If you've had a Buffalo Bills running back on your fantasy team at any point this season, you've had pretty good reason to be excited. Fred Jackson was awesome in 2011 before he got hurt. C.J. Spiller has been among the best handful of fantasy backs this season with Jackson dinged. Heck, even Tashard Choice has been a hot waiver-wire commodity this week thanks to Spiller's injury.
Buffalo's running back situation is a bit of a mess entering their Week 4 matchup with the New England Patriots. Spiller, who has become a must-start in all formats, is going to try to practice by the end of the week, but the general feeling is that he won't play. Still, he hasn't been ruled out. Jackson is practicing this week, but isn't a lock to play, though he appears closer than Spiller. Choice is only a worthy play if both backs are out, as he'd merely be a complementary player if either plays (and a non-factor if both do).
Our advice: if you have to set your lineup by tonight, avoid this situation - and if your hand is forced and you have to play a guy, go with Jackson. It still seems more likely than not that he'll suit up, but the odds are shortening. Keep Spiller on your bench, and if you picked up Choice and have to play him, be aware that that may not be a bright spot on your fantasy ownership CV.
As for Buffalo's other fantasy noteworthy players:
- Stevie Johnson has a touchdown in each of his first three games this season, and he had two in (parts of) two games against the Patriots last year, as well. He is the go-to target in the passing game. Start him, if just for the sake of consistency.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick has been on a bit of a hot streak ever since his horrible start in Week 1, throwing a league-leading eight touchdowns to zero picks since the Bills fell into a 41-7 hole in New Jersey. He's still a major turnover risk every game (he threw six picks against the Pats alone last year), but he also put up 676 yards and four scores. You can do better as a backup or bye-week fill-in, but you can certainly do worse, and this isn't a particularly scary matchup for the quarterback.
- The defense and special teams have been great the last two weeks, with a punt return touchdown, nine sacks and five forced turnovers. They are playing Tom Brady this week, and Brady has shredded Buffalo's defense in the past. This defense is better - most notably against the run - but they're still susceptible to giving up big plays with a very green secondary. If you can, sit them; Brady should have a pretty good day.
One last thing: let's talk about SB Nation Pick 6. I am apparently horrendous at this game, but the Buffalo Rumblings community sure isn't; a community member won the overall SB Nation leaderboard in each of the first two weeks, and this past week's blog winner, email@example.com, was fourth on the overall leaderboard, and just 2.3 points away from a win. If you've been playing along with us, keep up the good work! And if you've been struggling, well, at least you've been kicking my butt. Make sure to get your picks in by 8PM tonight!