Bills' LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, Devin Singletary, TJ Yeldon Fantasy Outlook

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistAugust 24, 2019

Buffalo Bills running back Frank Gore (20) runs the ball in the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

Based on their preseason returns, the Buffalo Bills are giving fantasy players a lot of running back options to choose from when drafting.

During Friday's 24-20 preseason win over the Detroit Lions, nine players had at least one carry. Veterans Frank Gore and LeSean McCoy received the bulk of the carries. T.J. Yeldon and Devin Singletary are among the group still in wait-and-see mode for fantasy purposes.

Let's start with the good: Gore remains an ageless wonder who seems like he will be a solid producer for the rest of time. The five-time Pro Bowler finished with 57 yards on eight carries in his first extended action this preseason.

In his age-35 season with the Miami Dolphins last year, Gore averaged 4.6 yards per carry. It was his highest total since 2012.

Right behind Gore was McCoy, who had 37 yards on six attempts. The 10-year veteran is looking to rebound in 2019 after averaging a career-low 3.2 yards per carry last year. One encouraging sign was his explosiveness out of the backfield on this 21-yard run in the second quarter:


Shady showing a little burst 👀@CutonDime25 📺: #BUFvsDET on CBS Watch on mobile: https://t.co/kjOfklY2UW https://t.co/uL8rsk5KVL

General manager Brandon Beane told reporters in April that McCoy was still the team's starter. Head coach Sean McDermott hasn't officially named a starter⁠—it's perfectly plausible to assume he would go with a rotating committee each week.

The fact that Gore finished with more carries in the third preseason game, which is generally considered a real tune-up for the regular season, could be an indication the coaching staff views him as the No. 1 option.

Yeldon may end up being the most valuable pass-catcher out of Buffalo's backfield. He had zero yards on three carries, but big gains on the ground have never been his strength in the NFL.

The 25-year-old had more than 100 carries three times in four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but his most efficient year on the ground was 2017, when he averaged 5.2 yards on just 49 carries.

As a receiver, though, Yeldon led the Bills with 51 yards on three catches. He ranked second on the Jacksonville Jaguars with 55 receptions and fourth with 487 receiving yards last year.


Matt Barkley buying time. TJ Yeldon making the catch 💪 @MattBarkley @T_Yeldon 📺: #BUFvsDET on CBS Watch on mobile: https://t.co/kjOfklY2UW https://t.co/SZIUsKNQl1

Because there are so many players competing for a spot in Buffalo's backfield, Yeldon hasn't been assured of a spot on the 53-man roster.

Per Ryan Talbot of NYUp.com, Yeldon was "firmly on the roster bubble" after Buffalo's preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. His receiving outburst Friday should help his case.

One potential reason Yeldon's roster spot could be in jeopardy is due to Singletary. The Bills aren't going to cut a rookie they drafted in the third round. His lone carry against Detroit resulted in a touchdown.


The rookie, Devin Singletary, punches it in from 9 yards out 💪@motorsingletary 📺: #BUFvsDET on CBS Watch on mobile: https://t.co/kjOfklY2UW https://t.co/0Gg4JQBOZP

Singletary will likely be positioned as Buffalo's future at running back, with Gore and McCoy around to ease his transition this season. That does enhance his value later in the season as he gains experience but could hold him back right out of the gate.

Per FantasyPros, McCoy is the first Bills running back coming off the board, with an average draft position of 42.9. Singletary is second at 51.0, followed by Gore at 67.5.

Until otherwise indicated, McCoy should be treated like the workhorse in Buffalo's backfield right away. He will have to improve on last year's showing because there are legitimate options to take carries from him this year, unlike in 2018, when Chris Ivory was the primary backup.

Singletary is the riser in the group because of his age (21) and potential in an offense that finished tied for sixth in the NFL with 468 carries last year.

No one in this group is worth a weekly starting spot. McCoy can be used in the flex role in certain weeks, but keep an eye on the defensive matchup before trusting him as an asset.