Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
      
Fantasy Football Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
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.

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Sebastian Janikowski not asked to do much vs. Texans
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:37 pm ET) Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski was not asked to do much in a Week 2 loss to the Texans at home on Sunday. The team did not use him for any field goal attempts. He finished with two extra points in a 30-14 loss.

Two Bears ruled out
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:36 pm ET) Bears defensive end Trevor Scott (foot) and defensive back Sherrick McManis (quad) won't return to Sunday night's game in San Francisco, the team announced.

Texans keep Randy Bullock busy in Week 2 win
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:34 pm ET) Texans kicker Randy Bullock was kept busy in a Week 2 win over the Raiders.

Bullock converted a 33-yard field goal in the second quarter, a 39-yard shot in the third and a 46-yarder in the fourth quarter. However, he had a 27-yard attempt blocked late in the fourth quarter. He went 3 for 4 in field goal attempts, and tacked on three extra points in a 30-14 victory.

Early diagnosis: Jamaal Charles has 'mild' ankle sprain
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:34 pm ET) The early indication is that Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles has a "mild" ankle sprain, reports CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora. The team is hopeful Charles won't miss "significant time," La Canfora added.

Patrick Murray has an up-and-down performance in Week 2
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:31 pm ET) Buccaneers kicker Patrick Murray had an up-and-down performance in Week 2 against the Rams.

Murray had his first career field goal attempt -- a 24-yard kick -- blocked by T.J. McDonald. He bounced back with a 36-yard field goal late in the fourth. He finished 1 for 2 in field goal attempts, and tacked on a two extra points in a 19-17 defeat.

Greg Zuerlein kicks game-winner vs. Tampa Bay
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:30 pm ET) Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein kicked a 38-yard field goal with 38 seconds remaining to secure a 19-17 Week 2 win over the Buccaneers. Zuerlein converted kicks from 36, 35, 46 and 38 yards out. He finished 4 for 4 in field goal attempts and tacked on one extra point in a 19-17 victory.

Vance McDonald returns from knee injury
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:29 pm ET) 49ers tight end Vance McDonald left the game versus Chicago with a knee injury but was able to return.

Raiders get minor contributions from role players in Week 2
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:28 pm ET) The Raiders received minor contributions from several role players in a Week 2 loss to the Texans. Running back Latavius Murray took a backseat to Darren McFadden and was limited to only one handoff for a gain of 6 yards. Fullback Marcel Reece caught one pass for a gain of 11 yards, while receiver Brice Butler was held to one reception for minus-2 yards.

Mychal Rivera coughs up the ball in Week 2 loss
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:25 pm ET) Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera lost a fumble and was unable to make much of an impact in Week 2 at home against Houston.

Rivera caught a 6-yard pass and was stripped by D.J. Swearinger in the third quarter. He caught seven of the five passes thrown his way for 31 yards in a 30-14 defeat. Through two weeks, he has compiled 62 receiving yards.

The Raiders will travel to New England for a Week 3 showdown against the Patriots.


Andre Holmes gets a bunch of looks late in a Week 2 loss
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:22 pm ET) Raiders wide receiver Andre Holmes caught his first pass of the season and finished as the team's second-leading receiver in a Week 2 loss to the Texans on Sunday.

Holmes was limited to one grab for a gain of 7 yards in the first half. He bounced back with catches for 12, 15, 6 and 5 yards, all of which came on the final drive of the game for the Raiders. He was targeted seven times and finished with five catches for 45 yards, averaging 9.0 yards per grab in a 30-14 defeat.

The Raiders will travel to New England for a Week 3 showdown against the Patriots.


 
 
 
Rankings