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FFL: Playoff Week 1 | NFL: Week 14

Bills-Dolphins Preview

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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
Odell Beckham Jr. Dec 8 8:20am ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is playing through a painful sports hernia injury, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. The star receiver will need to have offseason surgery to repair the injury. While it hasn't caused Beckham to miss any games, the injury has cut into his practice time and can be one of the reasons why he and Baker Mayfield have struggled with their on-field rapport this season. For now, it appears that Beckham will finish out the season but there is a risk of him getting shut down early if the Browns fall out of playoff contention.

From RotoBaller

Adam Thielen Dec 8 8:20am ET

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring) is expected to be out against the Lions in Week 14. Thielen suffered the injury at the end of October and will likely miss his fourth straight after failing to log a practice this week. In his absence, expect more looks for Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph, and Alexander Mattison on Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Julian Edelman Dec 8 8:10am ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (shoulder) is expected to be available for the critical matchup with Kansas City on Sunday. Edelman has been dealing with the ailment for quite some time but has been able to play. He has logged at least 11 targets in each of his last seven games and should continue to get plenty of looks from Tom Brady in Week 14 despite Mohamed Sanu (ankle) also expected to see the field. Keep him starting in all fantasy formats.

From RotoBaller

Will Fuller Dec 8 8:10am ET

Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller (hamstring) is not expected to play against Denver on Sunday. After playing against the Pats in Week 13, Fuller will probably miss his fourth game of the year after suffering another setback. While this isn't a massive blow to fantasy owners, especially considering the matchup against a relatively tough Broncos Defense, it isn't good news for those in deeper fantasy formats. Expect Kenny Stills to serve as the primary beneficiary in Week 14.

From RotoBaller

Josh Jacobs Dec 8 8:00am ET

Oakland Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (shoulder) may not play against Tennessee on Sunday, with his status for Week 14 still up in the air. Jacobs has carried this designation over the last five weeks, and while he has been able to suit up during that span, this may be the first time that Oakland is without him this year. He was able to practice on Friday in a limited capacity after missing the previous two sessions, but if he is out, expect Deandre Washington to carry the load as the No. 1 option out of the backfield against an average Titans Defense. Keep an eye on his availability up until kickoff.

From RotoBaller

Marquise Brown Dec 8 7:50am ET

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown (ankle) is expected to play on Sunday in Buffalo. Hollywood has been dealing with this issue for the majority of the year, so his designation throughout the week wasn't a huge surprise. The rookie fizzled in Week 13 against the 49ers after accounting for two touchdowns against the Rams in Week 12, and while the upside is there, he draws a tough matchup against a Bills Defense that is ranked in the top-six against opposing wideouts this season. Proceed with caution.

From RotoBaller

Mark Ingram Dec 7 9:40pm ET

Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram rushed for 59 yards on 15 attempts in Week 13's win over the 49ers. Ingram could produce a healthy amount of production against a Bills Defense with a weakness against the run. Ingram will continue to share the ball with Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, but he is still the No. 1 option in the backfield and will get the majority of touches. If the Ravens can get the run game going early, Ingram has a good chance to get in the end zone. He is an RB2 going into Sunday's Week 13 matchup.

From RotoBaller

John Ross Dec 7 9:33pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals WR John Ross (shoulder) should see a 'healthy amount of targets' when he returns in Week 14 against the Cleveland Browns, in the opinion of Ben Baby of ESPN.com.

Fantasy Spin: Although Ross may have his snaps limited in a bit in his return, his game is built around big plays, not volume. He could still be worth a flier as a boom-or-bust flex play.

From TheHuddle

Marquise Brown Dec 7 9:30pm ET

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown caught 1-of-2 targets for one yard in Week 13 against the 49ers. Prior to last week, Brown hadn't been targeted less than four times in a game this season. Part of Brown's lack of involvement was due to Baltimore attacking San Francisco with its run game, but his output was disappointing, to say the least. The Ravens matchup against a Buffalo Bills Defense in Week 14 that has been stingy to opposing wide receivers. Hollywood is a touchdown-dependent play against Buffalo and stands in low-end WR3 territory.

From RotoBaller

Matthew Stafford Dec 7 9:23pm ET

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford (back, hip) said his injured back is healing 'as it should' and won't cause any long-term issues.

Fantasy Spin: Stafford will remained sidelined in Week 14, and there is a good chance he won't play again this season. If you own Stafford in a dynasty league, he should be ready to roll for 2020.

From TheHuddle

Mark Andrews Dec 7 9:10pm ET

Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews caught 3-of-6 targets for 50 yards and a touchdown against the 49ers in Week 13. Andrews was able to produce a solid performance despite playing a stout 49ers Defense. Baltimore matches up against a Bills Defense in Week 14 that has allowed only two touchdowns to opposing tight ends in 2019, including one to Jason Witten in Week 13. As the most heavily targeted option in Baltimore, Andrews is still a TE1 as reliable tight ends are scarce.

From RotoBaller

Jason Myers Dec 7 9:00pm ET

Seattle Seahawks kicker Jason Myers has turned his season around since his hiccoughs against Tampa Bay, and he'll need to be on point against a dangerous Rams team this weekend. Last time, Seattle squeaked out a victory thanks to a last-second shanked field goal by the Rams kicker, so Myers was bailed out for missing one of his own earlier in the game. Now he comes into the game having made six straight field goals and nine straight extra points. Expect Pete Carroll to continue to depend mightily on Myers, and he could be just what a desperate fantasy owner needs to finish out the playoffs.

From RotoBaller

Jadeveon Clowney Dec 7 9:00pm ET

Seattle Seahawks linebacker Mychal Kendricks is doubtful to go against the Rams on Sunday night due to a hamstring injury that has lingered all week. That means the Seahawks Defense will likely be starting rookie linebacker Cody Barton when they take the field in the Coliseum. The third-round pick out of Utah has gotten nothing but effusive praise from head coach Pete Carroll, but the notoriously upbeat coach is usually overflowing with praise about every player in the league. The good news is that Jadeveon Clowney and Ziggy Ansah are both expected to be able to go, so hopefully the pass rush can stay mean and buy some more time for the newbie when he's in coverage.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Lockett Dec 7 8:50pm ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett has had a rough couple of weeks, but hopes are high for Sunday's primetime game against the Rams. Lockett was downed with a serious shin contusion at the end of the 49ers game four weeks ago, and then just as he fully recovered from that, he was one of a handful of Seahawks to come down with the flu before the Vikings game. He made it through, but he didn't catch any balls along the way. Now removed from both issues, Lockett is expected to be back to full speed against the Rams, a team he's traditionally had a lot of success against. Fantasy owners should find solace in that.

From RotoBaller

D.K. Metcalf Dec 7 8:40pm ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf snuck behind the defense and hauled in a bomb from Russell Wilson for a touchdown in his first career game against the Rams, and LA is definitely preparing to try to prevent that from happening again. Metcalf has excelled in that arena, hauling in a pass for 20 or more yards in nine of his 12 games this season, and fantasy owners should bank on Seattle looking for Metcalf downfield once again on Sunday night. The workout wonder has grown throughout the season and turned into more of a possession receiver while Tyler Lockett was hampered with a leg injury, but Lockett is expected to be back to full speed on Sunday, which should give Metcalf the freedom to roam a little more. Expect to see at least one long bomb with his name on it.

From RotoBaller

Chris Carson Dec 7 8:30pm ET

Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson was one of the team's strongest weapons when they beat the Rams at home earlier this year, and he'll need to bring that same fire to LA if Seattle is going to come out on top again. Carson has been a beastly back this year, even if the recent surge of carries for Rashaad Penny has hurt fantasy owners. Carson has shown that he welcomes the addition of Penny to the mix, so expect him to share the load once again, but Carson remains the No. 1 option for the team. Any owner isn't going to turn away from him at this point, and Carson should easily clear the 1,000-yard hurdle in 2019 by putting up another strong game against his division rival.

From RotoBaller

Rashaad Penny Dec 7 8:30pm ET

Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny was bombarded with insults earlier in the season when he continued to struggle to find his footing in the NFL, but his last two games have silenced a whole lot of those critics. Now, he'll get another go at one of the team's bitter division rivals in primetime on Sunday night. Penny tallied just 18 yards on six carries last time he saw LA, but now he's coming off back-to-back thrashings of the Philadelphia and Minnesota defenses. Penny's impressive performances will likely keep his name in the mix throughout the game, and he should continue to show considerable improvement over his previous version.

From RotoBaller

Russell Wilson Dec 7 8:20pm ET

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson put up a huge game against the Rams last time out, and he'll need another top-tier performance if Seattle's going to hang on to first place in the NFC West. Unfortunately, the LA defense has had a renaissance since the last time Wilson saw them. They have allowed 20 or fewer points in six of their last seven games with the only outlier being the drubbing that Baltimore gave them. Now on Sunday night, Wilson will need to summon all his magic to ensure Seattle can bring home a victory. Fortunately, Wilson specializes at excelling in primetime. He should put up some big numbers on Sunday night.

From RotoBaller

Lamar Jackson Dec 7 8:10pm ET

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson threw for 105 yards, ran for 101 yards and scored a touchdown through the air and on the ground in Week 13's win over the 49ers. The Ravens have another tough defensive matchup in Week 14 in Buffalo. The Bills Defense has conceded only nine passing touchdowns this season and has held opposing quarterbacks to an average of 12 fantasy points per game. Jackson remains in must-start territory for this game and for the rest of the season, if it wasn't already obvious. The Bills defense has allowed 109 rushing yards to opposing quarterbacks in 2019, but Jackson ran for eight yards shy of that in last week against San Francisco. Jackson simply cannot be sat.

From RotoBaller

Neiko Thorpe Dec 7 7:53pm ET

Seattle Seahawks CB Neiko Thorpe (hernia) is expected to be placed on the Reserve/Injured list next week.

From TheHuddle