Ahead of the Salford Bloggers’ week 16 consolation ladder matchup, I was a little worried.
Sure, it’s a consolation ladder matchup where seemingly the only real objective is to dodge the proverbial wooden spoon, but victory is still on the agenda.
And so entering week 16, I couldn’t help but be a little apprehensive. On paper, the Bloggers were set to win the matchup against La Linea Lineman. Though that was something they should’ve done in week 12 of the regular season when I needed the win to avoid being eliminated from playoff contention.
If we rewind to before that matchup, the Lineman – then carrying a 4-7 record – had yet to score 100 points in their previous 11 attempts. But if they had to break their duck against anyone, it had to be the Bloggers, who were on the end of some unfortunate resurgence throughout the season.
Though to be fair to La Linea Lineman, they haven’t looked back since, hitting three digits in each week since that week 12 meeting – and therein lays the root of my concern.
So it wasn’t a surprise when they went for over 100 points against the Bloggers, giving my team a big hill to climb early on.
The Bloggers haven’t been doing too badly themselves recently, but the first leg of the second round consolation matchup got off to a poor start, no thanks in small part to the likes of Jimmy Graham, DeAndre Hopkins and Stephen Gostkowski failing to make double digits, and generally underperforming. But at least Hopkins and Gostkowski don’t have the distinction of being first-round fantasy draft picks, so any animosity felt towards their performances in week 16 is already less than that of Graham’s.
But fortunately I had a couple of white knights that pulled me back towards my opponent. They were Tony Romo, who led the Dallas Cowboys to an impressive 42-7 win at home against the Indianapolis Colts, winning the NFC East title and scoring 26 fantasy points in the process, and C.J. Anderson, whose impressive season continued en route to 138 total yards, a touchdown and 19 points.
If it wasn’t for those two, as well as solid weeks from Demaryius Thomas and Randall Cobb, then the second leg may not look as winnable.
Two points is the bridge to gap, and hopefully the Salford Bloggers can finally exact some overdue revenge against La Linea Lineman.
La Linea Lineman
QB: Ryan Tannehill (396 passing yards, -5 rushing yards, 4 TD, 1 INT) – 29 points
RB: Eddie Lacy (99 rushing yards, 5 receiving yards, 1 TD) – 15 points
RB: Joique Bell (74 rushing yards, 13 receiving yards, 1 TD) – 14 points
WR: Alshon Jeffery (72 receiving yards, 1 TD) – 13 points
WR: Odell Beckham Jr (148 receiving yards, 2 TD) – 26 points
TE: Dwayne Allen – 0 points
FLEX: Andre Williams (110 rushing yards) – 11 points
D/ST: Rams D/ST (37 points allowed, 1 sack) – -6 points
K: Steven Hauschka (3 field goals missed, 5 extra points made) – 2 points
RB: LeGarrette Blount – 0 points
RB: James Starks (3 rushing yards, 22 receiving yards) – 2 points
WR: Andre Johnson (65 receiving yards) – 6 points
WR: Michael Crabtree (5 receiving yards) – 0 points
WR: Michael Floyd (41 receiving yards) – 4 points
WR: T.Y. Hilton – 0 points
TE: Coby Fleener (36 receiving yards) – 3 points
QB: Tony Romo (218 passing yards, 28 rushing yards, 4 TD) – 26 points
This year may just belong to Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys… or so their fanbase hope. But Romo led his team to a crushing victory against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts, which is an extremely impressive feat to achieve. Fortunately for the Salford Bloggers, Romo threw four of the team’s six touchdowns, which boosted the quarterback’s fantasy mark for the week to 26. And I was worried that I had made the wrong decision when Philip Rivers scored 24 points on Saturday evening. Thanks for sparing my blushes, Tony.
RB: Mark Ingram (38 rushing yards, 17 receiving yards, 1 TD) – 10 points
If it wasn’t for his touchdown, Mark Ingram would have had a terrible week. Fortunately he got that score and just crept into double digits along the way. It’s a shame, because Ingram had a few weeks where he looked like a bonafide RB1, but his recent performances seem to have gone by the wayside – much like his team who crashed out of the playoffs after losing at home to the Atlanta Falcons.
RB: C.J. Anderson (83 rushing yards, 55 receiving yards, 1 TD) – 19 points
Prior to Monday Night Football, I was 32 points adrift of La Linea Lineman and really needed big performances from C.J. Anderson and Demaryius Thomas. Big performances from Anderson and Thomas I wanted, big performances I got! C.J. Anderson has been fantastic over the past several weeks, and he’s the ball that just keeps on rolling. His 19 points helped drag the Bloggers to within two of La Linea Lineman. Great stuff.
WR: Demaryius Thomas (115 receiving yards) – 11 points
While Demaryius Thomas didn’t have the highest scoring of weeks, his points combined with C.J. Anderson’s were enough to pull the Salford Bloggers close enough to La Linea Lineman to be able to move into the lead in the season’s final week.
WR: Randall Cobb (131 receiving yards) – 13 points
Randall Cobb’s run without scoring a touchdown stretched to six weeks against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he more than made up for it with 131 yards as the Packers won on the road in Florida. This was one of Cobb’s good weeks.
TE: Jimmy Graham (53 receiving yards, 1 TD, 1 fumble) – 9 points
Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy. When one of your number one fantasy pick’s best games is a nine-point outing, you know it was a pick that you didn’t spend wisely. Though I will take the points – it is better than half his other performance this year.
D/ST: Dolphins D/ST (35 points allowed, 1 INT, 4 sacks, safety) – 6 points
The Dolphins weren’t looking too sharp as their defense quickly allowed the Miami Dolphins to jump out to a 17-7 lead in the first half, and it didn’t get much better as they allowed 35 points through four quarters. Fortunately, Miami walked off on a safety, which gave their D/ST a nice little boost at the end of the game, meaning they finished on a respectable six points. It was a pleasing total, considering things could have been a lot worse. It was made even better because I decided to start the Dolphins over the Baltimore Ravens and the Vikings, neither of whom managed to score as many points as the Dolphins D/ST did.
K: Stephen Gostkowski (1 field goal made, 2 extra points) – 5 points
The decision on whether to start Stephen Gostkowski or Cody Parkey has become part and parcel of the run-up to fantasy games this season, and this week I finally picked the right kicker. Though really, it didn’t matter too much. Both players had bad weeks, and Gostkowski only bettered Parkey by a single point. Slim pickings, it would seem.
QB: Philip Rivers (356 passing yards, 4 TD, 3 INT) – 24 points
RB: Chris Johnson (30 rushing yards, 3 receiving yards) – 3 points
WR: Percy Harvin (44 receiving yards, 1 rushing yard) – 4 points
TE: Jared Cook (41 receiving yards) – 4 points
D/ST: Ravens D/ST (25 points allowed, 1 INT) – 2 points
D/ST: Vikings D/ST (37 points against, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 1 sack) – -3 points
K: Cody Parkey (1 field goal made, 2 field goals missed, 3 extra points) – 4 points