The Fantasy Life 2016: Playoffs

By Frankie Reynolds

Well, gentlemen, it’s that time of year again. The fantasy playoffs have finally arrived, and honestly, the landscape hasn’t changed much since last year. Five of the six teams who made it last season made the dance once again (sorry Chad and good job Nate), and four have made it every single year. While the makeup of the teams who are in have changed, the consistency is still there.

Still, we can’t give too much credit where it isn’t due. Two teams with losing records got in, and the leader in points this season somehow missed out. In a way, that’s what makes divisions fun – it doesn’t matter how good you are; you’re going to need a little bit of luck to prevail. It’s also what makes them excruciatingly painful. I’m sure Chris knows a little bit about what you’re going through, Benny.

This is the last blog post of the year, which means this is also the final batch of power rankings. Seeing how this is the final post of the year, I’ll finally include myself for the first time since the pre-season.

  1. Jamie: Last year’s champ has as good a better chance than any to repeat. He finishes the season 11-2 and third in points overall. Not a bad way to follow-up a championship run. We’ve all basically known he was going to make the playoffs since week five or so, and now his real season begins. He gets the bye, but next week he’ll face either Kevin or Brandon, arguably the two hottest teams in the entire league. The road to a second ship in as many years won’t be necessarily easy, but hey, is it ever?
  2. Kevin: Kevin moves up to number two after scoring 134.9 and 164.4 in back-to-back weeks to round out the season. Wow, talk about momentum. His team is peaking at the right time, similar to Chad’s last year, and he’s now three wins away from the league’s first dynasty. The challenges that lie ahead? Brandon, Jamie, and – barring a major upset – Nate. Three of the four best teams stand in his way, but Kevin is also the luckiest person in our league. If anyone can do it, he can.
  3. Nate: Nate had a “bad” week to finish the regular season, “only” posting 101.7. It doesn’t matter; he still gets the bye, followed by a matchup against a team with a losing record in the regular season. There has never been an easier path to the championship, so for his first appearance in the playoffs, I’d say that’s a decent draw. Still, with a team like his, just making the championship isn’t the goal – winning it is. Is his team good enough? My answer is yes, but he’ll need to catch the winner of the Mexican division on an off-week. Not impossible, but not overly likely, either. A little luck could go a long way.
  4. Brandon: Brandon is in! He completes the comeback with a two-game sweep of his rival and his fourth straight playoff berth. But making the playoffs isn’t a tall task for this man – winning a game is. That’s right, Brandon has been one-and-done each and every year since this league started, and it’s not looking good this time around, either. His team may be hot, but Kevin’s is absolutely on fire, so it’s going to take a little something more to beat the two-time champ this week.
  5. Cordell: Cordell has definitely fizzled down the stretch, but he still has the talent to make a run. As it has been since the start of the season, he dons a boom-or-bust squad. Anything from 70 to 130 points is possible, so if he can string together three great weeks in a row he could very easily win this whole thing. If not, he could be facing a first round exit. There’s just no telling with this team, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
  6. Frankie: The worst of the playoff teams on paper, but a playoff team nonetheless. Honestly, after the year I’ve had, I’m just happy to have made it in. The team I’ve put together probably has a less than five percent chance at winning the whole thing – it will take a miracle just as great (if not greater) than what Chad accomplished last season, but at least I won’t be performing an embarrassing set of slam poetry this year!
  7. Benny: Benny, at least points-wise, is the best team in the league. A sweep by Jamie and two losses by a combined 0.3 points doomed him. If this was me, or Kevin, or Jamie, or Brandon, or Cordell, or even TL, no one would feel bad. But there’s something about watching a man who has never made the playoffs, who has lost the league and worn a dress to the bar before singing karaoke, miss out after being so close that makes your heart hurt. Ah, well, there’s always next year, Benjamin.
  8. TL: TL came close, but even with a win he wouldn’t have gotten in. This is the second year in a row where TL has missed the playoffs, and but the good news is that he shouldn’t have to fight for his life in the Fish Bowl this time around. His team would have been good enough to threaten at making a run in the postseason, so it should easily save him in the loser playoffs.
  9. Justin: This nightmare of a season is about to come to an end. Much like TL, he shouldn’t have to worry about losing the whole thing, but he, like Benny, is once more on the outside looking in. Better luck next year, Fudge.
  10. Chris: Chris and Noah are a coin flip for this tenth spot, but I’ll give it to Chris based on points. He actually scored more than me and TL this year and came very close to Justin and Cordell. But, just like every year, he was thoroughly outscored by significantly more than anyone else in the league. Still, this is as bad as it gets, Chris. Please don’t leave the league – we love ya bud, so just do us all a favor and stick it out for one more year to see if your luck turns around. The Fantasy Gods can be merciful.
  11. Noah: Side note, thank you for the past four years, Commish. You will be difficult to replace. And I know you’re contemplating leaving, too, but I beg you to reconsider. Give it another go. This league has to get shaken up eventually, right? As for your loser-playoff chances, I just don’t know. Chad has your number, and you’ll get him in the first round. After that, you’ll get the loser of Justin vs. Chris. Win that game and you’re safe. Lose, and you probably get Chad again… so just win and you’re good to go!
  12. Chad: The pre-season number one somehow finishes last, but will he lose the whole thing? Honestly, my prediction is no. He’s 2-0 in fish bowls and he has Noah’s number. Hmm…

MVP of the year: My MVP this year is David Johnson. Shocker, right? But not only was he one of – if not the – best backs in fantasy, he’s also the sole reason Brandon was able to slip in. It still hurts that I passed on him…

Bust of the year: This is a more difficult category, but I see three possibly candidates: Alshon, Gurley, and Gronk. The case for Alshon: He was injured in the beginning of the year, he’s suspended now, and he was mediocre in most of the weeks he played. For a second round pick, that is atrociously unreliable. The case for Gurley: He’s been a starter all year, so you’ve had to roll with him on a week-to-week basis. Whether you want to consider that a good thing or a bad thing us your call, but the fact is that he’s a low RB2 when he was drafted by many as the #1 overall back. Gurley owners roll with him every week hoping he’ll break out, but he’s yet to rush for over 85 yards. Believe me, I know better than most how much it sucks. The case for Gronk: He’s on IR now, he missed the first few weeks, and he was banged up in a few others. The Madden curse is real. If you drafted him (and it was probably with a high pick), you probably got four good games to show for it.

Manager of the year: There are a lot of good choices here. Really, every playoff team could be up for the award – Nate was 0-2 and made the playoffs, I started 0-3 and got in, and Brandon was 4-5 at one point before storming back. Kevin went from having an above-average team to a real championship contender with a few solid moves and Cordell made great managerial choices on a weekly basis while dealing with injuries and suspensions. But my choice is Jamie. After losing his second round pick in week one, he made some bold moves that paid off. His Zeke “reach” turned out being the best move of the draft, and his faith in guys like DeMarco Murray and Terelle Pryor paid off. Well done, James.

Jimbo of the year: It didn’t come back to bite him, but Brandon dropping Travis Benjamin after drafting him in the 10th round for a retired running back will forever live in infamy. We’ll probably never see any move so bold or brash made again.

It’s been a great year everyone. Good luck these next few weeks!

The Fantasy Life 2016: Week 13

The playoffs are set! Well, in one division, at least.

As you can see below, the Chinese division has locked in its three playoff teams after my victory over Cordell and Chad’s stunner over Noah. This year, one division will have Nate as the one seed, with Cordell and I facing off in the first round of the playoffs for the third time this season. Congratulations are in order, so I tip my hat to you two and will see you in week 14.

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As for the Mexican division… well, things aren’t as clear. Jamie locked up a bye week for the second year in a row, but that’s about the only thing set in stone. Justin is the only person who has been eliminated. The other four teams will battle it out in week 13 for those final two spots. Let’s take a quick look at each team’s path to the postseason:

Kevin: If Kevin wins, he’s all but in. He owns the same record as both Brandon and TL, but is outscoring TL by almost 140. It would be nearly impossible for him not to make it with a W on Sunday, and he’s currently projected to beat me by 22 points. Chances of getting in? 80%

Brandon: Same as Kevin – win and you’re almost certainly in. He has TL beat in points by nearly 170. Justin has some good matchups, however, so he’ll need a little luck to complete this late-season comeback. Chances of getting in? 70%

TL: TL needs to beat Jamie and then get a little help. If he wins, he will also need either Kevin or Brandon to lose to sneak into that three seed. Kevin plays me and Brandon plays Justin, so a loss by either one of them would constitute as an upset. Jamie has some critical bye weeks while TL has none, so he just might be able to do it. Chance of getting in? 50%

Benny: Okay, Benny’s path is the most difficult. While the other three teams currently sit at 7-5, Benny is 6-6 despite posting the second-most points in the league thus far. It sucks for him, but it is what it is. He’ll have to beat Cordell this week, for one. Then he’ll need two of the other three teams to lose, which would almost guarantee him a spot based on points. It’s not impossible, considering both Kevin and TL are playing playoff teams and Justin’s squad has flashed huge potential at times this year, but it is going to be a tall task. Chance of getting in? 20%

If all four teams lose, it will come down to points between Kevin, Brandon, and TL, and that means that TL is likely the odd man out. Let’s get to the power rankings now that the picture is as clear as it’s been all season long.

  1. Jamie: The #1 seed in the hardest division for the second year in a row. At this point, he’s certainly the favorite to win the whole thing. Again.
  2. Nate: The #1 seed in the other division and an astounding 9-1 since week three. Since week five, he’s only scored less than 107 once and is averaging well over 110 ppg. He’s got the best team in the Chinese division and, barring an upset, it looks like a championship appearance could be on the horizon.
  3. Kevin: I’m not going to fault him for scoring 135 in a loss. That has to hurt, especially with the playoffs on the line. Now all he has to do is win to get in for the fourth straight year. Let’s see if I can keep that from happening.
  4. Brandon: Brandon is finally back in the top four after another impressive week. He’s risen through the ranks, a winner of three straight, after a rough first nine weeks that saw him at 4-5. Now, to complete this comeback, all he has to do is beat Justin – his arch rival – for the second week in a row. If he does, he’ll be one of the few teams to have made the playoffs each and every year since this league was created, so you can bet this is as important a game as it gets to him.
  5. TL: TL is just on the cusp, so the question is simply this: can he do enough to get in? He’ll have to beat Jamie, who has only lost twice all year, and then hope either Justin or myself can pull off upsets of our own. People have given TL a lot of shit this year about his team and how he’s a “pretender,” but I don’t see it that way. In fact, there were three games that he easily could have won were it not for upsets on Sunday and Monday Night Football. So really, he’s just a few plays away from being 10-2 like Jamie. He deserves to be in this position, and this week we’ll find out if he really deserves to be in the playoffs.
  6. Cordell: Cordell might have backed into the playoffs, but let’s not forget that this was one of the best teams out there from weeks 1-6. He may have fallen off a bit recently, but this is still a team with the firepower to put up 130+ at any given time. He’s a real threat to everyone in the postseason.
  7. Benny: It’s hard to imagine that the team with the second-most points in the league is coming in at seventh in the power rankings, but that’s exactly what has happened. I’m not exactly sure what went wrong, but Jamie’s sweep and losses by 0.1 and 0.2 points didn’t help. It sucks that Benny is most likely going to be kept out of this year’s playoffs, especially after all he’s been through the past three years, but if he somehow gets in then you can bet it’s going to be the sweetest regular-season victory that anyone in this league has ever seen.
  8. Justin: Justin’s team underperformed this week, and with it came the definitive end to his playoff hopes. Four straight years without a postseason appearance is not something anyone wants on their resume, but the good news is that his team is good enough that he shouldn’t lose the league.
  9. Noah: Noah’s loss may have stung the most of anyone’s this week. All he needed to do was beat Chad twice – which quite honestly should have been cake – and he would have had a great shot at getting in. Instead, Chad put up 133.6. For whatever reason, he’s got Noah’s number, and it came back to bite him this year. The good news is that he will most likely either be placed in the middle bracket of the loser ladder this year, so all he’ll need to do is win one of the three loser-playoff games to ensure that he doesn’t lose the league again.
  10. Chris: Chris is in real danger here. Chad’s team has looked okay the last month (in three of the last four weeks, he’s scored, 96.4, 93.1 and 133.6), or at least about as good as Chris’s. It’s looking more and more like that might be the loser bowl this year – a game Chad is well-versed in (and 2-0, if I might add).
  11. Chad: Chad, Cordell and I owe you drinks for putting the final nail in Noah’s coffin this year. Thank you for that. In return, we are pulling hard for you not to make the Fish Bowl for the third time in four years. God speed.

Game of the week: They’re all big during rivalry week. Four have massive playoff implications.

Upset of the week: I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Justin keeps Brandon out of the playoffs. I’m just seeing some of his matchups – Wilson vs. Carolina, Riddick @ the Saints, Julio vs. Kansas City, ect. – and I think he’s got a chance to put up 120. Not saying Brandon can’t do that, but this should be a great game where Justin has a good shot at the end.

MVP watch: David Johnson still, especially since he is the sole reason Brandon has a legit shot at the playoffs. Without him, Brandon is out of this thing weeks ago. M-V-P of our league for sure, and probably the M-V-P for all of fantasy, too.

Bust of the year: It’s between Gurley and Alshon now, and Alshon continues to have the edge after Gurley scored over 10 yet again while Alshon sat on the bench. Both are annoying, though.

Jimbo of the week: Kevin benching Jordan Howard against the Titans for Thomas Rawls against Tampa could cost him a playoff spot. Ouch.

The Fantasy Life 2016: Week 12

By Frankie Reynolds

Short post this week, seeing how it’s Thanksgiving and what not. Last week could have finalized the playoffs for good. Instead, the whole picture is now more of a mess than ever. Practically every team is still in play somehow (Practically – sorry, Chad).

Also, congrats to Jamie for locking up a playoff spot. We now have two in, meaning four spots remain available for the nine teams still in play. This is going to get interesting…

Power Rankings:

  1. Jamie: How can he not be? He may have scored under 100 points, and he may have gotten lucky with Crabtree’s poor performance Monday night, but he still owns the best record and has arguably the best roster in the league. He’s sitting pretty heading down the home stretch.
  2. Nate: Nate wins. Again. This man is now 8-1 since that 0-2 start, making him as dangerous as anyone. Now the only thing left to secure is a first-round bye. With that, I’d say his chances of winning the ‘ship are better than anyone elses.
  3. Kevin: Two losses in a row and he’s still in a great spot. He’s basically out of contention for the bye, but it’d be difficult for him to miss the playoffs entirely. The health of LeSean McCoy is huge going forward – especially once he reaches the post-season (assuming he does).
  4. Benny: Let’s make this clear: Benny was no easy choice for this spot. He’s now tied with both Brandon and TL for the 3 spot, seeing how they all boast 6-5 records. Still, you’ve got to feel for him. One loss by 0.1, another by 0.2. Is fate against him this year? Once again, if he makes it, he’ll surely be a threat to win the whole thing, but that is by no means a lock anymore.
  5. Brandon: After a huge win, he’s now put himself back in the (serious) running for that third playoff spot, and I kinda like his chances. Benny is definitely the favorite, no doubt, especially since he’s beating Brandon in points by close to 100 total. Still, he’s peaking at just the right time, kind of like Chad did last year…
  6. Cordell: Cordell lost, but now faces me this week with a chance to lock down a playoff spot for the fourth straight year. If he does, all is right and I’d say he’s one of the few teams from the Chinese division who can seriously give Nate a run for his money. If not – and especially if Noah wins – then week 13 becomes REAL interesting…
  7. TL: He’s tied with Benny and Brandon record-wise, yes, but he’s way behind in points. He’ll need to win out and then get some help if he’s to make the playoffs. Still, he’s got a chance, and that’s all you can ask for in that tough division.
  8. Noah: He got the big win he needed – as well as a solid RB in Robert Kelly. The problem? His other blossoming back, CJ, went down. While he still technically trails Cordell and I for a spot in the playoffs, he has a much easier schedule the last two weeks than us, giving him, in my opinion, a really great chance to get back to the postseason for the first time since 2013.
  9. Justin: Justin with another heartbreaker. He needs a ton of help to get in – too much to realistically believe he has a chance – but he can still salvage this crappy year by ending his rival’s hopes at getting in.
  10. Chris: Chris got the win, so he’s technically alive, but he’ll basically need to win out while also having me lose and Noah drop one to Chad. Tough task, but it can be done. A.J. being out doesn’t help, though.
  11. Chad: Unfortunately for last year’s runner-up, this week was the official end of the road. Now he has to try and salvage what is left of his team to stay out of the fish bowl. Oh, and much like Justin, he has a chance to keep his rival out of the postseason.

Game of the week? Which game isn’t important at this point? I’m going to say TL vs. Benny. Whoever loses will find themselves hard-pressed to make the playoffs.

Upset of the week? Justin over Brandon. Just going with my gut on this one.

Bust watch? Gurley played well enough to sneak out of here (for the time being) while Alshon rested on Justin’s bench. Now with Jay Cutler likely done for the year, Alshon could find himself as the biggest bust of the two when it’s all said and done.

Jimbo of the week? Kevin benching Carr hurts badly. So does my spending $31 on Robert Woods.

The Fantasy Life 2016: Week 11

By Frankie Reynolds

Congrats to Nate! The curse is broken, and after four long years he’s finally made his way into the postseason. He is the first – and only – person from “The Fantasy Life” to mathematically assure themselves a spot in this year’s big dance, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other teams right there on the verge of getting in – and just one wrong play away from keeping themselves out.

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As you can see, Jamie is all but in. The only way he won’t make it is if he loses out and either Brandon or TL win out while outscoring him in the process. Cordell is also almost a lock, for all he needs to do is not lose out or have Noah lose just one more game to get back in for the fourth straight year. Then there are teams like Kevin and myself who are on the cusp (though I would say Kevin’s overall chances are better than mine), but there are plenty of ways we could be kept out.

Unfortunately for Chad, Chris, and Justin, it looks like this is the end of the line. While not 100 percent out of it, they would need to win out and then get an enormous amount of help to sneak into the third seed of their respective divisions. Let’s get to the rankings:

  1. Jamie Price: He solely owns the best record in the league, so this is no surprise. What is surprising, however, is that he swept Benny. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who thought they would split the series, but instead Jamie beat him by over 40 points – and Benny put up a very respectable 114.6! Wow. Just wow. Again, Jamie’s team this year is not quite last year’s squad that will forever go down as one of the greats in this league’s history, but with each passing week it is becoming more and more apparent that he definitely has what it takes to win the trophy once again. In fact, I’d probably peg him as the favorite.
  2. Nate Brockmeyer: Nate jumps all the way up to number two after yet another solid week, this one good for 110.7. Since that dreaded 0-2 start, he’s gone 7-1 and emerged as a serious contender. He’s the first to officially make the playoffs, so now the question is whether or not he can win the whole thing. I think he’s got as good a shot as any to at least get into the championship and, as we’ve seen in the past, anything can happen on any given Sunday.
  3. Kevin Baldwin: Kevin drops one spot after dropping one to Brandon, but there is not reason to be concerned. He still put up 115.3 and will almost certainly make the postseason again. Once there, he’s going to have a shot to win his third title in four years. Need I say more?
  4. Benny Kenly: Damn, this season is just no breaking his way. Not in the way it should, at least. On paper, this is arguably the best team in the entire league. He’s scored the most points, but both a 0.1 loss in week one and the sweep by Jamie have been huge contributing factors to his above-average 6-4 record. We all know that Benny has the capability to do some serious damage in the postseason, but all of sudden it isn’t a question of when he’ll get there, it’s a question of if. He’s only one game up on both Brandon and TL and still has to play both of them in addition to Cordell. A spot in the top three of the Mexican division, which was certain not but two weeks ago, is now far from a lock.
  5. Zach Cordell: Cordell has won two games over the last three weeks by a combined 3.1 points. In one of those matchups he scored 132.6. The other? 73.3. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, and let’s not forget that Cordell’s team definitely isn’t bad. His players are just boom-or-bust kind of guys. He’s 6-4, like Benny, but he only needs to win one game over his next three to get into the playoffs thanks to his division. Once there, it’s very possible that he strings together three great weeks and wins the whole thing. Seriously, with the way he’s pulling out these close wins regardless of the number of points he scores, it’s starting to look like fate might be on his side.
  6. Brandon Bayer: Brandon finally got back to his roots and nearly put up 130 on the two-time champ. Now the team that once looked dead is very much alive. He still has to play Benny once and Justin twice (who may be low in these rankings but is deadly on paper), so the road is definitely not easy. However, if he can get a little lucky there is no reason why he can’t make a late push at this thing for his fourth playoff berth in four years.
  7. Tyler Lenane: TL is 5-5, but two painful losses in weeks 9 and 10 have made his path to the playoffs much more difficult. He still has Kevin, Brandon and Jamie on tap – three of the better teams in this league – and for him to have any shot at this he’ll have to win at least two of those games. He’s had a pretty unlucky season – he could very easily be 8-2 if not for a few bad breaks on various Sunday night and Monday night football games – but he does still have an outside chance to get back to the postseason.
  8. Noah Dickerson: Noah may be 3-7, but he’s still very much alive in the playoff race. He needs to beat me this week without question, but if he does that then he gets to play Chad two weeks straight while I get Cordell and Kevin. One of those schedules sounds much harder than the other, so keep a close eye on Noah and a late run if he can get a win in week 11.
  9. Justin Hedrick: He’s only ninth in these rankings because his odds of getting in are so low. He would need to win out – which includes beating Brandon both times – and then watch Benny drop at least two games (while simultaneously scoring a low number of points). And I haven’t even mentioned how TL has to lose at least one, too. As you can see, there’s just a lot working against him. Can it be done? Yes, but I’m not holding my breath.
  10. Chris Hubbard: Chris had a shot to get himself back in the race against me, but he took the Blount of all the upsetting losses in week 11 by watching yet another person come from behind to beat him. Chris, unfortunately it just doesn’t seem to be your year, buddy, but don’t lose hope. Just look at Nate – things do get better eventually.
  11. Chad Short: Chad, you’re going to need a miracle to pull this thing out. If you can, it will be remembered as the greatest comeback in our league’s history. If not, this may be the year it finally catches up to you and you finally see youself on the losing end of the Fish Bowl. You’ve got a lot of history to write while the rest of this season unfolds – be on the right side of it.

Game of the week? Me vs. Noah. If I win, I’m in. If Noah wins, he’s all but in the driver’s seat for that three spot in the Chinese division. For all intents and purposes, this is our league’s first playoff game of the year.

Upset alert? There are a lot of good potential options here, but I’ll say Justin over Jamie is an upset to watch out for. Justin’s team has really been coming around lately and he has some fantastic matchups this week, coupled with the fact that Doug Martin is finally back in full.

Put up or shut up: No put up or shut up last week, so our record is still 5-4. Everyone has been talking this week though, not so much trash but more so about how good their teams are. I think Brandon has probably talked the most, so he gets the honor for week 11.

MVP watch? Still David JOHNson – he’s literally the only reason Brandon still has a chance – but Zeke is really just a few steps behind, especially after last week’s monster 40-point performance.

Bust watch? Unfortunately for me, Gurley. Will the QB change to Joared Goff affect his play in a good way? I can only hope.

Jimbo of the Week: Hubs benched Dez against the poopy Pittsburgh secondary… not sure what the thinking was on that one, but it cost him the game and potentially a shot at the playoffs.

The Fantasy Life 2016: Week 10

By Frankie Reynolds

Nine weeks down, four to go. Another week gone gives us a clearer picture of where things stand in the league. All 12 teams are still amazingly in the playoff hunt, but in reality this looks like an eight-to-nine team race, with Brandon and Chris still having shots if a lot of things go right. Unfortunately for Justin and Chad, it would take a miracle to sneak into the dance. While not impossible, it looks extremely unlikely. Here are our standings:

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Divisional play has surely shaken things up, and so another week of it will undoubtably clear this picture up even more (or will it?). Here’s this week’s power rankings, and unlike last week, these are just mine, so I’ll exclude myself from them.

  1. Jamie: Last year’s champ stays in first after another 100-point week, this time good for 120.6. With two of the top 3-4 RB’s in the league, coupled with some really solid depth, Jamie has a formidible team built for games played in colder weather. Would it surprise anyone if we see him repeat?
  2. Kevin: Talk about eeking one out, but a big one at that. Were TL to have won, he would have been in great position to make a run – and possibly even at Kevin’s expense. Instead, Kevin is now in firm control of his fourth playoff berth in four years. Perhaps our most consistent player in the league, a yearly playoff game for Kevin seems to be one of the only things we can count on here.
  3. Benny: I’m still of the belief that Benny has the best team, and he backed up that argument with a monster 161.4 game this past week. He has the deepest RB core, a great WR group, and a solid TE. Tough to beat that. While he’s not a sure-fire lock for the playoffs just yet, he’ll definitely be expected to do some damage in the post-season if he gets there.
  4. Nate: Nate wins again, and we’re starting to see that he clearly has the best team in the Chinese division on a week-to-week basis. He’s 6-3, and it would take an epic collapse for him to miss out on the playoffs. There’s only one or two teams in that division with a real chance to upset whoever makes it to the ship from the other bracket, and this is one of them.
  5. Cordell: Much like Nate, Cordell got another win this week, further uping his odds at making the postseason. Cordell has sneakily also made the playoffs each year since we started the league, and while his team is very much a boom-or-bust squad, he could have a shot to take the whole thing if he can keep it up. We forget that he has some really, really good RB’s, arguably the best QB in football, and a suddenly resurgent Jimmy Graham at TE. That’s a team no one is going to want to face come week 14.
  6. TL: Despite the loss, I’m going to keep TL in the six spot this week. A win would have gone a long way, but he’s not out of it yet. He’s still 5-4, and while he’s lost three games in the unluckiest of ways he still has a chance. He has the leading MVP candidate, arguably the best offensive player in the NFL in Bell, and a sneaky WR core (Jordan Reed included). There are some troubling positions, like his RB2 and WR2, but overall this team is definitely good enough to make it in. Whether or not he could make some noise when there is something of a different story.
  7. Brandon: This is where the rankings get really tough. I guess I’ll go Brandon due to his record, not to mention his team is starting to get healthy (for whatever that’s worth). Will he make the playoffs? Probably not, but I don’t know who I would rank above him. Possibly the guy I have at #8?
  8. Noah: Noah is 3-6, yes, but he has arguably and easier path to the playoffs than both TL and Brandon. His RB’s kinda suck, but other than that this is a sneaky-good team. Will it be enough to make the playoffs? We’ll see, but it looks like he’ll be in the conversation for the three seed in the Chinese division until the very last week of the regular season.
  9. Justin: I wanted to rank him 10, seeing how Chris’s playoff chances are that much better than his, but I can’t bring myself to do that. Justin’s team has the talent to be ranked as high as five or six, but luck hasn’t been on his side lately. The truth is, this is the first time he hasn’t fucked himself out of the playoffs – something else did it for him. What that is exactly I’m not sure, if I’m being honest. The good news is that there’s no way he’s going to lose the whole thing this year… right?
  10. Chris: Chris still has a shot – and a relatively decent one at that – of making the playoffs, but after he lost to Chad this past week I just don’t see it happening. His team isn’t fantastic or anything, but that entire game was just too unlucky. I’m sorry Chris – fantasy just hates you I guess.
  11. Chad: Chad broke 100! He’s still in the race! Still in last place, of course, but the bottom is no longer as dark and lonely as it once was.

Game of the week? Benny vs. Jamie. How can it not be?

Upset alert? I’m putting myself on upset alert this week. Chris has some good matchups and no byes, while my best player is out and I have some terrible matchups beside. He’s got a good chance, and if he wins and Nate beats Noah, then suddenly things are really, really interesting in the Chinese division…

Put up or shut up: Jamie won, so we’re at 5-4, but I’ve got nothing this week. Unfortuantely everyone has been pretty tame over the last month.

MVP watch? Still David JOHNson, despite the bye, followed closely by Zeke.

Bust watch? Alshon once again, but I think we have to bring Gurley back into the conversation, too. Him and Alshon have strung both Justin and me along all year long, only to put up mediocre performances more often than not.

Jimbo of the Week: TL playing Derrick Henry over Rashad Jennings lost him the game. Now, I’m not saying I would have played the right one either, I’m just saying it lost him the game.

The Fantasy Life 2016: Week 9

By Frankie Reynolds

We’re halfway through the regular season (already?!?!?), which means we’re also halfway through another year in fantasy (playoffs included, of course). Yet, despite all that has happened, we’re still no closer to really figuring out who is truly the best team in our league. No one has separated themselves – just when you think someone is on top, they crumble. It’s almost like that top spot is cursed or something.

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As you can see, Benny lost this week, dropping him from first all the way down to a two-way tie for third. Kevin and Nate continued to win while Cordell got back on the horse and both Justin and Brandon stumbled. Let’s talk a bit more about where all teams currently stand in this week’s rankings.

Thanks to Jamie and Noah, this is the first week we have an averaged set of power rankings (the rest of you still suck, though). As is the case, this will also be the first week I’ll be listed in there since before week 1. So, let’s see where everyone stands:

  1. Jamie: Last week I said that Benny vs. Jamie was the battle for first, and that still holds true even with the averaged rankings. Jamie is the only team in our league to have scored at least 100 points in every week – which is pretty remarkable considering he lost his second round pick so early in the season. The reigning champ is tied for first in his division, and will have a decent shot at repeating if he can continue his insane streak of scoring at least 100 per outing.
  2. Kevin: Kevin scored 110+, AGAIN, and now finds himself up a spot from last week. He’s also 6-2 like Jamie, and in his worst week still saw him score over 90 points. I obviously like his chances of making it to the dance for the fourth straight year, and am terrified that he could very well take home the trophy for the third time in four seasons, giving him a true dynasty.
  3. Benny: Benny drops from 1 to 3, but he could easily be back up in the one spot with a big win this week. I feel like the top teams in the rankings are just going to rotate between these three for the rest of the year. Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that Benny did have his worst week against Jamie, but he has nothing to worry about long-term. He has a lot of byes this week, and could potentially drop to 5-4 as a result, but after that he’ll almost certainly be in the clear.
  4. Nate: Nate stays in the four spot after another solid week. Is it the best roster in the league? No. Is it the best in his division? Probably, and it’s good enough to take down any team in the Mexican division on any given Sunday. That means that Nate doesn’t just have a chance at making the playoffs for the first time ever this year, but he’s actually got a shot at winning the whole thing.
  5. Cordell: Boom or bust, right? Last week he barely scored 100 against my team – and that’s not even close to his worst week. This week he goes off for 132, which wasn’t even his best yet. As I’ve said before, this team has such an insane range; he’ll score anywhere from 65-135 and there’s really no way of knowing. That doesn’t necessarily mean that this team is good, but it does mean that it’s dangerous, and in our league someone with a high ceiling is just as potent as someone who is consistent – especially in the post-season.
  6. TL: I would probably have TL a bit higher considering he is 5-3, but he does jump up a spot from last week after yet another convincing performance. The craziest part is that if it weren’t for some fluky Sunday night games, TL could very easily be 7-1. Each season someone seems to get way too lucky on their way to a championship run – two years ago it was Kevin, last year it was Chad. Could this be TL’s year to get back to the playoffs and make some noise?
  7. Frankie: My team comes in at 7 after going 4-1 over the last five games. I wouldn’t necessarily consider this team to be a championship contender, but all of a sudden – if everything goes right – the playoffs look like they could maybe be within reach despite the terrible 2-4 start.
  8. Brandon (T-8): Brandon ties for 8, plummeting three spots after not only losing this past week but showing that his outlook isn’t too promising anymore. This week he’s starting two backup RB’s and is in real danger of falling to 4-5. Look, is he going to lose the league? I doubt it, but a chance at the playoffs – which just two weeks ago looked extremely realistic – is quickly slipping away.
  9. Justin (T-8): Justin ties with Brandon for 8 on this list after losing a big game this past week to Kevin. Had he won, he would have found himself surging up these rankings, but instead he crumbled in a matchup that looked like all but a sure thing. The problem is that Justin actually has a good team, but guess what? He started the wrong guys, and it’s not the first time that’s happened. I hate to say it, but Brandon did warn him about teh dangers of having depth like that, and it looks like he might have been right. In his divison, at 3-5, it’d take a miracle to save Justin from the curse that’s been following him ever since Chad smacked him in the face with a fish all those years ago…
  10. Noah: Noah drops to 10, but this is definitely not a bad team. He’s 3-5, yes, but a lot of his losses came early in the season. His schedule isn’t anything too daunting from here on out, so if either Nate, Cordell or myself start to stumble, I’d be willing to bet that Noah will have the chance to catch up real quick.
  11. Chris: Ah, Chris. Fantasy hates you, you hate fantasy, we know. It’s the same story every year. Your latest heartbreak is no different. I’m sorry, and that’s all I can really say.
  12. Chad: Chad, I really, honestly thought you were going to beat me this week. By double digits, in fact. I wasn’t confident at all. That was your week. I know this sounds like sarcastic trash talk, but it really, really isn’t. It wasn’t meant to be. With a playoff berth now being almost impossible and the trade deadline looming, all you can hope now is that things will turn around enough to save you from losing the whole thing. Seeing how you have a 2-0 record in the Fish Bowl, that is definitely something we all need to watch out for.

Game of the week? Kevin vs. TL. Both should be at full strength, and if TL can pull this one off I think it might be time to wonder if his team is a little more than just lucky…

Upset alert? I like Justin over Benny in a must-win game for him. He has better matchups and doesn’t have to stream a defense this week, which is a pretty big deal considering how crappy the ones that are avalible have been this season.

Put up or shut up: 4-4 now, thanks to Noah. Jamie Price, this week you’re up after some ruthless shit talking to Brandon earlier today (which, let’s be honest, he was kind of asking for).

MVP watch? He may have lost badly, but one bright spot on Brandon’s team was the obvious MVP David JOHNson. He put up 14.3 on a BAD week. However, one guy to watch out for is Zeke, who has already had his bye and yes still ranks #4 at the RB position…

Bust watch? Alshon once again, considering the 14 point effort week with Cutler back was mostly the result of his first TD catch of the season. Will a three-catch day be enough to keep owners starting him on a week-to-week basis, only to let them down when the TD’s don’t come, or can he actually turn it around late in the year to get out of this “bust” category?

Jimbo of the Week: Poor Chris can’t catch a break. He put up an astounding 131.7 in a 0.9 point loss, and that was with hardly any help from his defense of kicker. Actually, he had no help at all from his kicker, and his defense only got him one point. So basically playing anyone else at either position would have done him better. So sad.

The Fantasy Life 2016: Week 8

By Frankie Reynolds

Really busy today so this will be a shorter post, which is a shame because things really got interesting last week.

A handful of the teams we thought were fantastic crumbled, and a bunch of the teams that we thought sucked came out swinging. The first week of divisional play was a success and evened out the leaderboard in both divisions so much so that the next few weeks are going to me more than critical to each team’s success.

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Power Rankings:

  1. Benny Kenly: He beat Kevin by nearly 26 points, and he finally claims the top spot in the rankings. He’s the clear favorite to win the whole thing in the league right now, but don’t pencil him in for a championship just yet. Why? There are too many other good teams in his division. Still, make no mistake that this team is built for the playoffs and it will be difficult to knock him off.
  2. Jamie Price: Jamie is the only other team besides Benny’s that has yet to score below 100 points in any given week. He’s quietly had a really nice season – not quite last year’s, but enough to get him to 5-2 with a good outlook. However, he and Benny still have to play twice, and it which will be huge if one of them can sweep.
  3. Kevin Baldwin: Really, really difficult to drop him from 1 to 3 after one mediocre week, but my reasoning was that Kevin has now scored below 100 twice while Jamie hasn’t at all. At the end of the day, we’re splitting hairs here – these are the three best teams in the league right now, and, if I had to guess, they will be the three to represent the Mexican division in the postseason.
  4. Nate Brockmeyer: This is when it gets really, really difficult. You could make an argument for any of the teams ranked between 4-7 to be placed higher, but I’m going to go with Nate here since he’s been absolutely killing it since the dreaded 0-2 start (4-1 since). He now sits solely in first in the Chinese division, has an easier schedule than anyone in the Mexican division, and holds the same record as TL and Brandon despite having a more difficult schedule. We’ll see if this holds, but as long as Nate keeps winning it’ll be hard to move him anywhere.
  5. Brandon Bayer: Losing to Justin hurts, and his RB situation is looking rough (outside of DJ, of course), but he’s still 4-3 with over 800 points scoring through 7 weeks. I don’t like his outlook going forward as much as I do some of the teams listed below him, but it’s hard to argue with what he’s done so far.
  6. Justin Hedrick: Justin jumps three spots this week after he was ranked 9 last week – a ranking I still stand by. Still, he beat Brandon pretty soundly and has a very solid outlook going forward. Some will say he belongs all the way up at 4, while some may say he should be at 7, so I’ll go with 6 considering he still has a losing record and resides in last in his division. But there is still hope. I know we’re all waiting for Justin to mess everything up for his team just like he’s done in each of the last three years, but I’m not sure it’s going to happen this time around. Actually, I’m not sure it’s possible unless he makes a big trade that backfires. His problem is that he fell so far behind so early – can he make it up? Another win this week is huge, and should he pull it off against Kevin he’ll continue his climb.
  7. TL: I know – how can you drop someone who was ranked 4 last week to 7 after he put up 118 points, even though the loss? It’s difficult, though in hindsight I should have ranked him at 5, not 4 (as I mentioned in the GroupMe). He’s had a few really God-awful weeks, and also a few fantastic ones. The way I see it, he’s not going to lose this league, but he’s probably not going to win it either simply because his roster is too boom-or-bust to win three playoff games in a row. If it were him vs. Justin in a best 2 our of 3, I’d probably take Justin. Still, TL is 4-3, and a win this week would only make his chances of pulling a seeding upset for the playoffs even better.
  8. Noah Dickerson: Noah may be 3-4, and his win/loss streaks may look inconsistent, but this team is starting to catch some serious fire. He may talk a bit too much shit for his own good, but after the way last year went I can’t blame him. He’s got as good a chance as any in the Chinese division of making the playoffs, and this roster has the potential to make some noise should he get there.
  9. Zach Cordell: Much like TL, this roster is very boom-or-bust. He’s 3-4, so he’s right there in the playoff race no doubt, but there are most certainly concerns. The good news it that Jay Ajayayayai looks like he has potential to be this year’s DJ, and we all saw how that worked out for Jamie last year.
  10. Chris Hubbard: Chris has to hate fantasy by now. Bad luck has been the death of him the last few years. And yet, somehow, he’s only one game back out of a playoff spot, so he’s not dead just yet.
  11. Chad Short: If it’s any consolation, I really, really don’t feel confident against Chad this week, so if he can beat me then he’s amazingly right back in the playoff race. Haha that really is amazing.

I will note that Justin also sent me his power rankings, but I’d like to have at least one or two more people do it if I’m going to use the average of them. I know no one will because you all are lazy when it comes to that stuff, but if you get them to me by Tuesday nights (it will literally take you 2 minutes) I’ll be happy to average them out for us.

Game of the week? Jamie vs. Benny. One vs. two with the winner taking first for next week’s rankings.

Upset alert? There’s a bunch – Chad over me, Justin over Kevin, Chris over Cordell, take your pick.

Put up or shut up: Justin did it! We’re back to 4-3. Noah gets the honor this week since he’s been running his mouth pretty good the last few weeks, and while he continues to back it up he plays Nate this week. Whoever wins will be in first in the Chinese division.

MVP watch? David JOHNson. Another 20+ point week. Ho-hum.

Bust watch? Still Alshon after another crappy week, this time scoring only 4.8 points. Jay Cutler is back now, though, which may not be good for the Bears but it’s good for Alshon owners. Or is it? We’ll see.

Jimbo of the Week: Not really sure there is a Jimbo this week. Maybe Chad, who sat three players who scored at least 14 points while Matt Jones and DeSean Jackson combined for a rough 6.7.

The Fantasy Life 2016: Week 7

By Frankie Reynolds

Things were about to be extremely shaken up, and then the Jets took the field. Their poor performance on Monday night cost two teams in the Chinese division wins. Wow. Here’s what the standings currently look like after that catastrophe:

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The good news? No one really gained much ground in the final week of out-of-division play (until rivalry week, of course). But did the power rankings change?

  1. Kevin Baldwin: He may have taken his first loss of the season, but the fact the Benny dropped his second game keeps him in the top spot. He still posted 117 in defeat and has a great roster – especially since Spencer Ware isn’t dropping off with Jamal Charles return and Shady’s injury was minor.
  2. Benny Kenly: Benny had a chance to secure the top spot, but he played the wrong Chargers TE. Oh well. He still has the deepest team in the league and arguably the best starting roster. He’ll continue to be in the mix as the season progresses and we’d all be shocked if he missed the playoffs.
  3. Jamie Price: Somehow Jamie always finds a way to complain even when he wins. I personally don’t’ feel even slightly bad for him – he’s 4-2 with a great roster. It may not be as powerful as Kevin or Benny’s, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a favorite to make the playoffs.
  4. Tyler Lenane: TL misfortune from last week turned around this week when he won after putting up a measly 71 points. Some may find it surprising that he’s actually moving up in the rankings, but at the end of the day he’s 4-2 and in a great position. This week he plays Jamie, and if he can snag a win he’ll start to be seen as a legit contender, whether we like it or not.
  5. Brandon Bayer: Brandon moves up a spot after getting back on track last week, but going forward he does have some concerns. Eddy Lacy is expected to miss significant time and Arian Foster no longer looks like “the guy” in Miami. Can he really rely on David Johnson and James White to combine for 40+ points on a weekly basis? Going forward, this team will have it’s ups and downs, but we can’t deny that he’s also 4-2 and, with a win this week, he’d be in the same situation as TL – one step closer to the playoffs.
  6. Zach Cordell: Cordell, man. What happened? This isn’t the firs time Cordell’s put up terrible numbers and it won’t be the last. At the same time, we’ve seen him have the ability to explode for 130+ at any given time. This team probably has the most range of any team in our league. If he played in the Mexican division it probably wouldn’t be enough to make the playoffs, but in the Chinese division it’s the closest thing we have to a lock.
  7. Nate Brockmeyer: Nate’s star RB has his arm in a sling, but that’s one of his only worries right now. OBJ is back in a big way, he has one of the only semi-reliable TE’s in the game, a great QB, and a solid defense. In the Chinese division, he’s well on his way to exorcising his playoff demons and making it to the dance.
  8. Noah Dickerson: He beat Justin last week, so he gets the slight edge here. After a close victory last week, he was eeked out by David Johns… eer, I mean Brandon, this week. He’s only 2-4, but he’s still in a good spot. His WR’s a solid (so long as their QB’s play decently), he has the best TE in football, and JCharles will slowly ease back into the mix to become, at worst, a decent RB2. In his division, he’s got as good a chance as anyone.
  9. Justin Hedrick: He’s going to take this personally and think I’m “shitting on him” for putting him at 9, but I’m really not. Talent-wise, this team is top 5. But he’s already 2 games behind in the hard division with a tough remaining schedule. He’s literally in the worst position of any team (well, second worst). I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it will be tough. If he has any chance of making the playoffs he must beat Brandon this week.
  10. Chris Hubbard: Chris had a good week – a really good week – enough to get him the win and then some. His team is very similar to Cordell’s, some week’s he’ll score 120, others he’ll put up 70, but I see more of the latter in his future given the inconsistency of the players on his roster. Stil, that win last week put him in position to have a chance without a doubt.
  11. Chad Short: Poor Chad.

Game of the week? I could say Brandon vs. Justin, but that one won’t have as much of an impact as TL vs. Jamie. That one should be great.

Upset alert? Justin over Brandon. The matchups, coupled with injuries, all work in Justin’s favor.

Put up or shut up: 3-3 after Kevin failed to put up (and lost some money while he was at it). This week it’s Justin again, who continues to chirp at Brandon, even trying to bet him he woudl win similar to Kevin last week.

MVP watch? David JOHNson. Again.

Bust watch? So gronk is no longer on bust watch as he is back and in a big way. Maybe Alshon Jeffery now? A second round pick who ranks 26 amongst WR’s isn’t too great. What’s more, he’s not even going off on random weeks. He scores between like 6-10 points every game, just enough to keep him in the lineup but also enough to lose you games.

Jimbo of the Week: Unfortunately, I must give myself the Jimbo this week. I trusted the Steelers against Miami and it backfired horribly as Jesse James and their defense combined for negative points. In hindsight, why would I ever play the Steelers defense over the Seahawks? It’s not 2008 anymore.

Close runner ups would be Benny’s trusting of old ass Antonio Gates over the hot hand Hunter Henry and Cordell spending a blasphemous amount of money on Jay Ajayayayya ($51!!!!).

The Fantasy Life 2016: Week 6

By Frankie Reynolds

Things are starting to get interesting…

There was another even split this week between both divisions, as the Chinese division was able to hold their own this week – yet again – after going 3-3. Are we as bad as we thought we were? I’m not as sure as I once was…

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There is more talent in the Mexican division, there’s no question. At the year’s end, they are going to have averaged more PPG than the Chinese division, possibly by a large margin. But that doesn’t mean the Chinese division is completely awful. This is the last week of out-of-division play, so if the teams in the Chinese division are able to squeak out a few more wins, it could go a long way towards determining the final standings. Let’s look at the power rankings:

  1. Kevin Baldwin: Another week, another win. Kevin remains undefeated after a 14.8 point victory over Chad. The bad news for the rest of the league? This was supposed to be Kevin’s bad week, as he had multiple players on a bye. He only scored 107, which pales in comparison to what he’s been able to accomplish thus far, but he should be able to get back on track this week points-wise with his guys well-rested.
  2. Benny Kenly: He now leads the league in points, and were it not for a 0.1 point defeat in week one he’d be at the top. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – this is the best team in the league. Kevin and Benny have a nearly equal amount of talent at the top, but Benny’s roster is significantly deeper. I can’t wait for them to play once inner-division matchups begin, as it could very well be a preview of the Mexican division’s championship game.
  3. Jamie Price: This is where things get difficult. Four teams in our league sit at 3-2 now, but I’ll keep Jamie in his #3 spot from last week. His defense did him no favors this past week, while his TE and WR2 combined for a measly 13 points. And he still put up 108.1. This is still the favorite for that third spot in the Mexican playoffs.
  4. Brandon Bayer: Brandon jumps back up to the spot he became so familiar with the first few weeks of the season after a 141.9 point performance. He’s the only team to post 140+ points twice this season, thanks to David Johnson and – surprisingly – his defense, which looks like a better play than most flexes at this point. His players should be returning to health soon, which means he should be able to make a run at the playoffs for the fourth year in a row.
  5. Tyler Lenane: TL’s bitch ass sucked up the joint this past week after a lousy 91.7 point performance, so he drops a spot. He had a chance to put me away late on Sunday but failed to do so when Darkwa was outscored by my kicker (by 10.9 points!). Nice choke job.
  6. Zach Cordell: After a two-week hiatus, Cordell is back. His 134.5 points in week five were the second most in the league, and we should look for similar numbers going forward now that Tom Brady is back and the Texans plan to get Hopkins more involved.
  7. Nate Brockmeyer: Nate failed to hit the 100-point threshold for the second week straight, but he’s still in second place in the Chinese division with reasons to be positive. Carlos Hyde looks like the real deal at RB, and Frank Gore isn’t finished just yet. OBJ is back to catching TDs, while Jordy has been a red-zone menace just like he was pre-injury. Oh, and D-Walker is still killing it, no matter how bad the Titans offense may be.
  8. Noah Dickerson: 123.3 points later and commish is back to where he was exactly one season ago – before his team fell off a cliff. BMarsh, Gronk, and TY are looking like they may still have the potential to be the terrifying trio he drafted them to be, and DThomas is no slouch, either. With Charles coming back and the Chinese division slated on the horizon, more wins like his week five victory over Fudge will soon follow.
  9. Justin Hedrick: It doesn’t matter how many points per week you average if you keep losing. After starting 1-4 in the harder division, it is going to be damn near impossible for him to comeback and make the playoffs this year. He has a difficult schedule remaining, and so it isn’t a stretch to say that 3-10 or 4-9 could happen – even if he does finish the season averaging over 100 PPG. Wouldn’t that be something?
  10. Chris Hubbard: Hubs had a bad week, and those will happen with this type of roster. But, as we’ve seen before, he can also post 120+ at any given time. He may be 1-4, but he’s not dead yet.
  11. Chad Short: The Trade King has made some nice moves over the past few weeks, but will it be enough to save him? Overall, I like his WR core and he has decent RB depth, but that may be all he truly has going for him. It could be enough to save him from the fish bowl, but it’s hard to see him making the playoffs at this point.

Game of the week? Kevin vs. Nate looks like a fun matchup. Can Kevin sweep the Chinese division before he gets to inter-division play? Will Nate get back his mojo and improve to 3-3 or fall to 2-4? They’ve both got some favorable matchups and no bye’s to use as an excuse, so this could be a good one.

Upset alert? Chris over Benny. If there was ever a week for Chris to go off, it’s now. Outside of AJ Green at New England, he doesn’t have any daunting matchups. Benny will most certainly get his, but if Chris can repeat his week one performance he should be able to knock off the hottest team in our league.

Put up or shut up: 3-2 now – that’s three in a row! Justin made a good run at it in the end, but Noah held on and improved to 2-3. This week, the only person who has said anything is Noah yet again, this time to Brandon, and we’re not going to use the same person twice in a row. We’ll call this our “put up or shut up” bye week.

*EDIT* When Kevin saw there was no put up or shut up for the week, he took it upon himself to throw some shade Nate’s way – $10 bet for their game this week AND he’s giving Nate a 15 point cushion. Backing up his words with real money. Good stuff, Kevlar. Put up or pay up. 

MVP watch? David JOHNson. He was MVP a few weeks back and one could argue that he shouldn’t have been dethroned. He’s back on top.

Bust watch? Despite the great week, I’m still going with Gronk. Why? Because sharing targets with Marty B takes away from his value. Gronk is still the best TE in all of football, but he’s no longer a lock in fantasy to score 12+ points per week. We’ll get a better idea of how he handles his reduced role in the coming weeks now that Brady is back and his hammy is better. If he continues to produce like last week then he’ll obviously no longer be a bust, but for now, we’ll keep him here.

Jimbo of the Week: TL played Darkwa over Coleman. LOL.

The Fantasy Life 2016: Week 5

By Frankie Reynolds

One month down. Three-ish to go.

We once again won’t have stats this week (thanks for continuing to drop the ball there, Brandon), but we will have a shake-up in the power rankings. Why? The horrible division won three games this past week! For better or worse, things just got a whole lot more interesting.

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Multiple games last week came down to less than four points. We also had a few blowouts, as is always to be expected. As of week five, the only sure things are who the best two-three teams are. After that, it’s almost a crapshoot. Let’s hit the power rankings, and as always, I’ll exclude myself for the sake of objectivity.

  1. Kevin Baldwin: Kevin has finally reached the peak of the mountain for the first time this season, and until someone beats him it will stay that way. He’s scored the most points in the league. The injury to Jeremy Langford has given him a solid 1-2 punch at RB to go along with a formidable WR core. He also has decent depth, and… blah blah blah. You all know this story by now – Kevin’s team is really good. This week, he takes on Chad while four of his players rest on bye weeks. Chad’s team, however, is riddled by injuries, and so Kevin should win despite being incredibly shorthanded. You would think Kevin is a Colts fan since he’s had a horseshoe shoved almost fully up his ass ever since this league started. It’s almost unfathomable. No one will be surprised if Kevin wins the ship for the third time in four years, which would give him the dynasty we’d never hear the end of.
  2. Benny Kenly: Now, with all that Kevin has going for him, there is one team that – on paper – is better than his, and that is Benny’s. The depth here is just absurd. And it is only going to get better since Brady is back, which brings Julian Edelman up from a mid-range flex to a WR1 just like that. He’s scored the second most points and could very well be in first come next week. In fact, it won’t surprise me if he runs the table, even though he still has to play the tough division.
  3. Jamie Price: Jamie lost this past week, but he still scored 107.5 despite poor performances from his QB and his flex. This is still a contender without a doubt. He has two of the top backs in all of fantasy and a sneaky WR core that combined usually gives him around 30 points. It isn’t the flashiest roster out there, but it is getting the job done. With the third most points scored, Jamie is not a team to sleep on.
  4. Tyler Lenane: I said last week that with another win he would move up. I didn’t lie. TL is now an under-the-radar 3-1, in part thanks to the return of his best player – Leveon Bell. He has the current NFL MVP as his QB, a solid RB trio (once Jennings returns, that is) and a great TE and WR core. What looked like a terrible team after the draft has not only become better than decent, but is actually a real contender. TL can expect to get roughly 110 per week with this roster, and that is certainly enough to make the playoffs – in the Chinese division. He’ll be fighting a season-long battle to take out Kevin, Benny or Jamie, but hey, who isn’t?
  5. Nate Brockmeyer: Nate once again didn’t light it up, but he got the win and now sits at 2-2 in the crappy division. His RB duo of Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde is the definition of “not sexy,” but it’s doing what needs to be done and it’s doing it extremely well. Nelson is back to being a top 5 WR, and once OBJ starts catching TDs he’ll be there, too. The Broncos D is stud-worthy, and Delanie Walker at TE is fantastic. Nate has never been to the postseason, but his chances have never been higher. This team could win 7-8 games and that should be more than enough for him to finally make those elusive playoffs.
  6. Brandon Bayer: Brandon continues to drop after losing his second straight, but it isn’t time to panic just yet. He still has a good team and two of his best players will knock out their byes on Sunday. The only question for him is at the RB position – now that Brady is back, Blount is no longer an RB1, meaning he can only truly rely on David Johnson. This week he plays Chris, who has some great matchups and could easily drop Brandon to 2-3. If that happens he may start to worry, but if Brandon can pull out a win then he’s back to being in good position.
  7. Justin Hedrick: He’s averaging 105 per game, and yet he’s only 1-3 in the tough division. Last week’s loss by 0.4 is almost as bad as it gets (sorry, Benny still takes the cake with that one), and it doesn’t get better this week considering he literally doesn’t have an RB to put in his #2 spot for his matchup against Noah. There’s a real chance Justin drops to 1-4, and at that point – if Kevin, Benny, Jamie, and TL all win – he may find himself already out of the race before we hit the middle of October. Ouch.
  8. Zach Cordell: I’m dropping Cordell to 8 despite being 2-2 not just because he’s lost two straight, but because all that we feared is coming to fruition. Yes, he gets Brady back this week, but Hopkins has been underwhelming and Duke Johnson is not Danny Woodhead 2.0 like we thought he could be (in large part due to QB play). Freeman is starting to pick it up, and Forte has certainly flashed, but will Bennett be the same this week with Brady back? The questions are still there and we’re trending downward. Still, he has a great chance at the postseason given his division and current standing.
  9. Noah Dickerson: Noah is probably the lowest he’s going to be all year now, considering his team is getting healthier each week and he should be able to steal a second win this week. The hamstring issue with Gronk is concerning, but Jamal Charles should give his RB core an immediate boost after his bye week. And I haven’t even mentioned his WR trio, which is fantastic so long as they stay healthy. Even if he only has two wins when the divisional games start, it iss very possible that he runs the table when we get there.
  10. Chris Hubbard: Chris got a win this week! He’s not the unluckiest guy in the world! He almost is, but that’s beside the point (Chris, what is happening to you in your other league is a travesty and I’m genuinely sorry). Still, he has some great matchups against Brandon this week, and winning his second game in a row would be fantastic for not only his moral, but his chances at the postseason going forward.
  11. Chad Short: Oh, Chad. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. You really did have a great draft. All you can do now is hope that Decker’s injury isn’t serious and that Matt Jones and Mark Ingram stay healthy. There is a light at the end of the tunnel – that light may be a spotlight shining upon you on stage while reading slam poetry, but there is still time to turn this train around.

Game of the week? There are a lot of good ones this week, but I’m going with Chris vs. Brandon. I just think this one will be the closest of the bunch.

Upset alert? Jamie against Cordell. Cordell still has a good team, as he has flashed the ability to score 150+ at any given time. I think Jamie wins this one, but I won’t be surprised at all if Cordell comes away with the W.

Put up or shut up: We’re 2-2! TL backed his talk, so now it’s Noah’s turn. He’s been talking smack to Justin all week – he actually told him that he doesn’t have man-parts anymore. Noah kind of has to win after an insult like that, right?

MVP watch? Of the real NFL it’s probably Matt Ryan, but fantasy-wise I’m going to say Demarco Murray. Melvin Gordon would also be a good choice, as would last week’s frontrunner David Johnson, but Demarco was a fifth-round draft choice who is absolutely killing it through four weeks. He’s last year’s equivalent to Deandre Hopkins (a fourth-round pick who was #1 overall after the first month, similar to Murray this season).

Bust watch? Until that hammy heals up, it’s still Gronk. Maybe that all changes this week with the return of his favorite QB.

Jimbo of the Week: Wow, there are a lot of choices here. Benny spending $33 on Fozzy is just insane. The fact that we’ve dropped nearly over 5% of the league total spending money on him – think about it, 1/20 of our entire budget has been used on the third string running back for the Panthers – through only the first four weeks is absolutely mind-boggling. There’s also Justin’s move to bench Crabtree despite the fact that he’s been on fire for the first month of the season, which came back to burn him in the worst way possible. However, I’m going to go with Jamie due to his unfortunate timing. He had Michael Floyd in his lineup all the way up until 4PM on Sunday, at which time he made a sudden, last-minute switch to Willie Snead. Snead scored 2.8, Floyd scored just over 11 and Jamie lost the game by 3. I guess a good lesson here is to always go with your initial instinct. Do that, and you might not be featured as the “Jimbo of the Week.”

See you guys in week six!