Inaugural High Stakes League ’22 Update 1

Updated: April 30th 2022

I’ve been away too long, my friends.  It’s been almost 4 months.  Of course, not one game of football has been played during that time but if you are here with me on the RSO site, you know how exciting an offseason can be.  So much has happened, in fact, that I’ve realized there are things we need to talk about.  That brings me here today.  It’s NFL draft week and I’d like to get one update in before the draft concludes

This one is all about movement.  Trades.  Glorious trades.  Every single team is making moves trying to position themselves for the upcoming season and it all starts with your draft.  Each week, and perhaps every day, there seems to be impactful information coming to light regarding players and/or possible draft picks.  That means every day values are changing, representing new opportunities to trade.  There’s really not much better than an active fantasy football league that takes advantage of all of these opportunities.  I’m happy to report that our league is indeed one of them.  As I write this, our league has already made twenty-two trades.  Each team has made at least one.  One team has made nine.  Pretty impressive.  How many trades have gone down in your leagues so far?  I’m genuinely curious to know.  Please comment on my Twitter or Facebook post when this article goes live.  I love feedback.  I would also love your opinion as to whether a higher entry fee correlates with higher trade activity.

Last year’s semi-finalist, Y-Town, has been our most active trader.  This is a team that seemingly prefers to work with proven players and utilizes draft picks as trade bait to shore up a safer starting lineup each year.  Well, as soon as RSO flipped the switch on ’22, Y-Town found himself with three new ’24 draft picks and it was game on from there.  This squad consummated their first deal on March 1st and has not gone more than two weeks without completing one since then.  He was my huckleberry for the only two trades I made this offseason.  Just slinging big names and picks all over town.

So, what else has been happening since our last chat?  Our league has one new owner this season.  This means we have at least one new team name.  I hope this one doesn’t get confusing but we now have a team called Philadelphia Bell.  This is in addition to the already existing Philadelphia Freeways.  This upcoming season may determine who gets to keep the Philly moniker.  I’ve also changed my name now that we are in the offseason and it’s safe to do so while not affecting my positive vibes.  I went back to my superstition regarding naming my team after one of the players currently on my roster.  I combined my superstition with my love of Pink Floyd and we now have Dark Side of the Mooney.  I feel real good about where these vibes are going to take me in 2022.

There it is, fellow owners.   A brief update just to get us back in the groove. I am going to enjoy that NFL draft now and see where it takes my team.  I put all the good vibes in place.  Now….. we watch the drama unfold.  Eek!

RSO High Stakes League Storyteller

More Analysis by Matt Russell

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 update 12

Updated: December 26th 2021

What a rough week for fantasy football.  Heading into the second week of the playoffs things are only getting worse.  The Covid IR is in full effect right now, not to mention actual injuries on top of it, and depth is the name of the game in ’21.

As we look at last week’s games, and what brought to our match ups this week, those seeds really played a big role in which teams advanced.  The good news (if you are a spectator) is that both matches were extremely close.  The match between the #4 seed and the #5 seed was decided by only four points at 141-137.  #4 seed Wendell Takeover Project advances over Just Dodge, and now we have to wonder if the midseason name change affected Just Dodge in the end.

In the battle between the #3 seed and the #6 seed, the match was decided by only seven points.  “The Don” Piccolo continues to face the right team each week to get a win despite putting up subpar point totals.  107-100 was the final and, clearly, if “the Don” faced either of the two other teams, his season would be over.  I’ll have to check with “the Don” to see what he uses each week as a sacrificial lamb to the Fantasy Gods.  Because, it’s working.

So, we advance another week and here we are with the top four seeds all facing each other.  The big dogs, XFL Stars, will match up against Wendell and Y Town squares off against “The Don.”  It’s time to place those bets.  Who will make it to the finals?  Whichever teams do, you know they will be handicapped by Covid IR and a mountain of injuries that have piled up this season.  Finding and implementing players you can stream for one week is an integral part of fantasy football success and these teams are getting their ability to assess these players, and their situations, tested well.

It’s a quick update this week for me as I spend time with family for the holidays.  I hope all of you were able to do the same, or enjoy the holiday season in the best way possible.  Good luck to all the teams still contending for a title.

See you next week.

RSO High Stakes League Storyteller

More Analysis by Matt Russell

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

Inaugural High Stakes League update 10

Updated: December 9th 2021

As we come barreling into the final week of the regular season we are essentially down to seven teams fighting for six spots.  While there could be some last minute shuffling of seed order among the six playoff qualifiers, it’s those final two spots, which are based on total points, that will provide the exciting finish to the regular season.


First, let’s discuss how we got here with a review of last week.  League powerhouse, XFL Stars, has lead the league in total points most of this season but it wasn’t until last week they finally took over 1st place.  Next up for XFL was Schless is More – fresh off an upset win of previous 1st place team, “The Don” Piccolo.  But, when you’re hot, you’re hot.  XFL Stars squashed Schless like a meaningless bug in their path on their way to another league high score of the week.  They drop 186 points to Schless’s 116.  Schless looks like they’ve locked up the #3 pick in the draft next year.

Speaking of teams near the bottom of the standings, we witnessed a battle for next season’s number one pick.  The two teams tied for last squared off to see who was the suckiest of all the suck in the land.  It’s NJ Generals.  They’re the suckiest.  But, they likely get that number one pick next year now which they are probably more happy about than any sucky moniker they earned.

In our biggest upset of last week, Borderland Bombers continued their charge towards the playoffs.  They’ve sat quietly in the seven spot for many weeks now just continually trying to break through.  Like a crypto stock going to the moon out of nowhere, this team finally broke through in an important week against the second highest scoring team in the league, Y Town.  The point total wasn’t tremendous, but in a week where a few other key teams’ scoring was down, 135 points was enough to win the game and catapult this team from the #7 seed up to the #5 seed with a chance at the #4 before it’s all said and done.  That’s a big week.  But, it’s close.  Oh so close, with seven total points separating three teams for the final two playoff spots. This team still needs to finish strong or it could miss that final spot.

Y Town still has over 1900 points this season and sits in the #3 spot now.  But, this makes two losses in three weeks as we get real close to the post season.  That’s not how any team wants to be trending during such a crucial time.

If you’ve been following along on our superstition watch, a midseason team name change seems to have sent Just Dodge, No Rodge on a skid with a few losses while they barely hang on to enough points to get into the playoffs.  If they miss the playoffs I will feel vindicated and declare this superstition to be essentially a scientific fact.  Last week was a tough one scoring sub-100.  They do that again this week and it’s over.  There’s no more room for error here in the final week with three teams so close in total points.

Our trade deadline heroes (See update 6), Philadelphia Freeways, played in a must win game against Wendell Takeover Project.  With a win they could stay within range of the top four spots and get in on record.  Potentially.  That didn’t transpire.  In fact, we saw a good old fashioned ass-whipping.  Wendell pretty much locked up his playoff birth with a solid 151 point showing.  Philadelphia, however, may have put up the lowest points in our short league history.  This team made some great moves at the deadline.  But, some of these moves left them high and dry during some crucial bye weeks and they found themselves in a Superflex league with only Mike Glennon available to start at QB.  Yikes.  Then you realize this team is without it’s shiny new toy, Davante Adams, and you understand why they could only muster 60 points.  ODB was the highest scoring player on this team with 2 receptions, 28 yards, and a TD.  I’ve seen uglier efforts over my many years playing fantasy football, but it’s been a long time.

How about those standings….

(seed) Team. Record, total points

(1)  XFL Stars. 10-3, 2099

(2)  “The Don” Piccolo.  10-3, 1749

(3)  Y Town.  9-4, 1901

(4)  Wendell Takeover Project.  8-5, 1775

(5)  Borderland Bombers.  8-5, 1699

(6)  Just Dodge, No Rodge.  5-8, 1695

(7)  Big Tings.  6-7, 1692

(8)  DC Guardians.  6-7, 1588

(9)  Schless is More.  4-9, 1523

(10) Philadelphia Freeways. 7-6, 1517

(11) These Truths to be Self Richard Dent.  3-10, 1425

(12) NJ Generals.  2-11, 1416

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

As I look through the slate of upcoming games I admit it’s uninspiring.  It’s almost like every top team is playing a bottom team.  I see a lot of disparity in the match ups.  So, upsets are unlikely for those top three teams who all play seeds eight or lower.  #4 Wendell has a match up against Just Dodge.  But, Dodge is a team testing superstitions so my faith in them is waning.  They get a tough final draw against which to prove themselves.  It’s an uphill battle but, as a reminder, a win doesn’t matter for them, only points.  We’ll see if they can score more than 100 this week.

After a week getting comfortable sitting in that top spot, we got some feedback from the guys at the top.  It’s always a momentous occasion when you grab the #1 seed so we like to get owner comments on these occasions.  XFL Stars did release a statement this week following our request for comment:

“XFL is pumped to have just won our 4th consecutive weekly high scorer award while dealing with injuries from Waller, Hurts, Deebo, and now Logan Thomas.  This past week we knew we were destined to keep the streak alive when Minshew rolled in looking like a character straight out of Top Gun.”

They added later that Top Gun just happens to be their favorite movie of all time.

One more week to go in this new, 14-week regular season.  Make sure to pause for a moment to appreciate that as you set your lineups this week.  One extra game of fantasy football for us lucky dogs.  Ahhhhh, yes.  Feels good.  Let that marinate and I’ll see you next week.

– RSO High Stakes League Storyteller


More Analysis by Matt Russell

Inaugural High Stakes League update 9

Updated: December 2nd 2021

I haven’t met the owner of XFL Stars nor have I even seen a picture of him.  But, I imagine he is blue and says things like “I am inevitable.”

At the end of last week’s write up I declared a game of the week between XFL Stars and Just Dodge, No Rodge.  I mentioned that one of my superstitions is to never change your team name during the season unless you need to change your mojo.  Just Dodge, No Rodge is now the team name but a couple weeks ago it was Rodge and Dodge.  Now, not knowing the particulars, because frankly I have no interest in reaching out to him to find out after a previous salty response to a trade offer of mine, I am guessing this team lost an owner.  Did they lose this owner mid-season?  Doubtful.  Unless there was some sort of big break up and they sorted out custody of this team all of a sudden.  Really, it’s probably most likely the second owner never made it to season two and Dodge here was a little late on the name change.  Feeding into my superstition about midseason name changes because Just Dodge couldn’t hang with our total points leader this season, Thanos.  Wait, no, I think the owner of XFL Stars is named Brayden.  Yes, Brayden.  Was it the unjustified mid season name change when no shake up was needed?  Or, are the XFL Stars just too powerful?  I guess we will never know.  But, in a down week where no team scored 150 points, the XFL stars, once again, lead the way for the entire league with 148.76 points.  Just Dodge?  127.20.  Fortunately for Dodge, these are enough points to retain the fifth seed for another week.

One week after claiming the top spot in our league with a gritty win over the number one seed at the time, Y Town, “The Don” Piccolo ran into some unexpected trouble against a team that was probably hoping for a loss.  Schless is More was sitting in the ten spot and looking at the #3 pick in next year’s draft.  Who knew such big name studs as JD McKissic, Cedrick Wilson, and Kendrick Bourne would ball out in week 12 for around 20 points each?  Certainly not this Storyteller.  Probably not “the Don” either.  The win will not affect the seed for Schless, but it was a hard fall from number one to number three, for “The Don.”  Y Town wins again and retains the #2 seed due to a higher point total than “The Don.”

Time to share the updated standings again:

(seed) Team. Record, total points

(1)  XFL Stars. 9-3, 1913

(2)  Y Town.  9-3, 1770

(3)  “The Don” Piccolo.  9-3, 1589

(4)  Wendell Takeover Project.  7-5, 1624

(5)  Just Dodge, No Rodge.  5-7, 1597

(6)  Big Tings.  6-6, 1577

(7)  Borderland Bombers.  7-5, 1564

(8)  DC Guardians.  5-7, 1470

(9)  Philadelphia Freeways. 7-5, 1457

(10) Schless is More.  4-8, 1408

(11) NJ Generals.  2-10, 1315

(12) These Truths to be Self Richard Dent.  2-10, 1310

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

Week thirteen looks to be hugely consequential.  Even at the bottom is a match up between the two worst teams in the league which will likely lead to the loser getting the first pick in ’22.  Both teams receive some helpful byes with NJ losing DJ Moore for this battle and These Truths losing Aaron Rodgers and MVS.

There are other great match ups all over the scoreboard this week.  Frankly, XFL Stars has the only match up I don’t expect to be close against Schless is More.  I know, I know, Schless just got the upset this past week but there’s no way those same players put up enough points again.  Even if they do, it is probably going to take more points than last week to beat the highest scoring team in the league and all their Infinity Stones.

Elsewhere we’ll be watching the #4 seed, Wendell, taking on #9 seed, Philly.  While there is a big disparity between seeds, a win this week for Philly will go a long way to helping them sneak into the playoffs.  A loss and they can pretty much fuhgeddaboudit.

“The Don” takes on Just Dodge, No Rodge.  Dodge is getting in on points, if they do at all, so a win doesn’t mean anything here.  Points and more points is what they need.  I think the real question now is do you change your name back or grin and bear it?  Since I’ve always been too afraid to test this superstition, I can’t tell you what the answer is but we should know more by next week, thanks to our guinea pig, Just Dodge, No Rodge.  “The Don,” of course, needs a win here.  It seems somewhat unlikely but it’s still mathematically possible he could miss the playoffs with another two losses.  Points matter less for this team, unless they lose their next two.  I believe a single win, this week or next, should get them into the playoffs though.

Lastly, we have #7 seed, Borderland Bombers who has been sitting just barely outside of the playoff picture since we started talking about it, which is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things if they qualify in the end, taking on #2 seed Y Town.  Y Town continues their solid season and is a very likely playoff contender at this point barring a complete collapse.  But, seeds matter, so a win is still important.   No one wants to step into the ring with Thanos in the first round of the playoffs.  Poor Borderland faces a tough road to get in through the #2 seed in Y Town who will undoubtedly be playing to win.  Borderland better bring their A-game this week.

That’s it for this week.  Be sure to join us next week to see the results of these important match ups.  Contact me at any time with your feedback.  Feedback is my favorite.

– RSO High Stakes League Storyteller

More Analysis by Matt Russell