James Morris hails from Rio Rancho, NM and has been playing fantasy sports for just over 15 years. Not only does he write the Bengals fantasy section, but he also does the Miami Dolphins fantasy section. Crossing over, Morris writes the fantasy sections for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA. Just send him an email and he will reply back the same day with your answer. Or, find him on Twitter (Fantasyguy23) and get all your NFL news before it hits the national media. *
Sunday was not without its glory as we saw teams clinch playoff spots, fantasy owners win and lose league championships, and even an NFL record broken. The Patriots, Bengals and Panthers all clinched playoff spots while Peyton Manning set an NFL record by throwing 51 touchdown passes this season, beating Tom Brady's mark of 50 set back in 2007.
But it was one player who stood head and shoulders above the rest on Sunday, a guy that I recommended starting and is sure to go down as the fantasy MVP of Week 16: Andy Dalton. I'll talk more about Dalton below, but it is a nice feeling when you can recommend a guy over and over to people and he comes through in the most important game of the fantasy season. Dalton was drafted by most somewhere in the 13th-round range, and he ended up being the one that carried teams across the finish line while quarterbacks like Cam Newton and Drew Brees managed a single touchdown and lost their owners a league title.
Then you have the Sunday night game where I had to keep in constant text contact with Chris Da' Bears fan out in Temecula, CA to make sure he wasn't trying to cut a deal with the devil to roll back the hands of time and prevent that game from ever happening. Thank God for late game junk stats; otherwise I could have made a whole list of Bears players for the losers section!
I know I always say don't get cute, but there are times when I go against the grain and play the hotter player when it counts most.
Andy Dalton – QB, Bengals: Dalton and the Bengals put the Vikings in a hurt-locker on Sunday as he threw the ball for 366 yards and four touchdowns. Dalton picked on CB Chris Cook all day long and hooked up with A.J. Green seven times for 97 yards and 2 TDs. Dalton will go down as a fantasy hero this weekend as his 31.64 fantasy points on NFL.com were second only to Manning.
Geno Smith – QB, Jets: News broke Sunday morning that Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan told the team this week that he would probably be fired after the season. One reader asked me on Facebook why he would do that and I said to motivate them into finishing the season strong. That is just what happened as Smith finished with 214 yards passing, 48 yards rushing, and three touchdowns. I wouldn't get too excited Jets fans; the Browns defense is a middle of the pack defense this year and they are playing for next year's pick in the draft.
Donald Brown – RB, Colts: Brown is single-handedly making the Colts wish they had never traded for Trent Richardson as he racked up 110 total yards and two touchdowns against the once-fearsome Chiefs defense. For a guy everyone got off the waiver wire, those numbers aren't bad at all! Brown won't enter next season on the draft radar as Richardson is sure to be anointed the starter sometime in the offseason after the Colts gave up a 2014 first-round pick for him.
Joique Bell – RB, Lions: Ring me Bell… L… L... ring my Bell! It was the Joique Bell show on Sunday as the backup played ahead of starter Reggie Bush in the second half and finished with 91 rushing yards (on 20 carries), 10 receptions for 63 yards, and a touchdown. The 10 catches were a game high, and the 154 total yards were a season-high for Bell. With the Lions officially eliminated from the playoffs now, and Bell being a restricted free agent this offseason, those playing in Week 17 leagues will want to stick Bell in your lineup for sure.
Shonn Greene – RB, Titans: I was actually shocked to see that Greene is owned in 24.5 percent of NFL.com leagues, making me wonder if NFL.com averages about 1/4 of their leagues as being inactive. Either way, Greene had his best game of the season on Sunday as he rushed the ball 19 times for 91 yards and a touchdown. Chris Johnson ran the ball 22 times for 90 yards himself, so this was nothing more than the Titans taking advantage of a weak run defense by the Jaguars. If you played him, you just simply got lucky in this one, but it didn't matter because there is a zero percent chance you were in the championship with Shonn Greene playing in your lineup!
Nate Washington – WR, Titans: I remember back in Week 4 Washington was the MUST-OWN player off the waiver wire when he put up 105 receiving yards and two touchdowns against the Jets. The problem is it took him the next three games to equal that 105 yards, then the Titans had a bye in Week 8, and he averaged 54 yards with no touchdowns after that. That is until this weekend when he hauled in six passes for 117 yards and a touchdown against the Jaguars. The Titans have real problems at quarterback that they are going to have to address in one way or the other this offseason before Washington will be worth drafting next season.
Cordarrelle Patterson – WR, Vikings: Patterson may be a WR, but the Vikings have made a commitment to getting him involved in the offense whether it be by making catches or running the ball. In Week 16 he managed just eight yards on three catches, but gained 54 yards with a touchdown on three rushing attempts. Before you get excited, the TD came on a 35-yard run late in the game when the game was far from within reach. Patterson has shown the ability to make plays much like Percy Harvin, but will enter next season as a end of the draft kind of pick due to the Vikings QB situation.
Mercedes Lewis – TE, Jaguars: The virtually-unowned TE came through on Sunday as he hauled in five catches (on six targets) for 50 yards and a touchdown. In all fairness, 30 of those 50 yards came on one catch, and he scored on a 4-yard pass in the first quarter. Lewis was once on the fantasy radar, but is not worth owning as long as the Jaguars have the same lineup of QBs on the roster. It was a solid game by a guy nobody owned. It happens.
Cincinnati Bengals Defense: The Bengals defense had a field day against the Vikings as they filled the up box up with four sacks, three INTs, a recovered fumble, and a defensive touchdown. They did allow 14 points, but that didn't matter with all the defensive stats as they finished No. 2 in NFL.com leagues this weekend. The Bengals are a top 10 fantasy defense and will enter next season as a Def1 for draft purposes if no major (negative) moves happen in the offseason.
Philip Rivers – QB, Chargers: The Chargers may have won the game on Sunday, but Rivers didn't do fantasy owners any favors as he managed just 201 yards passing, a touchdown, an interception, and a lost fumble. Because of the lack of fantasy numbers, Rivers finished as a low-end QB2 in the fantasy championship game and could have cost a lot of owners a league title. The Chargers will have to do some work in the offseason for Rivers to be a QB you can draft and stick in the starting slot every single week.
Matthew Stafford – QB, Lions: Stafford came into Week 16 with back-to-back disappointing finishes for fantasy owners, and he didn't redeem himself by any stretch of the word with his performance on Sunday. Stafford finished with 222 passing yards, no TDs, two INTs, and a two-point conversion. The Giants are in the middle of the pack when it comes to fantasy points allowed to QBs this season, so it is a major disappointment to those who pinned their title hopes on a QB with the No. 1 WR in the NFL on his team. You'll see Megatron down below.
Matt Forte – RB, Bears: When I looked at this game I saw a shootout between two teams fighting for their playoff lives. Instead what happened was the Eagles dominated this game right from the coin toss. After the Bears fell behind 14-0 just minutes into the game, you could see the running game go right out the window. Normally that is no big deal for Forte because he is a dual-threat RB and can make his money in the passing game as well. However, that too was not to be as he finished with 54 total yards and no touchdowns. His 5.40 fantasy points on NFL.com in their standard scoring format ranked him outside the flex range at No. 41 for RBs this week.
Adrian Peterson – RB, Vikings: I'll be honest and say I don't think anyone expected much out of AP this week coming off an injury and facing a tough Bengals defense. So while his 47 total yards were disappointing, I know of more than a few owners who sat him down this week rather than risk him being the reason they lost the fantasy title.
Jordan Todman – RB, Jaguars: And here is the problem with playing any Jaguars player! It was announced late Sunday morning that Maurice Jones-Drew would start and Todman would play the change of pace role, which earned him a grand total of six carries, in which he gained six yards on. I was hoping that with nothing left to play for this season, and MJD being a FA this offseason, the Jaguars would see exactly what they have in Todman to finish out this season. But, alas that wasn't to be and I was wrong on this pick. Sorry to those who didn't get him switched out in time.
Darren Sproles – RB, Saints: Here is a preview of the season-ending article where I name the fantasy busts for 2013. Sproles did little to help fantasy owners (again) on Sunday as he managed just 20 total yards with no touchdowns. It is amazing to me that he is still owned in 92.6 of NFL.com leagues because I cut him in the one league I owned him in way back in Week 9 when he gained a total of two yards. While it is true the elite Panthers LB corps can be credited with this week's shutdown, Sproles has been a colossal bust this season and will need a complete 180-degree turnaround in the playoffs to even be worth drafting next season.
Larry Fitzgerald – WR, Cardinals: I warned people not to play Fitzgerald because he was coming off a concussion, and the Seahawks are playing defense as well as any team has all season right now. He managed just three catches for 18 yards in a game that saw all 12 points come from field goals. If Fitzgerald doesn't ask for a trade this offseason, I will be shocked and a little disappointed in him as the Cardinals are wasting the talents of what could be a Hall of Fame WR.
Calvin Johnson – WR, Lions: Megatron was a mega letdown on Sunday as he managed just 43 yards on three catches for the Lions. With Johnson being the No. 1 pick for some, and the No. 2 pick for most, the 43 yards on three catches and no touchdowns is going to be a hard pill to swallow. Hopefully you didn't put all your eggs in one basket and play Stafford as well!
DeAndre Hopkins – WR, Texans: I saw the Web site that Yahoo uses for their player news and information put Hopkins as a WR3 in their Week 16 rankings, which made me scratch my head since Matt Schaub would be the starter once again for the Texans. All Hopkins did was pull in one reception for eight yards, and it wasn't even for a touchdown. Hopkins has skills and could really make his mark opposite Andre Johnson if only the Texans had a quarterback who threw more TDs than INTs (Case Keenum had 6 INTs and 2 TDs over his last five games, and Schaub had 6 INTs and 2 TDs from Week 5 and beyond). If the Texans enter 2014 with the same QBs on the roster, Hopkins is going to be a lot like Patterson from the Vikings: a late-round flier pick you stash on the bench.
Jason Witten – TE, Cowboys: One would have thought that Witten would have been a part of the Cowboys game plan on Sunday considering the Redskins have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to TEs (on average) this season. But, that was not to be as Witten was targeted just two times on the day and finished with an empty 13 yards. With Dez Bryant seeing consistent double coverage, and no real discernment between the No. 2 and No. 3 WR spots in terms of production, the Cowboys would be wise to get him a lot more involved in Week 17 if Jason Garrett wants to keep his job.
Cleveland Browns Defense: Remember that Web site that Yahoo uses from above? Well, their fantasy "experts" put the Browns as their No. 4 fantasy defense this weekend. What happened you ask? Well, the Jets put up 24 points on the scoreboard and the Browns didn't get a single defensive stat for fantasy owners. Because of the combination of the two, the Browns lost fantasy owners 3.00 points this week. That's right; the Browns finished with -3.00 points and could conceivably lose a team the title in a closely matched head-to-head game.
Well there you have it fantasy football fans, the final winners and losers list for the 2013 NFL season. I will be doing a season in review article where I give you the fantasy studs and the fantasy duds for the year, so make sure you come back one last time to see who was naughty and who was nice this fantasy football season. Merry Christmas to you all!