Bills vs. Chiefs, Fantasy Football Preview


Nov 3, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) points to Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (99) during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Chiefs beat the Bills 23-13. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

While the NFL’s regular season has just passed its midpoint, most fantasy football leagues are hitting their home stretch as week ten gets underway. Unfortunately, the Buffalo Bills may be without their biggest offensive weapon from a real life and fantasy perspective when they host the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. Here is the BuffaLowDown fantasy football preview for all of the relevant players in the Bills versus Chiefs matchup.

After the Browns win over the Bengals on Thursday Night Football, the Chiefs (5-3) currently hold the 6th seed in the AFC. After a somewhat shaky start to the season, the Chiefs have reeled off three straight wins and are looking to elevate themselves in the muddied AFC wildcard race. Quarterback Alex Smith leads a Kansas City passing attack that has been efficient, but only ranks 29th in the NFL in terms of yards per game. This game sets up for a run-heavy approach by both teams, and Smith possesses underrated athleticism with his personal running ability (162 rushing yards on 27 attempts, 6.0 YPC). He should have the opportunity to make plays with his legs outside of the pocket in order to avoid Buffalo’s pass rush. Although the matchup isn’t necessarily favorable, Smith can still be viewed as a mid-range QB2, as he has the potential to pad his box score with rushing yards. Outside of Dwayne Bowe, the rest of the Kansas City receiving corps is a collection of waiver fodder from a fantasy perspective. Donnie Avery has officially been ruled out, and would have been a desperation dart throw regardless as a WR4/5. Bowe has seen a healthy amount of targets over the past several games, but he has yet to score in 2014. Averaging less than 60 receiving yards a game, Bowe is no more than a WR3, with volume being the only reason he is even on the fantasy radar for week ten. Notably, the Chiefs have zero wide receiver touchdowns this season….zero. Loaded with talent, tight end Travis Kelce is the only other Chiefs pass catcher that warrants starting consideration this week. Although he is still not playing a full complement of snaps, Kelce has been able to capitalize on his opportunities, averaging 13.1 yards per catch to go along with his four touchdowns. He is still firmly in the TE1 mix, and should be considered a top ten option at the position this week with players like Rob Gronkowski, Dwayne Allen, and Jordan Reed all on bye weeks. Based on how Kansas City has scored through the air this season, Kelce figures to be the most likely recipient of an Alex Smith touchdown pass on Sunday. Since returning from his early season ankle sprain, Jamaal Charles has been one of the more consistent running backs in the NFL. With seven total touchdowns and at least 67 rushing yards a game since week four, Charles is a clear RB1, and a top ten option this week even in a difficult matchup. The Bills boast the league’s 8th ranked rush defense, but will have their hands full with Charles. Heavy volume and involvement in the passing game should keep Charles locked in as a no-doubt fantasy starter this week.

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Coming out of their bye week, the Bills (5-3) are currently sitting as the “last team out” in the AFC playoff picture. Since taking over the starting job in week five, quarterback Kyle Orton has injected life into Buffalo’s passing game. While he will never be confused with the likes of Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, Orton has posted a more than respectable 9/3 touchdown to interception ratio and is averaging 282 passing yards per game. This week will present a tough challenge for the Bills, as the Chiefs currently rank 1st in the NFL against the pass, allowing only 199.4 yards per game. A nice streaming QB1 option over the past three weeks, Orton is only a QB2 this week as he figures to be under consistent pressure from Kansas City’s fierce pass rush, and may also be without his top receiver, Sammy Watkins. Watkins tweaked his groin earlier in the week during practice, and hasn’t taken part in any team or individual drills since Wednesday. The arrow is pointing down on his status, and with a Thursday night game on the horizon next week, chances are that Watkins will sit on Sunday. Without Watkins, the Bills will turn to Robert Woods and Mike Williams on the outside to pick up the slack. Chris Hogan figures to man the slot in three receiver sets and has proven capable of handling those duties. Woods projects to lead the team in targets, and can be viewed as a low-end WR3 in PPR formats. Williams is the best bet to score a touchdown of the three, but should be viewed as a mere WR4/5 desperation play in only the deepest of formats. Hogan could see in the range of 4-5 targets out of the slot, but is unlikely to score. He should remain in fantasy free agent pools for the time being. Tight end Scott Chandler has been steady yet unspectacular in 2014, and is actually second on the team in targets behind Watkins. Kansas City shut out Jets tight end Jace Amaro a week ago, but had given up seven touchdowns to tight ends in the seven games prior. Expect Chandler to be a favorite target of Orton’s on quick throws and in the red-zone. In order to counteract the Chiefs stellar pass rush, Orton will need to get rid of the ball quickly, which could setup Chandler as a borderline TE1 on Sunday. Buffalo’s rushing attack has sputtered since the injuries to Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. Anthony Dixon started the Bills week eight game against the Jets and plodded his way to a meager 44 yards on 22 carries. Although Jackson (groin) was able to practice on a limited basis this week, the expectation is that he will not play. Bryce Brown could provide the spark that Buffalo’s rushing attack sorely needs, especially in a game that projects as a defensive struggle. The Bills must establish Dixon and Brown effectively as a one-two punch against Kansas City’s 19th ranked rush defense in order to have a chance at victory.


Score Prediction: Chiefs 24, Bills 17