Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Fantasy league 2018 -- final season recap

We’ve had 256 football games, 17 quality insult anagrams and roughly 14,000 “what just happened” fantasy moments this season. But today, the first day of 2019, all of that comes to an end. Our scores have been totaled, our awards are ready to be distributed and the Awesome Cup is as shiny as the day it was forged in the fires of Mount Olympus. Before we crown our new champion, let’s review how all out teams fared in the latest fantasy football marathon:

Blue Collar Killers (Jeff)
Projected Yahoo finish: 5th, 1862.84 pts
My projected finish: 8th, 1873.81 pts
Actual finish: 12th, 1554.92 pts
NFL equivalent: Arizona Cardinals
I really want to pick on Jeff here, who returned to his normal perch at the bottom of the standings, but his team’s misfortune was less about coaching and more about RB LeVeon Bell, the #2 overall pick who killed countless fantasy teams across America. Jeff held his squad together for a little while this season, but when your top three backs were Bell, Rex Burkhead and Alfred Morris, you’re starting with pretty marginal talent. On the bright side, he did manage to break 1500 pts on the season, finishing about 130 pts over the league’s record-low season point total. So, yay?

SweatpantsEnthusiast (Mike)
Projected Yahoo finish: 8th, 1851.64 pts
My projected finish: 10th, 1740.17 pts
Actual finish: 11th, 1766.25 pts
NFL equivalent: Oakland Raiders
Now this was a coaching job that would have made Jon Gruden proud. It took Mike about a month to realize he needed to set his roster, and by then RB Royce Freeman and WR Corey Davis had mostly ruined all hope for the season. First-round pick RB Leonard Fournette didn’t help either, and any team that tabs Dak Prescott is lacking in both leadership and morality. Maybe try playing a few Eagles next year instead...

Last Exit 2 Kutztown (Bob)
Projected Yahoo finish: 2nd, 1934.24 pts
My projected finish: 12th, 1645.72 pts
Actual finish: 10th, 1828.81 pts
NFL equivalent: San Francisco 49ers
I’m counting this preseason prediction and the last ones as wins for me over Yahoo, putting me at 2-0-1 against the search engine’s football algorithms so far. Bob had the best player in the league in RB Todd Gurley and but a little too much faith in the Eagles. WR Nelson Agholor disappointed, the Birds Defense wasn’t a points scorer, and WR Alshon Jeffery took too long to return to help Bob’s squad. Even former Eagles RB LeSean McCoy hurt his cause. But at least you can’t question his team pride.

Kiss a fish today (Dad)
Projected Yahoo finish: 9th, 1814.89 pts
My projected finish: 11th, 1701.01 pts
Actual finish: 9th, 1879.01 pts
NFL equivalent: New Jersey Giants
OK, Yahoo gets that one. Dad’s draft was a mess and QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s untimely death early this season killed his campaign. He tied the league lead for roster moves this season with 36 (more than two a week) but walks away from the year with little more to show for it. Will he learn his lesson and not draft a defense and kicker too early next year? Another question: Can Eli Manning stop making those dopey faces? I think the answer to both is the same.

We Love the Mud (Mom D)
Projected Yahoo finish: 4th, 1866.61 pts
My projected finish: 6th, 1944.99 pts
Actual finish: 8th, 1885.41 pts
NFL equivalent: Cleveland Browns
I’m still having trouble figuring out how Mom’s team ended up down here. QB Drew Brees, WR Julio Jones and RB Kareem Hunt should have worked out better (a least until Hunt was kicked out of the league. WR Doug Baldwin and TE Greg Olsen both disappointed. And I actually forgot that WR Michael Crabtree was still in the league, so that didn’t help. In her fourth year coaching, Mom has yet to live up to the expectations of the 4th-place finish of her rookie season. But, like the Browns, there were some signs of hope this go-round, so maybe next year.

Witch Hunting (Jim)
Projected Yahoo finish: 12th, 1749.69 pts
My projected finish: 9th, 1749.68 pts
Actual finish: 7th, 1919.78 pts
NFL equivalent: Pittsburgh Steelers
Unlike the Steelers, Jim’s team didn’t end the season with his star RB and star WR both demanding trades. Like the Steelers, his team did end the season just on the outside of relevance. TE Zach Ertz, WR DeAndre Hopkins and the Chicago defense did all they could to keep him in it, but uneven play from QB Aaron Rodgers coupled with some terrible bench picks (RB Peyton Barber, TE Tyler Eifert, WR Michael Gallup) spelled doom for the squad. Maybe next season both of his teams will be more active on the trading block.

Philly Special (Jo)
Projected Yahoo finish: 6th, 1855.65 pts
My projected finish: 2nd, 2112.09 pts
Actual finish: 6th place, 2032.52 pts
NFL equivalent: Minnesota Vikings
Yahoo’s insight with Jo’s team makes it 2-2-3 in my prognostication match-up against the machine. Perhaps the conglomerate’s computers have some knowledge in them after all? (Spoiler alert: they do not.) For Joanna, it’s a season of could-have-beens. She was inside the top three for much of the year, but faltered in the final stretch, like Kirk Cousins in the fourth quarter of a key game. RBs Alvin Kamara and QB DeSean Watson could only help so much. But she was one of a record six teams to break the 2,000-pts barrier this year, albeit the lowest scoring one. If only K Jake Elliott hadn’t missed those few extra pts, she could have finished in first … if we changed the rule to make XPs worth 100 pts each.

Kneel Armstrong (Sam)
Projected Yahoo finish: 10th, 1814.71 pts
My projected finish: 5th, 1979.11 pts
Actual finish: 5th, 2047.03 pts
NFL equivalent: Baltimore Ravens
Boom, nailed that prediction. Sam was gunning for first place for a while there too, but tapered off at the end. He also started Gerald Hodges, Gus Edwards and Chris Herndon in the final week, also known as “three players I may or may not have just made up.” WR Tyreek Hill was an absolute stud but WR Golden Tate was an inconsistent for Sam’s team as he was for the Eagles. But, Sam still made little Sam proud with his performance this year. And if we gave out medals for finishing just outside of just outside the top three, he’d get one.

The Garoppolo Gamble (Joel)
Projected Yahoo finish: 7th, 1853.80 pts
My projected finish: 4th, 2002.77 pts
Actual finish: 4th, 2050.30 pts
NFL equivalent: Seattle Seahawks
Boom, nailed that prediction. A furious finish by Joel give him his third straight year in the top four, an impressive run of coaching success. He can thank RB Saquon Barkley’s impressive rookie season for much of that, along with WRs Michael Thomas and Amari Cooper. But the 3 pts he got from a disappointing RB Dion Lewis in the final week bumped him up just above Sam’s squad in the end. Teamwork makes the dream work, folks.

Nick ‘MVP’ Foles (Capt. Awesome)
Projected Yahoo finish: 1st, 1950.05 pts
My projected finish: 3rd, 2033.34 pts
Actual finish: 3rd, 2103.64 pts
NFL equivalent: Philadelphia Eagles
Boom, NAILED THAT PREDICTION. By my count I lead Yahoo’s crappy prediction machine 5-2-3 after incredibly nailing three picks in a row. Sadly for me, that means I did not repeat as champion this year, but I did secure my 9th medal podium finish in the league’s 17th season. Not too shabby, considering I did it this season with a weak collection of spare parts. But when you have a team namesake like St. Nick, you overachieve. That’s just how it works. I’m also the only coach brave enough/smart enough to start QB Nick Foles for a week, which didn’t work out points-wise but will clearly repay me in positive karma for many moons to come.

The Oh! So Close-ers (Paul)
Projected Yahoo finish: 11th, 1804.58 pts
My projected finish: 1st, 2112.11 pts
Actual finish: 2nd, 2212.21 pts
NFL equivalent: St. Louis Rams
I’m claiming this as a victory again over Yahoo, and even with blowing the final spot, I still come in at 6-3-3 with my predictions against the internet experts. Let that be a forever lesson to you, folks: Don’t believe everything you read online, especially when it comes to fantasy football. For Paul, this finish is both impressive and heartbreaking (as his final team name suggests). You can’t take anything away from silver medal position, but he fell just 25 pts from engraving his name on the Awesome Cup again. He left 22 on his bench in the final week, forgot to fill one of his WR slots altogether, and started a defense worth -2 pts. Just properly setting his lineup and grabbing a competent defense would have yielded him the title. But we don’t count almosts here, and so Paul is left with an offseason full of bitter regret while the championship goes to …

For Who? For Wentz? (Ant)
Projected Yahoo finish: 3rd, 1912.33 pts
My projected finish: 7th, 1918.17 pts
Actual finish: 1st place, 2237.19 pts
NFL equivalent: Kansas City Chiefs
Not taking away anything from Anthony here, but this title should really go to QB Pat Mahomes. The Chiefs’ passer outscored every other QB in the league by almost 100 pts, giving Anthony an incredible advantage once he decided to start the guy over his backup, some other kid named Wentz. WRs Adam Thelien and JuJu Smith-Schuster were both unstoppable and difficult to spell, and RBs Melvin Gordon and Derrick Henry did just enough at opposite ends of the season to bring the title home.

With their help, Anthony becomes our fourth repeat champion in league history, and gets his name carved atop the Awesome Cup alongside the same year his beloved Eagles grabbed their first Super Bowl trophy. Congrats.

UPDATE: Anthony has issued this statement on his victory this season.

As always, thanks to all of you for playing along this season. We’ll be back again in August for the Awesome Cup’s 18th season, where it will finally be old enough to vote in presidential elections and drink in parts of Canada. Until then, enjoy another January choke job by the Cowboys and another deep playoff run by the birds. God willing, I’ll have another emergency recap to write in February this year.


Samtallic said...

thanks Leo. super fun playing this year even though I don't get Telemondo so i haven't watched a football game all year. just to be clear, little sam is my son. definitely that.

Capt. Awesome said...

You know, now is a good time to start watching. Fewer games, more excitement.

KidSmartyPants said...

Thanks for writing all these recaps and organizing the league, Leo. I'm looking forward to next year.