Just because you don't see the top seeds remaining in our tournament doesn't mean there won't be top talent being showcased across our flatscreens on Sunday. Our #1 and #2 ranked QB's and RB's will be playing this week along with 3 of the top 5 wide receivers, including our #1 WR. The elite talent is still on display and these superstars should play major roles as to who will play in Fantasy Bowl XV. We can try to predict what may happen in the final four but we all know that some weird shit will go down this weekend no matter what we predict. Between our four first round matchups, the lower seed advanced in three of those cases so we could easily see a 7 vs. 8 seed next week and barely bat an eye. In fact, ESPN is reporting that only 16.7% of their D12 Tournament Challenge players picked our current final four, which speaks to the craziness that has transpired already. We'll likely see some players step up, some players buckle under the pressure, and some tough coaching decisions determine the fate of these final four fantasy fools and we've got a little D12 preview below to help forecast the December Delirium the best we can.
#4 I'm Your Huckleberry vs. #8 Graham's Crackers
ESPN has Castillo projected at 147 points this week, which is too high a total as usual for ESPN but it does tell us that mathematically, Castillo has some high scoring talent all over his roster. If Luck has his rearview mirrors on and can avoid J.J. Watt, he should be able to pick apart a vulnerable Texans secondary on Sunday. Castillo's receivers remained mostly silent last week and with a couple of tough matchups, they might struggle to get into double digit points territory yet again. A big difference could be the St. Louis Rams D/ST on TNF because they have played some bad teams lately and have come alive for 33 and 28 fantasy points the last two weeks. I'm already sick of the Guts. Glory. Ram. advertising campaign but these Rams from the Show Me State look to have the guts to give Castillo one more week of glory this week. Castillo has pulled away from his opponents thanks to an overwhelming ground game and if we were to rank this week's top running backs, Bell and Charles are #1 and #2. Bell has scored less than 10 points only once this season and is coming off high scoring games of 28.2, 31.4, and 41.5 points. He probably won't continue his upward scoring trend this week but it's not crazy to think 25 points is pretty attainable against the Falcons D. Jamaal Charles is a little dinged up but he's scored over 10 points in eight straight games and if he's healthy, he's going to tear apart the Raiders D. The only thing that can prevent these two running backs from scoring a combined 45 points will be if Charles gets hurt or if Bane comes back and blows up the field like in The Dark Knight Rises.
Chris Marvel shall henceforth be known as the King Slayer thanks to being the only one to run a blade through Zach Suer's heart this season and kill the D12 king. Chris won't have the fire power of Castillo and probably won't be fortunate enough to once again go up against an opponent that scores 69 points but that doesn't mean he and Matt Stafford can't win this Game of Throws against Andrew Luck. Stafford was a huge reason Chris advanced last week and he'll have to score in the 25-30 range for Chris to advance again. He can do it at home against the Vikes and Marvel will be hanging on all of Stafford's ballsy/retarded throws this week. We've all been burned by an early round running back more than a few times in the draft but 2014 was a season where a lot of early round RB's have stayed healthy and performed exceptionally. The exception to this is LeSean McCoy who was taken #1 overall in our league and has dropped to our 10th ranked RB even though health has not been an issue. McCoy will need the Eagles to run plenty of plays on Sunday night and for Chip to get him involved around the goal line if Chris wants to hang with Castillo's running backs. Guys like Isaiah Crowell, Roddy White, and Martavius Bryant aren't supreme talents but they all have nice matchups that could boost their potential this week. Antonio Brown is about to have a day as he's pitted against an awful Falcons secondary this week and he should be counted on for a minimum of 17 fantasy points. Graham will probably need to catch a touchdown or two to be a contributor to this upset effort and he'll be the last man to play in this matchup, likely needing a fair amount of points for Marvel to win.
Prediction: While Chris has the advantage with better matchups, his roster simply cannot match the talent that the Huckleberries have. This isn't a massively lopsided matchup but if Chris does somehow win, it would be considered a pretty substantial upset. The possibility for some big games are there for the Crackers but the floor is so much higher for the studs on Castillo's team that it's really going to take a couple of strange bounces for Castillo to lose. Luck, Charles, and Bell should carry this team and combine for about 75 points, which will be too much for the Crackers. Castillo's running back tag team is back again and both Charles and Bell will cause Castillo to throw his hands in the air, shake his dariere after pulling away with a 127-102 victory.
The outcome of this game will likely hang in the balance up until Sunday morning or as soon as we find out if Julio Jones will be active or not. Of course there will be 17 other fantasy players participating in this contest but the health of one wide receiver is going to play a humongous role on whether or not J.P. will come out on top or not. A loss of Jones would be catastrophic not only because he's scored 24.9 and 31.9 points his last two games but also because he's on an absolute roll with J.P.'s QB, Matt Ryan. If Jones is healthy, both he and Ryan should continue to cruise against a Steelers secondary that is playing with the same philosophy as a Paul Westhead defense right now. Ryan and Jones combined for 70.2 points last week and they could score around 55 points combined if all goes according to plan this week. Now, if Julio cannot go, it will be crushing for diZerega's chances. He'll have to turn to Dwayne Bowe or a free agent receiver and no matter who the replacement is, it will be a substantial drop in expectations. It will also take away Matt Ryan's top weapon and probably knocks his game down 10 fantasy points at the same time. DeMarco Murray will help the cause no matter what as he's good for 15 points at minimum and should get the ball early and often on Sunday night. It'll be interesting to see if Tre Mason can stay hot against a much better D than he's been up against lately and even though Gates has struggled lately, he always seems to have big games against the Broncos. The formula for victory isn't as simple Active Jones=Win and Inactive Jones=Loss but it's pretty close.
The Nerf Turbos have sat back and watched Aaron Rodgers play at an MVP caliber level for most of the year and even though he's about the last person a fantasy owner should worry about, DeFelice might want to temper his expectations when he visits the Bills in Buffalo. The Bills have a hard hitting secondary along with an overpowering defensive line and they could make Aaron's day a lot more difficult than he's accustomed to. This will effect Eddie Lacy, who is banged up and if he can't go or doesn't get a lot of carries against the tough Bills D, it could sink the commish's chances like a waterlogged Nerf Turbo. If the Bills hold the Packers to more field goals than touchdowns, it will be a huge boost to J.P., who has Mason Crosby and this would represent a potential a death blow to the commish. The RB2 spot will not be settled until gametime, which will cause a coaching decision but all three of Jerome's receivers and tight ends are locked in and are poised to stay hot. Jeffery, Hilton, and Jackson all have pretty nice matchups and Bennett will hopefully be healthy and involved often on Monday Night for the Turbos.
Prediction: It sounds like a cop out but I really can't make a bold prediction until I know if Julio Jones is playing or not. He's the most important factor in this matchup bar none and his health will likely decide this game. If Julio suits up and his hip doesn't slow him down like your grandpa, I really think he and Matt Ryan are in for a huge day that will carry diZerega to victory 113-107. If Jones is unable to go, it changes everything and will allow Jerome to walk away the winner, 107-94. J.P. has an anxious week leading up to the action and will have to put on his goggles and chest protector and hope to avoid all of the flying objects that are shot out of a cannon with the intention to eliminate him. If J.P. can run through the gauntlet healthy and unscathed, it might be enough to defeat a fellow D12 gladiator and take down the Turbos.