Drew Brees @ 49ers
In what could be the hardest matchup Drew Brees will face all year, fantasy owners should still expect him to throw for over 300 yards and a couple of scores in San Francisco. Where Brees may have some problems is if the 49ers can stuff the run, and push the pocket back in his face like the Lions front line did in the first half of last week's game.
Even if San Francisco has trouble sacking Brees, they should be able to make him uncomfortable during stretches of the game, and their defensive backs can capitalize on the missed interception opportunities the Lions backers fell short on.
Of the big three quarterbacks left in the playoffs, Brees has the hardest road, but I would still give him 50/50 odds of moving on to the championship round because San Fransisco struggles against the vertical passing game. Look for the Saints to also use Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas in the short passing game as a substitute for the shortcomings they will likely have in the running game.
Tom Brady vs. Broncos
Denver took advantage of a beat-up Steelers team as they made the most of home-field advantage. But their season should end in New England in the divisional round of the playoffs. If the Steelers would’ve come into Denver and blown out the Broncos, I wouldn’t feel as confident about Tom Brady’s odds to advance because of his shaky defense.
What fantasy owners need to watch for in this game is to see if the week of rest for Brady did him any good, as he’s been slow to get started in the first half of games throughout the second half of the season. It appears something must be wrong with Brady, but whatever the problem may be, he seems to get it going by the end of the first half, and then returns to dominant form in the second half of games.
Even if Brady is slow, he should have over 300 yards passing and three scores this week, but if he should continue his slow start trend, it could be the difference for the Patriots advancing to the Super Bowl if they should play against the Ravens. Only time will tell what will happen with New England, but consider Brady’s odds of advance past the divisional round better than any elite quarterback left in the playoffs.
|3||Drew Brees||@ 49ers|
|4||Eli Manning||@ Packers|
|5||Tim Tebow||@ Patriots|
|8||T.J. Yates||@ Ravens|