Finding a young stud at running back isn’t easy in fantasy football. Last year, Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary flashed plenty of promise while splitting snaps with the immortal Frank Gore. With Gore now with the New York Jets, can Singletary take the next step and gain complete control of the backfield?
2020 Fantasy Football Profile: Devin Singletary
Selected in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, most fantasy analysts assumed that Singletary would start his career on the bench behind LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore. However, McCoy didn’t make the team, and Singletary began the year splitting snaps with Frank Gore. Overall, he played in 12 games (eight starts) while recording 151 carries for 775 yards and two touchdowns. Additionally, he added another 29 receptions for 194 yards and two touchdowns to end the season as the RB26 on a per-game basis.
Singletary’s workload dramatically increased as the season progressed. The rookie suffered an injury in Week 2 and didn’t return to the field until Week 7. However, once he returned to health, he became the clear leader in Buffalo’s backfield. From Week 9 onward, Singletary only had one game with fewer than 15 carries and was the RB18 heading into Week 17. This was still a two-headed backfield, as Gore still averaged nine carries from Weeks 9-15. However, Singletary was clearly the preferred option.
However, not all carries are created equal for fantasy. For whatever reason, the Bills simply didn’t trust Singletary in the red zone. The rookie recorded just three carries within the 10-yard line, and only two inside the five. Gore, meanwhile, had 18 and 11 such opportunities, respectively.
Receptions are more valuable than carries in fantasy, and Singletary was an absolute disaster in the passing game. While his volume stats are serviceable, his efficiency was atrocious. According to Football Outsiders, Singletary was the third-worst receiving back among players with 25 or more receptions.
If Devin Singletary is to make a leap in 2020, he’ll need to receive more goal line opportunities and improve his efficiency in the passing game. Unfortunately, it’s hard to imagine either thing happening. Frank Gore might be gone, but the Bills added another running back to the mix in third-round pick Zack Moss.
At 5’-9” and 223 pounds, Moss is built like a traditional goal line back. While he’s not the second coming of Derrick Henry by any stretch of the imagination, he’s a better fit than the 5’-7”, 203-pound Singletary. Singletary might see a slight uptick in goal line work thanks to Moss being a rookie, but he won’t see the workload that fantasy football owners want.
As previously mentioned, Singletary was ridiculously bad as a receiver last year. Unfortunately for Singletary, Moss projects as an above-average pass-catcher at the NFL level and will probably steal the third-down job. Even if Singletary makes a drastic improvement in this facet of his game, it probably won’t matter that much. Josh Allen, for better or worse, is one of the most aggressive quarterbacks in the league and has the lowest checkdown rate of all starting quarterbacks. Put simply, there aren’t going to be many running back targets to go around.
Devin Singletary Average Draft Position
As of this posting, Fantasy Football Calculator has Devin Singletary going off the board with the 48th overall pick in PPR drafts. This puts him off the board midway through the fourth round and puts him in the same general range as guys like David Montgomery, Raheem Mostert, and Cam Akers.
Quite frankly, this is way too early for Singletary. Singletary will see a decent role in Buffalo’s offense, but he’s not going to receive the valuable touches. Zack Moss is the better goal line back and receiver, and that’s what wins fantasy leagues. Singletary is going to see work on early downs between the 20’s, and that does carry some fantasy value. However, drafting him in the fourth round means you’re expecting him to consistently be a RB2 or a high-level flex play. Chances are, Singletary is going to fall short of those expectations.
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