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Power Rankings

Week 4 League Power Ratings (LPR)

We’re now 4 weeks into what is turning out to be, well, one of the weirdest years in The League’s 18 year history. Corona has thrown the owners curveball after curveball through the first month of the season. Who has handled it best? The League Power Rating has the answers. For a refresher on LPR (previously known as OPR):

Basically, OPR, or Overall Power Rating, is a statistic that allows us to compare teams across all the different configurations and scoring settings of The League’s history. Rather then just looking at wins (which can obviously be impacted by luck) or looking at purely points (which doesn’t factor in consistency or managerial decisions such as playing a less volatile or risky player in a matchup you’re favored to win), OPR uses a formula to combine the two, as well as factoring in consistency, to give us a more complete picture of the strength of each team. The formula is 60% average points per game, 20% win percentage, and 20% consistency (comparing high scores and low scores). The League historical average for OPR is 126, the single season high is 173.92, and the single season low is 88.04. Teams who finished the season with an OPR above 142 won the championship 10 out of 20 times.

But before we get to the rankings, a quick congratulatory announcement is in order. With last week’s win over Cody, Big Tony recorded his 100th career victory!

Big Tony joins The Commish and BJC in the 100 win club

And of course, all of those 100 wins have come in the regular season. Congrats Ant! And now, to the rankings.


1. The Undisputed Era (LPR: 155.81) (3-1)

The Undisputed Era got off to the undisputed best start of the season, so its no surprise to see them topping the first edition of the power ratings. Vaf’s 3-1 start has The League buzzing about a return to form for the 3-time champ. Alvin Kamara and Lamar Jackson pace a dynamic squad, and free agent pickup James Robinson has been a pleasant surprise sliding into the RB2 slot. Calvin Ridley’s goose-egg last week was a stunning development and led to Vaf’s sole L of the season.

2. Down With The Brown (LPR: 149.55) (3-1)

After finishing last year as the runner up, Diamonds has captained his squad to a hot start out of the gates in his quest to finally hoist Ol’ Glory. One of only two 3-1 teams, Down With The Brown holds sole possession of first place in the Central. Josh Jacobs has led the way for Diamonds, who looks to also get blockbuster trade acquisition Michael Thomas into the starting lineup for the first time this week.

3. Lobster Beesc (LPR: 146.41) (2-2)

The reigning champ has begun his title defense in solid fashion, posting roughly the same LPR through 4 weeks as his championship winning team from last year posted on the 2019 season. Meade’s faith in first round pick Dalvin Cook has been heavily rewarded, George Kittle is healthy, and Stefon Diggs has helped push Buffalo to the next level.

4. The Meat Mavens (LPR: 145.97) (2-2)

After an 0-2 start, the Maven has bounced back with 2 straight victories to pull back to .500. How he manages the injury bug will play a big factor in determining whether he can stay this high, however, First and second round picks Julio Jones and Austin Ekeler are banged up, and the corona bug struck him, sidelining JuJu last week.

5. 2 Feets In (LPR: 142.34) (2-2)

Jacky G has had an up and down start to the 2020 campaign, alternating wins and losses through the first 4 weeks. Injuries have played a role, particularly with first round pick Davante Adams missing the last two weeks. In week 4 however, Joe Mixon and Melvin Gordon finally exploded, leading Jack to the week’s high score (which he needed every bit of to hold off Meade, and which also happened to be Jack’s all-time career high score; congrats to Jack!).

6. Brainbusters (LPR: 134.36) (2-2)

BJC has been another up and down team, putting up big scores in weeks 2 and 3 while being uncompetitive at best in weeks 1 and 4. Aaron Jones and Nick Chubb were the main catalysts in his two victories, and the loss of Chubb for at least the next few weeks will be a huge test for the Brainbusters moving forward.

7. Del Boca Vista (LPR: 134.22) (2-2)

Yet another team bit by the injury bug, Jay has been without number one overall pick CMC since week 2. Never one to rest on his laurels, Jay Hey and Del Boca Vista have been active as ever in the trade and waiver markets, reshaping the team in the absence of his superstar with acquisitions such as Devonta Freeman and Mike Davis to pair with Mahomes and ARob.

8. Frank The Tank (LPR: 133.34) (2-2)

Frank was hit hard by the corona bug last week, getting unexpected byes from Derrick Henry and James Conner, which he was unable to overcome. Thankfully for Frank, the tank should be a full go this week with his two starting backs returning to action. DK Metcalf has been electric as Frank’s number one receiver through the first quarter of the year.

9. The Knights of Ryan (LPR: 132.52) (2-2)

Olsen picked up wins on the bookends of these first 4 games, dropping the two in the middle. Zeke has been steady as ever for the Knights, Kyler Murray has been tearing it up on the ground and in the air, and recent acquisition Tyler Lockett provides a big play presence.

10. CARONIE (LPR: 130.69) (2-2)

After a slow start, Daddy Yankee reshaped his team by dealing away first round pick Michael Thomas for OBJ, Darrell Henderson, and Justin Jefferson. The trade paid off big time in Week 4, as OBJ flashed back to his Giants days and Mark pulled off the upset over Vaffy Kid. Mark will try and keep the ball rolling in Week 5 as he faces off with Olsen.

11. So Much Honey (LPR: 118.26) (1-3)

It’s been a rough start to 2020 for the Diesel. DHop, CEH, and Thielen have been solid, but have yet to truly erupt and splatter over the rest of The League. Cody clearly has potential, it just hasn’t materialized yet this year. If it does, Cody can climb up these ranks quickly.

12. Krazy Eyez Killaz (LPR: 115.91) (1-3)

Bringing up the rear, unsurprisingly, is The Commish. Week 2 proved devastating, losing Saquon Barkley and Courtland Sutton for the season to torn ACLs. Number one receiver Kenny Golloday also missed time. The Commish is the clear favorite to sing the Anthem this year, his week 4 narrow victory over Jay Hey notwithstanding. A rivalry matchup with Vaf looms in Week 5.

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Week 1 Preview

The 2020 season technically kicked off on Thursday, but as we all know, nothing really gets decided until the game’s kick off on the Lord’s day. There’s something special about that first football Sunday of the year, listening to the blowhards on ESPN blow smoke as you sip your morning coffee, running over your lineup one last time as you sense the last vestiges of summer giving way to the coming autumn crisp that instinctively transports you back to years gone by. Against all odds, that day is here, once again, in the year 2020. In a year where so much has gone wrong, this, at least, has gone right. Football is back. The League is back.

The Brainbusters vs. Del Boca Vista

Our first matchup features two postseason teams from last year vying to take the next step. BJC’s Brainbusters squad finished the 2019 season in 3rd place, rebounding from a last place finish in 2018 to earn his third 3rd place finish in the past 4 seasons. Unfortunately for the Bri Guy, he hasn’t been able to break through the Semi-Final round, and has still not played in a championship game since 2004. He’s hoping that this is the year he puts an end to that 15 season streak, and he’s counting on the Nick Chubb/Aaron Jones duo to be the horses that carry him there. Cooper Kupp and Jarvis Landry highlight a steady if non-flashy receiving crew, with hopes that a resurgent Todd Gurley can prove to be a dynamic presence in the flex slot.

Jay’s Del Boca Vista is likewise hoping that this season will prove to be a breakthrough. Jay Hey has seemingly come a long way since his back to back Anthem performances a few years ago, once again reaching the postseason last year. Armed in 2020 with the first pick in the Draft, Jay selected the other-worldly dual threat superstar Christian McCaffrey, and managed to pair him with other-worldly QB Patrick Mahomes. The WR crew is headlined by Allen Robinson and the explosive Tyler Lockett, to go along with the always reliable Robert Woods in the flex. Evan Engram gives Jay a potential dynamic presence at the TE position if he manages to stay healthy.

In terms of their Week 1 matchup, Jay is projected to have the upper hand, entering the game as a 14 point favorite. However, Mahomes has already come in 5.5 points under projection, narrowing him to a mere 9 point favorite entering Sunday. We should have a good idea at the winner of this one at the conclusion of Sunday’s games, though Jay does have Engram and his kicker going tomorrow night.

Lenny the Fournette vs. So Much Honey

The other East matchup also features a pair of playoff teams from last season. Marky Mark finished 4th last season, but as usual has factored into much of this season’s post-draft drama already. After selecting Michael Thomas in the first round and pairing him with Chris Godwin, Mark took Leonard Fournette, who was promptly cut the next day. After a couple of days of The League holding its breath to see where Fournette landed, the former Jags RB decided to stay in Florida and head down to Tampa Bay, maybe the best possible landing spot. The rest of Mark’s running backs are rookie ball carriers in strong situations, in Jonathan Taylor and JK Dobbins. Keenan Allen slides in nicely in the flex spot.

Cody had to forfeit his championship crown last year, but he put together a solid title defense and proved he’s not merely a one hit wonder. This year he’ll look to climb the mountain once again, and he believes rookie sensation Clyde Edwards-Helaire will be the one to take him there. DeAndre Hopkins, Adam Thielen, and Zach Ertz highlight a stout aerial attack. The RB2 position is in a bit of flux for So Much Honey, however. It looks like Tarik Cohen will get the nod in Week 1, but Cody has to be hoping that one of rookies DeAndre Swift or Antonio Gibson will emerge as a solid option.

These two teams entered Thursday pretty evenly matched projection-wise, with Cody as a slight favorite. CEH’s performance on Thursday gave him a slight boost vs. projection, and is now a 3 point favorite.

The Ebukoo Ooba Ebukams vs. The Midnight Rider

This Week 1 matchup is a rehash of last year’s Week 13 matchup that wound up propelling Diamonds on a shocking run to the title game and finished off another heartbreaking near playoff miss for the Commish. The Commish wound up with the second pick in the draft and used it to select Saquon Barkley, who will pair in the backfield with Seattle ballcarrier Chris Carson. The receiving core is the big story here though, specifically the early season injuries which have put a damper on The Ebukoo Ooba Ebukams short term expectations. 2nd round pick Kenny Golloday will miss the first game with a hamstring issue, while fourth rounder Courtland Sutton is a late Monday night game time decision.

The Midnight Rider returns with a potentially explosive squad. Odell Beckham and Tyreek Hill are potentially The League’s greatest big play tandem, and Mark Andrews looks to continue to break out at the TE position. Josh Jacobs will also look to light up the Las Vegas night. The most drama surrounds Nick’s pair of Tampa players, however, in Tom Brady in Ronald Jones. The Brady story will obviously be interesting to see play out, but the RoJo story just seems like bad luck for the Midnight Rider. With Sutton’s status in doubt, Nick has wisely given rookie Jerry Jeudy the nod in the slot.

The Commish was a 2 point favorite as of Thursday, which has widened to 4 points after DeShaun Watson and Tyreek Hill faced off on Thursday. This matchup figures to feature heavily in some Monday night drama, with Barkley, Sutton, and Jeudy all slotted to play Monday.

Frank The Tank vs. Lobster Beesc

Meade begins his title defense with a tough matchup against Frank The Tank. Frank missed the postseason last year but the early season prognosticators like his chances to return to the dance this year with the solid team he’s seemingly put together. Derrick Henry and James Conner represent potentially the League’s best RB duo, Travis Kelce is one of the two best TEs in the league, and the WR crew features 3 potential breakut players in DK Metcalf, Marquisse Brown, and Will Fuller.

Meade’s squad is certainly not to be brushed aside, however. Dalvin Cook and George Kittle offer a dynamic one-two punch of elite playmaking potential, and Amari Cooper, TY Hilton, and Stefan Diggs are a solid receiving trio, even if it lacks to the consensus top-flight receiver.

Frank entered Thursday as a 7.5 point favorite, and has pushed that advantage closer to 10 as a result of solid performances from Kelce and Fuller. This is another game that could come down to the Monday night wire, as Frank has both of his starting RBs slated for Monday night matchups. If Meade does manage to get out to a lead after Sundays games, he’ll have to sweat it out Monday.

2 Feets In vs. The Knights of Ryan

After a 2018 season that saw Jack nearly pull off back to back titles, Jack was slightly humbled last year by failing to make the playoffs and an Anthem scare. He looks to return to his winning ways in 2020 behind a potential League best receiving attack. Davante Adams, Mike Evans, and DJ Moore are a deadly trio, and Joe Mixon is a steady presence at lead back. Jack is hoping that Melvin Gordon recaptures some of his former glory in his new digs in Denver to round out the squad. Dak naturally handles the reins at QB for The League’s resident Cowboys fan.

Olsen is also hoping 2020 ends better than 2019 for his Knights after another playoff miss. Zeke Elliot and Miles Sanders are an NFC East RB tandem that is among the best in the League, and David Johnson’s performance on Thursday gives Olsen the hope that this could be a three headed monster once Sanders gets healthy. The receiver position lacks the big name but if AJ Brown and/or DeVante Parker can build off their encouraging 2019 seasons that may not matter much. The returning Gronk is intriguing at TE, and Kyler Murray gives Olsen a dual threat QB entering his second year.

Jack entered Thursday as a 6 point favorite, but David Johnson’s performance has nearly erased that projection and cut the difference down to a point. This game features 2 Monday night players on each side in MG3, Diontae Johnson, AJ Brown, and Chris Boswell.

Meat Mavens vs. The Undisputed Era

Rounding out our Week 1 Preview is the matchup between the Meat Maven and Ribby Raf. Ant is hoping that the trend of previous year’s Anthem singers reaching the playoffs continues, and his inspired performance certainly warrants a bit of luck heading his way. Ant went heavy on RBs this year, with Austin Ekeler, Melvin Engram, and Raheem Mostert giving The Mavens a trio of RBs with diverse skill sets. Julio Jones is a known commodity in the WR1 slot, while CeeDee Lamb is the rookie upstart looking to set the league on fire in the WR2 spot. Russell Wilson gives Ant a consistently elite presence at QB.

Vaffy kid is looking to regain his former glory after another missed postseason last year. He avoided the Alvin Kamara holdout, and his first round pick will take the field having successfully secured the bag. Kenyan Drake gives Vaf an explosive 1-2 punch on the ground. Calvin Ridley, DJ Clark, and Michael Gallup are a receiving trio that seems to be on the rise, and of course we all witnessed what Lamar Jackson did to the league last season in his MVP campaign. Called Yahoo’s best draft, Vaf enters the season with high expectations.

The spread in this matchup reflects those expectations, with Vaf as a 9 point favorite. All of Ant’s players will be done at the conclusion of Sunday’s games, while Vaf will have his TE and defense going on Monday night. Vaf would of course love to have this wrapped up before then.

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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.

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Anthem Bowl Schedule

No inspirational musical chorus. No long, in-depth breakdown. Just a scrap fight to avoid the bottom. Don’t bother looking at Yahoo, here’s the actual matchups.

7. Frank The Tank (6-7) vs. 10. The Meat Mavens (6-7)

8. The Pecan Sandies (6-7) vs. 9. 2 Feets In (6-7)

The winners will play each other next week in the meaningless 7th place game. The best-seeded loser of this week will play Olsen in Week 15. The worst-seeded loser will play Vaf.

God bless America and god damnit this fucking sucks.

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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.

Categories
Uncategorized

Week 10 OPR Rankings / Notes

Notes:

  • Jay continues to chug along at a historically elite pace, racking up his 8th straight 125+ point game. If he ended the season at his current OPR, it would be good for 6th all-time. Interestingly enough, 3 of the 5 teams ahead of him failed to bring home the title, while 5 of the 6 teams immediately below him won the trophy.
  • Meade takes the rare OPR drop in a victory, but it’s only a slight one. Shaun has now one three straight, and stands on the precipice of locking up a playoff berth, a division title, and a first round bye with a win this week.
  • Our biggest leap of the week, by far, goes to the Notorious BJC. Brian’s 187 point outburst was responsible for a 12.5 point jump in his OPR, pushing him from 5th overall to 3rd overall in the OPR ranks. We discussed where Brian’s week 10 performance ranks in the history of The League earlier, but its worth repeating: this was the second largest single week output in the League’s 17 year history, even adjusting for era, as well as the second largest margin of victory.
  • Mark survived a wild Monday night matchup with a win, holding steady in OPR and in the overall standings. Its clear though that Mark’s team has fallen off quite a bit from the historic pace he was setting through the first 6 weeks. Over the last 4 games, Mark has seen his OPR take a nearly 20 point dive, as he has been lucky to go 2-2 over a stretch in which he only topped 100 points once. We know what this team is capable of, but can it get back to that championship level?
  • Another week, another heartbreak for Vaf, who nearly managed to hold on despite Chris Carson working overtime to defeat him this past Monday. Vaf is second in The League in points scored, but sits 9th in the standings, and the OPR formula just decided to split the difference and slot him in at 5th.
  • The Commish picked up a huge win for his playoff hopes, raising his OPR over 3.6 points and leaping over Frank and Jack to slot in at 6th in the ranks, which is where he currently stands in the playoff picture. With a 3 way tie atop the East heading into the last round of the divisional stretch, things figure to get real interesting.
  • After a 5 game win streak pushed him into a tie for The League’s best record after 7 weeks, Frank has now dropped 3 straight and would be on the outside looking in at the playoffs if the season ended today. The season, however, does not end today, and Frank The Tank remains very much in the playoff mix, playing two of teams ahead of him in the postseason picture. First up: a pivotal date with Lobster Beesk.
  • If the last two weeks conjured up scary images of the 2 Feels In squad of the past two years, last week offered a little bit of relief, as Jack failed to push his winning streak to 3 and couldn’t move into sole possession of first in the East. As a result, he suffered the biggest OPR drop of the week, losing 3.15 points and falling to 8th in the ranks. He still paces the field in the East because of his crucial possession of the division record tiebreaker.
  • In Week 10 Diesel told his totally legal, totally cool Asian masseuse to keep on rubbing and tugging, he’s not out honey just yet. Keeping his season live with a thrilling last second victory over Vaf, Cody jumped 3 points in his OPR and pulled to within one game of a playoff spot, keeping his title defense dreams alive and well for at least another week,
  • Big Tony’s baby luck wasn’t enough to defeat Scoops Ahoy this week, even though he topped 120 points for the first time since Week 1. A crucial matchup with long-time rival Commish looms.
  • Another week, another loss for Ry O, his fifth straight. His playoff hopes all but gone, his season now likely turns toward playing spoiler and positioning himself to avoid the Anthem Bowl.
  • Nick’s tough season may have hit its lowest point last week, where he suffered a 119 point defeat, dropping him to a season-low 103.7 OPR. The good news is he seems to be safe from this being a historically bad season. The bad news is, like Olsen, it looks like he’s down to playing spoiler for the rest of the year at 3-7.
Categories
Power Rankings

Week 9 OPR Rankings / Notes

  1. Scoops Ahoy154.81 (-1.11) [Last rank: 1]
  2. Lobster Beesk148.98 (+2.47) [LR: 3]
  3. Couple Screws Loose143.81 (-5.16) [LR: 2]
  4. The Undisputed Era135.74 (+1.36) [LR: 6]
  5. Brainbusters132.07 (-9.50) [LR: 4]
  6. Frank The Tank130.85 (-5.29) [LR: 5]
  7. 2 Feets In129.93 (+14.43) [LR: 11]
  8. The Pecan Sandies127.64 (-0.77) [LR: 7]
  9. The Meat Mavens123.76 (+6.83) [LR: 10]
  10. So Much Honey121.51 (+1.20) [LR: 9]
  11. The Resistance117.17 (-5.03) [LR: 8]
  12. Midnight Rider106.72 (+2.74) [LR: 12]

Notes:

  • All movement in ratings and rankings is since Week 7, so it incorporates the last 2 games played.
  • Jay’s 6 game win streak (and 6 game 130+ point streak) finally came to an end last weekend with a loss to 2 Feets In, but his streak atop the OPR ranks continues. Even in defeat, Jay put up 127 points and served notice to the rest of The League that it will take an A+ effort to scoop up and sail away with a victory against Scoops Ahoy.
  • Meade and Mark continue their tug of war for the 2 and 3 spots. With back-to-back victories, Lobster Beesk is once again the soup du jour of The League standings, with his 7-2 record pacing the field and giving him a 2 game division lead with 4 to play.
  • Mark, on the other hand, earned a narrow victory in Week 8 followed by a not-so-narrow defeat in Week 9, causing him to suffer the third largest OPR drop over the past two games. That Week 8 win could prove critical down the stretch when Couple Screws Loose adds the nuts and bolts of their roster back from injuries/byes.
  • Vaf is 3rd in The League in points and moved up to 4th in the OPR ranks last with a Week 9 win over Frank, but still sits on the outside looking in of the playoff picture heading into the home stretch due to a couple of extremely narrow losses. In addition to overall point totals, Vaf’s consistency this year is undisputed, scoring over 105 points in each game since Week 2.
  • Back to back losses have shaved almost 10 points off Brian’s OPR and busted him out of the wild card spot he’s been narrowly holding on to. He has what he hopes will be a get-right matchup with Midnight Rider set to kick off in a few hours.
  • The last two weeks have not been kind to Frank the Tank, who took back-to-back 130+ point shellings from his opponents after a 4 week stretch of stress-free victories. The drop in win% is the main cause of his OPR drop though, as he has remained consistent in putting up point totals of his own — he’ll carry a 5 game streak of 106+ point performances into a pivotal Week 10 matchup with the Commish.
  • Jacky G makes the biggest leap of the past two weeks, raising his OPR by over 14 points and moving from 11th to 7th in the ranks. The two straight wins certainly helped, but the real catalyst was his 150+ point outburst in Week 8 followed by his 130+ point showing in Week 9 to edge out the red hot Scoops Ahoy. Reinvigorated, Jack has both his feets squarely in the playoff picture, currently holding the lead in the East.
  • The Commish failed to make any big moves in the ranks one way or the other over the past 2 weeks, with his .77 drop being the smallest change in either direction for any squad. Makes sense, considering he’s gone 1-1 since his trade with Olsen and has barely moved in the standings. He’ll look to get to .500 for the first time this year in his aforementioned matchup with Frank.
  • It looked like the Maven was dead in the water a couple weeks ago, but with the arrival of little MeEli maybe his luck has turned? Tony raised his OPR nearly 7 points but more importantly, managed to pull into a tie with Jack for the East with a 3 game win streak.
  • Cody may have sipped a bit too much of his own honey during the offseason, as it looks like he’s experiencing a heavy championship hangover. He managed to grab a victory in a must win game against the banged up Marky Mark last week though. Playoff mode has officially begun for the 3-6 squad — they’re all must-wins from here on out.
  • Our fourth 5+ point drop of the week is Ryan O, who seems to harbor a resistance to getting into the win column this year. During his 4 game losing streak, he’s only topped 100 points once.
  • Bringing up the rear is Nicky Diamonds, who actually climbed slightly in OPR but not in the standings. The clock on the regular season is getting close to midnight — will he ride a remarkable turnaround into the playoffs, or right into pole Anthem position?
Categories
Uncategorized

Week 7 OPR Rankings

  1. Scoops Ahoy — 155.92 (+3.27)
  2. Couple Screws Loose — 148.98 (-14.20)
  3. Lobster Beesk — 143.31 (-18.37)
  4. Brainbusters — 141.57 (+3.06)
  5. Frank The Tank — 136.14 (+2.00)
  6. The Undisputed Era — 134.38 (+3.69)
  7. The Pecan Sandies — 128.41 (+4.02)
  8. The Resistance — 122.20 (-6.16)
  9. So Much Honey — 120.31 (-3.79)
  10. The Meat Mavens — 116.93 (+2.90)
  11. 2 Feets In — 115.50 (-4.56)
  12. Midnight Rider — 103.98 (-5.70)

Notes:

  • Jay’s Scoops Ahoy squad continues its climb, and ends Week 7 leading The League in OPR for the first time. Fueled by a 5 game win streak, Jay has raised his rating just a shade under 29 points since the OPR was first published in Week 3. His 155.92 current rating would be good for 6th all time if he could finish the year with the same rating.
  • Finishing with such a record-setting OPR becomes harder the further we go along, as evidenced by the huge drop-offs we saw this week from Mark and Meade, who fell 14.2 and 18.4 points respectively. The cause of the drop? Both put up their season-worst games in losses, causing them to take hits in all three categories that go into OPR: 1) avg. points; 2) consistency/volatility; and 3) winning percentage.
  • The historical average OPR is 126.11. So far we’ve got 7 teams above that average, and 5 teams below.
  • Of the 158 total seasons that have been assigned an OPR, only 10 came in at under 100. 6 of those teams finished in last, 2 in 11th, 2 in 10th. The last team to finish below 100 was Jay’s 2014 Anthem-earning team, checking in with a 93.54 OPR.
Categories
News / Reaction

DeAndre Hopkins and LeVeon Bell On the Move In 2019’s First Major Shakeup

In the late hours of last night, Ryan Olsen’s The Resistance and The Commish’s Pecan Sandies struck a deal on what is the first major blockbuster trade of the 2019 season. The deal sees the teams swap their former first round picks, Le’Veon Bell and DeAndre Hopkins, as The League heads into the second half of what has been an ultra-competitive regular season in which 11 of the 12 teams are within at least 1 game of a playoff spot.

Yesterday evening, driven no doubt by the loss of RB Kerryon Johnson to knee surgery, The Commish informed The League that Hopkins and fellow receiver Amari Cooper were available for trade in return for running back help. After receiving several other offers, The Commish and Olsen hammered out a deal rather quickly that seems to benefit both squads as they attempt to make a playoff push.

For Olsen, the trade adds another top flight receiver to pair with Adam Thielen as plug and play starters, providing The Resistance with possibly The League’s top receiving core and the added flexibility to play the matchup game in the flex with Allen Robinson and the New England-bound Mohamed Sanu. Hopkins is also a needed-security blanket in this week’s upcoming game in the event Thielen is unable to suit up tomorrow night. Marlon Mack and James White will slide into the every-week RB roles in the absence of Bell.

For The Commish, the loss of Hopkins undoubtedly hurts the receiving game, but provides a big boost to a ground game that was in shambles due to the injury to Kerryon Johnson and the League-wide lack of RB depth. Bell gives the team a reliable floor with potential upside as the schedule lightens up and, as an added bonus, has already had his bye. While Ekeler and Bell do the ground work, Courtland Sutton will move up to WR2 and The Commish figures to play it by ear in the flex with waiver wire addition Kenny Stills, Jamison Crowder, and Phillip Dorsett, who was also included in the deal with Olsen.

Both Olsen and The Commish currently sit at 3-4 and are battling for playoff position. They face off next week in what could be a pivotal matchup for both teams.

In years past, the first big trade of the year has been a harbinger of more deals to follow. While the trade front has been quiet this year, we’ll see if last night’s deal is followed up by anymore fireworks from elsewhere in The League.