2022 AFC East Preview: Fantasy Football Outlook, Sleepers, and Busts

Dustin Ludke breaks down the AFC East from a fantasy football perspective.

2021 Review


Points per Game 28.4 3rd
Offensive Snaps 1143 3rd
2021 Record 11-6 7th
2022 Vegas Win Projection 11.5 T-1st



The Buffalo Bills won the AFC East in 2021 and look to repeat this year. They fell short of the ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl after a heartbreaking loss in the AFC divisional round against the Chiefs. They went 11-6 in the regular season and should come close to that this year. They boast a powerful offense and a solid defense.

The Bills lost key pieces in CB Levi Wallace, DE Jerry Hughes, and  DT Harrison Phillips. They replaced those pieces with LB Von Miller and DE Jordan Phillips. They swapped guards, letting Jon Feliciano leave but bringing in David Quessenberry. The other major change was the loss of offensive coordinator Brian Daboll who took the Giants’ head coaching job. Head coach Sean McDermott stays and promoted former QB coach Ken Dorsey to the OC role. It’s a move that should create continuity in the offense that has gotten better every year.


Passing Game


Passing Yards per Game 261.8 10th
Passing Touchdowns per Game 2.4 T-2nd
Pass Attempts per Game 37.7 7th


The Bills come into 2022 locked and loaded to continue their passing attack. They threw the ball 59.21% of the time in 2021, and they’ll likely look to continue. They did not re-sign Cole Beasley or Emmanuel Sanders. That leaves 193 targets up for grabs from last season. They brought in veteran wide receiver Jamison Crowder to add to Stefon Diggs and playoff break-out star Gabriel Davis.

Quarterback Josh Allen had a fairly good year completing 63.3% of his 646 passing attempts. The attempts number should continue even with Ken Dorsey now calling the offensive plays. Davis should see an increase in targets from his 63 in 2021. He only played over 50% of the team’s snaps in six games last season but averaged 6.6 targets in those games. If that number holds for 2022 he will see 122 targets which would double his 2021 number. Stefon Diggs will still see his 100+ targets as he remains the focal point and star on the team as evidenced by his contract extension in the off-season.  Tight end Dawson Knox will be in the mix to get some of those vacated targets. The tight end position accounted for 13.3% of the team’s targets in 2021. Overall, it’s a high-powered offense based on a great passing game with weekly fantasy starters in Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs and solid weekly plays in Gabe Davis, Jamison Crowder, and Dawson Knox.


Running Game


Rushing Yard per Game 129.9 6th
Rushing Touchdowns per Game 1.2 T-6th
Rushing Plays per Game 27.1 13th


With only rushing the ball under 41% of the time in 2021, the Bills were destined to put some work into the running game in the off-season. They were rumored to have signed J.D. McKissic but he changed course and went back to Washington. They ended up signing Duke Johnson who looked poised to be the pass-catching back. The Bills also went out and drafted James Cook in the 3rd round. With both Johnson and Cook in the backfield, it makes for a crowded room with Devin Singletary and Zack Moss.

Singletary lead the team in rushing with 188 carries in 2021. Josh Allen had a career-high in rushing attempts with 122 last season. That number should come down, but I would expect it to be around the 100 number. The addition of Cook probably means that Moss is the odd man out despite his four touchdowns on 96 carries last season. Singletary looks to be the lead dog heading into the season with Cook coming in to give him rest and Duke Johnson helping out on clear passing downs.




O.J. Howard, TE

O.J. Howard signed with the Bills after years with the Tampa Bay Bucs. He hasn’t done much since his first two years in the league (2017 and 2018). He had eleven touchdowns over those two years but has only had four over the last three. He got out from behind Rob Gronkowski’s shadow but will have to deal with up-and-coming Dawson Knox.  He is still a massive red zone target standing at 6’6′. He could easily fill in for Knox who has yet to play a full season. Josh Allen likes to throw to his tight ends and Howard will get time to develop the chemistry with Allen over training camp. Last year’s backup Tommy Sweeney did see four red-zone targets which could easily go to Howard in 2022.


Deep Sleeper


Isaiah McKenzie, WR

Isaiah McKenzie looks to be the odd man out after the Bills signed Crowder. After only getting 26 targets in 2020, there was hope he would see an increase in 2021. He only had one touchdown last year. His speed will keep him on deep roster radars and a threat in gadget-type run plays. He also handles a lot of the return game work so if your league gives points for that it could be a slightly added boon to his value. He doesn’t project to have a role without something opening up in front of him, but after spending the last three years in Buffalo he has a rapport with Allen. McKenzie is also a sure-handed receiving threat, catching 76.6% of his passes last season which followed up an 88.2% catch rate in 2020. There also isn’t a huge pay cap between McKenzie and Crowder so he can easily slide into the starting lineup and be a flex-worthy play if he gets the chance.


Bust Candidate


Dawson Knox, TE

In 2021, Knox had nine touchdowns–six more than he scored in 2020. His touchdown total last season was tied for the most in the league with guys like Mark Andrews and Travis Kelce. What sets Knox apart is that he did it on 71 targets. Compare that to Kelce’s 134 and Andrews’s 153, and there just isn’t the volume. Knox will have to repeat his incredible touchdown rate to repeat as a top-ten tight end in 2022. He saw 18% of the team’s red-zone targets but with Gabe Davis coming into his own and the addition of Crowder, Knox could see less work there. He also hasn’t played a full season at any point in his career. He’s not injury prone but missing a few games could be the difference between boom or bust.



Feature image by Michael Packard (@CollectingPack on Twitter) / Photography by Joshua Sarner, Fred Kfoury III, Andrew Bershaw & Ken Murray / Icon Sportswire

One response to “2022 AFC East Preview: Fantasy Football Outlook, Sleepers, and Busts”

  1. Joseph Thayres says:

    Your AFC writer, Dustin Ludke has clearly been at this for a while. His in-depth perspective of each position and how it affects the whole is outstanding! I hope to read much more from him in the future.

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