NFL Week 16 Fantasy Football Recap: New England Patriots vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (85) makes a catch against the New England Patriots during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Tee Higgins: 8 receptions, 128 yards, 1 touchdown

Kendrick Bourne: 6 receptions, 100 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 carry, 29 rushing yards

Jump to another recap:


Monitor the health of the Patriots’ tight ends: Hunter Henry suffered a knee injury on the Patriots’ third offensive play of the game and was ruled out around halftime. Jonnu Smith suffered a head injury in the second half and didn’t return.

  • The Patriots started the game with three straight two-tight end sets with Henry and Smith.
  • Smith ended up playing every snap in the game up until his injury.
  • The Patriots luckily activated Scotty Washington off the practice squad. 
  • If Henry or Smith ends up missing next week, expect the other to see at least 90% of offensive snaps.
  • Either player would be worth a waiver wire target if this happens.
  • Next week, the Patriots play the Miami Dolphins, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points to tight ends this season.
  • Smith has 2.78 yards per route run against man defenses this season, compared to 0.94 against zone.
  • The Dolphins have the second-highest rate of using man defense this season.
  • Henry’s level of play isn’t impacted much by man or zone defense.
  • If both players are out, this is a situation to avoid. Washington wasn’t targeted in this game.

Kendrick Bourne’s big game: Bourne had the best game of his career, including his first-ever 100-yard receiving game.

  • He hadn’t gained more than 60 yards in a game this season and also hadn’t caught a touchdown.
  • His 29-yard run was his longest of the season. He had run the ball four other times this season, with half of them going for losses.
  • His role in the offense hasn’t been consistent. He’s often been fighting with some combination of Tyquan Thornton and Nelson Agholor for snaps in three-receiver sets.
  • He typically has played more when a receiver has been injured. DeVante Parker was missing from this game, making it four players rotating for snaps rather than five.
  • This game won’t be enough to add him off the waiver wire this week, but it will help his chances of keeping a job next season.
  • Both Jakobi Meyers and Agholor are free agents this offseason, so Bourne could theoretically move up to a clear third on the depth chart, but the Patriots will also have the money to re-sign one or both players.

Monitor Tyler Boyd’s health: Boyd has been dealing with a finger injury and re-aggravated it in this game.

  • The re-aggravation occurred in the first quarter, but he quickly returned.
  • He played 25 of a possible 27 snaps in the second quarter.
  • The Bengals went into halftime with a 22-point lead, which allowed them to barely use Boyd in the second half. He played four of 31 snaps spread out over the half.
  • Trenton Irwin was the main replacement for Boyd. Irwin had recently seen significant playing time over the past two months with all three receivers dealing with injuries at various points.
  • Irwin made the most of his opportunities, catching three passes for 45 yards and two touchdowns.
  • It would be good to monitor the injury report to see if Boyd appears and how much he practices before trusting him or Irwin next week.
  • Irwin had graded out decently on his opportunities this season, but not as well as the Bengals’ top three wide receivers. It’s unlikely Boyd’s job is in jeopardy if he’s 100%.

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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