Fantasy Football Bills vs. Rams. How will the running backs do?
The Buffalo Bills travel to Los Angeles to play the 3-1 Rams on Sunday at 4:25pm. It’s going to be a tough game for the Bills. Complicating matters is that the Bills have several intangibles working against them. In the past 20 years, the Bills are just 3-11 when playing in the Pacific Time Zone. Additionally, the Bills will also be looking to rack up their first three-game win streak since 2011.
The Bills will face off against a Rams team which is built a lot like their own team. Both have good defenses, great running backs, and struggle in the passing game. The gameplan on both sides will be to establish an early lead and then use the running game to keep the clock ticking.
Speaking of running the ball, let’s start with Todd Gurley who was widely considered by many to be the top running back in fantasy football this year. Gurley entered the league like a bat out of hell in his rookie campaign. In his first four weeks receiving a full workload, he rushed for over a 100 yards in each game with a total of 566 yards while averaging over 6.4 yards per carry.
The problem is since those games he’s averaging just over 62 yards per game and 3.4 per carry. That’s not to say that Gurley is the problem though. He hasn’t had very competent quarterback play in his two years in the league and so defenses are able to key in on him and stack the box making his job that much more difficult. His offensive line has also been an issue.
That’s the number one thing holding him back from being the superstar that most experts were expecting this year. In three of the four games this year, he has rushed for 51 yards or less and it’s certainly not due to lack of carries. He totes the rock on average more than 20 times a game.
The Bills defense is 13th in the league in run defense averaging 96 yards per game and that was without Marcell Dareus. Gurley will have his work cut out for him but he should get around 90 yards for the Rams and will be the primary focal point of their offense just like LeSean McCoy will be for the Bills.
Speaking of Shady, he’s been more productive over the past two weeks since the Bills offensive coordinator change. He’s averaging 90 yards on the ground in that span with two total touchdowns.
That’s the target for McCoy this week against a tough Rams defense with a good front seven. If he can get 90 yards and touchdown, as a fantasy owner you’ll certainly be happy. The main that’s holding McCoy back from being his old superstar self is the same with Gurley. The Bills lack of a competent passing attack has allowed defenses to key in on McCoy reducing his production.
On Friday in practice, McCoy hurt his hand and is listed as questionable for Sunday. You definitely want to handcuff him with Mike Gillislee if you have space on your roster, or just pick up Gillislee even if you don’t have McCoy in case he is unable to play. Shady doesn’t seem to be too concerned about it despite his questionable status. According to Mike Rodak of ESPN, McCoy describes the injury as “something minor” and further elaborated “l won’t miss this game. I won’t miss it for the world.”
Players tend to be overconfident about their ability to play when it comes to injuries but at this point, it seems like McCoy will play.
The other Bills backs don’t merit a start this week unless McCoy is out. Offensive Coordinator Anthony Lynn is still looking for a change of pace back that could be effective like Karlos Williams was as a power runner. Rumors are the Bills are thinking about bringing Williams back, but nothing is official yet.
According to NewYorkUpstate.com, Lynn said, “We don’t have that complement to LeSean right now like we had last year with Karlos. This guy comes in at 245 pounds and he’s a bruiser, you know? And LeSean’s more of a scat, space back. We are missing that a little bit. But I think Mike Gillislee comes in, he’s more decisive, more of a direct runner. He gives it to us a little bit. Jonathan Williams when we get him going he can be a change of pace guy for us as well. We don’t have that Karlos on the team right now and we have to make do with what we have.”
So if you have Gurley or McCoy, you need to start them despite their tough matchups this week and the lack of effective passing attacks to take pressure off them.
Alright, now that we covered the running game which will be featured prominently by both teams this week, let’s move onto the passing attack on the next slide starting with the quarterbacks.