When Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford disappointed with just 153 passing yards and one touchdown Week 15 against Minnesota, I was willing to make excuses for him. "The Vikings pass defense really isn't so bad," I said while penciling in Stafford for another 390 yards and two touchdowns Week 16 at Chicago. That's what he did against the Bears in Week 13, after all, and they entered Week 16 ranked 31st against the pass.
So of course, Stafford throws for 243 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
The performance could have been so, so, so much better. He threw one of those interceptions in the end zone and another just short of the end zone. But the fact is he completed those passes to Bears and not Lions, and so it was an awful performance despite a favorable matchup.
Stafford has been one of the most up-and-down quarterbacks in Fantasy this season, but the one thing he appeared to have going for him was that he played to the matchups. Remove predictability from the equation, and he's as frustratingly inconsistent as Cam Newton.
How can you trust him Week 17 at Green Bay? He threw two interceptions with no touchdown passes in his previous meeting with the Packers this year, so if you have a Mark Sanchez or even Newton type on the waiver wire, you might want to go that route instead.
Seahawks tight end Luke Willson turned in a huge game Week 16 against the Cardinals.
Willson only caught three passes, but made a huge impact. On his first reception of the game, Willson hauled in an 80 yard score from Russell Wilson. Willson got behind the defense, and was able to outrun everyone once he caught the pass. Late in the game, Willson pulled in a 39 yard reception. Later in the drive, he caught a 20 yard touchdown pass for his second score of the night. Willson finished with a team-high 139 yards.
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson picks up three scores Week 16
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson turned in a fantastic start Week 16 against the Cardinals.
Wilson completed 20 of 31 passes for 339 yards and two scores. Despite playing one of the tougher defenses in the NFL, Wilson did not turn the ball over during the contest. He had a mostly clear pocket, or at least was able to escape when things got muddy, taking just one sack. When Wilson did have time, he was able to hit on big play, averaging 10.9 yards per completion.
On top of that, Wilson turned in a fine game on the ground. An early 55 yard run started things off, but a late 5 yard scramble really put the nail in the coffin. Wilson stiff-armed a defender on his way to the end zone.
Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch finds the end zone twice Week 16
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch found the end zone twice Week 16 against the Cardinals.
Lynch didn't play the entire first quarter due to an upset stomach, but still managed to make a huge impact. On his fourth carry of the game, Lynch picked up a 6 yard touchdown. Lynch was mostly held in check other than that carry until the fourth quarter. On his final carry, Lynch ripped off a career-high 79 yard touchdown. It was vintage Lynch, as he stiff-armed a defender and broke multiple tackles on his way to the end zone. He finished with 113 rushing yards.
Getting a chance for extensive playing time with Julian Edelman sidelined by a concussion, Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola took over as quarterback Tom Brady's preferred underneath route runner, leading the team with 11 targets. He caught a season-high eight passes for 63 yards.
The Patriots are notoriously tight-lipped about injuries, so no one can say for sure if Edelman will also miss Week 17 against Buffalo, but it's nice to know Amendola can step in with similar numbers if he does. For Edelman owners, he's worth adding as handcuff in case Edelman can't go, and in PPR leagues, he might be worth adding whether or not you own Edelman.
Just understand that, like Edelman, you shouldn't be counting on him for big yardage, just lots and lots of opportunities.
The Patriots have played some weird games against Jets in recent years, including a 27-25 squeaker when they were at their hottest back in Week 7. So perhaps it's not surprising quarterback Tom Brady wasn't at his best Week 16 at the Jets as the Patriots eked out another victory, this time by just one point.
He completed 23 of 35 passes for 182 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He was coming off a streak of 10 games with both 200-plus passing yards and two-plus touchdowns.
Brady was playing without his top target, wide receiver Julian Edelman, who was out with a concussion. But with Rob Gronkowski and Brandon LaFell still at his disposal and Danny Amendola filling in capably, that likely wasn't the reason for his struggles. The matchup shouldn't have been either given where the Jets rank against the pass, but in three of his last four games against the division rival, Brady has thrown for less than two scores. And in all four, he's thrown for less than 300 yards.
Maybe it's just a matter of them being too familiar with each other. In any case, you shouldn't let this performance discourage you from starting Brady Week 17 against Buffalo unless of course the Patriots have already secured homefield advantage throughout the playoffs by that point.
Seahawks tight end Cooper Helfet was able to return Week 16 against the Cardinals.
Helfet was carted off in the first half with a rib injury. He was initially ruled questionable to return to the contest, but was cleared to return after half time. Helfet returned at the start of the third quarter.
LeGarrette Blount was out for Week 16 at the Jets with a shoulder injury, which meant surely the Patriots would make Jonas Gray their go-to running back. After all, he had a 200-yard, four-touchdown game earlier this season and finally got out of coach Bill Belichick's doghouse with 11 carries for 62 yards last week.
Gray was the Patriots' only running back to score a touchdown in Week 16, plunging in from 1 yard out in the fourth quarter, but to say he was the go-to back would be disingenuous. He and Shane Vereen tied for the team lead in carries with six, but Brandon Bolden also had five. And Vereen and Bolden were both more productive with their carries, averaging 6.3 yards and 6.4 yards, respectively, than Gray was with his, averaging 0.8 yards.
And then there's the fact that Vereen is far and away the best pass-catcher of the three, but he was hardly involved in the passing game on a quiet day for quarterback Tom Brady.
So basically, you wouldn't have gone right with any of Blount's three replacements, and considering they were all equally involved, you have to wonder how they'll impact Blount's role if he returns Week 17 against Buffalo. Given that it's a tough matchup anyway, you might just want to avoid every Patriots running back.
Coming off their best performance of the season, the Ravens DST unit failed to live up to expectations in Week 16's 25-13 loss to the Texans.
The Ravens mostly held the Texans offense in check, limiting them to 313 yards of total offense. However, the Texans had the ball in the red zone seven times, and were able to rack up a solid scoring day despite being held to just one touchdown, as they kicked six field goals in the win. The Ravens forced just one turnover, and failed to sack Case Keenum in the loss.
The Ravens finished Sunday's game with just 5 Fantasy points, one week after dropping 26 against the Jaguars. They will look to bounce back in Week 17, as they face the Browns in the season finale.