Here are seven quick fantasy thoughts from the Sunday portion of playoff Week 15.
Why seven? Because I've been hurriedly packing up for a 10-hour drive for the holidays...and the obsessive/compulsive part of me had to stop on a prime number.
1. Obviously, I underestimated Colin Kaepernick's capacity to post big-time numbers against a formidable opponent. But that doesn't mean he's a lock for top-10 status heading into the 49ers' Sunday showdown with the Seahawks, the NFL's No. 3 pass defense (197 yards per game).
In 14- and 16-team leagues, though, go ahead and ride Kaepernick (244 total yards, four TDs vs. New England) on Fantasy Bowl weekend.
2. I don't anticipate Adrian Peterson (212 yards, one TD vs. St. Louis) to eclipse Eric Dickerson's single-season NFL record of 2,105 rushing yards, primarily because his final two opponents—Houston and Green Bay—will likely stack the proverbial "box" with eight or nine defenders.
It's a good strategy for handling 30-plus Peterson carries (in pursuit of 294 yards), thus challenging an anemic Vikings passing attack.
On the flip side, I do anticipate hailing Peterson (1,812 rushing yards, 11 TD) being the No. 1 overall pick in next year's fantasy drafts (standard scoring), barring major injury. And even then, it's not a clear-cut declaration for those who were burned by the summertime notion that Peterson—eight straight 100-yard rushing days since Week 7—would struggle early in 2012.
3. Does the NFL track single-game records for "Most Red-Zone Interceptions Thrown By A Quarterback"? If not, perhaps we should use Josh Freeman's cruddy day (279 yards passing, four red-zone picks) as a launching point for such infamy.
How bad was Freeman in the Bucs' 41-0 loss to the Saints? With each successive interception, the memories of Freeman's 420-yard, three-TD reckoning of New Orleans (Week 7) became distant and fuzzy. Did I really assign him a No. 11 ranking heading into Sunday? D'oh.
4. If you had told me the Seahawks would hang 50 on the beleaguered Bills prior to Sunday's shakedown, I would have guessed that Marshawn Lynch notched multiple touchdowns for back-to-back outings.
Instead, I was left feeling a little blue about Lynch's 127-yard, one-TD effort against Buffalo...only because Seattle's Russell Wilson (297 total yards, four TDs) vultured three of Lynch's potential scores on (impressive) QB keepers.
5. Brandon Lloyd's three best statistical days have occurred in prime time this season, which probably has more to do with Rob Gronkowski or Aaron Hernandez missing all three showcases than anything suggesting Lloyd (10 catches, 190 yards vs. San Fran) is a daytime downer.
For those partaking in postseason fantasy leagues (January), Lloyd could be a stellar late-round pick.
6. I executed two trades for Browns tailback Trent Richardson a few weeks ago, thinking he had the most advantageous playoff slate of any elite fantasy back. And in a way, I suppose he's been successful against the Chiefs and Redskins for Weeks 14 and 15, scoring four times.
But still, in that span...83 total yards on 33 touches? Ouch.
7. Only the sad-sack Jaguars could devote 12 catches, 22 targets and 194 yards to the receiving tandem of Cecil Shorts (101 yards) and Justin Blackmon (93 yards) and wind up with a scant three points by game's end.
Truly, truly awful.
Since the airings of HBO's Hard Knocks back in August, I have routinely pop-quizzed fantasy enthusiasts on Twitter, asking them to identify two current Dolphins in the defensive backfield (after the Vontae Davis trade). And to my chagrin (but not surprise), less than five people have successfully completed that task to date.
And yet, these no-name assets were part of a Miami defense that held Jacksonville QB Chad Henne to a pedestrian 221 yards passing and made Montell Owens (53 total yards) seem like some random fourth-string tailback who doesn't have the "it" factor to be a long-term fantasy asset.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.
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