Team Previews

Buffalo Bills 2021 Fantasy Football Preview

by John Daigle
Updated On: July 7, 2021, 2:33 pm ET

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2020 Stats (Rank)

Total Offense: 6,343 (2nd)

Total Touchdowns: 56 (3rd)

Offensive Plays: 1,034 (15th)

Pass Attempts: 596 (11th)

Rush Attempts: 411 (17th)

Unaccounted for Targets: 83 (20th)

Unaccounted for Carries: 16 (27th)


Coaching Staff

Reportedly the “frontrunner” for Los Angeles’ coaching vacancy prior to hiring Brandon Staley, Associated Press Assistant Coach of the Year OC Brian Daboll instead returns with all five of last year’s starting o-linemen to rewind the same scheme that resulted in the league’s eight-highest pass play rate in neutral game script and third-highest with a lead. That sentiment only increased following Buffalo’s Week 11 bye, surging to the league’s third-highest pass play rate in one-score situations over its last five games; all starters were benched during the team’s meaningless regular season finale. In regards to improving the run game, Daboll simply confirmed “efficiency is where to focus on rather than running more.” Hence why they remain #OurBills for fantasy in 2021.


Passing Offense

QB: Josh Allen, Mitchell Trubisky

WR: Stefon Diggs, Isaiah Hodgins

WR: Cole Beasley, Isaiah McKenzie

WR: Emmanuel Sanders, Gabriel Davis

TE: Dawson Knox, Jacob Hollister

Allen’s roller coaster development through 2019 didn’t deter the organization from going all-in ahead of his third year in the league. Those forward-thinking actions — bolstering its o-line through free agency, swapping four picks to the Vikings for Stefon Diggs, adding Gabriel Davis in the fourth round — resulted in a career-high 35.7 pass attempts and ensuing 24.8 fantasy points per game, tacking on 100-plus carries for the second consecutive year. The 25-year-old also spiked eight 300-yard performances after registering an egg’s worth through two seasons. Though all of that is actually a valid reason to fade Allen and Buffalo’s uber-efficient offense since managers aren’t drafting last year’s results, there’s plenty of meat on the bone stemming from the team’s mid-season scheduling snafu which resulted in only 17 total days of rest between four games played from Weeks 5-8. Allen is clearly among the top-tier of quarterbacks for fantasy, subjectively sandwiched somewhere between Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, and Dak Prescott.

In hindsight, it’s hard to believe Diggs’ Average Draft Position actually dipped to WR27 ahead of the season for nightmares over his uphill battle in changing teams. It’s obviously something Allen and Daboll had no concerns over, force-feeding the 27-year-old a career-high 166 targets for league-highs in catches (127) and receiving yards (1,535). Diggs' 12.1 targets per game in seven starts without John Brown quietly paint an even higher ceiling for the former this year, keeping him entrenched as a top-three option with Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams.

The WR37 (12.3 points) and WR31 (13.8 points) in fantasy points per game over his last two seasons in Buffalo, Beasley’s current ADP as the overall WR54 in Best-Ball remains befuddling given his career-high 5.4 targets per game from the slot last year. Only twice did Beasley fail to record at least 9.0 PPR fantasy points in any start, reaching double-digits in 9-of-15 performances. While that bias would cement him as one of the summer’s better values in any other year, there's genuine concern Beasley walks away from football altogether due to his disagreement with league policies as it pertains to vaccination. That storyline is one to monitor ahead of training camp.

The Bills brought in 34-year-old Sanders on a lucrative one-year, $6 million contract and played him across from Diggs in two-wide sets throughout OTAs. This despite confidently unleashing Davis for 35/599/7 and a route on 97% of Buffalo's dropbacks in the seven games Brown missed last year. It’s legitimately possible Sanders, who accrued a 22.9% target share himself in seven games with Michael Thomas last year, only impedes the development of Davis, cannabalizing their effort. The latter’s 17.1 yards per catch as a 21-year-old rookie is still worth betting on in the later rounds since Daboll called the second-most plays (186) from four-wide receiver sets in 2020. Both would also surge higher in drafts if Beasley were to hang up his cleats. Knox has merely averaged 2.0 receptions across 27 appearances with the Bills and isn’t considered a viable option outside of dynasty leagues.

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Running Game

RB: Devin Singletary, Zack Moss, Matt Breida

OL (L-R): Dion Dawkins, Jon Feliciano, Mitch Morse, Cody Ford, Daryl Williams

While Buffalo’s passing offense could arguably squeeze four different receivers into the top-48 at their position weekly, Daboll’s air-it-out scheme emphasizes Allen’s strengths as much as it mutes this backfield’s involvement. Bills runners averaged the fourth-fewest combined touches per game (21.5) last year, seeing Moss and Singletary mirror one another in carries (119-117) in 14 games together. Singletary did have an edge as a receiver out of the backfield, out-targeting Moss 38-21 in those contests, but Allen’s 9.0-yard depth of target the past two years has resulted in the team’s running backs accruing the league’s ninth- and fourth-lowest target rate in back-to-back seasons. Moss out-carried Singletary 11 to 3 inside the five-yard line when both were available, but Allen had eight in those instances. Buffalo also signed Matt Breida to a one-year, $1.05 million contract and will reportedly ask him for the occasional splash play among this committee weekly. Moss (RB35, 100.8 ADP) has more upside given his favoritism at the goal line, but Singletary (RB47, 142.6) makes for the better value since he’s being drafted four rounds later. It’s not necessary to prioritize either.


Win Total

Buffalo’s continuity on both sides of the ball validates their 10.5 Season Win Total in Vegas, tied for the third-highest number with the Browns, Ravens, 49ers, and Rams. Although its opening schedule against the Steelers, Dolphins, and Washington is less than ideal, the Bills’ next three opposite the Texans, Chiefs, and Titans will right that ship for fantasy immediately. The over, while a stay-away at -180, is high for a reason. Allen also makes for a legitimate MVP ticket at +1300.

John Daigle

John Daigle is an Emmy and FSWA award winner who has been covering the NFL and fantasy football for over a decade, working with NBC Sports EDGE for almost four years. He enjoys watching golf and Jon Moxley, not necessarily in that order. You can follow him on Twitter @notJDaigle.