Top Three Fantasy Takeaways from Super Bowl XLIX
From Deflate-Gate to Balls of Steel, Super Bowl XLIX did not disappoint. A contest that brought forth the talents of two virtual unknowns, set social media afire with controversy, and included a behemoth extraterrestrial lion, Sunday’s game was more dramatic than the whole of my sixth grade existence (and that’s saying something). While I was personally pleased with the outcome and have plenty of thoughts for the Pete Carroll haters, I’ll save those hot takes for Wednesday’s edition of the X’s and Y’s Podcast. For now, I’d like to focus on fantasy.
TheFFGirl’s Top Three Fantasy Takeaways from Super Bowl XLIX
Chris Matthews is a thing
Undrafted out of Kentucky in 2011, Matthews landed in Seattle less than two months ago. Over the past four years his resume included stints with the Browns, the Iowa Barnstormers, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and a Foot Locker. After Paul Richardson was lost in the Divisional Round, speculation that Kevin Norwood might be due for a breakout began to grow. Well, that didn’t exactly pan out. Instead, the 6-foot-5 and 218 pound Matthews started to turn heads after recovering a big-time onside kick in the NFC Conference Championship. Two weeks later the journeyman – who was derided by scouts for having “slow feet” – led the defending Super Bowl Champions’ receiving corps, catching four balls for 109 yards and a touch. The tallest pass-catcher on Seattle’s roster, Matthews is exactly what Russell Wilson needs on the outside. Sometimes opportunity can outweigh talent, leading to unexpected success. Keeping that mind, Matthews’ progress over the offseason and situation within the franchise should be monitored closely. The former CFL Rookie of the Year has a chance to shoot up Seattle’s depth chart and fantasy draft boards.
Tom Brady is still a Top 10 fantasy QB
After being embarrassed by the Chiefs in Week 4, analysts web-wide began advising fantasy enthusiasts to cut bait and put the old has-been out to pasture. As a result, Brady‘s stock plummeted. In signature New England fashion, however, Tommy Boy came roaring back, proved the naysayers wrong, and finished 2014 among the top 10 fantasy prospects at the position. More specifically, from Weeks 5 through 15 the 37-year-old signal-caller earned over 20 fantasy points per game and scored a minimum of two touchdowns per outing. His postseason stats were even more astonishing. The most prolific quarterback throughout the playoffs, Brady completed 93 passes for 921 yards and 10 TDs. Many of those passes were to the plucky Julian Edleman, confirming that the four-time Super Bowl Champ may not have the arm strength he did a decade ago. Still, Brady is the most winning QB in football history and has no plans to slow down just yet. He remains a QB1 prospect in fantasy and worthy of elite respect this fall.
Don’t be tempted by New England’s backfield
LeGarrette Blount, who joined the Patriots in Week 12, led New England’s backfield in attempts, rushing yards, and scoring. I think that’s evidence enough to stay away from this fantasy nightmare. Coming in second to Blount was Shane Vereen who carried the rock 96 times for nearly 400 yards. While he averaged 4.1 YPC, the sure-handed RB did most of his damage in the passing game, converting 52 of 77 looks for 447 yards and three TDs. A free agent this spring, Vereen has the potential to produce if he lands outside of the Northeast. If, however, the Pats re-sign the 25-year-old back then he’ll exist more as a matchup play for PPR friendly formats. Pulling up the rear (no, I’m not discussing Jonas Gray) with 94 touches for 340 yards is Stevan Ridley. Lost for the season in Week 6 due to an ACL tear, Ridley will also become a free agent this March. A tough, but not entirely creative runner, Ridley’s value would likely increase on another squad. Blount, who is under a two-year deal, appears to be Bellichick’s current favorite and could vulture opportunity away from Ridley in 2015. Coming off of such a tough injury, my hopes for the 26-year-old back aren’t high. If he recovers well from the surgery he might produce on a low-end RB2 level, but considering his lack of vision it’s going to take a formidable offensive line to keep him falling forward.