With the NFL playoffs in full swing and the fantasy season finally over, it’s time to examine some of the top questions pestering some of these NFL Teams.
Up now is the Buffalo Bills. We saw a few second-half breakouts as the regular season neared a close. With the offseason in full swing, let’s see if those trends are something we can expect to stick moving forward.
Are we buying into Dawson Knox’s breakout season?
When rookie tight ends enter the league, most aren’t likely to have a season like Atlanta Falcons TE Kyle Pitts and put up 1,000 receiving yards on his way to a TE1 season. They usually take time.
They typically break out in the NFL and fantasy by year three.
Buffalo Bills TE Dawson Knox did just that as he had a career season in reception, targets, yards, and touchdowns. In the first six games, Knox was the TE3 and scored five touchdowns. (The Table below highlights how much better his 2021 season was compared to his previous two years.)
Knox was ranked first in touchdowns with nine and was third in red-zone targets among tight ends this year.
My slight concern with Knox is his high touchdown per receptions at 5.4 this season. That number was higher than Green Bay Packers TE Robert Tonyan’s number in 2020 (5.0). I view them as similar players and situations, but Knox is slightly more athletic.
A Second-Half Explosion
Looking at what he did in the second half of the season, I see him as a player that will get around 600 receiving yards and five to seven touchdowns based on his second-half pace. Touchdown regression is a real possibility for Knox as we head into 2022.
That said, I’m buying into what Knox did. However, he’ll be more of a middle-range TE1 moving forward than consistently finishing as a top-tier TE1 like Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce or San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle.
It seems Knox has the trust of his QB, Josh Allen, especially in the red zone. We saw it in the Wild Card playoff game versus the New England Patriots.
Looking at the Future
Knox’s situation could change dramatically depending on what the Bills do since WR’s Cole Beasley, and Emmanuel Sanders could be cap casualties. He’s a worthwhile hold in dynasty to see if he could take another step in his fantasy game.
Is Devin Singletary’s end-of-season/playoff performance real or fake?
Perhaps I was a year too early as I was a significant believer in RB Devin Singletary in 2020. Finally, in 2021, he’s heading in the right direction.
Singletary started slowly in 2021 as he was the RB40 for the season’s first nine weeks. He was splitting time with RB Zach Moss during the stretch, and let’s not forget when RB Matt Bredia became a thing for a few games.
If you add his 2020 season with his first nine games this year, Singletary scored three times in the 25 games played. It looked like the end of Singletary as a reliable fantasy running back.
After the first nine games, the Bills changed course and started using Singletary as their primary back. It resulted in him finishing the second half of the season as an RB1.
For fantasy owners who had to play him, Singletary also blessed them as the overall RB2 during the fantasy playoffs. After week ten, he had 661 all-purpose yards with seven touchdowns, which tied his overall career touchdowns over his first two and a half seasons.
Singletary played over 80% of the snaps in three of the final four games, which was big since he only averaged 58% during the season. At the start of the playoffs, he even made some noise rushing for 81 yards and two touchdowns.
There’s Still Some Doubts
I’m not buying him as a consistent RB1 for fantasy football moving forward, but he may have done enough to gain the trust of the Bills to make him the feature back in the offense. It’s evident that RB Zach Moss lost the Bills’ confidence in him.
Singletary has the talent despite being a smaller running back. He only stands at 5’7″, so I’d expect the Bills to look in a different direction for someone to compliment him in the backfield.
He could be a hold if you want to risk what happens this offseason, but if you can sell high on the situation now, like acquiring a player like Baltimore Ravens RB JK Dobbins, I’d make that more.
Are we going down this road again with this Gabriel Davis hype?
The easy answer to the question above is yes.
I understand that most of us believed that Bills WR Gabriel Davis would rise and be a WR2 alongside WR Stefon Diggs.
In the first half of the season, he was the WR93 and was seventh in targets, including the running backs. It seems the addition of Sanders and the safety of Beasley was more critical to the team’s success and offensive scheme.
A quote from offensive coordinator Brain Baboll from Heavy.com noted, “He is stuck behind some other highly utilized targets and has been helping create some openings for them to catch passes.”
Davis contributed in ways that helped the team but not as much for fantasy. Knox’s emergence is a factor as well.
Davis jumped to second in targets among the pass catchers in the second half of the season. He finished the season as WR25 and had four touchdowns in those eight games starting in week ten.
He’s a big, physical 6’2″ receiver, which is not like what they currently have. Davis ranked 11th in yards per reception at 15.0 and 10th in yards per target at 10.4.
His ability to stretch the field makes him valuable for the Bills, but it might not lead to more fantasy production.
We shouldn’t have the same level of hype we all had last year for him. Instead, I see Davis as a slightly shorter and less effective version of Los Angeles Chargers WR Mike Williams, who might not get it all together until more targets open up.
The Offseason Will Tell the Tale
Sanders could be gone after the season is over, and Beasley’s dead cap hit is only a million compared to the eight million it was this past season.
There’s a possibility that around 150 targets could open up before the start of the 2022 season. If someone’s willing to sell low on Davis for a mid to late second-round pick or later, then I’d pull the trigger on him.
I wouldn’t overspend to get a player like Davis, but his talent is exciting, that’s for sure.
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