by Alex Kurpeski and Angel Maldonado Tejada
Alex’s Pick: TE Dawson Knox, ADP of undrafted in PPR Leagues (as of July 31, 2020)
Knox came on strong as a rookie last season, starting four games for the Bills and earning the trust of QB Josh Allen. With Tyler Kroft’s foot injury taking him out of commission, Knox stepped up to the plate, reeling in 28 of his 50 targets for 388 yards receiving and a pair of touchdowns. A converted quarterback who many draftniks saw as a project, Knox appeared poised in his starts for Buffalo, moving the chains as a checkdown underneath while also ripping off longer gains on occasion. While he lacked the consistency as a blocker that you would like to see, Knox had more receiving yards than fellow rookies T.J Hockenson and Irv Smith Jr, outperforming the relatively low expectations that the team had for him in year one.
Despite his ascension from project to starting-caliber tight end Knox has not seen the same hype train that his fellow draft classmates have experienced this offseason, with many fantasy managers deciding to fade the young tight end due to his team’s acquisition of Pro Bowl wideout Stefon Diggs. Though I understand the concern of investing in a player who should be vying for targets on a rather loaded offense, I for one believe that Knox’s role will increase with the addition of Diggs.
Most yards on receptions 20+ yards downfield among TEs
1. Travis Kelce – 272
2. Mark Andrews – 224
3. Darren Waller – 160
3. Dawson Knox – 160 pic.twitter.com/6u6n82UFQj
— PFF (@PFF) March 9, 2020
While I see the bulk of Allen’s targets being allocated to Diggs, John Brown, Cole Beasley, and the team’s running backs, I see no reason why Knox cannot also see an increase in his target share, as the integration of Diggs into the offense should allow for more one-on-one coverage for the rest of the team’s playmakers. With the attention that defenses should be paying to Diggs on the perimeter, Knox should see a lot less congestion over the middle, opening him up to do more as a yards-after-the-catch option. Likewise, the fact that Allen — who we know not for his accuracy and ball placement — will be looking at Knox (6’4, 250 lbs), Diggs (6’0, 210 lbs), Beasley (5’9, 200 lbs), and Brown (5’10, 190 lbs) as his primary red-zone targets lead me to believe that the young tight end will be able to provide a service as a bigger target that few of his fellow starters can rival. I usually wouldn’t chase touchdown upside at the tight end position, but this is an extreme case in my opinion. I see Knox finishing as a top-20 tight end if he can stay healthy, which makes him a bargain at his current ADP, especially in TE premium leagues.
Angel’s Pick: Stefon Diggs, ADP of 6.02 (As of August 2nd, 2020)
Let me start off by saying: I do not think Stefon Diggs is a WR1 for Fantasy in 2020. Wide receivers rarely reach their ceiling immediately when changing teams and the Bills do have plenty of exciting weapons on offense. That being said, Digg’s ADP of 6.02 makes him a bargain and a risk well worth betting on.
One of the biggest reasons why Diggs is going so late in drafts is public perception. The Bills have largely been a run-first, strong defensive team and that perception is hard to shake. After all, there are those who still believe that Russel Wilson is a game-manager and the Seahawks still rely on their defense. Nevertheless, there are plenty of reasons to believe Diggs will emerge and have the volume and efficiency needed to be a High-End WR2.
Let’s begin by addressing Diggs’ volume. How will he get the necessary targets in an offense that already houses John Brown, Cole Beasley, and loves to establish the run? Well, the Bills actually ran more offensive plays last season than the Vikings AND they attempted more passes. While the Vikings did score more points and touchdowns, the argument can easily be made that the addition of Diggs is meant to solve that very problem and thus he’ll be force-fed the ball. In addition, Cole Beasley and John Brown have never been Alpha WRs and it’s likely their target shares were inflated in 2019. Both Brown and Beasley had career-high dominator ratings (% of a team’s passing yards and touchdowns) and it’s likely they regress to their career norms now that the Bills have traded for Diggs. If Diggs receives a target share of 25% as the WR1 of the Bills, he’ll have a great chance to be productive.
I am going to talk myself into Stefon Diggs at WR26 ADP before redraft drafts, I just know it.
In 2019, on the offense with the 3rd fewest passing attempts, Diggs had:
– 30 fewer yds than DeAndre Hopkins on 55 fewer targets
– 15 fewer yds than Allen Robinson on 62 fewer targets pic.twitter.com/7ky3AbpXme
— Michelle Magdziuk (@BallBlastEm) August 2, 2020
When it comes to the change in quarterbacks, yes Josh Allen is one of the worst deep-ball quarterbacks in the league. Yet, the idea that Diggs has to be the deep threat in this offense is largely unfounded. Diggs had his most productive fantasy season in 2018 (WR11), a year in which his average distance per target was 9.3 yards. If the Bills use Diggs correctly, he could dominate the middle/intermediate part of the field while Brown remains a deep threat.
There’re red flags when it comes to Diggs, but it’s hard to find a player of his pedigree, talent, and potential in the 6th round of a draft. He is the best value because if he hits, you’ll find yourself with a WR2 at the cost of a flex.
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