We learned two key things from Sunday’s divisional matchups — of which I was dead wrong about on Saturday — the Vikings have regrouped, refocused and look determined while the Jets just keep doing what they need to do to win games.
Fantasy wise, there’s not a lot of new we can take away from Sunday’s games, but there are a few things we need to discuss.
Sidney Rice (6-141-3) was almost as perfect as a WR stud could be. I believe this is one playoff performance we can take as a stepping stone onto further success next season, especially if Brett Favre returns. Either way, Rice has gained the necessary confidence to be the go-to guy and will be a sure fire WR1 next season.
Percy Harvin (1 catch for zilch, 3 rushes for 23 yards) has the ability to garner a lot of attention (headlines) for doing very little (ala Reggie Bush). It was nice to see Minnesota continue to use him in different fashions, giving fantasy owners confidence Harvin will at least get the opportunity to score on every series. Is he consistent enough to garner a high draft pick (second round?), maybe in deep leagues? He is certainly on his way to being an interesting fantasy option next season.
Adrian Peterson (26-63-0) looked frustrated on several runs, punching the ground after being tackled a few times. It’s disturbing to see Minnesota focusing on the pass in the red zone and choosing to run AP mainly on draws and zone reads, which isn’t his strength. I call it the Favre factor, but at least AP still produces relevant fantasy points. This postseason performance may influence some novice fantasy players to look past AP and draft others (Chris Johnson, Ray Rice and maybe some surprises — Jamaal Charles or Felix Jones?) ahead of him leaving this stud to fall in the first round. You never know … playoff and late-season hype can sway unprepared fantasy owners.
Tony Romo (22-198-0-1) shouldn’t be blamed for this rough performance. He spent probably 80 percent of the passing plays in the face of massive defensive pressure. His receivers were getting open (according to the TV analysts), but we couldn’t tell with Romo constantly on his back. I wouldn’t put much credence on this performance when looking at him next season as your QB1. If you do, you may be sorry.
Felix Jones (14-69, 3 catches) still looked explosive despite the game getting out of hand early. It was encouraging to see Dallas work Jones into the passing game as well, which bodes well for his fantasy value next year. The big question over the off-season is will it matter in getting him more touches over Marion Barber, who should be 100 percent healthy at the start of next season.
Shonn Greene (23-128-1) had his stats inflated by a 53-yard TD run but still looked strong as a player who will be a factor next season. EP covered Green’s potential perfectly in his previous post, so I won’t waste space. The Jets are a running team, so Greene should see plenty of touches next year, although I don’t see New York taking carries away from Thomas Jones as long as he is around.
Mark Sanchez (12-100-1-1) could be this year’s Joe Flacco. Well, I guess he already is. This should tell us what to expect next season. However, Sanchez does have Braylon Edwards (if he straightens out), which Flacco doesn’t … especially if Derrick Mason hangs them up.
Vincent Jackson (7-111-0) was the Chargers lone bright spot, although him bumbling a jump ball against Darrelle Revis was a key play in the game and a pass he probably should have pulled down. Jackson is still a viable WR1 and should be high on many owners’ draft board next season.
LaDainian Tomlinson (12-24) didn’t have many holes to run through, but neither did Darren Sproles (3-33), and Sproles was able to burst past defenders on two of his runs. We probably saw the last of LT as an NFL starter, and we pretty much knew this was his final season as a viable fantasy starter. Of course, the big shame was how LT was virtually no factor in the passing game (four targets), an advantage he used to hold over many other fantasy running backs. Anyhow, thanks for the memories big guy!