DFFL X Predictions

10 seasons! We have come so far! It took until year nine for a non-DeLotell/Carnevale to take home the title. Last season, the norm was turned upside down. While there was still a DeLotell in the semis (Don) and one in the title (Matt), the other two (Jon and Tony) and Aaron Carnevale all finished in the bottom five. With the dynasty/keeper aspect of our league, that could set up for a continuation of last season’s change.

North Division

  1. Matt L. 10-3**
  2. Jon 7-6$
  3. Alex 4-9

The North Division always is the home of the defending champ, as well as the last place team from the year before. Matt brought in a strong set of keepers headlined by Odell Beckham Jr. and Kirk Cousins. He has certainly reaped the benefit of drafting OBJ in the 17th round his rookie year. Last season’s trade for Kirk Cousins (giving away Gary Barnidge. Ouch!) gave him plenty of options at the beginning of the draft. Mike Evans gave him a loaded receiver core, while Philip Rivers gets combined with Cousins to stay at the top of the league yet again. It’s hard to go from first to worst. I did last season. Injuries to key players (Gronkowski) and inconsistency from Roethlisberger plunged us to a last place finish. However, the additions of Le’Veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliott, and Rob Gronkowski gives this team fire power at the top and a loaded running back group. The WR core was solidified before the draft with the keepers of Jordy Nelson, Terrelle Pryor Sr., and Stefon Diggs. This team is going to rely on the health of Bell and Gronk, as well as Zeke’s suspension. Alex bounced back into the playoffs last season but was put in a tough spot without many keepers. Without more than one elite player at RB or WR, the lack of big-time scorers at QB will kill Alex’s team.

South Division

  1. Matt D. 9-4**
  2. Chris 7-6$
  3. Tony 4-9

A consistent contender, Matt D brings another strong club into the 2017 season. Four good-valued wide receivers gave him another solid group. While RBs won’t be near the top of the league, his stance as a serious contender will hang on the consistency of Jameis Winston. He has probably the best QBs in the league if Winston takes that anticipated step forward. Chris has struggled to ever make any sort of serious noise in the DFFL, but this year’s team has promise. Tom Brady will be himself and Demaryius Thomas always puts up solid numbers, regardless of QB. The three players that will make or break his season are Dak Prescott, Keenan Allen, and Ty Montgomery. If Dak takes another step forward and avoids a sophomore slump, he’s good for a fringe QB1. Keenan Allen is going to be in for big-time targets, but he must stay healthy, something he hasn’t done since 2014. Lastly, Ty Montgomery is the no-doubt number one back in a high-powered Green Bay offense. However, he just made the transition back to RB last season, in which he still had less than 100 carries. Tony, who often look confused on draft day looks like the 3rd best team in this division. But, one thing can change that and that would be the health of Andrew Luck. Although drafting Luck made some question his strategy after taking Rodgers in round one and keeping Tyrod Taylor, if Luck gets healthy and returns to his former self, he and Rodgers can make up for the lack of points he will get from his backfield.

East Division

  1. Brandon 7-6**
  2. Austin 7-6$
  3. Andy M. 6-7$

Without a doubt, top to bottom, this is the most competitive division. There was no team in the East that I felt was not good enough to make the playoffs and compete for a division title. While each team does have its significant holes, the balance among them will allow each one to win enough games to make it to the playoffs. With 10 of the first 74 picks of the draft, Brandon was able to pile on start-worthy talent throughout the first seven rounds, even though he had just Shane Vereen as a keeper. This makes him the favorite in the division, but his chances are reliant on the health of Cam Newton, a comeback season from Lamar Miller, and Joe Mixon running away with the touches in Cincinnati. Last year’s semifinalist Austin will be right at the top of the division with him. While QB is an obvious concern with only Derek Carr being starting caliber, the depth of his RBs and WRs, led by LeSean McCoy and Michael Thomas, respectively, will allow him to wait and see if DeShone Kizer can be a viable fantasy quarterback. While I believe Andy M will finish third, it will only be one game back of the division title. He is loaded at QB and has solid WRs, but the lack of consistent points that he will get from his RBs and the health risks of Tyler Eifert at TE will cause him to lose a few games against lesser opponents. If Eifert and Mariota stay healthy, and Tyreek Hill can prove to be a true top receiver, watch out DFFL!

West Division

  1. Andy W. 9-4**
  2. Don 5-8
  3. Aaron 3-10

When ranking the divisions, this one gets a big old 4, as in last. This division will be the only one where only one team makes it through to the playoffs. Andy W looks to continue to his slow climb towards contention since coming into the league. He did himself some favors during the draft (and more importantly, two seasons ago). His pickup of David Johnson in ‘15 is still the best pick of the draft and will be next year as well. With the top running back, he was then able to use his first two picks on high upside receivers, A.J. Green and Brandin Cooks. I have questions about his RBs after Johnson, especially if Elliott doesn’t miss any time, but they may not have to score much with what is guaranteed with the top overall player. His pick of the Arizona defense in the 5th round was probably the worst of the draft, but that won’t hurt him in the regular season. After a loss in the final 4, Don will try to build on that in 2017, but the mistake of not grabbing Brees or Winston will come back to haunt him. His team has solid players and looks enticing on paper, but the lack of upside and risk of injury is too high to be a consistent performer every week. Bringing up the rear in the division is our odds on favorite to hold the number one pick next season. Winning with one quarterback has been done before, but not when your flex options to replace him are Mike Wallace and Mark Ingram. Julio Jones is great to have, but he his coming off a year where his best year, where if you took away one historic 300-yard game and replaced it with the averages of the others he played, he would have been a middle of the road WR2. He better hope the offense doesn’t lose a beat without Kyle Shanahan, as well as a huge bounceback year from Todd Gurley, to stay relevant in DFFL 10.

Playoffs

Divisional Round

#1 Matt L beats #8 Andy Mac

#5 Chris  beats #4 Brandon

#6 Jon beats #3 Andy W

#2 Matt D beats #7 Austin

The two Matts take the best records in the league into the playoffs and continue to roll past Andy Mac and Austin. In the other two games, upsets are the story. With the 1-2 punch of Ezekiel Elliott and Le’Veon Bell, no team is going to get production from their running backs like Jon. Tom Brady is a staple that can lead a team to a fantasy title and he helps Chris move one step closer in his win over the higher seeded Brandon.

Conference Championship Round

#1 Matt L beats #5 Chris

#6 Jon beats #2 Matt D

The semifinals are the battle of brothers as top seeded Matt Loehr takes on his brother Chris in one semi while the lowest seed to advance, Jon DeLotell, takes on little brother Matt in the other semi. Defending champ, Matt Loehr, continues his quest to become the first back-to-back DFFL champ with big performances Odell Beckham Jr and Mike Evans to move into the final. The other matchup between the DeLotells proves to be the most exciting of the year. Le’Veon Bell and Ezekiel Elliott carry Jon while Drew Brees and Jameis Winston carry Matt. Bell racks up tons of points in a comeback effort for the Steelers chasing the one seed Patriots, while Brees and the Saints call the dogs off on the Jets in the 2nd half. This makes all the difference as Jon knocks off Matt to set up a matchup in DFFL X of the two previous league champs.

DFFL X

#6 Jon beats #1 Matt L

Storylines are all over DFFL X as Matt L tries to become the first back-to-back champ and Jon tries to become the first three time winner. This game has all of the hype. Does it live up to it? Absolutely…NOT! Bad matchups makeup week 16 for the top players on each team, which causes both teams to fail to cross the 105 point mark. The difference in the game proves to be the most unlikely of players as Blake Bortles puts up big numbers when it counts against the 49ers. Jon rides into the sunset as the first three time champ winning DFFL X.

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