After 13 grueling weeks of fantasy football brutality, the smoke has cleared, the wounded have been carted off the field of battle and only four teams remain in the hunt for the MTV League title. But much like "The Highlander," there can be only one who will hoist the trophy come season's end (but unlike "The Highlander," it's doubtful Christopher Lambert will be involved.)
Of course, the biggest postseason question is this: Can anyone stop Block Entertainment, the two-headed fantasy juggernaut helmed by Yung Joc and label CEO Block? They're the top seed in this year's playoffs, having finished the regular season with an 11-2 mark, riding high on an eight-game winning streak (see "Meth Is In, Tyrese Is Out For Playoffs: Fantasy Football Week 13 Recap"). Plus, their roster boasts one Mr. LaDainian Tomlinson, the fantasy football equivalent of Tecmo Super Bowl-era Bo Jackson.
Method Man — in as the #4 seed with a 6-7 record that's more a testament to league-wide ineptitude than anything else — has the unenviable task of trying to stop the Block in the first round of the playoffs, while Paul Wall's Lone Star Monsters take on division rivals Cool & Dre. First-round matchups will last two weeks, with the championship game taking place over weeks 16 and 17.
Oh, and in a move straight out of the YMCA Rec. League, there's also a "Consolation Ladder" going on, which is basically a bizarro playoff set up as a way for the other four teams not good enough to make the postseason to keep playing. In those, uh, epic matchups, Liz Hernandez's squad squares off against the team led by Tyrese (who will hopefully continue starting Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb, despite the fact that he's been on the injured reserve list since week 11), and Uncle Luke battles Lil Wayne in a contest that might very well be the definition of a Pyrrhic victory (considering their combined 9-17 record).
But we're not here to focus on the also-rans — we're interested in crowning a champion. So with week 14 set to kick off tonight — with a rust-belt showdown between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns — let's take a look at our playoff matchups:
On paper, this looks like a complete cakewalk for Joc and Block, what with the Tomlinson factor and all. But take a closer look, and you'll see that this one could actually be a real nail-biter. We'll give Meth the edge in the QB department (Carson Palmer over the struggling Eli Manning), while the running back situation is actually a lot closer than you might think. Block's been riding the one-two punch of Tomlinson and Frank Gore for weeks now, but Method Man counters with the rejuvenated Shaun Alexander and Willie Parker (who, to be honest, has been horrible the past two weeks). We'll give Joc and Block the advantage there, but just slightly. The matchup might come down to wide receivers, and again, it's gonna be close: Colts catch-machine Reggie Wayne and Cowboys de facto go-to guy Terry Glenn have been money for Meth all season long, while Block will rely on always-shaky Giants WR Plaxico Burress and injured (and questionable to play this week) Saints star Joe Horn. This one's gonna be a doozy.
These two teams met three times during the regular season — highlighted by a 100-100 tie in week seven — and battled for supremacy in the Crunchtime Firing Squad Division all the way down to the wire. In the end, Wall ended up taking the division crown, and now Cool & Dre will be looking for revenge. Again, this looks to be a close one. No doubt, C&D have the advantage when it comes to QBs (Peyton Manning vs. Jon Kitna), but as long as they insist on starting injured Dolphin Ronnie Brown, we're gonna give Wall's pair of Jaguars backs, Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew, the nod in the RB department. And when it comes to wide receivers, Steve Smith is nice for Cool & Dre, but they need to yank injured Colts tight end Dallas Clark out of their lineup ASAP (you know, since he's not gonna play again this season). Wall counters with the three-headed monster of the Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald, the Lions' Roy Williams and the Chargers' Antonio Gates, which gives him a big-time edge. We like Paul in this one.
And with that, it's on! Check back here Tuesday to find out who's coming out on top.