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2023 Fantasy Forecast: Buffalo Bills

The Bills have the ELITE QB and WR. How does the rest of the roster look for fantasy options?


Josh Allen

EA Sports picked the right guy when they selected Allen to be their cover athlete for this year. The Bills quarterback comes into the season after throwing for 4,316 yards, 35 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. He excited fans of all teams with his gutsy and aggressive style and leadership. Fans and fantasy managers love his rushing upside. Allen is known for hurdling would-be tacklers on his way to 776 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 126 rushing attempts. He finished 2022 as the QB2 and looks to repeat that this year. 

Early offseason reports indicate that they want Allen to rush less, and some of their roster moves seem to back up that talk. They signed and drafted weapons to take some of the burdens off Allen’s shoulders and hopefully allow him to play the game with the passion and excitement you see on his face on the cover of Madden.

Despite his growth since his rookie year, Allen needs to continue to grow and learn that the big play isn’t always needed and take the smart play and live to play another down. He needs to increase his completion percentage over the 63.3% he posted in ’21. His base stats were still good despite only playing 16 games due to the cancellation of the Bengals game after the horrific events surrounding Damar Hamlin. Even if his rushing volume drops, he will still get out of the pocket and extend plays.

I project 615 passing attempts for 4,500 yards, 35 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions, along with 105 rushing attempts for 575 yards and five touchdowns. Hopefully, the Bills’ offensive line can protect him better, bringing down the sack number from 33 to a more manageable 25. He is still a game-changer at the quarterback position and should be drafted as such. He should easily be a top 5 Qb and has a ton of potential to be the top guy in all of fantasy.

The Backups

The Bills brought back Matt Barkley for another year and signed Kyle Allen. Allen looks more likely to secure the starting job. He has more recent success in the NFL. Barkley hasn’t had a regular-season passing attempt since 2020. He is coming into his 11th season, which might be the end of the road. Kyle Allen gives the Bills confidence if Josh Allen were to go down and makes things easier for the announcers. Whoever holds the QB2 job has some value because of Allen’s rushing, which puts him at a bigger risk of injury. If they are pressed into service, the team around them will be enough for them to be possible Superflex plays in 12 or more team leagues. 

Running Backs

James Cook

Entering his second season, Cook looks poised to take over the backfield, a role Devin Singletary held last season. Cook finished his rookie campaign as the RB44 and is currently being drafted as the RB22. It was a slow introduction for Cook into the offense. He finished the year with 91 carries for 525 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Cook was efficient on his runs, averaging 5.77 yards per carry. He will have to see a major increase in volume to be a value for managers at his current draft price. Given that quarterback Allen still takes a huge chunk of the running, and that the offense is geared toward passing, the outlook for Cook might not be as rosy as some might think. 

Damien Harris

The Bills brought in Harris to compete with Cook. He could take over the Devin Singletary role. Singeltary finished as the RB23 last season on the stat line of 178 carries, 822 yards, and five touchdowns. He also saw 52 targets. Harris is a comparable back with similar skills.

Harris will still have a viable role even if Cook slides into the larger carry share. He is only one season removed from being the RB14 in PPR leagues and RB8 in standard. His experience will be valuable in an offense looking to make it deep into the playoffs. Harris is also a much bigger back, weighing in at 215 lbs. compared to Cook at 190. Harris should be the goal-line back and could vulture scoring opportunities from Cook and Josh Allen. He should be a solid flex play with a huge upside, much like Jamaal Williams has been the past two seasons. 

The Rest

Nyhiem Hines was traded for mid-season last season and was the passing down back, but he will miss the season due to injury. The Bills also brought in veteran Latavious Murray, who might be a camp casualty. The Bills are among the few teams with a dedicated fullback in Reggie Gilliam, which might show that they want to focus on running the ball.

Wide Receivers

Stefon Diggs

The drama surrounding Diggs and his reported unhappiness with his role in the Bills’ offense won’t matter come Week 1. Diggs has been a top-10 fantasy wide receiver since coming over to the Bills back in 2020. He looks to repeat that this year. He is pretty much locked in for over 150 targets. Diggs is so consistent that you can bank on him being a weekly WR1 for your fantasy lineup. He is being drafted outside the top five but still can be in the top five despite being 29 years old. His age concerns dynasty managers, but you can still get a few more top 15 years out of him. The drama will all be gone once games matter. Diggs wants to win a Super Bowl and will put in the extra effort to help get the Bills there. 

Gabriel Davis

Gone are the days of Davis being just a boom-or-bust player. In 2021, he only had two flex-worthy games when he didn’t score. In 2022 he had five. He saw just shy of 100 targets which was good enough to be top 50 in that category. Davis finished as the WR36 last season and should be a value currently being drafted as the WR55. He still has a high yards per catch finishing with 836 yards on only 48 receptions, but he started seeing consistent targets. He had two games last season under five targets. Heading into his fourth year on a high-powered offense, I expect big things from Davis. He will be a weekly starter for your fantasy team as a WR3 with WR2 upside.

Khalil Shakir

The second-year wide receiver had a slow rookie campaign but looks to be taking over as the main slot man for the Bills in 2023. Shakir will need to see a significant uptick in targets to have fantasy value, but it is worth stashing at the end of drafts to see how the first few weeks of the season go. If there is an injury in front of him, he has the skill set to play outside and would be a waiver wire star if called upon. 

The Others

The Bills spent a fifth-round pick on Justin Shorter. He is a big receiver at 6’4″, coming out of Florida and Penn State before that. He would be an outside receiver when he does play, so he will need an opening. Smaller receivers like Trent Sherfield and Deonty Harty could play slot roles in four wide receiver sets. None of them are worth rostering but Shorter has potential in the future. 

Tight Ends

Dalton Kincaid

Everyone is high on Kincaid after the Bills traded up into the first round to select him out of Utah. While many believe he is just a big wide receiver and will play in the slot, I don’t think he will pay off for fantasy this year. Tight ends traditionally take time to develop in the NFL, even with first-round capital. Kincaid is going too high in drafts to pay returns. In case I’m wrong, he is worth monitoring, but I’m letting others take that grenade in drafts. 

Dawson Knox

Knox, at some level, is the heartbeat of the Bills offense. His energy and style of play embody all that Buffalo is. He has played well over the past four years, enough that the Bills gave him a four-year extension. At times. Knox has been a red zone threat but lacks the upside to be a fantasy starter, especially now that they drafted Kincaid. He isn’t worth rostering even after a smashing week where he scores a touchdown on one of his six targets. 

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