WPI Fantasy League: Week 14

The final week of the WPI league's regular season saw some movement at the top half of the standings. Let's see how it all shook out as we move ahead to the playoffs.

Our Members:
- Michael Ash of WPI (We Play To Win The Game)
- Nick Athan of WPI (Warpaint Pubs)
- Adam Best of ArrowheadAddict.com (Arrowhead Addicts)
- Darren Carter of WPI (Sphinx Domination)
- Pat Clifton of WPI (Team Pat Is God)
- Topher Dean of WPI (Waste of Space)
- Chris Thorman of ArrowheadPride.com (Arrowhead Pride)
- C.E. Wendler of WPI (The Runnamuckers)

Week 14 Recap:

We Play To Win The Game (76.74)
Warpaint Pubs (74.20)

After all of Sunday's action, I was clinging to a one-point lead and still had my final roster spot – the Tampa Bay defense – set to play on Monday night. All of Warpaint Pubs' players had finished their games on Sunday, so their score was final.

Since defenses are the fantasy position most prone to negative points, I considered benching the Bucs and just sitting on the win. But I harkened back to a close Week 2 matchup between Warpaint Pubs and The Runnamuckers where a late adjustment in the scoring ended up changing the final outcome. Not wanting to fall victim to such a loss myself, I opted to keep the Bucs' defense active.

Besides, I thought, what are the odds of the Bucs giving up enough points to have it negatively effect me? In the WPI league, a defense has to surrender 28 points before it begins to harm your score. Surely the Bucs' defense wouldn't allow 28 points.

Well, they didn't. They allowed 38.

Somehow, though, the Bucs managed enough sacks and interceptions to offset the points they lost, and I squeaked by with a two point victory. Almost all of my offense came from the Denver Broncos, as injuries to my regular running backs caused me to start Peyton Hillis along with my usual combo of Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall, and the three combined for nearly 60 of my 76 points.

Maurice Jones-Drew led the scoring for Warpaint Pubs, who would have run away with this matchup had Tony Romo turned in a better game against Pittsburgh.

Sphinx Domination (104.76)
The Runnamuckers (90.96)

The game that caused a shake-up the standings saw Sphinx Domination win their fourth in a row. In the process, they improved their playoff seeding from fourth to third and knocked The Runnamuckers from second to fourth.

C.E. got strong games of 20+ points from both Vincent Jackson and Titans' RB Chris Johnson, but he was probably hoping for more than 15 points from Kurt Warner in the Cardinals' blowout of the Rams. Most glaring was zero points for Antonio Gates, who went without a reception in San Diego's win over the Raiders.

Darren's road to victory was paved by Phillip Rivers' big 28-point game over Oakland, plus solid double-digit outings from Wes Welker, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Turner, and Thomas Jones.

Waste of Space (103.32)
Arrowhead Addicts (89.38)

The third straight win for Waste of Space put an end to the three-game winning streak of Arrowhead Addicts. Topher got a strong all-around effort from his entire team, with only two players – Eddie Royal and Kellen Winslow – not scoring double-digit points.

Adam got a similar well-rounded effort, but in his case it was three players – Hines Ward, Reggie Wayne, and Chris Cooley – who came up small, with none contributing more than five points.

The win moved Waste of Space into the #2 spot in the standings.

Arrowhead Pride (68.64)
Team Pat Is God (52.38)

In a battle of two teams with nothing on the line but pride, it was the aptly named Arrowhead Pride who walked away with the victory. It was all Donovan McNabb and Reggie Bush for Chris' squad, with those two players alone accounting for nearly half of Pride's final score.

For Team Pat it was all about Peyton Manning, who led all scorers with 29 points. Tony Gonzalez also contributed a solid score of 13.

Week 14 Transactions:

- In an effort to breathe some life into my sputtering team, I made several roster moves. Edgerrin James, Bo Scaife, and Ladell Betts were kicked off my bench to make room for Amani Toomer, Peyton Hillis, and Heath Miller.

Final Regular Season Standings:
*1. We Play To Win The Game 10-4-0 1407.80
*2. Waste of Space 10-4-0 1327.18
*3. Sphinx Domination 9-5-0 1447.30
*4. The Runnamuckers 9-5-0 1392.14
5. Arrowhead Addicts 5-9-0 1339.52
6. Warpaint Pubs 5-9-0 1198.26
7. Arrowhead Pride 4-10-0 1032.62
8. Team Pat is God 4-10-0 983.04
* = clinched playoff spot

Week 15 Playoff Preview:

(1) We Play To Win The Game vs. (4) The Runnamuckers

The first matchup of the championship bracket is between a battle of teams that have slumped down the stretch, with C.E. and I both going 1-2 over our last three games. But The Runnamuckers, led by Kurt Warner and getting strong running back play from Chris Johnson and DeAngelo Williams, are still putting out strong point totals each week. Their losses have been close games against the league's other two playoff teams.

On the other hand, while We Play To Win The Game has stayed atop the standings all season, my team is merely a paper tiger at this point. I haven't scored over 76 points in any of the last three games, which included a loss to the league's last-place team, a blowout loss to third-seeded Sphinx Domination, and the earlier recapped squeaker over Warpaint Pubs.

Injuries to my NFC West trio of running backs – Brandon Jacobs, Marion Barber, and Clinton Portis – have loomed large over the last few weeks, and combined with a disappointing receiving corps, my team is barely clinging to life.

The Runnamuckers dropping to the #4 seed may have been a blessing in disguise, especially considering the team's recent losses to the other half of the playoff bracket. If they can get by this matchup, they'll only have one of those two teams to deal with.

We Play To Win The Game and The Runnamuckers split their season series, with both teams going 1-1 against the other.

(2) Waste of Space vs. (3) Sphinx Domination

The two hottest teams in the league meet in the second half of the playoff bracket. Waste of Space is currently riding a three-game winning streak and has won eight of its last nine games. Sphinx Domination has done one better, winning it's last four in a row, including victories over both teams in the other playoff matchup.

Waste of Space has been an enigma of sorts, as they've managed to pull off wins without a consistent starter at quarterback. After riding Jake Delhomme for most of the season, Topher switched to Aaron Rodgers after a rare loss in Week 11, and has since made the move to Matt Cassell.

But all three options have been solid choices. Add a core of running backs that includes Adrian Peterson and Frank Gore, plus Steve Smith and Andre Johnson at receiver, and it's not hard to see why Waste of Space has shot up to the #2 spot in the standings.

Sphinx Domination built a strong stable of backs themselves, with Michael Turner, Brian Westbrook, Thomas Jones, and LenDale White all making key contributions to Darren's cause. Larry Fitzgerald and Terrell Owens start at receiver while the undrafted Phillip Rivers has been the team's regular starter since Week 4.

One thing is for sure: somebody's winning streak is about to come to an end. Over the course of the season, Waste of Space and Sphinx Domination also had a 1-1 split to their series.

(5) Arrowhead Addicts vs. (8) Team Pat is God
(6) Warpaint Pubs vs. (7) Arrowhead Pride

The four remaining teams will meet in the league's consolation bracket.

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