FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Fantasy Impact: Week 16
Ken Pomponio
December 24, 2012
 

Falcons 31, Lions 18
Ford Field (Detroit)

  • Through seven games this season, it was all about the Madden Curse for the Lions' Calvin Johnson who only had 41 catches for 638 yards and one TD. Since then, however, Megatron has hauled in a jaw-dropping 76 passes for 1,254 yards and 4 TDs in the team's past 8 games. Two hundred and twenty-five of those yards (on 11 catches) came Saturday night as the Lions' wideout left Jerry Rice's 17-year-old single-season record of 1,848 receiving yards in the dust -- all in another Detroit loss (their seventh straight). If your calculator has kept up, Johnson now has 117 grabs, 1,892 yards and 5 TDs on the season with a game -- and a definite shot at 2,000 yards -- remaining.
  • Extra points: While Johnson got the record, Matt Ryan and the Falcons got the win and locked up the top seed in the NFC playoffs as the QB threw for 279 yards tossed four scoring passes, giving him seven TDs in the past 2 weeks. ... Two of those scores were hauled in by WR Roddy White, who had eight catches and 153 yards to shake off a sore knee and last week's disappointing two-catch, 16-yard outing in the process. ... Meanwhile a pair of Falcons were fantasy disappointments with RB Michael Turner (13-41) seeing his five-game TD streak end, and TE Tony Gonzalez catching only one pass for 9 yards. .., Lions' QB Matthew Stafford completed 37-of-56 passes for 443 yards but failed to throw a TD pass for the second straight game. ... Other than RB Joique Bell (9-73), no Lions' pass catcher had more than 4 catches or 41 yards.

Packers 55, Titans 7
Lambeau Field (Green Bay, Wis.)

  • As expected, the Pack is heating up just in time for the postseason. Aaron Rodgers threw for 342 yards and 3 TDs and ran for another, while the Green Bay D had seven sacks and a pair of interceptions in a laugher at Lambeau.
  • Extra points: James Jones (7-100) had his 13th scoring grab of the season, while fellow wideout Greg Jennings (7-45) got in the end zone for the first time since Week 4. ... The game was so in hand, that the Alex Green-less Packers' ground game got rolling in the second half on the legs of Ryan Grant (20-80 yards, 2 TDs) and DuJuan Harris (8-29, TD). ... Titans' RB Chris Johnson was slowed early with a first-quarter ankle injury and never got going, finishing with 28 rushing yards on 11 carries and 13 yards on a pair of catches. ... Jake Locker (140 yards, team-leading 32 rushing yards) hooked up with Kenny Britt (2-41) for Tennessee's lone TD with 1:39 remaining in the game.

Vikings 23, Texans 6
Reliant Stadium (Houston)

  • The playoff-hungry Vikes cruised to a huge upset win, but oddly, MVP candidate Adrian Peterson (25-86) didn't play a lead role, failing to rush for 100 yards for the first time since early October. Backup Toby Gerhart (8-31) accounted for the team's lone rushing TD with a 3-yard plunge in the fourth quarter.
  • Extra points: WR Jarius Wright (5-53) led Minny in receiving, but TE Kyle Rudolph (3-39) hauled in the lone TD pass -- his eighth of the year -- from Christian Ponder (174 passing yards, 48 rushing). ... RB Arian Foster left with an irregular heartbeat in the third quarter and finished with a season-low 15 rushing yards on 10 carries. ... WR Andre Johnson (7-97) led the Texans in receiving, while TE Owen Daniels (3-27) struggled again.

Redskins 27, Eagles 20
Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia)

  • RGIII returned from a 1-week knee-injury absence and threw for 198 yards and two scores, but his rushing ability was noticeably curtailed with the rookie QB gaining only 4 yards on two attempts.
  • Extra points: Red-hot receiver Pierre Garcon (7-89) was the Skins' top pass-catcher, but Santana Moss (2-26) and Josh Morgan (2-21) had the TD grabs. ... D.C. rookie RB Alfred Morris had 108 total yards and rushed for his 10th TD of the season. ... For Philly, rookie QB Nick Foles (345) eclipsed the 300-yard mark for the second time in three games, and his top target was WR Jeremy Maclin (8-116, TD), who has 21 catches for 293 yards and a pair of scores over the past three games. ... The Eagles' expected RB rotation wasn't much of one with LaSean McCoy (122 total yards on 22 touches) getting far more work than rookie Bryce Brown (4 rushes for 18 yards).

Saints 34, Cowboys 31 (OT)
Cowboys Stadium (Arlington, Texas)

  • Sunday's top aerial show took place in Big D as the Saints' Drew Brees (446 yards, 3 TDs) and the Cowboys' Tony Romo (416, 4) combined for 862 passing yards and seven scores with nary a turnover.
  • Extra points: Brees' top targets were the usual suspects: WR Marques Colston (10-153), RB Darren Sproles (7-104) and TE Jimmy Graham (7-88), but, oddly, none of the three had a a TD catch. ... For the 'Boys, Romo's leading receiver was a little more clear-cut with WR Dez Bryant simply having a monster afternoon with nine catches, 224 yards and two TDs -- his seventh consecutive outing with a scoring grab, nabbing 10 over that span. ... The ground attacks were modestly paced by the Saints' Mark Ingram (21-53, TD) and Dallas' DeMarco Murray (11-40, 4 catches for 51 yards and a fumble).

Chargers 27, Jets 17
MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)

  • Brees and Romo it most definitely wasn't, but the Chargers' Philip Rivers (165 yards, 2 TDs) easily outdueled Jets' backup Greg McElroy (185, interception, fumble) in one of the day's few games that had no bearing on the postseason picture. In truth, the Chargers' D/special teams ruled the day with a mind-boggling 11 sacks, two forced turnovers and a punt return TD from Micheal Spurlock.
  • Extra points: Rivers' TD tosses went to WR Danario Alexander (3-69) and TE Antonio Gates (2-44). ... With Ryan Mathews done for the year, Jackie Battle got the bulk of the Bolts' backfield work with 20 touches for 54 yards, while Ronnie Brown (7 touches-39 yards) chipped in. ... RB Shonn Greene (14-38) scored both of N.Y.'s touchdowns, while WR Clyde Gates, of all people, was the team's leading receiver.

Panthers 17, Raiders 6
Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte)

  • Cam Newton extended his late-season surge with 170 passing yards, 60 rushing and a TD through the air and on the ground. In all, it was the Carolina QB's fifth straight game with at least two scores.
  • Extra points: While Newton stayed hot, Panthers' RB DeAngelo Williams did not, gaining only 48 total yards on 12 touches. ... In no surprise, Carolina's leading pass-catchers were TE Greg Olsen (6-53) and WR Steve Smith (4-45, TD). ... As for the Silver & Black, it was a second-straight TD-less mess with no fewer than three QBs taking snaps. Starter Carson Palmer (3-3, 31 yards) left with a second-quarter rib injury, but backups Matt Leinart (16-32, 135 yards, interception) and Terrelle Pryor (1-1, 5 yards; 22-yard reception) already had seen action before Palmer's injury. ... Darren McFadden did nothing with 48 total yards on 20 touches, while WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (2-31) passed for a leading receiver.

Dolphins 24, Bills 10
Sun Life Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)

  • The end of the regular season is near, so that means Reggie Bush is a fantasy force. That was indeed the case Sunday as Bush burned the Bills with 107 total yards and a trio of TDs.
  • Extra points: Rookie Lamar Miller (10-73) actually led the Fish in rushing, while Ryan Tannehill salvaged a weak passing-yardage day (130) with a pair of scoring tosses. ... Miami WR Brian Hartline played despite battling a bothersome back all week but only caught two passes for 12 yards. ... For the Bills, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (240 yards, TD, 2 turnovers) was his usual so-so self, while RB C.J. Spiller (173 total yards) was a stud and TE Dorin Dickerson (4-54) was a surprise as the Bills' leading receiver.

Bengals 13, Steelers 10
Heinz Field (Pittsburgh)

  • Cincy's win wasn't much fantasy-wise, but it was positively huge in every other measure as the Bengals sewed up a playoff spot and knocked the Steelers out of the postseason. QB Andy Dalton did throw for 278 yards, but had no TDs and was picked off twice, while WR A.J. Green's 10-catch, 116-yard day was muted a tick or two by his fumble and a lack of a TD. 
  • Extra points: After rushing for 100 or more yards in four of the past weeks, Bengals' RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis gained all of 14 yards on 15 carries against the Steel Curtain. ... Ben Roethlisberger had 220 yards and a TD pass to Antonio Brown (5-97), but tossed a pair of costly interceptions. ... Rashard Mendenhall (11-50) came from the bottom of the depth chart to lead Pittsburgh in rushing, while TE Heath Miller (3-45) left in the fourth quarter with a knee injury.

Patriots 23, Jaguars 16
EverBank Field (Jacksonville)

  • Chad Henne (348 yards, TD, 3 interceptions) played Tom Brady (267, 2 TD, 2 picks) to a fantasy standstill, but the Pats did just enough to avoid an upset loss.
  • Extra points: For the Pats' top pass-catchers, WR Wes Welker and TE Aaron Hernandez reversed roles from a week ago with Welker (10-88, TD) having a big day and Hernandez (1-13) doing next to nothing. ... Stevan Ridley (18-84) was far and away New England's leading rusher, but the omnipresent Danny Woodhead was the N.E. RB who found the end zone on a third-quarter scoring reception. ... With MJD and Rashad Jennings still sidelined, No. 3 RB Montell Owens had 119 total yards on only 14 touches, while WRs Jordan Shipley (5-82) and Justin Blackmon (7-79, TD) were Henne's top targets.

Colts 20, Chiefs 13
Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Mo.)

  • K.C. can't win games -- keeping pace with the Jags at 2-13 in the league's basement -- but the Chiefs most definitely can run the rock with both Jamaal Charles (22-226, TD) and Peyton Hillis (15-100) -- yes, Hillis -- topping the century mark. Charles did most of his damage on an 86-yard scoring burst on the opening play from scrimmage in the second half.
  •  Extra points: For Indy, Andrew Luck threw for 205 yards and a TD to Reggie Wayne (5-81), and in the process eclipsed Cam Newton's single-season rookie passing yardage record. He now has 4,183 for the season with a game to go. ... Vick Ballard was the man in the Colts' backfield, but didn't do much (69 yards) with his 20 carries. ... The K.C. passing game? Don't ask.

Rams 28, Bucs 13
Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, Fla.)

  • If you took a late-season flier on Rams' TE Lance Kendricks, you received an early Christmas gift Sunday with four catches, 119 yards and a TD -- an 80-yard catch and run on the opening play of the second half.
  • Extra points: St. Louis QB Sam Bradford delivered some holiday cheer with 196 yards and a pair of scoring tosses, Steven Jackson was his usual workhorse self with 81 rushing yards on 19 carries, but WR Danny Amendola stumbled with only two catches, 5 yards and a fumble. ... The first 13 games for Bucs' QB Josh Freeman: 25 TDS and eight interceptions. The past two contests: a TD and eight picks, including one and four Sunday to take the luster off a 372-yard outing. ... Tampa's other offensive threats did just fine with WRs Mike Williams (7-132, TD) and Vincent Jackson (7-108) and RB Doug Martin (119 total yards on 25 touches) all eclipsing the century mark.

Broncos 34, Browns 12
Sports Authority Field at Mile High (Denver)

  • Peyton Manning had some fantasy GMs worried coming off back-to-back one-TD outings, but -- as he has all season -- had the answer with a season-high 343 passing yards and a trio of TDs Sunday.
  • Extra points: Both of the Broncos' starting wideouts -- Demaryius Thomas (9-102, TD) and Eric Decker (6-65, 2 TDs) -- produced, while RB Knowshon Moreno topped 100 total yards -- gaining 127 -- for the third straight week. ... Jacob Hester (3-6) looks likes he's Denver's de facto goalline back, scoring on a short run for the second contest in a row. ... A rough day for the Browns only got worse in the second half with prize first-round rookies Brandon Weeden (shoulder) and Trent Richardson (ankle) leaving with injuries. Weeden threw for 104 yards, while Richardson had 68 total yards on 12 touches. ... Cleveland's only TD came on a Colt McCoy-to-Greg Little pass in the fourth quarter.

Bears 28, Cardinals 13
University of Phoenix Stadium (Glendale, Ariz.)

  • The Bears' defense has been in hibernation of late, but that changed in a big way Sunday with two return TDs, three forced turnovers and a pair of sacks. Cornerbacks Zack Bowman (fumble return) and Charles Tillman (interception return) notched the scores.
  • Extra points: Offensively the news wasn't as bright for the Bears, who saw No. 1 RB Matt Forte (95 total yards, TD) limp off in the third quarter on his troublesome right ankle and QB Jay Cutler complete only 12 passes for 146 yards. ... Cutler's TD toss fell into the hands of -- who else? -- Brandon Marshall, who wound up with six catches for 68 yards on 14 targets. ... For Arizona, the lone bright spot was WR Larry Fitzgerald, who had eight grabs for 111 yards -- 12 more yards than he had in his previous five contests combined. ... As for the rest of the Cards, QBs Ryan Lindley (141 yards) and newcomer Brian Hoyer (105) both threw interceptions, while RB Beanie Wells followed up his three-TD Week 16 with a four-carry, 3-yard, fumble-at-his-own-1-yard-line stink bomb.

Ravens 33, Giants 14
M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore)

  • In a clash of struggling former-powerhouses, the Ravens righted themselves, while the defending-champion Giants continued their free-fall. That applied to the respective quarterbacks' fantasy days as well with Joe Flacco throwing for 309 yards and two TDs to basically double up N.Y. counterpart Eli Manning (150 yards, TD).
  • Extra points: The disparity between the teams' ground games was even wider with the Ravens' Ray Rice (158 total yards, TD) and -- surprise! -- rookie Bernard Pierce (123) putting up giant numbers in comparison to the Giants' Ahmad Bradshaw (47) and David Wilson (17, TD). ... Baltimore starting WRs Anquan Boldin (7-93) and Torrey Smith (5-88, TD) bounced back nicely from a rough Week 15s. ... Domenik Hixon (3-36, TD) was the most productive N.Y. pass-catcher, while Victor Cruz (3-21) and Hakeem Nicks (0-0) were utter duds.

Seahawks 42, 49ers 13
CenturyLink Field (Seattle)

  • There's a third QB in the Offensive Rookie of the Year race, and if his season finale plays out anything like his past two games, the Seahawks' Russell Wilson just might snatch the award right from under RGIII's and Andrew Luck's noses. Wilson was a sterling 15-of-21 for 171 yards, four TDs and an interception Sunday -- his second straight game with four total TDs -- guiding another blowout win.
  • Extra points: Marshawn Lynch was, well, Marshawn Lynch -- even against the usually stout 49ers -- rushing for 111 yards and a TD on 26 carries and adding 19 yards and a score on two catches. ... Seattle WR Doug Baldwin (4-53, 2 TDs) was a Sunday-night surprise, outdoing fellow wideouts Golden Tate (2-27) and Sidney Rice (1-14), combined. ... The banned-substance suspension for Seattle's Richard Sherman can't come soon enough for the rest of the NFC playoff field after the CB had another stellar outing with an interception and a return of a blocked field goal for a TD, spearheading another lights-out night for the Seahawks' D. ... Niners' QB Colin Kaepernick was OK (244 passing yards, 31 rushing yards, TD throw), doing most of his damage late. ... Frank Gore was limited to 28 rushing yards on six carries, while TE Vernon Davis (concussion) and WR Mario Manningham (knee) left the game after being injured on their lone receptions of the contest.

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