Photo: Allen Eyestone, USA Today Sports
MIN @ NO
- Alvin Kamara tied the touchdown record with six and was a golden ticket to a fantasy championship, much to the chagrin of anyone who started any other Saint in their fantasy Super Bowl. The Saints can still become the #1 seed with a win, Packers loss to the Bears, and Seahawks win over the 49ers.
- Minnesota’s poor defense allowed for enough garbage time to have all of their passing game pieces come through, with Irv Smith posting the biggest tight end game of the week (he could have had a third score), pointing to bigger things in 2021.
- Dalvin Cook won't play in Week 17 due to a family emergency after his father died this week.
TB @ DET
- Tom Brady had a massive game in a half and it’s a good thing since the Bucs built such a huge lead at halftime that he sat for the second half. Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski were the biggest hits, but Antonio Brown, Chris Godwin, and Leonard Fournette were also good enough to satisfy fantasy teams. The Bucs just need to win to sew up the five seed and a date with the NFC East winner in the wild card round. A Rams loss to the Cardinals would also do that for them.
- Matthew Stafford got hurt early and hurt the chances of any fantasy team counting on the Lions.
SF @ ARI
- George Kittle did enough with 4-92 to justify starting him and if Kyle Juszczyk hadn’t caught both touchdowns, Kittle might have been a Week 16 hero.
- The Cardinals defense didn’t hold up at the point of attack and allowed Jeff Wilson to be a Week 16 fantasy hero, but Brandon Aiyuk’s incredible production streak was the casualty as the 49ers leaned on the run.
- Kyler Murray regressed back to uneven play and no Cardinal overachieved in fantasy Super Bowls. Murray also hurt his leg late and might not be available for the Cardinals “win and you’re in” game vs. the Rams in Week 17.
MIA @ LV
- Salvon Ahmed started, but Myles Gaskin finished with multiple big plays including a long catch and run score that could have made him the hero before a wild last two minutes of play.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick truly earned the “closer” label after replacing Tua Tagovailoa with a bomb that was caught while his head was being yanked to the side by Arden Key to set up a game-winning field goal that kept the Dolphins alive in the playoff hunt. Miami will make the playoffs with a win over the Bills, who appear to have the #2 seed locked up unless Mason Rudolph can lead the Steelers to win over the Browns.
- Derek Carr looked healthy coming off of a game that ended early because of groin injury and ended up being a fantasy hit with a rushing score and an 85-yard touchdown to Nelson Agholor (the only other hit in the Raiders offense) that was the first of four breathtaking turns of fortune late in this game.
IND @ PIT
- Ben Roethlisberger found his game in the second half and helped the Steelers sew up a division title. He will rest along with many other starters in Week 17.
- Jonathan Taylor was a hit in a tough matchup thanks to two short range touchdowns, but the Colts pass offense slowed down in the second half after building a 24-7 lead. His strong finish could get him into the first round of some fantasy drafts next year. Unfortunately for the Colts, they need a win and a Dolphins, Browns, or Ravens loss to make the playoffs. The Bills and Steelers are starting backup quarterbacks against the Dolphins and Browns, and the Ravens are playing the Bengals.
- Diontae Johnson got a little banged up but his deep score sparked the offense in the second half. Eric Ebron and Juju Smith-Schuster were also hits, punctuated by scores in the comeback effort.
- Benny Snell had another shot to unseat James Conner, but mustered zero yards on his six carries and Conner was on the field during the comeback when the team went into pass mode, so he should remain the #1 entering the playoffs.
CLE @ NYJ
- The Browns lost their top three receivers to the covid list and their offense suffered for it. Three Baker Mayfield fumbles, including one on a fourth down quarterback sneak while they were driving for a tying score, were too much for the team to overcome, thanks in part to a few key defensive breakdowns on plays featuring Jamison Crowder. Luckily for the Browns, they only need to beat Mason Rudolph to break their 18-year playoff drought.
- Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt were both still solid plays on a long afternoon thanks to touchdowns and passing game involvement.
- Jamison Crowder scored as a passer and a receiver and showed his value heading into an offseason when the Jets will decide if he’s worth his 10 million dollar 2021 salary.
- Chris Herndon caught another score to revive hope of increased value next year thanks to the Adam Gase effect, assuming Gase gets canned at the end of the season.
NYG @ BAL
- The Giants offense gives them no chance to win when they don’t hold their opponent under 20 points and the Ravens scored 27. They can still go to the playoffs if they beat the Cowboys and Philadelphia beats Washington.
- The Ravens offense had a good, not great day, although a fumbled exchange between Lamar Jackson and Gus Edwards in garbage time prevented another touchdown from going on the board. They’ll be in with a win over Cincinnati and if Miami and Cleveland both win, they’ll face Pittsburgh in the wild card round.
ATL @ KC
- The Falcons put up a valiant fight, but a missed 39-yard field goal and dropped interception denied them the upset win. Matt Ryan did play well for the second straight week.
- Patrick Mahomes II and the Chiefs stayed in a slumber for most of the game. He threw one bad pick at the goal line and should have had another picked in the end zone to clinch the game for Altanta, but AJ Terrell dropped in when he hit the ground.
- Darrel Williams got more snaps, touches, and was more productive than Le’Veon Bell. If Clyde Edwards-Helaire can’t go in the playoffs, the Chiefs will likely employ a committee without a true lead.
- Sammy Watkins hurt his calf, but it was not significant and shouldn’t affect his availability for the divisional round.
CHI @ JAX
- Mitchell Trubisky had one bad end zone interception but otherwise played well and put his team in a position to go to the playoffs with a win over the Packers or a Cardinals loss to the Rams.
- Mike Glennon has taken back over for Gardner Minshew but the result was the same - a blowout loss. He’ll start again for Week 17.
- James Robinson missed this one with an ankle injury. Dare Ogunbowale looked better than expected and will have a chance to add to his resume in Week 17 as Robinson sits again.
- DJ Chark had his first spectacular touchdown catch in a while and Laviska Shenault Jr made a first legit NFL play as a downfield receiver for a long touchdown.
CIN @ HOU
- The Houston defense is so bad that Brandon Allen and Samaje Perine were both great plays and the Bengals won, perhaps costing themselves a chance to take all-world offensive tackle prospect Penei Sewell (Oregon).
- David Johnson continued to look revived in an audition for the 31 other teams if the Texans new regime doesn’t want to pay him nearly eight million dollars next year.
- Brandin Cooks had a big game as the new Texans regime will be mulling over whether to pay him 12 million dollars next year.
CAR @ WAS
- Dwayne Haskins was benched and then released after the game. If Alex Smith isn’t ready for Week 16, Taylor Heinecke will be starting in a game with Washington needing a win to host a playoff game.
- The Panthers won and knocked themselves out of the top five in the 2021 draft in the process.
- DJ Moore went from being the best Panthers wideout play in Week 15 to the worst in Week 16. There’s no clarity on who the DFS play would be from this group against the Saints in Week 17.
- Antonio Gibson returned, but JD McKissic was the best play in the Washington backfield thanks to a sprawling deep touchdown catch.
DEN @ LAC
- Keenan Allen was out for this one, but Justin Herbert spread it around and didn’t have a big game for anyone who trusted him in their fantasy final. He still is having one of the greatest rookie quarterback seasons of all time and he has been one of the best stories of the year.
- Jerry Jeudy had six catches, but it took 15 targets. The chemistry just isn’t there between him and Drew Lock.
- Joshua Kelley was a healthy scratch and one wonders if he’s in the team’s future plans after they used a fourth round pick on him this year.
LAR @ SEA
- The Seattle defense had a huge goal line stand, during which Darrell Henderson got hurt by a great pursuit down the line tackle by Jamal Adams. Jared Goff also got hurt, and Cooper Kupp ended up on the covid list after the game. The Rams will be playing for a playoff berth with a lot of backups playing on offense.
- The Seahawks offense wasn’t inspiring, but it did more than enough to lock up another division title. If the Packers and Saints both lose in Week 17, the Seahawks can get the #1 seed with a win over San Francisco. They can still get the #2 seed if the Saints lose and they win.
PHI @ DAL
- The Eagles defense collapsed against the Cowboys and Jalen Hurts wasn’t able to keep up, eliminating Philadelphia, but still giving them a say in who wins the division. If they beat Washington, the winner of the Giants and Cowboys will win the division.
- Andy Dalton and all of the Cowboys top three receivers were all hits as the Eagles pass defense appears to have run out of gas.
TEN @ GB
- Aaron Jones got a little banged up in this one and AJ Dillon ended up getting most of the work with Jamaal Williams out and he put up a dominant performance that will give the Packers something to think about when it’s time to re-up Jones.
- The Titans offense was frozen on the Lambeau tundra as the whole pass offense was a disappointment for fantasy Super Bowls. Derrick Henry also only accounted for 98 rushing yards and no scores. The Titans can still host a playoff game (likely against Miami) if they beat Houston.
- The Packers won a meaningless game with Aaron Rodgers efficiency in the first half and a strong running game. They’ll get the #1 seed if they beat Chicago in Week 17.
NE @ BUF
- The Bills won easily with yet another command performance by Josh Allen. He and Stefon Diggs won fantasy titles for folks, including yours truly, who needed 39.25 from Diggs for a miracle comeback and got 41.5.
- The Patriots offense looked as bad as ever and they appear to have no rudder as we enter 2021.