While most of the focus with the Buffalo Bills’ potent offense has been on quarterback Josh Allen and the passing game, the front office has invested a trio of Day 2 picks in the backfield over the last four years. Running back Devin Singletary was the first, being selected 74th overall in 2019, followed by Zack Moss (86th in 2020), and most recently James Cook, who was drafted with the 63rd pick back in April.
That type of asset outlay demonstrates that the Bills are committed to featuring a dangerous ground attack to complement Allen’s dual skill set. To date, neither Singletary nor Moss have put together big years since entering the league, though the former is coming off his best season to date, amassing 1,098 total yards and eight touchdowns; Moss, meanwhile, has appeared in 26 of a possible 33 games in his two years, and he finished 2021 with 542 total yards and five scores.
Against that backdrop it’s easy to see why people are excited about Cook — it also doesn’t hurt that his older brother, Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, is among the best the league has to offer. The Georgia product was viewed as one of the top backs in this year’s class, and his skills as a receiver out of the backfield were a big reason why. He’s on the smaller side, though, and doesn’t appear suited to the heavy usage his brother has seen in Minnesota.
At this point, it looks like Singletary will be the lead back, getting most of his work on early downs. That leaves Moss and Cook to battle it out for the No. 2/receiving role. While Moss may hold that spot early on, it seems likely that Cook will overtake him at some point; after all, the lack of development from Moss is part of the reason the Bills felt compelled to select another back early on.
There is one wild card: Duke Johnson. The veteran has over 300 career receptions and played very effectively in a five-game stint with the Miami Dolphins last year, totaling 371 yards and three TDs. If the coaching staff feels Cook (or Moss) isn’t ready, they could plug Johnson into that slot, at least initially. Speaking of the slot, expect to see Cook flexed into that role at times to utilize his athleticism for mismatches, but such a role is hardly reliable.
Fantasy football outlook
Without question, Cook is the shiny object in Buffalo’s backfield. Singletary has never broken out the way fantasy owners hoped he would, which often leads to draft-day backlash, and Moss has done little to endear himself in his two years with the club.
Still, Singletary deserves to be the first of the Bills RBs drafted, as a midrange RB3, while Cook is better suited as your fourth back with tangible upside, particularly in PPR. You can stay clear of Moss.