AFC East

Josh Allen: Fantasy Starter or Fantasy Benchwarmer? – K. Atchley

by Kevin Atchley

Ah, Josh Allen. The tall, lengthy, canon-armed quarterback out of Wyoming actually produced decently for the Buffalo Bills in 2018. With other fellow rookie quarterbacks drafted so highly getting much of the publicity (Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, etc.), the NFL world didn’t pay much attention to Josh Allen. Even being drafted seventh overall in the 2018 draft by the Bills, Allen’s season lacked the big market publicity that quarterbacks like Sam Darnold in New York enjoyed. But what Allen lacked in notoriety, he certainly made up for in stats.

Allen’s 2018 season was not a complete dumpster fire like Josh Rosen’s was (you can check out coverage of Rosen in our 2019 SkullKing NFL Draft Guide!). Even with missing four games in the regular season, Allen still set several Bills franchise records. These included most rushing yards in a single game (135), most total touchdowns by a rookie (18), and even led the team in both passing and rushing yards (2,074 and 631 respectively). Allen even added 8 TD’s with his legs. So yes, Allen certainly proved his worth for a rookie in 2018. After all, these are the mediocre Bills we are talking about! Any production for them is good production.

The question that I will answer in this article is whether Josh Allen can become more than just a streaming option in fantasy football. The short answer: No. There are just too many great quarterbacks at the NFL level that you would want anchoring your fantasy football team. For example, let’s say you’re playing in a 10-team league. Most leagues have just one starter at the quarterback position. So basically, you would have to make the argument (and a poor one at that) that Allen would replace the likes of top-tier quarterbacks like Mahomes, Rodgers, Brees, Wilson, Ryan, Roethlisberger, Luck, Watson, Newton, and Rivers (ok, some bias there with the Rivers insertion). So essentially, unless any of those options gets injured or is drafted to the same fantasy team, you’d be crazy to start Allen over any of these players.

Allen is the very definition of a streaming option in fantasy football. Andrew Luck goes down and the Bills are facing a team with the 31st ranked defense? Great! Insert Allen in his place and enjoy the fantasy stats…. Mahomes gets injured and the Bills are facing a team with the 32nd ranked run defense? Enter Josh Allen! Allen’s knack to take off and run with the football makes him a great plug and play type player. Basically, Allen fits the bill of a streaming option in fantasy football perfectly at this point in his short career. There are just too many good to even great options ahead of him that you would want leading your fantasy football team. The only way in which Allen gets to play in fantasy is in case of injuries to your star quarterback, if your team’s quarterback is on a bye, or if that matchup is simply too juicy to pass up.

Essentially, Josh Allen fits the tee perfectly of someone who is on your fantasy football team for depth at the quarterback position. And in most leagues, you’ll often find Allen sitting on the waiver wire waiting to be claimed. Don’t get it confused, however. Allen is a fine streaming option in fantasy football. But the number of elite quarterback options ahead of him doesn’t warrant him starting for your fantasy football team unless it’s out of absolute necessity. Now, in 5-6 years, when some of the elite quarterbacks are retired, you could make a case for Josh Allen to be more than just a streaming option in fantasy football.
But until then, it’s just not a good idea. Stick to common sense.

Unless you don’t have an elite starting quarterback option available; there’s no need to play him.

Keep Allen on the bench where he belongs.

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