Simulated Experts’ Fantasy League: Week 1 Recap

I’ve firmed up the regular season schedule:

  1. NFL v. FLEA, PROS v. ESPN, RTFS v. CBS, KFFL v. FOX, FFTB v. YHOO, USAT v. SI
  2. ESPN v. NFL, FLEA v. USAT, SI v. FFTB, YHOO v. KFFL, FOX v. RTFS, CBS v. PROS
  3. NFL v. CBS, PROS v. FOX, RTFS v. YHOO, KFFL v. SI, FFTB v. USAT, ESPN v. FLEA
  4. NFL v. PROS, YHOO v. USAT, FOX v. FFTB, CBS v. KFFL, ESPN v. RTFS, SI v. FLEA
  5. FFTB v. NFL, USAT v. ESPN, SI v. CBS, YHOO v. FOX, FLEA v. RTFS, KFFL v. PROS
  6. NFL v. KFFL, CBS v. USAT, FOX v. SI, ESPN v. FFTB, PROS v. RTFS, YHOO v. FLEA
  7. RTFS v. NFL, KFFL v. ESPN, USAT v. FOX, FFTB v. CBS, SI v. YHOO, FLEA v. PROS
  8. NFL v. FOX, CBS v. ESPN, FLEA v. FFTB, USAT v. KFFL, SI v. RTFS, YHOO v. PROS
  9. NFL v. YHOO, ESPN v. FOX, PROS v. SI, RTFS v. USAT, KFFL v. FFTB, CBS v. FLEA
  10. SI v. NFL, YHOO v. ESPN, FOX v. CBS, FLEA v. KFFL, FFTB v. RTFS, USAT v. PROS
  11. USAT v. NFL, CBS v. YHOO, ESPN v. SI, PROS v. FFTB, RTFS v. KFFL, FOX v. FLEA
  12. #1 v. #3, #2 v. #4, #5 v. #10, #6 v. #9, #7 v. #11, #8 v. #12
  13. #1 v. #5, #2 v. #6, #3 v. #7, #4 v. #8, #9 v. #11, #10 v. #12
  14. #1 v. #9, #2 v. #10, #3 v. #12, #4 v. #11, #5 v. #8, #6 v. #7

Note that in the last three weeks, #1 will be the team with the best win-loss record after 11 weeks, but #2-#12 will be picked in order of total points scored.

Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees got Politically Incorrect and Swimsuit Issues, respectively, off to a rollicking start with their offensive explosion in Thursday’s kickoff game. Brees scored more, but RTFS benefited more from the game with the winning effort by the Packers defense. But RTFS came out of the game with a relatively small lead over The SportsLine, no thanks to Greg Jennings also having a big day.

With two exceptions, the scores an hour into the first round of games could all be explained by the number of players active. But Indy Tea Party was woefully underproducing with only four points, worst among all teams, and was losing by over 30 points to the College Busters. Also, Team Infograph led Swimsuit Issues despite fewer players active, a lead that remained constant, though relatively small, thanks to a yeoman’s effort by the Bucs defense. As the Bucs allowed more points, though, SI retook the lead. SI’s Jets defense wouldn’t take the field until the Sunday Night game.

Another game where the outcome started to fall into place during the early Sunday games was Inside Information against Commissioner’s Favorite. Big days from Calvin Johnson and Michael Vick propelled FLEA to a 44-9 lead 90 minutes into the early games, arguably outperforming the five active players it had and casting doubt over whether NFL could catch up. Also by 90 minutes in, College Busters had actually already outscored Politically Incorrect and led Indy Tea Party by a whopping 60 points. At the half of the early games, Takedown Glaze led KFFL 40-28, Wisdom of Crowds led Worldwide Leaders and Swimsuit Issues led Team Infograph by 10 each, and Politically Incorrect maintained a 30-point lead over The SportsLine.

Indy Tea Party picked up more points in the second half, thanks to Kenny Britt’s big TD catch-and-run; meanwhile, the Ron Burgundy All-Stars pulled surprisingly close to Takedown Glaze in the third quarter, as Anquan Boldin and Andre Johnson caught fire, but Josh Freeman’s comeback attempt proved killer, as did (for a time) the start of the Vikings-Chargers game giving College Busters defensive bonuses, and when Fleaflicker came back from an extended outage shortly after the late games started, the scores were: FLEA 72-14 NFL; FOX 83-60 KFFL; ESPN 57-59 PROS; YHOO 86-38 FFTB; CBS 59-64 RTFS; and SI 81-51 USAT.

Worldwide Leaders had a chance to take a substantial lead in the late game with Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham, and Fred Davis active, while Wisdom of Crowds only had Donovan McNabb. That they did: Nicks in particular had a big day and ESPN was the first team to end their week with 85.8 points, good for third place and a 22.5 point lead over Wisdom of Crowds with LaDainian Tomlinson still to play in the Sunday Night game. LT had a relatively pedestrian performance and the only match without Monday Night participants ended 85.7-71.86, ESPN winning. Scarily, Worldwide Leaders could have gone over 120 by starting Steve Smith of the Panthers; as it stood they wound up with the fewest points of any winner.

Cedric Benson had caught fire late to drive The SportsLine closer to Politically Incorrect, and CBS had a chance to take the lead with no RTFS players active if Ahmad Bradshaw and Vernon Davis caught fire and the Chargers’ defensive bonuses held up. That’s exactly what happened: Bradshaw had a big day and the Chargers picked off McNabb, and The SportsLine led by 2 early in the second half. But they could only increase that lead to 3.3 in the second half.

Commissioner’s Favorite needed to get out of the scoring basement with five players, including Philip Rivers and Adrian Peterson, active, despite Inside Information having three of their own. Tim Hightower’s gimme touchdown helped in that department, and Rivers also had a big day. NFL made it to 71 points by the end of the late games, only 10 behind Inside Information, who was hurt by the loss of Derrick Ward and Danny Amendola, and NFL had one more player yet to play than FLEA.

Beanie Wells also had a good day to help bring the Ron Burgundy All-Stars up to 72.88 points, needing 14.9 from the last player in the matchup to pass Takedown Glaze. One problem: that player was kicker Dan Carpenter. On Monday, he closed the final margin to 88.06-78.88, Takedown Glaze winning. College Busters and Swimsuit Issues finished the late games with huge leads over Indy Tea Party and Team Infograph, with YHOO boasting a whopping 105.5 points, nearly twenty more than the next-highest-scoring team, Takedown Glaze.

On Sunday Night, Inside Information counted on the Cowboys defense to top off their point total, while the Jets defense would pad Swimsuit Issues’ point total. Commissioner’s Favorite hoped Santonio Holmes could help them catch FLEA, while Politically Incorrect hoped Felix Jones could give them at least a temporary lead heading into Monday. Holmes had a decent day but never found the end zone, while the Cowboys defense had a stout enough performance, with 4 sacks and an INT, to pad FLEA’s lead just a little to 12 points for Reggie Bush to make up in the Monday Night game. Jones gave RTFS an 11-point lead over The SportsLine, while the Jets defense’s role in almost single-handedly causing the win caused Swimsuit Issues to move into second in total points, 15.24 points behind College Busters.

As the first Monday Night game progressed, the most interesting match shaped up to be that between Inside Information and Commissioner’s Favorite. Reggie Bush had a rather productive day, and NFL took the win on Bush’s touchdown with three and a half minutes left in the game, the final margin 92.9-89.48. Team Infograph also pulled surprisingly close to Swimsuit Issues when Tom Brady had a historic day (35.1 fantasy points), enough to shoot up into the top five, and enough for Brandon Lloyd to have a good chance to close the gap in the late game; however, he had no touchdowns and Team Infograph just barely fell short to Swimsuit Issues 107.06-100.68, the most points of any loser. The SportsLine, meanwhile, pulled well ahead of Politically Incorrect with Chad Henne having a superb day, Brandon Marshall doing well as well, and Davone Bess being underwhelming. If Arian Foster’s injury replacement Willis McGahee had 17.36 points, CBS could pass College Busters for the Week 1 points lead; however, McGahee managed only 4 yards.

The late game mattered little to the remaining two games. The SportsLine beat Politically Incorrect 119.24-87.4, and while Sebastian Janikowski’s incredible night pulled Indy Tea Party out of the points cellar, there was no beating a College Busters team with 14 more points than anyone else, and YHOO took the win 133.1-97.16. When all was said and done, Wisdom of Crowds would have the fewest points of the first week, followed by Ron Burgundy All-Stars.

KFFL had to cut done-for-the-year Nate Kaeding, but still has reach pick Dan Carpenter. Because FantasyPros doesn’t do waiver wire picks, I used a combination of Week 1 performances and Week 2 rankings to determine what they should do on the waiver wire, so Rex Grossman is in and Lance Moore is out. KFFL then nabbed Cam Newton to fill the empty spot; of their “priority additions”, Cadillac Williams and the Lions defense are already on teams and KFFL can’t add another WR without cutting one. With waiver wire order based solely on scoring, Worldwide Leaders was next, and decided not to get anything (also maxed out on WRs). Politically Incorrect will make waiver-wire decisions based solely on past performance; Jimmy Graham is gone, Scott Chandler is in. For Takedown Glaze, the Eagles’ Steve Smith is out and Devery Henderson is in. For Inside Information, Zach Miller is out and Early Doucet is in. Commissioner’s Favorite passes, while for Indy Tea Party, Austin Collie is out and Anthony Armstrong is in. Derrick Mason is out and Earnest Graham is in for Team Infograph, while Swimsuit Issues replaced Marcedes Lewis with Jacoby Jones. FLEA also replaced Kendall Hunter the Cowboys defense with the Niners defense, with Fox following by replacing the Vikings defense with the Raiders defense. FLEA also brought in Marcel Reece to replace Derrick Ward, cutting Hines Ward.

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