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.''
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.''
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.
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.''
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.
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.
Philadelphia Eagles kicker Jake Elliott made just one of his two field goals in Week 14, but he made both of his extra point attempts. Elliott was perfect through the first few games of the season, but he's been in a bit of a slump lately despite recently signing a contract extension. Still, with a good matchup coming up in Week 15 against Washington, Elliott should be a solid fantasy kicking option then.
The Philadelphia Eagles Defense didn't do much in a Week 14 overtime win over the New York Giants. They allowed 17 points, all in the first half, and recorded two sacks, both by Vinny Curry. They were unable to record any interceptions or force any fumbles. It was a pedestrian performance against a stone statue resembling Eli Manning. Another good matchup awaits the Eagles defense with Washington up next on the schedule, but they're getting more and more difficult to trust in fantasy lineups.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Greg Ward came up with four catches on nine targets in Week 14, gaining 34 yards. Ward had the chance to come up with a few big plays, but was unable to do much with his opportunities. Ward was thrust into a bigger role after Alshon Jeffery was forced to leave the game due to an injury in the second quarter, but Ward quickly showed why he was so far down on the depth chart. Regardless of Jeffery's recovery, Ward won't be a great fantasy option despite a good matchup against Washington in Week 15.
Philadelphia Eagles rookie wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside made two catches in Week 14, gaining 29 yards. He was targeted three times but was a near every-down player, especially after Alshon Jeffery was forced to leave the game with a foot injury. Arcega-Whiteside showed some huge upside in the preseason but hasn't really been able to do anything in regular season play. Even if Jeffery is forced to miss Week 15, Arcega-Whiteside will be nothing more than a dart-throw in most fantasy formats.
New York Giants tight end Kaden Smith was a no show on Monday night. He saw five targets from Eli Manning but was only able to catch two of them for nine yards. Smith was a nice story after solid production last week, but he was never likely to have sustained value. With it probable that either Evan Engram (foot) or Rhett Ellison (concussion) will be back next week, Smiths time on the fantasy radar may be over.
Philadelphia Eagles rookie running back Miles Sanders was thoroughly outplayed by Boston Scott in a Week 14 win over the New York Giants. Sanders averaged just three yards per carry, running the ball 15 times for 45 scoreless yards. He added four catches for 24 more yards. Scott, meanwhile, accrued 128 yards from scrimmage and made some explosive plays throughout the game. Sanders was forced to leave the game for a bit in the second half due to an injury, but he was able to return soon after. Sanders should still get the start in Week 15, but Scott has certainly earned more playing time and should eat into the upside that Sanders possesses.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Jay Ajayi did almost nothing in a Week 14 win over the New York Giants, running the ball just twice for a total of five yards. He saw one target in the passing game, but was unable to come down with a catchable ball. Ajayi has played a very small role on the Eagles offense since being signed, and it has become clear that he is nothing more than depth in the running back room at this point.
Early on, the New York Giants Defense did a solid job against a banged-up Eagles offense. They took advantage of an Eagles offense without Alshon Jeffrey, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Howard, and Lane Johnson, getting pressure on Carson Wentz, forcing errant throws and sacking him three times. However, they were never able to get any turnovers and the Giants' utter lack of offense in the second half allowed the Eagles to gather some momentum as the game wore on. Even against the Dolphins and turnover-happy Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Giants are not a recommended streaming defense with so much on the line for fantasy teams.
New York Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas made both of his extra points and his only field goal attempt in Monday's loss to the Eagles. As with most games this season, Rosas' fantasy value is limited by his mediocre offense. The Giants simply don't get the ball into scoring position enough for him to be a fantasy-viable kicker, even next week against the Dolphins.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz scored two huge touchdowns in Week 14, including a walk-off score in overtime. Ertz ended up with nine catches on 13 targets for a total of 91 yards. His first score came on a two-yard strike in the middle of the fourth quarter, and his second was another two-yard pass, this one in overtime. Ertz was essentially the entire passing game in this one, as Greg Ward and rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside were the only available wide receivers after Alshon Jeffery was forced to leave with a foot injury. With a strong matchup against Washington coming up next week, Ertz should be a strong TE1 once again.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert made three catches on six targets in Week 14. He gained 41 yards on his three grabs, including one crucial catch near the end of the game that helped lead the Eagles to an overtime win. With Alshon Jeffery forced to leave in the second quarter due to a foot injury, Goedert and fellow tight end Zach Ertz ended up becoming the receiving corps for quarterback Carson Wentz. With another good matchup in Week 15 against Washington, Goedert will be a low-end TE1 again.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was solid in a rainy overtime win over the New York Giants in Week 14. Wentz completed 33 of his 50 pass attempts for 325 yards and two touchdowns. Both of his touchdowns went to tight end Zach Ertz, with the second one being an overtime walk-off score. Wentz was left with just Greg Ward and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside as the only healthy wide receivers on the roster after Alshon Jeffery left in the second quarter with a foot injury. It's a concern for Wentz's Week 15 outlook, but a good matchup against Washington helps.
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning had some magic working early in his first game back in the starting lineup since Week 3, delivering two touchdown passes to Darius Slayton, but the potion wore off as the rain picked up and the Giants collapsed on primetime TV. After his hot start, Manning remained inaccurate and immobile in the pocket. He finished with 15 completions on 30 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns. The stats will look fine, but this Giants team is unquestionably better with Daniel Jones under center, and the expectation should be that Jones takes the job back next week against the Dolphins if his ankle heals up.
New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton exploded in the first half of the Giants loss to the Eagles on Monday night. Slayton and Eli Manning connected on two early deep balls as Slayton seemed to beat Ronald Darby at will. He corralled five of his six targets for 154 yards and two touchdowns, but the rain and the Giants ridiculously conservative gameplan caused Slaytons fun to end prematurely. With Daniel Jones likely to come back next week, Slayton remains a low-end WR3 in an easy matchup against the Dolphins, unless Evan Engram also comes back to take away more targets.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Boston Scott showed some real explosiveness and big play ability in a Week 14 overtime win over the New York Giants. Scott ran the ball 10 times for 59 yards and a touchdown, adding six catches for 69 more yards. Scott looked like the best running back in an Eagles uniform all season in this one, making it look easy as he averaged almost six yards per carry in the rain. Scott got a little extra run in the second half as Miles Sanders had to miss some time with a minor injury. Scott could see his role grow in Week 15 against Washington.
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley was bottled up in Mondays loss to the Eagles. The Eagles run defense is among the leagues best, so Barkley rushing 17 times for 66 yards was not a surprise. However, in a rainy game with Eli Manning back under center, it was honestly shocking that Barkley was only able to muster one yard on three catches. Why the Giants star has seemingly been phased out of the passing attack is anybodys guess, but it has severely capped his fantasy value. He has a get-right game next week against the lowly Dolphins, but Barkley is just a low-end RB1 now.
New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate was an afterthought in his first game with Eli Manning under center. The first-year Giant caught only one of his five targets for 11 yards. With Darius Slayton emerging and Evan Engram possibly returning next week, Tate is falling down the receiving pecking order and could be just a WR4 next week against the Dolphins. It would be safer to find another option for your fantasy playoffs.
New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard was second on the team in targets with seven but only hauled in four passes for 28 yards. Whenever he is on the field, Shepard is a magnet for targets, regardless of who is under center. His consistently high volume means that he could be an intriguing, albeit risky, WR3 option next week against the Dolphins mediocre pass defense.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery was forced to leave Monday's game against the New York Giants due to a foot injury. Jeffery limped off the field after going down while running a route in the second quarter. He was carted into the locker room from the sideline. He made zero catches on two bad targets before getting hurt. It's a devastating blow to fantasy owners who trusted Jeffery after his huge Week 13 performance, but potentially even worse for the Eagles, who are left with just Greg Ward and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside as the only wide receivers in uniform.
Updating a previous report, Philadelphia Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery (foot) will not return to the Week 14 game against the New York Giants due to his foot injury.
Fantasy Spin: Jeffery was carted off in the first half and immediately went to the locker room. He finished without a catch on two targets. Greg Ward Jr., JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Josh Perkins will steer the ship home at wide receiver.