Steelers v. Browns: Ugly score, ugly fantasy impact. Well, Big Ben had a good day (280, 2 TDs), but it came at a price: he has a badly sprained ankle and his status is in doubt for this Sunday’s game; he is day to day. And, ok, so did Antonio Brown, who was really the only receiver Ben looked to for big gains (5 for 151, TD). Rashard Mendenhall had 76 on the ground, pretty disappointing against Cleveland’s horrid rush defense. The Browns? No one did a thing against Pittsburgh’s suffocating defense. Injury-wise for the Browns, Colt McCoy was leveled by Mr. James Harrison, and suffered a concussion as the price.
Patriots v. Redskins: Now here’s a fantasy players, um, fantasy. Tom Brady (357, 3 TDs) and Rex Grossman (252, 2 TDs) put up starter-worthy numbers, with Tom obviously getting the better of it. But man, the story was Rob Gronkowski again (6 for 160, 2 TDs, broke the all-time TE TD record). I am speechless on how good he has been this year, and from the TE slot no less. Wes Welker (7 for 86, TD) and Aaron Hernandez (5 for 84) also got in on the action. For the ‘skins, Roy Helu was stellar on the ground (126 rushing), while Donte` Stallworth (4 for 96), Jabar Gaffney (6 for 92, TD), Santana Moss (3 for 81, TD) and David Anderson (2 for 12, TD, thrown by Brandon Banks), made noise in the WR slots.
Saints v. Titans: Drew Brees was great, the sky is blue, water is wet, etc. (337, 2 TDs), Jake Locker was very good in relief of Matt Hasselbeck (282, TD, 36 rushing, TD), who suffered a calf injury, Nate Washington blew up (6 for 130, TD), Marques Colston picked a great time to have his best game of the year (7 for 105, 2 TDs), and Darren Sproles was all-purposeful (33 rushing, 7 for 58 receiving).
Eagles v. Miami: Michael Vick returned, but really didn’t have a great game (208, TD, just 9 rushing). Shady McCoy owned this one, but only because of his two rushing scores (38 yards rushing – on 27 attempts!; 3 for 33 receiving). DeSean Jackson also got back into the swing of things (4 for 59, TD). Matt Moore got roughed up and suffered a head injury, so J.P. Losman replaced him. Neither did anything of note. Reggie Bush went over 100 again, a regular occurrence this year (103, 5 for 27 receiving). Brandon Marshall also caught a TD (4 for 27).
Falcons v. Panthers: Matt Ryan had his finest performance of the year here (320, 4 TDs), welcoming Julio Jones back into fantasy relevance (3 for 104, 2 TDs). Roddy White also continued his 2nd half resurgence (7 for 84, TD), and Tony Gonzalez keeps chugging along dependably (7 for 82). Congrats Jacquizz Rodgers on your first NFL TD (2 for 39 receiving)! Cam Newton didn’t rush for a TD for once, but was solid passing the ball (276, 2 TDs, 36 rushing), getting it to Greg Olsen (2 for 53, TD), Steve Smith (6 for 125), and Jeremy Shockey (2 for 10, TD). Oh, and, not like you started him, but DeAngelo Williams had one of his sneaky good games (87 rushing, TD).
Bucs v. Jaguars: The Jags scored more in this game than in their previous 3 combined, and as usual, it was MJD leading the way (85 rushing, 2 TDs, 6 for 51 receiving, 2 TDs). This was beyond his typical output, this was total domination. Blaine Gabbert (217, 2 TDs) and Marcedes Lewis (2 for 77) also played supporting roles. Tampa did get good output from LeGarrette Blount (74 rushing, TD, fumble lost), and Josh Freeman rushed for a TD (26 rushing, fumble lost, 181 passing), but nothing else.
Texans v. Bengals: T.J. Yates, well done man! The third stringer was a sleeper fantasy QB this week (300, 2 TDs, 36 rushing, fumble lost). Owen Daniels (7 for 100), Kevin Walter (6 for 76, TD), Joel Dreessen (3 for 22) were his favorite targets. Cincy got solid rushing from Cedric Benson (91 yards), a TD reception from Jerome Simpson (2 for 38), and a bleh game from Andy Dalton (189, TD, fumble lost); Houston plays good D.
Vikings v. Lions: Fantasy-wise Christian Ponder was not having a bad day when he got pulled (115 yards, 2 TDs, fumble lost). But in reality, he was lost, and Joe Webb took over, having a great day in limited action (84 yards, TD, 109 rushing, TD, fumble lost). Toby Gerhart was happy for the change, as he caught Webb’s TD pass, while rushing for 90 (3 for 19 receiving). Percy Harvin struck pay dirt again (10 for 69), and Visanthe Shiancoe caught his third of the year (3 for 33). Detroit did nothing on the ground, missing Kevin Smith and all, but Matt Stafford had a decent day by his standards (227, 2 TDs), helping Titus Young (4 for 87, TD) and Brandon Pettigrew (6 for 57, TD) to fine showings.
Chiefs v. Jets: Mark Sanchez was on his game (181, 2 TDs, 2 goal line rushing TDs), as was Shonn Greene (129 rushing, TD, 3 for 58 receiving). Greene as a viable backfield receiver is as shocking as can be, but you’ll take it. LT also got in the mix receiving wise (2 for 50, TD), and Santonio Holmes caught his obligatory TD, but nothing else (2 for 12). For KC…um, Jerheme Urban caught a TD (2 for 28), and Tyler Palko threw the aforementioned TD in Garbage Time (195 yards passing, 12 rushing). Just stay away from KC aside from Dwayne Bowe the rest of the year.
Ravens v. Colts: Ray Rice is really heating up at the right time for his owners, and he had another sterling game against Indy (103 rushing, TD, 6 for 46 receiving, fumble lost). Joe Flacco was passable (227, 2 TDs), Torrey Smith had a useful game (5 for 48, TD, 16 rushing), and Dennis Pitta had a TD grab (3 for 29). I guess I have to mention Jacob Tamme’s TD grab…and his 13 yards. That was it from the Colts, if you want some sort of silver lining. Maybe they beat Jacksonville in Week 17, but 0-16 is highly likely at this point.
Bears v. Broncos: I will never consider Tim Tebow a good real QB, no matter how many improbable comebacks Denver executes with him under center, but he is a darn good fantasy one, as shown again in this tilt (236, TD, 49 rushing, fumble lost). Those extra 5-10 rushing pts he gets you each week make up for his pedestrian passing totals. Marion Barber was a star, until he fumbled late in the game (108 rushing, TD, 2 for 32 receiving, the dreaded fumble lost), and that was all Chicago could muster. Demaryius Thomas (7 for 78, TD) and Matt Willis (4 for 75) brought it in Denver’s receiving corps, a product of their running game being curtailed severely.
Cardinals v. 49ers: John Skelton was probably started in close to zero standard or even deep leagues, and yet he picked SF apart (282, 3 TDs, 25 rushing, fumble lost). L-Fitzy has had a somewhat quiet 1000 yard year, but not in this game (7 for 149, TD), proving just how good he is, dealing with the QB carousel in Arizona; Early Doucet also pitched in (3 for 73, TD). All SF got was 72 yards and a TD from Frank Gore, on just ten carries for some reason. Why they didn’t use him more late is beyond me.
Chargers v. Bills: San Diego went to town, with lots of fantasy impact. Philip Rivers (240, 3 TDs), Ryan Mathews (114 rushing, 6 for 34 receiving), Mike Tolbert (21 rushing, TD), Antonio Gates (7 for 68, 2 TDs), and Patrick Crayton (3 for 37, TD). For Buffalo: Stevie Johnson (4 for 116). That is all.
Packers v. Raiders: This was over before the Raiders boarded the flight to Green Bay, but it was the Packer rushing attack that was at the forefront for once, in the form of…Ryan Grant? Yep (85 rushing, 2 TDs, 13 receiving). Of course, Aaron Rodgers had some say in the matter (281, 2 TDs), tossing TDs to Jordy Nelson (3 for 81) and rookie Ryan Taylor (4 yard TD grab). Donald Driver also saw some action (4 for 75), while Greg Jennings was hurt early on, and is out with a sprained MCL for a couple of weeks at least. Oakland did put up some late scores, courtesy of Michael Bush (78 rushing, TD, 3 for 19 receiving), and Carson Palmer (245, TD, 4 INTs) to Kevin Boss (5 for 43).
Giants v. Cowboys: Eli (400 yards, 2 TDs) and Tony (321 yards, 4 TDs) dueled throughout this shootout, with Romo putting up the better fantasy numbers. Lots of other big performers here too, such as Brandon Jacobs (101 rushing, 2 TDs), Hakeem Nicks (8 for 163), and Laurent Robinson (4 for 137, TD). Felix Jones got in on the the act (106 rushing, 6 for 31 receiving, fumble lost), but only because DeMarco Murray breok his ankle, meaning his season is over. Such a shame, the kid was having a special rookie year. Other honorable mentions: Dez Bryant (1 for 50, TD), Miles Austin (4 for 63, TD), John Phillips (12 yard TD catch), Mario Manningham (2 for 62, TD), Jake Ballard (4 for 52, TD) and Victor Cruz (6 for 74).
Seahawks v. Rams: Oh Marshawn Lynch, your burial was premature. Beast Mode is comeback player of the year in my book, and he scored for the 9th straight start (115 rushing, TD). Steven Jackson was very versatile on the other side (63 rushing, TD, 3 for 60 receiving), Brandon Lloyd was productive (5 for 82), Tarvaris Jackson was alright (224 passing, TD, fumble lost), and Doug Baldwin had a nice little day for himself (7 for 93, TD).