Some things get better with age, and some things don’t. Take this classic, for example:
I’m pretty sure when I first saw the movie, I didn’t spend the entire scene thinking about the following four points:
- That net must have been pretty god damn low if Tom Cruise was spiking over it;
- The fast cuts in the scene are so bad that they might have been edited by a capuchin monkey;
- Playing in those thick long pants must have been mighty uncomfortable;
- Goose kind of looks like Peyton Manning in a child molester costume
Chalk this one up in the “did not age well” column. Hopefully, these Portland FFL recaps, which are now in year five (but are on a website for the first time) do not suffer the same fate. After all, I now have multimedia and other fun (joique) bells and whistles at my disposal.
Another thing that apparently has aged well: Matthew Thomas Ryan. His 448 yards and 3 TDs led all players this week with 30 points, although it wasn’t enough for Nathan L to beat out a strong showing from Bo’s balanced attack. An anemic showing from Pat simply was not meant to stop Tim’s outpouring of points, largely from record-setter Julius Thomas and Carson Palmer (what?!).
“I don’t think anybody was surprised,” Palmer nonchalantly said of the offense’s mental approach before its game-winning drive. “I think we all expected it.”
Oh… Okay, Carson. Anyway, Moe earned herself a victory on the strength of three players alone, namely Matty Stafford, Andy Luck, and Marshawn Lynch. Beyond Rashad Jennings, the rest of the lineup was pretty much a disaster, as was Nathan Y’s potent lineup. Don’t expect 2 points from his healthy Jamaal Charles and Michael Crabtree very often.
Speaking of Marshawn Lynch, I recently noticed that there is an inordinate number of NFL stars named some bastardized derivative of Sean. Because I appreciate efficiency above all else, which might not be clear from the length of my fantasy football recaps, I will heretofore extract the unnecessary portions of their names. From now on, they will simply be known as Mar Lynch, Know Moreno, Al Jeffery, De Jackson, Le McCoy, and [NULL] Greene.
Two such folks rode into battle for Kevin, who was not quite victorious even with seven double digit scorers. Ben’s rampaging Megatron and Vernon “Troyer” Davis carried the day despite a shockingly mediocre showing from his two veteran QBs. Look for Kevin’s Al Jeffery to increase his production in the coming weeks, and look for Le McCoy to increase his tipping in the coming meals, as the entire internet now thinks he’s a non-trivially large asshole.
Finally, Andrew easily crushed me en route to the week’s high score, clawing back $5 hard earned dollars in the process. Well, not really “back,” as he hasn’t paid his damn dues yet! Andrew managed to field a whopping EIGHT players that scored 13+ points, including ALL SIX different positions. From the moment Le’veon Bell started making good on most of his 27 touches, I watched Andrew’s point total skyrocket and I soiled my cecil shorts. In losing by 67 points, it can be clearly stated that the week did not go well for me. On the other hand, because of Week 1, I can (with confidence and a very clear conscience) drop Ray Rice and clear a bench slot for myself. Sometimes you have to look to the silver linings, just like how if it weren’t for the unfortunate event of Robin Thicke’s birth, the world would not have this:
Watch those injury reports and of course, don’t forget that the FFL’s new waiver system is now in effect. All bids will be processed at noon tomorrow (Thursday). The excitement is surely making you tremble, just like Demaryius Thomas’s hands as he dropped another of Peyton Manning’s slow ducks. Enjoy Steelers/Ravens tomorrow — I wonder if Ray Rice’s name will come up at any point?
That was a hell of a Week 2. Although only one match provided real drama, there were three closely contested battles, seven 100+ point scorers (for the second straight week), and six teams with at least one 23 point scorer. The true drama came in the matchup between Moe and Andrew, wherein Andrew was clinging to a 10 point lead in the third quarter of Monday night’s Eagles/Colts tilt. Moe was fielding both Riley Cooper, who dropped a long TD pass in that very quarter, as well as Andrew Luck, who logged a respectable 18 points but came up short in the more important battle here. Andrew will be in ecstasy as he gets to reintroduce Wes Welker this week. The real story was the embattled Jay Cutler, who tossed three TDs in the final 8:05 of game time Sunday night. Andrew immediately signed up for the Kristin Cavallari fan club and mailing list after the game.
“It’s too many questions at once!”
He will have to battle Pat for her, though, who has honored her with his team avatar. Pat squeaked out a win over a strong Ben squad largely because just over half of the Miami Dolphins roster physically traveled to Ben’s house and pooped in his dresser drawer. Specifically, Knowshon Moreno flunked out with an injury and 0 points, while the Miami defense got their bell rung by Buffalo to the tune of -1 points. Aaron Rodgers, DeMarco Murray, and Alfred Morris were happy to clean up the scraps for Pat. A shoutout must also be made to Mr. Tom Brady, whose college era resume made the rounds on the Internet today.
“Hiding from the world with a broken waaannng…” — Keith Urban, Blackbird“He’s an angel with no halo, and one wang in the fiiiire…” — Trent Tomlinson, One Wing in the Fire“Silver waaaannnnngs…” — Garrett Hedlund, Silver Wings
Although some trends in the standings have started to take shape, six of ten teams managed to score between 108 and 112 points this week. That’s a startling number. Luckily for those of us who enjoy drama, four such teams happened to play each other. In two of the closest games of the year (obviously), Nathan Y eked out a victory over Pat, and Andrew scratched and clawed his way to a narrow win over Kevin. In the Pat/Nathan tilt, it’s easy to blame Pat’s Larry Fitzgerald (1 point) and his apparent third banana status behind Michael Floyd and John Brown. Through three weeks, Larry Fitz is tied for 73rd (73rd!) among wideouts with 2.7 points per week. Maybe he needs a change of scenery. Maybe he needs a haircut. Maybe he needs an alter ego who can be the “bad boy” prima donna who won’t sit quietly as his position is usurped into decoy status. Come to think of it, alter egos never end well.
Henry Ford once said of his new Model T, “any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” Well, Nathan L can field any fantasy football players he wants so long as they suck. This week, five of his players who total 10 Pro Bowls, Rookies of the Year, college awards, and many other honors among them, managed a TOTAL of four points. Frank Gore’s 1, Keenan Allen’s 1, Dennis Pitta’s 1, Mason Crosby’s 1, and Brandon Marshall’s 0 made it difficult to keep pace with Tim’s high (Molly pun!) flying squad that sits atop the standings and the points table by 22 over Andrew. Even the great Kirk
Cameron Cousins and his 27 points could not save 0-3 Nathan, who has earned a week of the moniker Lose-ie the Pooh.
Perhaps the most disturbing loss was Kevin coming up two points shy of Andrew, largely due to getting three total points out of the #1 overall pick (Le McCoy) and another coveted top-flight RB (Montee Ball). Somehow, Antonio Gates scored 0 points just one week after catching three TDs, meaning he crashed back to earth faster than Morris “Dolores” Claiborne did when he found out he was benched and promptly stormed off his own squad with no leverage and even fewer football skills. Claiborne has always been an odd duck. He’s a man of mystery, but not the kind of mystery you actually want to solve.
After winning by 67 to start off the year, 3-0 Andrew has won two weeks in a row by two points. Just like Roger Goodell, he does whatever he can to keep his balance sheet in the black.
Ben bested Bo in another tight game, which featured a hilarious inadvertent roster inclusion of Roddy White (0 points, obviously) which was promptly negated by his real life and FFL teammate Julio Jones hanging a 28 pointer on account of 160+ yards and two scores. An average of 14 points per Falcons receiver ain’t bad, although they don’t get to play the hapless Bucs every week. Interestingly, the margin of victory in the Ben/Bo affair was 10, exactly the number of points scored by the winning kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who did his part in ensuring that every single point scored in the Oakland/New England game was by a player ending in -Kowski. With such luminaries as Gronk-, Jani-, and Gost-, it is clear that the Polish takeover of American sports has begun. I, for one, welcome our new Polish overlords and their circle of trustees led by Carl Yastrzemski, Mike Krzyzewski, Bill Romanowski, and the late 6’7″ 290lb Wladek “Killer” Kowalski. By the way, did you hear about the woman from Warsaw whose husband thought she was trying to kill him? He found her bottle of polish remover.
The craic was mighty at the McCrann household as Andrew Luck (top scoring QB through three weeks), Mar Lynch (grrr, overtime rules!), and a resurgent Rashad Jennings led the way to victory over my punchless crew. Against zero 20 point scorers and a Carolina defense that managed -7 for me, Moe broke what initially appeared to be a close game into a blowout. Even Jimmy Graham, my security blanket and lovey, failed to make it competitive and only put up five points. Even including his Week 2 breakout, Graham has not been the dynamo tight end that people expected (that honor goes to Julius Thomas), and in Weeks 1 and 3 he averaged only 6.5 milligrahams per 60min.
Despite what appeared to be a lost Giants season, ‘Shad Jennings has been a major bright spot and is now a top-five overall back. His rise to prominence was as quick and as pronounced as Jasmine Tridevil, the Florida woman who recently attempted a hoax to convince media outlets that she had surgically installed a third breast. Described as an “aspiring reality TV figure,” Tridevil (whose real name is Alisha Hessler) clearly underestimated the level of work that would have to go into a surgical implantation of a third breast, which plastic surgeons were quick to point out would take a significant period of time to complete. Commentators also noted that it would be as onerous and as serious as a mastectomy, which I assume refers to the removal of a mastodon diorama from a local natural history museum.
Tomorrow night will feature an interesting Giants/Redskins clash in the slightly less pathetic NFC East. Don’t forget to put in your waiver bids by noon, or you waive your right to do so!
In the wake of the recent NFL woes, I give you the following Commissioner’s quote: “I deserve to be fired. I was put in charge of a successful league and, although the league remains a rousing success, I have mismanaged all the resources under my control. I have failed to hold certain people accountable for their deplorable actions, and I have offended many with my poor decisions and lack of attention.” Alas, those words do not belong to Roger Goodell, and certainly never will. No, they are mine. As FFL commish, I am embarrassed that I failed to replace a bye week starter and, most of all, I am ashamed to have started the Carolina Panthers defense for two straight weeks. What does a defense have to do to end up with back to back weeks of -7 and -8 fantasy points? Apparently, give up 37 and then 38 points, give up (strangely) 454 yards twice in a row, and generally get kicked in the testicles at will by the AFC (“Actively Fucking Carolina”) North.
Tim put up a solid showing in beating me, largely on the heels of Eli Manning’s breakout performance in an ugly Thursday night thrashing of Washington. Eli completed 28 passes and threw for four touchdowns (before running in a fifth) in a game that allowed many millions of forlorn Yankee fans to smile again. Pat crushed Andrew on the strength of Joe Flacco, sudden juggernaut DeMarco Murray, and, ironically, Andrew’s beloved Aaron Rodgers, who combined for 78 points. DeMarco, who leads all fantasy (and real life) running backs by a huge margin through four games, was a major part of Dallas’ dismantling of the once-fearsome New Orleans Saints. The 1-3 Saints used to house many viable fantasy stars at several skill positions, but this year the team has been relegated to a punchline in jokes about Rob Ryan’s shitty defense. Truly, Ryan’s crew can’t stop anyone, as their three games away from the safe confines of New Orleans have resulted in losses where the unit surrenders 30+ points on average. Speaking of Rob Ryan’s team being pounded, imagine the self control that it took for this guy to stifle his laughter:
The most interesting battle of the week was for top score. Lots of offenses were flying high this week, which meant fantasy points were more abundant than crochet hooks at a Joan Baez concert. Heading into the Monday night game, Moe had already logged a dominant 165 with the hard-charging Travis Kelce still to play. Nathan Y had a crisp 150 in his separate match, largely due to Steve Smith Sr.’s revenge rampage in Baltimore, and he still had Jamaal Charles in his pocket. ESPN projected that Kelce would bring Moe to a season-high 175, which would likely be out of reach for Nathan’s squad. After two early touchdowns from Jamaal and a third in the 3rd quarter, Nathan shot past Moe into the top spot in the mid-170s. Wouldn’t you know it, Kelce then tacked on his second touchdown of the year to raise Moe to 180, which ended up edging out Nathan’s 178 for the $5 prize. Moe, I hope you enjoy your hard-earned milkshake this week.
“God damn, Matt Stafford is a pretty fucking good FFL QB! I dunno if he was worth the 11th overall pick but he’s pretty fucking good!” — Moe
Moe’s victory was over her chivalrous husband Kevin, whose team was not saved by another grand performance by all-galaxy wideout Antonio Brown. Nathan’s big win was over Bo, whose skill position players failed to come through for him in a big way, which included both the black-sounding players (Reggie and Hakeem) and the white-sounding players (Greg, Jeremy, and, well, Arian).
In the final matchup, Ben ousted Nathan L on the strength of an amazing -10 by the Atlanta defense which created an 18 point deficit, while a modest +8 would have created a tie. Ben prevailed despite another massively disappointing week by Tom Brady, who has only cracked double digits once this year (13 last week). In particular, blame should fall on both Brady and the offensive line, as well as the skill position players, the defensive line, the linebackers, the secondary, the special teams, the coaches, the owners, and the waterboys. Surefire Hall of Famer Bill Belichick has been steadily slipping into mumpsimus status for a while. The Patriots need a dramatic personnel boost to get things moving. They really should start thinking outside the box…
If Air Bud is a member of the team, why isn’t he required to wear shorts like the other kids? Does the league not require that the kids wear pants?? Someone look into this.
The Patriots could not stop the Chiefs on offense or defense. Their complex schemes didn’t work, and even their simple “cover 2” schemes did not involve covering anyone particularly well. It was a complete misnomer, just like Irish Spring soap, which does not smell like either a spring or an Irishman.
Remember the Thursday noon waiver deadline (this is a reminder to myself, most of all), and enjoy a fun Bridgewater vs. Green Bay showdown this Thursday.
Week 6 is upon us, which means it’s high time for a Week 5 recap. The closest match of the week was Ben vs. Tim, which featured the battle of the four veteran quarterbacks and the coming out party of Andre Ellington (largely due to one big play). Ben came up just shy despite a 9 for 9 (5fg, 4xp) from Stephen Gostkowski, and Tim managed to eke out a win and stay undefeated despite the end of the two-week streak of strong play from the exquisitely named Lorenzo Taliaferro.
The top fantasy QB in Andrew Luck and the top fantasy RB in DeMarco Murray duked it out as Moe crushed Pat. Emmanuel Sanders had another solid day for Pat, and has somehow amassed more than 400 yards and 30 catches without a single TD. Also, he’s skinnier than the kid from the Jungle Book. Moe is on a solid three game win streak and currently sits at 4-1.
Russell Wilson and Phil Rivers combined to become a potent force as Nathan Y enjoyed a solid win over Nathan L. Pretty much all of Nathan L’s skill position players not named Matt Forte failed to even show up, leaving him with a tough matchup this week against Andrew. Nine points total from the five WR/flex slots (2, 2, 4, 3, 0) just ain’t gonna get it done against a dual-threat QB like Wilson and a rampaging (or should I say Crusading?) believer like Rivers.
The Panthers continue to find ways to vex me. I dropped their defense this week after consecutive -7 and -8 debacles, so naturally they come back strong with an 18 point performance against the Bears which would have won me the matchup against Kevin had I stuck with them in lieu of the Texans. Cam Newton, thought to be a top tier dual-threat fantasy QB heading into the season, continues to be disappointingly limited in his health and effectiveness, while Kevin’s shrewd pickup Austin Davis paid major dividends for the second straight week.
Finally, Andrew took down Bo on the strength of another impressively well-balanced effort that did not even get the benefit of bench RB Pierre Thomas’s huge day (and did not get submarined by the Bengals D’s -8 against the Patriots). Of the three teams that are 4-1 or better, Andrew has faced by far the most points scored by his opponents, even though he has also scored fewer than Tim and Moe. Bo’s squad had an off day with the exception of transcendent performances by old stalwarts Peyton Manning (31 points) and Arian Foster (28), which could not quite make up for some others’ performance problems and injury/lineup issues.
With several high-caliber waiver pickups this week, we had our most exciting auction session yet. It’ll be fun to see whether Andre Williams, Branden Oliver, Mohamed Sanu, Know Moreno and the others will make an immediate impact. If every game this week is enjoyable as the Colts/Texans roller coaster ride on Thursday, we’re in for a great couple of days. Enjoy!
We are now more than halfway through the FFL regular season, and the lower playoff seedings are less clear than the “before” picture in a Proactiv commercial.
While Tim, Moe, and Ben have begun to get some breathing room between them and the rest of the pack, both of the 3-2-1 teams (Nathan Y and Pat) fell back into the fray in Week 7. Pat, who remains the only FFL participant whose name is a form of football scoring (Point After Touchdown), undid his massive 155 point outpouring over Kevin in Week 6 that saw Joe Flacco vomit out 32 points alongside more strong showings from Aaron Rodgers and DeMarco Murray. Week 6’s big kahuna was Ben, whose 162 (behind Brady and the rampaging T.Y. Hilton) bested my 147. I guess four total points from my three running back slots (Doug Martin 4, Chris Ivory 1, and C.J. Spiller -4) isn’t likely to get it done. Anyone is likely to be an upgrade over that sorry showing, including obscure strangely-named backups like Texas alum Fozzy Whittaker.
Week 6 saw Bo take down Moe and Tim eke out a scrappy win over Nathan Y and his stellar quarterbacks. Andrew was thumped in Week 6 by Nathan L’s first strong showing of the year, with old stalwart Matt Forte leading the way. Forte’s bears have been a conundrum all year, with wildly inconsistent play despite massive amounts of offensive talent. The problems would reach a fever pitch in week 7 when the home fans booed the team at halftime, Brandon Marshall got lippy, and the entire team may have begun to fracture. I like to picture Mark Trestman standing in the post-game locker room like the ven’rable Homer Stokes yelling to his players “IS YOU IS OR IS YOU AIN’T MY CONSTITCHENCY?”
Hot damn! It’s the soggy bottom Bears!
Week 7 saw quite a few lower than average scores, including the nadir of Nathan L’s tough start to the season against Moe. His team, which fielded ten (ten!) players who scored 7 or fewer points with none on the injury report, is likely to correct itself over the long haul, but it relies heavily on the aforementioned Bears and Chargers. When those two teams have down weeks, it shows in Nathan’s fantasy box scores. Speaking of relying heavily on one team, I managed to garner 72 points from the Denver/San Francisco Saturday nighter, with 59 of them coming from Demaryius Thomas, Scrawny Ronnie Hillman, and the voracious Denver pass rush. I will not dwell on the records eclipsed by Peyton in that game other than to remark that the least appreciated aspect of his storied career is the fact that when he talks, it looks a little bit like his mouth has liquid in it and he’s trying to keep it in his cheeks without it dribbling forward.
Chris Ivory also came through in helping to top Pat, and it will be interesting seeing how he, Eric Decker, Geno Smith, and Wrecks Ryan’s other offensive weapons react to the influx of the talented but mercurial Percy Harvin. Tim’s sixth straight win came in balanced fashion, and was aided by Golden Tate’s ridiculous run-after-catch TD that involved burnt rubber and at least two canisters of NOS. The win over Andrew came despite a valiant effort by two rogue Steelers in the Monday night clash. Antone Smith was a disappointment for Andrew, although his 1 point is arguably much more of a success than the Falcons’ 2014 season thus far.
The best game of the week, or maybe the season, was decided late on Monday night. Kevin was about to squeak past Bo on the strength of an Antonio Brown touchdown pass of all things, but then Bo equalized on an Arian Foster touchdown with :91 remaining. Barring some sort of score correction, which occasionally happens (as Nathan Y can attest), Bo and Kevin finished in a tie. If you listen carefully, you can hear Bo muttering in his sleep as he quietly fantasizes about sharing a large bowl of pasta with Arian.
How long is that piece of spaghetti? The visible part alone has to be 36″. How do you get it into the pot while it’s still dry? Can’t Disney afford consults who can sniff out major plot holes like this?
Another couple weeks and another couple fun Thursday free agent flurries. Remember to be careful when setting your Week 8 lineups — the Lions and Falcons play in London Town on Sunday morning at 9:30am. Sit back in your trainers with a plate of biscuits and a vacuum flask of skimmed milk, and watch as Mike Smith’s squad drops a clanger and soils its nappies. At least the Detroit defensive line, hopefully, will play with a little vigour…
Why is “ammo” the abbreviation of ammunition? Why not ammu? Regardless, Tim had plenty of it to throw at Moe last week, when he ran his streak to eight straight wins. Mercury Morris and the ’72 Dolphins are starting to fidget in their adult diapers. Moe the Metronome has now scored 101-100-100 over the past three weeks, suggesting that she has been busy counting dalmatians when she should have been upgrading her team. Despite being 8-0, this was Tim’s first weekly high score of the season. Pat took down Bo with a solid performance that featured Emmanuel Sanders, Aaron Rodgers, and Larry Fitz besting Arian Foster’s huge day. Pat also got a nice boost from DeMarco Murray once again, who (along with the resurgent offensive line) has taken Jason Garrett off the hot seat and into the running for Coach of the Year.
Pat also got his first high scoring game out of old stalwart Jason Witten, whose Elizabethton, Tennessee roots often lead Nathan L to affectionately dub him “corn-fed.” If we’re going for tough guy farm nicknames, I personally would opt for 🔫LICENSE TO TILL🔫. It should be no surprise that Witten’s breakout game came against Washington and their defensive backs coach Raheem Morris, he of the embarrassing stint with the Buccaneers and the 17-34 career head coaching record. The Redskins’ pass defense is currently 22nd in DVOA despite an excellent run defense. Bruce Allen and Dan Snyder, I’m not sure your coaching hires have been top notch in recent years…
Ben eked out a win over Andrew despite Andrew’s quarterbacks (Roethlisberger and Cutler) combining for 65 points. Thankfully for Ben, four of Andrew’s pass-catchers also combined for 4 points total. T.Y. Hilton continued his monster run, vaulting up to his current position as fifth best fantasy WR of the season through eight weeks. Kevin blasted Nathan L despite an impressive performance from X-factor Kyle Orton (X meaning “x-cuse me, you started Kyle Orton?!”).
I managed to pull out a Monday night 11th hour win over Nathan Y on the shoulders of De Jackson, who has quietly returned to form as a top 15 fantasy wideout. I was also aided by strong games from Ronnie Hillman, Chris Ivory, and Jerick McKinnon, who comprise a trio of backs who are standing strong after keeper and one-time darling Doug Martin attempted to derail my season for the second straight year. In many ways, Martin is not unlike the flea that spreads the bubonic plague. He flits around your team for a little while nibbling here, sucking a drop of blood there, but generally minding his own business and seeming like he won’t do any real damage. Suddenly, the plague bacteria start to accumulate in his digestive tract and cause blockages that infuse plague bacteria into the blood and make him regurgitate it back out, right into the bite wound he had been feeding from. Before you know it, you’ve lost five games because of him and he has settled into a “Questionable” injury report purgatory, and your whole team has the plague. Cutting him was more satisfying than the slap sound that the package makes when it hits the floor in the Ickey Woods GEICO commercial.
He’s gittin’ some COLD CUTS today!
In bigger picture news, the FFL standings might be getting a bit of a makeover soon, if recent results are any indication. The standings currently sit like this:
- Tim 8-0
- Ben 6-2
- Moe 5-3
- Pat 4-3-1
- Andrew 4-4
- Nathan Y 3-4-1
- Jeff 3-5
- Kevin 2-5-1
- Bo 2-5-1
- Nathan L 1-7
The aggregate results of the past four weeks, however, look like this:
- Ben 561 pts
- Jeff 545
- Tim 518
- Pat 518
- Kevin 507
- Nathan Y 485
- Bo 453
- Andrew 448
- Moe 443
- Nathan L 421
Watch out, Moe and Andrew — we’re comin’ for ya!
Enjoy Broncos/Pats this weekend. Speaking of which, does anyone else think Von Miller slightly resembles Erlich Bachman from Silicon Valley? Just smile and nod.
We now return to your regularly scheduled programming.
Sorry for the hiatus. I was out searching for reasons why Mike Smith still has a job in Atlanta and I got lost for a month. But now, here we are — one more week to go in the regular season and the playoff picture still very much in question. If the FFL regular season ended today, the playoffs would look like this:
Pat and Andrew would be the top two seeds, with Tim hosting Nathan Y and Ben hosting Moe. The LSB (Loser Sponsored Banquet) would be hosted by yours truly and Nathan L. Luckily, the season does not end today. There is still one more week to decide the playoff seedings, and four more weeks to decide the final standings.
Indeed, all six playoff slots are still up for grabs. Pat has as close to a stranglehold on #1 as one can have with a lead of only a fraction of a game, as he has won five straight and has cruised to first overall in points. Andrew and Tim, who after Week 8 were 4-4 and 8-0 respectively, have now met at 8-4 and are separated by 40 points. Tim’s best path to a bye is to beat me and hope Pat can take down Andrew this week, rather than simply try to match Andrew’s result and hope to outscore him. Oh, right, we’re not a rotisserie league (yet?) and none of this is under Tim’s strategic control… Anyway, the last four weeks have been quite unkind to Tim in the FFL, which, I would imagine, does not bother him much given how his real-life team is playing. Speaking of which, if Pat loses the championship matchup in some devastating fashion, it might lead to him acting out his favorite team name in real life (“Pat riots”).
Ben sits alone at 7-5, but has a robust enough points total to be able to easily overtake the 2 or 3 seed if the results fall correctly. Moe’s 6-6 might prove to have a precarious hold on the 5 seed, as she has been outscored by the three teams below her in the standings. Nathan Y, currently with a slim lead on Bo for the 6 seed, will be gunning for that 5 seed but will really be hoping to simply hold off Bo and Kevin (who is within striking distance) for the sixth and final playoff slot. Both Nathan L and I have been eliminated from playoff contention, but as we know from last year, the battle to avoid banquet ignominy is weeks and many emotional miles away from being over.
Since we’re at the three-quarter pole, it’s a good time to take stock of some trends. While there is wide variance in the standings, there has been a lot of week-to-week parity this year. Through twelve weeks, only two teams have had the weekly top score more than two times — Andrew with three, and, surprisingly, me with three as well. That’s right — three of my four wins have been as the league’s top score. On the flip side of the coin, only two teams have faced off against the weekly highest scoring team more than once — Moe three times, and me four times. Outside of my wacky season, which has seen me either be the highest scoring team or lose to the highest scoring team 7 out of 12 weeks, basically everyone else has had a taste of highs mixed with a taste of lows. Out of all the strange things that have happened to my team this year, which include the aforementioned wild results, karmic justice for drafting Ray Rice, and a grueling 11 week wait for Josh Gordon’s return, perhaps the strangest thing of all is that it took me weeks to realize that one of my wide receivers’ names rearranges to “anus.”
Week 9 saw Bo crush me with a league season high 187 on the strength of a balanced attack spearheaded by the dynamic Jeremy Maclin, while Andrew’s Ben Roethlisberger followed up his ridiculous 6TD performance with another 35 points. This allowed Andrew to more than double Nathan Y’s output in a match where Phil Rivers, who averages 16.5 points per game, hung a -3. Pat nipped Nathan L while Kevin got the best of Tim and initiated his losing streak. Kevin won on the shoulders of rookie standout Mike Evans, who began his meteoric rise that week. Moe beat on Ben despite somehow leaving one of her flex slots empty. I guess it helps when your QB, Andrew Luck, puts up 30 points routinely and may be morphing into an actual thoroughbred colt.
Week 10 saw several more strong performances, highlighted by Mar Lynch’s 40 (in a losing effort for Moe), Aaron Rodgers’ 36 (in one of many winning efforts for Pat), and a cool 27 from the Cardinals D (which couldn’t get Tim over the hump). Week 11 saw Tim lose to Bo with breakout star (one hit wonder?) Jonas Gray drooling 44 points through the cracks on his bench, while Andrew took top honors with a strong game from LeVeon “Tinker” Bell and Eddie “Arsenic and Old” Lacy. Nathan L beat me in the battle of the cellar dwellers as no one on my team exceeded 10 points other than my two QBs, who were in the teens. Week 12 saw Bo’s Justin Forsett blow up, but not enough to top Ben’s rampaging Romo. Nathan L benefited as Tim was hobbled by his beloved Belichick’s decision to bench Gray. I had a strong showing against Moe, Pat out-muscled Nathan Y, and Andrew squeaked past Kevin and the Bills’ shockingly stout D/ST. Jay Cutler’s anemic performance ironically sealed the win for Andrew, as it limited Kevin’s Al Jeffery to a meager 8 points after his strong performance the week before. Something else that’s ironic: hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia, which means “fear of long words,” is pretty god damn long.
It will be fun to watch the playoff race and the banquet anti-race develop, and it will be interesting to see the dust start to settle on next year’s keeper options (ODELL!!!). Don’t forget there are three games tomorrow, including two great matchups. Finally, have fun with your friends and loved ones tomorrow. If you’re hosting, be sure to try this trick — if you stand in front of a mirror and say “Rex Ryan” five times, he will suddenly appear and eat the entire turkey carcass so that you don’t have to dispose of it.
Take it away, Jim!
Ah, yes. Playoffs. Here’s how the cookie crumbled:
- Andrew 9-4 [BYE]
- Pat 8-4-1 [BYE]
- Ben 8-5
- Tim 8-5
- Nathan Y 6-6-1
- Moe 6-7
That’s right, our league has mapped itself onto the actual NFL, and has allowed a losing record to sneak into the playoffs. Moe, congrats on your NFC South title. Maybe we should bump you up to a 4 seed…? The “consolation” (read: loser) bracket consists of:
- Kevin 5-7-1
- Bo 5-7-1
- Jeff 5-8
- Nathan L 3-10
With Andrew having put together five straight victories, many of which were dominant blowouts, he has to be considered the favorite at this point. With Big Ben, Le’Veon Bell, Jay Cutler, Eddie Lacy, Dez Bryant, and Greg Olsen all already having strong fantasy years for him, DeAndre Hopkins’ 35 point breakout performance (considered by footballoutsiders.com to have been the fourth best WR game since 1989) is scary. Andrew beat up on Pat in Week 13 with a 175 point rout, potentially setting the stage for the FFL’s first successful title defense. Sorry in advance for the jinx.
Nathan Y got a big clutch showing from Phil Rivers et al in a do or die game against Bo (for Bo it was a Bo or die game). Bo’s rising star Ryan Tannehill picked a bad week to shit the bed and lay down his worst output of the season. Like air rushing out of the blowhole of his team’s mascot, Tannehill’s performance in the Jets game was full of brain farts. Ben topped Nathan L with a masterful performance by Tre Mason, who nearly equaled his output from the previous seven weeks combined. It remains to be seen whether Tom Brady’s hot streak, which has been raging since Week 5, can carry Ben through to another final.
I managed to take Tim down behind a stunning performance from the resurgent Rams D/ST, while Kevin won the multi-annual battle of Revere Street as he relegated Moe to the 6 seed. As it turned out, Kevin’s week 7 tie against Bo was all it took for him to miss the playoffs — had he scored a SINGLE additional point in that matchup, or had Al Jeffery OR Jordan Cameron shrugged off the injury bug enough to make ONE catch, Kevin would be our 6 seed. Perhaps the result was the FFL gods reacting to the fact that Kevin is currently employing the following four QBs: Zach Mettenberger, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Mark Sanchez, and Johnny Manziel.
A reminder that the home (lower-seeded) teams get a 5 point “home field advantage” through the playoffs but NOT in the championship game, as per tradition (and in similar fashion to the Super Bowl). Winner gets the glory, bottom two losers get the bill. May the Rodgers be ever in your favor. Go to it!
The wheat and the chaff are being separated faster than you can say “fire Marc Trestman.”
STUFF THAT MATTERS: Ben crushed Moe with a glorious showing from three of his standout WRs (Julio Jones with 31, T.Y. Hilton with 25, and Cal Johnson with 21), and will face the wily Pat in Round 2 this week. Nathan Y got a strong performance from Russell Wilson to move past Tim, whose cold-weather swoon makes one wonder if the 2014 Cowboys somehow swapped souls with Tim’s team. Nathan has his work cut out for him this year, as for the second straight year, Andrew set a league all-time high scoring record in the playoffs. Last year, he managed a 194 in the second round en route to a championship. This week, he put up 196 without the benefit of the +5 home field advantage, although it came in a bye week. He scored an insane 144 points from five players alone: Cutler had 25, Roethlisberger had 28, Lacy had 22, A.J. Green had 28, and Le’Veon Bell with 41. Had Andrew benched Torrey Smith for Michael Floyd, he would have topped 200 for the first time ever. Seven of Andrew’s players now rank in the top 10 at their positions for the season, with another three ranking in the top 15. The boy is doing something right.
An interesting matchup oddity: Tim and Nathan Y have not once played a team on either its best or its second best game of the year (I played against four such teams, and Moe, Kevin, and Pat all played against three such teams). Another oddity — Nathan Y’s two best games came in the two games that he faced Bo. Something about Bo got Nathan Y’s juices flowing…
LOSER FEST: Last year, Nathan L and Kevin entered Week 14 in 9th and 10th place, respectively. While Kevin overtook Nathan in the final 3 weeks of the year with a valiant 2-1 finish over Nathan’s 0-3, it was not enough for Kevin to catch Moe, Tim, and Bo, all of whom finished one game ahead of him. Will this year repeat last year’s model of the bottom two “regular season” seeds footing the banquet bill? With Bo and Kevin each with a tie in hand, Nathan L (at 3-10) mathematically cannot climb his way out of the banquet cellar. My banquet ticket is nearly punched as well, although a win against Bo this week is probably my only realistic lifeline (catching Kevin or Moe is quite unlikely). At least Cam Newton finally showed some signs of life for me this week! Wait, what’s that? He finally finished his backbreaking fantasy performance by literally breaking his back? I guess that means… it’s Andy Dalton time!
- Andrew (9-4): Eddie Lacy (4), Le’Veon Bell (16): A+ Oh, god. Such value.
- Pat (8-4-1): Shane Vereen (15), Joe Flacco (16): B Half-decent year from Vereen, strong QB2 year from Flacco, both at low low prices.
- Ben (9-5): Zac Stacy (15), Julio Jones (16): A- Stacy was unemployed in the FFL before November, but Julio for that price alone makes this a rousing success.
- Nathan Y (7-6-1): Phil Rivers (11), Michael Crabtree (16): B- Crabbers hasn’t scored 15 all year, but very good value on a QB1 in Rivers.
- Tim (8-6): Drew Brees (1), Julius Thomas (16): A Brees is still the 6th best QB even in an “off” year, and Orange Julius had 12 TDs by Week 10, and is still a top 5 TE after missing the last four games.
- Kevin (6-7-1): Montee Ball (15), Nick Foles (16): B- Both were big-time injury busts, but Foles had real value for half a season and they cost nothing.
- Moe (6-8): Mar Lynch (1), Andrew Luck (5): A These would have been rock solid at 1 and 2, let alone 1 and 5.
- Bo (5-8-1): Adrian Peterson (2), Peyton Manning (3): C Peyton is lighting it up again, but ADP was a real drag at the 2 spot.
- Jeff (5-9): Jimmy Graham (3), Doug Martin (16): D+ I don’t want to talk about it.
- Nathan L (4-10): Robert Griffin III (5), Keenen Allen (16): D Before Keenen’s breakout December game, this would have been really ugly.
I’m sensing a trend… Apparently, keepers matter…?
Enjoy the stretch run. Are we headed for Ben v. Andrew 2.0, or will there be a spoiler? Someone better stop Andrew from repeating — that’s all I have to say. Ben, Pat, and Nathan, you’re our only hope!