Horsemen emerge from 2 year long hibernation
The path from rock bottom can be a hard one.
The 2020 Horsemen were a mess. Not only would they finish a historic worst 10th place, but the relationship of the management team would suffer immensely due to such poor on field performance. The prior Spirit Coordinator and Limited Partner would unceremoniously resign her position with the team before the 2021 season, leaving a vacancy that could only be filled by one thing – victory.
In 2021, inspiration struck. The 10th place Horsemen from 2020, shattered by injury and aging franchised keepers, would emerge from the rubble and once more visit the playoffs – celebrating a comeback victory of sorts with a 3rd place finish. Were it not for the Houston Texans destroying the Chargers defense along with Justin Herbert (paired with a monstrous performance from AJ Brown), they would have once again sat atop the league and adorned their plastic mannequin hand with yet another ring. Alas, 3rd and Unpredictable would win back to back championships.
A new day has dawned. The Electric Horsemen are no long a franchise recovering from the depths of despair, they are not a middling team flailing in mediocrity, they are back.
The 2022 season was kicked off for the first time with the storied rivalry against the Nosebleeds, The Battle of TC Jester. The squad was full of some familiar faces – Swift, Najee and Antonio Gibson would serve as the anchors for the backfield, Michael Thomas would return for another year after a pair of seasons lost to injury, Courtland Sutton would get another shot with a new quarterback after finally escaping years of quarterback turmoil, and the number 6 all time point scorer in franchise history, Justin Tucker, would come back for another round. It was the first game in the history of the franchise without Julio Jones on the roster. After a franchise leading 108 starts and 1365.8 fantasy points in his 10 years with the team, the time came to part ways to finally free up a 6th keeper spot. With the departures of Antonio and Julio, the Horsemen finally had a clean slate.
This matchup was, alarmingly, the first time since 2017 that the Horsemen would emerge victorious in a season opener.
Now the real season begins.
In week 2, the Electric Horsemen meet last year’s runner up – who just handed the defending champions their first opening week loss since 2018. These two teams have met 15 times in the life of the league, with this schedule ramping up as Strictly Southern was moved to the Dainty North through a combination of location moves, league expansion, and team replacements. They should actually be in the Dumpy North but Bumpy’s Berries rallied support to reject the move due to their desire to face Straight Laced with more regularity after an embarrassing choice of keepers and a failed trade that likely would have made them far more competitive. Not to rail on Straight Laced too much, but they also used their first pick to select Breece Hall instead of AJ Brown… which was awful.
But either way, the Horses have a challenge ahead of them in Strictly Southern. They have come out victorious only 5 times in their 15 meetings, and have an average deficit of 7 points. ESPN currently gives the Horsemen a 49% chance of victory, while FantasyPros shows a less promising 40.7%. The JuJu v Michael Thomas roster battle continues and will likely be a Thursday night gametime decision.
In other action…
- Dangerous Angels v 3rd and Unpredictable – Unpredictable looks vulnerable for the first time in years. CeeDee Lamb could be a total trash bag with the loss of Dak and Alvin Kamara could turn to dust this year. Any struggles by Cook and Taylor could be disastrous. Angels pull out the upset and send 3rd and Unpredictable to their first 0-2 start since 2016.
- Nosebleeds v The Blackouts – The Nosebleeds had a rough go of it with Aaron Rodgers this week, and even though he’ll recover they are pretty terrible aside from the two players they got a couple years ago from 3rd and Unpredictable in Stefon Diggs and Derrick Henry. The Blackouts made some key acquisitions over the summer that equated to Ezekiel Elliott and Mike Evans for Darnell Mooney. It seems sillier when I write it down. Despite The Blackouts not even having a full bench, the Nosebleeds are pretty helpless in this one.
- Pork Shanks v Straight Laced – A rematch of the Asshammer… and it will likely live up to its billing. Straight Laced shouldn’t even be called Straight Laced anymore with Dan Hurd’s absence, but Christman likely will wait until he has another winning season to rename them. Their keepers were a disaster, their draft was a disaster, and this team is a total dumpster. The Shanks aren’t good at all, but AJ Brown is about to punish the Laces for their bad decisions.
- Legs With Holes v Heavy Pistols – Both of these teams seem to be on the come up, but the Pistols feel like a real dark horse candidate to do some work in the playoffs. This one comes down to the Burrow/Chase stack versus the Mahomes/Mecole stack – and I think the talent of Ja’Marr Chase moves the needle toward the Pistols.
- Bumpy’s Berries v Drunken Aces – The Berries dual running backs from the same team approach seems to limit their upside a bit, especially when they’re on a team like the Packers who don’t seem to have it all together. The Aces pull this one out to move to 2-0… a very weak 2-0.