Inaugural High Stakes League Championship Recap

Updated: January 10th 2022

We have a champion and the name of the team is “The Don” Piccolo!  Congrats to Ryan Bennett, owner of “The Don.”  It wasn’t the prettiest season.  But, they often aren’t.  This team overcame adversity throughout and worked the waiver wire to keep his team in the game every week.  It wasn’t without a bit of luck along the way as his matchups constantly worked in his favor.  This team didn’t usually put up huge points, but they often put up enough points.  Including the final three weeks of the fantasy season where it matters most.  The playoffs and then the championship.

But, to just announce a champion would not do justice to the drama that unfolded throughout this matchup.  This is why I exist.  So, you get a story, my fellow owners.  I’m going to start at my favorite part.

“The Don” thought all was lost by 1:53p EST and came on the group chat to announce “gg.”  To be fair, his opponent XFL Stars, who had been rather dominant this season and entered as our number one seed, was off to a really hot start.  Like, really hot.  Hotter than Matt Nagy’s seat in Chicago.  XFL Stars had amassed a 70+ point lead in the first 45 minutes of play and was now favored in the projections by 20 points or so. Do you know how I know this wasn’t their first championship game?  Well, I actually asked them this question and reported they own fifteen championships already in all their years of fantasy football in my write-up last week so, that question wasn’t fair.  But, let’s assume I didn’t already know the answer and that you didn’t either because I know you read my write-up last week, right?  It’s because these guys responded to “The Don’s” gg announcement with: “We ain’t celebrating shit with Kyler and Herbert still to go haha”  Wise words, XFL Stars.  Prophetic, even if Kyler and Herbert may not have been the ultimate reason for the eventual win.  Kyler and Herbert did the same as most of “The Don’s” team did, they met their averages and/or underperformed a little.  No, two other late-season gems took this team to the promised land.

The guy who is the pride of Detroit lately, Amon-Ra St. Brown, came to play.  Keep your eyes on this kid.  He entered this contest on a four-game streak of 15-26 points while averaging over 22 pts during that span.  Already an easy choice to start but who knew the kid would drop 35 points in such a crucial week.  35 points from a Lions receiver was pretty unexpected.  While Amon-Ra was doing his thing, Rashaad Penny had nearly an equally impressive day.  This kid has been searching for the spotlight for years and battled injuries instead.  This week his name lit up the fantasy football chat boards.  Good for him.  And like Amon-Ra, he was already heating up, averaging  17 points over the previous three weeks and topped out at 26 points.  Then, he reached the pinnacle at the right time putting up 32 points.  “The Don” had both of these crucial pieces in place, but, they needed one more thing to go their way as the match was not over.

It was 5:25p EST, about an hour into Penny and St. Brown’s games, that XFL Stars came back to the chat to see if “The Don” was still watching football.  “The Don” simply replied he was and, XFL Stars co-owner, Nic, indicated that he was turning his TV off.  The tides had turned.  But, by the end of afternoon games, XFL Stars still owned a lead of about 3.46 points with “The Don” having Nick Chubb left to play.  It would seem like an easy amount of points for Chubb to obtain as he averaged about seventeen per game to this point in the season.  Nonetheless, we still have to play the game.  To Monday Night Football we go!  The score is XFL Stars 150.06 to “The Don’s” 146.60 points.

It’s this kind of suspense you want to see in a championship battle and these guys delivered.  Congrats again on the great battle here, guys.  As easy as those 3.46 points for Chubb seemed, the game would dictate a different outcome.  It’s not that he never got there.  I think the fantasy gods wanted to see “The Don” sweat and give XFL false hope.  We know how fickle the gods can be for seemingly no reason sometimes.  It was a strange game where Chubb was seen on the sidelines a bit more often than suspected and I saw rumors start swirling of a possible unknown injury.  Could it happen?  Could Chubb fall short of such an easy point total?  XFL Stars showed back up to the chat at halftime of the MNF game with a glimmer of hope.  “Survived the first half,” they said, followed by, “Never mind, no we didn’t by 0.4 haha.”  Yes, it seems the fantasy gods messed with those numbers long enough for XFL to get a little egg on their face.  This game was played with much less Chubb than most people would prefer.  Even the announcers began to question why the man wasn’t getting playing time.  By game’s end, Nick Chubb only had 5.8 points.  5.8 was enough Chubb today though.  The final score was 152.40 to 150.06.  “The Don” had done it and it was a great championship match that was decided in the final hour of football by roughly two points.  As The Storyteller, I couldn’t ask for much more.

For now, Stephen at RSO tells me that we are going to see a “CHAMPIONS” tab appear on the RSO home page in the near future where we will get to see all of the past champions of all sanctioned RSO leagues.  This must be an exciting prospect for both winners to date.  Season one champion, Philadelphia Freeways, who are owned by the tandem David Zurenko and Jared Smith along with our season two champ, “The Don” Piccolo, owned by Ryan Bennett, will now get to see their name in lights, as they say.

So, when are you getting into this league?  I sure hope to see your name around next season.  Make sure to contact someone at RSO to get on the list as soon as possible.  If you are a procrastinator like me, you probably want to join you just haven’t gotten around to it.  After all, we aren’t at the deadline to get on the list.  Do yourself a favor and send a quick email right now while you are thinking about it.  You’ll be happy you got in early this time.  Tell them The Storyteller sent you to make sure you are eligible for associated discounts.  You’ll know you’re in the right place because these guys are already talking about trades for next season.

I am personally signing off until at least February and then I plan to pop up occasionally as we navigate the offseason.  My sincere thanks to all of you who’ve joined us on our journey this season.  I hope you’ll follow along when we return for ’22.  This is The Storyteller, signing off on the ’21 season.  See you after the rollover.

~ RSO High Stakes League Storyteller 

More Analysis by Matt Russell

Inaugural High Stakes League season two championship preview

Updated: January 2nd 2022

We’ve made it.  Well, two owners made it and the rest of us get to hear about it.  It’s the championship game in the Inaugural High Stakes League.  Today, we’re going to get to know our two finalists a little bit better.


Before I go further though, let me first tell you that I’d love to be sitting here writing about you.  Yes, you.  You, the guy who plays in just one league.  Or, you, the guy who plays in ten leagues.  The one with only a few years experience and you, the one who has been playing since the 80’s when we would mail in our lineups.  We’re growing this thing and we want you growing with us.  If you haven’t yet, message someone at RSO and tell them you want on the list.  Now is the time.  By getting on the list, you make sure you have a chance to join the new league, or, are able to purchase a team that comes available in an existing league.  It’s not a commitment, but ensures you’ll have the option to join the day it opens to your number on the waiting list.  RSO has big things planned for these leagues and, if you love fantasy football like I do, you don’t want to miss it.


Let’s recap last week briefly to know how we got here.  Our number one seed and top scoring team of the season, XFL Stars, faced off against Wendell Takeover Project.  If you’ve been following along, you know that XFL has been as strong as it gets down the stretch.  This past week against Wendell gave them their eighth straight win while never scoring below 142 points during that whole stretch.  It’s an amazing run and it’s still going strong.  Wendell bought in new in ’21 and you always like to see a noob go far in their first year.  A lot of people fear taking over a dynasty team and think it’s automatically going to be a rebuild but I’ve seen success over and over when you get the right owner in place.  First season or not.  Unfortunately, a championship wasn’t in the cards this year and making the semi-finals in your first year owning an existing team, will have to suffice to brag about.  Maybe we’ll see mention of it in one of Stephen’s future emails.  Yes, this is the same Wendell who signs off on those RSO emails you read.  You…do read those, right?

Our other match was between the #2 and #3 seeds.  Y Town and “The Don” Piccolo, respectively.  Going into this match, this league had seen two years of calm and agreeable behavior among all the owners, for the most part.  By 4pm EST most of the first set of Sunday games were about over and the winner was looking likely decided between these two.  That winner was not looking like Y Town, despite his number two seed and a season long flirtation with the top spot.  It was around this time that an epic rant ensued.  When I tell you it was an epic rant, that’s probably being nice.  I actually dusted that turd with powdered sugar and fed it to you as a brownie.  I’ll be frank here, I’ve seen a few rants over the years.  Mostly from myself.  But I’ve never seen one quite like this.  Then again, I’ve never played with so much money on the line.  I don’t want to shed too much light on this moment though because I think we’ve all felt the frustration of an amazing season slip through our fingers.  If you haven’t, then keep playing.  Your time will come.  But, I’ll never forget some of the conversations that day and for you, the reader, we have the beginnings of a rivalry that is likely to last a long time.  Don’t forget about these two names.  I feel good there may be more stories to tell in the future.  This time though, “The Don” is the victor, and it wasn’t close.  Nearly a 90-point blowout put “The Don” in the finals and gave him high score of the week.  This team is ramping up at the right time.  Let’s get focused on our finalists now.


Let’s meet the owners who will be battling for it all.  As The Storyteller, I pitched both parties a set of questions to help us get to know these guys.  Let’s start with our number one seed, XFL Stars…


XFL Stars owners:  Brayden Paget (Primary decision-maker and the owner answering these questions) and Nic Ziegler (Investor and advisor)

First year playing fantasy football?  First year playing was in 2012.  A guy I went to college with introduced me to DFS sports betting and then it really took off from there!

First year playing a dynasty format?  See Next Question

How long have you been playing on RSO specifically?  I believe my first RSO league and dynasty league would have been in 2013.  Hands down the best fantasy football platform on the market.  I’ve slowly moved all of my leagues over to RSO as it is the best fantasy experience out there.

How many leagues do you currently play?  (No answer – but later answered through conversation that he averages being in about 10 leagues per year since he started)

How many championships have you won over the years?  I’d say I’ve won around 15 championships since I started playing fantasy football.

Do you always own teams in tandem or is that just for this league?  This is the first team I’ve ever owned in tandem.  My good friend and co-owner is a fantasy football nut like me so when we saw this High Stakes League opportunity we couldn’t pass it up!  It’s been a blast so far and we look forward to many more years.

Was there anything about this season you feel was responsible for getting you here?  Certain moves, trades, etc?  I think filling our bench with good back up RB’s was important.  Fournette ended up being a weekly starter for only a million bucks so that was huge.  Have 2 guys starting for us every week on cheap contracts like those gave us a ton of flexibility.  We made a big trade for Waller and he has played one game for us.  Thankfully that trade didn’t hurt us so far!

How confident are you in winning it all this year?  If Covid wasn’t a thing then I would say we would be very confident in winning it all this season.  But, as we all know, I’m sure Covid will have something to say about our starting lineups before Sunday.  Just happy to make it to the money round!

Do you feel your team is set up for long term success?  (Not answered here but is addressed in next question)

If someone wanted to buy your team to get into this league, would you sell it for the right price?  I guess I’ve never really thought about what we would sell our team for.  It would take a lot, haha.  We love our team and think we are set up very well for the next 2-3 years.  If someone wants to offer up 10k maybe we would listen 🙂

Lastly, what is your toughest lineup decision for this Championship game?  As of today (These questions answered on Friday), our toughest lineup decision will most likely be starting one of Pollard, Juedy, or Darrell Williams (If CEH is out).

Anything else relevant for us readers to know?  I’ll just add that being in the finals of this league with friggin Ricky Seals-Jones as our starting TE is a miracle in itself, haha.


Now, over to our number three seed and other finalist, “The Don” Piccolo….

“The Don” Piccolo owner: Ryan Bennett

First year playing fantasy football?  1998

First year playing a dynasty format? Dynasty format I started just about ten years or so….I’m old lol, hard to remember.

How long have you been playing on RSO specifically?  Been playing RSO 7 years now with 4 total leagues at the moment with RSO

How many leagues do you currently play?  Prior to last season I was only in a handful of leagues. Last season I was in 55.  This season I backed down to 40.  Want to concentrate on some of the bigger buy-ins that I’m in.

How many championships have you won over the years?  Championships, man, hard to count over a 20-year span…let’s say enough to keep doing this and confident enough to do in abundance at this point in my life.

Do you always own teams in tandem or is that just for this league?  (N/A)

Was there anything about this season you feel was responsible for getting you here?  Certain moves, trades, etc?  Without a doubt Herbert and Mac Jones are signed through 2024 and 25. Kyler, Chubb, and Hopkins all return next year.  I have Higgins, Waddle, Amon Ra all locked in for 3-4 years.  Gesicki and Higbee for the next couple and I still have draft picks in the second and third round.  I moved my first round draft pick for this year.  Next year confident they will be late but did recover picks in return.

How confident are you in winning it all this year?  (No reply)

Do you feel your team is set up for long term success?  (Answered above)

If someone wanted to buy your team to get into this league, would you sell it for the right price?  I want to sell the team honestly.  I would be hard pressed to sell the team for next season with all my starters returning and I’m in the championship right now and I was in the semi’s last year.  But yeah, I fully would do that after the season but I really enjoy this league too so that’s a tough one.

Lastly, what is your toughest lineup decision for this Championship game?  Higbee or Gesicki easily.  I’m leaning Gesicki to hedge Waddle.

Anything else relevant for us readers to know?  (Nothing added)


As of this writing, RSO projections are giving a very close win to “The Don.”  143.48 to 139.92.  Expect a close match with these two.  Who do you got?


Now, the time has come to sort it all out.  If you’ve come this far, I know you’ll be joining me next week to hear the results.  I can’t wait.  Don’t forget to message someone about getting on the list.  Do it today.  Thank me tomorrow.  And maybe we’ll see YOU, in the finals next year.


RSO High Stakes League Storyteller

More Analysis by Matt Russell