At the business end of the second BFL season, only one thing is certain: the Waterton Winos are in the Plunger Bowl. The rest? Entirely up for grabs.
Every game (with the one obvious exception) has huge implications on the standings and therefore, where people will be seeded in the playoffs, if at all. Every player in the line-up, every inch gained, every point scored will be critical in the next few weeks to determine who will be playing for the Bridgend Shiva Bowl, or who will join the Winos in the Plunger Bowl. The Dope is back on his usual form this week, largely after taking a weekend off watching any kind of football and is refreshed to give some sort of prediction for this week’s games.
Week 11 NFL Bye Week Teams: Atlanta, Denver, New York Jets, San Diego
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Waterton Winos (1-9) @ The Super Touchdowners (5-5)
The Touchdowners inflicted another defeat onto the reeling Dezzys last week to reassert their own playoff push. Antonio Brown has been in splendid form in the past few games and has a ridiculously advantageous matchup this weekend that will no doubt help the TST points for column. The Tom Brady Revenge Tour™ continues and TST’s GM will be hoping that last weekend’s underwhelming performance was just an anomaly going forward. With the attention on his more hyped team mate, Dez Bryant had a magnificent performance last weekend in tragic circumstances, playing hours after learning of his father’s passing. Performing at all under those circumstances is admirable, but Bryant’s stats show he played tremendously.
With the static line-ups from 2015 a distant memory, the Winos will portray the role of playoff spoiler between now and the end of the regular season, as any points they score (or even a victory) will affect the playoff race. This weekend shouldn’t be too bad however.
The Dope’s Prediction: Obviously the Touchdowners boost their points total in this victory.
Shotgun Shenanigans (4-6) @ Team Jones (5-5)
The first (and potentially, only) meeting of the two most inconsistent teams in the league will no doubt help one team’s playoff hopes, whilst ruining the other’s…
The Shannys deserved better last weekend. DeMarco Murray’s performance last weekend was not only sensational, but historical – becoming the first non-QB to achieve a passing and rushing score in nearly 56 years. Doug Baldwin had a hat trick of endzone visits. Craig Robertson dominated defensive proceedings, as usual, and lead the team’s IDPs. However, the Shannys were let down by dreadful performances by Michael Thomas, among others. With key players missing this weekend as a result of a bye week, the enforced changes have reshuffled the Shannys line-up this week – perhaps this could give them momentum to turn around their regular season with four games to go.
The Dope was very tempted to repeat the above passage and simply substitute the players that fit the descriptions for Team Jones. Philip Rivers, David Johnson (duh) and Stefon Diggs were the stars on offense, Marcus Peters was the IDP MVP. Disappointing back-to-back games for Joey Bosa mean perhaps the bye week for him comes at the right time, allowing him to rest and re-evaluate his standing in the team. A similar description fits Brandon Marshall.
Given the nature of the teams around them, this is a “Loser Leaves Town” match – the loser can be crossed off for the playoffs. This game will come down to the two electric RB1s – The Dope says that which ever of the two has the better game will lead their team to victory.
The Dope’s Prediction: The Dope’s favourite RB, David Johnson, delivers the goods for Team Jones and carries them into playoff contention once more.
Maryland Cookies (5-5) @ Maesteg SheepSkins (4-6)
The Cookies were leading late against the Rage last week but a late show from the current league leaders condemned the Cookies back to .500. The Dope has considered Ezekiel Elliott to be a lock for Offensive Rookie of the Year for much of this season, but last weekend was more of an Overall MVP performance from the electric RB. 209 all-purpose yards and three TDs in week 10 puts Zeke not only as the league’s leading rusher through week 11, but at 8/5, the odds on favourite for regular season MVP. He’s a cert for Cookies MVP. Elliott made up for an underwhelming offensive performance from the Cookies last week (outside Aaron Rodgers, who also continues to work his magic, even in defeat). The team’s IDPs were consistent, but there was no notable performance to write home about.
The Rage’s defeat of the Cookies put an end to the SheepSkins win and get Player of the Week combo. Tyrell Williams, who came to the team in the A.J. Green trade, had his best performance of the season in week 10, so naturally misses week 11 with his bye week. As does Julio Jones, leaving the SheepSkins with a deep hole at WR this weekend. The Usual Suspect will miss at least this week’s encounter, possibly more, as he recovers from a punctured lung. However, the performance from the likes of Elliott last weekend shows that an incredible performance can make up for the missing of star power, the drop off from the likes of Jones, one of the league’s elite wide outs, to the rest of the roster, is a deep one. Landon Collins continues to impress as the leader of the team’s D and is expected to put up some solid numbers again this weekend.
The Dope’s Prediction: The loss of two top WRs due to byes comes at a bad time for the SheepSkins, giving the Cookies the edge in this encounter.
Cleveland Clowns (6-4) @ Dezzy Does Dallas (5-5)
(Dezzys lead overall series, 2-0)
No, that overall series lead is not a typo, given the fall from grace that the Dezzys have undertaken since that 5-0 start. Since equalling their regular season win total for 2015 inside the first five games of 2016, the Dezzys have completely gone off the rails, and a defeat this weekend will complete the bottoming out process. The Deezys were hit hard by byes last weekend, but the team’s running back play has been awful in recent weeks – a position the Dope feels the Dezzys should definitely look to strengthen in a trade somewhere. Even if it means giving up some big pieces, especially on defense. The legendary Larry Fitzgerald stepped up with some great numbers in week 10, with Superman showing signs that the kryptonite is wearing off as well. Defensively, the Dezzys should be competitively this weekend – Kawann Short (acquired through a trade with Team Jones) is tipped by The Dope to have a big impact on this weekend’s fixture.
The Clowns GM was visibly seen breathing a huge sigh of relief that his nightmare ended in week 10. Le’Veon Bell finally scored his first touchdown in over a year. This capped off a solid performance for the defending champions, who have timed a three-game winning streak to perfection, with a further victory this week solidifying the chance for them to defend their trophy. One of The Dope’s top sleepers in this year’s BFL draft, Marcus Mariota, has put together an exciting run of games this season and continues to cement his starting place in the Clowns collective.
The Dope believes that this matchup is far closer than people realise, with the better offensive players split down the middle, whilst the Dezzys have the better of the upper defensive order, the Clowns have the stronger depth at the lower end of the IDP roster.
The Dope’s Prediction: The lack of a real #1 RB hurts the Dezzys and the downfall is complete as the Clowns win this one in a close game.
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…
Orlando Rage (8-2) @ Dallas Sucks (7-3)
When the BFL office staff were pooled as to what the game of the week was, this was the undisputed winner – a potential Bridgend Shiva Bowl preview as both teams look to pin down the #1 seed. Whilst these two teams have not met in the BFL, the history between the two GMs is long in the forefathers of the BFL, and that adds to make this contest perhaps one of the best in the league this season.
The Rage GM stated in his press conference this week that whilst he has the utmost respect for the Dallas Sucks GM, he has had this game circled in his calendar as one his team would be desperate to win. Especially now given the stakes that are involved. It was thanks to last week’s edition of The Late Show with Odell Beckham Jr. that the Rage picked up the victory, as his performance put the team back in control as time expired. Big Daddy Breesy continues to further his legend, but LeGarrette Blount was the team’s undisputed star in week 10, his three TDs putting him top of the pops with TDs in the league this season. Delanie Walker’s status as one of the league’s top TEs was confirmed with a magnificent performance. It was a quieter than usual day for the Rage D last weekend in terms of points scored, but in a hard fought game like this one, the IDP contingent will need to be at the top of their game – and it’s looking like the Rage will go into this game with all of their top players injury-free and available for selection.
The braggadocio of the Dallas Sucks GM knows no bounds, but, as a wise man once said, “It’s difficult to be humble when you are as great as me”. Consistently one of the top two teams in the league since joining as an expansion team this year, the scalp of one of the Original Six in a potential home advantage decider will only serve to increase the GM’s pride. The Sucks team performance last week baffled the experts, as the offense was disappointing. Rising star Jay Ajayi’s ascent to the crown of King of South Beach was cooled down. Alshon Jeffery’s performance was confounded by the news that he will serve a four-game suspension for violating the league’s PED policy. But, the Dallas Sucks D was another story, despite missing Khalil Mack on a bye (BTW, Mack is being given long odds as league MVP, which is a sign of how dominant a defensive player he has been). Tony Lippett, a former college WR turned CB, provided two interceptions – the first of his career – to steal the show on defense and propel Dallas Sucks to victory.
Whilst this is down as the Game of the Week, The Dope seems to think that one team has it in the bag. Whilst one team has a couple of individual stars that are capable of winning the game singlehandedly, The Dope feels one team is far better overall and will take the victory.
The Dope’s Prediction: Dallas Sucks jumps back to #1 overall with a victory and will probably seal home advantage throughout the playoffs in the process.
The Dope’s Week 10 Predictions: 2-3
The Dope’s Overall Predictions: 27-23
From the Commish’s Desk…
* Just a reminder that the BFL trade deadline is next Thursday at 6pm UK time. I know that falls during one of the Thanksgiving Triple Headers, but, being as there were no objections to moving the date, the date is staying. A reminder that after this date, no trades can be accepted, declined or upheld. As a result, pay particular attention to next week’s NFL schedule to find out when your players are involved and how it will effect your line-up – don’t tune in halfway through the Cowboys game, realise someone is out, or you had better options on the bench and you forgot to have to swap them out and scream “Aw bollocks!”.
* I did some number crunching during some downtime today and have already decided that in the 2017 season, the head coaching scoring will change (from awarding 0.5 per point scored to 0.25 per point scored). As the original six know, my intention for the HC position was for it to be a nice little bonus, no greater than around 10 points on average for a victory. Last season, the leading HC (the 15-1 Panthers) outscored every RB, TE, D/ST, K and IDP (DT, DE, LB, CB, S). Having tested it earlier today, I believe that for next season, that scoring formula will (finally) get to my original vision for that role. I’m also planning to stick to my intention of getting rid of the third WR slot – either dropping it completely, or adding a further flex slot. If you have any suggestions on how best to improve the league, please don’t hesitate to come forward with some constructive suggestions.
Told you last week was a blip.