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With RG3 on the sidelines, which young quarterback would step into his place as the rookie to watch?
The big news going into the day was that Robert Griffin III would miss a start for the first time in his career, though his active style of play that puts him in the middle of the action has put fear in the hearts of Redskins fans all season. That fear came to fruition in Week 15 and Kirk Cousins got the start.
Luckily, Cousins justified the Skins using a pick on him in April by going 26-of-37 for 329 yards, 2 TD and 1 INT as Washington won again and moved into first place in the NFC East. That puts Griffin, Andrew Luck, and Russell Wilson all in the playoffs if the season ended today.
The season is not over in real life, however, but it might be in your fantasy league. If it's not, then you are probably headed to the league championship next week. Congratulations! Here are the guys that got you that far, and the ones that screwed you over.
Russell Wilson against the Bills (ALLRUSSELLWILSONALLEVERYTHING)
The Buffalo Bills defense has statistically improved over the last four weeks, allowing fewer than 100 total rushing yards in each of those games. Welp, those teams do not have Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch.
Wilson marched into Toronto and had his best rushing game of the season, running for 92 yards and three touchdowns in addition to 205 yards passing with another score and no interceptions. It was the first time in NFL history that a quarterback ran for three first half touchdowns, a Seahawks record for QBs, and Wilson has run for more yards in a single season (402) than any quarterback in franchise history. He good.
In total that was 270 rushing yards for Seattle, proving that the Bills are still very susceptible on defense. Or that Wilson, who has 19 total touchdowns and 3 interceptions in his last nine games, is the offensive rookie of the year. I guess that's what happens when RG3 misses a game!
Keeping it young and mobile, Colin Kaepernick had a career game on Sunday night, throwing for 4 TD and 1 INT against a soft Pats defense. He had only 3 passing touchdowns coming into the game. All of a sudden it looks like the NFC West has three great young quarterbacks and... ummm.. the Cardinals.
Like Wilson, be careful starting Kaep during championship week. Playing on the road in Seattle will be the toughest test of his career so far.
The other nice young quarterback is Sam Bradford, who went HAM on pass attempts (55) but threw for 377 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT and a two-point conversion. Bradford tied a career-high with 18 TD passes on the year and reminds you that this guy was very good as a rookie. It was the third 3-TD game of his career.
Bradford, with more weapons, like a consistent deep-threat, could be very deadly in fantasy. Chris Givens, Danny Amendola, Brian Quick and Lance Kendricks are a good start, but the Rams could do well to add someone else or perhaps Givens and/or Quick can continue to develop.
The Rams face the Buccaneers in Week 16, the worst pass D in the NFL.
Drew Brees against the Bucs (SPEAKING OF WHICH)
Brees leads the NFL in touchdowns and interceptions, but on Sunday it was all touchdowns. Four of them and zero picks. He had 9 INT in his last three games but took advantage of a terrible Bucs pass D, as I just said. His 36 TD passes are the second-most of his career.
The Saints ended a three-game losing streak while the Bucs lost their fourth in a row. New Orleans gets Dallas in Week 16, the team with the fewest interceptions.
Honorable Mentions: Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins
Is it fair to blame some of Norv Turner and A.J. Smith's demise on Philip Rivers, the quickly-fading former Pro Bowl QB? Rivers was 16-of-23 for 121 yards, 1 TD and 0 INT but he traded in his picks for fumbles on Sunday: He lost two of them.
Over his last 30 games that is 35 interceptions and the occasional fumble. Do you rebuild with Rivers or start from scratch with a new franchise QB? Have you seen the 2013 QB class? They need to keep going with Phil.
That's not how words work.
Little Manning was 13-of-25 for 161 yards, 0 TD and 2 INT in a blowout loss to Atlanta as the Giants playoff hopes faded into the background with their fourth loss in six games. Manning is now, and will forever be, good not great. Sure, he has been great in playoff games, but not your fantasy playoff games.
You can't spell unreliable without 'ELI'.
Josh Freeman against the Saints (REALLY? AGAINST THE SAINTS DUDE?)
Speaking of playoff contention collapses, meet the Bucs. Tampa hasn't collapses this badly since... well, last season. After winning five of six, they have lost four in a row and might finish the year with a six-game losing streak. Josh Freeman can't be held blameless either.
Against the awful defense of New Orleans, Freeman threw for 279 yards, 0 TD and 4 INT. Freeman had only eight interceptions going into the game but his ~55% completions this season is just not acceptable. If you started Freeman in Week 15, you probably didn't make it to Week 16. If you did though, the Rams provide a tough matchup next week.
No known QB injuries or concussions. It's a Christmas Miracle!