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Josh Allen will be coming into tonight as QB1, looking to make good on his heartbreaking loss in the playoffs. He is projected to rack up the highest point total of anybody on this showdown slate with his typical dual-threat ability. Matthew Stafford’s elbow has generated a lot of chatter recently, but he has repeated that he is ready to go. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported this morning that Stafford feels great for tonight after an offseason procedure on that elbow.
Devin Singletary looks to be the lead back for Buffalo heading into tonight’s game. There is reason to question Singletary’s actual volume ceiling, given the number of weapons in the backfield, but he should see the most touches of any back for now. The rookie James Cook has made some noise this preseason as he has positioned himself as RB2. He’ll come with a dual threat upside, and a lot has been made of his receiving abilities this offseason, so his ceiling could be higher there. Cook also is a candidate for some short yardage and goal-line work, but the expected RB3 in Zack Moss could get some of that too.
Sean McVay says both of his running backs, Cam Akers and Darrel Henderson, will be good to go for tonight after being a little banged up towards the end of training camp. Akers will be the lead back for the Rams tonight and a candidate for some potential receiving work too. We anticipate for Henderson to get a fair amount of touches as well, but he does not feature Akers’s receiving ceiling. Kyren Williams is buried down the depth chart at RB3, so his only real work would come in the wake of an injury.
The Bills receiving group is full of weapons, led by Stefon Diggs. He should lead the Bills in targets with expectations near the double-digit threshold. Gabe Davis has been generating plenty of hype at the WR2 after his performance in the AFC Championship game, so he’ll see plenty of looks opposite Diggs. Isaiah McKenzie will be the WR3 operating primarily out of the slot with high expectations, as his QB has been talking him up all offseason. Jamison Crowder and Khalil Shakir will be rotational receiving options at best, with the potential for a few targets at the most.
The Rams receiving group is where we run into our first actual injury situation, with Van Jefferson being ruled out for tonight. We project Tutu Atwell to eat up most of his targets, but Ben Skowronek is another option. Cooper Kupp will undoubtedly lead the charge tonight, as we expect him to see a 30% target share. Last year, if Kupp didn’t get double-digit targets, something was wrong, so look for that connection to carry over. Allen Robinson enters the mix as a new toy for McVay to utilize, and as the WR2, he will have a significant role in this offense. Brandon Powell and Lance McCutcheon are also candidates for rotational work, if active, but will only see minimal targets.
Tyler Higbee has the potential to eat up additional targets in Jefferson’s absence. We saw him emerge as a real threat target-wise in the second half of the season, so he likely will be the third option for Stafford to look to tonight. Brycen Hopkins should be the only tight end active, and he comes with little upside unless he unravels the night with a one-target, one-touchdown performance. Dawson Knox is looking to be the only tight end threat for Josh Allen, and we are well aware of the red-zone upside last year. The second tight end, Quintin Morris, is questionable, so expect that minimal upside to go to Tommy Sweeney if he were to be ruled out.