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Fantasy Football Projections: Buffalo Bills

Welcome to Buffalo, home of the Bills and also to possibly the most lackluster fantasy offense in the NFL. Buffalo players didn’t blow the doors off the place in 2017’s playoff run and with a brand new QB at the helm and some key losses to the offensive line, I’m not holding my breath that things are magically getting better.

Starting at QB we run into our first big problem – AJ McCarron or Josh Allen. Now, I love Josh Allen as a prospect, but he’s very raw and unfortunately, I think McCarron is bad enough that Buffalo is going to wind up plugging Allen in a little too soon. McCarron drew a lot of hype when he took over the starting job for an injured Andy Dalton in Cincinnati back in 2015 and posted a 66% completion percentage and 6/2 TD/INT over four games. His name came up as a possible trade target for teams multiple times, but it’s telling that a deal was never reached as the price tag was always too high for the buying team. When the 2018 off-season rolled around, the market for McCarron was non-existent causing him to wash up in Buffalo on a 2 yr, $10m contract, not starting quarterback money. It’s possible that he shocks the world and taps into that brief bit of magic when he beat a pair of 5-11 teams in 2015, but more likely he’s a placeholder until the Bills first-round pick, Allen, is ready to roll. Allen is a premium talent from a measurable standpoint. He has a big arm, speed and the prototypical size you want in a QB. His accuracy is the primary concern and I had hopes that Allen would have landed on a team that boasted more receiving weapons to help him grow in that area. He’s going to get starts in 2018, and the results are going to be mixed. I like Allen as a 2019 breakout player, but his athleticism and ability to make plays with his feet may lead to some backdoor fantasy value in 2 QB leagues this season.

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What would help either QB would be LeSean McCoy posting one more all-star season. While the TD’s weren’t all there in 2017, McCoy put up over 1550 total yards and was a big part of the Bills playoff run. McCoy is going to get more breathers in 2018 with the addition of Chris Ivory. Ivory flashed as a between the tackles grinder in New Orleans and with the NY Jets before falling on tougher times with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ivory, like McCoy, will be 30 this year so both backs are up against it on the age front, but Ivory should be able to take some early down work off of McCoy’s plate and hopefully keep him fresh. I think McCoy has one more fantasy star year left in him and he’s a late second rounder for me with a lot of check downs from his young QB’s coming his way.

Perhaps the only other person on the team that can challenge McCoy for the team lead in receptions this year is Kelvin Benjamin. Benjamin is only one year removed from 940 yards and 7 TD in Carolina and while neither of these QB’s is Cam Newton, Benjamin is still the best option out wide. Zay Jones and Jeremy Kerley will try to pick up the slack but both are underwhelming slot guys and Andre Holmes couldn’t get anything rolling last year with the Bills. The fantasy value of this entire crew hinges on either McCarron playing well above expectations or Allen taking flight earlier than expected. I will be targeting Benjamin in mid-late rounds as a WR4 flier, but that’s as deep as I will wade into this group. Either Kerley or Jones could emerge in PPR formats, but that’s a wait and see game.

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There is an interesting fantasy battle to watch closely here at tight end between Charles Clay and Nick O’Leary. Clay has threatened fantasy relevance for a few seasons but has never taken that next step into the upper echelon of playmaking tight ends. Buffalo likes O’Leary a lot and he’s made slow gains the past few seasons for the team and could be primed to move ahead of Clay. There will be a fair amount of targets available for the tight ends given the lack of experience at QB. I’m not drafting either guy, but both are going on my watch list and O’Leary is a potential sleeper on my list.

2018 Projections

NAME POSITION CMP ATT PASS YD PASS TD INT RU YD RU TD
Josh Allen QB 145 255 1750 12 11 120 2
AJ McCarron QB 165 280 1925 13 9 45

 

NAME POSITION CARRIES RU YD RU TD REC  REC YD REC TD FUM
LeSean McCoy RB 260 1215 8 55 400 2 3
Chris Ivory RB 115 450 2 15 150 1 4

 

NAME POSITION CARRIES RU YD RU TD REC  REC YD REC TD FUM
Kelvin Benjamin WR 70 980 6
Zay Jones WR 35 450 2
Jeremy Kerley WR 40 500 2 2
Andre Holmes WR 20 150 1
Charles Clay TE 35 400 2
Nick O’Leary TE 30 400 4
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Ben Stecker

Ben Stecker

Author SportsTalkLine.com at SportsTalkLine
Writer, sports connoisseur, Pacific Northwesterner. Rarely met a sport I couldn't be great friends with. Follow me on twitter @Softball_Guy
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Ben Stecker