Picking the MAL race kind of like playing fantasy

Carey can blame Tony and I.

Just a night before Carey’s dismantling at the hands of Calvert, 44-14, Saturday night, Tony Maluso and I were discussing that we didn’t think anyone would challenge the Blue Devils for the MAL.

And that’s why they play the games.

The final foray of MAL football sees six teams tied for first at 2-1 with four weeks to go: Carey, Calvert, St. Joe, Seneca East, Mohawk and Hopewell-Loudon.

I pegged Carey to win the MAL prior to the season and after watching it destroy St. Joe, I was confident that was going to be the case.

After losing to Calvert in the way it did Saturday, I’m not so sure.

What Carey has in its favor is the schedule. It has Lakota and North Baltimore before finishing the year with a trip to Hopewell-Loudon and hosting Seneca East.

Meanwhile, back at the top of the MAL standings, the other five teams play at least three of the teams that are currently tied atop the division. Hopewell-Loudon has the toughest row to hoe yet with four of those teams on the books yet: St. Joe, Seneca East, Carey and Calvert.

It’s appropriate that the final season of the MAL football has come down to this. It’d be even better with a four-way tie after week 10. Given how this league season has gone so far, that might not be far off.

Speaking of far off, Atlanta’s Julio Jones’ return is just that.

The Atlanta wide receiver, who leads the NFL with 41 catches and is second in yards with 580, suffered a foot injury in Monday night’s loss to the Jets. A week later, he’ll have surgery and is done for the year.

Harry Douglas becomes an interesting pickup and stands to benefit the most. He has 16 grabs for 216 yards this year. However, Douglas doesn’t have the speed to stretch the field like Jones can and is certainly not going to give you the same production. But maybe two-thirds the output of Jones and now you have a viable third receiver or flex play. After the bye week, hopefully Roddy White should be healthy as well as Stephen Jackson, which can only help the Falcons get back on track.

In the least shocking news of the season thus far, Michael Vick was hurt Sunday. One positive is his injury was not contact related, like it has been recent seasons. The left hamstring injury was projected to keep him out this week but he has resumed practicing already so who knows. If Nick Foles has to go, it’s not a great fantasy matchup against Tampa Bay, which are top 10 in least points allowed to quarterbacks.

Chip Kelly already has said Vick is the starter when healthy. But if he’s out beyond the Tampa game, Foles would be worth playing as the Cowboys and Giants (their next two games) rank in the top three of fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks.

If there was any question whether Trent Richardson was going to have to share any carries, it was cleared up Tuesday when the Colts put Ahmad Bradshaw on injured reserve.

A guy worth picking up in his place is Zac Stacy who is the Rams starting running back going into Week 6. He’s part of a time share but in a surprise start last week, he rushed for 78 yards on 14 carries. Right now he’s got the job over Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead. Coach Jeff Fisher said they wanted to get him more touches but the game plan didn’t play out the way they wanted.

One of the beneficiaries of Philip Rivers’ resurgence this year is Keenan Allen. The rookie has had two straight weeks of five catches and 80 yards or more. Against the Raiders he eclipsed the 100-yard mark and had a score.

If you didn’t grab Jimmy Graham in the draft, now is your chance to get your own.

Well, maybe Graham Lite.

Garrett Graham has quietly put together a solid season so far with 141 yards and three scores alongside Owen Daniels in Houston. With Daniels out for two months, I expect Graham’s production to increase and he could be a nice point boost to a position that has been pretty lackluster this year.

Aaron Korte is the A-T’s fantasy football writer.

He can be reached at akorte(at)advertiser-tribune.com. You can follow him on Twitter (at)KorteClarkKent.