Week 16 Review: Champions Are Crowned
That’s it. Well, almost. Unless you’re in some crazy league that allows a meaningless (for most) Week 17 to decide your winner you’re probably gearing up for the offseason. Championship week had no shortage of wild performances to catapult you to victory. For those lucky few this is what you’ve been working for all season. For most it just ends another heartbreaking season. Let’s take a look at our big winners from Sunday.
1. Peyton Manning sets a record and wins your league.
Peyton Manning single-handedly won a lot of leagues this year. With a week left to play he’s broken Tom Brady’s single-season touchdown record and surpassed 5,000 yards in a season for the first time in his career. If the Broncos let him play it out next week he could possibly break Drew Brees’ single-season passing yard record in the first half alone. All that aside, Manning threw for 400 yards and four scores today, another monster day for fantasy owners everywhere.
Andy Dalton wasn’t far behind Manning’s day, throwing for 366 yards, four touchdowns and adding ten rushing yards. He’s had an up-and-down season, but he saved one of his best of the season for championship week.
The Jets pulled off a victory on Sunday thanks in large part to Geno Smith (214/2/0). The rookie didn’t post eye-popping passing totals, but he added 48 yards and a score on the ground to make him fantasy’s number three quarterback for Week 16. It essentially helped no one.
Ben Roethlisberger (167/2/1) salvaged an otherwise pedestrian day with a 13-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter.
Besides those four, quarterbacks were quiet on Sunday. Nobody besides Peyton and Dalton topped 300 yards or two passing touchdowns for the day.
2. Pierre Garcon enters the record books.
Garcon (11/144/1) broke Art Monk’s record for most catches in a season in Redskins history. He now has 107 on the year with one game left to play against a soft Giants secondary. He followed up one big day with another, the Cowboys simply couldn’t stop him.
It was Eric Decker’s turn for Denver as he reeled in 10 passes for 131 yards and two scores. Fellow Denver wideout Demaryius Thomas caught eight passes for 123 and a touchdown himself. Denver has been sticking to a rotation to keep all of their weapons involved (and opposing defenses on their toes) all season, it’s paid off as both Decker and Thomas have had great seasons.
A.J. Green (7/97/2) abused the Vikings secondary as Cincy beat up on the Vikings. Green now has ten touchdowns on the season and has topped 90 yards receiving eight times. He’ll finish up against Baltimore next week.
Nate Washington (6/117/1) led all Titans in receiving as they beat Jacksonville. With the exception of Washington it was a frustrating day for the Titans receiving corps.
Jerrel Jernigan (6/80/1), David Nelson (4/33/2), and Mike Brown (5/71/1) put together good fantasy days, unfortunately it was all for naught as they’re free agents in just about every league.
3. Jamaal Charles puts together 144 yards in a loss.
Charles was the lone bright spot in Kansas City’s offense as he scored the only touchdown of the day. He rushed for 106 and caught five passes for another 38. Charles scored early on bringing his touchdown total to 19 for the season.
Joique Bell (91/1) led the Lions in rushing, but where he really did his damage was as a receiver where he reeled in ten passes for 63 yards. Bell also fumbled near the goal line, but was able to fall on it. Bell hasn’t been reliable on a weekly basis, but he’s been good for a huge day every so often. He now has eight rushing touchdowns on the year.
The Dallas-Washington game was closer than it should’ve been, but DeMarco Murray put together a big day in the process. Murray totaled 111 yards and found paydirt twice on the day. He topped 1,000 yards rushing for the year and is averaging a whopping 5.36 yards per carry on the season. It’s his first season over 1,000 yards and he’s done it while missing two games due to injury. He’ll need to get the ball a lot next week against the Eagles with the Division on the line.
Donald Brown had a similar day, going for 110 yards and two scores against Kansas City. He was out-touched by Trent Richardson 19:12, but he was (once again) much more effective than the former Brown. They’ll continue to work in a committee to close the season, and everyone will continue to wonder why.
Even with broken ribs Fred Jackson was able to gut it out and run for 111 yards and a touchdown as the Bills beat the Dolphins 19-10. Battery mate C.J. Spiller rushed 20 times for 77 yards. He added three catches for 26 yards, but was held out of the end zone. The timeshare will no doubt continue into Week 17, I’d feel more comfortable with Jackson than Spiller if he can play through the injury again.
Three rookies stood out again on Sunday. Eddie Lacy led the charge with 90 total yards and two touchdowns for the Packers. Le’Veon Bell (124/1) lost a fumble on the day, but his rushing total more than made up for it. Finally, Zac Stacy played through a leg injury, found no running room, and was still able to rush for 104 yards and a touchdown. All three have been huge this season, especially in the second half.
4. Ryan Griffin leads the Texans with five catches for 66 yards.
He wasn’t the best tight end this week, but a lot of us leaned on him with Rob Gronkowski (knee, IR) and Jordan Cameron (head) out of the picture. He came through big with his second solid game in a row. He’ll be an intriguing player to watch next season as the Texans look to bounce back from their awful 2013 campaign.
Julius Thomas finishes the fantasy year atop the tight end leaderboard, the same way he started it. Thomas (6/78/1) has scored in 10 of the 13 games he’s played this season. For a guy that started the season on the waiver wire (in most leagues) he found himself on a lot of championship rosters thanks to Peyton Manning’s historic season. The former basketball player should have no trouble carrying his production into the postseason and beyond.
Jimmy Graham rebounded from a disappointing game to catch five passes for 73 yards and a touchdown. Graham is unquestionably the best tight end in football, even if Gronk is healthy. Having him on your team gives you a positional advantage week after week.
Marcedes Lewis made the most of his six targets catching four balls for 50 yards. He also scored in the game, making it four games in a row that he’s scored a touchdown. Prior to Week 13 he hadn’t scored a touchdown, but he’s turned it around since then. He’s still a risky play in the Jaguars weak offense.
At the time of this writing we’ve still got Sunday and Monday night left to play. You’ve probably got a pretty good idea who’s going to be hoisting the trophy in your league at this point, but don’t ever get too comfortable. My home league championship seemed all, but over last season until a last minute blocked kick returned for a touchdown changed everything. For one it was a year of bragging rights, for the other it was a year of endless questions.
We’ll wrap it up next week, but for most of us our year is done tomorrow night. It’s been a crazy season, injuries, monster games, records, and crazy calls have made this season great. With any luck next season will be just as eventful. Thanks to everyone who’s checked this out every week, I look forward to putting a cap on the regular season next week and heading into the playoffs, unfortunately my home town team will be watching along with me. There’s always next year.