Fantasy Football Start/Sit for Bills vs Patriots: Calls on Devin Singletary, Jakobi Meyers, More

Fantasy Football Start/Sit for Bills vs Patriots: Calls on Devin Singletary, Jakobi Meyers, More article feature image

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured: Jakobi Meyers.

Week 13 of the 2022 NFL season kicks off with a Thursday Night Football AFC East showdown between the Bills and Patriots.

The Patriots find themselves in a somewhat unfamiliar position, sitting in last place in the division despite having a 6-5 record (which would put them a game ahead of the first-place Buccaneers in the NFC South). Woes at the quarterback position have impacted their success, but their defense has been top-notch. The team ranks No. 2 overall in defensive DVOA behind only the Dallas Cowboys, having allowed the sixth-fewest offensive points per game and recording the sixth-most takeaways (16) this year.

The Bills also find themselves in an odd position in second-place while technically tied in record to the Dolphins at 8-3 (Miami won their Week 3 head-to-head matchup). Offensively, the Bills are near the top in most categories, including total yards (415.9), passing yards (279.2) and points (28.1). However, costly giveaways have been an issue for Buffalo, which has committed the third-most in the NFL (19).

Defensively, the team is also top-notch. Buffalo ranks No. 3 in overall defensive DVOA and is tied for the second-most interceptions (13) and total takeaways (20).

Some lineup decisions, like starting Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs and Rhamondre Stevenson are easy. Below are some fringe players at each position who you may be on the fence about starting in the Bills vs. Patriots Thursday Night Football game.

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Bills Week 13 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em

WR Gabe Davis and Isaiah McKenzie

Davis was a popular preseason name as the incumbent WR2 on this high-powered Bills team, who entered the year as the betting-favorites to win the Super Bowl. He has been a bit boom-or-bust, with more bust than boom since the Bills' Week 7 bye. In that span, Davis has had exactly one good fantasy game, which came in Week 10 against the Vikings. He caught 6-of-10 targets for 93 yards and a touchdown and finished as the WR8 in half-PPR scoring for the week.

It was McKenzie — not Diggs or Davis — who led the team in receiving yards on Thanksgiving. He caught 6-of-10 targets for 96 yards and a touchdown and finished as the WR7. This was McKenzie’s best fantasy performance this year and in Week 11, he was a complete dud with a zero-catch game against the Browns.

In the last two weeks, Davis has failed to capitalize on two softer matchups against the Browns and Lions, finishing as the WR32 and WR66, respectively. I still believe that the upside on this Bills team — which has not looked 100% with Allen dealing with an injury — keeps Davis fantasy-relevant week-to-week.

Verdict: Davis is fine to start as a WR3/flex, though I would not expect much more from him past that. The Patriots' defense ranks top 3 in pass DVOA according to Football Outsiders and top six in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers.

McKenzie is a sit for me in this tougher Week 13 matchup unless you are absolutely strapped for depth.

RB Devin Singletary

Singletary is far from the sexiest name for fantasy, but he has finished as a RB3 or better in six consecutive games and eight of 11 played this year. He saw 14 carries for 72 yards and caught a pass for 8 yards, finishing as the RB34 in half-PPR last week in Detroit. He continues to dominate snap counts — even with the addition of Nyheim Hines — and out-snapped Cook and Hines combined by a count of 60 to 18 against the Lions.

Verdict: Start as a RB3/flex. Singletary has the workload and opportunity week-in and week-out to be a workhorse back. The matchup does give me pause against the Patriots, who are only slightly worse against the run and rank top 7 in rush DVOA and top 2 in fantasy points allowed to running backs this year. The unit quelled the rushing attack from the Vikings, Jets, Colts and Jets again over their last four games, with no running back cresting the 10-point mark.

TE Dawson Knox

Knox has been up-and-down this season. He had a stretch with back-to-back games with a touchdown in Weeks 6 and 8, which was followed up by a dud against the Jets. In Week 11, he reeled in all seven of his targets for 70 yards and was the TE6 in half-PPR scoring; in Week 12, he caught his two targets for 17 yards and was the TE34.

Verdict: Start as a fringe-TE1, though I am unenthusiastic about it. On one hand, if you cannot stomach the emotional rollercoaster that is the tight end position, perhaps fantasy football is not for you; on the other, maybe we should all just draft Travis Kelce every single year to avoid this weekly headache.

As for the matchup, the Patriots defense has been rock-solid this year, but has been fairly susceptible against tight ends. The unit has given up the eighth-most fantasy points to the position this year. Knox has just as good of a chance as most to eke out a low-end TE1 finish.

Patriots Week 13 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em

QB Mac Jones

Jones is coming off by far his best game of the season for fantasy purposes. He caught 28-of-39 attempts for a career-high 382 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions and finished as the QB7 for the week. This was Jones' first multi-touchdown game this year and seventh of his career.

This strikes me as more of an anomaly amid the team's Thanksgiving shootout against the Vikings. The last (and only other) time Jones was actually start-able for fantasy was Week 3 against the Ravens (granted, he had a three-week absence due to an ankle injury).

Verdict: Sit. I refuse to overreact to one good game from Jones that came against a bad defense. He and the Patriots face the Bills this week, who rank top 7 in pass DVOA and have allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this year. Jones is projected to crash back down to earth this week: His passing yards over/under is 224.5 and the under on his touchdown prop (1.5) is juiced to -225 odds on DraftKings Sports Book.

WR Jakobi Meyers

Meyers has had his moments this season. He was the WR21 in half-PPR in Week 2, the WR7 in Week 5, and WR11 in Week 8. In the last three games, however, Meyers has not found the end zone or tallied more than 62 yards. He was quiet in the Patriots' shootout against the Vikings last week and caught 3-of-4 targets for 62 yards. It was a combination of Nelson Agholor, Davante Parker, Hunter Henry and of course, Rhamondre Stevenson who racked up most of the offensive production for New England. Agholor caught 6-of-8 for 65 yards and a touchdown, Stevenson caught 9-of-10 for 76 yards, Parker caught 4-of-4 for 80 yards and Henry caught 3-of-5 for 63 yards and a touchdown.

Verdict: Start only as a desperation, low-upside WR3/flex. Meyers is like Diontae Johnson if Johnson had any top 24 finishes. Both rely on their target share to keep them afloat and give you 6-8 fantasy points. I do not expect a huge game from Meyers — even against the Bills, who have actually been fairly exposed by receivers and have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to the position this year.

TE Hunter Henry

Henry shined in the Patriots' turkey day loss to the Vikings. He caught 3-of-5 targets for 63 yards and a touchdown and was the TE3 in half-PPR scoring. He also out-snapped Jonnu Smith (who was not targeted) by a count of 39 to 16.

In prior weeks, however, Smith was more of the focal point: Henry was held to just one catch all game in Week 11 against the Jets, finishing as the TE30. Smith had a slightly better day and caught 3-of-3 for 21 yards, finishing as the TE11. This tight end by committee thing is less than ideal, especially on a lower-volume and lower-upside offense like the Patriots.

Verdict: Sit. I think I just wrote roughly 1,300 words to say that the only Patriot I would feel comfortable starting is Rhamondre Stevenson, who should eat this week without Damien Harris. Henry is a mid-tier TE2 who I would avoid against the Bills' No. 5-ranked defense against fantasy tight ends.

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