Monday Morning Takeaways -- Week 17 fantasysharks.com 11 Months
Tampa Bay 22, Atlanta 17
Doug Martin capped off his awesome rookie season with another huge outing posting 148 yards on 28 rushing attempts. The Muscle Hamster is a lock as a top five RB next year.
Mike Williams quietly had another solid season accumulating 996 yards and nine touchdowns. He should also be mentioned amongst the best red-zone wide receivers in the league adding another short-yardage touchdown in this game.
Yes, the starters played, but no they were not playing at full capacity. I suspect this game was more of a "walk through" after pouring their energy into the past two weeks and clinching home field advantage. The Falcons postseason fantasy value will be contingent on their opponent.
New York 9, Buffalo 28
The best news for the Jets is the season is officially over, meaning the rebuilding process can begin. Say goodbye, Mr. Sparano.
Yet another of the NFL teams who are about to undergo some radical changes.
The misuse of CJ Spiller and reliance on Ryan Fitzpatrick are the two reasons Chan Gailey will likely be fired by the time you're reading this article.
Baltimore 14, Cincinnati 23
This game reminded me of preseason week one as the Ravens starters played two series and sat much of the game. Nothing to see here, move along.
Cincinnati came out relatively slow until a touchdown pass to Marvin Jones just before halftime. Similar to preseason week two, the starters did not return in the second half. Boring.
Chicago 26, Detroit 24
For fantasy managers projecting into next season our focus has been on the development of Alshon Jeffery. Brimming with talent, playing alongside strong armed quarterback and with Brandon Marshall demanding added attention, Jeffery will be worthy of late round flier entering the 2013 season as a mid WR4.
Calvin Johnson's quest for 2,000 receiving yards fell 36 yards short as Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings and the Bears secondary said, "not on my watch". Still an amazing season for fantasy owners who ignored the Madden Curse and selected Johnson in the first round.
Beyond Calvin, this team is not good. No defense, no real running game and more off field issues than a rehab clinic.
Jacksonville 20, Tennessee 38
The Tim Tebow groundswell in Jacksonville will be reaching tidal wave proportions after Chad Henne tossed three interceptions, two of which were returned for Tennessee touchdowns. Henne was so bad he should have thrown another three interceptions. Start printing those number '15' jerseys.
Injured during pregame warm-ups, Montell Owens reminded us why we must read all news before cementing our starting lineups. In his place stepped the Jags fifth string running back Keith Toston who ran roughshod through the Titans' porous defense displaying downhill power and quick decision making. Racking up 74 yards on 17 carries it would have interesting to see what his numbers could have been had this game not been so lopsided.
The Titans opening drive looked solid, marching straight down the field for a Chris Johnson touchdown. After that it was a complete mess as Jake Locker is scary-bad while severely limiting the production of the entire Tennessee offense. Even his completed passes are off the mark as he's unable to hit players in stride and give them room to run. Unless he drastically improves over the offseason, Locker's struggles will hinder the projected value of Kenny Britt, Kendall Wright and Nate Washington.
On the plus side, the Titans DST did manage to score four touchdowns; two pick-sixes and two punt returns. Yeah!
Houston 16, Indianapolis 28
This is not the same Texans team it was early in the season. By halftime they'd gone eight quarters without a touchdown (what?). Arian Foster finally found paydirt with a third quarter touchdown. It's worth noting that Foster showed real class acknowledging Chuck Pagano by tapping his sign in the end zone. With the underrated Cincy defense coming to town, the Texans could very well be one-and-done. Make note when setting those postseason lineups.
'Chuck Strong' is alive and well as the Colts took down the mighty Texans who were fighting for the number one overall seed. This game was highlighted by T.Y. Hilton's 70-yard touchdown. Hilton's emergence this season is undeniable, making him a legit wide receiver both in postseason leagues and our 2013 draft prep.
Vick Ballard has grown into one of my favorite players this season finishing the game with 78 yards and a touchdown against the league's best run defense. A hardnosed runner with excellent skills in the passing game, Ballard finished 16th in running back scoring over weeks 7-17. He will certainly be worthy of a mid/late round choice in next year's fantasy drafts.
If you've ever questioned the toughness of Reggie Wayne, watch the hit he took from Kareem Jackson just before halftime. Most would have left the game.
Carolina 44, New Orleans 38
If you were looking for a high scoring affair, this was the game to watch. DeAngelo Williams highlighted the evening for the Panthers, ripping the Saints defense for 210 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns. Williams has the raw talent to be a stud if he were handed the load, but continues to cede goal line touches limiting his fantasy value. This week it was Mike Tolbert vulturing three scores (ugh!). However, D-Will is a likely candidate to be released, meaning his 2013 fantasy value will be contingent on his new employer.
In a shootout it was the usual suspects prospering for the Saints as Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham, Darren Sproles, Marques Colston and Lance Moore all feasted on the Panthers' pass defense.
The truly big news coming out of New Orleans wasn't the play on the field, but the re-signing of head coach Sean Payton (although not official until after the Super Bowl). And Saints fans collectively rejoice.
Philadelphia 7, New York 42
Michael Vick made his final start in an Eagles uniform. He tossed an interception on the first drive of the game further displaying his aptitude as an NFL starter and personifying his time in Philly. I wish I could say more about this game, but the score was so ridiculous that Fox network turned it over to the Bears/Lions game even before halftime. And so goes the Eagles season.
Eli Manning ended the year on an up note, tossing five touchdowns against Philly, three in the first quarter. For many fantasy managers it was too little, too late after throwing one touchdown over the previous two games combined. If Manning falls back into the late sixth round range he'll likely be on my 2013 team.
Although Ahmad Bradshaw was active, it was David Wilson starting in the Giants backfield as the two split caries evenly by games end. This is further indication the RBBC will continue into next season decreasing the value of both players.
Rookie wide receiver Rueben Randle was Eli Manning's preferred target in the red zone, snagging two early touchdowns over veteran cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. Playing behind the oft-injured Hakeem Nicks will make Randle an intriguing proposition opening next season as a late-round flier with upside.
Cleveland 10, Pittsburgh 24
No Brandon Weeden, no Trent Richardson and Josh Gordon was carted off the field early. With Pat Shurmur's head on the chopping block our evaluation of all Browns players will be put on pause until mid-July.
The Steelers totaled 212 yards on the day. Fortunately, Ben Roethlisberger found the end zone three times hooking up with Leonard Pope, Antonio Brown and Plaxico Burress. On the ground, Jonathan Dwyer led the backfield with 52 yards. All-in-all a slow day and a slow season from the Steelers offense. You think ownership is kicking themselves for firing Bruce Arians?
Kansas City 3, Denver 38
The Chiefs were simply outmatched as Denver slapped around Kansas City. On the bright side, the Chiefs locked up the number one overall pick. Expect a complete makeover.
Backup running back Ronnie Hillman had an early game fumble causing the coaching staff to staple him to the bench for the remainder of the game, including garbage time. Hilliman's mistake solidifies Knowshon Moreno as the Broncos' starter entering the playoffs, a solid option in postseason fantasy leagues.
Green Bay 34, Minnesota 37
We can safely say that Greg Jennings is fully recovered from a sports hernia that plagued him for much of the season. In this game, Jennings reasserted himself as Rodgers' favorite target hauling in 120 yards and two touchdowns. An impending free agent, Jennings return doesn't seem likely.
Remember when Mike McCarthy said he would use the hot hand approach at running back? That must mean second year player DuJuan Harris has brought the fire being given the rock 16 times for 87 yards. In our FantasySharks postseason fantasy football, Harris could have value with the Packers projected to make a deep playoff run.
It was the same ole story out of Minnesota as Adrian Peterson was the highlight of the evening for the Vikings offense rumbling for 199 yards and two touchdowns. Most disappointing was AD falling just nine yards shy of breaking the single season NFL record held by Eric Dickerson. He did set up the game winning field goal propelling Minnesota into the playoffs. Let the Arian Foster vs Adrian Peterson debates begin.
In all fairness we should mention Christian Ponder who had his best outing as a pro in a must-win game. Ponder showed tremendous poise and guts finishing with 234 yards and three touchdowns placing his throws and keeping pace with the high flying Green Bay Packers.
Miami 0, New England 38
Miami was steamrolled in this game by a dominant Patriots team. As for our projections moving forward, both Reggie Bush and Brian...