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Week 5 Patriots vs Bills: Fantasy Football Starts and Sits

The Patriots travel to Buffalo to face the Bills; Who should you start or sit for fantasy this week?

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

As the New England Patriots head to Buffalo to face the Bills, there are some intriguing match-ups from a fantasy football perspective.


Tom Brady is up against a strong Bills defense that ranks #1 in the league in points allowed per drive. Full disclaimer: the Bengals ranked #1 in points allowed per drive entering week 5, but the fact stands that the Bills have a great defense. They've forced five turnovers the past three weeks with nine sacks- including an astounding six last week against the Lions.

The Bills have allowed a measley four touchdowns the past three games against potent offenses like the Lions and Chargers (and, but less so, the Texans). Still they've allowed a 65.6% completion rate over that time frame with Philip Rivers, the best comparison for Brady, completing 72% with two touchdown passes. Brady is a low level QB1 option until he can string together multiple complete games in a row.

Kyle Orton is against a Patriots defense that, while strong against the pass, still allows quality fantasy outputs. Alex Smith and Andy Dalton combined for 69.1% completion, 497 yards, and 5 touchdown passes. Look for Orton to still produce, although his value will weigh heavily on touchdowns, not yardage.

Running Backs

Stevan Ridley has put together a strong string of games this year and has yet to fumble (knock on wood). Look for the Patriots to use him as the bellcow, even against the Bills staunch run defense that is allowed a measley 2.38 yards per carry. The Patriots have been playing him to great success and he'll find a way to pick up his 4-5 yards per carry each hand off.

Shane Vereen is a darkhorse great start. The Bills have weak coverage linebackers and you can be certain the Patriots will try to exploit that match-up. He torched them in week 1 of last season and both Arian Foster (55 yards) and Reggie Bush (30 yards) were able to free themselves in the open field.

Fred Jackson is the Patriots krytonite. I don't care if he's eighty years old with a walker. Freddy has received 5+ rushes against the Patriots nine times in his Bills career that started in 2007. In those nine games, he's averaged 18.8 touches, 117.3 yards, and 0.6 touchdowns. Play him and just watch.

C.J. Spiller, on the other hand, is more boom bust. He's had six games since he was drafted in 2010 against the Patriots. He's averaging 15.7 touches, 90.2 yards, and 0.2 touchdowns. That said, he's either going to record under 50 yards or over 100. That's just go he plays. How lucky do you feel? (Should be a good game between Spiller and Collins. Spiller a risky Flex play).

Wide Receivers

It's telling that Fred Jackson is leading the team in yards and completions over the past three weeks. C.J. Spiller is fifth and fourth, respectively. Sammy Watkins ranks second in both. He's averaging nearly 10 targets per game and, depending on his match-up, will likely see ten more. I wouldn't expect the Patriots match-up Darrelle Revis against Watkins and his 4.39 speed, so Watkins will likely be in business for another 80+ yards and a potential touchdown.

Robert Woods is the team's number two receiver based on targets the past trhee weeks (24 to Watkins' 29), but he's only reeled in nine for 73 yards. Don't be surprised if he doesn't produce this week, either. Third receiver Mike Williams has more yards in that time frame (103 on 13 targets and 5 receptions), but looks to be a limited part of the game plan.

Buffalo has been very weak against opposing team's number two receivers, so it's likely that Brandon LaFell could have another big game. LaFell is second on the team in targets over the past three weeks- ahead of Rob Gronkowski- and should expect upwards of ten targets on the day.

Julian Edelman has seen his production shrink in recent weeks, ranking third on the team in yards since the Oakland game (behind LaFell and Gronk), but his role has remained the same. He'll get his eight to ten targets and it's just a matter of what he does when he has the ball; he was gameplanned against the Bengals to run more dig routes on the outside; if he returns to the inside of the field (which is likely against the Bills interior), he should post greater yards.

Tight End

Scott Chandler is an important figure, but don't expect him to break out this week. While the Patriots have been weaker against tight ends, Chandler is no Travis Kelce.

Rob Gronkowski and Tim Wright both provide important weapons for the Patriots, but the Bills have somehow been able to neutralize tight ends all year. Outside of Ladarius Green's 64 yards (so there is hope for Wright), the Bills have held tight ends to meagre outputs (Garrett Graham, 28 yards; Brandon Pettigrew, 12; Antonio Gates, 8; Eric Ebron, 8; C.J. Fiedorowicz, 0). While Gronk is a better target than all the above, it's possible the Bills will make him a lower end TE1 for the week.