New England Patriots
Despite “Walt Pitulski” inquiring about whether Julian Edelman will play quarterback, it is unlikely that the Patriots slot receiver takes snaps under center with Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett both practicing. That said, Edelman is a locked-in WR2 with upside against what has been an exploitable Bills secondary thus far. His, and Rob Gronkowski’s, owners should be hoping Garoppolo* gets the nod over Brissett, since Brissett would likely bring with him a conservative game plan. Gronkowski should also be locked into lineups after getting through Week 3 setback-free.
*Edit: Garoppolo is expected to start Sunday, according to WEEI’s Kirk Minihane.
LeGarrette Blount, the NFL’s leader in rushing yards, is a locked-and-loaded RB1 with Tom Brady out one more week.
With Garoppolo nursing a shoulder injury, and with Brissett potentially under center, there may not be much room for fantasy wealth throughout the Patriots lineup like fantasy owners are used to seeing. Martellus Bennett was force fed targets in the end zone in Week 3, but never connected. James White is an afterthought in the receiving game, and the duo of Danny Amendola and Chris Hogan have flashed, but aren’t getting enough usage with Brady out of action. All four players should be benched for Week 4, and can be reassessed once the future hall-of-fame quarterback returns.
There’s nothing more that the Bills would love to do than run the ball down the Patriots throats, especially with Sammy Watkins now on injured reserve due to a foot injury. That may be easier said than done for LeSean McCoy, but the shifty back has the talent to capitalize on the volume of a heavy workload. He is a low-end RB1, but risk still presents itself.
Tyrod Taylor lit the Patriots up in his first start against them, but crashed back down to earth in meeting No. 2 in 2015. Taylor has been a mixed bag so far in 2016, displaying his deep ball ability (see Marquise Goodwin), but also having two games where he failed to eclipse 119 passing yards. Taylor’s upside is as good as anyone’s, but his downside makes him too much of a risk to start against a stout Patriots defense. With Watkins out, the rest of the Bills receiving corps is better left on fantasy benches as well.