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Ian Hartitz’s Week 16 fantasy football fallouts: Nullified touchdowns, missed big plays and more

Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) calls a play during the first half against the New Orleans Saints at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Estimated reading time: 13 minutes


Week 16 has come and gone, as 16 NFL games brought joy, laughs and tears; today we’ll focus on the latter sadness and break down just how close some came to achieving fantasy football glory.

What follows is a breakdown on all the “Sheesh” moments from Week 16. I’ve watched every game and used PFF’s backend tools to help determine instances when:

  • Pass-catchers did receive an accurate pass that should have resulted in a score or big gain, but the ball was dropped
  • Pass-catchers could have scored or picked up big yardage with a more accurate pass
  • Players scored or picked up big yardage, but the play was nullified by penalty
  • Ball carriers managed to get all the way to the one-yard line, but didn’t score
  • Other random shit happened that tilted fantasy football managers of all shapes and sizes

Sheesh player of the week: Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson

On the one hand, Watson has been bad by just about any passing metric in four games since returning from suspension. PFF passing grade (59.3, No. 38 among 44 qualified quarterbacks), passer rating (69.3, No. 44), yards per attempt (5.7, No. 43), adjusted completion rate (73.2%, No. 32): Even stats meant to adjust for things like drops struggle to place him better than “bad.”

That said, Watson had not one, not two, but three separate passes dropped that each sure looked to be accurate enough to produce a touchdown. WR Amari Cooper (from 12 yards out), WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (15) and TE David Njoku (15) each registered an official PFF drop in admittingly hellacious Cleveland weather.

However, Watson wasn't completely free of blame, failing to hit an open Amari Cooper deep downfield on what had the potential to be a 42-yard score early in the fourth quarter. This hasn’t exactly turned out to be a season to remember for Browns faithful.


Sheesh play of the week: Cincinnati Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase drops what sure looked like a 59-yard touchdown

The New England Patriots played with fire by leaving Chase relatively alone on the left sideline early in the second quarter of their Week 16 loss to the Bengals. A smooth double move got Chase plenty of separation deep, but Joe Burrow’s perfectly thrown deep ball bounced off his chest and fell incomplete. The fact that Patriots CB Jonathan Jones fell down shortly after the drop sure makes it seem plausible that the electric second-year receiver would have waltzed into the end zone for the 59-yard score with a catch. At a minimum, this should have been a 40-plus-yard chunk gain.

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