-1 stop away from winning the Super Bowl last season; subtracting one of the game’s best young receivers doesn’t seem like a great way of getting over the hump in 2024 or beyond.

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Around the Watercooler (August 2022)

📈 A Year 2 bounce back for Jaxon Smith-Njigba? Let’s find out.

🏈 ICYMI: 2024 College Football power rankings are live. 134 teams to sort through.

✂️ Joe Burrow and Justin Jefferson hit the runway in Paris. Burrow’s shirt is … interesting.

🤓 How important is stacking Weeks 15 and 16 in Best Ball? Great thread from Mr. Leone.

👀 The Injury Gods haven’t been kind to Cooper Kupp recently. But 2024 is a new year.

🤔 Where would football teams play if the NFL expanded to 100 teams? Bill Barnwell is asking the important questions.

😬 Bad offensive lines are a recipe for disaster in fantasy land. And these ones might suck.

🤣 Micah Parsons had a funny fan interaction at his youth camp. Lmao.

🐶 Underdog is once again hosting the Scott Fish Bowl satellite tournament! Help out a great cause.

Fantasy Life Cooterdoodle's What Now? Principles of Fantasy Football

It may still be the offseason, but we're always plugged in. Cooterdoodle is here to keep our minds in check by asking the age-old, evergreen question: “What Now?”

😥 What Now? The Principles of Fantasy Football

Fantasy football is unpredictable and we’ve got to be ready to roll with the punches. So, we’re going to take a little inspiration from improvisation. 

2️⃣ Principle 2: Find Your Team

One fundamental aspect of fantasy football is finding the right team, but I'm NOT talking about your fantasy team. Those won't be decided for months.

I'm talking about the team that rides with you year in and year out: Your league. This is the team that keeps the cogs in the machine moving. And you need to build a team that’s right for you.

🤡 The Ring Leader

Look, it's time for us to mention the elephant in the room: Fantasy leagues are an absolute circus.

12 people with different interests and participation levels trying to agree on … literally anything? It’s nearly impossible. And if you've never been a commissioner, you need to understand that running a league is tougher than it looks on paper.

If you're going to find the right team, it starts at the top with your commissioner. While good commissioners come in all forms, you need someone solid in charge.

At the very least, a commissioner should be:

Organized: Leagues come with fees, side bets, rule changes, draft date planning, voting, and payouts. Your commish should be capable of keeping tabs on these moving pieces.

Assertive: Even the best leagues will periodically find themselves in the midst of conflict. When the situation calls for it, a commissioner will need to exercise their absolute power for the absolute good of the league.

Removable: A true leader needs to remove their personal preferences from league decisions. Commissioners shouldn't dictate rule changes for their benefit.

🧩 The Crew

The other members of your league are just as important as the guy in charge. But first, you'll have to ask yourself what type of team you're looking to be a part of.

When you're about to invest six months of your time into a league, knowing which level of comradery and competitiveness you're looking for is essential. Like a puzzle, leaguemates need to be the right fit for each other.

🏠 Home Leagues: Nothing beats a league with people you have a history with. Just make sure everyone is prepared to set their line-ups and they aren't just joining the league for the elite group chat access.

🗄️ Work Leagues: This league style will give you plenty to talk about at the watercooler on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday mornings. Sure, the trash talk may fall flat if your boss is involved, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun.

💰 Big Stakes Leagues: If you're all about winning and profits, this might be your style. But don’t be surprised if the friendly banter isn’t there … there’s a lot on the line here.

✨ Novelty Leagues: Sometimes we need wonky scoring and rules just so we can feel something. I get it. But don't be disappointed when you can't find rankings for your high-scoring kickers-only league.

Remember, you can't control your leagemates' level of interest or play styles. But you can be picky and turn down league invites that don't feel like a good fit.

Life's too short to spend the entire NFL season with a team of people you don't enjoy.

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Fantasy Life Presented by Masterworks