Monday Night Football
Buffalo @ New England
Bills-Pats has a 48.5-point Vegas total with New England favored by seven. Despite major injury losses in recent weeks, the Pats' team total is aggressive at nearly 28 points. ... Julian Edelman (foot) and Dion Lewis (ACL) combined to average 15.9 targets per game in the season's first half. Danny Amendola is the top beneficiary after logging target totals of 11 and 7 in Edelman's two missed games last season, on snap rates of 69% and 81%. Normally about a 50% player in New England's offense, Amendola's playing time jumped to 70% when Edelman left last week's win over the Giants, while Amendola also paced the Patriots in targets (11) and catches (10). Amendola can expect a heavy Week 11 workload running slot routes at Nickell Robey, who is easily Buffalo's worst corner. It should be noted that Edelman went berserk (11-97-2) when the Patriots and Bills played in Week 2. ... Although Brandon LaFell's target projection rises post-Edelman, his MNF matchup is a bit concerning against stingy Bills RCB Stephon Gilmore. I like the Patriots' inside-the-numbers pass catchers better than their perimeter options this week. ... Rob Gronkowski's last six receiving lines against Rex Ryan's defenses: 7-113-1 (2015), 6-31-1 and 5-68 (2014), 8-114 (2013), 6-78-2 (2012), 8-113-2 (2011). Even if the Bills double team Gronkowski, he is capable of producing at a high level. The Giants constantly doubled Gronk on inside routes last Sunday, and he still emerged with a 5-113-1 receiving line on ten targets.
On the flip side, these are LeGarrette Blount's last four rushing lines against Rex: 5-0, 1-4, 4-11, and 2-4. When the Patriots visited the Bills in Week 2, they attacked with a decidedly pass-first approach designed for Brady to pepper Buffalo with quick throws. Brady recorded 61 dropbacks, while Pats RBs combined to rush just ten times. Blount is never a bad bet to hit pay dirt, but I'm skeptical he'll be a big part of the game plan this week. ... James White operated as the primary replacement for Dion Lewis in last Sunday's win over the G-Men, but still logged only 38% of the snaps and two touches. Brandon Bolden sprinkled in on 14% of the downs and touched the ball once. While this game sets up better for New England's passing-down backs to see increased work, neither White nor Bolden is a player OC Josh McDaniels seems willing to proactively feed the football to. On paper, this should be a Brady-Gronk-Amendola week.
Winners of two straight since their Week 8 bye, the Bills visit Foxboro with a sub-21-point team total. ... Tyrod Taylor has managed weekly fantasy performances of QB19 and QB22 since returning from his MCL injury. He did finish as the QB2 overall when Buffalo hosted New England in Week 2, albeit with scoring driven heavily by fourth-quarter comeback mode in a 40-32 loss. As the Vegas total on Bills-Patriots is tied for highest of Week 11, Taylor is worth a serious look for QB1 streamers. Especially if Buffalo again falls behind, this is a game where OC Greg Roman figures to employ Taylor's playmaking abilities more aggressively than he did the past two weeks. ... The run game remains Buffalo's offensive foundation, featuring a one-two punch of LeSean McCoy and dynamic rookie Karlos Williams. McCoy has played his best football of the season in two games since the bye, parlaying 35 runs into 224 yards (6.40 YPC) and a touchdown while catching seven passes. He dropped 116 total yards on New England in Week 2 and should be viewed as a high-floor RB1 play. ... Williams' touch totals are 6, 6, 12, 9, and 8 in the five games where both he and McCoy have been active. Although Williams has somewhat flukily found a way to score a touchdown in each of the five, the likelihood of that unsustainable scoring trend regressing sharply down the stretch gives Williams a worrisome weekly floor.
Taylor's target distribution in his five games played with Sammy Watkins this season: Watkins 28; Charles Clay 23; McCoy and Robert Woods 18; Chris Hogan 5; Williams 4. ... Watkins went 6-60-1 when Buffalo hosted New England in Week 2, getting the bulk of his production against since-released Bradley Fletcher. Red-hot Patriots No. 1 corner Malcolm Butler will pose a much tougher matchup for Watkins on Monday night, but Watkins' big-play ability keeps him in the WR2 conversation. ... Clay's target totals with Watkins active are 1, 7, 5, 4, and 6. Allowing the ninth fewest fantasy points in the league to tight ends, the Pats held Clay to 3-19-1 in the Week 2 meeting. ... No. 2 wideout Woods' target counts are 1, 5, 3, 2, and 7 with Watkins playing. A low-volume possession receiver on a run-first team, Woods is only worth fantasy-start consideration in the most ideal matchups. He's a low-floor dart throw at best this week.
Score Prediction: Patriots 27, Bills 17