Welcome back once again to Fantasy Friday here at Buffalo Rumblings. Last week was a complete failure for the Buffalo Bills, both on the field and for fantasy purposes. The only positive aspect of last week's loss to the New Orleans Saints was that Buffalo shut down Drew Brees, which many, including myself, figured wouldn't happen. Kudos to the Bills' defense for that.
On the offensive side of the ball, Fred Jackson was the only player with a pulse (excluding Josh Reed, who shouldn't matter for anyone's fantasy teams), putting up 97 yards on 22 touches. Lee Evans had his most active game of the year, with 4 catches for 31 yards, but that doesn't really say a whole lot. Terrell Owens threw up the fantasy no-no, a goose egg. Finally,Trent Edwards showed why you shouldn't expect him to be a consistent fantasy starter, or even someone you should consider starting on a week-to-week basis.
After last week's rough outing, the Bills can start anew this week against the hated Miami Dolphins. Join me after the jump for a look at this week's individual fantasy players of note for Bills at Dolphins:
Trent Edwards - Last week, he was Trentative Checkwards, as he finished with 156 yards passing, 1 interception and a putrid 4.5 yards per attempt. Let's hope he steps up this week and gets his game, and the offense, going. The Saints did an excellent job of harassing him, changing up coverages and bringing a variety of blitzes to confuse and fluster him all game. With a weak set of tackles blocking for him and a defensive-minded Dolphins team on the docket, expect them to try similar tactics. If the offensive line can hold up and give him some time, he could be in line for a pretty decent game. The Dolphins' pass defense is giving up 265 yards per game, has allowed 4 passing touchdown, hasn't registered an interception (knock on wood!) and opposing quarterbacks have posted a 103.3 QB rating. They've been susceptible to the big play, having allowed 11 passes of 20+ yards (third-most in the NFL) and 5 passes of 40+ yards (most in the NFL). Edwards and his receivers will have opportunities to put up some big plays this week, especially if Joey Porter isn't there to make his day miserable. I think he'll rebound from last week, take a few more shots down the field, and post some solid numbers once again. I don't think those numbers will be good enough to consider him a starter this week, or going forward. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Chad Henne - The former Michigan standout will be making his first career start this weekend. In relief of Chad Pennington last week against the Chargers, Henne played scared and was rather inaccurate. Perhaps due to nerves or inexperience, he just didn't look to go downfield, instead settling for his underneath checkdowns. Look for that to continue this week, although he should be more comfortable in going downfield some. I expect there to be some nerves and some poor throws, but he's got the talent to make things happen. I'm guessing Perry Fewell will try his darnedest to confuse Henne, so there should be mistakes. With Henne making his first NFL start, you better not have to consider starting him. If so, I'm sorry. He could be a nice option once he settles in, so keep an eye on his progress. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Fred Jackson - I listed him first for a reason; I expect him to get more than Marshawn Lynch this week, as Lynch will be making his season debut. Those touches will be earned, too. Jackson has been one of the best running backs in the league so far this season, as he is currently second in the NFL in total yards (141.7 ypg) to Tennessee's Chris Johnson. It's tough to take too many touches away from a guy who's been playing so well. With that said, this is a tough matchup for him and Lynch. The Dolphins have been extremely stout against the run so far this season, ranking third in the NFL in yards allowed per game (66.0) and yards per carry (3.0). I don't think he'll have a ton of success, but there's no reason to believe he can't get roughly 50-60 yards on 12-15 carries. The Dolphins struggled in the opener against RBs out of the backfield, as Falcons RBs finished with 8 catches for 73 yards and a touchdown. They've clamped down the past two games, allowing a total of just 4 receptions for 45 yards. Jackson will get his chances through the air, however, so expect the receptions to be there for those of you in PPR leagues. Verdict: Sit 'Em in default league, Start'Em as a flex in all or in PPR leagues.
Marshawn Lynch - Well, after a slew of bad injury news this week, Beast Mode's return gives us a positive going into Sunday. I know we all want him to explode onto the scene this week, but I just don't see it happening after a month of no contact or practices. He will get the start and probably see a lot of carries early to get him into the flow again. I don't see him getting more than 12-15 carries this week, so I'm guessing his numbers shouldn't exceed Jackson's there. He'll probably get the goal line carries again, so if the Bills can finally get inside the 5-yard line, Lynch will get the touchdown opportunities. Don't go expecting the moon from Lynch this week, but he could be a valuable flex option for those with that as part of your league. Verdict: Start'Em as a flex, Sit'Em in 2 RB leagues.
Ronnie Brown - With Henne making his first start, I fully expect Miami to continue running the ball early and often. Brown has been rather good this year, rushing for 254 yards, 2 touchdowns and 4.9 yards per carry. After allowing the Saints to run all over them last week, the Bills' defense could be ripe for the picking this week. The Dolphins run behind a good offensive line against a beat up and weary Bills defense. The Wildcat could be out in full force this week, as I'm expecting the Dolphins to roll out a few wrinkles this week, which includes some passes. Brown has thrown from the formation in the past, so be on the lookout for that this week. I think Brown will have a solid game, with the potential for a very good game, and will be a target for Henne as a checkdown option. Verdict: Start 'Em
Ricky Williams - Believe it or not, Williams has been a very viable fantasy option this season. He's rushed for 163 yards, at 4.8 yards a pop, and has totaled two touchdowns (1 each rushing and receiving). He's averaging 14 touches per game, so he's getting a fair share of the work. With a lot of good fantasy runners on bye this week (Brian Westbrook, Michael Turner, DeAngelo Williams) or banged up (LaDanian Tomlinson, Frank Gore, Marion Barber, Clinton Portis, Kevin Smith, Willie Parker), you may have to plug Williams into your lineup. I'd definitely consider him a solid flex option this week, and have no problem recommending him, even our against our beloved Bills. Verdict: Start 'Em as a flex.
Terrell Owens - I think it's safe to say T.O. is not a happy camper after getting shut out last week against the Saints. It's ridiculous that the team couldn't get him the ball, and didn't try to get it to him or Lee Evans more often. There's no doubt in my mind that Alex Van Pelt will be trying to get T.O. the ball early this week. He may be on the verge of losing Owens to a meltdown, and somewhat rightfully so, if another week goes by and he isn't involved much. It's about time Owens gets more slants, drags and even quick throws out to him if the defender plays off the line. As mentioned above, the Dolphins are susceptible to the big play, so expect some shots downfield to Owens again this week. Let's hope we finally connect early. T.O., you're on notice! I might be done suggesting you as a starter if you aren't productive again this week, even if it's not really your fault! Verdict: Start 'Em
Lee Evans - I know, I know. I've talked about how juicy a match-up this could be for our passing game, and Evans has simply dominated the Dolphins in the past (693 yards, 8 TD's in 10 career games), but I'm done recommending him. He's just too unreliable an option, even though I'd hardly say it's his fault. The offense just isn't designed to get him the ball that often, at least thus far. I'm on a full-out wait and see approach with Evans from here on out. Until he is used consistently, he'll be sitting on my bench (if I owned him). After talking about how I wouldn't even consider starting him this week, watch him go for 100+ and multiple touchdowns. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Josh Reed, Steve Johnson, Roscoe Parrish - Reed had some value last week, catching 6 balls for 60 yards, and has 10 catches for 106 yards over the last two games, but I find it hard to believe there aren't better options out there. If you play in a PPR league and are decimated by the bye week (say two or three of the following: Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Roddy White, Steve Smith, DeSean Jackson), you could consider him this week. It might not be a bad option considering he'll likely catch his normal 4-6 passes for around 50 yards. Take a chance if you have to, but I'm probably looking elsewhere. Verdict: Sit 'Em all.
Davone Bess - Bess is the Dolphins leading receiver thus far, hauling in 17 passes, but those have gained just 140 yards. He's a very good underneath option for Miami, and should be the top option for Henne. Henne targeted Bess 7 times, completing 5 of them for 39 yards, in a little more than a quarter of play last week. Not great, I know, but Henne only completed 10 passes and had 19 attempts, so Bess was obviously in his sights a good chunk of the time. I think Bess is a very solid play this week, especially in PPR leagues. He should be Henne's binky again this week, and it wouldn't surprise me if the Dolphins were a bit conservative in their passing game, keeping it short and underneath. Bess benefits from that, especially going against a Bills defense that has allowed the underneath route routinely. Remember, Bess had 9 catches for 74 yards in the Toronto game last year, so he's done it against the Bills before. Verdict: Sit 'Em in default leagues, Start'Em in PPR leagues.
Ted Ginn Jr. - I guess Dolphins fans don't like him all that much. As Bills fans, we don't like him either. Ginn had a very solid fantasy performance in Week 2 against the Colts, posting 11 catches for 108 yards (along with some costly drops). He only has 2 catches for 26 yards in the other two games, including a donut last week against San Diego. He torched us once last year, but I really can't see that happening again. I think he'll get involved more than he was last week, but I doubt we'll see him catch more than a handful of passes. He's always a threat to break one, so you always have that potential, but Ginn isn't a fantasy starter or option this week. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Greg Camarillo - Camarillo is a very underrated possession receiver, but hasn't done a whole lot so far this season, catching 7 passes for 44 yards. He was having a very good season last year (55 receptions for 613 yards in 11 games) before tearing his ACL. He seems to have lost his role as the underneath, checkdown option to Bess, but he could be in for more work this week with Henne. He shouldn't be owned, but might be a guy to keep an eye on if Bess or Ginn go down at some point this season. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Derek Fine - Talk about getting more work in the passing game than he should... Fine had 9 targets from Edwards last week against New Orleans, turning those into 5 receptions for 34 yards. It was an average performance, highlighted by a couple of drops, but as Derek Schouman was before him, Fine will probably continue to be a prominent option for Edwards. That's probably not a great thing for the performance of our offense, but Fine could be a sneaky fantasy option at some point this season. We'll have to see how he is used once Shawn Nelson is healthy and whether he continues with the 9 or so targets a game, but the potential for 4-6 receptions a game is there. I'm sure you have much better TE options, but Fine is another guy to keep on an eye as the season progresses, even if he's not that great of a receiving option in real life. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Shawn Nelson - It sounds like Nelson might be available this week as he continues to recover from a sprained shoulder suffered in week 2. I'm guessing he continues in the role he was playing before he got hurt, which was the second TE used occasionally in the passing game. It'd be nice if we could give him all of Fine's targets in the passing game, but his below average blocking will keep him off the field for a good chunk of games. It'd be prudent to get him more involved soon though, so we shall see if he can develop quickly into a solid receiving threat. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Anthony Fasano - I've seen various fantasy "experts" suggest Fasano as a quality starting option this week. I just don't see it. He has a whopping 3 receptions for 11 yards so far this season, and it's unclear whether he'll be a favorite of Henne. Even with the Bills rolling with their backup safeties this week, I find it hard to suggest starting a guy who has done so little this year. He had a decent season last year, and was a good red zone option, so maybe the production will return. Let's see it first. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Rian Lindell - Lindell is always a kicker who is more likely to kick FGs than extra points. He had 5 FGs in the first two games, but only had the one extra point last week. Against a stingy Dolphins rush defense, the Bills offense might continue their propensity to settle for FGs. In what very well could be a lower scoring affair, Lindell could be a useful option in fantasy this week. I always prefer kickers for top offenses, so look to those first, but it might be worth picking Lindell up to plug him into your line up this week. Verdict: Borderline Start 'Em
Dan Carpenter - Carpenter also had 5 FGs on the season, but just 4 extra points. However, with a QB making his first career start against a defense who's usually pretty stout in the red zone, Carpenter might be the Dolphins' best scoring threat this week. Like Lindell, he could make for a good plug and play this week. Again, take your chances. Verdict: Bordeline Start 'Em
Buffalo - Normally, against a quarterback making his first NFL start, I'd have no problem suggesting a team defense to go against them, even the Bills, but with all the injuries, I think it's worth it to look elsewhere. The return units have done nothing all season, as well. If you're stuck and need a defense, the Bills could make for a decent play, but I wouldn't expect a whole lot. Turnovers and sacks are still hard to come by for this team. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Miami - The Dolphins' defense hasn't been very good for fantasy purposes this year. They have yet to record an interception, have just 5 sacks, and have a lone fumble recovery. They need to show they can get it done before considering them for your starting defense. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Josh Reed - Gotta choose someone, right? As mentioned about him above, Reed could make for a good play in PPR leagues this week. If you could get a guaranteed 5 receptions for 55 yards out of a one-week fill-in, you'd take it, right? You could probably do worse.
Davone Bess - I'd be more inclined to start Bess if I were you. He has a pair of 7-reception games so far this young season, and was the apple of Henne's eye last week, so he could be in line for a pretty good performance. I think he'll put up better numbers than Reed, and definitely has the much better chance of reaching the end zone. Don't forget, he returns punts for the Dolphins too, and we all know how much the Bills love to punt.