The NFL continues to evolve as so to must our fantasy analysis.
Back in 2007, NFL offenses had three or more wide receivers on the field for 55% of pass plays. That number reached an all-time high at 76% in 2016 and was at 73% each of the past two seasons.
The drastic change in personnel usage has led to fewer wasted snaps on fullbacks (multiple RB sets are down from 27% to 9% during the span) and more usage and targets for wide receivers who were once considered bench players, but are now de facto starters in most schemes.
By evaluating the personnel usage of each team and coach, we can determine which players' snap counts will get a boost -- and those who will see a dip. Of course, it's not as simple as just looking at last season's numbers as roster turnover and especially coaching changes are sure to have an effect.
Below is a projection of how often each offense will have three or more wide receivers on the field in 2021, as well as a look at the players who will be most affected in fantasy.
This evaluation of each offensive scheme can give you a leg up on your league mates on draft day.
Note: Mentions of three-plus wide receiver sets throughout this article refer only to pass plays. The asterisk (*) represents the projected offensive playcaller for each team.
1. Buffalo Bills
HC: Sean McDermott, OC: Brian Daboll*
Projected 3+ WR sets: 90%
Buffalo is a good bet to repeat as the NFL leader in 3+ WR sets after ranking first in the category last season (94%), as well as second in 4+ WR sets (17%). Buffalo had not ranked better than 10th in 3+ WR sets since 2014, but Daboll's offenses have checked in at 80% or higher each of his past three seasons calling plays.
Fantasy spin: Buffalo did little to address the tight end position during the offseason, so it's safe to expect a heavy dose of Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, Gabriel Davis and newcomer Emmanuel Sanders (who is replacing John Brown) in 2021. Diggs and Beasley were both top-30 fantasy WRs last season and second-year Gabriel Davis has an excellent path to joining that mix. He'll just need to fend off 34-year-old Sanders for clear No. 3 duties.