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Monday Night Football preview: What to expect fantasy-wise from Bills at 49ers

A fantasy football preview of Monday Night Football.

Buffalo Bills v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Buffalo Bills at San Francisco 49ers


Josh Allen tees off against San Francisco in a hopeful get-right spot against a Niners front that’s been had for big ground gains by mobile quarterbacks this year (i.e. Kyler Murray — 13-91-1, Daniel Jones — 5-49, Carson Wentz — 7-37-1, and Russell Wilson — 6-23). With Deebo Samuel and Raheem Mostert back at full health, the 49ers should be able to keep pace on the scoreboard with Buffalo, an aspect that bodes very well for Allen’s box score prospects. As evidenced by Sam Hoppen’s Weeks 9-12 RB usage/win probability chart, both Bills backs, Zack Moss and Devin Singletary, don’t see much usage until Buffalo’s win probability exceeds 50%. As a result, The Josh Allen Show should be in full effect for the Monday Night Football showdown. Allen is this week’s overall QB2.

Although lock-down cornerback Richard Sherman doesn’t travel side-to-side, Stefon Diggs will undoubtedly see a fair share of his coverage. That said, small, shifty receivers have always been Sherman’s kryptonite. Trust Diggs, .5PPR’s WR8 in scoring, to easily return Top 12 results in Week 13.

Whenever perimeter receiver John Brown has been out (or playing while hurt) this year, slot receiver Cole Beasley gets all the work he can handle — and more often than not, he rises to the occasion. Beasley’s Weeks 4-7 stretch speaks for itself. Consider Beasley a high-end flex play with a near impenetrable floor and a solid ceiling. His high-volume slot usage enhances his ceiling potential in full-point PPR formats.

As evidenced by the studly outings of downfield receivers like D.K. Metcalf (12/15-161-2) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (2/4-53-2), capable fill-in receiver Gabriel Davis and his sky-high 14.5 intended targeted air yards offer fantasy managers an excellent shot at a repeated chunk gains, and/or a long touchdown. Fire up Davis if you’re in need of a streaming option for your flex spot.

No. 4 receiver Isaiah McKenzie is not seeing enough usage to be fantasy-relevant at this time.

Tight end Dawson Knox is barely a factor in this offense. San Francisco is also allowing just 6 .5PPR PPG to opposing tight ends — 2nd-fewest in the league. Look elsewhere for a viable fantasy tight end.

As noted in the QB section, neither lead back Zack Moss, nor change of pace back Devin Singletary are seeing enough work to be flexed with confidence. Making matters worse, the Niners are allowing just 18.1 .5PPR PPG, 11th-fewest in the league. Moss and Singletary are respective RB3’s and 4’s.


Fill-in QB Nick Mullens performed in a strikingly similar manner to injured starter, Jimmy Garoppolo. Their accuracy nod goes to Mullens with his underwhelming -1.6% Completion Percentage Above Expectation, as compared to Jimmy G’s -3.6%. Mullens’ and Garoppolo’s average intended air yards, 6.2 and 6.5, are 3rd and 4th shallowest in the league. While their aggressiveness ratings, (Mullens — 13.1%, 8th-least and Garoppolo — 13.6%, 11th-least), are decidedly not aggressive. To be fair, the latter is schematic and it may be what saves Mullens’ Week 13 box score from the expected QB3 doldrums with schemed up receiver screen passes to Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk producing big gains. Buffalo’s pass defense is tough to parse. They’ve been giving up the 5th-most .5PPR PPG to opposing signal callers (20), but part of that must stem from the murderer’s row of fearless gunslingers that they’ve faced this year (i.e. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Tannehill, Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray, and Justin Herbert, to name a few).

Regarding the aforementioned receivers, Samuel and Aiyuk, the dynamic after-the-catch duo will be the clear-cut focal points of San Francisco’s aerial attack. The veteran Samuel can be trusted as a high-floor WR2, as head coach Kyle Shanahan will be intent on scheming up plays for the now-healthy stud. Brandon Aiyuk, the apparent second-coming of Samuel can similarly be trusted to produce as a high-floor flex option. Like his mentor, his ball-carrying ability makes him a weekly threat to take it to the house from anywhere on the field.

Of the remaining receivers, Kendrick Bourne, Trent Taylor, Richie James, River Cracraft, Bourne and Taylor provide the most intrigue as their high frequency of snaps in the slot could bring sneaky value given the match-up. Slot receivers like Jamison Crowder (7/13-115-1), Cooper Kupp (9/10—107-1), and Keenan Allen (4/10-40-1) have had solid days against Buffalo’s slot coverage all year. Both should be included in DFS lineups or started as sneaky, albeit long-shot season-long flex plays.

Tight end Jordan Reed has soundly out-targeted fellow tight end Ross Dwelley over the last two SF games and the former faces a blow-up spot on his hands this evening. The Bills are allowing the most .5PPR PPG to opposing tight ends (12.2), making Reed a high-end season-long streamer/DFS lock for one-game slates. Dwelley can similarly be deployed in a contrarian sense.

Having made it through his return to action last week, lead back Raheem Mostert is ready to wreck the box score against Buffalo’s lacking front-seven. The unit continues to concede the 8th-most .5PPR PPG to opposing backfields (21.9), providing a shot at high-end RB1 results for Mostert. Start him accordingly. Change of pace back Jerick McKinnon deserves high-end flex consideration in the sublime match-up. Jeff Wilson Jr. is only to be considered in contrarian DFS one-game lineups.