All year long football fans have witnessed his explosiveness. He won the Super Bowl last season, and sent a message to the other 31 teams in the NFL, “Just you try to stop me”. I wonder how Brett Favre is feeling right now?
I won the Fantasy Football Super Bowl in my $50 entry league (winning $200), and am 15 points up coming into the final game of my $20 entry league’s Super Bowl, with an ESPN projection that may plant me another 30 points over my opponent. Two championship wins out of two leagues, there we go! How have your teams fared?
With one week left to go…
- Aaron Rodgers – I cannot honestly believe he will play much this coming weekend. If you were lucky enough to own him, then bench him and pick up Matt Flynn, his backup! The Green Bay Packers have the top NFC seed locked up, and the path through the Super Bowl goes through Wisconsin. They lost 2 weeks ago to the Kansas City Chiefs, so there’s no need to try for the perfect 16-0 season. Rodgers finished 21-0f-29 for 283 yards and five touchdowns in Sunday’s win over the Bears. After throwing just three touchdowns in the last two weeks combined, Rodgers blew up for five scores Sunday. For most fantasy leagues Week 16 is championship week, so Rodgers monster game came at the perfect time. Those owners who play again next week could be in trouble if counting on Rodgers, as Green Bay has locked up the top seed in the NFC and he could be rested, or see limited action. The Packers’ superstar quarterback will likely be drafted number one overall in a large percentage of leagues in 2012. After 32 fantasy points, Aaron Rodgers has stayed #1 all year long.
- Cam Newton – This rookie rode my bench for the majority of the year in my $20 league, due to having the opportunity to Brees my way to victory. Newton completed 12-of-17 passes for 171 yards and three touchdowns, as well as six carries for 65 yards and another score Saturday against the Bucs. Newton’s magical season continued Saturday and he now owns the single-season rookie passing yards record, previously held by Peyton Manning. He has 34 total touchdowns this season (20 passing, 14 rushing), as well as 4,567 total yards (3,893 passing, 674 rushing). I believe he has the season high for rushing touchdowns for any player? Cam’s 30 fantasy points keep him at 3rd overall.
- Tom Brady – The Patriots are locked in for the playoffs, but not home field advantage, as they need this win to be the top seed in the AFC. Play him this week! Brady completed 27-of-46 passes for 304 yards with a touchdown in Saturday’s win over the Dolphins. Brady also carried nine times for 17 yards, with a pair of rushing touchdowns. His 29 points this weekend makes him 4th overall.
- Matthew Stafford – Owners who were smart enough to draft him in the 9th round or earlier, have had nothing but success. He’s the 5th top QB in the league after a 26-point day. Stafford completed 29-of-36 passes for 373 yards with three touchdowns in Saturday’s win over the Chargers. Matthew’s 4518 passing yards rank fourth in the NFL and his 36 passing TDs are tied for third, numbers which make him look like a draft-day steal, considering how high the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady went.
- Drew Brees – There he is! Congratulations on passing Dan Marino, finally! With a game to spare, too. Brees completed 23-of-39 passes for 307 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions Monday against the Falcons. The interceptions were his first in five games, but that can hardly take away from his performance tonight. The Saints’ offense could not be stopped in the first half, and though they did slow down a bit in the second, Brees was able to cap off the night and break the 27-year old record with a nine-yard touchdown strike to Darren Sproles late in the fourth quarter. Those still playing in leagues need not worry about Brees resting in Week 17 either, as the Saints will still be playing for a shot at the No. 2 seed and first week bye if the San Francisco 49ers stumble.
- Arian Foster – Ranking 3rd overall after a fantastic 22-point day, Foster had 23 carries for 158 yards and a touchdown and added three catches for 16 yards Thursday against the Colts. It is safe to say that Foster owners that complained about the running back’s early hamstring issues were handsomely rewarded in many leagues’ fantasy championship week. It depends how the games Saturday shake out, but after the loss to the Colts it is possible the Texans could now be locked into their seeding heading into Week 17, making it likely the starters would not face the Titans. Regardless, Foster’s play this season has kept him in the discussion for the first overall pick in fantasy drafts come 2012.
- Rashard Mendenhall – I was lucky to avoid this pick in the draft, as using a first-second round selection on a guy now ranking 18th overall is not a great value. But still, 20 fantasy points from time to time do help out. Mendenhall ran for 116 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries Saturday. Patient fantasy owners were finally rewarded, as Rashard and the Steelers pummeled the Rams with a rush-heavy offensive gameplan. Unfortunately, Isaac Redman and John Clay each vultured a touchdown in what could have been a huge game for Mendenhall.
- DeAngelo Williams & CJ Spiller – Both running backs scored 19 points for their teams.
I recall the fun times back in 2008 when DAW helped playoff seekers near the end of the seasons. Now, he brings little faith in a week-to-week basis. Williams had seven carries for 66 yards and two touchdowns, as well as two catches for 18 yards, Saturday against the Bucs. DeAngelo scored from eight and 22 yards, although he had the same number of carries as Jonathan Stewart, who ran for 88 yards. For fantasy owners that stuck with Williams for a championship match up, he surely paid some dividends. Unfortunately, his prospects for a repeat performance next week are hindered by Stewart likely getting half of his touches. DeAngelo Williams is ranked 24th.
Spiller had his first career 100-yard rushing day with 111 yards on 16 carries and a score in Buffalo’s win over Denver on Sunday. He also caught two balls for 27 yards. Once again, CJ’s touches stayed in the “20 zone” the Bills have been targeting, but he did a lot with them for the second week in a row. he also has four touchdowns in his last four games, and would seem to be a good final-week play next week when the Bills travel to New England, as even if the Bills get pretty far behind he’d probably stay involved in the passing game. CJ Spiller is ranked 35th overall.
- Ray Rice & Maurice Jones-Drew & Marshawn Lynch – A 3-way tie between top-5 running backs with 18 fantasy points on the day.
Rice had 57 yards on 10 carries in Sunday’s loss at San Diego. He also led the team with nine catches totaling 55 yards. The Ravens spent the majority of the game, and the entire second half, playing from behind, which limited Rice’s carries. As usual, he was a big factor in the passing game, but his inability to score surely disappointed his fantasy owners. Look for a big bounce-back in next week’s home game versus Cleveland. Ray Rice is ranked 2nd overall.
Jones-Drew rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown while also catching six passes for 21 yards in the Jags’ loss to the Titans on Saturday. With Adrian Peterson tearing up his knee on Saturday, MJD is looking like a solid bet for No. 1 overall fantasy pick next year. He is ranked 4th on the year.
Lynch rushed 21 times for 107 yards and a touchdown Saturday in a loss to the 49ers, scoring in his 11th consecutive game. Lynch has been fantasy stalwart in the second half of the season, reaching 100 yards in six of his last eight games with 10 total touchdowns. The only dud rushing-wise in that span came last week when he totaled just 42 yards on 20 carries at Chicago, but he still scored twice. Saturday’s performance is more impressive considering it came against an ultra-stout 49ers defense that had not allowed a 100-yard rusher since 2009. Lynch is also the only player to score a rushing touchdown against the 49ers this season. I wrote Marshawn Lynch as a fantasy running back that you MUST draft, before the year began. He’s now ranked 5th overall. Do you trust me in the future?
- Jordy Nelson – This guy has been Mr. Clutch all year for the Packers. Nelson had another big night Sunday versus the Bears. He finished with 115 yards and two scores on six catches. Nelson has enjoyed a breakout campaign, notching his 11th, and 12th touchdowns of the season in Sunday’s win over Chicago. Despite the presence of multiple options in the Packers’ passing game, Nelson has developed into a solid number one receiver, and was undoubtedly a member of many fantasy championship rosters. He’s ranked 3rd overall among receivers with his 23 fantasy points from Aaron Rodgers.
- Victor Cruz – He’s one of the reasons the New York Giants have a chance at the playoffs this year. Cruz caught three balls for 164 yards and a touchdown Sunday. Victor was the team’s offensive star, gashing the Jets elite pass defense for a few huge plays and doing most of it on his own after the catch. After 22 fantasy points he’s ranked 4th overall.
- Brandon Marshall – 21 fantasy points makes him ranked 11th overall. Marshall was selected to the AFC Pro Bowl Squad, according to the Dolphins web site. Brandon has finally lived up to his billing as one of the best receivers in the NFL this season, his second in Miami. Marshall has 77 receptions for 1,177 yards and six TDs so far this season, his numbers could’ve been off the charts if not for a half dozen or so dropped TD passes so far this season.
- James Jones – Packers receiver #2 in the top-5 this week. Did Rodgers blow it up, or are we all just benefiting from Greg Jennings out of the picture? Jones reeled in four catches for 50 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday’s win over the Bears. This is what Jones does. He disappears for weeks at a time, then explodes back onto the scene. The performance was great for those owners who may have got lucky rolling the dice this week with Jones, but even with Greg Jennings out with injury, he’s not consistent enough to rely on in fantasy crunch time.
- Calvin Johnson & Larry Fitzgerald & Julio Jones & Reggie Wayne & Brandon LaFell – A 5-way tie for 5th place *rolls eyes* and an above-average 16 fantasy points.
Johnson caught four passes for 102 yards and a touchdown in Saturday’s win over the Chargers. Another solid effort for the star weapon in what has developed into a potent Detroit passing attack. Megatron is ranked #1 overall.
Fitzgerald caught six passes for a team-high 105 yards and a touchdown in Saturday’s loss to the Bengals. John Skelton looked in his direction 11 times, but Fitzgerald’s solid Week 16 effort was not enough for the Cards to avoid elimination from playoff contention. They’ll take on Seattle in Week 17. Fitz is ranked 5th overall.
Jones caught eight passes for 128 yards and touchdown Monday against the Saints. Jones’ 14 targets trailed only Roddy White’s 16, and though he lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown, Jones continues to show why the Falcons traded up to select the wideout in April’s draft. The Falcons face the Bucs in Week 17, a team Jones beat for six catches and 115 yards in Week 3, so if you are still in leagues Jones will be a solid play again Sunday. The rookie is ranked 21st overall.
Wayne had eight receptions for 106 yards, including a game-winning touchdown, in Thursday’s win over Houston. Wayne has seen a revival with Dan Orlovsky at quarterback as he was targeted 14 times and has become a top target again. Wayne finishes the season with a decent matchup against Jacksonville, and is ranked 29th overall.
LaFell had three catches for 103 yards and a touchdown Saturday against the Bucs. A solid game, although his touchdown was on a 91-yard reception, which was a bit fluky and not something fantasy owners can depend on in the future. He was only targeted three times Saturday, not an unusual number for him this season. He is owned in 1.8% of fantasy football leagues, being that he is 55th overall wide receiver.
Your tight-end for the week is Jared Cook of the Titans, catching 8 passes for 169 yards and a trip to the endzone. He is the 17th ranked TE after a great 22-point game.
Last week coming up, happy holidays and have an awesome New Year!