Tuesday, December 23, 2008

WVFL Bowl Review

This Week: 1-0
Playoffs: 5-0
Season: 58-38

Some title games are blowouts, never in doubt after the opening kickoffs. Think Joe Montana and the 49ers beating the Broncos 55-10. Some title games aren't over until the final gun. Think Scott Norwood and the Bills losing to the Giants 20-19. The WVFL Bowl was one of the latter.

The Crusaders came into Monday night needing 14 points from Ryan Grant to take the title. Grant scored 14 on the nose. But it isn't as simple as it sounds. On Green Bay's final drive in the fourth quarter, a 15-yard personal foul and a couple of passes gave them a first down in field goal range. Grant rushed twice and got to 62 yards rushing total, enough to give the Crusaders the win. On Green Bay's next play - their final play of the game - Grant was dropped for a 1-yard loss, giving him 61 total rushing yards. If he takes a 3-yard loss, this game is tied.

Grant also had a 17-yard TD reception and 2 other catches for a total of 3 yards. Take away ONE receiving yard and TWO rushing yards...and the Swirls win this game.

Then again...if the Swirls don't mysteriously change their kicker to the previously unheard of Garrett Hartley, they win this game. I think Garrett Hartley got cut from Manchester City in the EPL and decided to give American football a whirl.

Caulen has a requested a note of recognition (a shout out, as the kids call it) for winning two football titles and and finishing second in a third league. I would like recognition for predicting that Steve Smith would have a surprisingly quiet game against the Giants. I would also like to thank Marques Colston for putting up 99 yards and 2 touchdowns three weeks after my team stopped playing.

Of course, the entire premise of this review is false because if Ryan Grant played Thursday, he wouldn't be the sole focus of here. Like assuming you had a heart attack because of the Baconator you ate for lunch. It's more than that. If the Crusaders started Fred Jackson over DeShaun Foster (Jackson being the better back, both against bad defenses, Foster the starter) he would've scored 97 points. If Chris Johnson had 1 more rushing yard and Witten had 3 more receiving yards, the Swirls win. If Minnesota recovers Matt Ryan's fumble at the 1-yard line instead of Atlanta recovering it for a touchdown, the Swirls win. If Welker had 2 more yards and Housmazoo had a single 12-yard hitch route, the Crusaders cover the spread of -2.256.

The point of all of this is that...fantasy football is about 10% preparation, 10% early season waiver wire moves and 80% luck. So congratulations to ST. A'S CRUSADERS, the luckiest team in all the land.

Really, though, why would you change your kicker?

Monday, December 22, 2008

WVHL Week 11 Review

It's the holidays! We should be eating cookies and drinking eggnog, not reviewing ghosts of fantasy hockey past! This is going to be a quick one.

One Day With The Cup tied IC Pounders on Ice - 5-5-3

ODWTC has the 3rd best head to head record in goals, 2nd best in PPG and best in PPP. We lost all three categories this week. We did not play to our strengths! But 27 big assists gave us the most assists in the league, which is a nice thing in this holiday season. We give!

Zetterberg only had a single assist this week. He was much happier last year on The Milburys. Zach Parise, of all people, had 7 points this week.

Dynamo Mockba def. The Awful Stench - 7-2-4

Nate must be on vacation, because he had Malkin benched all week and missed out on his 6 points. Of course, Mockba still won G and A, so maybe Nate was just sending a message. Patrik Elias had 8 points this week. What the hell has gotten into the Devils?

The Stench had 2 GWG and 1 SO. Those are the two categories they won. Crosby only had 2 points (trade him!) and Tim Thomas had a win with a .750 GAA and .783 save %. Those are some interesting numbers.

Whitechapel Rippers def. Medicine Hat - 9-2-2

The WVHL is starting to separate like Italian dressing. On the top, you have the six playoff teams represented by clean, golden oil. On the bottom, the six other teams, represented by murkiness and all sorts of chunks of shit. The Rippers have been slowly floating toward the top all season.

And Medicine hat is sinking to the bottom like a clove of garlic.

Kitchener Ks def. Camelsfoot Range - 8-3-2

Looks like Poppadoo can still teach his boys a few tricks here and there. Caulen claims he's been too focused on football to think about a hockey team that's currently 14 games under .500, but we all know that the truth is his team isn't very good, even with Matt Hunwick on defense. Also, if you just picked up Matt Hunwick, you are most definitely paying attention to hockey.

Some good Boston players are David Krejci and Phil Kessel, and they combined for 6g, 7a for Kitchener this week. Kyle Quincey was -7 with only 4 PIMs. Useful. Scott Clemmensen has filled in for Kitchener as nicely as he has for New Jersey.

Keystone Winterhawks def. Dublin Donkey Punch - 10-2-1

Is anybody going to go to the trouble of stopping this Winterhawks team? If they're going to score 19 goals while always going 4-0 in net with a shutout, that is simply unfair. Allow me to spin a cautionary tale if you don't mind. One year, I dominated the WVHL regular season to the point that the point gap between 1st and 2nd place was equal to the gap between 2nd and 6th place. I lost my first playoff game.

Dublin only had 8 PIMs this week. Taking it easy, I guess.

Abomidable Snowmen def. obamanators - 7-2-4

The obamanators are now in sole possession of last place and they have to move a lot of dirt just to get up to 11th. The obamanators have the fewest goals, a league-worst -28, the fewest PPG, PPP and the fewest GWG. They also have the fewest L, which is actually a good thing, the best GAA and the most SOs. They could use a little balance.

Joe Thornton has 37 points this season for a team that had the best 30-game start in NHL history, but nobody ever talks about him.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

WVFL Bowl Preview

Last Week: 2-0
Season: 57-38

It's the fantasy football game your mom has been waiting for all season! The buzz in the league is so palpable that Clint dropped Kerry Collins and picked up Jake Delhomme yesterday even though he doesn't have a game this week. He just wants to be a part of the action!

Speaking of which, the hottest action in the 2008 WVFL playoffs has come from the preview picks. One might argue that going 4-0 with playoff picks and having the potential to finish the season 20 games over .500 is actually more impressive than winning the WVFL. One would be especially inclined to make such an argument if they were making the picks and never, ever made the WVFL playoffs.

So, if you will, allow me to decide this week's winner before the games even start.

St. A's Crusaders (9-5) vs. Purple Swirls (10-5)
400lb Design Stadium - Bloomfield, PA
Halftime Performance: MF Doom, Dr. Octagon and The Jonas Brothers

Maurice Morris is starting in the WVFL title game which is either a sign that the league has too many teams (Caulen's theory) or the Swirls are trying to spite Julius Jones (my theory). Of course, on the other sideline, the Crusaders have Larry Johnson at W/R and Johnson is coasting on name recognition more than Nicole Kidman right now.

(Tangent: After drafting Alexander and Johnson one year too late in '07 and '08, can we go ahead and assign Tomlinson to TK in '09 now?)

You know what? The WVFL Bowl is an annual holiday. It deserves a special preview. Let us continue this positional breakdown.

QB - Drew Brees vs. Matt Schaub

Drew Brees gets two boosts this week. One, he gets to throw against Detroit, which is like throwing against wooden planks in summer OTAs. Two, Reggie Bush is out and the Saints offense is actually better this season when Bush is out and they aren't trying to force the ball to him. Lance Moore, get your touchdown shoes ready!

Are we sure Matt Schaub is good? We know that he's tall, but we're not sure if he's good.

WR - Wes Welker/Santana Moss vs. Steve Smith/Dwayne Bowe

Arizona struggles to stop the pass and they struggle to do anything on the road, but the Redskins struggle on offense, so maybe this is a push. Also, depending on the Cardinals scheme it, Adrian Wilson may shadow Welker and shut him down.

For the Swirls, the 11-3 Panthers are 3-3 on the road this year and the Giants are coming off of two straight losses. Factor in Jake Delhomme's unpredictability, the problems the Giant pass rush will give him and the cold and wind in Jersey, and I'm calling a surprisingly quiet game from Steve Smith.

That leaves Dwayne Bowe to decide the wide receiver battle in this one. Ugh. This position is a wash. And there's a still-steaming brown log floating in the washbin.

RB - Ryan Grant/Thomas Jones vs. Chris Johnson/Brian Westbrook

Not to go all Collinsworth on you here, but during last Thursday's game, I focused on Brian Urlacher on most plays and discovered that all he is good at these days is getting blocked and overrunning runners when they cut back inside. Still, I'm not taking Ryan Grant here. Thomas Jones should be able to run all over Seattle, though. Unless...the emotions of Holmgren's last home game combined with early Favre picks put the Jets down 14-0 early and they have to pass to catch up.

Chris Johnson is going nowhere against the Steelers, let's just get that down first. Although if Pittsburgh is up 28-0 in the fourth quarter, I would not mind seeing Johnson break one just to find out if Polamalu could run him down. God, that would be like watching a nature film on gazelles and lions. Bad news for the Swirls, Westbrook is questionable this week. Oh, hang on. He's questionable every week, including training camp. Never mind. Doesn't Westbrook usually kill the Redskins? Eh, maybe not. In the first matchup this season he had 14 fantasy points, but only 33 yards rushing.

The best backfield in the WVFL is not showing up for the playoffs.

TE - Tony Gonzalez vs. Jason Witten

The tight end doesn't exactly find a lot of soft zone spots against the Ravens, you may have noticed. Gonzalez is going to win this one by default.

W/R - Larry Johnson vs. Maurice Morris

We covered this earlier, but as an addendum, it is very hard to run against the Jets. Partially because of Kris Jenkins and partially because passing against the Jets is so easy and fun that the run gets neglected like an old toy on Christmas morning.

K - Joe Nedney vs. Ryan Lindell

Flip a coin, basically, to decide this battle of remarkably tall kickers. Both San Francisco and Buffalo face terrible defenses, so points can be had. But Nedney plays in a dome this week, so let's pencil him in for a 51-yarder and give him the edge here.

DEF - Baltimore vs. Houston

The Houston defense is terrible, but the Oakland offense is historically awful, so I can see why the Texans are an appealing start.

Baltimore ordinarily would be good, but it's the last game ever at Texas Stadium and I'm sure Dallas will be fired up for that one.

The Pick: Caulen has sassily pointed out to me that he has three different league championship games this week and that I should somehow bake that into a cake and eat it. In response, I will calmly use my future-control powers and make him lose this game.

St. A's Crusaders 88 - Purple Swirls 75

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Somebody Is Trying To Send Us A Message

Upon arriving home last night, I found a small pillowcase worth of feathers on the front step, un-pillowcased. Just a pile of feathers all over the welcome mat. Our front door is not clear, the shades were drawn and there was no bird carcass to be found. Just feathers. There are a few possible explanations for this.

1) Our new dog got out of her kennel, turned off the alarm, unlocked the front door, slaughtered a small bird, disposed of the body, cleaned up the blood, went back inside, locked the door, turned the alarm back on, got back in her kennel and closed it, only then realizing she forgot to clean up the feathers, but it was too late. I find this to be the least likely explanation.

2) A neighborhood cat happened by at the exact moment a bird was on our doormat for the first time ever. A skirmish ensued and the bird lost. Not a bad guess, but there was no blood to be found. Though maybe a snapped neck doesn't bleed.

3) Some Croatian is sending us a threatening message. It's well known that Italians send a dead fish as a warning that you are about to be brutally murdered and thrown into a body of water, where you will sleep with the fishes. Croatians, however, use feathers to symbolize that like a bird falling out of the sky, you are about to be dead. I need to find out if I have a neighbor named Dag Zaboblevic who is upset about some property line matter.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

WVFL Semi-Finals Review

St. A's Crusaders 104 - Vanduhlay industries 97

Well, not paying an ounce of attention to NFL injuries and bye weeks finally caught up with VI, as they started Brandon Jacobs over Steven Jackson in the semis. Jacobs, who was ruled out this weekend, posted a zero while Jackson ran all over Seattle for 18 points. If only...if only there was an easy way to get NFL news on television or the computer. A heroic 30-point effort from Andre Johnson was completely wasted.

I was right that Thomas Jones wouldn't score 20, I was right that Ryan Grant wouldn't pick up the slack, I was right that Gonzalez would outscore Gates and my playoff picks are 4-0 so far. How is it that I can never win in fantasy football!?!? And how is it that I'm such a remarkable egoist that I can turn a review that has nothing to do with me into a screed almost entirely about me?!?!?

Ryan Grant was the only Crusaders to not reach double digits as St. A's stormed into the finals. A nice change of pace from 2007, when the Crusaders started off 0-6.

Purple Swirls 89 - Lowcountry All Stars 83

The media cacophony is quickly reaching a crescendo. Jeff Webster cannot won the big game! But you can't blame Dallas Clark, who racked up an impressive 20 points. Impressive and remarkable...and ultimately useless. It's a fitting tribute that in a 31-27 game, Lee Evans only notched 2 points and his owner lost in the playoffs. Lee Evans is fantasy poison!

Second place in 2004. Third place in 2006. No worse than second place in 2008. Caulen is the Bret Saberhagen of the WVFL, shining in even years. The best backfield in the WVFL combined for 12 points, but Steve Smith rode to the rescue and carried the Swirls into the finals.

Monday, December 15, 2008

WVHL Week 10 Review

One Day With The Cup def. Whitechapel Rippers - 5-4-4

It seems like a bacon-wrapped travesty dipped in a disaster gorgonzola sauce to score 11 goals and 22 assists and just barely the win the week, but only two goalie starts will do that to you. Both goalie starts were atrocious, so at least I'm not playing the what if game.

Richards had 6 points and Knuble had 3 and the fact that Larry doesn't mind the Pens losing 6-3 on Saturday because of those points shows that fantasy sports is skewing our reality. First-round draft pick and trade untouchable Dany Heatley had 1 goal and a -2 this week. Did you know Ottawa has the fewest goals in the league this season?

***UPDATE*** - The Rippers also did not meet minimum goalie requirements, so ODWTC won 5-0-8. One of my goalies was hurt, I don't know what Whitechapel's excuse is.

Dynamo Mockba def. IC Pounders on Ice - 7-6

In two starts this week, Cristobal Huet allowed 1 goal in all. His netmates, Backstrom and Sabourin, combined for 5 losses. Not only that, Nate's 1 SO lost to the Pounders' 2! What a week between the pipes. Marleau, Elias and Dustin Brown each had 3g, 2a and Malkin had another 6 points. No wonder Nate won every offensive category except for SHG.

The Pounder goalies went 4-1 with a 1.28, .960 and 2 SO. Looking at the team's 41-56-20 record, I'm guessing they don't get that kind of performance very often. Zach Parise had 5 points and it is driving me crazy that the Devils can play boring hockey for a decade and then start scoring 5 goals a game when Brodeur finally gets hurt. God, I hate that team.

Medicine Hat def. Camelsfoot Range - 9-1-3

After finally learning out to win last week, Medicine Hat got good at it in a hurry. Marty Turco provided the Hat's one goalie loss this week and for that he was cut. Six points for Nicklas Backstrom. So is he good now, or what?

With 50 PIMs, at Caulen impressively won his one category this week. A meltdown by Jason Arnott provided 17 and Scott Niedermayer tacked on 12 more, with no points. Are we sure that wasn't actually Rob Niedermayer? Milan Lucic's provided a full 1/3rd of Camelsfoot offensive ouput.

Kitchener Ks def. Dublin Donkey Punch - 7-4-2

Eventually, you will see all sorts of statistical oddities, so how about this one: Kitchener was 2-1 in net and Dublin was 2-4...but Dublin won GAA and SV%. That, I'm pretty sure, is a new one. But it gets even more funner. One of Kitchener's wins came from a 1 GA effort from Scott Clemmensen. The loss came from Jason LaBarbera posting a 6.05/.769. The lesson, as always, is don't start/pick up/look at Jason LaBarbera.

Dublin had 9 goals and Vanek and Ryder combined for 8. Vanek had 5g, 0a and has 24 goals, 5 assists this season. He is getting his and not worrying about yours. Which is fine, because Dublin has the most total assists so far this season.

Keystone Winterhawks def. obamanators - 12-0-1

Somebody should pull the obamanators aside at the next league function and inform them that you are allowed to pick up goalies on the free agent wire. In fact, just this week there will 16 different goalie transactions. I mention this because with only two starts from Nabokov, the obamanators forfeited their L, GAA, SV% and SO wins and turned this one into a rout.

Jeff Carter has 32 points this season and it is not April yet. The Winterhawks won the SHG goal category with a single shorty from...you will never, ever guess...no really, never...give up yet?...JOHNNY ODUYA!

Abomidable Snowmen tied The Awful Stench - 5-5-3

A furious 3 goal rally plus a PPG Sunday night spurred the Stench to a comeback. Ryan Getzlaf has cooled off considerably, with only 1a and a -1 this week. I don't think Daymond Langkow was ever hot, but he was definitely cool this week with 0 points and a -1.

There isn't too much more to say about this one except the last place team blew a 3-point lead and has to settle for a tie.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Graffito Spoiler

I am not maudlin enough or simple of mind enough to read Mitch Albom books. Tuesdays With Morrie, Marley and Me and The Five People You Meet in Heaven. I think those are the ones. I really have no idea what is in these books except for easy to understand words and emotions.

Except now I know what it is Marley and Me because somebody spray-painted THE DOG DIES on a movie billboard that I passed this morning.

Finally, some graffito I can get behind.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

WVFL Semi-Finals Preview

Last Week: 2-0
Season: 55-38

Vanduhlay industries (8-6) at St. A's Crusaders (8-5)

Temperature at kickoff Thursday night will be around 15 degrees, and if Brees can rack up that many points, it'll be a nice little upset. Not sure if you've heard, but dome teams with pass-heavy offenses don't usually travel to the Northeast and Midwest in December all that well. The Crusader passing game won't be completed iced up, though, because Moss will take Asomugha away from Welker, and even though Washington is averaging something like 3 points a game in their last 6, Cincinnati is a good way for Santana Moss to get healthy.

Yahoo! has pencilled in Thomas Jones for 20 points, but that seems incredibly ambitious, even factoring in his recent hot streak, and Ryan Grant probably won't pick up the slack.

On the other hand, I don't like any of the VI matchups. I even think he'll be on the short end of this game's tight end battle, Gonzalez vs. Gates. The magical, barely paying attention ride for Vanduhlay comes to an end this week.

The Pick: St. A's Crusaders 86 - Vanduhlay industries 71

Purple Swirls (9-5) at Lowcountry All Stars (9-4)

The best backfield in the WVFL won't be facing much opposition this week. You could combine Houston and Cleveland's defenses and they would still be less rigid than a Jenga tower with all of the middle pieces pushed out. Steve Smith going against Denver is equally ridiculous and those three guys make it possible to ignore the problems Matt Ryan will have with Tampa Bay and the problems Maurice Morris will have with sucking.

Though, in a weird way, Ryan's struggles against Tampa could actually help the Swirls because Roddy White will struggle for the All Stars by default. It's too cold for Reggie Bush to do anything, Marshawn Lynch has been shaky all year and Lee Evans is back to sucking.

It's appropriate that the All Stars are relying on Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark for points, because the All Stars are about to be just like the early '00s Colts - a great regular season wasted with a playoff loss.

The Pick: Purple Swirls 96 - Lowcounty All Stars 81

Deathfromabove (8-6) at Crafton Tough Kids (8-6)

(Previews not available for consolation games)

The Pick: Who Cares 1 - No Thanks 0

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

WVFL Wild Card Review

Vanduhlay industries 77 - Deathfromabove 67

I am not at all afraid to point out that I called this upset. You might wonder how I know so much about football and yet manage to miss the playoffs every year, but that it a discussion for another time. Brandon Jacobs actually did play, but wasn't all that noticeable. Jay Cutler was plenty noticeable, racking up 19 points against the Chiefs, which may actually be a disappointment.

Yahoo! missed on their Peterson projection by a factor of 2 and missed on their DFA projection by 37 points. Only scoring 11 against Detroit in the first round of the playoffs makes Peterson the draft bust of the year. Thanks for nothing, chumpstyle! In short, secondary receiver roulette, DFA started Lance Moore and Eddie Royal over Kevin Walter. Unfortunately, Moore and Royal combined for 8 points and Walter had 20 all by himself. Such is life.

Purple Swirls 131 - Crafton Tough Kids 53

Wild card weekend occasionally features some blowouts. Like Dan Marino's last game when Jacksonville beat Miami 62-7. Or this game here. Vincent Jackson's benching was actually irrelevant, so at least Larry won't spend the offseason rocking back and forth in a dark corner.

Caulen boasts that he has the best backfield in the WVFL and with 22 points from Johnson and 32 from Westbrook, it would be hard to prove otherwise. Rookie QB Matt Ryan had 24 points! This might just be a team of destiny. And point density.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

WVHL Week 9 Review

Camelsfoot Range def. One Day With The Cup - 7-2-4

Facebook word games aside, I never beat Caulen. I just never do. So even though I had a 5-4 lead entering Sunday, it was like I was watching somebody go outside to investigate a strange noise in a horror movie. I knew what was going to happen, but not how.

The how was Kris Versteeg picking up 29 PIMs with 2 seconds left in the game, Kiprusoff throwing a shutout and Michael Leighton allowing 1 goal days after I dropped him for allowing 5 goals. Michael Leighton, you are a dick.

Chicago won 7-1 Sunday, only 1 goal in the whole game was on the power play and Brian Campbell had no points and was even in 21:00 of ice time. You know how hard that is to do? Hell of a way to snap a 5-week winning streak.

Dynamo Mockba def. Whitechapel Rippers - 7-4-2

The Mockba just keep on rolling, much to the surprise of their own GM. Malkin had an average 4 point week as he allowed Crosby to carry the team for a few games. On the other end of the fantasy stick is Trent Hunter, who should only be picked up in 22-team, 24-man leagues. Trent Hunter is terrible and his head is too skinny.

Mike Richards and Dany Heatley had good weeks, so they are the only Rippers not in danger of being dropped in a fit of panic or anger. Joey MacDonald's loss this week featured 5 goals allowed and a save percentage of .706, maybe the lowest save percentage I've seen this season. The Rippers were so porous in net that Carey Price's .896 is the team's high water mark.

Medicine Hat def. Dublin Donkey Punch - 6-5-2

The Donkey Punchers got tough Sunday and racked up 6 PIMs to bring their weekly total to 18. Perhaps they actually donkey punched somebody on the ice. But it was not enough to win the PIMs category and they did not do enough to win the week. Though I suppose winning the +/- with a -3 is fairly interesting.

The good news is that Medicine Hat has their first win of the year and it only took 9 weeks to do so. A 4-week losing streak and 0-6-2 record have fallen by the wayside. The bad news is that they are only moving up to 10th place.

Kitchener Ks def. obamanators - 6-5-2

Kitchener now has two straight wins over teams out of the bottom quadrant. Things are looking up! Except where Daniel Briere's groin is concerned. He's out anouther 6 weeks after testing his muscles too early. Kitchener was -7 on the week and Islander old man teammates Guerin and Weight were a combined -6. However, they will probably still be on the the United States' 2010 Olympic team.

Ilya Kovalchuk is being wasted on two teams, Atlanta and the obamanators. Incidentially, I feel like I've made that joke about a fantasy player at least 15 times this year between hockey and football. Kariya, Richards, Kostitsyn, Miettinen, Gonchar and Luongo all posted hyphens this week. - - - - - - - -. They all missed time with injuries. That's a pretty talented training room right there.

Keystone Winterhawks def. Abomidable Snowmen - 6-5-2

This score is mainly a Sunday night guess because the goalie situation is so crazy. Bryzgalov was left in for all 7 against Chicago in shade of Patrick Roy 1995, so I think the Snowmen will flip the GAA category, but the not the save % category. If I'm wrong, the Snowmen won 6-5-2 and you all found out three hours before I did out here on California time.

Even more astounding than Bryzgalov's 7.00 / .750 is that the Winterhawks won the +/- category with a -9. -9! The Snowmen were -10. Nik Antropov alone was a -6. Joe Thornton had 6 points, Lidstrom bounced back with 4, Jeff Carter continued tearing things up and Manny Fernandez parlayed a rare start into a shutout.

Joe Corvo had 0 points and a -2, so it's not all good news.

The Awful Stench def. IC Pounders on Ice - 8-3-2

The Stench burned a hole in the nets this week with 12 goals, 23 assists and a +14. Sidney Crosby had 6 assists and even Vaclav Prospal had 2 and 2.

I don't know what happened to Toronto this week, because besides Antropov's -6, Kubina had a -5 for the Pounders and if I recall, Kaberle was -4 for Camelsfoot. I guess maybe Brian Burke isn't the easy answer after all.

Friday, December 5, 2008

WVFL Wild Card Preview

Last Week: 4-3
Season: 53-38

According to research rustled up by Clint, Drew Brees was the highest-scoring player in the WVFL this year. The scoring change from 50 passing yards per point to 25 certainly had an effect on our league. Sure, Brees has had a great year and all, and Tomlinson finally had a down year, but this is the first season I can remember in which not only did a back not have the most points, no running back cracked 200 points. In fact, the top 5 scoring players in the WVFL in 2008 were QBs and top WRs were more valuable than second RBs.

The thing is, I figured all of that before the draft, picked my team accordingly and it still didn't matter. Sorry to waste your great season, Anquan Boldin.

Deathfromabove (8-5) at Vanduhlay industries (7-6)

The highest-scoring 7-6 team with the fewest man games, VI claimed the final playoff spot by knocking off the Elbow last week. They practically had a blank spot from Gates Thursday night. Antonio managed to put up 0 points in a 34-7 win. Cutler, Johnson, Jacobs and Forte all have delightful matchups, but it might not be enough because the DFA matchups are preposterously good.

DFA has two Yahoo! projection rarities. 100+ for the team and 20+ for a player, Adrian Peterson. Factor in Warner at home against the Rams and various Titans against all of the Brownies and this game is going to see a lot of points.

VI is used to getting 0s from roster slots and it hasn't slowed them down much this season, so here's to the upset.

The Pick: Vanduhlay industries 110 - Deathfromabove 108

Purple Swirls (8-5) at Crafton Tough Kids (8-5)

The Swirls are not thrilled about going into Crafton to play this game. West End Stadium's historically shitty field is littered with dirt clods, mole holes, broken beer bottles and unwrapped - but also unused - condoms. Right before kickoff, Larry benched Vincent Jackson, perhaps fearing the great Nnamdi Asomugha. In a pique, Jackson put up 148 yards and a TD. Probably don't want 20 points on your bench in the playoffs, though I'm sure Amani Toomer can make that up.

Personally, I think Yahoo! is being too ambitious with their projections for Steve Smith and Westbrook. Tampa historically aces out Smith and the Giants are too good all around. Also, 20 points for Peyton Hillis? I know he's the best white tailback since Craig James, but Kansas City isn't that bad. Still, Chris Johnson and the Vikings DST should be enough to carry the day.

The Pick: Purple Swirls 89 - Crafton Tough Kids 70 (90, if Jackson played)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Trio Of Lunchtime Observations

What an interesting lunch I just had. Not because of the food or the company or the conversation, but because of the three fun oddities I encountered.

1) While I was waiting for my lunch partner, a cute, whitebread girl was waiting to meet somebody. A guy finally came over, looked around, found the one single person waiting in that area and asked, "Juh-MY-uh?" And she said, "JAY-mee."

Now, did she mistype her own name as Jamia in the email she wrote this man to arrange their lunch meeting? Or is the spelling of her name so convoluted that the pronuniciation is open to interpretation? And if it's the latter, what is that spelling? My best guesses are Jamieh and Jamye.

2) Plan B, a local strippery, has a van and we spotted it driving around town on our way to lunch. Does the van pick up groups of men and transport them to the club? At 1230pm, is it picking up strippers that lost their licenses after a DUI and bringing them to work? And either way, does a girl dance on a small pole in the back of the van while it's driving around?

3) In line of front of us at Chipotle was a man of Mediterrean descent wearing a pinstriped wool suit, wraparound sunglasses and a small ponytail. He looked like a background extra from Pretty Woman. I'm not sure if he sells couture or diamonds or leather, but I am sure that 75% of his sentences end with, "...my friend."

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holiday Recipe

We're having a little holiday dinner tonight at home. Nothing special, just something to get into the spirit of the season. And, actually, this isn't a recipe so much as a technique.

We're gonna make some pasta, roll it out into sheets for ravioli and use a basic filling like sausage, ricotta and chard. Chard is green and sausage was reddish at one point and ricotta looks like a snowbank, so I suppose it hits all three parts of the Christmas color wheel.

And then we will - are you ready for it? - use cookie cutters to cut the raviolis into Christmas shapes! Oh dear! Maybe a little brown butter and sage to finish it off and we are having a holiday meal!

This tree-shaped ravioli is delicious! Oh look! Candy cane shaped ravioli! I got a stocking one!

Fa la la la la la la la la!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

WVFL Week 13 Review

As any parent can tell you, if you have a clever idea and it gets a laugh, it's fun the first time. Even the third time. By the 13th time, you're sick of it. This is that version.

Stringfellow Hawks 72 - Lake Balboa Ladybugs 66

When I picked myself to score 105 points as one last screwgy, I forgot an important trend. I have now lost the season finale three straight years. At least this one only cost me dignity and not a playoff spot.

The Hawks got the win they needed, but not the points they needed to make the playoffs. Sorry to waste your four touchdowns, DeAngelo Williams.

Vanduhlay industries 97 - The People's Elbow 86

I spend way too much time thinking about fantasy football. I know that. I admit that. A guy who didn't field a full roster for half of his games is now going to the playoffs. VI needed 3 points from Andre Johnson to seal the win and he caught a touchdown on Houston's first drive. Not exactly a flair for the dramatic.

In a must-win game to clinch a playoff spot, the Elbow started Lorenzo Booker at W/R. I'll let you guess how that one turned out.

Crafton Tough Kids 72 - Newbomb Turk 62

I couldn't think of a more fitting finale for Newbomb than scoring 62 points. Fantasy bust of the year Braylon Edwards found his way onto the right team.

Crafton needed a win to make the playoffs and only scored 72 points. They are currently slitting a lamb's throat at the altar of the schedule gods. Vincent Jackson, your 0 is not ready for the playoffs. You don't get any points for catching a ball out of the back of the end zone. Not even one.

Purple Swirls 141 - Brookline Bucs 88

I love, love, love that Skip Henry had two of his best weeks after launching the Great Steeler Fantasy Experiment of '08. (His actual best week? 91 points when facing me in Week 7.) Sure, he lost both games, but he was usually losing anyway.

But even if Lawrence Timmons didn't run out of gas and end his interception return at the 1-yard line, the Bucs were still going to get crushed. The Swirls stormed into the playoffs on the strength of the highest WVFL 2008 point total. They had 78 points by the start of Black Friday!

Deathfrombelow 82 - Iron City Pounders 60

After formally giving up on the season, DFB won two straight. It really makes you think, doesn't it?

Needing a win and a lot of points, the Pounders started Plaxico Burress, who missed Sunday's divisional game with a hamstring pull, a gunshot wound and a warrant out for his arrest. They had 30 points before Steve Slaton put up 30 of his own Monday night. They are not making the playoffs.

Deathfromabove 121 - St. A's Crusaders 111

DFA got the win, but St. A's gets the bye. One wins the battle, the other wins the war. Wes Welker had 3 points, but did not receive a bonus for being on the wrong end of the hardest hit of 2008. It says something about me that I enjoyed this hit even more knowing that it was a penalty. It says something bad about me.

The Tennessee wing of DFA contributed 63 points before the bird was even out of the oven, and Kurt Warner's 18 points in a shitty loss was the fine port that capped off the evening.

Lowcountry All Stars 74 - Atlas Shruggz 66

This game was such a fait accompli that I actually forgot to preview it. Pencil me in for an All Stars pick, will you? Although they enter the playoffs with the league's best record, the All Stars need to use the bye week to reorganize an offense that has posted 63, 87, 85, 69 and 74 points in the last five games.

Atlas Shruggz is the team whose defensive lineman fire off the ball on a kneel down. They keep trying despite the hopelessness of the situation. My proverbial hat is proverbially off to them.

Monday, December 1, 2008

WVHL Week 8 Review

One Day With The Cup def. Dublin Donkey Punch - 9-1-3

This one looked a lot worse than it was because Dublin had insane problems in goal. Basically, if Dublin played a goalie, they struggled. If they benched a goalie, they were awesome. Specifically, on Monday, Dublin benched Sanford on purpose and Giguere on accident, but both goalies had a win and 1 GA. These things will happen when you carry four goalies.

The much-maligned Mikko Koivu had 3 and 3 this week with 4 power play points. Even better, he picked up a garbage misconduct with 30 seconds left in a game, helping ODWTC win the PIMs box. Kitchener kastoff Brad Boyes continued to get acclimated to his new surroundings with 2g, 1a and a PPGWG. It's just a winning environment around here! In the bad news department, Olli Jokinen got hurt and will miss a few weeks.

Dynamo Mockba tied Camelsfoot Range - 5-5-3

Jeb and George tied. Isn't that just the cutest? I cannnot properly express how envious I am of Nate, knowing that he sits in the Igloo watching Malkin score for both the Pens and Mockba. 3 goals, 5 assists, and +7 is quite a week for Gene. I think I know at least one of Liam's Christmas presents this year. On a sad note, once again Nate lost the goalie stats because he was not handed a minimum games forfeit.

With only 8 assists on the week, Camelsfoot is the rare hockey team that actually does want to look for the extra pass. Miikka Kiprusoff did it all by himself in net this week. Literally. With Fleury out and Hiller benched Sunday, Kipper's 3-0 record for the week is all Camelsfoot had. Fortunately, what they had was good.

obamanators def. Medicine Hat - 7-4-2

First, Nabokov was hurt. Then Luongo got hurt. They had been blown out two weeks in a row. Things looked bleak for the obamanators. Then Nabokov returned and went 3-0 with a 1.99 and .918 and they swept the goalie categories and everything was fine again. Except on offense. 4 goals and 13 assists isn't going to get it done most weeks. Imagine how that would've been without Zherdev's 1 and 5. It's not hard to imagine, actually. Without Zherdev, the obamanators had 3 goals and 8 assists for the week.

Medicine Hat will fall into last place after this one and there's plenty of blame to go around. Defensive future star Drew Doughty did have an assist, but he was also -2, proving that both defensemen and wines need time to age. Medicine Hat is proud to announce that Brian Burke has been hired as the team's new GM.

Kitchener Ks def. Abomidable Snowmen - 6-4-3

Thanks to Chris Pronger's 2 PIMs and Chris Mason's .983 save percentage, Kitchener mounted a Sunday rally to turn a 6-4 deficit into a 6-4 win. Huzzah. Ryan Clowe had 6 assists this week, but Bill Guerin somehow managed to go -5. I know for sure he was on the ice for one of Malkin's goals Friday night.

One goal short, two assists short, one penalty minute short, just a tough week all around for the Snowmen. When Antropov and Kopitar combine for 4 goals and 2 assists and you don't win, it can only be considered a waste.

The Awful Stench def. Keystone Winterhawks - 5-2-6

Well, well, well. Somebody else finally stepped up to knock off the Presidents' Trophy front runners. Unfortunately, it wasn't as decisive as it could've been, as the Stench needed a Sunday goalie start to qualify and Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers-Green-Ellis got lit up like the strings currently hanging from my gutters. Sidney Crosby, regular reader of the Krog Blog, got fed up with hearing about how Getzlaf was the better center every week and responded with 6 goals, 3 assists and a +8. Cheechoo and Rafalski combined for 0 points and an even rating, which is positively dynamite compared to Prospal and Keith combining for 0 points an a -8.

The Winterhawks got absolutely nothing in net from Bryzgalov and Biron, and although Ovechkin's 5g, 1a week looks impressive, a 4g, 2a week would've been more useful to the Winterhawks. Michal Roszival had 5 assists and a +5?

Whitechapel Rippers def. IC Pounders On Ice - 10-2-1

It's not the first time some boys from White Chapel knocked back some Iron City pounders and it won't be the last. Rob Blake's 24 PIMs make the Rippers look like more of a goon squad than they are, but 50 PIMs total is still impressive. Apparently knowing that one of them could be traded at any moment was all the inspiration this team needed.

With 2 goals and 19 assists on the week, the Pounders are in need of a little balance. Sure, Marc-Andre Bergeron, your 5 assists this week are nice, but you couldn't tickle the twine yourself just once? The Pounders started Lundqvist Sunday night hoping to steal a few goalie categories. For the week, Lundqvist was 3-0 with a 1.90 and .943. It seemed entirely possible that the Pounders could cut the Ripper lead to 6-5. And then Lundqvist gave up 4 goals to the Panthers. And that, my friends, is why I never draft goalies early.

Friday, November 28, 2008

It's Nice To be Smart

Sure, I'm not so smart that simply naming me the new Secretary of the Treasury sends the Dow up 800 points in 2 days, but I still have my moments.

Like last summer in my NHL free agency running diary when I said Radim Vrbata would suck. Or in the first WVHL Weekly Review when I wrote...

Actually, from the games I watched this weekend, eliminating the flap pad between the legs made a big difference, because I saw a ton of pucks going five hole. Especially on Jose Theodore. Expect some hockey pundit to write an article on this three weeks after I first mentioned it here.

Okay, so it's actually been six weeks, but...

If you think your favorite NHL goaltender is letting in more 5-hole goals this season, you might be right. It's a result of rule changes this season that were agreed to by the NHL Players' Association. Goaltending equipment is a little smaller and a little different this season, and will continue to be downsized in the coming years.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

WVFL Week 13 Preview

Last Week: 4-3
Season: 49-35

The picks are guaranteed to finish over .500 this season and I haven't been so proud since my daughter was born with only two nostrils.

Lake Balboa Ladybugs (5-7) at Stringfellow Hawks (6-6)

I don't know what the Hawks are going to do, but I am 99% positive my team will score 105 points just to screw with me one last time. I cannot emphasize it strongly enough that Marques Colston should be a top-5 pick next season. Just trust me.

Brett Favre is getting older, his blood is thinning and these cold games are not as enjoyable anymore. Still, passing against the Bronco defense is always enjoyable. Tomlinson and Williams could have decent games, but it won't be enough and the Hawks will also be out of the playoffs. Come over to my place next Sunday, man, and we'll watch the games together and get crooked.

The Pick: Lake Balboa Ladybugs 105 - Stringfellow Hawks 88

The People's Elbow (7-5) at Vanduhlay industries (6-6)

The fiercest of fierceness is how one could describe this struggle for a playoff seed. The subset battle in this one is Derrick Ward for the Elbow and Brandon Jacobs for Vanduhlay. Who will get the points and yards there? Unbelievably enough, Nate is staking his playoff life on Isaac Bruce and BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Good luck with that.

Jay Cutler will be passing early, often, late and often against the Jets, but Matt Forte is not going anywhere on the Minnesota defense. And, oh by the way, any of those Cutler passes that go to Marshall will give Nate points. Man, this crucial tilt is going to stink.

The Pick: The People's Elbow 77 - Vanduhlay industries 71

Newbomb Turk (6-6) at Crafton Tough Kids (7-5)

By 6:00pm Thursday, a slice of turkey, two sips of wine and 21 points from Tony Romo will have TK peacefully snoozing in his recliner. Get your sleep now, Tony, because you'll be up late Sunday and Monday nights hoping your team can come through. They are not going to come through.

Timing is everything and the Tough Kids could not have timed perfect matchups any better. They will roll into the playoffs, eating that last slice of pumpkin pie Monday night to celebrate. And then washing it down with four Orvals.

The Pick: Crafton Tough Kids 101 - Newbomb Turk 70

Brookline Bucs (3-9) at Purple Swirls (7-5)

Even better than having good matchups when you need a win to clinch a playoff spot is facing a team with an experiment, uni-team lineup. Plus, Chris Johnson vs. Detroit? Good gravy!

The New England defense is not actually that good and I'm expecting a shootout up in Foxboro, so the Brookline experiment might pay off with good points once again. And another loss.

The Pick: Purple Swirls 75 - Brookline Bucs 69

Deathfrombelow (4-8) at Iron City Pounders (7-5)

Manning against Cleveland, Lewis against Indy, Coles against Denver, Turner against his old team in San Diego...when you need a win these are all good things. It's going to be quite a points race for those six playoff spots.

Losing five in a row in the middle of the season really hurt DFB's chances this year. The fact that a team with Ronnie Brown, Clinton Portis and Terrell Owens is 4-8 disproves some conventional wisdom about fantasy football. A lot of conventional wisdom, actually. You choose which part(s).

The Pick: Iron City Pounders 107 - Deathfrombelow 81

St. A's Crusaders (8-4) at Deathfromabove (7-5)

It is really unfortunate that DFA is the one 7-5 team facing an opponent with a winning record this week. Unfortunate for them, I mean. This is one is shaping up to be the game of the week, as well. It would be a really tough kick in the perineum if DFA lost and missed the playoffs by one of the fifteen different ways outlined in the last post.

Tampa is one team that can give Drew Brees some trouble, and if you know how Ted Ginn is going to do from week to week, you also know when housing prices will hit bottom because you are living in the future. Thomas Jones will run all he wants against Denver and Warrick Dunn won't have much trouble against the Saints.

For DFA, Lance Moore won't be catching any 75-yard bombs, but MJD might return from the AWOL list and score a TD. The Chicago run defense isn't as good as you remembered and LenDale White might double his carries this week against Detroit. Meaning...he'll get two.

This game is going to come down to which great defense scores more points against a terrible offense? I say it'll be...Tennessee.

The Pick: Deathfromabove 110 - St. A's Crusaders 101

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Playoff Picture

With only one week remaining in the regular season, 10 teams are duking it out for 6 playoff spots. For the Ladybugs, Namechangers, Bucs and Shruggz, the 2008 fantasy season has been a total waste. Like trying to make homemade mayonnaise, but adding the oil too quickly and ending up with canola soup polka-dotted with fat globules. The whole thing has to be trashed and was simply a waste of time.

Even if for the second time in three years I finish with the fifth most points but the eighth most wins, this season has been like a joint jerk session. Seemed like a good idea at first, wasn't so great halfway through but it was too late to quit, then I was filled with shame and regret when it was all over. There was no satisfaction to be had.

But for the six teams that make the playoffs, it will be like the seventh time making sex on a woman. Still new enough to be exciting, but familiar enough to be comfortable and maybe adventurous enough to introduce something new. I can only envy you.

In case you hadn't noticed, my brother is living with us while he searches for a new, ex-girlfriend free apartment, and my mother-in-law is in town all week for Thanksgiving. Right now, I am redlining the tach while the car is in P. Agggggghhhhhhh!

So...the playoff picture. Believe it or not, of the five 7-5 teams fighting for four playoff spots, none of them play each other. Which is what brings the three 6-6 teams into the mix. Let's start at the top.

Lowcountry All Stars - Lock up a bye if they beat the worst team in the league. If they lose and DFA wins, they'll need to outscore DFA in Week 13 by 15 points. If the All Stars lose and DFA loses, they need to maintain current scoring leads over the Swirls, Elbow, Tough Kids and Pounders. Those leads are 43, 55, 64 and 89, respectively.

St. A's Crusaders - Lock up a bye with a win. If they lose to DFA by 15 or less, they will stay ahead of DFA in the standings. Are 40 points ahead of the All Stars and 83, 95, 104 and 129 points ahead of the next four teams in the standings. If they lose by 17 or more and the All Stars win, the bye is gone.

Deathfromabove - Clinch a playoff spot with a win, assuming the Swirls, Elbow, Tough Kids and Pounders don't all win and make up significant points on DFA. The Tough Kids would have to make up 78 points and the Pounders 103 for DFA to miss the playoffs. DFA can clinch a bye if the All Stars lose, but DFA outscores the All Stars by 14 or less. DFA can also clinch a bye if they beat the Crusaders by 17 or more.

Purple Swirls - A win puts the Swirls in good shape, a big win puts the Swirls in great shape. If all four 7-5 teams win, the Swirls will need to maintain 21 and 46 point leads over the Tough Kids and Pounders. A Swirls loss brings VI back into the mix. The Swirls are only guaranteed a place if they win and the five teams behind them all lose. Beyond that, it will come down to total points.

The People's Elbow - Basically, the brothers Kress are in the same boat, though if Nate wins he'll knock VI out of the mix. If VI beats the Elbow, VI will jump the Elbow in the standings. If the Elbow loses, they need the Tough Kids and Pounders to also lose and score 8 or 33 fewer points, respectively. If Nate loses, he could grab the sixth seed with a Tough Kid loss, a Pounders loss and a Swirls loss, provided he maintains his point lead over CTK and ICP and outscores the Swirls by 9 or more.

Man, this is getting complicated.

Crafton Tough Kids - If the Tough Kids lose, it's not officially impossible for them to make the playoffs, but it nearly is. They would then need the Pounders to lose, the Hawks to lose and score fewer points than the Tough Kids and the Elbow winning would be better than VI winning.
Even if the Tough Kids win, they aren't guaranteed a spot. The Pounders would pass them with a win and 26 or more points than the Tough Kids. The best thing would be for the Tough Kids to win and put up 10 more than the Swirls and 22 more than the Elbow. Or 79 more than DFA.

Iron City Pounders - Now we're on the outside looking in. Basically, take everything we said about the Tough Kids and add 26 more points for the Pounders. At a minimum, the Pounders need to win while the Swirls and Tough Kids lose. If VI wins, the Pounders will really need some help. If all four 7-5 teams win, the Pounders at least need to score 26 points more than the Tough Kids. The Pounders could technically make the playoffs with a loss, provided the Swirls, Elbow, Tough Kids and Hawks all lose, plus they outscore CTK by 26 or more and the Elbow by 35 or more.

Vandulay industries - A win gets them in as long as the Swirls, Tough Kids and Pounders don't all also win. But in that case, VI has major point advantages over those teams. If VI loses, the Elbow is in, but Swirls, Tough Kids and Pounder losses could keep VI alive, with those same point advantages coming into play.

Stringfellow Hawks - Hey, Terry Schiavo wasn't techincally dead either. But the Hawks have the same jelly brain. A loss and they're out. If the Hawks win, they need the Tough Kids, Pounders and Vanduhlay to lose. If Vanduhlay wins, the Hawks would need the other two losses and have to outscore the Elbow by 10 or more.

Newbomb Turk - Time to focus on fantasy hockey.

Lake Balboa Ladybugs - Time to get a life.

Deathfrombelow - Time to pick a team name and stick with it.

Brookline Bucs - Time to wear last year's championship ring to the grocery store.

Atlas Shruggz - Time to start reading Marx.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

WVFL Week 12 Review

As I sit here tonight trying to figure out how to disprove mathematical elimination {x2 + y3 = no fucking chance} and just how many mLs of lambrusco will make the pain go away, I realize that this review is going to be of the short and bitter variety.

Lake Balboa Ladybugs 92 - Lowcountry All Stars 69

Yes, I am aware of the supreme irony of Randy Moss putting up 30 points in his first game as a Ladybug after me bitching all season about a trade veto. And yes, I also find it hilarious that with my entire team finally healthy I am putting up quite the points. But at least I take comfort in the fact that my keeper team is set up nicely for 2009. Wait, what? This is a redraft league? Oh...fuck.

The All Stars can take comfort in the fact that even if they didn't start an inactive Reggie Bush, they still would've lost. However, with the playoffs starting soon, a 69-point effort isn't exactly a brisk workout.

The People's Elbow 112 - Crafton Tough Kids 78

The Elbow hasn't cracked 100 points since Week 2, so this must be strange territory. I really like Aaron Rodgers as an NFL QB. He can throw hard and accurately, but Nate is more concerned with the 25 points he posted. Laissez le bon temps roulez! Just like many weeks for me last year, Derrick Ward outscored Frank Gore.

W, L, W, L, W, L, W, W, L, W, W, L. The Tough Kids are putting down quite a beat on this season. Tyler Thigpen has lit it up for the CTK two weeks in a row now.

Purple Swirls 96 - Newbomb Turk 94

I've given TK a lot of flak for his horrendous team this season, so I can appreciate the frustration he must feel losing with his 2nd highest point total of the year. The frustration that bubbles over when he clicks Optimal Lineup and realizes that Chris Chambers and Maurice Morris could've propelled him to 114 points and a win. The frustration that spills onto the counter when he realizes his sons are now better than him at sports. The cat is in the cradle, brother.

In the preview, I said Caulen (my newest Facebook pal!) had two bad matchups for his backs, and I was right. Johnson and Westbrook combined for 6 points. I neglected to consider that the Vikings could put up 24 points. One fewer field goal for Rian Lindell and the Turk wins.

Iron City Pounders 77 - Brookline Bucs 73

The SteelBucs put up just enough points Thursday night to give the Pounders something to think about. But like Word Challenge, all Scott Henry could do is post a score, sit back and hope it didn't get trampled. Also like Word Challenge, it did.

On the strength of 35 Michael Turner points, the Pounders squoke one out. Incidentally, with the Optimal Lineup, the Pounders could've scored 102, and looking at the logjam for playoff tickets, those extra 25 points could've come in handy.

Deathfrombelow 102 - Deathfromabove 74

Yeah, that's right. I actually called this upset in the preview. Being eliminated from the playoffs, it's all I have to hang my ugly hat on. Terrell Owens finally showed up for a game and outscored his fellow WR2 31-1. He literally had 31 times as many points as Eddie Royal! Even worse was LenDale White, who had -1 yard and then bitched after the game about only getting 3 carries. On a 10-1 team.

Purple Swirl castoff David Garrard had 15 points.

St. A's Crusaders 128 - Stringfellow Hawks 68

The Hawks now need a whole lot of help to make the playoffs, while the Crusaders are only wondering if they'll be the #1 or #2 seed. When you have a 60-point win, there will be a lot of fun numbers, but how about this one? The Baltimore defense (ST. A) outscored the Green Bay defense (STR) by 27 points. Though for Green Bay to give up 51 points and only notch a -1 is pretty impressive on its own.

Last year at this point, the Crusaders were 4-8. This year, they're 8-4 and have gone well over 100 in 4 out of their last 6. Hell, they could've had 144 this week. This, of course, means that the Crusaders will lose their first playoff game 51-47.

Atlas Shruggz 76 - Vanduhlay industries 60

This is one upset that I definitely did not call. In fact, I believe my pick was VI to win 93-3. But Greg Jennings' 16 points on Monday night were the difference, including the 1 bonus point he received for absorbing a hit so hard that it blew the numbers off his jersey. Nice game for Anthony Gonzalez, too. No, not Tony. Anthony.

VI, which has baffled me with their roster moves and non-moves all season, did it again this week. Jacobs, who was iffy all week, started, didn't play and posted a 0. VI had no back to sub in for Jacobs because for some reason they have 2 kickers and 2 defenses. But they started the wrong ones this week! Folk and Dallas would've given them 83 points for the week.

By the way, VI is still very much alive for the playoffs and I am not.

Monday, November 24, 2008

WVHL Week 7 Review

One Day With The Cup def. obamanators - 9-2-2

Since the election, the obamanators are 2-20-2. Which may seem gentle in comparison to the upcoming Clinton for Secretary of State nomination battle. Speaking of which, on her first trip overseas, maybe Madame Secretary could pick up Roberto Luongo's groin? After snapping off and flying out of the Arena Saturday, it landed in Minsk this morning. And that nomination fight might seem gentle in comparison to the next obamanator matchup, with both Nabokov and Luongo hurt. Especially since it seems like Luongo will be injured for Obama's first 100 days.

Auld and Ward were stellar in net, though losing save percentage with a .930 is a tough one. Kitchener castoff Brad Boyes had 2 goals - including the GWG - Saturday, the icing on the cake of an 11-3 goal win. Campbell, Bergeron and Koivu all broke out of slumps and even Chara remembered that he had a good shot.

The obamanator offense was not helped by the fact that Dean was not updating his roster this week, a Kline tradition. Sheldon Souray's 2 PPG were good for 66% of the team goal total and 100% of the team PPG total. He also had 11 PIMs. Souray feels let down by his teammates and GM.

Dynamo Mockba def. Dublin Donkey Punch - 7-4-2

Backstrom and Sabourin combined for a 1.80 and .924...but when 2-3 for the week. That is some lack of goal support. Don't blame Patrik Elias, he had 1g and 6a this week. Malkin's single assist is nowhere near as good as the 2 and 2 weeks from Nash and Marleau, so Malkin can probably be had in a trade right now. I think he's going to the Kings.

The Dublin GM called out Milan Hejduk for a -5 effort. In fairness, Hejduk is just a goal scorer and even that was 5 years ago. Besides, Backstrom's -4 and Phaneuf's -3 are no great shakes. Henrik Sedin had a remarkable 7 assists, perhaps irked that somebody informed him that when writers mention King Henrik, they are actually talking about Lundqvist.

Nate was not handed goalie points because his opponent fell short of the minimum games this week and he went 1-3-1 in net. I'm sure that is just a large coincidence.

Abdomible Snowmen def. Medicine Hat - 9-4-3

The Snowmen lost 4 straight, melted down their coach and responded with a thorough win. However, the shellacking will still leave them 1 point behind Medicine Hat in last place. The other Sedin, Daniel, had 3 goals and 3 assists, capping off a very productive week for the twins. Peter Budaj's .952 save percentage was rewarded with 2 losses. I feel like it has been a very long time since Joffrey Lupul has scored. Lemme look this up...2 goals and 0 assists in his last 10 games. But at least he's a -5 in that span.

Medicine Hat has actually not won a matchup this season. They are 0-4-2 in weekly battles. Their tilt with the obamantors next week will truly be the resistible force vs. the moveable object. Devin Setoguchi is doing all he can, people.

Keystone Winterhawks def. Kitchener Ks - 8-2-3

Is anybody going to bother trying to slow down the Winterhawks this season? They are now 6-1-0 in their matchups, with the only loss coming to a guy that cares...me. And even then I only nipped them 5-4-4. So even though Marc Savard had 8 points this week and Ovechkin 6 and they had 42 total PIMs, I'm really going to need you people to start trying against the Winterhawks.

When Pascal LeClaire opened up the week by allowed 7 goals on 19 shots, the Ks were pretty much sunk in net. Even with 4 active goalies in the lineup. The Ks only had 3 assists all week, all coming from Bruins and a single power play point. Thank you, Ryane Clowe.

Camelsfoot Range def. IC Pounders on Ice - 6-3-4

Would you believe me if I told you that Bryan McCabe had 2 goals and 3 assists this week? No, I swear! He did! Old time NHL veterans Milan Lucic and Kris Versteeg both had 1 and 3 weeks and Caulen continued his WVHL run of finding productive young players. Not counting Cam Barker, Mike Cammalleri and Tomas Plekanec who combined for a -1.

There was a coup in Stockholm and King Henrik was deposed. A 3.98 and .867 is not going to get it done in net. Marc-Andre Bergeron's stat line looks like a carton of eggs. 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0. Zetterberg had 3 assists for the Pounders, but Hossa only had 1 goal for Camelsfoot. Aren't they on the same line?

Whitechapel Rippers def. The Awful Stench - 6-3-4

Ryan Suter's Sunday night power play assist gave the Rippers one more category win. Too bad Suter is now going to hell for not observing the Sabbath. I guess it was worth it. With only 5 goals on the week, the Rippers are now willing to trade five players for Semin. And $5 for semen. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ahh, homophobic humor in a fantasy league. Can you ever go wrong?

The Stench were a fantastic +16 on the week. Ken Hitchcock's eyes well up just thinking about it. But that defensive responsibility did not help Ryan Miller, who posted a 5.35 and .795 this week. Did the league increase the size of the net for Buffalo games? Once again, Getzlaf had a better week than Crosby. Time to trade Sid for a goalie.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

WVFL Week 12 Preview

Last Week: 4-3
Season: 45-32

The picks continue to be the silver lining on a cloudy season. And though I'm out of running for the playoffs, Nate has agreed to give me $3 for every game over .500 the picks are out of the WVFL discretionary fund.

Also, I'll be bringing back a fun (to me, mainly) tradition, giving each team's average points for and points against. I'll use this format Team (W-L / PF - PA). We can all follow that, can't we?

Lake Balboa Ladybugs (4-7 / 83.2 - 84.1) at Lowcountry All Stars (8-3 / 90.0 - 73.8)

While I worry about whose fantasy season I'll derail in 2009, Webster is worried about his 2008 playoff seeding. This truly is a diverse country. The Krogmann hex is slowly catching up with McNabb, whose once-promising season has devolved to the point where people are openly discussing axing both McNabb and Andy Reid after the season. If Randy Moss does not break his leg in his first Ladybug game, it will be considered a major upset.

It will make me sick to talk about Webster's team in positive terms, so let me just point out that Carolina is shutting down #1 receivers - like Roddy White - this season, and Reggie Bush is questionable. So if Monday comes and he's out, that's a dead roster spot for the LAS.

The Pick: Lowcountry All Stars 88 - Lake Balboa Ladybugs 71

The People's Elbow (6-5 / 81.1 - 78.3) at Crafton Tough Kids (7-4 / 83.4 - 77.5 )

A win will just about clinch a playoff spot for the Tough Kids, while a loss will have them sweating out next week's game for a spot. Let's hope they get the win this week, for the sake of Larry's ventricles. Let's hope this win isn't dependent on Jerricho Cotchery, who will get nothing against Tennessee. Marion Barber is going to have to run two teams to a win against the 49ers.

Nate's receivers provide two interesting matchups. Marshall is going against Asomugha, a guy teams don't even throw at, but Cutler loves force-feeding Marshall, even if it kills the Bronco offense. Marshall was suspended when these teams played in Week 1 and Eddie Royal went off, so...all in all, I'm calling 5 points or less for Marshall. The oddity is Isaac Bruce, an ordained minister, going against Adam Jones, an ordained troublemaker.

Karma be damned, Nate is rooting for Brandon Jacobs to be too injured to play.

The Pick: Crafton Tough Kids 71 - The People's Elbow 68

Newbomb Turk (6-5 / 69.9 - 79) at Purple Swirls (6-5 / 83.6 - 78.7)

The record might be the same, but these are two entirely different teams. For instance, the Swirls are good. This one couldn't be a bigger mismatch if it was a contest to find a 3-star bistro that has Red Seal on tap using only an iPhone.

If Carnell Williams is going to play for the first time in about two years, might as well ease him in with a light warmup against Detroit. Though I wouldn't want to rely on him for a bunch of points. The Houston defense is so bad that Braylon Edwards should drop at least 75 yards' worth of passing, especially figuring in wobbly balls from Brady's broken finger.

Believe it or not, the Jets have a top 5 run defense, giving the Swirls two bad running matchups. Matt Ryan against Carolina is no great shakes either. Nice to know somebody will get closer to the playoffs with a 65-60 win.

The Pick: Purple Swirls 65 - Newbomb Turk 60

Brookline Bucs (3-8 / 68.6 - 74.5) at Iron City Pounders (6-5 / 81.2 - 77.4)

Six teams are at 6-5 and scrapping for two playoff spots, but only one of them is facing an avant-garde comedy lineup this week. The #1 complaint of unhappy workers is unclear goals and a lack of purpose, but the Pounders will wake up Friday morning knowing exactly how many points they need to score. Every single Buc is a Steeler and they all play Thursday. Will Gary Russell pick up points for converting 3-and-1s?

The real competition for the Pounders Sunday is the scoreboard. They need to rack up points to get an edge in playoff tiebreakers. Manning, Lewis and Slaton have perfect matchups for such a purpose, but Carolina should bottle up Turner and I bet Tampa only beats Detroit by something like 16-10, taking Bryant out of the mix. Tampa just plays that way for some reason.

The Pounders' last three opponents have averaged around 51 points. And it just so happens that they're on a 3-game winning streak. Brookline will not be an outlier here.

The Pick: Iron City Pounders 87 - Brookline Bucs 62 (Justin Hartwig!)

Deathfrombelow (3-8 / 79.2 - 93.3) at Deathfromabove (7-4 / 90.8 - 84.5)

SCUD vs. Stealth. The highest scoring team against the team that has had the most points run up on it. A team that will win against a team that will lose. This one has it all! DFB will naturally focus on a ground attack, with Portis and Brown putting up good points, and DFA will have air superiority with Warner and Kevin Walter. Though the Giant pass rush is exactly the kind of thing that makes Warner go wobbly.

All three DFA backs go against tough defenses, but that hasn't exactly slowed down Peterson in the past. You know what...I'm calling the wild upset here!

The Pick: Deathfrombelow 91 - Deathfromabove 90

St. A's Crusaders (7-4 / 88.3 - 80.2) at Stringfellow Hawks (6-5 / 84.3 - 76.8)

Drew Brees has a tough matchup against the Green Bay pass defense, but Favre's against Tennessee is even less attractive. Of course, Thomas Jones also has to face the Titans and he plays for the Crusaders, so I guess it balances out. Grant and Dunn should pick up the slack for St A's, though.

Parker, Tomlinson and Williams look equally good for the Hawks, so let's sum up where we stand so far. QBs, both bad. RBs, all three good. What does that leave us? Winslow is hurt again, so let's give the ad-in to St. A's. Kickers and defenses are random, so we're left with wide receivers.

Welker and Santana Moss against Hester and Harrison. So, really, Welker and Moss against Harrison. I guess that about sums it up, does it not?

The Pick: St. A's Crusaders 101 - Stringfellow Hawks 97

Atlas Shruggz (2-9 / 65.2 - 89.7) at Vanduhlay industries (6-5 / 89.1 - 90.1)

Deuce is out with an injury, Chad Johnson is out with team annoyance. Jeremy Shockey has been annoying his quarterback since September, Reggie Brown hasn't seen his quarterback since August and the Shruggz give up 24 more points than they score. Rivers is good, though. Too bad this isn't a keeper league.

If Jacobs is good to go, this will be one of the rare weeks that VI fields a full roster. They are about to be 7-5. Oh, and don't be fooled by the 90.1 average points against for VI. Take away the last two weeks when they gave up 242 points, but still went 1-1, and it's more manageable 83.2

The Pick: Vanduhlay industries 93 - Atlas Shruggz 3

I emailed a preview of this column to Malcolm Gladwell. He pointed out some interesting things that become obvious once you think about them. Such as...

- Newbomb Turk is the only team with a winning record to have more PA than PF, and the only team with more PA than PF to have a winning record. (throwing out VI's last 2 games for now)
- The other teams with more PA than PF are a combined 12-32.
- In 5 losses, Newbomb has an APA of 100.2. In 6 wins, only 61.3.
- VI and DFA have the 2nd and 4th APA in the league, but winning records because of great offenses.
- Highest weekly total was 132 by St. A's in Week 10, lowest was 34 by Newbomb in Week 8. In those games, St. A's won by 88 and Newbomb lost by 77.
- Except for VI, all of the 6-5 teams have an APA between 76 and 79.

Monday, November 17, 2008

WVFL Week 11 Review

This one is going to be a late night version. And by that I mean that it will be brief, not X-rated. But hey, fuck you for the hell of it, fuckface.

Lake Balboa Ladybugs 90 - Atlas Shruggz 64

The Ladybugs have begun their march toward 6-7, just missing the playoffs as they always do. It's a miracle that McNabb got 12 points, because he was so unbelievably bad. Boldin dominated again and he is wasted on the Ladybugs like Asomugha is wasted on the Raiders. I don't deserve him. Hey, Joseph Addai! What time did you get here? Awesome! We got beer out back and wine in the kitchen. Just grab whatever you want.

Jonathan Stewart had a nice touchdown run, but since he didn't have six nice touchdown runs, the Shruggz lost. Philip Rivers looked lost in the sleet, and I could not have been happier to be in sunny weather watching that game. Former Fed chief Alan Greenspan has recently mentioned rethinking his lifelong devotion to Ayn Rand in the face of both the market meltdown and the Shruggz' fantasy meltdown.

The People's Elbow 80 - Purple Swirls 61

The older brother always finds a way to pull out a victory, doesn't he? This time because Earnest Graham's injury-induced 0 was still better than Julius Jones' terribleness-induced -1. Frank Gore shredded St. Louis in a complete non-surprise, further bolstering the idea that Addai should be the #1 overall pick next year.

It's no surprise that Chris Johnson struggled against Jacksonville, but a total surprise that Steve Smith and Westbrook struggled against two atrocious defenses. The Purple Swirls tumbled into the massive logjam at 6-5, and Nate just brought in an auditing firm to start going through WVFL playoff tiebreakers.

The very nifty Optimal Lineup tab on the Statracker app shows that if Caulen started Hillis and Houshmanzadeh over Johnson and Jones, he would've won 92-80. Very nifty app. Not so nifty GMing.

Iron City Pounders 79 - Newbomb Turk 38

One of the teams in that morass at 6-5 is a squad that has scored under 40 twice this year and under 50 one other time. I am pretty certain they will lose any and all tiebreakers, including the crucial No You Don't Deserve It tiebreaker. John Carney's team scored 30 and he scored 0, so...was he hurt or something? Kevin Boss had a 0. Braylon Edwards' 10 points Monday night - 1 for each drop - is the only thing that kept Newbomb from getting tripled up for a third time.

As for the Pounders, what can you say about a man who defeats a toddler in an arm-wrestling match? Michael Turner's 20 points were a nice day, I suppose.

Deathfromabove 83 - Brookline Bucs 59

In his last hurrah for Brookline, Randy Moss caught a last second touchdown and scored 8 points. Here's your gold watch, Randy. Please don't lose it or sell it. Ben's 12 points were more than Pittsburgh's 11 points. When you click Optimal Lineup for Brookline in Statracker, you get a 404 error message.

Maurice Jones-Drew posting 20 on the Titans might be the upset of the year. Two TDs go a long way, it would seem.

Stringfellow Hawks 108 - Name Changers 59

When your defense and kicker combine for 33 points, things are probably going to go your way. DeAngelo Williams was the other Panther with a nice touchdown run and his 24 points showed The Bullet Train what he used to be like in his prime.

Chad Johnson waited 11 weeks to have a good game, and when he was finally ready it didn't matter. Classic Bungles. Who's been worse this year, Moss or Owens? This week, at least, it was Owens.

Lowcountry All Stars 85 - St. A's Crusaders 76

The All Stars won their fourth straight, ended the Crusaders' five game winning streak, took sole possession of first place and clinched a playoff spot. That's a pretty effective 85 points right there. Of course, had the Crusaders started Ryan Grant instead of Mark Bryant, those 85 Lowcountry points would've been 6 short of a win. The Crusaders railed about Ryan Grant all year, called him a bust and the first chance he got, he stuck it to upper management. Fight the power! Viva!

Did Lee Evans even play Monday night? Thankfully for the All Stars, Trent Edwards' utter terror at throwing a pass over 10 yards didn't matter because all of those dump offs went to Marshawn Lynch, who is also on the All Stars.

Crafton Tough Kids 122 - Vanduhlay industries 70

Starting Tyler Thigpen and getting 20 points out of him may be the greatest GM performance in the history of fantasy football. Any dope can start Fitzgerald and Barber, and many do, but to see potential and have it realized is truly great. Getting 21 points from Phil Dawson, however, is an utter fluke.

After Sunday's game, Brandon Jacobs took a Ravens helmet to a taxidermist so he could mount it over the fireplace. His dominating 19-point effort is a reminder that Marques Colston should be the first receiver off the board in 2009, minding the Krogmann +1 effect.