We're passing the mid point of the fantasy football regular season this week, unofficially we cross that threshold on Thursday, and after this weekend we'll begin to see a handful of teams at both ends of the spectrum, in the playoffs and planning for next year. To that end lineup decisions take on slightly more importance and it's critical teams take opportunities to improve very seriously this week as momentum for the bonus stanza of the season takes shape. So good luck to everybody, here's to another great week of football.
Blak Jesus (2-4) vs. Pomona (1-5) - the tale of two squads going in different directions. BJeezy had some bad luck at the start of the year but things are looking up, a win here and they're back on track and in the mix. The toughest decision though will be selecting which two of their three starting quarterbacks they go with. If they wanted to be bold, I'd look to move Ben Roethlisberger for an upgrade at RB to make a real run at it. On the flip side you have Pomona that's running w/o a starting QB and little to no depth, despite having a LOT of $$ to spend on free agents. They have some studs (like Gio Bernard & Reggie Bush) but injuries and busts (David Wilson) are holding them back. The oddsmakers like Pomona 91-81 but the story in the clubhouse is the opposite, my money is on BJeezy taking another step towards a playoff spot with their young lineup.
Delta Mad Dawgs (4-2) vs. South Whore Jibbers (1-5) - A team with a lot of momentum facing a bottom feeder who make you think this is an easy one to predict but if you look closer this has all the makings of a trap game. Delta has been playing great but Matt Ryan's weapons are falling apart and they're coming off a loss that exposed their overall lineup depth. The Jibbers are prideful and have a few big outings left in them, Eddie Lacy, Flacco & TY Hilton are going have big games to lead them to victory. The odds makers have it as a slightly DMD favorite (91-85) so the smart money will go that direction.
Naughty Thoughts (3-3) vs. East Bay Funk (3-3) - a matchup of heavy weights, Naughty has been hit by a rash of big injuries (Brian Hoyer, ACL; Randal Cobb, broken fibula; DeMarco Murry; Roddy White) that's stretching their depth. A nice pickup of the next interesting undrafted free agent running back Khiry Robinson bodes well for the weeks ahead but NOLA is on bye this week. East Bay Funk takes on another tough opponent with a strong but not dominant lineup. The Houston-KC matchup is critical here, if that's a high scoring affair with 250+ yards rushing on both sides, EBF will run away with this one, if it's a low scoring, field goal fest, Naughty may take it. Odds are predicting a tie, my gut says Naughty takes this thanks to improved fantasy production from Tom Brady.
Beavercats (2-4) vs. Team Kitty (3-3) - these squads are both struggling and need a win desperately, and in fact the loser likely will begin looking at '14, while the winner keeps their hopes alive. Beavercats depth is coming into question, thanks to season ending injuries to four regulars and nagging ones (or under performance) to another three, has left them starting deep bench options, and resulting in subpar overall performances. Their breakdown performance could be the only way in if they don't start winning because their schedule doesn't get any easier after this week. Team Kitty on the other hand started strong and has hit their toughest part of their schedule. Without improved performances from their core (Eli Manning, MJD, SJax, HNicks) the cinderella start may strike midnight and they'll be forced to dump. Secretly I suspect they're itching to dump b/c they love deal making and their "silent" owner is a natural builder, so this would force the action so to speak. Odds makers put this at nearly even with Beavercats up (97-95) so it's anybody's game. It's a classic matchup that will be heavily watched but at this point isn't that compelling to the playoff mix.
Short Bus (4-2) vs. Fuego (3-3) - This one shouldn't even be played; Fuego has no QB (Brees on bye) and arguably their most important player is also out (Jimmy Graham). They don't have a chance, not with the Bus throwing out the best trio of starting RB's, a duo of starting TE's (#2 & #3 overall in Vernon Davis & Julius Thomas) and a bit underrated receiving core. This is the league's best squad at this juncture of the season with depth across the board and explosive players at every position. Barring a massive letdown by the Bus and an explosive 50 point outing by CJ Spiller, this one is already done. There's never been a bigger disparity in odds before either (120-68). It's a bummer this won't be more of a game because these two could be rivals if this was more evenly matched. At this point it should be relegated to the NFL network b/c it's barely worth watching.
Engel Shiz (4-2) vs. Monkey Fust (2-4) - I'm starting to get the feeling that the NFC conference is down this year, or is it just me? Fust has no chance, like Fuego they're missing a QB and none of their core look to have an especially strong matchup this week. Anything is possible but Engel Shiz has a full complement of starters (minus Pryor who is on bye), some of which have juicy match ups that can expect some big performances. This squad has shown remarkable resiliency this year and the franchise deserves a lot of credit for pulling the right strings (aka Vincent Jackson who blows up; taking Pryor among others). Odds show not quite as big a mismatch as the Bus-Fuego game, but it's nearly as bad (112-80) and likely will end up being a double digit differential.
Isotopes (5-1) vs. BINGO (2-4) - This makes another AFC favorite taking on a team partially already focused on '14 fro the NFC, though ironically they're still in the playoff mix in a down conference year. BINGO needs better than expected performances from Phillip Rivers, Matt Stafford, Jacquizz Rodgers, Robert Woods & Harry Douglass to have a shot in this one, none of which is out of potential. One thing to call out, this team has solved it's QB needs for '14 and beyond, Rivers & Stafford are top 5 guys so far; next year they can/will dish either Stafford or Geno Smith for a starting RB and depth, for now they can enjoy being one of the most lethal teams out there. The Isotopes are officially this year's biggest surprise (though it's a close vote with Engel Shiz). Pairing two average starting QB's with great RB's and surprising WR's, this team is a tough one to handle that can score in bunches from its entire lineup. A win this week would get them close to a playoff spot, and the odds say it will happen (111-87). My gut says it will be a lot closer but Isotopes get it done to stay on track in this magical return to relevance.
Strongfighters (4-2) vs. LFP (5-1) - The flex'd Sunday Night National Football game features two Jankster up contenders in a heavyweight contest. It's the weekends best game and should come down to the wire with both teams scoring a hundred plus. The Strongs are doing it with great balance, if they get better production out of Ryan Matthews and RG3, they will be back to where they were at the end of last year. The Beans on the other hand are riding the scorching arm of Peyton Manning and his biggest connection, Wes Welker, to dominance. They lack depth but they're also not getting the production they expected out of Doug Martin, so he's going to surprise at some point to make up for a subpar Manning week. Odds slightly favor Beans (119-112) but I'd take the underdog on this one to cover and possibly win in what will be a great game Sunday night.