By Chad Bellin. How fun has it been for Bills fans and Raiders fans in 2016? After a very rocky start, Rex Ryan has the Bills playing good football with a 6-5 record to show for it. The Raiders have been the story of season, racking up a 9-2 record through 11 games and vying for the top seed in the AFC. These two storied franchises face off in what will be an exciting game on the field, and a great game for fantasy football owners.
The Bills must run effectively and control the clock if they stand a chance to win. Against the Raiders average run defense, this is possible. The Raiders defense must limit the Bills’ scoring chances, and hold firm on third down. The Raiders offense will need Derek Carr to avoid the rush and hit Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree down the field.
The Raiders have too much talent and are playing too well to let this game slip by. They will outscore the Bills and keep pace with the Patriots at the top of the AFC East.
Bills 27 | Raiders 33
The thought of starting LeSean McCoy against the Raiders defense makes most fantasy football owners have fantasies of a different sort. McCoy leads the NFL’s best rushing attack, racking up over 157 yards per game. The Raiders are 26th against the run. Starting McCoy this week is a no-brainer, and he won’t disappoint.
All season long, Derek Carr has been solidly among the best quarterbacks, both on the field and on your fantasy football league. He has blossomed into a bona fide star, and his consistency has been a welcome luxury for fantasy owners each week. The Bills aren’t bad on defense, but they are also not elite. Carr is elite.
With Carr at the helm, both Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree can be started this week. The Bills are tough against the pass (8th overall in passing defense), but opportunities will present themselves. Cooper has been a little hot and cold this season, but his 66 catches and 922 yards speak for themselves. Crabtree had a great game last week, and is usually even better when Cooper is off.
Latavius Murray has been a tough call for fantasy football owners all season. Murray was expected to continue his evolution as a dominating featured back in 2016, but he has fallen a little short. His 9 touchdown runs have been very nice, but he only has 422 yards rushing, and that’s not necessarily good. However, start Murray if you must.
Among quarterbacks, few are better at running the ball than Tyrod Taylor. Without great passing numbers, Taylor has made a name for himself being efficient on the ground and opportunistic through the air. Expect Taylor to put up good numbers against the Raiders this week. He’s worth considering.
Seth Roberts continues to score touchdowns. Yes, he’s the third option in the offense, but no matter. Roberts has continued to come through. If you’re in a larger league, or you’re fighting off injuries, Roberts is more attractive than he appears.
Sammy Watkins is recovering from a foot injury (and still has a broken bone in his foot) but will play. He’s a WR2/3 who poses a risk of re-injury. But, his upside is undeniable as the top receiving option on the team.
If you have run out of wide receiver options, and have thought through every other possible scenario, then and only then is it okay to consider one of the Bills’ other wide receivers. Robert Woods is not that good, and hasn’t produced quality fantasy numbers except in a game or two games with Watkins out. Then you get down to guys like Marquise Goodwin . . . we’ll just stop there. Steer clear.
Charles Clay is a popular low-end tight end who will miss this week’s game to attend the birth of his child.
Like Clay, Clive Walford and Mychal Rivera are names people know. But, these are not good fantasy football options. Look elsewhere despite Carr’s success.
The Raiders feature a long list of backup running backs who see the field, but all bring fantasy heartbreak with them. Jalen Richard is the most promising of the group. While he could always have a big game, he doesn’t see enough touches to consider in standard leagues. DeAndre Washington has fallen out of favor. Jamize Olawale is a bruising short-yardage back who is nimble catching the ball, but he sees the ball once or twice per game.