RSO Inaugural High Stakes League Playoff Update

Updated: December 20th 2020

Hello RSO GMs! Many of you probably remember the emails from this summer in search for some hardcore GMs ready to put up serious cash to reserve their place in the first ever High Stakes League on our platform. Well, it took all summer, but we finally got to twelve GMs/Owners, and the league was born. From all over the US, the twelve GMs have been battling hard all season long, culminating in six playoff berths last week. The seeds were as follows:

#1 Seed – Schless is More – led by RSO vets and brothers Jude and John Schlesselman and representing the great state of Oklahoma, Schless is More has been balanced since the beginning of the season, led by three of his key signings on auction day. Russell Wilson (4 yrs $151.5mm) is QB #3, Dalvin Cook (3 yrs $100.5mm) is RB #2 and Darren Waller (2 yrs @ $23.5mm) is TE #2, and the trio has led Schless to a 10-3 record and a league high 1935 points.

#2 Seed – Philadelphia Freeways – led by Jared Smith a mystery GM and representing the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia, Jared and the Freeways got off to a hot start to the year, winning his first six games of the year. He finished the regular season at 10-3 with the #2 seed, led by free agent signings Travis Kelce (2 yrs @ $50mm and TE #1) and Stefon Diggs (1 yr @ $14mm!! for WR #3 as of this week). Unlike Schless who made only a few trades during the year that did not materially impact his team (other than having Matt Stafford starting in the Open Flex this week), Jared made a few key trades during the season that have helped him get to where he is. In Week 6, he dealt his 2022 1st Round and Joe Burrow to get Aaron Jones, a top 5 RB that had a monster game last night for the Freeways, helping him (along with Diggs) to have a 50.50 to 49.86 lead over #3 seed The “Don” headed into play this afternoon. He made another deal with the same team, Rodge and Dodge, in Week 10 right before the trade deadline, and he picked up his other starting RB, David Montgomery, and Brandin Cooks/Antonio Brown, in exchange for Dexter Williams, Tyler Higbee, OBJ and his 2021 1st and 2022 2nd. Jared is going all in to win this year, and he is now two weeks away from achieving that dream.

#3 Seed – The “Don” Piccolo – from St. Louis, Missouri, Ryan Bennett is what some would call a “fantasy nut”, as he has 50+ teams he manages each year. We are proud to have him in the inaugural High Stakes League, and he has had a great season, going 8-5 and winning a three-way tiebreaker for the #3 seed by virtue of his 1815 points scored. The “Don” has been led by his two QBs he signed in the auction, Kyler Murray (4 yrs @ $190.5mm QB#1) and Justin Herbert (2 yrs @ $14.5mm QB #10), as well as consistent play (and QB-WR stacking benefits) from DeAndre Hopkins (3 yrs @ $98.5mm WR#6). After defeating the #6 seed NJ Generals last week, he trails the Freeways by a couple points heading into action this afternoon, as he looks to keep the dream alive with a big upset win this week and a championship berth.

#4 Seed – Borderland Bombers – the Borderland Bombers are our #4 seed and are led by Steven Schuster from El Paso, Texas (aka football country). Schuster led his squad to a 8-5 record and 1796 points. After starting a pedestrian 5-5, the Bombers caught fire over the last three weeks of the season, winning all three contests, and then knocked off #5 seed Y-Town in the first round of the playoffs, riding great games from two of his multi-year guys, Lamar Jackson (4 yrs @ $225mm) and Calvin Ridley (4 yrs @ $68.5mm). On RSO, it is not always about the Draft or the Auction or even trades, but about the in-season acquisitions that are made. In week 1 (after the auction but before the NFL season commenced), Borderland signed undrafted free agents James Robinson to a 1yr $2.5mm deal (he is now RB #4) and Mike Davis to a 1yr $1mm deal (he is now RB #8). The Bombers are looking to keep the hot streak alive and pull off the huge upset over Schless is More this weekend.

#5 Seed – Y-Town – led by Daniel Johnson from Youngstown, OH, Y-Town also had an 8-5 year, but received the #5 seed by scoring 10 fewer points (1786) than the Bombers. Led by Alvin Kamara (4yrs @ $138.5mm RB#1) and Josh Allen (QB #4), who he acquired in a 12 player trade in Week 8 that also included a 2022 draft pick, Y-Town had a great first season in the league, but the Bombers proved too much for them, as Schuster’s squad bested Johnson’s team in the regular season finale in Week 13 (138.60-113.68) and then again last week (163.88-133.84). With no 1st or 2nd round picks left in 2021, Y-Town will look to his long-term core of Josh Allen, Alvin Kamara and Josh Jacobs to lead his squad to success in the years to come.

#6 Seed – NJ Generals – the last of our playoff teams is led by Greg Salter out of Trenton, NJ. The Generals had some tough matchup luck this season, going only 5-8, but they made it to the playoffs via their 1770 total points scored (the #5 and #6 seeds are decided based on total points). Led by the WR duo of Tyreek Hill (3 yrs @ $103mm WR #1) and Tyler Lockett (2 yrs @ $23mm WR #10), the Generals kept their poise after starting the year 1-5, which included a couple of tough beats, and just kept tallying points each and every week, resulting in a #6 seed and chance to play The “Don” in the first round of the playoffs. While Miles Sanders and Tyreek Hill had phenomenal weeks, Salter’s squad could not overcome the goose eggs laid by Noah Fant (0 points) and James Conner (1.80 points). In the end, The “Don” was too tough, besting the Generals 136.58-115.92. Salter will undoubtedly have his team ready for 2021!

Wildcard Playoff Results & Semi-Final Matchup Analysis

#3 The Don Piccolo (8-5) vs #2 Philadelphia Freeways (10-3)
As of this posting, exactly 1 point separates The “Don” Piccolo (85.26) and the Philadelphia Freeways (84.26 points). The Freeways got a huge game from Aaron Jones and Stefon Diggs yesterday, while The “Don” had a huge game from Justin Herbert on Thursday night. The Freeways have Travis Kelce and Wayne Gallman yet to play while The “Don” has Nick Chubb, DeAndre Hopkins and Kyler Murray yet to go. Edge is probably to The “Don” at this moment, but as expected at the start of the week, this one should be fun to watch to the wire. Good luck to both of you.
Projected Score The “Don” 169 – The Freeways 167 
#4 Borderland Bombers (8-5) vs #1 Schless is More (10-3) 
The clear #1 in the league all year, Schless is More is now on the ropes. They have a 89.04-71.24 league as of this writing, but all of their players are on the field at the moment (save Darren Waller whose 30 points on Thursday will be much needed by the time the final whistle blows). The Bombers have five guys playing at the moment with Kareem Hunt and Jared Cook to go later today. Still a ton of football left to play, but the Schless needs to build a bigger lead if he wants to survive an upset from the Bombers and make his way into the championship matchup.
Projected Score Borderland Bombers 150 – Schless is More 160 

Stay tuned next week for coverage of the championship game. Our winner will not only take home a bunch of dough and massive bragging rights, but our friends at TrophySmack are making a custom trophy for the winner, which will be amazing eye candy in one of those new home offices everyone is designing at the moment.

To all of you in fantasy playoff matchups this week, best of luck in making it one step closer to fantasy immortality!

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Key Surprises from the 2020 Season

Updated: November 27th 2020

Each year we find unexpected fantasy performances which alter the landscape of fantasy leagues.  This week’s article takes a look at a few of the major surprises from the early 2020 fantasy season, highlighted by some rookie performances.

 

Buffalo Passing Attack

Many thought Josh Allen would be a quality fantasy quarterback in 2020, largely due to his rushing production. Many believed we would see another leap from Allen in his passing effectiveness.  I don’t think many in the industry predicted Allen’s massive jump in quarterback play this year.  Allen was a bottom-tier passer by most metrics through his first two seasons.  He ranked just 25th in passing yards per attempt, 24th in QBR, and graded out as Pro Football Focus’ QB30 last year.  A big leap would have put him in the middle tier of passers.  Allen blew those expectations out of the water so far in 2020.

He ranks 8th in YPA, 6th in QBR, and is PFF’s QB8.  Maybe more surprising is how Buffalo changed the offense.  This was a run-first offense in previous years, sitting among the bottom 3rd in passing attempts last season while ranking 6th in rushing attempts.  Buffalo currently ranks 14th this season in passes with the 8th least carries so far.  Allen is on pace for a whopping 26% increase in throws.  The offense truly runs through the 3rd year quarterback.  We don’t see this massive of a change in offensive philosophy very often with the same head coach and quarterback.  Stefon Diggs benefited from Allen’s emergence (and vice versa) ranking second in targets and receiving yardage.  He vastly out-produced his RSO salary in most leagues.

Justin Herbert Crushes from the Start

Many of the thoughts from Buffalo may be copied and pasted here.  Not much was expected from the Chargers passing game with Tyrod Taylor or rookie Herbert when he eventually would be put in as the starter.  Taylor got hurt early, Los Angeles started Herbert, and the Chargers never looked back.  Herbert has been a locked-in rock solid QB1 thanks to tremendous deep-ball success and quality play when pressured.  Herbert’s success translated to Keenan Allen who, like Diggs, was coming at a sharp discount in RSO leagues due to the questionable quarterback situation.  Allen dominated, like usual, this season as the WR3 with usual sticky hands and jaw-dropping separation skills.

Jonathan Taylor Struggles

Jonathan Taylor was widely expected to post huge fantasy numbers this season once Marlon Mack suffered a season-ending injury early and was the rookie RB1 for many analysts coming into the year.  The super-athletic running back crushed Big Ten competition putting massive rushing totals.  The expected fantasy points have not materialized so far.  Taylor struggled mightily, looking timid and missing open rushing lanes routinely.  So what happened to the near sure-loc k running back?

Wisconsin largely utilized I-back/fullback formations with power/gap running concepts giving Taylor fairly easy reads for him to utilize his breakaway speed and nifty feet.  Early in the year, Indianapolis used much more offset single-back looks and zone rushing schemes forcing Taylor to make reads and manipulate linebackers in a way he simply was not used to.  We are so use to thinking of running back as ready to contribute straight out of college but, with Taylor, we see a player who really misses needed preseason reps.  A few positive notes going forward for Taylor is that the Colts utilized more I-back runs last week and Taylor consistently shows off his explosiveness when given chances in the passing game.  I definitely view him as a buy for any leagues where people are down on him.

The James Robinson Undrafted Rookie Party

On the other end of the spectrum, Robinson is one of the feel-good fantasy stories of the year.  It took a lot of bizarre twists for Robinson to see the field.  The Jaguars released former first-round pick Leonard Fournette early in the preseason, Ryquell Armstead was lost for the season due to COVID-related complications, while Devine Ozigbo and passing-down specialist Chris Thompson struggled with injuries.  The undrafted free agent assumed the RB1 role for Jacksonville week one and stuck ever since.  Robinson posted double-digit PPR fantasy points each week, averaged over a 100 scrimmage yards per game and stayed healthy so far.   Fantasy players lucky enough to get Robinson early have a RB1 on their roster for waiver wire costs. 


Bio:  Bernard Faller has degrees in engineering and economics.  He currently lives in Las Vegas and enjoys athletics, poker, and fantasy football in his free time.  Send your questions and comments (both good and bad) on Twitter @BernardFaller1.

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