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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Fantasy Impact: Week 15
Ken Pomponio
December 17, 2012
 

Packers 21, Bears 13
Soldier Field (Chicago)

  • It was Aaron Rodgers vs. Jay Cutler on Sunday, and once again, it was no contest on the scoreboard and stat sheet as Rodgers (291 yards, 3 TDs) got the better of his Chicago counterpart (135 yards, TD, interception) in the Packers' NFC North-clinching win. All 3 of Rodgers' TD passes went to WR James Jones (5-60), who now has a league-leading 12 on the season, while Cutler's score was hauled in by -- who else? -- WR Brandon Marshall (6-56).
  • Extra points: Rodgers' top target once again was WR Randall Cobb, who caught 6 for 115 yards, while WR Greg Jennings was still relatively quiet with 4 grabs for 50 yards. ... The Green Bay running game continues to be a fantasy quagmire with Alex Green leading the way with all of 35 yards on 13 rushes, while Ryan Grant carried eight times for 32 yards and lost a fumble. ... RB Matt Forte had 133 total yards, including five receptions for 64 yards, but Cutler completed only one pass to a pass catcher (RB Armando Allen) other than Forte or Marshall.

Falcons 34, Giants 0
Georgia Dome (Atlanta)

  • A game featuring Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, Julio Jones, Victor Cruz, et al, figured to produce plenty of points and it did -- for the guys in red and black. Ryan was 23-of-28 for 270 yards and 3 TDs, while Manning revisited his midseason struggles with a 13-of-25, 161-yard, 2-interception performance.
  • Extra points: Michael Turner rushed for only 52 yards, but found the end zone for the fifth straight game. His highest rushing total in those five games has been 83 yards. ... Wideout Julio Jones paced the Falcons with six catches for 74 yards and a pair of TDs on six targets, while fellow WR Roddy White was declared active in a pre-game decision but did little with two grabs for 16 yards. ... For the Giants, rookie RB David Wilson got the start and ran for 55 yards on 11 carries and a caught a pass for 11 yards. ... Domenik Hixon (5-80) paced N.Y. in receiving and essentially matched the combined output of Hakeem Nicks (3-40) and Cruz (3-15) to spoil many a fantasy owner's day.

Redskins 38, Browns 21
Browns Stadium (Cleveland)

  • RGIII and his sore knee missed the Rookie Bowl, but fourth-round pick Kirk Cousins was more than good enough, completing 26-of-37 passes for 329 yards, two TDs and an interception. For the Browns, first-rounder Brandon Weeden was 21-of-35 for 244 yards and a TD, but was picked off twice in a losing effort.
  • Extra points: The rookie matchup also applied to the starting RBs, and the Skins' Alfred Morris (22-87) and Browns' Trent Richardson (11-28) both delivered with a pair of rushing scores apiece. ... Pierre Garcon (6-65) led Washington in receiving, but Leonard Hankerson (2-56) doubled his season TD output with a pair of scoring grabs. ... Greg Little (5-74) paced the Browns' pass-catchers, and rookie WR Travis Benjamin hauled in a 69-yard scoring pass, but leading-WR Josh Gordon was quiet for a change, catching only three passes for 27 yards on eight targets.

Vikings 36, Rams 22
Edward Jones Dome (St. Louis)

  • It's the Vikings, so that means Adrian Peterson and nothing but Peterson, who continued his run at Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record with 212 yards and a TD on 34 carries. It was AD's second 200-yard game in the past three and his eighth straight 100-yard game overall. He's also scored nine TDs over that span.
  • Extra points: Meanwhile, Minny QB Christian Ponder threw for 131 yards -- his eighth game this season with fewer than 200 -- and his top target, WR Jerome Simpson, "led" the team with four catches for 27 yards. ... TE Kyle Rudolph was MIA for the second consecutive game with three receptions for 22 yards. ... For the Rams, Sam Bradford exploded for a career-high 377 passing yards on 35 completions in 55 attempts, and his leading receiver was RB Steven Jackson (8-73), who also added 73 rushing yards on 13 attempts. ... WR Brandon Gibson paced the Rams' WRs with six grabs for 76 yards, while Danny Amendola made a solid return from a two-game foot injury absence with six receptions for 58 yards, a TD and a two-point conversion catch.

Dolphins 24, Jaguars 3
Sun Life Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)

  • Chad Henne was hoping to show the Dolphins what they were missing, but that didn't exactly happen as the ex-Miami QB failed to guide the Jags into the end zone, completing 18-of-34 passes for 221 yards. Since an eye-opening four-TD performance off the bench in Week 11 against the Texans -- the game which elevated him into the starting role -- Henne has thrown for 3 TDs in the four games since.
  • Extra points: The Fins' Reggie Bush ran for 104 yards on 21 rushes -- his first 100-yard game since Week 2. ... WR Brian Hartline (5-77) led Miami in receiving, while TE Anthony Fasano (6-56) scored for the second straight outing. ... Jags RB Montell Owens averaged more than 4 yards per carry, but the problem was he got only 11 carries to finish with 47 yards. ... WR Cecil Shorts picked up right where he left off after a one-game concussion absence with six catches for 101 yards on 11 targets, while rookie Justin Blackmon also was solid with 93 yards on six grabs.

Saints 41, Buccaneers 0
Mercedes-Benz Superdome (New Orleans)

  • The Saints' defense . . .¬† with a shutout?!? Yes, that just happened Sunday -- and against the high-powered Bucs no less. New Orleans had a pair of sacks and forced five turnovers -- all courtesy of Bucs' QB Josh Freeman (4 picks & a fumble). Too bad most fantasy owners looked everywhere but the Big Easy for a starting team defense this week.
  • Extra points: After back-to-back nightmare weeks, which were lowlighted by 7
  • ¬†interceptions, Drew Brees was back to be being Drew Brees Sunday, throwing for 307 yards and 4 TDs with no picks. ... TE Jimmy Graham (5-69) led the Saints in catches and yards, but Brees' TD tosses went to Joseph Morgan (2-61), Lance Moore (4-42), Darren Sproles (5-21) and David Thomas (2-21). ... Mark Ingram had his best career fantasy game with 90 yards and a TD on 14 carries. ... The Bucs' struggles weren't limited to Freeman as rookie RB Doug Martin finished as team's third-leading rusher with only 16 yards on nine carries, while catching a trio of passes for 19 yards. ... WR Vincent Jackson (6-81) led the Bucs in receiving with all of his catches coming in the second half.

Broncos 34, Ravens 17
M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore)

  • The banged-up, Ray-Lewis-less Ravens were so concerned about Peyton Manning, they overlooked Knowshon Moreno, who notched his second straight 100-yard rushing game with 118 yards and a TD on 22 carries. Manning, meanwhile, had his worst fantasy outing of the season with only 204 yards on a TD.
  • Extra points: As for the Broncos' WRs, Eric Decker (8-133, TD) was up, while Demaryius Thomas (4-13) and Brandon Stokley (1-14) were most definitely down. ... If the Ravens' offensive-coordinator change was meant to get Ray Rice (12 rushes for 38 yards & 3 catches for 3 yards) or run more no-huddle, it was mission not accomplished. Ravens' QB Joe Flacco (254 yards, 2 TDs, 2 turnovers) was erratic at best, while WRs Torrey Smith (1-14 before a third-quarter concussion) and Anquan Boldin (0-0) were no-shows. ... That left TE Dennis Pitta (7-125, 2 TDs) as Baltimore's lone offensive bright spot as the Broncos continue to struggle with opposing TEs.

Texans 29, Colts 17
Reliant Stadium (Houston)

  • The usual suspects stepped up in the Texans' AFC South-clinching win as Arian Foster (27-165) and Andre Johnson (11-151, TD) produced for their fantasy owners, even though it was a rare TD-less outing for Foster.
  • Extra points: Colts' rookie Andrew Luck tossed two TD passes and didn't turn the ball over, but threw for only 186 yards. ... Rookie Vick Ballard ran for a career-high 105 yards on 18 attempts. ... WRs T.Y. Hilton (3-78) and Donnie Avery (3-37) paced the Indy pass-catchers, while it was a struggle for Reggie Wayne (3-14 on 8 targets).

Seahawks 50, Bills 17
Rogers Centre (Toronto)

  • Seahawks rookie QB Russell Wilson had rushed for 310 yards entering Week 15 but had yet to run for a TD. He rectified that situation on the first possession of Sunday's game capping the drive with a 14-yard scoring jaunt. He added two more rushing scores before halftime, and connected with TE Zach Miller on a 4-yard scoring pass shift the Seahawks' second straight rout into high gear. In all, he rushes nine times for 92 yards and threw for 205 yards.
  • Extra points: Wilson's trusty sidekick is RB Marshawn Lynch, and he piled up 113 rushing yards and a TD on only 10 carries -- his seventh contest in the past eight with either 100 rushing yards or a TD. ... There's no way the Seattle D could've matched its Week 14 heroics, but the 'Hawks gave it a spirited run with three turnovers and a trio of sacks. ... RB C.J. Spiller (101 total yards and a TD on 20 touches) and WR Steve Johnson (8-115, TD) were the bright lights for the Bills.

Cardinals 38, Lions 10
University of Phoenix (Glendale, Ariz.)

  • How did the Cards find some offense after last week's 58-0 disaster in Seattle? Why they looked to their defense, of course, with S Rashard Johnson (53 yards) and LB Greg Toler (102) returning Matthew Stafford interceptions to the house.
  • Extra points: Beanie Wells was the other part of the Arizona revival, rushing for 67 yards and three TDs. ... As usual, the Cards did a whole lot of nothing through the air as rookie Ryan Lindley threw for all of 104 yards and a pick. ... The shellshocked Lions got a rushing TD from Mikel Leshoure (14-55) and a seventh-straight -- but quiet -- 100-yard receiving game from Calvin Johnson (10-121).

Panthers 31, Chargers 7
Qualcomm Stadium (San Diego)

  • Outside of a few moments, the Carolina ground game has been missing in action most of the season, but RBs Mike Tolbert and DeAngelo Williams came up big Sunday with Tolbert tormenting his former team with a pair of 1-yard scoring runs as part of 9 rushes for 40 yards and Williams gashing the Bolts for 144 total yards and a TD.
  • Extra points: Cam Newton continued his late-season surge with 231 passing yards and a pair of TDs -- one of which went to WR Steve Smith (6-57). ... The Chargers' offensive-line injuries caught up with Philip Rivers (121 yards, TD) on Sunday as the QB was sacked six times and fumbled twice. ... Ryan Mathews' brutal season came to a bitter end as the RB suffered a fractured clavicle in the second quarter for the second time this season. He finished the game with 30 yards on four rushes and three catches. ... With Ronnie Brown already out, Curtis Brinkley (56 yards on nine touches) was the main fill-in from there. ... There was a rare end-zone sighting of TE Antonio Gates (4-31), but the Danario Alexander Express (0 catches on 3 targets) derailed with a crash after the WR had had at least five catches for 74 yards in each of his previous five outings.

Cowboys 27, Steelers 24 (OT)
Cowboys Stadium (Arlington, Texas)

  • With both teams fighting for their playoff lives, QBs Ben Roethlisberger (339, 2 TDs) and Tony Romo (341 yards, 2 TDs) combined for 680 yards and 54 completions. But it was the lone QB turnover of the contest -- Big Ben's OT interception -- that set up the game-winning field goal.
  • Extra points: Dallas RB DeMarco Murray (14-81, TD) now has scored in each of his three games since returning from a six-game foot-injury absence in Week 13. ... Dez Bryant's much-discussed fractured index finger didn't keep the wideout (4-59, TD) from catching a scoring pass in his sixth consecutive contest. ... Unlike Romo, Roethlisberger didn't have a ground game to lean on as his top-two rushers, Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer, combined for only 52 yards. ... WRs Mike Wallace (4-95) and Antonio Brown (8-76, TD) and TE Heath Miller (7-92, TD) all delivered for their fantasy owners.

Raiders 15, Chiefs 0
O.co Coliseum (Oakland, Calif.)

  • The fantasy standout here, of course, is Oakland K Sebastian Janikowski, who accounted for all the scoring with field goals of 20, 50, 57, 30 and 41 yards.
  • Extra points: Carson Palmer saw Terrelle Pryor come in for a third-quarter series and threw for only 182 yards, while Darren McFadden carried the Raiders' offense between the 20s with 110 yards on 30 rushes and four catches for 39 yards. ... On the flip side, K.C.'s Jamaal Charles entered the contest with at least 87 rushing yards in his past five outings but laid an egg with 10 yards on nine rushes and three catches for 18 yards against one of the league's worst defenses. ... WR/RB Dexter McCluster (7-59 on 10 targets) was the Chiefs' leading pass-catcher with WR Dwayne Bowe (fractured ribs) going on IR late last week.

49ers 41, Patriots 34
Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)

  • What rain? Who said it was cold? QBs Colin Kaepernick (216 passing yards, 28 rushing yards, 4 passing TDs) and Tom Brady (443 yards, passing TD, rushing TD) decided a number of fantasy postseason matchups with one scintillating, Sunday-night show.
  • Extra points: Niners' workhorse RB Frank Gore carried 21 times for 83 yards but¬† highlighted his night by scooping up a Kaepernick mishandled snap and cutting back through the line for a TD. Check your league's settings to see how the play is scored. ... Through the air, WR Michael Crabtree hauled in seven passes for 107 yards and a pair of scores cementing his emergence as a No. 1 WR. ... For the Pats, WR Brandon Lloyd busted out with his best game of the season, grabbing 10 passes for 190 yards -- most coming as New England rallied -- while TE Aaron Hernandez (10-92, TD) continues his run as one of league's most dangerous late-season TEs. ... RB's Stevan Ridley's (9-23) first-half fumble earned him extended time on bench as Danny Woodhead (61 rushing yards, 2 TDs and 5 catches for 23 yards) took most of the second-half snaps.

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