Fantasy Insights - Championship Sunday

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Neither game saw the explosive offenses that we saw in the first two rounds of the playoffs, but you couldn't ask for any more excitement than two games coming down to the wire.

Baltimore at New England

Joe Flacco put up respectable fantasy numbers (306 yards passing two TD passes, 1 INT worth 17 points), but if Lee Evans holds onto the game-winning touchdown pass then they become the best statistics of the weekend. Thanks Lee!

I expected Ray Rice to be more involved in the passing game. Three targets is not enough for your most talented ballplayer who also happens to have great hands. Rice was not very effective in the running game, averaging just 3.2 ypc on 21 rushing attempts.

Anquan Boldin was targeted eight times and speedster Torrey Smith saw five balls thrown his way while the Ravens tight ends saw 12 targets between them. No wonder the Baltimore offense lacks explosiveness. Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta are not Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.

Billy Cundiff seemed to run out late and was rushed in his preparations for the missed game-tying field goal attempt. Just saying.

Running against the No.2 rush defense in the league, BenJarvis Green-Ellis surprised many with a solid 68 yards rushing and a score worth 12 fantasy points and that was the second-highest scoring total from a running back this weekend.

Tom Brady didn't look anything like last week's version, but he was facing a much better defense this time around. For the first time since 2001 (18 playoff games), Brady didn't throw a touchdown pass in a playoff game. He did, however, run one in to save some fantasy owners from a horrible day that also included two interceptions.

Without a touchdown reception, fantasy production from Wes Welker, Gronkowski and Hernandez was disappointing.

New York Giants at San Francisco

I did expect the Giants to continue to try to run the ball even if they didn't have much success against the league's top-ranked run defense and Bradshaw actually posted decent numbers if you include his rushing and pass receiving work (15 fantasy points). Brandon Jacobs, however, was a non-factor.

Eli Manning posted the best quarterback statistics on Sunday, but only because the 49ers secondary has horrible hands. They had two or three opportunities that should have resulted in interceptions.

Victor Cruz was the Giants most effective receiver (10-142-0), but I still believe he gets open because defenses are more afraid of the very talented Hakeem Nicks and double the big wideout, or at least roll the protection towards his side of the field.

Alex Smith looked like a quarterback who has had seven different offensive coordinators in seven seasons. He threw more balls into the ground than Donovan McNabb and I didn't think that was possible.

The Giants and Patriots already played a game this season and it bodes well for an exciting Super Bowl. In that one, the first half was scoreless and in the second half the teams combined for 44 points and a great finish. I think the Super Bowl will be much more like the second half of that game which was a 24-20 win by the Giants in New England.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at

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