Playoff Preview – Round 1

Hey League,

I wanted to get out this playoff preview before kickoff of the #%*$*# Thursday game (which I hate).  Look back for more notes later this week regarding regular season finale stuff.  Before the playoff preview, let’s do some odds for the potential Crown Winners this year.  Odds are based on seeding, schedule, roster, and Commish sense.

Assuming for a moment than every game is a coin flip (50 percent chance of winning), then the “probability” of winning the Crown is 25 percent for teams with a bye and 12.5 percent for teams without a bye.  So if nothing else were to be considered, and all games were essentially a coin flip, then the odds would look like this:

Canucks/Pescas: 3:1

All other teams: 7:1

Now figuring in all that other stuff, here are the Commish’s Official odds of winning the Crown before the playoffs start:  (Anyone care to place a bet?)

-Los Pescaderos 4:1

-Crazy Canucks 9:2

-Birdmen 9:2

-Crackheeds: 7:1

-Rat Pack: 7:1

-The Gang 10:1

In my mind, the bye is HUGE.  Keep that in mind – I used it when setting the odds.

OK, let’s preview the games.

Playoff  Games Preview

LT’s Crackheeds, 7-6, 4th seed  vs.  The Gang, 7-6, 5th seed


Can Brees lead the Heeds to their fourth Crown?

Is Josh Freeman the answer for the struggling Gang?

Recent History:

Week 1: The Gang win 97.16 to 94.66

Highlights:

-The closest game of the year in the entire league

-Hakeem Nicks goes off for 25.00 points, opening up what turns out to be a monster season, and Romo adds 19  to help the Gang

-For the Heeds, Peterson puts up just 9 points, McFadden bursts onto the 2010 scene with a 20.58 point game

Week 8: Crackheeds win 97.62 to 90.11

Highlights:

-Brees puts up 24 points at home against the Steelers

-Peterson and McFadden combine for 34 points

-Kitna puts up 15 points for the gang

-Kenny Britt puts up a goose egg, Blair White just 1.6 points – the difference

-PPR gets 19 points from Dan Carpenter and 19 more from Oakland (vs. Seattle) Defense

Long Term History:

Regular Season: Crackheeds 10 wins, The Gang 6 wins

Postseason History: Crackheeds 2 wins, The Gang 1 win;  Crackheeds defeated the Gang in successive Title Games in 2001 and 2002;  Gang Defeated Crackheeds in early round match-up on their way to the Crown in 2004

The Lesson:  When these two play in the post-season, the winner gets The Crown.

Thoughts:

This game features a pair of Jekyll and Hyde teams.  The Crackheeds started the season 2-5 but then went 5-1 in their last 6 games, and haven’t scored less than 93 points since week 5.  The Gang started the season 5-1 but went just 2-5 in their last 7 games.  Despite going 1-3 in their last four games, they haven’t scored less than 102 points in those final four games.  Just 22.93 points separate the team totals here for the season – all things considered these are remarkably even teams record and points wise over the course of the year.  The Gang are notably decimated by injuries, but might have Hakeem Nicks back in time for Sunday’s match-up, causing the ever bothersome dual rooting issues for the Commish.   Match-up wise this week things seem to slightly favor the Crackheeds.  Matt Cassel became the latest casualty for the Gang this week after having his appendix out Wednesday.  PPR notably picked up Josh Freeman, can he pave the way for a playoff win?

Predictions: Tough game to call, and the close nature of the 4 vs. 5 seed is in full effect here.  Commish will go homer style and pick the Crackheeds to win, but only because his stars seem to be playing strong at the right time.  PPR is the one mostly stuck playing match-ups due to his injuries, and that strategy, though essential in this case, definitely has boom or bust potential.  This one could easily go either way.

Final Prediction: Heeds win another close one.

Fightin’ Birdmen 9-4, 3rd seed, vs. The Rat Pack, 6-7, 6th seed


Peyton Manning – Even his stretching is intense

Enter the ex-dog Terminator and current Fantasy Terminator

Recent History:

Week 2: Birdmen win, 113.26 to 107.35

Highlights:

Fairly even game position by position with a few key advantages for Birdmen

-Cutler (vs. Dallas) barely out-duels Peyton Manning (vs NYG) 30.74 points to 29.66 points

-Birdmen RBs (Turner and Portis) total 21 points, Rat Pack RBs (Jackson and D. Williams) total 19

-Birdmen WRs (Wayne/Garcon/Breaston) total 18 points, Rat Pack WRs (Fitz/Austion/Meachem) 26 points

-Birdmen TE (Gates), 18 points, dominates Rat Pack TE (Davis) 9.20 points

-Birdmen DEF and K  (Jeff Reed/Minnesota) total 25 points, Rat Pack DEF/K (Akers/Tampa Bay) total 22 points

Long Term History

Regular Season: Birdmen 8 wins, Rat Pack 5 wins

Post Season History:

Played just once, with the 4-seed Birdmen defeating the 1-seed Rat Pack 115.92 to 89.98  in the semi-final just last season in 2009.

Thoughts:

The Birdmen put together an impressive season with 9 wins and just 4 losses.  They were under 100 points just 3 times this season (all losses) and they won 6 of their last 7 down the stretch.  The Birdmen have a solid team from top to bottom and put up the second most points of all teams in MLOM in 2010, falling just 36 points of the leader Los Pescaderos.  They drafted well and then hit free agent gold with Brandon Lloyd and Steve Johnson.  The loss of Dez Bryant hurts to some extent, but the shoring up of the second RB with Forte (who has had a good statistical season) really makes the Birdmen into contenders.  Peyton Manning’s recent struggles are more “real football” concerns than fantasy concerns, and odds are the interceptions will be reduced in coming weeks.  If Gates gets fully healthy again, then look out for the Birdmen in these playoffs.  If they had secured the bye, Commish would probably have them as favorites for the Crown this year.

The Rat Pack in contrast started out just 1-5 before going on a late season tear and finishing at 5-2 down the stretch.  Their point production was solid throughout, and helped immensely by the play of Fantasy Rocketship Michael Vick in recent weeks.  The Rat Pack haven’t scored below 93 points since week 5, which was the end of their big losing streak.  Starting QB’s for the Rat Pack this year, week by week, look like this:

Kolb, Cutler, Vick, Vick, Hill, Cutler, Cutler, Stafford, Vick, Vick, Vick, Vick, Vick

The record without Vick in the line-up:  3-3

The record with Vick in the line-up:  3-4

Interestingly, the perceived beast of Vick has not translated into the dominating win/loss performance one might expect, though the point production and the ability to “make opponents physically ill” at the thought of playing against Vick has been fairly staggering.

Predictions: A lot of attention is rightfully paid to Michael Vick, but he (probably) can’t win it alone.  The problem for the Rat Pack this week is match-ups, and Fitzgerald is being held hostage at gun point by Derek Anderson (and being covered by Champ Bailey) and Miles Austin has been more miss than hit this season.  Lance Moore is a total wild card.  Steven Jackson is unlikely to have a huge game in the Superdome and Jamal Charles might be on team featuring Brody Croyle as the QB (Cassel had his appendix out Wednesday).  Does Eron gamble on James Starks (RB – GB)?   Vernon Davis is always a nice match up but both Rat Pack defenses are in a tough spot this week, going against NE and IND respectively.    For the Birdmen you can bet Manning is angry, let’s call his match up vs. Michael Vick a wash.  From top to bottom the Birdmen seem to be in a better match up place this week, especially if Antonio Gates is healthy.  A timely pick up of the Atlanta Defense (coveted by the too slow Commish) could be really nice.  All in all, the Rat Pack is the team that scares the hell out of everyone right now, but Commish favors the strong and steady Birdmen in a fairly close game.

Final Prediction: Birdmen win



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