MoFo Fantasy Football 2009: Week 13


PW's got a busy week, and since we've got ourselves another of those wacky Thursday games, he asked me write up a lil' somethin' for Week 13.

Week 13 is kind of a random week in that annoying thing we all like to call "reality." But in fantasy (which polls much better, by the way) and in our league, specifically, Week 13 is otherwise known as the Last Week of the Regular Season. That's right; this will be the last meaningful game for 8 of our 14 teams. There can only be 6! It'll like Highlander, but with 5 more. And more fighting. And less Christopher Lambert, though if he's reading this, I would totally let him join next year.

Normally, Pow-Wa goes through each matchup, rolls some dice, flings some chicken entrails around, and makes a prediction. I doubt I could do it as well as he does (I'm low on poultry), so I'll make up a short list and post it in a bit, and leave the in-depth pretend analysis to Pete and TONGO, etc. What I will do, however, is break down the playoff scenarios. There are quite a few of them, you know. Buckle up, it's gonna get statistical up in here.

Playoff Scenarios

Okay, the basics: 6 teams get in. The top 2 seeds get a Bye week to, er, rest up. Of course, in fantasy, this just means we're off the hook if our team sucks in Week 14. But that's what we're working with: 6 teams, 2 Byes, and 8 bye-byes.

The Ins, and the Likelys...

First thing's first: I'm in. Woohoo! Awesome. I'd like to thank God, my parents, and Drew Brees. Not necessarily in that order. I'm 9-3, just one game ahead of the next rung, so I could end up with a lower seed or a higher seed, but one way or another I'm in one of those aforementioned half-dozen Highlander slots.

After that, we have three 8-4 teams: The Replicants (Sedai), Team Darcy (Mrs. Darcy), and Wolverines (LTIZZY). If any of these three win, they're in. No matter what else happens.

Sedai's team is basically already in; even if he loses, there will be few enough teams above him that he'll be among the 8-5 tiebreaks. He may lose such a tiebreak to PW (who's about a half-point ahead for the overall lead), but he's more than 200 points ahead of every other 7-5 team, so at worst he'll be a #5 seed. He's playing for pride, honor, and the possibility of a Bye week. Not necessarily in that order.

Things Get Trickier...

After that, things get cray-zay. A win puts PW's Odd Squad in because of his point total, but a loss doesn't necessarily eliminate him. If PW loses, he just needs Slug's Sweeties to lose, as well. Both he and Slug will be 7-6 and tied for the 6th (and final) spot, and PW will win the points tiebreaker. This is because Gadsden Flag (upStomp) and Beantown Champs (Piledriver) play each other, ensuring that at least one of them will lose.

Then, the permutations get a little too insane to analyze, but here's the basic idea: the loser of the Gadsden/Beantown showdown is definitely out, but the winner isn't necessarily in. If either Slug or PW loses, the winner of the Gadsden/Beantown game is in the playoffs. If both Slug and PW win, the winner of the Gadsden/Beantown game will have to outscore Slug significantly; he has a 45-point lead on Beantown, and about a 60-point lead on Gadsden. HOWEVER, the winner can also get in if one of the 8-4 teams (Darcy or LT, since Seds' point lead is too big) loses, and they finish with a higher overall points total.

An Attempt to Simplify All That Complicated Stuff Above

Let's recap each team's scenario. I'm going to treat huge point advantages as impossible to overcome, since they pretty much are, and ignoring their technical possibility makes this breakdown a lot simpler:
11 Angry Men

The Replicants

Team Darcy
Win and you're in.

Win and you're in.

PW's Odd Squad
Win and you're in. Lose and you need Slug to lose, too.

Slug's Sweeties
Win and you're in, unless you're outscored by 45 (if Beantown wins) or 60 (if Gadsden wins).

Beantown Champs
Win and you need either PW or Slug to lose, and if both win you need to outscore Slug by 45. OR, if either Darcy or LT loses, you need to win and finish with a higher point total.

Gadsden Flag
Win and you need either PW or Slug to lose, and if both win, you need to outscore Slug by 60. OR, if either Darcy or LT loses, you need to win and finish with a higher point total.
Those last two are a bit complicated, but so it goes. For the record, here are the point totals of the most relevant tiebreaker possibilities:
Team Darcy, 1399 points
Wolverines, 1363 points
Slug's Sweeties, 1372 points
Beantown Champs, 1327 points
Gadsden Flag, 1311 points
Here's a really simple way to think about all this: at least 4 teams already have 8 wins, and two 7-win teams play each other, so at minimum, there will be FIVE teams with 8 wins or more. At maximum, there could be SEVEN teams with 8 wins or more. This means PW is the only team that could possibly make the playoffs at 7-6, and at most only one 8-5 team can possibly be left out.

Gotta say, the standings definitely bunched more than I had expected them to. I thought we'd have a couple of 10 or 11 win teams, a few 9-win teams, and then maybe a few 8-5 teams fighting for the last spot, but the top teams lost a bit down the stretch, and here we are; just one clinching team heading into the last week, and 8 teams still in the running for a spot. Should be crazy. Crazy exciting, that is.

All that said, don't forget to check your lineups, and don't forget that the Jets and Bills play tomorrow night! Get your lineups in!

Okay, on to some rough predictions:

Gadsden Flag vs. Beantown Champs
Lose and you're out, win and you're...well, win and you have a decent shot at getting in. Probably better than average. Gadsden lost a heart breaker on a technicality last week, but I think Jay bounces back here. I don't trust Flacco and though Pete just nabbed J. Campbell (who's actually decent), and Carson Palmer faces Detroit, who's dead last in pass defense.

Prediction: Gadsden Flag.

PW's Odd Squad vs. TONGO
Brady disappointed against New Orleans, but Miami's pass defense is ranked 23rd, and though I don't think much of emotion-based predictors, I have to think those vindictive Pats are gonna be peeved after the Saints game. Brady followed up his only other bad game of the year with 17, and put up 19 when he played Miami earlier this year.

Oh, and Thomas Jones is facing the Bills, who are (here comes that italicized phrase again) dead last in rushing defense. The only issue is L. Fitzgerald, who looks like he'll have Matt Leinert throwing to him again, but he'll still put up a few.

Prediction: PW's Odd Squad.

Da Bears vs. The Replicants
Fred Jackson is the new starter in Buffalo and has excelled whenever he's been given the chance, which should alleviate the Ronnie Brown injury pretty adequately. Toss in the fact that D. McNabb is facing the porous Atlanta pass defense, and I've gotta go for the Bots.

Prediction: The Replicants.

11 Angry Men vs. I-Love-Megan-Fox
The streak continues; I've been confident in all 9 of my wins, and pessimistic about all 3 losses. But Bobby's no pushover; after a 1-6 start, he's won 4 of 6. Check out his point totals over those six games: 127, 141, 98, 144, 117, 117. This is a team with a lot of talent that can go off at any time...

...however, T. Romo's going up against the 4th-ranked NYG pass defense, which should help offset the fact that the Saints are playing the #1 ranked Washington pass defense (not that any of us would feel comfortable predicting anyone shutting them down, at this point). I expect the Pats to do a fairly decent job containing Ricky Williams, and Andre Johnson should absolutely shred the Jacksonville pass defense.

Prediction: 11 Angry Men.

Wolverines vs. The Tateraters
Randy Moss against the aforementioned Miami pass defense and Matt Forte, even struggling as he has, against the St. Louis Rams are both good matchups for LT, as is R. Mendenhall against Oakland. Spud nearly won even without a QB last week (I'm sure Darcy'll be sending a fruit basket over, but the 7-5 teams will all be sending plastic explosives, so watch out), and he's got Ben against the Raiders...but there's still too much talent on LT's side, and as bad as Cutler can be at times, he's been at least okay the last two weeks and plays the Rams.

Prediction: Wolverines.

Hired Goons vs. Slug's Sweeties
Matt Schaub should carbe up Jacksonville's secondary, and as good as Minnesota may be against the run, they're below-average against the pass, which means Breaston and Boldin might put up some decent numbers even against a surprisingly solid Vikings team. And despite Matt Leinert. The rejuvenated T.O. is on a nice little streak, but he's up against the Jets' #2 pass defense this week, and Slug still has that Chris Johnson fellow.

Prediction: Slug's Sweeties.

Team Darcy vs. Flash
Probably the toughest call of the week. Darcy's likely without Turner again, LT has reemerged and supplanted most of Sproles' value, Orton is banged up, and she's actually had to trot Larry Johnson out there. I think Benson plays, which means LJ shouldn't get much work, and her other options aren't much better. Meanwhile, Flash has the PIT defense against Oakland and Manning/Garcon against the Titans who, while much improved, are still second to last in pass defense. Flash seems to have more things going for him, but there are, potentially, some big holes there, too, as guys like M. Wallace, C. Williams and M. Bell are apt to disappear from time to time.

Prediction: Team Darcy.

Good luck, everyone!

Thanks for breaking down the playoff picture Yoda. Not that Im in it but only you could have explained it, and probably understood it too.

Damn Id really like to whip PW, but my guarantees and smacktalk aint worth a damn. So how is it even possible?

Miami has one of the best running games in the NFL, and can chew that clock up while Brady watches from the sidelines. Thats would kill two of PWs most valuable slots IF Miami does so.

If Matt Leinart plays again Fitzgerald will probably not be his former fantasy scoring self especially vs Minnesota. 3 slots down IF Warner is out again.

Ray Rice is up against the best defense in the NFL, and Green Bay is in the top ten for pass and rush defense. Theres no if in this one cause Rice might be worth 10. Also I have Green Bay as my Defense

Jeremy Shockey doesnt really get thrown too much lately, and Washington is not the day for him to start. Brees though can throw a TD pass too the defensive line coach if needed, but IF Washingtons pass D is strong enough to hang with New Orleans thats 5 slots down for PW.

No ifs about it Thomas Jones will kill the Bills. Again PWs Minnesota Defense value hinges on if Warner plays or not.

The biggest upset this week wont be me beating PW, but the Titans beating the Colts, and yeah Britts in my swing slot. My TE slot has value again with Big Ben back, and really the only slots Im in trouble are Derrick Mason vs GB, and Barber vs NYG. Favres on fire, and
should hurt Arizona bad with their 29th ranked pass defense, and Bensons back!

Ive been looking forward to this matchuip for a couple months. PW is the first person I could call a bud from the movie forums having met him at that place not worth mentioning. Of course the great Tom Brady trade has nice sizzle fuel for the matchup too. With every Brady to Welker he can put a sharp stick in my eye, and when Farvin strikes back I can laugh how the old fat guys still getting it done, and ranked higher than Brady! LOL! Oh I hate Tom Brady......

So Odd Squad.....all that stands between you and your rightful place in the playoffs is my big dumb ape ass. So how bout you just get in your lil bi-planes and come getyoself sum!!!

A system of cells interlinked
Can anything be done about this Brees fueled juggernaut???
"There’s absolutely no doubt you can be slightly better tomorrow than you are today." - JBP

They do not. But heck, the Colts pass defense is a little below average, anyway. They gave up 34 points to Brady and the Pats; they might beat the Saints, but I have to think it'd be a bit of a shootout anyway.

If New Orleans can get by Minnesota, oi what a game, then the two could meet in the super bowl. Yeah that would be a passing game bonanza like never seen before. The edge should go to the Saints as Breez and Peyton would cancel each other out, and New Orleans is simply a more well rounded team in all other areas. If Minnesota played the Colts in the super bowl Id give the edge to the Vikes for the same reason. Of course if the Colts manage to get too and beat either team Peyton Manning might solidfy himself as the best QB thats ever played football.

By the by, Sedai mentioned in the Week 12 thread that we might have some issues with the Colts and Saints resting big name players during the fantasy playoffs. This probably isn't a huge issue in the first couple of rounds, but by the championshiop (Week 16) it could become a very big issue. The Colts have been known to rest their starters after clinching home-field, though they usually still play a quarter or two. Flash won't be in the playoffs, but Darcy and I probably will be, so that could really hurt Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark.

The Saints don't have much history here, so it could go either way, but if they rest Brees, Colston, Thomas, or some mix of the three, obviously I'm in huge trouble. It'd be a bummer of a way for anyone to win or lose in the playoffs, let alone the championship, but hey, it's still part of the game.

Three things that might stop this sort of thing from happening: first, this sort of rest, traditionally, hasn't worked out for Indianapolis. All evidence is anecdotal at this sample size, but the last few years it seems that the rust isn't usually worth the rest. Second, while a 13-1 team would probably rest guys, a 14-0 team would be hard-pressed to throw away a chance at history. I think an undefeated Saints team keeps making a real effort to win, though they'd probably pull the starters midway through the 3rd quarter instead of the 4th, if the game were in hand. Third, in the case of the Saints, the Vikins are just one game behind them at 10-1, which means they might not have a chance to let up, anyway.

It's funny, because it's hard to know what to root for. If the Saints and Colts keep winning, they're probably more likely to play to the end and try to go 16-0. If they lose a couple of times, they still have seeding to fight for. The worst thing either could do might be to lose just once. Still, the Viking thing is a big X-Factor. If they're only a game back, I think New Orleans has to keep playing.

Awesome. Thanks Chris. I'll try to get my picks and all my other hard hitting analysis in probably Saturday. I don't want to disappoint my fan. Seriously, the call was pouring in, asking me where were my picks for the week... so I can't let him down. Thanks for doing this. What a fantastic season this has been.
We are both the source of the problem and the solution, yet we do not see ourselves in this light...

Flash won't be in the playoffs, but Darcy and I probably will be, so that could really hurt Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark.

I have a feeling that this week is going to be a "test" for the Colts. I have mentioned on this site many times in the past that my first team is the Steelers, but this looks like the Colts year. Right now if the Colts played the Saints I would have to give it to the Saints, but they will not play "right now". If somehow it goes to N.O. vs Indy then Indy wins.
“The gladdest moment in human life, methinks, is a departure into unknown lands.” – Sir Richard Burton

Just got word that Steve Slaton's probably not going to play on Sunday, due to an "previously undisclosed shoulder injury." Not related to the neck issue that limited him slightly in practice last week, apparently. Weird.

Cotchery's already played, so he's out as a possible replacement. Normally I'd go with Hightower, but against Minnesota I'm not so sure. Maybe if Leinert's out, and they have to run the ball/check down a lot. I'll have to watch that closely, but I'll probably pass. And ya'll know what that means: Laurence Freakin' Maroney time.

I ain't gettin' in no fryer!
While I wish that this had been a better season for me, it looks like this last-ditch effort of mine will either pay off big time, or be fumbled like a pass from Matt Stafford.

I'll be at the Chiefs/Broncos game, so I'll be limited on any last-minute changes. I do have a back-up QB, just in case Ben is another no-show tomorrow. Regardless, tomorrow's match-up will be another nail-biter.
"I was walking down the street with my friend and he said, "I hear music", as if there is any other way you can take it in. You're not special, that's how I receive it too. I tried to taste it but it did not work." - Mitch Hedberg

Well, I'm gonna defend you a bit, Spudly. Certainly your team has struggled to score points, but as is always the case with whatever team ends up in last, it takes more than that; you have to be pretty unlucky, too.

How unlucky has Spud been? Well, for one, he's had more points scored against him than any other team in the league; opponents have averaged over 122 points against him per game.

He's also lost several very close games. He lost to me by less than 1 point. The very next week, he lost to mikey by less than 6, and of course he lost to Darcy by less than 4, wherein earlier news on Ben/a late QB swap out would have been basically a guaranteed win. Dude's a couple breaks from being 3-9 or 4-8. Just sayin'.

Thomas Jones did okey-dokey vs the Bills (10.90 pts), but I was expecting him to score more so Im happy there.

My great gamble to play Kenny Britt over Crabtree has now gotten more complicated, and alot riskier. With Slaton most likely not going to play Chris Brown is a sure start over Marion Barber who shares carries with 2 other good RBs, buuuuuut all the sites are saying play Crabtree. I found on one they said to sit Derrick Mason vs GB monday night! Hey hey now Im confused as hell. Also watch Cedric Benson only play a quarter or two, and then Larry Johnson get sent in to protect the franchise. Thing is he'll still probably get more points than Marion Barber.

As of this moment Im sitting Mason for Crabtree, but that could change a couple dozen times before tomorrow. Funny thing is since tradings stopped my bench is looking better and better...decisions more difficult. So this is what letting talent develop feels like!

Pssst! Anyone not wanting to face the Odd Squad in the playoffs please PM me some advice! Thanks...

Yeah, C. Brown is a very risky play. When they initially benched Slaton (), they played Ryan Moats, and he got most of the work the next week, too. It's entirely possible for either Brown or Moats to go off, but it's a big gamble. I'd only roll the dice there if I didn't have any other reliable options.

I am on a serious silent movie kick right now so I'm not going to have time to get my picks in this week, I'll just see you guys on ST. I'm sure you'll all survive, somehow.

Understandable. I guess I can't complain about movies coming first. I would look silly.

Update for Mikey and Darcy, by the way: Michael Turner out (as expected), and DeAngelo Williams (less expected), too.

EDIT: this is crazy good news for Jay/Gadsden Flag/upStomp, who now has Jonathan Stewart starting all by his lonesome against the terrible Tampa Bay run defense, and needs a win to have a chance at making the playoffs.

Im still waffling between Chris Brown or Kenny Britt? I wont consider Crabtree because Vernon Davis is the #1 target in San Fran.

Britt will be the #1 or #2 passing target vs Indy, but the Titans have to run the ball alot to win. Brown is going up against the 10th ranked rush defense in Jacksonville. This is a toughie. Actually deciding between two players liike this is alot harder than choosing between two stars as theres much less info to go on.

EDIT IN - Im going with Britt simply because of the Titans/Colts hype.

Also Gadsden Jay Reggie Bush is in too.