Category Archives: Fantasy Football

As if I wasn’t having enough trouble getting anything done this summer…

So, the frame of the screen of my laptop has become disconnected from the screen itself in one corner, AND one hinge has come loose, so I’m going to have to send it in to be repaired and that could take over a week.

The timing on this could not be worse as it jeopardizes the FF50 competition; I will probably have to do the drafts on my mom’s computer, if I do as many as I had planned at all, as Mom’s probably not going to be happy about me monopolizing the computer for large chunks of the day, especially when I could be doing more productive things.

Also, I’m going to be keeping my webcomics posts to a minimum over the course of the week. It’s unfortunate with the current events in Gunnerkrigg Court and Questionable Content that could become post-worthy soon, but it’s probably necessary.

Shark League Draft Post-Mortem

You may recall I was feeling pretty sure of myself after the first two rounds of my FantasySharks League draft, when I had Larry Fitzgerald and Maurice Jones-Drew in my possession.

That…feeling didn’t last. My next five picks ended up all being wide receivers, and I wound up drafting eight wideouts over the course of the entire draft. If Jones-Drew’s holdout doesn’t end and none of the injured running backs I picked are ready, I’ll only be able to play one running back Week 1. I have a hard time believing I’m going to have a worse draft when I fill out the other 49 teams over Labor Day Weekend.

It’s apparent that the lists I was relying on overemphasize wideouts so much compared to their Shark League value that it’s going to be difficult to correct for. Someone told me that the lack of trading in Shark Leagues has a bigger impact on the draft than I would have thought, effectively leading one to focus on drafting their starting lineup at the major positions in the first six picks, but I’m not fond of trading anyway, and it wouldn’t change the fact that I drafted a wideout in the first and third rounds and probably would have filled my entire bench with them thereafter. I’m now playing “Wide Receiver Survivor”, with my eight wideouts fighting not to be cut in the first few weeks in favor of free agents to shore up my situation at tight end, running back, and possibly quarterback, though it’s entirely possible Jay Cutler, who broke the run of wideouts in the eighth, could work out.

I joined the Shark Leagues to test how far my own “strategy”, to the extent it could be called such, could really take me. I now suspect that the rules of the leagues have been intentionally devised to attempt to weed out anyone remotely noobish, and undercut any crutches such as I might use. So I intend to stick with it another year, but I’m going to have to make some big changes to my strategy to allow it to hold up under the circumstances. Even then, I’m not sure it’s going to be enough.

Great, ANOTHER streak-filler post?

I was planning on writing a post wrapping up the Olympics in more ways than one… but my day became completely occupied with my fascination watching the FantasySharks drafts over the course of the day. And my own league wasn’t even part of it, being stuck at #2 for over nine hours. I may have to consider the first day of the FantasySharks drafts a personal day for me from now on.

For the record, I think I’ve done pretty decently drafting so far (I’m 11th, so I get two picks pretty much one after the other). I’ve picked up Larry Fitzgerald and Maurice Jones-Drew, and I feel like I’ve dodged a bullet because I came very close to spending my first two picks on wide receivers. (The Shark leagues are PPR leagues, but with two wideouts and no flex, so people are reticent to take wideouts too early. By the way, I feel like ESPN’s PPR rankings are the Matt Millen of PPR rankings; four wideouts in the first eight spots?) Regardless, despite the differences between fantasy and real football, anytime you pick up two players among the Top 50 resumes for the Hall of Fame, you must be doing something right. (If you want to follow the rest of my draft, I’m tweeting every pick and I might write a wrap-up when it’s done.)

That Olympics post may be up by the time you read this, or I may have scrapped the idea entirely because I wasn’t feeling it. Time will tell.

Introducing the Morgan Wick Fantasy Football Fifty Challenge!

Last year, I decided to carry out a project called the Simulated Experts’ Fantasy League. I’d take the “big boards” of eight prominent fantasy sites and draft an eight-team league using each of them, then play out a season. It was an interesting experiment, but not one I’d like to try again with. I intended to run a second league, the Simulated Experts’ Auction Fantasy League. This league would attempt to hold an auction using several sites that listed recommended auction values for players.

After waiting for sites to have as up-to-date and relevant big boards as I could, possibly too long (Yahoo never did release a big board that reflected the end of the Chris Johnson holdout), I held the SEFL draft all day on Wednesday, the day before the start of the season. On Thursday, I woke up intending to hold the auction draft… and found that NFL.com had replaced its big board with Week 1 rankings. And there was no way to get the big board back, even though you could still draft a team right up to kickoff of the Kickoff Game.

I looked frantically for some way to get the big board back. NFL.com’s fantasy system has a feature where you can enter a draft – not a mock draft, a real live draft – just by clicking some buttons. As I would find, it’s a devious way for them to suck people into their fantasy football product. I entered a draft room to find that I could, in fact, get the big board back that way… but of course, it didn’t have what I actually needed, the auction values, and NFL.com is only supporting actual auction leagues starting this year. Nonetheless, over the course of the time I spent in there, I wound up drafting a team.

It was a strangely engrossing experience, and I decided to run a team in as many sites as I could, but I was only able to draft a team on ESPN before the Kickoff Game started. I’ve said before that I tend to go against the grain of what everyone else is doing, that I tend not to be caught up in whatever the current trend is, but in retrospect it’s kind of surprising that I hadn’t taken up fantasy football before; it involves just the sort of obsessive ordering, sorting, and categorization that’s right up my alley. For someone like me, who isn’t really a fan of any particular team, it’s really the perfect way to follow the NFL. For much of last season I was actually considering doing a live online radio show every Sunday of this year where I keep track of the developments in one specific fantasy league, to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

(For the record, my impression was that the people on NFL.com were more prone to make boneheaded mistakes and massive reach picks than the more knowledgeable drafters on ESPN… so naturally my NFL.com team did horribly while my ESPN team dominated the league after Cam Newton basically fell into my lap and I turned out to have something like the two best running backs in the league, propelling me all the way to the championship game before getting crushed.)

Now that I know for a fact what my opinion of fantasy football is, I intend to take it to the next level, and finish what I briefly started last year, by running as many teams as I possibly can – a total of a whopping fifty at the same time. Why? Because I’m apparently insane and have decided that, after a summer I’d earmarked as a critical one with a number of projects I intended to get done that wound up progressing slower than I would have liked, and heading into a hardcore quarter at school where I’ll be taking a class that’s both critical and might end up demanding the most work of any I’ve taken, the best thing for me to do is to take one of the major saps on my time last fall and increase the work involved in it fivefold.

One of these leagues will be one of the MyFantasyLeague.com leagues from FantasySharks.com, despite my having no intention of using the actual advice on their site much – their ranking on FantasyPros.com, one of the sites in the SEFL, doesn’t lie, though their draft advice is of some use. So why am I doing it? Because FantasySharks.com has come up with a brilliant idea that I’m not entirely sure why no one has tried before: bringing promotion and relegation to fantasy football. At the top is the “Great White Shark League”, a 12-team league consisting of nine users of the site, two of the site’s top experts, and an automated team. The bottom four teams get relegated to one of two “Whale Shark Leagues”, which similarly each contain nine users, two experts, and an automated team, with the champion and the team with the most total points promoted to the Great White Shark. Below that are four “Hammerhead” leagues containing all users, then eight “Mako” leagues, then 16 “Blue” leagues, then the current lowest level, the 32 “Tiger” leagues (though there is a possibility that a new “Leopard” level could be added this year).

I love this concept in every way, from the way it raises the stakes on every level to the most important reason I’m actually participating in it, its usefulness as a yardstick of ability and success. I’ve actually expanded this idea out to one of a championship pyramid for all of fantasy football, a good 20 levels following the same power-of-2 structure, complete with a new-player-qualification scheme so new players don’t have to wait a lifetime to reach the top. For the limited competition that’s there now, I’ll be starting in Tiger League 3 with a team with the whimsically nerdy name of the “Green Lantern Corps“.

For the other 49 teams, I’ll be drafting as many teams as I can on every single free fantasy football website. NFL.com has a maximum of six, CBS three, ESPN and Fox ten each. Yahoo and Fleaflicker have no limit, so ten teams on each of those sites brings me to an even 50. All of these drafts, except the FantasySharks league whose draft will start this Monday and has a 12-hour timer so it could last upwards of a week, will be held over Labor Day Weekend and in the run-up to kickoff. To reduce the effect on my time during the school year, I will stop actively maintaining any team that starts 0-4 or 1-5, but I will maintain at least one team on every site and under no circumstances will I abandon the Shark team. I’ll track my progress over the course of the season and give my quick impressions of each site as I go along, on Twitter and on Da Blog.

Here are the times I intend to hold the draft for each league. All times Pacific.

August 13:
6 AM: MyFantasyLeague/FantasySharks.com

September 1:
9 AM: NFL
10 AM: ESPN
11 AM: Fox
Noon: Yahoo
1 PM: Fleaflicker
2 PM: CBS
3 PM: Yahoo
4 PM: ESPN
5 PM: Fox
6 PM: Fleaflicker
7 PM: ESPN
8 PM: Yahoo

September 2:
9 AM: Yahoo
10 AM: Fox
11 AM: ESPN
Noon: NFL
1 PM: Fleaflicker
2 PM: Fox
3 PM: CBS
4 PM: ESPN
5 PM: Fleaflicker
6 PM: Yahoo
7 PM: NFL
8 PM: Fox

September 3:
9 AM: Fox
10 AM: ESPN
11 AM: Yahoo
Noon: NFL
1 PM: Fleaflicker
2 PM: Yahoo
3 PM: Fox
4 PM: Fleaflicker
5 PM: ESPN
6 PM: NFL
7 PM: CBS
8 PM: Fleaflicker

September 4:
Noon: ESPN
1 PM: Fox
2 PM: Fleaflicker
3 PM: Yahoo
4 PM: Fox
5 PM: ESPN
6 PM: Yahoo
7 PM: Fleaflicker
8 PM: NFL

September 5:
Noon: Fleaflicker
1 PM:  Yahoo
2 PM:  Fox
3 PM:  ESPN

Simulated Experts’ Fantasy League: Championship Week

Worldwide Leaders got an early 15.8-point head start after the Thursday night game, with some production from Donald Brown but mostly 11 points from kicker Neil Rackers. Ray Rice, however, scored a big touchdown in the first half of his game with the Browns to give College Busters a slim lead. Jabar Gaffney picked up a receiving touchdown of his own to help College Busters pull away to a fairly comfortable lead heading into the late games, 62.7-40.8, as Worldwide Leaders failed to get double-digit production out of anybody. No one scored any touchdowns, and Mike Wallace was the most productive at 82 yards.

When Alex Smith proved to have a disappointing day, with no touchdowns and less than 200 all-purpose yards, the writing appeared to be on the wall for ESPN, cursing themselves for not shoring up their quarterback position, even with one more player still to play in the primetime games than College Busters. Matthew Stafford had a 378-yard, 3-touchdown day, good for nearly 28 points and giving YHOO a lead of over 56 points. Worldwide Leaders would need Jordy Nelson and Jimmy Graham to average 28 points and have Michael Turner basically be shut out, which would basically be a miracle. Nelson would do his part, scoring two touchdowns and 23.5 points, and Turner only scored 7.5 points, but Graham only put up 10.2 points of his own, well short of what was necessary.

Although College Busters snuck into the playoffs as a 4 seed, perhaps it’s fitting for the title to go to Yahoo, who was at the forefront of the fantasy phenomenon, rode fantasy to a position of being the most popular sports site, more so even than ESPN, and remains the most popular fantasy site of them all. A little poetic justice, perhaps.

Meanwhile, Ron Burgundy All-Stars pulled off another upset of Swimsuit Issues in the third-place game, thanks in large part to big days from Cam Newton and Victor Cruz, while SI once again got disappointing performaces, with Drew Brees the only touchdown-scoring starter. Commissioner’s Favorite got stung by the Tony Romo injury and Team Infograph rolled over them, while Inside Information and The SportsLine had the game of the weekend, with FLEA winning by less than two points with depth across the board (Michael Vick, Marshaun Lynch, and four others in double digits) over two or three great performances (Arian Foster and Brandon Marshall scored over twenty, while Matt Moore came close) and some good ones (Malcom Floyd and the Bengals defense scored over ten points, while Michael Bush scored 9.4). Finally, Indy Tea Party and Wisdom of Crowds had the two highest-scoring performances of the week to knock off Takedown Glaze and Politically Incorrect.

Simulated Experts’ Fantasy League: Semifinals Recap

College Busters was the only playoff team with a player in the Thursday Night game, getting their matchup off to a roaring start with 12.5 points from Michael Turner. Ron Burgundy All-Stars and Worldwide Leaders each had a player in the Saturday Night game between the Bucs and Cowboys, but LeGarrette Blount had a disappointing day for KFFL, and ESPN took the lead on the back of the Cowboys defense 13-2.1.

Drew Brees only slowly caught fire to propel Swimsuit Issues in the lead by halftime of the early games, while KFFL and ESPN traded paint despite ESPN’s early lead and ESPN having more players in play. Cam Newton and the Dolphins defense helped KFFL stay competitive, while Jordy Nelson, Hakeem Nicks, and Neil Rackers had no score for ESPN after the first half. Brees eventually had an incredibly productive day (nearly 35 points), giving Swimsuit Issues an over 35-point lead heading into the late games, while Donald Brown keyed Worldwide Leaders to an eventual huge lead, thanks to his 80-yard touchdown run.

College Busters roared into the lead when the Eagles started their game out strong with two sacks, an interception, and a touchdown return. Suddenly Swimsuit Issues, which had been the dominant team all season, looked like it might very well miss the title game. Following the late games, Swimsuit Issues had a .04 lead over College Busters, and that mostly because LeSean McCoy managed to get a long run for a touchdown late. It would come down to Antonio Brown and the Ravens defense for Swimsuit Issues against Ray Rice and Michael Crabtree for College Busters.

The first round was Ray Rice against the Ravens defense, and it was an unmitigated disaster for Swimsuit Issues. Rice did pretty well, putting up 11 points, but the Ravens defense let Phillip Rivers march up and down on them. SI would need Brown to score 17 more points than Crabtree to move on to the championship game. Luckily, Crabtree had only 35 receiving yards on the day. But Brown only mustered 59, with neither making the end zone, and just like that Swimsuit Issues was out.

A strong day for Brent Celek pulled Ron Burgundy All-Stars into the lead, but not by much. All Worldwide Leaders needed was eight points from Alex Smith, a relatively trivial number for a quarterback, to make the championship game. Smith would end up going for 187 yards and a touchdown, setting up Worldwide Leaders for a championship game showdown with the surprising College Busters.

Worldwide Leaders will put out an impressive lineup: Chris Johnson and Donald Brown (fresh off a breakout 22-point performance) at running back, Steve Smith, Jordy Nelson, and Mike Wallace at wideout, Jimmy Graham at tight end, and Neil Rackers at kicker. The main weak spots, if you can call them that, are Alex Smith at quarterback and the Cowboys defense, and the latter is the only starter on ESPN’s roster not projected to score in double digits by Fleaflicker – and even then they’re off a double-digit performance.

But Fleaflicker also still projects College Busters to come out on top. Quarterback Matthew Stafford and running backs Ray Rice and Michael Turner are some of the best in the game, and Shonn Greene and tight end Aaron Hernandez aren’t slouches either. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski and the Eagles defense (interestingly, playing the Cowboys defense) are strong as well. YHOO’s weak spot is at wideout with Jabar Gaffney and Michael Crabtree. Will Worldwide Leaders’ wideouts win the day, or will College Busters get enough production from their studs to finish their Cinderella run? Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, Swimsuit Issues isn’t expected to have too much of a problem with Ron Burgundy All-Stars in the third-place game. Commissioner’s Favorite managed to upset The SportsLine to set up a fifth-place showdown with Team Infograph, while Takedown Glaze managed to crush the higher-seeded Politically Incorrect to set up a showdown with an Indy Tea Party team that similarly demolished Wisdom of Crowds. Outside the championship game, the closest contest could be CBS’ seventh-place showdown with Inside Information, where both sides are actually expected to score more than either title game participant, with Arian Foster and Michael Bush keying The SportsLine (and Malcom Floyd the only starter not projected to crack double digits) and Michael Vick expected to have a big day alongside Calvin Johnson for Inside Information.

Simulated Experts’ Fantasy League: Playoff Preview

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.

Simulated Experts’ Fantasy League: Final 3 Weeks Schedule

Here are the numerical assignments for the final three weeks of the regular season:

  1. Swimsuit Issues
  2. Worldwide Leaders
  3. College Busters
  4. The SportsLine
  5. Commissioner’s Favorite
  6. Politically Incorrect
  7. Team Infograph
  8. Inside Information
  9. Indy Tea Party
  10. Ron Burgundy All-Stars
  11. Takedown Glaze
  12. Wisdom of Crowds

Cross-reference here for the exact schedule.

Simulated Experts’ Fantasy League: Week 2 Recap

Despite having the same number of players in play, an hour into the early games Commissioner’s Favorite and Takedown Glaze had substantial leads over Worldwide Leaders and Politically Incorrect respectively. Both teams were admittedly propelled by their defenses, but RTFS had their defense in play as well. It wasn’t until after an hour of play that The SportsLine could muster a single point on the board, by which point Wisdom of Crowds had already redeemed itself for the previous week’s low-scoring performance with 34 points.

Ron Burgundy All-Stars held a four-and-a-half-point lead over College Busters, but the real close game was between Inside Information and Team Infograph. After an hour-plus, the score in that game stood: FLEA 13.5, USAT 13.3. That’s a .2 lead for Inside Information. Despite having fewer players, Inside Information looked more likely to end the early games with the lead, as USAT had their defense in play. Calvin Johnson had already had a good day with a touchdown scored. In a bad sign for Indy Tea Party, Swimsuit Issues already had a narrow lead, even though FFTB had only one more player yet to play. They had to hope the Pats defense would lock down. SI had the Ravens defense in play, but they were arguably outperforming their bonuses with an INT in the books.

By halftime, College Busters, Indy Tea Party, and Inside Information had managed to take decent-sized leads, though Team Infograph was still putting up a close fight. Ray Rice’s long touchdown catch was golden for YHOO, while Dwayne Bowe and Kenny Britt proved especially valuable for FFTB.

Worldwide Leaders could not be kept down for long, and came roaring back in the second half, thanks to Fred Jackson’s long TD run and strong performances by Mike Wallace, James Starks, and to some extent Fred Davis. ESPN had the most points of anyone with at least three still to play and a 24-point lead heading into the late games. The SportsLine would pick up the scoring but was still badly behind Wisdom of Crowds heading into the late games, where CBS hoped to catch up on the strength of having five players active, including Arian Foster, to PROS’ one. PROS ended the early games having almost matched their total Week 1 scoring. Politically Incorrect, always respectable, pulled ahead of Takedown Glaze in the second half on the back of Aaron Rodgers’ comeback against the Panthers, but would see Knowshon Moreno declared a late scratch, robbing it of up to 12 points Darren Sproles would have provided. Would it be the difference?

Ron Burgundy All-Stars retook the lead from College Busters in the second half as Cam Newton attempted to match Rodgers’ comeback and Jahvid Best capped a 57-yard, 2 TD day. Indy Tea Party pulled away to a 56-point lead as Darren McFadden ran the ball up and down the field, waiting for SI’s other players and the Pats defense. And Inside Information and Team Infograph continued matching each other stride-for-stride, ending the early games with USAT ahead by only two, and also losing Brandon Lloyd to a late scratch.

Of ESPN’s two active players, Neil Rackers scored nearly as many points as Matt Schaub by halftime of the late games, matching iffy performances by Commissioner’s Favorite’s players (Vincent Jackson had the most at 9.2 points). None of The SportsLine’s players were outscoring Owen Daniels individually, and CBS remained well behind. Team Infograph would pull away in the third quarter behind another strong performance by Tom Brady.

By the end of the late games, Jackson and Phillip Rivers had caught fire and Commissioner’s Favorite had roared into the lead, but NFL was out of players and Worldwide Leaders had a good chance with both the Falcons defense and Hakeem Nicks still to play. The SportsLine looked certain to lose with Wisdom of Crowds ahead by 17 with three players still to play and CBS only having Ahmad Bradshaw; the lead would balloon to nearly 28 after the Sunday Night game, and eventually ended CBS 69.6, PROS 96.94. Takedown Glaze roared into the lead on the back of a strong performance by Ryan Mathews, ending the contest FOX 92.02, RTFS 82.02 – the 10-point margin meaning starting Sproles would have, indeed, made the difference. Ron Burgundy All-Stars roared into a 30-point lead during the late games on the back of Andre Johnson and Frank Gore, while Indy Tea Party ended with 113.14 points, second to Commissioner’s Favorite, leaving Swimsuit Issues with 33 points to make up with three players left to play.

Michael Vick carved up the Falcons defense and Worldwide Leaders only made up four points. On the other hand, Michael Turner and the Eagles defense brought College Busters within seven and a half of Ron Burgundy All-Stars… but only KFFL had someone left to play. YHOO 103.26, KFFL 123.78. LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Macklin had such good days that Swimsuit Issues went from 33 points down to nearly 20 points ahead, with one more still to play vs. Indy Tea Party’s none, and would end the day already on top of the weekly points standings (with NFL and FFTB having no one left to play and KFFL 22 points behind) and ahead of YHOO for the overall two-week points lead. They would defeat Indy Tea Party 136.5-113.14. Finally, despite Vick Inside Information had too big a deficit to make up, especially when Tony Gonzalez had a good night as well, and that match ended FLEA 51.78, USAT 81.32.

Only two matches would have their outcome determined Monday night, and in only one case was the outcome in much question. Worldwide Leaders needed 12 points from Hakeem Nicks to beat Commissioner’s Favorite, while The SportsLine had little chance of making up a huge deficit, needing a ginormous game from Bradshaw and nothing at all from Rams kicker Josh Brown. Nicks would fall short, NFL 121.22, ESPN 117.1.

Takedown Glaze had to cut Jamaal Charles after he was knocked out for the year. Inside Information cut Derrick Ward and replaced him with the Texans defense. For Wisdom of Crowds, Owen Daniels is out and Matt Hasselbeck is in. Knowshon Moreno is out and Eric Decker is in for RTFS. (If those three, all of which don’t provide waiver wire picks for various reasons, remain in the bottom three spots in any order next week, I may have to dump the waiver wire.) Takedown Glaze brought in Dexter McCluster. Isaac Redman is in for Team Infograph and Ricky Williams is out. Brandon LaFell is in and Antonio Brown is out for The SportsLine. Braylon Edwards is out and David Nelson is in for Ron Burgundy All-Stars. Worldwide Leaders passes. Ed Dickson is in and Todd Heap is out for Indy Tea Party. Commissioner’s Favorite passes. Earl Bennett is out and Andy Dalton is in for College Busters. Finally, Swimsuit Issues nabs Nate Washington and DeMarco Murray, cutting Ryan Grant and Joseph Addai. Team Infograph also dumps Chad Johnson for Titus Young, while Takedown Glaze cuts Chris Cooley in favor of Preston Parker.

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.