Week 8 Game Hub: MIA-BUF

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Week 8 Game Hub: MIA-BUF

Miami Dolphins (1-6, 2-5 ATS) at Buffalo Bills (4-2, 4-2), 1 p.m.

Brolley’s Dolphins Stats and Trends

  • The Dolphins are on a six-game losing streak after winning in the season opener.

  • Miami has failed to cover in four straight games, and they’ve lost consecutive games on final-second kicks.

  • The Dolphins are 4-1 toward overs in their last five games.

  • Tua Tagovailoa has averaged 310.0 passing yards, 3.0 passing TDs, and 43.5 attempts per game in his first two games back from the rib injury he suffered against the Bills in Week 2 — he also has 22+ FP in both contests. Tua did have two pristine matchups against the Jags and Falcons, and he gets a much tougher matchup against the Bills this week. They’re giving up league-lows in passing yards per game (192.8) and FPG (13.0) to QBs so far.

  • Jaylen Waddle has posted a season-best in receiving yards in consecutive weeks (70<83), which has coincided with Tua returning to the lineup. He’s seen 21 targets in that span but DeVante Parker is expected to return to the lineup, who could take away a couple of looks. Waddle managed 6/48 receiving on eight targets in this matchup in Week 2.

  • Mike Gesicki has worked his way to the TE7 (13.1 FPG) even with a goose egg to his name in the season opener — he’s the TE4 (15.3) in Weeks 2-7. Gesicki has scored 16+ FP in four of his last five games after posting 7/85/1 receiving on nine targets against the Falcons in Week 7. He managed 3/41 receiving on six targets in this matchup early in the season.

  • DeVante Parker has missed the last three weeks with a hamstring injury, but he’s expected to return to the lineup against the Bills. ​​He posted 4/77/1 receiving on nine targets (30% share) in his last action back in Week 4, and he has 4+ catches and 40+ yards in every game, including 5/42 receiving against Buffalo in Week 2.

  • The Myles Gaskin roller coaster was back on the upswing last week with 4/10/1 receiving and 15/67 rushing. He’s now hit double-digit FPG in odd weeks and fallen below 10 FP in even weeks, but we’ll see if that trend breaks this week with Malcolm Brown (quad) headed to the IR. Gaskin saw a healthy 63% snap share last week while Salvon Ahmed posted a season-best 9/52 scrimmage on a 30% snap share last week. Gaskin managed 5/25 rushing and 4/21 receiving in this matchup back in September.

Brolley’s Bills Stats and Trends

  • Buffalo shutout the Dolphins 35-0 in Week 2 as 3.5-point road favorites in a game in which Tua left early.

  • The Bills are 4-1 ATS in their last five games.

  • Josh Allen has scored 21+ FP in four consecutive games since he posted a season-low 17.7 FP in a blowout victory over the Dolphins in Week 2. Allen started the year completing 56.0% of his passes and averaging 5.4 YPA in his first two games, but he’s completing 69.9% of his passes and averaging 8.7 YPA since he last played the Dolphins.

  • Stefon Diggs finally eclipsed 20+ FP for the first time the last time the Bills took the field, posting 9/89/1 receiving on 11 targets against the Titans. Diggs posted 15/229/1 receiving in two games against the Dolphins last year, and he finished with 4/60/1 receiving on eight targets in this matchup back in September.

  • Emmanuel Sanders has 13+ FP in four straight games since he managed a season-worst 2/48 receiving against the Dolphins in Week 2 when Allen was struggling. Sanders has seen 6+ targets and 50+ receiving yards in five of his first six contests with the Bills.

  • Cole Beasley will be the biggest beneficiary with Dawson Knox (hand surgery) likely to miss this week with Gabriel Davis also getting a boost. Beasley posted 7/88/1 receiving on nine targets on a five-week high 87% of the snaps against the Titans in Week 6. He had seen 50% of the snaps or worse with four combined targets in Weeks 4-5. Beasley has finished with fewer than 40 receiving yards in three of his four matchups with the Dolphins since joining the Bills in 2019, including a 4/36 receiving performance against them in Week 2.

  • Zack Moss and Devin Singletary rotated every series the last time out in Week 6 against the Titans. Moss posted 10/39 scrimmage on a 55% snap share while Singletary finished with 10/43 on a 45% share. Moss has been the better fantasy option with 12+ FP in four straight games before Week 6, including a two-TD performance against the Dolphins in Week 2. Singletary hasn’t reached double-digit FP since he broke off a 46-yard TD run against the Dolphins in Week 2, on his way to 16/91/1 scrimmage.

Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies

Dolphins

Pace (seconds in between plays): 25.9 (3rd)

Plays per game: 66.4 (17th)

Pass: 68.3% (1st) | Run: 31.7% (32nd)

Bills

Pace: 26.4 (6th)

Plays per game: 72.2 (4th)

Pass: 58.4% (22nd) | Run: 41.6% (11th)

Pace Points

The Dolphins have loaded Tua Tagovailoa up with 47 and 40 attempts in his first two starts since missing a few games nursing a ribs injury. Largely because they can’t run the ball and have a bottom-3 offensive line, Miami has emerged as the third-most pass-heavy team above expectation (+7.3%) and this should be yet another game where there should be plenty of passing volume to go around as massive road dogs in Buffalo. The efficiency on Tua’s throws, however, will be another question. Through their first six games, no defense gave up fewer yards (193.5) or passing fantasy points (8.1) per game than the Bills.

Overall, this is the fourth-best game of the week from a pace / play perspective and the Bills pushing the scoring pace has a lot to do with that. After a “slow” start in Week 1, Buffalo put up 35, 43, 40, 38, and 31 points on the board before their bye and they have another great chance at a sixth-straight 30+ point outing here. Allen & Co. have destroyed HC Brian Flores’ defensive unit, putting up 31, 37, 31, 56, and 35 points in their five meetings. The one crucial bit to this game is that we need Miami’s offense to keep this game somewhat tight and Buffalo’s foot on the gas if we’re going to get a shootout. Only the Jets (16.25) and Texans (16.75) have a lower implied team total than the Dolphins (17.5) this week.

Huber’s Key Matchup Notes

Call me bullish, but the upside for the red zone/goal-line/superior receiving RB within one of the top-three most explosive offenses cannot be understated. First of all, Zack Moss has run circles around Devin Singletary as a receiver. He’s posted 1.28 YPRR vs. 0.31 for Singletary and 7.79 YPT vs. 2.24. Moss has collected the seventh-highest goal line carry share (15%), taking the fifth-most carries inside the five (1.6/game). Moss found the end zone twice when these teams met in Week 2. And the Dolphins have allowed the sixth-most FPG to RBs (27.7) and second-most red zone touches/game (6.86). If the Vegas money can be trusted toward Buffalo as 14-point home favorites, the stage should be set toward Moss.

If Tua Tagovailoa gets DeVante Parker back on the field this week, Tua could surprise with his production. Don’t think the Deshaun Watson trade rumors have evaded his notice. Tagovailoa may not be in Miami’s future plans, but he will find multiple teams willing to invest within a league starving for QB upside. And he’ll have the remainder of the season as a dress rehearsal. In his one full start against the Bills — Week 17 last season, he scored 18.2 FP.

Dolan’s Vantage Points

The Dolphins are 1-6 and don’t have their 2022 first-round pick, which is in the mix currently to be the top overall selection. That’s not good!

Also not good is that the Dolphins player most discussed in the past few weeks isn’t even on the team — that would be Deshaun Watson, the disgruntled and embattled Texans QB who is the subject of endless trade rumors… rumors that with either permanently end when he is traded or temporarily end on November 2, the NFL’s trade deadline.

Has Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa heard the rumors? Of course he has. And his take on them… is pretty lukewarm.

The irony, of course, is that Tua is actually playing pretty well overall! In his two games since returning from his ribs injury, despite two losses, Tua has gone 65/87 (74.7%) for 620 yards, with 6 TD and 3 INT. He’s also run for 51 yards. His interceptions have been bad ones, but he hasn’t even started a full season of games. That could be moot if the Dolphins aren’t sold, and it’s probably moot this week against a Bills defense giving up the fewest FPG to QBs this year.

The Dolphins expect to get DeVante Parker back this week, but the only Miami receivers I’m really comfortable playing are TE Mike Gesicki and Jaylen Waddle, as Buffalo’s perimeter coverage has the potential to be shutdown.

While Gesicki is the TE3 over the past five weeks… he’s not playing as a tight end.

Quite frankly, I’m sick of talking about the Dolphins’ backfield, but Myles Gaskin should — should — hold FLEX value with Malcolm Brown (quad) on IR. Gaskin got a season-high 15 carries and was heavily involved in the passing game as he ran a route on 55% of the Dolphins passing plays last week. Meanwhile, Salvon Ahmed is averaging 2.7 YPC, which is 63rd out of 64 RBs. Only Phillip Lindsay (2.6 YPC) is worse.

The Bills are the Bills — they have two guys you play every week in Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs. They have two WRs you can consider every week as WR3s — Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley.

Beasley is likely to see a boost in targets to the more consistent role he had in 2020 given the status of TE Dawson Knox, who is likely out this week with a hand injury. Beasley’s history against the Dolphins isn’t good, but he could be needed for a bigger role.

If you’re dying at TE this week, the “Peaky Blinder” Tommy Sweeney will be the guy who starts for Knox.

I still prefer Zack Moss to Devin Singletary in the Bills’ backfield, but as Brolley noted above, they rotated series in the Bills’ last action against the Titans.

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