Crich Remains The Champ and World’s Sexiest Man

Another season and another Championship for everybody’s favourite rapist.

#curtailthecomplaining #suckitlosers #Threepeat2012

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Week 16 Power Poll: The Championship Edition

It has been another fantastic season for The League, and not just because I am in the Finals (again). Friendships were forged, lines were crossed and then crossed out (THERE ARE NO LINES!) and untold amounts of alcohol and other illicit substances were consumed all in the name of fantasy football. Everybody says they have the best fantasy league with the most die hard players and the craziest situations, but I feel like The League really does have that magic ingredient that takes it to the next level. That ingredient: unabashed racism.

Final Power Poll. I’d say it’s been fun writing them all year but it’s been a thankless burden. #curtailthecomplaining

1a. The Brink

I am still baffled by his success. Reggie Bush has somehow emerged as a Top 10 back in the last few weeks, Laurent Robinson continues to put up numbers despite seeing fewer targets after the return of Miles Austin and his revolving door at receiver always seems to have the right guy standing in it. But look past the luck and long shots and you find the rock-solid Baltimore D/ST, the terrifying-when-things-are-going-right Antonio Gates and the fantasy reliable but real life choke artist Tony Romo putting up points week in and week out. I have harped on him all year for having the shittiest team of the whole bunch on paper, but he has made some bold calls that have panned out (a few that haven’t) and pulled the trigger on a massive trade that could have made him look foolish but instead made him look pretty freaking smart. I feel like I have written those exact sentences a bunch of times because I probably have, but if Leon wins the ‘Ship we will look back and say he did more with less, played on the edge and took a ton of risks that ended up winning him the Crown.

1b. Rapelithsberger

I’d be lying if I said I expected to be back in The Finals. Less than a month ago I needed a ho-hum performance from Drew Brees and the Saints just to get in to the dance. Then the Miracle in Seattle happened to get me out of the first round, and last week I needed a MONSTER/KINDA FLUKY performance out of Seattle again to take down the mighty Dockers United. But here I am, and despite using the max moves allowed I have pretty much the same core as when I started the year. Vick is my QB. Rice is my RB. AJ Green is my nigga and the rest you know all too well. My problem now is injuries. Boldin is out. Green’s shoulder is sprained or something and Helu has toe/knee/coach issues. Other than that though match ups look solid. Ravens at Browns (unfortunately also benefits Brink), Vick against a Cowboys team he has lit up a few times and Green against Arizona. After winning last year I received little credit for my victory because my team was auto-drafted, but when I take home the blue jacket this year I will silence the haters.

Saturday gonna be crazy. Let’s make it the greatest chat day ever and don’t forget the magic ingredient.

Fantasy Superbowl Preview

Playoff Record: 3-3

Final Regular Season Record: 46-40

The League’s second season has been a blast from jump.  Outdoing a stellar first season was a tall order, but I think we managed to do it.  I can attest that the Western Draft party was ridiculous – and through our webcam feeds we could tell the Red Deer crew was doing it up too; the website has been an wonderful circlejerk for both the sportswriters and wannabees; the chat has risen to new levels – I have no idea how I haven’t caused an eight car pile up on the highway yet reading back over pages and pages of jokes offensive enough to cause racial uprisings.  Now we’ve reached the end, thankfully somehow we’ve all survived to see it, and we have a great match-up to cap off the year.

THE LEAGUE SUPERBOWL II

The first team to make Superbowl II is The Brink.  Truly the epitome of the ‘nobody believes in us’ squad the Brink defied all the odds and made the finals despite being a rookie to fantasy and drafting only the following running backs: Reggie Bush, Justin Forsett, and Ryan Torain.  Bravo Frenchman.

The second team of course is the reigning, undefeated in the playoffs to date, and STILL heavy-weight (it must be the perogies) champion of The League – Rapethlisberger.  He arguably came into draft day with the clearest vision of what his team would look like and laid down the big bucks to lock up Mike Vick and Ray Rice.  Although his regular season did not go as he hoped, he managed to squeak into the playoffs where he’s at his most dangerous.  Don’t look now, but he’s back and lookin for a repeat.

Quarterbacks

The Brink – As of late Tony Romo is living up to his high price tag at the start of the year.  22 TD’s and only 4 Int’s in his last ten games.  This week he faces a recently strong Philly D in a huge NFC East game.  No reason to think he won’t bring his best performance to the big stage right?  Oh wait, it’s Tony Romo and it’s the Cowboys in a must win game.  So he should be great for 3 quarters, and follow it up with two deadly fourth quarter interceptions – but still be fine fantasy wise.

Rape – Ironically playing in the same real life match Micheal Vick will be starting for the Champ.  Vick hasn’t lived up to the hype overall for the year, but he’s looked real good at times.  One of those times was against the Cowboys earlier in the year.  Another one of those times was last week.  So he’s presumably healthy, playing against a team he can score on, in a huge game.

Wide Receivers

The Brink – First off we’ve got Jabar Gaffney going up against the Vikings secondary.  Wait a minute, the Vikings have no secondary.  Nice match-up, and Grossmans slingin it lately. Demiryius Thomas goes up against the Bills.  I think Tebow’s throws have looked better and better and Thomas has the skillset to be a beast – don’t trust him yet every week, but definitely dangerous.  At flex Brinks starting Dwayne Bowe against Oakland.  Bowe’s been extraordinarily average lately, but the Raiders have a week secondary and he will get his targets.

Rape – A.J. Green has a great match-up against the Cards and is a guy I totally trust.  Making his first start on the Rape Squad is Randall Cobb in place of the injured Boldin.  Cobb is explosive, and should get more time with Jennings out – still a risky play though.  Another risky play at flex is Nate Burleson.  14 points last week, and only two the week before.  Still he goes up against the Chargers, and the Lions will have to air it out a lot which could mean good things.

Running Backs

The Brink – McGahee hasn’t had a really great game in a few weeks.  He should be able to get it going against a Bills defense which got ripped up last week by our next RB.  Reggie Bush is playing like a man who’s gotten a second chance and realizes he can’t waste it.  I expect him to put up points against the Pats high school defense.

Rape – Ray Rice likely to be the highest bid RB in next years auction goes against Cleveland.  Doesn’t matter who he’s matched up against, look out.  Helu is playing well, but he’s banged up and who knows how Shanny will react to that.  If he can’t go it’s Kendall Hunter which would be a significant downgrade for Rape.

The Rest

I’ll take December Antonio Gates over any TE (Gronks included), and as much as I like both defenses I’ll take Bmore just because of match-ups.

Predictions

The Eagles beat the Cowboys.  The Giants beat the Jets.  Gaffney is the highest scoring receiver. Reggie Bush is the highest scoring RB.  Brink is the new Champ.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, fuck you all! See you all next year! (unless I get stuck writing the awards column -but I’m looking for Stev or Hutz to step up)

Week 15 Preview: The Semi-Finals Edition

Playoff Record: 2-2

Final Regular Season Record: 46-40

And then there were four.  The Quarterfinals were an explosive round featuring upsets in three out of four matches.  The one, two, four, and six seed all eliminated.

LIONel Hutz (8) vs. The Brink (5)

LIONel Hutz proved that his late season heroics were no fluke, routing the seemingly untouchable one-seed in the first round of the playoffs.  The Brink defeated Hurricane Ditka in equally impressive fashion.  Now these two teams which have been all but written off at various points of the season face off; one of them guaranteed a ticket to the big show.

Quarterbacks:  After completing another fourth quarter comeback against the Cowboys last week, Eli Manning is the guy every talking head on the NFL Network is raving about.  I am cautious about getting ahead of myself with this Giants team.  As adept at upsetting top teams in big games as they are, they are equally prone to dropping easy games to the Redskins.  So as far as Eli, I’m cautiously optimistic.

The other side of the coin is Tony Romo, who just happens to be starting for The Brink.  He has built a reputation for making bad decisions in big moments, but he still puts up numbers.  This week is a must-win for the Cowboys, and he should be able to produce against the Bucs.

Wide Receivers:  In the late stages of the season The Brink traded superstar Calvin Johnson to Hutz.   That decision has left him with a plethora of WR2/Flex level guys.  He currently is showing Laurent Robinson and Demaryius Thomas getting the starts.  Meanwhile Dwayne Bowe sits on the bench.  I think I would have trouble sitting Bowe for Laurent Robinson with Austin back and Robinson banged up.  I like the Thomas start against the Pats, and caution The Brink that depending on Tebow always seems like a terrible decision right before the points come rolling in.

For Hutz, Megatron is obviously a beast, and he should be hungry facing his former fantasy team who ditched him right before the playoffs after a monster season.  Percy Harvin is getting the WR2 start, despite AP returning.  He is getting the start ahead of DJax, and is a good example of what an explosive player can do if he actually tries and gets touches.

Running Backs:  Micheal Bush has a nice match-up with the Lions, although I do find the Oakland offence a little unpredictable at the moment.  Also his YPC has plummetted to 2.8 over the past three games.  Regardless this is a pretty safe start.  Shonn Greene is turning it on for the fantasy playoffs, what else is new.  Nice pickup for Hutz.  I don’t trust him yet.

Speaking of guys I don’t trust yet, Reggie Bush.  However, he has a nice match-up with the Bills and will be angry after getting fined 5k for wearing the wrong colour socks last week.  Guy I do trust:  Willis McGahee against the Pats.  Look for big things.

Both teams are starting a running back at flex.  Ben Tate has a nice match-up against the Panthers and should do good things assuming he gets some touches.  Brandon Jacobs has been looking much better in the last couple games, and should get close to an even split with Bradshaw on rushing touches.

The Rest:  I’ll give Gates the nod at TE over Jermaine “I’ve put up 3 points for just about every team in the League at one point or another” Gresham.  Hutz’s kicker put up 11 on monday, which is real strong.  I like both defensive matchups.

Prediction:  Real tight.  QB’s I consider even, WR’s a slight nod to Hutz, RB/Flex even.  I’ll sitck with my tradition of picking against the Brink.  You don’t trade Megatron.

Dockers United (3) vs. Rapelithsberger (7)

Dockers just keeps rolling.  They put up the strongest final month in the League, and then they are the only high seed to take care of business in the Quarterfinals.  They are the clear favorite now.

Displaying a surprising lack of championship hangover, the defending and still reigning Champ just keeps hanging around.  He went into Monday night needing fifteen from the Seattle D and got it done.  The guy has never lost a playoff game.

Quarterbacks:  Cam Newton was the steal of the draft, and should be given the most credit in Dockers success.  He is what we thought Micheal Vick would be.

Micheal Vick is constantly banged up and has a tough match against the Jets.  Dockers gets the nod here.

Wide Receivers:  Jordy Nelson has evolved beyond home run threat, into that special class of ‘possession receiver plus home run threat’.  I do think the Jennings injury hurts him, as he is likely to face the top DB’s now.  Still the Pack spreads it around well enough that he’ll get his as long as he stays in the game.  Mike Wallace has a tough match and is losing that ‘possession plus’ designation to Antonio Brown.  He probably will need a TD to put up strong numbers.

Old Anquan has been pretty unimpressive as of late, and has realistically probably fallen to WR2 on the Ravens.  AJ Green is this years Mike Williams, and is another guy who is depending on a TD to put up numbers.  I wouldn’t bet against it.   Rape is starting Nate Burleson at flex, and is another guy depending on a TD.  I see Rapes receiving corps as pretty dicey overall.

Running Backs:  Benson has a nice matchup, but he’s slowing down and splitting carries at this point.  Law Firm is completely unreliable.  Peyton Hillis gets the start at flex for Dockers, and is hoping to get a lot more work than last week.  I still don’t trust him.  Not a fan of Dockers RB’s.

Ray Rice was money well spent in the draft and is the consistency on Rapes team.  I have no doubt in him.  Helu has put up three good weeks in a row, and must have Shanahans trust at this point.  Rape gets a clear nod on the ground (strange sentence out of context).

The Rest:  Rob Gronkowski.

Prediction:  Rape and Hutz face off in a rivalry match so perfect you could almost say it was scripted from the beginning.

Week 15 Power Poll: The Final Four Edition

As you are all very aware, a few of The League’s best looking members took a road trip to Seattle this past weekend to watch the Seahawks play the Rams at CenturyLink Field for Monday Night Football.

As disinterested as the rest of you might be, I like to document my exploits for my memoirs. So a few photos and a quick recap.

Day 1

We arrived at Fox Sports Grill at 10:10 in the morning and there was already tons of people there getting sauced. In all honesty it was a bit overwhelming as I had every single one of my players going and couldn’t keep up. We started off slowly but by the end of the morning games we were all several beers deep. The best part this whole experience was seeing an entire bar full of people screaming at the television before noon on a Sunday.

That’s how fervent Americans are about their pigskin. By the time we left following the afternoon games, we had spent a few hundred dollars, drank way too many beers and made exactly zero friends.

Went back to the hotel, shotgunned some beers, and went to go walk and find a bar. The TSN turning point was when were approached by two intimidating black men who wanted us to give them money. I offered a cigarette instead and as they attempted to extort us, we got to know one another. The more amicable of the two was Andre, who I made quick friends with and wanted to buy weed from. The more intimidating was Lefty, a one-armed war veteran who had lost his limb in the service. Or was it in the service? Couldn’t be sure. We paid about 60 dollars for a dimebag, took a picture, and probably came closer to being robbed blind than we would have liked. Also Lefty said Danny looked like Bill Gates.

The guy on the left is Lefty

Then we ended up getting really drunk at this bar called the Blarney Stone where the world’s greatest bartender named Tommy works. Tommy kept feeding us free shots of fireball. Needless to say I came very close to puking. We all lost money on the Cowboys-Giants game.

Best bartender evver

Then we left the bar, hopped in cab, and when we got out, there was Andre again! Almost like he was following us. Thankfully Lefty had gone home, presumably killing several people along the way. Andre took us to a bar called Volume. We didn’t have to wait because we were over 21 (?), and once inside I’m not really sure what occurred.

We took a party cab home, wrestled several times in the hotel room, smoked weed out of a pop can, had hotel management come up twice to tell us to be quiet (fucking Lawrence) and fell asleep in eachother’s arms.

Day 2

-Coffee
-Potbelly
-nap time/Law & Order
-PF Chang’s
-Cowgirls
-Tiki Bobs
-McCoy’s
-THE GAME!!!!!!
-Strip Club (Dreamgirls? They didn’t serve booze. Wack)
-Tiki Bobs
-Marinara sauce argument (Dan pro, Me anti)
-Sweet, sweet sleep

It was a fucking rad trip that would be even crazier with a few more guys. The field is absolutely ridiculous. The city, while completely devoid of convenience stores, has some sweet bars and a good atmosphere, and live NFL is off the chain.

On to the power poll, where the stakes have never been higher.

4. Rape

I’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on the victory I earned in Week 14. There are three reasons it was so amazing.

1. Dave openly mocked me for paying so much for the Seattle D/ST. Laughed at me for paying $14. Then they were the reason I ended his season.

2. It came against the Rams, Dave’s favourite team. Though apparently he might be pulling a flip-flop for the ages and switching to the Giants.

3. I was there in person to cheer as my D/ST absolutely beasted and won me the game, even contributing to my victory by being a part of the vaunted 12th Man. Laugh away, but those false starts fucked up the Rams offense on the drive that led to the blocked kick.

it must rank as one of the most clutch comebacks in The League’s short history.

The lowest total points of teams moving forward and some not so great performances from my starting QB and WRs still keep me at the bottom of the pack going in to the Final Four. Still, I have plenty of confidence that I could pick up the W this week because all I do is win. Ray Rice and Boldin have a favourable matchup, Helu seems to be locked in as the ball carrier in Washington and AJ Green continues to be AJ Green. All things considered I obviously have been quite fortunate to make it this far, but that Seahawks move should go down in history as a testament to me being fucking legendary. Call the Coast Guard, cause I’m going to the ‘ship.

3. Brink

Again with this guy. He’s like a zombie in the sense he doesn’t die and would also eat a man’s penis if offered. Probably the unlikeliest of our final four squads, Leon was a fantasy football rookie headed in to the season and through a series of moves that were equal parts bold and misguided he ended up with a team that just keeps on winning, week after week. Not even going to analyze the team as I keep ripping it and it keeps making me look stupid. He does have some pretty easy match ups though and at some point maybe I should start giving him some credit. He is just one win away from the Finals. Nah. He blows.

2. Hutz

It was kind of sad to see Marc go down at the hand of Hutz. On the other hand, fuck Marc. Hutz has had a hell of a run and his team looks scarier now than ever. To think a few weeks ago I was mocking him with Tom Petty songs and now he sits on the verge of making the finals. Regardless of his fate, you have to hand it to the UBC alumnus/javelinist/mustard enthusiast, his drastic maneuvers have paid off big time and his prowess has been on full display. That being said, his team looks beatable this week. AP said he is playing Sunday, which means Harvin, who has been deadly of late, will be far less utilized. His revolving door at TE is a bit of cause for concern, Eli Manning is due to throw 16 interceptions in a game and Pittsburgh has a tough test on Monday. Really I’m just searching for problems on a team that is rolling, but if Hutz has proven anything, it’s that his squad goes low and then high, and judging from the massive wave he is riding, I fully expect him to crash and burn at some point. Let’s hope that point comes before Week 17.

1. Dockers

I’, not scared as I should be because it seems like there is nowhere to go but down for Dockers. He gets so much out of every position on a weekly basis that at some point logic would dictate there is at least a slight drop off from the likes of Gronk, Nelson and Newton. Of course, maybe they are just really good and that is just wishful thinking on my part. I guess Lawfirm only banking 19 yards last week should be solace, but it wasn’t the type of game in which he would be utilized. Also, Mike Wallace didn’t score but only because his knee grazed the ground, so no comfort there. Not gonna lie, I want them to win the least out of the remaining players, and I’m not really sure why. Probably has something to do with the fact I will have to see both of them and be reminded of it if they win, which always blows ass. If Leon wins I will just ignore his initial string of garbled french messages and then never hear about it again until next year. If Androo wins he will probably post something on the UBC Alumni newsletter homepage but then I’d never talk to him. Not like he goes on chat or anything except to poach one-liners. We don’t hang out. But if Dockers win I will have to hear their actual voices tell me they won. FUCK THAT. Havve you heard their voices? They have built a very competitive team, mostly on the back of a guy they payed $3 for and a TE nobody would have predicted would put together the season Gronk is having. I don’t know if that makes them incredibly smart or incredibly lucky. Either way, going to try to put an end to the first-year powerhouse and Western Conference Champs’ season this Sunday.

They’re called toques, not beanies, you stupid American fucks. And don’t you forget it.

Playoff Preview Part Deux

So the last couple weeks the combination of baby, alcohol and work have left me fairly sleep deprived, which has resulted in some really wierd dreams.  Two nights ago I dreamt I went to Israel and for some reason there were dead dogs all over the street, and I was being chased by some crazy dude, then suddenly woke up (still in my dream) and was on a dentist chair with my pants missing.  Some dude came in and said I had to go through some secret door to meet a guy to get them back.  Started me on a loop through some huge complex where I walked through a vegetable farm, met some rich indian dude who tried to charge for my pants, then stumbled through a karaoke bar, made a left turn and ended up in a huge room where there was a sex party, and I walked past 2 trannies going at it (woke up to an image of the tranny, and am not proud to admit I was somewhat aroused).

This dream shows how fucked up I am, but also makes me think of the scrubs we’ve left behind at this point in the season.  Danny and Dan (Jewish), Prabu (Indian), Stev (vegetable brain at this point), Billy (he’s philipino right?  Karaoke), Frank (his nipples would fit in well with the tranny sex party). 

Methodology:

Gave teams a Power Rank (no relation to Rapes) which was a blend based on Total Points, Median Points, Weeks >100pts, Median Bench Points.  Then calculated a Momentum Rank blend based on a teams season standard deviation multiplied by [last 3 non-bye weeks score / 1st 3 weeks score] (meant to represent upside bias due to most recent performance and potential for upside volatility) and Strength of Schedule (I used footballoutsiders.com rankings for the 8 teams that have the easiest and hardest run and pass schedules, and then gave a squad +/- a point for each of their 7 skill players that face of vs either run or pass def).

Fantasy Playoff Schedules
 
Eight Easiest Pass Eight Toughest Pass Eight Easiest Run Eight Toughest Run
HOU IND BAL NO
BAL NYG HOU IND
WAS SEA MIA SEA
MIA SD KC JAC
DET GB CIN PHI
BUF PHI DET NE
DAL CLE DAL NYG
TEN KC OAK CAR

 

Used an equal weighting of the six metrics to come up with Total Rank.

    Raw Data              
    Total Median Weeks Median   Last 3 / STD x Stength
    Points Points > 100pts Bench pts STDEV First 3 last3/1st3 Schedule
Leprechauns   1,386.40      109.40       8.00       28.78     20.74        0.94     19.44 -4
Lionel Hutz   1,231.74        89.16       5.00       21.42     22.58        0.89     20.09 0
Hurricane Ditka   1,305.20        98.68       6.00       31.64     22.02        0.85     18.76 -1
The Brink     1,220.74        93.60       4.00       27.90     11.05        1.03     11.42 2
Dockers United   1,314.94        99.38       5.00       27.12     19.52        1.11     21.57 1
Peaty Whisky   1,264.48        98.74       6.00       30.26     21.30        0.75     16.03 0
CHL     1,348.56      110.98       7.00       16.36     19.28        0.98     18.97 -4
Rapelithsberger   1,178.10        92.26       5.00       19.92     17.87        1.02     18.31 4
Gridiron Giant   1,214.30        90.12       4.00       30.00     17.06        0.96     16.36 -1
    Rankings                
    Total Median Weeks Median POWER STD x Stength MOMENTUM TOTAL
    Points Points > 100pts Bench pts RANK last3/1st3 Schedule RANK RANK
Leprechauns 1 2 1 4 1 3 8 4 1
Lionel Hutz 6 9 5 7 7 2 4 2 6
Hurricane Ditka 4 5 3 1 2 5 6 4 3
The Brink   7 6 8 5 6 9 2 4 8
Dockers United 3 3 5 6 5 1 3 1 2
Peaty Whisky 5 4 3 2 3 8 4 7 4
CHL   2 1 2 9 3 4 8 7 4
Rapelithsberger 9 7 5 8 9 6 1 3 7
Gridiron Giant 8 8 8 3 7 7 6 9 9

Conclusion: 

Appears Danny really did deserve to miss the playoffs (note I didn’t mess with this at all, came up with a methodology and just spat out what it did).  Also appears it really only needed to be a 5 team playoff (Hutz, Brink and Rape have no shot).  It also confirmed that Brink’s team sucks despite the record, but he had the by far the lowest standard deviation is scores, which I think maybe means he was the best manager.

Leprechuan beasted all year, and unless GB sits starters going to be very tough for him to lose.

My fate this week may come down to flex.  Do I start Crabtree who’s been playing well and faces Arizona or Ricky Williams playing feeble Indy (is Baltimore going to rest Rice and just run Ricky once they have a 3td lead?)?

Large rodent in small anus.  Lets see if that gets picked up on the next google search list.

Playoff Quarterfinal Preview

Final Regular Season Record: 46-40

The time has finally come to start talkin bout PLAYOFFS.  This is the time when every decision, every catch and every drop can mean life or death.  Surviving a grueling regular season requires strong foresight from the beginning; the ability to be decisive and cutthroat dropping yesterdays hero for tomorrows prospect; to be clever and charming enough to swing advantageous trades; and to have unwavering commitment to putting forth the best starting line-up possible week in and week out.  All of the managers who remain at this point have displayed these characteristics in spades and I salute them – except Rape who seems to have some sort of agreement with Lucifer.

Self Indulgent disclaimer (feel free to skip to preview): I cannot deny that this will be a difficult preview for me to write.  Rape called me out in the power poll, accusing me of repressing the anger and despair I must feel for being knocked out of the show in such heartbreaking fashion.  Admittedly, I had gotten ahead of myself in the regular season – two weeks ago I had very little doubt in my mind that I would be in the playoffs.  But that changed after losing in week 12.  My fantasy outlook in general probably straddles realism and pessimism – so I can’t say I wasn’t somewhat prepared for this.  Of course I would love to be in the playoffs, but I cannot complain that I was hard done by.  Last year I was the team who made it further than I should have based on my points, and this year I finished slightly behind where I could have.  Them’s the breaks.  I can rest easy with the knowledge that every move I made was backed by what I consider sound evidence, and that in the long run that preparation and commitment will put me in a championship match someday. 

And without further ado, here are the Quarterfinal match-ups:

(1)Leprechauns vs. (8)LIONel Hutz

Our first match features the top seed versus the bottom.  Lep has basically been locked into the playoffs for a month, while Hutz completed a miraculous late charge (following an almost equally miraculous mid-season collapse) to get here.  The Hutz hype has begun, with the general consensus being his late season moves turned him into a true contender.  He’s entering the playoffs the right way on a hot streak, but has a monumental task in front of him right off the bat.  Lep had a lacklustre final week of the regular season, as teams who’ve locked up playoff spots often do, and will need to get back to form to avoid the embarrassment of an early exit.

QB:  Eli only has to keep it close with A-Rodge for Hutz to consider this a win.  Rodgers has the better match up, but something about Giants/Cowboys night game seems like big points to me.

WR:  Each team starts a stud and boom/bust.  I’ll take Megatron over anybody (especially against the Vikes secondary), and Torrey Smith (playing Indy) over DJax because the guy befuddles me.

RB:  Micheal Turner faces what must be a stout Panthers defense as they managed to hold LeGarrette Blount to 1.9 ypc last week.  So rest easy there Hutz.  I like Mike Bush against the Pack.  Shonne Greene exploded last week for three touchdowns, and often plays his best ball late in the season.  But the guy I’m really looking forward to watching is BEASTMODE on Monday night.

The Rest:  Percy Harvin stands out among the remaining players.  He has exploded and really taken advantage of the additional work he is seeing – I really like him to break a long play against a Lions D which loves to blitz.  (Update: Ponder doubtful, and AP back in practice – neither are good news for Harvin)  Both teams have great defenses – but I would lean towards the 49ers giving Kolb a rude welcoming to the starting job. (Update: The Pitt defense has a 12 point game going right now, but Colt is driving)

Prediction:  This game looks wide open to me and definitely has the possibility of being a huge first round upset.  But I’m not ready to pick against the Leagues top team just yet – Lep FTW.

(4)HURRICANE DITKA vs. (5)The Brink

The second match features the New Orleans Saints (sans Jimmy Graham) vs. a Brink team which looks very different than it did early in the season.  Give the Brink credit, he made some huge trades, and managed to fill in some of the gaping holes on his roster.  I still don’t believe his team has what it takes to go deep, but I’ve been wrong about his team all season long.  Another team I believe less and less in is Ditka.  I think he has a great team, but I don’t trust any team so heavily tied up in a single NFL team.  The Saints probably have a down week sometime in the next three and that’s when Ditka’s season comes to an end.

QB:  Romo outscores Brees this week.  The Giants will pick him off once or twice, but their secondary is really weak right now, and their pass rush has disappeared.

WR:  Robinson has missed some practice this week and Austin is returning.  Bowe is on Revis Island.  If Colston or Moore gets the TD’s this week should be a win for Ditka.  Could easily end up being Graham and Meachemderson though.

RB:  All around nice RB’s here.  I think Demarco does best against the Giants, followed by Mcgahee, Bush and then Sproles.

The Rest:  Both have solid tight ends, and flexes.  I like Gaffney against the Pats this week.  Bmore against Indy is boner inducing.

Prediction:  OK I found the upset I’m ready to pick à The Brink over Ditka.

(3)Dockers vs. (6)PeatyWhisky

The third match features the hottest team in the League against a team that seems to be losing steam quickly.  Dockers surpassed Ditka in the final week to win the West and push up to a 3 seed.  Peaty lost star running back Matt Forte for the entire playoffs, but will be helped by the return of Bradshaw.

QB:  Most single season rushing TD’s by a QB in his rookie season, Cam Newton is what we in the business call a fantasy lock.

WR:  Every wide receiver in this match is a guy equally capable of putting up 15+ or less than 3.  Jordy Nelson is playing inspired, VJax played well last week so shouldn’t do anything this week, and Stevie J seems to be starting to get it together.  Mike Wallace is playing right now and looking pretty mediocre. (Update 2: Wallace just scored a sick TD… or maybe not it’s getting challenged.  My pick was already made and I’m sticking to it.)

RB:  With Ryan Matthews picking up and Ahmad Bradshaw back, Peaty’s RB situation is strong despite losing Forte.  Benson and BJGE are decent options who depend on getting redzone carries if they’re going to put up solid numbers.

The Rest:  Watching Hillis do absolutely nothing so far in the Thursday nighter.  Gronkowski will have to beast to make up for it.  The Crab has a nice matchup.

Prediction:  Peaty upsets Dockers.

(2)Cool Hand Luke vs. (8)Rapethlisburger

Our final match is a rematch of last years championship game.  This time however, the roles have been flipped and the Commish is the overwhelming favorite and Crich forced to play the nobody believed in us role.

QB:  Apparently Mike Vick isn’t a good play this week coming off injury against a fiery Dolphins D.  And Phillip Rivers managed to play his best ball in a month last Monday against the Jags.  We’ll call this a tie for now.

WR:  Love Welker, but don’t trust Floyd yet.  Boldin has the sweet Colts matchup and if I’ve learned anything this season it is to trust in A.J. Green.

RB:  Ray Rice against Indy > Shady against the Dolphins.  That means the Commish needs a rejuvenated CJ to outperform Helu.  Both have decent matchups, so it should be tight.  Crich gets the nod at the Commish’s strongest position.

The Rest:  Both tight ends have seen their situations worsen, both flexes cannot be trusted.  Crich gets an extra point for the spark the Hawks defense will receive from our presence at the game.

Prediction:  Crich remains undefeated in playoff games.