It was billed as the game of the young season, maybe even the game of the year. What it turned into was just another NFL blowout.
Josh Allen, you know how to throw a party, or spoil one — depending on your point of view. I can’t wait to see the fresh MVP odds Monday morning.
Allen played a letter-perfect game in Buffalo’s 48-20 romp over Miami, throwing for four touchdowns and running in a fifth. Allen had just four incompletions on the day, and finished with 320 passing yards. His scrambling was limited mostly to pocket mobility that set up downfield connections, but he did tack on an 11-yard quarterback draw for that final score. The beleaguered Dolphins didn’t even touch Allen on the final run.
Allen and Stefon Diggs have that mind-meld thing going, and Miami never found a way to stop it. Diggs caught six passes on seven targets, good for 120 yards and three touchdowns. Diggs worked his magic on the boundary, he won over the middle, he made yards after the catch. Whatever drama was surrounding Diggs and the Bills in the springtime, it’s ancient history now.
Although Buffalo’s offense has been high octane all year, it’s not easy to find fantasy answers after Allen and Diggs. The backfield continues to split three ways, with James Cook, Damien Harris, and Latavius Murray all seeing regular work. Cook’s choppy 12-29 line was bailed out by a touchdown run and a 48-yard reception; given the fantasy wreckage at the running back position this year, you’re probably playing Cook no matter what. Murray and Harris are mostly touchdown-and-hope players, and neither had a score Sunday. And obviously Allen holds a lot of goal-line equity, too.
Gabe Davis might be another touchdown-or-bust player. He has just 12 catches on the year on a modest 18 targets, but he’s scored three times, including one Sunday. Dalton Kincaid hasn’t been an explosive receiver thus far in his rookie year, but at least he’s secured 15-of-17 targets (4-27-0 against Miami). Those catches have only netted 99 yards, however.
Down game for Dolphins, but better days are ahead
Although Miami remains one of the AFC’s primary contenders, this series has been one-sided for years. Buffalo has 12 wins in the last 14 meetings. Allen is now 9-2 against the Dolphins, and the Bills also beat Miami in the playoffs last season, albeit Tua Tagovailoa didn’t play that day.
Tagovailoa was under constant duress from the Buffalo pass rush — four sacks, several hits — but he acquitted himself respectfully, throwing for 282 yards and a touchdown, averaging 8.1 YPA. Obviously it wasn’t the laser show we saw last week, but Miami’s offense didn’t lose the game. De’Von Achane justified all those juicy FAB offers, rolling up 120 total yards and two touchdowns on a modest 11 touches. Raheem Mostert (7-9 rushing, 3-36 receiving, fumble lost) had his first quiet game of the season.
The Bills did a fine job marking Miami’s downfield threats. Tyreek Hill (3-58-0) and Jaylen Waddle (4-46-0) both were targeted just five times apiece and hardly impacted the game. Sometimes they weren’t open, sometimes Tagovailoa didn’t have time to find them. You normally don’t look at ancillary players in the Miami passing game, but perhaps Braxton Berrios (6-43-1) and Durham Smythe (4-41-0) will offer bye-week utility in deeper leagues over the next few weeks.
The best news for Miami, it should be heavily favored next week when it hosts the Giants. The Bills take to the international stage, playing the Jaguars in a Sunday morning game at London.
The 49ers offense continues to be a fantasy buzzsaw
Everyone expected the San Francisco offense to impose its will against Arizona, and that’s exactly what happened. Five touchdowns, 30 first downs, just under 400 yards of offense. Another Kyle Shanahan clinic.
That doesn’t mean all the Niners feasted for fantasy, however. Deebo Samuel wasn’t targeted on the day — he was limited to three short runs — and George Kittle saw just one catch, a nine-yard completion.
Samuel and Kittle are dynamic players, Pro Bowl-caliber players. Kittle is part of the Iowa tradition of superstar tight ends (Sam LaPorta looks like the newest entry), and Samuel was one of several wide receiver stars who came out of the 2019 NFL Draft. It’s hard to imagine that the Niners landed both of these overlords outside the first round (Samuel was a second-round pick, Kittle a fifth-round selection).
But maybe they’re the secondary pieces when all Niners are healthy. Christian McCaffrey is unfair of course — he scored four touchdowns and had 177 total yards Sunday, racing to the top of the fantasy leaderboard — and Brandon Aiyuk (6-148-0) looks like the team’s best wideout when everyone is available.
Brock Purdy continues to work his point-guard magic (20-for-21, 283 yards, one touchdown pass, one touchdown run). He took just one sack, threw just one incompletion, didn’t turn the ball over. Mr. Irrelevant turned into Mr. Relevant awfully quick.
The San Francisco schedule is dangerous the next two weeks. The Niners host Dallas next Sunday night, and in Week 6 it’s a road date against the formidable Cleveland defense. And when the Yahoo crew convenes for a Fantasy Football re-draft on Monday, I suspect we’ll be hearing McCaffrey’s name called first.
Note: This story will be updated with more Sunday fantasy takeaways