Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Ducal Crown Manifesto

We’re back.

Year Three of the Ducal Crown Fantasy Football League is set to begin. Although the pre-season Manifesto marks the official start, league activity has taken off faster than a girl who just heard the words, “I’d like to introduce you to my friend Neil.” The Ducal Crown is maturing rapidly; new rules are emerging, the shape is starting to change, and we’re beginning to ask questions we weren’t concerned with last year. At this rate, our league will be able to grow facial hair before TJB.

As we enter the exciting stages of Fantasy League puberty, let’s take a moment to look back on a few of our changes, re-introduce the owners and figure out what that new patch of hair is for.

Allow me to present to you the first annual Ducal Crown League Manifesto.  

“I see no changes, all I see is--newly developed and structured Fantasy league divisions to promote interleague play based on geographic location--I mean, racist faces”

The newest addition to our little family is interleague divisions. We divided the league into a North and a South division so we can have control over the schedule, force “cross-division rivals” (more on that later) and bring new elements to the table. Do you become loyal to your Division wanting divisional teams to win if you’re out of the playoffs (like rooting for an NFC team as a Skins fan because the AFC is for coconut humping cromagnums)? Or are you internally hostile and focused only on conquering your own division, even rooting for the other side (like Redskins fans do for the Cowboys/Eagles/Giants and vice versa)? Or, are you like Sam, and won’t notice we’ve added divisions at all until Week 13 when you’re deciding whether to start Evan Royster, Roy Helu or Tim Hightower (all of whom you drafted)?

The Divisional Break-Down
North Division (aka, Federales)
Austin Perry
AJ McGraw
Bryan Gunst
Jimmy Hostetler
Noord Noordhoff

South Division (aka, Stonewallers)
Eric Creasman
Neil Morrissette
Ricky May
Sam Persons
TJ Beuerle

Not that you care, but each team will play their division teams twice, the opposing division once, and their Division Rival one extra time (14 games total). And, since you asked, here are the Division Rivals:

Division Rivals
Austin Perry vs. TJ Beuerle- Our reigning champ meets his Fraternal little brother in the fantasy world where they will go at it like enraged sea lions. They will also play each other in Fantasy Football as Division Rivals, but that’s less weird than the other stuff they’ve got going on.

My pick: TJB over Austin 2-0

AJ McGraw vs. Neil Morrissette- Neil and I have been appropriately matched as rivals this year. I’m unconventionally obsessed with Fantasy Football, spending hours of my time doing research, draft prep, and tinkering with different strategies. He uses the same time to develop strategies that don’t work. I formulate my own opinions based on analysis done by professionals. He listens to the same analysts, but forms opinions that backfire. I use 60% of my words each blog finding new ways to humiliate and chide Neil for everything he does (totally undeserved), he spends 60% of his time plotting my death by alpaca stampede (totally deserved).

My pick: Naturally, we’ll tie our series matchup 1-1, and will have to revisit next year.

Bryan Gunst vs. Eric Creasman- Call it “The Matrix Revolution” as these two Neos* fight for the honor of least inept of the last place finishers. This is also a battle of SigEp giants, a former Regional Director up against the current Alumni Volunteer Corporation President. Can I propose the loser gets paddled?

My Pick: Tied 1-1

Noord Noordhoff vs. Ricky May- These two owners are blood thirsty and already have a wager on the season: whoever finishes higher at the end of the year buys the other dinner, a drink, tickets for a romantic comedy and, if they play their cards right, a good night kiss at the door (no tongue. OK, maybe a little tongue. Actually, probably a lot of tongue. Ew).

My Pick: Ricky over Noord 2-0 (sorry Noordy)

Jimmy Hostetler vs. Sam Persons- Dubbed “The War of Northern Aggression”, this Big/Little combination will slug it out in what has been called “the lowest scoring matchup I’ve ever seen” and “wow, these teams suck”, not to mention “I don’t really have a comment on Sam and Jimmy, you don’t have to mention me in the blog. Seriously, AJ, just be cool for once.”

My Pick: Sam over Jimmy 2-0**

*The Neo is the award for the owner who finishes in last place. He is subject to a number of undesirable responsibilities and humiliation.
**These predictions made before the draft, so it’s really a shot in the dark. Except for when I’m accurate, then it’s because I’m a genius.

The League
Without further ado, allow me to reintroduce the 9 most fearsome men in Fantasy Football! (and Neil- had to get one last dig in.)

All quotes are from the owner’s themselves, all bracketed comments and keeper situations are from me.

Noord Noordhoff
Team Name: RGSPE
Important Skills: My emphysema laugh and ping pong skills.
Movie Title that best describes the upcoming fantasy season: Magic Mike (only if I draft Mike Wallace) [And probably even if he doesn't. This guy loves Channing Tatum.]
If you were an NFL player, what would you get arrested for?: Drunk in public, public urination
Your Fantasy Strategy in One Word: Moneyball
Most Likely to 'win' the Neo this year: Jimmy 
Most Likely to win the Ducal Crown: Me (don't stop believing) #hehateme

Keeper Situation: Grim. Very grim. (Eli Manning in the 10th, and, maybe, Mike Bush in the 9th)

My Take: We all love Noord’s confidence and optimism, and, to be honest, the results have backed him up. He’s one of two teams to have made the playoffs in consecutive years and has an overall winning record. I hate to say it, but I think he’ll find a way to get it done this year and remain in contention. I think his fantasy team feeds off his swagger. You know, if a big guy with a shaved head and laugh that sounds like a blown gasket can have swagger.

Neil (Ralph) Morrissette
Team Name: Wreck-It Ralph
Explanation of Team
Important Skills: Bacon Eating Champion
How you're going to win the league this year: By not trading my starting RB's [LOLOLOLOL! YEA! RIGHT!]
Favorite NFL Player: Michael Crabtree
Least Favorite NFL Player: Michael Crabtree
Most Likely to 'win' the Neo this year: Jimmy and Noord. Neo Bowl
Most Likely to win the Ducal Crown: Me!
Additional Comments: Bet on Bookie Ralph's 2012 Lines! Thank you very much.

Keeper Situation: Things have to go right. (Ryan Matthews in 6th, Ben Tate in 11th)

My Take: I like Ryan Matthews in the 6th, he's got the highest upside of any running back this year, and, if Arian Foster's hamstring acts up we know Tate is a legit producer. Then again, Matthews has never played a full season and Tate is a backup who broke his ankle in 2010. I think we’ll see a slightly more conservative game plan from Neil this year with a few calculated risks. He has strong opinions on a few players, and it’s going to come down to whether he nails those or not. Long story short, 7-7, no playoffs, blah blah blah.

Ricky May
Team name: No Blaine, No Gain
Explanation of Team Name:  Blaine Gabbert is the Jags QB’ so I figured I’d take a knock off of the old cliché “No Pain, No Gain” and go with “No Blaine, No Gain” [The analysis here is scintillating]
Favorite Personal Nickname:  Bones….unfortunately not so “Bones” anymore….good ole home cookin and occasional “drinks” will do that to a married man [What are "drinks" are those different from drinks? Are they "special" drinks? Don't answer this...]
Least Favorite Personal Nickname:  Boner…self explanatory 
Important Skills:  Fantasy football, throwing a football better than Jimmy Hostetler with a cast on each arm in pouring down rain, pretty much anything athletic or academic, convincing Noord he's horrendous at fantasy football, Madden,…[Wait, what?! Did he just say “pretty much anything athletic or academic”!? Well, my goodness! I didn’t know we were in the presence of such a high and mighty Lord of all sport and study! Shall we bow before you thine most gracious leader of leisure and learning?! We are not worthy! WE ARE NOT WORTHY!]
How you're going to win the league this year:  Sheer intimidation via Twitter and mass e-mailing. 
Your Fantasy Strategy in One Word:  Volume
Most Likely to 'win' the Neo this year:  Noord – outside of our rivalry, I just think he’s had such over-performances the last two years. Karma is due to switch this year and flip him on his head.
Most Likely to win the Ducal Crown:  Me of course…I’m due, simple as that.

Keeper Situation: Injury prone (Mike Vick in 14th, Fred Jackson in 5th)

My Take: Ricky texted me yesterday to tell me his wife (HIS WIFE!) said she could outdraft me. This was entirely unprovoked (lol, jk) and I’m not sure how the mother of a sweet, chubby cheeked baby could be so cruel.  Apparently giant ego runs in the family, except Katie can back it up. 

TJ Beuerle
Team name: [undecided] was TB2
Explanation of Team Name: TB2 is like RG3. Gonna change it though cause two other people went RG3 themed after I did. Pretty bitter about it. Probs going back to Moose Tracks. [Probs.]
Least Favorite Personal Nickname: Guy that lost to Moose in a vote but still got in the league
Important Skills: Making Neil feel like some of his ideas are good, being able to piss anyone off in like 5 minutes, not falling for Ricky's dumb trades, not Noord
Favorite NFL Player: Ryan Kerrigan (also have a man crush on Tom Brady)
Least Favorite NFL Player: Eli Manning
Most Likely to 'win' the Neo this year: Jimmy
Most Likely to win the Ducal Crown: Gunst is in great position with his keepers and draft spot, but question his ability to manage a team.

Keeper Situation: Strong. Very Strong. (Jimmy Graham in 14th, Lesean McCoy in 2nd)

My Take: I can beuarely spell this guy’s name ceuorrectly, let alone preuovide coherent fantasy analysiseus. What do you weuant from me? I’m just one meuan.

Eric Creasman
Team name: God.Bless.Day.Beers
Explanation of Team Name: Who doesn't like Day Beers??? They make everything better and I praise Him for giving them to me. [I, um…sigh.]
Favorite Personal Nickname: Tuck. Mike Martin (Matt's Dad) likes to compare some of my drinking binges with their family as a downhill skier just going along, going along and then hitting the 'tuck' position pointed straight downhill.
Important Skills: Hand to hand combat, negotiating, balling outrageous, drinking prowess (out drink out draft).
Favorite NFL Player: I've got Peyton man love, we all know this.
Least Favorite NFL Player: Everyone on my opponent's roster, [expletive]
If you were an NFL player, what would you get arrested for?: Ballin' outrageous, drunk and disorderly, public intoxication, making it rain
Most Likely to 'win' the Neo this year: Sam worries me, but his keepers and high draft SHOULD keep him out of the cellar. Gunst should also have the weapons to stay clear of the basement. I think Noord is due for a fall but... I think the kid brings. Ricky. DOWN! (I have no idea)
Most Likely to win the Ducal Crown: AJ is hard to bet against because he seems to find a way each year, luck or skill a W is a W. default and lack of faith in much other consistency I say AJ.

Keeper Situation: A quantity of quality. His options are (Marshawn Lynch in 5th, Drew Brees in 2nd, Julio Jones in 5th, Wes Welker in 3rd, Peyton Manning in 6th).

My Take:

My Real Take: I think we see another strong showing from Creas this year, if he chooses his keepers correctly. Banking on the wrong guys can ruin his draft, affect his strategy and leave his team compromised. I think he's already traded the rights to one of his keepers, which will be made official after the draft. In terms of fantasy management he might be making the smart moves early, mitigating risks and trying to take advantage of his excess of keepers and late round draft position. A forward thinking move from our resident geriatric, maybe I'll move him from 9th to 8th in my owner power rankings (heh heh).

Jimmy Hostetler
Team name: B-Button Spin Move
Explanation of Team Name: I've spent more money on video games than Neil makes in a year. It's only appropriate that I have a video game related team name
Important Skills: Consulting maps
How you're going to win the league this year: Hard work, determination, strong leadership, throwing farther than Ricky
Movie Title that best describes the upcoming fantasy season: The Princess Diaries
Favorite NFL Player: Not surprisingly and not for football stuff, but Rob Gronkowski currently [Yo soy fiesta!]. On the field, Brett Kiesel right now. Dude and his beard are out of this world.
Least Favorite NFL Player: Ed Reed, hands down. Guy looks homeless and plays like 6 games a year.
Your Fantasy Strategy in One Word: Pray
Most Likely to 'win' the Neo this year: Neil just because of all the hype he's had around himself. 
Most Likely to win the Ducal Crown: TJB has some stout keepers from what I hear
Additional Comments: AJ enjoys the company of nude men [I, um…sigh]

Keeper Situation: Half-way excellent. (Rob Gronkowski in the 15th, BenJarvus Green-Ellis in the 14th)

My Take: Jimmy will unabashedly continue in normal form knowing more about NFL football than Fantasy football and being proud of it. Which is fine with me. Plus, anytime you can have a guy with four names on your team, you have to take it! I know its easy to bash Jimmy, but remember, he has two first round picks this year and Gronkowski. If Gronk does anything even close to last year, Jimmy will have a shot in almost all of his games. Can't count him out yet.

Austin Perry
Team name: Pledge Prez Perry
Favorite Personal Nickname: "DJ Garlic Sauce" "Ducal Champ" is nice too.
Least Favorite Personal Nickname: "Puke King"
Important Skills: Speed eating, finding late round studs, cell phone photography, and slow pitch softball
How you're going to win the league this year: Shonn Greene 2012
Favorite NFL Player: Chris Cooooooley: luscious locks, nude twit pics, pottery
Least Favorite NFL Player: Jason Witten, boring, looks like Boomhower, is a vegetarian (unconfirmed)
Your Fantasy Strategy in One Word: Teabag
Most Likely to 'win' the Neo this year: Noord
Most Likely to win the Ducal Crown: BGunst

Keeper Situation: Solid. (Hakeem Nicks in 8th, Jordy Nelson in 9th)

My Take: Perry comes in with his WR core locked up and the 5th and 11th overall picks (oh, did I forget to mention we introduced draft pick trading this year?). He's in good shape to have four studs on his team by round two. The key will be who is quarterbacking his team and who he can fill in at RB. He and I have both proved you don't need elite RBs to win the league, but they sure do help. The big question is whether Perry can avoid drafting Marques Colston and Shonn Greene for the 3rd year in a row.

AJ McGraw
Team name: deSPEcable me
Explanation of Team Name: It’s a championship winning name, can’t change it.
Favorite Personal Nickname: Quickdraw
Least Favorite Personal Nickname: One-ball McGraw
Important Skills: Alliteration, Snark
How you're going to win the league this year: Same way I won it two years ago, relying on the poor performance of other teams.
Movie Title that best describes the upcoming fantasy season: There Will be Blood
Your Fantasy Strategy in One Word: Swindle
Most Likely to 'win' the Neo this year: Noord
Most Likely to win the Ducal Crown: TJB

Keeper Status: Confident. (Matt Stafford in 6th, DeMarco Murray in 15th)

My Take: I love Stafford, but Murray scares me. His value is too good to pass up. If they can stay healthy, and I can get some supporting players around them I'm going to feel confident in my starting lineup. Unfortunately, your starting lineup usually doesn't win you fantasy titles. Your bench depth does. 

Bryan Gunst
Team name: WheelsGoNonStop
Explanation of Team Name: My nickname is Wheels because Richard Brammer knighted me so in myrtle beach. In one of the many glorious songs that were written during undergraduate winter breaks, one of my lines was "Wheels go non stop" and thus, my name was born.
Favorite Personal Nickname: Wheels or Gunssssssss
Least Favorite Personal Nickname: This is a trick question so you and everyone in the league calls us this all year. I don't know. I guess Melissa's Brother. [It took us 9 people to finally figure this out. Atta boy, MelBro!]
Movie Title that best describes the upcoming fantasy season: We Bought A Zoo
Favorite NFL Player: London Fletcher
Least Favorite NFL Player: Albert Haynesworth, or anyone on the Patriots
If you were an NFL player, what would you get arrested for?: Breaking and entering into the Hidden Valley Ranch Factory
Most Likely to 'win' the Neo this year: Noord (based on keepers and lack of draft shenanigans to make up for them)
Most Likely to win the Ducal Crown: Me. If you don't think you're going to win it all than why are you playing?
Additional Comments: Is the draft BYOR or will ranch be provided free of cost?

Keeper Status: Solid, like a well crafted turd. (Arian Foster in 3rd, AJ Green in 8th)

My Take: I’ll have to check, but I think Bdubs will be providing ranch for $.50.MelBro is looking at starting the year with Aaron Rodgers, AJ Green and Arian Foster. Arguably two first overall picks in his lineup, you gotta love that talent. Unfortunately, Foster's obvious (and necessary) handcuff is tied up on Neil's team so if Foster goes down, so could this team.

Sam Persons
Team name: Need for SPEed
Explanation of Team Name: Need for SPEed? Somewhat self explanatory. I called upon the powerful 80's classic film Top Gun and did like everyone else and capitalized our fraternity letters lol. Also, if I could make my avatar on Yahoo! a pic of me playing volleyball shirtless in aviator sunglasses and tight blue jeans I definitely would. Moreover, I'm willing to get paid for such a photograph.
Favorite Personal Nickname: Sammy. My childhood name. Only my closest friends and family call me this. (Side Note: there is also the AJ McGraw special "Sam-a-lam-a-ding-dong")
Important Skills: The ability to not know whats happening in the league until a vote has already been taken and your vote doesn't count. (I need to get a smart phone....)
How you're going to win the league this year: In the words of Jimmy McGinty..."You gotta have heart!" and perhaps a little bit of luck. (Note: Jimmy McGinty was the head coach in The Replacements)
Movie Title that best describes the upcoming fantasy season: The Expendables! Lets not kid ourselves we're all aging, but that doesn't mean this season won't be filled with action, cheesy one liners and excellent pyrotechnic displays! [Sammy’s on the board!]
Favorite NFL Player: Darrell Green, hands down. Great football player, better person. Also, he likes tootsie rolls.
Your Fantasy Strategy in One Word: Pray [This is also Jimmy's exact strategy. LET THE WAR OF NORTHERN AGRESSION BEGIN!]
Most Likely to 'win' the Neo this year: After a great bounce back last season. Creasman falls to the bottom of the barrel to claim his 2nd Neo in 3 years.
Most Likely to win the Ducal Crown: I'm thinking there will be a surprise this year at the top. TJB makes a major push for the Crown.

Keeper Status: Very strong. (Cam Newton in 15th, Victor Cruz in 14th). OK, wildly strong.

My Take: Who wouldn't feel confident with a starting QB and WR2 coming to you in the last two rounds of the draft. Sam also cleverly acquired the 12th overall pick (from me) to go with his 3rd overall. At this point, in the second round he's looking at a team of Cam, Cruz, Welker, Ray Rice....that is a PPR scoring DREAM TEAM. Oh yea, I'm invoking the Dream Team label already. Muahahahaha, #sabotage.

Here’s the final count-
Votes for Neo: Noord leads with 5, Jimmy has 3. Are we looking at our Neo Bowl?
Votes for Champ: Tied between Gunst and TJB, with 3-apiece. Could these teams represent the Federales and Stonewallers in the title bout?

Pre-season is under way, and we draft August 25th....two and a half weeks from now. I couldn't be more excited. But, for now, I need to go look at myself in the mirror and tell myself how beautiful I am. 

Let the #DucalCrownChaos begin!

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