Meat Loaf and Jerry Cantrell are halfway to reaching the championship in the Alice in Chains & Friends Fantasy Football Charity League.
But with the second half of the first round still to be completed, their opponents won't allow an easy path to the finals. Cantrell's JC Aroma Of Tacoma took a 112-102 lead over Scott Ian's Fear And Loathing, and Meat Loaf's Hell In A Hand Basket jumped out to a 94-75 lead over Kenny Wayne Shepherd's Team Re-Domination last week in the first half.
An indication of the seriousness of the four remaining playoff teams was the notable absence of any trash talk on the league message board.
Cantrell usually tries to get some talk started, but he's probably too busy trying to choose whether to play Falcons QB Matt Ryan or Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman this week. Currently he's going with Freeman, who is facing the Lions. But Ryan, who is coming off a disappointing 11 fantasy points, is going up against the weak Seahawks.
Ian has the No. 1 fantasy quarterback, but Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers suffered a concussion last week and picked up just one point against the Lions. So Fear And Loathing has penciled in Titans quarterback Kerry Collins as his starter after picking him up off waivers on Wednesday.
Meat Loaf and Shepherd, meanwhile, have no dilemmas at quarterback with Baltimore's Joe Flacco and Houston's Matt Schaub, respectively and no better options at the position.
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.
Weekly updates on the Alice in Chains & Friends Fantasy Football Charity League, trash talk and interviews with the owners are being published in ESPN.com's The Life and Music sections throughout the season. Members of the league also have dropped by for occasional chats on SportsNation.
Here is a recap of the first half of the first-round playoff games and a look ahead to the second half of the first-round matchups:
Alice in Chains & Friends Fantasy Football Charity League final regular season standings
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Place of birth: Shreveport, La. Age: 33 Fantasy football experience: 1 year Favorite team: Indianapolis Colts
Personal: Shepherd cut his musical teeth opening for The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Bob Dylan, The Eagles and Van Halen.
Place of birth: Tacoma, Wash. Age: 44 Fantasy football experience: 6 years Favorite team: Seattle Seahawks/Pittsburgh Steelers
Personal: Lead guitarist Cantrell's legacy with Alice In Chains includes 16 million albums sold, 21 Top 40 singles and seven Grammy nominations.
Place of birth: New York Age: 46 Fantasy football experience: 1 year Favorite team: New York Giants
Personal: When Ian isn't playing guitar for Anthrax, he's schooling amateurs at the poker table.
Place of birth: Abilene, Texas Age: 46 Fantasy football experience: 11 years Favorite team: Dallas Cowboys
Personal: Paul, who formed Pantera with his late brother Dimebag Darrell, plays drums for Hellyeah the way Ray Lewis hits people. In other words, hard.
Place of birth: Bayonne, N.J. Age: 43 Fantasy football experience: 1 year Favorite team: New York Giants
Personal: Wylde landed the job of lead guitarist and co-songwriter for Ozzy Osbourne at the age of 19 and later founded Black Label Society.
Place of birth: Dallas Age: 62
Personal: Legendary singer, aka Michael Aday, has been just as successful on your TV and film screens as your radio.
Place of birth: Whittier, Calif. Age: 41 Fantasy football experience: 1 year and the AIC&FFFCL reigning champ Favorite team: No favorite, but "I do like to watch the Carolina Panthers every Sunday, especially to watch my boy, Jordan Gross [left tackle], play."
Personal: One of two non-musicians in the league, Willig spent 12 years in the NFL with six teams.
Place of birth: Seattle Age: 46 Fantasy football experience: 1 year Favorite team: Seattle Seahawks
Personal: Before playing bass for Velvet Revolver, McKagan spent 13 years with Guns N' Roses, so he's ready for anything.
Place of birth: San Fernando, Calif. Age: 44 Fantasy football experience: 7 years Favorite team: Oakland Raiders
Personal: Before playing bass guitar for Alice In Chains, Inez was rocking arenas with Ozzy Osbourne.
Place of birth: Norfolk, Va. Age: 45
Personal: Harris is the weekday co-host of the 6 p.m. ET "SportsCenter" and has been with ESPN since 2003.