Team Needs: DB, WR, OT
Projected Top Three Picks:
First Round — O.J. Howard, TE Alabama
Second Round — Malik McDowell. DT Michigan State
Third Round — Cooper Kupp, WR Eastern Washington
One could argue that the Buffalo Bills will be heading into this draft looking to fill holes at several positions. The loss of Stephon Gilmore will sting a bit for the production of this defense, but the offense will need just as much attention. And offense will be just where the Bills look with their first round pick of O.J. Howard. Filling the tight end position with the best player in the draft at this pick will not be considered a reach when it expands the value of other players on this offense. Howard is a special talent at the position, a player with great size and hands, with the speed to be able to stretch the field in coverage against opposing linebackers. He will become the best tight end that Tyrod Taylor has had to work with since Day 1, and will help to break down some of the coverage that is typically rolled Sammy Watkins’ way. Howard has the skills to utilize the targets that were previously used for the tight end spot in this offense and turn them into a TE1 finish in Fantasy in 2017. He’s perfect guy to target late in drafts, who can pan out and provide you with value way over the price you paid. The second round pick of Malik McDowell will help to stabilize a Bills run defense that was one of the league’s worst in 2016. Going into the third round, the Bills will look to the wide receiver position with the intriguing selection of Cooper Kupp. Kupp is a player who is being touted by many scouts during the draft process, but a poor showing at the combine has slowed his stock a little. He can fit in nicely in this offense and fill the role of a wide receiver out of the slot as more of a chain mover. Kupp will be a late-round flier type Fantasy player, but will hold value in a dynasty format. If he adjusts to the pro game quickly, you never know when a Watkins injury may happen, and Kupp would become immediately valuable.
As we all know, this offense centers around the run game and LeSean McCoy. His 2016 season in Buffalo was a highly productive one, seeing him finish as a Top 5 RB even while getting robbed out of many TDs by backup Mike Gillislee. The Bills were intent on feeding McCoy, even while he fought through injury after injury. The team has come out and said that McCoy will continue to be the main focus of the offense, but also that Gillislee has earned more touches, as well. Knowing that should temper expectations of McCoy’s Fantasy value for the upcoming season. Will he fall out of the Top 10 at the position? Not a chance. But he could very well find himself closer to the bottom of the Top 10. McCoy will be routinely coming off the board in the second round of many Fantasy drafts, so be prepared to pay up. Gillislee will be the guy that could pay dividends for you during the season. Grab his as a handcuff as a McCoy owner, but if you are so inclined, picking him up late in the draft as a RB4 could prove to be a title winning move if McCoy goes down to injury.
The Bills made the no-brainer move in bringing back Taylor to man this offense. He has been building on his value over the last two seasons, and with his added rushing potential, he is pushing to become a week to week QB1. The main problem for Taylor is the weapons he has to work with. Outside of Watkins, the names of Philly Brown and Andre Holmes are not the types to write home about. This is why the Bills must attack skill position players in this draft. The acquisitions of Howard and Kupp can boost the potential of this passing game and take the pressure off the running backs from Day 1. Watkins’ value has taken a hit the last couple of years, and now it has him coming off the board as a WR2. If he can manage to stay healthy, that will prove to be a steal as he has WR1 potential. In my opinion, Howard would be the next guy to own in this offense, as he has the goods to push for a Top 5 tight end finish. This Bills offense could provide a few options for Fantasy owners to play during the 2017 season if the chips fall the right way.
Passing Offense — 189.8 YPG (30th)
Rushing Offense — 164.4 YPG (1st)
Points Per Game — 24.9 PPG (10th)
Top Fantasy Performers:
QB — Tyrod Taylor, 254 points
RB — LeSean McCoy, 238 points
WR — Marquise Goodwin, 56 points
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