Buffalo Bills: Defense / Special Teams 2017 fantasy football outlook

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 24: Scott Chandler
DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 24: Scott Chandler /

Defense/ Special Teams are usually overlooked on a fantasy roster. You are lucky if the team gets a few sacks and an interception and calls it a day, but if they have a huge game, then you will be sure to win the week.

Pro Football Focus ranked the Buffalo Bills D/ST unit 16th in the NFL in fantasy scoring.

Last year’s team interception leader was Stephon Gilmore. The New England Patriots have recently poached Gilmore from the Buffalo Bills. Gilmore ended the year with five interceptions. Here are the other players that recorded an interception for the Bills last season:

  • Stephon Gilmore – 5
  • Nickell Robey-Coleman – 2
  • Corey White – 2
  • Lorenzo Alexander – 1
  • Zach Brown – 1
  • Corey Graham – 1

This totals 12 interceptions, which two were returned for a touchdown. This was good enough to tie for 18th in the league in interceptions.

Ronald Darby will be CB 1 entering the year with Tre’Davious White hot on his heels. The Stephon Gilmore loss will hurt the defense, but the young rookies should piece together a solid year.

An area where the team excelled was sacks.

The Buffalo Bills ranked eighth in the NFL for defensive sacks with 39.0 total. This total is just nine behind the Arizona Cardinal’s 48.0. The pass rush should be improved this year, as should most everything else. Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, Shaq Lawson, Jerry Hughes, and Lorenzo Alexander will be the top Buffalo Bill pass rushers this season. This squad of players will put fear in the minds of opposing quarterbacks. Their sack numbers will go up, even with the loss of the defensive minded coach, Rex Ryan.

Defense is a game of match-ups. The Buffalo Bills play a favorable match-up (16th-32nd ranked defense) eight times. They play a non-favorable match-up eight times. Of course, this includes the two games against the Patriots which is never favorable. The schedule also includes high-octane offenses such as Atlanta, Oakland, and Kansas City.

Here are ESPN’s comments regarding the Buffalo defense:

"“The Bills drastically improved their sack total from 21 in 2015 (second fewest) to 39 in 2016 (eighth most), but remained a below-average fantasy unit as the result of mediocrity in most other fantasy-relevant categories. That included allowing 378 points (16th most) and intercepting 12 passes (18th). Zach Brown, Corey Graham, Aaron Williams and Stephon Gilmore are out, while Micah Hyde and Tre’Davious White are in, which leaves this unit with many voids. Buffalo really needs second-year players Reggie Ragland and Shaq Lawson to make a big impact after injuries derailed their rookie seasons”"

ESPN hit the nail on the head with their outlook. Young players will have to have a positive effect on the team if they want to make a splash this year.

Special teams can be where a large majority of these points come from. The kick returner for the team currently is Brandon Tate.

No team recorded more than one kickoff return touchdown in 2016, and only one team acquired more than one punt return touchdown (Tennessee).

Drafting because of the returner instead of the defense is a crap shoot. You never know how the kick returner will pan out, and unless it is Devin Hester in his prime, then you may want to pass.

The Buffalo Bills defense gave up 378 points last year (18th out of 32). The defense is not one of the top ten defenses and most likely won’t be this season. Unless there is a great match-up against the New York Jets, then I would stay away from drafting the Bills D/ST.

Next: Top 5 reasons to make fun of the Miami Dolphins

Do you agree with my Buffalo Bills D/ST outlook? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!