Week 13 TNF Fantasy Recap

  • Final score: Bills 24, Patriots 10 (Bills covered -3.5, U 43.5)


    Pregame: It’s admittedly a bit surprising to see the Pats as only 3.5-point underdogs here, since it’s not like they’re coming off of an impressive win after they fell to the Vikings last week. Having said that, there seems to be some revitalized fantasy hope among at least some of the Pats skill position players thanks to QB Mac Jones putting in easily his best performance of the season so far. There’s certainly some hope here against a really good Bills defense, but it’s one that may not be as elite as usual with Von Miller (knee) and CB Christian Benford (oblique) both basically week-to-week. It’ll be particularly interesting to see what Bill Belichick and company do with the offensive game plan after they surprisingly passed on 75% of their plays in Week 12 especially with the score being pretty close most of the way with Minnesota.


    Postgame: As expected, the +3.5 spread on the Pats ended up making the house look pretty silly. The Pats did draw first blood on an exciting screen pass that rookie Marcus Jones took from Mac Jones and took to the house for 48 yards on his first-career offensive snap (he’s normally a cornerback and return specialist). After that, however, the Pats suffocated under the clamps put on by the Bills defense that bounced back from some underwhelming showings in November. The Bills offense deployed a well-balanced attack that actually saw them run the ball four more times than they passed. It wasn’t a super high-volume offensive game from Buffalo in terms of total yards from scrimmage, but they controlled the game and ran 21 more offensive plays than New England.




    Pregame: For the third straight week, Josh Allen’s blind side will have lessened protection with LT Dion Dawkins (PFF’s 21st-best graded tackle) ruled out yet again with an ankle injury. This season, Allen has had about 8% less time in the pocket when Dawkins is out of the lineup while seeing a 10% increase in blitzes. The even bigger concern, however, is that Allen has taken an average of 6.2 pressures per game with Dawkins playing compared to a whopping 11.0 when he’s not playing. Allen is a must-start QB1 as usual, but don’t be surprised if he feels the heat ratchet up a few notches even though it’ll be nearly below-zero in Foxboro on Thursday night.


    Postgame: Allen (223-2-0 passing, 8-20-0 rushing, one fumble lost, 16.9 total fantasy points) held up fairly well all things considered against the Pats defensive front, facing just four total pressures for the game that did include two sacks. David Quessenberry did an average job filling in for Dawkins at left tackle according to PFF’s grade, but he did surrender both of the sacks himself. Allen didn’t need to put up huge yardage numbers for the Bills to win, so he put up a serviceable fantasy point total despite throwing for less than 224 yards for the third time in five games. This was actually his highest QBR (106.0) in a game since Week 6 against the Chiefs (117.6). Though he has a stiffer test next against the resurgent Jets defense (seventh-fewest QB fantasy points allowed) at home, he did hang 26.8 points on them in Week 9 in the Meadowlands.



    Pregame: Devin Singletary has settled in now as a high-floor producer with 8.5-plus fantasy points in six of his last seven games. The ceiling still isn’t very high for him in the league’s 12th pass-heaviest offense, and that could be even further capped going up against the Pats and their defense that has limited opposing running backs to the second-fewest fantasy points (behind only the Niners). What Singletary does have going for him is being a snap-hog — rookie James Cook played just two running snaps against the Lions in Week 12 while newcomer Nyheim Hines had just one (but did play three passing snaps). Week over week, Singletary went from playing 55% of running snaps in Week 11 to 62% in Week 12. Especially with freezing temperatures likely to make the ball harder to catch, I’d expect Singletary to get a healthy workload here and deliver another low-end RB2 floor performance.


    Postgame: I’ll admit that I did James Cook (14-64-0 rushing, 6-41-0 receiving, six targets, 13.5 total fantasy points) a huge disservice here by barely mentioning him in the preview of what ended up being his true breakout game as a pro. Cook ended up leading the Bills backfield in virtually every category except touchdowns, which Singletary had one of with his goal-line plunge at the start of the fourth quarter. What the eye test says is Cook is simply more explosive and elusive plus brings a much more lethal dimension to the passing game than Singletary does. Hines was only 1-of-2 on his targets and ran five fewer routes than Cook, so he doesn’t really appear to be a threat to Cook’s workload. Singletary was targeted less than three times for the fourth straight game, so the receiving work appears to be Cook’s to lose. The fact that he also out-carried Singletary was huge, and moving forward I’d consider Singletary to be a TD-dependent flex play while an argument can certainly be made for Cook to be a three-down low-end RB2. 


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