Commentary

Mad dash for playoffs in final two weeks

Updated: November 25, 2010, 11:12 AM ET
By Jim Wilkie | ESPN.com

With just two weeks left in the regular season, it's an extremely tight race for the four playoff spots in the Alice in Chains & Friends Fantasy Football Charity League.

[+] EnlargeDuff McKagan
Jordan Strauss/WireImage for DiscoveryDuff McKagan's Team Loaded is in the thick of a heated playoff race.

Vinnie Paul's red-hot Team Brickwall Brickwall (6-5) won its fourth game in a row last week with a 118-103 victory over Meat Loaf's Hell In A Hand Basket (7-4), allowing Kenny Wayne Shepherd's Team Re-Domination (7-3-1) to reclaim first place. But Shepherd has just a half-game lead over second-place Hand Basket, Jerry Cantrell's JC Aroma Of Tacoma (7-4) and Duff McKagan's Team Loaded (7-4).

Heading into Monday night's Chargers-Broncos game, Meat Loaf had a 103-101 lead over Paul but Brickwall still had Denver running back Knowshon Moreno remaining to play. After Sunday's results, Cantrell posted the following note on the league message board with hopes that Hand Basket pull further ahead in the standings:

Vinnie, BBQ The Meat
Posted: Nov 22, 1:05 a.m.
Jerry Cantrell
JC Aroma Of Tacoma

Put him back in the Dutch oven, Vinnie. He's not quite done yet. … Just a few more points.

To which, Paul replied confidently before Moreno racked up 17 fantasy points against San Diego:

Hellyeah!!!
Posted: Nov 22, 6:10 a.m.
Vinnie Paul
The Brickwall Brickwall

I think Meat is BBQ'ed!!!! Noshawn Moreno better get me 3 lousy points!!!!

Re: Hellyeah!!!
Posted: Nov 23, 5:20 a.m.
Jerry Cantrell
JC Aroma Of Tacoma

Nice work, dude, southern style.

A week after Paul helped Cantrell pull into a second-place tie, their teams face each other in a pivotal game that will have playoff implications. And the playoff picture might be even fuzzier heading into Week 13 as it's possible six teams could be no more than one game out of first place.

Next to The Brickwall Brickwall, the hottest team is McKagan's Team Loaded, which has won three in a row to remain in playoff contention. McKagan said during an interview this month at a Seattle recording studio that he's not a prototypical fantasy player and gets some help from his nephew, who's "killer, he's 13 and he knows every stat."

Although the nephew ran the team most of last season while McKagan's band was on tour in Europe, the Loaded guitarist and singer is much more involved in his roster this season.

"I like it when I'm doing it with Jerry. I'll go to his house on football Sundays sometimes and pull the computers out and just two [expletive] total nerds, you know," McKagan says, laughing while mimicking typing on a laptop. "I'll have the computer in my backpack and I'll take it out and we'll go 'Yeahhhhhh.' And we get food and stuff. And that's fun, when it's like that. Maybe I'm just more of a people guy …"

McKagan's charity this year is the Moyer Foundatiion's Camp Erin, which is a nationwide network of bereavement camps for children and teens who have experienced the death of someone close to them.

McKagan recalls being impressed by Karen Moyer's hard work outside a Mariners game collecting money for the charity founded by her and husband Jamie Moyer, who then pitched for Seattle, well before the foundation grew to be as big as it is today. In August, McKagan saw a story on ESPN about Camp Erin and by coincidence he was asked to serve as a celebrity waiter at a Moyer Foundation fund-raiser at a Seattle restaurant.

"And they raised a ton of money," he said. "And it was me and Zakk Wylde from the fantasy league and a bunch of old Hawks guys and old Huskies guys -- Sonny Sixkiller and Marques Tuiasosopo -- and it was just great … [former Seahawks quarterback] Sam Adkins …

"And there was Karen Moyer, and she got up and talked, and it's heavy you know. She's a great speaker, and afterwards I talked to her, I said "Hey, I just saw the thing on Jamie and Camp Erin. And so if there's anything you can see a guy like me doing to help out … And then like a week later is when Jerry really pushed me to do the fantasy league again."

McKagan even received some draft assistance from a cheat sheet supplied by someone at the Moyer Foundation, and he said the recommendations were "right on." Getting No. 1-ranked quarterback Philip Rivers of the Chargers in the fourth round and top-ranked tight end Antonio Gates in the sixth round have helped along with the second-most acquisitions (47) thus far this season.

"And then I get [crap] from the guys in Loadad, 'Oh, your [expletive] fantasy team, huh,'" McKagan says in a sarcastic tone. "Of course I go to a [Seahawks] game and we were playing San Diego Chargers and we were killing them -- only after we were killing them -- I'm like, (whispers) 'Man I hope Rivers hits Gates because I've got them on my fantasy team.' 'Shut up, man!'"

And lastly, the latest disappointment in defending champion Matt Willig's season came last week when Eagles kicker David Akers hit a 30-yard field goal with 22 seconds left in Philadelphia's 27-17 victory over the New York Giants. Practically meaningless in that game, but decisive in earning four points for Scott Ian's Fear And Loathing's 74-72 victory over Willig's Halfway Clueless (1-8-2).

The Final Way To Lose
Posted: Nov 21, 11:50 p.m.
Matt Willig
Halfway Clueless

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot to lose to a kick in the final moments of a game. [Expletive] me!!!!!

I want tickets to ALL your concerts next time around!

Re: The Final Way To Lose
Posted: Nov 22, 12:19 a.m.
Jerry Cantrell
JC Aroma Of Tacoma

Matt, this has to be the worst season I've seen anyone have. Wow, you can't catch a break. Braylon [Edwards] produced for ya, too. Thought you'd have it.

Participants in the Alice in Chains & Friends Fantasy Football Charity League will each put one valuable item up for auction by the end of the season. The league champion will get to designate which charity receives the proceeds of the auction. More details on the auction will be announced in the coming weeks.

Weekly updates on the Alice in Chains & Friends Fantasy Football Charity League, trash talk and interviews with the owners will be published in ESPN.com's The Life and Music sections throughout the season. Members of the league also will drop by for occasional chats on SportsNation.

Here is a recap of Week 11 and a look ahead to Week 12's matchups: