You usually can’t win your league with your first-round draft pick. You can, however, lose your league if your first-round draft pick busts. Stefon Diggs is entering his fourth year as a wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills. Despite the weirdness at the start of mandatory minicamp and Diggs entering his age-30 season, Diggs is by far one of the safest picks in fantasy football.
Diggs is going as the WR5 on Sleeper this year and around the ninth or tenth pick in the first round. Assuming he plays at least 15 games, you should be drafting him around his floor this offseason as WR5. Diggs has some wiggle room for his ceiling too. The purpose of this article is to convince everyone of that, so let’s get into it.
Stefon Diggs 2023 Fantasy Football Outlook
Diggs’ Fantasy History in Buffalo
Stefon Diggs has been a fantasy goldmine in Buffalo. Diggs has finished as the WR3, WR4, and WR7 in his first three years with Josh Allen. Diggs had 166 targets in 2020, 164 targets in 2021, and 154 targets last year. He is no slouch in the touchdown department, either. Diggs has scored 29 touchdowns in three years, including a career-high 11 last year.
These stats correlate to a 17-game pace, on average, of 168 targets, 117 receptions, 1453 yards, and ten touchdowns. This would equal about 322 fantasy points. Diggs had 321 fantasy points last year. In 2021, this number would have been the WR5. That number would have been the WR3 in 2020. These numbers correlate with the numbers he puts up, and his fantasy finishes every year. Those numbers should stay where they are too, or honestly, even better, as Diggs and Allen have room to grow in a few areas.
Diggs and Allen in the Redzone
Josh Allen attempted 99 passes in the redzone, and only 23 of those went to Diggs. Diggs only caught 11 of those passes too. That’s fewer than a 50% catch percentage, which is astounding, considering Diggs usually catches nearly 70% of his targets overall. Everyone who had more redzone targets and redzone receptions than Diggs had a catch % between 60 – 70%. There’s some work to be done.
That’s true about ten-zone touchdowns too. Diggs only had four. That’s only 36% of his total touchdowns last year. Everyone else with as many touchdowns, or more, had about 60% of their total touchdowns come inside the ten-yard line. Does that mean Diggs has some room to grow, despite 11 touchdowns last year? Possibly. Touchdowns fluctuate, but the number behind these touchdowns and redzone statistics can indicate Diggs should be in for a 10-12 touchdown floor next season. His 17-game pace average also indicates this as a Bill that was mentioned above as well. Say it with me: Positive Regression!
Diggs is a Model of Consistency
Diggs has three consecutive top-7 WR finishes but is also an incredibly safe pick when it comes to weekly scoring. Not everyone plays in full PPR, so this subsection is in half-PPR. Rest assured, the weekly finishes are about the same in both settings, though. Anyways, Diggs had eight top-10 finishes in half-point PPR. He also had 11 of 16 games within the top-24.
Meanwhile, Davante Adams had eight finishes outside the top-24, and CeeDee Lamb and Ja’Marr Chase were also both not as consistent as Diggs on a weekly basis staying in the top-24. Diggs also had the second-most % of his starts as a WR-1. Only Cooper Kupp was better. So, Diggs was great at finishing in the top-12 and the top-24. Barring injury, what can go wrong? Also, should you still draft him over the other options in the back half of the first round? Yes. Let’s briefly get into why that is.
Other Potential WRs and RBs on the Board
CeeDee Lamb, AJ Brown, and Davante Adams are the WRs 6-8 off the board on Sleeper. They are available at the end of the first round, the same as Diggs. Who should you take?
CeeDee Lamb? Lamb was already more than a point per game shy of Diggs last year. Fast forward to 2022, and the Cowboys hired a run-heavy offensive coordinator and have their head coach saying that they want to run the ball and take the ball out of Dak’s hands. Add in Brandin Cooks, and we may have seen CeeDee’s ceiling this season.
AJ Brown? AJ Brown had career highs last year and finished as the WR6. Goedert only played 12 games, the Eagles signed Olamide Zaccheaus, and there is no indication they still won’t be a run-heavy team. The Eagles lost Miles Sanders but signed Rashaad Penny and traded for D’Andre Swift. AJ Brown might be at his ceiling, too, especially with DeVonta Smith continuing to blossom into a superstar.
Finally, Davante Adams had 10 of his 14 touchdowns last year outside of the redzone. Exit Derek Carr. Enter Jimmy Garoppolo. A lot of unknowns in Las Vegas this year. Why take any of those wide receivers over locked-in Stefon Diggs? I would not.
Jonathan Taylor and Bijan Robinson are the two RBs that are likely on the table and part of the decision process at the end of the first round. Taylor went through a tough third season and now has a rookie QB who will likely look to run instead of dumping it down. He will take rush attempts and rush touchdowns from Taylor. So, spending a first-round pick on Taylor over Diggs is tough.
Bijan Robinson is interesting. The Falcons will likely be run-heavy, and Robinson has all the talent in the world. He is still a rookie, though. Tyler Allegier is a very dynamic running back who had a lot of success last year. He is a great backup. Cordarrelle Patterson is also a good weapon out of the backfield and catching passes. Drake London and Kyle Pitts are healthy too. This could all limit Robinson’s upside. Still not convinced?
2023 Bills WR Room Sneak Preview
The Bills threw the ball to the WRs more than any team other than the Miami Dolphins and the Philadelphia Eagles. The WRs in Buffalo had a 66% target share. If this share continues, just think about how the Bills did not add DeAndre Hopkins and did not draft a WR. It is Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis. The Bills even lost Isaiah McKenzie.
If the trend continues, then Diggs should gather at least another 150-160 targets next year. Last year Diggs had 33.3% of the WR yardage, 31% of the team’s TDs, and overall, a 27.9% market share. He scored 45.7% of the fantasy points allotted to Bills WRs, which was even lower than Adams, Kupp, Lamb, and even Amari Cooper. There’s room for improvement! Or it should give you the confidence that he should be about the same as last year. Stefon Diggs is one of the safest picks you can make in the first round, especially in the second half of that first round.
Diggs has been doing this for years. This is despite, as mentioned, the redzone struggles last year from Buffalo. He’s arguably safer than Ja’Marr Chase, who, yes, has the WR1 ceiling this year but wasn’t as consistent as Diggs last year and finished below Diggs when it was all said and done. Don’t chase WR1 upside in the back half of the first round this year. Don’t chase running backs in the year of the WR. You can get them later. Instead, take a locked-in top 5 WR and swing for the fences later. Your team will be better off for it.
Remember, you usually can’t win your league with your first-round draft pick. You can, however, lose your league if your first-round draft pick busts. A top-5 WR floor is pretty nice.
A Look Inside the Buffalo Bills
Editor’s Note: We don’t want to leave you hanging on the rest of the team. While Chris focused on Stefon Diggs in fantasy football, here is a quick look at the other fantasy-relevant Bills by Josh Hudson.
He’s a Tier 1 QB, on par with Patrick Mahomes. (And you can make a case he’s better in fantasy because of his rushing.) With how the elite QBs have started to pull away from the pack, I’m fine with considering Allen as early as the 3rd round. He’s worth it.
The recent news of Nyheim Hines’ knee injury will have people thinking Cook’s PPR value will skyrocket. It doesn’t change, though. Cook was always going to be the primary pass-catching back. The question is how many carries and touchdowns he will have. RB2 is well within his floor, and with Josh Allen’s pass volume, even with an 18% target share to RBs, Cook should approach 60 targets, and that’s a gimme top 20 RB.
I want to believe that Harris can be a 1st and 2nd down thumper with high TD volume. But as long as Josh Allen is the Bills’ QB, TDs for RBs will need to be of the breakaway variety. And Harris has only 24 total runs of 15 or more yards in the last three years. So, um, yeah.
The nomad keeps nomad-ing. Murray lands on his 38th team to be a thorn in someone’s side. Will it cut into Cook’s share? Harris’ share? Time will tell, but he’s nothing more than a waiver add.
At this point, we know what he is: an inconsistent WR2 with massive pop weeks and duds across his profile. Much better best ball target than redraft. But, hey, maybe this is the year he shows some consistency? (He is in a contract year.)
I’m a big fan of Shakir. He’s smooth in his routes and can make plays with the ball in his hands. But when the Bills drafted TE Dalton Kincaid to presumably be their “big slot,” it signaled that Shakir had an uphill battle. If Davis were to miss any significant time with injury or Kincaid can’t pick up the offense fast enough, Shakir could be a viable late-round dart throw. A lot of “ifs,” though.
There are high expectations put on the rookie. This is a pass-happy offense, and Kincaid was brought in to catch many of those passes. If he’s the next Evan Engram or Kyle Pitts, we’ll be happy. His TE13 draft price isn’t the worst to find out.
The forgotten man who recently got paid, Knox, is still the starting TE in this offense. His fantasy relevancy though has always hinged on touchdowns, and he’s scored 15 in the last two years. But without a single season of over 600 receiving yards and competition from a highly drafted rookie, it’s hard to expect Knox to be something he’s never been. Easy fade in redraft.
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