Coming into what for most is the fantasy championship, Dez Bryant was a question mark. The broken left index finger he suffered a few weeks ago put him on the verge of missing the remainder of the season. Well I’m sure fantasy owners are happy the Cowboys were still playing for something this Sunday as Dez – if he isn’t playing next week – finished off an amazing fantasy season, grabbing 9 receptions on 12 targets for a monstrous 224 yard, 2 touchdown game. Coming into the year, I was pretty harsh in my review of him but not for skillset. To save you the hassle of clicking on that link, I’ll give you the pertinent snippets: ‘Bryant is the start of his own tier and it’s called the ‘when I grow up’ tier because when he does, he’s got the potential to be a WR1. If you can’t tell, I’m not a huge fan of Bryant due to his childish ways. Part of the problem with being puerile (thanks thesaurus.com!) is you’re going to lack consistency.’ I think any owner of Dez this year would admit the first half of the season was pretty rocky. It seemed that every promising performance would be followed up by a 3 catch, 17 yard stinker. But something clicked with Bryant week 10. Some would say the off-field issue with his Mom finally being resolved led to a calmer player who could simply concentrate on what happened on the football field. Others could say the Cowboys game plan evolved to get the ball to Dez more often. For me, I think we finally saw the talented player that we drafted over the last couple of years with the hope of him becoming this star finally just matured. Like those cheezits commercials, Dez was all fart jokes heading into the 2012 season but now he’s ready for mass consumption. It’s a funny thing to say a man grew up while playing a game but indeed that’s what we are witnessing and for fantasy football players and owners for 2013 and beyond, you’ll look back on this second half as the reason he should now be seen as a top 5 wide receiver, if not a top 3 for years to come. Welcome to adulthood, Dez…what, you need me to repeat that? Oh, you had your iPod up too high and couldn’t hear me. Well you little son of a…ahem. And in other 2012 fantasy football news for championship weekend…
Reggie Bush - Great match up, quality RB2 to start…so of course he outscores Foster, Peterson and CJ2K combined with a 3 touchdowns on a combo platter of yardage: 65 yards rushing and 42 receiving. Lamar Miller actually had a better rushing day than him with 73 yards on 10 carries but hey, TDs make the world go round…or so Candy said and how could I argue with her as I slip in the $1?
Matt Ryan - Monday Night Football on Saturday night. Has a nice ring to it…if you’re into things that don’t make sense. Finished the night with 4 TDs and 279 passing yards. He wasn’t the full on breakout star I thought I was writing about back in June, but for where you drafted him vs what you got this year I have no doubt you’re smiling this weekend. Unless of course you sat him. Then you’re angry, maybe even at me.
Roddy White - The Dez day put Roddy’s in the rearview mirror but can’t be ignored: 153 yards and 2 TDs as he takes a 1.2 point advantage over teammate Julio Jones for top Atlanta wide receiver on the year for PPR fantasy points. All this to say, which ever one you chose in the draft, it looks like it was the right one.
Shonn Greene - Keeping up with the ‘TDs are important’ theme, Greene gave us 80 total yards on the day to go with 2 scores. Those two scores are why I’m talking more about him than CJ Spiller and his 173 total yards. It makes me feel as dirty as Candy does.
Calvin Johnson - Megatron really changed his game this year, catching a lot more short route passes which led to a record breaking yardage season. Though I’m sure fantasy owners were a little frustrated with how the year started, I think it’s important to pay attention to how it ends: 225 yards on 11 catches and currently leads all wide receivers for points in PPR leagues. Oh and we told you to buy him when it looked like all hope was lost.
Aaron Rodgers - Really thought he’d just be handing the ball off by the 2nd quarter…and technically he was. Still didn’t stop him from racking up 342 passing yards, 3 passing TDs and a rushing touchdown. Sure, it wasn’t like his 2011 season was but all the QB numbers around the league were down. If you don’t believe me, just ask Eli owners. Don’t be surprised if they punch you, though. Can’t say I blame them. Really low blow to bring up the ‘Manning who must not be named’.
Jamaal Charles - Ah the goofiness that is fantasy football. The Colts end up being a top 10 defense for fantasy this week despite giving up 226 rushing yards and a touchdown to Jamaal while letting Peyton Hillis drop 101 on them as well. Sorry Colts fans, that doesn’t usually go well when the playoffs hit. Neither does Andrew Luck completing less than 50% of his passes…for the second straight week. I’ve been saying I’d want off that ride for a while. Hope you followed suit.
Eric Decker – Scored two touchdowns because I had the audacity to say sit him over V-Jax. Meanwhile, Hester gets a 1 yard TD plunge leaving nothing for Knowshon Moreno owners. I just love it when a plan doesn’t come together at all.
Kyle Rudolph - Had 39 yards and a touchdown. Barring a huge output from the TEs in the Sunday Night Football matchup, that’s good enough to be a top 5 scoring TE for the week. Think about that for a second. Basically, Benjamin Watson was a touchdown away from outperforming Kyle and Watson finished outside the top 10. And there you have ranking TEs from week to week in a nutshell, my friends.
DuJuan Harris - Yep.
Ryan Grant/Lance Kendricks – Because your mom said not to cross your eyes or they’d stay crossed and you did it anyway.
Tony Romo - There’s something to be said for owning a QB on a team that plays from behind a lot: 416 passing yards and 4 TDs with no turnovers. This was Romo’s 3rd 400 yard game on the year and his 9th game over 300. Discount Doublecheck has ZERO 400 yard passing games on the year and only 5 for over 300. New Year’s resolution: draft QBs on poorly managed teams. I’m thinking Nick Foles will look mighty nice come Fall.
Minnesota Vikings DEF - I’m simply tooting my own horn here. I ranked them as the 12th best defense for this week. The consensus was for 27th best. Alright, enough tooting, moving along.
Danario Alexander - Oops, I tooted again! Someone hand me some bean-o. Ranked him 14th when the consensus said he’d be 29th. Well 69 yards and a touchdown later, I’m patting myself on the back. Hey, keep your hands above the waist! Sorry, I had too much beer and thought I could put the moves on myself.
Danny Amendola - Thanks for the bean-o! Now how about some antacid and a sledge hammer to the face! How does a guy who looks like Welker and plays like Welker and gets a sweet matchup with that Buccs secondary come away with negative points? Amendoldrums…
James Jones – Went for 100 on 7 receptions and caught his NFL leading 13th touchdown pass. I’d say about 50% or less of his touchdowns have actually been scored in a starting fantasy lineup. Meanwhile, Randall Cobb goes for 62 on 3 while scoring his 8th. Sometimes life isn’t fair.
Antonio Gates - Scored a touchdown while snagging 2 receptions for 44 yards. Had been outscored by 35% owned Scott Chandler coming into today at the TE position. I warned you all off season. First it was with my rankings. Then it was with my All Lucy Van Pelt Team. I don’t know how many times I heard this season ‘do I start this schmo Tight End or Gates?’. If he killed you this year, I say you exact revenge in 2013…woah, put down the chloroform and duct tape! I simply meant to not draft him.
Alfred Morris - The Butler did it again, this time with a football in a stadium in Philly: 91 yards and a touchdown. If only Shanahan told me to start the year he wasn’t going with an RB carousel like he usually does I might’ve hopped on this bandwagon. Runs hard, takes what’s there and can smash it down your throat with the best of them. Which of course means he’ll be the 3rd string RB next year…because Mike is just evil. I keed…no really, it could happen….but I doubt it….but beware!
Mike Williams - Well hello, fantasy darling of the Wide Receiver world. Tampa Bay has had a disappointing finish to it’s year but Williams didn’t: 132 yards and a touchdown on 7 receptions. There are no puns for a person named Mike Williams or else you’d see one right now. Moving along.
Joe Flacco - You let me know when you expect him to do this – 309 with 2 TDs through the air and one on the ground – and I’ll see if I can let you know when Eli does something good too. They’re both enigmas shrouded in mystery wrapped in tin foil you wear on your head to ward off the aliens from reading your mind.
Bernard Pierce - Game got away and Pierce came to play: 123 rushing yards on 14 carries. Yeah, this guy’s good but so is Ray Rice: 158 total yards and a TD. Now if only Baltimore were good at learning how to split carries so I could have any faith in drafting Rice high next year.
Chicago Bears DEF- Ever wondered what would happen if one of the worst offenses played against one of the best defenses in the league? Well now you know. If the Arizona offense was worth anything, we’d be having the same convo about their defense in this space. This offense is a Cardinal sin.
Justin Blackmon – Had 79 yards on 7 receptions and a touchdown while Cecil Shorts chipped in a decent PPR day (6 for 54). Of course, there’s talk that Tim Tebow is all but a certainty to land in Jacksonville this off-season. Obviously building on a successful passing game is not something the Jaguars want to do.
Russell Wilson - Truly an efficient QB. Most QBs it takes 300 yards to get you 4 TDs but not this guy. Nope, you get it with 171 yards passing and 29 yards rushing with that and you’ll like it. No Romo’ing here!
Marshawn Lynch - Starbucks should make a skittle-flavored latte in honor of Beast Mode. For what was bumped up to be the matchup of the week for Sunday Night Football, this one sure got out of hand fast. They weren’t kidding about the Seattle crowd. My ears are still ringing. Lynch gave his owners the rare air/ground combo TD delivery, finishing the night with 111 yards rushing and 19 through the air. Despite the huge day, Lynch barely outscored Ryan Grant. Yet a firm reminder that you can play this game but sometimes it truly can play you.
And with that we wish a very Merry Xmas Eve to those who celebrate it and merry day off from work for those who don’t but get to not be at work for the day anyway. And for those at work during this time of year…my condolences but at least you get to read this rather than work, right?