The woes are getting entirely more painful to watch and experience for fantasy owners as last week’s matchup was the first round of the playoffs in most leagues. This is when upsets happen with top-seeded teams falling victim to costly, fantasy blunders.

There was a shortage in production from a handful of top receivers, but none more than Oakland’s Amari Cooper who failed to catch any of the eight targets he saw from Derek Carr. It could not have been worse for fantasy owners who had seen the rookie wideout slow down a bit as of late in what has been a solid season overall.

The Raiders went on to beat the Broncos, 15-12, as Khalil Mack took over with five sacks in the second half with one being for a safety. Denver’s Emmanuel Sanders muffed a punt and turned the ball over early in the fourth quarter that lead to the go-ahead touchdowns. Sanders disappointed his owners as well with just 17 yards receiving on two catches and said fumble, which resulted in a negative point total in some leagues.

Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders smiling
Photo credit: Jeffrey Beall

Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant owners were also on the short end of the stick with each guy hauling in a single catch on five targets apiece for a combined 25 yards. He got locked down by Rams’ corner Trumaine Johnson who covered Megatron one-on-one most of the game. Despite the matchup, owners likely curbed their expectations as Calvin Johnson has been a disappointing first-round draft pick this year.

It has been a different story for Dez Bryant as his numbers have suffered since returning from a five-game absence due to an early season foot injury. Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo broke the same clavicle twice this season and Matt Cassel has struggled to gel with the star wide receiver. In Sunday’s loss to the Packers, Bryant had a pass deflect off his hands resulting in an interception in the first quarter and he had a long reception overturned to an incompletion in the second quarter.

Fantasy owners could have lost their matchup largely in part to the Steelers not having to rely too much on Ben Roethlisberger’s arm in Sunday’s win over the Bengals. Good defense and starting field position helped DeAngelo Williams rush for two touchdowns and Cincinatti’s Andy Dalton left the game with a broken thumb.

Big Ben was accurate completing 30 of his 39 pass attempts for 282 yards, but he did throw a pick and didn’t have any touchdown passes in the game. It is not often that Roethlisberger fails to record 300 yards passing or a touchdown in a contest.

The Bengals’ rushing attack hardly could get going as Giovanni Bernard only got six carries, which he turned into 40 yards. Jeremy Hill continued his up-and-down season with another down performance on Sunday with only 16 yards on seven attempts. He was coming off three games with steady showings, but has never amounted to first-round talent while being labeled as a bust in preseason and being a regular for our Fantasy Woes section.

Last but not least, the Falcons have now lost six straight after Cam Newton and the Panthers ‘dabbed’ them with a 38-0 shutout. Atlanta’s running back, Devonta Freeman, wasn’t much of a factor with just 62 yards of total offense with no touchdowns and lost a fumble. The young running back hasn’t gotten back to the form he showed earlier in the season when he had 10 total scores in a five-game span. He had been more involved in the passing game as of late, but nothing seemed to work in Carolina on Sunday.

It has been a fun and interesting season up until this point and there is no reason to expect anything different in the next couple weeks. Good luck if your team still has a chance for the title and hopefully you avoid seeing your players in next week’s Fantasy Woes. To get the ranked waiver wire pickups, sign up for the VIP Waiver Wire List (it’s free).

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