As per last year, I’ll be sharing projections for every team in the NFL. I use past production in specific roles for each team’s scheme to work out realistic production profiles. You can see how accurate I was in 2017 in my IDP Projection Marking series.
The Bills might have had the strangest 2017 amongst any of the teams in the league. While looking at times like they were planning for the future (including the most disastrous quarterback debut any of us can remember) they somehow ended up playing January football for the first time in living memory. It was a great story and awesome to see Bills fans get the chance after so long.
Unfortunately, it looks like they might be heading into another patch that will be shaky at best after spending a high draft pick on Josh Allen. Let’s see if we can generate some excitement for Bills on the other side of the ball.
The Bills splashed out in free agency to sign former first round pick Star Lotulelei. I see him coming in to play the same role he did in Carolina – namely 1-tech. He’ll be asked to play the run first and will likely have limited pass-rush production. I think he’ll be useful in leagues that start two or more tackles.
Adolphus Washington is the most natural interior pass rusher on this unit. The tackle numbers in particular are a little run of the mill here but could very easily end up being higher. He’s a good post-hype sleeper.
Plenty of people were extremely high on Harrison Phillips around the draft. I urge caution. A rookie tackle who specialises against the run and is in a tough battle for snaps is no one’s idea of a priority target.
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I see a rotation here amongst several good options. So it’s likely we’ll see the top three or four players have some good weeks but not be reliably effective across the season. Hughes was the clear top pass rusher in 2017 and so sits on top for me. He’s amazingly cheap right now (I assume due to his age) and is a great target.
I still hold out hope that Shaq Lawson can start fulfilling his potential. But I’m prepared to be disappointed. I thought the same thing last season and he was really disappointing.
Trent Murphy was a quiet free agent addition for the team, but they paid decent money for him and I think he can be pretty effective here too. He’ll have startable weeks.
I can barely contain my excitement for Tremaine Edmunds. I want to knock down the numbers here, but I trust the system more than my own foibles. And the system says he’s going to have a spectacular rookie season. Number one overall linebacker might be optimistic but coming in as a top-tier option is certainly on the cards. The scheme, the stat crew and his draft collateral all point at huge numbers.
Matt Milano has been plenty of IDP player’s darling this off-season but ultimately it seems he’s still a part-time player. His skill set as a coverage specialist is intriguing but his flaws are going to prevent him staying on the field unless he’s seriously improved in the off-season.
Lorenzo Alexander is the starting Sam in the group which means he’s also a part-time player and one with an unattractive job in IDP terms. He won’t be on any of my teams.
Ramon Humber is interesting too. The number one mistake I see in IDP is thinking players will perform similarly year-on-year regardless of changes. I think many casual IDP players are just assuming Humber will be OK with Edmunds arriving. It’s possible he starts next to Edmunds with Milano sharing his job but that’s scorch comfort.
Tre’Davious White was fantastic in his rookie season which has seen him gather plenty of IDP support so far this off-season. Depending on your scoring system, that might be smart, but in many leagues he’s simply too good to be useful as he’ll likely be avoided by opposing quarterbacks. Vontae Davis, on the other hand, is a shadow of the player he once was and eminently targetable. If Davis can stay fit he’s on the shortlist of potential IDP star corners.
Micah Hyde was an IDP favourite to be a breakout going into 2017. He was not a disappointment but repeating his 2017 production could be a problem. Hyde recorded 65 solos and 17 assists which are DB2 numbers. But he bolstered those numbers with five interceptions and 18 passes defended which were excellent. I think he’ll likely regress a little in 2018.
Jordan Poyer, on the other hand, was excellent and has a chance to improve. He put up similar tackle numbers to Hyde but given how he lined up he could easily be more efficient this season and be a starting safety in most leagues.
Tremaine Edmunds as a rookie. You’ve got to pay up to get him in rookie but burning a high pick could easily end up looking like a genius move from the offset. He’s in an amazing situation and at his young age, paying a first round rookie pick for him could easily be the cheapest he’ll be for a few years.
Micah Hyde. He’s got great name value and his heroics in coverage last season certain paid off. But ultimately, he’s the free safety for a team who face about the lowest passing volume in the league in most years. He had to be extremely efficient in 2017 to be relevant. He could do that again but it’s too much of a gamble for me.
Adolphus Washington. If the third-round pick is going to turn the corner then it has to be now. He came out of college with great fanfare but has not quite managed it so far. As a rookie, he played just 310 snaps due to injury. In 2017 he changed coach, scheme and position and played 500 average snaps. If he can put it all together with the stability he has, he has a chance to come good.
I’m sorry to say but I think the Bills are going to a be a bad team in 2018. That’s going to open up possibilities for some players (Edmunds is going to play a lot of snaps against the run) but does not create optimism for pass rushers. I suspect the team will produce a lot of tackles (even accounting for the Bills stat crew) but not be efficient at creating big plays.
Thanks for reading.
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