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Week 13 Playoff Odds & Scenarios

Before we dive into the playoff picture discussion, we have to discuss the story of the season so far, 2 Feets In’s run to become to first team to complete an undefeated championship season. That run came to an end this past weekend in stunning fashion, when basement dwelling 1-10 Lobster Beesc stunned the 11-0 Feets with a narrow victory that was finally capped off on Sunday night with a Justin Tucker field goal. Jacky G’s 11 game win streak to start the year marks the deepest undefeated run since the Commish won 14 straight all the way back in 2006 before finally losing in the playoffs to eventual champion Olsen. In the modern era, it is now the longest win streak to begin a season in history, eclipsing the 10 game win streak that Jay Hey opened the 2010 campaign on. And Jack now holds two of the 4 longest such streaks in League history, with the other being his 8-0 start in 2018. 

Interestingly, none of the teams mentioned above managed to win the Championship, even though they rank among the elite of the elite all time according to League Power Rating and points scored. Jack will try and put an end to that quirk of history just as Meade put an end to his undefeated campaign. The loss may have removed a bit of pressure for Jacky G, who will no longer have to deal with the weight of trying to make history. But now Jack will have to keep the Feets squad sharp and focused even though they have essentially nothing to play for until Christmas. Whether Jack can get the team properly prepped could be the difference between this season ending with his second League Championship or as just another footnote in League history. On to the playoff picture:

Clinching Scenarios:

  • Mark can clinch the CENTRAL with a win
  • Vaf can clinch a WILD CARD with a win OR
    • Brian loss AND
      • Cody loss OR 
      • Nick loss
  • Olsen can clinch a WILD CARD with a win AND
    • Brian loss AND
      • Cody loss OR 
      • Nick loss

Additionally, Cody can clinch at least a tie for the East with a win and a Nick loss. Mark (Jay loss + Cody/Nick loss), Nick (win + BJC loss + Jay loss), Olsen (win -OR- BJC loss + Cody/Nick loss), Brian (win + Cody/Nick loss), and Jay (win + BJC loss + Cody/Nick loss) can clinch at least a tie for a wild card spot.

Elimination Scenarios:

  • Frank is eliminated with a loss OR
    • Brian win OR 
    • Jay win
  • Commish is eliminated with a loss AND
    • Brian win OR
    • Nick win OR
    • Jay win
  • Cody is eliminated with a loss AND
    • Olsen win AND
    • Brian win AND
    • Nick win AND
    • Jay win

Playoff Odds

“Clinch %” means the odds that a team will clinch a playoff spot without a point tiebreaker deciding it, and Tie % means the odds that a team ends up tied for a playoff spot with a points tiebreaker deciding it. Obviously, the more points you have the better your odds of succeeding in that tiebreaker scenario. Tie or Better % means exactly that, percentage chance you either clinch or tie for a playoff spot. Miss % is the odds you are eliminated outright without a chance to win a points tiebreaker.

Once again, we head into the final couple of weeks with a playoff picture that is anything but clear. Jacky G has, of course, clinched the West and the number 1 overall seed. Meade has been eliminated for weeks. Ant is for all practical purposes eliminated as well and 2-time defending champ Frank is on the brink. Other than that, everyone else is very much in the thick of the race and has a reasonable chance at grabbing a postseason spot. Lets start by breaking down the races for the division titles:

East

Nicky Diamonds’ Lemon Grove Avenue squad currently holds the lead in the East by virtue of the points tiebreaker over Cody. Should Nick and Cody end up tied at the end, points will be the deciding factor as both would have the same division record; Diamonds currently holds a pretty sizable but not insurmountable 82 point lead over So Much Honey. To avoid it coming down to a tiebreak, Nick will be rooting for a Commish win this week, while Cody will be rooting for Frank. Should both Nicks grab a win this weekend, the East will be decided by their Week 14 matchup, with the winner taking the division crown. Funny enough, the only one of the three teams still alive in the East that fully controls their own destiny is the one that currently sits in 3rd place. If the Commish wins the next two, he will win the division at 7-7 either outright or through a tiebreak with a 5-1 division record. One loss however would end his division chances.

Week 13 RESULT = WEEK 14 SCENARIO
  • Commish win and Diamonds win = Winner of their Week 14 matchup wins East outright, Cody eliminated from race
  • Commish win and Diamonds loss = Commish wins East outright w/ Week 14 win, Diamonds wins outright w/ win and Cody loss, Cody can force tiebreak with win and Commish loss.
  • Cody win and Diamonds win = Both remain tied going into final week, Commish eliminated from race
  • Cody win and Diamonds loss = Cody wins east outright w/ Week 14 win, Diamonds can force tiebreak w/ win and Cody loss
Central

Marky Mark sits in a commanding position in the Central, needing just a win this week to clinch the division and take pole position in the race for a bye. Things get very interesting if BJC pulls off the upset however. Brian would them takeover the top spot in the division due to the points tiebreaker, and if Jay also wins this week we would have a 3 way tie atop the division. A Mark loss would mean he no longer controls his own destiny in the division, and would need help to reclaim the Central throne even if he managed to fend off Jay in Week 14.

Week 13 RESULT = WEEK 14 SCENARIO
  • Marky Mark win = Mark wins division outright
  • BJC win and Jay win = Jay can win division outright w/ win and BJC loss, BJC can win division outright w/ win and Mark loss, BJC and Mark wins will mean a points tiebreak decides division
  • BJC win and Jay loss = BJC and Mark tied going into final week, Jay eliminated from race.
West

Jack won.

Wild Card
*Percentages shown are in scenarios where team doesn’t win division. GB = Games Behind; PB = Points Behind; WC = Wild Card

Vaf’s win over Olsen last week wound up being massive for his playoff odds, as it all but sealed up a wild card spot for The American Nightmare. The worst case scenario for Vaf would be him losing out and multiple 6-6 teams winning out, but even then he would still be tied for a spot and has a pretty comfortable points cushion. Unless the unthinkable happens, Vaf will be heading back to the postseason for the first time since 2020.

The second of three wild cards is currently held by Olsen, who is trying to end his own six year playoff drought. A win this week and a couple of losses from his competitors would lock it up, and  win by itself would at least ensure that he controls his own destiny heading into Week 14, along with a couple of potential outs should he lose the final game. But if he loses this week, things could get uncomfortably dicey for the team with the longest running playoff drought.

Mark is a pretty heavy favorite to take the division, so a scenario that saw him not win the division means he probably didn’t perform well down the stretch. That’s why the above shows him with only a 10% chance of winning a WC spot outright. However even a bad finish means he will likely still end up in at least a tie for a wild card spot.

BJC has his sights set on the division right now, but there’s a very strong possibility he will have to get in through the wild card route. If he does, it will be difficult for him to win a spot outright and the most likely scenario is he winds up in a tiebreak for one of the final spots. As he leads all wild card contenders in points, he would be in good shape to win a tiebreak. The problem would come with a loss this week and wins by a couple of his fellow 6-6 teams, which would put him a win behind in the standings.

Similar to Brian, it will probably be tough to win a wild card spot outright for Jay (though since his path to the division is more difficult, there are more scenarios where Jay plays well and has to settle for a WC than where BJC plays well and doesn’t win the division). If Jay does end up tied for a spot, he’ll want Brian out of the picture due to the points disadvantage.

The East teams are all in kind of similar boats, where winning enough games to win a WC spot outright means they more they are overwhelmingly likely to have won the division. If they have to get in through the WC, it most likely means Nick or Cody is stuck at 7 wins and will have to win a points tiebreaker. The Commish is mostly out of the WC picture entirely, as getting to 7 wins guarantees him the division, and there is an extremely slim path that would have him alive at 6 wins (the same path that keeps Frank and even Ant technically alive: get to 6 wins, only one team in the East gets to 7, Brian and Jay lose out, and win the points tiebreaker over 3-4ish 6-8 teams).

So there you have it. Another year, another head spinning playoff picture. Good luck to those of you still in the hunt, and we will check back in next week where the picture will likely be much much clearer.

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The 2022 League Championship (and Anthem Bowl) Preview

We have at last reached the culmination of the 2022 season, the 20th year of The League’s illustrious history. The stage is set as we prepare to crown not only this year’s champion, but to place the toilet seat of shame around the neck of this year’s Toilet / Anthem Bowl loser. The stakes are as high as it can get. Who will claim (or reclaim) Ol’ Glory? Who should take it easy on those vocal chords this offseason? Let’s take a look at the matchups.

The League Championship Game

1. Dear Leader (10-5) vs. 2. Frank The Tank (10-5)
Current Lineups
Tale of The Tape

In Frank’s rookie League season way back in 2007, he put together what is still to this day the best season of his career, a 13-2 romp to the Championship. The owner he beat that day? None other than the Commish.

Of course, no one would blame you for not knowing or remembering that detail. Nor would anyone blame you for not remembering that Commish started Willie Parker at RB that day, who broke his foot in the 1st quarter. I didn’t even remember it; I had to look up why slick Willie put up a goose egg just now. But everyone remembers Frank starting Peyton Manning and Randy Moss, and winning the title in his debut season. Not only because he never lets you forget it, but because in this game of ours we remember the winners. The losers become just a bit of trivia.

Fast forward 15 years to the present day and once again these two teams will face off with the Championship on the line. There is a lot at stake here legacy wise of course, with Frank looking to become just the second back to back champion in The League’s history and Commish looking to equal the mark at the top of the Championship standings. But when you boil it all down, it really just comes down to that same old question: which team will be remembered, and which team will be forgotten.

The projectors and Vegas are having a hard time figuring that out as well. Currently the Commish is a slightly less than 4 point favorite, which may as well be a toss up. That line would almost certainly be bigger if not for the main story heading into tonight’s Thursday night matchup, the benching of Dear Leader’s team MVP Derrick Henry because of a scheduling quirk that essentially makes tonight’s game meaningless for the Titans. The Commish will likely turn instead to Isaiah Pacheco, who of course shares the backfield with Frank The Tank’s RB2 Jerrick McKinnon. It will be fascinating to see how that matchup breaks out.

Henry was Commish’s counter to Tank’s RB1 Josh Jacobs, but with Henry out there is some question about who will slide into the RB1 role for Dear Leader, a proposition that was laughable just a few short weeks ago. Season long Rb2 Aaron Jones had given Commish one of the top backfield pairings in The League, but with Jones’ role and health seemingly up in the air it looks like it will be a game time decision at whether Jones or AJ Dillon gets the nod. Frank obviously doesn’t have a choice but to start Jacobs, but there is some uncertainty in that matchup as well with the Raiders benching Derek Carr in favor of Jarrett Stidham, which should up Jacobs workload but may wind up with him facing stacked boxes all day.

Under center, the defending champ will be trotting out the tried and true Patrick Mahomes, holder of the mythical high floor, high ceiling status. The Commish got burned last week by getting a floor game from Justin Fields, but appears to be ready to gamble on Fields ceiling again in this one given the game script uncertainty for backup Dak Prescott.

If The Commish is going to stop Frank The Tank in his tracks, it will likely have to come from the strength of his receiver trio of Chase, Lamb, and St. Brown. Chase’s Monday night matchup might be must see TV if the game is still in play. Frank will counter with DeVonta Smith, who had seen his production steadily creeping up before his eruption on Christmas Eve with Minshew under center. Frank will hope the pairs chemistry continues, while hoping the Thielen/Cousins connection turns back the clock and finds pay dirt. Frank is currently lining up Courtland Sutton in the flex, in a matchup where he should at least see a very positive game script.

At TE, even with Commish’s Kittle on a hot streak, you just can’t pick against Travis Kelce. The clear League MVP, Kelce continues to show week after week that anyone questioning that pick was foolish. Hell, he may go even higher next year (seriously, can we not let Frank get him again?)

Big picture wise this is a fascinating matchup between two teams who have pretty clearly been two of the best if not the best teams throughout the course of the season, but who achieved those results in very different ways. Frank bludgeoned teams with Kelce and Mahomes, a combo no one could match, while finishing them off with Josh Jacobs explosions. Commish attacked from all angles, getting just enough from the QB and TE positions that Frank thrived in while being primarily driven by top end talent at the skill positions. The Tank will try to roll to a second straight title using the same formula he has all year, while The Commish will have to use his depth and rely on his air support to but a final end to Frank’s assault upon The League. The battle begins tonight.


The Anthem Bowl

7. 2Cups1Bladder (formerly known as MiddleOfSpineHurts) (7-9) vs 8. So Much Honey (7-9)

Now to the matchup everyone REALLY cares about, the 2022 Anthem / Toilet / Last Place / These Guys Suck at Fantasy Bowl. For the first time, the two turds racing to the bottom when The League hits the flusher are the 7 and 8 seeds, who missed the playoffs on a tiebreaker loss and have continued to collapse further into a den of despair and misery of their own making.

When you get to this point in the season, desperation is the name of the game, as evidenced by Ya Boy hitting us with the 11th hour name change in an attempt to shake things up. Lets hope he didn’t resort to any animal homicides as well.

In the other corner is Mr. Honey himself, who’s found himself in a bit of a sticky situation by blowing his load way too early in the season and finding himself unable to get back up to par as time runs out on 2022.

The downward spiral these two find themselves in is shocking, given where they found themselves in the standings not too long ago. But the season can flip in an instant, and flip it has, with Cody dropping 5 of his last 6 and Mark catching the L in 6 of the last 7.

Vegas has Mark as a 15+ point favorite in this one, on the back of Josh Allen, Ekeler and Chubb. Cody will counter with Waddle, Zeke, and Mark Andrews. But question marks litter the rest of each squad, with Mark’s weak point being wide receiver and Cody’s being at RB with the loss of Pollard.

Mark did put up a good fight last week but took a tough loss to Vaf while Cody has been out and out bad, so if we’re judging based on recent performances give the edge to Mark. A loss would push Cody into the exclusive multi-Anthem club of Jay, Vaf, and BJC. But funny things tend to happen in the Anthem Bowl, and if Mark does manage to lose his 7th out of 8, he will find himself singing for his country and the rest of The League’s amusement for the first time come late August/early September.

Good luck to the participants, and let’s all hope the race to the bottom provides some fireworks on Monday night.

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The 2022 League Semifinals Preview

2. Frank The Tank (9-5) vs. 3. Koo Kupp Klan (9-6)
Tale of the Tape
Current Lineups

Last week Nick put an end to Jay’s Cinderella run, mugging him in the street and coming away with a 117.9 to 104.6 victory. I hope he stole the carriage and the glass slippers as well, because he’s going to need them in this matchup against the defending champ. The books and projections have Frank as a sizable favorite in this one, and the reason starts at the top, with League MVP runner up Jalen Hurts sidelined, leaving Nick to turn to Gardner Minshew in this do or die matchup. Minshew certainly has the capability to put up a respectable or better outing, but doesn’t offer near the upside that Hurts did with his legs, turning what may have even been a slight edge for Nick in the QB matchup to a big advantage for Frank The Tank and Patrick Mahomes.

Where Nick is hoping and looking to make up ground is at the skill positions, particularly WR. If there’s been one weakness for the Tank this season, its been at the wideout spot. Devonta Smith and Adam Thielen have both been solid but ultimately unspectacular, ranking as WRs 18 and 27 respectively. It’s currently unclear how the move to Minshew will affect Smith, and Thielen has been largely TD dependent this season. On the flip side, Nick will run out Mike Evans and Terry McLaurin, who rank as WRs 17 and 23, but may offer a bit more upside than Frank’s crew; Evans in particular feels due for a big game.

The RB position is one that should see some sparks fly. Aside from QB, the ground game has been one of the strengths of Nick’s team this year, where he will be handing the ball off to the bellow duo of Rhamondre Stevenson and Kenneth Walker III. We talked about KWIII’s season after he was named Steal of the Draft, but Stevenson has been equally impressive in solidifying his spot in a Patriots backfield that has historically been near impossible to solidify, and ranking as the overall RB10 while doing so. Across the way though, Frank The Tank’s RB duo looks even more formidable than it did even just a few weeks ago. Of course Josh Jacobs has been an explosion waiting to happen every single week, and is the overall RB1 and MVP runner up. The pick in the 3rd round drew a few puzzled reactions, but has left Frank laughing all the way to the Semis and drawn a bunch of retroactive think pieces from so-called fantasy experts trying to figure out how they whiffed so badly. All that is well and good, but what has really put Frank over the top the last couple of weeks has been the emergence of Jerrick McKinnon not just as a Mahomes check down option but as one of the main drivers of the Chiefs offense. Rb2 was a weak spot for Frank as little as a month ago, and now it is one of his biggest strengths.

Of course, TE was a huge mismatch on paper coming into this one, as it is whenever Frank and Travis Kelce square off against anybody. But Nick rolled out Evan Engram on Thursday, who gave him one of his best TE performances of the season at 14+ points. Cutting into that perceived advantage for Frank is a great first step if Nick is actually going to pull off this upset. But of course, Kelce can drop a 30 burger on you in the blink of an eye.

So yes, this seems like an uphill battle for Koo Kupp Klan on paper. But Nick didn’t earn the How Are You Still Alive Award for no reason; he’s been as tough to kill as they come. This week, we’ll see if an actual Tank can do the job. A trip to the Championship Game awaits whoever is left standing when the dust settles.


1. Dear Leader (9-5) vs. 4. 2 Feets In (9-6)
Tale of the Tape
Current Lineups

Jack entered his Wild Card matchup with Meade as a huge favorite, and he exited that matchup with the world realizing why. He easily advanced, dispatching Meade while barely breaking a sweat in his 105.76 to 69.4 victory, setting the stage for a highly anticipated matchup with The Commish’s Dear Leader squad. The books have this one as a near toss up, with Dear Leader ever so slightly favored but one shift of the wind could blow that right back the other way.

Looking at the QB position, its tough to pick who has the advantage (which will be a theme in this matchup). Commish will likely send out Justin Fields in the frigid Chicago weather, while Jack will counter with Tua in the balmy Miami breeze. Weather wise you can say 2 Feets In has the advantage, but Fields always poses a huge threat on the ground.

Things don’t get any clearer at the skill positions, with both teams fielding the top WR trios in The League. 2 Feets In is powered of course by League MVP runner up Tyreek Hill, AJ Brown, and DeAndre Hopkins, while Dear Leader will trot out Ja’Marr Chase, CeeDee Lamb, and Amon-Ra St. Brown. Again, this one is a toss up that might have been decided by AJB and Hopkins playing with backup QBs, but they’re talented enough to overcome that and that weather will once again affect Chase and ASB for the Commish.

On the ground, both teams’ RB1 are near tops in The League, with Jack’s CMC squaring off against Commish’s Derrick Henry. On paper you might say the one clear edge in this matchup goes to Dear Leader at the RB2 spot, where he’ll feature Aaron Jones against 2 Feets In’s Rachaad White. But Jones has ceded his goal line work and a bunch of carries in recent weeks to AJ Dillon, while White has been solidifying his role in the Bucs backfield.

And finally at TE, Commish would seemingly have the advantage with George Kittle, inconsistent as he’s been, squaring off against Jack’s “tight end” Taysom Hill. But with the weather in the Saints matchup featuring 40 mph wind and well below zero wind chill temps, the Saints figure to be keeping the ball on the ground a ton, which of course is a recipe for success for “tight ends” like Hill.

The teams are as close as it gets on paper, and they seemed destined to meet in the postseason. And here it is, on Christmas weekend, yet there’s only a present for on of them under the tree. Who gets the gift of heading to the ‘Ship and who gets nothing but a lump of coal? We’ll find out in the hours to come.

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Previews / Recaps / Awards

2022 League Awards

The Playoffs and Anthem Bracket are in full swing, but before we dive in to this week’s high stakes holiday matchups let us take some time to reflect on the regular season that has just passed. That’s right, it’s time to hand out the 2022 League Regular Season Awards. Congratulations to this year’s award winners (or in some cases, sorry). Drumroll please…


Manager of the Year: Jason R. Hennin, I’ll Show You Tough

This one may not be much of a surprise, but it is certainly well deserved. Though his Cinderella run was cut short in the Wild Card round, Jay Hey navigated his I’ll Show You Tough squad from a 2-7 start to a 7-7 finish, stunningly reaching the postseason after he was left for dead. And this was not some sort of passive, luck driven turn around. Jay actively worked the waiver wire and the trade block each week, taking risks and making moves to continue to improve his team and his chances when all hope seemed lost. An all in all fantastic managerial job, and a lesson to all of us to play through the whistle.

Runner-up: Commish


Most Valuable Player: TE Travis Kelce (Frank The Tank)

This one isn’t much of a debate either. Frank grabbed Kelce with the 7th pick in the Draft, and he was worth every single penny of that draft capital. Week in and week out Kelce provided Frank with a gigantic advantage over the rest of his opponents, as Kelce’s 234 points on the season have nearly doubled the next closest tight end’s. There simply isn’t a bigger mismatch in The League, and Kelce has propelled the defending champ right back into another title chase.

Runner-ups: Jalen Hurts (Koo Kupp Klan), Tyreek Hill (2 Feets In), Josh Jacobs (Frank The Tank)


Steal of the Draft: Kenneth Walker (Round 9.4, 101st overall, Koo Kupp Klan)

Much has been made of Nick’s faith in the Zero RB strategy as he won the West and has advanced into the Semifinals. And at the heart of why the strategy paid off so handsomely is his selection of rookie sensation Kenneth Walker III at the 101st overall pick. Walker ranks as the RB14 on a per game basis, but that’s only because he played a backup role in the first few weeks. After being named the starter in Week 5 until getting hurt in Week 13, Walker averaged over 18 ppg, which would be good for RB5 on the year. From a guy picked in the middle of the 9th round, you can’t ask for a better ROI. An absolute heist of a pick.

Runner-ups: Jamaal Williams (Round 13.5, 149th overall, Dear Leader), Tony Pollard (Round 6.11, 71st overall, So Much Honey), Tyler Lockett (Round 9.9, 105th overall, Feed Me MOORE), Christian Kirk (Round 9.2, 99th overall, So Much Honey), Garrett Wilson (Round 11.5, 125th overall, Dear Leader)


Bust of the Draft: Jonathan Taylor (Round 1.2, 2nd overall, So Much Honey)

This one was tough to decide between the winner and the chief runner up. There were no colossal busts in the first 2 rounds of the draft this year, but there were certainly a handful of highly disappointing picks. And none were more disappointing than last year’s clear RB1 and 2nd overall pick in the draft Jonathan Taylor. Injuries certainly played a part in this, but even when Taylor was on the field he failed to love up to his draft billing, ranking as only RB20 on a per game basis, and RB25 overall. And those rankings are propped up by a half decent stretch towards the end of his season (he just went on IR); from weeks 2 through 9 in the games he did suit up, he averaged a mere 7.6 points per game, not even flex worthy. A mid range RB2 who you can’t even start half the year is not what you have in mind at the top of round 1, where you expect to get an absolute set and forget stud. Ultimately, the spent draft capital at a spot where you expect to get an absolute stud trumps the 3rd round whiff on Pitts at a position that got no consistent production from anyone all year except Kelce.

Runner-ups: Kyle Pitts (Round 3.4, 28th overall, Koo Kupp Klan), Allen Robinson (Round 3.12, 36th overall, Meat Mavens), Najee Harris (Round 1.10, 10th overall, Outatime), D’Andre Swift (Round 2.4, 16th overall, Feed Me MOORE)


Waiver Wire Pickup of The Year: Tyler Lockett ($5, So Much Honey)

After coming close to winning Steal of the Draft, Cody notches a positive award to offset the negative one above. Grabbing Tyler Lockett off waivers for a mere $5 has to leave the rest of The League scratching their heads, no one more than Vaf who actually drafted the guy. Lockett ranks neatly as WR13 on a per game basis, and cost Cody zero draft capital and less than a week’s worth of waiver dollars. This one actually isn’t all that close, Cody picks it up in a laugher.

Runner-ups: Chris Olave ($8, Feed Me MOORE), Justin Fields ($0, Outatime), Christian Watson ($12, I’ll Show You Tough)


Survivor Champ: Commish, Dear Leader

This one was decided back in Week 12, but just like Jay’s team this year, he proved very tough to kill. But now Jay’s death row appeals have finally run out, and it is time for the final execution of the 2022 season. For the crime of a Week 11 low score of 109.8 points, Jason Hennin has been sentenced to death, by any means necessary.


The ” I Didn’t Hear No Bell” Award: Ryan Olsen, Outatime

It was a season to forget for Olsen, who started off 1-1 and then lost a remarkable 9 straight games, one shy of the all time longest losing streak in League history. But rather than throwing in the towel, even with all hope at the postseason lost and a bye in the Anthem Bracket all but clinched, Olsen decided to honor The League’s integrity and fight till the very end. With nothing on the line but pride, Outatime went out guns blazing in the Wild West the final 3 weeks, playing spoiler to the playoff hopes of then-division leader Marky Mark, dragging Vaf down into the mud with him, and then calling his shot and completing the mini sweep of the division by knocking off division winner Nicky Diamonds and ensuring he didn’t get a bye.


The “How Are You Still Alive?” Award: Nicholas Panepinto, Koo Kupp Klan

The Fantasy Gods threw everything they could at Diamonds this year, but he continued to overcome the obstacles all the way to (at minimum) The League Semifinals. It starts of course with number 4 overall pick Cooper Kupp, but Nick also lost 3rd round pick Kyle Pitts to IR, Kenneth Walker for multiple games in the final divisional push, and Khalil Herbert to IR. And to make matter worse, he’s now dealing with an injury to Team MVP Jalen Hurts. Still, Nick kept trucking along to a division title, a testament to the depth he managed to accumulate in the draft. Lets see this week if he can overcome his toughest battle yet.


The Luck of The Irish / Horseshoe Up His Ass Award: Anthony Barlotta, The Meat Mavens

Another runaway victory, there really was no one else who competed for this award. In fact, there’s a strong case to be made that even though Ant wound up missing the postseason, he may have had the luckiest season in League history. Consider the following:

  • Ant’s average points per game this year were over 16% worse than The League average, the 8th worst mark in history and the worst in the last 11 seasons. The rest of the bottom 14 in League history in that statistic went a combined 41-131-2 (average 3-10 season), with no one winning more than 4 games. Ant somehow won 7 and finished the year at .500.
  • Of course, all of that is with a pretty huge uptick in production the last 4 weeks, where Ant posted a couple of 100 point games. From weeks 5 through 10, he averaged 74.4 points per game, never crossing the century mark, only once scoring more than 90, scoring less than 70 3 times, and putting up an astounding 46.8 point performance in Week 8. He somehow won 2 of those 6 games (if he had played every team in The League every week during that stretch, he would have won 7 games and lost 59).
  • Ant posted the lowest score in the League 4 times, and the second lowest score another 3 times, meaning that for half the season he was either the worst or second worst team in The League, and yet he somehow won half of his games!

And of course, the cherry on top, Ant will be sipping Pina coladas out of a coconut this week watching 4 others fight it out for the Anthem. Tip o’ the cap to ya Maven.


The Involuntary Blowout Badge of Dishonor: Shaun L. Meade

For the second year in a row, Meade earns the League’s lowest honor, given to the League owner who shows the lowest standards of ethics and integrity and behaves in the most despicable and disgusting manner. Once again, Meade showcased what can only be a complete absence of integrity or idiocy with his inane roster moves, just recently failing to make a waiver move for a QB leading up to a playoff game and continuing to roster 3 backup RBs from the same team well into the week.

Worst of all however is his brazen and open attempts to jinx his opponents into an injury. Regardless of how you feel about the Fantasy Gods, superstitions, and all that comes along with that, there is a line that Meade habitually crosses in attempting use the dark arts to injure players on other teams. He refuses to attempt to win straight up, focusing more on engaging in borderline beastiality with cats than, I don’t know, working the waiver wire and maintaining the competitive balance of The League, for which others have rightly been lauded in this awards ceremony.

In what can only be described as karma, Meade got his comeuppance at the end of the year, losing his QB to injury in each of the last 3 games, blowing the Central division and a first round bye, and going down with barely a whimper in the first round of the postseason. A fitting end, and a blaring neon sign to change his disgusting ways. But he’ll probably sleep through it and be right back in this position next year.

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2022 Playoff Preview

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For two decades, The Men of The League have fought and battled for the opportunity that now lays in front of just six of them. When first they set out on their quest there was a full dozen, their fates as fragile as the soft shells of eggs within the carton. Little by little, one by one, cracks began to appear; chinks in the armor. For some, the cracks became akin to a hole on a ship, taking on water, sinking their fortunes to depths of the ocean of the 2022 season. For yet others they battled on, knowingly weakened, yet unwilling to succumb to the rising waters until at last they were overcome by the endless onslaught of waves. And then there were six, six that did not yield to the cracks but instead turned them into scars, each one a reminder of the toil and sacrifice it took to get to this very spot.

Six men stand before you now upon to the precipice of greatness, battle tested and sharpened as they begin their ascent upon the mountain of the 20th postseason in The League’s illustrious history. Danger and peril awaits them all; pain and heartbreak inevitable for all but a lucky one of their number. One by one they will fall, from dizzying heights to unfathomable depths. The higher they climb, the worse the fall. Nevertheless they are propelled ever onward and upwards, driven solely by the sliver of hope, the dream, that they will be the one not to fall, but to rise, impossibly higher, until at last they reach the glorious mountaintop and look out over the vast expanse of the 2022 season, king of all that they survey.

Who will be that One? The defending champion, the memory of completing the perilous climb just last year still fresh in the minds of The League as the fallen snow, looking to do what no one has done in over a decade? The commissioner, having vanquished a postseason drought, aiming to even up the score at the top of The League’s championship count? The diamond in the rough, having won the shootout in the West with a quick draw and an even quicker trigger, seeking yet again to reach the peak for the first time? The newly minted father of 2, matching the number of his feets in, with a roster built and managed with nothing but the climb in mind? The bumbling buffoon, stumbling into the postseason for a remarkable fifth year in a row, powered by his idiocy, lack of integrity, and attempts at dark magic? Or the ultimate fighter, showing us all the definition of tough by weathering the fiercest of storms and somehow still arriving at the base of the mountain with as good a chance as any to make it all the way to the top?

Over these next two and a half weeks we will inch ever closer to the answer to the question, the only certainty being that five will fall, and one will rise. Tonight, the climb begins.

Welcome, gentlemen, to the 2022 League Playoffs.


3. Koo Kupp Klan (8-6) vs 6. I’ll Show You Tough (7-7)
Tale of the Tape
Current Lineups

Our first matchup pits the winner of the West against the lowest seeded but hottest team in the dance. Nicky Diamonds Koo Kupp Klan squad played a lot of games without its namesakes, but still managed to win the hotly contested West, capturing Nick’s 5th career division title (second of all time behind Vaf’s 6). When asked about the accomplishment, the grand wizard was floored. “Wow,” he stated, “I was not aware of that statistic and feel some pride having proof of my labors”.

The proof is in the pudding, as they say. After starting off the year 2-4, Koo Kupp Klan rattled off 4 straight victories and entered the last round of divisional play having all but erased the divisional deficit he found himself in in the early going. And in the next two weeks, he managed to knock off a surging Vaf and then take down early favorite Marky Mark to clinch the West with a week to spare. The roster, built on the back of the controversial zero-RB strategy, enters the postseason with a nevertheless formidable RB duo in rookie sensation Kenneth Walker and banged up NE bellcow Rhamondre Stevenson (Stevenson’s status will be one to monitor closely heading into the weekend). Veteran receivers Mike Evans and Terry McLaurin are frequent fliers in the fantasy postseason and will lead the aerial attack in this one. But the engine of the team is found under center, where MVP candidate Jalen Hurts provides a floor/ceiling combo at QB unmatched by anybody left on a postseason roster beside perhaps Mahomes.

Diamonds credits a lot of this season’s success to his disappointment from last year and how that fueled his performance at The Draft: “This division title means a lot because after falling short of the mark last year, I made sure to prepare and have multiple strategies in place for this years draft. It’s easy to bail on a 0 Rb strategy in a panic, but I stayed the course and have been rewarded with a division title and playoff berth.”

Of course a lot of the zero RB strategy was tied into first round pick Cooper Kupp, who was more than living up to his draft billing before losing his season to injury. But that’s in the past, and Nick isn’t dwelling on it heading into what’s sure to be a tough battle against a foe who has seemingly had his number of the years. “Injuries are inevitable and it’s never easy losing your first round pick who was performing as such,” Nick said, “but we have no choice but to press on!”

On the other side of this matchup sits Jay Hey, currently in the midst of a run for the ages and unquestionably the hottest team in The League over the last month+. Jay began the year 1-6, and then ultimately 2-7, despite scoring over 100 points in 7 of those 9 games and over 110 in 5 of them. 3 of those 7 losses came by less than 1.5 points. After such a string of bad luck, it would have been easy for the team to fold up shop. But Jay kept his team focused. “I told my team to take the approach to do whatever it takes to win,” Jay said. “The close losses really sting but you have to keep fighting until you’re eliminated.” And while the team kept fighting, Jay himself kept fighting to improve the team, making a series of trades to help stave off that final nail in the coffin. “Once I had loss #7 I knew we were 1 more loss from the season being over. I made some big trades that led to performances that saved my season. I thought given my points scored -if we ran the table & got a little help, we could force my way into the playoffs”.

Compared to some other teams in the postseason, Jay’s roster is almost unrecognizable when compared to the one who came out of the Draft with. There were 8 trades in The League this year, and I’ll Show You Tough was involved in half of them. In fact if you look at Jay’s projected starting lineup in this one, it features only 2 players not acquired via trade or free agency. Tee Higgins was traded away, spent a couple weeks playing for Olsen, and then traded back! But all the moves helped shore up a roster that produced the third most points in The League and rattled off five straight wins to stunningly claim the final playoff spot. Even Jay himself didn’t start to believe what was happening until later on. “Since I knew it was win out or bust – I probably didn’t fully buy in I could do it until maybe week 13 vs. Meade,” Jay confessed. But, “once you get hot you really start to think you’ll find a way to get in done each week.”

And find a way he did, led by the high flying receiver trio of Justin Jefferson, Chris Godwin, and the aforementioned Tee Higgins. Joe Burrow, on fire of late, has provided a huge boost behind center. And one of the best defenses in the league in San Fran has been an overlooked factor in Jay’s run as well. As miraculous as the last 5 weeks have been, Jay is turning to focus to the future and his matchup with Diamonds. “This run has been awesome but I’m trying to not celebrate too much or too early because the hardest ones are ahead. I guess there’s only one thing left to do…. Win the whole fuckin thing.”


4. 2 Feets In (8-6) vs 5. Lobster Beesc (8-6)
Tale of the Tape
Current Lineups

The 4/5 matchup has heavy favorite Jacky G matching up against against a Meade-led squad that some pundits say deserves to be in the Anthem Bracket. Jack’s 2 Feets In squad got off to a bit of a slow start this year, but League analysts remained high on the roster throughout. And after a 2-4 start, their faith was rewarded.

From weeks 7-13, 2 Feets In won 6 of its 7 games, averaging 121.6 points per game over that span, including a 188 point outburst in Week 8 that represents the second highest single game score in League history. A few surprise losses from defending champ Frank The Tank during that stretch pulled Jacky G neck and neck for the division lead heading into the final week of the regular season, with the winner of the matchup set to claim the East and the coveted first round bye. Unfortunately for 2 Feets In, the Tank proved too much to overcome, leaving Jack with the wild card and a a date with Meade in the first round of the postseason. It was for sure a disappointment for 2 Feets In, but Jack told League reporters that the team plans to regroup with the help of “beer, wine, and hope.”

And one look at the roster shows that there is certainly reason for hope. The wide receiver trio of Tyreek Hill, AJ Brown, and DeAndre Hopkins can only come close to being matched by one or two teams (if that) in The League. First overall pick CMC is back in form, and looks right at home in the San Fran scheme which treasures the run and quick passing game at which he excels. RB2 Dameon Pierce is a bit banged up, but he’s backed up by solid depth in Rachaad White and Jeff Wilson. Tua has manned the QB spot and figures to do so should he advance further, but at the moment Jacky G appears to be playing the matchup with Mike White in the wild card matchup. Put simply, the weak points aren’t really weak, and the strong points are as strong as any in The League. All that adds up to 2 Feets In still being one of the favorites to take home the crown and an overwhelming point spread in his matchup this week (Yahoo has him as a 15ish point favorite, while Vegas has the line reaching into the 20s).

For his part, Jack isn’t taking Meade lightly. Informed about the expectations and the large point spread, Jack brushed it off. “You’re only as good as your last performance so we aren’t feeding into the point spread,” Jack said. “We feel like underdogs in this matchup but are ready to fight.”

On the other side of that fight is Meade’s Lobster Beesc, a seemingly perennial playoff mainstay. Meade has now piloted his team to the playoffs for the fifth straight year, even if his methods have drawn the ire of his fellow League members and offend the Fantasy Gods. Meade started off the year 4-2 and then 7-3, battling for the division with Commish the whole way. Throughout it all, the win-loss record seemingly justified his questionable roster moves and duplicitous use of the dark arts, as he openly rooted for injuries to his opponents. Indeed, he won 3 games over a 5 game period in which he failed to top 100 points. Alas karma would rear its head in Week 14, where a battle with the Commish with the Central and a bye on the line ended with a season ending injury to Beesc QB Kyler Murray on the first drive of MNF, effectively ending the matchup and ceding the division to Dear Leader. But even though he lost the division, Meade still managed to grab the 5 seed with while ranking 8th in The League in points.

Even though the numbers haven’t been impressive, Meade still has the horses to make a deep run, perhaps even a 3rd championship run. Stefon Diggs can go toe to toe with any WR in the league, Miles Sanders is quietly one of the top RBs in fantasy, and Mike Williams returning from injury gives Meade that crucial third weapon that nobody wants to go up against. The Kyler Murray injury hurts, as does Meade being seemingly oblivious to the utilizing the waiver wire to secure his replacement to a pivotal playoff matchup. In fact as recently as yesterday, Meade was still rostering a QB with a torn ACL, and three backup Seattle RBs. When questioned by reporters, Meade responded that “one of you put a curse on me just right now I can feel it. I started sneezing uncontrollably.”

Meade’s bizarre behaviors and lack of integrity didn’t stop there. When reporters asked last night why Meade had Travis Homer in the starting lineup even though Kenneth Walker was slated to play, Meade responded that “Homer isn’t gonna start believe it or not. The art of war is deception Klu.” Asked what Sun Tzu had to say about about him being a fucking moron and not putting a claim in for a QB, Meade said “lol I hate you guys.” Still, as early as this afternoon Meade had Travis Homer in the starting lineup, seemingly unaware that his planned “deception” scheme relied on him being aware that the Seahawks played tonight and not this weekend. As of this writing, he is still rostering the Seahawks, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th string RBs.

We’ll see if Meade is able to pull off the upset in this one. The odds may not be in his favor, but he is without a doubt the odds on favorite to win his second straight “Involuntary Blowout Badge of Dishonor” when the 2022 Regular Season Awards are announced this weekend.


That does it for the 2022 Playoff Preview. Good luck to all the participants in this week’s matchups. And of course, please remember that the Anthem Bracket will not show up appropriately on Yahoo. This week’s matchups are:

7. MiddleOfSpineHurts (7-7) vs. 10. Brainbusters (6-8)

8. So Much Honey (7-7) vs. 9. Meat Mavens (7-7)

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Previews / Recaps / Awards

Week 12 Playoff Odds & Scenarios

With 11 weeks in the books, we have come full circle back to divisional play. Just 3 games remain, but 11 teams still have hopes to break into the dance. Lets start with the clinching scenarios for this week before diving into the odds:

Week 12 Clinching Scenarios

  • Frank The Tank can clinch the EAST with:
    • a WIN AND
    • 2 Feets In LOSS
  • Frank The Tank can clinch at least a WILD CARD with:
    • a WIN AND
    • a MiddleOfSpineHurts LOSS AND
    • a Koo Kupp Klan LOSS
  • Dear Leader can clinch at least a WILD CARD with:
    • a WIN OR
    • a 2Feets In LOSS AND
    • Brainbusters LOSS AND
    • MiddleOfSPineHurts LOSS AND
    • Koo Kupp Klan LOSS

Additionally, the Commish has clinched at least a tie for a wild card spot (total points would decide), and Frank and Meade can do the same with a win this week, regardless of what else happens around The League.

Playoff Odds

At the top, we should mention that 9 wins will guarantee a postseason spot. That means that if you currently have 6 or more wins, you control your own playoff destiny. 8 teams are currently at that level. 3 teams (Mavens, I’ll Show You Tough, Feed Me MOORE) are still alive but will need help. Only Olsen is outright eliminated.

It is possible, but extremely unlikely that a 6 win team can sneak into one of the wild card spots. A minimum of 8 wins will be needed to win the East and Central, and a minimum of 7 wins will be needed to win the West.

One final note, “Clinch %” below means the odds that a team will clinch a playoff spot without a point tiebreaker deciding it, and Tie % means the odds that a team ends up tied for a playoff spot with a points tiebreaker deciding it. Obviously, the more points you have the better your odds of succeeding in that tiebreaker scenario. Tie or Better % means exactly that, percentage chance you either clinch or tie for a playoff spot. Miss % is the odds you are eliminated outright without a chance to win a points tiebreaker.

Overall Odds

East Division

Defending champ Frank The Tank is in a commanding position as we enter the final 3 weeks of divisional play. While he holds only a 1 game lead over Jacky G and BJC and a 2 game lead over the Maven, his 2 game cushion in divisional record (and 300 point cushion over Ant) effectively means he will win any tie at the top of the division standings. For him to not win the division, his challengers will not just have to catch him, but pass him. In 75% of scenarios, he winds up winning the division.

Jacky G and Brian aren’t out of the mix just yet, but as mentioned they will need to pass Frank in the standings and that means winning out alone won’t guarantee them the division. 3% of the scenarios also see both of them tying at 8-6, with Frank losing out and points breaking the tie at the top. Jack currently has the advantage there.

Finally, the Maven ain’t dead yet! If he wins out and Frank loses out, he would take the East. That’s pretty much his only chance however given they points discrepancy.

Central Division

Out in the Central the odds are stacked a bit differently. Even though The Commish currently has a 1 game lead over Meade and a 2 game lead over Cody, his 1-2 record inside the division means that he will have to maintain that lead in order to win the Central. While he does so in 57% of scenarios, that’s still little better than coin flip odds.

Meade has a slightly less than 1/3 chance of making up the deficit and claiming the Central crown, but he does control his own destiny. However, if Cody can fight his way to a tie at the top, he would win the division based on division record, which happens in about 10% of scenarios.

Jay has been eliminated from the division race.

West Division

Marky Mark and Nicky Diamonds are tied for the lead out in the West, with a 2 game cushion over Vaf who is fighting on for dear life, but its Mark with the advantage at the moment given his 3-0 division record. All he needs to do is force at least a tie at the top of the division and he’ll win it without having it come down to points.

Nick will need to outpace Mark to win the division, but he also controls his own destiny in that regard. There is a 1 in 100 chance that Vaf can win out, Mark loses out, and Vaf and Nick wind up tied at 7-7 with points making the difference. Vaf would need to make up over 120 points on Diamonds to win there, but hey, it’s possible!

Wild Card
*Clinch/Tie% in scenarios where team doesn’t win division GB = Games Behind PB = Points Behind WC = Wild Card

As usual, the wild card spots are where things start getting, well, wild. The 3 division winners will take the top 3 seeds (with the top 2 of them getting the bye) and the next best 3 teams will take the 3 wild cards.

The Commish not winning the division and being in the wild card race is not ideal for anyone else competing for the wild card. Dear Leader has already clinched at least a tie of the last wild card spot and currently has a 92 point advantage. He wins a wild card spot outright 91% of the time he doesn’t win the division and is in a tie in the rest. He also has matchups against 3 of the other wild card challengers. Basically, if you’re not playing against the Commish you’re rooting for him.

The same is largely true for Frank, but not as clear cut. As Frank is a huge favorite to win the division, generally the wild card contestants should be rooting for him. However, for him to lose the division it would mean a pretty big collapse. In the 25% of scenarios where Frank doesn’t win the division, he fails to clinch a wild card outright in 60% of them. Basically, if Frank is thinking wild card instead of division, it means he’s probably been bad enough to let other wild card contestants jump or catch him. Unless you’re in his division you should still be rooting for him, but it might not kill you if he loses.

Mark is in a similar situation to Frank but worse, where if he doesn’t win the division he’s in danger of dropping out of the playoff picture entirely. In the 37% chance that Mark doesn’t win the West, he did poorly enough that he fails to clinch a fallback wild card spot outright in 95% of those scenarios, and fails to clinch at least a tie in about 60% of those scenarios. Rooting against Marky Mark if you’re hunting for a wild card spot is probably your best bet.

Meade is currently in possession of the 4 seed and the first wild card spot, with a 1 game cushion on the challengers chomping at his heels. Even if he does fail to win the division, he has a 72% chance of maintaining that lead. However, in 24% of the scenarios where Meade winds up tied for the last wild card spot, his points total figures to hold him back significantly.

Jacky G is one of 4 (5 if you count Mark) teams currently tied for a wild card spot at 6-5. He leads all those teams (except Mark) in points, meaning he is currently the 5 seed, however the lead is narrow over Nick and Cody. With the division setting up tough, his best bet to make the postseason is the wild card, which he clinches 36% of the time he doesn’t win the division. Another 35% of the time, he winds up in a tie for the final wild card, where he is well positioned to win a spot on points, as he currently is now.

Nicky Diamonds, tied with Mark atop the West but currently holding the last wild card spot, is in a similar situation to Mark where if he doesn’t manage to win the division means he most likely failed to win the division outright. He still clinches at least a tie in 56% of those scenarios however.

Brian’s odds are exactly the same as Jack’s, on the surface at least. Where he fails to win the division he still manages to clinch a wild card outright 36% of the time. However in the 35% of the time he ends up tied, he’ll have a bit more ground to make up in points given he currently sits 60 points behind the last wild card spot.

The Meat Mavens sit a game behind the 4 teams ahead of them for the wild card spot, which is of course a lot to overcome with only 3 games remaining and he has only a 7% chance to win a spot outright. While he has a 20% chance to tie for a spot, that number is massively deceiving given his current point deficit.

And finally, Jay and Vaf have near identical chances to clinch a spot outright, which is to say not much of a chance at all. Less than 1/10th of 1% actually. However, there is still a slim but not insane chance that they can pull off a tie for the last spot. Jay would be well positioned to fight for a points tiebreaker if it came down to that. Vaf not so much, but it’s not completely impossible.

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Previews / Recaps / Awards

2022 Midseason Review / League Power Ratings

With lucky number 7 weeks of games in the books, we have officially crossed the halfway point in the season. In honor of the occasion, let’s take a look at the biggest storylines in the action so far before heading into the updated power ratings.

SCORING IS DOWN

Way down. The average score so far is just a tick over 105 points per game, and we have just started hitting bye weeks. That would mark the lowest scoring year since 2014, the last year before The League moved to full decimal scoring. In fact in the past four seasons, average scoring has not dipped below 110 points per game, with a peak of 115 in 2018. This downturn in scoring obviously follows the notable offensive struggles in the NFL, which has seen a number of Hall of Fame QBs and projected top offenses fail to hit their stride in the early going.

THE CHAMP IS UP

Much to all of our dismay, reigning champion Frank The Tank is the leader in the field as we hit the midseason point. Sitting at 6-1 and averaging a league leading 120.7 point per game, the Tank has been, well, a tank. Until Cody mercifully knocked him off in week 6, Frank had won a remarkable 13 straight games dating back to last season, a mark that hasn’t been reached in the “modern era” and not at all since 2006. While that streak is thankfully over, he may have begun another one with a thrashing of Olsen the following week. The Kansas City Franks are on a bye this week, but still tough to count him out just yet.

Nipping at The Champ’s heels are long time nemesis Marky Mark , led by a fearsome rushing attack of Chubb and Ekeler and QB cheat code Josh Allen, and the streaking Commish and BJC, who both started 0-2 but have ripped off 5 straight since. BJC traded Breece Hall away right before disaster struck and Travis Etienne seems poised to break out, but the Commish has lost new addition Ja’Marr Chase for at least the next few weeks thanks to disgusting actions by another League member that will not go unanswered.

HELL IN THE CELL-AR

While Frank sits at 6-1 and 3 other teams sit at 5-2, the battle to the bottom rages on between 3 teams stuck in the mud at 1-6. Injuries have ravaged Olsen’s 1-6 Outatime squad, who has barely gotten anything out of stud receivers Amon-Ra St. Brown and Keenan Allen this season and had missed games and injuries from several other key contributors. Vaf’s Feed Me MOORE has also had some injury struggles, but the return of D’Andre Swift may not be enough to save him from competing for a second straight Anthem. And Jay, well, he’s just been plain old fashioned unlucky. Sitting 5th in total points (higher before a mediocre showing this past week), Jay has lost a remarkable three games by less than 1.5 points, and then had to relive the 111-110.3 loss to Nicky Diamonds over again thanks to Yahoo’s stat correction debacle a couple of weeks ago. At this point for these three teams, what’s done is done. IF there’s any hope at the playoffs and avoiding the Anthem Bowl, it needs to start this week.

STUCK IN THE MIDDLE

While 4 teams sit at 5-2 or better and 3 at 1-6 or worse, 5 teams are in the thick of the race to stay above .500, which history shows us is the mark needed to make the postseason. Nicky Diamond’s Koo Kupp Klan is a popular betting favorite to emerge blazing on The League’s unsuspecting front lawn, one of only 3 teams above 800 points scored. The Central features two teams at 4-3 in So Much Honey and the despicable, disgusting, Lobster Beesc. Ant, The League’s lowest scorer, has been opportunistic to stay at 3-4 but has lost 2 straight. But my dark horse is Jacky G’s 2 Feels In squad, which is only 3-4 but quietly looks like one of the best rosters in The League with the return of Deandre Hopkins and CMC’s trade to San Fran.


POWER RATINGS

  1. Frank The Tank (6-1) – 125.7
  2. Middleofspinehurts (5-2) – 118.7
  3. Dear Leader (5-2) – 114.3
  4. Koo Kupp Klan (4-3) – 110.7
  5. So Much Honey (4-3) – 106.2
  6. Brainbusters (5-2) – 105.0
  7. Lobster Beesc (4-3) – 101.2
  8. 2 Feets In (3-4) – 94.2
  9. I’ll Show Ya Tough (1-6) – 89.5
  10. Meat Mavens (3-4) – 85.5
  11. Feed Me MOORE (1-6) – 76.8
  12. Outatime (1-6) – 76.5
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Previews / Recaps / Awards

The League ’19 Championship Game Preview

It all comes down to this. After nearly four months of action, the next League Champion will be decided over the course of three days. In one corner, the season-long juggernaut and presumptive favorite for the crown since we first started talking about favorites for the crown. In the other corner, the outlaw left for dead who nevertheless rode into the big dance sporting a fresh pair of Cinderella’s glass slippers. In mere hours, the final dance begins. Will the ultimate underdog finally sling his lasso around the elusive Ol’ Glory? Or will the clock strike Midnight on the Rider and turn the horse he rode in on back into a pumpkin? If you looked at the standings, the favorite is clear. If you looked at the projections, it would be even more clear. But in the words of the immortal Chris Berman, THAT’S why they play the game! But since you’re here anyway, and since I’m all out of wild west and Cinderella puns, lets break it down anyway.

Meade comes into the 2019 League Championship Game off of what has quite simply been the best season of his career. His 2019 marks for wins, winning percentage, points per game, and OPR have all been career bests. He has won 6 out of his last 7 games, topping 100 points each time. In fact, he only failed to reach the century mark in two games this season. His Lobster Beesk squad has cruised to this point, recording 7 120+ point games, 4 140+ point games, and 3 150+ point games. He led the League in points 4 times this year, representing over a quarter of the season.

Meade’s career-topping performance throughout the regular season earned him the number one seed and a first round bye, which he rather easily converted into his second Championship Game appearance with a 16 point victory over an explosive BJC squad. He now sits on the precipice of his second League Championship and erasing what has long been a stain on his lifelong record — with a win he will no longer have the worst career winning percentage among active League members.

The stakes are undoubtedly high for an owner that has rarely, if ever, been thought of as an odds-on favorite to etch his name into Ol’ Glory. Yet ahead of what looks to all observers to be the biggest game of his life, Meade is trying to approach the game with the same attitude he maintained when he won his first title in a stunning upset over Vaf all those years ago. “I am no more nervous than any other fantasy game,” Meade maintained. “I go into this weekend with a very quiet confidence and I am proud of my team and their effort no matter the result.”

That confidence has certainly been earned this year, as detailed above. And its hard not to be confident when your team is powered by undoubtedly the best player in fantasy football this year, Christian McCaffrey. Russell Wilson is consistently one of the top performers at the QB position, and receivers Keenan Allen and Terry Mclaurin have plus matchups against the leaky Raiders and Giants secondaries. If Devonta Freeman or Kareem Hunt show up to play, it is certainly likely the Meade’s confidence will pan out.

And yet, Cody was certainly confident entering the Wild Card round, the reigning champ facing off against The League’s lowest-scoring team. He found his firm grip on the trophy suddenly released, his title defense extinguished by a firehose of honey of his own making. Marky Mark was certainly confident heading into the Semifinals, the number two seed pitted against The League’s lowest-ranked squad in OPR. In the end, the only question left was not whether the stench emanated from father or daughter, but whether the blowout that soiled his big boy pants was voluntary or involuntary.

Diamond’s run to the championship has been as magical as it has been improbable. From a 3-7 start and the heavy Anthem favorite, the Midnight Rider rose like a phoenix from the ashes to find himself one win away from his first League Championship in his 10 year career. While Meade has been consistently strong throughout the year, Nick has caught fire at just the right time, setting season highs in point totals in each of his two playoff wins.

To what does Nick credit this sudden turnaround? “There’s no luck involved in this sport. It’s skillz or no skillz,” he says.  “Clearly, I have arrived at this career defining moment due to my expert analysis and keen eye for talent forged in the darkness of the Anthem pits.” And to anyone on his team getting complacent or outsiders thinking he’s just happy to be here considering his predicament a month ago, the Midnight Rider quickly shut down any such talk. “One cannot squander the opportunity to seize the trophy when it is within grasp,” he said.  “I’m here to win.”

If that is to be the case, it’ll take the familiar formula he’s used to get here, with perhaps a bit of a twist. We all know of the Tannehill resurgence, the talented receiver trio of Kupp (TDs in 3 straight but a tough matchup vs. SF), Moore (double digits in 7 straight) and Diggs, and the steady production of Joe Mixon (up against a terrible Miami run defense). But if Nick is to pull off the upset and claim the trophy, it might all come down to newcomer Mike Boone, who has an opportunity to etch his name into fantasy lore filling in for the injured Dalvin Cook this week.

The way the schedule shakes out in this matchup lends itself to an exciting finale. All Meade’s players play on Sunday, while Nick has 3 players going today, 4 on Sunday, and 2 on Monday night. It could be a big time rollercoaster of emotions. Here’s to a Championship Game as exciting as last year’s. Good luck to the participants. May the best man win.

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Previews / Recaps / Awards

The League ’19 Semi-Finals Preview

And then there were four. Two-thirds of The League’s participants have officially been eliminated from contention, meaning there are only 3 games left before a new champion will be crowned and Diesel must relinquish control Ol’ Glory. Lets break down this week’s matchups, the winners of which will be headed to The League Championship Game.

2. Couple Screws Loose (9-4) vs 3. Midnight Rider (7-7)

Diamond’s midnight run improbably continues into The League Semi-Finals, after a season-best performance knocked off the defending champ in the Wild Card Round. Nicky has now racked up 4 straight wins and a ton of momentum as he looks to claim his first title.

Standing in the way, however is a team that might be equally hot. Marky Mark has racked up four straight wins of his own and comes into Sunday already 3 points ahead of projections thanks to TE Mark Andrews.

On paper this one certainly seems lopsided. Mark won the regular season matchup between the two, and holds a 30 point OPR advantage and outscored Diamonds by 20 points per game. He also has probably the two best players in the matchup in Pat Mahomes and Chris Godwin, who figures to be force-fed targets with Mike Evans going down for the year. If Nick is going to pull off the upset and keep his Cinderella story alive, he’ll need to continue the formula that has worked so well for him over the last month, relying on the steady WR duo of Kupp and Moore and taking advantage of the career renaissance of Gase-free Ryan Tannehill.

The X-factor in this matchup might not be a player at all however. While Mark seems to have all the arrows pointing his way, he unfathomably scheduled Lucy’s second birthday party for this very day. Was it a simple oversight driven by one too many late-night martinis? An instance of brash confidence now that papa and daughter are trending away from relying on diapers to contain their involuntary blowouts? We may not know the answer, but as we saw with Jay last week, distraction during playoff games has a history of turning the tide.

5. Brainbusters (7-7) vs 1. Lobster Beesk (10-3)

We knew BJC had the big game potential to knock off Jay Hey, but we didn’t expect Scoops Ahoy to never set sail at all. Either way, the Brainbusters waltzed into the Semis with a career-best playoff performance, and now has a date the team that pretty much sat in first place from the very beginning of the season.

Meade comes into today’s game with a well-rested squad thanks to what has been a career year for the owner, winning his first division title and setting career best marks in both regular season wins and OPR. Lobster Beesk has been prepping for the postseason all year and now it has finally arrived for him, facing what may be his toughest challenge yet.

Lobster Beesk swept the season-series between the teams 2-0, but the advanced stats say that these teams are just about dead even. They averaged nearly the same points per game and have near-identical OPRs. And while we’ve talked at length about Brian’s potential to put up monster point totals on any given week, no team managed to lead The League weekly in points than Meade’s this year.

Both lineups are not short on star power. The QB matchup will be a fun one, with BJC’s DeShaun Watson squaring off against Meade’s Russell Wilson. Two of the best skill position players in the sport, fantasy or otherwise, will go toe to toe as well with the remarkable Michael Thomas looking to bust up the electric Christian McCaffrey. This matchup could come down to which stars shine brightest.

At the same time though, this one might be determined by the secondary players. While Brinbusters will run out December Derrick Henry and Todd Gurley, Meade’s secondary pieces are a bit more suspect at first glance. Keenan Allen has had an up and down year, as has RB2 Devonta Freeman. Injuries have also taken their toll on his TE position, which looked like a strength coming into the year but now remains a giant question mark with Evan Engram on the shelf on Jared Cook being a Monday night game-time decision. If Henry is healthy and either Gurley or Landry have big games, it might be too much for Meade to overcome.

Categories
Previews / Recaps / Awards

The League ’19 Playoff Preview

*For best reading experience, press play above, turn your volume up, and read in old-timey NFL Films narrator voice*

As the sweltering summer sun faded and the leaves turned from green to red, The League played on. As those leaves tumbled downward from their branches, their lives extinguished by the crisp chill of the autumn air, The League played on. As the winds stiffened and the last remnants of summer were smothered by the softly falling snow, The League played on. And on this December Sunday, as the dust settles from the past 13 weeks of battle, a select few will have the honor of playing on at least once more before the decade is out.

Through trials and tribulations, through ups and downs, through peaks and valleys, the one constant these past 17 years has been The League. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But The League has marked the time.

Mere hours from now, the time will come to begin anew the grandest spectacle in fantasy sports. The field has narrowed, but the stakes have risen to precipitous heights. The higher the climb, the thinner the air and the greater the pressure. Such circumstances would crush lesser men; but as the past 13 weeks, nay, as the past 17 years have proven, these are no ordinary men.

It has been said that great moments are borne from great opportunity; the greatness of the opportunity that lies before the teams still standing cannot be overstated. The only question remaining is who will seize it and etch their name into League immortality.

Will it be Meade, capping off the best regular season he has ever produced? Mark, becoming only the third owner to record a third title? Diamonds, left for dead a mere three weeks ago before staging a stunning comeback to improbably win the East? Jay Hey, freshly married and entering the postseason as The League leader in points by a healthy margin? BJC, resilient till the end and seeking to end a 15 year title drought? Diesel, the reigning champion, who fought tooth and nail just to have the opportunity to defend his title and become the second owner in League history to win it all in back to back years?

Everyone has their opinions, everyone has their predictions. None of it means a thing once the time for kickoff has come. One big day could lead to glory; one small misstep to agony. Nowhere does the old saying of any given Sunday ring more true than these next 3 weekends in December.

6 will enter, one will exit a champion. The 2019 League Postseason has begun. Play on.

3. Midnight Rider (6-7) vs. 6. So Much Honey (6-7)

If you had looked at The League standings a month ago, you could have never predicted that these two teams would be squaring off in the Wild Card round. Cody’s title defense was floundering, sitting at 2-6 after the first 8 weeks. A couple of weeks later, Diamonds’ playoff dreams seemed even dimmer, with a dismal 3-7 record heading into Week 11. Miraculously, the two won a combined 7 of their last 8 games to earn playoff berths in the last week of the season.

The Midnight Rider is coming into the playoffs hot, riding a three game win streak that catapulted him to the East title in a 4-way tie. Confidence is high in Nick’s camp, and the team plans “to let the skillz speak for themselves”, and that he’s “not gonna let them catch the midnight rider.”

For his part, Cody is trying to tune out the noise of those criticizing him for backing into the playoffs, though he admitted it was “not the prettiest way to get into the playoffs”. Asked if he’s worried Nick might be this year’s team of destiny, Cody responded diplomatically, telling reporters that “there is always worries, I think Nick has a good team, but I believe I have a stronger team and I’m confident they will bring me a step closer to another championship”.

So Much Honey enters the weekend as an 11 point favorite according to the projections, and on paper looks to have the advantage. He outscored Diamonds by 20 points per game during the regular season, and boasts an above-average 133.16 OPR compared to Diamonds League-low 110.62. He’s also gotten the better of Nicky over the course of their League careers, with an 8-5 mark in the all-time head-to-head matchup. But when the two teams met during the regular season, it was the Midnight Rider who got the last laugh, coming from behind for the Monday Night reach around that left the Diesel with so much honey on his face it would take him nearly a month to clean himself up and get back into the playoff picture.

With Drew Brees going up against the stout San Fran defense, expect Cody to lean heavily upon his RB duo of Chris Carson and Leonard Fournette, both of whom have been the backbone of a team that struggled to find consistency elsewhere throughout the year. Davante Adams will need to continue trending in the right direction coming off his toe problems as well. Hunter Henry should rebound well after a lackluster Week 13 performance, and Calvin Ridley has quietly racked up double digit point in each of the last three games. The X-factor for Cody in this one might just be Mark Ingram; it could be tough sledding for the Ravens ground game against a talented Buffalo defense, but the Baltimore might just be so dynamic that they can’t be stopped either way.

For Diamonds, he’ll look first to the resurgent Ryan Tannehill against a Raider defense that has been leaking fantasy points to opposing QBs over the past couple of weeks. If Tannehill can continue that trend, he might be able to stake out a point advantage over Cody at QB despite the name-recognition of Brees. From there, its expected that the bulk of his skill position points will come from his WR trio that could be game-breaking if they decide to all show up. Kupp, Moore, and Diggs are all high-ceiling players with the ability to find the end zone, and will likely be the key if Nick is going to pull off the upset. That, along with at least one of Mixon or Ronald Jones having a solid day, looks like the recipe for Nick to dethrone the champ.

5. Brainbusters (6-7) vs. 4. Scoops Ahoy (7-6)

Compared to the 3-6 matchup, the 4-5 matchup features two teams who took very different paths to get to this point. BJC’s Brainbusters squad was up and down all year, never winning or losing more than 2 games in a row, and scattering 5 sub-100 point performances around outbursts of 144, 159, and 187 points. On the flip side, Jay dropped the first two games, won 7 of his next 8 (putting up 127+ in each), and then dropped his last 3. Two very different rollercoasters leading to the same location.

In their pre-game press conferences both Jay and Brian touted that their teams were primarily built through the draft, with BJC pointing to his waiver dollars remaining as evidence of his drafting abilities and belief in his squad. To Jay, the camaraderie he’s built with his drafted squad is just one of the reasons this season has been “one of my most memorable seasons in The League.” Reminiscing on the regular season that was, Jay is fully aware of the highs and lows, stating “the 8 week stretch of going 7-1 was as satisfying as it gets and going 0-3 down the stretch was frustrating as hell”.

For Brian, the postseason represents another opportunity to end a decade and a half championship drought. “Commish, the one year I won The League was basically like winning an NFL Championship. Its counts but there’s nothing like winning a Super Bowl and I long for holding Ole Glory for real. I’ve sang the Anthem twice and I know how terrible it is, so making the playoffs was step one in my plan.”

The main storyline hanging over the game, however, is the controversy brewing over Jay’s honeymoon trip to Grenada as his team prepares to hit the playoff field, with some reporters and fans drawing comparisons to the Giants’ infamous Miami boat trip from a few years back:

While Jay acknowledged that he wished he could have earned a bye to avoid playing this week, he downplayed any concerns:

“I had hopes & dreams football would play little to no role on my honeymoon by securing a bye with either the 1 or 2 seed. My team didn’t seize that opportunity. Came up short and we got cold a bit. I have faith in my team to deliver this week. My team urged me to go on with my plans and not get caught up in billboard material. I’ll approach this how I always planned, I’ll set my lineup tonight and won’t check any scores or updates until the end of Sunday night football. If it’s meant to be, it’ll work out. I’ve already prepared Jill that if it comes down to Sterling Shepard, I’ll be watching live in Grenada at all costs. May the fantasy football gods be on my side 🤞🏻

Lmao bulletin board material**

(I’ve been guzzling margaritas for 3 days )”

The Brainbusters leader, meanwhile, avoided direct comment on controversy, but expressed confidence that he would be able to overcome any inherent wedding luck Jay might have on his side, stating that “Ironically Jay was the one of the squads I never played this year by league schedule and I know I will prevail against the newlywed. Brain busters will break the walls down.”

What we do know is that this matchup has firepower. Even if Scoops Ahoy returns to their midseason high point total consistency, the Brainbusters have proven to be capable of the type of scoring outbursts that could turn this game into a barnburner. Each team boasts a dynamic duel-threat QB (Jackson vs Mahomes) a game-breaking receiver (Tyreek Hill vs. Michael Thomas) and a high ceiling RB (Kamara vs. Derrick Henry). The secondary pieces might be the key in this one. Can Gurley find the end zone for Brian? Which Aaron Jones will show up for Jay? Can Jarvis Landry continue his double digit streak with a dysfunctional Cleveland? Will it all come down to the Sterling Shepard-Eli Manning connection on Monday night? All we can say for sure is that this one has the potential to be a classic.

Good luck gentlemen.