we have a year around league that might interest you. Real Deal Ultimate features 3 sports in 1 league. Each sport has their own page where you manage your rosters but you complete against the same owners/GMs in all 3 sports as you own one team from each sport that is or has been historically associated with a city/metro area. This is 24 City League with a $200 yearly buy-in. It may seem like a lot but it includes all three sports as well as bonuses awarded to the top performers overall. Only $100 is due up front to get started as the 2nd half is due this Summer. Our calendar year runs from Jan 1st thru Dec 31st and we have a few open cities heading into 2017, our 3rd season, starting with Baseball.
If there is a sport that you don’t know as well, we have several cities that are co-owned that split up the GM duties as well as the buy-in. If you don’t have anyone to go in with, we can connect you with GMs that can manage a sport for you as the sole owner if needed. The Constitution is currently under review, but I would be happy to send the 2016 document to anyone that inquires. Just a warning, the Constitution is no joke, it spans 57 pages of reading enjoyment.
Game of the Week: Baltimore Ravens 267, New York Giants 220
So let’s be clear. This wasn’t a great game for the Giants. Easily one of their lowest outputs of the season. A mere 220 points. They aught to be ashamed of themselves. Imagine scoring only 220? But no. That’s not it. This was not a game the Giants lost. This was a game that the Ravens went out and won handily with an epic 159 point offensive performance. It wasn’t just that Baltimore scored a ton of points on offense, though. It was WHO. An unsung offensive cast exploded! Christine Michael got 26. Amari Cooper (ok, he’s sung) got 30. Terrelle freaking Pryor got 31, and Kendall Wright got 35. Mercy. The Ravens are now 6-3, averaging more than 200 points a game, and if the season were to end today, would be in the playoffs – and a team nobody would want to see on the opposing line!
Cincinnati Bengals: Time to give the Bengals a little credit as they ascend to sole possession of first place in the AFC North at an absolutely flabbergasting 7-2. Cincy’s latest triump was an 184-175 win over fellow playoff contender New England. With Cleveland suddenly scuffling and Pittsburgh suddenly without Ben Roethlisberger just as they Steelers were starting to get hot, it looks increasingly likely that Cincy and Baltimore might need to duke it out for the North division title – and the loser may well grab a wild card. The Bengals defense was the story in week 6, with 6/11 players scoring in double digits and a 20 point performance by one Zachary Orr.
New Orleans Saints: And boom. The Saints are back! 248-201 over divisional rival and Super Bowl Champ Carolina. This win puts the Saints in a three way tie for the wildcard with Atlanta and Philadelphia, and, just as importantly, only one game back of Carolina. After a brutal start, New Orleans is baaaaack. Fittingly, Drew Brees led the way with an absurd 44 point outing, but was paced by Golden Tate (38) and CJ Fiedorowicz (21) on offense. The Saints knew they were going to have to find some role players to step up and answer some question marks, and boy did they ever this week. A pick six from Malcolm Jenkins (28 points) added to the cause, as the Saints overcame 30 points from Cam and 23 from some guy named Nick Bellore. It’s getting crazy again in the NFC!
Houston Texans: Aight, Houston. Aight. I see you. After a cool 226-183 win over divisional rival Indianapolis, the AFC South is starting to sort itself out with Houston and Tennessee gaining a little separation from Indy and Jacksonville. David Johnson scored 38 points on a three score game and nearly outscored the hapless Colts offense by himself to pace the Texans. Still, there’s no forgetting a defense where 7 players scored in double figures and an 8th got nine. Houston’s two-back in the division and still a game out of the Wild Card, so they need to keep on moving, but this is a very nice divisional win for an embattled squad.
Honorable Mentions: Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, Tennessee Titans, Minnesota Vikings.
Cleveland Browns: Another brutal week for the Browns. Another loss against a contending time. Another game where the team simply didn’t look competitive. Another week where division rivals posted wins to knock them farther back in the race. 46 points on offense with a high score of 10 from Blake Bortles simply isn’t going to be good enough to win most weeks. Cleveland still leads the AFC North in points scored. They can still right the ship. But with Cincy and Baltimore playing as well as they are, they had better do it quickly.
San Diego Chargers: As recently as a couple weeks ago, San Diego looked like they could be a contender in the West, or at least make a solid push for second. Two losses later, not so much. The offense failed the Chargers utterly as they managed only 36 points on the offensive side of the ball, and fell to the Denver Broncos (who have suddenly won two in a row!). At 3-6, the Chargers face a huge hole to climb back into contention, and may not make it this year.
Minnesota Vikings: Yeeouch. The Vikings have looked better and better this year, posting competitive game after competitive game, but not posting a whole lot of wins. Well, they got their chance in week 6 as Tampa Bay posted only 116 points. The problem? Minnesota posted only 112. Sure, they had bye issues. But 45 points on defense is not going to get it done, as everybody not named Andre Branch combined for exactly 32 points. It’s a culture issue in Minnesota, where the Vikings now have talent – but have to figure out how to win.
Dishonorable Mentions: Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 7 Games of the Week:
Welp, unless we get some upsets, this could be another rough week for good games, unfortunately! Only four that really seem to me to feature much competition. But some should be excellent.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns: It’s a week to week league. One week you can be on the top of the world, only to come brutally crashing back to earth the next. Or you can be on the outs, facing a lost season, only to bounce back, dominate, and right the ship. Right now, big Mo (that’s momentum) is all on the side of Cincinnati, and the Bengals are poised to knock out their rivals with a brutal hook. But Cleveland isn’t done yet. And this could be the game that rights the Browns ship. Lots at stake in the battle of Ohio. We’ll see who prevails
Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans: This is what you call a run away and hide game. A win by the Titans would move them to 8-2, keep them solidly in control of the AFC South regardless of what Houston does, and pretty much put a nail in the punchless Colts coffin. Of course, see the above about a week-to-week league. If the Colts win, all of a sudden the South is right back in play.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. New Orleans Saints: The Chiefs are smarting from a 3 point loss to the Raiders and losing an opportunity to put their own division away. No time for woundlicking though, because the high-octane, rejuvenated Saints come roaring into town fresh off their demolition of the Panthers. Both teams are close to full strength, so this game should tell us a lot about the relative prospects of each team – and things are going to be looking pretty rosy for the winner.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New England Patriots: A tough and tricky game for two teams who need to rebound. After a nine point loss to Cincy, New England has fallen three games behind the unbeaten Bills and into a tie for the wild card. They need some wins to stay afloat, particularly given the competitive AFC landscape. The Steelers, after a brutal start without Le’Veon Bell, have rediscovered their world-beating mojo and posted several fantastic wins. Of course, they also just lost their quarterback. How will Pittsburgh fare in a non-Ben world? Both teams need this win. Only one will get it. Drama in the AFC Wild Card!
Last year, everything went wrong in Phoenix. Just injury after injury. And still, they hung around and almost made the playoffs. This year, things should be different. I’m in on the Suns this year. Westbrook at stretches last year looked like the best player to ever even sniff a basketball, and I like him to continue in beast mode this season with a healthy KD back and making him even better. Partnering him with Knight and IT gives Phoenix perhaps the best backcourt in Real Deal. Davis, Gibson, Kelly and especially Johnson give the Suns a pretty good frontcourt, too, albeit lacking in starpower. Stuckey is a terrific guy to have on your bench. And Langston Galloway continues to be a thing. I still believe Phoenix needs one more star – preferably a big – to push them over the top, but right now I feel good about their chances to be a lot better this year. You can’t count on luck – good or bad – two years in a row.
9.LOS ANGELES LAKERS
I might be overrating the Lakers here at 9, given how many question marks there are around this team, but I think this will be Kevin Durant’s career year. He’s motivated to win a title as OKC’s window closes. He’s eager to re-establish himself after a lost season. And he’s in a contract year gearing up to sign the biggest free agency deal ever. If all goes well, he will be the best player in fantasy outside of Anthony Davis. The squad surrounding him is more iffy. Dirk looked like an absolute geezer in the playoffs and I wonder how long he can realistically stay on the court for a Mavs team that looks pretty bad. Tony Parker has looked awful of late – his speed, which was one of the main components of his game, is fading fast. McLemore, Green and Hill could go one of two ways – either flourish in a new role/system or regress to league average or worse. On the other hand, the bench is a deep one with Kaman, Belinelli, Larkin and Cole all capable players. I especially like Belinelli this year and I think he’s the guard to own out of Sacramento. Meyers Leonard in a pick and pop with Damian Lillard will be exceptional, so that’s another bright spot. The Lakers are in for a better year than last just because of Durant actually playing this time, but it might be too late with Parker and Nowitzki falling off a cliff. Los Angeles might have to make a big move to stay in the hunt.
8. DALLAS MAVERICKS
Dallas paid big for Nerlens Noel and Rodney Hood – perhaps too big. Both are cheap, young and very talented, but the Mavs have now tied up so much of an investment of their future in bringing these two players in that they NEED them to contribute. I love Nerlens this year (A double-double with 2 blocks, 2 steals maybe?) and Hood will break out this season, but the price of admission on this attraction may have been too much. This is not to say that Dallas will be totally screwed if those two don’t pan out, because the rest of this team is still quite good. I think this will be the year that Derrick Rose alters his game so that he can actually stay on the court – this is Chicago’s last shot at making the finals with this group, so there’s incentive for him to stick around this year. Ellis will thrive in Indiana’s new offense and has a great chance to score 20+ per game. I like Hibbert to have a mini-bounceback year in Byron Scott’s old-school (read: stale) system, and O’Quinn may finally get a chance to prove himself. Crowder got way overrated this offseason and Jokic is still a mystery, but I’m more optimistic about him. The bench is young and intriguing, but I hesitate to say any of them are reliable. The Mavs made a lot of moves this offseason in an attempt to win now. This team is good, but is it actually good enough to win now?
7. UTAH JAZZ
I’m pretty high on this Jazz team. This is the year that I’m all in on them as the best team in the Northwest and I think their success will be highly sustainable. This will be the year that Gordon Hayward finally gets recognized as an All-Star and his all-around game will be a boon for his fantasy status as he grows into his role as the undisputed leader and best player in Utah. Derrick Favors was an absolute monster to close out last season and I expect much more of the same, especially because I think Gobert is getting way too much hype. George Hill continues to be an underrated fantasy player (is it because of his boring name or because he got traded for Kawhi Leonard?). Gallo will have an enormous year as the best offensive player by a mile in Denver. Ryan Anderson will be better than last year because he can’t possibly be worse. And I told you guys Humphries will be better than Nene this year! The depth is a problem for now, but it will be less so when Shumpert and Ajinca come back and Bjelica gets his butt up from the minors. Utah will be a division winner this year and maybe even a dark horse title contender.
6. ORLANDO MAGIC
Any team whose fate is in the hands of Kobe Bryant is a team that’s hard to peg down, but there are two things that make me feel okay ranking the Magic this high: 1. Just look how well they did last year, and 2. There are a lot of other really good players not named Bryant. I have my concerns about Gasol just given his age, but I actually think he’ll be fine. He’s a good fit in the Hoiberg offense, even if it means less usage. Word is it’ll be Mirotic starting alongside him instead of Gibson or Noah, and that’s very good for Orlando since it means he’ll still be able to grab as many boards as he wants. Monroe will be the offensive cornerstone in Milwaukee, so he should only get better. Oladipo just keeps getting better and better and Vucevic is an automatic double double machine. The bench is filled with cheap, dependable vets. But Nene is trash – Humphries is the PF to own from Washington and his lazy attitude and inconsistent play might see him fall out of Wittman’s favor for good. His massive salary is a big prohibitor in a potential trade and it could unfortunately bog down this team. Even despite that handicap, Orlando fields a very good and fairly deep roster. They should be a top team in the East once again.
5. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
It always kind of bugs me how little I have to write about this team, but it’s so solid and not much has changed. Gasol, Conley and Bledsoe will all continue to do their thang in leading this squad, and DeMarre Carroll will thrive as one of only a few competent players in Toronto. Having Ellington, Sullinger and Shelvin Mack in the starting lineup scares me a bit, but this team is still top-heavy enough to just make the top 5 just a hair above Orlando. I do fear that the Grizzlies will fall off unless they can make some adjustments to improve the bottom of the roster, either through free agency or a trade, but I wouldn’t bet against them.
4. ATLANTA HAWKS
I have the Hawks just beating out Orlando for the division crown, although their offseason was a massive disappointment. With shaky depth (actually, zero depth), the Hawks waited until basically the last minute to bring in some bench players (actually, one bench player) – and it cost them the team’s two best young players, including Nikola Mirotic, who is one of the best values in the league at minimum salary. Still, despite all that, the Hawks have the best starting eight in the league, top to bottom, and it’s not particularly close. I just worry a lot about injuries. Howard, Horford, Ilyasova and Rondo all have troubling injury histories. This team could derail fast if injuries start to pile up. Luckily, the Hawks have two first round picks for next fall, which are very tradeable assets should they need to use them in that way. Atlanta could have pushed for no. 1 overall and mounted a real title chase this season, but I wonder if they missed the train.
3. CHICAGO BULLS
I remember earlier in the offseason when I was praising Chicago for having such a cheap young roster. So affordable! I said. So sustainable! Well, that all went out the window in a hurry when the Bulls spent their life’s savings on Hassan Whiteside and Jordan Clarkson, making them the first and third richest players in Real Deal. That Kobe contract doesn’t look half bad now (just kidding, it still does). I have my questions about Whiteside – is he even good, for instance – but I do like Clarkson and think he’ll have the best season in the Lakers backcourt. Do I like him for $27 million a year? No. But I do like him. Even if you take those two guys out – and I think you very well could – this Bulls team is still very deep and very good. They’re my odds-on favorite to make it out of the East this year. Wiggins, Rubio, Harris, Parsons, Len and Gordon are all terrific young talents that will all be contributing right away. Combine that with a bench made up of Stephenson, Asik, Goodwin, McBob and Livingston, and you’re talking about the best bench in the league, no question. I think those two signings were a huge mistake, but the one thing that prevents it from being a total catastrophe is the fact that the rest of the roster is so young and so cheap. Chicago just didn’t need to throw down that kind of cash. It prohibits flexibility in the future and I doubt either will be the deciding factor in pushing them over the top. Still, I really like this Bulls team and expect them to be the best team in the East.
2. HOUSTON ROCKETS
At first, I thought Houston and Memphis would be neck-and-neck this year, but the more I think on it, the more I like the Rockets to once again win the toughest division in Real Deal with relative ease in the Battle of the Dueling Pedros. This team is deeper and has more top-quality talent than any other team in the West. The Rockets begin and end with James Harden, and I think he will have another MVP-type season. Houston is the team I think will have the best regular season in the NBA and that bodes well for Harden as a fantasy player. Surround him with useful guys like Barnes, Noah, Williams, Diaw, Ezeli and Chalmers – plus Mo Williams and Timo Mozgov at the minimum salary (!!!) – and you’ve got yourself a winner here. Anything Wes Matthews can give is a bonus. Houston is set up for success again this season.
1. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
The Dubs are comfortably the best team in this league. Granted, the team was dealt an amazing starting hand of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson at discount deals. Still, though, the roster constructed around them was impressive. Golden State elected to go young from the get-go, and it looks like it will start paying off right about now. Middleton, KCP and Plumlee all figure to have bigger roles this year, and Myles Turner is looking like he could come strong out of the gate. Brook Lopez was a good pickup in the summer and the bench is made up of a bunch of decent and reliable players. Everything about this team just screams “trending up” to me. They’re my pick to win it all.
Separation. The first three weeks of the Real Deal Football season are critical to establish separation and pecking order. Since they are all double weeks, we’re now nearly halfway through the regular season, and we’ve eliminated some teams from contention already, while other teams are most of the way to a division title. In some ways, it is a merciful system because teams know early on whether to focus on contending or rebuilding. In other ways, it is a vicious system because a couple bad weeks early on (always a crapshoot in fantasy sports, particularly with injuries) really can do major damage to an otherwise good team’s shot at contention.
That said, it is only 6 games in, and most teams still have a decent shot to make up some ground in what will now turn in to a long season. So settle in, assume marathon pace, and enjoy the ride.
Games of the Week: Yes, that’s right, games. You always get premium content here at the Real Deal Report, and lots of it. And man did we have some games this week. Three amazing games, all between good teams with playoff hopes, all where both teams scored over 200 points, and all decided by 7 points or less. You can’t get better than that!
Cincinnati Bengals 226, Pittsburgh Steelers 219: This could also fall in the “are you freaking kidding me?” category for Pittsburgh. The Bengals got a stunning 118 points from Andy Dalton (37), Theo Riddick (18), Rishard Matthews (34), and Chris Johnson (29). And 15 more from some guy named Will Compton who apparently plays linebacker. I mean, are you freaking kidding me? And they STILL would have won except that Big Ben Roethlisberger went down early in the game with a sprained MCL and deep bone bruise which will keep him out for 4-8 weeks. Are you freaking kidding me? The net result is that the Steelers lose for the first time in something like 10 or 11 weeks and fall a game behind the startlingly lucky Baltimore Ravens in the North. Man.
Cleveland Browns 217, Oakland Raiders 213: Another significant upset in the AFC and another game where much of the scoring came from very surprising places. The difference being that in this game, it ALL came from very surprising places. The upstart Cleveland Browns set a franchise record for points to knock off the Raiders, paced by 26 points from Gary Barnidge, 22 from Marvin Jones, 19 from Karlos Williams and 24 from Nose Tackle Brandon Williams. Not to be outdone, the Raiders (still missing Eddie Lacy), got 35 points from the inestimable Preston Brown, 25 from Nose Tackle John Jenkins (those nose tackles!) and 34 from James Jones, who nearly combined with James Starks to bring the Raiders all the way back from a massive deficit on Monday night. In the end, however, Oakland couldn’t overcome key injuries and dud performances from Tyler Eifert (-0.25 points on an overruled touchdown catch) and 0.5 points from Davante Adams, who couldn’t seem to make up his mind about his health. Oakland deserves to be 6-0. Instead they are 3-3. Fantasy football really is brutal sometimes.
New Orleans Saints 206, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 205: This could have been an absolutely horrible week for the Saints, after the Carolina Panthers exploded out of nowhere to hang 295 on them. A double divisional loss on top of a difficult start could have put the Saints in a major hole. Instead, they found a way to survive a furious Monday night comeback attempt by Tampa Bay, who posted 45.5 defensive points on Monday night (27 from Jaye Howard!) with a Sam Shields interception of their own. Like the real life Eagles, they were nudged to victory by a massive Darren Sproles punt return for a TD, and, some might say even better, Jimmy Graham actually got footballs thrown in his general direction. For the Bucs, it was a missed opportunity, as Torrey Smith, Alfred Morris, Von Miller, Darrelle Revis, and Doug Miller COMBINED for less than ten points. The Bucs are still in the lead. But the Saints aren’t dead. And that has to be scary for both Tampa and Carolina.
Kansas City Chiefs: Look, I hate to do this. But I need ONE week to celebrate. I mean, my team scored freaking 304 points, I won two games by 140+ points, and vaulted into first place in the division. It can’t possibly go anywhere but downhill from here. So I’m going to give the Chiefs props. 38 from Cobb. 32 (and a WR TD!) from Maclin. 22 from Gore. 18 from Jordan Reed, who has stayed healthy for THREE CONSECUTIVE WEEKS. 23 from Everson Griffen. A combined 31 from Rashean Mathis and Brandon Carr!?! It was a perfect storm week for the Chiefs, who now have the most points scored in RDFL by a significant margin and a one game lead in their division. It can’t last. But damn it feels good!
Carolina Panthers: Speaking of rising teams and perfect storms… I mean, Damn. This was one hell of an offensive explosion, as the Panthers set the league record for offensive points in a week with 191. Yep. One hundred and ninety-one! It was so ridiculous that 27 from LeGarrette Blount and 21 from Mark Ingram didn’t even seem noteworthy because they get 56 from Steve “I’m 63 years old and somehow STILL better than Dwayne Bowe has EVER been” Smith and 41 from Greg Olsen. The sad part is that Zach Ertz and Robert Woods combined for only 14 fantasy points when their respective NFL teams scored 65 points. Can you imagine the score if this had gone off? Like with KC, this isn’t sustainable. But also like KC, the Panthers are suddenly at 4-2 with some key divisional notches in their belts.
Indianapolis Colts: It appears I spoke too soon. Just after I called out the Colts for abysmal early season play and suggested that cold, hard reality was setting in, they go 2-0 within division and rattle off a 218 point week. The offense still stunk outside of Luck and Edelman, but the defense turned in a nice 137 point performance behind Dwight Lowery (28). 6/11 players posted double figures, and the Colts are back at .500. They still can’t score. But they might not need to in a division that suddenly looks wide, wide, wide open. The problem is that the division has Brandon Weeden throwing it the football. So even though it might be wide open, you wonder who is going to win it.
Honorable Mention: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions (again), Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens (again), Cleveland Browns
Tennessee Titans: They say that one of the difficulties facing young teams is learning how to win. There’s a stability to veteran, championship caliber squads that younger teams sometimes simply lack. Exhibit A: The Tennessee Titans. How do you react to moving into sole possession of first place in the division? Not by scoring 131 points and getting blitzed by the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts – a combined 3-7 besides these games. The game was a brutal reminder that this team is still young and inconsistent – there will be days that the rising stars will score 131 on offense alone. And then there will be days like this. The division, as we’ve noted, is still winnable. But these were two games the Titans really could have used.
Green Bay Packers: Ok… Green Bay is in trouble. This team has scuffled in the past and had the occasional bad week in years past. But they’ve always bounced back quickly. After getting blown out by KC and dropping a moderately close game to Dallas, the Packers find themselves at 2-4, 4 games behind the high-flying Lions in the division and two games out of the wildcard race. Quarterback has been a disaster for Green Bay all year, and DeMarco Murray’s injury situation hasn’t helped at all. I suspect Green Bay will be a decent team when the injuries get cleaned up – but at this point, it may almost be too late in a tough NFC.
Houston Texans: At 2-2, with some decent performances on the first two weeks, the Texans were a solid tweener squad. A pair of wins and a nice week could have vaulted them into contention in the winnable AFC South. Instead, Houston showed its true colors with a 125 point stink bomb that dropped it to 2-4 and strongly suggests that the Texans are more pretender than contender. The loss exposed a few of Houston’s fatal flaws (namely a lack of offensive contributors when Hyde and Jameis aren’t contributing) and a lack of depth on the Defensive side. It could be argued that a great game from Joseph Randle would have helped things had he been in the starting lineup. But Houston simply doesn’t have enough weapons to compete until Carlos Hyde, Jameis Winston, Donte Moncrief, and others are really ready to step up to the plate – something that looks much more likely to happen next year than this year.
Honorable Mention: Pittsburgh Steelers (Roethlisberger), Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos
Games of the Week:
Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: It’s been a LONG time since Pittsburgh has looked up at anyone in the standings, and it is not a stretch to say that the Steelers have looked like the better team, scoring 60 more points than Baltimore and doing it without Le’Veon Bell for the first two weeks of the year. But Baltimore has been undeniably good even as it has also been undeniably lucky – and the Ravens catch their rivals without a Quarterback. This still feels like the Steelers division, but if Baltimore can capitalize and take a 2 game lead with the tiebreaker…
New York Giants vs. Buffalo Bills: Ka-boom. Now this is a game. The 6-0 Giants vs. the 5-1 Bills. An in-state rivalry with possible super bowl ramifications. The G-Men have been one of the best teams in the league so far, but the Bills are coming off a 275 point romp behind 60 points from A. J. Mother. ($)&#*()$#. Green. Man that guy comes up every week! He won’t do THAT every week, but with Latavius Murray and Derek Carr playing as well as they have been, they may not need to. The Giants face QB uncertainty for almost all of their big receivers, with Romo and Roethlisberger out, Luck potentially out, and whoever starts for the Texans not being very good. Should be an interesting show!
Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Back to division rivalries, this should be a good one. The league leading Buccaneers were 1.5 measly points away from an unblemished perfect record and a two game lead in the division. Instead, the Panthers, riding high after an insane week, can catch them with a win this week. The Bucs need more from Josh McCown to hold off Johnny Football, and also need guys like Alfred Morris to do much more than they’ve been doing. For their part, the Panthers seek to prove that last week’s explosion wasn’t a fluke – particularly guys like Steve Smith and Mark Ingram
New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys: The battle of scuffling powerhouses takes place in the Lone Star state this weekend as struggling Dallas meets struggling New Orleans. Both teams were expected to contend for a Super Bowl berth this year, and while neither team has been bad… neither team has quite appeared to be that good, either. This game could revolve around Drew Brees, who is uncertain for this week’s matchup. The winner will be well-positioned to keep pace in the fight for a playoff berth, while the loser might find itself in some more serious trouble.
Good luck everyone! And whether you are buying or selling, enjoy the unpredictable marathon that is RDFL! Who knows? Maybe your team will make like a superhuman Kenyan and win!
Just a couple more days and the season starts! Welcome back to season #3 of RDFL!
In our inaugural season, the Green Bay Packers made some blockbuster trades down the stretch to capture the Super Bowl.
In year #2, the Pittsburgh Steelers rode breakout performances from franchise stars and got clutch punting (the ultimate equalizer!) when it mattered most to knock off the high-powered Dallas Cowboys. And because Albert Wilson.
Who will it be in year #3? In any scenario, it is going to be awesome!
Before we start the previews, a quick note on these previews. They are going to be horribly wrong. More wrong than sacrificing Poland to avoid world war II. More wrong than Roger Goodell on everything he touches. Almost as wrong as boy bands. So don’t be offended if I pick you for a poor record or hopeful if I pick you for a good one. I’m like Blinkin in Robin Hood Men in Tights. A blind man standing watch. Guessing.
So with that said, my authoritative, certain to be right predictions for the 2015 RDFL season!
Welcome, my friends, to the AFC “meh”. I hereby call this division the soft underbelly of the AFC. A division that is full of teams on a slightly downhill trend (Indianapolis), rising teams that aren’t there yet (Tennessee and Houston), and the Jacksonville Jaguars, engaged in an epic and tragic struggle for a playoff spot. Ever on the edge of the promised land. But never tasting it’s beautiful fruit.
Tennessee Titans (9-7):
When you’re the Commish, you can afford to play the long game. You can afford to while away years of team, stockpiling draft picks and trading young quarterbacks for even more draft picks. Magnanimously acting like the non-threatening wise old father figure of the league, while building a poisonous viper that can eradicate all comers and be a dynasty for years to come. Year #1 was a miserable basement experience for the rebuilding Titans. The second year Titans showed flashes of what was to come before falling off the pace in the second half of the season. But now it is year #3. And while it is not quite time for glory… it is time for the fighting Luhrs to make the leap to relevance – a place it seems unlikely they will leave for a LONG, LONG time. Like the amount of time it has been since anybody cared about Techno. That long.
Look at this offense:
– QB – Teddy Bridgewater – Rising Stud. 2nd Year.
– RB – CJ Anderson – Already Stud. 3rd Year.
– WR – Odell “Spikes in ma gloves” Beckham – Already Stud. 2nd Year.
– TE – Ladarius Green – Got some serious potential. 4th Year (even though it seems like we’ve been waiting for him to replace Antonio Gates since the Jefferson Airplane was a thing.)
– RB – Tevin Coleman – Got some serious potential. Just named the starter. 1st Year.
– WR – Devin Funchess – Got some serious potential. And a route to playing time now that Kelvin Benjamin is down. 1st Year.
Total Salary: 22.59 M.
Under Contract for: Fricking Ever
Also chillin’ on the bench: Andre Williams, Justin Hunter, Mohammed Sanu, Dwayne Allen
Now THAT is how you build a team from scratch.
The defense is neither so young nor so cheap, but is headlined up the middle by Ndamukong Suh, and boasts a quad of stud linebackers in Nigel Bradham, Zach Brown, Stephone Anthony, and Jelani Jenkins.
All told, the Titans are 20M under the cap and ready for relevance.
Now that said, I still think these boys are a year away. This is a nice team, but the young guys and the secondary have enough holes and non-studs that I don’t predict a monster, dominant year quite yet. But imagine next year. After Coleman has a year under his belt as a starting RB, Funchess is locked in with Cam and is not drawing double teams, Stills has established himself as a top Tanne-hillian target, and Ladarius Green has FINALLY inherited his role as starting TE after like a 30 year apprenticeship to Elijah… errr… Antonio Gates. It’s going to be scary, people. Scary.
Indianapolis Colts (8-8)
Every year I pick against Indy. And every year he makes me eat my words by blowing my predictions out of the water. So the Colts will probably go 12-4 this year and make me eat my words. AGAIN. But in all honesty, that’s why I have the Colts 2nd.
Let’s start with what the Colts do have – LUCK.
Strengths: Andrew LUCK. Dude is awesome. Julian Edelman. Dude is somehow, also, awesome. Jerrell Freeman and Danny Lansanah are bosses defensively. And there is some nice young talent on this team that could develop. And that safety core of Antoine Bethea and Landon Collins is an outstanding duo.
Weaknesses: This team is loaded with quantity over quality. Aside from the guys I have already mentioned, Indianapolis currently has 38 offensive / defensive players on the main roster. Total projected 2015 fantasy points per game (by Fantrax projections): 59. That means 1.55 points per game per player aside from the Awesome Six. That’s going to be hard to win many games with, even if luck scores a billion.
Now that doesn’t mean the roster doesn’t have some nice pieces on it – it does. Bruce Ellington and Dri Archer have
some promise. Reggie Wayne just got signed. Ahmad Bradshaw still exists. Seyi Ajirotutu has an awesome name. There are some very promising young defenders (Darqueze Dennard, Jonathan Massaquoi, Justin Gilbert and Brian Robison all come to mind).
So I think the Colts have some nice pieces. And I think any time you have Andrew Luck, you are either contending or reloading. But I think this is a reloading year after a couple very nice playoff runs for Indy.
Houston Texans (7-9)
Another team with some nice young pieces building up for the future, the Texans have made some aggressive moves over the past couple of seasons to get rid of core veterans like JJ Watt, Arian Foster, and Andre Johnson and purposely get younger. In their places come QB of the future Jameis Winston, RB of the future Carlos Hyde, and potential future talent in Donte Moncrief, and Levine Toilolo.
Unlikely Indianapolis, the Texans have substantially more depth – players like Joseph Randle, Chris Hogan, and Ted Ginn are not going to make or break a roster, but they will contribute substantial points. And the defensive depth is much stronger. Both Indianapolis and Houston boast extremely strong secondaries, but the Texans are stronger up front, keyed by Chandler Jones (though the lack of a second Defensive End is a major concern following JJ Watt’s departure) and have a strong linebacking core.
While I’m not very optimistic on the Texans prospects this year (I think only one team makes it to the playoffs from the South), I am fascinated to see where Houston goes. The Watt for Winston trade left the team with some very nice young pieces on offense, but with some holes – and some nice but older pieces on defense – also with some holes. Depending on which direction they go, Houston could flip pieces and picks to fill holes and make a mad dash for the title in a soft division. Or they could try to sell off stronger veteran defensive pieces for picks and younger players and try to join Tennessee as the rebuilding future of the league.
In any case, they don’t want to end up like…
Jacksonville Jaguars (7-9)
This is unfair. Jacksonville has been a perennial playoff contender and made some very shrewd moves and trades over the last couple of years. They have a functional roster to contend yet again this year if some things break right. Aside from Tennessee, they have the fewest holes in the division. And the veteran nature of the team means that the Jags are likely to be far more consistent than the Titans – it would not surprise me at all to see Jacksonville as the 9-7 squad atop the league this year. So why not more love?
Well, I think that Jacksonville has fallen into the perennial “8th seed in the East” trap. Making the playoffs year in and year out, but never quite getting over the hump for a super bowl run, or bottoming out for a try at some franchise players and the rebuild. As a result, I’m concerned that this squad has the makings of 7-9 to 9-7 for years to come, staying a respectable 2nd place in the division while the other teams ebb and flow around it. Tennessee has a plan that is about to vault it past the Jaguars. Houston has options for a plan. And Indianapolis has had two years of good success and Andrew Luck to reload around. What is the Jags identity? Where are they going? These questions keep me up at night (or they would if I didn’t sleep because of worries about other people’s fantasy football teams).
So how about the team itself? Again, a concerning mix of young and old. On the veteran side, Martellus Bennett, Larry Fitzgerald and Austin Miles are joined by Cecil Shorts to form a nice core of proven offensive playmakers. Unfortunately, Larry and Austin are both on the back end of their careers and while Shorts and Bennett are still young, Shorts is no sure thing in his new environment. On defense, Paul Pos:LKJFKLSLSDJsky (that’s as well as you’d spell it too – back off!) is joined by guys like Michael Bennett, Kroy Biermann, Mason Foster, Jasper Brinkley, and Michael Griffin. Solid veteran defenders forming a nice core.
But then the young? EJ Manuel, Denard Robinson, Dion Sims, Tyler Kroft, Dwayne Gratz, and David Amerson are the type of guys who haven’t yet made it big in the league – and are just the sorts of unproven, not quite yet there type of players that may or may not produce – and that you don’t want to have to rely on to field a championship caliber team.
There are some spectacular building blocks on this squad, particularly in the secondary (sensing a pattern in this division?), where Xavier Rhodes and Kenny Vaccaro form a tag team that is both dynamic and youthful, and I can see things falling together in a way that allows the Jags to make a real run this year. But my concern is the same as for Houston right now – by the time the young guys have proven themselves and are ready to commit, the old guys are on the decline or injured or out of prime production – and it’s back to bandaids like Ryan Fitzpatrick and Austin Miles instead of a core patiently built for success.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7):
Really? The Buccaneers? Really? With Josh McCOWN at QB? Yup. Why? Because the Bucs have assembled an array of skill players that I really do think can bring them straight into contention for their long-coveted NFC South crown.
Look at this:
– RBs: Alfred Morris and Doug Martin. Everybody has forgotten about the Muscle Hamster. But this is the same insane guy who tore up the PPR world his rookie year before a sophomore slump. This says he’ll be back as a contributing RB1 this year in Real Deal.
– WRs: Vincent Jackson. Emmanuel Sanders. Percy Harvin, Eric Decker, Torrey Smith. Yes I know that none of those names are sexy, sure-fire top option WRs. And yes I know that they each have serious question marks. But TB doesn’t need all FIVE to pan out. He just needs THREE to pan out.
– TEs: Owen Daniels, Clive Walford. This is the spot, along with QB, that I have the greatest concern for the Bucs offense. Owen Daniels ostensibly has a fantastic shot at catching passes from Peyton Manning and replacing Julius Thomas as a top 5 TE. But I’m just not sure I buy it. There are other TEs on that roster, other mouths to feed, and a running offense that is going to put an absolute premium on blocking. And counting on Clive year #1… it’s a question mark spot for sure.
The defensive starting roster reads like a who’s who of defensive superstars from around the league: Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David, Clay Matthews, Von Miller, Darrelle Revis, Aqib Talib… Now a lot of these guys aren’t quite as good in fantasy as they are in real life (here’s looking at you, Revis!), but some are MUCH better (hello Gerry McCoy), and some, like David and Miller, are just about right. There are some holes (DE) and depth could be tested (in the secondary), but this team has some serious star power at key positions. If guys like McCown, Owen Daniels, and Chris Canty pan out, this could absolutely be the year in Tampa.
New Orleans Saints (9-7)
May as well call this squad “Drew Brees and Dear goodness that DEFENSE”. This team has taken steps back from the inaugural squad that nearly went undefeated, mostly on the offensive side of the ball. Darren Sproles is one of 19 starting caliber running backs in Philly and is unlikely to do quite as much special teams damage this time around. Jimmy Graham is in Seattle, where he will almost certainly be targeted at the goal line with many one yard passes that will be intercepted – or at least not catch quite so many balls. And the rest of the offense is… well… football players. Not much to write home about here. In fact, some weeks, I think the Saints are going to be downright ANEMIC on offense some weeks, particularly if those nasty rumors about Drew Brees demise turn out to be slightly more than rumors.
But that beautiful defense… it starts up front where the Saints have the best starting D-Line in Real Deal, pairing Jordan Cameron and Rob Ninkovich with Damon Harrison for a trio projected to score 33 PPG over the course of the season. Kiko Alonso and Anthony Barr anchor the middle, and the secondary is strong too – and deep, with DRC slated in as a reserve. Fantrax projects this defense to AVERAGE about 118 points per game when it is on the field together – and I think that is conservative. It is HARD to score over 100 points on defense and lose a game in this league. If the Saints can get anything from that offense…
But can they? Khiry Robinson, Preston Parker, Golden Tate, Nate Washington, Jeremy Langford, Sammi Coates, CJ Fiedorowicz, James Jones. If a couple of those guys (I think Jones and Tate are the most likely options) can break out and have nice seasons, I think the Saints maintain their hold on the crown on the back of that defense. But if not… I think there’s grief in the Bayou this year.
Atlanta Falcons (9-7)
::Sigh:: This decision was so much easier to predict before Judge Berman pilloried Roger Goodell and demonstrated conclusively that Tom Brady is invincible.
What to do with the Atlanta Falcons. On the one hand, I think this team, on paper, could easily win the division. Julio Jones and Roddy White, paired with Julius Thomas and Marshawn Lynch, and flanked by Doug Baldwin and Dexy’s Midnight McClusters should do some SERIOUS damage.
That said, the defense has some stud players (DeAndre Levy) and some nice up and comers (Ra’Shede Hagemen, Shaq Thompson, Malcolm Butler), but is nowhere near the level of New Orleans and even Tampa Bay. So that’s a knock back.
But the real issue is the injuries for the Falcons. Over the first three weeks, the Falcons play Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, New Orleans, the New York Giants, Carolina and Dallas. New Orleans, NYG, Philly and Dallas were spectacular teams last year, and I don’t see them being easy outs this year either. You’ve seen what I wrote about Tampa Bay, and here’s a spoiler – I don’t see Carolina being any slouches either.
Julius Thomas and Roddy White have both gone under the knife this preseason, and while both are expected back in time for week #1… if they miss time or start the season limited… well, let’s just say that you can’t win an RDFL division title in the first three weeks. But you can lose one. There are also concerning red flags hanging out next to Levy, Hageman, Shaq Thompson, and Brooks Reed. I would have been really freaked out had this team had no QB for that entire period.
However, with Tom Brady back, I amend my prediction. The flying Falcs go 9-7 and end in a ridiculous tie-breaker situation for a playoff berth that literally gives us all heart attacks.
Carolina Panthers (5-11)
Another team I feel like deserves a better record and a better placement. And frankly, if Carolina played in the AFC South, I’d be pushing them as a potential division winner. But it’s tougher here. Tougher conference. Tougher division. Tougher schedule. The NFC is for big boys. And Carolina may have the bad luck to be the littlest big boy on the block.
That’s not to say the Panthers don’t have weapons. Cam Newton crashes into trucks and plays Rugby – and it’s the trucks what gets hurt. Luke Kuechly sacks everything that moves. I’m dead serious. If it moves. He sacks it. He’s like a freaking T-Rex from Jurassic Park. I’m so serious right now. Don’t move a muscle. Not a muscle. Don’t so much as reach for the mouse to scroll down. If you do, Luke Kuechly is going to sack you. And take your house and your car and your job and that bag of snacks you are eating. And you don’t come back from that.
These studs are joined by Mark “I’m so confused as to whether this guy is actually good or not” Ingram, Steve “Swan Song” Smith Jr., Melvin Ingram (not a very good linebacker, but Mark Ingram’s younger brother in the State Farm commercials), and arguably the best TE duo in the league with Greg Olsen and Zach Ertz.
Unfortunately, this team lacks both the superstars and the star depth to keep it competitive. After Cam and Kuech, not a single player is projected to average 13 or more PPG, and only 4 other guys on the active roster are projected to reach double digits. Zach Ertz is potentially hurt, Marcell Dareus and Greg Hardy start the season suspended, and Robert Woods is unlikely to strike fear into the hearts of opponents.
It’s not a bad team this year in Carolina. But I don’t see it as good enough to compete in a loaded NFC. Not so loaded AFC, sure. But loaded NFC South? Cam’s playing spoiler this year.
Week #15: We have a new Top Dog in the Real Deal Dynasty League. The Houston Astros now have the best record in the league at 55-12 and have a 9 game lead in the AL West. They are ahead of the Texas Rangers and their 46-21 record. The once mighty Tampa Bay Rays of the AL East ran into the buzz saw known as the NL West. They dropped all 5 of their games in the past week and dropped to 53-14. They are still atop their division and hold a 3 game lead over the Boston Red Sox who have a 50-17 record. Tied for the second best record in the league with Tampa Bay is the Chicago Cubs out of the NL Central at 53-14. Not giving up the chase, the Milwaukee Brewers remain in second place and are only 3 games back with a 50-17 record. In the NL East, the New York Mets remain atop the division with a 46-21 record. The only other team in the division above the .500 mark are the second place Miami Marlins and their 42-25 record as they sit 4 games back. Then you have the mighty NL West. The top 4 teams are all within 3 games of each other and the last place Los Angeles Dodgers have an impressive 36-31 record (impressive for a last place team). Currentlty, the Colorado Rockies are atop the heap with a 43-24 record, but this division’s standings change on a weekly basis. The San Francisco Giants were once in last place and now they’re in second place at 42-25 and are only 1 game behind the Rockies. It appears that the Musical Chairs for first place will continue all the way to the final week of the regular season. Finally, you have the AL Central. Not to be outdone, they have the closest divisional race in the league. Both the Minnesota Twins and the Kansas City Royals are tied for first place with identical records of 42-25. They’re overall point totals are also close and only separated by about 150pts. That is close considering that they both have well over 15,000pts on the season.
Here’s a look at some of the top players for the week:
1B Joey Votto(BOS) had the second highest score of the week as he scored 77.9pts and led all 1B by a wide margin. He’d been on a slight slump lately as he had only scored 47pts in the last month. Now, he has bumped his season point total up to 396pts. That ranks him 3rd among 1B behind only Anthony Rizzo(CHC) & Paul Goldschmidt(ARI). David Ortiz(ATL) is really a DH, but since I don’t track a DH category, I had to slip him into the 1B slot which I think he will make an appearance at during inter-league MLB games. This past week, he scored 55.345pts and it was by far his best game of the season as he hadn’t even broken 30pts yet. He now has 287.662pts on the season.
2B The top scoring Real Deal Player this past week was by a mere .014pts as Rougned Odor(CHC) led all players with 77.914pts. So far, it’s been a tale of 2 different seasons for Odor. He stunk it up early(there’s your “Pun Of The Week”) with only about 33.5pts scored in the first 5 weeks. Then, he missed week’s 6-10. Since his return in week #11, he’s scored about 160pts in 5 weeks. The only other IF to score over 60pts was Robinson Cano(STL). He scored 65.827pts as he now has over 100pts in the last 3 weeks. He has 250.439pts on the season and is ranked 12th among 2B.
3B Only one 3B scored over 50pts and that was Kyle Seager(SFG). He scored 51.39pts this week & had 29.45pts last week as that marked his best two weeks of the season. That pushed him over the 300pt mark on the season with 308.727pts and he is ranked 6th among all 3B. Todd Frazier(HOU) is the top 3B in the Real Deal League with 429pts, but has struggled with 20pts in Week’s 13 & 14. He broke out this week with a 48.611pts. He now holds a 10pt lead over Josh Donaldson(TOR) in season points.
SS Jose Iglesias(LAD) started the season with 55pts in the first two weeks. Since then, he hasn’t had a 20pt week until now. He led all SS with 45.727pts. Getting over the 200pt mark on the season, he now has 214.268pts. The Real Deal League has 18 SS with over 200pts and Iglesias is ranked 15th. Another SS that just surpassed 200pts is Alexei Ramirez(STL) as he scored 44.322pts. It’s only the 2nd time this season he scored over 30pts as he had 31.434pts back in Week #5. He now has 221.773pts and is ranked 13th among shortstops.
OF Several OF’s scored over 50pts in this extended week, but only one OF scored over 60pts. It was none other than last week’s top outfielder as Mike Trout(MIA) led the way with 60.141pts. It was back to back 60pt weeks for Trout, and he’s the league’s leading OF with 472.808pts on the season. He’s now knocking on the door of Paul Goldschmidt(ARI) as the league’s top scorer. Goldschmidt was the first player in the league to reach the 500pt mark.
C There was only one catcher to score over 40pts. It would be who you’d expect it to be. Buster Posey(SFG) is the top scoring catcher in the league and has 100pts more than the second highest scoring catcher. He scored 44.136pts and now has 385.913pts on the season. Posey scored in single digits back in week’s #2 & 3, but has been in double digits every week since then. Rookie Alert! Rookie Alert! Kyle Schwarber(CHC) made his Real Deal debut and cruised with a 38.375pt performance as he made playing in the Real Deal look easy. Not too shabby of a start to his career.
SP Clayton Kershaw(LAD) is on a hot streak as he scored 32.75pts last week and led all SP’s with 53.75pts this week. He was the only SP to score over 40pts. He’s also second among all SP’s with 267.75pts. Max Scherzer(DET) is the top SP with 279.25pts. After getting bombed the week before and scoring -11.5pts, Cole Hamels(PHI) got back on track as he scored 36pts in Week #15. Hamels has been up & down the past 4 weeks with two weeks in negative points and two weeks with over 25pts. He now has 188.5pts on the season and is ranked 16th for all SP’s.
RP With the extended week, the RP scores really shot up. Craig Kimbrel(WAS) led the way with a 35.5 performance. That put him in double digits in 3 of the last 4 weeks as he now has 165.75pts on the season. That ranks him 6th for RP’s. Andrew Miller(BOS) finally got back into double digits as he scored 28.75pts. He missed weeks 11-13 and only scored 6.25pts last week. In the first 9 weeks of the season, he had 124.5pts, but had only scored 6.5pts the next 4 weeks before his 28.75pt week. He now has 159.75pts on the season.
To see all the players listed as the 3 Stars, check them out below:
Week #9 still has the Tampa Bay Rays with the best record in the Real Deal with a 33-7 record. They lead the AL East by only 2 games as the Boston Red Sox continue to roll as well. They are tied in the league with the 2nd best record at 31-9. In the NL East, the New York Mets still have a strong hold on top of the division standings with a 31-9 record. They have a 7 game lead over 2nd place Miami Marlins at 24-16. That’s actually the worst record for a 2nd place team in the Real Deal League. The NL Central still has the Milwaukee Brewers at the top of the standings with a 31-9 record. They are currently holding a 3 game lead over the ever clammoring, door knocking, shouting at the top team, Chicago Cubs. The Cubs have a 28-12 record. In the AL West, the Houston Astros remain in 1st place as they went undefeated this past week and improved to 30-10. They hold a 4 game lead over the Texas Rangers who are sitting at 26-14 and went undefeated last week too. The NL West continues to be a divisional battle between all teams. The Arizona Diamondbacks are currently the top team with a 30-10 record. The San Diego Padres are in 2nd place with a 27-13 record. The worst 1st place record is in the AL Central and belongs to the Kansas City Royals. At a .700 winning percentage, I wouldn’t consider that a total disaster. The Royals have a 28-12 record. They currenlty hold a 2 game lead over the Minnesota Twins as they sit at 26-14.
1B Anthony Rizzo(CHC) had his best week of the season with 49.454pts. It’s not like he’s been struggling before. This is his 4th week out of 9 where he scored over 40pts. He’s also 2nd in the league with 288.419pts on the season. Freddie Freeman(WAS) had his 2nd 40pt week of the season as he scored 44.761pts. That pushed his season point total up to 174.163pts. He’s is currently ranked 12th for all 1B.
2B Dustin Pedroia(LAD) had his first 30pt week of the season as he scored 37.662pts this week. He has been very consistent all season and has 196.789pts on the season. That has him ranked 5th among all 2B. Behind Dustin was Brian Dozier(LAA) as he scored 33.140pts in Week #9. Dozier has been solid all season and recorded his fourth 30pt week. He also has 224.135 season points and is only 1 of 4 2B with over 200pts. He’s ranked 2nd behind only Jason Kipnis(SDP) at the position.
3B We have a new face getting a 3B 3 Star Salute. Maikel Franco(PHI) had the third best scoring performance of the week with 46.25pts. It was only the 4th week he’s played this season and he doubled his season point total to 90.816pts. Brett Lawrie(MIA) also had a solid week with 32.955pts. That boosted his season point total over 100pts as he’s sitting with 124.606pts. That got him into the Top 20 for 3B in points for the season.
SS Jose Reyes(TBR) was the top scoring shortstop with 41.484pts. It was also his first time this season getting over 30pts. He missed 3 weeks but since his return, he’s scored over 63pts in the last 2 weeks. He now has 104.419pts on the season. Troy Tulowitzki(COL) had his best week of the season and the first time over 30pts as he scored 39.319pts. He now has 159.724pts on the year and is ranked 5th for shortstop on season points.
OF Jose Bautista(MIL) was big man on campus with the only 50pt game of the week as he scored 54.56pts. He’s been solid all season long with only 3 weeks scored under 20pts. His weekly point totals have gone up each time in the past 4 weeks. Not sure if he’ll be able to improve on 50pts, but his season total is already at 231.377pts. That ranks him 5th among all outfielders in season points. A.J. Pollock(ARI) is another outfielder that has been playing big this season. He scored 45.016pts and that was his second 40pt week in the last 3 weeks. He’s up to 240.627pts on the season and he’s ranked 3rd for outfielders behind only Harper & Trout.
C Catching numbers were down from last week but Derek Norris(SDP) was the top dog with 24.772pts. He’s had back to back 20+ point weeks and has been very consistent with only two weeks in single digits. He’s been so consistent that he’s moved up to third in scoring for catchers with 176.31pts. Wilin Rosario(MIN) was literally a fraction behind Norris as he scored 24.715pts. Coming into this week, he had only appeared 4 times with 20pts on the season. I guess you can call this a breakout week as his point total is now at 44.595pts on the season.
SP Chris Archer(LAA) had a big week as he scored 41.25pts. It was the top pitching performance and it was also the 8th best score of the week. With the 41pt game, that launched Archer to the top pitching spot of the season with 157pts as he lept past King Felix & Scherzer. Another young arm, Gerrit Cole(SDP) also had big week as he scored 32.5pts. It was his first time over 30pts this season and the second time he surpassed 20pts. Cole is ranked 4th for SP’s with 142.5pts and is behind all the guys listed above.
RP Mark Melancon(CHC) hasn’t exaclty been blowing the barn doors off the hinges this season but he did have the best RP week with 26.5pts. He was only 1 of 2 RP’s to reach 20pts this week. He’s also raised his point total to 93.75pts on the season. The big week did move him into the Top 10 for RP points as he is now sitting 8th. Trevor Rosenthal(STL) was the other 20pt RP with 21.75pts. This was also his 1st 20pt week of the season as his previous season best was 18.25pts in Week #3. Rosenthal now has 122pts on the season and is ranked 2nd for RP’s as he’s right behind Andrew Miller. He has a chance to pass him this week as Miller is on the DL.
To see all the players listed as the 3 Stars, check them out below:
Week #7 now has some new teams with the league’s best record. In the AL East, the Tampa Bay Rays are sitting atop the division with a 25-6 record. 3 games behind them are the Boston Red Sox at 22-9. The NL Central has the Milwaukee Brewers also holding the league’s best record at 25-6. 2 game behind them are the Chicago Cubs at 23-8. The NL East still has the New York Mets as the division leaders. Even though they had a rough week, they still have a 23-8 record and hold a 6 game lead over the Miami Marlins at 17-4. It is also the largest division lead in the Real Deal League. The Houston Astros are still atop the AL West and have a record of 23-8. The Texas Rangers are in 2nd place at 20-11 and are 3 games back. The next division leaders have 22-9 records and those teams have company too. In the NL West, both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodger are at 22-9. Not far behind those two are the San Diego Padres at 20-11. The AL Central is even closer. The Kansas City Royals and the Detroit Tigers are sitting at 22-9 and only 1 game back are the Minnesota Twins with a 21-9 record. So after 7 weeks, no 1 team has run away from everybody else in the league. The top league leader only has a 3 game lead from the league leader with the worst record. Look like the Real Deal is in for a season long battle for a claim at the top of the hill.
1B had the top scoring player of the week. Mike Napoli(MIA) led the league in Week #7 with 54.325pts. He more than doubled his season point total as he only had 52pts coming into the week and had only scored 11.88pts in the last 3 weeks before breaking out this past week. Prince Fielder(PIT) had the 4th highest scoring total of all Real Deal players with 46.738pts and giving him back to back 40pt weeks.
2B had the night clubs jumping as D.J. LeMahieu(BAL) was the top dog with a 36.179pt week, and he was only 1 of 2 middle infielders over 30pts. His highest weekly total of the season pushed him over the 100pt mark for the season. Not a bad turnaround after only scoring 1.66pts in the past 2 weeks. Jason Kipnis(SDP) is still making his weekly appearance in the Top 3 with the 2nd highest week of 29.602pts. He is also now the top scoring 2B in the league with 196.5pts as he surpassed Jose Altuve.
3B didn’t have a monster scoring week as nobody hit the 30pt mark. It was the first time this season that there wasn’t a 3B with at least 30pts. However, Nolan Arenado(SDP) did lead the way with 29.034pts. That pushed him over 150pts on the season and he is currently ranked 7th in points at the 3B position. A new face to 3 Stars is Maikel Franco(PHI). In only his 2nd game of the season, he scored 27.997pts. He made his season debut with the Phillies last week and scored 16pts. With 44pts in 2 weeks, he already has more season points than guys like Mark Reynolds & Casey McGehee just to name a few.
SS had a suprise visit to 3 Stars. Jose Ramirez(LAD) made only his 3rd start with the Dodgers but was the other middle infielder that broke 30pts with a 30.931pt week. His last appearance was in Week #3 but he didn’t show any rust as he led all SS this week. After having his best week last week, Erick Aybar(MIN) bested that, with another personal top week as he scored 29.447pts. He’s got a 2 week total of 54.6pts and that pushed his season total up to 98pts and that has him ranked 11th for SS.
OF was the most productive position of the week for the 3 Stars with a 50 pointer and 2 players over 45pts. Ryan Braun(KCR) led the way with 51.940pts and the 2nd highest point total of the week in Real Deal. His high scoring output moved him up to 5th in scoring for outfielders with 176pts. Right behind him was A.J. Pollock(ARI) with 49.123pts. It was his highest point total of the season for Pollock. That moved him up to 10th for outfielders with 157.8pts on the season.
C was led by bare-handed, lumber-jack looking slugger, Evan Gattis(TBR) with 40.325pts. It was only the 3rd time this year that a catcher scored over 40pts. Salvador Perez did it in Week 1, & Russell Martin in Week 5. Gattis has been up and down this season but has now pushed his season total over 100pts and is the 7th catcher to do so. Buster Posey(SFG) is the highest scoring catcher with 163.3pts on the season and was the 2nd highest scoring catcher this week with 33.966pts.
SP Corey Kluber(MIN) didn’t exactly start off the season the way he expected to (or some of the Real Deal teams that were trading for him in the off-season). He only scored about 38pts in the first 5 weeks, but scored 27pts last week and another 33.75pts to lead the SP’s this week. He is now 1pt shy of 100 and is now ranked 8th among SP’s in season points. No Sale! At one time, he probably couldn’t be given away at a garage sale, but now Chris Sale(CHW) seems to be back on track. Thru 5 weeks, he only had 10 lousy points. Last week, he scored 16pts and now came in with the 2nd highest SP total with 27pts. Maybe now that he’s seen the light, or seen the stars (3 Stars), things will be on the up-tick for him.
RP Drew Storen(COL) has been a model of consistency for the Rockies. He’s scored double digit points in 6 of the 7 weeks this season. A pretty solid performance for the RP position. He scored 22pts this week and was the only RP over 20pts. He is also ranked 3rd for RP’s with 91.5pts on the season. The #2 guy on the RP leaderboard was also the #2 scoring RP this week. Glen Perkins(MIN) came in with 19.25pts. He also has scored 94.25pts this season and is just over 1pt behind RP league leader, Andrew Miller. Shawn Tolleson(BOS) tied Perkins with a 19.25pt week. That’s 3 straight double-digit point weeks with Shawn as he’s scored 41.75pts in the last 3 weeks. At that rate, he’ll be climbing up the RP ranks very quickly.
To see all the players listed as the 3 Stars, check them out below:
Week #6 is now complete. The Mets continue to cruise in the NL East as they have a league best record of 23-3. They hold a 9 game lead in their division over the Marlins & Nats. The Mets did lose a game this week to their division rival Marlins 228.7 – 221.9. The NL Central is the closest race with the Cubs & Brewers having identical records of 21-5. You don’t need to check the standings to know these 2 teams are battling each other. Just read the message boards. The back & forth name calling has been rampant. Ok, maybe not rampant, but they do seem to realize they are in battle for the division lead. The AL East has the Rays sitting at 20-6 and holding a 2 game lead over the Red Sox. The final 20 win team in the league is the Houston Astros at 20-6 with a 4 game lead over the Rangers. The NL West has the Dodgers at 18-8 and holding a 1 game lead over the D-Backs. Another 18-8 division leader is in the AL Central and they hold a 1 game lead over both the Twins & Royals. Enough of this boring team news, how about some exiciting player news that makes the teams run?
1B was the only position of the week where all 3 players scored over 40pts. Miguel Cabrera(DET) led the way with 47.042pts. It was his best week since he scored 57pts in Week #1. The big week also pushed him up to 5th in the league with 187pts on the season. Anthony Rizzo(CHC) had back 2 back 45pt weeks as he scored 45.4pts. Those 90pts in 2 weeks also vaulted Rizzo to being the league’s top scorer. He surpassed Adrian Gonzalez and now has 209.5pts.
2B must have been a DeJaVu type of week for Jason Kipnis(SDP). 2 weeks ago, he scored 52.48pts. He must have liked it so much, he decided to do it again as he scored 52.2pts. With those 100pts in 2 weeks, it pushed him up to 166.9pts on the season and made him the 2nd highest scoring 2B in the league. He trails Jose Altuve(HOU) by 10pts. Logan Forsythe(CIN) made his first appearance on the 3 Stars list with 39.6pts.
3B had a rookie sighting. Kris Bryant(CHC) is making it look easy in the Big Leagues. He scored 51.529pts and was only 1 of 3 players to score over 50pts this week. Josh Harrison(SFG) finally broke out with 43.69pts. He’s been struggling this season as he only had 45pts coming into the week. The Orange & Black are hoping this is a sign of things to come.
SS had some asking, where did Brandon Crawford’s(LAA) offensive prowess come from? He led all SS with 46.635pts and was the only SS to hit 40pts this week. He’s now pushed his season total to 106.7pts. That also has him ranked 4th in season points for the shortstop position.
OF is now getting a familiar face in the top spot. Bryce Harper(WAS) was at it again this week, but with a bigger and better performance. This week he scored 78.342pts and now has over 145pts in the past two weeks. He’s quickly knocking on the door of the league leaders as he now sits in 4th behind Rizzo, Adrian Gonzalez, & Paul Goldschmidt. Shin-Soo Choo(BAL) was the only other outfielder over 40pts as he scored 43.373pts. It was a breakout week for him as he only had 53pts coming into the week.
Catcher was led by Buster Posey(SFG) as he busted out (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun) with 30.869pts. It was the 2nd time this season that he scored over 30pts in a week. Derek Norris(SDP) isn’t a stranger to 3 Stars and he came in at #2 this week with 19.212pts. There are 4 catchers with over 100pts this season & Norris sits at #4.
SP Shelby Miller(STL) was the top pitcher with a 38pt week. He’s had two solid weeks in a row as he’s scored 65.75pts. That’s a huge upgrade as he only had 40pts in the first 4 weeks of the season. It has also bolted him up to 2nd in scoring for SP’s with 105.5pts. There are only 2 pitchers with over 100pts. Who’s the other 100pt scorer? Max Scherzer(DET) leads all pitchers with 107.5pts and he had the 2nd highest SP score this week with 31.5pts.
RP was led by Jonathan Papelbon(BAL) as he scored 18.75pts. It was the 3rd time this season that he scored double digits in a week. His previous best was 12.5pts back in Week #1. Jim Johnson(TEX) also had a solid week as he scored 17pts, and it was also his 3rd double digit point week of the season.
To see all the players listed as the 3 Stars, check them out below:
At this point, it almost feels anticlimactic to play a single week. After getting used to the first few weeks of the year, it seems like our record should change by more than one measly game! But it is singles from here on out, so get used to watching the playoff chase unfold in what seems like agonizingly slow motion.
For some teams (St. Louis, Philly, and Buff leap to mind), that’s a good thing. For other squads (New Orleans, Indy, and the Giants), it seems like a blatant abuse of justice to only get a single win out of a spectacular performance. But there it is.
Game of the Week: New Orleans Saints 240, Dallas Cowboys 234.
How awesome is it that the Game of the Week was really the game of the week? That’s something we’ve seen repeatedly this year – the Prime Time big deal games have lived up to their top billing – and this one was no exception, coming down to a trio of defensive players on Monday night to decide supremacy in the NFC. Or, you could say that it came down to the Punter. Dallas’ offense has been producing at a historic rate so far, with weeks of 95, 145, 139, and 149. That’s disgustingly silly. This week’s defensive effort was a respectable 75. The Saints played a much more balanced game, producing 116 points on offense and 104 on defense. Still, not counting special teams, the Cowboys had the Saints beaten 224-220. Even after including the placekickers, Dallas still led 234-231. So what happened? The Cowboys got a big fat goose egg from Tim Masthay, while the Saints picked up nine points from Mike Scifres.
Yes. That’s what I said. The Cowboys were knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten by their rivals for best team in the NFC by a PUNTER.
New York Giants: Relatively quiet since an opening night showdown with Detroit, the Giants must have been feeling a little bit left out. No longer, as a 261 point explosion gave them high score honors for the week and produced a 110 point divisional win. Long-term, this was also a critical week for the Giants, because it demonstrated that their offense really could keep pace with the big boys. If Eli Manning can transform from the weak link holding the Giants back to a franchise QB who can throw for 300 yards and four touchdowns regularly, the NFC East may not yet be out of reach.
New York Jets: I confess that in absolutely no scenario that my crazy brain concocted when previewing this season did I ever once have the Jets beating Detroit. But not only did they beat the Lions, they scored an extremely respectable 175 points, and did it with only 22 points from the offense. The Jets produced the single best defensive performance of the season to date, and possibly all time, with a 143 point defensive statement. 8/11 defenders scored in double digits, while racking up 64 tackles. Even more encouraging, all four of the Jets franchise players finished with at least 14 points. Gang Green needs to do something about that offense in a hurry, but this week served notice that the Jets are nobody’s pushover.
New Orleans Saints: Remember that time a few weeks ago when the Saints lost by 40 to Pittsburgh and avoided going 0-2 by the same amount of contact required to call defensive holding (In case you were wondering, barely anything). Yeah, those days are gone. The Saints are where we all expected them to be – chilling out atop their conference, already planning for the playoffs, and only looking at the upstart (and possibly soon to be QB-less) Falcons with mild consternation. As expected, it’s been a balanced and consistent effort for the Saints who have scored between 180-240 each week, rank 6th in offense and 5th in defense, and just have the atmosphere of a team that is waiting for the playoffs to really try hard.
Honorable Mention: Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers
Bye Week Performances: Denver 112 over St. Louis 85 and Cincinnati 124 over Seattle 99. I mean, I know it’s bye weeks. I know big, important, irreplaceable franchise guys aren’t playing. But really? 197 and 223 TOTAL points? Three teams outscored these games on their own! A reminder to everyone – bye weeks are PAINFUL. The week’s third and final bye game was not quite so low scoring, but it had its own storyline as the 4-3 Browns fell victim to Arizona’s first win to fall another game behind the Steelers, who seem hell-bent on running away with the division and hiding.
Philadelphia Eagles: More than a few contenders had difficult weeks this week, but we’ll highlight Philly for the simple reason that they have survived so well to this point, toughing out injuries and poor performances. It caught up with them this week in a 124 point stinker, where LeSean McCoy managed only 2 points (and may, in fact, either be hiding in some guy’s basement). The Eagles also got only a single point from DeSean Jackson, put up only 50 total on the offensive end and were barely competitive in a 58 point route by the 49ers. With Dallas continuing to play well and the New York Giants serving notice that they are back, the Eagles need to find answers soon.
Buffalo Bills: There are plenty of deserving teams for this third slot. The Lions can lay a strong claim after losing to the Jets. The Browns dropped a game to Arizona. The Seahawks scored under 100 points on the bye and fell to 4-4. The Rams didn’t even manage that. But Buffalo wins the honors here as they fell from the ranks of the unbeaten with a tentative 166-132 loss to Houston. Don’t get me wrong – the Bills are going to be fine. Nick Foles won’t be held to 3 points very often, AJ Green will be back in the fold next week, and the defense will continue to play well. But it does mean that at the halfway point, we have no unbeaten teams. It’s going to be a fun second half of the season!
Week 5 Games of the Week:
Atlanta Falcons vs. New York Giants. In the “Battle of the Good Teams with Unreliable New York Quarterbacks” division, I present to you the Falcons and the Giants. Both teams are chasing outstanding teams within their own division. Both teams are coming off nice wins. And both teams are gunning for what might be limited NFC wildcard spots. Both teams will be at full strength, too, with minimal bye-week interference to mess up a top flight game. NFC Games of the Week have not disappointed – and I don’t think this one will either.
Buffalo Bills vs. Detroit Lions. While no longer undefeated, the Bills are still an outstanding team, and sitting pretty at 7-1 in the AFC. Detroit, on the other hand, has scuffled to a 4-4 start, struggling through three weeks of surprising mediocrity. Another loss to a tough Buffalo squad here could potentially leave the Lions 2 games back in both the Division and the Wild Card. I still think they figure it out, particularly if Megatron can stay healthy – but they might be well advised to start this week.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Houston Texans. The battle of “Texas” features two teams that couldn’t be more opposite. Dallas has been anything but quiet, rampaging to a 7-1 record and a 2 game lead in the NFC East behind an Offense that Achilles would envy. The Texans have rather quietly ridden a series of solid yet unspectacular performances to a 4-3 record and a tie for the AFC North lead, and the swag points that come from knocking a 7-0 team from the ranks of the unbeaten. On paper, this should be another Dallas cakewalk, but Houston has gotten up for big games and needs this game more than Dallas does. Houston does, however, face a substantial disadvantage in that their QB, Derek Carr, is on bye this week.