Friday, December 16, 2011

WVFL Semifinal Preview

IRON CITY POUNDERS (#5) at ST. A’S CRUSADERS (#1)

First declared the dirtiest dog of the derby by the Purple Swirls after draft day, the Crusaders have done nothing to disavow their destiny. Although Matt Ryan staked the Pounders to a decent head start with 20 points on Thursday night, Tebow should be able to cancel that out against the god-awful Patriots defense. And it’s probably safe to assume that Demaryius Thomas, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Mike Williams will not keep the momentum rolling. My Lord, is that one awful collection of receivers.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Graham will continue to star in The Uncoverables, and while Calvin will have a surprisingly disappointing day (I say something like…6.9 points) Ray Rice will…actually…hold on.

I’M CALLING IT! THE TEN BELL PLAYOFF UPSET SPECIAL!!>?!!!!!!!!11111!1!!

THE PICK: IRON CITY POUNDERS 101 – ST. A’S CRUSADERS 95

ATLAS SHRUGGZ (#6) at FIREROCK ROCKERS (#2)

The Shruggz put up 145 points last week, which I’m actually happy about since it eliminated any possible What If? injury thoughts I might have harbored otherwise. Sure, they only cracked 100 points 4 times before putting up 125 and 145 on me in consecutive weeks, which cost me a bye and then officially knocked me out, but I don’t think it’s a fluke or anything. What am I, bitter like Caulen?

The Rockers, of course, took the bye that slipped through my grasp and now here they are, trying to go worst to first.

Both Turner and Jones-Drew semi-disappointed last night (in contrast to Blaine Gabbert, who continues to uber-disappoint), so that’s a wash. But what’s most curious about this matchup is the Giants offense. The Rockers have Eli and Cruz. The Shruggz have Nicks and Manningham. So Eli’s read progression is going to go a long way toward deciding this one.

(True story: In other league, a wild card last week was decided on Tuesday afternoon by a stat change. Changing a reception from Cruz to Nicks took the team with Cruz from a 0.8 point lead to a 1.2 point loss to the team with Nicks. Fun!)

But you’re more concerned with this league than my other one, so…

THE PICK: FIREROCK ROCKERS 100 – ATLAS SHRUGGZ 91

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Caulen's WVFL Wild Card Preview

Playoff Preview Week 1 & End of Season Notes

Fellow WVFL GMs, I wanted to take this opening paragraph to thank you all (or at least most of you) for competing this season. It’s definitely been one of the more memorable fantasy seasons, and I can only hope that future seasons are as fun and frankly, as just as this 2011 season. So, without further ado, let’s get into the playoff preview!

Bye teams:
St. A’s Crusaders (10-3, 1533.54 points)
Purple Swirls (5-8, 1459.92 points)
Firerock Rockers (8-5, 1449.86 points)


Starting at the top, St. A’s has dominated all season, starting off 4-0 and putting up points like Steve Jobs (RIP) at a keynote address. Looking up and down the roster, it’s clear Father Fucci and the St. A’s franchise values a few traits above all else: athletic, god-fearing and white. You have Roethlisberger and spiritual advisor/placekick holder Tim Tebow throwing those sweet Hail Mary’s to football’s own White Chocolate - Jordy Nelson. A banged up DMC has the bye to get healthy, and Jimmy Graham will surely put up another 100 yards and a score even though he’s sitting in the virtual game. One disturbing trend that St. A’s will hope to avoid though: Won 4, lost 1, won 3, lost 1, won 2, lost 1, won 1. That looks awfully familiar to someone who has been known to not change the station when the latest incarnation of Are You Smarter Than a ____ comes on.

Next up we have my very own Purple Swirls. Don’t be fooled by the record, folks. This is a playoff team. Wait a second.... the hell? The Yahoo system must have glitched big time on this one! Well, I’ll just write to them and we’ll get this all squared away for next round.

The third bye belongs to last seasons door mat, Firerock Rockers. Congratulations on a well-deserved turnaround. This team could rename themselves the Victor Cruz Steak Dinners and attendance would still be down though. And who knew the oompa loompa still had it in him? Looking at this roster, it’s even clearer to me that this season has been all about matchups.

Speaking of which, I did a little research to dive deeper into this wacky season. I went through and pitted the Purple Swirls against every team each week to see what my record would have been if I had played everyone instead of whichever team happened to have a career week against me at the time. The results against your playoff teams? Glad you asked:
vs. St A’s: 6-7vs. IC Pounders: 9-4
vs. Firerock: 5-8vs. Atlas Shruggz: 7-6
vs. Nev-R-Wins: 9-4vs. DFA: 9-4

So it’s clear the bye teams are deserving. After that?

DFA (4) vs. IC Pounders (5)
This matchup basically comes down to which Chris Johnson shows up. The bad news is Tennessee will probably be playing from behind all day. The good news is CJ has rushed for over 150 the last two weeks. The bad bad news is they were against shitty teams. That a team that finished 6 spots ahead of me is starting Dougie Baldwin in a playoff game is enough to send me reaching for another fistful of Tums. The Pounders will likely get 50 points combined out of Gronk and the Steelers D, and jesus, it’s 2011 and we’re all expecting Lynch and McGahee to run wild yet again. Matt Ryan has been a tough roster all year and I’m expecting that to be the ultimate downfall against superior opponents. Luckily for Phil, DFA isn’t one of them.
IC Pounders 120.34 - DFA 102.59

Nev-R-Wins (3) vs. Atlas Shruggz (6)
Adrian Peterson is the obvious lede here, and being that I’ve made my point in this preview already, I’ll hit it right off the tee to get this over with faster. If he plays and plays All Day, Krogmann will be listening to something a little more upbeat than The Decembrists on Spotify come next Tuesday. Foster is unstoppable, Brady will toy with the Skins, and without having looked at any numbers I’ll just assume Jennings has had a great year and will continue to benefit from having Brent as his QB. On the other side of the ball, let’s face it: Atlas feels like Creighton at the Elite Eight. Great story, but not even his mom (my aunt) would bet on him if Rivers Casino were handing out free chips. Though if Detroit dominates Minnesota things could get interesting. I’m predicting a big week from Shonn Greene, but I’ve been cutting and pasting that statement all season to no avail.
Nev-R-Wins 105.86 - Atlas Shruggz 95.98

I didn’t forget about all of the other non-playoff teams. In fact, I compiled my stats vs them as well!

vs. B'Line: 10-3
vs. Hacks: 9-4
vs. Whiz Bang: 10-3
vs. Lowcountry: 11-2
vs. People's Elbow: 13-0

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

WVFL Week 13 Review

THIS WEEK: 3-3

SEASON: 55-23

TWO SEASON TOTAL: 109-52

ATLAS SHRUGGZ 125.22 – THE NEV-R-WINS 101.26

Once again, I am limping into the postseason. I’m turning into a real Mr. November, like Tony Romo. Peterson didn’t play, Nate Washington got hurt during the game, Maclin is still out and Earl Bennett didn’t go to college with Caleb Hanie, so Hanie never throws to him.

This win got the Shruggz out of that 4-way log jam and into the playoffs, so kudos to them. Matt Stafford managed 24 points in a loss, Michael Crabtree caught a 50-yard touchdown pass and Shonn Fucking Green had twenty-fucking-nine points. I feel like none of these things will happen two weeks in a row, so whoever draws the Shruggz in the first round might catch a nice break.

Oh, would you look at that…

DEATHFROMABOVE 124.86 – THE PEOPLE’S ELBOW 62.22

The Elbow clinched the #1 overall pick by letting DFA double up on their score. The Elbow also clinched being the only team to not break 1000 points on the season. In fact, they had 150 points fewer than the league’s other shit brickhouse, the All Stars. And if that’s not enough for you, the Elbow had the 2nd-fewest Points Against this season, so with any semblance of a roster (like, say, the one the Swirls had), they could’ve probably been 12-1.

(STATISTICAL ODDITY SIDENOTE: The teams with the two fewest Points Against totals and the two highest Points Against totals – Hacks, Elbow, WBG, Swirls – all missed the playoffs.)

The Elbow also had the fewest points scored last year, so it’s safe to assume that Marla has taken to wearing a paper bag over her head on Sundays, like a Saints fan in the ‘80s.

Chris Johnson is returning to usefulness at just the right time for DFA.

LOWCOUNTRY ALL STARS 114.76 – BROOKLINE MCKENRY FORT 95.16

The MK called upset of the week special! Cam Newton had 38 points and Percy Harvin had 34. No other All Star had more than 9. Lowcountry scored their highest total of the year, and with one weird game knocked Brookline out of the playoffs and themselves out of the #1 pick spot.

Hey, nobody tell Scott Henry that if he had started Pierre Garcon (32 points) over Plaxico (3 points) that he would’ve made the playoffs. He probably already knows.

IRON CITY POUNDERS 129.88 – PURPLE SWIRLS 111.38

The Pounders, a team that had 160 points fewer than the Swirls, the only team in the league to lose to both the All Stars and the Elbow, are in the playoffs. The Swirls are not. Brees and McCoy tried their best, but apparently there is no way in the world to stop Marshawn Lynch and Gronkowski these days. Even Matt Forte blowing out his knee 5 minutes into the game couldn’t stop the Pounders from rolling into the playoffs.

(SCHEDULING ODDITY SEPARATE SIDENOTE: I just analyzed the schedule. If the Swirls played the schedule the Elbow had – with no changes in weekly point total – the Swirls would’ve gone 8-5 and made the playoffs.)

The Swirls only got 10 combined points out of Laurent Robinson and DeMarco Murray, and the Swirls missing the playoffs with a loaded rosters because their Cowboys let them down is probably very symbolic.

ST. A’S CRUSADERS 109.94 – HACKS 95.46

Last year’s almost-MVP, Philip Rivers, is going to miss the 2011 playoffs in both the NFL and WVFL. Weird year for a guy who’s supposed to be good.

All hail the Crusaders, our league’s #1 seed.

What else is to be said about this game, really?

FIREROCK ROCKERS 131.68 – WHIZ-BANG GANG 106.76

Last year, the Rockers went 2-11. They kept 5 players from that team for some reason. Stevie Johnson was down this year, as was MJD, and Jahvid Best got hurt. Instead of having the first overall pick this season as they deserved, they got boned by our weird keeper draft settings debacle. So instead of getting Greg Jennings with their first pick, they got Eli Manning.

And despite all that, their big win this week clinched them a first round bye. It’s a true rags-to-riches story that could only be possible in America. Not modern America, 1962 America, I mean.

Aaron Rodgers was totally wasted on this WBG team. They should not keep him this summer. They should let him go to a good team, where he belongs.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WVFL Playoff Picture

THE PLAYOFF PICTURE

For some teams, it’s win and you’re in. For others, it’s win while scoring enough points and you’re in. For others, it’s you can go ahead and win if you want but there’s really no point. For two glorious teams, it’s like, Hey cool dudes, you guys are already in. And for one black-lucked team, it’s likely that you will find some way to lose on Monday night and miss the playoffs.

Because the league is so stratified this year, rather than go through every single team and every single permutation and breaking down who needs to outscore who by exactly who much, I’m going to break down the league into three groups based on current global economic issues.

THE 1%

ST A’S CRUSADERS

Have a bye week clinched. That will give them spare time to fret about being the highest-scoring team in a fantasy football league playoffs, which is like being a black guy going to check on a strange noise in an ‘80s horror film.

THE NEV-R-WINS

Clinch a bye week with a win. Also clinch with a loss as long as I outscore Firerock by 12 or more, and DFA does not outscore me by 90. And it’s a bye week I really need with Peterson and Maclin still dinged up. I’ve finished 3rd and 1st the last two seasons, so a 2nd place finish this year would really out the trophy lightbox I kept in my foyer.

THIRD WORLD POOR

LOWCOUNTRY ALL STARS

Clinch the #1 draft pick with either a loss or a win by The People’s Elbow. Of course, since it’s only the 2nd year of a keeper league with a new contract system we invented ourselves, it’s hard to tell just how valuable the #1 pick will be. I guess he could maybe get Michael Vick in this slot.

THE PEOPLE’S ELBOW

Clinch the #1 pick with a loss AND an All Stars win. Need to score at least 99.14 points to avoid becoming the only team this season to not crack the 1000-point mark.

THE 99% - UPPER MIDDLE CLASS BRACKET

FIREROCK ROCKERS

Clinch a playoff spot with a win and can clinch a bye with a win, and a Nev-R-Win loss as long as Firerock doesn’t blow their 11-point lead in Points For. Although it’s mathematically possible for them to miss the playoffs, it’s also mathematically possible to calculate pi to infinity. You probably won’t see either math feat this week.

DEATHFROMABOVE

Clinch with a win, but unlikely they can get the losses/point differential to clinch the bye. They could actually miss the playoffs if they lose, if the Pounders win and outscore DFA by 22, or if the Shruggz win and outscore them by 46. Buy your playoff tickets, but keep the receipt.

THE 99% - PAPER MILLIONAIRE BRACKET

BROOKLINE MCKENRY FORT

Win and they’re in. Lose and they’re out unless the 4 teams at 6-6 also manage to win. This team is the guy who lives in a McMansion and drives an Infiniti QZ35712-A or whatever, but only has $100 in savings. One burst pipe in the mudroom is going to wipe the family out and send them into foreclosure.

THE 99% - DISAPPEARING MIDDLE CLASS BRACKET

HACKS

IRON CITY POUNDERS

ATLAS SHRUGGZ

WHIZ-BANG GANG

These teams are all in the same boat, in descending order of points strength. If all 4 teams won this week, the WBG would have the most Points For ground to make up, and are most likely the odd team out. Every year, we have around 3-4 teams competing for the final playoff spot, but this is the first year I can remember when none of them played each other. On top of that, they’re going up against the top 4 teams in the league (counting the Swirls in that top 4 on talent, if not record) while facing a must-win situation.

If these 4 teams all manage to win, and the Rockers, DFA and Brookline lose, we’ll have 7 teams with a 7-6 record, and going to the Points For tiebreaker for 4 playoff spots. DISCLAIMER: This will probably not happen.

THE 99% - BERNIE MADOFF VICTIM BRACKET

PURPLE SWIRLS

The team with perhaps the most talent, but definitely the worst luck. Here are their opponents point total in their 7 losses: 126-133-130-112-126-133-148. They could technically make the playoffs with a win and the 4 Disappearing Middle Class teams all losing, but it seems unlikely. What’s definitely is the 296-page book Caulen is going to write about the 2011 Purple Swirls season.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

WVFL Week 12 Review

WHIZ-BANG GANG 95.48 – THE NEV-R-WINS 91.04

Complaining about fantasy losses with Caulen in the same league right now is a bit tacky. It’s like complaining about a stubbed toe to somebody who’s been decapitated in a car accident but still has sentience for a weird 2 seconds before dying. I mean…it’s EXACTLY like that.

Point is, Mark Ingram scored the garbage touchdown to end all garbage touchdowns last night, and that one play is what gave the WBG the win here. On the other hand, I have Mark Ingram in my other league and that same touchdown gave me a cheap win, keeping me alive in the playoff race over there. So it’s not all bad.

Speaking of playoffs, I’m going to need more than 2.7 total points from 3 receivers if I’m going to go very far.

Larry begged some mystical power (Gaia, Zeus, God, G-d, Yahweh, Allah, Mork…take your pick) to let them beat me before he got knocked out of the playoffs. And then C.J. Spiller and Jabar Gaffney combined for 14 points. What more proof of a higher power do you need?

THE PEOPLE’S ELBOW 121.14 – ST. A’S CRUSADERS 104.02

Whooooooooooooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Look at this! A nice reminder for the Crusaders that any team can lose to anybody at any time! And right before the playoffs, too! Don’t believe the mighty Crusaders have anything to worry about? Well, you never know when Beanie Wells will rush for 200+ yards (maybe this one time ever), Janikowski will kick 6 field goals (probably pretty rare), and Cedric Benson will have 19 points (comet-like rarity). The Holy Trinity of WVFL Kresses AVERAGED 133 points this week.

Jimmy Graham is basically unguardable, but he needed more than 20 points. And since the Saints we able to run up and down the entire field at will, John Kasay only kicked 7 extra points and no field goals. Meanwhile, Jordy Nelson took Thanksgiving off and Ray Rice was limited.

You know who else thought they’d roll all of the opposition with nothing to worry about? The British Redcoats! Look out, Crusaders! The fantasy doom bell tolls for thee.

DEATHFROMABOVE 101.64 – LOWCOUNTRY ALL STARS

With only a small deficit to overcome and Darren Sproles still to play, it seemed like DFA would win in a romp. But instead, the barely squeaked by the feisty-for-no-reason-whatsoever All Stars. It would’ve be a shame to waste Chris Johnson’s first good week in a loss. So it becomes a shame that the All Stars waste their only good game this season. Though their loss combined with an Elbow gives them the inside track at the #1 pick in 2012.

IRON CITY POUNDERS 116.28 – ATLAS SHRUGGZ 77.94

Matt Forte, Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson were the Pounders’ least productive players this week, and they still won handily. Greg Little, you are a tremendous asset to the team! And what in the world is Marshawn Lynch doing with himself this season? Maybe he’s really into Japanese chicks, and moving from Buffalo to Seattle brought out the best in him.

Michael Turner sucks, Steve Breaston is the 2nd option for Tyler Palko, and Mario Manningham missed the game with an injury. Oh, and Shonn Greene also sucks. All of these factors added up result in a not-so-fresh feeling come Tuesday morning.

HACKS 74.82 – BROOKLINE MCKENRY FORT 68.28

Leave it to Brookline to surprise the league with a nice winning run, get right to the cusp of clinching a playoff spot, and then fall right back into mediocrity with a wet fart of a week. Had Brookline started Plaxico or Santonio over Torrey Smith, they win and clinch a spot. But I guess he preferred spending Thanksgiving night with his loved ones, the entire group watching a rookie receiver with one skill struggle against a great defense.

The Hacks have the 6th seed at the moment, but they are holding onto a greased tree with wet, soapy hands. (NOTE: Read that to yourself with a Southern accent for full effect.) This roster has an odd mix of disappointing big names and names you have to Google to get the spelling correct. But hey, a 74-point win is a win, and one that Caulen would gladly take right now.

FIREROCK ROCKERS 148.44 – PURPLE SWIRLS 130.32

Oh my God. Oh Lord. This is hilarious. Not only did the Rockers score 148, they left another 70 on their bench. While Drew Brees was surgically destroying the Giants, racking up 37 points, seemingly propelling Caulen to a win, Firerock was responding with 32 point from Victor Cruz and another 10 from Brandon Jacobs. Mike Wallace had 1.7 and Jason Hanson had 1, and it didn’t even matter a little bit. To be sure, the Rockers shot their full wad this week, and will only score 60 next week.

Caulen played the perfect lineup this week. Left no extra points on the bench. Scored the 2nd-most points this week. Scored almost twice as much as the Hacks did in their win. And they still lost. If you’re wondering what effect this lost had on Caulen – a loss that gave him the highest points against in the league by about 80 points – a loss that gave him only the faintest glimmer of playoff hopes – a loss that knocked the 2nd-highest scoring team in theleague down to the bottom of his division – you should know that he approached me this morning asking to write the playoff preview as a form a cathartic release. Prepare yourself for a 13-page, single-spaced stream of consciousness rant that will make the Unabomer look calm and measured in comparison.