Dolphins vs. Bills: Fantasy Start 'Em, Sit 'Em and Sleepers on Thursday Night
The Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills offer some intrigue to the fantasy football world on Thursday night.
Each has playmakers offensively capable of providing solid points, but it's also tough with this contest in Buffalo on a short week. Not to mention mid November doesn't offer convenient weather conditions either.
Still, a reliable receiver such as Miami's Davone Bess is just one player we'll examine.
The Dolphins present a balanced offense versus a vulnerable Bills defense, although Miami is coming off a dismal performance versus the Tennessee Titans. Buffalo; however, got semi-decent quarterback pressure on Tom Brady which led to a 60.5 completion percentage in Week 10—Brady's lowest of the season to this point.
Facing a rookie in Ryan Tannehill, it's reasonable to anticipate Buffalo will blitz and try to force turnovers. To that end, let's check out Bess and other fantasy impact players for Thursday's AFC East showdown.
Start: Davone Bess, WR (Dolphins)
For one, the Bills rank No. 21 against the pass and allow 246 passing yards per game.
Additionally, Buffalo's coverage allows a 61.9 completion percentage of opposing quarterbacks this season and has recorded just six interceptions.
With a deep threat such as Brian Hartline and a solid running game, Davone Bess will get favorable situations. He can consistently beat one-on-one and it's Bess's dependable quickness that pays dividends.
He leads Miami with 180 yards after the catch and is second on the team in yards, targets, receptions and first downs. Because of Buffalo's gradually improving pass rush, despite minimal, Ryan Tannehill will need quicker-developing plays to constantly move the chains.
Bess provides that facet arguably better than anyone around, which makes him a viable No. 2 receiver/flex option.
Start: Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB (Bills)
Ryan Fitzpatrick can be turnover-prone at times and quite frustrating to watch because of that.
Still, the Bills quarterback is a consistent gunslinger as he has completed 62.5 percent of his throws in 2012.
And with 17 touchdowns to 10 picks we must also know that seven came through the first four weeks. Therefore, Fitzpatrick does have five touchdowns to only two picks over the past three games.
He's backed by an impressive dual-threat back in C.J. Spiller and the offensive line provides great pocket protection. Now yes, the Dolphins present an awesome pass rush capable of controlling the line of scrimmage.
Favoring Buffalo, though, is Miami's lack of coverage.
It's the Dolphins biggest weakness thus far in 2012 and the Bills' array of offensive weapons will take advantage. In turn, Fitzpatrick enjoys a solid performance by dishing the rock around and setting up off play-action.
Sit: Miami Dolphins Defense
Over the past two games the Dolphins have allowed 60 points.
Now yes, part of that came from the Titans scoring on a pick six and the Miami offense not putting its defense in good field position.
Unfortunately the Dolphins have endured trouble against the pass all year. Along with ranking No. 28 in pass defense, Miami gave up 433 yards to Andrew Luck and managed just one sack of Jake Locker with not much additional pressure last week.
Entering Buffalo on a short week only puts Miami at a greater disadvantage.
It's not so much about being the road team versus a division opponent on the quicker week. It's more so regarding the defense's recent production compared to that of Buffalo's offense.
No, the Bills haven't won since Week 6. Nevertheless, Buffalo moved the ball better than expected on the road against the Houston Texans and exceptionally well at the New England Patriots on Sunday.
With Miami's inability to cover consistently and Buffalo's arsenal of offensive weapons, the Bills host Week 11 with much more confidence and momentum.
Sit: Tashard Choice, RB (Bills)
According to the Bills' official Twitter feed:
Chan Gailey: #Bills RB Fred Jackson will not play this week.— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) November 12, 2012
So the question now becomes: How much will Buffalo's offense rely on Tashard Choice?
If the Bills count on Choice quite often, he then obviously becomes a viable flex fantasy option. C.J. Spiller is certainly one of the NFL's most dynamic backs; however, it is reasonable to expect Miami to try and isolate Spiller.
His ground game impact is key to Buffalo setting up play-action and keeping the Dolphins off balance. Plus, Miami's defensive strength is against the run and a multidimensional approach will be needed.
The downside regarding Choice is just that, though. Spiller's overall skill set is reliable for every down and situational purpose. If Choice has any kind of impact it will just be to keep Miami honest in the trenches.
Factor in Buffalo's passing attack capabilities and Choice isn't appealing enough in Week 11.
Sleeper: Anthony Fasano, TE (Dolphins)
Anthony Fasano may not earn nearly as many targets as Davone Bess or Brian Hartline, but he is Miami's best red-zone threat.
Presenting great size, athleticism and route-running capabilities, Fasano is a competitive advantage for the Dolphins.
He leads the team with three receiving touchdowns and can beat any linebacker or defensive back one-on-one. And just like the Dolphins defense to the Bills offense, Buffalo's defense can't afford to double cover anyone.
Miami's offers too much potential explosion with Bess, Hartline and Reggie Bush which then gets Fasano mismatches. Provided the Dolphins move the ball versus a Bills defense that allows an average of 410 total yards per game, Fasano's opportunities increase because of scoring position.
One final aspect that also bodes well is Ryan Tannehill's size. Despite being a rookie he can see over the defense quick enough to target Fasano more often when inside the red-zone.
Sleeper: Donald Jones, WR (Bills)
It's obvious that running back C.J. Spiller and receiver Steve Johnson are solid fantasy starts against the Dolphins.
Donald Jones; however, is also one formidable option.
Courtesy of Spiller's rushing threat and Ryan Fitzpatrick's pass protection, Jones possesses the ability to thwart Miami's susceptible coverage. After all, the Dolphins give up 278 passing yards per game and that has proven costly the past two weeks.
And for Miami to slow down Buffalo, Johnson will need at least bracketed double coverage in zone and the linebackers have to account for tight end Scott Chandler. Well, that also makes Miami vulnerable against the run which enhances Spiller's potential production.
From all that, Jones then becomes a sleeper option in Buffalo's offense.
He's second on the team in almost every receiving category and Miami can't afford to double-team him. As a result, Jones capitalizes with his teammates deriving coverage attention.
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