Welcome back once again to Fantasy Friday here at Buffalo Rumblings. The Buffalo Bills are coming off back-to-back road victories in consecutive weeks for the first time since 2004, as they return home to host the streaking Houston Texans. The Texans have won three of four and have six straight games in which they have scored over 20 points. Buffalo's defense posted another solid performance last week against the sagging Panthers, despite giving up a lot of yards once again. They did a nice job of keeping the Panthers off the scoreboard and forcing four more turnovers after forcing six the week before. This week's game against the Texans poses a much stiffer challenge to the vulnerable Bills defense. Those Texans also bring in a defense that has allowed nearly as many yards as the Bills, in addition to three points more per game. Both teams have individual players that can make some noise for your fantasy teams this week. Join me after the jump for recommendations on how to handle them this week.
Matt Schaub - So far this season, Schaub has been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and possibly the best fantasy quarterback to date. He leads the NFL with 2,074 yards passing and 16 touchdowns, completes almost 66% of his passes, averages 8.3 yards per attempt and sports a 104.4 QB rating that makes us all jealous. He's finally becoming everything the Texans hope he'd be when they acquired him from Atlanta a few years ago. The Bills' pass defense has had its moment so far this season. They currently rank 10th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game, although part of me believes they're legit while part of me believes that's due to having a terrible run defense and facing a slew of crappy quarterbacks. What is legit is the 5.8 yards per attempt allowed, the 58.0 QB rating they've given up and even the NFL best 13 interceptions. They can be taken advantage of, however. Jake Delhomme (!) threw for over 300 yards last week, but in typical Delhomme fashion he literally threw the game away. I don't think Schaub will be doing that this week. Start him as you always would, but watch out for inclement weather. Verdict: Start 'Em
Ryan Fitzpatrick - As much as some Bills fans may want to think otherwise, Fitzpatrick has been pretty terrible these past two weeks. He's averaging 120 yards per game, 5.1 yards per attempt and is completing less than 45% of his passes. He's in the same league as the Derek Anderson and JaMarcus Russell's of the NFL. Don't even think about starting him even against the Texans middle of the road pass defense. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Steve Slaton - Slaton has been somewhat of a fantasy disappointment, although he really isn't one. His rushing numbers are way down from last season when he rushed for almost 1,300 yards, 80 yards per game, 4.8 yards per carry and 9 touchdowns. This season he's down to 49 yards per game, 3.1 yards per carry and 2 touchdowns. Pretty frightening numbers, I'd say. He's made up for those numbers by putting up excellent numbers in the Texans' passing game, which has really helped Schaub light up the fantasy world. Thus far, Slaton has caught 27 passes for 304 yards and 3 touchdowns, helping maintain his top 10 fantasy RB status. Look for his success to continue this week. I expect his rushing numbers to increase this week while his receiving totals continue to stay strong. 130 total yards and a touchdown or two seems like a pretty reasonable expectation this week. He's an every week starter, anyhow. Verdict: Start 'Em
Marshawn Lynch - Despite a juicy match-up against a poor Panthers run defense last week, Lynch and the running game again struggled. The Texans have allowed roughly 115 yards per game and 4.7 yards per carry, along with a whopping 10 rushing touchdowns so far this season. Opportunities will again be there for Lynch to have a strong game. Unfortunately, with the offensive line continuing to struggle, expectations should remain tempered. It wouldn't surprise me if he posted solid numbers this week as the team will likely ride him early and often. He reached the end zone for the first time last week, and with the Texans struggles there, it wouldn't be too surprising if he walked into the end zone again this week. The Bills need to get him more involved in the passing game again as he's caught just three total passes the past two games. Lynch is definitely a starter as a flex this week, while starting him as a RB2 is a bit more risky. Verdict: Start 'Em in all
Fred Jackson - Jackson has pretty much fallen off the fantasy radar after his hot start. He gave fantasy owners a total of 2 rushing yards last week. Expect the struggles to continue as his touches continue to dwindle. Until he has a bounce back game, you should be looking elsewhere. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Andre Johnson - Johnson left last week's victory over San Francisco with a bruised lung after he began coughing up blood. He practiced Thursday and looks good to go. Bruised lung, bloody lung, no lung, it wouldn't matter. Johnson is an every week starter and one of the best in the league. As a Bills fan, just hope he doesn't kill us too badly. Verdict: Start 'Em
Kevin Walter - Walter has been very disappointing so far this season after a solid 2008 that saw him put up 899 yards and 8 touchdowns. He has just 18 catches for 232 yards and a touchdown this year while the Texans have turned elsewhere (RB and TE) for production. He's definitely a guy you want to stash on your bench at this point because he can become a bigger factor at any time, but don't start him. Remember, the Bills have allowed just one touchdown to a WR all season. There are plenty of better options this week. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Jacoby Jones - Jones and David Anderson rotate as the 3rd WR, but neither has a huge role in the offense. Jones does find the end zone though, having scored four touchdowns already this season, three receiving and one kick return. He also had a punt return touchdown nullified by penalty last week. If you are in need of a bye week fill-in, Jones could be a nice sleeper option for you, especially if return yards and touchdowns factor into your league's scoring. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Lee Evans - Evans has seen a return to relevance with Fitzpatrick under center. He has 9 catches for 143 yards and 2 touchdowns the past two weeks and looks to have a good match-up this week. Fitzpatrick has really looked Evans' way as he accumulated 20 total targets against the Jets and Panthers (he has just 48 for the season). Expect that to continue. I said I wouldn't recommend using him again, but I feel almost compelled to do so for one week only. Assuming the weather is okay, I expect Fitzpatrick to continue trying to get Evans heavily involved, including another deep ball or two. With some good receivers on bye again this week (Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Chad Ochocinco, Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Dwayne Bowe), Evans makes for a good one week start. I'm going to go ahead and do it, so you know who to blame when he catches just one pass this week....Verdict: Start 'Em
Terrell Owens - Owens looks nothing like the player he once was. At this point, it's a positive if he simply catches a pass thrown his way. His hands and concentration seem to have completely vanished. There's no way I would suggest starting him any time soon. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Owen Daniels - Daniels is one of the best and most athletic tight ends in the NFL. He's also an excellent pass catcher and is really the Texans' #2 receiver. The Bills have struggled all season with TE's, including last week's 9 receptions and 135 yards they allowed to the Panthers' "dynamic" trio of Dante Rosario, Jeff King and Gary Barnidge. Daniels is coming off a 7-reception, 123 yard, one touchdown performance against the 49ers, and scored 2 touchdowns the prior week. All signs point to similar results this week. Like Andre Johnson, Daniels is a no-brainer every week. Verdict: Start 'Em
Shawn Nelson - It's too bad Nelson continues to miss practice (and likely this game) due to migraines because he'd have a chance to put up some big numbers against the Texans. Last week Vernon Davis abused the Texans secondary deep over the middle. It would have been nice to see Nelson get the opportunity to face that unit, but it's looking unlikely. Derek Fine isn't an option here, either. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Kris Brown - Kicking for a prolific offense is always a good thing, though Brown hasn't had the attempts he's gotten in year's past. With just six field goals in nine attempts so far this season, Brown is on pace to finished with barely half of the 29 FG's he made last year. He makes for a good play this week, though. The Bills continue to do a decent job of keeping teams out of the end zone, so look for Brown to get some attempts this week. Verdict: Start 'Em
Rian Lindell - He put up two FG's and two extra points last week, justifying a start. I'll go back to the well and say Lindell gets multiple chances again this week. Verdict: Start 'Em
Houston D/ST - The Texans have picked off just four passes and sacked the quarterback nine times. They aren't much of a fantasy defense, though Fitzpatrick is liable to self-destruct at any time. I understand why some would start the Texans this week, but I don't think the unit is good enough to go with. Go pick up Arizona or San Diego's defense if you need a D/ST. Verdict: Sit'Em
Buffalo D/ST - The Bills have forced 10 turnovers the past two weeks, and added four sacks. They aren't facing Mark Sanchez or Jake Delhomme this week, though. It's hard to imagine them having another productive fantasy performance against Schaub and the Texans' offense. Verdict: Sit'Em
Jacoby Jones - As mentioned above, Jones could be a nice sleeper option for those of you who get points for return statistics this week. With a heavy dose of attention being paid to Johnson and Daniels by the Bills secondary, Jones could see himself with some advantageous coverage on offense. He's a big play guy who could burn the Bills this week.
Terrell Owens - Eh, why not? There aren't too many other options on the Bills to surprise. Owens has been terrible this season, and there aren't too many fantasy owners counting on him anymore. Therefore, he now is relegated to sleeper status at best. Maybe this is all he needs....everyone writing him off giving him even more ammunition to have a huge week. Well, we can hope, can't we?
Tough match-up for the Bills defense this week, as they'll have their work cut out for them against some of the top individual fantasy players in the league. Look for the Texans to accumulate a ton of yardage, but touchdowns may again be harder to come by against the Bills. Let's just hope the Bills offense shows some life this week, too. As always, good luck and use this comments section to discuss all of your fantasy needs!