Week 13 of the 2021 NFL season wraps up with Monday Night Football as the Buffalo Bills play host to the New England Patriots. Here is my fantasy football preview to the game, offering up my starts and sits and DFS plays for Monday night action.
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
Over/Under Points Scored: 43.5
New England Patriots
QB Mac Jones – 2021’s 4th best passer in Completion Percentage Above Expectation (CPAE, 3.4%) should be able to move the ball efficiently against a stout Bills defense, although gaudy numbers are unlikely. Mid-tier QB2 with the highest of floors.
WR Jakobi Meyers – Bills’ slot DB Taron Johnson is among the league’s best and Meyers was largely held in check twice last year despite leading the Patriots in targets both times (6-of-10 for 58 yards and 4-of-6 for 45 yards). It’s fair to point out that he was catching passes from Cam Newton and Jared Stidham though. Meyers is a fantasy WR4 floor play.
WR Kendrick Bourne – Bourne, playing at a rate of 49% over the last 4 weeks, will take the majority of his reps against fill-in, quick-twitch perimeter CB Dane Jackson who’s replaced the injured Tre’Davious White (ACL, IR). Just a second-year man, Jackson could get put in a spin cycle by Bourne, a toolsy veteran. It’ll be a low-volume affair but Bourne draws sneaky high-end WR5/DFS consideration.
WR Nelson Agholor – Agholor’s lone 2020 bout with the Bills (as a Raider) brought a 4-of-4 for 44 yards and 1 touchdown stat line. He had WR Hunter Renfrow and TE Darren Waller pulling coverage attention away though and stud safety Micah Hyde will have his eye on Agholor. New England’s downfield receiver is a WR6.
TE Hunter Henry – BUF’s TE coverage is about as good as it gets–just 7 .5PPR TE PPG allowed, 5th fewest–but Henry’s role is about as good as it gets for tight ends as well. Fantasy TE1.
TE Jonnu Smith – Got involved a tad more last week but Bill Belichick told the press that it was because he wanted Smith to show out against his former team, the Tennessee Titans (their Week 12 foe). Fantasy TE3.
RBs Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson – Playing the same role at this point with Harris as the nominal starter.
|Week 11||Snaps||Carries-Yards-TDs||Intended Red Zone Touches (Inside-5-Yard Line)||Routes||Receptions/Targets-Yards-TDs|
|Damien Harris||39%||10-56-0||1 (0)||8||1/1-9-0
|Rhamondre Stevenson||34%||12-69-0||1 (0)||5||1/1-6-0|
|Week 12||Snaps||Carries-Yards-TDs||Intended Red Zone Touches (Inside-5-Yard Line)||Routes||Receptions/Targets-Yards-TDs|
|Damien Harris||37%||11-40-1||4 (0)||7||1/1-12-0|
|Rhamondre Stevenson||33%||9-46-0||3 (0)||6||0/1-0-0|
The Bills are No. 3 in run defense NEFF rating but what 2021 has shown us is that they stop mediocre run games and get pummeled by good ones. Tennessee’s Derrick Henry took 23 intended touches for 156 yards and 3 touchdowns while Indianapolis’ Jonathan Taylor took an unholy 35 intended touches for 204 yards and 5 touchdowns. NE won’t hit those types of gaudy totals but they should run well. Harris ran well as the lead back in one of their two 2020 contests, taking 16 carries for 102 yards and 1 touchdown while Sony Michel produced an efficient 10-for-69 yards outing in the other. Fire up either one as reliable, borderline RB2/3s.
RB Brandon Bolden – Bolden’s still got pure pass situations on lock but, catching 6-of-6 targets for 69 yards over the last two weeks. Fantasy RB4.
QB Josh Allen – Allen’s two 2020 outings against New England: 11/18 for 154 yards, 1 interception, and 10 carries for 23 yards and 1 touchdown. 27/36 for 320 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 4 carries for 35 yards. The first one wasn’t anything to write home about but given a time to rehash their early season hiccups, the Bills brought the noise in the second one, winning 38-to-9. Elite QB1.
WR Stefon Diggs – It’s worth noting that NE’s No. 1 CB Stephon Gilmore was out for both 2020 games against Buffalo but Diggs’ performances were still extremely impressive. In Week 8 he went 6-of-9 for 92 yards but in Week 16, he straight up burnt current No. 1 CB J.C. Jackson for a 50-yard score, finishing the day 9-of-11 for 145 yards and 3 touchdowns. Elite WR1.
WR Cole Beasley – New England fluctuates between man and zone schemes and opted for man-heavy defense (PFF.com) against Buffalo last year which rendered Beasley useless. Do not count on him this week.
WR Emmanuel Sanders – Father Time has come for Sanders. He hasn’t seen much of a decline in the snap column but BUF is no longer featuring him as a downfield passing game weapon. Boom/bust WR5.
WR Gabe Davis – Not being used frequently enough for stable production but his pre/post-Week 7 bye target splits are noteworthy. He’s a good bench stash whose youth would allow him to be far more valuable than Sanders should the latter miss time.
TE Dawson Knox – New England’s opted to play with three safeties on the field for the vast majority of snaps this year, keyed by the big-bodied athletic freak Kyle Dugger. Dugger’s eliminated enemy tight ends while also leading the team in tackles but unfortunately for Belichick and Co., he’s due to COVID-19. The stage is set for an elite TE1 performance out of Knox.
RBs Devin Singletary and Matt Breida – Truly operating as a 1A/1B backfield, Singletary and Breida are being tasked with virtually the same responsibilities. Singletary’s the lead though so he’s just seeing more of everything than Breida is–yet the latter has been far more efficient with his touches. Breida’s averaging 4.81 yards per carry over the last two weeks while Singletary’s puttered along at 3.38. Brieda’s also averaging 15 yards per reception to Singeltary’s 7.5. They’re both mid-tier RB3s with the dynamic Breida one spot ahead.