Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2014 Fantasy Outlooks: Buffalo Bills

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

The Bills made a power move during the NFL Draft when they mortgaged the future to trade up to select receiver Sammy Watkins at No. 4 overall. We're going to find out right away if he's worth it.

Buffalo then sent Steve Johnson to San Francisco, so this passing attack will have a dramatically different look to it this season than it did in 2013. The key, however, remains the growth of quarterback EJ Manuel, and we hope he has a better sophomore campaign than what he showed as a rookie.

Manuel had trouble staying healthy, missing six games due to knee problems, and he finished with five games with 20-plus Fantasy points in a standard league and five games with 16 points or fewer. In other words, when he was good, he was a serviceable, and when he was bad, he was putrid.

Now, no one is drafting Manuel as anything more than a No. 2 quarterback in the deepest of leagues, but if Fantasy owners want to consider Watkins or even Robert Woods and Mike Williams as potential starting options, then Manuel has to step up his performance. He is someone to watch in the preseason for sure.

And you can figure that if Manuel is playing well then C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson also have the chance for quality production, so here's hoping we get a breakout performance from Manuel in 2014.

Don't give up yet ... C.J. Spiller

There isn't a lot to love about Spiller coming into the season if you were burned by him in 2013. He was a bust last year, Jackson is still in Buffalo and the Bills actually traded for a running back with Bryce Brown from Philadelphia.

But I wouldn't shy away from Spiller -- this time in Round 3 instead of Round 1. The talent is still there, and we hope he can stay healthy, which was a problem in 2013. He had a knee injury in the preseason and then a nagging ankle problem all year. Coach Doug Marrone said he was never 100 percent, and we hope to see Spiller at full strength for 16 games.

Yes, Jackson and possibly Brown will take away touches, but Spiller is only a year removed from 1,700 total yards and eight touchdowns. He's entering a potential contract year, and the Bills still plan to lean on him as their No. 1 running back.

There's less risk drafting him as your No. 2 running back in the third or fourth round instead of No. 2 overall, and I expect him to reward you this season with a bounce-back performance.

Give him some time ... Sammy Watkins

Watkins might eventually develop into one of the best receivers in NFL history. The ability is there after he had 224 catches for 3,164 yards and 25 touchdowns at Clemson, and he has the physical tools to dominate at the NFL level. But it's hard to figure that will happen right away.

Manuel was shaky as a rookie quarterback in 2013 and Buffalo's best receiver last season was Woods -- who was No. 55 in Fantasy points -- so this isn't an offense with a dynamic passing game from a year ago. Watkins, based on his talent, should be better than Woods and Johnson, and he will make Manuel better if he lives up to the hype. But we want to see it first.

I'd go into Draft Day with Watkins as a No. 4 Fantasy receiver with a mid-round pick. He's behind fellow rookies Brandin Cooks and Mike Evans for seasonal leagues -- I like Watkins better in dynasty formats -- and I'd gamble on veterans like Jeremy Maclin, Marques Colston and Reggie Wayne over Watkins this year. Those guys are in better offenses, and I'm expecting better production early on.

I hope to be starting Watkins by the middle of the season, but that's an optimistic view. If Manuel can stay healthy and show progress while developing a rapport with Watkins right away then the stats will follow. But it could take time for that to happen, so be patient with Watkins on your bench to start the year.

On the outs ... Fred Jackson

2013 Touches Leaders
845 total touches
Fred Jackson 253 (206 car., 47 rec.) 29.9%
C.J. Spiller 235 (202 car., 33 rec.) 27.8%
Steve Johnson 53 (1 car., 52 rec.) 6.3%
Scott Chandler 53 rec. 6.3%
Robert Woods 42 (2 car., 40 rec.) 4.9%
All Others 209 24.7%

This is likely the last season for Jackson in Buffalo and possibly the NFL. He's 33 and entering a contract year, and the Bills acquired his replacement with Brown during the NFL Draft.

Jackson was great last season with Spiller battling injuries. He finished as the No. 10 Fantasy running back in standard leagues with 207 carries for 896 yards and nine touchdowns and 47 catches for 387 yards and a touchdown. The rushing and total touchdowns were a career high, as was the catch total.

But Spiller, hopefully, will be healthy all season, and Brown could see some action if either struggles. We also saw Jackson fight through broken ribs and a knee injury of his own last year, and it's hard to count on him being as durable this season. Last year was the first time since 2010 when he played more than 10 games due to injuries.

We still recommend drafting Jackson with a mid-round pick as a No. 3 or 4 running back in the majority of leagues. Spiller's production isn't guaranteed, and there's no certainty Brown will do well in Buffalo. This could still be another year where Jackson does a lot of the heavy lifting, and he had 10 games with double digits in Fantasy points last year.

But just be prepared for a letdown since Jackson is nearing the finish line of his career. We hope he goes out with a bang, but if Spiller does what he's supposed to do then Jackson's swan song should be a quiet one.

Schedule analysis

Spiller has the chance to start his season on a high note against the Bears in Week 1, as Chicago allowed the second-most Fantasy points to opposing running backs in 2013. He also gets favorable matchups with Miami and Minnesota in the first seven games, and he closes the year with a great playoff schedule against Green Bay in Week 15 and at Oakland in Week 16. Watkins will be tested by two of the top cornerbacks four times in New England's Darrelle Revis and Brent Grimes of the Dolphins, although the second meeting with the Patriots is in Week 17. The good news for Watkins is he faces the Chargers in Week 3, the Lions in Week 5 and the Vikings in Week 7, and they were all in the Top 10 in most Fantasy points allowed to opposing receivers a year ago.

Training camp battles

Who's the No. 2 running back? It's Jackson's job barring Brown making a huge impact in training camp and the preseason, but it is worth monitoring. The Bills acquired Brown more as a move for 2015 when Jackson is likely gone as a free agent and Spiller has a player option to leave. Keep an eye on Brown and his role, but the pecking order at running back for now is Spiller, Jackson and then Brown.

Who's the No. 2 receiver? The Bills drafted Watkins to play him right away, and Woods should remain the other starter after a productive rookie season with 40 catches for 587 yards and three touchdowns. But Buffalo also acquired Mike Williams from Tampa Bay and will look to get Marquise Goodwin more involved. We expect Woods to stay in the No. 2 role even though Williams has been highly productive as recently as 2012, but he's probably No. 3 on the depth chart. And Goodwin will be Buffalo's deep threat as the No. 4 option. Watkins is the only Bills receiver worth drafting in the majority of leagues, and Woods and Williams will likely be waiver wire fodder at best.

Who's the kicker? No one is drafting either Dan Carpenter or Dustin Hopkins, but the winner of this kicker battle could be a bye-week replacement. The Bills have also floated the idea of keeping both, with Carpenter handling field goal and PAT duties, and Hopkins doing kickoffs. We fully expect Carpenter to be on Fantasy rosters at some point during the season, but keep an eye on Hopkins in case he somehow wins the job.

Bold prediction

In 2012, Spiller finished as the No. 7 Fantasy running back in standard leagues. He averaged 6.0 yards per carry and 10.7 yards per catch and had just 264 total touches, which was well behind the six running backs ahead of him. We expected him to get more work (and thus more production) in 2013, but injuries and a resurgent Jackson ruined that prediction. If Spiller can stay healthy and use the motivation of getting paid to have a big year, he will reward Fantasy owners in a big way since he'll likely be drafted after the Top 30 overall picks. I consider him a steal on Draft Day, and don't be surprised when he's a Top 10 player at his position at the end of the season.

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Tony Romo to be full-go in practice
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(11:29 am ET) Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is expected to be a full participant during Thursday’s first practice of training camp, reports the Dallas Morning News.

Romo was limited during all of mini camp and organized team activities after having back surgery in December.

"I think his recovery has been outstanding," coach Jason Garrett said. "He's been diligent in his rehab. He's made great strides. I thought we did a good job as an organization being disciplined throughout the offseason making what he does in practice fairly consistent and not allowing him to get into competitive situations. We worked through that and it gave him another month to stay out of that. He has been working hard on his conditioning, on his throwing and we do anticipate him being ready to go for all aspects."

Romo will be evaluated on a daily basis. If he struggles with the workload, the amount of snaps he takes could be dialed back.

"He has had no issues," Garrett said, "no obstacles holding him back."


Justin Houston arrives at Chiefs camp
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(11:29 am ET) Sources say Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston arrived on-time for training camp, the Kansas City Star reported. Houston is unhappy with his contract and contemplated holding out in protest but chose not to. He's a free agent after this season. 

Cowboys place two on PUP, one on NFI
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(11:19 am ET) On Thursday the Cowboys placed guard Ronald Leary and defensive end Anthony Spencer on active/PUP and also put defensive lineman Amobi Okoye on active/NFI. 

Belichick impressed with Darrelle Revis
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:55 am ET) Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Thursday he has been impressed with new cornerback Darrelle Revis, reports ESPN.

"He has worked hard. Smart guy. I've been impressed with him," Revis said. "Very professional. Has a good understanding of the game. He's a smart player. He has a real good focus and instinct. He's a smart player scheme-wise, but he knows how to play. He's a very instinctive player. … On a personal level, I never really had a personal relationship with him. So I've enjoyed that part of it."

The Patriots signed Revis from the Bucs this offseason.


Terrance West to practice Friday
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:52 am ET) Even though Browns rookie running back Terrance West landed on the non-football injury list Wednesday because of his conditioning test, he's expected to be on the practice field Friday, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The report says West is "100 percent healthy'' and will be practicing without restrictions when camp officially opens to the public on Saturday morning.

West, the third-round pick from Towson, will battle Ben Tate for the starting running back in what promises to be a heated battle.

"The best competition might be Ben Tate and our guy from Terrance West from Towson, who I really like," coach Mike Pettine said.


Alfred Morris to see new scheme
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:48 am ET) The Redskins plan to change their philosophy with their run-blocking scheme under new coach Jay Gruden, reports the Washington Times, which could impact Alfred Morris.

The report says the Redskins will move away from the zone-blocking scheme run under former coach Mike Shanahan and incorporate more of a power game. Morris was familiar with a traditional running scheme in college at Florida Atlantic, per the report.

Now, there is a concern for Morris since he rushed for 2,888 yards over his first two seasons under Shanahan, which were more than any other player in the league during that time except Minnesota's Adrian Peterson. And Gruden likes his running backs to be able to catch the ball — something Morris did only 20 times during his first two seasons.

But Morris should still remain in a prominent role on offense and be a candidate for 270-plus carries like he had last season.


Maikon Bonani is favorite for kicker job
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:32 am ET) The Titans will have a battle for the starting kicker job in training camp between Maikon Bonani and undrafted rookie Travis Coons

Bonani, according to the Tennessean, is the favorite to win the job.


Chris Johnson 'flying' in return to action
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:27 am ET) Jets running back Chris Johnson (knee) was medically cleared recently by Dr. James Andrews to participate in training camp, reports ESPN. And he was back on the field Wednesday.

Coach Rex Ryan said Johnson was "flying" in the mandatory conditioning run. The Jets practice Thursday for the first time.

Johnson had surgery this offseason to repair a torn meniscus. As a precaution, the Jets kept him on the sideline in the spring. 

"I'm pretty good," he said of his knee. "I'm ready to do whatever they ask me to do."


Cordarrelle Patterson to stay involved in return game
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:24 am ET) Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said the team wants receiver Cordarrelle Patterson to touch the ball as often as possible, which includes continuing to return kicks, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

"We want our best players to get their hands on the ball as much as possible. We're not going to keep him from returning kicks because he is such a dangerous weapon there," Zimmer said. "He's been a very hard worker, he has improved his route running since we've been here and things are going to change for these guys in training camp when we are able to start playing bump-and-run. For him to take the next step, we're going to have to see how he gets off a jam and the things that people will try to do to take him away."


Justin Blackmon arrested Wednesday
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:19 am ET) Suspended Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon was arrested for the possession of marijuana Wednesday night in Edmond, OK, reports KWTV, a CBS affiliate in Oklahoma.

According to the police report, Blackmon was stopped for a traffic violation. Officers said they could smell an odor of marijuana coming from inside the car.

After a search, police said they found marijuana and Blackmon was taken into custody. Blackmon was also issued a citation for the traffic violation. Edmond police did not say how much marijuana was discovered in the vehicle.

Blackmon is currently suspended indefinitely for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.


 
 
 
Rankings