Under head coach Sean McDermott, the Buffalo Bills are going to play an old-school style of football: run the football, maintain a strong defense, and win “ugly.” That latter point should tell you all you need to know about the prospects for this team, in terms of fantasy football.
Quarterback: Regardless of who emerges with the job at the beginning of the season and/or whoever gets the job as the result of an inevitable change at the position, this is one group you should simply stay away from. Former Cincinnati Bengals backup A.J. McCarron will likely be the starter on opening day. He intrigued teams after his short stint as a starter in 2015, when he had six touchdown passes in the last four games for Cincinnati. Buffalo is still terrified of putting in Nathan Peterman, after witnessing his historically-terrible first start (throwing five interceptions in 14 passes in a November 19th loss against the Los Angeles Chargers). Josh Allen tantalized NFL scouts with one of the strongest arms the league has seen in years, but he’s still a few seasons – and that’s being generous – away from contributing.
Running Back: LeSean McCoy remains a top 10 running back in most fantasy drafts this summer, but any thoughts of taking him should be considered with great caution. McCoy is coming off a season in which he averaged a career-worst 3.94 yards per carry, and the fact that he’ll turn 30 years old before the season starts should be a major red flag. On top of that, Buffalo signed veteran running back Chris Ivory as the short yardage specialist, meaning he could end up vulturing goal line touchdowns away from McCoy. Unless you find him dropping out of the third or fourth round of your draft, it might be better to stay away from him. Conversely, in touchdown-dependent leagues, Ivory might be a sneaky late round addition for you.
Wide Receiver: One of the reasons most people are bearish on the Bills’ quarterback situation is because the group of wide receivers any of those quarterbacks will throw to is a mess. Entering his fourth season of playing (he missed all of 2015 due to injury), and likely to nearly a quarter of all targets from the quarterback spot, Kelvin Benjamin might be primed to regain the form he showed in his first two years in the NFL. But outside of Benjamin? Don’t bother. Zay Jones had shoulder surgery which might prevent him from coming into camp ready to go; that’s not even mentioning his arrest for felony vandalism (though the charges were dropped). Guys like Andre Holmes and Jeremy Kerley are just NFL journeymen who shouldn’t see any meaningful production on a run-heavy team.
Tight End: While Nick O’Leary and Logan Thomas are talented football players, the only player worth talking about here, as usual, is Charles Clay. Clay was a top-13 tight end in receiving yards last year (558), but his two touchdown receptions (tying a career-low) really dampens his value. He’s best served as a TE2.