The Yahoo Fantasy analysts will preview all 32 NFL teams between now and the eventual start of the 2020 draft season. Here, we’ll tackle pressing fantasy questions, #FantasyHotTaeks, and team win totals. Next up, the Buffalo Bills.
Josh Allen was QB6 in fantasy last season. Does he crack the top-5 with more talent around him or can his legs only take him so far?
Matt: The top-five is well within his range of outcomes. Allen ranked second in quarterback rushing attempts with 109, falling behind only Lamar Jackson. So much of Allen’s running comes from improvisational moments and scrambling. That’s a bit more difficult to rely on carrying over year-to-year than a player like Jackson. His legs are built into the design of the offense. However, if there is even the slightest leak of juice from his rushing output, don’t rule out that he can make up for it with a passing boost. Stefon Diggs is going to change the complexion of this offense. With Diggs and Brown, the Bills will have two of the league’s best separators in the NFL.
The one thing we need to keep in mind: Even if Allen does finish as QB4-6 in 2020, the journey to get there is not going to be smooth. Until he proves himself a more polished passer, he’s going to be volatile. Expect spike weeks boosted by rushing numbers and, possibly, big passing days in good matchups.
Andy: Yeah, sure, this can definitely happen. I’m not about to endorse Josh Allen as an upper-tier quarterback in reality (nor do I think he’s close), but he’s clearly going to remain a useful fantasy asset. Allen carried the ball 11 times inside the 10-yard line last season, the second-highest total on the team. For the year, he converted 109 total carries into 510 yards and nine TDs. There’s no reason to think he can’t deliver similar rushing numbers in 2020. Assuming it happens, another season of modest passing stats will be enough for a top-five positional finish.
Scott: It’s reasonable that he could do it, but I won’t bet on Allen doing it. His rushing production is already at the top of its likely range; we can’t realistically ask him to provide more fantasy production that way. And as he matures more as a player, he’ll run less. It’s possible he could have a better real-life season in 2020 and fall notably in the final fantasy ranks.
Allen was far more interesting to me in previous years, with so much more room for profit. Now that you have to pay for him expectantly, I’m less interested. Quarterback on a budget isn’t a sexy fantasy strategy, but as long as the supply far exceeds the demand, it’s always going to be my preference.
Stefon Diggs was Buffalo’s big offseason acquisition. Does he produce similar numbers (WR21 last season), make a leap, or take a step back in 2020?
Andy: First of all, Diggs is great. He’s a technician, a Reception Perception legend. Sure, he may have some diva-receiver tendencies, but he’s a massive talent. Fantasy wise, however, Diggs landed in a brutal spot. His new quarterback isn’t even close to league-average in terms of any passing stat that matters. If you want to get the most out of an elite NFL route-runner, it’s probably not best to pair him with one of the league’s least accurate passers. An abbreviated offseason does him no favors, either. Do not want. I’ll be surprised if he finishes as a top-24 fantasy receiver.
Matt: The move from Minnesota to Buffalo is a net-neutral for Diggs’ fantasy value. We know the talent remains the same. He’s a true No. 1 receiver and the best route-runner in the NFL (shoutout to Andy and his shoutout of me above). Just like in Minnesota, he will share targets with another 1B receiver in John Brown. That’s how Brown was used last year and he crushed it. The Bills, just like the Vikings, are a run-heavy team. The Vikings were fourth and the Bills seventh in run play percentage in 2019. Both the Vikings and Bills have quarterback questions, but this time instead of a quarterback with questions about how often he’ll check down instead of looking for Diggs when he’s open downfield, it’ll be a quarterback with questions about how often he’ll hit the target when he does let it rip. On a surface level, that’s identical. So Diggs is likely to be exactly what he was last year: A WR2 who has big spike weeks but may frustrate with some low outputs.
Scott: Diggs can be the dreamiest route runner in the world, but will Allen consistently deliver an accurate, catchable pass? And how long does it take for a new receiver to get comfortable in a new city? It’s not that every notable wideout changing teams is a bad initial bet, but that’s the way I’ll generally lean, unless I see something to push me out of it. To be fair, fantasy players seem to grasp this concept; Diggs is currently the WR25 in Yahoo rooms and WR24 in NFFC formats. That’s a fair price. But I’ll wait a year before I chase Diggs again.
Devin Singletary (ADP 38.6) looked great at times as a rookie, but with the Bills drafting Zack Moss (ADP 128.5), is there room for both to turn a profit at their current draft slots?
Andy: For me, this is an easy one: Nope. Singletary seems like a lousy bet to deliver a profit. Good player, but not obviously a featured runner. It isn’t a lock that Moss will slide neatly into Frank Gore’s old workload, but it’s definitely on the table. In 2019, Gore dominated carries inside the 10-yard line, handling 18 attempts to Singletary’s three. Moss has the prototypical short-yardage build and profile; he seems like a natural fit to handle a significant goal-line role. He offers huge profit potential. Singletary, not so much.
Matt: Nope. Devin Singletary remains one of my favorite breakout running backs. He was earning near featured-level work to end the year. The rookie, Weeks 11-16 and the Bills lone playoff game, averaged 19 touches per contest. The addition of Moss mucks things up a bit. He’ll at least slide into Frank Gore’s vacated workload. But there’s no way they both profit. You want a running back attached to an ascending team like the Bills, who have a talented set of passing game weapons and a good defense. The game scripts should be right. As fake footballers, we have to hope this doesn’t resemble an even split. That would ruin things. Honestly, neither is going to be a priority target in drafts.
Scott: I’ll reluctantly fade Singletary, and it’s not just because of Moss. Allen’s going to take some of those goal-line chippies, too —perhaps even lead the team in rushing touchdowns.
Andy: Moss is gonna outscore Singletary. This take doesn’t even feel hot enough for this series, to be honest. It’s not an unlikely scenario. Again: Singletary, for all his talent, has not served as Buffalo’s goal-to-go runner. Moss is a very strong candidate for that role. It’s entirely in play for the rookie to produce 8-10 touchdowns.
OVER/UNDER on 8.5 Win Total from BetMGM
Scott: The obvious call is OVER, but it’s not easy to play it; you have to lay -182 of juice. Perhaps I could interest you in Exactly 9 Wins (+275) or Exactly 10 Wins (+325)? Propped up by its defense and stable coaching, Buffalo is the AFC East’s best team entering 2020.
Follow Matt: @MattHarmon_BYB
Follow Scott: @scott_pianowski
Follow Andy: @AndyBehrens