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Previewing the Patriots-Bills Matchup from a Fantasy Perspective

Breaking down the fantasy recommendations and what they might mean for Monday’s matchup at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York.

The Patriots will travel to Orchard Park, New York for a Monday Night date with their divisional-rival Buffalo Bills; a matchup which may have major implications on the pursuit of the 2021 AFC East title. The Pats and Bills will meet on Monday, December 6 at Highmark Stadium, with kickoff set for 8:20 pm ET. One of the many ways to examine the matchup is through the fantasy football perspective.

In that regard, let's look at Sports Illustrated Fantasy Editor Michael Fabiano's Week Thirteen Start 'Em and Sit 'Em as they pertain to the Pats-Bills battle on Monday.

Here are the notable players mentioned in the matchup with Fabiano's comments, along with some additional insight, via Patriot Maven, on that particular projection.

‘Starts’ of the Week

Dawson Knox vs. Patriots:

Fabiano’s Analysis:

“Knox has been a star since his return from injury, scoring 14 or more fantasy points in two straight games. He's also played a full complement of snaps in that time to go along with 13 targets. While this week's matchup against the Patriots isn't good on paper, the tight end position is thin, and Knox has been hot. I'd keep him in the lineup as a potential top-10 option.”

Patriot Maven Analysis:

While many expected Knox to play a key role in the Bills’ offensive output on Monday, his chances to have a major impact on this matchup increased when Patriots’ safety Kyle Dugger was placed on COVID/Reserve. Though Dugger may still potentially play, his absence would create a void in the Pats three-safety base set that has been pretty strong when containing tight ends. When utilizing man coverage, Dugger is their top option against tight ends. Knox has seven touchdown catches, and is tied with Hunter Henry for the NFL lead among players at their position. If Dugger is unable to suit up, a potentially big game for Knox looms on the horizon.

‘Sits’ of the Week

Rhamondre Stevenson at Bills:

Fabiano’s Analysis:

“Listed as a sit ‘em last week, Stevenson played just 20 snaps and had nine touches in a win over the Titans. The rookie remains behind Damien Harris on the Patriots depth chart, and he's not been a factor in either the red zone or the passing attack. The Bills defense has given up the third-fewest fantasy points per game to runners, too, so sit Stevenson once again.”

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Patriot Maven Analysis:

Though the Bills possess a formidable run defense, the Pats will undoubtedly attempt to run the ball to find their offensive rhythm on Monday night. Stevenson possesses the necessary intangibles to be an effective option in both situational runs, as well as receiving out of the backfield. However, Buffalo’s premier run-stuffer, Star Lotulelei, has been activated from COVID/Reserve and is expected to play against the Pats. His presence allows linemen Ed Oliver, Harrison Phillips and Vernon Butler to control the middle, while linebacker Tremaine Edmunds assists with the run defense. Whether it be Stevenson, or teammate Damien Harris, the Pats will have their hands full trying to run the ball in Week Thirteen.

Jakobi Meyers at Bills:

Fabiano’s Analysis:

“Meyers has produced 14-plus points in two of his last three games, making him a viable flex option in many leagues. Keep in mind, however, that a matchup against the Bills isn’t favorable. While the pass defense did lose CB Tre’Davious White, this unit should still be tough against opposing wideouts. I’d keep Meyers on the sidelines in this important AFC East competition.”

Patriot Maven Analysis:

Meyers’ placement among the ‘sits of the week’ is a bit surprising, though Fabiano does make some logical points. In Week Twelve against the Titans, Meyers logged 98 receiving yards, his highest total of 2021. Despite the loss of White, Buffalo does have corners such as Levi Wallace, Taron Johnson and Dane Jackson that are capable of making life tough for Meyers as he progresses into his routes. Still, his ability to compile yards has been a key to helping the Patriots move the football through the air. All in all, Meyers still looks like a solid fle option on Monday.

Hunter Henry at Bills:

Fabiano’s Analysis:

“Henry is a tough player to sit at such a thin position, but fantasy fans might want to temper expectations this week. He’s failed to score more than 9.9 points in four of his last five games, including three games with 4.5 or fewer points. The Bills have been tough on tight ends, too, allowing just two players to finish with more than 10 fantasy points against them this season.”

Patriot Maven Analysis:

Solid at all three levels, it should come as no surprise that Buffalo’s defense is quite effective in defending tight ends. The Bills employ one of the NFL’s most fearsome safety tandems in Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde, who do a great job of sealing the intermediate area of the field where Henry can be effective. Henry’s ability to get open in the red zone has made him a favorite target of Mac Jones. While he still may be targeted in that area on Monday, his ability to become a fantasy darling might be a bit compromised by the level of his competition.