The Buffalo Bills have evolved into one of the NFL's powerhouse offenses over the past several seasons and there is plenty to get excited about on the Fantasy Football front. Some of the same narratives we focused on last season remain but with different players in position to take a major jump forward.
Second-year running back James Cook is a player to focus on given how strong he finished the season and what could be a sizable expansion in his pass-game role. Although some Fantasy managers who were burned by moving him way up their draft boards in 2022 have turned the page on wide receiver Gabe Davis, he should have a similar snap share in 2023 and you can get him as a major piece of one of the best offenses for a cheaper investment. The big question mark whose role will is rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid. Given the state of the tight end position in Fantasy Football and how NFL-ready he appears to be, Kincaid could end up the X factor in this offense and on your Fantasy teams.
- AFC East: | |
Below the CBS Sports Fantasy staff will take a look into the Bills' entire team outlook including a burning question for Fantasy Football managers that needs to be answered, key player projections, a review of their draft class, strength of schedule, and individual player outlooks for all of the notable Bills players who may end up on your Fantasy rosters.
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Bills 2023 team outlook
By Chris Towers
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 here.
Burning question: Which playmakers step up?
This time last year, we expected Gabe 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 Stefon 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.
Key Bills player 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|
2023 NFL Draft class
Bills 2023 schedule breakdown
Projected Strength of Schedule rankings by Dave Richard
- QB PSoS: 29th easiest
- RB PSoS: 30th easiest
- WR PSoS: 31st easiest
- TE PSoS: 18th easiest
|1||Sep 11, 2023||@N.Y. Jets||8:15 pm||ABC||MetLife Stadium|
|2||Sep 17, 2023||vsLas Vegas||1:00 pm||Highmark Stadium|
|3||Sep 24, 2023||@Washington||1:00 pm||FedEx Field|
|4||Oct 1, 2023||vsMiami||1:00 pm||Highmark Stadium|
|5||Oct 8, 2023||vsJacksonville||9:30 am||NFLN||Tottenham Hotspur Stadium|
|6||Oct 15, 2023||vsN.Y. Giants||8:20 pm||NBC||Highmark Stadium|
|7||Oct 22, 2023||@New England||1:00 pm||Gillette Stadium|
|8||Oct 26, 2023||vsTampa Bay||8:15 pm||AMZN||Highmark Stadium|
|9||Nov 5, 2023||@Cincinnati||8:20 pm||NBC||Paycor Stadium|
|10||Nov 13, 2023||vsDenver||8:15 pm||ESPN||Highmark Stadium|
|11||Nov 19, 2023||vsN.Y. Jets||4:25 pm||Highmark Stadium|
|12||Nov 26, 2023||@Philadelphia||4:25 pm||Lincoln Financial Field|
|14||Dec 10, 2023||@Kansas City||4:25 pm||GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium|
|15||Dec 17, 2023||vsDallas||4:25 pm||FOX||Highmark Stadium|
|16||Dec 23, 2023||@L.A. Chargers||8:00 pm||PEAK||SoFi Stadium|
|17||Dec 31, 2023||vsNew England||1:00 pm||Highmark Stadium|
|18||Jan 7, 2024||@Miami||TBA||—||Hard Rock Stadium|
Bills 2023 player outlooks
By Jamey Eisenberg unless otherwise noted
QB Josh Allen
Allen is worth drafting as early as Round 2 in one-quarterback leagues as one of the best Fantasy quarterbacks. In Superflex and two-quarterback leagues, Allen should be drafted in Round 1.
In 2022, Allen's 29.1 Fantasy points per game marked his third season in a row averaging at least 27.8. Rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid joins Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis and Dawson Knox as weapons for Allen, who is a candidate for 4,500 passing yards and 35 passing touchdowns. There is some concern Allen could run less in 2023 after consecutive seasons of at least 122 carries, 762 yards and six touchdowns. But even if the rushing numbers decline, they won't disappear, which still gives Allen a significant edge over his competition.
Fantasy managers will have to decide which of Allen, Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts they like best, and Allen could definitely finish as the No. 1 QB in all leagues. He was No. 1 in 2021 and No. 2 in 2022 and 2020.
RB James Cook
Cook has the chance to emerge as a No. 2 Fantasy running back in all leagues, and he's worth drafting as early as Round 6.
His training camp battle with Damien Harris will be one to watch, and hopefully Cook proves to be Buffalo's best running back this year. Latavius Murray could also frustratingly be in the mix for the Bills, but Cook should have the most upside of this group. Cook shared playing time as a rookie in 2022 but had four games with double digits in carries, and he scored 16 PPR points in two of them.
The Bills don't throw a lot of passes to their backs -- Devin Singletary's best season was 40 receptions in 2021 -- but maybe Cook's receiving prowess changes that. He also has to contend with Josh Allen stealing rushing touchdowns, along with Harris and Murray. Still, as a second-year running back, Cook could prove to be the best running back Buffalo has had in the Allen era. With enough work, Cook could have a breakout campaign in 2023.
RB Damien Harris
Harris signed as a free agent with Buffalo, where he's expected to compete with James Cook and Latavius Murray for touches. Harris could emerge as the best running back for the Bills, and he's worth drafting as early as Round 7 in PPR leagues and Round 6 in non- and 0.5-PPR formats.
Harris spent the first four years of his career with the Patriots, and he broke out in 2021 when he scored 15 touchdowns. Harris scored three touchdowns in his first four games in 2022 but then struggled with injuries and was outplayed by Rhamondre Stevenson. Harris could lead the Bills in carries and potentially rushing touchdowns, but he isn't expected to be a factor in the passing game with 40 career receptions. Josh Allen will be a factor on the ground in Buffalo along with Harris' running back competition.
Consider Harris a No. 3 running back/flex option to open the season, and if he stays healthy he could outperform his draft value, especially if he's better than Cook and Murray.
RB Latavius Murray
Murray joined the Bills in the offseason and if recent history is any indication that could be bad news for James Cook and Damien Harris. Murray has at least 162 touches in seven of his past eight seasons and more than one of those teams didn't intend on giving Murray that much work when they signed him.
As he has in the recent past, he'll probably need an injury to be Fantasy relevant, but James Cook has never been a full-time back and Damien Harris is coming off of an injury. Leave Murray on the waiver wire in all but the deepest of leagues, but don't be surprised if we're telling you to add him and start him as a flex by the middle of the season. -- Heath Cummings
RB Nyheim Hines
Hines is expected to miss the 2023 season after reportedly being injured in a jet ski accident just before camp. Even before, he would have had minimal Fantasy value coming into the year behind James Cook, Damien Harris and likely Latavius Murray on the Bills depth chart. In nine games with the Bills last year, Hines had six carries for minus-3 yards and five catches for 53 yards on nine targets. His biggest contribution to Buffalo this season would likely have come on special teams on kick and punt returns.
Gilliam will once again be the starting fullback for the Bills, but he has minimal Fantasy value in that role. He's not worth drafting in the majority of leagues. In three seasons in Buffalo, Gilliam has 16 career touches for 111 yards and two touchdowns. It's doubtful he'll get enough work to warrant having on your Fantasy roster.
WR Stefon Diggs
Diggs should once again be considered one of the best Fantasy receivers this season, and he's worth drafting toward the end of Round 1 or beginning of Round 2 in all leagues.
In three seasons in Buffalo, Diggs has averaged at least 19.8 PPR points per game in two of those campaigns. He has three years in a row with at least 103 catches, 1,225 yards, eight touchdowns and 154 targets, and he's proven to be an elite Fantasy option since being paired with Josh Allen in 2020.
Once Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase, Cooper Kupp and Tyreek Hill are drafted, Diggs should be the next receiver off the board in the majority of leagues given his consistent production in Buffalo and what is expected of him once again in 2023.
WR Gabe Davis
Davis was a bust in 2022, but he has the chance to rebound this year -- at a cheaper cost -- since he remains a big part of Buffalo's offense as the No. 2 receiver opposite Stefon Diggs, and he still has Josh Allen on his side. He should be considered a post-hype sleeper candidate worth drafting as early as Round 7 in all leagues.
His CBS Average Draft Position in 2022 was No. 60 overall, but he finished with just 48 catches for 836 yards and seven touchdowns and averaged 12.8 PPR points per game. That number is a little skewed because he had four games with at least 16 PPR points and six games with six PPR points or less. Davis can still be an excellent No. 3 Fantasy receiver in the majority of leagues who can win you a few weeks during the season with his big-play ability.
WR Khalil Shakir
Shakir should be the No. 3 receiver for the Bills this season, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's headed for a lot of production. He's not worth drafting in the majority of leagues.
Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis are locked into the top two receiver spots for Buffalo, but then Dawson Knox and especially Dalton Kincaid could see more targets ahead of Shakir. Shakir might be able to carve out a role for himself in his second season, but he'll have to prove himself first to Fantasy managers. As a rookie in 2022, Shakir had 10 catches for 161 yards and a touchdown on 20 targets. If he starts out the season playing well, then just add Shakir off the waiver wire.
WR Deonte Harty
Outlook to come.
WR Justin Shorter
The Bills selected Shorter in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft out of Florida, and he will compete for a role as a reserve this season. He's not worth drafting in most redraft leagues. Shorter could be the No. 4 receiver for Buffalo at best behind Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis and Khalil Shakir. If he starts off the season playing well, add Shorter off the waiver wire. In rookie-only drafts for Dynasty leagues, Shorter is worth a late-round flier.
TE Dalton Kincaid
The Bills traded up in the first round of the NFL Draft to select Kincaid from Utah at No. 25 overall. While he's listed as a tight end, the expectation is the Bills will use Kincaid as a big slot receiver. He's worth drafting in all redraft leagues with a late-round pick as a low-end starting option. In rookie-only drafts for Dynasty leagues, Kincaid is worth a first-round pick.
He will likely be a big part of Buffalo's passing game along with Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis and Dawson Knox, and that's a good thing since Kincaid is associated with Josh Allen. At Utah, Kincaid finished 2022 with 70 catches, 890 yards and eight touchdowns, and he could be a standout playmaker in the NFL. While he might struggle as a rookie tight end given the history of the position, he still has the potential to succeed in a big way given his expected role and his quarterback.
TE Dawson Knox
Knox is likely to struggle with the addition of rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid, but he should still have value this season. While Knox is unlikely to get drafted in most Fantasy leagues, don't be surprised if you add him off the waiver wire during the year.
Kincaid is expected to be a big slot receiver for the Bills, which should allow Knox to operate as the main tight end for Buffalo, and he's been productive in that role. He scored 15 touchdowns over the past two seasons while averaging at least 9.0 points per game. Knox can still be a red-zone threat for Josh Allen despite being in a crowded receiving group with Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis and Kincaid. Knox could end up as a surprise Fantasy option as the season goes on because being associated with Allen is a good thing for his Fantasy value.
Bass should once again be considered one of the best Fantasy kickers this season, and he's worth drafting with a last-round pick in all leagues. For three seasons in a row, Bass has averaged at least 8.2 Fantasy points per game and made at least 27 field goals and 48 PATs. He also has eight field goals of at least 50 yards over that span. The Bills offense is among the best in the NFL, and Bass should continue to get plenty of scoring chances. He should be one of the first Fantasy kickers drafted in all formats.
The Bills DST should once again be considered a No. 1 Fantasy option this season, and the unit is worth drafting with a late-round pick in all leagues. Buffalo's defense is coming off a solid year in 2022, and the Bills were No. 2 in the NFL in points allowed last year, trailing only San Francisco. Buffalo also allowed the fewest yards in the league, and the Bills had 40 sacks, 17 interceptions, 10 fumble recoveries and three DST touchdowns. The Bills are expected to get pass rusher Von Miller (ACL) back, and Buffalo has standout playmakers all over the defensive side of the ball. The Bills DST has the potential to be the best Fantasy unit in 2023.