The Wizard of Vienna: The Rise — and Fall — of a Dynasty

In prestine Bergen County, New Jersey, the sun finally sets while the cricketts chirp in the early Autumn evening just days before the leaves begin to change color, and a devoted husband and father sips his first cup of chamomile tea as he settles in for a long night of scouting film and pouring over waiver wires.

In its five year GMRRFFA history, no one’s been more successful than the Architect, but you wouldn’t tell by his modesty and sharing his success with his family. Needless to say, the Architect — or maybe we can try Larry for a while — took GMRRFFA by storm, making a name for himself (and his family) while shattering record books. Take a look:

Three straight titles

One Runner-up finish

11 Playoff wins

53 Overall wins

Longest winning streak in GMRRFFA history (12)

One co-manager.

For Larry, GMRRFFA is a family business, or at least it was.

“All these platitudes are appreciated, but I devoted my time in this league to be with my brother,” admitted Larry. “After Jolly’s (‘Jolly’ refers to Larry’s pet name for his little brother when they were growing up in the upscale West Milford community often confused with the Hamptons and other posh towns) reverse eating disorder ballooned his weight, I felt responsible to be there to hold his hand.

“By 2011, I couldn’t even have Girl Scout cookies in the house, fearing what he might do.”

A family bond brought Larry into the league, but a fierce competitive spirit brought out the best in the Architect. In his fourth season at the helm (maybe, sort of, what’s happening?), Larry spent some time with us, revealing the innerworkings of GMRRFFA’s first dynasty.

Given how quiet he’s been throughout his time here, Larry had a lot to share.

The Early Days

“Back in 2016, when Jolly was still hanging out in the authentic Brooklyn neighbordhoods like Williamsburg, I remember he came to the estate and mentioned how excited he was about the GMRRFFA being formed,” Larry and Jon’s dad, Mr. del Rosario, recalls. “He was so excited to have some friends again — I mean adult friends. I know everyone in his family was excited.”

That August, very much on brand for the younger del Rosario, Jon selected Rob Gronkowski for $75 in the inagural draft.

“Yes, Gronk was awesome, but knowing what we know now, the personalities aligned perfectly,” recalls the award-winning league Commissioner. “That 2016 season was magical on a lot of levels. From Mark Hutchinson actually being credible to points for quarterbacks based on completions to our only league quitter (for now), 2016 was a lot of hiccups for sure.”

Despite some rough patches in setting up the season, Jon rolled to the finals on the back of Gronk, Le’Veon Bell and Kirk Cousins, ultimately falling to Mark in the inagural championship.

“I know he was disappointed, but we were proud of Jon for finally getting a title that didn’t have ‘Participation’ on it,” shared Mr. del Rosario.

If the del Rosario family was proud of Jon’s 2016, it was the complete opposite the following year. Even before Jon needed a FIL loss in an epic Week 13 finale, Larry knew it was time for a change. In his only season failing to make the playoffs, Jon lost four of his last five games, including the finale to FIL, and finishing below .500.

“That team didn’t have it, but the record doesn’t reflect the true absurdity,” clamed del Rosario biographer Smeet. “That 2017 season was defined by the Jonathan Williams move.

Kamara — Williams

“Remember, GMRRFFA made a rule change following the James Conner $10 keeper loophole largely because of Larry, but we also forget the league set up nominations for the worst transactions of the season because of Jon,” GMRRFFA historian Stabs notes.

Previous to Larry’s take over, the Vienna franchise didn’t have the reputation it enjoys today, and its all in relation to Jon’s inexplicable decision to drop then-rookie Alvin Kamara for Saints back-up Jonathan Williams.

“Jon snagged the undrafted Kamar off waivers for two bucks,” said Stabs who ironically is incredible desperate for a cheap running back in 2021. “This doesn’t happen to anyone. Ever.”

The rest is history — Garcia snapped him off waivers, pairing the rookie with fellow rookie CMC and promptly missing the playoffs. Kamara turned out to be good. As in, Kamara finished as the RB3 on the season, cost $12 to keep in 2018, $22 in 2019, and $32 in 2020. Its like getting Derrick Henry as a keeper, except half the cost.

Shaking off the failure of 2017 meant real change up and down the ladder was necessary.

“Good on Jolly for recognizing it was time for a change,” recalled Larry. “I think it being around the time of that new Girl Scout cookie-themed restaurant opening in Williamsburg probably made the conversation easier to stomach.”

No one knew, but a Running Back dynasty was about to take off.

Trades for RB1s

In a league devoted exclusively to the notion that running backs win titles, its obvious all GMRRFFA owners should celebrate in the Vienna dynasty, seeing as many have largely contributed to Larry et al’s success.

“Coming in to the league, Jolly was my eyes and ears. Outside of admiring the Commissioner from afar for a long time as role model for Jolly, all these people were new to me. FIL and Galen, was I supposed to call them “sir” out of respect for seniors,” Larry said. “It was hard to understand the psychology of these guys, which is why, when I took the reigns, I simply stated RBs are our focus.”

Upon taking control of the team, that was Larry’s calling card — robbing owners for players who simply weren’t available on the waivers.

“Look at today’s game — KJ Osborn or whatever his name is is the third wide receiver in Minnesota, averaging double digits and he’s out on the waivers and everyone’s patting the Unicorn on his back for sniping him,” the Architect said recently. “Congrats! Wide receivers are a dime a dozen.”

The Commissioner reenforced this statement, pointing to his own 2021 draft and subsequent moves. For three months, the Unicorn and Fredo and others clamored that the Commissioner would be deprived of a wide receiver, yet he now boasts two top players as well as the 17th wide receiver after Smeet inexplicably dropped Rondale Moore.

“I admire Larry strictly for his sense of strategy and staying committed to it — he’s not like some half-assed owners, who just piss in the wind to see which way they should move their team,” admired the Asterik. We then asked him to expand on this but he mixed up Larry Legend with Larry Boone, a successful country singer who plays on the Asterik’s Other League.

The list of Larry’s heists is straight criminal:

September, 2018: In his first move at the helm and with Vienna’s only keeper, Lev Bell, holding out, Larry drops $126 FAAB on James Conner in an unprecedented move.

November, 2018: Larry sends Amari Cooper, AJ Green, still holding out Bell and $7 draft to Fredo for Christian McCaffrey.

September, 2019: Larry sends James Conner, Chris Godwin, and $20 draft to the Unicorn for Ezekiel Elliot, Tyler Lockett, and the Pittsburgh Defense.

August, 2020: Larry sends Zeke and Kelce plus FAAB cash to Smeet for Alvin Kamara and his third and final year as a keeper.

September, 2020: Larry spends $44 FAAB on adding Antonio Gibson via waivers.

September, 2020: Larry sends an injured CMC, Gibson, and Justin Gage to Mark Hutchinson for Dalvin Cook and Aaron Rodgers.

October, 2020: Larry sends Amari Cooper to Carlos for David Montgomery, Terry McLauren, and $63 draft.

November, 2020: Larry sends Montgomery and Logan Thomas to Hutchinson to re-acquire Gibson.

Seven days later: Larry sends Antonio Gibson and $10 draft to Markezy for Myles Sanders.

July, 2021: Larry sends Steffon Diggs, Kenny Golloday, and $8 draft to the Asterik for Derrick Henry.

If you’re counting at home, Larry acquired at least seven RB1s via waivers or trades in his three year run, notably moving on from players like Conner, Zeke, and CMC at the perfect time.

“Its an art form, man, what Larry does is like Beethoven,” snarls Mark Hutchinson as he takes a drag of his Eve Filtered Feminine Cigarette. “Yea, I’m usually the guy he hoses but man i just like watching art being created, even if the joke’s on me.”

Back in 2018, its often forgotten but Larry kept Lev Bell as his only keeper; when the Steelers running back sat out, Larry orchestrated the Conner acquisition. Later, after starting 3–3 , Larry swindled Fredo in the CMC blockbuster. Following the deal, Larry rolled, winning eight of his next ten, including playoffs to finish the 2018 season.

With CMC on his roster, Larry was nothing short of unbelievable, finishing with an overall record of 24–4, including six playoff wins and two titles. By Week Two of the 2020 season, CMC posted two 20+ games back-to-back before getting injured; three days later, Larry moved him and Gibson to Hutchinson for Dalvin Cook. McCaffrey never played a single game for Hutchinson before being moved on to Smeet. Meanwhile, Dalvin Cook finished as the RB2 in 2020 and the rest was history.

“What can we even say?” asked Hutchinson and Smeet together on a conference call coming back from a Rite-Aid in Mark’s VW Beetle on early Sunday morning last week.

Larry’s tapestry isn’t reserved soley for runing backs, but when starting consecutive seasons with under $50 for the draft, adaptation was a necessaity. Take a look at some other moves he made during this run:

August 2019: Sends Tyler Lockett to the Commish for AJ Brown, Melvin Gordon and $25 FAAB; Sends Rojo and $13 draft to Garcia for Chris Godwin

September 2020: Sends $15 draft cash to the Commish for Marvin Jones

October, 2020: Larry sends Marvin Jones, Nyheim Hines, the KC Defense, and $63 draft to Fredo for MT and Latavious Murray.

October 2020: Larry sends $15 draft to Fredo for Chase Edmonds.

November, 2020: Larry sends McLauren and $20 draft to Mark Hutchinson for George Kittle.

“A lot of people think fantasy football is basically draft night and get lucky on a waiver pick-up,” Larry said while he listens to a bug zapper in the distance at his Bergen estate. “Its not; you have to adapt, try new things. And yes, some trades don’t work out the way you’d hope [like MT or Kittle] but you still have to be creative.

“Someone called the draft set it and forget it style of play ‘missionary fantasy football.’ Yes, you’re engaging in sex (fantasy football), which good for you because there’s like eight owners in this league who haven’t in years. But did we know there’s more ways to have sex than just missionary? It can still be enjoyable, fair, but just a bit different?”

211.8

“In five-plus seasons, GMRRFFA played 511 games thus far; if I told you one playoff match-up featured two of the league’s four highest point totals ever, you’d say I’m crazy,” notes PR hype man Tito Galen. “I mean, how they got there might be ridiculous, even for this league, but still 211.8 points is insane.”

Tito Galen obviously refers to the epic semifinal match-up between Larry and the Commissioner, best of friends off the pitch, but fierce competitors. In 2019, the Commissioner left no doubt he was aiming for Larry, and it got heated right away. Following a two-month PR stunt, the Commish successfully traded Baker Mayfield to the Unicorn for Tyler Lockett before promptly moving Lockett and Cooper Kupp to Mark Hutchinson for De’Andre Hopkins. He then made a huge splash, moving the recently-aquired Julio Jones and Todd Gurley to FIL for Saquon Barkley.

“It was clear that the Commish wasn’t messing around, and he wanted to win,” Garcia noted after returning from his garage midway through the interview. “I respect those moves, but over the course of the season, Commish has some bad luck.”

Barkley went down to an ankle injury and a desperate Commissioner traded draft money to his brother-in-law for Duke Johnson. He did have some luck bounce his way, snagging Mark Andrews, who was inexplicably on waivers and a critical piece to acquire Chris Carson off Coop. By December, Barkley was back and ready for a post-season run.

“Look, dropping Andrews was a disaster on my part, but if I didn’t, we don’t get 211.8,” argues the Unicorn. “Larry needed a foil — in 2019 it was the Commish; today’s its his brother.”

“I looked at the 2019 season terrified — he forced our hand too when we moved James Conner for Zeke,” Larry revealed. “Jon actually suggested we find a rube to move Conner and it happened to coincide with Zeke Stakes. The rest is history and we upgraded from an RB3 to a top-three running back.”

The move paid off; while the Commissioner fought off a swelling tide of injuries, the Vienna dynasty raced to a 10–1 record, losing to the Asterik by just 6/10ths of a point in Week 8 of that season to snap the league-leading 12-game winning streak. Then, in Week 12, controversy ensued when Larry refused to add a tight end or kicker off waivers as his two starters were on byes, leading to a shocking 17-point upset victory for the basement dwelling Smeet.

“Strategically, I get it — you’re on the way to the playoffs and your bench is good. Take a chance with not starting two players in a meaningless game against the worst team in the league,” Smeet said during the conference call with Hutchinson at a Holiday Inn off the New Jersey Turnpike near Paulsboro. “What irked me was Larry called and explained his rationale, but then his little brother went crazy talking tons of shit about how he could still beat me, making jokes about my own shortcomings. It rubbed me the wrong way.”

“That’s how Jon became,” Larry added. “I did all the work, while he took the credit and attention. He made us look — shit he’s making us look bad.”

Larry’s squad lost Week 12 but strategically they coasted in to that semifinal match-up with the Commissioner, another brilliant move by the older del Rosario.

“If you look back, the semifinals have always been our hardest match-up in the post-season,” said Larry, whose average margin of victory in semifinal match-ups is under two points. “2019 was a straight war.”

Two brothers commermorating

423 points later, including an insane Raheem Mostert fumble, a Dak Prescott kneel down, and a Michael Thomas negative-four yard gain, and the one and only tie in the league’s postseason occurred. The matchup featured four top-6 Week 15 fantasy RB performances, 4 top-12 Week 15 fantasy WR performances, 1 top 4 Week 15 fantasy QB performance, 2 top-5 Week 15 fantasy TE performances, two top-5 Week 15 fantasy Defense performances, and Dak Prescott and Nuk. League owners fielded 1,022 starting line-ups in GMRRFFA history; Larry and the Commish posted two of the four highest scores ever in a match-up the ended in a tie in the playoffs.

“It’ll never happen again — my heart breaks for the Commissioner,” Larry sadly reflects. “It’ll always be a co-championship for Dan and I. We respect one another. He’s like a significantly younger brother to me — its a family business in that regard.”

For Every Sun Rise, there is a Sunset

Following the 2018 surprise run with the then-unknown Architect at the helm, it quickly became clear things were different within GMRRFFA. Not only had the Sausages hoisted their first title, but attitudes shifted as well.

“When its winning the title, its all about ‘we.’ But when the family won that first title, it really quickly became all about ‘me’ for Jolly’,” said Larry. “When I took over ahead of 2018, I really thought it was time for Jolly to try something new, and I knew working with the Commissioner’s vision of GMRRFFA content was a perfect fit. That said, the fanfare he thought he organically received was actually a well-nurtured audience of the league and all of its contributors.”

What Larry refers to is the still-hostile standoff between Jon and the GMRRFFA commissioner, who had invested his life savings into creating content for the 13 other owners in the league. By 2018, Jon was given a column entitled “Riff Raff Ramblings,” which was designed to be bi-weekly but Jon largely ignored deadlines before ultimately going on strike ahead of the 2019 season demanding more money.

“It’s a FAKE league!” recalls the Commissioner. “Jon was demanding all the cash we took in despite us never making a single dollar — his attitude clearly changed based on my team being a threat.”

The Commissioner still feels the pains of that time. By the end of 2019, the site was ultimately defunct as legal bills mounted, weeks before that fateful 211.8 game. Despite assuring his brother he’d end the strike in days, Jon held out until mid-October, costing him every audience member except Fredo and Smeet.

“At that point, it wasn’t about the game anymore,” recalls Jon’s biographer, Smeet. “By 2019, Jon just wanted attention. During his stupid, irresponsible strike, he compared himself to Ezekiel Elliot, compared himself to the average working man like he was Jimmy freakin’ Hoffa — but it was all about money.”

Global Ambassador, or fraud?

Distracted by undefined riches elsewhere, Jon’s edge clearly wore off, forcing his older brother to handle all league business by himself.

“Honestly, from a team perspective, it was sort of a relief to have Jon focused elsewhere. He relinquished all responsibility in 2019, which allowed for some of those epic trades that led to the 2019 co-title,” said Larry.

The Architect is referring to a number of important trades. Notably in mid-October of 2019, while Jon penned his final Riff Raff Ramblings column, Larry was facilitating a move to send James Conner to the Unicorn for Zeke Elliot, a move the all but secured Larry’s 211.8 victory. The Dallas running back racked up 33 points in the most famous match-up in league history.

“That trade destroyed me,” laments a dejected Unicorn, who obviously fell apart that season. “I literally dropped the third best back in the league for a bag of dildos and the RB35. I was outhustled and outsmarted through and through.”

The trade was so one-sided that Larry and 2016 champion Mark Hutchinson orchestrated a ban of the Unicorn accessing the Champions Locker Room. They ultimately agreed to let him in again so long as fresh urinal cakes were placed daily.

“That’s the point — for me, the focus never changed. It was always about winning. For Jon, it was about being cool like Tony Montana or Killmonger or Jay-Z, all these people who didn’t care about GMRRFFA, just like my brother.”

The Downfall

“Look, when you’re creating free content for like eight people to read, who compares themselves to Jay-Z and Tony Montana?” Larry scoffs as he munches on a package of Nutter Butters. “We were supposed to be in this for the titles, not for this ‘me first’ bullshit.”

The Architect was referring to a lot. It was summer time 2021, and his younger brother, fresh from a trip to the Hamptons, strode in to the film room, where Larry and his team were prepping film for potential off-season trades. Its a tedious routine, one Jon abdicated following 2018 so he could enjoy a victory tour across the globe as a GMRRFFA Ambassador. (Larry: “What the fuck, man! Jolly literally made up the job and title as an excuse to travel and update his LinkedIn profile. Fuckin’ clown…”)

“Jolly walks in and says, ‘I had lunch with the Commissioner this afternoon at Applebee’s in Bethesda, and I moved Sanders’ like it was a good move.” Larry is referring to Jon’s decision to move Myles Sanders to the Commish for three players all deemed unkeepable and eight draft dollars.

“I don’t think you can enjoy fantasy football without regretting a few bad decisions,” shares biographer Smeet. “I literally named my team ‘Bad Decisions’ once, and I get Larry and Jolly probably regret that move because it really highlights the lack of communication, strategy, or vision between the two.

“Regardless, with limited draft capital or assets, Larry knew he had to respond and that’s how he orchestrated the Henry deal — really the defining transaction(s) of the Vienna dynasty. As always, Larry moved on an unsuspecting sap, who never realized that a wide receiver’s value is incomparable to Derrick Henry.”

As Smeet shares it, Larry rang the Asterik one evening in late July, inquiring as to where he could purchase N-95 masks for his kids in the midst of a pandemic. A fifteen minute conversation abruptly turned when the Asterik suggested his Twitter friends revealed Henry would regress in 2021. When pressed for details on this assumption, the Asterik didn’t respond aside from saying “Grathesfcujrb.”

In any case, in July, Larry made the deal, sending a WR2, a WR4 and $8 draft for arguably one of the best three or four players in fantasy football. GMRRFFA was once again shook.

Jolly learning about the Henry acquisition led to a do

“But no one was more upset than Jolly,” Larry revealed. “He called me screaming that it was a bad deal, largely based off a Twitch stream or Call of Duty game Jolly played late night with some friends. I told him it was the best deal imagineable — a top three running back for $60. That NEVER happens, I tried to tell him.”

Six weeks later, following the draft and while the Architect was away building homes for needy kids in Central America, Jon went crazy, sending Henry to one of his biggest threats, Garcia, for Joe Mixon and Mike Evans.

“I literally had my wife read the offer so I knew it wasn’t just because I was stoned,” Garcia exclaimed. “The deal was that outragous.”

Since 2017, Mixon missed 31% of his team’s games, including 21 over the last two seasons. He’s literally the quintessential definition of “injury prone,” the type of player Larry avoided throughout the last few years. What’s worse? Mixon had six games above 25 fantasy points in his four-plus seasons; by comparison, Henry had seven 25+ in his last 14 games alone. Even with Evans, a talented WR2 in a league with 30–35 talented wide receivers, the deal made no sense.

“You know, since our second came along, my wife has been a bit too pre-occupied to focus on GMRRFFA, so I’ve had to step up,” shared Fredo Maisel, noting that Mrs. Maisel handles most team duties. “Even then, I knew how bad this was.”

Fredo adds this trade ruined his hero worship of Jon, whom he affectionately called the “Conqueror” for unspoken reasons.

More notably, the trade impacted the Vienna family business beyond repair. Just four weeks later, Larry and Jolly aren’t speaking aside from an intermediary. The team started 2–0, but things aren’t the same.

“Look, we’ve all heard about it; the me-first issue doesn’t go away because we’ve jumped out to a 2–0 start. In reality, I’m actively looking for other teams and start my own franchise. Its time to start over,” Larry notes. “I was real pissed when Jolly never bothered mentioning Carlos was looking to sell his franchise. I would’ve jumped on it, but Jolly wants me to get him the Ws for his own image.”

The whispers that the Vienna dynasty was in decline are now turning in to shouts and, for some, sighs of relief. Speaking annoynymously, one owner stated that the Vienna sales job is over: “[Jon drunkenly] tried to get me to trade Ekeler and Chubb for Dalvin Cook — I literally told him I don’t think we can ruin the friendship.”

Another: “He’s trying to convince me his garbage bench players are worth my starters.”

With Larry proactively seeking a new home, desperation is setting in around Vienna. The team has an injured star in Dalvin Cook, Tom Brady’s roommate has COVID, Joe Mixon remains Joe Mixon, and a variety of WR2s and WR3s round out a team destine for the playoffs because other teams in GMRRFFA suck. Hard times ahead.

“Jolly always wants to be the bad guy everyone loves — the classic Tony Montana,” Larry concludes. “He said it in his first Riff Raff Ramblings: ‘I can be your hero, baby.’”

Ostracized from his family and the curtain pulled back, Jon’s Vienna dynasty is witnessing its final days. What happens next is almost certainly dependent on Larry’s return.

“For me, I’m not interested in the bull shit any more. I’ve got the rings, I’ve got the respect, I want to run a franchise without the built-in drama and egos,” Larry concludes.

We asked Jon for comment when preparing this piece. His response: “Negative.”

We will have to look to his writing instead for the last word:

Now instead imagine a hero, a true specimen of a man. A man knows what the people have been waiting for — what their taut and highly honed fantasy football orifices have been aching for. And this man says, “Enough. Enough of the waiting. The people need their trophy. My people deserve their trophy.” This man doesn’t wait, he acts. He moves with purpose. He runs into the burning building, scratching and clawing his way through wreckage, exiting victorious, the remnants of a trophy scorching and melting over his blistered palms. All for his people. All for the league. All for you.