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Fantasy 101: Bills hold off Patriots late rally

When QB Cam Newton fumbled the ball deep in Bills territory, he ended any chance of a New England Patriots Patriots comeback.

Even though it wasn’t the prettiest of games fantasy-wise, here are some fantasy takeaways from the week eight matchup.

New England Patriots

QB Cam Newton (15-for-25, 228 total yards, 1 rushing TD and a fumble lost)

It wasn’t the prettiest of games for Newton and the Patriots. Despite leading the team down the field and setting them up for a potential game tying FG, it was Newton’s fumble that proved costly with less than a minute remaining. Since his 397 yard and three total TD game (Two rushing, one passing) outburst in Seattle in week two, Newton has yet to throw for over 175 yards in any game and only has 1 passing TD and with 7 INTs and three fumbles (one lost) over the past four games.

Even though he has a serious depletion of weapons at his disposal, it’s safe to say Newton hasn’t looked the same since testing positive for COVID-19 in week four. Cam needs to get back on next Monday night as the Patriots face a woeful New York Jets defense.

RB Damien Harris (16 carries for 102 yards, one rushing TD)

Thanks to the extremely high winds, it was a ground battle for both teams which combined for 72 total rushing attempts compared to 43 total passing attempts. A rarity for the pass-happy NFL in 2020. Harris had a game-high 16 carries for a season-high 102 yards on the ground. Harris' highlight of the game came on a 22-yard run where he bursted through the hole barely being touched on his way to the end zone scoring his first touchdown of the season.

Even though he’s rarely used in the passing game and the Patriots are known for as a running-back-by-committee (RBBC), Harris is a must start next week against the Jets as he continues to separate himself as the early down back in New England and could be in control for a majority of the game against the 0-8 Jets.

WR Jakobi Meyers (Six catches on 10 targets for 58 yards)

There’s very few situations in the NFL that are uglier than the wide receivers position in New England. Due to key injuries at the position, second-year wide-receiver Jakobi Meyers has stepped up the past two weeks. Of Newton’s 25 passing attempts, Meyers had a team-high 10 targets for six catches and 58 yards. While it may not seem like much, it’s encouraging to see Newton have a reliable connection with Meyers who has now gone over 58 yards in back-to-back games.

With Julian Edelman being placed on IR and 2019 first round pick N’Keal Harry questionable for Monday’s matchup, Meyers could be a flex option this week in deep leagues that may have players on bye weeks or are banged up.

Buffalo Bills

QB Josh Allen (11-for-18, 177 total yards, a rushing TD and an INT)

After a scorching start to the first month of the season, Allen’s struggles continued on Sunday as the third-year QB only threw for 154 yards on a season-low 18 attempts and had his second straight game with zero touchdown passes. Up 7-3 late in the first half, Allen’s lone interception came deep in Patriots’ territory and proved costly as the long return by J.C. Jackson led to a Patriots field goal right before the half. His fantasy day was salvaged after Allen broke a 14-14 tie with a two yard rushing touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Despite the recent struggles, I wouldn’t be too worried about the third year-QB. WR John Brown, who was one of Allen’s favorite targets early in the season, returned against the Patriots after missing a few games due to a knee injury. Allen should bounce back and be a top-3 option this weekend as the Bills take on the Seattle Seahawks who have one of the league’s worst pass defenses.

RBs Devin Singletary and Zack Moss (combined for 28 carries, 167 rushing yards and two TD's)

The Bills ran wild on Sunday amassing 190 rushing yards on 38 attempts (five yards per carry). Moss and Singetary bludgeoned the Patriots run defense, each totaling 14 carries and going over 80 yards while Moss recorded both rushing touchdowns. It was by far the most successful the unit has been all season with both running backs being effective. Sunday showed us that when Allen is not having a terrific day passing that Buffalo can rely on this two-headed backfield to get their offense in rhythm.

Even though the Seahawks are notably horrendous against the pass, they’re shockingly decency in stopping the run this season, allowing only one 100-yard rushing performance this season. While Singletary seems to have the early-down role in the backfield, I’d prefer to start Moss in this matchup as he is the clear third-down and goal line back in a game that the Bills most likely will not be able to run as much as they did against New England.

WR Stefon Diggs (Six catches for 92 yards)

Diggs recorded six catches for the third straight week however almost doubled his yardage total from the previous two games (48 and 46 yards). After a slow first half, Allen found Diggs on a quick slant route for a big 41-yard run after catch gain early in the third quarter setting up Moss’ second touchdown of the game.

Diggs is the no-question, clear-cut Allen’s go-to receiver as he’s been targeted at least eight times in six of eight games including four straight. Even though he’s only found the endzone three times, Diggs is on pace to record over 100+ catches and 1,300 yards at the halfway point. Diggs will be a top-5 option this week against the Seahawks.

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