This Sunday, it’s the Buffalo Bills vs. Patriots at New Era Field at 1pm. If you have any of the running backs in this game on your fantasy football team, here’s what you need to know.
The Buffalo Bills will likely face off against the Patriots without their most talented running back. LeSean McCoy is listed as doubtful leaving the trio of Mike Gillislee, Reggie Bush and Jonathan Williams to carry the load.
Gillislee will get the bulk of the carries for the Bills but he is also dealing with a foot injury. Depending on the severity, it might be tough for him to be effective against the Patriots. Last week, with a limited McCoy, none of the Bills backs did well and Tyrod Taylor ended up being their leading rusher with 35 yards.
The Bills tried to use McCoy against the Dolphins Week 7 but he just wasn’t himself. They waited too long to try to get “Touchdown Mike” Gillislee involved and that’s the major reason they never got it going on the ground. Expect them to try to establish the run a lot earlier this week as the best way to beat the Patriots is to keep the clock running and Tom Brady off the field.
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Reggie Bush has only gotten seven carries this season and has managed just six yards on them. He finally got his first reception of the season last week which he gained 13 yards on. The Bills would be smart to get him more involved in the passing attack as a slot receiver considering how banged up their other wideouts are. Bush’s best days running are clearly behind him so if Gillislee is bothered by his own foot injury rookie Jonathan Williams may be the next man up.
Williams best game was against San Francisco when he had five carries for 21 yards. The problem is he fumbled in that game and they haven’t trusted him with the ball since making him inactive last week. This is a common practice for coaches to punish rookies who fumble to make it clear that turnovers are unacceptable at the NFL level.
Last week the Bills were embarrassed on defense with ten missed tackles while giving up 256 total yards on the ground. Patriots lead back LeGarrette Blount is a strong runner with a downhill style so the Bills need to make sure they wrap him up and bring him to the ground if they want to avoid another poor performance. Just getting an arm on him is not going to bring down the powerful back.
Blount has the sixth-most rushing yards in the NFL and he’s tied for the NFL lead with eight rushing touchdowns. He’s going to be difficult for Buffalo to stop. The Bills are hoping that the return of defensive lineman Marcell Dareus this week will help them limit Blount’s production.
The other Patriots running back, James White, isn’t quite as strong on the ground with just 92 yards on 24 carries but he excels in the passing game where he has 27 receptions for 244 yards and two touchdown receptions.
For the Patriots, Blount is a very good start this week despite Buffalo’s ability to limit other top backs earlier this year. White, however, should be left on the bench. For the Bills, Mike Gillislee should be played but don’t expect a monster game from him unless he breaks off one of his famous big runs.
Reggie Bush and Jonathan Williams don’t merit a start but if Williams does get an increased workload and plays well look for him on the waiver wire because hamstring injuries can linger all year and LeSean McCoy could be questionable each game for the remainder of the year.