NEW YORK -- The Yorkville Pillagers won the 2004 championship of the Five Guys From A House fantasy football league last night. Led by Peyton Manning, the scrappy squad of running backs-by-committee and free agent wide receiver pickups defeated the 49sters by a final score of 88.03-86.61. Going into the playoffs, Yorkville had a four-game winning streak. A 10-4 regular-season record gave the Pillagers the second seed, and in their first playoff game they defeated the Voracious Vegans 86-74 with big days from Detroit WR Roy Williams and Oakland WR Jerry Porter. In the championship game, Brett Favre's 3 touchdowns and 385 yards passing staked the 49sters to an early 31-point lead, but the Pillagers stormed back with 18 points from Steve Christie and a late 20 points from Manning. New England WR Deion Branch and Buffalo rookie Shaud Williams added 11.6 and 10.6 points, respectively. But the outcome of the game was in doubt until the announcement Monday evening that 49sters and Philadelphia RB Brian Westbrook was inactive for the Monday night game vs. St. Louis. Without the opportunity to pick up any more points from Westbrook, the game was over for the 49sters and the Pillagers' victory, though narrow, was assured. The win set off a minor celebration of cheering and dancing at the team's headquarters on Manhattan's Upper East Side. This is the first championship in the team's three-year history. The Pillagers played their first season in Greenwich Village before moving to Yorkville in 2003.
I've been playing fantasy football for three years, and I didn't ever expect to win a title, let alone in my third year. I have Peyton Manning and his touchdown-filled season to thank for my success; without him, I'd have been relegated to another middling finish out of the playoff hunt. I really enjoyed this season, and not just because I won the whole thing. In past years I micromanaged my teams all year: scouring many websites for advice and player rankings, looking for any edge I could find, trading players with fellow league owners out of desperation. This year I only made a few trades and kept most of my players all season. I only micromanaged the team in the playoffs when it really mattered. Since we don't run a "keepers" league, I won't know until next season's draft whether I get Manning again, and even if I do, there's no guarantee that he'll have as good a season as he had this year. In any case, I need to do a better job of acquiring top-tier running backs; without one, I had to rely on Manning for the bulk of my points and hope that my committee RBs and WRs could make up the rest. The strategy worked this year, but in past years it's been a struggle. But right now I'm going to sit back and enjoy the championship.
[Cue Queen's "We Are The Champions"]