Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 17: Bills vs. Patriots

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots could be the AFC's top seed after Sunday. They could also be the four seed. There's a lot of intrigue, to say the least.

The current two-game winning streak of the Buffalo Bills will likely go down as the team's season highlight. The team has started three different quarterbacks and had six different leading receivers. Their best chance at a winning record this season came in Week 5, and they responded with a 13-point loss to the Cleveland Browns of all teams. Meanwhile, the New England Patriots have been who they have always been -- productive, efficient, successful. The teams face off Sunday in Foxboro at 4:25 p.m. ET. Take a look at the fantasy players that could matter:


Start in every league: C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, Dan Carpenter

Start if you're desperate: Defense/special teams

Bench: Thad Lewis, all receivers great and small

The Patriots are middling against running backs, but Jackson and Spiller both have the talent -- if not necessarily the results -- to be starters nonetheless. With so many problems in the team's receiving game, Buffalo will lean on the running backs. ... Carpenter has improved his production of late, with at least seven fantasy points in five straight games. He's a top-10 fantasy kicker.

The Bills' defense is eighth in fantasy scoring on the season, and is coming off a 19-point beatdown of the Dolphins in Week 16. On the other hand, the Patriots' offense is stout, and could present problems for the Bills.

Lewis performed well in Week 6, but otherwise has been significantly subpar; he can't possibly be trusted in a finals matchup. ... The Bills' top tight end ranks 19th at the position; their top receiver ranks 55th and likely won't play Sunday. Super-duper stay away.


Start in every league: Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Stephen Gostkowski, Defense/special teams

Start if you're desperate: Danny Amendola

Bench: Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley, LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden

Last Sunday was Brady's worst game since Week 8, but the team was so successful on the ground -- and led for so much of the game -- that they didn't need to lean on him much. He's been excellent lately, and that ought to continue. ... The Bills are good against the run, but they struggle against receivers, and Edelman has been on fire lately. ... Gostkowski is still waiting for his first game this season with fewer than two field goals. No player at any position has been more consistent. ... The Patriots' defense is a top-10 unit facing a low-end backup quarterback. Have fun.

A week after his biggest yardage day as a Patriot, Amendola fell back to two catches in Week 16. Part of that was the team's lead on Baltimore, but still, the fact that he isn't getting the looks has to hurt his value.

Vereen is a question mark for Sunday's game with a groin injury, but either way, he, Blount, Ridley, and Bolden all battle for touches too much to be reliable. Blount had the big day Sunday; would anyone be surprised if someone else took the reins this time around?

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