11 different ESPN analysts, including both writers to editors, were asked to name a fantasy football “sleeper,” a “bust,” and a “breakout candidate” at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end for the 2020 NFL season.
Three Buffalo Bills were mentioned, with both quarterback Josh Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs falling on the “bust” side more than any other players in the league.
It’s important to note and remember these labels are only for fantasy football production, not what the analysts feel about the players overall, or what their impact will or won’t be for their team’s chances at success.
For the exercise, a “bust” is defined as “a player who is expected to be a solid starter in standard ESPN leagues but will fail to live up to those expectations this season.”
Five of the 11 analysts – Stephania Bell, Matt Bowen, Mike Clay, Tristan H. Cockcroft, and Eric Karabell – all chose Allen, the most of any other quarterback in the league. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers received three votes, the only other quarterback to show up more than once.
Here’s what Cockcroft wrote about the Bills quarterback:
“Don’t mistake his rushing success for an all-around breakthrough. Allen scored 35% (101.0 of 288.6) of his fantasy points rushing, but his passing left plenty to be desired, as he finished last among qualified quarterbacks with 58.8% completion and 23.0% off-target passing rates. Yes, Stefon Diggs’ addition bolsters Allen’s receiving corps, but a so-so passer is a so-so passer. Prepare for regression: Of the previous 10 quarterbacks to score at least nine rushing touchdowns in a season, the group saw a 66% decline in the category for an average loss of 7.1 scores.”
Bowen, Clay, and Cockcroft all chose Diggs as their “bust” wide receiver, giving him the most votes of any player in that category. Keenan Allen of the Los Angeles Chargers and A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals were the only other receivers to receiver multiple votes with two each.
Here’s what Clay wrote about Diggs:
“Diggs forced his way out of a low-volume, highly efficient Minnesota offense but is arguably in worse conditions in a Buffalo pass offense that has been low-volume, low-scoring and inefficient during the Josh Allen era. Diggs finished 2019 as the No. 24 scoring fantasy receiver despite finishing second among receivers in YPT and with Adam Thielen missing half the season. Durability is also a concern, as Diggs has never played a full 16-game season. Consider Diggs as mid-range WR3, at best.”
Allen and Diggs weren’t the only Bills players to show up on one of the lists, and it wasn’t all negative.
Cockcroft named second-year running back Devin Singletary his “2020 Breakout Player,” which includes all positions, and defined as “a player who will leap into or close to the upper echelon of players at his position for the first time because of a dramatic increase in production compared with his previous seasons.”
Writes Cockcroft on Singletary:
“Things were looking up for Singletary during the second half of an otherwise forgettable 2019, as he averaged 16.4 carries per game and 4.6 yards per-carry with 30 total targets in his final eight regular-season contests, then managed 134 yards from scrimmage in the wild-card round. With Frank Gore gone, Singletary should see easily at least that much usage and arguably more; and with Allen unlikely to repeat his 2019 rushing success, the Bills should really shift more of their rushing focus to the second-year back. Zack Moss does loom as a potential goal-line vulture, but Singletary should put forth high-end RB2 value for an RB3’s price.”
No other Bills players were mentioned as sleepers, busts, or breakout players at any position.
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