After breaking their playoff drought by going 9-7 in 2017, the Bills regressed last year with a 6-10 record. They decided to move on from quarterback Tyrod Taylor, briefly flirting with the disaster that was Nathan Peterman. Their quarterback of the future is Josh Allen and he was quickly called into action in relief of Peterman during the first game of the season. While he showed promise, the Bills still went into the offseason needing to improve their level of talent in several key areas if they wanted to get themselves back into the playoffs.
Key Departures:Kyle Williams, DT; Charles Clay, TE
Key Acquisitions:John Brown, WR; Cole Beasley, WR; Frank Gore, RB; Ed Oliver, DT
2019 Fantasy MVP
Josh Allen, QB
This one seems easy. The Bills have a bit of a log jam at running back, so I’m leaving them out of the discussion for the team’s fantasy MVP. Brown is a huge addition for their wide receiver group, but the quartet of him, Beasley, Zay Jones and Robert Foster are set to eat into each other’s targets. That leaves us with Allen, who the Bills are expecting big things from in his second season.
If you just look at his passing numbers, there wasn’t much to like with Allen. He completed just 52.8 percent of his passes, averaged 172.8 passing yards per game and had more interceptions (12) than touchdown passes (10). However, he helped make up for his lack of production in the passing game by racking up 681 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. His 21 rushing attempts inside the red zone tied him with Deshaun Watson for second-most among quarterbacks, behind only Lamar Jackson. Incredibly, he at one point had a streak of three straight games with at least 99 rushing yards. His upside isn’t off the charts based on his accuracy issues, but his ability to contribute on the ground is what will lead to him being their MVP.
2019 Fantasy LVP
LeSean McCoy, RB
Once one of the most explosive running backs in the league, McCoy had the worst season of his career last year. He had rushed for at least 1,138 yards in four of the last five seasons, but McCoy accumulated a mere 514 yards on 161 carries. That means he averaged just 3.2 yards per carry after never having finished with lower than 4.0 yards per carry previously in his career. He also chipped in just 238 receiving yards, his lowest mark since his final season with the Eagles in 2014.
Once the workhorse back for the Bills, McCoy figures to be in a timeshare this season after the team signed Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon. They also drafted Devin Singletary in the third round, a player they hope will eventually be one of their leaders at the position. Don’t get lost in McCoy’s excellent career numbers. At this stage and with this roster, his days of having a significant fantasy impact could be behind him.
2019 Breakout Player
John Brown, WR
The term “breakout” might not be the best for describing Brown, who did have a 1,000-yard season with the Cardinals in 2015. However, after failing to build on that, this could be his breakout, part 2. He looked well on his way to reaching that yardage threshold again last season with the Ravens, accumulating 558 yards and four touchdowns through their first seven games. However, the wheels started to fall off after that and pass-catching opportunities became harder to come by once Jackson took over at quarterback. He received 54 targets through those first seven games, but only 24 targets over his final six games.
Although Allen has accuracy issues, he likes to throw the ball deep with an average target depth of 11.3 yards. Brown is certainly no stranger to deep passes, posting an average depth of target of 15.7 yards last year. If Allen does improve his accuracy even just a little, Brown could end up having the best campaign of his career.
The Bills have a chance to get off to a good start with their first three games coming against the Jets, Giants and Bengals. The bye in Week 6 isn’t exactly ideal and Buffalo finishes the season having to play five of its final eight games on the road. Those road matchups include the Cowboys, Steelers and Patriots, so it’s going to be tough for this team to find a way into the playoffs. The Bills play the Ravens, Steelers and Patriots from Weeks 14 through 16, which is not ideal timing for the fantasy playoffs.
After finishing tied for the sixth-most rushing attempts (468) last year, the Bills should once again be a run-heavy offense, especially with the depth that they now have at the position. However, that depth is going to make it tricky to key in on a running back to target in DFS on a weekly basis. A stack that could prove to be profitable is Allen and Brown. If Allen does connect on a big pass, the odds of Brown being on the receiving end of it are better than any of the other receivers on the team.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mbarner51) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.