I always hesitate to chalk up any weekend's fantasy outcomes to luck, especially when I emerge on the winning side, but Week 15 seemed disproportionately off-kilter.
For every Adrian Peterson who raced to one of the most prolific games of his storied career, there was a Ray Rice posting his season low. While Alfred Morris continued his quest for Fantasy Surprise of 2012, Jamaal Charles and Stevan Ridley no-showed. Bryce Brown's bubble popped a week ago, but there's no logical explanation for the flop by Doug Martin.
Drew Brees, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick notched four touchdowns apiece, while Josh Freeman, Matt Stafford, Eli Manning and Carson Palmer couldn't manage one among them.
Eric Decker was the bomb, but teammate Demaryius Thomas fired a dud. Julio Jones and Andre Johnson delivered when it counted, while Roddy White, Victor Cruz and Reggie Wayne picked a lousy time to have their worst games of the season. James Jones and Michael Crabtree soared, but Anquan Boldin and late-season hero Danario Alexander were skunked.
It was a feast or famine kind of weekend for title-contending teams. In most cases, even 20/20 hindsight offers little comfort. New Orleans hadn't posted a shutout in 17 years, rendering Freeman's and Martin's implosions nearly unfathomable. The Chiefs are truly awful, but so is the Raiders defense. The Giants haven't been shut out in the regular season since 1996.
All that is little consolation for those left hanging today. But we survivors would be wise to tone down our chest-beating a tad. It's not every day our opponents' studs roll out such epic stinkers.
Free-agent picks, 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 one player worth considering for your championship run, and one who would look better in your opponent's lineup.
Catch 'em while you can
Dennis Pitta, TE, Ravens. The third-year receiver posted a career-best 125-yard, two-touchdown outing in an otherwise dismal game for the Ravens. That makes five TDs over the last seven games for Pitta. With fellow tight end Ed Dickson (knee) sidelined, Torrey Smith leaving Sunday's game with a concussion, and the Giants on deck, Pitta could be a valuable addition for those owners vying for a title in Week 16.
Don't be fooled
Curtis Brinkley, RB, Chargers. Yet another broken clavicle has sidelined Ryan Mathews for the duration, leaving the Chargers backfield in the hands of Brinkley, Jackie Battle and Ronnie Brown, who sat out Sunday's game with a hamstring injury. Mathews would have been a mediocre starting option were he healthy. His backups don't belong on any playoff roster.