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The 2018 League Preview

 ‘Twas the night before football and all through the house

There was a slight stirring, now what’s this about?

As the banner gets hung by the Eagles with care,

Ol’ Glory is hidden in the closet under Jack’s stairs.

The owners were nestled all snug in their beds,

As visions of championships danced in their heads.

Then out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

Jack sprang from his bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window he flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

When what to his wondering eyes should appear,

But a number 13 jersey, and the smell of stale beer.

“The trophy is mine!” he heard a man say,

And he knew in an instant it must be Jay Hey!

The Ol’ Glory Bandit was at it once more

He’d snuck in the house and was at the closet door.

Jack raced down the hall in a panicking fright

“Not this time Bandit! Not kickoff night!”

He reached the living room and saw no one in sight,

It was just a bad dream, he thought with delight

And then from the wall came a rumbling sound

Down the chimney a figure came down with a bound

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot

His Mike Evans jersey tarnished by diapers and soot;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And his head was adorned with a Silly Lanez cap.

Jack gasped at the sight, and tightened his sphincter

It wasn’t Jay Hey at all, but Markus J. Ricther!

“Hand over the trophy and I’ll give you a penny,

If you don’t take this deal, you’ll end up like Lenny!”

Jack laughed at the sight, and said “I’m not a fish”

As Jessie woke up and said “What the hell is this?”

Mark knew he’d been foiled, and ran out full throttle,

He scurried on home, and gave Lucy her bottle

But Jack heard him exclaim, as he ran out of sight



Ladies and gentlemen, your 2018 League Preview.


The Pecan Sandies

Owner: Commissioner Nicholas M. Klubeck

  • Last season: 8-6, 5thplace
  • 15 years in The League
  • 13 playoff appearances
  • 3 League Championships
  • 4 League Championship Game appearances
  • All Time Record: 119-72-3 (.621 win%), 12-10 playoffs

After finally claiming his third League title in 2014, the Commish stumbled to a low he’d never before experienced during his League career, failing to make the postseason in back to back years. That streak ended in 2017, with The Commish returning to the dance with a hard fought division title. The season ended in misery however, as team MVP Alvin Kamara exited in the Wild Card round due to a first drive concussion and Jacky G put a cowardly hex on The Commish’s team on Sunday.

This season, The Commish will be looking to not only start a playoff streak, but is eyeing an unprecedented 4thchampionship run. The question is, does he have the horses to do it? For the first time in his League career, The Commish’s aerial attack will feature perennial All-Pro Antonio Brown. AB will team up with Adam Thielen and Chris Hogan to form a formidable receiver squad. Dual threat Cam Newton will be behind center, with the veteran Devonta Freeman and upstart Alex Collins hopefully providing a steady if unspectacular presence in the ground game.

“I feel like we’ve put together a pretty well-balanced squad,” The Commish said. He added that “I gotta say, Jacky G really threw me a curveball in The Draft by passing on AB. But the guys in the war room didn’t panic and stuck to the board. We put together a team that I think can get out of a brutally tough division and into the playoff dance, where we’ve got a pretty good chance of tricking the parents into letting their daughters bop with us.”


So Much Honey

Owner: Cody L. Daily

  • Last season: 7-7, 6thplace
  • 8 years in The League
  • 4 playoff appearances
  • All Time Record: 47-56-1 (.457 win%), 2-4 playoffs

2017 was, unfortunately, a familiar place for Cody. The Diesel seems to always put together solid squads, but has never had the right mix of talent, health, and luck to push himself into the Championship game. He’s never been the worse, but he’s also never been the best. Last year was more of the same, as a promising season ended well short of Cody’s personal goal line and his season ended in the Wild Card round for the second straight season.

As the saying goes, something’s gotta give, and Cody is not only hoping, but believing that this is the year he finally rises to championship heights. To achieve that, he’s enlisted the help of last year’s rookie sensation Alvin Kamara, who surprisingly fell right into Cody’s lap with the 7thpick in The Draft, and teamed him up with the sure-handed Keenan Allen to form a formidable RB-WR punch. Amari Cooper and JuJu Smith Shuster, another sophomore looking to build on a strong rookie campaign, round out the receiving core while value pick Chris Carson will look to run away with the RB2 position. QB Carson Wentz may miss some time, but Cody is confident that he’ll be back in action soon and Derek Carr can man the ship in the mean time.

Cody was unavailable for comment for this article, but The League News Network reached out to his spokesman and perennial League vulture, Kyle Donahue, to get the answers to The League’s most burning questions about Diesel and his squad. First, Donahue stated that “my client does know real words, he just struggles with his large fingers and small keyboard.” He added that “from my understanding as professional GM, he has a dictionary and thesaurus now in his office.” As to whether So Much Honey will win something of significance this year, Donahue stated that according to Cody, “he has spoken with his players and a direct quote from the team is ‘every game is significant this year’”. The spokesman also stated that he “does not get paid by the team or the union Cody represents. I am just the advocate for the man beast. I am making much less than what his mother is making right now on the street. Thank you for your time.”


The Knights of Ren

Owner: Ryan F. Olsen

  • Last season: 5-8, 9thplace
  • 13 years in The League
  • 6 playoff appearances
  • 2 League Championships
  • 3 League Championship Game appearances
  • All time record: 81-86-3 (.485 win%), 7-4 playoffs

Olsen’s 2017 season ended almost before it even began, when his first round pick OBJ went down for the year with an ankle injury. Unable to recover, his squad floundered to a 5-8 season, missing the playoffs for only the second time in the past 6 years.

Things are (or were) definitely looking brighter in 2018, as Olsen landed the first overall pick in the controversial Draft Lottery and used the selection on the guy who carried Jacky G to the title last year, Todd Gurley. Gurley is joined in the backfield by a couple of guys who look primed to make the leap to the next level in Kenyan Drake and Jamaal Williams, while Tyreek Hill looks to solidify himself as an elite WR in Kansas City. Unfortunately for Olsen, he’ll head into this season again snakebitten by the early injury bug, as he lost second round pick Jerrick McKinnon to a torn ACL in practice before the regular season even kicked off.

Olsen, asked for comment on the upcoming season, did not seem particularly worried about the injury to what was supposed to be a big part of his team. “Let the past die, kill it if you have to,” Olsen said. “I will fulfill our destiny.”



Owner: Frank J. Baldini

  • Last season: 5-8, 11thplace
  • 11 years in The League
  • 6 playoff appearances
  • 1 League Championship
  • 3 League Championship Game appearances
  • All time record: 76-67 (.531 win%), 6-5 playoffs

2017 was a career lowlight for Frank, who posted a 5-8 record and finished the season in 11thplace, a career worst finish. The narrow near-Anthem experience may have been rock bottom for a franchise that, after making the postseason in each of its first 5 seasons, has now failed to reach the playoffs in 5 of the past 6 years.

Picking at the back end of The Draft, Frank looks like he put together the type of team that can turn the tide. Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey have as good a shot as any duo in The League to finish as the year’s top RB combo, and Brandon Cooks and Stefon Diggs provide Frank with big play threats at both WR spots. A bounceback year from Greg Olsen could be the cherry on top to complete the Baldini turnaround.

Frank is certainly confident with his squad heading into what is a pivotal season for the franchise, and he’s not afraid to let it be known. Just hours ago, he accused Meade of essentially being the head of operations and Silly Lanez. Asked for a follow up comment, Frank said “He just looks like one of those creepy dudes who takes pictures with his cats. Well, he actually is one of those creepy dudes who take pictures with his cats but no evidence of pedophilia.” And tonight, Frank turned his attention to the rest of The League. “Roses are red, violets blue,” Baldini said, “you better get ready because I’m coming for every one of you bitch ass mother fuckers.. CAAAAAAAAANNNN YOOUUU DIGGG ITTTT??!?!”



2 Feets In

Owner: Giacomo D. Giorlando

  • Last season: 12-3, 1stplace
  • 8 years in The League
  • 4 playoff appearances
  • 1 League Championship
  • 1 League Championship Game Appearance
  • All Time Record: 47-56-1 (.457 win%), 3-3 playoffs

After 7 years of wandering in The League wilderness and just 2 years removed from a near-Anthem disaster, Jacky G climbed to the mountain top and brought home his first League Championship in 2017. In what was among the most impressive start to finish seasons in League history, 2 Feets In, employing an unorthodox two TE system, steamrolled the competition en route to a 10-3 regular season finish, division title, and the number two overall seed entering the playoffs. And once the dance kicked off, 2 Feets In 2 stepped all over the rest of the field, posting by the top score in The League each week of the postseason, leaving zero doubt as to who the rightful heir to Ol’ Glory truly was.

This season, Jack is out to prove that his League title was no fluke. No stranger to outside the box moves, Jack stunned The League with his selection of highly touted Giants rookie RB Saquon Barkley as the number 5 pick of The Draft. TE Travis Kelce rejoins Jack in his quest for a repeat, with a pair of NFC North receivers, Davante Adams and Allen Robinson, slated to begin the season as Jack’s WR1 and 2 respectively. While Andrew Luck’s highly anticipated return is sure to grab the headlines, perhaps the biggest keys to Jack’s success will be whether Rex Burkhead can stay healthy and live up to the preseason hype and whether he can stay afloat until Mark Ingram returns from his 4 game PED suspension.

Earlier tonight, the reigning champ sat down for a wide ranging interview with The League News Network. “I am striving to become a dynasty,” Jack said, “the first ever in The League.” Jack went on to define a dynasty as “3 championships within 4 years” which indeed has never been accomplished before. Given these aspirations, Jack said that this season would “absolutely” be considered a complete failure if he failed to win it all. And to those saying he’s nothing more than a one hit wonder, Jack fired back “was Kobe a one hit wonder?” From there, the interview dovetailed into a conversation about how Kobe isn’t even on the Lakers Mt. Rushmore (Wilt, Magic, Shaq, LeBron), and if Jack really didn’t want to be featured on The League’s Mt. Rushmore. At this, The Champ abruptly turned to exit, saying only “I think our interview here is complete.”


Bri Wyatt

Owner: Brian J. Conahan

  • Last season: 8-7, 3rd place
  • 15 years in The League
  • 10 playoff appearances
  • 1 League Championship
  • 1 League Championship Game Appearance
  • All Time Record: 98-96 (.505 win%), 5-9 playoffs

2017 was a year of missed opportunity for BJC. He came into the year with a highly touted draft class, becoming the odds-on favorite to take home his first League Championship since 2004. Le’Veon Bell and Zeke Elliot were expected to carry Bri Wyatt to the title, but the team fell apart down the stretch after a 5-2 start, dropping 4 in a row to take Brian out of the division and first round bye race. Throughout a meltdown that would cause lesser teams to panic, the veteran BJC maintained his poise and rebounded to win the final two games of the season and secure his fourth straight playoff appearance, a League high, where he also managed to secure his first playoff win in 10 years. In the end, however, he fell victim to the Jacky G steamroller, exiting the dance in The League Semifinals.

Armed with the second overall pick in The Draft, there wasn’t much question surrounding who Brian would take – the whole league knew that if Le’Veon Bell fell to Bri Wyatt that he would be the pick. Now, however, questions are swirling all around BJC and his number one back, overshadowing Russ Wilson, LeSean McCoy, Mike Evans, Jimmy Graham, and the rest of the Bri Wyatt squad.

The question of whether Bell will return to the team any time soon has clearly had an effect on Bri Wyatt and its owner. BJC is feeling “apprehensive” about the upcoming year. “That’s all I feel,” Brian said. Asked if he’d like to send a message to his star runningback and his family listening at home, Brian stated: “I’d like to tell leveon, I understand why you’re upset I’m upset for you. When your seeing players at the level your at in respective positions getting these deals I might not show up either. But if there’s anything out there to swallow your pride for, it’s Bri Wyatt.” He followed up with, “I’ve got nothing for his family.”


Meat Mavens

Owner: Anthony M. Barlotta

  • Last season: 10-4, 4th place
  • 15 years in The League
  • 6 playoff appearances
  • All Time Record: 85-105-3 (.448 win%), 0-6 playoffs

If it often seems like the Fantasy Gods spend an inordinate amount of time inventing ways to torture Big Tony, that’s because they probably do just that. And in 2017, they really pulled no punches. Ant raced out to his best ever regular season, finishing the year with a career high 10 wins and a first round bye as the number one overall seed in the playoffs. And then, just as Big Tony’s hopes were raised to never before seen heights, fate sunk him to previously unparalleled lows, as his most important plyer, Antonio Brown, exited the semifinal game with an injury and Ant suffered yet another playoff winless season.

Ant’s struggles are well-documented, as are his furious efforts to finally win a single playoff game, let alone get his name etched on Ol’ Glory for the first time. This year The Meat Mavens are following a similar formula to last year – get Tom Brady and shitload of running backs. Kareem Hunt, Jordan Howard, and Derrick Henry figure to give Ant plenty of options on the ground, while ol’ reliable Larry Fitzgerald steps into the WR1 role. Evan Engram also returns, giving Ant some firepower at the tight end position.

Unfortunately, The Meat Mavens owner could not be reached for comment for this article. However, we all know what his goals are for the season. What we don’t know is if the Fantasy Gods have finally moved on to another target for their cruel, twisted games. Ant is surely praying the have.


Lobster Beesk

Owner: Shaun L. Meade

  • Last season: 4-9, 10th place
  • 13 years in The League
  • 5 playoff appearances
  • 1 League Championship
  • 2 League Championship Game Appearance
  • All Time Record: 66-102 (.393 win%), 5-4 playoffs

Meade’s 2017 season was filled with high hopes until about Week 1, when his first round pick David Johnson suffered a broken wrist and was essentially lost for the year. Meade made his typical moves, but it wasn’t nearly enough, as he finished a paltry 4-9 and narrowly avoided The Anthem Bowl. It was the third time in the last 4 seasons Meade failed to reach the playoffs, and his career winning percentage tumbled below .400.

So what has Meade done to jump start the franchise here in 2018? For starters, he’s landed two of the best wide receivers in The League in OBJ and Michael Thomas, and one of the best tight ends in The League in Zach Ertz. Where Meade gambled heavily was on the QB and RB positions. DeShaun Watson was sensational in his small showing last season, and if he can rebound from the torn ACL that prematurely ended his year Meade could have a League-winning QB on his hands. Jay Ajayi and Marshawn Lynch, meanwhile, should at the very least get enough volume to be serviceable in the ground game.

Meade certainly likes his chances this year, telling The League News Network that “for the first time every The Trophy will be living in a strange foreign southern land at the end of the season. I’ll make sure it feels safe.” His promises to make Ol’ Glory feel comfortable of course prompted questions regarding the accusations Frank recently leveled against him. Meade, clearly not wanting to talk much about the sensitive issue, brushed the allegations aside. “I am not a pedophile,” Meade said. “I’m just a guy who loves his cat.”



Team Thanos

Owner: Jason R. Hennin

  • Last season: 8-8, 2nd place
  • 9 years in The League
  • 5 playoff appearances
  • 3 League Championship Game Appearances
  • All Time Record: 52-65 (.444 win%), 6-5 playoffs

2017 was déjà vu all over again for Jay Hey, as for the second straight year he came oh so close to taking home the trophy, finishing once again in second place. It was another solid campaign for Jay, who has now followed up two straight Anthems with two straight Championship Game appearances. But, in the wise words of Ricky Bobby, if you’re not first you’re last. And once again, Jay Hey came up just short of being first.

Optimism springs eternal for Jay in 2018 however. Armed with all his infinity stones, Team Thanos will look to wipe out the competition behind a well balanced squad that features top end talent at the RB (Zeke Elliot), QB (Drew Brees), and TE (Gronk) positions. Depending on matchups, its also not difficult to see Jay deploying a double TE set with Trey Burton, similar to what Jack did last year with Kelce and Ertz. And if Andrew Luck comes back healthy, Jay’s selection of TY Hilton could wind up being a huge bargain, giving him a WR1 at a WR2 price.

When you put it all together, Team Thanos’ confidence is not unearned. “Look at my team,” Jay said. “Perfectly balanced, as all things should be. With the snap of my fingers, the rest of The League could cease to exist. I’ve denied my destiny before, I won’t be this year” And to those who believe that Jay’s window is closed after his narrow misses the past two years, Jay had another message: “Dread it. Run from it. Destiny arrives all the same.”


The Wild Bunch

Owner: Nicholas J. Panepinto

  • Last season: 6-7, 7th place
  • 8 years in The League
  • 3 playoff appearances
  • 1 League Championship Game Appearance
  • All Time Record: 50-53-1 (.486 win%), 3-3 playoffs

After a week 6 win pushed Diamonds’ record to 5-1 at the halfway point of the 2017 season, it would be easy to forgive League pundits if they looked ahead toward Panepinto’s eventual playoff matchups. Those same pundits would be shocked to learn then that, while they were looking ahead, Diamonds’ chances of making the postseason disappeared in seemingly the blink of an eye. 6 straight inexplicable losses dropped 3 AM from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, and in the end what seemed an exceedingly promising season ended with Nick finishing 6-7 and missing the playoffs for the third straight year.

Here in 2018, Diamonds is looking to put the past behind him and embrace the future, ditching the 3 AM moniker and looking to rule the West with his Wild Bunch squad. David Johnson, fresh off a freak wrist injury that should have no affect on his ability to tote the rock in 2018, will pave the way on the ground along with Texans’ back Lamar Miller. A trio of number one receivers in Aj Green, Doug Baldwin, and Josh Gordon will team up to lead the aerial attack, with Delanie Walker providing a consistent presence at TE and Matty Ice directing the offense from under center.

“The last few season it’s been evident I was served a bag of nails, while the coffee boilers found themselves with some good fortune,” Diamonds said. But now, “me and black eyed Susan with 5 beans in the wheel fitting to win the ship and take all the Lincoln skins.” To his rivals in the Wild West and beyond, Nick strongly stated that “anyone who tries raising sand would be better off barking at a knot.” And as a final parting shot to The League and Marky Mark in particular, Diamonds had a final remark: “To all the slim guzzling blatherskites, The Wild Bunch is a comin for ya starting week 1, with my opponent famous for having the backdoor trots.”


I’m Getting a Chubb

Owner: Mark J. Richter

  • Last season: 6-7, 8th place
  • 10 years in The League
  • 5 playoff appearances
  • 2 League Championship
  • 2 League Championship Game Appearances
  • All Time Record: 72-57-1 (.558 win%), 5-3 playoffs

Mark’s title defense in 2017 did not go as planned almost from the get go. After an uninspiring 2-0 start, the season went into the gutter with 4 losses in his next 5 games, including a rivalry week loss to The Commish in which he lost the naming rights to his firstborn child, little Klucy. Mark managed to tread water, heading into Week 12 at 6-5 and an outside shot at a playoff berth, but failed to put up more than 85 points in each of the last two games and finished the season at 6-7, missing the playoffs for the fourth time in the past 6 seasons.

Daddy Yankee is hoping that 2018 will result in a return to his 2016 championship glory. The key will be just how much his trio of Aaron Rodgers, DeAndre Hopkins and Dalvin Cook will be able to outpace the competition. Demaryius Thomas, rookie Lions RB Kerryon Johnson, and Robert Woods will also need to chip in to help out the Big 3 that figure to provide Mark with the bulk of his scoring output.

Asked what he expected out of the 2018 season, Mark replied simply “just do something”. Pushed for further comment for the critics who claim that fatherhood has caused Daddy Yankee to lose his fastball, Mark at first replied by bizarrely misquoting Metallica, “Exit light, enter night… here comes the sandman. Now let me get back to Sopranos and my vodka.” When the interviewer noted that it seemed like he had indeed lost his fastball given his tepid responses, Richter lashed out wildly at the Commish. “I have dad strength now, I’ll fuck you up Commish and throw a fastball right into your dick and up through your mouth. Fastball high head, strike you all out sweet, you’re dead to me. There’s a haiku [Editor’s note: that’s not a haiku]”.


The Demon

Owner: Robert J. Vafiadou

  •   Last season: 4-9, 12th place
  • 9 years in The League
  • 6 playoff appearances
  • 3 League Championship
  • 5 League Championship Game Appearances
  • All Time Record: 69-48 (.590 win%), 8-3 playoffs

Less than a year removed from an 11thplace finish in 2016, Vaf proudly proclaimed to the world that he “didn’t understand how anyone can ever come in last place. It’s so easy.” Either it wasn’t easy enough or Vaf now finally understands; in 2017 he finished the season in dead last and performed a measured yet rousing rendition of the National Anthem before the 2018 Draft to great fanfare and applause.

In 2018, he’ll look not just to avoid a second straight last place finish and the custom tshirt that would accompany such a feat, but to return to his era of dominance over The League that had fallen by the wayside after he claimed his 3rdChampionship in 2015. The strength of Vaf’s squad this year will undoubtedly be his runningbacks, with Melvin Gordon providing a steady yet top of the line presence and Joe Mixon poised to make a big jump in production in his sophomore season. Julio Jones will provide the main aerial threat, while a few intriguing yet unproven pieces such as Corey Davis, David Njoku and Royce Freeman will be the key to determining whether The Demon will haunt opponents or Vaffy Kid himself this year.

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