Here’s your Dolphins vs. Bills Fantasy Football Defense Outlook for this week.
When the Bills square off against the Miami Dolphins this Sunday there will be plenty familiar faces to Buffalo fans. Miami’s defense features two key former Buffalo Bills who are partly responsible for how well Buffalo has played this year.
The Dolphins signed former Bills curmudgeon Mario Williams this offseason. Mario had a few good years for Buffalo but was unhappy in Rex Ryan’s defense last season and did not give it his all. He soured the mood in the locker room and the defense suffered. Apparently, his poor attitude has followed him down to Miami as well. Williams has been unimpressive this year amassing just eight tackles this season so far and one sack.
Williams was always an athletic freak who relied on his talent more than his hard work in the past. It appears father time may have caught up with him and unless he starts putting in the work at practice he may not be in this league much longer. As it is, Miami is only playing him in about 66 percent of their snaps this season and he’s ranked the 42nd best edge rusher by Pro Football Focus.
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The other player Bills fans will be familiar with is Kiko Alonso. Alonso was the player the Bills traded to the Eagles to get their stud running back LeSean McCoy who is second in the league in rushing yards this season. Unlike Williams, Alonso is having a nice year with 56 tackles which is sixth best in the NFL. He’s also recovered two fumbles for Miami.
While Miami could catch a break with the Bills potentially missing both Robert Woods and LeSean McCoy on top of Sammy Watkins who is on IR, they still are a questionable start this week in fantasy football. They are ranked the 16th best defense in the league in average scoring in standard yahoo leagues.
Their weakness is their run stopping which is ranked 31st in the league to only San Francisco who the Bills gashed for 312 yards last week. Even without McCoy, the Bills have a robust running attack with Mike Gillislee, Reggie Bush, Jonathan Williams and of course their second leading rusher quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
It can’t help that Miami lost their second best defensive player, safety Reshad Jones for the year with a torn rotator cuff. Miami will still have their best defensive player Ndamukong Suh who is one of, if not the best, interior defensive lineman in the league. This should be a low scoring game but Buffalo’s strength on offense is Miami’s weakness so I would still avoid playing them this week.
On the other hand, Buffalo’s defense is a must start and will be for the foreseeable future. They average the second most points of any defense per week in fantasy football to only the Minnesota Vikings. The Bills will get a huge boost to the defense this week with the NFL debut of their first round draft pick Shaq Lawson. Lawson returned to practice this week and head coach Rex Ryan was impressed. Ryan said, “I think he’s gonna play. I’ve seen enough. He’s flying around and looks like the guy we drafted.”
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The Bills most talented defensive player, Marcell Dareus, is listed as doubtful and most likely will not play. Hamstring issues are not something you want lingering during the remainder of the season and the Bills defense has played lights out in Dareus’ absence so there should be no rush to get their best defensive player back.
Part of the reason the Bills defense has been so effective is because of two under the radar free agent signings in Lorenzo Alexander and Zach Brown. Alexander was signed as a special teamer and role player but with several injuries, he’s taken the starting role and played the best football of his career. He currently leads the NFL in sacks with eight. With Shaq Lawson back he may see a little less time but Rex has stated that “Zo” has earned the starting role.
Zach Brown originally signed to start at inside linebacker next to Preston Brown. During the draft, Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland fell to the Bills in the second round and all of the sudden things changed. Ragland was the projected starter but he injured his knee in preseason and is out for the year.
Zach Brown became the starter again and he may very well be the defensive MVP of the Bills. He’s tied for the NFL lead in tackles with 68 along with Luke Kuechly. He’s got tremendous speed which has allowed him to make plays from sideline to sideline.
Buffalo has had other defensive players step up like Preston Brown and Nickell-Robey Coleman who have made several key plays for the team this year. The unit is really rolling on all cylinders and it’s been a pleasure to watch. Expect another big performance by Buffalo’s defense against a Miami team with an offense that lacks enough firepower to do any real damage.