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.