QB Tom Brady
After a few weeks of mediocre performances, I think this is the week that Brady really breaks out. The Bills defense is vulnerable to the pass, giving up 6 TDs through the air in games against the Jets, Chiefs and Browns so far this year. Expect Brady to pull out one of his “you’re going to win your fantasy game no matter what” games out of the hat by putting up 350 yards and 3 scores this week.
WRs Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Deion Branch
You’re starting both Welker and Lloyd this week if you have them. Welker has 29 catches and 332 yards in his last four games in Buffalo, so he is a safe bet for 6+ catches and 100 yards. Lloyd appears to be building greater chemistry with Brady every week, and he’ll have a chance to exploit that vulnerable secondary to the tune of 7 catches, 125 yards and his first long TD. I also included Branch this week because he should see more playing time with Edelman nursing a hand injury. If you are truly desperate, you could do worse. He should see around 4-5 targets, and Brady could look to him in the red zone.
RB Stevan Ridley, Danny Woodhead
It was a surprise to see Woodhead get the majority of touches and vulture a rushing TD last week, but that was likely an issue related to personnel packages since the Pats ran out of the shotgun most of the night. I think Ridley will be back to his normal 15-18 touches this week against a Buffalo front 7 that is improved from last year, but stillvulnerable to the run. I’m counting on 80 yards and a TD. In what should be a stats bonanza, I wouldn’t bet against Woodhead racking up 40+ yards and a possible score as well. He’s becoming interesting for deep leaguers.
TE Rob Gronkowski
Gronkowski had an extremely quiet night in Baltimore, but he’s been a Buffalo killer throughout his short career (7 TDs in four career games). With Hernandez still sidelined, look for Gronk to break out of his funk and top 100 yards receiving with a score. The potential exists for even more.
New England Defense/Special Teams
This is a tough one to project. The Bills have looked pretty good on offense through two games, and they’ve done a good job of limiting mistakes. They are getting the ball out of Fitzpatrick’s hands quicker, giving up only one sack on the year. But if the Pats jump on top of the Bills early, they could force a lot of mistakes. I think a conservative estimate has the Pats giving up around 24 points with a sack and a turnover turnovers. A bullish estimate is somewhere around 13 points with 5-6 combined sacks and turnovers. It all likelihood, the numbers will fall somewhere in the middle.