Friday, January 06, 2012

Pyongyang Pikas Postgame: Season Recap

The most hilarious thing about a four-team fantasy football league is that every team makes the playoffs.  The regular season matters for about nothing.  Sure, there's an attempt at seeding, such that the nominally best team in the league plays the nominally worst.  But any team can pull a 2008 Detroit Lions, losing literally every game, then get hot at the right time and win it all.

Nothing quite so dramatic happened in the Pikas' fantasy league, but Zach's Beat Tom was close.  Long occupying the number four spot on the ladder, Beat Tom had a late-season surge to make things interesting.  BT beat the Pikas in Week 13, the last game of the regular season, to drop the Pikas to a losing record overall.  But--in another amusing side effect of a four-man league--their 6-7 mark was enough to earn the #2 seed for the playoffs.  (In retrospect, looking the the records going into the playoffs, it should have been immediately obvious what would happen.  Only Tom's 2MuchJohnson4U had a winning record, an impressive 9-3-1.)

That was a double-edged sword for Pyongyang, though, as the surging Beat Tom claimed the #3 seed.  In a couple of mid-December games that the Pikas would just as soon forget, Beat Tom blew out the Pikas 235-182.  But the Pikas' season wasn't over yet: Christmas and New Years' weekends held the third-place consolation match against Josh's North Dakota Narwhals.  On Christmas Eve, Aaron Rodgers (as usual) and Brandon Marshall had huge games, putting up 32 and 21 points.  Cam Newton had 30 of his own, but the Pikas eked out an 8-point lead.

But playoff games last two weeks in fantasy-land, and third place wouldn't come so easily.  The Pikas made their last stand on the first day of 2012.  Their early games were marked by inconsistency, with 49ers running back Frank Gore scoring exactly zero points (a mere 9 yards on 7 carries) but Michael Turner having his best game of the season, putting together 172 yards and 2 touchdowns for a fantastic 29 points.  It all came down to the last game of the season, a Giants-Cowboys contest that, in true fantasy fashion, I wouldn't have cared about at all but for fantasy.

The game started with the Pikas down 99-79, with one Pika (backup quarterback Eli Manning) and one Narwhal (tight end Jason Witten) to play.  Eli, playing because the Packers were resting Aaron Rodgers, needed to outscore Witten by more than 12.

He scored 26 in a veritable Aaron Rodgers-esque clinic.  Witten scored 6, and the Pikas claimed the third-place "honors" in the league.

Pikas final record: 6-7, 3rd place in playoffs

Pikas MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers QB.  No question here.  Rodgers was the league's highest-scoring player despite sitting out the last week.  The one week he scored under 20, it was shocking, and his best game was a mind-blowing 45 points.

It's been sometimes fun, sometimes stressful, and always enlightening running a fantasy team.  It's also an excuse to drink bad beer and trash-talk your friends, which I've grown to appreciate is the real point of fantasy.

Currently listening: "Calamity Song," the Decemberists

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