#1 Denver Donkey Punches vs. #8 Graham's Crackers
As all of the Dirty Dozen knows, the Donkey Punches are the best D12 team in the league and have been since Halloween of 2013. You should feel as sorry for Chris getting the 8 seed as you did for that helpless goat in Jurassic Park who was chained up in the T-Rex's cage as his next victim to devour. Even though Zach should and probably will gobble up Ch. Marvel this week, there is some reason to think that Suer's margin of victory could be as short as a T-Rex's arms. One reason this game could be closer than you think is that Suer has a couple of tough matchups and a couple of key injuries to monitor this week. Peyton will play our #1 fantasy D in the Bills, Alf Morris is up against the suddenly stout Rams D, and Jeremy Maclin will have to avoid Richard Sherman if he wants to score points. On top of this, Rashad Jennings and Julius Thomas are nursing ankle injuries and even if they play, it's hard to know how much they'll play or if a reaggravation will shut them down.
For Chris, he's got slightly easier matchups as a whole but also an inferior lineup. Stafford needs to take advantage of the Bucs D and throw for 250 and 2 touchdowns at a minimum here. It sounds easy with his weapons but it's been anything but easy for Fat Matt this year. Chris will also need LeSean McCoy to find his way through the Seahawks front seven while Antonio Brown tries to get open against a very good pass D in Cincinnati. I don't know what to expect from Jimmy Graham but he's got to reassert himself as a key piece of the Saints O for Chris to pull off this upset, too.
Prediction: If Peyton decides to hand the ball off a bunch like he did in KC and if some of these tough matchups and injury concerns go the wrong way for Z, it could open the door for Ch. Marvel to pull off the unthinkable. Not much has gone wrong for Zach lately and I don't think his world will come crashing down this week, either. Donkey Punches win 114-97 and hope they are at full health going into round 2.
#4 I'm Your Huckleberry vs. #5 Westminster White Devils
If we had to break down the strength of the regions within the D12 bracket, the North region (Seeds 1, 4, 5, 8) would be by far the toughest. Out of the top five scoring teams in the regular season, four of them reside in this north region. The winner of this game will have the tall task of taking down tall Zach and based on what we saw in week 13, both of these teams could be up for the challenge. Castillo and Fanning combined to score 367.4 points last week (Jesus Christ) and both will hope to continue their hot streaks in round one.
The edge here belongs to Castillo. Andrew Luck will throw the ball over 40 times and probably score over 30 points, as per usual in 2014. LeVeon Bell is also getting a shit ton of chances each week and a 20+ point game for him against the soft Bengals run D looks likely. The receivers and tight end on this team can be known to disappear for stretches of time but they all have pretty cushy matchups on paper so look for at least a couple of them to get loose for big points at some point on Sunday. The only way this team stumbles is if the big plays don't come and Jamaal Charles gets stuffed by the Cardinals D repeatedly.
The Fan Man was a forgotten man for most of the season as his slow and steady team failed to excite anyone most of the time. That was until week 13 when everything fell into place. Drew Brees hasn't been bad this year but he has been a bit underwhelming although fortunately for Drew, he's got some easy matchups on the horizon. We saw what he could do against a bad secondary last week when he carved up the Steelers and that's good news for Fanning this week as Brees plays the Panthers. Arian Foster could go insane against the Jags and Boom Herron has been making the most out of his touches in Indy so far. It's hard to predict anything out of the receivers as they are all candidates to flourish or fail each week. It'll be important for Jeff to choose wisely when he plays receiver roulette with his lineup.
Prediction: There is still some booze left over from last week's points party for both owners as they have some hot players and some nice looking matchups all around this week. Castillo has the more reliable roster and is the favorite here but I could see this one being interesting all the way to the primetime games with a lot of back and forth action. In the end, Fanning stays hot but doesn't get huge plays from all of his receivers, and is unfortunate to go up against the hottest team in our league. Castillo prevails 128-114 and makes Suer very nervous for his semifinal game.
#3 Ambiguously Gay Duo vs. #6 Dirk Diggler
Our 3-6 matchup features the 7th and 8th highest scoring teams and this matchup has a low scoring feel to it already. As you might've heard on this website or any website on the internet, Jay Cutler is an unreliable grumpy pants who hates talking, thinking, or playing football. As always, predicting what Cutler might do this week is futile. The Peppel's will hope that C.J. Anderson keeps on truckin' as he's got a tough matchup against the Bills but C.J. is arguably the hottest RB in fantasy right now. I will bet a chicken dinner that Jordy Nelson goes for at least 100 yards and a touchdown on MNF and I'll bet a drink that it comes before halftime. We will probably see Keenan Allan and Jarvis Landry catch a lot of balls this week but these guys rarely run a route longer than Shaun Bradley so those receptions might not add up to a bunch of points. If you're wondering why I'm not making a prediction on Greg Olsen or any other tight end this week, it's because I have no clue what tight ends are doing on a weekly basis and neither do you.
As of Thursday, it looks like J.P. will roll with his lover Matt Ryan, who torched the Pep's in their championship game two years ago. Ryan doesn't inspire a whole lot of confidence right now but J.P. could be banking on some shootout/garbage time points when the Falcons attempt to keep up with the Packers on Monday night. DeMarco Murray has been Mr. Reliable for diZerega and Murray will likely be a major point producer again on Thursday night. It's hard to know what any of J.P.'s receivers will do but Ryan and Julio looked in sync last week and if that chemistry carries over this week, it could be the difference for diZerega.
Prediction: Both of these teams have a couple of steady players surrounded by a whole lot of variability so the winning margin of this game could be 30 points either way. If Gio Bernard can get back into the endzone, it would be a nice boost for the Pep's and the same goes for Gates, who is suddenly ice cold for J.P. This game will likely go down to Monday night with Ace & Gary hoping for big plays from Jordy while J.P. prays for some bombs to Julio. In the end, I see a low scoring but competitive game that is decided late on Monday night. J.P. escapes with a 96-90 victory on a garbage time TD from Ryan.
#2 That's My Forte vs. #7 Nerf Turbos
Jay Cutler doesn't play for either of these fantasy teams but he could be extremely important to the result of this game. Cutler gives the ball to Marshall, Jeffery, Bennett, or Forte approximately 98% of the time and these four will all be playing on Thursday night for these two fantasy teams. Chances are Meyer and DeFelice will identify every player when they come to the line of scrimmage and then be yelling "Yes, yes, no, no, no, yes, yes, yes, no no!!!" as Jay goes through his progressions each down.
Meyer will hope that the Bears get back to running the ball in order for him to establish an early lead with Forte. Marshall has been a little off lately but he probably shoved Cutler up against a locker and told him that he would slice his ass with a steak knife if Cutler doesn't give him the ball all night. Meyer's got a couple of hot receivers to make up the difference as Emmanuel Sanders is money in the bank for double digit fantasy points and Anquan Boldin just will not die no matter how old and beatup he is each year. It looks like Meyer will roll with Big Ben as his QB but Meyer could easily pull him and Rivers into Granger's office and give the ball to Phil instead. The Lions D is on alert for fantasy dominance against the shitty Bucs this week, too.
All of Romer's starting receivers currently are listed as questionable and even though they all have a decent shot at playing, the commish should be concerned about an injury slowing them down or taking them out of a game. The commish loves to dedicate 10+ hours in front of a flatscreen TV every Sunday but most of Jerome's TV time will be spent on Thursday and Monday, when his most important players are playing. Jerome will hope that Rodgers and Lacy continue to be blazing hot at home but also hope that they don't make it so lopsided so Rodgers and Lacy can play a full 60 minutes. Lamar Miller is going up against a the toughest run D in the league so Jerome will just pray for a fluky touchdown and the commish should also scale back his hopes for all of his receivers, who look to have tough matchups on paper.
Prediction: This one should go back and forth where the commish will hope for a lead after Thursday night and then pray Meyer doesn't establish too large of a lead on Sunday when most of Granger's team plays. It very well could come down to a big game from Rodgers, Lacy, and the Packers D on Monday night where the commish will hope he's within 40-50 points to keep a win within range. In the end, I see Meyer getting out to a hot start and making the right call at QB, which carries him to victory 108-102.
Good luck to everyone in this league and all the other ones that you're fortunate enough to still be participating in. Just remember to trust your gut, play your studs, and everything will be alright. Just kidding, nigga. Nothing is certain and everything little thing is going to put you on the brink of insanity this week.