At the end of the season, fantasy football players could see the chemistry between Tyrod Taylor and Sammy Watkins. The Buffalo Bills duo were on the same page and Watkins was averaging 100 yards per game over the final nine games of the season. Heading into 2016, many fantasy football players are expecting a breakout season from Watkins and even Taylor is viewed as a fantasy sleeper.
Both players could end up being productive fantasy players, but Pro Football Focus' fantasy division had an interesting question when it came to the Bills. PFF wrote:
What happens to the Bills’ passing game if their defense rebounds?
Buffalo’s defense graded seventh-best in 2014. They allowed the fourth-fewest points and boasted the fifth-graded run defense. Last year, their run defense grade sank to 19th, they tallied the second-fewest sacks (21) and the unit graded 25th overall. Not many expect a rebound, with journeyman coordinator Rob Ryan joining brother Rex’s staff for what will be a determining season for both their careers.
The "not many expect a rebound" comment is questionable as the majority of the defense will be entering their second season in Ryan's defense and should have a better grasp of what's expected. That comment aside, pondering what will happen to the passing game if the defense improves is a valid question.
Despite Taylor's productive season in 2015, the Bills are expected to be a run-first offense again this year. If the defense improves and keeps the opposition's score low, Buffalo may feel inclined to control the clock and run the ball more in 2016.
It's a legitimate concern, but it shouldn't cause you to stray away from drafting Watkins in fantasy leagues. Over the final nine games of the season, Tyrod Taylor threw for 1,938 yards. This averages out to 215 yards per game, so almost half of Taylor's passing yards went to Watkins over the final nine games of the season.
Taylor and Watkins aside, the numbers from 2015 seem to show that Buffalo's passing game should, at worst, remain the same.
Buffalo finished second in rushing attempts and 31st in passing attempts last season, so it's hard to imagine an improved defense would affect Buffalo's rush-to-pass attempts much in 2016. Buffalo will likely remain in the bottom third of the league in pass attempts, regardless of the defense's performance this year, and Taylor will simply have to make the most of his opportunities in 2016.
In the opinion of Buffalo Football Report, Buffalo's passing game won't suffer if the defense improves.null