By now, pretty much every fantasy league should be in their playoffs. If not, what kind of league are you in?! For those of you lucky (or savvy) enough to still be fighting for your league's championship, congratulations.
The Buffalo Bills host the New England Patriots this Sunday in a matchup with decent fantasy implications - even for the Bills. Buffalo looks to finally knock the Patriots off, while Tom Brady and company are looking to better their playoff and division title chances with a road victory. Besides Brady, who might be worth a start in this do-or-die fantasy week? Let's find out.
Tom Brady - I think it's pretty obvious that if you own Brady, you start him. Despite having a "down" year from what many may have expected, he still has over 3800 yards and 23 touchdown passes thus far. And in case you forgot, he's owned the Bills throughout his career (240 yards per game, 2.1 touchdowns per game, 102.6 QB rating, 14-1 record). Start him with confidence, especially in this must win for the Patriots. Verdict: Start 'Em
Ryan Fitzpatrick - The typical Ryan Fitzpatrick games have returned as he's thrown for 184 yards the past two games....combined. Don't expect those numbers to improve greatly this week, even against a very susceptible Patriots' pass defense that's giving up 211 yards per game and has allowed 22 touchdown passes on the season. They've allowed over 300 yards passing in four of their last five road games. The opportunities will be there, but with Fitzpatrick as the quarterback, those will likely be wasted opportunities like so many other chances the Bills have had. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Laurence Maroney - Maroney has seen a bit of a rebirth this season, as he's been able to remain healthy and on the field for the entirety thus far. SInce taking over as the main rusher in the Patriots attack, he's put up 555 yards rushing and 8 touchdowns in 8 games. Those are solid numbers for a flex back, especially one who was mostly forgotten on draft day. With the Bills run defense still atrocious, Maroney will definitely have his chances to put up a monster game. Expect a short yardage touchdown and 75-100 yards at the very least. Verdict: Start 'Em
Sammy Morris - The former Bills has returned to the field recently after battling a knee injury. He's averaged roughly 7 touches per game in this three games since returning, but hasn't really had much of an impact. With Bill Belichick, you never know if Morris will assume the majority of the touches, but at this point, it's hard to believe he'll be anything more than a secondary option in the Patriots ground game. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Fred Jackson - Jackson continues to start and get the higher percentage of the rushes. I think that will continue. Jackson has been very successful against the Patriots recently putting up 276 total rushing and receiving yards and a touchdown in the past two match-ups between the teams. With Marshawn Lynch starting to come on, don't expect Jackson to get the type of work needed to reaches those numbers again, but he could be in line for a pretty solid fantasy day. I expect him to be a big factor in the passing game and he seems to be the goal line back at this point. I'd take a chance and go with him as a flex this week. Verdict: Start 'Em as a flex only
Marshawn Lynch - Lynch is starting to run a lot better recently, picking up 144 yards on 18 rushes over the past two games. With an offensive line that is beginning to run block a little better, Lynch is starting to benefit. However, he's still only averaged 8 rushes per game over his last six games. Don't expect a big game out of him, but he could have a solid game all around. He's not worth starting in fantasy though. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Wes Welker - Welker has been fantasy gold this year, in normal formats and especially in PPR leagues. He leads the league in receptions with a whopping 105 thus far, and his currently second in the NFL with 1,158 yards. Taking out the season finale last year where nobody could throw the ball in the wind, Welker has 34 receptions for 347 yards in four games against the Bills since joining the Patriots. Amazingly, he hasn't found the endzone. Don't worry about that though. Welker will be his usual self catching a ton of passes and moving the chains. Start him with a ton of confidence. Verdict: Start 'Em
Randy Moss - A lot has been said about Moss the past week, and whether or not he quit against the Panthers. I don't believe he did, but then again, I didn't see a whole lot of that game. One thing I do know, Moss, Brady and Belichick will be hellbent on getting this guy going again. I fully expect them to go to Moss early and often. He's dominated the Bills during his Patriots career. Again taking out the Wind Bowl game, Moss has 32 receptions for 437 yards and 6 touchdowns in four games. I fully expect Moss to have a big game this week, especially if Reggie Corner is involved at all. He'll get his. Verdict: Start 'Em
Terrell Owens - Owens scored last week, but again had a down game. He's put up good numbers against teams that reside in Florida this season, but has struggled in pretty much every other game. In the first match-up, Owens had just 2 receptions and was effectively taken out of the game. The Patriots will try to do that again and it's hard to believe they won't succeed. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Lee Evans - If ever there is a team to definitely bench Evans against, it's the Patriots. He's struggled mightily against them during his career and those struggles should continue. Evans has been a non-factor for much of the season. God bless you if you are actually contemplating starting him this week, or ever again! Verdict: Sit 'Em
Benjamin Watson - (Who goes by Benjamin?) Watson pretty much destroyed the Bills in the 4th quarter of the first match-up and ending up scoring the two touchdowns to give the Patriots the lead for good. He's been a bit player in the Patriots passing attack since that night, which is a surprise to no one. Stick with whatever has gotten you to this point. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Shawn Nelson - No way. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Stephen Gostkowski - Gostkowski is 5th in the NFL with 106 points and 6th with 23 field goals made. He's one of the few kickers that you should keep in your lineup each week. Verdict: Start 'Em
Rian Lindell - Surprisingly enough, Lindell is actually tied with Gostkowski with those 23 field goals made. Still, you really can't rely on him to get his chances from week to week. Verdict: Sit 'Em
New England D/ST - With Fitzpatrick and the cringe-inducing Bills offense as the opponent, there will be ample opportunities to pick up sacks and pick off some errant throws. They've been a solid fantasy unit this season, so you shouldn't really be concerned that they haven't done it this year. As is usually the case with fantasy defenses, you can pick up good chunks of points week to week based on matchups. I think this is one of those weeks. Verdict: Start 'Em
Buffalo D/ST - The pass defense has been opportunistic this season, but it's still hard to imagine them shutting down the Patriots this week. Verdict: Sit 'Em
None - If you're still playing in your league at this point, you really aren't looking for any sleepers to get you some cheap points. Plus, I don't think there's any in this game as it is.
Let's just hope the Bills put up a fight and keep the game within striking distance. The Patriots will likely be coming in hungry and ready to smack the Bills around. I just hope the Bills are ready to smack back! Good luck in your fantasy playoffs this week, and Go Buffalo!