2018 Fantasy Football - Buffalo Bills - Team Moves





By Chet Gresham - @ChetGresham
Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Each offseason brings change to NFL rosters, and those changes often have fantasy implications. Below, I lay out the changes at the skill positions and how those moves impact the fantasy status of the new roster.


2017
    QB: Tyrod Taylor, Nathan Peterman
    RB: LeSean McCoy, Mike Tolbert, Travaris Cadet
    WR: Kelvin Benjamin, Deonte Thompson, Jordan Matthews, Zay Jones, Andre Holmes
    TE: Charles Clay, Nick O'Leary


2018
    QB: Josh Allen, A.J. McCarron, Nathan Peterman
    RB: LeSean McCoy, Chris Ivory, Travaris Cadet
    WR: Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones, Andre Holmes, Rod Streater, Ray-Ray McCloud, Austin Proehl, Robert Foster
    TE: Charles Clay, Nick O'Leary




Pre-Draft Offseason:

The Bills seemingly never wanted Tyrod Taylor, despite him leading them to two winning seasons and putting up relatively good numbers for a run-oriented team, which of course included strong rushing stats from Taylor. Buffalo even benched him for Nathan Peterman of the five interceptions in the first half before mercifully being benched for Taylor in the second half.

Taylor moved on to Cleveland, while the Bills picked up the backup-level talented A.J. McCarron to hand the ball off and throw dump-off passes until he needs to come from behind and throw interceptions. McCarron will be the stop-gap until whatever quarterback they draft in the first round is ready to start. It's a plan, but not one that will make the Bills a good offensive team for this season.

The receiver situation is an interesting one. Jordan Matthews will move on in free agency and never really did much for the Bills, while Kelvin Benjamin will likely be the No. 1 receiver and Zay Jones might need to deal with problems outside of the NFL before he can ever become a useful player. I think Benjamin can be a good receiver, but not one who will make McCarron or a rookie quarterback any better. We'll have to see how the 2018 NFL Draft shakes out, but there isn't much hope for this passing game for fantasy right now.

LeSean McCoy will be another year older, and he's always had small injuries that cut into his snaps. He had his worst yards per carry - YPC - last season at 4.0, whereas in the previous season, he had a 5.4 YPC. The four yards per carry isn't a sign of the apocalypse for McCoy, as that stat isn't always indicative of play and he's had strong seasons in which he rushed for 4.2 YPC. He will turn 30 this summer. There are 47 running back seasons of players over 30 rushing for 1,000 yards. Of course, many of those people are Tiki Barber, Curtis Martin, Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith and John Riggins, but McCoy was still a dynamic runner when healthy last season and I'm not going to shun him just because he turned 30. The trouble will be if the Bills' offense gets bogged down by poor quarterback play and McCoy is their only weapon. That's good for work, but not good for injuries and the focus of defenses.

Charles Clay likely would have been a much better fantasy player if not for his knee problems. When healthy he is a solid player, but he's rarely healthy at this point and must take off most practices to stay healthy enough to suit up on Sundays. I've always liked him, even since his days in Miami, but I can't get behind him this season.



Post-Draft Update

The Bills traded up to get their man, and he ended up being Josh Allen. Mention Allen's name in draftnik circles and you'll get a wide response in terms of his range of outcomes as a pro, but the consensus seems to be that he has a lot of work still to do on the fundamentals, although there is no doubting his arm strength. I'm siding with those that believe his arm strength and play-making ability will have trouble winning football games in the NFL. For fantasy, he landed on the wrong team since the Bills rather run the ball and are lacking in receivers.

After Allen, the Bills didn't pick another offensive skill-position player until grabbing wide receivers in Rounds 6 and 7 and adding an intriguing UDFA in Robert Foster, but no from that group iss likely to move into the starting rotation despite the team's starting rotation not being any good.

I figured the Bills would have drafted at least one offensive lineman, but no dice. They improved their defense and did little to help the offense, which is where our fantasy fates lie. LeSean McCoy really is the only player we can count on, and there is a good chance he'll get overworked at times and lose some snaps to injuries, as he's the only player defenses will likely need to worry about.



2018 Fantasy Outlook:

Stud: LeSean McCoy

Solid: None

Sleeper: Charles Clay



For more recommendations, check out WalterFootball.com's Fantasy Football Rankings.




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