It's time once again for the annual season preview, in which I save you all a lot of heartache and roster moves by telling you here and now whether or not your team will make the playoffs. As a self-fluffing reminder, last year my weekly picks went something like 55-28, and my 2011 Season Preview nailed 5 out of the 6 playoff teams, while correctly predicting the exact standings of like 8 teams. So what I say, like, goes. Sorry if that mean you're finding out today that you won't make the playoffs, but just remember, you did this to yourself.
WEEGIE THOMPSON DIVISION (Career Stats)
DEATHFROMABOVE (2011 - 6th Place)
After an intimidating and high-scoring 2009, DFA has mainly been schedule filler the last two seasons. Like the robotic drones patrolling the Middle East, they are not something that white people in the Western world need to worry about too much. Until 2015, when Texas introduces them as missile-equipped highway patrol.
Keeping Chris Johnson, who obviously can't be dropped, Tony Romo and Wes Welker, felt they were covered at the skill position, so they nabbed the first defense of the draft, Pittsburgh in the first round. Somebody taking a defense way too early is a hallmark of fantasy football, but I guess sometimes you need to overspend to get the NFL's oldest defense, one that had a comically low turnover ability last season. But I guess with depth like Ronnie Hillman, Jahvid Best, and Daniel Thomas in the backfield, DFA will be having the last laugh.
DFA also selected the Jets defense in the 7th round, and...actually...what the hell happened in this draft? Between rounds 5 and 11, DFA picked 2 defenses, a running back on the PUP list, 2 backup running backs, old ass Randy Moss, a kicker that got cut, and Brandon Jacobs. I'm going to blame this one on auto-pilot error. As in, a drone on autopilot blew up DFA headquarters after the 4th round and auto draft made a lot of errors.
This first team capsule is extremely negative and not all that funny, I realize. Perhaps because this happened to me on Saturday and I'm still pretty sore. Or maybe it's because I'm in another league and wrote a Season Preview of those teams Friday, using up all of my good material. (Yes, I'm a fantasy football comedy bigamist now) Or maybe it's just because this team looks pretty bad. No depth and no superstars is no way to go though a fantasy football season. I guess the remaining capsules will lead us to the correct answer.
MAKING THE PLAYOFFS? No.
LOWCOUNTRY ALL STARS (2011 - 12th Place)
Despite having the same record as Nate and 150 more points, Webster clinched the league's anti-title through some arcane head to head performance tiebreaker that even Nate struggled to explain. Though, honestly, Nate struggles to explain most of our league's rules.
After a multi-year absence, a vanished owner and much cajoling, Jeff Webster returned to the WVFL in 2010, and has proceeded to finish 12th out of 12 in his first two re-seasons. I know he doesn't like the Cleveland Browns, so I don't know why he's so set on mirroring their rebirth. According to Facebook, Jeff spends three days a week bass fishing in South Carolina, so he clearly has plenty of time to ponder football.
But this could be the year he turns things around. There's not a ton of depth here, but Cam, Forte and Jordy might win a few games all by themselves. And on the odd weeks that Stevie Johnson and Jonathan Stewart do something, the All Stars are going to upset some powerhouse team that already pencilled in a W. For the first time in three seasons, Jeff Webster is going to have more
wins than facial hairstyles. Which is impressive, considering his
ever-evolving mosaic of grooming looks.
MAKING THE PLAYOFFS? Not yet. But not dead last, either.
ST. A'S CRUSADERS (2011 - Champeen of the World)
You know how rare it is for the team with the best record and the most points to actually win a league title? You know how annoying it is when that team returns four of the best possible keepers in Rice, McFadden, Calvin Johnson and Jimmy Graham? You know how many games the Crusaders are going to win by 30 points this season? The answers to these questions, in order, are Rare, Very, and A Bunch.
But like many things on the internet that seem too good to be true (3 inches added to your PEN!S EASY! / mortgage refinancing at 0.3% / sexy singles in YOUR area), the Crusaders aren't just walking to a title defense. For starters, they're one Michael Vick injury away from relying on a rookie QB. In other words, they'll be relying on Robert Griffin Junior Junior by Week 2. For seconds, Nate Washington and Toby Gerhart are actually in the starting lineup. Not to exploit good matchups, but because they're better options than Evan Royster and Danny Amendola. For thirds, there's the baffling Johnson/Decker for Johnson/Fitgerald trade.
I don't know if this trade stemmed from hubris, fear of the Madden curse, contract restrictions, owner collusion (a dirty accusation!) or temporary insanity, but it's definitely...odd. Let's settle an odd. That's a nice, neutral term. Andre Johnson plays 9 games a year, tops, and isn't the main option in Houston any more. And Fitz openly pines for a different quarterback in the huddle.
Don't get me wrong, this team is going to win plenty of games with Vick, McFadden, Rice, Andre and Fitz. But don't be surprised if they lose a playoff game because only 2 of those guys are actually playing.
MAKING THE PLAYOFFS? Oh, definitely. But not like last year.
ZOLTAN'S ZEROS (2011 - 9th Place)
Okay, here's the thing. I like Scott Henry. He is a good guy. But he 86ed me on Facebook last year after he posted about his new job in PR for Consol (I think) and I joked that he'd have to figure out how to spin fracking into a health benefit for school kids.
In retrospect, probably the right move on his part, especially when his new bosses Facebook friend him the first day on the job. But I want Scott Henry back in my life. He's reliably unimpressed by everything, and without him in my Facebook feed, I didn't realize the Bucs were having a good year until August...when they stopped having a good year.
So. That said, being on double-unsecret probation with Skip Henry means that I don't want to bash his football team too much here. I'm just going to present the facts of the matter.
- His four keepers were Mendenhall, Antonio Brown, Frank Gore, and Santonio Holmes
- It is not 2009
- I was wrong, Scott actually picked the first defense of the draft. The Niners, two picks before DFA took the Steelers.
- His current starting QB is Brandon Weeden.
- His RB2 until Mendenhall returns (into a 3-man platoon) is backup Michael Bush.
These are the facts. Because Scott is not a Republican, he cannot argue with facts.
MAKING THE PLAYOFFS? He also can't argue with this prediction of him missing the playoffs.
HACKS (2011 - 10th Place)
After a (any other word for hack) season in 2011, this team cleaned house, keeping only Ryan Mathews and Julio Jones. Except for the part about keeping Mathews, I like it. If the foundation of your house is crumbling, just move. Especially if your neighbors recently leased their mineral rights.
Unfortunately, Hacks will probably be repeating that strategy with their 2013 keepers. Although Ben is going to huge this year as the Steelers air it out, and everybody thinks Julio Jones is going to push Calvin for #1 WR position, there just isn't enough reliability here, week in and week out. Sproles, Richardson, Mike Williams, Blackmon, Mathews...all of these guys will have good weeks from time to time, but not predictably and not in sync. Oh, and Neil Rackers is no longer Washington's kicker.
MAKING THE PLAYOFFS? Is anybody in this division making the playoffs? Starting to look like the JV over here.
THE PEOPLE'S ELBOW (2011 - Worst, but not last)
The last three seasons, Nate has finished 11th, 10th, and 11th. Credit goes his way for consistency, at least. But I am calling here and I am calling it now. This team is going to the playoffs in 2012. A great receiving corps will support a solid, mid-tier backfield, and if Peyton's neck (or something else) falters, Rivers is there to take up the slack.
The only issue is that Nate's entire bench is garbage, but knowing his knack for sniffing out FA prizes like an Italian hog sniffing truffles, that shouldn't be an issue for long. Hang on, I'm sorry. Nate doesn't even know most starting running backs in the league. He cannot sniff out FA prizes. So let's hope none of the starters get hurt.
MAKING THE PLAYOFFS? Seriously! I'm telling you!
BAM MORRIS DIVISION (Career Stats)
PURPLE SWIRLS (2011 - 8th Place
As the years go on, we are going to realize that the Swirls' 2011 season was like The Strokes' first album. Stunning, unexpected, incredibly enjoyable, a moment in time...and something that could never be recreated. The second-most points in the league with a 5-8 record? Giving up at least 100 more points than anybody else? Although I would love to see it happen again this year and the next and the next...I know it is not to be.
So what is to be? Fewer points but more wins, as crazy as that sounds. Forgetting what day the draft is and showing up late can pay off sometimes. Between DeMarco Murray, LeSean McCoy and FrEd Jackson, the Swirls will have plenty of points on the ground. But there's just a touch of thinness at WR, especially when you remember that Steve Smith usually posts a great season's worth of stats in 10 randomly-seleted games. And what's going to happen with Brees this year anyway?
MAKING THE PLAYOFFS? Knowing how fantasy football works, the Swirls will clinch the 6th seed on the final weekend, then win the title.
I won the Toyota Best Draft award, which is given to the team with the most projected season points after the draft. Knowing how well Yahoo projects player points, I am probably in a lot of trouble. Actually, I am a little thin at running back, especially if Peterson doesn't really recoup this year. I'm two steps past stacked at WR, but starting the proper 4 guys each week (I'm already assuming my flex guy will be a WR each week) is going to be a pain.
At least Tom Brady is still here, and he is just so, so handsome.
MAKING THE PLAYOFFS? Come on, of course.
WHIZ BANG GA...running out of steam...shoulder sore...jokes gone...didn't have any good ones to begin with.
Oh man. I'm tapped. I got nothing left. It's like I'm having a torrid affair with this other league, giving them all of my best stuff. Then I come home and the wife that's always been there for me (Steady, but boring. The excitement long gone) wants some action and I have none to give. All the signals are there!
WHIZ BANG GANG - No playoffs
FIREROCK ROCKERS - Yes playoffs
ATLAS SHRUGGZ - No playoffs
IRON CITY POUNDERS - Yes playoffs
I think we should seriously consider couples' counseling. Maybe a weekend retreat's worth.