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North Dakota Overcomes Covid Plagued Season To Go Back To Back
In an unprecedented season played during a pandemic, this was the craziest and most unpredictable fantasy football season ever. This year had NFL games postponed, bye weeks altered mid-season, and games were even played on Tuesday and Wednesday Night. Surprisingly, all the NFL games were played. It was a season that didn't follow a script and in some regards was being made up along the way. New rules were implemented for this season to account for all the unforseen changes. But out of all the chaos, two teams emerged worthy to play in the Fantasy Bowl. On one hand, you had the defending champion North Dakota Nimrods. They started the season by dropping their first two games, but they would go on to win 10 of their next 12 games to win their division and the #1 seed. On the other hand, San Francisco went on an offsensive tear never seen before. They led the league in scoring 4 times for the first 8 weeks. They broke 160 points 6 times during the season, twice going over 180. But, then they cooled down, dropping 3 of the their last 5 regular season games. They still managed to hang onto the #2 seed and the overall scoring title. North Dakota's success was anchored around their ground game. Derrick Henry was the star who rushed for over 2000 yards and 17 touchdowns. The Nimords traded for James Robinson, which turned out to be a steal. The rookie RB played 10 games averaging 24 points per contest. North Dakota had an eye for talent and at one point had Justin Herbert, Justin Jefferson, and David Montgomery on their team. DeAndre Hopkins was the only Nimrod to play every game contributing a steady 20 points per game. It was a revolving door at QB where they relied on Philip Rivers, Mitchell Trubisky, and Kirk Cousins in the post season. In contrast, San Francisco had the greatest 1-2 punch in the league, Patrick Mahomes and Alvin Kamara. The duo combined for over 1000 points. They had Amari Cooper and Justin Tucker start every game for them too. Darren Waller was a huge part of their early season success scoring 90 points over the first 6 games, but he would be traded for Robert Woods. The Snakes weren't able to duplicate that TE magic the rest of the way going with Jared Cook who scored 84 points over the final 11 games. Both teams took different paths to get to the final game, where North Dakota put on a show for the record books. The Fantasy Bowl lacked Mahomes and Kamara for the final game (due to resting for the playoffs) but it wouldn't have mattered. The Nimrods scored 208 points to tie the league record. Let it be repeated, they scored 208 points in the Fantasy Bowl, crushing the Rattlesnakes by 102 points. Kirk Cousins scored 54 points to earn Fantasy Bowl MVP. Derrick Henry scored 55 points which included 250 rushing yards. Sony Michel was a terrific last hour start with a 27-point day. Then Brandin Cooks tossed in a 44 point day for good measure. San Francisco could do nothing but watch the record breaking day against them. Jalen Hurts and Ty Montgomery had big shoes to fill (with Mahomes and Kamara out) combining for 37 points. San Fran's leading scorer was Melvin Gordon who finished with 25 points. In the loss, San Francisco lost their 5th final in 7 tries. North Dakota's win makes them only the second team to win back-to-back champions, joining the 2007-2008 Denver Diamonds.
The Bronze Bowl saw the Devils and Jesters square off for the 5th time in a bowl game. Each team had won 2 contests with the Devils winning the most important contest in the 2016 Fantasy Bowl. Detroit took down Atlanta 153-139 to improve to 5-0 in the Bronze Bowl. The Devils are back-to-back Bronze Bowl champions. The QB matchup was something special to watch with Herbert over Watson getting the edge 46-45. The Jesters took advantage of TE play with a 33 point swing in their favor after Kelce was withheld due to rest. Detroit had more firepower with Dobbins and Godwin each scoring 2 TDs each. Allen Robinson had his worst day of the year scoring 5 points, which was his second time failing to go double digits. Atlanta's loss means that they have lost 3 straight bowl games, which sets a bad record for them.
The Root Beer Bowl pitted two teams against each other who know how to put on a high scoring bowl game, this time breaking the 300 point mark. Chicago and Anchorage slugged it out but it was the Triumph that came out on top of this one, 162-143. The Ice Knights must really hate Tom Brady this year after he scored 51 points in the bowl game and when they faced off in week 10. Rodgers was too efficient in his 4 TD performance missing out on two bonuses. Justin Jefferson set the all-time rookie WR mark with 1400 yards after getting 133 in this contest. David Montgomery continued his dominant play finishing his last 5 games with 159 points. But it was Chicago's Gage and Williams who both scored over 25 points to be the difference maker. The Triumph won their 10th game of the season for the third straight season. Meanwhile, the Ice Knights finished with a losing season for the second consecutive season.
The Overrated Bowl featured the coldest team in the league versus a Cinderella team that nearly won the championship. In case you couldn't guess the teams, it was Los Angeles against Sterling Heights. This game was pretty much dominated by the Hooligans who won by 44 points. The biggest surprise of the day was when Taylor went off for 253 rushing yards and 2TDs to finish with 58 points. In quite the contrast, Bernard put up a goose egg. It was Marvin Jones who had a stellar 43 point day and could of had more if his 3rd TD wasn't taken off the board. Meanwhile, the Bombers finally had a breakout game from Antonio Brown netting 41 points. Wilson continued his struggles with a 23 point day. Through the first 8 games of the year, he scored 344 points versus 211 points in the last 9 games. LA finishes this post season winless for their first time ever. They are 7-11 in post season play when they make the playoffs and 20-4 when they miss. Sterling Heights had their 3rd winning post season in the last 4 seasons. Sterling Heights ended up being a mere 3 points shy of winning their second Fantasy Bowl. Had Mostert managed one more carry in week 15, we would have had back to back 8 seeds hoisting the trophy.
The Garbage Bowl was the grounds for the first ever bowl meeting between Tampa Bay and Fort Wayne. It wasn't a sexy game but the Blizzard beat the Pistons 129-105. Tampa Bay turned over their roster in the final week of the season making 7 transactions and promptly placed 4 new players into their starting lineup. The newbies of Ty Johnson, Rodney Smith, Jarvis Landry, and Hayden Hurst scored 47 points. It was their two most reliable weapons of Josh Allen and A.J. Brown who led the way combining for 63 points. Fort Wayne played 6 guys in Week 17 that played in Week 1. Only Ronald Jones and Graham Gano were not opening weekend starters. Matthew Stafford was FW's top point scorer with 30 points who may have played his last game as a Lion. Thielen and Ridley started the season combining for 75 points but finished the season combining for 20 points. Fort Wayne ends the season with 10 losses which makes it their 10th season with that mark. Tampa Bay on the otherhand had their first undefeated post season since they won the championship in 2000.
The Toilet Bowl was a fitting matchup between the teams that struggled the most this season. The Diamonds lost Dak in Week 5 and Kittle in Week 8 and could never really recover replacing those guys. Dak actually led the entire league in points per game this season (min 2 games.) The Surge set a record for the most points scored against them in a regular season. Denver and San Diego put on an epic battle that saw the Diamonds win by a single point, 107-106. It came down to the Sunday Night game where the Washington Football Team D needed 11 points to win. The game could have flipped back to the Surge but the Eagles decided to pull Hurts from the game in the 4th for Nate Sudfield. Another Philly TD with XP would have swung the game back to San Diego. This wasn't the only occurence that could have changed the outcome of this game. Both kickers each missed a kick. Rivers had 1 interception but made up for it with a 2 point conversion. In the end, Denver won their 4th Toilet Bowl to only 1 defeat. San Diego has lost their 6th Toilet Bowl to lead the league in that catergory by 4.