The Bills at Titans match currently scheduled for a 2:00pm PDT kick-off will remain in jeopardy until the opening kick as the unprecedented irresponsible behavior, coincidentally uncoordinated by the NFL and the Titans organization continue to produce more positive COVID-19 tests, putting employees, fans, and families at risk. Assuming the event takes place, this is an attempt to provide readers with actionable fantasy football items.
Fantasy’s overall QB3 through four weeks, Josh Allen, should continue steamrolling his opposition as a lacking Titans’ defensive unit, now depleted by six positive COVID-19 tests including lynchpin players like defensive end Jeffery Simmons, nose tackle DaQuan Jones, and rookie cornerback Kristian Fulton. Some of the defensive players have since been activated from the COVID - Reserve List but simply expecting a player who’s been battling the most brutal virus of our time to be at peak performance is ill advised expectation setting. Allen has silenced doubters with the help of his brilliant head coach, Brain Daboll, by producing a rock-solid 4.0% Completion Percentage Above Expected, showing that he’s routinely able to make the tough throws that many doubted possible. Allen is this week’s overall QB4 in our FakeTeams.com rankings.
Downfield dynamo Stefon Diggs was the perfect offseason acquisition for Allen and his cannon of an arm. Through four contests, Diggs owns rights to .5PPR’s WR6 spot in scoring. Few NFL cornerbacks can keep pace with the precision route runner. He’s a safe top 12 option at the position.
John “Smoke” Brown’s hot start has been slowed by a calf/knee injury. The extra recovery time with this week’s tilt being forced to a Tuesday kick-off has only been good for the team’s No. 2 downfield baller. Smokey was the overall WR10 in .5PPR scoring through the season’ first two weeks, before suffering the lower body injury in Week 3. Expect him to be the healthiest he’s been since his Week 2 outing and more than able to return high-end flex value.
Slot receiver Cole Beasley has effectively neutered tight end Dawson Knox’s ability to contribute in the box score, firmly wrenching control of the interior pass catcher role out of Knox’s hands. Beasley is unlikely to produce gaudy numbers with his safety blanket role but he’s a near lock to post 10 or more .5PPR points on a weekly basis. He’s a set-it-and-forget-it type of player who won’t ever lose you a week. He just might not provide you with the ceiling game to be a decisive victory factor.
Rookie running back Zack Moss was an enticing option during draft season but a Week 2 toe injury has knocked his season off course. He’s expected to return to action this week after sitting out the last two bouts. But fellow backfield-mate Devin Singletary has played exceedingly well in Moss’s absence, likely carving out a role that Moss will have to work to put a dent in. Singletary can be trusted for a high-end RB2 workload in an unimposing match-up. Moss, meanwhile, is just a wait-and-see for now.
Fortunately for fantasy managers, Titans’ quarterback Ryan Tannehill finds ways to mentally separate his appalling off-field decision making (ie. leading his teammates in banned, impromptu workouts after a league-mandated shutdown and quarantine for the team) from his on-field execution. Play-action wizard/Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith’s play calling certainly helps but Tannehill’s league-leading 2019 8.0% Completion Percentage Above Expected and his 2020 mark of 3.9% speak for themselves. Unfortunately for him though, he’ll be somewhat short-staffed tonight—slot receiver Adam Humphries is on the NFL’s COVID/Reserve List and therefore unable to play. The only real weakness that the Bills’ pass defense has shown is their interior coverage, having yielded the most lucrative receiver outings to slot players Jamison Crowder (Week 1) and Cooper Kupp (Week 3). A handful of other players have managed flashy moments but the Bills pass coverage really is stout. The caveat here is that Bills’ top cornerback Tre’Davious White is likely “out” with a back injury, having failed to record a single practice for Week 5. With perimeter receiver Corey Davis out as well (COVID/Reserve List) dominant 2nd-year receiver A.J. Brown is in position to be a target monster this evening.
Brown has been dealing with a bone bruise, suffered in Week 1 and has been unable to take the field since. Although he’s not 100% it appears as though he’s ready to make his return. The Bills’ non-Tre’Davious White defensive backs are still a top-notch group so Brown will have his work cutout for him. Nevertheless, when it comes to box score success, volume is king. Bet on Brown as a high-upside WR2.
Journeyman receiver Kalif Raymond stepped up in Week 3, working over the hapless Vikings’ secondary as the team’s designated downfield receiver. Raymond is by no means a dynamic player though so there’s reason to expect a lackluster outing against the Bills’ DB platoon. Consider Raymond a severe boom/bust flex option.
Tight end Jonnu Smith is in for a great day, as the Bills have also allowed a dearth of fantasy points to be scored on them via the tight end position. Mike Gesicki (Week 2) and Darren Waller (Week 4) both had terrific outings against them. Through the Titans’ three 2020 games, Smith’s .5PPR production was second only to Travis Kelce. Deploy him as a high-end TE1.
Although running back Derrick Henry is in for his typical mammoth workload with rookie backup Darrynton Evans playing a completely irrelevant role, the absence of fullback Khari Blasingame (COVID/Reserve List) will be sorely missed. Still, the likelihood of Henry seeing 25+ touches keeps him firmly in the back-end of the RB1 rankings, despite the tough match-up