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

Inaugural High Stakes League update 8

Updated: November 28th 2021

I’m coming to you a little later in the week on this one.  I devoted the front half of my week to Thanksgiving.  Both planning and enjoying.  Fantasy Football is great and all.  One of my favorite things in the whole wide world.  But, it will always be there.  The opportunity to spend time with loved ones will not.  I hope all of you were able to enjoy this Thanksgiving with people you love.

I’m proud to say that I watched almost zero football, as well.  If I’m being totally honest,  it’s not necessarily because of being devoted to Thanksgiving.  Although, I do try and not watch too much football each year and make it a point to mingle and have some good discussions.  Admittedly, more of the reason was that there just isn’t a lot of excitement in my personal football fandom world.  Unfortunately, I’m a Bears fan.  Things are pretty miserable these days.  I don’t watch the games as much as I’m watching the calendar.  Counting down the days until the end of the season when we will finally move on from head coach Matt Nagy.  Word has it the Bears actually won their game.  Barely.  Against the winless Lions.  I kind of wish the Lions had won.  Maybe Nagy would have been let go that day.  One can only wonder now.  All I know is it is affecting my desire to watch football these days.

However, It has not affected my interest in fantasy football.  Even as my own squad is out of contention this league has really been a lot of fun to watch and be involved in.  I’m really looking forward to the new storylines that we will develop next year when we add another league, that will compete with our current one, in one networked conference that will continue to grow more leagues within the conference over time.  Have you gotten your name on the waiting list yet?  It’s currently free and requires no commitment.  It does ensure you will be in-the-know as the league starts to come together so that if the timing is right and you are ready to make the jump, the opportunity will be there.  I look forward to writing about you and your accolades next season.  So, come join the fun – contact me today on any of my social media accounts, RSO’s social media accounts, or in a direct email to RSO via their website.  Tell them The Storyteller sent ya for a bonus code to use in ’22.

This past weekend was a big one in our league.  We had two match ups that carried a lot of weight.  The biggest of them all of was, of course, the battle between the #1 (Y Town) and #2 (“The Don” Piccolo) seeds.  As I am now essentially a part of the media as it pertains to the High Stakes League, it’s interesting that I’m now getting contacted by the…um, marketing department from the headquarters of some teams.  Following their big win, “The Don” Piccolo reached out to give a statement:

“Picking up cam Newton earlier in the week and starting him when Kyler was ruled out was paramount to my victory this week and moving me into 1st place.”

Indeed it was.  And it was a great match up that you would expect between the two big dogs.  Our scoring system is such that usually, if you score less than 100 points, you are assured a loss.  If you score more than 150, you’ve likely got a victory.  With our total points leader this season averaging 160 (XFL Stars).  A match up like this should see around 150 points scored and that’s what we got.  Going into Sunday night, things were looking somewhat dim for Y Town.  But, Y Town had Austin Ekeler who was an absolute monster scoring 41.50 points.  This put the game within reach for Y Town who was looking for that Monday Night Miracle.  With Tom Brady, Mike Evans, and 51 points to go, there were several people that I know for sure who were closely watching this outcome, including me.  In the end, Brady and Evans didn’t quite have enough juice in the tank to pull off a Monday night miracle.  The two players put up about 40.5 points which put Y Town at 147 for the week, about 11 points short of “The Don” at 157 points.  We officially had a new number one seed.

In the other game of consequence, Philadelphia Freeways was hoping to hang with the high flying, high scoring, XFL Stars.  Philly has maintained one of the better overall records while lacking total points, keeping them as a lower seed.  We knew they would need to score more points than they usually do to have a chance.  I’m happy to report that they did.  The XFL Stars, with a win, could move into the #2 seed because of the top two teams playing each other.  The XFL Stars wouldn’t need to do anything more than they have been so far this season as our total points leader.  Just keep putting up points.  They did it once again.  Setting the tone for the league as high points for the week at 183.  Philly put up more than they usually do with 122, but this XFL team is just too strong.  They are seemingly getting stronger each week.  They move into the #2 spot but might be the most feared team in the league right now.

Before I go this week I must mention the upset that happened at the bottom of the standings as well.  This league maintains integrity by requiring the best competitive lineup from an owner each week.  So, if you bench Davante Adams for Ben Skowronek, the Commissioner has the authority to make things right.  This is yet another reason it is beneficial to trade away stars in the final year of their contracts before the trade deadline as a tanking team who is looking towards the future.  The draft picks or other future stock are nice, but giving yourself the best chance at finishing as low as possible in the standings is important too.  So, when every owner keeps a competitive lineup, we still see a few upsets along the way.  Previous #12 seed, NJ Generals, accidentally walloped previous #4 seed, Big Tings.  Which means, yours truly, is now the #12 seed after another loss.  Thank you.  Thank you everyone.  I’ve worked really hard at being the worst and will keep working on being the worst team in the league (legally, of course) for the rest of the season.  Big Tings misses the chance to stay in the #4 spot and drops to 6th now instead.

Let’s see how things look after week 11:

(seed) Team. Record, total points

(1)  “The Don” Piccolo.  9-2, 1461

(2)  XFL Stars. 8-3, 1765

(3)  Y Town.  8-3, 1561

(4)  Wendell Takeover Project.  6-5, 1517

(5)  Just Dodge, No Rodge.  5-6, 1470

(6)  Big Tings.  6-5, 1460

(7)  Borderland Bombers.  6-5, 1427

(8)  DC Guardians.  5-6, 1384

(9)  Philadelphia Freeways. 6-5, 1335

(10) Schless is More.  3-8, 1268

(11) NJ Generals.  2-9, 1236

(12) These Truths to be Self Richard Dent.  2-9, 1221

Top four seeds based on record.  Final two based on total points.

Only a few weeks to go.  The next game of the week looks to be between juggernaut #2 seed XFL Stars and #5 seed Just Dodge, No Rodge, who recently underwent a minor name change.  That’s one of my superstitions, never change your name unless you have zero wins and need to shake things up.  Maybe it’ll work out better for these guys.  Come back next week and join me for the results.

– RSO High Stakes League Storyteller

More Analysis by Matt Russell

Inaugural High Stakes League update 7

Updated: November 19th 2021

I don’t have much for stories this week.  More or less just an update.  Let’s take a look at the current playoff seeding:

(1)  Y Town 8-2, 1504pts

(2)  “The Don” Piccolo 8-2, 1303

(3)  XFL Stars 7-3, 1579

(4)  Big Tings 6-4, 1346

(5)  Wendell Takeover Project 5-5, 1393

(6)  Rodge and Dodge 4-6, 1356

(7)  Borderland Bombers 5-5, 1284

(8)  DC Guardians 5-5, 1277

(9)  Philadelphia Freeways 6-4, 1212

(10) Schless is More 3-7, 1184

(11) These Truths to be Self Richard Dent 2-8, 1108

(12) NJ Generals 1-9, 1101

A quick review of one of last week’s games.  Philadelphia Freeways, subject of our last update, continued their ways despite the trade deadline shakeup.  Newly acquired Davante Adams and Amari Cooper each fell about five points short of their season averages and Philly Freeways put up a measly 99 points.  But, the team wins again against a tanking Schless is More who almost accidentally pulled off the upset with 96 points themselves, giving Philly a decent scare.  Despite another win and one of the better records in the league, the team sits at the 9th seed due to their low point total.  Remember, after the first four playoff seeds the final two are decided by total points.   It’s looking more and more likely this team will have to win enough games to make it into the top four spots if they are to be playoff bound and possibly repeat as league champion.  Which is entirely possible.

A match we will be watching in week eleven is a showdown between the top two seeds.  “The Don” Piccolo and Y Town face off to give us a clear number one seed after this week and, with only a few more games remaining in the regular season, no one can afford a loss.  Due to the point total for each team, I think “The Don” is in more of a must-win situation.  Y Town is sitting pretty no matter what with second highest points in the league.  Salivating and watching from that 3rd seed spot, is XFL stars.  They are our total points leader and, if they keep winning, look to move into that #2 spot after this week.  But, who do they face?  Those Philadelphia Freeways.  I know this much, 99 points won’t win against XFL Stars.  XFL Stars is averaging 158 points per week and has never scored less than 110 points in any week.  But the Philly Freeways keep pulling off the wins.  Can they do it again?

Join me next week to find out.  Thanks for joining me for another update.  See you next week.

RSO High Stakes League Storyteller

More Analysis by Matt Russell

Inaugural High Stakes League update 6

Updated: November 11th 2021

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

You know what I’m talking about.  The trade deadline in a fantasy football league.   Whether you are all-in making moves going for the championship, or,  if you’re in the cellar starting a rebuild for the future.  There are deals for everyone.  Everyone I say.

Tuesday, November 9th was our deadline.  That day, there were six deals made and, while it could be implied those account for all twelve teams getting in on the action, the reality is we had one team involved in four of those six deals and another team involved in two of them.  This means eight of the twelve teams still got in on the action (You taking any notes here, NFL?).  Pretty sweet.  But, man, I am excited to talk about the entire story behind the team that made four trades and I’m even more excited to see how the team finishes the regular season.  I think you will be too.

Reigning Champion, Philadelphia Freeways, entered the trade deadline as the #9 seed out of twelve teams.  They are actually 5-4 but have struggled to put up points this season and those final two playoff spots are determined by total points.  It’s not for lack of effort as they continue to be one of the most active teams when it comes to trading.  They made two trades in week nine bringing them up to six trades over the final eight days leading up to the deadline.  Those week nine trades were a push for the playoff run as they moved a 1st and 2nd round draft pick for star players.  Then they suffered a tough eight point loss to the number one seed, Y Town.  As I said previously, points haven’t been their strength.  Facing the right team each week has been and they’ve gotten wins because of it.  But, even though they actually moved up one seed from the previous week, with their loss, now at 5-4 with the trade deadline here and a low point total, they decided to pack it in for the season and started working on obtaining future assets.

Before I get into all of the trade deadline deals, let’s paint the picture with our standings and playoff hunt (Top four seeds by record, and next two playoff spots by total points):

(1) Y Town  7-2, 1378pts

(2) “The Don” Piccolo  7-2, 1205pts

(3) XFL Stars  6-3, 1406pts

(4) Wendell Takeover Project  5-4, 1254pts

(5) Rodge and Dodge  4-5, 1237pts

(6) Big Tings  5-4, 1213pts

(7) Borderland Bombers  5-4, 1210pts

(8) DC Guardians 4-5, 1134pts

(9) Philadelphia Freeways 5-4, 1113pts

(10) Schless is More 3-6, 1088pts

(11) These Truths to be Self Richard Dent 2-7, 1042pts

(12) NJ Generals 1-8, 1024pts

Clearly, it was a tough spot to be in and, for many teams, they freeze up like a tundra and don’t make any moves here leaving the landscape barren of any deals.  Still holding out hope for the playoffs, because there is a shot, but also not wanting to give up any future assets because, at the same time, it’s more likely they do not make it to the playoffs.  If you’ve played enough fantasy football you know we’ve all been stuck here at some point.  But, stuck… definitely not how this team played it.

Guess who made the first deal of the day to get us started?  That’s right, the hero of this story, Philadelphia Freeways.  Obtaining a 1st round pick in a trade that included player assets acquired just the week before and #5 seed, Rodge and Dodge, improved their QB situation in the deal.  The selloff for Philly had begun.

Two hours later, a little after noon, our next deal was done.  “The Don” Piccolo, who has flirted with that top seed all season, made another minor move to shore up his RB depth chart.  After acquiring Myles Gaskin two weeks earlier, he handcuffed him for the playoff run by acquiring Salvon Ahmed for a 3rd round pick.  #8 seed, DC Guardians, was the recipient of the 3rd round pick as they make the first of two trades on the day signaling a look towards the future.  DC then made the next trade, as well.  Six hours after the last deal, the early evening settled in and the owners got done with their work day and turned a renewed focus on deals.  DC obtained a 2nd round draft pick for Big Ben and a 3rd in return.  Another small step towards a rebuild for DC.  The #4 seed, Wendell Takeover Project, for their part in the deal, upgrades their QB depth with a 3rd startable candidate.  Just in time for Mahomes’ bye in week 12.

Then, boom.  Ten minutes later the trade sirens were ringing again.  My guys, Philly Freeways, were back at it.  They obtain another 1st round draft pick in a deal that sends two WR’s to #7 Borderland Bombers.  A team that is clearly on the bubble but within striking distance.  A team that had Calvin Ridley and now needed to make some moves to replace that production.  They did so effectively.

Silence then befell the group.  I assure it wasn’t because there were not deals being discussed.  I know this because I was discussing deals with several owners still and you could tell that most owners were hard at work trying to squeeze every last ounce of opportunity out of the trade deadline.  But, it seems, none were able to come together.

An interesting thing happened just after midnight though.  Personally, I thought midnight was the deadline and it never occurred to me that it would be on PST.  But, with deals sitting there not responded to, the accept button remained lit up.  It was then it occurred to me we probably had three more hours of deals for us in the Eastern time zone.  Then, moments later it was confirmed as I received another notification that a deal had been made.  This is where it gets good.

Philadelphia Freeways saw an opportunity and jumped on it.  Two more teams (at least that I am aware of) remained extremely active in talks with Freeways all the way up until midnight.  Freeways did an excellent job of want and needs analysis of the teams they were dealing with and realized that they could make some last minute moves that they felt put their team back into contention.  All season this team operated with the most salary cap space and well into the wee hours of the morning it finally paid off as they generate a stunner of a deal where they obtained Davante Adams for dirt cheap.  A 2nd round pick and Jalen Reagor for the consensus #1 WR going into this season.  As the only team with the ability to make a deal for player on a large expiring contract the cost of a deal was brought down immensely.  This deal came at about 1am EST and it was their second deal after midnight.

For These Truths to be Self Richard Dent, the #11 seed and owner of Adams, it came down to a very similar situation as former Illinois congressman, Rod Blagojevich.  In fact, we placed a voice recorder in their control room at These Truths headquarters’ and picked up the following statements about Davante Adams:

“I’ve got this thing and it’s f***ing golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for f***in’ nothing. I’m not gonna do it.”

A 2nd round pick isn’t “nothing” but it’s certainly below market value.  At the end of the day, both of these two teams win.  The rest of the Illinois?  Oops, I mean, the rest of the Inaugural High Stakes League?  Maybe not so much.  Philly’s last two deals net them Amari Cooper and Davante Adams.  Not to mention new life for a playoff run.  They give up only two 2nd round picks and Cooper is contracted beyond this season.  Will it pay off?  I can’t wait to see.

Last week at the end of my write up I mentioned I would revisit Philadelphia Freeways as champions of season one to find out what exactly they did with all of their winnings.  Well, I asked.  Here’s what I found out.  In short, more investment.  Between the two guys I think mentioned was crypto, Dillard’s stocks, and sports cards.  I don’t know about you, but this sounds like everyone I know that plays fantasy football.  That’s probably why this community usually gets along so fabulously.

Are you ready to join in the fun yet?  Feel free to drop us a line any time to get on the waiting list for the next league, scheduled to get off the ground in 2022.  But, waiting list is filling up now.

Thanks for hanging out with me.  See you next time.

RSO High Stakes League Storyteller

More Analysis by Matt Russell

Inaugural High Stakes League update 5

Updated: November 4th 2021

Hello fellow fantasy football enthusiasts and welcome back.  This time, we are just going to focus on the league.  After all, much has happened and much has already been sorted out.

We still have a little time until the trade deadline of Tuesday, 11/9.  So, we may not see the flurry of last minute trades just yet.  But, several happened last week after two teams look to already be out of contention and began selling off star players in the final year of their contract to gain more draft picks, or other advantages, for the next season.  Other star players still have yet to move but have been officially offered up on the league’s trade block.  Names like Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill.  Absolute game changers.  But, salty salaries do remain an obstacle.  We’ll see how creative these owners can get to make something happen.  I have faith though.  If there is something we have plenty of on the RSO site, in all of my leagues, it’s trades.  The league setup seems to offer more ways to equalize a trade to make almost anything possible.  Clearly, this league will probably see more action than the disappointing NFL trade deadline where we saw… <checks notes> …zero big name players on the move.

If you follow my tweets @RSOHighStakes you may have seen a preview of this next mention.  When the games completed Sunday night, we had ourselves quite an upset that assured us a shakeup of the standings.  The tanking, #12 seed, These Truths to be Self Richard Dent shocked “The Don” Piccolo, just days after completing a trade with him.  A tough outcome for both as “The Don” relinquishes his number one seed, These Truths relinquishes his right to the 1st pick of the ’22 draft, and we have two new, happy owners in their places.

Y-Town, who had the first seed for most of this season, wins his game and retakes the high ground despite a tough challenge from the Wendell Takeover Project in the game of the week.  It was one of those match ups where these were the top two scoring teams this week and they just happened to play each other.  Ouch.  It’s been a tough run for Wendell who started on fire the first two weeks of the season and was our points leader.  Then, McCaffrey went down and so did this Wendell squad.  Since then going 2-4.  Fortunately, their points total makes them the #5 seed right now in the playoff picture.  Let’s take a look at that picture:

  1. Y Town  6-2, 1251 pts
  2. “The Don” Piccolo  6-2, 1066 pts
  3. XFL Stars  5-3, 1264 pts
  4. Big Tings 5-3, 1111 pts
  5. Wendell Takeover Project 4-4, 1118 pts
  6. Rodge and Dodge 4-4, 1104 pts

In the hunt:

7.  Borderland Bombers 4-4, 1044 pts

8.  Schless is More 3-5, 1035 pts

9.  DC Guardians 3-5, 1021 pts

10.  Philadelphia Freeways 5-3, 984 pts

Already out are These Truths (2-6, 964) and NJ Generals (1-7, 962).  Near the top is our points leader, XFL Stars.  Remember, our league takes the first four teams by record (points tie breaker), then the final two playoff teams by points.  That means XFL Stars has a long way to fall to actually be out of the picture.  Y Town as well.  Everyone else is vulnerable.

Another great game worthy of mention from this past weekend went down between Schless is More and Big Tings.  Big Tings was looking for a Monday night miracle and they got it.  Daniel Jones may not be getting a lot of wins in New York but he pulled this one off for his fantasy owners, Big Tings.  Maybe send they guy some edible arrangements to thank him?  Or, maybe, you prefer to send an arrangement to Darius Slayton who was a starter for Schless is More and put up a big fat zero?  In the end, only half a point separated these two teams with Big Tings coming out the victor at 131.60 to 131.10.  Folks, this is a PPR league.  Slayton even got two looks.  And he dropped a doughnut.  While that’s really rough, when you are 3-5, or 4-4, points are what matter.  So, this could have been more of a heartbreaker but we’ll see in week 14 how much that win matters to Schless.  On the other hand, Big Tings sits at 5-3 now and is in a much better position.

On tap for week 9 is a great match up between the #3 seed and #4 seed.  XFL Stars versus Big Tings.  Both teams will each be without two of their starters due to bye weeks. XFL is going to miss Fournette and Godwin whereas Big Tings will surely miss Swift and McLaurin.  Right now, the projections suggest roughly a 130 – 120 win for XFL Stars.  But, there’s a reason we play the game.  Good luck to both.

Have I mentioned that we are looking to expand the High Stakes League’s next year?  Ideally, we are looking at adding two more leagues at once and possibly linking all three leagues in a networked conference.  So, make sure your name is on the waiting list if you have any interest at all.  If we only have enough to form one league this coming season you may have to wait an extra year depending on how far down the list you fall.  You can email RSO or message me through any of my social media outlets at any time and it is currently free to get on to the list.

Join me next week as we discuss any of the trades made at the deadline and we update our standings.  I’m also going ask our season one winners, Philadelphia Freeways, how they’ve spent all that money they won.  Have a great week everyone.

RSO High Stakes League Storyteller

More Analysis by Matt Russell

Inaugural High Stakes League Update 4

Updated: October 27th 2021

It’s interesting how a superstition can grab a hold of even the most analytical and scientific people sometimes.  That’s me.  Analytical and science-minded.  I know the superstitions I’m going to tell you about have no factual basis for believing in them, yet, I can’t escape the just-in-case scenario in my mind.  I had a little superstition building and grabbing a hold of me for the past two years or so in fantasy football.  It brought me a Championship in one league last year and I made it to the Super Bowl in another so there has to be something to it, right?  Super Bowl appearances in two of four leagues is a little compelling, no?

You see, I started noticing that the less I sat in front of my home PC and watched the live scoring for my fantasy teams and my opponents the better my fantasy football teams seemed to do.  In retrospect, using logical reasoning, I know that I’ve always done pretty well in my leagues.  Making the playoffs at around a 65%-70% clip which means I’m likely winning more than losing.  So, unless my superstition brings me up to a 100% win rate (or at least 90%), I should’ve probably simmered down a lot sooner.  But, winning Championships does funny things to people.

There’s nothing like your worst start ever in fantasy football to give you some perspective though.  Frankly, I was really proud of myself this year about how much I was getting away from my computer and accomplishing some things on Sundays.  If not watching the live scoring was supposed to be beneficial, then, something was not right.  Not right at all.  Going into last week I was 2-4 in the league in which I went to the Super Bowl and lost.  I was 2-4 in the league in which I won the Super Bowl last year.  I was 1-5 in another league of mine – my most expensive that I commission.  There was an orphan team I acquired in early August that was new for me and I mostly joined to help out but it’s turned out fun and I was actually 3-3 while floating along in easily the most winnable division going into last week.  My one bright spot.  And finally, the disaster that is this league here that I write about.  The High Stakes League.  In which I was 1-5 also going into this past week.  Another rough start.  A combined 9-21.  Easily my worst start ever.  How?  I mean, I was doing a bang up job of pleasing the fantasy gods this season with my absence in front of my PC.  So, how was this happening?

Being a man of science it was time to do some testing.  If I was going to be 9-21 at least I would enjoy some football with my live scoring on damnit.  This Sunday was a great test date.  A murky, rainy day outside.  My Chicago Bears playing the defending Super Bowl champion Tamp Bay Buccaneers, whom they somehow walloped last season, so obviously great things must be in store.  And, with my teams in such horrible shape, I had a bunch of must-win games to watch if these teams of mine were going to stay in the playoff hunt and avoid selloff before the trade deadline.

I’m happy to report that this weekend provided me the most inconclusive data possible.  I watched so much football and I had my live scoring up the entire time.  Thursday?  Yep.  Sunday all day?  Damn skippy.  Monday too?  You’re darn tootin’.  If my superstition was correct, I should’ve had a horrible fantasy football weekend.  I didn’t.  It wasn’t great.  But, it wasn’t horrible.  Very middle of the road and leaning negative.  Very….. . inconclusive.  It’s almost like it had no effect at all.  2 wins.  3 losses.  Eerily similar to my normal weekly outcome this season.  I think it’s officially time to give up on this superstition.  Maybe these things only last for a season?

Admittedly, I do have another fantasy football superstition where I always named my teams after one of my fantasy players on my roster.  But, I’ve been testing that one too.  When I joined this High Stakes League it seemed like owners had more legacy style names and I figured I’d name mine after one of my all time favorite players instead so it could remain unchanged when a player (that I had named my team after) no longer plays for my team.  But, here I am with inconclusive evidence on whether these superstitions are worth continuing.  The Fresh Prince of Helaire is 1-6 the same as These Truths to be Self Richard Dent is 1-6.  Frankly, with only Dancing on the Thielen above .500 there’s not much to sway a person one way or the other.  Maybe you all can help me.  Is there something I’m not doing right?  Do I need to make a sacrifice to the fantasy football gods?  I’d love some feedback from everyone on any additional rituals you perform.  Otherwise, I’m about to give up on this superstition thing despite many years of fun with it and a few Championships.

Here in the High Stakes League we have a few teams that are starting to pull away from the pack.  While six will make the playoffs and we have another half a season to play, these four teams are starting to look like a pretty good lock to make the playoffs.  We have a new #1 in “The Don” Piccolo who now sits at 6-1.  Even if it’s not the most convincing 6-1 you’ve ever seen.  “The Don” is fifth out of twelve teams in total points right now and not far off from sixth.  Our league takes the top four teams by record and the final two by total points.  So, total points do matter.  But in “The Don’s” case, enough wins can make it so it doesn’t matter.  Team owner, Ryan Bennett, specializes in IDP as he does IDP rankings for multiple sites including contributing to RSO.  He also competes in about 40 leagues these days.  Feel free to follow him on Twitter and don’t be afraid to throw him your weekly start/sit questions @piccoloFFIDP.  I reached out to him, being the current top seed, to see if he had any superstitions when it comes to fantasy football and you would not be surprised to hear that he said managing 40 fantasy teams requires a no nonsense professional approach.  And added, “Can’t afford superstitions when luck is already such a big factor.”

Y-Town was undefeated two weeks ago but has since suffered two losses, dropping them into second place in the standings.  The first loss was deserved after a miserable showing where they barely cleared 100 points.  The second one this past weekend came at the hands of a rising star who had high score of the week.  This squad needs to put an end to the skid as soon as possible but they are second in total points right now and 3rd isn’t really close behind.  There’s some breathing room there but best not take up too much before you get serious again.  That’s probably why, before this article was even mostly typed, Y-Town was making moves.  A big trade went down between Y-Town and currently 11th seed NJ Generals.  Tom Brady, Mike Evans, and Cole Beasley all go to a contender in Y-Town with about two weeks to go before the trade deadline.  In return Y-Town gives up a 2nd round pick along with Sam Darnold, Zach Wilson, DJ Moore, and Jamaal Williams.  I like the aggressive move to stop the bleeding.  Let’s see if it turns into wins.

Then we have two teams at 4-3 that are worth a quick mention.  XFL Stars and owner Brayden Paget, who lead the league in total points.  Clearly, those wins will come with enough points but they have all their bases covered.

The Surdilla boys, owner of Big Tings, are 4-3 but put up high points (190) this past week while beating Y-Town and are 3rd in total points on the season.

Right now, these four teams look most likely to be playoff bound.  The final two spots are a little more murky.

If there’s a good ritual that you’ve found that works to get fantasy football wins, please share them with me where you see my posts on social media.  Or any superstition in general.  I want to hear them all.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

See you next time.

RSO High Stakes League Storyteller

More Analysis by Matt Russell