When you take a flyer on a player -- "Oh, hey, Matt Flynn was good a week ago." -- and he craters, you get frustrated, sure, but you get it. It's when your studs play, and you start them even though you're worried about injury or what-have-you, and they do nothing that fantasy really makes you want to rip out your fingernails.
If you haven't suffered enough yet, read on for some disappointments:
Worst quarterbacks in Week 16
Matt Cassel, MIN (114 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions, 1 fumble lost, 16 rushing yards, 1 fantasy point)
No one really thought Cassel was building his way to stud quarterback status, but he'd been decent enough in his limited play this year that there was reason to think he wasn't horrible. Sunday, though, he was horrible. He was very very horrible. After only five interceptions and no fumbles all season entering Sunday, he had four combined turnovers, while throwing only one touchdown and barely even surpassing 100 yards. And to make matters worse, that touchdown came less than five minutes into the game, which means Cassel was even awful-er for the last 55 minutes.
Next game: The Vikings play a Detroit Lions team in Week 17 that no longer has any playoff scenario to play for, and one that is very mediocre against opposing quarterbacks. Cassel isn't any kind of strong fantasy option, but he'll at least improve on Sunday's performance.
Carson Palmer, ARI (178 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 4 interceptions, 3 fantasy points)
Nope, doesn't make any sense. Palmer played crazy-bad-awful in Sunday's game, yet the Cardinals beat the Seattle Seahawks. The best-in-the-NFL Seahawks. In Seattle. And through 57:43 of the game, Palmer was 31 yards and a score below his final-game totals. That's just nonsense of the highest order, and Palmer and the rest of the offense should buy every defensive player on that team all of the dinners. All of them.
Next game: The Cardinals host a San Francisco 49ers team in Week 17 that will still have a lot to play for no matter what happens Monday night. It's not quite the defense Seattle is, but it's still a tough unit, and Palmer looks really hard to count on in the season's final week.
Ryan Tannehill, MIA (82 passing yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 3 fantasy points)
Seven sacks. 82 passing yards. Missed time with an injury. Fourteen total rushing yards for the team. It's hard to imagine a way Miami's game Sunday could have gone any worse, especially for a team that had (and technically still has) playoff aspirations. It's hard to blame Tannehill for the disaster, as the offensive line did nothing at all to protect him, but after setting new season-highs in fantasy production for four weeks in a row, it was impossible to see this disaster coming.
Next game: The Dolphins host the New York Jets in Week 17, and while the offensive line is still the offensive line, the Jets don't have the Bills' defense. Tannehill will be better next week, because he basically has to.
Worst running backs in Week 16
Adrian Peterson, MIN (45 rushing yards, 2 receiving yards, 4 fantasy points)
Peterson (and another player we'll get to shortly) carries with him a very mild curse. The studs are great when they're at their peak, but when they're a question mark, and they end up active, you have to start them. You can't run without an active Adrian Peterson and then watch him go off for 200 or something. So even though your player is banged up and starting him terrifies you, you have to do it. It's just one of those things, but sometimes -- like Sunday -- it sucks.
Next game: The Vikings take on a decent Lions' run defense in Week 17, and it's the exact same thing: If Peterson is active, even if he's not fully healthy, you're using him. You don't have a choice. Best of luck.
Lamar Miller, MIA (8 rushing yards, 0 fantasy points)
Daniel Thomas, MIA (6 rushing yards, 3 receiving yards, 0 fantasy points)
Just like Tannehill, this game was an abject disaster for the running backs, and it started with the offensive line. Neither running back could do much of anything. While bad games were always part of the Thomas/Miller package -- neither one has been what anyone could call consistent -- this bottoming-out was hard to see coming.
Next game: And just like Tannehill, it basically has to get better for Miller and Thomas against the Jets in Week 17. It really has to. Doesn't it?
Andre Brown, NYG (40 rushing yards, 14 receiving yards, 1 fumble lost, 3 fantasy points)
I was all over every outlet I had this week saying Brown would be fine for this game, that it was one bad game, that the Lions' D is good but not as good as the Seahawks. I was a big ol' dummy, I guess, because this game, while better than Week 15, was still basically a disaster for Brown. And it could have been worse, as he fumbled another time that the Giants were able to recover.
Next game: The Giants host the Washington Redskins in the season ender, and I know the Washington defense is bad. I'm going back to the well here, but he'll be fine in Week 17.
Worst wide receivers in Week 16
Kendall Wright, TEN (22 receiving yards, 2 fantasy points)
Wright had been the most reliable, predictable wide receiver in fantasy through Week 13. Yards in the mid/high double digits, maybe a touchdown but probably not, fantasy value in the solid WR3 category. And then, the last three weeks, he's had 17, 150, and 22 yards. He's become Vincent Jackson before our eyes. And a Vincent Jackson -- big games, bad games, wild swings -- is fine, if you know you have a Vincent Jackson. But a surprise Vincent Jackson is a back-breaker, and that's what Wright has become.
Next game: It certainly seems like Week 17 is set up for Wright to bounce back with a decent game against the Houston Texans -- he had 54 yards and a score against them the last time these teams played.
Calvin Johnson, DEN (43 receiving yards, 4 fantasy points)
Johnson is another example of that Adrian Peterson phenomenon I was discussing earlier -- a great player who is a question mark. If they're active, you gotta use 'em, and you gotta hope. Sometimes, it works out. Sunday, it most certainly didn't. But it's still Calvin Johnson. If you lost because of his Week 16, know that you were only able to do so because his Week 1-Week 15 got you there.
Next game: Johnson takes on the Minnesota Vikings in Week 17. Once again, if he's active, you start him, and you cross your fingers.
Andre Johnson, HOU (63 receiving yards, 6 fantasy points)
In and of itself, a six-point fantasy day isn't a disaster. But coming off a one-point disaster in Week 15, and in a Broncos game -- which always promises high offense -- putting up only 63 yards is pretty disappointing. Johnson was two different guys for much of the season -- a poor WR3/flex in the first seven weeks, then one of the best receivers in the game for the next seven -- and it looks like he's reverted back to his first self these last two games.
Next game: The Texans take on the Tennessee Titans in Week 17, and the Titans have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers in the league so far this season. Johnson is still a starter, but another low/middling game wouldn't be a shock.
Worst tight ends in Week 16
Coby Fleener, IND (8 receiving yards, 0 fantasy points)
Fleener looked like he was rising to prominence in the first few games after the Reggie Wayne injury -- he averaged eight fantasy points a game from Week 7 to Week 13 -- but that's gone away since. He has 39 yards and three total fantasy points from Week 14 to now, and he's back to being the disappointing tight end he had been. Look at it this way: Fleener has played every game this season, and he's still behind Rob Gronkowski in overall fantasy production.
Jason Witten, DAL (13 receiving yards, 1 fantasy points)
Witten has had the most up-and-down year of his career in 2013. He's scored one or two fantasy points five different times; he's reached double figures five different times. He had a one-catch, 10-yard game in Week 14, but that one catch was a touchdown. It's really disappointing for his owners that he couldn't get anything going against that bad Washington defense, but in general, a bad Witten game isn't as shocking as it used to be.
Worst defense/special teams in Week 16
Houston Texans (37 points allowed, -8 fantasy points)
Chicago Bears (54 points allowed, 1 fumble recovery, -7 fantasy points)
These two defenses had disaster games coming from totally different perspectives. The Texans had every reason to shrug their shoulders and await season's end, while a Bears' win would have given them a division title. So these two games are basically equal in fantasy scoring, but insanely different in confusion. Either way, these aren't defenses you ever want to use.