Sixteen weeks of football will take its toll on players, which is why we usually see some strange names in the starting lineups of the Fantasy Bowl. This year was no different as there were a handful of players who probably shouldn't be starting in a championship game, and going into this matchup, the Warriors of Westminster had a few more no-name players than the Targaryens. Jordan certainly wasn't confident during media day at the Arvada BW's with the commish and his worst fears were realized when Todd Gurley was the only player that played up to his potential on the grandest stage. Amari Cooper was not 100% on Thursday night and his frustrating season continued with a 1 point game on Christmas eve. Much like Cooper, Alshon Jeffrey has been hurt and inconsistent all season and when he couldn't go on Sunday, Jordan was forced to start another injured and inconsistent receiver in Kendall Wright, who earned 1.8 points before he exited with an injury. It didn't look promising at the start of Sunday and when Cam Newton continued to get boxed in by the Falcons D, it was a time for Jordan to accept his fate as the 2015 runner-up. Cam's 14.2 point game was his lowest of the season and for all the good Newton has done, he picked the absolute worst time to play like shit. Jordan just had to hope that somehow Fanning's team would crumble as well but he knew full well that this Cam Newton gesture summed up his first trip to the Fantasy Bowl very appropriately.
We got to see the dual nature of Jordan's team on full display this week, where they earned 83.8 fewer points than they did just a week ago. Jordan had a big advantage with his more talented receiving crops and they combined for 8.7 points, which really speaks to how disappointing of a performance this was for Jordy Marvel. Jordan's team has been exceptionally volatile this year and we saw once again that all it takes is one bad game to sink a season come playoff time. We see this almost every playoff season, though as it's usually not the best or highest scoring team that wins it all, rather a team that can avoid the dud game. Fanning was able to do that throughout these playoffs as he never blew teams away but he also never scored fewer than 92 points, which helped him survive. That's what it takes in the playoffs for fantasy football. You don't have to outrun the bear, you just have to outrun the guy next to you in order not to get eaten.
At the same time, we also saw how playoff seeding and opponents mean nothing and everything. If Castillo, Jerome, or even Dave would've played Fanning's opponents in the playoffs, they would've scored enough to hoist the cup right now. You can play the "what if" game in our league until you're blue in the balls but if we do alter the waiver wire rules, Fanning is able to pick someone up after the deadline in week 6 (or whenever it was), he's able to win that matchup, and is not the 7 seed and probably has an entirely different path to the title, which might not end with the cup. After sixteen years of this shit, I'm thinking we're getting more accustomed to getting our souls crushed and we should probably spend more time having fun with the silly draft games, getting drunk at the draft, and making side bets rather than stressing over why our RB2 isn't getting goalline carries and why god hates us. I'm not exactly leading by example with this, by any means.
So what I'm trying to say is something I've been saying for about 8-10 years and is something we all know by now, fantasy football is random as fuck and the margin between winning money and not is so small and out of your hands, it's best not to over-analyze it, which, admittedly is something we tend to do on this website repeatedly. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you this as I'm guessing more than half of your other leagues played out the same where a 5-8 seed won the title and it was because of some weird set of circumstances. This is why your opponent means nothing and everything and it's why I try to eliminate as much randomness as we can, even if the ideas aren't always well received or even if we prefer a little chaos in our leagues, which I think we do to an extent. I do know that 11 teams are pretty thoroughly pissed off when the season is over and it seems like our owners were especially bitter throughout this season, which brings me to the 2015 State of the Dirty Dozen address. You don't need to stand and applaud every other remark I make like congress does to the Commander-in-Chief but I also won't discourage it.
I realize I can't have it both ways where I would like guys to be as vocal as possible so we can interact and talk shit while also trying to silence those that express their opinions frequently. I'm not sure if Jeff's championship run will cause anyone to be more or less vocal on the message board but I do know that I'm open to any comment on our site as long as it doesn't get too personal. I understand why people would get tired of constant chirping about every rule like I understand why someone would want to chime in on these things. No need to recap everything that happened this year but I'm getting a sense that this league is starting to splinter now more than ever. It appears to have been quietly boiling and it reared its head on draft night when it got a little chippy when we had to pause the draft a few times and needless to say, the league was divided quite a bit as the season chugged along. I've heard complaints about rules, owners, money, etc. from almost everyone this year and I know that's the responsibility of the commish but the complaints have gotten more frequent and are louder than ever. I know a lot of this stuff is done in the heat of battle and probably after the heat of whiskey has gone through you and I hope some of this hostility will subside in the offseason. It's lame as hell for a 35 year old to try to officiate a message board and this league runs just fine 90% of the time but when more than a couple people tell me they want to drop out of our league or want to not play with certain people, I'm not sure what to do. I hope we can keep the same group of guys in this league but I also am not ready to watch this league erode into something where half of the league wants the other half kicked out because we're not all as good of friends as we used to be or something along those lines.
I'd like to believe that half of the allure of this league is the constant communication through this website and the subsequent 2-5 minutes of laughs we get about this league when we do hang out, which is something I'm guessing your other leagues don't offer. I've told myself to get a life more than a few times to cut back on these recaps but for whatever reason, it feels like a way for me to bullshit with you guys about football, which does't happen as much as it used to. I wouldn't be against trying to find a handful of friends to create two separate leagues if it meant less bickering between everyone but if you think I'm splitting this up into separate leagues of FoCo bros and Sweet Ridge homies, then hoping for not one, but two inadequately rambling recaps, then I will need to quit my job today and figure out how I can try to make that work. Again, I know this is a fun tradition with all of us and we all can get along and enjoy it most of the time but I also don't want to force people to play if they get legitimately furious with each other. Maybe we're all just getting older, more cynical, and more distant from each other, which I guess happens to all of us. In the end, this is still a dumb fantasy football league (granted something we all take very seriously) so I hope you know this State of the League address is just something I thought we could chew on in the offseason and not some heavy and overbearing weight that should take up much real estate in your brain. Anyway, I hope everyone still has a good time in this league and even though some of us have rival teams that we aren't fans of, this is something that's still worth $150 and 16 weeks of your time.
Ok, thank you for your time, my comrades. God knows I've wasted a lot of it this season. This year gave us a wild close to the season, the usual bevvy of early round busts, plenty of sleepers that saved the day, and the constant flow of dick kicks from our fantasy players. I know the FAAB waiver wire system will be a hot topic to discuss in the offseason and dear Jesus, I am already scared for how that conversation is going to look on the message board next year. I'll admit it wasn't a perfect system if you can admit it really wasn't as hard or unjust as some would believe. Maybe we can meet in the middle next year or maybe we'll turn into a bunch of Palestinians and Israeli’s and throw rocks at each other all season long until the league turns into rubble. At least we can all agree that the Broncos need to win a Super Bowl for fuck's sake.
Thanks to everyone for playing again this year. I say it every year but it's still pretty awesome to have a strong tradition with high school and college buddies, even if it's as lame as a fantasy football league. One of these years we'll make good on the promises we make with a mug of beer in our hands and god willing we'll be able to hang out in a different area code with minimal wife n' kid distractions in the near future. Every year this league feels like we ate an entire deep dish pizza and we could all use a long break where we never want to see this shit again but hopefully we'll all start watering at the mouth come June or July when we can start our 17th season of D12 football again.