The Bills have firmly established themselves as one of the best teams in the league, but they haven't been able to get over the hump in the Josh Allen era. Allen struggled a bit with an elbow injury last season, but he was still an elite Fantasy option. There aren't a ton of sure things beyond him and Stefon Diggs here, and there are at least some signs of that partnership running its course. The bigger problem here might be that the Bills have adopted a policy of prioritizing stability, which risks stagnation as the roster ages. There are some real questions about whether they've put enough help around Josh Allen.
Record: 13-3 (3)
PPG: 28.4 (2)
YPG: 397.6 (2)
Pass YPG: 258.1 (7)
Rush YPG: 139.5 (7)
PAPG: 35.9 (8)
RAPG: 26.9 (15)
2022 Fantasy finishes
Number to know: 27th
That's where the Bills running backs ranked in total PPR points last season, which is why I'm always confused when people in the Fantasy industry want to see high-profile running backs go to Buffalo. Sure, they might use their running backs differently if they had better options, but I think at the end of the day, this is probably never going to be a particularly great offense for running backs. Josh Allen's scrambling limits pass-catching opportunities for the backs, and his goal-line dominance as a runner will always limit touchdown opportunities as well.
Now, of course, a team doesn't necessarily have to create a ton of points from the RB position for an RB to be very good for Fantasy – the Cardinals ranked just ahead of the Bills in this regard, and James Conner was RB9 in points per game last season, after all. However, I think it's pretty unlikely either Damien Harris or James Cook is going to be playing 90% or more of the snaps like Conner often did. This is going to be a split, like it always is, and as long as that's the case, neither back is likely to be much more than a fringe starting Fantasy option. I wouldn't have minded seeing the Bills add more playmaking on offense, even in the backfield, but I don't think it would have led to a back suddenly becoming a must-start option here.
196 RB carries, 60 RB targets, 33 WR targets, 1 TE targets
Rankings and projections
Chris Towers' projections
|QB||Josh Allen||PA: 573, YD: 4238, TD: 34, INT: 12; RUSH -- ATT: 109, YD: 599, TD: 6|
|RB||Damien Harris||CAR: 152, YD: 640, TD: 5; TAR: 23, REC: 17, YD: 137, TD: 1|
|RB||James Cook||CAR: 152, YD: 686, TD: 5; TAR: 46, REC: 34, YD: 275, TD: 1|
|WR||Stefon Diggs||TAR: 155, REC: 105, YD: 1388, TD: 9|
|WR||Gabe Davis||TAR: 97, REC: 57, YD: 819, TD: 6|
|WR||Khalil Shakir||TAR: 69, REC: 38, YD: 491, TD: 3|
|TE||Dawson Knox||TAR: 80, REC: 59, YD: 587, TD: 5|
|TE||Dalton Kincaid||TAR: 46, REC: 32, YD: 337, TD: 2|
Which playmakers step up?
This time last year, we expected Davis to take a big step forward, but it seemed like he was miscast as a No. 2 option. There's an opportunity for someone beyond Diggs to emerge as a high-end Fantasy option, but there aren't necessarily any obvious options. Rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid is getting plenty of buzz as a potential big slot receiver, so we'll want to keep a close eye on reports out of camp to see if he can be that guy.
One sleeper, one breakout and one bust
I think there's a decent chance we get to the beginning of August and Kincaid no longer qualifies as a sleeper, because a few positive reports out of training camp will send his price skyrocketing. There's a real opportunity for someone to step up in this offense, especially in the passing game, and after Gabe Davis flopped with that same opportunity a year ago, Kincaid is going to be the next man up. I'm ranking him as a No. 2 tight end for now, simply because the history of rookie tight ends emerging as Fantasy contributors is pretty iffy -- you try learning two positions at the highest level, which is what most tight ends have to do if they're going to be a big part of the blocking scheme. However, if Kincaid really is just used primarily as a slot receiver, with Dawson Knox handling most of the traditional tight end stuff, that could streamline his transition. I'll take a later-round flier, if that's all it ends up costing. We'll see.
Of course, it's fair to question whether Davis actually flopped, or whether his opportunity was derailed almost immediately. He had 88 yards on four catches with a touchdown in Week 1, but then missed Week 2 after suffering a high-ankle sprain during practice. He ultimately returned the following week and played his full complement of snaps, which is a testament to Davis' toughness, because that's an awfully tough injury to play through. Davis might just be exactly as limited as he showed last season – he was used almost exclusively as a low-volume, downfield target who put together more than 60 yards in consecutive games just twice during the season. But, there's still at least room for Davis to emerge as something more than what he showed last season. Potentially.
I don't actually think Diggs is going to bust, but he's heading into this age-30 season and expressed his apparent frustration with the team's offense by skipping a day of mandatory minicamp this offseason. Diggs was visibly frustrated at times last season, and had more than 60 yards just twice in his final six games. Diggs is the clear No. 1 WR here, and there's absolutely no one who looks primed to threaten his standing. But there's enough weirdness going on here, especially with a player at an age where decline can come faster than you might expect, to be a little wary. Diggs is my No. 5 WR, but he's more of a fallback option among the elite guys at the position.