2019 Bills fantasy football team preview: Can Josh Allen take a step forward?

The Yahoo Fantasy analysts will preview all 32 NFL teams between now and the end of July as training camps open. We’ll tackle pressing season-long fantasy questions, Best Ball tips (new on Yahoo for 2019) and team win totals. Next up, the Buffalo Bills.

There is something building in Buffalo. The Bills enjoyed one of the better 2019 drafts, headlined by stud pass rusher Ed Oliver, who seemingly fell to them at pick No. 9. For fantasy purposes, however, the Bills showed flashes in 2018 of what could be a group of interesting offensive assets.

The offense starts and stops with quarterback Josh Allen, who had an up-and-down rookie season but definitely ended on a high note, especially in fantasy. Allen took the league by storm from Week 12 on, showing what he could do with his cannon arm and Sonic the Hedgehog-like legs.

The question is, can Allen find any sense of accuracy (12 INTs, 52.8 completion percentage) and take advantage of his intriguing weapons at receiver (John Brown, Robert Foster, Zay Jones) and running back (LeSean McCoy, Devin Singletary)?

Can Josh Allen take the next step?

Despite his inaccuracies, Josh Allen was one of the surprise rookie sensations of 2018. TRUE or FALSE: Allen finishes the 2019 fantasy season ranked inside the position’s top-12.

Andy: No. FALSE. Denied. Get outta here. I appreciate quarterback rushing ability as much as the next fantasy guru, but this dude simply isn’t close as a passer. We all know about Allen’s huge arm, but he’s hilariously inaccurate (52.8 cmp%). Misfires like this happen waaaaay too often. I’m never going to fight you for Allen in a draft room. Quarterback is too deep a position to target a guy who can’t make simple throws.

However, Allen is clearly going to be a popular target for many analysts. Like this guy, for instance ...

Brad: TRUE. Yes, Allen would accidentally sever an onlooker’s leg tossing blades at an ax-throwing club. In his rookie campaign he ranked No. 30 or lower in five different completion percentage categories. But his rushing ability masks otherwise comical passes. Just look at what he accomplished over the second half of the season — he channeled Michael Vick. In fact, he rushed for more yards than the former Falcon/Madden hero in his first seven starts, establishing a new NFL record. More convincing, he was THE most valuable passer in the virtual game from Weeks 12-17 (25.3 fantasy points/game), despite connecting on a laughable 51.9 percent of his throws.

Allen desperately needs to improve his accuracy, but as long as he continues to chew up real estate with his legs, his completion rates simply don’t matter. At his 144.9 (QB20) ADP, he’s a phenomenal low-cost QB who’ll toe the line of the position’s top-10.

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PPR Pick ‘Em

Which Bills RB will compile the most fantasy points in a .5 PPR setting this fall: LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, T.J. Yeldon or Devin Singletary?

Liz: DEVIN SINGLETARY. God bless the souls brave enough to mess with this backfield. Comprised of two declining vets, a perennial backup with questionable hands, and an undersized rookie, the Bills’ stable of running backs is anything but. Frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me if at least one of these guys is cut before September.

Rather than lean on McCoy (who will be 31-years-old this summer and who is coming off of the worst statistical season of his career) or Frank Gore (whose 14th year as a pro was cut short due to a foot injury), I’d rather focus on the freshest legs. Highly productive in college (4,287 rushing yards and 67 rushing TDs while at FAU), Singletary is a seemingly inexhaustible player who can shimmy, shake, and slip through even the tiniest hole.

While he’s smaller than Yeldon, his game is antithetical in that he plays beyond his size. His lack of experience as a receiver and in pass protection will likely limit him to a change-of-pace role, but there’s a chance he could grow into a capable back as the season progresses. He’s currently ranked just inside my top 50 players at the position. He’s also an interesting dynasty league target.

Brad: DEVIN SINGLETARY. McCoy, Gore and “Total Junk” are decaying fantasy compost. Whether analyzing film, cursory data or advanced analytics, none present much upside and statistical viability. Eventually the cream, Singletary, will rise to the top.

At 5-foot-7 and 203 pounds, the rookie pulverized the competition at the collegiate level. With Florida Atlantic, he tallied 3.89 yards after contact per attempt while notching the third-highest percentage of first-defender whiffs (42.8%) according to Pro Football Focus. If he can catch Sean McDermott’s eye, it’s possible he tops the depth chart by midseason.

Best Ball Bargain Bin

Andy: To be perfectly honest, this is not an offense in which I’ll be trying to invest. Best ball might be the only format in which I’d take a look at JOSH ALLEN, because I won’t have to guess when the 90-yard rushing performance is gonna happen. I’m also ready for the DEVIN SINGLETARY takeover, but doubt I’d be willing to hold him all year in a standard season-long format.

Brad: ZAY JONES. No shocker, among WRs who lured at least 75 targets, Jones posted the 14th-worst on-target catch percentage (81.2) tracked by Sports Info Solutions. Still his massive red-zone target share (No. 2 among all WRs) and overall workload (102 targets in ‘18) imply he’s worth a late-round flier (173.8 ADP, WR68). Acquired free agent John Brown poses a threat, but Jones has an established rapport with Allen. Recall, he was WR17 Weeks 13-17 last year.

Mad Bets (Via FanDuel Sportsbook): Buffalo 6.5 wins OVER (-125) or UNDER (+105)

Brad: OVER, barely. Formidable on defense, which added gap-plugging DT Ed Oliver in the draft, and blessed with the fifth-easiest schedule according to projected Vegas win totals, Buffalo is a sound wager to accumulate seven wins. It all boils down to how much the offense can advance with Allen in Year 2.

Liz: OVER. Sean McDermott showed enough creativity, and Josh Allen progressed enough down the stretch to assume that Buffalo can improve on their 6-10 record from 2018. Plus, Orchard Park is a tough place to play and it’s not crazy to think the Bills could best the Jets, Dolphins, Bengals, Broncos, and Skins at home. Throw in a few road wins (Titans and G-Men) and seven victories becomes a realistic expectation.

More Fantasy Team Previews

AFC East: Bills | Dolphins | Jets | Patriots

NFC East: Cowboys | Eagles | Giants | Washington

AFC South: Colts | Texans | Jaguars | Titans

NFC South: Buccaneers | Saints | Panthers | Falcons

AFC North: Bengals | Steelers | Ravens | Browns

NFC North: Lions | Vikings | Packers | Bears

AFC West: Chiefs | Chargers | Raiders | Broncos

NFC West: Rams | Cardinals | 49ers | Seahawks

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