After his first two NFL seasons, some analysts still had doubts about Josh Allen’s future as a high-level starting quarterback. However, Allen finished second in MVP voting last year as he established career-best numbers across the board. The arrival of Stefon Diggs, one of the best receivers in the NFL, absolutely transformed Allen as a fantasy asset, and he finished as the QB1 overall. Heading into 2021, Allen stands as one of the highest-upside fantasy quarterbacks, thanks to his elite passing and rushing production. With the Bills housing one of the better offenses in the NFL, Allen should be a fantasy mercenary once again.
Josh Allen is really good at football pic.twitter.com/q9F2OtfC7n
— Built in Buffalo (@BuiltInBuffalo_) June 5, 2021
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With the arrival of Stefon Diggs in Buffalo and a well-timed third-year step forward, a mixture of variables contributed to an absurd leap from Allen last season. He put up a career-high 4,544 passing yards, 37 passing touchdowns, and a 107.15 passer rating. Allen completed 69.2% of his passes, and his prior two seasons were both under 60%. He did run for just 421 yards, the lowest of his career, but the elite passing production more than made up for a slight dip in rushing production. Josh Allen scored 24.7 fantasy points per game, by far the most of his career, and was a massive part of many fantasy football championship teams as a phenomenal value.
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If Allen maintains the same passing pace as last year, he would be good for at least 4,800 yards. That’s around what I have him down for. With Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, and Gabriel Davis back in the offense and Emmanuel Sanders joining them, I see no real reason why we should expect regression from Allen this season. I’m also expecting his rushing production to tick up a bit after the Bills didn’t really address a lack of efficiency in that part of the offense over the offseason. Allen has the ability to run for 10 touchdowns this season. Allen would still be a top-five quarterback on the low end of my projections, and I see him finishing much closer to QB1.
ADP & Auction Value
ADP: 38, Round 4, QB2
Auction Value: $27
Josh Allen was being drafted well into the 8th or 9th round last season in many leagues, and he turned into an absolute steal. This year, his ADP has skyrocketed as he’s now being selected as the QB2 off the board. However, Allen is still being drafted more than 20 selections after Patrick Mahomes. That can mean the difference between selecting Austin Ekeler or A.J. Brown in the second round vs. Chris Carson or Amari Cooper in the fourth-fifth. That’s a massive difference in my eyes, and Allen is a much better value than Mahomes if you want to take a quarterback early in the draft.
In his first two seasons in the NFL, Josh Allen finished as the QB21 and then the QB7. However, as I previously discussed, his passing efficiency was nowhere near the level he produced last season. Allen threw for 37 touchdowns last year, significantly more than he did in his first two years combined, and his yards-per-attempt jumped up from 6.6 in his first two years to 7.9 in 2020. Allen just looked like a completely different player last season – PFF called it the best third-year breakout in modern NFL history. After that kind of leap, it would be beyond shocking to see him revert to his prior production, especially with the receiving talent this team still boasts. Still, even with regression from last year’s stellar numbers, it would be difficult to imagine a scenario outside of significant injury where Allen doesn’t finish as a top-five fantasy quarterback.
Allen finished as the QB1 in fantasy football last year in the midst of his spectacular breakout season, so we know that he has that type of potential. However, it is worth noting that Allen did produce a career-low in rushing yards last season. After running for 500+ yards in each of his first two seasons, including 631 rushing yards in just 12 games in his rookie season, Allen ran for just 421 yards last year. If Allen’s rushing production ticks up a bit, he could have an even stronger fantasy season as the QB1 this year. There honestly isn’t a ton to say here. This is a guy who just finished as the top-scoring fantasy quarterback, and it would be ridiculous to suggest he doesn’t have the ceiling to replicate that phenomenal campaign.
2020 Most Completions of 20+ Yard Passes (powered by @FTNData)
▪️ Tom Brady (34)
▪️ Aaron Rodgers (33)
▪️ Matt Ryan (30)
▪️ Josh Allen (30)
▪️ Deshaun Watson (29)
— FTNNetwork (@FTNNetwork) June 8, 2021
Buffalo Bills Offense
It can’t be overstated how impactful the trade for Stefon Diggs was for the Bills last season. They had been searching for a WR1 for quite some time, and Diggs was all that and more for the team. He led the NFL last season with 127 catches for 1,535 yards and was the WR3 in 1/2 PPR scoring on his way to a First-Team All-Pro nod. Cole Beasley was the team’s second-leading receiver with 72 catches for 967 yards, but his role could be reduced with the arrival of Emmanuel Sanders in Buffalo. John Brown played in just 9 games last season, and he’s headed to the Raiders now. Gabriel Davis put a stranglehold on the other outside receiver spot as a fourth-round rookie in his absence. He finished with 35 catches for 599 yards and 7 touchdowns. That was an impressive season for his age and draft pedigree, so I have high hopes for him this season. Emmanuel Sanders is 34 years old now, but he was still able to make an impact for the Saints last year as he caught 61 balls for 726 yards and 5 touchdowns in 14 games. Buffalo’s rushing attack was underwhelming last year as both Devin Singletary and rookie Zack Moss ran for under 4.4 yards per carry. That bodes well for Allen, though, as the Bills will likely be heavily reliant on the passing attack again this season. Buffalo returns the same five offensive line starters as last year, and that continuity is precious for maintaining high-level offensive production. The Bills scored 31.3 points per game last season, the 2nd-most in the NFL.
Strength of Schedule
The one knock on the Bills’ stud quarterback this season may be the team’s schedule that FantasyPros slates as the third-toughest for fantasy for the QB position. It may not matter much, though, as Allen scored 30+ fantasy points on some elite defenses last year in the Dolphins, Rams, and Patriots. Josh Allen does get three of his toughest matchups out of the way early in the season as the Steelers (2nd-fewest), Dolphins (9th-fewest), and Washington (3rd-fewest) boasted three of the best defense in terms of fewest fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks last season. The Bills do play the Falcons (most), Jaguars (3rd-most), Titans (4th-most), and Jets (5th-most) this year, four of the top five defenses last year in fantasy points allowed to QBs. They also play the Texans, perhaps the worst roster in the NFL, along with some other beatable teams in the Chiefs, Colts, Buccaneers, and Panthers. After Week 3 of the season, Buffalo’s schedule has some ups and downs but certainly isn’t prohibitive to Allen producing elite numbers. There are some defenses along the way that he should absolutely carve-up, as well.
One year after Josh Allen finished as the QB1 in fantasy football, he might still be a value in drafts. In my projections, he, Patrick Mahomes, and Kyler Murray are only separated by three fantasy points total. That wasn’t intentional; it’s just how my projections landed with several variables taken into consideration. The continuity in Buffalo’s offense bodes well for Allen following his massive third-year breakout, and he comes into 2021 as one of just a few quarterbacks with legitimate QB1 upside. There is virtually no scenario where I would advocate spending a 2nd-round pick on Mahomes when you can get Allen in the 4th or 5th round. I don’t usually take a quarterback early in drafts, and I’m not terribly inclined to make an exception for Allen, but don’t be shocked if he’s the QB1 again this season.
Enjoy 7 minutes of Josh Allen being a human highlight reel.
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) June 2, 2021
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