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Bills vs. Patriots Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Stefon Diggs, Jakobi Meyers, Gabe Davis, Rhamondre Stevenson, Devin Singletary, Mac Jones

Josh Allen - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News, DFS Lineup Picks

I've been writing this column for three years, and it’s not often I get to come on here and break down the same teams back-to-back weeks. That’s right, we get to see the Bills head to Gillette Field to take on the New England Patriots.

Last week, both of these teams needed to find their offense to compete. The Bills relatively struggled against a passionate Lions team on Thanksgiving. Ultimately, being saved by some last-second Josh Allen heroics to keep it in regulation. As for the Patriots, they played the exact opposite of Patriots football. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a Pats team throw for nearly 400 yards and score 25+ points.

This week these two teams face off, desperate for a win. The Bills are already playing catchup with the divisional Dolphins, and the Patriots need to find success in order to stay in the playoff race in the AFC’s best division. As always, my name is Ellis Johnson, and this is your Thursday Night Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em article.

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Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots - 8:20 pm ET

Notable Injuries:


Must-Starts for Fantasy Football Lineups

Josh Allen (QB, BUF)

He’s the best QB in fantasy and has had more than 17 fantasy points in every game but one this season. Last week, he put his team on his back and threw an absolute dart to Stefon Diggs. I’m talking this throw was right from the book of Michael Van Gerwen (arguably the best darts player right now). 

This week he faces a defense that has been shut down against mediocre offenses, but nothing special against competent QBs. Even though the Patriots are technically allowing the tenth fewest passing yards per game and are middle in the league in fantasy points allowed to the position, we saw Kirk Cousins find lots of success last week. As a result, fire Allen up as your locked in QB1 this week.

Stefon Diggs (WR, BUF)

Guess this goes with all the success of Allen, but Diggs has arguably been the best WR in the league. Even though that’s up for debate, there is no disputing it for fantasy as he is still the WR1 on the season. Last week, he barely had any fantasy points in the first half, and if you watched the game it didn’t seem like he did a lot. However, you don’t get 15 targets, eight catches, 77 yards, and a touchdown by accident.

It’s a tough matchup, as the Patriots are allowing the sixth-fewest fantasy points to the position. However, we just saw Justin Jefferson find success. Diggs is still a WR1, but I don’t think he has a massive upside in this matchup.

Rhamondre Stevenson (RB, NEP)

What a season it has been for Stevenson. Although he was my only Pie Shop miss on Thanksgiving, he has been incredible for fantasy. I’ll use the same stat I used last week, he hasn’t had a game with fewer than 10 fantasy points since Week 2. He is getting it done through the passing game and on the ground. Plus, Damien Harris is most likely out, making Stevenson alone in the backfield.

Over the last four weeks, the Bills are allowing the ninth most fantasy points to the RB position, and a touchdown a game. Play Stevenson with confidence this week, and I’ll double down on my Pie Shop* call for this week. Let’s see if he can redeem himself.

*Pie Shop: An Australian term (often used in Rugby League) to describe who will score a Try (or in this case touchdown) this week. (Season Calls: 9-7)


Solid Starts for Fantasy Football Lineups

Jakobi Meyers (WR, NEP)

Last week, Meyers left the game for a little but managed to come back at the end of the game. If he is healthy, he is the only fantasy-relevant receiving option on this Patriots team. He has had six or more targets in every game but three this season and has 40 or more yards in each of his last four games. Over the last five weeks, the Bills are allowing the fifth most yards to the WR position, which is perfect for Meyers. As always, or at least so it seems, Meyers is a rock-solid play in PPR formats this week.


Flex Considerations for Fantasy Football Lineups

Gabe Davis (WR, BUF)

After a disappointing performance last week, Davis will look to bounce back. Last week, however, was not his fault. Last week it happened to be the Isaiah McKenzie show, which is always a risk. However, the clear second option in this offense is Davis. The Patriots have been very good against the WR, which makes me less confident in playing him. Having said that, he only needs one or two catches to make your fantasy week. I would play him as a Boom or Bust WR3 option.

Dawson Knox and Hunter Henry (TE, BUF, and NEP)

Although very different players, these two carry the same risk. It’s touchdown or bust for these two TEs, and Henry is coming off three catches for 63 yards and a score. You can argue it should’ve been two touchdowns, but we won’t get into that. As for Knox, he only had two catches for 17 yards last week. 

Of the two, Knox is the safer option. Knox had 13 targets and 127 yards over Weeks 10 and 11 and is on the better offense. However, I don’t mind Henry as a spot start for anyone desperate for a TE. 


Consider Sitting for Fantasy Football Lineups

Mac Jones (QB, NEP)

Coming off his career-high in passing yards, I don’t expect this to continue. Last week was the perfect storm for Jones, as the Vikings did a great job stopping the run and managed to put up points on the Patriots' defense. Although the Bills should also be able to score, I expect the Patriots will be able to find more success on the ground. I think New England knows they can’t beat Josh Allen the same way they competed with Kirk Cousins in a shootout. So I am expecting a mediocre fantasy performance, finishing with his classic 8-15 fantasy points.

Devin Singletary (RB, BUF)

Despite being the RB20 on the season in PPR formats, I don’t like Singletary this week. With eight or more fantasy points in four of his last five games, he is going to be a hard one to bench. However, this Patriots-run defense is no joke. Last week they held Dalvin Cook to under two yards per carry. The week before, the Jets RBs had a combined 33 rushing yards. And the week before that, the Colts RBs had 35 rushing yards. Yeah, they’re that good.

Singletary has been very good against inferior opponents all season. However, this matchup is not one you want to target. I would be looking to avoid him, as he is outside of my top 30 backs for this week.

Isaiah McKenzie (WR, BUF)

Last week he had 10 targets, six receptions, 96 yards, and a touchdown last week. The four weeks before that, he had nine targets, seven receptions, and 57 yards. You can’t trust him, and you can’t chase the point of last week in this tough matchup. 

Honorable Mentions: James Cook (RB, BUF), Nelson Agholor (WR, NEP)


Ellis’ Picks

Bills -5.0 (6-8), Under 43.5 (4-10)

Career Thursday Night record: Spread (28-22), Over/Under (25-25)

Last week we redeemed ourselves on the spread picks, hitting on all three. However, the Over/Under was not in our favor, as we missed each one. This week, we have another divisional game, where narratives can be written for both a high and low-scoring game, as well as a blowout or a tight game.

I’m leaning toward the Patriots struggling against solid QB play all season. However, at home, you can never count out Belichek and the Patriots. It will definitely be a better actual NFL game, than a fantasy football game, but we are in for a strategic showcase this week. Either way, I’m siding with the Bills' talent and the Patriots' discipline to keep this close.

Next week we have a very interesting matchup between the resurgent Raiders and the receding Rams. See you next Thursday!

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