It's Draft Day, but even on the most holiest of days, real life is more important. Mechanics manager Vincente Pierre served with the 1st Battalion 158th FA (SECFOR) during the 2006 mission that gave rise to the OIL. He's served with hundreds of other soldiers over his 25+ years of service, including during other deployments. He joined the OIL in 2015 and has been a good addition to the league, but he won't be at the draft today. His stepson, Justin, is battling brain cancer and looking to cross items off his bucket list should the unthinkable happen.
KSWO-TV 7 reported on Justin's bucket list, and you can find more information there. His parents are struggling with the costs of Justin's treatment, so friends have created a GoFundMe page on their behalf. Please donate what you can.
Nightmares manager Jimmy Mitchell has hovered around .500 since joining the OIL in 2015, but he does have one playoff appearance. He chose the Nightmares moniker from a list of ideas Cliburn matriculated during the latest round of expansion. Unfortunately, he couldn't convince his brother, who was also on the 2006 SECFOR mission, join with him.
Steel Reign manager Mark Fitzgerald was the First Platoon Lieutenant in 2006. Presumably, he had a hand in making us go by "Hard Targets" at Fort Lewis. Regardless, we invited him to the OIL anyway. Fitz has been in the league for three seasons, and his net point differential over those 41 games is less than one point per game . . . leading to a 0.488 winning percentage over that time. Perhaps Fitz should use the leadership skills he learned in fancy officer school to motivate his players, eh?
Great Plains Drifters manager Aaron Gray had never played fantasy football prior to joining the OIL in 2015, but that didn't stop him from jumping in with both feet. He has attended the live draft each of his two OIL seasons and almost shot someone at only one of them, so that's comforting. He's bringing only $250 worth of ammo to this year's draft though. Is that enough to kill all of us? I was always a "let-the-army-pay-for-my-ammo kind of guy," so I'm not sure. He won nine games in 2016.
Fun fact: Gray almost killed Finch at the 2016 draft (although I guess that fact wasn't quite as fun for Finch) and then spent the rest of the weekend being "the sleepingest motherfucker" Pyle had ever seen.
SECFOR Sixers manager Nate Cordes was in First Platoon during the Iraq mission in 2006. He joined the OIL in 2015 and finished 5-8. But he increased his points per game from 2015 to 2016 by almost 25 points, ending with a winning record and playoff berth.
FDC Chiefs manager Stephen Pennington has completed two seasons in the OIL, finishing with a winning record each time. However, in 2016, he tumbled to a 10th-place finish after finishing second in 2015.
Mutinous Apes manager Walt Musselman was on the 2006 SECFOR mission, sharing a Humvee with Duffy and Nye. He joined the OIL in 2014 and has yet to have a winning season. However, part of that can be attributed to his owning the OIL record for most difficult schedule. Over three seasons, Muss's opponents have scored 146.67 points per game against the Apes, while Muss has averaged just 129.68. Getting outscored by 17 points per game will put a dent in your overall record, and Muss has the losses to prove it: the Apes have won just 25% of matchups since joining the league.
Fun fact: Musselman's 2016 season could have gone much differently, as he drafted both Matt Ryan and Jordan Howard late. But first-round pick Todd Gurley stunk it up. Muss also dropped Ryan before a single game was played and Howard before he won the starting job and became a top-10 fantasy RB.
Team Tadlock manager Derrick Tadlock is a perfect example of the consequences of slashing funding for the arts. Although Tadlock is a smart guy and good at fantasy football, his creative mind was never stimulated enough for him to develop a team name apart from the name he was born with. Sad!
Tadlock disappointed in his first season in the OIL in 2015, but he clinched the number-one seed in 2016 before being upset in the semifinals.
Cocks manager J.P. Peacock was an original member of the OIL at Camp Liberty in 2006, finishing third that season. He left the 158 after that mission and did not return to the OIL until expansion in 2014. His first two seasons back were abysmal, but he bounced back in 2016 with a first-round bye (thanks in part to Musselman dropping Matt Ryan early in the season), again finishing third.
Fun fact: Peacock owns a smoker trailer bigger than those tiny houses your wife likes on Pinterest (not that I'm complaining). Seriously, his smoker alone could solve our nation's homeless epidemic.
Rebel Alliance manager Don Roe joined the OIL's AFC in 2015 after Briscoe ghosted on the league in 2014. He hit the ground running, orchestrating a phenomenal trade for rookie RB David Johnson and riding him to a championship appearance. Unfortunately, the Rebels lost the Thunder Bowl to Venable. The Rebs returned to the playoffs in 2016, finishing fifth.
Fun fact: Roe's original logo included the Rebel Alliance logo from Star Wars, but George Lucas's greedy ass prevented Roe from printing any merch with it.