Happy Playoffs

15 Dec

Happy Playoffs, Gamers. For several reasons, I have been unable or unwilling to put in the time to develop a proper preview for you guys. I’ve certainly been following the league and our fantastically cool finish last week really put the exclamation point on the year. It came down to a close final game in rivalry week to determine the final playoff team and it sure looked that Vote Dem might make a run. In fact, had Vote Dem played almost anyone else in the league in Week 14, he’d be looking at a playoff spot himself. Tough blow for both Vote Dem and Dutch Mafia as they try to pick up the pieces for the consolation bracket and wonder what could have been.

Let me start off by the game previews by congratulating each participant. Lumpalicious followed through on my pre-draft #1 ranking and made his first playoffs! Ca$h Money, Bad Mamma Jammas, and the Atomic Peckers all make their 2nd appearances. That experience could prove to be valuable ahead.  Ca$h finished 0-2 in his first trip for a 4th place finish, while the Peckers won 3rd and BMJ won 2nd in their appearances. This, obviously, means we will for the first time since Year 3, have a new champion! Yes, that’s right, someone other than Operation Domination and Cold Jerky will hoist the Gnome.

Playoff Semi-Final #1 – Lumpalicious vs. Ca$h Money

Throw out the records, Folks. No one cares if you set records or buried people deep during the regular season – it’s a clean slate here. Ca$h Money is in the playoffs with the worst record of any playoff team in the 6 year history of the league. Who cares? Not me. This is a legitimate matchup – don’t take your eyes off this one.

QB Play – Lumpalicious had the #1 overall pick, Mr. Aaron Rodgers going in Chicago against a Bears team that will either be in complete hibernation or a group of angry Bears after the embarrassment of last week (well, and the 4 weeks before that). Rodgers has a tendency to play well against the Bears and I just haven’t seen enough over the last 5 games to think this will be any different. I think A-Rod can make it to that projection and potentially beat it. Ca$h Money has a bit of a dilemma. RG3 was hurt last week, he’s currently questionable, and if he does go, you’d have to wonder how mobile he will be. Cleveland’s D? Hasn’t been horrible. Reserve options are good to great with Philip Rivers playing the Panthers while Josh Freeman licks his chops to play the Saints. I personally believe Freeman is the play here, but I’m not sure there is an absolute “wrong” choice in this case. I’m going to give a slight edge to Lumpalicious based on the fact that I think the Bears are dead.

Ground Game – Lumpalicious rolls out Stevan Ridley and Ryan Mathews. Ridley has a putrid matchup against SF in what should be a great SNF game and Mathews continues his Disappointment Tour against Carolina. Ca$h Money counters with Frank Gore against NE and Chris Johnson against the Jets in a MNF game that only people that have Chris Johnson playing on their fantasy teams would consider watching. I just don’t like anything here. My gut tells me to rank it Gore, Ridley, Mathews, Chris Johnson. Chris Johnson could break one and change everything, Mathews could put together a legit game – who knows. Nothing is jumping out for me here and I’m going to take the panty waste route and call a push.

Pass Catchers – Lumpalicious rolls in with the hot Andre Johnson, Vincent Jackson and Marques Colston playing each other in the barn burner, and Jason Witten against Pittsburgh. Ca$h Money counters with record setter Brandon Marshall against the Pack, Eric Decker against Baltimore, apparently Michael Crabtree against NE, and Heath Miller against the ‘boys. This is probably where everything that could happen will happen in this matchup. Overall, I like the matchups for Lumpalicious more and I think that Andre Johnson can do enough to offset the amazing Brandon Marshall so I’m going to give the edge to Lumpalicious here.

D & K – Lumpalicious goes with the Cowboy’s kicker and the Jets D versus Shayne Graham and Cincinatti for Ca$h Money. I think Ca$h has the big advantage here but I wonder if it can be enough to make up for everything else going on in this matchup.

Overall, I think Lumpalicious will take a big league after the noon games on Sunday but Ca$h Money will continue to believe they are in it with Gore and Crabtree on SNF making up some ground against Ridley and it will come down to needing a big game from Chris Johnson against Lumpalicious’ NYJ defense. It won’t start off well at all and a late TD run in garbage time for CJ will only make the scoreboard respectable as Lumpalicious advances to the finals.

***Note, I wrote this before the Thursday night game. The 23 from Cinci is legit and should put Lumpalicious on upset alert. I will also note that the lineups will like change some before gametime as David Wilson is in the lineup for Lumpalicious.

Playoff Semi-Final #2 – Bad Mamma Jammas vs. Atomic Peckers

Yahoo! really is beating up on the Peckers with this projection, but I can’t really disagree, as I think my picture choice says it all. Unfortunately, the Peckers may be hanging their hat on the ’11 Apostles defense of “well, my best players were all hurt” and he’d be right with McCoy and Gronk out with injuries. The Gronk injury is a double whammy as it helps out Aaron Hernandez. Anyway, let’s get it on.

QB Play – Brady vs. Manning – I can only hope we get a chance to see this matchup in real life in the playoffs. Manning has had a great year and is an MVP candidate. Insert Brady’s name in that last sentence and it holds true as well. Manning plays the Ravens in Baltimore and even though this isn’t the Ravens of old, this isn’t an easy matchup. Brady has a tough draw against SF…but they play at home. After watching Brady toy with a very good Texans D last week, I’m banking on Brady to do it again. Advantage BMJ.

Ground Game – Foster & Lynch vs. AP & …Chris Ivory – Well…this one seems like a mismatch. AP has been amazing and even if we pencil him in for another stellar performance, Chris Ivory doesn’t really register as being worth it in this conversation. I’d say the advantage is obviously in favor of BMJ. Some even moderate roster management could have made this more competitive. Moreno, for instance, could have been won by Peck for just Waiver Priority and $0 in FAAB. Or how about a David Wilson signing? Leaving $80 in the bank does nothing for you now.

Pass Catchers – Thomas & Julio & Denarius & Hernandez vs. Wayne & Golden Tate & LaFell & Rudolph – Okay…first of all, I’m going to assume we’ll see Garcon and Steve Smith to go with Wayne and not Golden Tate and Brandon LaFell…but you know, I’m the last place team so what do I know. Those changes make this closer, but the odds are definitely still with BMJ on this one. The weak spot – Denarius Moore, had a great matchup. Thomas is a plus since it helps offset Peyton points. I think this is another advantage for BMJ.

D & K – Bryant & Lions vs. Gostkowski & GB – I think this is a push and again, it’s nothing that I can see that will turn the tide. I’ll say that the Peckers have the slight advantage because Cutler has been throwing a lot of TDs to the opposite team…in fact, the Vikings had more interception return yardage last week than they had passing yards from Christian Ponder…so there’s that.

I’m hoping that BMJ will come out with some interesting end of the season stats since he’s been tracking everything this year. We’ll surely see something come out, but until that time I wanted to go back and take a look at how I did in my start of the year projections. Believe it or not, I got 3 out of 4 playoff teams correct.

Team     Regular Season Finish    Projected finish

Atomic Peckers                 2nd                          1st

Ca$h Money                      4th                           2nd

Operation Domination   8th                           3rd

Lumpalicious                      1st                           4th

Hurricane Ditka                 10th                         5th

Dutch Mafia                       5th                           6th

Bacon Factory                    9th                           7th

Bad Mamma Jammas     3rd                           8th

Vote Dem                           7th                           9th

Apocalyptic Apostles      12th                         10th

The Good Team                 6th                           11th

Cold Jerky                           11th                         12th

What does all this mean? I’m taking a look at this and I’m overall pretty impressed. 3 out of 4 playoff teams correct, 3 teams within 1 spot of their final finish, 4 more within 2 spots.  I think some of the “movement” from my projections could be explained by some of the big trades. The “buyers” this year with significant investment in selling pieces of next year’s  draft picks were Dutch Mafia, The Good Team, Bad Mamma Jammas, and Vote Dem – all 4 improved from their average projected finish. The “sellers” this year were Hurricane Ditka, Bacon Factory, Apocalyptic Apostles, and Cold Jerky all finished lower than their projected finish.  This is what was somewhat surprising. Lumpalicious finished better than I would have thought, but I had him as a playoff team so I don’t feel too bad about that. Bad Mamma Jammas made a big move for Foster, which has certainly helped, but he’s also made a lot of other wise moves and some of the draft picks have paid off handsomely. This is the biggest upward move. The Good Team was also a buyer and basically bought an entirely new team with his 2 trades. The finish similarly improved prospects but it ended up as too little too late. On the flip side, Hurricane Ditka sold off Foster and another trade to the Good Team to take a talented team with some early season bad luck to a bottom of the league finish. I think all of these big movers can be explained by circumstances and the trades. The only outlier / bad call on my part was Operation Domination. I thought this was a playoff team and when OD got Charles and unloaded Turner, I thought it was game over. But Brees has put up a couple bad games and Murray’s been injured half the year and a lot of those WR bets didn’t pay off. I’m comfortable with saying, I was wrong about my greatest rival – he was worse than I expected. Just remember, OD:

Some of the specifics I put in my draft review / season preview article to note (quotes in italics):

Atomic Peckers: “There was a joke about the best of the 2000’s roster, but I’m a big fan here. Now, when analyzing I’m making a few assumptions and I’m refusing to factor in the fact that you will absolutely piss away a few wins with your management style. This is based on potential.

Like: McCoy – the more I examine the top 3 RBs, the more I’m convinced it’s McCoy who will win the fantasy crown. Peterson is Superman and if he comes back to 85% AP by week 6, you’re set up.

Dislike: WR3…Santonio Holmes?

Best Pick: Love the Garcon pick in the 7th

Biggest Reach: gotta be Holmes in the 8th

Key – Peyton Manning – I am a believer in Manning. Forget the haters, Manning will be back to doing his thing. Maybe the numbers won’t be top 5 worthy, but he’s not going to lose you anything. Assuming AP comes back strong, Manning will determine where this team winds up. But right now – start thinking about endorsement deals.”

This is called absolutely nailing it…too bad McCoy being hurt may be your downfall

Operation Domination: “Like: I like the passing game – I think it could be the strength of the team with Brees, Decker, Lloyd, Bowe and Pettigrew. Bowe was great value and is your WR3…pretty good. I think you’ve honestly got 3 WR2’s on this team, with Lloyd being a potential WR1 or WR3…if that makes sense.

Dislike: I have some questions at running back with this team (I know, rich coming from me). Can Murray carry the load all year? Is Turner slowing down or done? Is there enough depth to cover if these guys don’t make the grade?”

Sounds like I was too excited about those WRs…

Lumpalicious: “Like: A-Rod…duh. I love the RB depth (Kevin Smith, Ridley, Stewart to go with the oft-injured Mathews) and I’m a fan of having Colston as your WR3.

Dislike: Witten…I know he’s your guy but that’s a very serious injury he’s dealing with – dude could die. Also, I’m not sold on Vincent Jackson at all.

Best Pick: Colston in the 5th – he’s the #2 option in a top 3 offense

Biggest Reach: Vincent Jackson in the 4th…yeah, don’t like it

Key: Can you make the right choices early for RB2 to cover for Mathews now…and then do it again when Mathews goes down during the year?”

Pretty good analysis, although I seem to be somewhat on the wrong side of Vincent Jackson.

Hurricane Ditka: “Like: I like the running backs – who wouldn’t? Arian Foster and Fred Jackson make up the best backfield in the league to start the year. Having Doug Martin is a luxury and is valuable backup or trade chip. Ryan Williams may do something, may not, who knows

Dislike: Not getting Tate as described above. I also don’t like the QB situation. Rivers had a bad year last year and I don’t know that I love the situation this year. Big Ben is fighting a torn rotator cuff and a shaky offensive line with a compromised running game. I’m not sure you’ll get what you need from the QB spot.

Best Pick – Muscle Hamster in the 5th

Biggest Reach – Dez Bryant in the 4th

Key: If Fred Jackson can stay healthy, this backfield can carry you far – with or without the rest of the team.”

Think about this team staying the course with Foster and Doug Martin – I’ve seen a lot of rankings with them in the top 3 right now. Pretty good analysis me thinks.

Dutch Mafia: “Like: AJ Green even if he was taken higher than predicted – he wouldn’t come back to you. Taking Jordy right before me was expected and solid in the 4th. Love the value of Gates – big year out of him.

Dislike: Bradshaw in the 3rd – I think you’ll regret that. The Giants have one of the worst running games in the league and Bradshaw has bad feet (I know he’s a warrior, but I’ve avoided him like the plague).

Best Pick: Gotta go Gates in the 5th

Key: I’m going to say Romo. I could see him being QB5 or QB15 or QB injured. Lots of drama in Dallas this year.”

Way wrong on Gates. Right on everything else.

Those were the interesting ones. As for the Apostles, it was a tough year really. I managed to trade for CJ Spiller, only to see him injured for a couple weeks and lose the opportunity to take over the timeshare. I traded for Jamaal Charles at the absolute worst time, then traded him in my sell off to watch him perform well. I traded my #1, #2, #3, and #4 WRs this year (Nicks, Antonio Brown, Torrey Smith, Randall Cobb – no one wanted Lance Moore) but still managed to find some decent receiver talent to plug and play. Graham got hurt and didn’t pay 2nd round money. Stafford was quickly benched for RG3, so I really did have that bust covered pretty well until I made the decision to invest in next season, but wow, what a bust Stafford was. Crazy thing is, he’s likely to set a record for pass attempts in a season and he’s still going to be a bust. This is not a good qb – he will not be an apostle again. It really all comes back to the backfield and it started off horrible and just never established itself. Here’s my stable of nags:

  • Cedric Benson (5th rounder) – Weekly points of 1, 11, 11, 10, 4 and put on IR
  • Peyton Hillis (8th rounder) – Weekly points of 1, 5, 1 and high ankle sprain out for most of year (and off my team), started in week 1, that’s it
  • Jonathon Dwyer (drafted late) – 5, 3, -3, dropped when hurt, missed his 2 good games…
  • CJ Spiller (traded for week 2) – Weekly points of 30, 11, 0, 16, 10, 9, 13, 12, 12, 13, 4
  • Andre Brown (FA pickup week 3) – 26, 1, 0 – hurt and dropped, picked up by Dutch, traded back to me, scores 14, bye week, 12 on my bench but he was hurt and was put on IR
  • Ryan Williams (FA pickup week 4) – 2, 3 – hurt and dropped, put on IR
  • Vick Ballard (drafted late) – never played for me, dropped week 2
  • Jahvid Best (FA pickup week 6) – never played at all, wasted FAAB, dropped week 7
  • Bilal Powell (FA pickup week 6) – never played for me, 1 point week 6, dropped week 7
  • Alex Green (FA pickup week 6) – Weekly points of 6, 5, 7, 7, 0, 5
  • Jamaal Charles (traded for in week 7) – Weekly points of bye week, 0 (against the freakin Raiders), 5, traded away
  • Mark Ingram (FA pickup week 11) – Weekly points of 12 (bench), 2, 7, 6
  • Rashad Jennings (FA pickup week 11) – Weekly points of 0 – injured and dropped, picked back up, weekly points of 2, injured and dropped again. Fool me twice shame on me.
  • Jalene Parmele (FA pickup week 12) – Weekly points of 4, injured, put on IR

That’s 14 RBs on my roster at one point or another and 11 of them recorded at least 1 start. A lot of those guys were hurt at some point & some wound up on the IR list. You want to make an argument that Spiller was worth it? Besides the week of 30, there isn’t a great game in there but I respect the somewhat consistent floor (week 14 not withstanding). Holding on to Charles would have helped? Sure, but not where I needed it. A goose egg against the raiders and a paltry 5 points doesn’t pay the bills, especially when Randall Cobb took off on OD’s squad, becoming the best player in that trade.

At the end of the day, the 1 point loss against BMJ (stat correction and the Cutty sack) really hurt the outlook and laying two consecutive eggs against the ‘Canes and Cold Jerky sealed the deal for this team. I am very excited for next year though as I should be able to cobble together a respectable lineup.

Now, for the total implausible, never would happen even if I had a crystal ball, they’re all going to laugh at you Dream Draft Team based on total hindsight. The rules? Draft from my #9 spot and can only take guys lower than where they were drafted. Here’s my team:

1st Round, 9th overall – AJ Green, drafted 2nd round, 15th overall (not even on my radar)

2nd Round, 4th pick – Adrian Peterson, drafted 2nd round 9th pick (sure, I flirted with it, but I didn’t have the cajones – hats off to Peckers)

3rd Round, 9th pick – Victor Cruz, drafted 4th round 1st pick (I picked the wrong Giant)

4th Round, 4th pick – Doug Martin (I actually thought about this but thought he’d last…ugh)

5th round, 9th pick – Demaryius Thomas (I was wrong to not target him anywhere)

6th round, 4th pick – Tony Gonzalez (No one has ever lost money on drafting this guy)

7th round, 9th pick – RG3 (yeah, I drafted him in the 9th, but I’ll step it up)

8th round, 4th pick – CJ Spiller (He would have been a great RB3)

9th round, 9th pick – Andrew Luck (Pairs well with RG3)

10th round, 4th pick – Randall Cobb (yep, keeping him – I had it working in rounds 9 & 10…)

11th round – Houston D (keeping them as well, this has been a great play almost all year)

12th round – Alfred Morris (seriously, OD got this guy in the 13th round)

13th round – Greg the Leg! (so I could say I drafted this guy before anyone heard of him)

14th & 15th rounds – random bears players so they get drafted somewhere…we’ll say Kyle Adams and Eric Weems

This draft would give me the #1 and 9 QBs, the #3, 5, 6, and 12 WRs, the #1, 3, 10, and 11 RBs and the #2 TE. With that team…I might have a shot at beating those playoff teams…

How about you, gamers? Where did you go right? Or wrong? Who surprised you or disappointed you to the verge of tears? The floor is yours.


One Response to “Happy Playoffs”

  1. Winter December 16, 2012 at 10:34 am #

    Very frustrating year for two years in a row now the the Hurricane franchise. Maybe I need to change my name once more? Things were going so bad at the beginning with injuries and such that I figured I had to make some moves to invest for next year. Would things have turned out differently for me if I had held onto Foster and Dez? Maybe, but I should be set up nicely for next year with an extra 2nd and 5th rounder.
    As far as the playoffs, I am rooting for Lumpa and Hogle. No offense to whoever else made it to the playoffs, I honestly didn’t read the above that closely to see who made it. But Shaun and Lumpa have paid their dues in my eyes and deserve a shot at the Gnome. Thanks for an interesting season NGC!

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