The Patriots used some last-minute magic to escape from Pittsburgh with a key victory. This week, they're back home against the Bills, needing a win to stay on the inside track for the AFC's #1 seed.
Though it doesn't always feel like it, Tom Brady hasn't turned in a good fantasy performance in a while. Despite a clutch comeback drive last week, he finished under 300 yards and threw just one touchdown pass (not to mention an ugly interception). The Bills are a far easier opponent, to be sure, but Gronk could be on a snap count and Brady's already playing without Chris Hogan. If you've got another top-10 quarterback, this might be a week to start them. However, you definitely shouldn't be starting Tyrod Taylor against this Pats D. On the road and facing New England, he has no fantasy value.
With both Rex Burkhead and James White out, Dion Lewis is set to see most of the backfield work this week. This also means Mike Gillislee will dress for the first time in months. While he'll be in a "revenge" game against his former squad, it's hard to see Gillislee finding fantasy relevance in his first week back. Lewis is simply too good and the risk too great to merit a start. For Buffalo, LeSean McCoy remains a high-level start. His ability both between the tackles and out of the backfield has historically given the Pats problems. This week figures to be no different.
Chris Hogan is out once again, meaning Brandin Cooks will be the primary threat. Expect him to see some deep balls, but also simply clear out much of the field for Rob Gronkowski. He's a low-end WR2 this week, but if you're in your fantasy championship and have some other high-quality options he might even slide into your flex. Philip Dorsett simply doesn't have enough experience to make a confident projection, and Kenny Britt is far too new to the team to have gained Tom Brady's trust just yet. For the Bills, Kelvin Benjamin is questionable and Jordan Matthews and Zay Jones just aren't any good. There's no quality fantasy commodity outside of McCoy in this offense.
Gronk may be on a limited snap count this week with the playoffs right around the corner, but if you've got him you should still start him. Assuming he plays some snaps, his upside is too much to ignore. For the Bills, Charles Clay is a nonreactor and shouldn't be in your lineup outside of the very deepest leagues (and even then he's a stretch).
The Patriots defense is primed for a good week against the inept Bills offense. I like their streaming potential, especially if they can pick off Tyrod Taylor and shut down LeSean McCoy early. On the flip side, I wouldn't buy the Bills defense this week. Tom Brady has been iffy the past few weeks fantasy-wise, but this is in New England and betting against the Pats at home is a bad idea. For kickers, Stephen Gostkowski nearly cost New England last week's game with his missed extra point, but he's still a solid fantasy option. Stephen Haushcka is reliable, but he simply doesn't get enough usage to be worth anything.
That's it for this fantasy breakdown. Enjoy your Championship Sunday, and Go Pats!