Thu Dec 13 7:12pm ET
By MICHAEL WAGAMAN
In this Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, file photo, San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, center, huddles with teammates before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, in Seattle. The rematch between the Seahawks and 49ers is on Sunday, Dec. 16. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) San Francisco cornerback Richard Sherman won't get as emotional about playing against Seattle this week as he did when the 49ers and Seahawks met two weeks ago.
All of that, Sherman insists, is water under the bridge now.
Sherman is so calm and cool this time around that he even smiled and chuckled quietly when asked about critical comments made about him by former Seahawks teammate Frank Clark following Seattle's 21-7 win over Minnesota on Monday.
Speaking to a small group of reporters, Clark said that the Sherman era was over in Seattle and that the veteran cornerback needed to worry about his own problems.
''Just seems like a guy who's probably tired of hearing the same questions,'' Sherman said Thursday. ''I'd probably be pretty annoyed too if we won a game and somebody comes and asks me about a guy who wasn't either involved in this game or on my team.''
Clark, a fourth-year defensive end who leads the Seahawks with 11 sacks, was responding to a question about a comment made by Sherman prior to the Nov. 2 game between the two teams in Seattle. At the time, Sherman said the Seahawks were a ''middle of the road'' team.
Clark and other Seattle players took exception.
''That's just Richard Sherman being Richard Sherman,'' Clark said Monday. ''He's not in this locker room no more so his opinion really doesn't matter. They've got some problems over there in San Fran that he needs to be worried about.
''This is my team now. This is my defense. Richard Sherman, his era is over here. If he's got anything to say about our defense, he can sat it on the field, at the end of the day.''
Sherman tried to downplay the issue but was asked if it was an elephant in the room.
''It's like a mouse in the room,'' Sherman said. ''It's like kids say the darndest things, you know? It didn't bother me at all. It's kind of weird but it doesn't bother me. The era was over in my mind obviously. I'm here.''
Seattle is 8-5 and can clinch a playoff spot with a win over San Francisco on Sunday at Levi's Stadium.
Sherman and the 49ers, conversely, are putting the final touches on a disappointing 3-10 season.
It's Sherman's first year playing on a team with a losing record since his rookie season in 2011, when the Seahawks finished 7-9.
Unlike the first time he lined up across from the familiar faces in Seattle, Sherman isn't anticipating being very emotional when he sees the Seahawks on Sunday. He spent seven years in the Pacific Northwest before Seattle released him last March while Sherman was still recovering from an Achilles injury.
''The nostalgia of seeing your friends and seeing the personnel, all the guys that you played with (is over),'' Sherman said. ''In a couple weeks, I'll see them again. We'll be out of the season. We'll be doing vacations and stuff. It was cool being back in the stadium and everything. This time we'll be back home. We'll be grinding it out. We know how it went last time and got a sour taste in our mouth.''
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Fantasy Spin: Hooper doesn't have the athleticism to make big plays like the elite fantasy tight ends, but he was still a dependable option at a thin position. He's a safe, low-end TE1 heading into 2019.
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Fantasy Spin: Howard was well on his way to a TE1 campaign before an injury cut his season short. His athleticism allows him to make big plays after the catch and down the field, and he should pick up where he left off when when 2019 rolls around.
Cincinnati Bengals RB Joe Mixon finished fourth in the NFL with 1,168 rushing yards in 2018, running for at least 50 yards in 13 of his 14 games and topping 80 rushing yards nine times.
Fantasy Spin: Mixon proved he was capable of headlining the Cincinnati backfield, and the promise of a heavy workload should safely keep him in RB1 territory in 2019.
Cincinnati Bengals WR Tyler Boyd's 21 receptions of 20-plus yards in 2018 were the seventh most in the NFL.
Fantasy Spin: Despite missing a couple of games, Boyd topped 1,000 yards for the first time in his career, emerging as a credible No. 2 option across from A.J. Green. Assuming Boyd, Green and Andy Dalton can all stay healthy in 2019, Boyd should at least deliver WR3 production for fantasy owners.
Dallas Cowboys TE Blake Jarwin had at least four catches and 40 yards in three of his final four regular season games, and he had 20 of his 27 catches and 228 of his 307 receiving yards during that stretch.
New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees has averaged 307 passing yards and thrown 16 touchdowns and three interceptions in seven career postseason home games.
Fantasy Spin: Time has proven that Brees simply plays better at home. The Saints beat the Los Angeles Rams 45-35 earlier this season in a game that saw Brees throw for 346 yards and four touchdowns. All signs are pointing upward for Brees to succeed tomorrow.
New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has averaged 251.7 passing yards and thrown eight touchdowns and eight interceptions in seven career postseason road contests.
Fantasy Spin: Those numbers don't take into account weather, but tomorrow night's game is supposed to be brutally cold. The Patriots could be focused on running the ball in order to limit mistakes and keep Patrick Mahomes and company off the field. Either way, the weather and the road playoff history don't bode well for Brady.
Pittsburgh Steelers FS Morgan Burnett said he hopes to be released before the start of free agency.
Carolina Panthers impending free-agent WR Devin Funchess likely will not re-sign with the Panthers this offseason because of WR D.J. Moore's performance during the second half of the season.
Fantasy Spin: Funchess probably will receive interest from some teams if he hits the free-agent market, but it is not known if he can find a starting job. He can be a No. 3 fantasy receiver depending on his role.
Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco and Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles could receive interest from the Denver Broncos this offseason, in the opinion of 9News.com's Mike Klis.
Fantasy Spin: Flacco and Foles likely will receive interest from multiple teams, so it is not known if the Broncos will be able to add one of them. The Broncos probably will bring in another quarterback to compete with Case Keenum for the starting job next season. Owners should consider the Broncos starting quarterback as a No. 2 fantasy option next season.
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Fantasy Spin: Jackson asked for a trade during the 2018 season and has not shown great chemistry with Jameis Winston. Owners should monitor the situation during the offseason to see where he will play in 2019. Jackson can still be a solid receiver for a team and can be a No. 3 or No. 4 fantasy receiver.
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said running back C.J. Prosise (abdomen) will be ready for the start of the team's offseason program on April 15. Going into next year, Prosise has to be considered outside looking in for a roster spot after playing in just 16 of a possible 48 games to begin his career. C.J., he really needed the surgery that he had, it was a little more extensive than we thought," Carroll said. But he will be back from that, thats about an eight-week recovery or something like that, so he will be fine." Prosise will be entering the final year of his four-year rookie deal, but the Seahawks already have Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, J.D. McKissic and Bo Scarbrough ahead of Prosise on the roster. There remains talent here, but he's well off the fantasy radar until he can prove his health.
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Fantasy Spin: Lynch continues to recover from a strained groin and will turn 33 years old before the start of next season. In six games during the 2018 season, he rushed for 376 yards and had three touchdowns while averaging 4.2 yards per carry. Assuming he decides to come back for another year, he could be viewed as a low-end RB2 or flex option depending on where he lands.
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Fantasy Spin: Winston has QB1 potential, but he has struggled with consistency throughout his career. Fantasy owners can hope that the solid finish to 2018 was a sign of things to come next season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE Cameron Brate (hip) had arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip, according to a source, and Brate is hoping to return for minicamp in June.
Fantasy Spin: The emergence of O.J. Howard has capped Brate's upside, but Jameis Winston has shown a habit of looking Brate's way in the red zone. He will be a touchdown-dependent TE2 in 2019.
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Fantasy Spin: With Joe Flacco almost guaranteed to be elsewhere in 2019, the Ravens are going to have to decide if Robert Griffin III is the man they want backing up Lamar Jackson. Taylor didn't play particularly well with the Browns last season, but his game is similar to Jackson's and would allow Baltimore to stick with its game plan if Jackson were to miss time. Taylor will certainly seek out potential starting opportunities elsewhere first, but a reunion with the Ravens makes sense if he doesn't like what the market has to offer.
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Fantasy Spin: Gates was barely relevant in fantasy in 2018 even with Henry missing the entire regular season, so it's hard to imagine he will be able to top the 28 catches and 333 receiving yards he posted. Turning 39 in June, Gates no longer needs to be considered by fantasy owners - outside of DFS players occasionally trying to be contrarian with their lineups and/or punting the position.
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Fantasy Spin: Watson is not expected to play in the game, but owners should check the inactive list for his official status. He will not be a big factor in the passing game if he plays and can be avoided in all leagues.