What did I tell you about benching Peyton Manning this week? I caught SO much heat on Twitter and Facebook because of that recommendation that I had to stop responding to them all because it was just too much to handle. Well, even though Manning did finish with 311 passing yards and 2 touchdowns, the 4 interceptions he threw were just too much to overcome both in fantasy, and reality.
Manning finished Week 16 as NFL.com's #20-ranked QB with 12.44 fantasy points, making guys like Blake Bortles, Derek Carr, Charlie Whitehurst, and even Kyle Orton better plays in your title game. For years now the future Hall of Fame quarterback has been a beast all the way up until about Week 13 or 14, and then he starts to slow down statistically as he prepares for the NFL playoffs.
Hopefully you listened to me and did the unthinkable and benched [Peyton] Manning in the most important game of the fantasy season. If you didn't listen and still started him when I told you not to, there is always next year for your chance to win that championship trophy!
Colin Kaepernick – 49ers: Kaepernick had one of the weirdest QB stat lines you will see with a top-3 QB finish this season on Sunday when he threw for just 114 yards and a touchdown, but ran for 151 yards and another touchdown. Because of the total yards and two scores, Kaepernick finish with 27.66 fantasy points on NFL.com for Week 16. The 49ers QB currently ranks #17 for QBs on NFL.com, and has been a real disappointment to those who took him ahead of Philip Rivers and Tannehill.
Ryan Tannehill – Dolphins: Tannehill has been a sleeper QB all season long, and he snuck up on people once again this week when he threw for 396 yards, 4 TDs, and 1 INT. As we wrap up the fantasy season (for most), Tannehill ranks out as a top-10 fantasy QB this season despite going undrafted in many leagues. The Dolphins are committed to their coach and GM, so Tannehill should be able to grow again next season with the same staff in place. He won't be the sleeper next year he was this year.
Matt Asiata – Vikings: Asiata is a TD-dependent fantasy player, meaning he won't put up enough yards to hit escalators in leagues, so he is TD or bust. The good thing about Week 16 is that he scored 2 TDs and a 2-point conversion to go along with his modest 77 total yards (58 rushing, 19 receiving). There is nothing special about Asiata from a fantasy standpoint, making him little more than a handcuff for those already planning out their 2015 draft card.
Frank Gore – 49ers: The 49ers were simply dominating the game on the ground with Gore and Kaepernick this week. Gore rushed 26 times for 158 yards and a touchdown, which equates to a ridiculous 6.1 YPC average. Gore will turn 32 before the start of next season, and with Carlos Hyde waiting in the wings for more touches, you can be sure Gore's ADP (average draft position) will drop yet again next season.
Odell Beckham Jr. – Giants: It is absolutely crazy to see Beckham put up monster stats each and every week and then realize the kid is just a 22-year-old rookie! This week he hauled in 8 of 12 targets for 148 yards and 2 TDs. In just 11 games this season, Beckham has already amassed 79 receptions, 1,120 receiving yards (6 100-yard games), and 11 touchdowns. If I had a Rookie Of the Year vote, it would go to ODB!
Terrence Williams – Cowboys: Williams was a WR I had tagged as a sleeper in the preseason; too bad it took him 16 weeks to finally wake up! Williams and Tony Romo connected just twice, but both of them went for scores while Williams had 52 yards receiving. Williams wasn't the sleeper WR I thought he'd be this season, but he did put up WR1 stats in the championship game for those brave (or desperate) enough to play him.
Antonio Gates – Chargers: I could have put Seahawks TE Luke Wilson up here since he did have 139 yards receiving and 2 TDs, but with an ownership of just 0.6 percent on NFL.com there is virtually no chance anyone can prove they played him this week. Thus we talk about the future Hall Of Fame TE from the Chargers, Antonio Gates. Gates was able to reel in 7 of 9 targets for 92 yards and 2 touchdowns in a comeback victory over the 49ers. And, since I owned and played Gates in my church league, he was the main factor that propelled me to the title game against my nemesis, Pastor Brent Lenentine. God may be on his side, but I am Luke Skywalker and I have the fantasy force on my side!
Jacksonville Jaguars defense: I told people in the Thursday article to give some thought to using the Jaguars defense as a plug-and-play defense this week because the Titans offense is in shambles. NFL.com projected them to score just 1.00 fantasy points on their website, and thanks to limiting the Titans to just 13 points while getting 4 sacks, they finished with 8.00 fantasy points and the #12 ranking this week. If you listened to me, good job!
Andrew Luck – Colts: Luck was anything but lucky this week as he finished dead last for fantasy QBs in Week 16 with a mind-boggling 0.36 fantasy points. Luck managed to throw the ball just 22 times against the Cowboys, completing 15 of them for 109 yards, zero (0) TDs, and 2 INTs. It was by far the worst game of the season for Luck and the Colts, but the good news for fantasy nuts who play again next week is that the Colts will play their starters in Week 17 to build up steam.
Matthew Stafford – Lions: Stafford was slightly better than Luck this week, but only by a hair as the Lions QB completed 22 of 39 passes for 243 yards with zero (0) TDs and 2 INTs. The only positive thing for fantasy owners is that no games that I know of take off points if the QB throws an INT in the red zone, which Stafford did both times. Week 16 marks the fourth time this season that Stafford has failed to throw a TD, which is something the Lions need to fix if they want to win in the NFC North.
Doug Martin – Buccaneers: It's not that I expect anything from Martin at this point, but the Bucs RB is owned in 71.2 percent of NFL.com leagues as we wrap up Week 16. The sheer amount of ownership would suggest Martin is a RB worth owning, right? Wrong! Martin finished this week with 17 yards on 10 carries (1.7 YPC) with the Bucs bailing on the running game in the second half. The Bucs are a mess outside of Mike Evans, and I wouldn't feel bad at all about totally ignoring Martin in next year's draft.
Steven Jackson – Falcons: Jackson is another one of those players who was drafted solely on name recognition, not present fantasy value. The Falcons' 31-year-old RB suffered a quad injury and finished with just 4 carries for 9 yards and 1 reception for 14 yards. Jackson is barely holding on to RB2 value this year as we head into Week 17, and it is possible he could drop below the top 24 RBs if he doesn't have a good game against the Panthers to finish the season.
Michael Crabtree – 49ers: The saddest thing about this week for Crabtree isn't that he was held to just 5 yards on his lone catch, but instead that he had five quarters of play to achieve it if you count overtime! The one thing I hate about fantasy WRs is they are directly tied to their QB for value. If your QB is on the losers list, it will be an uphill battle for his No. 1 WR to find his way to the winners circle for that week.
Kelvin Benjamin – Panthers: All I saw on Sunday morning was a bunch of websites saying how Benjamin was a must-start fantasy player with Browns CB Joe Haden out with a shoulder injury. Me, I kept him on my bench for my NFL.com championship game because he is a total hit or miss when it comes to catching the ball. This week he managed to grab just 5 of his 12 targets for 47 yards and no TDs. Benjamin has all the talent in the world, but his hands of stone have to be worked on in the offseason if he wants to become an elite WR in the NFL.
Martellus Bennett – Bears: As if things for the Bears couldn't get any worse, Bennett managed to catch a single pass (on 3 targets) for zero (0) yards in a loss to the Lions on Sunday. It is frustrating for fantasy owners because in the previous four games he had averaged 9.7 targets, yet in the biggest game of most people's season he produced a 1-0-0 line. It's a fitting end to the Bears season and you can be sure things will be different in the 2015 fantasy draft when it comes to players out of Chicago.
Buffalo Bills defense: The Bills defense has been ranked #2 for fantasy defenses for most of the season, but this week they ran into a Raiders team with something to prove. Not only did the Bills manage just a single sack on the day, they also failed to record an INT, a fumble recovery, or a defensive touchdown. As if that weren't enough, they gave up 26 points to a Raiders offense that is averaging just 15.9 points per game (in real life) this season. Their 1.00 fantasy points on NFL.com this week sure didn't help owners who were playing in the fantasy championship!