Broncos @ Bills
Final Score: Bills 42, Broncos 15
Writer: Brett Ford (@fadethatman on Twitter)
One of the offseason’s hottest fantasy takes was reinforced while another was torn to shreds in this Preseason Week 2 matchup as the Bills throttled the Broncos, 42-15, in Orchard Park, N.Y. on Saturday afternoon. Buffalo played its starters on both sides of the ball, while Denver went mostly with second-team and third-team players throughout the game, and it showed.
The Buffalo offense was firing on all cylinders as the Bills quarterbacks combined to throw 26-for-29 with 302 yards and two scores and the running backs combined for four rushing touchdowns, averaging 8.03 yards per carry among them.
Denver fell behind early and ended up throwing the ball 42 times while recording just 17 rushing attempts, not exactly a recipe for success while resting Russell Wilson. The Broncos looked largely disinterested on defense and allowed the Bills to do practically whatever they wanted throughout the entire game.
| Preseason Week 1 |
Josh Johnson: 8/16, 70 yards | 1 carry, -1 yard
Brett Rypien: 22/26, 91, yards, TD, Sack | 3 carries, 9 yards, Fumble
Russell Wilson did not see field action for the second-consecutive preseason game, and may or may not make an appearance in the Broncos’ final exhibition at home against Minnesota on Saturday. Josh Johnson opened the game under center, driving the Broncos to a field goal on the opening drive of the game. Johnson was under duress all day as the Buffalo starting front four wreaked havoc against the Broncos’ offensive line. Brett Rypien completed 22 out of 26 passes, including a touchdown in garbage time.
Mike Boone: 5 carries, 11 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 13 yards
Stevie Scott III: 5 carries, 13 yards | 5 targets, 3 receptions, 10 yards
Jaquan Hardy: 2 carries, -1 yard | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 7 yards
Only three running backs saw action for the Broncos as Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams both sat this one out. Mike Boone looked like he may still have an explosive play or two in his bag, breaking a tackle with a nifty spin move for a 13-yard receiving gain on the opening drive, but that was the highlight of the Broncos RB room’s game.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Trey Quinn: 8 targets, 5 receptions, 47 yards
Albert Okwuegbunam: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 32 yards
Eric Saubert: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 17 yards, TD
Darrius Shepherd: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 38 yards
Jalen Virgil: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 39 yards
Albert Okwuegbunam – whom I just declared THE GUY I’m not leaving drafts without – was the only projected starting pass-catcher to see any targets for the Bronco offense as Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy sat. The good news is Albert O. caught four of his five targets, and his only incompletion was a would-be touchdown catch that ended up just out of bounds. The bad news is that Okwuegbunam was also on the field in the fourth quarter.
Backup tight end Eric Saubert caught the Broncos’ only touchdown pass, pulling in a play-action pass from Rypien at the goal line, while Trey Quinn was targeted a team-high eight times, including a designed gadget-play push pass.
| Preseason Week 1 |
Josh Allen: 3/3, 45 yards, TD
Case Keenum: 16/18, 192 yards, TD
Matt Barkley: 7/8, 65 yards
Josh Allen was Josh Allen. He showed why he’s being drafted as the consensus first quarterback off the board in fantasy leagues with a 3-for-3 performance and a touchdown (more on that later). Case Keenum looked like the guy from Minnesota in 2017, completing 16 of 18 passes, including an excellent two-minute drill at the end of the first half, finding OJ Howard for a touchdown. Matt Barkley was a perfectly competent game manager, completing seven of his eight attempts while handing the ball off and running out the clock.
Devin Singletary: 4 carries, 39 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 4 yards
Zack Moss: 4 carries, 19 yards, 2 TD
Raheem Blackshear: 5 carries, 58 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 21 yards
Duke Johnson: 9 carries, 55 yards, 2 TD
James Cook: 4 carries, 38 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 12 yards
Barring injury, the Bills backfield is going to be a mess this season. Devin Singletary looked strong and decisive, James Cook looked confident and explosive, and Zack Moss cashed in on the goal line touches he received, scoring from one yard out on two separate occasions. Raheem Blackshear continued his impressive preseason, averaging over 11 yards per carry and catching both targets. He popped off for a 25-yard carry, but has shown excellent burst and shiftiness in his limited action. Buffalo will be faced with a difficult decision between Blackshear and Duke Johnson for the fourth running back spot. Johnson scored twice from inside the 10-yard line and averaged over 6.0 yards per carry as well.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Khalil Shakir: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 59 yards
Gabriel Davis: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 47 yards, TD
Stefon Diggs: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 33 yards
Tavon Austin: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 18 yards
Isaiah McKenzie: 1 target, 1 reception, 10 yards
OJ Howard: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 16 yards, TD
Gabriel Davis caught the “Touchdown Heard Round the Fantasy Football World,” elevating over Denver rookie Damarri Mathis to snatch a jump ball from Allen for a 28-yard score and sending Gabe Davis truthers to their keyboards for a victory lap.
Diggs caught a pair of receptions while Shakir continued to shine in his debut season, catching three balls for a team-high 59 yards. Dawson Knox missed this contest, and OJ Howard stepped in for a touchdown catch in his absence. Jamison Crowder looked better than in his 2022 debut last week, but it seems that he’s still buried on the Bills’ slot receiver depth chart behind Isaiah McKenzie, who played with the starters, returned the opening kickoff, and caught his only target.