Our fantasy football Week 3 preview takes a look at the Buffalo Bills trip to Southern Florida, to play the Miami Dolphins
The Buffalo Bills will be on the road for the first time in 2015, when they travel to Miami to face the Dolphins. I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing for the team to get out of Buffalo.
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The out of the ordinary (at least in recent memory) hype and attention the Bills received the past few weeks may have been a bit premature. Hopefully, being away from home will allow them to refocus on football, and ultimately get back in the win column against a divisional foe.
Many analysts will point to Tyrod Taylor’s box score last week as “garbage time” stats; however, the Bills were not truly “out” of the game until the final drive. Yes, the Patriots defense eased in the fourth quarter, but fantasy owners did not care when the scoring occurred.
This week, Taylor is facing a Dolphins team that gave up 273 passing yards and two touchdown passes to Blake Bortles in Week 2. Through two weeks, Miami ranks a respectable 16th in the NFL defending the pass, but keep in mind they faced an extremely run-heavy attack at Washington in Week 1.
With five total touchdowns (four passing/one rushing) through two weeks, Taylor has worked his way into the QB2 discussion – he has eclipsed at least 40 yards rushing in each of the first two games this year. Even if the Bills can stick to their preferred run-first game plan, Taylor should have a relatively high floor in Week 3.
Sammy Watkins atoned for his zero catch performance in Week 1 with a 6/60/1 line against the Patriots last week. Jaguars’ wide receiver Allen Robinson just dismantled the Dolphins secondary for 155 receiving yards, and I wouldn’t bet against Watkins breaking out for his first 100 yard receiving game of 2015.
Sep 20, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Percy Harvin (18) during the second half against the New England Patriots at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Patriots beat the Bills 40-32. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
He is on the low-end WR2 map this week, leaving fellow wide receivers Robert Woods and Percy Harvin as dicey WR3/4 options. If forced to decide between the two, I’d go with Harvin, as he’s been able to haul in at least four passes in each of the Bills first two games.
Although the Dolphins did not allow a reception to a tight end last week, it is worth noting the Jaguars were still without prized free agent acquisition Julius Thomas. Jordan Reed snagged seven receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown against the Dolphins in Week 1, and I expect Clay’s stat line to fall somewhere in between.
Clay is only averaging 31 receiving yards a game through two weeks. As such, he should be considered an extremely risky, touchdown dependent, TE2 for Week 2.
Even at less than 100% health, LeSean McCoy has still managed at least 15 carries a game through the first two weeks. Totaling 116 yards from scrimmage in Week 2 (89 rushing/27 receiving), McCoy is back on the RB1 map as he finally appears to be getting over his nagging hamstring injury – he is officially listed as “Probable” for Sunday’s game.
Karlos Williams still remains the top handcuff for McCoy owners in season-long leagues, but his touchdown per game pace realistically can’t be maintained. He has received exactly six carries per game over the first two weeks, a number that doesn’t figure to increase in the short-term, given McCoy’s improving health.
The Dolphins enter Week 3 slightly banged up at quarterback and running back. Although Ryan Tannehill is listed on the injury report with an ankle problem, he has been practicing in full all week and is in no danger of sitting out as he remains on the low-end QB1 radar in Week 3.
Historically, the Dolphins are only 2-4 against the Bills with Tannehill as their starter, but he has posted a respectable 9/5 touchdown/interception ratio despite his losing record. However, he has only averaged just over 171 passing yards per game in those same contents.
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Playing out of the slot, an intriguing matchup to watch this weekend will be when second year wide receiver Jarvis Landry squares off against Bills nickel corner, Nickell Robey. While Robey has the speed to keep up with Landry, he may find it difficult to contend with his size and strength.
The Bills defense has been quite generous to opposing team’s wide receivers through two games, allowing an average 208 yards per game to the position. Additionally, the Bills have allowed at least one WR touchdown in each game thus far.
A popular breakout candidate heading into 2015, Landry has already tallied 16 receptions in just two games. I see Landry as more of a low-end WR1 this week as opposed to his customary WR2 tier.
Rishard Matthews has some WR3/WR4 appeal in PPR leagues, but should otherwise be left on fantasy benches and/or waiver wires. I expect rookie DeVante Parker to eventually emerge as a viable receiving threat at some point this season.
However, I am still not starting him until I see a bit more production on the field. He is a dart throw WR5 until that happens.
Jordan Cameron is clearly the tight end to own for the Dolphins, but he may be operating at less than 100% as he battles through a groin injury. Cameron is listed as “Questionable,” but is expected to play on Sunday.
Given his involvement in the offense through two games (at least 62 receiving yards in each game thus far), Cameron remains in the mid-range TE1 discussion this week, assuming he is active. The Bills will be without strong safety Aaron Williams for this game, which could free up the middle of the field for Cameron. (Even if Cameron sits, fantasy players shouldn’t chase points with Jake Stoneburner after he scored a fluky touchdown last week.)
After practicing on a limited basis Thursday and Friday, Dolphins lead running back Lamar Miller appears poised to suit up for Sunday’s game. The Bills have only allowed 99 combined rushing yards to running backs through two games, but have also faced two pass heavy game plans.
The Bills rushing defense was formidable in 2014, and there is no reason to expect a significant drop off this year, given their personnel is largely the same. Miller should be considered more of a flex play this week given the matchup and his minor injury situation.
Miller is officially listed as “Questionable” for Sunday’s game. Damien Williams scored a receiving touchdown last week, but shouldn’t be started in season long leagues even if he receives a few extra touches this week.
Score Prediction: Dolphins 20, Bills 17