HDL 2017 Week 1

The Time Has Come

We’re officially 2 days out from the NFL kickoff — which means we’re 2 days out from me falling short of expectations, Brett making deals with the devil, and Falcone inevitably fleecing the new owners.

Heading into Week 1 there are a handful of teams that stand out as in the running for the 2017 Mug, but that hasn’t stopped Brett from fucking everything up before.

2017 — Penance for Our Sins

It’s no secret that Falcone and Chris have put together a monster, capped off by the final addition of Ezekiel Elliot — proverbially cashing in on the sins of other players, some of whom are no longer even in the league. This is going to be a very tough team to beat and could end up pushing for a handful of records throughout the season barring something really crazy happening.

However they won’t be unchallenged, with a handful of teams looking quite competitive if not exactly on the same level: Hallahan and Scott are looking to defend their title with a revamped-but-still-dominant roster; Cleve seeks redemption-of-sorts after a “down” year where he still finished in the top 4; Calhoun could struggle to keep up with the aforementioned teams, but is a head above any other in the league.

Alas, there is Hope!

Speaking of Calhoun, there is a lesson to be learned about what we think we know about fantasy — a cold, hard, heartless lesson that the Old and the New gods insist on teaching every year. Falcone looks set to be the team to beat, but we’ve seen that team before, and rarely does that team end up winning it all. The Season is Dark and Full of Terrors, and the random number generator that is fantasy football likes to remind us in often cruel ways that we’re all just little dingies being tossed around in the chaotic sea of randomness. Admittedly I am looking forward to that cruelty this year.

Every Game Matters

As has become customary, we will be kicking off the season with 3 divisional matches in a row — especially important as teams seek to feel out their 2017 prospects and see how they might fare. The opening games are all against other teams competing for those precious playoff spots, which means how well teams do in Weeks 1–3 could determine what they’re doing in Week 7–10, and whether they’re still playing fantasy come Week 14.

Week 1 Match Ups

Mealey’s Taco-ver vs Hillary Clinton’s Email

In Troy’s first game as a primary owner he is set to face off against the defending champions who spent last season breaking records and the off-season putting together the best returning champion team the league has seen.

This match has gotten progressively less interesting as Troy’s team has lost some of the luster he enjoyed during the off-season at an almost weekly basis, capped off by the Zeke suspension and then sale to Falcone. While Week 1 was always going to be an uphill battle, the path to victory in Weeks 1 and 17 has gotten a bit easier with Hallahan and Scotts primary source of competition fading.

Despite still sporting a respectable team, Troy doesn’t seem to have much hope here. Hillary Clinton’s Email loses the election but wins this game.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ vs Uhhh WATT! YEEAAHH!

Same story, different division. While ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ should certainly see an improvement over their abysmal 2016, it shouldn’t show in Week 1 as Cleve is sporting a monster that already has it’s eyes on the playoffs.

Despite being another match featuring the arguable top teams in their division, this match feels equally lopsided and could show at least 2 teams may have their playoff spots locked up before the first NFL snap. Uhhh WATT! YEEAAHH! takes the match but loses points for sporting the same team name again.

Dalvin and the Chipmunks vs The Drama Queens

The Drama Queens are starting Kyle Juszczyk and Charcandrick West in Week 1. Let that sink in.

And yet they’ll still probably win. That’s how rough 2017 is looking for Dalvin and the Chipmunks. They have a couple of potentially solid starters at RB, but are lacking practically everywhere else, and things are looking particularly bleak for the first few weeks while Snead is suspended.

I think The Drama Queens are in for many rough weeks if they can’t get some RBs, but this won’t be one of them. No drama here as The Drama Queens handily win.

Mike and Roys Dynasty vs MEHrino’s MEHn

This match feels like the Duel of the Forgotten Ones — Mike has been a perennial contender, but is now sporting a team solidly in a rebuild that isn’t even spectacularly bad enough to warrant notice; Marino has finished worse every season since 2014 and is in just as many conversations for “the best” team as he is “the worst” (i.e. none).

A few weeks ago this probably looked a little closer, but even after failing to move Ajayi Mike is likely to struggle even against Marino’s relatively pedestrian squad. The upside is there to win and so this is the first match I’m not convinced is a lock, but at the end of the day Marino has a decent team and Mike probably doesn’t. MEHrino’s MEHn alliterate themselves to victory.

Hooked on a Thielen vs The Mr. Peanuts

The Mr. Peanuts took some hits to their team in the off-season, but they enter 2017 being what they expected all a long — a roster of fantasy journeymen who most hope to round out their squad with, but Head has chosen to construct his roster from. They will be consistent and provide occasional upside, but won’t beat many non-Brett teams.

Hooked on a Thielen made a great trade to balance out their roster and basically do what Head’s been doing for years. I’d expect them to be mediocre all season, though admittedly this looks like the best roster they’ve fielded since 2014.

This could be the closest match in Week 1 with both teams coming in around 160 points, but I’ll begrudgingly give Hooked on a Thielen the win due to The Mr. Peanuts capped upside.

MATCH OF THE WEEK

Gutter Slugs vs Asshat Cowboys

This is by far the most relevant match of Week 1 and may very well end up being the only match featuring 2 playoff teams. The Gutter Slugs and the Asshat Cowboys find themselves in the toughest division, with both teams looking to win it outright instead of hoping for a wildcard spot. However they stand in each others way and their matches in Weeks 1 and 11 will likely play a huge role in who wins the division.

The Gutter Slugs enter the season with the most stacked starting roster and deepest bench the league has probably seen. However the Asshat Cowboys are no slouches themselves and could prove themselves worthy of being included in that top tier should they win.

It’s going to be an uphill battle. The Gutter Slugs have better players at almost every position, and even where there is a question of which player is better they seem to have the match-up advantage as well.

The key to the Asshat Cowboys winning will be in the ridiculous ceilings they sport at every position — Devonta Freeman just signed a huge contract and could be in line for a big game against a bad Bears team; Lamar Miller has been waiting for a break out game and could benefit from an awful QB still under center in Houston; OBJ and AJ Green are top picks for 30+ points any given week; no one knows what to expect from Carlos Hyde, but he could break out in a big way.

The safe money is on The Gutter Slugs, and they are definitely my pick for this match, but this could be a preview of a season-long battle for the division.