We are now officially at the half way point of the regular season of BFL Season II: Electric Boogaloo. It’s still a close race – the Winos are five games out of first place and there four teams on 3-4 records. Given the incredible runs that the Dezzys and Shannys went on this time last year to rescue themselves from putting the Plunger Bowl trophy on their mantelpieces, there is hope for every team outside of #1 Dallas Sucks that the play-offs are within their grasp. The next two weekends are crucial and will really see the good GMs separated from the merely half-decent ones – over the next two weekends, twelve NFL teams enter their bye weeks. Juggling the roster to determine the best match-ups given that some big players will be missing on bye weeks, is going to be fascinating to see.
There are some particularly interesting games in the league this week – including a rematch from the last year’s third place game, as well as a potential blockbuster scrap for the second overall seed.
Week 8 NFL Bye Week Teams: Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami, New York Giants, Pittsburgh, San Francisco
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Waterton Winos (1-6) @ Cleveland Clowns (3-4)
(Clowns lead season series, 1-0)
(Clowns lead overall series, 3-1)
The Dope is angry at the Winos as actually making the effort to tinker with their roster means that their name is mentioned in this publication for the first time in weeks. The changes made to their team after winning a second consecutive Turkey of the Week have seen them installed by favourites in Las Vegas for this particular game. This despite there being more Qs in the line-up than Tesco the week before Christmas. To be fair to the Clowns GM, he had feared that should the Winos actually make changes they might do some good things, and has been adjusting his roster accordingly. Clowns fans have long memories and two of the three 2015 meetings were settled by less than 3 points, including the opening game of last season that saw the Winos spring an upset victory over the more experienced GM.
There are whispers going around some BFL followers – are the 2015 Cleveland Clowns the BFL version of 2015-16 Leicester City? The Clowns have now lost more games so far this season than they did throughout their whole championship winning campaign. Le’Veon Bell has averaged a career best 5.1 rushing yards per attempt so far in his four games back – the best of his career – but has largely disappointed to many outsiders due to the electrifying standard that he has previously set. He has still yet to visit the endzone this season. Jordy Nelson, Cameron Meredith and Chris Ivory’s whereabouts are currently unknown and their portraits could be turning up on the sides of milk cartons soon. If the Clowns offense had turned up to the same extent that their key IDP did, the margin of the SheepSkins victory would not have been so great. Although overshadowed by his more illustrious team-mates, Chris Harris Jr. had his best game of the season last week and partnered with the current league sack leader, Lorenzo Alexander (who last week beat his previous season best sack total), the Clowns do have a championship capable winning D.
The Dope’s Prediction: Luckily for the Clowns, the amount of players carrying a slight knock, or potentially missing this weekend’s game, means that they should do just enough to avoid embarrassment this weekend.
Maesteg SheepSkins (2-5) @ Team Jones (3-4)
(Jones leads season series, 1-0)
From the two wins that the SheepSkins have picked up so far, you can safely say that when they win – they win big. Picking up their second Hyundai Player of the Week award for their dismantling of the defending champions, there was a plethora of outstanding performances on offense. But the star of the show was easily Landon Collins’s 8 total tackles and 2 interceptions, including the most rugby-like pick-six you will ever see. So naturally, with the momentum on his side from a spectacular game – he is on a bye this week. Melvin Gordon, drafted in the twenty-second round of the BFL draft, could very well be one of the biggest draft steals in the league. 121 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns will give the SheepSkins confidence moving forward that Gordon can carry the load. The Dope is anticipating that Julio Jones will have a fantastic performance this week and there is a real chance that the SheepSkins will again put up some high points totals this weekend.
By Team Jones’s own admission, their loss last week could be placed at the door of poor performances from their WR core. Stefon Diggs, returning from a bye week, was targeted only five times and therefore found it difficult to make an impact on the game. Allen Robinson had almost more targets than receiving yards (8 targets, 9 yards). It was a disappointing performance, but Team Jones has some aces in their hand. David Johnson was magnificent once more and is currently the league’s leading rusher. T.Y. Hilton’s 133 receiving yards included a visit to the endzone and his 4 receiving TDs put him tied for seventh overall. Joey Bosa has impressed in two of out of his three games since ending his contract holdout – so far, his holdout looks vindicated, but he faces a tough matchup this weekend that could temper expectations somewhat.
The Dope’s Prediction: Another thrilling performance from David Johnson carries Team Jones over the line in a highly entertaining, high scoring matchup.
Shotgun Shenanigans (3-4) @ Orlando Rage (5-2)
(Rage lead season series, 1-0)
(Overall series tied, 2-2)
For the second time this season, it’s a meeting of the two teams who made the winner’s consolation game in last year’s playoffs.
A fit and healthy Shannys team condemned the Dezzys to their second defeat of the season. A.J. Green was perfect in targets for receptions (8 for 8) – including an incredible one-handed Hail Mary catch at the end of the first half that demonstrated the juggling skills he picked up in high school. Green leads the league in receptions and is second to Julio Jones in receiving yards. Stopping Green from running rampant will be the key to any team’s success in the coming weeks. DeMarco Murray’s disappointing 2015 season is definitely in the rear view mirror as he picked up 107 rushing yards and a TD. Von Miller had his quietest game of the season so far on defense, which allowed the likes of T.J. Ward to step-up and claim some spotlight. Ward’s 8 total tackles and forced fumble was the highlight of a solid defensive performance from the Shannys, who have again rebounded from a slow start to show signs of making the playoffs once more.
For the second year in a row, the Rage enter week 8 with a 5-2 record. Where as last year, the team’s dominance was expected, the team is only now looking slightly confident after a 3 game win streak. After an impassioned defence of his QB in the style of Terrell Owens in recent weeks, Drew Brees continues to work his magic. Yet another 300+ yard performance with 3 TDs was matched by excellent performances from LeGarrette Blount (the league’s rushing TD leader  contributed 2 to that tally last week) and late free agent pick-up Jacquizz Rodgers (161 all purpose yards). Last week’s late free agency signing Rodney McLeod had another dynamite game – 7 total tackles, a sack, forced fumble and interception. McLeod has added just under 46 points to the Rage scores in the past two games – more than vindicating his acquisition. The Rage are in a tough spot this week – hit hard by two important players in particular being on byes – Odell Beckham Jr. and Aaron Donald. Whilst the team has made some free agency pick ups to cover these absences, it’s difficult to see the Rage maintaining the same kind of performance in recent weeks in this game.
The Dope’s Prediction: Shannys pick up an overwhelming victory as the Rage struggle with players on bye weeks.
The Super Touchdowners (3-4) @ Dallas Sucks (6-1)
(Sucks leads season series, 1-0)
It was an ineffective performance from the Touchdowners in week 7 as the Tom Brady Revenge Tour™ slowed down a little bit – especially compared to his previous two outings. Star RB Shady McCoy is again listed as questionable at press time and whilst he played in last week’s game, his total of 11 yards was not what TST’s GM has come to expect. Not one of TST’s offensive players (outside of Tom Brady) scored a touchdown last weekend. Meanwhile, on defense, Zachary Orr’s 12 tackle performance solidified his presence as a defensive lock. Except for this week – because he is on a bye. TST are hit hard by the bye weeks this week as two of the league’s best DTs (Ndamukong Suh and Damon Harrison) have the week to practice their golf swing, as does Antonio Brown.
As if being in sole possession of first place, taking a vacation and coming back to still only having one loss wasn’t enough to make other GMs jealous – Dallas Sucks picked up the hottest RB in the league, Jay Ajayi. Although he is on a bye week for this game, Dallas Sucks have an almost embarrassing level of depth at the moment. Luke Kuechly continues to hit double-digit total tackles a game. Cliff Avril continues to put the fear of God into opposing QBs with 6.5 sacks this season. Andrew Sendejo is tied for the lead in fumble recoveries.
The Dope’s Prediction: Dallas Sucks roll onto 7-1 as the bye week hits TST hard.
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…
Maryland Cookies (4-3) @ Dezzy Does Dallas (5-2)
(Dezzys lead season series, 1-0)
(Overall series tied, 2-2)
Jeremy Hill’s best performance of the season so far carried the Cookies to victory last week and put them in the final playoff spot as things stand. Hill was just shy of 200 all-purpose yards and carried the rest of the offense as they largely disappointed. Aaron Rodgers showed signs of being the A-Rod of old with his first 300+ passing yard performance of the season, but he faces an incredibly tough clash this week that means those kinds of numbers are very unlikely this week. Deone Bucannon outshined his LB partner Captain Consistency last week with 13 total tackles – although Bucannon’s stat lines are feast or famine, where as you can guarantee Paul Posluszny will contribute to the defensive performance every week. Ezekiel Elliott returns from his bye week and is immediately placed straight back into the thick of things as the Cookies look to solidify their position in the playoff race. Elliott is tipped to have a standout performance in some quarters this weekend and whilst The Dope would not comment that far, The Dope does feel that Elliott will dominate proceedings for his team this weekend.
It’s easy to paint the two game losing streak as a crisis for the Dezzys, but they did win 7 games on the bounce stretching back to last year’s post-season, so it’s not a “man the lifeboats” situation just yet. It’s important to note that Superman is already penned in to start a QB this weekend, which is a massive boost, given Kirk Cousins’s less than stellar production last weekend. Randall Cobb was the only member of the Dezzys offense to have anything remotely resembling a decent day – 116 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. On defense, Chandler Jones came off two games without a sack to record one last weekend, adding 3 total tackles and a forced fumble to his stat line.
As we came to press time, this game is almost too close to call – Las Vegas has shifted the line twice whilst this report is being compiled. The only certainty is that this is definitely worthy of being game of the week, presented by Advance Auto Parts. The Dope is required to make predictions and The Dope did not shy away from it – stating that the Cookies and Dezzys each have outstanding players in their roles, there is one offense that seems more likely to shine this weekend.
The Dope’s Prediction: In one of the closest games in the league yet, a marginally better offensive performance gives the Dezzys a victory.
The Dope’s Week 7 Predictions: 4-1
The Dope’s Overall Predictions: 20-15
From the Commish’s Desk…
* In the Pick’em challenge – Matthew continues to hold the overall lead on 68 points, with Lewis now in second on 65, leapfrogging Dai who drops to third on 64.
* In the Eliminator Challenge – we have new joint leaders, as Rhys is joined by Pete with 6 correct picks.
* In NFL news, the league’s trade deadline is on Monday at 4pm EST, so keep your eyes peeled as there’s plenty of rumours of some good players on teams that stink heading to some contenders that will definitely have an impact on your fantasy line-ups. Assuming the rumours turn to fact and the internet is not wrong.
* The Cabbage Patch itself looked rather good last weekend – shame the game itself was dreadful. Were it not for Landon Collins deciding that he would use the game as a showcase of what he could potentially be like as an offensive player, it would have been one of the worst London games. I’m not holding out much hope for the Washington Football Team versus the Bungals this weekend – the WFT have an injury list as long as one of Yao Ming‘s arms and haven’t beaten the Bungals since 1991. But am I looking forward to being there and seeing the Dalton Line in person? You bet I am!
* If anyone fancies writing a bit/some/all of the Dope Sheet – let me know, so you can take a rest of my inane ramblings for a week.
Best of luck to everyone in week 8 – especially juggling your line-ups with the increased amount of byes. Except Mike. Mike can get the sensation of a thousand lost sneezes.