Anticipation among the Buffalo Bills and their fans is running high as the 2022 season approaches. But the hopes for a deep run in the playoffs will hinge in large part on the performance of quarterback Josh Allen. Those who draft Allen to their fantasy football rosters will hope that his talent carries them a long way in their leagues. However, there are a handful of questions surrounding the young quarterback. Is he worthy of being the first quarterback off the board? Will the Bills have a proficient enough ground attack to take some of the opponents’ focus off of Allen? Will the coaching staff put the brakes on Allen’s rushing? This article will examine these issues and take a look at the fantasy football outlook for Allen heading into the 2022 season.
2022 Fantasy Football Outlook: Josh Allen
Last season, Allen passed for 4,407 yards and 36 touchdowns. Those are good numbers, but they are not as impressive as his numbers from 2020. Allen had some issues with limiting turnovers; his interceptions increased from 10 in 2020 to 15 in 2021. And he ranked last in yards after the catch. Even with these issues, his passing and rushing production were enough to make him the first quarterback since Dante Culpepper in 2003-04 to lead the position in fantasy scoring.
Allen also continued to produce with his legs, as he rushed for 763 yards, a career-high, and six rushing touchdowns. He has carried the ball at least 100 times in each of the last three seasons. It is this dual-threat ability that has made him the top quarterback in fantasy, despite the fact his numbers were a bit off last year compared to 2020. His ability to attack both with his arm and legs allowed both the Bills and Allen’s fantasy owners the opportunity to succeed. No quarterback had more top-three finishes or top-eight weekly finishes than Allen did in 2021.
Despite the productivity of the past couple of seasons, fantasy owners will have to decide if any of the off-season changes in Buffalo will have an impact on Allen and his value for the 2022 season.
Ken Dorsey is the new offensive coordinator after he replaced Brian Daboll who was hired to be the head coach of the New York Giants. This should be a smooth transition as Dorsey served as quarterbacks coach for the Bills previous to his promotion. However, there is some difference in going from a position coach to a coordinator, something that may have a small impact on Allen’s performance in 2022.
In addition, head coach Sean McDermott wants Allen to run less in 2022. He made the comments to NFL Network’s Judy Battista during an interview at the Annual League Meeting. “We’re always trying to evolve, and in this case with Josh’s running or the number of times that we run him, we have to continue to evolve that way and make sure we’re doing right by him by doing right by our team. So, we are going to keep a close eye on that.” While coaches usually say things like this about mobile quarterbacks, it is still difficult to keep quarterbacks from scrambling when necessary. However, it might mean fewer designed runs for Allen than in previous years.
Allen will have some new receivers this year, with Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders both gone while Jamison Crowder, Khalil Shakir, and O.J. Howard have been added to the roster. Allen and the Bills also have reliable options in Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis, and Dawson Knox. Another weapon Buffalo added in the draft comes in the form of second-round pick James Cook, a versatile pass-catching back who is the younger brother of Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook.
With all of the talk of the additions at the skill positions, it should be noted that the Bills need better offensive line play in order for Allen to reach his full potential. Last year, the Bills offensive line gave up 27 sacks on 655 pass attempts. They will need to improve in this area to keep Allen upright and healthy, as well as allow the rushing game to prosper. If all of this comes together, there is talk that Allen could amass 5,000 combined yards with 50 total touchdowns.
Average Draft Position
Fantasy Pros currently lists Allen as the number one quarterback taken in fantasy drafts, averaging out as the 22nd player taken. Even if Allen has a slight decline from his 2021 season, he should still produce enough to warrant a selection as the first quarterback to come off the board in fantasy drafts. It is more than likely, with the improvements that Allen and the Bills have made in the off-season, that Allen’s fantasy numbers should improve from 2021, further justifying his selection as the first quarterback taken in drafts.
The concept that Allen could produce better fantasy numbers than he did last year has led to him being ranked the number one quarterback by most of the major fantasy outlets, as well as being the first quarterback taken in most of the major mock drafts. Most rankings and mock drafts are suggesting that the mid-to-late second round seems to be the ideal spot to select the Bills quarterback.