Why worry about drafting IDP from multiple teams when you can just draft defensive players from the Buffalo Bills. Yep, their defensive group is productive enough to support your fantasy team to the playoffs. This is theoretically possible, but I wouldn’t try it at home.
When was the last time the Buffalo Bills offense was worth mentioning?
Sure, last season they made the playoffs. They barely made it with a 9-7 record. They even sat Tyrod Taylor week 11 against the LA Chargers and let Nathan Peterman get his butt kicked to the tune of five interceptions and a fumble.
Let us not get carried away here with thinking last season makes the Bills’ offense worth mentioning. The team made the playoffs, but their offense was ranked 29th in yards per game and 26th in first downs in the 2017 NFL season.
Bad Offenses Equal Great IDP Production
If there is one thing we talk about near every podcast it is that the worse your offense the better it is for that teams’ IDP performers. It is a simple formula. If you cannot sustain drives and cannot keep your offense on the field, then by definition your defense will be the ones getting a ton of playing time. More playing time equals more time to make plays. You cannot score IDP points if your butt is on the bench.
Cleveland finished 32nd in points per game last season, 24th in yards per game, and 22nd in first downs overall. What did all the offensive ineffectiveness lead to in the IDP world? For starters, Joe Schobert tied with two others for tops in the league with 144 combined tackles. That defense also supported Christian Kirksey with 138 combined tackles. Jamie Collins and James Burgess together had 101 combined tackles. This is a great example of the correlation between a bad offense and outstanding IDP production.
The Buffalo Bills have a long history of offensive struggles coupled with an equally long history of producing IDP studs. Since I started playing IDP in 2004, I can say without hesitation that I have either had a Buffalo Bills player on my IDP squad every year or that my fellow league-mates have beaten me to the punch. London Fletcher remains my favorite IDP linebacker I’ve ever played.
Whoever has owned these Bills have enjoyed the fruits of Buffalo’s IDP greatness. Year after year, Buffalo has produced outstanding IDP production as a whole and many memorable IDP players.
Back in the Golden Era of IDP
I can still remember the first Bills linebacker I ever drafted. I was able to lock down London Fletcher in 2004. He had a pretty good season: 142 combined tackles, 3.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 4 passes defensed. I only call that pretty good because in the IDP days of old that’s what it was.
Many teams played in a 4-3 scheme back then, and the refs didn’t throw the flag every time someone breathed on a QB or positional player in an effort to increase scoring throughout the league. Too often, drives that would have been saved and continued by the zebra nowadays were dead in the water back then.
From when I started playing IDP in 2004 until 2012 ,Fletcher had at least 130 combined tackles every year on the Bills and then Redskins. He was my first favorite IDP player. He was just the first of many Bills defenders over the years and not just at the linebacker position. Last season my winning squad in the public all-IDP league I was in had plenty of Bills.
Bills, Bills, Bills
Between Preston Brown, Micah Hyde and Tra’Davious White, I had one of the three linebackers who tied for the season lead in combined tackles. I owned a safety who scored in the top 10 in IDP points in most leagues. Plus, I had a rookie cornerback who surprised everyone with 69 combined tackles, 18 passes defensed, four interceptions and one forced fumble.
That same defense also produced Jordan Poyer who finished 5th in combined tackles at the safety position.
This one team produced four studs last season. Not to mention, the Bills had many other waiver wire adds and bye week subs like Ramon Humber and Matt Milano among others. This kind of production is not the outlier, but the norm for the Buffalo Bills for as long as I’ve been playing IDP.
I even went as far as to research the last three years of Bills IDP output. I put together a scenario where if you ONLY drafted Buffalo Bills for an all-IDP team, you had a very good to excellent chance to make the playoffs in damned near any all-IDP league you played in.
If you were to draft ONLY Buffalo Bills in a regular PPR league last season, and you did a good enough job drafting offense, you could easily have won your league. The point being, that an all-Bills IDP squad would NOT be a handicap. The strategy would have given a very good weekly output of IDP points. Listen to our 6/10/18 episode of the IDP Guys to hear that scenario described fully.
The History of the Bills Middle Linebacker
I had many favorites from my early years of playing IDP. Guys like Zach Thomas, Demeco Ryans, Brian Urlacher and Ray Lewis come to mind. However, even back then I kept coming back to the Bills.
Eventually, London Fletcher signed with the Redskins. This cleared the way for the next heir-apparent to fill the legendary middle linebacker slot of the Bills’ 4-3 defense. Angelo Crowell moved over to MLB and recorded 126 combined tackles in his only season at that position.
The next year (2008), a young linebacker from Penn State was drafted and given a shot at the MLB slot. His name was Paul Posluszny, and he would be a well known part of the IDP landscape for years to come.
While only recording 110 combined tackles his rookie season and 111 in his sophomore campaign, he was able to break out with 151 combined tackles in 2010. He signed with the Jaguars the next season and would average 116 combined tackles per season until his retirement after the 2017 season. His best season had a high mark of an amazing 162 combined tackles for the Jags in 2013.
After Posluszny left for Jacksonville following the 2011 season, Nick Barnett took over the MLB slot for the Bills. He recorded 112 combined tackles in his first and only season at middle linebacker for the Bills. Kiko Alonso, the well known WLB now on the Dolphins, began his career as the successor to Barnett at the MLB slot in Buffalo. He recorded an insane 157 combined tackles in 2013.
A year later, he was gone and Preston Brown had stepped into the role. Brown recorded 109 combined tackles at MLB his first year. He recorded 117 combined his second year at the position.
In 2016, Preston Brown moved to the outside and Zach Brown, the well known linebacker on the Redskins now, took over at MLB for the season. He recorded a ridiculous 149 combined tackles that season. He then went and got paid in Washington.
Just a Season Ago
This now brings us to last season where Preston Brown returned to his MLB slot. He recorded 144 combined tackles and lead the league along with Joe Schobert and Blake Martinez. Brown took advantage of his free agency over the offseason and signed with the Bengals.
This once again cleared the way for someone new to fill the ever bountiful MLB slot. Now steps in Tremaine Edmunds who was drafted in the first round by the Bills. He is currently listed as the starter in that position.
The vast majority of this article has focused on the middle linebacker slot in Buffalo’s 4-3 scheme. This is because of the year in and year out guaranteed production in IDP. I could easily do another article (aka rant) on the safeties, corners and defensive linemen that have benefited from Buffalo’s offensive woes over the years. Take my word on this, the Bills produce many draftable IDP studs every single year.
By now you’re probably wondering what and if I have a point in this happy remembrance of my favorite players of Buffalo Bills past. I sure do!
All you need are B I L L S.
Anyone who is worried about Tremaine Edmunds this season need not be. Plugging a rookie into the extremely important middle linebacker slot in Buffalo’s 4-3 scheme should not be worrisome. In fact, it should be exciting!
As I have shown, not only is this position on this team a golden fountain of IDP points, but it is also the place where many of the IDP studs we all know got their start. Barring an act of God turning AJ McCarron or Josh Allen into the second coming of Aaron Rodgers or Joe Montana, you need not worry about Buffalo’s IDP output this season.
The Bills’ MLB position will be plentiful as it always has been since I’ve been playing IDP. As far as my eye can see, it always will be.
Follow me on twitter @OrangeMan3142 and make sure to listen to the episode for more in-depth explanation of this take below.
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