Welcome to championship week and to all a Merry Christmas! Let us take a look at who was naughty and who was nice as far as the rookies go for your Championship dreams.
Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay – Playing against the very tough St. Louis defense, Winston had an up-and-down performance and missed several throws. St. Louis jumped out to a nice lead early because Winston was off the mark on several throws early and the offense could not do much. The stats will tell you differently, though, because he did have a good second half trying to play catchup and throwing a lot and adding garbage-time numbers. At the end, Winston ended up throwing 29 completions in 50 attempts for 363 yards with two touchdowns. Winston also had an interception and a fumble in the loss.
Marcus Mariota – Tennessee – No body ever wants to see someone get hurt, especially when the team is out of the playoff picture. Well, Mariota suffered an MCL injury to his right knee and was placed on Injured Reserve following a sack. Mariota had not done much in the game, only going 3-of-6 for 32 yards while suffering three sacks and a fumble. Here is hoping that Tennessee can find a running back to help out this offense. With the improvement of Dorial Green-Beckham and the full health of Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker, Mariota could have a nice year next season.
Garrett Grayson – New Orleans – Inactive
Sean Mannion – St. Louis –Inactive
Bryce Petty – New York Jets – Inactive
Brett Hundley – Green Bay – Inactive
Trevor Siemian – Denver – One carry for minus -1 yard. Don’t waste any more time.
Todd Gurley – St. Louis – Since he came back with a nice game last week, I thought Gurley would make it two in a row against Tampa Bay on Thursday. St. Louis built a nice early lead, so it seemed like a good time to feed him the ball to kill the clock and get some yardage. Well, Gurley struggled against the Tampa Bay defense and only had 48 yards on 21 carries. He did salvage his day some with a touchdown and also added two catches for 21 yards. Gurley did get stuffed three straight times from inside the 5-yard line by the tough Tampa Bay defensive front.
Melvin Gordon – San Diego – In a lost season, San Diego had what may have been its last home game on Sunday and went out with a bang, but it was none of Gordon’s doing. Gordon ran 15 times for 41 yards and had one catch for 6 yards. It was the Danny Woodhead show last week. To make matters worse for Gordon, he suffered cartilage damage to his knee and was put on Injured Reserve. It seems like it was a lost year for him also.
T.J. Yeldon – Jacksonville – Inactive
Ameer Abdullah – Detroit – The conditions seemed right for a shootout in New Orleans on Monday Night. It may have taken a little while, but points were put up by both teams. Abdullah had a decent outing by rushing for 77 yards and a touchdown on only nine carries against the weak New Orleans defense. Abdullah has to take steps to improve his ball security, as he fumbles way too much. He has done this since his college days at Nebraska. He also added two catches for 12 yards. If you are desperate, he could be a sneaky play during championship week against San Francisco.
Duke Johnson – Cleveland – To be honest, I think Johnson should be given more work. He produces well, but is limited by his lack of touches each week. He had four carries for 46 yards and also had five receptions for 39 yards. Can Cleveland improve some so he can get more opportunities with the ball?
David Johnson – Arizona – Welcome to one of the stars from Week 15! Johnson blew up against Philadelphia Sunday night with a monster performance. He propelled me against the No. 1 seed in one league to send me into the finals and I am forever grateful. It was against one of my best friends and he is still upset about it. He had 29 rushes for 187 yards and three touchdowns and added four catches for 42 more yards. Since taking over for Chris Johnson, David Johnson is averaging more than 150 yards a game and now has 12 touchdowns also. Don’t look for Chris Johnson to be back in Arizona next season. Arizona is at home against Green Bay this week. Start him and don’t look back!
Matt Jones – Washington – In the continued revolving door that is the running back situation in Washington, this week Alfred Morris led the backfield in carries and yards. Each week it seems to be a different story. Jones only had 10 carries for 28 yards and had one catch for 8 yards. It seemed like his legs were very heavy and could not get going. Who will lead the backfield this week in a key game against Philadelphia? Can you trust either back? I can’t.
Jeremy Langford – Chicago – Chicago went back to the old committee between Matt Forte and Jeremy Langford this week with both seeing some success. Forte had more of it though with more than 100 total yards and catching six passes while Langford had 11 carries for 46 yards and catching one pass for 11 yards. I fully expect Forte to be playing elsewhere next season and for Langford to see his stock rise drastically. Remember, you saw it here first.
Jalston Fowler – Tennessee – One carry for zero yards and one catch for 8 yards. He is primarily a fullback and blocks most of the time.
Javorius “Buck” Allen – Baltimore – It was rather disappointing to see Allen get benched this week, as I thought he could catch a lot of passes out of the backfield. He had four rushes for 18 yards and a fumble that was returned for a touchdown before getting benched. It has been reported that he will not be punished any further and will start this week. Just be forewarned, it is against an improving Pittsburgh defense.
Mike Davis – San Francisco – No stat line/Did not play
David Cobb – Tennessee – Cobb had four carries for 9 yards in another disappointing game. Will he be given a fair chance in training camp to win the job next year since he was injured for most of this season?
Jay Ajayi – Miami – It has been a very confusing season for Lamar Miller owners. At times, he plays really well and helps out his owners, other times he stinks up the place and frustrates them. Chalk last week up as a stinker as Miller couldn’t do anything and he left the game and saw Ajayi rush six times for 27 yards and a touchdown and also catch a 15-yard pass. With the frustration growing, will Miami make a change for good at running back?
Karlos Williams – Buffalo – Williams was finally able to come back onto the field after missing a few weeks and had four carries for 41 yards. It looks like LeSean McCoy could miss the rest of the season and Williams could start this week against Dallas. Keep your eyes open for the injury report!
Michael Burton – Detroit – Burton got in some playing time this week and had two catches for 10 yards and a touchdown. Is this the beginning of something?
Cameron Artis-Payne – Carolina – Carolina was without starter Jonathon Stewart last week and split the workload up between three backs. Artis-Payne saw the most work with 14 carries for 59 yards and also adding two catches for 34 yards. He seems like the logical choice to start this week in Atlanta if Stewart were to miss more time.
Josh Robinson – Indianapolis – Did Not Play/No Stat Line
Aaron Ripkowski – Green Bay – Did Not Play/No Stat Line
Marcus Murphy – New Orleans – Did Not Play/No Stat Line
Zach Zenner – Detroit – On Injured Reserve
Jarryd Hayne – San Francisco – On Practice Squad
Thomas Rawls – Seattle – On Injured Reserve
Terron Ward – Atlanta – Inactive
Joey Iosefa – New England – Leave it to coach Bill Belichick to mess with fantasy owners during the playoffs. Many thought the Brandon Bolden would see the most use out of the New England backfield, but the team called up Joey Iosefa 24 hours before game time and he ran 14 times for 51 yards. Say it with me – “Don’t ever trust Bill Belichick, ever!”