This week back in 2008 unsuspecting owners with trophy dreams were about to get their souls crushed by a Carolina running back in the midst of a breakout season.
Andy Behrens, one of those unlucky individuals, probably wished he had turned in early.
On Sunday night that week, "The Broom" was tied to a desk at NBC 5 in downtown Chicago, a ritual that season. Behrens, waiting patiently to discuss the fantasy occurrences of the day, sat in his chair fixated on the Giants/Panthers game. Confident his 99-73 lead would hold up, he needed DeAngelo Williams, his opponent's last bullet, to post just modest numbers. The crown was his. No doubt.
Unfortunately, D-Will morphed into Godzilla. With every TD splash, all four of them, an "F" bomb exploded in Behrens' head.
Thousands of sympathizers felt his pain. The rusher's 34.8-fantasy point thrashing knocked off many.
Williams' herculean effort is still widely considered the most heroic (or hated) Week 16 performance in virtual sports history. To this day, the thought of that fateful night sickens Behrens. If you like your face, never mention it in his presence. Really, don't. Utter DeAn...and Andy turns into the Hulk.
The prowling Panther, coming off a 61-1 effort against a stiff Houston defense, is in prime position to cause heartache once again. His Week 16 opponent, Tampa Bay, has yielded a staggering 4.8 yards per carry, 172.9 total yards per game and 19 touchdowns to RBs this season, equal to the most points allowed. Eight rushers since Week 7 have eclipsed the 12-point mark against the Bucs, including Williams' tag-team partner, Jonathan Stewart, three weeks ago. Though Carolina sports a true split backfield, all running Panthers are strong starts given the appealing matchup.
What other players will rain on your foe's parade this year? Here are five additional underrated commodities that could shower you in champagne:
Matt Moore, Mia, QB
Y! Percent Started: 6-percent
Penalties against Detroit, Marshawn Lynch touchdowns, Joe Flacco checkdowns and 20-point QB performances given up by New England — those are the NFL's best-known consistencies. The Pats, still on pace to allow the most passing yards in league history, have done their fair share of charitable work in Fantasyland. Only Mark Sanchez and dreadful Tyler Palko failed to finish as QB1s in 12-team leagues when matched against them. Moore watched from the sidelines when Chad Henne lit up Kyle Arrington and company for 475 combined yards and three total touchdowns Week 1 versus New England. Now he'll get his chance to be the wrecking ball. Despite mediocre yardage totals, the signal caller has played decently since Week 9, notching a 11:2 td:int split. Given the likely catch-up element and soft opponent, he is a passer very capable of 270-plus yards with 2-3 touchdowns.
Felix Jones, Dal, RB
Y! Percent Started: 48-percent
Dallas' newly anointed workhorse lived up to his billing last week in Tampa. On a season-high 25 touches, he totaled 131 yards, including an impressive 38-yard gallup in the second quarter. Overall, he totaled at least three runs of 10 yards or more. Most importantly, none of his tendons exploded, a near miracle given his long injury history. Civil War veteran Sammy Morris will continue to be involved, but Jerry Jones made it very clear after Saturday's game Felix is his club's unquestioned top back. In a mammoth matchup with the still-breathing Eagles, he's must-start material. Philly did an excellent job of containing Shonn Greene last week holding him to just 73 yards on 18 carries. But inconsistency on defense has reigned supreme for the Andy Reid's team this year. Prior to Week 15, they had given up at least 12 fantasy points to a rusher in three straight games. Because of Jones' well-defined role, explosiveness and versatility, he's one of the most trustworthy RBs currently in the virtual game.
Kevin Smith, Det, RB
Y! Percent Started: 23-percent
The enormous yule log Smith dropped last week in Oakland will turn off many. But give him another chance and he'll surely present you with an early Christmas gift. The Chargers typically excel in December. However, their end-season acceleration this year is almost exclusively due to the return of Antonio Gates, not its defensive performance. Sliced repeatedly by RBs, they've surrendered 4.5 yards per carry and the 11th-most fantasy points to rushers since Week 10. Smith moved sluggishly Sunday. His ankle impairment and Detroit's poor trench execution thwarted what, on paper, was a very exploitable opponent. Still, if he can log a full week of practice, he should improve greatly playing on the fast-track of Ford Field. Without much competition for touches, he's in line to register at least 15-20 touches and roughly 90-110 total yards, placing him solidly in RB2 territory.
Jabar Gaffney, Was, WR
Y! Percent Started: 26-percent
Gaffney may be the undercard fighter compared to brand name Santana Moss, but he is the 'Skins' steadiest producer, particularly in PPR formats. His 6-85-0 line last week against the Giants marked the fourth time in his past five contests the wideout has recorded at least five catches. Most owners usually want nothing to do with anyone whose value is tied directly to Rex Grossman, but a matchup with Minnesota, ravaged by injuries and ineffectiveness, can make even the ugliest quarterback look pretty. The Vikes have allowed 8.3 yards per attempt on the season. And at least one WR has logged 10-plus points against them in four straight, including Lance Moore who spanked them for 5-91-2 in the Saints' blowout win. Cedric Griffin and Asher Allen are simply awful. Gaffney, who is the 18th-best wide receiver in per week output since Week 11, is a spectacular, top-20 play in Week 16.
Y! Percent Started: 26-percent
Most owners would scoff at playing a defense fresh off conceding 27-points to the My Little Ponies of Indianapolis, but gifted arguably the worst offense in the league might have people thinking twice. Outside Maurice Jones-Drew, the Jags are comprised of "talent" that would struggle to see the field for an Arena League team. Unlike fellow rookies Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, Christian Ponder, Jake Locker and T.J. Yates, Blaine Gabbert has progressed little. His pocket awareness is laughable and he's been a magnet for turnovers. Sacked 15 times since Week 12 and responsible for seven turnovers, the bumbling youngster is a defensive coordinator's dream. The Titans have feasted on the meek, posting sizable outputs against Cleveland, Carolina and Buffalo. Their shortcomings against the run are a concern, but they should finish a top-10 unit in Week 16.
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