The League Wild Card continued to provide the excitement and drama we’ve seen throughout the regular season, kicking the 18th postseason off with a bang. And no bang was more startling or has shaken up The League as much as Anthony Barlotta, Big Tony, THE Meat Maven, finally winning his first career playoff game, stunning Marky Mark in an act of dad on dad violence to earn a date with Vaf in The League Semis.
In the 4 vs 5 matchup, we saw a good old-fashioned shootout with the defending champ managing to climb out to a sizeable lead and hold on despite Brian’s best efforts on Monday night to pull off the miracle comeback. Meade’s title defense continues on with a matchup against division rival Frank the Tank this week. Meanwhile, BJC heads home looking for answers of how he let the East slip away, which drew him into his matchup with Meade in the first place.
Lets take a quick look at how the teams who reached the Final 4 stack up:
Ant is looking to turn his first playoff win into a Cinderella run, but Vaf is the one holding the glass slipper here. On paper, there’s little doubt in this one. Vaf holds the lead in virtually all categories, whether we look at this simply from this season, career, or head to head. When Vaf gets into the playoffs, he’s reached the Championship Game an astounding 5 out of 6 times. And again, at least on paper, he’s the overwhelming favorite to make it 6 of 7.
Alvin Kamara, James Robinson, and Calvin Ridley provide Vaf with a headline group of 3 starters who typically provide Vaf with a lethal mix of safe floors and week winning potential. Then there’s guys like Robert Woods (in a plus matchup against the Jets secondary) and Lamar Jackson (in a plus matchup against the Jags) and its tough to find a weakness in Vaf’s armor for Ant to exploit.
It certainly doesn’t help matters that the two players Ant had play in the early games didn’t exactly explode, with pedestrian outings from Austin Ekeler and Robert Tonyan. Emmanuel Sanders, Wayne Gallman, and Raheem Mostert isn’t a trio that strikes fear into the heart of opponents. JuJu Smith Shuster, last week’s hero for Ant, will likely need to have another big game if Ant is to pull off the upset, and he’ll most likely need to have a big game from Russ Bus as well. Key contributions the defense and kicker positions wouldn’t hurt either.
In our other matchup, we have Frank and Meade squaring off for the third time this season. While Meade won the previous two matchups, it would be hard to take anything away from that fact. These two teams are about as close as close can be in almost every category, the complete opposite of the 1 vs 6 matchup.
Meade has gotten out to a solid start, with the trio of Aaron Rodgers, Stefon Diggs and Buffalo’s defense outdoing their cumulative projection in yesterday’s games (though Rodgers fell a bit short of his own personal projections and Meade was probably hoping for a bit more production there). Meade still has a bunch of bullets left in the chamber, like ascending rookies Brandon Aiyuk and Cam Akers, steady if unspectacular Amari Cooper, and, oh yeah, some guy by the name of Dalvin Cook.
Frank, meanwhile, has his whole stable of horse ready to run. Physical freaks DK Metcalf and Derrick Henry are always a threat to break the game wide open, David Montgomery and Marquise Brown are heating up at the right time, and Travis Kelce is the at TE is probably the biggest mismatch in fantasy football. If there is a place for Meade to make up some ground it will be with another pedestrian performance out of James Conner in Frank’s flex.
That’s it for this week’s preview. Since some people were asking, in the Anthem Bracket the Commish is squaring off with Jacky G and Jay Hey faces the Diesel. Good luck to everyone as the postseason continues.