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NFL Week 16: Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

Monty Phan wraps up the weekend of NFL action.

For nearly four months every year, my wife puts up with a husband who is totally useless on Sundays, a slave to the Red Zone Channel and NBC Sunday Night Football. Just when the season crescendos to a climax – the fantasy playoffs – is when her patience nearly runs out. What’s she rewarded with? A husband who’s then absorbed by a full slate of Saturday games the weekend before Christmas! Happy holidays, honey!

Regardless of where you finished this season, Week 16 was filled with a lot of “I really could have used a performance like this earlier this year” and “Geez, did he even play?” with generous helpings of “Am I really thinking of starting this guy in the title game?”

Category: “I really could have used a performance like this earlier this year.”


  • Andy Dalton was a preseason sleeper favorite to put up a Jared Goff-like resurgence under Zac Taylor, a Sean McVay protégé. He started off the year strong, but the Bengals’ overall ineptitude led to a mid-year, month-long benching before he retook the reins. Sunday’s performance: 396 passing yards, four TD passes and two 2-point conversions, including two miracle scores in the final 30 seconds.

  • It’s likely that a lot of folks who drafted Devonta Freeman failed to make their finals, so seeing him drop 127 total yards, nine catches and two TDs on the Jaguars probably felt like a giant middle finger. After all, I had Freeman on one of my eliminated teams, and that’s how I took it.
  • Alvin Kamara had a Sunday that reminded many why he was one of the top picks in preseason drafts, scoring two TDs – his first scores since Week 3 – and doing his best to carry his owners to a title. Of course, to make it that far, you would have had to survive his TD drought, not an easy feat when you’re expecting a certain amount of production from a first-rounder in redraft.

Category: “Geez, did he even play?”


  • If Amari Cooper’s one catch for 19 yards didn’t help knock you out in Week 15, then perhaps his four-catch, 24-yard “effort” in championship week is what finally did you in. Maybe, like me, you wondered why he was on the sideline when Dallas needed a TD late in the game.

  • Let’s also nominate the entire Seattle offense. Where do we start? Playing against one of the league’s worst defenses, the Seahawks mustered only one offensive TD at home, on their first drive of the game. Russell Wilson threw for just 169 yards. Chris Carson suffered a first-half hip injury that will sideline him the rest of the season and playoffs. Tyler Lockett got eight targets and caught just one, for 12 yards. D.K. Metcalf had no catches on one target. The lone TD was scored by fullback Nick Bellore, his only touch of the game. What a disaster.

Category: “Am I really thinking of starting this guy?”


  • Breshad Perriman’s three-TD performance last weekend, combined with a season-ending injury to Mike Evans and potentially another to Chris Godwin, made him and teammate Justin Watson two scrap-heap wire pickups with the potential to become late-season heroes. Perriman was barely overthrown on a long TD but otherwise recorded a solid day, notching seven catches for 102 yards. Watson scored a TD but had only five grabs for 43 yards.
  • I’m not sure anyone has ever said, “Man, I really wish I’d started Ryan Fitzpatrick in my fantasy championship game.” If you did start him, congrats: His 419 yards led all passers (Monday notwithstanding) and he added four TDs, with only one interception. If only the Dolphins and Bengals could have played every weekend!

  • With Raiders workhorse Josh Jacobs out, those starting DeAndre Washington hoped he would step right into the rookie’s role, and he didn’t disappoint, posting a solid line of 85 rushing yards and a score, plus two catches for 21 yards.
  • Finally, there’s Mike Boone, the Monday night lottery ticket and fill-in for Dalvin Cook, who likely led a ton of teams to title games only to sit out when it mattered most. Here’s hoping Boone is your Week 16 savior, or your opponent’s championship downfall!
Image Credit: Martin Leitch/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Andy Dalton.

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