There are ups and downs in the first season of any fantasy football league. Usually, one or two managers will drop out at some point in the season. And, with no real league relationships established, trades are usually pretty rare in first-year leagues. And the OIL's AFC was no different. One manager started out 2-1 before dropping out en route to a 2-11 finish. No trades were finalized either. But the first season of the AFC has still been largely successful. All 14 teams (including 2015 addition Don Roe) have professional logos and uniforms. The competition was fierce, and the playoffs have been entertaining. It all culminates in the AFC championship game: the Thunder Bowl.
Like the NFC, the AFC championship game will pit the top two seeds against each other.
Regular Season Result: Week 11
The OIL plays a balanced, 13-week schedule, so these two teams played each other in the regular season. Hillier won that matchup, even while getting zero points from his TE and being a 24-point underdog.
And Hillier only received two points from Ladarius Green and one point from Terrance West. Fortunately for him, Mike Evans scored 39 points and Venable got a combined 2.5 points from Bobby Rainey and Brent Celek. It's unlikely we see a similar-type matchup this time around.
War Pony's Semifinal Result
War Pony, owned by Venable, was dominant most of the season . . . but not this week. Fortunately for him, all four semifinal teams underachieved, and his underachieved less than the others.
Lynn's Brewmasters rode a rags-to-riches arc all the way to the semifinals, but that's as far as they got. The Brew Crew got a combined 18 points from its three WRs, including zero from Donte Moncrief (who had a touchdown catch called back due to a holding penalty). Every-week studs Calvin Johnson and T.Y. Hilton both disappointed, and neither caught a touchdown. Then late-season star Isaiah Crowell earned Lynn a mere four points.
For its part, Venable's War Pony overcame an early injury to Peyton Manning to beat the Brewmasters and advance to the first Thunder Bowl thanks to big games from Matt Asiata, Antonio Brown, and Antonio Gates.
Hillier's Semifinal Result
But Hillier overcame the spread to reach the Thunder Bowl . . . even with a mere two points from Andrew Hawkins, eight points from Shane Vereen, and one point from Anthony Fasano. The Doughboys' Jamaal Charles, Matthew Stafford, and Emmanuel Sanders all disappointed for Green, as did Jordy Nelson. Additionally, Hillier benefitted from big games by Matt Ryan, Eric Decker, and Kelvin Benjamin. And he outscored Green at kicker and defense by 12 points.
It wasn't pretty, but each victor this week overcame disappointing performances from their studs in order to reach the inaugural Thunder Bowl. And one of them will take home the Killman Memorial Trophy.