Welcome to Championship Week. We started the season with 42 teams looking to make the championship. 24 of them had never achieved the milestone. After 15 weeks, 570 games, and hundreds of roster transactions, we're finally down to the final six . . . and all six have been here before. In fact, two of the championship matchups are re-matches from 2016. In the other final, the two teams have now accounted for nine championship game appearances.
The AFC is our first re-match of the week, as Zerger's Redlegs defeated Green's Doughboys in the 2016 final.
Each team had solid drafts that provided a good foundation all season. Reviewing the drafts in hindsight, it's hard to find any picks you could consider busts.
The Redlegs lost RB Chris Thompson to IR mid-season and WR Antonio Brown during the semifinals but otherwise have avoided devastating injuries. RB Latavius Murray turned out to be a very underrated waiver wire addition. The Doughboys chose RB Darren McFadden too early (since he retired mid-season). But he's added RBs like DeMarco Murray, Kenyan Drake, Alfred Morris, and Peyton Barber on the waiver wire.
Had Zerger not lost WR Antonio Brown to injury during the semifinals, he'd be the favorite this week. But losing your top player hurts, and I think it'll be enough for Green to get revenge in this re-match. Follow the matchup here.
In the NFC, three-time champion Bruesch (SoonerJack) faces two-time champion Cliburn's Arrogant Americans. Follow the matchup here.
Neither team hit it out of the park with their first few picks, although Cliburn got great value in the mid to late rounds (especially RB Alvin Kamara in the 13th round). Bruesch arguably had eight of this top 12 picks turn out to be busts (or injured), but 16th-round pick QB Alex Smith was a fantastic value. The OIL has a habit of scoffing at teams in the finals who didn't pick their own teams, but, in this case, Bruesch is here in spite of his auto-draft (he was unable to log in on draft day while prepping for Hurricane Harvey duty).
The biggest additions to the 'Mericans were QBs: first it was waiver-wire addition DeShaun Watson and then, following Watson's injury, it was a trade for Russell Wilson. SoonerJack's biggest additions were made via trade at the waiver wire, adding WR A.J. Green, WR Tyreek Hill, and TE Zach Ertz. RB Jerrick McKinnon was perhaps the most unappreciated waiver-wire addition in the NFC.
It's interesting that, although the 'Mericans made 50 more transactions than SoonerJack, they have half their draft picks remaining on the team while SoonerJack only has four. When it comes to the matchup, the 'Mericans are favored by over 30 points . . . which is roughly the difference between the two teams' points per game. I hope I'm not jinxing myself, but I'm picking myself here. That being said, it's only one game. Anything can happen.
And here's another re-match from 2016. Last season, Buehre and his Dirty Dogs defeated the 2015 champion Boomtown Brawlers, managed by Zack Brake. That means this is the third-straight championship appearance for Brake and the second-straight for Buehre. Follow the matchup here.
Kudos to Buehre for making it here after losing first-round pick RB David Johnson in Week One. Fortunately, the rest of his draft helped him overcome that loss, especially 12th-round pick RB Alvin Kamara (who forms a fantastic duo with fellow rookie RB Christian McCaffrey). The Brawlers, meanwhile, hit on their first three picks before whiffing on picks four through eight.
Buehre acquired starting QB Jared Goff and WR DeSean Jackson via trade, and he picked up starting RB Kenyan Drake on the waiver wire. Brake's team is remarkably unchanged, as his draft was strong enough that his starters (except for RB Mike Davis and his kicker and defense) were all drafted by him.
This one will be too close to call. The teams are very evenly-matched. It'll be fascinating to watch though.