Fantasy Feedback: Week 16

Observations from the late games
  • Frank Gore posted his best game in more than a month, rushing for 83 yards and a TD against the Seahawks. The Niners play the Rams next week and could be playing for a shot at a first-round bye. If there’s something to play for, Gore will likely see a lot of work. If your league is still in action, he should be in your lineup.
  • You want to know how hot Marshawn Lynch is right now? He put up easily the best performance by a RB against the 49ers all year, running for 107 yards and scoring the first rushing TD of the season against the San Francisco defense. He also added two catches for 24 yards. If your league plays next week, Lynch has a tremendous matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.
  • For the first time in a long time, DeSean Jackson had fantasy relevance. The disappointing Eagles WR caught five passes for 90 yards and added another 27 rushing yards. If he had put together a few more performance like that during the regular season, fantasy owners wouldn’t have been so quick to cut him loose.
  • Vincent Jackson’s frustrating season took another turn Saturday. He was held to just two catches and 41 yards. Instead, it was Malcom Floyd doing most of the receiving work, catching six passes for 95 yards and a TD.
  • The Lions offense is ending the season the same way they started it. Matthew Stafford threw for 373 yards and three TDs while Calvin Johnson made four grabs for 102 yards and a TD.
Observations from the early games
  • Two interceptions aside, Matt Hasselbeck had a nice day against the Jaguars, throwing for 350 yards and a TD. It will certainly make for an interesting QB battle in training camp next year between Hasselbeck and Jake Locker.
  • Rashard Mendenhall continues to be a matchup-based starter. This week, he had a great matchup against the Rams and took full advantage, running for 116 yards and a TD. Next week, he lines up against the Browns — in case you have your fantasy championship next week.
  • Just in case you weren’t sure, Victor Cruz is officially the No. 1 receiver for the Giants. He exploded for 164 yards and a touchdown, which came on a 99-yard catch and run. No longer just a preseason wonder, Cruz has pushed Hakeem Nicks down a peg in Big Blue’s pecking order.
  • Once again, New England’s defense is victimized. This time the culprit was the Miami offense: Matt Moore threw for 294 yards and three TDs; Brandon Marshall caught seven passes for 156 yards and a TD while Reggie Bush rushed for 113 yards. If your league plays its championship game in Week 17, start every Buffalo Bill you have.
  • Nearly no one considered starting him in fantasy, but Kyle Orton has played well for the Chiefs the past two weeks. After throwing for 299 yards last week, Orton came back and threw for 300 yards and a touchdown this week.
  • The John Skelton-Larry Fitzgerald juggernaut lives. Skelton connected with Fitzgerald six times for 105 yards and a TD. The Cardinals’ backup has helped resurrect Fitzgerald’s fantasy value in the second half of the season. If you hold Fitz as a keeper, you should pray that Skelton becomes the team’s starter next year.
  • It’s been a recurring theme for the Buccaneers all season long: ignore LeGarrette Blount early, fall behind big, give up on the run altogether. Saturday, Blount sat out almost the entire first half, then saw two carries in the second half. By then, the Bucs were down big and the running game wasn’t much of an option. He finished with two carries and 11 yards.
  • If you’re talking keepers, C.J. Spiller has to be in the conversation. He gained 138 scrimmage yards and a touchdown against the Broncos and is starting to look like the back Buffalo thought it drafted two years ago.
  • A week after being outplayed by the Patriots, Tim Tebow crashed and burned Saturday against the Bills. Tebow time never materialized, thanks to four interceptions — two of which were returned for touchdowns. Is it a fluke or a trend? Next week’s game against a resurgent Kansas City defense could help decide.
  • Ray Rice continues to be the straw that stirs the Ravens drink. Saturday, he led Baltimore in receptions (3), receiving yards (48) and rushing yards (87). He’s a definite keeper in all formats.
  • For what it’s worth, Peyton Hillis is finishing strong this season. He ran for 112 yards against the Ravens. Unfortunately for most fantasy owners, they rightfully gave up on Hillis a long time ago.
  • The Patriots defense continues to be a boon for opposing fantasy players. Brandon Marshall  has torched them in the first half with five catches for 102 yards and a TD.
  • While it’s DeAngelo Williams who found the end zone for Carolina, Jonathan Stewart has done the bulk of the work, carrying the ball five times for 79 yards to lead the team.
  • News flash: early in the second quarter, Willis McGahee, not Tim Tebow, is the Broncos’ leading rusher with eight carries for 47 yards. Tebow, however, has Denver’s touchdown.
  • Late in the first quarter, LeGarrette Blount hasn’t seen a carry. Instead it’s been Kregg Lumpkin with five rushes for 22 yards.
  • Thomas Jones is seeing plenty of work in the early going. Or at least more than Jackie Battle. Jones has four carries for 29 yard while Battle is sitting on three carries for nine yards.

— Marcas Grant

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