Down the stretch they come! It was a great Week 15 for the Parlay competitors as every one of them had a winning record, although because of that there weren't many changes in the standings. Jeff's pint sized Mini Me, Xander, leap frogged Stein back for third place and sits just one game out of second and five games out of the lead with two weeks to go. Even though the Packers' streak of winning is over, Hallam remains at the top spot with a 3-1-1 record and has a four game lead with two weeks to play. Jonesy is trying to catch him and not have his second straight runner's up finish, but he is going to have to have two great weeks to make that happen. Jeff got himself over .500 for the season and is still technically alive for the top prize, and can also make a big move on some of the other guys as well. Can Hallam hold on to the title and go wire to wire. Can Jonesy find his way to the top of the standings? Is it possible that a one year old can beat four grown men in picking football games? You have to say that anything is possible in the last two weeks of the Five Game Parlay!
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After fifteen weeks here are the current standings with last week's results in parenthesis:
Hallam: 45-27-3 (3-1-1)
Jonesy: 41-31-3 (3-2)
Xander: 40-32-3 (4-1)
Stein: 39-31-5 (3-2)
Mans: 35-34-5 (3-1-1)
New York Giants (+3) "at" New York Jets -- I have just not been impressed with the New York Jets really at any point this year, and never have I been less in their corner than their uninspired beating at the hands of the Eagles last weekend. While the Giants have been very up and down this year, I still have more faith in Eli Manning than I do in Mark Sanchez, and since this game is on a neutral field, I'll take the team that I think is better and get a field goal to boot.
Cincinnati Bengals (-4) vs. Arizona Cardinals --The Cardinals are impressing me lately, but I still do like the Bengals whether or not A.J. Green plays or not. This is a big home game for the Tigers and they still have a shot at the playoffs if they can pull this one out. The Cardinals have been playing better of late, but I still don't think they are that good and they are not going to win this game. I'm a little concerned that the line is over a field goal, but I'll take Dalton, Benson, and the Bengals to win this one.
San Diego Chargers (+2.5) at Detroit Lions -- I once doubted the San Diego Chargers in 2011 that they weren't going to make their usual charge to the postseason here in December, but I have now switched thoughts and believe that they are going to indeed run the table in the last couple of weeks, whether it means they make the playoffs or not remains to be seen. The Lions made a great comeback last week, but I don't think that they are quite ready for the big time yet and I see them losing this game, even though it is at home. Take the Bolts and the points.
Seattle Seahawks (+1.5) vs. San Francisco 49ers -- Two weeks ago I called the trap game for the Niners against the Cardinals, and it just seems like this is another one with another divisional foe on the road in Seattle. The Seahawks have been hot of late and are a great home team. I am still shocked at how easily the Niners handled the Steelers at home Monday, but now they face a short week and still might not have Patrick Willis to anchor the defense. I smell an upset here.
Atlanta Falcons (+6.5) at New Orleans Saints -- The Falcons have been a somewhat up and down this season, but overall I think they are a pretty good team. Matt Ryan is a better real quarterback than fantasy quarterback, and I think this divisional matchup should be within a field goal and the near touchdown spread is just too much. Drew Brees is on a serious roll, but that was because Jeff Mans was facing him in multiple fantasy matchups last weekend. Now that curse is over and he should be reduced to a mere mortal. Go with the Dirty Birds.
Kansas City Chiefs (-2) vs. Oakland Raiders -- They're playing better. The Chiefs that is. They have a "professional' quarterback now and their man coverage stopped the Packers last week. I was impressed.
Denver Broncos (-2.5) at Buffalo Bills -- They took it on the chin last week because Tom Brady is an elite quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick is certainly not an elite quarterback.
Seattle Seahawks (+1) vs. San Francisco 49ers -- I have a feeling about this game. A home dog facing a team on a very short week? Something's happening here.
San Diego Chargers (+2) at Detroit Lions -- I think the Chargers are hungrier at the moment and Rivers is finally gelling with his receivers. As for the Lions, they're getting 4th quarter lucky and shit like that.
New Orleans Saints (-7) vs. Atlanta Falcons -- The Saints are such an offensive force at home. And Atlanta only seems to beat up on the weak opponents. They have yet to step up and play well against a real team. And I think they lose this one by double digits.
St. Louis Rams (+13) at Pittsburgh Steelers – On the surface this might look like a terrible bet but the Steelers will be without Ben Roethlisberger for this matchup. Any time you are going against Charlie Batch, you have a shot. So, why not take the safety net of 13 points and go with the underdog.
Philadelphia Eagles (+2) at Dallas Cowboys – Like Father, like son I guess. Xander seems to like the way Michael Vick has rebounded this season and believes he could run a couple of TD’s in himself.
Arizona Cardinals (+4) at Cincinnati Bengals – Who would have ever thought that the Cardinals would be hoping to be lucky enough to have John Skelton start for them in week 16? The Bengals are destined to let games slip away and have a great job at that lately.
Denver Broncos (-2.5) at Buffalo Bills – The kid loves himself some Tebow and who could blame him after riding him and the Broncos this far. The Bills have been packing it in since week 5 and probably can’t wait to get home and forget this season ever happened.
New England Patriots (-9) vs Miami Dolphins – Must be looking over Daddy’s shoulder this week! But who can blame him as this is easiest one of the better games to pick this week. Winner, winner, Chicken Dinner.
New York Jets (-3) over New York Giants -- In the Battle of New Jersey, both teams’ playoff lives hang in the balance. Both teams are coming off horrendous performances yet they both still control their own destinies. The Giants have lost 5 out of 6 and cannot play defense. The Jets are a more fundamentally sound team and will capitalize on the Giants’ mistakes. I hate the Jets, but I am a realist. Prediction: NY Jets 27 NY Giants 17
Arizona Cardinals (+4) over Cincinnati Bengals -- The Bengals need this game for their playoff lives, but with a rookie quarterback it will be tough to handle all of the pressure. Arizona is playing well and will revel in being a spoiler. Cincinnati is heading in the right direction long-term, but their good season will come to an end with this disappointing loss. Prediction: Arizona 24 Cincinnati 20
San Diego Chargers (+2.5) over Detroit Lions -- The Chargers are on fire at the right time of year, but it may be too little too late. Detroit controls its own destiny to the playoffs, but they are also inexperienced and volatile. Ndamukong Suh will be back, but the Lions’ aggressive defense will allow Philip Rivers to pick them apart. Prediction: San Diego 37 Detroit 31
Denver Broncos (-3) over Buffalo Bills -- Tebow Time makes its way to western New York where the Bills haven’t won in two months. Denver controls its own destiny in the AFC West so they will be fired up in support of their messiah. The Bills have mailed it in but will probably make this one closer than it should be. Prediction: Denver 23 Buffalo 14
Carolina Panthers (-7.5) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- The Panthers are ending the season strong and giving people something to really look forward to in 2012. The complete opposite can be said about Tampa Bay who has lost 8 in a row. The Bucs have taken some major steps backwards and won’t have an answer for Cam Newton and company. Tampa’s once vaunted defense has been lit up for over 70- points the past two weeks. I see more of the same. Prediction: Carolina 34 Tampa Bay 19
Philadelphia Eagles (+2) at Dallas Cowboys – Not only do I think the Eagles will win this game but I am feeling like its going to be a blowout in big D. The NFC East is a mess and it is just like life to somehow have the Eagles back in the mix for the division lead despite playing horribly all season long.
New England Patriots (-9) vs Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins had been playing real well for a stretch but after getting beat up by the Eagles then the firing of Tony Sparano that run is over. The Patriots have too much firepower on offense for the Dolphins to keep up with and thus lay the nine points and take the home team.
Carolina Panthers (-7) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Bucs are just plain awful and I really can’t see how they won as many games as they have this season. The Panthers are one of those teams you put in the back of your memory bank so that before next year you can tell everybody you know that this 5-11 team is going to be a legitimate playoff contender. They will think you are a genius and of course you are because you read and listen to Fantasy Alarm!
Jacksonville Jaguars (+7.5) at Tennessee Titans – The Titans just got beat down by the previously winless Colts last week. Both Matthew Hasselbeck and Chris Johnson are banged up as well for the Titans which will make it extremely tough for them to cover the spread. I say Jacksonville will keep it close.
San Diego Chargers (+2.5) at Detroit Lions – I don’t know what it is about Phillip Rivers in December but at this point you just have to believe in the guy, right? Detroit has been beaten up at home at times this season so it shouldn’t surprise anyone if they lose this week.
Want to know a little bit more about each participant? Really? You do? Why? Well, in that case, we profile each competitor.
Michael Stein of Fantasy Judgment is the Supreme Court Justice of the Fantasy Football world. Stein is the man to go to if you have any sort of issue in your fantasy football league. Fantasy Judgment is the site you need if you have a rogue commissioner who is pulling things over on your league, a trade that just seems to be really fishy, or any other kind of shenanigans that can take a good fantasy league and make it turn badly. Not to mention the fine work that he does for us here at Fantasy Alarm. Michael Stein fared quite well for himself last year in his first foray into the Five Game Parlay as he came in second place, not far behind the championship. Even with that said, Stein picks like he has had a lobotomy, so be careful before you put any of your hard earned money on any selections that he makes!
Jonesy will be bringing the noise and the comedy flavor to the Five Game Parlay as Fantasy Alarm's resident comedian and an executive producer of The Fantasy Alarm Show. Jonesy is responsible for many of your favorite bits and songs on The Fantasy Alarm Show such as the Burress Song, "Oh, Manny!" and "80 Yards and a TD" about Ryan Grant, as well as Deep Fantasy Thoughts. Jonesy was a close third in last year's competition and was in it right to the end. He is out to show that he is more than just a pretty face, I mean just a funny face, I mean wait. Well, he's out to show he knows his football. I'm not sure if he does or not, but he will at least make you laugh along the way.
Jeff Mans is one half of the duo that comprises The Fantasy Alarm Show, and yes he is the one that talks the most. Mans has been playing fantasy football for nearly 15 years, and is known to throw a buck or two on a football game now and then. He was the winner of the inaugural Five Game Parlay, but threw up all over himself last year as he came in a distant last place. Jeff is looking to turn his fortunes around in 2011 and reclaim the title that he feels is rightfully his. Will the frosted tips on his hair and his wacky chest pubes help him pick games and lead him back to glory? Only time will tell!
Jeff's one year old son Xander Mans joins the crew for the first time this year as he has said that he is tired of hanging around his mom and two sisters and needs to start bonding with the guys! However, Xander is also a smart young man as he has already figured out what a deadbeat his poor father is. I will be calling the young lad each week to make his picks and will be reporting on what he tells me here in this article. In our first talk he has told me that he will squash the four of us like Cheerios between his teeth and will pee in the face of anyone who thinks they can pick better than he. A confident young man, Xander is the darkhorse to win the whole competition.
Ryan Hallam makes up the second part of The Fantasy Alarm Show, as he is the voice of reason, sensibility, and of course, has all of the looks, wit, and charm. Hallam pulled the big turnaround in Year Two of the Parlay and led the competition from wire to wire. Throughout his life he has watched football, but for some reason picking games against the spread was never his strong suit. But things have changed for Ryan in the past year to eighteen months and all of a sudden the tide has swung the momentum in his favor. Look for Hallam to continue his dominance and repeat as champion of the Five Game Parlay! Oh, did I mention he was the smart and good looking one out of the group too? Just checkin'.
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