Welcome to the 2015 Fantasy Alarm Game Recaps! Nobody watches more NFL football than yours truly, mostly because it is impossible to do so. Each week I’ll open up my notepad to all of our Fantasy Alarm readers so that you guys can go beyond the box score to get the information you need to win your league.
This journey started out all the way back in June or possibly even before. All of the copious amounts of research, draft preparation and mock drafts that got us ready for our draft. Then we’ve navigated though four months of the most unstable NFL season’s in history only to have it all come down to this week.
Week 16 was a wild ride and although there is still one more game left to go, we know to expect the unexpected. No matter how you did this week or this season I would like to hear about it. Hit me up on Twitter (@Jeff_Mans) or call in anytime to the SiriusXM radio show and let me know how you did.
Here are the Week 16 Fantasy Football Game Recaps:
20 – New England at N.Y. Jets – 26 (OT)
I can’t believe what I saw during the coin flip in overtime of this game. Patriots special teams ace Matthew Slater called “heads” on the flip, won the toss then elected to kickoff instead of receive to start the overtime period. I know that Bill Belichick is defending his player here but I highly doubt that was the orders that he gave his players. This was a travesty for any football team let alone the defending Super Bowl champions.
I was stunned at how low owned Patriots WR Keshawn Martin was on Sunday in DFS. We all knew that he was stepping into the Julian Edelman/Danny Amendola slot receiver role Sunday and at a minimum price. To me it was a no brainer. Though this entire offense didn’t roll as we are used to seeing, the long bright spot was Martin who racked up 11 targets, seven receptions and 68 yards Sunday.
Steven Jackson is a complete joke. It was an awful decision to sign him in the first place but to play him over somebody with functional legs is a mistake.
The Patriots lost LT Sebastian Vollmer to a leg injury early on in the first quarter Sunday. Vollmer got his left leg rolled up on and had to be carted off the field.
Oh and by the way, the 48-yard reception by Quincy Enunwa in overtime was actually an illegal pick play that was called for a penalty four times in other NFL venues Sunday.
34 – Houston at Tennessee – 6
The Texans control their own destiny in terms of winning the AFC South thanks to this victory Sunday. If the Texans defeat the 5-10 Jaguars next week they are headed to the playoffs.
Brandon Weedend QBR rating of 86.6 was the highest he’s had for any start in his career.
I wasn’t on DeAndre Hopkins in DFS Sunday mostly because it is unfathomable to think of him being able to produce with his fourth QB this season. Sure enough, though, Nuk Hopkins came through with a 7-117-1 performance Sunday.
The Texans defense was great once again Sunday but may have lost DE/LB Jadeveon Clowney for some time as he left in the fourth quarter with a foot injury. He’ll be reevaluated on Monday and his status will be updated early in the week.
The Titans scored a TD with 1:31 remaining in the game which allowed them to avoid being shut out for the first time at home since 1976.
Hopefully those of you who look at the full season-long stats when assessing team defense have taken notice of the Titans decline over the last three weeks. Injuries and a lack of depth in the defensive secondary have derailed what was a very solid defensive unit earlier this season.
WR Kendall Wright was knocked out of this game early due to a left knee injury. This was an aggravation of the MCL sprain that he had suffered earlier this season causing him to miss three games. Wright is done for 2015.
13 – Cleveland at Kansas City – 17
The Chiefs led this game 17-3 at halftime and really seemed to stop playing on offense the entire second half. This was a game that the Chiefs defense had to win for them and they did just that.
Before you Johnny Football lovers get yourself all sticky with his rushing performance Sunday, realize that he ran for (108 yards) almost as many yards as he threw for (136 yards) Sunday. He plays the game like a confused child and it’s just a matter of time before he gets himself seriously hurt.
Speaking of Johnny Manziel, he had a chance to bring the Browns down the field into scoring position but inexplicably threw the ball into the middle of the field with just 10 seconds remaining. The Browns were out of timeouts and thus the game ended as the team couldn’t get lined up and spike the ball in time.
It’s very odd to me that lack of targets to RB’s by the Chiefs in recent weeks. Charcandrick West is an accomplished pass catcher but is getting just one or two targets per week lately. Spencer Ware was active Sunday but played a minimal role in the Chiefs offense.
Chiefs Rookie CB Marcus Peters intercepted his eighth pass this season Sunday. This is the most interceptions by a rookie in the NFL since Jarius Byrd had nine back in 2009.
18 – Indianapolis at Miami – 12
The Colts' late comeback kept them alive in the AFC playoff picture. The Colts need some help in order to capture the AFC South title, as they need to win and have the Texans lose in Week 17 to make that happen.
If I were a Colts player I would be highly suspicious of Frank Gore. Gore came into this game inspired and was playing as fast and as powerful as he has in years. Now the Dolphins defense is nothing to write home about but it sure appeared to me that he had several extra gears that we haven’t seen this entire season.
Matt Hasselbeck needs to retire. He could barely more coming into this game and then was knocked out with a shoulder injury in the second quarter. Charlie Whitehurst came on in relief and did just enough to guide the Colts offense to a win.
The Colts lost starting RG Hugh Thornton due to an ankle injury late in the first half and did not return.
I’ve said it a hundred times this season but I will say it again. The Dolphins have Lamar Miller who averages over five yards per carry and yet they are giving the ball to Jay Ajayi and Damien Williams. Please clean this disaster of a coaching staff out this offseason.
Ryan Tannehill came up lame on a second-half scramble and appeared to have injured his lower leg or even Achilles. It turned out to just be a contusion which allowed him to remain in the game albeit with a noticeable limp.
Dolphins LB Jelani Jenkins aggravated his ankle injury in the third quarter and did not return.
17 – San Francisco at Detroit – 32
On the very first play of the game, 49ers WR Anquan Boldin became just the 13th NFL player ever to catch 1,000 passes in his career. This was Boldin’s 185th game making him the fifth quickest to attain the mark in NFL history.
Vance McDonald’s one-yard TD reception in the first quarter was the 49ers first opening quarter TD this entire season.
DuJuan Harris was just signed by the 49ers on Tuesday but made an immediate impact in this game. Harris ran for 73 yards on nine carries in the first half but only touched the ball twice the rest of the way.
San Francisco lost DT Quinton Dial late in this game due to back spasms.
All was right in the world again Sunday as Calvin Johnson led the Lions in targets (10), yards (77) and TD’s (one).
There is a lot of speculation in and around Detroit that head coach Jim Caldwell could be let go this offseason. I have never been a fan of Caldwell as anything other than a low level assistant coach.
6 – Dallas at Buffalo – 16
This was a terrible game to watch. Both teams have that “ready to go home” feel and Dallas specifically should be embarrassed with their effort over the past few weeks.
I know that this would have sounded insane at the beginning of the season but Darren McFadden has been the lone bright spot for the Cowboys this season. He needs just 102 yards rushing next week to secure his second 1,000-yard season.
Cowboys safety Barry Church broke his right arm in the game Sunday and will obviously miss the final game of the season next week.
Mike Gillislee started this game for the Bills and appears to be the more fantasy relevant RB. Gillislee actually scored on a 15-yard pass early on in this game but the score was overturned when it was ruled that his knee was down on the one-yard line. Karlos Williams came in to score on the next play.
Tyrod Taylor is a better passer than Johnny Manziel but he is putting himself at just as much risk with the amount of times he is running this season. As a QB you simply cannot take on 14 rush attempts worth of abuse and expect to keep ticking.
Bills DT Marcell Dareus suffered a neck injury in the second quarter and did not return. Also, WR Marcus Easley was carted off the field with a left knee injury and is likely out for the rest of the season.
26 – Chicago at Tampa Bay – 21
As a Bears fan, this game really makes me mad. I don’t understand why they have to win these meaningless games and thus continue to hurt their draft pick status.
There is not doubt this is Matt Forte’s last season with the Bears so hopefully the back injury that took him out of Sunday's game won’t prevent him from playing in next weeks finale. Forte is a very low RB2 when healthy these days as the Bears continue to use three RBs in a steady rotation.
Eddie Royal had a seven-yard pass bounce off his chest in the end zone just before halftime Sunday. The play should have been a TD and given the Bears a 17-7 going into halftime.
The Buccaneers just aren’t the same team defensively when they are not creating turnovers. This was the first time in the last five games in which the Bucs failed to take the ball away at least once.
Jameis Winston has had a real up and down rookie season. But with his 3,717 passing yards he is already fourth all-time on the rookie passing mark and will easily pass Peyton Manning for third on that list.
Doug Martin lost two more fumbles Sunday which gave him a total of six on the season. Personally, I hate the minus two points for a fumble that many fantasy leagues issue. There is no way that a player should lose 2/3 of a TD just because the ball hits the turf.
13 – Carolina at Atlanta – 20
Not only did this loss ruin the perfect season for the Panthers but it also snaps their 18 straight regular season game winning streak.
Cam Newton had that going through the motions feel to his game all day Sunday. Sure, he ran the ball with authority a few times but so many instances in which he just wasn’t pushing the ball up field the way he has so often this season.
The Panthers lost RB Fozzy Whittaker due to a right ankle injury Sunday. Whittaker had to be carted off the field and so it is expected that he could miss at least the next week.
Julio Jones leads the league with 127 receptions already this season. That is good for the third-most receptions in a single season in NFL history. He should easily pass Antonio Brown’s 129 from last year but will likely fall short of Marvin Harrison’s 143 from back in 2002.
17 – Pittsburgh at Baltimore – 20
By virtue of this loss the Steelers no longer control their own destiny in the AFC playoff race. They will need to win next week and hope that the Jets lose to the Bills in order to claim the sixth seed.
Martavis Bryant had a miserable day but it could have been a little better. Bryant technically didn’t have a target until the third quarter. But before halftime he caught a deep ball from Ben Roethlisberger and appeared to be home free en route to an 80-yard TD. But the referee had evidently blown the play dead due to the Ravens being offsides. That single play could have changed so much for Roethlisberger and Bryant owners as well as for the Steelers and the entire AFC playoff race.
Speaking of lost opportunities, Antonio Brown had a first quarter TD that was overturned after the review showed that he had not maintained control when he hit the ground.
Ravens CB Jimmy Smith had a 100-yard interception return for a TD nullified due to a Baltimore offsides penalty on the play. This play would have put the Steelers away much earlier but allowed them to stay in it until the end.
There was concern coming into this game about whether or not Ravens WR Kamar Aiken would be QB proof having now played with his fourth starting QB this season. Aiken went on to haul in all eight of his targets Sunday that was the first time in four years that a Ravens receiver has caught that many balls without a miss.
27 - Jacksonville at New Orleans – 38
This was the Game of the Week for me and the Fantasy Alarm crew. You see, we stacked this game in the Fantasy Feud “Feud of Champions” contest this week and as of this writing has us in second place overall. If this holds it’ll mean another massive windfall for your boys here at Fantasy Alarm.
The Jaguars offense was awful in the first half Sunday. For some reason Bortles thought it was a good idea to keep throwing at Saints CB Delvin Breaux who is the only Saints DB with any ball skills whatsoever.
Denard Robinson is a horrible RB. He doesn’t catch the ball well, he doesn’t block well and he is a notorious fumbler. Sure, he’s got some quality speed and elusiveness but that is not enough to succeed at this level.
The Saints made RB C.J. Spiller a healthy inactive for this game. Last offseason they signed him to a four-year, $16 million deal expecting that he would be their answer at the RB position as a complement to Mark Ingram.
The Saints defense has now allowed 43 TD passes this season which shatters the NFL record with still one game to go. The old record of 40 was set all the way back in 1963 by the Denver Broncos.
23 - St. Louis at Seattle – 17
The Rams have the Seahawks' number and believe it or not these two teams are not far apart at all. The Rams sold out to stop the run while also generating a pass rush which create havoc for the Seahawks offense.
Anybody start Tavon Austin Sunday? I doubt it but this is why he shouldn’t even be on a fantasy roster. His production is so incredibly inconsistent that trying to pinpoint when he is going to go off is next to impossible.
Doug Baldwin’s TD catch was his 14th of the season which sets a new Seahawks franchise record for TD receptions in a season.
8 - Green Bay at Arizona – 38
It’s incredible to see just how bad Aaron Rodgers has been playing in the second half of this season. Rodgers was benched in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game after going 15-28, 151 yards, one TD and one INT. He’s still an elite level QB but let’s hope that whatever has plagued him this season doesn’t spill over into 2016 when he’ll likely be a tremendous value in fantasy drafts.
This 30-point loss was the worst loss ever by a Packers team while Aaron Rodgers has been their QB.
Although Larry Fitzgerad had a down day while going 4-29-1, he still managed to get into the end zone for the first time since November 1.
David Johnson had himself another big game Sunday despite only touching the ball 12 total times. Johnson gained a total of 127 total yards with one rushing TD on the day giving fantasy owners yet another huge effort to close out championships.
The Cardinals are still alive for the top spot in the NFC with the Panthers loss to the Falcons this week. If somehow the Panthers lose next week to the Buccaneers and the Cardinals defeat the Seahawks they will wrestle home field advantage away from the Panthers.