It’s no secret that I have been one of Josh Allen’s biggest supporters since the Bills drafted him. As far back as the 2019 preseason, I had written an article highlighting Josh Allen in fantasy football. That season, he finished as the QB9 in 6-point TD scoring, which is the unit of measurement for this article.
In 2020, Josh Allen was the QB2. Last year he finished as the QB1. Before this offseason, you could always get Josh Allen at a discount. However, this year ADP has caught up with him.
According to the Sleeper App, Josh Allen’s current ADP is 20.3, as the QB1. That means he’s going around the 2/3 turn. He’s going in the same area as Deebo Samuel, Javonte Williams, Saquon Barkley, and AJ Brown. This article attempts to shed some light on the odds of Josh Allen finishing as the QB1 for the second-consecutive year and if he’s worth the pick at ADP. I know the fantasy community tends to look down on taking a QB early, so this should be interesting. Let’s get into it.
Note: Our Wednesday, July 20th, No Punt Intended episode will dive into Josh Allen in fantasy football! We welcome the one and only Stephania Bell from a little company called ESPN! The show will cover the Bills, Titans, and Buccaneers.
Josh Allen in Fantasy Football
Josh Allen’s ADP has finally caught up with his production. In 2019, you could get land him for free, and he finished as the QB9. In 2020, his ADP still wasn’t in the Top 10 for QBs. However, he concluded that season with over 4500 yards passing, 46 total touchdowns, and over 400 yards rushing. That was good for 469 fantasy points, only nine points behind Aaron Rodgers and his 48 passing touchdowns.
Strangely, his ADP still didn’t catch up to his performance. He wasn’t the consensus QB2. Many in the fantasy community thought it was a fluke, considering his 69% completion percentage. It wasn’t.
Josh Allen (“The Stallion”) followed that up with another ridiculous fantasy season last year. Allen had 42 total touchdowns, over 750 yards rushing, and over 4400 yards passing. That landed him as the QB1 overall with 474.58 fantasy points, 27.9 points per game. He has now gotten better for fantasy every year of his career. He’s also established a realistic floor from the last two years of 4400-4500 yards passing, 42-45 total touchdowns, and around 500 rushing yards. That means he’s probably in competition for the QB1 – as his floor.
2022 Can Be Better
I believe he can beat those numbers. Stefon Diggs just signed a lucrative extension. Gabriel Davis broke out in a big way in the playoffs. Dawson Knox is emerging as a reliable safety blanket and now has a running mate in O.J. Howard. The Bills took it a step further by drafting pass-catching specialist James Cook at running back. Allen’s completion percentage dipped from 2020 but I expect it to rise again given the plethora of weapons. If his completion percentage increases to around 66%, and he stays at his rushing average of 600 yards and eight touchdowns, he can have a chance at transcendent upside. He’s QB1 in my projections with 4700 yards passing, 44 total touchdowns, and 690 rushing yards. That’s 496 total fantasy points in a 17-game season—30 ppg.
To put that into perspective, in 2019, Lamar Jackson set the fantasy world on fire and scored 487 fantasy points. Allen could hit 500. Of course, Jackson’s total was in a 16-game season, not a 17-game season. Lamar Jackson’s 2019 season was one of the best seasons ever, though, and Josh Allen could realistically hit that level. If he does, he’s worth a pick at the 2/3 turn.
We all hear the analysis regarding an early-round QB, “If you take a QB that early, then he must have a great season to pay dividends.” Usually, I don’t even consider a QB until at least the sixth or the seventh. But the possibility of Josh Allen having a historic season is intriguing. If you pass on Josh Allen at the 2/3 turn, you could theoretically draft last year’s QB2, Tom Brady, in the seventh round; or a Russell Wilson, who has a fascinating situation in Denver. But if you pass on the likes of Deebo Samuel, AJ Brown, Saquon Barkley, and Javonte Williams and take Josh Allen, the reward may outweigh the risk.
Yes, that’s counterintuitive to how the fantasy football community typically looks at the risk/reward level of taking an early QB in a 1QB league. So let’s play with some hypotheticals to show why it might be a good thing this year.
The ADP Game
We mentioned AJ Brown. He’s being taken at the 2/3 turn. I’m projecting him at about 13.6 fantasy points per game. FantasyData is projecting him at about 13.7. Rashod Bateman is being taken around Tom Brady right now. I’m projecting Bateman at 12.1 points per game (FantasyData has him at 12). That’s only a difference of 1.5 points per game if you pass on AJ Brown and replace him with Rashod Bateman’s value. The difference between Deebo Samuel and Juju (similar ADPs) is a little higher, but that’s still less than four projected points per game (using FantasyData’s projections). The difference between Josh Allen and Tom Brady could be far more than four points if he has the season that I think he can.
If that’s not enough to persuade you that Josh Allen may be worth his ADP, let’s look at the running back position. Javonte Williams has a similar ADP to Allen. I’m projecting Javonte at 12.6 PPG, and FantasyData has him at 13.7. Cordarrelle Patterson is being taken around Brady and Bateman, and I’m projecting Patterson at about 11.2 ppg (FantasyData 10.9). That’s only a difference of around 2 points per game. Still nothing close to the projected difference between Josh Allen and Tom Brady. This also assumes you land Brady, who was the QB2 last season.
And let’s not pretend that the 2/3 turn is your only chance to take RBs and WRs. Teams could have 2-3 players at each position before the seventh round. Picking Drafting Josh Allen could also mean more bench room to constantly cycle through dart throws at other positions until you hit a bullseye. You wouldn’t need to play the matchups at QB all season too. That’s another pro to consider Josh Allen.
Allen’s ADP means that if you take him, he must deliver as QB1, but someone must take Josh Allen in every draft. Yes, he will go too high in home leagues, and reaching on him is not smart, but what if you’re sitting there at the 2.12 and Josh Allen is available? I mean, Cooper Kupp, Aaron Jones, and Josh Allen seem like a fantastic start to your 2022 draft.
Josh Allen is an excellent bet to finish as the QB1 this year. If it’s him or the field, I will take Allen. Possibly having a Lamar Jackson 2019-esque season means he can deliver on his high ADP. It would be the kind of historic season that will win you leagues. However, if he doesn’t deliver on the above and beyond, his floor means he will still be battling for the QB1 spot. It’s not much of a risk compared to taking a WR/RB in that spot and then taking a QB around round 7/8. So, hopefully, this article was able to shed some light on Allen as the QB1 and what your risks/rewards are if you’re the one to draft him. I’m personally all in on the Stallion this year–500 fantasy points: here he comes!
A Look Inside the Buffalo Bills
Editor’s Note: We asked our writers to focus on one player, but we don’t want to leave you hanging on the rest of the team. While Chris focused on Josh Allen in fantasy football, here is a quick look at the rest of the Bills, prepared by either Josh Hudson or Ryan Weisse.
Devin Singletary: With the addition of James Cook, Singletary’s role is back up in the air. It looked like Singletary turned a corner to end 2021, and he was playing as a fantasy RB2, which is hard to do in an offense led by the best goal-line back in football: Josh Allen. Thankfully, Singletary’s ADP is still manageable, and you can land him as your RB3. Low risk, decent reward. – Ryan Weisse
James Cook: Rookie running backs are always hard to peg. They could set the world on fire. They could miss a crucial blocking assignment and find the bench for weeks on end. Cook should take over passing down duty, and that could be a valuable role in one of the league’s best offenses. He is unlikely to take Singletary’s job immediately, but he has already passed Zack Moss. – Ryan Weisse
Stefon Diggs: Do you like consistent top-5 WR numbers? Draft Diggs and enjoy. He is one of the safest WRs in fantasy football. – Ryan Weisse
Gabriel Davis: Davis is arguably the most controversial player in the fantasy football circles right now. A 4-TD playoff performance has shot him to stardom in many people’s eyes. A closer look shows us a player who hits peaks and valleys more than your favorite roller coaster. With no real reliable second option behind Diggs, Davis will get first crack at being the Bills’ number two target. The juice isn’t worth the squeeze. – Josh Hudson
Jamison Crowder: If Crowder takes over the Cole Beasley role and approaches 100 targets, he will be a steal in fantasy drafts. There may not be a better Round 13 dart throw. – Ryan Weisse
Dawson Knox: Touchdowns or bust. That is an accurate description of most fantasy TEs. The difference is that you don’t need to draft most fantasy TEs. Knox is a better streaming option than a starter, but someone will overdraft him. Don’t let it be you. – Ryan Weisse
We hope you enjoyed our look at Josh Allen for fantasy football this season. You can find all of our A Look Inside articles here!
If you’re prepping for your dynasty drafts, you can also find our rookie consensus rankings here.