All in the Family: Playoff Preview

The BSB fantasy football league – All in the Family – is not your average fantasy football league (mostly because it’s, well, actually interesting) and has now finished the regular season and enters the playoffs this week.

Let’s give a really quick synapsis of the season and a look ahead to the playoffs this week.

Regular Season Champion/First-Round Bye:  Black Smiths (10-3)
Mirroring his real team’s season, QB Alex Smith is just simply getting the job done.  Without any real flash, the better of the only 2 QBs in the league, Alex led the Black Smiths to an incredibly improbably regular season championship.  At 10-3, they were a full 3 games better than any other team, despite being outscored by 3 of the other 5 teams, including two teams outscoring them by well more than 125+ points on the season.  But, to quote the late, great Al Davis, “Just Win, Baby.”  And, that’s what they did, and have earned a first-round bye.  Other than having a legit QB, the Smiths were bolstered by a receiving corps that came out of nowhere to become one of the best in the league.  The Cam Newton explosion brought WR Steve Smith back into elitism, while the Ravens Torrey Smith came out of nowhere to be one of the best WRs in the league.  They got very little from their RBs, but it looked like they might get a huge boost from Kevin Smith, who came out of retirement to be the feature back in Detroit, before getting hurt.  If he is healthy for the playoffs, this could be a tough team to beat.  Their defense was also VERY solid.

Second-Place, First-Round Bye:  Charlie Brown (7-6)
Erasing a two-game deficit in the final two weeks and coming from WAY behind to win the tiebreaker, Charlie Brown caught the reeling Jack-O’s for second place and the all-important first-round bye.  But, they did earn it, as the revamped Charlie Brown squad scored the most points in the league this year, led mostly by a couple of surprisingly great seasons from their RBs, Shonn Greene and BenJarvus Green-Ellis.  They also have a terrific WR corps with the emergence of rookie WR A.J. Green to join established star, Roddy White.  And, now Antonio Brown is blowing up in Pittsburgh, giving Charlie Brown the league’s best trio of receivers.  The ole stalwart of the team is that they have a kicker, Josh Brown, but the defense is questionable.  This is a very good team and may be the favorite to win it all this year.

#3 Jack-O’s (7-6) vs. #6 Big Willie Style (2-11)
For about 10 weeks, it looked like the Jack-O’s would be the biggest threat (and maybe the actual favorite) to compete with the Black Smiths to win the title, but about Week 11, the wheels completely fell off and now this team enters the playoffs after blowing a seemingly insurmountable lead for the 2-seed and simply taking on water.  Their bell cow, Fred Jackson, went down with a season-ending injury around the same time that co-captain DeSean Jackson decided he didn’t like catching passes any more.  The other co-captain (and heart and soul of the team), Steven Jackson, is on a miserable team, and Vincent Jackson‘s quarterback is throwing the ball to the wrong team.  The lone bright spots on this team were QB Tavaris Jackson (who was just good enough to stay a starter – which is huge in this league), and LB D’Qwell Jackson, who has emerged as one of the best defensive players in the league.  But, the rest of the defense is terrible and without Freddy and DeSean, this team is pretty poor.

Their opponent in the first round is the disappointing Big Willie Style.  After a phenomenal season last year, Big Willie was the doormat of the league this year, winning just 2 games all year.  The breakout stars of last year just didn’t come through this year, as Cadillac Williams and Seattle’s Mike Williams took backup roles this year.  DeAngelo Williams struggled, and Tampa’s Mike Williams wasn’t as good this year either.  They have been bolstered recently by Tennessee’s WR Damian Williams, but they still are underdogs even against the reeling Jack-O’s in the first round.  But, their defense is decent, so they might be able to pull off the upset this week.

#4 The Dix (7-6) vs. #5 Football Jones and the Last-Name Crusade (6-7)
This first-round matchup is a rematch of last year’s Super Bowl, which Football Jones pulled off the monumental upset.  This year, though, it wouldn’t be as big of an upset because of the struggles of the Dix this year.  But, they are hitting their stride at just the right time and still have a shot to take the title.  The emergence of Chris Johnson is huge for the Dix, while Calvin Johnson continues to dominate.  While they are still missing Andre Johnson, there is a chance that they get a starting QB, as Josh Freeman is questionable for Tampa.  Josh Johnson is his backup.  A 6-loss season was SHOCKING for the league’s juggernaut, but they can make everyone forget about that if they can put together three good weeks to take the title.

Football Jones & the Last-Name Crusade has found it tough sledding to defend their championship, but they are still in it and ready to roll into the playoffs.  The downslide of Football Jones may be a result of the diminished roles of very important RBs Felix Jones and Thomas Jones, as opposed to last year.  But, they added a very important piece in rookie WR Julio Jones.  Adding Julio to James Jones and Jacoby Jones (and Donald Jones before a season-ending injury) gives FJ a much better WR corps this year than last.  Plus, they still have their franchise player, Maurice Jones-Drew, who is still a stud.  While the defense is still pretty poor, the rest of the league better take them out this year because there is chance that this team could start an absolute dynasty because one of the best QBs entering the draft this year is Oklahoma’s Landry Jones.

Quick Predictions (Most Likely to win the Title):
Here is, in order, my picks to take the title

  1. Charlie Brown – Despite being the 2-seed, this team is red-hot and very good
  2. The DIX – Still the most talented team in the league, despite 6 losses and a 4th-place finish
  3. Black Smiths – Hey, they did win THREE more games than anyone else in the league, right?
  4. Football Jones & the Last-Name Crusade – The defending champs have some fight in them
  5. Jack-O’s – It’s hard to imagine they can actually put a run together, but they did score over 700 points this year
  6. Big Willie Style – It’s been a rough year for Big Willie; they might pull off an upset, but they is probably their ceiling

All in the Family: The Semifinals

Our fantasy football league here at BSB (where we pit a team of Johnsons against a team of Jacksons or Williams or Jones or Smiths or Browns) had its first-ever quarterfinals last week and roll into the semifinals this week.  We’re going to give a quick recap of the quarters and then a preview of this weekend’s semifinal doubleheader.

Quarterfinal:  #3 Football Jones & The Last-Name Crusade 63 – #6 Charlie Brown 27
The hottest team in the league not named “Johnson” continued their red-hot campaign with an easy quarterfinal win.  The Jones squad got 20 from MVP candidate Maurice Jones-Drew and 14 from Felix Jones.  They also got a surprise 15 from Jacoby Jones.  Dhani Jones led the defense with 6.

Charlie Brown didn’t have a terrible game, but it wasn’t near enough to challenge the strong Jones team.  Josh Brown, the only kicker in the league, led Charlie with 9 points (including a special-teams tackle, which isn’t good for his real team, but is good for his fantasy team).  Donald Brown had a decent day, going for 6 points, but the big disappoinment (like he has been for most of the year) was Ronnie Brown, who only got 2.

Football Jones & the Last-Name Crusade moves on to the semifinals, where they will meet the slumping team of Williams, Big Willie Style.  Charlie Brown has to settle for a shot at 5th place this week.

Quarterfinal:  #4 Jack-O’s 66 – #5 BlackSmiths 7
Yes, 7 points for the BlackSmiths, in an embarrassing semifinal loss.  Not that they could have beaten the Jack-O’s on their best day, as they were dominant this week when it mattered most.  DeSean Jackson went for 30 and Fred Jackson went for 14.  They got a decent 10 from Steven Jackson and 4 from the newest addition Vincent Jackson.  The defense (the worst in the league) was okay, as they got 3 Kareem Jackson and 4 from Lawrence Jackson.  The only disappointing part of the Jack-O’s day was only getting a single point from their starting quarterback (a real luxury in this league), Tarvaris Jackson.

The BlackSmiths picked the wrong quarterback.  They went with Troy Smith over Alex Smith, and Troy gave them nothing.  Alex had a good day, but was on the bench.  Only Carolina’s Steve Smith managed more than a single point for them all week.

The Jack-O’s will take their new-found momentum into the semifinals, where they will try to pull off a monumental upset over the regular-season champs and ARCH-RIVAL, The Dix.  The BlackSmiths will try and save some face, as they face Charlie Brown in the 5th place game.

And, now for the previews of this week’s big playoff games:

Semifinal:  #1 The Dix vs. #4 Jack-O’s
This league was formed when Bry threw down the gauntlett to Waters and said “I’ll take on your Dix with my Jacksons.”  Waters gladly accepted, having all the faith in the world in his Dix, and the rest is history.  So, this matchup (though some would say a week early thanks to the great seasons of Big Willie Style and The Jones Crusade) has been in the works for almost a year now, and we’re finally here.  The Jack-O’s, who still believe that they should have been awarded the victory over The Dix on the last week of the season because of the should-have-been suspension of Andre Johnson, now get a chance to win it when it matters.  The Dix, who won their last 6 regular season games with ease to cruise to a 11-2 record (including a season sweep of the Jack-O’s), are the heavy favorites to win it all, but they have to get past this one first.

Before any action, Yahoo instituted The Dix as the projected winner 64-46, but that was only counting on 7 points from Vincent Jackson.  On Thursday night, Vincent made up for missing the entire regular season by dropping a MONSTER 31 points putting The Dix is a precarious position heading into the Sunday games.  As good as the Vincent Jackson game was Thursday night, the Jack-O’s took a big hit as well that day, as Tarvaris Jackson (the only quarterback remaining in the playoffs), was placed on IR.  With Tarvaris and 31 from Vincent, the Jack-O’s may have become the favorite in this one heading into Sunday’s games, but without Tarvaris, the Jack-O’s are still looking at a tall order.  Chris Johnson and Andre Johnson play each other on Sunday in a game that may be a real shootout, which is good news for The Dix.  Fred Jackson and DeSean Jackson have tough matchups with Miami and the N.Y. Giants, respectively.  Keep an eye on the defenses, as both of these teams have struggled on that side of the ball, but could get a big play this week to change the tide of the biggest game of the year.  Either way, with 31 points in the bag, the Jack-O’s are sure to make this long-awaited grudge match at least competitive and very exciting.

Semifinal:  #2 Big Willie Style vs. #3 Football Jones & the Last-Name Crusade
The other semifinal pits two teams going in seemingly opposite directions.  Big Willie Style was the talk of the country in the first half of the season, getting off to a 7-0 start, including a big win over The Dix in Week 2.  But, they stumbled down the stretch, losing 3 of their last 6, including a near loss to Charlie Brown in the last regular season game.  Fortunately for Big Willie, they accumulated so many wins early that they were never in any jeopardy of losing the #2 seed and now the slates are wiped clean and they have to perform now.  On the other hand, Football Jones & the Last-Name Crusade has been red-hot, winners of 6 of their last 8 games.  That being said, they have played Big Willie Style twice this year and gotten beat handily in both matchups.  They will need to put forth their biggest performance of the year this week if they are to pull off the upset and head to the championship next week.

If the Yahoo projections are any indication of what we are to expect this week, we are in for an absolutely thrilling semifinal here.  Yahoo projects 53.22 for Big Willie Style and 52.91 for The Jones Crusade.  Wow!  Jones can feel good looking at two very favorable matchups for their two big guns, as Maurice Jones-Drew plays a weak Indy run defense, and Felix Jones gets to go against a defeated Washington team.  What Jones always looks for as a knock-out punch is getting anything from their wideouts, so if you see any touchdown from James Jones for Green Bay, Jacoby Jones for Houston, or Donald Jones for Buffalo, you will probably be looking at an upset of the #2-seed. 

On the other side, Big Willie Style has been doing it all year with balance, balance, and more balance, so they show up each and every week.  Their receivers aren’t stars, but very solid and go three-deep, with the two Mike Williams and Roy Williams.  Also, their running backs, though much less dangerous with the injury to DeAngelo Williams, are still decent, with Cadillac Williams and Ricky Williams

As much as fantasy football is won with high-powered offense, this game may come down to the defenses.  These two teams, who have clearly enjoyed the two best defenses all year, are both highly confident on that side of the ball.  As good as the Jones defense is, Big Willie is even better.  Big Willie has won a lot of games this year with their defense, so they will try and do the same thing here, with everything on the line.

5th Place Game:  #5 BlackSmiths vs. #6 Charlie Brown
The fifth-place game pits two teams playing for nothing but pride.  Charlie Brown, who finished in last-place, winning the two games that bookended the great Charlie Brown holiday of Thanksgiving, are playing a lot better right now.  The BlackSmiths, who started 4-4, but then lost 5 in a row to end the season.  They lost again last week, scoring just 7 points.  It looks like they have quit on their coach, Lovie Smith. 

Yahoo thinks that the BlackSmiths will continue reeling, as Charlie Brown is projected to win 36-21.  With Steve Smith of the Giants out for the year, and Troy Smith on the bench, the Smiths really only have the Panthers’ Steve Smith that can do anything on offense.  Their defense is decent, but can any defense win with almost zero offense?

Charlie Brown has the most consistent player in the league, Josh Brown, the only kicker, so they have that to lean on.  Yahoo also projects a big day from Ronnie Brown against the Bills.  We will see what Donald Brown and that excellent secondary of C.C. Brown and Sheldon Brown can do to get Charlie the bragging rights of 5th place.

All in the Family: Season Recap & Playoff Preview

This year, BSB decided to sponsor a fantasy football league.  It is called All in the Family, and it’s not your standard fantasy football league.  There are six teams and Adrian Peterson is not on any of them.  That is because we don’t have a team of all Petersons.  The theme of the league is finding what last name is the most dominant.  One of BSB’s favorite contributors, Waters, has had a team in public leagues for almost a decade called The Dix, which consisted of nothing but players with the surname Johnson.  This year, Bry decided to challenge The Dix with the Jack-O’s – all Jacksons.  Doogan joined the challenge and took Jones (Football Jones & the Last-Name Crusade), and J jumped in with Smith (The Blacksmiths).  A late offseason expansion took the league to 6 teams, as Ina came in with Brown (Charlie Brown) and The Cuz joined with Williams (Big Willie Style).  The 13-game season has ended and we’re ready to start the playoffs.  I’ll start with a recap of the regular season and each team’s leaders and then, after that, I’ll preview the first week of playoff action.

Regular-Season Champion and First-Round Bye:  The Dix (11-2, 772 points)
The Dix, the preseason favorite did come through in the end, winning the inaugural regular season title at 11-2.  The team many thought would run the table and go undefeated lost those dreams early on and actually fell out of first place for a couple of weeks.  The loss came after two relatively easy wins over the Jack-O’s and The Jones Crusade, when Big Willie Style knocked off the favorites 50-46 to take sole possession of first place.  The Dix then rattled off three straight wins, including a thrilling 76-52 win in Rivalry Week over the Jack-O’s, but the streak was snapped in Week 7 by the Jones Crusade’s 65.5 – 65.1 win.  Week 8 was the turning point in the season.  The Dix were 5-2 and two full games behind the undefeated Big Willie Style, when The Dix dropped a league-record 81 points on Willie in a win.  They then went on to win their last 5 games to finish 11-2.  Big Willie Style lost two more, giving The Dix the first ever regular season title all to themselves.  The Dix get a bye in the playoffs this week and await the winner of the #4/5 game next week, as they will start their quest towards a championship.

From an individual standpoint, The Dix, as expected, were led by their three elite superstars, Chris Johnson, Calvin Johnson, and Andre Johnson.  But, as was not expected, they got a gigantic boost by Stevie Johnson.  They needed Stevie because they got nothing from Larry Johnson and very little from Josh Johnson because of how good Josh Freeman is. 

Their defense was led by a surprisingly good year from Chiefs linebacker, Derrick Johnson and a solid year from Carolina defensive end, Charles Johnson.  They got disappointingly low production from Ravens linebacker, Jarret Johnson and almost nothing from Redskins corner, D.J. Johnson.

#2 Seed and First-Round Bye:  Big Willie Style (10-3, 650 points)
It was a tale of two seasons for Willie this year.  A very late addition to the league, no one really thought they would be all that competitive, yet for the first half of the season, they looked like clearly the best team in the league.  They opened their season with a win over Charlie Brown and then squeeked out a Week Two win over the Black Smiths, setting up an unexpected showdown with The Dix.  Big Willie Style made the statement, beating The Dix and taking over first place.  They then went on to win their next four games by an average margin of victory of 30 points.  They sat at 7-0 and two games up on The Dix when the two teams played in Week Eight.  The Dix knocked them down a notch with an 81-60 victory.  Big Willie lost again (by 21) the next week to the Jack-O’s and fell back into a first-place tie with The Dix.  A win over the Jones Crusade set up another showdown in Week Eleven.  And, again, The Dix beat Willie – again, convincingly.  Seemingly reeling, Willie struggled, but won their last two games to finish 10-3, but they do not look very strong heading into the playoffs.  But, they do get the week off to rest up and get ready for a first-round matchup with the winner of the #3/6 game.

Like many championship teams of the past, Big Willie Style is good thanks to an elite defense and a lot of depth.  By far the best defense in the league, Big Willie’s defensive unit routinely outscores their opponents by a significant margin.  They are led with Packers cornerback Tramon Williams, Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams, Texans defensive end, Mario Williams, and Bills d-tackle Kyle Williams.  But, their depth is what is incredible.  This year there were FOURTEEN defensive players named Williams that have scored double-digit fantasy points.  To put that in perspective, there were only two Jacksons. 

Now, while the defense always shows up, Willie’s offense has been up-and-down this year.  They started red-hot with Mike Williams, Mike Williams, Cadillac Williams, and Ricky Williams.  Now, while Cadillac and Ricky have started to regress, they have gotten some nice late-season production from old Cowboys receiver Roy Williams and new Redskins running back Keiland Williams.

#3 Seed:  Football Jones & the Last-Name Crusade (6-7, 548 points)
The flip-side of the Big Willie Style story of a great first-half and a mediocre second half is The Jones Crusade.  The Crusade started off really slow, losing 5 of their first 6 games, with the only win coming over the then-winless Charlie Brown squad.  There were signs that this team was better than their record, though, as all their losses were close, including a near-upset of The Dix in Week 2.  But, in their Dix rematch, Jones stepped up to the plate and started to get the ball rolling to being one of the hottest teams heading into the playoffs.  They beat The Dix 65.5 – 65.1 in the closest game of the year and that catapulted them to a 5-2 record in their last 7 games, which was just enough (with the tiebreaker) to vault past the Jack-O’s into 3rd place.  That gives them a playoff date with last-place Charlie Brown in the first-round and allows them to avoid The Dix until the championship.

Jones and the Jack-O’s suffered the most from a late rule change which eliminated the “flex” position and limited lineups to just two running backs.  The Crusade had three dominant backs this year, having to choose each week between Maurice Jones-Drew, Thomas Jones, and Felix Jones.  And, to add to the pain inflicted by that rule, the Crusade struggled all year to find production from the wideout position.  James Jones in Green Bay and Jacoby Jones in Houston were okay, and Donald Jones of Buffalo has produced a little recently. 

The defense has been a lot better than many expected.  Despite the IR placement of Pacman Jones, the team has been very good this year.  Dhani Jones is one of the most productive linebackers in the league, while d-backs Sean Jones (Was), David Jones (Jax), and Nate Jones (Den) have been very good.  D-tackle Jason Jones of Tennessee has been above average.

#4 Seed:  Jack-O’s (6-7, 525 points)
The Jack-O’s were in one of the most enviable positions for much of the season.  When it looked like there were two elite teams (The Dix and Big Willie Style), the Jack-O’s looked like the best of the rest, as they went the first 7 weeks without a loss to anyone but the top two teams.  But, then Week Eight started their descent, as they only managed 30 points in a bad 33-30 loss to the Jones Crusade.  They rebounded nicely with a huge 54-33 win over Big Willie Style and then a 73-46 shellacking of the BlackSmiths.  But, the wheels came off, and it, again began with a matchup with the Jones Crusade.  Doogan’s squad dropped 72 on the Jack-O’s to start a 3-game winning streak for Jones and a 3-game losing streak for the Jack-O’s, allowing Jones to take the #3 seed.  Week Twelve was the lowpoint of the season for the Jack-O’s, as they only managed 16 points in a humiliating loss to Charlie Brown.  They came back and played well, but fell just short in Week Thirteen to The Dix.  For the record, that Week Thirteen game is under appeal, as both coaches agreed that Andre Johnson should have been suspended for the game, and it was his points that made the difference.  Either way, the result looks like it will stand, and the Jack-O’s are resigned to the #4-seed and a date with the BlackSmiths in the quarterfinals.

The Jack-O’s season is one more of who has not produced than of who has.  The team was founded on the premise that Vincent Jackson would continue to be a superstar and that there was a good chance that Tavaris Jackson would be one of the only starting QBs in the league.  Well, Tavaris has only played the better part of one game, and Vincent didn’t score a point all year.  However, this team has pressed on mainly riding the broad shoulders of superstars Stephen Jackson and DeSean Jackson.  The Jack-O’s have also received some great production from running backs Fred Jackson and Brandon Jackson.  The problem, though, is similar to that of the Jones Crusade, as the rule change forces Bry to choose between Steven, Fred, and Brandon at RB each week.  And, to make matters ever more frustrating, DeSean and Vincent (0 points all year) are the only two WRs named Jackson in the NFL, so every week they have gotten 0 points from TWO wide receiver spots and the TE spot.  That’s tough to overcome.

To make roster problems worse, the defense is in shambles.  As bad as the Vincent Jackson holdout was, the biggest offseason story of the year for the Jack-O’s was the league’s year-long suspension of Tampa Bay safety Tanard Jackson.  Tanard was the Jack-O’s best defensive player and they only had him for three games.  The defense was further crippled by the season-ending injury to Cleveland Browns starting linebacker, D’Qwell Jackson in Week Four.  The loss of the team’s only linebacker means that that position also gives them 0 points every week.  The two lone bright spots for the Jack-O’s defense this year are both very young players making the most of their playing time.  Texans rookie cornerback, Kareem Jackson has been the Jack-O’s best defensive player this year, while Lions second-year defensive end, Lawrence Jackson has been outstanding in the second half of the season.  The team is still waiting on former #3 overall draft pick Tyson Jackson to live up to the hype in Kansas City.

#5 Seed:  The BlackSmiths (4-9, 451 points)
An up-and-down season for the BlackSmiths started well enough.  Through eighst weeks, the BlackSmiths were a very respectable 4-4, which included close losses to Big Willie Style and the Jack-O’s.  But, the wheels completely fell off, starting with a bad 33-27 loss to the Jack-O’s in Week Nine.  They went on to lose their last 5 games to finish at 4-9 and limp into a first-round date with the Jack-O’s.

The one thing that the BlackSmiths can hang their hat on this year is at the most important position in the sport – quarterback.  There have only been three quarterbacks in this fantasy league that have made a start in the NFL this season – and they are ALL named Smith.  The bad news for the BlackSmiths is that none of them are all that good, but in fantasy football, just having a QB is kind of a big deal.  Alex Smith started for the 49ers for the first half of the season and was good enough to put up okay fantasy numbers, but not okay enough to keep him job.  He was replaced by…you guessed it…Troy Smith, so the BlackSmiths didn’t miss a beat.  Rusty Smith started for the Titans for a week, but, fortunately for the BlackSmiths, he wasn’t needed in the lineup, as he put up NEGATIVE EIGHT points.  Their wide receiver corps has been hit hard by the injury bug this year, as both Steve Smith and Steve Smith have missed significant time with injuries, though it looks like they’re both healthy now.  The big surprise has been Brad Smith the quarterback-turned-RB-turned-WR that the Jets have used brilliantly this year.  The problem with this team is that they get absolutely nothing from the running back position now that Kevin Smith has found himself on IR.

The defense has been pretty good all year long, especially the defensive ends.  The Saints Will Smith (who, ironically, had his best game all year when playing against Big Willie Style) has been very good, as has Houston’s Antonio Smith and San Fran’s Justin Smith.  The team took a huge hit as Lions cornerback Alphonso Smith (the BlackSmiths leading scorer on defense) is now on IR.  Fortunately, they have the Jets Eric Smith, a solid backup to fill in.  Darryl Smith, the starting linebacker for Jacksonville, has been a stalwart on LB for this squad.

#6 Seed:  Charlie Brown (2-11, 351 points)
Charlie Brown looked like the league’s doormat, though 8 weeks, as they had lost all eight and were never within 10 points of victory.  Week Nine was seemingly their highlight, as they only lost by a single point against the Jones Crusade, but that momentum seemed gone, as they then took the worst beating of any team all year in Week Ten, as The Dix crushed them 83-28.  But, then, it happened.  Thanksgiving.  As Doogan aptly pointed out, Thanksgiving is the time when Charlie Brown shines.  Wins over the BlackSmiths and the Jack-O’s in the two weeks surrounding the great Charlie Brown holiday allowed the team to save face.  They even gave Big Willie Style a run for their money in Week Thirteen, losing by only a point.  Charlie Brown is playing their best right now at the right time, so watch out.

Charlie Brown has revolved around the fact that they have something that no one else in the league has – a kicker.  The Rams Josh Brown has been basically an automatic 10 points for Charlie that no one else can match.  Other than that, this team is pretty thin.  Ronnie Brown and Donald Brown are pretty much the whole offense, though WR Antonio Brown has scored a couple random touchdowns for the Steelers this year.

Aside from kicker, Charlie Brown may also have the best pair of d-backs in the league with Cleveland’s Sheldon Brown and Detroit’s C.C. Brown.  They also get some production from New Orleans DE Alex Brown and Carolina’s DE Everette Brown.  Their only available linebacker is a Raiders backup, Ricky Brown.

Quarterfinal Matchup:  #4 Jack-O’s vs. #5 BlackSmiths
In the first quarterfinal matchup, the BlackSmiths will try and snap a five-game losing streak by upsetting the Jack-O’s and ending their inaugural season.  The Jack-O’s are predicted to win this game 48-29, on the strength of their stars DeSean, Steven, and Fred (or Brandon, if Bry decides to play him instead).  Also, there is a good chance that Tavaris could play for Brett Favre, which might negate the QB advantage of the BlackSmiths.  The BlackSmiths will need a big day from their QB and their defense – where they have big advantages.  Fortunately for them, for the first time in a very long time, they have both Steves on the active roster this week.

The winner of this game will take on the regular-season champions, The Dix, in the semifinals.  The loser will play for 5th place next week.

Quarterfinal Matchup:  #3 Jones & the Last-Name Crusade vs. #6 Charlie Brown
In the other quarterfinal matchup, the hottest team in the league not name The Dix takes on a 2-11 Charlie Brown team that has been playing very well recently, nearly pulling off an upset of Big Willie Style last week for 3 in a row.  The Jones Crusade is favored to win this game 47-32, but the two player that played on Thursday night would adjust that prediction to 46-34, as the one Crusader did worse than predicted and Donald Jones had two more points than predicted.  This matchup should come down to whether Mo-Jo can put this team on his back come playoff time and carry them to victory.  Doogan has the big decision of second running back and, for now, he is going with Thomas Jones, but that can change.  To pull off the upset, Charlie Brown will need a good day from kicker Josh Brown and a BIG day from Dolphins star, Ronnie Brown.

The winner of this game will meet Big Willie Style in the semifinals, while the loser will play the loser of the other quarterfinal for 5th place.

All in the Family: Week 3 Recap, Week 4 Preview

NOTE: [All in the Family is BSB’s fantasy football league, with one catch–the teams have to all consist of players with the same surname.  The league consists of The Dix (Johnson), the Jack-O’s (Jackson), the Black Smiths (Smith), Jones & the Last-Name Crusade (Jones), Charlie Brown (Brown), and Big Willie Style (Williams).]

Week Three
Week Three of the inaugural season of All in the Family was a real “show me what you’ve got week,” as each team was in position to really make a statement about their chances of challenging The Dix this year.  And, some statements were made loud and clear.

Big Willie Style 50 – The Dix 46
In the huge showdown of 2-0 teams, The Dix were foiled.  Big Willie Style has made it known, to anyone listening, that this league is not going to just be a coronation of a couple of Johnsons.  We’ve got a season, folks.  Big Willie got an incredibly timely performance from the most underappreciated (and underperforming) Williams of the first two weeks–Roy Williams–and it was enough to overcome another big day for Mr. Chris Johnson.

The surprise of the week came from one of the Roy Williams

Like we said in the opening, this win for Big Willie Style (the biggest win in the short history of All in the Family) was fueled completely by their forgotten wide receiver.  Roy (DAL), who only started in 5% of Yahoo! fantasy leagues, went for 117 yards and 2 TDs.  This made up for the inept performance of the two Mikes (TB & SEA), who only combined for 5 points, and the running backs, DeAngelo (CAR) and Ricky (MIA), who only combined for 9 points.  The benching of Cadillac (TB) wasn’t a good move, but it didn’t hurt either, as the Caddy only had 5 points against the Steelers defense.  And, the best defense in the league made the difference again, as Tramon (GB) had 7 tackles and a sack on Monday night to lead his team to victory.  Mario (HOU) didn’t play on Sunday, which hurt because his backup Kyle (BUF) had 6 points on the bench.  Fortunately, this team is good enough for that not to matter.

On the other side, The Dix had a decent game (46 points was the 3rd best total of the week), but in the end, their best player, Chris (TEN), was surprisingly neutralized by Roy Williams’s big day, and the defense for The Dix just isn’t as good as their counterparts for Big Willie Style.  Chris had 27 points on 125 yards and 2 TDs, and they even got some garbage points from QB Josh (TB), who came into a blowout against Pittsburgh.  Team captain, Andre (HOU), added 7 points and Calvin chipped in with 6, but The Dix just can’t match the depth of Big Willie Style, as they got goose-eggs from the #3 WR, #2 RB, DB, and DL.  They only had 4 points total from the defense, which sealed their fate.

We’re not going to get carried away, but Big Willie Style may have established themselves as the team to beat in this league.  If they can continue to get production from so many different positions, this team may actually pull off an incredible run in this inaugural season.  Task #1 is complete, as they are the first team to beat The Dix at their own game.  Roy Williams is clearly the MVP of this week, as he came out of nowhere to make a huge splash in the league.

Jack-O’s 47 – Jones & the Last Name Crusade 38
The second game of the week was a big game for both teams.  Jones & the Last Name Crusade is a really tough 0-2, as they have played two tough games against good teams that they could have won, but missed out on.  While, the Jack-O’s, who got pummelled by The Dix on opening day, but then beat Charlie Brown in Week Two, were trying to establish themselves as a competitor this year.  And, they did just that.  Led by DeSean and Stephen Jackson, the Jack-O’s improved to 2-1 and will have a shot at first place in Week Four, as they take on 3-0 Big Willie Style.  Jones & the Last Name Crusade added a third tough loss to their season, as they just didn’t have the horses in this one.

DeSean is doing it all for the Jack-O's

DeSean (PHI) had a huge 24 points for the Jack-O’s, which coupled with a workman-like 12 more from team captain, Stephen (STL), was just about enough to hold off a game Crusade team.  Brandon (GB) did get the tough start over Fred (BUF) here and it paid off, as Brandon had 4 points, while Fred only would have given 1.  Again, the receiving corps is decimated by Vincent’s no-show, as goose-eggs were had by WR2 and WR3 this week.  Speaking of decimated by off-the-field issues, the defense continues to get blasted.  Tanard (TB) was suspended for the season for use of PEDs and now D’Qwell (CLE), the team’s only linebacker, has been placed on IR and is out for the season.  Lawrence (DET)–who replaced Tanard in the starting lineup–picked up a sack for the Jack-O’s defense.

As for the Jones squad, they were carried, as usual, by their stable of running backs.  Thomas (KC) led the way with 16 and team captain Maurice (JAX) chipped in with 9.  Felix (DAL) had 4 on the bench, so Doogan made a nice coaching decision there.  Jacoby (HOU) and James (GB) are a decent couple of WRs, but they only combined for 7 points on this day.  And, the defense didn’t come through as much as it has earlier in the season.  Pacman (CIN) after a big day last week on the bench, got the start and gave nothing.  Dhani (CIN) had a forced fumble as the only real highlight of a poor showing by the Jones defense.

This was a nice win for the Jack-O’s, as they improve to 2-1–in a three-way tie for second place.  They do have a tough couple of games coming up, so they needed to get some momentum heading into this rough stretch of games.  DeSean Jackson continues to shine, as he gets another game ball this week for the Jack-O’s.

Black Smiths 44 – Charlie Brown 28
Even though the league’s only kicker outscored the league’s only starting QB, the Black Smiths had enough from the rest of the team to take this victory.  Charlie Brown is not going to win many games when their running backs don’t come through.

It was a big day for one of the Steve Smiths

The Black Smiths actually had a pretty bad day from their captain, Steve (CAR), on this day, and a mediocre day from their QB Alex (SF), but got enough from “The Other Steve” (NYG) and a surprising 5 points from Brad (NYJ).  This was enough to overcome another combined goose-egg from the running backs and TEs.  The defense was solid again, as Eric (NYJ) blocked a kick and Will (NO) registered a sack.  They did get an interception from Alphonso (DET), but he was on the bench.

Charlie Brown had a rough day, which is going to happen if they don’t get much from their two running backs.  Ronnie (MIA) had 5 points and Donald (IND) had just 1.  They got nothing else from their offense.  Kicker Josh (STL) made 3 FGs for 12 total points, which is a nice bonus, as he is the only kicker in the league.  The defense was okay–nothing special, but okay.  C.C. (DET), Sheldon (CLE), and Alex (NO) combined for 9 points on the defensive side.  They got a goose-egg from Ricky (OAK).

The Black Smiths got a nice win, despite not giving their best showing.  They improve to 2-1 heading into their showdown with The Dix in Week Four.  The Other Steve (NYG) is the MVP of the week for the Black Smiths, as he had a 100-yard receiving day.

Standings
3-0 Big Willie Style (146 points)
2-1 The Dix (141 points)
2-1 Black Smiths (125 points)
2-1 Jack-O’s (117 points)
0-3 Jones & the Last Name Crusade (105 points)
0-3 Charlie Brown (99 points)

Week Four Matchups
In Week Four, we will get more of a picture of where these teams should be as we have the fourth set of inaugural meetings.  It should be a bit of a separation week, as well, as four of the six teams are 2-1 or 3-0 and they all face each other this week.

The Dix (2-1) – Black Smiths (2-1)
Is it possible that The Dix could lose two in a row?  It’s certainly possible.  With Larry Johnson released and out of football, they have no dependable running back other than, well, the best RB in the game.  The Dix are projected to win this game, 56-40, but you never know.  The Black Smiths have a much better defense, and they do have that wild card of a quarterback.

Big Willie Style (3-0) – Jack-O’s (2-1)
Will there be a letdown for Big Willie Style after their big win over The Dix last week?  We will see, as they face the Jack-O’s, who have won two straight (albeit against winless teams).  Big Willie should win this game, as they are projected to take it 46-34.  The byes have kicked in, and Big Willie loses their two Tampa players, Mike Williams and Cadillac Williams, but they have a couple decent replacements.  The Jack-O’s have their quarterback on the bye, so there is no chance that Tavaris Jackson would get any garbage points in this one.  They also have a decimated defense, as Tyson Jackson is on the bye, Tanard Jackson is suspended for the year, and D’Qwell Jackson is on injured reserve.  Big Willie, on the other hand, has the best defense in the game.  This would be a pretty big upset if the Jack-O’s can pull it off.

Charlie Brown (0-3) – Jones & the Last Name Crusade (0-3)
After Week Four, there will only be one winless team, as the two 0-3 teams battle this week.  Jones & the Last Name Crusade is projected to win 40-37, so this one could go either way rather easily.  The problem for Charlie Brown is that their only two dependable offensive players, Ronnie Brown and Donald Brown are banged up.  They also lost their starting linebacker, Ricky Brown, but their defense is better than that of the Crusade.  Also, Charlie has the only kicker, which always helps.  The Crusade has Maurice Jones(-Drew), who is the best player in this game, so he could carry them to their first ever victory.

All in The Family: Weeks 1 & 2

Well, with the start of the NFL playoffs and the surging Phils, we’re not at the point of apologizing for a delay in updating our BSB fantasy football league (Jack-O vs. The Dix), but it’s getting close to that point.  And, there has been some fascinating upheaval in the All in the Family BSB fantasy football league.  So, let’s catch up on the big offseason news and then give recaps of the first two weeks of thrilling action.

Expansion
First of all, we are proud to announce that the All in the Family league has expanded AGAIN.  At the 11th hour of the inaugural season, our league expanded and brought in two more teams.  This first season will consist of six teams–all of which are populated by “brothers” (or at least guys with the same last name).

  • We all know that the league was formed in the spirit of The Dix–Waters team of all Johnsons
  • The impetus of the league was when Bry challenged Waters with the Jack-O’s (all Jacksons)
  • Doogan and J followed suit, entering Jones & the Last Name Crusade (all Joneses) and the Black Smiths (all Smiths), respectively
  • At the 11th hour, David wanted in with Big Willie Style (all Williamses), and Ina rounded out the 6-team league with Charlie Brown (all Browns)

So, that is where we our in Season 1:  six teams, an absolute grudge match every week, and all the marbles going to the winner of All in the Family.  We also included, in the rules, that there would be four individual defensive players each week (1 DL, 1 LB, 1 DB, and 1 Flex).

Week One
The kickoff was, well, everything we hoped it would be and then some, as there were grudge matches left and right, one semi-close game, and a ton of excitement and hype.  Let’s run down the games one-by-one, starting with the challenge that started it all.

The Dix 51 – Jack-O’s 20
There are no words to really express the statement that The Dix made in their very first game in this league.  They have been preparing for this game for 8 years now, playing exhibitions against “real” teams, and all of it came to a head, as they dominated the Jack-O’s to make a statement to the rest of the league that they are the big dogs. 

The biggest of The Dix made his mark in Week One

In fact, with the exception of one player, The Dix didn’t even really have a great week.  But, that one player, Chris (TEN) had 29 points, single-handedly outscoring the entire Jack-O team.  It was a down week for the usually fantastic receiving corps, as Andre (HOU) only had 3 and Calvin (DET) only had 5.  Bryant (DET) actually chipped in 2 for the best set of receivers in the league.  The other running back, Larry (WAS), got a point for the team he used to carry.  The leader of the defense was LB Derrick (KC), who had 11 tackles and a forced fumble.  Jarret (BAL) also chipped in a half of a sack.

On the other side, the Jack-O’s were not very good in this one.  Their best contributor was their captain, Steven (STL), who had 9.  Not having Vincent (SD) is brutal, but so is the poor performance of DeSean (PHI) didn’t help.  Fred (BUF) had 2 points as a starting RB, while Brandon (GB) scored 8 filling in for Ryan Grant, but wasn’t in the starting lineup.  Tavaris (MIN) didn’t play, so they got nothing from the QB spot.  The defense was okay, despite the late scratch of LB D’Qwell (CLE) from the Browns starting lineup.  Kareem (HOU), Tanard (TB), and Tyson (KC) all played well.

In the end, the Jack-O’s just had no answer for Chris Johnson and took a brutal beating on opening day.

Black Smiths 39 – Jones & the Last Name Crusade 30
With the two teams’ offensive stars essentially cancelling each other out, the closest game of the opening week came down to a big point total by, arguably, the best defense in the league–The Black Smiths.

Daryl leads the Black Smiths to a Week One victory

The Black Smiths did get 14 points from their big gun, Steve (CAR), which was enough to make up for zero points from the running back position.  The Other Steve (NYG) had 4, while Brad (NYJ) actually rushed for 27 yards and made a tackle on special teams for 3 points.  The big advantage of the Black Smiths over everyone else is that they actually have a quarterback, but this week, they won without him, as Alex (SF) only had 1 point.  But, again, the best defense in the league made the difference–particularly Daryl (JAX), who had a monster game with 5 tackles, an interception, a forced fumble, and a pass defensed.  Eric (NYJ) and Antonio (HOU) also contibuted for this stellar defensive unit.

On the other side, Jones & the Last Name Crusade also prides themselves on their defense, but for its depth more so than its top-level talent.  The captain of the squad, Maurice (JAX), did his part with 11 points, while Felix (6) rewarded Doogan for starting him over Thomas (KC) by putting up 6.  The defense is deep, but depth is less important when there are only 4 spots.  Dhani (CIN) led the way with 7 tackles.

The Black Smiths got a nice victory here on opening day, despite no production from Alex Smith.  Their defense might be the best in the league, and Daryl Smith gets the game ball from this one.

Big Willie Style 50 – Charlie Brown 33
It was actually a pretty encouraging debut for an under-appreciated Charlie Brown team, but Big Willie Style really answered the bell and won decisively.  They may take exception to the crowning of the Black Smiths as the league’s best defense.  Theirs is not too shabby, and it carried them today–well, that and a couple of Mikes.

Mike & Mike are stylish for Big Willie

Big Willie Style might be a real sleeper team this year (especially if Yahoo! ever gets their act together and changes the starting lineup configuration like I asked them to before the first week).  Here, in Week One, they had the most balanced attack of all the teams in a nice win.  They were led by Cadillac (TB), who put up 10 points without a touchdown.  Their captain, DeAngelo (CAR), added 6, while a pair of Mikes (TB and SEA) added 10 and 6, respectively.  There wasn’t even any room for Ricky’s (MIA) 6 points on the bench.  And, that was only the offense.  The defense was fantastic, as well.  Tramon (GB) had a fumble recovery and 3 pass defenses.  Mario (HOU) had 2 tackles and a sack, and D.J. (DEN) had 9 tackles.  There even got 5 tackles and a sack from a guy on their bench, Corey (DET).  What a week for Big Willie Style!

On the other side of this game, you have to be somewhat encouraged if you’re a Charlie Brown fan, as they hung tough with a good team, despite only getting points from one offensive player.  Their captain, Ronnie (MIA), hit for 15 points.  The big advantage for Charlie Brown is that they have the only two kickers in the league.  Their starter, Josh (STL) gave them 8 points.  They also got a combined 10 points from their two defensive backs, C.C. (DET) and Sheldon (CLE).

People should take notice–Big Willie Style might just be a real contender for the title here.  They have a ton of balance and talent to boot.  I’m not so sure The Dix are “scared,” but they might be a little concerned.  The game ball here goes to Mike Williams–both of them.

Week Two
The rivalries of Week One gave way to another set of great games in Week Two.

Big Willie Style 45 – Black Smiths 41
The best game of the week pitted two teams that won their first games and were ready to try and go 2-0.  Another balanced attack by Big Willie Style proved enough to withstand a furious Monday night comeback, let by Alex Smith.  The battle of the two best defenses was swayed by a HUGE day from Mario Williams, and Big Willie Style is 2-0 heading into a Week Three showdown with The Dix.

Again, the Mikes combined for a big number, but this one was all TB Mike, as he had 11.  SEA Mike only had 1.  And, again, the running back combo of DeAngelo (CAR) and Cadillac (TB) proved potent, putting up 13 points.  Roy (DAL) continues to struggle, but there might be help on the horizon, as this deep team had some decent wide receiver performances on the bench from Roydell (WAS) and Stephen (ARI).  But, the real story here is the defense.  Maybe spurred on by people dubbing the Black Smiths the league’s best defense, this unit was fantastic.  Mario (HOU) had 3 sacks and 2 pass defenses.  D.J. (DEN) had 3 tackles and a 0.5 sacks.  Pat (MIN) added a forced fumble, while the other part of the Williams Wall, Kevin (MIN) had a sack on the bench.  This defense is really good.

Alex sure made Big Willie sweat on Monday night

Down 21 points heading into the Monday night game, the Black Smiths were almost carried all the way back by the league’s only quarterback, Alex (SF), who threw for 275 yards and 1 TD, but it wasn’t quite enough.  Good Steve (CAR) had 13, while Okay Steve (NYG) had 4.  The rest of the offense was non-existent…almost literally.  And, as for the highly-touted defense, well they struggled.  Antonio (HOU) had 0, Eric (NYJ) had 1 and Will (NO) had 3 to try and help the Monday night comeback (ironically, Will Smith couldn’t beat Big Willie Style).  The lone bright spot on this side of the ball was, again, Daryl (JAX), who followed up a big Week One with 7 more points in Week Two.

Although Alex Smith made it really interesting, Big Willie Style’s defense led the way to another victory.  Mario Williams was clearly the player of the game, and this team has a lot of confidence heading into its Week Three showdown with The Dix.

The Dix 44 – Jones & the Last Name Crusade 38
With the impressive win for Big Willie Style and a bit of a struggle for The Dix, this league might not be the runaway we thought it would be.  The Dix were very vulnerable this week, and Jones & the Last Name Crusade nearly pulled off the upset.  Both teams’ captains had monumentally terrible weeks, which made for an interesting matchup.  In fact, it was defensive personnel decisions that will have Jones fans wondering what could have been.  

Some teams tout their defense (Big Willie Style); some tout their running backs (Jones & the Last Name Crusade); some even tout the fact that they actually have a quarterback (Black Smiths), but no one has a unit quite like the wide receiving corps of The Dix.  (Yes, I said no has a unit like The Dix.)  And, they proved that in Week two.  Calvin (DET) put up 16 in the early game and maybe that inspired Andre (HOU) to top it, as he went for 24 in the late game.  This was very much needed, as their go-to guy, Chris (TEN), only had 2 points.  They didn’t get much from their defense either, as Derrick (KC) was the only starter to get any points whatsoever, logging 7 tackles.

Andre celebrates The Dix 2-0 start

Just like Chris Johnson of their opponent, the go-to guy for Jones & the Last Name Crusade faltered this week.  Maurice (JAX) only had 2 points.  His slack was picked up by touchdowns from Jacoby (HOU) and James (GB), and 83 yards rushing from Thomas (KC), but it still stings to lose to The Dix by 6 when your best player only rushes for 31 yards and a fumble.  But, the worst part of this loss for Jones is the points that were left on their bench on the defensive side of the ball.  Big days from Pacman (CIN) and David (JAX) were wasted on the bench, as poor days from Jason (TEN) and Brad (GB) counted as starters.

This is a real gut-wrenching way to lose a game for Jones & the Last Name Crusade, but what did we expect when we entered a league against a team that’s been playing this game for almost a decade?  The Dix just know how to win, and they got it done today without the help of their best player.  As good as Calvin Johnson was today, Andre Johnson was the clear MVP of this Week Two matchup.

Jack-O’s 49 – Charlie Brown 38
What an exciting week, as every game was within 12 points.  This one went to the Jack-O’s, as their two best players really stepped up big time.  Charlie Brown got a surprisingly great game from Donald Brown and a special teams touchdown from the unlikely source of Antonio Brown, but it wasn’t enough, and they fall to 0-2.

With Vincent out, the fate of the Jack-O's season rests in the hands of DeSean

This game for the Jack-O’s was all about DeSean (PHI), who, overly anxious to make up for the MIA Vincent (SD) in the first week, rebounded with a huge Week Two.  135 yards and a TD gave DeSean a big 22 points.  They also got 13 from their captain, Steven (STL), even though he failed again to reach the end zone.  It’s tough now with three running backs, as Brandon (GB) had 10 in the starting role, but they also had 10 on the bench from Fred (BUF).  The defense continues to be a big question mark for this team, as they only got 5 total points from their defense, and now it has gotten a lot worse, as safety Tanard (TB) has been suspended for at least the rest of this season for his second substance abuse infraction.  (By the way, am I the only person in the country devastated by the suspension of Tanard Jackson?  You know, other than, well, Tanard Jackson.)

Charlie Brown falls to 0-2 with the loss here, but there were some positives to take away here.  The offense might not be just the Ronnie (MIA) Show, as Donald (IND) had a huge day and Antonio (PIT) had a punt return for a TD.  And, on defense, the secondary continues to be the bright spot of the team, as Sheldon (CLE) has another interception, and C.C. (DET) plays another nice game.

Charlie Brown is going to struggle this year, but they do have a future here.  Donald Brown looked good and the defense is okay.  The Jack-O’s–led by game MVP DeSean Jackson–got the win here, but this was a really bad week for the team off the field.  Not only does their awful defense lose maybe its best player to suspension (Tanard Jackson), but Vincent Jackson wasn’t traded, which means he cannot play until Week Seven, and there are reports that he might not play at all this year.  This Vincent Jackson news is absolutely crippling to the Jack-O’s…but hey, they are still just one Brett Favre injury away from a starting quarterback.

Standings
2-0 Big Willie Style (96 points)
2-0 The Dix (95 points)
1-1 Black Smiths (80 points)
1-1 Jack-O’s (70 points)
0-2 Charlie Brown (71 points)
0-2 Jones & the Last Name Crusade (67 points)

Week Three Matchups
Week Three is a huge week to see where these teams really are, at this point, with some nice matchups, headlined by a battle for first.

The Dix (2-0) vs. Big Willie Style (2-0)
Clearly the best two teams in the league through two weeks and they get to prove it on the field in Week Three.  Both teams are 2-0.  Big Willie Style has 95.7 total points, while The Dix have 95.4.  Can the Big Willie Style defense, which is fantastic, overcome The Dix fantastic offense?  We will see.  Chris Johnson gets to run on the Giants, while Andre Johnson gets to catch passes against the Dallas secondary.  The matchups for Big Willie Style are not good at all.  DeAngelo Williams has to run on the Cincy defense.  Cadillac and Mike Williams have to face Pittsburgh’s defense (and might be benched), while Ricky Williams has to run on the Jets defense.  It’s not a great week for Big Willie Style to get their big test, but they are scared, as they are playing with a lot of confidence.  For what it’s worth, the Yahoo! projections have Big Willie Style winning this game 53-51.

Jack-O’s (1-1) vs. Jones & the Last Name Crusade (0-2)
The Jack-O’s will try and build upon their first win last week, while Jones & the Last Name Crusade will try and bounce back from a brutally tough loss to The Dix.  The big question mark in this game is Maurice Jones(-Drew) and whether he’ll be the guy that Jones fans hoped he would be.  The Jack-O’s still aren’t whole and are vulnerable here.  Coach Bry has a decision to make between Brandon Jackson and Fred Jackson, so it’s hard to say what will come of that.  The Yahoo! projections have Jones & the Last Name Crusade as favored to win this game 42-36.

Black Smiths (1-1) vs. Charlie Brown (0-2)
The third matchup pits a solid Black Smith squad against a young and hungry Charlie Brown team looking for their first ever victory.  The question mark for Charlie Brown is will Donald Brown match against Denver what he did against the Giants.  If so, they’ve got a real shot here.  On the other side, the Black Smiths were supposed to have a phenomenal defense, but, outside of Daryl Smith, it has been rather ordinary so far.  Another question for the Black Smiths is will they ever get anything out of a running back?  That remains to be seen.  This game might pivot around each team’s big advantage that they have over the rest of the league.  The Black Smiths have the league’s only quarterback, so will Alex Smith put up big numbers that can’t be matched?  Conversely, Charlie Brown has the league’s only kicker, so will Josh Brown be the difference this week?  We will find out.

Until next week…

All in the Family, Season Preview: Chasin’ the Dix

Back in February, I talked about my hatred of fantasy football, but my love of “The Dix.”  The Dix is an idea by frequent BSB correspondent, Andy Waters, to start a fantasy football team consisting entirely of players with the surname “Johnson.”  They were okay at the start, but the team blosssomed and it came to a point where his players were so in demand that it was impossible to even field the team because so many Johnsons were going in the first round.  Though right now might be a little past the hay-day, there is still some talent there, and now they have legit challengers.  Doogan and I, along with another frequent BSB correspondent, J, have challenged Waters’ beloved Dix to a season this year.  Bry will be managing the Jack-O’s (all Jacksons), Doogan will be managing Jonesin’ (all Jones), and J will be at helm of the Blacksmiths (all Smiths).  It is a small four-team league, but it is going to be a WAR.  And, each battle of this war will be recapped on BSB throughout the season.  For now, let’s preview the upcoming season, using NFL.com’s Top 200 list.  Interestingly, no team in the league has a Top 30 tight end.

The Dix
This is clearly the team to beat, but hey, that’s why we founded this league, right?  This team actually has 44 players from which to choose (roster limit is 40)–and is the only team that can actually “choose.”  There are holes, on this team, though, so it’s going to be interesting all year, but in the end there is just a ton of top-level talent on this team.  They have the #1 RB and #1 WR in the entire league in Chris and Andre, with Chris being the #1 overall player in the whole league.  They also have Calvin, who is the #5 WR and #23 overall.  But, they only have one other player on this list and that is Larry at #150 (#49 RB).  There was a major scare in the offseason when “Titans RB Johnson” was placed on IR, but it was Stafon Johnson, not Chris.  Any loss of a Johnson is major, but as long as Chris is still a healthy Johnson, then The Dix are strong.  We are also doing defense in this league, where you get points for sacks and INTs and tackles, etc.  As good as the Dix are on offense, they are even better on defense.  They clearly have the best defense in the league.  At D-line, they have superstar Jarret from Baltimore, along with Tank in Cincy, Antonio in Indy, and the other Charles in Carolina.  They also have a lineman Michael in Cincy and a safety Michael in New York.  The other prominent DB’s are Oakland’s Chris and Minnesota’s Tyrell.  At linebacker, they have Brandon from Cincy, Derrick from KC, and a rookie Jerome in Carolina.  This defense is stacked.

Jack-O’s
This team took a beating in the offseason and have the fewest players in the league with only 26.  They had a shot at having a quarterback of a Top 5 offense, but then Brett Favre came back, sending Tavaris to the bench.  They looked real good at WR coming into the offseason, but with their two big-time players both holding out and missing practice (DeSean and Vincent), they were set back there too–plus Vincent is still unsigned and regardless of his contract is suspended for four games to start the season.  Also, Fred got hurt in the preseason and lost his starting spot to T.J. Spiller in Buffalo.  Still, they have 6 players on the NFL.com list.  QB Tavaris is the #37 QB (though he didn’t crack the Top 200 overall).  At RB, they have #9 Steven (#13 overall), #40 Fred (#88 overall), and the dark horse, #67 Brandon (didn’t make the Top 200 overall).  And, at WR, which was supposed to be their strength, they have DeSean at #8 (#26 overall) and Vincent who is still at #35 (#99 overall), despite a rocky offseason.  This defense also took a beating with injuries in the offseason, as Marlin, who was supposed to start for the Eagles in the secondary was placed on IR with a torn achilles.  They do have a star safety in Tampa Bay in Tenard.  They also have promising young D-linemen in Tyson in KC and Lawrence in Detroit to go with the grizzled vet, Grady (not currently on an NFL roster).  They are very thin at LB, as Cleveland’s D’Qwell (tied for the best name in the league with Le Kevin Smith) is the only one on the team.

Jonesin’
This team will win and lose on the backs of its running game because there is not much else there–with only 26 rostered players.  But, this corps of running backs is deep and solid, led by #3 Maurice Jones-Drew (#3 overall), who was given the go-ahead to play exclusively for Jonesin’, despite his split loyalties with Team Drew.  They also have Felix at #28 (#63 overall), Thomas at #41 (#90 overall), and Julius at #63 (#195 overall).  They also have a pair of serviceable wide receivers in Jacoby at #62 (#170 overall) and James at #75 (#198 overall).  If there receivers produce, this could be a solid team.  This is, however, the only team in the league that doesn’t even have a QB on its roster, as at least The Dix (Josh) and the Jack-O’s (Tavaris) have backup QBs on the roster that could play if the starters go down.  As for the defense here, they have three Bengals (Dhani, Pacman, and David), who all could produce.  They also have Sean in Tampa, Nate in Denver, and Jason in Oakland, who are all defensive starters for their teams, so the defense might provide some decent points.

The Blacksmiths
This team actually has a full roster of exactly 40 players, but beyond that it might be the most complete team in the league simply because they actually have a starting QB.  Alex is the #19 QB and is #129 overall.  But, this is huge because he will provide points at the highest-scoring position, which cannot be matched by any of the other teams.  However, he will need to supply a lot of points because the rest of the roster is a bit thin.  They do have two really solid WRs in Steve (#13 WR, #38 overall) and Steve (#14 WR, #43 overall).  They also have a serviceable RB in Kevin (#54 RB, #163 overall), but there is no one else on the NFL.com list.  The strength of this team might actually be on defense, as they have an absolutely stacked D-line, led by stars Will (NO) and Justin (SF), but bolstered by Aaron (Pit), Antonio (Hou), Robaire (Cle), and Le Kevin (Den).  Daryl (Jac) leads a thin linebacking corps, but the secondary is pretty solid, with Anthony (Jac) and Eric (NYJ).

All in all, it’s going to be a fantastic inaugural season, as we’re all chasing The Dix.  The Black Smiths probably have the best shot with an actual starting quarterback, but watch out for the Jack-O’s if Favre gets hurt or Jonesin’ if any of those running backs goes off.  We’ll be back with weekly updates on the league, so you’ll get your fix of All in the Family.