The Denver Broncos needed a win Sunday in order to lock up the AFC's top overall seed. Once they were up 31-0 at the half, they called off the dogs, put in the backup quarterback, and cruised to a 34-14 win over an Oakland Raiders team that was playing out the string. The Broncos now get a week off before a home playoff game, so we'll all be treated to two weeks of silly "Peyton Manning in the playoffs" debates. Anyway, here's a look at the fantasy players of note from Sunday's game:
It only took one half of play for Manning to eclipse the fantasy production of every quarterback in the 1 p.m. ET games, as he put up 26 fantasy points, with 266 passing yards on 25 of 28 passing and four touchdowns. The quarterback extended his record number of passing touchdowns to 55 and broke Drew Brees' two-year-old record for passing yards of 5,476 by reaching 5,477 before being pulled. ... It was the same situation for Moreno, who didn't play after the half, but still notched 12 fantasy points with 23 rushing yards on six carries, plus 41 receiving yards and a touchdown on five catches. ... With Moreno out, Ball saw his touches increase, and he responded with 72 rushing yards on 10 carries and 22 receiving yards on three catches. For a guy who'd been struggling of late, nine fantasy points was a nice reward. ... And Thomas continued to be a top-three wide receiver, catching six balls for 113 yards and two touchdowns. He also skipped the second half.
Despite a touchdown, Decker's eight fantasy points have to go down as a disappointment. He only had 27 yards, as he left the game early along with his fellow starters. He wasn't a disaster by any means, but his owners had to hope for more. ... Caldwell continued to prove his big Week 15 against San Diego was a fluke, as he caught three balls for only 42 yards. ... Thomas was the only big-name Bronco to really struggle Sunday. He caught five passes for only 36 yards, surely a disappointment to his owners.
It was the saddest "worth it" fantasy day ever for Pryor, who entered the fourth quarter with 58 passing yards and no scores on the game. A big garbage-time quarter, though, left him with 207 passing yards (on 21 of 38 passing) and two touchdowns, plus 49 rushing yards. All told, Pryor, in his first week back as the Raiders' starter, notched 18 fantasy points. ... Streater also benefited from the garbage-time quarter, with 40 receiving yards and a touchdown on five catches.
And that was it for the Raiders. Their running game was barely a part of the game, since they trailed so early. As a result, Jennings (9 rushing yards on four carries, 8 receiving yards on two catches) and McFadden (6 rushing yards on seven carries, 15 receiving yards on three catches) were miserable fantasy plays Sunday. And Moore and Holmes couldn't get much going either. There just isn't enough offensive firepower in Oakland for many guys to have value.