When the Buffalo Bills travel to Maryland to take on the Baltimore Ravens in the first game of the NFL season on September 9, they will be looking to prove plenty of doubters wrong. After struggling at times during the preseason, some in the national media think the Bills are among the worst teams in the league.
With regard to fantasy football, many players will be projected to have tremendous days against the Bills this year. The Bills’ defense was inconsistent at best last season for fantasy-purposes, so until the team can prove that those struggles are in the past, the projections will not favor Buffalo.
Here are a few Ravens who could be in line for a strong fantasy week.
RB Alex Collins
The Bills allowed an average of 124 yards rushing per game last season, and they didn’t look to be too improved this preseason, allowing an average of 109 rushing yards per game to go with six touchdowns. Collins figures to be the starter in a committee approach, sharing time with Javorius Allen. Collins is the more explosive of the two, as his 4.6 yards per carry average last season suggests. Yahoo! projects Collins to gain 77 yards on 19 carries, which may be a bit on the low side. They also project that he will score a touchdown and add 2 catches for 23 yards receiving. Collins is a good play this week.
With Nathan Peterman starting at quarterback, the narrative is obvious - five interceptions in a half! - but even if you watch games and understand that Peterman has grown since his disastrous first start, it’s hard not to like Baltimore’s stop unit in the matchup. The Bills essentially have one standout offensive player in running back LeSean McCoy. They have a porous offensive line that has struggled to protect their quarterbacks throughout the preseason. They some proven pass-catching threats in Kelvin Benjamin, Jeremy Kerley, and Charles Clay, but the poor pass protection could lead to pressure and turnovers for the Ravens. Although Baltimore is missing its top corner, Jimmy Smith, the team has more than enough talent to make Buffalo uncomfortable offensively.
WR Willie Snead
I’m going to go sleeper here and focus on Baltimore’s third wideout, not Michael Crabtree or John Brown. Really, whichever player lines up across from Phillip Gaines or Vontae Davis is the one to have, as Buffalo’s number one corner, Tre’Davious White, is among the league’s best. If Snead plays a little outside and a little in the slot against rookie Taron Johnson, he could have a strong game. The short and intermediate routes run over the middle gave Buffalo fits last season, and now there are rookies (Johnson and middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds) playing in their first NFL game there. Expect some early growing pains.