The Buffalo Bills have some decisions to make about a couple of key offensive players. It”s a situation fantasy football owners need to monitor.
It’s already clear the Buffalo Bills will look like a new team in 2017, which could obviously affect fantasy football in the new season. The organization fired head coach Rex Ryan in December and hired Sean McDermott to replace him. Their interim head coach/offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn left to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers (R.I.P. San Diego). Now, ex-Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Rick Dennison will be running the offense in Buffalo.
With a new coaching staff in town, it puts some players jobs in jeopardy, namely Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy. The situation with Taylor in Buffalo is obvious to understand: is he a franchise quarterback or not? Can his style of play succeed at the highest level in the NFL? Can he win from the pocket?
Looking at the numbers, Taylor has a record of 14-14 (technically 15-14) and hasn’t won more than seven games in each of the last two seasons. Yet, he does have a career quarterback rating of 92.3 and since 2015, he has 47 total touchdowns compared to just 15 turnovers. After only two full seasons as a NFL starter, it’s hard to say definitely if Taylor can be a long-term answer for a NFL franchise.
If the Bills elect to pick up the option in Taylor’s contract, he will be owed over $30 million according to Vic Carrucci of The Buffalo News. The Bills have until March 11 to decide if they want to pick up his option or part ways with him. If they let him go, Taylor won’t have a shortage of suitors. Also, the fantasy football community will need to keep a close eye on where he goes.
Last season Taylor finished as the No. 11 fantasy football quarterback (according to ESPN) despite missing Week 17. In 2015, he was the No. 16 fantasy football quarterback, but also missed two games.
Between those two seasons, Taylor has averaged 17.66 fantasy points in the 29 games he’s played in. To compare, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins has averaged 17.9 fantasy points per game since 2015. Cousins has finished in the top-eight among quarterbacks in each of the last two seasons including a top-five finish in 2016.
The situation with McCoy is not as understandable as Taylor’s and will be a much tougher pill to swallow if the Bills elect to release the five-time Pro Bowler. McCoy will turn 29 years old before the start of the 2017 season and has a cap hit of nearly $9 million for the upcoming season. If the Bills go into full-blown rebuilding mode, they might decide McCoy’s money would be better spent on other positions.
After all, we’ve recently seen teams like the Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears do well with running backs despite not investing a high draft pick at the position.
The problem here is despite getting “old” for a NFL running back, McCoy is an established running back. He’s not only that but he’s one of the most electrifying running backs in the entire league. Last season he finished with 1,267 rushing yards, 13 touchdowns and his 5.4 yards per carry was a new career high.
In fantasy football, McCoy finished the season as the No. 3 running back. No matter what team McCoy suits up for in 2017, he’ll be selected with a high draft pick in re-draft leagues and will start the season as a RB1.
Will the Bills Keep Taylor? If not, where will he go? Will Buffalo release McCoy? If so, where will he go? Who would be the new starting running back for the Bills? Who will be the starting quarterback for the Bills? Will he be capable of getting the ball to Sammy Watkins? Will Watkins stay healthy in 2017? Right now there are too many questions and not enough answers. However, in less than two weeks we will get some concrete decisions in at least one of these areas.