Josh Allen was drafted by the Buffalo Bills with the 7th overall pick in the 2018 draft, showing a ton of confidence in spending a top-ten pick on him. The Bills made their second playoff appearance of the past two decades and seem to be on the right track under head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane. The offseason acquisition of Stefon Diggs should do wonders for Allen’s efficiency, but can he build on his top ten fantasy finish from last season?
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Allen finished as the #6 overall quarterback in fantasy last season despite having the worst completion percentage of any starting quarterback. This goes back to what I’ll be harping on a lot throughout these outlook articles – rushing yards/touchdowns are the most valuable thing a QB can do in fantasy. In addition to his career-high 20 passing touchdowns, Allen put up stats on the ground that would have made him a top-40 running back in fantasy. His 510 rushing yards ranked 3rd most among quarterbacks.
With the Bills adding Stefon Diggs to the offensive fold, Josh Allen’s efficiency should improve in 2020. His completion percentage already jumped 6% from his rookie to sophomore season, and he could find himself well above 60% this year. The Bills’ defense should still be elite, keeping Allen’s overall attempts lower, but his rushing capability should be in full force yet again with a more versatile offensive attack. An entire season of Devin Singletary could keep his rushing attempts down, but if he can pick up 500+ yards on the ground and eight touchdowns, he’s practically a lock to return top-ten value.
👀 @FieldYates told me where he has Josh Allen ranked this upcoming season among fantasy QBs and I’d bet you’ll be pretty surprised. But don’t tell anyone, it’s a secret 👀
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) April 17, 2020
ADP & Auction Value
Auction Value: $8
Josh Allen is currently being drafted below quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Carson Wentz, and Dak Prescott, who don’t offer nearly the same rushing upside. Adding a valid WR1 option in Diggs will open up the offense for everybody on the field, and with the way he has performed for fantasy owners in his first two seasons, I would be thrilled to grab Allen at this value.
Allen’s rushing ability gives him a pretty safe baseline for 2020. In his 28-game career, he has averaged over seven rushing attempts per game on 5.8 yards per carry with 0.6 touchdowns per game. Over a full 16-game slate, those numbers would give him about 650 rush yards and ten touchdowns. So the rushing production I have him projected for might be lower to his floor than his ceiling. Even if his efficiency doesn’t improve like I think it will and his passing touchdowns dip down, those rushing numbers would be enough to buoy a top-ten finish.
I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say Allen has a chance to be the leading scorer at quarterback for fantasy this season. He doesn’t have Lamar Jackson-level upside from last season, but the Ravens quarterback is likely due for some negative touchdown regression. Allen could reach 350+ fantasy points with something along the lines of 700 rushing yards, eight rushing touchdowns, 3,300 passing yards, and 25 passing touchdowns. He was the number one QB in all of the fantasy for a multi-week span during his rookie season, and things have only gotten better since that time. Allen’s upside is massive for 2020, and he has the highest ceiling of any non-Mahomes or Jackson quarterback.
Buffalo Bills Offense
As I mentioned before, adding Stefon Diggs to the offense should work wonders for Allen’s overall productivity. John Brown was overtaxed as a number one option last year, despite his solid production. The Bills now have an excellent complement of players at wideout – Brown as a deep-bomb threat, Beasley as a between-the-tackles slot guy, and Diggs as a perimeter target. Devin Singletary was excellent last year as well, rushing for 775 yards in just eight starts, and with Frank Gore no longer on the team, he should have every opportunity to be a workhorse back. The Bills’ offensive line is nothing special, ranking 15th in run-blocking and just 23rd in pass-protection per Football Outsiders. The Bills only ranked 19th in scoring offense in 2019, but a full 16 games from Singletary and Diggs, in addition to continued improvement from Josh Allen, should boost their production this season.
Strength of Schedule
Life is good for the Bills in the AFC East, taking on the Dolphins twice who just gave up the 2nd-most fantasy points to the quarterback position last season. They narrowly came behind the Cardinals in terms of fantasy points allowed, who the Bills ALSO take on in 2020. Unfortunately, playing in the AFC East also means taking on the Patriots twice, who gave up the fewest overall points to quarterbacks in fantasy last season. The Bills also have to play the 49ers and Steelers this year, who, along with the Pats, made up Football Outsiders’ top three defenses overall. The NFC West also features the Rams, who finished as a top-ten defense last year, and the Seahawks who ranked middle-of-the-pack. The Bills will also take on the Chiefs, Broncos, and Chargers, who were all between the 13th and 21st-best defense per Football Outsiders. Finally, two matchups against the Jets defense and one against the Titans, which both ranked middle-of-the-pack in fantasy points allowed to QBs round out the schedule. With Allen’s hopefully-improved deep-ball accuracy and rushing capability, he should be at least serviceable in poor matchups for fantasy with massive upside on those lighter weeks.
If you look at advanced metrics and efficiency ratings, Allen didn’t have a high season in 2019. His completion percentage was poor, and his passer rating put him outside the top 25 QBs. Luckily for Allen, those numbers only matter when winning real football games, not fantasy football matchups. His rushing ability has been well-documented to this point, and the offense as a whole should improve with Stefon Diggs as the number one wideout. The arrow is pointing up in Buffalo, and with the team’s continued improvement and Allen’s growing confidence, he could be due for a top-5 fantasy finish. At the very least, his draft price is close to his lowest possible floor with his rushing ability, and you should be thrilled to land him on your team as a later-round QB.
BREAKING: According to multiple sources, Josh Allen has tested positive for being the best young quarterback in Bills’ history. pic.twitter.com/JILsRPb2ds
— Josh Allen Facts (@joshallen_facts) March 14, 2020
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