In usual fashion, running backs seemed to dominate during Week 15. Also emerging from the woodwork were a few surprise names at quarterback on Sunday, as well as a bunch of underwhelming wide receivers. We learned plenty more about the playoff picture this week, and perhaps who the frontrunners are for Fantasy Football MVP. Here’s your recap:
Thumbs Up: Funny to think we once doubted Todd Gurley. His performance against the Seahawks was nothing short of remarkable, combining for 180 scrimmage yards and four total touchdowns. The Seahawks had allowed just nine rushing touchdowns prior to Sunday’s blowout loss, and just 15.6 points per game entering Week 15. Gurley’s season could easily go down as one of the best among running backs, and since he’s just five points shy of Le’Veon Bell’s 293.4 season points total, we could be looking at a new fantasy MVP.
Thumbs Down: Put your hand up if you’d draft Jimmy Graham again next season? He had another stinker against the Rams this week, posting 0.9 fantasy points on just one reception for -1 yards. It feels like Russell Wilson has really fallen out of love with the once dependable tight end, as Graham has now posted five points or fewer four times this season.
Thumbs Up: Guess we are all witnesses to the Blake Bortles rebirth. Here he is again with 326 yards and three touchdowns on 21/29 passing, which should make all of us lost for words. It’s almost a shame all of this good fortune is coming so late in the season, but with games against the 49ers and Titans left, Bortles’ ceiling could continue to elevate.
Thumbs Down: When it rains it pours. Lamar Miller, for the second week in a row, put up fewer than 10 fantasy points. He was always in for a tough day against the Jaguars D/ST, but he’s really become a sore point for owners that were hoping for a big-time year this season. Miller hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 12, and with the Steelers up next, it could be another tough day at the office.
Thumbs Up: Cam Newton with the goods, ladies and gentleman. He finished as the top-ranked passer from Sunday’s games with 31.5 points, his second highest total of the season. It was also the second time this year Cam has thrown for four touchdowns, and it was also nice to see Greg Olsen back in the action. The 32-year-old chalked up 26.6 PPR points, the most since Week 5 last season.
Thumbs Down: We thought with the sheriff back in town Jordy Nelson might explode. That wasn’t the case, however, as Nelson caught just three receptions for a measly 28 yards. Aaron Rodgers did look Nelson’s way six times, but the chemistry seemed to be missing, and full credit to cornerback James Bradberry. The only saving grace here for owners might be Davante Adams’ concussion. If he misses Week 16’s clash against the Vikings, Nelson could be in line for a much larger workload.
Thumbs Up: So the Bills are now 8-6? While that still may not count for anything, LeSean McCoy’s 118-yard, two-touchdown day certainly does. The big bruiser has been quietly putting up numbers over the last few weeks, with his third 20+ point performance in his last five games. The Bills also draw New England next week, a defense McCoy rushed for 93 yards against back in Week 13.
Thumbs Down: He’s still owned in 65% of leagues, but that may not be for much longer. Kelvin Benjamin’s fall from grace has been drastic since his move to Buffalo, and since he did have a favorable matchup this week against Miami, his 4.0 PPR points on just 20 yards passing were certainly underwhelming.
Thumbs Up: Still super tough to figure out the Ravens’ running back situation. Alex Collins’ 19 yards on 12 carries marked a season-low, and with Javorious Allen receiving just one extra carry but amassing nearly four times as many yards, it’s a frustrating one for owners. This shouldn’t affect your overall outlook on Collins, though, he did receive five targets in the air. Joe Flacco just, y’know, struggled to make it work.
Thumbs Down: There’s not much you can do when your quarterback throws for 146 yards and two interceptions, but Josh Gordon’s 47 yards on 11 targets was a little low, even against a strong Ravens defense. DeShone Kizer obviously still has a ways to go before he can be considered a “capable” quarterback, but some of the patient (I use that word lightly) decision-making we saw last week against Green Bay seemed to be missing this week against Baltimore.
Thumbs Up: The Vikings D/ST manhandled the Bengals all game long, sacking Andy Dalton three times and scoring two touchdowns, one of which was an interception returned for six. All of that tallied 19 points on the day, Minnesota’s highest total this season.
Thumbs Down: Anytime A.J. Green is involved, you can normally give him the edge against any defender. Against Xavier Rhodes, though, it was a 50/50 split, and in the end, Rhodes walked away the victor. He held Green to just 30 yards on two receptions, and that plumped just 5.0 fantasy points on owners’ scoreboards. With Dalton looking, well, awful as of late, this could become a recurring theme over the next couple of weeks.
Thumbs Up: The dynamic duo wasn’t up to its usual tricks, but Mark Ingram’s 74-yard, two-touchdown day was enough to see the Saints over the line. It also gifted owners 32.1 points, a career high from the 27-year-old. With another big division game up next against the Falcons, the Saints’ running game is rolling along dangerously.
Thumbs Down: The shake-up at the quarterback position never really boded well for the Jets’ wide receivers. Robby Anderson had a simple 40-yard game, good for just 9.0 points on Sunday. That marks two straight weeks of disappointing performances for the Jets’ new No. 1 wide receiver, and after putting up a career-high 32.6 points three weeks ago against Carolina, it’s a far cry from what we expected from Anderson going forward.
Thumbs Up: The folks that thought Nick Foles would lead this team down the toilet were foolish. The Eagles are packed with offensive talent, and Foles’ four touchdown game showed just how capable he is of finding it in the end zone. Destroying a lousy Giants secondary perhaps isn’t the biggest challenge, but Foles’ 25.48 fantasy points marked his sixth highest career total. If, for whatever reason, you’re still in need of a quarterback, Foles is also available in around 46% of leagues.
Thumbs Up: Have to give two thumbs up here because Eli Manning played out of his skin. In the face of so much criticism, here he is with 434 yards and three touchdowns. Sterling Shepard also joined in on the action, reeling in 11 balls for 139 yards and a score. The two both ranked second among their respective positions on Sunday, combining for 58.3 points.
Thumbs Up: There wasn’t a lot of good to come from this game on either side of the ball, but Phil Dawson’s 5-for-5 day kicking is worth a mention. He slotted one from 40 yards out, and even though Arizona lost the game, owners perhaps won their playoff matchup thanks to Dawson’s 16-point day.
Thumbs Down: Can we throw the entire Redskins running game under the bus? Samaje Perine ran for just 37 yards against a defense that has allowed the sixth most rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs this season. To make matters worse, the Redskins ran for 31 total yards all day on 20 handoffs.
Thumbs Up: Nice bounce-back game from Rob Gronkowski. In a game that has been shadowed in controversy, Gronk led the way as the Patriots’ leading receiver with 168 yards against a tough Steelers defense. All of that tallied 27.8 points, the most among tight ends, as well as Gronk’s sixth 20+ point performance this season.
Thumbs Down: Hate to do it, but Antonio Brown’s torn calf muscle cost owners dearly this week. He left in the second quarter with just 24 yards next to his name, failing to return and also failing a few fantasy folk in the process. His trip to the locker room left us with just 4.4 points, his lowest total of the season.
Thumbs Up: We can split this one up between Jimmy Garpoppolo and Robbie Gould. Jimmy G was amazing once again this week, throwing for 381 yards and a touchdown in the 49ers third straight win. Meanwhile, Gould continues to lace em’ straight between the uprights with a lazy 24 fantasy points against the Titans. The two may just make a more dangerous red zone threat than Joe Montana and Jerry Rice (what, too soon?).
Thumbs Down: It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the Niners offense, though. Carlos Hyde had a very long day on the ground, running for only 25 yards, tying his lowest total of the season. Tennessee’s defense is killer against the run, allowing the third-fewest yards per game this season, so really, this is no surprise. Still, Hyde’s 5.9 PPR points really stung owners.
Thumbs Up: Gotta feel for the Raiders. This was probably a game they deserved. Derek Carr’s 171-yard, two-touchdown game only equaled 17.5 fantasy points, but it was the shining light on a day that saw very little offensively from both teams.
Thumbs Down: The Cowboys walked away with a 20-17 victory, but if you owned Dak Prescott, maybe you weren’t so lucky. He threw two interceptions on 18-for-27 passing, while Dez Bryant also had a so-so day of just 59 receiving yards. The Raiders laid five hits and two sacks on Prescott, making life tough for him during most of the game. The same could also be said for owners, who relished in just 13.7 points.