Lock

Two more weeks to go, guys. Two more weeks until the fantasy playoffs. Two more weeks to earn my spot.

I’m in a solid position right now, for sure, but it’s not over. At least, it doesn’t feel over.

But is it?

That’s the thought exercise we’re going to go through today. There’s no alert on ESPN’s website, no bell that’s going to ring, to demonstrate the moment that I’m locked into my league’s playoffs. At least, none that I know of. So we’ll play out the next two weeks, assuming they go as well for my competitors and as badly for me as possible, and see where that shakes me out.

And then I’ll know if I need to be directing my decisions towards winning these final two matchups because I still need to win to get in, or if I’m now in a “resting my starters” kind of position where I can try to make waiver wire pickups and trades with my eyes solely on Weeks Fourteen through Seventeen.

So: who plays who in Week Twelve, and how might their records shake out when it’s over?

Team (Record after W11) Team (Record after W11) Week Six Result
Team Broncosgirl (5-6) MackAttack FiveDeuce (5-6) 75-62
Team RAIDER NATION (6-5) Smile$ Julio (5-6) 77-48
Batman Foo (4-7) KING OF TRADES (formerly !!!!! Dream killer!!!) (7-4) 59-134
Team Freedom (5-6) There’s always next year (formerly Team Coleman) (6-5) 82-96
Team GooDfoRyoU (2-9) Team BlueAndGold (8-3) 90-93
Team rosellini (9-2) Simi Valley 12’s (4-7) 104-83

 

You’ll notice that we’ve gone through the round robin portion of the season – there are twelve teams in the league, so in the first eleven weeks of the season, I’ve played each of my eleven opponents exactly once. So now we’re rematching. In Week Twelve, the opponents are the same as they were in Week Six; in Week Thirteen, they’ll be the same as they were in Week Seven. Which leads to great dramatic tension for the season – but we’ll get to that.

Week Twelve, first. So what could happen here?

We could assume that the wins and losses stay the same as they were in Week Six. We could assume the opposite, that previously victorious teams get their comeuppance. But for our purposes, we’ll assume that everything goes wrong for me and goes right for the others I’m competing with for playoff spots. That means anyone who finishes Week Eleven with six or more wins, as they could conceivably end in a tie with me – they win the next two, I lose the next two, we tie with eight apiece – or better.

So presume I lose to Team GooDfoRyoU. It would be an upset based on his record, but remember it was really close last time around. I fall to 8-4, he rises to 3-9 (still well out of it). In the lead of the league, Team rosellini should easily defeat Simi Valley 12’s – let’s say she does. She’s now 10-2, he’s 4-8 (also out). KING OF TRADES is currently third; put him down for a win over Batman Foo, taking him to 8-4 and a tie with me. Foo falls to 4-8 (also out). There are also two teams at 6-5. Say they both win. Team RAIDER NATION and There’s always next year get to 7-5, one game back of me and tied for fourth place. Their opponents each fall to 5-7 (and out). That leaves one matchup of 5-6 teams; one gets to 6-6, one gets to 5-7. It doesn’t matter that much because the best either of them can do is 7-6, still behind the worst I can do at 8-5. They’re out of it. (I’m going to give it, for the purposes of these simulated standings, to Broncosgirl. Both because she won Week Six, and because I’m mad at MackAttack right now because he could have beaten rosellini this week but he mismanaged his lineup badly. I’d be at the top of the league, tied in record and holding the seeding tiebreaker and a trump card, if that had happened. But I’m not bitter or anything. Of course not.)

So. Five of us for four spots. Rosellini’s locked in, but the other four of us have to battle. Four of us, for three spots, within a game of each other.

So what could happen in Week Thirteen?

Team (Estimated Record after W12) Team (Estimated Record after W12) Week Seven Result
MackAttack FiveDeuce (5-7) Team RAIDER NATION (7-5) 78-74
Smile$ Julio (5-7) Batman Foo (4-8) 86-79
KING OF TRADES (formerly !!!!! Dream killer!!!) (8-4) Team Freedom (5-7) 88-68
There’s always next year (formerly Team Coleman) (7-5) Team GooDfoRyoU (3-9) 70-58
Team BlueAndGold (8-4) Team rosellini (10-2) 122-104
Simi Valley 12’s (4-8) Team Broncosgirl (6-6) 88-101

 

Here’s where life gets interesting. I face rosellini. If I do win in Week Twelve, and she does as well, we’re battling at 9-3 and 10-2 for top seed in the league. I have the tiebreaker on her, so if I defeat her here, I get the number one seed. If she happens to lose Week Twelve and I win, we’re both 9-3 here and whoever wins holds the number one seed outright. This could be a loaded matchup with all kinds of implications.

But for the purposes of our game here, I’m 8-4 and she’s 10-2, and we assume I lose. I go to 8-5, she rises to 11-2 and the uncontested regular season title. All three of our other possible playoff contenders can have good wins here. KING OF TRADES can get to 9-4, and RAIDER NATION and There’s always next year can get to 8-5 each.

So we’d have:

  • Team rosellini (11-2)
  • KING OF TRADES (9-4)
  • Tie at (8-5):
    1. Team RAIDER NATION
    2. There’s always next year
    3. Team BlueAndGold

Now we’re down to a tiebreaker for the third and fourth seeds. I hold the lead on the tiebreaker right now, and it’s not likely that I’d be overtaken by both of these gentlemen who are over 100 points behind me each in Points For, but I’m only assuming that’s the tiebreaker, I don’t have any actual confirmation (besides observation) that that’s what it is.

Note that if it goes the other way for Team RAIDER NATION and There’s always next year in Week Twelve, it creates a pocket of five teams at 6-6. That pocket heads into Week Thirteen with the ability for most of them to get to 7-6. I’d be ahead of them though; I’d be unquestioned third in the standings, and that 7-6 pocket would be tied for fourth, with only one of them getting to advance. So this coming weekend, if either RAIDER NATION or the former Team Coleman lose, or if I win, I advance for sure.

So at this point, it’s not an actual lock on the playoffs. But even the worst case scenario has me tied to get in with a good hold on the tiebreaker, so we can call it a virtual lock.

It’s a virtual lock.

I’m going to do it.

Can you believe it? Because I can’t. I’m over here squealing like a teenager at a One Direction concert. Scaring the daylights out of my dog, by the way.

I’m going to run for the championship of this thing.

If that’s not beginner’s luck then I don’t know what to call it.

***

This knowledge does change my strategy, but not that much. Do I have to win these next two weeks? No, I guess not. But I still want to. And not just because I’m competitive (although – who, me?). I don’t want to let up on my momentum. I don’t want to let up on any advantage I can accrue in Points For, because I might need that tiebreaker later on and I don’t want to have given it up. And I for damn sure want to beat Team rosellini in Week Thirteen to earn that number one seed.

So. I’ll entertain looking at a defense that might be steady for all four weeks of the playoffs, but since I doubt such a thing exists, I’ll probably keep streaming. Same goes for kicker at this point. What I will do is try to judge my wide receiver pickup(s) with the playoffs in mind. My last attempt at that, John Brown, was a miserable failure. Will my next one be any better?

I have ideas and I have hopes. I’ll report back after waivers clear to let you know how it went.

For now, bask in the knowledge that we did it.

We’re (almost certainly) going to the playoffs.

Boo. Yah.

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