Despite a rather pathetic number of total points scored, Ron Burgundy All-Stars managed to take advantage of a surprisingly weak week from Worldwide Leaders to lock up its playoff spot, finishing a four-game season-ending winning streak, while College Busters rode the second-best performance of the final week to steal the last playoff spot from The SportsLine. They join ESPN and the league’s dominant team, Swimsuit Issues, in the playoffs. SI has been riding the back of a superior draft strategy to a record two games better than ESPN or KFFL. Meanwhile, Commissioner’s Favorite managed to edge Inside Information to sneak into the NIT, helped by a weak week from Politically Incorrect; they’ll play The SportsLine in the first round, while Team Infograph takes on Inside Information. Indy Tea Party v. Wisdom of Crowds and Politically Incorrect v. Takedown Glaze rounds out the ninth-place playoffs.
Worldwide Leaders’ strong suit is at wide receiver, where they have no fewer than three of the top six wideouts in the league, plus the second-best tight end in Jimmy Graham. But their roster might not cut it in real football, with a questionable quarterback situation (Vince Young and Alex Smith) to throw to those receivers, and while they’ve taken advantage of Chris Johnson’s resurgence in recent weeks the addition of Chris Ivory on the waiver wire this week brings them up to only three healthy running backs. The Cowboys’ defense is also a potential weak spot, putting up -6 points in their game against the Giants. ESPN immediately has a rematch with a team that just beat them, Ron Burgundy All-Stars. While their quarterback situation is solid in Cam Newton and they boast a balanced running corps and a top-notch receiver in Victor Cruz, Andre Johnson’s injury has really hurt and the team has been scrambling for a second wideout.
Swimsuit Issues lucked into having the best player in the entire league at three positions: running back (LeSean McCoy), tight end (Rob Gronkowski), and defense (Ravens). Drew Brees isn’t too shabby a pick at quarterback, either. But despite DeMarco Murray’s injury bringing them down to two running backs on roster, McCoy and Ben-Jarvus Green-Ellis, they added another wideout, Demaryius Thomas, to replace Murray. That gives them the maximum of seven, of which only Antonio Brown is averaging more than seven points a game. Kicker might also be considered a weak spot, although Mike Nugent put up 15 points last week. College Busters’ strong suit is in the run game, with two of the top ten running backs, as well as a good quarterback in Matt Stafford. The problem is that Jabar Gaffney is their only wide receiver in the top 40 at the position, and while they have good choices at tight end, kicker, and to some extent defense, it’s not quite on the level of the other playoff teams.
I’m bringing back the weekly recaps for this week, focusing solely on the playoff games and neither of the consolation brackets, though I may touch on what happens there.