Posted: Sunday December 24, 2006 8:18PM; Updated: Tuesday December 26, 2006 1:07PM
Steven Jackson had one of the few twin 100-yard rushing and receiving days.
It seems only fitting that the bulk of the action of fantasy championship games are taking place on Christmas Eve. What a nice surprise to see a title under the tree, and even better is getting that championship thanks to some people you might not have expected it from. (Maybe you can even express the same elation as the kids surprised to get that Nintendo 64 in that famous video making the rounds this holiday season.)
Sure, you expect LaDainian Tomlinson, Larry Johnson, Steven Jackson or Peyton Manning to put up big stats. That's why they were high draft picks. But then again, so were Carnell Williams and LaMont Jordan. On the other hand, who knew low-round or undrafted gems such as Marques Colston, Maurice Jones-Drew, Ron Dayne, Ladell Betts and Vince Young could be the key to your fantasy success in the playoffs and, even better, in the championship game?
Stud of the Week
Steven Jackson, RB, Rams (33 carries, 150 yards, 1 TD, 1 lost fumble; 6 catches, 102 yards, 1 TD): Sure, LaDainian Tomlinson has run away with fantasy MVP honors, although he picked the wrong week to go without a TD. But Jackson has made a strong push to be the No. 3 or even the No. 2 pick in next year's fantasy drafts thanks to a great all-around performance this season, capped off with a huge game even with the Rams pretty much out of the playoff race. With his stats Sunday and this season, Jackson has proven he can fill Marshall Faulk's shoes.
Wide Receiver/Tight End Isaac Bruce, Rams: 9 catches, 148 yards, 1 TD Mark Clayton, Ravens: 7 catches, 108 yards, 1 TD Mike Furrey, Lions: 10 catches, 107 yards, 1 TD Marvin Harrison, Colts: 8 catches, 112 yards, 2 TDs T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Bengals: 9 catches, 94 yards, 1 TD
Others Robbie Gould, K, Bears: 4-4 FG, 2-2 XP Rian Lindell, K, Bills: 5-5 FG, 2-2 XP Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense: 3 sacks, 4 INTs (one returned for TD)
Co-Duds of the Week
Michael Vick, QB, Falcons (9-20, 109 yards, 2 INTs; 4 carries, 32 yards): He helped many teams get into the championship game with his four-TD outing against the Cowboys. But while the groin injury didn't necessarily hurt his passing yards, he still didn't look good against a Panthers defense that had struggled all year and was missing Mike Rucker. In the long run, Vick is going to rank very high among fantasy quarterbacks this year, especially since he ran for 1,000 yards this season. However, while his highs are so high, his lows are so low that it's hard to rely on him to carry your fantasy team even next year.
Steve Smith, WR, Panthers (1 carry, -5 yards): Carolina opted to go to the ground with the 1-2 punch of DeShaun Foster (28-102) and DeAngelo Williams (21-82) instead of relying on Chris Weinke to win the game. And with the passing game not in the mix, there wasn't much of a chance for Smith to even get a catch. Terrible news for those using him in the title game, but those are the breaks.
Vincent Jackson, WR, Chargers (5 catches, 97 yards, 2 TDs): San Diego's receiving corps hasn't been all that impressive this year, but big guys like Jackson and Malcolm Floyd have had their moments, giving Philip Rivers for next year that aren't named LaDainian Tomlinson or Antonio Gates.