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Fantasy Football 2012: Week 16 Surprise Performers

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2012 Fantasy Football Surprise Performances Week 16

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Week 16 of the 2012 NFL season featured quite a few surprises. From surprising wins to breakout performances from unlikely sources, this week provided plenty of suspense and intrigue for the fantasy football world.

The Minnesota Vikings are responsible for one of the most surprising victories of this week. Limiting the Houston Texans to just six points, the Vikings demonstrated why they deserve to be a playoff team this season. Especially against a great Texans offense featuring Matt Schaub, Arian Foster and Andre Johnson, the Vikings executed their game plan perfectly for the impressive win. Other surprising victories this week include wins by the Cincinnati Bengals and St. Louis Rams.

Star players like Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (vs. New Orleans Saints, 34.40 points), Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (vs. Tennessee Titans, 32.78 points) and Miami Dolphins RB Reggie Bush (vs. Buffalo Bills, 28.70 points) had some of the top individual performances of the week. However, these elite fantasy options were obvious starts this week and weren’t necessarily surprises. Here’s a look at some surprising layers at each position who had unexpected fantasy performances in Week 16.

* Fantasy points are determined by Yahoo! fantasy football default scoring settings. Players for this list are owned in less than 50% of Yahoo! fantasy football leagues and ownership numbers are up to date as of Monday, December 24. Statistics listed for players are subject to change after the game.

Austin Chang is a featured columnist and fantasy sports expert at Rant Sports and you can follow him on Twitter @_austinchang.

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QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

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QB Russell Wilson (vs. San Francisco 49ers, 40% owned)

Week 16 statistics: 171 passing yards, 4 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 29 rushing yards

Fantasy points scored: 24.74 points

In one of the most important games of his young career, Wilson churned out a career performance against the best defense in the NFL. Despite throwing for just 171 yards, his four passing touchdowns was a new career-high and led the Seattle Seahawks to a huge 42-13 victory over the 49ers. Coming off strong in the second half of the season, Wilson should be a good fantasy option in Week 17.

Honorable mentions: Ryan Tannehill (17.60 points, 9% owned), Chad Henne (17.12 points, 9% owned), Nick Foles (15.80 points, 9% owned)

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RB Ryan Grant, Green Bay Packers

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RB Ryan Grant (vs. Titans, 5% owned)

Week 16 statistics: 80 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, 34 receiving yards

Fantasy points scored: 23.40 points

With Alex Green and James Starks both sidelined, Grant had an opportunity to step in and take the majority of the carries over starter DuJuan Harris. Just recently returning to the team, he found the same success that made him a top back in 2008 and 2009. After playing so well for the Packers this week, going back to Grant might just be the solution at running back the team has been looking for all along.

Honorable mentions: Bernard Pierce (12.30 points, 2% owned), Mark Ingram (12.00 points, 31% owned), Martell Owens (11.90 points, 27% owned)

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WR Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks

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WR Doug Baldwin (vs. 49ers, 4% owned)

Week 16 statistics: 53 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns

Fantasy points scored: 17.30 points

Nothing could go wrong for the Seahawks offense, as Baldwin was one of the big performers of the day in the big blowout win over San Francisco. Hauling in some tough catches in the rain, he scored both of his touchdowns in the second half on red zone plays. Sidney Rice was banged up for the game, so Baldwin stepped up and found success in a playoff berth-clinching win.

Honorable mentions: Greg Little (11.80 points, 26% owned), Domenik Hixon (9.60 points, 8% owned), Joshua Morgan (8.80 points, 4% owned)

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TE Lance Kendricks, St. Louis Rams

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TE Lance Kendricks (at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2% owned)

Week 16 statistics: 119 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown

Fantasy points scored: 17.90 points

After having little success as a fantasy option this season, Kendricks used his speed to burst in front of the Buccaneers defense for a 80-yard touchdown in the second half. Certainly a tight end with big-play ability, it’s been surprising to see him have little effect in an offense looking for more passing options for Sam Bradford. Perhaps this game is what kick starts Kendricks’ production into someone worth owning next season.

Honorable mentions: Delanie Walker (11.40 points, 0% owned), Jacob Tamme (6.90 points, 35% owned), Anthony McCoy (6.60 points, 0% owned)

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K Blair Walsh, Minnesota Vikings

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K Blair Walsh (at Texans, 41% owned)

Week 16 statistics: 3-for-3 field goals made (56, 41, 39), 2 extra points made

Fantasy points scored: 14.00 points

Walsh continued his dominant play after scoring 25 fantasy points last week. He also set a NFL record after making a 56-yard field goal in the second quarter, as he is now 9-for-9 on field goals of 50 yards or more.

Honorable mentions: Josh Scobee (12.00 points, 2% owned), Kai Forbath (11.00 points, 8% owned), Nick Novak (11.00 points, 6% owned)

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St. Louis Rams team defense

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Rams team defense (at Buccaneers, 26% owned)

Week 16 statistics: 13 points allowed, 5 sacks, 4 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery, 1 defensive touchdown

Fantasy points scored: 25.00 points

The Rams defense had fun picking apart Josh Freeman, as they finished the day with four interceptions, including one returned by Janoris Jenkins for a touchdown. Considering the great performances churned out by the Arizona Cardinals, 49ers, Seahawks and Rams this season, the NFC West has been a goldmine this season for great fantasy defenses.

Honorable mentions: San Diego Chargers team defense (22.00 points, 49% owned), Indianapolis Colts team defense (17.00 points, 20% owned), Vikings team defense (15.00 points, 25% owned)