Buffalo Bills RB1: Zack Moss

Each of the last two years the Buffalo Bills have spent 3rd round draft capital on running backs. In 2019 Devin Singletary was selected at 3.10 (round 3 pick 10) and in 2020 Moss was taken at 3.22. In this piece I will breakdown the Bills backfield showing why Zack Moss is the back you should be looking to acquire in all fantasy formats.

College Career:

As a 4 year player at the University of Utah Moss certainly saw his fair share of opportunity to see the field during his collegiate career. Moss posted career numbers of 712 carries, 4067 rushing yards, 38 rushing touchdowns with 66 receptions, 685 receiving yards and three additional touchdowns.

Measurements:

Moss measures in at 5 feet 9 inches and weighing 223 pounds, which is right around the average size of an NFL running back per NFL.com. At the NFL combine Moss was just that, average. Moss, who tested while battling a hamstring injury, ran a 4.65s 40-yard dash. He also displayed a 33 inch vertical and completed 19 reps on the bench press.

While this does seem pedestrian, Moss still has a better athletic profile than Singletary.

Player NameZack MossDevin Singletary
Height5ft 9in5ft 7in
Weight 223lbs203lbs
College Dominator Rating35.7% 37.8%
College Target Share9.0%7.7%
Speed Score95.4 (46th percentile)86.1 (15th percentile)
Agility ScoreN/A11.72 (18th percentile)
Burst ScoreN/A118.0 (46th percentile)
Data Found on Player Profiler

Strengths, Weaknesses and Pro Comp

Moss was able to spend a lot of the time on the field developing into a complete back over his career. Eventually, Moss developed a three-down back skillset, displaying the ability to be a competent and efficient receiver. Moss also showed the willingness and capability to be involved in pass protection.

While he developed in the receiving game, he became a staple for Utah’s overall offensive success as he had THREE 1,000 yard seasons and was named the PAC-12 Offensive Player of The Year. Moss is a violent, yet nimble runner with the ability to not only run through defenders and arm tackles, but make players miss. Per Pro Football Focus, Moss was number two in the country with 89 forced missed tackles in 2019.

While Moss does do a lot of good, and I mean a lot of good, he still has some weaknesses to address and opportunities to further develop his game. With an average athletic profile Moss won’t be the back to break away 70 and 80 yard touchdown runs untouched. Still, in all honestly, other than a select few backs, who really does possess that ability?

Moss does show an ability to be more of a grinder and accumulate his production over the course of the game, with the occasional big run rather than that home run hitting ability every play. While Moss does not have that insane athletic profile, he does compare nearly identically to former rushing champion and current Cleveland Brown Kareem Hunt.

Player NameZack MossKareem Hunt
Height5ft 9in5ft 10in
Weight223lbs216lbs
Draft Pick 3rd round
pick 22
3rd round
pick 22
College Dominator Rating35.7%28.7%
College Target Share9.0%10.4%
40 yard Dash4.65 (31st percentile)4.62(40th percentile)
Speed Score95.4 (46th percentile)94.8 (44th percentile)
Agility ScoreN/A11.75 (16th percentile)
Burst ScoreN/A121.6 (67th percentile)
Data Found on Player Profiler

Hunt stepped into an a Chiefs backfield in 2017 and led the NFL in rushing with over 1,300 yards and an additional 450 yards receiving. While Moss may not have that upside year one, there certainly will be an opportunity to see the field early and often in Buffalo.

2019 Buffalo Bills

The Bills had three rushers take the vast majority of the carries. Frank Gore, who led the team with 166 carries, Singletary was second on the team with 151, and QUARTERBACK Josh Allen had 109!!!

Singletary’s rookie seasson seems promising right? Not quite… let’s take a look at the Red Zone carries and really see if Singletary had the opportunity share that would lead you to believe that he would be the RB1 over Moss coming into 2020.

Player NameFrank GoreDevin SingletaryJosh Allen
Carries Inside 20yd line251821
Carries Inside 10yd line18311
Carries Inside 5yd line1125
Touchdowns229
Buffalo Bills 2019 Red Zone Rushing; found on Pro Football Reference

Gore leading the team in Red Zone carries was not a great sign for Singletary, it shows that the team did not trust him to punch the ball in, especially given the lack of carries on potential ‘goal to go’ carries.’ The rushing distribution from 2019 both overall and in the Red Zone is an indicator as to why the Bills took Moss with the draft capital they did. They want someone who can punch the rock in.

2020 Outlook and Projections

With Gore leaving the Bills, there will be 166 carries vacated just from him as well as 25 Red Zone carries. Moss should be a prime candidate to see Gore’s total carries plus a portion of the carries that Allen had last season. The Bills are shaping their team for the future and the organization naturally wants to limit the number of hits their franchise quarterback takes.

Fantasy Outlook 2020

All signs show that Moss should be the starting running back in Buffalo but does the fantasy community agree? The answer for that is clearly NO.

Moss is currently being drafted at an ADP of 147 overall (RB47) per Fantasy Pros data, between clear backup running backs Alexander Mattison (RB46) and Tony Pollard (RB48). Meanwhile, Singletary is being drafted at an ADP of 49 overall (RB23), ahead of players such as D’Andre Swift (RB26) and Cam Akers (RB29).

Regardless of the format, or draft strategy whether you prefer ‘Zero RB’ or ‘Robust RB’ Zack Moss should ABSOLUTELY be a player you are targeting. It’s very rare that you will be able to draft a starting running back in the TENTH round but that’s the case this year.

Player NameRushing AttemptsYardsTouchdownsReceptionsYardsTouchdowns
Zack Moss208852.8531213.33
2020 Projections

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