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FFL: Playoff Week 1 | NFL: Week 15

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Players: Ryan Fitzpatrick

Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott answers questions after the Cleveland Browns defeated the Bills 19-16 in an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Miami Dolphins defensive back Chris Lammons, left, hugs head coach Brian Flores, center, after an NFL football game against New York Jets, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)


Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores walks off the field after his first win of the season after an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)


Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) rushes against the Washington Redskins during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Munson)


MIAMI (AP) The Miami Dolphins have been gaining ground the past few weeks on the Buffalo Bills, muddling the race between perennial AFC East also-rans.

Miami fell to 0-6 when it lost in Week 7 at Buffalo, which was 5-1 and off to its best start in 11 years.

But the Bills (6-3) have since lost two of three, quashing any illusions they were on the verge of challenging New England's supremacy in the division. The Dolphins (2-7), meanwhile, have quieted talk they're historically horrible by winning their past two games.

''The outside world, the media, maybe thought this wasn't possible,'' Miami defensive tackle Christian Wilkins said. ''We got two more wins than the rest of the world thought we were going to have this year, so that's pretty cool.''

The Dolphins did appear destined for a winless season after they gave up 22 points in the fourth quarter and lost at Buffalo 31-21 on Oct. 20.

The teams meet again Sunday.

''We're different than we were when we played Buffalo last time,'' Miami coach Brian Flores said. ''And so are they.''

TRENDING FORWARD

Much of the Dolphins' improvement has come on defense. A month into the season, they ranked last in the league in points and yards allowed. In Weeks 6 through 9, they ranked 15th in scoring defense and 14th in yards allowed.

''When we played them, they were we felt a better team than what their record indicated,'' Bills coach Sean McDermott said. ''And that has been proven. They're playing hard and they're disciplined. They don't beat themselves.''

The Dolphins' winning streak has hurt their chances of landing the No. 1 draft pick in April, to the distress of their fans and the amusement of their players.

''It's an interesting narrative that obviously has been following our team the whole year,'' quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. ''It has been nice to get two wins and to kill the narrative a little bit.''

TRENDING BACKWARD

The Bills' offense has stagnated lately. They rank 25th in points and have totaled 29 in their past two defeats.

''We've got to score more points to enable ourselves to win games and to be a threat down the stretch,'' McDermott said.

Only two teams have allowed fewer points, but the Bills' run defense has become leaky lately. In their three games since the win over Miami, the Bills have allowed 492 yards rushing.

Because of soft run defense, opposing offenses haven't been forced into risky pass plays, and Buffalo's defense doesn't have a takeaway in the past three games.

''We have to do a better job in the run game, which will hopefully increase the number of shots people want to take,'' defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said.

Miami managed a season-high 109 yards rushing against Buffalo last month but is averaging a league-low 3.1 yards per attempt.

MAKING DO

After losing the three best defensive backs on their Week 1 roster to a trade and injuries, the Dolphins have been winning with a patchwork secondary.

Undrafted rookie Nik Needham and waiver acquisition Steven Parker each had his first career interception last week, and Eric Rowe has been forced to switch from cornerback to safety.

''In this league, that's what you anticipate - stuff like that,'' defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said. ''If you're not thinking ahead and trying to anticipate those situations in a physical league, you're going to be behind, because it's going to happen.''

BALL HAWK

Cornerback Tre'Davious White made a diving interception at the Bills 2-yard line to spark their comeback against Miami last month. Fitzpatrick said that play will factor into his preparation in the rematch.

''Maybe not throwing an out route near the goal line this time, that's a pretty good lesson that I probably learned 100 times in my career,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''But learned it again the hard way in our first game.''

White also forced a fumble in the second half of that game.

''He does jump out on film,'' Fitzpatrick said.

RISING ROOKIE

One big reason for the Dolphins' improvement on defense is the 315-pound Wilkins, Miami's first-round draft choice this year.

''He has really started to pick it up the last few games,'' Flores said. ''He's very talented. He's got size, he's got athleticism, he plays with a really good motor, and I think he's starting to come into his own.''

Wilkins leads defensive linemen in the 2019 draft class with 32 tackles and ranks seventh among all tackles.

Player Notes
DeVante Parker Dec 14 10:40pm ET

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Devante Parker (concussion) has cleared the league's concussion protocol and will play on Sunday against the New York Giants. The Giants are starting four rookies in the secondary and Parker and the Dolphins shouldn't have too hard a time moving the ball. Parker is a strong WR2 with a nice ceiling for the fantasy semifinals this week. Parker's fellow Dolphins receiver Albert Wilson also cleared the protocol and will suit up for Sunday's game.

From RotoBaller

Saquon Barkley Dec 14 9:43pm ET

New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley said he is feeling 'healthier and healthier' ahead of a Week 15 matchup with a Miami Dolphins team ranked 31st in the NFL in rushing defense.

Fantasy Spin: Barkley hasn't had a 100-yard rushing game since Week 2, and he has gone five straight games without scoring. He has been one of the bigger fantasy disappointments this season, but RB2 numbers should be possible in Week 15 with a friendly matchup on tap.

From TheHuddle

Rashaad Penny Dec 14 9:23pm ET

Seattle Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list, Saturday, Dec. 14.

Fantasy Spin: The knee injury certainly won't help the former first-round pick establish himself as the potential starter in Seattle in 2020. If you own Penny in a dynasty league, you just have to stash him and hope he eventually turns things around.

From TheHuddle

Mecole Hardman Dec 14 9:10pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman has seen his targets decrease since Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins returned healthy. He's seen one target over the last two games, but that catch was a 48-yard touchdown. Hardman doesn't see enough targets to warrant owning in most formats. He's a touchdown-dependent receiver that is only worth using in the deepest of leagues. It's unclear how he'll be worked into the game plan, so he's risky for fantasy formats.

From RotoBaller

Travis Kelce Dec 14 9:10pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has been arguably the best tight end in the NFL alongside George Kittle. Kelce is expected to easily surpass 1,000 receiving yards on the season during the Week 15 matchup with the Denver Broncos. Kelce should be in for a solid game against the average Broncos Defense. Fantasy owners have been able to count on Kelce basically every week this season. He'll remain a TE1 for this home matchup with Denver.

From RotoBaller

Sammy Watkins Dec 14 9:00pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins has been unable to live up to his epic Week 1 performance. He's been able to carry enough fantasy value worth rostering him in most 12-team leagues, but hasn't scored since Week 1. Watkins heads into a matchup against the Denver Broncos in Week 15. The Broncos Defense has allowed the sixth fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season, according to Yahoo Sports. Fantasy owners should consider Watkins a WR3 or flex option for Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Darwin Thompson Dec 14 8:40pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs running back Darwin Thompson has seen increased involvement in the offense the last two games. Damien Williams (ribs) and Darrel Williams (hamstring) both being sidelined has given Thompson an opportunity in the backfield. Damien has a chance to play in Sunday's Week 15 contest against the Denver Broncos. Having him back might push Thompson out of the backfield rotation. Thompson showed promise in the passing game when he caught four passes for 36 yards versus the Patriots in Week 14. Thompson could again have value in the passing game if Williams is forced to sit out again. He's only a deep league option at this point, but he could have some flex value if Williams remains out.

From RotoBaller

Tyreek Hill Dec 14 8:40pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill has been a reliable fantasy option throughout most of the season. However, Hill has been unable to find the end zone through the last three games. He's heading into a matchup with the Denver Broncos in Week 15. The same team that he caught three passes for 74 yards and a touchdown on in Week 7. Fantasy owners should feel confident that Hill can be a WR1 for this home matchup with Denver. Hill has caught at least five receptions in each of the last two games.

From RotoBaller

LeSean McCoy Dec 14 8:30pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy has been the lead back lately with Damien Williams (ribs) sidelined. However, Williams is listed as questionable for Sunday's Week 15 matchup with the Broncos. McCoy saw 11 rushing attempts for 39 yards during the Week 14 victory over New England. He might end up getting another start, but will battle with Darwin Thompson and Spencer Ware for carries. McCoy is basically a touchdown-dependent option that will be handcuffed to around 10 to 12 carries.

From RotoBaller

Damien Williams Dec 14 8:20pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams (ribs) is listed as questionable for Sunday's Week 15 matchup with the Denver Broncos. The Chiefs backfield is a mess with LeSean McCoy, Darwin Thompson, and Spencer Ware all in the mix. Williams has missed the last two games and could be limited, assuming he plays on Sunday. It's uncertain how many touches Williams would see even fully healthy. He's going to be a touchdown-dependent fantasy option that most owners should avoid for Week 15.

From RotoBaller

Patrick Mahomes Dec 14 8:10pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has thrown three touchdowns and two interceptions over his last three games. Mahomes is normally an elite fantasy option every week, but has been slowed down recently. He should bounce back nicely against the Denver Broncos in Week 15. Mahomes completed 10 of 11 passing attempts for 76 yards and one touchdown last time he faced the Broncos in Week 7. However, Mahomes was injured during the game, but was playing very well before that. Fantasy owners should feel confident that Mahomes will bounce back here.

From RotoBaller

Jameis Winston Dec 14 7:53pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston (knee, thumb), will play Sunday, Dec. 15, against the Detroit Lions, according to Jenna Laine of ESPN Saturday, Dec. 14. He is officially listed as questionable.

Fantasy Spin: Winston has produced much better fantasy numbers than real-world results this season. He threw for a season-high 456 yards last week against the Indianapolis Colts while matching a season-high with four touchdowns but he also threw three interceptions for the fourth time this season. He's a low-end QB1.

From TheHuddle

Terrell Suggs Dec 14 6:33pm ET

Free-agent LB Terrell Suggs (Cardinals) will strongly consider not reporting to any team that claims him on waivers by 4 p.m. ET Monday, Dec. 16, if not the Baltimore Ravens, according to league sources Saturday, Dec. 14.

From TheHuddle

Albert Wilson Dec 14 6:03pm ET

Miami Dolphins WR Albert Wilson (concussion) cleared the NFL's concussion protocol Saturday, Dec. 14, and is expected to be available for the game Sunday, Dec. 15, against the New York Giants.

Fantasy Spin: Wilson hasn't reached the end zone since Week 8 and he hasn't topped 33 receiving yards in a single game this season. He isn't a fantasy consideration in anything but the deepest of leagues, even in the great Week 15 matchup.

From TheHuddle

DeVante Parker Dec 14 5:53pm ET

Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker (concussion) cleared the league's concussion protocol Saturday, Dec. 14, and will be available to play against the New York Giants Sunday, Dec. 15.

Fantasy Spin: Parker has enjoyed a breakout season and had topped 130 receiving yards in two of his previous three games before leaving early due to injury last week. He's a WR2 in a great matchup against the Giants this week.

From TheHuddle

Joe Schobert Dec 14 5:53pm ET

Cleveland Browns LB Joe Schobert has not heard from the team in months in regard to a contract extension and will likely be allowed to walk in free agency, according to a league source Saturday, Dec. 14.

From TheHuddle

Paul Richardson Dec 14 4:33pm ET

Washington Redskins WR Paul Richardson (hamstring) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Saturday, Dec. 14. OT Timon Parris was signed to the active roster from the practice squad.

From TheHuddle

Taiwan Jones Dec 14 4:33pm ET

Houston Texans RB Taiwan Jones (hamstring) won't travel with the team and has been ruled out of the game Sunday, Dec. 15, against the Tennessee Titans.

From TheHuddle

Jared Cook Dec 14 4:23pm ET

New Orleans Saints TE Jared Cook (concussion) practiced in full again Saturday, Dec. 14, and was taken off the Week 15 injury report.

Fantasy Spin: Cook is a top-flight TE1 due to his red-zone usage in the second half of the season. He has four touchdowns over his last four games.

From TheHuddle

Patrick Robinson Dec 14 4:23pm ET

New Orleans Saints LB Kiko Alonso (quad), OT Andrus Peat (forearm), S Vonn Bell (knee), CB Patrick Robinson (calf) and DB Johnson Bademosi (foot) didn't participate in practice Saturday, Dec. 14, and have been ruled out for the game Monday, Dec. 16, against the Indianapolis Colts. OT Terron Armstead (ankle), DE Cameron Jordan (abdomen), C Will Clapp (elbow), LB A.J. Klein (knee) and FB Zach Line (knee) were limited in practice but don't have injury designations.

From TheHuddle