Buffalo Bills vs. Philadelphia Eagles Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Players To Target Include James Cook, Gabe Davis, DeVonta Smith, and Others

Who are some of the fantasy-relevant players you should be looking to start in the Buffalo Bills vs. Philadelphia Eagles matchup in Week 12?

The Buffalo Bills’ fantasy preview takes a look at the value of James Cook, while the Philadelphia Eagles’ fantasy football outlook revolves around DeVonta Smith’s value moving forward.

Buffalo Bills at Philadelphia Eagles

  • Spread: Eagles -3.5
  • Total: 48.5
  • Bills implied points: 22.5
  • Eagles implied points: 26

Quarterbacks

Josh Allen: We are all NFL fans at our core, but this game of ours does create some interesting reflection points.

If you’re anything like me, the NFL fan in you believes Allen is searching for consistency as a passer, and with an interception in seven straight games, he could end up being the reason these Bills fail to win the first Super Bowl in franchise history.

The fantasy manager part of me when I see the interceptions?

IDGAF!

The fantasy penalty for a pick is minimal, and most of his turnovers are the direct result of aggression. I’m happy to go into any fantasy battle with an aggressive QB who is trying to get me all the points possible.

But if you dig deeper, we can find a middle ground. Allen leads the AFC in on-target rate – his bad decisions just happen to be bad.

Even with his warts, Allen has been a top 5 QB in four of his past five games. He has a rush TD or 3+ TD passes in nine of 10 games this season. I compare his fantasy standing to that of a diva WR: You have to deal with the bad to get the good.

For fantasy fans, that’s not a problem. For Bills fans, that can be a headache, but this isn’t a Bills fans article!

How does Allen do when facing another big-time signal caller? Well, we don’t have a ton of looks at that this season, but in these rare instances, the returns have been great:

  • Burrow — 258 passing yards, 44 rushing yards, two total TDs (QB4)
  • Lawrence — 359 passing yards, 14 rushing yards, three total TDs (QB2)
  • Tagovailoa — 320 passing yards, 17 rushing yards, five total TDs (QB1)

Jalen Hurts: His QB11 finish against the Chiefs snapped a streak of eight straight weeks inside the top 10 at the position, but as you’d guess, there aren’t many concerns here.

I don’t love the fact that he has completed just 31 passes in total over his past two games, but those were tough matchups (DAL/KC). The Bills’ defense doesn’t provide nearly that level of resistance, so we should see the dual-threat version of Hurts reemerge this weekend.

Six times this season, Hurts has at least 10 rush attempts, and he’s yet to finish worse than QB6 when playing in front of the Philly faithful this season. I like both of those trends to continue this week in a “bounce back” effort.

Running Backs

James Cook: Even in a tough matchup, Cook matched a season-high with 17 carries against the Jets and looked just fine (73 yards). He also hauled in his second TD catch of the season on a nice decision in close, showcasing his versatility that we love to see.

The scoring equity is limited due to Allen’s usage around the goal line, not to mention the RB rotation, but his between-the-20s role has him in the 15-touch range weekly, and that’s enough for a talent like this.

That said, this is a brutal matchup (PHI: league-low 76.5 rush yards allowed per game) that could see the possession count kept in check. You have an RB2 most weeks with Cook, and I have him ranked as such for the remainder of the season, but in this matchup, he’s more of an average Flex play with the usually reliable floor being lower than normal.

D’Andre Swift: Remember that weird season opener against the Patriots that was oddly competitive? The game where Swift touched the ball twice?

That was the last time he failed to get 15 touches in a game, and we are seeing signs of his per-touch upside (four 20+ yard touches in his past four games).

The role on the ground is stable (15+ carries or a rush TD in eight of his past nine games), and with the Bills owning the lowest opponent aDOT, his role in the short passing game should be profitable.

You’re playing Swift anywhere you have him, and I don’t mind the idea of locking him into DFS lineups.

Wide Receivers

Stefon Diggs: A blip on the radar. That’s all I’ve got for you. Diggs has just 9.6 fantasy points in total over the past two weeks, matchups that featured Patrick Surtain and Sauce Garner on the other side of the ball.

Even the best receivers in the game have down weeks, especially when a sporadic QB is in charge of getting him the ball in advantageous spots.

There’s nothing to see here. The Eagles’ run defense is their strength, so I’m looking for Diggs to return to the 7-catch, 85-yard expectation that he had for him through nine weeks. You’re playing him with confidence, knowing that elite talent rarely slumps for an extended period if the situation around them remains stable.

Gabe Davis: It’s hard to play 88% of the snaps without seeing a target, but that is exactly what Davis did last week against the Jets. That was after the “it can’t possibly get worse” thought crossed the mind of his managers entering Week 11 after a two-game stretch where he caught just two of eight targets.

He deserves to remain rostered due to his playing time on a potent offense, but you’re bolder than I if you decide to call his number in any non-DFS format.

If you want to overthink the DFS thing, I’m here for you. The Eagles blitz at the fifth lowest rate – Davis gave us 92 yards (including the longest catch of his season) and a score against a similarly low blitz Raiders defense back in Week 2. Yes, that’s a shaky narrative to put much weight in, but his upside remains strong, and in GPPs, his low ownership number makes him a game theory option more than anything.

Khalil Shakir: The 23-year-old showed nice creativity with the ball in his hands during an 81-yard TD last week against the Jets, which is encouraging for an offense that needs a secondary receiver next to Diggs.

MORE: PFN’s Free NFL Playoff Predictor

He posted a 75% route participation rate in the blowout win as Buffalo continued to shift toward three WR sets. That usage is enough to land him on fantasy rosters, but like Davis, there’s just too much risk to Flex him right now.

The long TD was nice last week, but we are still looking at a player who has earned more than four targets one time this season.

A.J. Brown: It’s never fun to see your star receiver lay a complete egg during an island game, but that’s what happened here (one catch on four targets for eight yards). If it needs to be said – don’t worry. This was his first game since mid-September in which he didn’t clear 100 yards or score.

Relax. No one is perfect. If you panicked back in Week 2 when he gave you just 29 yards against the Vikings and traded him, then you missed out on a historic run. Brown is just as capable of leading your fantasy team to glory now as he was a week ago.

DeVonta Smith: That’s three straight productive games for Smith after a three-game run that saw him total 99 yards, putting him on track to peak at the perfect time. During this productive stretch, Smith has hauled in 16 of 18 targets, a massive improvement from a catch rate that stood at 64% prior.

Smith is going to struggle to return value based on the draft capital you spent on him this summer, but a strong finishing stretch that gives you a chance to win a title would certainly work and is a possibility.

Tight Ends

Dalton Kincaid: Maybe all of this chasing of a WR2 in Buffalo is useless, and Kincaid is just destined to fill that role. He has caught at least five balls in five straight games and has an absurd 87.9% catch rate this season.

Remember that on-target stat I gave you for Allen? Kincaid is, without question, the beneficiary, and I don’t see that changing.

T.J. Hockenson and Travis Kelce are the top two at the position. Kincaid has every bit of the résumé to claim that he is the next best option for the position. That means any team with him starting weekly is positioned for a strong run, given the lack of cost it took to acquire him.

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With a league-high 76.4% of yards gained vs Philadelphia coming through the air, the rookie TE should be in for yet another productive week.

Dallas Goedert: The Eagles elected not to put him on injured reserve, and that suggests that they are hopeful that he can return sooner rather than later. There’s little to suggest that he has any chance of playing this week, but he should be universally rostered – make sure he is.

Should You Start Jerome Ford or James Cook?

The efficiency of Jerome Ford projects is a problem, but I prefer his consistent work (and goal-line role) over the role of Cook in a brutal matchup. Both players deserve to be on rosters – it’s the one touchdown on 137 carries from Cook this season that I can’t overlook.

Should You Start Courtland Sutton or DeVonta Smith?

The scoring of Courtland Sutton puts him in this class of receiver, but Smith’s offense projects much better this weekend. We’ve seen enough in the way of target upside (7+ in three of his past five games) to give him a mean outcome greater than that of Sutton.

If I can avoid the Browns defense or target the Bills, I’m doing it – here, I get to do both!

Looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Setting DFS lineups? Check out PFN’s Free Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer, Start/Sit Optimizer, and DFS Lineup Optimizer to help you make the right decision!

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