Dynasty fantasy football is our beloved stripped-down approximation of the NFL. We are the head coaches and general managers of our teams, choosing who stays or goes, and who plays or sits. NFL Training Camps are perhaps the best opportunity we have on the dynasty calendar to project how useful our assets will be in the coming season, particularly when it comes to managing the bottom third of our roster. The better you know the rosters of every NFL team, the more prepared you’ll be to execute the corresponding dynasty moves when camp news breaks. I’m mining all the beat reports, team websites, and post-practice press conferences to bring you a comprehensive overview of what’s going on this summer in all 32 training camps.
Our fourth stop on the 2017 DLF Training Camp Tour is with the Buffalo Bills. The Bills enter the 2017 season with a new head coach and new offensive coordinator, so we have to try our best to forget what we know about usage patterns and tendencies.
One thing I can unequivocally tell you: the Bills will absolutely be passing the ball with greater frequency. Rick Dennison will be calling the plays and he’s been much more middle-of-the-road in passing game production than his predecessor. I expect all Buffalo passing game weapons to get a boost.
The Bills’ average yearly NFL ranks over the past two seasons under offensive coordinators Greg Roman and Anthony Lynn were:
In Dennison’s nine years as an offensive coordinator, his average yearly NFL ranks are:
Below is a rundown of all players I project to have dynasty relevance in 2017 in a typical 12-team league with 24-man rosters (288 players rostered).
The Bills have been in camp since July 26 and have completed four days of practice as of this release. Head Coach Sean McDermott is on record saying “it’s too early to talk about roles right now”, but there is still plenty to analyze based on how players have been used so far in camp.
Two players we can safely project as starters are Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy. Taylor is a strong bet to outperform his dynasty positional rank of QB17 this season and a cheap trade acquisition. I would be comfortable rolling Taylor out in my starting lineup each week this season.
McCoy is looking like he can stave off father time for at least one more season; the Buffalo News reports he’s been the clear MVP of camp so far. In dynasty, we typically bail on running backs entering their age 29 season, but McCoy is one of the best talents of the past decade. He’s in line for another bell cow role this season and can help you put another ring on your metaphorical dynasty title finger. Teams competing this season might consider floating a second round rookie pick along with a younger running back to go all-in.
Andre Holmes has been getting starter reps but has reportedly struggled with drops (at least one in every practice). Considering the Bills just invested second round draft capital on Zay Jones, I’m not sure how much leash Holmes will get. However, the early reports that he’s running with the starters are enough to make him a speculative dynasty add. Speaking of Jones, he’s battling with Holmes for the number two spot opposite Sammy Watkins.
An underreported story of the off-season is that Jones’ East Carolina Wide Receivers Coach, Phil McGeoghan, was brought on to fill the same role in Buffalo. Nobody will know better how he should be used than the man who helped Jones amass on of the most productive collegiate careers ever. For more on Jones’ NCAA exploits, check out my pre-draft workup. Jones is being undervalued based on his draft position and the underappreciation that Buffalo is going to pass the ball more under Rick Dennison. He’s a strong buy for me at current ADP and I had a first round dynasty grade on him.
As for Watkins, health is the only barrier to WR1 status in 2017. Dennison has directed some huge WR1 seasons for Brandon Marshall and Demaryius Thomas (in Denver) and Andre Johnson (in Houston). Despite his startup ADP of 15 overall, moving similarly valued assets for Watkins could end up creating equity by this time next season.
The Bills depth at the pass-catching positions is ultimately thin, so they continue to be linked to veteran free agents. On a local radio show, Brandon Beane (the Bills’ General Manager) confirmed that the team is still in contact with wide receiver Anquan Boldin and tight end Gary Barnidge. Both players would serve as hedges or even pseudo-replacements for Charles Clay in my estimation. Clay’s knee has been a constant issue and he has rarely been able to practice since signing with the team in 2015.
Projected ADP Risers
Players Who Will Rise 1 or more rounds in startup ADP by the end of the 2017 Season: Zay Jones, Jonathan Williams
Projected ADP Fallers
Players Who Will Fall 1 or more rounds in startup ADP by the end of the 2017 Season: LeSean McCoy
Waiver Wire Watch List (players with ADP >240): Andre Holmes
- Mount Bust-More? Historical Context for 2017’s Early First Round WRs - December 28, 2017
- The Return of Josh Gordon - December 2, 2017
- Player Value: Two Wide Receivers Who Might Never Be Cheaper - September 15, 2017