It's all tied up.
I've got to give Adam credit. He's been a whole lot more competitive in our Big Ten fantasy league this year than he was in 2011. His Trombone Shorties evened up our season series 3-3 with a 127-107 victory in Week 7, his second straight triumph over Non-Gingervitis.
This time, I didn't have any bye weeks to blame. The Shorties simply had a better week, led by a big three of Matt McGloin (24 points), Taylor Martinez (31) and Montee Ball (27). I got huge numbers from my star quarterback duo of Braxton Miller (31) and Denard Robinson (33) but struggled elsewhere. My waiver-wire gamble of picking up Ohio State's Devin Smith proved positively Rittenberg-esque as Smith put up a goose egg. I'd have been much better off keeping Nebraska's Kenny Bell (13 points), though I still would have lost the week.
So now we're all knotted up, and things are getting interesting. Adam has three key players on a bye this week in Nebraska's Martinez and Penn State's McGloin and Allen Robinson, so he'd better choose wisely. I'm first up on the pickups this week:
Rationale: Burkhead has a bye this week (not to mention an achy knee), while Mark has had an excellent year both rushing the ball and on special teams (and the game does reward kick return scores). Mark should hopefully find the end zone a time or two against Minnesota this week, and maybe Burkhead will re-join my team later in the year.
Adam adds Michigan State QB Andrew Maxwell and drops Penn State QB Matt McGloin
Rationale: Both my quarterbacks have open weeks, and while it's a risk to drop McGloin, I don't think you'll be making quarterback changes next week. Besides, I want to give myself at least a puncher's chance at winning this week. Maxwell looked better in the second half against Indiana and faces an Iowa defense susceptible to the pass.
Brian adds Ohio State RB Carlos Hyde and drops Michigan RB Fitz Toussaint
Rationale: I've kept waiting for Toussaint to break out, but it hasn't happened. Meanwhile, Hyde had four touchdowns last week and is facing the worst rush defense in the Big Ten at Indiana this week. So even though he could split touches and points with my main man Miller, I like his fantasy prospects.
Adam adds Northwestern QB Kain Colter and drops Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez
Rationale: Another potentially risky move, but only if you drop Denard or Braxton next week (unlikely). While Martinez burns the game tape from Ohio State, I'm adding Colter, who should get significantly more than five carries against Minnesota. Northwestern needs to get its playmakers more involved, and should.
Brian adds Iowa's kickers and drops Nebraska's kickers
Rationale: Again, Nebraska has the bye, and Mike Meyer has been excellent for the Hawkeyes this season. Iowa may need him in what figures to be a low-scoring, defensive game at Michigan State.
Adam adds Michigan's defense and drops Wisconsin's defense
Rationale: Michigan's defense is turning a corner, allowing just 13 points in each of its past three games. Although Wisconsin's defense has done well, too, I like the matchup better this week for Michigan against Illinois, which ranks last in the league in points and 11th in yards.
Our complete rosters for Week 7:
The Trombone Shorties
Northwestwern QB Kain Colter
Michigan State QB Andrew Maxwell
Michigan State RB Le'Veon Bell
Wisconsin RB Montee Ball
Purdue WR Antavian Edison
Penn State WR Allen Robinson
Ohio State QB Braxton Miller
Michigan QB Denard Robinson
Northwestern RB Venric Mark
Ohio State RB Carlos Hyde
Ohio State WR Devin Smith
Wisconsin WR Jared Abbrederis
Michigan State defense