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Meat Loaf swept the pair of regular-season meetings against Jerry Cantrell, but the Alice in Chains guitarist is determined to leave his fantasy football opponent singing "Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad" after the championship in the Alice in Chains & Friends Fantasy Football Charity League.
"What makes me nervous, of course, is the fact he has beat me twice, and he's capable of putting up 130, 140 points a game," Cantrell said in a phone interview Thursday. "My team, I've had a couple of good scores above 100, but I think my average is probably in the 90s on a weekly basis. I think over the season I've got to be just under 100 or something like that. … His team potentially can totally blow me out in points without a doubt."
This third meeting, which takes place over the final two weeks of NFL games, also has Meat Loaf nervous.
"Never like the odds of beating a team three times," Meat Loaf, who is playing for The Painted Turtle charity, said via e-mail.
Cantrell posted the following on the league's message board earlier this week after the matchup was set:
You beat me both times we played so the odds are probably against me. … I'm used to that. Then again, maybe I'm due. We shall see.
Thank you all once again for being so generous with your time and all the great stuff everybody threw in for the auction. Hope we can do it again next year. All of you at ESPN, thank you for making this possible. We smoked Matthew Berry last time and torched Jay Harris this season. Give us a challenge next go round, eh? Draw!!!!!!
Cantrell's JC Aroma Of Tacoma won the regular-season title and Meat Loaf's Hell In A Hand Basket was the highest-scoring team, so it's a matchup many had expected. The Aroma barely got past Scott Ian's Fear And Loathing 225-213, and Hand Basket knocked off Kenny Wayne Shepherd's Team Re-Domination 157-125 in the semifinals.
Besides good scoring production, Cantrell was fortunate that Fear And Loathing had to deal with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' concussion.
"Yeah, that probably saved me, you know," said Cantrell, whose charity is Autism Speaks. "They made some moves the last couple of weeks to take a run at me with the playoffs, really nice moves and just fell a liiiittle bit short. And Aaron Rodgers being out definitely helped, you know.
"But that first week. Dwayne Bowe totally disappeared on me the last few weeks, and he kinda showed some signs last week and started to come back. It was a close match, but like all the moves I did, too, I don't think I've left too many points [on the bench]."
This week, Cantrell is starting Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman over Atlanta's Matt Ryan despite the Falcons QB's unbeaten record at home.
"Josh Freeman has been one of the steadier quarterbacks in the league, and it took me a while to kinda actually trust him," Cantrell said. "I was going back and forth with those guys, and I made that trade for Ryan to be able to have a decent quarterback after I lost Romo [Cowboys QB Tony, who had a season-ending injury Oct. 25]. And [Jets quarterback Mark] Sanchez totally just crapped out, and I kinda felt that coming, and you know what, I think he did OK. And it was time to cut that loose."
|Meat Loaf wants to and needs to beat Jerry Cantrell for a third time this season.|
Potential injury problems for Meat Loaf's impressive collection of running backs are causing some lineup headaches as Houston's Arian Foster, Cleveland's Peyton Hillis and San Diego's Ryan Mathews are listed as probable as of Sunday morning.
Earlier in the week, Meat Loaf replied, "No, you go with who got you here," when asked about sticking with Foster and Hillis, the No. 1 and 2 fantasy running backs. But as of Sunday morning, Hillis was on his bench in favor of Jaguars running back Rashad Jennings.
And Meat Loaf is sticking with Ravens QB Joe Flacco over Giants QB Eli Manning, saying, "I traded for Flacco, he is my guy."
Cantrell had dubbed his rival "Muteloaf" earlier in the season because he was dominating opponents but not responding to message board posts while he was working on "Celebrity: Apprentice." But after recently concluding a British concert tour, Meat Loaf responded this week:
Re: Mute Loaf here !!
Posted: Dec 23, 6:20 p.m.
JC Aroma Of Tacoma
Hey, Meat, would that be Foster, Johnson or Hillis? Good luck, man. JC
Re: Mute Loaf here !!
Posted: Dec 26, 2:16 p.m.
Week 16 is the week!! Jerry had the right picks!!
Participants in the Alice in Chains & Friends Fantasy Football Charity League will each put one valuable item up for auction after the season. The league champion will get to designate which charity receives the proceeds of the auction.
Weekly updates on the Alice in Chains & Friends Fantasy Football Charity League, trash talk and interviews with the owners are being published in ESPN.com's The Life and Music sections throughout the season. Members of the league also have dropped by for occasional chats on SportsNation.
Here is a recap of the first-round playoff games and a look ahead to the final-round matchups, which take place over two weeks: