Rodgers, Roethlisberger look to secure fantasy status in Super Bowl
With the nation's snowpocalypse safely behind us, Sunday will be the last chance to get our fantasy football fix. So with our cheeseheads on, Terrible towels out, there are four top fantasy plots to focus on for Super Bowl XLV.
On the other side, Rodgers could hardly be hotter. He enters the game completing 70 percent of his passes, averaging 266 yards with a 6-2 touchdown to interception mark and two scores rushing. Rodgers' first round 2011 fantasy draft future is set already, (albeit late first round, early second) and a great outing and MVP performance would cement his status in mainstream NFL reality while echoing his already rock-star status in fantasy land.
Wide receivers have played huge roles with three winning MVP honors in three of the last six years, which brings us to the next two things to watch.
The best way to figure out a pass catcher's worth in an offense is tracking the number of passes thrown to them, otherwise known as Targets. Although the numbers are slanted in favor of players whose teams have survived longer through the playoffs, it's a good time to see which players lead the way in postseason targets.
1 Greg Jennings, Packers 26 targets
It's ironic to have Jennings rank first, when in the regular season he was one of the least used fantasy wide receivers, ranking 20th in the league in targets despite his production. Judging from the data, one wonders if TE Dustin Keller is due for a larger workload next season with QB Mark Sanchez looking his way more, while redemption story Mike Williams emerged to be Matt Hasselbeck's go-to option. When it comes to underutilization, something's wrong about WR Santonio Holmes totaling only 12 targets through three playoff games. Making it worse was the target numbers accrued by his inferior teammates, leaving him 12 behind Keller, six behind Jerricho Cotchery and three behind Braylon Edwards. Two playoff teams that were one and done (the Colts and Chiefs) had something in common -- their top receivers being hardly used. Fantasy superstars Reggie Wayne and Dwayne Bowe combined for one total target in their two games. Wayne took the honors with the only target, while Bowe was never thrown to once in the Chiefs' loss to the Ravens.
So your fantasy playoff team is in shambles or you simply missed the postseason boat by not playing at all. One last chance for a fantasy taste is by drawing names blindly at your big game party in the Fantasy Grab Bag. Cut out strips of paper with names of every notable skill player and kicker on either side including defense/special teams, settle on a scoring system and use a deck of cards to determine the selecting order. Grab a paper bag or hat to throw the scraps of paper in and pick away. Odds are, most group get-togethers or league hang out parties will have enough fantasy addicts interested enough at least have two or three rounds of passing the grab bag around. Finally, add up the stats at the end of the night, to determine the highest scoring owners and pass out the pot winnings.
If the Steelers force the Packers to be one-dimensional by stonewalling surprise playoff hero/obvious weak link Starks, Rodgers will have to play perfect on Sunday. It's not that he isn't capable of it (see: Falcons, Atlanta) but in the second half of the Bears game he seemed worn down and once the timing was thrown off, the Packers limped to the finish as the defense bailed them out.
Despite its offensive line woes Pittsburgh has the championship experience, a blue chip RB and the same quick-strike passing capability also led by an elite QB. Both defenses pretty much cancel each other out, although the Steelers must account for B.J. Raji who could wreak havoc. Overall, I'll take the Steelers for their experience and well-rounded offense--as well as the, ahem, three points on the betting line. Steelers 31, Packers 24, MVP: Roethlisberger.