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Bringing it out of the end zone: That the Challengers are 5-0 is the newest sign of the apocalypse.  Really though, if this continues, they may come to be known as the FFL's luckiest team ever.  Despite their horrid scoring (27.2 ppg, which actually would be pretty decent if not for this year's offensive explosion) they have scored when they've needed to.  And yet, maybe that is why this team actually does deserve that record.  They have played well in the clutch, scoring when they need to score.  But can it continue?  Maybe, if their, um....defense holds out.


10: Interesting statistic that may only interest me: The scoring in the FFL thus far this year has been noticeably through the roof.  But in comparison to past years, it is bordering on absurd.  We are on pace to have a season where the league scoring average jumps nearly 5 points, a 17% increase!  To put this in perspective for you, here are the year to year averages per team per game in FFL history:


1992 30.3

1993 27.5

1994 31.7

1995 32.6

1996 30.0

1997 30.2

1998 33.2

1999 30.3

2000 30.2

2001 30.1

2002* 35.3 (projected)


Of course, some unusual scoring trends have contributed to this scoring surge.  Special teams and defenses have been coming up big.  And offenses have been playing a lot of spread wide schemes.  Things will inevitably settle down as FFL defenses start adapting and offenses get more conservative and try to avoid mistakes. Still, I think we can expect an above average year on the scoreboard, perhaps even a record one.


20: Look who's giving Michael Vick a run for his money: Trent Green, who has had two consecutive brilliant weeks with the Syndromes.  His 32 points in two weeks obliterated the Z-Force and helped keep the team close with the Thunder.  With Vick hurting, and not expected to start Sunday, could this be a QB controversy in the works?  Well, probably not.  Depending on Vick's recovery time, I think that BFleming will stick with Green.  But, this may only be until Vick has shown that he is mobile enough to be a TD running threat again.  Until then, Fleming will need Green's production, as the FFL East looks to be fiercely competitive this year.


30: It's been a tough year for champions.  First it was the Rams, who play in that other football league.  Then the Yankees.  Now the Thunder?  Let's face it.  It's not time to sound the alarm yet in Boston, but the team has run up into trouble.  Jeff Garcia and Ahman Green have underachieved.  The receiving corps hasn't been there for them.  And the slack has had to be picked up by players like Lamar Smith.  I don't know about you, but I don't want my games riding on Lamar Smith every Sunday.  This team needs a swift kick in the rear, because they have talent, but need to get their systems running on all cylinders.  I could say the same thing about the other two late 90's powerhouses, Phoenix and New York.   But let's not be too hard on Coach Wisneski's squad.  After all, no team has been able to repeat in the FFL.  It is extremely hard to do.  Will the Thunder succumb to history?  I think that Week 6, and the potential to fall to 2-4, may hold the answer.


40: Brett Favre Rant, Part II: Looks like Phoenix's Favre Experiment has ended.  He put up 20 points in 2 weeks, which are damn good numbers, but yes, not quite Donovan McNabb good.  Favre's career total has now reached 936, so he is about 16 TDP from reaching that magical plateau of 1K.  I know that AFleming wants a solid return on his first round pick investment, so I can't fault him for sticking to his guns.  But still, the man should be playing somewhere.  And that somewhere won't be Miami (yet), where Brad Johnson is filling in nicely.  What about Atlanta, though?  With Warner out, FdeBoer can choose to either write off the year or try to fill the space.  And Favre could be the man.  But the question then becomesat what price?  deBoer may be leery of trading away high 2003 draft picks just to sneak into the playoffs, and yet a player like Favre could turn around his team's fortunes.  I think it depends on how much of the investment in Favre Adam Fleming is willing to eat.  By the way, Jason Elam, he of the amazin' 5-0 Confederates, has 36 points this season -- giving him an even 900 for his FFL career.  Perhaps he will edge out Favre as the first 1K player?


50: Speaking of Phoenix, I like what I've been seeing of them in the last few weeks.  Deuce McAllister is taking off.  Ricky Williams is going to be a consistent scoring threat.  And they are solid at QB and K.  I am unsure about their TE and WR situation, but like any team in the league, they do have their holes.  And their scoring shows that, indeed, they are better than a 2-3 team.  But how much better?  I think that this next 4 week stretch of opponents for them featuring the Miracles, Blazers and Syndromes, will be their proving ground.  Do they have what it takes to hang among the league's elite?  We shall see.


40: JeZieger must be running low on matches, because he certainly lit a fire under his team's collective ass.  First they go out and score 2 points against the Challengers, in what must have been one of the franchise's worst moments, and in two straight weeks they have surpassed 50.  What gives?  Well, for one thing, Brad Johnson has been surprisingly adequate.  And Alexander (36) and Dillon (18) have each had huge weeks.  But the supporting cast has done well too, bringing in some clutch TDs.  Hey, if Curtis Martin gets healthy enough to starting suiting up for them, you can start getting scared of Miami again.


30: Pleasant surprise of Week 5: Charlie Garner, who had 18 points for the Blockers.  The man has wheels.


20: Things are looking slim now in the free agent market.  FFL owners were very astute this year, grabbing up any potential scoring threat as soon as they emerged.  The best signings of the waiver wire so far:  Donald Driver for the Z-Force, Randy McMichael of the Blazers, Hines Ward of the Miracles and Moe Williams by Phoenix.  We haven't seen many other finds yet this shopping season, but several will probably emerge in the coming weeks.  Patrick Ramsey, anyone?


10: Manford Fowler eats five meals a day.  He doesn't need another free one from JaZieger.  Looking to improve my place in the Expert Picks of the Week standings, here are my choices:


Blockers at Thunder: Thunder.  Garcia and Green are due for big games.


Predators at Tsunamis:  Tsunamis.  Things are going to get worse for the Predators before they get better.  I liked Waikiki's play on Week 5.


Knights at Z-Force: Z-Force.  The Knights have had some big breaks.  The Z-Force have had tough breaks.  This is how the universe balances itself out.


Black Sox at Syndromes: Tough one to call, but I'm going with the Black Sox.  Their RB's have an edge over Middletown's.


Miracles at Conquistadors: Conquistadors.  I think they may be getting on a roll here.


Blazers at Challengers: Blazers.  Now watch the South prove me wrong again.



TD: My touchdown kudos this week go to my fantasy sports colleague Neil Peterson, who will now be helping to anchor the fantasy basketball studio team for the FBL Online.  Neil and I became good friends when we worked together on the FFL Today starting in 2000, and I wish him well.  It's because of his help that this organization got to be where it is now in just two short years.  Also, I'm really glad he shaved that mullet.  It gave some people around here the creeps.  Check those guys out through the link on this page.


XP: You guys have no idea what trouble we go to to put together this fine website.  For instance, we spend two hours each week trying to figure out Jackie's picks for the week through a complex series of pantomime and interpreting her barks.  Not easy.  Jackie's picks for Week 6:


Thunder, Tsunamis, Z-Force, Syndromes, Conquistadors, Challengers

Article 1, 2002 season
From the end zone: Well, the FFL is back, and we at the Olympus Parkway home office have finally found meaning again in our lives. Things are pretty much back to the way they were last year.  When not primping for gameday, Jackie spends much of her days in her tanning bed.  Coach K keeps rambling about how the government is hiding microchips in our breakfast cereal.  And my...shudder...son Ricardo alternates evenings between taping interviews and picking fights at Hooters.  Plus, the FFL Experts have been trash talking up a storm over the Weekly Picks.  I have even agreed to take the colleague with the best record in the FFL Weekly Picks at the end of the season out to a sumptuous dinner of his or her choice.  So let me be the first to say that I will be eating for two this December at Arby's.  Anyway, here are my thoughts as we head into the upcoming week:
10: Brett Favre-- future FFL hall-of-famer, but bench-warmer to Donovan McNabb?  I know that Favre is a notch below McNabb, and I know that there is something to be said for keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of your opponents. Really, though, this is the most unfortunate personnel situation in the FFL.  Look at the numbers.  He is two games shy of being the first FFL QB to start 100 regular season games.  He is 2 TDP shy of being the first to throw 200 TDPs.  And his biggest goal in sight, becoming the very first to reach 1000 points, is 84 pts. (or 21 TDPs) away.  The alltime scorer in league history relegated to holding the clipboard?  It's a damn shame.  Here's hoping that AFleming will wise up and trade Favre for some picks to fill the gaping hole in his 2003 draft.  Favre probably only has a few good years left in him, and it is sad for fans of the game to have to see him this way.  Let's see him hit 1000 in '02!  Who might need him? Miami, Middletown, Montana, Waikiki and Dallas are all possibilities, but for some of them it would take the breakdown of their current starters to force a trade.
20: One thing I like looking at is the different trends that emerge in each year's FFL Draft.  For instance, some owners draft the same players year after year, out of either a sense of familiarity or loyalty.  So, here is a list of the players to rejoin former teams in 2002 (not including keepers, of course), along with the year that they were last drafted by that team:
KRobinson, Pho, 2001
DRhodes, Bos, 2001
JMorton, Chi, 2001
AHakim, Chi, 2001
MPollard, Mon, 2001
MVanderjagt, Mon, 2001
DTerrell, Atl, 2001
JSmith, NY, 2001
JStokes, Wai, 2001
WDunn, KC, 2000 and 2001
PPrice, Chi, 2000
TTaylor, Bos, 2000
JPlummer, Wai, 2000
FJones, Wai, 2000
TBarber, Cha, 2000
KCollins, Cha, 2000 and 2001
JGalloway, Cha, 2000
TBrown, Bos, 1999
RLongwell, Bos, 1999
EMcCaffrey, Mia, 1998 and 1999
TGlenn, Bos, 1998 
KDilger, Atl, 1997 and 2000
ShSharpe, Bos, 1993 and 1994, Bos 
MAndersen, NY, Drafted every year, 1992-2002
Observations: Most of the list are players that teams had last year that they simply wanted back.  But, Boston has built a receiving corps built out of spare parts from their successful 1998-99 seasons.  It is quite strange.  Warrick Dunn is the only Blockers player to play all three years of the team's existence. Ken Dilger's three tours in nonconsecutive years with the Predators must be some sort of record.  The Z-Force can't seem to ever let go of Andersen.
30: I think that the move to Dallas is really going to benefit TFleming's franchise.  His team had dug itself into a rut of unproductive years in Colorado.  Conversely, the new surroundings of football-lovin' Texas and the personnel shake-up by GM Don Majkowski could really be the thing to nudge his team back into the playoffs.  I'm not saying that they will tear up the league in their new surroundings (I don't project them as a playoff team) but they may prove to be the league's most improved team.
40: Waikiki is really in need of a superstar.  Steve McNair is an adequate QB and David Boston is a hell of a receiver.  But I'm still waiting to see them acquire someone who can take over games, who can be counted on to score week in and week out.  It doesn't look like Jamal Lewis will be that player, so the wait continues.  I think that once they add someone who can score in the range of 15 TDs, the team will take off. It won't be this year, but next year they will have so many draft picks, they may just happen upon that diamond in the rough.
50: Interesting statistic only I may find interesting: Priest Holmes became the 11th FFL player to score 4 TDs in a game Sunday.  He was also the third to do it on opening day.  The others?  Emmitt Smith in 1995 with NY, and Thurman Thomas in 1992 with Miami. 
40: Shannon Sharpe, as previously mentioned, has finally come full circle with his return to the Thunder.  And while he is the #1 all-time scoring FFL tight end, he has also had quite a distinctive journeyman career.  He has played for seven different franchises in his career, two of them (Colorado and Boston) for two nonconsecutive years.  He is the only player to win three Fantasy Bowls with three different teams ('93 Thunder, '95 Rockies, '96 Black Sox).  Right now I would make the strongest case for him to enter the Hall of Fame as a Black Sox player (his best couple of years were there) but who knows? Maybe if he gets some playing time for the Thunder he will be wearing a Boston helmet after all.
30: The one move talked about by nobody this offseason was Middletown's drafting of WR Jerry Rice. Rice may not be a franchise receiver anymore, but he is still capable of 7-9 TDs, which could make him one of the most valuable wideout reserves in the league.  Also, the word out of training camp was that Rice had worked Randy Moss hard in the offseason, providing for him the mentorship figure he has lacked in Middletown since his 1998 rookie season.  Could Rice be the unsung hero if Moss has a monster year in 2002? We'll just have to see.
20: Here's something that hasn't happened before.  The Challengers arrived at training camp this year with only one player from their 2001 scratch-their-way-into-the-playoffs team.  And that is backup QB Kerry Collins.  Everybody else was completely new, thanks to trades this summer for RGannon, PBurress and JHorn.  CBransfield really wanted to pursue this season with a clean slate.  It will be interesting to see if this team gels, or if their lack of history together will push them apart when the losses come.  But so far, they are off to a nice 1-0 start.  Keep a watch on them.
10: I have reservations about the offenses of Kansas City and New York.  If they both stick with the run and shoot for the whole season (something that few teams ever try for more than 2-3 weeks at a time) we will get a firsthand look into whether a team with this unorthodox system can win.  The prevailing wisom, of course, is that a team should build around running backs.  Thus, the wishbone offense is more popular.  The run-and-shoot is also criticized because receivers score less consistently than backs. I tend to agree with that criticism.  But the Blockers (and the Z-Force especially) each have a deep corps of receivers, so maybe they can make it work.  My best guess, though, would be that they'll both be back to 2-back sets by October.
TD: It was unfortunate to see Terrell Davis have to retire so unceremoniously, and in the garb of the Z-Force, one of the Phoenix Conquistadors' biggest rivals.  Now, of course, comes the inevitable discussion of whether he is Hall of Fame material.  To me, he is a shoo-in.  He holds the highest PPG mark (6.20) of any back with over 20 games (he played in 57).  That's a TD a game for T.D., a 14-15 TD season on average, and he did it all with several injury-plagued years that actually drove down his career averages a bit.  The 1998 championship that he ran Phoenix to is the icing on the cake. And he actually played longer (7 years) than many suspect.  Overall, he is among a cadre of superb players with injury-shortened careers (Sterling Sharpe and Carl Pickens are others) who I think deserve a slot in the Hall.



In the decade-long history of the FFL, 98 teams have taken to the field in the hopes of winning the Fantasy Bowl. But which of these teams was the greatest of all time? That is the burning question that I hope to answer this winter as I present to you my All-Time Power Rankings.

The All-Time Power Rankings rank the FFL's teams from 1 to 98, but they differ quite a bit from my traditional Power Rankings. For one thing, there is a more complex formula, assessing different statistical categories. There are four criteria: winning, talent, dominance, and big game play.

Winning: simply a team's W/L percentage. Worth 40% of a team's ranking.

Talent: a team's raw skills reflected by points per game, measured against every other team of all time. Worth 30% of a team's ranking.

Dominance: a measure of a team's level of dominance relative to its own era. It is a measure of the team's scoring average as a percentage above or below the average number of points scored in an FFL game of that year. Worth 20% of a team's ranking.

Big game play: bonus points awarded to teams that either make the playoffs or advance in the playoffs. Worth 10% of a team's ranking.

So, like the regular Power Rankings, winning and scoring are relatively equal. But these rankings add a bit more depth. The raw data is plugged into a formula, and as a result, we get a score on a scale of 0 to 100. A zero is reflective of the worst team possible of all time, while a 100 reflects the perfect FFL team.  The team's score is grouped with its W/L record.
1.   1994 New York Z-Force (99.69), (12-3)
2.   1995 New York Z-Force (91.39), (11-3)
3.   2001 Boston Thunder (89.69), (10-4)
4.   2000 New York Z-Force (89.18), (8-6)
5.   1992 New York Z-Force (88.98), (11-4)
6.   1998 New York Z-Force (88.76), (9-4-1)
7.   1998 Phoenix Conquistadors (88.27), (9-4-1)
8.   1999 Atlanta Predators (87.04), (9-5)
9.   2001 Montana Blazers (86.51), (11-3)
10. 1996 Boston Thunder (86.39), (10-4)
11. 2001 New York Z-Force (85.63), (9-5)
12. 1999 Boston Thunder (84.35), (9-4-1)
13. 1998 Middletown Twins (84.25), (9-3-2)
14. 1992 Miami Miracles (83.55), (11-4)
15. 2000 Phoenix Conquistadors (82.61), (10-4)
16. 1996 Chicago Black Sox (82.14), (10-4)
17. 1997 Phoenix Conquistadors (81.51), (8-6)
18. 1993 Colorado Rockies (77.31), (11-5)
19. 1995 Miami Miracles (75.94), (8-6)
20. 1997 Chicago Black Sox (75.57), (11-3)
21. 1995 Colorado Rockies (71.74), (8-6)
22. 1997 Miami Miracles (71.18), (9-4-1)
23. 1998 Miami Miracles (68.39), (8-6)
24. 1998 Atlanta Predators (68.16), (7-7)
25. 1995 Charleston Challengers (67.33), (7-6-1)
26. 1998 Boston Thunder (67.20), (8-5-1)
27. 2001 Miami Miracles (65.37), (7-7)
28. 1993 New York Z-Force (64.47), (10-6)
29. 1996 Charleston Challengers (63.14), (6-8)
30. 2000 Montana Blazers (62.20), (7-7)
31. 1993 Chicago Black Sox (60.10), (8-8)
32. 2000 Atlanta Predators (58.98), (7-7)
33. 1996 Montana Blazers (58.69), (7-7)
34. 1993 Middletown Twins (58.67), (9-7)
35. 2000 Boston Thunder (58.39), (8-5-1)
36. 1999 Phoenix Conquistadors (57.22), (7-7)
37. 1993 Montana Blazers (57.00), (10-6)
38. 1994 New England Winners (55.92), (7-8)
39. 1999 New York Z-Force (55.67), (7-6-1)
40. 1995 Boston Thunder (53.33), (8-6)
41. 1996 Middletown Twins (52.31), (7-6-1)
42. 1992 Chicago Black Sox (51.90), (7-8)
43. 1992 Montana Blazers (50.98), (7-8)
44. 2001 Kansas City Blockers (50.74), (8-5-1)
45. 1997 Boston Thunder (50.67), (7-7)
46. 1994 Middletown Twins (50.08), (8-7)
47. 1994 Chicago Black Sox (47.00), (8-7)
T48. 1995 Middletown Twins (46.74), (7-6-1)
T48. 1997 New York Z-Force (46.74), (6-8)
50. 2000 Kansas City Blockers (46.71), (9-5) 
51. 1996 Miami Miracles (45.51), (6-7-1)
52. 1999 Charleston Challengers (45.41), (7-7)
53. 1992 Boston Thunder (44.18), (6-9)
54. 1994 Colorado Rockies (43.27), (6-9)
55. 1995 Atlanta Predators (43.06), (3-10-1)
56. 1993 Boston Thunder (42.76), (9-7)
57. 2000 Colorado Crips (41.08), (7-6-1)
58. 1997 Colorado Crips (40.00), (6-8)
59. 1997 Middletown Twins (39.86), (6-7-1)
60. 1999 Montana Blazers (38.53), (5-6-3)
61. 1996 New York Z-Force (38.37), (5-9)
62. 1994 Montana Blazers (37.65), (6-9)
63. 2001 Middletown Syndromes (36.84), (5-8-1)
64. 1998 Colorado Crips (36.33), (6-8)
65. 1996 Phoenix Conquistadors (35.27), (7-6-1)
66. 2000 Middletown Syndromes (34.08), (6-8)
67. 1998 Montana Blazers (33.63), (7-7)
68. 2001 Atlanta Predators (31.74), (6-8)
69. 1995 Chicago Black Sox (31.29), (6-8)
70. 1997 Montana Blazers (30.10), (7-7)
T71. 2001 Waikiki Tsunamis (30.00), (6-7-1)
T71. 1999 Miami Miracles (30.00), (6-8)
73. 1994 Miami Miracles (29.35), (7-8)
74. 1992 Colorado Rockies (27.96), (6-9)
75. 2000 Chicago Black Sox (26.84), (6-8)
76. 2001 Charleston Challengers (26.49), (7-7)
77. 1999 Colorado Crips (25.33), (6-7-1)
78. 1999 Chicago Black Sox (23.37), (6-8)
79. 2001 Chicago Black Sox (23.27), (4-9-1)
80. 1998 Charleston Challengers (21.02), (3-9-2)
81. 2000 Miami Miracles (19.90), (4-9-1)
82. 1995 Montana Blazers (19.49), (5-9)
83. 1994 Boston Thunder (19.29), (6-9)
84. 1992 New England Winners (17.45), (6-9)
85. 1997 Charleston Challengers (16.94), (4-10)
86. 1999 Middletown Twins (16.53), (5-9)
87. 1996 Colorado Crips (15.00), (6-8)
88. 1997 Atlanta Predators (14.90), (5-9)
T89. 1995 Phoenix Conquistadors (13.27), (5-8-1)
T89. 2000 Charleston Challengers (13.27), (5-8-1)
91. 1992 Middletown Twins (11.84), (6-9)
92. 2000 Waikiki Tsunamis (11.33), (5-9)
93. 1993 New England Winners (8.57), (6-10)
94. 2001 Colorado Crips (8.47), (5-9)
95. 2001 Phoenix Conquistadors (5.31), (4-10)
96. 1996 Atlanta Predators (3.57), (4-9-1)
97. 1993 Miami Miracles (2.35), (1-15)
98. 1998 Chicago Black Sox (1.22), (0-13-1)