There's been talk all season about the Packers getting Ty Montgomery more involved, and this week we finally saw it. Montgomery ripped off a 16-162-2 rushing line. The converted WR is now averaging 6.5 YPC on the season. Jordy Nelson didn't score for once, but his 7-124 line was capitalized by a long catch to setup the game-winning field goal.
Alshon Jeffery stepped right back into a big role after missing the last four games, going for 6-89-1. Cameron Mereidth (9-104) also benefited from a vulnerable Packers secondary. Jordan Howard (17-90-1) surpassed the 1,000-yard mark and looked good against a solid run defense. There's a good chance he's a second-round pick in your draft next season.
If the playoffs started today, the Texans would be in and would likely be starting a new QB. Brock Osweiler was finally benched, and Tom Savage played pretty well taking over. Osweiler's benching is a big boost to all of Houston's skill players, especially DeAndre Hopkins (8-87). The good news for C.J. Fiedorowicz owners, despite missing this game, was that his backup Ryan Griffin caught 8 balls for 85 yards. He'll be heavily involved upon his return.
Allen Robinson put up another stinker (2-15) as his quarterback limped to a 12-for-28 day. Five of those completions went to T.J. Yeldon, which is "get your coach fired" bad. Marqise Lee had been the best Jags receiver, but he put up a goose egg in this one.
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LeSean McCoy against the Browns felt mostly unfair all afternoon. McCoy juked and stutter-stepped his way to 153 yards and two scores against a thoroughly outmatched defense. Tyrod Taylor was a popular streaming candidate, but game flow hurt him here. The Bills got up big behind their running game and didn't air it out much, limiting Taylor to 174 passing yards. Sammy Watkins (1-10) owners felt that pain even worse.
RGIII ran for another touchdown, but that was about the only thing worth noting for the poor Browns. Terrelle Pryor was shut down once again (4-19), which is an obvious disappointment for so many fantasy teams who rode him to the playoffs. There is a universe in which Duke Johnson Jr. is a really great fantasy running back with his receiving ability, but that universe isn't Cleveland.
Patient Kenneth Dixon owners were rewarded with a rushing touchdown, but it's worth noting that he was out-carried 13-to-9 by Terrance West. The full Joe Flacco experience was on display in this one: he hit Steve Smith in stride for a beautiful score, then threw a terrible pick to give the Eagles life. He's not worth a roster spot these days.
Ryan Mathews put up a shockingly effective performance (20-128-1) against arguably the league's best run defense. If Mathews would have been healthy all year, and if Darren Sproles wasn't around...oh well. Zach Ertz has been scary consistent (6-80), even though he struggles to find the endzone. He alone accounted for nearly half of Carson Wentz's passing yards.
The Titans grinded out a comeback win on the road in Kansas City, but it wasn't pretty from a fantasy perspective. DeMarco Murray had a great day (141 total yards) but had two scores vultured by Derrick Henry (9-58-2). Rishard Matthews bounced back (4-105) without Denver's cornerbacks hounding him. Maybe more than most quarterbacks, Marcus Mariota needs a soft matchup to put up big numbers.
Tyreek Hill can not be ignored. Hill didn't have a single catch, but he took a 68-yard carry all the way to the house. It's tough to decide what to do with guys like Hill and Taylor Gabriel in Atlanta, but it will be fascinating to see where they get drafted next season. Travis Kelce (3-41) finally busted with Jeremy Maclin back at full strength. He's a little tougher to trust now, as there just isn't enough looks for everyone in this run-first offense.
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Odell Beckham's latest touchdown catch is a nice reminder of just how freakishly talented he is. The Giants are a mess offensively and can't move the ball without Beckham, but he'll make things happen when they probably shouldn't. Shane Vereen is taking the passing down work from Paul Perkins and Rashad Jennings, which limits their already limited appeal in PPR leagues. Avoid.
The Giants defense continues to dominate their matchups. The Lions were held to just six points, and their running game looked more pathetic than usual. Dwayne Washington got 14 carries, but turned that into just 31 yards. At least Golden Tate (8-122) still got his.
Hopefully you didn't get suckered into playing Adrian Peterson (6-22). He was never going to handle a full workload in his first game back, and Minnesota's offensive line has been putrid in the run game all year. Don't play AP. Ironically, Jerick McKinnon had his best fantasy day of the year thanks to his nine receptions. Stefon Diggs had just two receptions for 13 yards. It's been nearly impossible to predict his big games this year, but I suppose that's what happens when Sam Bradford is your QB.
The Colts jumped all over the Vikings and never looked back. T.Y. Hilton owners had to be a little annoyed seeing Phillip Dorsett and Erik Swoope get touchdowns, of all people, but expectations had to be lowered against this secondary. All things considered, 250 yards and 2 TD ended up being a good day given some of the streaming options to replace Andrew Luck.
Honestly, 131 total yards and no scores feels like the floor for Le'Veon Bell when he's healthy. This will be one of his lowest scoring weeks, crazy as that is. Antonio Brown (3-58) was a disappointment, as the Steelers worked the middle of the field with Eli Rogers and Ladarius Green. It's worth mentioning that Green tied Bell for most targets (8).
The Bengals were locked up completely in the second half, as Andy Dalton failed to get anyone other than Brandon LaFell involved. The two Tylers (Eifert and Boyd) were both completely shut down, and aside from two scores, Jeremy Hill (20-43) was bottled up.
Both of these teams had been playing better defense as of late, but that all went out the window in this one. Drew Brees went off in a tough matchup (389 yards, 4 TD), hooking up with Brandin Cooks for two scores. Cooks will get phased out of the gameplan some weeks, but he's always capable of these monster games. When you score 48 points, everyone tends to eat well. Michael Thomas scored and Tim Hightower scored twice, but poor Mark Ingram didn't find paydirt. He's been maddening to own.
Carson Palmer (318 yards, 2 TD) did what quarterbacks are supposed to do to the Saints defense. He spread it around quite a bit as well, with John Brown and J.J. Nelson both scoring. David Johnson, Le'Veon Bell or Ezekiel Elliott for top pick in next year's fantasy draft? Johnson eclipsed 100 total yards and two scores on the ground in this one. It's scary how consistent he is.
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Atlanta's high-powered offense against San Francisco's defense is the definition of a mismatch. Devonta Freeman took full advantage, rushing for 139 yards and 3 scores while not letting Tevin Coleman barge in on any of his scoring opportunities. Even without Julio Jones, Matt Ryan cruised to a near-perfect performance and found breakout star Taylor Gabriel (3-60-1) for a score.
If Blake Bell leads your team in receiving yards with 45 in a game where you're down 21-0 after the first quarter, something is horribly wrong with your offense. The 49ers are a joke on both ends of the ball, but you still need to play Carlos Hyde moving forward. 71 yards on the ground isn't terrible, given how this game started out.
Now this was interesting. This matchup screamed for tons of LeGarrette Blount, and while he did receive 17 carries (31 yards, 1 TD), it was Dion Lewis who really spearheaded the rushing attack with 18 carries for 95 yards. The days of James White and Dion Lewis splitting work are seemingly gone. It's safe to say that Tom Brady won't have many days like this (188 yards, 0 TD). This was all matchup and gameplan.
The Broncos still can't run the ball, and they know it. Unfortunately, the Patriots took away Emmanuel Sanders (3-48) most of the game and made the other guys beat them. 3 points later, and it's safe to say that plan worked. Don't play Devontae Booker ever again.
Kenneth Farrow was in a great spot, but unfortunately, he reminded us that he's Kenneth Farrow with 15 carries for 39 yards behind a beat up offensive line. This was a miserable fantasy day for nearly every Chargers player, especially against a beatable defense. Antonio Gates (1-11) is tough to trust with Hunter Henry (3-37-1) healthy once again.
Derek Carr was good enough to get the win, but lackluster from a fantasy standpoint. This should have been a shootout, but instead Amari Cooper had just one catch for 28 yards. Bleh. At least Michael Crabtree (6-60-1) found paydirt in this surprising defensive battle. Latavius Murray (13-81) might be having his workload decreased a bit as the playoffs approach. It's something to keep in mind as we head into championsip games.
Dak Prescott put a lot of the Tony Romo whispers to bed, completing a ridiculous 32 of his 36 pass attempts. After being nearly shut out last week, Dez Bryant bounced back with an 8-81 line. Jason Witten also had the most Jason Witten line possible (10-51). The real story here, of course, was Ezekiel Elliott (23-159-1). Fantasy owners won't forget this clutch performance in a nationally televised game during the fantasy postseason, that's for sure.
The workload was there for Doug Martin (16-42), but the Cowboys shut everything down. Jameis Winston had to rely more on safety blanket Cameron Brate (5-73-1) than Mike Evans, who has suddenly fallen off a cliff the last three weeks. Evans will be fine, but Winston isn't force-feeding him the ball anymore.