Week 16 Fantasy Winners & Losers by James Morris
Week 16 of the NFL is the fantasy championship for most weeks, so many of you know by now whether you won or lost the title, but there are a few leagues that will play through week 17 to decide their league champion. What was crazy about this week was Calvin Johnson broke Jerry Rice’s receiving record and now sits at 1,892 yards receiving, and Andrew Luck broke Cam Newton’s rookie passing record and he now sits at 4,183 passing yards this season. It was great to see these two players break records in the very week that many of us won, and lost, our own league title.
Another interesting fact about this week was that of the top 25 fantasy point’s leaders according to NFL.com (PPR scoring) for week 16, just 7 of them are QBs. If you look at the 2012 season as a whole, 14 of the top 25 points leaders are QBs, so the peripheral players played a much larger role in fantasy outcomes this week than we normally see. This is just an interesting fact for you to know.
For anyone wondering how I did in my picks this week, I missed on just three players. Danny Amendola threw up an airball this week, Torrey Smith racked up 5 catches for 88 yards and a TD, and Antonio Gates hauled in just 2 passes, but they went for 44 yards and a TD. I would have to say that 81.3 percent correct is a more than acceptable number for fantasy projections. I did just as well in my email and social media advice as many of you have been reaching out to say thank you after winning your league title.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the winners and losers in the NFL for week 16 of the season.
Tony Romo – QB Cowboys: Romo was one of my starter candidates this week because I knew the Cowboys/Saints game would end up being high scoring, and it was. The two teams combined for 65 points and Romo put up a monstrous 416 passing yards and 4 TDs in the loss. While his team may have lost, he may have singlehandedly won games for his fantasy owners with those huge numbers.
Joe Flacco – QB Ravens: Flacco is someone that typically ranks out in the QB range because the Ravens are a running team. But, this week he finished in the top 6 for fantasy QBs thanks to his 309 passing yards and 3 TDs. Only 13.1 percent of NFL.com owners start him, so hopefully you were one of the luck few this week.
Russell Wilson – QB Seahawks: Wilson is making it hard not to seriously mention his name when you talk about the Rookie of the Year award. While he didn’t fill up the boxscore with yards (171), he did throw 4 TDs against a 49ers defense that is one of the best in the NFL. The touchdowns were enough to rank him #5 at fantasy QB for week 16, and likely propelled owners brave enough to play him to a league title.
Reggie Bush – RB Dolphins: Bush put up HUGE fantasy numbers just when his NFL team, and his fantasy owners for that matter, needed him to the most. He finished as the #1 RB in fantasy football thanks to the 65 yards rushing, 4 catches for 42 yards and 3 TDs on Sunday. This is the Reggie Bush we all know and love, and I am glad he was able to show the NFL that he still has the skills to put up the game he did.
Ryan Grant – RB Packers: Grant is owned in 1.3 percent of NFL.com leagues, and I have no doubt that 100 percent of that came this weekend when he was announced as the starting RB. He did his owners proud on Sunday as he ran for 80 yards and 2 TDs, and added 34 yards receiving to pad the stats. If you picked up Grant, you either need to start buying Powerball lottery tickets, or you were throwing up a “Hail Mary” because you are weak at RB.
Dez Bryant – WR Cowboys: I normally don’t put player of Bryant’s stature on the list because we expect big things from them already. But, when you haul in 9 receptions for 224 yards and 2 TDs, and lead the NFL in fantasy points scored in NFL.com scoring, you deserve to make the list.
Roddy White – WR Falcons: White is one of the more erratic WRs out there, but I told everyone who emailed me or reached out via a social media site to definitely play him. The Lions have a beatable defense, and White beat them for 8 catches, 153 yards and 2 TDs on Saturday night. He racked up 35 fantasy points (FP) in NFL.com PPR scoring, and that was #4 in all the NFL this week.
Lance Kendricks – TE Rams: Kendricks did what I had hoped Amendola would do by catches 4 passes for 119 yards and a TD. The 100-yard game was the first of his career, but it didn’t really help in fantasy terms since he is owned in just 1.8 percent of NFL.com leagues.
Indianapolis Colts defense: If you remember, the Colts were my sleeper defense this week and the defense I recommended you start for the championship game. The Colts managed to hold the Chiefs to just 13 points while snatching 2 INTs, a sack, a recovered fumble and they also scored a defensive TD. When all was said and done they ranked 5th in NFL.com scoring; not bad for a team that was owned in just 13.1 percent of leagues when I recommended them!
Josh Freeman – QB Buccaneers: I warned you about starting Freeman this week and I was right! Although he did throw for 372 yards and a TD, he also threw 4 INTs, which negated almost half his FP on the day. He finished 18th for fantasy QBs in NFL.com scoring despite a #13 projection by NFL.com. A projection that high means they project him as a QB1, but you knew better.
Adrian Peterson – RB Vikings: There was a fan that emailed me to tell me how dumb I was for saying you should sit Peterson this week. And, the only reason I am not calling him out by name right now is because I get over 200 emails per week and can’t remember who he was. But, I will say that I was right and every other big-box website that said to start AP was wrong! He finished with 86 empty rushing yards and #24 in NFL.com PPR scoring. Will you have the integrity to email me again and say I was right and you were wrong reader… I think not.
Beanie Wells – RB Cardinals: Just when you think it can’t get any worse for the Cardinals, Wells goes out there and proves you wrong. Well was benched this week after just 4 carries; but what is more amazing is that he actually cost his fantasy owners 1.70 points in NFL.com scoring thanks to his lost fumble. There are 61.6 percent of NFL.com owners out there right now cursing the day they picked up Wells.
Danny Amendola – WR Rams: Amendola was someone that I was salivating over because Buccaneers are ranked dead last in FP allowed to WRs this season. But, the Rams jumped out to a 28-6 lead and Amendola finished with just 2 catches for 5 yards and a lost fumble. He did see 7 targets, but with the lead the running game took over. Nobody is right all the time, oh well.
Mike Wallace – WR Steelers: The Bengals held Wallace to just a single catch and 13 yards. The Bengals win over the Steelers means the Bengals are in the playoffs and the Steelers are out. Wallace is owned in 98.7 percent of NFL.com leagues, and it is safe to say he disappointed each and every one of them with this performance.
Tony Gonzalez – TE Falcons: As good as Matt Ryan was on Saturday night (279 yards passing and 4 TDs), Gonzalez managed to haul in just 1 pass for 9 yards and no TDs. It was an unfortunate way to end the fantasy season, but he is still the #1 TE in NFL.com scoring this season.
Baltimore Ravens defense: The Ravens were my defense to sit this week and they did not disappoint me by allowing 13 points and getting just 3 sacks for fantasy stats. The empty boxscore for Ravens’ defensive players earned them the just 6 FP in NFL.com scoring and the #20 defensive ranking this week. Was I right or was I right or was I right?
Be sure to check back on Friday for Week 17 lineup advice from James.
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