Wow, no close games this week. I mean, like, at all. You either lost by a lot or won by a lot. The unpredictable season continues.
Cream of the Crop: Land Crabs.
The Bottom of the Barrel: The Jayshox.
As has been the case since Week 2, Land Crab leads the pack and has a comfortable two-game lead in Division 1. One more win coupled with a Jayshox loss will ensure that Land Crab will not finish in last, and save their owner from having to do his best B-Mac imitation. That being the case, I thought maybe we should get the owner of Land Crab, PenHawk, to help out the rest of the league. (That's not true, actually, I called for volunteers, and PenHawk stepped up to the plate.)
Anyway, I know that seems a little counterintuitve. After all, why would the owner of the first place team want to help out any of his competitors? Well... let's find out.
mv: So, PenHawk... what made you volunteer to be our guest this week? Why would you want to help your fellow owners? Or are you simply here to make fun of everyone?
PH: Like any other owner of a sports team, I love attention. Anything to get my name out there and bring exposure to the PenHawk brand.
mv: How did you feel when Mark May picked you to win the league? Unfortunately for you, he has a pretty solid track record of being wrong.
PH: I’m a little surprised he picked us, to be honest. I don’t think I have a single Pitt football alum on the team. Hopefully he’s due to get one right.
mv: Let's test your professional football knowledge real quick to make sure you're qualified. No cheating and looking it up on the internet!! Who is Peyton Manning's backup in Denver? Cuz you better hope that guy never sees the field...
PH: It’s the tall kid from Arizona State, right? As Manning goes, so go the Land Crab. If he gets hurt, some things are going get broken at the PenHawk mansion.
mv: Well, you get half credit, at least. Brock Osweiler (6'8", 240 lbs, from Arizona State) is Peyton Manning's backup. Any other opening thoughts or comments you would like to share?
PH: Just that anyone out there can also be successful in fantasy football with enough hard work and dedication. It was a tough offseason, but seeing the team at 7-1 lets me know that all that time I spent moving Peyton Manning to the top of my autodraft list is finally paying off.
mv: Let's hit it.
(Last week's ranking in parentheses.)
1 (1). Land Crab (7-1)
mv: Land Crab responded to their first loss of the year with a rather convincing win this week over the last place Jayshox. However, Land Crab's scoring has been down, having not broken 100 points in two of the last three weeks. Is there a chink in the armor? How do you plan on handling Peyton Manning taking Week 9 off with a big showdown with The Anti-Dentites looming on the horizon?
PH: I’ve had a solid backup plan for Manning’s bye week all season, having a very solid year for a number two fantasy QB. Unfortunately, it was Jay Cutler. The new plan involves Mike Glennon and a pact with Satan.
As for the scoring being down, I’m hoping a week of rest for Manning and Welker combined with a midweek deal that brought Pierre Thomas to town to bolster a weak group of running backs will help get us back on the right track.
2 (3). The Anti-Dentites (5-3)
mv: As just mentioned, The Anti-Dentites have a big game in coming up in Week 9 on the road at Land Crab. They'll be missing Calvin Johnson. Does that even things out with Land Crab missing Peyton Manning? Can the Dentites pull off the upset?
PH: It’s a hard one to pick. The Anti-Dentites have a nice RB duo in Alfred Morris and Fred Jackson. If they both show up to play, I like their chances.
3 (6). The Pinkys (5-3)
mv: The Pinkys just manhandled Dante's Afro. They, too, have a big division game coming up vs Papa Wheelie's Boys. The Pinkys are not being hit too hard with bye weeks this week. However, they also have Darren Sproles. Tell me how you feel about Darren Sproles.
PH: He voluntarily spent his college days in Manhattan, Kansas, so we already know his decision making is questionable. After averaging 3.8 points per game over the last three weeks, you have to wonder if his status as a viable starter is, too.
4 (4). Glengarry Glenn Dorsey (5-3)
mv: GGD is on a roll, and has won four in a row following an early three game losing streak. What has been the key to their run? Your answer cannot include the words "Jamaal Charles." Although - that's about the only playmaker I see on this team. So... I take that back. You can include Jamaal Charles in your answer if you wish.
PH: I don’t need to. GGD is impressive even without him. Colin Kaepernick hasn’t been the juggernaut many expected him to, but he’s still the 12th ranked QB. Between him, Chris Johnson and the Cowboys defense, with contributions from lesser names like Alshon Jeffrey and Jared Cook, this team seems better than 5-3. They better look out this week though, because as of now (ed. note, Tuesday afternoon) they have no quarterback who will be playing in Week 9.
5 (7). Fighting 5.7s (5-3)
mv: The Fighting 5.7s rode Cam Newton and Jordy Nelson (and no one else, maybe a little help from Reggie Bush) to a victory over The Wheat Farmers. Why anyone in this league is allowed to have Jordy Nelson rostered, I don't know. Anyway, they drafted Doug Martin with the second overall pick in the first round. Please make fun of him, and then comment on how in the world this team has made it to 5-3.
PH: Grad has a Packer on his team? Weird. Since he not only has Nelson but Daniel Thomas as well, I can only assume the 5.7s have been looking to Bill Snyder for tips on having inexplicable success and frustrating the living hell out of their opponents. There’s no other way to account for this team winning the last three games without cracking 103 points. Rumor has it they have their eye on Sproles and Josh Freeman as well.
mv: So... what's going on here? Is Grad a closet K-State fan? I'm not sure it's my place to question anyone's crimson and blue loyalty, but at this point, I feel the question must be asked if only for the sanctity of our community. Perhaps he has been possessed by some purple spirit that controls his unconscious mind? Or is he simply doing what any fantasy owner would do and looking for any edge with which to pick up a "W"?
PH: My theory is that Bill Snyder has commandeered Grad's team. He clearly took the year off from coaching college football, so maybe he figured he'd try his hand at something NFL-related. Unfortunately, he's finding out that you can't just grab a bunch of mediocre players and scheme your way to fantasy titles.
6 (2). Papa Wheelie's Boys (4-4)
mv: PWB has been in the top half of the league most of the season (all of the season?). However, even with Aaron Rodgers, they have dropped three of their last four. A showdown with the Pinkys looms. How can PWB get out of their funk?
PH: First, how the hell did Grad have the second pick in the draft and NOT take Aaron Rodgers? Anyway, PWB has a solid roster, but they need Percy Harvin to come back before the playoffs to make a meaningful run. Right now, bye weeks for Victor Cruz, Julius Thomas and the Broncos defense put them in serious danger of falling below .500.
7 (5). Mantis Shrimp Murder Sticks (4-4)
mv: MSMS has been the definition of "consistent." Win two, lose two, win two, lose two. Will they emerge victorious the next two weeks and keep the streak rolling? Keep in mind that Michael Vick is currently (as of Tuesday) the only QB on their roster.
PH: I don’t like shrimp, bugs, murder, or sticks. Next.
8 (11). Hip Hop's Team (4-4)
mv: Ok, I'll be honest, I don't really have a good lead-in for this team. Just... tell us what you would do if you were HHT. And you can't say "Trade for Peyton Manning / Drew Brees / Calvin Johnson."
PH: You know you’ve had a solid week when you leave Andy Dalton’s 35+ points on the bench and still win handily. If Joique Bell and Andre Ellington can consistently put up double digits, this team will be fine. Unfortunately, that’s unlikely. Dalton, Dez Bryant and Larry Fitzgerald will keep this team from falling off the map, but elsewhere they’re just relying too much on relative unknowns.
9 (8). Rock Chalk Tupac (3-5)
mv: The "Drew Brees Revenge Tour" has stalled out the past four weeks with four losses in a row, and none of them very close. Week 9 byes will hit this team hard, as most of the receivers on the current roster will be off. After a promising 3-1 start, what happened here?
PH: They haven’t hit 100 in the last three weeks, and two of those were in the 80s. This team was already on shaky footing outside of Brees and Demaryius Thomas, so minimal recent production from Anquan Boldin and Hakeem Nicks, paired with an injury to DeMarco Murray has them reeling.
10 (13). Denver Fax Machines (3-5)
mv: DFM rocked Week 8 and scored the most points in the league, a feat they also accomplished back in Week 4. However, in Week 6 they scored the least amount of points, and lost to the last-place Jayshox. Why is this team so Jekyll and Hyde? And don't you wish your name was "Giovani?" Sometimes I do. I mean, sometimes I wish my name was Giovanni... not yours.
PH: Giovani sounds Italian, which makes me think of lasagna. I’m hungry. The Fax Machines’ biggest issue has been their opponents, who are averaging a sky-high 114 points per game against them. Sometimes luck is on your side, sometimes you have to make a deal with His Dark Majesty to will Mike Glennon to a 300+ yard day against the Seahawks this week.
11 (9). The Wheat Farmers (3-5)
mv: Carson Palmer filled in admirably for Andrew Luck's bye week for TWF, but it just wasn't enough as Cam Newton and Jordy Nelson went nuts together. Stupid Jordy Nelson. I really don't like that guy. Why don't I like Jordy Nelson? I just can't quite put my finger on it. Anyway... TWF needs to get things together or they'll keep inching closer to the bottom of the league. What can they do to stay out of last place?
PH: A lot of it will rest on the health of Arian Foster’s hamstring. This week’s meeting with GGD is still in play due that quarterback situation, but if Foster doesn’t stay healthy, The Wheat Farmers aren’t going to have much of a crop at the end of the growing season.
12 (10). Sharknadoes (3-5)
mv: Ooo, boy, these guys are gonna miss Matt Stafford in Week 9. Especially since Geno Smith is the only current option on the roster. "Beast Mode" Marshawn Lynch was a disappointment on Monday night. Why is this team down here? Stafford, Lynch, Jimmy Graham.... they should be better than this. How would you keep this team out of last place?
PH: With this team it comes down to luck. After drafting Stafford, Lynch, Graham, Dwayne Bowe, Roddy White and the Packers defense, this initially looked like a strong roster. Unforunately, only the first three have delivered, leaving this team with a bunch of middle and late round picks that just haven’t produced. If they want to avoid the cellar, they may want to look at trade options to find someone, anyone, at running back to compliment Lynch.
13 (12). Dante's Afro (3-5)
mv: DA is one spot away from last. They've only finished in the top half of the league in scoring in two out of eight weeks. They do own the tiebreaker over The Jayshox, barely squeaking out a Week 5 win by 0.70 points. Tell us what, if anything, they can do to avoid getting passed by the Jayshox. And you can't say "There are too many Patriots on this team and Tom Brady is having a terrible year."
PH: Stevan Ridley’s recent production gives them a glimmer of hope, but this team doesn’t have a receiver or tight end ranked in the top 10. It’s hard to see much of a future for a team whose only elite player is their defense. The only thing they can do at this point is hope the Shox are just a little bit worse.
14 (14). The Jayshox (2-6)
mv: And here we are, everyone's favorite punching bag, the Jayshox. These guys are the KU football of Rock Chalk Talk Fantasy Football. The parallels are eerie. Win the first game? Check. Lose the rest (allow for maybe an upset or two)? Check. Can't score any points on offense? Check. I'm guessing your first suggestion to The Jayshox would be to cut Christian Ponder. How can this team get out of last place?
PH: With Phillip Rivers’ bye week in the rearview mirror, Ponder isn’t a big issue. Unlike the KU football team, I don’t see this team finishing at the bottom of the league. Zac Stacy has put up two straight double-digit games, and Rob Gronkowski is healthy again. Add those to the existing lineup of Rivers, LeSean McCoy and AJ Green, and you have a team that’s only a defense away from being respectable.
mv: Alright, PenHawk, thanks for your time. Any final thoughts on the league? Who will win the championship? And who will be immortalized in a dancing .gif?
PH: You’ve been talking about the parity in this league for weeks, and I think you’re right on target. There are just so many rosters you can look at and say, "Hey, this team would be pretty good if they only had another ____." The Land Crab got off to a hot start, but really, we’re no exception.
I can’t bring myself to agree with Mark May, and picking the second place team seems like the easy way out, so I’ll pick Glengarry Glenn Dorsey to win the league. Even though there are six teams ahead of them in scoring average, the roster is solid and they have a creative name.
As for last place, I’ll have to go with Dante’s Afro. They’re the only team in the league averaging under 90 points per game, and I think the JayShox have a good enough roster to pass them.
mv: Any other final thoughts?
PH: The Kansas Jayhawks will beat Texas in Austin on Saturday.
mv: That's a bold prediction. I forwarded that to a contact in the UT Athletic department, and this was their response: "Small words from a small being, trying to attack what it doesn't understand." If anyone can place that movie quote (without cheating on the internets), you win the "Nerd of the Month" award, if there is such a thing.
Oh, and Grad, you might wanna change your password. It shouldn't take much to confuse the White Wizard.
Going streaking: Glengarry Glenn Dorsey, four wins in a row
Going sliding: Rock Chalk Tupac, four losses in a row
Fantasy player of the week: Drew Brees, 43.5 points
Fantasy owner of the week: 3 way tie with 99%, Papa Wheelie's Boys, Denver Fax Machines, The Wheat Farmers
Fantasy owner of the weak: Dante's Afro, 81%