Bryce Brown giveth, and Bryce Brown taketh away.
Just when it appeared that the explosive rookie would carry his ecstatic owners to the Promised Land, Brown put up a stinker of epic proportions. With just 12 combined yards on 14 touches, the Eagles' tailback couldn't blame an injury; and he didn't even lose a fumble. He simply got bottled up by the Buccaneers' defense and, with that, doomed countless fantasy teams to an early exit.
Then again, if you teamed him with Marshawn Lynch -- who needed just 11 touches to generate 128 yards and a TD hat trick -- you probably survived. Add in the sucker punching of the Cardinals by the Seahawks defense (eight turnovers, three sacks, two defensive scores and a shutout) for good measure, and Brown's implosion was a mere
speed bump on your road to victory.
The first weekend of the 2012 fantasy postseason also featured stellar performances from Cam Newton, Adrian Peterson, Knowshon Moreno, Mike Wallace, Danario Alexander and several others.
But those counting on heroics from Chris Johnson, C.J. Spiller, Larry Fitzgerald, Torrey Smith and just about any top-flight tight end were sorely disappointed. Even the great A.J. Green let down his team, and his owners, with just 44 receiving yards and an inconceivable drop of a sure-fire touchdown pass.
A rash of injuries to Robert Griffin III (knee), Jay Cutler (neck), Fred Jackson (leg), Ahmad Bradshaw (knee), Dwayne Bowe (ribs), Jared Cook (shoulder), Brent Celek (concussion) and Brandon Pettigrew (ankle) could have ramifications for many teams in crunch time, reminding us why it's essential to have depth at every position if your goal is a championship.
Indeed, the fantasy gods can be generous, and they can be cruel. Just ask Bryce Brown.
FREE AGENT PICKS AND PANS
To win a fantasy championship, it helps to start with a great draft. But filling in your roster throughout the season with the right free agents is also important. Here's a look at players worth considering for your championship run, and one who would look better in someone else's lineup.
Catch 'em while you can
David Wilson, RB, Giants. The rookie speedster had his long-awaited coming-out party with 100 yards and 2 TDs on the ground, punctuated by a 98-yard kickoff return score. Wilson will surely get more opportunities to dazzle, especially if Ahmad Bradshaw's balky knee continues to limit him.
Kenny Britt, WR, Titans. If yours is one of the 30 percent of leagues in which Britt is a free agent, grab him. He's on a stellar three-game roll, with a very favorable schedule laid out before him.
Don't be fooled
Anthony McCoy, TE, Seahawks. The first Seattle receiver to accumulate 100 receiving yards in a game this season, McCoy made his mark in a contest in which his team scored 58 points. Look for his second 100-yard performance the next time Seattle breaks the half-century mark.
Ladd Biro has been named Football Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association for two consecutive years (2010 and 2011). Follow all his advice at the Fantasy Fools blog, on Facebook and via Twitter (@ladd_biro).fantasy