Inaugural High Stakes League update 11

Updated: December 16th 2021

The story this week was going to be centered around teams that absolutely dominate the regular season but then fall short of winning it all.  I had stories in my head about Ladainian Tomlinson’s legendary ’06 season in which I owned the fantasy football regular season with him on my roster but was beat in the playoffs by a hot team and didn’t even make it to the Super Bowl.  I was thinking of the actual New England Patriots and how their chance at an undefeated season was ruined by a hot wild card team in an epic battle from which I’ll never forget that David Tyree catch.  Really, you can hearken back all the way to the Miami Dolphins ’72 season before you find a fully undefeated team at season’s end and you also have an example of those ’95-’96 Chicago Bulls who dominated the regular season, setting an NBA record for wins, and also went on to win a Championship.  So, it does happen.  But, it’s tough.  Really tough.

After Monday night’s game, my story had to change.  It looked as if XFL Stars was heading towards another high score of the week.  It would’ve been an unprecedented 5th in a row.  Absolute domination by our first place team.  But, James Conner, Cooper Kupp, and the Wendell Takeover Project had a different idea.  Those two studs put up 65 points and leapfrogged Wendell over XFL Stars for high score of the week with 176 and XFL had the first new chink in their armor in many weeks.  Don’t get me wrong.  XFL still put up 169 points.  They still look dominant.  They are probably the most feared team in the playoffs, but, we may have some contenders that will challenge them.  No one likes a forgone conclusion anyways.  Frankly, the top four teams have all remained pretty consistent this year.  Each of them stands a chance at taking the ‘ship.  Some more than others but I think they all have a chance.  The other two teams in the playoffs, however….

So, here’s the good news.  If you are Just Dodge, No Rodge or the Borderland Bombers, you’re happy you made the playoffs.  After all, Big Tings was the one team out of the three that were battling for those last two spots and didn’t make it.  At least you aren’t them.  Them and their measly 75 points.  75 points in the crucial final week is going to haunt those guys for a while.  Yeah, at least you aren’t them.  Then again, it’s hard to feel confident in either of these two final playoff qualifiers.  Borderland Bombers limps into the playoffs with a 92 point showing while losing to the 11th place team, These Truths to be Self Richard Dent, and it’s been many weeks since they topped 150 points.  Those top four teams do it on the reg.  You know who else doesn’t usually score 150 points?  Just Dodge.  Not since week 5 has this team put up over 150 points.  No, if I’m either of those two teams, I can’t feel real confident in my chances.  But, they do have chances, unlike the other half of the league.  And, as I write this, the number of players being put on covid IR is getting out of control.  A wrinkle like this could give any team a chance and level the playing field.

Let’s take a look at the final regular season standings with the top six places by playoff seed:

(seed) Team. Record, total points

(1)  XFL Stars. 11-3, 2269

(2)  Y Town.  10-4, 2061

(3)  “The Don” Piccolo.  10-4, 1881

(4)  Wendell Takeover Project.  9-5, 1952

(5)  Just Dodge, No Rodge.  5-9, 1825

(6)  Borderland Bombers.  8-6, 1791

(7)  Philadelphia Freeways. 8-6, 1641

(8)  DC Guardians.  7-7, 1733

(9)  Big Tings.  6-8, 1768

(10)  Schless is More.  4-10, 1603

(11) These Truths to be Self Richard Dent.  4-10, 1550

(12) NJ Generals.  2-12, 1509

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

If you compare to last week, there was some final jostling of playoff seeds.  “The Don” suffers a loss to the DC Guardians who ultimately do not land terribly far from the edge of the bubble.  Once the number seed, “The Don” dropped two of their last three and enter the playoffs the third seed while trying to get right.  Y Town reclaims the second seed and a 1st round bye along with XFL Stars who continue their impressive campaign.  Also, Just Dodge swaps spots with Borderland to move into the 5th spot.

So, who’s it going to be?  Can anyone take down XFL?  It starts with this week where Borderland faces “The Don” and Wendell battles Just Dodge.  Wendell is fresh off a 176 point showing and has to be the favorite in their game.  RSO projections currently show Dodge as a 10 point dog.  But, we all know things change rapidly these days with the effects of covid.    “The Don” is currently favored by 17 points over Borderland despite just making a public gripe in the owners’ communication feed about losing DeAndre Hopkins for the rest of the season.  The other owners didn’t seem to care much.  You won’t find many hearts bigger than a Grinch’s in your fantasy football leagues.

Come back next week to find out which teams will face our top two seeds, XFL Stars and Y Town and congrats to all who made the playoffs.  I know I wasn’t one of them.

– RSO High Stakes League Storyteller

More Analysis by Matt Russell