Thursday Night Football brings a battle of two struggling AFC East teams this week. The Dolphins and Bills both enter riding losing streaks, so at least one team will emerge on a positive note.
Miami was blown away by Tennessee in Week 10. The laughable 37-3 loss leaves plenty of question surrounding the Dolphins. Buffalo on the other hand is dealing with plenty of issues itself, but nearly defeating New England last week provided at least some hope going forward.
These two teams don't exactly have an abundance of fantasy talent. There are a few names, though, you need to keep in mind in regards to your lineup. Let's take a look at which players you need to start for Thursday night's matchup, and who needs to take a seat on you bench, or be dropped. Either one.
Ryan Tannehill, quarterback - As with any rookie, you can expect more from the roller coaster that is Tannehill's production in 2012. After four turnover-free weeks, he threw three interceptions in Week 10 against the Titans. The Bills defense has given up at least one passing touchdown every game. They might be just the team to help boost Tannehill's confidence again. With quarterbacks going down left and right, starting Tannehill wouldn't be a bad option this week.
Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas, running back- Joe Philbin appeared to be sending Bush a message when he benched his starting running back in the first half last week after he coughed up another fumble. While Philbin said Bush wasn't in any kind of doghouse, Daniel Thomas is still constantly eating into his workload. The Bills are embarrassing to watch trying to stop opposing runners. They've given up 14 touchdowns on the ground this season. Both Bush and Thomas are worth starting, but they'll continue to hurt each other's value in the growing timeshare for the Dolphins.
Brian Hartline and Davone Bess, wide receiver- Hartline ranks 11th in the league in targets and 13th in receptions. He's clearly Tannehill's go-to guy. Unfortunately the two have only hooked up for one touchdown this season, and that came on blown coverage against the Cardinals. PPR owners can lock him into their lineups, and standard leagues should also start Hartline against the Bills secondary. Bess is worth a PPR flex play, but his lack of production in recent weeks is concerning.
Anthony Fasano, tight end - Fasano caught one pass in each of his last three games. Not exactly the kind of numbers that scream must-start, must-own or even must-consider for fantasy. He's been off the radar in the Dolphins offense since their bye, and he should be off yours as well.
Dolphins defense/special teams - The fifth-ranked run defense looked clueless when trying to slow down Chris Johnson last week. It will be no easy task stopping C.J. Spiller in Week 11 either, and considering the Dolphins look awful against the pass this year, we could be in store for plenty of points from the Bills. After Tennessee put up 37 points at Miami, you will want to hold off this week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, quarterback - The Dolphins rank 28th in the league against the pass. Fitzpatrick isn't always a model of fantasy greatness, but he does enough to deserve a start when facing the right matchup. This is the right matchup. Miami let Andrew Luck absolutely tear apart its secondary for 433 yards two weeks ago. The only three weeks he hasn't thrown 2+ touchdowns came against San Francisco, Arizona and Houston, all teams that fare well against opposing passers. If you're in need of a quarterback this week, Fitzpatrick should be a solid play.
C.J. Spiller, running back - Fred Jackson will not play this week, so that can only mean one thing. Spiller is actually going to get the amount of touches his talent warrants. Chan Gailey said he expects Spiller to receive 20-30 carries on Thursday night, and since he's averaging 7.3 yards per carry this season, you can probably figure out why his owners are ecstatic about the potential here. If you can trade for Spiller, that would be a good idea as well. Even when Jackson is healthy, Spiller puts up plenty of yardage on the limited numbers of touches he sees each game.
Stevie Johnson and Donald Jones, wide receiver - The Dolphins have yielded a touchdown to an opposing wide receiver in all but two games this season. Johnson isn't finding the end zone often these days, but there's a good chance he'll break that dry spell on Thursday. Stevie is always a recommended PPR play, but he'll likely be of value to any league in Week 11. Jones on the other hand has 16 catches for 186 yards and two touchdowns in the past three games. He's finally starting to provide a solid No. 2 receiver for the Bills. He's worth a start in PPR leagues against the Dolphins secondary. There are better options for standard scoring, but you could give him a shot in a deeper league.
Scott Chandler, tight end - Chandler disappeared for multiple weeks before bursting back onto the scene last week with 65 yards and a touchdown. He doesn't racked up the yards, and he doesn't catch many passes (his season high is five). The only aspect of his game that makes him valuable is his red zone presence, and even then he's only scored in four of nine games for Buffalo in 2012. Miami gave up its first touchdown to a tight end last week. This isn't shaping up to be a promising matchup for Chandler. Another tight end would be a wiser choice, unless you're willing to roll the dice on him finding the end zone.
Bills defense/special teams - Buffalo is allowing an unbelievable average of 410 yards per game, which is only better than the Saints "defense". The Bills have also managed just 11 takeaways. Now, the Dolphins did only score three points against the porous Titans defense last week, so that may entice you to play the Bills D/ST as a bit of a flyer in Week 11. It would still be an extremely risky play, though, considering the facts presented in this case.