GMRRFFA Week Four Recap: How Good is the Pats' Defense in Fantasy Football?
Riff Raff Football is nothing if not consistent. Even with outliers, we regress to the norm: The Unicorn is salty, every team believes they will win a title until late December, and every random luck of the draw will end up torturing your Commish.
Through four weeks, your award-winning, semi-retired Commish has lost three running backs (Saquon, Ito, Jamaal), had a quarterback starting who didn’t contribute a single touchdown in two weeks (Trubisky), kept 2018’s top wide receiver who has produced only two double digit point games in 2019, drafted Darwin Thompson, and of course, suffered the first breakout game by Corey Davis in a year. It’s been a frustrating year to say the least, and with FIL on the horizon, your esteemed Commish is anticipating the worst. Last year, I lost by 28 points to FIL following a two-touchdown performance by the Cincy Defense and a 63-yard field goal from Graham Gano while scoring one touchdown for the entire week. Given how this season’s going, your Commish is expecting the worst from Week Five.
That’s a really sweet segue to recapping Week Four, where your Commish forced himself to watch Monday Night Football praying for a miracle (side note: Does ESPN get a say in Monday night games? Aside from Saints-Texans, the Monday night games rival Thursday nights, which isn’t a good thing. Oh, Browns-49ers next week? F*ck).
In any case, let’s talk actual fantasy football for a hot second...
New England’s Historic Defensive Start
In the NFL, we’ve gotten to the point where its 100% acceptable to hate everything about the Patriots, right? Belichick, Brady, six Super Bowls, yada yada yada… Back in mid-September, GMRRFFA owners quietly led most furious push for the Pats’ Defense. Fresh off shutting down Pittsburgh’s offense in Week One, the Pats’ D ultimately went to Mark Hutchinson for $41 FAAB bid over four other bids, which could likely be the best waiver acquisition of the season (even better than Mark Andrews #neverforget). Subsequently, the Pats posted 42, 20, and 32 points and are currently averaging 27.7 points per week! To put that in context, New England’s Defense is the sixth-highest average scorer in GMRRFFA, behind just four quarterbacks and Christian McCaffrey. In 2018, New England’s current four-game stretch through a full season would ultimately finish second in average scoring, behind only Patty Mahomes. Holy hell…
Yes, they’ve had a cupcake schedule against dismal offensive teams - Pittsburgh (29th overall offense), Miami (31st overall), the Jets (32nd overall), and Buffalo (9th overall but Matt Barkley played in week four… a lot) - but we can’t ignore how dominant they’ve been. First, New England allowed 15 points total this season, including allowing its first touchdown against the Bills last weekend. The 27+ points per week is astronomical, outpacing the second best Defense in GMRRFFA (the Bears) by nine points per week (for what it’s worth, the Bears’ 2019 defense would be the best of the last six years too - see below).
Meanwhile, the Pats’ defense is outperforming the best fantasy football defenses of each of the past five seasons as well. Through four weeks, take a look at the average points per week for the best Defenses in the past five years, courtesy of Fantasy Pros:
2014 - Eagles (12.8 points)
2015 - Broncos (15.3 points)
2016 - Vikings (17.8 points)
2017 - Lions (14.5 points)
2018 - Bears (14.5 points)
Your Commish doesn’t think the Pats can keep this up over the course of the season, but their next three match-ups include the PG County football team, the Jets (again) and the Giants. Plus the Bills/Bengals/Dolphins at the end of the season.
Even with some better offenses ahead (Chiefs, Browns, Eagles, Cowboys, Texans, Ravens), let’s stop and enjoy how amazing this run of defensive football has been thus far while Mark Hutchinson enjoys the spoils of his winning bid:
Ok, let’s get back to the GMRRFFA week in review as I pour rubbing alcohol in my wounds…
Chubb’s Out, Guns Out
One week after questioning whether Stabs could score, the 4-0 new dad (seriously, you all glanced right past last week’s recap highlighting he’s a new dad, didn’t you?) told the Commish to hold his Chubb…The Browns’ running back absolutely obliterated the Ravens on Sunday, to the point that Cleveland scored FORTY points while OBJ was held to two catches for twenty yards. Chubb has been solid all season, but his 41 points in week four doubled his highest total on the young season.
Even without Chubb’s stout performance, Stabs wasn’t worried, easily outpacing Carlos - shit, I mean the Unicorn - by 70+ even with a modest 20 points from Patty Mahomes. In the ridiculously-stacked Kidney Stones Division, Stabs can make a huge statement against 3-1 Smeet this weekend.
Corey Davis: Beast Slayer
Through three weeks, the Titans’ wide receiver Corey Davis essentially held a clipboard and water bottles for teammates, ranking as the 88th-best wide receiver via Fantasy Pros. Of course, Toby Kobach was down to literally starting Codey Lattimer alongside Davis in his match-up with the Commish, which I already knew would be my undoing.
To absolutely no one’s surprise, Davis exploded for 20+ and became a top-ten receiver for a day, ultimately providing Toby with a desperately-needed win. Not to be outdone, Davis outscored DeAndre Hopkins by a three-to-one margin, which reminds your esteemed Commish how much I hate fantasy football. In any case, Lattimer’s goose egg was a wash with Jamaal Williams’ decapitation on Thursday night, so at least I had that going for me.
Looking ahead, Toby Kobach could go on a run against Tito Galen, Fredo Maisel, and FIL in the next three weeks, but one thing is certain: Corey Davis won’t. On Sunday, he posted five catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. In his career, Davis had only four other games previously where he posted more than 90 yards, and only five games where he had five or more receptions. The five catch/90 yard split occurred simultaneously in four of those games. Your Commish hates fantasy football.
Tito Galen Heads for the Exits
Early Sunday afternoon, your Commish actually thought Tito Galen was going to secure his first victory over the Smile. Unfortunately a wild Rams game provided underrated Robert Woods with 32 points, and then a garbage time touchdown for Dalvin Cook dashed Tito’s dreams in about twenty minutes.
We discussed the 0-3 conundrum last week, but two teams have gone 0-4 in GMRRFFA over the last two seasons - Smeet in 2018 and Toby in 2017 - plus Carlos and Tito Galen this season, so there won’t be any postseason for Tito Galen for sure. That ratcheted up to a whole new level when Garcia sent a league-record $125 DRAFT dollars to Galen for Julio, Henry, and Guice. This was an impressive financial haul for Tito Galen (one your Commish candidly doesn’t get for the Purveyor of Death but that’s for another time), a nice severance package for the once-and-future-frontrunner from the 2019 season.
As a moment of personal privilege, your Commish is sad that the under $100 keeper squad Tito Galen rolled out these last few years is no longer around. The Hunt-Thielen-Adams three-headed monster wreaked havoc on the league for nearly two years, and probably this set of keepers for cost isn’t going to happen again any time soon. #RIPTitoGalen
GMRRFFA’s Love Affair with Muckety Muck
Last season, five teams stood at 2-2 through four weeks and six ultimately finished within one game of .500. Let’s be very clear; 2019 isn’t going to be too much different. As of today, six teams sit at 2-2 with two 1-3 squads (Garcia and the Unicorn) staying in the mix. For all intents and purposes, these EIGHT squads are fighting for four playoff spots, and recognizing 7-6/6-7 sneaks in to the playoffs, most trading will be paralized as everyone remains in.
Since your Commish can’t help himself, I reviewed the remaining nine match-ups for the eight 2-2/1-3 teams and, considering almost everyone is around .500, it wasn’t very telling. The easiest remaining schedule is Garcia, where his remaining opponents are only 15-21, mostly because he’s already squared off against both 4-0 teams plus he still gets both winless teams. On the flip side, Fredo Maisel, a disappointing 2-2, has the toughest road ahead, with both Stabs and the Sausage King on his schedule plus 3-1 lifelong rival Smeet.
In any case, GMRRFFA will keep an eye on this mish mash of playoff contenders as we go through the weeks ahead.
Next Week is Already Here
Speaking of the weeks ahead, Week Five is literally smacking us in the face. A suddenly-revamped (insert: question mark) Garcia gets the cupcake of the week, but your Commish is looking forward to some of the more intriguing match-ups, like Smeet vs Stabs. Meanwhile (and of fucking course), FIL is flying into the D.C. area this weekend after a fraternity bender in Ohio, just in time to face off with the Commish (side note: hey FIL, if you want a ride from BWI, let’s make a deal) in a do-or-die game for yours truly.
Speaking of must-wins, the only team with more pressure on it then Trubisky Business has to be the 1-3 Unicorn, who gets the Cooper Kupp-led Cold and Timid Souls. Aside from the Unicorn’s Week Three blitzkrieg of 170 points, the Dead Sea columnist is averaging a laughable 101 points per week, which is the 13th best in the league. Meanwhile, Fredo’s crew was much-hyped ahead of his push through to the postseason, yet he’s 2-2. In his two wins, he averaged 160+; in his two losses, Fredo is averaging just 114 points. Let’s monitor this situation throughout the season because it’s not being solved this week but discussing Fredo Maisel means Fredo Maisel will read Fredo Maisel’s home league’s fantasy football content...
Its Ok to Come Home
On a personal note, GMRRFFA staff updated our Riff Raff content, but we also wanted to encourage our long-lost friend to come home. Like with the Chargers welcoming back MG3, GMRRFFA will do the same with the Sausage King, with no retaliation despite his lack of leverage. Come back. We’ve wondered where you are. (UPDATE: An ownership stake was agreed upon and this issue is concluded.)