Courtesy of Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

In 2020, the Buffalo Bills had an incredible season. The team finished 13-3, winning the AFC East. The Bills finished as the number two seed in the AFC and made it all the way to the AFC Championship Game. There, the Bills fell short to the Chiefs, but it was still a great season.

Bills quarterback Josh Allen finished No. 1 overall in fantasy, while top receiver Stefon Diggs finished No. 3. But when it came to running the ball, that was a different story. The Bills finished No. 20 overall in rushing yards and No. 15 in rushing touchdowns, but that was largely thanks to Allen. The Bills’ quarterback finished with 421 yards rushing and eight touchdowns, half the rushing touchdowns for the entire Bills team.

Improving the run game seemed to be a big need for the Bills in 2021. The team added Matt Breida to the mix in the off-season. But the question is whether the team can improve in 2020 and whether Breida or returning backs Devin Singletary and Zack Moss can return value for fantasy players.

The 2020 Backfield

Last season, Singletary and Moss largely split the rushing work. Singletary was entering his second season, having been drafted in the third round of the 2019 draft. Splitting time with veteran Frank Gore as a rookie, Singletary rushed for 775 yards and two TDs on 151 carries in just 12 games. He added 29 receptions for 194 yards and two more TDs, finishing as RB32. He figured to take a step up in 2020, but it didn’t happen.

Last season Singletary played in all 16 games but carried just 156 times, rushing for 687 yards and two TDs, adding 38 receptions for 269 yards. He finished as RB31. He split time with Moss, who was taken in the third round of the 2020 draft out of Utah. Heading into 2020, some wondered if Moss would be the dominant ball carrier, but it didn’t play out that way.

Moss appeared in 13 games as a rookie, seeing 113 carries. He turned that into 481 rushing yards and four TDs, catching 14 passes for 95 yards and another TD. That helped him to finish as RB46 for the season. The question is whether either of them can take a step forward in 2021 or whether that will be another option.

Courtesy of AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes

Matt Breida

The third wheel in the backfield now is Breida. In 2020, he was with the Miami Dolphins. He was traded during the draft, and some thought he’d be a big factor, but it didn’t happen. Instead, Breida played in 12 games but saw just 59 carries, rushing for 254 yards. He added nine receptions for 96 yards, and Miami moved on this off-season.

Breida has made an impact in the past. He began his career as part of the running back platoon for Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco. In three seasons there, he rushed for 1,902 yards and six TDs on 307 carries. He also added 67 receptions for 561 yards and four TDs. His best year was 2018, when he got 153 carries for 814 yards and three TDs, adding 27 receptions for 261 yards and two TDs. He finished as RB26.

That potential for Breida is what made him appealing when he was traded to the Dolphins in 2020, and what gives him potential to make an impact in 2021 if he gets a shot with the Bills.

Josh Allen

The other backfield factor is Allen, who has been the team’s best goal-line back for three seasons. Allen rushed for 631 yards as a rookie and 510 yards in 2019 in addition to 421 yards last season. But his biggest contribution has been in rushing touchdowns. He’s scored 25 rushing touchdowns in three seasons, at least eight every year. That makes him serious competition for any backs on the field, especially in fantasy scoring.

Courtesy of David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Value

So, which back is the best value? Singletary is currently sitting as RB40, while Moss is RB39 and Breida is RB82. That speaks to both the concern about Allen taking rushing work and the lack of knowing which RB will get the most work. Both Moss and Singletary were third-round picks, and neither has so far taken control of the backfield to this point.

After a strong rookie season, I was high on Singletary. He got a shot in 2020 and didn’t improve on that effort. Moss, meanwhile, missed time but did better in getting touchdowns. In dynasty and re-draft, I lean toward Moss returning more value in 2021. Despite that, unless something about Allen’s game or the offense fundamentally changes, the lead back in Buffalo will be an RB3. I suspect that’s where Moss finishes in 2021.

Singletary is a solid contributor but seems to have hit his ceiling. I think he’ll be in the RB4 range in 2021, which matches his ADP. The wild card is Breida, who could end up being the best of the lot. Instead, I think he ends up as a depth piece that only appears to spell Singletary and Moss, aligning with his current ADP. I wouldn’t be surprised if Breida ends up with less robust stats in 2021 than he had in 2020 with the Dolphins.

Either way, the back to roster in Buffalo remains Allen. Everyone else is just competing for the remaining touches, especially in an offense that has developed a robust passing game.

Matthew Fox is a die-hard NFL fan and Broncos’ homer. He’s a member of the FSWA. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a member of the Campus 2 Canton network.

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