We have aggressively backed some of the big-name skill position players as we have previewed the NFL’s Thursday primetime games this season.
But when the Bills and Dolphins meet in Miami, this appears to be a game for the defenses to dominate. Both teams are far more effective on the defensive side of the ball, and injuries are also a factor. We expect this to be a relatively low-scoring game. However, there are several fantasy options that you can consider, and the right move Thursday night could help you come up with a big fantasy win in Week 11.
QB Kyle Orton – Orton has done a reasonably good job (65.6 completion percentage, 10-3 TD-interception ratio) since being named as the starter in Buffalo, and he knows how to manage the game and avoid big mistakes. That’s going to be an even bigger challenge here because the Dolphins’ pass rush is so strong with Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon. Orton’s best option is to work on short – and medium range passes before going deep. BENCH HIM
WR Sammy Watkins – The big-play rookie wide receiver is going to have limited opportunities to attack, because longer pass patterns will leave Orton in a vulnerable position. However, if Watkins (groin, probable) can catch a couple of crossing patterns over the middle, he has the explosive speed to break a long play or two. PLAY HIM
PK Dan Carpenter – This is going to be a game of short-circuited drives, and it could be a tough contest that is decided by FG kickers. Carpenter is very dependable, having made 19-of-21 three-pointers this season, including 3-of-4 from 50 yards and beyond. Look for Carpenter to have a big game. PLAY HIM
QB Ryan Tannehill – Under most circumstances, Tannehill would be a good play at home against a divisional rival. However, Tannehill comes into this game banged up with ankle and shoulder problems. The ankle issue will keep him from running with the ball, and it could also keep him from buying time in the pocket to make big plays. BENCH HIM
WR Mike Wallace – This explosive receiver has been quite a bit more productive this year than he was in 2013. Wallace has caught 40-519-6, and when he smells the endzone, he seems to turn it up a notch or two and that makes it difficult to bring him down. However, Tannehill is not at his best, so it’s hard to see Wallace making more than one or two key plays. BENCH HIM
Miami Defense – The Dolphins are one of the best defensive teams in the league as they rank fourth overall and second against the pass. Wake (8.5 sacks) and Vernon (4.5 sacks) are magnificent athletes who have the speed to cause havoc all night long. Cornerback Brent Grimes is a brilliant athlete who has five interceptions. If he gets a pick in this game, he is a threat to take it the distance. PLAY THE MIAMI DEFENSE
Steve Silverman has been writing, talking about and playing fantasy football since the early 1990s. He co-hosted Fantasy Football Weekly, the first Fantasy Football television program, in 1994 and ’95. Follow Steve on Twitter @profootballboy.
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