Week 17 is always a dicey proposition, as star players are rested and teams coast into the playoffs, right? WRONG! The stars were out in full force this week as the 2011 regular season wrapped up in exciting fashion. Let’s take a look at the notable performances of the 2011 fantasy season night cap:
Matt Flynn: Matt Flynn is making a salary of 600k this year. Not too shabby. After throwing for a Packer franchise record 480 yards along with 6 touchdowns on Sunday, he’s about to get a “Scrooge McDuck money pit” type of raise. Flynn is an unrestricted free agent after this season and will be an interesting target of QB hungry teams this offseason.
Matt Stafford: Stafford was on the losing end of the shootout in Green Bay, and posted some crazy numbers of his own with 520 yards passing and 5 touchdowns. People see stats like this and love to lamely say, “Those are Madden numbers!” 520 yards? What, are they playing on “Rookie” level against the Rams? Stafford finished the regular season with 5,038 yards and 41 touchdown passes. At the age of 23, there are mountains of fantasy points in his future.
Jordy Nelson: Jordy finished up the regular season with 15 touchdowns and turned out to be quite the value for those who drafted him. It will be interesting to see where he gets drafted in 2012 in comparison to fellow Packer stallion receiver, Greg Jennings.
Calvin Johnson: ‘Tron wrapped up his absurd season with a healthy 11 grabs for 244 yards and a touchdown. 96 catches on the year to go along with 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns make this Decepticon a 2012 first round pick that I would be very happy with.
Drew Brees: Another 389 yards and 5 touchdowns for Brees this week, as he stretched his single season passing record to a monstrous 5,476 yards. With the way NFL offenses were winging the ball this year, it will be fun watching quarterbacks shoot for this record over the next few years.
Rob Gronkowski: 2 more touchdowns for Gronk, as he put the finishing touches on a 90 catch, 17 touchdown season. As we head into the 2012 fantasy season, the great debate will be: Gronk or Graham? I’d give the slight edge to Graham, but both will be fantastic building blocks for fantasy teams next season. Oh, and Gronk was born in 1989. 1989! Enjoy, dynasty owners.
Michael Crabtree: Crabs went for 92 yards and 2 touchdowns in week 17, finishing up a strong 2nd half of the regular season. Crabtree averaged 6 catches for 78 yards over the season’s final seven games, and if Alex Smith keeps from melting down next year, the young wide out could be a nice pickup in 2012 drafts.
Maurice Jones-Drew: Mojo racked up 169 yards on the ground to bring his NFL leading total to 1,606 rushing yards. MJD will undoubtedly be a top pick in 2012 fantasy drafts, but will not be without debate, as he has now averaged 318 carries a season over the last 3 years. His tank of a frame appears able to withstand the workload, but the ride will come to an end at some point.
Michael Turner: The burner put up 172 yards with 2 touchdowns in week 17, finishing off a nice regular season for the Atlanta back. Turner’s four year run with the Falcons has been nothing short of fantastic, but he turns 30 this offseason and will be a prime “bust” candidate next season.
Stevie Johnson: What is it with this guy? Johnson had a great first quarter in the works when he was benched for yet ANOTHER excessive celebration penalty after a touchdown. This only further cements his “nut job” label as he heads into free agency this off season.
Ray Rice: Rice had another big day, tallying 169 yards rushing and two long TD runs. Rice finished up the year just shy of 1,900 total yards and will be in the discussion for the title of “#1 fantasy pick” in 2012. This guy is still only 24 and has even more big time fantasy production in his future.
Victor Cruz: Another long touchdown and another big week for Cruz. This guy hit the turbo button once again on the way to a 74 yard touchdown and a 6 catch 178 yard performance while ending the Cowboys’ playoff hopes. The perennial preseason stud is finally running with bulls, as Cruz finished with an astounding 1,358 receiving yards this season.