The Buffalo Bills finished as the No.1 defense in the entire NFL in 2021. They were led by defensive guru and head coach Sean McDermott, though they had help from a ton of talent on their team. Buffalo led the NFL in the fewest yards allowed by over 550 yards. They allowed only 4,637 total yards of offense. The Bills were second in the NFL in the fewest defensive plays with 1,014. The team was tied for third in turnovers with 30 of them. Buffalo allowed a league-low 56% completion rate and only 12 touchdowns. They led the league in passing yards allowed, too, with only 2,771 allowed.
The Bills were third in interceptions with 19. The team wasn’t great at sacks with only 42 though that was 11th. Buffalo struggled with its run defense, ranking 13th with 1,866 yards allowed. They couldn’t stop the rush in the red zone allowing 19 touchdowns.
The Buffalo Bills are an elite defense in both the NFL world and the IDP world, with the fantastic numbers listed above. However, it’s also clear they need to improve their tackling and rush defense. Regardless, this defense allowed only 17 points per game which is impressive in today’s high-scoring NFL. Sean McDermott likes an even-keeled defense that does everything well, which explains why they only blitzed at a 26% rate. However, they pressed at the line of scrimmage at an NFL-high 30.8% rate. That’s how they provided such good coverage. Now, the team added future HOF’er Von Miller and first-round cornerback Kaiir Elam to beef up its defense in hopes of a Super Bowl.
Rousseau is a former first-round pick with an alright rookie year, starting most of the team’s games. While Rousseau didn’t have eye-popping sack numbers, he did get four of them, which was second on the team. With Von Miller occupying the other side, Rousseau will have a lot fewer blockers stopping him. Greg finished 21st overall in defensive line IDP, which is impressive, considering he didn’t play full-time snaps. He added ten quarterback hits and eight tackles for a loss among his 50 total tackles. Rousseau should exceed his rookie year numbers by a decent amount in his second year. He’s a high-upside defensive line while being a DL2 at the bare minimum. Buy him now.
Oliver is an excellent defensive tackle but struggles when mixed with the defensive line in IDP scoring. If your IDP league does positions instead of groups, then Oliver is a fine DT2. He has been solid up the middle with four sacks, 41 total tackles, a forced fumble, three pass deflections, and ten tackles for a loss last year. Expect similar numbers this year, although he’s not restorable except for depth in group IDP leagues that only have DL/LB/DB.
Miller is an elite pass rusher that will be seeking to win his second Super Bowl in a row and third of his career with the Bills. Split between the Rams and Broncos, Miller had 9.5 sacks, 50 combined tackles, 19 tackles for a loss, 17 quarterback hits, and a forced fumble. Miller will likely be around eight to ten sacks this year while providing a massive boost to the defense. He will take pressure off other players, letting them make impact plays. Miller may be 33, but he’s got plenty left in the tank. Expect DL2 numbers from Miller with the upside of some DL1 weeks.
Carlos Basham Jr
Carlos or Boogie made quite an impact in his rookie year with the Buffalo Bills. Although he only played in eight games, he had 2.5 sacks, 18 total tackles, four tackles for a loss, and three quarterback hits. He’s able to play on passing and rushing downs, making him a three-down lineman. The upside is there with a polished player like himself. He’s got the ability to reach the DL2 tier this year if he gets enough playing time. That’s always a big if, but he’s a worthy waiver claim or depth trade. He’s cheap, and it’s all just upside from here.
The Bills have great depth in their defensive line, although they won’t make much of an IDP impact unless injuries occur to the starters. AJ Epenesa is a former first-round pick but has failed to make much of an impact in the defense, with only two sacks through two seasons. He’s waiver fodder. The same goes for Shaq Lawson, who’s back with the team after leaving in 2020 for the Dolphins. He only had 16.5 sacks in four years with the Bills from 2016-19 and hasn’t done much since. Meanwhile, Jordan Phillips has upside as a DT but likely won’t play much behind Oliver. He’s got the most potential but isn’t rosterable unless you’re in a position league. In that case, he’s a depth player with the hope that he gets more snaps than expected.
Edmunds is a great linebacker who’s only 24 despite entering the league in 2019. He was taken in the first round at only 19 years old. Edmunds is an elite coverage linebacker with sure tackler skills. He led the Buffalo Bills in tackles with 108 and solo tackles with 70. He had an interception and four pass deflections and led the Bills’ defense. With free agency looming in 2023, Edmunds has plenty to play for to get that big money deal. Perhaps that will raise his play in 2022.
Regardless, I’m not a huge fan of him for IDP. He doesn’t make enough impact plays, and his coverage has started to tail off in recent years. He doesn’t rack up a ton of tackles which limits his IDP scoring. He has only had more than ten tackles in a single game just ten times across his career. I’d sell him now if you can get a decent price. He’s just an LB2, but people seem to view him like an LB1/2.
Milano is a good linebacker that has done well with making impact plays to make up for his lack of tackles. However, he’s a good bet to cross 100 tackles this year, assuming he’s fully healthy. Despite lackluster stats like 86 combined tackles, Milano still had five pass deflections, two fumble recoveries, three sacks, and 15 tackles for loss. He’s a good coverage linebacker with a nose for the backfield. With those numbers, he still finished as a top-24 linebacker last year. This year, he will be an elite LB3 with potential LB2 games. Thanks to his age, you can easily buy him for cheap. For a Win-Now team, he’s a strong linebacker to have on your team.
Terrel Bernard and the rest
The Buffalo Bills only use two linebackers on the field at a time, which means that the backups aren’t super IDP-friendly unless there’s an injury to one of the top-two guys. Bernard is a rookie linebacker that could eventually take over for Matt Milano. He’s a good tackler with a lot of upside for being a great rush defender. However, he’s not starting this year. He did have 20 tackles in one game last year, so maybe he’s a good taxi player that breaks out in year two. Tyrel Dodson and Baylon Spector are just names to know in case of injury.
Poyer’s an excellent safety that has the rare ability to lead his team in tackles and pass deflections. Last year on the Buffalo Bills, he was second in combined tackles with 93 and pass deflections with nine. He had five interceptions which led the team, and eight tackles for loss. Poyer added on three sacks for good measure. The 31-year-old safety is a clear win-now player for your IDP team, as he will likely be a DB1 again this year. Last year, he was a top-15 defensive back, and I see no reason for that to change. Buy him now if you want to move all in this year. His price is lower due to an elbow injury he’s rehabbing.
Hyde is another elite safety that’s a clear win-now player for your IDP team. He’s entering his age-32 season, which means his prime window is slowly closing. However, he will still be plenty good this year. Hyde proved he had plenty in the tank last year with a team-high five interceptions. He had ten passes defended and a forced fumble while recovering two fumbles. Hyde added in a sack and 74 combined tackles. He’s a DB2 with upside but can be acquired for cheap due to his age. If your team needs solid depth to win this year at defensive back, then see how much Hyde is. He will be relied upon to perform big this year with the Bills.
White only played in 11 games last year for the Buffalo Bills before he tore his ACL. He was still a highly productive cornerback in the NFL with an interception, four passes defended, 41 total tackles, and half a sack. However, because he’s so good at covering opposing wide receivers, he doesn’t get many throws his way. This seriously limits his upside in IDP. He’s a far better player in the NFL than in IDP. In this case, it’s best to ignore him. There’s no guarantee he returns for Week 1 this year, so keep your expectations managed if you have him on your team for some reason.
Taron Johnson is a slot/Nickleback corner/linebacker for the Buffalo Bills. He’s a great tackler and always finds his way into most plays. He will be on the field a lot, with the Bills only using two typical linebackers. Taron has good coverage skills though he seems to lack the ability to make impact plays in the air game, with only one interception and seven passes defended last year. However, he certainly can make impact plays in the run game. Last year, he finished fourth on the team in tackles with 76 combined ones and was fourth in solo tackles with 53. He had four tackles for loss but added in three sacks and a forced fumble. Taron will be relied upon to get plenty of tackles for the Bills. However, in IDP, he’s best suited to be a depth DB4/5. He doesn’t get enough work to make up for the lack of impact plays. However, the 26-year-old Db could have a breakout year this year.
Kaiir Elam is a rookie cornerback selected in the first round by the Buffalo Bills. He is good at coverage and understands how to read the quarterback. However, his tackling still needs work. Combine this with the fact he isn’t guaranteed to start over Dane Jackson, another corner, and that cornerbacks aren’t usually great at IDP scoring, and it seems that Elam is best left on the waivers or in your taxi. The same goes for Jackson, who isn’t a standout corner in terms of tackling or interceptions. Christian Benford falls into the same boat and is also a rookie.
The Buffalo Bills will be a great defense in fantasy and IDP. They have at least six IDP-worthy names to have on rosters, with about four or more that you need to know. Don’t be surprised if this defense underwhelms in IDP scoring but still finishes as a top-five defense in the NFL. They play hard and work as a team without one or two huge standouts. If you’re a win-now team in an IDP league, consider getting Von Miller, Micah Hyde, and Jordan Poyer. They’ll be the best IDP options on this team and are win-now.
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