Schmantasy Football Preview: Week 3
Week 2 has come and gone in the official Gamers Schmamers Fantasy Football League, and we had everything you could possible want: intrigue, action, 6 point victories and a whole shit-ton of 0-1 teams beating 1-0 teams. That’s right, Week 2 was the Great Equalizer, the Henry Clay of fantasy football weeks, if you will. What has this left us with? One really terrible team, one really good team, and everyone else sandwiched in the middle. Mmmmm, football sandwich.
So what’s in store for us this week? Let’s find out!
The Shores of Triple-I (1-1) vs. Gordan TD-Man (0-2)
Sometimes, a man can spend his entire life preparing for something. Honing his skills, training his body, readying his mind. Maybe he spends 7 hours a day at practice, pushing himself past the limits of human performance, looking for the smallest edge to get him past the competition. Then maybe he finally gets his shot, but when push comes to shove he ends up completely embarrassing himself.
This embarrassment is me. I’ve played fantasy football for years, watch and follow football all the time, and have never finished outside the playoffs at the end of the regular season in a fantasy league. So what happens when I join a pay league for the first time ever, forming a league filled with people who don’t play fantasy, many of whom don’t even watch football? Well, I end up going into week 3 as the only team without a win.
At least the TD-Men put in another solid effort in week 2. Even with star players Ray Rice and Larry Fitzgerald being hindered by injuries, causing them to combine for 4 points, my team still managed 93 points. The day could have gone even better had bench players Giovanni Bernard, Pierre Garcon or T.Y. Hilton (who put up 17, 20 and 12 points respectively) been inserted into the starting lineup. But even with this gallant effort, the TD-Men ran into the buzzsaw that is Bitches Ain’t Skrande, the league’s only 2-0 team.
Meanwhile, the Shores of Triple-I saw a dramatic decrease in performance (probably caused by Vanilla Bear’s trash talk), going from 113 points in week 1 to 79 points in week 2. Jason Witten, Vincent Brown and Vincent Jackson all provided terrible performances. Will they bounce back in week 3 against the league’s cupcake team? Based on early returns, I’d say yes. Damnit. There are only three teams that have broken 200 points through two weeks, but the Shores of Triple-I nearly reached that benchmark themselves with 196 total points through two games.
Vanilla Bear (1-1) vs. This Totally Isn’t Soccer (1-1)
If da Bears had not had the misfortune of going up against Skrande’s monstrous week 1 game, they could have easily joined the 2-0 pantheon. Corey has put in the second most combined points of any team, and his team’s prowess looks considerably more sustainable given that it wasn’t bolstered by a ridiculous 140 point performance. 4 and 5 point games from A.J. Green and Steve Smith show that the Bears have nowhere to go but (even further) up, even if Marshawn Lynch fails to Beast Mode his way to 30 points again. Russel Wilson has gone up against two top defenses in the early returns, and given that he finished the second half of last season as a top-5 fantasy player there are strong hints that there should be better days ahead.
On the opposite side of this week’s Vanilla/Chocolate yin-yang we have This Totally Isn’t Soccer. Mychael managed to win the lover’s quarrel in week 2, and luckily, based on observations from sideline reporter Nancy Hotcheeks, the impending marriage survived the matchup. Hopefully it can continue to stand strong within the turmoil of a full fantasy season. As for Soccer’s chances of winning this week? Well, it’s not looking as strong as the bonds of love. Soccer has put up the 4th worst combined score of any team through two weeks. Of course, players are still settling into place and Mychael was hurt when both Steven Jackson and Eddie Lacy were knocked out of their games early with injuries. Both players will remain out this week, but if Soccer can get some average production from potential replacements he can build off of a still above-average 86 points. The bad news? Mychael’s bench is full of injuries as well. Time to start looking for a phoenix down (or at the waiver wire).
Hernandez’s Henchmen (1-1) vs. I Have No Idea What I’m Doing! (1-1)
We pointed out after week 1 that the Henchmen, despite a win, looked like they might be in trouble. Well, their weak performance came back to bite them as a similar output led to a loss the second time around. The Henchmen are another team bit by the injury bug, with Kellen Winslow being limited by injury and star receiver Danny Amendola out for the second consecutive week. Of course, Andrew can easily count on Colin Kaepernick never replicating his terrible, awful, no good, very bad 5 point day again, and Trent Richardson being traded should significantly help his chance at a productive day, given that defenses have to pay attention to Andrew Luck, unlike moribund lanky ginger Brandon Weeden. The Henchmen will need stronger performances from these two to weather the injury storm in the early going.
Lining up against the Henchmen? The most confusing team in the league, I Have No Idea What I’m Doing, who went from 129 points in week one to 73 points in week two, the biggest oscillation in performance by leaps and bounds. Team I’m Doing had the misfortune of having two 49ers on the roster, as Frank Gore and Anquan Boldin were both pulled under by the massive titlewave of suck that was the 49ers offense in week 2. Reggie Bush also hurt himself (again) in week 2, leading to a dismal performance. Reports say that Bush’s injury isn’t serious, so he should be able to bounce back for this week, and assuming the 49ers don’t perform like they’re the Jacksonville Jaguars again, things should look up. So who shows up in week 3 for Team No Idea? Tune in to find out!
Team Severs-Owned (1-1) vs. Team Hawks (1-1)
Severs-Owned is the healthiest team in the league, and it showed as the team increased its output significantly in week 2 after a mediocre week 1. Calvin Johnson and Doug Martin both rebounded to have solid weeks after disappointing in the their first go. Severs-Owned also has one of the deepest benches in the league, with Steve Johnson showing good early rapport with his rookie QB, BenJarvus Green-Ellis getting the bulk of the work in Cincinnati and Bernard Pierce possibly in line for a starters workload if Ray Rice’s injury turns out to be serious. All of this sets up Severs-Owned as the dark horse of the league; a steady team in a league of vacillating performers who doesn’t have the same wow factor but is out to prove that slow and steady really does win the race.
Team Hawks is turning into the Norv Turner era Chargers; a team with great talent that is not coming close to maximizing its potential. Our fearless editor-in-chief decided to roll the dice and attempt a risky strategy of playing with no Tight End or Flex position. The result? By far the worst score put up by any team this season. As of this writing, Team Hawks is planning on rolling this risky strategy out for a second try. The kicker? ESPN still projects Team Hawks to score 93 points. If the Hawks ever played with a full roster, they could be a wrecking ball, and one without a naked girl on a downward spiral to boot. Hey, at least if he keeps rolling the broken torso of Rob Gronkowski out there he’ll eventually play. But probably not this week.
SCHMAME OF THE WEEK [IMAGINE GUITAR SOLO HERE]
Bitches Ain’t Skrande (2-0) vs. I HAVE A LOT OF NEW ITEMS (1-1)
Having the league’s only 2-0 team gives you a leg up on being the game of the week, and I could go into a detailed analysis of how Team Skrande might be a little weaker than it appears (though still clearly a team in the top half of the league), but this matchup is important for one reason and one reason only:
Man vs. Machine. Natural vs. Unnatural. The Player vs. the NPC.
Our NPC team, with no input from a human whatsoever, posted the best score in week 2 on way to a blowout victory, and the line between these two teams is very nearly even for week 3. Normally I would root against the 1st place team, as a loss would help my own team limp closer to relevancy, but this week… this week I can’t. We cannot be embarrassed by a machine, taken down by a an emotionless harbinger of football doom. The NPC is on the rise, but we’re sending Skrande back in time to unplug Skynet before it goes live.
This week, I cheer for mankind.