Monday Night Football Preview
This week we will see two of the best teams in the AFC face-off on Monday Night Football as the Tennessee Titans host the Buffalo Bills. The Bills have arguably the best offense in the league and have relied on it to carry them early in this 2021 season. The Titans have been respectable in their own right but will have a tough task in keeping up on MNF.
Buffalo Bills (-5.5) at Tennessee Titans
Buffalo will be a road favorite this week as has been the norm so far on MNF this season (three of the five games have had the visiting team as the Vegas favorite so far in 2021). For those who have bet on the spread over the past three Monday Night games, you have likely seen success on those wagers. The Titans will try to stop the trend this week but will have a tough task. The Bills have covered the spread in four of their five games so far, including an impressive 17.5 point cover in Week 4. They will have a harder task against Tennessee but have the talent to beat the spread this week. Take Buffalo and the points along with the over on Monday Night.
Josh Allen was one of the players who burst onto the fantasy football scene in 2020, finishing as the QB1 last season after being merely a streaming option in the first two years of his young career. He has continued his hot streak this season with 1370 passing yards and 12 touchdowns along with 188 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Allen has shown his arm talent plenty in 2021, ranking as the third-best starting quarterback in terms of completed air yards per completion (7.8 yards per completion), and will surely keep that trend going against a Tennessee defense that has allowed an average of 20.8 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (depending on scoring format). For those lucky enough to have Allen on their roster, keep him locked in your lineup for Monday Night.
Ever since they removed Marcus Mariota from behind center, the Titans have had inconsistent play from the quarterback position. Ryan Tannehill had a Pro Bowl season in 2019 after taking the helm but has yet to find that same success since. So far in 2021, he is currently ranked as the QB20 (depending on scoring format) being outranked by guys like Daniel Jones and Taylor Heinicke. Tannehill has only had one performance this season where he finished as a QB1 (Week 3 versus the Colts) and has unfortunately been among the mire of streaming quarterback options, being at his best against great matchups. Sadly, he will not have one of those on Monday Night. Buffalo has been stout against quarterbacks so far in 2021, allowing the fewest average fantasy points to the position this season (depending on scoring format). Based on his recent performances and this matchup, it is best to leave Tannehill on your bench/waiver wire this week.
Much like Josh Allen, the Titans’ Derrick Henry has become a mainstay in fantasy football at his position. Henry is the RB1 through Week 5 and has a 20 point lead on the second-place running back (Austin Ekeler) in 0.5 PPR scoring formats. Henry has been dominant this season, leading the NFL in rushing attempts, rushing yards, yards from scrimmage, and rushing touchdowns. Though he is not getting many looks in the passing game, Henry is still an elite option who should be started regardless of the matchup. Continue to expect big things from Henry on Monday Night.
The Bills are like many teams who rely on multiple running backs to keep their ground game afloat. Devin Singletary and Zack Moss have seen almost equal work in Buffalo’s backfield with Singletary getting a slight edge in rushing attempts but both backs have yet to take a consistent hold in fantasy football. Moss has been the main passing work back and has flourished in the offense, especially early in the season. He finished as a top 16 running back in 0.5 PPR scoring formats in Weeks 2 and 3 but has slid over the past two weeks and has fallen to a Flex option. Singletary has the best finish as a Buffalo back (RB11 in Week 2) but has not finished inside the top 30 running backs in the past three weeks. Both guys will look to continue to find their spot on Monday Night against a Titans defense that has allowed three top 18 finishes through Week 5 including a monster game to James Robinson last week. While their matchup has definite upside, Singletary and Moss are Flex options at best this week for Monday Night.
Last year, the Bills took a big swing in acquiring the disgruntled Stefon Diggs from Minnesota. Diggs certainly showed his talent on the Vikings but there was some doubt about what he would look like in Buffalo taking on the lead wide receiver role. He has proven his worth and then some during his time on the Bills. Diggs has been Allen’s primary target over the past two seasons and has been a major component in Buffalo’s offensive explosion in that time. Though he has taken a bit of a step back in production so far in 2021, Diggs is still a great fantasy option who should be locked in your lineup every week. For the other Bills’ receivers, this is an excellent matchup to spring on. Tennessee has allowed the most yardage and the third-most touchdowns to opposing wide receivers through Week 5. Start all your Buffalo wide receivers on Monday Night this week.
One of the biggest trades this past offseason was when Atlanta decided to move on from their franchise leader in receptions and receiving yards in Julio Jones. Jones was shipped to Tennessee for a 2022 second-round pick and 2023 third-round pick as they looked to elevate their passing game. So far in 2021, Jones has yet to make a sizeable impact on the Titans as he has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury. He, along with A.J. Brown, have both struggled with injuries this season but have shown flashes when they were on the field. Brown is questionable for Monday Night while Jones is slotted to play. They will have a tough matchup to contend with this week as the Bills’ defense has been solid against opposing wide receivers this season, allowing the fewest yards and the second-fewest touchdowns to the position through Week 5. Based on their recent health and this matchup, Jones and Brown (assuming he is active) are WR3/Flex options this week.
Dawson Knox has certainly been one of the best surprises in 2021. After being a fringe player for Buffalo over the past two seasons, Knox’s production has exploded this year. Through Week 5, he has 18 receptions on 24 targets for 261 yards and five touchdowns, putting him as the TE3 this season in 0.5 PPR scoring formats. Knox has already matched his career mark in touchdowns and is nearly there in terms of yardage, which is extremely impressive. He will need to continue being at the top of his game on Monday Night as the Titans have been great against tight ends this season. Tennessee has only allowed one tight end to finish with more than 20 yards in a game through Week 5 (Dan Arnold in Week 5). While they have yet to face someone with the talent of Knox, their defense against tight ends is still impressive. Despite the matchup, Knox is still a TE1 option for Monday Night.
Both teams in this game have talent on their defense and special teams units, which is normally enough to warrant starting a D/ST. However, with the offenses in this game, it is tough to see how the Bills or Titans make a positive on your lineup this week. While the Bills D/ST has been elite this season (leading the NFL with 15 turnovers through Week 5), they will have a tough matchup against Tennessee on Monday Night; making them a less desirable option to start this week.
Monday Night will feature plenty of star power but this game will come down to those outside of the spotlight. Guys like Allen and Henry will surely have their impact on this matchup but the role players for Buffalo and Tennessee will be the difference-maker. Both teams will need to be at their best in what is surely going to be a playoff-like atmosphere. Given the momentum that Buffalo is bringing into this game, Tennessee will be in for a tough night as they keep it close but ultimately fall in the end by a score of 35-24.
Brandon Sysak is an staff writer for Gridiron Experts. I have been covering different aspects of the NFL, fantasy football and the NFL Draft since 2017. I am originally from Midland, MI but now reside in the Cincinnati, OH area. I began my career with Gridiron Experts covering the 2017 College Football National Championship.