From a fantasy football perspective, there is not much to like in passing game for Bills vs. Dolphins
Last time the Bills played the Dolphins back in Week 7 the Bills were without Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods. Both will play this week although neither of them are particularly healthy. Their previous matchup involved a memorable play by a Dolphins wide receiver but it had nothing to do with fantasy football.
Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry laid an extremely dirty hit on Bills safety Aaron Williams who was unable to see Landry coming and the hit ended Williams’ season. Landry went on to have five catches for 78 yards on the day but the best Dolphins fantasy performance at receiver was Kenny Stills who had five catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. Most of that came on a 66-yard touchdown pass with under three minutes left in the game to seal the victory.
This time around the Dolphins receivers will have a different quarterback throwing to them. Matt Moore will start the game in place of the injured Ryan Tannehill. Moore started his first game of the year last week and had a very strange stat line against the Jets. He was 12 of 18 for 236 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. That’s not a typo, four of his 12 completions went for touchdowns against a terrible Jets secondary. He was able to connect on two long touchdown passes to his receivers. One for 66 yards to Landry and the other for 52 yards to Stills.
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The Bills don’t have a single receiver with over 600 yards receiving this year while the Dolphins have three including Landry, Stills and DeVante Parker. Stills is mostly their big play threat and has had some solid fantasy production in certain weeks but he can also disappear in other weeks. Buffalo’s secondary has been known to make some communication mistakes this season so it wouldn’t shock me to see Stills slip past them and add to his seven touchdowns on the year. To emphasize his big play ability, if you only take the yardage on Stills longest play in each game it accounts for 64 percent of his total yards on the year.
Parker is having a disappointing season. The 2015 first round draft pick has 614 yards receiving this year but only three touchdowns. He is not consistent enough and only has four receptions or more in four games this year. He’s not someone you should be toying with if you are playing in the fantasy finals this week.
The Dolphins main receiving threat Jarvis Landry is someone who should definitely be in your lineup. As mentioned before the Bills have had big meltdowns in the secondary at times this season and Landry should be able to capitalize on that.
He averages the 26th most points per week for wide receivers but that is mainly due to the fact that he has just three touchdowns on the season. He’s tied for the 7th most receptions in the league (82) and has the ninth most receiving yards (1,031). 560 of those yards have come after the catch which is the fourth best in the NFL. Landry is a great start this week against Buffalo and if he can find the end zone, which has been elusive to him all year, he could have a big day for fantasy owners.
For the Bills, Marquise Goodwin was the top receiving performer earlier this year against Miami with 93 yards and a touchdown. Like Stills, most of his stats came on one big play which was a 67-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. Goodwin has proven to be little else than a big play threat and has just 27 receptions on the year.
The Bills number two receiver Robert Woods has also done very little this year. He has battled injuries and it hasn’t helped that he was thrust into the number one role for much of the season when Sammy Watkins was injured. He’s only had two games this season where he produced any fantasy value and that was against Seattle and New England the first time around. He’s good for a nice play or two in big spots for Buffalo and for moving the chains but he is not a startable option in fantasy football.
Sammy Watkins remains the Bills only receiver with any real fantasy value but he remains a high-risk start and you might be better off looking elsewhere if you are in the finals. He’s still suffering from a broken foot and much of the value he is providing the Bills is by taking the pressure off the rest of their receivers by drawing coverage away from them. In the three weeks since he’s returned from IR, he has a total of 102 yards on eight catches with one touchdown. He gets healthier each week but if you start him you’re taking a huge gamble.
One Bills player who could provide some sneaky value if you are desperate for a tight end (former Gronkowski owners listen up!) is Charles Clay. If you’d read my column all year you’d know I haven’t advised playing him for quite some time. It’s not because I don’t think he is talented but because of Tyrod Taylor’s inability to find him in the open field.
In the past two weeks, the team has done a better job of getting him involved and he’s scored a touchdown in each game which are his only two touchdowns on the year. If you’re desperate for a tight end this week in the finals and Clay is out there he’s a viable option as a spot start although that’s not an ideal scenario for a championship game.
For all the talk about how Tyrod Taylor struggles to throw the ball (I’m one of those people) he still manages to average the 15th most fantasy football points per week at his position. It’s mostly due to his 520 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns but fantasy owners don’t care where the points come from all they want is MORE POINTS which just so happens to be the name of my league with my friends.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say you didn’t make your fantasy football finals starting Tyrod Taylor and I certainly wouldn’t advise starting him in such an important game but it’s interesting to note that despite his struggles throwing he still provided some value to fantasy owners this year.
In summary, there is really only one member of the passing game on either of these teams that you should start and that’s Jarvis Landry. If you have Sammy Watkins and feel like taking a gamble this week, that’s your prerogative but it’s not the most logical decision. If you are desperate for a tight end this week Charles Clay is an option who has been coming on recently but otherwise, all other players associated with these teams passing offenses should be stashed on your bench if they are on your roster.