Week 17 was filled with matchups that brought forth all sorts of possibilities for the postseason fate of teams around the league. The AFC North rivalry that took place in Cincinnati was no exception. The Cincinnati Bengals needed a win to at least hope to claim the AFC's No. 2 seed and a bye week. The Baltimore Ravens arguably had more to fight for. The Ravens were unquestionably out of the playoff hunt if they lost to their division opponent.
It was a sloppy game of football. There were plenty of turnovers from both teams. There was questionable play calling at times. But, ultimately, the Bengals finished their season undefeated at home with a 34-17 victory over the Ravens. Since the Bailtmore absolutely needed a win, and Cincinnati needed a win just enough, both teams kept their starters in for the entire game. For fantasy football owners who needed to endure Week 17, it meant many players who helped owners get this far in their seasons were still contributing on Sunday. As usual, we're here to discuss the fantasy implications.
Andy Dalton: Dalton's Sunday performance resembled his entire body of work in 2013. Simply put, Dalton had a roller coaster of an afternoon. It isn't often that a fantasy quarterback can salvage a four-interception performance. However, Dalton put together a respectable fantasy outing. He finished with 281 yards and two touchdowns. He added 23 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown to his afternoon.
A.J. Green: It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Green got it done on Sunday. With four catches for 61 yards and a touchdown, Green cracked 1400 receiving yards for the first time in his young career.
Marvin Jones: Jones showed flashes midway through the season, but disappeared in November. Then he finished strong. On Sunday, Jones caught five passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. It was his third touchdown in his last four games. He'll be in consideration as a low-end WR3 with upside in 2014.
Cincinnati defense: The Bengals finished with two sacks, three interceptions, and a defensive touchdown thanks to cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. Fantasy owners were rewarded with double-digit points from a defense that excels at home.
Bengals running backs: BenJarvus Green-Ellis was efficient on the field, but his performance didn't translate into attractive fantasy numbers. The touchdown-dependent running back failed to find the end zone on Sunday. He quietly accumulated 66 rushing yards, but was non-existent in the passing game. Giovani Bernard had just 22 rushing yards with a dismal 1.7 YPC. However, Bernard flashed in the passing game. He caught five passes for 51 yards. He ended up with acceptable flex numbers, especially in PPR formats, but the rookie playmaker failed to find the end zone.
Dennis Pitta: Pitta may be more of an "honorable mention" candidate for Week 17. He's worth highlighting simply because he led the team with 11 targets and played well for PPR owners despite not finding the end zone. Pitta finished with eight receptions for 63 yards. He'll be in the discussion as a top-five tight end in 2014.
Joe Flacco: No one expected it to be easy for Flacco in Cincinnati. The Bengals have contained both Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady at home. Flacco was held to 192 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. He was constantly pressured in the pocket, which forced the ball out of his hands early and often. Flacco rarely performs beyond his QB2 status in fantasy football, and Sunday was no exception.
Ravens running backs: Bernard Pierce led the Ravens backfield with just 28 rushing yards on five carries. He also caught four passes for 18 yards. Ray Rice was kept off the field for most of the first half, but he was more involved in the second half. He finished with just 15 yards on six carries. Rice also caught seven passes for 35 yards. Sunday's performance by Baltimore's running backs capped off a brutally disappointing fantasy season.
Torrey Smith: Flacco's struggles hindered his receivers on Sunday afternoon. Smith caught just three passes for 27 yards. Marlon Brown put up equally mediocre numbers, but he did manage to find the end zone.