It’s nearly time for the new season of football and so it’s time to let the Stat Blats get all up in yo’ bidness and make you feel tingly. Below is a combination 2015 season review and 2016 season preview for each team in Peter. Want to know where the Sadness’ QBs ranked last season? This is your place. Want to know my opinion on whether the Breeses have improved their woeful linebacker corps? Come on in friend!
106.3 points per game (ppg), 5th best in league
QB 18.52 ppg, 6th
RB 32.21 ppg, 4th
WR/TE 43.22 ppg, 8th
SPEC 12.35 ppg, 9th
Looking at the stats it’s clear that sub-par offensive performance was the thing that kept T2 from challenging more closely in the Owl. When you pay Aaron Rodgers the big bucks you expect better than run-of-the-mill QB numbers but that’s what he put up last season. There were mitigating factors though and, despite the fact he’s on another roster, they must have their fingers crossed hoping Jordy Nelson will be back in form this season.
RB was the Hogs’ strongest position last season riding the unexpected highs of Chris Ivory and Darren McFadden. Run DMC is down the Cowboys depth chart now though and Chris Ivory is gone, leaving T2 looking sparse. Jonathan Stewart is still pootling along and they have the Buffalo backfield sewn up tight but Duke Johnson is not someone I would want to be relying on for my third RB position.
Injuries to Alshon Jeffery and DeVante Parker hit Tamworth hard at WR last season and their 8th placed finish will be some way off what they’d have been hoping for at season start. The bad news is that I don’t see where it’s improved. Jarvis Landry, their WR1, is gone, DeVante Parker is, by all accounts, running hot and cold in camp and Demayrius Thomas will be catching balls from the Sanchize. At TE there is hope for Eric Ebron and Virgil Green but neither are a sure thing for regular production.
82.23 ppg, 3rd best in league
DL 33.02 ppg, 1st
LB 25.83 ppg, 6th
DB 23.38 ppg, 7th
So if your offence isn’t great then how do you get to the final of the Owl? Great defence. Defence wins Owls. The Hogs’ had a dominant line led by Kawann Short and Gerald McCoy, two of the best fantasy DTs in the business. They’ve lost their best DE, Chandler Jones, to a position switch though and will be relying on the promising Stephon Tuitt and rookie Chris Jones to pick up the slack, a big ask.
The Hogs’ LB corps was a sea of pregnant potential and mediocrity, lifted by the transcendent talents of Luke Kuechly and the hard graft of Paul Posluszny. The Pos has jumped ship for the coming season but the unexpectedly solid Whitney Mercilus should still produce and Jeremiah Attaouchu is poised to break it big. Add to that the fact that the D-Line’s loss is the ‘Backer corps’ gain when it comes to Chandler Jones and things should keep ticking along nicely.
The Hogs were let down in the secondary by a poor showing from their safeties. Kam Chancellor being motivated for a whole season may help but David Amerson will lose snaps at CB to Sean Smith in Oakland so there is a question mark about his ability to repeat last season’s good showing.
188.52 ppg, 4th best in league
The Hogs should see performance drop from last season. The defence will still be there or thereabouts but the offence has taken a hit in the loss of Landry and Ivory. If Aaron Rodgers can play like he’s paid he may make up for it.
Prediction: 6-7, 3rd in Peter
East Flanders Dungeoneers
104.17 ppg, 6th best in league
QB 20.97 ppg, 2nd
RB 26.22 ppg, 7th
WR/TE 44.24 ppg, 6th
SPEC 12.74 ppg, 8th
Being definitively the worst team on the Dbowl last season means it makes for slightly surprising reading to see that the Dungeoneers were middle of the pack in offensive terms. Cam Newton’s rise to superstardom helped buoy the numbers no doubt, racking up the record highest weekly score for a QB in the process, and he should continue to raise his team for the coming season.
The RBs were a mess in East Flanders last year with Justin Forsett and Carlos Hyde both missing considerable time and forcing Pete Conaghan to rely on the likes of Ronnie Hillman and Darren Sproles. Danny Woodhead was a consistently good performer though who at least made sure to keep Conaghan’s men from complete ignominy week on week. The Dungeoneers have re-signed Rashad Jennings on a good deal and brought in T2 reject Chris Ivory to strengthen this season but will still rely on Woodhead for production. A fit season from Carlos Hyde could make a huge difference however.
Amari Cooper, Brandon Marshall and Michael Floyd all put in good showings last season but a lack of depth behind those big names and a horror show at TE kept the Dungeoneers from putting up consistent good scores at receiver. Things are looking much better this year. Those three are all still in the fold and have been joined by a fully fit Kevin White and Keenan Allen plus rookie Josh Doctson. The TEs are no better in terms of personnel but Coby Fleener escaping from Indianapolis to New Orleans hikes his ceiling way up.
63.80 ppg, 9th best in league
DL 15.64 ppg, 8th
LB 27.37 ppg, 5th
DB 20.79 ppg, 10th
If the Dungeoneers offence were surprisingly good for the worst team in the league then that can only mean one thing for the defence. Look away now, Pete, it’s not pretty! Tyrone Crawford was the star on the defensive line last year, turning in a top 10 performance. There is absolutely no depth behind him however though if Sen’Derrick Marks can stay fit and work into the Jacksonville rotation significantly he offers some hope. Kony Ealy flashed his talent last season too and Conaghan will be hoping that the Panthers’ DE can step up to the next level this season.
When you’re only paying two of your LBs more than $3 and one of those two is Paul Worrilow your expectations for the unit are probably reduced. Pete can be quite happy then with his middle-of-the-pack placing. Astute signings of tackle machines Melvin Ingram and Malcolm Smith brought a good floor to the team and the likes of KJ Wright and Worrilow produced steady if uninspiring numbers. The Dungeoneers’ prospects of improvement have been hindered by Shaq Lawson’s injury but the Justin-Houston-shaped hole in Kansas may open the door for Dee Ford and Vontaze Burfict’s suspension may put Paul Dawson in the mix.
What do you do when you have the worst secondary in the league and the top-scoring player in that secondary retires? Nothing! Apparently! That’s not fair, Pete signed rookie safety Karl Joseph. I’m sure he’ll be a good player down the line but expecting him to replicate Charles Woodson’s numbers in year one is probably asking a bit much. The Dungeoneers are relying on the fickle nature of the secondary to provide a better result.
167.97 ppg, 10th best in league
I don’t think the Dungeoneers will finish the season as the worst team in the league again; the offence has the potential to put up top 3 numbers under the right circumstances. Unfortunately, the defence is still a hot mess and will drag the team down.
Prediction: 5-8, 4th in Peter
The People’s Republic of the 4th Dynmension: Dynasty of Sadness
102.06 ppg, 8th best in league
QB 14.98 ppg, 10th
RB 19.74 ppg, 10th
WR/TE 54.46 ppg, 2nd
SPEC 12.88 ppg, 6th
Well, if you’re not sure what an unbalanced offence looks like then there you go. The problems at the QB position for the Sadness were largely self-inflicted as Mangboob’s love for Teddy Tinyhands prevented him from just starting Drew Brees in every game he was available for. Brees averaged 20.28 points per game, a full 5 more than the Sadness did. Even if you add in the fact that Teddy averaged 11.5 points in the two weeks Brees missed that is a clear case of overthinking it. Mangboob should not make the same mistake this year.
Unfortunately, the Sadness’ struggles at RB cannot be blamed on GM tinkering. It turns out that owning the entire Lions’ backfield is not conducive to fantasy success. Eddy Lacy’s plummet off a cliff accounts for some of the underperformance here and Mangboob has lost patience with the player, shipping him out to the Firebirds. He has been replaced by number 1 draft pick Ezekiel Elliott, one of the most hyped fantasy rookie prospects of all time. Zeke and fellow rookie Kenneth Dixon add some spark to the position and Abdullah and Matt Jones could improve in their second years. This is a young unit on a young team and should get better year-on-year.
In contrast, the Sadness’ receivers were stellar. Led by superstar OBJ, even a down season for Dez Bryant couldn’t stop them marching to 2nd place on the receiver rankings. Eric Decker, Delanie Walker, Golden Tate and, surprisingly, Ted Ginn Jr turned in performance after performance over the season to keep scores high. This season it’s all change with Dez, Tate and Decker gone but Stefon Diggs, Laquon Treadwell, Michael Thomas and DeSean Jackson come in. Mangboob is building for the future and while I would expect to see this unit decline this season they look strong for the future and improvement elsewhere should more than make up for it.
77.18 ppg, 6th best in league
DL 14.66 ppg, 10th
LB 33.62 ppg, 3rd
DB 28.90 ppg, 5th
The defensive line is the real Achilles heel for a defence that is otherwise strong. Mangboob has three players there and they are all nearly men. Michael Brockers is a very good player but with the strength on that Rams’ line his play doesn’t equate to fantasy points. Linval Joseph and Sharif Floyd are both similarly good players but Tom Johnson’s pass rush exploits on the interior limit their upside. All are young and Joseph missed a few games with injury so Mangboob can hope for an improvement. He’ll have to, because he has brought in no extra help for his tackles. The viewing is even more bleak at Defensive End where no player scored over 80 points. Sheldon Richardson is a talented idiot but the others are just not elite players. The drafting of Robert Nkemdiche may help but he enters a crowded situation in Arizona and we will likely not see him emerge until at least 2017.
The linebackers at the Sadness, by contrast, are elite and dominant. Lavonte David, Telvin Smith and Bobby Wagner are all top level talents on the field and on your fantasy teams and are young enough to provide for a few years yet. Behind them, Danny Trevathan, Mychal Kendricks and Bruce Irvin feel like players on the cusp of a fantasy boom and with Trevathan and Irvin in new teams this season this year could be the year.
The secondary is a similar situation to T2’s linebackers: an average group of players propelled upwards by one stellar talent. Tyrann Mathieu scored twice as much as most other members of the Sadness’ secondary last season and the rest were much of a muchness. Sean Smith comes in this year and Eric Berry is re-signed to a better contract but question marks of Tyrann Mathieu’s health mean that last season’s performance probably remains the ceiling for this bunch.
179.23 ppg, 6th best in league
I don’t think this season will see much change for the Sadness. They have lost elite level talent at WR but added a lot of young players and have a deeper pool of players to pick from. A lot is riding on Zeke Elliott’s shoulders as far as this season is concerned. If Mangboob decides to start Teddy Bridgewater all season long then all bets are off.
Prediction: 5-8, 5th in Peter
99.75 ppg, 10th best in league
QB 16.56 ppg, 8th
RB 28.83 ppg, 6th
WR/TE 39.87 ppg, 10th
SPEC 14.49 ppg, 2nd
Hoo boy, it’s difficult to know where to start with this one. The Losers’ WRs were a horror show last year. Jordy Nelson injured, Josh Gordon failing to get reinstated, Emmanuel Sanders feeling the bite of the Peter-collapse, Torrey Smith left hopping mad by Colin Kaepernick and Nelson Agholor leaving everyone wondering what Chip Kelly deemed worth the 20th overall pick about him. Add to that a wasteland at TE and it’s easy to see how this unit came out bottom in points scoring per game. That kind of luck should regress back towards the mean this year and almost every player at this position should be better in 2016. The loss of Larry Fitzgerald is a blow to the weekly floor of the group but Jarvis Landry, the Losers’ big blockbuster summer trade, covers that and more. The Losers are a candidate to go from worst to first at WR in 2016.
A shallow group at RB left a lot on the shoulders of Adrian Peterson and Matt Forte and it was enough to struggle to mid-table in the RB rankings. David Slater is relying heavily on rookies Jordan Howard and DeAndre Washington to provide depth for the coming season though. Dion Lewis is already out, surgery required on his knee, and AP and Forte are getting no younger. This situation could get very unpleasant, very fast.
If that happens, Slater may look to trade in some of his excess talent at QB. The group performed poorly last season with Peter Manning’s decline the headline event but this season should be vastly improved. Andy Dalton is healthy, Jameis Winston is no longer a rookie and Derek Carr is heading into his 3rd year heading an offence going from strength to strength. Add to that the free agency addition of Carson Palmer and this is a strong group that should be able to comfortably mix and match each week for the best matchups.
75.93 ppg, 7th best in league
DL 23.33 ppg, 5th
LB 20.27 ppg, 9th
DB 32.34 ppg, 3rd
A much-reduced year from Ryan Kerrigan was still the highlight of the LBs at the Losers last year as he was the only player to top 100 points. David Slater put a lot of work into fixing the offence but this was another place that the Losers were giving points away on a weekly basis. The free-agency addition of Paul Posluszny, plus the drafting of three rookie LBs shows that Slater recognised this fact and has moved to address it. The group is still raw and has a lot of question marks but is an improvement over last season, albeit only a small one for this year.
A middle of the pack defensive line remains largely unchanged. Carlos Dunlap was re-signed to resume a powerful starting tandem at DE but if one goes down then much will depend on 2nd year rusher Danielle Hunter of the Vikings. Hunter looked excellent in limited snaps in his rookie year and Slater will hope that he can maintain that form into more snaps.
The strongest unit on the Losers’ defence remains largely intact though whether Marcus Peters can perform at the same level in year 2 is questionable. Some regression to the mean is to be expected (players are rarely consistently at the top of the CB rankings) but the brothers Johnson (Kevin and Trumaine) and Logan Ryan should be able to offer plentiful depth. At safety Slater will grind his teeth as he hopes for Michael Mitchell of the Steelers to remain steady and clasp his hands in prayer that Tashaun Gipson can recapture his 2014 Cleveland form in Jacksonville.
175.69 ppg, 8th best in league
Unless the Losers are struck by catastrophic bad luck again this year they should perform better. The QB and receiver units can hopefully carry the RBs on offence and an improvement from 9th to 7th or so in the LBs would be enough to see the defence able to support. I expect an improved year but not an Owl year.
Prediction: 7-6, 1st in Peter
Here Comes The Brees
111.22 ppg, 3rd best in league
QB 20.20 ppg, 3rd
RB 38.24 ppg, 1st
WR/TE 39.98 ppg, 9th
SPEC 12.81 ppg, 7th
If I’d asked at the start of last season which Dbowl team had the best RBs in the league would you have said the Breeses? Come on now, don’t lie. Doug Martin’s renaissance, Devonta Freeman’s explosion and a combination of Lamar Miller and (really) Isaiah Crowell left the team top of the pile. All four of those players are back this year with the added depth of Charles Sims, Darren Sproles and a healthy Tevin Coleman. The Breeses are set up nicely to repeat in 2016 and perhaps even improve though a predicted decline for Freeman and Martin after their monster seasons could throw a spanner in the works.
It’s a good job Archer and Sayles’ RBs were such a surprise smash hit because the receivers were a disaster. Injuries for Steve Smith, Breshad Perriman and DeSean Jackson left the team scrambling to field a decent unit and there were too many weeks of Pierre Garcon and Terrance Williams for anything to be salvageable. Tyler Eifert was a ray of hope at TE, particularly with Zach Ertz providing depth. The Breeses have gone all out this summer to rectify what is their problem position on offence with a host of bodies run through camp. The big arrival was Martavis Bryant, right at the tail end of last season, but a year-long suspension buried that. The new big arrival was Allen Robinson who has, incredibly, yet to get suspended or go on injured reserve for the entire season. Larry Fitzgerald and Jaelen Strong also arrived and even with the departure of DeSean Jackson the unit looks better. Phillip Dorsett comes into his 2nd year with a path clear to a starting job, Travis Benjamin lands in a friendly spot in San Diego and JJ Nelson is pushing in Arizona.
Even with Andrew Luck’s injury, the Breeses managed to get good QB production, largely thanks to Tom Brady with occasional spells of Fitzmagic. Luck is fit this season, Brady is back (albeit suspended for the first 4 games) and Alex Smith is ready to step in in an emergency. This unit should be top end producer again.
60.20 ppg, 10th best in league
DL 19.02 ppg, 7th
LB 18.39 ppg, 10th
DB 22.79 ppg, 8th
Well, that is ugly reading. There were very few bright spots for the Breeses on defence after they traded away Aaron Donald. Fletcher Cox had a breakout season at DE but the Breeses got unlucky mixing and matching between him, Cameron Jordan and Michael Bennett and too often the big points were on the bench. For the new season though Fletcher Cox has moved to DT, solving that problem. The Breeses should not PLOB themselves out of his points any longer. Not least because, at time of writing, they have no other DTs on the roster. Jordan and Bennett are still in place at DE, backed up by Jaye Howard and new boy DeForest Buckner. I think we should see this unit move into the top half in the league but if Cox goes down there is (literally) nothing to cover for him.
Sheesh, if you thought the DL reading was bad, take a look at this shower. In week 10 last season, the Breeses started Karlos Dansby, Daryl Smith, Jelani Jenkins and Derrick Morgan. Not a collection to inspire fear in the opposition. I’m not convinced this unit looks any better going into 2016. Dansby and Pernell McPhee are good starters but 2nd year guys Shaq Thompson and Jordan Hicks are going to have to step up if there is to be any improvement. It’s still a fairly uninspiring bunch.
At DB the Breeses suffered a blow when they lost Harrison Smith for the year but they got a nice surprise in the performance of DROY Ronald Darby who put up a nice tally. There’s little to see here beyond that. Earl Thomas is an amazing real-life safety and an average fantasy one and the rest of the unit were all much of a muchness. This season the CBs are the same but the Ss get a little influx with the drafting of Von Bell and the signing of Barry Church but the inexplicable decision to drop Harrison Smith (the #1 safety in 2014) means that I can’t say this unit has improved.
171.42 ppg, 9th best in league
It’s easy to see that the Breeses have improved on offence. A lot of their guys are starting the season healthier, more experienced or in better situations than last year and strength has been added, particularly to the wide receivers. I can still see them being hampered by a defence, however, which seems to take a step back for every step it takes forward. It won’t be the worst in the league again, but it will be a long way from the best.
Prediction: 7-6, 2nd in Peter