Being the Association’s most unique league, the Legion o Defense also utilizes the most unique playoff format. With a Wild Card Game in week 13, played between one team seeded by points scored and the other by sacks recorded, the all defensive league uses a Final Four round robin tournament in weeks 14, 15, and 16. The Wild Card winner, seeded #4, joins the #1 and #2 seeded division champions and the #3 seeded overall standings runner-up for this battle that culminates in the top two finalists playing for the league championship in the week 17 Legion Bowl. The third place finisher gets a chance to play for the following season’s #1 overall pick against the eventual winner of the consolation bracket; 4th place has dibs on the popcorn.
AF#3 Suspension Freaks (10-2-0)
Top Team Looks to Add to the Trophy Case
The Suspension Freaks ended their regular season with a win over the Clowns (64-37.5) to finish off the season series winning 3 of 2, not only as the Gladiator Division Champion, but also the top team in the legion in terms of both scoring and record. A dominating finish to a dominant season for the Freaks, their IDP’s were led by round 4 pick Myles Garrett (117.5 – #3 DL), 5th rounder Bradley Chubb (91 – #6 LB), and 9th rounder Frank Clark (101 – #8DL). Another highlight of the Freaks’ roster was the outstanding play of 10th rounder Jamaal Adams (76.5 – #2 DB). From a points perspective, the Freaks may regret their top 3 selections in the draft, though. Their 1st round pick, Saints Team Defense was a bust that are currently free agents ( even with a better showing from the Saints defense in recent weeks they only sit at 12th among team defenses), and 2nd round pick Joey Bosa sat ouit with injuries until week 12, (though his return certainly makes the Freaks even scarier than they were prior to week 12). Their 3rd Round pick, Carlos Dunlap, finished the regular season with 78 points (#15 DL) which in retrospect was an average 3rd rounder. Other than those 3 picks, the Freaks continuously grabbed sleepers and gems, illustrated by the fact the Freaks still hold 10 out of there originally drafted 16 players (of the 6 players dropped 4 of them were in the last 5 rounds). That’s some solid drafting from the Freaks.
AF#66 Battering Rams (7-5-0)
The Underdog Moves On
The Battering Rams have had a season of ups and downs. At the end of cross division play they sat at a record of 2-4 and were seeded in the 5th/6th game to start divisional play. Finishing the season at 7-5 is a pretty big turn around, which would impress me, if it wasn’t for their super low points total for the season. The Rams finished with 458 points, in comparison the Freaks (771.5) and Clowns (762) each scored 300 more points than the Rams. To make the Ram’s season even more interesting was the week 11 game against Roxteady. On Tuesday morning it looked like Rox had basically won the division and guaranteed their way to the Final 4 round robin, but by Thursday morning that narrative had changed, when, after stat corrections, it showed that the defending Champion Mighty Pats had won the game instead. That gave the Rams a last shot at fighting for the division lead against the Pats, which they did, pulling off their epic half point Centurian Division Championship win on the final week of the regular season. The Rams best IDP player’s this season were 3rd Round Ngakoue (85 – #12DL), 8th rounder Geno Atkins (70 – #17DL), and 15th round selection Lorenzo Alexander (67.5 – #11LB). You’ll notice the Rams did not have a top 10 IDP player for any position, and actually had less turnover than the Freaks did with 11 of their drafted names still on the roster. With such a low point totals I would of loved to have seen more movement among personnel. During the Post Draft Recap, I predicted the Rams to finish 6th in their division, and though they finished 1st in the standings, they were only 4th in points within their division, and 9th overall in the league for points scored. So even though I was wrong about the Rams before, I still am predicting them to finish 0-3 in the final 4 round robin playing the other monstrous teams that qualified – if you’re a gambler, and you’re looking for a dark horse to bet on, it’s got horns this year.
AF#5 Insane Clowney Posse (8-4-0)
Freaks’ Rival #1
The Insane Clowney Posse had a strong campaign throughout the year, in which their only losses were a week 3 outlier vs Chinese Bandits, and the 3 games dropped to the league leading Suspension Freaks within the divisional round (Side note: The Clowns also own the only 2 Freaks losses on the season). The Clowns have 2 top 10 DL’s in Danielle Hunter (101.5 – #7DL) (picked up in free agency in the first 2 weeks of the season) and 2nd rounder Demarcus Lawrence (92.5 – #10DL) along with the 11th ranked, 3rd round pick Jadeveon Clowney (87). Thier 12th Rounder, TJ Watt (104 – #4LB) was a very nice late round addition having a breakout year. The Clowns also have 3 DB’s that made the top 10 as well, including FA acquisition Kyle Fuller(60 – #4DB), 10th round pick Harrison Smith (58 – #5DB), and Week 2 FA pickup Denzel Ward(52 – #10DB). Where the Clowns drafted solidly in the first 3 rounds, beyond that the draft took a sideways turn, with their selections in round’s 5 ,6, 8, and 9 all currently not with the team. The Clowns have 9 players on their roster that they drafted, with that the middle portion of their draft filled with busts, the Clown showed they were not scared of making in-season moves.
AF#21 Sleeper Agent (8-4-0;1-0)
Freaks’ Rival #2
Sleeper Agent started the divisional round of play in the 4th position with a record of 3-3 and beat The Cavalry twice in a row before losing to the Freaks in week 9. The Agents never had another shot at the Freaks even though that week 9 game was the Agents’ only loss in the divisional round (…Stupid Clowns). The Agents were forced to fight it out in the Wild Card Matchup, scoring an outrageous 87 points to beat Roxteady and qualify for the Final 4 Round Robin. They never gave up on 2nd round pick Aaron Donald after he started the season with back-to-back 0’s, before he turned it around to become the top player in the league (180.5 – #1DL/IDP), leading the IDP race by a huge 53 point margin over Von Miller. Along with Donald, 3rd round pick Chandler Jones (108 – #5DL) has been a force for the Agents as well. Not to be out done by their rivals’ linebacking corps, the Agents also have 2 top 10 talents at that position in 5th rounder Terrell Suggs (78.5 – #7LB) and 4th rounder Ryan Kerrigan (70 – #10LB). Rounding out their positional top 10’s is FA pickup DJ Swearinger (57 – #7DB). They were picked to win the division in my Post Draft Recap, and the reason was mainly due to their rounds 2-5 selections, where all 4 of those selections turned out to be a top 10 player within their positions. In comparison the rest of their draft was subpar, shown in the fact that the Agents only have 6 of their 16 originally drafted players. Sleeper Agent certainly has more star power than the rest of the final 4, but will their depth (or lack thereof) catch up to them?