Week 16 takeaways: Fantasy Super Bowl time

Penultimate week of fantasy action, and those of you who are

reading are probably participating in your fantasy Super Bowl.

Chargers 42, Titans 17

LaDainian Tomlinson has been a huge disappointment

in the yardage department this season, but he was able to score a

couple of touchdowns on the ground and give his owners a valuable

fantasy day. I wonder if LT and

Joseph Addai are in the same family tree.

Philip Rivers played an error-free game, and when

that happens along with LT producing decent numbers on the ground,

the Chargers are almost unbeatable. That’s why it seems as if they

haven’t lost a game since 2006. As usual,

Antonio Gates and

Vincent Jackson were the biggest benificiaries of

Rivers’ work.

• I feel sorry for those of you who started

Vince Young. Seriously. I won’t embarrass him by

posting his final numbers, but let’s just say the clock struck 12

on his fantasy value this year at the worst possible time.

Packers 48, Seahawks 10

Justin Forsett and

Julius Jones each received 14 carries. Forsett ran

for 70 yards while Jones ran for 39. How much more experimentation

does this silly coaching staff need to do in order to call it quits

with Jones, already?

Ryan Grant‘s two-TD day would have looked a lot

better had be been able to eclipse the 100-yard mark, but it was

still a solid all-around effort.

Aaron Rodgers was also acceptable, but didn’t have

an explosive day.

• I have to point out that

Brandon Jackson scored three total touchdowns

today when I wasn’t entirely sure if he had scored three in his


Texans 27, Dolphins 20

• Those of you brave enough to start

Arian Foster after how poorly he played last week,

I commend you. He paid off in the form of 97 yards and a score on

the ground, which is about as much as you could have hoped for from



Matt Schaub basically completed passes whenever he

felt the need to do so, and the Fins didn’t offer much opposition.

It was strange to see Miami’s defense come out so flat with so much

on the line for both teams.

Ricky Williams had a nice matchup, but left the

game early with a shoulder injury and didn’t return. No one could

really amass much yardage in his place since teams which fall

behind by huge margins aren’t able to run the ball. That explains

Chad Henne‘s extraordinary success (322 yards, one

TD) … by his standards, anyway.

Falcons 31, Bills 3

Matt Ryan needed all of one week to ease his way

back into action and work out the kinks. He looked so-so last week,

but very solid today with 250 yards and three scores in the air.

Feel free to start him in Week 17 if your season lasts that long.

Jason Snelling is a maddening guy to rely on. He

looks solid enough to start one week, then he’ll disappoint you the

next. Only 68 yards on 15 carries in a game where the Falcons built

a comfortable enough lead to run the ball a lot? He had to split

carries with Jerious Norwood, but still.

• This entire Buffalo offense was abysmal.

Lee Evans had the best fantasy day of anyone, and

the extent of his production was five catches for 43 yards. Yuck.

Panthers 41, Giants 9

Jonathan Stewart really is that good. He could be

an absolute stud in the right offense, and he continues to prove it

by having big games whenever

DeAngelo Williams is out. His 206-yard performance

was no fluke.

Matt Moore was a better fantasy quarterback than

Drew Brees today. If you ever wanted to know what

it feels like for your head to explode, let that sink in for a few


• Is it me, or does

Brandon Jacobs‘ afternoon (six carries for one

yard) kind of sum up his entire fantasy season?

Browns 23, Raiders 9

• A few of you started

Jerome Harrison after his big week, and you were

rewarded with 148 yards and a score on the ground. Harrison and

James Davis could actually make a nice 1-2 punch

for the Browns if Mike Holmgren wants to take the offense in the

dual-back direction, and considering how talented each of them

seems to be, I’m not sure why he wouldn’t.

Josh Cribbs did a lot of little things again

today, but he wasn’t nearly as effective as he had been on offense

in recent weeks. The difference between his real-life value to the

Browns and fantasy value to any of us may be the biggest of anyone

in the league. Seriously, who would rank ahead of him?

Charlie Frye managed to throw for 333 yards and

still look awful, which wasn’t easy. He threw three interceptions

and looked unsure of himself pretty often. The Raiders would have

been better off starting

JaMarcus Russell.

Patriots 35, Jaguars 7

• This was actually a competitive game, until Jack Del

Rio decided to ludicrously go for a fourth down in his own

territory in the first quarter of the game. Jacksonville seems to

quit better than any other team when the chips are down, which

really limited the fantasy value of

Maurice Jones-Drew and company. Not one Jaguar

played impressively today.

Tom Brady seems to be finding his stride just in

time for the playoffs (the real ones, not fantasy). I don’t think

Bill Belichick will bench him next week since the AFC playoff

seeding is still not completely determined, but check the reports

over the next few days if you own him.

Sammy Morris was the RB du jour for the Patriots.

They have a number of them who can produce, but it’s just a matter

of hitting the right number on the roulette wheel. Now you see why

I tend to avoid Pats RBs altogether. For the sake of your sanity, I

suggest you do the same.

Bengals 17, Chiefs 10

• Both quarterbacks combined for what is usually a

pretty average day for Drew Brees. In other words, neither of them

should have excited you a great deal today.

• At least

Cedric Benson looked like his old self, right down

to the lack of touchdown runs. He banged out 133 yards on 29

carries. Can that be considered a disappointment since it came

against the horrendous run defense of K.C.?

• The

Jamaal Charles tour gets more and more impressive

with each showing. Once is a fluke, twice is a coincidence. So what

do we conclude about the fact that he’s scored a touchdown in five

of his last six games and topped 100 rushing yards in three of

those? It’s that he is an outstanding back who should be started

everywhere. And yes, that includes the beginning of next season.

I’m seriously wondering if he’s a second-rounder at this point.

Steelers 23, Ravens 20

Ben Roethlisberger threw for roughly half as many

yards as he did a week ago against the Packers. He didn’t look

sharp, but none of you out there are allowed to complain about

anything considering what he did for you last week.

Rashard Mendenhall saved his lousy afternoon (36

rushing yards) by running for a touchdown. Otherwise, he’d have

been one of the biggest Week 16 flops at the position. Is it just

me, or has he not looked like himself in recent weeks?

Ray Rice is a pure stud. Pittsburgh’s defense

hasn’t played on the same elite level we’re all accustomed to

seeing from them, but I can’t remember the last time any visiting

running back scampered for 141 yards in the steel city.

Bucs 20, Saints 17

• Any …

• Given …

• Sunday, indeed.

Cardinals 31, Rams 10

Kurt Warner threw two touchdown passes in the

first eight minutes of the game, then didn’t throw another all day

long. It was as if the Cardinals realized the Rams wouldn’t put up

any fight whatsoever. Gee, I have no idea how Arizona got that


Beanie Wells and

Tim Hightower each rushed for a touchdown, which

was good news for Hightower owners since he caught just two passes

for three yards.

Brandon Gibson had five catches for 51 yards and a

score in the desert. You know, he could actually be a productive

deeper WR next season in the right league format. Even a rookie

quarterback would improve this offense a great deal, which would –

in theory – increase the value of St. Louis’ wideouts. It’s been a

while since we’ve had a productive one in fantasy circles.

49ers 20, Lions 6

• Really, I think it’s gotten to the point where the

Lions might start asking random fans if they’re interested in

playing quarterback next Sunday. Every move they make seems to blow

up in their faces. Not that it matters this season, but they are

dying to start fresh in 2010 with a healed

Matt Stafford.

Alex Smith was a popular pickup this week. A lot

of you with QB issues grabbed him and placed him on your bench for

the sole purpose of starting him in Week 16 since the opponent was

Detroit. Not a bad strategy, honestly. Except Smith waited too long

to get going and finished with mediocre 230 yards and one

touchdown. If that’s really the best you can do, Alex, your fantasy

contribution potential is dead. Permanently.

• A few of you out there were wondering whether

Josh Morgan was becoming a decent pickup for next

season. I said no, and he proved me right. Not that I revel in

others’ lack of productivity, but he had just four catches for 21

yards against one of the worst pass defenses we’ve seen in a while.

I was more sold on Morgan as a rookie, but you just can’t start him

anywhere at the moment.

Jets 29, Colts 15

• This isn’t fantasy-related, but I have to ask

— throwing away a perfect season so carelessly? It’s

actually counter-productive to head into the playoffs this way. Why

even bother having your players show up at all, coach Caldwell? Not

that I’m upset he blindsided fantasy owners everywhere with this

move or anything.

Joseph Addai was able to score a touchdown, but

only rushed for 40 yards in this contest. Actually, that’s not too

different than what we can usually expect from him for the full 60

minutes. But the one time he’s actually got a reasonable shot at

100 yards on the ground this season, he gets yanked out of the

lineup at halftime.

• It’s more of a surprise when

Thomas Jones doesn’t top 100 rushing yards and

score than when he does. He accomplished both yet again today. I

don’t think he gets nearly the props he deserves for such an

outstanding season.

Eagles 30, Broncos 27

Kyle Orton threw short passes for most of the

game, but still managed to finish with three touchdowns to his

credit. Considering how hot the Eagles have been and how Orton has

looked lately, I think you have to be thrilled with that if you

started him.

Brent Celek had 121 yards and a touchdown in the

air at halftime, then didn’t catch a single pass in the second

half. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Eagles offense

looked stagnant for large stretches of the final 30 minutes. Why

stray from what was working so well?

• I think we can officially kiss

Brian Westbrook’s fantasy value goodbye. He just

doesn’t look like the same dangerous back anymore and only amassed

32 yards on nine carries in this contest. He’s become a non-factor,

but the Eagles don’t have anyone nearly capable enough to take over

for him as a featured back in 2010.

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