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.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

WVFL Week 11 Review

THE NEV-R-WINS 89.86 – FIREROCK ROCKERS 79.16

I was flipping through the games on Sunday – as is my right as a Sunday Ticket subscriber – and as I went back to the Minnesota game, I saw Adrian Peterson being helped off the field while being supported by two trainers. It was not a good feeling. I own Peterson in both of my leagues and by the time he reached the sidelines, I mentally played out eight different scenarios about what this meant for me. None of them were positive.

But great teams dig down deep and get the job done, even in the face of adversity. Peterson went down, Greg Jennings missed most of the game with a bruise, Maurice Morris got benched against a horrible defense. That’s when recent arrival Nate Washington said, “Guys, me and Jake Locker got this.” I said, “Nate, it’s actually ‘Jake Locker and I’.” He said, “Boom, two TDs. Done.”

Then Brady finished it off by heroically throwing touchdowns against a injury-riddled Chiefs defense. It was a great moment for all.

Except for maybe the Rockers, but they don’t write this piece, so who cares about them? They are on the exact same arc as the Buffalo Bills, which is probably related to starting two Bills each week.

HACKS 82.80 – THE PEOPLE’S ELBOW 77.76

The Elbow started Kevin Walter even though he was on a bye (and not that good during game weeks), and the Hacks squeaked (squoke?) by with a 5-point win. I am now hoping extremely hard that the Hacks clinch the #6 seed and keep the Swirls out of the playoffs. At which point I will remind Caulen of this game, just to make Christmas dinner interesting.

Hacks, congrats on scoring the 2nd-fewest points this week and winning. You guys just find a way to get a win. Much like a Tim Tebow who is entirely responsible for that 0 Eric Decker posted for you.

ST. A’S CRUSADERS 110.86 – LOWCOUNTRY ALL STARS 96.30

Jor-dy! Nel-son! (clap, clap, clap clap clap!) 24 points for White Lightning this week, who said earlier that he thinks defenses don’t respect him enough because he’s white. Side note: Defenses don’t respect Toby Gerhart because he’s white AND terrible.

Ray Rice is the goal line back in Baltimore, which ups his value tremendously. If you don’t believe me, look at the 26 points he scored on the strength of a pair of 2-yard carries. The Crusaders can even start a kicker on his bye week as a little dose on showmanship and still come out on top.

The All Stars had a huge week, which is unfortunate for them. They’re now about 100 points ahead of the Elbow for the #1 overall pick tiebreaker. Bad management by them right now. Maybe no need to play a full roster each week in these next two games.

IRON CITY POUNDERS 97.84 – WHIZ-BANG GANG 96.96

So…in our other league, Larry owns Gronkmonster, who led Larry to a stunning comeback win, helping his playoff chances. In this league, Larry went against Gronkmonster, who led the Pounders to a stunning comeback win, putting a serious dent in Larry’s WVFL playoff chances. Though…just this week he begged to be knocked out of the WVFL playoff race, so…win-win, I guess. Now they won’t have to rely on Javon Ringer, Dexter McCluster and Kregg Lumpkin in a Wild Card game.

Pounders got a 0 from David Nelson, and -0.2 from Willis McGahee (on the bench, but still bad karma). And yet here they are, right in the thick of the playoff hunt.

BROOKLINE MCKENRY FORT 126.28 – DEATHFROMABOVE 94.18

Look who’s coming alive at just the right time with a 3-game winning streak! And over 100 points each week, too! Didn’t Skip Henry win this whole league like 3 years ago? Sure, they have 200 points fewer than the Swirls. Sure, their QB is Alex Smith. Sure, Torrey Smith either scores 27 or 2.7. Sure, Michael Bush is going to lose all of his carries once McFadden is back. But you can’t deny that Skip Henry magic!

A win this week would’ve juuuuuuust about given DFA a guaranteed playoff spot, but it was not to be. But when recent pickup Lance Ball is your best running back, and he only has 4 points, and you have Chris Johnson on your roster, well…you’re going to have a tough time making the playoffs.

PURPLE SWIRLS 113.10 – ATLAS SHRUGGZ 92.60

The playoff dream lives on for at least another week. Hilariously, the decision to start Matt Moore and exorcise the QB demons paid off beautifully, with Moore post 18 points in his best game of the season. The Niner defense, Gates, Steve Smith…it was all working. Didn’t even matter that Denarius Moore followed up a 20-point game with 1.7. This is your chance, Swirls!

What the hell happened to the Giants on Sunday night? The Shruggz sure could’ve used more points out of Nicks and Manningham. And more points out of Shonn Greene. Problem there is, Shonn Greene suuuuuuuuuucks.

Friday, November 18, 2011

WVFL Week 11 Preview

LAST WEEK: 4-2

SEASON: 43-17

THE NEV-R-WINS (7-3) at FIREROCK ROCKERS (6-4)

The Hullabaloo over Division 2! The War Of Who Wants It More! TK vs. MK! A! Big! Game!

A win this week puts me a little bit closer to a bye week. A win for Firerocks gives him the division lead if he wins by enough points. Although 4 from Dustin Keller last night is not a great head start. Though I have my own troubles. Foster is on a bye, Maclin is hurt and Frank Gore isn’t hurt enough. That trident of misery is forcing me to start both Maurice Morris and Kendall Hunter while knowing they probably won’t do all that much.

On the other hand, counting on MJD and Roy Helu can’t inspire all that much confidence, either. Plus, Stevie Johnson is questionable (and invisible lately anyway).

Hmm. Well, when I don’t have Peterson and Foster playing I lose, so…

THE PICK: FIREROCK ROCKERS 91 – THE NEV-R-WINS 83

THE PEOPLE’S ELBOW (2-8) at HACKS (4-6)

The Elbow literally don’t have enough active players to fill out a full lineup card this week, and whether or not Nate cares enough to actually pick up a new guy is currently listed as Doubtful. Benson and Beanie face stout run defenses, Early Doucet sucks and Jonathan Baldwin will get to find out what college would’ve been like if went to school at the same time as Tyler Palko. Breaking 30 would be a significant accomplishment for the Elbow this week, and I am not kidding.

If the WVFL awarded points for diving full outstretched for a wobbly pass that’s leading you by too much, Eric Decker would’ve put up 15 points last night. As it is, he posted a 0. He also is playing Chris Ogbonnaya. But what does any of it matter? They’re going to score 50 points and stay technically alive in the playoff hunt.

THE PICK: HACKS 50 – THE PEOPLE’S ELBOW 29

LOWCOUNTRY ALL STARS (2-8) at ST. A’S CRUSADERS (8-2)

Tim Tebow is so bad at passing that he won’t even be a good passer in Heaven. He’s the kind of guy dads want their daughters to date, mainly because Tebow won’t try to have sex with them. And his showy piety (despite being at odds with the advice of the New Testament) fits perfectly with a country that has 10,000-seat churches. Shoot, he’s like the entirety of the GOP Presidential field – religious, inept, in over his head and finding more success at every turn. Tim Tebow had 16 points last night.

But can Tebow’s miraculous healing powers lead to a Crusaders win? They have no kicker this week (and, like me, may have forgotten that the Thursday game freezes all transactions for the week), and Damian Williams is forced into the lineup due to byes.

I so desperately want to call for the upset in this game, but have you seen that All Star lineup? At the risk of offending Tim Tebow’s delicate ears, Jesus Fucking Christ With A Limp are they bad.

THE PICK: ST. A’S CRUSADERS 78 – LOWCOUNTRY ALL STARS 67

IRON CITY POUNDERS (4-6) at WHIZ-BANG GANG

The WBG is openly begging to be eliminated from the playoffs so they can stop caring about their shitty team, shades of George Constanza lamenting, “They keep pulling me back in!” which in itself was a Godfather parody. The thing is, win or lose this week, they will neither clinch a spot nor be officially eliminated. They’ll still be stuck in the creamy nougat center, starting Kregg Lumpkin. Aaron Rodgers is wasted on this team, like somebody hanging “Starry Night” in the bathroom of their double-wide.

Between Lynch and Hauschka, the Pounders are rolling out two Seahawks this week. I sincerely hope that they will not be going to a Buffalo Wild Wings in order to watch the Seattle/St. Louis game to follow their players. It’s not worth it, man.

THE PICK: IRON CITY POUNDERS 91 – WHIZ-BANG GANG 70

DEATHFROMABOVE (6-4) at BROOKLINE MCKENRY FORT (6-4)

Thanks to total points, DFA could probably withstand a loss here and stay alive in the playoffs. But because Brookine’s offense is so…let’s say shy…they must win this one to stay alive. Having two receivers combine for 10 points because Mark Sanchez was the 2nd-best QB in a game featuring Tim Tebow is not much help. Plus, Frank Gore is dinged up so even if he plays this week, he’ll be limited. Scott Henry, the dream ends this week. Side note: Please start dreaming than just making the WVFL playoffs. You can do better.

The Cowboys are going to find a way to lose to the Redskins, and it will probably be on the back on 3 Tony Romo turnovers. That is just what happens every time America thinks Romo and the Cowboys are finally good. But it really shouldn’t matter to this game too much.

THE PICK: DEATHFROMABOVE 81 – BROOKLINE MCKENRY FORT 69

ATLAS SHRUGGZ (6-4) at PURPLE SWIRLS (4-6)

1.4 points from Shonn Greene before he hurt some part of his body (Ribs? His offal?) and leaving the game. But 1.4 points is actually a pretty good game for Greene, so no complaints.

This game features Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham on one side, DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy on the other, and that allows me to discuss the following Eagles tidbits. First, Juan Castillo this week defended Andy Reid by saying Reid works 20 or 21 hours a day. This is impossible both physically and logically. If it were true, Reid would be as gaunt as Christian Bale in The Machinist. Thought it’s possible that the only vegetable he eats is school cafeteria pizza. And also, he spends 120 hours a week on a game plan and can’t figure out to not pass so much when Michael Vick is an inaccurate tackling dummy?

Second, DeSean Jackson was benched this weekend after missing a team meeting. The original reason given was a faulty alarm clock, until on Monday when Jackson gave an interview and all but admitted that he told his teammates he skipped the meeting because he’s unhappy about his contract. The Eagles are the only team around more dysfunctional than the Swirls.

Which is why the Swirls will win even with Matt Moore only scoring 7 points. They’ll win just to make it seem like they can make the playoffs…right up until they lose in Week 13, 121-119, and blow the whole thing.

THE PICK: PURPLE SWIRLS 110 – ATLAS SHRUGGZ 101

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WVFL Week 10 Review

LAST WEEK: 4-2

SEASON: 43-17

THE NEV-R-WINS 118.86 – DEATHFROMABOVE 93.40

If Peterson and Foster both play, I win. It’s pretty simple, actually. Now, Foster is off this week, but that a Preview thing, not a Review thing. I knew I’d have a good week when I slipped Jacoby Jones into the lineup 30 minutes before kickoff and he then caught an 80-yard TD pass on the first play of the game. It’s fun being good.

Chris Johnson finally broke out and turned in a productive week and DFA wasn’t even able to use it in a win. Darren Sproles somehow only had 3 yards in a Saints win, James Jones barely played and Vincent Jackson totally quit on a potential TD pass.

WHIZ-BANG GANG 72.90 – THE PEOPLE’S ELBOW 66.86

How good is Aaron Rodgers? He’s singlehandedly keeping the WBG alive in the playoff race despite them having the 4th-fewest points in the league. But I’m sure that standing will only improve with Dwayne Bowe now trying to catch passes from the West A. Throwaway, Tyler Palko.

The Elbow has now lost 5 straight and their BEST performance in that stretch is 69 points. What’s the opposite of championship parade? Whatever it is, the Elbow should start planning a route and booking a VFW hall for it now.

ATLAS SHRUGGZ 87.36 – LOWCOUNTRY ALL STARS 54.68

Only two All-Stars got into double digits this week – Cam and Gostkowski. The only potential glimmer of hope for the All Stars is that Percy Harvin might deserve dual eligibility for as many carries he gets from the backfield. The other is that the rest of his team is so bad that he can sign Cam as a keeper for 5 years since there’s nobody else worth retaining.

There were threats that both Nicks and Manningham would miss this game, but they played and combined for 24 points. Nice when things work out that way.

BROOKLINE MCKENRY FORT 114.28 – IRON CITY POUNDERS 110.04

When you’re trying to claw your way into a playoff spot and you score 110 points and lose, I’m sure you don’t even notice that the WBG scored 72 points and won. Nor do you notice that had you won this game, you’d currently have the #6 seed. Nor do you notice that if you played Marshawn Lynch over James Stars you would’ve won this game handily. You don’t notice any of these thing because you’re clenching your teeth in rage so hard that all you can see are stars.

Brookline has 215 points fewer than the Swirls, yet they are 2 games ahead of them and in the playoff hunt. Hell, Brookline has 15 points fewer than the WBG and are 1 game up on them. Brookline’s best game of the season was this week’s 114 points. The Swirls scored more than that in 2 of their LOSSES this season. I could not possibly be enjoying this more.

PURPLE SWIRLS 115.58 – HACKS 93.46

Hey, the Swirls! We were just talking about you guys! I can’t believe they won despite starting a surprisingly benched DeSean Jackson and leaving 36 points from the Bears defense on the bench. The way this season has gone, they should’ve lost by 1 point after doing that.

Julio Jones had another hamstring issue. I’m sure the fact that he’s one of the fastest guys in the league and has legs like tree trunks means this won’t be a recurring issue throughout his career. And seriously, what is the deal with Rivers and the Chargers this season? They are just completely confounding.

ST. A’S CRUSADERS 131.70 – FIREROCK ROCKERS 82.24

The Crusaders play the All Stars, Elbow and Hacks in their last 3 games, so let’s go ahead and call them 11-2 now and give them the #1 seed. I remember last year when I went 11-2 with the most points in the league, got hit with the injury bug and lost my first playoff game. I’m sure that won’t happen again. Nothing to worry about. Ray Rice and Calvin could never get hurt.

Rockers won 5, lost 3, won 1, lost 1. That season is probably somewhat tied to the changing fortunes of the Buffalo Bills. As Stevie and Freddie go, so goes Tony.