FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Fantasy Impact: Week 17
Ken Pomponio
December 31, 2012
 

Bills 28, Jets 9
Ralph Wilson Stadium (Orchard Park, N.Y.)

  • It was a case of the usual suspects stepping up in a Buffalo win, as there was plenty of RB C.J. Spiller (131 total yards, TD) and WR Stevie Johnson (6-111).
  • Extra points: And as usual, Bills' QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was decidedly mediocre, throwing for 225 yards and a TD. ... For the Jets, it was a fitting end to a disastrous offensive season with no TDs and two turnovers for QB Mark Sanchez (205 yards).  ... RB Shonn Greene (19-74) got some work done early, but Bilal Powell (12-56) took over late. ... WR Jeremy Kerley (3-88) led N.Y. in receiving.

Bears 26, Lions 24
Ford Field (Detroit)

  • QB Matthew Stafford (272 yards, 3 TDs) and WR Calvin Johnson (5-72) got their yards, but as has been the case with the team all season, the Lions came up short when it mattered most with Stafford finishing 33 yards short of a second consecutive 5,000-yard season and Megatron falling 36 shy of the NFL's first 2,000-yard receiving season.
  • Extra points: RB Matt Forte (ankle) not only played for Chicago but played well, racking up 124 total yards and a TD on 26 touches. ... For one of the few times all season, the Bears' most productive WR wasn't named Brandon Marshall (5-42 on 14 targets) as Earl Bennett caught five passes for 109 yards a TD, with most of the damage coming on a 60-yard scoring swing pass.

Panthers 44, Saints 38
Mercedes-Benz Superdome (New Orleans)

  • DeAngelo Williams had a juicy matchup against a spotty Saints' defense, and he tried to make up for a sub-par season in one afternoon with 210 rushing yards and two TDs on 21 carries.
  • Extra points: Williams' heroics helped overcome an off-day by QB Cam Newton (248 passing yards, 34 rushing, no TDs), who returned after briefly leaving with a scary-looking left-ankle injury early in the fourth quarter. ... For the Saints, it was another banner day for QB Drew Brees (396 yards, 4 TDs) and his favorite receivers: WR Lance Moore (4-121), TE Jimmy Graham (9-115, TD), RB Darren Sproles (8-79, TD) and WR Marques Colston (5-52, 2 TDs). ... All too often, the Saints' ground game has gone nowhere this 7-9 season, and that was the case again Sunday with Mark Ingram leading the way with 39 yards on 10 carries).

Giants 42, Eagles 7
MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)

  • Despite the blowout win, Eli Manning and the Giants won't be going back to the postseason with a chance to defend their Super Bowl title, but Manning capped a roller-coaster ride of a fantasy season on a decidedly up note, tossing three first-quarter TD passes en route to five on the day to go along with 208 yards on only 13 completions.
  • Extra points: Two of Eli's scoring throws went to rookie Rueben Randle, who finished with four catches for 58 yards. ... Fellow WR Victor Cruz also had a solid finale (4-52, TD), but Hakeem Nicks finished out a disappointing year with nary a catch nor target. ... With a big lead, N.Y. also got the ground game cranked up with RBs Ahmad Bradshaw (148 total yards, TD) and David Wilson (90, TD) both delivering for their fantasy teams. ... Eagles' QB Michael Vick (197, TD interception) played for the first time since Week 10 in place of the injured Nick Foles, but he and Philly's other top weapons -- RB LeSean McCoy (106 total yards) and WR Jeremy Maclin (4-22) -- didn't make much of a stat-sheet impact.

Bengals 23, Ravens 17
Paul Brown Stadium (Cincinnati)

  • A whole bunch of fantasy hopes went unrealized in this one. It started before the game with Ravens' WR Anquan Boldin declared inactive and Bengals' RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis being ruled out shortly before kickoff after tweaking a hamstring in pre-game warmups. The Ravens then pulled Joe Flacco (34 passing yards), Ray Rice (3 rushes-5 yards) and their offensive standouts late in the first quarter, and the Bengals followed suit to start the second half.
  • Extra points: Cincy QB  Andy Dalton finished 10-of-15 for 78 yards and a TD in a half of work, while Marvin Jones (5-45, TD) -- not A.J. Green (2-26) -- was his most productive target. ... Meanwhile, RBs Brian Leonard (10-34) and Cedric Peerman (5-14) did little on the ground filling in for the Law Firm. ... For the Ravens, backup QB Tyrod Taylor put up the most impressive numbers, passing for 149 yards and an interception, while leading the team in rushing with 65 yards and a TD on nine attempts. ... Rookie Bernard Pierce (22-89) was Baltimore's leading rusher, while TE Ed Dickson (6-64) was the leading receiver.

Buccaneers 22, Falcons 17
Georgia Dome (Atlanta)

  • With the NFC's top seed sewn up and a week of rest ahead, the Falcons played their starters and played to win, but Matt Ryan (238 passing yards, TD) and his top targets -- WRs Julio Jones (3-56) and Roddy White (5-42) and TE Tony Gonzalez (5-41) -- all fell short of their usual fantasy standards.
  • Extra points: WR Harry Douglas (4-21, TD) caught Ryan's TD toss, while the Falcons' RBs -- Jacquizz Rodgers (5-28) and Michael Turner (6-18) -- were running in place. ... For the Bucs, rookie RB Doug Martin (160 total yards, TD) finished his stellar rookie campaign with a flourish, while Josh Freeman (222 yards, TD, pick) did his best work throwing to WR Mike Williams (6-65, TD).

Steelers 24, Browns 10
Heinz Field (Pittsburgh)

  • With injuries and absences galore (Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden, Mike Wallace & Heath Miller) on both sides, this amounted to the Backup Bowl, but none of the reserves made much of a fantasy impact.
  • Extra points: Stepping up in place of Wallace and Miller, WRs Antonio Brown (2-22), Plaxico Burress (2-24) and TE Leonard Pope (1-1) all caught TD passes from Ben Roethlisberger (134 yards, 3 scores). ... Across the field, QB Thaddeus Lewis saw his first NFL action for the Browns, and was a decent 22-of-32 for 204 yards, a TD and an interception against the Steel Curtain. ... RBs Brandon Jackson (8-54) and Montario Hardesty (14-37) didn't do much in Richardson's stead, while TE Ben Watson (7-64) and WR Greg Little (3-38, TD) were Lewis' top targets.

Colts 28, Titans 16
Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis)

  • The Colts were especially Chuckstrong on Sunday as coach Chuck Pagano called timeout from his battle with leukemia and returned to the sideline in an emotional game in Indy. The fired-up Colts responded with a strong showing on the stat sheet with Andrew Luck throwing for 191 yards and two TDs, RB Vick Ballard totaling 87 total yards and a score and T.Y. Hilton hauling in four passes for 111 yards and a TD.
  • Extra points: The Texans' Matt Schaub continued his late-season stumble with 275 passing yards, no TDs and two interceptions, helping cost Houston a first-round playoff bye. ... Schaub's two top sidekicks fared somewhat better with RB Arian Foster rolling up 119 total yards and a TD while WR Andre Johnson hauled in 12 passes for 141 yards on 17 targets.

Titans 38, Jaguars 20
LP Field (Nashville, Tenn.)

  • If you started the Titans' defense/special teams, you received quite the nice late-Christmas gift with no fewer than four TDs -- two apiece from LB Zach Brown (79- and 30-yard interception returns) and punt returner Darius Raynaud (69- and 81-yard returns). Oh, and Tennessee also had another interception and seven sacks.
  • Extra points: Tennessee RB Chris Johnson capped off an up-and-down season on an up note, playing through a nagging ankle injury to gain 65 total yards and score a TD. ... Titans' rookie receiver Kendall Wright gutted out a fractured rib to catch two passes for 40 yards. ... For the Jags, QB Chad Henne was victimized by the three picks but also threw for 298 yards and a trio of TDs. ... Henne's top targets were TE Marcedes Lewis (7-103) and WRs Justin Blackmon (6-79, TD) and Jordan Shipley (7-51, TD). ... Notably absent, though, was RB Montell Owens, who felt some pre-game knee discomfort and was a late scratch. That meant the team was down to its fourth RB, and Keith Toston more than held his own with 74 rushing yards on 17 carries and 41 more on a trio of receptions.

Vikings 37, Packers 34
Mall of America Field (Minneapolis)

  • Adrian Peterson may have fallen 9 yards short of Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record, but AD carried a number of his fantasy owners to championships and the Vikings to the playoffs on the strength of his 34-carry, 199-yard performance Sunday. He rushed for a TD and added another on a 2-yard reception. 2,097 rushing yards, 10 100-yard games, 13 total TDs -- not bad at all for RB who underwent knee surgery only a year ago.
  • Extra points: To get to a season-high 37 points, the Vikes needed even more than AD, and embattled QB Christian Ponder delivered, throwing for 234 yards and a trio of TDs. ... WRs Jarius Wright (3-90) and Michael Jenkins (3-37) caught Ponder's other two TD tosses, while TE Kyle Rudolph (2-20) was very quiet. ... The Pack's Aaron Rodgers also figured in a few fantasy championships, throwing for 365 yards and four TDs Sunday, giving him a total of 707 yards and eight total TDs over the past 2 weeks. ... Green Bay didn't seem to miss injured leading receiver Randall Cobb too much, with Greg Jennings leading the way with eight catches, 120 yards and two TDs, while Jordy Nelson returned from a three-game absence with three receptions, 87 yards and a score.

49ers 27, Cardinals 13
Candlestick Park (San Francisco)

  • The Cards, who were once 4-0 in what seems like a galaxy far, far away, are done for the season at 5-11, but at least they'll be happy not to see Niners' WR Michael Crabtree any more. Crabtree grabbed eight passes for 172 yards and two TDs Sunday, giving him 13 catches, 244 yards and four scores in San Fran's two-game series sweep this season.
  • Extra points: For the Niners, Colin Kaepernick (276 yards, 2 TDs) and Frank Gore (89 total yards, TD) were their usual, dependable selves. ... TE Vernon Davis played a week after sustaining a concussion, but finished a disappointing season with a whimper, catching a single pass for 5 yards. ... As for the Cards, Brian Hoyer became the team's fourth starting QB of the season, and did better than the typical Arizona passing disaster, throwing for 225 yards, a TD and an interception. ... Hoyer certainly had something going with rookie wideout Michael Floyd (8-166, TD), but Larry Fitzgerald (2-13) was hardly involved yet again. 

Patriots 28, Dolphins 0
Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)

  • Gronk was back -- and the Pats' towering TE was back in the end zone, capping a two-catch, 4-target, 42-yard day with a 23-yard fourth-quarter TD. It's just in time for the Pats' postseason, but, sadly, a little too late for a number of his fantasy owners.
  • Extra points: Tom Brady threw for 284 yards and two TDs -- one of them going to leading pass-catcher Wes Welker ((8-94). ... RB Stevan Ridley quenched a two-game scoring drought with a pair of TDs and 74 yards on 20 rushes and finished the season with 12 rushing scores. ... The Dolphins' Reggie Bush followed up his three-TD Week 16 game with only 49 total yards, while Brian Hartline (5-69) was the team's leading receiver.

Chargers 24, Raiders 21
Qualcomm Stadium (San Diego)

  • Raiders' QB Terrelle Pryor made his first NFL start Sunday, but it was far from the disaster many envisioned as he threw for two touchdowns and 150 yards and ran for 49 more yards and another score. He only threw one interception in 28 passing attempts.
  • Extra points: The rest of Pryor's supporting cast didn't do a whole lot, with RB Darren McFadden (59 total yards) and WR Rod Streater (4-77) providing the so-called highlights. ... Likely playing his final game under head coach Norv Turner, the Chargers' Philip Rivers only threw for 151 yards, but in a a rarity, didn't turn the ball over and tossed scoring passes to WR Danario Alexander (1-34) and TE Antonio Gates (2-15), who scored in each of his final three games. ... RB Jackie Battle had a nondescript 68 total yards on 23 touches to pace the Bolts.

Broncos 38, Chiefs 3
Sports Authority Field at Mile High (Denver)

  • There was some preseason debate over which Broncos receiver would benefit most from Peyton Manning's arrival, and as it turns out, fantasy GMs didn't go wrong with either Eric Decker or Demaryius Thomas. After Decker (7-76, 2 TDs) and Thomas (7-122, TD) both starred again Sunday, the wideouts each finished the season with 1,000-plus yards and at least 10 TDs.
  • Extra points: As for Manning, he finished with his 13th game with at least 250 passing yards (304) and 12th contest with multiple TD passes. ... Knowshon Moreno picked up 54 total yards and TD, but Lance Ball (15 rushes-66 yards, TD) led the team in rushing after rookie Ronnie Hillman was benched after losing a first-half fumble. ... As usual, RB Jamaal Charles (67 total yards on 15 touches) was far and away the top performer for 2-14 K.C., which locked up the draft's No. 1 pick.

Seahawks 20, Rams 13
CenturyLink Field (Seattle)

  • Ho, hum: Another win and another standout fantasy outing for Seahawks' QB Russell Wilson, the overshadowed third man of a history-making rookie QB class. On Sunday, Wilson was 15-of-19 for 250 yards and a TD through the air while picking up 58 yards and a TD on 10 rushes. Over Seattle's final eight games -- seven of them wins -- Wilson accounted for 19 total TDs while throwing only two interceptions.
  • Extra points: Wilson isn't the only Seahawk who finished the regular season on a big-time run as RB Marshawn Lynch had 18 carries for 100 yards Sunday. He rushed for at 87 yards in his final five games and scored seven TDs over that span.  ... The Rams got 252 yards and a passing TD from Sam Bradford, 77 total yards from RB Steven Jackson -- in perhaps his final game with the franchise -- and a team-high 54 receiving yards from WR Chris Givens.

Redskins 28, Cowboys 18
FedEx Field (Landover, Md.)

  • There will be RGIII Mania in the playoffs, while Tony Romo and the Cowboys came up short yet again in a big game. The game's final fantasy stats said it all with Griffin throwing for only 100 yards on nine completions, but rushing for 63 yards and a TD on six attempts. Romo, meanwhile, threw for 218 yards and a pair of TDs, but threw three interceptions.
  • Extra points: Griffin, though, needed to step aside on this night as Skins' RB Alfred Morris was the best rookie on the field, shredding the Dallas D for a season-high 200 yards and three TDs. He had 90 or more total yards in 10 of his 16 regular-season games and scored in nine contests. ... Pierre Garcon quietly led Washington with three catches for 46 yards. ... Speaking of quiet, DeMarco Murray led the 'Boys with 76 rushing yards on 17 carries, while WR Dez Bryant capped off a stellar season with four catches for 71 yards but saw his scoring streak end at seven games when he left in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be a lower-back issue.

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