What We Saw: Bills @ Patriots

The Stefon Diggs Game

Bills @ Patriots

 

We’ve all heard the mantra “Start your studs” in the fantasy lexicon. It’s a gentle self-reminder not to get too cute, but it’s also proven year after year to be reliable advice. Sometimes they will flop and let you down – that’s a given. But on nights like Monday night in Foxborough, it’s advice that likely led many of you to a fantasy championship on the backs of Bills’ QB Josh Allen and WR Stefon Diggs. Unfortunately, this also means that many of you had your dreams crushed by one or both of them (myself included). The Bills absolutely demolished the Patriots when all was said and done. Buffalo basically doubled up New England in time of possession (39:41-20:19), nearly tripled them up in first downs (31-11) and were more successful by almost every conceivable metric. What do these performances mean for your fantasy championship hopes? Let’s dive into what we saw:

 

Buffalo Bills

 

Quarterback

 

Josh Allen: 27/36, 320 yards, 4 TDs | 4 carries, 35 yards

 

When the Bills first faced the Patriots back in Week 8, it was the worst fantasy performance of QB Josh Allen‘s season. He threw for just over 150 yards and 0 TDs in that game with a pick – so on Monday night, Allen came out with a vengeance. Other than a handful of benign incompletions, Allen came up with basically a perfect game against New England. The Patriots’ pass-rush (or lack thereof) allowed Allen all the time in the world to throw – Allen was hit on just one of his 36 dropbacks – and he took advantage of it. Allen connected with WR Stefon Diggs on 3 of his 4 TDs, as the Patriots’ secondary struggled to keep up with Diggs in the absence of all-pro CB Stephon Gilmore. As good as Allen was, he could have been even better; On a drive in the first half where Zack Moss ended up scoring a touchdown, two (2) of his receivers dropped wide open TDs. Allen is an absolute must-start for any formats who continue their season into Week 17.

  

 

Running Backs

 

Devin Singletary: 10 carries, 36 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 16 yards

Zack Moss: 12 carries, 57 yards, 1 TD | 1 target, 1 reception

 

With Allen and Diggs bullying New England’s defense all night, there wasn’t much to do for the Bills’ backfield. Rookie RB Zack Moss paced the group in touches, total yards, and was the only Bills’ back to find the end zone on the night. While Moss at least provided a reasonable fantasy output, fellow RB Devin Singletary wasn’t able to do much with his 12 touches. Moss’ TD run early in the 2nd quarter but Buffalo up 10-3, and for the rest of the night the RB touches felt mostly sparse and inconsequential. It will be tough to trust either of these backs next week against Miami.

 

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Stefon Diggs: 11 targets, 9 receptions, 145 yards, 3 TDs

Gabriel Davis: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 33 yards

Cole Beasley: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 17 yards

Isaiah McKenzie: 4 targets, 4 receptions, 26 yards | 2 carries, 5 yards

Lee Smith: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 31 yards, 1 TD

Dawson Knox: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 51 yards

 

WR Stefon Diggs was nothing short of a league-winner on Monday night against New England. He saved his best for last – exploding for his first multi-TD game of the season. Diggs’ 41.5 PPR points were easily his most of the season and he certainly did his part for his managers out there who were depending on a big night from him to win their leagues. Several of Diggs’ big plays were improvised, schoolyard type throws where Allen just had all day in the pocket to move around and wait for Diggs to get open. Backup TE Lee Smith was the recipient of one of Allen’s TD passes, but Diggs caught all of the other 3. WR Gabriel Davis and TE Dawson Knox both dropped wide-open TDs in the first quarter, and neither went on to make much of a fantasy impact. WR Cole Beasley also failed to produce, and he also left early with a non-contact leg injury. It will be worth keeping an eye on whether or not Beasley will be available in Week 17, but hopefully, he was able to avoid a serious injury.

 

 

New England Patriots

 

Quarterback

 

Cam Newton: 5/10, 34 yards, 3 sacks | 4 carries, 24 yards, 1 TD

Jarrett Stidham 4/11, 44 yards

 

In a season full of miserable performances from Patriots’ QB Cam Newton, Monday night was one of the worst. Newton didn’t turn the ball over and was able to score his 12th rushing TD of the season, but he was eventually benched for backup QB Jarrett Stidham for the 4th time this season. After Newton’s 9-yard TD run early in the 2nd quarter, the Patriots would go on to be shut out for the remainder of the game. It felt like Newton would certainly be sacked on the play, but he somehow broke away from the backfield and tumbled into the end zone for the score. Stidham was equally awful in relief of Newton. This has been a season to forget for the Patriots and for both of these QBs.

 

 

Running Backs

 

Sony Michel: 10 carries, 69 yards

James White: 4 carries, 14 yards | 3 targets, 3 receptions, 23 yards

J.J. Taylor: 6 carries, 38 yards

 

The running game for New England was actually one of only a few bright spots. The backfield was highlighted by a 29-yard scamper by RB Sony Michel on the Patriots’ first drive, and a few flashes from rookie RB J.J. Taylor. Taylor busted free for a 28-yard scamper that set up the Patriots’ lone TD of the night, but otherwise wasn’t able to do much. RB James White also disappointed with only 37 yards from scrimmage on the night. This backfield clearly struggled without leading rusher RB Damien Harris who missed his second straight game with an ankle injury. It would be wise to fade all of New England’s backs next week against a sneaky-good Jets’ rush defense.

 

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Jakobi Meyers: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 45 yards

Damiere Byrd: 3 targets, 1 reception, 7 yards

N’Keal Harry: 4 targets, 1 reception, 3 yards

 

As expected, awful QB play led to awful pass-catching production from New England on Monday night. WR Jakobi Meyers was the only Patriots’ receiver to finish with more than 10 receiving yards. This has been mostly a lost season for the Patriots’ WRs without perennial standout Julian Edelman, but there have at least been a handful of games with some worthwhile fantasy production from the bunch. Monday night was not one of those games. Second-year WR N’Keal Harry had yet another disappointing performance for the Patriots – looking further and further away from being worth the 1st round pick used on him in last year’s NFL draft. WR Damiere Byrd had as many terrible drops as he had catches (1). Overall this has been a less-than-trustworthy group for the most part, and that will likely continue into Week 17 against the Jets.

 

 

Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

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