If you had Kirk Cousins, Blake Bortles or Drew Brees in your starting line up in Week 16 then there's a good chance you are celebrating a potential Fantasy championship. But the same can't be said of owners who started Cam Newton, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers, who were all bad at the worst possible time.
Newton (13 Fantasy points in a standard league), Brady (13 points), Rodgers (nine points) and Roethlisberger (four points) were all terrible, and they likely cost many owners a victory. If you survived in spite of your quarterback with any of these guys then consider yourself lucky.
Newton had his worst game of the season at Atlanta, and this was after he had 51 Fantasy points in Week 15 at the Giants and scored at least 21 points in seven of his past eight games. The good news is for anyone who plays into Week 17 is that Newton and the Panthers will now have to play a full game against Tampa Bay to hold off Arizona for the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC.
Brady, who was playing without Julian Edelman (foot) and Danny Amendola (knee), also had his worst game of the season at the Jets. He had scored at least 22 Fantasy points in four games in a row, and he had 33 points against the Jets in Week 7. His offensive line let him down, and his receivers struggled to get open in the rematch. Brady might now need to play a full game in Week 17 at Miami to lock up the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC if the Bengals beat the Broncos on Monday night.
Roethlisberger had one of the easiest matchups of the week at Baltimore, but the Ravens did everything they could to play spoiler for their AFC North rival. This was also Roethlisberger's worst game of the season, and he's now posted fewer than 10 Fantasy points in his past two road games at Cincinnati in Week 14 and Sunday at Baltimore. He closes the season at Cleveland in Week 17, and Pittsburgh can still get into the playoffs with a win. We expect him to perform much better against the Browns, so keep him active in all leagues.
Rodgers has been trending in the wrong direction for a while now, and this was his second-worst game of the season (he scored six points at Denver in Week 8). But he's now scored 15 points or less in three of his past five games, and his receiving corps and offensive line continue to struggle. He closes the season against the Vikings at home in Week 17 with the NFC North title on the line, and he had 22 Fantasy points at Minnesota in Week 11. He's also scored at least 22 Fantasy points in five of seven home games this year, so he should remain a low-end starting option in the season finale.
It was rough watching guys like Brandon Weeden, Sam Bradford, Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Mallett outscore some of the elite Fantasy quarterbacks in Week 16. We hope you still won in spite of the poor play from Newton, Brady, Roethlisberger and Rodgers, but chances are these four quarterbacks left a lot of Fantasy owners disappointed in their championship games.
Player on the rise
Player on the decline
- Cousins carried many Fantasy owners to a championship with his performance at Philadelphia on Saturday. He scored at least 40 Fantasy points for the second week in a row, and he closed the season with at least 23 points in four of his final five games. You can't count on him in Week 17, however, because the Redskins have locked up the NFC East division and have nothing to play for as the No. 4 seed. He might not play a full game at Dallas in Week 17 and should be benched in the majority of leagues.
- Bortles and Brees put on a show in Week 16 at New Orleans, and it was great to watch for Fantasy owners. Bortles had 36 Fantasy points, with most of it coming in a second-half comeback that fell short. And Brees had 34 Fantasy points despite playing through the torn plantar fascia in his right foot. Bortles has scored at least 25 Fantasy points in five games in a row, and he should remain a Top 10 quarterback in Week 17 even in a tough matchup at the Texans. Brees also should be a Top 10 quarterback in Week 17 at Atlanta, and it appears like his foot injury won't be a problem for him to finish the year.
- Matthew Stafford had another solid outing in Week 16 against the 49ers with 25 Fantasy points, and he's now scored at least 20 points in five of his past six games. Four of those games have come at home (the fifth was at New Orleans), so take that into account heading into Week 17 at Chicago. Still, with the way Stafford is playing now, he should be considered a starter against the Bears to close the season. He had 41 Fantasy points against Chicago in Week 6.
- Russell Wilson had his worst game of the season in a while in Week 16 against St. Louis with 22 Fantasy points, but he needed a late touchdown to save his day. Still, the production is what counts, and he's now scored at least 22 Fantasy points in six games in a row. He has a tough matchup in Week 17 at Arizona, and the last time he failed to score at least 20 Fantasy points was Week 10 against the Cardinals. He should be considered a low-end starting option against Arizona since the Cardinals should go all out in that game with the No. 1 seed in the NFC on the line.
- Jameis Winston needed a 43-yard Hail Mary touchdown in the fourth quarter to Austin Seferian-Jenkins to help him score 22 Fantasy points, which gave him at least 20 points for the third time in the past four games. It's great to see him closing the season on a high note with his Fantasy production, but it will be hard to trust him in Week 17 at Carolina. He had 16 Fantasy points against the Panthers in Week 4.
- Matt Ryan played well in leading the Falcons to an upset victory against the Panthers, but he scored just 16 Fantasy points. He's now scored 16 points or less in five games in a row. But in Week 17 he faces the Saints at home, and we expect him to end his season on a high note. He scored 22 Fantasy points at New Orleans in Week 6, and that's a reasonable stat line for him to reach in the rematch. He should be considered a low-end starting option in Week 17.
- Teddy Bridgewater followed up his five-touchdown outing in Week 15 against Chicago with 13 Fantasy points against the Giants in Week 16. He didn't have to do much in this blowout victory, and he should be considered a No. 2 Fantasy option in the majority of leagues at Green Bay in Week 17.
- Johnny Manziel the quarterback wasn't so good at Kansas City in Week 16 with 136 passing yards and an interception. But Manziel the running back was great with 11 carries for 108 yards. We hope he finishes the season strong against Pittsburgh in Week 17, and it's a great matchup for him. He's worth using as a streaming option if you play into the final week of the season.
Player on the rise
- Forte expects to play in Week 17 against the Lions, but he was held to three carries after halftime against Tampa Bay in Week 16. He finished with 11 carries for 54 yards and three catches for 23 yards, and we'll see what Chicago does with Forte in Week 17 in what could be his final game with the Bears since he's an impending free agent. We could see more of Jeremy Langford, who had 19 carries for 83 yards against the Buccaneers, and would be a great play if Forte is out. And Ka'Deem Carey also played a role against Tampa Bay with seven carries for 16 yards and a touchdown and a 1-yard touchdown catch.
- I liked Frank Gore heading into Week 16 at Miami because he was playing in his hometown for the first time in his career in a great matchup. He was better than I expected with a season-high 21 Fantasy points, and we hope he can finish the season strong in Week 17 against the Titans. He had 20 points at Tennessee in Week 2, so he should be considered a No. 2 Fantasy running back in the season finale.
- Doug Martin had a rough day against the Bears with 17 carries for 49 yards and a touchdown and two lost fumbles. He also had one catch for 6 yards and finished with six Fantasy points in a standard league. Charles Sims had the better Fantasy outing with 17 Fantasy points thanks to three catches for 72 yards and a touchdown, but Martin should rebound in Week 17 at Carolina. We consider him a low-end No. 1 running back in that matchup, and he had 19 Fantasy points against the Panthers in Week 4.
- Javorius Allen rebounded from two awful games against Seattle and Kansas City where he combined for just two Fantasy points to score 16 points against the Steelers in Week 16. He ended a two-game stretch where he failed to score a touchdown or lose a fumble, and we hope he closes the season strong at Cincinnati. He should be considered a low-end No. 2 running back or flex option against the Bengals in Week 17.
- LeSean McCoy (knee) could return in Week 17 against the Jets, but he wasn't missed much in Week 16 by the Bills with how well Karlos Williams and Mike Gillislee played against Dallas. Williams had 17 carries for 76 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 21 yards, but he lost a fumble. And Gillislee had nine carries for 93 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 16 yards. He also nearly caught a touchdown that was ruled down at the 1-yard line and led to the score for Williams. If McCoy is out against the Jets then consider Williams a No. 2 running back, and Gillislee is worth using as a flex option in all leagues.
- Todd Gurley struggled in the first half at Seattle in Week 16, but he finished the game strong with St. Louis sitting on the lead and scored 14 Fantasy points in a standard league. He has now scored at least 13 points in three games in a row and should close the season strong at San Francisco in Week 17. He had 20 Fantasy points against the 49ers in Week 8.
- Devonta Freeman is also closing the season strong after he had 14 Fantasy points in a standard league against Carolina in Week 16. This is now two games in a row with at least 14 points after he went three games in a row with single digits in points. He should have the chance for another big game against the Saints in Week 17, and he had 27 Fantasy points at New Orleans in Week 6.
- Statistically, Eddie Lacy was the lone bright spot for the Packers on offense at Arizona in Week 16. He had 12 carries for 60 yards and one catch for 28 yards and a touchdown. It was good to see him find the end zone, and he's now scored double digits in Fantasy points in four of his past six games, including Week 11 at Minnesota when he scored 10 points. He should be considered a No. 2 running back in the rematch with the Vikings in Week 17.
- The Dolphins gave Lamar Miller a relatively heavy workload in Week 16 against the Colts, and he rewarded Fantasy owners with 12 points in a standard league. He had 15 carries for 31 yards and a touchdown and five catches for 36 yards. The 15 carries were the most he's had in his past three games, and the five catches were the most he had since Week 10. Jay Ajayi only had nine carries for 23 yards, so Miller should continue to get more work in Week 17 against New England. It will help Miller's cause if the Patriots have nothing to play for next week.
- We expected Bilal Powell to play better than Chris Ivory in Week 16 against the Patriots, and he did with seven carries for 56 yards and five catches for 34 yards compared to 11 carries for 38 yards and four catches for 4 yards for Ivory. Now, Ivory dealt with a knee injury in the game and missed some time, but he should be fine for Week 17 at Buffalo. Since the Bills have struggled in run defense most of the season we would consider Ivory a No. 2 running back in that matchup, and Powell is a high-end flex option.
- The Seahawks running back situation was a mess against the Rams with Christine Michael, Bryce Brown and Fred Jackson all sharing touches. Michael had six carries for 6 yards and two catches for 14 yards, Brown had seven carries for 9 yards and Jackson had two carries for 11 yards and five catches for 43 yards. We wouldn't trust any of these guys in Week 17 at Arizona given the timeshare, and maybe Marshawn Lynch (abdomen) could return for a tune-up game prior to the playoffs.
- Charcandrick West played well in Week 16 against the Browns, but he didn't get the touches I was hoping for as the Start of the Week with 14 carries for 62 yards and one catch for minus-1 yard. Kansas City barely had the ball in the second half, and West failed to score a touchdown. Spencer Ware was back in action with five carries for 15 yards, but West is the No. 1 option in this backfield. He remains a solid No. 2 running back in Week 17 against Oakland.
- Adrian Peterson and Jerick McKinnon dominated the Giants on Sunday night as both running backs scored at least 17 Fantasy points. McKinnon had the better game with 20 Fantasy points, but Peterson carried the offense as expected with 22 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown and one catch for 15 yards despite dealing with an ankle injury coming into the game. He is looking to wrap up the rushing title in Week 17 at Green Bay and should finish the season strong.
Player on the rise
Player on the decline
- Julio Jones gave us all a good lesson in Week 16 why you should always play your best players no matter the matchup. Facing the Panthers, Jones had nine catches for 178 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets. The yards were a season high, and he scored a 70-yard touchdown with Josh Norman nowhere near him in coverage. It was his first touchdown against Carolina in his past four meetings with the Panthers, and he should be exceptional in Week 17 against the Saints, who he had nine Fantasy points against in Week 6.
- The Jets took advantage of an injured New England secondary to give Brandon Marshall (23 Fantasy points) and Eric Decker (10 points) another big game. These two have been awesome this year, and they should go out with another strong performance in Week 17 at Buffalo. Marshall has scored double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in seven of his past nine games, and Decker has done that in eight of his past nine outings.
- The Jaguars duo of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns was also impressive as both scored at least 21 Fantasy points in a standard league at New Orleans. Hurns had 22 Fantasy points, and this was the ninth game this season where he's scored a touchdown. Robinson had 21 Fantasy points, and he's now scored double digits in Fantasy points in 10 of his past 11 games. Both receivers should be considered must-start options in Week 17 at Houston even in a tough matchup.
- Tyler Lockett left Sunday's game against the Rams with concussion symptoms, but he was cleared to return and finished the game. He had his worst game in his past four outings with just three Fantasy points, but Doug Baldwin stayed hot with 17 Fantasy points despite dealing with a hamstring problem coming into the game. He has now scored 11 touchdowns in his past five games. Jermaine Kearse also scored against the Rams and finished with nine Fantasy points. Baldwin is the only must-start Seattle receiver, but he has a tough matchup in Week 17 at Arizona. He had 19 Fantasy points against the Cardinals in Week 10, but we expect him to struggle with Patrick Peterson in the rematch.
- Jordan Matthews should be given the nickname of Mr. Garbage Time because that's generally when he scores most of his Fantasy points. It happened again Saturday night against the Redskins when he scored a late touchdown and finished with 16 Fantasy points in a standard league, and he's now scored at least nine points in four of his past five games. He should be considered a borderline starter in all Fantasy leagues in Week 17 at the Giants.
- Speaking of the Giants, Rueben Randle took advantage of Odell Beckham being out with his suspension and scored 14 Fantasy points in Week 16 at Minnesota with two catches for 80 yards and a touchdown. It was a fluky touchdown where he bounced off a defender and scored, but it was good to see him find the end zone. All the Giants should be considered good options in Week 17 against the Eagles, including Randle as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver since Beckham will be back in action.
- The Cardinals receivers were all productive to various degrees in Week 16 against the Packers. Michael Floyd was again the best option with six catches for 111 yards on eight targets. Larry Fitzgerald snapped a six-game streak without a touchdown with four catches for 29 yards and a score on five targets. And John Brown had three catches for 25 yards and a touchdown on four targets. Heading into Week 17 against Seattle, the Arizona receivers should still be ranked Floyd, Brown and Fitzgerald in most formats. Floyd and Brown are must-start options in the majority of leagues, and Fitzgerald is just a No. 3 receiver even with the touchdown against Green Bay.
- The Lions pecking order at receiver was right again with Calvin Johnson back on top and Golden Tate playing a secondary role against the 49ers. Johnson had six catches for 77 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets, and he snapped a two-game streak where he scored one Fantasy point in each game. He should close the season playing well at Chicago in what could be his final game as a member of the Lions in Week 17 since his salary could become an issue in Detroit heading into next year. Johnson had 22 Fantasy points against the Bears in Week 6. Tate, meanwhile, failed to score for the first time in three games and scored just five Fantasy points against the 49ers. He will be a No. 3 receiver against the Bears in Week 17.
- Ginn left Sunday's game at Atlanta with a calf injury, and he finished with one catch for 9 yards, which snapped his three-game streak of scoring two touchdowns in a game. We'll see if he plays in Week 17 against Tampa Bay with the playoffs looming, but Ginn going down was likely part of the reason Newton struggled against the Falcons.
Player on the rise
Player on the decline
Tight end injuries: No one of significance
- Zach Ertz hasn't quite been at Reed's level lately, but he's not far behind with a touchdown or 90-plus receiving yards in four games in a row. He was a star in Week 16 against Washington, especially in PPR leagues, with 13 catches for 122 yards on 17 targets, although he lost a fumble. He should be considered a Top 5 tight end heading into Week 17 at the Giants, who have struggled with tight ends all season and just allowed Kyle Rudolph to score 11 Fantasy points in a standard league.
- Vance McDonald took advantage of a great matchup in Week 16 at Detroit with five catches for 61 yards and a touchdown on seven targets. He has been a go-to option for Blaine Gabbert when healthy and now has at least 12 Fantasy points in three of his past five games. He suffered a concussion in Week 13 at Chicago and sat out Week 14 at Cleveland. After shaking off the rust in Week 15 against Cincinnati he was back producing at a high level against the Lions, and I would consider him a solid streaming option against the Rams in Week 17.
- Travis Kelce has been a disappointment this season, but he's played well over the past two games against Baltimore and Cleveland, which has hopefully helped Fantasy owners at the right time. He had six catches for 73 yards on seven targets against the Ravens in Week 15 and then had six catches for 43 yards and a touchdown on eight targets against the Browns. He closes the season against the Raiders in Week 17 and should remain a starting option in the majority of leagues, although he had just two catches for 42 yards at Oakland in Week 13.
- Zach Miller and Will Tye were two tight ends many Fantasy owners picked up to play in Week 16, and both had differing results. Miller, who was playing without Alshon Jeffery (hamstring), had seven catches for 69 yards at Tampa Bay. And Tye, who was playing without Beckham, had three catches for 28 yards at Minnesota. Both should improve in Week 17 since Miller gets a dream matchup with the Lions, and Tye faces an Eagles defense that couldn't stop Reed.