Bills’ Most Important Players (not named Josh Allen) Entering 2023: #2 Stefon Diggs


When I tasked a half dozen Cover 1 writers to give me their Top 10 most important Buffalo Bills NOT named Josh Allen, I fully expected Stefon Diggs to come in at an easy No. 1. If you clicked the link, I am assuming you read the headline and know he is No. 2.

What makes Diggs so important to the Bills’ offense? In poetic terms: If Allen is the straw that stirs the Bills’ offense, Diggs is the decorative umbrella that makes you go ‘oh la la’ when the bartender hands you your cocktail. You’re not here for my flowery writing, so let’s dive into the Bills’ offense and what makes Diggs so special to Buffalo.

As you’re aware, Buffalo’s offense was prolific again in 2022, finishing second in both total yards per game at 397.6 and points per game at 28.4. The passing attack racked up 258.1 yards per game which was seventh-best in the league. Looking beyond the box score, Football Outsider’s DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) had Ken Dorsey’s unit ranked second overall. The Bills were seventh in PFF (Pro Football Focus) overall grade at 86.6, and the 84.1 grade in passing was good enough for third.

As you’ll see in the coming paragraphs, Diggs is the catalyst to most of that prominent passing playmaking, and that is why the Maryland product earned 38 of 60 possible points from our Cover 1 Crew, with @GregTompsett ranking him the highest at No. 1.

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Counting Stats:

Stefon Diggs led the Bills in practically every meaningful pass-catching stat in 2022. His 108 receptions were double that of second-place Gabe Davis. The 146th pick of the 2015 draft also topped the team in yards (1,429) and touchdowns (11).

“Teams like the Bengals, Eagles, and Dolphins have two WR1s on their roster, the Bills don’t have that luxury. This makes Stefon Diggs even more important to Buffalo as Josh Allen’s true No. 1 weapon. Diggs must continue to be that for the Bills in 2023 in order for Buffalo to reach its ultimate goal at the end of the season,” @UberHansen.

Speaking of being a No. 1 or No. 2 WR, many fans are upset by the drops of Buffalo’s number two pass catcher, but that is not an issue with Diggs. Next Gen Stats has his catch rate at 70.13% sixth among WRs with at least 100 targets. Diggs finished fourth in yards per game at 89.3. The 108 receptions were third among wide receivers, and 11 touchdowns came in second across the league. He also moved the chains at a prolific rate, 72 first downs were third in 2022.


The analytics community loves itself some Stefon Diggs. Pro Football Focus (PFF) gave him an offensive grade of 89.1 or fifth overall, and his receiving grade was also fifth. Diggs may not be known as a prototypical deep threat, but his aDot (average depth of target) ranks 13th among qualified pass catchers. Flipping over to Pro Football Reference, he had an ‘approximate value’ of 15. For context, that is tied with Tyreek Hill and ahead of Davante Adams.

Buffalo’s best offensive player not named Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs ranks this highly almost by default. He is unequivocally Buffalo’s No. 1 wide receiver and is really the only player outside of Allen who has reached “the offense will go as he goes” status. If Diggs is able to stay healthy and continue his elite play, Buffalo’s offense will likely continue to roll, as it has done since his arrival in 2020. If he unexpectedly struggles, the Bills’ passing attack will be left looking for answers on a week-to-week basis,” – @KyleSilagyi.

2022 was also one of the best years of his career, according to PFF. The 89.1 offensive grade and 89.0 receiving grade placed second all-time for the wideout. Let’s head back to Next Gen Stats where Diggs ranks 11th in TAY% (percent of a team’s air yards) at 34.57%. The pass catcher had a +.8 in expected yards. That is ahead of names like Amon-Ra St. Brown and Tyreek Hill. Checking in on Football Outsiders, Diggs slots only behind Justin Jefferson in their DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) at 434. His personal DVOA is third overall at 22.3%.

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This one is pretty simple. If Diggs is healthy, he should be on the field for every snap that isn’t a goal-line dive. Diggs has never played less than 77% of his available offensive snaps, per Pro Football Reference. To be honest, that number is lower than I expected, and I feel he should be on the field for at least 80% of Buffalo’s offensive plays in 2023. We should assume (in this case it’s safe to do) that he earns over 150 targets and hauls in more than 100 of those passes. It’s just what Diggs does in Buffalo. As far as where he lines up, he will be WIDE most of the time, taking 661 of 961 snaps there in the regular and postseason last year. Of those 661, 364 were to the right and, as Beyonce said, he went to the left 297 times. He lined up in the slot just under 300 times, so once again, I think the former Terp will be all over the field.

“Most of this list has been about answering questions for the 2023 season, but we can’t make the list without Diggs. He’s the most important not-Josh Allen player. He’s this low because there are no questions about Him. Him will be on the team, play Him’s heart out, and work Him’s butt off. No questions asked,” @LowBuffa.


There is a reason that when Sean McDermott said he was “very concerned” Diggs wasn’t at the first day of mandatory minicamp, the collective hearts of Bills Mafia skipped a beat. Yes, it turned out to be a poor choice of words, but the 24 hours of palpitations were still a thing, a thing that showed how valuable arguably the most knowledgeable fanbase in sports thinks their WR1 is to the team. I fully expect an engaged and dominant Diggs on the field when Buffalo opens its season Monday, September 11th at the division rival New York Jets, a season that has another great shot at 100+ receptions, 1,500+ plus receiving yards, and 10+ touchdowns. If you produce those numbers, I don’t care if you watch practice with Terry Pegula in a golf cart all week.