We’ve arrived at the final MNF game of the season, and it’s a bit anticlimactic from a football perspective. The Bills have locked up the AFC East, but a win would put them above Pittsburgh for the No. 2 seed in the AFC. There’s some incentive for Buffalo here, but New England is tough to figure out. This is the first game since 2000 that the Patriots will play knowing before the game kicks off that they are eliminated from the postseason. With that information in mind, let’s breakdown some DFS angles for the showdown slate.
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Many thought that coming off their primetime win over the Steelers and going to Denver on a short week for a Saturday night game would be a letdown spot, But this Bills offense just kept rolling, putting up a season-high 48 points.
Josh Allen ($12,600) is putting together a near-MVP season, including his first 40-DKFP game of the year on Saturday. While buying high on the most expensive player on the slate usually isn’t the best idea, there also aren’t a ton of alternatives, especially given the state of New England’s offense. Just be aware this likely isn’t the type of game Allen will need to go off in. The Pats will muck the game out, and Buffalo will look to get out with the win. Remember, Allen scored just 13.46 DKFP in this matchup in Week 8.
Stefon Diggs ($11,000) is the obvious name to pair with Allen, and we can probably find ways to afford it. The matchup is much less frightening with reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore ruled out, leaving more upside for Diggs. The Buffalo WR is having a tremendous season and has been heating up down the stretch — at least 130 yards in each of his last two games.
Cole Beasley ($10,000) should be a very contrarian play if you want to mix it up in GPPs. He’s a boom-or-bust play that could pay off his salary, but he also comes with a low floor, and it’s comical that he’s priced this close to Diggs. Beasley was held to two receptions for 24 yards the last time around in this matchup.
Gabriel Davis ($5,000) has shown solid production in the second half of the season, but the floor is too low to pay up for him. I’d prefer punting to Isaiah McKenzie ($800), who could always come up with a big play.
The TE position has some appeal, but I’ll probably wind up looking elsewhere. Dawson Knox ($5,600) has caught a touchdown in three of his last four, giving him his highest salary of the season. I’d punt on Tyler Kroft ($1,200) if I went this route. Just make note New England does rank top-five in DKFP allowed to tight ends.
Outside of paying up for an Allen/Diggs stack, I think the running game and defense/special teams is the way to go on this slate. Devin Singletary ($7,600) and Zack Moss ($7,400) are a tough duo to figure out. Singletary is the more explosive player, ripping off a 51-yard touchdown last week, and he also comes with pass-catching upside. Moss is the more traditional RB, and saw five more carries than Singletary last week. Both are reasonable plays, with Singletary making more sense in a close game, and Moss if you think Buffalo runs away with it.
The Bills have been playing solid defense recently, and Bills DST ($5,400) has touchdowns in each of the last two games. They are firmly in play against this spiraling Pats’ offense. Tyler Bass ($3,800) has been one of the top-scoring kickers this year and is averaging 12.9 DKFP over the last eight games. He’s a far better value than most would assume.
The Cam Newton ($9,000) experiment clearly isn’t working, but even eliminated from the postseason, Bill Belichick maintains that he’ll be sticking with the QB. There have been a few upside games for Cam, but they’re so few and far between, I don’t see him being worth rostering. He did manage nearly 20 DKFP the last time in this matchup, but Newton rushed for 54 yards and a touchdown, and the game mattered much more. Cam’s scored 12 or fewer DKFP in three of his last four games.
That begs the question if we’ll see any Jarrett Stidham ($6,000) in this game. It makes almost no sense why the Patriots won’t start Stidham, so if you want to build some YOLO GPPs with him in there, I don’t hate it. We saw what Marcus Mariota did for those brave enough a couple of Thursdays ago.
The passing game weapons are extremely limited, and probably not good plays if you’re playing cash or single entry. But for GPPs, one of these guys could be the key to the slate. Jakobi Meyers ($7,200) is deservingly the most expensive WR, following seven receptions for 111 yards on 10 targets against Miami. He also was targeted 10 times in the last matchup against Buffalo, although he only caught six for 58 yards.
Damiere Byrd ($4,000) seems to be a favorite of Newton’s, so if you think Newton lasts the full game, it gives Byrd more upside. Going the other way, Stidham seems to prefer N’Keal Harry ($3,200), so that would be the WR you want to throw in a lineup if you do start the “backup QB.”
The TE position is a complete pass on this roster, leaving us with RB. James White ($6,200) has made sense on so many occasions this season, but the production never seems to be there. The pass-catching RB is averaging 8.1 DKFP, and scored 10-plus DKFP twice since Week 6. He also scored just 5.5 DKFP in the first matchup against Buffalo. Tough to look here when you can get Buffalo RBs for slightly more.
If New England can do anything offensively, it’s run the ball. Damien Harris ($8,400) is an option, but has a questionable tag due to an ankle injury. If he’s cleared without limitations, he’s worth consideration, rushing for 100 yards in Buffalo earlier this year. If Harris is out, Sony Michel ($7,000) becomes an attractive play.
Sadly, Nick Folk ($3,600) has been New England’s most consistent player this season. He’s an option for some cheap points and more reliable than any other punt play on the Pats. That said, I’d rather look to Bass, who’s been putting up more points. Same goes for the defensive side of the ball.
I don’t see how the Patriots can find enough offense to win this one. It’s a letdown spot following playoff elimination, and tough to predict what we see here. I think using Tyler Bass ($5,700 CPT) makes sense to fit an Allen/Diggs stack, along with more desirable plays on the slate.
Final Score: Buffalo 27, New England 16
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