Josh Allen - Top Fantasy QB or Homer Pick
Updated: Jul 19, 2019
By: Jason Malloy
The Buffalo Bills haven’t been a usual destination for top fantasy talent the last few years. Sure, up until the 2018 season , LeSean “Shady” McCoy was a safe RB1 spot on your fantasy team. But, due to a number of debatable circumstances he greatly underperformed last season. Expectations for the Bills starting Running Back are still quite limited for the 2019 season after last season where he only amassed 514 yards rushing. That was his worst rushing season in the NFL statistically ever.
Last year the Bills saw a steep decline in offensive line play. They went from top 10 in the league in 2017, to arguably the worst in the NFL in 2018. Much of the poor play was attributed to the sudden loss of Richie Incognito and Pro-Bowl center Eric Wood. Also, a position change for the Bills up and coming offensive tackle Dion Dawkins didn’t help matters any.
This offseason the Bills had a plethora of issues to address that limited success last season. Aside from the poor offensive line play, Buffalo had the 31st ranked wide receiving corps. Buffalo receivers hauled in a combined 271 passes for 3,082 yards and a league worst 13 TDs. Needless to say change was needed in Buffalo, and GM Brandon Beane along with 300,000 Western New York residents could see that.
The changes started in the offseason with numerous additions to bolster a depleted O-line. This was headlined by star Center Mitch Morse and additions to the Bills wide receiver corps were necessary as well . The Bills signed speedy John “Smokey” Brown and stud slot receiver Cole Beasley. Fans are starting to have more confidence about the WR position this year. The same can be said for the expectations of the newly revamped O-Line. These upgrades already show a significant increase in upside potential for performance over last year. However, several members of the media still believe the big question mark for Buffalo this year is at QB. We’d like to set the record straight now.
We all know Josh Allen was the 7th overall pick of the NFL draft in 2018. Being a high 1st round pick comes with some high expectations. The first 6 games Allen played in the regular season his average was 10 FPTS (fantasy points). The wide receivers struggled to get open so large chunk yardage plays were limited. Allen also had issues completing some of his shorter distance throws. Allen went down in Week 6 with an injury to his UCL (ulnar collateral ligament) in his right elbow. This kept him sidelined until Week 12, which was a home matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars. During that time, Allen admitted to learning and listening to the advice and teachings of veteran QB and midseason addition Derek Anderson. In Week 12, Allen came back with a vengeance. The Bills young QB only threw for 160 yards, and a TD on a long ball to rookie WR Robert Foster. Allen also rushed for a TD and picked up 99 yards on the ground giving him 27 FPTS in his Week 12 return.
The rest of the season Allen mirrored his week 12 performance and in a number of cases exceed it. Week 13 showed Allen putting up 231 yards passing with 2 TD/2 INTS, along with 135 yards rushing for a total of 32 FPTS. Due to Allen’s injury last year he only started 11 games but accumulated a total of 208.1 FPTS. This averaged out to 18.92 points per game which put him as the 20th ranked fantasy QB last year. Based on Allen’s average of 18.92 FPTS per game, if Allen had started all 16 games, he would’ve had a total of 302.7 FPTS for the season. That would have allowed Allen to finish 9th in fantasy QB rankings, which would have placed him ahead of fellow QB talent such as Kirk Cousins, Philip Rivers, Dak Prescott, and fellow rookie QB and #1 overall pick Baker Mayfield.
Most agree that the Bills athletic QB can’t sustain picking up so many yards on the ground, yet it doesn’t seem necessary he’ll need to. Buffalo’s newfound receiver John Brown hauled in 42 catches for 715 yards and 5 TDs last year. Cole Beasley accumulated 65 catches for 672 yards and 3 TDs. Together Beasley and Brown had 107 receptions for 1387 yards and 8 TDs in 2018. Those additions add up to a 45% increase in passing yards for offense as well as a 39% increase in receptions. With the increase in passing yards, receptions, and TDs, Allen won’t be required to sustain his running contributions to be top 10 Fantasy QB in 2019.
Allen has been projected to be a late round/free agent addition in most fantasy mock drafts this year. Simply looking at the numbers from his first 6 weeks last year most believe he won’t be worth a pick. Most of these speculators must have missed his last 6 weeks of the 2018 season.
Don’t get me wrong, Allen still has some growing to do with his accuracy and making reads at times. #17 showed us he’s a natural leader on and off the field and that he doesn’t give up. His freakish athletic ability puts him head and shoulders (or a hurdle) ahead of most at his position in the NFL. The national media may still question Allen and his ability to develop into a franchise QB in today's NFL, but none of them should question his elite ranking as fantasy QB this year.
Feel free to check out the video below showing of some of Allen's intangibles and a break down by Trent Dilfer. This is from the Soul and Science series.