Fantasy Fallout, Week 16: Where we have heroes…and we have goats…yet again

Welcome to the third edition of “Heroes & Goats” where we identify a few borderline players who stepped up big in the fantasy playoff along with a few who were major disappointments. If you’re like me and are sweating out a championship game — I’m up 36 in one league against Drew Brees and Garrett Hartley tomorrow night, which puts me in a precarious position — you’ll no doubt see a few familiar names below. Let’s start with our heroes.

HEROES

Danny Woodhead
Rob Gronkowski

I started both of these players in the aforementioned title game, and they stepped up big. Woody scored on a 29-yard run early in the game and finished with 125 total yards, while Gronkowski went for 4-54-2 with Aaron Hernandez sidelined. Gronk became a very solid TE1 start once Hernandez was ruled out, but Woody was a fringe guy that fantasy owners were running out there and hoping for the best. He delivered.

Matt Forte
Johnny Knox

It took a certain amount of courage to start Forte this week given his matchup with a good Jets rush defense and his spotty production at times. But he gained 169 total yards and scored on a 22-yard run. I was going against Knox in the aforementioned title game, which is why I’m still sweating that win out. Knox caught two TDs and racked up 92 yards through the air while facing Darrelle Revis and a pretty good Jets’ pass defense.

Aaron Rodgers
We expected a good game out of Rodgers, but not 404 yards and four TDs against a Giants’ defense that had been a bad matchup for opposing QBs this season.

Jamaal Charles
Dwayne Bowe

I thought I might be listing Charles here when the week started but I honestly didn’t see Bowe’s huge day coming. He had caught just three passes in the previous three games, but for those who kept the faith (or were forced to start him), he delivered with 6-153-1. Too bad his W14 and W15 production (3-56 total) probably meant that those fantasy owners weren’t playing in the title game. On a side note, Jamaal Charles is a stud. He had 117 total yards and two TDs on just 17 touches.

Mike Thomas
I have a buddy who had to run Thomas out there in semi-desperation and the guy delivered with six catches for 96 yards and a TD.

Carson Palmer
Did anyone start Carson Palmer in a one-QB league in a terrible matchup against the Chargers without his two best WRs? Anyone? Anyone? The guy posted 269 yards and threw four TDs. (By the way, fantasy owners should keep an eye on Jerome Simpson for next season.)

Tim Tebow

I’ll be apologizing a little later for some bad advice I gave out regarding a certain Jacksonville running back, but I will take a bow here. I liked Tebow this week given his matchup and he delivered with 308 passing yards and threw for a TD while running for another.

Josh Freeman
I might be saving the best for last. Freeman tossed two TDs in the first half, and seeing as he hadn’t thrown for more than two TDs all season, fantasy owners probably wouldn’t have been surprised if he were done for the day. Yeah, well…he wasn’t. Freeman tossed three more TDs in the second half as the Bucs uncharacteristically kept throwing even though they were playing with a lead the entire second half. Throw in 237 yards and 23 rushing yards (an overlooked part of Freeman’s fantasy game) and you have the makings of a great fantasy day.

GOATS

Ryan Fitzpatrick and any WR in the NE/BUF game
Steve Johnson posted 5-58, but otherwise this was a very quiet game for wide receivers. Deion Branch (2-25), Wes Welker (3-19) and my super-deep sleeper of the week, David Nelson (0-0), were all very quiet. Ryan Fitzpatrick also deserves mention as a disappointment — he had 251 yards passing, but threw three picks and didn’t throw a TD (in what was shaping up to be a great matchup with the Pats’ secondary).

Anquan Boldin
2-15. Hello? Anquan, are you there? Yeah, the fantasy playoffs are going on and you only managed 6-58 over the last three weeks. Thanks for nothing, man.

Peyton Hillis
I try not to be alarmist about midweek injuries with stud players, but the news surrounding Hillis this week wasn’t great and I should have listened. Still, it’s tough to take a top 5 fantasy RB and rank him in the mid-teens. He’s in the top 5 for a reason. But the Ravens shut him down (40 total yards) on Sunday.

Chris Johnson
I started CJ2K in the aforementioned title game, which is part of the reason I’m sweating this win out. He only gained 58 rushing yards as the Titans pretty much abandoned the run as the Chiefs jumped out early in the game. Still, we CJ owners believe that he should be used in the passing game when Tennessee falls behind, but he had nary a catch on just two targets. Sigh.

Rashad Jennings
Time for me to apologize. I was very high on Jennings. Top 10 high, given the way the Jags were running the ball of late, MJD’s absence, the Redskins’ defense and Jennings’ ability. But sometimes in fantasy football, all the stars can align for a big game and for one reason or another, the player just can’t deliver. In this case, the Redskins’ rush defense really stepped up, holding the Jags to just 3.4 ypc and Jennings to just 2.1 ypc. He did catch four passes for 29 yards, but that’s small consolation for PPR owners.

Vincent Jackson
Sorry, V-Jax, but 4-54 just doesn’t cut it given your matchup and lack of passing options for Philip Rivers. Freaking Legedu Naaneee outgained you (4-59). Sigh.

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