Fantasy Beat: Can't count on Tom Brady for big game vs. Bills


Fantasy football owners seem to get smarter every year. The leagues seem to get deeper. The competition seems to get better. That's partially because of the sheer amount of information available to fantasy geeks willing to put the time in. But it's not always easy to find sound fantasy advice on players making up the back ends of fantasy depth charts. That's where we'll try to help fill in the gaps. 

Every week, we've look at the Patriots matchup and try to help you decide which players to start and which to sit -- or which to invest in if you're playing in a daily format. 



Julian Edelman was the key cog in a passing attack that moved the ball fairly well against the Bills back in Week 8. He finished with 9 catches on 10 targets for 104 yards, including 37 yards after the catch. With Josh Gordon expected to see a good amount of Tre'Davious White in this one (more on them later), Edelman should see plenty of work yet again. Though he's not coming off of his strongest performance in Pittsburgh, Edelman still had 90 yards and saw 11 targets. He's a safe WR2 again this week. 


You're not starting Rob Gronkowski because of anything he's done lately. And you're not starting him because of his last performance against the Bills (three catches for 43 yards). You're starting him because there aren't many other options out there. If you lucked your way into Eric Ebron over the course of the year, if you feel like you struck gold with Jared Cook (until last week), you should roll with those guys. Otherwise, you're playing Gronkowski. Like it or not.



Two-quarterback league? Sure! Go right ahead and start Tom Brady. Otherwise? Time to find another option. The Bills allowed 208 yards passing to Matthew Stafford last week, and that was a down game for them. Prior to that one, they had a five-game stretch where they held quarterbacks to a ridiculous 170 yards passing or less. In eight of their last 10 games, they've allowed 180 yards passing or less


The Patriots have had plenty of issues defending running quarterbacks this year, and Josh Allen is among the most effective running quarterbacks in football. He's scrambling on almost 17 percent of his dropbacks, according to Pro Football Focus, and he's averaging over 10 yards per scramble, including almost 7 yards after contact. Allen could be fantasy viable on his running ability on his own, but the Patriots have done well in preventing quarterbacks from going crazy on the ground recently. Marcus Mariota and Ryan Tannehill hit the Patriots for one big run each in their respective matchups, and Aaron Rodgers was frustrated by New England's ability to hem him in the pocket. If the Patriots can do that Sunday, Allen isn't effective enough through the air to be a viable fantasy starter. 


Now that White is back to his usual role as sub back within the Patriots offense, his fantasy value has taken a real hit. Even if his teammates and coaches say they'd like to get him more involved, they aren't going to start going away from both Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead. That puts a limit on White's fantasy ceiling. He has just 40 total receiving yards in the last two weeks, and he's cracked 35 yards receiving only once in his last five games. If he can't be counted on through the air for fantasy purposes, he's not making up for that with his work on the ground. He has only six carries over the last two weeks. 


Sony Michel is still the workhorse of Ivan Fears' group. His 13 carries against the Steelers were his fewest since Week 10. Before that he had 20, 17 and 21 carries. His yards per attempt, though, in his last three games is only 3.58. He needs to score to be a truly dependable fantasy option, and he hasn't been in the end zone since Week 12, having his goal-line carries vultured by James Develin lately. If you want to roll with him as a FLEX option, I wouldn't argue against you. But I'd play Kansas City's Damien Williams over him, and I'd even think about going with Green Bay's Jamaal Williams instead of Michel this week. 

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