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2024 Player Outlooks: Buffalo Bills

By Nick Caron | 6/12/24 |

Josh Allen

QB Josh Allen
(2023 QB Rank – No.1, 27.9 FPts/G)

Over his past four years, Josh Allen has finished as the fantasy QB1 in 2023, QB2 in 2022, QB1 in 2021, QB1 in 2020. To say that he’s on a “Mount Rushmore of all-time fantasy quarterbacks” pace would be an understatement. There are plenty of quarterbacks who can provide consistent, high-end passing numbers or who can deliver the “Konami code” effect of practically cheating due to how effective they are as runners, but practically no one in the history of the game has done both of those things at the same time for this many seasons in a row.

Allen might be a unicorn at the position, but it’s hard to argue that his forecast for the 2024 season is looking a bit murky. With both Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis leaving, Allen is now left with a group of highly inexperienced pass-catching weapons, most of whom lack the physical ability to be one-for-one replacements for either Diggs or Davis, let alone both. Sure, Allen has shown the ability to make due with inferior weapons when Diggs and Davis have been banged up, but what happens when defenses know that those players are gone and can instead allocate more resources to preventing him from scrambling, particularly in the red zone? Time will tell.

Despite these concerns, Allen should remain an elite fantasy asset this season as the entire Buffalo offense has been built around him. Look for him to remain one of the league’s most aggressive passers while also being the Bills’ defacto goal-line running back, giving him a great floor for fantasy production while still providing high-end QB1 upside.

RB James Cook
(2023 RB Rank – No.11, 13.9 FPts/G)

Despite finishing as the RB11 overall in fantasy in 2023, Cook ranked as just RB19 on a points-per-game basis, highlighting the reality that much of his final ranking had more to do with him simply staying healthy than it did him delivering elite fantasy production. Cook has been touted as a proficient pass-catching back, but he ranked 17th at the running back position in receptions with just 44 throughout the season. Cook did, however, manage to join the elite club of running backs with over 1,000 rushing yards, finishing fourth with 1,122 yards on the ground. Despite this impressive feat, he only scored two rushing touchdowns, suggesting potential positive regression in the upcoming season.

The addition of Ray Davis in the Bills' roster could impact Cook's red zone usage, given Davis's notable collegiate success with 20 touchdowns in his final season. While Cook is expected to maintain a solid floor, his scarcity in touchdowns may limit his spike weeks. Nonetheless, with potential increased opportunities near the goal line and sustained health, he remains a reliable mid-to-high-end RB2 and could even remain a low-end RB1 in 2024 if he’s able to stay healthy again.

RB Ray Davis
(2023 RB Rank – N/A)

James Cook enjoyed a breakout season in 2024, but that didn’t stop the Bills from adding to their running back room by selecting Ray Davis in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. Cook supporters should be thankful that Buffalo didn’t add one of the many proven veterans who were available this offseason as had sometimes been rumored, but Davis is still a player who could play significant snaps for the Bills this season. Cook was by far Buffalo’s most productive back in 2023, and was the only back who played in every game for them, but he still only managed to be on the field for just under 55 percent of the team’s snaps. This indicated that while the Bills view Cook as their lead back, they’re not willing to completely hand over the keys to make him their version of Christian McCaffery.

If Davis is able to play even 35 percent of the snaps for the Bills, there will almost certainly be weeks where produces usable fantasy numbers. The problem is that, unless Cook is out, predicting those games is going to be nearly impossible. Latavius Murray was Buffalo’s main RB2 in 2023 and while he played over 30 percent of the team’s offensive snaps, he only saw double-digit carries twice and only managed to score four total touchdowns, making him a completely unusable fantasy asset.

Davis may show us something that allows him to earn more of a 50/50 split by the end of the season, but fantasy managers should be expecting that he’ll take a while to give us anything useful - if he ever gets there at all - as long as Cook is available.

WR Keon Coleman
(2023 WR Rank – N/A)

The 2024 rookie class saw seven receivers selected in the first round. The eighth receiver taken, as the first pick of the second round, was Florida State’s Keon Coleman, who immediately steps into a situation where he might actually end up leading all rookies in pass-catching opportunities this season. The Coleman selection was significant for fantasy purposes because he becomes perhaps the top target in one of the league’s most pass-heavy offenses, led by a quarterback who’s averaged nearly 4,400 passing yards and over 34 passing touchdowns per season over his past four years.

What’s interesting about Coleman is that he lacks the speed that most teams have typically been looking for in early-round draft picks, but he makes up for it with prototypical “X” receiver size at 6’3” and 213 lbs. He enters a team that lost 241 targets with the departures of Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis, and a roster that really does not have any other consistent, proven producers on it. He was also, reportedly, a favorite prospect of Josh Allen’s, who was part of the draft process according to GM Brandon Beane.

Coleman wasn’t a big-time producer in college, but he seems to have the physical talent, and more importantly, the opportunity, to be a fantasy factor as early as Week 1 in 2024. It’s not often that we have the chance to draft the projected WR1 in a Josh Allen offense with a pick outside the top 100, but that’s looking like the trend as of now. He’s practically free at that price and it’s hard to argue that many of the other receivers going in that range possess anywhere near the upside that Coleman presents.

WR Khalil Shakir
(2023 WR Rank – No.60, 7.1 FPts/G)

A team featuring a target vacuum like Stefon Diggs typically means that there is only one, or sometimes no other viable fantasy pass-catchers in the offense. That was certainly the case in 2023 for the Bills when Diggs and rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid left the other pass-catchers scrounging for leftovers.

With Diggs and Gabe Davis leaving this offseason, Khalil Shakir could see a significant uptick in playing time here in 2024. Both Diggs and Davis played over 80 percent of the Bills’ offensive snaps in 2023, with Shakir finishing third among receivers at nearly a 52 percent snap share. He was the only other wide receiver on the roster to play even 35 percent of the snaps, and he did so playing primarily out of the slot. Interestingly enough, rather than bring in a veteran outside receiver to complement their existing roster with Shakir on it, the Bills instead opted to bring in Curtis Samuel who also played most of his snaps out of the slot for the Commanders this past season. Chase Claypool has reportedly been making some splashes in training camp, but he’s done practically nothing for multiple seasons in a row, so we have to assume that Shakir or Samuel - or perhaps both - will see their percentage of slot snaps go down this season as they are asked to move outside more often. This might sound like a good thing on the surface, but neither player has shown success playing outside, so we really just have to hope that their total snaps see a significant enough increase to make up for the role changes they’re likely to experience.

Shakir did provide three games of 90 or more yards for the Bills in 2023 and his yards per target number was incredible, so there’s some potential for a breakout here. He’s not a bad late-round dart throw if you’re looking to get a piece of this Buffalo offense.

WR Curtis Samuel
(2023 WR Rank – No.42, 9.2 FPts/G)

Newcomer to Buffalo, Curtis Samuel is expected to compete with Khalil Shakir to be the team’s primary slot receiver here in 2023 - a position in an offense that once saw Cole Beasley ascend up the fantasy rankings and even make a Pro Bowl. Samuel is a veteran who has spent his past three years in Washington, including back-to-back 600-plus-yard, four-touchdown seasons on a team that had serious QB problems. A seven-year pro, Samuel has never reached 900 yards or exceeded six receiving touchdowns in a season. Of course, he’s also never played with a quarterback who’s anywhere near the caliber of Josh Allen.

Samuel has a history of delivering spike weeks and then completely falling on his face thereafter, making him one of the most frustrating players to manage in all of fantasy football. He does add some dimension to his game as a runner on end-arounds and straight even out of the backfield, but the Commanders chose to give him just seven carries on the season in 2023 after 38 in 2022, indicating that perhaps they saw a dip in his explosiveness. Nevertheless, his rushing upside isn’t really something we can bank on with a new team, especially when the team has an established runner in James Cook and perhaps the league’s most effective red zone rusher behind center with Josh Allen.

Samuel is an extremely cheap, perhaps even free option in fantasy drafts this season, so he really brings no risk. We don’t know what’s going to happen with this wide receiver group, but we do expect that the Bills will be among the league leaders in pass attempts this season, so keep an eye on Samuel’s usage early in the year and be ready to pounce on the waiver wire if he’s seeing significant playing time.

TE Dalton Kincaid
(2023 TE Rank – No.11, 9.5 FPts/G)

Dalton Kincaid of the Buffalo Bills showcased remarkable talent in his rookie season, despite initially starting as the second tight end on the team behind Dawson Knox. Despite this, he managed to amass an impressive 91 targets, a feat uncommon for rookie tight ends. Kincaid's emergence was notable, especially considering the rarity of rookies breaking into the top 12 at their position. However, his achievements were somewhat overshadowed by fellow rookie Sam LaPorta, who claimed the TE1 spot overall in 2023.

Now entering his sophomore season, Kincaid has solidified his position as the team's primary tight end, particularly with Buffalo's offseason departures of Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis. Though he may have to contend a bit with Knox for playing time, Kincaid's prowess as a pass-catcher and overall playmaker positions him as a vital asset on a team in need of dynamic receivers. With the potential to ascend to fantasy superstardom, Kincaid offers managers both a high floor and elite upside, making him a wise investment despite a somewhat hefty draft price.

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