Thursday Night Football Preview: Buffalo Bills vs. Los Angeles Rams
Football is officially back and what better way to kick off the 2022 NFL season than have two football titans go at it to jumpstart Week 1! The Buffalo Bills will take on the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams to get the season going. But there’s more to the game than the game itself. There are a few interesting notes going on behind the scenes of the game too. However, before we jump into that we have to talk about the matchup itself and who you should be slotting in your lineups for your fantasy leagues.
Remember too that you should avoid putting players that play on Thursday night in your flex spot. This will limit the number of moves you can make later on in the week so if you’re starting a player tonight, put them in your other slots and save your flex position to add other players. With that little reminder out of the way, now we get right into the matchup!
The Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills enter the 2022 season as one of the teams expected to take the next step to become Super Bowl bound. The Bills came up just a bit short during the 2021 NFL playoffs, losing to Patrick Mahomes in the playoffs during the AFC Conference Divisional Round. The Bills had the number one defense last season combined with the third-ranked overall offense. To put it plainly, the Bills will be tough to beat this season.
The Bills got did pick up a Rams player to add to their defense this season in Von Miller too. Bills star defensive back Tre’Davious White won’t be available for tonight’s game as he’s been placed on the PUP list to start the season, forcing him to miss the first four games of the season.
Meanwhile, on the offensive side of the ball, they’ve lost Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders but have prioritized Gabriel Davis this offseason in getting him the ball as a secondary weapon to Stefon Diggs. The Bills also added Jamison Crowder during free agency and have Isaiah McKenzie available for slot duty too. And tight end Dawson Knox looks to be involved in the passing game this season as well.
One thing to note though is what the Bills’ run game will look like this year. The Bills drafted rookie running back James Cook during the 2022 NFL Draft and Devin Singletary took charge of the Bills’ run game down the stretch last season. Zach Moss will look to be involved as well so it looks like a committee approach will be used by the Bills this season. So on the Bills’ side, fantasy managers should be watching this game to see how some of the offseason storylines will turn out:
- Will Gabriel Davis truly be featured as the number two passing option for Josh Allen and the Bills’ offense?
- How much work will James Cook get in his first game of the regular season?
- Who will be the Bills’ slot receiver between Isaiah McKenzie and Jamison Crowder?
The Los Angeles Rams
There isn’t too much that needs to be said about the Los Angeles Rams. I mean, they are the defending Superbowl champions. But the Rams should still be a tough opponent for the Buffalo Bills. The Rams signed wide receiver Allen Robinson II during free agency and let Robert Woods walk, giving them a big-time player maker to pair with Cooper Kupp, the league’s number one wide receiver from last season as well as Van Jefferson who plays the deep threat for the team. Unfortunately, Van Jefferson will be unavailable Thursday night as he’s dealing with a knee injury.
One of the bigger storylines from the Rams’ side comes from the run game. Cam Akers makes his return to the regular season after missing nearly all of the 2021 season after tearing his Achilles and having a subpar performance in the playoffs. Darrell Henderson has also been talked up this offseason by head coach Sean McVay as being a “running back 1A” in comparison with Cam Akers.
Akers this offseason, has been talked up as well with reports that the Rams want to use him more in the passing game. While there have been conflicting reports of what the Rams want to do at running back, one thing is for sure… McVay wants a back that can carry the workload. Akers has a golden opportunity to showcase not only his health but can add separation between himself and Henderson in the Rams backfield. So for the Rams, fantasy managers will want to pay attention to…
- How well will Allen Robinson and Cooper Kupp work on the field?
- How much work will be divided between Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson?
- How does Cam Akers respond to returning from the Achilles injury?
Thursday Night Football Starts And Sits + BUF vs. LAR Prediction
For the Rams, I’m starting Cam Akers in my RB2 spot to avoid putting him in my flex in a few leagues. The Buffalo Bills defense is a tough ask as they gave up the sixth-fewest fantasy points to the running back position but what I want to see is how much Akers will be used in the passing game. This play comes with some risk but I’m riding or dying with Akers if I don’t have better options to go with. Darrell Henderson is a flex option at best with his pass-catching ability. We’ll get to see for the first time who will get snaps as pass-catchers between the two backs.
Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Allen Robinson II should be startable as well. If anything this game could turn into a straight-up shootout and with the amount of volume the Rams offense can generate through the air, Kupp and Robinson should be able to feast on secondary lacking one of its better corners.
For the Bills’ Josh Allen is an auto lock in my starting lineup. Don’t get cute with this. Stefon Diggs is a lock for me as well. Yes, I know Jalen Ramsey is on the other side of the field and Diggs could see a healthy dose of Ramsey in this game but I’m locking in the guys that I drafted to be my starters. Gabriel Davis is a guy I’m also throwing him in my lineups too.
I’m buying the breakout season for Davis and as mentioned before, with Diggs likely to see a healthy amount of Jalen Ramsey, Josh Allen will need others to get involved in the passing attack. If I had to pick between Isaiah McKenzie and Jamison Crowder, I’m leaning Crowder if I’m looking for flex appeal at the wide receiver position out of the Bills’ wideouts.
The Bills backfield, however, is something I want no parts of. Devin Singletary, Zach Moss, and James Cook should all see some action tonight at various parts of the game. That’s why it’ll be important to see who gets the most usage and who will see those important goal-line carries. I was already down on Singletary before the season started but if you drafted him as your starter, you might be stuck playing him tonight.
The Rams weren’t far behind the Bills’ in the fantasy run defense department either, giving up the 10th fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs last season. Just so you know.
My prediction: The Buffalo Bills get their first win of the season in a shootout with two of the best quarterbacks Josh Allen and Matthew Stafford throwing the ball. Final score: 32-27 Bills.