Wednesday, December 10, 2014

AFFL Wild Card Review

LAST WEEK: 1-1
SEASON: 50-37


My point predictions were pretty good this week. They were 75% great, in fact. I predicted that HGAC would score 104; they scored 101.2. I predicted that Timmy Doesn't Have Any Friends would score 65; they scored 69. I predicted that Lothbrok would score 68; they scored 64.8.

There was really only one score I was a little bit off on...

LITTLE BABY JESUS 126.9 - LOTHBROK 64.8

I predicted that Little Baby Jesus would score 64; they scored 126.9. I only missed that one by 62 points. Little Baby Jesus doubled up on my prediction just like they doubled up on Lothbrok. I was mildly annoyed that I made such a bad pick, but I think Gary has had a nuclear meltdown here.

You see, I wanted to do another podcast review this week and have a very special guest join me. I emailed Gary Monday morning asking if he wanted to talk about it, if he wanted to call in to the podcast. He told me that he stopped watching football after the Steeler game ended and maybe I'd rather have Little Baby Jesus on it. I replied that it would be much more interesting to have him on, but there was no reply. Then yesterday he sent out the updated playoff bracket with less than 10 words accompanying it. And on a separate thread in which we were trying to arrange cards, he simply replied "I'm out for December."

December!

Gary is mad, folks.

I think he actually thought he had a good team this year even though I kept telling him he didn't.

Even though I had pointed out repeatedly that his team was basically Luck, Julius, and then some random FA pickup fortunately having a huge week. Gary's team was basically a brownstone facade on a Hollywood studio lot. It looks great from the outside. It looks real. The stoop, the intricate brick work, the wonderful window frames...those were the great scoring weeks Gary had. Then you get a little closer and realize, hey, these bricks are actually rubber sheeting laid over plywood. Then you walk through the front door and realize you are still outside. It is nothing but a facade. No roof, no walls, just the back of the plywood and some electrical equipment. Maybe a union guy eating a hoagie. That is what counting on Forsett, Wallace, Hill, Sanu, and Allen is.

It just wasn't a good team. Gary should be excited that he even made the playoffs and can earn a little scratch to offset his 2015 league fees. Other than that, there is nothing for him to do until next season besides convince himself he can trade Sanu, Hill, and Patterson for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd picks in the 2015 draft. That and all the running the league stuff, of course.

As for the game itself, Luck outperformed his matchup with a late comeback, but Forsett stunningly did not score 31 points this week. Jeremy Hill hasn't been as useful since Gio returned, Wallace has been a problem all year, Sanu hasn't been as good since A.J. returned, and Keenan couldn't shake Revis at all, as we expected in the preview.

And it's not like Gary made bad lineup decisions this week. He bench was somehow worse. McFadden 0.5; Patterson -0.4; Terrance Williams and Julius Thomas 0.

If you don't draft well, kids, you end up chasing luck all year long and eventually that luck will run out at an inopportune time.

I said that starting Jonathan Stewart was a desperate cry for help and because fantasy football is hilarious, Stewart had a 70-yard TD run in the 1st quarter on his way to 21.5 points. Ellington has been sent to IR, so let's see if Stewart can follow it up, but a great game here. Sembrat again benched Sammy Watkins for some reason, but this was a such a good week for LBJ that that ended up being the correct decision. Watkins' 11.7 points were less than every skill position starter. 20.5 damn points for Edelman! Mike Evans continues to be unstoppable with 16.5 points, and Gronk chipped in 15.

I had predicted that Gary would be sweating out Rodgers on Monday night. Instead, Rodgers took a victory lap and did some turf donuts on the infield. His 25.7 points just served to run up the score.

Fun fantasy football note: If Animal House had somehow fallen to the #3 seed in Week 13, they would've lost their Wild Card game 126.9 - 125.9 which would've been incredible and amazing and outstanding.


HGAC 101.2 - TIMMY DOESN'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS 69

The great Drew Brees, the fulcrum of Scott's 2014 season, scored 10.4 points this week. You know who had more points than Brees this week? GENO SMITH. Geno had 13.7 points, despite throwing a pick six on THE FIRST PLAY OF THE GAME!

Marshawn Lynch did his part with 16.3, but no mortal man can make up for Bishop Sankey and his 2.7 points. Ugh. Torrey Smith was a mainly a decoy due to his injury on Sunday, which was a bad break because Scott left Andre Williams and his 20.7 points on the bench. The only silver lining there is that another 20 points for Scott would only have covered the spread.

The other slightly positive takeaway for Scott is this game will help him get ready for 2015 when he won't be able to break 70 points in any of his games.

It was a nice game for HGAC this week, but it's not like anybody is surprised that they won. I'm sure McCamey is probably pumping himself up for the semi-finals by noting that he would've beaten me this week 101.2 - 99.9, but you gotta get it done when it counts, man.

Speaking of which, since I am in the second round and scored enough points during my bye to have beaten Scott if I played him, I am counting that as a playoff victory. I am no longer winless in the playoffs! Hooray for me! And we can put that tired old trope to bed now.

Anyway, good games all around for HGAC, and once Beckham had like 70 yards and a TD in the first quarter, his points combined with Murray's Thursday night 28.8 basically ended this game early. Foster and Ben needlessly ran up the score, and since all the drama had been taken out of the room, nobody had to pay attention to the fact that Demaryius Thomas only scored 1.1 points. Or that Tate, Thomas, Santos, and Miami combined to score only 7.1 points. Probably nothing to be concerned about as the playoffs heat up next week. Getting 20+ from 4 guys and under 5 from 4 guys is a viable long-term strategy.
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If you recall, and I'm sure you do, a few weeks ago when discussing playoff possibilities, I mentioned that the AFFL in 2014 had a "Power Four." Four teams that could score 100+ in any given week, the four best teams in the league. Those teams? ISIS, Animal House, HGAC, and Little Baby Jesus. All four of those teams scored 100 points in the Wild Card round whether they were active or on a bye. Four of the league's top 5 scorers are still alive, and any of them would make a worthy 2014 championship.

The league has worked out perfectly this year. More on that Friday...

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

AFFL Week 13 Review

LAST WEEK: 7-5
SEASON: 49-36


First, some business. Scott owes me $5. Although there are still 4 weeks left in the season, so the bet isn't technically official, Geno Smith sits 90 points behind Colin Kaepernick. And as bad as Kaep has been lately, he'd need to be benched for the rest of the season while Geno averages 23 points a game. Neither of those seem too likely, so Gary, you can credit my bank $5 at Scott's expense.

Also Gary, Brian Barker is on the hook for my next league fee. He secretly accepted my bet about him not winning the title in private to me. I deleted the email, unfortunately, but this totally did happen and since he's eliminated from the playoffs on a 7-game losing streak he obviously can't win the title. Here's the good news, Bri. The losses are over. They can't hurt you any more this season.


ISIS 96.2 - HGAC 93.7
ISIS 96.2 - IT'S ALWAYS RUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA 61

Admit it. Not only did you not think I would sweep Week 13 and win the division, you were actively rooting against it. I get it. I know I'm the Ravishing Rick Rude of this league. The perfect specimen who is forced by circumstances to play the heel card. Eventually emotions will subside and I will be seen for the heroic legend that I am. A man that has made the playoffs in 3 of his 4 years in the league. A man who has finally made it to the second round of the playoffs.

Although, since we're admitting things, I will admit that I had a few highs and lows on Sunday. Although I had considered playing Ryan over Kaepernick, I didn't love the matchup against ARI, even at home, and I did genuinely think that Kaep would step up and have a big game for the division lead. That was incorrect.

Side note on Kaepernick. He has definitely regressed this year. He locks on to receivers, he's been inaccurate, and when scrambling he looks to slide instead of gaining yards like Russell Wilson. However, I can see him bouncing back next year with a new HC and OC. Every Niner running play in between the tackles, and they've clearly told Kaepernick to stay in the pocket as much as possible. Harbaugh and Roman have completely ruined that offense for some bizarre reason.

That said, Brian Williams was correct when he said I should've cut Kaepernick and extended Eddie Lacy. Yes, I am capable of making mistakes. Just like you! I could've just rolled through the rest of this year with Ryan or Tannehill. But that rocket arm Kaep has! It's just so tempting! Even if the ball goes anywhere and everywhere.

Anyway, I thought I could override Kaepernick's terrible 1.7 points, but it got me thinking. Overthinking. Maybe Mark Ingram wouldn't be as good against PIT with Thomas back. Maybe Hopkins? But Fitzpatrick stinks. How about Denard Robinson? The Giants are pretty terrible. As it turned out, Robinson was about the worst choice I could've made. Ingram had 12 points. Lamar Miller had 12 points. Oh, and DeAndre Hopkins had 35.8 points on 238 yards and 2 TDs. Why did I not consider playing Hopkins against the guy that traded him to me (IARIP), especially after Alshon Jeffrey scored 19.1 points against me? That was dumb.

Johnny Manziel's late relief effort promptly shaved 4 points off of the Bills defense, and Lacy and Cobb were only average, giving me a 25-point lead over HGAC with Thomas, Santos, and MIA still to play for him. But that lead could've been 70. I should've scored 143 this week. Bah!

An early TD for Demaryius made it seem like I was done in this one. I slowly came to grips with it. Okay, I wouldn't win the division and get a bye, but I would still make the playoffs after kicking the shit out of Runny, as promised. And all of my Week 14 matchups were excellent and I could certainly take down Gary to reach the second round. Things would be okay in the end.

But...then Demaryius didn't score much more. And Santos barely scored at all. A 6.5 point lead with the Miami DST playing on Monday night? With Geno Smith at QB? You know...I actually felt decent about it. I thought the Jets, at home, would run the ball a lot and keep Geno a non-factor. Now, I didn't think they would almost set a league record for fewest passing attempts, but it wouldn't take a lot of rushing yards to knock down Miami's scoring. Fewer passes would mean fewer INTs, fewer sacks, fewer points. As long as Miami didn't score a DTD, which was a real possibility on every play of the game, I'd be fine. And I was!

I did it, everyone! I said I would kick the shit out of Runny, and I did. I said Calvin would have 130 yards and 2 TDs, and he did. I said I would sweep the week and win the division, and I did. Although I still haven't won a playoff game (0-2 lifetime record. Gosh, so awful!), I'm already in the 2nd round.

But be happy. Me hanging on to win this game saved you all a rant about roster decision and Ben putting up like 14 points in garbage time after being totally useless for most of the day.


HGAC 93.7 - SIGMUND & THE SEA MONSTER 86.5
SIGMUND & THE SEA MONSTER 86.5 - IT'S ALWAYS RUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA 61

At cards on Wednesday night, I complained that the Niners insistence on crashing old ass Frank Gore into the line of scrimmage was ruining the offense and holding back Kaepernick. Brian Barker argued that the Niners needed to give Gore the ball MORE in order to get the offense rolling.

Gore had 3.6 points this week with 28 rushing yards, and could not have possibly looked older or slower. Carlos Hyde at $0.65 or so will be a really nice asset for Whitechapel next season. Which...how interesting would the Niners be next year with Rex Ryan at the helm?

In another backfield change, Barker benched Steven Jackson for Matt Asiata. Jackson promptly went out and doubled Asiata's score, which sounds like a big deal until you realize those scores were 10.1 and 5.7.

It's Always Runny In Philadelphia finishes the year as the only team in the league to not reach 1000 points for the season. Other teams in the modern era with that anti-achievement are Timmy (2013), Timmy (2012), McCamey (2011), and Meyers (2011). It's a pretty exclusive club for losers.

Tim was not too bad this year, and I'm sure that most people are happy to see Peyton and C.J. Anderson out of the playoffs. Tre Mason was another nice pickup for Tim, who did a great job this season of being bad enough to get waiver priority on FA RBs when the starter got hurt. It's just too bad that Mason and Anderson go into the draft next season because Tim signed Ronnie Hillman and Michael Floyd. But he finished the year with 1159 points, his best season total since 2007.

One last thing. I tried to trade Calvin to Timmy earlier in the season for a 1st round pick and Michael Floyd. Tim turned it down because Calvin had a gimpy ankle. I pointed out that he could franchise Calvin, so what do 3-4 missed weeks matter? Had Tim accepted that trade, he beats LBJ in Week 10, he beats HGAC this week, and he makes the playoffs at 8-6 while LBJ finishes 7-5. Oh well. Maybe next time.



LOTHBROK 97 - ASSTANNER 94.1
LOTHBROK 97 - THAT KANGAROO STOLE MY BALL 80.2

As I mentioned last week, some of my picks were hope-based and not really fact-based. I really wanted Bri to complete the amazing comeback and win this most mediocre of divisions, but I didn't think it would actually happen. Brandon Marshall had 21 points in Week 11, 7.4 points in Weeks 12 and 13 combined.

At least Bri starts off 2015 in decent shape with Cam, Gio, Tonio, Martavis returning to the roster. Plus, he finally gets Marshall's untradeable $2.56 cap hit off the books.

I still refuse to believe that Gary's team is that good. He had the weekly high score 3 times this season, and he won his division, so this position probably seems unreasonable. But he won the worst division, won 2 games with 75 and 77 points, and even though he went 100 in 4 games, he was under 70 in 3 games. Essentially, Luck and Julius Thomas are good every week and if one random dude goes off for him, he has a good game. Sanu, Jeremy Hill, Justin Forsett, Keenan Allen. A dud game is coming eventually and Gary will probably be very angry about it. And, like poker night where he literally owns the table (Not metaphorically, the actual physical table) so he has to stick around after he busts out early, since he's the commish he will need to pay attention to the playoffs the whole way through after losing.

Anyway, it was Keenan Allen's turn to go off this week, and Justin Tucker also contributed 15 points. Allen, incidentally, has scored 38.5 points in the last 2 weeks, which is more than he scored in his previous 6 games. He has 59.7 points in his other 10 games this season? Turning things around, or guaranteed to disappoint this week against Darrelle Revis? Time will tell.

Tough loss for Chris here, as Mettenberger went out early with an injury and Brandon LaFell had 15 points on the bench. Percy had 3 points in the starting lineup, so this game was definitely available for Chris to take. Of course, a win would have only served to cost him some lottery chips, so whatever.


ASSTANNER 94.1 - RIGGINS' RIGGS 60.9
THAT KANGAROO STOLE MY BALL 80.2 - RIGGINS' RIGGS 60.9

The Riggins' Riggs result this week is one of the most realistic games I've ever seen. The team that gets eliminated from the playoffs just laying down and dying in the final week of the season when there is nothing to play for. This team had their gear packed up before kickoff. Jimmy Graham literally had a 0 since the Steelers decided to shut him down and let every other Saint beat them instead. Controversial, perhaps, but you have to admit it worked. Graham had no catches, even though the Steelers were destroyed.

Forte, Bryant, Gordon...all under 10 points. The 20 from Sanchez put a cosmetic shine on Thanksgiving for Riggins, but with only 33 points from 3 players on the day, it was essentially over. Like a turkey with beautiful, golden, crispy skin but raw pink meat underneath.



TIMMY DOESN'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS 89.5 - LITTLE BABY JESUS 79.9
TIMMY DOESN'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS 89.5 - THE WHITECHAPEL RIPPERS 69.1

There were 4 teams that went 2-0 this week. ISIS, Lothbrok, Animal House, and TDHAF. Fittingly, Scott had the lowest Points For and lowest Points Against of those 4 teams. Though it would've been highly amusing if Scott went 0-2 and missed the playoffs because 3-year contract superstar Kendall Wright was on the bench when he scored 19 points, that was not to be. All thanks to the great Drew Brees. Scott's entire plan to get Brees for Week 13 when he faced the Steelers worked perfectly! 28 points from Brees - his best game of the season - plus 18.5 points from Torrey Smith were behind this win. Sure, Rivers had 24 points this week, but why you must you constantly focus on the negative? What is wrong with you?

Meanwhile, Sembrat went from a potential #1 or #2 seed to the #6 seed. (Interestingly, I also would've plummeted from 2 to 6 had I lost to HGAC. Everybody's all bunched up!) Ellington only scored 1.2 before leaving with a hip pointer, Mike Evans was bottled up by Cincy, Gronk was tackled at the 2 yard line, keeping him to single digits, and Steve Smith had 1 catch for 2 yards. LBJ has now been under 80 points 2 weeks in a row and they are limping into the playoffs like a Civil War solider. All on one stump, rags around the knee. Or, if you're a more modern fellow, like how Andre Ellington limped into the locker room on Sunday.


ANIMAL HOUSE 103.8 - LITTLE BABY JESUS 79.9
ANIMAL HOUSE 103.8 - THE WHITECHAPEL RIPPERS 69.1

Animal House locked up the #1 seed and posted the highest score of the week even though they started Roddy White, who was ruled out of the game on Sunday morning. Harry Douglas scored 11.8 points filling in, so this total could've been even better. Perhaps Meyers was away on vacation, or still sleeping off turkey, or just wanted to be sporting about it. It would've been incredible if Meyers lost out on a playoff bye because he didn't update his roster on Sunday, but I guess it was asking a little much of Larry and Sembrat to be good this week.

LeVeon Bell continued being beastly with another 31 points this week, giving him 58 in the last 2 weeks. Jamaal Charles didn't do a whole hell of a lot with only 11 points, and Brady had a fairly disappointing game by his recent standards, but 16 points from the SEA DST prevented this one from being close.

Larry locked up the #12 seed with another dismal performance. His 3-0 start seems like it was from another season it was so long ago. He's made some minor agitations about potentially leaving the AFFL (and all of fantasy sports, really), but with the inside track on the #1 overall pick, this would be an odd time to leave. Why sell low? Starting off 2015 with Julio, Sanders, Brandin Cooks, Carlos Hyde, and Lacy/Calvin/Demaryius isn't the worst thing in the world.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

AFFL Week 13 Preview

SEASON: 42-31


The Preview is normally a TGIF adventure, but this week it's going to be a Hump Day / Wacky Wednesday / Wine Wednesday thing. Partially because I don't want to turn the computer on on Friday, but mainly because with 6 NFL teams playing on Thirsty Thursday, some of the AFFL matchups might be obvious picks by the time Friday rolls around, and where's the fun in that? I'm not Dick Cheney on a caged dove hunt (timely reference!), I like it to be a bit sporting, chap!

In some cases, I've going to have to assume some lineup changes will be made before kickoff and guys just haven't set their lineup by Wednesday. For example, I am assuming Bri will start Cam over Teddy, but realizes he has 85 hours remaining to get that move in. If I assume a lineup change that doesn't actually happened, blame that owner for not realizing what's best for them.

By the way, just one more time for fun, here is what the current standings would be like if the AFFL adopted the Krogmann 11 v. 1 system, which would reward the consistent scoring that Gary raves about, as opposed to peaks and valleys scoring. Not that I invented the system, I merely trumpeted its benefit. But, you know, I've said my peace about it.

1st - HGAC: 94-38
2nd - ISIS: 84-48
3rd - LOTHBROK: 79-53
4th - ANIMAL HOUSE: 79-53 (Lothbrok wins the tiebreaker by going 7-5 against Animal House counting all weeks)
5th - RIGGINS' RIGGS: 77-55
6th - LITTLE BABY JESUS: 68-64
7th - SIGMUND & THE SEA MONSTERS: 65-67
8th - THAT KANGAROO STOLE MY BALL: 55-77
9th - TIMMY DOESN'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS: 52-80
10th - ASSTANNER: 52-80 (Similarly, TDHAF was 7-5 against AT in all weeks)
11th - IT'S ALWAYS RUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA: 45-87
12th - THE WHITECHAPEL RIPPERS: 42-90

Now, I am a straight shooter. Send me to Washington so I can shake up those fatcat career bureaucrats! So I will fully admit that I started on this list in order to show that system would have more teams alive for the final playoff spot than the current system does. But no. Only Timmy would have a chance at making the playoffs this week since all other team are more than 11 wins back of the 6 spot. I suppose the AFFL technically has 2 teams that still have a chance of getting inside the playoff mix, though it's a long shot. Gary sure could save himself a lot of time on that playoff possibilities chart, though. It would be one row long.


ISIS (7-5) vs. HGAC (8-4)
ISIS (7-5) vs. IT'S ALWAYS RUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (5-7)

Another little metric I've been keeping tabs on lately are the Passing, Rushing, and Receiving Ranks of each team. I add the 3 ranks together and the lowest number indicates the team with the best balance and talent. HGAC and ISIS are the league leaders in Total PRR(tm). HGAC ranks 4th in Passing, 1st in Rushing, and 5th in Receiving for a TPRR of 10, while ISIS is 9th in Passing, 3rd in Rushing, and 3rd in Receiving for a TPRR of 15. Gary's TPRR is 18. Mike Barker's is 21. Scott's is 23.

(Yes, it is indeed amazing how many little stats I can dig up to show how good my team is.)

Anyway, I was in this exact same situation in Week 13 of 2013, only the opposite. I was 10-2, Scott was 8-4, and we were facing each other in one of the matchups. If I could win a single game, or if Scott lost a single game, I would clinch the division and a bye. So naturally I went 0-2, Scott went 2-0, I lost in the Wild Card round and Scott rode his bye week to the title. Had Scott played in Wild Card round, he would've lost but that is how life goes sometimes.

The point is, I am again in control of my own destiny. If I go 2-0 this week, I will clinch the Western Division and a playoff bye. If I win 1 game, I'm in the playoffs. If I go 0-2, I'm in the playoffs as long as Tim beats Brian Barker. If I beat HGAC and Tim does too, I clinch the division. This is all well and good, but what I really need is a playoff win lest I turn into the Peyton Manning of this league.

CBS is predicting 127 points for HGAC this week, which...seems a little high? Although Ben should be able to tear up the Saints, and Murray shouldn't have much trouble against the Eagles. Even Beckham and Tate have great matchups this week. I'm going to need the Chiefs defense to hold Demaryius to 9 instead of 29, and I'm going to need the great Geno Smith to not give the Dolphins a bunch of turnovers.

On the other hand, it's not like ISIS is hurting for good matchups this week. CBS is only giving 12 points to Colin Kaepernick, but I am expecting 22. He always comes up big in big games, it's in San Francisco / Santa Clara, and there is no way old ass Frank Gore will be able to do anything against the Seahawks defense. Kaep is going to need to air it out early and often and 3 TD passes will be quite nice, thank you.

With the Saints outdoors in the cold, look for Mark Ingram to get yards and TDs against the Steelers, Lacy and Cobb will be in a shootout against New England, and Tampa Bay hasn't had somebody who could slow down AJ Green in like 3 years. Which leaves us with Calvin Johnson. Calvin owes me a big game, goddammit, and the Bears defense is just what he and Stafford need to get going. I say 25 points for Calvin on 2 TDs and 130 yards.

With Calvin and Kaep for me, and Murray and Tate for HGAC, I'll have a slight lead as we fart ourselves awake Friday morning. 47 - 30 sounds about right. And you know what? I am going to finish this game off and win the damn division, just like I predicted way back in the Season Preview!

Oh my gosh! I forgot to include Runny in this! Whatever, they suck.


SIGMUND & THE SEA MONSTERS (5-7) vs. IT'S ALWAYS RUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (5-7)
SIGMUND & THE SEA MONSTERS (5-7) vs. HGAC (8-4)

I have really, really put my bare balls on the table here. If Runny goes 2-0 and I go 0-2, they are in the playoffs, I'm out, and good god will I never hear the end of it. But although Peyton and CJ don't have an ideal matchup in Kansas City this week, the rest of this roster will be able to carry the day against a thoroughly disappointing Runny roster.

Show of hands, how many people want me to spend more time on this matchup? Just Brian and Tim? The motion to move on carries. Runny clinches last place in the Western Division. Anti-congratulations.

THE PICKS:
ISIS 109 - HGAC 105
ISIS 109 - IT'S ALWAYS RUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA 65
SIGMUND & THE SEA MONSTERS 83 - IT'S ALWAYS RUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA 65
HGAC 105 - SIGMUND & THE SEA MONSTERS 83

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LOTHBROK (7-5) vs. THAT KANGAROO STOLE MY BALL (5-7)
LOTHBROK (7-5) vs. ASSTANNER (4-8)

The only way the Central gets jostled is Bri going 2-0 and Gary going 0-2. So wouldn't it be nice for Gary to know whether or not Julius Thomas is actually going to play this week? Problem! The Broncos don't play until 8:30pm on Sunday night. Solution! The Dolphins play Monday night, so Gary can actually hold Mike Wallace in the lineup all of Sunday and swap in JT if he gets the good news. If not, no roster spot is burned. Isn't it nice how life works out sometimes?

But this week is not going to work out perfectly for Gary because cousin Chris is going to pull off an upset here. Mettenberger will be decent enough, McCoy will dazzle like the old LeSean against the Cowboys, and T.Y. Hilton will go off against Washington. Yes, Gary having Luck will compromise Chris' advantage a touch, but it's still nice points for Chris. Plus, if Chris plays Joique Bell against Chicago instead of Percy against Geno Smith, that will be a smart play.

Meanwhile, Cincy will struggle in Tampa just because that is what Cincy does. They are due to look terrible after playing 2 good games in a row and convincing everybody to take them as a road favorite against a bad team. Plus, Keenan Allen and the Chargers are going to have a rough old time in Baltimore.

So...fine. Chris ruins his lottery standing just a touch. All Gary needs to do is beat Bri head to head to clinch the division. Surely he can do that much, right?

Well, it's going to be about 17 degrees in Minnesota this Sunday, so don't expect Cam to do a whole heck of a lot there. And then Bri REALLY needs to figure out his roster options. Obviously Tonio Brown gets back into the lineup, but who sits? Rashad Jennings, even though he is facing the Jaguars? Gio, because Jeremy Hill is stealing his touchdowns? Crabtree because he's facing Seattle? Or Alfred Morris because Washington is certainly going to be trailing all game and Colt McCoy is the quarterback again? And do you try to squeeze Martavis Bryant into the lineup against a bad Saints defense?

I'm not going to try and predict what roster moves Bri will make. I would put in Brown for Jennings and Bryant for Crabtree, but that's just me. What I will predict is that Bri makes all the right moves. Whatever roster decisions he makes will prove to be the correct ones.

And there is one last factor working in Bri's favor...

RIGGINS' RIGGS (4-8) vs. THAT KANGAROO STOLE MY BALL (5-7)
RIGGINS' RIGGS (4-8) vs. ASSTANNER (4-8)

...and that is the power of playing Mike Barker. Last week, Gary thrived on the power, tallying up an amazing 111-105 win. But like the one ring, this power can bring ruin to those who don't abide by it properly. Because of the power of playing Barker, both Bri and Chris are going to go off this week.

Bri wins both games, Gary loses both. Gary is knocked out of the playoffs by the very head-to-head system he so relishes. The Krogmann system, the superior man's way, would've put Gary into the playoffs. Lo, he is hoisted on his own petard.

By the way, Bri will be trampled in the Wild Card game like a Wal-Mart greeter standing in front of $29 Blu-Ray players on Black Thursday, Formerly Known As Thanksgiving.

THE PICKS:
THAT KANGAROO STOLE MY BALL 94 - LOTHBROK 69
THAT KANGAROO STOLE MY BALL 94 - RIGGINS' RIGGS 88
ASSTANNER 81 - LOTHBROK 69
RIGGINS' RIGGS 88 - ASSTANNER 81

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ALTHOUGH! Gary could still make the playoffs at 7-7 because he kicked the shit out of Scott head to head. Of course, that would require Scott falling to 7-7 with 2 losses himself this week. But what are the chances of that?

TIMMY DOESN'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS (7-5) vs. THE WHITECHAPEL RIPPERS (4-8)
TIMMY DOESN'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS (7-5) vs. LITTLE BABY JESUS (8-4)

MOST IMPORTANTLY, can Drew Brees have a tremendously good game? A game so good that it secures a win for Scott, puts him into the playoffs, and justifies the Great Trade of 2014? Or at least pushes the heavy, heavy interest payment due on the trade out of our minds for a while.

PLUS - He is facing the Steelers defense, which is terrible against the pass, even if Ike and Troy return this week.
MINUS - The game is going to play outdoors, most likely in a cool rain.

I say Brees' outdoor issues are just too much. He won't put up more than 17 points. Maybe Pierre Thomas can save the day now that he's back? Maybe? Scott certainly hopes so since he plugged Thomas into the lineup even though he only had 5 points last week. Thomas is going to need to get a lot of work between the 20s for that move to pay off since Ingram is the goal line back. Though, to be real, it's not like benching Bishop Sankey and Kendall Wright are some major gamble.

Dwayne Bowe won't do anything, and Marty B. of the Bears won't do much, so we're down to Marshawn Lynch needing about 45 points this week for Scott to have a chance. A tight back, a ferocious defense, and a slobberknocker of a divisional game? 45 points might be a little high. I'll be generous and give Marshawn 95 yards, 1 TD and 16.5 points. That is not going to be enough to mess with the Jesus! It's a loss for Scott in this one.

So...can Scott beat Larry to back door his way into the playoffs? Wow, is it going to be close. Larry isn't going to do a whole heck of a lot this week outside of Romo eating up the Eagles, and Vereen probably gets some action against the Pack. But Julio is going to have a tough time with Patrick Peterson, which means that Emmanuel Sanders is really going to have to pick up the slack.

In fact, this game is going to come down to Sanders vs. Bowe on Sunday Night Football, with the whole league watching, but not chatting on the app. Gary cursing up a storm, causing Brenna to condescendingly shake her head. And when Emmanuel Sanders catches a 4th quarter touchdown, Scott will officially be out of the 2014 playoffs. Scott is unable to get one last lucky win when he needs it most. I'd say there's always next year, but in this case, there's always 2016 is more accurate.

Gary is back in, folks! His head-to-head system saved him. It does work after all!

But wait! There's more! If you call now, I'll also tell you who is going to win the Eastern Division! A $19.95 value!

ANIMAL HOUSE (8-4) vs. LITTLE BABY JESUS (8-4)
ANIMAL HOUSE (8-4) vs. THE WHITECHAPEL RIPPERS (4-8)

As of this moment, Little Baby Jesus has the tiebreaker because they already beat Animal House in the beginning of the season. With a 2-2 division record, Animal House has the inside track on the 2nd tiebreaker because LBJ is 1-3 in the division. In short, if Animal House beats Little Baby Jesus, that will give them the division on the division record tiebreaker. And if Little Baby Jesus wins, they clinch the division on the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Eastern Division winner also clinches a bye, so you can see how important this is.

(Oh my God, this is exhausting. Are you still following along? I'm not even sure I'm still following along at this point.)

Animal House is the winner here. Brady against Green Bay, Le'Veon against the Saints, Jamaal against the Broncos, and Maclin against the Cowboys will just be too much.

THE PICKS:
ANIMAL HOUSE 105 - LITTLE BABY JESUS 84
LITTLE BABY JESUS 84 - TIMMY DOESN'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS 65
THE WHITECHAPEL RIPPERS 68 - TIMMY DOESN'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS 65
ANIMAL HOUSE 105 - THE WHITECHAPEL RIPPERS 68


So there you have it. Exactly what will happen this week. Feel free to skip the games and just come back on Tuesday. Assuming all 12 of these predictions come to pass, which is extremely likely, that will leave our seeds looking like this...

#1 - Animal House (10-4)
#2 - ISIS (9-5)
#3 - That Kangaroo Stole My Ball (7-7)
#4 - HGAC (9-5)
#5 - Little Baby Jesus (9-5)
#6 - Lothbrok (7-7)

...setting up TKSMB v. LOTHBROK and HGAC v. LITTLE BABY JESUS in the Wild Card round. Yeah, exactly. A 7-7 team is guaranteed to make the AFFL Semi-finals. What do you want from me? Though it does potentially sets up some extremely intriguing reseeding possibilities. If Bri beats Gary in the Wild Card, I'd end up playing Bri while #1 Animal House gets HGAC or LBJ. Interesting.

And then 4 different teams finish at 5-9, but I'm not going to bother to figure out that lottery tiebreaker situation. It'll be an insult to all of us.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Or don't. It's your life.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

AFFL Week 12 Review

LAST WEEK: 2-4
SEASON: 42-31


Let's get some pesky playoffs business out of the way first. Michael P. Barker, Christian X. Albert, Lawrence J. Schacht, and Tim T. Dunlap, thank you for playing this season. You all gave it your best effort, but you won't be making the playoffs this year. Maybe you were done in by poor fortune, maybe you were done in by incompetence. But today is not one of judgment, it's one of thanks. You can pick up your participation certificate from the receptionist, and we look forward to seeing you and your entry fee at the 2015 draft.

Next, congratulations to William T. McCamey, Michael J. Sembrat, and Scott O. Meyers. Although your particular berth is not yet set, you have formally clinched a 2014 AFFL playoff spot. Travel and lodging arrangements can be made through the league office starting at 10am EST on Tuesday, December 2.

Scott F. Albert, you have not officially clinched a playoff spot yet, as there is still one scenario in which you are eliminated. In short, Kangaroo wins 2 this week, ISIS wins 1 this week, while Lothbrok and TDHAF lose 2 this week. That would give the Central Division to Kangaroo, and the Wild Cards to ISIS, Animal House/Jesus, and Lothbrok. A single win from Scott, or any of the above scenarios not occurring would put Scott in the playoffs. Not official yet, but the league office has made preliminary contact regarding travel and lodging.

Michael G. Krogmann, Gary R. Albert, you both clinch a playoff berth with a single win, though you could be eliminated via a scenario in which you lose both games this week and a particular opponent wins both of their games.

Those particular opponents are Brian R. Williams and Brian P. Barker. Gents, if you win both of your games this week while the division rival directly in front of you loses both of their games, you will clinch a playoff berth thanks to tiebreakers. Lose either one of your games and you are formally eliminated.

What does this all boil down to? Well, it is most likely that HGAC, ISIS, LB, LBJ, AH, and TDHAF will be your 2014 AFFL playoff teams, at least according to the percentages.

By the way, 6 different teams are still alive for the 2 playoffs byes.

One more thing. Assuming the percentage plays all go down this week, I will have correctly predicted only 3 of the 6 playoff teams this year. If some weirdness happens, I can get up to 4, but still short of last year's 5 out of 6 correct. 3 out of 6 might be okay for your predictions, but I have higher standards. Riggins', Kangaroo, and Sigmund? You all disappointed me after I laid it all on the line for you. Shameful!


ISIS 104.6 - SIGMUND & THE SEA MONSTERS 87.4

Although it seemed like great luck in the moment when C.J. Anderson took a knee at the 20 instead of just running into the endzone, had the Bills played at their normal time on Sunday, we wouldn't have even been sweating it. Sure, 18 points from the DST is pretty huge, but if the Jets only had 250 yards in a dome, how many could they have possibly gained on a snowy tundra? I mean, things got so bad for the Jets last night that they put Geno Smith in! How low can it go?

Eddie Lacy was enormous again, and it's pretty clear that I made a mistake in not cutting Kaepernick so I could tack on a year to Lacy's contract. Damn Kaepernick. The guy opens the game with a beautiful 30-yard TD pass to Boldin, then the Niners just shut down the offense. They do this over and over every week, and it's so stupid. Frank Gore is so bad and useless right now. You know how many Niners drives I watch on the app that go 1st and 10 / 2nd and 9 / 3 and 2 / Punt? That would be a Gore run, a pass, then another run. Harbaugh couldn't bench Alex Smith fast enough because he was holding the offense 2 years ago, now he seems determined to let Frank Gore walk them right out of the playoffs.

Other than that, how about Cody Parkey? 19 points from the kicker spot! 37 total points from the K and DST? More than enough to make up for 5.8 points each from Cobb and Calvin, and only 6.2 from Denard Robinson, who was stuffed inside the 5 at least 3 times on Sunday.

Manning and Anderson combined for 51 points this week. They didn't do much in the first half, but like all Broncos game, this one lasted seemingly forever, with those two just piling up points in the second half. They just never go away! But the 0 from the Lions, the 0 from Michael Floyd, and the 2.9 from emergency starter Benny Cunningham were just too much to overcome.

So let's look at the ISIS for a second here. 104.6 points this week, with another 54.6 just sitting on the bench. 4 wins in a row, the league's longest active streak. And here's something else to think about. Since Week 6...

ISIS POINTS: 94.6 - 63.9 - 96.2 - 92.6 - 93.9 - 98.4 - 104.6.
AJ GREEN POINTS:  0 - 0 - 0 - 10.4 - 2.3 - 18.7 - 12.1
CALVIN JOHNSON POINTS: 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 17.3 - 5.9 - 5.8.

Both lost 3 games to injury, Calvin added in a bye week. What's more, with Detroit struggling overall, Calvin has posted double digits only twice this season. In other words...ISIS is scoring 92 points in the last 7 games - 97 in the last 5 games - without two of the best receivers in the league playing up to their potential. Not since Week 1 have both AJ and Calvin played and posted good scores in the same game. Where is the ceiling for this offense? Maybe we'll find out in the playoffs.


LOTHBROK 111.7 - RIGGINS' RIGGS 105.9

I really wish I could've been there in person to witness Gary angrily cursing about Jimmy Graham's late touchdown, then Brenna coming down to the basement to see what that noise was, then Gary having to admit to Brenna why he was pouty, then Brenna chastising him for caring so much about stupid fantasy football when it really doesn't matter that much, then Gary having to admit this morning that he actually won because Justin Forsett ran in a late touchdown and had he not ignored the entire game he wouldn't have gone to bed angry and ruined Sunday night cuddle times. Life's rich.

What a season for Riggins' Riggs. They've had 1199.8 Points Against, which is over 100 more than the next most scored upon team (ISIS, incidentally). They won last week with 66 points, they lost this week with 105. And the way they lost this one! Not just because Forsett had 31 points (his best game of the year) or Keenan Allen had 14.4 points (his best game of the year). Not just because Jeremy Hill still scored 15.6 points with Gio back in the lineup. But because they cost themselves this one. They blew their chance at an incredible, season-saving win!

First, if Barker had never traded Drew Brees, he has Brees for this game (25.5 points) and not Mark Sanchez (10.6 points) and wins this game. But okay, that ship sailed long ago, and who among us would not accept 12 draft picks for a single player. But...

But...

BUT!

If Barker had played the Chargers defense (13 points) at home against SHAUN HILL, instead of the Titans defense (2 points) on the road against the high-flying Eagles, he would've won! He lost a heartbreaker, and was officially eliminated from the playoffs because he started a defense against HIS OWN QUARTERBACK! I mean...I can see a certain logic in figuring that each Sanchez pick would only count -1 net instead of -2 gross, but man. What a way to lose.

Barker has now missed the playoffs in 3 out of the last 4 seasons. And if he misses them again next year with Dez, Jordy, Forte, Jimmy Graham, and all those draft picks, I simply don't know what to say.

I was happy to see Gary win this one because it knocked Riggins out of the playoffs, and I certainly wouldn't want to face that Riggins lineup in a must-win game. Gary is much more non-threatening. I mean, which is more likely to happen in a playoff game? Jordy Nelson only scoring 6 points, or Justin Forsett scoring 31?

And yet...Gary has been the high scorer of the week 3 different times. It's the least intimidating high-scoring team in the league.


THE WHITECHAPEL RIPPERS 96.3 - LITTLE BABY JESUS 69.9

This score is a dyslexic's nightmare. Are you sure Jesus isn't the team that won by 30? Maybe you should ask somebody else just to be sure.

Larry made the correct choice from his 3-QB stable, with Romo posting a tidy 24.1 points. The last of those points coming on a TD pass to Dez Bryant that apparently made Gary quite angry. Jones, Sanders, and Colston all broke double digits, and even Steven Hauschka had 13 points. A fine way to snap an 8-game losing streak, except that Larry wanted to keep losing for a chance at a better draft pick. He can't even be bad correctly!

Can somebody please explain to me how Kenny Vaccaro got the only penalty when Steve Smith attacked him like a mean dog let off a chain link leash? Is the NFL trying out the NHL's "I'm only taking one!" playoff penalty move in an attempt to calm things down? I do not believe there is such a thing as calming Steve Smith down, although Harbaugh tried by sitting him out for the rest of the game after that. Would've been amazing if that move ended up costing Sembrat the game, but I don't think Steve Smith was scoring 30 points in the 4th quarter. Though...maybe? He was pretty fired up there.

I said that Gronk and Evans would be part of a winning trio for Jesus this week, and they both let us down. Only 7.8 for Gronk? I thought he was mega unstoppable again?

Andre Ellington only had 6 points for the 2nd week in a row. Is this because he faced DET and ARI, or because teams don't fear Drew Stanton? Or both? We will find out for sure this week when Ellington goes up against ATL, the worst first place team in the history of organized sports, including elementary school leagues.

Sembrat could've put a stranglehold on a playoff bye and good, firm, man's grip on a division title with a win here. Instead, he looked ahead, disrespected Larry's abilities, and now he has to fight out this doubleheader with the rest of the schmoes.


HGAC 101.9 - IT'S ALWAYS RUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA 68.2

Despite picking them to win this week, I didn't truly believe that Runny had a chance in this one. I mean...I WANTED them to win. The pick was definitely hopeful. But...man. At least put up a fight. The fox at least runs away from the dogs and horses.

I predicted Vincent Jackson and Alshon Jeffery would go off this week, and that one I actually believed to the point where I took CHI/TB OVER 46 in my betting pool. That didn't work out so well, I guess.

I also was off the mark in saying that Brent Grimes would hold Demaryius in check. He did, for a while, but because Denver games just keep going and going and scoring and scoring, boom. 26.7 points for Demaryius. Again, in my defense, these were all things I wanted to happen. I was trying to will them into the universe by announcing them. It did not work. Oprah says it works for her. That when she wants something to happen, she just says it out loud and then it happens. So why couldn't that happen for me? Just because I don't have a billion dollars and a full-time staff whose jobs are following me around, listening to what I want, and then executing upon it? So?

The Odell Beckham one-handed TD snag was the greatest 10.3 points that will ever be scored in fantasy football, but there's no more to be said on that. Instead, let me focus on DeMarco Murray for a second. When I was a kid, I hated the Dallas Cowboys, like any good, right-thinking person would. And I often argued that if Barry Sanders had the holes Emmitt Smith got to run through, Barry would've rushed for 25,000 yards.

In 2015, after he signs a stupidly large contract with the Jets, Colts, Jaguars, Raiders, Buccaneers, or Washington, DeMarco Murray is going to be so, so average. His lack of vision and moves, multiplied by a lack of holes, will be an ugly equation. Meanwhile, whichever RB platoon is playing for the Cowboys will both be more productive than Murray*.

(* This assumes that Stephen Jones will talk his Pops out of giving Murray $60mm, like he talked Papa Scotch out of drafting Manziel. Which...we shall see.)

If McCamey was smart, he'd try to trade Murray for a high draft pick when we're all in the room next August. Again, team dependent prediction.


ANIMAL HOUSE 96.9 - TIMMY DOESN'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS 72.5

Scott has lost 2 straight, scoring a combined total of 132 points. In Weeks 1 and 2, he started off with 2 straight losses with a combined total of 125.9 points. In Weeks 7 and 8, he won 2 straight with 135.6 points. He is the 3rd-lowest scoring team in the league, averaging 75 points a game. But he has the inside track on a Wild Card spot because he beat Sigmund, ISIS, Kangaroo, and Runny head to head. Those teams posted 73.3, 63.9, 58.6, and 43.9 points in those matchups, incidentally.

Hell, with 2 wins and 2 Animal House losses this week, Scott could still win his division!

But still, let's be clear. Scott's team is not good. Circumstances have conspired to create the illusion (to some people) that his team is good, but it is not actually good. The tallest 6th grader in your class is not objectively tall.

Ryan Mathews scored 17.3 in his second game back from injury, and then he missed about a quarter of this game with a new injury, which is hilarious and amazing. Not too much else to say about this one, so let's look ahead for a second.

In Week 14, Wild Card Week, Jamaal Charles and the Kansas City Chiefs face a tough Cardinals run defense. Le'Veon Bell and the Steelers face a decent Bengals run defense. Jeremy Maclin and the Eagles face a good Seahawks pass defense, and Roddy White and the Falcons go to Green Bay, which is bad news for that team.

So if Animal House doesn't clinch a bye with 2 wins this week, you know what is going to happen, right? Yeah, you got it. They are going to lose the Wild Card game to Scott, 71.2 - 64.4.


ASSTANNER 97 - THAT KANGAROO STOLE MY BALL 81.9

Boy oh boy, could Bri have used Antonio Brown in this one. He also could've used some Titans special teams tackling on that opening kick return TD, and it's a heck of a time for LeSean McCoy to have his best game of the year.

Brandon Marshall. $2.56 in salary. 21 points last week, 17 the week before...3.2 this week. 17 points from Bridgewater, 19 points from Alfred Morris, 12 points from Rashad Jennings...all wasted.

We mentioned this in the season preview, but Bri's team is going to be hurting next season. Except for Cam, the cupboard is bare. Tough to see a good, sustained run of quality teams ends with such a whimper.

Barring, you know, a miracle this week.

My first season of the Chris Albert experience was everything I could've hoped for and more. A flurry of transactions, a flurry of losses, a flurry of amusement for me. Great!

Friday, November 21, 2014

AFFL Week 12 Preview

SEASON: 40-27


ISIS (6-5) vs. SIGMUND & THE SEA MONSTERS 

I will admit that while under the surface I was still fairly confident about my roster this year, when the ISIS were 3-5, I had been almost assuming I was going to miss the playoffs and spend the entire summer stewing about inferior owners having superior seasons.

But over the past 3 weeks, the AFFL has begun to round into a more proper shape, starting, of course, with the ISIS winning 3 straight games. And although I've been on a very steady pace - 90+ points in 5 of the last 6 weeks - I've yet to have to that truly explosive game. CBS wants me to score like 109 points a week, and I've let them down all season. Until this week.

Kaepernick, who I admittedly have a soft spot for, is going to have one of those weeks that makes it so, so difficult to move on from him when he tortures Washington. Lacy, who any of you could've traded for in the middle of season, will be great again, and Denard Robinson should have a surprising amount of points against the Colts.

The ISIS is so stacked as we head down the stretch that my only concern this week is actually Calvin Johnson. Early speculation is that the Pats will put Revis on Golden Tate and double Calvin, but that's easy enough to change mid-game, so who cares about that. I've actually given some thought to benching Calvin in favor of Hopkins this week, but I'm not quite ready to count on Ryan Mallett fully. Plus, you don't bench your stars.

By the way, Tim could've traded for Calvin weeks ago, and was going to, but then he walked away when Calvin hurt his ankle. So now Tim walks into this game facing Calvin, and starting Larry Fitzgerald, who has an MCL sprain and might end up missing this game. If Fitz ends up missing the game, Tim's only available roster option is Benny Cunningham, which is amazing and hilarious. And even if Fitz does play, he is again, with a gimpy knee, and facing the Seattle secondary in Seattle. Oh, and don't forget that Drew Stanton throws to everybody but Fitz for some reason.

The only interesting part of this game, really, is that I have 6 guys playing the 1pm game Sunday, and Tim only has one. So the scoreboard by 3:50 is going to be something funny like 88 - 1 before the rest of Tim's roster gets going in the afternoon games. And those guys will not catch up to the total I post in the early games. The Bills DST, having been moved to Monday night, are just going to run up the score and cover the spread.

THE PICK: ISIS 109 - SIGMUND & THE SEA MONSTERS 67


RIGGINS' RIGGS (4-7) vs. LOTHBROK (6-5)

The good teams in the league should be extremely worried about Riggins' Riggs potentially going on a run, winning an extremely weak division, and getting into the playoffs. Everybody will be much better off with this team on the outside looking in.

Gary has the advantage at the QB spot, and probably at the DST spot, but that's about where it ends. I'm not quite ready to believe that Josh Gordon is going to score 21 points this week, but I'm definitely not ready to believe that Gary has any chance in this game.

I like to try and give each matchup equal shrift, or at least a similar word count, but there's not really not too much more that can be said here.

Oh! Did you know that Darren McFadden has not rushed for a single first down all season? That sure is something!

THE PICK: RIGGINS' RIGGS 91 - LOTHBROK 64


THE WHITECHAPEL RIPPERS (3-8) vs. LITTLE BABY JESUS (8-3)

Larry also played in the pickup hockey game I'm in on Thursday nights - which is why we didn't go to TJ O'Dirt's to watch the game with AFFL folks - and the game is on the outdoor, Olympic-sized rink at North Park. It was about 21 degrees last night, and Larry had just spent the week in Arizona for work, business expensing beers for 3 days. His respiratory capacity was certainly not at its peak last night.

The first 3 weeks of the season were Arizona for Larry. The last 8 weeks were last night. Rough. As. Hell. I wish I could say that this week is going to be any different. Romo should be fine against the Giants defense, but Vereen will have a tough time against the Lions rushing defense, assuming he even gets the carries. Carlos Hyde definitely doesn't get the carries, Julio Jones will go against Joe Haden (who shut down AJ a couple of weeks ago), and Colston and Donnell will continue to do nothing.

The week is not great for Jesus on paper, but it's probably enough. Rodgers, Gronk, and Evans are the only ones who will really do anything, which will be just fine. Maybe DeSean will catch a long, meaningless touchdown just to run up the score a bit.

THE PICK: LITTLE BABY JESUS 88 - THE WHITECHAPEL RIPPERS 61


HGAC (7-4) vs. IT'S ALWAYS RUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (5-6)

Well, since I said in Tuesday's mini playoff preview that Runny would have a shocking upset over HGAC, I guess I need to back myself into that prediction somehow. This is some real cart before the horse stuff here, folks. I guess the simplest way would be to pick apart HGAC first.

Antonio Gates said last week that Rivers is dealing with a pretty tough rib injury. The Chargers all denied it pretty quickly, but it would explain the sharp drop in Rivers' points in the last two games. I went outside and made some test throws in the name of science, and it is confirmed that you need your torso to throw a ball. If the Rams front four can get to Rivers like they got to Manning last week, Rivers will be lucky to have 12 points.

Golden Tate, as we mentioned, may be shadowed by Revis, and he has 10.9 and 4.9 points since Calvin returned. And the Dolphins defense has to go on the road, in the cold, against a Broncos team looking to avenge last week's loss. Although Brent Grimes might be able to hold Demaryius down just a touch. Then you look at DeMarco Murray, who has 13 and 9 points in his last two games, and you know the Giants are going to upset the Cowboys because they're a home dog in a night game, and things really aren't looking great for HGAC this week.

BUT! It is entirely possible to have a bad week and still beat this gol' dang Runny team. The curse of RGIII still hangs heavy over this team. So we need to show they can have a good week and actually pull out a win here. A meaningless win, to be sure. Well...meaningless to them. They aren't making the playoffs. But I could win the division if Runny wins this week, which is important for good of the league.

(Note: Brian Barker has much too much integrity to intentionally skunk his roster and dump this game so I can't win the division. Well...that probably isn't true, but he probably is delusional enough to think he can still make the playoffs with a win. On we go.)

Barker has both quarterbacks in what will be a ferocious ARI / SEA game, and is wisely choosing Wilson over Stanton. Wilson will be running for his life on more than a few blitzes, so there are some good points. And every time the Cards actually sack Wilson, that's a point for Barker's DST.

Jackson and Gore are both very old and very slow and facing decent run defenses from what I read online, so they won't do much. Which...hmm. That isn't helping our case. What will be helping our case tremendously is Vincent Jackson. That's right. The man who hasn't posted double digits since Week 5. The man who only posted double digits once this year. He is going to make it happen against the Bears. And then Alshon Jeffery is going to make it happen back to the Bucs.

And It's Always Runny In Philadelphia is going to make it happen. Barely. Gary will be so, so excited watching the Sunday night game as Murray and Beckham try to bring back HGAC.

THE PICK: IT'S ALWAYS RUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA 81 - HGAC 78


TIMMY DOESN'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS (7-4) vs. ANIMAL HOUSE (7-4)

News on Justin Blackmon! It seems that he has completed his rehab treatment, which is genuinely a good thing, and if he does not violate a 6-month probation or something, he might be able to be reinstated by the league. Assuming Roger Goodell feels like it, of course. Maybe if Blackmon supports the troops harder!

One of my favorite parts of last night's game (besides Oakland covering my +7 bet on them) was the announcers praising Dwayne Bowe for not complaining about what a pussy Alex Smith is. I mean, they said it differently. They talked about how Smith has 0 TDs to wide receivers even though IT'S WEEK 12, and how Bowe shows leadership by not complaining about never getting the ball more than 10 yards downfield. Alex Smith, folks! There is no way to compliment him that isn't backhanded.

So Bowe scored 4.2 points last night. Scott started Bowe, who plays for a team with 0 WR touchdowns, over Kendall Wright, who is Mettenberger's #1 target so far and is facing an Eagles team that has allowed something like 115 WR TDs. The Eagles secondary is so bad, Alex Smith could throw on them.

Kendall Wright's contract still has 2 years left on it.

Lynch could be bundled up a touch by the Cardinals, and unless he scores 40, Scott doesn't have a great week, so...

Meanwhile, Matt Asiata is concussed, so he won't steal 3 goal line carries from McKinnon. In fact, with Asiata out and Tate still too new, McKinnon could have a pretty nice game against a Packer defense that can be had. Especially since Packer games IN Minnesota have been more competitive that you might think. Julio is going to get Joe Haden, so Roddy White should score, Maclin will find the end zone again, and the Seahawks DST just might be able to get to Drew Stanton at home.

If Scott is honest with himself, genuine when it's just him and the mirror, real about life...he will begin to worry about missing the playoffs after this loss.

THE PICK: ANIMAL HOUSE 93 - TIMMY DOESN'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS 59


ASSTANNER (3-8) vs. THAT KANGAROO STOLE MY BALL (5-6)

Oh, Bri. You know, when I wrote my whole playoff prediction about Bri winning this week and then winning the division at 8-6, I hadn't yet looked at his lineup for this week. And when I did look at this lineup, well...it was like I bought a foreclosed home. I drove past it once, looked charming from the outside, looked like it had some great potential. Then, after I got the keys and went inside, I found out the copper pipes had been stolen out of the walls, and most prominent feature of the master bedroom was a giant hole in the floor. An interior skylight. This roster sucks this week.

No Cam. No Brown. Too much of the other guys he has. Bridgewater might not post double digits against Green Bay, Gio will be splitting carries with Jeremy, and Alfred Morris is flying cross-country with a team that is falling apart faster than Bri's playoff hopes. Crabtree and Marshall (and maybe the Niner DST) are really going to need to step up in this one.

But hey, AFFL teams win with rosters that are basically wet garbage with coffee grinds on top all the time. Why can't Bri do that this week? It's not like Chris' team is so great. Although...Sanchez seems to like Jordan Matthews a lot. And T.Y. Hilton will certainly bounce back at home against the Jags.

By the way, Todd Gurley's blown ACL sure is pretty interesting since he's sitting on Chris' roster at the moment.

Look, I'm going to level with you. I have approximately zero faith that Bri is going to win this game. I think my chances of getting him to go on a 4-day dudes golf trip are better than his chances of winning this game. But I picked him to win the division on Tuesday, and while I love waffling, I don't want to eat waffles only 3 days later.

Congratulations, Shayne Graham! Your late field goal on Monday night wins this game after Percy Harvin gives the Asstanner a very slight lead.

Oh my God! Two nights in a row that Gary is going to be so excited!

THE PICK: THAT KANGAROO STOLE MY BALL 72 - ASSTANNER 70


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

AFFL Week 11 Review

THIS WEEK: 6-0
SEASON: 40-27

A perfect 6-0 week for the picks! The ISIS now have 6 wins! A touchdown is worth 6 points! The power of the dark one, Satan, Beelzebub, The Prince Of Evil is strong with this one. Out! I command thee!


ISIS 98.4 - THAT KANGAROO STOLE MY BALL 91.8

I was extremely worried going into the Monday Night game. Mark Ingram had been stopped at the 1 two times on a 1st and goal possession for the Saints, Randall Cobb had a ball in his hand in the end zone but didn't haul it in, Calvin dropped a few passes, and the Eagles went for a meaningless 4th and goal touchdown at the end of their game instead of a meaningless field goal which would've been very meaningful for my goal of cracking the century mark.

It was extremely conceivable that Brown and Bryant could combine for 23 points with a couple of touchdowns. Hell, Brown could cover 23 points by himself. So I decided to take PIT -6 in my betting pool just for some karmic balance. I figured if those dudes went off, then at least I would be happy win the betting pool. And if the Steelers couldn't cover 6, then Brown and Bryant probably weren't doing too much.

Two Bryant drops in the end zone (which even out the problems I referenced above) and one second half benching later, and I was over .500 for the first time since Week 1. And, more importantly, officially in the playoff picture, as tenuous as that may be with 3 games remaining.

Not to say this game wasn't without drama. I watched Bri get out to a 20-point lead, cursing Dalton and AJ Green for a splendid fucking of my week. I began looking forward to cutting AJ next August just for the spite of it all. Because he clearly was not a top-tier receiving option. And then the Bengals had one single AJ drive. 80 yards for AJ and a TD, and I was within 5 at 50-45. Then Cam and Brandon went off a bit and I was back down 20 before I even knew what was happening.

Before the late games kicked off, I emailed Bri that I figured Parkey, Cobb, Lacy, and Calvin needed to average 15 points per. That I needed to get up to about 110 to be safe from Brown and Bryant. They didn't, but I didn't. Eddie Lacy's monstrous TD, through a swarm of hapless Eagles defenders, was the play that sealed the win for me. It was wonderful. I was in the other room when it happened. An entire day of watching every moments, and I missed the most crucial play of the whole week. Nice work.

But don't fret for Bri. Seeing as how he is in the AFFL's NFC South, his 5-6 record keeps his playoff dinner warm. Hell, seeing as how he is playing the hapless Albert this week, and Gary is playing the ever dangerous Riggins' Riggs, Bri could be leading the division by next Monday.


LITTLE BABY JESUS 96.3 - LOTHBROK 64.8

The least evenly scoring team in the league strikes again. Only 64.8 points for Lothbrok this week in an extremely sorry showing. It's almost like the incredible seasons from Luck and Julius Thomas have been covering up the significant deficiencies in Gary's lineup all season and a below average week from those two can submarine his whole game.

Jeremy Hill had another great game with 16.5 points, but Gio is returning next week, and so Hill's is about to turn into Mohammed Sanu. Sanu was great with AJ out, but he has 4.3 total points in the last two weeks. Hill probably won't have such a drastic dropoff, but his glory days are over.

In fact, I'm going to call it right now. LOTHBROK IS GOING TO MISS THE PLAYOFFS. That's right, you heard me. Division leaders today, out of the playoffs tomorrow. Not literally tomorrow, like in 14 tomorrows. You get that idea.

Please do not tell Chris that Mike Evans had 32.9 points this week. And if you do tell him that for some cruel reason, please do not remind Chris that he cut Mike Evans by Week 4, even though this is a dynasty league.

Rodgers, Evans, and Gronk alone posted enough points to win this game, with 72.5 for that trio. Only atypically bad games from Watkins, Ellington, and DeSean kept Jesus from really ringing the bell in this game. Jesus now leads their division - a division that I predicted them to win in the Season Preview! - with a league-leading 8-3 record. Bully for them. It's hard to even remember when they started off the season scoring 40.7, 65.4, and 57.4 points.

Folks, this just in. I'm being told that Cordarelle Patterson will be available for a first round pick at next year's draft, even though nobody would actually use a first rounder to take Patterson, even if he didn't have 2 years left on his contract.


SIGMUND & THE SEA MONSTERS 83.3 - ASSTANNER 50.1

Although the Albert family had a hat trick of losses this week, I do have to point out that months back I predicted they would have 15 wins total as a clan, and they currently sit at 16 wins. Since Gary plays Chris one more time in a division matchup, that's a guaranteed 17 family wins. Doesn't my prediction look so foolish!

So anyway, Chris got housed this week despite a pretty strong game from Jordan Matthews. Rookie QB Derek Carr only scored 4.7, and even if Chris played rookie QB Zach Mettenberger instead, like he should've done against a banged up and terrible Steelers defense, the extra 10 points wouldn't have mattered. Dan Bailey scored 0 points since he was on a bye and all, but that doesn't mean he was the worst performing Tanner. That would actually be the Eagles DST, which posted a robust -2.

T.Y Hilton and Brandon LaFell somehow combined for only 8.6 points, even though they played in a 42-20 shootout. And Shady...he is basically just a big problem this year.

Peyton had his worst game of 2014, but it didn't hurt Tim at all. Partially because he got to play Chris this week, partially because the rest of the Sea Monsters stepped up and contributed. Tre Mason even scored 11 points! Michael Floyd, who Timmy would not include as part of a package for Calvin Johnson earlier this year had 17.4 points on the bench while Fitz only had 3.3 in the starting lineup, but that didn't hurt Timmy either.

By the way, the one thing we definitely do know about Peyton Manning is that he wilts under pressure, but he will carve you up if you just sit back and try to cover. So why don't teams just blitz him constantly? If you don't, he definitely will put up points on you. But if you blitz all game long, yeah, he might beat you, but your chances of stopping him and winning the game are much, much greater.

This was a big win for Tim, giving him a fighting chance at the final Wild Card spot. Such a shame that I'm going to absolutely nuke his season next week.


ANIMAL HOUSE 108.5 - IT'S ALWAYS RUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA 73.8

I predicted that this game would finish 100-73. Excellent job by me!

Remember early in the season, when Runny was getting fat and happy on inferior competition? They've faced 210 points in their last two weeks and have lost four straight. I guess the luck does balance out eventually!

Speaking of the universe balancing things out, Brian Barker informed us that he asked his wife to pray for a Tom Brady injury Sunday night. Although Brady only scored 12.5 points because Jonas Gray was hogging all of the touchdowns, Ahmad Bradshaw broke his ankle and only scored 1.1 points for Runny.

A quick list.

Believing In The Power Of Prayer - This is acceptable. Billons of people around the world share this belief, though their long distance providers vary.

Agreeing To Pray That Another Human Being Will Be Hurt - Well...this has fallen out of favor somewhat since the 1800s, but is probably still pretty common among Italians. Borderline acceptability.

Watching Your Own Player Get Hurt Instead - Amazing. We can only assume God was distracted by somebody else praying for food so they could continue living and misheard Christy's initial request. This is the source of like 75% of all ancient literature. The rest is sex stuff.

Anyway, Runny is out of the playoffs. Let's worry about them no longer.

As for Animal House, they are the yin to Chris' yang. The Garfunkel to his Oates. The healthy vegan alternative to Chris' Taco Bell. The point is, he makes way less moves and is way more patient with his team and look at it paying off. 28 points for LeVeon Bell. 28 points for Jamaal Charles. 13 points for Roddy White, slowly returning from the dead.

And even when something goes wrong for Animal House, it goes right. Ben Tate was waived by the Browns this morning, which means Animal House's own Terrance West could be in line for more carries. Plus, the desperate Colts might take a flyer on Tate since the last Cleveland running back they landed is so shitty they don't want to have to play him. Animal House is going into the stretch run with Bell, Charles, Ryan Mathews back from injury, and some sort of boost for West or Tate or both. Plus Maclin, plus Brady (really, Gronk).

This team is absolutely stacked, and I can't wait until Scott beats them 71-69 in the first round of the playoffs.


RIGGINS' RIGGS 66.2 - THE WHITECHAPEL RIPPERS 59.3

Winning with only 66 points probably evens out all of the other Barker's luck for the year as well. This family is really leveling out nicely! With a big win against Gary coming up this week, RR could get back to 5-7 and have a real shot at winning the division during the big double week. Especially with Josh Gordon returning to the fold. Let's just hope that Mark Sanchez keeps his job and his health for the rest of the season, since he's the only QB Riggins is carrying on the roster.

With Phil Rivers allegedly playing through a severe rib injury, getting Royal and Gates out of the lineup in favor of Dez and Gordon is certainly going to PowerStack(tm) this lineup.

The Rippers have lost 8 straight, and both Sanders and Cooks were knocked out of their games this week with injuries. Cooks will definitely miss time, and Sanders probably should if the league's concussion protocol has any merit, which it probably doesn't. The replacement options on the bench include Carlos Hyde (backup), Lorenzo Taliaferro (backup), Zac Stacy (benched), and Marques Colston (old and no longer good). Let's go ahead and call it 9 straight losses while we're here.


HGAC 66.9 - TIMMY DOESN'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS 59.5

Well, as I predicted, it was Scott's turn to lose to a team that didn't score a lot of points. Only scoring 59.5 points is an extremely bad look for a team with a 7-3 record, but keep in mind that is only Scott's THIRD worst score of the season. He's actually been lower than 59.5 twice before.

Sankey and Wright made some brief noises about leading the comeback for Scott in this one, but then the Titans decided to get away from Sankey, and Wright dropped a key 3rd pass (it was behind him, but still), and that was that. At Thanksgiving next week, Gary and Scott can hold a family-wide vote to determine if Wright or Patterson's 3-year contract is the worse signing. I look forward to hearing the results of that informal straw poll.

By the way, allow me to take a second to again that Scott has Justin Blackmon on his roster. Not only that, he signed him to a 2-yr contract! The MOST RECENT news update that CBS has on Blackmon is from October 1st and the update is that he's entered rehab. That's it. Sure, Blackmon only costs $0.81. But with $0.25 of cap room left, Scott could've signed approximately 110 other players that would definitely be more useful to him this season, and likely more useful next season.

Look, I get that the Drew Brees trade (which did not affect this week's game, either) has Scott in a panic, even though he tries to deny it. But the best case scenario for 2015 is that he's reinstated by the NFL and signs with somebody that isn't Jacksonville. The worst case scenario is that he never plays in the league again. Scott is willing to take that chance.

Here is Scott's roster on draft day 2015: Geno Smith / Bishop Sankey / Kendall Wright / Justin Blackmon / Houston Texas. Then, after the rest of us have picked through the top 144 players, he can go for whatever scraps are left.

He has two options for next season. First, suck it up, take the medicine, go 1-13, get a high pick for 2016 and try to rebuild the proper way. Second, furiously trade away all of his 2016 picks one by one in an attempt to cobble together a halfway decent 2015 roster. You tell me which route he's more likely to take.

BUT! The rest of us can affect this. If we come together, hold strong, and reject all of Scott's trade offers - if we essentially form a quick and dirty union - we can force the medicine down his throat, and all have a great laugh when he sets new records for futility. Who's with me?!?!

Anyway...back to this game. Pretty lucky break for HGAC to squeak out a win with Foster hurt and Murray off. The Western Division is still in play, but this was a pretty crucial win.

***

So there you have it. Another week in the books. Credit to Gary and the system, only 2 teams have been formally eliminated from the hunt. Of the remaining 10 teams, Runny being eliminated is just a formality at this point. We just have to sign the paperwork and get it notarized. Tim is on his way out. Bri and Gary are still alive, but have too many flaws to be considered serious contenders.

ISIS, Animal House, HGAC, and Little Baby Jesus are the league's Power 4 right now. Any of these teams are capable of scoring 100+ in a given week, any of these teams are capable of winning the title this year. Riggins' Riggs would be included in this group, but their path to the playoffs is somewhat unlikely, so I can't include them just yet.

That just leaves Scott. Scott is very likely to make the playoffs, though frankly, with division games against Animal House and Little Baby Jesus looming, we can't rule out an 8-6 record. Would that knock Scott out of the playoffs?

Try this on for size. Bri beats Chris this week, and Barker beats Gary. Both Bri and Gary are 6-6, but Bri now leads the division due to a better division record and the head-to-head win. Scott loses to Animal House and falls to 7-5 while AH moves up to 8-4. LBJ beats the Rippers, moves to 9-3, and Scott is basically eliminated from the division race.

For the Wild Card spots, we would have:

AH: 8-4
ISIS: 7-5
HGAC: 7-5 (Freak loss to Runny!)
TDHAF: 7-5
TKSMB/LOTH: 6-6

Two of those teams will be division winners, and if Animal House completed the comeback and won their division, Little Baby Jesus becomes the #1 Wild Card, so no change there all in all.

That brings us to the double week. Animal House plays the Rippers in one game, Scott plays Sembrat in one game, I play McCamey in one game, and Bri plays Gary in one game, so right there we can say the Wild Card records will become:

AH: 9-4
ISIS/HGAC: 8-5
ISIS/HGAC: 7-6
TKSMB/LOTH:7-6
TDHAF: 7-6
TKSMB/LOTH: 6-7

At that point, Animal House secures a Wild Card spot. I also play Runny, and McCamey also plays Timmy, so one of us gets to 9-5, but that might be good enough to win the division depending on how things go. But the other team, in all likelihood, would be 8-6 and have lots of points, so let's give that team the second Wild Card.

(By the way, the division winner between myself and McCamey is also likely the second bye team, so this is quite a race!)

So now we have one Wild Card left, Riggins playing the Asstanner, and moving into the picture at 6-7. One spot left, 4 teams vying for it. The remaining games that haven't been discussed are:

TDHAF - TWR
RR - TKSMB
LOTH - AT

We have to give Scott the win there. He is now 8-6. That's good enough to make the playoffs and play Animal House in the first round.

And all that leaves is the Central Division race. I already said Gary is going to miss the playoffs, but how? Well, after this week, we'll have:

TKSMB: 6-6
LOTH: 6-6
RR: 5-7

Bri beats Gary in their Week 13 game, and that alone is enough to eliminate Gary from the race based on the plethora of tiebreakers. But if you want things to be more interesting, let's say that Barker beats Chris so it's now:

TKSMB: 7-6
LOTH: 6-7
RR: 6-7

Gary can beat Chris in the other half of the matchup to get back to 7-7. But here's the problem. Bri plays Barker, so either goes to 8-6 and wins the division outright, or Barker wins and all three teams are 7-7 with Gary finishing 3rd by tiebreakers.

And that's how it happens.

Of course...Scott could possibly lose out and fall to 7-7 and then things really get interesting...







Friday, November 14, 2014

AFFL Week 11 Preview

LAST WEEK: 3-3
SEASON: 34-27

I'm not going to keep harping on this because I know nobody cares (which is basically the main problem with our crumbling empire), but all these camouflage towels? All these American flags that are 6000 square yards for the national anthem? All this stuff that makes Soviet Army and Navy Day, with tanks rolling through Red Square, look restrained? Do you know what the NFL is actually donating to charity from it?

$100 per point scored. $100 each to the Pat Tillman Foundation, the USO, and the Wounded Warriors Project. That means each of those three charities received $3,100 from last night's Dolphins/Bills game. How amazing!

According to the NFL's website, the league has currently donated $219,600 about halfway through the program. Let's be generous and double that, plus a little for yourself. That's $550,000 donated, or $183,333 per charity. What a wonderful story! Who could be cynical about such a wonderful thing?

That reminds me. Incompetent lying shitbag Roger Goodell, who is going to force a team into London before 2020 so he has a "legacy," made $44,000,000 last year. That is $846,153 PER WEEK.

This country is repulsive and disgusting. Let's go back to looking at Kim Kardashian's ass.


ISIS (5-5) vs. THAT KANGAROO STOLE MY BALL (5-5)

On the surface, this seems like it's a crucial game for both teams. It's hard to imagine a 5-6 team would still be in the playoff hunt. But in fact, both teams could be alive for both the Wild Card and the DIVISION with a 5-6 record, depending on how the other games break out. Still, better to be 6-5 if you had your choice.

Once again, CBS is projecting me to score in bunches. They're giving me 111.8 points this week, seemingly not caring that I haven't come close to their projection once this season. Their fault? Or my fault? I will say it's my fault. I know people have big expectations for the ISIS. They look at this roster and think, how is this team 5-5? This is one of the best rosters I've ever seen. Well, you know what? With Calvin and AJ both finally healthy, and Lacy and Ingram scoring like 2001 running backs, this is the week. Everybody on the ISIS roster has a plus matchup this week, and this is the week we finally stand up and do something.

For Bri, Cam is dinged up, Marshall is dinged up, Gio is so dinged up that he's officially out, and Jennings is returning from being dinged up, with Tom Coughlin saying his carries will be limited in the first game back. As we saw in the tables this week, Bri scores 100+ in his wins and about 60 in his losses. This is a 60 week. I'll be able to watch Monday Night Football in total mental comfort, actually enjoying Antonio Brown touchdowns. And won't that be nice?

THE PICK: ISIS 115 - THAT KANGAROO STOLE MY BALL 71


LOTHBROK (6-4) vs. LITTLE BABY JESUS (7-3)

This game got started last night with poor performances from Mike Wallace and Sammy Watkins. I guess they just hate the troops! Figure that Crosby will about equal Sturgis' 8 points and this game is dead even going into Sunday. The quarterback battle is also even, as both Luck and Rodgers will put up points in bunches this week. The tight end battle is probably also even, with Gronk and Julius able to score 22 points with no problem.

Gary has an advantage at RB since Gio is out again. Jeremy Hill faces a poor Saints rushing defense, though if Cincy is losing 24-3 at halftime, Hill might not see many totes in the second half. Either way, Ellington is going to have a tough time against a stout Lions defense with Drew Stanton at the controls.

Former Apostle Keenan Allen returns to face his old boss, but he hasn't done much all year, and Sanu should slow down with AJ fully back. So give the WR edge to Jesus. That leaves us with a pretty even matchup between two teams trying to win their divisions. If Sembrat loses, he could actually be looking up at Scott and Animal House, even at 7-4. Tough sledding to win the division with only 3 games left, even with 2 being against the teams he's chasing.

If Gary wins - and Bri loses - he could be 1.5 games up with 3 left, and he'll need that gap since Bri owns the division tiebreaker at the moment. Isn't this all so interesting?

Maybe not as interesting as the fact that Gary still has Darren McFadden on his roster since he - stunningly - was unable to trade him for a pick. The silver lining there is that McFadden isn't under contract, so we won't have to listen to Gary trying to trade McFadden again two days before the draft. Whew!

Oh, by the way, all that stink Gary made about cap space being wasted money after the roster freeze? He has $1.85 in cap room left, 3 times more than the next most prudent team. Seems like he didn't have the courage to pick up Adrian Peterson, which means that Peterson absolutely will return to the NFL and score 2 touchdowns a game from Weeks 13-16. But, you know, it's tough to just cut Darren McFadden.

Anyway, back to the game. I say the difference in this one actually comes down to the defenses. Gary's Patriots should be torched by Luck, but Sembrat's Broncos will be fine against Shaun Hill. 11 points for the Broncos, 3 for the Patriots, and there you have it.

THE PICK: LITTLE BABY JESUS 94 - LOTHBROK 91


SIGMUND & THE SEA MONSTERS (4-6) vs. ASSTANNER (3-7)

We haven't had a league-wide email debate in like 3 days, so let me start another one here. Who wants to be the first to accuse Chris of tanking to improve his chances at the #1 pick next year? I mean...no kicker this week? Zach Mettenberger and Derek Carr as his quarterbacks? Not one, but TWO college players on his roster? All extremely suspicious stuff.

Now, it's possible that Chris was put in a corner because he manages his roster like a coked-up electronic DJ manages tracks. 42 different players on the roster this year? With a salary cap of $18.41, Chris has $8.88 in dead money! Salary cap hits he's paying out to guys who are no longer on his roster! Nearly half of his cap is just wasted.

Wait, it gets worse! I know that sounds impossible to believe, but just bear with me.

Mike Evans, the terrific rookie receiver who has at least 1 TD in each of his last five games? Chris cut him in Week 6. At a $0.70 salary to start, that would've been a pretty amazing 3-year contract. He had LeGarrette Blount, John Brown, and Vernon Davis twice!

If he had it in him to just sit tight for a little bit and avoid so many drops and trades, the core of Chris' roster at the moment could be: Romo / Ivory / Denard Robinson / McCoy / Evans. That is one of the better team in the league.

Hey, how does Tim keep ending up with Denver running backs? Nobody else wants these guys?

THE PICK: SIGMUND & THE SEA MONSTERS 86 - ASSTANNER 78


ANIMAL HOUSE (6-4) vs. IT'S ALWAYS RUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (5-5)

At the moment, Runny is clinging to the final playoff spot like Wile E. Coyote hanging onto the edge of a cliff. And like that wily coyote, his fingers are slipping off one by one. This is the week he finally loses his grip, pauses in mid-air for a second, holds up a small sign that reads BYE!, and plummets to the ground, creating a 9-foot deep crater in the exact outline of his body.

I don't even feel like talking about this game. It's not going to be close.

THE PICK: ANIMAL HOUSE 100 - IT'S ALWAYS RUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA 73


RIGGINS' RIGGS (3-7) vs. THE WHITECHAPEL RIPPERS (3-7)

Technically, if Gary and Bri both lost and Barker won this week, he is still alive for the division crown, and somebody winning the Central with a 7-7 record would be most fitting. But in reality, this game is a battle for draft position. I mean, you have Mark Sanchez going up against Kyle Orton. Come on.

Man, wouldn't it be amazing if Larry lost 11 straight games?

THE PICK: RIGGINS' RIGGS 92 - THE WHITECHAPEL RIPPERS 73


TIMMY DOESN'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS (7-3) vs. HGAC (6-4)

McCamey has 300 more points than Scott this season, but one fewer win.

If I had played Scott's exact schedule, I would be 7-2. (Minus the game against myself, of course)

If Barker had played Scott's exact schedule, he would be 7-2.

Brian Williams, amazingly, would be 3-6.

And now Scott gets to face the highest-scoring team in the league on the week that DeMarco Murray has a bye and Arian Foster will probably miss the game with a groin injury.

No matter, now it's Scott's turn to lose to a team that doesn't score a ton of points. See how you like it!

THE PICK: HGAC 75 - TIMMY DOESN'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS 70