The NFL offseason is now in full swing with coaching changes, free agency and the NFL Draft reshaping the 2023 fantasy football landscape. With that in mind, the Fantasy Life squad is breaking down every NFL team to determine what went wrong in 2022 and identify paths to improvement. Pete is here to take on our next project, the Bills...

Team Summary

The Bills' 2022 season will forever be remembered due the scary Damar Hamlin incident on MNF in Week 17. The Buffalo safety collapsed on-field after suffering cardiac arrest, putting the entire football world on pause, and the traumatic event placed an emotional burden on the team heading into the playoffs.

Many of us had hoped for a storybook playoff run for the Bills last year, as if Disney were scripting things. But in reality, following Hamlin's collapse and subsequent hospitalization, the trauma of the event likely prevented the team from playing at their best in the postseason.

Even after having won the AFC East for a third straight year with a 13-3 record, Buffalo barely beat Miami in the Wild Card round, as the Dolphins' third-string QB Skylar Thompson nearly pulled off an upset. A week later, the Bills were surprisingly eliminated at home in the Divisional Round by the Bengals.

For most teams, 2022 would've counted as a respectable season, but the Bills had entered the year as a Super Bowl favorite. And despite deep postseason runs in four straight years, Buffalo has yet to make it to the big game.

Injuries also contributed to the Bills stumbling in 2022. Josh Allen suffered an elbow injury in Week 9 and struggled to play at an elite level for the rest of the year. The team also lost top edge rusher Von Miller to a season-ending ACL injury on Thanksgiving Day.

Still, this isn’t a team that needs much fixing, per se. They were elite on both offense and defense last season:

  • Points per game: 28.4 (2nd)
  • Passing yards per game: 258.1 (7th)
  • Rushing yards per game: 139.5 (7th)
  • Points allowed per game: 17.9 (2nd)

The Bills just need a little tweaking. And the team should be able to compete for a Super Bowl in 2023 provided that they execute a few of these recommendations below…

Josh Allen

Jan 23, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) drops back to pass as Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Melvin Ingram (24) during the first half in a AFC Divisional playoff football game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Fixer Recommendations

Find a real No. 2 WR

Are you noticing a theme to our Fixers series? Virtually every team in the league could use more offensive weaponry, and the Bills are no exception.

Many of us over-drafted WR Gabriel Davis in the fourth or fifth round of fantasy drafts in 2022 chasing after the lightning of his epic Divisional Round performance in the 2021 playoffs. However, Davis massively disappointed last year while grading out poorly in ESPN's advanced receiving metrics:

  • 100th graded WR overall
  • 87th in getting open
  • 97th in making the catch

To be a true Super Bowl contender, the Bills must find a legitimate secondary weapon to contribute alongside Stefon Diggs. That would allow Davis to move to a situational WR3 role, which better suits his skillset.

There is some promise for Khalil Shakir to make a leap in his second year, but the team needs to be aggressive in securing more pass-catching talent for Allen.

One interesting option would be trading for a premier veteran WR like DeAndre Hopkins, who may be available for a reasonable price. Even though Hopkins will turn 31 years old in June, he would still be an upgrade over Davis or Shakir.

Another option would be to add receiving help via the draft.

Buffalo currently has three picks in the top 100 (picks No. 27, 59, and 91) and could select a WR, or even a TE, in this range. If a WR like Jaxon Smith-Njigba or Jordan Addison were to slip to pick No. 27, the Bills should sprint to the podium and lock up an elite slot prospect to work over the middle.

It's worth noting that the team did recently sign former Saints WR/PR Deonte Harty to a two-year deal in free agency, but this shouldn't impact their desire to add another premium pass-catcher this offseason.

While Harty has some interesting peripherals and speed to make explosive plays, he's more of a depth addition at WR rather than a true difference-maker.

Gabriel Davis

Oct 9, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Levi Wallace (29) intercepts a pass intended for Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis (13) during the first half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Bolster the offensive line

In addition to beefing up their receiving weapons, the Bills need to solidify their offensive line if they want to make a serious run in 2023.

Buffalo's offensive line ranked as low as 28th in PFF’s rankings at one point last year, and they allowed 211 QB pressures over the course of the season. Here is the full set of PFF grades for the Bills' offensive linemen in 2022:

  • OT Spencer Brown: 53.4 (76th)
  • OT Dion Dawkins: 73.8 (24th)
  • OT David Quessenberry: 59.3 (69th)
  • OG Rodger Saffold 44.0 (74th)
  • OG Ryan Bates: 61.5 (41st)
  • OG Greg Van Roten: 68.1 (52nd)
  • C Mitch Morse: 61.0 (24th)

Oof. In particular, the right side of Buffalo's offensive line was a problem, as right tackle Spencer Brown really struggled last year. He allowed six or more QB pressures in four games, and Brown gave up seven pressures against the Dolphins in the Wild Card game alone.

The Bills have already started to address the offensive line by signing former Cowboys guard Connor McGovern (not to be confused with Jets center Connor McGovern) to a three-year, $23 million contract.

It's a good start, but Buffalo would be wise to further bolster the offensive line this offseason via the upcoming NFL Draft.

Don’t waste an early pick at RB

There is a lot of chatter about the Bills needing help in the run game, but I don’t buy it. Buffalo's offense has been among the most pass-heavy in the league in recent seasons, and they just spent a second-round pick on James Cook last year.

The Bills also added depth to their backfield with the midseason acquisition of Nyheim Hineswhose contract they just restructured.

With Devin Singletary (UFA), Cook, and Hines, the Bills have a perfectly serviceable backfield. Even if Singletary were to depart in free agency, it wouldn’t be hard to replace him by either adding a cheap free agent RB (just ask the Eagles) or drafting a late-round rookie.

I’ve seen multiple mock drafts projecting Buffalo to select elite prospect Bijan Robinson with their first-round pick. Let me be emphatically clear:

That would be a horrible decision.

Robinson is an incredible prospect, but the Chiefs' selection of Clyde Edwards-Helaire with their first-round pick a few years ago should be a cautionary tale. The Bills would be far better off spending their premium picks to add pass-catchers or to address the offensive line.

RB production is largely replaceable, and Buffalo should lean into their strength as an up-tempo offense that relies on a high pass rate over expectation.

Spending early-round draft capital on a rookie RB would encourage the team to run the ball more rather than focus on their bread and butter, a dangerous passing offense with Allen at the helm.

There are far more capable RBs in the league than there are starting jobs. Whether via a late pick in the draft or a cheap free agent acquisition, the Bills should take advantage of the fact that it’s a buyer’s market at the RB position and not overspend for a high-end luxury asset.

Fantasy Fixers
Peter Overzet
Peter Overzet
Peter Overzet is the creative lead for Fantasy Life and voice of the newsletter, as well as a podcast host and comedian. He streams a variety of fantasy football shows on his YouTube channel covering best ball, DFS, and high stakes season-long. He is also known on Twitter as a thought leader, influencer, deposit king, and aspiring engagement farmer.