The Buffalo Bills’ offense was once again among the elite of the elite in 2022, finishing second in both total yards per game at 397.6 and points per game at 28.4. The passing attack was also prolific, racking up 258.1 yards per game which was seventh-best in the league. The advanced stats also love Buffalo, Football Outsider’s DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) had Ken Dorsey’s bunch 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. The bulk of that pass-catching credit goes to Stefon Diggs, who, without question, was Josh Allen’s favorite target in 2022. “Many thought the offense would continue to flourish because of the “inevitable” Gabriel Davis ascension. Davis has grown and been solid, but the offense thrives because 17+14=7,” said @LowBuffa. The crazy stats, both in the boxscore and analytics, is why Diggs ranks second on our list of the top 10 most important Bills from the 2022 NFL season.
Stefon Diggs in the Cover 1 cumulative Top 10 Important Player rankings by earning 52 out of 70 possible points (first-place vote = 10 points, tenth-place vote = 1). Diggs’ highest ranking came from @SportsRoc2 who ranked him No. 2, adding “Three years of sheer domination unmatched by any Bills receiver in their history.” He also collected four third-place votes, and none of the staff slotted him any lower than fourth. There was a sizable gap between Diggs and third-place Jordan Poyer but also a wide margin between Diggs and our first-place finisher, and I assume you’ve guessed who that is by now.
Stefon Diggs topped the Bills in practically every meaningful pass-catching stat this season. His 108 receptions were double that of second-place Gabe Davis. The Maryland product also led the way in yards (1,429) and touchdowns (11). @stasetistics says, “Diggs led the team in nearly every receiving category and played in every game. Even in the games when he gets double-teamed and his presence isn’t felt on the stats sheet, the attention he gets from the defense leaves other players open and helps the offense overall.” Those boxscore stats were also near the top of the entire NFL. 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. The former Terrapin was also a chain mover, bringing in 72 first downs. Those firsts slotted him third best in 2022.
When it comes to analytics, Diggs was again at the top of the Bills. He also had one of the best years in his career. The 89.1 offensive grade and 89.0 receiving grade placed second all-time for the wideout. His 12.6 aDot (average depth of target) was second only to 2019. Let’s compare those stats to the rest of the league (wideouts who played 50% of their team’s snaps). The 89.1 offensive grade placed him fifth, and his receiving grade was also fifth. Diggs may not be known as a prototypical deep threat, but his aDot ranks 13th among qualified pass catchers. According to Pro Football Reference, Diggs had an ‘approximate value’ of 15. For context, that is tied with Tyreek Hill and ahead of Davante Adams. “It’s not just the tangible production which Diggs produces but also the intangible aura he emits. Diggs gets his every week, but almost more importantly, his presence takes pressure off the other 10 Bills players on the field,” said @UberHansen. But like a good infomercial, just wait, there’s more. Let’s head over to NextGenStats (NGS) where Diggs ranks 11th in TAY% (percent of a team’s air yards) at 34.57%. Sticking with NGS, Diggs had a +.8 in expected yards. That is ahead of names like Amon-Ra St. Brown and Tyreek Hill. Football Outsiders ranks Diggs only behind Justin Jefferson in their DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) at 434. His personal DVOA is third overall at 22.3%. I could keep going, but you get the point.
Game of the Year:
Diggs had several fantastic games in 2022, but his performance of the year was pretty simple to figure out. He dominated against the Tennessee Titans in Week 2. He hauled in 12 of 15 targets for 148 yards and a trio of touchdowns. The wild thing is that those numbers could, or should, have been better as Diggs and company were pulled early. He ended up only playing 66% of the Bills’ snaps, his second-lowest total of the season. That game was also his best, according to PFF, they gave him a 91 for overall offensive grade and a 90.9 for receiving; both of those were his highest output of 2022.
According to Spotrac, Stefon Diggs signed a four-year, $96,000,000 contract with the Bills, including a $21,500,000 signing bonus, $70,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $24,000,000. This extension takes him to the 2027 season. They added, in 2023, Diggs will earn a base salary of $7,910,000, a roster bonus of $255,000, a signing bonus of $16,000,000, and a workout bonus of $250,000 while carrying a cap hit of $20,271,111 and a dead cap value of $45,466,111. His contract was already restructured once, leading our cap guru @GregTompsett to say it’s unlikely the Bills do it again, but not impossible.
Vorse’s Final Take:
Stefon Diggs has had his three best seasons since he came to Buffalo, and Josh Allen took off once Diggs arrived. There is no reason to argue who helped who more, but understand they work together like the mechanics in a luxury watch. @AjayCybulski said, “Allen’s favorite target, and when the offense is moving the ball through the air, you know that Stefon Diggs is helping in some way, whether it’s getting open or getting bracketed/doubled to allow other guys on the Bills to get open.” The Bills, namely Ken Dorsey, need to find more ways to utilize Diggs and scheme him open. Buffalo finding a true slot receiver to complement Diggs even further would unlock more of his phenomenal skills.
#1 Quarterback Josh Allen
Bills’ Top 10 Important Players from the 2022 Season: #1 Josh Allen