State Of The League 2016
Published Tue Oct 25, 2016 11:45pm PST
My fellow Fantasy Americans,
The season is halfway over. Many have said it has gone on too long, that there are too many debates. Do I start Devonta Freeman or Tevin Coleman? Is Ty Montgomery a wide receiver or a running back?
For many, times are hard. Teams have struggled. The Great Chargers ACL Recession of early 2016 was one of our darkest times. Spirits are low. But as First Lady Michelle Obama says, "When they go low, we go high." I assume she was talking about fantasy.
We've still got six more weeks to go and, unlike the Cardinals-Seahawks game, somebody's got to win this thing. It might as well be you! Don't build a wall around your destiny. Grab it by the David Johnson. Your leaked emails may reveal you tried to trade Jay Ajayi for Brian Hoyer, but all that is behind you now. Let the taste of victory give you the Jones like Julio and Marvin and may you never Carlos Hyde in the shadows again. It's time to win so much you're gonna get tired of winning. You can do it. You can make America Cameron Brate again!
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless fantasy football.
Maybe that state doesn't apply to your union--I mean, fantasy team. But one of the following 12 breakdowns does. And if you're a good boy and read all 12, you get a shiny new nickel that doesn't exist. What? You think I'm made of nickels?!
You know the deal by now. Week 10 is the only week left this season that has no direct bearing on the conference races because it's the only week left without any division or conference head-to-heads. Weeks 8, 11, and 13 are wall-to-wall division and conference matchups and Week 9 has four conference knuckle-ups as well. There's no easier way to stake your claim as conference champ than to dominate those weeks.
The league overall is down in points from this time a year ago. That must be a testament to how horrible fantasy football has been this year. However, the Vertical Conference is up 2 games from a year ago and currently holds a 6-game lead over the Horizontal Conference. With 5,484.1 points and a 24-18 record, it's the second year in a row this conference has been on top.
The VC boasts the top 3 teams in the league and even rounds out the upper half with a team in 6th place. This has got to be the first time we've had four 5-2 teams at once, and three reside in the Vertical Conference. The North Division has a team that's #1 across the board and it's still a tight race for first in the division. Meanwhile, in the South Division, the worst team in the conference is still higher seeded than half the Horizontal Conference. Enough beating around the bush: let's talk teams.
[BFS] Black Francis Soyer 5-2, 983.1 pts
Numero uno negro.
Soyer has wasted no time in his return to the league. After an opening week loss, the team stormed into first place on a 5-game win streak. Last week's defeat--thanks mostly to RB Terrance West's 1-point game--was only further bittered by BFS having the 2nd highest score of the week. On the bright side, it led to him overtaking the points lead. Despite losing Adrian Peterson and Eric Decker for the season, Black Francis has more than soldiered on. A revived Jimmy Graham and T Y Hilton will do that for you. Several teams are breathing down his neck for the league's top spot and he still has to face the #2 and #3 scorers in the league in STLiens and BLACK WALL STREET. But BFS looks a cinch to claim a playoff spot by Week 10.
Div. matchup wks: 8[B&G], 13[Hm]
Conf. matchup wks: 11[STL]
[B&G] The Black & The Goaled 5-2, 911.2 pts
The Steel Hurtin'.
Win win lose, win win lose. That's the pattern with which Black & Goaled began the season. At that rate, they'd end up 9-4, clearly in the playoffs, and maybe even Vertical Conference champion. But not so fast. Tough conference matchups against division adversaries Black Francis and Hitmen lie ahead as well as sneaky good STLiens. Black & Goaled will need stronger QB play from Kirk Cousins if the team hopes to take the conference lead. The team is loaded with potential. The problem is, they're all sometime-y. It seems great to have guys like Melvin Gordon, Willie Snead, Golden Tate and Davante Adams; but when do you start them?
Div. matchup wks: 8[BFS], 11[Hm]
Conf. matchup wks: 9[STL] , 13[CGR]
[Hm] Hitmen 3-4, 863.9 pts
Div: 3rd (last)
Hitmen started strong, then things went bad quickly. Carson Palmer may be the fantasy fraud of the year. You can guarantee Hitmen wants his money back after snatching him in Round 5 of the draft. Keeper DeAndre Hopkins has disappointed. Last season, the receiver rarely scored below 20; this season, he's only topped it once. It's a testament to the rest of the squad that Hitmen has managed to hover around .500 at the present. The return of Gronkowski (thanks to the return of Tom Brady) seems to have been key in righting the ship. Hitmen's tilt the rest of the way is 50/50 against above- and below-.500 teams, so hovering at a game around .500 seems to be his future as well.
Div. matchup wks: 11[B&G], 13[BFS]
Conf. matchup wks: 8[GTD], 9[CGR], 12[STL]
[STL] STLiens 5-2, 967.6 pts
Beam me up, Scotty.
Thanks to an awesome corps of QBs in Cam Newton and Matt Ryan, STLiens has had impressive scores every other week this season. Topping 150 every other week, it's no wonder the team has the second biggest bank of points in the league. That points stash is largely bolstered by Julio Jones and his Week 4 outburst of 48 points. Lesser-knowns such as Cole Beasley and C.J. Fiedorowicz have been crucial in providing support with Doug Martin sidelined (again) and C.J. Anderson dipping. Five of STL's final six games are within the conference, meaning he's the master of his own destiny in his drive to the Vertical Conference crown.
Div. matchup wks: 8[CGR], 13[GTD]
Conf. matchup wks: 9[B&G], 11[BFS], 12[Hm]
[GTD] GameTime Decision 3-4, 906.3 pts
Last minute substitution.
For a long time, GameTime could only win when his opponent didn't reach 100. That ended in Week 7 with a 164-155.3 win over league leader Black Francis. The win shot GTD up 4 spots in the rankings. GameTime's running back corps has been decimated with Lacy, Stewart, Jennings, and Starks all having missed games. Week 7's pickup of Jeremy Hill was a welcome addition with an unexpected 26.2 points. Keepers Andrew Luck and Antonio Brown have mostly held up their end of the bargain, but unless they can get back to 2014 levels, GameTime won't see the playoffs. Winning the conference is almost certainly out of the question with only three conference matchups left this season.
Div. matchup wks: 11[CGR], 13[STL]
Conf. matchup wks: 8[Hm]
[CGR] Can't get right 3-4, 126.9 pts
Conf: 6th (last)
Div: 3rd (last)
The beast with no backs.
The team changed its name to reflect its tough start. After beginning 0-4 and averaging less than 100 points per game, Can't get right finally got right with back-to-back-to-back wins of 158, 181.3, and 126.9 points, respectively. This season, Odell Beckham, Jr. struggled with losing and a kicking net, but get right's losses weren't so much Beckham's fault as it was a general team anemia. Stafford and Wilson seemed to take turns being the go-to guy each week, except they forgot to tell the coach who to go to. At the bottom of the league in points, Can't get right will need to stack a lot of wins to get cleanly into the playoffs. With 4 of his final 6 matchups against top-6 teams, that's a tall order.
Div. matchup wks: 8[STL], 11[GTD]
Conf. matchup wks: 9[Hm], 13[B&G]
At 18-24, this is the Horizontal Conference's lowest mark in 3 years. Last season, the HC at least outranked the VC in points, but this year, there's no bright spot. With 5,387.3 points, the Horizontal Conference is down 203.7 from last year which calculates to 33.95 less points per team and 4.85 less points per game. Blame it on the draft, I guess. Blame it on the dra-a-a-aft-a-a-a-aft... Sorry, that was a different time.
How's this for unlucky? The East Division has a team that is 3rd in the league in points, yet only two spots ahead of last place. Before you laugh, the West Division has a team that's 4th in points and sits in 11th place. Yeah. It's not all bad in the Horizontal Conference, though. I mean, it couldn't be, right? Let's take a look see.
[AM] Allstate Mayhem 4-3, 896.9 pts
Locked and semi-loaded.
What losses? After starting 0-2, Allstate rattled off 4 straight wins to take over the division. Unfortunately, Week 7's loss knocked him out of 1st place in the conference. Totaling over 100 combined yards every game this season, RB David Johnson is the king of fantasy. Todd Gurley not so much. But Allstate has gotten enough out of him and the rest of the guys to average 128.13 points per game. Match that to the generously weak 115.53 points per game his opponents have offered and it's no wonder Mayhem has bloomed. A Week 6 trade for Tom Brady cost a couple of early draft picks, but that's Future Allstate's problem. Present Allstate has a deadly QB out for revenge. And Near Future Allstate has a 6-game schedule loaded with conference matchups and the opportunity to show the Horizontal Conference who's boss.
Div. matchup wks: 8[DP], 11[BWS]
Conf. matchup wks: 9[OCSB], 12[TCK], 13[Dx]
[BWS] BLACK WALL STREET 2-5, 932.6 pts
The market takes a plunge.
Early success was followed with a string of failure. Even though Wall Street ranks 3rd overall in points, he's had the misfortune of matching up with teams on their best weeks of the season in every one of his losses except for last week's. There is no shortage of studs in the running game with McCoy, Ajayi, and the resurgent DeMarco Murray. But while receiver Jarvis Landry may be able to lay down a hit, he has been very mediocre. And 2015 stud Allen Robinson has straight up crapped the bed. The team will need more consistent quarterback play from Jameis Winston if it hopes to survive Round 1 of the playoffs, much less even make the postseason. Top priority is investing in a rabbit's foot.
Div. matchup wks: 11[AM], 13[DP]
Conf. matchup wks: 8[TCK], 9[Dx]
[DP] Da,Pope 2-5, 908.0 pts
League: 12th (last)
Conf: 6th (last)
Div: 3rd (last)
Pope is 6th in points but sits as far outside of playoff contention as anyone can. The team has split wins in both the division and conference. It seems like most of the losses can be chalked up to random underperformances by what should have been sure starts. Week 7's one-catch night by Jordy Nelson comes to mind. Or how about A.J. Green's 2-for-38 Week 2 dumper? Choosing a QB to start had been a coin toss until last week's acquisition of Philip Rivers from division rival Allstate Mayhem. Pope goes for the season sweep of Mayhem this week. With only 2 opponents in the top-6 of scoring left on the schedule, DP still has a chance to earn some money back.
Div. matchup wks: 8[AM], 13[BWS]
Conf. matchup wks: 11[OCSB]
[OCSB] OC Savage Blacks 5-2, 878.8 pts
The undefeated minus two.
The Savage Blacks started off stronger than anyone, being the sole undefeated team going into Weeks 4 and 5. The team stumbled a bit for a couple weeks thanks to losing Roethlisberger to injury and thanks to...I don't know, let's say player fatigue. LeGarrette Blount has done his best WB frog impersonation: mute in his starts and shining on the bench. The team has a hoard of QBs, but none really. Trading away Brady may prove to be regretful, but at least OC won't have to face his 5th round draft pick as Brady is on bye the week Allstate Mayhem comes calling. Times have been good, but OC Savage Blacks will need to get his point totals up if he hopes to keep the winning going.
Div. matchup wks: 8[Dx], 13[TCK]
Conf. matchup wks: 9[AM], 11[DP]
[TCK] The Comeback Kid 3-4, 856 pts
They call him The Streak.
Opening the season 0-4, The Comeback Kid came back by rattling off 3 straight wins. Week 7 saw Kid vault from last in the conference up three spots into 3rd. Though below-.500, the record is pretty impressive considering the absence of #1 pick Jordan Reed and the Jeckyll and Hyde nature of his fellow tight end and fantasy teammate Delanie Walker. Comeback's point totals have been a little anemic. Averaging 122.29 points per game, it will be hard for The Kid to keep the win train moving going up against teams who outscore that mark regularly. Most of those stare downs will be within the Horizontal Conference, so if Comeback can keep those Ws rolling in, he'll have a good shot at the conference prize.
Div. matchup wks: 11[Dx], 13[OCSB]
Conf. matchup wks: 8[BWS], 12[AM]
[Dx] Detox 2-5, 915 pts
Div: 3rd (last)
At 2-1, things looked rosy for Detox. The team averaged 140 over that stretch. That average dropped to 123.75 over the four games since. It didn't help that the competition got stronger. It straight up hurts that so many players on the team have had ouchies. Keepers Jamaal Charles and Thomas Rawls have missed so much time this season that they have 22.7 points combined. The bright spot of Detox's running back depth is rookie Ezekiel Elliott who has had 4 straight weeks of 130+ yards rushing. Just rushing! Old man Brees continues to be Brees-y, passing like he's racking up frequent flyer miles on every throw. What's not breezy is the murderer's row of conference matchups Detox has coming up.
Div. matchup wks: 8[OCSB], 11[TCK]
Conf. matchup wks: 9[BWS], 13[AM]
And there you have the state of the league. Teams are so bunched together that everyone really does still have a shot at the playoffs. Heck, everyone still has a shot at winning their conference. All it takes is a little lady luck. And I'm with her.
~That OT Kick-Shanking Mofo ~