2016 Season Preview

The 2016 BMuz FFL season opens this week with a slate of games between a group of men who love to hate each other. Match ups include a face off between arguably the league’s top two teams, sibling rivalries played out on the fantasy football gridiron, and a battle between two unsuccessful BMuz commissioner candidates. How will the rest of the season play out? Let’s walk through who the league believes are BMuz’s best teams and then look at team-by-team previews.

Preseason Poll

Rank Team (1st place votes) Total Points
1 Chappaqua GOATs (5) 42
2 Old Tappan J-E-T-S (2) 28
3 New England Double Terriers 19
4 Pepperell Patriots (1) 16
5 Dublin #McNuggets 15
6 Lexington Mughals (2) 13
6 Mubarakstan University of Mubaraks (2) 13
8 Malden Cavaliers 12
9 Bloomfield Cowboys 11
10 Boston Baingans 7
10 Boston OakTrees 7
12 Lowell Panthers 6
13 Chicago 7-6ers 5
14 Needham ‘Nstigators 3
14 Chelmsford Charawalas 3
16 Worcester Nation of Muazination 0

Team Projections and Previews

With the first pick of the 2017 BMuz draft…

A new season means a fresh start, but for these teams it’s likely over before it even begins. Kind of like the Hiddleswift “romance.” By my estimates, these teams are projected to make up the bulk of the consolation bracket. Some are no brainers due to their questionable keeper selections (see Carlos Hyde) or subpar drafting (see Derrick Henry). Others have the misfortune of a very difficult schedule. One positive takeaway for the teams listed here is that they’ve been given bulletin board material. Now go out and surprise us.

16. Mubarakstan University of Mubaraks

  • 2015 Record: 4-9
  • 2016 Record (Projected): 3-10

Aasim’s recently re-branded team is back this year and it’s worse than ever. BMuz’s second winningest franchise will see the gap between him and Shahzad increase. Aasim is struggling to rebuild following the retirements of his two meal tickets (Manning and Beast Mode). Enough has been said about Carlos Hyde. It was an awful trade that will echo in eternity. He followed that trade by dropping legitimate keepers from his roster (T.Y. Hilton, Jeremy Langford, Jeremy Maclin) and replacing them in the draft with the likes of Julian Edelman, Danny Woodhead, Emmanuel Sanders, and DeVante Parker. And what about those golden 11-13 round picks that he picked up? He drafted C.J. Prosise (since been cut by Aasim), the Giants D/ST (a reach), and Teddy Bridgewater (RIP). Sorry, but as of now, Aasim deserves to be listed as the worst team in this league.

15. Worcester Nation of Muazination

  • 2015 Record: 7-6
  • 2016 Record (Projected): 3-10

I’ll be the first to admit, I can see Muaz’s team struggling heavily this year due to a lack of depth, but I can also see him duplicate last year’s record if certain players surprise us. He’s got more holes than a slice of swiss cheese and does not have the bona fide stars to prop the team up. Let’s walk through the roster. Ingram and Keenan Allen are solid, but both come with injury risks. Cam will have a tough time replicating his ’15 production, but could be a top 5 QB. Kelvin Benjamin is reportedly going to see less snaps this year and certainly less targets than he saw in ’14. The major issues lie in NoM’s RB2 and FLEX spots, where he’s got Yeldon, Tevin Coleman, Charles Sim, Mohamed Sanu, and Kenny Stills. If that group struggles to get touches and targets, Muaz will struggle. The scenario where Muaz is 7-6 again is if 2 or 3 of those players hit.

14. Pepperell Patriots

  • 2015 Record: 5-8
  • 2016 Record (Projected): 4-9

Haroon has some of the biggest fantasy football stars…circa 2009 (Brees, Larry Fitz, Boldin, Steve Smith, J Stew). While many of them are still expected to put up meaningful numbers, they won’t be able to carry the Pepperell Patriots very far. Even if they “have a Gronk.” After inexplicably dropping Gouda Buddah prior to the keeper deadline, Haroon drafted James Starks as his RB2 as an attempt to atone for his brain fart. It’s a major hole on this roster, unless Dion Lewis becomes Haroon’s personal Jesus. It’s going to be a tough year for the Patriots.

13. Bloomfield Cowboys

  • 2015 Record: 3-10
  • 2016 Record (Projected): 4-9

On paper, Q’s Cowboys are one of the most improved teams in BMuz. Last year’s roster dump for Dez Bryant ultimately netted Ezekiel Elliot, the #1 pick in the 2016 BMuz draft. Fueled by the league’s pre-draft backbiting, Q proceeded to have one of this year’s best draft haul (picking up Jarvis Landry, Eric Decker,  John Brown, and Chris Ivory in the first five rounds). Unfortunately, Q will be tasked with having the league’s toughest schedule (based on 2015, his opponents have a combined winning % of .600) with two games against both Hasan and Shahzad and match ups with Sultan, Ahsan, Sakib, and Ebad. If Q can split those eight games, he could find himself in the playoff hunt, but it seems as unlikely as his team’s namesake’s playoff chances.

12. Lexington Mughals

  • 2015 Record: 6-7
  • 2016 Record (Projected): 5-8

Where to begin? 2016 was going to be the Year of Uzair. We were promised the suppression of Ooze’s fantasy football ineptitude. The tables were set for him to enter a new world of fantasy football glory. Six draft picks in the first five rounds, stumbling into a choice between Lamar Miller and Dez Bryant as the face of his franchise, and a new co-owner that was hyped as the lead architect of the Old Tappan J-E-T-S dynasty. But the optimism was short-lived. Uzair commissioned Subhan to draft his team with no clear strategy between them. The result was a mix of questionable draft picks (Derrick Henry, Desean Jackson) and the auto draft saving their asses (Melvin Gordon, Michael Floyd). Then came the Melvin Gordon for Jordan Matthews swap, further cementing their mind-boggling faith in Derrick Henry. To review, this team could have rostered Lamar Miller, Melvin Gordon, Jarvis Landry and Jeremy Maclin in its four most important slots, but will instead field Lamar Miller, Derrick Henry, Desean Jackson, and Jordan Matthews. On paper, not a HUGE deal, but it’s the difference between a losing team and a playoff team. Haroon said it best, no matter how hard Uzair may try “you can’t put lipstick on a pig.”

11. Lowell Panthers

  • 2015 Record: N/A
  • 2016 Record (Projected): 5-8

The Lowell Panthers are the latest expansion franchise to join the BMuz FFL. Abubakr comes from a competitive background and that should serve him well in this “tough league.” His auto drafted team is solid, but below average compared to his fellow franchises. There’s no doubt that Abubakr will work the trade and waiver markets to improve his team, but a tough schedule (3rd toughest in the league) and a number of question marks (Arian Foster, Tavon Austin, Chris Hogan, Jeremy Langford) make it hard to project an inaugural playoff appearance for the Panthers.

10. Chelmsford Charawalas

  • 2015 Record: 6-7
  • 2016 Record (Projected): 5-8

One of the most active teams in the preseason trade market, the Charawalas are locked and loaded for a playoff run. Standing in their way is the 2nd most difficult schedule in the league with games against perennial playoff powers such as Hasan, Shahzad, Sakib, Sultan and rivalry match ups with fellow emerging teams such as Ayman and Ebad. The Charawalas look slightly different from last year, but that may not show up in the stat line. They’ve replaced Latavius Murray and Sammy Watkins with Eddie Lacy and Michael Crabtree through the draft. I would call that a wash. Their Latavius and Watkins trades for draft picks netted them Delanie Walker and Dan Bailey and the extra keeper picks resulted in LaQuantum Physics Treadwell and Ladarius Green. Yawn. I don’t think it’s going to be enough.

One and the same

The next two spots are held by two league owners that are equals in many ways. In 2015, they were both commissioners embroiled in a scandal that ultimately led to their departures from the role. They both write amusing recap/preview emails. They have both lost to Shahzad in a BMuz championship game. They are both super involved / knowledgable about fantasy football and therefore always have a decent shot at putting together a respectable, playoff worthy team. They both love rostering Patriots players. And they have both mismanaged their 2016 squads and now run the risk of missing out on this year’s playoffs.

9. Needham ‘Nstigators

  • 2015 Record: 7-6
  • 2016 Record (Projected): 6-7

It’s hard to count Sakib out. His team last year was not pretty. I would call it gross, but then Oak might make this face. It’s hard to call Sakib an idiot (as some have) because he was able to take a bunch of scrappy players (ironic) to the brink of a playoff appearance last year. Sakib has also never finished below .500, which I believe no one else in this league can claim. However, 2016 is the year where traditions are broken (more on that later). Sakib will be facing tough divisional opponents, inter-divisional match ups against Hasan and Shahzad, and rivalry match ups against Oak and Usmani.  It doesn’t help that he’s going to battle without a kicker or defense, a bold new strategy that no one in this league was innovative enough to envision. While I don’t think Sakib will be slumming at the bottom of the standings, there are far more talented teams in this league and the playoffs may elude Sakib for a consecutive year.

8. Boston OakTrees

  • 2015 Record: 8-5
  • 2016 Record (Projected): 7-6

I’ll be honest, I don’t care for Oak’s roster. It is made up of boom/bust players and handcuffs. I’ve got him at 7-6 because of how invested he is in being successful and because of his schedule, but I don’t like his team. Sorry, not sorry. He’ll have six games against the likes of Aasim, Muaz, Haroon, and Uzair. I’ve got him going 5-1 against those four, meaning he only has to go 2-5 against his tougher opponents (Sakib, Shahzad, Hasan, Ebad, and the Usmanis) in order to be above .500. This would be an accomplishment for a team that will likely have questionable talent at the two FLEX spots starting with week 4. I see him just missing out on the playoffs. Sad face.

On the cusp

Let’s start talking playoffs. We have seven teams to go and six playoff spots. I predict a heated race for the two wild card spots. The next, three teams flexed their muscles last year and are now looking to start throwing some actual punches this year. Strong keepers and solid drafts are what define these three.

7. Dublin #McNuggets

  • 2015 Record: 6-7
  • 2016 Record (Projected): 8-5

Boy wonder, Ayman Usmani, entered the league with a bang last year. Though his top wideouts, Alshon and Jordy, were hurt for most of last season, he was able to crawl into the playoffs due to a weak division. This taste of playoff glory went a long way and an inspired Ayman drafted himself a solid team, top to bottom. Ayman currently has the only BMuz team where every starting player is owned by over 90% of leagues. That’s quality depth. He’ll be battling his brother for the KD Division title and has a chance to make some noise in the playoffs.

6. Malden Cavaliers

  • 2015 Record: 7-6
  • 2016 Record (Projected): 8-5

The man who traded away Todd Gurley or the man who traded for Devonta Freeman? We’ll know which of those defines Ebad by the end of this season. As of now Ebad is looking like a mastermind for all his wheeling and dealing these past two years. Following a combined 7-19 record in 2013 and 2014, Ebad rebounded with seven wins in 2015. Hit by the unexpected retirement of Megatron and no true keeper #2, Ebad decided to rebuild around Devonta Freeman. His draft day trade was a savvy move, helping to ensure quality depth, in what turned out to be Eddie Lacy in return for Doug Baldwin and Donte Moncrief. He rounded out his roster with Frank Gore and Golden Tate and drafted his QB from 2015 and the overall QB1, Russell Wilson. Armed with a solid squad and the easiest schedule in the league, I expect Ebad to find his way into the playoffs for the very first time.

5. Chicago 7-6ers

  • 2015 Record: 7-6
  • 2016 Record (Projected): 8-5

The year Ahsan officially changed his name to the 7-6ers is obviously going to be the year he goes 8-5. Expectations are high as Ace has arguably the most valuable player in fantasy football and three top-flight receivers. Though he had a rocky offseason (see the Hasan-Ahsan trade deadline deal), he persevered and came out of the draft with solid draft picks (Rashad Jennings, Fun Chest, Xtine Michael, and potential top-5 QB Matthew Stafford). The big question is whether Ahsan will trade his way out of playoff contention again this year. Perhaps he should consider putting all trade offers in a hole and throwing away the hole. But if he can successfully navigate the trade market for once, watch out.

The upper echelon

The final four teams are this league’s powerhouses and incidentally the league’s only champions. Among them, they own 7 of the top 10 fantasy football players. They’re projected to maintain their success in 2016 and are the favorites to win the BMuz Championship.

4. Boston Baingans

  • 2015 Record: 4-9
  • 2016 Record (Projected): 8-5

Trust the process. Following last year’s tankfest, Usmani is back and ready to serve the league some baingan. Although injuries and the love of pot may keep Usmani from a hot start, this team will be scary in week 4 with what might be the most proven fantastic foursome in this league (Le’Veon, Jamal Charles, Brandon Marshall, and Randall Cobb). Usmani’s draft left something to be desired, but he made away with enough decent contributors (Blount, Travis Benjamin, Eli, Julius) to solidify his roster. As is the case with the rest of the KD division, Usmani has a cupcake schedule with only four games against 2015 playoff teams (two of them being Ayman). This positions him well for the upcoming season and we’ll know soon enough if the tankfest was worth it.

3. Old Tappan J-E-T-S

  • 2015 Record: 10-3
  • 2016 Record (Projected): 9-4

Out with the old, in with the new. That’s how the J-E-T-S have been made to feel with Hasan’s emergence. For all the regular season success that the J-E-T-S had last year, they were unable to translate that into a single playoff win. The path will be even tougher this year, but the recipe will be the same. The J-E-T-S will continue to expect the world from its four keepers (Antonio, A-Rod, AP, and J Hill), focus on the run (swapping out Ivory for Crowell), go with highly targeted receivers (swapping out Garcon for Shepard and Torrey Smith), and pray for a potential TE sleeper (swapping out Delanie for Dwayne Allen). As this dynasty reaches its end, the J-E-T-S will be feeling the pressure to win that elusive third title.

2. New England Double Terriers

  • 2015 Record: 8-5
  • 2016 Record (Projected): 10-3

Batman and Robin, Kirk and Spock, Siegfried and Roy, Pinky and the Brain, Sultan and Areeb. These are the world’s most successful duos. Sultreeb has orchestrated winning trade after winning trade and produced one of the best drafts in recent memory (Marvin Jones, Josh Gordon, Antonio Gates, Seahawks D/ST, and Andy Dalton). Their bond is so tight that Areeb chose to stay on as a co-owner and share in a team’s success rather than attempt to manufacture his own. Either he’s learned from the failures of Bill Belichick’s proteges or he truly believes in the Double Terriers. I think it’s the latter. This team is built to win and will be expected to this season. The only way to stop them might be with a bowl of fruit chaat.

1. Chappaqua GOATs

  • 2015 Record: 9-4
  • 2016 Record (Projected): 11-2

The Champ is a heavy favorite to join Shahzad and Omar Usmani as a back-to-back BMuz champion. Although he may have whiffed on his two 5th round picks, he’s still set up to dominate his competition due to his incredible keepers and solid later round pick ups (Forsett, Hurns). I’m scared of his team and you all should be too.

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