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10 Dec 2008

Scramble for the Ball: Predicting Stat Leaders

by Vince Verhei and Ben Riley

This week, the Scramble team takes a look at the league leaders in the major (conventional) statistical categories, and predict who will end up on top. Showing off their contrasting styles, Vince presents careful, reasoned analysis, while Ben sticks with his tried-and-true method of irreverent, self-promotional inanity. And if you've made it into your league's playoffs, make sure to tell us in the comments!

Passing Yards
1. Drew Brees, NO: 4,100
2. Kurt Warner, ARI: 4,020
3. Jay Cutler, DEN: 3,679
4. Peyton Manning, IND: 3,225
5. Donovan McNabb, PHI: 3,221

Vince: A two-horse race, and it's a tough one to call. Brees' lead is not substantial. The schedules -- at Bears, at Lions, vs. Panthers for Brees; vs. Vikings, at Patriots, vs. Seahawks for Warner -- are pretty equal, at least in terms of passing yards allowed. I think there's a good chance that Arizona's Week 17 game against Seattle will be meaningless, and that Warner will see little or no action, so I'm going with Brees. (Incidentally, Brees needs 984 yards -- 328 yards per game -- to tie Dan Marino's season record of 5,084, set in 1984.)

Ben: Vince, I'm not going to lie to you: This week, I'm writing this entire Scramble in a purely self-serving fashion to promote my own fantasy team (Yes, I'm in my league's finals -- thank you, thank you very much). Sure, Drew Brees looks like he's about to finish with more than 5,000 yards, but guess what? Jay Cutler is my quarterback, and with the Broncos starting Tatum "Bag 'em and Run!" Bell this week, I'm feeling really good about a 500-yard passing game this weekend. You hear that, Joey Hesselinos? 500. Yards. Passing.

Passing Touchdowns
t1. Drew Brees, NO: 26
t1. Philip Rivers, SD: 26
3. Kurt Warner, ARI: 25
4. Jay Cutler, DEN: 23
t5. Peyton Manning, IND: 22
t5. Aaron Rodgers, GB: 22
t5. Tony Romo, DAL: 22

Vince: Philip Rivers' tremendous season has been pretty much wasted by a disappointing and underachieving team. With no team goals to play for, see him taking out his frustrations on the Chiefs, Buccaneers, and especially the Broncos, who the Chargers play in Week 17. I think the Chargers would love to send the Broncos into the playoffs on the heels of a massive, massive beatdown. That's what I would do, but then, I am a small, petty man.

Ben: Did I mention that I have Jay Cutler on my fantasy team? In addition to 500 yards this week, he also throws for six touchdowns and coasts with two or more per game for the remainder of the season. (As an aside, the other quarterbacks on my team this year included Donovan McNabb, Matt Schaub, and Matt Ryan. Let's just say I drafted well this year.)

Passing Interceptions
t1. Brett Favre, NYJ: 15
t1. Gus Frerotte, MIN: 15
t3. Drew Brees, NO: 14
t3. Jay Cutler, DEN: 14
t5. Marc Bulger, STL: 12
t5. Peyton Manning, IND: 12
t5. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT: 12
t5. Kurt Warner, ARI: 12

Vince: Of the nine men who have thrown 12 or more interceptions, five of them play for division leaders, and another (Manning) is a virtual lock for a Wild Card. Wacky. Frerotte's health is in question, and a lot of these guys -- Manning, Roethlisberger, Warner, Cutler -- may be rested come Week 17. Favre, however, will probably have a must-win game with the Dolphins at the end of the year, so I am officially predicting that he'll become just the seventh passer ever to lead the league in interceptions three or more times. (The record is four, by George Blanda, Joe Namath, Norm Snead, and Vinny Testaverde).

Ben: You know, I skip over most of TMQ lately, but I do love how he calls him "Brett Favre Brett Favre Brett Favre" with every reference. But Gregg, Chicago Mao Tse Dong ("Bears Whose Outcome is Decided by Central Planning") has never been funny. Time for a new nickname.

Rushing Yards
1. Adrian Peterson, MIN: 1,413
2. Michael Turner, ATL: 1,269
3. Clinton Portis, WAS: 1,260
4. Thomas Jones, NYJ: 1,144
5. DeAngelo Williams, CAR: 1,141

Vince: This title could be decided in Week 16, when Atlanta visits the Metrodome. (Expect a flashback or two to 1998.) If that's the case, it's definite advantage for Peterson. Between that and his lead of nearly 150 yards, he's my guy.

Ben: Ben: Vince, I refer to my cardinal rule: If He is not on my fantasy team, He will not win the rushing title. I passed up on a chance to trade for Purple Jesus this year and stuck with my new favorite player in the NFL, Chris Johnson (currently sixth in the league with 1,094 yards). Can you imagine what this guy's numbers would be if LenDale White wasn't vulturing all the touchdowns? Confession: Sometimes I sing to myself "I kissed a boy, and I liked it!" and when I do, I'm thinking of No. 28.

Rushing Touchdowns
t1. LenDale White, TEN: 14
t1. Michael Turner, ATL: 14
3. DeAngelo Williams, CAR: 13
t4. Thomas Jones, NYJ: 12
t4. Brandon Jacobs, NYG: 12

Vince: I'm going with Thomas Jones. Five of these men are battling at least one teammate for carries. Jones and his 243 carries (next on the Jets: Leon Washington with 62) is the best bet to get the ball at the goal-line, and he'll play through to the end unless the Dolphins and Patriots both collapse.

Ben: Well, it better not be Fatty McFatterson on the Titans, that's for damn sure. I just knocked the guy with DeAngelo Williams on his team out of the playoffs despite Williams rushing for seemingly 897 yards and nine touchdowns in the last two games. He'll probably continue to run roughshod with a suddenly very intriguing Panthers team. But Carolina fans, you know Jake Delhomme is shaaaaaky, just like Bank of America.

Yards From Scrimmage
1. Adrian Peterson, MIN: 1,522
2. Matt Forte, CHI: 1,476
3. Clinton Portis, WAS: 1,461
4. Chris Johnson, TEN: 1,351
5. Frank Gore, SF: 1,345

Vince: One of the very tightest races. The Bears' playoff chances are hanging by a thread. With Kyle Orton shaky since coming back from his injury, their best bet is probably to force-feed the ball to Matt Forte. I'll go with him.

Ben: Mmm, Chris Johnson's lips taste like cherry chapsti -- what? Is that weird? Whatever, I live in San Francisco.

Receptions
1. Wes Welker, NE: 96
2. Andre Johnson, HOU: 92
3. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, CIN: 89
t4. Brandon Marshall, DEN: 83
t4. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI: 83
t4. Anquan Boldin, ARI: 83

Vince: I'm removing Andre Johnson as a candidate solely because he plays Nnamdi Asomugha and the Raiders in Week 16. Wes Welker and the Patriots play Oakland this week, but I believe there is another receiver on the Patriots to draw Asomugha's attention. There are still many slant routes in Welker's future, at least enough to win another receiving title.

Ben: So I have Andre Johnson on my team, and I just realized he's up against the dreaded Double-N-Three-As in the final week of our playoffs. The good news? I also have Anquan Boldin on my team, so even though he may seem like a long shot, Q is my pick. I can't believe you picked Welker -- or "Mike Walker," as Dick Enberg referred to him on Sunday -- after he abused our beloved Seahawks. I hate that little white ... forget I said anything.

Receiving Yards
1. Roddy White, ATL: 1,249
2. Andre Johnson, HOU: 1,201
3. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI: 1,148
4. Greg Jennings, GB: 1,131
5. Steve Smith, CAR: 1,075

Vince: I don't see anyone overtaking White. All of his remaining opponents (vs. Bucs, at Vikings, vs. Rams) are right around the middle of the league in allowing yards to No. 1 receivers, and Atlanta's shaky defense should keep the Falcons passing late into games.

Ben: You know who I see overtaking White? Andre Johnson, because he is on my fantasy team. Did I mention I'm having a good year? That said, I did trade Steve Slaton for *cough* Darren McFadden. Nothing better to keep the ego in check than remembering the absurdly bad trades I've made over the years. Nothing will top Jamal Lewis for Tony Banks some seven or eight years ago. Tony Banks? In a related story, I drank a lot during law school.

Receiving Touchdowns
1. Anquan Boldin, ARI: 11
t2. Terrell Owens, DAL: 9
t2. Calvin Johnson, DET: 9
t2. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI: 9
t5. Kevin Walter, HOU: 8
t5. Randy Moss, NE: 8
t5. Lance Moore, NO: 8

Vince: For the third straight time, I'm going with the current leader, though I am less confident in Boldin than I am in either Welker or White. A pre-playoff rest is too likely, and even if he's on the field, he's competing with Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston for the ball. In fact, forget it -- I just talked myself out of Boldin. Let's say that Detroit, with nothing else to play for, just goes to Calvin Johnson over and over and over again. Seriously, they're going 0-16 either way, they may as well throw to Johnson 50 times a game.

Ben: For however many times, Vince, I'm going with the guy on my fantasy team. Remember, Boldin would have at least three more touchdowns already if his face hadn't exploded in that Jets game and/or he hadn't dropped one against the Eagles. On an unrelated note, is anybody handling the Lions meltdown better than Calvin Johnson? He continues to rack up yardage despite have a quarterback who came in off the street four weeks ago, and complete garbage lining up across from him at wide receiver. Truly amazing.

Field Goals
1. Stephen Gostkowski, NE: 30
t2. Phil Dawson, CLE: 29
t2. Matt Bryant, TB: 29
4. John Carney, NYG: 27
t5. Ryan Longwell, MIN: 26
t5. David Akers, PHI: 26

Vince: Bryant seems like he's on the perfect team to go tops in field goals -- good enough overall on both sides of the ball to reach the red zone often enough, but not consistent enough on offense to get many touchdowns.

Ben: I feel like I have been too modest in this Scramble, so I want to tell you a true story. My girlfriend Nicki is currently attending business school at the University of Virginia, and she signed up for a 12-team league of UVA business school dudes. Even though she used her first pick on Tom Brady, and (over my objection) drafter Laurence Maroney in the fifth round, she still managed to finish on top of her league and advance into the playoffs. This week, she was down by six points with only her kicker -- Matt Bryant -- to play. Don't know if you watched the incredible Monday night game, but Bryant ended up booting one field goal and two extra points -- and had one extra point blocked. That's right, she got knocked out of the playoffs by a freakin' blocked extra point! I'm still very proud of her, particularly because (unlike me) she didn't trade away Steve Slaton.

Sacks
1. Joey Porter, MIA: 16.5
2. DeMarcus Ware, DAL: 16.0
3. James Harrison, PIT: 15.0
t4. Justin Tuck, NYG: 12.5
t4. Jared Allen, MIN: 12.5
t4. John Abraham, ATL: 12.5
t4. Julius Peppers, CAR: 12.5

Vince: Porter's three remaining opponents -- the 49ers, Chiefs, and Jets -- have given up 104 combined sacks. Surely, they could give up four or five more.

Ben: Our league doesn't do IDP, even though I'd like to try it, if only because I'm so dominant on offense. (Modesty as a virtue: Overrated.) After watching Ware abuse former all-world left tackle Walter Jones, I think I have to go with him, and also because Ware made me tear up when I saw him playing with his little girl during the Hard Knocks documentary.


Check out the Football Outsiders comics archive and Jason's wacky Gil Thorp blog.

Keep Choppin' Wood

The Philadelphia Eagles outgained the New York Giants, 331 yards to 211. They had 24 first downs to the Giants' 14. The Eagles went 12-for-18 on third down; the Giants, only 3-for-11, and also 0-for-3 on fourth down. New York's longest kickoff return was only 27 yards, and they lost yards on both of their punt returns. And yet it all nearly came unraveled on the last drive of the first half and the first drive of the second. Twice Philadelphia found themselves lining up for chip-shot field-goal attempts; twice the kick was blocked. The block at the end of the first half was particularly galling because the Giants returned it for a touchdown. A successful kick would have put the Eagles in the locker room with a comfortable 13-0 lead; instead, 30 minutes of dominant football was spoiled by one play. If the Eagles' field goal unit takes care of business, they add a pair of 30-some-yard field goals and take a touchdown away from the Giants, and the final margin is 26-7. But they didn't and we had something of a nailbiter instead. Philadelphia field goal unit, this one's for you.

Colbert Award

In Pittsburgh in a scoreless game, about halfway through the first quarter, Dallas has a fourth-and-1 at the Pittsburgh 33. Rather than attempt a 50-yard field goal, he sends Deon Anderson up the middle. The play is stuffed for no gain, and the Steelers take over.

Still scoreless early in the second quarter, Dallas has a fourth-and-2 at the Pittsburgh 34. Rather than attempt a 51-yard field goal, he attempts a pass to Terrell Owens. The pass falls incomplete, and the Steelers take over.

The fact that these two plays failed says more about the Steelers' defense than it does about the wisdom of Cowboys coach Wade Phillips. Going for it on fourth-and-short is almost always a better bet than a long field-goal attempt (particularly in Heinz Field, where field goals go to die), and the penalty for failure is not as harsh. Early in a scoreless game, many coaches would have gone by the book and tried to kick for a lead. Phillips tossed the book aside and gave his team its best chance at a victory, and he has earned this Colbert Award.

Loser League

QB: JaMarcus Russell, welcome back to this space! The big fella scored a -3, with a fumble and two interceptions in just 13 passes. Honorary mention goes to Gus Frerotte, who posted a -1 against the Lions. Detroit picked off two Frerotte passes, bringing their season total to -- this is not a typo -- four.

RB: Willis McGahee averaged less than three yards per carry, lost eight yards on his only reception, and fumbled once. That's a -1.

WR: Brad Smith scored a 0, with seven yards on two catches.

K: Matt Bryant saw a lot of action for Tampa Bay Monday night, and not all of it good. He kicked one field goal and a pair of extra points, but also missed one of each. That all adds up to a -2.

Posted by: Vince Verhei and Ben Riley on 10 Dec 2008

37 comments, Last at 14 Dec 2008, 12:35am by LionelHutz057

Comments

1
by billsfan :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 3:43pm

Not only have I made my league's playoffs, but I survived into the second round. With Jeff Garcia at QB and Devin Hester at WR.

11
by Mike Kurtz :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 5:43pm

You, sir, are a god among men.

18
by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 6:36pm

You, sir, are a god among men.

Actually, given that he's in the finals with those players, it sounds more like he's a man among boys. Who is the competition playing, Frerotte and Deion Branch?

23
by billsfan :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 9:48pm

Well, it helped that I was going against Gus Frerotte--2 QB formats keep things interesting. And Branch was on MY bench.

2
by LyleNM (not verified) :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 3:52pm

Yes, that's right, I made my fantasy playoffs thanks to Matt Bryant's missed extra point. Unbelievable!

3
by DGL :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 3:54pm

I took the top seed in my league at 11-2, and am likely to get through to the championship (two-week playoff rounds, and I'm up 106-58 at the end of the first week), but I think I'm going down in flames in the finals - my likely opponent has Brees, AP, Turner, DWilliams, Calvin Johnson, Colston, and Dallas Clark. Against which I'm going with Rivers, LDT, Pierre Thomas, a Rhodes/DWard matchup pick-em, Wayne, a Berrian/Driver matchup pick-em, and a Zach Miller/Boss matchup pick-em. I do have the Ravens D and Gostkowski against the Colts D and Longwell, but it's not like I'm counting on my D and K to win...

More importantly, my LL team has moved into third place for the second half of the season...

4
by BucNasty :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 4:20pm

I was the third seed (out of 10 teams), but I lead the league in points scored. I was the league leader 5 different times, something no one else did more than twice. I won the first round of the playoffs and am a game away from the championship. Not bad for my first time.

QB: D. McNabb; B. Roethlisberger
RB: B. Westbrook; M. Jones-Drew; R. Grant; P. Thomas; S. Slaton
WR: R. White; A. Bryant; S. Holmes; A. Gonzalez; L. Evans
TE: O. Daniels
PK: D. Akers
D/ST: Baltimore

The whole "Bench McNabb, the Eagles suck" crowd was a bit confusing for me because McNabb, Westbrook, and Baltimore have been my holy trinity. They've all been a pleasure to own, particularly Baltimore. I'm not too excited about my matchups this week, though, so I think this is the end of the road. If I survive this week I'm pretty confident I can take it all.

5
by Birdman (not verified) :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 4:53pm

My 10-team, kicker-less league already had the championship last week, which I won. I lead the league in scoring but was only the number 3 seed.

QB: Cutler, Pennington, Thigpen
RB: Westbrook, S. Jackson, T. Jones, M. Moore, Benson
WR: Boldin, Wayne, Walter, Cotchery
TE: Daniels
D/ST: NE

Needless to say, I'm glad I kept Westbrook in against the Giants.

6
by rageon (not verified) :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 5:17pm

I had to feel bad for a guy in my league -- he was virtually tied up with Portis left to play and the other guy having no one but Suisham, who managed to outscore Portis and knock the guy out of the playoffs. Losing to a freaking kicker.

7
by Sergio :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 5:26pm

Haven't finished reading yet, but yeah, I got into the playoffs too. Woohoo!!

And this is *after* I traded away Frank Gore for Roy Williams and Edgerrin James (needless to say, my worst decision ever, though it looked OK back then). But I rebounded nicely, picking up Steve Slaton just after the Baltimore game (someone picked him before it, but he was dropped just as soon. Nice...).

So yeah, at some point I had Gore, Jacobs and MJD (got him in like the 9th round or something), and then Jacobs, Slaton and MJD.

First seed, 10-2, facing nice matchups this week and next...

Life is good. Thank you, KUBIAK (and Kubiak, too).

-- Go Phins!

8
by Bee (not verified) :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 5:37pm

I got the second seed in our ten-team office league and lead the league in scoring for the second year in a row. Overall not too bad for someone who didn't know what a first down was two years ago.

QB: D. Brees, M. Schaub
RB: A. Peterson, M. Forte, T. Jones, W. Dunn
WR: L. Fitzgerald, G. Jennings, A. Gonzalez, C. Chambers
TE: C. Cooley
D/ST: Vikings
K: R. Gould

I'm fairly confident I can beat my opponent this week, but then I'll probably be up against my biggest rival in the championship. She's already destroyed me twice this year though, so maybe the third time will be the charm.

9
by David :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 5:40pm

Pah, my team did very well, as I led the league in points, but I missed out on the playoffs by one game, after Steve Smith outscored Jake Delhomme by over ten points. I lost three games despite posting the second best score, only being outscored by the team I was playing...

10
by burbman (not verified) :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 5:41pm

Second in the league in points scored...but I managed to still miss the playoffs due to playing everybody else on their lucky day. I managed to avoid finishing with a losing record by one point in spite of having Matt Bryant kicking on Monday night.

12
by Calig23 :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 5:43pm

Two weeks ago, my team was 6-6 and sitting in fourth place of an 8-team league, with a tenuous hold on the final playoff spot. There were two teams that were 5-7, one with more points than my team and one with fewer. I was playing the team that had more points, so a win would have all but locked up the final playoff spot. A win and a loss by the other 5-7 team would have clinched the spot.

In the wake of Donovan McNabb's benching against Baltimore, I was reluctant to start him, even against Arizona. The risk of him getting benched and/or the Eagles suffering a complete meltdown seemed too great. My other quarterbacks(Ben Roethlisberger and Tyler Thigpen) both seemed to have somewhat positive matchups(New England and Oakland, respectively). Granted, had I known that the Pitt-NE game was going to be played in freezing rain, I would certainly not have started Ben.

Oops.

Under my league's scoring system, McNabb put up over 42 points. Ben and Thigpen combined for about 29. If I had started McNabb over Ben, my team would have gotten about 22 more points that it actually did. I wound up losing by about 21 points.

(Of course, it didn't help that my opponent happened to have DeAngelo Williams starting against Green Bay. I'm fairly certain that Williams scored another touchdown while I was typing this post.)

Making matters even more interesting was the fact that the other 5-7 team also won. Thus, heading into the final week before the playoffs, there were three teams tied with 6-7 records. My team had the second most points of the three. To make the playoffs, it would be necessary for me to win, plus the team that had more points than me would need to lose. It would be okay for the third team to win, as long as they somehow did not amass enough points to overcome me. Of course, I could still reach the playoffs with a loss, so long as the other two guys also lost, and I somehow garnered enough points to overtake the guy ahead of me.

The odds, however, were not in my favor. I had the good fortune to be facing the second place team in the league. The guy ahead of me was facing the worst team in the league. The guy behind me was facing the first place team.

What happened?

At the end of Sunday's games, I trailed my opponent by about 3 points. I did not have anyone playing in the Monday Night Game, by my opponent had Jon Kasey. Amazingly, the guy ahead of me was trailing the last place team going into Monday night, and while both teams had players in the Monday Night Game, the last place team seemed to have an edge. The guy behind me was trailing the first place team, but not by much, and he had several players in the Monday Night Game.

And thus, I spent Monday Night praying for Kasey to miss some field goals and/or extra points- enough to bring my opponent's score down below mine. Alas, it did not happen. The guy ahead of me did indeed fall to the last place team, while the guy ahead of me pulled of the come-from-behind victory against the first place team. That put him at 7-7 and in sole possession of fourth place and the final playoff spot. In our 8-team league, he had the second fewest points.

There is one more thing that I should probably mention. Sitting on my bench while that Monday Night Game raged were both Antonio Bryant and Jonathan Stewart.

Sigh....

13
by son of alontods (not verified) :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 5:56pm

I made the playoffs in my 12-team league and scored the most points in the league. My team as looks right now:

QB: Rivers, Shaun Hill
RB: A. Peterson, Turner, Chris Johnson, Kevin Smith, Derrick Ward, Cedric Benson (for some unknown reason)
WR: Steve Smith, Roddy White, Braylon Edwards
TE: Cooley
K: Crosby
D/ST: Tennessee

And this is after I traded MJD and Randy Moss for AP (before Cassell got good and Randy became a top WR again. I should win this week and make it to the championship game. The championship is decided in week 16, and because of a few bad matchups I fear I may lose in the championship game.

14
by Mike Kurtz :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 5:57pm

I had the second-most points in the league, but ended up in the last seed regardless because I backed into the playoffs (4-game losing streak). Last week, however, my team came through big-time and I knocked off the first seed! All of our dogs in the 8-team playoff won, so I take this as a plus for my guys.

QB(1): Phillip Rivers, Matt Ryan
RB(3): Marshawn Lynch, Brian Westbrook, Kevin Smith, Jerious Norwood
WR(3): Bernard Berrian, Roddy White, Justin Gage, Domenik Hixon, Santonio Holmes
TE(1): Greg Olsen
K(1): Stephen Gostkowski
DEF(1): Green Bay

For round 2, I'm gravitating toward:
Rivers @ KC
Westbrook vs CLE, Lynch @ NYJ, Smith @ IND
White vs TB, Berrian @ ARI, Gage @ HOU
and then Olsen, Gostkowski and GB, obviously.

Any thoughts?

16
by Shylo :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 6:05pm

Here are my teams in my important leagues:

10 team league (10-4, 4th seed, against one of the best teams):
QB: Tony Romo, Matt Ryan
RB: Matt Forte, DeAngelo Williams, Marion Barber, Ray Rice
WR: Brandon Marshall, Hines Ward, DeSean Jackson, Braylon Edwards, Steve Breaston, Ted Ginn Jr.
TE: Jason Witten
K: Matt Prater
DEF: revolving door based on matchup, currently Indy

Fun Fact: I traded Roddy White for Julius Jones and Ryan Grant for Braylon Edwards. I suck at trading. In this league I was 5-4 at the halfway point because of Romo's injury. After struggling and losing with J.T. O'Sullivan and Chad Pennington, I picked up Matt Ryan and rattled off 5 in a row, transitioning to Romo a week after he healed.
--
12 team league (10-3, won my first round playoff matchup, semifinals against battered team):
QB: Drew Brees, Brett Favre
RB: Brian Westbrook, Chris Johnson, Pierre Thomas, Kevin Smith, Tim Hightower
WR: Reggie Wayne, Santonio Holmes, Roy E. Williams, Bernard Berrian, Domenik Hixon, Davone Bess, Joshua Cribbs
TE: Jeremy Shockey
DEF: Titans
K: Matt Bryant
P: Kyle Larson

Fun Fact: I had and dropped both Steve Slaton and Lance Moore. I have dropped Pierre Thomas 3 times this season. Was 9-1 at one point, but went 1-2 over the last 3 weeks.

15
by ChrisH :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 6:05pm

I backed into the #4 seed of the playoffs despite losing this week. I have the most points in the league by 7% over the #2 team in points (who is deservedly #1 at least), and running the numbers in Excel quick, my opponents scored, on average, 16.6% above their averages when they played me. Fantastic. So, despite getting screwed continually, I still have a good chance to take my league and can feel good knowing that I out-scored everyone, even if my record doesn't show it.

17
by RickD :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 6:19pm

The invitation for people to crow about their fantasy teams - that was a joke, right?

19
by BucNasty :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 7:00pm

I think he just saw it coming.

20
by the K (not verified) :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 8:00pm

My brush with fantasy greatness (?) this year comes with me making the playoffs as a wild card, despite losing my last 3 games, and losing those games despite scoring 100+ in two of them, and scoring 100+ despite Clinton Portis dropping off the face of the earth and riding the pine.

21
by White Rose Duelist :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 8:49pm

Made the playoffs in all three of my leagues, as the #2, #2 and #6 seeds. Some advice on how to get them to the next round?

RB (pick 2): D. Williams vs. DEN, F. Gore @ MIA, S. Slaton vs. TEN, R. Bush @ CHI

QB: C. Pennington vs. SF, B. Roethlisberger @ BAL, K. Orton vs. NO

QB: D. Brees @ CHI, K. Warner vs. MIN

27
by Staubach12 :: Thu, 12/11/2008 - 12:14am

I'd say:

RB: D. Williams, S. Slaton (though I might think about Gore depending on his injury status)
QB: K. Orton (I cringe, but NO's secondary is so bad. Pennington would be my second choice)
QB: Warner (he usually plays well at home, and if the Williams boys are suspended that MIN defense will be in disarray)

22
by Dan :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 9:47pm

Monday night was a bad night for kickers. If Kasay got one more FG, instead of all those XPs, I would've been knocked out of my kickers only* fantasy league.

Which two* should I roll with (along with Gost@Oak*) this week in a crucial playoff matchup: Carney @ Dal, Rackers vs. Min, Suisham @ Cin, Carpenter vs. SF?

* Not technically "true"

24
by Biebs (not verified) :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 10:31pm

LOSER LEAGUE COMMENT:

Should there be a mention of the fantasticness that was the Jets WR core

Brad Smith - 2 Catches, 7 Yards - 0 points
Laveranues Coles - 1 Catch, 5 Yards - 0 points
Jerricho Cotchery - 1 Catch, 10 Yards - 1 point (I think)

Now that's a pile of shit you don't see often from a 1st place team playing the NFC West.

25
by Dan :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 11:36pm

They were too loserish for the Loser League. Both get the penalty, so Coles = 15 points & Cotchery = 16. But maybe they should get a bonus for doing this with Favre throwing the ball 31 times.

36
by joon :: Sat, 12/13/2008 - 12:38am

speaking of loser league, holy crap! my team scored a 9. i know it was a good week for loser league teams (-3 for jamarcus--he is a god among men), but still, nine! and i had two guys i didn't even use both score 2: my 3rd WR (toomer/engram) and my 2nd K (josh brown).

i figure this is at least as socially acceptable as bragging about my fantasy team making the playoffs. especially since loser league is the only fantasy NFL league i'm in.

26
by Staubach12 :: Thu, 12/11/2008 - 12:07am

Narrowly made the playoffs this year in my 14 team league and then won in the first round.

I went 7-6 (now 8-6) despite scoring more than any other team in the league. However my scoring lead put me on top of a three-way tie for the last two playoff spots.

Basically, I've been solid at every position except quarterback. My best moves: picking up Slaton two weeks before he made a start (and dropping Green to do so), trading Jason Campbell for Santana Moss just before Moss' best game of the year, and grabbing Antonio Bryant off the waiver wire.

Current team (1 QB, 3 WR, 2 RB, 1 RB/WR, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 Def):
QB: Favre, Pennington
WR: Fitzgerald, A. Bryant, S. Moss, Cotchery, D. Mason
RB: Chris Johnson, Slaton, Addai (my stupid first round pick), Jamal Lewis, Tashard Choice
TE: Jason Witten
K: Elam
Def: Tennessee

Although I won my first round matchup, I'm now facing the #1 seed in the semifinals. This is going to be a close one...

28
by Red Hedgehog (not verified) :: Thu, 12/11/2008 - 12:34am

Largely thanks to Kubiak and FO, I made the playoffs in both my leagues. As the #1 seed in one league and the #2 in another (2nd most and 4th most points, respectively).

In league 1, my quarterbacks throughout the year consisted of David Garrard, Jeff Garcia, Kerry Collins, and Gus Frerotte. Okay, I had Aaron Rodgers for several weeks too, but I decided to dump him because of bad playoff matchups and he then outdoes matchup expectations while Garrard barely has a game against the Texans and Frerotte puts up his stinker against Detroit. Fortunately I still won and Favre was available so I'm going into that league's 2 week Super Bowl game.

Team 1:
QB: Brett Favre, David Garrard
RB: Chris Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Justin Fargas, Tatum Bell (was Peyton Hillis)
WR: Randy Moss, Marques Colston, Anthony Gonzalez, Isaac Bruce (At one point I had Greg Jennings who I traded for Anquan Boldin who I traded for Aaron Rodgers who I dumped. Ugh)
TE: Jason Witten, Visante Shiancoe
K: Akers
DEF: Baltimore

Team 2:
QB: Eli Manning, Shaun Hill (was Gus Frerotte)
RB: Ronnie Brown, Chris Johnson, Steve Slaton, Tatum Bell (was Peyton Hillis)
WR: Marques Colston, Reggie Wayne, Laveranues Coles, Domenik Hixon (was Plaxico Burress), Davone Bess
TE: Jason Witten
K: Akers
D: Tampa Bay

29
by drobviousso :: Thu, 12/11/2008 - 12:46am

I picked up the last place team in a very deep (12 players, 3 wr/team, 16 players/team, 3 keep from 'top' of the draft, 3 from the bottom half) league full of knowledgeable folk. My only keeper of note was Westbrook, but I don't get any compensation if I didn't keep a keeper.

Anyway, even though I blew my first overall pick on Colston, I still managed to pick up McNabb and Tomas Jones in the top of the draft and D. Williams and A.Rodgers in the bottom of the draft. My WR's suck, but I'm leading the league in points and have a second seed in the play offs.

I'm in 3 leagues, and this is the only one with money in the pot. The other two... I don't talk about.

30
by Love is like a bottle of gin (not verified) :: Thu, 12/11/2008 - 1:45am

Made the playoffs as the 2 seed and lost, but Adddai was the highest paid player on my team, Brady was the second highest paid player, and Willie Parker the 4th so I am still quite happy with my performance.

31
by Chris UK (not verified) :: Thu, 12/11/2008 - 7:35am

Got into the playoffs as second seed despite some dubious selections by the yahoo! auto draft, tom brady and to were my first two picks leaving me with michael turner and darren mcfadden

Anyways current team (1QB 2RBs 3WRs 1TE 1K 1DEF)

QBs:Pennington, Edwards, Delhomme
RBs: Turner, C Johnson, DeAngelo Williams
WRs: Owens, Bowe, Driver, Muhammed, Randle El,Avery
TE: Winslow
K: Akers
DEF: Buffalo

Dont know about anyone else but Im pleased with picking up williams and johnson early on the waivers

32
by Dash (not verified) :: Thu, 12/11/2008 - 9:56am

Bought KUBIAK for the first time, would definitely do it again. The returns made me quite a bit more than I paid for it (of course, I got lucky by drafting #1).

My team (2 RB, 2 WR, flex, PPR):

QB: Brees, Rodgers
RB: LdT, Westbrook, Pierre Thomas, Sproles, Booker (drafted R. Brown & Jacobs, who I traded for Westbrook when he was hurt and they were hot, drafted Graham, who got hurt, had Torain and Hillis from the DEN RB injury carousel)
WR: A. Johnson, Jennings, Mason, Avery
TE: Revolving door - was Miller & Shockey, now Carlson & Scheffler
K: Gostkowski
DEF: Ravens, Bears

Speaking of, Brees or Rodgers this week? I've started Brees the entire time up to now, but thought with the weather, might be better off with Rodgers. Thoughts?

33
by MCS :: Thu, 12/11/2008 - 4:39pm

I normally don't do this, but it is playoff time. Please help me pick two of these four. Standard scoring.

LdT @ KC
Westbrook v. Cleveland
DeAngelo Williams v. Denver
Chris Johnson @ Houston

I am leaning towards CJ and Westbrook, but DeAngelo Williams has a much better match-up than Westbrook does. Also, for some reason the league site is not projecting Johnson to do all that well against Houston. Not sure why.

Thanks

34
by Sid :: Fri, 12/12/2008 - 3:25pm

I made the playoffs.

I had easily the most points, but had to fight to make the playoffs because of terrible luck with opponents.

Pierre Thomas got me 25 points last night.

QB: Has to be Peyton Manning
RB: I have Marion Barber III, but he's playing on SNF and will likely be a gametime decision. Other options: LenWhale White (@HOU), Tatum Bell (@CAR), Warrick Dunn (@ATL), Dominic Rhodes (DET), Maurice Morris (@STL), Ricky Williams (SF), and Cedric Benson (WAS). Need one.
WR: Anquan Boldin is a must-start
WR: Same for Reggie Wayne
WR: Deion Branch (@STL), Vincent Jackson (@KC), Domenik Hixon (@DAL), Amani Toomer (@DAL), Chad Ocho Cinco (WAS).
TE: Dallas Clark
K: Rob Bironas (@HOU), Jason Elam (TB), Shaun Suisham (@CIN), John Carney (@DAL)
DEF: Gotta be the Indy defense.

thanks

I foolishly waived Marvin Harrison a few weeks ago and my opponent got him for this week.

35
by Sid :: Fri, 12/12/2008 - 4:43pm

I just picked up Derrick Ward because Jacobs is out this week. I waived Roethlisberger because he faces Baltimore and then Tennessee.

37
by LionelHutz057 :: Sun, 12/14/2008 - 12:35am

This article sucked. I wanted honest discussion of topics. I could care less about your fantasy teams in context of this article.