Any lingering doubt about the Arnhall Dolphins or Kincorth Killers credentials as 2017 leading light were totally banished in a Week 4 programme that saw both extend their respective records to 4-0 and maintain their 100% records. The Fish in particular looked the part with an impressive 39-24 win over a Drillers side that possesses that nagging hard to beat quality. The Killers had to work a little more diligently for their success over the Scunthorpe Steelers... but in doing showed the pundits they have the quality to win when their kicking game is a little off form. Congratulations go to coach Matthew Inkster as his Cove Bay Pirates got their first win in ALFF circles with a nerve tingling 25-23 victory over the Laurel Lions and although the League's newest franchise are trailing in the wake of their aforementioned high flying Granite Div rivals a 1-3 record right now is just one game off wildcard pace. Elsewhere the improving Argyll Apaches took control of the Bon Accord Division as they saw off the Caledonia Express in a 35-28 hold on win to ram home their advantage with all three Divisional opponents tasting defeat. A win for the Garthdee Gryphons moved the founder member coached ball-club to the outright leadership of the often maligned Pittodrie Division... but with the Blades seeing off the hapless/winless Deevale Desperados courtesy of this terms first big late Sunday comeback , the PDiv , with all four sides within one game of each other, is shaping up to the squeakiest of 2017. In truth the Desperados were a little unlucky not to lose their negative 100% record but it was a painful Sunday (again) for the coaches McConnachie who posted a club season low total of 8pts and face their Week 5 match-up dangerously low on potential starters given injuries, byes and the number of rookies on their roster. Unfortunately one major feature of Week 4 was the level of injuries. Derek Carr , Marcus Mariota, Julio Jones and Delvin Cook headed a list that was depressingly long , as I know from personal experience I had two of my starting 3 wideouts carted off by half time. Depth is going to be factor in coming weeks. Scoring, without being stratospheric, was the highest scoring weekend of the season thus and it was noticeable that coaches have either reached or about to reach the point of pulling the plug on high choice draft busts. Despite the onset of bye weeks in Week 5 .. I won't be shocked to seeing scoring actually improve. QB play has picked up dramatically after a slow start with ground TD's a distinct helping trend and we are just on track for a 1000pt campaign for signal-callers but the lack of WR points continues to be the positional "big" story. Right now the season projection is in the 550 range.. easily a record low for a 12 team/13 week term. Perhaps its just coincidence but the more senior coaches seemed to have upped their game this term. All three Div races are led by coaches who have passed large significant number ... with the three "full" founder members remaining ( you only count as a half Mike !) leading the scoring charts and the race for the ALFF Points Title. Week 4 sees the end of the early campaign period and we move into the critical slalom that is the mid season run. I will updating Title Watch from this Friday onwards as the individual races develop. Just remember... it wouldn't be the first time a team had seen a 4-0 start crumble to a 5-8 play-off miss... or an 0-4 ball-club make the play-offs. It could still be you !!
Dolphins Deep Six Drillers
QB Russell Wilson stretches out to get the Dolphins the win.
The Arnhall Dolphins went head to head with the 2 Minute Drillers in this. Week four fixture. Mad Fish and his crew were off to the perfect start with 3 wins from 3 and looking to keep the ball rolling. Week 3’s team had done the business but there was one change to the line up. Crowell came in for Montgomery in the back field, but it was, same again, please, for the rest of the team. The Commish had tasted defeat on the opening weekend, but had then won back to back games to keep in touch. He had some major concerns about having too many eggs in the same basket, ziz-a-viz the Rams/Cowpokes fixture. In came (old favourite) Drew Brees, at the helm, in place of Jared Goff. Thursday night saw this one lead off with Davante Adams going for the Drillers. He caught a 5 yard catch, to get things moving, only to be levelled, and injured, by a vicious hit, not long after. Come Sunday and there was Drew Brees in Wembley action (if that is the right word for that game). It was pretty near to a no score draw heading for the half way, but picked up…just a little…in the 2nd half. Drew found his men in the end zone with passes of 3…in this case to Mike Thomas; and then 12 yards. He finished the evening with 29 of 41 for 268 yards and 1 sack. The Commish then had to watch as Mohammed Sanu was left in a crumpled heap. And had to exit the game. The Dolphins reply came in the shape of their #1 prospect. Ezekial Eliot scored on a 10 yard pass and then ran in from the 1 for 9 points. Over the other side of the park the Drillers had a, possible contestant for MVP, in the shape of Todd Gurley Jnr. He did not disappoint as he romped away of a 53 yard score to extend the Drilllers lead. Dan Bailey added another 6 with a 34 yard FG and 3 Pat’s. Chandler Catanzaro did his best to bring the game within, touching distance, with an 11 point night. FG’s from 45, 26 and 41 yard made this a 4 point game, with the late action still to come. That brought in Russell Wilson, needing a big night; and that is what the Dolphins got. Wilson finished with 21 of 26 for 295 yards, with 2 sacks and 3 interceptions…but more crucially, he scored on a 23 yard scamper as well as finding the end zone with passes from 6 and 27 yards; not to mention the share of a 2 point conversion. This one had been turned on its head. The Chiefs D added a further 6, deep into garbage time, to ice the cake, and keep the, unbeaten run going. The Dolphins move to 4-0 for the first time since 2004, and for the 4th time in franchise history. In two of the previous 3 times they have made it to the Bowl. This is their 3rd, straight, win over the Drillers and they now lead the RSS 7-5. Week 5 will see them meet the Express, and may go some way towards proving if they are the real deal, or not. The Drillers are 2-2 and are hurting, in more ways than one. The injuries to Sanu and Adams, could be bad and it is a case of wait and see. They have Todd Gurley in the team, and as long as he stays fit, he will score them points. The Commish also has concerns over his Kicker. Could this be curtains for Bailey? They meet the Killers in week 5 and will want to get back to winning ways, but the bye weeks are now kicking in and all teams will have to keep a, keen eye on things. Now is not the time to panic…well not yet. See you in seven
Geacher Grounds & Pounds : Mighty Mart Marred As Marcus Mauled
Le'Veon Bell scores for the Apaches on this goal-line run.
With no fewer than 7 changes between the two teams, they were choppin’ and changin’ like a lumberjack runway model. Geronimo took back the Dak Attack in place of Cheeseburger at QB, while Adam “Admit You Didn’t Know I Exist” Thielen and Willie “Honeycomb” Snead were preferred in the increasingly common 4 wideout formation.Not to be outdone in the subs-stakes, Marty made no less than 4 changes with Jamal Charles replacing top pick (and potential bust candidate) Mark Ingram, TG Jr in for JuJu Smith-Schuster (whom I will refer to as J2S2 in the future), Brandon McManus replaced Graham Gano and Houston were preferred to New Orleans. Mighty Marty’s Marcus Mariota turned on the rocketboots twice in the early going with an incredible run from 34 yards out and again on a swing out from the goalline. And then; disaster strikes like one of them “John Cena Out Of Nowhere” videos that were popular like 2 years ago. Mariota goes down like the most athletic sack of tatties you’ve ever seen. The Texans, who knocked him out of the game , then returned an apologetic 6 points with a 25 yard INT. On the other side of the ball, Dak Prescott was putting up some numbers, the most important of which came from 10, 10 and 28 through the air for scores for a total of 9 points. Le’Veon Bell then put up numbers the likes of which have not been seen in Pittsburgh since The Bus; 36 carries, 144 yards and 2 TDs – both from a yard out. Who else misses the days of BIG backs wearing pads that extend above their heads and neckrolls like rollcages? *hands up*. Stephen Gostkowski was busy as ever from 41, 35, 58 and a trio of PATs for the (Dirty Cheatin’) Pats. Meanwhile, at Camp Krusty, Coach Garioch’s side had some work to do. Brandon McManus answered the call from 23, 36 and 46 yards out and a PAT (after THAT catch from A.J. Derby. What the hell, man?! Odell Beckham called – he want’s his ludicrous 3 finger catches back!) for 10. With nothing else that evening, the tie was poised on… not quite a “knife edge”, but perhaps “balanced precariously on the back of a spork” at 35-28 in favour of the Mad Campbell(town)er. But, as a few would attest to, counting out Tyreek Hill’s potential contribution can be a mistake. This time,… yer fine, as he was kept reasonably in-check. So the Apaches manage to survive the potential Tyreek Hill upset to take the W. Would things have been different if Marcus Mariota had not been knocked out early on? Looking at the way that game was shaping up, quite likely, but we know better than to deal in shouldas, wouldas or couldas. With the Drillers taking a loss this week, the Apaches leapfrog into first place in the Bon Accord Division.The Express drop to 2-2, but with only one game separating first from “last” in the Pittodrie Division, we get the feeling that there is a lot more to be said and done in Garthdee, Cove, B.o.D. and Westburn/Wellington. The Mariota injury prognosis is not yet known as of writing this, but Marty will be distraught should his fantasy starlet miss any time. The Geacher’s 3rd straight win in the series extends his RSS lead to 13-9. Lastly, I’d like to briefly use this (small) platform, if I may, to express my deepest condolences to those involved in the Las Vegas attack, or indeed any other act of extreme violence/terrorism. Another high profile tragedy of unimaginable scale. No politics of terrorist/madman or kneel/stand in this spiel, but deep respect for those who displayed incredible heroism to save others during the chaos. Love what you do - do what you love - stay safe.. X
Cook Navigates Pirates To First Win
Rookie Dalvin Cook opens the Pirates account with a 5 yard TD run.
The fine line between success and failure in fantasy circles was on full display as coach Inkster and his Cove Bay Pirates got off the mark with a tense 25-23 win over the Laurel Lions. Trailing 06-00 after Jordy Nelson's Thursday night double the Pirates , for a second straight week loaded totally in the early Sunday action, battled to a 25-11 lead thanks largely to the long range boot of K Steven Hauschka , then held on grimly as Lions QB Eli Manning got the defending champions to within one score of turning the game on its head. A further score from Eli, RB Jacquizz Rodgers or the Philly Defence would have changed the result.. but coach Matthew's boys rode it out to get that all important first W. The rookie HC has been building week on week and opted to tweak his line-up in his search for initial success. RB James White came in as the Pirates selection committee went to a traditional 2RB set for only the 2nd time, while Cole Beasley was given the 3rd WR role at the expense of scoring rookie David Njoku. Beasley is already the 8th wideout used by the fledgling ballclub through just 4 games of the season thus far. But it was the adjustment at kicker that was to prove most fateful.. Week 1 starter Steven Hauschka returning after slim pickings from Chris Boswell over the past two outings. Coach Hamilton , with 6pts already in the locker courtesy of title chasing Jordy Nelson also switched back to a 2RB formation .... just as fatefully electing to go with tested RB DeMarco Murray ahead of Lamar Miller. Ryan Succop replaced the largely ineffective Adam Vinatieri at kicker. Rookie Dalvin Cook got the Pirates on track early Sunday with a 5 yard TD run but subsequent events at US Bank Stadium did little to aid the Granite Div's outfits cause. QB Matt Stafford was largely shut down by a stout Vikings D... managing just the 1pt on his "share" of a successful 2pt attempt and perhaps even more significantly ball carrier Cook left the field on a cart without adding to his total. By then Chris Hogan had added to the Lions modest haul with a 2 yard TD grab but Mufasa's hopes of padding out his early lead through K Ryan Succop were largely scuppered by the surprising Texans racing out to a huge lead against the Titans in Houston. Succop's lowly 2pt haul would loom large in the final equation. With very little between the two sides and the game up for grabs it was Steven Hauschka who took the bull by the horns. After a slow 2 PAT start in keeping with the general pace of the game the FG artist exploded with three , 4th quarter FG's the last pair of which came from 56 and 55 yd's respectively. Throw in a last gasp TD from WR Danny Amendola in Foxboro' and suddenly the other Cove outfit were 25-11 to the good and the smell of victory was in the air. Under threat QB Eli Manning did his best to get the Pride back in the hunt ... even scoring on a 14 yard run (really.. I'm not making this up !) but although the passer did get on the board with two short TD tosses, the Danestone based outfit just came up short. Coach Inkster will be delighted to get that winless monkey off his back and for a 4th straight week saw his output grow .. a new franchise best 25pts ending in his first success. The loss of Dalvin Cook will be a blow and with his depth chart pretty thin at the position the first year HC may have to look at transactions or a possible trade to bolster his squad. With both the Killers and Arnhall winning again the Pirates are a long way off Div title pace... but with another quick win or two are well within wildcard and post season contention. The Lions drop to 2-2 and into a 3 way tie behind the Garthdee Gryphons in what is shaping up to be a really competitive Pittodrie Division battle. James will be second guessing at least two of his Week 4 selections (see SOW !) and will not be too thrilled about facing the new Bon Accord Div leaders the Argyll Apaches next week before a crucial Week 6 clash with Div opponents the Westburn Blades.
Player of the Week
It was a big week for the Cove Bay Pirates as coach Inkster got his first ever ALFF win. Kicker Steven Hauschka was the real Pirates hero... tacking 3 FG's on to two earlier successful PAT's. With the FG's coming in at 24, 55 and 56 yard respectively , the long time Seahawk specialist ran up a 15(4)pt total that was reminiscent of the days he pushed hard for the ALFF kicking title on a regular basis. His performance earns the Kicker a first Player of the Week honour for a Cove Bay Pirates player.
Play of the Week
Where Have All The Big Plays Gone.. so sung Peter, Paul and Mary back in 1962... well something like that... and the eponymous Pete Seeger penned song could well be the elevator music to 2017. To be fair .. there are a few out there.. we (me !) are just not doing a great job of catching them. Ironically all the (non FG's ) with brackets after them, bar one, this week fell to losing sides.. leaving Westburn Blades QB Derek Carr's 64 yard strike to non ALFF wide-out Johnny Holton as this weeks' Hens Tooth of the Week !
Kincorth Are Steely Killers
Wide-out Alshon Jeffrey snares a vital 8 yard counter for the Killers.
When Coach Meek looks back on this years draft, he may very well rue his decision to choose Marshawn Lynch with his first pick, especially if you compare his statistics of one touchdown so far this season to other running backs who went in the first round...Todd Gurley six, Devonta Freeman five, LeVeon Bell three, then it is scant return for such a high investment, Sure, Adamski has able people like Jameis Winston and Kareem Hunt on his roster, but you do need your #1 to perform at a higher level than Lynch currently is. For Coach McGeachy Jnr, no such problems as the Portlethen based Killers were looking to go 4-0 for the first time in their history and winning I think what was their eight game on the bounce spread over this and last season. In contrast, Andrews #1 pick has been sure footed and Tom Brady had another decent day in the office with two touchdowns. The recalled Jordan Howard had got the Killers of to a sound start on Thursday with a three yard run right up the middle of the GB defence. Rookie Joe Mixon was scoreless but Alshon Jeffrey and Mike Evans each snared a catch whilst Matt Bryant kicked a 28 yarder and two extra points. That was it for Andrew....23 points, five down on their hithertoo season average, but enough to see off the moribund Steelers. As we know, Lynch again went scoreless....in fact EVERYBODY went scoreless apart from the excellent Jamies Winston who contributed twelve points which included a 58 yarder to (un-activated Pirates) wide receiver OJ Howard, and kicker Blair Walsh-Report who kicked a field goal from the forty-four and also stuck through five extra points. Final score 23-20 to the Killers. Interestingly enough (well I find it interesting) that is the fifth meeting of these two teams and in four of the games, the points differential has been three points or less, and Adam leads the RSS 3-2. What now for Adam, sitting at 1-3? No need to panic I would say... next up is Cove Bay Pirates, and the mean score of these teams is 22-20 in favour of Adamski, but two points ain't much AND 1-4 is a long way back, but the feeling here in ALFF HQ is that the luck will soon come down Scunthorpe way. As for Andrew, he will see exactly where he stands this year when he faces the Commish's 2-2 Drillers. A win in that game will make a huge statement of intent (and do his auld fella a huge favour), and it will also match Arnhall's result this week which in the cut throat Granite Division, is very important. Even at this early stage of the season it looks certain that the pennant winner will either be a miniature damson or a crazy haddock. See what I did there? Till next week
Gryphons Insensitive To Johnnie's Feelings !
QB Kirk Cousins scored twice for the Gryphons.
Misery loves company. Hello Mike, Andrew…you are not alone! Sorry but only 3 teams were winless at the onset of this week’s matchups, and like your scribe and his bunch of losers the Wrecking Rebs were in this elite group. Let’s create a bit of tension immediately and declare that this select band has now been reduced to 2 so read on to discover if the Rebs were this week’s success story or if they remain basement dwellers alongside the dreadful Dans. Encouraging for the Rebs was the fact that in the 2 previous encounters the Gryphons hadn’t bested the Rosemount Johnnies.There was little to tell vis-a-vis team changes this week; the Rebs made no changes – why change a winning formula? Oh aye, I forgot that formula is still undiscovered over Rosemount way; The Garthdee Gryphons? Well they made their sole weekly change at the kicking position with Jake Elliot coming in as Desmond’s 3rd different kicker in 4 games – if only he changed his socks as regularly we’d still have an ozone layer! The early QB action was not what the doctor ordered as Rebs starter Matty “ice” Ryan .. was back to showing his true colours, without the max protection his previous co-ordinator had installed Matty was frozen in place and therefor easily found and dealt with by the opposing D. Maybe that’s where the “ice” nickname came from;(Commish edit : known as Ice as he melts under any form of heat !) in any event he managed a single TD toss on one of the few occasions he remained upright. With the Gryphons QB not starting until the MNF the Garthdee side were reliant on their running attack to get them on the board. With RB C Thompson’s appearance also delayed until the MNF, early season MVP candidate Devontae Freeman obliged with a lone TD run. In response the Rebs frightening running attack, which on paper at least looks like it should be productive, must’ve got a fear in the lockers as they did their best scaredy cat impression and with their tails between their legs left the stage without having a sniff of the end zone. Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse for the Rosemount outfit their WR Trio of Rob Gronkowski, Keenan Allen & Zack Ertz managed to replicate the form of their running backs – top of the class if the words goose and eggs are bouncing around your bonce. Assume best Eurovision tones and annunciate the term nil points. In reply the 2 Gryphons wide receivers not involved in MNF helped pad their lead; Randall Cobb had a lone TD score and Doug Baldwin managed a point for his part in a 2 point conversion. The Rebs are now in what I’ve come to call Danland and yes that’s right they are paddle less; having only 3 points on the board, with only special teams to come and trailing 3 – 10 against only half of the Gryphons it was hard to see any way that the Johnnies could rally. The only good news I can provide them from this point on is that in terms of defensive play they were the equal of the Gryphons – you guessed – neither scored. The kicking battle would serve to demonstrate the current gulf between the sides, and not in a way that will cause much pleasure in the Rosemount camp. Resident Reb kicker Aldrick Rosas managed a subpar 5 points whilst newly acquired Gryphon Jake Elliot blootered a 16 point (2 bonus) debut. With the Rebs spent – and hardly worth the tissue – the result was in the bag an 8 – 26 defeat to the Gryphons. This score would have hurt enough but the Gryphons policy of kicking a man(team) when they are down now forced the Rebs to endure even more pain. Showing no mercy and despite the result now being without dispute the Gryphons added another 9 points in the MNF: QB Kirk Cousins (6) and WR Travis Kelce (3) being the contributors. Only RB Chris Thompson did the decent thing by not adding to the Rebels misery. Desmond and his Birds improve to 3 – 1 and have the outright lead of the Pittodrie Division plus have their first win over the Rebels in 3 attempts. The Rebs are now in contention for first pick in next year’s draft and if dropping to 0 – 4 wasn’t bad enough they now have to go back 10 games for their last victory. With 2 Divisional leaders’ coming up in the next 3 weeks something has to change quickly or their season could be going down the proverbial plug hole! Speaking of plugs and I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade but the plugs over in Danland will mean the best the Rebs can hope for is 2nd pick in the next draft - the soon to be unveiled John Laurie 8 will have first dibs!!
Ball Hawking Blades Dump Dans
LB Bobby Wagner shrugs off would be tacklers to win the game with his 21 yard fumble return.
The Westburn Blades piled on the agony for the suffering Deevale Desperados as they came back from the dead to snatch a dramatic, Seattle inspired 27-23 win over the snakebitten Granite Division cellar dwellers. Trailing 15-23 going into the CBS phase and with QB Derrek Carr likely gone for a significant period coach Youngblood had all but given this one up as a "very bad day at the office" even after a 28 yard pick six by DB Justin Coleman .... but a late 21yd fumble return by LB Bobby Wagner handed the currently NZ based combo a stunning comeback success. The Desperate Ones had leapt out to a 17-00 lead thanks to a combination of QB Aaron Rodgers and K Mason Crosby at Lambeau Field on Thursday night but the latter's lowly 5pt share of that haul gave Vegas grounds for still listing the Pittodrie Division outfit as slender 2pt favorites. Seeking urgently to end a grim current 10 game losing streak The Dan In Chief recalled RB Derrick Henry and was finally able to select top wideout Odell Beckham with some level of confidence his playmaker was close to 100%. The addition of the newly acquired Detroit D almost eliminated the Dolphins content from Ronnie's line-up. Coach Kiwi settled on Fournette & Shady McCoy as his latest combination of his stable of three top runners, with Jimmy Graham for Kenny Stills in a straight swap of Ex Saints at WR3 further evidence of ALFF coaches bailing wholesale on the aforementioned Miami. But it was the dropping of top Kicker Jason Tucker that had the fantasy talk shows buzzing , on fire back-up Matt Prater getting the promotion to Westburn starter. Opening the Sunday proceedings last Fin standing Jay Ajayi did not bother the scoreboard operator with his goose egg in the Wembley "action" but moving on a welcome 7 yard counter from AJ Green wiped out a 10 yard receiving score from excellent Blades rookie Leonard Fournette to preserve Deevale's 17pt advantage. Matt Prater did get on the scoresheet with a FG double (29 and 37 yds) but his 6pt haul was short of the pundits predictions and suddenly thoughts of a Desperados win were being countenanced. If Derrick Henry or their Detroit D could have scored at this stage then it could have been a very different story for the Kincorth based ball-club. On to the second Sunday period Stuie was in classic fantasy schizophrenia mode. QB Derek Carr was being constantly harassed by the Broncos defence ( to Stuart's NFL delight) but did get off a 64 yard TD that closed his ALFF deficit to 15-20 . Top wideout Michael Crabtree had been a late inactive (coach Stuie sez nawww ... fan Stuart sez yayyy ! ). Then (ALFF ) disaster struck . Carr was hit in the back by one of his own lineman and left the field for the day (and perhaps longer). A late 19 yard Larry Fitzgerald score in Glendale padded the Dans lead to 23-15 and with only the underperforming Jimmy Graham and his Seattle D to come.. it looked like this one was over for the Blades. True, teams have seen two defensives scores or more in the past... but rarely with the outcome of the game hanging on it... and given we had only seen two defensive scores through Week 3 all SEASON ... the chances were slim weren't they ? Well not if have you have been watching the Colts offence much this season ( the Commish is still feeling the pain of a Scott Tolzien pick six that handed the Birds their Week 1 success !)... and as we have seen the Seattle D duly snapped up the gifts on offer to complete a truly stunning Westburn smash and grab. Coach Bothwell's side improve to 2-2 and stay very much in touch in a Pittodrie Div led the Gryphons but covered by just one win. The loss of Carr could be largely overcome by the emergence of Deshaun Watson... and if he can get his kicking game sorted out there is every reason to believe the pundits early confidence in Youngblood as one of this terms genuine contenders. What can I say about the Desperados ? Losses don't come much more painful than this... and given it's extend their awful streak to 11 ... its hard to bear. Changes are coming this week on transactions with coach Cruickshank motivated to end his miserable run and burst the Gryphons bubble next time out. Stuie now leads the RSS between the two coaches at 7-5.
Sleeper of the Week
With no fewer than 50 of Houston's "surprise" 59 fantasy points on offer going unclaimed it should come as no shock we would find the winner of this Week's sleeper in amongst the Texans ranks. There were bigger misses in terms of points .. but only one with the game changing impact that gets the Sleeper judges attention !! Coach Hamilton actually toyed with starting Lamar Miller at RB... but opted to go with someone who had actually scored this term... Demarco Murray. Coach Hamilton's 9pt miss in a 2pt loss to the Pirates (net -9pts) earns him and Lamar Miller the Week SOW.
Tom Brady (Kincorth Killers) moved past Terrell Owens into 5th pace overall in the AT appearance list (166).
Tom Brady (Kincorth Killers ) 1st TD ( 2 yards) took him to the 1100 RS pts mark. Brady is only the 3rd player to this mark , and 2nd QB behind Peyton Manning.
Drew Brees (Drillers) 1st TD (3 yards) took him past Jason Elam (1206pts) into 3rd place in the League All Time scoring list.