|ESPN.com: 2003||[Print without images]|
If you read my Christmas Wish column last week, you know that three of my teams fell from the championship hunt in a very agonizing manner. Two teams lost two-week semifinal contests by one point. And another team (non-FFL) lost it's title game in Week 16 because kicker Sebastian Janikowski couldn't score at least three points on Monday night. But as bad as that was, I don't think it is worse than losing a two-week title game by one point. While my teams knocked on the door of the ultimate pain, there were 252 teams that fell through that door. That's right, 252 teams lost its FFL title by one point.
The King of Pain has to be Rob Derry and his Fat Holmgren squad. He started Week 16 of the Lamb Chop Block 4 League championship by jumping out to a 126-61 lead on Alan Alpers' Skoal Brothers team. But in Week 17, the bottom fell out of the Fat Holmgrens. Derry's team managed just 35 points in Week 17 compared to the Skoal Brothers' 111 points. The Brothers erased a 65-point deficit and went on to win by 11. It was the biggest the biggest FFL championship comeback in '03. And it could have been avoided had Derry started Derrick Mason ahead of either Anquan Boldin or Hines Ward.
If Derry is the King of Pain, then Scott Maxfield is the Lord of Luck. His Michigan Militia squad owns the distinction of being the FFL champion with the lowest score in a title game. The Militia managed just 96 points in the two-week matchup, but his opponent, Jeff Courtemanche' Cout's Suicide King, could muster only 78 points. I can't help but wonder how these guys even made it this far. The 3rd/4th place game in their league at least saw both teams score more than 150 points. Better to be lucky than good, as they say.
Surely, David Edgecomb would have rather had luck on his side. His Liberal Basher squad scored 100 points in Week 16 of his league's title game. That left him trailing his opponent, Adam Todd's Train squad, by a score of 122-100. In Week 17, the Bashers stepped it up with a monster day, scoring 141 points. But Todd's Train countered with 119 points to bring the two-week total to an even 241-241. The Train takes the title by virtue of being the higher seed. And the Bashers hold the distinction of having the highest point toal in losing an FFL championship. Brutal! Ok, so maybe its a two-man race for the King of Pain title.
Finally, before I move on to an expanded Roll Call, I have to give props to the 71 folks who had the stones to start Cleveland rookie RB Lee Suggs in Week 17 of their championship game. Suggs rolled for 186 yards and a couple scores in his first NFL start. Nice call. Very nice call.
It is shrewd maneuvering like that that wins championships. But the guess work was less for those owners blessed with Baltimore RB Jamal Lewis. His 13 100-yard games was the stuff that championship teams were built on. Lewis holds the honor of the player most commonly found on title winners' rosters. Rounding out the top players in that group, in order, were LaDainian Tomlinson, Randy Moss, Priest Holmes, Torry Holt, Ahman Green, Jeff Wilkins and the New England Patriots defense.
Ok, now let's move on to the Roll Call.
Certainly, I want to extend congratulations not only to the 22 undefeated teams, but also to every league title winner. If you've followed this column this season, you know how many pitfalls have to be avoided to win a championship.
Finally, it's time for the final Honor Roll winners of '03. Here are the Week 17 highs and lows. There weren't any records set, but it was an interesting week, nonetheless. Here's what we saw:
|Wilt Chamberlain Award|
|(Goes to the highest-scoring team of the week)|
You could say that Hubert Hall Jr. went out in a blaze of glory. His Inez Indians squad held a comfortable 21-point lead on Brian Weir's Perform Chumps team heading into the Week 17 finale. But just in case the Perform Chumps had any comeback designs, the Inez Indians performed the fantasy equivalent of stepping on the Chumps' throat while it was down. The Indians reeled off 168 points in Week 17, and had the top possible performances at quarterback, both running back spots, one of the wide receiver spots and at kicker. In total, the Indians scored 88 percent of a perfect possible lineup in cruising to the Fantasy World League title.
|The Loyola Marymount-Paul Westhead Award|
|(Goes to highest-scoring loser of the week)|
|What do you do when your fantasy team trails by 29 points heading into the final week of the FFL championships? Well, scoring 120 points in Week 17 isn't a bad start. But for Richard Oosterwyk, not even that was good enough. His VB Freak-of-Futbol squad did manage 120 points in the final week. And it was down 29 points coming in to the week. Unfortunately, though, his opponent countered with 126 points in Week 17 to secure a 35-point two-week championship victory in the Beginner's Luck? League. Richard, clearly destiny did not earmark you for hardware this season.|
|Whoop Ass Can Opener Award|
|(Goes to the team with the most-lopsided victory)|
|Bill Cromwell's Burd Rd. Black Dogs dialed it in in Week 17. After a semifinals loss in the Retired Cops Wanted 4 Fantasy League, Cromwell's bubble was burst. The biggest clue of the Black Dogs' Week 17 indifference was the fact that its starting lineup consisted of all Pittsburgh players. The total yield from those Steelers was 17 points. His opponent, Eric T. Shames' Cops Play To Win, & Win Big! squad, lived up to its name by pounding out 138 points in Week 17 for the 121-point can of whoop ass. Shames' squad downed Cromwell's same Steeler-based squad in Week 16 by 68 points, bringing the grand whoop ass total to 189 points. Now that is a lot of whoop ass.|
|The New Coke Bad Decision Award|
|(Goes to the team with the highest-scoring bench)|
|Kurt Oyer's Omaha Eagles left 144 points in the bench in Week 17. But Oyer, who still got 91 points out of his active roster hardly sweated his prime-time pine players. He still rolled to an easy 91-32 victory in Week 17. And it simply extended a 22-point lead built up in Week 16. Oh, and it was a mere consolation game in League 14594. Still, it was an awfully big waste of points.|