Don’t look now, but just one week after my worst fantasy defeat of all time, I quite surprisingly was inspired (it must be Lee Evans) and thought I’d spend some time putting together a mid-season report. Yes, we’re technically eight thirteenths of the way through the season, but that’s mid-season enough. And since after the actual mid-season (immediately following week 7) Commish was still too fetal to type, I thought this would be a more appropriate week. And so here we are, now eight weeks in, and it’s about time we sit down and take a look at this thing.
What we have so far in my estimation is yet another scattered season. After the first six games, especially, the league seemed to be separating into the haves and the have nots. At least four of the teams (Gang, Pescas, Canucks, GBP) seemed to be ascending towards greatness, while four other teams were spiraling into the bowels of fantasy shame (Crackheeds, Jigiwatts, Rat Pack, and Mormon Defenders). The two remaining teams (Birdmen, Brown Trout) were up and down and basically seemed about as vanilla as the average Dave Matthews Band song.
But then things stated to shift. Of the teams that started out strong, only the Canucks seemed to remain that way now eight weeks in, even though star player and holdover Randy Moss is on his third team and starting RBs Joseph Addai and Pierre Thomas are injured. The Gang startedvery strong (hell they’ve already equaled their last two seasons combined in wins) on the back of the incendiary Hakeem Nicks but in recent weeks have lost their starting quarterback and star tight end and all of a sudden seem very pedestrian. The GBP started out 4-0 only to drop the next 4 and find themselves reeling in fivehundredville, and looking lost. It seems that despite the spectacular play of Phillip Rivers they cannot overcome the fact that they have only 1.5 starting receivers on their team. Los Pescaderos started out huge at 3-1 and are leading the points category but they suddenly dropped three straight before staging a nice come-from-behind win against their season-long nemesis The Brown Trout last week. The two early season vanilla specials (Birdmen, Brown Trout) have come on strong and started to stake a claim of their own in their respective division races. Of the losers, well, most of those teams are still losers, though Commish’s own Heeds, through the power of (and I firmly believe this) Lee Fucking Evans, have started to show signs of life despite suffering the worst fantasy defeat in the history of fantasy sports in week 7 (not an exaggeration and more later).
In summary, the league as always remains in a fairly consistent flux. One playoff spot is already fixed (Canucks) and over the next five weeks the next five playoff spots will be determined. And, you can most assuredly bet that at the end of it all everyone will be a lot more stressed and not all that happy, no matter the outcome. And THAT, friends and colleagues, is just the nature of fantasy football – the ultimate lesson in self loathing.
Predators 10, Aliens 6
Due to a lack of participation, primarily by the Commish, this season’s division themes haven’t really hammered home in any resounding fashion. Part of it is the lack of Commish notes of course, and part of it is the fact that Justin has admittedly never seen Aliens (a travesty). Either way it’s sad. With multiple predator movies, multiple Aliens movies, and multiple Aliens vs. Predators movies, this really should have been a fun one. Remember when we went to see Predators last summer and picked characters and Iwan was the Mexican guy who was killed first, his body a booby trap who could only utter the words “Help Me” as he clung to life? Ah, those were good times. Wait, where was I? Oh yes, the inter-division war. We’ve done two of our four slated head-to-head inter-division weeks and the Predators division is riding high with a 4-game advantage. Last year the former X-Men, now Aliens division dominated in inter-league play and Commish can tell that the Predators are out for a little payback.
Record Book Notables: (To date)
-Strength of Schedule
-1.21 Jigiwatts are suffering an average 124 points against each week. Damn it’s tough to win when you face that kind of onslaught. Where’s the defense?
-Easiest strength of schedule? The Gang, facing an average of just 90 points a week. (To put that in perspective, if the Crackheeds had just 90 points scored on them each week this season, they’d be 7-1. I will now head-butt the desk for ten straight minutes.)
-Kicking Points. What do they mean? According to the record book, not much. Little Buhr’s “Die Braune Forell” (which is German for “The Brown Vagina”, hey that gives me an idea for his eventual bachelor party) have scored the most in the kicking game, averaging 9.5 points a week. On the flip side, there’s Fwats 1.21 Jigiwatts (which is French for “121 points against each week”), who’s team has put up the least kicking points and is averaging just 6.62 points per week. The difference? A whopping 3 points a week. The lesson is; Never spend 19 dollars on your fantasy kicker at an auction.
-Defensive Points seem to be a bigger deal. The difference between the largest (Rat Pack, averaging 14.12 points per game) and the smallest (LT’s Heeds, 6.5 points per game) is about 8 points and seems much more significant.
-Your season total touchdown leader is Los Pescaderos (45 total). The lowest number belongs to the Defenders (just 29).
-In terms of total yards per position, let’s take a look at the numbers:
-Passing Yards: Most, The GBP, 331 yards per game courtesy of Phillip River’s monster passing season; Least, The Rat Pack (206 yards per game) courtesy of injuries and QB by committee.
-Rushing Yards: Most, Los Pescaderos, 201.37 per game, courtesy of Arian “Atheist’s Nightmare” Foster’s monster season, Least: The Brown Vagina, with just 101.7 yard per game, courtesy of paying a combined 65 dollars for both Ryan Grant and Shonn Greene and generally being RB kryptonite.
-Receiving Yards: Most, The Brown Trout, 317.7 per game, courtesy of Little Buhr placing a huge emphasis on WR at the draft (Roddy White, Brandon Marshall, Dwayne Bowe, Maclin, combined cost 81 bucks); Worst, The GGP 224 yards per game, courtesy of the worst WR draft in the history of MLOM (26 total dollars spent on WR, and Dallas Clark (20 dollars), the best actual receiver on the team, going down with an injury).
Player Stats: Things that amused and surprised me about scanning the stats after eight weeks…
-The top QB’s in order, with points, that make up the top tier: (Rivers 192, Manning 189, Brees 180, Orton 177, and Rodgers 164). After that, next best is Carson FUCKFACE Palmer at 133 points and then it’s downhill from there. Again, fuck Carson Palmer. Never has a worse real life player had as good a fantasy season as this piece of shit.
-The top five RB’s in order, with points: (Foster, Peterson, Gore, Johnson, and McFadden), at (148, 133, 132, 131, and 128 points, respectively). Surprises after that? Peyton Hillis is number 8 on that list at 101 points.
-The top five WR’s in order, with points: (Lloyd, White, Nicks, Megatron, Harvin) at (118, 117, 114, 111, 104) points respectively. Surprises after that? Two of the top ten (Collie, Britt) are currently free agents. Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne are currently out of the top 10. Steve Johnson, Santana Moss (!), and Danny Amendola are currently 14th, 16th, and 17th, respectively. How about Brandon Fucking LLoyd being the top scoring receiver currently? That’s wild.
-The top five TE’s in order, with points: (Gates, Miller, Davis, Lewis, Keller), (127, 74, 74, 73, 71). Antonio Gates is a beast. An absolute beast. And rumor has it he used to play basketball…
Season Highlights: Defining Moments of the 2010 NFL and MLOM Season
Here are some things I thought have made this fantasy (and NFL) season stand out to me, your Commish.
The Pink Jersey Bet:
Hat’s off to the Buhr brothers who have taken the concepts of MLOM season betting to the next level. Again, the loser of this bet has to wear a pink jersey of the winner’s choosing to the draft next year and also to Player’s Sports Bar for week one. It’s great on so many levels. The decision process for which jersey to pick has to be the most intriguing part of all. Commish prays it stays close until the end, but not TOO close of course; remember the caveat that if the teams tie then the bet is off. That would be a horrible. Here’s a sample of what we might be in store for:
The Auction Draft:
Man that was sweet. Commish has to be honest. With his dumb work schedule the morning of the draft and the stress involved there, and also the lack of an after-party, as well as two far-away participants, the 2010 Best Day Ever won’t go down as Commish’s favorite or even close. That said, the draft itself, THE AUCTION, was a site to behold and was simply awesome, one of those seminal moments in MLOM where there’s no going back (similar to the creation of divisions, the move to six playoff teams only, the Sunday to Tuesday waivers idea, and all the other “Eryn Roston Rules”.) Did we really used to do snake drafts? Ah, those days were cute. The auction is on now, and it’s never stopping. Such a great move – thanks to all who pushed for it.
Speaking of the draft, here’s a quick take at the biggest steals and busts of the draft (injured players excluded):
Biggest Steals: Antonio Gates – $16, Terrell Owens-$9, Percy Harvin-$15, Hines Ward-$4, Arian Foster-$22, Jeremy Maclin-$11, Santana Moss-$5, Pitt Defense -$2, Hakeem Nicks-$13, Orton-$1, Palmer-$1 (the best one goddam dollar ever fucking spent in the history of the fucking league), Austin Collie -$1, McFadden-$4, Ahmad Bradshaw -$10
Biggest Busts: Ryan Matthews-$57, Steve Smith (CAR) – $25, Deangelo Williams -$32, Shonn Greene -$31, Cedric Benson $37, Jonathan Stewart -$21, Crabtree -$16, Prater -$19
-There are definitely more candidates on both sides, but that’s who stands out to me at first glance.
Shanahan Calls McNabb “McFlabb”
Imagine my surprise watching the Redskins/Lions game last weekend. The Skins are down by 6 with 1:40 left and two timeouts. They get the ball back, come to the line, and wait, is that Rex Grossman in the game?! Yes. Yes it is. Cut away to pouty McFlabb standing on the sidelines in disbelief. Cut back to the field. On the first snap, Rex Grossman drops back to pass, is promptly crushed my multiple defenders, fumbles, and the Lions return it for a touchdown. Game over. Later that week the rat-faced Shanahan calls out McNabb’s knowledge of the two-minute drill and cardiovascular conditioning all in one fell swoop. Man, that’s good stuff. Though he needs a better PR person to break the news. My suggestion: Craig Vittitoe.
Press: “Craig, why did coach pull McNabb? He must have thought he played a terrible game.”
Craig: “No, that’s not true. That’s not true at all. Coach felt that McNabb played a very good game – a very strong game. But the enemy of any sport is fatigue, you see, and in the end McNabb….”
The Fall of the Cowboys
This has been a blast to watch. When does Jerry Jones have to give back his pre-season Lombardi trophy? That will be sweet. I never root for injury, and so I’m actually bummed Romo (even) got hurt. But otherwise I’ve loved every minute of the Dallas collapse.
The worst loss in the history of fantasy football.
And now for a personal moment. It came down to a 4th and 1 in garbage time of a Monday Night Football game long over – a game which featured which featured by beloved G-Men pounding Dallas no less. Fourth and one, under a minute left. Kitna passes to Dez Bryant, who takes it fifteen yards and puts up his third touchdown of the night. Despite this, the score STILL favors the Crackheeds. Until the extra point. Then the defense loses five more points and it all goes to hell. Game over. Season over. Life over. It’s still too painful to talk about. My worst defeat ever. Picture me staring at a screen which reads “Delete entire fantasy league, are you sure? Yes/No” It was very close to being yes. Very close. I may one day forget all the details of the 2010 season, but I will never forget that loss, and as result of the way I felt I will never take fantasy football as seriously again. (Which honestly, is probably a good thing.)
Mid Season Awards
Team of the Season Thus Far: Crazy Canucks. 7-1 despite significant injuries (Addai, Pierre Thomas, DeSean Jackson), and the Moss drama. Despite a significant amount of flux, the Canucks have managed smoothly and put up 100 plus points in all but two games.
Coach of the Season Thus Far: Iwan Thomas. For all the reasons above, Iwan has managed the Canucks previously and it hasn’t been autopilot either.
(Runner up: Papa Roston. Great use of the auction format to launch a significant turnaround. Hats off to PPR.)
Player of the Season Thus Far:
Tie: 1)Phillip Rivers and 2)Antonio Gates. These two guys have been monsters. Rivers is putting up insane yardage numbers and Gates is a lock for a touchdown every single week and is just destroying his TE competition.
Game of the Season Thus Far: Week 7, Fightin’ Birdmen 130.97 over LT’s Crackheeds 126.84
For all the reasons above. The ultimate in improbable Monday Night Madness. The losing manager hanging on every play. The winning manager starting Carson Palmer and not giving a shit. A 40+ point running back on the bench. The ultimate proof that Fantasy Football is probably a giant waste of time and certainly way more stress than fun almost every time. The psychological beat down caused a lack of sleep and a fundamental change in attitude and philosophy of the losing coach, not to mention a presumed permanent team name change (to be determined). This game had everything. And hell, it was also a big divisional game and Commish it may springboard the Birdmen to bigger and better things. Until the devil comes calling to collect his end of the bargain, of course.
Goat of the Season thus far:
Again, discounting injuries this award has to go to Ryan Matthews. (I guess the Bolts are sweeping all the awards). 57 dollars. 45.51 points to date. You do the math.
- Crazy Canucks
- The Brown Trout
- The Gang
- Los Pescaderos
- The GBP
- The Rat Pack
- 1.21 Jigiwats
- Mormon Defenders
If this was a points-based league, the current standings would be:
- Los Pescaderos
- The Birdmen
- Crazy Canucks
- LT’ Crackheeds
- The Gang
- 1.21 Jigiwatts
- The Rat Pack
- The Brown Trout
- The GBP
- Mormon Defenders
Look at the differences there. The only team that would be the same based on either ranking would be Norm’s poor Mormon Defenders. That’s a tough Tin Foil hangover for a team that doesn’t even drink. At least they can cling desperately to 2009 glory. Just don’t forget to have that trophy polished come worst day ever, Norm.
So using these two lists, and a little Commish sass, let’s formulate some power rankings. After eight weeks, here we go:
1. Canucks (Top record, good enough in points. Playoff spot locked up. Aaron Rodgers is Crown material, and despite the Randy Moss shuffle as well as Pierre Thomas, Joseph Addai and DeSean Jackson injuries, the Canucks have a good enough roster to maneuver and make a strong run deep into the playoffs. Easily the favorite currently. And how about the Ahmad Bradshaw? Such a great pick up at the draft.)
2. Birdmen (With Manning (Peyton, not Eli, for anyone that’s confused) playing at the top of his game, all things are possible, including of course the Crown. The Birdmen are very solid and they have Gates, who has nearly doubled – that’s right fucking DOUBLED – the next best tight end’s scoring output (see above). If they can lock down a solid second RB then they can be a scary team come playoff time. Commish likes the direction the Birdmen are heading. Also the Birdmen have clearly sold their soul to the devil, putting up 130 points during the Manning/Wayne bye week, using primarily Carson Fucking Palmer and his 34 point second goddam half. Enjoy it now, Birdmen, because the devil always gets the last laugh.
3. Los Pescaderos (Started out like gang busters and the huge point totals (tops in the league) will come in handy come playoff seeding time. Megatron is heating up and Foster and Gore have been hot all season. Problem areas include Schaub quietly underperforming in many games this year and an otherwise quiet WR corps after Megatron. The Pittsburgh Defense has been monstrous, however, and is intimidating on its own.)
4. The Brown Trout (Tough to get a solid read on this team. They rattled off a five-game win streakmid-season after an 0-2 start before a dropping a close one this week. They sit atop the Aliens division but don’t have many points. They are absolutely stacked at WR but the RB spot is a disaster and Commish is unsure if Flacco has what it takes down the stretch to get a title.)
5. The Gang (Would have been several spots higher if not for crippling injuries to Romo and Jermichael Finley. Hakeem Nicks has been a stud, and McCoy and Boldin have been steady producers. Unfortunately the injuries may be too much to overcome. Still, a nice turnaround for a team that was better known as the league’s punching bag the past couple of seasons.)
6. The GBP (Rivers is playing out of his mind and that might be enough come playoff time. Mendenhall is the only other star on this team, and WR corps is very underwhelming as even Mike Wallace cannot be counted on week to week. Need to score more points with Crackheeds breathing down their necks.)
7. LT’s Crackheeds (Nothing really wrong with the roster, and this might be the year that “The Raider Strategy” pays off with Bobby Miller and Bobby McFadden providing some nice outputs (it’s even better when you start them!). The problem for the Heeds is that they just can’t seem to find a way to win games they should; three of their five losses are by six points or less. And how will they bounce back after suffering the worst fantasy defeat of all time? Might be too much to overcome. Bring on the bear-themed team name already.)
8. 1.21 Jigiwatts (Another season, another high output, low win team from Fwat’s boys. Not sure why everyone brings their A-game every week to play against Fwats, but it just keeps happening. And how does Ray Rice only have two touchdowns this year? He has been quietly disappointing. The ‘Watts have three “Hundred-Plus” losses (meaning they scored over 100 points and still lost), easily tops in the league. Let’s call it the curse of Brady’s hair. (“How would you like your sirloin sir? Bloody.”)
9. The Rat Pack (Turns out moving to London probably isn’t the best strategy for coaching up a proper fantasy team, even though when Commish moved to Europe he won a title in his first year there – must be a mainland thing. The story here has mostly been the QB carousel stemming from poor play and more importantly injuries. Still not sure how much the decision to ditch Schaub as a holdover at the draft will affect the overall standings, but for now it still seems like the wrong move. Also there will be another candlelight vigil this evening for missing WR Larry Fitzgerald. We’re all praying for you Larry.)
10. Mormon Defenders (The starting RB tandem remains solid though unspectacular this season and every other position is rife with mediocrity. Santana Moss has been a nice surprise, but not nice enough. At least Norm gets to look at the trophy everyday for a little while longer.)
Good luck to all the teams,