Steve Rudy, Jr.
Corner Lockdown - Week 16

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Running Wild

What else needs to be said about Jamaal Charles’ performance last week other than, WOW! If you were lucky enough to have him on your team, congratulations on making it to the championship. If you played against him, there’s always next year. Arguably the best fantasy running back heading into Week 15, Charles absolutely went crazy against the Oakland Raiders and solidified himself as the fantasy MVP for 2013. He scored five touchdowns on the day with four of them coming from the receiving end. In a fantasy effort for the ages, Charles ended up with 215 total yards and five scores. Though Oakland shut him down running the ball, the Raiders had no answer for his pass catching abilities. Charles compiled 195 receiving yards on the day, including scores of 39, 49 and 71 yards. He has been a beast this season and will look to provide his owners with one more big game against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 16.

Matt Asiata

The unknown third-string running back for the Minnesota Vikings came up huge for anyone who took a big gamble on him last week. Filling in for the injured Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart, Asiata found the end zone three times against Philadelphia. His overall numbers weren’t all that impressive as he rushed for just 51 yards on a whopping 30 carries, but he did have a nose for the goal line and that’s all that matters in both fantasy football and real life football. Asiata threw in three receptions for 15 yards for good measure and didn’t fumble the ball at all in a solid emergency effort. Peterson is expected back this week so Asiata will return to being fantasy irrelevant, but he is surely one of the main reasons people moved on in their playoff matchup, if they started him.

Shark Sleepers

Dennis Johnson, RB, Houston

Those playing in their league championships in need of a flex option or even a RB2/3 will want to keep an eye on Johnson and even add him now if you have a spot. Ben Tate was placed on Injured Reserve after he reinjured his ribs last week. Because of that, Johnson becomes a near must-start in fantasy. The Houston Texans are playing against a Denver run defense that has allowed well more than 100 rushing yards per game over the last month. Johnson would be a lock to receive at least 20 touches, especially with a struggling Matt Schaub at the helm for Houston. Be aware that Denver may be up early so this may eliminate some second half work, but overall, Johnson shouldn’t have a problem racking up more than 100 total yards if he gets the start.

Dennis Pitta, TE, Baltimore

Pitta has two games under his belt now and should be a nice option at tight end for Week 16. Joe Flacco loves him and uses Pitta as a security blanket, especially on third downs. He didn’t really impress Monday night against Detroit with just two catches for 24 yards, but he did have six receptions and a score two weeks ago. Pitta has a great matchup against a New England defense that does allow tight ends to do some damage, so plug him into your lineup. Chances are you need a better tight end then you started last week. A stat line looking like six catches, 60 yards and a touchdown is what you should expect this weekend out of Pitta.

Lock of the Week

Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington

Cousins was solid last week against Atlanta, throwing for 381 yards with three touchdowns. He did have two interceptions and a fumble lost, but overall he was very serviceable for anyone who started him. Even with the turnovers, he still scored 21 points in standard leagues and he didn’t even have any rushing yards. In fantasy championship week I think Cousins will have a huge day against an absolutely pathetic Dallas defense. They just let Matt Flynn throw all over them last week and Cousins is easily a better player. Expect this game to be a shootout, and though both sides will try to establish the run game early on, it should turn into a passing frenzy in the second half. Cousins will go for more than 300 yards again this week with a couple touchdowns.