Bumps, Bruises and Bowouts
After several light weeks for injuries, Week 16 hit with a vengeance.
Doug Martin – Coach No Like
Marcus Mariota – Broken Fibula
Devin Funchess – Knee
Kenneth Farrow – Shoulder
Austin Sefarian-Jenkins – Hamstring
T.J. Yeldon – Ankle
Bryce Petty – Shoulder
Robert Griffin III – Head
Thomas Rawls – Shoulder
Derek Carr – Broken fibula
Carlos Hyde – Torn MCL
Cameron Brate – Back
Donte Moncrief – Shoulder
Kenny Britt – Shoulder
Tyler Lockett – Leg
Robert Griffin III – Concussion
The Huddle Awards – 2016
The season is over and it is time to recognize those players that delivered fantasy championships and those who just got in the way.
Best Player – Aaron Rodgers / Green Bay Packers
Rodgers remains the elite of the position and at 33 years of age, he is not finished. His 40 total touchdowns leads the league and his slower start evolved into a furious finish right during fantasy playoffs. Aside from the cold weather in Chicago for Week 15, Rodgers has otherwise scored at least three times in every game since Week 7. (Runner-Up – Drew Brees)
Best Draft Pick – Matt Ryan / Atlanta Falcons
After a down 2015 when he only passed for 20 touchdowns, Ryan fell to being just a deep fantasy back-up last summer. It did not take long to realize what a fortuitous pick that would prove to be since Ryan should challenge for career best yardage and already tossed 34 touchdowns for third best in the NFL. (Runner-Up – Kirk Cousins)
Best Rookie – Dak Prescott / Dallas Cowboys
The Mississippi State product is a major surprise as the eighth quarterback drafted. He’s flirted with top ten stats in about half of his games but is blessed with a formidable rushing offense. He’s played nearly error free with only four interceptions against 20 passing touchdowns and merits starting consideration each most weeks. (Runner-Up – Carson Wentz)
Worst Draft Pick – Cam Newton / Carolina Panthers
While Newton wasn’t terrible, the consensus first quarterback taken in fantasy drafts has not been a difference maker as he was in 2015. Newton only lags his yardage slightly but his scoring has been significantly off. His 35 passing touchdowns have only turned into 18 this year and the ten rushing scores became just five. He’s been little more than average in nearly every game. (Runner-Up – Russell Wilson)
Best Free Agent – Sam Bradford / Minnesota Vikings
There was no free agent quarterback that came through as an every-week starter this season. Bradford produced mostly average numbers but threw for over 290 yards in each of his last three games. (Runner-Up – Alex Smith)
Best Player – David Johnson / Arizona Cardinals
While the Cardinals have struggled this year, Johnson has been one of the most consistent and productive players in the NFL. His late season success from 2015 was carried through this year with over 100 total yards in every game he’s played. Johnson already scored 20 touchdowns and totaled over 2000 yards. (Runner-up – Le’Veon Bell)
Best Draft Pick – Jordan Howard / Chicago Bears
The Bears already had a starter in Jeremy Langford so the rookie back from Indiana was taken as the 50th running back in the average draft. And he only had a minor role until his breakout performance in Week 4 when he totaled 142 yards versus the Lions. Howard would go on to score seven touchdowns and total 1476 yards on the season with six games topping 100 rushing yards. (Runner-up – Melvin Gordon)
Best Rookie – Ezekiel Elliott / Dallas Cowboys
No questions here. The top back taken in the 2016 NFL draft proved to be one of the best rookie running backs ever. Elliott already leads the NFL in rushing yardage and has been even stronger as the season progresses.
(Runner-up – Jordan Howard)
Worst Draft Pick – Adrian Peterson / Minnesota Vikings
It was the nightmare of every fantasy team owner. Peterson was drafted on the strength of his lengthy resume as perhaps the best active running back in the NFL. But after a Week 1 flop in Tennessee, Peterson would suffer a torn meniscus in Week 2 and landed on injured reserve. Even owning his back-up did not produce a viable fantasy starter. What seemed to be perhaps the safest first round pick proved to be a disaster. (Runner-up – Todd Gurley)
Best Free Agent – Ty Montgomery / Green Bay Packers
Montgomery wasn’t even a running back to start the year but was used in that capacity after Eddie Lacy was lost for the year and James Starks missed time due to a knee injury. Montgomery caught ten passes in each of his first two starts and has remained a part of the backfield. For a position that is heavily raided in fantasy drafts and weekly waiver wire moves, Montgomery offered up late season help far beyond any other free agent backs. (Runner-up – Matt Asiata)
Best Player – Antonio Brown / Pittsburgh Steelers
Brown won this title last year with a ridiculous 136 catches for 1834 yards and ten touchdowns. He currently totals 106 receptions for 1284 yards and 12 touchdowns which may lag 2015 but is still enough to lead all other NFL wideouts in fantasy points in most leagues. (Runner-up – Odell Beckham)
Best Draft Pick – Michael Crabtree / Oakland Raiders
The development of Amari Cooper was expected to overshadow Crabtree even though he ended 2015 with 85 catches for 922 yards and nine touchdowns. Both receivers would end with similar receptions and yardage but Cooper only scored four times while Crabtree already totals eight touchdowns. For the cost of around the 35th wideout drafted, Crabtree would turn in top 12 fantasy stats in most leagues. (Runner-up – Davante Adams)
Best Rookie – Michael Thomas / New Orleans Saints
Preseason hype had the Ohio State star taken as early fantasy depth last summer but he ended as a top receiver. Thomas already caught 82 passes for 981 yards and eight touchdowns as the immediate replacement for Marques Colston. He also proves the advantage of playing with Drew Brees. (Runner-up – Sterling Shepard)
Worst Draft Pick – DeAndre Hopkins / Houston Texans
The elite receiver from 2015 was selected in the first round of most fantasy drafts. But he would struggle with Brock Osweiler as the starting quarterback. Hopkins topped 60 yards in only four games and scored just once after Week 5. He was drafted to be a fantasy team’s best starter but deserved the bench in most weeks. (Runner-up – A.J. Green)
Best Free Agent – Adam Thielen / Minnesota Vikings
The third-year Thielen was just position depth to start the year but showed up as the second best wideout in Week 1. He not only became the top fantasy play for Viking wideouts, he was the top receiver in the NFL for Week 16 with 12 catches for 202 yards and two scores. He topped 100 yards in two of the final three weeks during fantasy playoffs. (Runner-up – Tyreek Hill )
Best Player – Travis Kelce / Kansas City Chiefs
It is not enough that Kelce leads all NFL tight ends with 84 receptions for 1117 yards. It is that he is playing lights out since Week 10 after he topped 100 yards in five of the last six games. After a very mundane first half of the season, Kelce has become largely unstoppable. (Runner-up – Greg Olsen)
Best Draft Pick – Jimmy Graham / Seattle Seahawks
Health and performance concerns from 2015 led the one-time Saints star to fall to around the 10th tight end selected in fantasy drafts if not later. But Graham would resume his productive ways with the Seahawks and his 61 catches for 859 yards and six scores has him back as one of the elite tight ends in a down year for the position. (Runner-up – Kyle Rudolph)
Best Rookie – Hunter Henry / San Diego Chargers
Though he had to take a backseat to Antonio Gates in most games, the Arkansas product still scored seven times and already looks like the next big thing for the position in 2017 when Gates should step aside and Hunter becomes the starter. (Runner-up – Austin Hooper)
Worst Draft Pick – Rob Gronkowski/ New England Patriots
Normally the most elite NFL tight end and best receiver for the Patriots suffered a down year due to injury. He was slowed until Week 5 by a hamstring strain and after four of his typical big games, he was lost for the year with a back issue. He was taken in the first round of most fantasy drafts but left a major hole in rosters since he played in so few games and delayed the drafting of other important positions. (Runner-up – Coby Fleener)
Best Free Agent – Cameron Brate / Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers finally soured on Austin Seferian-Jenkins and released him after Week 3. One reason was the level of play that they were getting from Brate. The third-year undrafted Harvard product merited fantasy starts every week and his 57 catches for 660 yards and eight touchdowns paces along with the top ten NFL tight ends. (Runner-up – Dennis Pitta)
NYJ 3, NE 41
Yeah, no surprises here. Byron Petty was knocked from the game and Ryan Fitzpatrick came in to throw for two interceptions. LeGarrette Blount scored a predictable two touchdowns on his 20 runs for 50 yards and Tom Brady threw for only 214 yards and three touchdowns before he fell asleep from boredom. Sadly no Patriot player had a big game as a receiver. Julian Edelman gained 89 yards but no scores and no one else had more than 32 yards. The 4-11 Jets finish up by hosting the Bills and the 13-2 Patriots go to Miami.
TEN 17, JAX 38
This sort of thing happens every year but is impossible to forecast. The Jags had nothing to play for. Much-maligned Blake Bortles threw for 325 yards and one score and caught a 20-yard touchdown from Marquise Lee who also caught a touchdown. Everything worked for the Jaguars right when there were no head coaches to see it happen. Allen Robinson (9-147) showed up right after the last person who trusted him gave up after he only had 15 yards last week. The Titans lost the game, they lost the division, they lost any chance of the playoffs and they lost Marcus Mariota so all in all not a banner day against a team that was 2-12. No one from the Titans gained more than 48 yards. Sort of surreal. The 8-and-who-cares Titans host the Texans in a game that no longer means anything and the Hey!-Look!-3-12 Jaguars head to Indy.
MIN 25, GB 39
This was MUCH better of a game than was expected. The Vikings will had no rushing game and this outcome was never in doubt. But Sam Bradford passed for 382 yards and three scores. Adam Thielen had a career best 12 catches for 202 yards and two touchdowns. Aaron Rodgers passed for 347 yards and four touchdowns and ran in a score right fantasy owners needed him most. Jordy Nelson only caught nine passes for 154 yards and two scores and no other Packers mattered that much. The 7-8 Vikings will seek a .500 record against the Bears this week while the 9-6 Packers head to Detroit.
WAS 41, CHI 24
65 points from this game? Christmas time indeed! Kirk Cousins passed for 270 yards and one score plus ran in two touchdowns. DeSean Jackson (5-114) continued his late season dominance and Chris Thomson scored twice on just four touches, fullback Mack Brown ran in a score on his 82 yards on eight carries while Rob Kelley only ran for 76 yards and no scores. Matt Barkley passed for 323 yards and two scores with Cameron Meredith (9-135, TD) and Alshon Jeffery (5-92) the top receivers while Jordan Howard ran for 119 yards on 18 carries.
ATL 33. CAR 26
Another great game. Matt Ryan passed for 277 yards and two scores though no receiver had more than 60 yards and the touchdowns went to Joshua Perkins on his second career catch and D.J. Tialavea on his only career catch. Tevin Coleman (135 total yards, TD) and Devonta Freeman (88 total yards) were productive enough. Cam Newton only passed for 198 yards and one score with two interceptions but at least Kelvin Benjamin (4-63, TD) caught the touchdown. This was a tune-up game for the Falcons that are looking very playoff ready. The 10-5 Falcons clinched the NFC South and have the #2 seed currently. They finish against the Saints while the 6-9 Panthers finish up this bitter disappointment of a season by going to Tampa Bay.
MIA 34. BUF 31
Lots of glorious points! Jay Ajayi ran for 206 yards for his third trip past the 200 mark. Kenyan Drake ran for 56 yards and a score on just four carries. Matt Moore threw for 233 yard and two scores with DeVante Parker tops with 85 yards on four catches with one touchdown. Tyrod Taylor passed for 329 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 60 more. LeSean McCoy turned in 145 total yards and a score while Mike Gillislee ran for 91 yards on just 11 totes. Sammy Watkins (7-154, TD) and Charles Clay (8-85, 2 TD) both turned in big games. The 10-5 Dolphins remain in wild card contention and host the Patriots while the 7-8 Bills wind down at New York against the Jets.
IND 25, OAK 33
Nice total points but the loss of Derek Carr casts a big shadow over the Raiders playoff aspirations. Carr passed for 228 yards and three touchdowns and finally the top receivers were Michael Crabtree (7-90) and Amari Cooper (4-72) like it was always supposed to be and rarely was. Latavius Murray only ran for 40 yards while suddenly DeAndre Washington (12-99, 2 TD) and Jalen Richard (6-66 rush, 3-13 receive TD) had the big games that was supposed to go to Murray. Andrew Luck passed for 288 yards and two scores with T.Y. Hilton (4-105) the only receiver with more than 46 yards. The 7-8 Colts seek a .500 season by hosting the Jaguars while the 12-3 Raiders head to Denver wondering what Matt McGloin is going to do.
CIN 10, HOU 12
That whole “Yay! Tom Savage!” thing only meant 176 passing yards and just 43 yards for DeAndre Hopkins. But Alfred Blue ran for 73 yards and a score on 21 carries while the Bengals only got eight yards on seven carries from Jeremy Hill. A.J. Green was a scratch and Andy Dalton threw for 268 yards and one score. Brandon LaFell was the only notable Bengals with 130 yards on six catches. The 5-9-1 Bengals host the Ravens and the 9-6 Texans clinched the AFC South and have nothing to win when they head to Tennessee.
SF 22, LA 21
The Battle of the Sad Tuba went to the 49ers with Colin Kaepernick passing for 266 yards and two scores though as usual there were no good plays at receiver and Carlos Hyde blew his MCL in the process. Jared Goff only threw for 90 yards and one score with two interceptions. Against the 49ers. That’s 11 of 24 for 90 yards in an entire game versus the visiting 49ers. The Rams calling card is now that they were swept by the 49ers. Todd Gurley went against the worse rush defense on the planet and only gained 67 yards on 23 carries with one touchdown. The 2-13 49ers end by hosting the Seahawks while the 4-11 Rams host the Cardinals.
TB 24, NO 31
Doug Martin’s surprise inactive started the game and Jacquizz Rodgers ran for 63 yards on 15 carries with one score. Jameis Winston threw for 277 yards and two scores but only Mike Evans (7-97, TD) had a decent game. Drew Brees passed for 299 yards and one score. while Michael Thomas (6-98) and Brandin Cooks (5-98) were tops for receivers. Mark Ingram (18-90, 2 TD) turned in a big game right when owners needed it. The 8-7 Buccaneers are still in the wildcard race but need help than just beating the Panthers this week. The 7-8 Saints look to reach .500 playing in Atlanta.
ARI 34, SEA 31
This is what this season is all about. Teams that played to a 6-6 tie with great defenses end up with 55 total points and the visitor won in Seattle. What? Carson Palmer only passed for 284 yards and one score with J.J. Nelson (3-132, TD) the only receiver with more than 40 yards. But David Johnson ran for 95 yards and three touchdowns. Russell Wilson passed for 350 yards and four scores though Doug Baldwin (13-171, TD) did not get shadowed by Richard Sherman. The best running back was Alex Collins with 28 yards. The 6-8-1 Cardinals wrap up playing in Los Angeles and the 9-5-1 Seahawks now fall behind the Falcons by a half game for the #2 seed but get to end playing in San Francisco.
BAL 27, PIT 31
Not exactly a defensive war like the old days. The Ravens settled for four field goals and Joe Flacco threw for 262 yards and one score to Steve Smith (7-79, TD) and even Dennis Pitta (8-75) had a good game. FB Kyle Juszczyk bulled in a score with only 1:25 left to play to make it 27-24 but the Steelers drove the field and Ben Roethlisberger (279 yards, 3 TD) threw a touchdown pass to secret weapon Antonio Brown (10-96, TD) with only 0:09 left to play. The loss sends the 8-6 Ravens to Cincinnati this week looking for help to still get into the playoffs while the 9-5 Steelers likely holds onto the AFC North when they face the visiting Browns this week.
DEN 10, KC 33
The Broncos offense remains AWOL and the Chiefs still win big even though no player has a big game except for Travis Kelce (11-160, TD). Tyreek Hill ran for a 70-yard touchdown but the Chiefs got it all done with no real fanfare. Using nose tackle Dontari Poe to throw a touchdown had that “rub your face in it” appeal which may come back to bite them though mostly it was a great play that should have been kept for when it would have made a difference in the playoffs, not in a game already decided. No Bronco ran for more than 27 yards or caught more than 44 yards worth. The 8-7 Broncos need more help than beating the Raiders this week and the 11-4 Chiefs just clinched a wildcard so the tilt in San Diego is not as critical.
Huddle Player of the Week
Adam Thielen – This is why we work the waiver wire. This is why your draft is not going to win or lose your league by itself. Thielen was not drafted and likely wasn’t picked up until Week 6 after he had a big game in Houston in Week 5. He posted 101 yards in Week 14 but then had no catches against the Colts in Week 15 when he had to leave the game after injuring his neck. Apparently the neck was okay because he led the NFL in fantasy points playing in Green Bay when he caught 12 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns.
Drama 101 – Somebody has to Laugh, Somebody has to Cry
|QB||Sam Bradford||387||3||QB||Cam Newton||234||1|
|RB||DeAndre Washington||117||2||RB||Latavius Murray||51||0|
|RB||Alfred Blue||90||1||RB||DeMarco Murray||60||0|
|WR||Brandon LaFell||130||1||WR||Jamison Crowder||3||0|
|WR||J.J. Nelson||132||1||WR||Emmanuel Sanders||26||0|
|WR||Rod Streater||63||1||WR||Demaryius Thomas||20||0|
|TE||Charles Clay||85||2||TE||Greg Olsen||59||0|
|PK||Jason Myers||4 FG 2 XP||PK||Sebastian Janikowski||3 XP|
|Huddle Fantasy Points = 155||Huddle Fantasy Points = 38|
Chargers 17, Browns 20
What a long and quiet flight back to San Diego that must have been.
There was minimal fantasy value here. Philip Rivers passed for 322 yards and two scores but Antonio Gates (8-94, TD) was the only busy receiver. Kenneth Farrow and Ronnie Hillman combined for only 34 yards on 18 carries. The Browns won with only 175 passing yards and two scores by Isaiah Crowell who only rushed for 54 yards on 16 carries.
The last score was in the middle of the third quarter. The Chargers tried for a 32-yard field goal with only 3:49 left but it was blocked. They got the ball back with only 1:46 left to play and still drove the field to reach the CLE-27 yard line and kicked a field goal as time expired that went wide right.
It just goes to show you that all things are possible. That even in Cleveland, Ohio they can have a happy Christmas. And that the fantasy season ends with mostly big performances from the right players on a week that did not have much weather issues and that scored unusually high compared to recent weeks.
Hope you are gloating right now about your championship but if not, that is okay. I bet you won more than one game.
Now get back to work…