If I was to ask you which offense ran the most plays per game last season, I bet the Eagles would be a popular answer. An incorrect one, but probably popular. They were 12th in plays per game. Still, it is not a surprise that the Broncos and Patriots top the list. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady were the only two quarterbacks heading an offense that ran more than 70 plays than game.
Who was No. 3 at 69.75 plays per game? Would you believe E.J. Manuel and the Bills? Believe it. And before Manuel's knee injury in Week 5, the Bills were running 72 plays per game. Now entering his second season, Manuel has a firmer grasp on the offense, and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett wants to run more plays.
"We look back at last year, and those first four games when E.J. had a lot of run going on, it was awesome," Hackett said via Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News. "We were really rolling. It's funny. You look back on it and as the season went on, with the changes we had at that position, it slowed down.
"The better we get, the more we have of the understanding of the offense, the faster we can go."
The easy takeaway here is that more plays mean more opportunities for fantasy points. Hackett praised Manuel on how rapidly he has gained an understanding of the offense, but I'm not taking a big leap when I say he is not Manning nor Brady. I'm very interested in rookie Sammy Watkins as a WR3 this season, but I don't trust that Manuel will be good enough as a passer this year to make more than one wide receiver consistently worth starting in fantasy. Mike Williams and Robert Woods should have their moments, but I'm not really buying there. I think it will be a couple of years before Manuel is anything more than a low-end QB2.