Just like that, we wave goodbye to another season of fantasy football – where has that time gone?
It only felt like five minutes ago that The League’s draft was taking place, and we were all getting set for the season ahead. Fast forward a little over 17 weeks and here we are, finished.
Though for some fantasy football players, week 12 would have been the finish if they were in my shoes. The Salford Bloggers entered their matchup that week against La Linea Lineman, fighting for the team’s playoff lives. But as had become a common occurrence over the course of the season, the opposition had a massive week, recording a triple digit score for the first time. The loss eliminated the Salford Bloggers from The League’s playoffs, but it did not dampen my desire to win – playoffs or not.
Having known that there would be a consolation ladder, I knew that week 13’s regular season finale against the Wigan Warriors would not be the last game, but I wanted to see the season out with victory anyway.
The consolation ladder then rolled around, and first up the Bloggers had the Kardac Kids srm. Even though the Kardac Kids didn’t provide much of a challenge, I made sure that the Bloggers fielded what I believed to be the best starting lineup, because I wanted to win. Consolation or not, the objective didn’t change.
The reward for winning that game was to move on to the top of the consolation ladder to face, once more, La Linea Lineman with a chance to avenge my playoff elimination a month earlier. The start wasn’t what I was hoping for, and in the first leg the Lineman moved out to a two point lead. It have the Bloggers a hill to climb, but I still believed that they were up to the task in the final week, and they’d have to overcome that deficit against a team with two 100-plus point outings against them in their last two meetings.
So with the top spot of the consolation ladder on the line, the Bloggers’ roster came to play, and got off to a great early start with Tony Romo, Mark Ingram, the Colts D/ST and Stephen Gostkowski hitting double figures, whilst La Linea Lineman had Odell Beckham Jr and Coby Fleener taking their games to the next level to keep them in it.
But it was in the late games that the Bloggers really excelled, with C.J. Anderson running all over Oakland’s defense for almost 100 yards and three scores, Demaryius Thomas chipping in with another 100-plus yard game, and Randall Cobb finally bringing his touchdown drought to an end, with two end zone grabs against Detroit, good enough for 18 points.
The Lineman offered little in the way of a reply, as Eddie Lacy and Joique Bell spluttered their way to a joint 16 points – though the Rams D/ST did a good job in Seattle, limiting the Seahawks to just 20 points, which rewarded La Linea Lineman more kindly than some thought it would.
At the end of the week, the Salford Bloggers had not only eliminated La Linea Lineman’s two point lead, but in doing so opened up a 22 point one of their own, from which the Lineman never recovered. The opposition only managed 88 points in week 17, snapping their five-game streak of triple digit scoring.
It may not have been the way I pictured week 17 going at the beginning of the year – I was hoping the Salford Bloggers would be closing out the fantasy football season with a win in the championship game – but it didn’t pan out that way and to essentially ‘win’ the consolation ladder was still a minor achievement.
The Salford Bloggers went 6-7 in the regular season and 2-0 in the postseason, finished third in scoring and had the second most points scored against them. It wasn’t perfect, it was unlucky, it was frustrating; but most of all it was fun, and the experience of playing this season will undoubtedly have taught lessons in playing fantasy football which can be used going forward.
It’s been a great year, and I’ll miss it. Thank you to all the players who competed in The League, didn’t give up and made it competitive. Oh, and congratulations to the playoff winner Team AZ Fixitmen.
I’ll see you next year.
La Linea Lineman 192-214 Salford Bloggers
La Linea Lineman
QB: Ryan Tannehill (259 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 fumble) – 12 points
RB: Eddie Lacy (100 rushing yards, 26 receiving yards, 1 fumble) – 10 points
RB: Joique Bell (60 rushing yards) – 6 points
WR: Alshon Jeffery (34 receiving yards) – 3 points
WR: Odell Beckham Jr (185 receiving yards, 1 TD) – 24 points
TE: Coby Fleener (56 receiving yards, 2 TD) – 17 points
FLEX: T.Y. Hilton – 0 points
D/ST: Rams D/ST (20 points against, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 3 sacks) – 6 points
K: Steven Hauschka (2 field goals made, 2 extra points made) – 10 points
RB: Andre Williams (43 rushing yards, 19 receiving yards, 1 TD) – 11 points
RB: Branden Oliver (71 rushing yards, 4 receiving yards, 1 TD) – 13 points
RB: Latavius Murray (37 rushing yards, 60 receiving yards) – 9 points
RB: LaGarrette Blount (62 rushing yards) – 6 points
WR: Andre Johnson (134 receiving yards, 1 TD) – 19 points
WR: Charles Johnson (22 receiving yards, -11 rushing yards) – 2 points
WR: Eddie Royal (95 receiving yards) – 9 points
QB: Tony Romo (299 passing yards, 2 TD, 1 INT) – 17 points
Tony Romo may have only accounted for 12 of the Dallas Cowboys’ 44 points in their final regular season game against the Washington Redskins, but it was enough to help him to a good fantasy outing in week 17. The first half of the season belonged to Philip Rivers, but Tony Romo has improved to be the better quarterback in the 2014 season. Good job, Tony.
RB: Mark Ingram (57 rushing yards, 4 receiving yards, 1 TD) – 11 points
Ingram finishes the year with three straight double-digit scoring weeks, and had another solid showing against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as he found the end zone in addition to his 57 rushing yards. He may not have lived up to the promise he showed in the first two weeks of the season, and the two weeks after he started following his injury earlier on in the year, but Ingram proved to be a solid investment for the Salford Bloggers, providing the team with a starting fantasy running back from week two onwards.
RB: C.J. Anderson (87 rushing yards, 20 receiving yards, 3 TD) – 28 points
C.J. Anderson, how do you do it? With his 28 point week 17 showing, the Broncos running back solidified his position as my pickup of the season, beating out fellow running back Mark Ingram for the accolade. Since taking the starting spot for Denver in week 10, the back had five weeks of 20-plus point scoring, and has been one of the hottest running backs in the second half of the season. Sure, I didn’t get Odell Beckham Jr, but Anderson was the next best thing.
WR: Demaryius Thomas (115 receiving yards) – 11 points
Demaryius Thomas had his third touchdownless performance in the past four weeks, but he can be forgiven. Part of the forgiveness stems from the 115 yards he got against the Oakland Raiders, but he also gets a free pass because C.J. Anderson has found the end zone seven times in the span. Not to worry though, because Thomas was still a good start at the wide receiver position in week 17, and has been one of the most consistent players for the Salford Bloggers this year.
WR: Randall Cobb (80 receiving yards, 6 rushing yards, 2 TD, 1 fumble) – 18 points
Randall Cobb was one of the early fantasy football successes of the season. Despite not being the top receiver on the Green Bay Packers’ depth chart, sitting second only to Jordy Nelson, Cobb was averaging a touchdown per game in his team’s first 10 matchups. But he ended up entering the final week of the NFL’s regular season off the back of six straight weeks of failing to find the end zone. Fortunately, though, Cobb snapped the streak with not one, but two six point scores. He added 86 total touchdowns to that, and put an exclamation mark on a really good season for him. There aren’t many number two receivers who will have done as well as Randall Cobb this year.
TE: Jimmy Graham (54 receiving yards) – 5 points
Jimmy Graham was probably the Salford Bloggers’ most disappointing player of the season, and capped off the year with another subpar performance. He was nowhere near attaining his first round value in 2014.
FLEX: DeAndre Hopkins (5 receiving yards) – 0 points
Ouch. DeAndre Hopkins, who had been dealing with a wrist injury in the build up to the Texans’ season finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars, had just two receptions for five yards. It wasn’t good, as Hopkins failed to register a single fantasy point for the first time this season, but in the grand scheme of things it didn’t matter to the Salford Bloggers, and gratefully so.
D/ST: Colts D/ST (10 points against, 1 fumble recovery, 4 sacks) – 12 points
It wasn’t spectacular, but the Colts D/ST showed just why I picked them up ahead of week 17, condemning the Tennessee Titans offense to just 10 points. They could have been better, but Indianapolis did just what I wanted them to do, and rewarded my belief in them with a solid performance.
K: Stephen Gostkowski (3 field goals made) – 10 points
Stephen Gostkowski finished his season as the highest-scoring kicker in fantasy football for 2014 with a double-digit performance. He also scored the same amount of points as the Salford Bloggers’ other kicker, Cody Parkey, so at least I didn’t make the wrong decision this week. Drafting Gostkowski as the top kicker in the draft appeared to be the right deicison. Not bad at all.
QB: Philip Rivers (291 passing yards, 2 rushing yards, 2 INT, 1 fumble) – 5 points
RB: Chris Johnson (20 rushing yards, -3 receiving yards) – 2 points
WR: Percy Harvin – 0 points
TE: Jared Cook (37 receiving yards) – 3 points
D/ST: Dolphins D/ST (37 points allowed, 1 fumble recovery, 1 sack) – -5 points
D/ST: Ravens D/ST (10 points allowed, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 4 sacks) – 13 points
K: Cody Parkey (2 field goals made, 4 extra points made) – 10 points