The Worksheet, a fantasy football overview by Rich Hribar, breaking down everything you need to know for the Week 12 Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints Thanksgiving Thursday Night Football game.

BuffaloRank@New OrleansRank
25.5Implied Total21
17.62Points All./Gm21.810
60.47Opp. Plays/Gm63.620
66Off. Yards/Play5.224
4.61Def. Yards/Play5.412
40.89%15Opp. Rush %41.51%18
59.11%18Opp. Pass %58.49%15
  • 46.6% of the points scored by the Saints this season have come in the fourth quarter, the highest rate in the league.
  • New Orleans has been outscored 70-22 in the first three quarters of the games started by Trevor Siemian.
  • Trevor Siemian has completed 49.4% (44-of-89) of his passes for 504 yards (5.7 Y/A) with three touchdowns in the opening three quarters this season.
  • Siemian has completed 69.1% (38-of-55) of his passes for 416 yards (7.6 Y/A) with five passing touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
  • 52.4% of the scoring plays against New Orleans have been touchdowns, the lowest rate in the league.
  • 38.9% (7-of-18) of the touchdowns against the Bills have come via passing, the lowest rate in the league.

Trust = spike production for that player


Josh Allen: Allen is coming off a rough outing on Sunday, completing 21-of-35 passes (60.0%) for 209 yards (6.0 Y/A) to go along with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Allen has now passed for 6.0 yards per pass attempt or fewer in three of his past four games to at least raise an eyebrow on the offense midseason. He also still has five top-five scoring weeks on the year to showcase his weekly upside. 

There has been a lot of chatter about his splits with Spencer Brown in and out of the lineup, but with Brown checking in as the 96th-graded pass blocker among tackles at Pro Football Focus, the Brown splits are really masquerading as Cody Ford splits because Brown plays, Ford is removed the lineup and Daryl Williams slides in to play right guard. Ford has allowed a team-high pressure rate of 9.9%, which is the third-highest rate in the league among guards. With Brown still on the COVID list for Thursday, Ford will once again be in line to start at right guard. In Ford’s five starts at right guard, Allen has been the QB21, QB19, QB1, QB21, and QB14, under pressure on 38.4% of his dropbacks compared to being under pressure on 28.4% of his dropbacks in his other five games.

The Saints have been a below-average team in pressure rate, coming in 20th (23.1%), but they are 14th in sack rate (6.2%). 

The Saints are seventh in points allowed per pass attempt (0.39) and eighth in passing points allowed per game (13.7), but they do allow splash plays, ranking 25th in yards allowed per pass attempt (7.7 Y/A) and 28th in yards allowed per completion (28th). 

That said, the Saints have still allowed a top-six scoring quarterback in four consecutive games to Tom Brady (25.2 points), Matt Ryan (28.5 points), Ryan Tannehill (18.6 points), and Jalen Hurts (30.8 points).

Allen’s offensive line splits are still part of a small sample that could be noise and he always does come with rushing upside. The Saints just allowed 69 yards and three rushing scores to Jalen Hurts while also allowing 40 yards on the ground to Taylor Heinicke and another 27 yards rushing to Daniel Jones earlier in the season. 

Allen has too high of a ceiling to ever put on the shelf, but there is added volatility with him this season as a boom-or-bust QB1 in this matchup where Vegas is discounting the team total we typically see Buffalo carry. This is the lowest team total the Bills have had since Week 2 this season.

Trevor Siemian: Siemian has been the QB15, QB4, and the QB6 in his three starts, but he keeps getting there by digging a complete hole and then stacking garbage time production. Those points still count for fantasy, but that is a volatile way to live. The Saints could be point-chasing here again, but Buffalo has feasted on backup quarterbacks and fantasy QB2 options all season long. The Bills are first in the league in completion rate (57.7%), yards per pass attempt (5.7 Y/A), and touchdown rate (2.1%) allowed. 

We will see if Siemian can keep getting away with having to storm the gates in the fourth quarter, but he is still only a QB2 option with added fragility we could inevitably see Taysom Hill under center at some point if he keeps falling behind.

Running Back

Saints RB: Mark Ingram has been strong filling in as the feature back the past two games with Alvin Kamara sidelined. Ingram has posted 108 and 113 total yards the past two weeks on 18 and 22 touches. Even with Tony Jones active last week, Ingram handled 81.5% of the backfield touches, which was eighth among all backs in Week 11.

With the Saints on a short week and Kamara not responding well to a mid-week practice last week, he appears to be doubtful and did not practice Monday-Wednesday.

Ingram also missed practice on Tuesday with a knee issue and then only participated in the stretching portion of practice on Wednesday, making him questionable for the game and making Jones a priority add on waivers for a potential one week fill in since the Saints have leaned on their backfield and consistently provided high workloads.

We have now seen that when teams can stay with the run against Buffalo, they can allow big plays, but they also have allowed huge games to Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor, who are in another weight class at the position. The only other back to top 82 yards in a game against the Bills outside of Henry and Taylor was Antonio Gibson, who had a 73-yard touchdown reception. The only other back to have a rushing touchdown against the Bills outside of Henry and Taylor was Michael Carter. 

If Kamara is out again and his own health checks out, Ingram still has the usage and receiving ability (15 targets the past two games) to sustain a high floor as a volume-based RB2 option despite the tougher matchup, but Jones would be a tick lower as a lower-end RB2 based on volume.

Bills RBs: This has now turned into a three-way split the past two weeks as Matt Breida has not only worked his way into the rotation but has also led the team in yardage in both games. Last week, Devin Singletary played 21 snaps, Breida played 18, and Zack Moss played 16. 

Not only is this a cluttered situation, but the Bills backfield is also only getting 21.7 touches per game collectively, which is 31st in the league. On top of all that, they are drawing a Saints defense that is allowing a league-low 3.2 yards per carry to backs while also ranking eighth in receptions allowed per game (4.3) to backfields. 

Add Breida off waivers as a speculation add, but this entire backfield is filled with touchdown-dependent FLEX swings in this matchup.

Wide Receiver

Stefon Diggs (TRUST): A week after a season-high 46.4% target share, Diggs immediately snapped back to 15.4% of the targets, his fourth game with a target share below 20% over his past five games played. The good news is Diggs was able to salvage a four-catch, 23-yard performance by finding the end zone twice, giving him a touchdown in four of his past five games to suppress the lowered rate of targets over that stretch. 

Diggs has finished lower than a WR3 in weekly scoring just once this season to showcase a high floor, but also has just two WR1 scoring weeks on the season. The Saints are eighth in points allowed per game to opposing WR1 (13.4), but also play man coverage at the seventh-highest rate this season. Against man coverage Diggs has seen a team-high 33 targets while the next closest player has just 14. Against that man coverage, Diggs is averaging 2.37 yards per route compared to 1.92 yards per route against zone.

Emmanuel Sanders and Gabriel Davis: The past four games have been a struggle for Emmanuel Sanders, catching 9-of-19 targets for 118 yards over that span. In the eight games that Sanders has now failed to reach the end zone, he has finished inside the top-30 just once with four weeks as the WR48 or lower.

The Bills have also started to work in Gabriel Davis more of late, which has taken away some snaps from Sanders. Sanders has run a pass route on 80.7% and 78.6% of the dropbacks the past two weeks after 89.2% over his opening eight games. Davis is not getting a ton of run on his own (route rates of 38.7% and 30.9% in those games), but he has 14 targets over his past four games after 10 through six games, which is just five fewer than Sanders. Davis has just one game with more than 40 yards on the season, so he is more of a thorn than an option outside of Thanksgiving DFS, but his recent usage has made Sanders as boom-or-bust WR4 in seasonal formats.

Cole Beasley: Beasley has been dealing with a rib injury that has seen him play just nine (16%) and 32 snaps (57%) the past two games. Beasley still squeezed out five targets last week but managed just 23 yards on four catches. That gives Beasley 71 yards receiving over his past three games. 

Sitting on just one touchdown all year and one top-36 scoring week this season in a full game played by Dawson Knox to go along with his injury, Beasley is also just a Thanksgiving DFS play. 

Tre’Quan Smith: Smith is operating as the lead wideout for the Saints, running a pass route on a team-high 86.4%, 90.0%, and 97.6% of the dropbacks over the past three games. His receiving lines have remained modest, however, with games of 3-53-0 (four targets), 4-44-1 (seven targets), and 5-64-0 (eight targets).

No team has been tougher on opposing wideouts this season than the Bills, allowing a league-low 5.7 yards per target and 1.5% touchdown rate to the position. Opposing wideouts have just three touchdowns against them through 10 games while Mecole Hardman is still the highest individual scorer (16.6 points) they have allowed on the year, leaving Smith as a floor-based WR4.

Marquez Callaway: Callaway has seen his playing time dip since Smith’s return to the lineup. He has run a route on 77.6% of the dropbacks over the past four games after an 83.9% rate prior. Callaway has not cleared more than 32 yards in a game since Week 5, but he has found the end zone in three straight games and still leads the team with eight end zone targets while no other player has more than three. As mentioned, the Bills have only allowed three touchdowns to opposing wideouts, making it tougher to chase score here for a touchdown-dependent WR5.

Tight End

Dawson Knox: Knox was one of the bright spots in the offense last week, receiving a season-high 10 targets (25.6%), catching six passes for 80 yards. With the Bills in catchup mode and Beasley still limited with an injury, Knox ran a pass route on a season-high 95.2% of the dropbacks.

After scoring in four of the first five games of the season, touchdown regression has found him, however, going three straight games without a score. 

The Saints have not yet allowed a top-12 scoring tight end on the season while MyCole Pruitt has the only touchdown catch against them on the year. They have not faced a stellar rogue’s gallery, with the highlight fantasy options being Hunter Henry (5-36-0), Kyle Pitts (3-62-0), and Dallas Goedert (5-62-0). Knox is a high TE2 option this week with more appeal on the Thanksgiving slate.

Saints TEs: With Adam Trautman now sidelined for 4-6 weeks, Juwan Johnson and Nick Vannett are the next men up to replace his usage. 

Johnson has not played more than 20 snaps in a game yet this season and was a healthy inactive last week for the first time this season, but he does at least have three touchdowns on the season. Vannett was active for the first time this season last week, catching one pass for 20 yards on 18 snaps, essentially the same role Johnson had.

Trautman had seen 27 targets over the past four games (18.2%) to free up opportunity, but both of these options are only TE2 swings best left for Thursday DFS, with Jonhson carrying the most touchdown appeal.

More Week 12 Fantasy breakdowns from The Worksheet:

CHI at DET | LVR at DAL | BUF at NO | TEN at NE | ATL at JAX | CAR at MIA | PHI at NYG | TB at IND | PIT at CIN | NYJ at HOU | LAC at DEN | LAR at GB | MIN at SF | CLE at BAL | SEA at WFT