Monday Morning Takeaways – Week 16

Detroit 18, Atlanta 31


Congratulations goes out to Calvin Johnson for setting the all time receiving yards in a season breaking the previous record held by Jerry Rice. So much for the Madden Curse.

Somehow Mathew Stafford managed to put up 443 yards, but zero touchdowns. Scoring just one touchdown over the past three games has Stafford amidst the lower QB1, leaving owners to weigh their options next week with Chicago coming to the Motor City.

Mikel Leshoure’s pedestrian season continues as the second year player rushed for a meager 46 yards on 15 carries. However, Leshoure keeps finding the endzone after scoring his eighth touchdown in eight games. He’s a tough start every week, but it’s hard to argue with production.


In this game it was the usual suspects for Atlanta as Roddy White, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones all produced solid numbers. The only member of the Falcons passing game getting coal in his stalking was Tony Gonzalez. Even in a game with four passing touchdowns, it’s hard to feed everybody.

As speculated every week, when Turner doesn’t score he will be a disappointment. This game was case in point.

Christmas came early for the Falcons clinching home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Atlanta’s gain if fantasy owners loss as they will likely sit their key players. Fantasy managers with a week 17 championship should be searching for other options.


New Orleans 34, Dallas 31


From top to bottom, every viable fantasy option on the Saints offense delivered including Mark Ingram who has now scored five touchdowns over the last seven games. Even more intriguing was Ingram eclipsing 20 carries for the first time all season. Heading to face the 27th ranked Carolina rush defense next week has Ingram pegged as a low end RB2.


I know I’m supposed to stick to lesser known players, but it’s hard to discuss the Cowboys without mentioning Dez Bryant. In a plus matchup he didn’t disappoint racking up 224 yards while scoring a pair of 58 yard touchdowns. The man is a beast, broken finger and all.


Tennessee 7, Green Bay 55


Last week Jake Locker’s piss poor play was disguised by Mark Sanchez and the New York media buzz. Now exposed he continues to prove that he is widely inaccurate, has difficulty reading the defense, while looking run even before the play breaks down. Fortunately for Britt owners Locker was able to squeeze out a junk time touchdown. With that said, Locker’s struggles severely hinder the value of all members of the Titans passing attack.


The Packers were simply too much for the Titans as Aaron Rodgers dismantled the Tennessee secondary. Randall Cobb was a beneficiary having a solid game (62 yards, one touchdown) before getting his ankle / knee rolled up. He was seen limping off the field and getting worked on by the training staff. His week 17 availability will be in doubt.

It was announced before the game that Ryan Grant would start for the Packers. He wound up carrying the load picking up 80 yards on 20 carries scoring two touchdowns. Owners beware as Grant did most of his damage in junk time with the game out of control.

With San Francisco losing, the Packers can clinch a first round bye with a win meaning Aaron Rodgers and the boys will almost certainly be in the lineup next week.


Indianapolis 20, Kansas City 13


A very slow game for the Colts passing attack as Andrew Luck struggled through all four quarters before a late game drive resulting in a Reggie Wayne touchdown.

After touching up the Houston Texans league’s best rush defense last week, Vick Ballard fought to find running room against the 24th ranked Chiefs. Ballard will be relegated to mid RB3 status with a rematch against Houston in week 17.


After accumulating 28 yards against the Raiders in week 15, Jamal Charles atoned for his poor outing with 226 yards highlighted by an 86 yard touchdown run. Peyton Hillis also got in the show gouging the Colts defensive line for 101 hard yards. However, ground-and-pound does not win in the NFL as the Chiefs will be making a change at the quarterback this offseason.


Buffalo 10, Miami 24


CJ Spiller is the man with Fred Jackson absent picking up 173 all purpose yards. Spiller’s superior talent is more obvious than Rudolph’s red nose, making me question why the Bills coaching staff refuse to give Spiller more carries throughout this season?


Reggie Bush has assumed his rightful place as the Fins most dynamic weapon delivering a perfectly wrapped 107 yards and three touchdowns. Bush will become a free agent at the end of the year meaning his 2013 fantasy value will be contingent on his landing spot. He should be viewed as a low RB2 at New England next weekend.


San Diego 27, New York 17


Coming off his worst game since entering the starting lineup, Danario Alexander rewarded fantasy owners who kept the faith betting Antonio Cromartie for a 37 yard touchdown. Up next is the burnable Oakland secondary.

Last week the Chargers lost starting running back Ryan Mathew for the season with a broken collar bone. In his place stepped Jackie Battle taking 19 carries for 49 yards. A bit of a plodder, Battle should have feasted against the 26th ranked Jets front seven. However, life will actually get easier for the Chargers running game next week facing the 28th ranked Oakland rush defense. Battle will present very low end RB2 status should you be hurting at the running back position.


Shonn Greene was playing inspired early in this game scoring two first half touchdowns while running with tremendous power and leg drive. The San Diego defense quickly adjusted their game plan clamping down on the Jets running game forcing the ball into the hands of the teams young signal caller. Geene would finish the day with only 38 yards on 14 carries. On the bright side, Bilal Powell has been returned to a backup role as indicated by his three carries.

We can safely say that Greg McElroy is not the answer the Jets are looking for at the quarterback position. Accumulating 185 yards, McElroy showed his inexperience failing to sustain drives. The Jets have a serious problem that needs be solved during the offseason. Can you say “Matt Flynn”?


Washington 27, Philadelphia 20


Robert Griffin III made his triumphant return to the starting lineup, but looked a little gimpy on his balky knee as evident by his four rushing yards on two attempts. However, what he lacked in rushing production he made up for as a pocket passer tossing for 198 yards and two touchdown leading his team to a much needed victory. If he starts for the Skins, he starts on our fantasy team.


LeSean McCoy also made his return after missing four games due to a concussion. McCoy did not disappoint gaining 122 yards on 22 touches (so much for limiting his workload). To the bane of McCoy owners, Deon Lewis snuck into the game as McCoy received a breather vulturing a 17 yard touchdown. Ouch.

Nick Foles development has been impressive while accumulating 345 yards, one touchdown, one interception. In his first couple of starts the Eagles coaching staff handcuffed the rookie signal caller limiting him to check-downs. Foles is now being given an expanded role as evident by Jeremy Maclin’s 116 yard one touchdown. Not yet fantasy worthy, Foles will warrant a late round draft value in 2013, but also adds validity to DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.


Cincinnati 13, Pittsburgh 10


Big Ben Roethlisberger tempted fate going after Leon Hall but paid the price with a pick-six in the first quarter. Cincy’s defense would then seal this game with a fourth quarter interception putting the Bengals in field goal position for a much needed win. This contest is further proof the Bengals are strong unit worthy of D1 consideration.



Hey, look what Santa brought down the chimney, it’s Rashard Mendenhall. Returning from a team mandated one game suspension, Mendy rushed for a team high 50 yards on 11 carries. However, it was Jonathan Dwyer pacing the team in attempts further proving that no Steelers running back can be trusted.

Out of nowhere Antonio Brown has scored a touchdown in three straight games. This week he put the double move on Pacman Jones going over the top over for a 60 yards. Brown is near lineup lock, especially in PPR leagues.

Owners beware as Heath Miller carried off the field after sustaining what appeared to be a significant knee injury. Judging by his reaction, and with the Steelers eliminated from playoff contention, I’d be willing to bet my Christmas presents he won’t be playing next week.


St. Louis 28, Tampa Bay 13


The box score will show that Lance Kendricks finished the day with 119 yards and a touchdown. If you look further to the left you’ll see 80 yards came on one catch touchdown on the opening play of the half. Scoring in each of his past two games may give a glimmer of hope, just be mindful of his week 17 match at Seattle. In other words, find better options.

Danny Amendola’s yo-yo season continued scoring negative points in this game with five yards and fumble. He still led the Rams in targets with seven, but simply could not get anything going as he and quarterback Sam Bradford struggled to hook up. In fact, Amendola’s lone contribution was delivering the key block to free Lance Kendricks on his 80 yard touchdown. If find it hard to trust Amendola outside PPR leagues.


Tampa Bay didn’t play as bad as the score might indicate as Mike Williams finished with 17 targets, 132 yards and one touchdown on a 61 yard catch-and-run. Vincent Jackson posted 15 targets and 108 yards. Josh Freeman’s day would have been respectable if not for the four turnovers. Also killing the Bucs were three failed attempts at converting fourth downs. Up next is the Atlanta Falcons likely to sitting their starters.


Oakland 6, Carolina 17


Carson Palmer was knocked out of this game in the first quarter. Most puzzling was Matt Leinart filling in for Palmer despite the constant chatter coming out of Oakland as to the debut of Terrelle Pryor. Either way, status quo in Raider Nation as Leinart managed to stink up the joint like a burnt fruit cake taking the rest of the team down with him.


With Oakland struggling, Cam Newton and the Panthers pieced together a ho-hum game. Steve Smith caught a touchdown, Greg Olsen eclipsed 50 yards and Carolina DST controlled Oakland’s offense. DeAngelo Williams owners will be perturbed to read their running back scored a 76 yard touchdown on the second play of the game negated by penalty (ugh).

Owners of Panthers players will be excited to see an impending shootout with the Saints next on the schedule.


New England 23, Jacksonville 16


Somewhat uncharacteristic to see the Patriots struggle facing an inferior opponent. Most unnerving for fantasy owners playing in the championship game was the absence of Aaron Hernandez (13 yards). Although hard to determine exactly why, the Jags must have game planned to eliminate the prolific tight end. I’m sure a bounce back game will be forthcoming.


Cecil Short was knocked out of the game with a concussion, his second in three weeks. Fantasy owners need to take note as Shorts has zero chance of playing next week as mandated by league rules.

Justin Blackmon had himself a game catching the Jags lone touchdown accompanied with 79 yards. With Shorts likely to miss next week game, and a pathetic Titan’s secondary next on the schedule, Blackmon has mid / lower WR3 value.

Montell Owens didn’t play particularly bad gaining 119 yards on 14 touches, although 53 yards came on one play. We should note Owens did split time in the backfield with Richard Murphy with 10 carries apiece. With the impending return of Rashard Jennings, and possibly even Maurice Jones-Drew (although don’t hold your breath), Owens will have minimal fantasy value.


Minnesota 23, Houston 6


The only Viking’s player with any semblance of fantasy value, other than Adrian Peterson, has been Kyle Rudolph. Similar to Mikel Leshoure, and Michael Turner, Rudolph’s fantasy production is centered on his ability to find paydirt.  Like the aforementioned players, Rudolph has proven the ability to score. Up next are the high flying Packers in a must win game as Minnesota will need to put point on the board through the air with hopes of taking down Green Bay. Rudolph is a mid / lower TE1.


Fantasy owners looking at the box score will be alarmed to see Arian Foster finishing with a devastating 15 yards on 10 carries for ZERO touchdowns (ugh). Fantasy owners watching the game were ripping their hair out seeing Foster sitting on the bench. Postgame reports have revealed an “irregular heartbeat”, a condition Foster has suffered in the past. He was actually given the green light to return in this game, but in a blowout decided otherwise. All signs point to him being ready next week.

As for the Texans passing game, I have no explanation. The Vikings just wanted this game more.


Cleveland 12, Denver 34


My mom always told me, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.


The Browns defense was simply outmatched as Peyton Manning picked them apart for 339 yards and three touchdowns.  Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Knowshon Moreno also feasted as if it were Christmas dinner. All told, this game was a walk through for the Broncos.


Chicago 28, Arizona 28


Yet another of Sunday’s lopsided victories as the Bears shellacked the Cardinals. As usual Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte, Bears DST all came to play. I wish that was the extent of our Bears report, however Forte left the game hobbling after getting his ankle rolled up on, the same ankle he injured earlier this season. Forte owners should be monitoring this situation closely.


2013 can’t get here fast enough.


New York 14, Baltimore 33


The train has officially come off the tracks as the Giants have found themselves in a downward spiral. Eli Manning’s play over the past two weeks has been downright pathetic. I’ve always said; “he’s got Manning blood pumping through his veins, he’ll rebound”. But facing a Ravens defense was a prime matchup I don’t know anymore.

The lone bright spot was a touchdown run from David Wilson. This young man is explosive, hitting the hole with power and speed. Should his abilities in the passing game catch with his raw talent, he will be a force to reckon with next season.


The concussions issues that plagued Torrey Smith early in the week turned out to be a non-factor as Smith torched the Giants secondary for 88 yards a touchdown.

Ray Rice continues to struggle in the red zone unable to punch in short yardage touchdowns thus limiting his fantasy value. However, what he lacks in goal line prowess he made up with 158 all-purpose yards and one receiving touchdown. His day could have gone beast mode if not for Bernard Peirce taking junk time carries racking up 123 yards on the ground.


San Francisco 13, Seattle 42


Ho, ho, holy butting kicking. Absorbing the punishment was Vernon Davis who left the game after sustaining a concussion. Already fallen to the ranks of the TE2, it’s best to leave Davis on the bench. Beyond that, not much to report as the 49ers were whipped in all three phases of the game.


The play of rookie Russell Wilson has been nothing short of phenomenal. Since week 12 Wilson ranks third in fantasy points scored behind only Cam Newton and Tony Romo. On Sunday night, facing the league’s most dominant defense, Wilson proved his valor accumulating 171 yards passing, four touchdowns and 29 yards rushing. His only downfall, from a fantasy perspective, was the ability to spread the ball to multiple receivers. This game it was Doug Baldwin turn producing 53 yards and two touchdowns. Wilson is going to be a good one.

Seattle DST also came to play slapping the Niners upside their head with a salami log from Cracker Barrel. The biggest present was a Richard Sherman touchdown following a blocked field goal. Yeah buddy!


From all of us here at Fantasy Sharks we would like wish everyone the happiest of holidays. Hopefully Santa delivered a championship trophy under your tree.

About Eric Hartvigson