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Offseason Primers: Buffalo Bills

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The Bills entered 2012 with a lot of optimism. They were active in free agency after spending big money on Mario Williams. Their offense looked in place with Ryan Fitzpatrick signed to a new contract and a strong backfield with C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. And plenty of prognosticators picked them to finish second in the AFC East behind New England and challenge for a playoff spot.

Then came Week 1.

2012 Touches Leaders
953 total touches (rush attempts + receptions)
C.J. Spiller 250 (207 car., 43 rec.) 26.2%
Fred Jackson 149 (115 car., 34 rec.) 15.6%
Steve Johnson 79 rec. 8.2%
Tashard Choice 51 (47 car., 4 rec.) 5.3%
Scott Chandler 43 rec. 4.5%
All Others 381 39.9%

Buffalo got hammered by the Jets 48-28 and everything went downhill from there. Jackson was injured again, Fitzpatrick struggled and Williams never lived up to his contract. The Bills limped to a 6-10 finish, and coach Chan Gailey was fired at the end of the season.

Doug Marrone was hired as the new coach, and again there's some optimism in Buffalo. The Fitzpatrick experiment is over now that he was released, and Kevin Kolb was signed to help turn things around. Spiller is expected to replace Jackson and become a star, and the Bills also need to find another receiver to play opposite Steve Johnson.

Fantasy owners might find just two starting options on the Bills in Spiller and Johnson, with Jackson as a key reserve if he's back in Buffalo. Scott Chandler is coming off a torn ACL suffered in Week 16, and T.J. Graham has some sleeper appeal in deep leagues. But the Bills don't have a lot of offensive firepower coming into the season.

C.J. Spiller -- Breakout

2012 Target Leaders
511 pass attempts
Steve Johnson 148 28.9%
Scott Chandler 74 14.4%
Donald Jones 67 13.1%
T.J. Graham 58 11.3%
C.J. Spiller 57 11.1%
All Others 107 20.9%

Can we really call Spiller a breakout after he was the No. 7 running back in 2012? Yes. Spiller had just 207 carries and 43 catches last year with only nine starts. He's scheduled for a bigger role, especially if Jackson is released. But Spiller averaged 6.0 yards per carry and 10.7 yards per catch. If he gets close to 300 total touches -- all six running backs in front of him in Fantasy points (Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin, Arian Foster, Marshawn Lynch, Alfred Morris and Ray Rice) all had more than 300 touches -- then he could be the No. 1 Fantasy running back in 2013. Rice, by comparison, had the fewest carries of the guys in the Top 6 with 257. Give Spiller those 50 carries at his rushing average, and he comes away with 300 more yards, which equals 30 more Fantasy points. That would bump him from 211 points to 241 and put him ahead of Morris at No. 5. As you can see, he's not that far away, so we hope he gets the increased workload. Spiller is worth drafting as early as No. 4 overall behind Peterson, Foster and Lynch.

Ryan Fitzpatrick -- Player on the move

The Bills decided to part ways with Fitzpatrick and start fresh at quarterback. Kolb or Tarvaris Jackson could earn the starting job, but the Bills are expected to also draft a new quarterback this season. Fitzpatrick signed with Tennessee, and he will be the No. 2 quarterback to Jake Locker. It's almost a guarnantee that Fitzpatrick's days as being Fantasy relevant are over, even with Locker's injury history. Fitzpatrick also proved to be an inconsistent Fantasy quarterback at best with consecutive years with 20-plus turnovers. Maybe he would improve with an upgraded receiving corps, but we don't expect to see Fitzpatrick on many Fantasy rosters going forward.

Steve Johnson -- Coaching impact

Expected 2013 Draft Averages
Kevin Kolb Undrafted
Tarvaris Jackson Undrafted
C.J. Spiller 4-10 overall
Fred Jackson 70-80 overall
Steve Johnson 68-75 overall
Scott Chandler Undrafted

Johnson has been an underrated Fantasy receiver the past three years. Over that span he has at least 76 catches, 1,004 yards and six touchdowns in each year. He's done all that despite a commitment to the running game and poor quarterback play. We'll see what happens with Kolb or Jackson, but the new coaching staff in Buffalo is already talking about moving Johnson around. He'll see time in the slot, which could help him increase his catch total. Johnson definitely has the potential to be around 90 catches, 1,200 yards receiving and double digits in touchdowns, but the Bills need to focus on him more. Until that happens, even with the move to the slot, he remains a No. 3 Fantasy receiver with upside and should be drafted with a mid-round pick.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Report: Raiders to release QB Christian Ponder
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9:49 pm ET) The Raiders are expected to part ways with quarterback Christian Ponder, a source told ESPN. Ponder was a first-round draft pick in 2011.

Colts acquire LB Sio Moore from Raiders
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(8:23 pm ET) The Raiders traded linebacker Sio Moore to the Colts for a late-round draft pick in 2016, the Colts announced. Moore produced 90 tackles and three sacks in 11 games last season.

Report: Seahawks sign RB Fred Jackson
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7:30 pm ET) The Seahawks reached a one-year deal with running back Fred Jackson on Friday, a source told NFL.com. Jackson is expected to serve as Marshawn Lynch's primary backup.

Bills RB Karlos Williams expects to play in Week 1
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7:24 pm ET) Bills running back Karlos Williams was confident he would be healthy enough to play in Week 1, reports ESPN.com.

"Most definitely, most definitely," he said. "Definitely on special teams, try to work myself into the rotation as the week goes on. Try to get in there for the first game next week."

Williams has been out after undergoing an unspecific procedure in mid-August.

"Bad things happen to people sometimes, you can say that," Williams said. "But no, it was kind of a freak accident that kind of happened. A lot of pain. The trainers definitely took care of that. They found out what it was, got it taken care of and had a quick surgery. And actually a pretty quick recovery. I'm just happy to be back from that. But it was a very, very delicate situation."


Bears cut TE Dante Rosario
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(6:47 pm ET) The Bears released tight end Dante Rosario on Friday, reports the Chicago Tribune. Rosario caught 16 passes for 116 yards in 16 games last season.

Texans QB Tom Savage dealing with shoulder sprain
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(6:32 pm ET) Texans quarterback Tom Savage suffered a right shoulder sprain during Thursday's preseason game, reports the Houston Chronicle. The injury will keep Savage out for four-to-six weeks.

Colts not ruling LB Robert Mathis out for Week 1
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(6:04 pm ET) Colts linebacker Robert Mathis still has a chance of playing in Week 1, reports ESPN.com. Mathis is recovering from a torn Achilles.

"There's a possibility," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "He's been practicing and we're getting him more reps. Every day he’s going through individual drills and we’re increasing the snaps he takes during the course of practice with each day. It started out with five snaps and we’ll increase that number again [next] week. We'll just evaluate how the week goes. Rob is doing great. He's making great progress."


Report: Cowboys interested in Broncos RB Montee Ball
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(6:00 pm ET) The Cowboys are not willing to trade for Broncos running back Montee Ball, but they would be interested if he was released, a source told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Ball has fallen down the depth chart in Denver.

Safety Zeke Motta suspended two games
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(5:47 pm ET) The NFL suspended safety Zeke Motta for two weeks, a source told NFL.com. Motta was released by the Falcons earlier this year after two seasons.

Eagles release RB Raheem Mostert
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(5:34 pm ET) The Eagles parted ways with running back Raheem Mostert on Friday, his agent confirmed. Mostert led the league in yards from scrimmage and total yards during the preseason.

 
 
 
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