2020 Buffalo Bills Fantasy Team Preview: Handcuff Zack Moss to Devin Singletary

SI Fantasy's Team Preview series from high-stakes legend Shawn Childs aims to break down the Buffalo Bills to evaluate the offense, defense, coaches and everyone in between with a fantasy-slanted analysis.
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Coaching Staff

Over his first three seasons as the head coach for the Buffalo Bills, Sean McDermott went 25-23 with two playoff appearances. Before 2017, McDermott worked as the defensive coordinator for the Panthers over six seasons, with his best success coming in 2013. Last year the Bills lost 22-19 to the Texans in overtime in the AFC Wild Card Game. With QB Tom Brady no longer in the AFC East, the Bills moved to co-favorites to win their division.

Brian Daboll will run the offensive for the third year. He’s been working in the NFL since 2000, with four seasons of experience as an offensive coordinator (Cleveland, Miami, and Kansas City). Brian worked in the Patriots’ coaching system for 11 seasons. In 2017, Daboll was the offensive coordinator for the Crimson Tide that won the National Championship. He’s been part of five Super Bowl teams and one National College Championship.

Last year Buffalo ranked 23rd in points scored (314) and 24th in offensive yards, which was an improvement from 2018 (30th in points scored [269] and 30th in offensive yards).

Buffalo brought in Leslie Frazier to run their defense in 2017. He’s coached in the NFL since 1999, with six seasons coming as a defensive coordinator and three years as a head coach (21-32-1). In March, Frazier was promoted to assistant head coach.

Over the past two years, the Bills ranked second and third in yards allowed on defense. They improved 16 spots in the standings in 2019 in points allowed (259 – 2nd).

Quarterbacks

Josh Allen (RANK - ADP)

Over 28 starts in the NFL, Allen doesn’t have a game with over 300 yards passing while averaging only 6.6 yards per pass attempt. On the positive side, no QB has more rushing TDs (17) than him over this span. Over his final full nine starts, Allen passed for fewer than 210 yards in six contests. His completion rate (58.8) showed an improvement, and the addition of WR Stefon Diggs should iron out some of his issues in the deep passing game. Allen gained only 6.7 yards per pass attempt in 2020, but he finished with 47 completions over 20 yards and seven completions over 40 yards.

Last year Buffalo struggled to move the ball with RBs (61/460/2) and TEs (46/604/3) in the passing game. Allen isn’t ready to be a great passer, and the Bills lack the key players to help him push higher up the QB mountain. They tried to add size at wide receiver in the draft, which may come into play in scoring in the red zone.

With about 37 percent of his fantasy scoring coming with his legs, Allen can’t maintain his 2019 final QB ranking (8th) without more chances and success in the passing game. Last year he posted one impact game (36.40 fantasy points), but he had 11 contests with between 19.00 and 28.10 fantasy points in four-point passing TD leagues.

Allen is projected for 3,541 passing yards and over 30 combined TDs with success in the run game (102/512/7).

Jake Fromm

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Running Backs

Devin Singletary (RANK - ADP)

In a limited role over the first two games in the NFL, Singletary gained 155 combined yards with a TD and five catches on 15 touches. He missed the next three weeks with a hamstring injury. Over his final nine games, including the playoffs, Singletary averaged 18.9 touches leading to 873 combined yards with two TDs and 26 catches with his best play coming at home over three contests (372 combined yards with a TD and ten catches). The Bills have a top rushing QB who steals plenty of TDs. Last year the Bills’ RBs gained 2,008 combined yards with eight TDs and 61 catches. Easy to overprice, despite expecting growth in 2020.

The addition of RB Zack Moss does knock Singletary down a notch for me. Moss has more size, and Buffalo may lean on him more at the goal line and in short-yardage situations.

His initial projection (1,341 combined yards with eight TDs and 44 catches)

Zack Moss & T.J. Yeldon

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Wide Receivers

Stefon Diggs (RANK - ADP)

Last year Diggs had a flip from his previous skillset. Over his first five years in the league, he worked more like a possession type receiver (11.6 yards per catch), highlighted by his success in 2018 (102/1021/9). He set career-highs in receiving yards (1,130), yards per catch (17.9), and catches over 20 yards (20) in 2019. Diggs saw his targets (94) fall by 37 percent, which was more of Vikings’ passing issue. The Bills ranked poorly in WR production (192/2411/15) in 2019, despite showing growth. Buffalo wants to run the ball while developing its deep passing game. Diggs will see a sharp decline in his yards per catch in 2020 with only a slight bump in targets.

Over the previous three seasons, he finished 19th, 10th, 22nd in WR scoring in PPR leagues.

In his early projections, I struggled with the proper value for his opportunity. The Bills have three viable pass-catchers at wide receiver. For now, Diggs should receive a minimum of one-third of Buffalo’s wide receiver completions leading to 75 catches for 1,089 yards and seven touchdowns. Diggs ranks 17th at wide receiver after my first run at the projections.

If his completions translated to the same value in WR targets, then Diggs would see a bump to 140 targets based on last year’s wide receiver chances (320) for the Bills. His career catch rate (68.4) suggests his catches should be closer to 95 if he did indeed receive 140 targets.

Diggs looks to be a value in drafts, and I would expect his ADP to rise along with his projections over the summer.

John Brown, Cole Beasley & Gabriel Davis

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Tight Ends

Dawson Knox (RANK - ADP)

His stats at Ole Miss (39 catches for 605 yards and no TDs over 17 games) and his first season in the NFL (28/388/2) won't get fantasy owners excited. He did play with two of the top five WRs in the 2019 draft class. His next step is improving his route running and adding more strength to help in the blocking game. Last year he made 11 starts while falling short in his catch rate (56.0 – thanks to seven drops). Knox has a low ceiling based on the limited chance for the tight in the Bills' offense.

Tyler Kroft

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Defense

The Bills ranked 23rd in the NFL defending the run in 2019 (1,649 yards) with teams scoring 12 rushing TDs. Ball carriers gained 4.3 yards per rush, with 12 runs over 20 yards. Buffalo had the fourth-best defense in the league vs. the pass (195.2 yards per game). They allowed 6.2 yards per pass attempt with 15 passing TDs and 14 Ints while picking up 44 sacks.

The Bills finished 14th in fantasy defense scoring (109.0 fantasy points) in the Fantasy Football World Championships.

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In the premium outlook, on defense you'll find write-ups for CB Tre’Davious White, CB Levi Wallace, S Micah Hyde, S Jordan Poyer, LB Tremaine Edmunds, LB Matt Milano, LB A.J. Klein, DE Jerry Hughes, DE A.J. Epenesa, DT Ed Oliver and DT Vernon Butler.

Team Defense Outlook

Their secondary has plenty of questions, and I don’t see an elite pass rush. If your drafting on last year’s stats, give them a ride. I’ll fade with the hopes of finding a defense with more talent to raise the bar higher.

Free Agency, Draft, Offensive Line, Offensive Schedule & Defensive Schedule

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