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Week 16 fantasy wrap: Ezekiel Elliott returns

Ezekiel Elliott’s return to action may have been too late to help his fantasy owners (AP Photo).

Seahawks vs. Cowboys: Dallas wasn’t kidding about making Ezekiel Elliott a workhorse immediately upon his return from suspension, as he saw 24 carries and seven targets, which resulted in 118 yards against a Seattle defense that played far better this week than last. Elliott had a scoring chance vanish late in the second half when the team refused to run at the goal line, and the Cowboys are now officially out of the playoff race. Elliott will end his 2017 campaign in a tough matchup in Philadelphia next week, but he’ll enter 2018 as a consensus top-five overall fantasy pick…A possible shootout instead saw the quarterbacks get 5.0 YPA and take seven sacks with two interceptions, including Dak Prescott’s fourth pick-six this season…Jimmy Graham has two catches for two yards over the past three games and is on pace to finish with 58 receptions and 507 yards. And also 11 touchdowns. Graham made the Pro Bowl, but Harrison Smith didn’t…Seattle became the first team since the merger to win a game with more penalty than offensive yards.

Lions vs. Bengals: Facing a Cincy team that entered with a three-game losing streak, including getting outscored 67-14 over the last two, the Lions lost a must-win game in which they entered as near TD favorites…Eric Ebron was one of the most consistent and productive tight ends throughout the fantasy playoffs…A.J. Green’s run against tough corners finishes in Baltimore next week, although at least Jimmy Smith is out…Joe Mixon’s up-and-down rookie season ended on a sour note, as he left early with an ankle injury. Giovani Bernard totaled 168 yards with a TD in a big RB performance on fantasy benches in Week 16.

Chargers vs. Jets: New York recovered an onside attempt on the first play of the gameAntonio Gates took advantage of Hunter Henry being out, turning eight targets into 81 yards and a score, while Robby Anderson had a long TD catch called back thanks to OPI…Bilal Powell had a big game, also likely on most fantasy benches…The 8-7 Bills have been outscored by 63 points this season. The 8-7 Chargers have outscored their opponents by 63 points.

Rams vs. Titans: Todd Gurley totaled 276 yards from scrimmage with two scores (highlighted by this screen), becoming the first player since Herschel Walker in 1986 with at least 100 rushing yards and 150 receiving yards in the same game. Over the last three weeks during the fantasy playoffs, Gurley averaged 197.0 YFS with eight touchdowns in a memorable stretch. He’s the current favorite to win MVP and be the first pick in 2018 fantasy drafts…Sam Ficken was an immediate big downgrade at kicker, missing a FG and an XP. It’s more than a slight concern for a team trying to win the Super Bowl.

Browns vs. Bears: DeShone Kizer threw another two picks, as the Browns haven’t won a game on Sunday over the span of the last three Star Wars films…Let’s hope Josh Gordon has a competent quarterback throwing to him in 2018…This marked the first time the Bears have won as favorites under John Fox.

Buccaneers vs. Panthers: Cam Newton got 6.4 YPA, while no Panthers running back got 40 rushing yards and no receiver 50 yards. The 11-4 Panthers sure don’t seem like they have much upside to go deep into the playoffs…Chris Godwin paid the DFS bills with 98 yards, but Cameron Brate disappointed with no O.J. Howard in the lineup…Devin Funchess is playing hurt, while Sunday marked the first 100-yard game of the season for Mike Evans.

Falcons vs. Saints: Devonta Freeman ran for just 36 yards and lost a fumble at the goal line, while Tevin Coleman got only 2.0 YPC during his return. Drew Brees put up an all too familiar modest line with 239 yards and one score, as New Orleans’ defense continues to play well…Last year’s MVP hasn’t thrown for more than two TDs in a game this season and has just four TD passes over the past five contests…Here’s Marshon Lattimore making the interception of the week.

Broncos vs. Washington: For all of Denver’s faults, its defense had been playing well, so give credit to Kirk Cousins for getting 8.1 YPA with three touchdowns despite a shaky offensive line and a running game that produced 3.0 YPC. How this Cousins situation has played out has essentially been a worst-case scenario for Washington…Over the final two weeks of most fantasy seasons, C.J. Anderson averaged 145.5 yards from scrimmage with a score…Josh Doctson had a TD but somehow caught just two balls on 13 targets.

Dolphins vs. Chiefs: Facing a KC secondary that entered having allowed the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers, DeVante Parker got just 6.3 YPT, while both Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills were held to fewer than 55 yards and lost fumbles. Jakeem Grant, meanwhile, busted this screen 65 yards to the houseTyreek Hill is on pace to finish with 1,262 receiving yards on just 112 targets.

Bills vs. Patriots: Tyrod Taylor has now taken 28 sacks over seven road games…The Patriots entered as huge favorites at home, thin at running back and with Chris Hogan out, so the setup was right for a big Brandin Cooks game. Instead, he managed just 19 yards on five targets…Tom Brady has been picked off in five straight games and has a 4:5 TD:INT ratio over his past four contests. It’s clear he’s missed Jimmy G…This Kelvin Benjamin TD catch getting overturned was highly questionableDion Lewis took full advantage of Rex Burkhead and James White being out, totaling 153 yards with two scores. Lewis, who entered ranked No. 3 in Juke Rate (40.4%) and No. 1 in yards created per carry (2.76) should be treated as a clear RB1 any week in which he’s New England’s lead back…This Rob Gronkowski catch was ridiculous.

Giants vs. Cardinals: These teams combined for 24 rushing yards at halftime, and hopefully Evan Engram leaving leads to keeping his price tag down some at draft tables next year. He’ll be someone to target.

Jaguars vs. 49ers: Keelan Cole continued to act as the team’s clear No. 1 wideout (13 targets), while the 49ers continued to defend the run well, holding Leonard Fournette to just 2.7 YPC…Jacksonville blocked an extra point and returned it for two points (and also got an onside kick), while San Francisco scored a first quarter TD for the first time since Week 3 (during the first opening TD drive allowed by Jacksonville this season)…Blake Bortles hadn’t thrown an interception during December before being picked off three times Sunday…Jimmy Garoppolo got 8.1 YPA, leading San Francisco to 44 points against the league’s best defense. The 49ers are going to be ridiculously hyped entering 2018.

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