The Buffalo Bills were a fantasy football dud last season.
Devoid of skill-position players capable of scoring fantasy points with any consistency, the Bills ranked 31st in total PPR points among running backs, 29th among wide receivers and 30th among tight ends. Bolstered by Josh Allen‘s rushing, Bills quarterbacks fared only slightly better by finishing 22nd in PPR points.
Only two players — Allen (57th) and wide receiver Zay Jones (93rd) — ranked within the top 100 players in PPR scoring in 2018.
General manager Brandon Beane’s offseason overhaul of Buffalo’s 30th-ranked offense has given fans hope of a better record in 2019, but have the Bills become any more relevant to fantasy team owners?
Here is a look at where ESPN’s fantasy experts have ranked Buffalo’s top players in projected PPR scoring entering this season:
Matthew Berry: QB: 19 | Mike Clay: QB: 23 (Overall: 220) | Tristan H. Cockcroft: QB: 22 | Eric Karabell: QB: 18 | Field Yates: QB: 21
Analysis: Allen finished 21st among quarterbacks last season despite playing in only 12 games. After he returned in Week 12 from an elbow injury, he scored the most PPR points (145.3) of any NFL quarterback and second-most points of any player. That was boosted by 476 rushing yards and five touchdowns after his return, both the most among quarterbacks. If Allen continues to run like he did late last season, these fantasy projections undersell him. However, the Bills would prefer that Allen be much more selective with his decisions to run in 2019. Ceding some rushing production to the Bills’ backfield would temper Allen’s fantasy expectations this season unless he can take a huge step forward as a passer.
Berry: RB: 41 | Clay: RB: 33 (Overall: 71) | Cockcroft: RB: 36 (Overall: 85) | Karabell: RB: 40 (Overall: 96) | Yates: RB: 31 (Overall: 67)
Analysis: McCoy was one of the most frustrating players in fantasy last season, ranking 39th in PPR points among running backs as he struggled through his career-worst season. The Bills continue to express faith in McCoy, who turns 31 in July, and McCoy remains confident he can still be the workhorse in Buffalo. History and reality should leave fantasy players skeptical. McCoy’s statistical decline as he has entered his 30s is unlikely to be reversed and his role this season remains up in the air. Frank Gore and third-round pick Devin Singletary both received first-team reps this spring, casting doubt on whether McCoy will still receive the lion’s share of snaps. There is a chance he can use an improved offensive line to rebound in 2019, but he remains a highly risky fantasy play at this stage of his career.
Berry: WR: Not ranked | Clay: WR: 77 (Overall: 215) | Cockcroft: WR: 67 (Overall: 198) | Karabell: WR: NR | Yates: WR: NR
Analysis: Brown’s rankings by our experts put him, at best, on the fringe of the radar for 12-team leagues. That could be underselling a player whom the Bills are paying $7.5 million per season to potentially be their No. 1 receiver. Brown finished 45th among wide receivers in PPR scoring last season and has the speed to connect with Allen on deep balls that could quickly rack up points. However, like any of the Bills’ receivers, the lack of clarity at the top of the depth chart should give fantasy players pause about Brown.
Berry: WR: NR | Clay: WR: 78 (Overall: 216) | Cockcroft: WR: NR | Karabell: WR: NR | Yates: WR: 48
Analysis: Beasley seems to have flown under the radar, which is surprising given he finished 43rd among wide receivers last season in PPR scoring. Beasley’s role as the slot receiver in Buffalo is rock solid; the question is how much Allen will opt to throw to Beasley over chucking it deep (Allen averaged the second-most air yards per throw last season) or running. If offensive coordinator Brian Daboll can pull from his New England roots and get Allen to use Beasley in the mold of Wes Welker or Julian Edelman, the potential for fantasy-relevant production exists.
Zay Jones performs his signature levitation move to impress Nate, who recently completed his final chemotherapy session.
Berry: WR: NR | Clay: WR: 86 (Overall: 230) | Cockcroft: WR: NR | Karabell: WR: NR | Yates: WR: NR
Analysis: Jones ranked 35th among wide receivers in scoring last season and was 24th after Allen’s Week 12 return, making his absence from our experts’ rankings surprising. However, it remains to be seen where Jones fits after the additions of Brown and Beasley this offseason. Jones was one of Allen’s first-team wideouts to start OTAs and flashed some skill before suffering an undisclosed injury that kept him out the rest of the spring. He will compete with Brown and Robert Foster to fill out spots Nos. 1, 2 and 4 on the depth chart. If Jones secures one of the top two spots, he should very much be on the fantasy radar.
Berry: WR: NR | Clay: WR: 79 (Overall: 217) | Cockcroft: WR: 62 (Overall: 174) | Karabell: WR: NR | Yates: WR: NR
Analysis: Foster, an undrafted rookie last season, did not break through for Buffalo until the second half of last season. After Allen’s Week 12 return, he was the 19th-ranked wide receiver in PPR scoring, which should have put him squarely on the fantasy radar in 2019. However, the same problem as Jones applies: Where does he fit in the puzzle alongside Brown and Beasley? Like Brown, Foster is a speed threat who could be a weekly boom-or-bust prospect depending on whether he can connect with Allen.
Other ranked players
Berry: Gore (RB: 59),
Clay: Defense/special teams (D/ST: 4; Overall: 144); Singletary (RB: 63; Overall: 201); Gore (RB: 72; Overall: 235); T.J. Yeldon (RB: 78; Overall: 241); Dawson Knox (TE: 33; Overall: 292)
Cockcroft: Singletary (RB: 56; Overall: 142); Defense/special teams (D/ST: 8; Overall: 172)
Karabell: Singletary (RB: 57); Defense/special teams (D/ST: 8)
Yates: Gore (RB: 55); Defense/special teams (D/ST: 17); Stephen Hauschka (K: 20)
Author: Mike Rodak
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