LeSean McCoy is officially on his way out of Buffalo, which is great news for the fantasy football world. Nobody likes a crowded backfield, and losing McCoy leaves Devin Singletary, Frank Gore, and T.J. Yeldon fighting for starting snaps. Let’s break down how the Buffalo Bills backfield looks from a fantasy perspective in light of McCoy’s release.
Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills Running Back Fantasy Football Outlook
The Good News for Devin Singletary
Devin Singletary is the biggest fantasy football winner. The third-round rookie was projected to be McCoy’s primary backup, but now he’s probably going to start. The rookie has only recorded 12 carries in the preseason, so nobody really knows how he’ll look against NFL competition. However, he’s easily the youngest and most promising back on the roster and should see the majority of the work.
Coming out of college, Singletary had great vision and the ability to make tacklers miss in open space. While he lacks elite breakaway speed, he excels at making linebackers miss and picking up positive yardage. He’s not the type of player capable of plowing guys over like Marshawn Lynch, but his slippery running style allows him to bounce off tacklers and pick up yards after contact. Considering the rest of the depth behind him, he has a good shot of being Buffalo’s primary goal-line back. Frank Gore is the only competition for short-yardage work, and the ageless wonder wasn’t great in that role with Miami. Last year, Gore didn’t have a single rushing touchdown and only had five carries on 3rd/4th and short. He only picked up two first downs in that small sample.
Singletary isn’t a transcendent talent by any means, but he doesn’t have to be. Situation matters just as much as talent for rushing production, and the Bills’ situation has improved heading into 2019. Buffalo added John Brown and Cole Beasley to bolster the passing game, meaning that teams won’t be able to put as much focus on stopping the run. Additionally, the Bills added Mitch Morse in free agency and drafted Cody Ford early in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. These moves should bolster the offensive line and create more running lanes for Singletary.
The Bad News
Devin Singletary is going to have fantasy value, but he’s not going to be a superstar. Even with McCoy out of the way, the Bills aren’t going to give Singletary a full workload. Frank Gore is still in town, and the inconvenient truth is still a productive running back. Last year with Miami, Gore recorded 722 rushing yards at a 4.6 yards-per-carry clip. Gore’s situation didn’t help him, as Miami had a bad offensive line and an anemic passing attack. Gore can still play, and he’ll probably split carries with Singletary early in the season.
Additionally, Singletary doesn’t figure to be a big part of the passing game. Singletary only caught 51 passes during his three collegiate seasons and doesn’t appear to have a natural pass-catching skillset. On top of that, most rookie running backs typically need a year under their belts before developing NFL-caliber pass-blocking skills. Look for T.J. Yeldon to see the majority of the third-down work.
Even if Singletary wins the pass-catching job, don’t expect him to get a lot of work. Josh Allen has one of the strongest arms in the league and loves to push the ball deep down the field. Last year, LeSean McCoy only received 43 targets despite the Bills having no reliable receiving weapons. That number will probably dip this season thanks to the additions of John Brown and Cole Beasley.
Overall, Devin Singletary is probably going to be a solid flex play throughout the season with low RB2 upside. While he’ll still be part of a committee, Singletary should see more work than Gore and Yeldon. Additionally, Singletary is the best bet for short-yardage and red zone work, which is obviously great for his fantasy value. If you’re in a standard scoring league and he’s on the board in the seventh round, make sure to pick him up.
Embed from Getty Images