Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Week 12 Rankings, Playoff Predictions, and more!

There’s too much going on to waste time on a long, overdone intro. This league is tighter than Noord in a schmedium t-shirt and with two weeks to play in the regular season eight teams have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs.

Four teams are tied with records of 7-5, three teams tied at 6-6. Creasman sits alone, on top, at 8-4 with a rock solid lead on points scored. So that’s where we’ll start…

1. Creasman (8-4)
Points Scored: 1,502.26
With a huge (and apparently really easy) win over Neil last night, Creasman jumps to the top of the league and holds an enormous one game lead over the four of us in second place. Riding Drew Brees’ 5 TD performance last night, Eric also gets the giant benefit of having an +80 point differential over the second highest league scorer (Ricky: 1,424.98).

What does that mean? Creas is a lock for the playoffs. In this league, 9-5 gets you a playoff spot and 8-6 gets you into the tie-breaker (total points scored). With an 80 point lead and two games left to play, Creasman will walk into the playoffs even if he loses his next two (at Noord, and home to Sam).

In a surprising move, Eric went counter-culture and decided not to throw his season intentionally like his hometown favorite Colts. Who are, and I repeat, throwing their season intentionally by trotting out Painter, Orvlosky, and company. Intentionally. Throwing. Their. Season. Scoundrels! All of them!

Also worth noting, this continues the streak of “Only Writing Blogs when Creasman is at the Top of the League”. I’m inconsistent…like Vincent Jackson. And Desean Jackson…and Mike Vick…and Anquan Boldin….and Fred Davis.

Speaking of all of those guys:

2. Ricky (7-5)
Points Scored: 1,424.98
After losing two (read, TWO!) starting RBs, Fred Jackson and Adrian Peterson, last week to injury we figured Ricky was dead in the water. But, in the ultimate show of Brotherly Love, our dedicated Regional Director for Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, Inc. offered Ricky the opportunity to go ahead and win this week despite starting Toby Gerhart and CJ Spiller at RB. Thanks Bryan! You're a pal! 

Added in was an injury to Mike Vick, that kept him out for the second straight week, and the only logical starting QB for Ricky was Vince Young. Let me remind you that he won this week. AND SCORED MORE POINTS THAN MY TEAM! With Vince Young! Absolutely, un-real.

Never count Ricky out. He always hangs around. Like a parasite. A parasite with a really cute son.

3. Perry (7-5)
Points Scored: 1,417.36
Has his karma finally run out? After squeaking out win after win after win, Perry has dropped two huge games in a row. With tough matchups against TJB and Ricky in the next two weeks its possible he finishes 7-7. It’s also very possible Aaron Rodgers takes him to 9-5. Rodgers...so dreamy.

More pressing, however, was Perry losing Darren McFadden and not handcuffing him to Michael Bush. That was a crucial mistake this season and may well cost him the playoffs. Instead of Perry continuing to dominate the league, we've been forced to watch Noord climb the rankings riding the incredible production of Mike Bush in DMC’s absence. I’m proposing that if Noord wins the league 15% of his winnings should go to Perry for this egregious lapse in judgment.

4. Noord (7-5)
Points Scored: 1,396.30
He had no help from his WRs this week (Dez and Mike Wallace combined for 7.7 points), but he’s been riding a wave of RB production that makes Ricky salivate. With MJD producing like MJD in 2009, and Mike Bush producing like…well…Darren McFadden, and CJ2K’s random appearances as a competent running back, Noord’s team is capable of scoring in bunches.

What happens when DMC returns and CJ2k goes back to CJ0k?  I assume Dez and Wallace combine for 40 that week. It’s a dangerous team, folks. Watch out.

Even though his rapid ascension was slowed momentarily by that scrappy Sam Persons team, he’s still a favorite to make the playoffs in my book.

Keep an eye out for the huge matchup between Noord and Creasman this week. It can take them both to 8-5, or allow Creasman to clinch a playoff spot at 9-4 with one game to play (vs. Sam).

How exciting is this league?!?! And we’re only at the 4th ranked team?!

5. AJ (7-5)
Points Scored: 1,381.50
I’ve been squeaking out wins over teams during their bad weeks. I have two must-win games coming up (let’s be honest though, what game isn’t must-win at this point?) against Ricky and Neil. I have to win those two if I want to get into the playoffs because trying to win a tiebreaker at 8-6 won’t work. I’m currently 7th in the league in Points Scored. 7th….out of 10.

I’m telling you, I’ve been sneezing my way through these wins. I haven’t had a dominate win for a couple of weeks. I need my guys to get back on track! With Stafford’s finger in a splint, Calvin hasn’t been producing (which means Stafford’s been mediocre too). Jennings is coming off injury, Finley is lost in the assortment of passing options Rodgers has, Sproles’ production has dropped off and I’m fighting week by week on whether to start Antonio Brown or Willis McGahee in my flex spot. DeMarco Murray has been a bright spot for me though. So there’s one. Out of seven.

6. TJB (6-6)
Points Scored: 1,420.56
So the guy with a .500 record who is in 6th place is 3rd in the league in points scored and only 4 points behind the guy in second (Ricky). He’s been steadily climbing since he started 1-5 and couldn’t buy a win (I’m sure it’s because he wasn’t allowed keepers), and I honestly think he’s going to make the playoffs. If he can beat Perry (who’s been sliding) and Jimmy (who's up and down) he’ll win the Points Scored tiebreaker and get in at 8-6.

Then again, he’s been unlucky all season so it’d be fitting if he crushed Perry and then got decimated by Jimmy. He’s the New York Giants of the Fantasy League: always seemingly a contender at the end, but a mess during the beginning, middle, and the first part of the end.

7. Sam (6-6)
Points Scored: 1,388.20
For some reason we’ve all doubted Sam this entire season. All attention has been given to TJB for having an unlucky season but look at these point totals from Sam:

108, 118, 98, 110, 128, 105, 121, 133, 119, 73, 129, 140

That only got him six wins?!

He’s only had two weeks below 100 points, and seven above 118. I’ve given credit to his sneakily good backwards trades, but he’s built a solid all-around team and stuck with it. Victor Cruz has been a tremendous surprise for him after losing Andre for most of the season. Baltimore’s Defense has come through for him in a big way multiple times, Brandon Lloyd wasn’t a one-year wonder like we all thought, Cam is the real deal (in Fantasy value, not NFL Wins-value), Gore has exceeded expectations and Cedric Benson has even added value in recent weeks.

Am I bitter that my team is better on paper, has more wins, yet fewer total points, and a worse shot to make the playoffs than Sam’s team? Only a little bit. With wins over Jimmy and Creasman, he could slide into the playoffs at 8-6 on his point total (again, which is higher than mine).

8. Jimmy (6-6)
Points Scored: 1,283.90
Our final playoff contender. Jimmy’s lackluster point total will likely keep him out of the playoffs, but he’s got a team that can surprise you any week. Just like this one when he trumped Austin 120-103. You really never know what you’re getting with Jimmy’s team, which makes him dangerous. With games against Sam and TJB he’s more likely to keep someone out of the playoffs than he is to make it himself. But anything, literally ANYTHING, is possible in this league.

9. Neil (5-7)
Points Scored: 1,375.78
That was satisfying to write. A ninth place fall from grace from Philly Neil? It’s incredible really, but almost entirely self-inflicted. Giving up Vick and McCoy for Forte, Ryan Matthews, and Desean Jackson just doesn’t seem right in retrospect. But things happen in Fantasy Football. His QB production has been mediocre all year, his WR production has been severely limited, and his RBs just haven’t been consistent.

At some point he’s had all these players start for him: Mike Vick, Tim Tebow, Roddy White, Larry Fitzgerald, Steven Jackson, Matt Forte, Lesean McCoy, Ryan Matthews, Rob Gronkowski, Jason Witten, Desean Jackson, and Sebastian Janikowski.

That team should be putting up 160 points a week, right?

All that's left is trying to convince Gunst to pass up on Aaron Rodgers next year.

10. Gunst (1-11)
Points Scored (not that it matters): 1,233.76
Aaron Rodgers! Arian Foster! AJ Green! Not bad to start your season with those guys drafted in rounds 1, 3, and 8 respectively.  Or you could go Peterson/Foster. Or Rice/Foster.  Megatron/Foster (don’t take Calvin from me!) The possibilities are limitless!

I guess what I’m saying is…it’s never too early to start developing your draft strategy for next year.

I give credit to the guy for never giving up, playing for pride and making a good trade right before the deadline to fill out his starters. And hey, if Creasy can go worst-to-first, so can you. Next year.

Modified Playoff Predictions:
1. Creasman
2. Noord
3. Austin
4. TJB

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Attention Penn State University

Let me be clear: I know how much Joe Paterno means to Penn State. I know how much Nittany Lion Football means to the pleasant utopia of Happy Valley. I know JoePa will always be synonymous with Penn State Football, and rightfully so.

I’ve been to Penn State on game day. I have many friends who go (or went) there, and I’ve experienced firsthand what it’s like. I also understand how much PSU students love their school, their football team, and their college experience. And, although I’ll never fully understand how it feels, I get why the students feel the need to respond emotionally to this ordeal in some way.

But how dare they.

How dare they support this man, this school, and this program? How dare they rally around a figure during an event as egregious and nefarious as this?

Now is not the time to celebrate PSU tradition! Now is not the time to support an iconic figure! Now is the time to react, weed out the guilty, and punish all those involved in this morally putrid wrongdoing.

I won’t get into the moral responsibility of Mike McQuery, Joe Paterno, the Athletic Director, the Vice President, and so on. They’re all in the wrong and all need to be fired and given leave to deal with their deplorable consciousness.

I will get into the stark reality that says this vile, evil, and most despicable of all acts was covered up for TWO DECADES to save the reputation of a coach and iconic football program.

Happy Valley has put the reputation of a man and an athletic program over the sanctity and well-being of innocent little boys. The very thing PSU students appear to be celebrating is the very thing that was used as a justification to not pursue, convict, and destroy a man who was molesting young boys.

When did we forget who this was really about?

I don’t care about JoePa’s part in this. That couldn’t concern me less, but he is the figurehead so the attention is his.

I do care about the lives of young boys who will never be the same. They will never be whole again. They have been scarred in the deepest ways physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. For two decades this went on. For two decades this was covered up, not looked into, and no legal action was taken.

And for what? Football? Reputation? Tradition?

I spit on the reputation of a school willing to let a football program be more important than the lives of children.

Now is not the time to celebrate what the school stands for, or to give your support to Joe Paterno. Now is the time to root out the evil that has infested this organization in the most corrupt way imaginable.

We grilled Michael Vick for years. We hated him, spat at him, defamed him, and mocked him relentlessly for fighting dogs. Now we chant “We want Joe!” when young boys (humans!) are molested and raped.

When did we become so morally bankrupt? How did we let a football program, and a man, become so big?

Those PSU students standing up for child abuse and rallying around the families and victims, I applaud you. But, to the others, do not celebrate the tradition of a school that has been so penetrated by vile men so willing to put a football program above the sanctity of human life.

I weep for the kids. No one else.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Ducal Crown Rankings - Founders Day Edition

This post in honor of Sigma Phi Epislon's Founder's Day (Nov. 1), and the Christopher Newport Univeristy's VA Pi Chapter's Founder Day (Oct. 31)...and Fantasy Football

Seven years ago, a group of fresh faced college students signed a sheet of paper indicating they were interested in being a part of a fraternity. None of them knew what they were getting into or signing up for. It was a group as eclectic as the crowd at a Wiggles concert featuring Busta Rhymes.

You had athletes, academics, musicians, gays, straights, Butters (both), partiers, Christians, Christians who loved to party, ROTC guys, black, white, Asian, Nader (wherever he’s from), flaccid armed 98-pound weaklings (Ricky May), and…well…Eric Creasman, who is quantifiably un-categorizable. They were uniquely able to grind each other’s gears, rub each other the wrong way, and get in each other’s faces, while disagreeing on every issue and building one of the elite chapters of Sigma Phi Epsilon. Now home to two Buchanan Cup’s, the highest award a chapter of SigEp can achieve.

Seven years later we recruit that same assorted platter of individuals, this time on purpose. Only through diversity do we achieve growth. And, to this day, when they show up to their first recruitment event, they don’t know what they’re signing up for.

I’m proud of my fraternity. I’m proud of the way we break some stereotypes and reinforce others. I’m proud of the type of men we recruit, and, more importantly, the quality of the men we recruit. I’m proud of the unique bond that ties us together, and the stupid disagreements that make us treat each other like, well, real brothers.

I’m proud to have been affected, challenged, and had my thinking changed by people who were nothing like me. I’m proud to have as good a relationship with guys who are four years older than me as I do with guys who are four years younger than me. Because, what brings us together transcends age, race, creed, or poop jokes.

And I’m proud to have a group of guys who will support my writing, my bizarre sense of humor, my deep love of Aaron Rodgers, and forgive me when acting like a self-righteous, pompous donkey.

You’ve taught me you don’t have to be a Christian to be a good person.

But you should. No seriously you guys, you wanna talk about fulfillment in life, JC is the answer. SigEp shouldn’t be the answer, it should be an accent to your life, and amplify your faith and relationships. But that’s just my opinion. It also happens to be right.

Happy Founder’s Day (week), it’s been an honor to have you all in my life and to beat you on the fantasy football field.

Rankings in order of league standings because everyone is too lazy to send power rankings.

10. Gunst 
Poor Bryan. Poor, poor, Bryan. His entire team finally produces and he loses to me by 4 points because of a few garbage time catches by Dez Bryant. Not to make the wound fester, but they announced Beanie Wells would play right before the game started and, had he been placed in Gunst’s lineup, he would have scored 8 more points than Marshawn Lynch (his replacement). Those 8 points would have given Gunst a big win, and made me want to jump off a bridge into a vat of Kris Humphries’ tears.

9. Jimmy
You can’t say the guy gives up. Or that he doesn’t believe in his team. Or that he can throw a football further than Ricky. Especially if rain, left-hands, and kiddie pads are involved.

He certainly doesn’t have a good fantasy football team, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a dangerous one. I think Neil is still in denial that he lost to Jimmy last week when his Eagle’s were on bye. Latest report I heard was that Jimmy was texting pictures of himself in an Eagles’ thong to Neil with “How do you like my Vick?” painted on his chest.

You’re welcome.

8. TJB 
Home to, probably, the most terrifying lineup on paper (Tom Brady, Miles Austin, Adrian Peterson, Lesean McCoy, Jimmy Graham) TJB’s team can do some serious damage...keeping other teams out of the playoffs. Sitting at 3-5 it MIGHT be too late for him. Then again, I wouldn’t put it past him to string together 6 wins and make the playoffs.

Also, I feel like that’s what I write every week about TJB. So I’ll add something new, he has girlish features.

7. Noord
6. Sam 
Funny how the two teams who normally sit in our 9th and 10th spots have crawled out of the depths into 7th and 6th place. Credit to both for putting together some nice trades this season. Noord picked up Fitzpatrick off waivers and traded him for Jennings and Jennings for Fred Jackson, effectively, picking up the #1 fantasy running back off of waivers. Then again, he’s trying to hock Eli Manning and Tony Romo to a bunch of Redskins fans.

Sam, on the other hand, might be our league’s alternate universe’s version of Al Davis. Not only is he alive, but all his seemingly ridiculous trades pan out for the best. Remember when he gave up Rashard Mendenhall for Anquan Boldin? Boldin wins that matchup. Remember when he traded away Andre Johnson (after getting 3 weeks of 15+ points per game out of him) for Philip Rivers, then traded Rivers back for the injured Andre Johnson? I still take Andre in that matchup. Rivers is terrible and Sam is starting Cam Newton every week anyway. What about when he acquired Frank Gore and Victor Cruz by giving up Jeremy Maclin and Pierre Thomas?? I don’t even have to tell you that Sam killed in that trade getting two starters and giving up one.

We were GRILLING this guy for those trades. Now he’s 4-4, tied with Neil and gets Andre Johnson back in a week or two. I’m actually a little scared of his team.

Shows how much we know.

5. Neil
Neil is in a bad way right now. He lost three straight and faces #2 Ricky this week and Sam the following week (presumably when Andre Johnson returns). After Neil inexplicably traded away Lesean McCoy, his team did a great impression of the White House in Independence Day.  All of a sudden he has three of the league’s top WRs (in 2010), who each barely scrape their way to 10 fantasy points a week. Rubbing salt in the wound, Ryan Matthews got himself hurt in that awful Monday Night game and might miss a week.

To be fair, Ricky did warn you 100 times he was injury prone. And, well, you still have Mike Vick.

4. Perry
This week marks a brand new season for Austin. All of his players are healthy and past their bye weeks, so he’s going at full strength the rest of the way. I’m not going to say I’m little scared of Aaron Rodgers, Hakeem Nicks, Darren McFadden, Marques Colston’s re-emergence as a premier WR, LeGarrett Blount returning from injury or the increased number of carries Shonn Greene is getting…but I will say I’m very scared.

3. AJ
Easily the most attractive and egocentric player in the league. What else is there to say?

Oh yea, I have three of the top 5 fantasy WRs on my team thanks to a few trades with Ricky. Granted, I don’t have a second starting RB…but whatever! My WRs!! My WRs!!!

Perry feels me…

2. Ricky 
In leadership we call it “escalation of commitment”. It’s that thing of when you talk yourself so far in to a fantasy player’s value that you can’t justify trading or moving that piece. It’s what Neil has done with Mike Vick. Convinced himself that his keeper value is so important that he ignores the fact that no one is going to trade him a top 10 RB and a top 10 WR for him. Most of us want to win this season.

In Ricky’s case, the raging Twitter argument betwixt himself and Noord, has driven him to boast proudly, “I GUARANTEE Rivers outscores Tony Romo and Eli Manning the rest of the season!” It’s possible. But it’s also possible you’re banking your entire fantasy season on a guy who fumbled the snap on a run play to set up a game winning field goal.

Field general indeed.

1. Creasy 
Apparently I only do blog posts when Creasy is ranked #1. What can I say? I want him to trade me Ray Rice for a ham sandwich and free drinks. Despite his ranking and his record, I’ve actually seen Creasy’s team slip a little bit in points per week. Sure he won this week, but only because he played Perry, the only person in the league to score fewer points than him. Seriously, every other team in the league would have beaten Creasy. Which leads me to repeat something I read on Facebook, “It’s not about how many points your fantasy team scores, but how few your opponent does.”

In conclusion, I love my fraternity, I love my fantasy team, and I love it when you call me Big Poppa.