Championship week is the reason you invest in big-time players in your fantasy football drafts and auctions before the NFL season begins. Even though the blue chips usually pay off, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for some big surprises and disappointments when you’re going for a championship.
Aaron Rodgers has been on fire and he saved his best performance for Week 16 as he accounted for five touchdowns and threw for 347 yards.
Right behind Rodgers was Russell Wilson who threw for 350 yards and four touchdowns. Wilson had been a pretty big disappointment this season, recording subpar numbers in eight games. If you were able to weather the storm, he paid off in the end.
Tyrod Taylor has been a great streaming option all season, but it would have taken some guts to start him in championship week. He threw for 329 yards and three touchdowns in addition to rushing for 60 yards. Sam Bradford was another top quarterback this week that would have been tough to start.
David Johnson has clearly been the best running back to play the entire season. In Week 16 he surpassed 2,000 yards from scrimmage and tied Barry Sanders as the only other player to gain 100 yards from scrimmage in 15 straight games in a single season. He rushed for 95 yards and caught four passes for 41 yards and scored three times.
Had Le’Veon Bell played in the first three games of the year, he could’ve been the most productive back in the league. This week he rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown while catching three passes for 15 yards and another score.
Mark Ingram and LeSean McCoy also came through in the clutch for fantasy owners, both scoring and gaining more than 90 yards from scrimmage. Ezekiel Elliott didn’t even play the whole game on Monday night and still found a way to make the most of his 13 touches as he scored twice and gained 92 total yards.
Though it was a surprise performance this week, it shouldn’t have been, as Jay Ajayi rushed for over 200 yards for the third time this year. The last time Ajayi broke the 200-yard barrier it was against the same Bills he faced Saturday. His two previous subpar games heading into this week made his outburst a bit of a surprise.
An even bigger surprise out of Week 16 was the performance by DeAndre Washington. The Oakland rookie hadn’t gained more than 57 yards rushing in a game until he rushed for 99 and two touchdowns, outshining Latavius Murray Saturday.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the best, most unexpected day from the wideout position. Adam Thielen has definitely shown some signs of being productive, but nobody expected him to catch 12 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday. Just five percent of CBS fantasy players started the receiver. Playing for the Vikings, who struggle to score, and coming off a neck injury in Week 15 made his outburst all the more surprising.
Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham and Jordy Nelson put up big numbers as expected. Doug Baldwin, Sammy Watkins and Brandon Lafell also shined.
Dez Bryant proved his worth after a subpar season, scoring twice and even tossing a touchdown pass to Jason Witten on Monday night.
On the disappointing end of the spectrum were the Broncos receivers, who weren’t expected to have huge games, but combining for 46 yards was terrible.
Willie Snead was the odd man out in a good matchup against the Bucs where Michael Thomas and Brandin Cooks excelled.
On the running back front, the biggest surprise and disappointment was Doug Martin who was a healthy scratch. It was a fantasy owners’ worst nightmare.
DeMarco Murray and Frank Gore ran into some trouble, both failing to score while amassing less than 100 yards from scrimmage. Jeremy Hill was the biggest bust who played, rushing for just eight yards on seven carries as he battled a hurt knee.
It’s been tough predicting the play of tight ends all year, but if you went with the typical starters this week you did fine. Travis Kelce led the way, catching 11 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown while Antonio Gates gained 94 yards and scored.
Congrats to those who closed out the fantasy football season with a championship. For those in wacky leagues that play through Week 17, here are a few waiver wire suggestions.
- Blake Bortles, Jacksonville (He torched the Colts the last time out.)
- Jacquizz Rodgers, Buccaneers (12 touches, 63 yards, TD)
- Alex Collins, Seahawks (Thomas Rawls may not be able to face the 49ers next week.)
- Alfred Blue, Texans (Houston would be wise to let Lamar Miller rest up for the playoffs.)
- Zach Zenner, Lions (12-67, 2TDs)
- Adam Thielen, Vikings
- J.J. Nelson, Cardinals