Are the Bills going to win the Superbowl? I think not.
Do we have tons of super dominant players? Nope
Any one really fantastic “best in the league” players? Maybe Brian Moorman, but he won’t help you out in your fantasy league.
So why am I writing an article telling you which Bills players are worth drafting? Because the truth is that your draft is won in the later rounds, not the early rounds. The Bills definitely have players that are worth drafting. Plus, when it comes right down to it, don’t we all love having a “homer” on our team?
Alright, so here we go. I have the Bills players listed, with their position and where I think you should draft them. The first draft spot is a standard league, the second is a PPR league.
Stevie Johnson – WR – (SL: 6th round, PPR: end of 4th round).
Crazy you say? Lee Evans is gone, making Johnson the de facto #1 WR in Buffalo causing prognosticators to put Johnson in the category of those WRs who have talent, but will get taken away by the defenses they face. There’s probably some truth to that. But at the same time, Johnson also gained a thousand of Fitzpatrick’s 3000 passing yards. I like guys where the offense runs through them. He also did not miss a single game last year. Did you know that in a PPR league, Johnson tied Larry Fitzgerald for the 27th top scorer and the tenth highest scoring WR in the NFL? Did you know that he had 11 double digit scoring weeks. How does 82 receptions/1073 yds/ 10 touchdowns sound? The bottom line is that you cannot create those numbers without a large amount of chemistry between WR and QB. Fitz and Johnson are on the same page at all times and Johnson’s numbers will continue to be strong in 2011 because of this. I would never draft him as highly as Larry Fitzgerald, because I do not think his numbers will be quite as high as last year. I put him in the Jeremy Maclin, TB’s Mike Williams, Brandon Lloyd category of underrated receivers who will excel beyond the dismal expectations people have for them. In Johnson, you have a chance to get a Bill who is worth more than he is being drafted currently and in fantasy football, that the name of the game. Draft him in the mid rounds and put him in as your WR2 or flex.
Fred Jackson – RB – (SL: early 8th round, PPR: 9th round)
Jackson makes a great comeback story filled with perseverance and guts. But is he really going to be the next AP or even Steven Jackson? In 2010, he gained 927 yards on the ground and caught 31 passes for another 215 yards. Not bad. That comes to be about an average of 9 points per game. But then here comes CJ Spiller, who looks to have a much bigger part in the offense this year. Even if Spiller only takes half of Fred’s passes (though I think it will be more than that) and only a hundred yards rushing, that would drop Jackson into the 6 point range. The real Achilles heel for Fred Jackson, is that the Bills don’t like to score by running the ball . He only had 5 touchdowns rushing and only 2 receiving and Corey McIntyre had one rushing touchdown. Not exactly a rosy fantasy picture is it. Jackson would make a decent bye week or injury fill-in but there’s no way I’d want to use him as a starter. Unfortunately, Jackson has been going between rounds 5-7 in mock drafts which is way too early for him. Draft him in the later mid rounds if you can and shrug your shoulders when someone drafts him in the fifth round over Ryan Grant and Cedric Benson.
CJ Spiller: RB who lines up in the slot occasionally – (SL: 14th round, PPR: 11th round)
Did he play at USC, win the Heisman and then un-win the Heisman? From what I’ve seen in training camp andpre-season, the Bills plan on using CJ as the next reincarnation of Reggie Bush. From rushing to the outside (never inside the guards) to catching balls out of the backfield on wheel routes and screens, to lining up in the slot and slanting in, CJ will be getting the ball more in 2011. But is that enough to make him draft worthy? Last year he only gained 283 yards rushing and only added another 157 yards through the air. I see these numbers increasing, but not by very much (projected 400 yards rushing and 300 receiving, 5 TDs). Where his numbers may increase enough to make a big difference is in receptions and touchdowns. He already caught 28 balls last year and looks to be a bigger part in the passing game this year. I cannot imagine Spiller going two years in a row without a single touchdown, so his TD’s will increase as well. Even with these numbers, he’s not incredibly draftable, but what you get with CJ is upside. Spiller has the speed, cuts, hands and overall skill to really knock the socks off some teams in the league. He just hasn’t shown us anything. Hedge your bets with Spiller by seeing if you can grab him in the later rounds and put him on your bench, hoping he’ll bust out this year.
Roscoe Parrish: Slot Receiver – (SL:12th round, PPR: 10th round)
If I were Roscoe Parrish, I would thank my speedy lucky little stars that Chan Gailey is now my coach. In 2010, Roscoe was poised to have a breakout year, before he broke his wrist in week 9. Through those first 8 games, 6 were for double digits and his stats in the last game were 7 rec/60 yds/ 1 TD with time still left in the 4th quarter. If you’re in a PPR league, that’s 19 points, with a chance for elite type 20’s. If you pro-rate his season stats, he would have had 66 catches for 800 yards and 4 touchdowns. That’s more than Ochocinco, Kenny Britt and Austin Collie, all of whom are going in the 5th or 6th rounds. Did you know that Roscoe was 5th in the league in 3rd down receptions when he got injured? Listen Bills nation, the writing is on the walls. Chan Gailey likes Roscoe as his primary slot receiver. Fitzy will go to this little safety valve and let his skills in the open field translate into yards and first downs. He’s currently dealing with a hamstring injury, but should be good to go before the preseason ends. Roscoe is currently going undrafted in most mocks. Steal Roscoe in the later rounds and if you’re in PPR, highlight him with little stars and hearts around his name, because he’s one of those late rounders that could win you matchups.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – QB – (Any League: 10 – 12th round)
Yes that’s right. Fitz should be your backup quarterback this year, whether you are a Bills fan or not. And yes, I said backup, not starter. In 2010, Fitz got fantasy gurus into a tizzy with 10 out of 13 games in double digits, 233 completions, 3000 yards passing, 23 TDs and only 15 INTs (3 of which came in his final game against the Patriots when the team gave up in 10 degree weather. By the way, in that game Brady only threw for 130 yards and handed the ball off most of the day). If you pro-rate his performance into a season of work, Fitz would have had 286 completions for 3692 yards, 28 TDs and 18 INTs. QBs with those kind of stats in 2010? Matt Schaub (more yards, less TDs), Matt Ryan (almost exactly), and Joe Flacco (less yards, TD’s and INT’s). These guys are going in rounds 4-8 where Fitz is going in rounds 14-16. This is also the very first year that Fitz has had an offseason to build chemistry with his receivers and be the uncontested number one QB so expect his numbers to stay the same this year. The Lee Evans trade does have some effect on his value, because it’s a pretty new lineup, but Matt Ryan lost Michael Jenkins (about the same production) and his stock hasn’t gone down even though they’re relying on a young guy to fill in the gaps. Fitz lost Lee, but gained David Nelson, Donald Jones, Roscoe Parrish, Marcus Easley and Naaman Roosevelt. I say use some draft savvy and get Fitz before anyone else does, but use your earlier picks to get an Elite QB (Manning, Rodgers, Vick, don’t get Brady, because they have the same bye week) and know that when the bye week comes around, you have a solid starter quality QB in your lineup to take his place. Steal him in the later rounds and trust the beard.