Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Fantasy league 2017 -- special emergency edition

Ranking the QBs in Super Bowl LII:

1: Nick Foles — Only one QB in NFL history has caught and thrown a TD pass in the biggest game of the year. Foles 373 passing yds are fifth all time in Super Bowl history, and he was the unquestionable MVP of the game.

2: Trey Burton — Consider that the third-string TE completed 100 percent of his passes for TDs, and did all of his work inside two minutes of the end of the half. That’s not bad.

3: Carson Wentz — Sure, he didn’t actually throw any passes in the game. But the offense ran like he never left, so he deserves credit for that.

4: Tom Brady — He did throw for 505 yards, a Super Bowl record, but he also had a fumble that clinched the game for the Eagles. That’s pretty much a wash.

5: Nate Sudfeld — I mean, he gets a ring.

6: Eli Manning — Dude threw one practice pass to Odell Beckham in the third quarter and acted like they won the Super Bowl. You guys finished 3-13. Cut the celebrations.

QB: Nick Foles — team scored 41 pts
WR: Nick Foles — caught a TD, in case we haven’t mentioned that
RB: Corey Clement — undrafted RB had 100 yds receiving
TE: Zach Ertz — Gronk had better stats, but he lost, so...
K: Jake Elliott — Eagles won every game where he missed an XP
DEF: Nevermind
D: Brandon Graham — One sack, one fumble, one win

“New England defensive coaches” edition

1st place: Matt Patricia — Allowed 41 points

Dude, the other team gave up 613 yds of offense and you were the one that couldn’t make a stop when needed. How is that possible?

** Chris Collinsworth believes that every single Eagles play is not a catch. If you listened closely, when he talked about the team fighting the flu late last week, he wouldn’t even say that they caught a cold.

** Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen, was quoted by USA Today as telling her children after the game that the Patriots didn’t win because “You have to let someone else win sometimes.”
Weird that Brady’s version of letting another team win is throwing the ball until his arm falls off, but whatever.

** The New York Post front page on Monday had the headline “Giants win … best ad” instead of actually acknowledging the Eagles. And I get it, I wish I could ignore New York all the time too. But don’t you guys want to make fun of Brady instead of reminding everyone that the Giants were a joke this year?

You know we couldn’t skip this:

The Philadelphia Eagles are the Super Bowl Champions
* Pep, holier hero. Weep again, Dallas chumps. Hail the best

FYI, Nick Foles has more playoff wins this season (three) than they Cowboys have in the last 21 years (two). But, America’s team, sure.

** Valiant effort by Dad, Who did a good job picking the post-season games but chose the under in the Super Bowl and fell short in his quest to unseat me this season. That's a clean sweep on football for me: Weekly picks, playoff picks, and fantasy season title. On the other hand, neither of us really care about that right now.

** Folks, I don't want to alarm you but ... I think that actually happened. I think the Eagles won the Super Bowl

Week 21 standings

1 — Philadelphia Eagles, 16-3 (Coach Doug Pederson) — 41 pts
2 — New England Patriots, 15-4 (Coach Bill Belichick) — 33 pts
3 — Everybody else

It’s no Awesome Cup, but I think that Lombardi trophy will look just fine hanging around Philadelphia for the next year.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Fantasy league 2017 -- final season recap

Good season all around ... if by good you mean “every team underachieved compared to past years’ point totals.” Fantasy football is a cruel hobby, and this year the football gods confused all of us by delivering enjoyable football to watch and frustrating fantasy stats to follow. But, in the end, someone has to go home with the Awesome Cup, and we get to have 11 other lucky losers.

Here is the official final look at how you all did, with an added tally of how often my predictions and Yahoo’s guesses were within one place of the final rankings:

Last Exit 2 Kutztown (Bob)
Yahoo projected finish: 1885.73 pts (5th place)
My projected finish: 1985.73 pts (5th place)
Actual finish: 1487.00 pts (12th place)
NFL equivalent: New Jersey Giants
Bob barely avoided the record for fewest points ever scored over the course of a season, outpacing Paul’s 2015 campaign by 70 pts. That doesn’t make his second consecutive last-place finish any nicer, though. He single-handedly killed RB David Johnson, WR Allen Robinson and RB Spencer Ware in the early weeks of the season and fell apart from there. On the plus side, unlike the Giants, at least he knows what state he works in.

Blue Collar Killers (Jeff)
Yahoo projected finish: 1878.25 (7th place)
My projected finish: 1868.58 pts (8th place)
Actual finish: 1509.52 pts (11th place)
NFL equivalent: Indianapolis Colts
Jeff should have had injured QB Andrew Luck on his team, because he was an even more impressive angel of death for his players than Bob. WR Odell Beckham, RB Dalvin Cook and RB Ty Montgomery were all potential first-round picks that ended up being liabilities on his squad. His QB combo of Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning produced more duds than successes this season. Unlike the Colts, though, Jeff can’t be fired for his mistakes.

SmartyPants on Fire (Paul)
Yahoo projected finish: 1865.58 pts (8th place)
My projected finish: 1800.01 pts (10th place)
Actual finish: 1513.15 pts (10th place)
NFL equivalent: Oakland Raiders
Nailed it — take that, Yahoo.

I’m still not sure how Paul ended up down here. He drafted — then cut — the top fantasy QB on the year (Russell Wilson) and held three of the top wideouts (Julio Jones, Brandin Cooks and Tyreek Hill). Sure, his RBs were beyond awful. But much like the Raiders, who got to the playoffs last year and missed it by a mile with the same squad this year, something just doesn’t add up. Blame coaching.

Tiny Trump Gloves (Jim)
Yahoo projected finish: 1898.71 pts (4th place)
My projected finish: 1842.88 pts (9th place)
Actual finish: 1640.70 pts (9th place)
NFL equivalent: Cincinnati Bengals
Me 2, Yahoo rankings 0

If Ezekiel Elliott had played the whole year, Jim’s team may have amounted to something. But, that’s kinda like saying “if Vlad the Impaler had stayed away from drinking blood, he could have been a great ruler.” Basing your team around pure evil has consequences. Marcus Mariota and Adrian Peterson turning into total duds didn’t help much either. At least he didn’t totally break Antonio Brown...

Foles v. Sproles (Joanner)
Yahoo projected finish: 1958.17 pts (3rd place)
My projected finish: 1901.07 pts (6th place)
Actual finish: 1762.61 pts (8th place)
NFL equivalent: Houston Texans
Only about 130 pts separated Jo from second place, which is also about the amount of points she left on her bench over the last five weeks by not setting her roster. Much like the Texans, she stopped trying after November rolled around. Accidentally dropping her first-round pick (Devonta Freeman) didn’t help much either. On the plus side, her apathy destroyed Terrelle Pryor and the Maryland Racial Slurs’ season, so it wasn’t all a waste.

Cosby’s Sleepers (Mike)
Yahoo projected finish: 1885.58 pts (6th place)
My projected finish: 2034.03 pts (2nd place)
Actual finish: 1780.90 pts (7th place)
NFL equivalent: Miami Dolphins
This is the lowest I’ve seen a Todd Gurley-led team finish in any of the leagues I’ve watched. His 2,000-plus all-purpose yds weren’t enough to overcome the disappointments of RB Jay Ajayi, TE Greg Olsen, TE Jordan Reed, and WR … wait, did he have any wideouts? Not a single one he drafted was on his end-of-year roster. And WR Josh Doctson got multiple starts in their place. That’s a lot for Gurley to overcome.

Dat CTE Lyfe (Sam)
Yahoo projected finish: 1810.55 pts (12th place)
My projected finish: 1871.53 pts (7th place)
Actual finish: 1837.78 pts (6th place)
NFL equivalent: Detroit Lions
It’s almost like the Yahoo predictions I called off-base at the start of the year were … off base.
Sam’s decision to drop the Jacksonville defense before the start of the season proved disastrous, and that poor coaching trickled down to the rest of his squad. Were WR Mike Evans and QB Kirk Cousins still good? Sure. But were they winners? No. And most unforgivable was his move to jettison S James Ihedigbo in September. True, he didn’t play a single down this year. But isn’t that the kind of name you want on your roster, especially one that ends up being middle of the road?

Animal Crackers (Mom Doyle)
Yahoo projected finish: 1850.11 pts (9th place)
My projected finish: 1755.05 pts (11th place)
Actual finish: 1880.26 pts (5th place)
NFL equivalent: Baltimore Ravens
Mom finished 12 points out of second place … and all the way back in 5th. That’s the kind of margin that will haunt you for the whole offseason, especially when the team that finished ahead of her did so with the help of Rob Gronkowski, the TE she drafted in the second round and then dumped unceremoniously midway through the year. All he did after that was score 113 pts over the next 10 weeks, more than all but four other TEs for the whole season. But my count, she lost 77 pts with that move alone. Sorta like giving up a 46-yd TD pass on 4th and 14 when the playoffs are on the line. Ouch.

The Pigskin Predators (Dad)
Yahoo projected finish: 2056.65 pts (1st place)
My projected finish: 1563.22 pts (12th place)
Actual finish: 1881.43 pts (4th place)
NFL equivalent: Buffalo Bills
If we had a playoff, Dad would carry the Bill’s spirit into our postseason: All luck and no rational reason why. His decision to go all in on QB Aaron Rodgers blew up when he went down with a shoulder injury, but Dad replaced his lost player with an impressive cast of castoffs (see Freeman, Gronkowski, Jacksonville D) and free agents (WR Juju Smith-Schuster, WR Marquise Goodwin) to stay respectable. He also won the “most transactions” contest for the third time in four years. It’s a small consolation prize, but it’ll have to do.

Gronky Tonk Man (Joel)
Yahoo projected finish: 1810.99 pts (11th place)
My projected finish: 1987.65 pts (4th place)
Actual finish: 1887.62 pts (3rd place)
NFL equivalent: Atlanta Falcons
Seriously, Yahoo, I’m available to do made-up pre-season predictions next year.

Last year’s Awesome Cup champion has to settle for bronze this season. At the halfway point Joel appeared set for a repeat, but diminishing returns from QB Dak Prescott, RB Melvin Gordon and RB Kareem Hunt sunk him down the stretch. Still, Joel proved his ascendance last year was no fluke with a solid campaign this season, leaving him with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Well, maybe not accomplishment, since you get nothing for third. But pride, I guess.

For Who? For Wentz (Ant)
Yahoo projected finish: 2038.17 pts (2nd place)
My projected finish: 2115.51 pts (1st place)
Actual finish: 1891.42 pts (2nd place)
NFL equivalent: Los Angeles Rams
At best, this is a push for Yahoo. I’m up 4-1-1 against the web site by my count.

In my pre-season rankings, I praised every part of Anthony’s team as sneaky good: His starting QB, his top wideouts, his backup and starting RBs. The one spot I didn’t highlight: his backup QB, a one Mr. Carson Wentz, the fantasy steal of 2017. When Ant finally made the switch to bench QB Drew Brees in favor of the actual MVP of 2017 (get lost, Brady), his team started to gel and make a run for the top. And when Wentz went down and he cut him from the team, it was the end of his championship chances. In the end, he gets to take home the title of first loser, while the rest of the glory goes to...

Foles me Wentz (Capt. Awesome)
Yahoo projected finish: 1831.36 pts (10th place)
My projected finish: 2033.33 pts (3rd place)
Actual finish: 2117.08 pts (1st place)
NFL equivalent: Philadelphia Eagles
The experts would tell you you can’t start you own fantasy football league, control the draft rules and scoring settings, write up all the league happenings and be a consistent winner. But they would be wrong. This is my fourth Awesome Cup title since the league began, my third in the last eight years, and final proof that after 15 years on Yahoo I have finally mastered their autodraft process. My strategy of grabbing great RBs early (LeSean McCoy, Jordan Howard), sleeper RBs in the middle rounds (Keenan Allen, Jarvis Landry), forcing an early TE pick (Zach Ertz in the 7th) and completely ignoring QBs (I drafted Andrew Luck and Jay Cutler, and never started either) paid off handsomely. Gambling on the Philly defense early helped too.

My margin of victory — more than 225 pts — is the largest in league history, cementing my dominance and genius. Behold, the Awesome Cup is once again back home:

Sorry to spoil the start of your 2018, folks, but you have eight months of gloating from me before you can do anything to stop the situation. We’ll be back here again in August to do it all again. As always, thanks for reading and playing.

And if the January games turn out better than the pundits expect, maybe I’ll have a few more updates here in the weeks to come. We can only hope.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Fantasy league 2017 -- week 17 recap

Thanks to a series of improbable events (mostly, the Bengals winning a game), the Buffalo Bills snuck into the wild card round on Sunday and ended the NFL’s longest postseason drought. The last time Buffalo played a meaningful game in January was 1999: They were the only franchise not to play a single playoff game in the 2000s. But even that doesn’t state just how long in football years their streak of futility has been:

** Only eight players on the team’s 53-man roster had reached high school the last time the Bills had a playoff game.

** That last appearance by the Bills was the infamous Music City Miracle. Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed were still members of the team. On the other side of the field, the Titans squad included Eddie George and Kicker Al Del Greco, whose career began in 1984.

** When the Bills were last in the playoffs, the Patriots had never won a Super Bowl.

** No player that was active in the league in 1999 is still playing today. Three players who were drafted the spring after the Bills’ playoff game are still in the league: P Shane Lechler, K Sebastian Janikowski, and QB Tom Brady.

** At the time of the game, Doug Pederson had more career starts for the Eagles (9) than Donovan McNabb (6).

Top performers of the year

3rd place: Carson Wentz, 348.24 pts — 13th QB drafted (Ant)
2nd place: Tom Brady, 359.88 pts — 1st QB drafted (Mom D)
1st place: Russell Wilson, 419.42 pts — 4th QB drafted (Paul)
Neither Paul or Anthony ended up with those QBs on their teams at year end. Meanwhile, the 4th ranked QB (Alex Smith) was the 22nd QB picked in our draft, while the 2nd QB picked (Aaron Rodgers) ended up as the 28th best fantasy passer of the year. Weird year all around.

3rd place: Keenan Allen, 189.77 pts — 17th WR drafted (Capt. Awesome)
2nd place: Antonio Brown, 209.92 pts — 1st WR drafted (Jim)
1st place: DeAndre Hopkins, 216.87 pts — 13th WR drafted (Mom D)
Not too many busts in this category besides Odell Beckham, who was drafted 2nd but finished 108th due to injury (behind Torrey Smith even!). Worth noting as always that the 7th-best RB was still better than the best WR, but all the fantasy experts will still tell you that taking a wideout first is smaht.

3rd place: Alvin Kamara, 259.31 pts — undrafted
2nd place: LeVeon Bell, 277.27 pts — 2nd RB drafted (Ant)
1st place: Todd Gurley, 325.03 pts — 7th RB drafted (Mike)
Gurley was the player owned by the most championship teams this year, but Kamara was the real shocker. As the #2 back on his own team, he led all RBs in receiving yds (826) and threw in 347 return yds just for good measure. And he made the pro-bowl with teammate RB Mark Ingram. Hope teams I root for don’t have to see him in the playoffs...

3rd place: Zach Ertz, 138.93 pts — 7th TE drafted (Capt Awesome)
2nd place: Rob Gronkowski, 157.27 pts — 1st TE drafted (Mom D)
1st place: Travis Kelce, 157.90 pts — 2nd TE drafted (Jo)
A huge drop off in this category this year: Only nine TEs topped 100 pts for the season, and the difference between the #1 and #12 TE was 68 pts. Either you got a good TE this year (or picked up the #2 guy after he was inexplicably dropped) or you struggled with this position all year.

3rd place: Robbie Gould, 170.00 pts — undrafted
2nd place: Stephen Gostkowski, 172.00 pts — 2nd K drafted (Mom D)
1st place: Greg Zuerlein, 182.00 pts — undrafted
Not only did Zuerlein come out of nowhere, he also missed the last two games of the season and still ended up the best kicker of the year. The real news here is that someone drafted a kicker that mattered, a rarer feat than a Bills playoff appearance.

3rd place: LA Rams, 206.00 pts — 9th DEF drafted (Joel)
2nd place: Baltimore, 216.00 pts — undrafted
1st place: Jacksonville, 230.00 pts — 12th DEF drafted (Sam)
Coming in 4th was the Eagles, whose defense was expected to be middling to poor this year. But 31 turnovers, five blocked kicks and five TDs will boost your fantasy value. Jacksonville, meanwhile, accounted for more points than Eli Manning, Joe Flacco or Jay Cutler on the year.

3rd place: Bobby Wagner, 72.50 pts — undrafted
2nd place: Reshad Jones, 74.50 pts — undrafted
1st place: C.J. Mosley, 75.70 pts — undrafted
Someday we’ll draft one of the best defensive players. Someday.

“Worst performers of the year” edition

5th place: John Ross, -0.80 pts — on the waiver wire
4th place: Jake Rudock, -1.04 pts — on the waiver wire
2nd place: (tie) Tyler Bray, -2.00 pts — on the waiver wire
2nd place: (tie) Donatello Brown, -2.00 pts — on the waiver wire
1st place: Teddy Bridgewater, -2.30 pts — on the waiver wire

Ross was the #9 overall pick in the draft last spring. Needless to say, that didn’t work out.

Rudock and Bray are allegedly backup QBs. I’d never heard of either of them before five seconds ago. Brown, a CB for the Packers, is the only defensive player to finish the year in negative points.

But our worst player of the year this season was one-time franchise QB Bridgewater, back from a devastating knee injury two years ago. He only appeared for two plays for the Vikings, the first being a -3 yd rush, the second being an interception. The Vikings have to decide whether to renew his contract after their playoff run this month. That inspired return probably can’t help much.

** During the Ohio State/USC bowl game last Friday, play-by-play: Bob Wischusen was giddy when the Trojans finally scored a TD to make the game a little more competitive. As RB Ronald Jones took the handoff on a sweep play, Wischusen shouted: “He gets the ball and walks into the end zone … with speed!”

We have a word for walking with speed. It’s running. It’s even in the name of the position. It’s worth looking into.

** After the Browns on Sunday became only the second NFL team ever to go 0-16, owner Jimmy Haslam assured reporters that he does not plan to fire coach Hue Jackson. “I don’t think Hue’s lost his magic on how to call plays or how to run an offense or how to coach a team.”

The team is 1-31 under Jackson over the last two years. I don’t think he has lost any magic either. You can’t lose things you don’t have.

** Yahoo came out with our fantasy football grades this week. Without spoiling how I finished, the site gave me a “B” grade for the season. The breakdown was an “A” for end results, “A” for in-season management, and a “D” for pre-season draft analysis. So, even though my team did great, they effectively dinged me because my results didn’t match their guesses of how the season would go.

I’d complain more about how stupid that methodology is, but this is essentially how the entire college football season and playoff is conducted.

We’re just a day out from the end of the regular season and already six coaching jobs are open for next year (with at least one more expected by the end of the week). Rumor is that ESPN analyst Jon Gruden is already the favorite to fill the open Oakland Raiders job. But who are the perfect candidates for the other spots?

** Chicago Bears — Mike Ditka
Can the man who won the 1985 Super Bowl with the Bears return them to glory? No, of course not. But people would care about the Bears for the first time in a decade if he returned. Plus, no one else wants to weather those winters.

** Indianapolis Colts — Andrew Luck’s doctor
It’s simple: If Luck is healthy enough to play, the Colts can be great. If he’s not, they should forfeit. So, why not cut out the middleman here and save a few bucks?

** New York Giants — Joe Girardi
He’s beloved in NY for slapping together an overachieving Yankees team, so why not give him another shot in New Jersey this time? When Beckham comes back healthy next year it’ll probably mean another three or four wins, and he can claim credit as a genius again.

** Detroit Lions — Hue Jackson
This team hasn’t been interesting since it went 0-16, and now the Browns spoiled that by matching their achievement. So why not go for broke again? Sure, Jackson is technically still under contract with the Browns, but it wouldn’t take much to pry him away.

** Arizona Cardinals — Larry Fitzgerald
He’s 100 years old and the only member of the Cardinals you can remember (sorry, David Johnson doesn’t count, he doesn’t have legs anymore). Give the poor guy a cushy retirement gig where he decides which fellow teammates have to go over the middle and get smacked instead of him.

True, the Eagles’ season finale was a nearly unwatchable game, and it was the team’s third loss of the season. But remember it was mostly backups playing with nothing on the line, so it says little about the boys in green. But it did give the young Dallas players a chance to see what a real division champions looks like, since they saw their fraud of a team repeatedly exposed this year in their quest to earn another playoff berth. For folks like backup safety Xavier Woods, it was an important learning experience:

New Dallas Cowboys rookie free safety Xavier Woods
** Ever woe: Fool crooks exit season awed. Fly away, birds.

Remember to tune in next fall for another crop of new soulless, evil Dallas rookies whose names unveil the evil within. I’ll stop doing these when it stops being easy to use these players own names against them.

** Valiant effort by Dad, who went 6-3 against me in our picks this week. But sadly that still leaves him four down for the year, giving me the title of the family’s best football brain. It’s the third straight year I’ve grabbed the title (after three straight years of Dad wins). I also had a near identical finish to last year, posting a pick percentage of 65.6 (last year it was 65.4 percent). Next year, I should do this for money.

** The Big Ten went 7-1 in bowl games this year, with the only loss coming when Michigan blew at 16-point lead on New Year’s Day. So, maybe bowl season isn’t all bad.

** The Eagles are 10-to-1 odds to win the Super Bowl, tied with the Saints and Rams and behind the Patsies, Steelers and Vikings. Meh. The 2008 Phillies weren’t favored either.

Week 17 standings

The official final week standings — and the crowning of the latest Awesome Cup Champion — will be unveiled later this week.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Fantasy league 2017 -- week 16 recap

Twas the day after Christmas
And all through Eagle land
Lots of fans were a-stressing
With the playoffs at hand.
The teams first-round bye
Was safe and secure
While the Giants whole season
Resembled manure.
The Cowboys post-season hopes
Had dwindled to a blur
As had their southern rival’s
Whose name is a slur.
With their foes all vanquished
Left asleep in their beds
The team enjoyed visions
Of February in their heads.
When out on the field
There arose such a clatter
I sprang when the TV
Showed Nick’s play all in tatters.
Could the playoffs be worthwhile
In the hands of a Foles?
Did his years in football exile
Leave him with weak throws?
We won’t know the answer
Til several weeks more
And yet, at least this season
Wasn’t a bore.
Football was fun again
For at least a few months.
We saw far more touchdowns
Than fourth-and-one punts.
So this Christmas, be merry
For in many seasons hence
There will be more football.
There will be more Wentz.

QB: Jared Goff, 33.44 pts — started by Jim
WR: Larry Fitzgerald, 19.27 pts — started by Mom D
RB: Todd Gurley, 39.33 pts — started by Mike
TE: Antonio Gates, 14.40 pts — started by Jim
K: Harrison Butker, 18.00 pts — started by Dad
DEF: Arizona, 29.00 pts — on the wire
D: Mike Hilton, 11.00 pts — on the wire

Still lots of talk about Tom Brady as MVP (which is still stupid) but Gurley is dropping a really convincing case why he's probably the best player in football this year. He's first in the league in rushing yds (1305) and rushing TDs (13) and first among RBs in receiving yds (788) and receiving TDs (6). If he scores once next week he'll finish the season with 20 combined TDs and 2,000 combined yds. And a division title for a team that finished in last place last year.

That's not bad. Better than Brady for sure.

“Players we started” edition

3rd place: Bronson Hill, -0.20 pts — on the wire
2nd place: Houston, -1.00 pts — on Bob’s bench
1st place: Elijah McGuire, -1.50 pts — on the wire

Not listed at the very bottom: Dak Prescott, the 30th ranked QB on the week, and Eli Manning, the 31st ranked QB. Combined, they scored 0.10 pts less in fantasy pts than Nick Foles (10.52 pts). But, yeah, they're both great QBs still.

** After a painful offensive night on Monday with the Eagles, I awoke to WIP on Tuesday morning complaining about … the defense giving up too many rushing yards. “You think we’re going to be able to stop New Orleans’ two backs in January if they’re giving up those big runs?”

Just to recap the game again: The Eagles just barely had 200 yards of offense while the defense recorded five turnovers and a TD. This is not the time to stress about the defense.

** This week’s stupid Washington Post headline: “Nationals can make a big move by standing pat.”

No. They can’t. Those are opposites. That’s not how opposites work. If they don’t move it’s not a big move. No.

** I know you think there wasn’t a Thursday Night Football game this week, but you’re wrong. It was just two days later, when it was a special Saturday night edition of Thursday Night Football. Obviously.

It’s possible that part of Monday night’s disappointing performance by Nick Foles was a result of the undo pressure on him — everywhere you looked in the stadium, there was another “St. Nick” sign asking him to deliver a Super Bowl. For future reference, if we’re demanding holiday cheer from the Eagles, we should spread the pressure around to a wider group of players. Here are a few nicknames to consider:

— Chris “Kringle” Long
— Mack “Holly” Hollins
— Lane “Jolly” Johnson
— Mal-”Come all ye faithful” Jenkins
— Nel-”Son of God” Agholor
— Zach “Full of toys” Ertz
— Doug “Please stop trying to ruin Christmas” Pederson

Dallas was eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday after a lackluster, no TDs effort against the Seahawks. You would think that would be reason enough to relax and celebrate, but a lack of vigilance is what lets the darkness that is the Cowboys being seep back in. Consider what their reserves are plotting now:

Cowboys reserve Defensive Tackle Stephen Paea
** No peace on Earth: fever-stacked byes, evil sweeps

At Christmas even. I know the game doesn’t matter, but I want the Eagles to win by 70 next week.

** Backsliding for Dad this week: I went 3-2 against him, leaving him down seven games heading into the final week of the season. But he deserves extra credit for picking the Seahawks over the Cowboys, making for a glorious Christmas Eve gift.Even with the extra credit, though, he's down seven.

** There's a great chance that we’re going to have only the second 0-16 team in NFL history next week, and even I feel bad joking about it. Well, for this week at least.

** The big college football bowl games are coming this week, so don't forget to try and pretend to care.

Week 16 standings

1 — Foles me Wentz (Capt. Awesome), 2016.33 pts
2 — For Who? For Wentz? (Ant), 1819.37 pts
3 — Gronky Tonk Man (Joel), 1808.22 pts
4 — Animal Crackers (Mom D), 1797.19 pts
5 — Dat CTE Lyfe (Sam), 1764.59 pts
6 — ThePigskin Predators (Dad), 1740.33 pts
7 — Cosby's Sleepers (Mike), 1706.19 pts
8 — Foles v. Sproles ( Jo), 1663.50 pts
9 — Tiny Trump Gloves (Jim), 1542.73 pts
10 — Blue Collar Killers (Jeff), 1457.55 pts
11 — SmartyPants on Fire (Paul), 1420.80 pts
12 — Last Exit 2 Kutztown (Bob), 1391.49 pts

Anthony closed the gap between first and second this week … to a mere 197 pts. We have had teams score 200 pts in a week before, so this season isn't over yet. But, in a more realistic sense, it is.

Am I taking this for granted? Of course not. You never let up until the game is won. True leaders know that. And because I want to make sure I secure a worthy victory, I'll be setting my roster based on those needed leadership skills. That's why I will be starting Carson Wentz at QB. I can't think of a better captain to lead my team to the glory of another Awesome Cup title.

All the NFL games this week are set for Sunday, so you've got no excuse for forgetting to set your roster. Let's finish the season strong.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Fantasy league 2017 -- week 15 recap

Carolina Panthers ownership announced plans to sell the team at the end of the season, opening up one of the most valuable properties in American sports. Outside analysts expect the sale to top $2 billion, a record previously set during the 2012 Dodgers and 2014 Clippers ownership changes. To put that in perspective, here’s what you can buy with $2 billion:

— 80 copies of QB Derek Carr ($25M 2017 salary, the highest in the NFL)
— 1,200 copies of QB Carson Wentz ($1.6M 2017 salary)
— Seven copies of every NFL QB ($270M combined 2017 salaries)
— 20 million footballs from NFL.com ($100 each)
— Every seat in Lincoln Financial Field for 34 years ($58M yearly at 2017 prices)
— Two Cleveland Browns franchises (valued around $900M each)

QB: Cam Newton, 39.48 pts — started by Mike
WR: Keelan Cole, 21.90 pts — on the wire
RB: Todd Gurley, 42.57 pts — started by Mike
TE: Greg Olsen, 18.23 pts — on the wire
K: Robbie Gould, 24.00 pts — started by Jo
DEF: LA Rams, 23.00 pts — on Joel’s bench
D: Aaron Donald, 10.00 pts — on the wire

I legit had no idea who Keelan Cole is. The undrafted Jacksonville wideout had 186 yds on Sunday, after amassing only 421 yards the previous 14 weeks this year. And he had Blake Bortles throwing to him. None of these things make sense, but welcome to football in 2017.

Not on the list (again) are the Eagles, who gave up a boatload of points to the Giants and had a generally disappointing fantasy day … except for the three (one-two-three!) blocked kicks over the course of the game. To put it in perspective, only one other team in the NFL has more than three blocked kicks for the year (the Rams, tied with the Eagles with five). Whatever bunny hop exercises special teams did leading up to this week, it needs to be put into the regular rotation.

“Crappy players” edition

3rd place: Seattle, -2.00 pts — started by Jo
2nd place: Teddy Bridgewater, -2.30 pts — on the wire
1st place: Houston, -5.00 pts — on Bob’s bench

Quite the return for Bridgewater, the one-time Vikings QB of the future who suffered a devastating knee injury in the 2016. His absence forced the Vikings to make a panic trade for Eagles QB Sam Bradford, which in turn gave Philadelphia a 1st round draft pick (DE Derek Barnett) and started the Carson Wentz era a year earlier than expected, which produced this season’s 12-2 start, which may culminate in a NFC playoff showdown with the Vikings, who now rely on career backup Case Keenum as their QB after Bradford was injured.

Anyway, in his first game action since 2015, in a blowout win, Bridgewater went 0-2 with an interception and -3 rushing yds. Welcome back!

** During the first quarter of the Eagles game Sunday, the refs had a lengthy review of WR Alshon Jeffery’s TD catch to ensure he wasn’t out of bounds. Fox play-by-play announcer Thom Brennaman offered this insight to help viewers:

“If you go out of bounds, you can’t be the first player to touch the ball. What that means is if you step out of bounds, and then you come back in, then you can’t be the first player to touch the ball.”

Ooooooooooh I get it now. When you said “go” out of bounds I thought you were talking about tax cuts or something.

** Headline in Monday’s Washington Post: “Stephen Strasburg blames All-Star game he didn’t pitch in for a trip to the disabled list.” Apparently the stress of traveling to Miami for a few days vacation was too much for the “all-star” pitcher, who missed regular massage sessions.

** Several of the Boston papers declared that the Patriots’ stolen win over the Steelers on Sunday sealed the 2017 MVP race for Tom Brady, because logic be damned.

Just so we’re clear: In one fewer game than Brady this year, Wentz has the same number of interceptions, five more TDs, 277 more rushing yards and one fewer loss (1.5 if you acknowledge that Brady didn’t really win on Sunday). Brady’s team scored 35 fewer points than Wentz’ when both QBs were at the helm. And Wentz’s late season injury will cost his three games of playing time, at least one of which may be manned entirely by backups.

But, yeah, it’s clearly Brady’s prize now.

Jeff Fisher was a head coach for 22 years in the NFL until last season, when he was fired with a few games left in the Rams dreadful 2016 season. He holds the record for the most regular season losses of any head coach (165), which is more a function of longevity than incompetence. But a quick look at his most recent teams and this year’s playoffs also show there’s more than a little incompetence too. Consider:

Fisher’s 2016 QB: Jared Goff
— The #1 overall pick from the 2016 draft was deemed too raw and unprofessional by Fisher to start the season. When he did get in, he went 0-7 with more TDs than INTs. This year, after Fisher was fired, Goff is a Pro-Bowl QB whose team is 10-4 and has almost locked up a home playoff game.

Fisher’s 2016 QB: Case Keenum
— Fisher insisted on starting career backup Keenum over Goff, but benched him midway through the season after a 3-5 start. After he was cut loose by the Rams, he was picked up by the Vikings and thrust into the starting role after Sam Bradford was injured. Since then he has gone 10-3 and helped guide Minnesota to a likely first-round bye in the playoffs.

Fisher’s 2015 QB: Nick Foles
— Fisher traded with the Eagles for Foles, but soured on him after a 4-7 start. After the season Foles was cut. Over his next eight appearances with the Chiefs and Eagles, Foles’ teams have gone 8-0 and he has tossed seven TDs and no picks. He’ll lead the Eagles in the postseason, after the team secured a first-round bye last week.

That’s a lot of wasted talent for a single coach.

Despite all the pain and suffering they cause during the year, even Cowboys players enjoy the Christmas season. Many spend time with their families (mostly vagrants and terrorists) and enjoy the festive celebrations. Of course, they enjoy it in their own way. Consider Dallas defense coach Rod Marinelli, who spends most of his time devising ways to hurt players on other teams. But rearrange the letters in his name and you can see how he likes to mark the happiest holiday of the year:

Dallas Cowboys longtime team defense coach Rod Marinelli
** Dogwood crime, felony debacle on Christmas: I’ll lame Santa

I’d say he deserves a lump of coal, but he’d probably use that to start an arson spree.

** One silver lining from the Patriots unfair win over the Steelers was that it kept Dad from having a great week in out picks contest. For the second week in a row, he picked up ground on me, but the Pittsburgh loss gave him a record of 3-2 against me instead of a 4-1 knockdown. He sits six games back with two weeks left to go. But he picked up a field goal over the last two weeks, so I’m not officially counting him out yet.

Unofficially, yeah, I counted him out weeks ago.

** The James Madison FCS semifinal game on Saturday featured 10 turnovers forces by the Dukes in a 51-16 victory. I’d have more info on 10-turnover games in football history, but honestly I have a real life, people.

OK, yeah, I don’t. There have been 18 games in NFL history with 10-plus turnovers by a team, but been one since 1984, when the Broncos did it to the Lions. The NFL record is 12 in a game, which has happened three times … and twice by the Eagles. They had eight interceptions and picked up four fumbles against the Chicago Cardinals in 1950 and had seven interceptions with five fumbles against the Steelers five years later.

Separately, the Eagles and Boston Yanks (not a typo) in 1946 combined for the most turnovers by both teams in a game, with 17.

There, is that enough turnover trivia? Are you happy now?

** Seven Eagles made the Pro Bowl, including Carson Wentz, named starter for the NFC squad. Hopefully none of them play, since the game still happens the week between the conference championships and Super Bowl.

Week 15 standings

1 — Foles me Wentz (Capt. Awesome), 1903.44 pts
2 — Gronky Tonk Man (Joel), 1699.98 pts
3 — For Who? For Wentz? (Ant), 1699.84 pts
4 — Animal Crackers (Mom D), 1689.80 pts
5 — Dat CTE Lyfe (Sam), 1663.23 pts
6 — ThePigskin Predators (Dad), 1639.93 pts
7 — Cosby's Sleepers (Mike), 1593.85 pts
8 — Foles v. Sproles (Jo), 1564.57 pts
9 — Tiny Trump Gloves (Jim), 1420.19 pts
10 — SmartyPants on Fire (Paul), 1361.37 pts
11 — Blue Collar Killers (Jeff), 1348.96 pts
12 — Last Exit 2 Kutztown (Bob), 1306.77 pts

Here’s the deal: I’m 97 away from the 2000-pts mark, and I’m likely the only coach who can reach that level this year. I’ve opened up a 200-plus-pts lead over the second-place trio of Joel, Ant and Mom D, meaning even if they outscore me by 100-pts each of the next two weeks, I’ll still come out on top. And the first-place finisher has only outscored the last-place finisher in the league by 100-plus pts three times in 15 weeks this year.

What I’m saying is, these last two weeks are either going to be a cakewalk for me or the most epic collapse we’ve ever seen in league history.

Both Mom D and Dad left a pile of points on their benches in the form of QB mistakes (I wonder where they got that bad advice) and Mike got 82 of his 146 pts from two players (go back to the top performers list) which is good strategy if you can swing it.

Just two weeks and three recaps left for the season. Don’t forget to set your rosters while you’re buying those last-minute presents.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Fantasy league 2017 -- week 14 recap

Eagles QB Carson Wentz tossed his 33rd TD pass of the year on Sunday (breaking the franchise’s single-season record) in what may have been one of the most dramatic moments of the season for the newly-crowned NFC East champions. And then it all came crashing down when Wentz was diagnosed with an ACL tear and declared out for the season.

Unsure how to cope with the loss of a potential league MVP and the end of a once-magical season? Join the club! Here are a few ideas to mitigate the pain:

— Believe in Nick Foles: The guy did throw 27 TDs against 2 INTs for this team just a few years ago. He looked serviceable on Sunday, completing a few clutch passes with little time to prep. The next three games amount to decent practice slate for him, so maybe he can surprise us again?

— Believe in the offense: Everything ran through Wentz, but there have been a lot of bright spots. TE Zach Ertz should be back next week. WRs Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor have been incredible. The RB corps is solid. They might not score as many points, but they should still score.

— Remember that they won the division: That means at least one playoff game at home. And if they can win two of their last three, they’ll get the #1 overall seed. There’s a reason why they call it home field advantage.

— Hate the Rams: The stupid “can’t keep a home” franchise may have just ruined our season. Don’t forget that. I hope we beat them 77-0 next year and leave Goff crying on the sidelines.

— Cry: It’s always an option.

— Research ACL replacement surgery: I mean, there’s probably some way to speed up this process, right? Medical science has done amazing things of late. If they can build a gyroscopic prosthetic leg, we can probably slap a new ligament in there good as new. I know a million interested donors in the Philly area.

— Believe in miracles: Seven backup QBs have been forced into the starting role for NFL teams mid-season and won the Super Bowl. That includes Kurt Warner and Tom Brady. At some point Philly sports teams have to get a break, right? Right?

QB: Carson Wentz, 35.24 pts — started by Ant
WR: DeAndre Hopkins, 25.43 pts — started by Mom D
RB: LeVeon Bell, 32.43 pts — started by Ant
TE: Trey Burton, 19.23 pts — on the wire
K: Chris Boswell, 19.00 pts — started by Sam
DEF: Denver, 23.00 pts — started by Jeff
D: Bashaud Breeland, 12.26 pts — on the wire

Yep. Despite the injury and missing most of the fourth quarter, Wentz was still the best QB of the week. And he made his third-string TE the best TE of the week.


Not on the list: Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart, who scored 28.30 pts on Sunday after totaling 28.20 pts the previous five weeks of the season. He doubled his season rushing TD total this weekend, adding three more to his three in the first 13 weeks. And he did it against the Vikings, one of the best run defenses in the league. Football makes no sense.

“Players we started” edition

3rd place: Josh McCown, -1.46 pts — started by Dad
1st place: (tie) Baltimore, -3.00 pts — started by Sam
1st place: (tie) Pittsburgh, -3.00 pts — started by Ant

The Steelers and Ravens played each other in a thrilling 39-38 game Sunday night that produced tons of offense and nothing resembling respectability on defense. The teams combined for 958 yds of offense, and another 136 yds in penalties.

It’s worth noting that the Eagles narrowly avoided this list with their game’s final play. Brandon Graham’s fumble recovery for a TD in the middle of a desperation lateral play by the Rams added 8 fantasy points to their weekly total (2 for a turnover, 6 for the score) and move their game from a -2.00 pts tally to 6.00 pts. And my fantasy team thanks them greatly.

J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets QB Josh McCown on Sunday posted the seventh negative fantasy pts performance by a starting QB this year, tossing for only 46 yds and turning the ball over twice in a 23-0 loss to the Broncos. McCown had posted 30-plus-pts in his last two games, which makes his fall this week all the more sad. Also, he broke his hand in the third quarter and is done for the season. J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets!

** Troy Aikman, Fox football analyst and noted medical expert, had this take when Wentz headed to the locker room with his injury: “You can see he’s walking, which some would say is a good sign, but I’m not so sure.”

You’re right, Troy. I would have felt much better seeing him on crutches. Then I’d know for sure he wasn’t injured.

** During Saturday’s Heisman trophy presentation show, ESPN reporter Tom Rinaldi commented that Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield had won a lot of awards prior to the ceremony “but you have one pin you decided to wear on your lapel tonight. Tell us about it.”

Mayfield proudly held up his jacket lapel … showing two pins on one side, and one more on the other. In fairness, counting on live TV is hard.

** Headline in the Philly Inquirer on Sunday: “The recent 10-game losing streak may have helped the Flyers bond.”

Hey, you know what might be more useful than bonding over losing? Not bonding but winning. Try it for a change. See if that makes things better.

Only two teams have clinched playoff spots so far (the Eagles and Steelers), meaning 10 more post-season tickets still need to be punched. As of now, 21 teams are still eligible for those spots, including the 5-8 Bengals. Here’s how they get in:

— Cincinnati wins its last three games.
— Buffalo loses its last three.
— Baltimore loses its last three.
— The Chargers or Kansas City lose their last three.
— Oakland loses two of its last three.
— Miami loses two of its last three.
— The Jets lose one of their last three.

If those few simple things happen, the Bengals grab the last AFC wild card spot at 8-8 and enjoy a first-round road playoff game they will inevitable lose by 30.

NFL playoffs! Catch the fever!

Also lost in the Wentz injury on Sunday was the playoff door rapidly closing for the Cowboys. The Eagles clinched the NFC East, while the Cowboys remained mired in a three-way tie for eighth place in the conference. The likelihood of Dallas playing in January is getting dim. But individual players on the team are taking the Philadelphia success with the class and dignity you’d expect, as shown by what their names spell out:

Dallas Cowboys veteran starting lineman Zack Martin
** Snarl on TV: I back misery, satan. I’m glad Wentz tore an ACL.

and ...

Dallas Cowboys Tackle Chaz Green
** A legacy scold — Wentz’s ACL broke? Ha!

and ...

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant
** I brayed: Beloved ACL worse. I cry: Sad Wentz!

You know, it’s all laughs and jokes when I poke fun at the silly words these Dallas players’ dumb names spell out. But when they go after a modern-day saint like Wentz, it fills me with a hatred whose depths knows no bounds. They are truly evil.

** Great week for Dad, who went 3-1 against me on Sunday and is now down only a touchdown in the weekly picks contest. His only blemish was trusting his precious Jets, which cost him 25 pts in the fantasy standings and a chance to pick up another game on me. Some day he’ll find a way to quit them...

** WR Devin Hester, who holds the NFL record for kickoff and punt returns, officially retired on Tuesday.

For the record, I was pretty sure he retired five years ago.

** Wentz had the top selling jersey in the NFL in November. So, there’s that.

Week 14 standings

1 — Foles me Wentz (Capt. Awesome), 1764.20 pts
2 — Animal Crackers (Mom D), 1613.16 pts
3 — For Who? For Wentz? (Ant), 1579.80 pts
4 — Gronky Tonk Man (Joel), 1567.76 pts
5 — Dat CTE Lyfe (Sam), 1527.76 pts
6 — ThePigskin Predators (Dad), 1503.38 pts
7 — Foles v. Sproles (Jo), 1474.42 pts
8 — Cosby's Sleepers (Mike), 1447.54 pts
9 — Tiny Trump Gloves (Jim), 1345.25 pts
10 — SmartyPants on Fire (Paul), 1301.49 pts
11 — Blue Collar Killers (Jeff), 1273.03 pts
12 — Last Exit 2 Kutztown (Bob), 1219.83 pts

Another week atop the standings for me, as I posted the highest score in the league this week by more than 22 pts. It pushes my lead to over 150 pts in the yearly tally, and should set up an easy stretch run for my vastly superior team.

Mom D continues to establish her second-place spot too, opening up a 30-plus-pts lead over the bronze medal standings. Three through seven are still anyone’s guess, with one big week potentially propelling one squad well ahead of the pack.

Welcome back to special Saturday editions of Sunday Night football! The NFL has two games on Saturday afternoon and evening, along with their Thursday and Monday games, in their ongoing effort to oversaturate the market. Tune in to watch … the Bears take on the Lions. Ugh. Just set those rosters early, OK?

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Fantasy league 2017 -- week 13 recap

This week’s Eagles/Rams game features for the first time the top two picks of the 2016 NFL draft, QBs Carson Wentz and Jared Goff, squaring off against each other. Both have established themselves as young stars in the league this year, but how do the sophomore signal callers stack up to each other?

— 2017 Stats:
Wentz ~ 3,005 passing yds, 29 TDs, 6 INTs
Goff ~ 3,184 passing yds, 20 TDs, 6 INTs
— Career record:
Wentz ~ 17 wins, 11 losses
Goff ~ 9 wins, 10 losses
— Last name Scrabble score:
Wentz ~ 17 points
Goff ~ 11 points
— Career wins over Dallas:
Wentz ~ 2
Goff ~ 1
— Best name anagram:
Wentz ~ Czars net won
Goff ~ Ref jog fad
— Celebrity look-alike:
Wentz ~ Prince Harry
Goff ~ Ryan Gosling

Pretty even match-up so far, but I’ll happily take Wentz.

QB: Alex Smith, 45.64 pts — started by Bob
WR: Tyreek Hill, 27.81 pts — on Paul’s bench
RB: Alvin Kamara, 24.90 pts — started by Jo
TE: Travis Kelce, 20.27 pts — on Jo’s bench
K: (tie) Greg Zuerlein, 17.00 pts — started by Joel
K: (tie) Justin Tucker, 17.00 pts — started by Bob
DEF: Miami, 40.00 pts — on the wire
D: Eric Weddle, 13.50 pts — on the wire

Dear gawd. The Dolphins defense posted the highest point total for their position this year, with a ridiculous line of 3 pts allowed, three interceptions, two safeties, one TD and one blocked kick. The team was just one end zone sack away from tying the all-time record for safeties in a game, which as you remember happened in the Rams/Giants tilt back in September of 1984.

I have more safety stats, but I’ll spare you for the moment.

“Bad defense” edition

3rd place: Maryland Racial Slurs, -5.00 pts — on the wire
1st place: (tie) Detroit, -6.00 pts — started by Bob
1st place: (tie) Kansas City, -6.00 pts — on Ant’s bench

Good work out there by the Chiefs — they had three players in the top performers and the worst defense in football this week. Both Kansas City and Detroit allowed 38 pts, recorded no turnovers or sacks, and lost badly.

It’s worth noting that Detroit also boasted the worst position player of the week: backup QB Jake Ruddock, who scored -1.04 pts. And it’s also worth noting that team can still get a wild card berth. Football is weird.

** Before Thursday night’s football game, longtime NFL coach Tony Dungy offered incredible insight into what the Cowboys would need to do to win:

“They have to run, but when they have to throw, it has to be Dak Prescott making plays, and with his feet.”

So, he had to run then. Or throw with his feet. Either way, good advice.

** Dungy followed up that gem with this analysis of how you win a “must-win” game:

“You destroy all obstacles to winning. You play all your guys. It doesn’t matter who is hurt. You play like you can’t afford a setback.”

So, you play injured players? That doesn’t seem like a great plan.

** The Washington Post in Tuesday’s paper had a list of the top 10 bowl games to watch this December/January. The top two picks were the college football playoff games. That’s for the tip, Captian Obvious. I wasn’t sure if watching the 1-4 matchup and the 2-3 contest would be better than watching the 88th-ranked Temple Owls take on the 76th-ranked Florida International University Panthers would be a better contest. Now I know.

Speaking of bowls, it’s bowl season again, where we bask in the glory that is the fifth-ranked team from Conference USA playing against the fourth-ranked team from the AAC (not the ACC, that’s different) to answer the question of which 7-5 team is the best at post-exams football. There are 41 bowl games this season, of which I expect to watch fewer than two.

But how well do you know the history and pageantry of the tradition? Pick which of the games below are real bowls, and which are just figments of my imagination.

-- The Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, named for a TV company

-- The Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl, named for a juice company

-- The Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, named for a lawn equipment company

-- The Quick Lane Bowl, named for an oil change company

-- The Idaho Potato Bowl, named for a potato

-- The Dollar General Bowl, named for a dollar store

No need to look for a answer key: They’re all real bowl games. Temple and FIU are playing in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, in fact. I bet both teams can’t wait to bring that golden weedwacker trophy home.

The Cowboys this week managed to stop their three game slide (and prevent the Eagles from cliniching the NFC East title) thanks to turning former Maryland Racial Slurs RB Alfred Morris into a Maryland Racial Slurs killer. He rushed for more than 100 yds for the first time since he left the East Coast team, and scored twice in a rout of the third-place losers. When Morris left the Slurs, it came as a shock to see him in a rival uniform. But, given his name, maybe it shouldn’t have been. Consider:

Cowboys running back Alfred Morris
** My crown burns, ribs clank. I fear good.

So much evil his head is on fire? Sounds like a true Dallas player to me.

** Dad falls two more games behind this week, leaving him down nine with just four weeks left in the season. In his defense, I’ve gone 27-5 over the last two weeks, so it’s tough to keep up with that kind of pace. For the season I’m above 66 percent correct in my picks.

** I didn’t know that Ohio State football and the Eagles could both lose on the same day, given that they never play at the same time. But apparently Sunday was that day.

** The Bears lost to the 49ers 15-14 on Sunday. San Franciso failed to score a single TD in the game, but won thanks to a 5-5 FG performance from their kicker. And who is that kicker? Thirteen-year vet Robbie Gould, who is the all-time leading scorer in Bears history but was cut for the team after the 2015 season. Since then he is 36 for 38 on FG attempts, including six field goals across two wins over the Bears.

I guess what I’m saying is that karma is cruel.

Week 13 standings

1 — Foles me Wentz (Capt. Awesome), 1622.10 pts
2 — Animal Crackers (Mom D), 1501.80 pts
3 — For Who? For Wentz? (Ant), 1473.05 pts
4 — Gronky Tonk Man (Joel), 1454.94 pts
5 — Dat CTE Lyfe (Sam), 1416.41 pts
6 — Foles v. Sproles (Jo), 1405.81 pts
7 — ThePigskin Predators (Dad), 1383.91 pts
8 — Cosby's Sleepers (Mike), 1353.03 pts
9 — Tiny Trump Gloves (Jim), 1233.59 pts
10 — SmartyPants on Fire (Paul), 1206.61 pts
11 — Blue Collar Killers (Jeff), 1155.50 pts
12 — Last Exit 2 Kutztown (Bob), 1150.31 pts

Ooof — I was the second worst team this week, but luckily it was a good week to be bad. Joanna, the top scorer on the week, barely topped 121 pts. Mom D made up a few points on my lead but not much. With four weeks left, my lead still feels generous.

Much tighter is the race for last place. A miserable week from Jeff brought him within five points of the basement, giving Bob a chance to climb back into some level of respectability in the waning moments of the season.

Big game on Thursday night this week — Saints vs Falcons, with lots of legit fantasy players — so check your rosters early and often.