Kickoff: Sunday, October 31st at 1:00 PM ET
Location: Highmark Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
Betting Odds: BUF -14, 49.5 total via Oddsshark
Tua Tagovailoa (Sit)
If there is a more maligned QB in the NFL than Tua Tagovailoa, I’m not sure who it is. Tagovailoa sometimes throws ill-advised passes and has costly INTs (4 this season), but he’s yet to play 16 games in the NFL and has a winning record. Despite the high draft investment and positives, Miami has reportedly agreed to a trade, in principle, with the Texans for Deshaun Watson pending any legal matters being resolved. Tagovailoa is still the starter for this week, but he’s got an uphill battle against a good Buffalo defense. Buffalo has yet to allow a 300-yard passer this season and has surrendered just five TDs while tallying 10 INTs. Tagovailoa missed almost all of the Week 2 tilt between these teams, but the Dolphins were unable to score a single point that week and Vegas isn’t expecting much more this time around. Miami seems to be out on Tagovailoa and I am too this week. Sit him.
Myles Gaskin (Start, RB2), Salvon Ahmed (Sit)
It was a coming-out party for Myles Gaskin in Week 5 as he totaled 99 yards and two TDs on 15 touches, but was most impressive with 10 receptions on 10 targets in that game. Gaskin had another good game last week with 71 yards and one TD but was the primary ball carrier with 15 carries out of the backfield. Gaskin has a decent floor with his increased role in the passing game and the injury to Malcolm Brown might lead to a continued increase in carries for Gaskin. Buffalo has been good on the ground defensively for everyone not named Derrick Henry but has been susceptible to receiving yardage to RBs. Gaskin should see enough work, especially as a receiver, to finish in the low-end RB2 range in Week 8.
Brown’s injury opened the door for more work for Salvon Ahmed, but the second-year back has been unable to take advantage of the increased opportunity. Ahmed has mustered just 48 yards on 14 carries the last two weeks and has registered just four targets over that same time. Ahmed sees about half the snaps and opportunities as Gaskin but is doing less with them. Given the quality of Buffalo’s defense and the light workload expected for Ahmed, fantasy managers should look elsewhere for help at the RB position this week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Jaylen Waddle (Start, WR3/Flex), Preston Williams(Sit), DeVante Parker(Sit), Mack Hollins (Sit), Mike Gesicki (Start, TE1)
Let’s start with what we know. Jaylen Waddle is going to be lining up at one of the WR spots for Miami this week and will probably be Tagovailoa’s primary target. If Ja’Marr Chase wasn’t having a season for the ages, we’d probably be talking about Waddle as the best rookie WR this year. Waddle leads the rookie WRs in targets (57) and receptions (44) and trails only Chase in receiving TDs (3). Waddle already has two games with double-digit receptions and should continue to see the majority of the passing game work with injuries rampaging through the WR corps in Miami. Despite all the accolades, Miami is facing a daunting task against a good Buffalo defense and that will lower Waddle’s projection. Look for him to finish as a WR3 with WR2 upside in a game in which Miami might be throwing a lot late to stay competitive.
Now on to the “what we’re not sure of” section. It’s been a revolving door opposite Waddle for Miami as we’ve seen Will Fuller, DeVante Parker, and, most recently, Preston Williams line up there. Fuller is eligible to return from injured reserve this week, but HC Brian Flores has already indicated he doubts the veteran will be able to play against Buffalo. Parker was inactive last week and his status for this week is in question but reports early yesterday indicated Parker might be able to practice today and tomorrow in preparation for this week’s game. Williams is by far the healthiest of the three and should see playing time regardless of Parker’s status come Sunday. Fantasy production has been hard to come by at the WR position other than Waddle, so none of these three are enticing matchups regardless of playing time. I’d avoid this trio this week if I had any other option to turn to.
Mack Hollins saw a team-high 68 snaps (91%) in Week 6 with Fuller, Parker, and Williams banged up but saw that snap percentage drop back to 53% with Williams back in the lineup. There’s a good chance both Parker and Williams will be healthy enough to play this week, pushing Hollins further down the pecking order. Unless both Parker and Williams are out this week, it’s hard to envision a scenario in which Hollins provides any fantasy value. Sit him in Week 8.
It took a few games for Mike Gesicki to regain his role as the #2 option in Miami’s passing game, but Gesicki has now put together four good weeks of his last five to re-enter the conversation as a weekly option at TE. Gesicki leads the team in receiving yards (427) and is second to Waddle in both targets (51) and receptions (37) and is the second-best option of Miami’s receiving personnel. Gesicki is in the midst of a career season as he is on pace to shatter his career highs across the board. Gesicki did manage three receptions for 41 yards in the first meeting and I expect a better line than that this time. Look for Gesicki to finish as a solid TE1 this week and fantasy managers should be comfortable plugging him into their starting lineups.
Josh Allen (Start, QB1)
Fantasy managers who are facing Josh Allen this week might want to remind their opponent of the first matchup between these two teams. Allen had his worst game of the season with just 179 passing yards and two TDs with an INT and 35 rushing yards. They might conveniently forget Buffalo cruised to an easy 35-0 victory on the strength of three rushing TDs and a defense that allowed just 253 yards and compiled six sacks and three turnovers. Could that happen again this week? Possibly, but Allen has been one of the best fantasy QBs since that game with 1,274 yards and 12 TDs passing along with 135 rushing yards and two TDs. Allen has such a high floor in this potent offense and his ability to score around the goal line further cements Allen as an every-week QB1. Start him in what should be an easy matchup this week.
Zack Moss (Start, RB2), Devin Singletary (Sit, possible Flex)
After being a surprise inactive in Week 1 and the lesser part of the backfield in Week 2, Zack Moss has established himself as the #1 option in Buffalo’s rushing attack as he has outsnapped Devin Singletary in every week since despite Singletary getting the “starter” designation. Moss’s biggest negative is his role in the passing game as Buffalo prefers to use Singletary in no-huddle or obvious passing situations, slightly lowering Moss’s ceiling. This game is expected to be an easy victory for Buffalo, which would lead to more carries in the second half to keep the clock moving and ensure the victory. Moss should see the majority of those touches, so he has a relatively safe floor this week. Moss had two TDs in the Week 2 meeting between these two teams and might be able to accomplish that feat again this week. TDs are almost impossible to predict, however, so it’s best to view Moss as a solid RB2 in Week 8.
Singletary scored his only TD of the season against Miami back in Week 2 in what would turn out to be his best game of the season. Over the last two games, Singletary has found himself in the same position Moss was in during the first game between these two teams as the lesser part of the backfield garnering just 11 total carries over that time. As a result, his ceiling is much lower than Moss’s though we could see Singletary in a garbage-time role late if the game goes as expected. Singletary sees enough snaps to warrant consideration as a Flex option in larger leagues, but his limited role in the offense puts him near the bottom of the list. Fantasy managers without a better option should feel OK about starting him, but don’t expect much more than an RB3 type performance from him this week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Stefon Diggs (Start, WR1), Emmanuel Sanders (Start, WR3/Flex), Cole Beasley (Start, WR3/Flex), Tommy Sweeney (Sit)
After a career-best season in 2020 with more than 1,500 yards and 127 receptions, Stefon Diggs was a late-first or early-second round selection in many fantasy drafts this year. Through seven weeks, Diggs is on pace for 200 fewer yards and 20 fewer receptions despite having an extra game to better last season’s numbers. Diggs is still Allen’s preferred target as he leads the team in targets (58) and receiving yards (463) but just isn’t living up to the lofty standards fantasy managers had during drafts. Still, the volume is there and the numbers will come. The arrival of Emmanuel Sanders (more on him in a bit) has likely pulled some targets from Diggs, which is good for Buffalo but bad for fantasy managers. Diggs was drafted as a WR1 in most leagues and should still be considered as such given the explosiveness of this offense and his role in the passing game.
Two weeks ago I previewed the Bills/Titans game and suggested Sanders was no more than a Flex option and not a very good one at that. I had to defend that ranking for most of Thursday and I will admit I was mostly wrong. The game did not go as expected and Buffalo had to continue to throw late to try and secure a victory but had Buffalo had a late lead as was expected, Sanders would have only had a 4-60 game which would have placed him about where I projected. All that being said, Sanders has a bit more upside this week for me as he has established a clear role in this offense. I’m still not thrilled with his targets per game (5-6) or his yards per game (68.8) which means he needs a TD to score 10+ points and reach WR2 status consistently. Sanders is a good Flex or WR3 option this week for fantasy managers.
As a fantasy football player, it’s hard to get excited about Cole Beasley from a stats perspective, but he’s one heckuva football player. Beasley has had a bit of a career resurgence since arriving in Buffalo in 2019 having two of the best three seasons of his career with the Bills, Beasley does the dirty work on third down and across the middle of the field but had his best game of the season in Buffalo’s last game with seven receptions for 88 yards and one TD primarily because of the absence of Dawson Knox. Beasley has the advantage of playing out of the slot and avoiding the opposition’s best defender and is a reliable target for Allen. Both Sanders and Beasley can be considered for Flex or WR3 spots this week, they’ll just go about getting there in different ways. Beasley should see enough volume with Knox out again before this game gets out of hand to get there for fantasy managers.
Tommy Sweeney will look to replace Knox this week and we just don’t have a lot to go on regarding Sweeney. On the season, Sweeney has four receptions for four yards but did get his first NFL TD last week. I expect the majority of Knox’s targets to go to Beasley and Sanders and there shouldn’t be much need for Sweeney to provide a lot of offense in what is expected to be an easy win for Buffalo. Give Sweeney a full game before considering him as a viable starting option. Skip him in Week 8.