Studs and Duds: Championship Games

2012-01-23 10:26:28
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
RealTime Fantasy Sports

Another big game for Cruz

Wow. That is about all you can say about the games this weekend. You couldn't have asked for two better games. One gets decided in overtime and the other is won on a missed field goal with time running out. These games certainly had you on the edge of your seat, which is about all you can ask for at this time of year.

The games also were a little bit away from the norm for the season. We didn't have offensive shootouts as defenses showed up to play. All four teams played pretty well defensively throughout the games. Sure, we had some good offensive performances but ultimately, the team defenses won out this week. Don't expect this to be a trend going forward but just remember good defenses can still win games for teams.

Patriots 23, Ravens 20

Fantasy Stud: Joe Flacco. Not many would have predicted Flacco outplaying Tom Brady but that was the case in this one. Flacco was extremely sharp, going 22-of-36 for 306 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. Flacco also setup the Ravens for the go-ahead touchdown with less than a minute to go in the game, but the ball was dropped in the end zone by Lee Evans. So Flacco could have scored three touchdowns. He proved a lot in this game, showing he can carry the offense if needed. Hopefully, this gives him some confidence going into 2012.

Fantasy Dud: Tom Brady. Brady had a really disappointing game for his standards. He failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time all season. He was 22-of-36 for 239 yards with two interceptions. He did rush in a score, which helped some, but his overall game was still disappointing. His yardage total was his second lowest of the season and he had multiple interceptions for just the fourth time all year. It was a tough matchup, though, so we wouldn't look too much into this. He remains an elite signal caller in this league.

Game Notes: Rob Gronkowksi apparently left the locker room in a boot but said the injury isn't a big deal and he'll be fine. Gronkowski played the entire game and performed, so the injury doesn't appear too serious. He caught five passes for 87 yards.

With Steven Ridley a surprise inactive, BenJarvus Green-Ellis carried the load at running back for the Patriots. Green-Ellis had a very good showing against a good Ravens rush defense, rushing 15 times for 68 yards and a touchdown. His yardage total was his highest since Week 11.

Giants 20, 49ers 17

Fantasy Stud: Vernon Davis. Davis had his second straight big showing in the playoffs, scoring both touchdowns for the 49ers. He caught three passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns. Davis really put on a show in his two playoff games, catching 10 passes for 292 yards and four touchdowns. He had three straight 100-yard games to end his season. Davis had a bit of an up and down season for the 49ers but could have a big role in the offense from day one in 2012.

Fantasy Dud: Michael Crabtree. Crabtree was the only 49ers' receiver to catch a pass, but it was for just three yards. So he finished the game with one reception for three yards. He did score a touchdown in the playoff opener for the 49ers but finished the two playoff games with just five receptions for 28 yards. Crabtree has a lot of potential and upside but hasn't quite lived up to the hype just yet. Next season could be a make or break year for him.

Game Notes: Eli Manning remains red hot, going 32-of-58 for 316 yards and two touchdowns without a turnover. Manning has 300-yard games two of three playoff games and eight touchdowns to just one interception in all playoff games this season.

Victor Cruz was the go-to receiver for the Giants. He caught 10 passes for 142 yards. Cruz has 140-plus yards three of his past five games. He has an amazing eight 100-yard games this season.

If you have any questions or comments, please email Jeff Paur at jeff@rtsports.com