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Fantasy Game Recaps: Week 16

Week 16, Championship Week in many leagues, turned out to be the week of the tight end. Perhaps the argument could be made that cold weather breed shorter passing routes. However, some of the biggest performances by tight ends this week came in warmer weather and domed stadiums. This just happened to be the week that having the right tight end could have pushed you over the edge and into a fantasy championship. Four tight ends had over 100 yards on the day and three crossed the goal line twice. Only Visanthe Shiancoe did both, making him fantasy player of the week.

Falcons 24 - Vikings 17

Fantasy Superman: Tarvaris Jackson, Visanthe Shiancoe
Fantasy Performers: Michael Turner
Fantasy Hens: Roddy White, Adrian Peterson, Bernard Berrian

Atlanta may have scored 24 points, but its offensive production was stymied and held under 250 yards. The offense scored only two of the three touchdowns, one of which came from Jerious Norwood, who only had 21 combined yards. Michael Turner scored the other touchdown on 70 yards total rushing. Roddy White may have been one of the best fantasy receivers this year, but on championship Sunday, he laid a big egg with only three catches for 24 yards. Matt Ryan threw for one touchdown without an interception, but he only passed for 134 yards.

Meanwhile, the losing Vikings posted some large fantasy numbers. Four untimely turnovers caused the Vikings not to cross the goal line, unless Visanthe Shiancoe caught the ball. Shiancoe had a monster game, hauling in seven catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns. If someone told me that the Vikings rushed for 155 yards, I would have expected the typical game from Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor. But it was not. Adrian Peterson could not even out rush his quarterback as both he and Tarvaris Jackson rushed for 76 yards. Taylor rushed for only three yards. Peterson also fumbled away the ball once. In formats that score a point for every 25 passing yards and a point for every 10 rushing yards, Jackson also had a monster games, which even his two fumbles could not derail, as he rushed for 76 yards, and passed for 233 yards and two touchdowns. Outside of Visanthe Shiancoe however, no receiver had a game to brag about. Bernard Berrian was a huge letdown with just two catches for 18 yards and a fumble.

Colts 31 - Jaguars 24

Fantasy Superman: Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, David Garrard, Maurice Jones-Drew, Dennis Northcutt
Fantasy Performers: Dominic Rhodes
Fantasy Hens: Anthony Gonzalez

Thursday evening started the championship week off with a bang. 20-plus point fantasy performances seemed to be the standard, not the ceiling. Peyton Manning led the game with 364 yards and three touchdowns. Reggie Wayne is finishing up strong with seven catches for 108 yards and a 41-yard touchdown. Dallas Clark caught eight passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. Even though the Colts could only muster 32 yards rushing between three running backs, Dominick Rhodes had an effective fantasy game as he added six catches, 62 yards and a touchdown to his 27 rushing yards. In Marvin Harrison’s absence, some shrewd fantasy managers may have expected Anthony Gonzalez to come up big. Instead, Gonzalez caught only four passes for 38 yards.

Not to be outdone by one of the best quarterbacks, David Garrard passed for 329 yards, a touchdown and an interception, and rushed for 9 yards and a touchdown. Maurice Jones-Drew failed to score, but nevertheless rushed for 91 yards and caught seven passes for 71 yards, keeping him amongst the elite end of the season running backs. During the first 14 weeks of the season, Dennis Northcutt’s best game was a 49-yard, no touchdown performance. In week 16, Northcutt posted his second straight 100-yard and touchdown performance, with eight catches for 101 yards. Marcedes Lewis had six catches for 55 yards.

Ravens 33 - Cowboys 24

Fantasy Superman: Le’Ron McClain, Willis McGahee, Tashard Choice
Fantasy Performers: Derrick Mason, Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Terrell Owens
Fantasy Hens: Marion Barber

Over 56 minutes into the game, the Ravens total offensive production barely exceeded 250 yards. In the blink of the eye, Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain became fantasy relevant with 159 yards rushing in just two plays. McClain and McGahee posted nearly identical numbers with McClain rushing for 139 yards and an 82-yard touchdown, while McGahee rushed for 108 yards, a 77-yard touchdown and caught three passes for 21 yards. Derrick Mason went satanic with six catches for 66 yards and six points. Joe Flacco may be winning some big games, but fantasy-wise, Flacco threw for only 149 yards and a touchdown.

Tony Romo passed for 252 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. You worried that you had to replace Marion Barber with Tashard Choice and you were forced to run out the rookie against one of the toughest run defenses. Choice failed to get the message that e was supposed to have a bad day. Choice rushed for 90 yards, a touchdown and caught seven passes for 25 yards. Jason Witten and Terrell Owens each caught five passes for a touchdown, Witten for 87 yards and Owens for 63 yards. Marion Barber only saw three touches and did not break the 10-yard barrier.

Dolphins 38 - Chiefs 31

Fantasy Superman: Chad Pennington, Anthony Fasano, Tyler Thigpen. Larry Johnson
Fantasy Performers: Ricky Williams, Ted Ginn, Jr., Tony Gonzalez, Jamaal Charles
Fantasy Hens: Ronnie Brown, Dwayne Bowe

The Dolphins could not tell the difference between a running back and a wide receiver. They rushed for 168 yards, passed for 235 yards and no one player produced more than 57 yards in the capacity of solely rushing or solely receiving. The Dolphins’ number one rusher was Patrick Cobbs with only two carries for 44 yards. Cobbs was followed by Ricky Williams, who rushed for 34 yards, a touchdown, fumbled once and caught six passes for 50 yards. Ronnie Brown rushed for 32 yards and caught five passes for 21 yards. Ted Ginn, Jr. rushed for 31 yards, a touchdown and caught four for 44 yards. The only ineffective rusher on the day was Chad Pennington, who went negative. However, Pennington would have been a very good start with 235 passing yards, three touchdowns and one pick. The number one receiver in catches and yardage was Davone Bess, who caught six passes for 57 yards. Anthony Fasano figured that it just was not worth catching the ball unless he scored. Two of Fasano’s three catches for 47 yards went for touchdowns.

Tyler Thigpen threw the ball away three times, but he still posted big fantasy numbers with 320 yards, two touchdowns in the air and one on the ground. Larry Johnson rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown. Jamaal Charles could not run the ball, but a 75-yard reception put Charles just over 100 yards on three catches. Devard Darling caught three passes for 69 yards and a touchdown. Tony Gonzalez remained consistent with seven catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. Dwayne Bowe only caught three passes for 28 yards.

Chargers 41 - Buccaneers 24

Fantasy Superman: Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Vincent Jackson, Jeff Garcia, Antonio Bryant
Fantasy Performers: LaDainian Tomlinson, Darren Sproles
Fantasy Hens: Chris Chambers, Warrick Dunn, Carnell Williams

Philip Rivers enjoyed another big game, passing for 287 yards and four touchdowns. Vincent Jackson has had a solid second half of the season. On Sunday, he caught seven passes for 111 yards. Conversely, Chris Chambers started off the season on fire, but has been closing poorly, with just two catches for 27 yards on Sunday. Before breaking out against Kansas City last week, Antonio Gates averaged 20 yards a game, without a score, over a four week span. On Sunday, Gates made up for a five week touchdown drought with two touchdowns on four catches of 43 yards. LaDanian Tomlinson combined rushing and receiving for 110 yards and Darren Sproles caught three passes for 46 yards and a touchdown.

Antonio Bryant just may be the best wide receiver over the last three weeks. This week, Bryant caught six passes for 127 yards and a 71-yard touchdown. His quarterback, Jeff Garcia, threw for 232 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions and rushed for 45 yards and a touchdown. Garcia’s 45 rushing yards outpaced his running backs, with Warrick Dunn rushing for 20 yards and Carnell Williams rushing for 27 yards.

Oakland 27 - Houston 16

Fantasy Superman: JaMarcus Russell, Owen Daniels
Fantasy Performers: Justin Fargas, Darren McFadden, Johnnie Lee Higgins, Zach Miller, Chaz Schilens, Steve Slaton, Matt Schaub
Fantasy Hens: Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter

They waited until week 16, but finally, the Raiders team joined Zach Miller above the Hens line. Jamarcus Russell passed for 236 yards and two touchdowns without turning the ball over. Justin Fargas rushed for 93 yards. Darren McFadden rushed for 46 yards and caught five passes for 41 yards. Zach Miller caught four passes for 70 yards. Johnnie Lee Higgins caught three for 56 yards and one touchdown and Chaz Schilens caught three for 52 yards and a touchdown. Now for the tough question. Who made it to the championship game with one of these players not named Zach on their team?

Matt Schaub passed for 255 yards and yet neither of his top two receivers performed. Andre Johnson, the number one fantasy wide receiver came up empty on the biggest day of the fantasy season, catching only two passes for 19 yards. Kevin Walter was right behind him with two catches for 17 yards. Most of Schaub’s passes were caught by tight end Owen Daniels, who nabbed seven for 111 yards. Steve Slaton rushed for 66 yards and caught five passes for 36 yards.

Bills 30 -Broncos 23

Fantasy Superman: Fred Jackson, Brandon Marshall, Jay Cutler, Eddie Royal
Fantasy Performers: Josh Reed, Marshawn Lynch, Trent Edwards
Fantasy Hens: Lee Evans, P.J. Pope

The Bills number one running back on Sunday was Fred Jackson. On the ground, Jackson fared better than Lynch, rushing for 43 yards and a touchdown, to Lynch’s 34 yards and a touchdown. Jackson also caught three passes for 70 yards. Trent Edwards passed for 193 yards and a touchdown. Josh Reed was Edwards’ favorite target, nabbing nine passes for 79 yards. Lee Evans caught only two passes for 19 yards. Edwards only touchdown was hauled in by 7th round rookie Steve Johnson on a three-yarder.

Sure Mike Shanahan loves his running backs. On Sunday however, the Broncos top running backs were a rookie wide receiver and its quarterback. P.J. Pope was not the replacement for Peyton Hillis owners with his 44 yards rushing. Jay Cutler was. Cutler passed for 359 and while he could not find the end zone in the air, Cutler rushed for 30 yards and two touchdowns. Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal had virtually identical numbers, with Marshall doing it all in the passing attack on 10 catches for 129 yards. Royal only caught five passes for 57 yards and ran once for 71 yards. The Denver tight ends, Daniel Graham and Tony Scheffler each caught two to three balls for over 50 yards.

49ers 17 - Rams 16

Fantasy Superman: Shaun Hill
Fantasy Performers: Isaac Bruce, Josh Morgan, Marc Bulger, Steven Jackson
Fantasy Hens: DeShaun Foster

Shaun Hill would not have been a bad pick-up for championship Sunday. Hill passed for 216 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions, while rushing for 45 yards. Hill’s 45 yards was more than DeSean Foster and Michael Robinson combined. Foster rushed for 36 yards (and caught two passes for 17 yards) and Robinson only rushed for 2 yards. Isaac Bruce scored a touchdown on seven catches for 61 yards. Josh Morgan scored a touchdown on two catches for 55 yards.

Steven Jackson rushed for 108 yards and caught two passes for 11 yards. Marc Bulger threw for 227 yards, a touchdown and one interception. Torry Holt had four receptions for 55 yards.

Patriots 47 - Cardinals 7

Fantasy Superman: Matt Cassell, LaMont Jordan, Larry Fitzgerald
Fantasy Performers: Sammy Morris, Wes Welker, Randy Moss, Jabar Gaffney
Fantasy Hens: Tim Hightower, Steve Breaston, Kurt Warner

In the freezing cold snow flurries of Gillette Stadium, one would think that with a 31-point lead at the end of the first half, the Patriots would be happy to run the ball the entire second half and get into the warm spa treatments as soon as possible. But it was not. Instead, Matt Cassell ended a day in horrible conditions with 345 passing yards, three touchdowns and 19 yards rushing. Randy Moss waited until the second half to make his first catch of the day for 76 yards and a touchdown. Moss ended the day with just one more catch for 11 yards. Wes Welker made one of the greatest snow angels in fantasy football history, but it was his seven catches for 68 yards and a touchdown that pleased Wes Welker managers. Jabar Gaffney turned in a solid performance with five catches for 90 yards. Each of the running backs joined the mix. Sammy Morris rushed for 88 yards and caught two passes for 45 yards. Lamont Jordan rushed for 78 yards and two touchdowns. Kevin Faulk caught three passes fir 27 yards and a touchdown.

You got to the fantasy finals on the arm of your MVP quarterback Kurt Warner and his 4290 yards and 26 touchdowns. You woke up to read the weather reports and you knew you were in trouble. Did you bench him? Hopefully so. Because Warner passed for just 30 yards. The only favor Anquan Boldin did managers was letting them know before game day that he would be sitting. Like Randy Moss, Larry Fitzgerald had no business being in a 47-0 fourth quarter blow-out in a freezing cold snow flurry, with no play-off implication on the line. But for those managers with Larry Fitzgerald on their squad, they are kissing the ground on which Ken Wisenhunt walks. With only 6:17 on the clock, Fitzgerald’s two catch 23-yard day turned into a three catch, 101-yard, one touchdown day. Other than Fitzgerald, the Cardinals could only rush for 44 yards, Edgerrin James gaining 19 yards and Tim Hightower 17 yards. In the air, 67 additional yards were split between six players, with Jerheme Urban gaining 36 yards and Steve Breaston only six.

Bengals 14 - Browns 0

Fantasy Superman: Cedric Benson
Fantasy Performers: Jamal Lewis
Fantasy Hens: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Chad Johnson, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ken Dorsey, Braylon Edwards

One did not have to see this game to observe how bad the weather conditions must have been in Ohio. Ken Dorsey was the leading quarterback in yardage, throwing for 68 yards. He also led in interceptions with three of them. Jamal Lewis rushed for 76 yards. Braylon Edwards only caught four passes for 35 yards.

Managers who selected Chad Johnson or T.J. Houshmandzadeh can rest assured that their seasons are over and next year’s draft will not likely include a Bengal. Chad Johnson did not play on Sunday. Nor for that matter did any Bengal other than Cedric Benson who rushed for 171 yards, but failed to score. Benson also fumbled. Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 55 yards only found three receivers, the most prolific being Chris Henry, whose one catch went for 20 yards and a touchdown.

Titans 31 - Steelers 14

Fantasy Superman: Justin Gage, Hines Ward
Fantasy Performers: Chris Johnson, LenDale White, Kerry Collins, Santonio Holmes, Ben Roethlisberger
Fantasy Hens: Willie Parker

Rookie running backs are like children at Christmas. You just can’t tell them not to open it up and expect them to listen. Like Tashard Choice, Chris Johnson went up against a tough run defense, the toughest run defense. A 50-60 yard day would be a pleasant sight. Like Tashard Choice, Johnson did not care that he was playing the Steelers. Johnson rushed for 69 yards and a touchdown. LenDale White also scored a touchdown on 48 yards rushing. Justin Gage returned with a big game catching five passes for 104 yards and a touchdown. Kerry Collins passed for 216 yards and a touchdown.

Even with Albert Haynesworth out of the Titan line-up, the Steelers rushing woes continue. Willie Parker rushed for 29 yards and Mewelede Moore rushed for 28 yards. Ben Roethlisberger could have had a monster day with two touchdowns on 331 yards passing. But Roethlisberger turned the ball over four times, twice in the air and twice on the ground. Hines Ward caught seven passes for 109 yards and one touchdown. Santonio Holmes caught five for 93 yards and a touchdown. Heath Miller led the team in receptions with eight, but did not score and went for 69 yards.

Redskins 10 - Eagles 3

Fantasy Superman: None
Fantasy Performers: Clinton Portis, Brian Westbrook, L.J. Smith
Fantasy Hens: Chris Cooley, Santana Moss, Donovan McNabb,

The odds are that Clinton Portis killed your chances to get into the championship game with three straight poor performances, but if you were still in it on Sunday, Portis was the only Redskin worthy of note as he rushed for 70 and a touchdown and caught one pass for 11 yards. Santana Moss may have caught five passes, but only went for 28 yards, the same number of yards as Chris Cooley put up, on four catches. Jason Campbell had a yawner with 144 yards passing, 28 yards rushing and no scores or turnovers.

Sunday morning went well for your championship and you were heading into the afternoon with Donovan McNabb or Brian Westbrook, thinking all you need was a decent afternoon. The Eagles were in the play-off run and the Cowboys opened the door for them. Confidence was high. Three hours later, you were cursing Reggie Brown as he went 17 yards, instead of 17 yards and one inch. McNabb, who averaged nearly 250 yards and 2 1/3 touchdowns a game over the prior three weeks, passed for only 230 yards, no touchdowns and fumbled the ball once. Brian Westbrook posted six touchdowns in weeks 13 and 14. Westbrook failed to post number one running back numbers in the final two weeks, as he rushed for only 49 yards, caught six passes for 71 yards and scored no touchdowns. In points per reception leagues, L.J. Smith put up decent numbers with seven catches for 49 yards and Reggie Brown had four catches for 47 yards.

Seahawks 13 - Jets 3

Fantasy Superman: Maurice Morris
Fantasy Performers: John Carlson, Bobby Engram, Jerricho Cotchery
Fantasy Hens: Deion Branch, Brett Favre, Thomas Jones, Dustin Keller

Maurice Morris saw the bulk of the action, carrying the ball 29 times for 116 yards. John Carlson only caught two passes for 12 yards, but his touchdown turned in a decent performance for a tight end. Bobby Engram had six catches for 65 yards and Deion Branch only gained six yards on two catches. Seneca Wallace rushed for negative yards, but he had 175 yards passing with a touchdown and no turnovers.

Hopefully, Brett Favre’s selection to the Pro Bowl did not dupe you into playing Favre in your championship match-up. The snow made Favre look his age as he threw for only 187 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. Favre’s primary wide receivers performed decently, as Jerricho Cotchery roped in six catches for 81 yards and Laveranues Coles caught five for 60 yards. Thomas Jones may have carried you to the Promised Land, but once there, he failed to deliver much, rushing for only 67 yards.

Saints 42 - Lions 7

Fantasy Superman: Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Pierre Thomas, Kevin Smith
Fantasy Performers: Deuce McAllister, Devery Henderson
Fantasy Hens: Jeremy Shockey, Lance Moore

The Saints feasted on the Lions defense. Drew Brees threw for 351 yards and two touchdowns. Both touchdowns were hauled in by Marques Colston who caught nine passes for 99 yards. In typical fashion, Devery Henderson caught two passes for 96 yards. Jeremy Shockey and Lance Moore only reached the mid-30’s in yardage and both failed to score. Instead, the other four touchdowns were spread evenly in the ground game. Pierre Thomas got one touchdown, rushing for 77 yards and catching three passes for 26 yards. Deuce McAllister rushed for one touchdown on 61 yards. Mike Bell rushed for 26 yards and a touchdown. Robert Meachem scored on a 20-yard run as well.

Kevin Smith has quietly had a strong second half of the season, rushing for 579 yards in the last seven games. Smith tallied 111 of those yards and a touchdown against the Saints. Calvin Johnson pulled down four catches for 64 yards.

Giants 34 - Panthers 28

Fantasy Superman: Derrick Ward, Brandon Jacobs, DeAngelo Williams
Fantasy Performers: Kevin Boss, Domenik Hixon, Muhsin Muhammad
Fantasy Hens: Steve Smith, Jonathan Stewart

Derrick Ward rushed for 215 yards! This has to be the first time in the history of fantasy football that a running back rushed for 215 yards in one performance and was only the third best fantasy running back in the same game. Brandon Jacobs ran for a fraction of the yards (87), but he ended up in the end zone three times. Surprisingly, the Giants 300-plus yards on the ground were not a spoiler for the passing game. Eli Manning passed for 181 yards and a touchdown, without a turnover. Domenik Hixon reeled in four catches for 71 yards and Kevin Boss had a touchdown on five catches for 46 yards.

If you played against DeAngelo Williams during your fantasy play-offs, you’re probably not reading this by now. If you have DeAngelo Williams on your fantasy team, you are professing your man-love right about now as he seems to love bringing fantasy teams out of the depths of despair in night games with crushing performances. On Sunday night, DeAngelo punched out four touchdowns on 108 yards rushing. Unfortunately for the Jonathan Stewart managers, Stewart could not follow-up the Giants one-two punch of Ward and Jacobs, as he rushed for only 29 yards and caught three passes for 28 yards. Steve Smith laid a fantasy egg for the first time during the play-offs, catching only three passes for 47 yards. Muhsin Muhammed caught four passes for 80 yards.