Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins
Buffalo came into this game looking to add another divisional win to their record after defeating the Jets last week, while Miami looked to bounce back after being held to just seven points in a loss to New England. This was a competitive game throughout, with both teams mostly ignoring the running game. Buffalo’s offense focused on a play-action heavy passing game that took a lot of shots downfield and utilized their receivers’ ability to create separation. Miami chose to focus mostly on quick-hitting routes, either targeting the center of the field or checking down to the flats. Both quarterbacks avoided turning the ball over, although both were fortunate to not throw an interception on several throws, and Miami held a 3-point lead going into the fourth quarter. Josh Allen was able to avoid pressure and find Gabriel Davis for a diving catch in the back of the end zone to take the lead, and then following a Miami punt Allen hit John Brown wide open down the field for a long touchdown to put the game out of reach. Miami added a late touchdown and two-point conversion to close the gap, but after they failed to recover an onside kick, the Bills held on to win 31-28.
Josh Allen: 24/35, 417 yards, 4 TDs, 1 Sack | 4 carries, 18 yards
Josh Allen has fully arrived as an elite fantasy quarterback. After relying mostly on his rushing ability to boost his production last season, Allen and the Bills have shown through two games that they’re more than happy to air it out this year. Allen wasn’t perfect today, throwing several balls that probably should have been intercepted including one that went straight into the hands of a linebacker while Buffalo was trying to protect its lead, but he was mostly decisive and accurate. He looked particularly sharp off of play-action on two deep touchdown passes, one to Stefon Diggs and one to John Brown. The touchdown to Brown was particularly encouraging because it came with the Bills already ahead late in the game, and shows that the coaching staff both trusts Allen and is willing to stay aggressive as opposed to running more of the ball control style offense we’ve seen from them the last two seasons with Allen. He’s also showing improved touch, dropping in some beautiful passes, including one to Cole Beasley to set up Buffalo’s first touchdown. If Allen can have monster days like this without adding almost anything as a runner, then his fantasy ceiling is as high as any player in the league. For Buffalo to win against better competition he’ll need to clean up some of his decision makings, but for fantasy teams, Allen is a must-start every week.
Devin Singletary: 10 carries, 56 yards | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 20 yards
Zack Moss: 8 carries, 37 yards
When you can throw the ball wherever you want, there isn’t as much incentive to run the ball, and so neither Buffalo running back was really able to get going today as they took a back seat to the passing game. Devin Singletary looked a little more elusive and was at least a little involved in the passing game, but the main takeaway here is that this appears to be a true time-share. Zack Moss looked to be the primary red-zone back and looked fine as a runner. He has good burst and was able to fight through some contact, though it’s hard to make much of an impression on just eight touches. It is hard to trust either runner when they have to split not only with each other but also with Allen, and even more so if the offense continues to lean on the pass. Both are worth holding onto for now but you probably have better options to start for now. Keep an eye on Moss’s injury status as well, as the rookie limped off the field late in the game.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Stefon Diggs: 13 targets, 8 receptions, 153 yards, 1 TD
John Brown: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 82 yards, 1 TD
Cole Beasley: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 70 yards
Isaiah McKenzie: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 47 yards
Dawson Knox: 3 targets, 1 reception, 38 yards
Reggie Gilliam: 1 target, 1 reception, 1 yard, 1 TD
Gabriel Davis: 1 target, 1 reception, 6 yards, 1 TD
The Bills receivers as a whole did a great job of creating separation today, starting with Stefon Diggs. Allen missed him on an early third down, and Diggs later had a bad drop, but aside from those two plays, they looked to be completely in sync. Diggs did damage all over the field, using his precise route running to get open underneath and using his speed to get open deep for several long completions while making it look fairly easy. John Brown also caught a long touchdown off play-action, going for 46 yards on a play where everyone on Miami appeared to be convinced there was no way the Bills were passing with a lead late in the game. He added a few short receptions, including one on a quick slant after the Dolphins opted to play off-coverage on him. Cole Beasley had a key catch to convert a 2nd-and-24 and had another catch that saw him land just short of the end zone. His ability to get open fast is a nice compliment to the deeper routes the outside receivers were running today, and he should continue to have a role as Allen’s safety valve. Tight end Dawson Knox had a long reception that unfortunately ended with him fumbling the ball, and had another pass knocked out of his hands near the red zone. Gabriel Davis only saw one target but he made the most of it, diving to secure the ball in the back of the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown in the 4th quarter.
Ryan Fitzpatrick: 31/47, 328 yards, 2 TDs, 3 Sacks | 3 carries, 12 yards
Ryan Fitzpatrick is just fun to watch. He has never been afraid to throw the ball into tight windows, and today was no different. He threw some absolute strikes on quick routes to DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki, and if not for a bad Preston Williams drop in the end zone on 4th down it is very possible that Miami could have won this game. Fitzpatrick did have some of his typical poor decisions, including a throw that hit Tre’Davious White right in the hands after he was able to bait Fitzpatrick into a bad throw, but that’s just part of what makes Fitzpatrick fun at this point. He’s good enough to keep his teammate’s fantasy relevant, and you could do much worse if you had to stream a quarterback.
Myles Gaskin: 7 carries, 46 yards | 7 targets, 6 receptions, 36 yards
Matt Breida: 7 carries, 37 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, 2 yards
Jordan Howard: 5 carries, 4 yards, 1 TD
Myles Gaskin looks to be the running back to roster from Miami. He looked quick and had a few runs where he was able to fight through the first contact. His real fantasy value came from his involvement in the passing game thanks to his seven targets today, and he was the clear go-to option out of the backfield on passing downs. He’s not the fastest guy on the field, but he’s got good balance and appears to accelerate fairly quickly. Jordan Howard came in for short yardage and was quiet aside from punching in a short touchdown. Matt Breida appears to be the primary back for most other rushing situations, but that isn’t that valuable of a role if he can’t get passing work or goal-line work. Gaskins would be the only one of the three I’d want to roster for now.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
DeVante Parker: 8 targets, 5 receptions, 53 yards, 1 TD
Mike Gesicki: 11 targets, 8 receptions, 130 yards, 1 TD
Isaiah Ford: 9 targets, 7 receptions, 76 yards
Preston Williams: 5 targets, 1 reception, 26 yards
Mike Gesicki was the star of Miami’s offense today as he operated mostly as a big slot receiver rather than as a tight end. He made an awesome one-handed catch, posted up a defender in the end zone for a touchdown, and just generally dominated over the middle of the field. Buffalo does tend to funnel targets to that area, and they were missing two of their starting linebackers, but there was no way to watch this game and not come away impressed with Gesicki. DeVante Parker looked a little slow, which is not surprising after he was questionable all week with an injury. He did a good job of using his frame to create a little space for Fitzpatrick to fit the ball into, and as Fitzpatrick is never afraid to throw into a tight window, that was more than enough space for Parker to have a decent fantasy day. He’s still Fitzpatrick’s go-to option on the outside and will have much easier matchups going forward after two brutal defenses to start the season. Isaiah Ford operated in the middle of the field as a slot receiver, and much like Gesicki, he had a lot of success there. He’s probably not going to offer much in the way of upside, but he’s probably worth a look as a bench player. Preston Williams looked rusty today and had an awful drop in the endzone after the ball hit him directly between the numbers on a quick slant. The good news is that Miami went back to him for a two-point conversion later in the game, and I expect him to round back into form as the season goes on and he puts more time between him and his ACL injury. I would hold onto Williams for now, but he’s droppable if the rest of your bench is solid and you have a chance at a high-priority waiver claim.
-Dan Adams (@dadams0323)