Prescription Notes for Week 16, 2023
Saints @ Rams
Matthew Stafford threw for two touchdowns and Kyren Williams rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown to help the Rams defeat the Saints at home. But the biggest fantasy play of the week was Puka Nacua, who had nine receptions for 164 yards and a touchdown. A lot of people benched him based on coverage schemes, and that was a big mistake. There’s no one coverage scheme that can stop these Rams wide receivers. On the other side, Alvin Kamara was a huge disappointment with only 19 yards but Chris Olave returned from injury to have nine receptions for 123 yards.
Bengals @ Steelers
Mason Rudolph was absolutely incredible, throwing for 290 yards and two touchdowns to help the Steelers win at home. George Pickens caught both touchdowns and had four receptions for 195 yards. Pickens has all the ability in the world, but he just isn’t always given the opportunity. I think that fantasy managers will remember this game when it comes time to draft next year. For the Bengals, Jake Browning threw for 335 yards, but he did have three interceptions. Tee Higgins led the team with five receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown.
Bills @ Chargers
Imagine getting to your fantasy playoffs and when you get there Stefon Diggs goes for 7.9 fantasy points. Did you do anything wrong? Not a thing; you just didn’t have luck in your favor. Fantasy football can be a cruel hobby, and sometimes there’s nothing you can do. James Cook only had seven fantasy points which was a crushing blow as well. On the other hand, Gabe Davis was outstanding, getting four receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown. For the Chargers, nobody really did anything of note, including Austin Ekeler, who only had 65 yards rushing. The Chargers need a redo in the off-season, but to their credit, they kept the game close and didn’t roll over.
Browns @ Texans
Who could ever have imagined that the fantasy MVP might be Amari Cooper? Cooper had 11 receptions for 265 yards and two touchdowns and had a two-point conversion on top of that. David Njoku had nine targets and six receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown. But the man who delivered them the ball was Joe Flacco, who threw for 368 yards and three touchdowns. It’s been amazing to watch Flacco play at this high a level and right now you’d have to give the Browns a realistic chance to advance deep into the AFC playoffs. For the Texans, it was hard for them to compete without C.J. Stroud. They only rushed for 72 yards and no receiver had more than 61 yards.
Commanders @ Jets
The Jets looked like they were going to win this game in a landslide at first, but all of a sudden they had to pull out a late field goal to win. Breece Hall Roto ran for 95 yards and two touchdowns and also had 12 receptions for 96 yards. Garrett Wilson had nine receptions for 76 yards. The defense dominated the early part of the game until they let up a lot of garbage time production. Before leaving the game with an injury, Chris Rodriguez had 58 yards and two touchdowns for the Commanders. On a separate note, it really feels like Ron Rivera is done in Washington and this team has given up.
Seahawks @ Titans
For a moment it felt like Tennessee was going to pull off another upset until Seattle drove down the field and Geno Smith hit Colby Parkinson for a late touchdown. Tyler Lockett led the Seahawks with 81 yards receiving and D.K. Metcalf had 56 yards and a touchdown. For the Titans, Derrick Henry threw for a touchdown as well as ran for 88 yards and a touchdown. Chigoziem Okonkwo had 63 yards receiving and a touchdown and has really improved his stock for 2024.
Colts @ Falcons
The Falcons dominated this game at home with a stifling defense and a very good running attack. The Falcons rushed 30 times for 177 yards; Bijan Robinson had 72 yards and Tyler Allgeier had 69 yards and a touchdown. Taylor Heinicke did just enough for the Falcons to win, throwing for 229 yards and a touchdown. Jonathan Taylor couldn’t get anything going for the Colts, but he did have a rushing touchdown, which was the first one that Atlanta’s defense let up all season. Not having Michael Pittman was a real issue, as Gardner Minshew was only able to throw for 201 yards without any touchdowns.
Packers @ Panthers
I need to give credit to Trevor Hillstrom who predicted that this game was going to be a shootout. I didn’t see it coming, but Trevor was absolutely right. Aaron Jones had 127 yards rushing to lead the Packers and Romeo Dobbs had 79 yards receiving and a touchdown. For the Panthers, Bryce Young threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns and kept the team in it even when it looked like they were going to be routed. The best player for the Panthers was DJ Chark, who had six receptions for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Carolina really needs to give Bryce Young more OL protection otherwise they just won’t be able to find wins.
Lions @ Vikings
Congratulations to the Detroit Lions, who won the NFC North, which is the first time they’ve won a division since they were in the original NFC Central. Jared Goff was efficient with 257 yards and one touchdown, but it was Jahmyr Gibbs’ 80 yards and two rushing touchdowns that changed the game. Amon-Ra St. Brown had 12 receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown to lead the Lions. Minnesota had a realistic chance to win this game as Nick Mullens threw for 411 yards and two touchdowns. However, he did throw for four interceptions, which really hurt the team in critical spots. The Lions’ run defense was spectacular, holding Minnesota to 11 carries for 17 yards. Justin Jefferson had six receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown but more importantly both Jordan Addison and T.J. Hockenson left the game with injuries. It’s too soon to tell whether they’ll be playing in Week 17.
Jaguars @ Buccaneers
Trevor Lawrence was not 100% and left the game with a shoulder injury in the second half after throwing for 211 yards and a touchdown. Calvin Ridley did have an excellent game with six receptions for 90 yards and two touchdowns. But it was Tampa that was absolutely phenomenal on both sides of the ball. Baker Mayfield had 283 yards and two touchdown passes, both going to Mike Evans, who had 86 yards. Rachaad White continued his good play with 20 fantasy points. What was even more impressive about Tampa was how good their defense played after giving up so many points in recent games.
Cardinals @ Bears
On Friday Night Lights Willie, Swame, and I debated Justin Fields for about 15 minutes. The reason you had to play him in DFS this week is that he was the only QB on the slate capable of the nuclear game. Fields only threw for 170 yards and a touchdown, but he ran for 97 yards and a touchdown too. There are very few other quarterbacks who can do that in the NFL. With D’Onta Foreman out, Khalil Herbert led the Bears with 112 yards rushing and a touchdown. Cole Kmet was phenomenal with four catches for 107 yards but left the game with an injury. For the Cardinals, James Conner needs to be fed the ball way more often as he had five receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown along with 45 rushing yards. Trey McBride was a little bit of a disappointment, with just six receptions for 31 yards.
Cowboys @ Dolphins
I thought when the Miami/Dallas game got started that this was going to be an offensive shootout, but it quickly turned into a defensive battle. Dak Prescott had 253 passing yards and two touchdowns including one to CeeDee Lamb. Lamb finished with six receptions for 118 yards, including that 49-yard touchdown, but they never were able to get him the ball consistently. Dallas was dealing with some offensive line injuries and it showed as Dak was under siege for most of the game. Tua Tagovailoa played well for the Dolphins, throwing for 293 yards and one touchdown. Tyreek Hill led the way with nine receptions for 99 yards, but Jaylen Waddle left the game with an injury. The most disappointing part of this game was Miami’s rushing attack, which only had 26 carries for 91 yards. De’Von Achane had 24 rushing yards and Raheem Mostert had 46. This was a huge blow to their fantasy managers, who expected much better.
Broncos @ Patriots
Although this game did not start off as a Holiday Classic, it did finish as one. Bailey Zappe finished with 256 passing yards and two TDs, leading the Patriots to a road victory. Demario Douglas led all Patriots receivers with five catches for 74 yards. Russell Wilson threw for 238 yards and two TDs for Denver, but after Courtland Sutton left the game with an injury no Broncos receiver really stepped up to be a true lead target. On a separate note, this game was huge in Survivor tournaments. Many people picked Denver and were booted out in Week 16. Not that Denver was a bad play, but they were the obvious play and as we have learned that obvious plays often do not work out.
Raiders @ Chiefs
For the second week in a row Las Vegas played outstanding defense and scored two defensive TDs. They also pressured Patrick Mahomes all game long and held him to 235 passing yards and one TD. Rashee Rice led all Chiefs receivers with 57 yards. Zamir White was the big offensive star for the Raiders, rushing for 145 yards. Aidan O’Connell did not throw for one passing yard in the final three quarters, which was shocking, but luckily White ran well enough for the Raiders to get the road win and keep their playoff hopes alive.
Giants @ Eagles
This game was a bit of a rout in the first half but, to the Giants’ credit, they continued to play hard for all four quarters and put a scare into the Eagles. Jalen Hurts threw for 301 yards and a TD and D’Andre Swift ran for 92 yards and a TD, leading the Eagles to victory. A.J. Brown had 80 yards receiving to lead the Eagles. The Giants replaced Tommy DeVito in the second half with Tyrod Taylor, who led an inspired comeback. Taylor threw a long TD pass to Darius Slayton to bring the Giants within five points, but he could not pull off the upset. The Eagles’ defense is missing some key players at linebacker and in the secondary; if the playoffs started right now, they wouldn’t be the same team that made last year’s Super Bowl.
Ravens @ 49ers
The Brock Purdy MVP calls might simmer down after Christmas night’s four-interception game against Baltimore. The Ravens were clearly the better team, beating the 49ers by two TDs. Zay Flowers had nine receptions for 72 yards and a TD to lead the Ravens and Gus Edwards found the end zone. For the 49ers, Christian McCaffrey had 131 all-purpose yards and a TD and George Kittle went nuclear with seven catches for 126 yards. Look for San Francisco to rebound mightily against Washington in Week 17. Meanwhile, Baltimore plays against Miami in what could be the deciding game for the AFC home-field advantage. Baltimore is at home for that game where they have been unstoppable this season.