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Last year the Bills regressed by three wins from their 2017 success (9-7). Buffalo only has one playoff appearance since Tom Brady arrived in New England in 2000. Over the last five seasons, they have a 39-41 record. Their fade in 2018 was due to regression on offense (30th in both points scored  and yards gained). The Bills did have growth on defense in yards allowed (2nd), but they’ve still finished in the middle of the league standing in points allowed in each of the last four years.
Sean McDermott returns for his third season as head coach. McDermott was the defensive coordinator for the Panthers over the last six seasons. He’ll bring an attacking style to the defense with a premium of creating turnovers and stopping the run. Brian Daboll will run the offensive for the season 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. Leslie Frazier was brought in to run the Bills’ 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).
Game score led to the Bills playing from behind in most games in 2018 leading to fewer rushes than the team expected. Buffalo wants to play strong defense with a ball control offense. A full season of Josh Allen should result in more runs than passes. Last year they averaged 29.2 rushes per game, which led to 1,984 yards and 15 rushing TDs. The Bills completed a league-low 54.3 percent of their passes while gaining only 6.2 yards per pass attempt. Their QBs tossed 23 Ints with only 13 passing TDs.
Overall, Buffalo will again rank below the league average in offense in 2019. Allen flashed a couple of time pointing to upside down the road.
Josh Allen – The Bills had to be ecstatic with the rookie play of Allen in 2018. In his 11 starts, he went 5-6 with his first NFL win coming in a major upset on the road vs. the Vikings. The best asset in his road season was his legs (89/631/8). For Josh to have winning success long-term in the NFL, he needs to improve his accuracy (52.4) which would be helped by better receiving talent around him. Allen finish with ten passes TDs and 12 Ints while never passing for more than 245 yards in any game. He won four of his last five home starts. Buffalo added a speed WR (John Brown) and a possession wideout (Cole Beasley), which will help extend drive plus add some big play ability. Overall, he looks the NFL part while still needing a big step forward in the passing game. At best, a low-level QB2 in the season-long games with best playable value coming at home.
Other Options: Matt Barkley, Derek Anderson, Tyree Jackson
LeSean McCoy – After two excellent seasons for the Bills, McCoy struggled to get untracked in 2018. He gained a career-low 3.2 yards per carry while averaging only 13.9 touches per game. LeSean has six seasons in his career with over 1,000 yards rushing and five years with 50+ catches. When at his best, McCoy would receive well over 300 touches per season. A rushing QB does steal some of the overall rushing chances and some TDs. Buffalo added a veteran early back (Frank Gore), a pass-catching back (T.J. Yeldon), and drafted a change of pace back (Devin Singletary). He’ll start the year at age 31 with multiple players pulling at his touches and possible TDs. Even with a bounce-back season, I can’t see much more than 225 touches with a chance at 1,000+ combined yards and just over a handful of TDs.
Frank Gore – In his 14th season in the NFL, Gore gained 846 combined yards while averaging 12 touches a game for the Dolphins. He failed to score a rushing TDs with minimal value in the passing game (12/124/1). Frank did miss two games, which was his first injury since 2010. He needs 522 rushing yards to pass Barry Sanders for the third most rushing yards in NFL history. At age 36, his upside is over while lacking an opportunity. Hall of Fame running back who did gain 4.6 yards per rush in 2018. Only an insurance policy for LeSean McCoy.
T.J. Yeldon – Over the last two seasons, Yeldon worked as the pass-catching back while also offering some change of pace value on early downs. He finished with a career-high in catches (55) and receiving yards (487). T.J. gained 8.9 yards per catch, which was the second straight season of improvement. His skill set does overlap with LeSean McCoy on passing downs while not having a clear role on early downs. Yeldon has talent if given enough chances. Easy handcuff McCoy with a reasonable chance at 100+ touches as the second fiddle at RB.
Devin Singletary – Over the last two seasons at Florida Atlantic, Singletary scored 55 TDs with his best success coming in his sophomore season (2,116 combined yards with 19 catches). He lacks size (5’7” and 203 lbs.) with questionable speed (4.66 40 at the NFL combine) and short area quickness. He does play with heart paired great vision and feel for game flow. Devin will be an interesting player to follow at the next level while being dismissed by many NFL teams as a viable option at RB.
Other Options: Marcus Murphy, Senorise Perry, Keith Ford, Christian Wade
Zay Jones – After a rocky offseason, Jones made strides in his second year in the league. He finished with 56 catches for 652 yards and seven TDs on 102 targets. His catch rate (54.9) was much better than his rookie season (36.5). His best success came in in four of his last seven games (8/93/1, 4/67/2, 5/67/1, and 6/93/2). Over four seasons at East Carolina, Jones caught 399 passes for 4279 yards and 23 TDs highlighted by his senior year (158/1746/8). He did most of his damage close to the line of scrimmage, which led to short yards per catch (10.7). His hands grade well, but tighter coverage in the NFL will challenge his ability to catch the ball. His game may work better early in his career vs. zone coverage. Zay needs to prove he can beat press coverage while improving his route running. I don’t see a considerable edge as an open field runner while lacking explosiveness in the deep passing game. His best asset early in his career with be his quickness and short area speed. I like his direction, and I expect him to improve on his 35th ranking in Fantasy points in PPR leagues. Next step: 75+ catches for 900+ yards and a chance at double-digit TDs if his chemistry with Josh Allen continues to grow.
John Brown – Last year Brown gave Fantasy owners the appearance that he was on a special pace after seven games (28/558/4 on 54 targets). Unfortunately, a change at QB in Baltimore led to fewer than 30 yards receiving in each of his last nine games while never catching more than three catches in any game. Over his last nine games, John caught only 14 of his 43 targets for 157 yards and one TD. There’s talent and big-play ability here, but his opportunity won’t be high enough over the long haul to trust as a starting Fantasy WR. I expect some explosive games along with stretches of emptiness. A good season in Buffalo would be 50+ catches for 650+ yards and a handful of TDs.
Cole Beasley – Dallas failed to get Beasley more involved in 2017 (36/314/4) and 2018 (65/672/3) after flashing upside in 2016 (75/833/5). His catch rate (70.9) has been high in his career while doing most of his work close to the line of scrimmage. A chain mover who may get in the way of Zay Jones upside.
Robert Foster – After signing as an undrafted free agent in 2018, Foster quickly moved up the WR ranks in Buffalo. Over a four-game stretch mid-season, he caught 17 of 23 targets for 438 yards and two TDs highlighted by three games with over 100 yards receiving (3/105, 7/104, and 4/108/1). He gained over 20 yards per catch for the year. Robert offers more size (6’2” and 196 lbs.) than John Brown, and his success with Josh Allen at QB should lead to an early look as a possible starter. Possible sleeper who will be overlooked on draft day.
Ray-Ray McCloud – The Clemson Tigers gave McCloud plenty of chances his last two seasons (49/472/1 and 40/503/1). He gained only 9.7 yards per catch in his career, which had more of a running back feel. Scouts question his ability to separate and make plays beyond the first five yards past the line of scrimmage. In his rookie season, he caught only five passes for 36 yards on six targets.
Other Options: Andre Roberts, Isaiah McKenzie, Da’Mari Scott, Victor Bolden, Cam Phillips
Tyler Kroft – In 2017, Kroft played well as fill-in for Tyler Eifert when he caught 42 of 62 targets for 404 yards and seven TDs. Even with struggles at TE last year in Cinci, Tyler failed to make an impact (4/36) while seeing his season end after playing in only five games with a foot injury. The Bills paid him over $18 million for three seasons showing his potential upside. Last year Buffalo’s TEs only caught 59 catches for 528 yards and one TD on 87 targets. Potential TE2 with bye week and injury cover value.
Dawson Knox – His stats in 2017 (24/321) and 2018 (15/284) at Ole Miss won’t get Fantasy owners or even NFL teams excited, but he did play with two of the top five WRs in the 2019 draft class. His size (6’4” and 250 lbs.) falls in line with most of the TE inventory this season. Dawson is a hard worker with some explosiveness to his game. He’ll catch the ball well with his hands with some giddy-up in the open field. His next step is improving his route running and adding more strength to help in the blocking game. More of a project than an impact player for Buffalo in 2019.
Other Options: Jason Croom, Tommy Sweeney, Jake Fisher
Stephen Hauschka – From 2012 to 2017, Hauschka made 89.5 percent of his field goals with exceptional value from long range (20-for-27). Last year he posted his lowest success rate (78.6) for a full season while seeing a drop back in his field goal chances (28). Over the last two seasons, the Bills scored only 60 TDs. On the positive side, Stephen did make four of his seven field goals from 50 yards or more. Bottom tier kicker who should rebound in his success rate. A possible starter in a favorable home matchup if the Bills’ offense shows growth.
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