Last Week: 2-0
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