The worst fantasy football performances of Week 16
Here’s hoping you avoided the implosions this week.
At the very least, Week 16 wasn’t the wasteland that was Week 15. There were some performances that crippled you in some fantasy finals — I’m thinking of a certain Indianapolis quarterback here — but by and large, the performances of Week 16 were at least adequate.
That’s a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you had less chance of an abject disaster striking your roster, like Aaron Rodgers and Calvin Johnson a week ago. On the other hand, if you did have that certain bearded Indianapolis quarterback, the chances were even better that your opponent didn’t have such struggles, meaning you didn’t have any way to recover.
A week ago, there were so many bad performances that just about every fantasy playoff team had to deal with it, and that meant that a lot of the bad performances canceled one another out. This week, though, there were much fewer, meaning each individual one could have ended a season.
Anyway, here’s the breakdown of the week’s worst fantasy performances. Hope no one from your roster made it:
Worst quarterbacks in Week 16
Andrew Luck, IND (109 passing yards, 2 interceptions, 0 fantasy points)
Everyone gets to have one truly awful fantasy day, but Luck picked an awful time for his. The Colts had locked up a playoff spot, had precious little chance of a bye and were without T.Y. Hilton Sunday, but it’s still amazing that Luck could do so little against a mediocre-at-best Dallas defense. Much of it wasn’t his fault with the Colts receivers dropping the ball so dang often. You’d have to assume Luck will get things figured out.
Next game: Facing the Titans in Week 17, the best bet is Luck plays more like Luck again. He’s still a top-flight starter.
Josh McCown, TB (147 passing yards, 1 interception, 3 fantasy points)
The Buccaneers had only 109 total yards Sunday. Like, their quarterback threw for 147 yards, and their total yardage was 38 less than that. McCown was sacked for 54 yards, and the backfield duo of Doug Martin and Charles Sims combined for 16 rushing yards. That team is so bad. Remember when McCown had back-to-back 19-point games and we thought there might be something there? Since then, he hasn’t put up more than 12 in a game, and is averaging 8.8. Maybe go back to Mike Glennon, guys?
Next game: The Buccaneers finish out this awful season against the Saints. McCown obviously can’t be near any fantasy lineups, and it’s hard to find much reason why he should be near any real football ones, either.
Matthew Stafford, DET (243 passing yards, 2 interceptions, 2 rushing yards, 5 fantasy points)
Remember elite fantasy quarterback Matthew Stafford? He’s still going to have pretty impressive yardage on the season (though his season total will go down for the fourth year in a row), and his interception total is going to be at a four-year low, but the touchdowns just aren’t there. He threw for 41 in 2011 and 29 last year, but is stuck at 19 this year with only a game to go. On top of that, he’s averaging only 14.4 fantasy points a game on the season. That’s the sign of a mediocre QB2, not a fantasy must-start.
Next game: At Green Bay to close the season, Stafford owners are probably stuck, but definitely look around, because there are more quarterbacks you’d prefer to Stafford now than there has been in years.
Worst running backs in Week 16
Justin Forsett, BAL (19 rushing yards, 13 receiving yards, 2 fantasy points)
Okay, so we all knew that Forsett hadn’t become Jamaal Charles all of a sudden at age 29, that the bloom had to come off this rose eventually. But holy crap, did he do it in a hurry. He averaged 19.3 fantasy points a game from Week 10 to Week 14, and now has six combined fantasy points the last two weeks. It’s a quick fall from grace for Forsett, who now has to hope he can have a successful Week 17 so he can go into free agency with something to hang his hat on.
Next game: Hosting the Browns in Week 17, Forsett now is someone you can’t run out there with any confidence at all. He needs to be benched in fantasy.
Steven Jackson, ATL (9 rushing yards, 14 receiving yards, 1 fantasy point)
This should have been such a good matchup for Jackson, who had been playing really well in the second half. So the quad injury that forced him from the game in the first half was super frustrating, and that frustration only grew when Devonta Freeman and Jacquizz Rodgers looked at least competent, scoring a touchdown and combining for 116 yards from scrimmage. It’s too early to say what Jackson’s status is for Week 17, but missing out on a tasty Week 16 matchup just stinks.
Next game: The Falcons play the Panthers to decide the NFC South next week, so if Jackson can play at all, he will. Assuming full health, he’ll be an attractive flex option, maybe even in the RB2 range.
Jamaal Charles, KC (29 rushing yards, 48 receiving yards, 1 fumble lost, 4 fantasy points)
In losing four of their last five games, the Chiefs have really cost themselves this season. And with no more than 20 points in any of those losses, the offense hasn’t gotten going at all. Which is why it’s insane that Charles got only 14 touches in the game — if your offense is obviously struggling, why wouldn’t you give it to your obvious best player and ask him to make something happen?
Next game: The Chiefs take on the Chargers in Week 17, somehow still alive for a playoff berth. You’d have to think Charles will be the primary weapon. Either way, he needs to be started. It’s still Jamaal Charles.
Worst wide receivers in Week 16
Donte Moncrief, IND (5 receiving yards, 0 fantasy points)
Normally, Moncrief wouldn’t be high-profile enough to warrant entry in the week’s worst. But with T.Y. Hilton ruled out for Sunday, almost everyone assumed Moncrief would be the beneficiary, with the ball going his way all game. Instead, five different Colts were targeted more heavily than Moncrief, including Zurlon Tipton, who I think was a Power Rangers villain once. Hakeem Nicks ended up leading the team in targets and receiving yards for whatever reason.
Next game: Against the Titans in Week 17, you’d assume Hilton will be back, and even if he isn’t, it doesn’t look like the Colts are going to feature the rookie Moncrief any time soon.
Jarvis Landry, MIA (31 receiving yards, 1 fumble lost, 1 fantasy point)
From the stat line above, you’d just assume Landry didn’t get a lot of looks Sunday, maybe the fumble scared the team off. But the dude was targeted nine times Sunday. He caught eight passes, and still only managed 31 yards. Heck, he fumbled twice, it’s just that the Dolphins only lost one of them. On top of that, Landry’s lost fumble almost cost the Dolphins the game, as it immediately led to a go-ahead Vikings‘ touchdown.
Next game: You always like a wide receiver facing the Jets, but after this performance, it’s hard to imagine trusting him unless you have no other option.
DeAndre Hopkins, HOU (38 receiving yards, 3 fantasy points)
I’m not really a subscriber to the storylines that say that a certain quarterback works better with a certain receiver because of history, or practice-squad status, or, I don’t know, birthdays. Too often, that seems like an after-the-fact explanation for “thing surprised me.” That said, Andre Johnson nearly doubling Hopkins’ receiving yards with Case Keenum back in the fold could almost convince me. The Texans weren’t pushing Keenum very hard, so it stands to (some) reason they would have him throw it mostly toward the guy he’s most familiar with, to the detriment of Hopkins and his fantasy owners.
Next game: Hosting Jacksonville next week, I’m still using Hopkins, and I’m still using him over Johnson. I still don’t really subscribe to those narratives, but even if it was real this week, another week with Keenum on the job should help him get in the groove with the whole roster.
Worst tight ends in Week 16
Dwayne Allen, IND (0 receiving yards, 0 fantasy points)
Martellus Bennett, CHI (0 receiving yards, 0 fantasy points)
Owen Daniels, BAL (7 receiving yards, 0 fantasy points)
Jordan Reed, WAS (5 receiving yards, 0 fantasy points)
Mychal Rivera, OAK (5 receiving yards, 0 fantasy points)
That’s five tight ends, all of whom were at least under starting consideration if not actually started, who combined for 17 yards and zero points. The five had 20 total targets — led by six for Daniels — but did nothing with them. I don’t really have an evaluation for you; if you used these guys (particularly Bennett, who had the highest profile), I just have sympathy.
Next game: It varies. For Bennett, you have to assume this is a blip, and he’ll connect better with Jimmy Clausen after another week. Allen is so touchdown-dependent that this is always on the table for him, but you’d generally expect slightly better numbers. As for Daniels, Reed and Rivera, they’re all third-tier-or-so tight ends who can be used if you’re desperate, but you’d rather not count on them.
Worst defense/special teams in Week 16
Arizona Cardinals (35 points allowed, 1 sack, -9 fantasy points)
It made sense that the Cardinals defense would struggle Sunday, if only because of the team’s quarterback — Ryan Lindley wasn’t likely to sustain many drives, meaning the Seahawks would have a lot of chances to mess with the Arizona defense, even if they weren’t often successful. Instead, they had a lot of chances and were often successful, as the Cardinals showed no real ability to stop them when they were driving. As long as Lindley is starting for Arizona, that defense is hard to trust.
St. Louis Rams (37 points allowed, 1 sack, -6 fantasy points)
The primary weakness of the Rams’ defense is a propensity to allow the deep ball, and that’s exactly what the Giants did Sunday. Odell Beckham Jr. had an 80-yard score; Rueben Randle had a 49-yard reception. With those threats established, the Giants had a reasonable productive running game down the stretch — 110 yards for Andre Williams, 21 for Orleans Darkwa — and Eli Manning had a good-Eli game. Put together, it gave the Rams’ defense its worst game of the season.