It’s fantasy football draft season! You may want to walk away with every Buffalo Bills player, but your heart might not lead you in the right direction for fantasy football. So we’ll look at how to manage all of your Bills while taking your friend’s money.
Josh Allen is elite. He’s a superstar in the league and in fantasy football. Allen is currently projected to be the top scoring QB in 2022. His rushing upside keeps him viable in all formats. You’ll start him all year and be happy about it. This is the easiest part of the whole process. However, in leagues that start two QBs, you may want a QB who will excel during the bye week as well as any weeks that could limit Allen’s production (be that weather, playing time scenarios, etc).
Projections for Josh Allen:
- Rank: 1(ESPN), 1 (Faceoff Sports), 1 (Fantasy Pros)
- 2022 Projections: 369/575, 4108 Yards, 33 TDs, 13 INTs, 33 sacks, 677 Rushing Yards, 7 Rushing TDs.
Other players to also consider drafting: Trey Lance and Derek Carr. Tua Tagovailoa could also be considered an option if the first two are off the board. With Tagovailoa having matchups against the Bills’ defense though, it could be a situation that essentially cancels one another out.
The backfield looks to have a bit of a hot hand approach this year, so far in the preseason we haven’t seen much to lean away from this methodology. Currently all 3 fall more into RB2/Flex territory or later. Players in this range won’t be counted on for most of your season.
Projection for Bills running backs:
- Rank: 28 (ESPN), 34 (Faceoff Sports), 26 (Fantasy Pros)
- 2022 Projections: 784 rushing yards, 236 receiving yards, 5 touchdowns
- Rank: 40 (ESPN), 37 (Faceoff Sports), 43 (Fantasy Pros)
- 2022 Projections: 738 rushing yards, 247 receiving yards, 6 touchdowns
- Rank: 103(ESPN), 70 (Faceoff Sports), 81 (Fantasy Pros)
- 2022 Projections: 181 rushing yards, 87 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Since most people won’t set their draft strategy for who they plan on taking in the sixth round, here’s a different tier listing to help you determine which players being drafted could benefit from a Bills RB being on their roster. Of teams with the most benefit, any RB from the San Francisco 49ers or New England Patriots backfields actually lines up well with Buffalo’s best rushing matchup: the New York Jets.
Among the top tier of running backs, these are ones who have an alternative bye week to the Bills as well as possessing a bye during one of the Bills’ best matchups. They can step up for you during bye weeks. Jonathan Taylor, Nick Chubb, Javonte Williams, Saquon Barkley, Najee Harris, Alvin Kamara and Aaron Jones all meet this criteria.
Among the next tier of running backs, the RB2 range, a big season from any Bills running back could land them in this range. Still using the same logic as before, you’ll be drafting nearly all these running backs sooner, so their down weeks would make it ideal for you to bump up your Bills then. Ezekiel Elliott, AJ Dillon and Antonio Gibson are some who stand out in this range.
Running Back 3 or Flex is currently where Buffalo running backs are going in drafts. If you want others who have complimentary schedules, Cordarelle Patterson and Khalil Herbert can fill in well, and both also contain a decent chance to capitalize on their low ADP.
Outside of quarterback, the wide receiver position has the highest demand among Bills skill players. Stefon Diggs will be one of the top five receivers off the board. His reliability and chemistry with Josh Allen should be reflected in his projected 26% target share. Gabriel Davis is currently on average a low-end WR2. However, there are many, including myself, who Davis clearing 1,000 yards for the season and ending 2022 in the top 20 at the position. Isaiah McKenzie and Khalil Shakir could end up in sizeable roles in the event of an injury, but otherwise shouldn’t be in your draft plans outside of best ball or deep benches to start the season.
Projections for Bills wide receivers
- Rank: 5 (ESPN), 4 (Faceoff Sports), 5 (Fantasy Pros)
- 2022 Projections: 111 receptions, 1393 yards, 9 touchdowns
- Rank: 27 (ESPN), 34 (Faceoff Sports), 28 (Fantasy Pros)
- 2022 Projections: 58 receptions, 948 yards, 10 touchdowns
- Rank: 87 (ESPN), 87 (Faceoff Sports), 81 (Fantasy Pros)
- 2022 Projections: 38 receptions, 375 yards, 3 touchdowns
Instead of listing individual players in this space, we’ll consider groups of players by their teams. Receiving core compatibility has been determined for teams that have the most favorable matchups in the weeks the Bills have their least favorable games. This helps with establishing a point floor, followed by a secondary scoring based on the ones who have great matchups the same week as Buffalo in order to increase the odds of multiple great matchups to peak points.
The top tier I recommend is receivers from the Denver Broncos or Tampa Bay Buccaneers, both have amazing matchups during Buffalo’s Week 7 bye as well as having quarterbacks with a history of putting their receivers in position to reliably produce.
My second tier contains the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns. Both have a lack of surefire quarterback play, but talent at the receiver position. These teams present upside that should be considered as well if you are trying to marry them to your Bills WR core.
My last tier are the teams to avoid. The Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals make this list. No, this isn’t about the Hail Murray. The Cardinals have had an uneven passing game in terms of receiver production. The Vikings, Eagles and Rams are here as they share a bye week with the Bills, and I doubt you want to play a week with any combination where two of your top three WRs are on bye.
For Buffalo, Dawson Knox is the only draftable asset. He’s a fringe TE1 at a position but can be a strong second tight end. While touchdown regression is inevitable, being in a productive offense should lead him to a very similar amount of targets as 2021.
Dawson Knox’s projections
- 12 (ESPN), 12 (Faceoff Sports), 10 (Fantasy Pros)
- 2022 Projections: 59 receptions, 760 yards, 8 touchdowns
I reviewed the worst matchups and also teams with the best matchups in order to determine value. George Kittle and Mark Andrews will go before Knox, but have complementary schedules compared to him. Albert Okwuegbunam and David Njoku will likely go after Know, but look to have positive matchups during the more difficult stretch in Buffalo’s schedule.