Looking Into the Numbers: Buffalo Bills Edition (LeSean McCoy’s Carries & More)

by Ray Kuhn

Fantasy football ultimately is all about the numbers, though the NFL itself is about significantly more than that. That said we have come a long way in the past few years when it comes to equating numbers and statistics to what we see on the field and helping to predict and explain both past and future performance. As we inch closer to the kickoff of another NFL season, we’ll take a trip through the league and look at two statistics for each team and what it means from a fantasy perspective.

Let’s kick things off with the Buffalo Bills:

16.9: Carries per game for LeSean McCoy
Last season the Bills had the league’s number one rushing attack, and I would expect them to be highly ranked once again this season. McCoy was the team’s leading rusher, gaining 895 yards and averaging 16.9 carries in the 12 games he played. While he did lead Buffalo in both yards and carries, both Karlos Williams and Mike Gillislee had more success.

Williams appeared in 11 games as a rookie, starting three, and carried the ball 93 times for 517 yards. Not only were his 7 TD more than McCoy (3), but he also averaged 5.6 yards per carry. Gillislee, who started one game, averaged 5.7 yards per carry on his 47 carries and also found the end zone three times.

With the caveat that it is a slow news time prior to training camps opening, we must note that Williams did gain about 20 to 25 during the off-season. While he is working to shed that weight, you have to wonder how much it will impact his role behind McCoy. Buffalo also drafted Jonathan Williams in the fifth round, so it will be a crowded backfield (which means McCoy may struggle to see as many touches per game).

Buffalo can afford to take their time with McCoy this summer, but they still view him as a vital part of their offense. He is more of an RB2 now, but with a current NFFC ADP of 45.93, he could be a solid value as long as he plays more than 12 games.

75: The Number of Wide Receivers Currently Ahead of Robert Woods in NFFC ADP
It is clear that the focus of the Bills’ offense is either on the ground game or rests with Sammy Watkins. The latter is not entering the season at 100% and Charles Clay isn’t much of an explosive threat. So that is where Woods comes into play.

If Watkins has a slow start to the season, the focus will be shifted. Once Watkins returns, Woods will benefit from his counterpart being the focus of opposing defenses.

Last season, Woods caught 47 passes for 562 yards in 14 games, and it recently came out that he had a torn groin for a large portion of the season. Surgery in the off-season seems to have worked and he is poised for a big 2016, at least if you are to believe the off-season rumblings. Regardless, at this price he is certainly worth a look on draft day.

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