When the Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints clash on Sunday at New Era Field, the two teams will enter the contest in entirely different situations. The Saints are on a six-game win streak, having just polished off their NFC South rivals, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, at home in a 30-10 drubbing. Buffalo, on the other hand, was just waxed by the New York Jets on Thursday Night Football, losing a 34-21 contest at The Meadowlands that was far worse than the 13-point final score would indicate. From a fantasy football perspective, however, the Bills look like they’ll have some prime matchups this week, even considering the Saints’ much-improved defense in 2017.
RB LeSean McCoy
Buffalo’s big gun was bottled up last week, rushing 12 times for 25 yards and failing to catch a pass for the first time in 2017. He should have a much better day on Sunday, as New Orleans has allowed seven double-digit outputs from opposing running backs in terms of fantasy points this season. While only three of those games have come during the team’s six-game winning streak, the caliber of quarterback they’ve faced may have as much to do with that as the Saints’ run defense overall. Yahoo! projects McCoy to score 16.7 points this week, and I think their numbers (82 rushing yards, a rushing touchdown, 3 receptions, 27 receiving yards) are reasonable.
QB Tyrod Taylor
On Wednesday, we ran an article saying that Drew Brees hasn’t been the main reason for the Saints’ six-game winning streak. Instead, it’s been the New Orleans defense that has allowed the Saints to march through their last six opponents. However, when looking at those six wins, something else stuck out: the opposing quarterbacks, frankly, weren’t very good in a majority of those games. After shutting down Cam Newton (who most certainly is good, for the record), the Saints dismantled Jay Cutler and the Miami Dolphins, then allowed 38 points to Matthew Stafford (who’s also good) and the Detroit Lions in a game where the New Orleans defense scored three touchdowns. In the last three games, the Saints have found themselves crushing the likes of Brett Hundley, Mitchell Trubisky, an injured Jameis Winston, and Ryan Fitzpatrick. None of those quarterbacks are as good at protecting the ball as Taylor is, and his mobility will allow him to score points this week—the Saints have allowed no fewer than 30 rushing yards to quarterbacks in their last three games. Taylor is a good play if your regular signal-caller is hurt or on a bye.
WR Kelvin Benjamin
Buffalo is definitely going to want to play with its new toy this weekend, and Benjamin should be in line for a good number of targets. I’d expect that the Bills will design a play or two specifically for him in the early “script,” allowing him to feel comfortable with his new quarterback in his new digs. Benjamin only had 2 catches for 8 yards when the Saints beat his former team, the Carolina Panthers, back in Week 3. I expect a bigger day for the big fella this Sunday.
Buffalo’s defense is a risky play this week, but the Saints have turned the ball over multiple times in each of their last four games... Charles Clay should be back in the lineup, and he should be in yours, as well, assuming that you don’t have a better option with a better matchup. New Orleans has allowed the fifth-fewest points to the tight end position, but they have allowed 4 touchdowns to tight ends... If you’re going to play a Bills’ receiver other than Benjamin, my guy is Deonte Thompson. His speed and chemistry with Tyrod Taylor opens up a dimension in this offense that the other receivers just can’t replicate... Stephen Hauschka had a down week last week, but continues to be a solid bet at kicker...