Final recap of the year here. Always sad when another fantasy football season comes to a close; hope every had a blast, win or lose:
Texans v. Colts: Houston is the most 1-dimensional playoff team on offense, and you-know-who, Mr. Foster, had another great game (158 rushing, TD, 3 for 16 receiving). Good news for Foster owners, bad news for Houston fans. No passing game whatsoever from the Texans, while Dan Orlovsky (244, TD, fumble lost) and Reggie Wayne (8 for 106, TD) hooked up often, rewarding those who gambled on Wayne in the championship round.
Bengals v. Cardinals: John Skelton’s final numbers are never pretty, but he gives you points, period (297, 2 TDs, 3 INTs); Larry Fitz (6 for 105, TD) and Andre Roberts (6 for 75) were his receivers of choice. Fitzy quietly is on his way to another high yardage, high TD season, his best since 08-09. Shows that if you just give him some consistency at the QB position, the guy is a monster. Andy Dalton wasn’t bad if you plugged him in on a whim (154, 2 TDs, 48 rushing), while Jermaine Gresham (5 for 56) and Jerome Simpson (5 for 42) caught the scores.
Giants v. Jets: Another disappointing fantasy week from Eli Manning (225, TD, a horrendous 9 for 27 passing), but he did face a solid secondary the second week in a row. Mark Sanchez was the much worse real-life QB, but you won’t complain in fantasyland (258, TD, 13 rushing, TD, fumble lost). Victor Cruz (3 for164, TD) and Dustin Keller (8 for 77) were the only receivers of note, while Ahmad Bradshaw was the only RB you hoped you started (54 rushing, 2 TDs).
Jaguars v. Titans: Matt Hasselbeck was probably on the bottom of most lists for who to start at QB this week, but he delivered solid numbers (350, TD). Jared Cook was a beast the second week in a row (8 for 169, TD), and should get consideration for fantasy playoff MVP at TE; Damian Williams also chipped in (8 for 83). MJD was MJD, nothing out of the ordinary (103 rushing, TD, 6 for 21 receiving).
Dolphins v. Patriots: Matt Moore was a gamble, but he paid off if you started him over some other name QBs (*cough*, Eli, *cough*, Ryan Fitzpatrick), as he tossed 3 TDs and 294 passing yards, though he did lose a fumble. Tom Brady was a ground game monster again, to go with his usual 300 yards passing (2 rushing TDs, 304 passing, TD). Reggie Bush again rewarded you for your belief in him (113 rushing, 2 for 26 receiving), while Brandon Marshall (7 for 156, TD), Devone Bess (3 for 39, TD), Wes Welker (12 for 138), Rob Gronkowski (7 for 78), and Deion Branch (3 for 37, TD) all joined the passing parade.
Browns v. Ravens: Joe Flacco was his usual boring self, but he gave you solid numbers, so you can’t complain (132, 2 TDs, 30 rushing), and he got Ray Rice a score through the air, which made this multiple Rice owner happy – Rice finished with 87 yards on the ground and 3 catches for 48 yards and the aforementioned TD. Ed Dickson caught the other score (2 for 14). Cleveland got a 100 yard rusher in the form of Peyton Hillis, which was his first such game of the year (112 rushing); Hillis was a huge bust, but he did put up in weeks 15 and 16, possibly leading some folks to a cup as a flex play. Evan Moore caught the lone Brown passing TD (5 for 35).
Raiders v. Chiefs: Kyle Orton (300, TD) and Carson Palmer (237, TD) were average fantasy plays at best, while a couple of receivers were in double digits points-wise: Dwayne Bowe (6 for 80, TD), Dexter McCluster (5 for 89) and Denarius Moore (4 for 94, TD). Michael Bush provided decent all-purpose yardage (70 rushing, 2 for 24 receiving), and he deserves a starting gig come 2012; dude is a top ten fantasy RB on the right team.
Vikings v. Redskins: Anyone think Joe Webb might be Minnesota’s best QB? I do. Webb threw only 5 passes, but tossed a TD, passed for 84 and 2 scores, and rushed for 34 more and a TD. Talk about a hail mary working out if you started him. Obviously horrible news for AP with the torn ACL/MCL, but at least he gave you 38 yards rushing, 14 receiving, and a TD before that. Toby Gerhart came in relief and did well (109 rushing), as he has the last several weeks, so at least the Vikes have a solid backup option going forward. Percy Harvin (5 for 65, 39 rushing) and Kyle Rudolph (2 for 23) caught Webb’s TD passes, while, on the ‘Skins side, Rex Grossman (284, 2 TDs), Evan Royster (132 rushing, 2 for 15 receiving), Jabar Gaffney (6 for 77, TD) and Donte` Stallworth (5 for 59, TD) were the fantasy performers.
Bucs v. Panthers: Wow, Josh Freeman is still fantasy relevant! Who Knew? (274, TD, rushing TD); the rest of his team, not so much. Fantasy MVP, thy name is Cam Newton (171, 3 TDs, 65 rushing, TD); 4k passing yards, 34 TDs, 700 rushing = god-like. Jonathan Stewart (88 rushing, 11 receiving, TD), DeAngelo Williams (66 rushing, 2 TDs, 18 receiving), Brandon LaFell (3 for 103, TD), and Jeremy Shockey (2 for 14, TD) were his supporting cast.
Broncos v. Bills: Tebow, you sucked ass in the real game, but you did salvage a decent fantasy game; good for you! (185, TD, 4 INTs, 34 rushing, TD). Demaryius Thomas had a barely productive game (4 for 76), while Daniel Fells caught the lone TD pass (2 for 22). C.J. Spiller again was the truth (111 rushing, TD, 2 for 27 receiving), while Stevie Johnson came close to a hundred yard game (4 for 92).
Rams v. Steelers: Rashard Mendenhall (116, TD, 35 receiving), Isaac Redman (35 rushing, TD), and John Clay (10 rushing, TD), boom, boom, boom, that was Pittsburgh’s offense. Mike Wallace was alright (4 for 82), coming within a hair of a long TD catch (just short of the plain), but this game was old school Steelers; running game and defense. Steven Jackson was the lone Ram bright spot (103 rushing, 2 for 24 receiving).
Chargers v. Lions: Matt Stafford, what a season. His first fully healthy one, and he took apart the Chargers in week 16 (373, 3 TDs). CJ followed up his gigantic week 15 with a very, very good final week (4 for 102, TD); Nate Burleson (6 for 83), Brandon Pettigrew (9 for 80, TD), and Kevin Smith (49 rushing, TD, 2 for 12 receiving, TD) all had nice days as well. SD was led by Philip Rivers (299, TD) and Malcolm Floyd (6 for 95, TD), but it was a slow day for an offense that was clicking up to this point the past few weeks.
Eagles v. Cowboys: Great timing for Vick owners, as he put up very good numbers when you needed them (293 passing, 2 TDs). Bad timing for LeSean McCoy owners though, as he had his worst performance of the year, combining for 45 yards total. Ugh; the reality was the Eagles had this game in the bag early, so Shady was rested with the Eagles eliminated by the Giants W. Tough break. Some Philly receivers were notable: DeSean Jackson (5 for 90), Jeremy Maclin (5 for 72, TD), and Brent Celek (2 for 52, TD), while only 1 Cowboy – Miles Austin (4 for 40, TD) crossed the plain. Stephen McGee was also not bad in relief of Tony Romo’s bruised hand (182, TD, 28 rushing), but no one started him, so who cares.
49ers v. Seahawks: You had to have brass ones to start Marshawn Lynch against the best run D in the league, and boy were you rewarded (107 rushing, TD, 2 for 24 receiving). Beast Mode was match-up proof down the stretch, and had his best season since, well, ever. Do I smell a Madden cover jinx in his future? Frank Gore was solid, if unspectacular (83 rushing, TD, 1 for 13 receiving), Kendall Hunter had 84 all-purpose yards, while Michael Crabtree (5 for 85), and Doug Baldwin (2 for 17, TD) were the only receivers of note.
Bears v. Packers: This game began and ended with who else, A-Rodg (283, 5 TDs, 18 rushing). Just an insanely amazing year from him, outperforming wherever you drafted him in 2011 no doubt, and a possible top 3 come 2012, though I hate to reach for QBs. The guy I might reach for caught two of his scores, Jordy Nelson (6 for 115), while James Jones ended up with a multi-TD day as well (4 for 50). Jermichael Finley rounded out the scoring (3 for 20). The Bears got courageous efforts from Josh McCown (242, TD, 38 rushing), Kahlil Bell (121 rushing, 4 for 38 receiving), and Roy Williams (6 for 81), and maybe you got some fantasy pay-off from Bell, who may be relevant come 2012 in Chicago’s backfield, depending on what they decide to do with Matt Forte.
Falcons v . Saints: Sorry Dan Marino, we have a new passing yards record holder: Drew Brees, who dismantled Atlanta as he is wont to do (307 passing, 4 TDs, 9 rushing). Fantasy owners, depending on what side they were on, either rejoiced or cursed when Brees was given the green light to run up the score as the game ended. I for one was on the losing side of that draw; thanks a lot Sean Peyton. Darren Sproles continued his great season (67 rushing, 2 for 22 receiving, TD), Pierre Thomas was a great flex option (53 rushing, TD), Marques Colston led the team in receptions (7 for 81, TD), Robert Meachem caught a TD (3 for 75), and Jimmy Graham got in on the act as per usual (4 for 42, TD). Atlanta got some great yardage games from Matt Ryan (373, TD), Roddy White (11 for 127), and Julio Jones (8 for 128, TD), but only got middling yardage from Michael Turner (39 rushing, 4 for 36 receiving), who looks slower every week.