(Photo Courtesy of Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
The Butter Lamb’s first annual 14-team fantasy football league is in full swing with eight weeks played. With only five more regular season matchups to go, each owner has critical decisions to make to hopefully ensure a playoff spot amongst the 4-team “Winner’s Bracket.” As the regular season winds to a close, here’s a breakdown of all 14 teams and their respective chances to emerge victorious as the inaugural winner of The Butter Lamb Fantasy Football League.
The “I checked out after the draft because I didn’t pay any money for this league, and I have far more important things to prioritize, including the seven other money leagues I’m playing in” teams
Team odonnell (1-7)
Poor Julio Jones. In addition to his real life coach managing the game clock as if he’s playing Madden (poorly), the Alabama product is forced to line up each week aside a disheartened collection of inactive players, terrible running backs, and an absent Defense and Special Teams. I think ESPN should make some sort of rule that the League Manager has the right to dismantle an inactive owner’s team after a certain number of weeks. Imagine how much fun it would be to see Julio Jones and Golden Tate tossed into the waiver pool? As someone who’s ignored several of my own team’s in the past, I can’t blame Nate for a lack of attentiveness. In fact, I very much reaped the benefits of Team odonnell this past week. As of now this group is projected to score 22 points this coming week. Rally time!
Team docks (1-7)
Not too different of a story from Team odonnell. After Adrian Peterson revealed himself to be an awful human being, Team docks was poisoned moving forward. Even after a valuable early-season acquisition of UB product Branden Oliver, Team docks has dropped seven consecutive decisions in a row, and doesn’t appear to break that trend anytime soon. Despite the inactivity, this team has also underachieved. Aside from Kansas City’s defense and Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker, Team docks has no other player that ranks in the top ten at their respective position. Brian probably should’ve just followed everybody else’s advice and drafted DeMarco Murray first overall.
The “I haven’t checked out, but I might because Calvin Johnson’s ankle has broken my spirit” team
Marci Buehler’s Tears (2-6)
What appeared to be a thoroughly enjoyable team on paper post-draft has turned out to be disappointing group. Injuries to CJ Spiller and Calvin Johnson have certainly hurt. Keenan Allen has failed to match his rookie campaign and Alshon Jeffery hasn’t quite lived up to expectations, which is largely due to Jay Cutler’s tendency to give the ball to the other team. While my father will undoubtedly get back in the win column with a Week Nine encounter with Team odonnell ahead, his top-four hopes are gone. That doesn’t mean his season his over. A Week 11 fixture against the Marci Buehler-run “Team Buehler” will likely be flexed by the NFL into a primetime slot. Bad blood certainly remains between the two sides, and although Marci is likely snickering at her rival’s current standing, Marci Buehler’s Tears will undoubtedly be geeked up to knock the league’s lone female owner from playoff contention.
The “I still have Donovan McNabb on my roster because of my team name despite the fact I’ve made seven other waiver wire acquisitions” team
McNabb’s Goofballs (3-5)
John Slisz has dropped Josh Gordon, Mike Williams, Larry Donnell, C.J. Anderson, Harry Douglas, Terrell Owens, and the Falcons D/ST this year. However, he refuses to give up on the retired, Campbell’s Chunky Soup-loving, pudgy, ex-Eagles quarterback. IS FANTASY FOOTBALL A JOKE TO YOU JOHN? SHIT!
In all seriousness though, have you seen McNabb lately?
That’s him on the left. Randy Moss is on the right. By all appearances I think Moss could probably still suit up on Sunday’s if he had the desire to. But could Donovan run a mile without stopping?
The “They might, but they won’t” team
The Bad Guys (4-4)
Razor Ramon would likely be indifferent towards this will-they-or-won’t-they team. Demaryius Thomas has quickly set aside concerns stemming from a slow start. Jeremy Maclin has produced and more importantly managed to avoid a season-ending injury. Justin Forsett has been a pleasant surprise. Aside from those three however, The Bad Guys offers little room for optimism moving forward.
Nick Foles, Ryan Matthews, and Vincent Jackson have all been disappointments albeit for different reasons. Foles has seemingly come back down to earth. Matthews has been injured. Jackson has had Tampa Bay quarterbacks trying to throw him the football.
Unless those three can rally and return to the form they displayed last year, Matt’s chances seem slim. TOOTHPICK TO THE FACE.
The “Scrappy, underdog, 0-4 to 4-4, ‘no one believes in us,’ drafted Ray Rice but that doesn’t matter anymore” team
Team Buehler (4-4)
What a turnaround. After starting off the season 0-4, Marci Buehler has brought her team back from the dead. If I’m being honest, after a quick glance at Team Buehler’s roster, I’m not sure how they’ve done it. Perhaps it’s the bulletin board material provided by nearly every other owner picking Team Buehler to finish last during the preseason…
Anyway, Drew Brees has failed to replicate the dominant seasons of years past. AJ Green has missed three games due to injury. Ben Tate missed two games and most of a third. Despite these injuries and disappointing starts, Team Buehler has clawed back to .500 with four consecutive wins.
On the plus side, Sammy Watkins has been awesome. Dwayne Allen has been a touchdown machine at tight end. And the Dolphins Defense and Special Teams has been the top scorer at its position.
With Brees beginning to look like Brees again, and Green scheduled to return this week from injury, Team Buehler is trending up.
The “I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but I’ve had Philip Rivers’ MVP Season on my bench this whole year” team
T.C Williams HS Titans (4-4)
The Titans have two elite quarterbacks (Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers) and a remarkable collection of receiving targets (Dez Bryant, Gronk, DeSean Jackson, and DeAndre Hopkins). Even Mohamed Sanu has displayed big play ability in AJ Green’s absence the last few weeks. Because of all the players listed above, Matt Newman possesses a team that could very easily win it all. However, one has to wonder about the running back stable on the Titans. Isaiah Crowell played third fiddle to Ben Tate and Terrence West last week for Cleveland. Travaris Cadet is strictly a pass catching back for the Saints. Anthony “Boobie” Dixon will see an uptick in carries, but is that necessarily a good thing when you’re running behind Erik Pears? Pierre Thomas might hold the most value, but he is regularly in and out of the lineup with injuries year after year.
If Manning and the receivers can continue putting up monster weeks, and the running backs chip in with average output, this team is a contender. Better yet, if Matt packaged Rivers for a good-to-great running back, his team would be the favorite to win it all.
The “Thank God I have Antonio Brown” team
Team Hannon (4-4)
Antonio Brown is first in the NFL in receptions (60). He is second in yards (852). And he is tied for second in touchdowns (7). While scouts and executives have been determined to find the next size and speed specimen to terrorize opposing secondaries, Brown, who stands just 5’10”, has ascended to become the model of productivity for NFL wideouts. Team Hannon has certainly benefitted from Brown’s consistency.
At this point in the season, Dan has also benefitted from luck. Despite being 11th in the league in points for, Team Hannon is very much in the playoff conversation. If LeSean McCoy can rebound to the elite levels he displayed a season ago, Team Hannon could sneak into the top four.
The Top Six
Team Brunner (5-3)
Team Brunner features the top two running backs in all of fantasy football this year in DeMarco Murray and Arian Foster. More importantly, Team Brunner also has the top-scoring kicker (Stephen Gostkowski). Unless injuries hit Foster and Murray, which unfortunately is a very realistic possibility, this team will likely remain near the top.
If this team stumbles it’ll be because of its lack of receiving talent. While ageless wonder Larry Fitzgerald has benefitted from the return of Carson Palmer, CJ is set to start a pair of uninspiring Jermaine’s (Kearse and Gresham) at WR and TE this coming week. Perhaps CJ might look to the waiver wire to supplement his receiving group. Or he can keep three defenses.
Team Coots (5-3)
After a 5-1 start, Team Coots has fallen on hard times with two consecutive losses. However, that appears likely to end with a matchup against Team docks this week.
Sean does have a roster full of consistent producers. Andre Ellington and Lamar Miller have both received a consistent workload this year. Julian Edelman and Michael Crabtree, though they’ve struggled from time to time, will be heavily targeted throughout the remainder of the year. Carson Palmer and Matt Ryan are serviceable options at quarterback. Jordy Nelson and Jimmy Graham are both top-five players at their respective positions. Much like Team Brunner, Sean also has much needed depth at kicker and defense.
Perhaps this deserves more research, but does any other team have more white players on their roster? I count 7.5 (With the .5 being Jimmy Graham). I can really get behind this scrappy, hard working, lunch pail bringing, high-motor group of players. Is Toby Gerhart on waivers?
Team Doyle (5-3)
The current top-scorers are certainly a legitimate contender. Despite the real-life worries surrounding Seattle and Chicago’s offensive struggles, Russell Wilson and Matt Forte have been top-five players at quarterback and running back thus far. Randall Cobb has 9 touchdowns this year, and has scored in every game except one. TY Hilton has been far more than a deep threat this year. He ranks fifth among WR in points and looks poised to continue producing due to Andrew Luck’s impressive performance.
If Jim emerges as champion it’ll likely be due to increased production from secondary options. While the studs listed above will allow Jim to be very competitive each week, Team Doyle needs Alfred Morris, Darren Sproles, and Mike Wallace to step up. If one, two, or all three can play up to their talent level, Team Doyle should have a say in who wins the league.
Play Tiimmmeeee (6-2)
The league’s lone auto-picker has benefitted from every other owner overlooking a pair of stud RB’s. Marshawn Lynch has dispelled the notion that he’s over-the-hill and disengaged. Likewise, Le’Veon Bell has proved that he’s far more than a one-cut, downhill bruiser. In eight consecutive games Bell has tallied at least 100 total yards. That one-two punch has Rob Sozanski’s team tied at the top.
Much like Team Doyle, Play Tiimmmeeee will need production from its secondary players. Steve Smith and Chris Ivory have both been pleasant surprises thus far and they’ll need to keep up their steady weekly totals. Rob will also need Percy Harvin, Pierre Garcon, and Montee Ball to collect themselves after a disappointing first eight weeks.
Colin Kaepernick will also need to play well down the stretch. The tatted-up bicep enthusiast is capable of putting up incredible numbers through the air and on the ground. If he can come up big as the 49ers chase a playoff berth, Play Tiimmmeeee will have a shot.
L’Carpetron Dookmariot (6-2)
I won’t spend too much time on my own team, but I will say that I do like them. Tommy Brady has been in F-U mode since the media universally decided he might be finished as a top QB. Eddie Lacy, Gio Bernard, Shane Vereen, and Mark Ingram are now all top options in their respective backfields. I have two good TE’s (Gates and Bennett) and my WR’s have been disappointing, but still could potentially rebound in the weeks ahead.
1017 Brick Squad (6-2)
Adam Augustyn’s 1017 Brick Squad currently sits atop the overall standings, thanks to head-to-head wins over Team Doyle, Team Coots, Team Brunner, and L’Carpetron Dookmariot. In the words of Ric Flair…
Right now Adam is the man.
Andrew Luck, Jamaal Charles, and Julius Thomas are great. Ahmad Bradshaw has rebounded from neck troubles and has been excellent. Emmanuel Sanders, Eddie Royal, and Brandin Cooks all see consistent targets within elite passing offenses. Josh Gordon, who led the NFL in receiving yards a season ago, will return from suspension for the season’s final six games. Plus Adam has Fred Jackson. Seeing as Freddie is already penciled in for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns in a playoff-clinching Week 17 win over the Pats, it’s difficult to not like Adam’s chances moving forward.