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.

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.

Week 13 Preview: Playoff Steaks Edition

The Match: HURRICANE DITKA (9-3) vs. Rapelithsberger (6-6)

The Stakes: 

A win for Ditka, combined with a Lep loss could make him the Regular Season Champ.  Beyond that Ditka has all but locked up the Western Division with a game lead, and 40 points over second place Dockers should it come down to a tie-breaker. However his two-seed is still in jeopardy.  If Ditka loses, and the Commish wins and outscores Ditka by a measly 4 points, the two teams would swap seeds.  I hesitantly point out that having our champion as a three seed would be an embarrassment to the Western Division.

For Rape of course this match is life or death.  A win and he’ll take either the seven or eight seed.  A loss, combined with a win from either Hutz or Insano (who would also have to outscore Rape by 7 pts) would knock the defending and still champion of the League into the consolation bracket.

The Players:

QB: VY put up big numbers against a terrible Pats secondary last week.  He’ll have to repeat that against an occasionally stingy Seahawks defence at CenturyLink this Thursday to have any hope of keeping pace with Brees.

WR: By starting 80% of the Saints offense Ditka is able to greatly reduce the week to week variability of getting touchdowns from his wideouts.  Between Colston and Moore at least one of them should be in for a solid day, and the way Brees is playing probably both.  Boldin and Green are facing the best and third best pass defences in the League (the best being the Browns, largely because of the emergence of shutdown corner Joe Haden – bad news for Boldin).

RB: Sproles and Murray have both emerged as studs, and both have promising match ups this week.  Because of the Browns surprising pass defence I expect the Ravens to lean even more heavily than usual on Ray Rice which could mean big numbers – and Rape will need them.  Helu blew up last week, and Shanny finally gave him the starting gig (which it was pretty clear he should have done around week 3).

The Rest:  Witten puts up fantasy numbers every other week so he’s due for a good game. Owen Daniels could be good if Yates leans on him as many poor QB’s do with their TE.  Burleson is a better flex than Ex-Flex Jones.  The Pats Defence should be solid in a game with one of the largest spreads (NFL) in Vegas history.

Prediction:  It all comes down to the Saints.  I fully expect the NFC East leading Cowboys to choke against the Cards, but Demarco should be fine regardless.  If the Saints beast again, which they probably will, Crich will be in for a long Sunday night.  I’m taking Ditka.

PeatyWhisky (7-5) vs. Suck It Trebek (2-10)

The Stakes:

A win from Peaty combined with a loss from the Brink could easily move Peaty up into the five seed.  Even Dockers four seed is reasonably attainable with a high score and losses from Dockers and the Brink for Peaty.  He has a decent cushion over the seven seed (myself) and is unlikely to fall backwards.  If the playoffs were today he would play his brother in a first round showdown.

The Players:

QB:  Stafford should be passing a lot with no decent running game and a likely shootout against the Saints.  Dalton has a tougher match with the Steelers.

WR:  VJax is another every other game guy, so he should bounce back against the Jags.  Stevie J is taking his craziness to new levels, and for a brief time that usually means good things (before overdosing on pills).  Dez is a bit more consistent than Stevie and Brandon Lloyd is more consistent than either one of them… but he’s going up against the 49ers on the road.

RB:  Forte is the clear stud here.  Mendenhall was able to beast against a solid Cinci D two weeks ago, and the Steelers may turn to him again after their offensive struggles last week against the Chiefs.  Matthews and Tolbert project pretty close with Matthews getting all the yards and Tolbert taking the TDs.

The Rest:  Jimmy G is the best TE in the league, but Gonzalez always has a decent shot at a TD.  Looks like Bradshaw won’t be back yet so Peaty will probably start Denarious.  I would probably play Moss or Ingram over Garcon if I were SIT.

Prediction:  SIT projects higher, but I’ll take Peaty to close out with a win.

Cool Hand Luke (8-4) vs. Leprechauns (9-3)

The Stakes:

CHL could move into the two seed with a win, or as far back as a five seed with a loss (combined with wins from Dockers and The Brink).  CHL also has an outside shot at winning the November points race – he needs to outscore Dockers by 18, and outscore CP.

A win for Leprechauns basically secures him the top seed.  Even with a loss, he probably cannot fall lower than two, and is a lock to win the Eastern Division.

The Players:

QB:  An underperforming Rivers hopes to avoid embarrassment on Monday night against an underrated Jacksonville D.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jags rallied after JDR was finally fired and played an inspired game.  And Rodgers takes on a Giants defence who has previously relied on their pass rush to make up for inexperienced linebackers and a shaky secondary.  And they no longer seem to have a pass rush.  And I’m going to bet on them.  And the Jags.  And the Cards.  Might not be a pretty week.

WR:  Wes Welker plays Indy which is good news for CHL considering his WR2 is Dexter McCluster – a guy who shouldn’t even be started at flex.  Greg Jennings looks to be in for a good week.  Torrey Smith could be explosive, unless the Browns decide that he, not Boldin, should be covered by Haden.

RB:  If CJ2K is back, and Shady just keeps bein Shady CHL has a scary ground game.  I’m praying Turner gets hurt in practice this week so I can confidently start Jacquizz at flex.  Beast Mode should be good against a weak Philly run D.

The Rest:  Both have solid TE’s who probably don’t get the targets they deserve.  DWill has a nice match-up and is a better play than the banged up Starks.

Prediction:  I’ll take CHL in the upset, thanks to the Giants pride kicking in and holding the Packers in check.  In combination with my Ditka pick, this puts the number one seed as a Western Team, which is appealing as well.

Dockers United FC (8-4) vs. captain insano (5-7)

The Stakes:

Dockers could climb to the three seed with a win and a loss from CHL.  Or they could fall as far as a six seed if they were to lose, and The Brink and Peaty were to win (by more than 20 in Peaty’s case).  Dockers is also the favourite to win the November points race with an 18 point lead on second place.

As sickening as it is, captain insano has an outside shot at making the playoffs.  Whether or not he even cares if he gets in is debatable.  No waiver moves this week, despite having Jahvid Best on IR on his bench.  Twice leaving positions empty this year, once that I can remember last year.  He can get in if he wins, Rape loses, and he can outscore Rape by 7 pts.

The Players:

QB:  Cam and Freeman face off in real football and in fake football this week.  I’ll take Tampa in real and Cam in fake.

WR:  My Stev rant has me feeling a little down, so I’m going to brighten the mood with a Brandon Marshall story that just hit the news.

From Rotoworld: “Brandon Marshall was handcuffed and briefly detained by police in Broward County, FL after being accused of fleeing a $142 cab fare.  The incident happen at around 5AM on November 14 at the Florida International Airport. The issue was resolved, but not until after Marshall tried to get out of paying. “He didn’t know where he wanted to go,” the driver said. “When I woke him up and told him he had to pay, he said he wasn’t and started arguing for me to take him home.” After exiting the cab and trying to flee in another, Marshall blamed the “misunderstanding” on the cab driver’s “accent.” Marshall’s agent, Kennard McGuire, claims his client was “completely innocent.”

RB: I don’t like any RB’s in this match.  Benson, SJax, and Beanie all have bad matchups.  BJGE will be getting pulled after New England puts up a huge lead in the first half to give rookie Shane Vereen a go.

The Rest:  The other best TE in the league Gronk should beast against the Colts.

Prediction:  Dockers puts an end to an insano season.  Stev demonstrates that he cares about the League by giving a solid attempt to win the consolation bracket.

LIONel Hutz (5-7) vs. Juice (3-9)

The Stakes:

Hallelujah! Lionel Hutz completely retooled his team to give himself the best shot at winning week 12 and 13 and was able to snap a five week losing streak at the midnight hour to keep himself in contention.  This week he is once again in a life or death match.  He must win his match, combined with a Rape loss, or a loss from myself while outscoring me by 24 to sneak in.

The Players:

QB: Eli will be throwing a lot against the Packers since the Giants have little ability to run the ball, and has a good shot at outscoring Matt Ryan.

WR:  Juice is making a ballsy play here starting Titus over Santonio, likely because he expects the Lions Saints game to be a shootout.  I like it.  Unfortunately he’s up against Megatron.  Percy Harvin looks explosive and is getting tons of touches with AP out.  Julio is still an inconsistent option.

RB:  Micheal Bush is projecting low against a surprisingly strong Dolphins Run D this week, but I haven’t seen anyone stop him yet.  MJD should find room to run against a weak Charger Run D.  A banged up Shonn Greene and CJ Spiller are never guys you want to be counting on.

The Rest:  DJax seems to barely have a job right now, but could easily go for 200yds and 2 TD’s any given week.  Who knows.  Hardesty looks banged up and is questionable to play, but Juice has several decent options to sub in.  The Atlanta D will sell out to try and bottle up Foster – if they can, then they have opportunities when Yates puts up the ball.

Prediction:  Hutz narrowly beats Juice, and is able to complete his 2011 revenge season over Rape by stealing the eight seed.

The Wops!! (4-8) vs. The Brink (8-4)

The Stakes:

Due to his low point total The Brink can really only slide back (to the six seed) this week, should he lose and Peaty win.  Any other outcome and he’s sittin pretty at five.

QB:  The Pats are a 21 point favourite over the Colts!  I’ll take Brady, even though Romo has a nice match too.

WR:  Somehow Robinson keeps getting it done for the Brink, and there’s no reason it can’t continue with Austin likely out another week.  Fitz is great, but as usual who knows if the Cards can get him the ball.  Roddy seems to be returning to form (too late for the Wops).  And Baldwin could see an increase in targets with Sidney Rice being placed on IR.

RB:  Willis McGahee is getting a ton of touches in Tebowland and is making the best of them behind what must be a pretty good Broncos offensive line.  Reggie Bush narrowly missed double digits last week, but has been downright solid for five weeks in a row.  Gore could have a nice game against the Rams, although he hasn’t been all that good in the last month and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s slowing down the stretch.  MaMo will probably start for the Lions for whatever that’s worth.

The Rest:  Gates is another guy returning to form finally, and should be good this week if Rivers can hold it together.  Branch and Washington are both extremely inconsistent.

Prediction:  The Brink closes out with a win.

Gridiron GIANT (6-6) vs. CHRIST PUNCHERS (4-8)

The Stakes:

I am in the fortunate position of controlling my own destiny, and with a win I would hold the seven seed.  A loss, combined with a Hutz win (and outscoring me by 24) and a Rape win would bounce me out of the playoffs.

CP has a shot at winning the month if he can outscore Dockers by 18, and outscore CHL.  Although I am confident he would take more pleasure in spoiling my season.

The Players:

QB:  Right now I’m leaning towards my man Tim Tebow (which should make this game an easy pick for the Big Guy upstairs – as if CP hadn’t pissed him off enough).  I go up against a guy who I’ve never missed an opportunity to bash, Carson Palmer.  These are both QB’s who can put up big numbers… but everyone is kind of waiting for that disaster game from.  Interesting to see what happens.

WR:  Hakeem Nicks managed to survive a couple huge hits last game, and looked pretty good adding yards on after every catch.  Still, the clear number one in New York right now is Victor Cruz.  Hopefully the Packers have noticed this, and pay him some extra attention.  Antonio Brown is kind of a Victor Cruz lite in Pittsburgh (just subtract all the TD’s) in that he gets all the targets which went to Wallace last year.  He has a tough match up with Cinci, but I got tons of faith in Downtown.  Steve Smith is going to be his usual scary self – I’m counting on you Aquib Talib.

RB:  Blount has a great match up with Carolina, and I’ll need him to really step up in absence of AP and Kevin Smith.  Arian Foster is match up proof (although this is a bad one), and probably doesn’t need a QB.  Pierre Thomas has been doing good things on limited touches, but is not all that reliable with Ingram and Sproles to share the work with.  J Stew is also doing good things and has a great match up against the Bucs.

The Rest:  We have similarly inconsistent TE’s.  Amidst my injury issues, I don’t really have a solid flex at the moment.  I was leading towards Vereen and praying for garbage time.  Green Bay is the better D, but I’m counting on TJax to give the Eagles some turnovers.  Dan Bailey is America, for what that’s worth.

Prediction:  I really do think this is an extremely tight match.  And you know who to count on in those don’t you?

Record to Date: 41-39