Worst. Week. Ever. Not only did I go an anemic 2-11 but for the third straight week I lost a top five overall running back on multiple teams. In Week 6 it was Jamaal Charles (two teams), Week 7 Arian Foster (five) and now Le’Veon Bell (two) and Matt Forte (one)—though hopefully the latter not for the entire season. Throw in elite wideouts Keenan Allen (one) and Steve Smith Sr. (a two point per reception league) also having their seasons end prematurely and it’s been a tough month for my squads.
2014: 3-9 in Week 3
2013: 4-8 in Week 9
2012: 3-9 in Week 2
2011: 5-7 in Week 2 (only one of two times I had a mark under .500—5-6-1 in Week 12 was the other—in a season I finished a robust 100-60-2, for a .623 winning percentage.)
Of course if you include Week 15 from the last two postseasons I will probably never be lower than those lows:
Week 15 in 2014: 1-6
Week 15 in 2013: 1-7
Combined—when the stakes are exponentially higher—those two weeks equal a ghastly 2-13 mark.
And yet . . . hope springs eternal. After all that has gone wrong so far this year, at the halfway point of the season I sit exactly at .500 with a 52-52 record, making the playoffs in only six of 12 leagues. To top off the (mediocre) synchronicity of it all: in predicting how my Lambeau Field colleagues will go each week I am, fittingly, 20-20. Yet looking at all of my squads there is little I would change with any. So, as they say here in Oz, let’s see how I go . . .
Here are how my 12 teams—the supercontinent Pangaea plays two games a week—fared in Week 8:
|Team||Result||Record||Streak||Standing (vs. Last Week)||Points For|
|Green Bay Gamblers||119.62-73.98||6-2||Won 1||Fourth (Even)||901.28|
|Sterling Sharpe||93.62-74.59||3-5||Lost 1||Tenth (-3)||798.05|
|Brc||99-88||3-5||Lost 3||Ninth (-2)||1,112|
|Snuffleupagus||133-121||5-3||Lost 1||Fifth (-2)||1,043|
|TR’s Peepers||79.58-63.28||3-5||Lost 3||Tenth (-2)||568.44|
|Curly’s Cadre*||140.70-122.44||6-2||Lost 1||First (Even)||631.72|
|Pangaea||182-130; 177-130||7-9||Lost 2||Ninth (-1)||2,456|
|The Drop Bears*||93.1-92||6-2||Won 1||Second (+2)||809.5|
|GBG||140-106||4-4||Lost 2||Fourth (-1)||834|
|Fuzzy Dunlop||206-181||3-5||Lost 1||Ninth (-1)||1,521|
|The Taco Stand||163.54-133.44||4-4||Lost 1||Fifth (-1)||1,208.40|
|Unironic Witty Name||208.48-167.88||2-6||Lost 1||Ninth (Even)||1,426.82|
|Team||Points Against||Rank||Differential||What If?|
|Green Bay Gamblers||707.37||Third||-1||Great, great win!|
|Sterling Sharpe||851.04||Eighth||-1||Bye week blues.|
|Brc||1,096||Eighth||-1||Devastating loss (in more ways than one).|
|Snuffleupagus||1,052||Seventh||+2||Chose Brady over Rodgers. Might this week too.|
|TR’s Peepers||839.68||Tenth (Last)||Even||Begin. Again.|
|Curly’s Cadre*||707.20||First||Even||Second most points not enough this week.|
|Pangaea||2,657||Ninth||Even||Need big-time bounce back from A-Rodg!|
|The Drop Bears*||751.5||Sixth||+4||Damn. Keenan Allen too?!|
|GBG||820||Third||-1||Crazy bad luck the last couple weeks.|
|Fuzzy Dunlop||1,351||Third||-6||Come back for another year, Steve Smith Sr.!|
|The Taco Stand||1,160.84||Fourth||-1||Not Le’Veon too. Fuck!|
|Unironic Witty Name||1,640.32||Eighth||-1||Virtual must-wins from here on out.|
*Denotes new team this season
Week 8 record: 2-11. Overall: 52-52 (.500).
If the Postseason Started Today: Six of my 12 fantasy teams make the playoffs (down two—Sterling Sharpe and Brc fell out of the postseason mix—from Week 7)
Week 8: 1,530.35
Week 7: 1,784.45
Week 6: 1,647.91
Week 5: 1,755.15
Week 4: 1,415.19
Week 3: 2,083.02
Week 2: 1,712.94
Week 1: 1,680.25
And to think Week 8 had generally been very good to me:
2014: 8-4 (51-44-1, .536)
2013: 9-3 (62-34, .646)
2012: 7-5 (55-41, .573)
2011: 9-3 (61-35, .635)
Place Differential (Cumulative number of places in the standings I either rose or fell compared to the previous week):
Week 8 (2-11): -11
Week 7 (8-5): Even
Week 6 (4-9): -4
Week 5 (7-6): -5
Week 4 (6-7): -2
Week 3 (9-4): +7
Week 2 (9-4): -10
Overall: Minus -25 from Week 2
And now for this week’s awards:
Player of the Week: Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones. Eight catches for 162 yards and a last second score. And I needed every one of those 20.2 fantasy points in The Drop Bear’s narrow 1.1 point victory.
Goat(s) of the Week: All the Green Bay Packers. Except maybe Mason Crosby.
Villain(s) of the Week: Opting for a high scoring quarterback for this honor is easy—Drew Brees put up 64.54 and a ridiculous 85 against me while Eli Manning dropped 38—but I think two throw-a-fantasy-player-in-the-mix-and-hope-he-produces-enough-to-win options makes more sense. For Brc (more dubious accolades below) it was Falcons tight end Jacob Tamme who somehow managed to catch 10 balls for 103 yards and a touchdown, good for 26 points in a huge 11 point upset. And for Sterling Sharpe and their now history three game winning streak, New York Giants running back Shane Vereen takes top evil honors: eight receptions for 60 yards, a touchdown, and 82 return yards. Those 21 fantasy points were enormous in Discount DoubleChick’s 93.62-74.59 surprise victory.
Team of the Week: Since there wasn’t much to cheer about this week let’s split up the praise among the two teams that did win (see Lambeau Field below for love for the Green Bay Gamblers):
(Disappointing) Team of the Week: Two massive injuries, yes, but scoring 59 points less than projected and losing to a last place team is pathetic:
(Last Week’s) Game of the Week: Another barnburner! Curses on you Eli Manning!
Pure Genius: Dropping Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and picking up New Orleans Saints TE Benjamin Watson. The former didn’t play while the latter rung up an über-impressive 22 fantasy points on nine catches for 147 yards and one touchdown.
Put Me In Coach—I’m Ready to Play: Willie Snead.
What was I thinking?!: I got nothing.
Trade of the Week: A solemn promise: Tom Brady will be moved before the trade deadline—and by which team may be a huge surprise.
Pickup of the Week: Thanks to sage waiver wire management and some outright chutzpah (spending the entirety of my remaining $87 of my $100 waiver wire budget), I managed to pick up Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams in three leagues.
Drop(s) of the Week: Very tough call but in one of my leagues I’m only allowed to have four running backs. So in order to get Williams I had to drop New England’s LeGarrette Blount. (I already had to jettison Jamaal Charles and my remaining three backs in this 2 PPR league are Dion Lewis, Giovanni Bernard, and Jonathan Stewart.)
Worrisome Injury of Week: Bell, Le’Veon.
Team Ready to Break Out: TR’s Peepers
Lambeau Field update: Losing streak stopped! And in very impressive fashion:
And Then There Were Two
Stay alive and advance: that’s my mantra for the Survival Pool, now in its 12th 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.
Division games always make me nervous in the Survival Pool. And Week 8 proved exactly why. Two of the four remaining contestants chose the host Atlanta Falcons over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It seemed like a very sage pick. Except that these teams play each other twice a year and generally know each other intimately. Valiantly Atlanta fought back from a 10 point deficit to send the game to overtime, but that is where their—and the two entrants, Amelia Bedelia and Blugold Bum—luck ran out. And then there were two!
Most Popular (Successful) Choice: St. Louis and Carolina (1)
Most Popular (Unsuccessful) Choice: Atlanta (2)
Least Popular (Successful) Choice: None
Least Popular (Unsuccessful) Choice: None
Around the globe other people also chose the Falcons to prevail:
Thus the 2,704 perfect survivors have been whittled down to:
Just like last season only two teams remain. Who will lay claim to the massive booty?
I also partake in a confidence pool. You pick every game every week—straight up not against the point spread—and rank your selections based on how confident you are that they will win. For example, in Week 1 I thought there was no way the Packers would lose to the Bears, so I slotted them in at number 16. Conversely, I thought the Rams would pull the upset of the Seahawks, but in order to hedge my bet I gave them the lowest possible number: one.
In Week 8 I chose correctly 10 of the 14 games, incorrectly predicting that Atlanta, Green Bay, the New York J-E-T-S, and Pittsburgh would prevail:
Though my spot-on prognostications were one better than last week (10 correct instead of just nine) and my point total higher (95 compared to 86) and I finished 65th of 135—nine spots better than Week 7—I nonetheless fell six positions to 19th and lost 12 more points of ground in pursuit of the leader. I now sit 27 points back with 10 weeks left in the National Football League’s regular season.
Follow my quest for fantasy football dominance—including the highs and lows of such a dynamic and distressing hobby—on Twitter: @nicholasjonwood.