Ground ‘N’ Pound upset shocks league in Week 1

There’s a reason they play the games.

If you needed any further proof of that, look no further than Week 1 of the 2014 NFL Experience season, which saw Bizarro Al Davis – the two-time defending champion in this league, and who entered this season with a startling 22-4 record in regular season games – taking on Ground ‘N’ Pound, the cellar-dwellars by miles in the league’s most difficult division last year, and a 70-point underdog heading into Week 1.

But thanks to over 70 points from his three wide receivers and an insane 44 points from Gerald McCoy, new owner Colin Saunders might have pulled off the upset of the season in its opening week as Ground ‘N’ Pound beat Bizarro Al Davis to stun the league and headline the Week 1 action. Bizarro Al Davis now has more trouble as Doug Martin went down with an injury in Week 1, and could be questionable moving forward, though Neil does have Darren Sproles behind him on the bench.

Things won’t get any easier for Colin this week, however, as he now has to go up against The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise, which came away with a resounding victory over That’s My-Danek! in what was the heavyweight matchup heading into Week 1. Even with sub-par performance from their tight ends and Philip Rivers, Aaron and Patrick came away with a big victory thanks to a balanced offensive attack that saw all six running backs, receivers and flex spots score over 15 points.

Injuries to Jonathan Cyprien and Jordan Reed and ineffective play from Zac Stacy – a concern moving forward – ensured Ben would go down to defeat in Week 1, and sets up a fascinating showdown between a pair of strong winless teams in Week 2.

The theme across the rest of the league was close match ups, with two games – RG3 for President beating Kamehamehaaa and Smokin Red Devils beating Chef’s Menu – finishing with wins of less than five points, while Noord’s Team, Kobra Kai, AP Says, Murrells Inlet Maya also had victories.

Divisional matchups will continue this week, including two – The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise vs. Ground ‘N’ Pound and Kobra Kai vs. AP Says PIIHB – that will end with someone taking the division lead.

More on those later in the week, though. For now, congratulations to Colin for a great and stunning way to start off his first season in the league, and congrats to Austin for picking up $10 dollars for winning top scoring honors for the week.

Week 1 Preview

So after the season projections in the last post, here’s a quick look at how the Week 1 matchups look like, with several of them looking like they’ll be close contests:

The Replacements (-3) vs. Noord’s Team

In what will quickly become a theme of the week, these two teams are very evenly matched, something that will come from a by-product of the relative evenness of the four divisions, even though two are very strong and two are very weak – at least as projections go. Because the teams in the North Division are so similar to each other, it’s not surprising they mostly matchup well across the board. Both teams are fairly equal at quarterback and running back, with The Replacements having significant edges at wide receiver and tight end before Noord’s Team has the biggest advantage of the matchup – Steven Jackson’s projected 11 points versus Santonio Holmes’ one at the offensive flex spot.

The same thing goes on defense, where both teams are basically identical except for Demario Davis giving The Replacements an edge at the defensive flex. Given that these two teams had identical records last year, it’ll be fascinating to see who comes out on top in the opening week.

RG3 for President (-32) vs. Kamehamehaaa

In the first of the two annual showdowns of The Nolan Brothers, RG3 for President, as expected, has a significant advantage. RG3, despite its fragile namesake, has one of the toughest and deepest teams in the league, allowing it advantages at tight end and offensive flex spot (Montee Ball’s 20 points vs. Nate Washington’s eight). It also doesn’t hurt having J.J. Watt anchoring your defense.

Thomas also has a strong squad, though, and could easily pull the upset. We’ll see which brother gets early bragging rights.

Murrells Inlet Maya (-27) vs. Temujin

In the first of the two battles in what likely is the most even division in the league, the South, Murrells Inlet Maya’s entire advantage is almost completely derived from massive projected leads at quarterback (Tom Brady vs. Josh McCown) and running back (Matt Forte vs. Lamar Miller). That also doesn’t include, however, the 30-11 edge at tight end, where Murrells has Jason Witten and Antonio Gates, while Temujin has Charles Clay and the injured Clay Harbor – the unique Clay Squared TE combo.

Defensive points can always make things interesting, but with that kind of advantage at the offensive skill spots, it’ll be hard to see Temujin pulling this one out – even though North is pulling out some creative (and I think smart) management by going with McCown instead of the injured and receiver lacking Cam Newton.

Smokin Red Devils (-8) vs. Chef’s Menu

The Red Devils have the advantage here almost exclusively because Chef’s Menu is currently starting the suspended Matt Prater at kicker. Remove him from the lineup for someone who is going to play and this will likely be a toss-up. The Menu will be driven all season by their insane advantage at tight end, where Rob Gronkowski and Julius Thomas – if both healthy – given them an insane advantage.

Smokin Red Devils, however, have a balanced squad, featuring a deep core at both running back and linebacker that will make them a formidable foe in the South. This should be a fun matchup to watch.

Kobra Kai (-47) vs. Carnivorous Pigs

No offense to the Pigs, but this isn’t going to be a long writeup. They are not going to be favored in any matchup all season, barring weird bye week scenarios or injuries, and will struggle to win more than a game. Going up against last year’s division champ to open the season shouldn’t change that.

Bortles Kombat (-64) vs. AP Says PIIHB

AP Says (who is getting married this weekend I hear – congrats!) has a very, very competitive offense. But his defense leaves a lot to be desired – though it is reliant on a lot of young, inexperienced players like Khalil Mack and Ryan Shazier, which gives it a high level of variance and could make it a far more live dog than it may appear.

In its first year under new ownership, as pointed out in the season preview blog, Bortles appears to be the class of the division, with a deep roster – though one limited in depth, particularly on defense. We’ll see how that plays into things as the season progresses.

Bizarro Al Davis (-70) vs. Ground ‘N’ Pound

Surprise, surprise: the two-time defending champions have a massive advantage in Week 1. Bizarro Al Davis has a very deep, though top heavy, squad, and should once again be a tremendously difficult matchup for any team in the league all season long. It’s offense would be insane in a 10-team standard league – let alone in a 16-team, 40-man roster setup. But we’ll see if the projections about its shaky defense keep them from getting a third straight crown.

They should easily win this week against Ground ‘N’ Pound, though new owner Colin shouldn’t be too discouraged about his team’s long-term prospects. With names like Andrew Luck, Cordarrelle Patterson and Kelvin Benjamin, this should be a team that will be very good, very soon, and for a very long time.

That’s My-Danek! (-7) vs. The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise

We’ve saved the best for last. In what will truly be a titanic struggle, the teams with the highest and tied for third highest projected point totals in the league this week will square off in what should be a thrilling matchup. My-Danek! was a hard-luck missing participant from last year’s playoffs, admittedly because of a dumb mistake by the commissioner in how the playoff tie-breakers were set up (something the commissioner, to this day, feels bad/stupid about).

That said, My-Danek! has a truly incredible team, featuring a ridiculous offense of Romo/Stacy/Bush/Green/Hilton/Randle/Wallace/Graham/Reed – one that would look good in absolutely any league format and makes him a formidable opponent no matter what week.

Sean Taylor is no slouch either, thanks in large part to having four of the top 10 receivers in the league – Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Jordy Nelson and Julio Jones – all in his starting lineup, a truly incredible advantage in a league like this.

This matchup, however, will likely come down to which defense outperforms the other. Both have their strong points, but given the relatively equal firepower of the offenses and often times chaotic nature of defensive scoring, that will likely tell the tale in what should be a thrilling matchup.

Best of luck to everyone in what should be a fascinating opening week of the season.

2014 Season Projections

After a long wait – and after a lot of changes to this league, both in structure and ownership – the start of the 2014 season is upon us, and it should be a fascinating one.

Here’s how the 2013 season finished up, first by record (top six spots going to the playoff teams) and then by points scored.

Record:

1. Bizarro Al Davis (two-time champ)
2. RG3 for President (runner-up)
3. The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise
4. Temujin
5. Noord’s Team
6. Kobra Kai
7. That’s My-Danek!
8. The Replacements
9. Drunken Butterfly (now Bortles Kombat)
10. AP Says PIIHB
11. Shillustrious Moores (now Ground ‘N’ Pound)
12. Kamehamehaaa
13. Chef’s Menu
14. Huirtuit Hail Marys (now Smokin Red Devils)
15. Carnivorous Pigs
16. Murrells Inlet Maya

Points scored:

1. Bizarro Al Davis
2. The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise
3. That’s My-Danek!
4. RG3 for President
5. Temujin
6. Noord’s Team
7. The Replacements
8. Kamehamehaaa
9. Kobra Kai
10. Chef’s Menu
11. Bortles Kombat
12. Murrells Inlet Maya
13. Carnivorous Pigs
14. Smokin Red Devils
15. AP Says PIIHB
16. Ground ‘N’ Pound

What obviously stands out is the absurd strength of the West Division, which last year featured the three best teams in the league in terms of pure points scored (as well as the worst), as well as the North Division having all four of its teams inside the top half of the league. We’ll see if that kind of disparity between the divisions transfers over to this season, as well.

Speaking of that, I went through and used CBS’ projected points for each player to figure out a power rankings heading into the season for all 16 teams. I ranked each teams in terms of points scored using a projected starting lineup of the highest projected point scorers at each position. Yes, I realize that this is a bit flawed – it doesn’t take into account bench depth, bye weeks or injuries, and the projections themselves are flawed – but thought it would be a fun exercise heading into the season. Here’s what I came up with:

Offense:

1. Bizarro Al Davis (2542.3 points)
2. The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise (2477.5)
3. That’s My-Danek! (2306.6)
4. Bortles Kombat (2264.3)
5. Chef’s Menu (2124.1)
6. Murrells Inlet Maya (2114.7)
7. RG3 for President (2063.7)
8. AP Says PIIHB (2037.7)
9. Kamehamehaaa (1989.7)
10. Kobra Kai (1981.6)
11. Smokin Red Devils (1967.2)
12. Temujin (1948.3)
13. The Replacements (1892.5)
14. Noord’s Team (1874.7)
15. Ground ‘N’ Pound (1711.7)
16. Carnivorous Pigs (1518.9)

A couple things stand out here. First, obviously, is the offensive firepower of the West Division, where the top three teams from last year finished in the exact same order here that they did in overall points last year. The other? The surprising strength of Chef’s Menu and Murrells Inlet Maya, two teams that finished in the bottom of the standings last year who rank fifth and sixth in projected offensive points heading into this season. It’ll be interesting to see if that will translate to both of those teams getting a lot more wins.

Defense:

1. RG3 for President (2546.25 points)
2. The Replacements (2364)
3. Kamehamehaaa (2304.25)
4. Noord’s Team (2284.25)
5. The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise (2265.75)
6. That’s My-Danek! (2219)
7. Smokin Red Devils (2085.25)
8. Temujin (2046.75)
9. Ground ‘N’ Pound (2029.25)
10. Murrells Inlet Maya (2022.5)
11. Kobra Kai (1979.25)
12. Bortles Kombat (1964.5)
13. Chef’s Menu (1960.75)
14. Bizarro Al Davis (1951)
15. AP Says PIIHB (1750)
16. Carnivorous Pigs (1598.5)

A couple of things also stand out here. First is the serious defensive might of the North Division, where the top four projected defenses in the league all reside. It’s not hard to see, given how things shook out last season, why the North and West Divisions were so strong last season. The other thing? How far down the list Bizarro Al Davis is projected to finish defensively, where the two-time defending champions are projected to be 14th out of 16 teams in terms of defensive points.

Overall:

1. The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise (4743.25 points)
2. RG3 for President (4609.95)
3. That’s My-Danek! (4525.6)
4. Bizarro Al Davis (4493.3)
5. Kamehamehaaa (4293.95)
6. The Replacements (4256.5)
7. Bortles Kombat (4228.8)
8. Noord’s Team (4158.95)
9. Murrells Inlet Maya (4137.2)
10. Chef’s Menu (4084.85)
11. Smokin Red Devils (4052.45)
12. Temujin (3995.05)
13. Kobra Kai (3960.85)
14. AP Says PIIHB (3787.7)
15. Ground ‘N’ Pound (3740.95)
16. Carnivorous Pigs (3117.4)

A few things stand out here. First, The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise looks like the clear strongest team in the league this year, well over 100 points better than the second-best team, RG3 for President. What also stands out is what looks like will be the continued dominance of the North and West Divisions, which make up seven of the top eight teams in the projections. One interesting wrinkle in this year’s schedule? This year’s rotation happens to match up the North and West Divisions, which should lead to a lot of heavyweight fights during the regular season and will likely play a large role in who makes the playoffs.

What else? The four teams in the South Division are bunched up from spots 9-12 in the projection, separated by a mere 150 points, which will hopefully lead to all four teams being competitive all season long. Then there’s what appears to be the very weak East Division, which features three of the four worst teams in the league, including Carnivorous Pigs – which enters the season dead-last on both sides of the ball and in the overall category by a very significant margin. The guess here, though, is that Ground ‘N’ Pound will finish the season with the worst record and the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s rookie and reserve drafts, however, given the incredibly tough division they reside in.

If these projections hold, The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise will win both its first division title and league crown, RG3 for President will win a second straight division title and finish as a runner-up for a second straight year, Bortles Kombat will win its division in its first year under new ownership, Murrells Inlet Maya will be back in the playoffs after finishing with the worst record in the league a year ago and the West Division will place three teams in the playoffs – which would be the second time that happened in the league’s three years in existence.

In a few months, we’ll see just how accurate these projections will turn out to be. In the meantime, good luck to everyone both in Week 1 and the rest of the season.

Welcome!

Hey guys,

So I just wanted to make a brief introductory note and welcome you all to the next step in us putting together what is a very fun league, and one that will only hopefully get more enjoyable as time goes by.

On this website, you’ll have a one-stop shop of links to the league constitution, each year’s draft order (results in the past, draft pick order in the future), an archive of all trades from this point forward (after this year’s rookie and reserve drafts), a rundown of all salary information for all 16 teams, and financial information for all of them (how much each team has paid, and how much each team has taken home in winnings).

If you guys have anything else you’d like to add to the site, or think we should add to it, then let me know. In the future I’ll be writing some articles here, too, but we’ll see what happens.

Otherwise, let me know if you have any questions, and I’m looking forward to you all hopefully enjoying the site!

All the best,

Tim