Packers v. Lions: As expected, this game was decided through the air. Aaron Rodgers was efficient and, for him, put up an average day, which means you are fairly happy (307, 2 TDs). Matt Stafford was not so efficient, and had a pretty underwhelming game (276, TD, 31 rushing, the TD coming with 3 seconds left in garbage time). Since Detroit was behind most of this one, they never got their running game going; the loss of Kevin Smith in the first half to a high ankle sprain didn’t help. Keiland Williams did score a late TD on the ground, but you aren’t replacing Smith with this also-ran, Smith himself being a replacement for Jahvid Best, who actually replaced Smith a few years back. Oy, enough of that. James Jones (3 for 94, TD) and Greg Jennings (5 for 74, TD) did the heavy lifting for GB’s receiving group, while CJ (4 for 49) had the only receiving TD for the Lions; Maurice Morris had a nice day out of the backfield (9 for 81).
Cowboys v. Dolphins: If you started Matt Moore in desperation, he actually helped you out somewhat (288, TD, fumble lost) – what do you want from a guy who couldn’t beat out Chad Henne in August? Brandon Marshall was great here (5 for 103, TD), Brian Hartline was dependable (4 for 77) and Reggie Bush had a fine all purpose yards day (61 rushing, 3 for 35 receiving). Dallas got by with Laurent Robinson hitting pay dirt twice (7 for 79), Tony Romo throwing those two TDs to him (226, 2 TDs), and DeMarco Murray going over 120 all purpose (87 rushing, 4 for 41 receiving).
49ers v. Ravens: Hope you didn’t have too much invested in this defensive battle. The “highlights”: Joe Flacco was ordinary and hardly useful (166, TD), Ray Rice was too (59 rushing, 3 for 24 receiving), and Dennis Pitta caught the only TD (2 for 19). That’s it; all SF offensive cogs were shut down.
Vikings v. Falcons: Matt Ryan is clicking of late, and continued his great play here (262, 3 TDs). Roddy White had his second big game in a row (10 for 120, TD), so maybe it is time to remove the “bust” tag? Harry Douglas caught 2 passes for 45 with a score, as Julio Jones was a non-factor, and Michael Palmer caught the other touchdown. For the Vikes, Toby Gerhart ran one in, to go with 63 total yards, and Percy Harvin had a very good day as Christian Ponder’s prime target (8 for 95, TD). Ponder himself was barely useful (186, TD).
Panthers v. Colts: A Reggie Wayne sighting! It’s a holiday miracle! Wayne had his first fantasy productive game since week 1 (5 for 122, TD), as Curtis Painter (226, TD) finally decided to use one of the better WR’s in the game to try and get a win. Alas, it didn’t work. Donald Brown was also a useful Colt; Kudos if you started him (80 rushing, TD, 17 receiving). Cam Newton did his rushing score thing (9 for 53, 208 passing), but DeAngelo Williams (69 rushing, 2 TDs) and Jonathan Stewart (70 rushing) also got in the mix against the sad Indy run D.
Bucs v. Titans: Chris Johnson might at least be a 1K guy this year after all; he ran wild against Tampa (190 rushing, fumble lost). The only other Titan you would have wanted to start was Damian Williams (3 for 33, TD). Tampa gave you Mike Williams (6 for 84, TD, fumble lost), LeGarrette Blount (103 rushing, 3 for 56 receiving, 2 fumbles lost), and Josh Freeman, sorta (199, TD, and…lost fumble).
Texans v. Jaguars: Houston didn’t need much offense here, with their defense dominating, but Arian Foster (65 rushing, TD, 7 for 24 receiving, fumble lost) provided something for ya. Joel Dreessen also caught a 20 yard TD for his only catch. Matt Leinart started for the injured Matt Schaub, but was seriously hurt himself (broken collarbone) and is done for the year. T.J. Yates is now Houston’s QB. Good thing they can run the ball and play D, eh? Oh yea, J-ville: it was all MJD, as per usual (99 rushing, 4 for 67 receiving).
Cardinals v. Rams: Beanie Wells anyone? The guy had a career day (228 rushing, TD, fumble lost), and probably was on most benches. For shame. Other than him, Brandon Lloyd was solid (5 for 74, TD), Sam Bradford was decent (203, TD), and Steven Jackson at least gave you some yardage (64 rushing, 3 for 14 receiving).
Bills v. Jets: Ryan Fitzpatrick came back with a vengeance against NY (264, 3 TDs, 34 rushing), as did his receiving corps of Brad Smith (4 for 77, TD), Stevie Johnson (8 for 75, TD), and David Nelson (5 for 47, TD). RF’s counterpart wasn’t too bad himself. Mark Sanchez had 4 TD tosses, to go with 180 yards passing. Dustin Keller was awesome (4 for 61, 2 TDs), Plaxico Burress dependable (4 for 54, TD), and Santonio Holmes “clutch” (2 for 22, game winning TD). Shonn Greene powered his way to 78 on the ground and 12 receiving.
Browns v. Bengals: A couple of good to very good performances in the Battle of Ohio: Andy Dalton (270, TD, 23 rushing, fumble lost) and Colt McCoy (151, 2 TDs, 38 rushing) had a nice little duel, while Cedric Benson ran all over Cleveland (106 rushing, TD, 4 for 24 receiving). A.J. Green returned and went over 100 (3 for110), Jermaine Gresham caught Dalton’s TD pass (5 for 68), and Jordan Norwood (4 for 69, TD) and Greg Little (5 for 57, TD) were McCoy’s favorite targets. Peyton Hillis was active for once, but not very productive (65 rushing, -4 receiving).
Redskins v. Seahawks: What can you say about Marshawn Lynch? Dude has rediscovered Beast Mode somewhat, and was at it again against Washington (111 rushing, 1 for 20 receiving, TD). Tarvaris Jackson didn’t do much, but did throw 2 TDs to go with his 144 passing yards (the other one went to Golden Tate on a 15 yarder, his only catch). On the other side, the ‘Skins got great games from Rex Grossman (314, 2 TDs) and Roy Helu (108 rushing, TD, 7 for 54). Anthony Armstrong (1 for 50) and Fred Davis (4 for 58) caught Grossman’s scoring tosses, and Jabar Gaffney was a solid possession WR (5 for 72).
Bears v. Raiders: If you started Caleb Hanie, congrats, you hit big for someone probably everyone else left on the bench/waiver wire (254, 2 TDs, 50 rushing). He even out-performed Carson Palmer, by a lot. Carson had the yards (301) but no scores. Matt Forte was contained by Oakland (59 rushing, 6 for 25 receiving), and his value has dropped like a rock since Cutler went down. Johnny Knox went off (4 for 145, TD), and Kellen Davis caught a score (2 for 25), so they didn’t mind the QB change. For the Raiders, Michael Bush was held in check, but did cross the plane late (69 rushing, TD, 4 for 24 receiving), and Marcel Reese had 5 catches for 92 yards out of the backfield. The real star of this game was Sabastian Janikowski, who booted 6 FGs.
Patriots v. Eagles: Vince Young threw for 400 yards and a score, and rushed for 40. LeSean McCoy only had 31 rushing and 30 receiving. Not exactly the Philly recipe for a win. McCoy did save his fantasy day by rushing for a TD early; otherwise, this was a big disappointment for his owners. Jason Avant led Philly in receiving (8 for 110, TD), while Brent Celek (5 for 75), DeSean Jackson (4 for 73) and Riley Cooper (3 for 71) all contributed somewhat fantasy-wise. This was really a NE game from the 2nd quarter on. Tom Brady was his usual self (361, 3 TDs, 28 rushing – well, not the rushing), Wes Welker returned to elite WR status after a few ho-hum weeks (8 for 115, 2 TDs), Deion Branch was open all day (6 for 125), and Rob Gronkowski scored again (4 for 59). BJ Green-Ellis also had two close in plunges (44 rushing, 2 TDs).
Broncos v. Chargers: Another ugly Tebow start, another win, go figure. The guy still fills up your QB fantasy slot though (143, TD, 67 rushing). Willis McGahee was the real bellcow for Denver (117 rushing), while Eric Decker continues to defy predictions and produce (3 for 65, TD). Ryan Mathews was SD’s star (137 rushing) and Antonio Gates caught Philip Rivers’ lone TD pass (6 for 49), while Rivers only had 188 yards through the air.
Steelers v. Chiefs: Um, can pretty much ignore this one. Big Ben was a QB3 maybe (193, TD) and Antonio Brown had 81 yards on 4 catches, but this game belonged to the defenses.
Giants v. Saints: If you owned both Brees and Manning, you were tough to beat Monday night. Manning was great in mostly garbage time duty (406, 2 TDs), but Brees was better, and did it throughout the game (363, 4 TDs, rushing TD). Lots of receiving and some rushing performers as well. For the G-men, Victor Cruz had a monster game (9 for 157, 2 TDs), and Hakeem Nicks was solid in a supporting role (7 for 87); wasn’t the reason you drafted him though, and he just is not the same player as last year’s version. Brandon Jacobs even did some positive things on the ground (46 rushing, TD). For the Saints, the usual spread-around, but for Jimmy Graham, who had a field day (5 for 84, 2 TDs), and Lance Moore (5 for 54, 2 TDs). Marques Colston (3 for 78), Pierre Thomas (63 rushing, TD, 3 for 47), Darren Sproles (54 rushing, 2 for 28), and Mark Ingram (80 rushing, TD) all got in on the act as well. It is good to own the name NO players against soft defenses, as they usually all get a piece of the action.