Championship Week! Unless you’re in a league that actually counts Week 17 (lame), your fantasy season is over. Week 16 was full of surprises as several studs sat out (MJD, Andre Johnson), players came back from injuries (Aaron Rodgers, Joseph Addai) and some fill-ins and no-names put up huge numbers (John Kuhn, Jerome Simpson, Correll Buckhalter). In this edition of Hook’s Wrap-Ups, we’ll focus on the final week of fantasy and go over which players brought managers (like myself) fantasy glory.
Aaron Rodgers came back from his concussion and it looked like the weeks rest did the trick. Nothing says “Fantasy Championship MVP” like a 404 yard, 4 TD performance as the Packers absolutely dismantled the G-Men. If you managed to get to the ‘ship with your star player on the bench in Week 15, you most likely won it with Rodgers in the lineup this week. The Packers rolled to a 45-17 victory in a game that included strong performances from Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson (who???), John Kuhn and the Giants Mario Manningham.
Unless you were rolling the dice, you most likely didn’t start Tampa Bay QB Josh freeman in Week 16. While he didn’t throw for many yards (237) he made the most of those passes with a 5 TD game. The TDs alone accounted for 20 or 30 fantasy points depending on your scoring settings as the Bucs rolled over the Seattle Seahawks in a 38-15 victory. Thug-life running back LeGarrette Blount ran for 164 yards in the game as Kellen Winslow and Mike Williams caught 2 TD passes each.
Another QB who put up major bench points was Carson Palmer. As a guy who gets you 30 points one week and 5 the next, Palmer has been the most volatile player in the 2010 fantasy football season. There’s no way anyone in the ‘ship started this guy or his favorite target on the day, Jerome Simpson, who went off for 124 yards and 2 TDs. Jordan Shipley was the most popular waiver wire pick-up in this game as TO and Chad Ochocinco both were on the sidelines. Shipley had 1 catch for 3 yards, but said catch was for a TD so he wasn’t completely useless.
Throughout the league, there were many more contributors who could have brought you fantasy glory. Jamaal Charles tallied 117 total yards and 2 TDs. Matt Forte put up 169 yards and 1 TD and Johnny Knox went for 92 yards 2 TDs as the Bears defeated the Jets in a 38-34 shoot-out. To mimic Knox, Correll Buckhalter filled in for 92 yards 2 TDs as well as Denver edged out Houston 24-23. Arian Foster produced another 135 yard 1 TD game as has come to be expected and TD magnet Rob Gronkowski grabbed another 2 scores as he rounds out the major contributors in Week 16.
The NFL playoffs are right around the corner as most spots are all but wrapped up. Even though I hated on the Bears all year long, they have compiled an 11-4 record and secured the NFC North title. I know as soon as I call them a legit contender, they’ll lose their first playoff game, so for Chicago’s sake I won’t go there for now. Early in the season after a victory over the Indianapolis Colts, I said that the Houston Texans were a well rounded team coming of age. They’ve gone on to put together a miserable 5-10 season. Instead of using a balanced attack, the Texans relied on Arian Foster way too much when injuries hindered Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels. They couldn’t get it together on the defensive side either as roid-raged Brian Cushing has been seen fighting with his own players on the field. NFL teams play 16 games for a reason and it goes to show you that early wins or losses don’t mean much in the long run.
If you’ve been following these weekly recaps, you’ll know that I had 2 out of 4 teams in the championship game. 1 dominant team in a “free” league and 1 strong team in a pay-out league. My dominant team got smoked as Aaron Rodgers absolutely blew up on the New York Giants, but my other team came through where it counts. Led by another serviceable outing from Michael Vick and a dominating New England DST performance, I rolled to victory as Andre Johnson didn’t suit up for my competitor and Addai’s start rendered Donald Brown useless. I can’t stress enough how important it is to check your lineups before gametime as my 109.42-71 victory came mostly as a result of the other manager sleeping. So to wrap up my fantasy year, I came in 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th. Not too shabby if I do say so myself.
While I said you’d be getting a 2011 fantasy preview in the Week 15 edition of Hook’s Wrap-Ups, that will have to wait for Week 17. The games next week mean nothing for most teams but it’s never too early to start thinking about next year. Get geared up for playoff football as it is right around the corner.