The end of the regular season is a time for playoff teams to be rewarded for their hard work and look towards making a run for a championship. However, it's also a time for those teams not lucky or good enough to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it for the future.
Kevin Sansone takes a trip around the league with a post mortem of the YFFL's 2010 also-rans:
UCornn HuskersYou're the best! Around! Barring a season-long bout with turf toes, nothing's gonna ever keep you down!
What Happened: Poor in-season trading, the disappearance of Brandon Marshall, and an early injury to Jahvid Best's toes doomed the Huskers to miss out on the playoffs. Also, Tim Hightower sucks.
Reason for Hope: Arian Foster. The #4 draft pick broke out for 144 points in his YFFL rookie season. Joe Flacco also topped 100 points for the first time in his career. A solid pickup in the 2011 draft could pay dividends next season.
Ludke's Merry Men
What Happened: A late season run was not enough to overcome a poor first half which had Steve thinking it was yet another rebuilding year. The loss of Matt Stafford early on sent this team in the wrong direction and Steve has to be wondering if he will ever stay healthy. Pierre Thomas hasn't played since week 4 yet wasn't listed as "Out" until week 10.
Reason for Hope: Stafford should be back and (hopefully) healthy in 2011 and a strong group of young players (Maclin, Choice, Rice, Hernandez) should have the Merry Men competing for the division and at the very least the Wild Card.
What Happened: The Buddies started off on a hot start at 5-1, but finished 2-5 the rest of the way. Peyton Manning was his usual self, but the big story of the season was the downfall of Randy Moss. Since leaving the Patriots, Moss scored all of 16 points (with all 16 points coming between weeks 5-7). An injury to Pierre Garcon and Beanie Wells' inability to gain more than 2 yards per carry left the skill positions lacking.Randy Moss was hiding in plain sight for most of the 2010 season
Reason for Hope: Having Peyton Manning will always keep the Buddies competitive in the AFC West. The Manning to Garcon combination is scary when the Colts' offense is working. Tight End Michael Hoomanumasomethingorother seems to be developing a solid rapport with Sam Bradford in St. Louis.
High 5'n White Guys
What Happened: Aceto's other team never really seemed like it could muster up the energy to make a playoff push. A once deep RB corps behind Peterson is now made up of aging veterans and has-beens. Larry Fitzgerald's worst nightmare came true with Warner gone.
Reason for Hope: Sam Bradford looks like the real deal. Roddy White is the best WR in fantasy (yes, better than Dwayne Bowe) and Peterson is always good for 100+ points.
What Happened: According to some, Bri spent all his energy focusing on the Brothers in 2010. The hype for both Zach Miller and Jermichael Finley quickly died down, and draft busts Devin Aromashodu and Julian Edelman prevented the Bear from building depth behind Jennings and Ochocinco.
Reason for Hope: Tom Brady is still really good. Greg Jennings proved that 2009 was a fluke and shows promise for 2011. A sleeper pick in the draft or a trade could get the Poop off on the right foot next season. Big question mark: Ryan Grant.
What Happened: We all know the story. It's destined to become a YFFL article in the near future. But the reality is, if the Merry Men wanted to make the playoffs, they should have won another game instead of relying on the 'Tangs to win one for them.A leader of men
Reason for Hope: Despite being the second lowest scoring team in the YFFL, the 'Tangs have a ton of young players in place for the future. Whether Jon will regret not taking Bradford with the number one remains to be seen, but a trade for Romo or Sanchez could propel this team up the standings in the AFC East.
What Happened: The Mallards allowed a league high 636 points. The preseason favorite quickly turned into the laughing stock of the league. If not for the misfortunes of the Eaters and Beans, this would be a bigger story. Their QB is now less popular than Michael Vick. CJ Spiller turned into a major draft bust.
Reason for Hope: Tons of talent. Eventually it has to all come together right??? Ryan, Roethlisberger, Turner, Jackson, Colston, Johnson, Austin, the list goes on. If Steve strikes it big in the offseason, then these guys will be preseason favorites again next year.
What Happened: After a big week 7 win over the Chickens, the Boys stood at 5-2 and looked poised to make the playoffs. That turned out to be the last game they would win all season. The injury to sleeper draft pick Malcolm Floyd left Steve Johnson as the only capable WR on the team. The Boys had plenty of depth at RB but couldn't translate that to wins down the stretch.
Reason for Hope: The aforementioned depth at RB should result in a trade for depth at WR. Eli is probably the best QB in the league no one is talking about.
Mexican Humping BeansA stickler for accuracy, Dwayne Jarrett updates his Madden rosters by releasing himself
What Happened: The Beans' season ended the day Bobby agreed to trade McCoy for Jones prior to the draft. The trade for Kolb was a bust for 2010 thanks to Vick. Shonn Greene decided he wasn't ready to play yet, and Sammie Stroughter is amazingly still on the Beans roster.
Reason for Hope: I can't imagine this team only winning 2 games in 2011. A top two pick should net the Beans somebody to help out on offense. Um...there must be something else positive to say.
What Happened: What didn't happen? Weekly injuries, free agents on the roster, Brodie Croyle, Vincent Jackson's suspension, Hardesty goes down 5 minutes after being drafted, it all sounds like a missing verse to "We Didn't Start the Fire".
Reason for Hope: ...