Fantasy Football Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em, Raiders vs. Bills


Dec 14, 2014; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Kyle Orton (18) throws a pass under pressure from Green Bay Packers defensive end Datone Jones (95) during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The week 16 edition of Fantasy Football “Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em” will focus on this Sunday’s game between the Oakland Raiders and the Buffalo Bills.

Start ‘Em

RB: Latavius Murray

On paper, the matchup does not appear great for Murray, as the Bills rank 9th in the NFL against the run. However, over the last two weeks, the Bills have given up an average of 119 yards and two touchdowns per game to opposing running backs. Since returning from his concussion, Murray has secured the feature back position for the Raiders to the tune of 35 carries over the past two games. He has also managed to post at least 59 rushing yards in both of those games. By comparison, Fellow Oakland running back Darren McFadden has failed to eclipse over 27 rushing yards in any game since week eight. Volume should be on Murray’s side for Sunday’s game for a team that should already be evaluating players for next season.

QB: Kyle Orton

Orton has had a run of subpar statistical games, but has also faced some of the top pass defenses in the NFL over the past three weeks. Statistically, Oakland is 8th in the NFL at defending the pass, but this rank is somewhat misleading. Opposing teams have been able to get early leads and run the ball consistently on the Raiders all season.  Additionally, although the Raiders rank well from a yardage standpoint, they have allowed at least one passing touchdown in every game except one this year. They have also allowed multiple passing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in three of their past four games. Fred Jackson continues to see an increased workload as he returns to full health, and C.J. Spiller gets back to action this week. Even if Spiller is limited, Orton should also benefit from higher percentage throws in the screen game.

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Sit ‘Em

TE: Mychal Rivera

Rivera has certainly proven he can be a building block for the Raiders offense at the tight end position heading into next season. Coming off back to back seven catch performances, it is certainly reasonable to consider Rivera a low-end TE1 this Sunday. However, owners at DFL players should not expect another seven catch effort. Game flow and the general ineptitude of the Raiders offense on a weekly basis always makes Rivera a risky fantasy play. From week’s 11-13, he only recorded seven total catches for a lowly 69 yards. Against a Bills team that has only allowed two tight end touchdowns all season, I would not bet on Rivera to find the end zone this week. The only tight ends to score touchdowns against the Bills this year are Martellus Bennett (all the way back in week one) and Rob Gronkowski in week six.

RB: Anthony Dixon

The return of running back C.J. Spiller to the Bills backfield could immediately eliminate Dixon from fantasy relevance. Already seeing a reduced workload in a three headed committee with Fred Jackson and Bryce Brown, Dixon has only averaged 5 carries a game over the past three weeks. Even in a plus matchup against the Raiders 25th ranked rush defense, Dixon’s role has shrunk enough that I’d feel comfortable dropping him completely in season-long leagues, and avoid him all together in DFL’s. Even if there is some opportunity for Dixon to receive goal line carries, he has only scored one touchdown all season.  Additionally, the Bills offense has struggled mightily in the red zone during the second half of the year and have given Fred Jackson much of the red zone and goal line work in recent weeks.

Buyer Beware:

RB: C.J. Spiller

As a fan, I am extremely excited for the return of C.J. Spiller for this week’s game. The Bills offense has been fairly stagnant for the past several games, but has shown small signs of life in the running game of late. Spiller should only enhance what should have been the Bills strength all season – running the ball effectively and often with he and Fred Jackson. However, head coach Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathanial Hackett have a history of grossly misusing Spiller. Even with his “probable” designation, I am not expecting him to receive a ton of work this week. Obviously, the Bills are in “must-win” mode, but I can definitely see the coaching staff easing Spiller back into action in anticipation of a potential huge week 17 showdown with the Patriots in Foxboro. The Bills will need Spiller to be a stud in week 17, so don’t be surprised if he is limited in his first game action since week seven.