It's much the same sort of mentality in the NESN.com fantasy football playoffs, where the opening round of the postseason saw two upsets set up a fascinating pair of semifinals for the coming week.
But first, the quarterfinal action, where Heidi Watney's fifth-ranked Favre Forever squad scored a 124.1-100.55 victory over John Carchedi and his Italian Ninjas. Heidi's inspiration, the player after whom her team is named, had a far from impressive showing, but her wide receiver pairing of DeSean Jackson and Andre Johnson set the tone in a semi-comfortable decision.
"While the namesake of Favre Forever had some struggles this week, it was a big win in Week 1 of the playoffs," Heidi told a room of reporters following the win.
A visibly shaken Carchedi was frustrated following his season-ending loss, but, always the gentleman, he managed to put a positive spin on the encounter.
"I'd like to thank everyone at NESN.com for this experience," he said, conspicuously sucking up in hopes of being awarded the No. 1 pick in next year's draft. (Sorry, John, the commish only takes personal checks and Starbucks gift cards.)
"I now understand that I know nothing of football or sports in general," Carchedi, the host of Wednesday's SportsDesk continued, "and I will look to make the switch to a career more in my wheelhouse … say, with a home-shopping channel or nature documentary. I tell you, if not for the weekly beatings I suffered in this league, I might still have a shred of self-confidence, and who needs that?"
In this week's semifinal, Kathryn and her top-seeded Tappenators will be waiting for Heidi and her suddenly hot Favre Forever team. But despite the Tappenators' 10-game win streak, the Red Sox reporter was looking forward to the challenge.
"This week we will need to try and get past the distractions off the field, and focus on beating the Tappenators," Heidi said. "Kathryn brings in the best record in the league, but we know if we play a solid game she can be beat. So bring it on, Kathryn! Favre Forever is looking to go to the Super Bowl."
Reached for comment during her team's bye week, Kathryn was quick to snap back.
"Hopefully for Heidi's sake, that diva Brett Favre keeps the coaching to the coaches and the interceptions to himself this weekend."
Oh no she didn't!
"After a nice week of rest," Kathryn continued, "the Tappenators are hungry for a holiday smackdown. I'm dreaming of a white (and Titan blue) Christmas … highlighted by fiiiiiiiivvvvvve gooooooolden touchdowns from Chris Johnson to grab an early lead on Friday night heading into the weekend."
She can host SportsDesk, she was the league's finest regular-season GM and she can sing, too?
Still, the semifinal battle is sure to be the highlight of the fantasy season to this point.
Reaching the other semifinal in Week 15 of the NFL season was John Chandler and his More Cowbell troupe, which pulled a shocking quarterfinal upset, absolutely annihilating my third-seeded Gray Cutoff Hoodies by the score of 128.25-76.7.
Chandler got balanced scoring from Matt Schaub, Reggie Wayne and the Ravens defense, among others, but, shockingly, the beatdown could have been even worse. On Chandler's bench sat Browns running back Jerome Harrison, who rushed for 286 yards and three touchdowns in Week 15, an astonishing total of 47.8 (ultimately wasted) fantasy points. Still, Chandler was obviously satisfied with his team's performance.
"Obviously, we're satisfied with our team's performance and happy to be moving on in the playoffs," he told this intrepid NESN.com reporter following the blowout triumph. "As for your question of why we didn't start Jerome Harrison, it's because we didn't like the matchup. That and we weren't entirely sure he was still in the NFL. But then, in hindsight, I guess you could make that case for anyone on the Browns."
In a far less jovial mood was yours truly, GM of the all-too-soon-immersed-in-the-offseason Gray Cutoff Hoodies. It was a rough week.
"Honestly, Drew Brees?" I tweeted, the tears streaming down my face. "You're undefeated and you pick the first fantasy playoff game to have your worst week of the season? … No, honestly, I ran into a buzz saw this week. And my team gave a Randy Moss-style effort. After we got down early, I stopped running routes, I was crocodile-arming passes and my players allowed their beards to grow in an unattractive, uncontrollable fashion. It wasn't pretty."
In the coming week's other semi, More Cowbell has the unenviable chore of facing Terrence Johnson's second-seeded Crooked Lettas. It will be a formidable task, but if anyone is up to it, it's a GM with the cojones to keep 47.8 points on his bench.
Have a wonderful holiday weekend and be sure to tune in next week for all of the analysis and reaction to the NESN.com fantasy semifinals.
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