If you’re looking to continue playing Buffalo Bills in your fantasy football lineup, a quick look at a matchup with the 1-3 Cincinnati Bengals may seem appealing. However, a deeper dive indicates that this week will be tougher than it appears on the surface in terms of fantasy scoring for Bills players. There are a few players worth considering for your lineup this week, however.
QB Tyrod Taylor
The Bengals have had two games where they almost completely shut down the opposing quarterback, and two where they have allowed some scoring. In weeks one and four, the Bengals held Joe Flacco and DeShone Kizer to 12.56 combined fantasy points; in weeks two and three, they allowed DeShaun Watson and Aaron Rodgers to score 17.7 points and 25.82 points, respectively. Taylor’s skill set mirrors that of Watson far more than it does any other quarterback, and although the rookie did not total many passing yards (125) in his week 2 tilt against Cincinnati, he managed 67 rushing yards and a touchdown. Fun fact: Tyrod Taylor has never thrown a touchdown pass against the Cincinnati Bengals, completing 36 of his 55 attempts against them for 345 yards with 2 interceptions. He’ll end that streak on Sunday.
RB LeSean McCoy
The Bills’ second-leading receiver is also their number one running back. McCoy has struggled this year to find open running lanes, averaging only 3.2 yards per rush thus far, and even when he does seem to break big gains, they nearly always come back on penalties. As a receiver, though, he is on pace to best his career high in receiving yardage, as he’s set to record an 84-catch, 652-yard season through the air. The Bengals have only allowed two rushing touchdowns on the year, and McCoy has yet to break into the end zone in 2017. I expect that he’ll have a strong game on the ground, but even if the Bengals manage to hold him in check, he’ll definitely be in line to catch the ball early and often, especially with the Bills missing wide receiver Jordan Matthews for the day.
TE Charles Clay
The Bills’ number one receiver is set to see some extra attention with Matthews missing, but I still anticipate offensive coordinator Rick Dennison devising some creative ways to ensure that Clay is targeted often. Clay is easily the most talented tight end the Bengals have seen thus far in 2017, and even though they give up the 3rd-fewest points to players at the position, I expect Clay to be a big part of the game plan on Sunday. He’s on pace for 72 catches and 908 yards on the season, so I wouldn’t recommend benching him if you have him on your roster.
If you have them, play them. The Bills’ defense is too talented to leave on the waiver wire, or if you’re crazy enough to keep a backup defense, to leave on the bench. The Bengals have allowed a ton of points to fantasy defenses, but that number is largely skewed by a 25-point outing on opening day by the Baltimore Ravens where Andy Dalton threw 4 interceptions and was sacked 5 times, and the Bengals were shut out. Since then, the three team defenses Cincinnati has faced have combined to score 19 points over three weeks. Buffalo’s defense is better than Green Bay’s and Cleveland’s, and has thus far shown itself to be just as good as Houston’s. You can confidently display your homerism in playing Buffalo’s defense in virtually any week.
Kicker Stephen Hauschka is a good play at any time... If you’re feeling lucky, roll the dice with Zay Jones or Andre Holmes. Personally, I wouldn’t go anywhere near a Buffalo receiver this week, but if you forced me to pick one, I’d go with Kaelin Clay. The big-play ability intrigues me in a game where the Bengals will probably play man coverage on the outside... Mike Tolbert has been largely silent since vulturing a touchdown in the first game against the New York Jets. He’ll probably stay that way barring an injury to McCoy.