Fantasy Football Recap & Takeaways: Week 16
At the time of writing this, only the Sunday Night Football game and Monday Night Football game remain in fantasy Super Bowl week. To those of you still holding out hope of winning a ‘ship entering tonight’s contest, good luck. With the fantasy season coming to a close in reputable season-long leagues, this will be the last Fantasy Football Recap & Takeaways piece of the season. The season ended with a bang in Week 16 with some of the game’s brightest stars having big showings, but a couple of Week 16 waiver-wire adds at running back joined the fun, too.
Washington 16 at Titans 25
Josh Johnson played like the fourth-string quarterback he essentially is. He completed only 13 of 23 passes for 153 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions while adding 22 yards on four carries. Jamison Crowder was the apple of his eye and the only productive pass-catcher with five receptions for 78 yards. Adrian Peterson was the focal point of the offense rushing 26 times for 119 yards and catching one pass for eight yards.
Marcus Mariota started the game, but he exited late in the first half due to another injury. Mariota’s injury was referred to as a stinger, but ProFootballDoc offered his opinion on the injury for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Blaine Gabbert played at a higher level than he typically does, and he completed seven of 11 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. Taywan Taylor (3-64-0) and Corey Davis (3-45-0) were the leading receivers, but it’s hard to trust anyone potentially relying on Gabbert to throw them passes. Derrick Henry resumed his late-season surge with 21 carries for 84 yards and a touchdown as well as a reception for eight yards.
Ravens 22 at Chargers 10
The Ravens went to Los Angeles and won convincingly. Lamar Jackson set a new high with 204 yards passing, tossed a touchdown, and added 39 yards on 13 rushes. A huge chunk of Jackson’s damage through the air came on a 68-yard touchdown to rookie tight end Mark Andrews. A favorable game script for the visitors allowed Gus Edwards to tote the rock 14 times for 92 yards while adding a reception for 13 yards. Kenneth Dixon was limited to eight carries for 28 yards and two receptions for 20 yards, but it’s worth noting he played 29 offensive snaps compared to 23 for Edwards. The defense was stout and punctuated the win with a fumble return for a touchdown.
The Chargers had a disastrous game, and it started with Philip Rivers being limited to 181 yards passing, zero touchdowns, and two interceptions. Melvin Gordon returned from his knee injury and was the closest thing to a bright spot with 12 carries for 41 yards and a touchdown as well as three receptions for 13 yards. Keenan Allen turned in a ho-hum line of 5-58-0, and Mike Williams followed up his blowup game on Thursday Night Football in Week 15 with one reception for seven yards and one carry for four yards.
Bengals 18 at Browns 26
The Bengals were blanked for three quarters, but they made things interesting by scoring 18 points in the fourth quarter. Jeff Driskel was asked to pass the ball only 19 times and totaled 133 yards passing and two touchdowns while adding 21 yards on five rushes. Tight end C.J. Uzomah took advantage of a favorable matchup and hauled in four receptions for 49 yards and a touchdown. Joe Mixon amassed 78 yards from scrimmage on 17 carries and two receptions as the last man standing in Cincinnati’s injury-ravaged offense.
Baker Mayfield torched the Bengals for the second time this year. He completed 27 of 37 passes for 284 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 16 yards on six carries. Jarvis Landry also completed a 63-yard pass, carried once for six yards, but turned in a modest 4-47-0 line receiving. David Njoku rattled off a 3-73-1 line, and Breshad Perriman led the team with 76 yards receiving on two receptions. Nick Chubb powered the running game with 19 carries for 112 yardsand caught two passes for three yards.
Bills 12 at Patriots 24
Buffalo’s offense sputtered. Josh Allen completed under 50% of his passes completing 20 of 41 for 217 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. The Patriots did a good job of limiting his rushing and held him to just 30 yards on five attempts. LeSean McCoy was held to just 19 yards from scrimmage on six carries and three receptions. Zay Jones was Buffalo’s most productive offensive player with five receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown, and Robert Foster had a respectable but unexciting 4-52-0 line that would have been far more impressive if he hadn’t lost a deep ball in the sun.
New England manhandled the Bills with a run-heavy game plan. Tom Brady had an ugly game with 126 yards passing, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Rob Gronkowski posted a goose egg, but Julian Edelman still had a productive day with six receptions for 70 yards and a score despite Brady’s struggles. Getting back to the running game, four players surpassed 35 yards rushing. Rex Burkhead rushed 13 times for 39 yards and caught four of five targets for 40 yards, but he lost a fumble. James White was held to 13 yards on two receptions, but he carried the rock eight times for 41 yards and a touchdown. Cordarrelle Patterson caught one of two targets for three yards but did most of his damage on the ground with four carries for 66 yards. Sony Michel led the way in the backfield with 18 carries for 116 yards and a touchdown.
Buccaneers 20 at Cowboys 27
Jameis Winston’s turnover-prone ways resulted in two lost fumbles, but he offset the turnovers with 336 yards passing and one touchdown pass as well as 14 yards rushing. Peyton Barber ran for only 43 yards on 17 carries, but he added another 13 yards on three receptions. Slot receiver Adam Humphries was busy reeling in 10 of 12 targets for 79 yards, and No. 1 receiver Mike Evans played like a No. 1 with six receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown.
Dak Prescott’s 161 yards passing and two yards rushing don’t get the juices flowing, but he made up for the low yardage output with one passing touchdown and a rushing score. Ezekiel Elliott was kept out of the end zone, but he did surpass 100 yards from scrimmage with 85 yards on 18 carries and 24 yards on five receptions. Rookie Michael Gallup had a rock solid 3-53-1 line, and Amari Cooper turned in another dud with only four receptions for 20 yards.
Falcons 24 at Panthers 10
The Falcons handed the Panthers their seventh straight loss. Matt Ryan was sharp passing for 239 yards and three touchdowns on only 26 attempts. Julio Jones salvaged his 28 yards receiving on four receptions with a one-yard touchdown grab. Fellow wideouts Mohamed Sanu (5-81-1) and Calvin Ridley (3-90-1) outshined Atlanta’s No. 1 receiver. Second-year back Brian Hill had 15 carries for 49 yards entering play yesterday, and he came out of nowhere for 115 yards on eight rushes. Tevin Coleman’s been a major disappointment this year, and he came nowhere near duplicating his blowup game against the Cardinals in Week 15. He was held to only 51 yards on 10 carries and added nothing through the air.
Taylor Heinicke made his first career start, and he struggled. He completed 33 of 53 passes for 274 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions, and 33 yards rushing on three attempts. He briefly left the game with an injury and was relieved by Kyle Allen, who completed all four of his passes for 38 yards. Rookie tight end Ian Thomas caught four of five targets for 48 yards and a touchdown. The value of Curtis Samuel’s contributions yesterday almost entirely comes down to whether he was deployed in a PPR or non-PPR format as he caught seven passes but was held to only 41 yards and kept out of the end zone. Christian McCaffrey was the star, however, rushing for 101 yards on 21 carries and reeling in 12 of 13 targets for 77 yards. He became just the third running back in NFL history to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing with 100 or more receptions. It would take a career day next week, but he’s only 155 yards receiving shy of 1,000 yards receiving on the season. He’s bested 100 yards receiving twice this year and did so once in his rookie season.
Giants 27 at Colts 28
The Giants led most of Sunday’s contest in Indianapolis, but they didn’t lead when it mattered most. Eli Manning passed for 309 yards and a touchdown, but his final play of the day was an interception. Saquon Barkley was force fed 21 carries, and he turned them into only 43 yards rushing but punched in a touchdown. He also secured five of seven targets for 34 yards receiving. Evan Engram’s late-season emergence in the absence of Odell Beckham Jr. continued with a 6-87-0 line through the air and two rushes for 26 yards. Sterling Shepard erupted for 113 yards on six receptions.
Andrew Luck led his team to a comeback victory and passed for 357 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception while rushing for 13 yards on two carries. T.Y. Hilton was held out of the end zone, but he was super efficient catching seven of eight targets for 138 yards. Chester Rogers (7-54-1), and Dontrelle Inman (4-46-1) were on the receiving end of Luck’s touchdown passes, and Eric Ebron was held to three receptions for 28 yards. Game script didn’t do Marlon Mack any favors, and he rushed for only 34 yards on 12 carries, but he salvaged his day with a touchdown. He also had a four-yard reception.
Jaguars 17 at Dolphins 7
This game was a stinker. Cody Kessler was ineffective and removed in favor of Blake Bortles. Leonard Fournette rushed for 43 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries and caught three passes for 28 yards. Dede Westbrook was the next most productive member of the Jaguars with one rush for nine yards and team highs in targets (eight), receptions (seven), and receiving yards (45).
Miami’s offense was a dumpster fire. Ryan Tannehill was held under 150 yards passing, totaling 146 yards passing, one touchdown, and one interception. The backfield was a full-blown committee with Kenyan Drake’s six carries and 23 yards rushing leading the way. He also caught four passes for 31 yards. Week 15 breakout rookie Kalen Ballage rushed for only 10 yards on four carries and caught two passes for 39 yards.
Packers 44 at Jets 38
While the game discussed directly above this was an ugly low-scoring affair, this one was a wild shootout that was decided in overtime. Aaron Rodgers went nuts passing for 442 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 32 yards and two touchdowns. Oh, and he added a two-point conversion for good measure. Jamaal Williams was the only other player to carry the ball, and he rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. His contributions weren’t limited to the ground, though, as he also caught six passes for 61 yards. Four other players topped 60 yards receiving including Jake Kumerow (3-68-1), Davante Adams (11-71-1), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (5-75-0), and Equanimeous St. Brown (5-94-0).
Sam Darnold’s been a different player since coming back from injury, and he’s closing his rookie season in style. He passed for 341 yards and three touchdowns while committing zero turnovers. Elijah McGuire carried the ball 14 times for 35 yards and a touchdown, and he caught three passes for 50 yards and another touchdown. Rookie tight end Chris Herndon has had a few solid games this year, but he enjoyed a career-best day with six receptions for 82 yards and a touchdown. Robby Anderson has been outstanding as Darnold’s gotten more comfortable at the NFL level, and he torched the Packers for a 9-140-1 line on 13 targets.
Texans 30 at Eagles 32
This was another one of the entertaining shootouts in fantasy Super Bowl week. Deshaun Watson passed for 339 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 49 yards and two more touchdowns. With Lamar Miller out, Alfred Blue rushed for only 14 yards on four carries while chipping in four receptions for 26 yards. Second-year back D’Onta Foreman had a remarkably terrible game rushing with seven carries for negative-one yard, but he did catch two passes for 28 yards and a touchdown. DeAndre Hopkins was his studly self with nine receptions for 104 yards on 12 targets. Demaryius Thomas caught three passes for 37 yards, but his day was cut short as a result of likely suffering a torn Achilles. With Keke Coutee out and DT suffering a serious injury, DeAndre Carter stepped up and caught six of seven targets for 61 yards.
Nick Foles is in the midst of more late-season magic. He completed 35 of 49 passes for 471 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception with a lost fumble. Foles was forced to carry the offense due in large part to a lackluster effort from their committee backfield. Darren Sproles led the team in rushing with 32 yards on nine carries, but he made his biggest splash in the passing game with three receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown. Alshon Jeffery caught three passes for 82 yards. Nelson Agholor ripped the Texans for 116 yards and a touchdown on five receptions. Zach Ertz terrorized the Texans catching 12 of 16 targets for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
Vikings 27 at Lions 9
The Vikings continued their season-long trend of beating up on sub-.500 teams. All eight of Minnesota’s victories this year have come against sub-.500 teams. Kirk Cousins had a solid showing passing for 253 yards and three touchdowns. Interim offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski dialed up the running attack again in his second game in that position. Dalvin Cook rushed 16 times for 73 yards and all three of his targets for 35 yards. Stefon Diggs was limited to only two receptions for 10 yards, but one of those grabs was a touchdown. Adam Thielen caught five of six targets for 80 yards, but it was Kyle Rudolph’s day. He caught nine passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns. One of those scores was on a hailmary before the half.
Detroit mustered three field goals. As you’ve likely deduced, that means the offense wasn’t good. Matthew Stafford passed for only 116 yards and was lifted late for Matt Cassel. Zach Zenner was the most productive back in Detroit’s RBBC carrying the ball eight times for 45 yards and catching two passes for 22 yards. Kenny Golladay was targeted a whopping 15 times and reeled in six passes for 58 yards.
Bears 14 at 49ers 9
Chicago’s offense didn’t light it up, but they did enough coupled with another strong showing from the defense to earn a win. Mitchell Trubisky completed 25 of 29 passes for 246 yards, one touchdown, and lost a fumble. He rushed for only three yards. Jordan Howard scored the team’s other touchdown as part of a 13-carry game for 53 yards and a score. He also caught two passes for 17 yards. Tarik Cohen was nearly a total non-factor with six carries for 12 yards and one reception for seven yards. Anthony Miller had a 3-24-1 line, and Allen Robinson led the team in targets (eight), receptions (six), and receiving yards (85) but did lose a fumble.
The 49ers scored all of their points on three field goals in the second quarter. Matt Breida aggravated his ankle injury and left early after rushing for only 20 yards on four carries and catching one pass for six yards. Dante Pettis was also injured in the game, hurting his MCL. It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the 49ers. George Kittle caught seven of 12 targets for 74 yards. As Ian Hartitz noted on Twitter, Kittle is within striking distance (99 yards) of the single-season high for receiving yards by a tight end.
Rams 31 at Cardinals 9
The Rams suffered back-to-back losses in Week 14 and Week 15, and they took out their frustrations on the lowly Cardinals. Todd Gurley was inactive, and C.J. Anderson thumped Arizona for 167 yards rushing and a touchdown on 20 carries. He also caught one pass for negative-five yards. Jared Goff completed 19 of 24 passes for 216 yards and one touchdown, and he rushed twice for six yards, a lost fumble, and one touchdown rush. Robert Woods was the co-offensive star for the Rams rushing for 15 yards and a touchdown on two carries while turning in a 6-89-1 line on seven targets through the air. Brandin Cooks caught three passes for 35 yards, but he picked up the receiving slack a bit with three rushes for 27 yards. Josh Reynolds caught both of his targets for 44 yards, and tight end Gerald Everett was responsible for a 5-28-0 line through the air and two rushes for 15 yards.
Josh Rosen took more lumps in this one. He completed 12 of 23 passes for 87 yards, took four sacks, and rushed for 49 yards. Mike Glennon relieved him late. Larry Fitzgerald caught six of nine targets for 53 yards, and he added a 32-yard touchdown pass. David Johnson rushed for 35 yards on 10 carries, and he caught the 32-yard touchdown pass from Fitz. That was Johnson’s only contribution as a receiver.
Steelers 28 at Saints 31
The final game of Sunday afternoon delivered on the hype. It was a shootout. Ben Roethlisberger carved up the Saints for 380 yards passing and three touchdowns. Antonio Brown had a huge game with 14 receptions for 185 yards and two touchdowns. JuJu Smith-Schuster caught 11 of 15 targets for 115 yards, but he lost a fumble at New Orleans’ 34-yard line on Pittsburgh’s final drive. Jaylen Samuels rushed for 53 yards on a dozen carries and caught three passes for 11 yards and a touchdown.
Neither of New Orleans’ talented backs could get much going on the ground in the way of yardage, but both made up for that by scoring touchdowns. Mark Ingram rushed 11 times for 35 yards and a touchdown, and he caught a pass for eight yards. Alvin Kamara rushed seven times for 23 yards and two touchdowns, and he caught four passes for 82 yards. Drew Brees completed 27 of 39 passes for 326 yards and one touchdown. His go-to guy, Michael Thomas, caught 11 of 13 targets for 109 yards and a touchdown. In Ted Ginn Jr.’s first game back from IR, he made his presence felt with five receptions for 74 yards on eight targets.