The St. Louis Rams started off the season strong...and looked strong again in week 16 thanks to the passing of QB Marc Bulger and the running/receiving combo of stud RB Steven Jackson - Bulger threw 4 TDs and compiled 388 yards in the Rams OT win over the Washington Redskins. Rookie QB Vince Young is the future in Tennessee and is proving he's the man to build their team around...Young had another solid game in week 16 in which he scored 3 TDs and kept the Titans winning streak and playoff hopes alive. Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts are really falling on the road, but it isn't Peyton's fault...his fantasy owners (as long as they aren't Colts fans) are more than happy with Manning's 21 of 27 with 3 TD performance in week 16. The Detroit Lions have a horrible record with just 2 wins, but Jon Kitna continues to throw with up-and-down success for the Lions...Kitna threw 45 times for 283 yards and 3 TDs against the Chicago Bears on Sunday. Steve McNair's move from Tennessee to the Baltimore Ravens has appeared to work out for both teams (and daring owners who drafted McNair)...McNair threw for 256 yards and 3 TDs in the home field clinching win for the Ravens over the Steelers.
*Young added 61 rushing yards on 8 carries (including a TD)
Stud RB Steven Jackson leads all running backs in receptions (88) and receiving yardage (782)...and trails LaDainian Tomlinson in total yardage by only 75 with 2168 for the season - Jackson's 252 total yards and 2 TDs against the Washington Redskins certainly helped his season totals and solidified Superbowl chances for his FFL owners. Rookie Maurice Jones-Drew may not be a lock for rookie of the year - but he has to be a leading candidate...Jones-Drew's 172 total yards on Sunday moved him among the leaders in overall yardage and his 2 TDs in week 16 moved him into a tie for 4th with 14 on the season (not including his special teams TDs). Ladell Betts continues to prove that the Skins are fine without Clinton Portis...Betts had 164 total yards and 2 TDs against the Rams (RBs Betts and Jackson combined for an unbelievable 416 total yards in the Rams-Skins game!). Ron Dayne ran at will on the Colts to the tune of 153 rushing yards and 2 TDs. Shaun Alexander's 140 rushing yards and 2 scores weren't enough to upset the San Diego Chargers in Seattle. New Orleans Saints rookie Reggie Bush linked another solid performance with 149 total yards and a TD. Frank Gore slipped a little in yardage rankings with only 86 on the day...but Gore made up to his fantasy owners with a couple of TDs against the Cardinals on Sunday. Rudi Johnson put 140 total yards and a TD on the board for the Cincinnati Bengals in Denver. Larry Johnson's 135 rushing yards (and TD) may be nice for his fantasy owners, but the downward spiral of the Chiefs of late isn't helping Johnson's attitude recently. Deuce McAllister proved again why they need his output in New Orleans...his 122 yards and a score helped to put the Saints over the Giants on the road. Buffalo Bills RB Willis McGahee went for over 100 yards and a score against the Titans in week 16. Michael Pittman probably didn't see too many fantasy lineups, but he did get in the game for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and put up over 100 total yards with a TD. Jamal Lewis and Mike Bell each put up nice yardage and a score apiece to help their teams heading into the AFC playoffs. Travis Henry, Leon Washington, LaDainian Tomlinson, Brian Westbrook, Ronnie Brown, Edgerrin James, Joseph Addai, and DeShaun Foster all went for over 100 yards...but none of the lot made it into the endzone in week 16.
For the second week in a row, Marvin Harrison led all FFL WRs...Harrison caught 8 balls for 112 yards and a couple of TDs to move him into 2nd in receiving yardage (1292), receptions (90), and TDs (11). Vincent Jackson is a virtual no-name fantasy WR (unless you're a San Diego fan), but Jackson's 2 TDs in week 16 paid off huge for any fantasy owner who gambled and started him (doubtful if anyone had him in their lineup). Isaac Bruce's 9 grabs for 148 yards and a score were nice for his fantasy owners. Steve McNair is starting to find Mark Clayton...who again played a key role in the Ravens offense with 7 catches for 108 yards and a score. Mike Furrey continues to amaze in Detroit...this time against the tenacious Bears D with 10 grabs for 107 yards and a score. Brandon Jones was a nice target for Vince Young this week with 101 receiving yards (plus a TD). T.J. Houshmandzadeh's 9 catches for 94 yards and a score may have satisfied his fantasy owners, but weren't enough for the Bengals to defeat Denver on the road. Larry Fitzgerald had 90+ yards and a score in the Cards victory over the Niners. Roy Williams, Matt Jones, and Lee Evans all had decent yardage and a score apiece. Both Ronald Currey and Donald Driver had several receptions and around 100 yards receiving...but neither was able to cross the goalline.
I guess anyone can catch a ball in New England's offense from QB Tom Brady...and when guys like Ben Watson are injured, then replacements like David Thomas step up with 5 receptions for 83 yards and a score. Chris Cooley was again a key target from Skins QB Jason Campbell with 7 receptions for 77 yards and a TD. Randy McMichael was one of the few bright spots for the Dolphins with 5 grabs for 46 yards and a TD. Dominique Byrd, Matt Schobel, and Dan Campbell each had 2 receptions for 30+ yards...but the trio were all able to convert one of their two grabs for a TD. Rookie TE Vernon Davis continues to step up for the 49ers...Davis had 91 yards in receptions against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Tony Scheffler made our list again with a TD in week 16. L.J. Smith isn't missing a beat with QB Jeff Garcia's replacement of Donovan McNabb...Smith caught 2 balls for a whopping 77 yards against the Dallas Cowboys on MNF. Heath Miller had a TD for the Pittsburgh Steelers in their playoff ending loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Tony Gonzalez appeared to be one of the only bright spots for the sliding Chiefs down the stretch...Gonzo caught 5 balls for 67 yards in another KC loss.
News and Notes - Matt Leinart suffered a 1st degree separated shoulder just before halftime in week 16 and is likely done for the season...The San Diego Chargers appear to have a near lock on home field advantage throughout the playoffs in the AFC - the Baltimore Ravens should end up with the second week 1 bye...With only 1 wild card spot up for grabs in the NFC, the Giants, Packers, Falcons, Panthers, and Rams all have 7-8 records and are competing for the berth...The Jets and Broncos appear to have the 2 wild card spots in the AFC with 9-6 records, but the Bengals, Jaguars, Titans, and Chiefs are all waiting in the wings with 8-7 records should they falter (although doubtful)...Once thought to be the team to beat in the NFL, the Colts have blundered 4 games on the road after starting off the season at 9-0 - and are now likely without a 1st round playoff bye (with a very suspect running game)...The Tennessee Titans have won 6 straight games (after starting 2-7) thanks to the efforts of rookie QB Vince Young...There is no TNF or MNF game this week, but the SNF (Saturday) game on the NFL Network features New York Giants @ Washington Redskins...Most FFLers are done for the season with most Superbowls being played in week 16 (due to a crapshoot scenario with many teams typically resting skill players to prepare for playoffs)...But with most NFL teams not having anything clinched (other than Bears), week 17 will feature most all skill players on the field with seeding spots in jeopardy - which will be helpful to those leagues who still have a week 17 Superbowl
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