Drew Brees’ Saints and Peyton Manning’s Colts looked anything like teams that were too rested on Saturday.
The Saints were so on task they even made Reggie Bush look good!
Speaking of looking good, the Cardinals and Ravens offenses did not. What are the fantasy implications? Let’s get to it:
Reggie Bush — Any 46-yard run is going to skew your yards per carry, but he had another 38 yards on just four carries. Big game for Bush, his punt return TD was an impressive display of his speed as well. He’ll remain a shaky fantasy bye-week filler in 2010 because of his injuries and the backfield rotation — four running backs, an H-Back, a receiver and a quarterback ran the ball for the Saints on Saturday.
Pierre Thomas and Lynell Hamilton — Both running backs averaged more than 4 yards per carry. Thomas got more carries (obviousness coming) and finished with more yards. Hamilton scored a TD. Mike Bell also had six carries in the game. The Saints used a thee-back rotation for much of the season, costing Pierre Thomas owners and exciting Mike Bell owners. If you can really get excited about Mike Bell.
Drew Brees — The Saints were playing so bad at the end of the year many people were worried about how they’d do Sunday. Their defense provided plenty of opportunities for Brees and Co. to capitalize and they did. Brees threw three scores and had a QB rating of 125.4. Like it says in our Top-10 QBs post, he should be the first quarterback taken in 2010.
Marques Colston — With their Super Bowl hopes on the line, Brees targeted his best receiver nine times, almost twice as much as any other receiver.
Devery Henderson — Caught a 44-yard TD pass and had 36 other yards on three catches. Want advice on Henderson, Robert Meachem and Lance Moore? We’re going to invest in a Magic 8-Ball for 2010.
Kurt Warner — Looked more mediocre than immortal on Sunday. Example: Matt Leinart’s QB rating in 10 attempts was better than Warner’s. I’m not sure who should be more insulted with that statement, Leinart or Warner.
Cardinals “run game” — So, take away Tim Hightower’s game-opening 70-yard touchdown run and Arizona was putrid on the ground: 14 carries for 31 yards. That’s 2.21 per attempt for you statistics majors out there. For the rest of us, they were plain awful. It’s disheartening for 2010 because the Saints were in the bottom 10 in fantasy points allowed to running backs during the regular season.
Early Doucet — Led the Cardinals with 11 targets. You could say they threw at him Early and often if you really wanted to use a bad headline pun that newspapers across Arizona will consider as he becomes more of a weapon in 2010.
Steve Breaston — Nine fantasy points on seven targets in PPR scoring. Yep, that sounds about right for Breaston in 2010.
Anquan Boldin — He didn’t play, but we’ve got to wrap up this Cardinals receivers talk with Boldin. Would Breaston and Doucet have been significant factors if Boldin had played? Would the Cardinals have won if Boldin had played? Word is Boldin isn’t going to demand his trade and he’s still under contract through 2010. There’s a whole mess of talent here. If nothing changes and Boldin stays, Doucet and Breaston (again) will be overvalued in drafts in 2010. However, if we’re talking dynasty/keeper talk, don’t be afraid to pay market value because one of them will be the next Boldin.
Peyton Manning — We know the Ravens defense was unkind to quarterbacks in 2009, but that didn’t deter Manning from throwing the ball 44 times. He completed 30 for 246 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT.
Colts “rushing attack” — Saturday was not a good day for running backs not named Ray Rice or Reggie Bush. Indy averaged 1.7 per carry. It was so bad that they turned to Mike Hart at one point. Mike Hart.
Donald Brown — In case anyone was wondering about Joseph Addai’s starting job based on this game’s performance — hopefully not, but still… Brown had a 13 yard run but finished with only 10 yards on 6 carries. That means he was a net -3 in five other carries.
Austin Collie vs. Pierre Garcon — And the playoff game winner of the Collie vs. Garcon battle goes to Collie. He had four catches for 52 yards and a TD. Meanwhile, Garcon had three more targets (11), as many as Reggie Wayne, and caught one more pass. This battle appears as though it will rage on through next season.
Joe Flacco — Showed he’s not quite ready yet. The Ravens, meanwhile, need to get a big play receiver to help Flacco’s progress.
Derrick Mason — Targeted seven times, Mason caught four for 64 yards. Those aren’t terrible numbers, but he needs help spreading the field if this team wants to be better in 2010.
Ray Rice — Only 67 yards rushing, but he got them at 5.2 per clip. He was also the most targeted receiver, catching nine of his 12 thrown-tos for 60 yards. Here’s a rhetorical question for 2010: If the Ravens improve the passing game, even marginally, won’t Rice catch less passes? He caught 78/702/1 in 2009. He’ll already be a little overvalued in redraft leagues, but cut those 2009 receiving numbers in half and he drops into the bottom half of the Top-10 in non-PPRs and drops even farther in PPRs. No idea why, but Matt Forte comes to mind.