LAST WEEK: 2-4
Let's get some pesky playoffs business out of the way first. Michael P. Barker, Christian X. Albert, Lawrence J. Schacht, and Tim T. Dunlap, thank you for playing this season. You all gave it your best effort, but you won't be making the playoffs this year. Maybe you were done in by poor fortune, maybe you were done in by incompetence. But today is not one of judgment, it's one of thanks. You can pick up your participation certificate from the receptionist, and we look forward to seeing you and your entry fee at the 2015 draft.
Next, congratulations to William T. McCamey, Michael J. Sembrat, and Scott O. Meyers. Although your particular berth is not yet set, you have formally clinched a 2014 AFFL playoff spot. Travel and lodging arrangements can be made through the league office starting at 10am EST on Tuesday, December 2.
Scott F. Albert, you have not officially clinched a playoff spot yet, as there is still one scenario in which you are eliminated. In short, Kangaroo wins 2 this week, ISIS wins 1 this week, while Lothbrok and TDHAF lose 2 this week. That would give the Central Division to Kangaroo, and the Wild Cards to ISIS, Animal House/Jesus, and Lothbrok. A single win from Scott, or any of the above scenarios not occurring would put Scott in the playoffs. Not official yet, but the league office has made preliminary contact regarding travel and lodging.
Michael G. Krogmann, Gary R. Albert, you both clinch a playoff berth with a single win, though you could be eliminated via a scenario in which you lose both games this week and a particular opponent wins both of their games.
Those particular opponents are Brian R. Williams and Brian P. Barker. Gents, if you win both of your games this week while the division rival directly in front of you loses both of their games, you will clinch a playoff berth thanks to tiebreakers. Lose either one of your games and you are formally eliminated.
What does this all boil down to? Well, it is most likely that HGAC, ISIS, LB, LBJ, AH, and TDHAF will be your 2014 AFFL playoff teams, at least according to the percentages.
By the way, 6 different teams are still alive for the 2 playoffs byes.
One more thing. Assuming the percentage plays all go down this week, I will have correctly predicted only 3 of the 6 playoff teams this year. If some weirdness happens, I can get up to 4, but still short of last year's 5 out of 6 correct. 3 out of 6 might be okay for your predictions, but I have higher standards. Riggins', Kangaroo, and Sigmund? You all disappointed me after I laid it all on the line for you. Shameful!
ISIS 104.6 - SIGMUND & THE SEA MONSTERS 87.4
Although it seemed like great luck in the moment when C.J. Anderson took a knee at the 20 instead of just running into the endzone, had the Bills played at their normal time on Sunday, we wouldn't have even been sweating it. Sure, 18 points from the DST is pretty huge, but if the Jets only had 250 yards in a dome, how many could they have possibly gained on a snowy tundra? I mean, things got so bad for the Jets last night that they put Geno Smith in! How low can it go?
Eddie Lacy was enormous again, and it's pretty clear that I made a mistake in not cutting Kaepernick so I could tack on a year to Lacy's contract. Damn Kaepernick. The guy opens the game with a beautiful 30-yard TD pass to Boldin, then the Niners just shut down the offense. They do this over and over every week, and it's so stupid. Frank Gore is so bad and useless right now. You know how many Niners drives I watch on the app that go 1st and 10 / 2nd and 9 / 3 and 2 / Punt? That would be a Gore run, a pass, then another run. Harbaugh couldn't bench Alex Smith fast enough because he was holding the offense 2 years ago, now he seems determined to let Frank Gore walk them right out of the playoffs.
Other than that, how about Cody Parkey? 19 points from the kicker spot! 37 total points from the K and DST? More than enough to make up for 5.8 points each from Cobb and Calvin, and only 6.2 from Denard Robinson, who was stuffed inside the 5 at least 3 times on Sunday.
Manning and Anderson combined for 51 points this week. They didn't do much in the first half, but like all Broncos game, this one lasted seemingly forever, with those two just piling up points in the second half. They just never go away! But the 0 from the Lions, the 0 from Michael Floyd, and the 2.9 from emergency starter Benny Cunningham were just too much to overcome.
So let's look at the ISIS for a second here. 104.6 points this week, with another 54.6 just sitting on the bench. 4 wins in a row, the league's longest active streak. And here's something else to think about. Since Week 6...
ISIS POINTS: 94.6 - 63.9 - 96.2 - 92.6 - 93.9 - 98.4 - 104.6.
AJ GREEN POINTS: 0 - 0 - 0 - 10.4 - 2.3 - 18.7 - 12.1
CALVIN JOHNSON POINTS: 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 17.3 - 5.9 - 5.8.
Both lost 3 games to injury, Calvin added in a bye week. What's more, with Detroit struggling overall, Calvin has posted double digits only twice this season. In other words...ISIS is scoring 92 points in the last 7 games - 97 in the last 5 games - without two of the best receivers in the league playing up to their potential. Not since Week 1 have both AJ and Calvin played and posted good scores in the same game. Where is the ceiling for this offense? Maybe we'll find out in the playoffs.
LOTHBROK 111.7 - RIGGINS' RIGGS 105.9
I really wish I could've been there in person to witness Gary angrily cursing about Jimmy Graham's late touchdown, then Brenna coming down to the basement to see what that noise was, then Gary having to admit to Brenna why he was pouty, then Brenna chastising him for caring so much about stupid fantasy football when it really doesn't matter that much, then Gary having to admit this morning that he actually won because Justin Forsett ran in a late touchdown and had he not ignored the entire game he wouldn't have gone to bed angry and ruined Sunday night cuddle times. Life's rich.
What a season for Riggins' Riggs. They've had 1199.8 Points Against, which is over 100 more than the next most scored upon team (ISIS, incidentally). They won last week with 66 points, they lost this week with 105. And the way they lost this one! Not just because Forsett had 31 points (his best game of the year) or Keenan Allen had 14.4 points (his best game of the year). Not just because Jeremy Hill still scored 15.6 points with Gio back in the lineup. But because they cost themselves this one. They blew their chance at an incredible, season-saving win!
First, if Barker had never traded Drew Brees, he has Brees for this game (25.5 points) and not Mark Sanchez (10.6 points) and wins this game. But okay, that ship sailed long ago, and who among us would not accept 12 draft picks for a single player. But...
If Barker had played the Chargers defense (13 points) at home against SHAUN HILL, instead of the Titans defense (2 points) on the road against the high-flying Eagles, he would've won! He lost a heartbreaker, and was officially eliminated from the playoffs because he started a defense against HIS OWN QUARTERBACK! I mean...I can see a certain logic in figuring that each Sanchez pick would only count -1 net instead of -2 gross, but man. What a way to lose.
Barker has now missed the playoffs in 3 out of the last 4 seasons. And if he misses them again next year with Dez, Jordy, Forte, Jimmy Graham, and all those draft picks, I simply don't know what to say.
I was happy to see Gary win this one because it knocked Riggins out of the playoffs, and I certainly wouldn't want to face that Riggins lineup in a must-win game. Gary is much more non-threatening. I mean, which is more likely to happen in a playoff game? Jordy Nelson only scoring 6 points, or Justin Forsett scoring 31?
And yet...Gary has been the high scorer of the week 3 different times. It's the least intimidating high-scoring team in the league.
THE WHITECHAPEL RIPPERS 96.3 - LITTLE BABY JESUS 69.9
This score is a dyslexic's nightmare. Are you sure Jesus isn't the team that won by 30? Maybe you should ask somebody else just to be sure.
Larry made the correct choice from his 3-QB stable, with Romo posting a tidy 24.1 points. The last of those points coming on a TD pass to Dez Bryant that apparently made Gary quite angry. Jones, Sanders, and Colston all broke double digits, and even Steven Hauschka had 13 points. A fine way to snap an 8-game losing streak, except that Larry wanted to keep losing for a chance at a better draft pick. He can't even be bad correctly!
Can somebody please explain to me how Kenny Vaccaro got the only penalty when Steve Smith attacked him like a mean dog let off a chain link leash? Is the NFL trying out the NHL's "I'm only taking one!" playoff penalty move in an attempt to calm things down? I do not believe there is such a thing as calming Steve Smith down, although Harbaugh tried by sitting him out for the rest of the game after that. Would've been amazing if that move ended up costing Sembrat the game, but I don't think Steve Smith was scoring 30 points in the 4th quarter. Though...maybe? He was pretty fired up there.
I said that Gronk and Evans would be part of a winning trio for Jesus this week, and they both let us down. Only 7.8 for Gronk? I thought he was mega unstoppable again?
Andre Ellington only had 6 points for the 2nd week in a row. Is this because he faced DET and ARI, or because teams don't fear Drew Stanton? Or both? We will find out for sure this week when Ellington goes up against ATL, the worst first place team in the history of organized sports, including elementary school leagues.
Sembrat could've put a stranglehold on a playoff bye and good, firm, man's grip on a division title with a win here. Instead, he looked ahead, disrespected Larry's abilities, and now he has to fight out this doubleheader with the rest of the schmoes.
HGAC 101.9 - IT'S ALWAYS RUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA 68.2
Despite picking them to win this week, I didn't truly believe that Runny had a chance in this one. I mean...I WANTED them to win. The pick was definitely hopeful. But...man. At least put up a fight. The fox at least runs away from the dogs and horses.
I predicted Vincent Jackson and Alshon Jeffery would go off this week, and that one I actually believed to the point where I took CHI/TB OVER 46 in my betting pool. That didn't work out so well, I guess.
I also was off the mark in saying that Brent Grimes would hold Demaryius in check. He did, for a while, but because Denver games just keep going and going and scoring and scoring, boom. 26.7 points for Demaryius. Again, in my defense, these were all things I wanted to happen. I was trying to will them into the universe by announcing them. It did not work. Oprah says it works for her. That when she wants something to happen, she just says it out loud and then it happens. So why couldn't that happen for me? Just because I don't have a billion dollars and a full-time staff whose jobs are following me around, listening to what I want, and then executing upon it? So?
The Odell Beckham one-handed TD snag was the greatest 10.3 points that will ever be scored in fantasy football, but there's no more to be said on that. Instead, let me focus on DeMarco Murray for a second. When I was a kid, I hated the Dallas Cowboys, like any good, right-thinking person would. And I often argued that if Barry Sanders had the holes Emmitt Smith got to run through, Barry would've rushed for 25,000 yards.
In 2015, after he signs a stupidly large contract with the Jets, Colts, Jaguars, Raiders, Buccaneers, or Washington, DeMarco Murray is going to be so, so average. His lack of vision and moves, multiplied by a lack of holes, will be an ugly equation. Meanwhile, whichever RB platoon is playing for the Cowboys will both be more productive than Murray*.
(* This assumes that Stephen Jones will talk his Pops out of giving Murray $60mm, like he talked Papa Scotch out of drafting Manziel. Which...we shall see.)
If McCamey was smart, he'd try to trade Murray for a high draft pick when we're all in the room next August. Again, team dependent prediction.
ANIMAL HOUSE 96.9 - TIMMY DOESN'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS 72.5
Scott has lost 2 straight, scoring a combined total of 132 points. In Weeks 1 and 2, he started off with 2 straight losses with a combined total of 125.9 points. In Weeks 7 and 8, he won 2 straight with 135.6 points. He is the 3rd-lowest scoring team in the league, averaging 75 points a game. But he has the inside track on a Wild Card spot because he beat Sigmund, ISIS, Kangaroo, and Runny head to head. Those teams posted 73.3, 63.9, 58.6, and 43.9 points in those matchups, incidentally.
Hell, with 2 wins and 2 Animal House losses this week, Scott could still win his division!
But still, let's be clear. Scott's team is not good. Circumstances have conspired to create the illusion (to some people) that his team is good, but it is not actually good. The tallest 6th grader in your class is not objectively tall.
Ryan Mathews scored 17.3 in his second game back from injury, and then he missed about a quarter of this game with a new injury, which is hilarious and amazing. Not too much else to say about this one, so let's look ahead for a second.
In Week 14, Wild Card Week, Jamaal Charles and the Kansas City Chiefs face a tough Cardinals run defense. Le'Veon Bell and the Steelers face a decent Bengals run defense. Jeremy Maclin and the Eagles face a good Seahawks pass defense, and Roddy White and the Falcons go to Green Bay, which is bad news for that team.
So if Animal House doesn't clinch a bye with 2 wins this week, you know what is going to happen, right? Yeah, you got it. They are going to lose the Wild Card game to Scott, 71.2 - 64.4.
ASSTANNER 97 - THAT KANGAROO STOLE MY BALL 81.9
Boy oh boy, could Bri have used Antonio Brown in this one. He also could've used some Titans special teams tackling on that opening kick return TD, and it's a heck of a time for LeSean McCoy to have his best game of the year.
Brandon Marshall. $2.56 in salary. 21 points last week, 17 the week before...3.2 this week. 17 points from Bridgewater, 19 points from Alfred Morris, 12 points from Rashad Jennings...all wasted.
We mentioned this in the season preview, but Bri's team is going to be hurting next season. Except for Cam, the cupboard is bare. Tough to see a good, sustained run of quality teams ends with such a whimper.
Barring, you know, a miracle this week.
My first season of the Chris Albert experience was everything I could've hoped for and more. A flurry of transactions, a flurry of losses, a flurry of amusement for me. Great!