Sunday, December 6, 2015

ID Update

It seems like November never lasts as long as you’d think it would. I’m sure this has nothing to do with the literally days of time I’ve sunk into Fallout 4 and football, and is really just a profound statement on the ephemerality of time. It seems like just yesterday, the Hunterian Velociraptors were on the verge of extinction in the great Iron Dirigible league with a 2-4 record, including a disgraceful 0-3 start that included being defeated by the Bean. But Velociraptors are renowned for their cleverness and we pounced on the proverbial Robert Muldoon that was our opposition and went 5-1 over the next six weeks. Now, the Velociraptors could feasibly get a bye week despite being 7th in scoring, despite never making good on my promise to update my blog more. It’s almost like the outcome of fantasy football are impacted by the players on the field instead of the commenters on the sideline.

No. That’s crazy talk.

So, in anticipation of the last week of regular season games, I figured I would do that thing I used to do every week in undergraduate where I write up a brief preview of each match-up and discuss the potential playoff implications. Boy, there sure was a lot of spare time in those days.

19th Hole vs More Dr Pepper AKA The Doctor’s Bowl
There are no playoff implications here. Unless I somehow outscore Sam by 114 points (BELIEVE) and Tune also loses, Sam has a first round bye locked up. That’s really impressive for someone who a) did the Autodraft, b) started an injured kicker for 3 weeks, and c) also lost his #1 pick halfway through the year. Sam is like if you mixed Taco from The League with the T-800 from The Terminator: unengaged but ruthlessly efficient. I guess Brian is playing to avoid the ignominy of a ten loss season. I assume that there’s also some sort of medical themed side bet going on like having to wear their OR scrubs in the ER or wearing their otoscopes like stethoscopes. Side note: I know having the nickname Dorian should make Brian “Dr. Dorian” from Scrubs, but since he’s married to a nurse instead of endlessly involved in flings with Blonde Doctor (as the Janitor would say), does that actually make him more like Turk? His involvement in fantasy football suggests that he likes sports (score one for Turk), but his record suggests he does not understand them (score one for Doctor Dorian). I feel like there should be an open forum on what Brian’s nickname going forward should be.
West Katzen Maus Munchers vs Vandy Pimpmasters AKA The Alliance Against Hobbits Bowl
Conversely, this is the most important game of the week since it involves one of the core principles of the Iron Dirigible: crushing the Bean. While the league succeeded at this goal the first five years of its existence, the Hobbit has made the finals three years in a row. This game is crucial to the playoff picture since these teams have been competing to see who can tailspin the fastest after starting the year 4-2. So far, the Baron has taken the inside track with his bold strategy of having all the Ravens get injured. In retrospect, this was the most likely outcome to putting a lot of bird team players on a team ran by a cat. No one’s talking about all the birds the Baron didn’t eat! Conversely, Doug’s team has been alternating between unstoppable, shrimp fueled juggernaut or protein shake fueled pushover by scoring either more than 97 or less than 71 every game since Week 6. There is a middle ground you can take, PMD, M.D. There are literally dozens of points in that middle ground. DOZENS! Open question: which is the higher rank: Baron or Doctor?

Hunterian Velociraptors vs Team McLovin AKA The Opposite Directions Bowl
I’ve already talked about my team at length in the intro, but I would just like to reiterate that I’ve gone 7-2 over the last nine weeks despite not having outstanding scores for nine weeks. I’m like the Carolina Panthers in that I use my superior defense and quarterback play to cover up the fact that I don’t have any receivers. Conversely, Dylan has gone from sitting atop a throne made of the skulls of his enemies at 6-2 to losing 4 straight to plummet to 6-6 and enter the fray for the final 3 playoff spots. In fairness to Dylan, signing Rob Ryan to be his defensive coordinator proved to be a major mistake as he gave up scores of 122, 124, and 140 during the four game losing streak. But he also put up 3 games under 75 during that same losing streak for reasons that are hard to figure beyond “many players not doing well at once”. I thought it might be tied to the performance of Dylan’s best players (Gurley & Julio) but they had 26 of his 62 points in Week 11 and 7 of his 97 points in Week 12. My diagnosis: Dylan can’t trust any of his players and should probably bench them all this week, just to be safe. Also, it is patently insane that a team that starts 6-2 could feasibly miss the playoffs.

Team Tune vs Belmont Godfearers
As I mentioned before, one of the founding principles of Iron Dirigible is to crush the Bean. Yet if Tune loses here, all will have failed in their sacred task to not lose to the Bean (myself included), save for Sam, the Taco-800 himself. Sure we started out the year great, and we all beat the Bean (except me) to force him to a 1-5 start. But he has shown Hunterian resilience in clawing his way back to a 5-7 record and I’m proud to say that my revenge victory also sealed a sub-.500 year for the Bean. Tune rattled off an impressive 6 wins in a row after a middling 2-2 start, until a lunar eclipse sapped him of his powers and gave him back to back losses (including to Sam, who is finding his way into a lot of stories today). Also, I somehow beat Tune twice this year, giving me the head-to-head tie breaker.

Playoff Scenarios

Bean and Baron lose: This depends on how many points each team scores. If the Baron outscores the Bean by more than six, the Baron advances. If the Bean outscores the Baron or is only outscored by 5 or less, then the Bean advances. If the Baron outscores the Bean by precisely six points, I'm going to need to think of a tertiary tie breaker. Maybe least amount of opposable thumbs?

Bean and Baron win: This creates a three team log jam at 6-7. Also, Doug has, by astonishing coincidence, scored the precise amount of points as Bean and only six more than the Baron through 12 games. So if the Baron beats Doug by six and Bean has the same number of points as Doug, we will have three teams perfectly tied. Hang on, I'm gonna go consult the NFL's rules for breaking three way ties. It says "Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games among the clubs)" so I guess I'll calculate the team's records in the 4 games each played against the other two teams duking it out for the last two seats. Is it unlikely to happen? Absolutely. But it could happen and it will happen if I don't devise a  tie breaker.

NB: these standings assume that the Bean and Baron win their games since if they don't, this whole exercise was a waste of time!

Baron: 3-1
Bean: 2-2
Doug: 1-3

Long story short: if there is a perfect log jam at 6-7 with equal points scored between all 3 teams, the Baron and the Bean advance.

Bean, Baron, Sam, and Hunter win: This is what I call "The Golden Scenario" since it results in me getting a bye week. All I need is for every game to go a specific way without deviation. Simple, right?

Listen gang, I wanted to do this more in depth. I started it on Thursday, but all of the sudden it's Sunday morning and I'm at a real risk of not getting this out in time. So in the likely event that something happens I did not anticipate, we can all agree that we should kick Bean out of the playoffs.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Time keeps on slipping, slipping, into the future

Man, you blink and a week skips by. I totally had all these big plans to make my blog finally fall on an organized Tuesday-Thursday update schedule, but then I kept missing update windows. Then I was going to fall back on my old reliable option when I have nothing else worth blogging about, my fantasy football league. The only problem is I didn’t get that updated in time either. Now it’s three weeks later and I don’t have time to do things in depth as I want to. Also, the Velociraptors were brutally killed this week. It was like fighting the Indominus Rex- we were ultimately doomed this week no matter what happened. So I kinda don’t want to talk about that part of fantasy football today.

Around the corner, I have an extremely crowded itinerary for video games. Obviously, I’m picking up Halo 5: Guardians on October 27th. Halo has been one of my favorite franchises ever since I bought an Xbox 360 in 2006. But obviously I can’t just start playing Halo 5, I need to boot up The Master Chief Collection replay Halos 1 through 4 (and ODST, which features no Master Chief but is an otherwise excellent and underappreciated game and perhaps features the best use of a saxophone in a modern FPS, but I digress). Anyways, I’m sitting in a fairly decent spot having completed 3.5 of the prerequisite 5 games, but that does leave me in the position of having to complete a campaign and a half in 8 days. Back in my undergraduate days, this would be no problem. Alas, I am at a point in life where I can no longer play video games until 1 AM (in fairness, I probably hit this point sometime during grad school, but old traditions die hard). So this morning I designed an itinerary by which I will approach the remaining levels, factoring in relative length and difficulty of the campaigns  alongside the likelihood of me having something else to do that evening (read: watch football or the baseball playoffs) and the pacing of the story told in the levels. After all, who reads the last chapter of a book, immediately reads the first chapter of the next book, then stops for the night? It’s an unnatural ending point!  This plan is definitely feasible since my “hardest” day (and I loathe to use that term for a leisure activity) is a Saturday where I need to beat 3 levels. However, I remain sad on an existential level that I have to schedule my Halo time and have newfound respect for my friends who have spouses and/or children and make time to game. I now understand why you don’t achievement hunt as ruthlessly as I used to.

This is to say nothing of the juggernaut looming on the horizon that is Fallout 4 and Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void releasing on the same day. I’ve been looking forward to both of these games for years and it’s just not fair that both are releasing at the same time (in particular since I pre-purchase Legacy of the Void this summer so I could get access to the interquel missions, which were mechanically satisfying but thematically disappointing, but I digress). I’m still not sure how I’m gonna handle this one. If history has taught me anything, it’s that open-world Bethesda games will take hundreds, not dozens, of hours to complete. History has also taught me that I won’t regret a single one of those hours being spent. On the other hand, I’m much more invested in the story of Legacy of the Void especially since it’s finally focusing on the protoss, a race of psionic warrior-poets who use their powers to build dope laser swords into their armor. However, for as much as I’m looking forward to the conclusion of the Starcraft II trilogy’s story (yeah, video games are really weird when it comes to numbering; I honestly can’t explain it anymore, but that’s a story for another time), I also have a lurking suspicion that it’ll end with everyone putting aside their differences to defeat a common foe, just like every other Blizzard game. I’ll probably end up having to swap weekends between the two.

Or I could just not play them the day they come out. But that doesn’t seem like a reasonable option at all, does it?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I'm just saying...

With this delirious, almost entirely inconsequential post, I've blogged more this month than in 2013 and in 2014 combined. I miss the days when this was something I did on a whim instead of having to make a concentrated effort. Then again, those were also the days where I rationed microwavable pizzas for the week. And it's still fun.

In conclusion, here is a cartoon cat eating a slice of pizza.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Back in the Saddle

We’re going to take a break from our regularly scheduled, light hearted English Muffin Power Hour to discuss the two and a half year hiatus I was on. This is more serious than I prefer, but I feel it is necessary before I blog another Power Hour. I was all rearing to do a quick write-up on Assassin’s Creed, one of my many abandoned projects from the fall of 2012 and the brief mention of the hiatus felt ill-suited. So I thought I’d do a short write up on why the English Muffin Power Hour went away and why it is back now in three paragraphs, including this one. I wasn’t joking when I said this would be short.
As many of you many of you may know, I severely injured my shoulder in an intramural soccer game at the end of February 2013. I somehow managed to both break and dislocate my humerus, an injury so unusual that it took a week and a specialist to figure it out. Besides the inherent challenges of typing meaningful blog posts with one hand while on painkillers, I still had my normal obligations as a graduate student, an SGA Senator, and a Resident Director (all of which, I am proud to say, were upheld). Then my time was split between physical therapy and completing my final two classes so I could graduate that summer (also mission accomplished). Then began a long and disheartening job hunt which meant I had time to blog but no sense of enthusiasm. Then the job hunt ended and I had enthusiasm (which I'm not too proud to admit includes dressing up as Bandit Keith to Bean's Rambo and shouting "VIET-GODDAM-NAM" in a church parking lot) but no time. Then things at the new job turned miserable, a lot of personal things turned miserable, and I had neither time nor enthusiasm.

Thankfully, things have turned around for me and I once again am blessed with time and enthusiasm. For the first time in a long time, I feel like me again. And it is in that spirit that I offer this Blog Post as tribute to the Fantasy Reaper so he may turn his baleful gaze to another team and I may find the strength to smite Bean the Hobbit, as justice dictates I must. WHAT'S DEZ MAY NEVER DIE!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What's Dez May Never Die

Well, when we last left the English Muffin Power Hour, I was brimming with hope at the start of a new Football season. In fact, as late as Sunday night, optimism abounded in Hunteria. In the far less meaningful Beanpocalypse Now league (why yes, I did suggest that name), the potent one-two punch of the Carolina Panthers and actual part man, part panther Rob Gronkowski had the Bean on his heels with no chance of victory despite him scoring extremely well. I even had the bane of my existence, Doug in Week 1 & Week 1 alone, down by a significant margin. I was up by 45 points with my 2nd pick, Dez “Only Viable Option” Bryant to play. Now Doug did have a significant portion of his team left to play (4 players but that included a kicker), but as a rule of thumb you’d almost always rather be the guy winning by 45.

I asked Doug before the game “Was getting your score doubled a part of your plan?” To which he responded “Of course!” Then he added something about “crashing this lead… WITH NO SURVIVORS”.

"Do you feel in control?"

First, Dez Bryant has a really off game. Despite being the man with football magnets for hands, he only puts up four points and limps off the field in the 3rd quarter. Well, that’s certainly not good, but maybe it’s just a sprained ankle. One bad game on a bad ankle isn’t the end of the world, right? NOPE! Broken foot. Surgery required. Screws will be put in foot. Could be out 6 to 18 weeks. So I can’t even grab a replacement for Dez off the waiver wire since he could be back in Week 8 and play a solid half a fantasy season (half a Dez is better than none). Last week, I wrote this of Dez’s role in the Cowboys’ passing attack “who else is Tony Romo going to throw it to? The eminently forgettable Terence Williams? The flash in the pan, Cole Beasley? The Impossibly Ancient Jason Witten? The Actual Zombie, Darren McFadden? So I like Bryant's chances of being the focal point of the offense again.” Sadly, this is a real question the Cowboys are asking themselves this week. At present, the Cowboys’ solution is to have Jason Witten pick up where Ponce de Leon left off and track down the Fountain of Youth.

So the war effort suffered a major setback, but I still should win the battle right?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Iron Dirigible Draft Recap Part 2: The Winter Soldier

So here's the thing- real football starts in approximately six hours. At that point, all the hand wringing and prognosticating over the draft becomes a moot point. So I could either spend that time making some clever joke about how I don't update this very often and 3 posts in the span of 2 days is some kind of record (I figured some sort of joke about the update taking way longer than a day but being published now due to time travel, but causality loops became an issue and if the phrase "causality loops" is in your joke, it's probably not that funny. But I digress.) OR I could just update the blog. Let's go with "update the blog". When we last left our intrepid heroes, Bean had unknowingly cursed Randall Cobb to almost have a broken collarbone (and would have been fully broken, were it not for the direct intervention of Aaron Rodgers' anti-hobbit magic, which he learned after the Bean cursed him with a similar injury in 2013) and we were starting the 7th and 8th round or, as it is unofficially known, the round where we stop recognizing the players' names.

Rounds 7 & 8

49Travis Kelce, KC TE  Hunterian Velociraptors
50Greg Olsen, Car TE19th Hole
51Doug Martin, TB RBVandy PimpMasters
52Vincent Jackson, TB WRMore Dr Pepper
53Latavius Murray, Oak RBBelmont Godfearers
54Golden Tate, Det WRTeam Tune
55Martellus Bennett, Chi TEWest Katzen Maus Munchers
56Jeremy Maclin, KC WRTeam McLovin
57Jason Witten, Dal TETeam McLovin
58LeGarrette Blount, NE RBWest Katzen Maus Munchers
59Arian Foster*, Hou RBTeam Tune
60T.J. Yeldon, Jac RBBelmont Godfearers
61Andre Ellington, Ari RBMore Dr Pepper
62Owen Daniels, Den TEVandy PimpMasters
63Giovani Bernard, Cin RB19th Hole
64Andre Johnson, Ind WR  Hunterian Velociraptors

Pick I Love: I'm torn between Greg Olsen at #50 or Martellus Bennett at #55. On the one hand, I'm convinced Greg Olsen is the only person in the greater Charlotte area to ever catch a pass in an NFL game before and will be the only act in Camapalooza 2015 with Devin "Bunches of" Funchess as the opening act. On the other hand, Martellus Bennett gives you free reign to quote the 2nd best scene in Pulp Fiction at will ("WHAT DOES MARTELLUS BENNETT LOOK LIKE?!" P.S. 1st best scene in Pulp Fiction is the diner at the end because it's not only really cool, but it delivers an unexpected message as well as the thesis for the entire movie). So anyways, I'm going to give the nod to Martellus Bennett even though I think Olsen is the better player simply because Samuel L. Jackson is a better actor the Mary Kate, Ashley, or Elizabeth Olsen. What? I CAN BE PETTY!

Pick I Hate: Originally, I was going to have this whole thing about how Doug Martin was having all the upside drafted out of him by going this early and that it was a desperate effort to revive the Doug Connection. But I came to a twofold revelation: first, that even 3 years later, I still cannot hate Doug "the Muscle Hamster" Martin after he scored over 50 points in a game for me; second, that Doug Martin never had the phrase "tore his groin muscle right off the bone" associated with him like Arian Foster did this offseason. Currently, the medical prognosis for Foster is "it could be 4 weeks, it could be more than six weeks, who knows? I'm not a doctor." And generally I tend to avoid stashing guys on my bench indefinitely, like a barnacle clinging to a ship. In summation, come back to me, Doug Martin. The other Doug doesn't appreciate you like I do.

Picks I Made: Travis Kelce dueled Anthony Fasano into submission and became the sole Tight End in Kansas City, where state law prohibits Wide Receivers from scoring touchdowns. As a result, Kelce will be a target monster who descends from the foothills to prey upon weary and unsuspecting secondaries. Andre Johnson is the second half of the Murtaugh Duo in Indianapolis & I feel extremely confident in his ability to be a reliable (if unremarkable) fantasy starter, which frees me up to go CRAAAAAZZZZZY on guys with upside in the later rounds. Plus, Andrew Luck is by far the most talented quarterback that Andre Johnson has ever played for. I don't think it's impossible for him to return to 2013 levels of production (when he got 1400 yards and only 5 touchdowns). 2013 production is equal to 170 fantasy points, which would have been good enough for 11th among Wide Receivers last year, and that's pretty good upside for a pick at the end of the 8th round.