The Buffalo Bills were unable to overcome a great Cincinnati Bengals defense, terrible weather, and a huge injury on Sunday, losing 20-16. While the loss was a bitter pill to swallow heading into the bye week, many who relied upon Bills players in their fantasy leagues were also left high and dry. Through both ineffective play and bad luck, the Bills underperformed in real life and in fantasy life this past weekend.
RB LeSean McCoy
Shady had one of his better rushing efforts on the season in this game, but that shows just how little production Buffalo’s big-time running back has had over the course of the 2017 season. He ran for 63 yards on 19 carries, and he failed to find the end zone again. McCoy hasn’t rushed for a touchdown since week 16 of last season against the Miami Dolphins. Of course, playing against the likes of the Denver Broncos (1st in rushing yards allowed per game), the Carolina Panthers (6th), and Atlanta Falcons (11th) hasn’t helped, and with quarterback Tyrod Taylor struggling against the Bengals’ defense, there was little reason to do anything but stop McCoy. He still managed a decent day, scoring 11.9 fantasy points overall.
K Stephen Hauschka
It’s never a good sign when the kicker is the team’s second-highest fantasy scorer, but that’s exactly what happened on Sunday. “Hausch Money” is now 11-for-11 on field goals since missing his first attempt in the red, white, and blue; of those 11 kicks, 4 of them have come from at least 50 yards out. He scored 10 points on Sunday, knocking in three field goals and an extra point on the day. Hauschka is only owned in 41% of fantasy leagues, yet he is the fourth-highest scoring kicker in fantasy football this season. It may not be a bad play to add him while he’s on the bye if you have a bench player to sacrifice for a week, because chances are good that Hauschka has scored more points than your current kicker.
QB Tyrod Taylor
Taylor had an abysmal day at the office on Sunday. He did throw his first touchdown pass in a game against the Bengals, connecting with former Cincinnati wideout Brandon Tate on a beautiful touchdown pass on third down, but that was one of the day’s lone bright spots. Misfires, poorly-placed balls, and misreads that led to sacks doomed the Bills to a loss, and doomed Taylor to a terrible score of 9.94, Taylor’s worst output of the season (and his worst since the last time he played against Cincinnati in a 16-12 victory last season during week 11). Clearly, the Bengals have Taylor’s number.
WR Brandon Tate
I’m sure nobody had the return man/slot receiver in his or her starting lineup this week, but he’s someone worth monitoring as bye weeks and injuries at the position mount. Tate hauled in 2 passes for 25 yards and a touchdown, giving him 9.5 points on the day. That 9.5-point output is the best single-game score by a Buffalo Bills receiver all season. Let that sink in for a minute.
TE Charles Clay
Buffalo’s number one target will miss the next 4-6 weeks with a torn meniscus. The big tight end was on his way to another solid day, catching 2 passes for 31 yards, but he was injured while running after making his second reception. With the kind of year Clay was having, it’s a shame that he was injured. From a team standpoint, it’s going to be next to impossible to replicate the production and chemistry he brought to the passing game. Nick O’Leary filled in admirably, however, catching a team-leading 5 passes for 54 yards on the day. He could be another savvy waiver-wire pickup, as he is understandably owned in 0% of Yahoo! leagues.
Although the team allowed a season-high 20 points, its run of great defensive play continued. Buffalo intercepted Andy Dalton twice on the day, and they also forced a fumble that was recovered. When adding a sack to the mix, the Bills scored 8 points on the day. They have now forced multiple turnovers in four out of five games this season, they sit sixth in fantasy scoring among defenses, and they are only owned in 58% of Yahoo! leagues. Go add them after the bye.