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[BN] Blitz newsletter: Will the Bills still value the fullback in 2019?

The Bills used three wide receivers on nearly 70 percent of their offensive plays in 2018. That meant a decreased role for fullback Patrick DiMarco.

How much of a role will DiMarco have going forward? Mark Gaughan dug into that issue in this story.

“On a personal level, I want to be on the field as much as I possibly can,” DiMarco said. “This year, I was not there as much as I’ve been in the past. I wish I could have been. But whatever my role is, it is what it is. I’m going to go out there and give it all I’ve got, and hopefully I can go out and make some plays.”

DiMarco is due to earn a $1.6 million base salary next season while carrying a $2.15 million cap hit. That's among the largest salaries in the NFL for a fullback, but DiMarco also plays a significant number of special-teams snaps. Salary cap space won't be an issue for the Bills next season, so as long as they still value the position (not all teams carry a fullback anymore), they'd have to be very dissatisfied with DiMarco's performance for him not to be on next season's roster.

One positive for DiMarco this season was that he got into positive rushing yardage for his career. The seven-year vet entered the season with three career rushes for minus-2 yards, but a series of injuries in the Bills' Week 15 game against Detroit allowed DiMarco to get a carry, which he took 9 yards. In another strange statistical quirk, he also led the Bills in yards per reception this season, gaining 62 yards on three catches for 20.7 yds/rec (Robert Foster was second at 20.0).

Undrafted rookie Levi Wallace turned plenty of heads for Bills in 2018: Cornerback Levi Wallace is winning the unofficial race for most headlines of the offseason. But he earned it, drawing high praise from defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. “Here’s an undrafted free agent who you think you're going to develop to be a guy down the road," Frazier said, "who might help come in and contribute maybe in his second or third year. Here he is, came in, started for us, and really has settled down that right corner spot. It was a rotation throughout the year, and it was kind of problematic. What he has done has been so, so impressive.”

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Patriots face Chargers today: Sammy Watkins and the Chiefs already booked their ticket to the AFC Championship Game by beating the Colts on Saturday. Will the Patriots make it back, or will Anthony Lynn and the Chargers push the Patriot Dynasty closer to the edge? Milt Northrop couldn't bet against a Patriots team on rest versus a West Coast team coming east for the second week in a row. The game is 1 p.m. Sunday on CBS; full NFL Scoreboard here.

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