Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills Thursday Night Football Fantasy Preview

Jamal Collier@@JCollierDAnalyst IIINovember 15, 2012

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 18: C.J. Spiller #28 of the Buffalo Bills carries the ball during their NFL game against the Miami Dolphins at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 18, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins might have a real problem on Thursday Night Football: His name is C.J. Spiller. Remember when the Buffalo Bills running back ran roughshod through NFL defenses a couple of months ago? With Fred Jackson missing the better part of the season’s first three weeks, Spiller rushed 33 times for 308 yards and three touchdowns.

He also caught seven passes for 114 yards and a touchdown before suffering his own injury in Week 3.

Two of those games (against the New York Jets in Week 1 and Cleveland Browns in Week 3) took place on the road. The Bills will be at home in Week 11 against the Dolphins, who will have limited time to prepare for Buffalo’s more dynamic rusher.

Spiller was even able to coexist with Jackson in the Buffalo backfield, gaining at least 70 rushing yards in three of his last four games and catching four or more passes in all four. He’s a must-start, even in this short-turnaround game.

Spiller’s quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, may be worth an early-week start as a bye-week replacement. His fantasy numbers have cooled off lately (five passing TDs in his last five games), but the Dolphins have given up two passing scores in each of the last two weeks.

The quarterbacks they faced were Andrew Luck and Jake Locker.

Wide receiver Steve Johnson could have a big night. Buffalo has only played three home games this season, and Johnson has scored a touchdown in two of them. Donald Jones is a sleeper candidate here as well; he has also scored a TD in two of three home games and two of the last three weeks.

Miami has allowed just one touchdown to a tight end this season, making Scott Chandler a risky fantasy play. You also won’t want to use the Bills D/ST in this matchup, as Buffalo has mightily struggled stopping the run—which is why Dolphins running backs Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas are both solid options this week.

When fantasy owners are without Adrian Peterson, Ahmad Bradshaw, Marshawn Lynch and Chris Johnson, playing Bush is worth the risk that he doesn’t fumble the football. Against the Bills, playing Thomas is worth the risk that he does—or that he just gets tired of running through the Buffalo defense.

Trusting Ryan Tannehill would most likely be a bad idea as the only thing he’s done consistently in fantasy football is be inconsistent. He has scored 15 or more ESPN standard-scoring fantasy points four times, but he has scored eight or fewer five times—including two or fewer three times.

That, in turn, makes it difficult to trust his targets.

However, wide receiver Brian Hartline has caught eight passes in each of the last two weeks (for a combined 186 yards), making him a solid desperation and/or PPR play. Everyone else should be avoided this week.

Miami’s defense has not forced a turnover in two weeks, allowing 60 points to the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans. They have recorded just one sack in each of those games. There are better fantasy options than this D/ST in Week 11.


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