Kickoff: Sunday, September 19th at 1:00 PM ET
Location: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL
Betting Odds: BUF -3.5, 48 total via Oddsshark
Writer: Bryan Sweet (@FantasyFreakTN on Twitter, @bsweet0us on Reddit)
Joah Allen (Start, QB1)
Week 1 was certainly a struggle for Josh Allen and the Buffalo offense. Allen was harassed time and again as he trudged his way to 270 yards on 30-for-51 passing with one TD and rushed nine times for 44 yards. Allen was pressured on 18 of his dropbacks and suffered three sacks on the day. It was a surprisingly good showing by Pittsburgh’s defense, but the offensive line played a part. Bills HC Sean McDermott seemed critical of the offensive line play against Pittsburgh, saying, “We were beating ourselves with holding penalties. We had eight, I think eight penalties and a lot of those were holds, offensively. We can do a better job.” McDermott doubled-down on Monday, saying, “We didn’t win enough of our 1-on-1 matchups [on the offensive line]. We won some, but not enough. We also have to do a better job helping them when we go against a talented front like that with our plan.” Allen should rebound this week against a Miami defense that was just OK against a rookie QB last week in New England. Expect Allen to finish as a solid QB1 for fantasy managers in Week 2.
Devin Singletary (Start, RB2, solid Flex), Zack Moss (Sit), Matt Breida (Sit)
The RB situation in Buffalo is nothing if not exciting. In a surprise move, Zack Moss was a healthy scratch ahead of Buffalo’s Week 1 game against Pittsburgh after reports out of camp indicated he was at least on par with, if not ahead of, Devin Singletary for the lead back role. Despite being on the field for 64 of Buffalo’s 85 snaps, Singletary accounted for just 14 touches (11 carries, 3 receptions) but managed a respectable 75 yards on those touches. More concerning for Singletary are the fumbles as he had one on each of Buffalo’s last two possessions. Both occurred near the sideline and went out of bounds, but that could result in reduced opportunities going forward. Singletary profiles as an RB2 option for fantasy managers in Week 2, but a bit of a tenuous one. If Moss plays, he could take enough snaps away from Singletary to bump him out of the top 24 but should keep him firmly in the conversation as a Flex option.
Moss’s healthy scratch last week seems to be performance-based as opposed to injury-related, so it’s hard to predict what kind of role, if any, he’ll have this week. Singletary’s two late fumbles may make McDermott strongly consider dividing the workload between the two, cannibalizing both player’s fantasy prospects. Regardless if Moss plays or not, last week’s surprise inactive means he can’t yet be trusted as a viable option for fantasy managers. I’d recommend looking elsewhere for RB production this week and revisit the situation in Week 3 if Moss is active.
In Moss’s absence last week, Buffalo turned to former 49er Matt Breida to serve as Singletary’s backup. Breida was primarily an afterthought, however, seeing just 10 snaps (11.8%) and only touched the ball four times for four yards. Breida has explosive ability but struggles to stay healthy and may end up being the odd man out if Moss regains McDermott’s trust. Breida is not a reliable option for fantasy managers in Week 2.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Stefon Diggs (Start, WR1), Cole Beasley (Sit, low-end Flex), Emmanuel Sanders (Sit), Gabriel Davis (Sit), Dawson Knox (Sit)
Fantasy managers shouldn’t expect Allen to have 51 attempts every week, but it is encouraging to see who many viewed as a top-five fantasy WR in Stefon Diggs command 14 targets from Allen. While Diggs was able to haul in nine of those targets, the 69 yards that resulted were a bit disappointing for fantasy managers. Miami fields two impressive CBs in Xavien Howard and Byron Jones, but Diggs should be able to utilize his short-area quickness to create separation and continue to be a target hog for Allen. Expect Diggs to finish comfortably in the WR1 tier for fantasy managers this week.
The only other player to see double-digit targets for Buffalo was Cole Beasley who was the recipient of 13 passes from Allen. Beasley corralled eight of them for 60 yards but suffers from being primarily a short-yardage option. Beasley’s ADOT in Week 1 was just 4.5 yards which means he has a decent floor but a very limited ceiling. Buffalo will almost certainly look to bring a more balanced attack to Miami, reducing Allen’s passing attempts and, in tandem, reducing Beasley’s opportunities. Beasley has shown in the past that he can contribute to a fantasy manager’s roster, but with such a low ceiling there are better options out there. Beasley could provide an emergency Flex option, but I’d recommend sitting him in Week 2.
The next-most targeted player for Buffalo was newcomer Emmanuel Sanders who logged eight targets and finished with four receptions for 52 yards. Sanders was brought in to start opposite Diggs this season and was on the field for an equal number of snaps as Diggs with 79. Sanders will likely contend with Beasley for the #2 role all season and may lose time in specialized packages to Gabriel Davis making him a risky fantasy option most weeks. At this point in his career, Sanders is more valuable to his NFL team than to fantasy managers that roster him. He might have some WR3 weeks in him, but it’s too hard to predict when they’ll come so he’s not recommended for this week.
Davis snared Allen’s only TD pass last week on a quick, three-yard dart at the end of the first half. Davis added just a 37-yard grab to that TD to finish with 40 yards on the day despite seeing five targets. Much like Sanders, Davis’s usage will be mostly unpredictable and his role in this offense seems to be minor. As a result, fantasy managers can safely bench Davis this week and going forward unless he wrests a consistent starting spot from Beasley or Sanders.
Dawson Knox made the most of his four targets by catching all of them for 41 yards. Knox has been consistent during his tenure with the Bills but rarely sees more than a handful of targets and, therefore, has a limited upside. Knox did provide three TDs late last season, but Allen’s goal-line prowess makes short TD opportunities few and far between. Know is too TD-dependent to be a reliable option for fantasy managers and should be benched in Week 2.
Tua Tagovailoa (Sit, viable QB2 for Superflex)
It was a rather ho-hum game from Tua Tagovailoa as he led the Dolphins to a one-point victory over division rival New England in Week 1. Tagovailoa attempted just 27 passes in the victory, completing 16 for 202 yards with one TD and one INT. Tagovailoa contributed to his stat line with a three-yard rushing TD to kick off the game’s scoring as well. Buffalo and New England share concerns at the CB position, but the Bills were still able to stifle Ben Roethlisberger for the most part in Week 1. Tagovailoa will have opportunities much like last week but it’s hard to get excited about his prospects until he proves he can post big numbers when needed. Fantasy managers in typical one QB leagues should stay away from Tagovailoa this week but he does present some value in leagues that allow for two starting QBs.
Myles Gaskin (Sit, possible Flex), Malcolm Brown (Sit), Salvon Ahmed (Sit)
The backfield for Miami is a conundrum fantasy managers might be working through all season. In Week 1, the snap counts were divided up as follows: Myles Gaskin, 29 (53.7%), Malcolm Brown, 16 (29.6%), and Salvon Ahmed, 11 (20.4%). Gaskin was the most productive of the trio, garnering 14 touches and turning them into 76 total yards. Brown and Ahmed each had five touches, with Ahmed outgaining Brown 28 yards to 16 and, perhaps most importantly, Ahmed was involved in the passing game while Brown was not. Unless one of these three separates from the others it appears as if none of them will be a viable weekly option. Gaskin provides the safest floor given his snap count advantage but the presence of Brown and Ahmed will limit his upside. Against a typically stout Buffalo defense, Gaskin might provide an option as a Flex and has RB2 upside if he can find the end zone. Both Brown and Ahmed are best left on benches this week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Will Fuller (Sit), Devante Parker (Start, WR3), Jaylen Waddle (Sit, Flex possibility), Mike Gesicki (Sit)
After finishing out his six-game suspension from late last season, Will Fuller is scheduled to make his debut for Miami in Week 2 against Buffalo. Fuller brings an explosive element to Miami’s offense with his elite speed and will provide Tagovailoa with another weapon in the passing game. Fuller was allowed to practice with the team during his suspension but various minor injuries limited him to just a handful of practices with his new team. There’s always a chance Fuller frustrates fantasy managers with a soft tissue injury during the game, but he is always one play from paydirt and that upside can’t be ignored. Tagovailoa should get a few chances to take a deep shot with his new weapon and Fuller’s upside makes him an intriguing option as a third WR for fantasy managers this week. UPDATE 9/17/21: Will Fuller will not be playing due to personal reasons. If you had him in your lineup, replace him.
With Fuller out last week, Tagovailoa shared the wealth with his other two WR weapons as Devante Parker was the recipient of seven targets while Tagovailoa’s teammate at Alabama and rookie Jaylen Waddle saw six. Parker outgained Waddle 81 yards to 61 yards but Waddle was the recipient of Tagovailoa’s lone TD toss. The return of Fuller will certainly pull a few targets from both players, so their upside is capped simply because there are only so many passes to go around. The matchups are good for all three Miami WRs, but I expect Fuller to have the best game while Parker and Waddle are best served as Flex options in larger leagues. UPDATE 9/17/21: Fuller is out, so Parker moves to a viable option as a third WR and Waddle becomes a slightly more attractive Flex option.
If you picked up a newspaper in Miami on Monday, you might have seen a notice for a missing TE for the Dolphins. A preseason candidate for a breakout year, Mike Gesicki was limited to just 21 snaps (38.9%) last week and saw just two targets, converting zero. Durham Smythe nearly doubled Gesicki’s snap count with 38 (70.4%) but is known more for his blocking than his receiving acumen. Smythe also saw two targets, catching one for nine yards. It remains to be seen if Gesicki is being phased out of the offense due to his blocking or if something more is going on behind the scenes, but Gesicki can’t be trusted after last week. He’s not a candidate to be dropped just yet, but he also can’t be started in Week 2.