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Buffalo Bills opponent fantasy football preview, Week 17: invest in Miami Dolphins runners

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After last week’s dismal showing in the running game, a date with Miami’s backfield gives Buffalo no respite

The Miami Dolphins shuffle up north to play for-pride in their regular-season finale against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. This is the second consecutive season that the Dolphins will play the Bills in the last game of the regular season when they have already been eliminated from the playoffs. While the Bills needed a win and some help to make the playoffs a year ago, Buffalo only has draft position and pride to consider this season.

With one more week of the regular season to go, it’s possible that your fantasy football league enters its championship finale, as well. If your league is one where Week 17 still counts, this preview is for you.

Here are some Dolphins who may drive you crazy as a fan on Sunday, but who also may help you to win your fantasy football league championship.


RB Kenyan Drake

After watching Buffalo allow 273 rushing yards to the New England Patriots last week, Miami’s running backs must be salivating at this week’s match-up. Drake has elite speed and is a good receiver out of the backfield, and while his overall statistics don’t show it, he’s a top-notch option in the running game. Drake has 917 yards from scrimmage this season (492 rushing, 425 receiving) and nine total touchdowns. If the Bills forget their gap integrity and tackling for a second straight week, he could have a huge game. The Patriots torched Buffalo on runs off the edge, and a player with Drake’s speed could do even more damage than New England’s rushers did last week.

RB Kalen Ballage

The bruising rookie finally had an opportunity to shine two weeks ago, and he did not disappoint. Ballage has been stuck behind Drake and the ageless Frank Gore all year, but with Gore sidelined for the remainder of the season, Ballage set career highs in attempts (12), rushing yards (123), and touchdowns (one) in Miami’s 41-17 blowout loss at the Minnesota Vikings. His disappointing follow-up performance (four carries, ten yards) the following week against the Detroit Lions should be cause for some concern, but if the 6’2” 237-pound back has a chance to run against a battered Bills defense, he could allow the Dolphins to control the tempo of the game on Sunday.

WR Kenny Stills

The veteran can operate both inside and outside, but it’s his prowess from the slot that should worry Bills coaches. With Taron Johnson on injured reserve, the Bills have relied on safety Rafael Bush to play the slot corner position. They also have used veteran linebacker Lorenzo Alexander more in coverage, a decision that the Patriots exploited often last week by isolating Julian Edelman on the venerable linebacker. While Alexander is a great football player, there’s no offensive coordinator in the league who would be opposed to him guarding a slot receiver, as it’s a definite mismatch no matter the wideout. If Alexander finds himself in man coverage on receivers again this week, expect that veteran quarterback Ryan Tannehill will be ready to exploit the match-up. Stills is the most likely beneficiary of the match-up among Miami wideouts.