San Francisco 28, Atlanta 24
Playing like a man amongst boys, Colin Kaepernick proved once again that he is a multi-dimensional player. Last week his abilities as a runner took main stage. This week he put his arm on display rifling balls all over the field with pinpoint accuracy that rivals Tom Brady. I could gush on-and-on with my evaluation of Kaepernick, but the point is I've officially developed a fantasy-crush on Kaepernick's 2013 upside.
As Troy Aikman continuously brought to light, Kaepernick did not have a single designed run in the game. The reason being the Falcons were spying him on every play and the design of the "read-option" is giving the football to the running back when that happens. The end result was Frank Gore ripping off 90 yards and two touchdowns. In a run heavy read-option system, Gore will remain a solid high end RB2 next season.
Coaches are often overlooked when talking about fantasy football, but much credit should be given to Jim Harbaugh's staff. Last week the Niners crushed the Packers with a heavy dose of Michael Crabtree and Kaepernick. Knowing the Falcons would be studying that film, Harbaugh took advantage, attacking the Falcons with Frank Gore and Vernon Davis. This is a really good football team top-to-bottom.
The Falcons offense also came to play jumping out to a quick start led by Julio Jones' gigantic 11 receptions for 185 yards and two touchdowns. Roddy White followed that up with his own 100-yard game. Matt Ryan also delivered for postseason fantasy owners with 396 yards and three touchdowns. All three will be sought after in next year's draft.
Throughout the season Tony Gonzalez has stated over and again that he is 97% sure he'll retire (so you're telling us there's a chance). Although not a full guarantee, it's likely we've seen the last game played by the first ballot Hall-of-Famer. If you're unfamiliar with his contributions, Gonzalez has not only revolutionized the tight end position, but how football is played. When my children learn about my generation of great players it will include names like; Barry Sanders, Reggie White, Jerry Rice, Ray Lewis, Tom Brady and Tony Gonzalez.
Baltimore 28, New England 13
In a game that was billed to be New England extravaganza it was the Baltimore Ravens offense putting on the fireworks. Joe Flacco proved to be the elite quarterback he proclaimed in the preseason tossing for 240 yards, three touchdowns and most importantly, zero interceptions. From a fantasy perspective, Flacco proves every year he is a low-end QB1 during the regular season and a high-end QB1 during the postseason. However, he's had incredible success since changing offensive coordinators. Will this trend continue into the next season? I'm not sure, but I'd be willing to gamble as a second quarterback with a pick in the 10th round.
I'm not sure how to digest this performance. Scoring 13 points in the first half, the Patriots did not put another point on the board the rest of the way. Inexplicable for the NFL's leading scoring team.
As he's been for years, Wes Welker was the team's leading receiver, producing 117 yards and one touchdown. Oddly enough, Welker is set to enter free agency. It's a well-known fact the Patriots do not extend contracts to aging veterans. Welker could very well be in a new uniform next season. You think Peyton Manning's already called him?