Photo by Jeff Bell – Ultiphotos.com
We’re deep into the season, now heading into our eighth week of games. The playoff picture is starting to get clear as both the Nighthawks and Rumble have been eliminated from contention. The Stags are the only team to have locked a spot in the postseason but it looks like we’ll have some more answers soon. With a win over the Current this weekend, the Spinners could lock the Eastern Conference Finals to a matchup between themselves and Whitecaps. Regardless of the outcome this weekend the West will still be in contention, although the Dogfish have a hard road either way.
It is amazing how one win or loss can be so important or so inconsequential to a team. The Stag’s loss this weekend hurts their chances of home field advantage, yet the win was vitally more important to Whitecaps who are in a much closer conference race with the Spinners. Scheduling is playing an important role this year as the Dogfish are still struggling on the road and have to face yet another double header weekend in Week 10.
In retrospect, I should have grabbed a double IPA while we look at double headers but instead we’ll have something a little different this evening with a Rise Up Red (Hopworks Urban Brewery).
Appetizers – Doubleheaders
Double headers are hard. For many ultimate players the idea of playing two games in a weekend seem laughably easy, they’ve played tournaments where they’ve had seven or more games in a weekend so two should be easy right? But in those weekends your opponents are also playing that many games. Tired legs are a thing and mental fatigue from travel wears down a player. I’m not saying that playing a game before is going to completely kill the competition, but there is an effect. As I mentioned last week even a small drop in performance can be the deciding factor in a game. A 2-3 turnover game can turn into a 4-5 turnover game and really swing the momentum.
The MLU is seeing a resurgence in the double header as more teams request them for the season. In the 2013 season it was fairly regular for teams to have double headers with every team but the Current getting featured (they didn’t get their first double header until this season). For a lot of teams, the doubleheader is a great chance for bonding. Not only do you get the camaraderie of travel, but you also get to see your teammates in a context that you don’t necessarily when you are at home. Building this chemistry is a vital part of any team and will serve as its own reward as the season plays out regardless of the outcome of the double header.
So while double headers are valued by teams, they remain difficult and I wanted to find out just how hard they were. The first thing we are going to look at is a breakdown of the 21 doubleheaders we’ve seen over this the past four season.
The team-by-team breakdown really shows that no team is particularly good at the double header. The only team with a positive record is the Rainmakers whose last double header was in 2013. It is also interesting to note that Dogfish and Stags make up nearly half of the double headers. It makes sense as double headers are often an issue of geography and with the Dogfish needing to fly to all of their away games and the Stags with an easy run up and back down the I5 corridor.
The Nighthawks three double headers are an interesting one as well since they have all been a home game for day one and an away game the second day – and both of their wins on those double headers have come on the away game.
What’s pretty clear from the breakdown is that teams don’t win much on double headers, but the bigger question is how teams actually fair on the second day of a double header. Of the 14 wins teams have had on double headers only six of them have happened on second day. Of those six, three had to have one of the teams win the doubleheader as both teams were on their second day. On average teams score one less goal on the second and give up four more goals. To me that tells me that defense is what suffers the most from a doubleheader. It makes sense that tired legs are going to give up more goals.
With two more double headers coming up this season – the Whitecaps in Week 9 and the Dogfish in Week 10 – we’ll see how these trends continue.
On Tap – Matchups
It’s another short weekend and we’ve got two matchups that are giving me a bit of a hard time. Last time we had a short weekend I called both games wrong, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen again this weekend. The Spinners have been historically bad in the second half of the season and for the Rainmakers, it is hard for any team to get four straight wins on another.
Current at Spinners
The Current are one of the most consistent teams in the league, however, they’ve only managed to snag a 2-4 record with that consistency. The Current have really struggled with the 4th quarter, getting outscored 20-36 this season. They’ve only won a single fourth quarter all season and tied another, of the four remaining they’ve lost by and an average of 4 goals. I’m looking for the Spinners to lead by 2-3 points going into the fourth and then really widen the gap. I heard a lot of talk of this being the point in the season where the Spinners are going to regress and I’m hoping they can use this weekend as a chance to end that.
Rainmakers at Nighthawks
This is going to be the fourth time these two meet. The last three scores say that this shouldn’t be a close game as the Rainmakers have been the Nighthawks by an average of 8 points. While I still see a Rainmakers win, it should be a closer game. In the third matchup with Seattle, Vancouver was able to keep it close all the way up to the fourth quarter. The Nighthawks have been improving all season and finally showed a complete game last weekend in their win over the Dogfish. With both teams heading in confident in what they can do I think we’ll finally get a good matchup out of these two.
Fantasy is unfair. Sometimes you put your best line out and you still get your butt kicked. I wanted to share with you some numbers from one of my leagues. Yeah the guy that scored least amount of points is in third, but the guy with most points is in third. The guy with the 3rd most points is in 7th. I just wanted to bring this up to anyone feeling frustrated by the season. Despite everything you do there are days that you are going to lose your matchup. There are also going to be days when you forget to set your lineup and still whoop your best friend because his superstar put up 0G 0A 0B and 10 turnovers. So don’t sweat the small stuff and trust that the season will playout how its going to playout.
This is a rough week in fantasy once again, we’ve only got four teams to pull players from. One saving grace this week is that your opponent is also probably hurting this week. If you need to reach deep on any team, look to the Spinners and Rainmakers. The Spinners have been leaning more on the depth in their roster this season so you’ll probably be able to get some points out of their D-line players. The Rainmakers will be looking to spread their points around to with Gavin McKibben questionable and Daniel Trytiak and Khalif El-Salaam inactive.