NFL Week 16 Fantasy Football Recap: Chicago Bears vs. Buffalo Bills

Chicago, Illinois, USA; Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary (26) rushes for a touchdown against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Devin Singletary: 12 carries, 106 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 receptions, 19 receiving yards

James Cook: 11 carries, 99 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 reception, 9 receiving yards

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Khalil Herbert’s return: Herbert was activated off injured reserve after suffering a hip injury in Week 10.

  • Herbert received more playing time than expected, playing a little more than he had in the games leading up to his injury.
  • Typically, David Montgomery plays 100% of the Bears' snaps on their first two drives, but Herbert began seeing some snaps on the second drive.
  • Herbert took all of the snaps on the third drive, as was the case before the injury.
  • The two backs were used interchangeably despite the fact that Herbert has performed better as a rusher and Montgomery better as a receiver over the past two seasons.
  • The significant playing time didn’t necessarily lead to more touches or production. He managed just seven rushing yards on six carries, and he lost four yards on two receptions.
  • That lack of touches and production likely means he can be left on the waiver wire, but there is at least a chance he could have a huge Week 17 against the Detroit Lions‘ defense after how they performed against the run in their Week 16 outing.

Bills running backs dominate: The Bills split carries between their two running backs, and both enjoyed success.

  • They each averaged nearly nine yards per carry while scoring a touchdown.
  • This worked because of the weather and game script, as Buffalo preferred to run the ball more than usual.
  • It will be much more difficult for either running back to have a similar performance next week against the Cincinnati Bengals.
  • The Bengals have ranked in the top 10 at preventing fantasy points to running backs, and the game script is unlikely to be a decisive Bills victory where they run the ball in the fourth quarter.
  • While James Cook might not have reached the point of being a fantasy starter this season, he could be the Bills’ lead running back next season with Devin Singletary hitting free agency.

Khalil Shakir surpasses Isaiah McKenzie on pass routes: Shakir has cut enough into McKenzie’s snaps in the slot to have run more pass routes.

  • Shakir has been the primary backup outside receiver since Jake Kumerow was injured, as well as the primary backup slot receiver.
  • Cole Beasley was in for the first three-receiver set for the second straight game, likely out of respect for the veteran, but he barely played once again.
  • McKenzie remained the primary slot receiver in the first half, but Shakir took the majority of snaps from the slot in the second half.
  • This didn’t lead to much production, with Shakir catching a five-yard pass and McKenzie going without a reception
  • This is unlikely to matter much for fantasy purposes next week but could play into daily contests throughout the rest of the season and the playoffs.
  • This also opens a path for Shakir to be the Bills' primary slot receiver in 2023, which could give him some fantasy value.

Table Notes

Snaps include plays called back due to penalties, including offensive holding or defensive pass interference. The other three stats have these plays removed.

Targets may differ from official NFL sources. The most likely discrepancy would be from a clear thrown-away pass, where the NFL may give the target to the nearest receiver, while this data will not.

Carries are only on designed plays. Quarterback scrambles won’t count for the total number of carries in the game.


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