NFL fantasy football: Week 16 recaps
- Updated: Dec. 23, 2012 at 11:21 p.m.
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles
Analysis by Michael Fabiano
Robert Griffin III (knee) returned to action this week, throwing for 198 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. However, his rushing totals were non-existent (two carries, four yards) - that could have been in part due to the knee ailment. All told, RG3 finished with a mediocre 14.32 fantasy points. I'd still start him in Week 17 against the Dallas Cowboys, though. ... Alfred Morris was fantastic once again with 118 scrimmage yards, one touchdown and 16.80 fantasy points. He has now scored five touchdowns and posted double-digits in his last five contests. ... Pierre Garcon had a nice PPR performance with 15.9 fantasy points, but he was less effective in standard formats with 89 yards. ... Santana Moss and Josh Morgan both caught touchdown passes from RG3, but neither is a reliable fantasy option. ... The Redskins defense scored 10 fantasy points on the strength of five sacks, an interception and one recovered fumble.
Nick Foles finished with 345 yards, one touchdown, one interception and scored more fantasy points (14.80) than Griffin. He's still not a recommended option in Week 17. ... LeSean McCoy (concussion) returned to the gridiron and posted a respectable 12.20 points in standard leagues. However, he was an absolute beast in PPR formats with nine catches and 21.20 points. Start him next week against the New York Giants. ... With McCoy back, Bryce Brown (four carries) was invisible in the stat sheets. ... Jeremy Maclin had a nice stat line with 116 yards, one touchdown and 17.60 fantasy points. He has now scored 16-plus fantasy points in two of his last three games. ... Jason Avant put up 70 yards but was a PPR monster with eight receptions. Still, he's a risk in the final week of the regular season. ... Brent Celek (concussion) returned to action but posted just three catches, for 39 yards and was held out of the end zone once again.
New Orleans Saints at Dallas Cowboys
Analysis by Elliot Harrison
Drew Brees is a certifiable first round pick still, showing why he is so valuable once again with 446 yards and three touchdowns. ... Pierre Thomas caught one of those touchdown passes and was valuable in a reality sense, but I wouldn't trust him or Mark Ingram in your fantasy Super Bowl. Darren Sproles had a a huge day catching the football (15.2 fantasy points) and is a machine in PPR. ... Wideout Marques Colston had 153 receiving yards, and like Sproles, is a valuable flex. If you're in your fantasy Super Bowl, he's probably not your WR1 or WR2. ... Jimmy Graham had 88 yards himself, and while he's been inconsistent this season, he's a must-start given how difficult it is to get fantasy production out of the tight end position this season.
On the Cowboys side of this deal, you have to tip your hat to Tony Romo who, over the last five or six weeks has been one of the top players - players, not quarterbacks - in fantasy. Every week he's putting up 20-plus points. Well, except Sunday, when he gave fantasy owners 32.64 points. ... Much of that went to Dez Bryant, who will probably go in the early second round of fantasy drafts next year. Bryant finished with 34.4 points. These are unreal numbers. Jason Witten gave you six points at tight end. Not the greatest day, but considering he set the single-season mark for most catches by a tight end...talk about a PPR stud. Witten and Sproles are as good as it gets in the those leagues. ... Meanwhile, DeMarco Murray (7.1 points) had a big fumble and was a little bit of a disappointment. He continues to run hard, but if he doesn't get a touchdown, he's probably not gonna hit double digits in fantasy versus the Redskins. The Cowboys don't get a good push in the run game. On the subject of disappointments, Miles Austin dropped several key balls versus the Saints. Austin scored 10.5 fantasy points with a late touchdown, but he's a dicey play versus the Redskins.
Carolina Panthers at Oakland Raiders
Analysis by Adam Rank
Cam Newton seemed like a fantasy disappointment just weeks ago, but he no doubt led countless fantasy owners to championships this weekend. Newton scored 20 fantasy points after he tossed a touchdown and ran one in for another score against the hapless Raiders. Newton might not have satisfied those who drafted him in the first-round, but was a solid pick in the end. The real question is where Newton will go in drafts next year. Considering that he will likely have a new head coach, he might again sneak into the first-round of fantasy league drafts. But the second-round seems like a better spot for him.
DeAngelo Williams had built up some goodwill with fantasy owners in recent weeks, thanks in no small part to Newton. But Williams finished with just 4.80 fantasy points. Start your fantasy grousing now. ... Steve Smith caught Newton's touchdown pass and while his yardage wasn't big, he still finished with 10.50 fantasy points. Not a world-beater day, but certainly enough to keep you in contention in your fantasy leagues. ... Greg Olsen scored 5.3 fantasy points. And given what guys like Aaron Hernandez did on Sunday, that's yeoman's work.
Darren McFadden was another guy who had regained some fantasy credibility, but finished with just 4.8 fantasy points. Not a great performance from a guy who never lived up to his early-round hype. Watch McFadden fall in fantasy leagues drafts next year, and if you can take a chance on him in the third-round, I'd look at him there. But I wouldn't touch him in the first two rounds.
Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers
Analysis by Adrian Mojica
Basically, if you played any of your Packers, you were happy you did. Despite being benched early in the fourth quarter, Aaron Rodgers still feasted on the Titans secondary, racking up 32.78 fantasy points. The veteran rushed for a score and connected with Randall Cobb, Greg Jennings and James Jones for touchdowns. Jones led the way with 16 points, followed by Cobb with 12.20 and Jennings bringing up the rear with 10.50 points.
As good as the passing game was, the running game wasn't far behind. In just his third game of the season for the Packers, Ryan Grant (remember him?) rumbled for 114 total yards and two scores en route to a 23.40-point performance. For leagues playing their championship game next week, can you say waiver wire pickup? Even second year running back DuJuan Harris got in on the action, totaling 8.90 points due to an early rushing score. The Packers defense was stout, pitching a shutout until allowing a garbage time score with just 1:39 remaining. The unit's seven sacks and two interceptions still left you with a nice 15-point performance.
For the Titans, it couldn't have gone much worse. Jake Locker tossed two consecutive interceptions in the first half and would never recover, totaling just 8.80 fantasy points for the day. With little keeping the Packers defense from pinning their ears back, Chris Johnson mustered just 4.10 points, his third-worst performance of the year. The lone semi-bright spot was wideout Kenny Britt, who hauled in that garbage time score. His 10.10 point day was far from great, but given how anemic the offense was, you should feel lucky. On the bright side, if your league doesn't play the championship game until next week, the Jaguars are next up for your Titans.
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers
Analysis by Jason Smith
Not a lot to write home about in this one. We didn't expect a lot of fantasy points in this one and that certainly was the case. Sub-par performances from Ben Roethlisberger and Andy Dalton, but this one had all the earmarks of a low-scoring battle, so hopefully you sat both of them. You had to play BenJarvus Green-Ellis even though he had a bad matchup. He had an abysmal game, but you have to play your studs in Week 16, and he was one of them - at least up until this week. If you lost your championship game because of this, rest easy knowing you made the right move to start him. Rashard Mendenhall returned with a bit of a flourish for Pittsburgh, who for the third straight game got nothing out of Jonathan Dwyer or Isaac Redman. Going forward, if you're playing in a title game in Week 17, Mendenhall is a risk/reward flex play, while Dwyer should sit on your bench.
No one was playing Antonio Brown this week, so of course he had the best week for a wideout out of everyone else in the contest. He's still too much of a risk for me in Week 17. Mike Wallace was invisible, but he remains a decent flex option going forward. A.J. Green, well, you can't score a TD every week, even being the top 5 fantasy receiver he is. Still, he gave you double-digit fantasy points in a game where every yard was contested. For the tight ends, Jermaine Gresham didn't help you at all and Heath Miller left with an injury after 45 yards receiving. The only thing to really like from a fantasy angle was another great effort by the Bengals defense, who has proven to be top five the last six weeks and almost a must-start. But hey, we said all week going in this game wasn't going to yield a lot of fantasy points, so you were forewarned.
New York Giants at Baltimore Ravens
Analysis by Marcas Grant
It was yet another week when the New York Giants offense failed to make an appearance. Eli Manning faced a fierce pass rush and never found a rhythm. He finished the game with 10.80 fantasy points, but that was mostly because of a garbage time touchdown pass to Domenik Hixon. ... Neither Ahmad Bradshaw nor David Wilson were much of a fantasy factor, either. Bradshaw was held to 39 rushing yards, while Wilson was even worse with just 17 yards on the ground. Wilson's touchdown gave him 7.70 points, which isn't great...but it's better than the alternative. ... Only one Giants receiver had more than 43 yards. His name was Rueben Randle. That probably didn't help you.
Joe Flacco reminded us that he's good at M&T Bank Stadium, throwing two touchdowns, rushing for one more and posting 25.36 fantasy points. Too bad he's on the road at Cincinnati next week ... Flacco can thank Torrey Smith for some of that success today. The wideout beat Giants' cornerback Corey Webster like a drum, catching five passes for 88 yards and a touchdown. Anquan Boldin was having a pretty good day as well -- he snagged seven balls for 93 yards before leaving with a shoulder injury. ... The Ravens re-discovered Ray Rice this week, giving their top playmaker 30 total touches (24 carries). He responded with 107 rushing yards and 51 receiving yards with a score. Things were so good that even Bernard Pierce got into the act, running for 123 yards on 14 carries.