Week 17 Review: It's All Over But The Crying
With playoff seeding on the line for some and with many owners having nothing to play for, this week wasn’t exactly stellar for us. If your league was still playing, I would like to apologize on behalf of your commissioner. To make it this far only to play the most important game without Jamaal Charles is ludicrous. But you penciled in LeGarrette Blount right? Of course you did.
Let’s take a look at some of the familiar (and a lot of unfamiliar) faces that were in play on Sunday.
1. Peyton Manning sets the single season passing yards record.
Peyton and the Broncos were playing for home field advantage throughout the playoffs, so we did get to see the Broncos starters on the field for at least part of this contest. Manning (266/4/0) will finish with 5,477 yards and a 55:10 touchdown to interception ratio. Obviously, one of the greatest seasons in football history. He was spelled by Brock Osweiler (85/0/0) in the second half after jumping out to an insurmountable lead. To be honest, they probably could’ve rested Peyton and still beaten the lowly Raiders, but why sit him with history on the line?
With the Saints playing for a Wild Card spot Drew Brees came out and shredded Tampa to the tune of 381/4/0, he also added eight yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Andy Dalton (281/2/4) overcame four interceptions as the Bengals knocked the Ravens out of playoff contention 34-17. He finishes the season with 33 touchdown passes, a franchise record.
The 49ers and the Cardinals went down to the wire, with the Niners winning on a 40-yard field goal from the leg of Phil Dawson. Both Carson Palmer (407/2/1) and Colin Kaepernick (310/2/0) had big days for fantasy owners.
Andrew Luck’s (282/1/0) line surely disappointed fantasy owners, as the Colts routed the Jaguars and opted to rest him in the second half.
One of fantasy’s top quarterbacks for most of the season Matthew Stafford capped off 2013 with is fourth straight dud. Throwing for 217 and one touchdown just isn’t enough. He ruined many-a-season down the stretch.
Russell Wilson (172/1/0), Ben Roethlisberger (179/1/2), and Tom Brady (122/1/1) all underperformed. Wilson and Brady didn’t need to do much to win their respective games, and Big Ben just struggled. Ben still managed to play in all 16 games for the first time in his career, which is of course a plus.
2. Jerrel Jernigan gets it done two ways.
You had him penciled in alongside Blount, right? Jernigan finished the season as the Giants top offensive weapon, catching 19 passes for 237 yards and two scores over the final three games. He also added 57 yards and a score on the ground this week. It’s hard to see this carrying over to next season, but it was an impressive run for the former third round pick.
Anquan Boldin started the season with a bang exciting fantasy owners everywhere. He followed it up with a streaky season but finished it off with 9/149/1. To be fair, he did have a good season catching 85 passes for 1,175 yards and seven touchdowns, better than any of his years with Baltimore. His ability to disappear in the Niners offense at times was maddening though.
It took just one half for Demaryius Thomas to go off for 6/113/2. He was rested in the second half and finishes the season with an impressive 92/1,430/14 line. He’ll be a Top Five wide receiver again next season with Peyton at the helm.
With Aaron Rodgers back under center, Jordy Nelson returned to WR1 form. He caught 10 passes for 161 yards, both season highs, as Green Bay sent the Bears packing. Another Packer suited up for the first time in a long time on Sunday. Randall Cobb served as a decoy for most of the game but caught two passes (on two targets) for 55 yards and two scores, the second of which sealed the deal.
Julian Edelman (9/65/0) broke 100 catches and 1,000 yards with his effort on Sunday. He’ll be a free agent in the offseason, something tells me the Patriots won’t let him slip away.
3. Matt Forte finds the end zone three times, it still isn’t enough.
Forte rushed 110 and two touchdowns and caught four passes for 47 yards and another score. He finishes the season with new career highs in rushing yards (1,339), receiving yards (594), total yards (1,933), and receptions (74).
The aforementioned LeGarrette Blount had a career day as he rushed for 189 yards and a pair of scores. Heading into next season, the Patriots have a backfield to avoid. Blount, Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley make for a giant headache.
Fred Jackson (60/1) and C.J. Spiller (105/0) combined for big games. Both added value in the receiving game as well. It puts an end to a frustrating season for fantasy owners. You never knew if one, the other, or both were going to have big games. This is another situation I’ll look to avoid come next season.
Facing the Chiefs B-team, Ryan Mathews was able to rush for 144 yards. He was held out of the end zone but he did add two receptions for 11 yards. After a disappointing start to his career, Mathews broke out for 1,255 yards this season. Healthy for the first time and playing in all 16 games, we finally saw what the Chargers did when they drafted him.
Stepping in for Jamaal Charles, Knile Davis ran for 81 yards and two touchdowns as the Chiefs narrowly lost to the Chargers. Charles is obviously the workhorse moving forward, but Davis will be a top handcuff to own next season.
4. Dennis Pitta catches eight passes as he sees more snaps.
After returning in Week 14 from hip surgery, Pitta had been eased back into things. With a playoff spot on the line, the Ravens pulled out all the stops as Pitta was targeted a team high 11 times, securing eight for 63 yards. He’ll be a free agent in the offseason and a top priority for the Ravens front office.
Jimmy Graham (5/71/1) led all tight ends this week to finish as the clear cut tight end for the season. Graham will be a free agent in the offseason. If the Saints decide to franchise tag him, Graham could (and should) make a case that he deserves wide receiver money.
Greg Olsen was consistent for most of the season and stepped up big for the Panthers with Steve Smith sidelined this week. Olsen caught six for 42 and a score.
Tim Wright would disappear at times in Tampa Bay but he was a big part of the game plan this week, being targeted 10 times. Wright caught five of those for 58 yards and a touchdown.
Finally, Tony Gonzalez, the ageless wonder, was honored in Atlanta as he played the final game of his illustrious career. He caught four passes for 56 yards in his Swan Song, as the Falcons lost 21-20 to the Panthers.
Once again tight ends were reliant on finding the end zone Sunday. It was a tough year for the position, there are some promising tight ends in the upcoming draft though.
Well, that’s a wrap. Almost. Be sure to check out my upcoming review of the Top 10 moments of the 2013 season. For anyone who won their league this week, congratulations! For anyone who lost, blame your commissioner.
I look forward to seeing you all next season, 2014 can’t come soon enough.