Who are the best available options to consider for fantasy football in the AFC East showdown between the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills?
The New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills will meet Sunday afternoon with first place in the division on the line. Both teams are 3-0 on the season, though neither squad has faced the stiffest competition to get here (New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers… all of whom are a combined 0-9).
Fantasy football enthusiasts should pay close attention to this game as well, whether playing daily tournaments or a full season. Both teams have superb defenses and a number of high-profile offensive weapons who can and should be targeted for anyone looking to make some last-minute tweaks to their cyber rosters on Sunday.
Here’s some of our favorite pick-ups, and why we’re circling them:
New England Patriots defense/special teams
The Patriots defense has been the top-scoring unit in all the NFL through the first three weeks of the season. Anyone who saw this D hold the high-flying Los Angeles Rams to just three points in Super Bowl 53 last February shouldn’t really be surprised, either.
Individual defensive players worthy of consideration include cornerback Stephon Gilmore, linebacker Jamie Collins Sr., and safety Devin McCourty.
While the New England D/ST might not have quite the performance against this Bills offense that they’ve enjoyed versus lesser outfits like the Dolphins and Jets, they’re still a safe bet, even on the road, to put up some major points via takeaways and stingy scoring defense.
Josh Allen, Bills quarterback
Josh Allen has been a Top Ten fantasy football quarterback through the first three weeks of the season. He’s got a terrific arm, his accuracy has improved in his second year (completion percentage up nearly 12% thus far), and he’s still one of the most capable running quarterbacks in the league today.
Already he has the second-most rush yards of all signal-callers, behind only Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson. This dual-threat capability makes him an intriguing option at QB for all fantasy football players.
Tom Brady, Patriots quarterback
If Josh Allen has been a Top Ten fantasy football QB so far, Tom Brady has been in the Top Five. Many analysts before the season began had Brady pegged well outside the Top 12 at his position, citing the Patriots’ transition to a more run-heavy scheme at the end of the 2018 season and in the playoffs last year.
They were wrong. Brady has been dynamite, completing 67.9% of his passes for 911 yards, seven touchdowns, and zero picks. His quarterback rating right now is the second-highest it’s ever been, right behind his historic 2007 season when he re-wrote all the record books. Some of these stats will probably come down to earth a bit, but he’s an excellent play this weekend nonetheless against a Bills defense he’s accustomed to beating on the regular.
Robert Foster, Bills receiver
It’s hard to select any Buffalo offensive players at the moment, given what we’ve all seen from the Patriots defense through three weeks of the season. This is a unit that effectively neutralized JuJu Smith-Schuster, Le’Veon Bell, Robby Anderson, Kenyan Drake, and others.
If there’s a Bills skill-position player who could have a good day, it might be Robert Foster. The second-year player out of Alabama received rave reviews from Bill Belichick when the Pats coach was asked to analyze Buffalo’s roster, with Belichick noting Foster’s incredible speed in particular.
Assuming Cole Beasley will see a lot of Jonathan Jones, Stephon Gilmore will take John Brown, and Jason McCourty will shadow Zay Jones, that could leave Foster as Allen’s fourth option against J.C. Jackson. Jackson has been solid this year but he hasn’t performed quite at the same extraordinary level he maintained last year, and he’s not currently at the same level as Gilmore, McCourty, or Jones either… which could work to Foster’s advantage.
James White, Patriots running back
If ever there was a player who could have a monster game in New England/Buffalo, it might just be James White. The versatile Patriots running back missed the team’s win over the Jets to attend the birth of his child, but he’s been back this week in practice and is making the trip with the team to Buffalo.
Expect White to come out hungry to make some plays, and with fresh legs under him after getting an unexpected game day off last week. Especially with Rex Burkhead dealing with a foot injury and Sony Michel unimpressive so far on the season, this could be White’s day to shine.