Detroit 18, Atlanta 31
Congratulations goes out to Calvin Johnson for setting the all-time single season receiving yards record previously held by Jerry Rice. So much for the Madden Curse.
Somehow Matthew Stafford managed to put up 443 yards, but zero touchdowns. Scoring just one touchdown over the past three games has Stafford amidst the lower QB1, leaving owners to weigh their options next week with Chicago coming to the Motor City.
Mikel Leshoure's pedestrian season continues as the second year player rushed for a meager 46 yards on 15 carries. However, Leshoure keeps finding the end zone after scoring his eighth touchdown in eight games. He's a tough start every week, but it's hard to argue with production.
In this game it was the usual suspects for Atlanta as Roddy White, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones all produced solid numbers. The only member of the Falcons passing game getting coal in his stalking was Tony Gonzalez. Even in a game with four passing touchdowns, it's hard to feed everybody.
As speculated every week, when Turner doesn't score he will be a disappointment. This game was case in point.
Christmas came early for the Falcons clinching home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Atlanta's gain is fantasy owners loss as they will likely sit their key players. Fantasy managers with a Week 17 championship should be searching for other options.
New Orleans 34, Dallas 31
From top to bottom, every viable fantasy option on the Saints offense delivered including Mark Ingram who has now scored five touchdowns over the last seven games. Even more intriguing was Ingram eclipsing 20 carries for the first time all season. Heading to face the 27th ranked Carolina rush defense next week has Ingram pegged as a low-end RB2.
I know I'm supposed to stick to lesser known players, but it's hard to discuss the Cowboys without mentioning Dez Bryant. In a plus matchup he didn't disappoint racking up 224 yards while scoring a pair of 58-yard touchdowns. The man is a beast, broken finger and all.
Tennessee 7, Green Bay 55
Last week Jake Locker's piss poor play was disguised by Mark Sanchez and the New York media buzz. Now exposed, he continues to prove that he is widely inaccurate, has difficulty reading the defense, while looking run even before the play breaks down. Fortunately for Britt owners, Locker was able to squeeze out a junk time touchdown. With that said, Locker's struggles severely hinder the value of all members of the Titans' passing attack.
The Packers were simply too much for the Titans as Aaron Rodgers dismantled the Tennessee secondary. Randall Cobb was a beneficiary having a solid game (62 yards, one touchdown) before getting his ankle/knee rolled up. He was seen limping off the field and getting worked on by the training staff. His Week 17 availability will be in doubt.
It was announced before the game that Ryan Grant would start for the Packers. He wound up carrying the load picking up 80 yards on 20 carries scoring two touchdowns. Owners beware as Grant did most of his damage in junk time with the game out of control.
With San Francisco losing, the Packers can clinch a first round bye with a win, meaning Aaron Rodgers and the boys will almost certainly be in the lineup next week.
Indianapolis 20, Kansas City 13
A very slow game for the Colts passing attack as Andrew Luck struggled through all four quarters before a late game drive resulting in a Reggie Wayne touchdown.
After touching up the Houston Texans league's best rush defense last week, Vick Ballard fought to find running room against the 24th ranked Chiefs. Ballard will be relegated to mid-RB3 status with a rematch against Houston in week 17.
After accumulating 28 yards against the Raiders in week 15, Jamaal Charles atoned for his poor outing with 226 yards highlighted by an 86-yard touchdown run. Peyton Hillis also got in the show gouging the Colts defensive line for 101 hard yards. However, ground-and-pound does not win in the NFL as the Chiefs will be making a change at the quarterback this offseason.
Buffalo 10, Miami 24
CJ Spiller is the man with Fred Jackson absent picking up 173 all purpose yards. Spiller's superior talent is more obvious than Rudolph's red nose, making me question why the Bills coaching staff refuse to give Spiller more carries throughout this season?
Reggie Bush has assumed his rightful place as the Fins most dynamic weapon delivering a perfectly wrapped 107 yards and three touchdowns. Bush will become a free agent at the end of the year meaning his 2013 fantasy value will be contingent on his landing spot. He should be viewed as a low RB2 at New England next weekend.
San Diego 27, New York 17
Coming off his worst game since entering the starting lineup, Danario Alexander rewarded fantasy owners who kept the faith beating Antonio Cromartie for a 37-yard touchdown. Up next is the burnable Oakland secondary.
Last week the Chargers lost starting running back Ryan Mathews for the season with a broken collar bone. In his place stepped Jackie Battle taking 19 carries for 49 yards. A bit of a plodder, Battle should have feasted against the 26th ranked Jets front seven. However, life will actually get easier for the Chargers running game next week facing the 28th ranked Oakland rush defense. Battle will present very low-end RB2 status should you be hurting at the running back position.
Shonn Greene was playing inspired early in this game scoring two first half touchdowns while running with tremendous power and leg drive. The San Diego defense quickly adjusted their game plan clamping down on the Jets running game forcing the ball into the hands of the teams young signal caller. Geeene would finish the day with only 38 yards on 14 carries. On the bright side, Bilal Powell has been returned to a backup role as indicated by his three carries.
We can safely say that Greg McElroy is not the answer the Jets are looking for at the quarterback position. Accumulating 185 yards, McElroy showed his inexperience failing to sustain drives. The Jets have a serious problem that needs to be solved during the offseason. Can you say "Matt Flynn?"
Washington 27, Philadelphia 20
Robert Griffin III made his triumphant return to the starting lineup, but looked a little gimpy on his balky knee as evident by his four rushing yards on two attempts. However, what he lacked in rushing production he made up for as a pocket passer tossing for 198 yards and two touchdowns leading his team to a much needed victory. If he starts for the Skins, he starts on our fantasy team.
LeSean McCoy also made his return after missing four games due to a concussion. McCoy did not disappoint gaining 122 yards on 22 touches (so much for limiting his workload). To the bane of McCoy owners, Dion Lewis snuck into the game as McCoy received a breather vulturing a 17-yard touchdown. Ouch.
Nick Foles development has been impressive while accumulating 345 yards, one touchdown, one interception. In his first couple of starts the Eagles coaching staff handcuffed the rookie signal caller limiting him to check-downs. Foles is now being given an expanded role as evident by Jeremy Maclin's 116-yard, one touchdown effort. Not yet fantasy worthy, Foles will warrant a late round draft value in 2013, but also adds validity to DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.
Cincinnati 13, Pittsburgh 10
Big Ben Roethlisberger tempted fate going after Leon Hall but paid the price with a pick-six in the first quarter. Cincy's defense would then seal this game with a fourth quarter interception putting the Bengals in field goal position for a much needed win. This contest is further proof the Bengals are a strong unit worthy of D1 consideration.
Hey, look what Santa brought down the chimney, it's Rashard Mendenhall. Returning from a team mandated one game suspension, Mendy rushed for a team high 50 yards on 11 carries. However, it was Jonathan Dwyer pacing the team in attempts further proving that no Steelers running back can be trusted.
Out of nowhere, Antonio Brown has scored a touchdown in three straight games. This week he put the double-move on Pacman Jones going over the top over for 60 yards. Brown is a near lineup lock, especially in PPR leagues.
Owners beware as Heath Miller was carried off the field after sustaining what appeared to be a significant knee injury. Judging by his reaction, and with the Steelers eliminated from playoff contention, I'd be willing to bet my Christmas presents that he won't be playing next week.
St. Louis 28, Tampa Bay 13
The box score will show that Lance Kendricks finished the day with 119 yards and a touchdown. If you look further to the left you'll see 80 yards came on one catch touchdown on the opening play of the half. Scoring in each of his past two games may give a glimmer of hope, just be mindful of his Week 17 match at Seattle. In other words, find better options.
Danny Amendola's yo-yo season continued scoring negative points in this game with five yards and a fumble. He still led the Rams in targets with seven, but simply could not get anything going as he and quarterback Sam Bradford struggled to hook up. In fact, Amendola's lone contribution was delivering the key block to free Lance Kendricks on his 80-yard touchdown. I find it hard to trust Amendola outside PPR leagues.
Tampa Bay didn't play as bad as the score might indicate as Mike Williams finished with 17 targets, 132 yards and one touchdown on a 61-yard catch-and-run. Vincent Jackson posted 15 targets and 108 yards. Josh Freeman's day would have been respectable if not for the four turnovers. Also killing the Bucs were three failed attempts at converting fourth downs. Up next is the Atlanta Falcons likely to sitting their starters.
Oakland 6, Carolina 17