Commish Notes Week 3
Yesterday evening I randomly caught the last fifty minutes of Mr. Mom on some cable channel. That movie has lots of nostalgia for me, as a kid I liked it quite a bit. Rewatching it as an adult I also found it amusing (and quite decent, actually) but for different reasons. The turning-the-page moment where Michael Keaton shaves the beard and gets his shit together (with the “Gonna Fly Now” song from Rocky) is particularly good. But the reason I bring it up here is this – the movie takes place in Michigan and Michael Keaton struts around in Lions gear left and right. In one pivotal scene where Michael Keaton tries to get his middle kid to get rid of his ‘woobie’, there is a poster on the wall featuring Eric Hipple. Yes, Eric fucking Hipple, the old Lions QB whom I remember vividly from my childhood as the quarteback who was on the Lions when I started following football. As an ignorant child, I thought Hipple was pretty solid, and potentially awesome actually, but then just after the movie I went to his stats page on espn.com and found the following: His career QB rating was 68.7. His TD/INT ratio was 55/70. My childhood is now shattered. Here’s a picture of Hipple in action:
Here is the wooby scene, featuring the actual poster prominently in the background:
On the other hand, the Lions are now doing well. (PS: I’m bummed I couldn’t find a good video of the Rocky montage on youtube – that scene is awesome.) Instead, I implore you to watch the video of this Bears punt return, one of the greatest trick plays of all time:
With that randomness out of the way, let’s get to the awards…
Game of the Week:
Mitchell’s Marauders (111.89) over The Brown Trout (104.69)
In truth there were two good contenders for game of the week this week. I looked at Los Pescaderos vs. The Rat Pack as well but decided to go with this one because of the higher score and the fact that Little Buhr and Team Fwab seem to be the biggest magnets for trash talk each week. Kind of an odd game here. The Marauders weren’t really that impressive, relying heavily on defense and special teams (combined 32 points) and were in the tough situation of debating Romo and his Kevlar vest (“I’m Batman”) vs. Kolb and his complete lack of effectiveness. They opted to go Kolb – to the tune of 12.53 points against Seattle – ouch. Sadly it was the right call though, as Romo had just 7.6 points on the bench, even though in real life he gutted out the guttiest win ever gutted according to Jaws and Gruden. Andre Johnson, Ray Rice, Dwayne Bowe, and Owen Daniels all did just enough to get the job done. Even the great teams need to claw out a few un-sexy wins from time to time, and the Marauders did just that here.
For the Brown Trout, life remains difficult. There was a nice game from Ryan Fitzpatrick (24.48 points), and Roddy White and Jermichael Finley certainly earned their paychecks, but everything else was fairly lackluster. Of the remaining players, none scored over 7 points. Little Buhr’s running back woes continue (only one double-digit RB performance (not on the bench) by the Trout this season, and that was Steven Jackson’s 10.67 points in Week 1), but his defense and kicker got handily outplayed which seems to be the ultimate difference. If this game had swung the other way (say Little Buhr had actually started his best RB, Felix Jones), then it would be interesting how that would change the league dynamics and the power rankings (though in truth probably not at all at least this week). Tough for Little Buhr to lose two straight games of the week.
Players of the Week:
Drew Brees, 35.73 points, 31/44, 370 yards, 3 TD, 2 Int, -1 Rush Yard, 2 2-point conversions
Not one but TWO two-point conversions help seal the QB of the week award for Brees over Matt Schaub (32.32 points). Brees has been humming along so far this season, second only to Tom Brady in terms of QB (and overall fantasy) scoring. At least Commish is happy with one of his holdovers.
Darren McFadden, 31.22 points, 171 rush yards, 2 Rush TD, 3 receptions for 7 yards
Run DMC surprisingly gashed the Jets defense but good this week. He currently leads the NFL in rushing and is second in fantasy RB scoring (Lesean McCoy leads). He also leads the league in induced shame spirals for the Commish with his current point/dollar spent value is (70.85/$40=1.77) easily surpassing Adrian Peterson’s (52.74/$58=0.91), a situation the Commish continues to monitor closely each week, mostly from the fetal position.
Wes Welker, 39.05 points, 19 rush yards, 16 receptions, 217 yards, 2 TD
While I was thinking of what to say here for a few seconds, Welker caught two more passes. He appears in this slot for the second time in just three weeks after exploding all over the Bills secondary like a Peter North money shot over some poor failed actress’s face. His performance is without a doubt the key cog to the Canucks’ success at this point and his 16 receptions in a single game have only been bested 5 times in NFL history. At his current pace, his end of season numbers would look approximately like this: 165 receptions, 2443 yards, 21 TDs. Damn.
(Costacos Brother Poster of the Week)
(Welker’s performance was so epic this week that I just had to go out and find another white receiver in poster form whom could represent not only Welker this week but the old days where white receivers seemed far more prominent and talented (I’m not talking about the pre-civil rights days, where everyone was white, but rather the period just 20-30 years ago). The solution? Steve Largent, whose 819 career receptions were tops in league history when he retired in 1989 (now he’s in 20th place). What happened to the golden age of white receivers? I’m talking about your Largent’s, your Collinsworth’s, your Steve Watson’s, etc, who dominated the early 1980’s. Just look at these guys. Seeing each one in action lets me cling to the concept that If my early 20’s had coincided with the early 1980’s, I might have been able to play wide receiver in the National Football League.)
Jermichael Finley 27.17 points, 7 receptions for 85 yards, 3 TDs
Narrowly edging out the Gronk and his 25.77 points, Finley finally lives up to his draft-day hype by putting up not one, not two, but three TDs in his aggravated assault against the Bears secondary. Every time Finley is on the screen I find myself having difficulty imagining any single defender covering him. Too big for corners and safeties, far too fast for linebackers, this guy’s a monster and should continue to produce.
Team of the Week:
Crazy Canucks, 150.60 points
The Canucks are firing on all cylinders these first three weeks, averaging 144 points to date and looking like world beaters, not to mention making an absolute mockery of the Commish’s Draft Grades in the process. Commish wonders how long Coach Iwan can play the “Nobody believes in us!” card before its effect starts to wane. The Canucks are no strangers to hot starts recently, going 4-0 in each of the past two seasons. (And both times they ended up winning the Crown, right?) I’m not sure I still trust them entirely, but these consistent performances can no longer be ignored, either here in the weekly awards or in the power rankings.
Coach of the Week:
Adam Spragg, Fightin’ Birdmen
With his back to the wall, Birdman came out strong and defied his critics this week, securing the blow-out win (52 point margin of victory) of the season to date over the GBP. With his shiny new toy Cam Newton looking promising and anchored by Run DMC and Fitzgerald, Birdman has his Birdmen looking like they’re not quite ready to throw in the towel just yet. If they can put a few wins together, we might be far from counting this team out. Either way, Coach Birdman has done enough to climb out of the bottom of the cellar in the power rankings at the very least.
Goat of the Week:
Michael Vick, 7.67 points
Commish spent a while looking at multiple players on both the Rat Pack and Brown Trout squads this week to figure out who would be the official goat of the week. There are several solid candidates, including Mike Tolbert (again!), Kenny Britt (-0.30 points – managed to fumble on the play he was injured on, ouch), and Frank Gore (just 0.50 points who also fumbled and was injured), but I decided on Vick because with all else being the same all he needed to put up was a measly 12.76 points against a horrid Giants secondary to supply the Rat Pack with a win. Instead, he gets smacked around and then whines about it after the game. Worse, Matthew Stafford must be seething behind him on the bench, where his 32 points went completely to waste. By the way, Stafford is the third highest scoring player in fantasy football right now, and hasn’t seen a snap of ‘real’ fantasy action. Sorry Mike, come get your horns.
Enemies of the Crown – 3 wins
MI-6 – 0 Wins
The struggling MI-6 division has yet to pop the cherry (or show the Japanese Flag as my new favorite expression goes) on the win column yet, losing for the third time in as many weeks. This week the hapless British Intelligence Agency (represented by the GBP) was shamed by the Birdmen who played the villain role perfectly. These light skirmishes each week are about to end with full-on interdivision warfare comprising every game in weeks 4 and 5.
Birdman’s Win this week sponsored by:
Francisco Scaramanga! (The Villain from ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’)
Reading the character’s backstory (courtesy IMDB), it becomes all too clear that the similarities between Scaramanga and the Birdman are eerie.
(Francisco Scaramanga was a British national born in a travelling circus. His father was the ringmaster, a former Cuban national and his mother was the snake charmer. By age 10, he was part of the circus as a trick-shot pistol marksman. At age 15, he became an international assassin-for-hire. He was recruited some years later by the KGB while living in Ipanema, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and trained in Eastern Europe where for many years he was basically just another “overworked and underpaid assassin” for the KGB. He quit the KGB in the late 1950s, becoming an independent hitman-for hire. No photographs of him exist, but he has unusual anatomy: a third nipple.)
Slap Chop Official Power Rankings
Last Week’s Ranks:
6)The Rat Pack
7)The Brown Trout
At this point in the season, Commish continues to favor points and potential over wins and losses when determining the power rankings, though the influence of each will slowly switch as the season progresses. It seems every team is showing more chinks in its armor each week as injuries mount up and potentials are not fully realized (Chris Johnson, I’m looking in your direction). This week Commish will finally give the Canucks their do and put them at the top spot, if only to shut down the “nobody believes in us!” card they keep playing. (Commish doesn’t anticipate the Canucks will last long there.) I favor The Gang over the Marauders because Brady is better than Romo and that’s that, plus the Fwab is kinda/sorta feasting on easy wins in a crappier division. The Crackheeds remain the most locked in at the fourth spot, with plenty above and plenty below – they seem consistent if nothing else. After that, it’s a mess of 1-2 teams that are hard to sort out. The Rat Pack’s injuries are starting to become a sick joke, but good QB play out of Stafford may keep them in the game long after they’re supposed to be done. The GBP get a slight edge over the defending champs because the explosiveness of the WR corps is very hard to ignore, though Rivers has not played well at all yet. I refuse to stop believing in the Brown Trout because they have too much talent and Fitzpatrick’s consistency thus far is promising. Once they get their RB issues sorted out they should start picking up some wins and moving up the ranks. It’s a crime to see a team with Megatron (on pace for 32 TD’s this season) stuck so low in the rankings but when he’s poorly coached what can you do? Los Pescaderos need to hope that the all-Texans-all-the-time routine continues to have solid production. The Birdmen finally move out of the bottom because they have some serious playmakers on their team who bring excitement to the table and the Defenders, with Chris Johnson still holding out and Big Ben not doing much, seem the most meh and drop the bottom, more or less by default.
Updated Power Rankings:
1)The Crazy Canucks (3-0) Oh how we laughed at the Canucks horrible WR corps on draft day. But guess what? With Welker, Stevie Johnson, and now Maclin, they have not only the best scoring receiver in fantasy currently (Welker) but also 3 of the top 10.
2)The Gang (2-1) With Brady and McCoy the Gang are afforded some serious wiggle room to sort out some of their other issues. The problem here is the WR corps, with Nicks struggling to stay healthy and Holmes, Boldin, Ford, and Floyd all seeming not very reliable.
3)Mitchell’s Marauders (3-0) Combined record of the teams the Marauders have played? 2-7. Obviously their three wins account for some of that, but still Commish would like to see them have success against some better competition before moving them up further in the ranks.
4)LT’s Crackheeds (2-1) Forked over 27$ for a goose egg in Deion Branch last week – oh what a shrewd move by the Commish. Wide Receiver hasn’t been a back-breaker yet for the Commish, but it always seems like a problem, with Bryant constantly nicked up and everyone else but Marshall streaky as hell.
5)The GBP (1-2) Despite River’s slow start, Commish still believes he’ll be a fantasy stud before it’s done. His schedule certainly doesn’t get any harder. The WR corps is perhaps tops in the league, even with Austin injured it remains impressive – Wallace in particular looks like a beast. I also suspect it will only be a few weeks before Ingram is an every down back for this squad – behind only Marion Barber.
6)The Rat Pack (1-2) Looks like we’ve found this year’s injury ravaged team, who just went and stole the title from the Birdmen in the past two weeks combined. The biggest question is when will Eron unleash Matthew Stafford? Is Eron too scared to start him because he knows it would guarantee injury?
7)The Brown Trout (0-3) Despite being winless the Brown Trout are still sixth in scoring and that’s counting their opening day stink bomb. Without a few wins in coming weeks, however, it will be impossible for the Trout to maintain even this less-than-stellar rank. The race is on between Little Buhr and Iwan to find out who can start their best two running backs just once in a week.
8)Los Pescaderos (1-2) Los Pescadeos are the only team yet to break 100 points after 3 weeks. Commish still expects more from Schaub who’s only the 11th highest scoring QB so far. (Shit, even ShitChad Henne has put up more points.) When the Texans RB situation gets straightened, Commish foresees Los Pescas picking up the pace and getting back at least toward the middle of the pack. The third WR spot remains a work in progress. Until then, Megatron will gladly keep carrying this team on his back.
9)Fightin’ Birdmen (1-2) Out of the cellar and into ninth place. Nothing too earth shattering, but at least it’s a start. McFadden is out of this world right now, and there are some other dependable folk on this team. Ryan Matthews in particular is looking like a player (6th best RB currently). The two biggest issues are Cam Newton’s consistency and Gate’s health. Luckily Adam has loaded his team with Tight Ends (3 on the roster currently) just in case.
10)Mormon Defenders (1-2) The Defenders still don’t seem horrible on paper. But it feels like Chris Johnson is sucking the life out of this team. Big Ben hasn’t done much and has no offensive line at all. The WR’s have potential but are incredibly streaky. Only MJD remains solid but even he is trapped on a bad team. If there’s a bright side, it’s that Yo This Marques Baby Colston comes back this week, who’s presence should help the anemic TD numbers (only 9 for the whole team to date this season).
If you missed the podcast post it should be immediately below this one. Good luck to all teams this week.