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Expert fantasy football advice: Breaking down Bills-Broncos

Quarterback

Team Pos Player Pass Pass Yds Pass TDs INTs Rushes Rush Yds Rush TDs Standard PPR
DEN QB Trevor Siemian 34.1 245.9 1.3 0.8 3.4 7.0 0.1 15.4 15.4
BUF QB Tyrod Taylor 29.4 161.1 1.0 0.5 5.8 29.1 0.1 13.5 13.5

 

Neither Trevor Siemian (DEN) nor Tyrod Taylor (BUF) is worth playing in DFS this week. Siemian is passable in deeper season-long leagues, coming off a phenomenal 4-touchdown performance against the Cowboys. More than likely, though, you can find a better streaming candidate than Siemian on the week. He does have a nice team context, with two plus wide receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, and a strong defense that keeps Denver in positive game scripts.

However, Siemian is now on the road against a Bills' defensive unit that has looked strong through two games. It's a small sample size, but the Bills rank third in Football Outsiders DVOA. Additionally, Siemian's fantasy success is driven by a high TD rate. He's only averaged 30 attempts through two weeks. On a week where the efficiency is expected to take a dip, Siemian won't have the volume to make up for a 0 to 1 touchdown performance.

Despite his rushing contributions, Tyrod Taylor is unplayable in difficult matchups, and a game against Denver is about as difficult as it gets for an opposing pass offense. Many of the concerns that JJ Zachariason of NumberFire had about Taylor in offensive coordinator Rick Dennison's system are coming to fruition.

Believe it or not, Taylor actually rates seventh among quarterbacks through two games in Pro Football Focus' (PFF) player grades. Yes, there are some flaws in that grading system, and it's tough to argue that Taylor has played at a top half of the league level through two games. However, he's not being put in a position to succeed either. According to PFF, just 36.4 percent of Taylor's yards have come in the air (28/30), and he's averaged just 2.5 deep pass attempts. Last season, 62.9 percent of Taylor's yards came in the air (3/29) to go with 3.9 deep pass attempts per game.

Yes, Taylor has his limitations, but the current personnel around him and play calling are ruining both his real life and fantasy value.

Running Back

Team Pos Player Rushes Rush Yds Rush TDs Receptions Rec Yds Rec TD Standard PPR
BUF RB LeSean McCoy 19.3 81.0 0.4 4.2 25.9 0.1 13.8 18.0
DEN RB C.J. Anderson 17.0 73.2 0.5 2.4 21.1 0.1 12.8 15.2
DEN RB Jamaal Charles 7.5 33.2 0.2 0.7 6.3 0.1 5.4 6.2

 

We've seen the upside and downside of LeSean McCoy (BUF) through two weeks. Last week highlighted some of the concerns we had surrounding McCoy heading into the season – a bad Bills team that hurt McCoy's fantasy value in a variety of ways:

a) Negative game script cost him carries (12)

b) An ineffective offense allowed the opposing defense to stack the box (0.8 YPC)

3) An ineffective offense limited scoring opportunities (0 Red Zone opportunities)

All those concerns ring true again this week against a stout Denver defense that just shut down Ezekiel Elliott.

OK, enough with the negativity. The good news is Denver has been more susceptible to the run than the pass, which should ensure McCoy touches as long as this game stays close. McCoy also has 11 catches through two games, and the emphasis on keeping him involved in the passing game adds to his floor/ceiling combination.

The risk is high in cash games on DFS sites, but the price is compelling on DraftKings, making him an excellent low owned tournament play. Volume trumps matchup, especially at the right price. Oh, and if you have to ask for your season-long leagues, you're playing McCoy every week unless he's hurt.

CJ Anderson (DEN) ranks just outside of this week's Top 10 RBs. He's put to rest any concerns over his workload, receiving 45 carries through two games and 10 percent of his team's targets. Anderson is an underrated playmaker, and gave Dallas fits last week:

 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

Team Pos Player Receptions Rec Yds Rec TD Standard PPR
DEN WR Demaryius Thomas 5.5 72.7 0.3 9.3 14.8
DEN WR Emmanuel Sanders 5.0 65.6 0.4 8.8 13.9
BUF TE Charles Clay 4.1 34.0 0.3 5.0 9.0
BUF WR Jordan Matthews 3.4 32.3 0.2 4.2 7.6
BUF WR Zay Jones 2.9 25.9 0.2 3.6 6.5
DEN WR Bennie Fowler 2.3 26.6 0.1 3.4 5.8
DEN TE Virgil Green 2.1 18.6 0.2 3.1 5.1

 

The most depressing part of this column each week is talking about the Bills WRs. There was some hope in the offseason that Jordan Matthews' (BUF) profile and low draft cost would make him an asset in season-long fantasy leagues. He may still be a hold in that format, but only in deep leagues. Neither Matthews nor Zay Jones should get in the way of a good waiver wire pickup, and neither is remotely a consideration in DFS leagues.

Matthews and Jones, the Bills' top two WRs, have a combined 16 targets through two weeks. Fifteen WRs around the league individually have 16 targets. The combined market share of targets for Bills' WRs now sits at 40 percent:

Given Taylor's problems outlined above and a matchup against an elite Denver pass defense, particularly in terms of outside coverage, you want no part of the Bills' WRs. This could funnel targets to McCoy and Charles Clay (BUF) on the interior. Clay is viable in deep leagues as a tight end given the scarcity of the position and 12 targets through two weeks, but he's going to be volatile week to week.

On the Denver side, Demaryius Thomas (DEN) and Emmanuel Sanders (DEN) are Top 15-25 WRs on the week, making them easy plays in seasonal leagues but fades in DFS contests. If you were to take a chance on either one in tournaments, we'd fade Sanders' likely higher ownership following a big week and use Thomas, who has more physical gifts and more targets (16 to 14). Tight end Virgil Green (DEN) should be unowned in all formats.

Defense/ST

If there's one thing for Bills fans to be excited about, it's the turnaround of the defense. As mentioned earlier, yes it's just three games, but the Bills rank third in Football Outsiders' DVOA. It's worth noting they finished second in 2014 prior to the arrival of Rex Ryan. Jerry Hughes ranks eighth out of 23 4-3 defensive ends in PFF's pass rush productivity metric.

Denver has finished atop the DVOA rankings in back-to-back seasons.

Both defenses are safe options in weekly leagues. There shouldn't be a lot of points scored in this one (only the BAL-JAX London game has a lower Vegas total), but you'll want to look elsewhere for a higher ceiling. We're expecting run-heavy approaches from both teams, with two QBs who possessed low interception rates a year ago. Sack and turnover opportunities may be limited in this matchup.

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