afc east offensive tendencies and personnel usage

AFC East Personnel Usage

September 30, 2019

NFL Offensive Usage 2019

Personnel Packages. Tendencies. Pass vs Run Splits. This guide will get you primed on everything you need to know about the Coaching Tendencies in the AFC East for the NFL, and how you can use these stats to make you a better fantasy football player. Or maybe you’re just a football buff that needs to be more informed than your buddies. We got you covered.

Buffalo Bills 

buffalo bills offensive tendencies and personnel usage


Head Coach: Sean McDermott

McDermott comes from the Andy Reid coaching tree, having spent time with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999-2010 working in various roles on the defensive side of the ball, primarily with defensive backs.  In 2009-2010, McDermott was promoted to defensive coordinator. After his time in Philadelphia, McDermott coached as the defensive coordinator for Ron Rivera and the Carolina Panthers from 2011-2016. McDermott was hired by Buffalo in 2017.

Offensive Coordinator: Brian Daboll

Daboll worked in various roles for the New England Patriots from 2000-2006, with most of that time spent as a wide receiver’s coach.  Daboll spent the 2007-2008 season as the quarterback’s coach for the New York Jets before heading to Cleveland to be the Browns offensive coordinator for the 2009-2010 season under Eric Mangini.  After that season Daboll was the offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins in 2011 under Tony Sparano and the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012 under Romeo Crennel. Daboll then spent the 2013-2016 seasons back where he started with New England, working primarily as the tight ends coach. In 2017, Daboll became the co-offensive coordinator for Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide.  Daboll joined the Bills in 2018.

Defensive Coordinator: Leslie Frazier

Frazier has been in the NFL for a while.  Frazier has spent his NFL coaching career on the defensive side of the ball, making a meteoric rise with the Minnesota Vikings from 2007-2013.  Hired as the defensive coordinator in 2007, Frazier was named the interim head coach for the Vikings in 2010, and the full-time head coach from 2011-2013.  After his time in Minnesota, Frazier was the defensive coordinator for Tampa Bay from 2014-2015, and the secondary coach for the Baltimore Ravens in 2016. Frazier joined the Bills with McDermott in 2017.  For the Buffalo Bills, Frazier leads a 4-3 defense.

Offensive Personnel Usage 2019 for the Buffalo Bills:

Formation  Frequency  Passing Percentage 
11 (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR) 50% 59%
12 (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR) 20%  43% 
21 (2 RB, 1 TE, 2 WR) 17%  69% 
Buffalo throws the ball 50.7% of the time.

What Does this Mean for Fantasy?

Buffalo ranks below the NFL average for 11 personnel usage, above the NFL average for 12 personnel usage, and much higher than the NFL average (nearly double) for 21 personnel.   With the limited usage of 11 personnel, this means WRs for Buffalo will not necessarily be volume players. WRs like Zay Jones may not see the field as much as another teams WR2 or WR3 due to the limited snap share compared to the rest of the NFL.  Instead, Buffalo focuses on a nearly even 50/50 pass to run split, meaning the players to target from Buffalo should be the RBs and QB Josh Allen.

Although Buffalo runs 12 personnel more than the NFL average, the Bills use this grouping to run the ball behind two TEs.  Buffalo runs a lot of 21 personnel which can mean either a fullback or a second RB is on the field. In this personnel grouping, the Bills threw the ball 69% of the time.  This is extremely important for fantasy owners to know, as this means the RB is a primary passing option for the Bills. Devin Singletary, despite his lack of usage at Florida Atlantic in the passing game, should see more passing volume in the NFL.  Pair this with a nearly 50/50 pass to run ratio, and Devin Singletary should be a screaming buy for fantasy owners.

QB Josh Allen has completed 64% of his 103 attempts this season, throwing for 750 yards to go with 3 TDs and 3 INTs.  Allen has also tacked on 26 rush attempts for 105 yards and 2 TDs. Josh Allen should be a player fantasy owners are trying to acquire due to his rushing usage, and the Bills commitment to a balanced attack that features Allen as a rusher.

Buffalo Bills Offensive Tendencies: Wrapping Things Up 

So far in 2019, Brian Daboll and the Bills have run 11 personnel less frequent than they did in 2018.  In 2018 the Bills ran 11 personnel 70% of the time, which was more than the league average. This may have been a reason as to why WR Robert Foster saw playable weeks in your flex spot, but not much usage this season.  In 2018, Daboll also used 12 personnel less. With the emergence of Devin Singletary and the always steady Frank Gore, the Bills are using more 12 personnel this season, as opposed to last year with LeSean McCoy and no real secondary back.

Going forward, I would expect more 12 and 21 personnel from the Bills.  The buy window for Devin Singletary is rapidly closing. These personnel groupings and overall usage of RBs in Buffalo should allow Singletary to be a solid RB2.  Josh Allen should be a viable year long QB play based on his rushing floor and the balanced attack from Daboll and the Bills.

Miami Dolphins

miami dolphins offensive tendencies and personnel usage


Head Coach: Brian Flores

A born and bred Bill Belichick disciple, Flores took over the Miami Dolphins at the start of the 2019 season, after rising through the ranks of the Patriots going from scout all the way to running the defense for Belichick in 2018.  During his time with the Patriots, Flores was won 4 Super Bowl’s and 7 AFC titles.

Offensive Coordinator: Chad O’Shea

O’Shea is another member of the Belichick coaching tree, but broke into the NFL as an assistant with the Kansas City Chiefs from 2003-2005.  After his time in Kansas City, O’Shea joined the Minnesota Vikings as an offensive assistant and made his way up to being the wide receiver’s coach from 2006-2008.  O’Shea was the wide receivers coach for the Patriots from 2009-2018, and took over the OC job when Flores was named Miami’s head coach in 2019.

Defensive Coordinator: Patrick Graham

Graham was a collegiate assistant at Wagner, Richmond and Notre Dame before joining the Patriots in 2009.  Graham spent 2009-2015 with the Patriots on the defensive side of the ball gaining experience with the linebackers and the defensive line.  Graham joined the New York Giants as their defensive line coach in 2016-2017, then joined the Green Bay Packers in 2018 as their linebackers coach.  Graham was hired by the Dolphins defensive coordinator in 2019 when Flores was named head coach. Graham primarily runs a 4-3 defensive scheme, but Brian Flores, being a Bill Belichick disciple, has featured a multiple defense.  A multiple defense seamlessly flows from 4-3, 3-4, 4-2-5, or whatever scheme will be effective that week.

Offensive Personnel Usage 2019 for the Miami Dolphins:

Formation  Frequency  Passing Percentage 
11 (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR) 60% 75%
12 (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR) 24%  60% 
21 (2 RB, 1 TE, 2 WR) 7%  77% 
Maimi throws the ball 63.6% of the time.

What Does this Mean for Fantasy?

This 2019 Miami Dolphins team is not good. That is putting it nicely.  It is no surprise that these Dolphins are throwing the ball nearly 64% of the time, as they have seen plenty of negative game scripts, driving the passing game to try and forge comebacks.  The Dolphins run 11 personnel just under the NFL average, 12 personnel significantly higher than the NFL rate, and 21 personnel slightly below the NFL rate. From these personnel groupings, we can expect the Dolphins WRs to see volume when paired with the increased pass to rush ratio.  Players like Preston Williams, DeVante Parker and Albert Wilson should see weekly volume due to snap share and play type. Out of 12 personnel, the Dolphins throw at a significant rate. This should drive some pass catching opportunities for RB Kenyan Drake. The Dolphins have tried to feature Kalen Ballage at RB, but Ballage has not been nearly as efficient catching or running the ball.  Drake currently has a 3.1 YPA and 10 receptions on 15 targets to Ballage’s 1.3 YPA and 3 receptions on 9 targets.

Additionally, the higher than average 12 personnel usage means good things for TE Mike Gesicki.  Gesicki was a draft darling who tested extremely well at the 2018 NFL Combine. Through 3 weeks, Gesicki has seen 11 targets, hauling in 6 of those.  The numbers are not there yet for Gesicki, but Gesicki is a screaming buy-low candidate.

Miami Dolphins Offensive Tendencies: Wrapping it Up

The Dolphins are a team that is at least 2 years from being fantasy relevant.  The WRs should theoretically see volume weekly, but ultimately won’t be reliable on a week to week basis.  The talk of the NFL Draft will be who the Dolphins will take at QB, but Josh Rosen has the talent to hold down the fort, and allow Miami to build up other areas of the team instead of taking a QB high.

New England Patriots


Head Coach: Bill Belichick

Arguably the greatest head coach in NFL history, Belichick has been at the helm of the Patriots since 2000, but had spent time as the Cleveland Browns head coach from 1991-1995.  Belichick is a 6 time Super Bowl champion and 3 time NFL Coach of the Year.

Offensive Coordinator: Josh McDaniels

McDaniels broke into the NFL with the Patriots as an assistant in 2001 before climbing the offensive ladder to offensive coordinator from 2005-2008.  McDaniels departed to become the head coach of the Tim Tebow led Denver Broncos from 2009-2010. After that experiment failed, McDaniels was the OC for the St. Louis Rams in 2011 before returning to New England as OC for Belichick, a position he has held since 2012.  McDaniels is also a 6 time Super Bowl champion.

Defensive Coordinator: Bill Belichick

Belichick calls the defensive plays for the Patriots.  Primarily, a Belichick defense is 3-4 based, but is multiple.  Belichick finds whatever scheme will work that week and put his players in a position to succeed based on the opponents tendencies.

Offensive Personnel Usage 2019 for the New England Patriots: 

Formation  Frequency  Passing Percentage 
11 (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR) 46% 52%
12 (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR) 3%  17% 
21 (2 RB, 1 TE, 2 WR) 22%  38% 
New England throws the ball 53.7% of the time.

What Does this Mean for Fantasy?

Gone are the days of Rob Gronkowski and another TE dominating the field for Patriots.  Through 3 weeks, the Patriots are dead last in 12 personnel usage, significantly below the NFL average in 11 personnel, and nearly 2.5 times higher using 21 personnel than the rest of the NFL.  The Patriots WRs are led by an aging Julian Edelman, a talented Josh Gordon, and currently injured N’Keal Harry. The Patriots have turned to more 2 back sets, driving up the usage for Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, and James White.  Fullback James Develin was recently put on injured reserve, so the 22 personnel usage may decrease going forward.

Outside of peppering Julian Edelman with over 8 targets a game, the Patriots have thrown to their RBs over 9 times a game.  The backfield is always hard to figure out from a fantasy perspective, but it appears that Sony Michel will get the bulk of the rushing load, with James White as the leading receiving back, and Rex Bur
khead as the flexible do-it-all back.  All 3 backs should be owned and could be realistic flex plays each week.

New England Patriots Offensive Tendencies: Wrapping it Up

The Patriots dynasty is alive and well.  Despite losing Rob Gronkowski to retirement, first round pick N’Keal Harry to injury and cutting Antonio Brown, the Patriots appear to be the favorites to go back to the Super Bowl and get another ring.  The injury to Develin and the eventual return of Harry are interesting things to watch going forward as it pertains to personnel usage. I would expect more 11 personnel to be used when Harry returns, so the Pats can roll Edelman, Gordon and Harry. 

New York Jets

new york jets offensive tendencies and personnel usage


Head Coach: Adam Gase

Gase entered the NFL as an offensive assistant and QB coach for the Detroit Lions from 2003-2007.  Gase then made a stop in San Francisco as an offensive assistant in 2008 before joining the Denver Broncos as a wide receiver’s coach from 2009-2012 and offensive coordinator from 2013-2014, appearing in a Super Bowl.  Gase then joined the Chicago Bears as OC in 2015 before being named the Miami Dolphins head coach in 2016, a position he held until 2018. Gase was named head coach of the Jets in 2019.

Offensive Coordinator: Dowell Loggains

Loggains broke into the NFL in 2008 as an offensive assistant with the Tennessee Titans and rose to the position of offensive coordinator in 2012.  Loggains left Tennessee after the 2013 season to become the QBs coach for Cleveland in 2014. Loggains joined Gase in Chicago as his QB coach for the Bears in 2015 before becoming the Bears OC from 2016-2017.  Loggains again followed Gase to Miami in 2018 where he was the OC for the Dolphins, and took over as the Jets OC when Gase was named head coach in 2019.

Defensive Coordinator: Gregg Williams

Williams began his NFL coaching career for the Houston Oilers as a defensive assistant from 1990-1996 before becoming their defensive coordinator from 1997-2000.  Williams became the head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 2001-2003 before heading to Washington to be the Redskins defensive coordinator from 2004-2007. Williams had stints as the Jacksonville Jaguars DC (2008), the New Orleans Saints DC (2009-2011), the St. Louis Rams DC (2012, 2014-2016) the Tennessee Titans as a senior assistant (2013), and the Cleveland Browns DC (2017-2018) before joining Gase in New York in 2019.  Williams employs a 4-3 defense usually, but is running a 3-4 for the Jets.

Offensive Personnel Usage 2019 for the New York Jets: 

Formation  Frequency  Passing Percentage 
11 (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR) 69% 73%
12 (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR) 13%  27% 
21 (2 RB, 1 TE, 2 WR) 8%  36% 
The Jets throws the ball 54.7% of the time.

What Does this Mean for Fantasy?

The Jets run 11 personnel higher than the NFL average, 12 personnel lower than the NFL average, and 21 personnel at the NFL average.  The Jets appear to be a mostly run team out of 2 personnel and do most of their passing work out of 11 personnel. This means WRs like Robby Anderson, Jamison Crowder and Demaryius Thomas should see passing work.  With Sam Darnold out with mononucleosis and backup Trevor Siemian out, the Jets have turned to Luke Falk to run the offense.

Having to play your third string QB makes offensive synchronization tough, and a nice receiving back like Le’Veon Bell provides a safety blanket for Falk.  Bell has seen two games of 100% of the offensive snaps and a game of 90% of snaps. Being the primary back in the Jets 11 personnel grouping allows for passing volume.  Bell has seen 23 targets through 3 games, or over 7 targets a game. In a fairly balanced offense, Bell provides a high floor and a high ceiling for fantasy owners.

With the return of Darnold, the Jets game scripts may change to more neutral, but until his return the Jets should see negative game script and short passes to Bell and Crowder.  TE Chris Herndon IV returns from suspension in week 5 and was a favorite of Darnold’s last season, seeing 56 targets in 2018. Herndon IV should see significant passing work as well.

New York Jets Offensive Tendencies: Wrapping it Up

The Jets have talented pieces (Darnold, Bell, Herndon IV, Anderson) but haven’t put it together yet.  Their personnel grouping usage implies that this offense should be fairly balanced with plenty of opportunity for WRs, RBs and TEs to see volume.  Herndon IV and Anderson should be fairly cheap, and a Le’Veon Bell buy window may be open until Darnold returns.

(Info and sources from Sharp Football)

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