2016-03 Dope Sheet

Two games in and the sample sizes are increasing. Outside of the undoubted game of the week, there are rivalries to be settled up and down the scoreboard. Will we have a new overall #1 seed this time next week and will someone else fall into the basement? We will find out in earnest.

The Dope Sheet is brought to you by Verizon, the official wireless carrier of the BFL. Verizon. Better Matters.

The Super Touchdowners (0-2) @ Orlando Rage (2-0)
The Touchdowners kept things close against the league leaders in week 2, but disappointing performances from individual defensive players (looking at you DEs Connor Barwin and Olivier Vernon) ultimately made the difference and the goose egg remains on the record sheet. A great day for QB Philip Rivers was overshadowed by a disappointing performance from RB Doug Martin, who is ruled out for the next three games due to a hamstring injury. RB Theo Riddick, himself in as an injury replacement, will step up into the RB2 slot and big things are expected from him. The Touchdowners simply cannot be counted out when the presence of WR Antonio Brown looms over the opposition – the best WR in football had a rough week, but is likely to use that as motivation to propel himself (and his team) in this week’s matchup.
The Rage are at 2-0 and it’s simple why – defense. Not a single Rage player broke the 20-points margin last week, but the IDPs were absolute beasts. LB NaVorro Bowman, CB Bashaud Breeland, CB Patrick Peterson and S Eric Weddle combined for just over 57 points, offsetting a quiet week for the likes of LB Lavonte David, who failed to register on the score sheet at all. QB Drew Brees was expected to score handsomely last week, but he failed to do so, with many expecting a bounce back performance in week 3.
The Dope’s Prediction: A strong defensive performance from the Rage puts them to 3-0. The Touchdowners contact a voodoo priest to get their injured players off IR.

Maesteg SheepSkins (0-2) @ Team Jones (1-1)
It could have been a lot worse for the SheepSkins. RB Melvin Gordon and WR Julio Jones combined for 40 points, whilst the rest of the front eight failed to pull their weight. S Landon Collins was the outstanding performer on a D that failed to set the world alight last week. The SheepSkins have injury worries – it was announced as this report went to press that RB Arian Foster is out of this weekend’s game with a groin injury. LB Danny Trevathan is out for this weekend’s game with a thumb injury which requires surgery – a longer recovery time will be a bitter blow to the SheepSkins chances as he has been a star performer in the first two games. The Dope feels that the SheepSkins are one good game from both Jones and A.J. Green away from destroying an opponent and the issue so far has been timing – both men have yet to time their best performances at the same time.
Team Jones’s fortunes could have been very different if not for the QB switch. Jameis Winston was given the chance at QB and came crashing back down to earth with a bump. Four interceptions and losing a fumble will do that to you. So poor was his performance that Jones canned him almost immediately. Matty Ice returns to the BFL under center for Team Jones this weekend and if his first two performances are anything to go on, signs of the Matt Ryan that took the Falcons to within a field goal of the Super Bowl should have the rest of the league looking worried. Solid performances from S Kenny Vaccaro and Malcolm Jenkins will give Jones confidence that his team can get the job done on all fronts this weekend.
The Dope’s Prediction: Team Jones goes back to winning ways. SheepSkins try to find some way of getting A.J. and Julio on the same page.

Cleveland Clowns (1-1) @ Waterton Winos (1-1)
(Clowns lead overall series, 2-1)
Certainties of life: Death. Taxes. Clowns over Cookies. The Clowns continued their impressive winning streak over the Cookies with a resounding victory, adding a Hyundai Player of the Week for their troubles. RB Matt Forte’s 196 yards rushing through two games has catapulted the veteran back into the league’s elite, although whether he can continue this momentum is another question entirely. Forte is already 1 TD away from bettering his 2015 record, but faces a tough matchup this weekend that will definitely temper expectations. Forte was not the only star in week 2, WR Eric Decker – who already wins at life with a beautiful wife – had 126 yards and 1 TD and is expected to see more of the ball in this weekend’s game. On the defensive front, The Dope tips his hat to LB Derrick Johnson, who had 11 total tackles and a sack in a grand performance last week. Further production stats will keep the Clown car rolling towards defending their championship.
The Dope was almost admitted to hospital for shock when the Winos won their first game in almost a year last weekend. Like the Rage however, it was performance based around outstanding D – CB David Amerson and S Antoine Bethea dominated proceedings and made up for the lack of offensive production. With WR Donte Moncrief ruled out of this game once more, the Winos will need some help at WR to have any chance of winning this weekend, but given the Clowns already look like they are back on 2015 form, they need not bother.
The Dope’s Prediction: Clowns get back to a winning record. The Winos reshuffle the deck at WR, although it could be rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic.

Maryland Cookies (0-2) @ Shotgun Shenanigans (1-1)
(Overall series tied, 1-1)
Facing their perennial nemesis the Clowns in week 2 was not the ideal schedule for the Cookies, but if you can gain positives from the loss, it’s that they are showing signs of being the exciting attacking team that they were in 2015. WR Kelvin Benjamin’s 108 yards receiving and 2 TDs will give the Cookies confidence that he can make up for the loss of RB Ameer Abdullah. The exciting sophomore was ruled out with a foot injury and will miss at least a couple of weeks. LB Paul Posluszny was back to being Captain Consistent last weekend with 11 TT – the Cookies collective will be hopeful that his example will lead the rest of the D to step up in the coming weeks as they seek to turn the 0-2 star around.
The Shannys are suffering with the injury struggles of TE Rob Gronkowski. Whilst not a one-man team this year like he was last year, his anonymity in the stats department so far is worrying considering his status not only as one of the elite TEs in the game, but his worth as a high draft pick. Maybe the One Man Army tag should be applied to LB Von Miller. To those doubting exactly why the man got paid earlier this year, an incredible rampage for seven tackles, three sacks, a pass defensed and a forced fumble last weekend tells you all need to know.
This matchup has an interesting wrinkle that the two teams had completed a trade just before The Dope sent in his predictions – with QBs Carson Palmer and Aaron Rodgers heading in opposite directions. Considering the lofty standards that he has set, Rodgers has been disappointing in his first two games, and whilst Carson Palmer had a tough week 1, he showed signs of being the competent QB that won a Heisman Trophy once more in week 2. It could well be that this swap could determine both team’s fortunes this weekend.
The Dope’s Prediction: Even missing key players on offense, Shotgun Shenanigans get the W. The Cookies look to start the rebuilding process in week 4.

The Game of the Week is presented by Advance Auto Parts, the official automotive replacement parts supplier of the BFL. Service is our best part…
Dallas Sucks (2-0) @ Dezzy Does Dallas (2-0)
This early season meeting between two emerging rivals was pinpointed by both GMs in the pre-season, but the added pressure of both teams being undefeated at this point means the whispers of a potential playoff meeting have got both team’s fan bases excited.
Given their week 1 margin of victory, there would have been some concerned faces on the Dallas Sucks sideline as last week’s game drew to a close, but victory was assured with a decent performance from WR Alshon Jeffery late on. It was a strong defensive performance yet again from LB Alec Ogletree and it’s difficult to see him not finishing amongst the league’s elite this season. The big news is the loss of Adrian Peterson, with the news again reaching The Dope at press time that he was placed on IR and is out for at least 8 weeks due to a right knee injury. Carlos Hyde comes into the team via a trade and whilst it’s difficult to foresee any RB capable of maintaining an elite level like Peterson has been able to through the course of his career, Hyde is a capable rusher, with just under 1000 yards during his three professional seasons. Then again, if the Dallas Sucks defense shows up like it did last week, they may not have too much to worry about.
The Dezzys GM was quick to place last week’s Dope Sheet around the locker room, with a source telling me that the GM used it as inspiration for a half-time team talk that lit a fire in his team. He need not have worried. Cam Newton’s #1 overall pick in the draft was more than justified with a splendid performance to lead the team as they routed Team Jones last week. Like their hated opponents this week, the Dezzys have a change at RB after Danny Woodhead was ruled out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL in his right knee. Ironically, the Dezzys have picked up Peterson’s likely replacement – Jerick McKinnon – and will hope that a good workload falls on his shoulders this weekend. Of course, the Dezzys have two weeks left to ride on the DeAngelo Williams train before it re-enters the station, and there hasn’t been any signs of that hype train being derailed just yet.
The Dope’s Prediction: The loss of Peterson is too much for Dallas Sucks to overcome this weekend, and the Dezzys go from wire-to-wire and will be on 3-0, using further Dope Sheets as motivation for team talks to come.

The Dope’s Week 2 Predictions: 2-3
The Dope’s Overall Predictions: 6-4

From the Commish’s Desk…
* Obvious reminder to make sure that your Eliminator Challenge and Pigskin Pick’em picks are in before the early Sunday kick-offs!
* Just to reiterate – in the Eliminator Challenge, you choose ONE (1) team who you think will definitely win their game that weekend, and you can only use that team you selected once throughout the season. Pigskin Pick’em asks you to predict who you think will win every game out of that week’s NFL slate. There are no prizes for winning (as of yet) except bragging rights and showing that your football knowledge isn’t all terrible.

Good luck everyone in week 3, may all your running backs get through the games in one piece!


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