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Sleepers, Busts and Bold Predictions: The 2023 Buffalo Bills

NFL Fantasy



Welcome to Sleepers, Busts and Bold Predictions for the 2023 fantasy football season. All summer, our analysts, two at a time, will preview all 32 NFL teams for the upcoming season. We’ll pick a pair of sleepers, a pair of busts and a pair of bold predictions. Sometimes they’ll be the same pick! Sometimes they will directly disagree! And that’s fine. Today: The Buffalo Bills.


Below, Sam Choudhury and Jeremy Popielarz tackle the Bills, starting with their picks in “The Answers,” then expanding on their picks in “The Explanation.”

2023 Sleepers, Busts & Bold Predictions: Buffalo Bils

The Answers

Favorite Sleeper

ChoudhuryDamien Harris
Popielarz: James Cook

Biggest Bust

ChoudhuryDalton Kincaid
Popielarz: Stefon Diggs

Bold Prediction

ChoudhuryJosh Allen breaks the single-season offensive yards record
Popielarz: Dalton Kincaid finishes as a top-10 tight end

The Explanations


Choudhury: The Bills signed former divisional foe, Damien Harris, this offseason after letting Devin Singletary walk in free agency. Since being drafted to Buffalo in 2018, Singletary has led the team in rushing yards each of the last four seasons. Although they drafted James Cook in the second round last season (No. 63 overall), he was sparingly used as a rusher, handling only 89 carries for 507 rushing yards as a rookie. Cook only saw 13 red-zone carries and none on the goal line. Harris was limited to just 11 games in 2022 but led the NFL in rushing touchdowns the season prior, logging 106 rushing attempts for 492 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground. Head coach Sean McDermott has been vocal about lightening the rushing load for Josh Allen, which should mean more opportunities for the entire backfield. 

James Cook RB Buffalo BillsPopielarz: We may have been a year early on the James Cook hype train because he was a considerable disappointment last year. He’s currently in our FTN rankers’ RB 25-39 range , which is far too low for a player who averaged 5.7 yards per carry as a rookie – even if it was a small workload (89 rushing attempts). His .21 missed tackles forced per rushing attempt was above the league average of .18. Cook was an explosive runner, as he produced 11 runs of 15 yards or more and two touchdowns on these runs. Even at only 190 pounds, he did well against stacked boxes (8 or more defenders), averaging 2.6 yards per attempt, which was on par with the league average. All impressive numbers for a rookie on limited touches. 

This season, Cook is set to be the lead running back for the Bills, a team that has produced a top-24 running back in back-to-back seasons (Devin Singletary, 2021 RB18, 2022-RB24). The Bills aren’t a run-heavy team, but when they do, they average one of the higher yards per carry (5.2 in 2022 was the third highest in the league). With Cook’s explosiveness and the Bills’ high-flying offense, it’s easy to see how Cook could exceed his ADP and even flirt with a top-20 finish in PPR scoring. 



Choudhury: In the midst of a run on wide receivers (four off the board in a row), the Bills decided to trade up in the 2023 NFL Draft to nab a pass-catcher of their own, selecting Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid with 25th overall pick. Kincaid was the centerpiece of the Utes passing game last season, carving out a team-high 21.7% target share. He finished second among all tight ends in the nation in targets (96) and receptions (70) and first in receiving yards (890). The upside for Kincaid is undeniable but is already baked into his average draft position (ADP), currently being drafted as a top-12 option at the position. Buffalo extended Dawson Knox to a four-year $53.6 million contract last offseason, which at the time ranked inside the top 5 among all tight ends. It’s unlikely Knox won’t see the field in 2023, and the Bills ran three wide sets 73% of the time last season.  

Popielarz: I can’t fathom a true bust candidate for this team. I’m landing on Stefon Diggs being more of a slight disappointment. There’s been some turmoil this offseason between Diggs and the team’s brass, supposedly stemming from the playbook. Diggs will still be the team’s go-to player when a play needs to be made, but there needs to be more options than just him. Last year, Diggs saw 154 targets, his fewest in a season since joining the Bills. However, he scored a career-high 11 touchdowns and produced over 1,400 receiving yards. This resulted in his second-highest PPR point total in his career with 321.2 points. 

This season, I expect some of this to take a step back with the addition of Dalton Kincaid and a plethora of mid-level wide receivers. Add in a slight shift in team philosophy (more rushes), and when they pass we could see a more spread-out target share, especially in the red zone where Kincaid could garner a large target share. As a result, I see a path where Diggs finishes closer to WR10 than WR1 in PPR scoring, which would be a disappointment for people ranking him as the current WR5.


Bold Predictions

Josh Allen QB Buffalo Bills

Choudhury: Patrick Mahomes broke Drew Brees’ single-season offensive yards record last season, totaling 5,608 passing and rushing yards. Josh Allen finished with 5,045 offensive yards in 2022. However, he only played 16 games due to the Damar Hamlin situation in Week 16. Before spraining his UCL in Week 9, Allen was averaging 357.71 combined passing and rushing in the first eight weeks of the season. Over a 17-game season, Allen was on pace for 6,081.07 offensive yards, which would have been the first 6,000-yard player in NFL history. This offseason, the Bills lost their leading rusher in each of the last four seasons, Devin Singletary, and added a first-round weapon to help with the aerial attack in Dalton Kincaid.

Popielarz: I’m betting against history here, as most rookie tight ends struggle to produce. But I think we have an Evan Engram on our hands here. Dalton Kincaid exploded onto the scene this year at Utah, producing 890 yards and eight  touchdowns on 70 receptions – his second straight season scoring eight touchdowns for the Utes. He did all of this by displaying alignment versatility, playing 55.1% of his snaps from the slot and 9.5% from out wide in 2022. Kincaid also created a class-leading 397 yards after the catch and 16 forced missed tackles last year. 

The Bills struggled to find a secondary weapon after Stefon Diggs in 2022. Both Isaiah McKenzie and Gabe Davis set career-highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns but couldn’t be relied on. The team struggled in the middle of the field mightily, and Dawson Knox took a step back statistically on a per-reception basis, going from 12.0 yards to 10.8 yards. His yards after catch also decreased from 5.8 to 4.4, and he continued to struggle with drops (9.4% of his targets). These are all areas in which Kincaid excels. There’s an opening behind Diggs and Davis for a third option to emerge, and I think Kincaid will be the guy. If so, I can see 70+ targets, which is plenty for an above-average athlete to produce top marks for tight ends. If he becomes a favorite target in the red zone, there may be no cap on his ceiling. 

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