Buffalo Bills (now 4-3)
This is good news for fantasy owners. Not only do you get increased value out of your DL, but the linebackers’ value is much easier to define and rely on. Sean McDermott, as a branch of the Jim Johnson tree, and a major reason the Carolina Panthers had success on the defensive side of the ball, will reinstall the 4-3 scheme for the Bills. Exotic blitz packages and some Cover-2 components highlight this defense, which can be a huge fantasy boon to the players that best fit the system. Let’s take a look at the probable starters (and package guys that figure to get enough playing time to matter) at each position and discuss value based on the change.
Jerry Hughes (DE): Rex Ryan killed what upside Hughes had in big-play leagues as a 3-4 OLB. Moving him back to DL immediately shifts him back into a high-upside pass rusher. The rangy Hughes was thought of by many as a top-10 dynasty DL under Jim Schwartz, prior to Rex Ryan. Not saying he’s immediately back there but he should put up decent numbers, especially in a shallower DL pool. The potential for double-digit sacks and other “big plays” could make Hughes a weekly starter in all leagues.