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Stop that Hype Train! - Stefon Diggs


Familiar wide receivers in new places are frequently risky to rely upon in fantasy. For every Randy Moss in New England permutation out there, there exists equally as many Randy Moss in Oakland permutations.

One of the more noteworthy team swaps amidst wide receivers this year is of course Stefon Diggs, who will begin a new chapter with the Buffalo Bills in 2020 after spending the first five years of his career with the Minnesota Vikings. Despite recently denying that he forced his way out of Minnesota, it was clear to anyone with a finger on the pulse of the league that Diggs wasn’t content with his past year or more in purple and gold. There were rumors early in the season last year that Diggs could be traded before the league’s trade deadline, but nothing ever transpired. Instead, this past March, prior to the NFL Draft, Diggs was sent to the Bills along with a seventh-round pick in exchange for three picks in this year’s draft – a first, fifth and sixth – as well as a 2021 fourth-round pick.

The Bills certainly paid up for their new No. 1 receiver, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Diggs’s fantasy value will be getting a boost as he heads to the next phase of his career.

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Grass Not Always Greener

While the tension was high with Diggs in Minnesota last year, it still amounted to a productive fantasy season for Diggs. He caught 63 passes for 1,130 yards, which was good for 17th in the league. He also added six touchdown receptions. Plus, Diggs was very clearly the Vikings’ focus as their big-play receiver. His share of his team’s air yards (TAY%) last year was 41.27%, which was higher than all but two receivers last year, Courtland Sutton and Michael Thomas.

Kirk Cousins, Diggs’s quarterback in Minnesota last year, is notorious for his conservative ways and risk-averse style, while Diggs’s new quarterback, Josh Allen, has developed a bit of a gunslinger notoriety in his short career. However, there’s a lot of data that suggests that neither signal-caller is properly labeled.

Allen averaged just 6.7 yards per attempt last season, a significant notch lower than Cousins’ 8.1 clip. That disparity becomes even more notable when you consider that Cousins had a much higher completion percentage (69.1%) than Allen (58.8%) last year as well as a far superior quarterback rating (107.4) than Allen (85.3). So not only was Cousins getting more volume out of each drop back, but he was much more efficient with them as well.

Altogether, the Vikings and Bills had very comparable passing offenses in 2019. The Vikings ranked 23rd in the league in passing yards, while the Bills ranked 26th.

Of course Cousins was gifted with better weapons last year than Allen. The combination of Diggs and Adam Thielen made up one of the league’s top receiving duos last year, but was the talent gap wide enough to justify such widely differing numbers between Cousins and Allen?

 

The John Brown Factor

While Diggs will escape the 1A/1B trap of sorts he had with Thielen in Minnesota, he isn’t stepping into a situation where he’ll be the only capable No. 1 receiver in town. Last year, John Brown certainly proved up to the task of being trusted as a No. 1 target.

Brown caught 72 of his 115 targets in 2019 for 1,060 yards and six touchdowns. Similar to Diggs, Brown was a standout in TAY%, finishing eighth in the league in the stat at 36.14%.

Diggs was certainly more effective on a per-target basis than Brown last year. He caught 67% of his targets as opposed to Brown’s 62.6% and Diggs averaged 17.9 yards per reception, compared to Brown’s 14.7.

Brown is the clear No. 2 now, no question about it. But there will certainly be some weeks where defenses converge on Diggs and Brown will become more of a focal point. The fact that he’s proven he can be successful with a heavy target share in the past is an indication that the team won’t need to force-feed Diggs in such games. They can rely on Brown when they need to.

 

Bills Overall Offensive Approach

Last year, the Bills only had two players earn over 50 targets: Brown and Cole Beasley. Next up on the team, with exactly 50 targets, was tight end Dawson Knox.

Beasley figures to be heavily involved yet again for the Bills as Allen’s slot receiver and safety net. Knox, who was a rookie last year, could see an uptick in usage if he continues to progress.

However, the most significant member of the Bills’ supporting receiving options in 2020 could be another 2019 rookie, running back Devin Singletary.

Singletary figures to be the team’s lead running back in 2020 and he certainly proved to be effective as a pass-catcher last season. He caught 29 of his 41 targets for 194 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 6.7 yards per reception.

Singletary played a shade under 50% of the team’s offensive snaps last year, while Frank Gore – now a member of the New York Jets – played nearly 35% of snaps. The team drafted running back Zack Moss in the third round of this year’s draft, but he was their only notable addition at the position this offseason. As a result, Singletary is likely to see a much more substantial snap share this year. If he remains healthy and effective, he could be seeing around 75% of the snaps, which would likely result in him earning close to 70 targets on the year.

While Diggs will take the biggest chunk of the receiving targets most weeks, don’t underestimate the usage of his supporting cast, especially Singletary. A big year in the receiving department from Singletary could reduce the upside potential of Diggs on a regular basis.

 

ADP Analysis

Diggs currently has an ADP around 60. He’s being drafted as the 27th receiver off the board, just behind T.Y. Hilton and Keenan Allen and right ahead of A.J. Green.

In that position, he’s a great value. He’s a fantastic WR3 and should be a dependable low-end WR2 as well. But don’t reach on him or draft him expecting a WR1 type of season. The consistency and opportunity just simply won’t be there for Diggs in Buffalo’s system.

If you’re looking for a swing-for-the-fences pick in the range where Diggs is being drafted, you might want to take a chance on the upside of someone like Marquise Brown, Michael Gallup, Tyler Boyd or CeeDee Lamb instead. While all those receivers might not have as safe of a floor as Diggs, they have a higher potential to deliver WR1-type seasons if everything clicks.



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RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 15th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 14th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 14th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 53: 2 Early Mocks APD Trends & More - Benched with Bubba (Episode 315)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They dig into trends, some interesting risers/fallers, and much more. They also go over some listener questions at the end to keep the Fantasy Baseball information coming even in the offseason. Be sure to subscribe... Read More