Championship Week!

Championship Week

 


Once again we arrive at the biggest game of the year, the main event of the MLOM 2010 season.  And here are the notes about that week, notes that will be read by just two people, and one of those is writing them.

To be honest, Commish has been in a funk all week.  That let-down in the meadowlands last Sunday sapped my will to live, and sort of hastened my desire for the football season to just be over.  I watched the game itself with a massive hangover, a hangover which unexpectedly and ironically numbed the pain of the loss on the actual day, and I was probably too mentally slow and sluggish to really process what was happening.  Each passing day after Sunday, however, I grew more and more depressed when thinking about how in the hell the Giants could lose that game.  Top three Giants losses of all time, I say, and incredibly frustrating to think about.

It wasn’t until Christmas Eve that I had a little perspective on it and the sting of that horrific loss softened just a touch so that I could focus on preparing the Crackheeds for the Title Game and also consider sitting down to write anything about football, or fantasy football for that matter.  Yes, the pain is still there as a Giants fan, and yes the wounds could be opened right back up this Sunday against Green Bay, but at least I have the strength to face it again.

And in terms of fantasy, here we are again in Championship Week, when the last two survivors pit themselves against each other in an all-or-nothing struggle for the greatest thing that ever was:  The Crown of Tin Foil.  Two battered and weary warriors lick their wounds, straighten their armor, and begin to circle.  One shall stand, and one shall fall.

Inter-Division War

Final Regular Season Tally: Predators 17 wins, Aliens 12 wins

Post-Season Tally: Aliens 1 win, Predators 0 wins

The regular-season portion of the inter-division war is history, with the Predators proving clearly to have superior overall talent.  They will go down in the books as the top division in 2010.  However, a potential giant asterisk looms over the whole endeavor if the 6th seeded Rat Pack win this Title, because, if it happens, it will mean they climbed over two Predator teams to do it and none of the four Predator teams (out of five total) in the playoffs was good enough to take it all the way.

It’s only fitting that Eryn and I went and saw Aliens vs. Predator back in its opening week in August, 2004.  I was in San Diego for a trip away from residency, and I remember being giddy with anticipation, chanting “A-V-P!  A-V-P!” as we sat down to be entertained.  The movie was terrible, but in a good way, and I remember laughing at how every Predator was like Ray Lewis making dramatic tackles and how several of the main characters figured out completely nonsensical and overly complex story elements in mere seconds, a nifty plot device which had us howling in our seats.  Ah the memories.

That was all in fun, but this time it will be much more serious.  One Predator, one Alien, one fight.  Will the Predator crush an Alien Skull and then remove its spine as a trophy?  Or will the Alien skewer the Predator with its razor sharp tail and hiss in its dying face?   We find out the answer to those questions very shortly.  One question is already answered for everyone else in this league (who isn’t reading this anyway):  Whoever wins – we lose.

Quick, Which One of These Monsters is the Scariest?

 

 

Past Championship Games:

I wanted to take a quick look at the past championship games and see if they could avail us any information.  Whatever happens this week, this game will go down into the lore of MLOM history.  A new winner will be added to the Hall of Champions, and similarly a new team will enter the “First Loser” category in short order.

1999: Crazy Canucks defeat LT’s Crackheeds

2000: Los Pescaderos defeat Crazy Canucks

2001: LT’s Crackheeds (3 seed) defeat Over the Hill Gang (8 seed), 104 to 85

2002: LT’s Crackheeds (2 seed) defeat Over the Hill Gang (4 seed), 133 to 107

2003: Rat Pack (8 seed) defeat 1.21 Jigiwatts (2 seed) 107 to 99

2004: The Gang (1 seed) defeat The Brown Trout (2 seed), 162.98 to 104.11

2005: LT’s Crackheeds (2 seed) defeat Fightin’ Birdmen (4 seed), 164.21 to 97.45

2006: Fightin’ Birdmen (2 seed) defeat The GBP (5 seed), 101.42 to 68.73

2007: Crazy Canucks (1 seed) defeat Los Pescaderos (2 seed) 154.3 to 121.42

2008: The Rat Pack (3 seed) defeat Los Pescaderos (5 seed) 97.71 to 58.47

2009: Mormon Defenders (2 seed) defeat Fightin’ Birdmen (4 seed) 132.23 to 99.63

2010:  ???

Quirks and Numbers Analysis:

-This will be the first championship game featuring the 6th seeded team

-This will only be the third time in (recorded, so not including 1999 and 2000) league history that the 2nd seed won’t be included in the Title Game

-The Rat Pack are the 6th seed, and are the only playoff team with a losing record (regular season).  If they win, they will join their 2003 ancestors as the only other team to win a Crown with a losing regular season record.

-The Rat Pack are 2-0 in Title Games

-LT’s Crackheeds are 3-1 in Title Games

-Including the eventual winner of this game, half of the Crowns ever won will be by versions of these two teams

LT’s Crackheeds (7-6, 4th Seed) vs. The Rat Pack (6-7, 6th seed)

Recent History:

Week 10, Rat Pack 148.35 Defeat Crackheeds, 93.61

-Michael Vick goes off, dropping 59.96 points against the Redskins on MNF

-Going into the MNF game, Heeds were ahead 93 to 76, Rat Pack with just Vick and Akers left…

-Easily the Crackheed’s biggest loss of the season, but their only loss in their last 8 games, including playoffs

-Crackheeds 93 points was respectable in light of the Brees/Colston/Jennings/McFadden bye week

-There might have been more to this game, but why discuss anything but Vick?  He put  up the performance of the season.

Long-Term History:

Regular Season: Crackheeds 8 wins, Rat Pack 4 wins  (The Rat Pack have won 3 straight)

Post-Season:  Played just once, with the 2-Seeded Crackheeds defeating the 6th seeded Rat Pack 87 to 66 in a semi-final back in 2002.  Crackheeds went on to win the Crown that year.

Run to the Title Game: A look at the path of each team

LT’s Crackheeds

Talk about your up and down season for the Heeds.  Things started slowly, VERY slowly, and ultimately hit a pit of despair in week 7, when what appeared to be a nice looking win turned into a horrific loss at the hands of the Birdmen.  The fantasy game ended on the last play of the last game of MNF to boot, an extra point which took the NYG defense into the next scoring bracket, thus increasing the negative point bonus, pushing the Birdmen over the top, all of this after an absolutely meaningless Dez Bryant touchdown (his third of the game) and of course all of that on the heels of Carson Palmer’s 40 point blow-up in the George Dome, 37 of those points coming in the second half of that game.   It has been called by many, without hyperbole, the WORST loss in the history of fantasy football.

That loss took the despondent Heeds to 2-5, and the threat of the league ending or at least the Commish opting out the next season (as a manager – not as the Commish) was very, too real – a Cuban Missile Crisis of sorts for MLOM.  But then, the Heeds loosened up a bit, and played a hell of a lot better as a result.  Lee Evans Bitch made an appearance and The Heeds snuck a quick win over the gang.  Then came wins by “Bullshit Psyche Job”, “Straight E-Hurt”, “Fury of Batson”, and “Skippy Beau”, all helping propel the Heeds into the playoffs.  (Of the sassy names, only “Charlie Fucking Wax” couldn’t get the job done against the Rat Pack in week 10).  A huge win over The Brown Trout in week 16 sealed up a lot of things for the Heeds, a playoff spot, a pink jersey bet winner (and more importantly, loser), and a chance for another run at the Title.  The name went back to the classic, LT’s Crackheeds, two playoff victories followed, and here we are.

The reason for Crackheed success near the end of the season actually stems (oddly, for a team that started out so poorly) from Draft Day.  The Heeds spent a combined 167 dollars on just four players: Brees, Peterson, Jennings, and Colston.  Down the stretch it was the performance of those four players who anchored the playoff and eventual Title run for the Heeds.  (Since week 8, the beginning of that run, Brees hasn’t been under 20 points and only 3 times did Colston, Jennings, or Peterson not produce at least 10 points each.)    Over the course of the season the Heeds put up the third most points, quite respectable, and the consistency of that core group of players is what has helped them stay steady down the stretch.

The Rat Pack

After a disappointing end to the 2009 campaign – a season which featured a semi-final one and done loss for the 11-2 Rat Pack, who were also coming off their second consecutive scoring crown – the Rat Pack seemed destined for a mediocre season at best.  They played QB roulette at the draft and in the first few weeks, but then something magical happened – they stumbled upon Michael Vick (it happened September 18th, 3:54 pm, according to the MLOM official waiver ledger).

Despite acquiring the season’s top free agent to be, the Rat Pack still struggled in the early portion of the season.  They lost their first four games and were just 1-5 before starting to turn things around.  From week 7 on they went 5-2 and secured a playoff berth with a huge week 13 win over the struggling GBP.  That win, a 120-40, 80-point drubbing, was the largest margin of victory by any team in the league this season.   Perhaps more important and more clutch was a 6 point win over The Gang in week 12, fueled by Vick’s 30 point outing against the Chicago Bears.

The Rat Pack have put it together this year with an odd mix of blow-up potential players (Vick, Charles, Vernon Davis) coupled with solid consistent players (Steven Jackson, BenJarvus Green-Ellis), great defense and Kicking play (Tops in Kicker points this season, near the top in defense), and superstars in less than ideal team situations (Austin, Fitzgerald), who though struggling at times can still put it together on certain weeks.  It’s an iffy formula because it can potentially be inconsistent, but it has worked.

This is a team that has gotten steadily stronger.  A 67-point stink bomb opened their season, but they haven’t looked back, scoring more than 85 points in every game since and breaking the 120 point barrier four times in the regular season and once more last week in the semi-finals.  Including the two recent playoff games, they’ve been over 100 points for four straight weeks and haven’t been under 96 points since week 7.

Title Game Analysis:

Commish’s initial thoughts on this game came down to this.  One team has Vick and one team doesn’t.  And in the end, it’s still sort of that way, but let’s take a quick look at the QB and RB positions to find out where the meat of this game will be.

Quarterback

Heeds:  Brees, 334.29 points (2nd overall at position)

Pack: Vick, 333.86 points (3rd overall at position)

Analysis:  In the old days you would say Brees was a predictably streaky quarterback, playing well at home and struggling on the road.  This year that hasn’t been the case, and he’s been consistent throughout, or at least harder to predict.  And Vick, is well, Vick.  He’s missed at least four games this season due to injury or not starting (Kevin who?), and still he sits at third in his position (by less than a point) and has the potential to drop 50 points more so than any other player, possibly in the history of fantasy football.  Right team, right time, right talent.  Vick is downright scary.  He also gets a cake match-up this week at home against a Vikings team that has more or less given up, while Brees goes on the road for a tough divisional struggle.  Is Vick up for the challenge after the huge divisional comeback last week?  Commish can only hope for a let-down game from Vick.

Edge: Rat Pack

Running Back

Heeds: Peterson (218 points, 5th), McFadden (214 points, 6th)

Pack:  Jackson (175 points, 13th), Charles (191 points, 11th)

Analysis:  Normally this is a Crackheed category and that’s that.  But this week AP’s health is highly questionable (as is his injury designation), and he could be another scratch.  Problem is he’s the late game on Sunday night, so the risk is huge.  Odds are Commish has to sit him and plug in a match-up play.  Luckily there are a few around it seems.  McFadden is solid and will be facing the Colts soft run defense.  He’s a must start.  For the Rat Pack, both Jackson and Charles have nice match-ups and could easily turn in great days.

Edge: Rat Pack

Final Analysis:  As I sit and look down the match-ups above as well as the rest, the overall feel of my prediction is clear.  As the manager of the Heeds, I’ll be telling my boys any given team can win on any given day, we all put our pants on one leg at a time, Drew Brees can blow up at any time and all that.  But as an “objective” Commish looking at all the information, assessing the very probable lack of Adrian Peterson and presence of fantasy monster Michael Vick, it actually becomes a very easy prediction.  This is the season that fantasy and real football combine to push the Commish to the utter limit, with horrendous fantasy losses for the Heeds and even more horrendous real-life losses for the Giants.  This is a week that just might break me as a football fan, and even a human being.  It might only be fitting that the Crackheeds lose a title match because of an Eagle’s quarterback one week after that same quarterback ripped out my heart against the Giants.  It’s all too much, frankly, and I have this sense of foreboding that things are simply headed that way.  The more I brace for it, the easier it will be to bear.  Maybe.

Prediction: Rat Pack

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3 responses to “Championship Week!

  • Adman

    Prediction Rat Pack?! So obvious… Just like prediction Birdmen and prediction Pescas, amirite? Wouldn’t want to jinx yourself…

    Good luck to both teams, i guess.

  • Fwats

    I say bravo once again, Commish, for hitting the analysees hard and fast to set the tone for the title match. Your stats history was interesting because it shows that every team has been to the title match, cementing the communist angle to this here league.

    I for one see this matchup as wide open. Will you be tweeting the proceedings? Would love to follow along. And it could be therapeutic!

  • Commish

    But remember I also predicted the Heeds to win their last two playoff games, which happened. So which jinx/reverse jinx is stronger?

    I considered tweeting the events and may to some extent but it’s doubtful. One problem is that Vick plays Sunday night in a game I probably won’t watch because it will just cause me stress, and Brees/Colston/Bryant along with Lance Moore play on MNF.

    So it looks like it’ll come down to Monday night madness, until Vick drops his 65 points on Sunday night and the Rat Pack have a 170 to 40 lead going into that game…

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