(Note: Among my many interests, I am the commissioner of the LiveWorld Fantasy Football League, comprised of 16 LiveWorld employees, past employees and friends/family of LiveWorlders. The league is split into NFC and AFC conferences. I publish the Power Rankings for the 8 teams in the LWFL NFC. Briant Laslo publishes Power Rankings for the AFC)
LWFL NFC Power Rankings
Week 1 Sep. 12, 2010
#1 Team Eagles
Rebecca Newkirk's defending Super Bowl (and scoring) champions from last year started right where they left off with a league-high 130 point effort on opening day.
Led by monster performances from Arian Foster and Peyton Manning who accounted for 76 points between the two of them, the Eagles dominated in a 64 point win, extending their streak to 4 consecutive games in which they've won by a margin of 50 points or more.
While the Eagles are not likely to get 40 point efforts from the running back position very often (consider that Foster's effort came against the always woeful Colts run defense), they do possess balance thru out their lineup, with 4 players scoring in double figures, despite key players like Michael Turner and DeSean Jackson having poor showings. This is a high-risk, high reward team that can score a ton of points in any given week but still reasonably expect to put up 90-100 points per game on an average week.
The Eagles are still the team to beat until someone does, and they appear to have all the right pieces to be the first to repeat as LWFL Super Bowl champions.
#2 Dreaded Mercenaries
Sarah Snow's Dreaded Mercenaries were the third-highest scoring team this week, but get the second place nod for the overall balance in their lineup.
Even with Drew Brees having a sub-par game, the Mercenaries tied for the league-lead with a total of FIVE players scoring in double-digits, led by a vintage effort from Chad Ocho Cinco with 21 points.
Overall, the Mercenaries were only a couple of plays and bad calls away from having 9 out of the 10 starters in double digits and it's very tough to beat a team that can put up big numbers from ANY position on the team. The Dreaded Mercenaries are the fantasy football equivalent of the 1927 Yankees--they have stars at every position with Drew Brees, Steven Jackson, Roddy White, Calvin Johnson, Rashard Mendenhall and Vernon Davis filling out their lineup. Even their DEF (NY Jets) and K (Ryan Longwell) are among the best at their position. The weakest position on this team is its flex player--who just happened to lead the team in scoring this week. If the Mercenaries make the right choice between playing Knowshon Moreno and Ocho Cinco every week, they stand a good chance of going undefeated.
The Dreaded Mercenaries are not as explosive as Team Eagles, but are more consistent through out the lineup. I expect these two teams to be battling for the points title all season long.
#3 Mr. Al Davis
Like his famous name-sake, team owner Justin Rocha doesn't give a **** about his Power Ranking, as long as he just wins, baby.
Mr. Al Davis is led by the tandem of Tom Brady and Chris Johnson, who are both capable of putting up astronomical numbers every week and went for 56 points on Sunday. Look for those two to consistently put up 50+ point between them on a weekly basis.
After those two, however, Mr. A.D. has a lot of players who *could* put up good numbers in any given week, but their stats and projections suggest they are only going to give a fantasy-worthy performance every other week. My prediction for this team is inconsistency.
Besides Johnson, Mr. Al Davis will rely on two rookies and a 2nd year RB to tote the rock, and two very talented WR's who unfortunately are playing in systems where they should not expect to get a lot of TD's like other elite receivers. Both Brandon Marshall and Marques Colston are immense talents, but New Orleans spreads the ball around pretty equally to all of its receivers, and while Marshall is the focal point of the Dolphins passing attack, he's limited by his QB and the lack of strong complementary wideout. Both receivers should get 1100-1300 receiving yards this season, but only 8-9 TD catches.
This team is like the homeless guy you meet on the streets who could either be a really interesting person to talk with or just batsh*t crazy. Mr. Al Davis will be a tough team to beat in any given week and is easily capable of putting up 120-140 points. But I wouldn't be surprised to see them with a few meek 70-80 point efforts either.
#4 Rescue Rangers
The Rescue Rangers, coached by Al Williams, made their league debut in impressive fashion, scoring a come-from-behind victory on Monday night led by Phillip Rivers 23 points.
The Rangers tied the Mercenaries by having five players scoring 10 or more points, and are also built for consistency, with Maurice Jones-Drew, Reggie Wayne, Miles Austin, Jermichael Finley and Pierre Thomas rounding out their starting lineup. Their most glaring weakness is at the Flex position--they lack a consistent performer in that position. They might guess right in some weeks, but that's the one spot in their roster that will keep this team from being one of the elites.
Just like the NFL, any team can beat any other team in any given week, but the Power Rankings are all about which team is the strongest and would win most of the time. The Rangers will have to play the waiver wire well or coach this position well each week to compete with the teams above them in the rankings.
Still, 96 points in their debut is a good solid start and right around where I think this team will perform on a weekly basis.
The Bottom Half
#5 Heavenly Rampagers
Roy Sniffen's Rampagers must be doing some Hail Mary's to atone for the curses they swore at their team last Sunday. With 84 points in a losing effort, the Heavenly Rampagers needed a little help from above--or from Frank Gore and Ray Rice, who both under-performed in a big way.
Still, 84 points on a bad day isn't too bad and should have the Rampagers seeing some encouragement. Their lineup is strong at the top with a near-elite QB in Tony Romo and 3 near-elite RB's in Rice, Gore and Ronnie Brown. The WR core is solid with Wes Welker, but they are lacking a true #1 WR who can be explosive on a regular basis. Maybe something to pray for?
The bottom of their Rampagers lineup is solid, if unspectacular--this is a team that should regularly put up between 80-100 points per week, and will occasionally score in the 110-120 range.
#6 Team Falk
The Falkland Islands are a small set of islands in the Southern Ocean off the coast of Argentina. It is a cold, windy, desolate and craggy land inhabited by more sheep than humans. Argentina and England fought a war over possession of the archipelago in 1982. No one really knows for sure what it is they were fighting over.
I mention this, because Susan Falk's Team Falk is a bit of an enigma too--no one really knows what to expect from this team. An 84 point effort in their opening game isn't bad, and that's with their star QB Brett Favre under-performing badly, #1 RB Ryan Grant getting hurt early in the game, getting no contribution from #1 WR Andre Johnson and flex player Jonathan Stewart all but disappearing from his teams game plan when he was projected to do well.
On the other hand, Matt Forte is not the kind of player you expect a 30 point effort from either. About the only predictable result from this game was the 14 points from Dallas Clark, who can be expected to provide 10 points or so on a regular basis.
I think that Team Falk is in for a roller-coaster season--it's a team that will probably average around 80-90 points per game, and 3-4 times this year will probably throw down 120 points on someone. But replacing their #1 RB is not going to be an easy task, and there are question marks at QB--Favre looked very average against New Orleans and Jay Cutler will be streaky-- the Flex position is filled by two RB's who are #2 on their own team, and the #2 WR position will be inconsistent on a weekly basis too, unless team coach Susan Falk guesses right each week with which WR to start.
#7 Team Damages
The Damages scored a woeful 66 points in week one and Jenna Woodull was hurt by her prized #1 draft pick, Aaron Rogers.
Rogers tossed 2 TD's, but turned in an otherwise pedestrian 15 points to go with his 2 INT's and under 200 yards passing. This in an aberrant performance from Rogers--he's an elite option at QB who should regularly score more than 22+ points per week and can easily go off for 40.
The rest of the Damages lineup was equally disappointing, with DeAngelo Williams, Shonn Greene, Jason Witten and the 49ers DEF all playing well below expectations. Despite the lack of production from key players, the Damages still had 4 players score in double digits, so clearly, better days are ahead for this team.
Look for the Damages to average in the 80-90's, with a couple of games around 110-120, but don't be too surprised by a couple of stinker games like this one either. The lineup is generally solid, and filled with players who might score and get good yardage in any given week, but except for Larry Fitzgerald, they lack explosive players who can score multiple times in a game with any regularity.
#8 Islamic Socialists
What's in a name? Well, Shakespeare said that a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet. While there's nothing more feared in America than extremist Muslims and socialism, there's no such thing as an Islamic socialist in the real world and apparently not in fantasy football either.
The message is clear--be careful what you name your team.
Commissioner Mark Williams must have been busy with other league duties, because his Socialists either forgot or refused to compete last weekend, getting sub-par performances from EVERY position on the team except #2 RB Jamaal Charles, TE Antonio Gates and the Green Bay DEF. QB Matt Schaub--projected as a top 5 QB by most pundits--,RB Adrian Peterson and Joseph Addai, WR Randy Moss and Dwayne Bowe all failed to score more than 10 points, leading a very disappointing effort. This team was projected to score 139 points in this game and didn't manage to score half that total.
While the Islamic Socialists scored more point than Team Damages, I'm ranking them dead last in the league so the Socialists gets the message. This is a team that *should* be averaging 100 points per game and by the end of the season, I expect this team to compete for both a scoring and Super Bowl championship.
Good luck to all next week! (unless you're playing me)