It seems like an eternity since they last played, but Buffalo Bills football returns this Sunday as the team travels to Nashville to take on the "surging" Tennessee Titans. The Bills last took the field in Week 8 and saw the offense put up another feeble effort as the defense finally fell apart in the fourth quarter, losing 31-10 at home to Houston.
The lack of fantasy success for Bills skills players continued, and there may be no end in sight. Trent Edwards returns from his concussion suffered way back in Week 6 with low expectations. It's been a struggle for him following a decent start to the season, as both he and the Bills' offense has become totally out of sync. The bumbling Bills will be facing a hot Tennessee offense led by the NFL's leading rusher, Chris Johnson. Things could get ugly for the Bills' run defense this week.
Let's take a look at the individual fantasy players of note for this week, after the jump.
Trent Edwards - Edwards hasn't played since being knocked out in the 2nd quarter of the Bills victory over the Jets back in Week 6. The offense was just as bad without him, and maybe worse. Don't be surprised by an early jolt of life from Edwards and the Bills offense, especially going against the league's 32nd ranked pass defense. However, with the way he's played since mid-September, it'd be hard to believe he'll have the success that other quarterbacks have seen against the Titans. Pro Bowl Cornerback Cortland Finnegan has come back the past two weeks, after a hamstring injury, to help the Titans defense allow a very respectable 181.5 passing yards per game. The Titans pass defense has also allowed just 4.4 yards per passing play the past two weeks. To me, the Titans defense, with a healthy Finnegan, is much closer to the past two weeks' performances than of the prior six. I expect Edwards to have some nice plays in his return, but struggle for the most part. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Vince Young - Young has led the Titans to both wins this season after replacing the ineffective Kerry Collins. He hasn't produced big numbers (297 total passing yards, 44 rushing yards, 2 total touchdowns), but has limited his mistakes (no interceptions, one sack taken) during this time. Young won't be much of a threat through the air, though the Titans like to go deep, but could really hurt the Bills with his legs. He's done it before. Still, I wouldn't expect much production yardage-wise, but he could find the endzone multiple times. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Marshawn Lynch - While the Titans pass defense has improved significantly the past two games, their run defense has taken a hit allowing 325 yards on the ground, 3 touchdowns and 9.0 yards per carry. Lynch and the Bills run offense have really struggled all season. Lynch is averaging just 43.4 yards per game and 3.1 yards per carry. Also, after 11 receptions in his first two games back from suspension, he has caught just six passes in the past three games. It's tough to recommend starting anyone on the Bills offense at this point, but in this matchup, Lynch might be the top choice. With Edwards back in the lineup, expect to see Lynch utilized in the passing game more. He's a flex option and not much more. Verdict: Start 'Em as a flex only
Fred Jackson - Jackson has just 14 carries in the past two games, and hasn't caught a pass since the Cleveland game. I wouldn't expect a huge spike in production this week, so keep him on your bench once again. He needs to be given more touches again before he is fantasy worthy. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Chris Johnson - Johnson leads the NFL in rushing with 959 yards. Johnson is averaging a ridiculous 6.7 yards per carry. Johnson has 12 rushes of over 20 yards (the Bills have four). Johnson has six rushes of over 40 yards (the Bills have one). Johnson has five 50+ yard touchdowns (the Bills have none). Simply put, he's damn good. Going against the Bills feeble rush defense, ranked 32nd in the NFL, looks like a major mismatch....and it is. I wouldn't be surprised if Johnson rushed for well over 200 yards this week, and fully expect him to have some big plays. If you have him on your fantasy team, be happy about it. If you don't, sit back and hope the Bills can miraculously shut him down. Verdict: Start 'Em
LenDale White - White has just 56 carries for 198 yards this season, and looks to be losing nearly all his touches as Johnson gets better and better. He's no longer a touchdown vulture, so he has little value to fantasy owners. Don't expect much. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Terrell Owens - As of right now (Friday morning), it's looking like Owens will be very iffy come Sunday. He is battling a hip injury that came out of nowhere on Tuesday, and is said to be "struggling" with it. It's not looking good for him this week. Knowing Owens, he's likely to try and play through the injury, but he'll probably be even more ineffective than usual. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Lee Evans - Evans saw a bit of a revival with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback, but struggled in his last outing against the Texans finishing with just 2 catches for 29 yards. With Owens potential out, and Finnegan playing at a high level again, it could be another stinker for him this week. I did what I said I wouldn't do again this season and recommending starting Evans against Houston. Never again! Let him do the opposite of what I say! He should see more looks this week, but don't expect a huge game, or even a good game. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Nate Washington - Washington leads the Titans with 23 receptions, but has just 202 yards to show for it. He has a respectable 4 touchdowns on the season, but hasn't been the deep threat that Tennessee expected. Expect the Titans to throw only when they really need to, so Washington isn't much of a play this week. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Justin Gage - Gage leads the Titans with 302 receiving yards and looked good last week hauling in 4 passes for 97 yards. Young seems to like him, and the Titans will probably look to get him deep, so the potential for some big plays is there. Unless you are really desperate, look elsewhere. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Kenny Britt - Britt has just 3 catches in the last four games. I still think he's going to be a very good NFL WR, but it'll take some time (and a better QB). Keep an eye on him in the future. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Shawn Nelson and Derek Fine - Nelson returns to the field this week following a concussion and subsequent migraines. Fine is still the starter. Neither have been effective this season. Fine has just three catches since week 3, and Nelson has flashed his potential only occasionally. Going forward, it'll be imperative to work Nelson into the lineup and passing game much more. Let's hope he responds with some production. Neither is fantasy relevant though. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Bo Scaife - Watching the Titans the past three or four seasons, Scaife proved to be one of Vince Young's favorite targets. He has six catches since Young returned to the lineup this year, and could be a sneaky play this week. The Bills defense has struggled against tight ends all season, so there should be opportunities for Scaife underneath. Don't be shocked if Scaife puts up nice numbers this week. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Alge Crumpler - Crumpler isn't a fantasy option anymore. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Rian Lindell - Lindell is tied for 8th in the NFL with 13 field goals made for the season. He's been one of the few bright spots for an otherwise desolate team for fantasy purposes. Going against one of the league's most generous defenses could give Lindell more chances than usual. Still, it's tough to use the kicker for one of the worst offenses in the league. Go with a kicker from a better offense. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Rob Bironas - See Lindell, Rian. Bironas has more value because the Titans have the ability to move the ball on the ground. If the Bills can get stingy on 3rd downs in their own territory, Bironas could be a nice option this week. Again, I'd go with a kicker for a better offense, though. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Buffalo D/ST - The Bills defense has been quite opportunistic of late, forcing 13 turnovers and adding 6 sacks in the past three games. However, the Titans, under Vince Young, haven't turned it over and have allowed just one sack. Something has to give. If the Titans can control the ball and run wild on the Bills, as expected, sack and turnover opportunities just won't be there. But if the Bills defense can slow down Johnson and force some 3rd and longs, Young could be forced into some mistakes. I tend to believe it's more likely the former will happen. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Tennessee D/ST - The Titans D/ST has really taken a hit this season after performing as one of the better fantasy units the past few years. They are coming on though. In the past two weeks, they've forced six turnovers and accumulated eight sacks. I'd expect the sack numbers to continue. Playing at home could give them a nice boost as well. This unit makes for a good one week fill-in, if that's what you're looking for. Verdict: Start 'Em
Buffalo - Honestly, I don't see one. The offense has been so bad, it's hard to imagine any player making an unexpected huge contribution.
Tennessee - I'd say the Titans D/ST makes for a quality sleeper this week. It's unlikely many teams have been starting this unit this year, so they could put up an uncharacteristic total against the struggling Bills offense.
It's hard to believe it's already Week 10, but here we are. It's the stretch run for fantasy leagues, so time to pull out all the stops. Make some trades to pick up players who will get you wins now, and go with the guys who have been producing this season. Good luck to all, enjoy the games and go Bills!