Fantasy Football: Top Surprises and Performances From Week 16

Keet BaileyCorrespondent IIDecember 27, 2010

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 26:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers is chased out of the pocket against the New York Giants at Lambeau Field on December 26, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Week 16 is coming to a close, and as we inch closer and closer to the end of the NFL and fantasy football season, we all start to grow a bit sadder.

Unfortunately, we can’t play fantasy football for 52 weeks a year. However, I’m somewhat thankful that we can’t, because it’s nice to have a little bit of a break, and it’s exciting to plan for fantasy football drafts for the upcoming year, and projecting rookie stats, comeback players, etc.

Week 16 didn’t fail to surprise us again, as we have had, yet another, NFL season filled with parity. After the Denver Broncos poor defensive play this season, many of us thought for sure that the Texans would dominate offensively. Unfortunately for Texans fans, they lost yet another game.

The Washington Redskins lowly defense played surprisingly decent against David Garrard and the Jaguars, holding them to just 17 points and potentially knocking them out of the playoffs.

But in terms of individual fantasy performances, these are the guys that take the cake:

10. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

Now Aaron Rodgers on this list seems a bit silly, as we know just how amazing the young quarterback is. But there was a small chance he wouldn’t play this week, and if he did, many were worried that he’d struggle against a tough Giants defense.

In fact, the exact opposite happened. Rodgers went on to throw for 404 yards and four touchdowns with zero interceptions against the Giants, who are known for their December struggles. Rodgers scored 34 points for fantasy owners in what is most likely their Championship game.

9. Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Earlier in our Sunday Live Chat, we had a few people curious as to if they should start Josh Freeman. We mentioned that the matchup was great, and if you didn’t have anybody better, then why not? Good for them as Freeman threw for not three, not four, but FIVE touchdown passes in a route of Seattle.

I personally expected LeGarrette Blount to lead the charge and score a couple of times while running for 130-140 yards. He performed well also, but he didn’t score as Freeman hogged all the touchdowns. Freeman scored 31 points for fantasy owners.

8. Michael Crabtree, WR, San Francisco 49ers

Thanks for inconsistent quarterback play, and inexperience, Crabtree has had just a mediocre season. Before today, he caught five touchdown passes, and had just one 100+ yard game.

But Crabtree caught six passes for 122 yards and a touchdown pass on Sunday in a very tough loss to the division rival St. Louis Rams. The 49ers needed this victory to try and win the division, and they came up just a bit short, but Crabtree still rewarded his owners with 18 points.

7. Jared Cook, TE, Tennessee Titans

I really loved Jared Cook coming out of the NFL Draft in 2009. He’s such a great athlete for a guy with a big frame, and he can make plays. Unfortunately, he hasn’t seen as much playing time because of the system in Tennessee, and because Bo Scaife has been the starter for the last couple of seasons.

But Cook has taken full advantage of Scaife when he’s been inactive, catching a few nice balls and making plays after the catch. In a blowout by Kansas City, Cook still caught five passes for 96 yards, including a touchdown, which rewarded any fantasy owners with 15 points.

6. Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers

It has only taken three seasons, but Jordy Nelson finally has his first 100-yard receiving performance. Nelson is a good sized, quick slot receiver that has been overshadowed by Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, and James Jones.

But against the Giants, Nelson played very well, catching four passes for 124 yards and a touchdown. The 80 yard play was the longest of his career, and if anybody took a chance starting him, they were excited about the 16 points he put up in fantasy football.

5. Andre Roberts, WR, Arizona Cardinals

If you can list the top two receivers for Arizona in Saturday Night’s win without looking, you win. I’ll give you a hint, the guy we’re talking about is #1. The second leading receiver for the Cardinals wasn’t Larry Fitzgerald, or even Steve Breaston. It was Max Komar.

John Skelton threw for just 183 yards on Saturday night. But 110 of them were to former Citadel receiver Andre Roberts. Roberts has a 74 yard touchdown, and caught five total passes. Most likely you didn’t risk putting Roberts in your lineup. It’s hard enough putting Breaston or Fitz in there as it is. But Roberts totaled 17 points for the few fantasy owners that may have started him.

4. John Kuhn, RB, Green Bay Packers

The 5th year veteran out of Shippensburg (I’m still not sold that it’s a real school), had more touchdowns in Sunday afternoon’s effort against the Giants than he had in his previous four seasons combined.

Kuhn only rushed the ball six times. And on top of that, he only rushed for 22 yards. But he scored two rushing touchdowns, and added a five yard reception for a touchdown in the middle of the fourth quarter. That’s three touchdowns for a guy who had just two total in four other seasons. Kuhn rewarded any owners of his with a great 20 point performance.

3. Carson Palmer, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

What I am about to tell you may blow your mind. Carson Palmer threw for four touchdowns on Sunday. Wait, there’s more. He did NOT record an interception. Hold your horses, there’s more. He did it against the San Diego Chargers tough defense. Last one, because there is STILL more. He did it without both Chad Ochocinco AND Terrell Owens.

If you don’t believe me, then check the box score. I had a double take… maybe it was a quadruple take. The Bengals put a beating on the Chargers who needed to win out to become playoff bound after a Kansas City win. Palmer used Andre Caldwell, Jerome Simpson, and Jermaine Gresham to total 260 yards and four touchdowns, en route to 26 fantasy points.

2. Correll Buckhalter, RB, Denver Broncos

Knowshon Moreno fans have to be frustrated. Moreno plays well for a few weeks after coming back from injury, and then injures his ribs and struggles in Weeks 15 and 16. But have no fear, as Correll Buckhalter is here.

Buckhalter rushed for just 42 yards on 11 carries, but had a touchdown on the ground. He added 50 yards on three catches and a touchdown as well, totaling two touchdowns and 92 yards for the day. He gave any fantasy owners (which is unlikely) 21 points, which is very respectable.

1. Jerome Simpson, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

Remember a couple of names ago when we discussed Carson Palmer? Yeah, this is the guy he got most of his yardage through. Simpson is in his third season from Coastal Carolina, and had caught just three passes in his career prior to this performance.

With Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco out of the lineup, somebody had to step up, and Simpson was that man. Simpson caught six passes against a very good San Diego defense, and had 124 yards. He added two touchdowns in that mix, being the best fantasy receiver for Week 16 scoring 24 points.


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