Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ducal Crown 2012: A Year in Review

First of all, I want to congratulate Neil on winning the Ducal Crown Fantasy Football league in 2012!! Hm? Oh, Austin won? Then why is Neil orgasmically celebrating Austin’s victory on Twitter? Running nude through the streets with “Austin Perry 2012!” painted on his chest? Making paper mache footballs with and eating glue?

Who knows, he’s spent a lot of time on an alpaca farm.

In seriousness, a hearty congratulation goes to Austin Perry for winning the league this year. He defeated what can only be described as the fiercest and most adept of competitors (me) in a rigorous battle of will. By “will” I refer to my pleading sobs to Aaron Rodgers to ‘Stop it!’ as he threw touchdown after touchdown to Jordy Nelson Sunday night.

Alas, it seemed destiny for Austin to take the league this year. After losing star RB Darren McFadden to injury for the last half of the season and suffering early season injuries to Aaron Hernandez, Hakeem Nicks, and Marques Colston, it never seemed Perry’s team would be fully healthy. Nothing inspires confidence in a team like starting Shonn Green, LeGarrette Blount or Beanie Wells at RB. Then again, Aaron Rodgers covers a multitude of line-up sins.

And so it was that the “Pledge Prez Perry’s” took the title out of my feeble grasp, and so the trophy passes on to a worthy opponent.

Don’t worry though. I’ll get it back next year.

Shall we do end of year superlatives then?

1.  Austin Perry – The Champ
No need for anything clever here. Trust me; it never gets old forcing people to refer to you as “The Champ.” So enjoy it, Champ.

We often say winning in Fantasy Football is somewhere along the lines of 80% skill and 20% luck. Perhaps it’s 50/50. Austin winning, however, shows us some very interesting things about Fantasy Football.

1)      You don’t need to make a million trades or waiver wire transfers (that won’t stop me though). Austin made only a few small trades, nothing major, and largely stuck with the lineup he drafted, despite it having Marques Colston and Shonn Green in it….again.
2)      You don’t need stud RBs if you want to win a title, you just need a rock solid QB. The starting RBs in the championship game were: (for Austin) Shonn Green and LeGarrette Blount, who combined for something like 10 points; (for me) Darren Sproles and Willis McGahee (who combined for somewhere around 22 points. How did I lose this again?!
3)      What really helps is having elite QB’s favorite targets as your WRs. Perry started Hakeem Nicks, Marques Colston and Jordy Nelson (Eli’s, Brees’, Rodgers’ favorite targets). I started Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, and Antonio Brown (oh yea, that’s how I lost this week). I lost Greg Jennings to injury, Big Ben didn’t play and thus couldn’t throw to Brown, and Demaryius Thomas….crap.

So maybe that’s the strategy to follow. Or maybe that’s just that worked this year. We’ll have all offseason to speculate and mock draft and try to discover sleepers, but until this time next year…let the Champ reign.

2. AJ McGraw – Most Likely to Have a Lot Less To Say Next Year
Ya know, cause I got stomped in the finals. At the end of the year my bench looked like this: Matt Ryan (backup QB), Kevin Smith (a good start, but hurt most the year), Donald Driver (picked up because Jennings was out), Greg Jennings (out for regular season), DeMarco Murry (IR), Jamaal Charles (IR, keeper potential).

That’s three players on my bench who were out for the remainder of the regular season or beyond. One backup quarterback (just in case), an injured RB and a 36 year old WR.

Things get desperate at the end of the year, hence Demaryius Thomas starting for me in the title bout. No matter though. My twitter handle may be a bit shorter these days, but the fighting spirit lives on. I now have the meaningless honor of saying I’ve been to back-to-back title games. But we’ll talk more about meaningless honors later.

3. Eric Creasman – Best In Show
Kudos to a guy for playing FF the way it should be: losing to me in the playoffs. TAKE A NOTE AUSTIN!!

He went from worst-to-first this year (regular season), and rode good draft picks (Brees, Welker) and good trades (acquiring Mendy, Ray Rice, and Marshawn Lynch) to a 10-4 record, and a spot a top the league, before suffering the unrelenting torture of Matt Stafford throwing to Calvin Johnson.

In case anyone needed a reminder, in our playoff matchup Stafford and CJ combined for 80 points.

After posting 173 points the following week, Creasy should be cutting his (or my) wrists, had he got past me no team would have stopped him in the finals. Instead, in the spirit of good competition, he bought me a funny t-shirt, made his gripes on Twitter, and got over it fairly quickly (doubtful, I think he’s still griping, but who wouldn’t?).

4. Matt Noordhoff – Most Likely to Think Everyone Hates His Team, Him Personally, and His Family
Kudos for a stellar run from everyone’s least favorite team on paper to a rock solid playoff team. I’ve given him credit before on the moves he made to get himself into playoff contention, so let’s turn our focus to the created hate Noord brings on himself.

First, I deserve a fair amount of blame. I lived with Noord for two years, ate about 1,300 meals with him during college, and know how he works. So, for example, let’s say I’m at work and need a distraction but know that no one is on Twitter. I’ll send out a tweet like, “How pissed is @mattnoordhoff gonna be when he loses this week?”

All you have to do is wait a few minutes and then….. “clearly you haven’t looked at my matchups this week #boy. You aren’t even close to me in points either. #enjoy4thplace”

In his defense, I think he meant “I’ll be enjoying 4th place while you go on to the championship game….again, sir.”

Point being, we know the man’s buttons, and deep down we all love when someone is the villain. We poked and prodded Neil when his team was dominating, then we fought with Ricky when he was on top of the league. Once those two Fantasy Failures dropped out of the playoff race we were happy to have Noord available to deliver the trash talk.

It’s why we play Fantasy Football in the first place, isn’t it?

5. Neil Morrissette – Most Likely to Resume the Role of the League’s Little Brother, aka #PhillyNeil, aka League Villain
Oh #PhillyNeil, how we’ll miss you. Last year we watched Ricky trade his way out of the championship game, and this year we saw Neil give away stud players for guys who joined his team and immediately injured themselves (Ryan Matthews, Matt Forte, Cedric Benson, Desean Jackson….I consider him as having a permanent mental injury).  To note, he gave away Lesean McCoy, Mike Vick, Rob Gronkowski, Matt Stafford and Darren Sproles. Ouch. Let’s change subjects.

I suppose his unquenchable thirst for praising Austin comes from a deep Fantasy kinship they share. You see, Neil beat me early in the season on the back of his Kicker and Defense combining  for 40 points. In the title matchup, Austin’s kicker posted 16 points and his defense posted 17.  In my defense, Dallas kicker Dan Bailey netted me an impressive 1 point.

I hate Dallas.

I look forward to next year’s draft when Neil’s insatiable desire to talk up his team irrationally comes back. Secretly I’m hoping he keeps Tebow. Why shouldn’t the most polarizing player in our league have one of the most polarizing players in the NFL?

It’d make me hate on Neil less. Probably.

No. It wouldn’t.

6. Ricky May – Most Likely to Disappear after the Trade Deadline Passes
That silence you heard after November 18th was all of our cell phones going quiet. We stopped receiving 15 text messages a day from Ricky proposing every possible trade conjurable.

In fact, the only tweets Ricky had to offer during the playoffs had to do with the championship game… that he was playing in…in his work league.

To be honest, our league wouldn’t be the same without a guy like Ricky. Sure the constant trade offers get annoying, but he also feeds all of our desires to make trades and keeps the league interesting. And, let’s be honest, who among us didn’t get a little feeling of satisfaction when on the trade deadline Ricky made moves to acquire Fred Jackson, Mike Vick and Adrian Peterson? All of whom missed all, or most, of the games the rest of the season. It was like karma.

7. Jimmy Hostetler – Most Likely to have the most Bi-curious Bi-Polar Team
Either everyone on his team scores, or no one on his team scores. On paper your matchup against him looks good. Starting RBs? Jon Stewart, Mike Tolbert, James Starks, or some combination of the like. Big Ben at QB, and his only real threat is Gronkowski at TE. If you don’t pay close attention you’ll miss his guys scoring TDs and piling up yardage in meaningless NFL games. Next thing you know you’re down 15 with no players left.

Or, his team lays a massive turd of an egg and you roll on him without losing a second of sleep.

What we do know, is trading Cedric Benson and some change for Rob Gronkowski was the move of the year (once again, at Neil’s hand).

8. TJB – Most Likely to Win the League Next Year
You know, if you don’t believe in karma. Owner of one of the top five teams in the league, he missed the playoffs then lost two consolation games to secure (as of now) a top three pick. He has two of the best keeper options (Lesean McCoy in the 2nd, and Jimmy Graham in the 14th) and a top 3 pick, meaning Aaron Rodgers, Ray Rice, and someone like Matt Forte will likely end up on his roster.

Assuming those guys stay healthy that’s a fearsome core to build around. Then again, TJB spent most of this year in the 20% Luck category. 100% of it being bad. Seriously, how does a team with Brady, McCoy, Turner, Miles/Laurant Robinson, Holmes, Graham, etc etc miss the playoffs and then lose both games in the consolation round?!

Either he’s had really bad luck, or sneakily good luck. He’s in great position heading into next year’s draft.

9. Sam Persons – Most Likely Read this Four Days After I Post It
It’s not that Sam isn’t around much, it’s that we don’t really know where Sam ever. Perhaps the other 9 of us are too consumed with FF. I dunno though, I don’t see anything wrong with spending an entire day looking at your Ducal Crown Twitter Feed waiting for someone to talk Fantasy with you. It’s one of my few joys in life.

Ultimately, Sam was the beneficiary of an incredibly tight league. Heading into the last few weeks he was still in playoff contention if the games went his way. They didn’t, and he ended up with the second pick in the draft next year.

So you’re telling me I can be in the playoff hunt up until the end of the season, then if I miss the playoffs I have just as good a chance at getting a top 3 pick?

I love this league.

10. Bryan Gunst – Most Likely to Have More Pushups than Fantasy Points Counted this Year
It’s just the facts people, I don’t make the rules.

Gunst has a few good things going for him next year: the rights to Andrew Luck Aaron Rodgers, AJ Green in the 8th and Arian Foster in the 3rd. Quite a nice starting lineup with his second round pick available to fill a spot. Not a bad start to your season if you ask me.

We’ll see if our favorite RD can turn his luck around and go from worst-to-first like our resident grandfather, Creasman. If he can do it, anyone can.

Just goes to show, there’s always something to look forward to next year.

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