After the Bills didn’t sign a running back in free agency, it looked like there was a chance Devin Singletary would enter this season as the Bills every-down back. There were a few rumors that the Bills were interested in Melvin Gordon but they ultimately had their eyes set on the draft. In the third round, Buffalo landed their early-down replacement for Frank Gore in Utah’s Zack Moss .
Moss was never going to be a featured, every-down back like Ezekiel Elliott but he is a perfect stylistic complement to Singletary.
At 5-9, 223lbs, Moss lives off of elite contact balance and after contact ability. While Moss is not an overly creative runner -- he created 4.20 yards per rush, ranking 9th-best in the class -- he has plenty of power to fight off would-be tacklers and is a strong receiver and pass protector. In fact, Moss forced the 2nd-most missed tackles per carry in the class behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire (0.42), he ranked 1st in receiving yards per route run (2.3), and he was 2nd in pass protection execution rate (88%).
Unfortunately for fantasy, it looks like there will be an opportunity crunch in this backfield.
Right after the draft, Bills GM Brandon Beane said he not only views Moss as a complement to Singletary but he made it clear that Moss is not just an early-down back. Beane said, “Devin’s got that shiftiness. Zack’s going to be more of that bang-it-in-there, lower that shoulder type of guy. A little bit like Frank Gore did for us at an older age. I see that role.” Beane also added, “Zack can catch the ball. So it won’t be that he can’t sit in there in pass pro. [Moss is] gonna be more than a first and second-down guy.”
Buffalo does lean on the ground game a little bit as the base of their offense -- they called run at the league’s 12th-highest rate when the game was within a score last year -- but two backs sharing the rushing and receiving work is less than ideal in fantasy. And, we haven’t even discussed Josh Allen’s rushing ability yet.
Over the last two seasons, Allen leads the Bills in carries inside of the 10-yard line (23), converting 13 into TDs (tied for 9th-most in the NFL in this span). Allen is a huge threat in between the 20s, too, as only Lamar Jackson (81.6) has averaged more rushing yards per start than Allen (40.8) among quarterbacks in this span.
A hamstring injury caused him to miss three games early in the year, but Singletary finished his rookie season strong. Over his final 11 contests (including post-season), Singletary averaged 86.2 scrimmage yards per game and played on at least two-thirds of Bills’ plays in all but one game in this stretch. Still, even though he was dominating snaps over Gore, Singletary still only managed to score 3 times in his final 11 games. Now, with Moss added, Singletary’s touchdown upside and workload take a big hit.
At press-time, Singletary is one of the easiest early fades in best-ball drafts. His post-NFL draft ADP still sits in the late-3rd/early-4th round as the RB19 off of the board over backs like Chris Carson (RB20), Cam Akers (RB27), and David Montgomery (RB29). Montgomery in particular has a better workload and touchdown projection than Singletary, but he’s routinely taken at least a full round later.
Early drafters simply aren’t accounting for Zack Moss correctly. Frank Gore averaged 9 touches per game even when Singletary returned from injury last year and I think Moss will see at least that much work every week as a rookie. It feels like some drafters are just anchoring to Singletary as the lead back when Buffalo is clearly signaling they see a committee in 2020. Keep in mind, the Bills used extremely similar draft capital on Singletary just one year ago. Singletary went 74th overall in the 2019 draft while Moss just came off the board at 86th overall.
I view Buffalo’s backfield as an interchangeable 1A/1B situation and won’t go out of my way to target either back in fantasy. Moss is the better value, but Allen’s legs will ultimately harpoon both running backs touchdown upside.