The Worksheet, a fantasy football overview by Rich Hribar, breaking down everything you need to know for the Week 18 New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills Sunday afternoon game.
|40.27%||7||Opp. Rush %||39.01%||5|
|59.73%||26||Opp. Pass %||60.99%||28|
Motivation or Rest Alert
With the announcement that the Week 17 game between the Bills and Bengals will not be made up and ruled a no contest, the Bills need to win and the Chiefs to lose to become the No. 1 seed in the AFC. We will get the Chiefs outcome revealed prior to this kickoff, but the Bills also still need to win or the Bengals to lose to secure the No. 2 seed. The Bills should be expected to play this game fully pushing to win.
The Patriots can clinch a playoff spot with a win or losses from all of the Dolphins, Steelers, and Titans.
Josh Allen: Playing through the cold and wind in Chicago during Week 16, Allen threw for only 172 yards (6.6 Y/A) with two interceptions, but he added a pair of passing scores to go along with another rushing touchdown and 41 yards on the ground to still turn in a QB6 (23.0 points) scoring week.
That has been the story with Allen over the back half of the season. He has averaged 222.7 passing yards per game over his past nine games with more than 223 passing yards three times. He also has 15 touchdowns to nine interceptions over that span. But he also has been a QB1 in seven of those nine games with 22.3 points per game since he has had another great season with his legs.
Allen is just 17 yards and seven carries shy of setting new career highs for attempts and yardage on the ground. He has another seven rushing scores. Only Jalen Hurts and Justin Fields have more rushing points this season among quarterbacks.
Allen has success against the Patriots outside of the “wind game” a year ago. Over the past three meetings between these teams, Allen has thrown 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions, rushing for 64, 66, and 20 yards in those games.
Stefon Diggs: Diggs has had a quiet fantasy postseason, ending the past three weeks as the WR59 (3-37-0), WR39 (5-60-0), and WR69 (2-26-0). After going over 100 yards in six of his first nine games this season, Diggs has not hit the century mark since. A slight hall pass for facing the Jets in Week 14 and the weather a week ago, but far from the bar Diggs has set as a fantasy performer.
Diggs has hit 25% of the team targets in just two of the past six games after hitting 29.0% or more in seven of the opening nine games.
Diggs caught 7-of-9 targets for 92 yards and a touchdown when these teams played in Week 13. The Patriots play man coverage at the sixth-highest rate in the league (33.5%) where Diggs has been at his best. Diggs has been targeted on 31.7% of his routes versus man coverage compared to 23.7% versus zone.
Bills RBs: Buffalo rushed for a season-high 254 yards as a team in Week 16, with both Devin Singletary (106 yards rushing) and James Cook (99 yards) turning in hyper-efficient rushing weeks. Singletary only had 12 carries and Cook 11. They each had long touchdown scampers, with Singletary providing a 33-yard scorer and Cook scoring from 27 yards out.
Singletary led the way again with 37 snaps (57.8%) and Cook 26 (40.6%), but this split has been tighter over the back half of the season. Singeltary handled 48.3% of the backfield touches and has hit 60% of the touches in just one of the past four weeks.
The downside is that Cook still isn’t getting enough work on his own to be viable weekly play but is taking away enough work from Singletary to make him volatile.
When these teams played the Patriots in Week 13, Buffalo backs combined for 174 yards on 36 touches. In that game, Cook had 105 yards on 20 touches with Singletary posting 51 yards on 13 touches. Nyheim Hines also chipped in with 18 yards on three touches.
If You Must
Rhamondre Stevenson: Stevenson is unfortunately ending his breakout season on a down note. The past two weeks he has been the RB58 and the RB41. With Damien Harris returning this past week, Stevenson played 57% of the snaps (his lowest rate in a full game since Week 4) while handling 45.5% of the backfield touches, his lowest rate in a full game since Week 2. On top of that, the receptions for Stevenson have dried up, which was the component really anchoring his fantasy output. Stevenson has two receptions in each of his past three full games after averaging 5.3 per game Weeks 3-13. Stevenson had just 78 yards on 16 touches when these teams played in Week 13, and that was on a season-high 94.1% of the backfield touches.
Gabriel Davis: Davis caught his seventh touchdown of the season In Week 16, which was just enough to smooth out catching 3-of-6 targets for 45 yards. Davis has not been a top-30 scorer since Week 10 and has just four weeks inside of the top 30 all season.
We know that he is going to be out there and attached to Josh Allen at least. Davis has run a route for 88.0% of the dropbacks, the highest rate on the team.
Davis has some of the starkest splits based on coverage in the league. He has been targeted on just 11.6% of his routes against man coverage with 0.70 yards per route run. Against zone, his target rate bumps up to 17.6% of his routes with 1.85 yards per route. When these teams played in Week 13 Davis did catch a touchdown, but also reeled in just two of his seven targets for 15 yards.
Dawson Knox: Knox caught 3-of-5 targets for 38 yards and another score against the Bears in Week 16. Knox has now been a TE1 scorer in five of his past seven games after doing so just once over the opening seven games of the season. Knox has a touchdown grab in three straight.
He also has 41 yards or fewer in four of those games since Week 10, so it says a lot about the tight end position. Knox did not have a catch when these teams played in Week 13 and received just one target, but if you are only chasing a touchdown the Patriots have allowed a 9.4% touchdown rate to tight ends, 31st in the league.
Best Left on Benches
Mac Jones: Jones has thrown multiple touchdown passes in back-to-back games for the first time this season but still managed just 240 and 203 passing yards in those games. Jones has just two QB1 scoring weeks all season and nine weeks as the QB20 or lower. In four career games against the Bills, Jones has completed 56.9% of his passes for 5.4 yards per attempt with three touchdowns and four interceptions.
Patriots WRs: Jakobi Meyers is the best of the bunch here if you have chase. Meyers has games of 6-83-1 and 6-48-1 the past two weeks. But when these teams last hooked up, the leading receiver for the Patriots was cornerback Marcus Jones with 51 yards and a touchdown. Actual New England wideouts combined to catch 10-of-17 targets for 101 yards. Meyers led the group with five targets (3-22-0).
More Week 18 Fantasy breakdowns from The Worksheet:
KC at LVR | TEN at JAX | BAL at CIN | TB at ATL | NE at BUF | MIN at CHI | HOU at IND | NYJ at MIA | CAR at NO | CLE at PIT | LAC at DEN | NYG at PHI | ARI at SF | LAR at SEA | DAL at WAS | DET at GB