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WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN FANTASY FOOTBALL LEAGUE
WMFFL Season Review, Draft Recap, and Season Predictions (2021 Edition)
By Tom Marsh - Sep 01, 2021
20 years ago this month, I participated in my first WMFFL draft (I was an emergency owner replacement 4-games in to the 2000 season, so I missed the draft that year).  I don't remember much about my first draft except we met in someone's apartment in Maryland (I want to say Ira's maybe?), I didn't know anyone, and I had to draft for Mike as well, since he couldn't make it.  Like the Oscars, he gave me a set of envelopes for each round that I had to open to reveal his picks, which was apparently a good strategy since he went to the finals that year.  Even so, it was fun and I do still miss the in-person draft experience (and the shared laptop that announced our picks).

Enough nostalgia, on to the good stuff. It was an amazingly well executed draft this year, nobody took an excessive amount of time (except me maybe) and no major hang-ups (nicely done Josh!)


2020 Season Recap

Still odd things going on with the team rankings over the past few years.  I don't know if it's a decline in offenses centered around a single talent, or more parity, or just dumb luck but, for whatever reason, for the second year in a row the top scoring team (Squirrels) did not make the playoffs at all.  Not only that but the 2nd strongest team (Norsemen) also didn't make the playoffs AND the third strongest team (MeggaMen) didn't have their playoff fate decided until the final week and was a sub-.500 playoff team.  

So Josh went 12-2 with a team of middling strength (7th overall) and won the title.  Guess it's true that it's better to be lucky then good!


Team-by-Team Review and Predictions

Pretty awful on the predictions from last year.  In 2019, I picked five teams within a single game and got two spot on.  At the very least, that's almost 50% right.  This past year was a shit show though.  I think I'm actually getting worse at picking the winners.   

Nailed it 3 teams
Missed by 1 game 2 teams
Missed by 2 games 2 team
Blew it (missed by 3 or more) 5 teams


On to the fun stuff...

Amish Electricians
2020 Predicted Finish: 8-6
2020 Actual Finish: 12-2
2020 Results: The stars aligned for Josh this year and everything went his way.  He swept his division and rolled through the playoffs for his fifth title and a 12-2 record, only losing in a blowout to the top ranked team (Squirrels) and to a tough playoff team (Crusaders).  The trade for Lamar Jackson was a high price but it paid off for Josh in spectacular fashion.  The tandem of Jackson and Davante Adams carried his offense and the trio of Aaron Donald, Lavonte David, and Budda Baker anchor a defense that will keep him in contention for the next few years.

Best Pick: Derwin James
Worst Pick: Zach Ertz
Draft Grade: B
2021 Predicted Finish: 9-5
Summary:  Josh had a fine, if unspectacular, draft.  Josh didn't have a fist round pick but taking Trey Sermon was a fine rookie selection.  He'll field a top QB in Jackson but his RBs are severely lacking, with Sermon looking like the best of them from the start.  At WR, Adams again will singlehandedly win some games and with Calvin Ridley now owning the top WR spot in Atlanta, he could top the league in WR points.  His TEs are just ok but he's got a strong kicker in Blankenship.  On D, he has the aforementioned top players in each spot and filled in backups fairly well in the draft.  Josh can't possibly be as lucky as he was last year but he'll still be in contention for the top spot in a revived Burgundy divison.


Norsemen
2020 Predicted Finish: 8-6
2020 Actual Finish: 9-5
2020 Results:  Byron again proved to be one of the strongest teams in the league.  The Norsemen powered through to a 9-5 record, the third straight season of over 9 wins, which is am impressive feat in the WMFFL 12-team era.  Even with McCaffrey banged up most of the year, Byron was able to lean on Alvin Kamara and Patrick Mahomes to roll to another strong season.  With the Burgundy division proving to now be the toughest in the league, he was still unable to make the playoffs, mainly due to two tough (and close) losses to Don and Josh late in the season.

Best Pick: Myles Garrett
Worst Pick: Rob Gronkowski
Draft Grade: A+
2021 Predicted Finish: 11-3
Summary: Byron is probably the best drafter in the league and this year he turned in a gem.  With two picks in the first round, he went WR heavy and secured two very strong starters, in Keenan Allen and Chris Godwin.  He then sealed the deal by bringing back the ever-servicable James Robinson, and top tier options on D in Bobby Wagner and Myles Garrett.  Byron will end up fielding the strongest overall team in the league this year with a top QB in Mahomes, the two top RBs in Kamara and McCaffery, two excellent WRs, and one of the better TEs in Mark Andrews.  On Defense, Garret and Nick Bosa will power a top D line with Wagner heading up the LB group.   His "weakest" group are his DBs, with still solid Taylor Rapp and Khari Willis.  If he avoids the injury bug (see the MeggaMen section below), he'll end up with double digit wins and a cruise to the playoffs.


Richard's Lionhearts
2020 Predicted Finish: 6-8
2020 Actual Finish: 6-8
2020 Results: Richard's 2020 season was a bit of a stumble and he slightly reversed his winning trend, but not by much.  He had some very narrow wins (5 pts or less) this past year over the MeggaMen and STA so he just as easily could have gone 4-10 last year.  This won't cut it in an extremely tough Burgundy division.

Best Pick: Jessie Bates
Worst Pick: Tyler Boyd
Draft Grade: D
2021 Predicted Finish: 4-10
Summary: Richard had 18 picks in this year's draft and he'll need them to overhaul this roster.  His first pick of Zeke Elliott was a no-brainer and he continued re-vamping his offensive (and league worst) offense from there, by picking offensive players with his first 5 selections.  I didn't like most of his picks and thought he reached on a number of them, when better players were available.  He'll field either a rookie QB in Trevor Lawrence or Zach Wilson, or perhaps serial massage patron in Deshaun Watson, IF he get cleared to play on that dumpster fire of a team.  At RB, Elliott is a solid anchor and Joe Mixon makes this a good combination.  At WR, things are a bit messy with the Tyler twins leading the way and a bunch of maybe's behind them.  On D, Sweat and Ogbah are servicable, the LBs are middling at best, but his DBs are very strong, with Jessie Bates and John "JJ" Johnson.  Unfortunately a draft like this won't help Richard get past any of the 3 other teams in his division.  It's possible his record is even lower than I predict and I would rank him as a prime toilet bowl contender this year.


Sean Taylor's Ashes
2020 Predicted Finish: 4-10
2020 Actual Finish: 9-5
2020 Results:  In the annuls of picking winners, there is rarely a prediction that is blown more than the one I made for Don last year.  He (somehow) turned a 4-10 predicted team into a 9-5 winner and a playoff berth.  How he did this with a middling offense and he worst defense in the league, I don't know but (like Josh), I'm sure a monster luck rating played a big part.  He pulled off the upset over the Crusaders in the first round before dropping the "Battle of the Luckies" in the finals against Josh.

Best Pick: Adam Thielen
Worst Pick: Rashaad Penny 
Draft Grade: F
2021 Predicted Finish: 6-8
Summary: Yuck!  I hated everything Don did in this draft.  Taking Brady this early was an overreach, especially since he was fantasy's overall QB #10 last year in points per game and several younger, and equally as strong if not stronger, QBs in Russel Wilson and Justin Herbert were still available.  The overreaching didn't improve from there with the no-longer top tier JuJu Smith-Schuster, oft-injured (and with questionable role) Sony Michel, and finally the "who knows what their role will be?" pair in Russell Gage and Sammy Watkins.  His next pick was a player who's already in IR for the entire season Travis Etienne) and it didn't improve from there.  Don will end up fielding Brady at QB, solid Nick Chubb at RB (without a real other option), and the strong Adam Thielen will lead his WRs.  TE may be his best position, with George Kittle and Logan Thomas.  His entire defense is mediocre, at best, so it could be another year in the cellar for his defense.  All-in-all, this won't be a strong enough team to get Don back to the playoffs and he is one season-ending injury away from all-out catastrophe.  


Crusaders
2020 Predicted Finish: 8-6
2020 Actual Finish: 9-5
2020 Results: It was another strong year for Hall and, if you throw out the 2018 season (we all need a mulligan sometimes), Hall hasn't posted a sub-.500 season in the past 10 years.  Not only that, but over that time Hall had 5 seasons of 10+ wins!  No other team has had more than 2 so that's a tremendous achievement that speaks to his managerial skill and the overall shittiness of his division.  Another strong year was not enough for Hall to overcome the streaking (and aforementioned lucky) STA and he dropped his first-round playoff game to them.

Best Pick: Russell Wilson
Worst Pick: David Johnson
Draft Grade: B
2021 Predicted Finish: 7-7
Summary: It's hard to bet against Hall but he has to have a down season at some point.  He had a good draft and brought back Russell Wilson to pair with Robert Woods and Kareem Hunt.  Overall, his team is powered by three players; Wilson, Dalvin Cook, and Darren Waller and if one of them goes down or takes a step back, it could devastate his season.  That said, Hall always finds a way to power through and his division mates always find a way to suck.  He'll field a top QB in Wilson with a potentially strong backup in Stafford.  At RB, Cook leads the way and he'll have to hope Kareem Hunt gets a good workload to carry the 2nd spot.  At WR, aside from Woods, things look pretty bleak and he may struggle mightily at this position this year (as he did last year).  Waller is really his best receiver and he tends to make up from the poor WR play.  On D, he has strong but not top tier options in Cam Jordan and Josh Allen.  at LB, Zach Cunningham and AJ Johnson will average out to be an ok pair but at DB things are more bleak, with not great options.  DB was a strong spot for Hall last year so we'll see how this plays out.  


Fighting Squirrels
2020 Predicted Finish: 6-8
2020 Actual Finish: 8-6
2020 Results: Talk about a reversal of fortune.  Brian turned this team around last year and guided them to their first winning record in 5 years.  They narrowly led the league in total points (over Byron) and had a great season on both offense and defense.  This well-rounded team was not enough to overcome a tough late-season loss to the Richard's Lionhearts, which ended up dropping Brian behind Hall in the playoff hunt.   

Best Pick: Julio Jones
Worst Pick: Dallas Goedert
Draft Grade: B
2021 Predicted Finish: 9-5
Summary: Brian turned in good draft and is poised to take control of the Gold Division.  He'll field a top QB in Rodgers, strong RBs with Aaron Jones and David Montgomery, and probably the best WR tandem in the league in Julio Jones and Tyreek Hill.  Brian protected last year's surprise TE, Robert Tonyan, so he'll have a formidable offense this year.  Things go down a bit on D with a good Leonard Williams and just ok backups.  He's got potentially good LBs if Schobert lands in a good spot in Pittsburgh and if Devin Bush can recover from a lost 2020.  His DBs are unspectacular but should throw in a handful of points per week.  Defense is definitely not his strong suit but he may not need them to do much with this offense.  If Brian can stay the course and avoid major injury, the division title is within his reach.


Gallic Warriors
2020 Predicted Finish: 7-7
2020 Actual Finish: 3-11
2020 Results: Chris has been caught in a cycle of mild improvement and significant regression for years now.  After taking over this franchise in 2004, he repeatedly had 2 years of near-.500 winning percentage and two years in the toilet (winning 3 games or less).  This seems to stabilize in the past 5 years and he's regularly been close to .500, but this year was a major step back.  He started off the year losing 5 in a row, although each loss was by 15 points or less.  He finally broke through against the MeggaMen in week 6 but the wheels came off totally thereafter, including a 45-0 shutout loss against the mediocre Richard's Lionhearts and a loss in the Toilet Bowl to the Bulldogs.

Best Pick: D'Andre Swift 
Worst Pick: Justin Herbert
Draft Grade: B
2021 Predicted Finish: 5-9
Summary: I liked most of Chris' draft this year and he has potential pieces for a strong year but he'll need a number of guys to turn the corner of have career years.  At QB, Herbert could carry him to a couple wins (provided he avoids the sophomore slump) but Daniel Jones is a pretty poor backup.  At RB, Antonio Gibson and D'Andre Swift could be a strong pair but again, they'd have to have much improved years.  At WR, Mike Evans is still great and Amari Cooper could be a big win, as long as Prescott stays upright in Dallas.  Michael Thomas could be a steal if NO has decent QB play and he comes back healthy.  His TEs are lacking though, with the new kid in town Jonnu Smith.  On D, Chris will need JJ Watt to find the fountain of youth in AZ to be successful and he's got one strong LB in Deion Jones.  His DBs were a big strength last year but that will prove tough to repeat, with Malcolm Bulter with a new team (and contemplating retirement) and Marlon Humphrey unlikely to repeat a season with 8 forced fumbles.  If the stars align, Chris could make the playoffs but I'm not betting on it.  Still he should improve upon last years catastrophe.


Trump Molests Collies
2020 Predicted Finish: 9-5
2020 Actual Finish: 5-9
2020 Results: After killing it in 2018, I've over-picked Warren the last two years now.  Apparently I'm forgetting that, if you take out that 2018 season, his winning percentage over the last 5 years is only .385.  He  lost his first 3 games last year and was never able to recover.

Best Pick: Fred Warner
Worst Pick: Gus Edwards (fine pick but way high in first round)
Draft Grade: C
2021 Predicted Finish: 8-6
Summary: Warren had an ok draft but I think he over-reached for Clyde Edwards-Helaire at pick #3 (a guy who averaged only a little over 5 points per game last year) and did the same with Gus Edwards (who should be #1 in Baltimore but who knows how that order will shake out).  He'll end up fielding Josh Allen at QB, who will carrying him to a couple wins by himself and he's got an intriguing backup in Jameis Winston.  At RB, he will absolutely NEED Saquon Barkley to return to pre-injury form to be successful this year along with either Edwards or CEH shaking out as a strong #2.  At WR, DK Metcalf and Allen Robinson will start and should be a strong pair.  On D, he's good to strong all around with Joey Bosa leading the DL, the emergent Foyesade Oluokun and ever-strong Fred Warner, and potentially great DBs if Landon Collins can stay healthy.  Warren could be in contention for the division title this year but it will again be a 3-way battle for this top spot.


British Bulldogs
2020 Predicted Finish: 5-9
2020 Actual Finish: 5-9
2020 Results: As expected, Adam couldn't get it together with his 2 good players (Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins) who also happen to be on the same team.  This meant that any down games from AZ and he was pretty much guaranteed to lose.   So it's no surprise that they did ok in the first half of the season, and were 3-3 after their first 6 games, then like the Cards, they tanked in the second half and went 2-6 the rest of the way (and the Cards went 4-6 after week 6 themselves).

Best Pick: Raheem Mostert
Worst Pick: Tua Tagovailoa
Draft Grade: A
2021 Predicted Finish: 7-7
Summary: Pretty rare that I struggle to find a bad pick or pick made too early but Adam pulled it off, easily the best draft he's had.  Terry McLaurin, Cooper Kupp, and Raheem Mostert could be key pieces of the team, if they can stay on the field.  Adam solidified his team in the later rounds with the top available players at each position but I do question picking Tua when he's unproven and there were better options available.  At QB, Murray will lead the way but having an unproven backup is risky.  At RB, he will struggle with mediocre Chris Carson and the oft injured Mostert.  The outlook is much better at WR, with Hop, McLaurin, and Kupp and there's a good chance he'll field 3 WRs on a regular basis.  At TE, the engine of his team is newly-acquired Travis Kelce, who will win a couple games by himself.  On D, he'll be in a fine spot at the DL position with DeForest Buckner and JPP.  At LB, Tremaine Edmunds will head up a group that's just ok behind him.  Finally, at DB Vonn Bell is strong but Tyrann Mathieu will be hit-or-miss by the week.  Overall, unless he sees significant improvement in his RBs, is fortunes will still be tied to AZ so Murray and Hop will have to have good years to secure him a playoff spot.  That said, in this division he could contend for the division title.


MeggaMen
2020 Predicted Finish: 9-5
2020 Actual Finish: 6-8
2020 Results: The MeggaMen were absolutely brutalized by injuries last year and struggled mightily to keep pace in their division.  Two of their protected players (Danielle Hunter and Derwin James) didn't play a snap last year and they lost a slew of other players during the season, including Michael Thomas, Darius Leonard, Zach Ertz, and Jamal Adams.  The only reason the MeggaMen didn't totally collapse is the Sacks on the Beach and Testudos Revenge struggled just as badly and, quite suddenly, what was once the strongest division in the WMFFL became the NFC East of fantasy football.  The MeggaMen tried their best to blow it, by losing their last 2 games but the Sacks did the same so the MeggaMen went to the playoffs, only to fall in round 1 to the eventually champs, the Amish.

Best Pick: Jalen Hurts
Worst Pick: Juwan Johnson
Draft Grade: C
2021 Predicted Finish: 5-9
Summary: Was a pretty poor draft this year and I was unprepared for a couple of picks, resulting in less than optimal selections, but not having a first round pick  (due to wasting it on DeShaun Watson) didn't help the talent pool.  At QB, I'll need Dak Prescott to return to form or Jalen Hurts to emerge.  At RB, Derrick Henry is the backbone of this team so he has to hang on for another year and deliver at a high level.  Aside from him, it's a touch bunch of rookies who many never be full starters this year.  At WR, the scattershot approach is in full swing where, aside from locked in #1 Justin Jefferson, I'll field a bunch of guys with questionable roles including Odell Beckham, Chase Claypool, and Will Fuller.  TE is ugly with the injured Smith and no real backup to speak of.  On D, I protected an entire starting line so this will be the team's strength and will probably win a couple games alone.  The D is stacked as long as Danielle Hunter can return to form, at LB I have all-world #1 Darius Leonard, and the DBs are the best pair in the league, in Jamal Adams and Jeremy Chinn.  There are lots of question marks around my team this year and I think it's fair to say I'm in full rebuilding mode.  Things could work out great if the stars align but, in reality, I think I'll struggle to hit .500 again this season.


Sacks on the Beach
2020 Predicted Finish: 6-8
2020 Actual Finish: 6-8
2020 Results: It's been two down seasons in a row for Mike and I don't see it ending anytime soon.  He was 6-5 by week 11 but lost his final 3 games and dropped to a 3-way tie for the division lead but lost the tie breaker.  

Best Pick: Chase Edmonds
Worst Pick: Patrick Queen
Draft Grade: B-
2021 Predicted Finish: 6-8
Summary: Was on ok draft for Mike, he secured some potential long-term help at RB and TE and filled some key spots on the D.  He'll field Tannehill at QB with good depth behind him in Roethlisberger, if he can stay upright.  At RB, there are a bunch of question marks starting with his leader, Josh Jacobs, and going downhill from there.  He'll need Najee Harris to find his feet quickly and Chase Edmonds to emerge in AZ.  At WR, questions abound as to AJ Brown's role in TEN with Julio Jones in town and Diontae Johnson will have to learn how to catch on a regular basis.  At TE, the rookie Kyle Pitts should eventually be a strong contributor and who knows which Jared Cook will show up for the Chargers.  On D, Haason Reddick was a good pick, provided he can pick up where he left off last year.  He has a top LB in Blake Martinez but Queen can be severely up-and-down.  At DB, he's got a solid (and aging) Malcolm Jenkins but little otherwise.  Overall, Mike will struggle again this year and the White division continues to look like a dud.


Testudos Revenge
2020 Predicted Finish: 8-6
2020 Actual Finish: 6-8
2020 Results: Things were looking great for Derek after going 11-3 in 2019 and he appeared be a dynasty in the making but things change fast in this league.   Jared Goff was not the star he was banking on and Zeke Elliott regressed after losing his QB and passing game.  The TR was 4-8 going into the last couple games of the season and Derek was able to pull those out, but too little too late, he finished 6-8 and lost the tie breakers for the division title.

Best Pick: Joe Burrow
Worst Pick: Miles Sanders
Draft Grade: C-
2021 Predicted Finish: 7-7
Summary: Derek secured a potential QB for the future in Burrow but there are lots of question marks around his other picks on offense.  He also took a kicker and OL way too high.  He'll end up fielding Burrow at QB with the rookie Trey Lance behind him.  At RB, Jonathan Taylor will be the #1 and he'll need Sanders to get consistent play in Philly to be effective.  At WR, Stefon Diggs alone will win him some games but the other guys are all in questionable spots.  On D, Chase Young is a rare defensive player than can win games and, as long as Romeo Okwara can continue his rebirth, this group will be top notch.  His LBs are clearly the best tandem in the league, with Roquan Smith and Devin White.  His DBs are lacking and will not be the strength of this team.  Overall, Derek is a few pieces and probably a bit more than the Sacks or MeggaMen.  It won't be a pretty season for the TR but will probably be enough to get them to the playoffs.


2021 Season Predictions

Burgundy Division Winner: Norsemen
Gold Division Winner: Fighting Squirrels
White Division Winner: Testudos Revenge
Wild Card: Amish Electricians

Playoff Winners: Norsemen and Fighting Squirrels
League Champ: Norsemen

Comeback Team of the Year: British Bulldogs
Manager of the Year: Byron Williams

As always, good luck to everyone (except Warren)!
Past Headlines
WEEK 2 SCORES
Sacks on the Beach
Fighting Squirrels
0
0
British Bulldogs
Trump Molests Collies
11
0
Sean Taylor's Ashes
Crusaders
2
0
Testudos Revenge
Richard's Lionhearts
0
0
Norsemen
Amish Electricians
0
0
Gallic Warriors
MeggaMen
1
0
STANDINGS
Sean Taylor's Ashes
1 - 0
Norsemen
1 - 0
Amish Electricians
0 - 1
Richard's Lionhearts
0 - 1
Crusaders
1 - 0
Fighting Squirrels
0 - 0 - 1
Trump Molests Collies
0 - 0 - 1
Gallic Warriors
0 - 1
British Bulldogs
1 - 0
Sacks on the Beach
1 - 0
MeggaMen
0 - 1
Testudos Revenge
0 - 1