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

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