One yard. Those three feet are all that separated me from an undefeated Week 10. The 11-1 mark is the best regular season record I’ve posted since Week 3 in 2012 and Week 1 in 2011, were I went 10-2. (I definitely had an undefeated week before such studious records—pre-2011—were kept, but that was not accomplished with 11 teams in the mix. Additionally, in Weeks 16 and 17 the last two seasons I am a combined 11-0.) Add that domination to my capturing of the eleventh annual Survival Pool—and it’s $1,200 pot for a $20 wager—and it was a weekend I’ll never forget.
A team-by-team breakdown of the week that was:
|Green Bay Gamblers||117.97-107.94||4-6||Won 1||Eighth||1,079.67|
|Sterling Sharpe||140.94-31.25||7-3||Won 6||First||1,187.96|
|TR’s Peepers||120.70-94.44||5-5||Won 1||Sixth||1,081.76|
|Pangaea||165-134, 165-123||8-12||Won 2||Eighth||2,454|
|Valley Forge||95.2-77.1||4-6||Won 1||Eighth||877|
|Fuzzy Dunlop||145-133||8-2||Won 8||First||1,736|
|The Taco Stand||156.64-155.70||5-5||Won 3||Sixth||1,301.66|
|Unironic Witty Name||226.40-207.44||9-1||Won 2||First||1,988.80|
|Team||Points Against||Rank||Differential||What If?|
|Green Bay Gamblers||1,128.62||Fourth||-4||Monumental victory!|
|Sterling Sharpe||969.20||First||Even||Piling on the points!|
|Brc||1,443||Fourth||-1||Back on track!|
|Snuffleupagus||1,265||Third||+1||Starting to roll . . .|
|TR’s Peepers||1,084.42||Second||-4||Rodgers-to-Nelson baby!|
|Pangaea||2,550||Sixth||-2||Huge, huge wins!|
|Valley Forge||923||Last (10)||+2||Good start . . .|
|GBG||946||Fifth||+2||Perfect record if . . .|
|Fuzzy Dunlop||1,432||Third||+2||Eight straight!|
|The Taco Stand||1,348.54||Ninth||+3||.94 points. Wow!|
|Unironic Witty Name||1,778.24||Third||+2||Jordy & Jordan make a terrific twosome!|
Week 10 record: 11-1. Overall: 68-51-1 (.571)
Clinched Playoff Berth: Unironic Witty Name, Fuzzy Dunlop
Thought not by much (just 1.4 points) Week 10 was my top scoring of the season:
Week 10: 1,772.9
Week 9: 1,507.0
Week 8: 1,771.5
Week 7: 1,608.5
Week 6: 1,544.1
Week 5: 1,486.2
Week 4: 1,609.1
Week 3: 1,181.3
Week 2: 1,391.1
Week 1: 1,677.6
Still fourth historically, my 11-1 Week 10 has closed the gap considerably to where I have been the last three seasons at this point of the year:
2014: 11-1 (68-51-1, .571)
2013: 6-6 (72-48, .600)
2012: 6-6 (69-51, .575)
2011: 7-5 (74-45-1, .621)
And now for this week’s awards:
Player of the Week: Aaron Rodgers. Six touchdowns in one half. Not only did that record-tying total give me wins for all four of the teams he helmed, his early third quarter departure was key for The Taco Stand holding on for a razor-thin 156.64-155.70 win. His point totals for Sterling Sharpe, Snuffleupagus, TR’s Peepers, and Pangaea, respectively: 47.94, 50, 48.60, and 48.
Goat of the Week: LeSean ‘Shady’ McCoy. Only 19 rushing yards on 12 carries? Really?! Not to mention he caught only one ball (should have had at least one more reception) for minus two yards. Certainly I’ll take the touchdown, but if he gains three more feet I go 11-0-1 and if he gets 11 more yards I am a perfect 12-0.
Team of the Week: First the honorable mentions: the Green Bay Gamblers and Valley Forge came up with huge wins and Pangaea added two monumental victories. But this week I again reward The Taco Stand for their valiant win. Overcoming injuries to starting quarterback Carson Palmer, a top wideout in Brandon Marshall, and their best running back Ronnie Hillman, TTS nonetheless eked out a .94 point victory that likely saved their season and vaulted them up to sixth place and (for now) the last playoff spot in an über-competitive league.
Pure Genius: It’s Mike Evans again! This time it was starting him (seven receptions for 125 yards and one touchdown for 28.50 points) over Odell Beckham, Jr. (7-118 plus 11 rushing yards, 21.90) or Brandin Cooks (5-90-1, 20.00). Needed every single tenth of a point in this barnburner!
What was I thinking?!: It’s undoubtedly true that if I start Tony Romo (27 points) or Mark Sanchez (25) over Matt Ryan (16) I am a perfect 12-0 this week. But if Hillman doesn’t get hurt in the first quarter of his game against the Oakland Raiders I also win easily.
(Almost) Trade of the Week: Before Sunday’s games The Taco Stand had an offer on the table to trade Brandon Marshall straight up for Aaron Rodgers. After about 24 hours of deep pondering and thorough analysis, I reluctantly demurred. (It takes a lot for me to not trade for my favorite player!) My logic was this: though I’d love to team him up with Randall Cobb in this point-per-reception league, I had a lot of faith in Detroit Lions signal caller Matthew Stafford and the Arizona Cardinals’ Palmer. Unfortunately the latter tore his ACL in the second half of his tilt and is now out for the year. Would I make the trade now? Absolutely. But I trust Stafford to not let me down like he did last season. Before the league’s trade deadline I hope to move one of my dynamic receivers—preferably Evans, Beckham, Jr., or Cooks instead of Marshall, Cobb, or Megatron—to either upgrade at quarterback (with A-Rodg, Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, or maybe even Tom Brady) or offer me a week-to-week alternative (say Philip Rivers) to Stafford. Should be fascinating how this plays out. . . .
Pickup(s) of the Week: Not too many of either this week are as my preferred playoff rosters are starting to coalesce. The big name here is Wisconsin alum Montee Ball who I snagged in three leagues. Others that I think will help considerably this season include: Palmer’s replacement Drew Stanton in a two quarterback league (he’ll back up Peyton and Philip); Buffalo Bills new starter Bryce Brown, Hillman’s backup C.J. Anderson, Titans starter Bishop Sankey and all-everything back Leon Washington; tight ends Dwayne Allen and Mychal Rivera; placekickers Mason Crosby and Adam Vinatieri; and the New England, Kansas City, and Green Bay defenses.
Drop(s) of the Week: Season-ending injuries (Palmer) and upgrades in kicker (Brandon McManus) were each given their pink slips on two different squads.
Lambeau Field update: Now that is more like it (and welcome back Megatron!):
And Then There Were Was One!
Stay alive and advance: that’s my mantra for the Survival Pool, now entering its 11th season. To pay tribute to the most drama-filled fantasy sport of them all—and by far the most popular of my gambits—I will provide a weekly update of this terrific enterprise. For those unfamiliar this is how it works: You pick one NFL team every week. If they win, you stay in. If they lose, you’re out. You cannot pick the same team twice.
We started with 66 entries—with six not paying the booty is $1,200 for a modest $20 pay-in—and 17 teams were eliminated in Week 1, 11 in Week 2, one in Week 3, 11 in Week 4, four in Week 5, 10 in Week 6, five in Week 7, seven in Week 8, and none in Week 9. Week 10’s selections looked like this:
Most Popular (Successful) Choice: Baltimore
Most Popular (Unsuccessful) Choice: Pittsburgh
‘Arthur’—one of a few of my favorite Joseph Gordon-Levitt movie characters (Inception) that I used as entries this season—takes home the entire pot! After the Dallas debacle on Monday Night Football, there was banter between the two survivors about guaranteeing money to both finalists but ‘Arthur’ (with sage advice from his daring wife) insisted on adhering to the winner-take-all conceit. Well played, sir. Well played.
Follow my quest for fantasy football dominance—including the euphoric highs and agonizing lows of such a dynamic and distressing vocation—on Twitter: @nicholasjonwood.