Six teams. Four managers seeking their first championship. Three trophies. Two previous champions. Welcome to Championship Week 2019. Analysis after the jump.
When Steel Reign manager Mark Fitzgerald (all-time record: 41-40) announced he was moving to Prague, Czech Republic, I wondered if he would be able to set his lineup. But, while he only made two add/drops all year, he never had an issue starting players who were injured or on a bye. Now, he is 11-3 and in the Thunder Bowl. Mission accomplished.
The Rebel Alliance (all-time record: 39-31) finished one game behind Steel Reign, but their OPR is higher. Roe's Rebels have not been to the Thunder Bowl since their first year in the league in 2015. They lost that championship to War Pony and vowed to return. They're finally made good on that promise.
Steel Reign top Doughboys for 11th straight win, 144.15-126.95
Steel Reign extended their win streak to 11 games with a hard-fought win over Doughboys, emerging victorious with a 144.15-126.95 victory. Steel Reign jumped out to a 60.9-point lead early Sunday afternoon behind a combined 55.5 points from Miles Sanders (122 Rush Yds, 1 Rush TD, 50 Rec Yds, 1 Rec TD) and DJ Moore (10 Rush Yds, 113 Rec Yds) and never looked back. Patrick Mahomes (30.1 points) and Sterling Shepard (20.1) were the leaders for Doughboys in the loss. This marks the second time this season Steel Reign have gotten the best of Doughboys, after winning 133.25-123.6 in their last matchup. Steel Reign will look to clinch the league title next week, while Doughboys attempt to bounce back and finish the season with a win in the 3rd Place game.
Both teams had players with standout moments early Sunday, but after the scoring was completed, Steel Reign emerged with a 111.10-50.20 lead. Miles Sanders had a 56-yard run for Steel Reign, while Danny Amendola had a 46-yard catch. Patrick Mahomes made the highlight reel for Doughboys with a 41-yard touchdown pass.
Dak Prescott had a 59-yard touchdown pass for Steel Reign, contributing to a 135.90-94.15 lead for the team.
Matchup Player of the Week
Projected to score 13.75 points, Miles Sanders more-than-doubled that amount by scoring 35.2 points as the Eagles beat the Redskins 37-27. He racked up 172 yards from scrimmage and scored 2 touchdowns to beat his projection by the highest percentage of any player on Steel Reign this week. Sanders will face the Cowboys in Week 16.
Rebel Alliance come back to defeat SAWTOOTHS in 198.35-144.65 rout
Rebel Alliance rose to the occasion, rolling to a 198.35-144.65 victory over SAWTOOTHS. Rebel Alliance grabbed an early 0.60-point lead on Thursday. SAWTOOTHS came back to take the lead during the late games on Sunday, powered by Jason Witten (13.6 points) and Josh Jacobs (12.9). Unphased, Rebel Alliance got it going when it mattered most on Monday night, as Drew Brees (39.35 points) and Michael Thomas (30.8) put them back on top for good. This marks the first time this season Rebel Alliance have gotten the best of SAWTOOTHS, after falling 167.35-145 in their last matchup. Rebel Alliance will look to keep winning in the Championship next week, while SAWTOOTHS attempt to bounce back and lock up 3rd Place.
Jamison Crowder had a 41-yard catch for SAWTOOTHS for the team, who trailed 27.60-27.00 after the opening game of the week.
There were players with highlight-reel plays for both teams early Sunday, after which Rebel Alliance had a 95.70-85.65 lead. For Rebel Alliance, Tyreek Hill had a 41-yard touchdown catch. Ryan Tannehill had a 60-yard pass for SAWTOOTHS, while Golden Tate had a 51-yard touchdown catch.
Drew Brees had a 28-yard touchdown pass and a 21-yard touchdown pass for Rebel Alliance on Monday night, helping lead the team to the win.
Matchup Player of the Week
Taking on the Packers in Week 15, Anthony Miller caught 9 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown. In doing so, he put up 26.8 points and more-than-doubled his scoring projection, the highest percent increase of any player on Rebel Alliance this week. Miller will face the Chiefs next week.
As the top-two seeds, it's no surprise to see Fitzgerald and Roe in the championship. Each of them had good drafts, but they began the season on much different paths. The Rebels started out 3-1, which is to be expected of a 9-4 team. But Fitzgerald started 2019 with a lowly 1-3 record before rattling off 11 consecutive wins, tying an OIL record for longest winning streak.
Despite their 11-game winning streak, I believe Steel Reign will fall to the Alliance. Reviewing the Points Per Game, OPR, and rosters reveals a mismatch that isn't reflected in the standings. Based on OPR alone, the Rebels have an expected record of 10-3, while Steel Reign's expected record was a pedestrian 8-5. Can Fitzgerald pull off the victory? Of course. It's just one game, but the body of work tells me otherwise.
The 2019 NFC champion will make history, as whoever wins will have captured a record-fourth championship. SoonerJack (all-time record: 105-79) and Lucky Enuf (all-time record: 116-81) are two of the most successful managers in OIL history, and now they're battling for the Lawson Memorial Trophy in a re-match of their infamous 2008 OIL Bowl.
Lucky Enuf earn win over Hangovers in 186.65-164.95 rout
Lucky Enuf stepped up and beat their projected point total, rolling to a 186.65-164.95 victory over Hangovers. Hangovers pulled out to a 27.00-point lead on Thursday, but it was all Lucky Enuf after that. They were led by Christian McCaffrey, who racked up 175 yards from scrimmage and ran for 2 touchdowns for 37.5 points, and Jared Goff, who passed for 284 yards and 2 touchdowns (24.4 points). Jamison Crowder (27 points) and Davante Adams (23.3) led the way for Hangovers in defeat. This marks the first time this season Lucky Enuf have gotten the best of Hangovers, after falling 138.4-135.6 in their last matchup. Lucky Enuf will look to keep winning in the Championship next week, while Hangovers attempt to bounce back and lock up 3rd Place.
Jamison Crowder had a 41-yard catch for Hangovers, helping to stake Hangovers to a 27.00-0.00 lead.
Both teams had several players with highlight-reel moments early Sunday, after which Hangovers owned a 123.40-112.75 lead. Terry McLaurin had a 75-yard touchdown catch for Lucky Enuf, while Tyreek Hill had a 41-yard touchdown catch. Meanwhile, Davante Adams had a 29-yard touchdown catch for Hangovers, while James White had a 23-yard touchdown catch.
Josh Allen had a 40-yard pass for Hangovers, who trailed 186.65-164.95 after Sunday Night Football.
Matchup Player of the Week
While catching 5 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown against the Eagles, Terry McLaurin recorded 24 points this week. His scoring output more-than-doubled his 11.62-point projection and was much higher than his 11.47-point season scoring average. McLaurin ranks #79 among all fantasy players this season and will face the Giants next week.
Soonerjack top Whackers for 10th win, 144.95-124.25
Soonerjack extended their win streak to five games with a hard-fought win over Whackers, emerging victorious with a 144.95-124.25 victory. Soonerjack never trailed in this one after grabbing a 23.40-point lead on Thursday behind Robby Anderson (12.6 points) and Le'Veon Bell (10.8). George Kittle (13 Rec, 134 Rec Yds) and Tyler Lockett (8 Rec, 120 Rec Yds, 1 Rec TD) did everything they could for Whackers in the loss. This marks the second time this season Soonerjack have knocked off Whackers, after winning 146.15-118.25 in their last matchup. Soonerjack will look to clinch the championship next week, while Whackers attempt to rebound and finish the season with a win in the 3rd Place game.
Robby Anderson had a 41-yard catch for Soonerjack to contribute to a 23.40-0.00 lead for the team.
There were players with standout plays on both teams early Sunday, after which Soonerjack had a 125.35-57.35 lead. DeVante Parker had a 29-yard touchdown catch and a 20-yard touchdown catch for Soonerjack, while Ryan Tannehill had a 60-yard pass. Tyler Lockett made the highlight reel for Whackers with a 44-yard catch.
Tyrell Williams had a 40-yard touchdown catch for Whackers, who trailed 144.95-110.35 after the late afternoon round of games.
Matchup Player of the Week
Against the Dolphins in Week 15, Sterling Shepard caught 9 passes for 111 yards . In doing so, he put up 20.1 points and scored 64.9% higher than his scoring projection, the highest percentage of any player on Soonerjack this week. Next week, Shepard will square off against the Redskins.
This is a tale of two teams with different paths to the title. Pyle had a fantastic draft and did just enough during peak injury season to reach Week 16. Meanwhile, Bruesch's draft left a lot to be desired. He instead got here through 28 add/drops and five trades involving 25 players.
Top-seeded SoonerJack is seeking its fourth championship. Second-seeded Lucky Enuf is seeking its fourth championship. Whoever wins will set the OIL record for most titles. The two met in the 2008 OIL Bowl, which infamously ended in a tie.
Now, with fractional scoring, a tie is unlikely. I don't think it will come close to that, though, as Lucky Enuf should win by 20.
As the PFC entered this, its fifth season, it has only known two champions: the Dirty Dogs and Boomtown Brawlers. But neither former champion qualified for the playoffs in 2019. Instead, we have Team Tadlock, who is a perennial contender despite his pedestrian 37-30 all-time record, and the upstart Vandals (all-time record: 21-19), who defeated the top-seeded Nightmares in the semifinals.
Team Tadlock tops FDC Chiefs, 169.85-154.90
Team Tadlock earned a hard-fought win over the FDC Chiefs, emerging victorious with a 169.85-154.90 victory. Team Tadlock never trailed in this one after taking a 4.3-point lead early Sunday afternoon behind Christian McCaffrey (37.5 points) and Tyler Lockett (26). Ezekiel Elliott (31 points) and Ryan Tannehill (30.95) carried the flag for FDC Chiefs in the loss. This marks the first time this season Team Tadlock have gotten the best of FDC Chiefs, after falling 169.15-110.2 in their last matchup. Team Tadlock will look to clinch the league title next week, while FDC Chiefs attempt to bounce back and finish the season with a win in the 3rd Place game.
There were multiple players with big-time moments for both teams early Sunday, but it was Team Tadlock who owned the lead, 117.70-113.40. Tyler Lockett had a 44-yard catch for Team Tadlock, while Terry McLaurin had a 75-yard touchdown catch. Meanwhile, DeVante Parker had a 29-yard touchdown catch and a 20-yard touchdown catch for FDC Chiefs, while Ryan Tannehill had a 60-yard pass.
Derek Carr had a 40-yard touchdown pass for Team Tadlock, while Kai Forbath had a 50-yard field goal, helping Team Tadlock to a 169.85-154.90 lead.
Matchup Player of the Week
Terry McLaurin overachieved for the fifth time this season, scoring 24 points against his 11.62-point projection. During a 37-27 loss to the Eagles, he caught 5 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown. McLaurin ranks #79 among all fantasy players this season and will face the Giants next week.
Back-and-forth battle ends with Vandals coming back to defeat Nightmares, 180.30-165.35
What a whirlwind! After a back-and-forth matchup featuring four lead changes, Vandals earned a come-from-behind win over Nightmares, rallying for a 180.30-165.35 victory. Vandals trailed 160.55-131.10 heading into Monday night, but the squad roared back behind Michael Thomas, who caught 12 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown for 30.8 points, and Wil Lutz, who made both of his FG attempts (10 points). Miles Sanders (122 Rush Yds, 1 Rush TD, 50 Rec Yds, 1 Rec TD) and Travis Kelce (11 Rec, 142 Rec Yds) carried the flag for Nightmares in the loss. This marks the first time this season Vandals have gotten the best of Nightmares, after falling 175.7-132.95 in their last matchup. Vandals will look to keep it going in the Championship next week, while Nightmares attempt to rebound and lock up 3rd Place.
There were players with highlight-reel moments for both teams early Sunday, but after all the points were tallied, Nightmares boasted an 87.50-77.10 lead. For Vandals, Tom Brady had a 23-yard touchdown pass. Miles Sanders had a 56-yard run for Nightmares, while Chris Godwin had a 51-yard catch.
Josh Allen teamed up with John Brown for a 40-yard pass for Nightmares, contributing to a 160.55-131.10 lead for Nightmares.
Matchup Player of the Week
With 38.4 points, Julio Jones more-than-doubled his 17.48-point projection as the Falcons beat the 49ers 29-22. He caught 13 passes for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns to beat his projection by the highest percentage of any player on Vandals this week. In Week 16, Jones and the Falcons will go up against the Jaguars.
All season, a Patriot Bowl clash between the top-ranked Nightmares and second-ranked Team Tadlock seemed like an inevitability . . . but then Lutonsky and his crew showed up on Mitchell's doorstep and wreaked havoc like, well, a bunch of Vandals. The fourth-seeded Vandals upset the Nightmares in the semifinals, setting up another David vs. Goliath matchup in Week 16, this time against Team Tadlock.
Everything points to Team Tadlock here. Record, OPR, Points Per Game, Head-to-Head Record, all of it. But the Vandals just vanquished a greater foe than this, and I'm going against the grain to predict they'll do it here.