Jan 2, 2013
—Written by Brian Dezelske
—Edited by Marc Caviglia
It was quite a finale to the 2012 NFL season. We saw Alfred Morris and DeAngelo Williams both crack the 200-yard mark, and Adrian Peterson rush for 199 yards, while falling just nine yards short of running back immortality.
We also witnessed Tony Romo do what he does best—crap all over himself in a clutch situation and fail to make the playoffs.
Needless to say Week 17 had its shares of highs and lows, but which ones were deemed worthy of making this week’s Studs and Duds? There’s only one way to find out…
Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Adrian Peterson is a cyborg; he simply isn’t human. He finished off an amazing 2012 campaign with 199 yards and a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers. He also added a second touchdown on a two-yard pass from Christian Ponder. He managed to shred the Packers for a combined 409 rushing yards and three total touchdowns—19.5 percent of his total yardage.
AP finished the season 2,097 yards rushing—No. 2 all-time and nine yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season record of 2,105. It was truly one of the great NFL performances of the last 30 years and could cement him as the greatest running back of all-time when it’s all said and done.
Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins
This kid is why we all love the NFL and fantasy football. Where else, but a Mike Shanahan offense, can a sixth-round draft pick come out of nowhere to finish with 13 touchdowns and end up second in the league with 1,613 yards rushing? What an incredible season that was capped off with a 200-yard game and three touchdowns in a win against the rival Dallas Cowboys—a win that propelled the Washington Redskins into the playoffs.
In doing so, he broke the Redskins single-season rushing record previously held by Clinton Portis (1,516), and became just the fourth running back ever to reach 1,600 yards as a rookie. All in all, it was a great season from a young kid who’s well on his way to a fantastic career.
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees capped off another great season with his third game of at least 370 passing yards and four touchdowns. He finished with 396 yards and four scores in a tough 44-38 loss to Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Brees’ monster game earned him this year’s fantasy football MVP award with 337 standard-scoring points.
He finished the season with 5,177 yards, 43 passing touchdowns and 1 rushing score. He’s the only quarterback in the history of the NFL to eclipse 5,000 yards in back-to-back seasons, with this being his third such season doing so.
Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants
Eli Manning managed to finish a frustrating 2012 season on a really good note—getting his first career five touchdown game in a 42-7 blowout win over the hapless Philadelphia Eagles. He only passed for 208 yards, but put on a display inside the 20-yard line that included three red zone TD passes.
Fantasy owners spent a lot of the season pulling their hair out with all the games he didn’t throw a touchdown—-four to be exact. In those four games, he posted no more than five fantasy points and never passed for more than 215 yards.
It was a down year for the two-time Super Bowl Champ, but there’s reason to believe he’ll turn it around next year with a healthy core receivers including Hakeem Nicks.
Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay Packers
It was good to see Greg Jennings finally healthy again and doing what he does best—shredding defenses and scoring touchdowns. He finished what has to be his most frustrating season with eight receptions for 120 yards and two touchdowns in a 37-34 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. His two scores doubled his total giving him four on the year. It was also his first 100-yard game of the season which comes at the perfect time, showing he’s hitting his stride as the Green Bay Packers look ahead to the playoffs.
As for next year, Jennings is still in the prime of his career, so expect him back doing big things next year if he can stay healthy.