Did Santa Claus leave you a fantasy trophy for Christmas? Or did you just end up with a brand new pair or slippers as your team fell apart in the playoff rounds? Week 16 served as the championship week in most leagues and certainly carried an abundance of action. In case you were too busy wrapping presents and baking fruit cakes last weekend, here are a few highlights that you may have missed.
The Indianapolis Colts stunned the Houston Texans with a comeback victory to win their second straight. Adrian Peterson tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee and will undergo surgery to ensure he is ready for the beginning of the 2012 season.
The New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints each won their seventh in a row, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers suffered another beating to drop their ninth straight.
In the Saints’ Monday night victory, Drew Brees surpassed Dan Marino’s season passing record and still has a game left to extend it further! The New York Giants defeated the New York Jets to win the battle of New York (or New Jersey) and prepare for a “winner take all” showdown against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 17. Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos suffered their second rout in a row, which helped division rival Oakland Raiders’ playoff hopes remain alive. The Detroit Lions secured their first playoff berth since 1999 as they showed no mercy in annihilating the San Diego Chargers, 48-10. Wide receivers Victor Cruz, Jordy Nelson and Brandon Marshall rewarded their fantasy owners with monster performances. Aaron Rodgers was also in the “giving spirit” by delivering five passing touchdowns. What a week! If your league wraps up in Week 17, then take a dive with me as I review several key matchups.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick – Fitzpatrick has been a model of inconsistency this season. Fantasy owners are likely dizzy from the rollercoaster that the Buffalo quarterback has been riding them this season. If you are desperate or believe your quarterback may be sitting during Week 17, you may want to jump aboard as Fitzpatrick battles the generous New England Patriots’ secondary.
The Patriots have allowed the second-most points to opposing quarterbacks including a three-touchdown effort to Matt Moore last weekend. Tom Brady will likely start despite admitting to still feeling the effects of a ferocious sack last weekend, and may exit early if New England can jump to a quick lead. Fitzpatrick should have a solid outing and try help Buffalo end the year on a positive note after another disappointing season.
Week 17 Projection: 250 passing yards, 2 TD
RB Toby Gerhart – If Gerhart is unowned, then grab him this week. With Peterson out for the season, the Stanford running back was very productive with 109 rushing yards, including a 67-yard gallop. Although Chicago has stifled opposing backs consistently this season, the Vikings offense will ride on Gerhart’s shoulders whether Joe Webb or Christian Ponder start at quarterback.
Week 17 projection: 125 total yards, 1 TD
WR Reggie Wayne – As we are all aware, Wayne is not to blame for his lack of production this season. With Dan Orlovsky, Kerry Collins and Curtis Painter throwing to him, fantasy owners should have expected this drought. However, Indianapolis has looked much better over the last two games and has a great opportunity to win their third straight as the Colts battle the Jacksonville Jaguars. Wayne is 113 yards short of his eighth straight 1,000 receiving yard season. I expect Orlovsky and the Colts to target Wayne the entire game and help him eclipse this milestone.
Week 17 Projection: 125 receiving yards, 1 TD
TE Jared Cook – Although the Tennessee Titans’ second half of the season has been a disappointment, Cook has evolved from waiver wire “plug and play” to must-start. With more than 100 receiving yards and 19 total targets in the last two games along with the third-most receiving yards in the last month among tight ends, Cook is improving his consistency and rank at the position. Houston’s secondary is relatively stingy to tight ends, but quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will be continue looking for Cook and his big-play potential.
Week 17 Projection: 80 receiving yards, 1 TD
Philadelphia Eagles D/ST – The “dream team” will be watching the playoffs from their sofa after failing to meet their season’s high expectations. However, Philadelphia is looking sharp over the last three games and the defense has allowed an average of only 12 points during their three-game winning streak. They are also tied for second-most points over the last month. With a home matchup against the weak, inconsistent Washington Redskins with the worst turnover ratio, look for the Eagles’ defense to soar.
Week 17 Projection: 11 points
Week 16 Results
QB Kyle Orton
Week 16 Projection: 250 passing yards, 2 TD
Week 16 Results: 300 passing yards, 1 TD, 2 INT (Partial Success)
RB Lance Ball
Week 16 Projection: 75 total yards, 1 TD
Week 16 Results: 12 rushing yards (FAIL)
WR Nate Washington
Week 16 Projection: 80 receiving yards, 1 TD
Week 16 Results: 71 receiving yards (Partial Success)
TE Anthony Fasano
Week 16 Projection: 60 receiving yards and 1 TD
Week 16 Results: 0 receiving yards (FAIL – did not play)
Denver Broncos D/ST
Week 16 Projection: 12 points
Week 16 Results: 0 points (FAIL)